"Judith ... toi qui, aujourd'hui a retrouve la raison ... contemple ton pauvre corps ... lamentablement vaincu par le calvados ... "
I found this cartoon among my papers recently. It was drawn in 1947 by a young French cartoonist called Arsene, when I was staying at the age of 19 with a pen-friend in France. Lucette and I had been invited to tea by friends of hers, and Arsene, her neighbour and friend, was there too.
'Tea' turned out to be a misleading term, as we found ourselves sitting round a table in the garden during a heatwave, eating sweet sticky cakes, but also drinking one type of alcohol after another, mostly liqueurs as I recall. At that time I still had very little experience of alcohol - nice girls didn't start very early in those days - and had no realisation of the impact such a quantity and mix was likely to have on my system. And politeness seemed to require that, as a guest, I try a little of everything offered.
I have a vague memory of going somewhat dizzily into the house to the loo, and then nothing ..... until I woke up flat on my back on the lawn, having passed out! Arsene, (for whom I later developed a romantic but innocent attachment), took advantage of the moment to draw this picture of me, which he captioned: "Judith ... you who today have recovered your reason ... contemplate your poor body ... lamentably overcome by calvados....."
I barely recall being taken back by car to Lucette's house, but have acute memories of the raging thirst which attacked me during the night. Lucette's family had a very small house, and the only tap was in the kitchen. To get a drink I had to make my way through the house in the dark, unlocking every door on the way, as the family was highly security conscious. I made this arduous trip several times during the night. The morning light illumined a lesson learned, and I have never been incapable again!
Seven years later I was living in Geneva and working for the World Health Organisation. We were very well paid and led a pretty rackety lifestyle. My memories of my first hangover must have partly inspired this cartoon which I drew in illustration. The caption, "Si verres sales m'etaient comptes..." translates as: "If dirty glasses were counted against me..."; it is a play on the title of a film of the time: "Si Versailles m'etait conte".