Aren’t the Russians Wonderful?
By Don Marquis
From “Hermione and Her Little Group of Serious Thinkers,” 1916
Aren’t the Russians marvelous people!
We’re been taking up Diaghileff in a serious way–our little group, you know-and really, he’s wonderful!
Who else but Diaghileff could give those lovely Russians things the proper accent?
And accent–if you know what I mean-accent is everything!
Accent! Accent! What would art be without accent?
Accent is coming in–if you get what I mean –and what they call “punch” is going out. I always thought it was a frightfully vulgar sort of thing, anyhow–punch!
The thing I love about the Russians is their Orientalism.
You know there’s an old saying that if you find a Russian you catch a Tartar . . . or something like that.
I’m sure that is wrong. . . . I get so mixed on quotations. But I always know where I can find them, if you know what I mean.
But the Russian verve isn’t Oriental, is it?
Don’t you just dote on verve?
That’s what makes Bakst so fascinating, don’t you think?–his verve!
Though they do say that the Russian operas don’t analyze as well as the German or Italian ones–if you get what I mean.
Though for that matter, who analyzes them?
One may not know how to analyze an operate, and yet one may know what one likes!
I suppose there will be a frightful lot of imitations of Russian music and ballet now. Don’t you just hate imitators?
One finds it everywhere–imitation! It’s the sincerest flattery, they say. But that doesn’t excuse it, do you think?
There’s a girl–one of my friends, she says she is–who is trying to imitate me. My expressions, you know, and the way I walk and talk, and all that sort of thing.
She gets some of my superficial mannerisms . . . but she can’t quite do my things as if they were her own, you know . . . there is where the accent comes in again!