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Thursday, 19 December 2013

Feeling gloomy

Wednesday, December 19th., Yacht Club, London.

Yarned at Reform Club with Harold Massingham (who asked why Squire had become such a Jingo!) and others. Then finished Sardonyx article, and then saw Gardiner, who said the 'Thugs' were after him now.
Also for Massingham see 'A curious mixture', March 15th., -
And for Gardiner see 'The writing business', January 4th., -
And for Squire see 'Understanding life', April 4th., -

Then to Turkish Baths. Masterman and Squire. Politics of war. In short a complete farce.

Nevill's Turkish Bath for Gentlemen

At one time or another the Nevill family owned nine Turkish baths, all of them in London. The pair in Northumberland Avenue were, from the bathers' point of view, quite separate and had individual entrances, of which the women's was round the corner in Northumberland Passage. There seems to have been no external indication, visible from Northumberland Avenue, that there was a Turkish bath delightfully decorated in Moorish style within the building. The Turkish baths occupied the whole of the first floor, ground floor, and basement. One of the outstanding decorative features was the use of ceramic and stained-glass ornamentation. The floors of the hot rooms were of marble mosaic and the ceilings were clad with enamelled iron panels. With upholstered couches, marble seats, and an elegant fountain, the ambience of the public areas ensured that these baths were among the most comfortable to be found. The gentlemen's entrance was at the rounded corner with its imposing columns. Bathers paid their entrance fee at the cash desk just inside the door, leaving their shoes in the boot room and their valuables in individual lockers. They then passed into a large domed two storey high cooling-room with a gallery at first floor level supported by columns, gilded above, rich Pompeian red below. At the far end of the decorated ceiling, stained-glass panes covered the underside of an octagonal dome. This was not merely decorative but also the means of ventilation, a fine ornamental grille at the top carrying off the heated air, while ducted fresh air entered through openings in each of the window ledges. 

I was wakened out of my after-bath sleep by news of impending air-raid. This news merely made me feel gloomy. I didn't mind missing dinner at flat, or anything - I was merely gloomy. As soon as I got out into Northumberland Avenue I heard guns. Motors and people rushing. Then guns very close. I began to run. I headed for Reform Club, and abandoned idea of reaching the flat. Everybody ran. Girls ran.

However I found that after the Turkish bath I couldn't run much in a heavy overcoat. So I walked. It seemed a long way. Guns momentarily ceased. So I didn't hurry and felt relieved. But still prodigiously gloomy. I reached the Club. Hall in darkness. No girls in coffee room. The menservants manfully tackled the few diners. Nothing could be had out of kitchen as kitchen under glass and deserted.

All clear at about 9.30.

Additionally for December 19th., see 'Long repressed instincts' -

My grandfather, it appears, at the age of seventy and odd, and after having been a long time a widower, began to pursue servant girls upon the outskirts of Burslem; and not all the shocked remonstrances of his daughters could bring him back to the narrow path. He never succeeded in enchanting any of these girls, but the intention was, I was told, only too obvious. It is curious that at such a time of life, the long-repressed instincts of a man who had lived as a strict Wesleyan-Methodist, should at last have become unmanageable.

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