HotFreeBooks.com
Terribly Intimate Portraits
by Noel Coward
Previous Part     1  2
Home - Random Browse

When she reached the age of twenty—"the very threshold of womanhood," as Fernando Lope so beautifully puts it—she was betrothed to Pedro y Bananas, a noble fresh from the vice and debauchery of the Court at Valladolid. Knowing naught of love or passion, she consented without hesitation, being but a tool in the hands of her parents, and a few months later the wedding took place with enormous pomp in the Cathedral at Seville.

After the ceremony the bride and bridegroom repaired to the Palazza Bananas, the country seat of Pedro, who, though poor himself, had had many costly estates handed down to him.

Here, so report tells us, after subjecting Isabella Angelica for three years to the vilest insults and utmost cruelty, Pedro left her temporarily and returned to the Court, now at Castille. Poor Isabella Angelica! This was the gay world she had dreamed of—the ecstatic life she had hoped and fully expected to live!

Then suddenly with the departure of her husband, she found peace—peace in the rocky solitudes, in the scented gardens and rolling foothills; and here this poor, lonely woman found fulfilment of all her maiden dreams—"Love!"

No one knows the authentic story of her first meeting with Enrique Baloona. Some say he was fishing for bolawallas[20] and she came graciously up and asked him the time; others aver that he was passing beneath her lattice and she dropped a fluted hair-tidy at his feet. But anyhow, from the time they first met they never parted until it was absolutely necessary. They pursued the course of their love through the long, tranquil summer days and nights—every word they uttered one to the other was sheer poetry. Enrique, who was a fully qualified academician, painted the portrait reproduced on page 124. It is alas! the only one in existence, all the others having been destroyed by the Inquisition.

But alack! as is the way with all beauty, it is but short-lived. The end of their peaceful passion came with the announcement of Pedro's return from the Court, now at Aragon. Isabella Angelica, history relates, was beside herself with misery. Enrique also was considerably upset. Together the doomed couple arranged a plan of escape. They flew together to the Villa Morla, a notorious abode of illicit lovers. It was here that the enraged Pedro caught up with them and killed Enrique with a look. Isabella Angelica was then taken against her will to join the Court. At last at Madrid. For two years, Dr. Polata tells us, her heart was numb with anguish; then gradually the life at Court, still at Madrid, began to take effect on her malleable character. She became intensely vicious: much of the sweetness portrayed in Enrique's portrait vanished, leaving her expression cross and occasionally even sullen. All the world knows of her meeting with the Infanta, so we will not dwell upon it. One day her husband died unexpectedly. Cruel-minded courtiers suspected Isabella Angelica, but she was so obviously crushed that their suspicions were allayed. Her heart exulted—she had killed him with a poisoned pen-wiper. No one knew. Poor Isabella Angelica! Her tragic love affair had indeed transformed her from the appealing girl of yesterday to the recklessly unhappy woman of to-day, forced on to the path of cruelty and vice by unlooked-for circumstances. She performed this deed and that with almost mechanical diabolicism; some say she knew not one day from another. In 1597 she was offered an exceedingly good position by the Inquisition, which she immediately accepted. It was, she felt, her only chance of happiness—to have the opportunity of inventing a few good tortures would comfort her; and why not? People of to-day, narrow and unsympathetic, may censure her as being spiteful and unkind, but in those days things were—oh, so different!

She sent for her little brother and had him burnt; this eased the pain at her heart a little. Then her aunt was conveyed to her from Majorca, and on arrival was pierced by several bodkins and ultimately buried in hot tar. Isabella Angelica almost gave vent to a wan smile.

She supervised her father's death, the actual work being performed by her colleagues of the Inquisition. He was cut in moderate-sized snippets and toasted on one side only.

It says much for Isabella Angelica's charm and personality that the populace, in spite of their knowledge of her deeds, one and all adored her—to the end of her life the unstinting love and adulation of all who came in contact with her was hers irretrievably.

It was during the personal mutilation of her third cousin that she caught the influenza cold which cost her her life. Poor, doomed Isabella Angelica: her death-bed was surrounded by heart-broken mourners who had flocked from all parts of sunny Spain to pay tribute to the dying beauty; the Inquisition issued an edict that no eyes were to be put out for a whole week in honour of her.

She died peacefully, clasping an ivory rosary and a faded miniature on elephant's hide, portraying a handsome, debonair young man. Could it have been Enrique Baloona?

Thus lived and died one of Spain's most entrancing specimens of feminine beauty.



MAGGIE McWHISTLE

Born in an obscure Scotch manse of Jacobite parents, Maggie McWhistle goes down to immortality as perhaps the greatest heroine of Scottish history; and perhaps not. We read of her austere Gallic beauty in every record and tome of the period—one of the noble women whose paths were lit for them from birth by Destiny's relentless lamp. What did Maggie know of the part she was to play in the history of her country? Nothing. She lived through her girlhood unheeding; she helped her mother with the baps and her father with the haggis; occasionally she would be given a new plaidie—she who might have had baps, haggis, and plaidies ten thousandfold for the asking. A word must be said of her parents. Her father, Jaimie, known all along Deeside as Handsome Jaimie—how the light-hearted village girls mourned when he turned minister: he was high, high above them. Of his meeting with Janey McToddle, the Pride of Bonny Donside, very little is written. Some say that they met in a snowstorm on Ben Lomond, where she was tending her kine; others say that they met on the high road to Aberdeen and his collie Jeannie bit her collie Jock—thus cementing a friendship that was later on to ripen into more and more—and even Maggie. Some years later they were wed, and Jaimie led his girl-bride to the little manse which was destined to be the birthplace of one of Scotland's saviours. History tells us little of Maggie McWhistle's childhood: she apparently lived and breathed like any more ordinary girl—her griddle cakes were famous adown the length and breadth of Aberdeen. Gradually a little path came to be worn between the manse and the kirk, seven miles away, where Maggie's feet so often trod their way to their devotions. She was intensely religious.

One day a stranger came to Aberdeen. He had braw, braw red knees and bonnie, bonnie red hair. History tells us that on first seeing Maggie in her plaidie he smiled, and that the second time he saw her he guffawed, so light-hearted was he.

One day he called at the manse, chucked Maggie under the chin, and ate one of her baps. Eight years later he came again, and, after tweaking her nose, ate a little haggis. By then something seemed to have told her that he was her hero.

One dark night, so the story runs, there came a hammering on the door. Maggie leapt out of her truckle, and wrapping the plaidie round her, for she was a modest girl, she ran to the window.

"Wha is there?" she cried in Scotch.

The answer came back through the darkness, thrilling her to the marrow:

"Bonnie Prince Charlie!"

Maggie gave a cry, and, running down-stairs, opened the door and let him in. She looked at him in the light shed by her homely candle. His brow was amuck with sweat: he was trembling in every limb; his ears were scarlet.

"What has happened?"

"I am pursued," he replied, hoarse with exertion and weariness. "Hide me, bonnie lassie, hide me, hide me!"

Quick as thought, Maggie hid him behind the door, and not a moment too soon. Then she displayed that strength of will and courage which was to stamp her as a heroine for all time. There came a fresh hammering on the door. Maggie opened it defiantly, and never flinched at the sight of so many brawny men; she only wrapped her plaidie more tightly round her.

"We want Bonnie Prince Charlie," said the leader, in Scotch.

Then came Maggie's well-known answer, also in Scotch.

"Know you not that this is a manse?"

