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Hunting Lodgings
by [?]

Some people say that it is the most awful trial.

But it isn’t so at all.

One of the most entertaining things that can be done in the world, so full of interesting things, is to go hunting lodgings. Also, it is one of the most enlightening things that can be done, for, pursued with intelligence and energy, it gives one an excellent view of humankind; that is, of a particularly human kind of humankind. It is a confoundly Christian thing to do–hunting lodgings–because it opens the heart to the queer ways, and speech, and customs of the world.

Now, I myself hunt lodgings as some men hunt wild game.

Nothing is better when one is out of sorts, somewhat run down, and peevish with the world generally than to go out one fine afternoon and hunt lodgings In some remote part of town.

When in a foreign city, especially, the first thing I myself do, as soon as I am comfortably settled somewhere–and after, of course, having looked up the celebrated sights of the place, the Abbey, the Louvre, Grant’s Tomb—is to put in a day or so hunting lodgings.

Even to read in the papers of lodgings to let is refreshing and educational. All lodgings are “sunny”–in the papers. They are let mainly by “refined” persons, and are wonderfully “quiet.” I remember last summer in London there was “a small sitting to let to a young lady.” Lodgings, by the way, are usually “apartments” in England, as you know. Though, indeed, it is true that when a gentleman rents over there what we call a “furnished room” he is commonly said to “go into lodgings.” A fine phrase, that; it is like to that fine old expression “commencing author.” And that reminds me: the most fascinating lodgings to hunt, perhaps, anywhere, are called “chambers.” These which I mean are in the old Inns of Court in London. And the most charming of these remaining is Staple Inn, off Holborn. I used frequently to hunt chambers in “the fayrest Inne of Chancerie.” There are no “modern conveniences” there. You draw your own water at a pump in the venerable quadrangle, and you “find” your own light. But to return:

There was also last summer an apartment to let to a “respectable man” or, the announcement said, it “might do for friends.” One of the reasons why many people are bored by hunting lodgings is that they are not humble in spirit. They seek proud lodgings.

As to apartment houses, which are a very different matter: the newspapers publish at various seasons of the year copious Apartment-House Directories, with innumerable half-tone illustrations of these more or less sumptious places. And these directories are competent commentaries on their subject. George Moore remarked, “With business I have nothing to do–my concern is with art.” Except that I live in one, with apartment houses I have nothing to do–my concern is with lodgings.

There is only one philosophical observation to be made upon apartment houses. And that is this: How can all these people afford to live in them? When you go to look at apartments you are shown a place that you don’t like particularly. You don’t think, Oh, how I’d just love to live here if I could only afford it! But you ask the rental as a matter of form. And you learn that this apartment rents for a sum greater (in all likelihood) than your entire salary. And yet, there are miles and miles of apartment houses even better than that. And goodness knows how many thousand people live in them! People whose names you never see in the newspapers as ones important in business, in society, art, literature, or anything else. Obscure people! Very ordinary people! Now where do they get all that money? But about lodgings: