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'You may think so, gentlemen,' said the chairman, with a polite. ness which was really very provoking; but upon my honour I cannot agree with you.'
You can't?' said Mr. Bouncewell, sarcastically. You see nothing shameful in plundering industrious, honest, hard-working tradesmen, eh, don't you? But what's the use of talking! You don't mean to settle with us ?-that's to be understood?'
Then I'll tell you what it is: we'll just go and blow up the whole affair! We'll serve you out in that way, The other side wants information-we'll give it !-we'll tell all we know !'
"We just will!' cried his friends.
''We'll come forward as witnesses. We know enough to upset the election! We'll learn you how to be shabby! Do you think that'll answer your purpose
'Gentlemen,' said the chairman,
you will pursue that course which you deem most correct. I have only to repeat that I cannot and will not entertain your claims.'
Mr. Bouncewell then started a groan, which his associates responded to deeply; and when his had been accomplished to their entire satisfaction, each gave full expression to his sentiments on the sub. ject, and with a look of ineffable contempt left the room.
As this was the last application, the accounts were immediately closed, and as everything had been charged extremely reasonable considering, the sum total amounted to thirty thousand pounds.
This, however, utterly failed to alarm the widow. She would not suffer herself to think of the largeness of the sum. It was sufficient for her to feel that it had all been expended for the purpose of raising her Stanley to distinction; and to achieve that object she could have borne to be reduced to comparative beggary herself. It was therefore with unalloyed pleasure that, when all had been arranged, she bade adieu to that place of which her Stanley was then the representative in parliament, albeit she knew that Swansdown and his agents were displaying still the utmost zeal.
In which the venerable gentleman appears to be caught at last.
On the arrival of the family in town, excitement was supplanted by deep and tranquil joy. The soul of Stanley had been fired with ambition. He studied zealously, and attended the House night after night; but, although his return home invariably fluctuated between three and four in the morning, Amelia never felt solitary, never felt dull: for she knew or believed,-which had precisely the same effect, -that the absence of her Stanley was essential to his success as a statesman, and was happy in the portrayal of the flattering details of a brilliant-and glorious career.
Now, it happened that, in proportion as the intimacy between Amelia and Miss Johnson became closer and more affectionate, the friendship subsisting between Bob and his venerable friend,-both of whom had been handsomely rewarded for their exertions during the contest, became warmer and more firm They never appeared to be perfectly comfortable apart: they saw and drank with each other every
day with the strict regularity of the sun; and the venerable gentleman met with so much kind feeling, and withal such distinguished consideration in Stanley's kitchen, that almost every evening he called with the view of playing at the noble game of cribbage with Bob.
It frequently, however, happened that Bob was absent with his master; and on all such occasions the venerable gentleman had a game with Joanna the cook, and really experienced so much genuine lady-like conduct at her hands, that, instead of regretting Bob's absence, as at first, he began to like it rather than not.
The gentle Joanna had heard much of the venerable gentleman from Bob. She had heard of his high-toned gentleman-like bearing, of his honourable and strictly virtuous principles, of his brilliant conversational qualities, and of the general generosity of his heart. She had, moreover, heard that he possessed some considerable property, which, in her gentle judgment, imparted an additional lustre to the whole. She had, therefore, been powerfully prepossessed in his favour before she had the honour of an introduction: and his conduct in her presence was so perfectly correct, that she felt a strong conviction that the high and noble qualities of his heart and mind had been to some considerable extent understated. It is true he was rather an elderly gentleman; but it is also true that he was, in her opinion, an exceedingly nice-looking, elderly gentleman, who, although in reality sixty, might pass very well for forty-six or forty-seven, considering that the hair even of young men will sometimes turn grey !
There was, however, one consideration which-as she confidentially consulted her friend, the pillow, night after night-caused her to reflect deeply upon the solemn and irrevocable step she contemplated. This consideration was a high one,--it being no other than that of what the world would say,-and therefore one which induced her to pause, and very naturally, seeing that she was known, not only to the whole of her fellow servants, but to the milkman, the laundress, the baker's man, and the butcher. It was hence in her view of the deepest importance that due deference should be paid in this matter to the opinion of the world, knowing well, as she did know, that nothing on earth tends to promote human happiness more than the consciousness of being by the world looked up to and respected For some time this objection appeared to be insuperable. She could not get over it. Many restless days and sleepless nights did she pass in deep reflection. She even went to the most eminent astrologer of the age for the purpose of having her nativity cast, and was greatly relieved when that profoundly learned person informed her that she would have two husbands, and be with both extremely prosperous and happy; it seemed to be so very conclusive. Still the question of what the world would say was continually upon her lips while she zealously racked her imagination to conceive a sound and sufficient answer to that question; for she imagined, and very correctly, that, if the world should be up in arms in consequence of her marrying an elderly gentleman, it might to some extent interfere with her connubial bliss.
At length, however, having considered the matter in all its parts and bearings, she safely arrived at this conclusion, that it would not by any means become her to fly in the teeth of fate, and that, feeling quite sure that the venerable gentleman had been distinctly destined to be her first, it was her duty to surrender herself meekly to circumstances over which she could not be supposed to have control.