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The San Francisco call. [volume] (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, February 20, 1910, Image 3

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The San Francisco Sunday Call
Wkat You
May Sec
Oh a Little
Wonder Journe)
Among the
Women of
Refinement <ahd
Fashion Who
Gather Jn the
Afternoon at.
the City's Gilded
Eating Places'—
Not to Eat
But to
THERE has been a lot of talk
lately about the Increase of
drinking among respectable
\u25a0women. Sermons have been
preached on the cafe habit and there Is
a general outcry on the subject-
There are \u25a0women of a certain class
who always have drunk and probably
always will drink. They are not un
der discussion. It is the home women,
the family women, who are being
talked about. Do they go about in
twos and threes and groups in the
afternoon and drink cocktails instead
of tea?
I resolved to see for myself, and
with that end in view, I visited, with
a friend, all of the first class cafes
and hotels in the downtown section,
about half a dozen, where drinks are
served to women.
I had been told of one place in par
ticular, in Powell street near Market,
one of the most stylish cafes in town,
where the women congregate. But
we were going to do the thing thor
oughly while we were about it, so we
started a few blocks further up the
same street, where we went in, one at
a time, through a whirling door, down
the hall and into one of the most beau
tifully appointed rooms in the country.
It was just then very* quiet indeed;
however, at the far end of the room
was an immense open fireplace with a
big wood flre blazing and crackling in
its depths, bo we sauntered over to a
window near It, settled ourselves cozily
on one of the luxurious high backed
couches of blue velvet with which the
place Is fitted up and touched the bell.
Little, low, round tables — they are
really so small as hardly to be worthy
the name of table — are scattered
about at intervals. In proximity to
couches and chairs, and on each one of
them is a little push bell. By pressing
the button you may have drinks served
to you on this same little table, and
It Is much more cozy and confidential
than the table of a cafe, especially for
"When the waiter came we ordered
tea. We were politely informed that
tea was not served there. To be sure,
we were not In the tearoom, but I had
thought, of course, if they serve
drinks they'll serve tea, too. It seemed
not, however, so we ordered Scotch
The whisky was brought to us In
little individual bottles, much like
Email vinegar cruets, each just big
enough to contain one drink. The
waiter poured the whisky into a long
glas3 and then added siphon water
until the glass was filled.
Presently, as we sat there beside
our drinks, two girls came strolling
over to the fireplace, sat down in big
easy chairs and one of them touched a
belL They were both "young, the elder
about 23 and the younger not more
Oaa 19, I should say. At a glance one
could see that they were unusually well
bred girls, and the older one was a
I wondered if they would drink cock
tails. It didn't seem possible.
t"lf they had men with them." I
lought. "perhaps they would drink,
it two girls by themselves? Hardly."
Dut they did.- -'"'
When the waiter brought their or
uer one was red. It was in a tumbler
with a big chunk of ice. The -s glass
was about two-thirds full— a Dubon
net cocktail, I think It is called. The:
otlter was golden ;in 'color and was in
***>. long stemmed, shallow glass with an
olive in the bottom of it — a Martini! . -
They" sat there in front of that fire,
chatting away as gayly and uncon
cernedly as though they' had. been. cud
.\u25a0- - • -
died up on a divan at home eating
Next to arrive was a party of three
women. Two were matronly. The
third had not come to that period,
but she was on the way. -They were
all beautifully dressed:' ,. Two were in
tailor gowns and the other was evi
dently on her way to or from a function
of some sort, because she was in dinner
clothes. When she opened her evening
wrap and threw it back she disclosed
a light lace gown beneath. They re
moved their gloves and I saw that the
hands of all three were sparkling with
Their order proved to be, two Mar
tinis and a gin fizz, the fizz for my lady
in the lace gown.
This group seemed thirsty, for they
very soon disposed of their drinks and
ordered more -of. the same. ... After the
second "round" they became quite Jolly
and seemed to be having a good time,
almost a convivial time.
No other ladies came in at. once, so
we didn't stay. It was early, of course,
but I was anxious to find the crowd,
if there was one, so we drifted on down
the street. .
