Sunday, April 6, 2008

Letter 3: Carlton Mansions, London

Letter 3 [Letter 2 is missing]

2 Beekman Place*
London, WC 1

October 4, 1932

Dear Folks,

We moved here Sunday in time for lunch. It was a run of about two blocks in a taxi. We are just around the corner from the British Museum on a little street of three-storey houses. At either end of the block there is a small private park. This heads off traffic, so the street is unusually quiet.

The Kensington (beg pardon, I meant the Kenilworth) Hotel was very nice, but our room was not very wide. Though there was central heating for the public rooms, the rooms upstairs were heated by the good old system of dropping a shilling into a meter. Here at the Carlton we have real steam. Furthermore we have breakfast and dinner included daily and the charge is much less than at the Kenilworth. But, best of all, the room is very large and high.

This morning, after Marcus had finished his school work with Dora, they went to Selfridge's to get a pair of shoes for Marcus. At nine daily I take French conversation with a good teacher. Instead of going to Selfridge's (which we saw last week) I made my second visit to the British Museum, this time to see French prints and the famous Elgin Marbles, sculptures from the Parthenon.

After a lunch at the Holborn Restaurant, a tony tony place, we all went afoot to St Paul's Cathedral and went through it. Of course, it is an inspiring place, well worth study. We came home by tram.

Earlier in the week we visited Westminster Abbey, even more impressive than St Paul's. The tombs of the kings and queens of England yielded an interesting story, as told by the lecturer. We also took a launch tide on the Thames and thus got a different view of a part of this vast city. At Madame Tussaud's waxworks Marcus saw represented the historic characters he had heard about.

Oh, yes, we stay in the open too. Regent's Park with its wonderful zoo, provided us with a fine afternoon. To get to Hampton Court Palace we had to take a long bus ride, but it was worth it. The grounds reach as far as the eye can see. They are in perfect condition; the lawns look like billiard cloth; the trees are perfectly pruned; the banks of flowers are gorgeous in their beauty. The Tudor Garden is just like a gem, with its pool and leaden statues, its trimmed bushes and terraced steps. We went through the royal chambers, preserved as they were long ago. Yes, it was a large apartment, the King's bedroom being large enough for a small apartment itself.

All of us are feeling first rate. Marcus does his work nicely. The weather has been 98% perfect. We like London and are staying till about the 11th. Then on to Paris, where we shall be for at least two weeks. Write us, if you have the time.



*Beekman Place: destroyed in World War Two? I can't find it in my London A-Z.

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