History has it that the man fell back as though struck, and one by one, awed by the still purity of the white-faced girl, the legions departed into the night whence they had come. Thus Maggie McWhistle proved herself the saviour of Bonnie Prince Charlie for the first time.

There were many occasions after that in which she was able to prove herself a heroine for his sake. She would conceal him up the chimney or in the oven at the slightest provocation. Soon there were no trees for thirty miles round in which she had not hidden him at some period or another.[21]

Poor Maggie—perchance she is finding in heaven the peaceful rest which was so lacking in her life on earth. For legend hath it that she never had two consecutive nights' sleep for fifteen years, so busy was she saving Bonnie Prince Charlie.

Then came that great deed which even now finds an exultant echo in the heart of every true Scotsman—that deed which none but a bonnie, hardy Highland lassie could have got away with.... You all know of the massing of James' troops at Carlisle, and later at Glasgow, and later still at Aberdeen. Poor Prince Charlie—so sonsie and braw, a fugitive in his own land—he fled to Loch Morich, followed by Maggie McWhistle in her plaidie, carrying some haggis and baps to comfort him in his exile. History is rather hazy as to exactly what happened; but anyhow, Maggie, with the tattered banner of her country fast unfurling in her heart, decided to save her hero for the last time; and it was well she did not tarry longer, for he was sore pressed. History relates that two tears fell from his eyes on to the shore.[22] Then Maggie, with a brave smile, handed him a bap.

"Eat," she said in Scotch; "you are probably very hungry."

These simple words, spoken straight from her heart, had the effect, so chroniclers inform us, of pulling him together a bit.

"Where can I hide?" he asked.

Maggie looked at him fearlessly for a moment.

"You shall hide in a tree," she cried, with sudden inspiration.

Bonnie Prince Charlie fell on his braw red knees.

"Please," he cried pleadingly, "could it be an elm? I'm so tired of gnarled oaks."

"Yes!" cried the courageous girl exultantly. "Quick, we will trick them yet."

Then came the supreme moment—the act of sheer devotion that was to brand that simple soul through the ages as a noble martyr in, alas! a lost cause. Shading her eyes with her hand, she perceived a legion of the enemy encamped on the one island of which the lonely Gallic loch boasted. Her woman's wit had devised a plan. Flinging baps and haggis to the winds, she leapt into a boat and began to row—you all know the story of that fateful row. Round and round the island she went for three weeks,[23] never heeding her tired arms and weary hands; blisters came and went, but she felt them not; her hat flew off, but the lion-hearted woman never stopped;[24] and all to convince the troops on the island that it was a fleet approaching under the command of Bonnie Prince Charlie. Completely routed, every officer and man swam to the mainland and beat a retreat, and not until the last of them had gone did Maggie relinquish her hold on the creaking oars.

Thus did the strategy of a simple Highland lassie defeat the aims of generals whose hearts and souls had been steeped from birth in the sanguinary ways of war. Of her journey home with the Prince you all know; and what her white-haired father said when she arrived you've heard hundreds of times. There has been a lot of argument as to the exact form the Prince's gratitude took. Some say he unwrapped her plaidie and went away with it; others write that he cut a lock of his braw red hair and gave it to her with his usual merry smile; but the authentic version of that moving scene is that of the burnt scone. Maggie had baked a scone and handed it to him; then, after he had bitten it, he handed it back.

"Nay, lassie, nay," he is said to have remarked. "My purse is empty but my heart is full. Take this scone imprinted by my royal teeth, and treasure it."

Then with a debonair bow and a ready laugh, a mocking shout and whimsical wink, he went out into dreary Galway—a homeless wanderer.

Of Maggie's death very little is known. Some say she died of hay-fever; others say it was nasal catarrh; but only her old mother, with a woman's unerring instinct, guessed the truth: in reality she died of a broken heart and a burnt scone.



THE EDUCATION OF RUPERT PLINGE



Under the blue-grey shadow of the Didcot Bowles bungalow, with beech trees and pussy willows fringing the banks of the river Sippe which runs, or ran before it was dammed, down past old Caesar Earwhacker's bicycle shed, three miles from the village of Sagrada, Conn., to the West and eight miles from Roosefelt under the hill to the North leaving the South free for a Black Rising and the East for the Civil War;—there in the seventeenth cottage, with green shutters, below the bridge—with the pine cones occasionally tap-tapping against the pantry window—owing to a strange combination of circumstances Rupert Plinge's elder sister first saw the light of day. Rupert himself being born ten months later at Guffle Hoe.

Had he been born on the lower reaches of the Yukon and baptised by a remittance man in a Wesleyan Chapel, he would probably not have suffered so acutely from the cold as he did at Guffle Hoe, nor could he have been more persistently victimised and handicapped in after life by bronchial asthma and pyorrhoea of the gums.

Though coldness for a baby was unpleasant in 1870 it was infinitely more tiresome in 1592 and perfectly devastating in 1306. But Guffle Hoe—try to reflect if possible the troglodytic fun of being born within earshot and eyeshot of people such as Granville Boo, General Udby, Ex-President Sumplethock, Senator Mills-Tweeper and Harriet Beecher Stowe; and places such as Mount Knitting, Mudlake West, Pigeon Park and Appleblossom Villa. These influential factors combined were undoubtedly the foundations of the enormous mathematical ability which became apparent long before the boy attained the age of three, but unfortunately for the level development of his mentality, the repulsive plainness of Senator Mills-Tweeper coupled with the innate idiocy of General Udby, completely overshadowed the girlish charm of Harriet Beecher Stowe. Had Rupert been consulted would he have liked playing the game at all—holding the cards in the wrong hand as he did from the very start without the slightest conception of what the game really was and why they were playing it? But it is quite obvious now to anyone looking back over the years that had the cards of his life been shuffled by his Auntie Gracie before her elopement to the Klondyke with Ex-Senator Fortescue, the ultimate stakes would have been immeasurably dissimilar. At this time the harsh political spirit of Guffle Hoe was morally if not physically and perhaps mentally inflamed by the appearance of several tramp steamers in the mouth of the Sippe, a new hay-cart at Oozeworthy Farm, and the flashing of the electrifying news across the newly erected telegraph wires that Peter Rotepillar and Henry Plugg had, apart from their dramatic refusal to enter themselves as candidates for the Presidency, declined to take any further interest in politics at all and had set up a flourishing bee nursery in Bokewood, Mass. This was on a Friday. Rupert was two months old and naturally sensitive—living and sometimes breathing in such a political atmosphere—to the far-reaching effects of such a shattering blow to the constituency. Of all this that was being performed to complicate his education he became suddenly conscious of an innate sense of the roundness of the whole universe. He began to find himself continually oppressed by the protuberant nearness and corresponding magnitude of his mother's face, which grafted itself upon his infant psychology by looming with maddening regularity over his cot and consciousness. The peculiar rotundity of this good woman's countenance seemed to illustrate to the rising sun of his genius the ethics of that science at which—had he but lived seventy years later—he might have become so famous:—Geography.

On September 9th, 1871, he developed croup, which in due course promoted him to one of the first steps of artistic education—Colour.

For several days he hung between life and death, turning an exquisite shade of purple and black as each new coughing fit seized him. This not unusual phenomenon impressed its vivid seal upon the plastic wax of his unfledged memories with extraordinary precision. In after life, for a long while, he was quite unable to gaze at an ordinary muscat grape or a coal-scuttle without either biting his comforter right through or being extremely sick. Naturally this disability coupled with the physical weakness and sense of impotence that he invariably experienced when in the company of his older companions occasioned him much unhappiness; in fact, many of the intense sorrows of his childhood were caused by the thoughtless mockery of his sister Leah Clara, aged nineteen months.

