Mrs Coolidge and the American Experience: 57
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Title graphic: Frank Bridge: A Life in Brief
Mrs Coolidge and the American Experience: 58

Following Bridge's extended stay with Mrs Coolidge in 1923, their next meeting took place six months later during 1924, when Mrs Coolidge, en route home from her annual trip to the European continent, visited England for a few days, attending the Wembley Exhibition with the Bridges (on 25 June) among other diversions. In 1925 she was in England again, before the Bridges and Harold Samuel accompanied her on a month's motor tour of the Swiss and Italian Alps and the French Riviera, which continued with a trip down the east coast of Italy and finally ran inland to Sienna and Florence. Ethel, although accustomed by now to Mrs Collidge's behaviour, still found her exasperating at times:

You know a fortnight of this Continental rush is enough for a horse and I envied Harold going back quietly by train. I don't know when I've ever felt so tired out and even my hair is ever so much whiter and I feel an utter ragshop ... How she [Mrs Coolidge] can go all day and night is more than I know, she recuperates so quickly has only to rest for 15 minutes and then is ready for anything again ...

Blowed if any of us know where we are on this trip and if I once begin saying things I shall never leave off. Our lady of the good manners31 never knows one day from the next what she's going to tell us.32

The car was, in fact, an open one, which gave rise to an amusing incident on the outward journey through France. Mrs Coolidge,

that impressive lady, had a commanding presence, and as she sat in the back of an open chauffeur-driven car dressed in white ermine it is perhaps not surprising that the crowds at Versailles, through which they were slowly wending their way on Le Quatorze Juillet,33 should have raised a cheer and greeted her with cries of 'Vive la Reine!' Mrs Coolidge, being almost stone deaf, heard not a sound, but her three companions had some difficulty in maintaining straight faces.34

31 Ethel Bridge is referring here ironically to what she regarded were Mrs Coolidge's bad table manners.
32 Letters, Ethel Bridge to Marjorie Fass, 3 and 5 August 1925, respectively.
33 Actually a few days later. They crossed the English Channel on 17 July.
34 Letter, Howard Ferguson to Trevor Bray, 27 September 1976.