Now that I am in Paris – traveling internationally, you understand, for my travels they often take me out of the nation, transnationally, international, and so on, I must visit many nations before I might consider my travels to be done – a great many things must naturally be different. Forgive me, I cannot shake hands, as mine are laden down with many jewels. (Gifts. You understand, I think, that I cannot go into greater detail than that? Ah! Toujours, you are the soul of discretion, a jewel in your own right.) Beans are for the foolish, I say – good enough for my grandfather, perhaps, but what is a bean to a jewel? A jewel is a bean made permanent. A jewel is the promise of many beans to come.
You ask if I am happy? Voyons, I see what the effect is here you are trying to create. You wish to make me seem a fool to myself, yes? I who was once so happy with his bean and his fragrant breezes from the sea, now merely frantic and determined to be gay, surrounded as I am by electric gasworks, lamplighting monkeys, silk women, and so on. But I have many meals now! Plump bites of fat little wax-cakes, sugared rose-leafs in dishes of Bohea, an elegant slice of ortolan that scandalizes God, an urgent haunch of capon, all rotating gently on elegant wrists bent to serve. I am always walking now, me, from my dining room to my umbrella appointments, from a bedroom by the sea to a bootmaker of the finest opera. How I flurry! My walking stick, magnifies my gait until the street must bear nine or ten at least of my legs. Up and down the avenuesI go, in and out of tall and stately doors I go, drifting into the park with the boulevardiers, drifting out of the clubs, gently pressing a gloved finger to my hat in greeting and in farewell, too busy for any beans. Later I might attend a labyrinth, to hunt a feast and powder my neckcloths. What is happy? We make merry, we urbanistes, we begin dinner only after we have conquered the sun and wrestled him into the earth. We think nothing of dinner at nine! Make her ten, we say, make dinner begin at ten, and dinner obeys. She is the merriest of courtesans, is dinner! How her laughs fill the cobblestones.
You dare ask me if I miss my simple bean? I scoff at you! I offer you the cut direct! I shake my handkerchief towards your ignoble origins in scorn and fine breeding! What is a simple bean to such a complicated man, with such a complicated genital such as myself? For my fine and elegant body I have many raiments; for my fine and distinguished mind I have many card-partners; for my fine and graceful palate I have many meals, not simply one bean. I have had many beans, and other vegetables also. I could have on the notice of a moment a private potato for myself. A potato most discreet, for a gentlemanly appetite, studded with corianders and smoked gravies and croquilles. If I turn my appetite to the sea, I may freely eat of anything I demand. No wave-fruit is hidden from me, if I should turn my hand and my net to it. So to the simple bean-farmers of the sur I say Blessings to you, and a robust bean this year; may you eat your bean well-dressed in the warmth of the best and most lovely sun. But for myself, I have all the pastilles of Paris, the well-chosen teeth of Aphrodite, the Queen’s own tortoise soup, and all the English mustard a gentleman’s leg can spare. Happy? I laugh myself at this question! I do not plod through the south’s rough bean-fields, fanning myself with the hat of simplicity. I do not chop careful herbs for her, nor draw a heat-thumped lemon up from the well to bathe her with! And I do not need these things. Kindly leave me to the sophisticated silence of my many apartments. You may take a richness with you, to console you in your poverty. But go!! And never suggest I am unhappy again. I, unhappy? I am Paris —