Frontispiece by Frances Ewan showing Sara 'at work in the Art Galleries of Florence.'
Found - an Edwardian novel by Rosa MulhollandCousin Sara. A Story of Arts and Crafts (Blackie, London 1909). A novel of its time with a setting in the artistic world, with Britains travelling in Europe (Italy) and manufacture and invention. These themes appeared in many novels of the time - especially Galsworthy, E.M. Foster and H.G. Wells (the brilliant Tono Bungay- also from 1909). The plot is neatly summarised on a loosely inserted flyer:
Miss Mulholland's new book is a story of arts and crafts in the double sense of both words. The scene is laid in Belfast and its environments, in London, and in Italy. Sara's father has lost his legs in battle, as developed a talent for the invention of machinery. Arno Warrender is the son of a dead friend of Robert Montgomery, owner of Montgomery's flax spinning mills at Bleachgreens, and has been received in the office of the mill side-by-side with Harvey Durrant, the protege and supposed heir of Sir Jonah Cunnyngham, a wealthy banker and retired shipbuilder. Arno, with genius and passion for art, gets into disgrace, and through tribulation finds freedom, flies to Italy, and gains the highroad to distinction, while Harvey remains the favourite of his circle. The Colonel's important invention is stolen and patented by a person in his confidence, while the real inventor is discredited. On this incident, and all that leads up to it, and on its consequences the main action depends. Sara is a devoted daughter, and the good angel of Arno through all his troubles.
The concluding part of a posting of a complete book How to be Happy on the Riviera by Robert Elson W. (Arrowsmith Ltd., 11 Quay Street, Bristol, 1927).The appendix has a wealth of information, much of it aimed at the long stay vacationer and the expat or 'remittance man' (similar to the trustafrian of our time). The address and name of the British Consul in Monte Carlo (G W Hogg) the address of the British Library and the Anglo-American Library (in the Grand Hotel building.) There was even a weekly paper for the British abroad,The Cote D'Azur,that came out on a Friday. There is good advice for those who 'winter abroad' -- Hyeres is suggested for those who like it quiet, Monte Carlo for those who want it lively (but the bathing is poor). Also invaluable advice for the journey there, that might still hold true:-
"Don’t trust the time-tables as to there being a restaurant-car on any train southward from Paris (except the Calais–Méditerranée); bring a tea-basket with you and be prepared to grab things from the buffets at the Gare de Lyon and at Marseilles, or you may go foodless."
The penultimate part of Robert Elson's 1927 book dealing with indoor and outdoor amusements and of course gaming. There is a good description of a Gala dinner which has the authentic 1920s tone:
"A gala dinner may be ...a more elaborate entertainment indistinguishable from a fête, the room being decorated for the occasion–sometimes in a really artistic manner–and a good programme of show-turns provided. There are sure to be surprises–toys to make noises with, balloons, etc. The peculiarity of surprises is that they are always the same. Occasionally really attractive gifts are distributed, or prizes given in connection with dancing or a tombola (raffle). If you are in an appropriately happy-go-lucky mood, a gala is usually quite enjoyable. It is good to play the fool sometimes, pelting and being pelted by the occupants of neighboring tables with little coloured balls, and trying to hit people at a distance with harmless projectiles. Also, you never know what may come of it. A happily-married lady of my acquaintance first made her existence known to her husband by hitting him on the ear with a flying sausage; he asked her to dance, and the thing was as good as done."
Such goings on would have been vieux jeu by the 1940s. Interestingly many fetes described have gone - The Venetian Fete at Cannes has been replaced by a film festival, car shows and uphill car racing at Monte Carlo has become the Rally, but the Burning of the Boat still goes on and the Battle of Flowers - so all is not lost.
The second part of a posting of a complete book How to be Happy on the Riviera by Robert Elson W. (Arrowsmith Ltd., 11 Quay Street, Bristol, 1927). There is plenty on food and restaurants (including menus and tips on coffee, ice cream and liqueurs) and some good descriptions of gamblers in Monte Carlo -
"Little old women in Victorian black silk dresses and bonnets; others attired in the fashions of twenty or thirty years ago; exotic-looking young women, wearing extravagant parodies of the fashions of to-day – some exactly like cinema vamps; women like men, and girls like boys. A duke who is a frequent visitor summed it up neatly: 'There are always a lot of queer wild-fowl about'...you may see incredibly ancient men; wild-looking men with immense manes of hair; gaunt men with sunken cheeks and bony hands who might have come out of a novel by Mrs. Radclyffe, unnatural-looking young men who might have been created by Mr. Michael Arlen; people who impress you as half crazy, others who look as if they had been dead a long time, only they don't know it.'
We are putting up an entire book on Jot101, a fairly early book on the Riviera. Very much of its time with local prices, information about the weather and sports facilities and recommendations for hotels and cafes and cabarets. Here are the first 4 chapters...
HOW TO BE HAPPY ON THE RIVIERA
BY ROBERT ELSON
First published in August, 1927
Printed in Great Britain by J. W. Arrowsmith Ltd., 11 Quay Street, Bristol