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Scottish Voters
A Sketch from Real Life


We returned a few days ago, from our annual excursion to our cottage in the Grampians, whither we always resort during the grouse-shooting campaign; and were it not that our magazine is devoted to canvassing the destinies of men, rather than of moorfowl, we should willingly follow the bent of our autumnal inclinations, and proceed to expatiate largely on our Mantons and Purdies; on . our magazines of powder and shot; on the very superior noses, the high breeding, and the finished education of our stanch establishment of setters; to the leading dog of which, in the exuberance of our political feelings, and of our gratitude 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 trifles 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 tfie 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. “ Woo—oo—oo—o 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;99 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 iron-forging, 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 !—Od, 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 attendant 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-vis8ged 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. Bless 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 Mais-ter Messer, the haberdashery merchant, can tell ye far better about it than I can. I’m say in’—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 being one of the Juboli Cornyteee. 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 Corny teee, 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 maimer; 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. A— and 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 Bhilly-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 Davy Dowlas! 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 question. The vote, a tak' it, is ma nane; an' a'm thinkin' a man may lawfully do wiy 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. Put, 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 not — in 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, yon 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 liustin's aither. But possiteeveley 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 C ; and the Earl of C, 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
mean to do, and defy the old earl, and the old devil, and all hie works? Ah ! you are soft as your own dough, Master White J”

“Sir,” said the baker, sulkily, “a'd wish ye to keep in mind, that gif a’m dough, an’ soft yenoo, a may grow mair crusty than may please your chafts, if a'm but made het aneuch; sae, a'd advise you to keep your, jokes mair till yeresell. A say again what a said afore, an’ that is, that possiteevely a wunna vote ava; ” and with that Mr. White abruptly left the smithy.

“He's a poor spiritless fellow that," said the haberdasher, after eying his retreating steps for some time, till he saw he was effectually out of all hearing. “If all reformers were like him, indeed, what would become of the great cause ? Aweel, how goes the county, Farmer Black?*' continued he, now addressing a stout young country-looking man, who at this moment dismounted at the smithy door to have one of his horse’s shoes fastened. “How goes the reform cause in the county? Is the reform candidate, Sir D -, sure of his election?"

“A’m thinkin' he’s gey an’ shure,’’ replied the farmer, shortly.

“I’m sure you wish him well at all events?” said the haberdasher.

“A’m no sayin’ but a do,’’ briefly replied Farmer Black.

“Ay, ay," said Mercer, “many's the good bumper of punch that you and I drank together to the glorious cause of reform, on that market day, you remember, when you stopped to take a bit of chack of dinner with me, after buying so many gowns, and shawls, and ribbons for your mother and sisters—ay, and may-be for some other lass, too, for aught I know to the contrary. You know you sold your nowt well that day; and I’m bold to say I never beheld a finer show of beauty than your large hay-cart exhibited on the glorious day of the Juboli, standing at the corner of the street; when the old lady and the girls, all dressed in my new gowns and finery, were placed bolt upright in it, thick set together like so many pots of stock gillyflowers and marygolds, as I passed by you bearing the banner, with the painting of a loom upon it, surmounted by a trifling jew desprite of my own, (for I now and then rhyme a little, ye must know, if the murder must out)—surmounted, I say, by the words

When I set up my loom
My pattern shall be
Russell, Althorpe, and Brougham,
Who have made us all free!
Then for honest Joe Hume,
I shall surely find room;
And my colour, I say,
Shall be that of Earl Grey.”

“The banner was a vera bonnie flag, Maister Messer," replied the farmer. “An* troth, when a saw ye carrying it, ye pat me in mind o’ ane o* ma ain stots routing awa wi* his tail straight up on end, when the puir beasts are fleggit wi* a flight o’ clegs in a het summer day."

“Aweel, aweel," said the haberdasher, rather dashed by this uncouth simile, and anxious to divert the attention of those present from it, “I am sure you wish the worthy baronet, the representative of the cause of reform, every possible success."

“A’m no saying but a do," replied the farmer.

