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The voice over the telephone had said the cocktail party would begin at 4 p.m., but when I arrived at the Copley-Plaza thirty minutes past the hour of hadn't really begun even then. Small clusters of people were straining around the little room, straining at conversation: a group of men from the Boston press, a few department store buyers, one or two others. They clutched their drinks nervously, and fenced in, in a corner of the room, the bartender allowed himself a little smile of satisfaction. This was to be the lavish Boston welcome for La Voodoo, a Paris model who represents, so the press releases said, the jungle-like, molten qualities of the Dana Perfume Company's latest seen, "Voodoo."
A stoutish man disengaged himself from a small conversational pocket and walked over. "McLaughlin's the name, George McLaughlin. I'm Dana's New England sales manager. Have a drink?" He looked around for a second, then asked: "Where are the rest of your boys?" They had wanted a dozen students about to lend an atmosphere for the benefit of the newspapers, and he was plainly disappointed that the Harvards hadn't arrived yet. I explained that they would appear shortly, and he seemed relieved. "Well, help yourself to the liquor and the hors d'oeuvres," he said, edging away.
By the time the bartender had come up with a couple of scotch-and-sodas, La Voodoo herself arrived. A sultry brunette wearing a very off-one-shoulder black dress and a huge black hat, she managed to convey to the eye what the perfume she was wearing was supposed to tell the nose. Her manager, a light blond, told us that in her less jungle-like moments La Voodoo was known as Stella Danfray. They were just in from Hollywood where DcMille had given her a screen test. And how did La Voodoo like Hollywood? "Ect is so complex, so hectic. But zee country ees so beautiful." What interested her most in the States? She looked around for her manager who had gone off in the corner with the buyers. American slang was the answer; she spoke English well, but these quaint expressions--they confused her. Someone in the little group noticed she was without a drink. "Would you like a shot of something, Stella?" Only orange juice, she said. The circle laughed. La Voodoo looked puzzled.
I moved away to another group in time to hear one gentleman suggest that someone take a bite out of La Voodoo's bare shoulder. But the suggestion was passed up in favor of the hors d'oeuvres, which a tuxedoed waiter was passing around again.
The only man who seemed completely at ease was the bartender, who was polishing glasses with a towel. I watched Stella's manager rescue her from her group of admirers, and lead her over to the buyers and the fourth estate. The bartender looked up. "Funny thing," he said, "We had a party for some French people here a few weeks ago, and all they drank was champagne."
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