Short Stories
All Titles

In Association with Amazon.com

Home > Authors Index > Browse all available works of George Ade > Text of Regular Kind Of A Place And The Usual Way It Turned Out

A short story by George Ade

The Regular Kind Of A Place And The Usual Way It Turned Out

Title:     The Regular Kind Of A Place And The Usual Way It Turned Out
Author: George Ade [More Titles by Ade]

Once there was a home-like Beanery where one could tell the Day of the Week by what was on the Table.

The Stroke Oar of this Food Bazaar had been in the Business for 20 years, and she had earned her Harp three times over. The Prune Joke never touched her, and she had herself trained so as not to hear any sarcastic Cracks about the Oleo. She prided herself on the Atmosphere of Culture that permeated the Establishment, and on the Fact that she did not harbor any Improper Characters. A good many Improper Characters came around and sized up the Lay-Out and then blew.

It was a sure-enough Boarding-House, such as many of our Best People know all about even if they won't tell.

The Landlady was doing what she could to discourage the Beef Trust, but she carried a heavy line of Oatmeal. She had Oatmeal to burn and sometimes she did it. And she often remarked that Spinach had Iron in it and was great for the Blood. One of her pet Theories was that Rice contained more Nutriment than could be found in Spring Chicken, but the Boarders allowed that she never saw a Spring Chicken.

In the Cast of Characters were many of the Old Favorites. There was the lippy Boy with the Williams and Walker Shirts, who knew the Names of all the Ball-Players and could tell when there was a good Variety Show in Town.

Then there was the other kind, with a straw-colored Mustache and a prominent Adam's Apple, who was very careful about his Pronunciation. He belonged to a Social Purity Club that had a Yell. His Idea of a Hurrah was to get in a Parlor with a few Sisters who were under the Age Limit and sing the Bass Part of "Pull for the Shore."

Then there was the Old Boarder. He was the Land-Mark. Having lived in Boarding-Houses and Hotels all his Life, he had developed a Gloom that surrounded him like a Morning Fog. He had a Way of turning Things over with his Fork, as if to say, "Well, I don't know about this." And he never believed anything he saw in the Papers. He said the Papers printed those things just to fill up. The Circassian Princess that brought in the Vittles paid more attention to him than to any one else, because if he didn't get Egg on his Lettuce he was liable to cry all over the Table Cloth.

Then there was the chubby Man who came in every Evening and told what had happened at the Store that Day, and there was a human Ant-Eater who made Puns.

One of the necessary Features of a refined Joint is the Slender Thing who is taking Music and has Mommer along to fight off the Managers and hush the Voice of Scandal. This Boarding-House had one of these Mother-and-Child Combinations that was a Dream. Daughter was full of Kubelik and Josef Hoffman. Away back in the Pines somewhere there was a Father who was putting up for the Outfit. Mother's Job seemed to be to sit around and Root. She was a consistent little Booster. If what Mother said was true, then Effie's Voice was a good deal better than it sounded. She said the Teachers were just crazy about it and all of them agreed that Effie ought to go to Paris or Milan. The slangy Boy with the rag-time Shirt went them one better, and said that _all_ of the phoney Melbas in the country ought to pull for the Old Country and wait until they were sent for.

In this same Boarding-House there was a Widow whose husband had neglected to die. Being left all alone in the World she had gone out to make her Way, since which time she had gained about 30 pounds and was considered Great Company by the Young Men.

Necessarily there was a Pale Lady who loved to read, and who stuck to the Patterns that appeared in Godey's Magazine soon after the War.

Then there was the Married Couple, without any Children or Furniture of their own, and the only reason they didn't take a House was that Henry had to be out of Town so often. Henry's Salary had been whooped $500 a Year and she was just beginning to say Gown instead of Dress. She had the Society Column for Breakfast and things looked Dark for Henry.

For many months this conventional Group of ordinary 6-7/8 Mortals had lived in a Rut. At each meal-time they rounded up and mechanically devoured what was doled out to them and folded their Napkins and broke Ranks. Each day was the Duplicate of another and Life had petered down to a Routine.

One Evening just as they had come in for their Vermicelli, a new Boarder glided into their midst. She was a tall Gypsy Queen with about $1,200 worth of Clothes that fit her everywhere and all the time, and she had this watch-me kind of a Walk, the same being a Cue for all the other Girls to get out their Hardware.

When she moved up to the Table and began to distribute a few sample Smiles, so as to indicate the Character of her Work, the musical Team went out with the Tide, the Grass Widow curled up like an Autumn Leaf, the touch-me-not Married Lady dropped into the Scrub Division. The Lady who read was shy a Spoon and afraid to ask for it. The Men were all google-eyed, and the Help was running into Chairs and dropping important parts of the Menu.

Presently the Landlady came in and explained. She said that Mrs. Williams was in the City to shop for a couple of Days, and her Husband would be up on the Night Train. Whereupon five men fell under the Table.

* * * * *

MORAL: Nothing ever happens at a Boarding House.

[The end]
George Ade's short story: Regular Kind Of A Place And The Usual Way It Turned Out