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The women of the French Salons


in the salons that women have attained the position they
hold today.
However beautiful, or valuable, or poetic may have been
the feminine
types of other nationalities, it is in France that we
find the
forerunners of the intelligent, self-poised, clear-
sighted, independent
modern woman. It is possible that in the search for
larger fields the
smaller but not less important ones have been in a
measure forgotten.
The great stream of civilization flows from a thousand
unnoted rills
that make sweet music in their course, and swell the
current as surely
as the more noisy torrent. The conditions of the past
cannot be revived,
nor are they desirable. The present has its own theories
and its own
methods. But at a time when the reign of luxury is
rapidly establishing
false standards, and the best intellectual life makes
hopeless struggles
against an ever aggressive materialism, it may be
profitable as well as
interesting to consider the possibilities that lie in a
society equally
removed from frivolity and pretension, inspired by the
talent, the
sincerity, and the moral force of American women, and
borrowing a
new element of fascination from the simple and charming
but polite
informality of the old salons.
It has been the aim in these studies to gather within a
limited compass
the women who represented the social life of their time
on its
most intellectual side, and to trace lightly their
influence upon
civilization through the avenues of literature and
manners. Though the
work may lose something in fullness from the effort to
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