erly pertiklar. I was talkin' some with a young fellow back here who said he was a hotel agent; but I don't mind if I go where you say. How high are your rates?"
"The Auditorium--as high as you want to go; the Northern, fourteen stories, and the Palmer, out of sight."
"Well, Mister, we don't want to go out of sight, and we don't know how high we do want to go so I guess you'd better make it fourteen stories."
The agent took the checks, gave him some tickets and passed on.
In a few minutes a uniformed young man came along and said:
"Mr. Jones, I'd like very much to book you for one of our down-town hotels. Every convenience, gas, baths, heat, and all the modern appliances; near car lines that land you right at the Exposition gates. Best place in the city. Take you right there free of cost."
"But how high is it?"
"Only one dollar a day apiece and up as high as you want to go."
"Ah, that's it, young man. I see your mother taught you United States. You see t
Uncle Jeremiah, Aunt Sarah and their two grandchildren, Fanny and Johnny, come from their downstate dairy farm to Chicago for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. The yokels take in all the wondrous sights of the great White City; become confounded by ticket agents; fall prey to shortchangers, pickpockets and con men; and have many adventures.
Fanny is nearly tricked into entering a house of ill-repute, "one of the worstestes places in Chicago." Johnny, trying to peer over a fence, falls into the Amazon village. Uncle Jeremiah takes a Turkish bath. Along the way, they're in turns shocked and bored by foreign art, dance and theater; learn the history of Columbus; and see many surprising things.
The snide narration and hicks-gape-at-the-big-city routine get old pretty quickly, and the plot is lightweight and trite, but the contemporary descriptions of turn-of-the-century Chicago and the fair are fascinating. It's by no means "The Devil in the White City," but if you're interested in Chicago history, it's worth reading.