Tag Archives: omnibus

New Hats

Women's hat

From "Woman's World" August 1930

“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.

women's gloves

© Art Deco Society of California

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…..

Two women on beach

Oh yes, they still had on their hats but...

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Two women on beach

They were so pleased to discover next morning that they still had on their hats.

Maisie was jerked awake by two rays of sunshine – one coming in the now opened curtains in the bedroom in which she had spent the night, and the other accompanied by a cheery “Good morning, Madam” and a cup of tea proffered by the redoubtable Mrs Amberley.

“And how is Madam this morning?” politely enquired Mrs Amberley and “What time would Madam like to have breakfast?”

It took Maisie a few minutes to reconcile where she was and what had happened on the previous day.  Added to her slight confusion was a rather heavy headache.  She put this down to sleeping in a strange bed with feather pillows conveniently forgetting the amount of alcohol that had been consumed the day before.

After Mrs Amberley left, Maisie drank the tea and then thought about the day ahead.  She would have to wear the same clothes that she had on when she arrived here.  Thankfully, she was unlikely to meet any of her set here; it would have been embarrassing to be seen in her afternoon dress before 1pm.

Climbing rather gingerly from the bed, she made her morning ablutions as best she could under the circumstances, although Mrs Amberley had one of the maids draw a bath for her.  She thankfully sank into the warm water before she remembered what had happened to Imogen the night before.

Where was Imogen now and what of Juliet?  She would get out of this soothing bath very soon and find Juliet and enquire about Imogen.

Duly refreshed from her bath she went in search of Juliet, whom she found seated at the dining room table with coffee, bacon and eggs, tomatoes and toast looking as if she had just stepped out of the beauty parlour.  Why hadn’t Maisie thought of availing herself of Imogen’s cosmetics?

“Good morning, Juliet” she said, “What news of Imogen?”  “Mr Amberley is telephoning the hospital this morning to find out how she is.” replied Juliet.  “Do you think we should advise Percy of the accident?”

“No I don’t think we should do anything until we know how she is.  And another thing, how are we to get home again if Imogen is laid low and can’t drive?”

“Oh goodness, I hadn’t thought of that” said Juliet.

Just then Mr Amberley came into the breakfast room.  “Lady Carruthers has rested well and can be picked up and brought home this morning.  I shall take the Bentley to get her.  Will you ladies be wanting to come with me or do you need a ride to an omnibus or a railway station, or shall you be taking the roadster?”

Of course, as neither woman drove taking the roadster was not an option.

“I don’t think we can leave without seeing Imogen, do you?” asked Maisie of Juliet.  So it was agreed that the two women would accompany Amberley to the local hospital to pick up their friend.

As soon as breakfast was finished the two women left the room and after checking that their hair was reasonably presentable and that they had their hats, they summoned Amberley and the Bentley.

But what would they find when they saw their friend?  Amberley had been less than communicative and so they rode in the back of the car in silence each thinking of likely outcomes of the accident.

Meantime, Mrs Amberley had been on the telephone to Sir Percy in London to advise him of the arrival of the three women and also of the accident that had befallen his wife.  She assured him that as soon as Amberley returned from the hospital with Lady Carruthers she would telephone him again at which time they could decide how to proceed.

Maisie and Juliet were delighted to see their friend looking none the worse for her accident except that she was sporting a black eye and the biggest bandage on her arm and shoulder that either of them had ever seen.  And she was not very pleased at having been left in the hospital overnight while her friends stayed at the house.  However, they quickly jollied her out of her bad temper and started to talk about the rest of the day.

It was obvious that Imogen was not going to be able to drive them home; Amberley would have if instructed to do so by his employer’s wife but the women decided that it would be an adventure to take an omnibus drive home.


As none of them had ever been in an omnibus, this seemed like a hoot of an idea and all three eagerly agreed.

But first Amberley had to take his employer’s wife home so that she could make herself presentable for the journey and also so that Mrs Amberley could satisfy herself that all was well.

It was agreed that the Jaguar roadster should be housed in one of the outhouses until arrangements could be made for it to be picked up.  Imogen assured both Mrs Amberley and Amberley that she was fine and well enough to travel.

So after a refreshing cup of coffee the three women entered the Bentley once again for the short ride to the omnibus station.

The first hurdle was to determine which omnibus would take them close to where any one of them stayed and secondly what to do in the intervening half hour before it left.  That was easy.  There was a milliners close by and they decided that they each needed a new hat……