To the uninitiated spectator it would appear when gazing casually at young Rupert Plinge that the psychologically educational environment surrounding him was deeply impregnated with the spirit of political reformation which, though neither Elizabethan in tone nor strictly Cromwellian in atmosphere, was strongly suggestive to the lay mind of the Second Empire. The subconscious force of this abstract influence went far toward moulding the delicate shoots of his rapidly developing mentality into a brilliant knowledge of weights and measures, decimals, and the native population of Borneo.

Whether Rupert was enjoying his rubber comforter on the cool green grass, or on the slightly painful gravel, or on the fiercely hot asphalt, summer was to him a season of unsurpassed sensuality, flooding his character with rich productive thought and a passionate adoration for his great-aunt Maud, who was wont to beguile the long sun-stained hours by lying amid cushions among the foliage, humming "The Star-Spangled Banner," while she removed with the point of her nail-scissors caramels and other adhesive morsels from the gutta-percha plate of her new false teeth which lay in her lap.

With an amazing clarity of perception which, though generally supposed to be inherited from his great-uncle Miles, for fifty-four years Unitarian minister in the Red Lamp district of Honolulu, would undoubtedly in the searching light of twentieth century vision be mainly attributed to prenatal influences and astronomical premonitions, he realised that the atmosphere was exceedingly chilly in the winter.

Later biographists have exposed with somewhat malicious emphasis the one weak point in an otherwise magnificently constructed intelligence—to wit, the peculiar inability to recognise the inner psychology and spiritual determination of his great-grandfather—Bobbie Plinge—who as all the world knows met a tragic death at the hands of Great Brown Spratt, the last but one of the Mohicans, some fifteen years before the birth of Rupert himself. This deficiency in one of the greatest of all American characters was in a measure remedied by his excessive appreciation of his grandfather O'Callaghan Soddle's luxurious house in Boob Street, later on when the abode of stupendous intellect had been completely gutted by fire and soaked in water. The boy Rupert, then aged two years and a fortnight, exercised a fiercely dominant influence upon the ground charts, plans, etc., for the new palatial residence which was soon to rear its mighty pillars and porticos not so very far from the ivy-grown cottage which in the past had on several occasions sheltered the wistful personality of Harriet Beecher Stowe.

The inherent passion for beauty thus crystallized in the mellowing virility of the boy's finely wrought temperament went far toward satisfying his deep-rooted and well-nigh insatiable yearning for city splendour.

In the strange juxtaposition to his unequalled comprehension of national political problems was a surprising streak of frank insouciance and happy-hearted boyishness, which frequently expressed itself in the open defiance of authority in the shape of his great-aunt Maud, his slightly dropsical mother (nee Sheila Soddle) and his two resident cousins, Alexander Chaffinch and Dorothy Bonk, who at moments were entirely unable even to bend the finely tempered steel of his inflexible will, therefore on the one occasion when his decisive plans were unexpectedly frustrated an impression was photographed with extraordinary bas-relief upon his mind of the omnipotence of his quite infirm Grandfather Soddle—and of power as a concrete argument. The incident being the removal of a half-sucked tin soldier from his hand by the subtle device of striking his knuckles sharply with the fire tongs. Then and always the boy insisted that this method of reprimand justified his apparent submission; the emptiness of his hand and the smarting of his knuckles indubitably marking probably the only occasion in his life when all his strategical points abruptly turned inward. Contrary to the suppositions of impartial psychologists, far from breeding the slightest resentment against old Mr. Soddle, this occurrence inspired an active dislike to great-aunt Maud who had indulged in her ever-irritating laugh at his expense. He expressed his natural anger by filling her handkerchief-case with bacon fat, and other boyish revenges of a like nature.

A child whose soaring entity had been nourished and over tended in such an exotic forcing house of accumulated endeavour and democratic emancipation must indubitably have been the first to realise that the austerity of his massive intellect was within measurable distance of completing that predestined cycle of universal knowledge and aspiring ultimately to the glorious pinnacle of political achievement.

Rupert Plinge's fourth birthday had scarce dawned across the hills of time when the long drawn out shadow of earthly obscurity completely enveloped the brightest flower of nineteenth century America. The almost morbid cultivation of his superluminary brain reached its devastating climax while committing to memory the anatomy of the common grub in order to demonstrate to the Eastern constituency the fundamental principles of fiscal autonomy. Lying in his cot, his large pale eyes fixed grimly on a visionary goal, he realised with an intuitive pang that the hour of dismissal was at hand. Calling his mother to him he asked his last illuminating question, his mind groping still in search of truth's flaming beacon:

"Mother, why am I dying?"

Mrs. Plinge leant over him and whispered impressively, "You are dying of dropsy caused by over-education!" And turning on her heel she went slowly out of the room.

Delirium entered the darkening nursery. Rupert, clasping his hot-water bottle raptly, murmured dreamily as he merged into the Great Unknown, the crystallisation of the subconscious influence which had permeated his whole career—

"Dropsy, Dropsy, Topsy, Topsy— Harriet Beecher Stowe."



ANNA PODD



Though of humble origin, though poor and unblessed with any of life's luxuries, Anna Podd made her way in the world with unfaltering determination. The tragedy of her life was perhaps her ambition, but who could blame her for wishing to better herself? She had nothing—nothing but her beauty. What a woman's beauty can do for herself and her country is amply portrayed in the kaleidoscopic pageant of Anna Podd's life. The only existing picture of her (here reproduced) was discovered in Moscow after Ivan Buminoff's well-remembered siege, lasting seventeen years. Poor Anna! Destiny seemed ruthlessly determined to lead her so far and no further. A Tsar loved her, which is more than falls to the lot of some women, yet fate's unrelenting finger was forever placed upon the pulse of her career.

Of her parents nothing is known. We first hear of her in a low cabaret in St. Petersburg West. All night, so Serge Tadski tells us in "Russian Realism," it was her sordid duty to flaunt that exquisite loveliness which Heaven had bestowed upon her before the devouring eyes of every sort and description of Russian man. She was wont to sway rhythmically and sinuously to the crazy band which played for her; now and then, with pain in her heart and a merry laugh on her lips, she would leap onto the tables and snap her fingers indiscriminately.

Often it was her duty to drink off glass after glass of champagne; but she never became inebriated.[25] Her purpose in life was too set—she meant to break away. In Nicholas Klick's "Life of Anna Podd" he states that she met the Tsar at a ball, whence she was hired professionally. This statement is entirely untrue; and I am more than surprised that such a talented man as Klick should have made such a grievous error.

It has been absolutely impossible to unearth the true story of her meeting with the Tsar.

It was after their meeting that the real progress of her career commenced. Her Royal master established her in the palace as serving-maid to the ailing Tsarina, a generous but somewhat tactless act on his part. Somehow or other, history whispers, Anna fell foul of the Tsarina—they simply hated one another. Occasionally the Tsarina would throw hot water over Anna for sheer spite. Poor Anna, her beauty was alike her joy and her terror. The Tsarina, Klick informs us, was somewhat plain, and knew it—hence her distaste for the dazzling Anna.

