The publishers of La Semaine de Suzette were not above a little product placement, so on page 56 of Bécassine chez les Alliés (1917), when our heroine reports seeing a diminuative version of herself in a dream, she says she was about the size of a Bleuette doll. Bleuette was available to subscribers of Semaine de Suzette from 1905 to 1960, along with a closet full of fashions. See. And.
And in a brilliant turnaround, here's Bleuette imagined as an illustrated character -- with her favourite Bécassine doll. Source.
Here we are back in Paris. I was very happy to see my dear mistress Madame de Grand-Air again, and I believe that she was equally glad to see me, but she seemed tired and a bit thin, and I couldn't prevent myself from remarking on it to her.
"It's the strain of this damned war," she responded. "Nearly everyone in Paris is thin."
That made me want to find out if I was losing weight like everybody else. So, when I passed a scale while I was running my errands, I weighed myself, and wrote the number on a piece of paper: 60 kilos, 450 grams. Three quarters of an hour later, when I was returning, I passed by the same scale and weighed myself again. The hand pointed to 60 kilos, 440 grams. Well, I said to myself, I'm getting thin too, but ten grammes is no big deal.
That evening, at dinner, I mentioned it to Zidore. He put on a concerned look, took out a paper and pencil, and began to calculate.
"This is serious."
"What is serious?" I asked.
"Your weight loss, mam'zelle Bécassine." And he explained it, with figures. "Ten grams a day makes a kilo in one hundred days, which is to say three months. That makes four kilos in a year. At that rate, in fifteen years you won't weigh more than 450 grams, which is just not enough for a damsel of your height."
Zidore has an annoying thing about him, which is that you can never tell when he's being serious or when he's joking. I'm pretty sure he was just having fun. All the same, what he said went straight into my head and, that night, I had a strange dream. I saw a Bécassine just as I am now, and in her hand she held another Bécassine, tiny and thin and not much bigger than the doll Bleuette.
This story about becoming thin had put me in a bad mood about Paris. As it happened, the morning after my dream, Madame called me and said, "Monsieur Bertrand is going on a mission to a camp in Champagne, and Madame Thérèse is to accompany him. You must decide if you will go with them, or remain here with me. Reflect on it, and give me your answer this evening."
"Very well, Madame," I said. "I will reflect."
I went to the kitchen and took up a pose that you always see in the pictures whenever people are reflecting: elbow on knee, forehead on fingertip, eyes fixed on nothing at all.
After a moment the cook said, "What are you doing there?"
"I am reflecting," was my reply.
"Ah well," she said. "You can reflect just as easily while you walk. Why don't you go and buy what's written on this list?"
"Very gladly, mam'zelle Victoire."
I took the paper in hand and read, "A pound of butter, a pound of sugar, a pound and a half of bread." I said to Victoire, "This is easy. I won't be long." She began to laugh so hard that she cried, and said, "Easy! Not long! You go see, ma petite, you go see."
I wondered if she hadn't lost her marbles, but I had no time to cross-examine her, and headed for the butter merchant's. We're old friends, so we chatted for a while, and then I said to her, "So, I'll take a pound of butter."
She lifted her arms to heaven. "A pound!" she said. "And you asked so calmly, as if there was that much to be had! Here you go, I'll give you this, because we're old friends." This was a tiny portion about the size of two nuts. She wore such an air of respectibility as she handed over the tiny portion that it should have been made of diamond, and she made me pay ... no, I don't dare to tell you. It's a scandal.
After that I went to the baker's. I also had a bit of conversation there. When I asked for my bread, she weighed it and handed it over, no problem. I was happy, but I looked at the bread more closely because, not to brag, I'm not one of those maids who shop with their eyes shut. I said, "You've made a mistake. You gave me a gray, stale loaf. I must have white, fresh bread."
She couldn't have been angrier if I had heaped insults on her. She cried, "Do you want to see me put in prison? Fresh, white bread? Don't you know that it's illegal to sell it?"
And her husband, who came in at that moment from his oven, said to me, "Maybe you didn't know that there's a war on?"
To say that to me, who was just back from the war, was too funny. It prevented me from getting angry, and I took their villain bread to avoid a longer discussion.
At the grocer's, for sugar, it was even worse. They wanted to know if I had brought my card. I told them that I was making up some cards for New Year's but that I didn't have them with me. Then they acted like I was mocking them, and they put me out the door. I'm not accustomed to being treated that way by retailers.
By then I had had it with Paris, where everybody is thin, and where it's a long story any time you want to buy something as simple as butter, bread or sugar. That evening when Madame asked me if I would stay or go, I replied, "I'm going, Madame, I'm going. It pains me to leave Madame again, but, definitely, in times of war, there's no better place to be than with the military people."
