16 October 2014

I am in my usual state of cursing

After briefly meeting in the early 1930s, Greta Garbo and renowned photographer Cecil Beaton met again in the 1940s, became friends and even lovers. It is said that Beaton, who was openly gay, was obsessed with Garbo and that he had at one time proposed marriage (which she declined). The two remained friends until 1972 when Beaton made the unforgivable mistake of talking in detail about his affair with Garbo in his memoir "The Happy Years". A betrayed Garbo abruptly ended their friendship. The only time they would see each other again was in 1974 after Beaton had suffered a stroke. 

Greta Garbo sent Cecil Beaton the following letter on 2 April 1965 while they were still friends. In it, she tells him she's not feeling too good and that she's in her "usual state of cursing". 

Source: bonhams/ image reproduced with permission


Dear Beaty, thank you for your letters. I am in my usual state of 'cursing'. I am having my annual cold since over two months. I wonder why I never seem to be able to shake them off. Maybe because I never had a child or never married or perhaps I am not nice enough. I wish I knew so I would know what to curse. I went to the trouble of flying to an island to get well. After five days I had to leave. It was so windy that I was much worse then [sic] before going there. And now is taxtime troubles and when that is settled I must try to go somewhere for a couple of weeks, out of New York's air. Otherwise I will not be able to do spring cleaning and do not ask what that means. I would not tell you. I have no plans yet for anything. I cannot think now. But if I get this head of mine unclogged perhaps I will be able to figure something out, I don't speak English yet!!! I don't know if Cecile de R. is going to charter a boat this year. If she does she might ask me since I am not thinking I cannot carry on any further. These little papers I send you really only to thank you for your practically unreadable letters. As soon as I feel clearer I will tell you about some possible plans.

Love. G. 
Greta Garbo photographed by Cecil Beaton; Beaton shot more than 200 photos of the actress.

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