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DICK." And I have two private bills I want to smuggle through Parliament."

RANDAL.- 66 They shall be smuggled, rely on it. Mr Fairfield being on one side the House, and I on the other, we two could prevent all unpleasant opposition. Private bills are easily managed-with that tact which I flatter myself I possess."

DICK." And when the bills are through the House, and you have had time to look about you, I daresay you will see that no man can go against Public Opinion, unless he wants to knock his own head against a stone wall; and that Public Opinion is decidedly Yellow."

RANDAL, (with candour.)-"I cannot deny that Public Opinion is Yellow; and, at my age, it is natural that I should not commit myself to the policy of a former generation. Blue is fast wearing out. But, to return to Mr Fairfield-you do not speak as if you had no hope of keeping him straight to what I understand to be his agreement with yourself. Surely his honour is engaged to it?"

DICK.-"I don't know as to honour; but he has now taken a fancy to public life; at least so he said no later than this morning before we went into the hall; and I trust that matters will come right. Indeed, I left him with Parson Dale, who promised me that he would use all his best exertions to reconcile Leonard and my lord, and that Leonard should do nothing hastily."

RANDAL." But why should Mr Fairfield retire because Lord L'Estrange wounds his feelings? I am sure Mr Fairfield has wounded mine, but that does not make me think of retiring."

DICK.-"Oh, Leonard is a poet, and poets are quite as crotchety as L'Estrange said they were. And Leonard is under obligations to Lord L'Estrange, and thought that Lord L'Estrange was pleased by his standing; whereas now-in short, it is all Greek to me, except that Leonard has mounted his high horse, and if that throws him, I am afraid it will throw you. But still I have great confidence in Parson Dale-a good fellow, who has much influence with

Leonard. And though I thought it right to be above-board, and let you know where the danger lies, yet one thing I can promise if I resign, you shall come in; so shake hands on it." RANDAL.- -"My dear Avenel! And your wish is to resign?"

DICK." Certainly. I should do so a little time after noon, contriving to be below Leonard on the poll. You know Emanuel Trout, the captain of the Hundred and Fifty' waiters on Providence,' as they are called?" RANDAL. "To be sure I do."

DICK." When Emanuel Trout comes into the booth, you will know how the election turns. As he votes, all the Hundred and Fifty will vote. Now I must go back. Good night. You'll not forget that my expenses are to be paid. Point of honour. Still, if they are not paid, the election can be upset-petition for bribery and corruption; and if they are paid, why, Lansmere may be your seat for life."

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RANDAL.—“ Your expenses shall be paid the moment my marriage gives me the means to pay themand that must be very soon." DICK." So Levy says. And my little jobs-the private bills?" RANDAL. "Consider the bills passed and the jobs done."

DICK.-" And one must not forget one's country. One must do the best one can for one's principles. Egerton is infernally Blue. You allow Public Opinion—is—”

RANDAL.-"Yellow. Not a doubt

of it."

DICK.-" Good night. Ha-hahumbug, eh?" RANDAL.-" Humbug! Between men like us-oh no. Good night, my dear friend-I rely on you."

DICK." Yes; but mind, I promise nothing if Leonard Fairfield does not stand."

RANDAL." He must stand; keep him to it. Your affairs-your business-your mill—”

DICK. "Very true. He must stand. I have great faith in Parson Dale."

Randal glided back through the park. When he came on the terrace, he suddenly encountered Lord L'Estrange. "I have just been privately into the town, my dear lord,

and heard a strange rumour that Mr Fairfield was so annoyed by some remarks in your lordship's admirable speech, that he talks of retiring from the contest. That would give a new feature to the election, and perplex all our calculations. And I fear, in that case, there might be some secret coalition between Avenel's friends and our Committee, whom, I am told, I displeased by the moderate speech which your lordship so eloquently defended-a coalition, by which Avenel would come in with Mr Egerton; whereas, if we all four stand, Mr Egerton, I presume, will be quite safe; and I certainly think I have an excellent chance."

LORD L'ESTRANGE.-"So Mr Fairfield would retire in consequence of my remarks! I am going into the town, and I intend to apologise for those remarks, and retract them."

