« 前へ次へ »
for the blessings our Premier has recently conferred upon us, we have given the proud name of Earl Grey. We should give a detailed account of all our varied warfare, both by land and by water ; on mountain, on moor, on river, on lake, and on tarn ; of all our successes, and of all our disappointments; particularly noticing the days when our own unerring eyes, and undeviating double-barrels, were the means of loading the backs of our gillies with full game-bags, which happily chastened their alpine strides to an equality with our more sober paces ; and again pointing out, with great care, those extraneous, and altogether uncontrollable causes, which, in defiance of our unvarying accuracy of aim, did, on certain days, most unaccountably conspire to baffle us, and, much to our dissatisfaction, left the broad shoulders of our Highlanders altogether unincumbered. All this we should have told, together with all the other incidental, accidental, transcendental, and minor matters, naturally requiring to be recorded in a well-written sporting tour. But at the present time, men's minds are too much occupied with the fate of their country, and as a most important feature of it, more immediately intent on watching the probable result of the future elections, for any such trifies as these to find room in them. We shall therefore leave all such things to sleep till some second Colonel Thornton shall arise, on some future halcyon occasion, to celebrate our exploits; and we shall now hasten to give an extract from our journal, which, we hope, may be found not entirely unconnected with the all-engrossing subject of the purity of representation and of election.
Whilst on our way homewards, we sojourned one night in a small burgh town lying in our route, 'and, after an early breakfast next morning, we again mounted the driving seat of our dog-cart, and with as sporting an attitude as we could possibly assume, the resistless effect of which, indeed, was sufficiently proved by the undisguised admiration exhibited by certain juvenile milliners' apprentices, who watched our departure from a large bay window opposite our inn, we started, and dashed down the street at a pace that called forth the clamorous applause, not only of the raggamuffin boys, but also of divers nondescript burgh curs which rushed forth from either side of the way, to follow in the wake of our triumphal car, and to the imminent jeopardy of certain aldermanic ducks, who, accustomed as they had been all their lives to maintain the crown of the causeway in dignified composure, in defiance even of the rapid wheel of his Majesty's mail coach, had, notwithstanding, very considerable difficulty in waddling out of our way. In the midst of this our vain-glorious career, and when we had almost reached the town's-end, we suddenly experienced one of those reverses of fortune, which are frequently sent, like salutary medicines, to reduce the fever of human pride, when it rises above that degree which marks the truly healthy state of the human mind. In driving over a deep kennel that ran across the street, our machine sustained so rude a shock, that we were fairly pitched upwards by the concussion, completely into the air, like the ball from the trapshoe, and our persons descended from this, their sudden elevation, with a weight and force so tremendous, as instantly to produce a great, most unexpected, and most alarming derangement of the equilibrium of our vehicle. “ W'00---00-00-0 up!”-cried we, pulling up our reins in very considerable dismay; and in truth it was full time for us to do so, for the body of our carriage hung over in so threatening a manner, that, had we not succeeded in suddenly stopping our course, we, and carriage, and dogs, and detonators, would have been tumbled in chaotic confusion most ingloriously into the mud. As it happened, however, we managed to descend very gingerly and without injury from our exalted position, when, to our no small mortification, we discovered that in consequence of the rude jerk we had received, one of our new patent grasshopper springs had hopped altogether from its place, and been broken in its most delicate part. So there we and our attendant stood, utterly at a loss what to do, our faculties paralyzed by the magnitude of our misfortune, surrounded by a crowd of inquisitive but unaiding idlers; and to add to our confusion, as we were consulting together, amidst the frequent interruptions of numerous officious advisers among those who had assembled about us, two of our gay and handsome milliners' girls came tripping along the pavement, each with a band-box in her hand, and with a wicked simper on her face, that made both of us bite our lips very sillily, and look extremely foolish.
As there is no happiness without alloy in this life, so there are few misfortunes altogether void of alleviating circumstances. By good luck our accident had taken place exactly opposite to a forge, over the door of which was painted in large letters, “ Robert Strongitharm, Smith and Farrier;" and as the brawny muscles of Robert himself were at that moment actively employed in wielding a ponderous fore-hammer, in the act of ringing a wheel belonging to an old gig, which we observed standing by the side of the way, propped up on one leg as it were, like some ballad-singing mendicant, we resolved to put our case immediately into the horse-doctor's hands.
Like all members of the faculties of law, physic, farriery, and ironforging, when a new case is presented to them, Dr. Strongitharm pronounced our case, or rather the grasshopper spring, to be a very bad case. But, as he very properly observed, there seldom is any case so bad but that it may be cured, provided a proper adviser, and skilful operator can be obtained to plan and perfect its cure; and he accordingly began honestly to congratulate us on our having been tossed by our good fortune into hands so very experienced as his.
