“It is unlucky that his portrait will not do as well,” said the doctor, smiling maliciously, and drawing a small pamphlet from his pocket.
“What is that, doctor?” asked the princess.
“One of those anonymous sheets, which are published from time to time. It is called the ‘Scourge,’ and Baron Tripeaud’s portrait is drawn with such faithfulness, that it ceases to be satire. It is really quite life like; you have only to listen. The sketch is entitled: ’Type of the Lynx species.’
“’The Baron Tripeaud.—This man, who is as basely humble towards his social superiors, as he is insolent and coarse to those who depend upon him—is the living, frightful incarnation of the worst pardon of the moneyed and commercial aristocracy—one of the rich and cynical speculators, without heart, faith or conscience, who would speculate for a rise or fall on the death of his mother, if the death of his mother could influence the price of stocks.
“’Such persons have all the odious vices of men suddenly elevated, not like those whom honest and patient labor has nobly enriched, but like those who owe their wealth to some blind caprice of fortune, or some lucky cast of the net in the miry waters of stock-jobbing.
“’Once up in the world, they hate the people—because the people remind them of a mushroom origin of which they are ashamed. Without pity for the dreadful misery of the masses, they ascribe it wholly to idleness or debauchery because this calumny forms an excuse for their barbarous selfishness.
“’And this is not all. On the strength of his well-filled safe, mounted on his right of the candidate, Baron Tripeaud insults the poverty and political disfranchisement— of the officer, who, after forty years of wars and hard service, is just able to live on a scanty pension— Of the magistrate, who has consumed his strength in the discharge of stern and sad duties, and who is not better remunerated in his litter days— Of the learned man who has made his country illustrious by useful labors; or the professor who has initiated entire generations in the various branches of human knowledge— Of the modest and virtuous country curate, the pure representative of the gospel, in its charitable, fraternal, and democratic tendencies, etc.
“’In such a state of things, how should our shoddy baron of in-dust-ry not feel the most sovereign contempt for all that stupid mob of honest folk, who, having given to their country their youth, their mature age, their blood, their intelligence, their learning, see themselves deprived of the rights which he enjoys, because he has gained a million by unfair and illegal transactions?
“’It is true, that your optimists say to these pariahs of civilization, whose proud and noble poverty cannot be too much revered and honored: “Buy an estate and you too may be electors and candidates!”
“’But to come to the biography of our worthy baron—Andrew Tripeaud, the son of an ostler, at a roadside inn’”