By Sarah Murdoch - Friday, February 1, 2013 - 0 Comments
Susan Mary Alsop once told her lover, Duff Cooper, the British ambassador to France in the mid-1940s, that she was more at ease as a mistress than as a mother, and would choose him over her two young children in a flash. “I have just about reached my maximum Dufflessness,” she wrote during one of their separations, and her yearning for the man who brought her into his orbit of history, literature and power is palpable.
Throughout her life, she sought out such privileged men and women in Paris, London and Washington through whom she could observe “history on the boil,” as Nancy Mitford once observed of her.
Alsop’s life was defined by connections. She was a descendant of John Jay, the American founding father. Her first marriage, to Bill Patten, took her in 1945 to Paris, where Bill worked at the American embassy. Here, writes de Margerie, she discovered her genius for knowing just “how to mix people and ideas, how to lower the lights, and how to spice up conversation with alcohol.” Continue…