Friday, July 13, 2007

Mavis Gallant in Paris

October 31 [1950]

Dear Billy,

All our problems seem to be very basic in this city--how to keep warm, where to get the most to eat for the least money, and how to get rid of a cold. I think I mind the cold more than anything. My room is enormous and the radiator very small indeed. Around three o'clock in the afternoon it seems to reach its lowest temperature and if I am working my hands get numb and I have to soak them in warm water. I can now understand why the French never sleep alone. They aren't any sexier than any other race, but it's the only way of keeping warm. . . Actually I like Paris and if I find I can provide myself with some sort of income, I shall try to find an apartment and stay for a bit . . .

Are you coming over this winter, and if so when? I can show you all the places where one can eat under 300 francs [less than a dollar]--I've become an expert. . . .Much love,

-from Getting Started: a Memoir of the 1950s, with letters from Mordecai Richler, Mavis Gallant and Brian Moore by William Weintraub (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 2001) p. 12.

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