Hotel Keeping by
Fortunes are madevery readily, it is said, in our large cities, by
Hotel keeping. It does look money-making business to a great many
people, who stop in a large hotel a day or two, and perhaps, after
eating about two meals out of sixwalking in quietly and walking out
quietlyno fuss, no feathers, find themselves taxed four or
We have had occasion to know something of travel and travellers,
hotels, hotel-keepers and their bills, and it has now and then
entered our head that money was or could be madein the hotel
business. We have stopped in houses where we honestly
concludedwe got our money's worth, and we have again had reason to
believe ourselves grossly shaved, in a first-class hotel, at two
dollars a dayall hurry-scurry, poked up in the cock-loft, mid bugs,
dirt, heat and effluvia, very little better than a Dutch tavern in fly
We did not fail to observe at the same time, that cool impudence and
clamor had a most mollifying effect upon landlord and his attaches, the tinsel and mere electrotypes passing for real bullion, galvanized
hums by their noise and pretensions faring fifty per cent. better
for the same pricethan the more republican, quiet and human
Under such auspices, it is not at all wonderful that ourself and
scores of others, paying two dollars and a half per diem, got what we
could catch, while Kossuth, and a score of his followers, fared and
were favored like princes of a monarchical realmthough all dead
Hotels now-a-days must be showy, abounding in tin foil, Dutch
metal and gamboge, a thousand of the modern improvementsmere
clap-trap, and as foreign to the solid comforts of solid people, as
icebergs to Norwegians or east winds to the consumptive. Without the
show, they would be quite deserted; men will pay for this show,
must pay for it, and all this show costs money; Turkey carpets,
life-size mirrors, ottomans and marble slabs, from dome to kitchen,
draw well, and those who indulge in the dance, must pay the piper.
The fact is, most people understand these things about as well as we
do, and it but remains for us to give a daguerreotype of a few
customers which landlords or their clerks and servants now and then
meet. The conductor of one of our first-class houses, gives us such a
truly piquant and matter-of-fact picture of his experience, that
we up and copy it, believing, as we do, that the reader will see
some information and amusement in the subject.
A fussy fellow takes it into his head that he will go on a little
tour, he pockets a few dollars and a clean dickey or two, andcomes to
town. He's no green hornO! no, he ain't, he has been around somehe
has, and knows a thing or two, and something over. He is dumped out of
the cars with hundreds of others, in the great depots, and is assailed
by vociferous whips who, in quest of stray dimes, watch the
incoming trains and shout and bawl
Eh 'up! Tremont House!
Upa! American Houseright away!
Ha! up! Right off for the Revere!
Here's the coachalready for the United States!
Yee 'up! now we go, git in, best house in town, all ready for the
Eh 'up, ha! now we are off, for the Pavilion!
Exchange Coffee Housedollar a day, four meals, no extra
chargeright along this way, sir!
Hoo-ray, this coachtake you right up, Exchange Hotel!
Jump in, tickets for your baggage, sir, take you upright off,
best house in town, hot supper waitin'way for the Adams House!
And so they yell and grab at you, and our fussy friend, having heard
of the tall arrangements and great doings of the American, he
hands himself over to the coachman, and with a load of others he is
rolled over to that institution, in a jiffy. Our fussy friend is
slightly took down at the idea of paying for the hauling up, having a
notion that that was a part of the accommodation! However, he ain't a
going to look small or verdant; so he pays the coachman, grabs his
valise, and rushes into the long colonnaded office; and making his way
to the register, slams down his baggage, and in a dignified,
authoritative manner, says
Yes, sir, responds the Colonel, or some of the clerkswho may be
Supper! says Capt. Fussy, in the same tone of command.
Certainly, sirplease register your name, sir!
Captain Fussy off's gloves, seizes the pen, and down goes his
autograph, Captain Fussy, Thumperstown, N. H.
Now, I want a hot steak! says he.
You can have it, sir! blandly replies the Colonel.
Hot chocolate, continues Fussy.
