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Society Chat-Chat


I notice that it is customary for the daily papers to
publish a column or so of society gossip. They generally
head it "Chit-Chat," or "On Dit," or "Le Boudoir," or
something of the sort, and they keep it pretty full of
French terms to give it the proper sort of swing. These
columns may be very interesting in their way, but it
always seems to me that they don't get hold of quite the
right things to tell us about. They are very fond, for
instance, of giving an account of the delightful dance
at Mrs. De Smythe's--at which Mrs. De Smythe looked
charming in a gown of old tulle with a stomacher of
passementerie--or of the dinner-party at Mr. Alonzo
Robinson's residence, or the smart pink tea given by Miss
Carlotta Jones. No, that's all right, but it's not the
kind of thing we want to get at; those are not the events
which happen in our neighbours' houses that we really
want to hear about. It is the quiet little family scenes,
the little traits of home-life that--well, for example,
take the case of that delightful party at the De Smythes.
I am certain that all those who were present would much
prefer a little paragraph like the following, which would
give them some idea of the home-life of the De Smythes
on the morning after the party.


On Wednesday morning last at 7.15 a.m. a charming little
breakfast was served at the home of Mr. De Smythe. The
dejeuner was given in honour of Mr. De Smythe and his
two sons, Master Adolphus and Master Blinks De Smythe,
who were about to leave for their daily travail at their
wholesale Bureau de Flour et de Feed. All the gentlemen
were very quietly dressed in their habits de work. Miss
Melinda De Smythe poured out tea, the domestique having
refuse to get up so early after the partie of the night
before. The menu was very handsome, consisting of eggs
and bacon, demi-froid, and ice-cream. The conversation
was sustained and lively. Mr. De Smythe sustained it and
made it lively for his daughter and his garcons. In the
course of the talk Mr. De Smythe stated that the next
time he allowed the young people to turn his maison
topsy-turvy he would see them in enfer. He wished to know
if they were aware that some ass of the evening before
had broken a pane of coloured glass in the hall that
would cost him four dollars. Did they think he was made
of argent. If so, they never made a bigger mistake in
their vie. The meal closed with general expressions of
good-feeling. A little bird has whispered to us that
there will be no more parties at the De Smythes' pour

Here is another little paragraph that would be of general
interest in society.


Yesterday evening at half after six a pleasant little
diner was given by Madame McFiggin of Rock Street, to
her boarders. The salle a manger was very prettily
decorated with texts, and the furniture upholstered with
cheveux de horse, Louis Quinze. The boarders were all
very quietly dressed: Mrs. McFiggin was daintily attired
in some old clinging stuff with a corsage de Whalebone
underneath. The ample board groaned under the bill of
fare. The boarders groaned also. Their groaning was very
noticeable. The piece de resistance was a hunko de boeuf
boile, flanked with some old clinging stuff. The entrees
were pate de pumpkin, followed by fromage McFiggin, served
under glass. Towards the end of the first course, speeches
became the order of the day. Mrs. McFiggin was the first
speaker. In commencing, she expressed her surprise that
so few of the gentlemen seemed to care for the hunko de
boeuf; her own mind, she said, had hesitated between
hunko de boeuf boile and a pair of roast chickens
(sensation). She had finally decided in favour of the
hunko de boeuf (no sensation). She referred at some length
to the late Mr. McFiggin, who had always shown a marked
preference for hunko de boeuf. Several other speakers
followed. All spoke forcibly and to the point. The last
to speak was the Reverend Mr. Whiner. The reverend
gentleman, in rising, said that he confided himself and
his fellow-boarders to the special interference of
providence. For what they had eaten, he said, he hoped
that Providence would make them truly thankful. At the
close of the Repas several of the boarders expressed
their intention of going down the street to a restourong
to get quelque chose a manger.

Here is another example. How interesting it would be to
get a detailed account of that little affair at the
Robinsons', of which the neighbours only heard indirectly!


Yesterday the family of Mr. Alonzo Robinson spent a very
lively evening at their home on ---th Avenue. The occasion
was the seventeenth birthday of Master Alonzo Robinson,
junior. It was the original intention of Master Alonzo
Robinson to celebrate the day at home and invite a few
of les garcons. Mr. Robinson, senior, however, having
declared that he would be damne first, Master Alonzo
spent the evening in visiting the salons of the town,
which he painted rouge. Mr. Robinson, senior, spent the
evening at home in quiet expectation of his son's return.
He was very becomingly dressed in a pantalon quatre vingt
treize, and had his whippe de chien laid across his knee.
Madame Robinson and the Mademoiselles Robinson wore black.
The guest of the evening arrived at a late hour. He wore
his habits de spri, and had about six pouces of eau de
vie in him. He was evidently full up to his cou. For some
time after his arrival a very lively time was spent. Mr.
Robinson having at length broken the whippe de chien,
the family parted for the night with expressions of
cordial goodwill.

Stephen Leacock