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impulse was to smile at the con- Archdeacon raised his eyes, and junction ; but the next moment saw standing before him, among she had dropped the books out of the faded roses, the woman whom her hands, and was standing gazing he had been approaching so indifout like a woman in a dream, with ferently—the faded existence that the colour all gone out of her cheeks, had seen better days. He saw her, and even out of her lips, in the sur- and he stood stock-still, as if it was prise of the moment. It was only she who was the basilisk, and the surprise and a kind of dismay; it look of pleased interest went out of was not terror, like that which Mr his face in a moment. In that moCavendish had exhibited at the ment he had become as unconscious same apparition. She dropped into of the presence of Lucilla as if he her chair without knowing it, and had never in his life softened his probably would have fainted this voice to her ear, or talked nonsense time also, if something more urgent to please her. His eyes did not than mere" feelings'had not roused seem big enough to take in the her up. As it was, it happened very figure which stood shrinking and happily for her that she had thus a looking at him in the porch. Then little preparation. When she saw he made one long step forward, that her patroness was leading Mr and took hold of her sleeve-not Beverley up to the door, and that her hand—as if to convince himself in a minute more he would inevi- that it was something real he saw. tably be brought to her very side, He showed no joy, nor satisfaction, Mrs Mortimer roused up all her nor anything but sheer amaze and strength. She gathered up her wonder, at this unexpected appearbooks in her hand without know- ance, for he had not had time to ing very well what she was doing, prepare himself as she had. “Am and, taking virtue from necessity, I dreaming, or is it you ?” he said, went desperately out to meet them. in a voice that sounded as different It was Miss Marjoribanks who first from the voice with which he had saw her, white and tottering, lean- been speaking to Lucilla, as if years ing against the trellis of the little had elapsed between the two. And porch, and Lucilla could not but it would be vain to describe the give a little cry of alarm and won- amazement and singular sense that der. What kind of man could this the earth had suddenly given way be, who thus struck down another under her feet, with which Miss victim without even so much as a Marjoribanks stood by and looked glance? It was just then that the on.
CORNELIUS O'DOWD UPON MEN AND WOMEN, AND OTHER THINGS
I HAVE often "ambitioned the cancy positively pitiable. To meet acquaintance,” to employ a French these great difficulties, his address formulary for what I do not de must be written by one long consire to affirm with great positive versant with human frailty as disness, of those people who, from played in the electoral system of conscientious motives, remit five or this great country. He must, in fifty pounds to the Chancellor of fact, apply to that great genius the Exchequer as a relief to the who knows how to promise withcravings of an irritable integrity. out making performance necessary I do not mean to say that I have who can so jostle one set of ideas any strong desire to become their against another, so balance someintimate or their associate. I feel thing here by something there, so myself too immeasurably their in- adjust this by redressing that—that ferior for such a wish to be pos- the British constitution may be sible; but in my pursuit of strange made to resemble one of those humanities I would really be glad phrenological heads, in which every to see these people—to mark their quality is arrested in its action by lineaments, hear their words, and some antagonistic development, and ponder over their general charac- all that is good or bad in the inditeristics.
vidual finds its complement in someIn the same way, but in a di- thing which makes it a matter of minished degree, I should like to perfect indifference that it was meet the man who writes these letters there at all. that we daily read to the constitu- To be able to satisfy a modern ency of this county or that borough, constituency, a man very soon duly setting forth what the candi- learns is a downright impossibility. date's principles are, whether im- The cry of Give, give, can scarceplied in the formula—we are very ly be answered by one who, to be well as we are—we might be better. able to give, must sit beside men -or we can't be worse.
