Collections: 
0-9 | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

Page 20 of Barren honour : a novel / by the author of "Guy Livingston," "The sword and gown," &c., &c., &c.

item | thumbnails | details | text | pdf
Download this image
with no small kindness, especially if you as to solicit the suffrages of Newman- have letters of introduction: they will ham. Were such an one to present him- show vou over their vast works and self, it is scarcely probable that the free endless factories, adapting their conver- and independent electors would content sation always to your limited capacity, themselves with such playful missiles as becoming affably explanatory or blandly graveolent eggs or decomposed 'cabbage- statistical, as the occasion demands, stalks: they would be more likely to re- only indulging in a mild and discreet vive, for his especial benefit, that almost triumph, as they point out some unut- obsolete argumentum a lapide which terably hideous combination of steel and has silenced, if it did not convince, iron peculiar to their own establishment, many obstinate enthusiasts who, nev- which produces results as unexpected ertheless, were not far from the truth, as a conjuring trick. Even so have we after all. In no other town of England are seen Mr. Ambrose Arcturus, the stout Mir. Bright's harangues received with and intrepid voyager, beguile a Sab- such favour and sincere sympathy. bath afternoon in exhibiting to a friend's When the santon-fit is on that meek child-to the officer of the day from Man of Peace, and carries him away in the contiguous barracks-to a fair coun- a flood of furious diatribe against " those try cousin-or some other equally in- who sit in high places and grind the nocent and inquisitive creature-the faces of the poor," it is curious to re- treasures of the Zoological Society, not mark how willingly and completely his a few of which are the captives of his audience surrender themselves to the in- own bow and spear; lingering, perhaps fluence of the hour. You may see the fondly, for a moment, opposite a gigan- ground-swell of passion swaying and tic bivalve or mollusca which he is re- surging through the mass of operatives ported to have vanquished in single that pack the body of the hall, till every combat. gaunt grimed face becomes picturesque But, in spite of all this hospitality, in its savage energy: you have only to the consciousness of being in a false po- look round to be aware that education, sition, of taking up people's time where and property, and outward respecta- time is money-in fact, of being rather bility, are no safeguards against the con- a nuisance than othewise-cannot easily tagion: it is spreading fast now through be shaken off: the eye grows weary that phalanx of decent broad-clothed with seeking a resting-place where every- burghers on the platform, and-listen- thing illustrates perpetual motion, and their voices chime in with ominous alac- the brain dizzy with the everlasting rity in the cheer that rewards a perora- tremor and whir of wheels. It is a tion that in old days would have brought positive relief when we find ourselves the speaker to the pillory. starting on one of the lines that radiate That same cheer, once heard, is not from Newmanham to every point of the easily forgotten: there is not the faint- compass, like the feelers of a cuttle-fish, est echo of anything joyous, or kindly, always dragging in "raw material" to or hopeful, in its accent; one feels that the voracious centre: it is an absolute it issues from the depths of hearts that luxury, an hour afterwards, to sweep on are more than dissatisfied-through lips through the great grazing grounds again, parched with a fiery longing and thirst and to see forty acres of sound, un- for something never yet attained. For dulating pasture stretching away up to what God help them! they could not the black " bulfinch" that cuts the sky- tell you-if they dared. Go to an ag- line. ricultural dinner (farmers are the most You may easily guess what the po- discontented race alive, you know), mark litical tone of such a borough must be: the tumult among the yeomen when the Liberalism of the most enlightened de- health of the county favorite has been scription flourishes there unchecked and given, or rather intimated, for they knew unrivalled; for no Conservative candi- what the speaker would say, and before date has yet been found so self-sacrificing he could finish, the storm of great, 20 BARREN HONOIJ1L