Ronald works the room

Nancy Cunard recalls a meal in London in 1922, memorably interrupted by fey English novelist Ronald Firbank:

ronald_firbankA charming, but at that moment insufferably drunk, young man was with me and we were about to have dinner. Noisily and lengthily captious at the menu’s many suggestions, he had finally reached the point of announcing ‘I’ll have…I’ll have a…’ while the waiter stood by looking more than weary. At that moment Firbank swept in, ecstatic, and came dancingly towards us. As I tried to introduce them my companion scowled at him, muttered something about ‘fairies’ and reached the end of his thought: ‘A beefsteak’. ‘And what with, sir?’ asked the waiter. ‘What with, what with?’ groaned the angry man, ‘with…’ Firbank stood poised above us. With a swoop over the table and an ingratiating giggle he suggested clearly and winningly: ‘Try violets!’



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