Last Days in a Dutch Hotel (from Literature and Life) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 16 pages of information about Last Days in a Dutch Hotel (from Literature and Life).


But in Europe everything is permanent, and in America everything is provisional.  This is the great distinction which, if always kept in mind, will save a great deal of idle astonishment.  It is in nothing more apparent than in the preparation here at Scheveningen for centuries of summer visitors, while at our Long Island hotel there was a losing bet on a scant generation of them.  When it seemed likely that it might be a winning bet the sand was planked there in front of the hotel to the sea with spruce boards.  It was very handsomely planked, but it was never afterwards touched, apparently, for any manner of repairs.  Here, for half a mile the dune on which the hotel stands is shored up with massive masonry, and bricked for carriages, and tiled for foot-passengers; and it is all kept as clean as if wheel or foot had never passed over it.  I am sure that there is not a broken brick or a broken tile in the whole length or breadth of it.  But the hotel here is not a bet; it is a business.  It has come to stay; and on Long Island it had come to see how it would like it.

Beyond the walk and drive, however, the dunes are left to the winds, and to the vegetation with which the Dutch planting clothes them against the winds.  First a coarse grass or rush is sown; then a finer herbage comes; then a tough brushwood, with flowers and blackberry-vines; so that while the seaward slopes of the dunes are somewhat patched and tattered, the landward side and all the pleasant hollows between are fairly held against such gales as on Long Island blow the lower dunes hither and yon.  The sheep graze in the valleys at some points; in many a little pocket of the dunes I found a potato-patch of about the bigness of a city lot, and on week-days I saw wooden-shod men slowly, slowly gathering in the crop.  On Sundays I saw the pleasant nooks and corners of these sandy hillocks devoted, as the dunes of Long Island were, to whispering lovers, who are here as freely and fearlessly affectionate as at home.  Rocking there is not, and cannot be, in the nature of things, as there used to be at Mount Desert; but what is called Twoing at York Harbor is perfectly practicable.

It is practicable not only in the nooks and corners of the dunes, but on discreeter terms in those hooded willow chairs, so characteristic of the Dutch sea-side.  These, if faced in pairs towards each other, must be as favorable to the exchange of vows as of opinions, and if the crowd is ever very great, perhaps one chair could be made to hold two persons.  It was distinctly a pang, the other day, to see men carrying them up from the beach, and putting them away to hibernate in the basement of the hotel.  Not all, but most of them, were taken; though I dare say that on fine days throughout October they will go trooping back to the sands on the heads of the same men, like a procession of monstrous, two-legged crabs.  Such a day was last Sunday, and then the beach offered a

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Last Days in a Dutch Hotel (from Literature and Life) from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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