Low notes on a high level

    “I’m a reasonable man,” Mr. Dobb was saying. “And it seems to me I’m adopting a reasonable attitude. Here am I, in my sixties, still working away, hoping to improve the human lot. I like good cigars. They are now a fantastic price, about fifteen times what they were when I first began buying them. And why? Chiefly because the Government has raised the duty on them to a monstrous height. But I pay this duty—I don’t smuggle in my cigars, though I’ve sometimes thought of it. In fact, I give the Government about ten times as much as its activities are worth to me, and was prepared to accept this without complaint. But you and these fellows come along and tell me I must pay so much in direct taxation that I wouldn’t have enough left to buy a few decent cigars. I’m told, in fact, to change the habit of a lifetime—told by a Treasury whose First Lord is apparently never seen in public without a first class Havana—”

    “He must get them given,” cried Mr. Primpton. “Please, Mr. Dobb—be sensible—”

    “Sensible!” Mr. Dobb thundered. “What the devil do you mean? I am being sensible. It’s you fellows who are being idiotic. If the Treasury will arrange for me to have a constant free supply of good cigars, then I’ll pay them the equivalent in direct taxation. If they’ll leave me alone, I’ll go on supplying them with a handsome revenue out of the duty on cigars.”

    Photo credit: By William Hoiles from Basking Ridge, NJ, USA (Old books  Uploaded by guillom) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.