The rarest creature in the world is an honest person. I don’t
remember which philosopher said this, but for some reason it has
always stayed with me ... even through the most difficult times in my
life, like at this very moment.
I sat across from Abdul Haqq and silently watched as the young man
said a short prayer before touching his meal. I understood enough
Arabic to silently translate his words: “All praise is due to Allah who
gave us food and drink and who made us Muslims.”
Abdul was a young graduate student at the local technical
university, École des ponts ParisTech. I knew more about him than
he realized. I knew, for example, that he had emigrated from Algeria
with his parents when he was very young, and the circumstances of
his adoption, and the fact that he had an adoptive sister.
But these were just the facts in his file. As I got to know Abdul, it
was all the intangibles that began to matter most: his essential
sweetness, combined with his rakish charm and brilliant mind. A
pleasant-looking man with a round face and eyes that crinkled with
kindness when he spoke, he was fluent in English and French as well
as in Arabic, and seemed to get along well with almost everybody. It
was difficult to dislike this young man, as I quickly found out while
pretending to be a student at the same university.
2 The Parisian Professor
Unlike other students from his background who stuck to
socializing within their communities, Abdul Haqq was quite outgoing
and made friends with just about everybody. He could often be seen
flirting with the pretty young women on campus, and he was quick to
help any struggling student who was having difficulty with a project.
It wasn’t long after we met that Abdul introduced me to his
adoptive parents. A few days later, I would have the distinct pleasure
of meeting his sister, Gabrielle. At first it was uncomfortable having
to pretend that I didn’t know about the horrifying circumstances of
Abdul’s adoption. I was relieved when he finally told me the whole
story, so I wouldn’t have to worry about slipping up and referring to
it. I could have told him I saw an old news story, but that would have
been stretching things. It had been over a decade since Le Monde and
Le Figaro were full of stories about his biological family being blown
up by a suicide bomber while strolling across the Champs-Élysées. All
five of his sisters and brothers and his two parents were killed when
the terrorist accidently detonated the bomb strapped around his
waist. By some amazing good fortune, Abdul, who was just a kid, had
become separated from his family and was wandering around lost
when the bomb went off. It wasn’t until hours after the explosion,
after all the debris and body parts were removed from the scene, that
the Paris police picked him up, identified him, and placed him in an
Luckily for him, a Lebanese Christian family that had recently
immigrated to Paris read about the tragedy in the newspapers and
decided to adopt him. Little Abdul was already well-schooled in the
Muslin faith and deeply religious for a small child, and his adoptive
parents decided it was not in his best interest to force him to become
a Christian. From the time he came into their home, they never failed
to encourage him to continue to practice his religion. They
considered themselves progressive, and after fleeing Lebanon due to
all the sectarian violence, they weren’t big on religion, anyway.
We were sitting at a small table in the back room of Chez Marcel,
a hundred-year-old bistro tucked away on a small street off Boulevard
Joseph Sciuto 3
Raspail near Montparnasse on the left bank. We were the only people
dining, and at a small bar about thirty feet away, Elijah and David,
two crazed Mossad agents, were laughing and drinking while
pretending to chat with the bartender and actually keeping an eye on
me. They were here to make sure I did the job correctly, and if not,
they would clean up my mess. Somehow, even after four years as an
operations officer working for the CIA, I still had plenty of people
looking over my shoulder, not quite convinced that I was the best
man for the job. This, despite the fact that, by all of the usual
measures, my recent three-year stint in Kabul had been a success. I
was assigned to our embassy there, and I made a lot of contacts for
the agency. I also participated in a number of successful operations
that saved lives and provided us with invaluable information. I may
not have been James Bond, but I sure as hell didn’t need to be babysat
by these two Israeli soldiers while doing my own job.
Elijah was the less subtle of the two. He kept banging his beer
stein on the bar and side-eyeing me as I ate my steak and frites. It was
annoying, but I had to keep my cool. I was already hoping that this
would be my last job with the agency. It was becoming increasingly
clear to me that I was destined for a different line of work. The stresses
of the job were really meant for someone with steelier nerves and a
better poker face. I stuffed a French fry in my mouth and resolved to
get through this job with as little drama as possible. And on the face
of it, the task was simple enough. I’d been transferred to Paris a few
months earlier, was set up with my own little apartment, and was
registered as a graduate student at the university. My only real job was
to befriend Abdul and find out if the agency was right about his ...
extracurriculars. My bosses believed he was involved in manufacturing
sophisticated bombs to be used by suicide bombers for an Islamic
terrorist group with ties to Hezbollah in Lebanon, and I was there to
prove the case and turn him over to the CIA.
