Part 8 out of 8
promote his success in obtaining a situation, for which I consider
him as eminently fitted. Good morning, sir.'
'Good morning, my Lord.'
Lord Fitzjocelyn departed so grave, so courteous, so dignified, so
resolute, so comically like his father, that the old Squire threw
himself back in his chair and laughed heartily. The magnificent
challenge of war to the knife, was no more to him than the adjuration
he had heard last year in the justice-room; and he no more expected
these two lads to make any effectual opposition than he did to see
them repeal the game-laws.
The Viscount meanwhile rode off thoroughly roused to indignation.
The good sense of sixty naturally fell hard and cold on the ears of
twenty-two, and it was one of the moments when counsel inflamed
instead of checking him. Never angry on his own account, he could be
exceedingly wrathful for others; and the unlucky word, disparity,
drove him especially wild. In mere charity, he thought it right to
withhold this insult to the Pendragons from his cousin's ears; but
this very reserve seemed to bind him to resent it in James's stead;
and he was far more blindly impetuous than if, as usual, he had seen
James so vehement that he was obliged to try to curb and restrain
He would not hear of giving in! When the Ramsbotham candidate
appeared, and James scrupled to divide the contrary interest, Louis
laid the whole blame of the split upon Mr. Calcott; while, as to poor
Mr. Powell, no words were compassionate enough for his dull,
slouching, ungentlemanly air; and he was pronounced to be an old
writing-master, fit for nothing but to mend pens.
But Mr. Walby's was still their sole promise. The grocer followed
the Squire; the bookseller was liberal, and had invited the
Ramsbotham candidate to dinner. On this alarming symptom,
Fitzjocelyn fell upon Richardson, and talked, and talked, and talked,
till the solicitor could either bear it no longer, or feared for the
Ormersfield agency, and his vote was carried off as a captive.
This triumph alarmed Mrs. Frost and James, who knew how scrupulously
the Earl abstained from seeking anything like a favour at Northwold;
and they tried to impress this on Louis, but he was exalted far above
even understanding the remonstrance. It was all their
disinterestedness; he had no notion of that guarded pride which would
incur no obligation. No, no; if Jem would be beholden to no one, he
would accept all as personal kindness to himself. Expect a return!
he returned good-will--of course he would do any one a kindness.
Claims, involving himself! he would take care of that; and off he
He came in the next day, announcing a still grander and more
formidable encounter. He had met Mr. Ramsbotham himself, and secured
his promise that, in case he failed in carrying his own man, he and
the butcher would support Mr. Frost.
The fact was, that Lord Fitzjocelyn's advocacy of the poacher, his
free address, his sympathy for 'the masses,' and his careless words,
had inspired expectations of his liberal views; Mr. Ramsbotham was
not sorry to establish a claim, and was likewise gratified by the
frank engaging manners, which increased the pleasure of being
solicited by a nobleman--a distinction of which he thought more than
did all the opposite party.
To put James beyond the perils of the casting vote was next the
point. Without divulging his tactics, Louis flew off one morning by
the train, made a sudden descent on the recluse banker at Ambleside,
barbarously used his gift of the ceaseless tongue, till the poor old
man was nearly distracted, touched his wife's tender heart with good
old Mrs. Frost and the two lovers, and made her promise to bring him
comfortably and quietly down to stay at Ormersfield and give his
And so, when the election finally came on, Mr. Calcott found himself
left with only his faithful grocer to support his protege. Three
votes were given at once for the Reverend James Roland Frost Dynevor;
the bookseller followed as soon as he saw how the land lay; and
Ramsbotham and Co. swelled the majority as soon as they saw that
their friend had no chance.
Poor Mr. Powell went home to his drudgery with his wrinkles deeper
than ever; and his wife sighed as she resigned her last hope of
sending her son to the University.
Mr. Calcott had, for the first time in his life, been over-ridden by
an unscrupulous use of his neighbour's rank; and of the youthfulness
that inspired hopes of fixing a claim on an untried, inexperienced
The old Squire was severely hurt and mortified; but he was very
magnanimous--generously wished James joy, and congratulated Mrs.
Frost with all his heart. He was less cordial with Louis; but the
worst he said of him was, that he was but a lad, his father was out
of the way, and he wished he might not find that he had got himself
into a scrape. He could not think why a man of old Ormersfield's age
should go figuring round Cape Horn, instead of staying to keep his
own son in order.
Sydney was absent; but the rest of the family and their friends were
less forbearing than the person chiefly concerned. They talked
furiously, and made a strong exertion of forgiveness in order not to
cut Fitzjocelyn. Sir Gilbert Brewster vowed that it would serve him
right to be turned out of the troop, and that he must keep a sharp
look out lest he should sow disaffection among the Yeomanry. Making
friends with Ramsbotham! never taking out a gun! The country was
gone to the dogs when such as he was to be a peer!
END OF VOL. I.