I have never seen anything as impressive as our departure for the camp. At the station, in a quarter of an hour, I saw a parade of generals and officers from every allied nation, as well as ministers, deputies, and journalists, in a word, nobody but very important people.
At the end of the train there was a car reserved for little people like me, servants, orderlies, and whatever. We were in a bunch by the wagon, and a fat man, who seemed to know everything, identified the grand personages as they passed by. It was interesting and instructive.
He told me that he was named Auguste and that he worked as an usher in one of the ministries. Immediately he bowed to the ground to a gentleman who was approaching, and told me, "It's my minister, the Minister for the Utilization of Aptitudes." I offered that I had heard him spoken of as a very capable man.
"Oh yes," said August. "He never mistakes ability, and he has some fine employees, the ushers especially."
He interrupted himself when he noticed his chief turn around and approach our group.
"Auguste," directed the Minister, "You must come to my wagon later. I want to discuss the organization of tonight's dinner, which I have been thinking about."
"Certainly, Minister," replied Auguste, taking on an air of even greater importance. We climbed into the wagon and suddenly he picked up our conversation again. "You see," he said, "the Minister can do nothing without me. It's flattering, but it causes me no end of trouble. No doubt the dinner he spoke of will take place at the hotel closest to the camp, a little village inn, practically a hostel, where, probably, no one knows the first thing about cuisine or service. And all the responsibility falls on me. It's all too much."
He seemed so overwhelmed that I pitied him. I told him that I knew all about cuisine and service, as I had a place in the house of a marquise and a countess, and that I proposed to help him out. He grasped my hands, nearly crushing them, and repeated, "Thank you! Thank you! What a great help you are!"
He left to receive the Minister's instructions. Then he returned, looking for me, and saying, "Monsieur the Minister wants to speak to you."
The Minister was waiting in the corridor. You can imagine my heart was beating before such a grand individual. He said, "Young girl, I thank you for your offer. It is a matter of preparing dinner for a collection of French and foreign officials. An improvised dinner. As soon as you reach the hotel, decide on the menu. Try to slip in the names of our allies. That will be a thoughtful touch for our invited guests."
Staff and pupils of Belville Place School, Greenock, 1898. Source.
1898-99. August 20th, 1898 was a soccer Saturday, just like August 20th, 2016. In the 1898-99 Scottish Football League Morton competed in a ten-team second flight division called Division Two, just like today's Scottish Championship. Let's follow Morton through the 1898-99 season and see how they fared, and maybe learn a thing or two about Scottish football and Greenock at the end of the 19th Century, as the teachers of Belville Place would insist that we do and Hit! Our knuckles! If we didn't!
Morton began its league season on August 20th, 1898 with a visit to Hamilton Academical at Douglas Park. Hamilton Academical FC was founded in 1874, the same year as Morton. 1898-99 was the Accies' second season in the league.
Morton lost 3 - 2.
Today in 2016 Morton host Dumbarton.
Dumbarton are fifth in the Championship with a win and a loss. Morton are sixth with two draws.
Dumbarton were the worst Championship club in the League Cup. They finished last in Group A behind Peterhead, East Fife, Dundee, and Forfar, with two points gathered in shootout losses. But last weekend they beat Dundee United.
Morton are one of only three SPFL teams that have neither won nor lost so far in this young season. The others are Aberdeen and Arbroath. The team could be on track to set a club record for draws.
If Morton do rack up a lot of draws this year, it'll be interesting to compare them with Third Lanark, the statistical ghost team that collects the third point from the Championship's draws. So far the Thirds have three points and are in 5.5th place.
Third Lanark were of course excluded from the League Cup group stage, where the third point went to the winner of a shoot-out.
Greenock Morton and Dylan Stevenson have parted ways.
What league clubs have not defeated Morton in the 21st Century?
Montrose Feb 14, 1996
Arbroath Jan 9, 1993
Hearts March 26, 1988
Queen's Park April 16, 1962
Elgin City never
Edinburgh City never
[Morton 1 - 1 Dumbarton. Morton goal by Oyenuga on his first shift. Morton hold sixth place. Match report.]
The Scottish Challenge Cup, Round Two, was held midweek. The winners were: Forfar, Brechin, Elgin, Peterhead, Albion Rovers, Celtic U20, Airdrieonians, Stranraer, Queen's Park, Stenny, Turriff United and East Fife. Celtic's is the only teen squad left of the dozen in Round One. Turriff are the only fifth flight club remaining.
