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navy, or civil department which will enable him to bring the kaiser to his knees, yelling for help, in the shortest possible time. And Horace has scarcely settled subacutely in the guest-room when young Cousin Estelle, the celebrated Philadelphia stenographer, comes to take the room opposite the one Brother-in-law Horace has commandeered, Estelle also in search of a job where she can save the nation. When a brand-new population about the size of a manufacturing city like South Bend drops in unexpectedly upon a smallsized large town, already comfortably filled, such as Washington, there are bound to be a few crates of relatives in the consignment. Consequently the residential sections of the national capital early in the war had become an omnibus family reunion, wherein pop and mom soon were all fed up with visitors.
"Come up and see us one day while you 're here," they said over the telephone to me, with all the warmth of Charles Evans Hughes opening his front door and finding a delegation of California voters on the front stoop. Now, if they had only asked me to come up even for one night I might have given three rousing cheers. Not a chance. Still, I hold no grudges; they 're more to be pitied than censured.
All that was left for me to do was to hang up the receiver, climb into the old seagoing pirate craft, Auto-To-Hire, and pull up the mud-hook again. The later the hour, the more that bar-room bed invited; but before giving up and turning in I tacked around circles and squares and in and out avenues and streets long enough to learn that in a war-time Washington there are, to-wit: hall bedrooms (or ifyou-can-get-'em hall bedrooms) of an antebellum rental of ten dollars a month which suddenly have puffed up into bellum. if-you-can-get-'ems at forty and fifty dollars a month; that very swagger houses, which recently were rented for ten thousand dollars a year now bring twenty-five thousand dollars yearly; that one lady, who had had an unfurnished apartment for which she paid ninety dollars a month,
had patriotically rented the rooms, furnished, during the first war winter at a rate of only five hundred dollars a month, pocketing three thousand dollars for six months as her slight bit toward winning the war; that ante-bellum furnished apartments in the hundred-and-fifty-dollar-amonth class bring very often three hundred and fifty dollars and more a month in bellum days; that befo' - de - wah — ouh wah-flats, unfurnished, at seventy-five dollars now commonly are rented at two hundred and twenty-five and two hundred and fifty dollars, furnished. About the only government priority certificate which a man of influence cannot get is a priority certificate for a room and bath.
Just three persons came to notice on that first day of cruising who seemed ecstatically happy over the sudden swamping of their home town. The three were young government clerks of vision. With the first of the war-time onrush the three had taken a running leap at the throat of a renting agent, and had corralled three vacant apartments, paying all of thirtyfive dollars a month for each of the flats. Then they had raced into the nearest instalment house, and had carted away to the three vacuous flats enough biliouslooking yellow oak furniture to cause the late William Morris to turn three times rapidly in his grave. And as most government employees round Washington seem to be able to knock off work about noon every day and keep absolutely out of the war until 2:30 o'clock in the afternoon, the three, within a luncheon "hour," had so thoroughly rented their, in a manner of speaking, furnished flats that thereafter they have been splitting up almost five hundred dollar rent profits monthly into three piles. Now they stand in front of the Treasury daily and laugh and laugh and laugh at it.
A late-arriving visitor can in a pinch, of course, look up a Turkish bath; but what is the use? There was the famous coalbaron magnate who came to Washington in recent days to confer with Fuel Administrator Garfield. When late in the afternoon the conference was ended, the coal
magnate of millions decided to stroll toward one of the large hotels and casually select a pleasant room and bath, just like that! And some time after midnight, still sleepily seeking a room that was not, the magnate saw an electric lighted "Turkish Bath" sign in G Street. Down in the basement depths he came upon a bath as full as three aces and a pair of kings. There was one barber-chair still vacant, however; the other chairs in the tonsorial salon of the baths had, hours earlier, been rented out for sleeping-quarters. And the coal magnate of millions, breathing a night prayer of tearful thankfulness, peeled off his coat and collar and climbed into the only vacant barber-chair berth and slept whatever sleep of innocence still is permitted to a coal-baron magnate. So far as can be learned, Washington has n't yet begun to rent sleeping-spaces on the bootblacks'-chairs, but the war is young yet. Nor in dentists'-chairs. The chauffeurs of the Auto-To-Hire cars, freshly arrived from far-scattered cities, to be in on the pickin's, were sleeping nightly, however, in their one-time taxicabs early in the war-days, even when the taxibrigands could find nothing in the way of a garage roof but the clear, cold skies of night.
When one stops to think that about the time America jumped into the war-whirl there were, all told, only about eighty-five persons in the offices of the Ordnance Department, including everybody from the boss to the office boy, and that before the following Christmas there were in the same department in Washington about thirty-five hundred souls, which promises. to be closer to ten thousand by the time these lines stagger into print, then one must see that this, plus a like swelling of forces in innumerable other governmental departments, early resulted in a considerable hatful of new white folks around town. A couple of Easter bonnet-boxes would have housed the Ordnance Department, even as late as two years after General Leonard Wood had begun to say that it was utterly impossible for America to keep out of the war. Then shortly after
it began to dawn upon Washington that General Wood not only was right, but could produce the papers and prove it, more than a dozen shed-like buildings, each a city square long, had to be thrown together down round Sixth and D streets, N. W., to house the ordnance forces. The figures should n't be disturbing. Washington always was a glutton for numerals of magnitude and with the present jump in population, and trifles such as the billions voted every few minutes by Congress for something or other urgently needed, figures are flying in a war-time Washington which, at least by comparison, make even the grand total of the "Games Lost" column of the Washington base-ball team almost look positively paltry. By the time I had finally headed toward my first, and last, sleep in my semiprivate bedroom and bar in the little hotel in Fourteenth Street, it's safe to say that the only vacant thing to be found in all Washington was the German embassy, which is still respected as an embassy, although empty-respected, one might say, a hodderned sight more than when it was n't empty.
