I met a character from Dickens

Roger Ebert laments the tearing down of 22 Jermyn Street in London, the hotel he frequented for some 25 years. It’s chock-full of wonderful, vivid descriptions of everything from the neighboring shops to his first visit to the hotel.

I had just settled in my easy chair when a key turned in the lock and a nattily-dressed man in his 60s let himself in. He held a bottle of Teachers’ scotch under his arm. He walked to the sideboard, took a glass, poured a shot, and while filling it with soda from the siphon, asked me, “Fancy a spot?”

“I’m afraid I don’t drink,” I said.

“Oh, my.”

This man sat on my sofa, lit a cigarette, and said, “I’m Henry.”

“Am I…in your room?”

“Oh, no, no, old boy! I’m only the owner. I dropped in to say hello.”

It all sounds beautiful, and irreplaceable, which makes it sadder still that it’s being destroyed and replaced with “some obscene architectural extrusion,” as Ebert calls it.

02.15.2010Tagged with: