Thursday, December 31, 2009

December 31, 1936

Oh, my darlings, here we are at the end of another year! Can it really be so? What will the new year bring to us? Life is so very uncertain. At least I know that I shall soon depart from this rather silly Portland and return home. Or what I call home; can anyone of my world renown call any one place home? I suppose not, but my dear London is what I think of as home, my little nest.

I hope you all had a lovely, lovely Christmas. Though I suppose if you be Jew or Hindoo or such, you'll not have had a lovely Christmas! Haha! I cannot at all say that mine was entirely pleasant. No, I really cannot. I have not cultivated many friends here. No one to be chummy and cozy with; no one of my level, you understand. And then I was terribly sad that my dear sweet Penny was not with me this year; I missed her dreadfully. I thought of all the lovely Christmases past, when she was a little girl, and nanny would trot her out and she would rip through all her presents like an adorable little demon. But this year...well...I'm not even exactly sure where she is! She was being very silly down in Los Angeles, chasing after film stars and perversely trying to get secondary roles. Which is beyond my comprehension, I must say. I tried like anything to get her safely back to Europe and now I don't know precisely where she is. So, you see, I was not in a very merry mood for celebrating the Christ child and all that.

I went with two of my pansy friends to a lovely home up in the hills for Christmas supper. Our hostess is somebody or other, terribly wealthy and and important. By Portland standards, you understand. The company was dull and the champagne was domestic. But, in my dreary state, I fear I was indiscriminate and drank a wee bit more than perhaps I should. And then I got all weepy. Yes, I did. And then I drank a wee bit more. I seem to remember droning on about how I missed my darling Penny and enumerating the many sorrows of motherhood. Awful, really. I awoke the next morning very sadly hung and my Boxing Day was completely spoilt. Do you know that Americans haven't any idea of Boxing Day? Amazing. They all go back to work or go shopping. I really cannot fathom the coarseness of it.

But this is New Year's Eve, my darlings! A new year and a fresh start for all of us. So forget about your dreary workaday lives. Confetti and a bit of stardust will do the trick! Haha! Do up your hair, put on a lovely frock and go out and enjoy the evening - but sensibly! Learn from my regrettable errors, and make certain that the champagne is imported!

Happy New Year to all you lovely, lovely people!

Monday, December 21, 2009

December 21, 1936

Well, he's gone and done it! My horrid manager - really, he's just the most evil fellow in the world, I expect - has got me out of my contract here. I cannot begin to imagine what he had to do to arrange this, my very salvation, but he's done it. I really do hope nothing illegal has been done - he's capable of anything, my darlings - but I shan't worry myself with that. Because I'm returning to London; what joy! Oh, yes, London can be quite tedious, but it always seems so marvelous when one is away. So, at this moment, stranded as I've been, languishing here in the Wild - but perversely dull - West, it does shimmer paradisiacally!

I shall have to remain here through Christmas, of course - civilised people do not travel Christmas week - but then, once the new year is upon us, I shall fly! Well, not really fly. It's much too far. Besides, flying has only brought me the greatest misfortune of late, you understand.... No, there's the long train trip to New York, where I shall stay for a week - there are so many people there who say they must see me before I leave the country - and then the Normandie home. Oh, to be home! I have the most charming flat in town, you know. And, of course, my lovely country house. But, then, you've seen that in all the illustrated magazines. Oh, I do hope my roses are making it through the winter well. I have the most marvelous little gardener who tends to them. He's quite a gnarled little gnome, really; the top half of him goes East, whilst the bottom veers West. Haha! But he is a sorcerer when it comes to my roses. They are so lovely. Ah, home....

And so very soon I shall be there, my darlings. Amongst my own things at last. I shall need several weeks to recuperate and rest from my journey, of course. Before I shall find myself able to meet with the very "Lions of the Theatre" who've got me to come home. Though I'll be longing to dash over to Paris for new frocks - I am terribly in need at present - I may find it necessary to purchase something by a British couturier; I suppose I may find something not too unattractive. For, after all, I don't want to keep Ivor and Noël waiting for too long a time. They are both so highly strung, I fear what a protracted wait could make of them. In my imagination I can see them, one ahold of each of my arms, gnashing their teeth and mewling like overly amorous cats, whilst they endeavor to pull me to bits. Oh, haha! How very funny! Haha! Well, even should it come to that, the scene - whatever it must be - will be played very, very soon!

À bientôt, my darlings!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

December 19, 1936

Oh, dear! Oh, dear! Now I'm really in a muddle. Before I had any chance to cable dear Ivor, I received a cable from - can you guess? Yes! That darling , awful Noël! And he says he's writing a new show, too, and wants me to star in it. Can you imagine?! And, I dare say, there must be a similar situation to Ivor's, in that a certain Miss Lawrence can't or won't play with him. Why does it always seem I am a second string Muse! Haha! Well, never mind; now it seems most certain I'll be back in London presently. Oh, how marvelous! And how marvelous, as well, to think that dear Ivor and Noëly will be fighting over me like silly cats and I an old fishhead! Haha! It's really too delicious; I adore being clambered after!

But who do I choose? Oh, Noël is much the cleverer, but Ivor's tunes are completely heaven sent! What to do? What to do? Oh...!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

December 17, 1936

Oh, dear! Just now I've received a cable from dear Ivor asking me - begging me, really - to return to London. He says he's got a new show he's putting up, and that he's written a part just for me. Just for me, he says! Oh, really...? Now, I don't believe that for one moment; his usual muse, dear sweet Mary Ellis, must be occupied elsewhere. Naughty Ivor! But I may just choose to go along with his little tale this time. Oh, it would be so nice to get away from this silly place and its wretched weather! The weather in London - oh, bother! But it doesn't matter. Just to be in a proper city again would be so refreshing. In a lovely, successful real musical play; Ivor writes nothing but great smash successes, of course. And I can't languish here forever, goodness knows. I wonder if my horrid manager can get me out of my contract....

