Chapter XV The pilgrim observes the legal profession
In the last place, they led me into still another very spacious lecture room where I saw a greater number of distinguished men than anywhere else. The walls around were painted with stone walls, barriers, picket-fences, plank-fences, bars, rails, and gate staves, interspersed at various intervals by gaps and holes, doors and gates, bolts and locks, and along with it larger and smaller keys and hooks. All this they pointed out to each other, measuring where and how one might or might not pass through.
“What are these people doing?” I inquired. I was told that they were searching for means how every man in the world might hold his own or might also peacefully obtain something from another’s property without disturbing order and concord.
“That is a fine thing!” I remarked. But observing it a while, it grew disgusting to me.
Jus circa quid vesetur
2 For, in the first place, I noticed that the barriers enclosed neither the soul, the mind, nor the body of man, but solely his property, which is of incidental importance to him; and it did not seem to me worthy of the extremely difficult toil that was, as I saw, expended upon it.
3 Besides, I observed that all this science was founded upon the mere whim of a few men to whom one or another thing seemed worthy of being enjoined as a statute and which the others now obsesrved. Moreover (as I noticed here), some erected or demolished the bars or gaps as the notion entered their heads. Consequently, there was much outright contradiction in it all, the rectification of which caused a group of them a great deal of curious and ingenious labor; I was amazed that the; y sweated and toiled so much upon most insignificant minutiae, amounting to very little, and occurring scarcely once in a millenium; and all with not a little pride. For the more a man broke through some bar or made an opening that he was able to wall up again, the better he thought of himself and the more was he envied by others. But some (in order to show the keenness of their wit) rose up and opposed him, contending that the bars should be set up or the gaps broken thus so. Hence arose contentions and quarrels, until finally separating, they painted each his case in his own way, at the same time attracting spectators to themselves. Observing this tomfoolery sufficiently, I shook my head, exclaiming:
“Let us hurry away! I feel distressed here!” —
“Is there anything in the world to your liking?” my interpreter angrily retorted.
“You find fault even with the noblest of callings, you weathercock!” —
“It seems that he is religious-minded; let us take him to see the clerical professions; perhaps he will find it to his liking,” Mr. Ubiquitous suggested.