The clerk paused, and inspected me in the
compassionate way in which one inspects a respectable person who is
found in doubtful circumstances; then he said -
'It's all right; I know what sort of a room you want. Used to clerk at
the St. James, in New York.'
An unpromising beginning for a fraudulent career. We started to the
supper room, and met two other men whom I had known elsewhere. How odd
and unfair it is: wicked impostors go around lecturing under my NOM DE
GUERRE and nobody suspects them; but when an honest man attempts an
imposture, he is exposed at once.
One thing seemed plain: we must start down the river the next day, if
people who could not be deceived were going to crop up at this rate: an
unpalatable disappointment, for we had hoped to have a week in St.
Louis. The Southern was a good hotel, and we could have had a
comfortable time there. It is large, and well conducted, and its
decorations do not make one cry, as do those of the vast Palmer House,
in Chicago. True, the billiard-tables were of the Old Silurian Period,
and the cues and balls of the Post-Pliocene; but there was refreshment
in this, not discomfort; for there is rest and healing in the
contemplation of antiquities.