Thursday, August 20, 2009

1933, April 11: Shaker Hollow Opening Week-- HMK to RH


Dear R.H.,

Well, here is little Miss Underwood restored to good health and able to work for me again, for which you will no doubt be grateful as you no doubt have had to struggle over that feared scrawl I sent you last. In looking thro your letters, out fell the sample of that lovely print, which I hope you are really having, with all the purple and magenta, a combination much favored of Lady Duff-Gordon ("Lucile") when I was her manager, but perhaps I never told you that. She was the greatest of all the geniuses in the art of dress and it was an experience to see her work.

And speaking of artists something too exciting has happened to us here. Mme. Elise Weber-Fulop, one of the greatest of contemporary Austrian painters was so intrigued with our apricot and black dining room that she asked permission to paint it. As she is the most famous painter of interiors in Europe and never gets less than 1 to 3 thousand for a painting, we are thrilled, I can tell you, and she is here at this very moment beginning her canvas. It being Holy Week and we had planned not to take anyone but to open officially on Easter, it gives her the time and the room to herself. No doubt some of the better magazines will want to use a reproduction, perhaps Country Life, and so you will see it too. I am as excited as I can be watching her at work. She heard of us and of the pink room in Vienna and when she saw it, said that she had never seen anything so lovely and that she could never be satisfied till she got it on canvas.

Well the second broadcast went over pretty well, I guess from the fan mail pouring in. Too well I guess, for Martha Deane, was advised not to have me again: I was too good. I wish you could see some of the letters but I take their extravagances with a large helping of salt. Just the same they are nice to get and will help me to my ambition. These pathetic women with no outlet and an unconscious craving for romance in their dull lives. That's what one of them said I did for her and that I put so much romance into food and cooking that she loved to do it now. I told them that no one could be a good cook who did not cook with gratitude and affection-- deep reverent gratitude for the things with which we cook and which we accept so casually when they are one of God's mysteries and his blessings. And affection for those we cook for is the great secret of real cooking and makes it a ritual not a bore. And they knew what I meant and some of their letters are pathetic and I do want to help them to see the beauty in the plain things of life which they understand and which are ever with them.

Well think of us on the 19th. We are giving a buffet for Geraldine Farrar and she has asked four big bugs from the National Broadcasting Co. who are her friends, and who knows what may come. Help me by thinking it Will Come dear R.H. as you have helped me with so many other things. Write me all about your Easter. I will have eggs for Pat and the rest. It will be fun.


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