The ever-elusive key of a trunk

She is a very unusual woman who knows where her trunk key is when she’s about to start on a journey. Men have many advantages over their sisters, but none greater than that of owning a key-ring.

If a woman had a key-ring, and a chain to carry it on, and a pocket to keep it in she would not be so unpopular with her masculine relatives in the summer time. But she has none of these things. When she comes home from a trip elie puts the key to her trunk care fully in a small box. The small box she places in a large box in the left hand corner of her top bureau drawer. There comes a time when she needs the mail box and so she takes the key out of it and keeps it in the big box for a while.

The ever-elusive key of a trunk (1906)Later she needs the large box — to send some caramels away — and she takes her trunk key and places it carefully in some hiding place selected by herself for its obscurity. Then she prepares to go traveling and at the last minute — the very last minute, when the expressman is at the door — her trunk key cannot be found.

It is at this moment that her masculine kinfolk revile her whole sex. They ask why woman was made if not to torment the souls of men. They ask why women go traveling, why they don’t have pockets, and why they don’t remember where they put things, all in one breath.

In the end, these remarks not serving to bring forth the key, the trunk is carried forth, an unlovely thing, tied up with a bit of clothes line to keep its contents from falling out and enraging the expressman. The owner of the trunk swears to herself that never, never again shall such a contretemps occur; that she will hang on to her key thenceforth and forever as if she had been wedded to it — but, alas for the ways of femininity, she doesn’t.

The next time he allows herself a trip, the key is gone again. The number of embarrassing situations which have resulted from the mislaying of trunk keys is legion. Thus there was an American girl who was traveling abroad. She arrived in London when the noon-day sun was shining, and had her lightly strapped trunks placed on top of a cab and taken to the hotel. In front of the hotel, a large crowd of new arrivals had gathered, and the girl, after alighting, turned to watch the cabman take her baggage from the top. He pulled the largest of the boxes toward him and tilted it to take it down, when, presto! open it came and deposited a shower of very long and very heavy black stockings on his head.

It was a terrible moment for that American girl, and after she and the cabman together had picked up her possessions and stuffed them back, the girl decided that she just couldn’t stay at that hotel — and she didn’t.

The uses of the trunk key should be sung in song and told in story, but even then, no doubt, women would not learn its value — until she lost hers.

About this story

Source publication: The San Francisco Call

Source publication date: July 22, 1906

Filed under: 1900s, Culture & lifestyle, Newspapers, Travel & tourism

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