Curtains For The Concierge?

When Marie Martin died this past fall at age 89, it seemed like the end of an era at the 17th-century house on the Ile Saint-Louis in Paris where I rent an apartment. As its concierge for 35 years, she peered through parted curtains when our massive wood gate creaked open and shrieked like a Roman guard-goose at outsiders. Failing eyesight had ended her formal duties: sorting mail, scrubbing stairs, rolling garbage cans outside. But she clung to symbolic power in her tiny one-room loge, as concierges' lairs are called.

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