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most noble and puissant lord, the Viscount noble and puissant lord, the
Baron a 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, who are the people, when
ordered to the bar of the Lords, humbly present themselves bareheaded
before the peers, who remain covered. The Commons send up their bills by
forty members, who present the bill with three low bows. The Lords send
their bills to the Commons by a mere clerk. In case of disagreement, the
two Houses confer in the Painted Chamber, the Peers seated and covered,
the Commons standing and bareheaded.

"Peers go to parliament in their coaches in file; the Commons do not.
Some peers go to Westminster in open four-wheeled chariots. The use of
these and of coaches emblazoned with coats of arms and coronets is
allowed only to peers, and forms a portion of their dignity.

"Barons have the same rank as bishops. To be a baron peer of England, it
is necessary to be in possession of a tenure from the king _per Baroniam
integram_, by full barony. The full barony consists of thirteen knights'
fees and one third part, each knight's fee being of the value of £20
sterling, which makes in all 400 marks. The head of a barony (_Caput
baroniæ_) is a castle disposed by inheritance, as England herself, that
is to say, descending to daughters if there be no sons, and in that case
going to the eldest daughter, _cæteris filiabus aliundè satisfactis_.[1]

"Barons have the degree of lord: in Saxon, _laford_; _dominus_ in high
Latin; _Lordus_ in low Latin. The eldest and younger sons of viscounts
and barons are the first esquires in the kingdom. The eldest sons of
peers take precedence of knights of the garter. The younger sons do
not. The eldest son of a viscount comes after all barons, and precedes
all baronets. Every daughter of a peer is a _Lady_. Other English girls
are plain _Mistress_.

"All judges rank below peers. The serjeant wears a lambskin tippet; the
judge one of patchwork, _de minuto vario_, made up of a variety of
little white furs, always excepting ermine. Ermine is reserved for peers
and the king.

"A lord never takes an oath, either to the crown or the law. His word
suffices; he says, Upon my honour.

"By a law of Edward the Sixth, peers have the privilege of committing
manslaughter. A peer who kills a man without premeditation is not
prosecuted.

"The persons of peers are inviolable.

"A peer cannot be held in durance, save in the Tower of London.

"A writ of supplicavit cannot be granted against a peer.

"A peer sent for by the king has the right to kill one or two deer in
the royal park.

"A peer holds in his castle a baron's court of justice.

"It is unworthy of a peer to walk the street in a cloak, followed by two
footmen. He should only show himself attended by a great train of
gentlemen of his household.

"A peer can be amerced only by his peers, and never to any greater
amount than five pounds, excepting in the case of a duke, who can be
amerced ten.

"A peer may retain six aliens born, any other Englishman but four.

"A peer can have wine custom-free; an earl eight tuns.

"A peer is alone exempt from presenting himself before the sheriff of
the circuit.

"A peer cannot be assessed towards the militia.

"When it pleases a peer he raises a regiment and gives it to the king;
thus have done their graces the Dukes of Athol, Hamilton, and
Northumberland.

"A peer can hold only of a peer.

"In a civil cause he can demand the adjournment of the case, if there be
not at least one knight on the jury.

"A peer nominates his own chaplains. A baron appoints three chaplains;
a viscount four; an earl and a marquis five; a duke six.

"A peer cannot be put to the rack, even for high treason. A peer cannot
be branded on the hand. A peer is a clerk, though he knows not how to
read. In law he knows.

"A duke has a right to a canopy, or cloth of state, in all places where
the king is not present; a viscount may have one in his house; a baron
has a cover of assay, which may be held under his cup while he drinks. A
baroness has the right to have her train borne by a man in the presence
of a viscountess.

"Eighty-six tables, with five hundred dishes, are served every day in
the royal palace at each meal.

"If a plebeian strike a lord, his hand is cut off.

"A lord is very nearly a king.

"The king is very nearly a god.

"The earth is a lordship.

"The English address God as my lord!"

Opposite this writing was written a second one, in the same fashion,
which ran thus: -

"SATISFACTION WHICH MUST SUFFICE THOSE WHO HAVE NOTHING.

