Economic Sophisms/187

<pagequality level="3" user="Zoeannl" />style="background: #ececec; text-align: left; padding-left: 0.5em; font-weight: bold;" class="table-rh"of claret. And then, what service do they render me in return for this nectar which has cost me so much toil?

L.: None at all; nor is the wine destined for the Mussulman, but for good Christians who spend their lives in Barbary.

J.: And what service do they render me?

L.: They make razzias, and suffer from them in their turn; they kill and are killed; they are seized with dysentery and sent to the hospital; they make harbours and roads, build villages, and people them with Maltese, Italians, Spaniards, and Swiss, who live upon your wine; for another supply of which, I can tell you, I will soon come back to you.

J.: Good gracious! that is too much. I shall give you a flat refusal. A vinedresser who could be guilty of such folly would be sent to Bicétre. To make roads over Mount Atlas—good Heavens! when I can scarcely leave my house for want of roads! To form harbours in Barbary, when the Garonne is silted up! To carry off my children whom I love, and send them to torment the Kabyles! To make me pay for houses, seed, and cattle, to be handed over to Greeks and Maltese, when we have so many poor people to provide for at home!

L.: The poor! Just so; they rid the country of the trop plein, and prevent a redundant population.

J.: And we are to send after them to Algeria the capital on which they could live at home!

L.: But then you are laying the foundations of a great empire, you carry civilization into Africa, thus crowning your country with immortal glory.

J.: You are a poet, Mr Taxgatherer. I am a plain vinedresser, and I refuse your demand.

L.: But think, that in the course of some thousands of years, your present advances will be recouped and repaid a hundredfold to your descendants. The men who direct the enterprise assure us that it will be so.

J.: In the meantime, in order to defray the expense, they ask me first of all for one cask of wine, then for two, then for three, and now I am taxed by the tun! I persist in my refusal.

L.: Your refusal comes too late. Your representative has stipulated for the whole quantity I demand.

J.: Too true. Cursed weakness on my part! Surely, in