Now, the social customs of this part of town, as they may be abundantly viewed on our thoroughfare, are agreeable to observe. At night our boulevard twinkles with lights like a fairyland. The view of across the way through the gardens, as they should be called, down the middle of the street, is enchanting. All aglow our spic-and-span trolley cars—all our trolley cars are spic-and-span—ride down the way like “floats” in a nocturnal parade. Upon the sidewalks are happy throngs, and a hum of cheery sound. The throngs of our neighbourhood are touched with an indescribable character of place; they are not the throngs of anywhere else. They are not exactly Fifth Avenue; they are not the Great White Way. They are nice throngs, healthy throngs, care-free throngs, modish throngs in the modes of magazine advertisements. And all their members are young.
You will notice as you go and come that you pass the same laughing groups in precisely the same spot, hour after hour. Those who compose these groups seem to be calling upon one another. Apparently, on pleasant evenings, it is the form here for you to receive your guests in this way, in the open air. And you jest, and converse, and while the time amiably away, just as many people do at home. “Well,” says my wife, “the rooms in the apartments in this part of town are so small that nobody can bring anybody into them.”
A CLERK MAY LOOK AT A CELEBRITY
A clerk may look at a celebrity. For a number of years, we, being diligent in our business, stood and waited before kings in a celebrated book shop. Now (like Casanova, retired from the world of our triumphs and adventures) we compose our memoirs. “We know from personal experience that a slight tale, a string of gossip, will often alter our entire conception of a personality,”—from a contemporary book review. This, the high office of tittle-tattle, is what we have in our eye. We are Walpolian, Pepysian.
“These Memoirs, Confessions, Recollections, Impressions (as the title happens) are extremely valuable in the pictures they contain of the time. Especially happy are they in the intimate glimpses they give us of the distinguished people, particularly the men of letters, of the day. The writer was an attache of the court,” the writer was this, the writer was that, but always the writer had peculiar facilities for observing intimately—and so forth. So it was with the writer here.
We remember with especial entertainment, we begin, the first time we saw F. Hopkinson Smith. (We are ashamed to say that he was known among our confrere, the salesmen, as “Hop” Smith.) He introduced himself to us by his moustache. Looming rapidly and breezily upon us—“Do you know me?” he said, swelling out his “genial” chest (so it seemed) and pointing, with a militarish gesture, to this decoration. We looked a moment