"Henry Auverquerque, Earl of Grantham, who sits in the House of Lords
between the Earl of Jersey and the Earl of Greenwich, has a hundred
thousand a year. To his lordship belongs the palace of Grantham Terrace,
built all of marble and famous for what is called the labyrinth of
passages - a curiosity which contains the scarlet corridor in marble of
Sarancolin, the brown corridor in lumachel of Astracan, the white
corridor in marble of Lani, the black corridor in marble of Alabanda,
the gray corridor in marble of Staremma, the yellow corridor in marble
of Hesse, the green corridor in marble of the Tyrol, the red corridor,
half cherry-spotted marble of Bohemia, half lumachel of Cordova, the
blue corridor in turquin of Genoa, the violet in granite of Catalonia,
the mourning-hued corridor veined black and white in slate of Murviedro,
the pink corridor in cipolin of the Alps, the pearl corridor in lumachel
of Nonetta, and the corridor of all colours, called the courtiers'
corridor, in motley.

"Richard Lowther, Viscount Lonsdale, owns Lowther in Westmorland, which
has a magnificent approach, and a flight of entrance steps which seem to
invite the ingress of kings.

"Richard, Earl of Scarborough, Viscount and Baron Lumley of Lumley
Castle, Viscount Lumley of Waterford in Ireland, and Lord Lieutenant and
Vice-Admiral of the county of Northumberland and of Durham, both city
and county, owns the double castleward of old and new Sandbeck, where
you admire a superb railing, in the form of a semicircle, surrounding
the basin of a matchless fountain. He has, besides, his castle of
Lumley.

"Robert Darcy, Earl of Holderness, has his domain of Holderness, with
baronial towers, and large gardens laid out in French fashion, where he
drives in his coach-and-six, preceded by two outriders, as becomes a
peer of England.

"Charles Beauclerc, Duke of St. Albans, Earl of Burford, Baron
Hedington, Grand Falconer of England, has an abode at Windsor, regal
even by the side of the king's.

"Charles Bodville Robartes, Baron Robartes of Truro, Viscount Bodmin and
Earl of Radnor, owns Wimpole in Cambridgeshire, which is as three
palaces in one, having three façades, one bowed and two triangular. The
approach is by an avenue of trees four deep.

"The most noble and most puissant Lord Philip, Baron Herbert of Cardiff,
Earl of Montgomery and of Pembroke, Ross of Kendall, Parr, Fitzhugh,
Marmion, St. Quentin, and Herbert of Shurland, Warden of the Stannaries
in the counties of Cornwall and Devon, hereditary visitor of Jesus
College, possesses the wonderful gardens at Wilton, where there are two
sheaf-like fountains, finer than those of his most Christian Majesty
King Louis XIV. at Versailles.

"Charles Somerset, Duke of Somerset, owns Somerset House on the Thames,
which is equal to the Villa Pamphili at Rome. On the chimney-piece are
seen two porcelain vases of the dynasty of the Yuens, which are worth
half a million in French money.

"In Yorkshire, Arthur, Lord Ingram, Viscount Irwin, has Temple Newsain,
which is entered under a triumphal arch and which has large wide roofs
resembling Moorish terraces.

"Robert, Lord Ferrers of Chartly, Bourchier, and Lonvaine, has Staunton
Harold in Leicestershire, of which the park is geometrically planned in
the shape of a temple with a façade, and in front of the piece of water
is the great church with the square belfry, which belongs to his
lordship.

"In the county of Northampton, Charles Spencer, Earl of Sunderland,
member of his Majesty's Privy Council, possesses Althorp, at the
entrance of which is a railing with four columns surmounted by groups in
marble.

"Laurence Hyde, Earl of Rochester, has, in Surrey, New Park, rendered
magnificent by its sculptured pinnacles, its circular lawn belted by
trees, and its woodland, at the extremity of which is a little mountain,
artistically rounded, and surmounted by a large oak, which can be seen
from afar.

"Philip Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield, possesses Bretby Hall in
Derbyshire, with a splendid clock tower, falconries, warrens, and very
fine sheets of water, long, square, and oval, one of which is shaped
like a mirror, and has two jets, which throw the water to a great
height.

"Charles Cornwallis, Baron Cornwallis of Eye, owns Broome Hall, a palace
of the fourteenth century.

"The most noble Algernon Capel, Viscount Maiden, Earl of Essex, has
Cashiobury in Hertfordshire, a seat which has the shape of a capital H,
and which rejoices sportsmen with its abundance of game.

"Charles, Lord Ossulston, owns Darnley in Middlesex, approached by
Italian gardens.

