Posts Tagged ‘Dorothy Parker’

PLEASE, God, let him telephone me now. Dear God, let him call me now. I won’t ask anything else of You, truly I won’t. It isn’t very much to ask. It would be so little to You, God, such a little, little thing. Only let him telephone now. Please, God. Please, please, please.

If I didn’t think about it, maybe the telephone might ring. Sometimes it does that. If I could think of something else. If I could think of something else. Knobby if I counted five hundred by fives, it might ring by that time. I’ll count slowly. I won’t cheat. And if it rings when I get to three hundred, I won’t stop; I won’t answer it until I get to five hundred. Five, ten, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five, thirty, thirty-five, forty, forty-five, fifty…. Oh, please ring. Please.

This is the last time I’ll look at the clock. I will not look at it again. It’s ten minutes past seven. He said he would telephone at five o’clock. “I’ll call you at five, darling.” I think that’s where he said “darling.” I’m almost sure he said it there. I know he called me “darling” twice, and the other time was when he said good-by. “Good-by, darling.” He was busy, and he can’t say much in the office, but he called me “darling” twice. He couldn’t have minded my calling him up. I know you shouldn’t keep telephoning them–I know they don’t like that. When you do that they know you are thinking about them and wanting them, and that makes them hate you. But I hadn’t talked to him in three days-not in three days. And all I did was ask him how he was; it was just the way anybody might have called him up. He couldn’t have minded that. He couldn’t have thought I was bothering him. “No, of course you’re not,” he said. And he said he’d telephone me. He didn’t have to say that. I didn’t ask him to, truly I didn’t. I’m sure I didn’t. I don’t think he would say he’d telephone me, and then just never do it. Please don’t let him do that, God. Please don’t.

“I’ll call you at five, darling.” “Good-by, darling.,’ He was busy, and he was in a hurry, and there were people around him, but he called me “darling” twice. That’s mine, that’s mine. I have that, even if I never see him again. Oh, but that’s so little. That isn’t enough. Nothing’s enough, if I never see him again. Please let me see him again, God. Please, I want him so much. I want him so much. I’ll be good, God. I will try to be better, I will, If you will let me see him again. If You will let him telephone me. Oh, let him telephone me now.

Ah, don’t let my prayer seem too little to You, God. You sit up there, so white and old, with all the angels about You and the stars slipping by. And I come to You with a prayer about a telephone call. Ah, don’t laugh, God. You see, You don’t know how it feels. You’re so safe, there on Your throne, with the blue swirling under You. Nothing can touch You; no one can twist Your heart in his hands. This is suffering, God, this is bad, bad suffering. Won’t You help me? For Your Son’s sake, help me. You said You would do whatever was asked of You in His name. Oh, God, in the name of Thine only beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, let him telephone me now.

I must stop this. I mustn’t be this way. Look. Suppose a young man says he’ll call a girl up, and then something happens, and he doesn’t. That isn’t so terrible, is it? Why, it’s gong on all over the world, right this minute. Oh, what do I care what’s going on all over the world? Why can’t that telephone ring? Why can’t it, why can’t it? Couldn’t you ring? Ah, please, couldn’t you? You damned, ugly, shiny thing. It would hurt you to ring, wouldn’t it? Oh, that would hurt you. Damn you, I’ll pull your filthy roots out of the wall, I’ll smash your smug black face in little bits. Damn you to hell.

No, no, no. I must stop. I must think about something else. This is what I’ll do. I’ll put the clock in the other room. Then I can’t look at it. If I do have to look at it, then I’ll have to walk into the bedroom, and that will be something to do. Maybe, before I look at it again, he will call me. I’ll be so sweet to him, if he calls me. If he says he can’t see me tonight, I’ll say, “Why, that’s all right, dear. Why, of course it’s all right.” I’ll be the way I was when I first met him. Then maybe he’ll like me again. I was always sweet, at first. Oh, it’s so easy to be sweet to people before you love them.

I think he must still like me a little. He couldn’t have called me “darling” twice today, if he didn’t still like me a little. It isn’t all gone, if he still likes me a little; even if it’s only a little, little bit. You see, God, if You would just let him telephone me, I wouldn’t have to ask You anything more. I would be sweet to him, I would be gay, I would be just the way I used to be, and then he would love me again. And then I would never have to ask You for anything more. Don’t You see, God? So won’t You please let him telephone me? Won’t You please, please, please?

