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EARLY on the Sunday morning the thoughts of Collins moved, for the which succeeded to the night marked most part, in accordance. His appearby the burning of the old church ance, nevertheless, bore deep traces of spire, Mrs Nugent sent her carriage former sorrow and inward convulsion, for Maria and Walsingham, who ac- over the remembrance of which trancordingly departed from the cottage. quillity seemed now to be maintained Walsingham and Collins separated on by the vigilant compulsion of a strong terms of civility, and he took leave of will. Maria with cordial, and for him, un- When he had completed his work common courtesy. She had won upon out of doors, he re-entered his house ; him, in previous meetings, by her sim. and, while the old woman prepared plicity and earnestness, which came in his dinner below, he mounted to the aid of earlier ties between him and her upper room, and seated himself beside family, and there were few persons the small open window to read his whom he seemed to have so much favourite Thucydides. This author, pleasure in conversing with. He said, Homer, Plutarch, Shakspeare, Luas he shook hands with her, that he ther's Table Talk, the Scriptures, and hoped to see her soon again. It was a few volumes of biography and as still early in the morning, but he had many of science, formed the bulk of already spent an hour in his garden, his library. His work in the garden, to which he now returned. The plot bis solitary walks among the hills, or of ground was large for that of a cot. sometimes to the sea-shore, a number tage, and was neatly kept, entirely by of little mechanical employments reCollins's own care. He had in it a quired by his situation, and the perusal great number of bee-hives, and there of these books, filled up all his time. he now busied himself in examining, It was only by the rarest accident that with a curious eye, the labours of the he received a visit from any one. But insects, and then by surveying the a day or two after Maria and Walseveral beds of vegetables and flowers. singham had shared his hospitality, To a passer by, had any stranger ever his usual mode of life was again in. travelled on that retired road, he would terrupted by the arrival of a stranger have presented a singular object; for on horseback at the cottage gate. his face was sufficiently noticeable, Sending away the peasant who had and he was dressed, very unlike the conducted him, he tied his horse to a peasantry of the neighbourhood, in a tree, and entered the garden. He complete suit of dark grey, with thick was evidently a member of the more high shoes, and a straw hat. His luxurious classes, dressed with care, garden had in it several apple and but pale and somewhat worn in counpear trees, and two considerable elms. tenance. He had the look of a man At the extremity furthest from the of some intelligence, of rather dissi. small road ran a brook, which made pated habits, and, beyond all question, many windings through the valley. an acknowledged member of polite There were a few scattered, and for society. Collins was digging at the the most part distant cottages in sight. lower part of his garden, near the The heathy hills rose all around, and hives, when he was found by the the general aspect of the scene was stranger, who had first sought bim at that of lonely quiet. But the hum of the cottage. There was some embarthe bees, the murmur of the little rassment in his manner as he drew stream, and the voice of the faint near to the recluse; but it was not wind among the leaves, unbroken by till he had come quite close that Colthe clamour of suffering or of heedless lins looked up, leaning on his spade, human existence, were sounds to which and, while a deep flush passed over his
VOL. XLV, NO. CCLXXIX,
face, said, coldly, after a moment's terest in your annuity. With the pause,
“ Well, Ěverard, what brings little capital this gave me, I could you here? I thought my world had make a decent appearance, and I soon lain quite beyond and away from after managed to get into Parliament. yours.
I think about this time you left LonHe did not offer the stranger his don." hand, who replied, with a hesitating
" Yes. The merchants who had voice, “ Will you not be satisfied, for all my remaining money failed, and a reason, with my wish to see so old left me penniless. I was obliged to a friend as you ?"
go and work for my bread, which I Collins smiled sarcastically, but said earned as a corrector of the press in nothing
the North." « Well, then, if you must have a “ 0! true-aye-I remember.better cause for my visit, may we not Now, I always felt that it was my go into the house that I may tell my business to repay you what you had story at our leisure ?"
supplied me with as soon as possible. “I don't see why you should not But, in fact, my position in life was tell it here, but I have no objection to above my means, and I had not a go into the house. This earth which penny to spare. Some little legacies, I am digging will not spoil by five and so forth, came in now and then minutes' delay, as it has kept since and helped me on, but I always found the creation."
