RAMBLES IN WOMANLAND : CHAPTER XVIII
AMERICAN WOMEN IN PARIS
Every year in Paris, in springtime,
we see the American women reappear with the regularity
of the swallow. We expect them, we watch for their
arrival, and we are delighted when we hear them say,
with their singing voices, that they have come for
our season, which begins in April and goes on till
‘The Grand Prix’ is run during the second
week of June.
The American woman is not only received,
but eagerly sought in our most aristocratic society.
Her amiability and brilliancy have forced open the
doors of our most exclusive mansions. She affords
so much pleasure that she is indispensable. We
are dull without her, because she is not only beautiful
and a feast for the eyes, but she is bright, brilliant,
witty, unconventional, and a feast for the mind.
It is thanks to all these qualities, far more than
to her dollars, that the American woman is to-day
part and parcel of what is called ‘Tout Paris.’
And, indeed, there is no woman in the world so attractive
as the fair daughter of Uncle Sam. Her physical,
moral, and intellectual charms make her the most interesting
woman one may wish to meet.
The English woman is very often beautiful.
Her freshness is exquisite, her figure excellent when
she knows how to enhance its beauty by well-made garments.
She is, perhaps, beyond competition when she is really
beautiful, but her beauty is too often statuesque,
and lacks lustre and piquancy. The French woman
is supple and graceful, but she is more fascinating
by her manner, by her chic, than by the beauty of her
complexion, the regularity of her features, and the
proportions of her figure. The German is often
fine, but generally heavy, compact, and lacking elegance.
The American woman is an altogether.
She has the piquancy, the fascinating manner, the
elegance, the grace, and the gait of the Parisienne;
but, besides, she often possesses the eyes of a Spaniard,
the proud figure of a Roman, and the delicate features
of an English woman. If, during the Paris season,
you walk in the Champs-Elysees district, where all
the best Americans are settled, you will admire those
women looking radiant with intelligence, cheerful,
independent, who, you can see, have the consciousness
of their value.
The education which she has received
has developed all her faculties. The liberty
she always enjoyed, the constant attentions she has
received from father, brother, husband, and all her
male friends, have made her feel safe everywhere,
and she goes about freely, with a firm step that stamps
her American. Thanks to her finesse, her power
of observation, her native adaptability, she can fit
herself for every station of life. If one day
she finds herself mistress of the White House or Vice-Queen
of India, she immediately feels at home. She may
be ever so learned, she is never a pedant. She
is, and remains, a woman in whose company a man feels
at once at his ease; a sort of fascinating good fellow,
with all the best attributes of womanhood; a little
of a coquette, with a suspicion of a touch of blue-stocking-but
so little. She loves dresses, and none puts them
on better than she does. English women, even the
most elegant ones at home, seldom favour us, when
they visit us, but with all the worst frumps and frippery
they can find in their wardrobe. The American
women are considerate enough to try and do their best
for us, and we appreciate the compliment. And
thus they brighten our theatres, our promenades, our
balls and dinner-parties, our fashionable restaurants,
and Paris, which loves them, could not now do without