A Short Stay in Paris
Following Chateau d'Oex 1999
Monday, 1 February 1999
- Feast of St. Bridget
- 1924 - DEADLY GASSES - LONDON: Professor Charles S. Gibson, chief advisor to the Ministry of Munitions Chemical Warfare Committee, said in an interview: "Gases in the next war will be far more deadly than during the Great War, and no international ban can prevent their manufacture. Gas is one of the most effective weapons in war as proved in the World War. It is far more humane than explosives, as gas, while putting combatants out of action, kills far less. The best chance for peace is that the weapon will be so frightful that nations will be deterred from going to war.
From Felton & Fowler’s, BEST, WORST AND MOST UNUSUAL:
- WORST DRAWING: "Le Remede" by Antoine Watteau depicts a reclining Venus about to receive an enema administered by her chambermaid.
There was no alarm clock. We relied on Lisa, Annie and Cindy to make enough noise during their scheduled pre-dawn departure to Geneva to wake us. It was a poor decision. Cindy was reluctant to leave the comfort of her bed until the last minute. And Annie and Lisa just tip toed out of the place at who-knows-what hour. As a result, Becky and I bolted out of bed only moments before our Previa honked its let’s-get-going horn.
As Annie planned to go to Paris and India with Becky and me (while Lisa and Cindy headed back home), we three agreed to meet in Geneva later that morning at the Air France departure lounge. We did. From Annie’s hastily assembled traveling garb it was readily apparent that she too had pulled herself out of bed with but minutes to spare. And, she was definitely well into her morning pre-flight Budweiser buzz when our flight was called. That girl sure likes to travel at ease.
The flight from Geneva to Paris took 40 minutes. The walk from our arrival gate in Paris to the luggage carousel also took 40 minutes.
Again, my Paris hotel is Le Parc. It is a relatively small property as far as four star Paris hotels go; so the service is very personal. For me, I also like its convenient location. While I am here with Annie, Becky is at the Chateau in Vault-de-Lugny.
Tuesday, 2 February 1999
- Candlemas - Festival of the Purification of the Virgin - Scottish Quarter Day
- 1534: The Great Swabian League dissolved.
- 1922: Movie director William Desmond Taylor is found shot to death in his Hollywood bungalow. The ensuing scandal destroys the careers of actresses Mary Miles Minter and Mabel Normand, but Taylor’s killer is never found.
- 1924 - DRAMATIC RIOT - PARIS: A riot broke out at the Comedie-Francaise during the much-discussed drama "Le Tombeau sous l’Arc de Triomphe." There were roars of protest, yelling and whistling. The Balcony shook its fists at the loge and the loges waved their fingers before each other’s noses in violent discussion. And what was it all about? A son’s defiance of the traditional French respect for paternal authority. Even when the father and son were reunited, the audience was hardly ready to accept the reconciliation. A bedroom scene at the Comedie-Francaise fails to shock them, free love they accept easily, but this last is "anarchy," as one old man yelled.
Sleep in ... eat Chinese ... not much else ... oh, yes, a movie, too. That’s it.
Wednesday, 3 February 1999
- St. Blaise’s Day
- 1811 - Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune, born.
- 1899 - FEMALE DIGNITY - PARIS: A dispatch gives an account of a curious movement in Illinois. It states that "prominent women throughout the State are organizing a crusade against the use of the female form in illustrations for advertising purposes, and a bill will be introduced in the Legislature prohibiting it." Gertrude Wallace, president of the federated women’s clubs, said: "The mothers of America believe that the indiscriminate use of woman’s face as an advertising medium not only lowers the standard of her womanhood in dignity, but depraves the high ideal for which she was created."
- 1949 - BRIEF MARRIAGES - HAMBURG: A campaign to allow surplus German women to take temporary husbands so that they may bear children is being waged by a schoolteacher. The schoolteacher pointed out that 7,000,000 German women have no hope of getting husbands. Therefore they should be allowed to marry temporarily for a specified period so as to bear children "to save our culture."