« It's a kittle kind o' a job gentlemen," said he ; “ but it's weel for ye that ye ha'e forgathered wi' ane gey an' weel acquaint wi' siccan fasheous maitters. Had ye happened on yon useless scart o' a cratur, Johnnie MacGruther, i' the grand shop yonder, twa three doors farther up the street, though he kens mair than a do about pokers an' tangs, an' nit-crackers, an'moose-fa's, ma certy, ye might ha' been lang eneuch i the toon afore he could ha' sorted your spring. But, let's see !—0d, as this is a pressin' affair that winna' thole delay, a'm no sure but a ha'e an auld gershapper that may do a' the turn till ye win hame. Come here, Tammas; bring the pliers i' ye're hand. Haud up the body a wee better, man-noo, that 'ill do.” And the smith was in the middle of the business in the twinkling of an eye.
Somewhat tickled by the humour of this son of Vulcan, and being moreover very desirous to see the work forwarded, so that we might be speedily again en route, we entered the smithy with our disabled vehicle, whilst our servant put the horse into an adjoining stable. There we stood silently watching the labours of Mr. Strongitharm and his attend. ant Cyclops. The broad and good-natured visage of the smith, that looked as if it had been modelled in black diamond, first began to shine over the anvil, and then, by degrees, it even appeared to ignite by the glow of the fire it was exposed to, until at last it absolutely glowed like a piece of burning charcoal, whilst he eagerly toiled to accomplish our wishes. As we lounged about the place, yawning, and execrating our ill-luck, our attention was attracted by the appearance of a fat little round-visaged man, in an apron and sleeves, who entered the smithy, having been driven into it by a sudden and heavy shower of rain ; and after a few of those preliminary nothings which usually serve as preface to a Scottish dialogue between strangers,
“I see you are reformers here, sir," said one of us, pointing to an old Reform Jubilee placard, fragments of which still adhered to the smithy door.
“ Ou ay, sir," replied our man; “ we're a' stench reformers here. Biess your heart, sir! we had mony a petition here for Reform, baith to the Parliament an' the Lords, an' the King an'a'-an' after the bull passed, od we had a percesshin an' a hantel o’ flags_an' a denner, an' speeches that wad na' ha'e disgraced Edinbroch itsell. But here's Maister Messer, the haberdashery merchant, can tell ye far better about it than I can. I'm sayin'-ye can tell the gentleman a' aboot our Reform Jubile, Maister Messer,” continued he, speaking to a thin, spare, and rather well-dressed man who then entered, puffing and blowing, from his anxious haste to escape to a shelter.
“ The Juboli ?” said Mr. Mercer, wiping his bran new blue coat, and his velvet neck, and his gilt buttons very carefully, with a scarlet Menteith-dyed cotton pocket-handkerchief. “Oh yes, Mr. Dallas, I can tell the gentlemen all about the Juboli, for you know I had the honour of be. ing one of the Juboli Comyteee. I assure you, gentlemen, it was got up with the greatest good taste—the flags and devices were all admirable—nothing personally offensive to any one ; and as I happened to have the good fortune to have been present at the Juboli in Edinburgh, I was not only enabled to supply all and sundry with the proper ribbons and badges,—but I also had it in my power to give many useful hints to the Comyteee, and although I say it who should not say it, the Juboli here was thereby rendered not unworthy of the great victory which Freedom has achieved in Scotland."
“ I hope you had a good turn out of reformers ?" said one of us.
« Why, sir, the whole town are reformers here,” replied Mr. Mercer ; “ we set down to dinner about two hundred and fifty persons; and the speeches, toasts, and songs were of the very first description."
“ Then Mr. A- , the liberal candidate for these burghs, is sure of his election, so far as this town is concerned,” said we, “and Mr. B the anti-reform candidate, can have no chance ?"
“ Not the least chance in the world, sir," replied the haberdasher; “ for, as I said before, we are all reformers here."
“ Ou ay, that we are !" echoed Mr. Dallas, the grocer; “ a' stench reformers.”
“ Then, sir,” said one of us to the last speaker, “ I need not ask you whether you are to vote for Mr. A or Mr. B- ?".
“ Troth, sir,” replied the grocer, « to tell ye the honest truth, I ha'ena' just made up my mind aboot that pairt o’ the story. It's a lang time yet or the yellection, an' I'm thinkin' that I'll just tak a thocht about it."
“ A thought about it, sir !” exclaimed one of us in a tone of undisguised astonishment_" a thought about it! How can you possibly require one single thought, or hesitate one moment in a case where the contest lies between Mr. A- , who has so long advocated the rights
of the people, and who has sacrificed his time, and given his labour in the most patriotic and indefatigable manner ; all to bring about the accomplishment of that grand work of reform, which, to carry home the matter to yourself, has made you a voter for the member of Parliament for this burgh. Can you hesitate, I say, between such a man as him, and his opponent Mr. B- , who has so long sat for these burghs in the Commons' House, for no other purpose than to support that very corruption and extravagance in the government of the State, which has brought us to the very eve of political bankruptcy, and who has uni. formly opposed every motion, however trifling, which went in any way to enlarge the privileges of the people, or to diminish those burdens under which they at present groan ? Why, sir, with the political feelings you have declared you possess, I cannot understand how you could hesitate one moment in your choice between two such candidates as Mr. Aand Mr. B !"
“ Od, sir, I dinna ken,” replied the grocer, “ there's a great deal, to be sure, in what you say. But I'm thinkin' I maun just tak' a thocht aboot it.”