"James Cecil, Earl of Salisbury, has, seven leagues from London,
Hatfield House, with its four lordly pavilions, its belfry in the
centre, and its grand courtyard of black and white slabs, like that of
St. Germain. This palace, which has a frontage 272 feet in length, was
built in the reign of James I. by the Lord High Treasurer of England,
the great-grandfather of the present earl. To be seen there is the bed
of one of the Countesses of Salisbury: it is of inestimable value and
made entirely of Brazilian wood, which is a panacea against the bites of
serpents, and which is called _milhombres_ - that is to say, a thousand
men. On this bed is inscribed, _Honi soit qui mal y pense_.

"Edward Rich, Earl of Warwick and Holland, is owner of Warwick Castle,
where whole oaks are burnt in the fireplaces.

"In the parish of Sevenoaks, Charles Sackville, Baron Buckhurst, Baron
Cranfield, Earl of Dorset and Middlesex, is owner of Knowle, which is as
large as a town and is composed of three palaces standing parallel one
behind the other, like ranks of infantry. There are six covered flights
of steps on the principal frontage, and a gate under a keep with four
towers.

"Thomas Thynne, Baron Thynne of Warminster, and Viscount Weymouth,
possesses Longleat, in which there are as many chimneys, cupolas,
pinnacles, pepper-boxes pavilions, and turrets as at Chambord, in
France, which belongs to the king.

"Henry Howard, Earl of Suffolk, owns, twelve leagues from London, the
palace of Audley End in Essex, which in grandeur and dignity scarcely
yields the palm to the Escorial of the King of Spain.

"In Bedfordshire, Wrest House and Park, which is a whole district,
enclosed by ditches, walls, woodlands, rivers, and hills, belongs to
Henry, Marquis of Kent.

"Hampton Court, in Herefordshire, with its strong embattled keep, and
its gardens bounded by a piece of water which divides them from the
forest, belongs to Thomas, Lord Coningsby.

"Grimsthorp, in Lincolnshire, with its long façade intersected by
turrets in pale, its park, its fish-ponds, its pheasantries, its
sheepfolds, its lawns, its grounds planted with rows of trees, its
groves, its walks, its shrubberies, its flower-beds and borders, formed
in square and lozenge-shape, and resembling great carpets; its
racecourses, and the majestic sweep for carriages to turn in at the
entrance of the house - belongs to Robert, Earl Lindsey, hereditary lord
of the forest of Waltham.

"Up Park, in Sussex, a square house, with two symmetrical belfried
pavilions on each side of the great courtyard, belongs to the Right
Honourable Forde, Baron Grey of Werke, Viscount Glendale and Earl of
Tankerville.

"Newnham Paddox, in Warwickshire, which has two quadrangular fish-ponds
and a gabled archway with a large window of four panes, belongs to the
Earl of Denbigh, who is also Count von Rheinfelden, in Germany.

"Wytham Abbey, in Berkshire, with its French garden in which there are
four curiously trimmed arbours, and its great embattled towers,
supported by two bastions, belongs to Montague, Earl of Abingdon, who
also owns Rycote, of which he is Baron, and the principal door of which
bears the device _Virtus ariete fortior_.

"William Cavendish, Duke of Devonshire, has six dwelling-places, of
which Chatsworth (two storied, and of the finest order of Grecian
architecture) is one.

"The Viscount of Kinalmeaky, who is Earl of Cork, in Ireland, is owner
of Burlington House, Piccadilly, with its extensive gardens, reaching to
the fields outside London; he is also owner of Chiswick, where there are
nine magnificent lodges; he also owns Londesborough, which is a new
house by the side of an old palace.

"The Duke of Beaufort owns Chelsea, which contains two Gothic buildings,
and a Florentine one; he has also Badminton, in Gloucestershire, a
residence from which a number of avenues branch out like rays from a
star. The most noble and puissant Prince Henry, Duke of Beaufort, is
also Marquis and Earl of Worcester, Earl of Glamorgan, Viscount
Grosmont, and Baron Herbert of Chepstow, Ragland, and Gower, Baron
Beaufort of Caldecott Castle, and Baron de Bottetourt.

"John Holies, Duke of Newcastle, and Marquis of Clare, owns Bolsover,
with its majestic square keeps; his also is Haughton, in
Nottinghamshire, where a round pyramid, made to imitate the Tower of
Babel, stands in the centre of a basin of water.

"William, Earl of Craven, Viscount Uffington, and Baron Craven of
Hamstead Marshall, owns Combe Abbey in Warwickshire, where is to be seen
the finest water-jet in England; and in Berkshire two baronies, Hamstead
Marshall, on the façade of which are five Gothic lanterns sunk in the
wall, and Ashdown Park, which is a country seat situate at the point of
intersection of cross-roads in a forest.