RANDAL, (joyously.)-"Noble!" Lord L'Estrange looked at Leslie's face, upon which the stars gleamed palely. "Mr Egerton has thought more of your success than of his own," said he gravely, and hurried on.

Randal continued on the terrace. Perhaps Harley's last words gave him a twinge of compunction. His head sank musingly on his breast, and he paced to and fro the long gravel walk, summoning up all his intellect to resist every temptation to what could injure his self-interest.

Skulking knave!" muttered Harley. "At least there will be nothing to repent, if I can do justice on him. That is not revenge. Come, that must be fair retribution. Besides, how else can I deliver Violante?" He laughed gaily, his heart was so light; and his foot bounded on as fleet as the deer that he startled amongst the fern.

A few yards from the turnstile, he overtook Richard Avenel, disguised in a rough greatcoat and spectacles. Nevertheless, Harley's eye detected the Yellow candidate at the first glance. He caught Dick familiarly by the arm. "Well met-I was going We have the election to

to you.

settle."

"On the terms I mentioned to your lordship?" said Dick, startled. "I will agree to return one of your candidates; but it must not be Audley

Egerton." Harley whispered close in Avenel's ear.

Avenel uttered an exclamation of amazement. The two gentlemen walked on rapidly, and conversing with great eagerness.

"Certainly," said Avenel, at length stopping short," one would do a great deal to serve a family connection-and a connection that does a man so much credit; and how can one go against one's own brother-in-law ?-a gentleman of such high standing-pull up the whole family! How pleased Mrs Richard Avenel will be! Why the devil did not I know it before? And poor-dear-dear Nora. Ah that she were living!" Dick's voice trembled.

"Her name will be righted; and I will explain why it was my fault that Egerton did not before acknowledge his marriage, and claim you as a brother. Come, then, it is all fixed and settled."

"No, my lord; I am pledged the other way. I don't see how I can get off my word-to Randal Leslie ;-I'm not over nice, nor what is called Quixotic, but still my word is given, that if I retire from the election, I will do my best to return Leslie instead of Egerton."

"I know that through Baron Levy. But if your nephew retires?"

"Oh, that would solve all difficulties. But the poor boy has now a wish to come into Parliament; and he has done me a service in the hour of need."

"Leave it to me. And as to Randal Leslie, he shall have an occasion himself to acquit you and redeem himself; and happy, indeed, will it be for him if he has yet one spark of gratitude, or one particle of honour." The two continued to converse for a few moments - Dick seeming to forget the election itself, and ask questions of more interest to his heart, which Harley answered so, that Dick wrung L'Estrange's hand with great emotion-and muttered, "My poor mother! I understand now why she would never talk to me of Nora! When may I tell her the truth?"

"To-morrow evening, after the election, Egerton shall embrace you all."

Dick startled, and, saying-" See Leonard as soon as you can-there

is no time to lose," plunged into a lane that led towards the obscurer recesses of the town. Harley continued his way with the same light elastic tread which (lost during his abnegation of his own nature) was now restored to the foot, that seemed loath to leave a print upon the mire. At the commencement of the High Street he encountered Mr Dale and Fairfield, walking slowly, arm in

arm.

HARLEY." Leonard, I was coming to you. Give me your hand. Forget for the present the words that justly stung and offended you. I will do more than apologise-I will repair the wrong. Excuse me, Mr DaleI have one word to say in private to Leonard." He drew Fairfield aside.

"Avenel tells me that if you were to retire from this contest, it would be a sacrifice of inclination. Is it so?"

"My lord, I have sorrows that I would fain forget; and though I at first shrunk from the strife in which I have been since engaged, yet now a literary career seems to me to have lost its old charm; and I find that, in public life, there is a distraction to the thoughts which embitter solitude, that books fail to bestow. Therefore, if you still wish me to continue this contest, though I know not your motive, it will not be as it was to begin it—a reluctant and a painful obedience to your request."

“I understand. It was a sacrifice of inclination to begin the contest—it would be now a sacrifice of inclination to withdraw?"

"Honestly-yes, my lord."

"I rejoice to hear it, for I ask that sacrifice; a sacrifice which you will recall hereafter with delight and pride; a sacrifice sweeter, if I read your nature aright-oh, sweeter far, than all which commonplace ambition could bestow! And when you learn why I make this demand, you will say, This, indeed, is reparation for the words that wounded my affections, and wronged my heart."

