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47 Washington Square S, New York, NY 10012

Cécile Noufflard - WikidataGermaine Cécile Noufflard Sartoris (July 4, 1879 - March 31, 1968) shared her apartment on Washington Square South with Gabrielle Enthoven, with whom she had translated The Honeysuckle, a play by the Italian writer Gabriele D'Annunzio. Like Enthoven, Sartoris was a well-connected widow, and like other women of their acquaintance (Romaine Brooks, Eleonora Duse, Radclyffe Hall and Una Troubridge), they seem to have been fascinated by D'Annunzio.

Germaine Cécile Noufflard was born in Louviers, Eure, Normandie, France. She married on April 25, 1904, in Paris, Algernon Edward Sartoris (1877-1928), son of Algernon Charles Frederick Sartoris (1851-1893) and Ellen "Nellie" Wrenshall Grant (1855-1922). Cécile Sartoris had one son, Herbert Charles Urban Sartoris (1906-1981).

Cécile Sartoris was also one of the lovers of Natalie Clifford Barney. When Merceds de Acosta went to London, Sartoris gave her a letter of introduction to Enthoven, saying that she knew Eleonora Duse very well: "This, of course, was enough to make me rush to see her at the earliest moment. She became one of my closest friends in London." When Enthoven moved to New York and and shared a flat with Sartoris, De Acosta visited them often: "Teddie Gerard, the English musical comedy actress, lived there too, in another flat. I never knew anything about her background. Teddy was just Teddy Everyone loved her. She moved like a panther. She was gay, wild, beautiful, generous, full of fun, and a trifle mad."

Noël Coward saw Manhattan for the first time on a "breathless June morning" in 1921. He was met by Napier Alington, Teddie Gerard, Gabrielle Enthoven, and Cécile Sartoris - a colourful, Bohemian group, all with a marked preference of their own sex. Coward stayed with Enthoven and Sartoris during this period. Recalling his stay with the two women, he wrote: ‘they said that when I sold a play, or made some money somehow, I could pay rent, but until then I was to be their guest […] I accepted and moved in immediately, grateful not only for their kindness, but for their company.' No one had told Coward that New York theatres closed during the summer months because of the oppressive heat, and he was unable to earn any money, let alone make his fortune. In the small flat with its dark wood furniture and whitewashed walls, the three friends stayed in on evenings when they could not afford to go to the movies. Wearing pyjamas and drinking red wine from the local Italian deli, they dined by the light candles in sconces, flames fluttering in a rare breeze on hot airless nights.

Coward's new friends led erratic lives. Sartoris and her girlfriend, Irene Dean Paul (aka Poldowski), earned money giving recitals of Verlaine's poems, set to music, in the houses of the wealthy; Cecile reciting in a 'rhythmic monotone', Irene singing 'in her husky, attractive "musician's voice"'. Lady Dean Paul had come to the United States "with an urgent determination to make money", and had left her husband and children in England to do so. The Polish Dean Paul was prone to sudden histrionic rages — 'vitriolic tirades against American houses, American culture, and American hostesses in particular' — and once tore up the cheque of a benefactor, throwing the pieces in her face, much to her partner's resentment. She lived on West 70th Street in a pitch-pine panelled apartment serviced by a stoic maid who was cashier to her impecunious mistress. Sometimes, 'when things looked especially black', Noel and Irene dressed up to dine and dance at Delmonico's, or on the Ritz roof, employing his illness-feigning tactic to avoid buying two meals. A luxurious respite from such stylised penury came with a weekend invitation from Florence Magee in Mount Kisco, when the lack of change to tip the servants was rectified by his luck at cards on the Sunday evening, providing him with a fortune of six dollars and fifty cents.

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