-中文 Aixue 英文 W.D.White
It was evening when I arrived in Edinburgh and the hotel service sent me to Jurys Inn, a hotel near the railway station. Famished, I headed straight for the hotel restaurant without even looking at my room. I ordered a vegetable salad.
I had just swallowed a few bites, when suddenly an inch-long centipede lunged from the lettuce and scurried to the edge of the plate. I screamed. The other guests all looked my way and a waitress came over to investigate. Catching sight of the centipede at the edge of the plate, she too shrieked. As I thought of what I had just swallowed - vegetables and who knew what else - I felt sick. "Quick, quick, the manager!" I said to the ashen-faced waitress.
The manager came out, all courteous sympathy and regret: "Madam, we would like to offer you something else, free of charge."
"Another dish?" I cried in horror. "Who would dare to eat anything else here?"
"Where would you like to go then? We'll drive you wherever you wish, madam."
I thought for a moment and concluded that Chinese food would make me feel safer. The manager had me driven to a Chinese restaurant nearby.
When I returned to the hotel, the manager, looking concerned, was at the door: "To help you get over the shock, I've put two bottles of wine in your room." And indeed I found the wine on the table there, one bottle already uncorked.
The manager's attitude was admirable, but what a shock!I doubt if I'll ever eat salad again, at least so long as I retain the memory of that skittering insect. But how, I wondered, could this have happened? I told the manager I wanted to check the cleanliness of his kitchen.
"I'm sorry, but it's not open to guests."
"Guests!" I shot back , envisioning filth and disorder. "I'm not a guest, I'm a victim! I have a right to look!"
After a moment's thought he replied, "All right, just a moment, please," and left. Ten minutes later he came out of the kitchen. When I asked why he was making me wait so long, he said the cooks were nervous and needed some persuading. Of course I suspect they used the time to tidy up. Once inside, I peeredsintosevery corner like an outraged inspector, but could find nothing to criticise. I was reduced to snapping "Don't let this sort of thing happen again!" and retreating with a scowl on my face .
Back in my room, I wanted to drink water but the cup had stains; I wanted to boil water but there was something black at the handle of the pot; I wanted to go to bed, but someone's hair was on the sheet. Incensed, I summoned the manager and showed him everything. He immediately escorted me to another room, not forgetting to bring the wine.
Well, one couldn't ask for a more responsive manager, I thought. All right, just forget it all and go to bed.
But the next morning the centipede was still on my mind. The manager listened to my complaints and suggested a free night's stay as compensation. "But I'm leaving tonight," I replied.
"In that case I'll write a letter of apology. Whenever you come to Edinburgh, you can stay here free of charge." Who knows when I'll be back in Scotland? But I still had him write the letter.
Before I left Jurys, the general manager explained that Jurys is an international chain -- a three-star establishment in Edinburgh, but four-star in London, New York and many other places. If I were to go to these other cities, Jurys would be pleased to offer free service to make up for my unfortunate night in Edinburgh.
Returning to London, I located Jurys. As soon as I said my name the manager bobbed up and showed me to a room. Compared with the free suite at the Hilton, this was smaller but still impressive. When I sat down, however, I heard a low persistent sound coming from somewhere. When I mentioned this to the manager, she said: "This room is a king-sized room particularly for you. If you want to change, we have only a queen-sized room available." But I wanted a good night's sleep, not insomnia in the grand manner.
After settlingsintosmy queen-sized quarters , I returned to the family hotelswheresI had stayed earlier insgroupsto retrieve a suitcase. When I related my experiences to the proprietor, an Indian lady, she exclaimed ecstatically, " Oh, Jurys is such a wonderful hotel! You're so lucky to be staying there free!" I'm afraid I had to disagree. I couldn't drive that wriggling centipede out of my head.