My Hotels

by HUGO JOHANSON

DURING the middle twenties, I used to spend my interims between jobs in Hotel Hecla, one of the many unpretentious hotels which lined the waterfront of one of California’s largest cities. It was owned by an Icelander, a silent old man who sat in a rocking-chair in an alcove behind the office where the seized baggage, the telephone, and the mops were. His name was Grim Hellskin, but because he was forever taking patent medicines the guests referred to him as the Pilgrim. His wife, a rather youngish Korean woman, did the rooms. She answered to Pilgrimy.

Hotel Hecla was on the second floor. The ground floor was a beehive, swarming with Wing’s Day & Night Laundry; The Federal Tattoo College — Study on Yourself; Ben’s Outfittery; Eats; and OmniGoCo, a wildcat travel service with a weathered sedan outside, ready to leave for Tia Juana as soon as “one more” showed up.

Between Eats and OmniGoCo was a narrow door, its lower part sheathed with brass, kicked bubbly, its upper part windowed, curtained, and lettered “Hotel Hecla. 50¢ and Down. ‘ Onto the curtain was pinned a mottled square of wedding stock which warned in ornate penmanship, “No women here to whom it may concern.”

I took to the place the first time I saw it. I didn’t quite have half a dollar to my name and was interested in the deepness of the “Down.” It was thirty-five cents, the manager-and-clerk informed me. He was a middle-aged live wire (past sixty-five, California reckoning) and he spoke with a thoughtful neatness that irked one, especially when heard in a hotel lobby that included sawdust-filled spit boxes in its furnishings. “Feel free to address me ‘Edwards’ at any time,” he introduced himself. As I registered with the house pencil, he inquired, “Are you by any chance encumbered?” I didn’t follow him. He leaned over the counter, saw my blanket bindle, and said, “Thank you, sir. We prefer it so.”

Tossing in my room key the next day after a fair night’s rest, I felt free to say, “See you some other time, Edwards.”

“Won’t you extend your stay with us?” asked Edwards.

“Haven’t got it,” I said.

‘ Let us worry about that — we specialize in dire straits, said Edwards. “And now for a chat,” he added, coming out from behind the counter. With great kindness and strength he pushed me into a chair, and said, “Be seated, friend. Hotel Hecla has grown fond of you.”

In an easy, pleasant fashion Edwards told me that I was the personification of the class of guests Hotel Hecla catered to. He defined me as “a fairly recent newcomer from our European mother countries, honest and strong, endowed with great staying-powers and a groping knowledge of English, anxious to carve out a future in the new, fertile setting but unfamiliar with the procedure.”

But I needn’t despair, Edwards assured me; Hotel Hecla would put me right. It had the Right Connections; it was in a position to feel the Pulse of Trade; it was the Link Pin between Capital and Labor, between the Striver and the Arrived. Hotel Hecla channeled sidetracked men into the profitable rightof-ways of Oregonian lumber camps, Alaskan fisheries, Californian —

I have slit salmon bellies and peeled bark. It didn t take me no place,” I interrupted him.

“I’m afraid it didn’t. And how could it?” Edwards said. “You didn’t have the backing of Hotel Hecla, you wasn’t Hellskin-approved. When we ship out a man, we enclose a tap for advancement. He forges ahead as a matter of course and, when spent, comes back to us for replenishment. While he is vacationing here between successes, we tend to his slightest needs, jolly him, entertain him, and equip him anew.

“What do you get out of it?” I said.

“A deep inner satisfaction and a great many letters of thanks,” Edwards said.

I must have winced or something, because he quickly moved his chair so that he faced me squarely and, if needs be, could pin me down while stilling my unrest.

“Friend, let us face stark reality together,” he prefaced a confession to the point that Hotel Hecla wasn’t Carnegie-endowed and was therefore forced to tax mankind lightly in order to serve it wholly. In other words, there was a slight “accommodation disbursement, but as it was deducted piecemeal from the employee’s wages — the heavy burden of collecting it from the employer falling upon Hotel Hecla - it was a painless, invisible little piece of accountancy, delightful to watch from the side lines. Edwards concluded by pointing out that true proficiency could be reached only by slashing all red tape. Hotel Hecla did just that. It didn’t muddle a plain issue by asking for your signature on a contract full of pinny clauses and hide-and-seek exemptions, nor did it ransack your past or exact any promises for the future. It went straight after you, caught you by the hand, and —

Here Edwards arose, gravely and purposefully. He put his left hand on my shoulder, grasped my right hand with his, and shook everything that could be set in motion. My head nodded, unruly, back and forth, before I could steady myself.

