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Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/392

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THE MAN WHO LAUGHS.

on six columns. It was there that I knew a learned Frenchman, Monsieur l'Abbé du Cros, who belonged to the Jacobin monastery in the Rue Saint Jacques. Half the library of Erpenius is at Marmaduke Lodge, the other half is in the theological schools at Cambridge. I used to read the books, seated under the richly ornamented portal. These things are only shown to a select number of curious travellers. Do you know, you ridiculous boy, that William North, who is Lord Grey of Rolleston, and sits fourteenth on the bench of Barons, has more forest trees on his mountains than you have hairs on your horrible noddle? Do you know that Lord Norreys of Rycote, who is Earl of Abingdon, has a square keep a hundred feet high, having this device: Virtus ariete fortior; which you would think meant that virtue is stronger than a ram, but which really means, you idiot, that courage is stronger than a battering-machine. Yes, I honour, accept, respect, and revere our lords. It is the lords who, with her royal Majesty, labour to ensure and preserve the welfare of the nation. Their consummate wisdom shines in critical junctures. Their precedence over others I wish they had not; but they have it. What is called principality in Germany and grandeeship in Spain, is called peerage in England and France. There being a fair show of reason for considering the world a wretched place. Heaven felt where the burden was most galling, and to prove that it knew how to make happy people, created lords for the satisfaction of philosophers. This acts as a set-off, and gets Heaven out of the scrape, affording it a decent escape from a false position. The great are great. A peer, speaking of himself, says "We." A peer is a plural. The king calls the peer consanguinei nostri. The peers have made a multitude of wise laws; among others, one which condemns to death any one who cuts down a