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January 21, 1921

Abbé Ernest Dimnet, French correspondent for The Saturday Review and faculty member at the College Stanislas in Paris, lectured on “What Americans Should Seek in France.” “Too many people,” he said, “go abroad prepared to find what they have left behind. Americans go to France and return disgusted because our telephone system is poor and because we have not so many mechanical inventions.” “M. Dimnet,” reported The Miscellany News, “compared such Americans with the Frenchman who came to America and was grieved at the lack of Chateaux…. He also stated that Americans will find Frenchmen delightful talkers, exhibiting a rapid play of mind around facts rather than taking the matter of fact attitude of Americans and Englishmen…. In concluding M. Dimnet said that were the barriers of language broken down, Americans would find that they had in them ‘a great capacity to feel French.’”

Visiting the Vassar Library, Abbé Dimnet asked his guides, “I wonder if you realize how fortunate you are?” “He especially,” said The Misc., “admired the open-shelf system and the accesibility of all the books. ‘You learn so much just by coming into contact with the backs of books as you search for the ones you want.’ There is nothing like this system in the French libraries. It is very hard to get books within a reasonable length of time. Even the professors have great difficulty.”

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