10 August, 2011

Why Don't You?

Each year, my aunt Lazareff spend a few winter months with us in St. Petersburg. She was always accompanied by her children, Michael, Wladimir and Irene, the second about my age
We had to have about twelve or thirteen, when one evening, in the absence of our parents, we imagined going out dressed as women. The wardrobe of my mother provided us everything that was necessary for the accomplishment of this great project. Once dressed, makeup, bejeweled and wrapped in velvet coats too long for us, we went, by a private staircase, to wake my mother's hairdresser, who accepted the task of lend us wigs for a masked ball.
Well dressed, we walked the city. At the Nevsky Avenue, the get-together for all the prostitutes in St. Petersburg, we were soon noticed and in order to get rid of those aproaching us, we answered them in french "nous sommes prises" and continued our path with dignity. We thought escaping them at once by entering L'Ours, the restaurant in vogue then. 
Without thinking of leaving our coats in the cloakroom, we took a table and ordered dinner. It was a terrible heat there and we were suffocating under our furs. People stared at us with curiosity. A group of officers sent us a note inviting us to dinner with them in a private room. I started feeling the champagne effects and using my necklaces of pearls I made a lasso to grab the heads of the people who were at the next table. Suddenly the wire broke and the beads, to the delight of the audience, were spread on the floor. Feeling the focus of everyone's attention on us we decided prudently to escape. After gathering most of the beads we headed towards the door when the Maître d'hôtel came to claim the bill. As we had no money he were forced to go to the manager and tell him everything. The good man was full of indulgence and very amused with our adventure even giving us enough money to take a car. Arriving at the Moika we found all doors closed. I called out through the window my faithful Ivan who laugh to tears when he saw us. 
The next day, things went wrong as the director of L'Ours sent my father the remaining beads found in his restaurant ... and the bill of the dinner! 
Wladimir and I were locked up for ten days in our rooms and forbidden to leave. Shortly after, my aunt left the Moika, taking her children. Only several years after I saw my cousin again. 

- Prince Felix Yusupov