I do not have to pay you
"Oh, I begin to see. You would have had to pay the courier
"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."
"Oh, to be sure! It goes without saying."
"But I have bought this picture myself; therefore why
shouldn't the courier know it?"
The woman exclaimed, in distress:
"Ah, indeed it would take all my little profit! He would
come and demand his hundred francs, and I should have
"He has not done the buying. You could refuse."
"I could not dare to refuse. He would never bring
travelers here again. More than that, he would denounce me
to the other couriers, they would divert custom from me,
and my business would be injured."
I went away in a thoughtful frame of mind. I began to see why
a courier could afford to work for fifty-five dollars a month
and his fares. A month or two later I was able to understand
why a courier did not have to pay any board and lodging,
and why my hotel bills were always larger when I had him
with me than when I left him behind, somewhere, for a few days.