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Bois de Boulogne: Auteuil, Cafe d’Armenonville, L’Hermitage, Pavillon Dauphine,  Pre-Catalan, Clover Club, Jardin de Ma Soeur, Chateau de Madrid, Abbaye de Theleme

Thursday 21st June

The entire family has decamped to Aunt Mimi’s house in Paris and we are living in organised chaos with Mama as usual in charge of exactly what we are doing each day. Even Sir Oliver, Mimi’s new husband has acquiesced to her will for a quiet life.

Paris in June is blissful and offers racing to the turf enthusiast nearly every day. Usually there is wonderful weather and relaxing outdoor fun. We have missed the Prix de Diane at Chantilly on the 7th June and the Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly on 14th June but we are here today for a family outing at Auteuil for the Grand Steeple. Auteuil is set deep within the Bois de Bologne on the western fringe of the city and it does feel as if we are in the country.

We loiter in the pesage or paddock, the exclusive enclosure with the viewing stands. And alternate watching the races with strolls behind the stands over the luxurious green lawns with decorative flower beds, popping into a cafe where necessary.  Here the fashion parade unfolds with beautiful women showing off all the latest couture.

“There is an air of restful refinement about the races in France, in contrast to the noisy race-tracks of England and the United States.” Says Aunt Mimi as we take an early lunch.

“Yes, there is also an absence of the “horsy” type so prevalent at Sandown Park or Epsom Downs.”
Adds Sir Oliver with a smile.

During the summer the races have become an institution with practically every American in Paris attending. Papa remind us that racing in France owes much of its prosperity to American sportsman.

“American methods of training and riding are scrupulously followed by the French. Most of the well known jockeys are Americans and most of the prominent owners are American too.” Papa says authoritatively as he waves at a very smart gentleman wandering around with a huge entourage. “Ah, he is a case in point. That is A.K. Macomber of California who married into Standard Oil and purchased the entire Vanderbilt stud including the latter’s breeding establishment at St Louis de Poissy.”

After a delightful day we drift through the Bois de Bologne along the Alle de Longchamps towards Paris. As Mama constantly remarks. “The Parisians have succeeded in turning the beautiful Bois into a  paradise of artisitic artificiality.”

Map of the Bois de Boulogne

Map of the Bois de Boulogne

Through tangles of undergrowth run driveways and equestrian paths and scattered within its leafy interior are not just several race tracks but a dozen or so restaurants and cafes that become the centre of the Parisian social scene and nightlife in the summer.This time – 5pm – is the fashionable hour for the Bois and every inch of the avenue is taken up with luxurious automobiles and elegant strollers. We stop at the small, confined but terribly Parisian Cafe d’Armenonville on the Paris side of the Bois near the Porte Maillot which is the smartest place for tea and fashionable for luncheon too. It is owned by the Mouriers, who also own the Café de Paris, Fouquet’s bar and the Pre-Catalan.Parisians love the ‘intimite’ of d’Armenonville and marvel at the agility of the waiters as they slip between the tables so discreetly.

As Mama says “Put a Parisian in a large room with plenty of space and he perversely refuses to come again… they love crowds!”

The place is awash with the rich and famous and well-to-do folk like us. There is the princess who has eleven dogs of various hues to match each gown she wears. On our left is an actress who wears a coat made from the skin of her pet baboon and there is also a famous demi-mondaine who is brunette in the daytime and blonde at night.

Millie observes “One will notice that women are wearing long diamond necklaces many with a marvelous emerald pendant as dignified protest against the too great influx of artificial jewelry that one sees far too often these days.”

When I observe how warm it is, especially dressed in my evening suit, Millie tells us an amusing story “Last year, when it was really hot there was a bit of a scandal when two men arrived with some ladies in evening dresses but they were wearing pyjamas!”

Each of the Bois venues has its special gala night where tout Paris is to be seen. It is important to be at each place on each successive night. Famous dancers or the latest cabaret favourite usually supply the entertainment. We rush back to Paris, change and freshen up for a quick cocktail before darting back into the Bois to the l’Hermitage on the far fringe of the Bois on the banks of the Seine near the Longchamps race-course and the Porte de Suresnes.

L'Ermitage Nightspot, Bois de Boulogne, Paris

L’Ermitage has a paradoxical rusticity and gives a pleasant sense of escape from the city with the Siene lapping lazily by along the edges of the terraces and the green stretches of Longchamps not far way. The gardens here are immense and create the illusion of being completely in the country.  It is quite lovely sitting outside having dinner and drinks in the gardens where the warm nights make it a delight to linger under the trees in the soft glow of admirably planned lighting.

