Page:1880. A Tramp Abroad.djvu/369

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353
BENEFITS FROM A COURIER.

are just recovering from the small-pox and do not like to be disturbed. For the courier has made everything right with the guard. At way stations the courier conies to your compartment to see if you want a glass of water, or a newspaper, or anything; at eating stations he sends luncheon out to you, while the other people scramble and worry in the dining rooms. If anything breaks, about the car you are in, and a station master proposes to pack you and your Agent into a compartment with strangers, the courier reveals to him confidentially that you are a French duke born deaf and dumb, and the official comes and makes affable signs that he has ordered a choice car to be added to the train for you.

At custom houses the multitude file tediously through, hot and irritated, and look on while the officers burrow into the trunks and make a mess of everything; but you hand your keys to the courier and sit still. Perhaps you arrive at your destination in a rainstorm at ten at night,—you generally do. The multitude spend half an hour verifying their baggage and getting it transferred to the omnibuses; but the courier puts you into a vehicle without a moment's loss of time, and when you reach your hotel you find your rooms have been secured two or three days in advance, everything is ready, you can go at once to bed. Some of those other people will have to drift around to two or three hotels, in the rain, before they find accommodations.

I have not set down half of the virtues that are vested in a good courier, but I think I have set down a sufficiency of them to show that an irritable man who can afford one and does not employ him, is not a wise economist. My courier was the worst one in Europe, yet he was a good deal better than none at all. It could not pay him to be a better one than he was, because I could not afford to buy things through him. He was a good enough courier for the small amount he got out of his service. Yes, to travel with a courier is bliss, to travel without one is the reverse.

I have had dealings with some very bad couriers; but I