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on the way of crime more by circumstances than by its own wickedness.
The song which illustrates the exterior form of tragedy is La Pierreuse.
The word is a typical Parisian expression for a prostitute, the streetwalker. She wears out the stones, les pierres, of the sidewalk.
Vice has not wholly annihilated her senti­mentality. Her horrible profession has not entirely choked her heart. She is yearning for affection and she finds it in the type of whom our second song — under the title Ma Tete — speaks.
This type is what we call in Paris L'Apache. He is the protector of La Pierreuse, with revolver or knife always ready in his hand. The woman in return for his protection takes care of his material welfare; both are each other's moral help, if one may use such a word, the morality consisting only in an affection which hardly ever goes beyond a physical congeniality.
The songs I have indicated are written in slang. Of course neither La Pierreuse nor L'Apache speaks the language of the Academie Francaise. However, you understand [in the third verse of the song La Pierreuse] that the girl describes the execution of her lover.

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III