The entertainment tonight is superb with the fabulous singing and antics of the Trix Sisters and the dancing of Charlie Stuart, Barry Bernard and Joan Pickering, who are all doubling up at the Club Daunou later in the evening.

On our return to Paris we stop off very late at the salubrious Pavillon Dauphine for champagne and a little more dancing. Situated at the bottom of Avenue de L’Imperatrice, and just inside the confines of the Bois within its own luxurious gardens, this stately building was erected on the site of a Chinese Pavilion in 1913 by the city of Paris. One gets an amazing view from here of the Avenue as it rises toward the Arc de Triomphe. Its initial purpose was to serve as a place to receive official delegations arriving by train at the Porte Dauphine station before being taken to State buidlings such as the Elysee. It is now a famous summer rendezvous for drinks, dinner and this season they have a superb cabaret headed by the wonderfully eccentric American dancer Nina Payne, straight from her performance at the Folies Bergere and the Dorel Sisters. However, I am told that for some it is too close to Paris!

Friday 22nd June

Tonight we are off again to another gala in the Bois this time at the Pre-Catalan. Cecile is joining us. As usual all the ladies are gowned beautifully with Cecile and Millie in creations by Paul Caret and Mama and Mimi in Lucile concoctions. The Pre-Catalan used to be a dairy farm and now has a charm all of its own with its gardens and flowers and lights in the trees. It is situated in the middle of the Bois in its own grounds of several acres not far from Autueil and the Lac Inferieur.

The restaurant is a handsome domed hall with an excellent dance floor and we alternate between the restaurant and the gardens until the cabaret begins with Moss and Fontana. They have been dancing in Paris for a while and once again perform their amazing repertoire with astounding dexterity.

We leave in two cars and on the way back to Paris, Millie and Henri and Cecile and I drop into the  Clover Club in the Rue Caumartin to see the dancing of Dina Harris and Ted Trevor before making our way to the Jardin de Ma Soeur or the Embassy not far at no.17 Rue Caumartin. Here there is a so-called  ‘Plantation night’ with Maurice and Leonara Hughes and Harry Pilcer. We have a delightful end to our evening and once again Leonara insists on dancing with me. She is quite lovely.

Saturday 23rd June

Tonight is a gala night at the favourite society place of the Chateau de Madrid in Neuilly on the edge of the Bois and we are all there. It is a scene is of fairylike enchantment. We take dinner and dance in a large garden under the trees with fairy lights and the beautiful architectural background of the chateau. It is like a private garden party, with the soft strains of a perfect orchestra, the glistening of hundreds of immaculate shirt fronts and the flashing of jewels in the subdued lighting.

Chateau Madrid, Paris

We observe many well known personalities including Grand Duke Boris who keeps a suite overlooking the garden, the ex-film star Pearl White and various other well known actresses plus a sprinkling of  society. However,  despite the presence of many celebrities we deduce that the audience is composed one third Ritz, one third tourist and one third business.

“Have you noticed” says Aunt Mimi “that the Bois is becoming a little passé due to the vulgarisation of the automobile making it far too aceessible. It used to be just all Ritz types here.” We all laugh.

“Well I have noticed something else” says Cecile diplomatically “that the lights in the trees and on the tables are cleverly arranged so that the light and colour over the faces of the dancers changes with every hour?”

Sunday 24th June

We are back at Auteuil for further racing and spend the evening in and around Montmartre ending up at the Blue Room of the Abbaye de Theleme and once again marvel at the dancing of Fay Harcourt and Harry Cahill and others in a new show called The Midnight Blue Cabaret. I am sure that Fay’s exquisite costumes are created by Dolly Tree.

Friday 29th June

Today is the Grand Prix at Longchamps and the Bois is swamped. It is a glorious day followed by another visit to the Hermitage de Longchamps to watch the assorted pleasures of Carl Hyson and his company that includes Peggy and Betty Harris.

Our conversation returns to observations of the Bois and its night-time inhabitants and we discuss the rather rigid set gala nights that each venue in the Bois stages in rotation.

Millie pontificates “The crowd of spenders like us are referred to as ‘Tout Paris” but we might as well be called ‘Tout Etranger’ because Americans and English form the majority, followed by South Americans and Spanish. The French lag behind the Italians, Swiss and Germans in number. Although there is a lot of spendthrifts there are not enough and so the restaurants in the Bois take it in turn to entertain them with these set gala nights.”

