THE TALE OF THE LOST LAND
CHAPTER 33: SIXTH CENTURY POLITICAL ECONOMY
"In your country, brother, what is the wage of a master bailiff,
master hind, carter, shepherd, swineherd?"
"Twenty-five milrays a day; that is to say, a quarter of a cent."
The smith's face beamed with joy. He said:
"With us they are allowed the double of it! And what may a mechanic
get--carpenter, dauber, mason, painter, blacksmith, wheelwright,
and the like?"
"On the average, fifty milrays; half a cent a day."
"Ho-ho! With us they are allowed a hundred! With us any good
mechanic is allowed a cent a day! I count out the tailor, but
not the others--they are all allowed a cent a day, and in driving
times they get more--yes, up to a hundred and ten and even fifteen
milrays a day. I've paid a hundred and fifteen myself, within
the week. 'Rah for protection--to Sheol with free-trade!"
And his face shone upon the company like a sunburst. But I didn't
scare at all. I rigged up my pile-driver, and allowed myself
fifteen minutes to drive him into the earth--drive him all in--
drive him in till not even the curve of his skull should show
above ground. Here is the way I started in on him. I asked:
"What do you pay a pound for salt?"
"A hundred milrays."
"We pay forty. What do you pay for beef and mutton--when you
buy it?" That was a neat hit; it made the color come.
"It varieth somewhat, but not much; one may say seventy-five milrays
"We pay thirty-three. What do you pay for eggs?"
"Fifty milrays the dozen."
"We pay twenty. What do you pay for beer?"