And so, when I had the taxitiller turned to head me toward my bedroom bar or bar-room bed, whatever the term is, the sum total of my twenty-four-hour quest for a room was the exact knowledge that the late Count von Bernstorff's bed in the German embassy was vacant. Now, as I've intimated, my bedroom bar had ceased functioning as a practical bar, having curled up into a little dry wad and perished on the eve of the previous November 1. When I told the night clerk that a day clerk, in exchange for one of those new two-dollar bills that fool one into thinking it's a hundred-dollar note, had given me at least a promise that I might use one of the seven beds in the bar, the night clerk first offered his congratulations and then opened the hotel safe and locked therein my watch and whatever change the Auto-To - Hire bandit chief had let me have back.
I had been leaning lightly against what I had mistaken for a black-walnut newel
post upon which, so I supposed, some one had thoughtlessly hung an admiral's dress uniform for the night. The clerk shook this entire upstanding arrangement into wakefulness while I still leaned against it. Sure enough (or, "Yes, indeed," as Washington would say it), it was a long, slim half portion of smoked ham, garbed in the uniform of a bell-boy. Him I followed warily down a semi-dark stairway, thence behind a furnace, or maybe it was in front of the furnace; and so, ever onward, past piles of baggage, crates of empty milk bottles, to a door pathetically labeled, "Wine Room-No Admittance!"
Finally, within a dark interior, the bellhop, now clearly planning to wake up, turned on a lone electric bulb, which was just above the only unoccupied bed in the bar-room. In addition to the swaggerestsized mirror I had ever slept in front of, there were four little white iron beds sticking out from one wall, with the bed I was to sleep in and two more jutting into the room from the opposite wall. And from the scents and sights and the allpenetrating tonal quality of snore sounds generally, I decided that either the room had been surreptitiously used as a bar until a very recent moment, or that all six of my unknown sleeping companions were a group of little pals who had just got in on a homebound excursion section-after an evening in the Monument City-of the Washington - Baltimore - Washington Night Liquor Local.
I had guessed right twice. The four in the beds across the room were gone beyond recall; I might have practised for an hour on my sliphorn, which I do in our apartment-house in New York nightly for at least an hour before turning in, and they never would have come out of their state of coma. But the two intellectuals on my side of the room evidently were putting up a better battle; in fact, one of them came to sufficiently to reach out for what remained of a quart bottle beside his bed, once he had glimpsed a stranger beginning to undress in his boudoir, and hastily tucked the glassware under his pillow. I got only a glimpse of
the bottle, but I remember being impressed with the fact that the label of the bottle was decorated with either three or five stars, and therefore probably was the property of at least a general, perhaps a ranking full admiral.
"They had n't ought ta done it!"
The sudden words, their very pathos, coming as they did from the dim corner occupied by the third bed on my side of the room, caused me to whirl round and peer sharply beyond the bed of my full admiral neighbor. It was my neighbor's brother intellectual who was speaking, gazing the while at a framed advertising lithograph on the dim far wall, a picture representing the late Christopher Columbus, all togged out in red tights and things and quaffing a man's size seidel of some sort of Columbus, Ohio, beer on the sands. of San Salvador. Long the man gazed at the lithograph, and his head began to droop, and gently he started to weep. He was crying, he told us between sobs, because Christopher Columbus, that greatest of Amurican admirals, that dauntless genius among sea-captains, that mighty discoverer who had given a world to the world, had been sent back to Europe in chains.
"They had n't ought ta done it, Billy," he sobbed. "Billy, I leave it to you: As man to man, am I right or am I wrong?"
Then I knew I was in a bar-room. One may be led, blindfolded, into a boiler factory, a stamping-mill, a Broadway cabaret, or even a Democratic convention, and perhaps be unable to cry out while sightless the nature of the institution; but let one be led, sightless, into a gathering where one overhears the stock question, "I leave it to you. As man to man, am I right or am I wrong?" then one is n' sibly or probably in a bar-room bar-room. As best we could him. His sobs over the ill-t bus grew fewer, and at l great tear-drops gemmi slept a sweet sleep tousled locks spread pillow just beneath titled, "Learning B
war-born Washington. Too long it had been merely the Mecca of brides and grooms and job-hunters. To the whole people, for more than a century, it had been simply a seat of government. And now in a day it had become, now and forever, not a mere interesting real-estate site upon which by chance had been piled enough freestone and marble to house the seat of government, but the capital of the whole nation.
I thought this wondrous newover, I began to feel a bit ad taken the wife with me ewife is so irreverent
e has a pesky habit of kes and saying so out 1 the rest of the hune wife, believe that e war is a great
things gave me deep distress. The weird and unauthorized fur collars fastened to the supposed-to-be uniform overcoats of the newly created officers of the very new army; glinting spurs attached to the boots of right-off-the-shelf lieutenants in the aviation service-she stormed because the very best that the foremost poster draftsmen of the whole country could turn out were lithographs which in thought and composition and general technic climbed to the sublime intellectual heights of a peaches-and-creamy show girl, garbed variously in the third-act clothes of Columbia or in the uniform of a blue-jacket, who seemed to be calling out coquettishly, above the gun-throbs and the groans of the greatest of world tragedies, "O Fellahs, Ain't You The Mean Things! Enlist To-day, Dearie!" Heavens! how