I recently watched a strange, little-seen movie by Alfred Hitchcock called Under Capricorn, a melodramatic costume drama which places Ingrid Bergman and Joseph Cotton in 1830’s Sidney, Australia. One plot point comes to a head when a servant in Bergman’s mansion has to hand over the keys to the household linen closets and other locked cabinets.
In a tradition that goes back to the seventeenth century, the lady of the house wears a chatelaine at her waist: a gold or silver clasp from which are suspended various items she needs to keep the household running smoothly, with keys of all sizes but also including such items as a small pair of scissors, a pencil, a coin ball or a mirror.
I sometimes wish I could wear a chatelaine to hold all the stuff I need in a day around the cabin. A tiny tube of hand cream, my Blackberry, tweezers. I have always wanted to employ clanky old-fashioned keys in the course of my day.
One response to “The Keys to Everything”
re the automat, I remember distinctly Horn & Hardart’s establishment on West 57th street, on the south side with the side walk rising towards Carnegie Hall. In the very early 1970’s I would eat there when I could afford to as it was very near to the Art Student’s League which I attended evenings for some years reviewing naked models with my pencil. The food always looked very distant behind the glass doors, and so was the taste upon eating. I once thought of asking one of the models to dinner there, but then changed my mind.