“Thank you. I knew you would see the light,” Edwards said. While still warmly shaking my hand, he released his left hand from my shoulder and used it to ease my blanket bindle away from me. “The strongest bond between two parties is mutual trustfulness. Mr. Hellskin in his goodness will care for this trivia of yours,” he explained his action.

Dumbfounded, I let go of the bulk of my possessions. Stepping back a couple of paces, viewing me from a fresh perspective, Edwards exclaimed, “Why, you have poise! I think we shall be able to place you favorably!”

I perceived that I was thrown. In a way it was a relief. Carving a future wasn’t really what I was cut out to do. If Hotel Hecla wanted to go to it, I guessed I could put up with whatever chips might fly in my face. “When do I eat?” I said.

“Already?” cried Edwards. For a moment I thought that he would renege on our mutual agreement. But he snapped his fingers and said, “Oh, well — if you must! Come along, I’ll introduce you to our affiliated interests on the ground floor.”

On our way down he stressed Hotel Hecla s attitude to the facts of life. Opening the door to the street, he tapped sharply on the inscribed square of wedding stock, and said, “Let this be your text. We also frown on liquor as a career wrecker.”

2

THE next few days were full and carefree. By order of Hotel Hecla, full meals costing more than twentyfive cents were beyond my reach at Eats, but mush and beans are filling, and hot cakes with molasses and margarine, and coflee with last week s snail, are downright tasty. Whenever I felt like it I was welcomed, even urged, to loll in the OmniGoCo sedan as a wealthy decoy.

Once I had satisfied Professor Conway of the Federal Tattoo College that I was a marked man, he desisted from trying to educate me all over. Ben’s Outfittery was cordial in an unhurried manner; I was in its web, a naked fact to be stung when Hotel Hecla gave the nod. And, talking about nakedness, Wing’s Day & Night Laundry called one afternoon for my entire garderobe (what I stood in), necessitating on my part an early going to bed and a stay there in the altogether until the next noon.

On the other evenings, I went to some neighborhood theater. I wanted badly to go uptown and see Miss Eagels in The Letter, but when I asked Edwards for the price, fifty cents, he said that tragedy was all right back East, where people went around feeling sorry for themselves. “We Westerners can afford to laugh,” he said, and gave me fifteen cents to go and see Ben Turpin.

On the fourth day, Edwards had serious news for me. Before breaking it, he said that he was going to submit me to a screen test, so to speak, on the outcome of which the shape of my future depended. I was to go into the lavatory, close the door after me, fling it. open, turn slightly towards the toilet and intone, “Mezzanine, please.”

I balked, pointing out that I didn’t need to just then and, besides, I wasn’t much good at French. Edwards said that I must.

I did, with the result that Edwards said that I wasn’t much good at English either. “It isn’t ‘ pliss,’ it’s ‘ p-l-e-a-s-e.’ Here, in America, we don’t expectorate our language, we drag it around with us. And don’t pout. You have corners in your mouth, haven’t you? Very well. Use one of them, whichever is the farthest for the moment. Now, once again,” he coached.

Being somewhat of an aper I did tolerably. “You are very clever with the door,” Edwards complimented me. “ I’m glad of it,” he continued, “ because we are starting you out on a momentous undertaking.”

“Yah?” I said.

“Yes. We have decided to set you up in the hotel world,” Edwards said.

“Lavatory porter?” I asked.

“More elevated than that. Thanks to us, you are destined to rise high in the transportation sphere of the Coast’s leading hostelry, the Maravilla,” Edwards said.

“What goes up got to come down,” I predicted.

Edwards said that in such a case I would have Hotel Hecla to fall back upon. But that was on the morrow’s agenda. Today, the Maravilla was desperately in need of an experienced elevator boy. I was he, and I had forthwith to learn how to run an elevator. Edwards handed me a silver dollar and a piece of paper with an address on it, my alma mater. “Study carefully and hurry up so that I can run you through Ben’s Outfittery and dispatch you tonight,” he admonished me.

