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The phrase may refer to a French competitive cyclist, Amélie Le Gall, who raced in Europe and England as Mademoiselle Lisette (or Lizette) Marton. Her career had commenced by the time when the quilt was made, but her major victories and record-breaking rides came a little later.
Lizette may be an affectionate name for someone normally known as Eliza or Elizabeth.
Lizette could also be the name of a horse, pony, dog or pet. One or more racehorses (hurdlers / steeplechasers) named Lizette raced in Victoria during the 1880s and 1890s. One owned by Mr Morrisey of Baxter Street, Coburg, was injured while returning from a race meeting at Thomastown in 1897.
The phrase may be a quotation from Act II, scene 9, of the play, Le Jeu de l’amour et du hasard, by French playwright, Marivaux (1688-1763): “Ah ma chère Lisette, que je souffre”. The quotation could perhaps have entered someone’s speech as a shorthand (and deliberately overblown) reference to affairs of the heart. While it appears that the play was not performed in Australia (in translation) until 1956, Australians could have known the play in 1895, either by reading the text or by having seen it performed overseas. Hilda, one of the daughters of Rev. Duncan Fraser [Central], was a professional actor. Another daughter, Elizabeth Anna Fraser [J1] was a loyal member of the Melbourne Shakespeare Society. This suggests that some people in the quilt’s networks were probably theatre-goers.
‘Amélie Le Gall’, Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amelie_Le_Gall
‘Street accident at Brunswick’, The Age, 29 December 1897, p. 7.
Lynne Long (2009), ‘Lady Mary Translates Marivaux: A Female Perspective?’, Palimpsestes: Revue de traduction, vol. 22, pp. 129-147. Accessible at: https://journals.openedition.org/palimpsestes/198?lang=en
AusStage: The Australian Live Performance Database. See entry for The Game of Love and Chance, 1956: https://www.ausstage.edu.au/pages/event/78107
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