« VorigeDoorgaan »
1351, these warriors mustered, and having | he paraded the streets of Paris in the depth
lants of his court, and followed by a long
LEIGH HUNT's acquirements and literary performances were much more extensive and varied than is generally understood. He was not only an essayist and critic of great originality, possessing the nicest observation of men and manners, and gifted with an exquisite power of appreciating the subtlest beauties of literature and arta poet of much tenderness, as well as of delicate and vivid fancy, entirely free from that "morbid mysticism" which is so prominent a characteristic of the poetry of the last thirty years-whose narrative compositions, such as "The Story of Rimini," are among the very best of the kind in the language, characterised by simple beauty, and a sparkling grace and movement quite peculiar to himself- an excellent translator from the Italian and Greek -a dramatist who has enriched this depoets, partment of literature with its beautiful "Legend of Florence," and one of the best theatrical critics we ever had - but he also occupied, in his earlier years, a distinguished position as an editor and journalist. In 1808 he and his brother John started the Examiner, which was for more than twelve years conducted by the former. Great were the services rendered by them to the cause of free speech during the ascendancy of Toryism. No journal in the kingdom advocated liberal principles with more invincible courage than the Examiner. Every liberal measure, without a single exception, which has since become the law of the land, did it plead for and support; and that, too, at a time when to be a Reformer was almost certain to subject a political writer to the greatest risks and sufferings both in purse and person. The Examiner was one of the very boldest and most courageous of that small band which maintained through disastrous times its allegiance to the cause of liberty and reform. Hunt and his brother threw themselves, heart and soul, into the thick of the struggle, and fought for years in the foremost rank with true self-devotion suffering a two years' imprisonment, and a pecuniary loss by fine, &c., of nearly 2,000l. Well has it been said that "we who carry on the journalism of the present day with the same views, should never forget that we are the more free to do so from the self-sacrificing spirit which
animated those two brothers. The failure of the
attempt to crush the Examiner was a triumph,
After his retirement from the Examiner it
was successively edited by two men of singular
the second, a critic and journalist, who brought to his vocation the most solid and varied acquirements, a judgment of remarkable breadth, accuracy, and fairness, and literary sympathies of the widest kind; who has enriched our literature with several valuable works, relating to the patriots and statesmen of the Commonwealth (including an admirable "Life of Sir John Eliot "), as well as with historical essays of great ability-("The Plantagenets and the Tudors,' ""The Debates on the Grand Remonstrance," "The Civil Wars and Oliver Cromwell;")-biographical and critical papers on Defoe, Steele, Churchill, and Foote; and whose "Life and Times of Oliver Goldsmith" has long since taken its place as one of the most charming works of its kind in the language. Under the successive editorship of two such writers, it was not surprising that the Examiner reached the highest position as a weekly organ of politics, literature, and art.
FINN FOR LOUGHTON.
certainty against him. And as these tidings reached him they made him very unhappy. Since he had been in Parliament By three o'clock in the day after the lit- he had very frequently regretted that he tle accident which was told in the last chap-had left the shades of the Inns of Court for ter, all the world knew that Mr. Kennedy, the glare of Westminster; and he had more the new Cabinet Minister, had been gar- than once made up his mind that he would rotted, or half garrotted, and that that desert the glare and return to the shade. child of fortune, Phineas Finn, had dropped But now, when the moment came in which upon the scene out of heaven at the exact such desertion seemed to be compulsory on moment of time, had taken the two gar-him, when there would be no longer a rotters prisoners, and saved the Cabinet choice, the seat in Parliament was dearer Minister's neck and valuables, -if not his to him than ever. If he had gone of his life. "Bedad," said Laurence Fitzgibbon, own free will, so he told himself, - there when he came to hear this, "that fellow'll would have been something of nobility in marry an heiress, and be Secretary for such going. Mr. Low would have respected Oireland yet." A good deal was said about him, and even Mrs. Low might have taken it to Phineas at the clubs, but a word or him back to the friendship of her severe two that was said to him by Violet Effing-bosom. But he would go back now as a ham was worth all the rest. "Why, what cur with his tail between his legs, — kicked a Paladin you are! But you succour men out, as it were, from Parliament. Returnin distress instead of maidens." That's ing to Lincoln's Inn soiled with failure, my bad luck," said Phineas. The other having accomplished nothing, having broken will come no doubt in time," Violet replied; down on the only occasion on which he had "and then you'll get your reward." He dared to show himself on his legs, not hav knew that such words from a girl mean ing opened a single useful book during the nothing, especially from such a girl as two years in which he had sat in Parliament, Violet Effingham; but nevertheless they burdened with Laurence Fitzgibbon's debt, were very pleasant to him. and not quite free from debt of his own, how could he start himself in any way by which he might even hope to win success? He must, he told himself, give up all thought of practising in London and betake himself to Dublin. He could not dare to face his friends in London as a young briefless barrister.