it hard to make both ends meet; and So saying, he led the way to the the attempt to divert money to any obcottage, sent his servant to her own ject but the wants of the day, would peculiar premises, desired his guest to have been quite inconsistent with my sit down, and seated himself with an ambition to serve my country in pubair of resigned unwillingness.
lic life. The clubs and parliament “ It is pleasant, Collins," said Ever- cost more than is generally supposed, ard, “ to find you settled in a way that and my seat had always to be paid suits your humour and character. for, more or less. So you see, my You had always a good deal of the dear fellow, how it is that I really hermit in you, and now you have never have had the means of repaying found out a quiet and secure hermi- you, and at this hour I am as poor as tage, where, I am sure, you must be
You who live in this sort of happy."
way, keep no establishment, and all “ Pray, may I ask on what business that sort of thing, can have no notion you are come to it? I don't remem- of the claims upon a man in society in ber that you ever showed any taste London." for hermitages before."
“ I once lived in London." “ No, perhaps not. Such a life “ Yes, no doubt. But that was would not suit me; but every one has when we were both young, quite unhis own way of existence. Mine at known; nothing was expected from present is politics. But, unwilling as us then.
But the fact is, it is only you are to let me claim the privilege now that I begin to have a prospect of an old friend—and I am most sin- of obtaining a situation which would cerely yours-I must say a word of enable me to do whatever is right as your former kindness to me, and of to you and every body ; and it is for my subsequent history. Little as you this I want your help." may believe it, I can never cease to be My help, Mr Everard ? I really grateful for the generosity with which do not understand you." you shared your fortune between us, “ Well, now, this is the case. I at the time when my father's unex- have always hitherto been member for pected death left me so destitute. quite a small borough ; and the little The income you then made over to place I hold is, perhaps, all I could me, saved me from sinking into dis- fairly expect under existing circumgraceful poverty.
But with the con- stances. But in consequence of my nexions I had formed in life, and the patriotic principles, and of any other hopes I had been brought up in, I claims I may happen to possess, I have could not, you know, live as a gentle- the hope of becoming member for a man on that. I am going over old much more important constituency, ground, for I fancy you are aware which would give me decidedly greater that I soon found I'must sell my in- weight with the Government, and help
me to official promotion. Now it so men to commit themselves in supporthappens, my dear Collins, that you ing you ?" can essentially assist me. I find that That's quite a different thing. you lived at one time among my future They compromise nobody. They are constituents, when, as you say, you not public men. They may do as they were correcting the press; and you please.' would undoubtedly have a good deal “ They compromise themselves and of influence, if you chose to exert it, their wives and children and their own among the artisans, especially the consciences, and all to get my dear printers, who lead many of the others. old friend, Everard, a better place.". They talk of you as a sure friend of The tone with which this was said, the working men, and your opinion though quiet enough, carried the edge would have great power over them. of a scalping-knife. But Everard, who Indeed, so much is this the case, that had soul very hard to be scalped, one of their number is coming as a soon resumed—“ Well, I will tell you deputy to consult you on the subject. what I will pledge myself to, and you It so happens that the decision you who have known me so long may guamay lead them to is of great impor- rantee my promise. If these men will tance, for parties are otherwise so frame any plan for their own benefit, nearly balanced, that the votes of it shall have my very best considerathese men would completely turn the tion.". scale in my favour. The kindness I “Oh, if they bring you into Parliahave to ask of you is, that you would ment you will think benignly of their advise them to vote for me. I hope suggestion ? Perhaps, if I offer your so old a friend as I am may make this friend the deputy your best considerarequest without taking too great a tion for his proposals, he may offer his liberty."
best consideration for yours. “ I really cannot now say what ad- “ Ha! ha! ha! You are as droll vice I shall give this poor man. When and dry as ever. But may I hope that he comes and tells his story I shall you will help me in this matter? You probably know what to answer. But may rely on my eternal gratitude, and pray, if the working men help you, what I may add in that also of my political are you prepared to do for them?" friends."
