Half-Tints: Table d'Hôte and Drawing-Room
New York : D. Appleton & Co.
HERE is the side which our polygonous human nature presents to the observer in a great New York hotel. Throngs of coming and going strangers, snubbingly accommodated by the master of the caravansary, who seeks to make it rather the home of the undomestic rich than the sojourning-place of travel; the hard faces of the ladies in the drawing-room ; the business talk of the men of the gentlemen’s parlor ; the twaddle of the jejune youngsters of either sex in the dining-room ; and individual characters among all these, — are the features of hotel-life from which the author turns to sketch the exchange, the street, the fashionable physician, and the modish divine, or to moralize desultorily upon themes suggested by his walks between his hotel and his office. The manner of the book is colloquial, and the author, addressing an old friend, seeks a relief and contrast for the town atmosphere of his work in recurring reminiscences of a youth and childhood passed in the purer air of the country. Some of his sketches are caricatured, some of his pictures rather crudely colored ; but at other times he is very skilful, and generally his tone is pleasant, and in the chapters, “Not a Sermon,” “ And so forth,” and “ Out of the Window,” there is shrewd observation and sound thought.