Tempting Fate

"Not content with being called anaemic, Sarah Bernhardt painted her face chalk white. Not content with being told by doctors she had a very short time to live she made herself a coffin of rosewood with silver handles and had herself photographed in it with her eyes closed and her hands crossed. It was her way of proving to Death that she could outstare him.

"She placed the coffin by the bed so that it would be the first thing to strike her eyes upon waking; and she had it carried along with her wherever she went. Often she slept in it. When guests came, she served tea on it..."

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