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Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/239

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LORD CLANCHARLIE.

was tried before the tribunal of public opinion. They pleaded for and against him. The cause having been heard, he was acquitted on the ground of stupidity. Many zealous friends of the former republic had given their adherence to the Stuarts; for this they deserve praise. They naturally calumniated him a little. The obstinate are repulsive to the compliant. Men of sense, anxious for good places at court, and weary of his disagreeable attitude, took pleasure in saying, "If he has not rallied to the throne, it is because he has not been sufficiently paid," etc. "He wanted the chancellorship which the king has given to Hyde." One of his old friends even went so far as to whisper, "He told me so himself."

Remote as was the solitude of Linnæus Clancharlie, a little of this talk reached him now and then through other outlaws whom he met, and through that old regicide, Andrew Broughton, who lived at Lausanne. Clancharlie confined himself to an imperceptible shrug of the shoulders, a sign of profound disgust with him. On one occasion he added to the shrug these few words, uttered in a low voice, "I pity those who believe such things."


IV.

Charles II., good man! scorned him. The happiness of England under Charles II. was more than happiness, it was enchantment. A restoration is like an old oil painting re-varnished. All the past reappeared, good old manners returned, beautiful women reigned and governed. Evelyn notices it. We read in his journal, "Luxury, profaneness, contempt of God! I saw the king on Sunday evening with his courtesans, Portsmouth, Cleveland, Mazarin, and two or three others, all nearly naked, in the gaming-room." We feel that there is ill-