Are You punishing me, God, because I’ve been bad? Are You angry with me because I did that? Oh, but, God, there are so many bad people –You could not be hard only to me. And it wasn’t very bad; it couldn’t have been bad. We didn’t hurt anybody, God. Things are only bad when they hurt people. We didn’t hurt one single soul; You know that. You know it wasn’t bad, don’t You, God? So won’t You let him telephone me now?

If he doesn’t telephone me, I’ll know God is angry with me. I’ll count five hundred by fives, and if he hasn’t called me then, I will know God isn’t going to help me, ever again. That will be the sign. Five, ten, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five, thirty, thirty-five, forty, forty-five, fifty, fifty-five. . . It was bad. I knew it was bad. All right, God, send me to hell. You think You’re frightening me with Your hell, don’t You? You think. Your hell is worse than mine.

I mustn’t. I mustn’t do this. Suppose he’s a little late calling me up –that’s nothing to get hysterical about. Maybe he isn’t going to call–maybe he’s coming straight up here without telephoning. He’ll be cross if he sees I have been crying. They don’t like you to cry. He doesn’t cry. I wish to God I could make him cry. I wish I could make him cry and tread the floor and feel his heart heavy and big and festering in him. I wish I could hurt him like hell.

He doesn’t wish that about me. I don’t think he even knows how he makes me feel. I wish he could know, without my telling him. They don’t like you to tell them they’ve made you cry. They don’t like you to tell them you’re unhappy because of them. If you do, they think you’re possessive and exacting. And then they hate you. They hate you whenever you say anything you really think. You always have to keep playing little games. Oh, I thought we didn’t have to; I thought this was so big I could say whatever I meant. I guess you can’t, ever. I guess there isn’t ever anything big enough for that. Oh, if he would just telephone, I wouldn’t tell him I had been sad about him. They hate sad people. I would be so sweet and so gay, he couldn’t help but like me. If he would only telephone. If he would only telephone.

Maybe that’s what he is doing. Maybe he is coming on here without calling me up. Maybe he’s on his way now. Something might have happened to him. No, nothing could ever happen to him. I can’t picture anything happening to him. I never picture him run over. I never see him lying still and long and dead. I wish he were dead. That’s a terrible wish. That’s a lovely wish. If he were dead, he would be mine. If he were dead, I would never think of now and the last few weeks. I would remember only the lovely times. It would be all beautiful. I wish he were dead. I wish he were dead, dead, dead.

This is silly. It’s silly to go wishing people were dead just because they don’t call you up the very minute they said they would. Maybe the clock’s fast; I don’t know whether it’s right. Maybe he’s hardly late at all. Anything could have made him a little late. Maybe he had to stay at his office. Maybe he went home, to call me up from there, and somebody came in. He doesn’t like to telephone me in front of people. Maybe he’s worried, just alittle, little bit, about keeping me waiting. He might even hope that I would call him up. I could do that. I could telephone him.

I mustn’t. I mustn’t, I mustn’t. Oh, God, please don’t let me telephone him. Please keep me from doing that. I know, God, just as well as You do, that if he were worried about me, he’d telephone no matter where he was or how many people there were around him. Please make me know that, God. I don’t ask YOU to make it easy for me–You can’t do that, for all that You could make a world. Only let me know it, God. Don’t let me go on hoping. Don’t let me say comforting things to myself. Please don’t let me hope, dear God. Please don’t.

I won’t telephone him. I’ll never telephone him again as long as I live. He’ll rot in hell, before I’ll call him up. You don’t have to give me strength, God; I have it myself. If he wanted me, he could get me. He knows where I ram. He knows I’m waiting here. He’s so sure of me, so sure. I wonder why they hate you, as soon as they are sure of you. I should think it would be so sweet to be sure.

It would be so easy to telephone him. Then I’d know. Maybe it wouldn’t be a foolish thing to do. Maybe he wouldn’t mind. Maybe he’d like it. Maybe he has been trying to get me. Sometimes people try and try to get you on the telephone, and they say the number doesn’t answer. I’m not just saying that to help myself; that really happens. You know that really happens, God. Oh, God, keep me away from that telephone. Kcep me away. Let me still have just a little bit of pride. I think I’m going to need it, God. I think it will be all I’ll have.

Oh, what does pride matter, when I can’t stand it if I don’t talk to him? Pride like that is such a silly, shabby little thing. The real pride, the big pride, is in having no pride. I’m not saying that just because I want to call him. I am not. That’s true, I know that’s true. I will be big. I will be beyond little prides.

Please, God, keep me from, telephoning him. Please, God.

