Colette to Marguerite Moreno 11 June 1925
Colette (the pen name of Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette) was one of the best known French novelist and short story writers of her time. She was also a well known music hall dancer and had her own column in the French LeMatin Newspaper all at the same time.
Her first husband Henry Gauthier-Villars was to completely control and dominate her. On the grounds that he had been the one to motivate (push and bully was the words she was later to use) HER first books were published under HIS own pen name “Willy”. As a writer himself he was able to revel in the publicity and national recognition he achieved from her work. Of course the large earnings from sales was also to have a knock on effect to grow sales of his own “inferior” books.
Colette and her new writing career
Upon her divorce from him she was able to explore in writing new areas such as women’s development as people separate from husbands. Something that would never have been possible if forced to still use his pen name.
Colette and her love affair with women
One of the subjects explored in her books was the love between women. The recipient of this letter Marguerite Moreno is regarded to be someone with whom Collette was reputed to have one of a number of her lesbian affairs. This letter appears to have been written by Colette when she was moving back to Paris to be able to spend more time with Marguerite Moreno (a successful film and stage actress). It was also shortly after splitting up with her second husband following an widely publicised affair she had with her own stepson.
What am I doing? Heavens, I’m spinning. And I use this verb as a planet would. Yes, I’m spinning.
I’ve seen roses, honeysuckle, forty degrees Centigrade of dazzling heat, moonlight, ancient wisteria enlacing the door of my old home in Saint Sauveur.
I’ve seen the night over Fontainebleau. And as I said, I’m spinning.
Beside me there a is a dark boy at the wheel. I’m on my way back to Paris, but shall I stay there? The dark boy beside me is still at the wheel, and how strange everything is! And how good I am, and how amazed I am, and what wise improvidence in my behaviour! Oh yes, I’m spinning! As you can see, you must not worry about me.
From time to time I am uneasy about myself, and I give a start, prick up my ears, and cry out, But what are you doing? and then I refuse to think any more about it … Just now, on the telephone, an enlightened Chiwawa, enlightened by the dark, dark, dark boy, sang my praises. The era of frankness is back and the cards are on the table.
But, my Marguerite, how strange it all is!….I have the fleeting confidence who fall out of a clock tower and a moment sail through the air in a comfortable fairy world, feeling no pain anywhere…
Colette to Marguerite Moreno
The romantic relationship between Marguerite and Colette appears to have been rather short lived although they did remain friends until her death. Colette had at least two other lesbian affairs but the biographies all say she took from those lovers a lot more than she ever gave any of them back. Colette married for a third time in 1935 and remained married to him until her death.
Although on her death in 1954 she was denied a Catholic funeral (because of her two divorces) she was given a state funeral. This was the highest possible posthumous honor that France as a nation could give her.