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This blog makes liberal use of AB's journals, letters, travel notes, and other sources.

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Tuesday, 9 July 2013


Saturday, July 9th., Rue de Calais, Paris.

I went to the Bois yesterday afternoon and had tea at the Pavillon Royal. I was finding ideas for "Hugo", but a party of women came to the next table and ordered tea - well-dressed, mature, rusee - and stopped me. It is extraordinary how much more critical such women are than men. The garcon was agacant (I had not found him so); the tea was bad, the cakes were bad. But the women, by dint of not sparing the garcon, got the best that was to be got out of the place. And they gossiped all the time in their cold, pretty, rapid, hard tones. When I left the place was beginning to be full of such parties, with a few men here and there. Middle-aged women, well-dressed, had appointments to meet each other there. The day was torrid and superb. The lake glistened and the park-men were watering everywhere, so there was constantly the sight and sound of spurted water. A few motors dashed about, and many carriages. Everything characteristic of July and the end of the season. I walked slowly all the way home, stopping now and then to make notes of my ideas as they occurred to me. Before I went to bed I had finished "Hugo" in my head.

Speaking of 'Parisiennes', I took a turn through the Parc Monceau to the Etoile, and back through the Champs Elysees on Friday night between 9.30 and 11 in order to clear off a headache. Honest lovemaking in the Parc Monceau. In the Champs Elysees, I saw four girls aged 14 or less - one didn't seem more than 11 or 12 being taken about by older women for the excitement of senile appetites. Some day soon there will be a tremendous outcry concerning this procuring of children. The police will become suddenly active in arrests - and then things will settle down again.

There were many pretty and well-dressed women in the Champs Elysees sitting patiently on chairs under the trees awaiting some masculine advance. I was astonished how distinguished some of them were. It was a lovely night, warm and starlit. Paris at its most Parisian. The lights of the alfresco music-halls, and the occasional bursts of music and applause that came from them, produced an extraordinary effect.

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