One day, the Tsarina died—no one knew why. Anna, guileless and innocent enough, was at once suspected by all as having poisoned her, except the Tsar, who, to avert further suspicion, promptly created her Duchess of Poddoff. This mark of royal esteem had the effect of quieting the people for a while at least. Life went on much as usual at the Royal Palace. Anna was kept in close seclusion for safety's sake. The Tsar loved her with a steady, burning devotion which caused him to have all his children by the Tsarina rechristened "Anna," indiscriminately of sex.

One day a messenger arrived in blue and yellow uniform[26] to bid the Tsar gird himself for war. When the luckless Anna heard the news, she was with her women (all ladies of title): some say she swooned; others aver that she merely sat down rather suddenly. Fate had indeed dealt her a smashing blow. Once her Imperial lover left her side she would at once be taken prisoner and flung God knows where. This she knew instinctively, intuitively. Klick describes for us her dramatic scene with the Tsar.

"He was just retiring to bed," he writes, "preparatory to making an early start the next morning, when the door burst open, and Anna, tear-stained and sobbing, threw herself into the room and, hurling herself to the bed, flung herself at his feet, which, owing to his immensity of stature, were protruding slightly over the end of the mattress. 'Take me with you!' she cried repeatedly. 'No, no, no!' replied the Tsar, equally repeatedly. At length, worn out by her pleading, the poor woman fell asleep. It was dawn when the Tsar, stepping over her recumbent form, bade her a silent good-bye and went out to face unknown horror. Half an hour later Anna was flung into a dungeon, preceding her long and tiring journey to Siberia."

Thus Klick describes for us the pulsating horror of perhaps one of the most pitiful nights in Russian history.

In those days the journey to Siberia was infinitely more wearisome than it is now. Poor Anna! She was conveyed so far in a litter, and so far in a sleigh, and when the prancing dogs grew tired she had perforce to walk. Heaven indeed have pity on those unfortunate women from whom the eye of an Emperor has been removed.

For thirty long years Anna slaved in Siberia. She drew water from the well, swept the floor of the crazy dwelling wherein she lived, lit the fire, and polished the samovar when necessary. In her heart the bird of hope occasionally fluttered a draggled wing: would he send for her—would he? If only the war were ended! But no! Rumours came of fierce fighting near Itchbanhar, where the troops of General Codski were quartered. It was, of course, the winter following the fearful siege of Mootch. According to Brattlevitch in Volume II. of "War and Why," the General had arranged three battalions in a "frat" or large semi-circle, in the comparative shelter of a "boz" or low-lying hill, in order to cover the stealthy advance of several minor divisions who were thus able to execute a miraculous "yombott" or flank movement, so as to gain the temporary vantage ground of an adjacent "bluggard" or coppice. All this, of course, though having nothing material to do with the life of Anna Podd, goes to show the reader what a serious crisis Russia was going through at the time.

It was fifteen years after peace was declared that the Tsar sent a messenger to Siberia commanding Anna's immediate release and return, and also conferring upon her the time-honoured title of Podski. Anna was hysterical with joy, and filled herself a flask of vodka against the journey home. Poor Anna—she was destined never to see St. Petersburg again.

It was while they were changing sleighs at a wayside inn that she was attacked by a "mipwip" or white wolf,[27] which consumed quite a lot of the hapless woman before anyone noticed.

Brattlevitch tells us that the Tsar was utterly dazed by this cruel bereavement. He had Anna's remains embalmed with great pomp and buried in a public park, where they were subsequently dug up by frenzied anarchists.[28] He also conferred upon her in death the deeds and title of Poddioskovitch, thus proving how a poor cabaret girl rose to be one of the greatest ladies in the land.



SOPHIE, UNCROWNED QUEEN OF HENRY VIII



Contemporary history tell us little of Sophie, later chronicles tell us still less, while the present-day historians know nothing whatever about her. It is only owing to concentrated research and indomitable patience that we have succeeded in unearthing a few facts which will serve to distinguish her from that noble band of unknown heroines who have lived, paid the price, and died, unnoted and unsung!

She was born at Esher. The name of her parents it has been impossible to discover, and as to what part of Esher she first inhabited we are also hopelessly undecided.

As a child some say she was merry and playful, while others describe her as solemn and morose. The reproduction on page 170 is from an old print discovered by some ardent antiquaries hanging upside down in a disused wharf at Wapping.

It was obviously achieved when she was somewhere between the ages of twenty and forty. The unknown artist has caught the fleeting look of ineffable sadness, as though she entertained some inward premonition of her destiny and her spirit was rebelling dumbly against what was inevitable.

Esher in those days was but a tiny hamlet—a few houses clustered here, and a few more clustered there. London, then a graceful city set upon a hill, could be seen on a clear day from the northernmost point of Esher. On anything but a clear day it was, of course, impossible to see it at all. Esher is now, and always has been, remarkable for its foliage. In those days, when the spring touched the earth with its joyous wand, all the trees round and about the village blossomed forth into a mass of green. The river wound its way through verdant meadows and pastures. In winter-time—providing that the frost was very strong—it would become covered in ice, thus forming a charming contrast to early spring and late autumn, when the rain was wont to transform it into a swirling torrent, which often, so historians tell us, rose so high that it overflowed its banks and caused much alarm to the inhabitants of Esher proper. We do not use the expression "Esher proper" from any prudish reason, but merely because Little Esher, a mile down the road, might in the reader's mind become a factor to promote muddle if we did not take care to indicate clearly its close proximity.

Esher, owing to its remarkable superabundance of trees, was in summertime famous for its delightful variety of birds: magpies, jackdaws, thrushes and wagtails, in addition to the usual sparrows and tom-tits, were seen frequently; occasionally a lark or a starling would charm the villagers with its song.

The soil of Esher, contrary to the usual supposition, was not as fertile as one could have wished. Often, unless planted at exactly the right time, fruit and vegetables would refuse to grow at all. The main road through Esher proper, passing later through Little Esher, was much used by those desiring to reach Portsmouth or Swanage or any of the Hampshire resorts. Of course, travellers wishing to visit Cromer or Southend or even Felixstowe would naturally leave London by another route entirely.

Dick Turpin was frequently seen tearing through Esher, with his face muffled, and a large hat and a long cloak, riding a horse, at night—there was no mistaking him.

According to Sophie's diary, written by her every day with unfailing regularity for thirty-five years, she always just missed seeing Dick Turpin. This was apparently a source of great grief to her; often she would pause by the roadside and weep gently at the thought of him. Poor Sophie! One was to ride along that very road who was destined to mean much more to her than bold Dick Turpin. But we anticipate.

It was perhaps early autumn that saw Esher at its best—how brown everything was, and yet, in some cases, how yellow! As a hunting centre it was very little used, though occasionally a stag or wild boar would, like Dick Turpin, pass through it.

One evening, when the trees were soughing in the wind and the sun had sunk to rest, Sophie went out with her basket. It was too late to buy anything, but she felt the need of air; not that the basket was necessary in order to obtain this, but somehow she felt she couldn't bear to be without it, such a habit had it become. The darkness was rapidly drawing in. Sophie paused and spoke to a frog she saw in a puddle; it didn't answer, so she passed on.

