MoboReader > Literature > Lazy Thoughts of a Lazy Girl / Sister of that Idle Fellow.""

   Chapter 12 No.12

Lazy Thoughts of a Lazy Girl / Sister of that Idle Fellow."" By Jenny Wren Characters: 11040

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03

On Watering Places.

What a great deal of trouble and time it takes to choose a watering-place! And yet there are many and various kinds of resorts, some for one season, some for another.

If you could be carried sufficiently high above the earth so as to have a bird's-eye view of the whole of Great Britain, what a strange sight it would present during the months of August and September! The county would appear surrounded with a human fringe, the outer edge more resembling a disturbed ants' hill than anything else. I don't suppose we should appear more significant than ants at that distance.

There are those places teeming with shop-keepers and children, when you can scarcely see the beach so covered is it with those who are making the most of their one holiday in the year.

There is the primitive little village, discovered by few, which is welcomed by the city man who wants rest and entire seclusion from business matters and the world for a month or two. And oh, what language he uses! and how annoyed he is to find absolutely nothing to do-one post a day, and, worst of all, no newspaper until late in the afternoon! And this is the man who wishes to be shut out from the world and from his acquaintances! There is no pier, there are no amusements. The esplanade is composed of nothing more than a plank of wood, on which, in walking you have to observe much caution in order to keep your balance; and sometimes the butcher from the neighboring village forgets to call! In desperation, the unfortunate creature digs sand-castles with his children, and, after a few days of his banishment, grows quite excited as the waves wash up and undermine their foundations. He picks acquaintance with anybody he comes across, be he peer or peasant-anything to make the time pass a little quicker until he can return to the stir of his business life again.

Someone remarks somewhere that "a man works one-half of his life in order that he may rest the other." I wonder if those who are successful ever appreciate their rest when they get it! I wonder if it comes up to their expectations! if the goal toward which they have been looking almost since they began to exist is worth the trouble and energy spent on it! Ah, I am afraid they very rarely find it so! They have become so immured in their busy lives, that it is difficult to grow accustomed to any other. Unless one is brought up to it, the Dolce far niente is not an existence we enjoy. We are made the wrong way about somehow. We ought to be born old and gradually grow younger as the years roll on. Still, I daresay there would be something to complain of even then, and perhaps it would not be very dignified to go off the stage as a baby!

To go to the opposite extreme, there are the fashionable water-places; little Londons, or rather little imitations of London; for beside that great capital itself they are like pieces of glass to a diamond. And yet fashion and folly are all here, sunning themselves by the sea instead of in the park; driving up and down in the same way, in equally charming toilets. But still there seems to be something lacking, something wanting. They are too small, these towns; you so soon know everyone by sight, and grow tired both of them and their costumes. There is a good deal of stir and life about all the same. There are bands, niggers, clairvoyantes, fire-eaters; plenty indeed for you to see and hear when you are weary of strutting up and down and nodding to your friends. And yet, in spite of all, you grow tired of "London by the sea," after a few weeks, even in that dead season of the year-November.

Have you ever visited one of these places in the midst of a tennis week, when the grand tournaments take place? Lawn tennis is a delightful recreation for a time, provided you have a good partner and good antagonists, and you are playing under a moderately warm sun; but when you hear, see, and play nothing else for a week, when the conversation is "tennis," when no one appears without a racquet in his hand, when all you have to listen to are criticisms on the courts and balls, grumblings against the handicapping, imprecations on "bisques"-well, you begin to hate the very name, and wish you could injure the man who invented it. You grow tired of watching the same thing day after day, the men who spend their lives in tossing balls across to each other, the sea of faces; turning backwards and forwards at each stroke with the regulation of a pendulum.

Yes, it takes a long time to decide on a watering place, and when at last you do make up your mind you have to change it again very soon because you find all your "sisters, cousins, and aunts" have chosen the same resort; and really you have quite enough of your relations in town without their following you wherever you go. You require a little variety when you go away. An old lady I used to know always kept it a profound secret where she intended spending her summer holiday, "otherwise, my dear," she said, "I should have the whole family at my heels!" A most disagreeable old lady she was; and I know for a fact that her relatives always avoided her when possible (she was not blessed with very great possessions!) so that her caution was quite unnecessary. Oh, vanity of vanities, how little we know of the world's true opinion of us!

When you have fixed on your locality, there is even a greater difficulty to go through. You have to choose your residence; and this takes up even more thought and time.

