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Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/281

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QUEEN ANNE.

The laws against Ireland, emanating from Queen Anne, were atrocious. Anne was born in 1664, two years before the great fire in London, and the astrologers (there were some left; witness Louis XIV., who was born with the assistance of an astrologer, and swaddled in a horoscope) predicted that being the elder sister of fire she would be queen. And so she was, thanks to astrology and the revolution of 1688. She had the humiliation of having only Gilbert, Archbishop of Canterbury, for god-father. To be the god-child of the Pope was no longer possible in England; a mere primate is but a poor sort of god-father. Anne had to put up with it, however. It was her own fault; why was she a Protestant?

Denmark had paid for Anne's virginity (virginitas empta, as the old charters expressed it) by a dowry of £6,250 a year, secured on the bailiwick of Wardinburg and the island of Fehmarn. She followed, without conviction and by routine, the traditions of William. The English under this régime born of a revolution enjoyed as much liberty as they could lay hands on between the Tower of London, in which the orators were incarcerated, and the pillory, in which the writers were placed. Anne spoke a little Danish in her private chats with her husband, and a little French in her private chats with Bolingbroke. Wretched gibberish; but the height of English fashion, especially at court, was to talk French. There was never a bon mot but in French. Anne paid a deal of attention to the coinage of the realm, especially to the copper coins, which are the common and popular ones; she wanted to cut a great figure on them. Six different farthings were struck during her reign. On the back of the first three she had merely a throne struck; on the back of the fourth she ordered a triumphal chariot; and on the back of the