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Wyndham, Lady Diana. Lady Diana Wyndham was created by the French author Maurice Dekobra and appeared in La Madone des Sleepings (1925), La Gondala aux Chimeres (1926), and The Madonna in Hollywood (1945).
Lady Diana Wyndham is a beautiful, free-spirited British woman who is known as the "Madonna of the Sleeping Cars" because of the many thousands of miles she has traveled on the railroads of the Continent. Her response to this title: "A consummate bit of irony, because although I may look like one, I have none of the other attributes. As a matter of fact, I have been in every European watering-place; I've lost more billet-doux than you could shake a stick at, between the pages of timetables and illustrated magazines." Her life is not entirely or even mostly carefree, however. Her fortune is threatened, and she plans to recoup her investments by exploiting an oil concession in Russia. This leads her to an involvement with Varichkine, a Soviet agent. He offers to help her in exchange for one night with her. Her response to this is not shock and horror but rather a proposal of marriage, not because of some desire for respectability (she's danced nude at a charity fund-raiser, and respectability is a lost cause for her) but rather because she can't possibly pass up the ultimate opportunity to scandalize proper society by marrying a Red.
The marriage does not work out, however, and Lady Diana falls in love with Ruzzini, formerly the head of Italian intelligence during World War One. But Ruzzini is running guns to Egyptian nationalists and waging a vendetta against Leslie Warren, a British intelligence agent who worked alongside T.E. Lawrence. Warren speaks Arabic like a Bedouin and raped Ruzzini's sister. Ruzzini gets captured by Warren, and Lady Diana offers herself to Warren if he will spare Ruzzini. Warren agrees, but then gets bitten by a cobra that Lady Diana has concealed in her clothes. Warren dies of the bite, but Ruzzini is executed, leaving Lady Warren heartbroken, and the novel ends with her contemplating entering a convent.
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