Il paraît qu’il vaut mieux les lire dans l’ordre de parution, mais à la bibliothèque, l’Adrienne ne disposait pas de cette information, et de toute façon elle avait envie de se dépayser avec le Bertram’s hotel 🙂
In the heart of the West End, there are many quiet pockets, unknown to almost all but taxi drivers who traverse them with expert knowledge, and arrive triumphantly thereby at Park Lane, Berkeley Square, or South Audley Street.
If you turn off on an unpretentious street from the Park, and turn left and right once or twice, you will find yourself in a quiet street with Bertram’s Hotel on the right-hand side. Bertram’s Hotel has been there a long time. During the war, houses were demolished on the right of it, and a little farther down on the left of it, but Bertram’s itself remained unscathed. Naturally it could not escape being, as house agents would say, scratched, bruised, and marked, but by the expenditure of only a reasonable amount of money it was restored to its original condition. By 1955 it looked precisely as it had looked in 1939–dignified, unostentatious, and quietly expensive.
Such was Bertram’s, patronized over a long stretch of years by the higher echelons of the clergy, dowager ladies of the aristocracy up from the country, girls on their way home for the holidays from expensive finishing schools. (« So few places where a girl can stay alone in London but of course it is quite all right at Bertram’s. We have stayed there for years. »)
On ne peut pas dire que ça commence sur les chapeaux de roue 😉
Trois pages de description avant que n’apparaisse un personnage ou deux, et un dialogue:
On this particular day, November the 17th, Lady Selina Hazy, sixty-five, up from Leicestershire, was eating delicious well-buttered muffins with all an elderly lady’s relish.
Her absorption with muffins, however, was not so great that she failed to look up sharply every time the inner pair of swing doors opened to admit a newcomer.
So it was that she smiled and nodded to welcome Colonel Luscombe–erect, soldierly, race glasses hanging round his neck. Like the old autocrat that she was, she beckoned imperiously and in a minute or two, Luscombe came over to her.
« Hello, Selina, what brings you up to Town? »
Version française à lire en ligne ici.