"My lord, my lord!" exclaimed Leonard, "the injury is repaired already. You give me back your esteem, when you so well anticipate my answer. Your esteem!-life smiles again. I can return to my

more legitimate career without a sigh. I have no need of distraction from thought now. You will believe that, whatever my past presumption, I can pray sincerely for your happiness."

"Poet!-you adorn your career; you fulfil your mission, even at this moment; you beautify the world; you give to the harsh form of Duty the cestus of the Graces," said Harley, trying to force a smile to his quivering lips. "But we must hasten back to the prose of existence. I accept your sacrifice. As for the time and mode I must select, in order to insure its result, I will ask you to abide by such instructions as I shall have occasion to convey through your uncle. Till then, no word of your intentions-not even to Mr Dale. Forgive me if I would rather secure Mr Egerton's election than yours. Let that explanation suffice for the present. What think you, by the way, of Audley Egerton?"

"I thought when I heard him speak, and when he closed with those touching words-implying that he left all of his life not devoted to his country—to the charity of his friends'-how proudly, even as his opponent, I could have clasped his hand; and if he had wronged me in private life, I should have thought it ingratitude to the country he had so served, to have remembered the offence."

Harley turned away abruptly, and joined Mr Dale.

"Leave Leonard to go home by himself; you see that I have healed whatever wounds I inflicted on him."

PARSON." And your better nature thus awakened, I trust, my dear lord, that you have altogether abandoned the idea of—

HARLEY." Revenge-no. And if you do not approve that revenge to-morrow, I will never rest till I have seen you—a bishop!"

MR DALE, (much shocked.)-"My lord, for shame!"

HARLEY, (seriously.)—"My levity is but lip-deep, my dear Mr Dale. But sometimes the froth on the wave shows the change in the tide."

The Parson looked at him earnestly, and then seized him by both hands with holy gladness and affection."

Return to the Park now," said

Harley, smiling; "and tell Violante, if it be not too late to see her, that she was even more eloquent than you."

Lord L'Estrange bounded forward. Mr Dale walked back through the park to Lansmere House. On the terrace he found Randal, who was still pacing to and fro, sometimes in the starlight, sometimes in the shadow.

Leslie looked up, and seeing Mr Dale, the close astuteness of his aspect returned; and stepping out of the twilight deep into the shadow, he said

"I was sorry to learn that Mr Fairfield had been so hurt by Lord L'Estrange's severe allusions. Pity that political differences should interfere with private friendships; but I hear that you have been to Mr Fairfield-and, doubtless, as the peacemaker. Perhaps you met Lord L'Estrange by the way? He promised me that he would apologise and retract."

"Good young man," said the unsuspecting Parson," he has done so."

"And Mr Leonard Fairfield will therefore, I presume, continue the contest?"

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Õh," said Randal, with a benevolent smile, 66 we have fought before, you know, and I beat him then. may do so again!"

I

And he walked into the house, arm in arm with the Parson. Mr Dale sought Violante-Leslie retired to his own room, and felt his election was secured.

Lord L'Estrange had gained the thick of the streets-passing groups of roaring enthusiasts-Blue and Yellow-now met with a cheer-now followed by a groan. Just by a public-house that formed the angle of a lane with the High Street, and which was all a-blaze with light, and all alive with clamour, he beheld the graceful Baron leaning against the threshold, smoking his cigar, too refined to associate its divine vapour with the wreaths of shag within, and chatting agreeably with a knot of females,

who were either attracted by the general excitement, or waiting to see husband, brother, father, or son, who were now joining in the chorus of "Blue for ever!" that rang from taproom to attic of the illumined hostelry. Levy, seeing Lord L'Estrange, withdrew his cigar from his lips, and hastened to join him. "All the Hundred and Fifty are in there," said the Baron, with a backward significant jerk of his thumb towards the inn. "I have seen them all privately, in tens at a time; and I have been telling the ladies without, that it will be best for the interest of their families to go home, and let us lock up the Hundred and Fifty safe from the Yellows, till we bring them to the poll. But I am afraid," continued Levy, "that the rascals are not to be relied upon unless I actually pay them beforehand; and that would be disreputable, immoral, and, what is more, it would upset the election. Besides, if they are paid beforehand, query, is it quite sure how they will vote afterwards?"

