Hotels are a new thing... urban 'manor houses' for those with a bit of social distinction, or the money to create the illusion of social distinction. They set up 'house' for a few evenings or a week, perhaps a month, if funds allow, and live a life of luxury. Mivart's is such a place. London's first major hostelry. Quite a step up from the plain, though comfortable Georgian inns, although some of them still enjoy a devoted clientele. Indeed, so discrete was the neo-classical façade that most actually took it for the city home of an aristocratic, well-off person of distinction.
My entre, my voucher, David Hefton, led the way. We ascended the grand staircase and proceeded down a wide, cream paneled hallway, lit by tall candles in crystal sconces, each surrounded by a sizeable cream framed mirror.... Why do I dwell so on such superficialities? I suppose I want the age to come alive for you. Mirrors were necessities back then, needed to reflect and multiply the illumination. Every floor had its 'sand boy,' even private homes, always at the ready to smother flames with a large, heavy pail-full of white Dover granules. For flames above the floor, such as those caused by mischievous sconces, there was a water boy... same job... different bucket. Should a ceiling alight, those that could escaped to the streets. Those that couldn't ran toward the windows and prayed.
Our era was tinged by the Enlightenment, though not by much. Urban poor often lived on pigeons or worse and prostitution was (no matter what churchmen said) better than starvation.
Now, let me get back on track.... I can use that term. Investment in railroads was beginning. The Illuminati promoted it. What better way to knit humanity together?
Hefton stopped before a pair of doors... cream colored, as usual. Oh, there was a bit of gold leaf applied here and there. 'Eggshell' does get tedious , thus the gory over reaction of the Victorian age yet to come.... Then he quietly knocked. A footman soundlessly let us in. The room, somewhat dim compared to the rest of the establishment was set up as a card room... five tables of gentlemen carelessly placing bets on the turn of a stiffened piece of thick, glossy paper..... I whispered to Hefton - How much is the buy-in? ... That term, I knew. Even country boys gambled. And I did have funds supplied by the 'beacon' (an organized 'chapter' of Illuminati).... Hefton (called 'the second Beau Brummel') smiled and said - Just sit down. Everything's been arranged.... So we took seats at a table occupied by four gentlemen recently graduated from university. Hefton made the necessary introductions. Another footmen gave us each our buy-ins and that was it. Not much different than the last time we spoke. Society was like that. One met a group... sized everyone up and was sized up in return.
Those in attendance were men of wealth, either their own, or some senior relation's... But the important thing is they could get it... should the right organization apply the proper amount of pressure.
So I played cards that night... I ate delicious cold, rare roast beef served Bavarian style with horseradish and pickled slaw..... I drank chilled Rhine wines. In the 1830's chilled wine was a true luxury and quite a delight.
Before play resumed, 'private girls,' as they were called, dressed in corsets and scanties, took their place under each table, surprising every guest in turn. Some closed their eyes. Some giggled. Others just stared into space and gasped for air.... How did I react?... With dignity and aplomb, I must say. I do remember that 'our' private girl was a quite striking Amazon named Charlotte... I did not know that then, but I learned soon enough...
'Dame' Charlotte, as she was called, proved a true friend... and a genuine virtuoso (is there a feminine suffix for that word?) in the persuasive arts.
Now, please let me streak about the universe, as disembodied spirits do. I have an appointment west of The Pleiades.
click PRIVATE PARTY ... then click the 'subscribe' button toward the top of the page to browse all 2,000 episodes of Vampire Wonderland (which is just a name , because it's not all vampires). there're more than 800,000 words up now. lots to explore and discuss via your posted comments. thank you.
click SHARE INFORMATION AND IDEAS to join me on Twitter and share YOUR links too!