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Monday, 8 October 2012

Parisian impressions

Tuesday, October 8th., Les Sablons.

I went to Paris yesterday morning at 7 o'clock. Bad weather. It being Monday morning the train was crowded. I got to the Rue d'Aumale on foot and by omnibus. And in the omnibus I noticed that two of the three horses had sore feet.
The flat was as I expected but less dirty. I changed there into a winter suit.
Lunch at the Davray's (see 'Rumours of War' August 21st.) in their luminous new flat in the narrow Rue Servandoni. Victor Tissot was of the party. Editor of Hachette's "Almanac", of "Mon Dimanche", etc.

Victor Tissot was a man of letters, born 15 August 1845 in Freiburg and died 6 July 1917 in Paris. 
Victor Tissot studied at the Collège Saint-Michel , at Einsiedeln and Sion , and then he attended the law faculties of the University of Freiburg im Breisgau , Tübingen , Leipzig , Vienna and Paris . In Paris, he collaborated in writing the dictionary Larousse. After a year living in Paris, he was appointed in 1867, Professor at the Institute Thudichum, near Geneva. At the same time, he joined the Gazette de Lausanne (1868) launching, in 1871, a weekly literary supplement. He was editor of the Gazette de Lausanne from 1870 to 1873. Later, he returned to Paris (1874) where he edited the Almanach Hachette (1893) and inaugurated in 1891, the new literary supplement of Figaro newspaper, and became editor in chief from 1888 to 1893. He also wrote stories about Switzerland and Germany experiencing considerable success. From 1911 to 1914 he edited the Almanac Chalamala , virulent pamphlet against the authoritarianism of the cantonal government in. With the approach of his death, he decided to bequeath his fortune, his considerable collections and library to the city of Bulle , in the context of the creation of a museum.

What I call a typical Frenchman. Grey, aged between 50 and 60. In neat mourning. Low voice with an air of quiet, resigned, amused, ironic philosophy. Talked well. Talked apparently on a system. He would go from subject to subject, and was careful to 'play fair' between your subjects and his. Travelled a good bit. Spoke of the most awful hotels as mere regrettable incidents in travel, but not worth making a fuss about. The queerest thing he told us was about a hotel at Pau, where he being a monsieur seul, he had been refused a room on the ground that the hotel was a hotel des familles and monsieurs seul were dangerous. He naturally told the landlady that if that was all he could easily find a woman and return with her in a short time.

When I left it was fine. I walked along the Rue de Rivoli, and saw my books on sale, then took the Metro. to the Rue Hamelin for tea. Roy Devereux, just returned from Italy, was unwell and gloomy but resigned.

Roy Devereux is the pseudonym of Margaret Rose Roy Pember-Devereux. She was the author of "The Ascent of Woman" (1896) <http://archive.org/details/ascentwoman00devegoog>

She gave me Elinor Glyn's "Three Weeks" to read, as she wanted my opinion.

Elinor Glyn (17 October 1864 – 23 September 1943), born Elinor Sutherland, was a British novelist and scriptwriter who specialised in risque romantic fiction which was considered scandalous in its time. She popularized the concept of It. Although her works are relatively tame by modern standards, she had tremendous influence on early 20th century popular culture, and perhaps on the careers of notable Hollywood stars such as Rudolph Valentino, Gloria Swanson, and Clara Bow. Her "Three Weeks", about an exotic Balkan queen who seduces a young British aristocrat, was allegedly inspired by her affair with Lord Alistair Innes Ker, brother of the Duke of Roxburghe, and scandalized Edwardian society.

She said it was vulgar, but she liked it. I read it in the train back. Naive and worthless, utterly. Its naughtiness, which has caused such extraordinary protests in England, is merely childish in its imitative conventionality of viciousness. A rechauffe of "Ouida".
Here is a rather amusing little doggerel:
Would you like to sin
With Elinor Glyn
On a tiger skin?
Or would you prefer
To err
With her
On some other fur

The movie, "The Romance of a Queen" (1924) was based on the novel "Three Weeks". <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0015408/>

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