The entrance to Kate Hamilton's may best be
located as the spot on which Appenrodt's German sausage-shop now stands,
although the premises extended right through to Leicester Square.
"Don't go yet, dear," appealed a sweet siren as Bobby, looking at his watch, swore that when duty called one must obey, but eventually succumbed to a voice like a foghorn shouting, "John, a bottle of champagne," and the beautiful Kate bowed approvingly from her throne. Kate Hamilton at this period must have weighed at least twenty stone, and had as hideous a physiognomy as any weather-beaten Deal pilot. Seated on a raised platform, with a bodice cut very low, this freak of nature sipped champagne steadily from midnight until daylight, and shook like a blanc mange every time she laughed.
Approached by a long tunnel from the street- where two janitors kept watch - a pressure of the bell gave instant admittance to a likely visitor, whilst an alarm gave immediate notice of the approach of the police.
Finding oneself within the "salon" during one of these periodical raids was not without interest. Carpets were turned up in the twinkling of an eye, boards were raised, and glasses and bottles - empty or full - were thrust promiscuously in; every one assumed a swet and virtuous air and talked in subdued tones, whilst a bevy of police, headed by an inspector, marched solemnly in, and having completed the farce, marched solemnly out.
What subsidy attached to this duty, and when and how paid, it is needless to inquire. Suffice to show that the hypocrisy that was to attain such eminence in these latter enlightened days was even then in its infancy, and worked as adroitly as any twentieth-century policeman could desire.
"Now we're all right," exclaimed the foghorn, as the "salon" resumed its normal vivacity. "Bobby, my dear, come and sit next me, " and so, like a tomtit and a round of beef, the pasty-faced youth took the post of honour alongside the vibrating mass of humanity. The distinction conferred upon our hero was a much-coveted one amongst youngster, and gave a "hall-marking" which henceforth proclaimed him a "man about town." To dispense champagne ad libitum was one of its chief privileges - for the honour was not unaccompanied with responsibilities - and Florrie or Connie (or whoever the friend for the moment of the favoured one might be) not only held a carte blanche to order champagne, but to dispense it amongst all her acquaintances, by way of propitiation amongst the higher grades, and as an implied claim for reciprocity on those whose star might be in the ascendant later on.
'One of the Old Brigade' (Donald Shaw), London in the Sixties, 1908