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transgressions. Of all the great questions of the day, that of the education of the people demands the earliest attention of all statesmen. The condition of our ancient Universities has been till very recently a scandal to the nineteenth century. Compulsory tests and subscriptions, gentlemen, are the modern representatives of the faggot and the stake. Our elementary education shall no longer move at snail's pace along the narrow groove of denominational formularies, in bondage to a sectarian system which, while it gives power to your parsons, leaves your children in ignorance and degradation. Henceforth, under the auspices of an expansive and enlightened philanthropy, the rising generation shall be taught animal physiology, perspective and advanced sciences, leaving the abstruse questions of religion and good order till they shall have arrived at mature years, and be enabled to choose for themselves without prejudice. The people, gentlemen, are the source of power. If there be any divine right anywhere it is with the sovereign people, “ Vox populi,
When that voice has been unbeard, or has been drowned by the brainless chatterings of Hapsburgs, or Bourbons, or Stuarts, it has been because we have fallen on evil days and evil tongues. We are sometimes told that England has been prosperous in the reigns of her Queens, and that the sway of Queen Victoria might be to us fraught with blessings surpassing those enjoyed by the subjects of Queen Elizabeth or Queen Anne. But, gentlemen, I ask you whether those misguided men who are now aspiring to become her Majesty's Ministers would have been permitted a share, however subordinate, in the councils of Burleigh, or to sit for a single hour in the Cabinet of Godolphin. Away, men of Shamboro', to your polling booths!'
Though Jem was not very audible beyond the range of the reporters, and was occasionally interrupted by irrelevant interrogatories as to whether his mother knew he was out ?' or why he didn't go home to nussy ?' his speech was considered a decided success by the Shamboro' critics, and at its conclusion was vehemently applauded. And when Greville's turn came, the Buff lambs' were far too excited to be calmed by the soothing syrup which distilled from the mayor's lips.
Greville, being cut short by the mob, was also cut short by the reporters, who simply announced that he “experienced a very indifferent reception, and that we regret our inability to present even an outline of a speech which was doubtless replete with sound constitutional principles.
It may at first sight seem strange that of two orations delivered amidst an equal amount of bowling and uproar, one should have found its way to the columns of the Mercury' and the Gazette, and the other should not; but the mystery is easily explained.
About a week before the nomination the reporters of the local press had requested the candidates to furnish them beforehand with saying that he had prepared no speech, and if he had, should not send it to the papers. Maxwell, on receiving the same communication, was inclined at first to give the same reply, but on being assured by the reporters that the county members always favoured them beforehand with copies of their speeches,' and being advised by his father that “he supposed it was the right thing to do, Jem relented, and forwarded, through Mr. Pinchum, the eloquent oration of which, for greater accuracy, we afterwards obtained a copy ;' the latter gentleman having also enclosed in each envelope the graceful tribute of a five-pound note.
The Shamboro' press being thus squared, Mr. Pinchum proceeded with equal dexterity to manipulate the parsons, the publicans, the attorneys, and the bell-ringers. The first of these classes was the most difficult to manage. It was not by the coarse expedient of large subscriptions to their local charities publicly announced that the astute Pinchum angled for the support of the Shamboro' clergy. Well knowing that they would not rise to bait of this kind, and moreover that what would tempt one would repel another ecclesiastic, this veteran electioneerer threw his flies to suit the taste of his fish. The rector of Trinity was caught by the assurance, privately conveyed to his wife through Mr. Pinchum, that Messrs. Barker and Maxwell were opposed to all papistical innovation, and would support an alteration of the Prayer Book to suit the views of the AntiRitualists.
The Rev. Athanasius Churchward, who had for two years officiated as curate at an highly ornate service in the west of London, and yearned for the emancipation of the Church from what he called the
bondage of the State,' was attracted by the hope distilled into his breast through one of his churchwardens—a staunch satrap of Pinchum's—that if they could only give the Liberal party a good majority in the House of Commons, the Church would be set free.'