Is this new Challenge Cup format a success or a failure? So far, from the perspective of tickets sold, it's a failure. The average attendance for the fourteen 2016-17 Round One matches was 305. The average for Round Two was 365. Compare that to the average attendance for Round One in 2015-16: 1,488, including six crowds over 1000.
Despite having been signed on loan to Morton, Aidan Nesbitt played the first half of Cowdenbeath vs Celtic U20 in Round Two. What's up with that?
UEFA Champions League Play-Off Round, first leg: Celtic 5 - 2 Hapoel Be'er Sheva
Half the clubs in Israel are named Hapoel. Most of the rest of them are named Maccabi.
Strathspey Thistle [1 - 6] Formartine United
Largs Thistle [3 - 1] Dalry Thistle
Three quarters of the clubs in Scotland are named Thistle.
Olympics, August 16th: Canada 0 - 2 Germany
August 19th: Brazil 1 - 2 Canada
Canada take the bronze medal.
In Sweden: Östersund [1 - 0] Djurgården
In the Faroe Islands tomorrow: B36 [4 - 1] ÍF
Monday: Mohun Bagan [0 - 0] Peerless. MB are second in the Calcutta Football League, after East Bengal.
In Japan, most of the prefectural championships are being decided tomorrow, in preparation for the first round of the 2016 Emperor's Cup. Let's watch:
Finding stats on the prefectural championships is difficult if you don't read Japanese, but you can at least make up a list of the winners by combing through the wikipedia.jp articles on the Emperor's Cup year by year. So:
Which teams have won the Aomori Prefecture championship so far in the 21st Century?
2000: Hachinohe Gakuin University
2001: Aster Aomori FC
2002: Hachinohe Gakuin University
2003: Aomori Yamada Junior High School
2004: Hachinohe Gakuin University
2005: Hachinohe Gakuin University
2006: Hachinohe Gakuin University
2007: Hachinohe Gakuin University
2008: Aomori Yamada Junior High School
2009: Hachinohe Gakuin University
2010: Vanraure Hachinohe
2011: Hachinohe Gakuin University
2012: Vanraure Hachinohe
2013: Vanraure Hachinohe
2014: Vanraure Hachinohe
2015: ReinMeer Aomori FC
What about Akita Prefecture?
2001: Akita Commercial High School
2007: TDK Soccer Section
2008: TDK SC
2009: TDK SC
2010: Blaublitz Akita
2011: Blaublitz Akita
2012: Blaublitz Akita
2013: Blaublitz Akita
2014: Blaublitz Akita
2015: Blaublitz Akita
As TDK, TDK Soccer Section, TDK SC, and Blaublitz Akita are all the same club, there is nothing to be said but, "Go, Akita Commercial High School!"
Kio Shimoku moves okatu emotional inarticulateness into the mainstream of the Japanese literary tradition with this exchange in chapter 126. Since Heian times the rule has been the same: if you don't know how to talk about your heart, talk about the moon.
Bécassine had been nearly a quarter of an hour in the chair, and was beginning to fall asleep, when a great cry, some kind of howl of pain, rang out behind the door. She jumped up, hurried over, and pressed her ear to the door. All she could hear was the confusing sound of voices speaking English.
She stood trembling for a moment, wondering what she should do. Then, overcome with fright, she fled to the front hall. But there she found herself in the presence of the maid.
With the same sympathetic air, the maid took her by the hand, repeating, "Courage! Courage!" and led her back in. Bécassine let herself be led.
At that moment the mysterious, frighting door was opened. "Courage! Courage!" said the little maid, pushing Bécassine ahead of her.
The place that they entered did not appear very tragic. Bécassine saw nothing but two women conversing, one of them who looked a bit like a nurse, and the other who was dressed to go about town. The latter held her handkerchief to her mouth, and soon left.
The other lady put several questions to the maid, and then indicated that our friend should take a seat. Bécassine had never seen such a strange chair.
The maid handed her a cup. The emotions Bécassine had just experienced had left her with a dry throat. She sniffed the contents of the cup, and finding an agreeable minty scent, she downed it in one swallow. She didn't see anything funny in what she had done, but to see the two women laugh restored some of her courage. They didn't seem very evil, these two women.
"Vô soffrez?" the nurse asked her. She wondered: Was that English or French? The accent made her believe ...
... that it was English. Remembering Emile's advice, she responded, "Yes."
Then, something happened that astonished her. The chair in which she was sitting rose up toward the ceiling and tilted backward.
