Chateau de Croixmare,
Dearest Mamma,—I am quite sure I shall never be able to stand the whole fortnight more here. We got back on Monday evening, and Godmamma was as disagreeable as could be. She said all sorts of spiteful things about the Tournelles, and especially the Baronne; and Jean looked nervous and uncomfortable, and Heloise like a mule; and Victorine said I had no doubt enjoyed myself, but for her part she would be sorry to be taken for a “young married woman,” which was what Madame de Visac (a woman who came to call after we left) had said—“Qui est cette jeune femme avec votre belle soeur?”
[Sidenote: Modest Maidens]
She had seen us embarking. So I said I was flattered, as that seemed to mean in France all that was attractive in contrast to the girls. Did you ever hear of such a cat, Mamma? and considering that I am only seventeen, and she is an old maid of twenty-two; I think it too ridiculous. She need not fear, no one would ever think she was married, she looks like a lumping German governess. Two of her girl friends came to breakfast yesterday, of course with their mothers, and you should have heard the idiot conversation we had! All plopped down on the great sofa in the big salon, like a row of dolls. The two friends were simply gasping with excitement at the idea of my having gone on the Sauterelle. They asked me endless questions, and giggled, and I did tell them some things!
They asked also about England, and was it really true that when we went to a ball we stayed with our danseurs till the next dance? I said I had not been to a ball yet, but had always heard that is what one did. One of the friends is quite nice-looking, but with such dirty nails. It appears you don’t wash much till you are married, it is not considered bien vu, in fact rather lance, and you can’t have fine under-clothes, it has all got to be as unattractive as possible, and that shows you are as good as gold and will make a nice wife.
[Sidenote: The Trouville Casino]
But it must be a bother picking up a taste for having baths and things afterwards, if it isn’t from instinct, don’t you think so, Mamma? And I am glad I am not French. It is even eccentric if you sleep with your window open; Heloise screamed at me for that. They all assure me it gives sore eyes, besides encouraging an early grave. I said at last that in England we slept the whole summer in the open air. I was so exasperated, and they would believe anything.