The Irish got to piling
up hacks so, on their funerals, that a funeral left them ragged and
hungry for two years afterward; so the priest pitched in and broke it
all up. He don't allow them to have but two hacks now, and sometimes
'Well,' said I, 'if you are so light-hearted and jolly in ordinary
times, what must you be in an epidemic?'
He shook his head.
'No, you're off, there. We don't like to see an epidemic. An epidemic
don't pay. Well, of course I don't mean that, exactly; but it don't pay
in proportion to the regular thing. Don't it occur to you, why?'
'I can't imagine. What is it?'
'It's just two things.'
'Well, what are they?'
'And what's the other?'
'How is that?'
'Well, in ordinary times, a person dies, and we lay him up in ice; one
day two days, maybe three, to wait for friends to come. Takes a lot of
it - melts fast. We charge jewelry rates for that ice, and war-prices
for attendance. Well, don't you know, when there's an epidemic, they
rush 'em to the cemetery the minute the breath's out. No market for ice
in an epidemic.