I awoke on Thursday way before the Husband to the realization that I was in London. It was a bit after 8 a.m., but the room was still dark as I climbed out of bed and crept to the bathroom. A short time later, I emerged to find Hubby still sleeping. And London still awaiting me outside. Stealthily, I rummaged around in drawers and suitcases until I found something to wear on the top and something to wear on the bottom. As to what these two garments consisted of I could not have cared less. I donned socks, hoping they were mine and not the Husbands, pulled on my boots, scarf and coat and dropped the room key, money, cigs and lighter and my camera into the coat pockets and crept like a cat burglar out of the door.
Emerging from the hotel, I found that it was overcast and drizzling. Undaunted, I grinned my way up the street to Caffe Nero, where I got a medium mocha and took it outside to one of the tables. I sat down, lit up and sipped – God was good and all was right in my world.
The Church of Christ the Scientist is just across Curzon Street, and beside that are C.F. Trumper, Men’s Hairdressers
and just to the left of that, G. Heywood Hill Ltd. booksellers.
Of course, neither was open at that early hour, so I took myself off on my long anticipated Mayfair stroll. You’ll recall that all I’d wanted to do since yesterday was to walk the streets and poke about at my leisure, which I did. And found my interest focusing, for some odd reason, on doorways. Here we go . . . . . . .
Let’s pay homage to the Beau first, shall we? It’s only fitting. Taking a right onto Queen Street, we stroll up to the top and make a left onto Charles Street, keeping on until we come to the corner of Chesterfield Street, where Beau Brummell lived. Before we turn in, though, take in the door across the street. And the elaborate railings. And the shrubbery on the terrace. And the pediments.
Now look back down the street, at the way we just came. See the street lights, the gentle curve of the street, the wet roads, the grey skies. Not another soul in sight . . . . London in the morning . . . . joy!
And midway down Chesterfield Street, on the left, we find Brummell’s house – let us linger here a moment in the drizzle and contemplate this particular doorway, shall we? Just imagine the visitors who must have come and gone through that door, with its elegant side and fan lights. Visitors aside, just imagine Brummell himself coming and going through that door. Oh, to have the mystery of what he looked like solved at long last! Did he look like this . . . . .
or more like this “I’ve just smelled something frightful” rendering?
Or possibly an amalgam of both?
In the early morning quiet, with the streets deserted, it’s easy to imagine a carriage drawing round the corner or the sound of a service door closing upon a maid who has just taken in a delivery. A horse may whinny in the distance, someone may shout in the mews two streets away, while the aristocracy sleep warm in their beds, having turned in just a few hours ago after a night of Regency revelry . . . .
But back to the house . . . . .
Incidentally, Lord Rosebery lived here, too.
Day Two – Part Two Coming Soon