The next place we visited was the
one I had been told about. It was not
so quiet here.
One of the stewards showed us up
the main aisle to a table a little past
the center of the room and we sat
The place is not large, but it is mado
to seem so by an Ingenious arrange
ment of . mirrors extending the full
length of the room on each side against
the walL .Its interior is particularly
attractive to me because . of the ab
sence, of pillars. I hate pillars. They
obstruct'the view. And when one b'oes
to a cafe. l think one goes to see and
be seen.
The architecture of the place Is
much like a Spanish court or patio.'
the upper part or mezzanine gallery
containing the boxes that look down
into the main room. It was pleasant
in there, warm and --bright, and cozy,^
with a genial glow over, everything,
after the cold outside.
I noticed as we went down the aisle
that the men of the orchestra were .In
their places and' remarked to my friend:
"Why, the orchestra "must' be play
ing — in the afternoon!"
"Of course," she replied. "ThaV»
what brings: the women.". w'.-'
The place was about two-thirds full
of women. There was,- I think, when
we first sat down, \u25a0 one man in the
room and he was over against the wall,
far down toward the door. '.
The women were, nice women, too;
not merely because tbey were well
dressed, but in every sense of
word. You could pick out, . here and
there, one whb. : wa.sf a bit loud as to
clothes and' vivid as to hair; but not
more than' three did we ssete t In that
whole gathering. The ; majority were
quietly • dressed, absolutely correct
women In every, respect. .„ There Is, an
unmistakable- something In" the - look,
the manner, the expression of a woman
that classifies her to the observer, in
spite 'of herself, and these were \of the
class that are above reproach. ,
At the. table next to us,;. down the
aisle, sat an; old lady with, apparently
a couple of her daughters. ; And she
was the dearest old lady, with, a sweet,
kindly face and a little, old i fashioned
black bonnet on her beautiful gray
hair— the kind of a bonnet that your
mother and mine used; to wear. I never
see one of them without wanting to go
up and kiss the wearer. And; she was
having the' most beautiful kind •of a
time, 'this .dear "old ladyJV When the
orchestra commenced playing, and?that
was very, soon, her head was
in time to the; music? . The- drink on
the table in" front -of her was another
of * those' insidious golden; colored;
things with;: an olive in * it— a Martini.,"
The daughters were fresh complex-^
ioned; good looking 'women; not; very;
elaborately gotten' up.; .They , were just
nice, clean, wholesome people. and* they,
showed -it in" every breath" 1 they 'drew.'
One of J daughters j.was Jdrinklng
a high ball; and the other^-"What IsMn*
that, girl's glass?" ! I: inquired I" of- my
friend. It had a' peculiar,; milky look.'
"That? ' Why, that's a. suiseese," said ;
she.." ;.- ;'W ; •\u25a0•\u25a0'\Zr ~'}"^ .-\u25a0' . 'fV
So, it^wasabsintlie! ; - - - : ; \" " "
When' they got\up"~tog9;; their glasses
were empty, ?even the olive 'was gone."
Just back,bf< us, : and 'across. 'the; aisle:
sat a" group ; of i, three women] in: mourn-:'
Ing. \u25a0 They; were .of the r same ?class 'a^
the old . lady/^and" her ; dailghters,, or -
perhaps -* a ..trifle more worldly. All
three f ; were ; flne T .'lo6king.\; They were •
drinklpg« highballs.- - / ~ . . •
Irhad thought? l," mlght, ; ; perhaps,: get
&\ few • Interviews . In; ; my * tour- of - the :
cafes, but: such; a.. thing .was not to be
thought " of. ; These were Inot * the"!, kind f
of 'women? one? could 'approach • without
an introduction."; ; • :". .;. *^-\u0084r,. ;'.-,.-, \u25a0;,-, r' ',
On" a "little tables far -down the room '.
