Few children, probably, have come to man's estate without the idea that somewhere there existed a bottomless pit. It was that deliciously terrible figure of the imagination which comes in a dream just before one rolls to the floor. But it has always remained an abstract imagining until the German mark suddenly came upon it and tumbled in. The mark had already reached an abysmal depth; now gathering more impetus, it has plunged onward twice as far as before.
Fabulous tales are told concerning the revolutionary currency in this country--how it was carried about in bushel baskets and used for wall paper. But the Germans have selfishly tarnished the gold of that aura. Only a few days ago someone in Berlin offered an American dollar in a restaurant for a square meal and was presented with three, not only square but pressed down and running over. A Swiss firm, deeming the mark cheaper than waste paper, attempted to import a few billion for conversion into pulp. But the Swiss government objected to the importation of foreign currency in bulk. Switzerland, of course, is a very small country. The world is all agog in expectation of what the mathematical moron will have to say. A dollar's worth of one-mark notes laid end to end ought easily to reach the moon, and a hundred dollars' worth might build a stairway to Paradise.
There have been many attempts to discover the source of this ever-growing river. In fact the question, why is a mark that sinks, is recognized as quite eligible at the most informal gatherings. Not to be outdone, Harvard may offer two plausible explanations. In accordance with Einstein's theory, the scientific German may hops, by reducing the mark sufficiently far in a straight line, to make it return through curvilinear space to its original position. Or if this should be beyond the grasp of those who do not comprehend Einstein, the German may be trying to keep the natural resources out of French hands by using their forests for pulp. At any rate when the printing of the mark has come to a period, one may wonder whether, "if seven maids with seven brooms should sweep for seven years," they could ever clean up the mess.