I refer especially to the uncertainty in which the rustic household habitually lived as to its lot, the suspense, the chronic terror of the savage violence that might burst at any moment on their unoffending heads from the castle above. The feudal regime involved precisely the two things of all others that go farthest to make a hell on earth; on the one hand, the extreme of immobility; the man was nailed to the soil, and emigration utterly impossible; on the other, a high degree of uncertainty as to the continuance of existing conditions. So much is bound to be paid to the Feudal Lord — but he can take all the rest too, if he likes. This is called in so many words the right of prehension. Work away, goodman! And while you are abroad in the fields, the dreaded troop from the heights may swoop down on your house and carry off what it pleases "for the service of the Seigneur." No wonder, if you look at him, the fellow is gloomy over his furrow, and hangs his head! Yes! and he is always like that, with anxious brow and heavy heart, like a man constantly expecting bad news. Is he pondering revenge? Not he; but two thoughts fill his mind, two anxieties trouble him alternately. The first, "In what condition will you find your house when you go back tonight?" The other, "Ah! if only the clod I turn would let me see a treasure underneath! if the kind devil would give me wherewith to buy our freedom!"
The current icon shows Polistra using a Personal Equation Machine.