Friday, May 22, 2015

La Belle Francaise

French fisherfolk dolls.
       Ah, but yes ! I do want to tell you all about myself, and my country, and my dear Ninette, who loves me so much.
       Perhaps it is that I do - how do you call it? - "speak" - yes, yes, that is it! - "speak" your language in the funny way, and you will laugh at my English, but that matters not. We do understand each other, there is le hon camaraderie, and if you speak the French to me - well, I laugh also. I have been in your wonderful land and seen your London, and I like it, but La Belle France, that, to me, is better. For I love my land; I love my Paris; I love my Nice and Toulouse, with its wonderful churches; and I love Ninette.
       For myself, I am a Parisian, one of the most accomplished and exquisite dolls in all the world; but now I live in Nice, the Land of Flowers, where the gay sun is always smiling and we all smile too.
       For Ninette, nothing is too good. Alphonse, the old gardener; Marguerite, her nurse; Jeanette - how we all do love her, and how she does love us in return. Her kiss is the sweetest thing in life, and, though I am only her dolly, when those soft lips caress my cheek and the same lips whisper in my ear, something inside me stirs and leaps in a way that would surprise you humans. My hair is fair, with a rare gleaming gold in it, for, of course, it is "real" and once grew on the little head of a southern peasant girl before it adorned my own head.
       And my dresses! Of course, I have numberless Parisian dresses and hats, so that I am fit to appear upon any and every occasion - une bien elevee, as the aristocratic French girl is called. All of these beautiful clothes were packed into a - how do you say it? - case? - no, a little trunk. Ah, my little trunk ! It is so chic, and every one of my so lovely dresses does just pack in, so that nothing is spoiled. Yes, it is very good and quite charming. With this are my shoes and gloves - again, good. Dainty little shoes, and slippers to match my dress or frock. My tailor-made gown for outdoors, my morning gown that I wear in the house until after dejeuner, my glorious evening dresses! Never, never, never would you find so well equipped a dolly as I am outside La Belle France. My lingerie, my brush, and toilet requisites - all are perfect. And what a chattering there is, and how we all laugh together, while' Ninette is changing my clothes and making me look so pretty to go on the Boulevard with her! Yes, she is the most " spoiled " little girl in Europe, but, ah! how sweet and attractive and vivacious! From early morning, when she has finished her cafe an lait,  long song, and it is to me just so good to be with her when the night has come as it is while the light is with us. Every night she unrobes me and puts me to sleep close beside her, and I shut the eyes - ah, yes! - just the same as she does do. In the winter-time, many and many people from your country do come to stay in Nice with us, and, indeed, we are then the very cosmopolitan country; for, to escape the fogs and the dullness of other colder and less sunny lands, many people of all nationalities do come. And so we are always gay and merry with the charming people, and always the flowers.
       Often when we are out, Ninette and I, we meet the English girls with their dolls, and one day last year I did see an American girl with her New York doll, that walked by her side just like a live thing. It is possible that you have heard of this, but to me it was new, and I did stare. For this dolly walked - yes, walked! - exactly the same as her proud young mistress did. I would that I could have talked with them; but no ! the English of Ninette was not good, for she is a very little girl, and the French with her has to be first.
       One day she will it speak as I can write it, and then she will perhaps see London and New York and the other wonderful cities of the earth‚yes, it is possible.
       And now let me take up the tale and tell you something about the wonderful French fisher dolls that are shown in the picture. These are real French dolls, dressed by the coast peasants just in the ordinary everyday clothes in which they work and live. The old lady in the center is a typical fishwife in her holiday dress, with lace apron and handsomely embroidered shawl and lace cap. On the left is her daughter, with striped skirt and knitted cardigan, carrying a basket of fish and one of the nets. Notice that she is bare-footed and wears no stockings, because of the sea in which she so often wades to bring the catch ashore when the menfolk return. On the right hand is her son, a hefty youth with his wooden- soled sea-clogs, and oilskins rolled up in his hand. Except that he has slipped out of his oilskins, he is just as he went to sea and stepped ashore. Over one shoulder is a coil of rope, on the other his trawl with the cork " bobbers," as the English fisherman calls them, that float on the surface and show the position of the net in the sea. Everything is complete, just as you see the fishermen day after day in Brittany, with their stockinette caps, which at one time are worn with the bag flopping loose, as shown in the photo, and at others rolled over so that they fit closely down upon the head. Do you notice the little clay pipe that is grasped in his right hand, and, above all, the old retriever dog? This dog is quite as much a sailor as his master, and never fails to go to sea on every trip that his master takes. Indeed, he would rush about the quay whining most pitifully if, by chance, he were left behind.
       It is a hard life for both the boys and the girls who have to earn their living in that way, and the mother, too, works almost equally hard in her little shop where the fish is sold.

"Joulupukki TV video productions: Petitcollin dolls - Poupées Petitcollin: 
doll producer in France i Lorraine Etain - Petitcollin Fabricant des poupées à Etain"

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