“Well,” said the haberdasher, “he's sure of your vote at any rate, at the very first asking."

“We’ll stop a wee till we see hoo the laird gangs," answered the farmer.

“What has the laird to do with the matter?” demanded the haberdasher. “If you pay him his rent you may laugh at the laird."

“Wha says that a dinna pay him his rent?*' said the farmer, looking suspiciously over his shoulder, as he inserted his left toe into the stirrup, and threw his right leg over his beast. “That may a' be true eneugh that ye say, yet, for a* that, ane may like to bide a wee gliff till ane sees hoo the laird gangs."

“Silly aver!” exclaimed Mercer, after Farmer Black had ridden away, “that fellow has as little sense or spirit as the cart Bassie that bears him yonder. The fellow bawled about reform with the best of us; and, for all that, I do believe, that to keep the laird easy with him about some small arrear of rent, he will vote for Colonel -, the anti-reform candidate, although it be against his very conscience. Ton my honour, such fellows are no more to be depended upon than a piece of doth which has been rotted in the bleaching ! Surely, Mr Dallas, you’ll be ashamed not to show more resolution than yon turnip-headed gaby? Come, man, take a swatch from me; and make up your mind to vote, as I mean to do, for Mr. A and the cause of reform, which we have both stuck to so long."

“Na, na, Maister Messer, we'll no' be so rash—we'll just tak* a thought about itand so, with a civil bow to the party, the grocer departed.

"He! he! he! there goes Dull Davie Dowlas!" exclaimed the haberdasher; “depend upon it his thought has been taken already, and he is fairly tied by the leg. The Duke's commissioner has been with him, and deuce another raisin, or fig, or Stilton cheese from his shop will now be eaten within the doors of his Grace’s mansion, if he does not give his vote to please the anti-reforming peer! But, let that pass: all men are not made of stuff strong enough to resist such friction as he has been exposed to. Gentlemen, you are strangers here; but I am proud to say you are no strangers tome; for I had the honour of seeing you both on the hustings in Bruntsfield Links, on the grand day of the Juboli, at Edinburgh. You were pointed out to me by a friend as great and well-known reformers, and as able supporters of that valuable, and enlightened, and liberal, and rapidly-rising journal, Tait*s Magazine; and as such, as I reverenced you then, so I reverence you tenfold more now, that my own ears have heard you utter sentiments such as you have uttered. I see that some accident has happened to your carriage, which, though I regret it on your account, has been a great blessing to me, in giving me the honour of so much of your company and converse; and if I can be of any use to you?"

“Sir," said one of us, "we are much flattered by your politeness. Our carriage has indeed met with a small accident, which you see is in the hands of Mr, Strongitharm, and which seems to be already so far in the way of being remedied, that the vehicle has at least been fully taken to pieces; but our spring seems determined to verify the proverb, so very applicable to Scotch springs in general—I mean, that ‘Hope delayed maketh the heart sick; for, although my friend and I have been for these two hours back softly aspirating in the words of our native poet, Thomson, Come, gentle spring, *and probably with no less impatience than the tiresome dregs of a long-protracted winter had driven him to, yet there seems as yet to be but little chance of its speedily € coming when we do call.'"

“Instead of standing hanging on your pins in this uncomfortable place here/' said the haberdasher, “like the unsaleable last year's ginghams in my shop, with all Strongitharm's hammers ringing in your ears, had you not better adjourn, as we used to say at our reform meetings. And now that the rain seems to be over, if you will venture to walk to my house, about eight or ten doors off, I shall be happy to take you in, as I take in Tatt’s Magazine, and to show you my back parlour ; where you will do me great honour by accepting a glass of wine, to drink success to the liberal cause here, and everywhere else.”

To so kind an invitation as this, it was quite impossible to say nay; so, after giving the smith and our own man our final directions, we followed Mr. Mercer through his front and back shop, into his snug little parlour behind both, where we were introduced to his wife, a smiling well-favoured black-eyed bourgeoise, to whom he appeared to have been recently united. Wine and cakes being produced, Mercer himself was soon called by his business to the front shop, and we were left in comfortable chit-chat with the lady ; who speedily showed herself, like most of the sensible women we have met with, to be a keen reformer.

