But the great, the eventful, the nomination day
arrived. Mr. Donaldson—Andrew Donaldson, the labourer, that was—stood
forward to make his speech—the speech that his son Paul, student in the
University of Edinburgh, had written. He got through the first sentence,
in the tone and after the manner of the village clergyman, whom he had
attended for forty years; but there he stuck fast; and of all his son Paul
had written—short, sententious, patriotic as it was—he remembered not a
single word. But, though gravelled from forgetfulness of his son’s matter,
and though he stammered, hesitated, and tried to recollect himself for a
few moments, yet he had too high an idea of his own consequence to stand
completely still. No man who has a consequential idea of his own abilities
will ever positively stick in a speech. I remember an old schoolmaster of
mine used to say, that a public speaker should regard his audience as so
many cabbage-stocks. But he had never been a public speaker, or he would
have said no such thing. Such an advice may do very well for a precentor
to a congregation; but, as regards an orator addressing a multitude, it is
a different matter. No, sir; the man who speaks in public must neither
forget his audience nor overlook them; he must regard them as his
equals, but none of them as his superior, in intellect; he
should regard every man of them as capable of understanding and
appreciating what he may say; and, in order to make himself understood, he
should endeavour to bring his language and his imagery down to every
capacity, rather than permit them to go on stilts or to take wings. Some
silly people imagine that what they call fine language, flowery sentences,
and splendid metaphors, are oratory. Stuff!—stuff! Where do you find them
in the orations of the immortal orators of Greece or Rome? They used the
proper language—they used effective language—
"Thoughts that breathed and words that burned;"
but they knew that the key of eloquence must be applied
not to the head but to the heart. But, sir, I digress from the speech of
Mr. Donaldson. (Pardon me--I am in the habit of illustrating to my boy,
and dissertation is my fault, or rather I should say my habit.) Well, sir,
as I have said, he stuck fast in the speech which his son had written;
but, as I have also said, he had too high an opinion of himself to stand
long without saying something. When left to himself, in what he did say, I
am afraid he "betrayed his birth and breeding;" for there was loud
laughter in the hall, and cries of hear him! hear him! But the poll
commenced; the other candidate brought voters from five hundred miles
distant—from east, west, north, and south; from Scotland, Ireland, and the
Continent. He polled a vote at every three proclamations, when Mr.
Donaldson had no more to bring forward; and on the fourteenth day he
defeated him by a majority of ONE! The right worshipful thatcher declared
that the election had fallen on the opposing candidate. The people also
said that he had spent most money, and that it was right the election
should fall on the best man. He in truth had spent more in the contest
than Andrew Donaldson had won by his lottery ticket. The feelings of Mr.
Donaldson on the loss of his election were the agonies of extreme despair.
In the height of his misery, he mentioned to his introducer,
Captain Edwards, or rather I should call him his traducer, that he
was a ruined man—that he had lost his all! The Captain laughed and left
the room. He seemed to have left the town also; for his victim did not
meet with him again.
In a state bordering on frenzy, he returned to
London. He reached the hotel—he rushed into the room where his wife, his
son, and his daughter sat. With a confused and hurried step he paced to
and fro across the floor, wringing his hands, and ever and anon exclaiming
"Lost Andrew Donaldson!—Ruined Andrew Donaldson!"
His son Peter, who took the matter calmly, and who
believed that the extent of the loss was the loss of the election,
carefully surveyed his father’s attitudes and the expression of his
countenance, and thought the scene before him would make an admirable
subject for a picture—the piece to be entitled "The Unsuccessful
Candidate." "It will help to make good his loss," thought Peter,
"provided he will sit."
"O dearsake, Andrew! Andrew! what is’t?" cried Mrs.
"Lost! lost! ruined Andrew Donaldson!" replied her
"Oh, where is the Captain?—where is Edwards?—why is not
he here?" asked Rebecca.
"The foul fiend!" exclaimed her father.
"O Andrew, man! speak, Andrew, jewel!—what is’t?" added
his wife; "if it be only the loss o’ siller, Heaven be praised; for I’ve
neither had peace nor comfort since ye got it."
the loss!" cried
he, turning upon her like a fury—"only the loss!" Agony and passion
stopped his utterance.
Mr. Donaldson was, in truth, a ruined man. Of the
fifteen thousand which he had obtained, not three hundred, exclusive of
Lottery Hall and the twenty acres around it, were left. His career had
been a brief and a fashionable one. On the following day, his son Jacob
returned from abroad. Within twelve months, he had cost his father a
thousand pounds; and, in exchange for the money spent, he brought home
with him all the vices he had met with on his route. But I blame not
Jacob—his betters, the learned and the noble, do the same. Poor fellow! he
was sent upon the world with a rough garment round his shoulders, which
gathered up all the dust that blew, and retained a portion of all the
filth with which it came in contact; but polished substances would not
Captain Edwards returned no more to the hotel. He had
given the last lesson to his scholar in the science of fashion—he had
extorted from him the last fee he could spare. He had gauged the neck of
his purse, and he forsook him—in his debt he forsook him! Poor Rebecca!
day after day she inquired after the Captain! the Captain!
