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Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/218

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THE MAN WHO LAUGHS.

you lawless wretches! Vagabonds are punished; honest folks who have houses are guarded and protected. Kings are the fathers of their people. I have my own house. You would have been whipped in the public street had you chanced to have been met; and quite right, too. Order must be maintained in a city. For my own part, I did wrong not to denounce you to the constable. But I am such a fool! I understand what is right and do what is wrong. Oh, the ruffian! to come here in such a state! I did not see the snow upon them when they came in; it has melted, and here's my whole house swamped. I have an inundation in my home. I shall have to burn an incredible amount of coals to dry up this lake,—and coals at twelve farthings, the miners' standard! How am I going to manage to fit three into this van? My career is ended; there is nothing left for me now but to become a wet-nurse. I am going to have on my hands the weaning of the future beggardom of England. It seems destined to be my employment, office, and function to bring up the offspring of that colossal Prostitute, Misery; to bring to perfection future gallows' birds, and teach young thieves the forms of philosophy. The tongue of the wolf is the warning of God! And to think that if I had not been eaten up by creatures of this kind for the last thirty years, I should be rich, and Homo would be fat; I should have a medicine-chest full of rarities, as many surgical instruments as Doctor Linacre surgeon to King Henry VIII., divers animals of all kinds, Egyptian mummies and similar curiosities; I should be a member of the College of Physicians, and have the right of using the library built in 1652 by the celebrated Hervey, and of studying in the lantern of that dome whence you can see the whole of London; I could continue my observations of solar obfuscation, and prove that a caliginous vapour arises from the planet.—Such