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disposed of that young gentleman, by assigning him a place on the same chair with Mr Bavard, who soon assigned him to a seat on the ground almost at Mr. Medlicott's feet.
These arrangements having been made, Friend Harvey approached the table, and standing bolt upright, and addressing Reuben, in tones to which his nose contributed more than was pleasant to the ear, said
• Friend Medlicott, it now becomes my duty to acquaint thee that a deputation of thy most distinguished townsmen (here Mr. Broad bowed) has the honour of waiting upon thee, for objects and purposes which they will explain with far more circumlocution than it would become me to do; they will address thee one after the other, and from all I have heard, I think the lovers of eloquence and friends of humanity will have a rare treat.”
This most unauthorised programme made the three deputies twice as nervous and fidgetty as they were already disposed to be; a mutual elbowing, whispering, nodding, and winking took place, which ended in the Aldermen joining to push Mr Broad forward, as it had all along been settled that he should be spokes
Considering that everybody present perfectly well knew what Mr. Broad had got to say, before he opened his lips, the speech that he made answered its purpose to admiration. Had the object of his mission not been previously understood, it is very questionable if his speech would have thrown much light upon it; for never having addressed a dozen people before, and being almost completely overwhelmed by the combined effect of the splendid mansion, the presence of the fair sex, and more than all by the premature compliments paid to his eloquence, he lost his voice almost completely, and the train of his thoughts, such as they were, along with it. In short, after stammering for five minutes, the only audible words being “reform,” “ Poland,” Chichester,” and “ my eloquent and distinguished townsman,” the poor little cutler sat down, with no great reason to be pleased with his performance, except that it called forth as loud plaudits as if it had been made by the best speaker of the day.
“ Vox faucibus hæsit," said the Proctor, aside, to Mr. Bavard. It was a scrap of Latin he had probably picked up from Dr. Lushington.
“ The beginning of the line is equally applicable,” said Bavard, “ steteruntque comæ,” and truly so it was, for Mr. Broad's well-powdered hair, which he always wore brushed up to the
shape of a cone, being now fresh from the hands of the haircutter, stood straight up on his head like nothing so much as a sharp alpine peak, to which we compared it on a former occasion.
Friend Harvey worked hard to get speeches from Alderman Codd and Gosling. The former, indeed, got on his legs, but it was only to say that “he endorsed Mr. Broad's bill;" a short speech, but an energetic one, particularly as he closed it (by way of peroration) with a thump on the table which nearly broke it
, and sent the oranges rolling about the floor; at the same time he resumed his chair with so heavy a plunip that it went nearly to pieces under him, being one of French manufacture, and illsuited to the weight of an English Alderman. No one but Friend Harvey was much displeased by these little interruptions, which were rather of a pleasant nature. To one person present they were even propitious, for the son of Alderman Gosling, having been very active in picking up the oranges, attracted Mr. Medlicott's attention, and had the honour of having his head patted and being asked at the same time what was his name. The boy was ready enough to answer, and not only told his name, but the sort of moral relationship in which he stood to his eminent namesake.
“I believe," said Mr. Medlicott, most graciously smiling, “I have a great many young namesakes in and about Chichester.”
“Two Reuben Medlicotts and three plain Reubens,” answered the youth as glibly as possible.
Mr. Medlicott again patted his head, and told him he would not forget him.
" That boy's bread is baked,” said Mr. Broad, aside, to the elder Gosling, who had been most anxiously watching what passed.
At the same moment the other Alderman was provided with a stouter chair, and Mr. Medlicott, with one hand on his breast, and the other upon one of the blue books, the very picture of the dawning statesman, rose to make ó a few observations."
MR. MEDLICOTT GIVES HIS FRIENDS A TREAT.
