The Matisses spent days discussing whether there was anything symbolic in Vollardâ€™s question or was it idle curiosity. Vollard never had any idle curiosity, he always wanted to know what everybody thought of everything because in that way he found out what he himself thought. This was very well known and therefore the Matisses asked each other and all their friends, why did he ask that question about that door. Well at any rate within the year he had bought the picture at a very low price but he bought it, and he put it away and nobody saw it, and that was the end of that.
I myself have not so much confidence that Hemingway did do this. I have never known what the story is but I have always been certain that there was some other story behind it all. That is the way I feel about it.
The Matisses stayed in Clamart more or less until the war. During this period they and Gertrude Stein were seeing less and less of each other. Then after the war broke out they came to the house a good deal. They were lonesome and troubled, Matisseâ€™s family in Saint-Quentin, in the north, were within the german lines and his brother was a hostage. It was Madame Matisse who taught me how to knit woollen gloves. She made them wonderfully neatly and rapidly and I learned to do so too. Then Matisse went to live in Nice and in one way and another, although remaining perfectly good friends, Gertrude Stein and the Matisses never see each other.
Nellie described the battle of the Marne to us. You know, she said, I always come to town once a week to shop and I always bring my maid. We come in in the street car because it is difficult to get a taxi in Boulogne and we go back in a taxi. Well we came in as usual and didnâ€™t notice anything and when we had finished our shopping and had had our tea we stood on a corner to get a taxi. We stopped several and when they heard where we wanted to go they drove on. I know that sometimes taxi drivers donâ€™t like to go out to Boulogne so I said to Marie tell them we will give them a big tip if they will go. So she stopped another taxi with an old driver and I said to him, I will give you a very big tip to take us out to Boulogne. Ah, said he laying his finger on his nose, to my great regret madame it is impossible, no taxi can leave the city limits to-day. Why, I asked. He winked in answer and drove off. We had to go back to Boulogne in a street car. Of course we understood later, when we heard about Gallieni and the taxis, said Nellie and added, and that was the battle of the Marne.