Two more little finds-of-the day from the BnF in this post, trying to catch up as we make our way into October in real time (although it was warmer in Minnesota this weekend than it was two months ago in Parisian summer!).
1. Did you know that we lose an hour and 22 minutes of day throughout the month of August? Source: Almanach des Enfans Pour l’Année 1835
2. As is so often true, Jane Austen has the best words on the subject of today’s find-of-the-day book:
Mr. Collins: “I am happy on every occasion to offer those little delicate compliments which are always acceptable to ladies.”
“You judge very properly,” said Mr. Bennet, “and it is happy for you that you possess the talent of flattering with delicacy. May I ask whether these pleasing attentions proceed from the impulse of the moment, or are the result of previous study?”
“They arise chiefly from what is passing at the time, and though I sometimes amuse myself with suggesting and arranging such little elegant compliments as may be adapted to ordinary occasions, I always wish to give them as unstudied an air as possible.”
While looking at French almanacs published for kids in the late eighteenth century, I came across the Almanach des Enfants: Nouveau Recueil de Compliments et de Modèles de Lettres pour le jour de l’an, Les Fêtes de Famille, etc., etc. (1851). It’s an example of an apparently expansive genre providing readers (in this case, children) with prepared little compliments in poetry or prose that can be memorized and delivered to a parent, sibling, or teacher on particular occasions.
Now, I love my brother very much, but I have to say that I can’t think of any particular occasion on which I would be moved to recite the following to him:
It is not in vain that a mother
nourished us from the same milk,
As a brother I cherish you,
I love you as the equal of a father.
One can only hope that the audience didn’t all grow up into Mr. Collinses:
* * *
Ce n’est pas en vain qu’une mère
Du même lait nous a nourris,
Comme un frère tu me chéris,
Moi je t’aime à l’égal d’un père.