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78. Stationers in Spain.

148

The law in the Partidas respecting stationers is curious.

“Every university, to be complete, should have stationers in it (estacionarios) who have in their shops (estaciones) good books, and legible, and correct both in text and in gloss, which they let out to the scholars, either to make new books from them, or to correct those which they have ready written. And no one ought to have such booth (tienda) or shop as this, without leave of the rector of the university. And the rector, before he grants his licence, ought first to have the books of this person who would keep the shop examined, to know whether they be good, and legible, and genuine. And he ought not to consent that anyone who has not such books should become a stationer, nor let out his books to the scholars, at least not before they have been corrected. Also the rector ought, with advice of others, to set a price 149how much the stationer should receive for every sheet which he lends the scholars to write from or to correct their books. And moreover he ought to demand good bond from him that he will preserve well and faithfully all books which are entrusted to him to sell, and not use any deceit whatsoever.”

Tienda, which I have here rendered booth, is still the word in use for those inferior shops where every thing is sold. The word explains its own history. — Every army had traders who followed it to sell provisions and buy plunder, and their shops were tents. The corresponding word to estaciones would be standings, which is still in use at Bristol fair. These are, strictly speaking, booths. But when the Partidas were written, tienda meant a booth, and estacion a shop; for trade was advancing, and its improvement had given a new meaning to old terms.

Hence the word stationer, a name which would have been equally applicable to any other settled trade.