Sunday, May 3, 2009

Hotel Binda, Paris, 1904

The Hotel Binda in Paris was the place to go 100 years ago, and Mrs. Frank Wilcox of East Orange ("My dear Ida") received this letter from her sister Lill (?) who was traveling in Europe with husband Fred in August 1904. It's a fascinating letter! Well, it is like eavesdropping on strangers reading this. I love the way Lill says (above) that Mrs. Champenois looks very good and "I tell her she is the youngest one of the lot of us." So you know Mrs. Champenois must have been very old. Lill goes on to say she was taking a bath when dressmakers came knocking on her door ("I heard someone say 'She is taking a bath.' I thought it was about time to put something over the keyhole.")

After another dressmaker comes knocking for "Madame" Lill shoos her away by telling her she doesn't speak French. Finally, she's left alone: "Well, I never saw such a place for one to be beseiged by modistes." She goes on: "We are having it pretty warm in Paris. I have a thin shirt-waist on for the first time since I left home. I am glad I brought two. We sent our trunks on from Bremen to Paris and by a mistake at Bremen they have not reached here yet...I have just one change of underclothes left."

Lill goes on about the difficulty of making her "French wash list," but overall says "I think this hotel a very nice quiet place and a very good place for two women to go to alone."

Lill's observations about Germans and their money: "We have hardly seen any automobiles over in Germany they will not spend their money for such things and in fact they do not have many private carriages they don't spend much money that way either. "

All in all, a very entertaining letter from the past!

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