Madame Girardin, who was among the guests, afterwards wrote most charmingly and eulogistically about the young girl's beauty and talent in one of her Lettres parisiennes, which appeared in La Presse and were subsequently published in a collected form under the title of "Le Vicomte de Launay."
Of course, in such a city as London, to which the best of everything, physical and other, gravitates, I could not but pass, now and then, beautiful persons, who made me proud of those grandes Anglaises aux joues rouges, whom the Parisiennes ridicule- -and envy.
For a long time I used to think that these qualities stood them in lieu of virtues. That was a slander; there are plenty of Parisiennes endowed with every virtue; I even know a few who are angels." At this point, M. Flamaran looked me straight in the eyes, and, as I made no reply, he added: "I know one, at least: Jeanne Charnot. Are you listening?" "Yes, Monsieur Flamaran." "Isn't she a paragon?"
There were walking dolls and talking dolls and dolls who could suck real milk out of real bottles into tin-lined stomachs. Some exquisitely gowned porcelain Parisiennes, with eyelashes and long hair cut from the heads of penniless children, were almost as big and as aristocratic as their potential millionaire mistresses.
"Yes," she replied half audibly. Monsieur le Curé gave a sigh of relief. "God be with you!" said he. He watched her as she wrote in haste the following telegram in pencil upon the back of a crumpled envelope: MONSIEUR TANRADE, Théâtre des Folies Parisiennes, Paris. Tranchard's child very ill. Come at once. A. de Bréville. This she handed to the priest in silence.
Doubtless the luxury of the Parisiennes is not so great now as it was under the Empire; but the falling off in the home trade is partly compensated by the increase in the foreign customers.
'Why, they had got as far as flouncing their gowns and puffing their sleeves! Their hair! 'Dear me, they must have had a M. Raoul to ondulé and dress it. 'Amazing! was there ever anything so modern dug out of the earth before? 'No, nothing like it! he said, holding the pictures up again between the glass and his kindling eye. 'Ce sont vraiment des Parisiennes!
Even the women seemed to have given up their pretty dresses, though of course there were some to be seen. Yet things were very different now to what they had been under the splendours of the Second Empire, that Empire which went "like a dream of the night." The women seemed to have become careless, an unusual thing in Parisiennes: they even painted badly; and it is a sin to paint badly.
It was said also that she was thinking of studying for the stage with La Rochette M. de Talbrun had heard it talked about in the foyer of the Opera by an old Prince from some foreign country she could not remember his name, but he was praising Madame Strahlberg without any reserve as the most delightful of Parisiennes.
And then there were also the models women who pulled one another by the sleeve, who showed one another their own forms in the various pictorial nudities, talking very loudly the while and dressed without taste, spoiling their superb figures by such wretched gowns that they seemed to be hump-backed beside the well-dressed dolls those Parisiennes who owed their figures entirely to their dressmakers.