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Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/234

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THE MAN WHO LAUGHS.

cides adding to the universal delight. A restoration is charming, but a few gibbets are not out of place, and it is necessary to satisfy the public conscience. To be good subjects was thenceforth the people's sole ambition. The spirit of lawlessness had been expelled. Loyalty was re-established. Men had recovered from the follies of politics; they sneered at revolution, they jeered at the republic; and as to those times when such strange words as Right, Liberty, Progress, had been in every one's mouth, why, they laughed at such bombast! How admirable this return to common-sense was! England had been in a dream. What joy to be free from such errors! Was ever anything so mad? Where should we be if every one had his rights? Fancy every one's having a hand in the government! Can you imagine a city ruled by its citizens? Why, the citizens are the team, and the team cannot act as driver. To put to the vote is to throw to the winds. Would you have States driven like clouds? Disorder cannot build up order. With chaos for an architect, the edifice would be a Babel. Besides, how tyrannical this pretended liberty is! As for me, I wish to enjoy myself, not to govern. It is a bore to have to vote; I want to dance. How providential that we have a prince to take care of us all! How kind the king is to take so much trouble for our sakes! Besides, he is to the manner born; he knows what's what; it's his business. Peace, war, legislation, finance,—what have the people to do with such things. Of course the people have to pay, of course the people have to serve; but that should suffice. They have a place in policy; from them come two essential things,—the army and the budget. To be liable to contribute, and to be liable to serve,—is not that enough? What more can they want? They are the military and the financial arm,—a magnificent rôle. The king reigns for