HERE'S what the Philadelphia Daily News had to say about...

Salmagundi

October 07, 1994

HERE'S what the Philadelphia Daily News had to say about the new book alleging that the Princess of Wales had an affair with her riding instructor:

"James Hewitt is a bounder. Also a cad and most likely a poltroon.

"He has improved his station in life in the traditional British way, through carnal knowledge of his betters and a fat payoff for telling all.

"And we thought the Empire fell because of historical forces. More likely, it was simple embarrassment.

"Hewitt is an unemployed retired cavalry major who once served as Princess Diana's riding instructor. He asserts that he and the princess spent much of that time -- five years -- in the hayloft.

"What is it about upper-class Brit women and their desire to shtup people who take care of the horses? Perhaps their bonnets are too tight.

"At any rate, Hewitt deserves to hang for his ungentlemanly behavior. Alas, there is more.

"His book is written so execrably that the rack is too good for him. For instance:

" 'As they sat side by side on the sofa, the hair's breadth between them seemed as wide as the ocean, yet they were intimately aware of each other and of how close they actually were. Their bodies were electric, aching to embrace, yet the anticipation, the fervor of expectation, was almost more delicious . . . Suddenly, she could not bear it any longer. Her need was too much.'

"Great leaping wombats! Even Jackie Collins couldn't write this badly while taking dictation from her sister. Actually, Hewitt's reminiscences are turned into pustulant purple prose by a ghost, Anna Pasternak, grandniece of the great Boris. So much for genetic inheritance of literary talent.

"There's more:

" 'Diana stood up and without saying a word stretched out her hand and slowly led James to her bedroom. Later she lay in his arms and wept. She wept for all the times she had been left feeling deficient and alone, and the times she had longed for such a union to melt her into her husband's bones as she had melted so softly into James's.'

"Come to think of it, Pasternak makes Jackie Collins seem like Yeats. She may be the worst writer in the history of the English language and Hewitt the worst varlet since the English lived in caves and put on airs anyway.

"Poor princess! First her husband, the twit, announces that he'd like to be a tampon, and now this. Now she's subject under a law passed under Henry VIII to being burned alive for sharing royal property with a commoner, or something like that.

"Fortunately, Hewitt, under an even earlier law, can be beheaded, an imperfect solution since it doesn't directly address the problem, but nothing's perfect.

"Getting back to old-fashioned values can indeed be satisfying. Is there some way Pasternak can be horribly tortured in the Tower of London for crimes against literature?"

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