A room with a view
The ladies' voices grew animated, and—if the sad truth be owned—a
little peevish. They were tired, and under the guise of unselfishness they
wrangled. Some of their neighbours interchanged glances, and one of
them—one of the ill-bred people whom one does meet abroad—leant
forward over the table and actually intruded into their argument. He
"I have a view, I have a view."
Miss Bartlett was startled. Generally at a pension people looked them
over for a day or two before speaking, and often did not find out that
they would "do" till they had gone. She knew that the intruder was ill-
bred, even before she glanced at him. He was an old man, of heavy
build, with a fair, shaven face and large eyes. There was something
childish in those eyes, though it was not the childishness of senility.
What exactly it was Miss Bartlett did not stop to consider, for her glance
passed on to his clothes. These did not attract her. He was probably try-
ing to become acquainted with them before they got into the swim. So
she assumed a dazed expression when he spoke to her, and then said: "A
view? Oh, a view! How delightful a view is!"
"This is my son," said the old man; "his name's George. He has a view
"Ah," said Miss Bartlett, repressing Lucy, who was about to speak.
"What I mean," he continued, "is that you can have our rooms, and
we'll have yours. We'll change."
The better class of tourist was shocked at this, and sympathized with
the new-comers. Miss Bartlett, in reply, opened her mouth as little as
possible, and said "Thank you very much indeed; that is out of the
"Why?" said the old man, with both fists on the table.
"Because it is quite out of the question, thank you."
"You see, we don't like to take—" began Lucy. Her cousin again
"But why?" he persisted. "Women like looking at a view; men don't."
And he thumped with his fists like a naughty child, and turned to his
son, saying, "George, persuade them!"
"It's so obvious they should have the rooms," said the son. "There's
nothing else to say."
He did not look at the ladies as he spoke, but his voice was perplexed
and sorrowful. Lucy, too, was perplexed; but she saw that they were in
for what is known as "quite a scene," and she had an odd feeling that
whenever these ill-bred tourists spoke the contest widened and