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

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Saturday, 24 May 2014

Pretty women

Tuesday, May 24th., Rue de Calais, Paris.

Mrs. Devereux and Mrs. Laye lunched with me at Sylvain's yesterday. "So you've started your carriage again?" I said to Mrs. Devereux. "Yes," she said, "I couldn't do without it. Hang expense." They had both had the good taste to have read my new book and to enjoy it thoroughly. They really have a profound sympathy with each other, these sisters. And I like to have them side by side and to sit opposite to them.
For more on Mrs. Devereux see 'Back to work'

Mrs. Devereux said that she was at a dinner party the other night at which were also W. S. Gilbert and Douglas Straight. Straight was talking about peculiarities of memory, loss of it, etc. He said that he could remember incidents from when he was in Naples at the age of two. But if he was asked where he dined last week he couldn't remember. "No, " said Gilbert. "And if you could, probably you wouldn't be able to tell us."

Mrs. Laye maintained (not apropos of the above) that men didn't like being made fun of whereas women didn't mind; she said she had been astonished at some men. She told a good thing of a very old man on his dying bed giving advice to a youngster: "I've had a long life, and it's been a merry one. Take my advice. Make love to every pretty woman you meet. And remember, if you get 5 per cent on you outlay, it's a good return."

Afterwards we went to the Exposition des Primitifs. I enjoyed it much more than I did the first time, partly because it really is good, and partly because Mrs. Devereux, who is fearfully keen on primitivism, pointed out qualities to me. By the way I knew she would be keen on Anglada's decadence at the Salon, and she is.

The Exposition des Primitifs Français was an exhibition of French medieval and early Renaissance art held at the Palais du Louvre (Pavillon de Marsan) and the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris between April 12 and July 14, 1904. The exhibition had over seven hundred paintings, drawings, enamels, sculptures, and manuscripts that had been assembled from both French and international private and public collections. The exhibition’s thesis held that the French School of so-called primitive art, particularly paintings, constituted an important artistic movement between High Gothic sculpture and architecture and the emergence of the so-called Golden Age of French painting in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. 

When they left me I went down to my Empire furniture shop in the Boul. Raspail and bought a book case, a fire screen, a suspensoir, and two chairs, which I am eagerly expecting tomorrow.

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