Whilst thus agreeably engaged, we heard a sound in which the well-practised ear never can be deceived; we mean the sound of patrician wheels. The coach of a peer, it is true, has no more wheels than a common stage-coach has; nor has it any more horses. But there is a deep, decorous, dignified roll about such a carriage, that even when it is hid from our eyes, never fails to conjure up on our retina the fat coachman, or the two splash-looking postilions, and especially the two tall, handsome, lazy, cane-carrying footmen in the rumble behind. It is a sound very different, indeed, from the rapid rattle, and jingle, and cracking of a mail or other such coach ; even when that accursed horn is silent, which, unlike the happy horn of Oberon, is less calculated to conjure up pleasing delusions than to dissipate our celestial dreams of bliss. The partition between the parlour where we sat, and what was called the back shop, was thin; and a pretty considerable window, with a cotton blind hanging over it, whilst it was intended to give a borrowed light to the back shop, very much contributed to facilitate the transmission of sound.

“That's the voice of the Countess of C-,” whispered Mrs. Mercer to us; "she's a proper anti. I wish my goodman were well quit of her! for, reformer though he be, he has no chance at all with so designing and so persevering a woman as she is; and depend upon it, she is not begging hint into the back shop that way without some end of her own. Hist! Listen to what they are saying !'* Thus tutored, we remained silent, by which means we were compelled to overhear the whole conversation; though we must, at the same time, honestly con-fess, that, although we are not ladies, our curiosity to know the issue was so great, that we found it no very severe penance to be compelled to listen.

"This way, my lady!—this way!” said the haberdasher.

“Mercer" he drawled out a soft but haughty voice; “I have hitherto been rather disposed to patronize you; and one of the best proofs of this very good disposition towards you is, that which I recently exhibited by bringing my niece, the Marchioness of F-, here to give you her patronage too. And now, in the same patronizing disposition, I come to desire you will give your vote, (for I understand that these levelling times have given you a vote)—I say, I come to desire you will give your vote to my son-in-law Mr. B , who, notwithstanding all I can say to him, is obstinately determined to contaminate himself among the riff-raff members of that abominable sink, the Reform Parliament.”

“Really, my lady,” stammered out the haberdasher, after what appeared to us to be a most ominous pause, “I am deeply sensible of your ladyship’s patronage, and the patronage of your ladyship’s niece, I beg pardon, I mean the patronage of the most noble the Lady Marchioness of F-. I feel all that your ladyship has so eloquently expressed. But, really, my lady, in times like the present, hem!—a-hem !—in times like the present, I say—it is—it is very difficult, indeed, to say what to do.”

“What, Mr. Mercer!” exclaimed a new voice, pitched in a much higher key, which our prologa, Mrs. Mercer, at once informed us was that of the marchioness; “What, Mr. Mercer! can you have any doubt how to act in a case where the Countess of C— where my aunt the Countess of C—— condescends so far as to advise you?”

“No, no, not exactly doubt, my lady marchioness,—not exactly doubt,” replied Mr. Mercer, in a subdued tone, betraying considerable trepidation; and, then, after a pause, during which he appeared to have somewhat collected himself, “At all events, I cannot doubt that it must always be my duty to obey the smallest wishes of two ladies of rank, so high and noble, and especially of two such honoured patronesses as the Countess of C — and the Marchioness of F-. But, really, noble ladies, in these times,—one’s country,—something must be sacrificed for the good of one’s country!” The last part of Mr. Mercer’s speech was enunciated with an assumed firmness of voice as if he had twisted up the fiddle-reins of his nerves considerably above concert pitch. But the voice, that of the marchioness, which replied to him, was tuned a full octave above him.

“A haberdasher talking of his country! There is the march of intellect for you! There is reform with a vengeance! why, I shall next expect to see your man of muslins and of ginghams keeping his French cook ! Where can such people have learned to talk of their country? But, indeed, when we have such Chancellors and Premiers as Brougham and Grey, who actually talk as if the common herd of the canaille were of the same blood, as well as flesh, as we of the Upper House, it is no wonder that we should have a haberdasher giving us a discourse upon his country, as if it were John Kemble himself arisen from the dead to perform the character of Cato of Utica!”

