A week ago a French neighbour, an elderly widow, knocked at our door to ask if we had lost a man’s bill-fold-type wallet. She said she had found it near our car which was parked adjacent to our house but not on our property.
I saw immediately it wasn’t mine and told her so. She said it seemed to belong to an English, so together we investigated the contents, which included more than £100 in notes, and 270 Euro in notes of several denominations. There was a British driving licence, three credit/debit cards, a 'Frequent Traveller " ferry-card, and a membership card for a Caravan Club.
In the interests of probity and prudence, I suggested she take it to the Mairie, but I noted the name on the Caravan Club card and told her I would telephone them so that they might be able to contact him and reassure him his wallet was in safe hands. I did that, and was assured that they would do their best to pass on the message, although they wouldn’t divulge his personal details to me.
Today I spoke to the neighbour who told me that the gentleman in question had retrieved his wallet from the Mairie on the following Monday. She said she had received no acknowledgement from the individual concerned; and - in reply to my query - no token of gratitude for her exemplary honesty and trouble (those words are mine, not hers, she made no complaint herself).
Am I being priggish about this, or is this a reflection of the gradual coarsening of English culture and manners in recent times? If that’s indeed the case, what can one do about it?