I don’t see what pride has to do with it. This is such a little thing, for me to be bringing in pride, for me to be making such a fuss about. I may have misunderstood him. Maybe he said for me to call him up, at five. “Call me at five, darling.” He could have said that, perfectly well. It’s so possible that I didn’t hear him right. “Call me at five, darling.” I’m almost sure that’s what he said. God, don’t let me talk this way to myself. Make me know, please make me know.

I’ll think about something else. I’ll just sit quietly. If I could sit still. If I could sit still. Maybe I could read. Oh, all the books are about people who love each other, truly and sweetly. What do they want to write about that for? Don’t they know it isn’t tree? Don’t they know it’s a lie, it’s a God damned lie? What do they have to tell about that for, when they know how it hurts? Damn them, damn them, damn them.

I won’t. I’ll be quiet. This is nothing to get excited about. Look. Suppose he were someone I didn’t know very well. Suppose he were another girl. Then I d just telephone and say, “Well, for goodness’ sake, what happened to you?” That’s what I’d do, and I’d never even think about it. Why can’t I be casual and natural, just because I love him? I can be. Honestly, I can be. I’ll call him up, and be so easy and pleasant. You see if I won’t, God. Oh, don’t let me call him. Don’t, don’t, don’t.

God, aren’t You really going to let him call me? Are You sure, God? Couldn’t You please relent? Couldn’t You? I don’t even ask You to let him telephone me this minute, God; only let him do it in a little while. I’ll count five hundred by fives. I’ll do it so slowly and so fairly. If he hasn’t telephoned then, I’ll call him. I will. Oh, please, dear God, dear kind God, my blessed Father in Heaven, let him call before then. Please, God. Please.

Five, ten, fifteen, twenty, twentyfive, thirty, thirty-five.

The End

(ack: classicshorts.com)


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Alexander Woolcott (1887-1943)
He was one of the most quoted men of his generation. Woolcott dismissed Los Angeles area as “Seven suburbs in search of a city” — a quip often attributed to his friend Dorothy Parker: Of Harold Ross the editor of The New Yorker, “He looks like a dishonest Abe Lincoln.”
Woollcott was renowned for his savage tongue. He dismissed a notable wit and pianist: “There is absolutely nothing wrong with Oscar Levant that a miracle can’t fix.” He greeted friends: “Hello, Repulsive.” He submitted the shortest theatrical review in history: in his review of the Broadway show Wham!, he simply wrote “Ouch.” When a waiter asked him to repeat his order, he demanded “Muffin filled with pus.”
His judgments were frequently eccentric. Rating emotions over balanced judgment, he figuratively tossed hat in air over favored plays and performers. Catherine Cornell the actress for instance always received favorable notices. He was wrong about Proust (Dorothy Parker once said: “I remember hearing Woollcott say reading Proust is like lying in someone else’s dirty bath water. ) Wolcott Gibbs , who often edited Woollcott’s work at The New Yorker, was quoted by James Thurber in his book The years with Ross on Woollcott’s writing:
“Shouts and Murmurs” was about the strangest copy I ever edited. You could take every other sentence out without changing the sense a particle. …I guess he was one of the most dreadful writers who ever existed.
He tried his hand at acting and was spoofed by George S.Kaufman and Moss Hart (1904-1961) in their play, ‘The Man who came to Dinner’ and also starred as Sheridan Whiteside (1940)
Alexander Woolcott once asked Moss Hart to drive him to Newark to fulfill a lecture date.
‘I’ll do it.’ The playwright agreed,’ if you will let me sit on audience. I was once an assistant in a bookshop in Newark and I’d like to show them I am a big shot now.
Alexander delivered his lecture without making the slightest reference to Hart who fidgeted in his chair behind the rostrum, then said he in conclusion, ‘Tonight I’ll dispense with my usual question period. I am sure you all want to know the same thing: ‘Who is this foolish looking young man here on the platform.’
With that he retired leaving Hart to get out of that hall as best as he could.’ (ack: Bennet Cerf)
Alexnder Woolcott went to France during WWI as a sergeant in a medical corps unit and then moved a dismal camp near Le Mans. The men lived in leaky tents with mud and puddles of rain under their rickety camp beds. Woolcott luckily was moved the Paris office of the US army newspaper. ‘Stars ad Stripes.’ Sgt.Woolcott spent rest of the war in luxurious living, dining nightly at the Ritz entertaining friends. When the armistice came he sailed for home on a troop transport where he met a comrade from the old medical camp at Le Mans.
‘You made an awful mistake leaving our unit when you did.’the soldier said.
‘Why?’ Woolcott asked.
‘The week after you left,’ the soldier said, ‘they put wooden floors in our tents.’
Alexander Woolcott carried drama criticisms to the masses and appeared regularly in NBC radio shows and his wild enthusiasm made theatre as exciting as baseball to great many Americans of his generation.
Admirers at the Algonquin Round Table dubbed him as ‘the smartest of the Alecs.’