The muscular minister of St. Peter's, whose hopes for the regeneration of mankind rested on the extirpation of dogmatic theology and the universal dissemination of cricket and football in the rural districts, was reminded of Jem's prowess in the Zingari Eleven, and of the notorious indifference, or as it was called “Catholicity,' of Mr. Barker on religious topics.
With the ministers of the various denominations, as Mr. Pinchum called them, he had little trouble. They were the sheep of his own fold. For five-and-twenty years he had successfully bamboozled them. Nor was the task a very difficult one. United for the most part by that most indissoluble bond—a common hatred of a common enemy—the Independents and the Baptists formed a brigade which could always fight, even without officers, against the Established Church. But with the heroic Pinchum at hand to embitter their bitterness and make market of their prejudices, the Dissenters of Shamboro' could be worked up at election times to a pitch of fiery bruisers who fought the battle of religious liberty under the Pinchum banner before the hustings. And though it demanded all the tact even of Mr. Pinchum to explain to that section of his Nonconformist friends who advocated the Maine Liquor Law why his candidates were on such wonderfully friendly terms with the licensed victuallers; and at the same time to solve the mystery of their close liaison with High Church parsons and muscular Christians, yet somehow he got over the difficulty, and Stiggins and Athanasius, and the landlord of the Nag's Head,' and all their respective disciples flocked to the poll to record their votes for Barker and Maxwell as cordially as if they didn't hate each other's principles and persons like poison. They merged, as Pinchum said, their minor differences in the great cause of Civil and Religious Liberty.'
The show of hands was, as might have been expected, after all these careful preparations of the public mind, in favour of Barker and Maxwell. But the day and night which intervened between the nomination and the election were not idly spent by the partisans of either side. Those who have witnessed the saturnalia of that awful interval between the show of hands and the poll in immaculate boroughs where Blues and Buffs are pretty evenly balanced, need not any minute description of its horrors.
All day and half the night Jem was trotted to and fro by canvassing parties in and out of half the Shamboro' taverns, which reeked with the fumes of beer and tobacco, and were crowded with drunken electors, who stammered out their promises of allegiance to a candidate whom they would not have known if they were sober, and could not even see in the murky atmosphere of their orgies. Mysterious cabs and carts were heard rattling down the street, bearing, as was rumoured, a freight of unconscious politicians whom it was deemed expedient to export from the borough until the excitement of the election should be overpast. Individuals with unrecognised features were seen hastily flitting about, carefully avoiding both Mr. Pinchum's and Mr. Cheetham's offices, never spoken to by the canvassers, and yet evidently in some way connected with the political drama which now approached its close. One of these was believed to be the veritable · Man in the Moon,' whose incognito was destined at a future day to be unveiled. In the meantime Dibbs and Cheetham were not altogether passive spectators of the scene. And though Mr. Dibbs, believing firmly in the omnipotence of money, and “knowing,' as he said, “that everybody in Shamboro' had his price, contemptuously refused to allow his drunken fellow-townsmen to come between the wind and his nobility, Greville was detailed for the delightful duty of picking up promises from the 'long-shore men. But when Mr. Cheetham's emissary, sent in quest of the junior candidate, arrived at the Swan, he found that Charles had not been seen there since the nomination. Disgusted with that parody on high politics, and determined if possible to have no more personal his canvass to grasp, Greville struck work, and made tracks early in the afternoon for the Grange, assured of a pitying welcome from Sir Henry.
