“What in the world did you expect, Ruthie? I declare, you are too comical! I verily believe you expected Brussels carpets, and mirrors in which you could admire yourself all the while you were eating.”
“I expected a hotel,” Ruth said, in no wise diminishing her lofty tone. “That is what is advertised, and people naturally do not look for so much deception in a religious gathering. This is nothing in the world but a shanty.”
Chautauqua was doing one thing for this young lady which surprised and annoyed her. It was helping her to get acquainted with herself. Up to this time she had looked upon herself as a person of smooth and even temperament, not by any means easily ruffled or turned from her quiet poise. She had prided herself on her composed, gracefully dignified way of receiving things. She never hurried, she never was breathless and flushed, and apologetic over something that she ought or ought not to have done, which was a chronic state with Eurie. She never was in a thorough and undisguised rage, as Marion was quite likely to be. She was, in her own estimation, a model of propriety. All this until she came to Chautauqua. Now, great was her surprise to discover in herself a disposition to be utterly disgusted with things that to Marion were of so little consequences as to be unnoticed, and that to Eurie were positive sources of fun.
Doubtless you understand her better than she did herself. The truth is, it is a comparatively easy matter to be gracious and courteous and unruffled when everything about you is moving exactly according to your mind, and when you can think of nothing earthly to be annoyed about. There are some natures that are deceiving their own hearts in just such an atmosphere as this. They are not the lowest type of nature by any means. The small, petty trials that come to every life are beneath them. If it rains when they want to walk they can go in a handsome carriage, and keep their tempers. If their elegant new robes prove to be badly made they can have them remodeled and made more elegant with a superior composure. In just so far are they above the class who can endure nothing in the shape of annoyances or disappointment, however small. The fact is, however, that there are petty annoyance, not coming in their line of life, that would be altogether too much for them. But of this they remain in graceful ignorance until some Chautauqua brings the sleeping shadows to the surface.
“What is your private explanation of the word ’hotel’?” Marion asked. She was in an argumentative mood, and it made almost no difference to her which side of the question she argued. “Webster says it is a place to entertain strangers, but you seem to attach some special importance to the term.”
“Is that all that Webster says?”