“Let me talk to him, my love!” drawled out the countess. “I shall not waste much time with him, I promise you, though I shall even condescend to reason with him. Mercer! you are an extremely foolish man; a haberdasher, as my niece, Lady F , says, has no business in the world with his country, except to live in it, and to pay its taxes* He should attend to his muslins, and his silks, and his counter, and all that; but that he should interfere with politics, is a thing absolutely quite shocking. On the contrary, he should always be ready to listen to any lady of quality who deigns to patronize him, as I and my niece, the Marchioness of F-, patronize you, Mercer ; to show his gratitude to whom he should always be ready to vote as his patronesses bid him, through, thick and through thin; but, as to politics, a haberdasher in a small borough like this should never have any thing to do with politics, and still less with his country. Then say at once that you will vote for my son-in-law, Mr. B  , and don't be so rude-—do you hear, Mercer? —as to give me any farther trouble."

“I am sure, my lady," stammered out the haberdasher, “I am sure, my lady,—I—I—I do not know what to say. Your ladyship speaks—both your ladyships speak like members of the House of Com I mean of the House of Lords—like Peers of Parliament, I should say. Any thing so eloquent I have never heard in my life before; but, really—I—I—I do not know what to say."

“But I know what you must say," replied the shrill and impetuous Marchioness. “You must pledge yourself to vote for Mr. B , and there's an end on’t! What, sir, are two women of quality, such as my aunt and myself, to condescend thus to signify their pleasure to such a person as Mr. Mercer the haberdasher !" (“ Proud minx that she is !" was here parenthetically inteijected by Mrs. Mercer; “ if the fellow has the spirit of a flea, he’ll give her his mind.") “ Are we, I say, to condescend to lay our commands on any such person as you, and are they to be received with doubt and hesitation P Reptile ! if you detain us longer with your doubts, you shall be crushed to the earth like a worm in our path.

“Hear the vixen!" exclaimed Mrs. Mercer. “ If I were he, I would give it to her in the deafest side of her head!"

“Do not permit yourself to be excited thus, my love, by the folly of this weak, silly man," said the drawling countess. “He is a stubborn blockhead, to be sure, as all blockheads are. But I shall never allow such a person as he is, to rob me of my temper. I do not even allow my obstinate poodle to do that; though, it must be confessed, he has more than once tried me pretty severely."

“Ladies, ladies!" exclaimed Mercer, in a perturbed tone that spoke his extreme agitation. “Heaven knows I am the last man in the world that would think—nay, that would dream of offending you, but—but— but, really, what can a man do?"

“I say, with all the distinctness of utterance of which I am mistress," continued the countess; “and our family have always been remarkable for distinctness of utterance; and, of all our family, no one has been more remarkable for that quality than myself;—I say with all the distinctness of utterance of which I am mistress, give me your promise that you will vote for my son-in-law, Mr. B , or I shall not only withdraw from you my patronage, and that of all the members of my family, but the Marchioness shall withdraw hers, and we shall blast the reputation of your goods, oppose their introduction by the influence of our superior ton, abolish the borough balls; and, finally, bring down a person who was a shopman with the so justly celebrated firm of Dyde and Scribe, to set up under our fostering surveillance in opposition to you; and you>are, doubtless, sufficiently acquainted with the political economy of this paltry place, to know whether or not it has customers enough to make the new man rich, and to keep you from starving at the same time!"

“Horrible old witch!" muttered Mrs. Mercer; “what a demon she is. Have a care of me! heard ye ever the like of her?”

“Ahem! Your ladyship deals rather hardly with me," said Mercer; “or rather, I should say, you are pleased to, perhaps, just a little disposed to, it may be, to have some amusement at my expense. But— but really, 'pon my honour, I am really much at a loss what to say. But suppose that, just to please you, honourable ladies, I should resolve that I should keep neutral, and not vote at all?”

