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Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/32

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THE MAN WHO LAUGHS.

it is possible that the philosophical remarks concerning the circulation of gold might not have been to the taste of the sheriffs, the provost-marshals, and other big-wigs of the law. English legislation did not trifle in those days. It did not take much to make a man a felon. The magistrates were ferocious by tradition, and cruelty was a matter of routine. The judges of assize increased and multiplied. Jefferies had become a breeder of whelps.


III.

In the interior of the van there were two other inscriptions. Above the locker, on a whitewashed plank, a hand had written in ink as follows:—


The Only Things Necessary to Know.


The baron, peer of England, wears a cap with six pearls. The coronet begins with the rank of viscount. The viscount wears a coronet of which the pearls are without number. The earl, a coronet with the pearls upon points, mingled with strawberry leaves placed low between. The marquis, one with pearls and leaves on the same level. The duke, one with strawberry leaves alone,—no pearls. The royal duke, a circlet of crosses and fleurs-de-lis. The Prince of Wales, crown like that of the king, but unclosed.

The duke is "most high and most puissant prince," the marquis and earl "most noble and puissant lord," the viscount "noble and puissant lord," the baron "trusty lord." The duke is "his Grace;" the other Peers their "Lordships." "Most honourable" is higher than "right honourable."

Lords who are peers are lords in their own right. Lords who are not peers are lords by courtesy:—there are no real lords, excepting such as are peers.

The House of Lords is a chamber and a court, Concilium et Curia, legislature and court of justice. The Commons,