Marguerite Gautier/Marie Duplessis of Dumas' THE LADY OF THE CAMILLIAS, was buried at Montmartre. Many years ago, when the autumn leaves were on the ground, I made a pilgrimage to her grave with it's porcelain flowers and the declaration "Regrets".
From my diary: Have you ever read Dumas' THE LADY OF THE CAMILLAS? Where Margarite says: If a woman could know at 20 what she knows at 40, she'd live her life totally differently. Well, it's true. Only it's a wasted piece of truth because knowing it does a woman no good at all because there's no way you can know what you know at 40 without first turning 40. Anyway, The Lady of The Camillas was fact turned into fiction. In the book she's called Margarite but her real name was Marie Duplessis, a young courtesan, who died of tuberculosis in 1847 at the age of 23. She was thus saved from knowing too much too late. I don't know why I liked that book so much. I liked it so much that once, when in Paris, I just had to go to see her grave--a bit like those who go smoke a joint at Jim Morrison's tomb at Pere Lachaise. Marie, instead, is buried at Montmartre, a huge cemetery and I spent an hour walking around looking for her tombstone. I finally had to ask for help from the custodian who was very nice to me even though I don't speak French which, in general, irritates the French alot. It was November, the best month to be in Paris. The air was animated and I crackled everytime I walked because of the leaves. Marie's tomb had these purple ceramic cushions with "Regrets" written in relief. Seeing this really tore me up and I started crying. Not like rain, just drizzle. Edith Piaf had sung "Non, je ne regrette rien" but poor Marie, instead, not only died young but died with regrets. I would like to be like Edith and say I've nothing to regret. But it would be a lie. I have quite a few regrets and there's nothing I can do about them now. However, maybe there's one thing I can try to do--accumulate no more. No more regrets.