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Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/273

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THE LEADER OF FASHION.

the poor. For this reason, no complaint was possible; that was the best of the joke. These manners have not altogether disappeared. In many places in England and in English possessions (at Guernsey, for instance) your house is now and then somewhat damaged during the night, or a fence broken, or the knocker twisted off your door. If it were the poor who did these things, they would be sent to jail; but they are done by pleasant young gentlemen.

The most fashionable of the clubs was presided over by a so-called emperor, who wore a crescent on his forehead, and was called the Grand Mohawk. The Mohawk surpassed the Fun. "Do evil for evil's sake" was the programme. The Mohawk Club had one great object,—to injure. To accomplish this object, all sorts of means were resorted to. In becoming a Mohawk, the members took an oath to that effect. To injure at any price, no matter when, no matter whom, no matter where, was a matter of duty. Every member of the Mohawk Club was bound to possess some accomplishment. One was "a dancing master;" that is to say, he made the rustics frisk about by pricking the calves of their legs with the point of his sword. Others knew how to make a man sweat; that is to say, a circle of gentlemen with drawn rapiers would surround a poor wretch, so that it was impossible for him not to turn his back upon some one of them; the gentleman he turned his back upon chastised him for it by a prick of his sword, which made him spring round; another prick in the back warned the fellow that a person of noble blood was behind him,—and so on, each one wounding him in turn; when the man, hemmed in by the circle of swords and covered with blood, had turned and danced about enough, they had him beaten by their servants in order to divert his mind. Others "punched the lion;"