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themselves well-trained, are so raced off their legs by overwork that they bring no sort of comfort to the visitor. • We are so busy, sir,' is the common (and often true) plea for all defaults and delays of attendance. The visitor is tempted to concur.
Mais diable qu'est ce que cele me fait ? The fact is that, to make money, too few servants are kept in these great houses, and the deficiency in numbers of the working staff is made much the worse by a practice, too general, of hiring as waiters Germans and Swiss who had never been in situations previously ; sons of innkeepers, or pastrycooks, who want to learn at one stroke their future business and a foreign tongue, and who in consideration of this require no wages, but even in some cases pay to be hired. These neophytes receive their education at the expense of the hapless visitor to whose room they may be attached, and whose sufferings are the grindstone on which their rawness and their roughness are rubbed away, Thus, as a rule, the visitor pays his two shillings a-day for service that he may be practised upon by the interesting ignoramus, Fritz or Louis. It is an office philanthropic no doubt, but scarcely enjoyable, as Fritz and Louis in the early stage of their career have boots as thick as their own skulls, smell atrociously of beer, mutter guttural patois, and have about as much knowledge of waiting upon you as a mountain-bear from the Pyrenees.
It is, however, only the visitor who suffers ; the hotel knows that be the attendance good or bad, it will equally pocket the two shillings a day. So bad is it almost invariably, that these hotels are unendurable unless you have your own body servant. If you have him or her-according as you be master or mistress—it is better; but here again another evil arises in the high charge for what is to many persons a necessity, i.e. a servant of their own. Seven shillings a day for your man's or maid's board and lodgment is no inconsiderable addition to your expenses, whilst you are never charged the less for the hotel attendance though your own servant wait on you entirely. Added to this, the charge and the board is the same for all classes of visitors' servants—from a little groom of fifteen to a superb courier of fifty; and in the case of many servants the luxurious diet of the hotel renders them utterly discontented with any ordinary fare at home; they have so many hot dishes at breakfast and supper, and so many courses at dinner, that they are put out of sorts for any servants hall under that of a ducal establishment. It is very desirable that the fare for the servants should be simpler, and the charges to their masters lower.
Again, nothing can be more ridiculous than the plain breakfast, as it is termed. Plain it is indeed, heaven knows! If three people sit down to breakfast, they pay six shillings for a pot of tea, a pat of butter, a little loaf, and a few discs of leather yclept 'toast' or' muffin. For any other necessity of the breakfasttable, for any tongue of flavour comprised in bacon, ham, or their congeners, the unhappy trio must pay extra, and pay very heavily too.
Now, I am fully aware of the very large losses in hotels from waste, and the continual expenses in various ways which have to be made up as best they may by charges in force upon all matters. But surely a couple of shillings a head, for what costs about threepence halfpenny, may without exaggeration be found un peu trop fait. We will pay our two shillings manfully; but in pity's sake let them give us for it some proper breakfast fare. Apropos of breakfast, there is another matter kindred to it which is a sad grievance for the fairer section of hotel visitants. It is this : that though afternoon tea is an institution already mellowed by a dozen years of age, and every year becoming more popular and indispensable, hotels blandly persist in ignoring the very existence of this pleasant social rite. If a charming woman finds herself with half-a-dozen friends lounging about her in her drawingroom in an hotel, at five o'clock in the London season, she naturally rings for tea. The waiter gazes at her with stolid eyes : 'A meat tea, madam ?' he asks ; this abomination being the only meal he can think of as appropriate to that hour of the waning day. When she repudiates this horrible suggestion, he will roll lack-lustre eyes around the room.
· For how many,
madam ?' And she has thereon to count her guests per head; a proceeding which she naturally feels takes from all the grace of her offered repast, and suggests to her callers unpleasantly the additions they will make to her hotel-bill. This difficulty over, the tea appears; the leather discs of the morning's breakfast being heated up for the occasion, and no cream, probably, being obtainable, because all that is in the house is being whipped up for the table-d’hôte dinner. She sighs for the egg-shell china, the fragrant Souchong, the dainty little cakes of her home banquet; and sadly feels that all social charm is taken from what, properly managed, is the pleasantest social hour of the whole day.
Now, let it be well understood that in these lamentations I am not falling foul of the prices charged. I am well acquainted with the enormous expense of all the working departments of an hotel, which must be met by charges which will always look too high to the unthinking public. The habitual rule to charge exactly double the cost of everything (i.e. such as one pheasant or one partridge, which is always charged at the rate of a brace) will always seem to the public extravagant, since the public does not take into account the vast expenses for cuisine, taxation, rental, management, machinery, etc. etc., for all of which that public is charged nothing. It is not the prices (save that, indeed, for private servants, which is absurd) in which
I would desire reform. It is in that which they give us in return for our money; and it is just this which it will lie with the public to obtain: by their resolve, or to lose by their apathy.
For instance, let madam, of whom I spoke a moment ago, pay for her five-o'clock tea what the hotels need charge; but let her, in the name of all social enjoyment, get for her money just such an elegant little tea equipage, just such pretty bon-bons and gâteaux, just such odorous orange Pekoe, and such fresh cream, as she would offer to her friends at home.
I am convinced that were hotels to study more carefully the tastes of their clienteles, there would not be so many bankruptcies amongst them. They would become much more popular amongst the higher classes, who now shudder at the name of these large hostelries, because it is only a synonym to them for bad service, bare apartments, and continual irritation at missing everything to which they are accustomed—unhappily, amongst these their letters and their friends' visits too often included. · For carelessness in the due delivery of cards and correspondence, and an obstinate indifference as to what ladies' woe or social trouble a 'not at home' in the wrong place may entail, are two evils that will, I fear, be long inseparable from our reminiscences of hotel sojourning
Yet, when all is said, the drawbacks to our modern caravansaries seem so remediable, if the errant public