Economic Sophisms/212

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SCENE I.House of Master Peter.—Window looking out on a fine park.—Three gentlemen seated near a good fire.

PETER: BRAVO! Nothing like a good fire after a good dinner. It does feel so comfortable. But, alas ! how many honest folks, like the Roi d'Yvetot,


Template:FqmSoufilent, faute de bois,
Dans leurs doigts."


Miserable creatures! A charitable thought has just come into my head. You see these fine trees; I am about to fell them, and distribute the timber among the poor.

PAUL and JOHN: What ! gratis?

PETER: Not exactly. My good works would soon have an end were I to dissipate my fortune. I estimate my park as worth £1000. By cutting down the trees I shall pocket a good sum.

PAUL: Wrong. Your wood as it stands is worth more than that of the neighbouring forests, for it renders you services which they cannot render. When cut down it will be only good for firewood, like any other, and will not bring a penny more the load.

PETER: Oh ! oh ! Mr Theorist, you forget that I am a practical man. My reputation as a speculator is sufficiently well established, I believe, to prevent me from being taken for a noodle. Do you imagine I am going to amuse myself by selling my timber at the price of float-wood?

PAUL: It would seem so.

PETER: Simpleton! And what if I can hinder float-wood from being brought into Paris?

PAUL: That alters the case. But how can you manage it?

PETER: Here is the whole secret. You know that float-wood,

on entering the city, pays 5d. the load. To-morrow, I induce