CHAPTER XIII. IF the last three weeks of the Shamboro' contest had not prepared the inhabitants for the climax of the nomination, there would have been fewer sound panes of plate-glass left in the shop windows of the High Street on the morning of the polling day. As it was, the Early Closing movement had visibly affected all the principal tradesmen throughout the whole of the political carnival. Shutters or temporary hoardings almost everywhere eclipsed the wares which were ordinarily exhibited along the chief thoroughfares. The night had been a busy and sleepless one for many. Though the committee rooms on both sides had been closed at midnight, the subordinates who were told off for electioneering duty in the various wards found work to do through the small hours of the morning. Before sunrise, Jem, who had passed a night as restless as his first at the Maxwell Arms,' was disturbed by noises unusual in Shamboro’ at that early hour. Wheels were rattling along the ill-paved streets at a preternatural pace. It seemed as if all the cabs of the Metropolis had been put under requisition. On looking out at the window he saw one equipage closely packed with inmates, and as the poll was not to open till 8 A.M., this premature locomotion seemed unaccountable. He afterwards discovered that the occupants of these mysterious vehicles were drunken Blue voters who had been caged in Buff public houses all night, and were being conveyed out of the town to be buried alive in well ventilated receptacles till they could be safely released at 4 P.M. after the poll was closed. Mr. Pinchum, with creditable humanity, had arranged with the sexton of a neighbouring village for the temporary interment of these politicians in unconsecrated ground. The sexton, who was a Liberal freeman of Shamboro', and secretary of the Grand Junction Ebenezer Total Abstinence Society, entered with ardour into so congenial a project. A grave capable of containing ten bodies side by side, was dug in a copse near the Puddingtown road, a few strong ash sticks lightly strewn with straw were laid across the top, and none of the two thousand electors of Sbamboro' spent a quieter day on that memorable roth of November than this half score of loyal Conservatives.
But the versatile Pinchum had other ways and means than that which we have described of temporarily disposing of his opponents. By arrangement with the railway company, and by the judicious use of rool. of his client's money, he induced a so-called • Blue' to get up a Working Man's Conservative Excursion to a small watering place about 30 miles from Shamboro'. Tickets entitling the holders to a free pass and refreshments, and limited exclusively to Conservatives, were granted to a certain number who had polled for the party availed themselves, beguiled by the promise of a return train which would bring them back to Shamboro' before four o'clock in the afternoon, which promise, owing to circumstances beyond anybody's control, was unfortunately not fulfilled. This little scheme, though wholly due to the genius of Pinchum, was ostensibly worked by the local politicians at Washymouth, and the impartial traffic manager of the railway. But after exhausting all his dodges for decoying Blues and bribing Buffs, the redoubtable Pinchum was conscious all the time that Dibbs was one too many for him. Mr. Barker's credit of 10,000l. at the Bank was promised to be doubled if necessary. The sons of at least a score of tradesmen had already been promised elevation to the rank of tide-waiters or excisemen. Ten-pound notes and strong beer had done their work, but after all his ingenuity had been taxed to the utmost, Pinchum well knew that the last turn of the screw remained with Mr. Dibbs. He concluded therefore that it was hopeless to attempt to carry more th one of his own men. Should it be Barker or Maxwell ? In favour of the latter there was the prestige,' or whatever Pinchum may have called it, attached to an old county name, there was also the more substantial advantage of a probable haunch of venison or brace of pheasants dropping in occasionally from some of the Whig parks or preserves in the neighbourhood. There was also a consideration of very trifling weight with Mr. Pinchum, namely, his solemn promise to Sir T. Tarleton that he would do his utmost to return his nephew. On the other hand, Barker had not only a purse of unfathomable depth at home, but wool and tallow unlimited at the Antipodes. If he had not yet at sixty-two any position in English society, he had the means of buying it, and if the transaction could not be carried out without a broker, why should not Pinchum pocket the commission ? All things considered, there could be little doubt which of the two candidates to prefer, and which to throw over. There were 150 electors who had promised the Buffs one vote, and were laudably indifferent as to the candidate to whom it might be allotted, provided always that their personal accounts were squared. And as these little matters were entirely left to Pinchum and his satellites, the whole of the 150 votes were booked for Barker. And as Dibbs's return was an accomplished fact, Jem and Greville were, in Pinchum's programme, left out in the cold. The result of the election was as well known to the wirepullers twenty-four hours before the poll as it was known to the Shamboro' public twenty minutes after its close.
But these mysteries of high policy were carefully concealed not only from public knowledge, but from that of the candidate more especially concerned. It was important that Jem should be kept in high spirits till the last. Any signs of despondency on his part might damage Pinchum's schemes respecting his colleague. The Liberals polled early, and at ten o'clock both their men were ahead, and though at twelve Dibbs had crept up to Jer and passed him by