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in distress. And now when, in his improved fortunes and smartened garments and bright gilt studs, John Brown fancied he heard some whispers affecting the interests of his patron in adversity, his attention was quickened and his curiosity excited, and having satisfied himself, from the mysterious but audible ejaculations of the jubilant herd of attorneys who were hovering about Serjeant Fleecum's chambers, that some plot was being hatched which might prejudice the interests of Greville, he determined without delay to find out his present address, and to communicate his suspicions as to some foul play in connection with the Shamboro' election petition. John Brown did not know, of course, the terms on which it was to be withdrawn, but he knew enough to convince him that there were rogues engaged in the compact, and that a part of the scheme was to plunder his old patron if they could. His well intended and timely warning reached Greville by the next morning's post at the Grange. He was at first inclined to treat it with the same contempt which he bestowed on all communications connected with Shamboro’; but at Sir Henry Berkeley's advice, he allowed it to be forwarded at once by Sir Henry himself to an old Parliamentary friend of his, who then held the office of Chairman of Committees in the House of Commons.

And so it came to pass, that when the formal letter of the agents announcing the withdrawal of the Shamboro' election petition was read on the following Monday afternoon by the Speaker, an objection was taken by the functionary above alluded to, on the ground of some alleged collusion between the parties concerned, with the view of evading the jurisdiction of Parliament. The discussion was adjourned until the next day, but it was eventually ordered that the petition should be tried in the ordinary course. The attention called by this preliminary proceeding to Shamboro' and its politicians had the natural effect of turning a rather strong light of public scrutiny on the tribunal to which the trial of these petitions had been delegated; and Sir Theophilus Winkhard found for once that it would hardly answer his purpose to connive at the crimes of his political allies at the expense of his personal reputation.

Any detailed record of the trial of the petitions, the examination and cross-examination of Shamboro' electioneerers, Blue and Buff, professional and unprofessional, would be altogether superfluous. Suffice it to say that both members were unseated, general and extensive bribery and corruption reported, together with a recommendation in favour of which Sir Theophilus himself was constrained to vote) of a Royal Commission with a view to the disfranchisement of the borough. No costs were given on either side, and it was left to the attorneys to reap in whatever fields they might think most promising the reward of their iniquity.

It will be remembered that at the outset of these proceedings the cautious agents who represented the opposing parties had armed themselves with written instructions to do what was necessary' in

they had done a great deal that was not only unnecessary but discreditable. As, however, neither Mr. Pinchum nor Mr. Cheetham indulged in the expensive luxury of keeping consciences, no misgivings haunted either of these gentlemen on any subtle questions of casuistry; and both, after a little private consultation, in which blue and buff colours seemed to blend as in shot silk, according to the rays of self-interest thrown on the subject-matter of their discourse, resolved on sending in bills of 10,000l. apiece to both their clientsa resolution which was at once carried out, the bills being sent, accompanied by a note expressing, in somewhat varied form, regret at the awkward turn events had taken, together with hopes for better days. The sanguine Mr. Cheetham assured Mr. Dibbs that his posi-, tion in his native town would be rather raised than otherwise by the political events that had occurred, while Mr. Pinchum cordially expressed to Mr. Barker his conviction that Mr. Dibbs would soon go to the d--1, a journey which that gentleman had probably already accomplished.

CHAPTER XX.

It must not be supposed that the two crafty lawyers whose audacious demands have been recorded were ignorant of the fact, now notorious to all, that by the vote of the Shamboro' Election Committee the first step had been taken towards the excision of that town from the political map of England. They knew, on the contrary, that it was

now or never' for them. While a chance remained of the electoral salvation of the place, Cheetham calculated that he could make it too hot for Dibbs if be shirked what he called his debts of honour.' Pinchum, on the other hand, relied on the ignorant and vulgar ambition of his purse-proud client, who had hitherto shelled out his thousands with such marvellous prodigality on a prize which, if ever worth baving, had now at all events almost vanished from his grasp. And both these respectable solicitors' had determined, in the event of any jibbing or hesitation on the part of their respective clients, to bring actions on their bills of costs, and thus, in the eloquent phraseology of the profession, to enjoy the aristocratic luxury of

killing their own mutton.' The only apprehension that haunted them was lest their little plot should be marred by the discovery of the • Fig Tree Court compact.' And the only sure means of averting this contingency was by preventing, if possible, the issue of the threatened Royal Commission of Inquiry into the political peccadilloes of Shamboro'. To this end these provincial heroes, sacrificing their six-and-eightpenny profits at home, determined to devote their energies awhile to a metropolitan campaign in canvassing right and left all members of Parliament of all opinions to whom they could obtain tionary glories of Shamboro', and its rising importance, and headed • No Disfranchisement,' was thrust into the hands of all members as they passed into the House from the outer lobbies on the day fixed for receiving the report of the committee. Sir Theophilus Winkhard enlarged weekly at the Reform Club on the unconstitutional conduct of the committee in coercing their chairman. He dwelt also on the pass things would come to if, under the pressure of a set of Puritan nobodies, men who were willing to pay for their seats' were excluded from Parliament. He wanted to know how Sir Robert Walpole or Lord Rockingham would have got on under such a systern?

