[Ads-l] Repartee Origin: You are the second most beautiful woman in the United Kingdom . . .

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sat Jun 10 02:43:51 UTC 2023

A twitter thread mentioned repartee between English theatre critic
James Agate and English actress Lilian Braithwaite. Below is the
earliest citation I was able to find for their exchange:

[ref] 1932 March 2, The Daily Telegraph, London Day by Day: Second
Best by Peterborough, Quote Page 12, Column 5, London, England.
(Newspapers_com) [/ref]

[Begin excerpt]
"A little while ago," said Mr. Agate, "I was fortunate enough to find
myself alone with Miss Braithwaite. I hastened to avail myself of this
rare opportunity.

"'My dear lady,' I said, 'May I tell you something I have wanted to
tell you for years: that you are the second most beautiful woman in
the United Kingdom?'

"I naturally expected that Miss Braithwaite would ask who, in my
opinion, was the woman who came before her. And I had prepared myself
with a name to which it would have been interesting to see Miss
Braithwaite's reaction.

"But she asked no such question. She merely looked at me with her
charming smile and said, 'Thank you. I shall always cherish that, as
coming from the second-best dramatic critic.'"
[End excerpt]

Earlier citations and feedback welcome,

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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