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Jan and Cora Gordon in the USA, November 1927: "The last of the Hearse"

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Today is Thanksgiving in the USA and, remembering that Jan and Cora Gordon had given a lecture at the Carnegie Hall in Pittsburgh on December 3rd 1927, I wondered where they had been for Thanksgiving that year and if they had made any mention of the day in their books.

The time period in question is addressed in the final chapter, "Autumn and Adieu", of "On Wandering Wheels"(1929). After a stay on a tranquil New Jersey farm they returned to New York. "The tour was over, but the "Hearse" [their 1920 Ford sedan] remained. For her age and natural infirmities she had run nobly."

At the second car cemetery they visited they were offered twenty dollars for the car and "not caring to wander more for a possible dollar or two, we surrendered the poor "Hearse" into the hands of her destroying angel. She had served us well, if sometimes a little temperamentally."

"THE LAST OF THE HEARSE" "I can't give you a dime more…

Jan and Cora Gordon with "Ratapouf" in pre-WW1 Paris

In his account of the pre-WW1 international gatherings hosted by Paul Fort at the Closerie des Lilas (Salis, John, 1916, The New Witness, pg 277), Jan Gordon notes the presence of "Ratapouf, the Dutchman, sometime labourer on the Eiffel Tower, guide to the Louvre, man of erudition, and author of three thin books of verse which had taken seven years to produce."

Who was this Ratapouf? The mention of "guide to the Louvre" strongly suggests Fritz R. Vanderpyl (1876-1965) who published "Six promenades au Louvre. De Giotto à Puvis de Chavannes" in 1913.

The thin books of verse would include "les Saisons Douloureuse" (1907) and "Les Saisons d'un Poète" (1911). He later wrote on "Art and Eiffel Towers" (1920) in "POETRY: A Magazine of Verse", pages 98-101. He quotes Apollinaire, "Let us hurry to love the little train, with its blinking engine, running through the valley. If tomorrow it shall be ancient, everybody…