by Robert Benchley

from Pluck and Luck

Paul Revere leaped into his saddle.

"Through every Middlesex village and farm, Bess, old girl!" he whispered in his mare's ear, and they were off.

And, as he rode, the dauntless patriot saw as in a vision ( in fact, it was a vision) the future of the land to which he was bringin freedom.

He saw a hundred and ten million people, the men in derbies, the women in felt hats with little bows on the top. He saw them pushing one another in and out of trolley-cars on their way to and from work, adding up figures incorrectly all morning and subtracting them incorrectly all afternoon, with time out at 12:30 for frosted chocolates and pimento cheese sandwiches. He saw fifty million of them trying to prevent the other sixty million from doing what they wanted to do, and the sixty million trying to prevent the fifty million from doing what they wanted to do. He saw them all paying taxes to a few hundred of their number for running the government very badly. He saw ten million thin children working and ten thousand fat chldren playing in the warm sands. And now and again he saw five million youths, cheered on by a hundred million elders with fallen arches, marching out to give their arms and legs and lives for Something to Be Determined Later. And over all he saw the Starts and Stripes fluttering in the artificial breeze of an electric fan operated behind the scenes.

So tugging at the reins he yelled, "Whoa, Bess! We're going back to the stable."