Page:1880. A Tramp Abroad.djvu/363

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SHOPPING IN INTERLAKEN.

as if he wanted it for himself; I told him not to speak in English, and above all not to reveal the fact that he was a courier. Then I moved on a few yards, and waited.

The courier came presently and reported the price. I said to myself, "It is a hundred francs too much," and so dismissed the matter from my mind. But in the afternoon I was passing that place with Harris, and the picture attracted me again. We stepped in, to see how much higher broken German would raise the price. The shopwoman named a figure just a hundred francs lower than the courier had named. This was a pleasant surprise. I said I would take it. After I had given directions as to where it was to be shipped, the shopwoman said, appealingly,—

"If you please, do not let your courier know you bought it."

This was an unexpected remark. I said,—

"What makes you think I have a courier?"

"Ah, that is very simple; he told me himself."

"He was very thoughtful. But tell me,—why did you charge him more than you are charging me?"

"That is very simple, also: I do not have to pay you a percentage."

"O, I begin to see. You would have had to pay the courier a percentage."

"Undoubtedly. The courier always has his percentage. In this case it would have been a hundred francs."

"Then the tradesman does not pay a part of it,—the purchaser pays all of it?"

"There are occasions when the tradesman and the courier agree upon a price which is twice or thrice the value of the article, then the two divide, and both get a percentage."

"I see. But it seems to me that the purchaser does all the paying, even then."

"O, to be sure! It goes without saying."

"But I have bought this picture myself; therefore why shouldn't the courier know it?"

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