鈥淢aster Ernest,鈥?said she, after they had talked for a quarter of an hour or so, 鈥渢here鈥檚 a place over the way where they sell tripe and onions. I know you was always very fond of tripe and onions; let鈥檚 go over and have some, and we can talk better there.鈥? 500彩票网正规网址 There's no question whatsoever that we could not have done what we did back then if I hadn't had myairplanes. I bought that first plane for business, to travel between the stores and keep in touch with whatwas going on. But once we started really rolling out the stores, the airplane turned into a great tool forscouting real estate. We were probably ten years ahead of most other retailers in scouting locations fromthe air, and we got a lot of great ones that way. From up in the air we could check out traffic flows, seewhich way cities and towns were growing, and evaluate the location of the competitionif there was any. 鈥淢y good Gaspard,鈥?said he, in French, for Bigourdin knew little English, 鈥淚 am suggesting to mademoiselle a scheme for her perfect happiness of which I have reason to know you will approve. Sit down and join our conclave.鈥? "He would never let us buy more than $1,000 per store. I think $600 of it was a loan, and $400 of itwas four shares of privately owned stock at $100 a share. All he would guarantee was that he would payus interest every year, which at that time was 4 percent. I remember one guy who ran a store wouldcall and say, 'Are you going to buy into store so-and-so' And I'd say, 'I think so.' Later, he would say,'I'm not going to loan it to Sam and let him expand onmy money.' Then I'd pick up the phone and callMr. Walton and say, 'So-and-so isn't going to buy his share of that store, can I buy his share' He'd say,'Sure.' So I'd get a double share."That whole periodwhich scarcely gets any attention from most people studying uswas really very, verysuccessful. In fifteen years' time, we had become the largest independent variety store operator in theUnited States. But the business itself seemed a little limited. The volume was so little per store that itreally didn't amount to that much. I mean, after fifteen years in 1960we were only doing $1.4 million infifteen stores. By now, you know me. I began looking around hard for whatever new idea would breakus over into something with a little better payoff for all our efforts. Even Pryer, who had been curate a couple of years, did not know personally more than a couple of hundred people in the parish at the outside, and it was only at the houses of very few of these that he ever visited, but then Pryer had such a strong objection on principle to house visitations. What a drop in the sea were those with whom he and Pryer were brought into direct communication in comparison with those whom he must reach and move if he were to produce much effect of any kind, one way or the other. Why, there were between fifteen and twenty thousand poor in the parish, of whom but the merest fraction ever attended a place of worship. Some few went to dissenting chapels, a few were Roman Catholics; by far the greater number, however, were practically infidels, if not actively hostile, at any rate indifferent to religion, while many were avowed Atheists 鈥?admirers of Tom Paine, of whom he now heard for the first time; but he never met and conversed with any of these. "Well, mother," said Phil, who shuffled about uneasily, "I have seen so many hypocrites among Church members that I, for one, do not wish to be classed with them. There was Tom Adams, one of Mr. Meach's favorites, who was always in his seat at the meeting-house, who would not shave on Sunday, but had no conscience about shaving us six days in the week. He would not blacken his boots on Sunday, but he did not hesitate to blacken the character of any man in the settlement who disagreed with him in anything, on Sunday or any other day." 鈥淵our uncle is the best and truest man I have ever met,鈥?said he. 鈥淎nd he loves you dearly and you love him鈥攁nd with love ingratitude can鈥檛 exist. Tell him whatever you find in your heart. But there is one thing you need never tell him鈥攚hat you saw in the Rue Maugrabine last night. I have done so already. In this way there will be nothing secret between you.鈥? We're not ashamed of having money, but I just don't believe a big showy lifestyle is appropriate foranywhere, least of all here in Bentonville where folks work hard for their money and where we all knowthat everyone puts on their trousers one leg at a time. I'm not sure I ever really figured out this celebritybusiness. Why in the world, for example, would I get an invitation to Elizabeth Taylor's wedding out inHollywood I still can't believe it was news that I get my hair cut at the barbershop. Where else would Iget it cut Why do I drive a pickup truck What am I supposed to haul my dogs around in, a RollsRoyceNowadays, I'm willing to concede that some good may have come from that magazine article and all thehubbub it created, as much as I hated it for years. At first I thought it was going to be bad for my relationship with the associates in the stores. But I found out that, gosh, they almost looked at it like: "Look, wehelped him get there. Good for him!" I think my coming by to visit the stores somehow means more tothem now. I noticed a big difference in their reaction since that list made me into sort of a public figure.