SHOES & VINEGAR

Fanny Murray (1729-1778) was allegedly the most beautiful and undoubtedly the most famous courtesan of Her generation. Novels were dedicated to Her, songs and poems paid tribute to Her beauty, ships were named after Her, as were racehorses and even gin cocktails (Fanny Murray’s Pick-Me-Up for example, or a Fanny Murray’s Nettle Juice). The men in those days certainly knew how to put a Lady on a pedestal! Nowadays we pride ourselves for cleaning a Lady’s shoes with our tongue. We honestly think that’s the superlative of submissiveness and a true token of devotion. But then again: we live in a time where getting out of bed each morning is enough to earn the hero status, so it’s not really surprising that doing the absolute minimum is considered to be a huge achievement. Many of Fanny’s followers would shake their heads in disbelief. Not only did they use Her shoes as champagne glasses, according to a famous anecdote a couple of Her most devoted worshippers ate Her shoes in 1747. Sliced and fried in butter, to testify their affection for the Lady. Compared to that we’re all oafs, wouldn’t you say? So, a worn shoe please, sprinkled with parsley and vinegar on the side. Yummy!

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