September 11, 1889

September 11th.

This morning we started early for the Exposition. We entered the main gate, went through a great stone building Du-Palais-des-Beaux-Arts, and found ourselves in a garden of flowers. How shall I describe it. Nothing but actual vision can give the least index of it. The flowers of the Centennial were nothing compared to it. Immense borders of roses all about, then beds of Dahlias in every hue in perfection of flowering and then Reign Marguerites, Nasturtiums, trimmed, running high and low one solid mass of flower Flox, Tulips, Gladiolas pink, yellow, white, purple etc. Every color and every flower in full and perfect bloom. Mr. Gill would have simply gone insane, and we almost did. How Lilly enjoyed it.

Then we went on under the Eiffel Tower to the Main building. It is perfectly immense and perfectly magnificent. China, silverware Goebelin tapestries, glass, dressed by the hundreds, silks, velvets, shoes, diamonds, statuary etc. etc. and each and every one surpassing anything I have ever seen. Nearly everything is for sale, and it seems that I shall never be able to hold on to myself and not buy some beautiful things. Paris is the most entrancing place and it is simply impossible not to spend money. We met our Gascoyne friends and also Mr. Scoffy.

[“Du-Palais-des-Beaux-Arts” translates as “The Palace of Fine Arts.” The Eiffel Tower debuted at this Exposition Unverselle, chosen by the organizers as the monument to celebrate the centennial of the French Revolution (over a proposal for a giant guillotine). A number of photos of the 1889 Exposition, including photos of the Eiffel Tower and  Palais du Beaux-Arts, are digitized here.]

[While Addie doesn’t say for sure, I believe “the Centennial” she references here is likely the Centennial Exposition of 1876, held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to celebrate a century of American independence. One of the best guide books to the Centennial Exposition is now digitized. This was the first official World’s Fair held in the United States.]

[Properly spelled “Gobelin” in English (“Tapisserie des Gobelins” in French), this manufacturer was taken over by the French government in 1662. Some details and several examples are on this English-language page from the Getty Museum. Another English-language page on Gobelins Manufacture, which also made furniture and other goods for European royalty, is here (French-language version here). The site is now a museum in Paris.]


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