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ence into your own; as Charles the Fifth would say, you will be another man besides yourself, and your Long Vacation will make you wider-hearted, largerminded.
I only once more state the principle, reassert my thesis. When you have a long holiday, do not make it a mere conglomeration of little holidays. Make it perform the functions of a long holiday. Go to some place which is a very long way off, or do some nearer locality very thoroughly, or obtain a thorough change in all your belongings. So the Long Vacation will provide substantial gains, and your Long Tour will yield solid provender for memory and thought, and will help the practical work of life.
a Word on Hotels.
improved by a good hotel in the foreground, is a Johnsonian axiom which no traveller will be disposed to dispute. At the same time, I think he will be disposed to add that there is no hotel in existence which might not be, more or less, improved, if the wishes and wants of the errant public were things as much considered as are the balance-books of loss and profit.
It has often occurred to me, in wonder, why the theme of hotel advantages and hotel drawbacks has never been more often dwelt upon in print, considering how exceedingly the comfort of the world lies in these convenient caravanserai, and will lie in them more and more, year by year, as the custom and the enjoyment of travel and change are brought within a continuallywidening circle. There is no doubt that every tendency of modern life leads, and will lead more and more with increased facilities of movement and communication, towards an increased usage of hotels as dwelling-places; temporary dwelling-places certainly, and
possibly even as permanent ones. Hotels are in an annually increasing demand; whether they will answer the demand with proportionate spirit, and with forbearance from usuries trading upon it, is a problem which intimately concerns the future of the public. It will be in their own hands to compel an answer in the affirmative ; for they are, or may be if they have energy enough, the masters of the situation.
But at present the public appear so utterly lymphatic on the matter, and take so blindly and passively the very questionable goods that the ‘limited liability' gods accord to them, that it seems very doubtful if they will ever rouse themselves to the determination requisite to get, by their insistance, their money's worth.
Moi qui vous parle, I have had some considerable experience in hotels. I have lived in many, and can judge them on the average with sufficient accuracy to justify me in penning a few phrases on the subject. I will not write here of hotels upon the Continent, for it is very certain that those who conduct them never read English magazines ; and besides, they are for the main free from those defects of which I would treat here, though they are guilty perhaps of a larger share of them than is popularly supposed. It is hotels in England of which I would speak; for as the American mode of employing them as permanent houses gains ground in this country, they assume an importance higher than they held whilst it was only the occasional convenience of the peripatetic classes which was involved in their shortcomings. No one would deny that the ‘grand hotels' on the basis of public companies, which late years have seen begotten in the united kingdoms, are a vast improvement upon the miserable inns which before their advent did duty everywhere. Their method of tariffs, of uniform and plainly stated charges, of lofty rooms and airy corridors, of readingrooms and salles à manger, and also the rest of their system, are an unmitigated boon when compared with the old mode of innkeeping as practised in Great Britain. They tend to simplify the art of living, and to embellish it; and they have one inestimable advantage, that any visitor to them by looking at their scale of prices can adjust his orders to the scale of his riches; and may, if he will take the trouble, know beforehand almost to a fraction what his account will turn out to be at the end of the week.
These are great benefits not to be undervalued lightly when we contrast them with the low close rooms, the hard horsehair beds of torture denominated in grim irony easy chairs, the perpetual smell of 'stuffiness' as ladies term it, the execrable cooking, and the mile long bill which were the characteristics of the English hotel before the advent of the Brobdignagian houses, and which are still to be found broadcast, in all their savage hideousness, all over the country, by anyone rash enough in an evil hour to propose to himself a
home-tour in lieu of his usual villeggiatura in the Engadine or the Forêt Noir. No.
No. The big hotels are a revolutionary and sanitary movement, and are not to be dealt with except with a grateful remembrance of all the evils from which they have done much to deliver us. It is in no ingrate spirit to them that I lament the blemishes which mar their liberties, and would fain urge on the public, by which they exist, to bring the public will to bear on these faults and failures until they shall cease from off the face of the earth. Perfection, we know, will no more in caravanserai than in cabinets; but in the one as in the other a claim to monopoly is only justified by a very strong proof of superiority.
Now, first of all defects in the great hotels, their service is the grossest. Their charge, seldom less than two shillings a head, is very high; but no one would grumble were the service good. It is hardly too much to say that, on the contrary, it is, in almost all of them, execrable. It is rarely that in any one of them is a bell answered under ten minutes of time, or several tugs at the handle; and there is at no time anything of that silent attention to half-uttered wishes, that remembrance of expressed preference, or that leading to forestall commands which is the essence of a good servant's willing obedience. On the contrary, the domestics, male and female, bang down what they bring, grumble sulkily if reproved, and, where in