‘Gentlemen, and I use the terms in conformance with its most elastic definition, I submit to this appearance with equal amounts of rue and bemusement, particularly since it falls during the time I usually thrash my footman for sins both real and contemplated. It seems I must explain myself to a series of low-born mountebanks and trust-fund wastrels, in order to ingratiate myself with the herd of sheep over whom my rulings will fall. Very well.
‘I was born in a manger, surrounded by farm animals, attended by wandering kings ‘” Mother had entered one of her rustic moods, and had the servants build a crèche in the west ballroom. The kings were authentic, mostly second-tier low-country rabble ‘” but one of them, a rather sweaty Belgian, told my mother I had the mark of greatness on me. He referred of course to this birthmark on my skull in the shape of the Masonic emblem; it is the reason I shave my head, of course. In any case, I attended expensive colleges, served as judge for two decades, translated the Federalist Papers into six languages. I will rule according to the words of the Constitution, and damn the consequences. Now if you don’t mind, I am late for my weekly colonic irrigation with a solution of ambergris and champagne. So get on with it..’