Eggs, poached, and ahot roll!
They'll be all ready, sir.
Five minutes, sir, says the Colonel, talking to a dozen at the
Ah, wellshow me my room! says Captain Fussy.
The bells are ringingservants running to and fro, like witches in
a whirlwind; fifty different callstastesorders and fancies, are
being served, but Capt. Fussy is attended to, a servant seizes his
valise and a taper, and in the most winning way, cries
This way, sir, right along! With a measured tread and the
air of a man who knew what it was all about, the Captain follows the
garcon and mounts one flight of the broad stairs, and is about to
ascend another, when it strikes him that he's not going up to the top
of the house, nohow!
Where are you going to take me toup into the garret?
Oh! no, sir; your room's only 182; that's only on the third floor!
Third floor! cries Capt. Fussy, take me up into the third
Plenty of gentlemen on the fifth and sixth floors, sir, says the
servant, and he goes ahead, Capt. Fussy following, muttering
Pooty doin's this, taking a gentleman up three of these
cussed long stairs, to room 182! I'll see about this, I will; mus'n't
come no gammon over me; I'm able to pay, and want the worth of my
The third floor is reached, and after a brief meandering along the
halls, 182 is arrived at, the door thrown open and Capt. Fussy is
ushered in; his first effort is to find fault with the carpets,
furniture, bedding or something, but as he had never probably seen such
a general arrangement for ease, comfort and conveniencehe caved in
and merely gave a deep-toned
Ah. Got better rooms than this, ain't you?
There may be, sir, a few better rooms in the house, not many, said
Well, you may gobut stophow soon'll my supper be ready?
There'll be a supper set at eight, another at nine, sir.
Ah, four minutes of eight, says Fussy, pulling out a bull's eye
watch, with as much flourish as if it was a premium eighteen-carat
lever. Well, call me when you've got supper ready, do you hear?
Yes, sir; but you'll hear the gong.
The gongwhat's that? Ain't you got no bells?
The gong is used, sir, instead of bells, says the servant.
Ah, well, clear outbut say, I want a fire in here.
Yes, sir; I'll send up a fireman.
A fireman? What do I want with firemen? Bring in some wood,
and, strangerstart upa hello! thunder and saw mills, what's all
that racket abouthouse a-fire?
No, sir! says the grinning servantthe gong
supper's on the table!
Ah, very well; go ahead; where's the room?
Conducted to the dining-room, Capt. Fussy's eyes stretch at the
wholesale display of table-cloths, arm-chairs, crockery and cutlery,
mirrors and white-aproned waiters. A seat is offered him, he dumps
himself down, amazed but determined to look and act like one used to
these affairs, from the hour of his birth!
I ordered hot steak, poached eggshain't you got 'em?
Certainly, sir! says the waiter, and the steak and eggs are at
Coffee or tea, sir? another servant inquires.
Coffee and tea! Humph, I ordered chocolatehain't you got
Oh, yes, sir; there it is.
Ah, umph! and Fussy gazes around and turns his nose
slightly up, at the whole concern, waiters, guests, table, steak, eggs,
chocolate, andeven the tempting hot rollsbefore him.
Fussy calls for a glass of water, wants to know if there's fried
oysters on the table; he finds there is not, and Fussy frowns and asks
for a lobster salad, which the waiter informs him is never used at
supper, in that hotel.
Eventually, Capt. Fussy being crammed, after an hour's
diligent feeding, fuss and feathers, retires, asks all sorts of
questions about people and places, at the office; what time
trains start and steamers come, omnibuses here and stages there, all of
which he is politely answered, of course, and he finally goes to his
room, rings his bell every ten minutes, for an hour, and thengoes to
bed; next day puts the servants and clerks over another course, and on
the third daycalls for his bill, finds but few extras charged, hands
over a five, puts on his gloves, seizes his valise, looks
savagely dignified and stalks out, big as two military officers in
Ah, says Fussy, as he reaches the street, I put 'em
throughI guess I got the worth of my money!
We calculate he did!