PIRANDELLO, BERNSTEIN, DAUDET
IN 1932 the famous Italian dramatist Luigi Pirandello was living in Paris in a pleasant flat on the top floor of a building near the Arch of Triumph. But as revealing either the narrow limits of fame or the suspicious nature of French females, when I reached the penultimate height, rang and asked the trim housemaid if M. Pirandello lived there, I received an emphatic negative 'Mais non.' Nobody can say 'no' quite so negatively as a French woman. It means not only 'no,' it means 'get out of here as soon as possible, I don't know who you are and don't want to know, there is nothing in this house that concerns you, you mind your business and I'll mind mine;' all that is expressed in the word non and yet it was not spoken rudely or vulgarly; merely decisively. Such an attitude, instead of making me angry or embarrassed, amuses me. I asked if M. Pirandello lived on another floor of the same building; she did not know; she had never heard of him. I walked a few steps up to the next floor, rang, and M. Pirandello himself came to the door.
A short, solid, healthy-looking man, with grey hair and goatee. Very kind he was and cordial. Although he had on his desk the English translation of one of his books ( American edition), he apparently did not speak English; we carried on in the language of the country where we were. Frenchmen say he speaks French with a decided accent; he certainly spoke it well enough for me. I understand French more easily when it is spoken by a foreigner than by a native.