The meeting of the man and the woman—it is to this that every story in the world goes back for its beginning. At noon on a day late in September the express train from Paris rested, panting and impatient, on its brief halt in the station at Rouen. The platform was covered with groups of passengers, pushing their way into or out of the throng about the victualer’s table. Through the press passed waiters, bearing above their heads trays with cups of tea and plates of food. People were climbing the high steps to the carriages, or beckoning to others from the open windows of compartments. Four minutes of the allotted five had passed. The warning cries of the guards had begun, and there was even to be heard the ominous preliminary tooting of a horn. At the front of the section of first-class carriages a young woman leaned through the broad window-frame of a coupé, and held a difficult conversation with one of the waiters. She had sandwiches in one hand, some loose coin in the other. Her task was to get at the meaning of a man who spoke of sous while she was thinking in centimes, and she smiled a little in amused vexation with herself at the embarrassment.