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A Marine View

Russian Hill had always seemed economically remote to me as an abiding place until recently I was invited out where some people were living in a modest apartment with a good view of the bay. And when they suggested that I try to get an apartment over there I decided to do it.

It was a beautiful morning when I started out. There stood Russian Hill and as Gibraltar bristles with armaments so it glittered with windows facing the sea and one of them for me. Perhaps I could get a few rooms from a nice Italian family and fix them up. Ah, the Latin quarter, Greenwich village, the ghosts of artists haunting the place, Bohemians, enthusiasm, the lust for adventure. I bristled with personality.

"Oh, you want a marine view," said the real estate man. "Not for that price, lady."

A "marine view." I didn't want a marine view; I only wanted one window facing the sea. Surely with all those windows - .

I left the real estate man and began wandering about. I asked a group of Italian women and they exclaimed in a chorus "No marine views left." I hadn't said a thing about a "marine view." I wandered further and it was always the same. Some were smug and some were sorry but they all spoke of a "marine view" in a certain tone of voice, as Boston people say "Boston."

It was getting hot. I could not remove my coat because my waist was a lace front. Only a hair net restrained me from utter frumpiness. Still I was not altogether beaten and when I came to a nice countrified looking house standing alone in the midst of modern art and a man came out I asked him. The moment I did there came into his eyes a hunted glitter and he told me how he had held out against them and how he had been besieged for years to rent his marine view and wouldn't.

As I turned away I met an Irish delivery man and he said that there were dozens of vacant apartments very reasonable and waved his hand vaguely in the direction where I'd been searching. I like the Irish but his cheerful fibbery was the last straw and I went home.

The next day my friends called up and said that they had a marine view for me. I was to live all summer in the apartment of the So-and-Sos while they were away. So now I am. They are artistic and I drink my coffee from saffron colored cups on a bay green table runner over a black table under a turquoise blue ceiling with a view of the bay from the window.

But I am humble and if some day I meet a hot, tired looking woman who can't find an apartment on Russian Hill, I shall say: "Shucks, a marine view isn't so much."

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