CHAPTER X
"FOR BILLS MAY COME, AND BILLS MAY GO"

A MAN with a sense of humour once went to the capital as a member of the five hundred from his town, and he never went back again. One reason for this was that he died the following year, -- literally, the doctors said, from laughing too much. I know that this statement will be received incredulously, and disputed by those who claim that laughter is a good thing; the honourable gentleman died from too much of a good thing. He was overpowered by having too much to laugh at, and the undiscerning thought him a fool, and the Empire had no need of a court jester. But many of his sayings have lived, nevertheless. He wrote a poem, said to be a plagiarism, which contains the quotation at the beginning of this chapter: "For bills may come, and bills may go, but I go on for ever." The first person singular is supposed to relate to the United Northeastern Railroads. It was a poor joke at best.

It is needless to say that the gentleman referred to had a back seat among the submerged four hundred and seventy, -- and that he kept it. No discerning and powerful well-wishers came forward and said to him, "Friend, go up higher." He sat, doubled up, in number 460, and the gods gave him compensation in laughter; he disturbed the Solons around him, who were interested in what was going on in front, and trying to do their duty to their constituents by learning parliamentary procedure before the Speaker got his gold watch and shed tears over it.

The gentleman who laughed and died is forgotten, as he deserves to be, and it never occurred to anybody that he might have been a philosopher, after all. There is

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