"Of course you will come to us at Loughlinter when Parliament is up?" Lady Laura said the same day.
"I don't know really. You see I must go over to Ireland about my re-election."
"What has that to do with it? You are only making out excuses. We go down on the first of July, and the English elections won't begin till the middle of the month. It will be August before the men of Loughshane are ready for you."
"To tell you the truth, Lady Laura," said Phineas, "I doubt whether the men of Loughshane, or rather the man of Loughshane, will have anything more to
say to me."
"What man do you mean?"
"Lord Tulla. He was in a passion with his brother before, and I got the advantage of it. Since that he has paid his brother's debts for the fifteenth time, and of course is ready to fight any battle for the forgiven prodigal. Things are not as they were, and my father tells me that he thinks I shall be beaten."
"That is bad news."
"It is what I have a right to expect." Every word of information that had come to Phineas about Loughshane since Mr. Mildmay had decided upon a dissolution, had gone towards making him feel at first that there was great doubt as to his re-election, and at last that there was almost a
On this evening, the evening subsequent to that on which Mr. Kennedy had been attacked, the House was sitting in Committee of Ways and Means, and there came on a discussion as to a certain vote for the army. It had been known that there would be such discussion; and Mr. Monk having heard from Phineas a word or two now and again about the potted peas, had recommended him to be ready with a few remarks if he wished to support the Government in the matter of that vote. Phineas did so wish, having learned quite enough in the committee-room up-stairs to make him believe that a large importation of the potted peas from Holstein would not be for the advantage of the army or navy, -or for that of the country at large. Mr. Monk had made his suggestion without the slightest allusion to the former failure, just as though Phineas were a practised speaker accustomed to be on his legs three or four times a week. "If I find a chance, I will," said Phineas, taking the advice just as it was given.
Soon after prayers, a word was said in
mud which he has thrown, some will probably stick! Phineas, when the time came, did get on his legs, and spoke perhaps two or three dozen words. The doing so seemed to come to him quite naturally. He had thought very little about it beforehand,
having resolved not to think of it. And indeed the occasion was one of no great importance. The Speaker was not in the chair, and the House was thin, and he intended to make no speech, merely to say something which he had to say. Till he had finished he hardly remembered that he was doing that in attempting to do which he had before failed so egregiously. It was not till he sat down that he began to ask himself whether the scene was swimming before his eyes as it had done on former occasions; -as it had done even when he had so much as thought of making a speech. Now he was astonished at the easiness of the thing, and as he left the House told himself that he had overcome the difficulty just when the victory could be of no avail to him. Had he been more eager, more constant in his purpose, he might at any rate have shown the world that he was fit for the place which he had presumed to take before he was cast out of it.
