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BEARDING THE LEGISLATURE

The influence of "lobbies" upon national legislation has long been a subject of attack by reformers. Next to the Pork Barrel, the lobby has been responsible for more wasted money and discriminating legislation, than any other American indoor sport. But many persons will be surprised to learn that the lobby is not by any means confined to national affairs--so powerful have the state lobbies become that the legislators are beginning to doubt whether they have anything whatever to say about running the country. Accordingly the members of the Virginia house of Delegates have decided to strike a blow in their own defense, and--since it is impossible to resist the lobbyists--to avoid them. A bill is now before one of the committees to furnish each and every Delegate with a false beard and whiskers to the end that he may better avoid the sharp scrutiny of the lobbyists, and "to facilitate ingress and egress from the house without recognition."

Such a brilliant scheme will at once commend itself to the law-maker. Behind a barricade of sideburns, the "pro's" and the "con's" will be alike unrecognizable, and can slip by the watchers ere the latter can penetrate their disguises. It will, of course, be a trifle hard on the general public; many an old farmer on a sight-seeing tour will be mistaken for a legislator and questioned concerning the cotton-planter's trust or the Society for the Preservation of Indigent Africans.

Nonetheless, the advantages will be tremendous. Thieves who desire to be immune from arrest need only array themselves as bearded assemblymen to pass unchallenged through the whole police force; poor factions--unable to support a lobby--may disguise themselves as representatives and vote in favor of their own bills. Indeed, the possibilities of disguise are so endless that the idea is bound to spread. It only remains for the lobbies to disguise themselves as the Ladies' Auxiliary to complete a tangle which even the great Sherlock Holmes could never unravel without the aid of a false nose!

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