“What, sir!” exclaimed the marchioness, in her highest key, “not vote at all! do you call that pleasing us? By ail that is good we shall not hate you one atom of our demands; vote for Mr. B , and have our patronage; vote for Mr. A—, or remain neuter, and take our heaviest vengeance as your reward. Is that plain and intelligible?”

“Come, come, my love,’* said the countess, “you are too hasty with this imbecile. He is a poor silly creature; hut you should remember that our Bible teaches us to have mercy upon the weak. I see that our arguments have at length begun to operate upon him, as the continual dropping of a drop of water is said, by degrees, to perforate the hardest rock; and thus we perceive the powerful effect of sound reason, when properly directed and applied, and conveyed in fitting language. So now, Mercer, call my footman; and, as you show us to the carriage, give me the satisfaction of hearing you say that you have at last come to the determination of supporting my son-in-law Mr. B Call my foot man, I say; Charles, the man's name is Charles.” Here Mrs. Mercer half opened the parlour-door, that she might the better hear, and at the same time see the parties, as they moved through the front shop towards the door where the carriage was standing. Mr. Mercer followed the two peeresses, bowing with great humiliation, and pale, and trembling like an aspen leaf. “Call Charles, I say!” continued the countess, seating herself in one of the chairs of the front shop. “Charles, where is my book of pledges?"

“Here, my lady.”

“Then write down in it that Mercer here—your name is Joseph, I believe?”

“No, my lady,” replied the subdued haberdasher, in an humble tone, "my name is Dick.”

“Ay! ay! true,” continued she; “Richard Mercer. Charles, write down that Richard Mercer, (we cannot be too particular in such matters of business,) I say that Richard Mercer, haberdasher and silk merchant, number what is your number?”—“Fifteen, my lady.”—“That Richard Mercer, haberdasher and silk merchant, and dealer in shawls and laces, number fifteen, High Street, pledges himself to qualify and vote for Mr. B—. Ha! let me see it ,* yes, right enough; that will do. And now, Mr. Mercer, have you any particularly rich lace veils at present? I think you occasionally commission such trifies. Let us see your last parcel; ay, that will do; vastly pretty, indeed! Hum! some of them vulgar enough in pattern, too; but, on the whole, not at all bad for such a shop in a country town. Put the whole parcel into the carriage; I may find use for them all.”

“My troth, that is a wholesale bargain, indeed,” muttered Mrs. Mercer; “but when shall we see the colour of her ladyship’s money?”

Mr. Mercer came sneaking back*into the little parlour, and swooped himself down in an easy chair, with a visage sorely humiliated by mortification and chagrin. His lady hardly allowed him to be seated ere she opened upon him.

“Well, Dick, this is a precious business. How can you ever venture-—you who was, as a body may say, the very tongue of the trump of reform—to hold up your head, or to show your face among the neighbours, after allowing yourself to be cajoled by that Jesuit, and dragooned by that horse-trooper in petticoats, and to have the common sense driven out of ye by such a pair of she-devils; Lord forgive me for such words? Bless me, man, I thought you had more spunk and spirit in you than to be so browbeaten by such a randy woman as yon marchioness, or humbugged by such a draunting drone as yon shy old witch, her aunty the countess. How could you be so dull and so soft?"

Now, be it observed, that the thin vapour of which the haberdasher's spirit was composed, had been, by this time, screwed down to its minutest possible volume, by the high pressure engines of the two ladies who had been so lately operating upon it. To prevent danger from its too sudden re-expansion, it should have been permitted gradually to escape harmless through some safety-valve. But, instead of this plan having been resorted to, the inconsiderate partner of his bosom thus began, by unexpectedly applying the poker to stir up the already intensely hot fire that burned within him ; and an additional stimulus was given to it, almost equal to that of a barrel of turpentine, by her having thus, for the first time, made him aware of the fact, that we who had witnessed his triumphant chuckling over the weakness of his neighbours and friends, the grocer, the baker, and the farmer, had now both heard and seen the utter and complete debasement to which he had been reduced. Poo! off he went, with an explosion more like that produced by the ignition of carbureted hydrogen in a coal-mine, than the mere bursting of a steam-boiler.

