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[131] have stooped so low as to marry a brewer. It was a period when in society, described by Miss Berry from girlish recollection, “authors, actors, composers, singers, musicians were all equally considered as profligate vagrants.” Thus various are the habits of nations. With Americans, again, the brewer sinks in comparative standing, and the musician rises. Once accept the fiction of hereditary nobility, and it leads you to extend its traditions over all your circle. The first effort of acquired wealth is to supply itself with a coat of arms — to sail, that is, under the flag of “the old families.” A Scotch antiquarian, Ferne, writing The Blaen of Gentry in 1586, carrying the process a little further, affirms that the Twelve Apostles of Christianity, although apparently humble fishermen, were undoubtedly gentlemen of high blood, in temporary poverty, but “entitled to bear coat armour.” Many of them, he is satisfied, were descended from “that worthy conqueror Judas Maccabaeus.”

But the truth is that the distinction between a newly enriched family and a family descended even from Judas Maccabaeus is a mere matter of a century or two. Every family has sprung, as Lord Murray in Scott's Monastery says, “from one mean man” --taking

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