Page:1880. A Tramp Abroad.djvu/212

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INSOLENCE OF SHOP-KEEPERS.

insulted me twice every day, with rigid fidelity to her great trust, but she took trouble enough to cheat me out of a shilling, one day, to have fairly entitled her to ten. Baden-Baden's splendid gamblers are gone, only her microscopic knaves remain.

An English gentleman who had been living there several years, said,—

"If you could disguise your nationality, you would not find any insolence here. These shop-keepers detest the English and despise the Americans; they are rude to both, more especially to ladies of your nationality and mine. If these go shopping without a gentleman or a man servant, they are tolerably sure to be subjected to petty insolences,—insolences of manner and tone, rather than word, though words that are hard to bear are not always wanting. I know of an instance where a shop-keeper tossed a coin back to an American lady with the remark, snappishly uttered, 'We don't take French money here.'—And I know of a case where an English lady said to one of these shop-keepers, 'Don't you think you ask too much for this article?' and he replied with the question, 'Do you think you are obliged to buy it?' However, these people are not impolite to Russians or Germans. And as to rank, they worship that, for they have long been used to generals and nobles. If you wish to see to what abysses servility can descend, present yourself before a Baden-Baden shop-keeper in the character of a Russian prince."

It is an inane town, filled with sham, and petty fraud, and snobbery, but the baths are good. I spoke with many people, and they were all agreed in that. I had had twinges of rheumatism unceasingly during three years, but the last one departed after a fortnight's bathing there, and I have never had one since. I fully believe I left my rheumatism in Baden-Baden. Baden-Baden is welcome to it. It was little, but it was all I had to give. I would have preferred to leave something that was catching, but it was not in my power.