“He! he! he ! Laukerdaisy, such a regular dull one you are, my dear Mr. Dallas !" exclaimed the haberdashery merchant, with the titter of a man-milliner. “ What, man ! bless my heart, can't ye make up your mind to the right thing at once, without more shilly-shally ? Surely you can never go for to think for to vote for such an anti as Mr. B—you who have signed every reform petition that was sent off from this place? Why, what are ye thinking on?”
“Od, I tell ye, I maun just tak’ a thought about it, Maister Messer,” replied the grocer.
“ He! he! he! well, deuce take me if you have not been well nick.. named by the club, Dull Davy Dallas,” cried the haberdasher; “and if I might be permitted to amend your nong de garr, I should propose that instead of Dull Davy Dallas it should be Dull Dary Doulas! Ha! Mr. White,” continued he, addressing a baker who just then entered, .“ you're a man of more spirit. I'll be bound you'll act after a more bolder fashion, else I mistake you sadly. You'll give your vote to the right one at once. You'll not hesitate long between Mr. A-- and Mr. B- I'll warrant me."
“Ou, Mr. A--'s the man for the people's rights, that's true," replied the baker; “ and as for the tither chap, it maun be admitted that he has dune a' thing that he could to keep them frae us ; but ye ken they're baith very good gentlemen, and sae a'm just no thinkin' o' votin' at a'."
“Angels and ministers of grace defend us! here is a determination tenfold more extraordinary than the hesitation of the other gentleman," exclaimed one of us. “Why, sir, what in the world can have brought you, a reformer, to so strange a resolution as this?"
“ A dinna ken,” replied the baker, with some little displeasure in his countenance; “a divna see that am just obliged to answer that ques. tion. The vote, a tak' it, is ma nane ; an' a'm thinkin' a man may law. fully do wi' his nane what he likes.”
“ True, sir,” replied one of us, “ you have the highest authority for holding such doctrine-even that of an august and noble duke, no less --who argued upon the great scale; that is, about whole levies of burghs, exactly what you are now arguing on the small scale, for the mere property of your vote. But, sir, let me tell you, that if election reform is to be terminated where it now stands, you must begin to view your newly-acquired privilege in a light very different from that under which it now appears to you; for, I put this question to you, Why was it that the Legislature limited the vote to the minimum of a ten-pound rent in a burgh, or a ten-pound property in a county ? and why did they refuse to give votes to people of nine pounds, of five pounds, or of three pounds,-ay, sir, or to people of one pound ? but simply because they conceived that by so vesting the power in what might be presumed to be the most intelligent portion of the community; and that your right, being not your right alone, sir, but the right of all those unprivileged persons by whom you are surrounded, would be honestly and conscientiously exercised for their behoof, as well as your own, and therefore for the good of the whole. I hold, sir, that you are bound by the duty you owe to your neighbours, who have no votes, or rather, I should say, whose votes are confided to you to bestow properly-I say, I hold that you are bound to give your vote either one way or other. You dare notin justice to your neighbours, who may be called your copartners in it,you dare not, I say, keep it tied up in your napkin; and if you but give it according to your conscience, you cannot be blamed, even if that conscience, after having been fairly consulted, should tell you to give it against the opinion of those very neighbours who have a share in it. But, if you follow your conscience, you cannot go wrong; and, indeed, in your own particular case, you have already said enough to satisfy me that, in the election about to take place, your wishes and your conscience will go hand in hand together; and moreover, that they will be found in full harmony with the wishes of that knot of hitherto unfranchised persons, in the midst of whom you live, and whose votes you represent; who look, let me tell you, with a jealous eye on you, watching how you are to employ that vote, which will be held by them to be, as it certainly is, the common property of them all."
“ My eye! there's a speech for you, Master White !” exclaimed the haberdasher, slapping the baker's back, till the twelvemonth's dusting of flour, which had gradually accumulated in his jacket, arose and enveloped us like a mist. “There's a speech for ye, my boy! what say ye to that? Why, that would have done for our last dinner. What say ye to that, I say?'
" Troth, sir, a'll just tell ye the truth,” replied the baker: “a ha'e not muckle to say, that's certain ; an' there's nae doot muckle gude sense in what this gentleman has said. Weel, indeed, might he speak at dinner or at hustin's aither. But possiteereley a wunna vote!”
“ Why, what a soft un you are, Mr. White !” exclaimed the haberdasher; “ you're one hundred per cent a worse article than Dull David Dowlas here. I tell ye, you are as soft as your own dough ! But I am up to the cause of your not voting, Master White. You know that Mr. B- is son-in-law to the Earl of (- ; and the Earl of C-4, wonderful to behold! after having, all his life, for his own private purposes, pretended to be the man for the people-so far, indeed, as to have been considered somewhat of a republican in the days of the Reign of Terror in France, at the end of the last century-has now most strangely discovered that his own private purposes require that he should fight like a Turkish Jannissary against freedom wherever it appears. He is the maddest of all the mad antis now going. But, Mr. White, hark in your ear, he takes his household bread from you, and you are afraid to lose his custom. But why don't you act boldly and independently, as I