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growing trees, when that sufferer was put to death, already
marked by the Woodman, Fate, to come down and be sawn into
boards, to make a certain movable framework with a sack and a
knife in it, terrible in history. It is likely enough that in the rough
outhouses of some tillers of the heavy lands adjacent to Paris, there
were sheltered from the weather that very day, rude carts,
bespattered with rustic mire, snuffed about by pigs, and roosted in
by poultry, which the Farmer, Death, had already set apart to be
his tumbrils of the Revolution. But that Woodman and that Farmer,
though they work unceasingly, work silently and no one heard
them as they went about with muffled tread: the rather, forasmuch
as to entertain any suspicion that they were awake, was to be
atheistical and traitorous.

In England, there was scarcely an amount of order and protection
to justify much national boasting. Daring burglaries by armed men,
and highway robberies, took place in the capital itself every night;
families were publicly cautioned not to go out of town without
removing their furniture to upholsterers’ warehouses for security;
the highwayman in the dark was a City tradesman in the light,
and, being recognised and challenged by his fellow-tradesman
whom he stopped in his character of “the Captain,” gallantly shot
him through the head and rode away; the mail was waylaid by
seven robbers, and the guard shot three dead, and then got shot
dead himself by the other four, “in consequence of the failure of his
ammunition:” after which the mail was robbed in peace; that
magnificent potentate, the Lord Mayor of London, was made to
stand and deliver on Turnham Green, by one highwayman, who
despoiled the illustrious creature in sight of all his retinue;
prisoners in London gaols fought battles with their turkeys, and
the majesty of the law fired blunderbusses in among them, loaded
with rounds of shot and ball; thieves snipped off diamond crosses
from the necks of noble lords at Court drawing-rooms; musketeers
went into St. Giles’s, to search for contraband goods, and the mob
fired on the musketeers, and the musketeers fir on the mob, and
nobody thought any of these occurrences much out of the common
way. In the midst of them, the hangman, ever busy and ever worse
than useless, was in constant requisition; now, stringing up long
rows of miscellaneous criminals; now, hanging a housebreaker on
Saturday who had been taken on Tuesday; now, burning people in
the hand at Newgate by the dozen, and now burning pamphlets at
the door of Westminster Hall; to-day, taking the life of an atrocious
murderer, and to-morrow of a wretched pilferer who had robbed a
farmer’s boy of sixpence.
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