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in a little private office he had, while the Doctor bad enough to do to defend Mr. Broad and Mr. Reynard, which he accomplished, however, though not without some hard knocks, and getting one sleeve nearly torn off his singular green coat.
"A good beginning," said the Doctor.
“Now, if I only had a little oak box of mine safe," said the man of the law, with considerable anxiety, as if the value of the box was considerable.
The Doctor now sallied forth again to fetch Mr. Reynard's property, but that was not so easily done. It was as much as a man could do to lift it, and while the Doctor was in the act of receiving it from the hands of the guard, he dropped his stick, and some rogue in the crowd hustling him at the same moment, he dropped the box also, which fell on the pavement with a loud ringing sound, as if it had been all metal, and being at the same time partially broken by the concussion, out flew half a dozen broken sovereigns and rolled about the street. The sight of the gold literally maddened the knaves who were near the spot and witnessed this untimely outpouring of the wealth of the Reubenites. A ferocious scramble instantly took place for the few coins that had escaped; and if Page had not been a man of powerful frame, he could not have saved the box itself from the hands of the rabble, as he succeeded in doing. After depositing the treasure behind Mr. Cox's counter, he missed his stick, and to recover that he had to make a third sortie, in the course of which he came into collision with Dr. Pigwidgeon himself
, with whom he had a furious war of words, ending in actual fisticuffs.
Dr. Page charged Dr. Pigwidgeon with leading a band of ruffians and marauders. Dr. Pigwidgeon rejoined with the accusation of open and shameless corruption, well warranted, certainly, by the exposure of the box of gold. Page demanded whether the election was to be carried by terror and intimidation. Pigwidgeon retorted by asking if it was to be carried by barefaced bribery. After a few words more, Page struck the other, who instantly returned the blow, and it is hard to say how long the pugilistic contest might have lasted, if at length an uproar (much exceeding any that had yet been heard) had not announced the arrival of Mr. Medlicott himself.
He had made the greater part of the journey from the metropolis in the Triumph, but had quitted that conveyance at an inn about ten miles from Chichester, where an open carriage with
four horses had been ordered by the Alderman to be in readiness for him. Mrs. Mountjoy would have been one of the party, only that she dreaded the Bishop's displeasure ; and his wife, though she came down to the country with him, was not in a situation to face an excited mov, so that he would have wanted a lady to grace his side, if he had not fortunately been attended by Mrs. Chatterton, who, having come down from London with him, was delighted as well as proud to exchange the dust and obscurity of a stage-coach for the comfort and distinction of the seat in the four-in-hand. As in addition to being strikingly handsome, she was all energy and vivacity, and very gaily dressed, her substitution for simple Mary Medlicott suited the occasion extremely well. The mob took her for Reuben's wife, and the more readily as she held his eldest little girl on her lap, and looked personally flattered and gratified by every demonstration of popular affection and respect. To his parents and friends, however, the appearance of a strange lady in his company caused the utmost surprise, and not a little displeasure mixed with it. Neither the Vicar nor his wife recollected Mademoiselle Louise, but Mrs. Winning, with whom she had formerly lived as lady's maid, recalled her features as soon as she came sufficiently near, and was seriously offended with Reuben for what she considered a gross violation of propriety on his part, which indeed it was, though it was his vanity more than his gallantry led him to commit it.
The superior pomp and circumstance of Mr. Medliootts entry, the equestrian display, the postillions with enormous pink cockades, his rosy children, and the gay lady who represented their mother, told powerfully in his favour, as Dr. Page had anticipated. The halt upon the road, too, had afforded him the opportunity of shaking off the dust, and changing his travelling dress for a fresh suit, in which he now shone as brilliant as a bridegrooma complete contrast to the state in which his rival presented himself to the public. The consequence of all these circumstances
uproar was redoubled. The shouts for “Medlicott and Reform !” and “Medlicott, the World's Friend !” became absolutely stunning. It soon became evident that the Pigwidgeonites were comparatively a small faction of the populace, and Mr. Cox, seeing the apothecary in the crowd, beckoned to him, and strongly pointed out the prudence of his son retiring into his inn, and suffering his opponent and his friends to proceed peaceably to the Parrot, which was their head-quarters. Mr. Broad seconded this suggestion, but when Mr. Cox offered to engage that Reuben should not address the mob if his progress was not impeded, the cutler flatly refused to be a party to any such stipulation ; and the hostile candidates being now within a hundred yards of each other, all things seemed to promise extremely fair for a general riot, and it was probably a shrewd idea of the Vicar's that prevented its occurrence.
was, that the
Mr. Cox, at his suggestion, made his way through the rabble to Reuben's carriage, and getting into it, commanded the postillions to advance. A prodigious shout was raised by the multitude as the order was obeyed. The crowd receded on both sides before the popular old citizen and venerable magistrate; they respected his hoary head as if it had been literally the crown to which a sacred writer beautifully compares such a head as his, and gave way to the expression of his will, with the submissiveness such as no other man in Chichester would have expected or could have enforced.