"Linnæus, Lord Clancharlie, Baron Clancharlie and Hunkerville, Marquis
of Corleone in Sicily, derives his title from the castle of Clancharlie,
built in 912 by Edward the Elder, as a defence against the Danes.
Besides Hunkerville House, in London, which is a palace, he has Corleone
Lodge at Windsor, which is another, and eight castlewards, one at
Burton-on-Trent, with a royalty on the carriage of plaster of Paris;
then Grumdaith Humble, Moricambe, Trewardraith, Hell-Kerters (where
there is a miraculous well), Phillinmore, with its turf bogs, Reculver,
near the ancient city Vagniac, Vinecaunton, on the Moel-eulle Mountain;
besides nineteen boroughs and villages with reeves, and the whole of
Penneth chase, all of which bring his lordship £40,000 a year.

"The 172 peers enjoying their dignities under James II. possess among
them altogether a revenue of £1,272,000 sterling a year, which is the
eleventh part of the revenue of England."

In the margin, opposite the last name (that of Linnæus, Lord
Clancharlie), there was a note in the handwriting of Ursus: _Rebel; in
exile; houses, lands, and chattels sequestrated. It is well_.




IV.


Ursus admired Homo. One admires one's like. It is a law. To be always
raging inwardly and grumbling outwardly was the normal condition of
Ursus. He was the malcontent of creation. By nature he was a man ever in
opposition. He took the world unkindly; he gave his satisfecit to no one
and to nothing. The bee did not atone, by its honey-making, for its
sting; a full-blown rose did not absolve the sun for yellow fever and
black vomit. It is probable that in secret Ursus criticized Providence a
good deal. "Evidently," he would say, "the devil works by a spring, and
the wrong that God does is having let go the trigger." He approved of
none but princes, and he had his own peculiar way of expressing his
approbation. One day, when James II. made a gift to the Virgin in a
Catholic chapel in Ireland of a massive gold lamp, Ursus, passing that
way with Homo, who was more indifferent to such things, broke out in
admiration before the crowd, and exclaimed, "It is certain that the
blessed Virgin wants a lamp much more than these barefooted children
there require shoes."

Such proofs of his loyalty, and such evidences of his respect for
established powers, probably contributed in no small degree to make the
magistrates tolerate his vagabond life and his low alliance with a wolf.
Sometimes of an evening, through the weakness of friendship, he allowed
Homo to stretch his limbs and wander at liberty about the caravan. The
wolf was incapable of an abuse of confidence, and behaved in society,
that is to say among men, with the discretion of a poodle. All the same,
if bad-tempered officials had to be dealt with, difficulties might have
arisen; so Ursus kept the honest wolf chained up as much as possible.

From a political point of view, his writing about gold, not very
intelligible in itself, and now become undecipherable, was but a smear,
and gave no handle to the enemy. Even after the time of James II., and
under the "respectable" reign of William and Mary, his caravan might
have been seen peacefully going its rounds of the little English country
towns. He travelled freely from one end of Great Britain to the other,
selling his philtres and phials, and sustaining, with the assistance of
his wolf, his quack mummeries; and he passed with ease through the
meshes of the nets which the police at that period had spread all over
England in order to sift wandering gangs, and especially to stop the
progress of the Comprachicos.

This was right enough. Ursus belonged to no gang. Ursus lived with
Ursus, a _tête-à-tête_, into which the wolf gently thrust his nose. If
Ursus could have had his way, he would have been a Caribbee; that being
impossible, he preferred to be alone. The solitary man is a modified
savage, accepted by civilization. He who wanders most is most alone;
hence his continual change of place. To remain anywhere long suffocated
him with the sense of being tamed. He passed his life in passing on his
way. The sight of towns increased his taste for brambles, thickets,
thorns, and holes in the rock. His home was the forest. He did not feel
himself much out of his element in the murmur of crowded streets, which
is like enough to the bluster of trees. The crowd to some extent
satisfies our taste for the desert. What he disliked in his van was its
having a door and windows, and thus resembling a house. He would have
realized his ideal, had he been able to put a cave on four wheels and
travel in a den.

He did not smile, as we have already said, but he used to laugh;
sometimes, indeed frequently, a bitter laugh. There is consent in a
smile, while a laugh is often a refusal.

