Just read Colette’s short story “Gigi” for the first time and was disappointed to discover that she was perhaps the first RULES girl that proved the rule(s).
My FSG paperback edition–that includes also “Julie de Carnelilhan” and “Chance Aquaintances”–has such a great introduction by Judith Thurman, I now must read her biography of Colette. (May read her biography of Dinesen first, since I already have…)
Here are some choice passages–all of the best lines went to the successful–and caustically cynical–demi-mondiane aunt Alicia who is schooling Gigi (actually Gilberte) in the fine art of courtesanship:
“Bad table manners…have broken up many a happy home”
“Don’t ever wear artistic jewelry, it wrecks a woman’s reputation” [and then goes on to describe a list of such “offensive” jewels that I would have no qualms accepting, like “a mermaid in gold with eyes of chrysoprase.”]
“And what about nonsense? Did you talk nonsense to her? Didn’t you talk to her of love, travel, moonlight, Italy? You must know how to harp on every string. Didn’t you tell her that on the other side of the world the sea is phosphorescent, that there are humming-birds in all the flowers, and that you make love under gardenias in full bloom beside a moonlit fountain?”