My tutor, a small, skinny man in a janitor’s cap, sat on a vegetable crate in the combined freight and passenger elevator of a loft building in the warehouse district. I told him my name and why I had come. “Don’t argue, where’s the dollar?” he said. I gave it to him. Pointing at the starting handle, he taught, “Up is where it says, and so is down. Half between is no go. I’m off for a root beer.” From ‘way down the hallway, he shouted an extension course, “It’s a crawler; it won’t run away from you.”

Almost immediately the third floor sounded off. “It’s do or remain a know-nothing,” I told myself and slammed the handle on Up. The upheaval astonished me — two floors came from nowhere and left again before I knew I was traveling. Feeling that the third must be within striking distance, I centered the handle and — the car hung on its tortured cables, shaking like an aspen.

I had withstood the journey: except for being in a praying position, I was safe and sound. Looking down through the iron openwork of the door, I saw the crown of my customer’s hat. “I’ll be right with you, Mister!” I cried, jerking the handle from the center position to DOWN and back again. After things had quieted down, I was eye-level with a pair of brown trouser cuffs.

“Don’t exert yourself; I think I’ll walk down,” said a voice, and the trouser cuffs disappeared.

Not to exert oneself was what I should have been told in the first place. Running an elevator is an ethereal art. The prerequisites are the touch of an angel and the brains of a ghost. Once I realized this, I did extremely well.

“A unnyfoam? Up in my head I had dis fellow down for a pair Boss of de Road!” Ben cried when Edwards led me into the Outfittery and ordered a uniform. Ben had what we needed, though, dozens of them. Discarded World War I naval officers’ uniforms — they were all sway-backed period pieces — trimmed with insignia and facings in the most unlikely places. The one we chose was a flag officer’s. I was a bit shy of my new rank. Ben reassured me, even upped the ante. “By rights elevator should have more,” he said, sewing on fifty cents’ worth of additional braid.

I wanted a pair of firemen’s and policemen’s shoes to match my finery. Edwards vetoed me — low-cuts were the thing. Then, he and Ben had words whether I should need garters or not. Edwards said that the Maravilla’s clientele was partly drawn from the faculty of a near-by educational plant, the biggest in the world, and that it behooved me, for the sake of business, to enter into the spirit of learning by rolling my socks.

Ben shouted that that sounded like superstition to him. Turning to me, he said, “Because you got a job in Rome you don’t have to turn Romanian. Garters are healthy.”

Edwards forgot his neat mode of speech. “Healthy for whom? Your till?” he snarled in Ben’s direction.

I averted a tussle by reminding them that I didn’t have any socks. In his eagerness to sell me a dozen pairs of socks (the certified silk kind) Ben forgot the garters. I initialed the sales slip in a hurry because the OmniGoCo sedan was honking the horn.

3

NIGHT was impending and the car had been poised for an immediate departure since early noon. I was irrevocably the final “one more,” and though nobody moved over to give me a throne, Imust have appeared in the light of a savior. It was one of my greater moments. The affiliated interests stood in their doorways or turned their heads towards the street to see me off. .They had invested upwards from many cents to several dollars in my future, and I had intended to wave them a ray of hope. But the car started abruptly and l fell backwards with my bundles and became helplessly wedged between a lady loader in a shooting gallery and a Mexican Protestant bishop of the Yaqui tribe.

An hour out, the driver swerved into a dark lane. Another sudden turn, and the lights of a tall kitchen façadc shone on a steam-sodden cement, court. I saw and smelled row upon row of garbage cans, I heard the clatter and din of a Cantonese dishwashing crew in frenzied action and disputation, and I hoped fervently that the OmniGoCo sedan would spurt again, wedging me deeper and forever in the by now homey cleavage of the lady loader and the Yaqui bishop.

The driver turned in his seat and called out to me, “Hey, Luckless, here is where you get off!”

As an elevator boy at the Maravilla I saw more of it than the service entrance. It looked its best on the free picture postcards in the lobby. On them, it nestled here and towered there in an Iberian par also, cooled by brimming arroyuelos in green cañadas, commanding limitless vistas of sunny mesetas and cloudy montañas. Otherwise, it was located at the mouth of Smitty’s gulch, on a five-acre gum tree tract, scenically landscaped with flagged paths which, bordered with meek palms and angry cacti, took one to Mexican orños, Irish wishing wells, Nipponese torii, Koluschan totem poles, and huge American water tanks on stilts. In this setting, plain seven-storied wings of oil-treated redwood radiated east, south, and west from an elevator campanile, painted a halftimbered effect. From the flagpole hatch in the roof of the campanile, limber sight-seers might gaze upon an alfalfa ranching district, cross-furrowed with irrigation ditches bringing water from the hazy foothills.