I knew for a fact that I wasn’t the agency’s first pick for this job,
but I had a few important things going for me. At twenty-nine, I still
looked young enough to be a graduate student studying abroad, and
4 The Parisian Professor
it didn’t hurt that I had an undergraduate degree in engineering and
spoke fairly fluent French. But after everything I’d accomplished in
Afghanistan, I still felt a little silly playing the part of a spoiled
American kid, carrying around a backpack stuffed full of engineering
and chemistry textbooks.
Usually one of the most difficult jobs working as a covert agent is
to gain the trust of the source, which in this case was Abdul. In this
case, it was dead easy. In fact, it was Abdul who introduced himself to
me on the first day we had a class together. I sat right across from him
and he leaned over and asked me, in French, what I thought of the
two girls in the front row. He used the word “bonne” to describe
them, and I knew from brushing up on current Parisian slang that
this was not quite as innocent as it sounded. It was short for bonne à
baiser — “good to fuck.”
I smiled knowingly and said, “The blonde and the brunette?”
“Yes, Americans, no doubt. Facile! We’ll ask them out after class.”
“Okay, that sounds like fun,” I said as we shook hands and
exchanged names. During class, Abdul was all business, raising his
hand and participating and offering all the right answers. But as soon
as class was over, he was equally focused on our planned conquest. He
grabbed me by the elbow and steered me over to where the girls were
standing, packing up their books. We introduced ourselves, and Abdul
took the lead, saying a bunch of smooth stuff and asking the girls out
for a meal. After giggling like a couple of teenagers, they agreed to meet
us at a little bistro not far from the campus. As Abdul had predicted,
they were American, and ready for a little ... cultural exchange.
During my four years as an undergraduate back in the states, I
never once got so much as a smile out of the one or two good-looking
girls in my science classes. Now here I was in Paris, and after just a
few hours of amiable chatting and four bottles of wine, these two
beauties were ready and willing.
Abdul disappeared with one of the girls through the back door
and that was the last I saw of him that night. The other one, Jennifer
from Nebraska, was literally climbing all over me like I was a
Joseph Sciuto 5
mountain. Fending her off might have been the most difficult and
frustrating assignment I’d had since leaving Afghanistan. Quite
simply, she was hot, and it didn’t help that I had not been with a
woman in years. But there was no way I was going to compromise my
assignment, or Jennifer, by establishing any sort of relationship with
her, especially not a sexual one. She could easily become collateral
damage and I could never, in good conscience, allow that. Thankfully,
the poor girl got sick and vomited all over me, and whatever desire I
might have had vanished. After cleaning up, I put her in a cab, and
told her I would see her in class. From that night on, she could barely
look at me without apologizing a thousand times.
For the next couple of weeks, Abdul and I hung out day and night.
After being away from school for so long, I was rusty when it came to
physics and mathematics, but that was no problem; before leaving the
university grounds, we would go to the library and Abdul would sit
there tutoring me until every problem was solved and the answer
double-checked. It was all so easy for him. He could solve a highly
technical math problem in a fraction of the time it took me to get a
less elegant solution, and he did it all with a smile.
We would then go out and eat at the finest restaurants, drink and
party until the wee hours of the morning, and never once did he let
me pick up a check. He always carried around wads of cash, and never
paid with a credit card. If he was a terrorist, he certainly didn’t belong
to any ascetic organization.
As a cover story in case I needed to get away for a while, I told
him my mom back in the States had been ill for a while, and that I was
worried about her. Never once after I told him that did he fail to ask
about my mother. He would inquire after her health at least twice a
day and ask if there was anything he could do to help her, such as pay
medical expenses or send her gifts to cheer her up. The guy was as
charitable and as empathetic as anybody I had ever met. I showed
more signs of being a terrorist than he did.
Even so, a bomb was about to go off in my life, and it was
named Gabrielle. The day I met her was the same day I first noticed
6 The Parisian Professor
Elijah and David watching me in a bistro during my lunch with
Abdul. I’d endured their antics all during our meal and finally left
the bistro with Abdul. I was on my way home to my little
apartment when we came across Gabrielle on the steps of the
American University, where she was studying to be an artist. Little
did I know that all the self-restraint I’d been able to exhibit with
Jennifer a few days earlier would vanish in an instant at the sight
of this incredible creature.
I’ve never been a big believer in love at first sight, but with
Gabrielle, there was no other explanation. It had to exist, or I was
going crazy. How do I put this? She was the most stunning creature I
had ever seen — a tiny thing, slim to the point of waifishness, with
gorgeous, long, dark brown hair, parted in the middle, and the most
beautiful, olive complexion. When I met her, she wore a simple white
dress with a narrow, red leather belt around her waist, a light wool
coat, and stylish black boots. She looked like she’d just stepped out of
a Chanel ad. She was so perfect that I was immediately afraid that she
wasn’t real, or that at any moment she might vanish. Her delicate
features reminded me of both Ingrid Bergman and Audrey Hepburn,
and her smile was instantly bewitching. At certain angles and in
certain light she could look almost like a child, with her sweet dimples
and her precious little teeth, so white and so straight. All of these
characteristics combined, but especially her smile, made her
I hung back while Abdul and Gabrielle talked, unable to take my
eyes off of her. Abdul gave her some money that she had asked for,
and she quickly thanked him and turned away, saying she was late
for class. Abdul and I went our separate ways, after making plans to
meet later that evening. I was starting to walk back toward my
apartment when I heard a voice from behind me. I turned and saw
Gabrielle walking toward me, smiling. I knew from that moment
that I was doomed.
“So, tell me Nicky, do you always fall in love with a girl after only
twenty seconds?” she asked.
Joseph Sciuto 7
All of my CIA training lay in a puddle on the ground. I couldn’t
remember my own name, let alone the recommended strategies for
not falling in love in the field. After a long pause, I finally forced out
“I didn’t know I had fallen in love,” I said, almost choking. No
one would believe me. I didn’t believe myself.
She smiled at me appraisingly, and said “Uh-huh.” Then she
pushed one thin forefinger into my chest and said, “Okay, Nicky.
Have it your way.” But she didn’t turn and leave. She stood there,
arms folded in front of her, gently mocking me with her coy smile.
I was trying to shake off the feeling of having been bewitched. I
called to mind the wizened, friendly face of my first mentor at the
agency, Donna Low, the senior officer in charge of recruits. I
remembered her advice to me that first summer after I joined the
agency: “Never let your heart, or any other bodily organ, do work best
performed by your head.” She had stared at me pointedly, smiling just
a little, when she said it. That was seven years ago, and the penny had
just dropped. Some agent I was, taking seven years to get a dick joke.
I almost laughed at the memory and exerted all my will to force
my heart rate down, imagining Donna Low’s face in front of me
instead of Gabrielle’s, and said, “I thought you had a class to get to?”
“I do, I do, but missing one class won’t make me any less likely to
become the next Rembrandt or Monet — or, for that matter, the next
I couldn’t tell what she meant by that — whether she was praising
herself or denigrating her own abilities, so I just kept quiet. Then,
suddenly, we were on the move, as she looped her arm in mine and
we began walking along rue Saint-Dominic, in the direction of the
Esplanade des Invalides.
She looked up at me, her face now three inches away from mine,
and like a beautiful sorcerer casting a spell over her helpless prey,
asked, “Isn’t Paris lovely, even in late winter?”
“Beautiful...” I stammered, not knowing to what or to whom I
was referring — just trying to stay in the conversation and keep
8 The Parisian Professor
floating along beside her. At that moment, I didn’t know where I was,
who I was, what my assignment was, or what was in the best interests
of my country ... I was doing my best to ignore the goosebumps that
were running up and down my body as this earthbound goddess
squeezed my forearm and touched her shoulder to mine.
Suddenly, she stopped us in mid-stride and turned around to face
me. Her expression was soft, knowing, and grave all at the same time.
She placed both hands on my arms and said, “Wake up, Nicky. You’re
not dreaming ... the girl you are going to marry is right here in front
of you. Hopefully, you won’t mess it up.”
Now I really was awake, and defensive, but on her terms instead
of my own. It took me a moment to speak, but when I did, I made a
small effort to defend myself. “What makes you think I might mess it
up?” I asked, staring into her eyes, battling for position.
