Pur Autre Vie

I'm not wrong, I'm just an asshole

Monday, May 30, 2016

Past Is Prologue

From Louis Pasteur, by Patrice Debré (translated into English by Elborg Forster) (Adrien Loir is Pasteur's nephew and colleague):

The famous actress never traveled without her dogs.  But Australia was very strict when it came to quarantine.  In order to get around the rules, Loir offered his charming compatriot housing for her two animals in his institute, which was protected and where they would enjoy preferential treatment.  By way of thanking him, Sarah Bernhardt granted the young scientist an unsurpassable privilege, that of playing the silent part of her lover in Victorien Sardou's "Fédora."  At the end of the play, the heroine faints and falls into her lover's arms — which is why this part was coveted by all of Sarah Bernhardt's innumerable suitors, to begin with His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales.
Many Australians did not forgive Adrien Loir for holding Sarah Bernhardt in his arms for a moment, and the most jealous took revenge by bringing up the subject of rabies.  In his defense, Loir pointed out that the length of the voyage, added to the isolation of the dogs in his institute, constituted a sufficient safeguard, for together they extended far beyond the incubation period of the disease.  Yet Pasteur, whom his nephew consulted on this matter, was less categorical:  '"A dog that leaves Europe after having been bitten by a rabid animal will die during the quarantine imposed upon its arrival in Australia in keeping with the incubation period.  However, this rule is not absolute; science knows of incubation periods of one year, even two years and several months for rabies; but these are most unusual exceptions."
In any case, this anecdote shows that the New South Wales government was extremely concerned about the risk of rabies.  It is true that at this point Oceania was still free of this affection [I think he means 'affliction'].  Rabies and other hitherto unknown viruses would eventually be brought to Australia by the means of rapid communication, especially air travel.
My advice to actors traveling to Australia with dogs is to profit from the example set by those who came before you.


Blogger Zed said...


2:02 PM  
Anonymous Frigatebird Pinata said...

Invade me, Zed! Invade me!

P.S. Sarah Bernhardt "adore[d] Chicago," regarding it as "the pulse of America." One could say her heart burned for it.

9:18 PM  

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