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Once at the Algonquin round table, Dorothy Parker reported sadly,”My old cat, that I’ve loved so dearly has grown so feeble and helpless that I’m going to have him put away.”She added she was wondering the most humane way to do it. It elicited  this comment from Playwright George S. Kaufman: “Have you thought of curiosity?”
“I understand your grandfather was a Negro, monsieur” a nobleman once asked Alexandre Dumas,”May I enquire what your great grandfather was?”
“An ape, sir,”replied Dumas,”My pedigree commences where your terminates.”
WH Russel of the Times once approached Bismarck and reminded him,”Your Excellency, you’ll have to admit that I am one newspaperman who has respected yor confidence. You have conversed with me on all sorts of subjects and never once I repeated a word you said.”
Bismarck cried angrily: “The more fool you are! Do you suppose I’d ever say a word to a man in your profession that I didn’t want to see in print?”

Noel Coward was once approached by a reporter for the London Star, who asked,” Mr. Coward, would you like to say something to the Star?”
“Certainly,”replied the playwright,”Twinkle.”

The first US Presidential Press Conference was granted by John Quincy Adams, but unwillingly. The President was swimming in the Potomac river when a newspaper woman Anne Royall surprised him. She sat on his clothes and vowed that she wouldn’t budge until he gave her an interview.
The Potomac was chilly and Adams finally granted her request.

As a rookie reporter for the New York World, young Heywood Brown was told to interview Utah senator Reed Smart.
“I have nothing to say,”Smart told him.
“I know,”replied Brown,”Now let’s get down to the interview.”

•    Heywood Brown, one of the kindliest newspaperman ever, wasn’t much of an executive. While running a publication called The Connecticut Nutmeg, its managing board gave him discretionary powers to hire hands at $35 a week. He could go up to $50 maximum.
On the appointed day the job- seekers were called in and Brown queried,”Which would you prefer- $35 a week or $50?”