Suddenly she heard from the direction of London the sound of hoofs! "Dick Turpin!" her heart cried, and she at once commenced to climb an elm the better to see him pass; but it was not Dick Turpin—it was a shorter man with a beard. On seeing the intrepid girl, he reined in his roan chestnut-spotted filly. "Hi!" he cried. Sophie slowly climbed down. "Who are you?" she asked, after she had dusted the bark from her fichu. "Henry the Eighth!" cried the man with a ready laugh, and, leaping off his charger, took her in his arms. "Oh, sire!" she said, and would have swooned but that his strength upheld her. History tells us little about that interview. Suffice to say that later on Sophie walked gravely back to Esher proper, alas! without her basket, but carrying proudly in her hand a brooch cunningly wrought into the shape of a raspberry.

It is known as an authentic fact that Sophie never saw her Royal lover again. He rode away that night, perhaps to Woking, perhaps to Virginia Water—who knows?

Sophie lived on in Esher until the age of thirty-nine, when she was taken to London and flung into the Tower, where she remained a closely guarded prisoner for a year. Every one loved her and used to visit her in her cell. She was exceedingly industrious, and managed to get through quite a lot of tatting during her captivity.

The day of her execution dawned fair over St. Paul's Cathedral. Sophie in her little cell rose early and turned her fichu. "Why do you do that?" asked the gaoler. "Because I am going to meet my end," Sophie gently replied. The man staggered dumbly away, fighting down the lump which would come in his hardened throat.

When the time came Sophie left her cell with a light step. She walked to Tower Hill amidst a body of Beefeaters. "The way is long," she said bravely. Every Beefeater bowed his head.

There was a dense crowd round the scaffold. Sophie heeded them not; she ran girlishly up the steps to where the executioner was leaning on his axe. "Where do I put my head?" she asked simply. The executioner pointed to the block. "There!" said he. "Where did you think you put it?" Sophie reproved him with a look and knelt down. Then she gazed sweetly at the gaoler, who for a year had stinted her in everything. "The past is buried," she said sweetly. "To you I bequeath my tatting!" With these charitable words still hovering on her lips, she laid her head upon the fatal block; from that trying position she threw the executioner a dumb look. "Do your duty, my friend," she said, and shut her eyes and her mouth.

Mastering his emotion with an effort, the headsman raised his axe; through a mist of tears, it fell.



"LA BIBI"



Hortense Poissons—"La Bibi," What memories that name conjures up! The incomparable—the lightsome—the effervescent—her life a rose-coloured smear across the history of France—her smile—tier upon tier of sparkling teeth—her heart, that delicate organ for which kings fought in the streets like common dukes—but enough; let us trace her to her obscure parentage. You all know the Place de la Concorde—she was not born there. You have all visited the Champs Elysees—she was not born there. And there's probably no one who doesn't know of the Faubourg St. Honore—but she was not born there. Sufficient to say that she was born. Her mother, poor, honest, gauche, an unpretentious seamstress; she seamed and seamed until her death in 1682 or 1683: Bibi, at the age of ten, flung on to the world homeless, motherless, with nothing but her amazing beauty between her and starvation or worse. Who can blame her for what she did—who can question or condemn her motives? She was alone. Then Armand Brochet (who shall be nameless) entered the panorama of her career. What was she to do—refuse the roof he offered her? This waif (later on to be the glory of France), this leaf blown hither and thither by the winds of Destiny—what was she to do? Enough that she did.

Paris, a city of seething vice and corruption—her home, the place wherein she danced her first catoucha, that catoucha which was so soon to be followed by her famous Japanese schottische, and later still by her celebrated Peruvian minuet. Voltaire wrote a lot, but he didn't mention her; Jean Jacques Rousseau scribbled hours, but never so much as referred to her; even Moliere was so reticent on the subject of her undoubted charms that no single word about her can be found in any of his works.[29]

Her life with Armand Brochet (who shall still be nameless) three years before she stepped on to the boards—how well we all know it! Her famous epigram at the breakfast table: "Armand, my friend, this egg is not only soft—but damn soft." How that remark convulsed Europe!

Her first appearance on the stage was in Paris, 1690, at the Opera. Bovine writes of her: "This airy, fairy thing danced into our hearts; her movements are those of a gossamer gadfly—she is the embodiment of spring, summer, autumn and winter." By this one can clearly see that in a trice she had Paris at her feet—and what feet! Pierre Dugaz, the celebrated chiropodist, describes them for us. "They were ordinary flesh colour," he tells us, "with blue veins, and toe-nails which, had they not been cut in time, would have grown several yards long and thus interfered with her dancing."

What a sidelight on her character!—gay, bohemian, care-free as a child, not even heeding her feet, her means of livelihood. Oh, Bibi—"Bibi Coeur d'Or," as she was called so frequently by her multitudinous adorers—would that in these mundane days you could revisit us with your girlish laugh and supple dancing form! Look at the portrait of her, painted by Coddle at the height of her amazing beauty: note the sensitive nostrils, the delicate little mouth, and those eyes—the gayest, merriest eyes that ever charmed a king's heart; and her hair—that "mass of waving corn," as Bloodworthy describes it in his celebrated book of "International Beauties." But we must follow her through her wonderful life—destined, if not to alter the whole history of France, why not?

After her appearance in Paris she journeyed to Vienna, where she met Herman Veigel: you all know the story of that meeting, so I will not enlarge upon it—enough that they met. It was, of course, before he wrote his "Ode to an Unknown Flower" and "My Gretchen has Large Flat Ears," poems which were destined to live almost forever. Bibi left Vienna and journeyed to London—London, so cold and grim after Paris the Gay and Vienna the Wicked. In her letter to Madame Perrier she says, "My dear—London's awful"; and "Ludgate Circus—I ask you!" But still, despite her dislike of the city itself, she stayed for eight years, her whole being warmed by the love and adulation of the populace. She appeared in the ballet after the opera. "Her dancing," writes Follygob, "is unbelievable, incredible; she takes one completely by surprise—her butterfly dance was a revelation." This from Follygob. Then Henry Pidd wrote of her, "She is a woman." This from H. Pidd!

Then back to Paris—home, the place of her birth. Fresh conquests. In November, 1701, she introduced her world-famed Bavarian fandango, which literally took Paris by storm—it was in her dressing-room afterward that she made her celebrated remark to Maria Pippello (her only rival). Maria came ostensibly to congratulate her on her success, but in reality to insult her. "Ma petite," she said, sneering, "l'hibou est-il sur le haie?" Quick as thought Bibi turned round and replied with a gay toss of her curls, "Non, mais j'ai la plume de ma tante!" Oh, witty, sharp-tongued Bibi! A word must be said of the glorious ballets she originated which charmed France for nearly thirty years. There were "Life of a Rain Drop," "Hope Triumphant," and "Angels Visiting Ruined Monastery at Night." This last was an amazing creation for one so uneducated and uncultured as La Jolie Bibi; people flocked to the Opera again and again in order to see it and applaud the ravishing originator. Then came her meeting with the King in his private box. We are told she curtsied low, and, glancing up at him coyly from between her bent knees, gave forth her world-renowned epigram, "Comment va, Papa?" Louis was charmed by this exquisite exhibition of drollery and diablerie, and three weeks later she was brought to dance at Versailles. This was a triumph indeed—La Belle Bibi was certainly not one to miss opportunities. A month later she found herself installed at Court—the King's Right Hand. Then began that amazing reign of hers—short lived, but oh, how triumphant, dukes, duchesses, countesses, even princes, paying homage at the feet of La Bibi the dancer, now Hortense, Duchesse de Mal-Moulle! Did she abuse her power? Some say she did, some say she didn't; some say she might have, some say she might not have; but there is no denying that her beauty and gaiety won every heart that was brought into contact with her. Every afternoon regularly Louis was wont to visit her by the private staircase to her apartments; together they would pore over the maps and campaigns of war drawn up and submitted by the various generals. Then when Louis was weary Bibi would put the maps in the drawer, draw his head onto her breast, and sing to him songs of her youth, in the attractive cracked voice that was the bequest of her mother who used to sing daily whilst she seamed and seamed. Meanwhile, intrigue was placing its evil fingers upon the strings of her fate. Lampoons were launched against her, pasquinades were written of her; when she went out driving, fruit and vegetables were often hurled at her. Thus were the fickle hearts of the people she loved turned against their Bibi by the poisonous tongues of those jealous courtiers who so ardently sought her downfall.

You all know the pitiful story of her fall from favour—how the King, enraged by the stories he had heard of her, came to her room just as she was going to bed.

"You've got to go," he said.

"Why?" she answered.

History writes that this ingenuous remark so unmanned him that his eyes filled with tears, and he dashed from the room, closing the door after him in order that her appealing eyes might not cause him to deflect from his purpose.

Poor Bibi—your rose path has come to an end, your day is nearly done. Back to Paris, back to the squalor and dirt of your early life. Bibi, now in her forty-seventh year, with the memories of her recent splendours still in her heart, decided to return to the stage, to the public who had loved and feted her. Alas! she had returned too late. Something was missing—the audience laughed every time she came on, and applauded her only when she went off. Oh, Bibi, Bibi Coeur d'Or, even now in this cold age our hearts ache for you. Volauvent writes in the Journal of the period: "Bibi can dance no longer." Veaux caps it by saying "She never could," while S. Kayrille, well known for his wit and kindly humour, reviewed her in the Berlin Gazette of the period by remarking, in his customarily brilliant manner, "She is very plain and no longer in her first youth." This subtle criticism of her dancing, though convulsing the Teutonic capital, was in reality the cause of her leaving the stage and retiring with her one maid to a small house in Montmartre, where history has it she petered out the last years of her eventful career.

Absinthe was her one consolation, together with a miniature of Louis in full regalia. Who is this haggard wretch with still the vestiges of her wondrous beauty discernible in her perfectly moulded features?—not La Belle Bibi! Oh, Fate—Destiny—how cruel are you who guided her straying feet through the mazes of life! Why could she not have died at her zenith—when her portrait was painted?

But still her gay humour was with her to the end. As she lay on her crazy bed, surrounded by priests, she made the supreme and crowning bon mot of her brilliant life. Stretching out her wasted arm to the nearly empty absinthe bottle by her bed, she made a slightly resentful moue and murmured "Encore une!"

Oh, brave, witty Bibi!



AH! AH! QUEEN OF THE RUDE ISLANDS



The "Rude" Islands! what a thrill that name awakes in the heart of every wanderer—lying as they do in the very heart of the rolling Pacific. Was it two or three hundred years ago that brave Joshua Mortlake discovered and christened them? History has it that he was standing on the poop deck of his schooner the "Whoops-a-Daisy" when he first beheld those pocket Paradises of the Pacific. He shaded his eyes with his hand and turned to his bosom friend—Eagle Trott:

"What exactly do those islands remind you of?" he asked.

Eagle looked down bashfully. "I'd rather not say," he replied.

At this Joshua slapped him heartily on the back.

"Stap me," he cried, using a colloquialism of the period, "if I do not name them the Rude Islands." And from that moment they have been known as nothing else.

To attempt to describe the wild untameable beauty of the coast scenery would be almost as absurd as to endeavour to portray the seductive sensuality and exotic perfection of the interior landscapes—but a brief catalogue of some of the outstanding horticultural marvels will do no harm to anyone and perhaps convey to the lay mind a slight conception of the atmosphere in which Ah! Ah! was born and bred. For instance, the flowering kaia-ooh! with its exquisite perfume (suggestive of the Californian Poppy), the veemuawees (a small hard fruit suggestive of the oak apple), and the perennial "Pooh!" (merely suggestive) all combined to enwrap the infant Ah! Ah! in a somnolent cocoon of sensual languidness, from which in after life she was hard put to it to escape. To say that her dazzling beauty completely hypnotised any native for miles round into instant submission—would perhaps be exaggerating; but if one is to judge from the accounts of contemporary chroniclers she was undoubtedly attractive.

For those interested in queer native traditions and legends, the origin of her name must indeed prove an instructive object lesson—intermingling as it does the austerity and reproach of the North with the quaint domestic charm of the further South. The story runs thus:

When quite a child this lithe supple young thing was as full of mischief and engaging roguery as any tortoiseshell kitten—with elfin glee her favourite sport was to fill her grandmother's bed with "ouliaries" (Good God! berries, so called because on sudden contact with bare flesh they burst with a loud explosion causing the victim to shout "Good God!" from sheer surprise). For three months this winsome game went undetected until one day her mother—Kia-oopoo—discovered her creeping in at her grandmother's door with a basket full of "ouliaries." Catching her daughter by the scruff of the neck she proceeded to administer several sharp slaps with great precision—the while murmuring "Ah! Ah!" in tones of rebuke. And thus, we are informed, was originated a name that was destined to be handed down to every reigning queen of the Rude Islands until the devastating tidal wave of 1889.

Ah! Ah!'s childhood was spent running completely wild with her three sisters "Beaoui" (meaning "Heavens Above"), "Sua-sua" (meaning "Shut your Face") and young "Goop" (meaning in American "Park your Fanny" and in English, "Sit Down").

Through the long languid sunny hours they would romp in the "lovieeah" (long grass), or play "uou" (toss the cocoa-nut) in the "haeeiuol" (short grass). On moonlight nights when the tide was high they would fish from the reef—catching generally either "youis" (the Pacific haddock) or merely the common "choop" (or dab). Life was one long round of sport and play—until one day—to quote Hans Burdle in his world-famed book of Travel, "Set Sail ahoy" "the radiant Ah! Ah! awoke and found herself to be a woman—with a woman's joys, a woman's sorrows and withal the touch of a woman's hand."

From that moment life in the Rude Islands became a different matter. No more was she to paddle in the "ku-ku" (small stream or rivulet) or chase the playful "erieuah" (or hooped snake, which when pursued by its enemies executes the most peculiar antics eventually disappearing amid a cloud of smoke). The responsibilities of a greater existence were suddenly thrust upon her—she was crowned queen.

The story of the unexpected arrival of a Presbyterian missionery in the midst of her coronation feast is too well known to repeat—and the tale of the landing of eight Bhuddist monks during the christening of her first child is now so hackneyed as to be irritating; therefore we will skip the minor incidents of the early part of her reign and mention a few of the progressive improvements on existing conditions which found their source in her tireless and fertile brain.

To begin with she abolished the "plozza" (or notched club), substituting in its place the "sneep" (a subtle instrument of torture which by means of the sudden expenditure of the breath would cover one's enemies with "noonies") (or red ants).

Then, though flying in the face of time-honoured tradition, the courageous woman completely forbade cannibalism among blood relations; condemning this practice under the heading of "gavonah" (or incestuous conduct) and thereby putting an end to many rowdy Sunday evenings.

Not content with these vast changes in the fundamental Island habits she concentrated her unfailing energies on the reformation of the marriage laws, which at that time were in a deplorably decadent condition, and encouraged with all her might the trade of "fuahs" and "aeious" (nose rings and hair tidies) with the "Bauoacha" Islands a few miles off. Until the ripe age of eighty-seven she ruled her subjects trustingly and lovingly—yet withal firmly—earning for herself from all the British traders the nickname of "Queen Bess of the Pacific."

