The Vertical City

Fannie Hurst
 The Vertical City

The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Vertical City, by Fannie Hurst This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at
Title: The Vertical City
Author: Fannie Hurst
Release Date: June 25, 2004 [EBook #12659]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

Produced by PG Distributed Proofreaders



By that same architectural gesture of grief which caused Jehan at Agra to erect the Taj Mahal in memory of a dead wife and a cold hearthstone, so the Bon Ton hotel, even to the pillars with red-freckled monoliths and peacock-backed lobby chairs, making the analogy rather absurdly complete, reared its fourteen stories of "elegantly furnished suites, all the comforts and none of the discomforts of home."
A mausoleum to the hearth. And as true to form as any that ever mourned the dynastic bones of an Augustus or a Hadrian.
An Indiana-limestone and Vermont-marble tomb to Hestia.
All ye who enter here, at sixty dollars a week and up, leave behind the lingo of the fireside chair, parsley bed, servant problem, cretonne shoe bags, hose nozzle, striped awnings, attic trunks, bird houses, ice-cream salt, spare-room matting, bungalow aprons, mayonnaise receipt, fruit jars, spring painting, summer covers, fall cleaning, winter apples.
The mosaic tablet of the family hotel is nailed to the room side of each door and its commandments read something like this:
One ring: Bell Boy.
Two rings: Chambermaid.
Three rings: Valet.
Under no conditions are guests permitted to use electric irons in rooms.
Cooking in rooms not permitted.
No dogs allowed.
Management not responsible for loss or theft of jewels. Same can be deposited for safe-keeping in the safe at office.
* * * * *
Our famous two-dollar Table d'H?te dinner is served in the Red Dining Room from six-thirty to eight. Music.
It is doubtful if in all its hothouse garden of women the Hotel Bon Ton boasted a broken finger nail or that little brash place along the forefinger that tattles so of potato peeling or asparagus scraping.
The fourteenth-story manicure, steam bath, and beauty parlors saw to all that. In spite of long bridge table, lobby divan, and table-d'h?te séances, "tea" where the coffee was served with whipped cream and the tarts built in four tiers and mortared in mocha filling, the Bon Ton hotel was scarcely more than an average of fourteen pounds overweight.
Forty's silhouette, except for that cruel and irrefutable place where the throat will wattle, was almost interchangeable with eighteen's. Indeed, Bon Ton grandmothers with backs and French heels that were twenty years younger than their throats and bunions, vied with twenty's profile.
Whistler's kind of mother, full of sweet years that were richer because she had dwelt in them, but whose eyelids were a little weary, had no place there.
Mrs. Gronauer, who occupied an outside, southern-exposure suite of five rooms and three baths, jazzed on the same cabaret floor with her granddaughters.
Many the Bon Ton afternoon devoted entirely to the possible lack of length of the new season's skirts or the intricacies of the new filet-lace patterns.
Fads for the latest personal accoutrements gripped the Bon Ton in seasonal epidemics.
The permanent wave swept it like a tidal one.
In one winter of afternoons enough colored-silk sweaters were knitted in the lobby alone to supply an orphan asylum, but didn't.
The beaded bag, cunningly contrived, needleful by needleful, from little strands of colored-glass caviar, glittered its hour.
Filet lace came then, sheerly, whole yokes of it for crêpe-de-Chine nightgowns and dainty scalloped edges for camisoles.
Mrs. Samstag made six of the nightgowns that winter--three for herself and three for her daughter. Peach-blowy pink ones with lace yokes that were scarcely more to the skin than the print of a wave edge running up sand, and then little frills of pink-satin ribbon, caught up here and there with the most delightful and unconvincing little blue-satin rosebuds.
It was bad for her neuralgic eye, the meanderings of the filet pattern, but she liked the delicate threadiness of the handiwork, and Mr. Latz liked watching her.
There you have it! Straight through the lacy mesh of the filet to the heart interest.
Mr. Louis Latz, who was too short, slightly too stout, and too shy of likely length of swimming arm ever to have figured in any woman's inevitable visualization of her ultimate Leander, liked, fascinatedly, to watch Mrs. Samstag's nicely manicured fingers at work. He liked them passive, too. Best of all, he would have preferred to feel them between his own, but that had never been.
Nevertheless, that desire was capable of catching him unawares. That very morning as he had stood, in his sumptuous
Continue reading on your phone by scaning this QR Code

 / 84
Tip: The current page has been bookmarked automatically. If you wish to continue reading later, just open the Dertz Homepage, and click on the 'continue reading' link at the bottom of the page.