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This blog makes liberal use of AB's journals, letters, travel notes, and other sources.

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Thursday, 27 June 2013

Gloomy in Paris

Monday, June 27th., Rue de Calais.

Hind, returned from his European tour, dined with me last night at the Hippodrome. He said that he had not talked to anyone since he saw me last, and that when the tour was about two-thirds through he felt very stale. He had stopped in eighteen towns, and was very much struck with Buda Pesth, as I expected.

Afterwards we went to the Moulin de la Galette (see also, 'Parisian views' - October 4th., http://earnoldbennett.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/parisian-views.html), and made observations to each other about Youth, Desire and so on. Nearly all  Hind's ideas are sentimental and wrong, and his judgements on literature are quite impossible nearly every time; but he has charm. Perhaps it is his naivete - a rare enough quality.

Another instance of the sans-gene of Montmartre. On Thursday last, at the Restaurant Boulant, a young cocotte came in with two young men and her 'bonne a tout faire'. The bonne was not neat or clean and was in her working dress. They dined all together and laughed and talked much. Perhaps it was because the domestic cuisine had gone wrong. But more probably the cocotte had only just arrived at the dignity of a bonne and wanted to show her off.

I had a letter from M. Berquand asking me to go and see him at the Hotel Terminus. His room was No. 465. I found it with the aid of a boy. M. Berquand is getting old. He struck me as a man of sincere character, and trustworthy. He said he had been mute till the age of 8, and then to the age of 26 had stammered so badly that he was practically incapable of speech, and entirely incapable of earning a living. He had to be kept by his family. He then studied all the systems, maintained a strict silence for 6 months and cured himself in a year. He has travelled all over Europe on tours of curing and has 'orders' from most European sovereigns. I arranged to go to Aberdeen on 1st of August. He asked me a lot of questions, and said he was quite certain of success in a month or five weeks. In spite of the interview with him I felt rather depressed than otherwise. This is my second concerted attempt to tackle my stammer. See also, 'Triumph of hope over reason' - March 12th., http://earnoldbennett.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/triumph-of-hope-over-reason.html

For some time past Professor Berquand, in the employ of the French Government, has been conducting a free class in Edinburgh for the cure of stammering. A large and representative public committee, who have been watching the progress of the class, have just expressed their unanimous opinion through the Very Rev. Dr. Mairthat that the cure of the ten pupils under treatment had been marvellously and entirely successful. Their cases had all seemed to the committee very grave, but now every member of the class could read, aloud, re-cite, and converse with perfect ease. In a perfectly, delivered little speech the other night a member of the class moved a heartfelt vote of "thanks to Professor Berquand",which was enthusiastically awarded and applauded. 
Adelaide Advertiser, 16 Jan. 1904

Corner of the Boulevard Montparnasse
by G.F. Kelly
I went to Kelly's studio, a very large one, and he showed me a lot of his work which interested me very much. He made some good remarks about the present condition of painting. He said painters were afraid of making mistakes, afraid of being vulgar, and that they never used their eyes in search of material. They all painted the same things. He said some artist had said to him: "We paint like governesses". I certainly thought Kelly was doing good and original work, both in landscape and in portraiture. Afterwards he took me to dine at the Chat Blanc.

Sir Gerald Festus Kelly (1879-1972) Painter in oil of portraits and landscapes. Born in London, he was educated at Cambridge University, later living and studying art in Paris. Whistler was an early influence. Kelly was an enthusiastic traveler, visiting among other countries Spain, America, South Africa and Burma, where he painted some of his most characteristic and charming figure studies. He became known as a sound academic painter of attractive children and elegant women. His sitters included Somerset Maugham, whom he painted several times. He was elected RA in 1930, was the Academy's keeper 1943-45 and President, 1949-54, and was knighted in 1945. Between 1909 and 1970 Kelly exhibited over 300 works at the RA. During his lifetime his work became well known through popular prints. Since his death however - and in spite of his technical brilliance and colourful, wide-ranging subject matter - his reputation has stagnated.

Stanlaws, the "creator" of the 'Stanlaws girl', was there, a terrible American, and also a girl I had previously seen at Kelly's. The girl and Stanlaws, and the man who was the girl's host, threw bread at each other, and sang American songs very loudly. It was terrible at times. I could not stand such manners and customs for long. It is these things which spoil Montparnasse. We finished up at the Cafe de Versailles.

Penrhyn Stanlaws (1877-1957) was born in Dundee Scotland as Stanley Adamson. Stanlaws' art could be found on several magazine covers throughout the 1910's and 20's, including the Saturday Evening Post , The American Magazine, Collier's , Life, Judge, The Metropolitan Magazine and Hearst's International. He was best known for cover-art depicting beautiful women. His "Stanlaws Girl" rivalled the "Gibson Girl" and was modelled on silent star Anna Q. Nilsson . In Hollywood Penrhyn Stanlaws directed seven films including "Pink Gods" (1922), which also featured the "Stanlaws Girl. 
Penrhyn Stanlaws died in Los Angeles in a fire said to have started when he fell asleep in a chair while smoking.

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