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were then hovering round my daughter.'
"Then, Mr Beaton, you would have greatly wronged me."
"So I believe, else I would not be conversing with you so calmly at the present hour. But I have not the faculty of looking into men's hearts, and such is the conclusion at which, most assuredly, I would have arrived."
“You would have considered me unworthy of her?"
"Yes I should have done so then, but I am now convinced of your worth. That makes a very great difference; and as fortune is on your side rather than herswhy, if Mary consents to marry you, I shall place no obstacle in the way."
"A thousand thanks, Mr Beaton! Rely upon it, the study of my life shall be to make your daughter happy."
The reader will suppose that I lost no time in hurrying to the Stanhopes to convey to Mary the intelligence that her father had given his consent. Let him also imagine the interview that ensued; for I swear by all that lovers hold most dear, nothing shall tempt me to deviate from my purpose of maintaining a rigid silence as regards such tender passages. Indeed, I have excellent reasons for doing so; for, though Mary is the best-tempered woman in the world,still-but I had better proceed.
I had thought that Colonel Stanhope's house might offer a safe refuge to a man who desired to get out of the vortex of political excitement; but in this I was grossly mistaken. Mary warned me that I must prepare myself for a surprise; and, on re-entering the drawingroom, I found Amy making up rosettes of ribbon as busily as any milliner's girl who has to work for her daily bread. Carlton, too, was pacing the room in a way which, with the example of Mrs Malaprop before my eyes, I can only describe as incoherent.
"Pray, Miss Stanhope," said I,
Sir, I do you the justice to be lieve that you speak quite sincerely. You are, so far as I have observed, not over-ambitious, therefore you are the more likely to cultivate the domestic qualities. You have shrewdness enough to keep your fortune, such as it is, without squandering it; and Poins speaks highly of your character. Take her therefore; for, in truth, I have no right to forbid the banns. Take her, and God be with you both!"
So saying, he extended to me his hand-coldly, indeed, but not unkindly and such was the result of my wooing.
CHAPTER LIX.-NEW CANDIDATES IN THE FIELD.
for what purpose are you constructing those elegant little badges? I observe they are not white, else I might have formed some conjecture as to their use.
"Pshaw-as if old engaged people such as George and I thought about such trifles! You, however, may be permitted, for a few days at least, to dream dreams, and to see visions. Yet I am not sure that we can allow you even so much time, for great things are in preparation. Know, Mr Sinclair, that, like Flora MacIvor, I am making up favours for a grand public ceremony, in which George is to take a part."
"Out, equivocating girl!" cried Carlton. Why perplexest thou the man? Have you lost the use of your eyes, Sinclair, that you do not recognise these for election cockades? Ay, and we shall wear them bravely even on the front of the hustings!"
"And for whom are they to be worn?" "Why, for me, to be sure! I have made up my mind to come forward and contest our division of the county."
"What! In room of Lord Ashford ?"
"No. It is true that Ashford, who is a fine indomitable fellow, will not come forward again. If he did, he would walk over the course to a certainty; but he has set his heart on wrenching a borough from the grasp of a gigantic cotton-spinner. You know that, by tacit compact, we have hitherto shared the representation of our division of the county with the Whigs. That is now at an end; and I go forward expressly to oppose Sir Godfrey Norton, who is presently Ashford's colleague."
"Will the other party put forward a second man?"
"Yes. They intend to start a pseudo-Conservative; but him we are determined to smite, and a firstrate man is ready to offer him battle."
"Indeed! Things are more advanced here than I could have believed; but I am delighted to find you animated by such a spirit. And who may be your fellow-champion?"
"A very good friend of yours, Sinclair; but I do not think you would ever light on his name, if I were to put you to the trouble of guessing. Lumley is the man!"
"Lumley! You do indeed amaze me! Why, it was part of his philosophy never to meddle with elections; and I have heard him maintain an argument that Pythagoras meant to inculcate that doctrine when he warned his disciples against beans."
"You must have interpreted his words too strictly, Sinclair. Pythagoras merely objected to vote by ballot, and Lumley is in that respect Pythagorean. But I wonder not that you are surprised. I declare I was almost thunderstruck when Lumley announced to me his intention."
two days ago to stand for the borough, and came here to notify that to Colonel Stanhope, in order that no time might be lost in providing a substitute. The scheme appeared to the colonel and also to me rather a wild one; but Ashford was bent upon it, so we had to determine at once what was to be done. You have often heard me, Sinclair, bemoaning my idleness; and now it flashed across me that here was an opportunity, such as never might again occur, of making myself practically useful. Moreover, I could not reconcile myself to the thought of remaining inactive in a crisis like this, when all our young men were up in arms; and I suppose that something in my manner struck Ashford, for, after conversing for a minute about a candidate, he laid his hand upon my shoulder and said, 'Why look beyond this very room? Here stands the man we want.' The colonel was of course overjoyed, and I-put no objections in the way."
