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Lira

While visiting the Palazzo Reale (in Palermo) with Henry Festing Jones one day, Samuel Butler was cheated by a porter at the entrance to the Capella Palatina who gave Butler a counterfeit lira in his change and refused to exchange it:

"When we came out we had recovered a little, and the custode... returned our umbrellas to us with an obsequiousness capable of but one interpretation. 'I shall not give him anything,' said Butler severely to me. 'Oh yes, I will though,' he added, and his eyes twinkled as he fumbled in his pocket.

"Then, with a very fair approach to Sicilian politeness, he handed the bad lira back to the old gentleman. The custode's face changed and changed again like a field of corn on a breezy morning.

"In spite of his archiepiscopal appearance he would have been contented with a few soldi; seeing a whole lira he beamed with delight; then, detecting its badness, his countenance fell and he began to object; almost immediately he identified it as his own coin and was on the point of bursting with rage, but suddenly realizing that he could have nothing to say, he laughed heartily, shook hands with both of us, and apologized for not being able to leave his post as he would so much have liked to drink a glass of wine with us.

"'There, now we have made another friend for life,' said Butler as he drove away."

["A group of Russian counterfeiters produced a near-perfect run of bogus 50,000-ruble bank notes (worth about $22). Once they went into general circulation, officials agreed that it was an excellent job and [the bills] appeared to be genuine currency. Their only error was misspelling 'Russia.'"]

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