Begotten by an oil man, who had wooed and been deserted by the Panama-Pacific Exposition tourist traffic, the Maravilla no longer cottoned to transient guests. Its weekly and monthly rates were steep, ‘way above the level of the cuisine, but the permanent guests didn’t mind. Mostly women, forsworn to honest housekeeping and addicted to illicit snack cooking on contraband electric heaters in their apartments, they lived not on bread alone. They had come there to bask, a little in the sun, a lot in culture, totally in the prestige that went with “of the Maravilla.”

While the prestige was included in the Mara villa’s American plan, the culture was à la carte. When ladies in quest of uplift entered the elevator on their first days in the hotel and timidly asked for the Thought Center, I inclined my low brow with the sage understanding of a fellow seeker (she might be good for a dime) and hurtled the car downwards to “themezzaninefloortheconcessions please,”

As an integrate whole, the concessions strove for an Oriental atmosphere. Incense burners and smoldering joss sticks perfumed the narrow bazaar aisles, where in Momento Marts, Kimono Caches, and Confectoriums, native daughters of the Golden West, as likely as not gotten up as bayaderes, geishas, or even nautch girls, rang up sales on cash registers fitted with temple gongs. In the cultural division, turbans and robes, sandals and saris, abas and snoods, were often worn by members of the linked rings, seceded groups, amalgamated cells, accredited movements, and disowned sects which rented vacant shops and made them over into dens, studios, centers, nooks, galleries, corners, and clubs, where they converted, exhibited, and taught — for a fee — anything from Duncan dancing and finger painting to spectral insight and monetary outlook.

Cats, tots, dogs, and canaries were prohibited at the Maravilla. Husbands were thought of as fifth wheels. When taken down and put in motion to and from the hotel, they arrived haggardly and departed fast.

The service at the Maravilla was middling, particularly in my department. Pew guests complained to my face, perhaps because the kind of service they received relieved them from any obligation to reward it.

Those who grumbled seemed to be glad of the opportunity to weigh yesteryear’s tribulations against today’s and prove that they could still take it on the chin. They endeared themselves to me by tipping as they snubbed, none more than Lady Daphne, the wife of a retired general of the Anglo-Indian military and a grenadier herself. Once a month, always choosing a time when the elevator was crowded to capacity, she would whip out an ivory fan and flail it, establishing herself as a center of discomfort.

“Horrid air, Percy. And no punkah. As beastly as in Kamarpukur, don’t you think?” she said to her husband.

“Distinctly muggy,” said Sir Percy, who had few barbs on his linguistic arrows. By this time, I would have stopped at various floors to let people on and off, a breach of etiquette whenever it didn’t happen at Lady Daphne’s floor.

“Rather a bit of tonga gait this, Percy, eh? I fancy we shall be late for tiffin,” she said.

“Depressing clip,” said Sir Percy.

Making certain of the Judas pence due me, I cried, “Sixth floor! Make way for Lady Daphne, please!”

It never failed. Lady Daphne debarked, stunning the lesser unannounced orders — Iowans, New Yorkers, and such — by commanding, “A rupee for the lift wallah, Percy.” Then Sir Percy would hold up a fifty-cent piece within my reach, and say, “Here, boy.”

4

ANOTHER dependable patroness of mine, Mrs. Breeker, just wouldn’t stand for good service. A pioneer woman, never quite weaned from hardships, she paid for modern transportation only if it were laced with peril and rudeness. Sometimes, when everybody had entered the elevator and I was about to close the door, she used to come running from around some corner, a spry old cocklebur of a woman, crying, “Whoa! Whoa!” I could collect in two different ways, the easiest of which was to shade my eyes and stare at her like a flustcrated backwoodsman.

“Go buy yourself blinkers, son,” Mrs. Breeker said and put a quarter in my clumsily expectant paw. “Not that I mind being stared at,” she said, addressing herself to the passengers. “Always been in the public eye. I was born in the middle of a goat barbecue in ‘49, got married at a vigilante shoot in ‘68, mourned my late husband while he lay in stale in the capitol rotunda in ‘97, and for the last twentyfive years the newspaper picture men have been giving me no living peace unless I put on a poke bonnet and churn in the back of a Conestoga wagon for their Admission Day edition.”

