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Funny Fairy Tales by Ambrose Bierce

The Legislator and the Citizen

AN ex-Legislator asked a Most Respectable Citizen for a letter to
the Governor recommending him for appointment as Commissioner of
Shrimps and Crabs.

'Sir,' said the Most Respectable Citizen, austerely, 'were you not
once in the State Senate?'

'Not so bad as that, sir, I assure you,' was the reply. 'I was a
member of the Slower House. I was expelled for selling my
influence for money.'

'And you dare to ask for mine!' shouted the Most Respectable
Citizen. 'You have the impudence? A man who will accept bribes
will probably offer them. Do you mean to - '

'I should not think of making a corrupt proposal to you, sir; but
if I were Commissioner of Shrimps and Crabs, I might have some
influence with the water-front population, and be able to help you
make your fight for Coroner.'

'In that case I do not feel justified in denying you the letter.'

So he took his pen, and, some demon guiding his hand, he wrote,
greatly to his astonishment:

'Who sells his influence should stop it,
An honest man will only swap it.'

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