Our Hearts Were Young and Gay Author:Cornelia Otis Skinner and Emily Kimbrough Cornelia Otis Skinner and Emily Kimbrough went abroad together. This was in the early twenties, and they were not quite in theirs. — "Emily" Cornelia said, "attracts trouble the way blue serge attracts lint." But it was, after all, Cornelia who came down with measles and a great many complications. Emily did nearly drown a man, but her intention ... more »was only to be helpful; and when she hit an English nobleman in the face, it was unpremeditated and in sport. Certainly the shipwreck was not the fault of either of them, though Cornelia has always averred that the mere fact of Emily's being there helped bring it about.
They were young and foolish, and their hearts were gay. They laughed at nearly everything, but they cried, too, at England, and the sight of France, the Eiffel Tower and Joan of Arc. They had been brought up to know about such places, and sure enough they were true, and Cornelia and Emily were there to see them.
They met some famous people, but were not particularly noticed by them, except when Emily, overawed, at tea, ate the baby ribbon around a sandwich, and the celebrity watched as one hypnotized.
Their clothes were dreadful and unpredictable. Cornelia dressed in a variety of roles, swooping from the fresh, wholesome American girl, to a sultry Theda Bara "vamp,"leaving her family dazed but proud.
They were earnest,too, about "doing things really worthwhile," and "getting the most out of everything." So they studied at the Sorbonne, and with teachers at the Comédie Française, but they learned other things they'd never dreamed of, and swallowed them, round-eyed and gulping.
They were every young American girl on her first trip abroad. They discovered that they owned Europe, or such part of it as they awkwardly cantered over, and they adored almost everything they encountered. Such things as they did not adore, they hated. They would not have known enough nor how to be bored. They longed to be considered worldly, but they were not of the world; they were on top of it.« less