The progress of the carriage was necessarily slow, but so much the better for the display which Reuben and his friends were desirous to make. The Triumph and some other vehicles followed, and formed a sort of procession. They met with no molestation of the slightest consequence; not a missile was thrown of any kind ; in fact anybody who had been rash enough to fling an egg or a turnip-top at Mr. Cox, would have run a serious risk of being torn to pieces by the mob. In front of the tobacconist's house, the only clamour audible was that of Reuben's own partisans. There the line of carriages paused for a few minutes, and the waving of handkerchiefs was such as for some time to prevent Mr. Medlicott from distinguishing his fair friends in the windows. The uproar was deafening, but decidedly propitious.
Mr. Pigwidgeon, still on the same perch, was entirely put out of countenance by his opponent's success, and assumed the air of a man too gallant and high-minded, to assail a rival who had placed himself under the triple protection of beauty, infancy, and old age. He kept bowing ostentatiously, now to Mr. Cox, now to Mrs. Chatterton, who, however, had pulled down her veil, to avoid being recognized by him. In doing so she had placed the little girl in the old man's arms. The child was as gay and fearless as if it had been “ born to the manner" of a contested election, and as Matthew held it aloft, streaming with ribbons, and not unlike a banner, the effect upon the spectators was astonishing, particularly upon the female portion of them. Mr. Cox was The Pig
again cheered vociferously, after which the hurrahs for Mr. Medlicott were renewed, and the opportunity seemed a fair one for making a short speech. Mr. Cox was against it, but yielded on condition that the speech was not to occupy more than ten minutes. Reuben sprang upon the seat of the carriage. His reported speech was probably the shortest on record. It consisted of but one word, which was • Fellow-citizens." widgeonites were influential enough to prevent another syllable being heard, and they exerted their influence most successfully. In fact the storm was rapidly rising again, when Mr. Cox, pretending that the time was expired, made a sign to the postillions to move forward as quickly as they could; and in something less than half an hour, Mr. Medlicott arrived at the Parrot, where he amply compensated both himself and his friends, by making a speech which lasted until the sun went down, and would have lasted until the moon rose, if his own father had not put a slip of paper in his hand, adjuring him, by all the ties of affection and duty, to recollect that the custom of dining had not yet been laid aside at Underwood.
A OHAPTER OF OUTRAGES ON ALL SIDES.
MR. MEDLICOTT offended all his discrect friends, by making his public entry as he did, in company with a lady in Madame Beauvoisin's position, which, though not disreputable, was certainly ambiguous. Mrs. Winning ceased, in consequence, to take an active interest in his success. The good little parson, however, relented only too soon, upon his son's assurance that Louise was not only a married woman, but the correctest, as she was the cleverest, of her sex; and being satisfied upon this, which was the main point, he accosted the lady in his most cordial manner, and offered her both a dinner and a bed that night at the Vicarage. Mrs. Medlicott looked daggers at him; but having a kindly feeling for the pretty Frenchwoman au fond, from recollection of her service in former days, she too laid by her scruples before long, though she seconded but coldly her husband's invitations. Madame, however, was so uneasy about her brother, that she did not know whether to accept or refuse ; and Reuben, also, was at a loss to think what had become of Adolphe, who had come down, he knew, from London in the same coach with himself.
“ If it is a Frenchman you are all looking for," said Mr. Cox, “ I think I can accommodate you; for I have got a gentleman of that country safe under lock and key below in my office.”
“My poor Adolphe a prisoner !” cried Reuben with surprise; "Pray, worthy Magistrate, for what crime has he forfeited his freedom !”
“Oh, he is innocent: he is innocent!” cried his sister, springing forward, and astonishing the old man by falling on her knees at his feet, and raising her clasped hands in the theatrical manner of imploring mercy.
“ Be comforted, Madame,” said Mr. Cox, smiling, and courteously raising her; "we only locked the gentleman up for his own protection; there is no charge against him, and he shall be released this moment.”
“You will give him his liberty," said the Vicar, “and I will give him his dinner :-liberty, and a dinner—two of the best gifts that man can bestow upon his fellow.”
“ Thank you, sir,” said Reuben in bis father's ear; "and the more as my friend in duresse has every talent in the world except that of providing a dinner for himself.”
“ What is he?" asked the Vicar.
“ What is he not, sir !" replied Reuben in the same undertone; "he was first my shoemaker; then my music teacher; next my bookseller; after that my cigar-merchant; now he is I really hardly know what."
“ Your gentleman at large," said the Vicar; for Mr. Cox having liberated M. Beauvoisin, returned with him just at that moment, and then there was another impassioned scene between brother and sister, as if the former had been released from actual chains and a dungeon.
It is hardly necessary to say that they were both charmed at finding themselves comfortably provided for at the Vicarage, instead of paying for very inferior entertainment at an hotel. They found their quarters, indeed, so agreeable, that they showed no inclination to change them during the ferment; and being grateful for the father's hospitality, as well as sincerely anxious for the son's success, they made themselves useful while they