Women's World 1930
While they waited for the cab they had (yet) another drink and discussed whether they would in fact join Johnny and his pals at the night club.
Maisie was inclined to go to a picture theatre instead. The Swedish Star Greta Garbo was appearing in her first talking role as Anna Christie, opposite Charles Bickford. Maisie was very keen to see this film.
Juliet wasn’t that keen. As she pointed out they had agreed to go to the nightclub. Maisie however, was not to be dissuaded. They had the cab take them to The Plaza Cinema, where to Maisie’s delight this film was playing and would be shown in about 15 minutes.
They decided that they could see the movie and then meet the fellows at the club as previously arranged.
The cinema had a ladies only area and so they were perfectly happy to attend the movie theatre on their own.
The movie proved to be every bit as exciting as Maisie had thought. Garbo’s first spoken words in a movie were “Gimme a whiskey” and the two women thought they were very daring to be at the cinema on their own and to watch such a star speaking these words.
All too soon, the movie ended but Juliet agreed with Maisie, it was well worth seeing and wouldn’t they have plenty to tell Imogen when next they saw her?
Now where to? The afternoon had turned into evening and the streets were filled with well dressed people going about their business for the evening. All the cabs seemed to be taken. Should they find a suitable establishment with a telephone where Maisie could summon Higgins and they could wait in comfort? This decided they looked around for such a place.
Their eyes alighted on a likely looking place with a liveried doorman with a large smile who beckoned the two ladies over. Yes they did have a telephone for Madam to use and yes they could wait for the chauffeur there. After determining the address of the premises and having called Higgins they sat down to wait.
They were slightly nonplussed at the number of people coming and going; some very well dressed; some not so well dressed. What sort of establishment was this? There were other ladies sitting in groups drinking wine or cocktails but they didn’t seem to be accompanied by any men. From time to time a gentleman would approach one of the ladies and then they would depart together either up a staircase or down a corridor leading out of the salon. The two friends were mystified.
Soon thereafter, a dashing middle-aged gent approached and asked them were they together. Of course they responded yes. “Great, wonderful” said he and tried to take one on each arm to mount the stairs. “Oh no” cried the pair in unison and just then Juliet, the more worldly-wise of the two, realised that they had stumbled into a ‘House of Ill Repute”. They of course, were not aware that it was not uncommon for such houses to set aside a room where respectable women could rest, sip tea or cocktails and chat, thus lending an air of respectability to their dubious establishments. Unfortunately, these two had been shown into the wrong room!
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Salon at the Rue des Moulins, 1894. Via Wikipedia
Picking up their handbags they rushed out into the street, followed by a breathless gent who enquired what was wrong, and where were they going?
They didn’t stop to respond to his questioning; they took hands and ran.
They wandered among the crowds looking for a hotel that either of them knew but to no avail. They weren’t used to being out and about at night unchaperoned and really didn’t know their way around the city. Oh they knew where to shop and where to take luncheon or tea with friends, but apart from that…
They’d had such a fright they didn’t know what to do. How could they summon Higgins now? He would be expecting to pick them up at that dreadful place and now nobody knew where they were. Oh how they wished they had gone straight home without stopping at the cinema. They could have seen that film on another day, and now look at the pickle they were in!
Just then an omnibus rumbled along and as it stopped near to them, they climbed on board and took tickets to the end of the line.
Soon, and it seemed almost before they could get their breath back, they reached the terminus – the end of the line. With the rest of the passengers they alighted from the omnibus, but where were they?
Feeling depressed and not a little scared, they followed the other passengers out of the station and found themselves in a deserted street, the others having somewhere to go and knowing how to get there. They were alone.
And of course, when a rather rough sounding man stopped and asked if they were alright they scampered off like a pair of frightened rabbits. No longer the smart, sophisticated, women of the world, but two women thrown back to those days at school when they were in an unknown place and where they knew no-one. But they had each other now. They would work out where they were and devise a plan to get them home safely.
But first, a cup of tea and maybe something to eat. But nothing was open. The shops were shuttered and all the lights were out.
So the two women wandered off down the street, not knowing where they were going, but hoping against hope to find a restaurant open soon; a place from where they could telephone and arrange to be picked up.
But there were no restaurants and after wandering around hopelessly for a couple of hours (although it seemed much longer to the two tired and scared women) they arrived at a beach.
There they espied a beach hut and hurried to it in the hope that it would be open and that perhaps some earlier visitor had left something to eat. No luck – the door was firmly closed and bolted.
They decided that they really needed to sit down and rest. But there were no seats where they were and so they sank down onto the sand. Their plan was to rest for only a short time, but both women were exhausted with their adventures and pretty soon they fell asleep. They awakened the next morning confused…..
But you know the rest of the story.
Oh yes, they still had their hats but...
Hats On Again
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