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14 erotic stories round the waist, holding her body against mine. Immediately I became the competent teacher, and not only did I save her from a certain fall, but I described zigzags with her, completely forgetting my role as pupil.

I then had to admit to my deceit, which brought a black cloud to the horizon of our happiness. I explained that I had lied in order to create a pretext for our meetings, but, besides expressing her loathing of men who lied – a right allowed only to women – she observed that lies were only forgivable when they were unavoidable, adding that my imagination must be poor indeed if I could not find a better excuse.

‘If you had said to me honestly: “I can skate and I’d like to come with you”, I’d have come all the same, and wouldn’t now be feeling this distrust which really angers and hurts me…’

That day our fun was cut short, and it was only two days later that we met again, I fearing that I might not be forgiven and she, already having forgotten, once again smiling and friendly.

My heroine was called Camilla and was the daughter of a businessman who traded in fruit, who lived near Geldersekade, and who, as far as I could understand, was a man of limited wealth whilst fabulously prolific: fourteen children. Camilla was almost seventeen and it was her duty to look after two of her younger siblings. Her literary education had been relatively good, but her character remained undisciplined, she was impulsive and broke the finer rules of etiquette to which she had been subject for some time, becoming a capricious and whimsical child. She would frequently say, ‘I know that I shouldn’t do this or that, and for that very reason I do it.’

The family did not know what plans to make for her future; her older brothers and sisters already worked for a living, and it was only she who did nothing whatsoever, and since her remaining at home was a constant source of disagreement and argument her parents allowed her plenty of freedom, hoping either for the opportunity to marry her off or that she might find work should something arise which she could not refuse.

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