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Dialogue following No. 11


Lord Chancellor. Now, sir, what excuse have you to offer for having disobeyed an order of the Court of Chancery?

Strephon. My Lord, I know no Courts of Chancery; I go by Nature's Acts of Parliament. The bees — the breeze — the seas — the rooks — the brooks — the gales — the vales — the fountains and the mountains cry, "You love this maiden — take her, we command you!" 'Tis writ in heaven by the bright barbed dart that leaps forth into lurid light from each grim thundercloud. The very rain pours forth her sad and sodden sympathy! When chorused Nature bids me take my love, shall I reply, "Nay, but a certain Chancellor forbids it"? Sir, you are England's Lord High Chancellor, but are you Chancellor of birds and trees, King of the winds and Prince of thunderclouds?

Lord Chancellor. No. It's a nice point. I don't know that I ever met it before. But my difficulty is that at present there's no evidence before the Court that chorused Nature has interested herself in the matter.

Strephon. No evidence! You have my word for it. I tell you that she bade me take my love.

Lord Chancellor. Ah! but, my good sir, you mustn't tell us what she told you — it's not evidence. Now an affidavit from a thunderstorm, or a few words on oath from a heavy shower, would meet with all the attention they deserve.

Strephon. And have you the heart to apply the prosaic rules of evidence to a case which bubbles over with poetical emotion?

Lord Chancellor. Distinctly. I have always kept my duty strictly before my eyes, and it is to that fact that I owe my advancement to my present distinguished position.

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