"I'll tell ye what it is, Mrs. Mercer," said he, striking the table with his fist, “by the great oath, this is a subject which no woman shall dare to remark upon in my presence; and, damnation, ma'am, my wife shall never speak of it, if she would have her head on the same pillow, or under the same roof with mine, else my name is not Dick Mercer!"

“Mr. Mercer," said we, rising abruptly to take our departure, "we drink to your good health, and many thanks for your polite hospitality. Do not stir, sir; pray do not stir.” But the haberdasher did stir, to accompany us to the door, with his habitual professional attention. And oh! what did he behold and hear when he reached it? On the narrow pavement in front of his shop stood a little ring of burghers, among whom we noticed Dull David Dallas the grocer, and the well-powdered Mr. White, the baker; while farmer Black was sitting in his saddle, and leaning over the kennel, listening with eager attention. A shout of laughter was at that moment arising from the group, in the midst of which one of the haberdasher’s shopmen was in the act of finishing a waggish detail of the occurrences which we have so recently narrated. For our parts, we hardly dared to look at the poor man who was the subject of this history; but the slap of despair which he bestowed on his brow ere he again rushed inwards, was so loud, that it absolutely reechoed from the opposite buildings.

We returned to Mr. Strongitharm’s, just in time to witness another scene, which, after what had passed, was quite refreshing to us, as vt will, no doubt, be to our readers. The last touch had been given to our refitted vehicle, and our worthy iron M.D. had received our grateful commendations for his expertness and expedition; when, as we were about to pay him his very moderate charge, a light barouchette, with four post-horses, and a brace of postilions, drove up to the door of the smithy. On the box in front, was seated Mr. B , the present and would-be future member for the district of burghs we were then in; and in the interior appeared the heads of two individuals, the one elderly and the other younger. Mr. B— sprang from the box with great alacrity, and, entering the smithy, addressed Mr. Strongitharm with a familiar yet haughty nod.

“You're a voter, my good fellow, a*n’t ye?”

“A believe a wull ha’e a vote, sir, after a ha’e qualifeed" replied the smith, in a plain, simple, yet respectful manner.

“Well, you’ll give it to me, wont ye?" said the candidate.

“May a ax wha'ye are, sir?’’ demanded Strongitharm.

“Oh! I’m Mr. B, you know, who has now represented this district of burghs in Parliament for these eight years back.’’

“Od, sir, ye mun ha’e been young begun wi’ the Parlymentin’ business,” replied the smith, “ but muckle though a ha’e read o’ the newspapers, a ha'e never seen o' your doin' ony thing, either for the gude o’ the country in general, or for this hamewald pairt o’ the warld in par-teecler; though they tell me ye hae gotten a gude fifeteen hunder a* year o* the nation’s money; an’ for what* a’m sure a kenna."

"That, my good friend, was merely the salary of a laborious office, of which the present men have deprived me,” replied the candidate, in a somewhat subdued tone.

“A kenna whaure the labour o't- lay than,” said the smith, drily; “a can only say, that a dinna think muckle o' laborin’ frae sax o’clock till sax o'clock wi* this bit fore-hammer i’ my hand, an’ a dinna get the fifeteenth pairt o' that siller for ma pains. They tell me that your wark-shop's in Lunnon—an’ a’m sure a never saw that the wark o’t ever stop-pit ye frae saumont-fishing i’ the spring; nor frae deuk shootin' i’ the loch a' the simmer; nor frae murderin’ the poor muirfools nor paitricks, i’ the autumn; nor frae ridin' after the fox, a’ the rest o’ the year. Whaure the labor o't can be than, is mair nor a can find oot. Labor eneuch did you indeed tak' whanever Lord John Russell, or ony o’ thae pawtriotic chields, spak aboot reform. Ma certy, whatever sport was in play at the time, ye gaed aff an' left it in an auld hurry. An a’ to do what think ye ? By ma soul, for nae ither purpose but to gi'e your silent vote against a' thing that was raisonable; just that you, an* the pairty that gied you that laborious an* ill-paid office o’ your’s that ye spak o’, might haud doon puir fouk’s heads, an’ prevent Bic like as me frae ha’ein* that 8ma’ voice in the nation, to the whilk, a tak* it, common sense wud say that they are fairly enteetled.”