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Cleopatra(69-30 B.C)
Mark Antony had done his best to entertain Cleopatra and was peeved by her taunts as to the quality of his table. He was perplexed too. When she remarked that she would in one supper spend ten million sesterii Antony laid a wager that it was impossible.
When she laid out her table Mark Antony checked each item against the bill and he had to laugh at her presumption. But she promised that not only she will keep her promise but that the supper would cost 60m.Sesterii.
For the second course a goblet of vinegar of special quality, strong enough to dissolve pearls was brought in. For the occasion she was wearing two most precious pearls in the world. Before his eyes she took off one and dropped into the vinegar. Making sure it was dissolved she downed her goblet. She would have done the same with her second pearl had not Plancus the referee stopped her from it. He pronouncedher to have already won the wager.
Turning to a crest-fallen Antony she murmured,”No soldier is a match for a woman.”
In the German state of Würtemberg, the town of Weinsbeg crowns a hill overlooking surrounding vineyards. In the Romanesque church over there one may see a tablet dedicated to the memory of faithful wives. In the vicinity are the ruins of Weibertreu castle or Castle of the Faithful Wives.
Who were these women?
In 1140, Emperor Conrad III seized the town and had surrounded the castle where the townsfolk had sought refuge. Only the women were allowed to leave carrying whatever they considered most precious of their possessions. At that each woman loaded her husband onto her back.(L’echo de la Mode. France.)
Empress Josephine wife of Napoleon was once giving a party to which she heard that a woman she detested also would be present. Having been informed that the guest would, for the occasion wear a dress of deep green she hastily redecorated her drawing room in a shade of blue that would make her dress seem vulgar and gaudy.( E.A Rheinhardt-“Josephine, the wife of Napoleon.)
Philospher Herbert Spenser (1820-1903)remained a bachelor by default: he could not find one suitable. His well meaning friends for long tried to pair him off with their candidates without success. At last one woman who they described as having not only beauty but a great mind was introduced to the great man. After spending several hours in her company the philosopher informed his matchmaker that she was undoubtedly beautiful. As for her great mind he found it was ‘a small mind in constant activity.’
During rehearsal Laurette Taylor (1884-1946) was told by the director,”This is your scene, Miss Taylor and I feel you should have the centre of the stage for it.”
She replied with her characteristic hesistant tone,”You know, this may seem odd to you but I always thought where I was- that was the centre of the stage.”( Guthrie Meclintic(?)- Me and Kit-Little, Brown)
When Helen Hayes, the actress addressed the Senate on a bill to admit refugee children to the U.S.A one senator heckled her,”Do you mean to say you’d adopt a child unseen?”
The actress replied:”I never saw my own child until it was delivered.”(World Digest.)
The range of Eleonara Duse(1858-1924) as a dramatic actress was as astounding as her ability to live and breathe the role she currently played off stage as well. In Trieste she once played Odette and the dramatist Marco Prago found her sitting on the floor of her hotel room, tears running down her cheeks.
“What’s wrong?”he asked in alarm.
“Nothing,”she replied between sobs,”But tonight I am playing Odette and if I don’t cry a bit now, I shall weep too much in the fourth act.”
Eleonara Duse admitted no one to her dressing room during a performance except her personal maid. One when she was performing in Stuttgart, the king of Würtemberg wanted to visit her during the interval and sent a message in advance and she politely refused since ‘all visits shatter the illusion I need.’ Undeterred the king went and knocked on her door. Duse was adamant. The next day
She and her troupe were ordered out of the country.
Eleonara Duse was possibly goaded to excel herself by Sarah Bernhardt who was performing in Alexandre Dumas’latest play ’The Princes of Baghdad’ at Turin. She night after night watched her all the while learning from her. The day after the Divine Sarah left town she announced to her producer she shall not appear tomorrow except in the role her rival had triumphed. Finall she had her way and her performance was a success.
These two great divas were once in London drawing crowds and George Bernard Shaw after watching them praised Sarah for her beauty, skill and extra-ordinary personality and wrote thus,”Sarah Bernhardt… is always the same. She does not enter into the leading character, she substitutes herself for it. All this is precisely what does not happen in the case of Duse, whose every part is a separate creation.”
Mrs. Fiske, American actress
Once Margaret Anglin left this message stuck in the mirror in Mrs.Fiske’s dressing room. ’Margaret Anglin says Mrs.Fiske is the best actress in America.” Mrs.Fiske read it,added two commas, stuck it in an envelope and sent it back to Miss Angline. It read, ”Margaret Anglin,says Mrs. Fiske, is the best actress in America.”
Dorothy Parker(1893-1967)critic and humorist once bumped into a lady in the doorway of ’21’. She stepped back and motioned for for Dorothy to exit first, saying,”Age before beauty.” Pat came her retort,”Pearls before swine”as she went out.
Dorothy once owned an isolated country house. Asked if she could describe it in two words she said,”Want it?”
Dorothy Parker was once at a dinner honouring a governor. During the speeches a man next to her let out a belch and showed his embarrassment. She leant over to whisper,”Never mind. I’ll let the governor to pardon you.”
At a party she was asked by a bore if she had her ears pierced. She murmured,”No but I have often had them bored.”
Danseuse Yvette Guilbert(1865-1944) the subject of countless sketches, paintings and posters by Toulose Lautrec, was once savaged by Sarcey a formidable critic of the day and she forced her way into his study. She said,”You are an insolent cad…“.
“I regret,”he said and pointed to a pile of papers that needed to be filled before noon,”and if we have no more to say to each other…”
At this the fiery tempered danseuse seized the brass inkstand and overturned it on the sheets saying,”they were to be dirtied, they are dirtied.”
Germaine Coty, wife of Rene Coty the former president of the French Republic was a warmhearted lady. On the night her husband was elected as the President the hall-porter fell on her neck,”Oh madame! We are so happy…. but also sad to see you leaving us.” “Yes,”Mme Coty sighed,”to think that I have ordered fuel for the whole winter!” That remark endeared her instantly to the French houswives who could count on her as one of them.
Madame de Staël(1766-1817)
Germaine de Staël, the French writer called on Napoleon Bonaparte one day and insisted on seeing him. His orderly told her that the Citizen-General was in his bath. ”That is unimportant,” she exclaimed,”Genius has no sex.”
When Napoleon told Madame.de Staël that women had no business being interested in politics, she replied,”In a country where women have been decapitated, it is only natural for other women to ask why?”
Seated between the beautiful Mme.Recamier and the plain Mme. de Staël, the astronomer Lalande said,”How happy I am to find myself between beauty and wit.”
“And without possessing either,”came her prompt reply.

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