'-\u25a0\u25a0"\u25a0 ''\u25a0''\u25a0'\u25a0'\u25a0 :'\u25a0 ••v-'.-'r?- "-:'.-\u25a0' 'S-?:' : %-\u25a0'/\u25a0%?. \u25a0\u25a0', :>v .;'"-'.;?.\u25a0-•.\u25a0"
toward the do*or was a steaming chafing \
dish, and' from.it a boy; In white "linen,';
with a. white cocked hat on : his * head; •
lifted something ;:upon a'ilarge; platter. V
Then"' lie Amoved all over; the. room^ here,',
there and }\u25a0 everywhere. .Whatever? he
; had* on that platter ; was /popular ;'\u25a0 that <
.was*evldeht;'>-vV--'i ;. ''\u25a0•>-.-.'^"-::^': : ' ; ' . Vv---;
'" "What. is* ; that 'boy. serving to those :
ladiee, in! black?" ;i asked 'ofi .oiiri. waiter. V
. .. "Those; are'; enchiladas,".^ he. answered.-'
"They hre : served \ free; with r drinks." * :
. \:Whehiw ; elflrst» satr down '-my./ friend^
hadisaid:. . ': , . « — -V
'\u25a0\u25a0'Let's have . tea-^— let's - have tea ; atTtea -
time, even \u25a0 if we commence ".' drinking ;
cocktails" the nextrminute; vi; . ;:\u25a0 .
J So we .were haying • our tea and some ;
little* sandwiches;; and ' I v give ' you'imy^
word . we .were rabout; ; the "only f women ;
in that* room who 'were drinking tea.- ;'*
the 'courage ,'of their, conylctions.-aThey 1
view- of, any; one iwho^ chooses! to *look.::
Vjvln '.contradistinction jtolthis jlUh'ought*
;ot.a,certain;neWjandj Felaborately,;gilded-:F elaborately,;gilded-:
New/York: hotel," and.atithe'pfesent time':
the ( fad ( of i the:i."4oo"if or » afternoon -tea %
and- of 4 the drink^ biitVof ;
those! 1 daintyjchinal tea? cups ' instead j of"
tea. .It;. It ; is r really: the ysaiheS thing, only
they^; go. abbutVlt^a.; little Jdifferentlylint;
the moreiconventional^east.- ' 4 \u25a0"
.v I had 1 noticed the": boy > in \ whitefgoing -
two or. ' three times to •; the table where '
the ;ladiesUn black;were- sitting^ WHlr-l
every > round .of 'drinks 1 he f was -serving.!,
them s with i the enchilladasj ; and t'so Ht ?
was; all {over, the "room. )\u25a0',-.. .." : "'....V; ;\u25a0;-..; '\u0084",' .....\u25a0';
'•\u25a0Enchiladas served free with drinks.";
i_L'lti.was.'almost;llki _L'lti.was.'almost;llke i a, r free lunch^coun-;.'.
ter,Hwasnit v not?^;fA : ; polite,-; well <bred;<;
esthetic:? free ;r lunch V counter,?, if iybu'r!
please,* but- not -very; different^ after /-aU/!
f rom fe the ; sort ' our* men - : folk i tell? Us '%
about, i And' what ;a;; clever :idea; it .Was.V
to be sure ! " The clever idea of ashrewdi !
manager:;* - .. \u25a0 '^ : - ."\u25a0'*•\u25a0'\u25a0\u25a0: '\u25a0•;' ' &.?£**: \u25a0•. ':'. : '-.
•;Meanwhile.. the -orchestra continued',
playingfand ; the; place was ; filling 'iup.V;' : .;i
. v Two =",women £ earned in \u25a0'\u25a0• an d }. took* the Vf!