who have responsibilities as well That it is one individual man as salaries. The candidate therewrites these marvellous composi- fore is driven either to accept tions, is a fact so clear and palpable pledges which make his position it requires no demonstration. There in the House totally valueless, or he is a charming simplicity in the must practise some game of tricky style, with that small dash of com- evasiveness that may enable him to plication which is the necessary talk one way and vote another. ingredient of a certain evasiveness. Now, in the old days of bribery Let the candidate be ever so wary and corruption—I do not mean the and ever so wise, bis prononcia- pre-Sarumite days, but in that more mento must still be, in a great mea- recent period preceding our last sure, a leap in the dark. There enactments against the buying of are things will be inquired of him votes — men usually went down which he cannot possibly answer to the country amply stocked with and pledges exacted which, if he five-pound notes. Canvass and corbe only true to his word, will re- ruption became convertible terms, duce him to an amount of insignifi- and the voter regarded the franchise as a privilege that could at calamity. You shall profess-what will be demanded in gold. The shall you not profess of Christian candidate probably approached the virtues ? — benevolence, integrity, electors with a feeling that a con- and self-devotion, albeit your life siderable number of them had no may offer some unhappy contrast other interest in the contest than to your declarations, and the welltheir own benefit. Some, of course, known opinions of your friends took a more elevated view, and but little corroborate the high preferred being bribed by the men ground of your assumption. In with whose political leanings they one word, you shall transfer the concurred, and liked to have their course of your corruption from your pockets filled, and what they call- purse to your person. Instead of ed their “ principles" represented. going to your banker for the means Treating was freely practised, and of corruption, it shall be to your the acute faculties of the electoral heart you shall apply. You shall mind were perfectionated by a fit yourself for the Legislature by a course of festivities which assured- course of profligate profession which ly as little contributed to the dig- would disgrace a strolling actor in nity of the individual as to his soliciting patronage for his benefit. powers of correct appreciation. You shall be, in the most humiliat
The constituency that cared for ing sense of the expression, "all five-pound notes were for the most things to all men," and so accommopart easily dealt with. A sort of date your principles and shape your Parliamentary transparency was opinions, that you shall come out of exhibited as to measures. Things this search after popular favour a were promised, assurances given, creature without convictions-aman pledges made as to this or that without one atom of manliness. other; but the great fact remained A word now for the voter. palpable, that the man to conciliate Not alone is the absurdity great the voters should be he who could in sending men to a deliberative most certainly provide them with assembly pledged to disregard all material guarantees of his good- they shall hear there—bound, no will.
matter how strong the evidence or To secure freedom of election how forcible the argument, to close was naturally a great object with their ears against all persuasion, the Legislature-to offer as many and vote in open defiance of whatobstacles as possible to all corrup- ever may influence their conviction was a very legitimate ambi- tions; but there is the added abtion,-and so they determined that surdity that presupposes the Radical there should be no bribery, no co- attorney of the village, the Mazercion, no treating, no unfair inter- zinian baker, or the Ledru-Rollinite ference.
grocer to be a more adequate judge The candidate, in consequence, ap- of political fitness than the trained proached his constituency no long- and educated politician who has er with his purse. The law said, made law-making a study. You shall not bribe; you shall What should we say if, on the only promise-cajole-prevaricate. sailing of a great naval expedition, You shall qualify a concession to the boatswain, the carpenter, or the this by some restriction on that cook should step forward and de- you shall declare yourself in mand explanations for what the favour of fifty things, in the fleet was intended ; ask details of secret confidence that nothing all that was to be done, and the of them can ever be made prac- means to do it; and impose certicable, and give assurances of tain pledges from the commanding your hopes in that which in your officers that, under no circumstanheart you would regard as a dire ces, any interference was ever to occur with the daily privileges of Is it likely such a procedure the crew, their rations, or their would serve the interests or adtobacco ?
vance the ends of justice? And We endure more outrageous ab- are not the functions of a Parliasurdity than this. We permit ment very many times those of a ourselves to be lectured by ignor- jury? ance and dragooned by self-con The fact is, we have imported ceit-to have the high duties of into our public life the system of legislation taught by men whose Civil Service Examinations. Our aptitude for politics is generally candidates have to “go up" like acquired by a failure in some our consuls and our tidewaiters, honest calling. These are the and, like them, the capable men people who impose the tests and are frequently plucked, while the exact the pledges ; these are the well-drilled and well-ground posmen, very rarely endowed with tulants, “coached” by a practised even the franchiee, who step for- hand, make a rather brilliant figure ward to catechise and cross-ques- by the easy fluency with which tion and confound.
they respond to what is asked of How if this system were to be them. carried out and applied to our If the world admire this-if they juries, and men were to be asked, think it a good thing for the nabefore they entered the box, or tion, and an element of strength or listened to the cause, whether they greatness to our people—they have would not pledge themselves to the happiness of knowing that the the plaintiff or the defendant ? coming autumn will give them an whether they would not give some ample harvest of such benefits. assurance that they would hold There are candidates and constithemselves aloof from all pres- tuencies only impatient to show sure of persuasion, deaf to argu what a great thing is the election, ment, obdurate to conviction, and and what a very small and ignoble indifferent to the evidence ?
one the elected.
