Charlotte has been sullen since going around with the group from Clamart. Whilst they are good looking lads Marie cannot understand why Charlotte cannot seem to distinguish good looks from good character. They are unpleasant, living off their parents having left school filling in odd jobs which would otherwise be done by the real unemployed. They criticise the people working there as being 'stupid'. The parents allow this as they know that they can always use their contacts to find them another job.
Marie comments that the girls in the group are treated as objects like their mothers. They act like anarchists but even that is not sincere as they still turn to their rich parents when they need to. They are selfish, for them a community means that everyone does what they want. This is the case at the house at the moment. They like things the way they are.
Charlotte has lost her spontaneity and has been having difficulty coping at the lycée since joining the group. She is unhappy about having such an open house probably because the group from Clamart think it is 'stupid'. The group from Clamart never go to the house. She made a remark when Marie suggested the whole 'open house' idea which both inferred that the place was of little importance as well as a brothel. Marie has never found Charlotte flirting in the house so that schocked Marie seeing that she is easy going as concerns the rights of love. The remark started the feud between Marie and the group from Clamart who had made her this way. The group from Clamart are also unplesant to their parents. She is concerned about Charlotte. Whilst Charlotte is calm, level-headed and reflective on things, Marie still believes she lacks the experience to stand up for herself. She is worried that Charlotte will be heartbroken and left by the wayside by the group.
When Charlotte was nearly forteen, she spent a few days in Avignon with her brother. There she met Alaine a friend of Gregoire's and they fell in love with each other. She returned a happy person. He wrote to her. Marie only interfered in a pleasant fashion and discovered a bit of Alaines history. When Charlotte was away at Lycée she read some of her letters and was pleased to find that they were happy, honest and respectful.
Gregoire invited Alaine to Canada to spend a summer camping with them. Charlotte was physically mature. Marie inquired about what Charlotte thought might happen, Charlotte turning it around, found that her mother suspected that she would make love with Alaine. Charlotte confirmed she thought that also. Marie asked whther she would like to see a doctor, and Charlotte agreed so long as Marie accompanied her. At the doctors Charlotte, holding her mothers arm, felt intimidated and gave monsyllabic answers to his questions. Marie felt that the doctor was beng judgemental towards her, about allowing Charlotte to have sex. Charlotte went on the pill.
A few days later Marie left for Canada by boat and the children five days later by aeroplane. They met at the aeroport in Canada, Marie seeing Alaine for the first time, he was holding a guitar. He was handsome, interesting, extremely pleasant and eighteen years of age. She left them to their own devices the whole holiday, Charlotte never said a word to Marie about themselves. After they retourned to Paris it seemed as though the passion had gone. Letters were rare, Charlotte was no longer excited rather being quiet much of the time. Marie finally asked about them and it was confirmed that it was over and they did not make love. When asked why, Charlotte said that she did not think she was mature enough yet which earned her respect and a willingness to let her lead her own life from Marie.
Marie is now concerned about Charlotte as she has the dreamer nature typical of a drug user although Marie believes that she has managed to resist so far. The group from Clamart do drugs, dragging girls along with them, which is what Marie hates the most about them. Before Charlotte associated with them, she heard they did Horoine. She realises that Charlotte has smoked weed as she told Marie herself claiming that it did not mean anything. Marie believes that this dangerous attitude was imposed upon Charlotte by the group. The group are mostly sons of rich middle class, spoilt by their parents who let them do what they like. The daughters are usually brought up in a respectable way.
They decided that studying was 'stupid'. Some have sat their baccelaureats, others left in their final year to go on to do odd jobs, believing it gave them the right to speak like the working class. Marie believes this is a form of snobism but especially hypocritical as they rebel against their parents in this way only to return for food and lodgings.
The three or four group leaders decided last year to all go to Africa. It has not materialised yet and probably never will as only one of them had a proper job. Still they keep up to date with their jabs and feign that it makes them weak so that all the girls run around after their heroes. Marie comments that this is prime example of the way the lads treat the women as lackeys.
Françoise is sixteen and has travelled to London for an abortion. Marie cannot stop thinking about her. Françoise is alone and terrified of her parents, a situation which Marie was familiar with in her own youth. However Françoise's own situation was very real and upfront, where there could be no holding back and no remorse. Françoise has not told her parents, afraid of what they would say. Before she left she confided in Marie. We learn of Françoise's anguish, partly through fear of the inevitable physical pain and partly because she is loosing a part of herself and her animal insticts to protect the baby were taking hold. She would refer to her pregnancy as a person rather than a process showing a meternal attatchment to the child. This touched Marie and she would ask if she wanted the baby and why she did not keep it. The reply was always that she did want the child only her parents would kill her if they knew. Marie argued that her parents would be angry if she told them about the baby but, even if they did not show it, they would still love her. Françoise would reply that she will be having other children and that if she was going to have a baby, it should be to someone who she loved. Françoise no longer loves Simon who is the father. She was madly in love with him until the day they concieved, when she realised that he was just a good looking idiot.
Marie has forgotton how Françoise came to Paris. To begin with she heard that she was pregnant. She learnt from Charlotte that Françoise was in with the group from Clamart and got Charlotte to invite her around. Françoise came and exaplained that She was in love with Simon who introduced her to the group from Clamart and this love was mutual. He invited her to his parents house in the Mediterranean. He lied to his parents. She went and all his friends were there. Françoise and Simon slept in the same bed and he kept on falling over in the dark which made her laugh. He could not bear this and slept elswhere, she kept on laughing the night after and after that so in the end they ended up doing everything but make love. They finnaly did make love when they went to his parents house where both his friends and parents were, they made love and Françoise felt at this point that she did not like him. They were interrupted and he jumped out of bed grabbed his trousers and ran off. His mother had given her contraceptive pills but they had made her ill so she had not taken them.
Françoise finds that she is positive, she quickly tried to find money and tickets to England. Her brother, who knew about the situation, agreed to go with her and help pay, but nothing else. Marie rang up the clinic for her. It cost 2500 FF. Just as she was leaving she lost her papers and found that she was 400 FF short. Marie drove her to her home to find them. It was in a suburb, big and beige. Described as rigid, high, blind, dead, deaf and dumb in the empty sky. Women with lots of children, retired and cowardly seeming youths all going around not wanting to see anything or be seen themselves. Françoise came out arms in the air having left the papers on the table in full view overnight. She realised that she had not brought any pyjamas. She left on the train in white trousers, a small blouse and a jacket made of synthetic wool. Her brother had lied to their parents.
On returning they thought that London was great. Grégoire was full of joy telling Marie that it was a city for her. He said the people were very polite and the police were more tolerant of people. He said he felt free and unagressive and he wanted to take Marie there. When asked how Françoise was he said that at two she went in, at three she was operated on and at six we were all around her, she wanted to leave but they kept her in overnight.
After all this Françoise spoke of a girl who was in the same room as her. She was five and a half months pregnant but she lied and said three. It was only on the operating table that the doctors realised. They had to operate three times whilst Françoise was there. The girl had an on-off relationship and was suffering terribly, she allready had a two year old son who her husband does not want anything to do with. She came in so late because she could not find the money. She may die.
Françoise also thinks that London is great and wants to return, Marie wonders how she can be so carefree as to get the money again and lie to her parents. Then she wonders if she is carefree or whether she is just covering up her true emotions.