My First Years as a Frenchwoman, 1876-1879 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 183 pages of information about My First Years as a Frenchwoman, 1876-1879.

VIII

GAIETIES AT THE QUAI D’ORSAY

W. got home on the 17th, and was so busy the first days, with his colleagues and political friends that I didn’t see much more of him than if he had been in Berlin.  He was rather disgusted and discouraged at the view his colleagues of the cabinet and his friends took of France’s attitude at the Congress.  The only man who seemed to be able to look ahead a little and understand what a future there might be for France in Tunis was Gambetta.  I remember quite well his telling of an interesting conversation with him.  Gambetta was very keen about foreign affairs, very patriotic, and not at all willing that France should remain indefinitely a weakened power, still suffering from the defeat of 1870.  There were many fetes and reunions of all kinds, all through the summer months, as people had flocked to Paris for the exposition.  We remained in town until the first days of August, then W. went to his Conseil-General in the Department of the Aisne, and I went down to Deauville.  He joined me there, and we had a pleasant month—­bathing, driving, and seeing a great many people.  We had taken Sir Joseph Oliffe’s villa, one of the best in Deauville.  Oliffe, an Englishman, was one of Emperor Napoleon’s physicians, and he and the Duc de Morny were the founders of Deauville, which was very fashionable as long as Morny lived and the Empire lasted, but it lost its vogue for some years after the Franco-German War—­fashion and society generally congregating at Trouville.  There were not many villas then, and one rather bad hotel, but the sea was nearer than it is now and people all went to the beach in the morning, and fished for shrimps in the afternoon, and led a quiet out-of-doors life.  There was no polo nor golf nor automobiles—­not many carriages, a good tennis-court, where W. played regularly, and races every Sunday in August, which brought naturally a gay young crowd of all the sporting world.  The train des maris that left Paris every Saturday evening, brought a great many men.  It was quite different from the Deauville of to-day, which is charming, with quantities of pretty villas and gardens and sports of all kinds, but the sea is so far off one has to take quite a long walk to get to it, and the mornings on the beach and the expeditions to Trouville in the afternoon across the ferry, to do a little shopping in the rue de Paris, are things of the past.  Curiously enough while I was looking over my notes the other day, I had a visit from an old friend, the Duc de M., who was one of the inner circle of the imperial household of the Emperor Napoleon III, and took an active part in all that went on at court.  He had just been hearing from a friend of the very brilliant season at Deauville this year, and the streams of gold that flowed into the caisse of the management of the new hotel and casino.  Every possible luxury and every inducement to spend

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My First Years as a Frenchwoman, 1876-1879 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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