Charlie's version of events is slightly different, however. There is no mention of May meeting him in Hollywood later (nor, not surprisingly, any mention of a pregnancy). Charlie felt that they had grown tired of each other and that May was "resigned and somewhat relieved" when they finally parted ways. "Since our sojourn in Switzerland, our alchemy of attraction was somewhat diluted, and we both knew it. So we parted good friends."3 Regardless of the promises or arrangements Charlie may or may not have made with May, their year-long romance was coming to an end.
|Syd (seated at left), May, and Charlie at the Excelsior Hotel in Rome, March 5th, 1932|
On March 2nd, 1932, Charlie and May left St. Moritz with his friend, "Hungarian consul Plesch," 4 traveling by car to Rome where they would arrive late in the evening on March 4th (along the way, they visited Rimini, Gubbio, and Perugia). Awaiting Charlie's arrival was his brother Sydney, who had come from Nice (he had left Charlie in St. Moritz a week or two earlier), with a message saying that arrangements could be made for a meeting with Mussolini. But this did not materialize. "I could only stay in Rome for two days which was too short a notice for Il Duce to give me any of his valuable time."5 May remembered that Charlie was disappointed because "he lost a unique opportunity to discuss politics."6
May recalled that her last evening with Charlie was spent having dinner at an old inn, "I joked to hide my sadness. Charlie laughed heartily when I imitated the Charlot of City Lights eating spaghetti." Afterward they visited a museum: Charlie "walked past the pictures and statues without looking at them. Occasionally he expressed his admiration by exclaiming, 'Oy, oy!' an expression he had adopted from a Jewish story someone told him. It was quite amusing to hear him exclaim 'Oy, oy!' in front of a Raphael."7
Coming up tomorrow: Charlie and May part ways in Naples.
*This was Chaplin's second visit to Italy on his world tour. In March 1931, he spent a three days in Venice.
2May Reeves, The Intimate Charlie Chaplin
3Charles Chaplin, My Autobiography
4 Arpad Plesch (1889-1974). Hungarian Consulate in France before WWII. Chaplin may have met him c. 1929 when he visited the Chaplin Studios with the former president of the Hungarian Republic, Count Mihaly Karolyi, & Konrad Bercovici. (Many thanks to Dominique Dugros for this info).
5Charles Chaplin, "A Comedian Sees The World"
6Reeves, The Intimate CC