These three things are hardest to bear:
To lie in bed – and sleep not;
To wait for one coming – who cometh not;
To try to please – and please not.
(It is pleasing to give pleasure)
This is the motto on the crest of the Connaught Hotel. The motto used to be stamped in green on the otherwise plain white plates of the restaurant, and was one of the many frissons of pleasure which it gave me to be treated to lunch there by my sybaritic uncle-by-marriage, Sebag Shaw. Lunch always began with white lady cocktails in the Art Deco bar and the whole experience was as far away as it was possible to get from the mundane surroundings of my boarding school, university or bedsit.
I have just had a conversation with a charming Ms Heirbaut of the Connaught. She broke the news to me that the plates no longer bear the motto, but that it survives in the hotel’s crest and is to be seen on their writing paper, umbrellas and all the other places you might expect to find a crest discreetly displayed.
Dear Connaught, might you consider bringing back the escutcheoned plates? It is so endearing, heralding a meal of undiluted willing service in which the hotel aims only to please. Hard to imagine a dissatisfied customer after that overture 🙂