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NO MARKETING BY TELEPHONE
IN EUROPEAN HOUSEHOLDS
OUTDOOR MARKETS OF EUROPE
MARKETS INDEX TO NATIONAL CHARACTER
REPRESENTATIVE MEDITERRANEAN MARKET
TOULON'S MULTI-COLOURED DAILY MARKET
WOMEN BARGAINING UNDER THE RED UMBRELLAS
PRIMITIVE WEIGHTS AND MEASURES
CHEAP GARDEN PRODUCE
A CORNER IN SNAILS
VARIETY THE CHARACTERISTIC OF THE FOREIGN
BIG STALL OWNERS AND SMALL VENDORS
BLEND OF FLOWERS AND VEGETABLES
OFFICERS GO MARKETING
CHEAP END OF THE MARKET FISH MARKET
GREAT GOOSE MARKET OF GERMANY
COVENT GARDEN, WHERE LONDON GOES TO MARKET
THE COSTER AND HIS "MOKE"
ONE BUYS DEARLY IN LONDON MARKETS
ICE A LUXURY
PUSH-CART VENDORS IN PARIS
"LES MERCHANDES DES QUATRE SAISONS"
FOREIGN MARKETS AND MARKETING
ONE does not market by telephone in Europe. The telephone is rare enough in business, and has not entered into the domestic scheme of things at all. The good, frugal housekeepers go to market themselves, making of it one of the serious businesses of the day. Besides being an economic question, it is to the lady of the house an amusement. Bargaining is a passion of the European woman, and nowhere does this antiquated method of buying and selling exist in so near an approach to its most primitive form as in the market place.
The Frenchwoman goes to market herself, and if of the better class, with a bonne carrying the market basket in which to bring back the purchases. Often the bonne or the cuisinière is entrusted with this duty herself, though for the most part the mistress prefers to go; she longs for the excitement of getting her bunch of asparagus one sou cheaper, even if it takes the best part of the morning. She is the most careful of buyers, no skilful arrangement of fruit to hide defects escapes her keen eye, no juggling of the scales goes on unnoticed. The daily marketing operation brings out the Frenchwoman's aptitude for small savings.
The Italian housekeeper goes marketing with her maid for a chaperone, the maid invariably following after, carrying her mistress' parasol as well as the market basket, it not being etiquette for the Italian lady to carry anything.
The Dutch woman is seen at market sampling the round, flat cheeses of her country, with a modern hat perched on top of the white cap and antique gold ornaments in an endeavour to reconcile conflicting styles. The insistent point is that marketing in Europe is a woman's occupation.
As the economy of Europe consists in saving rather than producing, there is no branch of her expenditure that the thrifty housekeeper watches more closely than the daily marketing, and where the servant is entrusted with it her mistress is always too well posted on values to permit of much juggling with the market money.
If one wants to learn something of the real life of a people, go to market with them and study what they eat and how they buy it. The open-air markets of Europe are out-of-door theatres – moving-picture shows – where every phase of life, from social science to household economics, can be studied.
In their general characteristics markets are much alike and furnish always one of the most picturesque impressions that one retains of life abroad. They are usually spread out in the principal square, with a centre-piece of a sculptured fountain, or grouped about an ancient church in an intimate and confiding manner. Thus one bargains for a salad beneath sculptured saints and broken-nosed angels, or under big umbrellas like gigantic polychrome mushrooms in the warmer latitudes.
The produce is brought in from the country round about in the slow, uneconomic way that the European peasant usually works, by diminutive donkey-carts, or in basket panniers slung across the backs of mules, in high, two-wheeled French carts, in quaint, cradle-shaped Dutch wagons, or by Sicilian carts decorated like a circus wagon; perhaps even it may be brought in a basket on the arm, or down a mountainside strapped over the shoulders.
