« ZurückWeiter »
Captain Shandon looked up from his work. "Howdo you do, Mr. Warrington?" he said. "I 'll speak to you in a minute. Please sit down, gentlemen, if you can find places," and away went the pen again.
Warrington pulled forward an old portmanteau — the only available seat — and sat down on it with a bow to Mrs. Shandon, and a nod to Bungay; the child came and looked at Pen solemnly; and in a couple of minutes the swift scribbling ceased; and Shandon, turning the desk over on the bed, stooped and picked up the papers.
"I think this will do," said he. "It's the prospectus for the 'Pall Mall Gazette.'"
"And here's the money for it," Mr. Bungay said, laying down a five-pound note. "I 'm as good as my word, I am. When I say I 'll pay, I pay."
"Faith that's more than some of us can say," said Shandon, and he eagerly clapped the note into his pocket.
WHICH IS PASSED IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF
Our imprisoned Captain announced, in smart and emphatic language in his prospectus, that the time had come at last when it was necessary for the gentlemen of England to band together in defence of their common rights, and their glorious order, menaced on all sides by foreign revolutions, by intestine radicalism, by the artful calumnies of mill-owners and cotton-lords, and the stupid hostility of the masses whom they gulled and led. "The ancient monarchy was insulted," the Captain said, "by a ferocious republican rabble. The Church was deserted by envious dissent, and undermined by stealthy infidelity. The good institutions, which had made our country glorious, and the name of English Gentlemen the proudest in the world, were left without defence, and exposed to assault and contumely from men to whom no sanctuary was sacred, for they believed in nothing holy; no history venerable, for they were too ignorant to have heard of the past; and no law was binding which they were strong enough to break, when their leaders gave the signal for plunder. It was because the kings of France mistrusted their gentlemen," Mr. Shandon remarked, "that the monarchy of Saint Louis went down: it was because the people of England still believed in their gentlemen, that this country encountered and overcame the greatest enemy a nation ever met: it was because we were headed by gentlemen that the Eagles retreated before us from the Douro to the Garonne: it was a gentleman who broke the bine at Trafalgar, and swept the plain of Waterloo."
Bungay nodded his head in a knowing manner, and winked his eyes when the Captain came to the Waterloo passage: and Warrington burst out laughing.
"You see how our venerable friend Bungay is affected," Shandon said, slyly looking up from his papers — " that's your true sort of test. I have used the Duke of Wellington and the battle of Waterloo a hundred times: and I never knew the Duke to fail."
The Captain then went on to confess, with much candor, that up to the present time the gentlemen of England, confident of their right, and careless of those who questioned it, had left the political interest of their order as they did the management of their estates, or the settlement of their legal affairs, to persons affected to each peculiar service, and had permitted their interests to be represented in the press by professional proctors and advocates. That time Shandon professed to consider was now gone by: the gentlemen of England must be their own champions: the declared enemies of their order were brave, strong, numerous, and uncompromising. They must meet their foes in the field: they must not be belied and misrepresented by hireling advocates: they must not have Grub Street publishing Gazettes from Whitehall; "that's a dig at Bacon's people, Mr. Bungay," said Shandon, turning round to the publisher.
Bungay clapped his stick on the floor. "Hang him, pitch into him, Capting," he said with exulta
tion: and turning to Warrington, -wagged his dull head more vehemently than ever, and said, "For a slashing article, sir, there's nobody like the Capting — no-obody like him."
The prospectus-writer went on to say that some gentlemen, whose names were, for obvious reasons, not brought before the public (at which Mr. Warrington began to laugh again), had determined to bring forward a journal, of which the principles were so and so. "These men are proud of their order, and anxious to uphold it," cried out Captain Shandon, flourishing his paper with a grin. "They are loyal to their sovereign, by faithful conviction and ancestral allegiance; they love their Church, where they would have their children worship, and for which their forefathers bled; they love their country, and would keep it what the gentlemen of England—yes, the gentlemen of England (we'll have that in large caps., Bungay, my boy) have made it — the greatest and freest in the world: and as the names of some of them are appended to the deed which secured our liberties at Runnymede —"
"What's that?" asked Mr. Bungay.
"An ancestor of mine sealed it with his sword hilt," Pen said, with great gravity.
"It's the Habeas Corpus, Mr. Bungay," Warrington said, on which the publisher answered, "All right, I dare say," and yawned, though he said, "Go on, Capting."
— " at Runnymede; they are ready to defend that freedom to-day with sword and pen, and now, as then, to rally round the old laws and liberties of England."
"Brayvo!" cried Warrington. The little child stood wondering; the lady was working silently, and looking with fond admiration. "Come here, little Mary," said Warrington, and patted the child's fair curls with his large hand. But she shrank back from his rough caress, and preferred to go and take refuge at Pen's knee, and play with his fine watch-chain: and Pen was very much pleased that she came to him; for he was very soft-hearted and simple, though he concealed his gentleness under a shy and pompous demeanor. So she clambered up on his lap, whilst her father continued to read his programme.
"You were laughing," the Captain said to Warrington, "about 'the obvious reasons' which I mentioned. Now, I 'll show ye what they are, ye unbelieving heathen. 'We have said,'" he went on, "' that we cannot give the names of the parties engaged in this undertaking, and that there were obvious reasons for that concealment. We number influential friends in both Houses of the Senate, and have secured allies in every diplomatic circle in Europe. Our sources of intelligence are such as cannot, by any possibility, be made public — and, indeed, such as no other London or European journal could, by any chance, acquire. But this we are free to say, that the very earliest information connected with the movement of English and Continental politics, will be found Only in the columns of the "Pall Mall Gazette." The Statesman and the Capitalist, the Country Gentleman, and the Divine, will be amongst our readers, because our writers are amongst them. We address ourselves to the higher circles of society: we care not to disown it — the "Pall Mall Gazette " is written by gentlemen for gentlemen; its conductors speak to the classes in which they live and were born. The field-preacher has his journal, the radical free-thinker has his journal: why should the Gentlemen of England be unrepresented in the Press ?'"