COLETTE: A PROVINCIAL IN PARIS (282 pp.)Margaret CroslandBritish Book Centre ($3.50).
When Henry Gauthier-Villars, known in Paris literary circles as plain "Willy," met little Gabrielle Colette in Châtillon-Coligny, he was "completely stunned" by the sight of her long, braided hair and "airy grace." At their wedding dinner in 1893, 20-year-old Colette drank too much champagne and fell fast asleep over the table. "As I woke up, I heard my husband's voice:
" 'She looks a bit like [the statue of] Beatrice Cenci in the Barberini Palace . . . '
" 'With her red carnations.' said [a wedding guest], 'she looks most of all...