Thursday, October 8, 2009

October 8, 1936

Fans! Where are all my fans? My friends, even? My ghastly manager said I must write this silly journal-ish thing. And here I am, writing my fingers down to nubs and I never hear from anyone at all, save my daughter. Which is lovely, of course - don't be offended, Prudence, darling - but she could just send my a telegram or even write a letter. Though her writing is perfectly horrid, you know. Completely illegible. Mlle. Blanche, her governess, had fits over it. But she spells beautifully, I'll give her that. Oh, but I digress. Where was I? Hmmm? Oh yes. That horrid man who said I had to, had to write this thing. The same brilliant fellow who booked me in Lima, Peru. Lima, Peru. And at Carnival. But I shan't go into that!

The weather is lovely here. But it has got too cold. I'm very sensitive, of course, and loathe the cold. I always crave a warmer clime. I do so love to waft down to the south of France at the first frost. Now, I must tell you that I never, never sit out in the sun and get myself brown. Yes, I know that to be all sunburnt is still terribly à la mode. And I know that all the darling physicians tell us that it's so very healthy for us, just as we know that cigarettes are so good and drying to the lungs. But I won't believe it. No, not at all. Pas...du...tout! Why, the ravages are obvious, for all to see. My dear friend, comtesse Vacherin du Pont, has been a great idolator of the sun ever since sunburning first became stylish, not long after the war. She does so love to consort with artistic types, so she was always down at Juan les Pins, staying with the Murphys, surrounded by vulgar Americans and the likes of...Picasso! And where has it got her, I ask you? Why, she's gone all yellowish and blotchy, and she's terribly creased! Yes, I know I shouldn't - I wouldn't say it to her face, after all, poor dear thing - but it's true!

I've heard the pioneer of this pernicious craze was Mlle. Chanel. Not a very pleasant woman, but so very talented. The world will follow her lead in all her chic-making business. She was formerly very fond of a certain ci-devant Grand Duke and her world - dress-making and otherwise - spun upon a Russian axis, as it were. The Grand Duke's sister even started a Russian-styled embroidery manufacture to help feed Mlle. Chanel's grande faim russe. Chanel even designed costumes for the Ballets Russes, you know. So you see, I think we really have the Russians to blame for this mania. As everyone knows, Russians are perfectly mad for the sun - and why wouldn't they be, with all that Siberian sort of nonsense they call climate? - they are the most devoted, sun-worshipping lizards! Ah, but now that the Grand Duke has been "retired", and the poor émigré Russians have gone out of fashion - yet another "exile", it seems - perhaps the tide will turn.

Whenever I am down to the sea, I always sit beneath a very, very large parasol. Fully lined with bottle-green silk. Really, it's the only way! Yes, I know it must seem very Edwardian to you. But the benefits far outweigh any risk of looking a fool. And if you've ever seen me close-to, you'll know that my complexion is still flawless and dazzlingly white. It really is. And I've no need of any make-up at all. Mostly.


Penny Prévert said...

Well, of course, I'm not offended, Mother. And you know I'll always be your number one fan. But, please, can you call me Penny? It's ever so modern and I am a modern woman and I think it would greatly improve my stage presence to be using Penny - it's plucky and I - well, am I not plucky, Mother? I'd so like to be plucky.

Madeleine Prévert said...

"Plucky"? How very silly. If you really want to be "plucky", you might start with your brows, darling; last I saw of you, you looked like a woolly mammoth. Yes, I'm sorry to say it - but it's TRUE!

Good grooming is mentioned in the Bible, darling. Quite a lot, I think. Yes, I believe one of the Commandments speaks of it - most - strongly.

As for this "Penny" nonsense, we've been through this all before. Many, many times, darling. But, because it means so much to you, Mummy - will - try to call you that when we are chez nous. I will try. But as a nom de théâtre it will never do. "Penny Prévert"! Really! It sounds so terribly undignified. Why, I believe there's a little box somewhere; if you turn the crank - there, just like that - a little "Penny Prévert" will pop out! Oh, la!

Penny Prévert said...

Are you calling me a clown? Isn't that what pops out of those boxes? Is that it? I'm a clown, now? I've never been so insulted in all my life! What could be more terrible than that? The lowest of the low in the entire entertainment industry. Well, now you've gone and done it. I may stay out here at the ski slopes and never come back. Johnny and I, we'll get his ukelele and go on the road together. How would you like that?

And another thing! Grooming is most definitely NOT one of the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments are about not killing and stealing and honoring thy father and thy m-

Oops. Forget I said that.

Madeleine Prévert said...

Darling you are too, too agitated; I expect you've been getting too much exercise, outdoors and in. Send the ridiculous "Johnny" out to play in the snow, lie down on a chaise longe, cover each eye with a tepid tea bag - Irish Breakfast, I'd suggest; the ONLY good use of tea bags and the Irish - and rest. Rest, my darling. Even a quarter of an hour. When you arise, you'll feel a new woman. Really, you will. Then hunt down your tweezers and your bible and - commence!

Kisses from Mummy, darling!