1794 - Ann Radcliffe
Idleness at Mainz
The idleness and inadvertence we generally saw are difficult to be conceived; perhaps, the trouble, experienced in purchasing a book, may give an idea of them. We wanted the German pamphlet (from which most of particulars of the siege quoted in the book are extracted); and, as it related to a topic so general within the place, we smiled, when our friends said they would assist us to procure it, during a walk. Two book-sellers, to whom we applied, knew nothing of it; and one supposed, that an engraved view of the works would do quite as well. Passing another shop, a young German gentleman enquired for it of the master, who was at the door, and heard, that we might have it, upon our return, in half an hour. The door, when we came back, was shut, and no knocking could procure it to be opened; so that we were obliged to send into the dwelling-house. When the shopman came, he knew nothing of the book; but, being assured that his master had promised it, went away, and returned with a copy in sheets. We paid for this, and left it to be sewed, which was agreed to be done, in three hours. At that time, it was not finished, but might be had in another hour; and, after that hour, it was again promised, within two. Finally, it could not be had, that night, but would be ready in the morning, and, in the morning, it was still unfinished; we then went to Franckfort without it, and it was sent after us by a friend. This was the most aggravated instance we saw of a German trader's manners; but something like it may be almost every where met with.
A Journey Made in the Summer of 1794, through Holland and the Western Frontier of Germany
Dublin 1795; Reprint 1975