The House





Mondor had a house. In building it, he had extorted nothing from any one

whatever. He owed it to his own personal labor, or, which is the same

thing, to labor justly rewarded. His first care was to make a bargain

with an architect, in virtue of which, by means of a hundred crowns a

year, the latter engaged to keep the house in constant good repair.

Mondor was already congratulating himself on the happy days which he

hoped to spend in this retreat, declared sacred by our Constitution. But

Valerius wished to make it his residence. How can you think of such a

thing? said Mondor; it is I who have built it; it has cost me ten

years of painful labor, and now you would enjoy it! They agreed to

refer the matter to judges. They chose no profound economists--there

were none such in the country. But they found some just and sensible

men; it all comes to the same thing: political economy, justice, good

sense, are all the same thing. Now here is the decision made by the

judges: If Valerius wishes to occupy Mondor's house for a year, he is

bound to submit to three conditions. The first is, to quit at the end of

the year, and to restore the house in good repair, saving the inevitable

decay resulting from mere duration. The second, to refund to Mondor the

300 francs, which the latter pays annually to the architect to repair

the injuries of time; for these injuries taking place whilst the house

is in the service of Valerius, it is perfectly just that he should bear

the consequences. The third, that he should render to Mondor a service

equivalent to that which he receives. As to this equivalence of

services, it must be freely discussed between Mondor and Valerius.





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