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blindly to the poll ? The Conservative party, then, are prepared to accept a reform measure as a legacy left them by their predecessors, but they may be allowed to modify it largely. They believe that the intelligence of the country should be represented, and are willing to prepare a bill to bring about such a desirable consummation, but they are justly unwilling to pass any measure which would throw the suffrage into the hands of the masses, for by such a course, unfortunately for us,
parliamentary representation of the country would degenerate into a question of the longest purse. The ballot is un-English : the character of the nation is open and manly, and it cannot be induced to consent to a measure which, if passed, would place the honest man on the same level with the rogue.
England has lately gone through a dangerous period of its existence : the mercantile world has been agitated by storms, which, although, perhaps, reducible to the theory of winds as regards their periodical reappearance, scatter terror and dismay during their recurring progress. The nation requires a period of tranquillity to recover from the nervous irritation produced by crash after crash, and the present is certainly not the moment to introduce fresh perturbation by ventilating the question of reform. The losses entailed by extreme speculation have not yet been recovered, and although our manufacturers are gradually making up for lost time, and hands are returning to their labour, still they should not be fostered in the idea that parliamentary reform is a panacea for an empty stomach. Most patiently have the working classes endured the privations entailed upon them by undue speculation ; they have gone through a fearful ordeal, which would have driven continental nations into a state of menacing insanity ; but, like Englishmen, they have remained true to themselves. Now that they are recovering from the pressure and enjoying the sweet satisfaction of earning a “fair day's wage for a fair day's work," it would be cruel to lead them away from their honest labour by any exaggerated ideas of their political importance, and, by bringing up the reform question, imbue them with the dangerous doctrine that their votes are of vital importance for the welfare of the nation. Hence, the present ministry have acted wisely in deferring the reform question until the reaction has taken place, and the workmen are in such a pecuniary position that they can argue on the question without detriment to their more immediate interests.
There are, however, topics on which the new ministry can exercise its talent without risking its independence. Recent revelations have shown that our bankruptcy law is in a most unhealthy condition. The system pursued by the mercantile world, if allowed to continue, must destroy the national prestige. Here, then, is a field in which the Attorney-General can display his undoubted ability, without touching on any vital point, Nothing is so stinging to an Englishman as the idea that the national honour is assailed,
and in nothing would he more gladly offer a helping hand than in the rectification of any abuses which, even by implication, appear to lower him in the eyes of our neighbours. It is an old, but very true, remark, that if the French would exchange their commercial for our criminal code, the legislature of the two countries would be established on a perfect basis. Without going so far, we believe that our
mercantile system could be placed on a much more satisfactory footing if our legislators would deign to accept a notion from their legal brethren across the Channel.
In the present state of parties, when a coalition can overthrow any ministry, no matter whether it be honestly furthering the interests of the country, it is impossible to predict the duration of a Conservative government. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has scouted the notion that the Tories have accepted office on sufferance ; in fact, the character of the members of the administration is sufficient to explode any such idea, however much the liberal organs may desire to insinuate it. But we do not think that the present government would be justified in laying down the power merely because influences 'are brought to bear on the House which must necessarily lead to a defeat. If such a combination take place, and should the Conservative party be left in a minority, the government will be authorised in making a solenin appeal to the verdict of the nation. Englishmen are just ; their only fault in political matters is, that a popular cry will lead them away, and Lord Palmerston was well aware of this, or he would have tried their temper once again, as he did after the Chinese defeat. If, then, the Tory government should by any accident be left in a minority during the present session, we are inclined to believe that an appeal to the people would produce a very different result. Still, we should much prefer to avoid such a dead-lock of public business as must ensue from a dissolution, and we trust that the House, duly regarding the situation of matters at present, will evince that disinterestedness which is so requisite to place us again on a satisfactory footing with our neighbours, and to ensure our rule in India.
