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Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/280

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THE MAN WHO LAUGHS.

She had an absurd academy of music, copied after that of France. In 1700, a Frenchman named Forteroche wanted to build a royal circus at Paris, at a cost of four hundred thousand francs, which scheme was opposed by D'Argenson. This Forteroche went over to England, and proposed to Queen Anne to build in London a theatre finer than that of the King of France,—with which idea the queen was immediately charmed. Like Louis XIV., she liked to be driven at a gallop. Her teams and relays would sometimes do the distance between London and Windsor in less than an hour and a quarter.


II.

In Anne's time, no meeting was allowed without the permission of two justices of the peace. The convening of twelve persons, even if it were only to eat oysters and drink porter, was a felony. Under her reign, comparatively mild in other respects, impressing for the navy was carried on with extreme violence,—a gloomy evidence that the Englishman is a subject rather than a citizen. For centuries England suffered under this kind of tyranny, which gave the lie to all the old charters of liberty, and which France considered a good cause for triumph and indignation. What in some degree diminishes the triumph is, that while sailors were being impressed in England, soldiers were being impressed in France. In every great town of France, any able-bodied man, going through the streets about his business, was liable to be shoved by the crimps into a house called "the oven." There he was shut up with others in the same plight; those fit for service were picked out, and the recruiters sold them to the officers. In 1695 there were thirty of these "ovens" in Paris.