table r next-' to !us,ilately,i vacated: by>my ; :
nicevibld;: lady, with? the Vgrayi- hair.- :";I-;
watched .with , some v curiosity Jto^'see"
what^they'^would 'order, "because- they ; i
were uso X proper; looking ? as «.• to 'be [' al- * i
most! severe. • - .-* \u25a0'."-;., >V' V- ''-'"•.'"'•* •'\u25a0\u25a0."" \u25a0\u25a0>'\u25a0*•\u25a0':
; \u25a0'Surely.'!" l thought, "these two; will : ;
\u25a0 have"; tea." ..\u25a0'."\u25a0•"\u25a0 : ' . '\u25a0,":\u25a0 \u25a0 " ' ..' "\u25a0;' ' :: \";'" T ' -\u25a0'""; "•\u25a0',
f^Notithey". " .When ;, the; waiter .brought'^
in . itheir border >\u25a0 it i< proved *to V be $ high- *'
balls.' ;\u25a0:-'-\u25a0":\u25a0'\u25a0 '.. \u25a0\u25a0;\u25a0': >:\u25a0>'£.-*\u25a0?. \u25a0,•.;:_: -,\u25a0; :"?.\u25a0\u25a0\u25a0. ;\u25a0\u25a0:>. ,-\u25a0'}'
V- Out' of *.: they variety, of : drinks: one-
sees \u25a0": served < i n\: these % places ? 1 1^ would }{l
be difficult to choose the favorite. wOfvtheXj
cocktails— the J Manhattan,** Gibson j [ j Du-t; •
bonnet Jand;Martinl-r7therMartlhl|seems¥
to ; have the - preference,^ althjoughC one'?,
seesMjulte'a of .^ those? red 'Dv- v
bonnet things being carried 1 about by.
the -waiters. -Of , the hlghbaHsT; think
one sees the most of the lighterjcolbred^
Scotchl I ;must not -forget the* gin- fizz,"
for it," too, has Vits; deVotees, : and- they i
are \u25a0 not? fewjiri' number.-, 1 ;
. JustacrossUhe aisle';from" us was-an
Interesting •'groop: drinking ..beer, two
women 'and-; two/' beautiful* children of
about i6 - : and- 8- years. ' ' ; ; ' "
\u25a0'.'What/db/you' think ;"of. : that?'', said
my; friend," glaricihgjover : at them, i
'I looked. : -~ The woman* facing, us jwas -.
of V: the* vivid type,. Tone! of- the few* I
have: mentioned.'- ;She , was^very 'pretty, ;
too. .Blond of Thailand ully got-.,
ten : up, \u25a0 -but \ different "from
the ;majority r of; women, about- us. , She
was of \u25a0 the: class one expects toi-see in
a : cafe.' ..;-..-.-.c.' -.v.- r''-;V-!:»vw'"""-~ < /'•*.'.'=-*\u25a0:
: "Do | you thlnk'elther*. of ..them j belong
to; lier?" saidl, freferring -to ; the- chil-~
dren. •_'\u25a0•'. ' \u25a0-;••; ,x "". V "• --'\u25a0-' -. - " -
\u25a0• "No,", she answered.- ' \u25a0 '"\u25a0 .
-"•Just \i thenf the* other \u25a0": woman'/ 1 turned
partly - ? around '- so that • I « could • see . her
face. ', L .•• <n ~ \u25a0 "-*\u25a0'-.'. •;•\u25a0 ""'\u25a0; "-" v * '"C"*'^
' "Of : course, • both belong! to .'that' one,'!/
aaid'tf , ; '":',/\u25a0\u25a0-:\u25a0\u25a0\u25a0' .->"\u25a0-— \u25a0-;" \u25a0;-. -
% She .was -different altogether. -^'.Qulet •
looking.^ '• Not J'made v up -in* any -.way. .