Bécassine, whose jaws are as solid as those of a young shark, had never been to a dentist. She had no idea what was going on, and, feeling her terror revive, she gave a cry. But the young maid took her hands and in a voice that evidenced the deepest sympathy, repeated, "Courage! Courage!" A little comforted, Bécassine let them put stuffing in her mouth and wrap a bandage around her head. And she kept still, her heart pounding in her chest.
However, the nurse had drawn toward her some kind of tank with a tube attached, which began to bubble and growl in a most disquieting manner. Then she took up a steel instrument, terribly pointed and shiny and attached it to the tube. "Ovrez ... bouche!" she said.
When she saw that menacing apparatus approaching, Bécassine believed her final hour had arrived. With a violent effort she bounded from the chair and ran to the exit, crying as loudly as the stuffing and bandage would allow, "Help! An assassin!"
She made it into the front hall. But at the moment when she was about flee out into the street, she was caught and held by the two women.
At the same moment, the other door opened and a young woman appeared. She glanced in astonishment at the strange group, and then exchanged some words with the nurse. Then she said to Bécassine, in good French, "Oh! I am sorry, Mademoiselle, there has been a mistake. Let me explain."
Bécassine had been deeply disturbed by the mysterious events that had just taken place. Her protectress saw that she was close to fainting. She led her to a chair.
Before she would sit, Bécassine asked in a fearful tone, "Will this one hurl me toward the ceiling, too?" Miss assured her that it was an honest armchair without any moving parts. Only then would she sit down.
When her worries had dissipated, the young lady told her, "I am Miss Daisy Grace, the fiancée of Major Tacy-Turn." At these words Bécassine jumped to her feet, searched her pocket thoroughly, and finally handed her an envelope, saying, "Miss, behold the tiny flower that the brave Major has picked for you on the field of battle."
The flower was faded and bent, but his fiancée gazed at it with deep emotion.
"Dear, dear Major," she murmured. "Speak to me of him, Miss Bécassine."
And Bécassine spoke with such warm affection that Daisy could not help laughing, "I'm getting jealous!"
"Oh!" protested Bécassine, "I love the Major dearly, but I wouldn't want to marry him. A husband who spends half his life among the clouds -- that wouldn't please me."
"Then I'm relieved," said Daisy, laughing wholeheartedly.
During the conversation, the nurse and the little maid approached. Daisy introduced them. "Miss Mary Grace, my sister and one of the best dentists in London." And she delved into how the housemaid Betty, and Miss Mary herself, had arrived at the belief that Bécassine had come for a procedure.
"Why did you think that?" asked Bécassine.
"Lady," said Betty. "When I enquired whether you spoke English, you replied, 'Yes.' If you had come to see Miss Mary: 'Yes.' Whether you required an extraction; you said, "Yes.'"
"I'll never say 'Yes' again," affirmed Bécassine, shivering at the thought of the peril her jawbone had nearly caused itself.
Now that that misunderstanding was cleared up, Miss Daisy announced that they should go through for tea. They entered a charming dining room.
Daisy said a few words in English to Betty, who opened a pair of doors at the front of the room. And Bécassine saw a pretty group of about a dozen young girls carrying bouquets of blue, white and red.
They entered and presented their flowers to the brave girl, who was dumbfounded and moved. Then the eldest girl read an address in French, and the words courageuse aviatrice featured prominently.
The emotion and pride at seeing herself the object of such a reception overwhelmed Bécassine. Laughing and crying at the same time, she kissed the young girls. "Ah! The dears! Ah! The dears!" she repeated.
She also kissed Miss Daisy, her sister, and Betty, and tripped over herself thanking them. "I am the one who should thank you," replied Daisy gently. "You brought the little flower, and you rendered a great service to my fiancé."
Tea, accompanied by cakes and sweets, rounded out the celebration. Bécassine did them honour. While she savoured these good things, Daisy informed her that all the little girls present were orphans of war who congregated each day at her house. Bécassine kissed them once more, even more tenderly.
Then, with the moment of separation at hand, she made her emotional goodbyes. While she repeated her thanks, Miss Mary watched her closely. "Truthfully," she said, "Vô soffrezpas?"
"No! No!" cried Bécassine.
"Yet," insisted the dentist, "I see here" (she touched Bécassine on the cheek) "a little swelling." But, to her great surprise, the swelling instantly went down.
"It was a bonbon that hadn't melted," said Bécassine.
And she hurried out, dreading the thought of that terrible chair, and the operation she narrowly avoided.
Last chance to see the exhibition of yakishime ware which closes August 18 at the Japan Foundation, Toronto. Yakishima is a high-temperature unglazed ceramic technique that was popular in the Muromachi period, but still has practicioners today. The above piece is Where Shadow Meets Form, 2015-01 by Ikura Takashi.