In the matter of your suit you may request to be connected with the "valet service. And so on. Then you sit you down and await the procession. Or, if you prefer, contemplate the spectacle of life by looking out at the window. Boots as Dickens calls him arrives—what probably here is a porter—for shoes. Then you have an excellent opportunity which may not occur again during the day for a slight period of philosophical meditation, or to whistle a tune, before the valet appears. In such places as I am describing it is not etiquette at all though it may seem to you the simplest way of doing the thing to call a bellboy to get down your bag.
The porter does that—and through the correct channel, that is by way of the freight elevator. And, say, something goes wrong with your ice-water pipe. You are not to outrage hotel decency here. What is necessary for you to procure is a waiter. Waiters attend to your inner wants. I like best the character of valet when he is English either so by birth, or this by self-cultivation ; wears a skirt coat, immaculately pressed, and a "buttonhole"; advances into the room in the attitude of a bow, and comes to a pause in the pose of one listening with deep and profoundly respectful attention to the haughty utterance of a stage earl.
Though, indeed, there is an element of disquiet in your being thus elevated to the Peerage if, as with me, the suit you turn over to this unexceptionable servitor is of Hirt, Snuffler and Muss manufacture, and growing a trifle frail in the seat. The same thing is true of bath-rooms.
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I don't, of course, mean that bath-rooms perform the valet act. But that the more aristocratic in hotels you get the more likely you are, so to say, to get into hot water in bath-rooms.
Like this:. If you get into a bathtub which is not quite the last word in bathtubs, that is a bathtub which has legs and spigots to turn on the water, you know where you are at all the while. You turn on the hot water in the amount desired.
It comes out of the hot water spout. As desired you turn on the cold water. Out of the cold water spout comes it. But, as you know, the last word in bathtubs is not simple and democratic like that.
It is built onto the floor and has a clock-like dial on the wall. Dial marked at different points: "Cold," "Medium," "Hot," "Off. All out of same pipe. Yes—but—dial untruthful—very. Bad time trying to take last word in baths.
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Except the door, no opening in the little, square, completely cement room but the small hole in the center of the floor through which the water runs away. But that's not the way to look at it.
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You may entertain yourself by fancying that you are St. Jerome, or somebody like that. In here nothing that it will hurt can get wet, and you can have a fine time making the whole room a merry-go-round of splashes. One disturbing thought may occur to you. If the door should stick you might not be found until the hotel got worried about your bill, when perhaps it would be too late.
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Still, I think the chummiest bath-rooms are those with a bay-window; very reprehensible those which have no hooks on which to hang your pajamas and razor strop. Then there are those hotels so far-seeing into the possibilities of evil chance and so solicitous of your equanimity that they provide your pin cushion with one suspender button. I suppose the thought is to impress you with the idea that nothing for your comfort, even down to the smallest detail, is forgotten.
Still, though I do not know that such an untoward incident ever happened, it is within the range of human possibility that a man might be shorn of two suspender buttons at once. If, further, the hotel management were co-ordinated with the gentlemen's underwear business a safety pin would be served along with the suspender button—in view of the singular fact that, until your wife has taken a reef in them, all nether garments are much too great in girth for any figure at all approximating normal. Working, however, as it does, with human material no hotel can get away with perfection.
For, as Dr. Johnson observed, "a fallible being will fail somewhere. This mischance was occasioned by three circumstances. To wit: goblins presumably made away with the ticket attached to it; the hotel tailor fell indisposed with I hope leprosy; and his assistant had a slight mental infirmity, in other words he was seven times an idiot. Reverse English in Los Angeles a few days later. When one night I found neatly hung on the coat frame in my closet a suit of excellent material, of fashionable design, and seemingly of virgin character.
I reported the matter to the third assistant manager. One criticism only I have to make of that suit. It was too confoundedly tight. Or, on coming in you are handed by the clerk a memorandum which states that Mr. Cohan telephoned. Such matters, you reflect, are retrogressive. If you are unacquainted with any gentleman of the name of Mr. Cohan, so it may very well be that the guest here who is a friend of Mr.
Cohan received notice that your friend Mr. Sloan telephoned. And there you are! My friend Harry Heartydrop who, I declare! He explains to me that the advantage of this is the new side-line activity of numerous compassionate bell captains, who, it seems—but that would be telling. One of the pleasantest things, I think, about hotels is the "night maid service" furnished at fashionable places. When you come in you find your light burning and so do not break your shins, and your bed is "turned down" for you.
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Very softening to the spirit, this. In a kind of a sort of a hazy way one's thoughts turn back to the maternal solicitude which used to "tuck" one "in. A RE you in on the great Crime Wave, brother? Almost everybody is, I guess, in one way or another. What's your particular line? Murderer, bandit, burglar, mortally wounded innocent bystander, juror, witness, or victim? The police are in on it, too; every once in awhile one of them gets blackjacked, or something like that.
I had the flu bad enough, when that was the big thing going; but somehow so far I myself have escaped being caught in the Crime Wave. This gives me the great advantage over most people of being a detached spectator of the rollicking game. I have a friend, though, who was caught up just a few days ago. He has been telling me all about it. Murder case. This fellow is a sort of author. In that building down by the City Hall. But he says those cases bored him terribly. They were chicken-feed sort of rows, generally concerned with the question of how many dollars and fractions thereof X had occasioned the loss of to Z by reason of his failure to deliver such and such a quantity of say beeswax before the drop in the market of The "Court" a nice, pink and grey old fellow would go to sleep, with his mouth open, during the drone of the legal argument, and be awakened automatically apparently by some change in atmospheric conditions at the moment required for him to begin his charge to the jury.
Occasionally, he would come semi-to for an instant before this, and indistinctly utter the words, "Objection sustained. My friend's chief impression of these proceedings is his recollection of one phenomenon which he observed. Not long after the opening of the presentation of X's side of the case he saw very clearly that Z hadn't a leg to stand on. It was ridiculous that he had the face to come into court with an attempt to question the truth of facts which were as apparent to the naked eye as the Woolworth Building.
My friend felt it needless to pay any further attention to the foolish formalities of the argument. If he had not had an uneasy feeling that he might get pinched for this, he would have gone to sleep, like the Judge. A little later my friend gets some sort of a ticket instructing him to call and talk things over with a gentleman having the university degree of Commissioner of Jurors. This gentleman asks my friend if he has ever been arrested on a criminal charge, if he is opposed to capital punishment, and if he has any prejudice against Episcopalians.
My friend is a man of liberal mind, and replies that he would just as soon hang an Episcopalian as anybody else. My friend didn't know exactly for what. But the gentleman said everything was all right, they might not call on my friend for a long time, and then perhaps it would be a short case.