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CALL it My Hotel, simply because crisp bills, and the work is done-the
care is off my mind. My organized tell the truth, I hold no special interest bands of confidential superintendents in it. I do not own an inch of its carved then do the rest, without in the least front, or even a leg of any of the rose- withdrawing my mind from other cares. wood chairs with which its halls are fur- All which is pretty much the idea of one nished. Throughout all that range of of my friends, a bank-clerk, who says: vestibules, saloons, and private rooms, “You see, when people talk about the I can maintain a legitimate, lawful right expense of living at hotels, they must roto but one article-an old worn leather member that it covers something besides trunk, which, for years, has stood in the eating, and drinking, and sleeping, and corner of my little apartment and held all that For, you know, we have the run my stock of bachelor apparel. Of all of the house besides, and can do just the compartments in that poble pile of what we please in any part of it! and it buildings, the one wbich I am allowed would cost a great deal more to keep up to occupy is the tiniest-a very closet a private house in the same style, in dimensions-reached only by a fur- reckon. Now, there is our cashier, who long or so of staircase—and lighted has a fine bouse in one of the avenues, by a three-feet-by-four window; from and keeps a good table, and spends a which, when disposed, for an hour or great many thousands a year; but even two of quiet contemplation, I can look he hasn't such a smoking-room, and out over tniles of house-roofs, varied, reading-room, and halls to loaf in-of occasionally, by a tall church-steeple or course he hasn't. And if he had, he bell-tower. And I have a certain un- wouldn't get any more good out of them pleasant feeling that I should be igno- than we do here ; for, as long as we can miniously turned out of even this little uso all these, don't you see that they room, if, at the end of the month, I just as good as belong to us while wo sbould refuse to disburse sundry dollars stay? So there it is, you know." and cents at the office. No; it is very It is true that there are hundreds of certain that I do not own the hotel. others who enjoy the like freedom, and,
Sometimes, though, in my higher and in the same manner, perhaps, could more imaginative flights of fancy, I claim equal ownership with me; but cherish a fiction that, after all, I do theso are people whom I allow to be bave a valid claim to the whole establish- about me for the pleasure it gives me to ment. For, even if the title deeds were see strange faces. It is true that somein my own name, what more enjoyment times at dinner, my negro, not having could I take out of it than I do now? received his weekly gratuity, forgets I walk into the reading-room, and no one that I own him, and pays me so little opposes my right to a seat. The balls attention that I am likely to starve and saloons are alike at iny disposal. through waiting; but I am a polite man, In the dining-room I have my accus- and no gentleman should allow himself tomed place deur the head of the table, to be belped before his guests. And it where it is my privilege to call for any is true that, sometimes, as I leave my article upon the long board, as freely as little room beneath the roof, and, passthough I have actually given my check ing through those weary halls and down in payment of all the china, glass, and those everlasting staircases, glance into silver with their contents. A tall, good. No. 32, upon the second floor, magnifilooking negro respectfully stands be- cont with soft carpets and marble manhind my chair, and bows down to me as tels, pendant chandeliers and rosewood subserviently as though he were my own sofas, I am inclined to wish that my peculiar property. And to maintain bank account were large enough to althat vast establishments with all its halls low me to exchange my quarters ; but, and offices, its marbled floors and fres. after all, the air is purer up aloft, and coed ceilings, its rosewood, plate, and the city turmoil there grows fainter to mirrors, its clerks, and waiters, and the ear, and there is no host who does laundresses, I have no trouble worthy not, occasionally, give up his own snug of mention. I have merely, once a quarters to a friend. And at such times, month, to band in at the office a fow it is my pleasing belief that No. 32 is actually my own apartment—that I have my room, and we prepare to make an merely surrendered it for a time to an evening of it. Cards are brought out, intimate acquaintance—and that, after and the game of whist commenced. a few weeks, when my friend has de Light and harmless wines circulate, and parted, I shall reoccupy it, and no wo become pleasantly convivial. Jests longer lodge in No. 783, just under the are spoken and greeted with shouts of roof. This is my theory, I say; but laughter, and full choruses of lively somehow, when one guest leaves No. song and ballad swell forth to drown the 32, another enters. It is always full ; murmur of the city below us. The and, meanwbile, it has happened that, stars above may hear our melodies; but while waiting for the vacancy, I have they gleefully wink at them. Our nextremained, year
in No. 783, door neighbors may hear; but we know until I have learned every crack in that we disturb them not one is a its walls, and stain upon its carpet, good-natured German wine-importer, and and spot upon its window-panes, by the other a professional organist. We heart.