“You are a very sensible man, Mr. Strongitharm,” said the candidate; “though some of your views are not altogether correct, or quite in harmony with mine. But, however much I may have opposed reform from conscientious motives, I am free to confess, that, since it has now become the law of the land, no one can be more disposed to see that it is fairly administered than I shall be.”

“Weel, sir, that may be very true," replied the smith; “but a'm for pitten a chield to the new reform bellyses, wha had some hand in settin’ them up, an’ wha best kens hoo to work them. In short, sir, to save ye frae blawin' ony mair o’ the wund oot o’ yours, a maun just honestly tell ye, that a canna’ gi’e ma vote to a gentleman, wha, gif he had had his nane wull, wad never hae letten me hae ony vote to gi’e.”

"Then you have been canvassed already by Mr. A , I suppose,” said Mr. B —, in a pettish tone.

“Na, Maister A nor nae ane else has been naur me,” replied the smith; “ye're the very first that ever spak till me aboot ony siccan a business. But whether Mr. A— comes till me or no', a mean to gi'e him ma vote, as bein’ the best man we can get for our turn; and, gif we no can get him to gang to Parliament to do oor wark, am thinkin’ that oer burghs wull be muckle obliged till him.*

“But, Mr Strongitharm,* said the candidate, somewhat moved, “you seem to forget, sir, that although you never saw me before, the whole horses of my stud, hunters, hacks, and all, have been shod in your smithy for nearly two years past.”

“That may be, sir!' coolly replied the smith, “a’m sure a ha'e been very proud o* your custom; an* mair nor that, a*m proud eneuch to believe that your horses were the best shod horses in a* the country side. But what has horse-shoein’ to do wi* the makin* o* members o* Parliament?”

“Why—hoy—whoy, nothing very directly indeed,” said the candidate, taken a good deal aback by the suddenness of the honest smith's question; “but—but you know it is in my power to send my horses to be shod somewhere else.”

“Ou, nae doot o* that, sir!” replied the smith, “though, wi' reverence be it spoken, a canna* just see hoo siccan a hint as that jumps very weel wi* your declaration, that nane could be mair disposed than you are to see the Reform Bull fairly administered, noo that it's an ack. But gif ye wull be contented to ha'e your hunters shod by gleed Wully Robb, poor chield, or even by the bit genty body up the street that make the nice pokers an* tangs, and nit-crackers, and nitmug graters, a ha’e nae-thing for to say against it; an* gif ony o’ them, or ony ither man, can shoe ye’re hunters as weel as a can do, what for no' employ him? But if the truth be, as a jalouse, that a can shoe your horses better than ony Rher smith i’ this pairt o’ the country side, then, ma opinion just is, that if ye gang elsewhere to fare waur, ye ha’ena' just a' that wusdom for your ain interest that fouk gi'e ye credit for.”

“Why do you talk so long?" called out one of the personages from the interior of the vehicle, in an impatient tone, “Come away I come away! '*

Mr. B— hastened to the side of the carriage, and after a little private parley, a servant was called to open the door, and to let down the steps; and the indefatigable Mr. B — returned to the charge, reinforced by the presence of his two friends from the interior.

“Mr. Strongitharm, this is my father-in-law, the Earl of C - , and this is my wife's cousin, the Marquis of F said the candidate.

“Mr. Strongitharm,” said the marquis, with a good-natured, familiar air and manner, “ you know that I keep hounds, I believe; that I hunt a pretty wide extent of country; and that not-only all my shoeing work is done in your shop, but that I have it in my power to give you, or to take from you, half the shoeing work and farriery business of this county, and those on each side of it. Will you refuse me your vote for my connexion, Mr. B - ?"

