After I returned my skates, my legs rubbery with exertion, Gilbert bought mugs of tea and roasted chestnuts from a nearby vendor. We watched the other skaters for a while, sharing our snack in companionable silence. When we finished our treat, I thanked Gilbert.
“It is nothing, Claire. Seeing a bit of color back in your cheeks and a smile on your face are worth more than gold to me.” Gilbert’s gaze was penetrating at first, and then he looked away. “I should take you home soon, Claire.”
“Perhaps you could help me with my Christmas shopping before we go,” I suggested. I was not ready to be shut up in the house again today. Tomorrow might be different; I had to take advantage of my improved mood.
So, we again took an omnibus into Knightsbridge to shop at Harrods. We browsed the entire seven floors. In the mens’ furnishings department, Gilbert especially admired a walking stick with a faceted blue glass knob for a handle.
“That’s a gentleman’s stick for certain,” he said. “It’s very handsome.” He examined the price tag and put the stick back in the display.
“Let’s see what we can find for the family,” he said.
“What are you planning to buy for Honor?” I asked.
“I don’t really know, Claire. She is a hard one to read. She doesn’t appear to care for frills and things; she’s said more than once that she’s a simple girl and not ‘one o’ them toffs’ she could name. I think she may be something of a snob.”
“I think she may just be sounding you out, Gilbert. She’s a good girl and you could do much worse for yourself.”
“I suppose you are right,” Gilbert smiled. “She is a very appropriate match for someone like me.”
“She is quite pretty, too,” I smiled.
“She is that. I am a rather lucky fellow.” His smile broadened, and I could not help grinning back at him in delight. — Excerpt from In The Eye of The Beholder
Harrods is a London department store (owned by the state of Qatar since 2010), where you can shop today if you are so inclined. It was established in 1824 by Charles Henry Harrod. There were many changes to the store over the years, including a complete rebuild after a fire. Harrods was home to England’s very first escalator, installed in 1898.
Harrods doesn’t allow photographs inside, so I don’t have any pictures of my own. I do, however, have some amusing shopping bags and a brush that I used to use on the horses when I was an active equestrian.
For many years, Harrods held several royal warrants. However, previous owner Mohamed al-Fayed burned them, claiming they were cursed. They were not renewed by any members of the British royal family.
If you have the opportunity to visit, I highly recommend investigating every floor. There are 330 departments, so you’re sure to find something of interest to look at. The decor and displays are amazing. Heck, even some of the escalators are brilliant.