“Never work with children or animals”*

Pictured: Humphrey Bogart.

* W. C. Fields (January 29, 1880 – December 25, 1946).

From Wikipedia:

“…In 1920, Alexander Stuart Frere began an affair with the married Elizabeth von Arnim, nearly 30 years his senior.

In 1927, he married journalist Patricia Marion Caldecott Wallace, the daughter of writer Edgar Wallace. They had two sons, Alexander and Vice Admiral Sir Toby Frere, and a daughter, Elizabeth Frere Jones, who moved to Brooklyn, New York…”

From: Noel Coward – a Biography (1995), by Philip Hoare:

(1928) In the wake of his recent illness and his absence from the stage, Coward sought home comforts, and decided to buy Goldenhurst outright…Coward had ‘a little circle of friends’ to hand, according to Patricia Frere, who had met Noel when her father, Edgar Wallace, wrote his positive review of Sirocco (1927); her husband Alexander was a director of Heinemann, Coward’s publishers.

The Freres came to live in the area a few years later, and Patricia remembered Goldenhurst as a ‘beautiful old house…(Noel’s) father and mother lived in the old part, and he lived in the new bit. They were pretty separate…It was divided by a big “playroom” as the Americans call it…with a table always ready for chess, and another for backgammon, and jigsaw puzzles.’ One evening she and her husband had been invited to dine with Coward; after drinks in the new part of the house, Noel announced, ‘It’s quite a long way to the dining-room. I intend to take a box lunch with me.’…

…(Patricia Frere) recalled one party, when her young son enjoyed Uncle Noel’s hospitality, ‘In one of the rooms was a hooded fireplace with a sofa straight in front of it…Harry [her son] (named after his great-grandfather Henry Tobias Frere, a first-class cricketer) was three or four, and Nanny had come down to collect him. He was found on the sofa…Coley one side and Noel the other, with a good supply of mince tarts. Noel was looking at him rather quizzically. What he was doing was licking the mincemeat out, eating it, and handing the filthy, sticky, empty tart to Noel…’ Coward’s dry forbearance with children was legendary. David Niven once watched Humphrey Bogart’s young son creep up behind Coward and bash him over the head with a silver plate. Coward remained quite still, and remarked that he would give the boy a chocolate-covered hand grenade for Christmas.”

(Wikipedia): “Humphrey Bogart (December 25, 1899 – January 14, 1957) married Lauren Bacall on May 21, 1945. Their son, Stephen Humphrey Bogart, was born on January 6, 1949. (Coward was born on December 16, 1899.)”

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