Typed account, signed 'Anyanga' [J. H. Driberg], of a liaison with a Frenchwoman named Yvonne Beaubouchais in Marseille in 1915, titled 'L'Entente Cordiale'.

'Anyanga'; J. H. Driberg [Jack Herbert Driberg (1888-1946), social anthropologist and brother of flamboyant Labour MP Tom Driberg (1905-1976), Baron Bradwell]
Publication details: 
'From J. H. Driberg, 19, Dryden Chambers, W.1.' Undated [1920s?].
SKU: 13049

8pp., 4to. On eight leaves pinned together. In good condition, on lightly-aged paper, with rust staining from pin. Apparently unpublished. Typed at head of first page: 'From J. H. Driberg, 19, Dryden Chambers, W.1.', above which, in manuscript: 'NL. N. 10 pt Miscellany'. Driberg is clearly the author: 'Anyanga' is a surname common in the area of Kenya in which he was based as a colonial offical. The first paragraph gives an indication of the tone of the piece: 'The War left me with one fragrant memory. Her name was Yvonne Beaubouchais, and the date was 1915. I was held up in Maiseille, [sic] surely the most romantic town in Europe, with an atmosphere all of its own. East meets West here much more than in Suez, or so it always seems to me. Suez is too Eastern and yet not Eastern at all: it is altogether too meretricious, too much the courtesan laying herself out to allure the jaded Westerner. But Marseille is alive and not at all self-conscious. Every race and creed meets on an equality: Spahis jostle against Greeks: Levantines and Libyans, French, Italians and Indians drink harmoniously at the same cafes: Malays and Malagash, Turks and Syrians are equally at home, and even the English become less Anglic and Americans less nasal. There is a camaraderie about the place which takes no account of East or West: kardamom and garlic, betel and saffron, blend in a delightful harmony of the senses such as no other town possesses.' He finds Yvonne Beaubouchais 'something different': 'It may have been a certain air of aloofness, a kind of meditative remoteness which seemed in that atmosphere singularly attractive. [...] She was not beautiful, though definitely attractive, but it was her voice which made me catch my breath with astonishment. It was the most musical voice I have ever heard, not too high and not too low, and even in ordering of a creme-de-menthe it had a quality of enchantment in it such as would turn the head of an experienced man: and I was only a boy then. [...] it was on the third day, I think - suddenly Yvonne made a suggestion which, uttered in the most natural and conversational way, made me draw a deep breath of amazement. [...] I was certainly confused by her proposal that in order to cement the entente (yes, that was the reason expressly stated) I should become the father of her child. [...] she had discussed the matter with her fiance, and they both agreed that it would be a magnificent thing for the Entente to be cemented in this way: it would be a mascot or a symbol or whatever you like to call it ensuring the success of the allied armies. [...] Years later I saw her again, a mother and happily married to her soldier lover.' From the Driberg papers.