The Joy of Children On the Boulevards.

— What we see in the Barracks. — Toys of the day. — What interesting automata. — For the joy of the little ones and the tranquility of the grown-ups.

Paris, December 24 – 1910 La Dépeche – journal quotidien

While the traditional chromolithographs (Chromolithography is a method for making multi-colour prints.) continue to represent to us an icy Christmas where the cottages half disappear under the snow, where the trees with bare branches let stalactites of frost hang down to the ground all white, while the storytellers still speak to us of evenings cold, whistling wind, avalanches of aerial snowflakes, we wade through the warm and humid atmosphere of an absurd month of December when the mercury in the thermometer reached crazy heights for the season. Nothing would remind us of the approaching Christmas if the New Year’s Day barracks weren’t there, faithful to their post, from the Madeleine to the Bastille, spreading out their stalls crying in the wind. Poor sellers! We say a lot of good and a lot of bad. There are people who find them quaint and others who find them cumbersome. It depends on the temperaments. Moreover, in such matters, only point is the children’s point of view, and their point of view is that there are new toys in the little shacks every year. Where are the dolls of yesteryear? Where do the toy soldiers and wooden horses smell? Poor old-fashioned toys, we hardly see any more. They gradually gave way to the invasion of mechanical toys, science toys, animated marvels and prestigious automatons. This year, the airplane is the great winner. You find it everywhere: toys for two pennies or toys for thirty or fifty francs. The automobile, even the catastrophe automobile, is somewhat abandoned. She’s not up to date enough anymore.

As for the automatons, the inventive genius of the builders has, as always, given free rein to them. What do you say to this “shackled” who hops awkwardly in her fashionable skirt? (Fernand Martin number 220 L’entravée)


It is exactly that, as absurd as reality. And it’s a piquant spectacle: on the trestles of the barracks, the tin shackles jump. On the sidewalk of the boulevard, the flesh and blood shackles skip. But here is an organ player (Prosper Lévi S.i.j.i.m. number 33 Le joueur d’orgue ) who actually plays the organ. Listen: Don’t you recognize the tinny sounds of « Si tu veux nous serons heureux » (If you want we will be happy) almost everywhere ?

Le joueur d’orgue

finally, we find a fight between the two age-old enemies. What am I saying! secular! millennials, rather! That is about the woman and the mouse, ( Martin number 221 La chasse au rat ) these two beings who, since they exist, have been inspire a mutual fright. You know that all it takes is a mouse to put a woman on the run. On the other hand, if a woman starts chasing a mouse (which is rare), the mouse runs away.

La chasse au rat

But this year, a toy offers you the view of a courageous janitor with a broom in hand, stand up to the enemy. It’s a quaint duel, but the inventor was well advised to choose a concierge. No ordinary mortal of the tenant race, a pusillanimous race, would have dared to engage in battle against such a formidable enemy.

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