Curious ;- she . should j boXwith^.the j
other lone,' 5 arid * have her Ibeautiful }. lit
tle" children I aloiig, ;too." cPapa'had'bet- 1
ter;look'OUt:for:his little^mamma, and •
the company,; she • keeps, '!• dr. there'll fbe
troutlelini'another^famny:.,,;; :,',:•_
IlThe^orchestra^had^put;~tlieir. instru-\
mentsfaway *and I taken* their, departure,"
and; a^barytone; singer^ from'onet of the
uptown \u25a0' ' theaters ;J* * had :'---\u25a0; taken \u25a0\u25a0'\u0084*. their
place.\i"^.;r'?.','-«'v; \u25a0'\u25a0" '.--•"\u25a0-."• =' ; - \u25a0\u25a0':•'. \u25a0'.' - ,i- :
; "Everything was at:its:brightest,_with *
the . place] riearlyifull^ and -the^ enchilada :t: t
boyi "still Jtb'usy,C>b"uti^tliere-^were*other^
places '-.I tb^ visit, % so •we i to6k >;
ourselves % away. :: J t I- should; stated that ; ;
another'mahlhad/comei in. ".That -made
two^l Inlthat';whole^ roomful^ J'v^ : '-'- : .'
->WelcrossedtPowell \ street \ and 'went l
downstairs ! . into H a" big ; : place ; ; brllliant . •
with! white ! {light;£quite^ different^ from :
the!jso'ft,vpirik'rshaded- ; twilight?; of r they
roomlwe -.had? just'left^ 1 ann*;not:nearly^
so .; seductive.:^lt * was / full-^or seemed *
so "i at c first r , gMoice-^of . pillars, "k big i pll-i
lars.T iOf l course'; >th*at ; an|exaggera^fi
la / rslin;tthejplace:|;*iAtjthe;ba.ckjoffthe ;
roornVwaslai siagej and [a.\ regularivaude-. .
yille« program Iwasi in' progress. \u25a0 f.j \u25a0
down sth e" j sta i rs, fsingi ng ; an , ari a ) from a
an- oldf It.aliaiiTopera, (and ; she \ was : " ac^P
companied 1 ; byJone ,*of \u25a0• the ; best , orches- v
trasjinttowri:;^ -'".^v-'.-' .-.,_-•, '"{V' : ' : .-- \u25a0\u25a0\u25a0':\u25a0
.('.There # was ia J good crowd, , and ; they
wereYstlllTcoming.^, \u25a0'\u25a0. /.-:\u25a0'. ", v:>-ivv^;
\u25a0s'^We'i sat \u25a0 "dowri| near-; the" {entrance, ;and;*;
as^they^carne'jdownt'th 6 !- sta lrßiiand :;
were \ showni seats. g'A*ifew4worel an |airj«
venturin'GTi intoTsoioething unknown; and I
'msami ..."..-'_.... - . '. \u25a0
forbidden. '/They, .,. hbwev.er, were the
exception. -Mostly ."they- came in with
that '-'of -. manner C that ' 13
born (oti custom^and j habit— I supposa
one" might say,": : the "cafe", habit.
,-; I % noticed < a I slight "difference . as -to
class J here.'^ /.The.y *^were "> more mixed.
there *.was.; aMbiggey* percentage of loud
looking,- women, ;<but,^ Xor .all that, .the
great .i majority, were" nice,' respectable
wdmen.j'..f \u25a0'\u25a0-. \u25a0\u25a0 ; , -_' : .
"" Mbreibeer^was.being : drunk here.and
not so ; many i, cocktails," • as-, acxojss^ the
BtTeet^-^_ f j-:i~~ : l;;r*y.:'i*\, . .->. ..; ;~:; ~: '.' ....
-'After.itheiwomah; had I finished ; si^
ing.»"ifour.f? girls?. In <• the r? uniform,; of
soldiers-came out; and * played .^cornets.
s*;; A? couple' of •Tpretty,-^ quiet \ r looking
girls at an adjoining table were drink
ing, one a Dubonnet cocktail and til*
other— wonderful to relate — a seltzvr
lemonade!.; And It was the only lem
onade I saw, during my visit to tn»
cafes. -
_*This was all very interesting, but
the ~ afternoon was waning and I had
secured^no intervie"w. .
-Suddenly I thought of Jeanettel
Ah. there was my opportunity. Jean
ette" is the colored maid who offici&tas
in the ladies' parlor of a very well
known and popular cafe In Market
street. She used to work for my friend
in the long ago, before she became,
as we- tell her, a public character.
"Let's go and; see Jeanette a min
ute." said I. and my friend agreed.
