Nonfiction > Upton Sinclair, ed. > The Cry for Justice

Upton Sinclair, ed. (1878–1968).
The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest.  1915.
The Furred Law-Cats
(From “Pantagruel”)

By François Rabelais

(French satirist of the middle ages, c.1490–1553)
THE FURRED Law-Cats are most terrible and dreadful monsters; they devour little children, and trample over marble stones. Pray tell me, noble topers, do they not deserve to have their snouts slit? The hair of their hides doesn’t lie outward, but inwards, and every mother’s son of them for his device wears a gaping pouch, but not all in the same manner; for some wear it tied to their neck scarfwise, others upon the breech, some on the side, and all for a cause, with reason and mystery. They have claws so very strong, long, and sharp that nothing can get from ’em what is once fast between their clutches. Sometimes they cover their heads with mortar-like caps, at other times with mortified caparisons.  1
  Examine well the countenance of these stout props and pillars of this catch-coin law and iniquity; and pray observe, that if you live but six olympiads, and the age of two dogs more, you’ll see these Furred Law-cats lords of all Europe, and in peaceful possession of all the estates and domains belonging to it; unless, by divine providence, what’s got over the devil’s back is spent under his belly, or the goods which they unjustly get perish with their prodigal heirs. Take this from an honest beggar!  2
  Among ’em reigns the sixth essence; by the means of which they gripe all, devour all, conskite all, burn all, draw all, hang all, quarter all, behead all, murder all, imprison all, waste all, and ruin all, without the least notice of right and wrong; for among them vice is called virtue; wickedness, piety; treason, loyalty; robbery, justice. Plunder is their motto, and when acted by them is approved by all men, except the heretics; and all this they do because they dare; their authority is sovereign and irrefragable. Should all their villany be once displayed in its true colours and exposed to the people, there never was, is, nor will be any spokesman could save ’em; nor any magistrate so powerful as to hinder their being burnt alive in their coney-burrows without mercy. Even their own furred kittlings, friends and relations would abominate ’em.  3

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