Mrs. Merdle Suggesteth That Dinner Being Finished, The Gentlement Will Smoke. In The Meantime, She Discourseth.

A poem by Horatio Alger, Jr.

"Now Merdle--now Colonel--I know you are waiting.
And thinking my talking to eating's a bar,
Still hoping, by tasting, my appetite sating,
Will give you the license to smoke a cigar.

Well then, I've done now, and hope too you've dined,
As well as down town where you dine for a shilling,
At Taylor's, or Thompson's, or one of the kind,
Where mortals are flocking each day for their filling;
Or else at the Astor where bachelors quarter,
Where port holes for windows give light to the room,
Far out of the region of Eve's every daughter,
So high they are stuck up away toward the moon.

Though as for the 'stuck up' no walls built of brick,
Or granite, or marble, or dirty red sand,
Could stick up a man who himself's but a stick,
An inch above where he would naturally stand.

To witness the truth of this final assertion,
I call you to witness the sticks at the door,
Where they make it a daily, a 'manly' diversion,
To ogle each woman, and sometimes do more,
Who passes the hotel that's named by a saint,
Where boorish bad manners give room for complaint.

Where idlers and loafers, with gamblers a few,
Make up for the nonce the St. Nicholas crew.

The 'outside barbarians,' I freely confess,
Who ogle our faces and ogle our dress,
Who spit where we walk as dirty a puddle
As bipeds can make when their brains are 'a muddle,'
Do not prove the inside is as dirty as they are,
Or else the gods help all the ladies who stay there.

Why any prefer in a hotel to stay,
Instead of a house of their choosing to own,
Is just to avoid all the trouble, they say,
That servants to give us are certainly prone,
I'm sure if a tyranny more terrible prevails,
In Austria or other despotic domain,
My memory where most certainly fails,
That servants and milliners over us gain,
Just here in New York, and the more is the pity,
Where Wood is the Mogul that governs the city.

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