"Mr Avenel, I daresay, can manage them," said Harley. "Pray do nothing immoral, and nothing that will upset the election. I think you might as well go home."

"Home! No, pardon me, my lord ; there must be some head to direct the committee, and keep our captains at their posts upon the doubtful electors. A great deal of mischief may be done between this and the morrow; and I would sit up all night—ay, six nights a-week for the next three months to prevent any awkward mistake by which Audley Egerton can be returned."

"His return would really grieve you so much?" said Harley.

"You may judge of that by the zeal with which I enter into all your designs."

Here there was a sudden and wondrously loud shout from another inn -a Yellow inn, far down the lane, not so luminous as the Blue hostelry; on the contrary, looking rather dark and sinister, more like a place for conspirators or felons than honest independent electors-" Avenel for ever!Avenel and the Yellows!"

"Excuse me, my lord, I must go back and watch over my black sheep,

if I would have them Blue!" said Levy, and he retreated towards the threshold. But at that shout of "Avenel for ever!" as if at a signal, various electors of the redoubted Hundred and Fifty rushed from the Blue hostelry, sweeping past Levy, and hurrying down the lane to the dark little Yellow inn, followed by the female stragglers, as small birds follow an owl. It was not, however, very easy to get into that Yellow inn. Yellow reformers, eminent for their zeal on behalf of purity of election, were stationed outside the door, and only strained in one candidate for admittance at a time. "After all," thought the Baron, as he passed into the principal room of the Blue tavern, and proposed the national song of Rule Britannia'-" after all, Avenel hates Egerton as much as I do, and both sides work to the same end." And thrumming on the table, he joined, with a fine bass, in the famous line,

"For Britons never will be slaves!"

In the interim, Harley had disappeared within the "Lansmere Arms," which was the headquarters of the Blue committee. Not, however, mounting to the room in which a few of the more indefatigable were continuing their labours, receiving reports from scouts, giving orders, laying wagers, and very muzzy with British principles and spirits, Harley called aside the landlord, and inquired if the stranger, for whom rooms had been prepared, was yet arrived. An affirmative answer was given, and Harley followed the host up a private stair, to a part of the house remote from the rooms devoted to the purposes of the election. He remained with this stranger about half an hour, and then walked

into the committee-room, got rid of the more excited, conferred with the more sober, issued a few brief directions to such of the leaders as he felt he could most rely upon, and returned home as rapidly as he had quitted it.

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Dawn was grey in the skies when Harley sought his own chamber. To gain it he passed by the door of Violante's. His heart suffused with grateful ineffable tenderness, paused and kissed the threshold. When he stood within his room, (the same that he had occupied in his early youth,) he felt as if the load of years were lifted from his bosom. The joyous divine elasticity of spirit, that in the morning of life springs towards the Future as a bird soars into heaven, pervaded his whole sense of being. A Greek poet implies, that the height of bliss is the sudden relief of pain there is a nobler bliss still

the rapture of the conscience at the sudden release from a guilty thought. By the bedside at which he had knelt in boyhood, Harley paused to kneel once more. The luxury of prayer, interrupted since he had nourished schemes of which his passions had blinded him to the sin, but which, nevertheless, he dared not confess to the All-Merciful, was restored to him. And yet, as he bowed his knee, the elation of spirits he had before felt forsook him. The sense of the danger his soul had escaped-the full knowledge of the guilt to which the fiend had tempted-came dread before his clearing vision; he shuddered in horror of himself. And he who but a few hours before had deemed it so impossible to pardon his fellow-man, now felt as if years of useful and beneficent deeds could alone purify his own repentant soul from the memory of one hateful passion.

CHAPTER XXXII.

But while Harley had thus occupied the hours of night with cares for the living, Audley Egerton had been in commune with the dead. He had taken from the pile of papers amidst which it had fallen, the record of Nora's silenced heart. With a sad wonder he saw how he had once been loved. What had all which suc

cessful ambition had bestowed on the lonely statesman to compensate for the glorious empire he had lost-such realms of lovely fancy; such worlds of exquisite emotion; that infinite which lies within the divine sphere that unites spiritual genius with human love? His own positive and earthly nature attained, for the first

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