MRS. CARLYLE IN FULL DRESS, AFY ALSO.
Merrily rose West Lynne on Thursday morning; merrily rang out the bells, clashing and chiming. The street was alive with people; the windows were crowded with heads; something unusual was astir. It was the day of the nomination of the two candidates, and everybody took the opportunity to make a holiday.
Ten o’clock was the hour named; but, before that hour struck, West Lynne was crammed. The country people had come in, thick and threefold; rich and poor; people of note, and people of none; voters and non-voters, all eager to mix themselves up with the day’s proceedings. You see the notorious fact of Sir Francis Levison’s having come forward to oppose Mr. Carlyle, caused greater interest in this election than is usual, even in small country places—and that need not be. Barbara drove in her carriage, the two children with her, and the governess. The governess said she preferred to remain at home. Barbara would not hear of it; almost felt inclined to resent it as a slight; besides, if she took no interest in Mr. Carlyle, she must go to take care of Lucy; she, Barbara, would be too much occupied to look after children. So Madame Vine, perforce, stepped into the barouche and sat opposite to Mrs. Carlyle, her thick veil shading her features, and their pallor contrasting with the blue spectacles.
They alighted at the residence of Miss Carlyle. Quite a gathering was already there. Lady and Miss Dobede, the Herberts, Mrs. Hare, and many others; for the house was in a good spot for seeing the fun; and all the people were eager to testify their respect to Mr. Carlyle, in contradiction to that other one. Miss Carlyle was in full rig; a brocaded dress, and a scarlet-and-purple bow in front of it, the size of a pumpkin. It was about the only occasion, in all Miss Carlyle’s life, that she deemed it necessary to attire herself beyond common. Barbara wore no bow, but she exhibited a splendid bouquet of scarlet-and-purple flowers. Mr. Carlyle had himself given it to her that morning.
Mr. Carlyle saw them all at the windows of the large upper drawing-room, and came in; he was then on his way to the town-hall. Shaking hands, laughter, hearty and hasty good wishes; and he quitted the room again. Barbara stole after him for a sweeter farewell.
“God bless you and prosper you, Archibald, my dearest!”
The business of the day began. Mr. Carlyle was proposed by Sir John Dobede, and seconded by Mr. Herbert. Lord Mount Severn, than whom not a busier man was there, would willingly have been proposer and seconder too, but he had no local influence in the place. Sir Francis Levison was proposed also by two gentlemen of standing. The show of hands was declared to be in favor of Mr. Carlyle. It just was in favor of him; about twenty to one. Upon which the baronet’s friends demanded a poll.