and not quite decided whether to mount to the Woolsack, or to roof himself in with a mitre.

Category: Things | Type: Historical | Title: Great Expectations (in Context) | Author: Charles Dickens | Ch: Chapter XXIII

The Lord speaker of the House of Lords sits upon the Woolsack when addressing the House; the mitre refers to the distinctive headdress worn by a bishop. The Anglican bishops sat in the House of Lords. From Mr. Pocket's early and implausible ambitions (there is just one Lord Chancellor and only twenty-four Anglican bishops) we can understand where Herbert has acquired his capacity for fantasies of success.

The Woolsack is a square cushion of wool, without arms or back, covered with a red cloth. The Woolsack dates from the mid-14th c. when the wool trade was central to the English economy. 

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