|Reeves memoir was originally published in 7 installments in|
the French magazine Voila from May-July 1934. It was published in book form, in French, in 1935.
An English translation was not available until 2001. Reeves' book is underrated,
in my opinion, as a window into Charlie's personality.
One of the first things Charlie asked May was “do you tango?” Her reply: “The tango is my trade. I’m an acrobatic dancer."
The following is an excerpt from The Intimate Charlie Chaplin by May Reeves & Claire Goll, translated by Constance Brown Kuriyama (2001) :
[Chaplin & Reeves are dancing at a dinner party given by Frank J. Gould, Charlie’s host during his stay in Nice]
He played another tango. He drew me to him and we danced, temple to temple, eyes firmly fixed. “How sweet you are darling. In America they have no idea what a tango is. I’ve never danced it so well.’…The tango was over, but Chaplin continued to hold me in his arms and cautiously drew me closer. I turned my head and his kiss brushed my cheek. “The others are waiting” I said. ‘the others, the others?’ he responded in a tone that suggested that he doubted there were any other people in the world.
[Later that evening in Chaplin’s suite] …He questioned me as if he were jealous of all my former life. Between questions he interrupted himself often and asked, ‘Do you like me a little?…just a very little bit?…you are so charming; oh that smile…let me keep holding your hands. Are you afraid, little girl?
Meanwhile it had grown late. ‘I must go home’ I said.
‘No, no’ he pleaded, holding my hands prisoner. ‘Don’t be afraid, I only want to look at you.’
But this time I couldn’t be persuaded, so he called a taxi for me, and in parting he gave me a sweet, very sweet, almost paternal kiss.
|Composite photograph of Charlie and May from "Charlie Chaplin Intime", Voila magazine, July 7th, 1934.|