“Archibald, you will not suffer this man’s insolent doings to deter you from your plans—you will not withdraw?” she whispered.
“I think not, Barbara. He has thrust himself offensively upon me in this measure; I believe my better plan will be to take no more heed of him than I should of the dirt under my feet.”
“Right—right,” she answered, a proud flush deepening the rose on her cheeks.
Mr. Carlyle was walking into West Lynne. There were the placards, sure enough, side by side with his own, bearing the name of that wicked coward who had done him the greatest injury one man can do to another. Verily, he must possess a face of brass to venture there.
“Archibald, have you heard the disgraceful news?”
The speaker was Miss Carlyle, who had come down upon her brother like a ship with all sails set. Her cheeks wore a flush; her eyes glistened; her tall form was drawn up to its most haughty height.
“I have heard it, Cornelia, and, had I not, the walls would have enlightened me.”
“Is he out of his mind?”
“Out of his reckoning, I fancy,” replied Mr. Carlyle.
“You will carry on the contest now,” she continued, her countenance flashing. “I was averse to it before, but I now withdraw all my objection. You will be no brother of mine if you yield the field to him.”
“I do not intend to yield it.”
“Good. You bear on upon your course, and let him crawl on upon his. Take no more heed of him than if he were a viper. Archibald, you must canvass now.”
“No,” said Mr. Carlyle, “I shall be elected without canvass. You’ll see, Cornelia.”
“There will be plenty canvassing for you, if you don’t condescend to take the trouble, my indifferent brother. I’ll give a thousand pounds myself, for ale, to the electors.”
“Take care,” laughed Mr. Carlyle. “Keep your thousand pounds in your pocket, Cornelia. I have no mind to be unseated, on the plea of ’bribery and corruption.’ Here’s Sir John Dobede galloping in, with a face as red as the sun in a fog.”
“Well, it may be he has heard the news. I can tell you, Archibald, West Lynne is in a state of excitement that has not been its lot for many a day.”
Miss Carlyle was right. Excitement and indignation had taken possession of West Lynne. How the people rallied around Mr. Carlyle! Town and country were alike up in arms. But government interest was rife at West Lynne, and, whatever the private and public feeling might be, collectively or individually, many votes should be recorded for Sir Francis Levison.
One of the first to become cognizant of the affair was Lord Mount Severn. He was at his club one evening in London, poring over an evening paper, when the names “Carlyle,” “West Lynne,” caught his view. Knowing that Mr. Carlyle had been named as the probable member, and heartily wishing that he might become such, the earl naturally read the paragraph.