Prosper Merimee was a 19th century French historian, playwright, short story writer and archaeologist. His best-known work was the novella Carmen, which later became the opera Carmen by Bizet. First published in 1847, Carmen is the story of a Spanish gypsy's life and love. Mérimée meets Carmen, a beautiful Roma woman who is fascinated by his repeating watch. He goes to her home so she can tell his fortune. He is amazed at her occult knowledge. They are interrupted by Don José and although Carmen makes throat-cutting gestures, José escorts Mérimée out. Mérimée finds his watch is gone. Merimee later visits Don Jose in prison and hears his story.