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People Watching | Morning, Monday Jan 3rd (open)- Xmas 1677

Charles Audley

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Patronized by the cream of society, by actors and playwrights, Kemp's is one of the most modish meeting places in London.

The main room of the house is hazy with tobacco smoke and rich with the scent of coffee and chocolate. Small windows allow little daylight to enter - most illumination is provided by candle sconces fixed to the walls. Comfortable chairs of well padded leather accompany a dozen or so small tables. Several booths along the walls provide comfort and a greater degree of privacy.

At the rear of the room stands, an elaborately carved table of some antiquity. Rumour has it that this table once belonged to King Hal and came from his palace of Nonsuch. Be that as it may, it is now the coffee house's serving counter, presided over by the buxom blonde Mistress Kemp. The comely widow is assisted in running the house by her pretty teenaged daughters Rose and Valerie.

A door beside the counter leads to the kitchen.

At Kemp's you can partake of coffee, tea, chocolate or milk punch. Light refreshments such as cakes and Welsh rabbit are also available. Several copies of the latest London Gazette are always available at Kemp's



Charles was well aware that he should have been speaking with his stepmother, or seeking out Arthur, or attending to any of a dozen niggling little tasks. But after the doldrums he had suffered through the previous night he felt the need to do something... light, something that would restore his energy ahead of the shooting event. And so he had come the Kemp's, to enjoy the coffee, flirt aimlessly with Mistress Kemp and her daughters, and just generally soak up the ambience.

He sat at a corner table, sipping at his coffee and flicking aimlessly through the Gazette. He wore his navy justacorps, for it was the heaviest he owned and he felt the chill more today, over a grey waistcoat and cornflower blue breeches. His hat and gloves lay on the table. In another rare concession to practicality, he had exchanged his court shoes for good boots.

Refilling his cup, a thought struck him and he snorted with dark amusement.

Hopefully this is less dramatic than my last visit.

Edited by Charles Audley
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