Sunday, July 29, 2012

ROBERT GREENE : THE ART OF SEDUCTION : ON CORA PEARL

BOOK EXERPT FROM "THE ART OF SEDUCTION" by ROBERT GREENE

pages 59-60-61

"Born Emma Crouch in 1842 in England, from a respectable middle class family but her father abandoned the family in 1849 for immigration to America. " One day in 1856, when Emma was walking home from church, a well dressed gentleman invited her home for some cakes. She followed him to his house, where he proceeded to take advantage of her. The next morning this man, a diamond merchant, promised to set her up in a house of her own, treat her well, and give her plenty of money. She took the money but left him, determined to do what she had always wanted: never see her family again, never depend on anyone, and lead the grand life that her father had promised her.

With the money the diamond merchant had given her, Emma bought nice clothes and rented a cheap flat. Adopting the flamboyant name of CORA PEARL, she began to frequent London's Argyll Rooms, a fancy place where harlots and gentlemen rubbed elbows. The proprietor, a Mr. Gignell, took note of this newcomer to his establishment - she was so brazen for a young girl. At forty-five he was much older than she was, bu he decided to be her lover and protector, lavishing her with money and attention...

"Frequenting all the right places, Cora soon ca me to the attention of wealthy French gentlemen. ...As money began to pour in from her various conquests (the Duc de Mornay, heir to the Dutch throne; Prince Napoleon, cousin to the Emperor), Cora spent it on the most outrageous things - a multicolored carriage pulled by a team of cream-colored horses, a rose marbled bath tub... But money could not buy Cora's loyalty; she would leave a man on the slightest whim...

Antics like this made Cora the toast of Paris, and she reigned as the city's supreme courtesan for over a decade, until the Franco-Prussian War of 1879 put an end to the Second Empire."

Penguin Books Publisher

C Robert Greene and Joost Elffers 2001

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