His great business was to hate the human race. He was implacable in that
hate. Having made it clear that human life is a dreadful thing; having
observed the superposition of evils, kings on the people, war on kings,
the plague on war, famine on the plague, folly on everything; having
proved a certain measure of chastisement in the mere fact of existence;
having recognized that, death is a deliverance - when they brought him a
sick man he cured him; he had cordials and beverages to prolong the
lives of the old. He put lame cripples on their legs again, and hurled
this sarcasm at them, "There, you are on your paws once more; may you
walk long in this valley of tears!" When he saw a poor man dying of
hunger, he gave him all the pence he had about him, growling out, "Live
on, you wretch! eat! last a long time! It is not I who would shorten
your penal servitude." After which, he would rub his hands and say, "I
do men all the harm I can."

Through the little window at the back, passers-by could read on the
ceiling of the van these words, written within, but visible from
without, inscribed with charcoal, in big letters, -

URSUS, PHILOSOPHER.




ANOTHER PRELIMINARY CHAPTER.


THE COMPRACHICOS.

I.


Who now knows the word Comprachicos, and who knows its meaning?

The Comprachicos, or Comprapequeños, were a hideous and nondescript
association of wanderers, famous in the 17th century, forgotten in the
18th, unheard of in the 19th. The Comprachicos are like the "succession
powder," an ancient social characteristic detail. They are part of old
human ugliness. To the great eye of history, which sees everything
collectively, the Comprachicos belong to the colossal fact of slavery.
Joseph sold by his brethren is a chapter in their story. The
Comprachicos have left their traces in the penal laws of Spain and
England. You find here and there in the dark confusion of English laws
the impress of this horrible truth, like the foot-print of a savage in a
forest.

Comprachicos, the same as Comprapequeños, is a compound Spanish word
signifying Child-buyers.

The Comprachicos traded in children. They bought and sold them. They did
not steal them. The kidnapping of children is another branch of
industry. And what did they make of these children?

Monsters.

Why monsters?

To laugh at.

The populace must needs laugh, and kings too. The mountebank is wanted
in the streets, the jester at the Louvre. The one is called a Clown, the
other a Fool.

The efforts of man to procure himself pleasure are at times worthy of
the attention of the philosopher.

What are we sketching in these few preliminary pages? A chapter in the
most terrible of books; a book which might be entitled - _The farming of
the unhappy by the happy_.




II.


A child destined to be a plaything for men - such a thing has existed;
such a thing exists even now. In simple and savage times such a thing
constituted an especial trade. The 17th century, called the great
century, was of those times. It was a century very Byzantine in tone. It
combined corrupt simplicity with delicate ferocity - a curious variety of
civilization. A tiger with a simper. Madame de Sevigné minces on the
subject of the fagot and the wheel. That century traded a good deal in
children. Flattering historians have concealed the sore, but have
divulged the remedy, Vincent de Paul.

In order that a human toy should succeed, he must be taken early. The
dwarf must be fashioned when young. We play with childhood. But a
well-formed child is not very amusing; a hunchback is better fun.

Hence grew an art. There were trainers who took a man and made him an
abortion; they took a face and made a muzzle; they stunted growth; they
kneaded the features. The artificial production of teratological cases
had its rules. It was quite a science - what one can imagine as the
antithesis of orthopedy. Where God had put a look, their art put a
squint; where God had made harmony, they made discord; where God had
made the perfect picture, they re-established the sketch; and, in the
eyes of connoisseurs, it was the sketch which was perfect. They debased
animals as well; they invented piebald horses. Turenne rode a piebald
horse. In our own days do they not dye dogs blue and green? Nature is
our canvas. Man has always wished to add something to God's work. Man
retouches creation, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. The Court
buffoon was nothing but an attempt to lead back man to the monkey. It
was a progress the wrong way. A masterpiece in retrogression. At the
same time they tried to make a man of the monkey. Barbara, Duchess of
Cleveland and Countess of Southampton, had a marmoset for a page.
Frances Sutton, Baroness Dudley, eighth peeress in the bench of barons,
had tea served by a baboon clad in cold brocade, which her ladyship
called My Black. Catherine Sedley, Countess of Dorchester, used to go
and take her seat in Parliament in a coach with armorial bearings,
behind which stood, their muzzles stuck up in the air, three Cape
monkeys in grand livery. A Duchess of Medina-Celi, whose toilet Cardinal
Pole witnessed, had her stockings put on by an orang-outang. These
monkeys raised in the scale were a counterpoise to men brutalized and
bestialized. This promiscuousness of man and beast, desired by the
great, was especially prominent in the case of the dwarf and the dog.
The dwarf never quitted the dog, which was always bigger than himself.
The dog was the pair of the dwarf; it was as if they were coupled with a



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