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It's no use, mile.
The place is like a sieve.
It would take all the rags in Paris
to stuff half its holes.
Vast. Motionless.
A gigantic mother brooding over her
millions of children, good and bad.
It's magnificent, Czanne.
You must paint it.
As someday I shall write it.
No, Zola. It's hopeless.
You know that people don't want
to see the stark face of truth.
They would much prefer
perfumed lights like these.
They ought to be burned
like something unclean.
Why, Paul, that's splendid.
Why didn't you think of that before?
We shall have a fire!
- We could sell them and...
- What?
And expose others
to their stinking hypocrisies?
No, my friend. We'll burn them...
...and let their lying pages
warm the bones of men of truth!
There we are.
Well, look at that. Even the old stove
rebels at the vile trash.
Close that window!
- You want me to catch cold?
- But we'll suffocate.
That'll be better than perishing
from a draft.
Oh, you and your drafts.
It's the concierge...
...for the rent.
- He'll kick us into the street.
Don't let him in. Tell him I'm in bed.
Some horrible disease.
It's catching. Anything.
- Who is it?
- It's mile's mother.
- Come in, Madame Zola.
- Thanks, Paul.
mile, why are you in bed?
Are you ill?
It's tearing my heart out to see you
living like this, and now it must end.
Nonsense, Maman. I'm an
independent gentleman of letters...
...and soon the world will recognize me.
- Alexandrine, come in.
- Alexandrine, here? Where?
Alexandrine! Darling.
Oh, darling, we have
wonderful news for you.
- You have a job.
- You have a job.
A job?
I have a job?
Czanne! Did you hear? I have a job!
What kind of job?
I'm not going to sell my talents
to any lying...
This is a job with La Rue,
the great book publisher.
You're to be a clerk. Oh, darling,
we can get married now.
That's marvelous!
Now I shall have time to finish my book.
Maybe even get La Rue to publish it.
Czanne, take Maman's coat.
Paul, get meat and bread!
- What is it?
- mile, I hate to trouble you like this...
...but the butcher refuses us
any more credit.
- You told him we'd settle at month's end.
- But he wants it now.
And the landlord was very nasty
about the rent again this morning.
- Couldn't you ask for another advance?
- I've already had two advances this month.
- You're wanted in the office right away.
- Yes.
I'll do whatever I can.
Don't worry, dear.
This is the agent of police.
He has something to say.
Do you have a book called
The Confessions of Claude?
- Yes.
- The public prosecutor is highly displeased.
- Why?
- It is a bad book.
- Badly written?
- It is an offensive book.
- It will do great harm to public morals.
- Keep quiet.
We've been watching your writings,
young man.
You're a troublemaker. Your articles,
attacking our leading men of letters...
...the arts, criticizing the civic authorities.
Perhaps there's something
better for me to criticize?
I don't want any of your impudence.
You've got to stop it.
This is an official warning.
- I hope I won't have to come here again.
- You realize, monsieur...
...that his book was not published by me.
But it was written by your employee.
That makes you responsible under the law.
- Well.
- I didn't mean to get you into trouble.
Why do you write such muckraking stuff
when there are many pleasant things in life?
And many unpleasant things.
That's not your business while you work
for me. I should discharge you...
...but I'll give you one more chance.
- Thank you.
But from now on, you will tend strictly
to your work and stop writing trash.
- What? Is that a bad exchange for a job?
- A very bad exchange, Monsieur La Rue.
Here is your pay
up to the end of the month.
Get out.
- I'm very grateful to you.
- What?
For allowing me to devote
all my time to my writing.
Then go ahead with your scribbling.
And maybe a lean stomach
will teach you better!

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