When we arrived we went directly
to the ladles' parlor. Jeanette waa
g\ad to - see us. but she was fall to
bursting of the New Year's eve cele
bration. It was not so very recent
but . poor Jeanette had seen only the
unpleasant side of it and she remem
I tried to get her views on the
afternoon cocktail crowd, but about
all she said was, "It isn't what it used
to be here. The crowd has shifted."
"Where* to, Jeanette?" inquired my
She named the places we had Juat
left. -
fOf course, if the management won't
furnish music and entertainers they
can't expect to keep the crowd. I've
told them, but they won't see it.**
And then she drifted back to th»
New Year's celebfajion.
"I had one drunk at 6 o'clock.** she
"Wasn't that pretty early T asked
my f riena.
"Yes, for New Year's eve," answered
"Why. you don't mean to say the
women. get tipsy in the afternoon, do
you. Jeanette?" I was aghast.
"Why not?" she returned. They
get tipsy whenever they feel like it."
And she proceeded to tell us. with
much rolling of her eyes and raising
of her hands, of a party that came
from one of the nearby towns across
the" bay and got regularly "loaded,"
as she put It. Jeanette Is nothing if
not sophisticated.
"But about your 6 o'clock case on
New Year's ,eve?" said L "Tell us
about that."
"Oh. that poor" little girl!" said
Jeanette. "She wasn't more than 19
or 20 — such a pretty girl. too. I saw
her coming and got her In here on
that couch. She couldn't raise her
head." continued Jeanette. "All she
could do was to say. 'Oh. Jeanette. I'm
so stck!* *You don't need to tell mo
that, chile.* I sez. 'I can see it***.
"How did it happen so early?** I
"Tom and Jerrys on an empty stom
ach," answered Jeanette.
Is it any wonder the poor girl was
"And her young man Just begged
me to let her stay here until she was
better," went on Jeanette. "'Why.
I've a machine ordered and a table re
served and everything.* he says.
"'I can't help what you've got or
dered. The only place for this girl is
home.' I told him.
'"Can't she stay here for a little
while until she's better?' he pleaded.
"'Any other night In the year she
could stay until the place closed and
welcome, but not tonight. By 9 o'clock
this room will be heaped up with
wraps and coats. It's the only place
I have for them.' And every once In
a~ while that poor chile would say, 'Oh,
Jeanette, I'm so sick!'
" "Why, she's down and Out!* I sez.
'Can't -you see for yourself that the
only place for this girl is home and
"We had a terrible time to get any
thing to take her home in." went on
Jeanette. "Every machine In town, waa
engaged. I telephoned all over and
finally got them a carriage and we
managed to get her into it, and be
lieve-me, I relieved to see the poor
girl go. Why. I had this place stocked
up with sealskins and things by 9
o'clock, and by 11 things began to be
lively." Jeanette's hands went up and
her eyes rolled. "After that I was
some busy." ;"
And from her account of what her
arrangements for the night had been
that ladies' parlor must have resem
bled an emergency hospital. Wise fore
thought had provided couches and easy
chairs in plenty, and also the little
accessories that one finds in one's
stateroom aboard ship when one em
barks on an ocean voyage. I|JBSI
"They fairly fell overdone another
in their hurry to get here," said Jean
ette,. and she covered her mouth with
the palm s of her hand. The gesture
was more eloquent than words would
Have been of what followed.
.However, let ua "draw a veil. If yoa
lock women in a warm, close room for
hours at a time, \u25a0 with all the cham
pagne ; they' can, or rather, that they
can't, .drink: the result is inevitable.'
Anyway, .' we're no different from, the
rest of the; world, and New* Year's eva
comes but once a year,
' But this "other matter — this after
noon. cocktail ; drinking — that's a «dif
ferent,proposition. On the two follow
ing .; days M* again visited these same
places 'and others, and. these other vis
its: simply>verlfled»what I ; tried* to de- •
scribe.to you here. - A3 my friend said: ;.
•/^"lt's : the muslo that draws .tne
women." ;

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