Every Continental town of any pretensions has a weekly market – a veritable county fair, where every conceivable article that may tempt a small community is on sale. The market is the social gathering place as well as a produce exchange. This gives the frugal European peasant an opportunity to exchange local gossip without neglecting business. There is amusement, too. An itinerant little theatre in a gypsy wagon runs a little show, and there may be a merry-go-round, and there are always foolish knick-knacks being offered for sale which have no place in any self-respecting trading community.
As a representative Mediterranean market that of Toulon, in southern France, may be taken as a type.
It has all the characteristics of the markets of all semi-tropical European countries, and a good many peculiar to itself.
Toulon is France's biggest war port and naval station. From a dozen to twenty-five ships of the fleet are always at anchor in the harbour, and the blue-jackets aboard must be fed, as well as a standing garrison of thirty thousand or more soldiers, in addition to the city's population of a hundred thousand. Toulon's market under such conditions may be taken as a concrete example, and a study of it will prove a liberal education for any one interested in foodstuffs.
It is a daily market, and from seven until noon, stretches along one of the principal tree-lined boulevards for fully half a mile, a riot of colour, with the excited movements of a lively southern people, for Toulon can show as patti-coloured a conglomeration of inhabitants as any of the cosmopolitan Mediterranean seaports.
You and the bonne with a filet on her arm (the cord bag or carry-all for all kinds of plunder), start out about nine for the day's marketing. These southern countries don't stir early, and before nine you run the risk that not all of the petty merchants will have arranged their wares.
Temporary stalls of boards are ranged on either side under the giant plantain trees, often still further protected by great umbrellas and awnings, not of the usual white, but red-brown, that the sun and wind have bleached to every shade from orange to tan. Toulon's market, because of its varied colouring, has been the inspiration of many an artist. Heaped up in big baskets is as varied and exotic a lot of produce as was ever brought together.
You join the crowd of buyers strolling critically along the promenade between the stalls, over which women preside almost exclusively. It is the women who control the markets of Europe. It is essentially a woman's business, and the men appear only as auxiliaries, except where a cattle market is an adjunct of the ordinary market. The men are the producers and leave it to their women to get the money and also keep it safely.
These Toulon market women are as motley as their wares. There are Italians, Corsicans, Maltese and the native dark Provençaux. Every Mediterranean type is here, an unkempt, independent crowd. Many of them scarcely speak French enough to sell their produce, and they have nine-and-twenty ways of counting money, which, combined with a laxity in giving the right change, keeps one on the alert. They are more noisy and vociferous than their phlegmatic sisters of the North, and have honeyed tongues when they wish. "Ma belle, ma belle," they call out to you coaxingly, and again, "What a beautiful hat, Madonna; won't the bella donna look at my strawberries, only twelve sous the kilo." Six cents a pound isn't dear for March strawberries.
Though the French say Toulon is the most expensive market in France, it seemed cheap enough to the American housekeeper. A family of three fared sumptuously on an outlay of from three to four francs a day. If you paid more than two cents for a fine head of escarole you were a bad bargainer; ten cents' worth of petits pois took the bonne a good part of the morning to shell out, and asparagus sold at a sliding scale from eight to twenty cents for a bunch of two dozen stalks, according to quantity in the market.
Spaniards, who patriotically paint their barrows in the national colours, in red and yellow stripes, handle the orange business and the recently introduced banana, which is scrubby and tasteless and costs two and three sous apiece.
Spring vegetables were really winter vegetables, and came from across the Mediterranean from Algeria so early that there was scarcely any break in their continuity from one year's end to another. The highly prized and expensive burr artichoke, with us what is called "French," is the staple and most common vegetable of the Mediterranean countries, and at times is almost an encumberer of the markets at a sou or two apiece, while the eggplant runs it a close second at a similar price.
