Friday, June 12, 2009

Lady in a Fix

To get to our next destination on our tour of Hemingway's 1920s Paris, all you need to do is turn from Le Dingo and look behind you.

There you will find the Studio Apartments Hotel, from which Lady Duff Twysden wrote Hemingway in 1925 on hotel stationery asking for 3,000 francs to get her out of "a stinking fix."

Twysden was the model for Lady Brett Ashley in The Sun Also Rises, and apparently was, as Shakespeare would say, quite a "piece of work." Here is newspaperman George Seldes' take on her from the Hemingway history The Sun Also Burns by Denis Brain. (The Harold Loeb mentioned is the model for another character in The Sun Also Rises, Robert Cohn):
I can certainly understand Harold Loeb and Hemingway being fascinated by Duff Twysden. I met her in Paris when I was working for the Chicago Tribune, and living in a two-dollar-a-day room at the Hotel Liberia. No telephone. The concierge yelled up there's a call for me. There were two women there. One was the Countess Modici, who had been a friend of Vincent Sheean, a newspaperman, in Rome. She said, "This is Duff Twysden." And Duff said, "How would you like to join us and Captain Paterson at a nightclub?" ... Duff was fascinating, and I thought I was honored to be invited to her party. As the evening drew on and the third expensive bottle of champagne was drunk, the two women had to go to the ladies' room. That didn't surprise me. Then Captain Paterson said he had to go to the men's room. And I sat there. This is an old holdup game. I always thought I was a tough newspaperman, but this had never happened to me before. A half hour went by and the waiter handed me a bill for something like fifty dollars for all the champagne, most of which had been drunk before I arrived. I never saw any of them again. And that's how I got stuck by Duff Twysden. That's my Lady Brett story. She was the kind of gal almost everybody falls for, like a Ziegfeld girl. They're picked for their universal attraction to men.
Studio Apartments Hotel



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