Feuilleton 352 — Mark Twain’s worst hotel on Earth Feuilleton

Feuilleton 352 — Mark Twain’s worst hotel on Earth

( words)

The Bull and Mouth is a decent hotel in todays Maryborough. Back in 1895, it didn't exist.


Here is a conversation between American writer and globe trotter Mark Twain and a fellow traveller on a train to Maryborough, a city and a suburb in the Fraser Coast Region, Australia. 

1895, November

In order to start conversation I asked him something about Maryborough. He said, in a most pleasant—even musical voice, but with quiet and cultured decision:
“It’s a charming town, with a hell of a hotel.”
I was astonished. It seemed so odd to hear a minister swear out loud. He went placidly on:
“It’s the worst hotel in Australia. Well, one may go further, and say in Australasia."
“Bad beds?”
“No—none at all. Just sand-bags.”
“The pillows, too?”
“Yes, the pillows, too. Just sand. And not a good quality of sand. It packs too hard, and has never been screened. There is too much gravel in it. It is like sleeping on nuts.”
“Isn’t there any good sand?”
“Plenty of it. There is as good bed-sand in this region as the world can furnish. Aerated sand—and loose; but they won’t buy it. They want something that will pack solid, and petrify.”
“How are the rooms?”
“Eight feet square; and a sheet of iced oil-cloth to step on in the morning when you get out of the sand-quarry.”
“As to lights?”
“Coal-oil lamp.”
“A good one?”
“No. It’s the kind that sheds a gloom.”
“I like a lamp that burns all night.”
“This one won’t. You must blow it out early.”
“That is bad. One might want it again in the night. Can’t find it in the dark.”
“There’s no trouble; you can find it by the stench.”
“Wardrobe?”
“Two nails on the door to hang seven suits of clothes on if you’ve got them.”
“Bells?”
“There aren’t any.”
“What do you do when you want service?”
“Shout. But it won’t fetch anybody.”
“Suppose you want the chambermaid to empty the slopjar?”
“There isn’t any slop-jar. The hotels don’t keep them. That is, outside of Sydney and Melbourne.”
“Yes, I knew that. I was only talking. It’s the oddest thing in Australia. Another thing: I’ve got to get up in the dark, in the morning, to take the 5 o’clock train. Now if the boots——”
“There isn’t any.”
“Well, the porter.”
“There isn’t any.”
“But who will call me?”
“Nobody. You’ll call yourself. And you’ll light yourself, too. There’ll not be a light burning in the halls or anywhere. And if you don’t carry a light, you’ll break your neck.”
“But who will help me down with my baggage?”
“Nobody. 

 

E N D

Book Now

Booking.com

Most Popular

Grand Hotel Nuwara Eliya

Grand Hotel Nuwara Eliya

The hotel opened in 1891. One of the first advertisements we found dates from 1899. The hotel was the former residence of Sir Edward Barns,...Read More

Half Moon

Half Moon

  In 1954, a group of wealthy individuals including Donald Deskey, the fabled designer (among his works the Radio City Music Hall); Harvey...Read More

Galle Face

Galle Face

  "So pleasant a change from the dreary ordinariness of most modern hotels. This is an Island of charm on a charming Island." Simon...Read More

Prince de Galles

Prince de Galles

The Parisian hotel with two names! And it all started with a kiss! More than anybody else, Edward, the Prince of Wales (1910–1936),...Read More

Grand Hotel Royal (Corinthia Budapest)

Grand Hotel Royal (Corinthia Budapest)

The man with the sign ‘Grand Hotel Royal’ awaits me on the platform at Keleti railway station. He takes my bags and me to the hotel. The...Read More