We did pretty much the same thing as yesterday ... but, we ate popcorn in a different movie theater. Actually, we saw Psycho. Though the reviews were not brilliant, I enjoyed the movie. As this 1998 remake is so faithful to the original, seeing it brought back memories of my year or so of life in "The Castle" in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Not only did I see the original in that town; but, where I lived could have been "casted" as the location for the house on Bates Hill.
Annie and I were just killing time until Tilman gets here. She is due in tomorrow morning. If you remember, she is contractually obligated to take over the quill for the India leg of our journey.
WHO SENT THE FLOWERS? Less than 30 minutes ago ... a little before 10PM ... a gigantic arrangement of flowers was sent to our suite ... for Annie! But, there was no card taking credit for the gift. Who can clear up this mystery? Annie really wants to send her thanks to the person responsible before we leave for India on Saturday.
Thursday, 4 February 1999
- Whoooaaaa!!!! 1966: A Japan Airlines Boeing 727 plunges into Tokyo Bay; 176 perish.
Hmmm. Mr. Newne’s stuff sort of takes a pale position beside that final landing in the water, doesn’t it; I mean, coming so uncomfortably close to our own flight to the east. By comparison, there is not much voltage in the 1950 death of Lord Norman, banker. And, who cares about the first United Nations Disarmament Commission meeting in 1952?
But, what about the IHT for this date in 1899:
- KIPLING’S PLEA - NEW YORK: An extraordinary sensation has been created by Mr. Rudyard Kipling’s new poem: "The White Man’s Burden," just published in a New York magazine. It is regarded as the strongest argument yet published in favor of expansion. It reads as follow: Take up the white man’s burden/ Send forth the best ye breed/ Go bind your sons to exile/ To serve your captive’s need/ To wait in heavy harness/ On fluttered folk and wild/ Your new-caught sullen peoples/ Half devil and half child.
Tilman arrived this morning! She left Seattle yesterday morning and only had to suffer one change of plane, in Detroit, before landing in Paris a little more than a dozen hours later. Starting on the 6th she will take on the burden of the journal while we are in India.
While she and Annie were frolicking around Paris I was nursing myself out of a head cold. Treated, it should go away in a week; ignored, it will disappear in seven days.
WHAT IS HAPPENING? And, who is Annie’s secret suitor? Tonight the hotel delivered a Fauchon selection of French cheeses to our room. Obviously, the gift was directed toward Annie alone as it was accompanied by but one set of sterling silver utensils, from the house of Cartier. Again, there was no acknowledgment card from the donor. A call to the front desk only revealed that the package had been delivered by a courier. We are very curious. Will this gift giving continue throughout our Indian journey?
Friday, 5 February 1999
- 1974: Newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst is kidnapped at gunpoint from her Berkeley apartment by four members of a revolutionary organization called the Symbionese Liberation Army. Their motto: "Death to the fascist insect that preys upon the life of the people."
Another something from Felton & Fowler’s, BEST, WORST AND MOST UNUSUAL:
- BEST ACT OF DIPLOMACY: The crafty French foreign minister Talleyrand had a flair for polite diplomatic evasion. When asked whether the ailing King George III had died, Talleyrand replied, "Some say the King of England is dead: others say that he is not dead; but do you wish to know my opinion? Well, then, I believe neither! I mention this in confidence."
- And, from my own memory: Andrei Gromyko, the Soviet Ambassador to the United Nations, was once asked while on a trip to New York if he enjoyed his breakfast. He replied, "Perhaps."
WHEN WILL IT ALL END? Yet another package has been delivered to our hotel door. Again it was a gift just for my daughter, Annie. However, as this one is far too dangerous to carry aboard an airplane, it must be disassembled and left behind for the staff. Thanks, anyway.
Dear reader, tomorrow we are out of here! An early morning flight to London followed by a BA connection to Madras will put us on the Indian sub-continent very early Sunday morning. At that point Tilman will jump into the journal.
Tonight we are going to have our last meal in Paris….probably something Italian as there is a place right around the corner that dishes up good pasta. Though, personally, I’d prefer some sushi.
Until India ...