Looking back across the Centuries they recalled the Clerks standing in the Doorways and the friends of the Progressive Euchre Club. It was sweet to remember that the world was not made up entirely of cadging Head Waiters.
Once in a while they would venture from the Hotel to run footraces with the yelping Lazzaroni or try to look at Vesuve without paying seven or eight members of the Camorra for the Privilege.
After being chased back into the Hotel, they would sit down and address Post-Cards by the Hour, telling how much they were enjoying the stay in Napoli, home of Song and Laughter.
Their only chance of catching even on the Imperial Suite at $9 a Day was to make the Folks back at the Whistling Post think they were playing Guitars and dancing the Tarantella, whatever that is.
Next we see them in Egypt, still addressing Post-Cards, and offering anything within Reason for a good Cup of Coffee.
Somehow, sitting in the dusky Tombs didn’t seem to help their Nostalgia.
Not that they would own up to being Home-Sick. No, indeed! They kept writing back that they enjoyed every Minute spent among the Cemeteries and Ruins, or sailing up the Nile, and Edwin was holding up wonderfully, for an Invalid.
Only, when either of them spoke of the Children, or Corned-Beef Hash, or the Canary, a long Silence would ensue, and then the Nervous Wreck would cheer her by computing that they would be in God’s Country within four months, if they escaped Shipwreck, Sunstroke, and Bubonic Plague.
While parboiling themselves down the Red Sea it began to soak in on them that, east of Suez, the Yank has about as much standing as the Ten Commandments.
They could have endured sleeping in a Trough and bathing with a damp Towel and eating Food kept over from the year before, if their Fellow Voyagers had made a slight fuss over them or evinced some interest in the wonders of North America.
The Congressman at home had assured them, on numerous occasions, that Columbia was the Jim of the Ocean and the most upholstered portion of the entire Foot-Stool.
Consequently, it was somewhat disconcerting to meet British Subjects who never had heard of Quincy, Illinois, and who moved their Deck Chairs every time they were given a chance to hear about it.
Back in the Middle West, Edwin and Selena had been Mountains arising from the Plain. At all points beyond Greenwich, they were simply two unconsidered fragments of Foreign Substance.
The Passport did not seem to get them anything. While being walked upon by the haughty Tea-Drinkers they could not claim the protection of the American Flag, because they didn’t see the Starry Banner after leaving New York, except in front of a Fake Auction Sale, arranged especially for Tourists.
By the time they found themselves in that vast bake-oven known as India they were benumbed and submissive and had settled into a Routine.
They would arrive in a New Town, fly to the Hotel, unpack, go out and buy their colored Post-Cards, come back to the Dump (usually called the Grand Hotel Victoria), address Cards to all the Names on the list, then pack up, pay the Overcharges, and ride to the Railway Station, accompanied by a small regiment of Bashi-Bazouks who were looking for Theirs.
The sight of a Temple threw Edwin into a Relapse, but he would have given $8,000 for one look at the galvanized Cornice of the Court House.
Selena was still buying Souvenirs, but doing it mechanically, as if in a Trance.
They had been stung with so many Oriental Phoneys and stuck up so often that they had gone Yellow and lost their Nerve.
When they saw an outstretched Palm, they came across without a Whimper.
Cousin Ella, back among the Corn Fields, pictured them as riding a caparisoned Elephant up to the marble Palace of the Gaekwar of Baroda, where Edwin would flash his Passport and then the distinguished Guests would be salaamed to the Peacock Throne.