“Because,” she said, softly, “you are an American, a very
handsome American, living in Paris, where there are many
“And you suspect that the temptations might be too great for me
to resist?” This was getting a little easier.
“You are a man, after all, and if Adam could be gullible enough
to eat the forbidden apple offered by Eve, I don’t see why you might
not be just as gullible and foolish.”
“Maybe if Adam was looking at you, instead of Eve, he might
never have taken a bite,” I said.
I knew this was a half-baked analogy as soon as the words came
out of my mouth, but she spared me by laughing softly and leaning in
“I think you need to go back and read your Bible,” she said,
teasingly. “You seem to have misinterpreted the meaning behind the
“Well, maybe we can read it together and you can explain it to
“I don’t think so, my little Nicky. I don’t waste my time on such
nonsense anymore. Hopefully, you don’t lose sight of your dream and
Joseph Sciuto 9
taste the milk of any of these French putins who so pollute our lovely
city.” She looked at me hard and said, “If I catch you cheating on me
one time, your dream will evaporate as quickly as it materialized. I
don’t forgive such transgressions.”
She smiled as she touched my wrist and asked, “Do you
“Quite clearly,” I replied. Then I asked, “And does the same hold
true for you?”
“Of course. If you like, I will even wear a chastity belt.”
“That won’t be necessary. I would hate to have you wear anything
that might inhibit you in any way.”
“So thoughtful,” she said, smiling. “Why don’t we take a walk
through the gardens at Tuileries ... such a lovely day to walk beneath
the spare winter trees and to learn a little something about my little
I was starting to recover my equilibrium, and now I was gripping
her arm as tightly as she had been gripping mine. We stayed that way,
glued at the hip, alternating between French and English like a couple
of Montrealers, without even noticing when we were speaking in one
or the other language.
“What do you want to know?” I asked her, as we exited the
Esplanade des Invalides and continued east toward the Tuileries.
“So many things. So many,” she said. “I’m sure behind that
handsome face and pleasant demeanor you have some amazing
stories you would like to share with your future wife.”
I knew I should be trying to keep things interesting by resisting
her utter confidence in our future as a couple. I tried to get myself to
say something like, “You’re awfully sure of yourself, aren’t you?” But
it was futile pretending that we weren’t made for each other — that
we weren’t two figures trapped in a painting together for centuries,
becoming conscious of each other for the first time.
“To be honest, when I look at you, every story flies out of my
head. I can’t remember anything from before we met less than an
hour ago. How is that possible?”
10 The Parisian Professor
“It’s possible,” she said. “Just ask the poet Rilke and the painter
who he, and he alone, called Merline. They knew all about love that
“The things you pick up in art school...” I said, impressed.
“A lot of art school is just art gossip,” she said, waving her hand.
“Which reminds me, Nicky ... there is no need to pretend that you
are a graduate student. You might be able to fool my stupid brother,
but one look at you and I could easily tell that you have no interest in
“Why would you say that?”
“Because I just know.”
“Know what, Gabrielle?”
“That no one who carries himself like you do has any interest in
attending a university. You’re a man of the world, not a man to be
tied down in a classroom. Am I wrong?”
I suddenly felt my mission kick in. Why would she say this? Had
my cover been blown before I even had a chance to investigate Abdul?
I tried to sound casual, as though her misunderstanding was a source
of amusement for me, but the truth was, she had me rattled. I went
on the defensive.
“I’m a graduate student, and if you have any doubt you are more
than welcome to go to the university’s registry’s office and check for
yourself.” I smiled at her calculatedly, and watched for her reaction.
It was, at most, inscrutable. A lightness played around her emerald
green eyes as she waved aside my offer.
“How generous of you. No, thank you. I have no doubt that you
are registered ... but a serious student? No, not my handsome fiancé.”
She ignored my puzzled look and took me by the arm and we entered
As we walked through the gardens, Gabrielle skipped and danced
around me, held my hand and then dropped it, and delighted in
pointing out a Pin de Corse tree — a Corsican Pine — that she said
was the pride of the Tuileries in late February, and her personal
favorite. She seemed to have forgotten all about my seriousness, or
Joseph Sciuto 11
lack of seriousness, as a student, and I began to forget, too. We were
just two lovers walking through Paris.
