How’d You Like to Tip the Postman Every Time?

Toronto Star Weekly/Mqrch 11, 1922

Paris.—Tipping the postman is the only way to insure the arrival of your letters in certain parts of Spain.

The postman comes in sight down the street waving a letter. “A letter for the Senor,” he shouts. He hands it to you.

“A splendid letter, is it not, Senor? I, the postman, brought it to you. Surely the good postman will be well rewarded for the delivery of such a splendid letter?”

You tip the postman. It is a little more than he had expected. He is quite overcome.

“Senor,” says the postman, “I am an honest man. Your generosity has touched my heart. Here is another letter. I had intended to save it for tomorrow to insure another reward from the always generous Senor. But here it is. Let us hope it will be as splendid a letter as the first.”

The postman bows and departs. If you have been in Spain long enough you are able to hang on to your temper. It is the climate that does it, they say. The climate is so soft and gentle that it makes it seem not worthwhile to kill the postman. Life is mellow in Spain.

The conversation above actually occurred, and was brought back to Paris intact by an American who has been painting down in Majorca. All the American magazines that were sent to him had illustrations cut out. They were excised to brighten the walls of the local post office.

When the artist asked the postman about the magazines, he answered,

“We have so little to read. It is such a dull town. Surely the Senor who has so much would not grudge us the mere pictures from his reviews?”

“And do you know,” the artist said, “after a while I got so that it didn’t bother me a bit. It’s funny the way things get you down here.”

It must certainly be the climate.

(Source: William White, ed. Ernest Hemingway: Dateline: Toronto. Simon and Schuster, 2002.)