Wednesday, March 9, 2016

London St James Square .. Site of Grantham House, The Crawley Residence ..3/9/16

Grantham House was built in 1849, on a prime parcel across from St. James Square, the ranking aristocratic district of London. It dates from The Restoration and since Regency times till now ( 1926 ) has been a bastion of inherited wealth and social position, either nobility, or gentry. No parvenus here. Don't even think it. Well, maybe a fabulously successful financier might sneak in if he played the game correctly and supported all the right institutions and causes.

Everything about the place was spruce and scrubbed. Everything glowed with posh urbanity. And the young man standing across from the glossy front door saw that. He tried to be discrete. He tried to fit in. Most passersby didn't stare. Some did. You know how it is. People want to know. Is he Hindu? Is he Sudanese, or perhaps from somewhere in Latin America? The top coat was obviously bespoke and the shoes from Jermayne Street. But the complexion was all wrong... a little too swarthy... a little too 'foreign.' Then he found a seat on a bench and sat, studying the house and thinking..... Who were the people inside? What were they like? What would they say?

A woman came out with three English children. A younger person, seemingly a nanny, or someone filling in for a nanny went with them. They walked to the curb and waited, fresh and sharp in their fine melton coats and coordinating caps... the two little girls wore tam-0-shanters... the little boy sported a black, velvet, child's version of a formal riding helmet. How well behaved they were. A gleaming Bentley rounded the corner and stopped. The chauffer jumped out, smart as any cavalry officer, snapped open the door and helped his betters enter. Then they sailed off into the crisp, January sunshine.... the Countess of Grantham, off for a day of shopping, with her three grandchildren... her three junior aristocrats. Of course there'd be a break for tea at a fitting venue. Why wouldn't there be?

Lucas saw it all (that was the young man's name) from his front row seat. Then he got up and walked off, passed the impregnable facades of innumerable gentlemen's clubs, till after a bit he found himself among the crowds and sights of Piccadilly. He stopped to watch a Pearly King and Pearly Queen do a dance, even tossed a few pence into the cap. Then he entered a pub (after waiting to see if any other 'exotic' types went in first) for bangers and mash, washed down by a pint.....

'England'.... He had family there... in a manner of speaking... In a way... Who knows? We'll see...

Later that day he went back to his spot on the bench. The sun was setting. The earlier, winter warmth gave way to chill. Lights went on around the square. He focused on an upstairs window, possibly a bedroom, in Grantham House. A pinkish glow illuminated the interior, perhaps from a boudoir lamp with a rose silk shade. Then a man looked out, stepped back and closed the drapes.... Lucas thought he might be Lord Grantham, but he was only a footman. The room wasn't even a bedroom... just a small, rarely used study.

Would there be a meeting?... Of course... but that would come later...

< more Downton next time >


click St. James Square ... to see all episodes of our many story arcs.
click Piccadilly ... to join me on Twitter...
please comment. thank you.