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THE SPIRIT OF FRANCE
These men typify in their cheerfulness and readiness one of the national characteristics which made them invincible in the face of almost overwhelming odds of men and artillery in the first onrush of the Huns.
OVER THE COFFEE CUPS IN NORTHERN FRANCE
"It was the French woman's faith in small savings that rescued her country after the war of 1870, when vast horded wealth was willingly brought forth to pay the enormous national debt, and the same faith made it possible for France to preserve herself and the world during the world war."
joy themselves more thoroughly while they are about it."
Frugal, almost parsimonious, in their spending of a sou, how do they obtain all this pleasure? Our American conception of a good time, I fear, too often consists in spending a huge amount of money, in rushing madly hither and thither from this theater to that, from roof garden to summer resort, from ball to masquerade.
Your Frenchman, however, has a totally different conception of a good time. To him the society of his fellow-men is a source of exquisite and eternal pleasure.
Belonging to a people of infinite social capacity, a people in whom the social instinct is inherent and ancient, he has made fellowship an art of which he alone is the master. "Since there has been a France at all," says Brownell in his French Traits, "France has embodied the social instinct."
To neglect the art of making friends, of making oneself agreeable to those one
meets, of making oneself nothing short of charming as a conversationalist, is to a Frenchman nothing short of domestic, commercial, and political suicide.
In short, the French have long since learned, what we Americans are simply beginning to learn, that social accomplishments should be purposely and purposefully exercised, and are a valuable part of life's equipment for the truly successful
LENDING GRACE TO THE HARDSHIPS OF LIFE
How adaptable is this social quality of the French! How it makes pleasant the rough road of life! It lends a personal grace not only to the necessities, but even to the very hardships, of life.
During this war I have taken dinner in French families where the bread was distressingly scarce and pitiably poor, the sugar limited to one cube per individual, butter entirely absent, and the quantity
THE PUBLIC NURSERY, WHERE BABY IS CARED FOR WHILE MOTHER WORKS IN A GOVERNMENT FACTORY
In France, as in every other country, the war is necessitating a great readjustment of economic life to accommodate conditions to the advent of woman in the industrial activities of the nation, Following her four and a half years of labor during the war, the French woman, no less than her British sister, has proved her right to economic independence.
of meat so small that only the national optimism could magnify it into a square meal, and yet the bon mot flourished upon this very poverty of food. It simply means that the Frenchman has learned to enjoy life independent of all circumstances, and whether in city or in trench he is still the man of society.
Near the battle fronts the American soldiers at meal time snatch up their kits, rush to the camp kitchen, hastily swallow their food with scarcely a word, and go about their business; but the French seat themselves with some ceremony, take an hour or more to eat their small ration, and meanwhile discuss with precision, energy, and lively wit a multitude of subjects.
BOOK STALLS ALONG THE SEINE: THE BOOKWORM'S PARADISE
"In the Frenchman we find an unusual love of philosophy and a certain worship of reason which are rather discouraging to us more loosely thinking, more sentimental, Americans. The Frenchman, even of the lower middle classes, is always searching for a reason, an explanation, a more thorough understanding of this and that."
WHERE THE FRENCH BECOME RETICENT
And yet, contrary to the common American opinion, the Frenchman is not
Photograph by H. C. Ellis
at all effusive about his personal affairs.. On philosophy, art, and literature he will debate with you with titanic energy, but attempt to divert the conversation into matters domestic or personal and you will find the talk suddenly languishing.
In other words, your Frenchman is not a believer in a "shameless exposure of spiritual nudity." His personal, domestic. and spiritual life are not for public or incidental discussion, and, though you may know him for years and spend a multitude of hours with him in the most stimulating conversations of your life, still you feel that you do not and probably cannot ever know his inner life.
He can have the most unselfish enthusiasm for your success; without a trace of jealousy he will wildly applaud the successful feats of his colleague in university, laboratory, or court; but never does he open his heart to you or that col