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Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/287

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CHAPTER VI.


BARKILPHEDRO.


IT is well to know what people are doing, and a certain surveillance is wise.

Josiana had Lord David watched by a creature of hers, whom she thought she could trust, and whose name was Barkilphedro. Lord David had Josiana secretly watched by a creature of his, of whom he felt sure, and whose name was Barkilphedro. Queen Anne, for her part, kept herself secretly informed of the actions and conduct of the Duchess Josiana her bastard sister, and of Lord David her future brother-in-law (on the left hand), by a creature of hers whom she trusted implicitly, and whose name was Barkilphedro.

Barkilphedro had not always held the magnificent position of whisperer into three ears. He was an old servant of the Duke of York. He had tried to be a clergyman, but had failed. The Duke of York, an English and Roman prince, compounded of royal Popery and legal Anglicanism, had his Catholic household and his Protestant household, and might have pushed Barkilphedro in one or the other hierarchy; but he did not judge him to be Catholic enough to make him almoner, or Protestant enough to make him chaplain,—so that between two religions Barkilphedro found himself with his soul on the ground. Not a bad posture, either, for certain reptile souls; and some roads are impracticable, so that one must crawl flat on one's belly.