Saturday, December 19, 2009

Bête Noir

As reported by Lady Maud Warrender (wife of Sir George John Scott Warrender of Lochend, 7th Baronet) in My First Sixty Years

The beauty of Lord Curson's first wife had impressed the Indians. She was the daughter of Mr. Joseph Leiter of Chicago. Her mother's twistings of words are worthy of immortality: "What did I like best in Rome? Why, the Apollo with the beveled ear, the Dying Alligator and Romeo and Juliet being suckled by the wolf." She used to say that it was essential to have a ventre-à-terre in Paris; also that she had given her decorators bête noir to do what they liked; and she thus described her first meeting with her future husband at a costume ball—"He was dressed in the garbage of a monk and I said to Momma, 'Alma Mater, Ecce Homo!'"