Regarding the constitution of the present ministry, we are bound to confess our admiration of the skilful manner in which Lord Derby has executed his very difficult task. The names of the ministers are a guarantee of honesty of purpose, and though we may regret the absence of Sir Bulwer Lytton from the list, his fervid
eloquence will be at the disposal of the government in the House. The greatest loss we have experienced, however, is in the retirement of Lord Stratford from the embassy at Constantinople. Such a loss is irreparable, and may lead to very serious consequences to our influence in the East. His unswerving policy set at defiance all the intrigues of our rivals, and his innate rectitude secured him the respect, if not the love, of his opponents. Once convinced of the justice of the course he was pursuing, no persuasion could make Lord Stratford swerve from it: he was inexorable where right was concerned, and gained his object by his uncompromising adherence to the policy he had selected. In him England loses one of the greatest diplomatists she has ever had, and the world a bright example that unflinching rectitude is the best weapon with which to foil the tortuous finessing of that school in which Nesselrode and Metternich were the archididasculi.
On the whole, then, we see no reason to despair of the immediate stability of the government, and if they are permitted to prove to the nation the undoubted capabilities they possess, the game will be more than half won.
The opening of the session has been characterised by a display of generosity, in which the whole House, with a few invidious
exceptions, appears to share, and we believe the members are honestly disposed to give the ministry a fair hearing. Very striking was that revelation of the Cobdenite views lately made on the hustings, in which it was shown that the great leader of the Manchester party regretted his participation in the overthrow of the last Derby ministry, and we believe that such a feeling is very prevalent through the country. The Whig ministries that have assumed office in succession have all had the same taint: while serving the country they have served themselves and their relatives. To such a degree had this spread, that the ministerial nepotism has been made the subject of public comment and jest. Certain noble families have become pensioners of the nation, and, so soon as one of them has obtained the reins of power, so surely are the family interests regarded as the primary consideration. There will certainly be something refreshing in a government which enters on office with perfectly clean hands, and such is most assuredly the case with the present ministry
We are sorry to find, however, that the conduct of the House is not taken as an example by the public organs of the liberal party, for no opportunity appears to be neglected by which discredit may be cast upon the Conservatives. This is a feeling which we deprecate : we do not ask for assistance or even silence from them, but we think they go beyond the bounds of courtesy in the misrepresentations which they so studiously bring before the public. At the present moment, above all, the necessity of a strong government is felt, and all parties ought to combine, in order that they may save the imperilled honour and dignity of England. The Conservatives desire to be judged by their measures, and by them are prepared to stand or fall; but they have an equal right to demand that these measures should not be prejudged or condemned without investigation. And we feel sure that such an appeal to a generous nation will not be made in vain ; and that Englishmen will not suffer themselves to be led astray, but patiently wait and see what measures are proposed by the Conservative party ere they proceed to decide on them. If so much be conceded, we have no fear of the result ; and that it will be conceded, as an act of common justice, the character of the British nation is a sufficient guarantee.
RUSHING HEADLONG INTO MARRIAGE.
A DAZZLING gleam of white favours flashed into the admiring eyes of numerous spectators, as a string of carriages and horses turned prancing away from the church of a noted suburb of the metropolis. The gay and handsome Augusta Marsh had just become Mrs. Courtenay, and the bridal party were now returning home to partake of the wedding breakfast.
Dr. Marsh, a physician, was popular in his small locality, and his five daughters were attractive girls, fully expecting to make good marriages, although it was understood that they would have no fortune, for the doctor lived up to his income, if not beyond it. The first to carry out the expectation was Augusta, who married Captain Courtenay.
The captain was only a captain by courtesy. He had sold out of the army and lived upon his property, five hundred a year. Quite sufficient to marry upon, thought Augusta ; but the captain, what with his club, and his tailor, and his opera, and his other bachelor expenses,
had found it little enough for himself. He met Augusta Marsh, fell in love with her, and determined to renounce folly and settle down into a married
Dr. Marsh had no objection, Augusta had less ; so a home was set up at Brompton, and this was the wedding-day.
