Lady Disdain


What my dear Lady Disdain! Are you yet living?

Is it possible disdain should die while she hath
such meet food to feed it as Signoir Benedick?"

This exchange is from my favorite Shakespeare play, 'Much Ado About Nothing'.  When sarcasm and insults are elevated to such lofty heights, well, there is much to enjoy and much to learn.

These lines come to me when I look at this postcard.  Caroline Otero was one of the 'Grande Horizontals' of late 19th century France.  Oh, OK, she was a dancer too, but she got the funds to clothe herself in jewels (sometimes that was all) from, shall we say, closer work.

I love this card.  Otero was not a beauty.  Her nose was a little long, her eyes – though dark and magnificant – were a bit too close together  But even though she was not a great beauty, or a sophisticated intellect…the photo exudes pride and attitude.  I won't attempt to define a 'diva' – that would take weeks – but this is how one looks.  Knowing that you will attract attention as soon as you walk into a room, even without any of these assets, knowing that the party starts only when you arrive; that's a diva. 

Demanding, commanding, feared, revered – her profile says that much. 

All this from a woman who also said:  "Any man is a gentleman who can afford an account at Cartier."  Quite.


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5 responses to “Lady Disdain

  1. Does Lady Disdain now survive thanks to Disapproving Bunnehs?

  2. We'd know for sure if only they could talk, LT…I think the next person to get a pair of boy/girl bunnehs should name them Benedick and Beatrice!

  3. Ah, La Otero…They called her "the suicide siren" for the number of men who kiled themselves over her. She extracted a fortune from her lovers. She once said, "there's a moment when the most miserly man opens his hand: when you twist his wrist." Her pearl necklace was as famous as she was–Colette mentions it many times in her essays and novels.

  4. My favorite line from Much Ado About Nothing: "God help the noble Claudio! if he have caught the Benedick, it will cost him a thousand pound ere 'a be cured."

  5. This is lovely:
    Prince: "'Your silence most offends me, and to be merry best becomes you, for out 'o question you were born in a merry hour.'
    Beatrice: 'No, sure, my Lord, my mother cried, but thenthere was a star danced, and under that was I born. – Cousins, God give you joy!.'"

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