Aunt Mimi offers “Well, last year at the Pre-Catalan on a Friday night, the telephone boy told the head waiter that there as a call for a Monsieur Gaston Francois. ‘Who?” he asked. And then realised – ‘Ah you mean the Frenchman!”

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Le Train Bleu, Hotel de Paris, The Carlton, the International Sporting Club and the Café de Paris.

Wednesday 27th December

We have Christmas at home but we then escape the dreary winter for a visit to the Riviera. Most of the family go south each year but I have not always been allowed to join the migration for a variety of reasons so I am thrilled to be able to go again this year. Mama executes our transfer with military precision given that the entire extended family relocate. We get the train from London to Dover and then the ferry to Calais.

Mama is very chatty on the train and takes the opportunity to interrogate me about the status of my affairs of the heart.

“So how are you getting on with Eva?”

“She is very pretty and fun and dances well too… but…”

“hmm I think I understand the but bit…. She is decorative but not too bright is she?”

“Even so she has many admirers” I say.

“That is because she is quite a catch Fynes and comes from a very well connected and wealthy family. Just so you know I have other suitable introductions to make when we reach the Riviera”

Mama pauses as I roll my eyes in despair.

“Less of that look young man” she says reprovingly “And, I gather Cecile has proven popular?”

“Yes, Cecile is more appropriate Mama.”

“And, I am told you have been seeing that Dolly Tree woman? What of that?”

“Oh she is a friend Mama and she is close to Monty remember” I say rather too defensively.

“And I know about Jessica Brown too.”

I blush furiously “Mama….”

“I know everything Fynes. do remember. Nothing escapes my attention. You might like to know that Miss Brown has been seen under the wing of Lord Northesk. There are whispers of an engagement.”

My heart sinks. I rather enjoyed my lunches and afternoon rendezvous with Jessica.

At Calais we are terribly excited because we are catching the new Calais-Mediterranee Express called Le Train Bleu that only started service on the 8th December. It is called the Blue train because the cars are painted a beautiful blue but they also have a very attractive decorative gold trim! We leave at 1pm and pick up Mimi, Millie and Henri at the Gare du Nord in Paris and then speed off toward the Riviera.

During cocktails in the dining car, Aunt Mimi tells us all about her romantic encounters in London, and how she has several eligible suitors who will all be visiting her on the Riviera.

“Do excuse me this winter” she says “I am going to be a little busy.”

We have a jolly 5-course dinner in the dining car before retiring to our respective sleeping compartments. In the morning we reach Marseilles and then stop at St Raphael, Juan les Pins, Antibes, Cannes and Nice before arriving in Monaco.

Thursday 28th December

It was blissful to leave a cold and grey London one morning and arrive to the sight of mimosa and orange trees and the blue waters of the Mediterranean glittering in the sun the next.

We transfer to the large and ornate Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo and immediately feel relaxed and suitably refreshed. The smart footmen in plush breeches and silk stockings and buckled shoes make life here effortless.I take a stroll onto the Place du Casino, an amazing area at the back of the casino and framed by the hotel, the Café de Paris and gardens to one side. Even more lush gardens extend beyond the place near the Palais des Beaux Arts.

Monte Carlo - Place du Casino

Monte Carlo - Place du Casino

This is the most perfect place in the world. From the Casino terrace on the sea front the panorama surpasses all expectations. To the southwest is the Bay with its white yachts and the white walls of the castle of Monaco gleaming in the sun. To the Northeast the wide sweep of the wooded slopes and the white shores of the coastline into Italy. Landward are the mountain peaks rising into the blue of a cloudless sky.

“The beauty is so perfect it is almost painful” says Millie who has crept up behind me and admires the view and ambiance with me.

“Aunt Mimi has already darted off” she says “this one is a rich French industrialist.”

Monte Carlo - terrace and promenade to the sea

Monte Carlo - terrace and promenade to the sea

As we take a leisurely and relaxed lunch in the restaurant terrace that extends onto the Place du Casino of the Hotel de Paris I am reminded by Papa of the weekly schedule and established order of gala nights. Monday is spent at the Ambassadeurs Restaurant at the Hotel Metropole which is daintily decorated like its London counterpart. Tuesday is reserved for the famous Casino balls that take place in the beautiful and sumptuous Salle de Musique. Wednesdays and Saturdays are for the Café de Paris which are perhaps the most successful of all. The Park Palace is the select place for Thursday night and Friday is devoted to the Carlton.

