Become a Fan
The 'piece de resistance' arrived on a trolley laden and filled on two tiers with sweet offerings. Desserts of great beauty shimmered and shook before our eyes, or lay still, not in passive resistance, but in anticipating hope of being chosen, like lovely ladies from the Arabian Nights.
My choice was a cheesecake which proved delicious in the extreme. My companion chose a souffle of a creamy whiteness looking lighter than air itself. It certainly rose from his plate to dissolve on his tongue with the greatest of ease.
When these culinary delights had disappeared and there was a moment’s lull in our conversation, a waiter approached to inquire where we would like to drink our coffee.
We decided to go back to the lounge. On our way we studied the framed pictures hanging on the walls. They formed an interesting gallery, and could apparently be bought, as most had a discreet price tag.
We found a ‘Gentleman’s’ room, but not a ‘Ladies’ which for a moment was disconcerting. Instead there was a ‘Powder Room’. Once these facts had been established we each disappeared into our designated area.
The ‘Powder Room’ was as elegantly equipped as everything else I had so far seen in this wonderful establishment. Coming out I saw my companion emerging from the ‘Gentleman’s’. He was smiling with obvious amusement, and I pressed him to tell me why.
It seemed there had been a picture on the wall of a dog using a tree, as dogs will. Behind the animal had been a queue of other dogs waiting their turn on the tree, from an obvious mongrel to an exquisite French Poodle. My immediate vision of men studying this picture of disdainful dogs lining up for the same levelling need amused me as much as it had appealed to him.
Back in the lounge our coffee and liquors were served with the flourish now familiar to me. It is a kind of embracing of the air around the object of adoration before the initial tender touching. A movement which gives the capital letter, and underlines the word ‘French’ in one’s mind.
And so the time passed as gently and pleasantly as I have ever known. On our left sat a group of Canadians, the soft burr of their accents giving us cause for pleasing comment. There was much in our talking that brought a smile to our lips; some that made us laugh with delight; there was no moment that was dull. And it was late before we considered leaving.
Outside the sky was like black velvet on which the stars were pinned. We strolled
towards the car , in no hurry to end the evening. Relaxed, replete, and content with all this superb hostelry had offered, we obstructed the moment of leaving.
Stopping to identify the ‘Big Dipper’ we also considered if one star, bigger and brighter than all the others might be Venus, or a satellite, or even a hovering unidentifiable object. Unable to decide, we seated ourselves in the car and began to glide through the now darkened avenue, emerging at its end into our own more familiar world.
Driving slowly back on roads made bright by the watching moon, the midnight hour was passed, and the spell began to break. But if somewhere, some when, someone could wave a wand and make my wish come true . Then some day, some how, I shall visit the Chewton Glen again.