December 17, 1936

Oh, what a dreary day this is! They do say that Portland is very rainy, and I begin to see that what they say is quite unbearably true! But really!

Well, I've had a most taxing morning, already. Oh, I see now that it's after noon, but no matter. I have been told that I must take exercise. On account of not wanting to get too stout, you understand. So I've spent hours this morning doing all sorts of ghastly calisthenics and such - can you imagine?! It is really the most soul-killing activity. Oh, it's all right for those New York society ladies and all; they haven't any brains and nothing to do with their time, so who cares? Yes, my darlings, you know the type I mean. And then, of course, you know it's a very religion to Elsie de Wolfe. And, goodness, she's ancient! So, it's certainly kept her in good stead. That, and rather a lot of surgery. But I really don't have time for such undignified running about, being strapped into contraptions, and standing on one's head. It's exhausting and too, too silly! But it appears to be another thing that one must endure. After all, I don't want to be a great rhinoceros and not fit into my lovely frocks. Ah, well....

I must go now, dear ones. My glorious, pugilistic Miss Daphne has just arrived - and she's growling at me! Yes, she is! Haha! She'll give me the most delightfully savage massage, I'll have a bathe, then I'll have my hair reset and my sweet, silent little Malaysian will give my nails a fresh varnish. Then, I shall feel quite renewed, I'm certain of it. And may not even remember the horrors of the morning! Haha!

Until the next time, my darlings....

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

December 9, 1936

Well my radio appearance of yesterday went rather well I think. The studio sent round a car that was all nice and toasty warm. And since the very expert doorman let me out from the heated lobby and nearly threw me into the automobile, I barely felt the ghastly cold at all. When I arrived I found I was to be interviewed by a lady. You can imagine my surprise; I didn't know that ladies were employed by the radio. I can't think of another one save that beastly Louella Parsons. And one wouldn't really call her a lady; she's merely female. I digress. But, then, I always do! Oh, la!

Well, my "lady of the press" was most charming and terribly, terribly chic. She was beautifully dressed and flawlessly made-up; her grooming was impeccable. And at such an hour. Eleven-thirty in the morning - can you imagine?! Now, I must confess, my darlings, that for a wee moment I had considered not making by usual full-on daytime toilette. The full fig, as it were. I thought perhaps, just this once, I could make do with something simpler. Something that I might wear about the house - slacks and a head scarf, even - throw a big sable coat over it all, and who's to be the wiser? And it was so very early. Thank heavens my better instincts took hold, as I would have been completely mortified! Especially when finding that my interviewer was a very attractive, well-dressed woman. I wouldn't have been able to speak for the shame, and the entire endeavor would have been a disaster. So let that be a lesson to you, my darlings: never, ever leave your humble abode until you are properly, faultlessly attired. That's a bit of advice you'll never regret following, I promise you.

We spoke of - well, I have no idea what we spoke of. But it was charming. And great fun. And I don't believe I was unduly indiscreet; I do have to be so very careful! Haha! Ah, well, I must run, my dearest darlings. Auf Wiedersehen, as the dreary Germans say. Until we meet again.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

December 8, 1936

Hello, my darlings! What a lovely bright morning it is. Though it is simply appallingly cold outside. So do stay indoors, all cozy and warm in your little cottages, or wherever it is that you lurk. Stay close round the fire, turn on the wireless - and listen to me! Yes, that's right, me! Haha!

Because, you see, it appears I shall be on the radio this morning. I shall have to leave my warm little nest and go down to the radio studio to be interviewed. I'm certain to be asked all sorts of impertinent questions - the American press is wretched in that regard - but at least I shall have the comfort of knowing that my public will be once again hearing my voice. Though I shan't be singing, my pets; no orchestra has been engaged. I do believe it will be a transcontinental hook up, so that the whole of the country will hear me. I don't know if it will be transatlantic, though; my dear Europe may need to wait a wee bit longer for my company. I don't know. I simply cannot fathom such technological marvels, at any rate. All I'm certain of is that I shall be floating upon the airwaves this fine morning. Floating into your homes, be they grand or very dreary. Floating from the wireless and into your hearts - oh, I do hope so, my darlings! So do listen in, if you haven't anything better to do - oh! Haha! As if you'd have something better to do? Oh, how funny I am!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

December 3, 1936

I shall be attending the opening of an artist's exhibition this evening. Or should I say, I'll be dragged; you all know how I loathe artists and modern art. I've tried like anything to get out of it, but it does appear I am doomed! Haha! People are always so lovely to me, so kind. But I do wish they would have the sense to know that I really don't care to bother with all this "artistic" nonsense. So dreary, most of it. So jarring and unpleasant. I suppose I shall have to gaze upon rows and rows of pictures of ladies whose noses have gone astray. But, because I'm so well-known to the public, I can't react like any average person might when confronting such horrors. I certainly can't screw up my face in disgust, when I know everyone will be watching me. No, I must always be a very beacon of decorum. So I shall go about smiling and nodding. And I shall punctuate the pantomime with a veritable torrent of "hmmm..."'s and "ah!"'s. I shall take the - often quite filthy - hands of the poor little artists and tell them that their wretched little daubs are really quite fetching. Yes, I shall. I suppose it is my duty. But how tiresome!

Of course, I'll spray myself with a great cloud of Arpège before I go out; you can be sure of that, my darlings! To help mask - to help me endure - the pestilential odors I am certain to encounter; artists are so very unhygienic.