After a little while, we sat down on a bench across from the
Louvre. She leaned against me in silence. I asked, “Maybe one day you
can take me on a tour of the Louvre?”
“I would love that, Nicky,” she said as she suddenly laid her head
on my lap and stretched out along the bench, with her coat pulled
across her body, looking up at my face. “I could look at the Mona Lisa
for hours. So many tourists complain that they don’t see what’s so
great about it — especially Americans, like you. The type that prefer
looking at the Kardashians. But me, I see the mischief behind the
smile and a million little plots going around inside her head.”
“Is that so?” I asked, as I tried not to confuse my real identity with
my cover identity.
“And what do you see?” she asked.
“I haven’t looked at the painting in years, and never up close, so I
really couldn’t tell you.”
“Well, then we definitely have to take a tour of the Louvre.
Certainly, before we leave Paris,” Gabrielle said.
“And when are we planning on leaving Paris?”
“As soon as possible,” she said. “Once you formally propose and
we get married.”
I smiled at her absolute confidence in our future together. “And
where do you propose we live?”
“Anywhere you like. After all, you’re the man of the world. I’m
just a struggling art student, still living with her parents.”
“Oh, you’re so much more than that, Gabrielle.”
“And what makes you say that, my handsome boy?” she asked as
she reached her hand up and touched my lips.
“Just a very strong hunch.”
I looked down into her eyes and suddenly my fingers were
caressing her lips and a second later she was sitting up and we were
kissing. For an agent to lose track of time is rare and totally against
training and protocol, but I couldn’t tell you how much time passed
12 The Parisian Professor
before we finally came up for air. Even then, we just hung there, our
faces inches apart, smiling at each other with dewy eyes.
“Did you enjoy?” she asked, in French.
“Very much so,” I replied, in one of the two languages, though
which one I couldn’t say, any more than I could tell you whether it
was raining or snowing or sunny at that moment. We were on our
own planet, with its own time, its own hybrid tongue, and its own
weather. She threw her arms around my neck and we kissed, again.
“A little taste of what you will be missing out on if you’re ever
My phone rang and it was a text message from Abdul asking me
where we wanted to meet tonight.
“From your brother,” I said to Gabrielle. She grabbed the phone,
looked at the message, and started typing. “He has a date tonight,” she
wrote, “so you’re on your own ... good luck chasing your whores.
“That was kind of rude,” I remarked.
“You think so? I mean, if you want to go out with Abdul tonight,
please go right ahead. I just didn’t think you wanted your dream to
explode so quickly in your face.”
“Don’t be like that, Gabrielle.”
“Don’t be like, what? If you want to go out with Abdul, please do.
I laid down my conditions. Just don’t think in a few months when you
go back to your America that I will be just another story among your
many conquests. I’m not for sale!”
She got up from the bench and started to walk away. I reached
out and grabbed her wrist and pulled her back and said, “I don’t
behave like that, and for the record, you might be my dream, but it’s
not like I’m mincemeat.”
“Mincemeat, is that like hamburger?”
“I guess so; I never thought about it.”
“Well, just for the record, I don’t think of you as just hamburger.
Where do you plan on taking me to dinner, Nicky? I’m starving.” We
walked toward Le Fumoir, which was close to the Louvre. The sun
Joseph Sciuto 13
was starting to set and for a moment we had to shield our eyes, and
when I looked back at Gabrielle, it was almost a relief to notice that
she didn’t look quite as stunning as she had up to that point. I thought
I might be saved, but a few seconds later, after my eyes cleared, the
dream was back, and I followed her like a little puppy.
We sat at a nice table in the corner and before looking at the wine
list and menu she asked, “You do have money, Nicky?”
“Not much,” I said, looking at her casually. “I figured we could go
“Dutch?” she asked. “What does that mean?”
“It means, whatever you order you pay for, and whatever I order
I pay for. Abdul did give you a stack of money.”
“Enough for cab fare home and to pick something up at the
grocery store. You are American, aren’t you Nicky?”
“Yes, but when in Paris one behaves like a Parisian.”
“I think we should go,” she said as she started to get up out of her
chair and I took her hand and sat her back down.
“I’m joking with you, Gabrielle. I have money for both of us.
Please order whatever you like.”
She looked at me suspiciously and blushed. “Joke, like Jerry
“Yes, but not as funny. My God, you are adorable.”
