“What fun” thought Maisie.. Shopping for hats with her favourite friends. And these three had shared so much together since they met in school all those years ago. They knew instinctively which hats would suit.
“This is my treat” cried Maisie as they entered the shop. She immediately pounced on a dove grey felt that she absolutely knew that Juliet would love; and she did. Then she picked out a pretty pink concoction for Imogen noticing how pale and drawn her friend looked that day. No doubt she was suffering pain from the damaged arm and shoulder. And for herself she chose a darker grey, soft cloche that she could pull over her hair when her hairdresser hadn’t called that day.
After demurring slightly, the other two were delighted with their hats and all three women trotted off to board their omnibus for home.
They talked about the rest of the day – first a trip to their homes for Juliet and Maisie to bathe and change, and probably a telephone call to Sir Percy Carruthers to assure him that his wife was well, had been looked after at the hospital and discharged that morning. The three women separated, Maisie and Imogen going to Maisie’s house and Juliet to hers with the promise to meet after luncheon to take tea together.
Good plan. But of course, with these three women it didn’t work out as desired. As soon as Maisie and Imogen arrived at Maisie’s house they were met by a thunderous Sir Percy who told them that he had been summoned from an important meeting by his housekeeper to be told of the disgraceful carry on of his wife and her two friends. It was bad enough that he heard the night before how they had arrived, slightly the worse for drink, but then to be advised this morning that his wife had spent the night in hospital was too much for an honest man to bear. He demanded that Imogen immediately return with him to their town house where she would stay while he concluded his business. That done they would return to Horley for her to recuperate in peace without the disturbing influence of her two friends.
Maisie was sorry to see Imogen go but realised that Sir Percy, who was still trying to show the world that all was well in his marriage, really had taken control. So she retired to her dressing room to wash and change and then after a quick luncheon, Sir Percy and Lady Carruthers left.
Maisie took her after-luncheon coffee into her sitting room and attended to some correspondence. That done, she picked up a magazine to await the arrival of Juliet. What would they do for the afternoon?
Well of course, once she arrived at Maisie’s, Juliet said that they must go around to Imogen’s to cheer her up. She couldn’t be left alone. No sooner decided than Maisie summoned her chauffeur Higgins to drive them to their friend’s house.
Once again they had tea but they decided to leave Sir Percy’s cellar untouched. They talked and laughed again as they always did, but shortly after tea, Imogen said she was tired and her arm and shoulder hurt, so she thought she would lie down before Percy arrived back from his meetings.
That left the other two at a loose end. So shopping came to their minds. Not hats as they each had a new one, but perhaps some new gloves to go with the hats; then perhaps a quick cocktail before returning home to prepare for the evening.
A Hackney carriage was summoned by Sir Percy’s valet and the two women left promising to be in touch with Imogen very soon.
A visit to Mr Simpson’s emporium produced the perfect gloves for each of the ladies and so sporting their latest acquisitions they crossed the street to a very modest establishment where ladies could sit and have a cocktail while watching the passing parade in the street. They were seated and had just lit their cigarettes when they saw Johnny Crompton-Mayhew and a couple of his cronies. Johnny espied them and immediately came into the establishment assuring them that it wasn’t the done thing for them to be drinking cocktails alone and insisting that they joined him and his friends. They accepted with alacrity and putting out the cigarettes, after downing their cocktails, they followed the fellows.
You can probably imagine where this story is going. One drink led to another and another and soon there was talk of going to a club for dinner and dancing. Of course the women couldn’t go dressed as they were and so they decided to go back to Maisie’s whose house was the closest to change and prepare for an evening out,. They would meet the fellows at around 9 pm at the nightclub.
What happened next? They bade Johnny and his friends farewell with the promise to meet as agreed. They had the porter call a Hackney Cab for them and…..