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To See and Be Seen | Kemp's, Late Afternoon Sunday April 3rd

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Kemp's Coffee House

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.



His stepmother was still avoiding him, and Charles was still teasing out a plan on how to deal with that looming catastrophe. In the absence of anything better to do, then, he had decided to retire to Kemp's. The gossip was plentiful, the coffee excellent, and the scenery — he flicked a discreetly admiring gaze at Mistress Kemp as he nodded his thanks — was exquisite. It would do him good to get out of the house and simply soak up the ambience for a few hours.

He was still dressed in the greys and blues he had worn to chapel that morning, though they now bore the signs of slight exposure to the weather. Charles had just been caught in a rain shower on the way.

"Damnably changeable weather we're having," he observed idly, flicking open a copy of the Gazette.

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