She Begins By
Making Three Columns Headed Respectively F., S., And P. These
Initials Stand For Francesca, Salemina, And Penelope, But They
Resemble The Signs For Pounds, Shillings, And Pence So Perilously
That They Introduce An Added Distraction.
She then places in each column the items in which we are all equal,
such as rooms, attendance, fires, and lights.
Then come the extras,
which are different for each person: more ale for one, more hot
baths for another; more carriages for one, more lemon squashes for
another. Francesca's column is principally filled with carriages
and lemon squashes. You would fancy her whole time was spent in
driving and drinking, if you judged her merely by this weekly
statement at the hotel.
When she has reached the point of dividing the whole bill into three
parts, so that each person may know what is her share, she adds the
three together, expecting, not unnaturally, to get the total amount
of the bill. Not at all. She never comes within thirty shillings
of the desired amount, and she is often three or four guineas to the
good or to the bad. One of her difficulties lies in her inability
to remember that in English money it makes a difference where you
place a figure, whether, in the pound, shilling, or pence column.
Having been educated on the theory that a six is a six the world
over, she charged me with sixty shillings' worth of Apollinaris in
one week. I pounced on the error, and found that she had jotted
down each pint in the shilling instead of in the pence column.
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