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Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/391

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THINKING JUSTICE, SPEAKING TRUTH.

will it do them? The people object, indeed! Why? Plautus himself would never have entertained such an absurd idea. A philosopher would be thought jesting if he advised a poor devil of the masses to cry out against the size and weight of the lords. As well might the gnat dispute with the foot of an elephant. One day I saw a hippopotamus tread upon a mole-hill; he crushed it utterly. He was innocent. The great soft-headed fool of a mastodon was not even aware of the mole's existence. My son, the down-trodden moles are the human race. To crush is the universal law. And do you think that the mole himself crushes nothing? Why, he is the mastodon of the flesh-worm, who in turn is the mastodon of the globe-worm.

"But let us cease arguing. My boy, there are coaches in the world; my lord is inside, the people under the wheels; the philosopher gets out of the way. Stand aside, and let them pass. As for me, I love lords, and yet shun them. I lived with one; the charm of the recollection suffices me. I remember his country house; it would be impossible to conceive of anything more grand and beautiful than Marmaduke Lodge and its surroundings. The houses, country seats, and palaces of the lords form a collection of all that is greatest and most magnificent in this flourishing kingdom. I love our lords. I am grateful to them for being opulent, powerful, and prosperous. I myself am clothed in shadow, so I look with interest upon the shred of heavenly blue which is called a lord. You enter Marmaduke Lodge by an exceedingly spacious courtyard, which forms an oblong square, divided into eight spaces, each surrounded by a balustrade; on each side is a wide approach, and a superb hexagonal fountain plays in the midst; this fountain is formed of two basins, which are surmounted by a dome of exquisite open-work, elevated