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Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Other forms of vanity

Tuesday, January 23rd., Hotel Californie, Cannes.

Le Californie was completed in 1876 by the same architect as built the famous Carlton Hotel at the centre of the Croisette, one of the most famous hotel facades in the world today. During the war it was taken over by the Germans and used as their base and residence for senior officers, and then between the years 1949 - 51 it was sold off as apartments to individuals. The façade and gardens are today “classees” or “listed” - protected by law.

The other day a vendeuse and an essayeuse came up from the Maison de Blanc, with a robe d'interieur for Marguerite and another for Mrs. Selwyn. A porter of the Maison Blanc carried the box. The general tableau; - the two employees, young and agreeable, but certainly not vierges, with soft liquid persuasive voices, speaking chiefly English; the frothy garments lying all about on chairs and in the box, Selwyn, Alcock and me lounging on chairs, and M. and Mrs. S. playing the mannequin, and the porter waiting outside in the dark corridor - this tableau produced a great effect on me. Expensive garments rather, - and I felt that for my own personal tastes, I would as soon earn money in order to have such a tableau at my disposition, as for a lot of other seemingly more important and amusing purposes. A fine sensuality about it. There was something in the spectacle of the two employees waiting passive and silent for a few moments from time to time while we talked.

I made a good beginning on Friday on the construction of the sequel to "The Card" and continued each day.

Weather still very bad indeed. Heavy rain stopped a projected drive this afternoon. We did, however, yesterday make our auto-canot excursion to Les Iles Lerins without getting wet.

The Lérins Islands (in French: les Îles de Lérins) are a group of four Mediterranean islands off the French Riviera, near Cannes. The two largest islands in this group are the Île Sainte-Marguerite and the Île Saint-Honorat. The smaller Îlot Saint-Ferréol and Îlot de la Tradelière are uninhabited. Administratively, the islands belong to the commune of Cannes. The islands are first known to have been inhabited during Roman times.

Sea-ward tower on Ile St. Honorat quite striking. On grass by this was an old shepherd tending brown sheep. one of these sheep had 3 tufts of old wool left on the back, making her look like a kind of miniature triple dromedary. Marguerite asked the shepherd what it a was for. He replied: "Oh, madame, c'est seulement un peu de vanite." He was quite simple, and answered simply, but he was evidently a bit of a character.

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