Economic Sophisms/185

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X.

 

THE TAXGATHERER.

JACQUES BONHOMME, a Vinedresser.
M. LASOUCHE, Taxgatherer.

L.: You have secured twenty tuns of wine?

J.: Yes; by dint of my own skill and labour.

L.: Have the goodness to deliver up to me six of the best.

J.: Six tuns out of twenty ! Good Heaven ! you are going to ruin me. And, please, Sir, for what purpose do you intend them?

L.: The first will be handed over to the creditors of the State. When people have debts, the least thing they can do is to pay interest upon them.

J.: And what becomes of the capital?

L.: That is too long a story to tell you at present. One part used to be converted into cartridges, which emitted the most beautiful smoke in the world. Another went to pay the men who had got crippled in foreign wars. Then, when this expenditure brought invasion upon us, our polite friend, the enemy, was unwilling to take leave of us without carrying away some of our money as a souvenir, and this money had to be borrowed.

J.: And what benefit do I derive from this now?

L.: The satisfaction of saying— Template:Fs90/s

Que je suis fier d'être Français
Quand je regarde la colonne!

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J.: And the humiliation of leaving to my heirs an estate burdened with a perpetual rent-charge. Still, it is necessary to pay one's debts, whatever foolish use is made of the proceeds. So much for the disposal of one tun; but what about the five others?

L.: One goes to support the public service, the civil list, the judges who protect your property when your neighbour wishes wrongfully to appropriate it, the gendarmes who protect you from robbers when you are asleep, the cantonnier who maintains the highways, the curé who baptizes your children, the Template:HwsTemplate:Smallrefs