It need not be described : they are all alike: if the reader has passed his, he knows what it is ; if not, he can live in expectation. Captain and Mrs. Courtenay departed at two o'clock on their wedding tour, the guests followed, and the family were left alone, to themselves and to Aunt Clem. Aunt Clem, a sister of Dr. Marsh's, rejoiced in the baptismal name of Clementina, which had been long since shortened by her nieces into Clem. She was a woman of some judgment, shrewd and penetrating, especially with regard to her nieces' faults, and whenever Aunt Clem wrote word from the country that she was coming on a visit, they called it a black-letter day.
“I am so upset !" uttered Mrs. Marsh, sitting down with a halfgroan.
“ That's through eating custard in a morning,” said Aunt Clem. “ Eating nonsense,” returned Mrs. Marsh.
young man who sat next to—which of the girls was it?—to you, Annis, I think : did
notice him, Clementina ?” “ Yes. A nice-looking man.”
“Nice-looking! Why, he has not got a handsome feature in his face !"
“A nice countenance, for all that,” persisted Aunt Clem. “One you may confide in at the first glance. Wħat of him ?"
“I am horribly afraid he is going to propose for one of the girls. He dropped some words to me; and now, instead of leaving the house, he is down stairs, closeted with the doctor. Which of you girls is it that has
you see that
been setting him on to do this?” cried Mrs. Marsh, abruptly turning to her daughters. “Annis, what are you looking so red for?"**
Annis Marsh did look red, and very conscious. An attachment, hidden hitherto from all but themselves, existed between her and Geoffry Lance, and they had come to the resolution to make it known. Mrs. Marsh's surmise that he was now speaking to the doctor was correct; and the doctor came up with the news.
“What answer did you give him ?” asked Mrs. Marsh.
“ Told him that if he and Annis had made up their minds to try it, I should not say nay," replied the doctor. " And asked him to come in to spend the evening.' Mrs. Marsh looked daggers; three of the young ladies looked the
“ Let them marry, Dr. Marsh ! let them marry upon nothing !" “Oh, come, it's not so bad as that,” said the doctor. i He has three hundred a year. What did you and I begin life upon, old lady, eh? Annis, ask your mamma if it was not considerably less than that.”
“Nonsense!” crossly responded Mrs. Marsh, as the doctor went out, laughing “ The cases are not at all alike, Annis; you must see that they are not. Your papa's was a rising profession; and Lance will stick at his three hundred a year all his life."
“ What is this Mr. Lance ?" inquired Aunt Clem. “A gentleman ?"
“Oh, of course a gentleman. He was bringing up for the Bar, but his father died, and there was a hitch about money.
I believe he did eat his terms and get called, but he had nothing left to live upon
while practice came, and was glad to accept the secretaryship of a public institution. He gets 3001. a year, and he'll never get more, for it is a fixed salary, not a rising one. Don't be led into absurdity, Annis."
“Mamma,” said Annis, going up to her and speaking in a low tone, full of emotion, “I will never marry contrary to your approbation, neither would Geoffry take me on such terms. But I hope you will not hold out against us.
I have heard you say
“So I do, Annis," answered Mrs. Marsh, somewhat appeased by the words and tone, “but you never heard me say that I liked his income, or thought him a desirable match for one of my daughters. Three hundred a year! It's quite ridiculous, child.”
“ We have considered it in all points, dearest mamma, and talked it over a great deal," resumed Annis, timidly, “and we feel sure that we shall do very well upon it, and live comfortably. You know I have had some experience in keeping house on small means, at Aunt Ruttley’s.”
“For goodness'sake, Annis, don't bring up Aunt Ruttley,” interrupted Sophy Marsh. “The poor curate's stipend is but a hundred a year, with the parsonage
to live in and a flock of children to fill it. You are head cook and bottle-washer when you are staying there, I expect. They must live upon bread and cheese half their time, and pinch and contrive from year's end to year's end."
“But do you not see that my insight into how they manage their pinching and contriving will be of great service to me?” 'returned Annis, in a patient tone. “ Mamma, I know I could manage well on three hundred a year, and have everything comfortable. You should detect no pinching in my house, come as often as you would.”