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Helen Westley - Believe It Or Not

( Originally Published 1930 )



THERE'S always a woman in the case. And the Theatre Guild has HELEN WESTLEY.

Her full name is Henrietta Remsen Meserole Westley. She comes from a clan of prim old Huguenots. Two streets in Brooklyn, Remsen and Meserole, are named after her ancestors.

Is downhearted because men look upon her in a motherly fashion.

For years her stage was the back room of Greenwich Village cafes and bookstores. She wandered in, strutted her stuff and wandered out—a will-o'-the-wisp. One evening a group of intellectuals planned to start a theater. This little elf entered and this time she didn't leave. Today she's a trade-mark.

Her passion is reading subtitles aloud. Talking pictures annoy her.

She believes in God and is a member of the Dutch Reformed Church.

Claims she is a good luck piece of the Guild. Must have a hand in everything they do. She played in both Strange Interlude and Faust the same evening. Merely left one play about the third act, hurried down the street with makeup on and went on in the other.

Her purse is large enough to pass as baggage at any hotel. It always contains a mess of bills, cosmetics, letters, keys, bric-a-brac and ashes.

Flowers, she thinks, are horrid. Her summer home, a shack at Croton, is surrounded by weeds.

Haunts second-hand stores. She detests breaking in new garments. Her shoes are one size too large. At present she is wearing a cane.

Likes to use big words in conversation. The listener generally doesn't know what they mean. She never gets peeved. Is always quaint.

Adores babies and makes special visits just to pinch their cheeks. She has a gentle pinch.

Went to Paris once. Drank milk of magnesia all the way over so she wouldn't get seasick. Stayed eleven days and never went outside of Montmartre.

Envies Heywood Brown for his ability to dress better.

The only restaurant she ever liked she found in Chicago. Raved about it for five months. Then arranged a supper party there. Paying the railroad fare of four guests. Arriving, she learned the restaurant had been closed by the Health Department.

Studies Yoga philosophy.

Belongs to over twenty freak societies. With the hope that some day one of them might amount to something.

Calls upon her friends without notice. And when-ever the desire seizes her. Regardless of the time.

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