But the brisk air and tempting serenity of the day made it seem emphatically an occasion for two lunches, and we passed on, along Pearl Street, in the bright checkerboard of sunbeams that slip through the trestles of the “L.” It was cheerful to see that the same old Spanish cafes are still there, though we were a little disappointed to see that one of them has moved from its old-time quarters, where that fine brass-bound stairway led up from the street, to a new and gaudy palace on the other side. We also admired the famous and fascinating camp outfitting shop at 208 Pearl Street, which apparently calls itself WESTMINSTER ABBEY: but that is not the name of the shop but of the proprietor. We have been told that Mr. Abbey’s father christened him so, intending him to enter the church. In the neighbourhood of Cliff and Pearl streets we browsed about enjoying the odd and savoury smells. There are all sorts of aromas in that part of the city, coffee and spices, drugs, leather, soap, and cigars. There was one very sweet, pervasive, and subtle smell, a caressing harmony for the nostril, which we pursued up and down various byways. Here it would quicken and grow almost strong enough for identification; then again it would become faint and hardly discernible. It had a rich, sweet oily tang, but we were at a loss to name it. We finally concluded that it was the bouquet of an “odourless disinfectant” that seemed to have its headquarters near by. In one place some bales of dried and withered roots were being loaded on a truck: they gave off a faint savour, which was familiar but baffling. On inquiry, these were sarsaparilla. Endymion was pleased with a sign on a doorway: “Crude drugs and spices and essential oils.” This, he said, was a perfect Miltonic line.
Hanover Square, however, was the apex of our pilgrimage. To come upon India House is like stepping back into the world of Charles Lamb. We had once lunched in the clubrooms upstairs with a charming member and we had never forgotten the old seafaring prints, the mustard pots of dark blue glass, the five-inch mutton chops, the Victorian contour of the waiter’s waistcoat of green and yellow stripe. This time we fared toward the tavern in the basement, where even the outsider may penetrate, and were rejoiced by a snug table in the corner. Here we felt at once the true atmosphere of lunching, which is at its best when one can get in a corner, next to some