"Do you mean to say that he comes forward of his own accord, and without urging?"
"Even so. The way of it was this: Ashford made up his mind
'Nothing," said I, "could have happened more opportunely. You are but fulfilling you destiny, and I am glad to see that Miss Stanhope does not quarrel with your choice."
On the contrary," said Amy, "Miss Stanhope is but too well pleased to see her George take his proper place in the ranks of those gallant men who are resolute to preserve the constitution."
"Bravo!" cried I, "spoke like another Boadicea! You are dangerous company, ladies! If this goes on, I shall be esteemed a faineant if I do not take part in the contest too."
"Don't you think," said Mary, that you might go down to Scotland, and— ?"
"O, for heaven's sake, spare me a while! I am devoted to Scotland as my mother country; but just at this moment she is in one of her sullen hypochondriacal fits, and will not listen to reason. Bless her, she is always in extremes! One while she is frantically loyal — another
while she is savagely democratic. of the affair, and Lumley heard me Frightful intemperance character- out with the gravity of an Indian ises one generation-total abstin- sachem. When I had finished, he ence is insisted on by the next. said, coolly— The trained bands of Edinburgh that attended at the execution of Montrose, led Argyle to the scaffold. The grandsons of the men who died around their king at Flodden were foremost in their persecution of Queen Mary. Nevertheless, I would die sooner than see her wronged; but she is now labouring under the delusion that she is Jenny Geddes, and I do not relish the notion of having my skull fractured by what my friend Davie Osett would denominate a creepie!"
"Well," said Carlton, laughing, "I think, under the circumstances, we must let you off this time; but remember that such an excuse for evading duty will not always pass muster. And it gladdens me to observe that you are likely to have an active monitor. Nay, Mary-do not blush! Never had we more joyful tidings than what Norman has brought us to-day. But in these discussions we are losing sight of Lumley."
"True, O M.P. that is to be! Let us hark back to our friend."
Ashford," continued Carlton, "was very strongly of opinion that we should start two men, averring, from his knowledge of the county, that it was quite on the cards that both of them might come in; and you will readily imagine that, having engaged myself to this enterprise, I was anxious to have the best possible man I could procure as my confederate. Not having an extensive acquaintance at the clubs, it occurred to me that Lumley was an excellent person to consult with. His landed estate is in our county, and though he is not a resident because, being a bachelor, he does not deem it necessary to keep up a country establishment-he is, nevertheless, vastly popular. My only fear was that he might prove to be somewhat indifferent.
"I dashed at once into the history
'Then, Carlton, I understand that you come forward to oppose Sir Godfrey Norton a case of Dares against Entellus, though probably with a different result?' "Yes,' I replied; the Whig is my direct antagonist.' 'And you want to find some one to oppose the political hermaphrodite?" "Precisely so.'
"Then, if you cannot discover a worthier candidate, why I don't care if I venture into the field!'
"What-you, Lumley? How delighted our friends will be! This is indeed an unexpected accession of strength.'
"That may or may not be, but at all events we shall make the trial. You see, Carlton, I want excitement. My old feelings were in favour of absolute repose, but I am now satisfied that I was in error. I require some stimulus to keep my blood in circulation; and as I have a decided objection to distilled waters, it occurs to me that politics will have the desired effect. But confound this odious trick of talking loosely! No, Carlton-I have higher motives! I feel, as you do, that it is the duty of an English gentleman to shrink from no sacrifice in support of the principles which he professes. It was grand devotion to their cause, alike by Royalist and Parliamentarian, that makes us regard our old civil war, even now, with sentiments akin to admiration. It was a noble and elevating strife; for men fought on either side, not for plunder or revenge, but from a supreme conviction that they were called on to do battle for the truth. Such days as those let us pray that England may never see again; but Heaven forbid that our sloth and indolence should render us unworthy of our ancestry!'
"I wish," continued Carlton, "that you could have heard Lumley
so deliver himself. He seemed absolutely to dilate as he spoke; and there was an energy in his tone, and a fire in his eye, that I never witnessed before. Rely upon it, he will one day make a sensation in Parliament. Now, don't I deserve credit for having plucked this Theseus from his seat?"
