PLANTER'S PUNCH by Margaret Curtis


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A fairly respectable operatic career (as Marguerite Valdi) did not have to be interrupted when she was the wife of Harold Mellor, a semi-invalided man who took pleasure in her travels, her associations with important musical figures, and her success. Then, as a young widow, she found solace in strenuous artistic activity. But when she met and married the energetic, worldly Carl Curtis, she moved easily into the role of helpmeet and hostess on his Tahitian copra plantation. Her New Englander husband had fallen in love with Tahiti early in life, and had bought, beautified, and elevated to profitableness one of the finest plantations on the island. As an established, respected community pillar, he -- and so his wife -- was in first-hand touch with the prewar romance of Tahiti. Nordhoff and Hall (Mutiny on the Bounty) were their neighbors; the most celebrated visitors to the island were their guests; their parties were legendary and they were a part of Tahiti's exotic heyday. Before America entered World War II, they both participated in Allied activity on the Continent. Her description of her flight from France before it was completely overrun is an unusually stirring memoir. Few members of the international set are so modestly temperate in their social habits as the Curtises would appear to be. Sophisticated, interesting, and marked by a certain quality of profound gaiety.

Publisher: Appleton-Century-Crofts