John Maynard Keynes and Lydia Lopokova
As a rampantly homosexual Bloomsbury intellectual, author of The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money and co-founder of the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank, John Maynard Keynes might not have sounded, on the face of it, like the answer to a maiden's prayer. Particularly if that maiden was Lydia Lopokova, a passionate, impetuous Russian ballerina who once, during an unscheduled mid-scene pause in Les Sylphides, whipped off her frilly knickers and flung them into the wings. But Keynes fell in love with Lopokova from the outset, and she responded in kind. She was brought to London by Diaghilev in 1921 as principal dancer in the Ballet Russes. Keynes watched her in The Sleeping Beauty night after night, entranced by her interpretation of the Lilac Fairy. He contrived a meeting and they exchanged letters. Her English was terrible but beguiling: "To you I send a chirp from under the left breast," she would write, "I place melodious strokes all over you."