When the day came on which, according to notice, it was to be moved that an humble address be presented to her Majesty, praying her to issue a Royal Commission to inquire into the existence or otherwise of general bribery and corruption in the borough of Shamboro,' Whipham had an ulcerated sore throat, which prevented his coming down to the House; Heaviweight was unavoidably engaged to meet his constituents at an agricultural banquet, and the Prime Minister had a sudden attack of gout. It was only by superhuman efforts on the part of the few friends of purity of election that a House was made’ at all that afternoon. And when at last the Shamboro' Commission question came on, at six o'clock, it was easy to foresee what would be its fate. The Attorney-General, in a speech injudiciously prolix, but replete with ardent aspirations for electoral purity, and denunciations of those who might dare to violate the law, moved the address. He was followed by a sharp fire of sarcasm from the then licensed jester of the House, who, turning the whole thing into ridicule, reminded the assembly, in tones of mock solemnity, that the franchise was neither a right, nor a trust, nor a privilege, but a perquisite,' with the full enjoyment of which on the part of the electors they had no business to interfere. This sally naturally brought on an indignant remonstrance against the unseemly trifling of the hon. gentleman who had just sat down,' on the part of one of the members of the committee, who commenced, just as the clock pointed to a quarter past seven, an oration which, by the well-known tokens of a glass of water by his side and a bundle of notes in his hand, promised considerable length. In the meantime Winkhard, who had been seen all the afternoon mysteriously flitting about the House, might have been noticed first peeping over the glass door behind the bar, then exploring the libraries and dining-rooms, and then, with marvellous celerity, rushing back to the outer lobby. All this time members were dropping out of the House, some by accident, some by design, some from weariness of the speaker, some from appetite for dinner, some off to their clubs, some to their homes. As if unconscious of the diminution of his gradually vanishing auditory, the honourable Mr. Longchops, addressing, no doubt, the noble army of martyrs' in the reporters' gallery, continued imperturbably his oranotes. His historical sketch, by which he was illustrating the necessity for the immediate castigation of Shamboro' by a reference to the electoral annals of modern Europe, was still a century off the present period; and he was tracing to Sir Robert Walpole's corrupt administration the then alleged decadence of British power, when a mufiled voice from behind the Speaker's chair called that functionary's attention to the circumstance that there were not forty members then present, it being in fact very visible that there were not more than a dozen, all told. The usual formalities of ringing the bell, turnin, the sand-glass, &c., were complied with. During the ensuing three minutes a few heroic recruits entered the House; but when all were counted it was not found that there were more than twenty righteous men out of the six hundred and fifty-eight members of the Legislature at their posts. The hon. Mr. Longchops mournfully folded up his notes, Mr. Speaker left the chair, the heroic twenty emerged from the House through the lobby amid the ironical cheers of the Winkhardites, and before the clock had struck eight the stentorian voice of the door-keeper echoed through the octagon with the welcome interrogatory of Who goes home?'

CHAPTER XXI.

Pinchum and Cheetham having enjoyed the privilege of listening from the strangers' gallery to the constitutional discussion reported in the last chapter, were, it may be imagined, somewhat jubilant at its premature termination.

If not killed, the snake is scotched,' muttered Pinchum to himself, as he wended homewards to his quarters in Covent Garden. Before retiring to rest he resolved to lose no time the next morning in opening fire on the unsuspicious and gullible Barker.

After a hasty breakfast, Pinchum betook himself to his client's lodgings in King Street, St. James's, where, as he calculated, he found the ex-member for Shamboro' greedily devouring the Times' report of last night's "count out, which seemed even more attractive to his appetite than the layers of broiled ham by which his studies were accompanied.

• Excuse me, sir, for intruding so early; but I wished to have the pleasure of being the first to communicate to you the good news which I see has already arrived here before ine; but though the paper may give you the facts, there's nothing like an eye-witness, sir, to give the feeling of the House. Saw and heard it all, sir, from the gallery. Never was such a breakdown. You'll hear no more of that trumpery Commission, sir. They'll issue the writ next week. Can't delay it if Winkhard moves it; and though the Puritanical law we are blest with won't let you stand again this time, we'll find a warmingpan to keep the seat well aired for you till you're ready for it. All we've got to do is to tell the Buffs that you've come down with the money

PAINTING AND POPULAR CULTURE.

IT

is impossible for the most enthusiastic admirer of modern pictures

to claim for Painting either a wide or a deep influence on modern culture. It is probable that of the people who clearly remember the pictures which they saw a year, or even a few months, ago, the majority know something of the processes of painting, and remember the pictures because they examined them with an interest due in great measure to their power of more or less rightly appreciating the painter's technical skill. In this respect painting now stands in a relation to culture which is strikingly different from that which exists between poetry and culture. Numerous as are the persons who understand and take pleasure in the poet's mastery of rhythm and rhyme, they form a very small minority of the lovers of poetry. For every one such person there are probably several hundred who remember poetry only because of its fine expression of beautiful thought and feeling.

The question whether painting can be brought into a relation with general culture more nearly resembling that held by poetry, is very interesting. It is, in other words, the question whether painting shall cease to be merely one of the many sources from which a few thousands of highly educated people draw pleasure, and shall also become, as poetry now is, a source of greatly needed ennobling pleasure to the hundreds of thousands of busy people of the middle and working classes, who have neither time nor will to make themselves acquainted with the technical processes of any of the fine arts.

My object in this paper is to show why few pictures deeply interest the majority of English people now, and by what means painters could be enabled to paint pictures which would interest them.

The conditions which Art must fulfil, if it is to influence the culture of many people, are sufficiently obvious. It is evident that one of the chief conditions of the usefulness of a work of art must be that it shall have enduring interest. It must, of course, give delight in the brief time in which it is seen by the outward eye, but it must do much more than this. However highly we may rate the influence of the beautiful things which we see with keen pleasure and then forget ; however potent we may know them to be in keeping our minds-our whole nature—fresh and buoyant, and in making us feel to the end that life is worth living, though many things in it be but vanity-however highly we may rate this function of beautiful things, it is certain that it belongs far less to the picture, whose action is no stronger than a flower,' than to rainbows and snow, to the commonest hedgerow in the country, and to the flowers which can be grown in the smallest house in the smokiest town.

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