Books Should Be Free is now
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

The Van Dwellers A Strenuous Quest for a Home   By: (1861-1937)

Book cover

First Page:

THE VAN DWELLERS

by

ALBERT BIGELOW PAINE

[Illustration: "WELL, AND WHEN DID YEZ ORDER IT TURNED ON?" Frontispiece .]

THE VAN DWELLERS

A Strenuous Quest for a Home

by

ALBERT BIGELOW PAINE

Author of "The Bread Line"

[Illustration]

"We were strangers and they took us in"

New York J. F. Taylor & Company 1901

Copyright, 1901 by J. F. Taylor & Company

TO THOSE

WHO HAVE LIVED IN FLATS

TO THOSE

WHO ARE LIVING IN FLATS

AND TO THOSE

WHO ARE THINKING OF

LIVING IN FLATS

Contents.

PAGE

I. The First Home in the Metropolis. 1

II. Metropolitan Beginnings. 13

III. Learning by Experience. 28

IV. Our First Move. 45

V. A Boarding House for a Change. 60

VI. Pursuing the Ideal. 72

VII. Owed to the Moving Man. 86

VIII. Household Retainers. 88

IX. Ann 104

X. A "Flat" Failure. 114

XI. Inheritance and Mania. 133

XII. Gilded Affluence. 153

XIII. A Home at Last. 177

XIV. Closing Remarks. 183

I.

The First Home in the Metropolis.

We had never lived in New York. This fact will develop anyway, as I proceed, but somehow it seems fairer to everybody to state it in the first sentence and have it over with.

Still, we had heard of flats in a vague way, and as we drew near the Metropolis the Little Woman bought papers of the train boy and began to read advertisements under the head of "Flats and Apartments to Let."

I remember that we wondered then what was the difference. Now, having tried both, we are wiser. The difference ranges from three hundred dollars a year up. There are also minor details, such as palms in the vestibule, exposed plumbing, and uniformed hall service perhaps an elevator, but these things are immaterial. The price is the difference.

We bought papers, as I have said. It was the beginning of our downfall, and the first step was easy even alluring. We compared prices and descriptions and put down addresses. The descriptions were all that could be desired and the prices absurdly modest. We had heard that living in the city was expensive; now we put down the street and number of "four large light rooms and improvements, $18.00," and were properly indignant at those who had libeled the landlords of Gotham.

Next morning we stumbled up four dim flights of stairs, groped through a black passage way and sidled out into a succession of gloomy closets, wondering what they were for. Our conductor stopped and turned.

"This is it," he announced. "All nice light rooms, and improvements."

It was our first meeting with a flat. Also, with a janitor. The Little Woman was first to speak.

"Ah, yes, would you mind telling us we're from the West, you know just which are the the improvements, and which the rooms?"

This was lost on the janitor. He merely thought us stupid and regarded us with pitying disgust as he indicated a rusty little range, and disheartening water arrangements in one corner. There may have been stationary tubs, too, bells, and a dumb waiter, but without the knowledge of these things which we acquired later they escaped notice. What we could see was that there was no provision for heat that we could discover, and no sunshine.

We referred to these things, also to the fact that the only entrance to our parlor would be through the kitchen, while the only entrance to our kitchen would be almost certainly over either a coal box, an ironing board, or the rusty little stove, any method of which would require a certain skill, as well as care in the matter of one's clothes.

But these objections seemed unreasonable, no doubt, for the janitor, who was of Yorkshire extraction, became taciturn and remarked briefly that the halls were warmed and that nobody before had ever required more heat than they got from these and the range, while as for the sun, he couldn't change that if he wanted to, leaving us to infer that if he only wanted to he could remodel almost everything else about the premises in short order... Continue reading book >>




eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book



Popular Genres
More Genres
Languages
Paid Books