In France whenever anybody writes anything and wants anybody to know what it is like they read it out loud. If it is in English it is natural to pass the manuscript to them and let them read it but if it is in French it is natural to read it out loud. French is a spoken language English really is not. That is what makes the French such good soldiers the sturdy legs, thin arms and sturdy legs. France is made of ground, of earth. After all it does not make any difference and they know it does not make any difference. No, publicity in France is really not important, tradition and their private life and the soil which always produces something, that is what counts. Because nobody knows anybody whom they do not know. Fashion is the real thing in abstraction.
The one thing that has no practical side to it and so quite naturally Paris which has always made fashions was where everybody went in 1900. I do not believe that when the characteristic art and literature of a country is active and fresh I do not think that country is in its decline. There is no pulse so sure of the state of a nation as its characteristic art product which has nothing to do with its material life. The nineteenth century knew just what to do with each man but the twentieth century inevitably was not to know and so Paris was the place to be. We lived in the rue de Fleurus, what use are women and children alone in the world, what kind of life can they lead, it would have been lots more sensible, said Helene, if they had drawn lots and saved certain number of complete families much more sensible, said Helene. Continue reading