Mme. Vauquer (nee de Conflans) is an elderly person, who for the past forty years has kept a lodging-house in the Rue Nueve-Sainte-Genevieve in the district that lies between the Latin Quarter and the Faubourg Saint-Marcel. Her house (known in the neighborhood as the Maison Vauquer) receives men and women old and young and no word has ever been breathed against her respectable establishment; but at the same time it must be said that as a matter of fact no young woman has been under her roof for thirty years and that if a young man stays there for any length of time it is a sure sign that his allowance must be of the slenderest. In 1819 however, the time when this drama opens, there was an almost penniless young girl among Mme. Vauquer's boarders.
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