Pressed Roses from
the estate gardens at Libellules. c. 1901
Tedious excavations of the libraries at Libellules, my childhood home in Paris, continue. I have unsealed several locked, cobweb-laced rooms on the caverneux
10th floor. Here I find tall crates full of elaborately framed portraits, swiftly returned by the Musee d' Orsay
when the Chariot family began to... come down in the world. Musty piles of dried flower-books, broken mementos, faded daguerrotypes, cartes de visite
from God-knows-where, and mouldering piles of stained polaroids brought forth complex childhood memories, which I shared with readers in A Life in Pictures, Part One.
In this latest installment — A Life in Pictures, Part Two — I present more blithesome reveries of the author's youth: student days, holiday adventures, romantic interludes... and first marriage.
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Part Two: Youth
"A way with the ladies"
The author as student charmer. c. 1904
I was well-known thanks to lengthy self-introduction letters,
painstakingly written in longhand,
to aristocratic girls I wished to meet in person.
The prestigious École Garçons Dérangés,
in the hilly region on the outskirts of Paris, where
Father arranges to have me installed. Here, new, experimental
supplementations are rigorously enforced. c. 1905
"Young man about campus" c. 1907
I'm youth, I'm joy, I'm a little bird
that has broken out of the egg. ~ James M. Barrie
"A passion for sports"
The Badminton Club at
École Garçons Dérangés, Paris. c. 1915
A flair for badminton catapults me
into the social-popularity stratosphere,
until a tragic shuttlecock accident
cuts short my career in athletics.
Debut, La Danse Dément. 1923
Annual ball which brought together students
from École Garçons Dérangés and the
prestigious École Filles Névrotiques. I was unable
to attend, having been hospitalized,
on the occasion, for unusually sweaty hands.
Summer holiday at Maison du Rances. 1925
Home of Mother's friend the Marquess du Rances
and her three ravishing, blonde daughters:
Hélène, Sandrine and Marie-France.
. . . . .
It is always incomprehensible to a man
that a woman should ever refuse
an offer of marriage. ~ Jane Austen
Hélène du Rances. 1925
Creative and eccentric, Hélène had a passion for poetry,
cruciferous vegetables and uncontrolled weeping.
A compliment is like a kiss
through a veil. ~ Victor Hugo
Sandrine du Rances, provocateuse. 1927
"I adore fellatio, little man."
Enjoyed a stellar career in politics.
Marie-France du Rances. 1928
"A sense of wonder."
A formidable coloratura recruited by the Palais Garnier,
Marie-France threw herself, after one problematic performance,
into the Seine. Failing to drown, she suffered phobias around
running water fore'er after. I once had to drag her,
in a raving lunacy, from the ladies' toilet at the Palais, after
two innocent persons flushed simultaneously.
. . . . .
"Finding myself" c. 1932
Returned to École Garçons Dérangés after
that splendid summer, I self-administer
Warburg's Tincture mixed with Laudanum.
For one brief moment,
Life is a cock-a-hoop carousel!
Why not seize the pleasure at once?
How often is happiness destroyed by preparation,
foolish preparation! ~ Jane Austen
Computer Users Network Testing Society. 1947
Under pressure from Mother and Father, I join the Society, where I undergo professional training formally
required for blogging internship at Open Salon.
Work spares us from three evils:
boredom, vice and need. ~ Voltaire
First marriage, Notre Dame. 1951
The reception is conducted at the
Prieuré de Saint-Cyr, a castle near Paris, and attended by
700 of Father's very most intimate friends and associates
(Mother fails to appear). There are seventeen orchestres de chambre,
elegant cocktail soirees in formal dress,
magnificent luncheons under fluttering emblems
and sumptuous dinner parties 'neath elaborate marquees.
My wife was the daughter of minor Italian nobility who held
most of their property in the hill town of
San Miniato near Florence. For the
life of me I cannot remember her name.
Life is the flower for which
love is the honey. ~ Victor Hugo
"Establishing a career" 1960
One of many important business colloquies at
Café de Flore, where I meet regularly with intellectuals,
financiers, artists and various gentleman friends.
"New directions" 1966
I leave behind Business Finance to dance
with Peru Negro in Zamba Malato,
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles.
Unable to withstand the long separations required
by a touring company, my marriage collapses.
. . . . .
Take thy beak from out my heart,
and take thy form from off my door!
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore." ~ Edgar A. Poe
I get a nosejob.
"A Blaze Set by a Match Struck in Hell"
Le Monde reports that Father's foundation,
The Chariot Institute at Shush Castle
burns to the ground under
mysterious circumstances. Switzerland. 1985
. . .
© Monsieur Chariot 2011