After her death her eldest illegitimate son, Boo-ah (Goodness Gracious) ascended the throne, and—if we are to believe Professor Furch's "With Dusky Friends"—went far towards undoing the unbelievable good worked by his unflinching mother.

* * *

I have included Ah! Ah! in these memoirs—in the face of almost overwhelming opposition (mainly on account of race prejudice) in the first place because she was as beautiful and authoritative as any of the European queens—and secondly because Ah! Ah! for me stands for something ineffably noble, inspiring—not perhaps for what she has done—maybe more for the things she left undone.



GLOSSARY

BALOONA, ENRIQUE. Artist and dilettante, famous for his "Portrait of Isabella Angelica," "Spanish Peaks," and "Half-Caste Child with Orange."

BEN-HEPPLE, NICHOLAS. Eighteenth century historian. Author of "Julie de Poopinac" (17 vols.).

BLOODWORTHY, STEPHEN. Author of "International Beauties," "Then and Now," and "Now and Then."

BOGTOE, DOUGLAS. Company promoter and basket-work expert.

BONK, DOROTHY. First cousin to Rupert Plinge—incidentally the first New England girl to say "Gosh!"

BOO, A. RANVILLE. Celebrated XIXth century sanitary inspector.

BOTTIBURGEN, HANS VON. Science master, Munich College. Author of "Our Women," "Do Actresses Mind Much?" and "Life of Fritz Schnotter" (3 vols.).

BOTTLE, ELIZABETH. Adapter and translator of several works of the period.

BOVINE, GUSTAVE. Author of "French without Tears" and "Vive les Vacances," etc.

BOWLES, EARL. "Intellects of the Hour," "Cheese Cookery in All Its Branches."

BRAMP, B. F. "America in Sunshine and Shadow," "Pinafore Days."

BRAMP, NORMAN. Author of "Up and Away," "Reynard, the Story of a Fox," "Tantivoy," and "Female Influence and Why?" (5 vols.).

BRAMPENRICH, FRITZ. German historian.

BRATTLEVITCH, BORIS. Russian author. Books: "War and Why," "Women of Russia." Several good cooking recipes.

BUG, REGINALD. Actor—occasional property man. Parts he played: "Romeo," "Bottom," "Third Guest" in "The Berlin Girl," "Norman" in "Oh, Charles—a Satire on the Massacre of Saint Bartholomew," and others. Hobbies: Cup-and-ball, tilting, and fretwork.

BURDLE, HANS. Bulgarian author; Works: "Set Sail Ahoy," "Abaft," "Belay," etc.

CABALLERO, BASTA. Actor and founder of Shakespearean Theatre in Barcelona.

CAMPANELE, VITTORIO. Florentine engraver, "Early Portrait of Bianca di Pianno-Forti," "Raised Pansies on China Plaque," etc.

CAMPBELL, OLAF. Keen angler and piscatorial expert.

CARLINI, ANGELO. Italian actor—formerly plumber during the Renaissance.

CHADDLE, ESME. Daughter of Avery Chaddle, and subsequently Mrs. J. D. Spout.

CHAFFINCH, ALEXANDER. Second cousin to Rupert Plinge; second man to say "Gee!" in Virginia.

CHUGGSKI, DIMITRI. Russian actor.

CODDLE, HUMPHREY. Artist, well known for his "Cows Grazing outside Dover," "Playmates," and "Daddy's Darling."

CRONK, OSWALD, BART. Painter of "Madcap Moll, Eighth Duchess of Wapping," "Pine Trees near Ascot," and "Esther Lollop as 'Cymbeline.'"

DENTIFRICE, PIERRE. Actor—French (early).

DUGAZ, PIERRE. Court chiropodist, seventeenth century. Author of "Feet and Fashion," "The Valley of Waving Corns," etc.

EARWHACKER, CAESAR. Owner of Old World Bicycle Shed.

FIBINIO, PIETRO. Italian—author of "Bianca," "God Bless the Pope," etc.

FLOOP, RICHARD. "Spout, the Man" (3 vols.); "The Girls of Marley Manor" and "Janet's Prank."

FOLLYGOB, ALAN. English Dramatic Critic. Clubs: "The Union Jack" and "The What-Ho" in Jermyn Street.

FORTESCUE, EX-SENATOR. Celebrated for eloping with Rupert Plinge's Auntie Gracie.

FRAPPLE, ERNEST. "Amy Snurge, A Grand Woman" (2 vols.) and a political satire, "Don't Vote Till Tuesday!"

FURCH, PROFESSOR, "With Dusky Friends" and "Where Palm Trees Sway."

GERPHIPPS, RONALD. Very old Scotch painter—famous for "Portrait of Maggie McWhistle," "Evening on Loch Lomond," and "Glasgow, my Glasgow!"

GOETHE. Obscure German author. Suspected of having written "Faust."

GOODGE, ALBERT. Friend of Nicholas Kewee.

GROBMEYER, CARL. Early German etcher.

GRUNDELHEIM, PAUL. German author and historian. Principal works: "Toilers who have Toiled," "Women of Wurtemburg," and "Byways of the Black Forest."

HOOTER, FREDDIE. Renowned for physical appearance but flat feet.

HOSPER, SHOLTO Z. "Jake the Climber" (7 vols.) and "Diet or Die."

KAYRILLE, SIEGFRIED. Born in Berlin, 1670. Disappointed playwright, and subsequent art critic.

KEWEE, NICHOLAS. Friend of Albert Goodge.

KLICK, NICHOLAS. Russian—author of "Life of Anna Podd" (6 vols.), and "Was Ivan Terrible?"

KUMP, H. MACKENZIE. Keen philanthropist and insatiable globe-trotter.

LINCOLN, ABRAHAM. President and man.

MACTWEED, SANDY. Scotch actor of some note.

MARY, BLOODY. Queen of England.

METTLETHORP, RUPERT. Compiler of "Asiatic Soldiery" (23 vols.).

MILLS-TWEEPER, SENATOR. Famed for hideousness, but kind-hearted and a great insect lover.

MORTLAKE, JOSHUA. Explorer and discoverer of the Rude Islands.

PIDD, HENRY. Severe dramatic critic—English.

PIPPER, HERMAN. "Poor Puffwater,—A Brown Study."

PLIGGER, STEVE MONTESPAN. "The Fall of a Bloated Aristocrat," "Crab Apples," "Deadly Nightshade," "Don't Tell Aunt Hester," "Under the Moon, or Revels by a Dutch Canal," "America From Behind"; Books of Verse: "Adown the Ganges," "The First Primrose," "Pussy, Pussy, Lap Your Milk" and "Raspberry Time."

PLINGE, BOBBIE. Killed during Red Indian foray by Great Brown Spratt.

PLINGE, MILES. Unitarian minister in Red Lamp District, Honolulu.

PLUGG, HENRY. One time candidate for the Presidency, subsequently successful bee-farmer.

POLATA, JOSE. Professor—Spanish. Author of "From Girl to Woman," "Spanish Olives, and How," etc., etc.

POLIOLIOLI, GIUSEPPE. Author of "Women of Italy" and "Nelly of Naples," a musical comedy of the period.

PRICKLEBOTT, HARVEY. Editor of "Art in the Home" and "Mother Week by Week."

PROON, BERNARD. Well-known speaker, intimate friend of Roosevelt's brother-in-law.

