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Thread: "Don't disgust me, please --"

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    Super Moderator twitchy2.0's Avatar
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    Default "Don't disgust me, please --"

    Not a laugh. Not really an oddity. More of a random interesting tidbit and I don't know where else to put this. Most awesome putdown letter ever.


    Lafcadio Hearn begs "Don't disgust me, please --"

    Posted by Carolyn Vega Thursday, March 31, 2011 3:45:00 PM



    Lafcadio Hearn could be a cruel correspondent. One-eyed, diminutive and poor -- and self-described as painfully awkward -- he was nonetheless a hit with certain ladies -- at least fifty, by his own count. One of these ladies, Ellen Freeman, emphatically did not excite reciprocal feelings.

    Hearn’s relationship with Ellen Freeman seems to have formed in 1875, around the time he was fired from the Cincinnati Enquirer following his marriage to Mattie Foley, a former slave. Interracial marriage was illegal at the time, and it scandalized Hearn's circle. This was not the only time he shocked Cincinnati -- as a journalist at the Enquirer and later at the Commercial, Hearn explored the underbelly and margins of society in sensational articles. Reporting from crime scenes, Hearn viscerally described sticking his fingers into a dead man’s brain, slipping on gore, and even drinking blood from abattoirs. He was something of a sensation himself, and caught the eye of the refined and wealthy housewife Ellen Freeman, who was some years older than him. It is clear from the surviving correspondence that she pursued him but that he was not interested. His letters are consistently polite and thankful for frequent gifts of books and flowers, but he remains formal and somewhat standoffish, frequently alluding to his social anxiety and the need to “wear masks in this great Carnival of mummery of life.”
    Their relationship came to an abrupt end the following year, possibly as the result of a photograph of her in a low-cut dress. At the very least, his response -- which is one of the most spiteful letters I’ve ever come across -- leaves little to the imagination about his feelings for her.



    It reads:
    I do not like the picture at all, -- in fact I cannot find words to express how much I dislike it.
    You were never physically attractive to me; you are neither graceful nor beautiful, and you evidently know nothing of the laws or properties of beauty. Otherwise you could not have sent me such a picture, as it could only disgust me.
    Whatever liking I have had for you, it has never been of such a character that I could be otherwise than disgusted by such a picture as that. It is unutterably coarse and gross and beefy. It is simply unendurable.
    Not that I object to low dresses -- or even to an utter absence of dress, when the unveiling reveals attractions which the eye of the artist loves as something shapely and beautiful. I have an instinctive and cultivated knowledge of what physical beauty is, and anything in direct violation of my taste and knowledge -- like your picture, -- simply sickens me. I have studied every limb and line in the bodies of fifty young women, and more; and know what form is and beauty is. You must not think me a fool. You are a fine woman in regard to health and strength; you are not a handsome or even a tolerably good looking woman physically, and your picture is simply horrible, horrible, horrible.
    This is plain speaking; but I think it is necessary for you. You cannot make yourself physically attractive to me. Don’t try. I am an artist, a connoisseur, a student of beauty, and it is very hard to please me. Don’t disgust me, please --
    Yours truly,
    L. Hearn.

    A few things about this letter strike me. What did Ellen Freeman look like? This elusive woman -- and her no doubt striking visage -- is lost to us. And how on earth has this letter not only survived, but been intentionally preserved? Hastily scrawled on two thin scraps of paper with a dull pencil, it is the type of missive that you might imagine to be dissolved by tears, crumpled in rage, or thrown into the fire. But Ellen Freeman saved it, and what’s more, gave it back to Hearn when he asked for the return of his letters. Hearn then preserved it for the next dozen years, while he was chronicling the denizens of New Orleans and possibly living with a Voodoo priestess.
    Eventually, Hearn gave the whole stack of his correspondence with Ellen Freeman to his friend Henry Watkin to do with them whatever he thought best. Not surprisingly, this letter was not published in Hearn's selected correspondence.
    For more information about The Morgan's collection of Lafcadio Hearn letters, click here.
    Lafcadio Hearn begs "Don't disgust me, please --" - The Morgan Blog
    As Canadian as possible under the circumstances

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    "What's traitors, precious?" -- President Gollum

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    Gold Member Snoopy's Avatar
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    In the words of Cher Horowitz: "that's way harsh".

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    Elite Member Brookie's Avatar
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    Lafcadio? Lafcadio? Parents not like him or something? Here's a guy who already looks like the Boston Strangler. This chick must have been fugly bugly.
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    Elite Member HelpMeRhonda's Avatar
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    Jesus. I'd slit my wrist right then and there!
    'High, High. Yaw Both High and Smokin' Weeeed in Front of My Howse"
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    Elite Member greysfang's Avatar
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    Maybe Grimm should join Ancestry.com and check his family tree.
    FUCK YOU AND GIVE ME MY GODDAMN VENTI TWO PUMP LIGHT WHIP MOCHA YOU COCKSUCKING WHORE BEFORE I PUNCH YOU IN THE MOUTH. I just get unpleasant in my car. - Deej

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    Elite Member sprynkles's Avatar
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    I've located the offensive photo...


    "A massive penis means never having to say you're sorry". Mo

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    Elite Member MsChiff's Avatar
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    ^ that's so great!!!

    wow he sure didn't mess around w/phony surface crap.. cut right to the heart. I think she should have sent him that picture every day after that. lol
    Fighting for peace is like fucking for virginity.

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    Elite Member Sleuth's Avatar
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    Oooh BURRRN!
    Alicia Silverstone: "I think that the film Clueless was very deep. I think it was deep in the way that it was very light. I think lightness has to come from a very deep place if it's true lightness."

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    Elite Member Quazar's Avatar
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    Love to hear what he would have said about The People of Walmart.

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    Elite Member Lobelia's Avatar
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    I wish I'd never read this. I can easily become obsessed with stories like these and the fact that we will never know what this disgusting woman looked like is almost too much.

    Funny tho- if the world is still alive in a few more generations, our descendants won't generally have to wonder what we looked like. Oh look, here's all the pictures that were on great-great-grandma Twitchy's facebook page. There are just so many pictures of people nowadays.
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    Elite Member ManxMouse's Avatar
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    BEEFY! Lolz.
    Santa is an elitist mother fucker -- giving expensive shit to rich kids and nothing to poor kids.

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    Elite Member Chalet's Avatar
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    This made me think of all the actors that would play this guy in an old movie - Clifton Webb (from Laura with Gene Tierney), George Sanders, Vincent Price, and Monty Wooley. They were all acerbic, could comment on a woman's appearance like a viper, often made suggestions to the woman's wardrobe and had fits of jealousy when the women were around attractive men. I think these men wanted to be the heroine or they wanted to sleep with the boyfriend. In any event, they were usually confirmed bachelors or something along those lines. That's what I got from Lafcadio.

    Hope I didn't ruin a good thread.

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    Elite Member faithanne's Avatar
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    I am an artist, a connoisseur, a student of beauty, and it is very hard to please me.
    Wanker.

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    Elite Member Chilly Willy's Avatar
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    I wish he'd tell us how he felt.
    Hello mother fucker! when you ask a question read also the answer instead of asking another question on an answer who already contain the answer of your next question!
    -Bugdoll-



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    Elite Member sluce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greysfang View Post
    Maybe Grimm should join Ancestry.com and check his family tree.
    You don't engage with crazies. Because they're, you know, fucking crazy. - WitchCurlGirl

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