Monte Carlo - Casino gardens

Monte Carlo - Casino gardens

We are immediately thrown into a frantic round of socialising and attend the gala night at the Park Palace which has a fine ballroom and perfect flooring frequented by the cream Riviera Society. It is renowned for dance lovers and suits me perfectly. I am however, feeling a little lost without any of my chums. Monty and Dolly for example are only coming down later in January and meeting me in Cannes. Eva is busy. Aubrey is busy. And Cécile will arrive in a few weeks too. However, I do make my mark with my dancing and after several twirls with Millie I am in great demand and not short of attention.

I notice a very smart man about my age smiling. I am sure at me. If I were to be bold I would say he looks like a very suave gigolo since he is tall, dark and extremely well presented. In fact he looks like an even more sophisticated version of Monty!

To my surprise Millie knows him and we are introduced.

“Fynes, this is Lorenzo Del Drago. He is Italian as you might have guessed and his father is a Count. He has been admiring your dancing and the effect you are having on the ladies!”

“Good to meet you Fynes. Your dancing is amazing.” He says in perfect English. Millie leaves us. It turns out he is the same age and in exactly the same position as me: he is here with his family; at a loose end; and being introduced to suitable ladies by his mother. We talk for ages, interspersed with more dancing.

Friday 29th December

I arrive for breakfast and I am reproached by Mama for being late. To my delight Lorenzo and some of his family are also taking breakfast at a nearby table. To my further delight Mama knows the family.

“I have been allowed to rent an automobile” says Lorenzo. “Would you care to come with me and see the sights?”

We set off and within 30 minutes emerge into the lovely, deserted countryside beyond Monaco. We make frequent stops, park the car and explore. First we visit the charming La Turbie with amazing views, then Eze which is a cluster of ancient buildings with equally dramatic views. Dropping down to the coast we take a leisurely lunch at the exclusive Reserve restaurant in the very English Beaulieu. This is one of the warmest resorts and home to the wonderful Belle Epoque Rotunda. We then visit Villefranche and its beautiful natural harbour.

Lorenzo is charming, intelligent and fun and I warm to him immensely.

That night we have a delightful dinner at Ciro’s regarded as the smartest restaurant in Monte Carlo on the Galerie Charles III with Lorenzo and his family. We then visit the Carlton to see a big event for dance lovers. I laugh to myself when Aunt Mimi reminds me that this is regarded as one of the premier temples of ‘Terpsichore’ on the Riviera. I can’t help but thinking what Eva would make of that word.

George Henry and Maud Rosy had attracted such large crowds at the Cafe de Paris during November with their exhibition dancing that they wereappointed ‘directeurs artistiques’ for the Carlton for the coming Season. They presented a superb entertainment that started with a troupe of English dancing girls called the Oswald’s who give dance after dance with a quick change of costumes. They were backed by a lively dance band called “The Five Its”

“They have been called ‘endiablee’” says Mimi.

“What on earth does that mean?” I ask.

“Oh simply wild or full of life” she replies “a little like you my darling.”

The last act is the clever and beautiful Caryatis who appeared ‘sans voile’ just as mother Eve appeared to Adam. She is called ‘La Thäis de la Danse’and is a statue of grace, charm and beauty.

Papa suggests that the men go to the International Sporting Club, so we leave the ladies for a while. We circumnavigate the elevators, lifts and tunnels to arrive in the club which is the most prestigious gambling salon in the Riviera. Lorenzo’s father Count Luis is a member like Papa of course and it takes little to get us membership. There are no windows visible and you have the sensation of being in some subterranean cavern but you are in fact on the first floor of a building not far from the actual Casino. Papa explains that third class gamblers play the public rooms in the Casino. Second class gamblers inhabit the salles privees of the Casino. But first class gamblers reside where we are.

We watch our fathers play each room dedicated to Chemin de Fer, Trente-et-Quarante and Roulette. They win and they lose but finally both come out heads up. I am not sure I understand it all and I am relieved when we return to the Carlton for more dancing. Lorenzo and I are in great demand as dancing partners.

“How do I learn to dance as well as you?” he asks as we smoke outside on the terrace.

“Well I guess I can show you” I say eagerly.

Saturday 30th December.

We spend the day exploring again but this time end up in a wonderful area just beyond Beaulieu called the Cap-Ferrat peninsula. The little fishing village of St Jean is exquisite. We snoop around and get glimpses of some amazing villas such as Beatrice de Rothschild’s Villa Ile-de-France and King Leopold 11 of Belgium’s Villa des Cedres before having lunch in the rather wonderful Grand-Hotel de Cap Ferrat.