Lost—degraded—wretched Rebecca! But I will say no more of her; she became
as dead while she yet lived—the confiding victim of a villain.
The barouche, the horses, the trinkets that deformed
Mrs. Donaldson, with a piano that had been bought for Rebecca, were sold,
and Andrew Donaldson with his family left London and proceeded to Lottery
Hall. But there, though he endeavoured to carry his head high, though he
still walked with his silver cane, and though it was known (and he took
care to make it known) that he had polled within one of being a member of
parliament—still the Squire did not acknowledge him—his old acquaintances
did not lift their hats to him—but all seemed certain that he was coming
down "by the run" (I think that was the slang or provincial phrase
they used) to his old level. They perceived that he kept no horses
now—save one to work the twenty acres around the Lodge; for he had
ploughed up and sown with barley, and let out as potatoe ground, what he
at first had laid out as a park. This spoke volumes. They also saw that he
had parted with his coach, that he kept but one servant, and that servant
told tales in the village. He was laughed at by his neighbours, and those
who had been his fellow-labourers; and with a Sardonic chuckle, they were
wont to speak of his house as "the Member o’ Parliament’s." I have
said that I would say no more of poor Rebecca; but the tongues of the
women in the village dwelt also on her. But she died, and in the same hour
died also a new-born child of the villain Edwards.
Peter had left his father’s house and commenced the
profession of an artist, in a town about twenty miles from this. Mr.
Donaldson was now humbled. It was his intention, with the sorry remnant of
his fortune, to take a farm for Jacob; but, oh! Jacob had bathed in a sea
of vice, and the bitter waters of adversity could not wash out the
pollution it had left behind it. Into his native village he carried the
habits he had acquired or witnessed beneath the cerulean skies of Italy,
or amidst the dark-eyed daughters of France. Shame followed his footsteps.
Yea, although the Squire despised Mr. Donaldson, his son, a youth of
nineteen, became the boon companion of Jacob. They held midnight orgies
together. Jacob initiated the Squireling into the mysteries of Paris and
Rome, of Naples and Munich, whence he was about to proceed. But I will not
dwell upon their short career. Extravagance attended it, shame and tears
Andrew Donaldson no longer possessed the means of
upholding his son in folly and wickedness. He urged him to settle in the
world—to take a farm while he had the power left of placing him in it; but
Jacob’s sins pursued him. He fled from his father’s house, and enlisted in
a marching regiment about to embark for the East Indies, No more was heard
of him for many years, until a letter arrived from one of his comrades
announcing that he had fallen at Corunna.
To defray the expenses which his son Jacob had brought
upon him, Mr. Donaldson had not only to part with the small remnant that
was left him of his fifteen thousand, but to take a heavy mortgage upon
Lottery Hall. Again he was compelled to put his hand to the spade and to
the plough; and his wife, deprived of her daughters, again became her own
servant. Sorrow, shame, and disappointment gnawed in his heart. His
garments of pride, now wore threadbare, were cut off for ever. The
persecution, the mockery of his neighbours increased. They asked each
other "if they had seen the Member o’ Parliament wi’ the spade in his hand
again?" They quoted the text, "A haughty spirit goes before a
fall;" and they remembered passages of the preacher’s lecture against
pride and vanity on the day when Andrew appeared in his purple coat. He
became a solitary man; and, on the face of this globe which we inhabit,
there existed not a more miserable being than Andrew Donaldson.
Peter was generally admitted to be a young man of great
talents, and bade fair to rise to eminence in his profession as an artist.
There was to be an exhibition of the works of living artists in Edinburgh;
and Peter went through to it, taking with him more than a dozen pictures,
on all subjects and of all sizes. He had landscapes, sea pieces,
historical paintings, portraits, fish, game, and compositions, the
grouping of which would have done credit to a master. In size, they were
from five feet square to five inches. His brother Paul, who was still at
the college, and who now supported himself by private teaching, was
surprised when one morning Peter arrived at his lodgings, with three
caddies at his back, bearing his load of pictures. Paul welcomed him with
open arms; for he was proud of his brother; he had admired his early
talents, and had heard of the progress he had made in his art. With a
proud heart and a delighted eye, Peter unpacked his paintings and placed
them around the room for the inspection of his brother; and great was his
"What may be their value, Peter?" inquired Paul.
"Between ourselves, Paul," replied Peters "I would not
part with the lot under a thousand guineas!"
"A thousand guineas!" ejaculated the student in
surprise; "do you say so?"
"Yes I say it," answered the painter, with importance.
"Look ye, Paul—observe this bridal party at the altar— see the blush on
the bride’s cheek, the joy in the bridegroom’s eye—is it not natural? And
look at the grouping!—observe the warmth of the colouring, the breadth of
effect, the depth of shade, the freedom of touch! Now, tell me candidly as
a brother, is it not a gem?"
"It is certainly beautiful," answered Paul.
"I tell you what," continued the artist—"though I say
it who should not say it, I have seen worse things sold for a thousand
"You don’t say so!" responded the astonished student,
and he wished that he had been an artist instead of a scholar.