the House as to the ill-fortune which had befallen the new Cabinet Minister. Mr. Daubeny had asked Mr. Mildmay whether violent hands had not been laid in the dead of night on the sacred throat, the throat that should have been sacred, of the new Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster; and had expressed regret that the Ministry, which was, he feared, in other respects somewhat infirm, - should now have been further weakened by this injury to that new bulwark with which it had endeavoured to support itself. The Prime Minister, answering his old rival in the same strain, said that the calamity might have been very severe, both to the country and to the Cabinet; but that, fortunately for the community at large, a gallant young member of that House, and he was proud to say a supporter of the Government, had appeared upon the spot at the nick of time; As a god out of a machine," said Mr. Daubeny, interrupting him; -"By no means as a god out of a machine," continued Mr. Mildmay, "but as a real help in a very real trouble, and succeeded not only in saving my right honourable friend, the Chancellor of the Duchy, but in arresting the two malefactors who attempted to rob him in the street." Then there was a cry of name; and Mr. Mildmay of course named the member for Loughshane. It so happened that Phineas was not in the House, but he heard it all when he came down to attend the Committee of Ways and Means. Then came on the discussion about pro-to the last shilling he would have spoken visions in the army, the subject being with perhaps more accuracy. "You see, mooted by one of Mr. Turnbull's close doctor, your son has had it for two years, allies. The gentleman on the other side as you may say for nothing, and I think he of the House who had moved for the Potted ought to give way. He can't expect that Peas Committee, was silent on the occasion, he's to go on there as though it were his having felt that the result of that committee own." And then his lordship, upon whom had not been exactly what he expected. this touch of the gout had come somewhat The evidence respecting such of the Hol- sharply, expressed himself with considerastein potted peas as had been used in this ble animation. The old doctor behaved country was not very favourable to them. with much spirit. "I told the Earl," he But, nevertheless, the rebound from that said, "that I could not undertake to say committee, the very fact that such a com- what you might do; but that as you had mittee had been made to sit,-gave ground come forward at first with my sanction, I for a hostile attack. To attack is so easy, could not withdraw it now. He asked me when a complete refutation barely suffices if I should support you with money; I said to save the Minister attacked, does not that I should to a moderate extent. 'By suffice to save him from future dim memo- G-,' said the Earl, a moderate extent ries of something having been wrong, will go a very little way, I can tell you.' and brings down no disgrace whatsoever on the promoter of the false charge. The promoter of the false charge simply expresses his gratification at finding that he had been misled by erroneous information. It is not customary for him to express gratification at the fact, that out of all the
On the next morning he received a letter from his father. Dr. Finn had seen Lord Tulla, having been sent for to relieve his lordship in a fit of the gout, and had been informed by the Earl that he meant to fight the borough to the last man;- had he said
Since that he has had Duggen with him; so, I suppose, I shall not see him any more. You can do as you please now; but, from what I hear, I fear you will have no chance." Then with much bitterness of spirit Phineas resolved that he would not interfere with Lord Tulla at Loughshane. He would go
at once to the Reform Club and explain his reasons to Barrington Erle and others there who would be interested.
But he first went to Grosvenor Place. Here he was shown up into Mr. Kennedy's room. Mr. Kennedy was up and seated in an armchair by an open window looking over into the queen's garden; but he was in his dressing-gown, and was to be regarded as an invalid. And indeed as he could not turn his neck, or thought that he could not do so, he was not very fit to go out about his work. Let us hope that the affairs of the Duchy of Lancaster did not suffer materially by his absence. We may take it for granted that with a man so sedulous as to all his duties there was no arrear of work when the accident took place. He put out his hand to Phineas, and said some words in a whisper, some word or two among which Phineas caught the sound of "potted peas," and then continued to look out of the window. There are men who are utterly prostrated by any bodily ailment, and it seemed that Mr. Kennedy was one of them. Phineas, who was full of his own bad news, had intended to tell his sad story at once. But he perceived that the neck of the Chancellor of the Duchy was too stiff to allow of his taking any interest in external matters, and so he refrained. "What does the doctor say about it?" said Phineas, perceiving that just for the present there could be only one possible subject for remark. Mr. Kennedy was beginning to describe in a long whisper what the doctor did think about it, when Lady Laura came into the room.
Of course they began at first to talk about Mr. Kennedy. It would not have been kind to him not to have done so. And Lady Laura made much of the injury, as it behoves a wife to do in such circumstances for the sake both of the sufferer and of the hero. She declared her conviction that had Phineas been a moment later her husband's neck would have been irredeemably broken.
"I don't think they ever do kill the people," said Phineas. "At any rate they
don't mean to do so."
mind to give it up," said he, smiling as he spoke.
"I was afraid there was but a bad chance," said Lady Laurą, smiling also.
"My father has behaved so well!" said Phineas. "He has written to say he'll find the money, if I determine to contest the borough. I mean to write to him by tonight's post to decline the offer. I have no right to spend the money, and I shouldn't succeed if I did spend it. Of course it makes me a little down in the mouth." And then he smiled again.