“Ah I forgot to mention. We have a villa near Cannes” Lorenzo says with delight “I have a feeling you might come and visit.”

We spend a late afternoon on a deserted beach.

“I don’t understand why these places are not popular” says Lorenzo “look lovely beaches, wide open space. The sea, the sky, the air. It is wonderful.”

Lorenzo has come prepared and we take a nap on rugs in the sunshine.I wake up to find him snuggled up against me and looking in my eyes.

That night we are part of a large party that includes my family and Lorenzo’s family. We go to to the Café de Paris. Here cosmopolitan Riviera society is at its best during the Saturday gala nights and it is the place to be seen.At the bar and terrace we take an aperitif before dinner. Aunt Mimi joins us with one of her suitors who comes from London and is a business associate of Papa.

The cabaret here is exceptional and holds the record attraction of three couples of exhibition dancers. I finally get to see Dina Harris and Ted Trevor. I am not sure that Eva is right to describe them as the best dancing act in London but they are exquisitely smart and select and their dancing perfect and beautifully rhythmical

Once again I see the marvellous Lily Fontaine and Billy Revel whose act is still amazing. Their apache dance is so realistic and clever that it is a poem in itself.Their imitation dances are too funny for words as they take off English French American and Italian dancers to perfection. Billy Revel is so eccentric he draws roars of laughter and Fontaine is so sweet and charming and a perfect foil for his antics. They are given encore after encore.The entertainment ends with the Spanish dancers Maris de Villars and Escudero who have been successful in Paris but simply do not shine as much as their predecessors.

Sunday 31st December

It is New Years Eve. I spend the day with Lorenzo near the hotel – exploring the wonderful gardens and terraces, playing tennis at the exclusive tennis club and clay pigeon shooting. We spend the evening in at a special party at the Café de Paris. We continue dancing into the small hours as the rest of our family drift off to bed. We literally carry each other back to the hotel.

I wake up in his room. “Blimey” I say thinking of Monty’s word of wisdom.

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Frascati’s and the Grafton Galleries (The Midnight Revels)

Wednesday 29th November

Father decides to have a quiet word. “What is this?” he asks indicating a range of newspapers and magazines opened at particular pages on a table in his office.

“Oh that” I say sheepishly “well… I meant to tell you… but you were so busy and I forgot.”  There in black and white were my debut pieces as a restaurant critic. I explain all. Papa is patient and seemingly intrigued.

“Well, they are jolly good Fynes” he says approvingly “but it has got me thinking about your future again. I have decided that you will come into the business a few days a week to learn the ropes.”

My heart sinks. Work. How am I going to cope with my busy social life?

He clearly knows what I am thinking “Don’t worry it will not be too arduous dear boy. You can start at 10am and only do 3 days a week. And you will be away on the Riviera for several weeks early next year so you can build up to full time after that. You will get used to it.”

“Eva” I say on the telephone “I have had a fright. I need a night out. I will pick you up at 7pm and we will go to dinner at Frascati’s and then a cabaret.” Frascati’s is one of Eva’s favourite places. She can never say no.

Frascati’s at 32 Oxford Street is celebrated for its cosmopolitanism, which Eva still does not understand because it contains an ism. The façade comprises a handsome gold portico and gold metalwork frames the large windows. One enters via a yellow and gold revolving door into what Eva calls rather charmingly “fairyland.” There is simply nothing like it in London and the architect built one other in Amsterdam. Apart from the magnificent décor in gold and silver the proprietors of Frascati pride themselves on their flowers and floral decorations are everywhere.

Frascati's Restaurant

Frascati's Restaurant

We enter the spacious vestibule or lounge area with thick red pile carpets in futurist patterns, vividly coloured brocade settees, brocade curtains and large gilt chandeliers. Eva is looking ravishing tonight. She truly is a beauty and is noticed immediately by dozens of admiring eyes. It makes me feel good.

On the right of the lounge is the Grill Room with large open charcoal grills. The central space is the actual restaurant which is a spectacular and immense room called the Winter Garden that rises to a huge glass dome and also has a wide balcony that overlooks the space below.

We take an extensive repast that includes a bottle of Chablis and Les Pérles de Whitstable, La Crème Souveraine, La Ruche Financiere, Les Supremes de Perdreau Sans nom la Salade Lelia, La Parfait de Foie Gras et La Durprise Frascat Mignardises.

The Chef Jules Matagne, who was chef to late King Leopold of Belgians, maintains his touch and I send my compliments.

