Wednesday, September 30, 2009

September 30, 1936

Oh, my darlings, how I miss you all! How long since I’ve been away! And how I long for you all. And home. As you know – the press coverage at my departure was Olympian – I’ve been over here in America for, oh, ages! Right now I’m at a place called Oregon. I’m quite sure you’ve never heard of it. I’m staying in its largest city – if it may be called that – Portland. Yes, there is another place with that name, somewhere north of New York, I believe, but this is not that. What this is I cannot say. But here I am. I’m doing a series of concerts before I travel on to the great expanses of California. No, my daughter, Prudence, is not with me here. She’s skiing in Zermatt at present; she’s so terribly athletic, you know. She’ll be joining me later. Assuming she doesn't fall down a mountain and bash herself to bits. Oh, la!

You may be wondering why I am writing to you like this. My manager – the horrid little man – has long been trying to convince me to address my public directly. Goodness knows, the papers get it all wrong. Why last year, you remember how they kept saying that Ivor Novello and I were about to endure orange blossoms and torrents of rice? Utter nonsense! Ivor is my dear, dear friend, but he’s not the sort of chap a girl marries, if you’ll understand me. And there is always that sort of thing being spread about. So, since I’ve been away for so long, I’ve agreed to write a kind of journal, I’m guessing one would call it. To let you all know, my pets, what trouble I’m getting up to. Haha!

Well, tomorrow, I shall be taken for a ”hike”. That’s what they call it. A hike. There is a park up in the hills above this funny place. But not really a park, as I hear it. I’ve been told not to expect parterres or proper banks of flowers. No fountains or other lovely things. Trees and shrubbery is all. I guess it’s a kind of forest – think of that! In the city. How very savage! It isn’t too cold as yet, but I’m to wear all sorts of wool-y things and laced-up shoes with flat heels. Can you imagine? Me in flat heels. I’ll probably fall right down on my face. And I’m sure I’ll look perfectly hideous. But I expect no one will see me save whatever beasts are lurking there in the woods. Oh dear, I wonder what ugly things I will have to see. I don’t know why I let myself be talked into such nonsense. I’m too acquiescent. That’s it, really. Too acquiescent. Oh dear, I do hope that is properly spelt….

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