Monday, April 20, 2020

Mark Twain meets fire engines and insurance

(In Rome) I saw real glass windows in the houses of even the commonest people. Some of the houses are not of stone, nor yet of bricks; I solemnly swear they are made of wood.

Houses there will take fire and burn, sometimes—actually burn entirely down, and not leave a single vestige behind. I could state that for a truth, upon my death-bed.

And as a proof that the circumstance is not rare, I aver that they have a thing which they call a fire-engine, which vomits forth great streams of water, and is kept always in readiness, by night and by day, to rush to houses that are burning. You would think one engine would be sufficient, but some great cities have a hundred; they keep men hired, and pay them by the month to do nothing but put out fires.

For a certain sum of money other men will insure that your house shall not burn down; and if it burns they will pay you for it.
Source: The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain

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