"I've got a plan of my own," said Lady Laura.
"Or rather it isn't mine, but papa's. Old Mr. Standish is going to give up Loughton, and papa wants you to come and try your luck there."
he left Mr. Kennedy's room. Indeed, when he came to think of it, there appeared to him to be no valid reason why he should not sit for Loughton. The favour was of a kind that had prevailed from time out of mind in England, between the most respectable of the great land magnates, and young rising liberal politicians. Burke, Fox, and Canning had all been placed in Parliament by similar influence. Of course he, Phineas Finn, desired earnestly, -longed in his very heart of hearts, to extinguish all such Parliamentary influence, to root out for ever the last vestige of close borough nominations: but while the thing remained it was better that the thing should contribute to the liberal than to the conservative strength of the House, and if to the liberal, how was this to be achieved but by the acceptance of such influence by some liberal candidate? And if it were right that it should be accepted by any liberal candidate, then, why not by him? The logic of this argument seemed to him to be perfect. He felt something like a sting of reproach as he told himself that in truth this great offer was made to him, not on account of the excellence of his politics, but because he had been instrumental in saving Lord Brentford's son-in-law from the violence of garrotters. But he crushed these qualms of conscience as being over-scrupulous, and, as he told himself, not practical. You must take the world as you find it, with a struggle to be something more honest than those around you. Phineas, as he preached to himself this sermon, declared to himself that they who attempted more than this flew too high in the clouds to be of service to men and women upon earth.
As he did not see Lord Brentford that day he postponed writing to his father for twenty-four hours. On the following morning he found the Earl at home in Portman Square, having first discussed the matter fully with Lord Chiltern. "Do not scruple about me," said Lord Chiltern; "you are quite welcome to the borough for me."
But if I did not stand, would you do so? There are so many reasons which ought to induce you to accept a seat in Parliament!"
"Whether that be true or not, Phineas, I shall not accept my father's interest at Loughton, unless it be offered to me in a way in which it never will be offered. You know me well enough to be sure that I shall not change my mind. Nor will he. And, therefore, you may go down to Loughton with a pure conscience as far as I am concerned.'
Phineas had his interview with the Earl,
and in ten minutes everything was settled. On his way to Portman Square there had come across his mind the idea of a grand effort of friendship. What if he could persuade the father so to conduct himself towards his son, that the son should consent to be member for the borough? And he did say a word or two to this effect, setting forth that Lord Chiltern would condescend to become a legislator, if only his father would condescend to acknowledge his son's fitness for such work without any comments on the son's past life. But the Earl simply waived the subject away with his hand. He could be as obstinate as his son. Lady Laura had been the Mercury between them on this subject, and Lady Laura had failed. He would not now consent to employ another Mercury. Very little, hardly a word indeed, was said between the Earl and Phineas about politics. Phineas was to be the Saulsby candidate at Loughton for the next election, and was to come to Saulsby with the Kennedys from Loughlinter, either with the Kennedys or somewhat in advance of them. "I do not say that there will be no opposition," said the Earl, "but I expect none." He was very courteous, nay, he was kind, feeling doubtless that his family owed a great debt of gratitude to the young man with whom he was conversing; but, nevertheless, there was not absent on his part a touch of that high condescension which, perhaps, might be thought to become the Earl, the Cabinet Minister, and the great borough patron. Phineas, who was sensitive, felt this and winced. He had never quite liked Lord Brentford, and could not bring himself to do so now in spite of the kindness which the Earl was showing him.
But he was very happy when he sat down to write to his father from the club. His father had told him that the money should be forthcoming for the election at Loughshane, if he resolved to stand, but that the chance of success would be very slight, indeed that, in his opinion, there would be no chance of success. Nevertheless, his father had evidently believed, when writing, that Phineas would not abandon his seat without a useless and an expensive contest. He now thanked his father with many expressions of gratitude, -declared his conviction that his father was right about Lord Tulla, and then, in the most modest language that he could use, went on to say that he had found another borough open to him in England. He was going to stand for Loughton, with the assistance of Lord Brentford, and thought that the election would probably not cost him above a couple