PUNTER, AUGUSTUS. Seventeenth century painter, famous for "Sarah, Lady Tunnell-Penge, with Dog," "Gravesend by Night," and various crayon portraits, notably "A Merry Girl" and "The Drowsy Sentry."

ROOSEVELT, THEODORE. Man and President.

ROTEPILLAR, PETER. Friend of Henry Plugg and author and compiler of "Algebra with Many a Laugh!"

ROUSSEAU, JEAN JACQUES. French writer of some note. See Carlyle's "French Revolution."

SCHNOTTER, FRITZ. German actor, sixteenth century.

SHEEPMEADOW, EDGAR. English writer—author of "Beds and their Inmates" (18 vols.), "The Corn Chandler," "Women Large and Women Small" (10 vols.).

SODDLE, O'CALLAGHAN. Gentleman architect of the XIXth century.

SPRATT, GREAT BROWN. Indian of the period.

STOWE, HARRIET BEECHER. Author of "Uncle Tom's Cabin."

SUMPLETHOCK, EX-PRESIDENT. Spaniel trainer and "raconteur."

TADSKI, SERGE. Early, fairly. Russian. Author and compiler of the following: "Russian Realism," "Natural Mammals of the Steppes," "Flora and Fauna of Siberia," etc., and light verse.

THROTCH, ESTHER. Well-known XXth century "literateur."

TOSSELE, YVONNE, MME. First female mezzotinter of the Revolutionary Era.

TROTT, EAGLE. Mate and pal of Joshua Mortlake.

TURPIN, DICK. Highwayman—English. Inventor of straw sun hats for hot horses.

UDEY, GENERAL. Congenital idiot of the XIXth century (and very mean).

VEAUX, PAUL. Art critic—Paris.

VEIGEL, HERMAN. German poet—famous for "Twilight Fancies," "There was a Garden," and "Collected Poems, including 'The Ballad of Crazy Bertha.'"

VOLAUVENT, ARMAND. Art critic—Paris.

VOLTAIRE (Christian name unknown). Old writer—French.

WAFFLE, RAYMOND. Georgian writer. Author of "Our Dogs," "Canine Cameos," and "Pretty Rover, the Story of a Boarhound."

WEEDHEIN, H. "Columbia, Beware!" (8 vols.).



PRESS NOTICES

CLAGMOUTH CHRONICLE: "A book to be taken up and put down again."

EAST BROMLEY ADVERTISER: "This is a book!"

THE GIRLS' GLOBE: "Every young girl should read this."

Doctor Cheval in ADVICE TO A MOTHER: "No bedside table is complete without 'Terribly Intimate Portraits.'"

Joe Bogworth in CAPITAL AND LABOUR says: "This book is perhaps the greatest power for good or evil in democratic England or aristocratic America either, for that matter. Though obviously the work of a thinker, should it by any chance fall into the wrong hands it would go far towards undermining not only the League of Nations, but the London County Council to boot!"

Aunt Hilda in FIRESIDE FUN says: "Darling chicks, get your mumsie to buy you 'Terribly Intimate Portraits' for your birthday."

Lady Minerva Stuffe in UNDIES writes: "Well-dressed women will eagerly peruse these fascinating memoirs."

THE PLAYING FIELD: "'Chaps'! Read this book."

THE POLITICAL GAZETTE: "Well done, Noel Coward! Bravo, Lorn Macnaughtan!"

Herr von Grob in THE AUSTRIAN TYROL: "Gott in Himmel!"

CHICKEN CHAT: "I advise keen poultry keepers to buy and read 'Terribly Intimate Portraits.'"

CRI DE PARIS: "Ce livre n'est pas seulement stupide, mais c'est excessivement irritant, et absolument sans humeur." (Translation: "This book is not only charming, but it is excessively entertaining and brilliantly humorous.")

CLAYBANK COURIER: "Once read—never forgotten."

WIGAN WORLD: "Splendid for those just learning to read."

BOXING WEEKLY: "Dam' good!"

WHAT THE AMERICAN PRESS MAY SAY:

VANITY FAIR: "A book for ladies and gentlemen."

NEW YORK TIMES: "This book treats a delicate theme in the most indelicate fashion possible."

THE DIAL: "The parabolics are unevenly balanced."

George Jean Nathan: "Eugene O'Neill remains our only dramatist."

LIFE: "Noel Coward's first and best book."

PAPER TRADE JOURNAL: "The sulphite used in the paper of 'Terribly Intimate Portraits' is of excellent quality."

JUDGE: "Two hundred and twelve pages."

REVIEW OF REVIEWS: "Some of it is better than the rest."

THE WORLD: "H. the 3d says that this book makes better paper dolls than any he has read for a long time."

FOOTNOTES:

[1] Famous for being the means of introducing hornless cattle into the Gironde.

[2] Nicholas Ben-Hepple declares that he married her solely on account of her "dot"!

[3] The extracts here quoted translated by Elizabeth Bottle.

[4] Lord Edmunde Budde married the notorious Gertrude Pippin: see "Family Failings," by Bloody Mary.

[5] See Norman Bramp's "Female Influence, and Why," Vol. V.

[6] It has never yet been ascertained exactly why Madcap Moll rode to Norwich, but many conjectures have been hazarded.

[7] Poliolioli contends that there were five hundred and eighty-five guests. This, I think, may be treated as a moot point.

[8] October 14th. Poliolioli contests that it was the 17th, but this, I venture to say, is even a "mooter" point than the other.

[9] Excavated B.C. 8.

[10] Periodicals:—"The Corn Chandler," by Sheepmeadow; "Sidelights on the Salic Law," Anonymous; "The Stage versus the Church," edited alternately by Nell Gwyn and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

[11] Two years before Punter's portrait.

[12] "Beds and their Inmates," Vol. III., by Edgar Sheepmeadow (18 vols).

[13] These are all in the Brighton Aquarium.

[14] At Pragg Castle, near Hull.

[15] See Sheepmeadow's "Heroines and their Diseases."

[16] Von Bottiburgen, science master at the Munich College, author and compiler of the following:—"Our Women"; "Do Actresses Mind Much?"; "Life of Fritz Schnotter."

[17] For example, "Spout the Man," 3 vols.—Richard Floop; "Jake the Climber," 7 vols.—Sholto Z. Hosper.

[18] "Fruit as a Decoration," "With Shaggy Four Legged Playmates" and "Bhuddism as Opposed to Electricity."

[19] Spanish equivalent to "tag" or "he."

[20] Bolawalla—Spanish equivalent for "mullet."

[21] Bloodworthy says: "It was her fond boast that she never hid him in the same tree twice."

[22] Bloodworthy, in telling the story, says that only one tear fell; but Bloodworthy, brilliant recorder as he was, was occasionally prejudiced.

[23] The reproduction on page 134 from the celebrated picture by Gerphipps—in oils at the National Gallery, in water colour at the Tate Gallery, and in Paripan at the Edinburgh Art Museum.

[24] The picture represents Maggie at the end of the second week.

[25] Except on one occasion. For particulars, see Boris Brattlevitch's "Women of Russia."

[26] According to Mettlethorp's "Asiatic Soldiery," Vol. VII.

[27] See Tadski's "Natural Mammals of the Steppes."

[28] During the celebrated rising in 1682.

[29] For full reference, see Dulwich Library—'buses Nos. 48 and 75 and L.C.C. trams; change at Camberwell Green.

Previous Part     1  2
Home - Random Browse