“As to that, you must see, between “ I can say nothing on the subject ourselves, I can say nothing. I must till I see the person who you say will go with my party. But you may tell ask my advice. I shall give him the them, as I have not scrupled to say best in my power. You have not publicly over and over again, even at asked for any, and in your case, of ihe risk of committing myself, my course, I do not presume to volunteer warmest feelings and most earnest it." endeavours shall be devoted to their “ But, my dear friend ! surely beservice."
tween us there need be no such cere“ I did not ask what I may say. moniousness. Your advice would be Of course I may tell what lies I please, of the highest value, and would always and should wish to do so without meet my very best consideration.' prompting, as I hold that every man “ Will you really promise me that ? ought to be his own liar. But I want For if so I should think it a duty to to know, as you ask the help of these offer an opinion.". men, what service you propose to ren- “ Pray do so without hesitation. I der them in return. Printers espe- am all impatience. What is it you cially know too well how easily, and recommend to me ?" with how few little metal letters, the " To turn old clothesman as soon as finest words are put together, to care possible. I do not know any trade much for mere compliments." you are so fit for, and I am convinced
“ But surely a man of your expe- you would make a distinguished figure rience and sagacity, Collins, cannot in it, especially if you gave it your expect me to commit my party to any best consideration. Now I must go specific measure ?"
back to my work, for I too am a work“ Then how can you expect these ing man--so good morning to you."
On the following day, Andrews, the « Oh, no doubt there could. A rich artisan from the north, appeared at country is sure to spend a deal of the cottage. He was a young, quiet, money foolishly, much as a rich man alert man, with a shrewd and bold is. But suppose every thing of that countenance. As he drew near to the kind were done, and that you, each of bench on which Collins sat in the you, had twenty per cent a-year more garden, his face and manner had an than you now have, do you believe expression of much respect for the
would be satisfied? Think a little recluse. He stated who he was, and before you answer." Collins begged he would sit down by “ No; I do not believe we should. him on the bench under the old elm, We are on the watch and stirring, and from which there was an extensive feeling forward for some great change. view down the valley to the sea, now I do not suppose we should be conglistening under the warm evening tented so long as we saw things going light. Andrews told his story clearly on in the main as they are now, even and earnestly, though at rather unne- if we had a little more money. It is cessary length, and ended by asking the notion of being treated unjustly Collins's opinion whether he and his and kept down that galls us. We friends ought to support Everard. want more equality. We see that we
“ What political object is it,” said work hard and have little pleasure, Collins, “ that you and your friends while others do not work at all, and want to gain ?"
have a great deal. I cannot make the “ We want to take away all unjust thing clear. But I am sure there is distinctions, to have every man paid something wrong somewhere." according to the worth of his labour, " So am I. I never can believe it and not to see the rich made and kept right that a farthing of money should rich by robbery, and the poor made be wasted in folly and nonsense with and kept poor by being robbed." which any real good could be done.
“ Do you want, then, a new distri- But how could you change the thing? bution of all property ? For, if so, I That is the question. If we took half see no result certain, but, in the first the property of the rich away to-morplace, that the country will be thrown row, and gave it to the poor, then,-to into confusion, all trade stopped, and say nothing of the general confusion, millions starved ; and, secondly, that the scrambling and fighting, and the the distributors would provide very lasting insecurity for all,--half of that well for themselves and their friends, sum would be spent within a week whatever might become of others.” again ; and the country would, I
“ No, we do not want that. But believe in my conscience, be worse off we want all the privileges of the rich in every way than it is now." done away, so that every man may “ Why, you are talking just like have a fair chance."
the people we consider our worst ene“ There is no privilege of theirs mies. Yet I suppose you are not half so important as that which gives pleased with things as they are, and I a man's property to his own children, should like to know what do you want instead of throwing it into a common done ?" stock. Would you do that away
?" “ Men never have been satisfied, and “ No. I would only deprive a man's never will be. But one goes on trying family of property which he had ob- to mend a little here and a little there, tained unjustly."
