This song was featured in “Nymph Errant”, a “lost” Porter musical based on an identically titled, madcap novel which was first produced in London in 1933, starring Gertrude Lawrence. As musical theatre, it was considered to be “too English” for American audiences of the day and it did not appear on Broadway until 1982. While Noel Coward turned down an offer to write the music, Porter is said to have considered the score one of his best because of its worldliness and sexual sophistication. It was still a time when he was writing many of his lyrics specifically to amuse his society friends who would laugh uproariously at references that might leave today’s listeners in the dark.
Inspired by her Swiss finishing school mistress’s admonition to indulge in all the pleasures that life affords rather than settle for the simple life of domestic bliss in the English countryside, pretty, young Evangeline is looking to lose her virginity. Her quest takes her to the beach at “Neauville-sur-Mer” (can you find it on a map?), the Cafe du Dome in Paris, a palazzo in Venice, and a harem in Turkey — without an ounce of success. Returning home dejected and defeated, she receives an unexpected and welcome proposition from the family gardener on her aunt’s estate.
The lyrics are some of the most charming and witty in all of Porter’s songs:
“The moment I saw you And you looked my way, That moment of moments I started to say: “Could this be my long-lost dream come true?” The moment we touched, I knew.”
“Darling, you and I Are too wonderfully happy today To throw it away. Now, life is a song If we build a duet on it, How could we be wrong?” While this song has not been widely recorded I hope you will enjoy a nice original version by Gertrude Lawrence as well a gently swinging instrumental by Dick Sudhalter (trumpet) and his London friends.