Most vegetables are sold by weight. The merchant under the red umbrella weighs your potatoes on a primitive brass scale (which is probably quite unreliable) which she balances by hand, and in the manipulating becomes so expert that if one adopted the tactics of the good English housekeeper and weighed the purchases over again at home, the error might not always be found in the seller's favour. Figs are an exception and are carefully counted out by the dozen, big purple ones and the choice grey varieties. There is also the Barbary fig, which has been brought across from Africa, in other words, the prickly pear, a diet which would seem to us as suitable only for a hedgehog, but which in reality is the staple food with the Arab and much liked by the southern French, and indeed, is not at all bad when one learns to like it.
You discover a fat snail climbing up your gown, and find that you have reached the place where snails are sold, and that you have captured a stray one from a lot which have been turned out to graze on a straw mat smeared with some sort of stickiness. There are baskets of thousands of them sitting about, as many clinging to the outside as are inside. Moving slowly, they do not stray far, but personal contact is not agreeable. Snails may seem dear at a franc a dozen if one has not the gout for them. These are not the common, garden-destroying kind, but a special breed that is hunted in thickets at night by the light of a lantern, or fattened in a pen of logs covered with a wire netting. Luxuries they are, however, and are so regarded by the French, and some few of the rest of us.
Near the snails is the vendor of wild herbs, where for a few sous you may buy a variety of weeds out of which to make one of the fifty or more kinds of tizanes, or herb teas. The French love to dose themselves on these brews, one or another of which is warranted to ease most of the ills of flesh. There are also the sweet-scented mountain plants, wild lavender, thyme and the like, good for laying away among clothes to keep out insects.
In the spring you can buy young plants already rooted with which to stock your flower or vegetable garden, and three-day-old little chicks at a franc apiece and goslings at a little more. Thus is saved much preliminary work for the amateur farmer and bird fancier.
From the big stall owners you work down the long line to where the small vendors sit. These, for the most part, have only a meagre little handful of stuff grown in a tiny garden shaded by a couple of olive trees. One old woman sits knitting with a single white hen resting contentedly on her knee, while another has only a bunch of wild flowers picked by the roadside, another a queerly assorted basket whose contents are cherries and a pair of guinea pigs, the latter being a great delicacy with the country French, and not dear at a franc and a half a pair.
There are strawberries eight months of the year, sometimes tied up in cabbage leaves that they may not wilt, or they are the little wild strawberry sold in earthen jars covered with a cornucopia of paper, more prized than the cultivated variety and selling at nearly double the price.
In the winter come in the olives, green and black, and chestnuts, out of which the Italian population makes flour. In summer there is a red riot of tomatoes at two cents a pound, and melons of many shades, none of the latter being particularly cheap at a franc.
The flower stalls are brilliant in this southern country. Even among the vegetable dealers a few flowers can always be picked up. This mingling of flowers and green stuff for the table is the great charm of many European markets, particularly those around the Mediterranean, where for a few cents a day the house can be kept in flowers the year round.
Here in Toulon's open-air market cheap butchers sell to the cheap trade queer cuts of equivocal-looking meat, and Italian women make a business of the manufacture of ravioli – macaroni stuffed with meat and herbs – for the same class of trade. You pass this end of the market by. There are booths that sell all kinds of dry-goods, and a corner is devoted to miscellaneous rubbish, ranging from odd shoes to rusty keys.
By ten o'clock a dense crowd surges between the booths, mistresses and their attendant bonnes, maids alone, eagerly looking out for their "commission," each armed with either a basket or filet. When the lady of the house attempts to carry her own purchases it is always in a cloth bag, often nicely embroidered; the filet is the badge of the servant. This is one of the nice little distinctions to be observed.
Officers from the warships at anchor in the Roads are there buying for their mess, with two blue-jackets trailing behind, swinging a big overweighted basket between them. A three-starred admiral, with much gold braid, may be seen selecting and carrying away himself an especially fine lot of cherries for his déjeuner, with a charming absence of any false pride. Weaving in and out like shuttles are the beignet sellers, this particular kind of beignet being great flat cakes baked in gigantic pie dishes and sold at a sou a slice.