Or I might disregard Mrs. Breeker altogether until she told me where she wished to get off. Somehow, I would not only miss her floor hut also have great difficulty in stopping at the one above. Finally, a couple of inches shy of the landing, I would ask Mrs. Breeker, “This be yourn, Mam?” Mrs. Breeker would hop out, pleased, crying, “Shucks, no, but, never mind!” It was then up to me to hold the elevator so that she could tell a frontier anecdote, usually t he one about the Swede teamster who, the night they spotted the Continental Divide, had called out, “Donner Pass, Caiiforny! Donner Pass, Californy!”

“Dad laughed no end and gave poor Chris a little something for tobacco,” she recollected, giving me the same.

Tobacco money was indeed all that such machinations brought me—nothing to sneer at, however, because my legitimate wages at the Maravilla were the following problem: fifteen dollars a month plus board and room minus fifteen dollars. The management readily solved it for me. It said that for the rights of earning much one obviously must pay something, in my particular case four dollars a month each to the Chinese waiter in the help’s dining hall, the Hungarian porter in the help’s quarters, and the Irish bell captain, besides three dollars to my elevatory agent, Hotel Hecla. I asked what I gained on such a deal.

“Prod yourself, fellow! Trod yourself!” cried the management. I prodded myself and said that I could locate no net earnings. “ Have you or have you not a clear monthly income of not less than a nurtured body and an eager mind, looking forward to (Christmas, the welfare season, when permanent guests are honor bound to go the whole hog and remember elevator boys? Answer yes or no, please, said the management.

A stickler for truth, I said, ’Yes, sir.”

My wages thus satisfactorily disposed of, I had the temerity to inquire whether or not I was entitled to have a day off now and then. The management said that to the best of its knowledge I had seven free days out of twenty-eight. How come, I wanted to know. The management said that wasn’t it a fact that one day I worked twelve hours, the following day six hours, and so on ad infinitum. I said it was true, I worked sixty-three hours a week, as good a proof as any that I worked every day and never had one off. “Sixty-three hours a week! Don’t be a clock watcher, take the long view,” said the management, and continued, “Every second day you work half a day only. That gives you three half holidays in one week and four half holidays in the next. Add them up and see for yourself what they amount to in four weeks, a year, a lifetime!”

The management’s trip-hammer logic forced me to acknowledge that perhaps I had been vacationing right along without knowing it. “That’s too bad,” said the management. “We sincerely wish that from now on you’ll enjoy every leisure moment of your many holidays. The air is invigorating hereabouts.”

I arrived at the Maravilla in the month of January. So did other elevator boys, men of vision who left after a couple of days, bitterly denounced by the management as fly-by-nights and boomers. By February, it was common knowledge that I was a victim of unrequited love to whom place and future mattered not; by late March, I was pointed out as an obstinate plodder, working against heavy odds towards a small pension; probably not until midsummer was I correctly identified, then as a worn fixture.

I reaped abundantly at Christmas. As I remember it (I may be a handkerchief or two off) the harvest added up to $280.67 in cash, a jar of striped candy, a fire-new Old Testament, eleven handkerchiefs, a pair of crocheted suspenders with little stretch in them, and two good doughnuts.

The average remembrance was a wintry Christmas card, a pinned-on one-dollar bill taking out the chill. Several spenders squeezed a five-dollar bill into my hand and mercifully let things go at that, but the gift I prized most came from the liberal soul who anonymously mailed me an étui containing a twenty-dollar gold piece dangling from a blue hair ribbon on which was inked, “To my pet bat in the Maravilla belfry.”

The sixty-seven cents were heaven-sent in so far that about three o’clock of Christmas morning a sportive party of two nightgowned ladies and a pajama-clad gentleman, strangers to me, rang the bell on the top floor and, when I responded, made me an offering of a partly filled Little-Church-Around-theCorner bank that had a slot in the sacristy. Full of gladness and hot punch, they caroled in my honor until the house detective came hastening.

I had never thought it possible that so much planning and reinforcement could be expended on the putting up of bakery goods as on the two doughnuts Mrs. Millberton Trembers gave me for Christmas. Joined to a greeting card by an acorn-tasseled silver cord, they lay bedded on celluloid sequins in a miniature pirate’s chest of cedar. The treasure stood in a highly convoluted slip cover of red oiled silk, and the whole affair was bathed and strewn with hoarfrost, cobwebs, star dust, crescents, and High Sierra pine needles, all made on machines in Japan.

