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
Majestys 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. Wooooooo
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-doctors 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.
Its a kittle kind o a job gentlemen, said he; but its weel for
ye that ye hae 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-fas, ma certy, ye might ha*
been lang eneuch i the toon afore he could ha sorted your spring.
But, lets see !Od, as this is a pressin' affair that winna thole
delay, a'm no sure but a hae an auld gershapper that may do a the
turn till ye win hame. Come here, Tammas; bring the pliers i yere
hand. Haud up the body a wee better, mannoo, 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
Ou ay, sir! replied our man; were 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* aan after
the bull passed, od we had a percesshin an a hantel o flagsan a
denner, an speeches that wad na hae disgraced Edinbroch itsell.
But heres Mais-ter Messer, the haberdashery merchant, can tell ye
far better about it than I can. Im say inye 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
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 tastethe flags and
devices were all admirablenothing 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
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
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
haena' just made up my mind aboot that pairt o the story. Its a
lang time yet or the yellection, an* Im thinkin that Ill just tak
a thocht about it.
A thought about it, sir! exclaimed one of us in a tone of
undisguised astonishmenta thought about it! How can you possibly
require one single thought, or hesitate one moment in a Case where
the contest lies between Mr. Awho 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, thats 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 am 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 doctrineeven 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
properlyI 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
"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
"Why, what a soft un you are, Mr. "White! exclaimed the
haberdasher; youre 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 peopleso 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
centuryhas 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 am 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 horses shoes fastened. How goes the reform
cause in the county? Is the reform candidate, Sir D -, sure of his
Am thinkin' hes gey an shure, replied the farmer, shortly.
Im sure you wish him well at all events? said the haberdasher.
Am 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 sistersay, 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 Im 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."
Am 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."
Well stop a wee till we see hoo the laird gangs," answered the
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, youll 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 rashwe'll just tak* a
thought about itand so, with a civil bow to the party, the grocer
"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 Graces 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 generalI 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 Tatts 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
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 ladyships patronage, and the patronage of your ladyships
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 sayit isit 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,ones country,something must
be sacrificed for the good of ones country! The last part of Mr.
Mercers 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
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,III do not know what to say. Your ladyship speaksboth your
ladyships speak like members of the House of Com I mean of the House
of Lordslike Peers of Parliament, I should say. Any thing so
eloquent I have never heard in my life before; but, reallyIII 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 ont! 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, hell 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 thinknay, that would dream of offending you, butbut
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
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
Here, my lady.
Then write down in it that Mercer hereyour name is Joseph, I
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 ladyships 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 reformto 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
"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
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
haberdashers 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. Strongitharms, 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*nt ye?
A believe a wull hae a vote, sir, after a hae qualifeed" replied
the smith, in a plain, simple, yet respectful manner.
Well, youll give it to me, wont ye?" said the candidate.
May a ax wha'ye are, sir? demanded Strongitharm.
Oh! Im Mr. B, you know, who has now represented this district of
burghs in Parliament for these eight years back.
Od, sir, ye mun hae been young begun wi the Parlymentin
business, replied the smith, but muckle though a hae 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 nations money; an for what* am
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 oclock
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 Lunnonan am sure a never saw that the
wark ot 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 yours that ye
spak o, might haud doon puir fouks heads, an prevent Bic like as
me frae haein* 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 gie ma vote to a gentleman,
wha, gif he had had his nane wull, wad never hae letten me hae ony
vote to gie.
"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, am 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*
Whyhoywhoy, nothing very directly indeed, said the candidate,
taken a good deal aback by the suddenness of the honest smith's
question; butbut 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 hae nae-thing for to say
against it; an* gif ony o them, or ony ither man, can shoe yere
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 haena' 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
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
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 hae 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 ot, an am aye yebble to pay the rent; an* sae a'm
thinkin' theres 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 fasts 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
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, am muckle mistane gif ballot be
na the upshot o'd.
THE GOOD OLD TORY
Oh for the time when minstrels pour'd
Their poeans for the great and glorious,
When truth and freedom were abhorrd,
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;
Een though they claimd the marriage-
Not waiting for the rites of marriage!
Such were the days of Englands 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 powr 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*!
This comment system requires
you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an
account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or
Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these
companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All
comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator
has approved your comment.