know them both, and they sometimes I may have spoken disparagingly of join us; while, at other times, in the No. 783; but, in good truth, it has pauses of our song, we can hear through many advantages. I do not feel in it the thin walls, on either side, a lively that embarrassment of carefulness which strain or two, betokening neighborly and 80 naturally attends the occupation of sympathetic concord. But, were we in more pretentious apartments. There No. 32, all this conviviality of soul is nothing about it which I need fear would necessarily be chastened into injuring-nothing which I may not quiet decorum. We would then be bemake use of with perfectly wanton free. neath the range of jovial bachelorhood dom. I can place my pitcher upon the and in the family stratum. Upon either little painted wash-stand without danger side there would be children who would of scratching the wood; for it is hope- be awakened by our laughter and would lessly scratched already. A large hole cry. There would be mothers who has been worn in the carpet, and the would wonder why those noisy, horrid dragging about of the heaviest furniture men were tolerated in such a respectfor months could not impair the value able neighborhond. In fine, there of at least that square yard.
The bed- would not be a jest or song which would stead is covered by a glaring cotton not be closely followed by its peevish quilt, upon which I can throw myself crowd of troubles and complaints. In to read, with easy tranquillity, and with evidence of which, I remember that, out the necessity of previously remov- one evening, as I was returning in ing my dusty boots.
I can write my merry mood, I happened to strike up a name or make my calculations upon the strain or two of Jordan, just as I passed plaster wall with perfect impunity, for No. 32; when suddenly the door openthe records of a lifetime upon it could ed, and a gentleman, upon whose vine scarcely do that injury which has already gar countenance I thought the reflection been accomplished by a single leakage of damask curtains and gilt chandeliers in the roof. In fact, that portion of might have shed a little gleam of urthe wall which is near the head of my banity, popped out his head, and growl. bed already contains all my weekly ed anathemas upon me.
I made no washing registers. In fine, with true reply ; but as soon as I reached my own bachelor freedom, I can do anything and No. 783, I solaced myself with Jordan, everything in No.783; whereas I know from beginning to end, in the loudest that, if I were located in No. 32, I would tones, and heard my German wine-imbe obliged to move about with uncom- porting neighbor playfully respond in fortable watchfulness, and could never the very deepest bass of Casta Diva. drive from my mind the impression that And then, again, No. 783 is the very I was making a call in another person's place for a lonely man. Were I in No. parlor, and was waiting for him to come 32, I think that I should perpetually
pine for company; for the stately array Moreover,
No. 783 has its social ad. of rosewood and damask furniture would vantages. I have three particular somehow, strike a chill into my heart, friends—the bank-clerk, a poet, and an and fill me with a constant and nevereditor, who patronizes the poet. At dying impression that all such things stated periods they all tramp up into were made for otbers to enjoy with me,
and that I had no business to monopolize labors of practical life, would have been them. But No. 783, being such a di- driven at a distance; and, sometimes, as minutive and poorly-furnished apart. I rise from my contemplations, I feel ment, shows, at once, that it was made that a certain peaceful calm has entered for the residence of but one person, into my heart, making me, for the time, and be a careless-minded man at that; very happy, and very much disposed and, consequently, I always feel that to become a better man. there is a fitness in my association with One great pleasure which I have at it. It is like Robinson Crusoe's cave, my hotel is, the table d'hote. Not that which, in its insignificance and wild- I care about my meals particularly; for ness, became a home to him ; whereas, I am rather heedless of what I eat, and everybody knows that if Robinson, up. frequently get throught a plateful of on stepping ashore, had found a splendid one thing, under the impression that I palace, with audience-chambers, and have been consuming something else. chapels, and ball-rooms, and widely-ex. But I like to watch the people around tended ranges of stables, but with not a me, to read their expressions, and specman or horse to dispute its possession ulate upon their occupations and dewith him, he would have felt very un- signs. comfortable, indeed, and would probably There is my waiter; and I feel at bave moved over to the other side of times a little in awe of him, he is such the island at the first opportunity. a superior kind of negro. In the first
And so I am never lonely in No. 783. place, he dresses rather better than I The old torn carpet, the little pine do, and I acknowledge, among other wash-stand, with a zig-zag crack run- things, that I can never hope to equal ning down one side as though it had
the tie of his silk cravat. And, moresplit itself at one of our jokes; the very
