"Mounts of Piety 9!
George W. Houghton in his entertaining book The Adventures of a Gadabout—to be reviewed shortly in our columns— makes a curious mistake.
Dealing with the Monts de Piete on the Riviera he writes : "The Mountain of Pity' is a delightful name which the French have discovered for a pawnshop.".
He should of course have written "piety," the original pawnshops having been established as early as the twelfth century by the authority of the Pope, lending money to the poor only, without interest, on the sole condition of the advances being covered by the value of the pledges.
In England the first instance was in 1361 when Michael Northbury, Bishop of London, bequeathed 1,000 silver marks for the establishment of a free pawnshop.
A " Labby" Point of View
Hesketh Pearson's recent life of Henry Labouchere is chock-full of stories —though many of them have long been in print in Algar Thorold's more solid and serious standard life of his uncle. " Labby " had much worldly wisdom and a collection of his sayings would be entertaining. Typical of his "realism" were his remarks to a friend who had just lost her husband. "Nature abhors a vacuum. What you are feeling is not grief for your husband but the unpleasant vacuum his going has created. Nature abhors a vacuum and tries to fill it up as soon as possible. In a few months this vacuum will be entirely filled and your grief will have disappeared." Sure enough,
by that time the lady had married again.
I was sitting in the dining-car of a train running between the Spanish frontier and Paris a few days ago (writes a correspondent) when I suddenly realised that I had no French money. I accordingly offered a twenty-five peseta note, in return for which I was handed the scandalously low rate of forty-five francs. Suddenly a Spaniard sitting opposite me. leant across when I was about to take the francs and said in Spanish: "This is a gross swindle. I am not going to sit by and see the currency of my country depreciated and dishonoured like that, and I shall be pleased to offer you fifty francs for your twenty-five pesetas."
The attendant shrugged his shoulders, thinking that the Spanish were quite mad. Well, perhaps they are, but it is precisely this sort of trait that gives Spain and the Spaniards an attraction and charm that are still unrivalled.
The World We Live In
From a circular sent round to the inhabitants of an English village so oldfashioned that its ducking pond has only recently been removed:
"You are cordially invited to a Hair and Beauty Fair. .. If you are interested in the Personality of a lady and would like to know what really imparts that elusive appealing loveliness to a woman, come and see the new and fascinating face treatment. . . . There will be a parade of Models with their hair dressed in different styles by our staff, and the whole afternoon will be interesting and entertaining and free."