GLIMPSES OF BLISS.
I remember, when a boy, to have touch any volume in request, conseen a man who passed his days tenting himself for the most part wandering from one book-stall to with some old vellum-bound chroanother, stopping a while to read nicle, some musty-looking record ; at each, and in this way gratifying and even these would he hastily that taste for letters his humble surrender if a chance glance was fortune had denied him the power turned towards them ;-all such of more legitimately enjoying attentions declaring as plain as
He must have had some small words themselves, “I am a mere pittance to live on, for he never interloper. I am here by no right. seemed to do anything for his sup- It is this good man's courtesy to port. His dress and belongings be- let me run my eye over these pages.” spoke him as very poor, and there Though he never was known to buy, was a degree of humility in his the stall-keepers bore him no illmanner that still more indicated will ; he was far too meek, too monarrow fortune. Thus, for instance, dest for that ; and some actually he never would presume to occupy liked to see him standing there, the place of a possible purchaser, offering, as it were, his homage to but would move respectfully away those stores of wisdom they possesswhen such approached. In the ed, and thus testifying to the busy same way was he cautious not to world that swept past, what a rich
mine of knowledge lay there beside the deep recess of a cushioned chair, them, had they but the skill and as I have seen him when the rain the energy to work it.
beat against his face and the rude At times too, rare indeed, he wind almost swept him and his would venture on a word of remark- treasure away ? Would all the a sentence, perhaps, of praise of the leisurely indulgence of literature volume he had just laid down, suffi- equal in ecstasy those moments cient to attract the attention of a snatched hurriedly in this dark buyer; and these little criticisms alley, or down that narrow lane? having been known to do good ser- Perhaps not. The battle is not to vice, the dealers bore grateful me the strong, nor the race to the mory of them.
swift, any more in worldly happiHe was an object of much inte ness than in other things. The heart rest to me. I used to watch him to enjoy is the great requisite; as he read, and hasten to take up the objects to be enjoyed come only the book he had quitted, curious to second ; and there is a something in see whether one class of reading those pleasures won by a sacrifice had its principal attraction for him, which have a sweetness all their and wbat that class might be. No own, just as the guinea of a man's clue could I find to his nature own earning has its especial value. through his studies. Now he would Doubtless, then, this poor Eugene pore for hours over a volume of Aram had many a bright moment Marco Polo- now over a play of even as he stood cold and shivering Ben Jonson's. I have seen him, there, nor knew the pang of sorrow on the same day, reading Dugald till he came to part with what had Stewart, ‘Paul and Virginia,' 'Hop- charmed and entranced him. ner's Equations, and Bossuet's No doubt, too, he often wandered Sermons'-nothing in his manner away in thought to day-dreams of showing which interested him the what delight it would be to be the most. The branch of the “ Trade” owner of these treasures to taste of who deal under atmospheric pres them at will, having their society at sure is probably not remarkable all times to cheer, enliven, comfort, for learning; and it was not unfre- and console him. Nor is it imposquent, when a book was offered sible that his fancy gave to such a there for purchase, to see a refer- picture a colouring no reality could ence made to this stranger, who in vie with, for there are few of us who a moment pronounced on the edi- cannot so cheat our own natures, tion, and whether it had or had not and make the possible far more been superseded by another—what glowing than the actual. its merits, what its defects. Very What reminded me of this poor cunning was he in Elzevirs and fellow was seeing what I may call Aldines, and had a rare taste in the his counterpart in society - one margins and capital letters of the who, like him, was too poor to old Italian printers.
buy, yet longed to possess, and was Over and over used I to speculate thus forced to steal passing fitful as to how he came by this knowledge, glances of what he dare not linger and wonderingly ask myself if it over. were a source of happiness to him. “Poor George! we are all very Again, I questioned, would all this fond of him ; but of course the greedy pursuit of learning I saw girls never think of him.” “He's in him survive if he were sud- too poor to marry," says mamma, denly to become rich and affluent, who, like the benevolent stallthe owner of a well-stocked library, keeper, gives him leave to beguile abounding in every appliance of his hour or so with what he must ease and comfort ? Would he hang never possess. And how like is the as enraptured over that volume in Eugene Aram of Love to the Eugene