over, he is such a knowing, self-possessquilt, with a rip in the middle like a ed fellow, with a peculiar dignity of laughter-moved mouth convulsively manner, which, at rare intervals, he al. stuffed full of cotton-all have compan. lows to subside into affability, and with ionship for me. And when these fail a certain quiet vein of satire lurking in me, I have only to gaze out of the little the corners of his eyes, as though he window-not upon the street below, could read me through and through, and for there I can merely see moving thoroughly analyze my pretensions, and specks which I take to be men and wo- knew for certain, that though I sit down men, but upon the range of house-tops, and he stands behind, my business is spread out miles below me. I gaze at worth less to me, in a pecuniary point the old bell-tower, and have strange of view, than his is to him, which might thoughts about the man who watches
When I give him a there, and the queer life he may have quarter, as I occasionally do, to keep lod, and the curious things he must have up my reputation, he receives it with a seen; I look at the sugar-refinery, troubled kind of air, as though he fears rising two or three stories above other lest I may not be able to afford it, and roofs, and, somehow, it seems as though may be seriously crippling my resources it has so risen in order to greet my by making a false show of affluence. hotel with friendly equality. I suffer When he bands me the card, and I run my eyes to rove over the thousands of my eye down the printed list of French lower residences; and, like the Spanish dishes, I can feel that he is grinning author, seem to look through the roofs over my shoulder with the knowledge and upon the tenants within, speculat- that, though I may pretend to undering why and wherefore they are doing stand it all, in reality I do not know one this and that, and generally taking a dish from another; and, as I despairingly ,
I peculiar interest in all their actions. select my customary beef and potatoes, There may be some who would call I can almost hear his chuckle of inward this musing unprofitable, and would in- satisfaction, at having foreseen the resist that it were better for me to be out sult from the first. And when at the in the world, driving abead to some head of a long file he brings in his share practical end, but I do not altogether of the dessert, and, after a moment of believe so.
I know that often, while expectant delay, drops upon the table, peering out from aloft, good thoughts at the sound of the bell, first the rightand resolutions somehow come into hand and then the left-hand dish, and, my head -thoughts which, during the immediately recovering himself with & a
very well be.
jerk, asks me what I will take, I feel his attentions in that quarter, and leave that he enjoys the confusion with which me to wait upon myself. But I have I glance upon the plates of unpro. grown accustomed to this, and try to be. nounceable confectionery; and I almost lieve that I rather enjoy it. For, after hate him when he charitably puts an all, as I reflect, my only desire being end to my perplexity, by pushing be- that of making my guests comfortable, fore me a pie of simple and well-known it is far better
that they should feel easy construction.
and at home in my presence, even at Then there are the guests of my the expense of some little formalities hotel-my guests, as it were. There of politeness. are new ones every day; for people It is seldom that I take any especial come and go in throngs. I watch their lasting interest in my guests. In this countenances and manners with true I differ from my friend, the bank-clerk, physiognomical zeal ; for a study of the who sits beside me at table, and who, mind is one of my passions, and I like to without any very definite idea of charbelieve that I can judge of the inner by acter, or any particular ability to anathe outward man. I am not generally lyze his own feelings, contrives, about very successful, however. The portly once in three days, to form a lasting gentleman with white whiskers, whom friendship with some strange gentleI believed must certainly be an extensive man, or else fall deeply in love with slaveholder and plantation proprietor, some strange lady. This idiosyncrasy I afterwards discovered to be an emi- upon his part is, however, extremely nent anti-slavery Boston merchant. harmless in its effects; for it generally The little withered man with the gimlet happens that the gentlemen, selected eye and shabby coat, whom I set down by him for his friendly advances, treat for a iniser, I detected in the act of him with sublime contempt, mingled giving a dollar to our waiter, who thank- with some suspicion ; while the ladies, ed him with a low bow, and triumphantly for whom he condescends to entertain a clinked it against the thin quarter which tender passion, being principally those I had just bestowed upon him. The of a showy and grenadier style of gentleman with the straight back-bone, beauty, and be being a small man, and buttoned-up coat and black moustache, so conscious of bis inferiority that he who bore the appearance of a French never dares to address them I doubt, officer traveling upon furlough, I sub- whether they even notice his distant sequently ascertained to be a clerk admiration, or even, in fact, see him at in a Cincinnati commission warehouse. all. But I, on the contrary, calınly Mistakes like these have occasionally and resignedly see my guests come and impaired my confidence in my ability go; and, driving them from my thoughts to read the human character; but, at as soon as the black porter has drugged other times, I manage to guess aright, their trunks out upon the sidewalk, I and then feel better satisfied, and, upon bestow my thoughts upon their succesthe whole, I suppose I get on pretty sors with great complacency. well.