“So what fright have you had Fynes?” asks Eva sweetly. I tell her the story of my conversation with Papa.

“Yikes” she says “work” and carries on eating.

There is a wonderful orchestra and we dance on a dance floor that is shaped like a banjo following the curve of the balcony and extending into one of the restaurant wings and continue our conversation about nothing in particular.

Later, we take a cab around to the Grafton Galleries at 7 Grafton Street to meet Dolly and Monty to see the launch of a brand new cabaret show. The Grafton club has 5,000 members and it is regarded as the place you come onto from somewhere else. Its chief attraction is the vast ballroom, with a beautifully expansive high ceiling, that is perfect for dancing.

When we arrive Dolly and Monty are part of a big group that includes Dorothy Dickson and Carl Hyson.“Fynes, I want a dance later please” says Dorothy with a big smile.

“This place has been the Valhalla of dancing for more years than one cares to remember” Dolly tells me as I have only just joined the club “and I have been here countless times…you will love it here.”

“It is rather marvellous” I say “and certainly not like those postage sized dance floors that are seemingly popular in the more intimate smaller night clubs or restaurants.”

“I have been here many times before” says Eva “but I really do not think it is cosy.”

The general conversation is about the show. “It has been staged by fellow yanks Ted Trevor and Jack Haskell” says a rather puffed-up Monty “and we have been promised the largest cabaret spectacle yet produced in this country. When war broke out Ted Trevor was too young to join the American forces and so joined the British Royal Flying Corps. He stayed here and to took to his next love dancing. Jack is a fascinating chap. He was originally a dancer and before the war worked in Australia before coming to London. He actually staged the first edition of the Midnight Follies at the Hotel Metropole last year and has been working for George Grossmith.”

“Ah well” interrupts Dolly “You haven’t heard the latest developments Monty. You see they are both rather temperamental and had a tiff and Trevor stormed out. That means we are also denied the blissful dancing of Mr Trevor and his partner Dina Harris.”

“That’s a shame they are one of the best dancing duos in London” says Eva.

“Oh you need to see my dancing with Peggy Harris” says Carl “Peggy is Dina’s sister by the way.”

“Oh what fun” squawks Eva.

“Incidentally…” says Dorothy “Haskell might be fascinating but do remember he also had a tiff with the management over The Cabaret Girl and withdrew his services.”

The cabaret is called The Midnight Revels and it is in two parts with special lighting, quick change costumes and effects and a full chorus of twenty gorgeous girls. The star is the American cabaret artiste Jessica Brown, who had previously appeared in the Ziegfeld Follies and the Century Revue in New York and is a beautiful dancer.We particularly liked the quirky Operatic Tango provided by Lola Krasavina and Gilbert Stacey. However, the sensation of the night was provided by Evon Pinard as ‘The Lady in Bronze’ who danced around the tables just before the finale, wearing a tiny loin cloth and breast plates with her body totally bronzed. There were gasps from the audience and two ladies actually walked out!

Jessica Brown

Jessica Brown

Dorothy interjects “of course this might be new here but Evan Burrows Fontaine gave a similar semi-naked dance at the Palais Royal in New York some time ago and caused a similar furore.”

After the show Haskell comes over to our table with Jessica Brown and talks to us.

“Hello Dorothy. Hello Carl. Hello everybody. I hope you enjoyed the show.”

“Oh yes it was superb Jack” says Dorothy.

“… you were divine” says Dolly to Jessica.

“I will be changing the show every week so do come again!” Jack says.

“So you started our cabaret craze Jack” I ask “with the Midnight Follies?”

“Well sort of…. actually I did stage a show with the wonderful Odette Myrtil at Ciro’s in early 1917 but because of the war the government closed it down!”

I am beginning to think like a journalist and an idea for a story begins. I will write something about the origins of cabaret. I can talk to Mama and Papa about what they did before and after the war.

I have a delightful time dancing with Eva, Dolly and Dorothy. Jessica is a wiz too. She says she loves London but because of rehearsals has not been out much.

“I do like lunch. That is usually my breakfast” she laughs.

“Would you like me to take you for lunch?” I ask holding her tight.

“Oh yes Fynes. That would be terrific.

As we prepare to leave Carl tells us all “Oh don’t forget we launch the new Midnight Follies next week. Please do come along.”

Thursday 30th November

I meet Jessica for lunch at Ciro’s. We eat lightly and talk hugely. She is very entertaining and very sociable. We walk around London in the afternoon and I show her the sights. She is most appreciative.

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