By Sheilah Nelson
Helen was a very successful businesswoman. She had always liked nice clothes, and when she had left school she had gone and worked in a shop which sold them, not far from her home. After a few experiments she showed that she was very successful at designing the sorts of things that women want to buy,<注1> so after a few years the owner of the shop, who was an oldish lady, offered to make her a partner.<注2> "It's something I should have done long ago," she told Helen with a smile.Helen was very pleased, of course, and when the old lady retired, Helen bought her share and became the sole owner of the shop.<注3> Now she had her independence.
Ever since she had started in the shop she had had to travel around to see what attractive things her rivals in the clothes trade<注4> were producing, to attend fashion shows and so on. She had always stayed at small cheap hotels, because she dared not spend too much money when she was saving up<注5> to buy a shop of her own.
But when she at last became the owner of the shop, and it was making good profits,<注6> she found that she had plenty of money, and she felt she should now stay in the best hotels whenever she travelled. "Then the people who buy good clothes can see that your business is successful," she said to herself, "and therefore more of them think they should buy the clothes you make."
So when she had to go to the next fashion show, which was in Rome, she stayed at a very good hotel. She had a nice big room with beautiful furniture in which she could entertain customers, and there were also fine public rooms where she could, to her great pride, hold small fashion shows of her own.<注7> The room service<注8> was excellent, and so was the dining-room, which had a band<注9> every evening for dancing. Helen had never before dared to stay in such a splendid place.
She could see from the bills she signed for everything that the prices in the hotel were high, but she was still rather surprised when, just before she left, she was given a bill of several pages, written on beautiful headed paper.<注10>
She checked the bill carefully, and was happy with everything except the last line, which said "Paper...L 1800", which was about 75p in British money.<注11> She could not remembershavingshad any paper from the hotel, so she thought she should go to the cashier and ask him about it."That, Madam," said the cashier, "is for the paper your bill is written on."-