Table 4 “Debate Debate”


If you were to look for a table where contrasting styles of debate and interchange was your choice of entertainment, this might be the one. In one of the four corners, Miss Anabel Douglas, 70, the retired American-born Kensington girls’ school headmistress, now Chelsea salon hostess, passionate about debate, communication and expressing oneself clearly, especially for young women. In a second corner, James Drawbell, the 34 year old charming, networking, editor, currently engaged in interviewing the leading women of the day (including Margaret Rhondda) but no doubt still dining out on his tea with Adolf Hitler the previous October. And in the other corners Claud Mullins, a 45 year old opinionated campaigning lawyer and magistrate – a “rebel, reformer, reactionary” – and his young wife, Gwen, 28, already developing her artistic talents for which she would one day receive her O.B.E., and currently bringing up her family (no.3 was on the way).

Salon hostess Anabel may well have been the organiser of this table, with an eye for a contrasting mix of characters – as opposed to some tables which are more a group of familiar friends and colleagues. James, recalling his teatime chat with the Fûhrer, may well have been acutely conscious as to what was happening in Berlin that day. Hopefully Claud Mullins’s reputed bad temper wasn’t on display and avoided giving his views on marriage. I would hope that the young Gwen, maybe by now obviously expectant, would have lightened the conversation with tales of her children and of her growing passion for things artistic. An intriguing table.