you stand for Chichester, Mr. Medlicott ?" was the plain question put to him, and a “yes,” or a “no,” would have been, to all intents and purposes, a sufficient answer to it. But his zealous and admiring friends had not assembled in such force, to be put off with a monosyllabic oration ; and the Quakers especially (albeit a sect whose communications are yea and nay), would have been offended by an affectation of brevity upon the present occasion. In fact every body present, except Mr. Bavard, came expressly for what friend Harvey called “ a treat;" and as neither the speech of Mr. Broad, nor that of the Alderman, could well be considered in that light, it became the more incumbent upon Mr. Medlicott to satisfy the cravings of the little meeting. It was not two o'clock when he commenced his palaver, and it was past four when he had done: nor will it be thought in the least surprising that he spoke at such great length, when the number of topics is considered which he was either expected, or thought it his duty, to handle; embracing most questions of foreign and domestic policy, the vast circle of human interests, and every project of reform that ever was broached. We hope to be pardoned for declining to give the speech in extenso. There is some danger of even an abstract being voted tiresome; but as it seems indispensable to give the reader a specimen of Mr. Medlicott's mode of proceeding, when he rose to offer a simple remark, or make a few short observations, we must run the risk, great as it is. He commenced with a broad view (an exceedingly broad one) of the British constitution; then he discussed the onerous duties and awful responsibilities of a member of parliament; from which he proceeded to the serious inquiry whether he possessed the proper intellectual, moral, and physical qualifications for a trust of such magnitude and importance, seeming at first to be of opinion that it was far beyond his strength and abilities, but eventually comforting his friends by coming round to the conclusion that, under all the circumstances of the case, even his poor talents might be acceptable to his country. Sometimes he shrank from the task he was called on to perform; but then again, was it for him to set up his weak judgment against the public, if the public thought fit to command his services ? Vox populi vox
Dei, he continued, looking at Alderman Gosling, who nodded as if he understood what that meant; and having delivered this oracular sentence, he thought it his duty to state, very briefly of course, his opinions and sentiments on all the leading questions of the day. It was unnecessary to assure his friend, Mr. Broad, that he was unalterably attached to the cause of Poland, and eternally hostile to the power of Russia. He felt honoured and gratified by the cordial cheer with which that worthy gentleman bore witness to the strength and sincerity of his feelings upon that subject: in fact, he could only do perfect justice to those feelings by protesting that his hatred of the Czar amounted to a personal animosity. But he could not consent to confine his views to Muscovy; he begged to be allowed to spread his mind over the whole terraqueous globe
“Let Observation, with extended view,
He was sure his excellent friend Mr. Harvey would not quarrel with him for that, nor his friends, the Messrs. Hopkins, whose enterprising benevolence was known and felt wherever the name of England had penetrated,
“Whatever clime the sun's bright circle warms."
Were they not all profoundly interested in the politics of our Indian empire? who was unconcerned in the welfare of the great Australian continent? who did not love the Kaffir as his kinsman ? who did not yearn to the New Zealander as his brother ? He knew how his words touched all their hearts; he saw how they particularly touched his fair hearers (meaning the grim old Quakeresses to whom he had especially directed them). What course, then, ought a public man to take? What, in fact, did “foreign politics” mean? He would answer in one word, and that word was sympathy! He had touched another chord of the harp of feeling, another string of that divine instrument, the human heart, which heaven itself had tuned, “
more musical than is Apollo's lute;"—alas, that he was not a Wilberforce, or a Burke, to touch it worthily, to bring forth all its sweetness,
“Untwisting all the chords that tie
The hidden soul of harmony."
While Mr. Medlicott was making these happy and beautiful allusions to melody (most of them extracted that morning from his common-place book), his wife had found it extremely difficult to keep the yearling in her arms as quiet and mute as the gravity of the occasion required. The child (fortunately a goodhumoured and deserving little creature) was continually stretching out its arms, as if to catch Reuben's as they winnowed the air, at the same time crowing as if it actually desired to concur in the compliments which the deputies and the Quakers paid to almost every sentence. Mary was at length about to retire with her infant, when the felicitous idea occurred to Reuben to take it out of her hands, and continue his speech with the child in his arms, which he did with such a mixture of parental tenderness and statesman-like dignity, that it drew forth louder plaudits than he had yet been honoured with. Of course, he had now only one hand at liberty, but he sawed the air with that sufficiently, and now began to roam through a wilderness of topics, where, if we were to attempt to follow him, we should infallibly lose our way, as he did himself more than once during his rambles. Probably it was of little consequence in what order the topics were disposed ; but Mr. Medlicott was never much of a martinet in the point of logical discipline called method, and the remainder of his address was literally nothing but a mob of circumlocutions about the various questions which he knew were uppermost in the thoughts of his friends. He knew Mr. Trevor was anxious about the law of copyright; he expatiated accordingly for ten minntes on that subject. To please Isaac Hopkins he was prolix on temperance for a quarter of an hour. To gratify the Proctor he went to an unnecessary length into the abuses of the common law, and then to compensate the Attorney, he held forth with equal superfluity upon the reform of the ecclesiastical courts, after all which he unluckily caught the fanatical eye of Friend Wilson who was the president of a Peace Society ; and his ideas rushing forth with into that new train, off he went at a tangent, dashing into the Horse Guards, demolishing the army estimates, and inveighing against iron and saltpetre, very much in the belligerent strain of Mr. Cobden at the present day, and nothing daunted by the presence of Captain Shunfield, who, to do him justice, took the assault upon the profession of arms in the utmost good humour, though the old Quakeresses were afraid that he would draw his sword every instant.