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the end is where we start from

What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from.  —T. S. Eliot, Little Gidding

Let’s begin at the end.

During Louis Philippe’s reign (1830 to 1848), a beautiful actress Mademoiselle Rachel Félix reigned on the stage doing classical roles from Corneille, Racine, Voltaire, and Molière.

One evening, after a performance, she received a note from the Prince de Joinville, the third son of Louis-Philippe, duc d’Orléans and then King of France.

The card asked simply, “Where? When? How much?”

Mademoiselle Rachel’s reply was plain, “Your place.  Tonight.  Free.”

Mademoiselle Rachel had many lovers.  When one complained that she was unfaithful, she said, “I am as I am; I prefer renters to owners.”

She died in 1858.  Unlike other memorials, her tomb identifies her as Rachel, simply.  It rests on a street named after her—Avenue Rachel—in the 7ième Division of Le Cimetière du Père-Lachaise in Paris.

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