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Gertrude Stein on Paris

I found this book in the library. To be honest I didn’t get into it enough to finish it before I had to bring it back, but there were a few good quotes. The first one relates to this post from the Streetsblog Network.

There are two things that french animals do not do, cats do not fight much and do not howl much and chickens do not get flustered running across the road, if they start to cross the road they keep on going which is what french people do too.
Anybody driving a car in Paris must know that. Anybody leaving the sidewalk to go on or walking anywhere goes on at a certain pace and that pace keeps up and nothing startles them nothing frightens them nothing makes them go faster or slower nothing not the most violent or unexpected noise makes them jump, or change their pace or their direction. If anybody jumps back or jumps at all in the streets of Paris you can be sure they are foreign not french. That is peaceful and exciting.

It turns out that the behavior Stein observes in the second quote is affected by economics:

Sarah Bernhardt made me see the thin arms of frenchwomen. When I came to Paris and saw the little midinettes and Montmartoises they all had them. It was only many years later when the styles changed, in those days they wore long skirts, that I realised what sturdy legs went with those thin arms. That is what makes the french such good soldiers the sturdy legs, thin arms and sturdy legs, if you see what I mean, peaceful and exciting.

That is what makes all the french able to ride up hill on bicycles the way they do, no hill is so steep but that slowly pedalling up and up they go, men and girls and little children, the sturdy legs and thin arms.

grvsmth (Author)

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