We sang rain
songs on the bus and we sang snow songs on the funicular because, nearing the
top of Mount Pilatus, we were pelted by the first snow of the season. The view
was a gray curtain, but who cared?
It was in
Switzerland that the Judge discovered the charms of the bidet.
three faucets on this thingumajig," he explained in the lobby one day.
"You turn all three on, full spray, and you get the finest fountain this
side of Tivoli. First time I ever took a shower from the bottom up!"
From then on, the
Judge always requested a room without bath, provided the bidet was the spritz
was lovely, but Paris provided the greatest crisis of all. As the hotel's
general manager explained (by this time, you see, I had learned to go right to
the top), "This is the end of the summer season and all Americans who have
traveled through Europe are now reaching Paris and London for their return
home." We would, he promised, have first call on all
Mr. Dignity was
the ultimate victim. He sat in the lobby resolutely, arms folded, from noon
until 4 o'clock waiting and watching, but no single room turned up. We couldn't
find a room for him in any other hotel within a mile. Paris was indeed crowded.
Finally we got him into a tiny single room without bath which he shared with
There is a
relative quality about standards. The thing to be sneered at today may be
begged for tomorrow. On our second day in Paris we were all given the best
rooms in the house and Mr. Dignity finally had his "single with." And
instead of remembering yesterday he thanked me for today. I found myself liking
I also found
myself marveling at the stamina of lady tourists. The males were often inclined
to sleep in, but the girls not only showed up for every scheduled date but
usually added a few of their own. They lost sleep and caught colds, dashed from
oppressive heat to the first snow in the Alps and shopped as though Europe was
running out of merchandise. As Mr. Cognac observed: "If those U.S. Olympic
athletes had trained as hard as our girls, they'd have won 'em all."
The last night in
Paris was a bash. We went the tourist route all the way—Eiffel Tower for tea in
the late afternoon, dinner at a plush trap and the standard visit to nudist
night clubs. Entering the Lido, I asked the local guide, "How about our
seats? At the Folies Berg�re they put us way up in the balcony."
said proudly, "you will see something different here. I guarantee you will
be in front of the American Express group."