I missed home, so I was so pleased to find and make new friends in London. One shop that I frequented quite regularly was “Genevieve’s.” From the outside, it was just a normal shop. The window display had lots of bottles of perfume in it.
Inside the shop, there were many women that worked here. Men would come and go. Some would buy the perfume and others just smelt of it.
When I first went in two young women approached me and asked me if I saw anything I liked. I said that I was just looking and then they left me alone. An older lady came from behind a curtain.
“Hello, I am Genevieve the shop owner.”
“ Nice to meet you.”
“It’s lovely to have a French man in here, we don’t get many in our shop do we girls?
The girls giggled while Genevieve was talking.
“I have a private room upstairs if you care to join me for refreshments?
I wasn’t sure, but I didn’t want to be rude so I said yes.
The room was very grand, all the curtains were made from the finest materials and chandeliers hung down from the ceiling. The furniture was very chic as well. There were many boxes of cigars and decanters filled with spirits.
“Do you own this place?
“Yes I do and all the girls that work here stay here also.”
“It used to be owned by another lady before me.”
“I was working in an old house and worked for an awful man.” “The man I worked for had lots of parties at the weekends. “ “I was never allowed in but did see all the guests arrive.” “They came in carriages and some men had two women on each arm.” “Their dresses were so tight that their bosoms looked fit to burst out of them.”
“I saw the shop and fell in love with it.” “The owner looked me up and down and asked me to remove my bonnet.” She loved my fair complexion and eyes.” “I don’t know how she knew where I worked, but she found me and spoke to my master.” “She paid him money for me and then I left with her.” “I have been here ever since.”
“She asked me to help out a young man that came in the shop.” “That’s what we do, help people, when they are away from home or just need a companion.” “People frown on us and call us some terrible names, but we have feelings like anyone else and are just trying to make a living and keep a roof over our heads.”
She offered me drink, I wasn’t much of a drinker, but after each glass, I became relaxed and enjoyed it. I hadn’t thought about being with another woman, it just happened. The talk, the drink, being loved or just feeling that you were. After I felt ashamed of myself, I had never done this before. It wasn’t the last time and now every time I come to London I come here. Sometimes it is the same girl I see and other times a different one.
I have come to enjoy having a drink now and have developed a palate for it.
It is not the life I want in the future, but for now, it will do.