till the hour of ruin comes, and the “ In that case the courts of law are building falls, and buries at once mason meant to set the thing right. They and scaffolding. Such is the story of do pot perform their work very well, the world. There is a black element to be sure. Perhaps you want them of evil in and about us all, and the utmended. But if they were improved, most we can do is to thrust it down, do you think there are many of you and cover it over for a while. It inewho could make out a claim to houses vitably breaks out at last, and perhaps and estates ?"
there most violently where it has been “ Perhaps not. But could there not most vigorously and longest suppressbe taxes taken off?"
ed. We may smooth over the mischief, paint it, gild it, bedizen it for a ren, into the midst of the grinding ma-, time; but it burns through again at chinery of destiny which is crushing last, and looks the ghastlier for all our the universe to powder, and so we a gaudy attempts at hiding it. Talk, little clog and retard the movement fancy, hug ourselves as we will, evil is by the hindrance of our own flesh and not good, nor can be. He who sees blood. This may seem a small thing most clearly is most assured of this, to do. But it is all man can do, and and suffers the most from his know that for us is much. If this is all we ledge that it is so. Any man, there- must look to, I doubt if it be worth fore, who looks forward to a state of while to care for any thing but eating things in which he shall be contented, and drinking." is walking about in search of a child's “ What! not worth while to bind swaddling-clothes that will fit his full. oppressors in their own chains, and grown frame. The fact of his walk-, fill up with their own names the blank ing about is the best evidence that the warrants which they keep signed, as thing is impossible. To seek content- if forejudging all mankind; not worth ment, in fact, is as hopeless as to try while to be ministers, even if bleeding to recover a lost limb. Those only and groaning ones, of retribution ; to have it who never have thought about become serpents under the feet that it. The moment we feel that we wish would trample us as worms; to call for it, we may be certain that it is gone out energies and knowledge, painful for ever. Do not talk to me of aiming inmates of every breast, but which are at happiness. Children, too, desire accompanied by the feeling of added the stars. Leave such prate to those dignity and power? We cannot, inwho have no more serious knowledge deed, strive successfully with fate, or or objects. Men who have grappled teach others to do so, but we can tear with the hard and sharp realities of off our and their bandages, and unbind life should be wiser and graver.” millions of arms, and prevent men
Andrews felt cowed by his energy, from perishing fettered and with closed and said, timidly,“ Do not all men eyes. We can meet our inevitable seek happiness? Is it possible for us doom with the aspect, at least, of freeto desire any thing else ?”
dom and heroism. Is this not worth “ That is one of the absurd phrases while ?" we find in books. No man could have “ If so, it can only be because said it who had looked into himself. life itself is nothing. But to beings All men sometimes seek for happi- such as we nothings are mighty. ness, as they sometimes crave for food, Knowledge, imagination, freedom, that is, when they are hungry. But courage, power,--these may be awamost of our wishes are directed to kened and spread among mankind, some end with which happiness has and to do this is the only task worth no more to do than quenching the living for. These cannot be diffused thirst has to do with the drunkard's lust equally, for men are not equally caof gin. What he thirsts for is liquid pable of them. Sparrows will still be drunkenness. Excitement is the ob- sparrows; and hawks, hawks. But ject of three-fourths of most men's the sparrows need no more be caged wishes, and of the other fourth, re- and blinded, than the hawks hooded pose. Excitement, though it should and subjugated and starved. It is litrend our flesh, and fill our brains with tle that the best can at last attain to, fire. Repose, though it should weigh but the only feeling worth possessing on, and besiege us with nightmare. is that of having done our utmost, and And so the world goes on by laws confronted the iron gaze of necessity that unfailingly work out good and with as bold and calm an eye as can evil in their due and unalterable pro- belong to man.” portion."
“ But for the present what should “ What, then, do we strive for at all?" our course be ?"
“Oh, the evil is only kept down from • Meddle with no political parties. mastering all, and trampling out the Their maxims and enterprises are all last spark of good, by human effort- utterly worthless. Those who flatter unceasing, wearing, agonizing effort, you do it only to cheat you ; except which, after all, realizes little, though those who begin by cheating themit prevents much, and inevitably des- selves, and fancy that somehow or troys the drudging champions. We other they will at each next trial throw thrust our limbs, our wives, our child. seven with a die which has but six