THE NIGHT CLERK: Here is the continuation of “The Night Clerk” from a previous column.
“By a merciful provision of nature the night clerk is always entrusted with the key of the bar room and though no man ever yet saw him drink, the fact that he is always able to do so if inclined that way, must be of great service in prolonging his monotonous existence. From 2 a.m. until five o’clock his dreary meditations are usually undisturbed by any callers, but after that hour he begins to exhibit symptoms of life.
Men with running noses and eyes like oysters on the half shell, drop in and ask for their morning bitters with an air of forced animation.
The night clerk sets out the bottle and watches with reflections on the total depravity of man as they fill their glasses to the brim and drain them without a tremor. It would surprise an ordinary man to see the curious specimens who flit into a bar-room at the first blush of day, and take their morning constitutional.
The aged inebriate whose hand shakes with alcoholic paisy as he reaches for the glass, the well dressed business man who has been out for a night with the boys and drained a bumper to quiet his nerves, the fleshy young man, who, after a roystering bout wants something to put his stomach in proper shape for breakfast, and last of all a disreputable tramp who says briskly
“Here pard, let’s have some of that licker,” and is immediately impelled through the door with incredible velocity. No wonder that the night clerk takes gloomy and suspicious views of mankind after refreshing such a procession. It is reasonable to suppose that that poetical night-mare “The Raven” was written by Poe while doing service as a night clerk in a Baltimore hotel. It chimes well with the melancholy spirit of those unhappy beings who are compelled by force of circumstances to count the slow passing hours from evening until daylight.”