Enough of a stockholder in the Maravilla to meddle with the running of the place, Mrs. Millberton Trembers was feared. She employed a lady companion who read the financial page to her after dinner, enunciating very clearly when some distracting chatterbox had to be convinced that the Palm Court was first Millberton Trembers premises and thereafter a public lounge. The vanquished clubbed in the Rose Room, where they deplored that Miss Tetty Glint — the only one who came out on top when colliding with Mrs. Millberton Trembers — was too heavy for the wicker furniture in the Palm Court.

5

LIGHTWEIGHT furniture wouldn’t have kept Miss Glint out of the Palm Court had she cared to go there. She stirred when and where she pleased, usually late at night and then in search for something to eat in bed, “I love to munch myself to sleep,” she told me once, returning from a midnight foraging trip with two big blobs of spun sugar which she had bought, at a popcorn stand.

I don’t, know how old Miss Glint could have been, but she looked and dressed like a shelved cancan dancer, bent upon avenging stays and buttoned boots with peignoir and mules. Mushrooming on my elevator stool, she liked to exchange confidences while riding up and down. “It isn’t that I’m extraordinarily developed,” she explained her charms to me; “it’s just that I’m inclined to let my bodily odds and ends brim over where they may.”

She was fearless and honest to the point of somebody else’s destruction. Feeling me out with a short, lardy forefinger, she told me before a carload of interested passengers that I was “too closely trimmed in the spareribs to be thrilling.” Although she occupied the most expensive suite of rooms at the Maravilla, she disdained any entertaining more formal than having the chambermaids in for gin and tap water. What bedroom tidings she heard then she passed on to me, asking as a decent return the elevator and lobby goings-on.

Miss Glint never tipped the help, Christmas or no Christmas, nor did she contribute to temperance movements or foreign missions. Her detractors had it that she made a hobby of converting fine, clean-cut mendicants into leering sots by lashing out, “Come back when you are plastered, misfit!”

Yet she did much for the harassed. Confident of being bailed out by Miss Glint, the Mara villa bellboys put up with the semiannual inconvenience of being arrested for bootlegging. She let them linger in the jail-house tank for thirty-six hours so that they would be steeped in crime when reporting to her. “ Good detective novels come so high nowadays that I find it cheaper so,” she said.

Late in the evening the day after. Christmas, Miss Glint came into the elevator and sat down on my stool. She had been shopping and carried a stained paper sack, bulging with some fatty delicacy. “I’ll go where you go, and how did you come out yesterday?” she said, a pretty broad hint that she didn’t intend to budge until she had reviewed my Yule edition of “Who and How Much?”

About an hour later, I had a call from the lobby.

It was Mrs. Millberton Trembers and entourage. She looked into the elevator, saw the corpulent Miss Glint, and said, “Will there be room for us all? We are four and frightfully weighted down.” I said that the car could take twenty, and motioned them in — Mrs. Millberton Trembers and the lorgnette, the lady companion and the financial section, the Parisian maid and the papillon, the Kanaka chauffeur and the lap robes.

Miss Glint looked on thoughtfully. As we ascended, she opened the greasy paper sack, took out two doughnuts, threaded them on her ring finger and swirled them. The sight of the doughnuts reminded me that I hadn’t thanked Mrs. Millberton Trembers. “Thanks for the Christmas sinkers, Mrs. Millberton Trembers. They went down fine,” I said.

“Next floor!” said Mrs. Millberton Trembers.

The following day, when I was due to go to work, my time card had been removed from its slot. I went to the office to see about it. The management was icy. It said that I couldn’t work for the Mara villa unless I squared myself with Mrs. Millberton Trembers. As I am apt to look blank when indicted, the management analyzed the case against me. Mrs. Millberton Trembers had been the victim of a base smear attack in the elevator the previous night. Miss Tetty Glint and I were the perpetrators. The management had telephoned Miss Glint, but she had whistled in the receiver. It was up to me to redress the afflicted.

I told the management that I didn’t know how to square a couple of doughnuts, and what time could I have my check? The management said right now and pulled out a desk drawer.

It was more of a statement, however. The porter in the help’s quarters had worked overtime, and I owed the Maravilla thirty cents.