Tuesday, November 27, 2012

For Georgette Heyer Lovers Only

Remember The Toll Gate?  In which, the hero, Captain John Staples, takes over a toll house for a time and becomes involved uncovering a heinous crime, and also a romance?  Well, yesterday I saw a real Toll House at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum (about which, more later).  This one was built in about 1807 in Beeding, but was disassembled and reconstructed in its original form at the Museum. The Georgette Heyer book takes place just after Waterloo, in 1815, so they are likely to be similar.  The front of the house looked like this. The law said that the Table of Tolls must be posted on the house, that's what you see on the right side. And, of course, that's the toll gate on the left.

This toll house had 2 rooms - the one in The Toll Gate had four, but was likely about the same size overall.  Here's a description of the kitchen, from Heyer: "The kitchen was small, over-warm, and extremely un-tidy. Since it was lit by a couple of dip-candles in tin holders, an unpleasant aroma of hot tallow hung about it... The Captain seated himself in the Windsor chair by the fire..."

Here's Heyer's description of the bedroom: "The [bedroom] was furnished with some degree of comfort, the bed even being provided with cotton sheets, and a faded patchwork quilt."  That is a spot on description of this one, too.

The house in The Toll Gate had two additional small rooms partitioned off, one, a store room with a truckle bed, that could be used as a bedroom and the other  a toll office, which this house didn't have.


Tom said...

OK, I won't read it then.

Kate said...

very neat! The rooms look like they were furnished with Heyer's text in mind!