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The Ingenious Blackmailer
by [?]

An Inventor went to a King and was granted an audience, when the following conversation ensued:

Inventor.–“May it please your Majesty, I have invented a rifle that discharges lightning.”

King.–“Ah, you wish to sell me the secret.”

Inventor.–“Yes; it will enable your army to overrun any nation that is accessible.”

King.–“In order to get any good of my outlay for your invention, I must make a war, and do so as soon as I can arm my troops–before your secret is discovered by foreign nations. How much do you want?”

Inventor.–“One million dollars.”

King.–“And how much will it cost to make the change of arms?”

Inventor.–“Fifty millions.”

King.–“And the war will Cost–?”

Inventor.–“But consider the glory and the spoils!”

King.–“Exactly. But if I am not seeking these advantages? What if I decline to purchase?”

Inventor.–“There is no economy in that. Though a patriot, I am poor; if my own country will not patronise me, I must seek a market elsewhere.”

King (to Prime Minister).–“Take this blackmailer and cut off his head.”