size of the mansion aside, the first thing i noticed were the double doors. not because they were painted dark green which was in contrast with the neutral tones of the exteriors, but because they had these really interesting doorknobs between an equally interesting old-fashioned keyhole whose key, i reckon, must be made of solid brass and shaped like one of those special keys mary lennox found which opened the gate to the secret garden.
majestic as the house looked on the outside, it was even more grandiose on the inside — with ornate carvings that bordered the ceiling with the rich color of gold; intricate chandeliers dangling proudly from above; haughty heads of deer mounted on the wall looking like they just got flooded with concentrated beams of headlights.
to the left of the main entrance is the library, with its leather seats and fireplace and books and what-not. it’s a very masculine room, i’ll give it that. but not as masculine as the billiard room which, i think, is the ultimate man’s man room. which we’ll get around to later down this post.
this is the drawing room — an area in the house where guests were received and where the ladies withdrew after dinner to do girly things like embroider intricate laces or do whatever art they were into. no wonder i liked this room. it had a feminine touch to it and i enjoyed looking at the delicate tea cups and the powder blue silk covers on the chairs.
all my pictures don’t do this place justice, if i have to be OC about it. some of them even came out blurry and the colors all f*cked up as i struggled to take photos minus the flash. but these are the best my handy old camera can afford and i love my ancient camera so these pictures should do.
when the dishes have been cleared and the ladies have left to gather amongst themselves, i reckon the men went into a separate room, which was the billiard room. there they probably had manly conversations about women and hunting all in the same breath while standing on real animal rugs that would have had environmentalists picketing at the door on behalf of the leopard, the grizzly bear, the tiger, and the deer — all of whom, by the way, looked so alive it was rather kind of disturbing.
i wonder how taxidermists do it. the way they skin and stuff dead animals to bring them back to still life and have heaps of mounted vertebrates staring at them with those glassy eyes and not flinch. not even for a bit. because the whole time i was in that room, i couldn’t even maintain eye contact with one of those animals. #scaredycat
the dining room was grand. (no surprise there.) perfect when they had guests of influence who casually dropped by at the house in style looking for a reprieve from nightly boredom. that must have been what it was like during those years. something i deduced from reading leo tolstoy’s anna karenin which i still haven’t finished until now because that book has the same effect on me as valium would. puts me to sleep in no time, baby!
being rather shy and reserved (read: boring), i like intimate meals together where you can really have quality conversations with family and friends. that’s probably why i was more drawn to the morning room than the dining room. the circular table allows for meaningful talks while sipping warm peppermint tea with both feet up on the chair; the morning sunlight cascading through the glass windows and lazily dancing in everyone’s eyes, lighting up their faces with a smile.
or so i imagine myself if i lived there during that period and having cuppa with people close to my heart. which is what i usually do when i visit museums and old houses. which is probably the reason why i love them so much. because it allows me to travel through time. as if all of a sudden, i am one of those people living and breathing in clothes now only regarded as “silly costumes.”
and if i don’t like the fashion or the story i play out in my head, i snap out of it and be my modern self again. breathe a sigh of relief as i silently exclaim, “thank god i wasn’t born during that era!”