Natacha was immensely admired wherever we went. But I became rather angry about that. In one of the cafes, we stopped at for supper, there was a group of officers present and they sat there, boldly, without attempt at camouflage, looking her up and down. I was just about getting ready for a good fight. Then it came to me that I probably did the same thing before I left Italy. I had forgotten that it is almost a custom of the country, a habit. But I felt resentment, because it really wasn’t a look of curiosity, polite or otherwise, It was a sort of mental undressing. The very boldness with which they did it should have disarmed me. For all the boldness of it, because of the boldness of it, I suppose, there was also a sort of naive innocence. It was stripped of all subterfuge, all attempt at concealment. In America, decidedly, had such an event taken place, I would have risen and smashed the offenders in their several jaws”. – Rudolph Valentino

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