We each ordered an aperitif while deciding on appetizers.
Gabrielle drank her entire aperitif before I had time to taste mine. She
ordered another one and nearly drank that one as quickly. “You
might want to slow down; otherwise I might have to carry you home.”
“I don’t think so, Nicky. I’ve already told you don’t expect any
favors until we are married.”
“I didn’t mean it that way.”
“I know,” she said. “I was only joking, like your Jerry Lewis.”
I laughed but nevertheless quickly ordered a number of
appetizers: salmon trout tartare with pressed caviar and tomatoes,
porcini mushroom tartlets, and herb-and-lemon-poached baby
14 The Parisian Professor
Gabrielle looked at all the food and remarked, “So you are a rich
“No, just trying to impress the girl of my dreams.”
“Merci, c’est très gentil,” she said.
“Tout le plaisir est pour moi,” I said.
“You speak well,” she said.
“Your English is great, too.”
“Well, it’s mandatory in French schools.”
“You must be very popular with the men in your university
“Why would you say that?”
“Because you are undeniably the most beautiful girl in the
“If you say so.”
“I doubt I am the only one who does.”
“The men are all pigs, like my brother, and the girls are whores.”
“All the men you meet are pigs?”
“Every one of them. But not you, my little Nicky, right?”
“No, ma’am — I mean, non, mademoiselle,” I replied with a tinge
of fear if I contradicted her. Gabrielle was only about five-foot-four,
but already I could sense that I didn’t want to get on the wrong side
of this complex, beautiful, and sphinx-like creature.
“Do you speak any other languages besides French and English?”
she asked as she took a small bite of a cracker covered with caviar and
“A smattering of Spanish,” I replied.
“No Arabic?” she asked.
“No! Why would you think I speak Arabic?”
“Because there are many Arabs living in France and in your
America. Abdul is a Muslim and my parents and I are from Lebanon.
Christian, not Muslim.”
“And you speak Arabic?” I asked.
“Yes,” she replied as she took another bite from her cracker and
pronounced it “délicieux!”
Joseph Sciuto 15
“Well, maybe you can teach me Arabic?”
“Maybe,” she replied, pensively. “Maybe sometime, Nicky.”
I picked up the wine list as I watched her eat tiny portions as
though she was suspicious that it might be poison ... not at all like she
was savoring every taste.
“Do you have a favorite wine?”
“Whatever you like. After all, you are a man of the world, whereas
I still live with my parents.”
I ordered a bottle of the Bouchard Aine & Fils Bourgogne pinot
noir, a good, reasonably priced wine. Gabrielle liked it so much that
we had two bottles during our main course. For after-dinner drinks
we each had a kir royale, and for dessert, we split a crème brûlée.
We walked out of the restaurant at about ten o’clock and got into
a cab. It wasn’t particularly late, especially not for Paris. Actually, this
was the time Abdul preferred to hit the nightclubs. I was drunk, a
couple of drinks away from being plastered, and with any other girl I
would have asked her if she wanted to go to a club and listen to some
music, but this wasn’t any other girl ... it was Gabrielle.
I played it safe and had Gabrielle give the driver the address to
her parents’ apartment. Throughout our long dining experience,
Gabrielle and I had talked freely and laughed frequently. Suddenly, in
the back seat of the cab it felt like we were strangers, with only a few
words passing between us.
The driver stopped in front of her parents’ apartment and I
walked her up the few front steps of the building. I asked, “Can I call
“Of course,” she replied as she looked up at me with her
glistening, emerald eyes seemingly studying every aspect of my face.
“And do you think you might be free to go out tomorrow?”
“Great,” I said. “I had a wonderful time tonight.”
“I’ll see you tomorrow,” I said as I started to turn back toward the
cab, and she grabbed me by the arm.
16 The Parisian Professor
“No goodnight kiss?” she asked as I turned back around and
lowered my head and kissed her.
“Yes, very nice.”
“Maybe tomorrow we can practice some more?”
“Maybe,” I replied as I gently ran one hand through her hair and
kissed her on the forehead. Then I turned and walked back to the cab
and got inside. I looked out the window as she stood there, an ethereal
beauty that even the greatest romantic poet would have difficulty
describing. She waved goodbye as the cab drove away.
“Mademoiselle is very beautiful,” the driver remarked.
“Yes, she is,” I replied.