I haven’t posted much about Charlie’s time in London so far because not much is known about his activities during the month of October. All I know for sure is that he had dinner with the Duke and Duchess of Sutherland at Ciro’s one evening. He was also spotted at a “motor show” where he looked “very tired.”
It is also unclear when May Reeves joined him in London since the press does not mention her arrival nor her presence at any event with Chaplin. As you may recall, Charlie and May separated after their stay in Biarritz in mid-September. May was going to Austria to visit her parents, while Charlie moved on to England. When she finally does join him in London, she surprises him by arriving two days earlier than he expected which didn’t bring the reaction from him that she had hoped: “I shouldn’t have surprised him!” she later wrote. “His first exclamation astonished me: ‘Oh, how strange; I’m not moved at all.’ What hard-hardedness! I almost wanted to get back on the train. But a minute later he leaped into my arms and murmured, ‘Oh my sweet, my beautiful one, how happy I am to be with you again.'” Thereafter, they “shared a room at the Carlton and live like a married couple.”
May’s presence with Charlie in London is noteworthy because she was one of only two women that Charlie ever showed around his beloved hometown. His wife, Oona, was the other.
Things pick up for Charlie in November and December 1931, including his induction into the Grand Order Of The Water Rats & the Ice Carnival benefit with the Prince of Wales. I will have more on those events in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, I will share some rare photos that my friend Dominique Dugros recently brought to my attention. Had I seen them sooner, I would have included them in my Leftovers post from last month. The photos, which were published in an April 1931 issue of the magazine, Sur La Riviera, show Charlie meeting Frank J. Gould upon his arrival in Nice on March 31st, 1931:
|Chaplin shaking hand with Mr. Gould.
Syd Chaplin is at far right. Gould was Chaplin’s host during his stay in Nice.
He is also holding an issue of Sur La Riviera.
|Mr. Gould’s wife, Florence, is in the middle.
Mr. Gould was previously married to Hetty Kelly’s sister, Edith.