Why, truly? But she had never thought that her cross would be so sharp as this.
AN M. P. FOR WEST LYNNE.
As this is not a history of the British constitution, it does not concern it to relate how or why West Lynne got into hot water with the House of Commons. The House threatened to disfranchise it, and West Lynne under the fear, went into mourning for its sins. The threat was not carried out; but one of the sitting members was unseated with ignominy, and sent to the right about. Being considerably humiliated thereby, and in disgust with West Lynne, he retired accordingly, and a fresh writ was issued. West Lynne then returned the Hon. Mr. Attley, a county nobleman’s son; but he died in the very midst of his first session, and another writ had to be issued.
Of course the consideration now was, who should be the next lucky man fixed upon. All the notables within ten miles were discussed, not excepting the bench justices. Mr. Justice Hare? No! he was too uncompromising, he would study his own will, but not that of West Lynne. Squire Pinner? He never made a speech in his life, and had not an idea beyond turnips and farming stock. Colonel Bethel? He had no money to spend upon an election. Sir John Dobede? He was too old. “By a good twenty years,” laughed Sir John, to himself. “But here we stand, like a pack of noodles, conning over the incapables, and passing by the right one,” continued Sir John. “There’s only one man amongst us fit to be our member.”
“Who’s that?” cried the meeting.
A pause of consternation—consternation at their collective forgetfulness—and then a loud murmur of approaching to a shout, filled the room. Archibald Carlyle. It should be no other.
“If we can get him,” cried Sir John. “He may decline, you know.”
The best thing, all agreed, was to act promptly. A deputation, half the length of the street—its whole length, if you include the tagrag and bobtail that attended behind—set off on the spur of the moment to the office of Mr. Carlyle. They found that gentleman about to leave it for the evening, to return home to dinner; for, in the discussion of the all-important topic, the meeting had suffered time to run on to a late hour; those gentlemen who dined at a somewhat earlier one had, for once in their lives, patiently allowed their dinners and their stomachs to wait—which is saying a great deal for the patience of a justice.
Mr. Carlyle was taken by surprise. “Make me your member?” cried he, merrily. “How do you know I should not sell you all?”
“We’ll trust you, Carlyle. Too happy to do it.”
“I am not sure that I could spare the time,” deliberated Mr. Carlyle.
“Now, Carlyle, you must remember that you avowed to me, no longer than last Christmas, your intention of going into parliament some time,” struck in Mr. Justice Herbert. “You can’t deny it.”