"I do," added Peter; "and now, Paul, what do you think
I intend to do with the money which this will bring?"
"How should I know, brother?" returned the other.
"Why then," said he, "I am resolved to pay off the
mortgage on our father’s property, that the old man may spend the
remainder of his days in comfort."
Paul wept, and taking his brother’s hand, said, "And if
you do, the property shall be yours, Peter."
"Never, brother!" replied the other—"rather than rob
you of your birthright, I would cut my hand off."
The pictures were again packed up; and the brothers
went out in quest of the Secretary to the exhibition, in order to have
them submitted to the Committee for admission. The Secretary received them
with politeness; he said he was afraid that they could not find room for
so many pieces as Mr. Donaldson mentioned, for they wished to give every
one a fair chance; but he desired him to forward the pictures, and he
would see what could be done for them. The paintings were sent, and Peter
heard no more of them for a week, when a printed catalogue and perpetual
ticket were sent to him with the Secretary’s compliments. Peter’s eyes ran
over the catalogue—at length they fell upon "No. 210 A Bridal
Party—P.Donaldson," and again, "No. 230 Dead Game—P.
Donaldson.;" but his name did not again occur in the whole catalogue.
This was a disappointment; but it was some consolation that his favourite
piece had been chosen.
Next day the exhibition opened, and Peter and Paul
visited it together. The "Bridal Party" was a small picture with a modest
frame, and they anxiously sought round the room in which it was said to be
placed; but they saw it not. At length, "Here it is," said Paul—and
then indeed it was, thrust into a dark corner of the room., the frame
touching the floor, literally crushed and over shadowed beneath a glaring,
battle-piece, six feet in length and with a frame seven inches in depth.
It was impossible to examine it without going upon your knees, Peter’s
indignation knew no bounds. He would have torn the picture from its
hiding-place, but Paul prevented him. They next looked for No. 230; and,
to increase the indignation of the artist, it, with twenty others, was
huddle into the passage, where, as Milton saith, there was
"No light, but rather darkness visible.
Or, as Spencer hath it—
"A little gloomy light much like a shade."
For fourteen days did Peter visit the exhibition, and
return to the lodgings of his brother, sorrowful and disappointed. The
magical word SOLD was not yet attached to the painting which was to redeem
his father’s property.
One evening, Paul being engaged with his pupils, the
artist had gone into a tavern, to drown the bitterness of his
disappointment for a few minutes with a bottle of ale. The keenness of his
feelings had rendered him oblivious; and in his abstraction and misery he
had spoken aloud of his favourite painting, the Bridal Party. Two
young gentlemen sat in the next box; they either were not in the
room when he entered, or he did not observe them. They overheard the
monologue to which the artist had unconsciously given utterances, and it
struck them as a prime jest to lark with his misery. The words "Splendid
piece yon Bridal Party;"—"Beautiful!"—"Production of a
master!"—"Wonderful that it sold in such a bad light and
shameful situation!" fell upon Peter’s ears. He started up—he hurried
round to the box where they sat— "Gentlemen," he exclaimed, eagerly, "do
you speak of the painting No. 210 in the exhibition?"
"Of the same, sir," was the reply.
"I am the artist!—I painted it," cried Peter.
"You, sir!—you!" cried both the gentlemen at once,
"give us your hand, sir—we are proud of having the honour of seeing you."
"Yes, sir," returned one of them; "we left the
exhibition to-day just before it closed, and had the pleasure of. seeing
the porter attach the ticket to it."
"Glorious!—joy! joy!" cried Peter, running in ecstacy
to the bell and ringing it violently; and as the waiter entered—"A bottle
of claret!—claret, boy!—claret!" And he sat down to treat the gentlemen
who had announced to him the glad tidings. They drank long and deep, till
Peter’s head came in contact with the table, and sleep sealed up his
eyelids. When aroused by the landlord who presented his bill, his
companions were gone; and, stupid as Peter was, he recollected for the
first time that his pocket did not contain funds to discharge the
reckoning, and he left his watch with the tavern-keeper, promising to
redeem it the next day when he received the price of his picture. I need
not tell you what a miserable day that next day was to him, when, with his
head aching with the fumes of the wine, he found that he had been
duped—that his picture was not sold. The exhibition closed for the
season—he had spent his last shilling, and Paul was as poor as Peter; but
the former borrowed a guinea to pay his brother’s fare on the outside of
the coach to -----.
Andrew Donaldson continued to struggle hard; but
struggle as he would, he could not pay the interest of the mortgage.
Disappointment, sorrow, humbled vanity, and the laugh of the world, were
too much for him; and, shortly after Peter’s visit to Edinburgh, he died;
repenting that he had ever pursued the phantom Fashion, or sought after
the rottenness of wealth.
"And what," inquired I, "became of Mrs. Donaldson and
her sons Paul and Peter?"
"Peter, sir," continued the narrator, "rose to eminence
in his profession; and, redeeming the mortgage on Lottery Hall, he gave it
as a present to his brother Paul, who opened it as an establishment for
young gentlemen. His mother resides with him—and, sir, Paul hath spoken
unto you; he hath given you the history of Lottery Hall."
Book Index Page