The market finally fritters out to the cheap end, where the riff-raff can pick out doubtful bargains from amongst the bruised and damaged stuff. By noon everything must be cleared away, and now is the time for low prices. Things that won't keep over to be sold as seconds the next day are cut down to almost gift prices. Carts come along in due time and gather up the empty baskets, stalls are torn down and carried away and the street sweepers appear with their brooms, picturesquely clad and kerchiefed Italian women. In another hour not a cabbage leaf is to be seen.
Near Toulon's principal market, in the aptly named Place de la Poissonnerie, is the fish market, where the best of the Mediterranean finny tribe lie in damp beds of seaweed, the only method of keeping them fresh being to pour water over them. The fish dealers sit with their feet on a petit-banc or foot-stool, out of reach of the soused pavement, blagueing and blackguarding their neighbours, too indolent and ignorant of business methods to care if one buys or not.
One of the sights of Germany is the goose market at Friedrichfelde, a little village near Berlin. Here are gathered geese from all parts of Europe, and five million foreign and domestic birds are sold each year. The goose is the national bird of the German dinner table, and however the German housekeeper may scrimp all the week there must always be a gans for the Sunday dinner.
Every day from twenty to thirty thousand squawking, hissing geese are brought to this great wholesale market, chiefly in slatted crates, by train from all over eastern Europe. During the summer, Germany can furnish her own supply, but in the winter, train loads are brought from Holland, where, the season being milder, the geese are more easily bred. In the late summer they come in large numbers from Russia and Poland, being driven along the road and their numbers added to as they pass through the villages. At the frontier they are loaded on to box cars in four-story crates and forwarded by fast freight to the central market. For four or five days they travel without food or drink, hence it is small wonder that a nervous, bad-tempered lot of geese usually await the buyers. Each buyer carries a shepherd's crook with which he singles out his purchases by the neck. The market is controlled by a syndicate, and strict measures are taken to insure only a healthy product, a corps of inspectors being employed to examine the health of the birds, doubtful cases being quarantined for six weeks, while those manifestly diseased are destroyed at once.
They are young, these much-travelled geese, averaging from five to eight months, and are bought in the market for eighty cents to a dollar, according to weight. After they are fattened for a month or two on the best barley and green stuff, they bring nearly two dollars and a half and weigh from ten to twelve pounds.
The method of fattening to produce the diseased livers which are used to fabricate the paté-de-foie-gras rather destroys one's taste for this delicacy. The geese are nailed down by their feet so that exercise may not interfere with their putting on flesh, when, at regular intervals, they are stuffed by a machine, their stomachs being nicely massaged at the same time. Nothing is left to the vagaries of the natural appetite. Strassbourg has the reputation of turning out the best grade of paté-de-foie-gras, but it is made all over Germany with success, and while the fattening process may not always be so barbarous, forced feeding is generally resorted to.
London goes to market at Covent Garden, the one district which is astir early. Six o'clock is late and at eight the bargain hunters begin to be seen. At ten the garbage is being swept up and picked over by street combers, and before noon this heart of old London is deserted.
The actual area of Covent Garden seems small to encompass the central food supply of the world's biggest city until one notices that it really trickles through the ramifications of a maze of neighbouring streets. Stalls, push-carts, wagons, costers and their donkeys, and barrows with peddlers of all ranks link up Holborn and the Strand by a livid stream of humanity and its paraphernalia in a most amazing fashion. All the stall owners pay a tax for the privilege of selling produce in London streets hereabouts as a ground rental to the Duke of Bedford, London's largest landowner. Covent Garden and the surrounding streets are his property, as well as the houses which line them, and the enormous rentals pay a truly royal tribute to the wealthiest of Britain's peers.
