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In Three Books.


MONSEIGNEUR, one of the great lords in power
at the Court, held his fortnightly reception in
his grand hotel in Paris. Monseigneur was in
his inner room, his sanctuary of sanctuaries, the
Holiest of Holiests to the crowd of worshippers in
the suite of rooms without. Monseigneur was
about to take his chocolate. Monseigneur could
swallow a great many things with ease, and was
by some few sullen minds supposed to be rather
rapidly swallowing France; but, his morning's
chocolate could not so much as get into the
throat of Monseigneur, without the aid of four
strong men besides the Cook.

Yes. It took four men, all four a-blaze with
gorgeous decoration, and the Chief of them
unable to exist with fewer than two gold watches
in his pocket, emulative of the noble and chaste
fashion set by Monseigneur, to conduct the
happy chocolate to Monseigneur's lips. One
lacquey carried the chocolate-pot into the
sacred presence; a second, milled and frothed
the chocolate with the little instrument he bore
for that function; a third, presented the favoured
napkin; a fourth (he of the two gold watches)
poured the chocolate out. It was impossible
for Monseigneur to dispense with one of these
attendants on the chocolate and hold his high
place under the admiring Heavens. Deep would
have been the blot upon his escutcheon if his
chocolate had been ignobly waited on by only
three men; he must have died of two.

Monseigneur had been out at a little supper
last night, where the Comedy and the Grand
Opera were charmingly represented. Monseigneur
was out at a little supper most nights,
with fascinating company. So polite and so
impressible was Monseigneur, that the Comedy
and the Grand Opera had far more influence with
him in the tiresome articles of state affairs
and state secrets, than the needs of all France.
A happy circumstance for France, as the like
always is for all countries similarly favoured!
always was for England (by way of example),
in the regretted days of the merry Stuart who
sold it.

Monseigneur had one truly noble idea of general
public business, which was, to let everything
go on in its own way; of particular public
business, Monseigneur had the other truly noble
idea that it must all go his waytend to his
own power and pocket. Of his pleasures, general
and particular, Monseigneur had the other
truly noble idea, that the world was made for
them. The text of his order (altered from the
original by only a pronoun, which is not much)
ran: "The earth and the fulness therof are
mine, saith Monseigneur."

Yet, Monseigneur had slowly found that vulgar
embarrassments crept into his affairs, both
private and public; and he had, as to both classes
of affairs, allied himself per force with a Farmer-
General. As to finances public, because Monseigueur
could not make anything at all of them,
and must consequently let them out to somebody
who could; as to finances private, because
Farmer-Generals were rich, and Monseigneur,
after generations of great luxury and expense,
was growing poor. Hence, Monseigneur had
taken his sister from a convent, while there was
yet time to ward off the impending veil, the
cheapest garment she could wear, and had
bestowed her as a prize upon a very rich
Farmer-General, poor in family. Which Farmer-
General, carrying an appropriate cane with a
golden apple on the top of it, was now among the
company in the outer rooms, much prostrated
before by mankindalways excepting superior
mankind of the blood of Monseigneur, who, his
own wife included, looked down upon him with
the loftiest contempt.

A sumptuous man was the Farmer-General.
Thirty horses stood in his stables, twenty-four
male domestics sat in his halls, six body-women
waited on his wife. As one who pretended to
do nothing but plunder and forage where he
could, the Farmer-Generalhowsoever his
matrimonial relations conduced to social morality
was at least the greatest reality among the
personages who attended at the hotel of
Monseigneur that day.

For, the rooms, though a beautiful scene to
look at, and adorned with every device of
decoration that the taste and skill of the time could
achieve, were, in truth, not a sound business;
considered with any reference to the scarecrows
in the rags and nightcaps elsewhere (and not so
far off, either, but that the watching towers of
Notre-Dame, almost equidistant from the two