And handsome. This is a woman’s reason, but listen: O men, are they not, I ask, a part of the civic beauty of the city? Is it not important that these animated equestrian statues should be gallant men upon noble and spirited horses? And who is more imperial in the pictorial life of the city than the officer on the Lotta Fountain pedestal by the raising of whose sceptered hand the life of the city moves or stays. Yes, policemen should be handsome and gallant. It is written.
Russian Hill had always seemed economically remote to me as an abiding place until recently I was invited out where some people were living in a modest apartment with a good view of the bay. And when they suggested that I try to get an apartment over there I decided to do it.
It was a beautiful morning when I started out. There stood Russian Hill and as Gibraltar bristles with armaments so it glittered with windows facing the sea and one of them for me. Perhaps I could get a few rooms from a nice Italian family and fix them up. Ah, the Latin quarter, Greenwich village, the ghosts of artists haunting the place, Bohemians, enthusiasm, the lust for adventure. I bristled with personality.
“Oh, you want a marine view,” said the real estate man. “Not for that price, lady.”
A “marine view.” I didn’t want a marine view; I only wanted one window facing the sea. Surely with all those windows — .
I left the real estate man and began wandering about. I asked a group of Italian women and they exclaimed in a chorus “No marine views left.” I hadn’t said a thing about a “marine view.” I wandered further and it was always the same. Some were smug and some were sorry but they all spoke of a “marine view” in a certain tone of voice, as Boston people say “Boston.”
It was getting hot. I could not remove my coat because my waist was a lace front. Only a hair net restrained me from utter frumpiness. Still I was not altogether beaten and when I came to a nice countrified looking house standing alone in the midst of modern art and a man came out I asked him. The moment I did there came into his eyes a hunted glitter and he told me how he had held out against them and how he had been besieged for years to rent his marine view and wouldn’t.
As I turned away I met an Irish delivery man and he said that there were dozens of vacant apartments very reasonable and waved his hand vaguely in the direction where I’d been searching. I like the Irish but his cheerful fibbery was the last straw and I went home.
The next day my friends called up and said that they had a marine view for me. I was to live all summer in the apartment of the So-and-Sos while they were away. So now I am. They are artistic and I drink my coffee from saffron colored cups on a bay green table runner over a black table under a turquoise blue ceiling with a view of the bay from the window.