Wednesday, November 18, 2009

November 18, 1936

Oh, at last my nail varnish is dry! My hair has been set, my skin has been slathered with creams and unguents, I have been rubbed up and rubbed down by my great, bull-ish masseuse, Miss Daphne, and I finally begin to feel able to tell all you lovely people of my Mexican ordeal and my veritable, well, resurrection.

But where to begin? Where to begin? Well, my divine aviatrix, ma polonaise - Lina? Lena? I don't know, but I know I shan't get anywhere near to the last name; Polish names are barely human! - but I digress.... Hmmm...? Oh, yes. Well, the gorgeous creature set us down in Los Angeles - like a butterfly on a rosebud! Such expertise, such grace; she was some sort of acrobat prior to her aero-mania. I was hoping she might linger a while - she has such a frightfully strong allure - but, no, she had need to fly right off. She's terribly serious about her craft. Oh, well.... Hmm? Now where was I?

Well, Los Angeles was a dream. The nights were balmy and fragrant - I did get to wear my new organdy - and my hosts were just adorable. The wife does all the cooking - can you imagine? - but marvelously. Though she seemed to believe me the famous calf in need of fattening! Haha! I do believe I dined on avocados at every meal. My hosts are good, decent people - they don't know a soul even peripherally famous, bless them - but, after a day or two I was found out, tristement, and I started getting all sorts of invitations from horrid film people; I suppose I'm too, too famous to wallow in anonymity for long. But what a bore! After that, it was party after party. Every night too much champagne - though, entre nous, not of the best quality - and ridiculous frenzy. And then, of course, the silly people are all in bed by ten. Ten o'clock! Because they have to be up before dawn and off to work. Pictures! Quite the most barbaric way to make a living!

I saw a lot of a certain Miss Dietrich - I rather got the impression that she was trying to woo me, if you'll believe it - and though she's quite the "film queen", she is , after all, European. So that make her quite a bit more tolerable. Oddly, I got really rather chummy with Miss Carole Lombard. I can't think why. But she's very jolly, quite pretty in a well-scrubbed American sort of way, and makes riotous good use of an alarming vocabulary. Very fun, really. Which is what got me into the bloody mess I'm about to describe.

She suggested - demanded, really - that I take a little weekend trip with her, "south of the border". Just a short jaunt in the aeroplane and right back again. Well, I was up to nothing at the time, she appeared to want it so, and she is so very jolly! I expected we were merely headed to that delightfully louche Tijuana I've heard tell of. But once aloft, she said, no, darling, we're headed for Mexico City. Mexico City! Can you believe it?! It was a dreadfully long, unpleasant flight, during which I languished, completely non-plussed. When we finally arrived we were whisked off to a rather nice hotel, everyone bowing and scraping to her; really, it was a bit much. And the silly people didn't even seem to know who I was - imagine!

That night we had the grandest party in her rooms; she seems to know lots of the natives. The crowd was immense. All Mexicans. Lovely, charming people. The woman all smooth and perfumed, with that gorgeous magnolia skin they have. And the men? Oh, I can't remember ever being so flocked about with male pulchritude. Not really adequately tall, of course, but so very beautiful! The golden skin; the oiled, ebony hair; the exquisite scent. Perfectly attired, faultlessly groomed. Such manners and such allure. And, well - yes - the sex quotient! I was quite giddy, I must tell you. Though that might have had a bit to do with all the cocktails...and then more cocktails! I don't remember the end of the evening, exactly - no, I don't - but if I have done anything less than discrete, I shan't disclose it here. Haha!

I awoke the next morning - or afternoon, as it were - in a bit of a daze and a trifle hung. A lovely, tiny - tiny - little maid brought me my coffee and then I rang Miss Lombard's room -- only to find that she'd checked out! She was nowhere to be found, utterly, utterly gone. Et, j'ai été abandonnée! Can you imagine my shock?!

Oh, dear.... Oh, dear.... This is most upsetting, just thinking of it. I will have to continue this later, my darlings; do forgive me. I must lie down. With a cold compress upon my brow. Now where is my maid? Alyssia? Alyssia?!


