free lunch transgression and implementation


Transgression 11
In the early eighteenth century, no one stood higher in English society
than the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough. The duke, having led successful campaigns against the French, was considered Europe's premier
general and strategist. And his wife, the duchess, after much maneuvering,
had established herself as the favorite of Queen Anne, who became ruler
of England in 1702. In 1704 the duke's triumph at the Battle of Blenheim
made hirn the toast of England, and to honor hirn the queen awarded hirn
a large plot of land in the town of Woodstock, and the funds to create a
great palace there. Calling his planned horne the Palace of Blenheim, the
duke chose as his architect the young John Vanbrugh, a kind of Renaissance man who wrote plays as weIl as designed buildings. And so construction began, in the summer of 1705, with much fanfare and great
Vanbrugh had a dramatist's sense of architecture. His palace was to be
a monument to Marlborough's brilliance and power, and was to include
artificial lakes, enormous bridges, elaborate gardens, and other fantastical
touches. From day one, however, the duchess could not be pleased: She
thought Vanbrugh was wasting money on yet another stand of trees; she
wanted the palace finished as so on as possible. The duchess tortured Vanbrugh and his workmen on every detail. 

She was consumed with petty
maUers; although the government was paying for Blenheim, she counted
every penny. Eventually her grumbling, about Blenheim and other things
too, created an irreparable rift between her and Queen Anne, who, in 171 1,
dismissed her from the court, ordering her to vacate her apartments at the
royal palace. When the duchess left (fuming over the loss of her position,
and also of her royal salary), she emptied the apartment of every fixture
down to the brass doorknobs.
Over the next ten years, work on Blenheim would stop and start, as
the funds became harder to procure from the government. The duchess
suspicion of robbing
the disciple of his soul.
People who say, 'I take
nothing, ' may be found
to take away the vo/ition of their victim. "
1 970
TIIE �IA[\ \nw
THA" L1n:
In ancient times there
was an old woodcutter
who went to the mountain almost every day
to cut wood.
It was said that this old
man was a miser who
hoarded his silver until
it changed to gold, and
that he ca red more for
gold than anything else
in all the world.
One day a wilderness
tiger sprang at him and
though he ran he could
not escape, and the
tiger carried him off in
its mouth.
The woodcutter's son
saw his father's danger,
and ran to save him il
possible. He carried a
long knife, and as he
could run faster than
the tiger, who had a
man to carry, he .\"Oon
overlOok them.
His father was not
much hurt, for the tiger
held him by his cloth es.
When the old woodclItter saw his son abollt to
stab the tiger he called
Ollt in great alarm:
"Do not spoil the
tiger's skin! Do not
5poil the tiger\' skin! II
you can kill him withOllt cllfting holes in his
LAW 40 337
skin we can get man y
pieces ofsilver je)r it.
Kill hirn, but da not cut
his body. "
While the son was
listening to his father's
instructions the tiger
suddenly dashed off
into the forest, carrying
the old man where the
son could not reach
hirn, and he was soon
1 960
'11 1 1': S'IOIlY OF \1 0SI:S
-\.'m I'I IAHA(>l 1
It is wrirten in the
historie.l' ofthe
prophe!s that Moses
was sent to Pharaoh
wirh many miracles,
wonders and honors,
Now the daily ration
for Pharaoh ,- tahle was
4,000 sheep, 400 co ws,
200 camels. anti a
corresponding amoun!
oI chickens, fish.

 he verages, fried meats,
sweets, anti other
things. All (he people of
Egyp( and all his army
used to eat a! his table
every day. For 40()
years he had claimed
divinity arul never
ceased providing this
When Moses prayed,
saying, "0 Lord,
destroy Pharaoh, " God
answered his prayer
arul said. "I shall
destroy hirn in water.
and I shall bestow al!
his wealth and that of
his soldiers on you ami
your peoples. " Several
338 LAW 40
thought Vanbrugh was out to ruin her. She quibbled over every carload of
stone and bushel of lime, counted every extra yard of iron railing or foot of
wainscot, hurling abuse at the wasteful workmen, contractors, and surveyors. Marlborough, old and weary, wanted nothing more than to settle into
the palace in his last years, but the project became bogged down in a
swamp of litigation, the workmen suing the duchess for wages, the duchess
suing the architect right back. In the midst of this interminable wrangling,
the duke died. He had never spent a night in his beloved Blenheim.
After Marlborough's death, it becarne clear that he had a vast estate,
worth over .E2 million-more than enough to pay for finishing the palace.
But the duchess would not relent: She held back Vanbrugh's wages as weIl
as the workmen's, and finally had the architect dismissed. The man who
took his place finished Blenheim in a few years, following Vanbrugh's designs to the letter. Vanbrugh died in 1726, locked out of the palace by the
duchess, unable to set foot in his greatest creation. Foreshadowing the romantic movement, Blenheim had started a whole new trend in architecture, but had given its creator a twenty-year nightmare. 

For the Duchess of Marlborough, money was a way to play sadistic power
games. She saw the loss of money as a symbolic loss of power. With Vanbrugh her contortions went deeper still: He was a great artist, and she envied his power to create, to attain a farne outside her reach. She may not
have had his gifts, but she did have the money to torture and abuse hirn
over the pettiest details-to ruin his life.
This kind of sadism, however, 

be ars an awful price. It made construction that should have lasted ten years take twenty. It poisoned many a relationship, alienated the duchess from the court, deeply pained the duke
(who wanted only to live peacefully in Blenheim), created endless lawsuits,
and took years offVanbrugh's life. Finally, too, posterity had the last word:
Vanbrugh is recognized as a genius while the duchess is forever remembered for her consummate cheapness.
The powerful must have grandeur of spirit-they can never reveal any
pettiness. And money is the most visible arena in which to display either
grandeur or pettiness. Best spend freely, then, and create a reputation for
generosity, which in the end will pay great dividends. Never let financial
details blind you to the bigger picture of how people perceive you. Their
resentment will cost you in the long run. And if you want to meddle in the
work of creative people under your hire, at least pay them weIl. Your
money will buy their submission better than your displays of power.

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