Wednesday, September 18, 1889

Wednesday Sept. 18th.

This morning we devoted to sewing etc. This afternoon we drove to Neuelly to see about the school for the children. They are so restless and so expensive that I think it best to put them in school, Madame Thavenet’s, one of the best schools in Paris, beautiful grounds and good advantages . L 40 a year apiece. Music and dancing extra. I shall put them in until February 1st and perhaps August 1st. We have to pay here at Prof. Tonot’s full price [Ed. note: “for them” has been added in pencil] and they are shut up in one room which is very trying and learn nothing. Every place we take them we have to pay full price for childrenare not expected to exist in Paris. Adelle Grant was educated here and two young ladies that came over in the Gascogne are going to this school.

[As readers may already be aware, at the time most travelers took care of small tasks like mending themselves.]

[It is interesting to note that paying less for everything for children was already so common in American society at this point that Addie was surprised, offended, and dismayed at the French custom of paying the same price for children as for adults for board, admission, etc. As one of my history professors says, what is most telling about a society is what isn’t explicitly stated because the members of the culture take for granted that everyone knows it.]

[Madame Thavenet ran a boarding school in the near Paris suburb of Neiully, a place that is usually misspelled in the diary. In an entertaining and interesting interview with Automotive Industries (digitized here), Vera Brewster, a fellow alumna of the school and seemingly the first American woman to demonstrate and sell automobiles, called it a “‘finishing’ school,” yes, complete with written air quotes.]

[It is not clear to me who Addie is referencing by “Adelle Grant” but she may have meant the Adele Grant who had married the Earl of Essex a few years before Addie kept her diary. A blog post with a lot of information on Adele Grant as well as some information on the general trend at the time of wealthy American women marrying into European peerage/nobility is over here (off-site). The modern English-language TV show Downton Abbey utilized the same trend for its background of the mother having been an American heiress.]


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