With one exception, however. Ono At times, I feel a little hurt that my day, just as the fish had been removed, guests-as by my pleasing fiction I con- I chanced to cast my eyes &
little way sider them-treat me with such little down the table, and there saw a young respect and attention. They come and lady, who instantly, and by a kind of sit down complacently at my table, and sympathetic interest, fixed my attention. never think of passing to me any of the She was young, hardly sixteen, I should compliments of the day. They open judge, had rather irregular features, bottles of champagne and bock before and, moreover, was very simply dressmy eyes, and never think of directing ed. As she was of rather diminutive the waiter to fill my glass. They even size, my friend, the bank-clerk, would criticise my viands to my face; and have seen nothing to admire about her ; once, one of them coming in early, and, indeed, she was hardly one whom seized my chair and refused to give it a person could have called beautiful. up, though politely requested to do so. But there was something lively, and And it often cats me to the heart to see fresh, and piquant in her face, which inthe ingratitude of my waiter, who, if be terested me. Her whole style, too, was sees a stranger with a manner indicative perfectly unaffected and unconstrained. of bounteous largesses, will bestow all I felt that she was one whose friendship
-whose acquaintance, even- -would be having short, bristly hair which stuck worth more than that of all the bigh- up straight as a comb; a mouth drawn ly dressed and decorously mannered down at the corners; thick whiskers, young ladies and dames who usually which curled up round his mouth with a lined tho table. And after gazing at kind of savage vindictiveness; and an her for as long a time as I dared, with- eye which blazed like a coal. In fact, out incurring the imputation of inso- he looked like a man who would always lence, I turned away my eyes, with the be upon the watch for insults; who rather loudly uttered exclamation : would strongly resent a casual word from " How charming!"
me in the reading-room; and, if he Then I was afraid that I had spoken caught me speaking to his daughter, too loudly, and I became confused. But would consider it a matter to be atoned no one had heard me speak, excepting for by blood. The more I looked at my waiter, who, misunderstanding me, him, the more hopeless the case seemplaced a dish of fromage à la Seringapa- ed, and it was only at long intervals tam before me. Not knowing its nature, that I dared to steal a single sly glance I attempted to cut it with a spoon in- at the young lady. Once I thought stead of a knife ; at which I became that the old gentleman had caught me conscious that my genteel waiter must at it; for his eye met mine with such an have smiled in pity for my inexperience, intensity of indignant rancor, that I and that inade me yet more confused. fully expected he would let fly the plate But, just then, my friend the bank-clerk of almonds at me across the table. In came to my relief.
the occurrence of such an event, I made What is the matter with you ?” he up my mind to cast myself upon my said.
waiter for protection. “Look,” said I, “at that young lady “Who are they?" I inquired, after on the other side--the third one from dinner, of the clerk at the Offioe. the old parrot in the turban. What do “Colonel Bartillian and daughter," you think of her?"
was the answer. “ From GeorgiaHum !” said he, stealthily casting bound for the Springs-comes every his eyes in the direction indicated. year-owns three plantations and twelve “ Tolerably fair. But I like the one on
hundred darkeys." the other side best. She is larger, and The next day I found that Colonel is finer dressed."
Bartillian and his daughter had departThe one to whom he referred was a ed, and gradually the remembrance of lady about five feet eight inches in them faded away from my mind. Ocheight, and with a generally enormous casionally I reflected vaguely upon the development of muscle. She wore a pleasant, soul-lit face of the young girl ; spangled head-dress, a gold chain, and and once I woke up from sleep in a terthree heavy bracelets. Of course, af- rible fright, having dreamed that at table ter such a remark, I could have nothing I had offered her the plate of potatoes, further to do with my friend, but con- upon which her father, with his front tented myself with silent observation of hair and whiskers starting up straighter my fair incognito, to whom, in a quiet and his eyes glaring more dreadfully and unimpassioned sort of way, I felt than ever, had called in all his twelve myself more and more irresistibly at- hundred negroes to dispatch me. But tracted. But, as for being ever able as weeks passed on, my reveries and even to speak to her, that was a mat- dreams became less and less frequent, ter wbich I considered perfectly hope- and finally ceased ; and I should soon less. There was, of course, no one of have forgotten all about the strangers, my friends who could present me; and were it not that the next summer, at though, for an instant, I contemplated about the same week in June, they scraping an introduction through her suddenly reappeared and took their father, who sat at her right hand, and places at the very same part of the with whom I might possibly manage to table. form an acquaintance, I gave
“ So Colonel Bartillian has returned ?" an insane idea as soon as I looked upon I said to the clerk at the office. him and applied my principles of physi- “Yes," was the reply. “Colonel ognomical science to an elucidation of Bartillian has come back and his his character. For he seemed to be the daughter—from Georgia-bound for the very incarnation of jealous ferocity- Springs-comes bere every year-owns