April 14, 2004

Random Knowledge

SO, APPARENTLY EVERYONE is participating in an exercise in which they grab the closest book at hand, open it to page 23, find the fifth sentence, and post it on their blogs. We don't know why everyone is doing this, but never mind:

"Now, the King's foreign minister, the Marquis de Torcy, had informed him that not only was Law back without a passport but that 'his intentions are not good' and that 'he is serving our enemies as a spy.' "

This selection was from Janet Gleeson's Millionaire: The Philanderer, Gambler and Duellist Who Invented Modern Finance. The millionaire in question is none other than John Law, an oft-overlooked Scot who is credited with creating the dot-com boom of the early 18th century, through his creation of the Paris-based Mississippi Company.

For a time, things went well -- so well, in fact, that early investors became known as millionaires because of their immense profits. But some verse from the time, reprinted in the book, describes well what happened to the average investor in that venture:

My shares, which on Monday I bought
Were worth millions on Tuesday, I thought
So on Wednesday I chose my abode
In my carriage on Thursday I rode
To the ballroom on Friday I went
To the workhouse next day I was sent.

It is, we note drily, perhaps fitting that we bought a remaindered copy of this book for $4.

(via Emily Jones)

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at April 14, 2004 10:06 PM | TrackBack

test, test.

Posted by: Dean Esmay at June 3, 2004 11:48 PM