National Geographic : 1957 Mar
319 What Is It? Who Wants It? Bargain-hunting Parisians Sift a Tableful of Whatnots Hundreds of small merchants in the Flea Market are unable to find shops, or cannot afford them. They rent sidewalk space for a few pennies a day and display wares on stands or curbside carpets. this animal, and the winner of many races at Longchamp. And so gentle and friendly that when he died his owner could not bear to part with him. So he had him, as you see, per petuated. "M'sieu would perhaps be interested? The price, of course, is nothing. A mere token of the real worth." I assured the merchant that there was no doubt in my mind that his treasure was ridic ulously cheap, but at the moment I was not in the market for a stuffed horse. Then I felt Jean's elbow in my ribs. "Back in that corner," she whispered, as the shopkeeper turned away. "Just what we need for the study. That Louis Seize cylinder desk. We must have it." Aimlessly I strolled about the shop, ar riving unostentatiously in front of the desk. It was a beauty. Dust-covered and in need of polish, true, but the fruit wood was un scratched, with a deep and glowing patina beneath the grime. The bronze trim was unmarred, the inlay in excellent condition. Jean was right. We had to have it. I spoke to Jean in pig Latin-or dog Latin, as the dictionary calls it-a device we often find handy in foreign countries when we don't want to be understood. "On'tday ebay arelesscay"-Don't be care less-I told her in a conversational tone. "If he sees we want it," I added in pig Latin, "the price will go higher." Then, in English, I suggested we go to lunch. The Flea Market's most popular restaurant is as interesting as the shops. Dimly lighted, with low ceilings and oilcloth-covered tables, it features split-pea and potato soups. Those of the shopkeepers who don't eat in their shops make the Restaurant Marche a club.