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Thursday, 13 June 2013

La vie parisien

Monday, June 13th., Rue de Calais, Paris.

Lunched with Rickards chez Chichi. She had taken pains to have a lunch more than usually nice. If anyone had told her that she was nervous before this young man whom she regards as an absolute infant in all really interesting matters, she would have laughed. But she was. She had bought a large new hat, and it was nothing but nervousness that made her suddenly try it on me as I sat balanced on the edge of a couch. After discussing the really interesting matters for two hours, Rickards left to get shaved, or to get a second shave or something.

I was introduced to Chichi, a young woman of the theatre, by a newspaper friend and she is often here. What a name she has! It is redolent of the very spirit of la vie de Boheme. She is wise in aspects of  Parisian life (really interesting matters!) about which I have been both imaginatively and practically ignorant. She has recounted to me several of her experiences of 'sexual perversions'. Apparently they always wept afterwards! Yet she said to me: 'Mais tous est naturel.' The force of this observation struck me. She tells me that she and her colleagues of the theatre smoke cigarettes in the dressing room though there is now a decree against it. This follows the disaster in the Rue Jean Goujon when a hundred aristocratic dead were left in the flames started by the overturning of a cinematographic projector lamp. "Everyone does it," she says, "but there is an official search of all dressing rooms, etc., once a month by the firemen, and before that an attendant comes round and says to the artists: 'Kindly hide your matches, etc., as the pompiers will be here directly.' " The extraordinary humour of this does not seem to occur to her. I said: "C'est bien Parisien, ca!" She cynically and bitterly agreed that it was.

We went down to Miss Thomasson's for tea, and sundry most interesting persons came in. However, in about an hour Rickards had arranged to spend the following day with Miss Thomasson in a river excursion. I find myself somewhat perturbed by this, though I can think of no sound reason why I should be. We were late for dinner because the dullest of the visitors failed to perceive, until he was told, that he ought to go.

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