THE TALE OF THE LOST LAND
CHAPTER 33: SIXTH CENTURY POLITICAL ECONOMY
"It costeth us eight and one-half milrays the pint."
"We get it for four; twenty-five bottles for a cent.
What do you pay for wheat?"
"At the rate of nine hundred milrays the bushel."
"We pay four hundred. What do you pay for a man's tow-linen suit?"
"We pay six. What do you pay for a stuff gown for the wife of the
laborer or the mechanic?"
"We pay eight cents, four mills."
"Well, observe the difference: you pay eight cents and four mills,
we pay only four cents." I prepared now to sock it to him. I said:
"Look here, dear friend, what's become of your high wages you
were bragging so about a few minutes ago?"--and I looked around
on the company with placid satisfaction, for I had slipped up
on him gradually and tied him hand and foot, you see, without his
ever noticing that he was being tied at all. "What's become of
those noble high wages of yours?--I seem to have knocked the
stuffing all out of them, it appears to me."
But if you will believe me, he merely looked surprised, that
is all! he didn't grasp the situation at all, didn't know he had
walked into a trap, didn't discover that he was in a trap. I could
have shot him, from sheer vexation. With cloudy eye and a struggling
intellect he fetched this out:
"Marry, I seem not to understand. It is proved that our wages
be double thine; how then may it be that thou'st knocked therefrom
the stuffing?--an miscall not the wonderly word, this being the
first time under grace and providence of God it hath been granted
me to hear it."