London markets in general are perhaps the dearest in Europe. Continental Europe and North Africa are Britain's market gardens, though the English housekeeper still clings fondly to the belief that whatever is grown in her own country is the best, the shopkeeper encouraging her in this delusion. The catch phrase in the English shop is, "Best English, ma'am," though the produce may be asparagus from Provence, little potatoes from Brittany, tomatoes from Algeria or eggs and butter from Denmark and Norway. In spite of all this the English housekeeper will readily pay more for produce grown at home than for that which comes from across the Channel, the North Sea or the Mediterranean. This is not because the quality is actually superior, but because it is home-grown, though this may be prejudice quite as much as patriotism.
Covent Garden market has its chief picturesque element in its costers and their environment. The coster in his velveteens with many rows of "pearlies" heaps up his tiny barrow, drawn by his faithful "moke," and perambulates green stuff through London's East End, accompanied by his "Harriet," the couple forming the typical 'Arry and 'Arriet of the comic papers. Like most picturesque survivals, modern life is ironing him down to the flat ugliness of the average London type, and his be-buttoned costume is fast changing into the commonplace garb of the British workingman, though his partner still flaunts her hat of bedraggled plumes, which is always in fashion among her kind. She buys these plumes through a "feather club" by paying a weekly instalment. No more unsuitable feminine head adornment for one of her class could be conceived than an ostrich plume, which, by the very order of things, is most unsuitable for the misty, moisty climate of the banks of London's river.
The coster barrow-vendor buys cheap stuff to begin with, and sells cheaply too, so that his margin of profit is slight, but he will go hungry before his "moke" will, and he treats the little animal better by far than he does his own family when it comes to distributing favours amongst them.
Weights and measures with the English small shopkeeper are queer and untrustworthy. Not long ago a bitter discussion was carried on through the press on the subject, and the defence of the marketman was not a denial so much as an excuse that he had to make up somewhere for the long credit system that prevails among the clientele of all classes of traders. This made for losses which could not otherwise be met.
The cost of living is a factor here which is being discussed in its higher reaches. A scarcity of food of certain kinds accounts for some of this, an extravagant attitude towards life for more, and the actual conditions of luxury and convenience under which the food supply is purveyed in this twentieth century for much more. The thing is noticeable in England, in Germany, in France and even in Italy. There is no monopoly of this state of affairs in America; all classes all over the world are feeling it, but are doing very little that might really combat it successfully.
In England one buys fowls and fish in the same shop. Ice is a luxury that can often only be had of the fishmonger, and as a favour on the part of that usually high-handed individual. Such a small lump as one may get for a few cents melts into a mere spot of dampness by the time it is delivered and seems hardly worth the while. If one buys anything of an exotic nature in England it costs money. To depend upon a purely British home-market bill of fare, on the other hand, is monotonous, for the supply is exceedingly limited as well as to variety as to quantity.
Successful shopping and marketing in Paris depends greatly upon a knowledge of local conditions as well as a very complete and true estimate of the ways of the shopkeeper and greengrocer. Neither the shopkeeper nor the market man or woman are wedded to fixed prices as yet, at least not all of them, very few in fact, so it behooves the stranger to pocket her pride and do a little bargaining on the side, and beat them down if she can.
As a phase of woman's work, that of the shop employees of Paris, as well as of those who may sell on their own account from a push-cart or a market. stall, is an interesting study. Its like exists in no other land.
In the lowest merchandising scale are the vendeuses ambulantes, the push-cart sellers, whose stock m trade may be fresh vegetables, coal and wood, or thread and needles and odds and ends of so-called "bankrupt stocks" of dry-goods. There are supposedly six thousand of this class of "shopkeepers" in Paris, and they all make known their wares by the most strident and unmusical cries.
Of all this noisy crew the only class which ever had any interest for us was the marchande de quatre saisons, or fresh vegetable dealers, of whom we occasionally bought supplies instead of going to the greengrocer's on the corner. "Pois Verts, Pois Verts," or "J'ai de la cerise, de la belle cerise – Cerise douce," or "La Valence, la belle Valence," meaning green peas, cherries or oranges. These are the sounds one hears in the quartiers of Paris, but they are by no means the only harmonious notes to be picked out of the chorus.