There are th

e lodging-houses, monotonous in their similarity. The same gilt-edged mirrors protected from the dust by green perforated paper; the same jar of wax flowers, standing on a mat which is composed of floral designs in Berlin wool-designs to which you can give any name you like-"You pays your money and you takes your choice." They represent anything, the whole concern hiding its modest head under a glass case; the same shavings in the grate, with long trails of roses gently slumbering on the top; yes, and the same voluble landlady, the whole of whose private concerns you are in possession of five minutes after you have taken the apartments.

There is the boarding-house, advertised as "Directly facing the sea;" and when you have engaged your rooms, and arrive with all your luggage, you find the establishment is at the far end of a side street; and "Directly facing the sea" is interpreted by the fact that by hanging half-way out of the sitting-room widow, and screwing your head round violently to the left, you can see the place where that watery monarch ought to be.

"A boarding-house is so much nicer than an hotel, because you get to know the people so much easier," I heard a girl remark once. This is my chief objection to a boarding-house. Because you are staying under the same roof, all the inhabitants consider they have a right to address you, and, what is more, they will not be repulsed, which, as most of them by no means move in the best society, is not at all palatable. The women you can tolerate, but the men are not to be endured. You are always coming across them, too. On whatever drive, excursion, or trip you take you invariably meet "boarding-houseites," who are only too ready to recognize you. You can never get away from them; there is only the public drawing-room, and there they come in and out, talking to you, interrupting you, or else causing your ears to ache by their attempts at music.(?)

The meals are somewhat amusing, as you can watch all your fellow-boarders without being disturbed. They cannot talk and eat at the same time, and so philosophically devote all their energies to their dinner.

There is the girl who scrapes up acquaintances with everybody. She has had the good luck to be placed near a man, and the demure way in which she prattles and smiles at him convinces you that she is trying to make the best use of her time. Sometimes he is absent, and then the smiles give way to the gloomiest expression. Finally, on the arrival of new-comers, when there is a sort of general post all round, she is placed at the farthest extreme to her late partner, and oh! the wistful little glances she passes up the table to the gourmand who, oblivious to all but his dinner, scarcely notices her departure.

There are the three old maids, intent on capturing a husband. They have come here as a last resource. But with the usual fickleness of fortune, they seem to be more shunned by the male sex than attracted to it.

There is the newly-married couple, looking very conscious and silly, as if they were the only people in the world who had ever committed matrimony.

There is one old lady grumbling, and objecting to the back of a chicken. Poor birds, they have only two wings each, and really cannot provide everybody with them! There is another furious, because on asking for a favorite dish, that is down in the menu, is told that "it is all served!" The best things always are, unless you manage to get into the good graces of the waiter or waitress.

Young men and maidens, old men and children, all here, offering plenty of material for students of human nature!

Hotel life is very different. Even if you find the parvenu and nouveau riche as equally objectionable as the boarding-house species, at least they do not force their acquaintance upon you. The table d'hote is much more entertaining, and you are altogether more independent. Characters you come across occasionally that are most interesting to study. There are the girls who are taking the round of hotels by their mothers, in the hopes of getting them "off." There are the men who astonish everybody by their generosity and apparent display of riches, and finally decamp without paying their bill.

A man was telling me the other day of a certain "black sheep" who had run into difficulty; how his family after a great deal of trouble managed to raise £200 between them, and sent him off to America with the money to start afresh in a new country. In a month's time he was back again, penniless as ever, and cursing his luck and bad fortune. It was only by accident they discovered the bills of the best hotels in New York in his pocket, and found that he had been living like a prince while his £200 lasted, nor had tried at all to obtain any occupation.

With such consummate cheek, a man ought to get on in the world, I think, for after all it is self-confidence and "bluffing" that seems to succeed most. However down in the world you are, however bad your "hand," you only have to "bluff" a little to make it all right. There are many foolish people in the world ready to be your dupes, and luckily they never think of asking to "see" you. Even the best of us try it on a little; we strive to hide our skeletons under the cloak of cheerfulness, and entirely disguise our real feelings-

"Alas, our frailty is the cause, not we;

For, such as we are made of, such we be."


Transcriber's Note: Pagination for blank pages is omitted in the margin numbering.

(← Keyboard shortcut) Previous Contents (Keyboard shortcut →)
 Novels To Read Online Free

Scan the QR code to download MoboReader app.

Back to Top