Thursday, 2 April 2015


A French working shirt, hand stitched in coarse hemp,
   I have often had customers looking for their own initials on the linen sheets, but as they are always in pairs, usually in cross stitch, but sometimes in white satin stitch on the more elaborate ones, it is quite difficult to get them both exactly correct for their new owners, and the same applies to sets of fine white damask table napkins.  Most people are happy to have the last one for their surnames and no doubt make up a story for the first, or their guests assume they belonged to a great grandmother, no less!  
  Recently I read a mention of the present fashion editor of Vogue magazine and this recalled a good memory.  I was at home on a hot summer's day when the door bell rang and two girls in shorts and floppy summer hats stood there asking if they could look at my stores as they were planning an event under the name of Swallows and Amazons!   We trawled through the old French sheets and underwear, all white linen, and some coloured prints for making little girls' summer dresses and then they spied the cream smock shirts worn by the male peasants from the 19C. right up to the beginning of the last War.  The taller of the two tried one on and looking down at the 'tail' of the shirt, gave a little scream of delight - she said to me," you must have put it there specially for me "well" I said "I don't even know your name" .  And it turned out they were her exact initials, "L.C." and it also turned out she was working for Vogue Magazine.  For a long time now, she has been the Fashion Editor - one of the very top journalistic jobs!  and she obviously had great flair as well as a lucky streak.  I have twice found the right initials on long sets of table napkins which made the hostess very happy for her dinner parties, and I have a long list of wanted combinations to hunt for on my tours of the linen stands at French fairs.  If you have A. or M. for your first name, or B. for the second, you could be quite lucky as these are the most common initials, both in this country and in France.

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