Wednesday, July 15, 2009

1933, June 6: HMK to RH -- European Travels

Shaker Hollow
South Salem, Westchester Co., N.Y.
Telephone South Salem 133

June 6th, [19]33.

Dear R.H.,

It is almost as tho I were going myself to know that you are to have so wonderful an adventure. Is it perhaps your first trip abroad. I hope it is for you will never have the thrill but once only I'm sorry you are not landing at Le Havre so that you might see Normandie if only from the train.

And when you get to Paris promise you will go to Sainte Chapelle on the Ile de Cite and say a prayer for me for you will never see anything quite like this little chapel which Louis the Ninth built to hold the Crown of Thorns if happily it should be a sunny day. Walk in the Luxembourg Garden at sunset, and don't bother with the Louvre unless you want to see something special as it takes weeks to see it even though sketchily. The Musee Carnavalet is entrancing. It was once the home of Madame de Sevigne and gives you a marvelous glimpse of the history of Paris itself especially during the Revolution. At the Louvre end of the Avenue del Opera you find a little Cafe de Universe where I sat every morning to coffee and croissantes and watched the fascinating life of Paris streaming by, sometimes after I had gotten up at three or staid up that late to go to the Halles Centrales, the great markets of Paris to which you will see the great two wheeled carts rumbling along the Seine at night with the carrots and lettuce laid on in design. And just off Rue St. Jacques at 10 Rue de Lille you will find the Hotel de Valence where I used to stay [in] a tiny place run by M. & Mme. Meyer, Alsatians and Oh so clean and bare when all my friends were at the Crillon or the Ritz. There are a [few] things I should like you to do and which will not be in your plans at all but you will go to Sainte Chapelle I'm sure. My respects to the carp at Versailles who by now much have [turned] into porpoises so fat were they when I saw them last and of me going over the palaces inch by inch before we did Beaucaire with Rudolf Valentina and at Malmaison where we [saw] Mme. Sand Gene with Gloria Swanson. Ah. Paris, Cite d'Amour, [....] Cite, de Lumiere, La Reine du Monde whose only rival is sad sister Vienna where you may stand in the Boern Ring [and] think of me or go into one of the tiny green cafe gardens [on] Prater and bravely drink a bock to all that was once so .... and so brave and which cannot, must not have died.

In Berlin go far into the Tier Garten until you come to a lagoon where at one end stand[s] the Empress Augusta Victoria in a dress of marble lace with marble ostrich plumes, so German, so sad and in Dresden you will be very near the place where my mother's family once lived in great magnificence [Breitungen] matched only by their cruelty. In London walk in the Green Park a little and not a block from Marlborough House you will find Pall Mall Place where I once had chambers filled with the worst of Victoria's time and which I adored. And have you seen Cavalcade in pictures? If not, go to see it as a play in London.  It is England.  Rome you will love but the rest of Italy [is] lovely too but unspeakably smelly and dirty unless Il Duce has changed all that.

I am so glad that you are going and I shall not come to see you off and it is not that I don't want to see you. R.H. you know that. I shall send you something and I shall be there just the same but perhaps you will let me call on on the telephone early in the evening before you sail or will call me if that better suits your convenience. We are sixty miles out of New York but that would not deter me, it is something else some thing intangible. You will pass London Terrace on your way on Twenty Third St. and Tenth Avenue and from our windows on the 18th floor we have watched your ship come in and go again a hundred times and I shall be there when you sail that night to wave a bon voyage and a safe and happy trip.

I don't know where H.B. is at the moment but I suppose still in Mississippi, with Norma and her mother. Norma is mad with me I think. She wrote me that a mutual friend had troubled her shamefully so I promptly sent him the letter and asked him what it meant. I rushed in where no angel should have even pussyfooted I daresay but I'm sick of people not being honest and frank. I suppose she is horrified and that I have shocked her antebellum sensibilities but she will have to get over it or not just as she likes. She still harps each time she goes South on how they still suffer from the outrages of the North in the Civil War. I know all about them and I adore the South and all it stands for but I'm honest R.H when I say that if the men of the South had done a little less talking and a great deal more of hard work all the losses could have been recouped long since. And now don't you get mad with me, will you? I wish you could see our pansies, just blooming away with the utmost determination to keep me thinking of you , what a lot of work wasted on their part. But they are so gay and cheerful on the terrace and I have their faces turned to my window in the morning. Thanks again and for the recipe. I shall try it and let you know how they came out so you may tell Emily. I shall write again R.H. before you sail and I'm so glad, no gladder than if I were going myself.


No comments: