Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers
accordingly, much discoursing with spirits went on-and it did a
world of good which never became manifest.
But, the comfort was, that all the company at the grand hotel of
Monseigneur were perfectly dressed. If the Day of Judgment had
only been ascertained to be a dress day, everybody there would
have been eternally correct. Such frizzling and powdering and
sticking up of hair, such delicate complexions artificially preserved
and mended, such gallant swords to look at, and such delicate
honour to the sense of smell, would surely keep anything going,
for ever and ever. The exquisite gentlemen of the finest breeding
wore little pendent trinkets that chinked as they languidly moved;
these golden fetters rang like precious little bells; and what with
that ringing, and with the rustle of silk and brocade and fine linen,
there was a flutter in the air that fanned Saint Antoine and his
devouring hunger far away.
Dress was the one unfailing talisman and charm used for keeping
all things in their places. Everybody was dressed for a Fancy Ball
that was never to leave off.
From the Palace of the Tuileries, through Monseigneur and the
whole Court, through the Chambers, the Tribunals of Justice, and
all society (except the scarecrows), the Fancy Ball descended to the
Common Executioner: who, in pursuance of the charm, was
required to officiate “frizzled, powdered, in a gold-laced coat,
pumps, and white silk stockings.” At the gallows and the wheel-
the axe was a rarity-Monsieur Paris, as it was the episcopal mode
among his brother Professors of the provinces, Monsieur Orleans,
and the rest, to call him, presided in this dainty dress. And who
among the company at Monseigneur’s reception in that seventeen
hundred and eightieth year of our Lord, could possibly doubt, that
a system rooted in a frizzled hangman, powdered, gold-laced,
pumped, and whitesilk stockinged, would see the very stars out!
Monseigneur having eased his four men of their burdens and taken
his chocolate, caused the doors of the Holiest of Holiests to be
thrown open, and issued forth. Then, what submission, what
cringing and fawning, what servility, what abject humiliation! As
to bowing down in body and spirit, nothing in that way was left
for Heaven-which may have been one among other reasons why
the worshippers of Monseigneur never troubled it.
Bestowing a word of promise here and a smile there, a whisper on
one happy slave and a wave of the hand on another, Monseigneur
affably passed through his rooms to the remote region of the
Circumference of Truth. There, Monseigneur turned, and came
back again, and so in due course of time got himself shut up in his
sanctuary by the chocolate sprites, and was seen no more.