- Feb 9, 1999
Ah, Lady Diana Manners! I always have a flash of F Scott Fitzgerald's 1920 story, The Jelly-Bean, when I come across her name:
"D' you ever hear of Lady Diana Manner?" she asked earnestly.
No, Jim had not.
"Well, she's what I'd like to be. Dark, you know, like me, and wild as
sin. She's the girl who rode her horse up the steps of some cathedral
or church or something and all the novelists made their heroines do it
Jim nodded politely. He was out of his depths.
"Pass the bottle," suggested Nancy. "I'm going to take another little
one. A little drink wouldn't hurt a baby.
"You see," she continued, again breathless after a draught. "People
over there have style, Nobody has style here. I mean the boys here
aren't really worth dressing up for or doing sensational things for.
Don't you know?"
"I suppose so--I mean I suppose not," murmured Jim.
"And I'd like to do 'em an' all. I'm really the only girl in town that
She stretched, out her arms and yawned pleasantly.
"Sure is," agreed Jim.
"Like to have boat" she suggested dreamily. "Like to sail out on a
silver lake, say the Thames, for instance. Have champagne and caviare
sandwiches along. Have about eight people. And one of the men would
jump overboard to amuse the party, and get drowned like a man did with
Lady Diana Manners once."
"Did he do it to please her?" "Didn't mean drown himself to please
her. He just meant to jump overboard and make everybody laugh,"
"I reckin they just died laughin' when he drowned."
"Oh, I suppose they laughed a little," she admitted. "I imagine she
did, anyway. She's pretty hard, I guess--like I am."
"Like nails." She yawned again and added, "Give me a little more from