Lu said...

Well, I never.. this confounded machine has lost my response to you..all for want of a wee little edit.. now, where was I.. oh, yes.. I was suggesting that Miss Carole Lombard, for all her jolliness, is no friend at all.. leaving you in such a manner.. I do believe I referred to her as a hussy, and in light of the fact that I don't have the full story yet.. perhaps a tad harsh... I also was suggesting, dear, that staying with the avocado people would have been the more prudent course of action. But, as you know, the allure of Hollywood was too much for you to resist. I may have even indulged in a touch of " I told you so".. but lets not dwell on that right now.. you're safe for now, and I await further news of your adventures.. my last thought was to add a bit of brandy along with that cold compress.. just what the doctor would order, if I was the doctor!

Madeleine Prévert said...

Yes, you are quite right, my darling, I should have stayed right where I was; it was so terribly cosy. But when one has attained the very peak of world reknown, as I have done, one has a responsibility to be about where one may be seen. Tedious but true. And, as I said, I do loathe those beastly film people. But what was I to do, spurn them all? Ah, well....

And I couldn't agree more with your excellent prescription , though a magnum of Veuve Clicquot would do just as well - oh, la!

Penny Prévert said...

My lord, Mother. I agree with Miss Lu. That Carole Lombard is a selfish, balloon-headed hussy and if I see her I'm going to give her a piece of my mind. Perhaps not to her face, but I'd glare and think a lot of deliciously awful things in her general direction. Honestly, how could she! What did you do?

Madeleine Prévert said...

Darling, are you still in Los Angeles? Please, please go back to Europe as soon as you are able; those ghastly film people will be the ruin of you. I know that you are so, so ambitious, so determined to get ahead in the picture business, but none of it, my darling, is worth the cost of your soul ! Now please pack up your little things and flee back to Switzerland or whatever other place might be congenial at this time of the year. Please, do what your dear old mummy says! And for goodness sake, stay clear of Miss Lombard!

Penny Prévert said...

But Mother I've got a screen test! I may just be cast as a harem girl way, way over on the side of a big dance number. Mother, I want to be a Busby Berkeley Girl! And then there's Cary - he's awfully sweet, and I don't mind about Randolph one bit - sometimes when we lunch, he comes along. Oh, don't ask me to leave Hollywood now. Unless you want me to run back into the arms of my Johnny the ski instructor. Oh, the way he plays the banjo...

Madeleine Prévert said...

Oh, darling, the things you say!Sometimes you sound quite potted ! You certainly do not want to be a "Busby Berkeley Girl", as you call it; those sorts are all trollopes, little more than prostitutes, really. Oh, you'll be the death of me, my girl! More and more you remind me of your horrid father's mother, Lady Fitz-Eardley, and you know she was quite mad. Always stuffing great quantities of wilting hydrangea into her hair, her shoes miss-matched. 'Til one day she just vanished in the mists! Now, pull your self together, darling. Go have your nails done and think about all the lovely frocks you'll have to choose amongst when we meet in Paris in the Spring. Hmmm? And then do book your passage. Yes, darling?

xtine said...

dear one,
i'm so glad to know you're returned and at the very least properly manicured for god's sake!
i've only a moment, but i'll say this:
how can one trust carole lombard at all? such language as i have never heard!!!!!!!!!! really!
that should have been your fist tip, darling.
next time, i'll have my dear uncle vasili take you to acapulco instead.
i hear it's quite - up and coming - the rage!
your adoring
never faltering,

Penny Prévert said...

Mother, how can you say such things about Gramsie? She was a lady, and don't you forget it. When I was a little girl I thought she had the most chic style ever. When I'm a Busby Berkeley girl I'm going to insist that my headdress be full of hydrangea! No, I'm staying right here in Hollywood and seeking my fortune. If you can just fly off to Mexico whenever you want - and leave me quite behind - I think I can decide for myself when to be a trollop.

(if you go to acapulco with x can i go too?)