All these hard-working women, for their risks are great and their profits small, are possessed of a permit from the Préfet of Police and wear in a conspicuous place, frequently attached to their belts, an enormous numbered plaque as a sort of guarantee of identification if not of responsibility. One woman of this class will often make her rounds throughout the year, varying her agricultural merchandise according to the four seasons, hence their familiar name.
These ambulant orange, fish, vegetable or flower sellers make their provision at the great central markets, Les Halles, around four in the morning, buying from a commission dealer a certain quantity per day, or often combining among themselves and taking a truck load at specially favourable prices, assuming of course an additional risk if the quantity be large or their numbers few.
Their stocks are displayed with a barbaric sort of taste, and with their heavy load they are soon ready to start out on their rounds, in many cases after having pushed their carts four or five miles across town, each to her own particular quarter.
At noon these wandering women are supposed, in accordance with the law, to retire from the public thoroughfares, and it is at this moment, or thereabouts, that one is able to buy at the lowest prices, if indeed one is willing to run the risk of still being able to find a fresh and varied assortment, which of course sometimes happens, though, on the other hand, a stock of fish or lettuces and other aliments of a like nature that has been trundled through dusty streets for six or eight hours can hardly be of the highest sanitary value as food.
A woman from thirty to thirty-five years of age, at this hard labour, may gain as much as two and a half francs a day if she meets with no engulfing losses caused by unsold stocks. Their little carts, charettes, are, for the most part, hired by the day at twelve or fifteen sous.
Another class of vendeuses, more miserable still, and whose merchandise, so far as edibles go, is often in a still more dubious condition, but frequently a little cheaper in price, is that which sells from a great basket carried on the arm and hip, or perhaps on the head. They gain perhaps a franc a day net at the occupation, and with such modest ambitions are naturally not of a class noted for their probity in commercial transactions.
The marchands de plaisirs are a Paris institution and may be men, women or boys. They are the sellers of children's toys, balloons, mechanical toys of little worth and low prices and all that sort of thing. They are found in their greatest numbers on the Champs Elysées, in the Gardens of the Tuileries and in the Luxembourg Gardens on the Rive Gauche.
Of the itinerant restaurants, the Restaurants des Pieds Humides, the Parisian precursors of the Owl Lunch Wagons, there is nothing to be recounted in the way of personal experience except that of observation to the purport that their owners seem to be in quite the lowest social scale of trades-people in the food of man in all Paris, whether cooked or uncooked.
The coffee sellers of course pursue a less harmful course, but even they are falsifiers in that they do not sell coffee per se, at least not pure coffee. They claim that the midnight taste is not for pure coffee (at two sous a mug it should be noted), and probably it isn't. There is even something besides chicory in it according to the "pure food" investigators.
One species of small shopkeeper, as much an indigenous Paris product as the "cocher," is the news-dealer. Sometimes she is a shopkeeper, in a very small way, when she is privileged to sell what she likes within certain bounds, but if she occupies one of those quaintly picturesque "kiosques" which are found chiefly along the boulevards, from Neuilly to Vincennes and from the Lion de Belfort to the Montmartre, she must confine her sales to magazines and newspapers and may not include even the popular picture post-card.
The cheese merchants, the milk dealers and the pastry cooks are all of the small shop-keeping hierarchy which is such an interesting phase of foreign life to the stranger.
In France, these professions are, for various reasons, as interesting as anywhere, the more so that they deal with certain minor phases of life which in a more commercial world are handled on a much larger scale. This is the more apparent when one considers how very cut up these small industries are. You go to a triperie to buy tripe, but you go to a charcuterie to buy sausage, and not always do you find butter, eggs and milk in the same shop. The keeping of the small grocery and a little mercerie, where are to be found the odds and ends of the sewing basket, form two other feminine occupations. Their proprietors struggle with the competition of the great universal food and dry-goods providers until one wonders that their profits can be sufficient to pay the rent, let alone a living. Because they exist one patronises them occasionally, in the same familiar way that one goes to the general store of a New England village for a piece of soap, some salt or a paper of pins, for these items at least seem to be out of the competitive class.
