Friday, May 30, 2008

Image du Jour: The Divine Sarah

Sarah Bernhardt, by Nadar, 1864

When my Grandmother was a very young woman, and Sarah Bernhardt a very old one, the former saw the latter, on stage in, of all places, Pittsburgh, PA. It was a benefit during the War (the first one; doesn't that seem far away?), and she was performing for France. She was tiny, Grandmother said, and was carried in on a kind of sedan chair, for she had only one leg. She was indescribable, she said.

One War later, and my grandmother herself lost a leg, to blood poisoning; oddly, although she wasn't living there, also in Pittsburgh, PA. If she hadn't been one of the first civilian recipients of penicillin, I would never have known someone who saw Sarah Bernhardt.

At least, said my Grandmother, smoothing her skirt over her artificial leg, I knew I was in good company.

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