"Mr. Strongitharm,” said the earl, taking up the discourse before the smith had time to reply, “you know that I also have some shoeing in my stables, and much smith work adoing at the castle; all this I have the power of giving or withholding. But there is yet another thing to which I would earnestly call your attention: you hold a farm of three hundred a-year from me; and note, will you refuse me your vote for my son-in-law, Mr. B — ?”

“Ma lords,” replied Mr. Strongitharm, apparently now resolved to permit the negotiation to be as little spun out as he possibly could; “as to the horse an' smith pairt o* your twa speeches, a maun just say to you what a ha'e already said to this gentleman himsell, what has the shoein’ o* horses and the makin’ o’ members o’ Parliament to do wi' ana anither ? Gin ye dinna like to ha’e yere horses shod by me, ye maun just gang elsewhere to hae the job dune ; an’ gin ye find as gude a smith as me, a” that a say is, that a wuss ye baith joy o’ him. An’ as for the maitter o* the farm o’ which his lordship the yearl spak yenoo, a canna see, for the soul o’ me, what that has to do wi' makin’ o’ a Parliament man, mair nor the shoein’ trade. A ha'e gotten a gey stark bargain o’ the bit place, but a ha'e a tack o’t, an’ a’m aye yebble to pay the rent; an* sae a'm thinkin' there’s naething left to mak or mend atween us. But, Lord sake, sirs ! a hinna time to be stannin’ haverin’ here ony langer: a maun till ma wark as fast’s a can; for a daurna leave ma study to gang and catch saumonts, and shoot deuks, as this gentleman can do.” And suiting the action to the word, he snatehed up the fore-hammer, and began to thunder such a peal upon the anvil as quickly drove the nervous senators of both the Houses to their carriages; and he never stopped his noise till that of their wheels was quite lost in distance.

There was a good-natured waggish leer of comical humour on his face, when he ceased his cannonade of blows, to receive the money which we had all this time been holding in our hands. Before again placing ourselves in our vehicle, we could not resist paying him some compliments on his firm, noble, and straightforward conduct.

“Fegs, gentlemen, it's a bad account o’ human nature,” said he, “ that ye sould think it wordy while to commend a man for barely doin' that which he wad be a rascal for no doin’. But, troth, a maun say that some poor deevils are subjeckit to sair temptations by thae anti fouk, or conservatives, as they are cain’ themsells. But, an they dinna let poor fouk alane, to be guided by God and their ain consciences, in the exer-ceese o' a trust, the whilk they hould for sae mony ithers beside them-sells, a’m muckle mistane gif ballot be na the upshot o'd.”

THE GOOD OLD TORY TIME.

Oh for the time when minstrels pour'd
Their poeans for the great and glorious,
When truth and freedom were abhorr’d,
And Tories all were merrytorious
When every prince was wise and good,
By the sheer force of birth and station;
And princesses all hearts subdued,
Which heat for beauty and the nation;
When loved by loyal lords and knights,
They shone Lucretias in their carriage;
E’en though they claim’d the marriage-
Not waiting for the rites of marriage!
Such were the days of England’s pride,
When she was strong, and great, and moral;
When every muse in meanness vied,
As if they struggled for the laurelt
Oh! would some pow’r those days renew,
And wake the Muses from their slumber
To tell how generous is Buccleuch,
How liberal the Loid of Clumber!
To tell with what a fearless speed
Our prince upon the footpath dashes,
And frights some ladies with his steed,
And others with his grim mustaches
How stout Sir George to rob the Guelph,
Of such a vast amount of glory,
Took the whole honour to himself,
And told a very barefaced story!
Alas! some muse, from trammels free,
Has hinted with malicious 6lyness,
How very false a knight may be,
How very low a Royal Highnets.
But let her hint; on truth we'll lean,
Though, faith! the story was a poser ;
If far from Perfect he has been,
'Twas right to draw a little closer.
If this wont do, we'll blame the steed,
The rein, the spur, and drop a hint in—
Their eyes were fathers of the deed;
For one is blind, and t'other s quintin*!


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