We took care to give no pourboire in advance; but what with the inevitable dilatoriness of the people down in these parts, it was after seven o'clock before we left the Hercules-Bad, and we had fifty miles to drive.
He soon obtained one; and the coachman, thanks to a pourboire of ten francs, drove to the Rue du Chateau-des-Rentiers as fast as his horses could go. But the duke had scarcely set foot on the ground before he heard the rumbling of another carriage which stopped abruptly at a little distance. "Otto is evidently following me," he thought.
When we drew up at the hotel I gave him his seven francs, and told him to think himself lucky that I didn't hand him over to the police. He had partly recovered by then, and had the cheek to grin and say "Ah, ze signor ees a genteelman, he will give a poor Italiano a pourboire." But I didn't. I've often wondered since if he really meant to do for me.
On the third I was sitting after dinner at one of the tables outside the hotel cafe, smoking, under the line of trees that edge the Paris kerb, when a fiacre drew up at my very elbow, and Howard got out. He did not see me for a minute, engaged with paying the cocher and hunting for a pourboire, and then he was just going straight across the lighted trottoir into the hotel when I called to him.
They beat their poor horses so unmercifully that I spend quite a good portion of my time standing up in the cab and arguing with them. But the only efficacious argument I have discovered is to tell them that they will get no pourboire if they beat the horse. That seems to infuse more humanity into them than any number of Scripture texts.
In vain I persisted that I must not give him trouble, that I could discover the beauties for myself. "O monsieur!" he said reproachfully. Fearing he might return my pourboire, I followed him helplessly to inspect the pompous bead-covered tombs of the well-to-do, shocking him by stopping to muse at the rude mound of an anonymous corpse, remembered only by a little bunch of immortelles.
It appeared that during the work one of our friends, apparently despairing of any pourboire appropriate to his own conceptions of reward, had sold his share of the tip to the driver for fifteen cents. We are not going to say how much he lost by so doing. But this gamble put the driver in such a good humour that we believe he will keep away from railroad crossings.
When he engaged a taxi he never discharged it until he went to bed or left the town. It was related of him that on one occasion he had directed the taxi to wait for him at Charing Cross Station, and returning from Paris three days later had allowed his old friend, the cabby, who knew him well, a shilling an hour as a pourboire.
Worn out with emotion and fatigue, and in order to verify as quickly as possible this new supposition, la Peyrade flung himself into a street cab, and in less than a quarter of an hour, having promised the driver a good pourboire, he was deposited at the house in the rue Saint-Dominique d'Enfer. There he was compelled to endure still longer the tortures of waiting.
Out of the crowd which had collected a loutish youth was chosen; a pourboire promised; and after many mutual politenesses we were permitted to teuf-teuf onto the sacred soil of France. It is no more safe to judge a French country inn by its exterior, than the soul of Cyrano de Bergerac by his nose.