Economic Sophisms/188

<pagequality level="3" user="Zoeannl" />style="background: #ececec; text-align: left; padding-left: 0.5em; font-weight: bold;" class="table-rh"making him my proxy, I was guilty of a piece of folly; for what is there in common between a general officer and a poor vinedresser?

L.: Oh, yes; there is something in common, namely, the wine, which he has voted to himself in your name.

J.: You may well laugh at me, Mr Taxgatherer, for I richly deserve it. But be reasonable. Leave me at least the sixth tun. You have already secured payment of the interest of the debt, and provided for the civil list and the public service, besides perpetuating the war in Africa. What more would you have?

L.: It is needless to higgle with me. Communicate your views to Monsieur le General, your representative. For the present, he has voted away your vintage.

J.: Confound the fellow! But tell me what you intend to make of this last cask, the best of my whole stock? Stay, taste this wine. How ripe, mellow, and full-bodied it is!

L.: Excellent! delicious! It will suit Mons. D., the cloth-manufacturer, admirably.

J.: Mons. D., the cloth-manufacturer? What do you mean?

L.: That he will reap the benefit.

J.: How? What? I'll be hanged if I understand you!

L.: Don't you know that Mons. D. has set on foot a grand undertaking, which will prove most useful to the country, but which, when everything is taken into account, causes each year a considerable pecuniary loss?

J.: I am sorry to hear it, but what can I do?

L.: The Chamber has come to the conclusion that, if this state of things continues, Mons. D. will be under the necessity of either working more profitably, or of shutting up his manufacturing establishment altogether.

J.: But what have these losing speculations of Mons. D. to do with my wine?

L.: The Chamber has found out that, by making over to Mons. D. some wine taken from your cellar, some corn taken from your neighbour's granaries, some money kept off the workmen's wages, the losses of that enterprising patriot may be converted into profits.

J.: The recipe is as infallible as it is ingenious. But, zounds!