“He was awfully good to people.”

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

“This island of West End sophistication amid the rural idyll of the Romney Marshes might have caused local concern, but Mrs Frere and other neighbours ‘took him for granted. No loud parties – nobody would’ve heard if there had been. He was awfully good to people. He gave the farmer, whom he scarcely knew, quite a big tract of land, which he would’ve bought, but he gave it to him.’ By such good neighbourliness Coward eased himself into country life; not that he seemed to take much notice of the environment; as one visitor, Katharine Hepburn, recalled, ‘It was nice, but it was Noel in the country, you know. He wasn’t interested in the country. It was just like the city, only the temperature was different.’

Old cine films bring Goldenhurst summers to life in flickering black and white, the stars at their ease in casual wear and shorts, cavorting on the Kentish lawn, showing off for the camera. Noel, in pale linen and narrow espadrilles, larks about boyishly, revelling in the freedom of his home and the confidence of the host…”

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