Nothing can be more charmingly interesting than the markets of some of the old Swiss towns, where the main street is the usual market place. Marketing in Geneva is a real feat of daring, accomplished in the intervals between dodging the motor cars of tourists and a double line of street-cars with which it shares one of the principal thoroughfares.
Rumour says that Geneva is going to abolish its picturesque street markets; the picturesque seems never to be practical, and the old city of Calvin is so slicking up that it is beginning to look as uninteresting as the capital city of a new-made state. When it comes to a choice between the white-capped market women and their quaint baskets and a trolley car, the wishes of the stranger might be consulted by the authorities who are supposed to care for the prosperity of their constituencies.
Could any one forget the market at Berne? The spouting waters from the grotesque mediaeval fountains splash over the green stuff which has been painfully drawn from nearby farms in small carts, man and wife pulling side by side with the faithful dog. Transportation, when it comes to the food of the table, is a mixed problem everywhere. At a certain Breton market one has seen women taking sheep to market singly in a wheelbarrow, head and legs tied down. The Swiss cheeses come down from the lofty mountain chalets, born aloft, singly, too, on the shoulders of a sturdy mountaineer, held on a sort of a small, short-legged table, the latter resting on the man's shoulders, the table being placed over his head with the cheese on top.
In general, marketing is dear in Switzerland, the cost of food having gone up in some parts as much as fifty per cent in recent years. This has undoubtedly been caused here by the great expansion of the tourist traffic which now brings strangers to Switzerland the year round – in winter for the snow sports-in numbers as large as when they formerly came in summer only.
If one is wintering at Nice on the Riviera, marketing may be said to be one of the supreme attractions as one strolls along under the long rows of white umbrellas which line certain of the back streets not far from the more exclusive and elegant Place Massena and the Promenade des Anglais.
Nice is the winter flower market of all Europe. You may buy a basket of carnations and violets for a few francs which would cost as many dollars on Broadway or Wabash Avenue. An institution of the markets of Nice is the band of little porteuses, one of whom will carry home for you, in a flat basket balanced nicely on her head, all that you may purchase in an hour's round. The cost is but a few sous, and she will follow your footsteps the whole morning and then get home before you do with her burden. Each basket bears a numbered plaque, for she is a licensed porter, and a small tax is paid to the municipal authorities for the privilege of plying her trade.
The flower and vegetable and fish markets of Marseilles are a revelation to one who has known only the conventional market stall. Seemingly miles of this assorted food line many of the streets near the very centre of the city, and down along the famous Vieux Port, where the fish and shellfish are spread out for view, there is an unrealness about it all that is as if one saw it in a dream, particularly at night, when all is aglow with flaming torches like a page preserved out of mediaevalism.
In Italy, Spain, Algeria and Tunisia there is a wealth of colour in the markets, and the throng which goes to give the life and movement of a sixteenthcentury civilisation living in the land of to-day. The keynote of it all is kaleidoscopic. They are surrounded by an individuality and freedom of manners unknown in our own land where even the purchase of a box of berries, a pound of butter or the provender of the winter's supply for a whole household is accomplished as the result of a mere hello call over the telephone.
The element of picturesqueness certainty lends a charm from the aesthetic viewpoint, and the procedure is indeed interesting. That marketing in the European fashion is a more satisfactory method than our own, or less so, is all a matter of individual opinion and the conditions under which one may momentarily be living. At all events it lends variety and a pleasurable occupation to one's life abroad, and that is one of the chief reasons why one leaves home and settles in a foreign land in the first instance.