"What!" said I, soars your presumption so high already, that you dare to liken yourself to Hercules? What if I were to say, Beware of Dejanira?"
chooses to accompany us, our party will be much exhilarated thereby. Nevertheless, if he prefers remaining in London
"Hush, George! When do you start?"
"At twelve precisely. But observe, my good fellow-though the Colonel imposes no conditions, I do, and shall insist peremptorily on their fulfilment. You shall be allowed, as reason is, two or three hours each day to make private speeches, with which I have nothing to do; but the remainder of your time of course excluding reasonable intervals for sleep-is to be at my disposal; and whenever it is deemed necessary, either on my behalf or on that of Lumley, that a speech upon the general question should be delivered, we expect you to try your eloquence. On my honour I am serious. Were it only with a view to the future, you must be put into training."
"The conditions are rather hard, but I shall agree to them; being thoroughly assured that my first effort at stump oratory will procure me dispensation for the remainder of the period.”
"Nay," said Carlton, "I'll warrant that there is no poison in these honest cockades. But let us apply ourselves to business, for I already feel as if I were a member of halfa-dozen committees. To-morrow sees us all en route for Wilbury. When I say all, I include Mary; because Amy here, though very valorous in London, has notions about brickbats, eggs, and sundry kinds of garbage, which, she thinks, are the invariable concomitants of elections, and she would be miserable if left alone while I am prosecuting my canvass. Now I am commissioned by Colonel Stanhope to say that, if Mr Norman Sinclair
THE BOOK-HUNTER AGAIN.
HAVING endeavoured to draw at tention to the diagnosis of the bookhunter's condition, or, in other words, to the different shapes which the phenomena peculiar to it assume, we now propose to offer some consolatory remarks on his place in the dispensations of Providence, with a view of showing that, as we truly believe, he is not altogether a mischievous nor a merely useless maniac, but does in reality, however unconsciously to himself, minister in his own peculiar way to the service both of himself and others; and to be properly methodical, our discourse shall be divided and subdivided, insomuch that, taking in the first place his services to himself, we shall subdivide that branch into the advantages which are purely material and those which are properly intellectual.
And first, of material advantages. Holding it to be the inevitable doom of fallen man to inherit some frailty or failing, it would be difficult, had he a Pandora's box-ful to pick and choose among, to find one less dangerous or offensive. As the judicious physician informs the patient, suffering under some cutaneous or other external torture, that the poison lay deep in his constitutionthat it must have worked in some shape and well it is that it has taken one so innocuous-so may even the book-hunter be congratulated on having taken the innate moral malady of all the race in a very gentle and salubrious form. To pass over gambling, tippling, and other practices which cannot be easily spoken of in good society, let us look to the other shapes in which man lets himself out-horse-racing, hunting, photography, shooting, fishing, cigars, dog-fancying, dog-fighting, the ring, the cock-pit, phrenology, revivalism, socialism-which of these contains so small a balance of evil, counting of course that the amount of pleasure conferred is equal-for it is only on
the datum that the book-hunter has as much satisfaction from his pursuit as the fox-hunter, the photographer, and so on, has in his-that a fair comparison can be struck? These pursuits, one and all, leave little or nothing that is valuable behind them, except, it may be, that some of them are conducive to health, by giving exercise to the body and a genial excitement to the mind; but every hobby gives the latter, and the former may be easily obtained in some other shape. They leave little or nothing behind even the photographer's portfolio will bring scarcely anything under the hammer after the death of him whose solace and pursuit it had been, even if the positives remain visible, which may be doubted. And as to the other enumerated pursuits, some of them, as we all know, are notoriously costly, all unproductive as they are.
But the book-hunter may possibly leave a little fortune behind him. His hobby, in fact, merges into an investment. This is the light in which a celebrated Quaker collector of paintings put his conduct, when it was questioned by the brethren, in virtue of that right to admonish one another concerning the errors of their ways, which makes them so chary in employing domestic servants of their own persuasion. "What had the brother paid for that bauble, for instance?" "Well, £300." "Was not that then an awful wasting of his substance on vanities?" "No. He had been offered £900 for it. If any of the Friends could offer him a better investment of his money than one that could be realised at a profit of 200 per cent, he was ready to alter the existing disposal of his capital."
It is quite true that amateur purchasers do not, in the long-run, make a profit, though an occasional bargain may pass through their hands.