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Honeymoon House

The cold name plate on the door of the Liz Taylor – Michael Wilding honeymoon flat still says simply, “M. Wilding.” Hollywood will be home to them this summer, but always the honeymoon house in London will have a special place in their hearts.

Inside the Wildings’ door there is a feeling of tranquillity, with the red-orange embers in the fireplace casting a cozy glow over the sitting room at tea time: Liz likes to curl up in the corner of the enormous maroon couch, her violet eyes bright and her skin flushed and rosy from her nap.

“I sleep in the afternoon so I can be fresh for Mike when he gets home from the studio,” she said. “He leaves at six every morning and comes back raring to go. I don’t see how he does it. He has more energy than a year’s supply of vitamin tablets—all in one dose.”

Under the enormous triple window a long, low, black and blue couch reflects the last rays of the sun. In the comer, the grandfather clock chimes the quarter-hour. To the left of the sitting-room door, a small improvised bar seemingly waits for the master of the house to return and mix a relaxing before-dinner cocktail.

It’s in this room that Liz and Mike spend most of their time. “It’s not a fancy, formal drawing room,” Liz said, “it’s our morning room, entertaining room and plain old at-home room. We have our books here,” pointing up to the ceiling-high shelves on either side of the fireplace, “our records, our painting . . .”

Mike’s return was marked by a slam of the front door. He bounded up the stairs two at a time. “Hello, darling,” he yelled, smudges of film make-up on his neck, indicating the speed with which he had dressed and rushed home.

“You’re early, dear.” Liz jumped up, trying to pout and smile at the same time. “I haven’t gotten dressed. . .” and she rushed for the bedroom.

She would let no pictures be taken there. “Everything’s such a mess.” she said. “We have only the one big closet.”

Frica, the six-weeks-old puppy, had set up residence on an island of newspapers and cushions smack in the middle of the floor. Liz said, ‘After we read about her—homeless and all—in the paper, Mike must have made twenty phone calls, trying to track her down. Then he disappeared for hours, coming back with her in his pocket. I don’t know how my poodle at home is going to like Frica, but when Mike and I go to Hollywood I couldn’t bear to leave her behind.”

Mike called from the living room. “Hey, hurry up. This isn’t a fancy dress ball.” Hurriedly, Liz finished dressing, to appear finally in a gray and white pepper-and-salt tweed dress over four crinoline petticoats. A bright red leather belt accentuated her tiny waist. She had changed into high-heeled shoes but she wore no stockings. “Can’t get out of that California habit,” she grinned.

On the first floor of the Wildings duplex apartment there’s an office—a small well-lit room holding a desk, telephone and a few chairs. Here, Mike’s secretary answers his fan mail, sends out his pictures and does all his “Girl Friday” chores. Liz, showing the room, wandered over to the typewriter. “Mike’s teaching me to type,” she confided, “so I can answer all the congratulatory letters myself.”

The kitchen was warm and alive with the mouth-watering aromas of dinner in preparation. By American standards, its old-fashioned, but the average London housewife would be thrilled with the large refrigerator, the efficient gas stove and the selection of shiny pots and pans.

“Michael adores custard,” said his bride.

“Would Madam care to stir the custard?” asked the cook, proffering the saucepan. She tied a blue and white apron around her mistress’s waist and Liz tried to look professional as she tasted and stirred.

In the dining room, Liz surveyed the dinner table, lit the candles and moved the silver candlesticks further from the centerpiece of spring flowers.

The glow of candlelight was in her eyes Or was it the candlelight, after all? For as she said goodbye, she whispered, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Frica had a little baby to play with?”




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