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Arthur. This young fellow fancies that his good birth makes him the equal of any one; and, secondly, Alice, in her sense of independence, is exactly the girl to do a folly, and imagine it to be heroic; so Maitland himself said to me, and it was perfectly miraculous how well he read her whole nature. And in deed it was he who suggested to me to charge Tony Butler with being engaged to the minister's daughter, and told me—and, as I saw, with truth-how thoroughly it would test his suspicions about him. I thought he was going to fainthe really swayed back and forwards when I said that it was one of the girls from whom I had the story."
“If I could only believe this, he should never cross the threshold again. Such insolence is, however, incredible."
"That's a man's way of regarding it; and however you sneer at our credulity, it enables us to see scores of things that your obstinacy is blind to. I am sincerely glad he is going away."
"So am I-now; and I trust, in my heart, we have seen the last of him."
"How tired you look, my poor Tony!" said his mother, as he entered the cottage and threw himself heavily and wearily into a chair.
"I am tired, mother-very tired and jaded."
"I wondered what kept you so long, Tony; for I had time to pack your trunk, and to put away all your things; and when it was done and finished, to sit down and sorrow over your going away. Oh, Tony dear, aren't we ungrateful creatures, when we rise up in rebellion against the very mercies that are Vouchsafed us, and say, Why was my prayer granted me? I am sure it was many and many a night, as I knelt down, I begged the Lord would send you some calling or other, that you might find means of an honest living, and a line of life that wouldn't disgrace the stock you came from; and now that He has graciously heard me, here I am
VOL. XCVI.-NO. DLXXXV.
repining and complaining just as if it wasn't my own supplication that was listened to."
Perhaps Tony was not in a humour to discuss a nice question of ethical meaning, for he abruptly said, "Sir Arthur Lyle read your note over, and said he'd call one of these days and see you. I suppose he meant with the answer.'
"There was no answer, Tony; the matter was just this-I wanted a trifle of an advance from the bank, just to give you a little money when you'd have to go away; and Tom M'Elwain, the new manager, not knowing me perhaps, referred the matter to Sir Arthur, which was not what I wished or intended, and so I wrote and said so. Perhaps I said so a little too curtly, as if I was too proud, or the like, to accept a favour at Sir Arthur's hands; for he wrote me a very beautiful letter
it went home to my heart—about his knowing your father long ago, when they were both lads, and had the wide world before them; and alluding very touchingly to the Lord's bounties to himself-blessing him with a full garner."
"I hope you accepted nothing from him," broke in Tony, roughly.
"No, Tony; for it happened that James Hewson, the apothecary, had a hundred pounds that he wanted to lay out on a safe mortgage, and so I took it, at six per cent, and gave him over the deeds of the little place here."
"For a hundred pounds! Why, it's worth twelve hundred at least, mother!"
"What a boy it is!" said she, laughing. I merely gave him his right to claim the one hundred that he advanced, Tony dear; and my note to Sir Arthur was to ask him to have the bond, or whatever it is called, rightly drawn up and witnessed, and at the same time to thank him heartily for his own kind readiness to serve me."
een years ago, when he drew all the money he had out of the agent's hands, and paid off the debt on this little spot here. Nelly,' said he, 'I can look out of the window now, and not be afraid of seeing a man coming up the road to ask for his interest."
It's the very first thing I'll try
to do, is to pay off that debt, mother. Who knows but I may be able, before the year is over! But I'm glad you didn't take it from Sir Arthur.”
"You're as proud as your father, Tony," said she, with her eyes full of tears; "take care that you're as good as he was, too."
CHAPTER XXXVI.-A CORNER IN DOWNING STREET.
When Tony Butler found himself inside of the swinging glass-door at Downing Street, and in presence of the august Mr Willis, the porter, it seemed as if all the interval since he had last stood in the same place had been a dream. The head-porter looked up from his Times,' and with a severity that showed he had neither forgotten nor forgiven, said, "Messengers' room-first paircorridor-third door on the left." There was an unmistakable dignity in the manner of the speaker which served to show Tony not merely that his former offence remained unpardoned, but that his entrance into public life had not awed or impressed in any way the stern official.
Tony passed on, mounted the stairs, and sauntered along a very ill-kept corridor, not fully certain whether it was the third, fourth, or fifth door he was in search of, or on what hand. After about half an hour passed in the hope of seeing one to direct him, he made bold to knock gently at a door. To his repeated summons no answer was returned, and he tried another, when a shrill voice cried Come in." He entered and saw a slight, sickly-looking youth, very elaborately dressed, seated at a table writing. The room was a large one, very dirty, ill-furnished, and disorderly.
"Well, what is it?" asked the young gentleman, without lifting his head or his eyes from the desk. 66 Could you tell me," said Tony, courteously, "where I ought to go? I'm Butler, an extra messenger, and I have been summoned to attend and report here this morning."
"All right; we want you," said the other, still writing; "wait an instant." So saying, he wrote on for several minutes at a rapid pace, muttering the words as his pen traced them; at last he finished, and, descending from his high seat, passed across the room, opened a door which led into another room, and called out,
"The messenger come, sir!"
"Who is he?" shouted a very harsh voice.
"First for Madrid, sir," said the youth, examining a slip of paper he had just taken from his pocket.
"His name?" shouted out the other again.
"Poynder, sir." "I beg your pardon," suggested Tony, mildly. "I'm Butler, not Poynder."
"Who's talking out there-what's that uproar?" screamed the voice, very angrily.
"Mr Butler," said Tony, quietly, but with an air of determination.
"And instead of reporting yourself, you come here to say that you have exchanged with Poynder."
“I never heard of Poynder till three minutes ago."
"You want, however, to take his journey, sir. You call yourself first for Madrid ?”
"I do nothing of the kind. I have come here because I got a telegram two days ago. I know nothing of Poynder, and just as little about Madrid."
"Oh-aw! you're Butler! I remember all about you now; there is such a swarm of extras appointed, that it's impossible to remember names or faces. You're the young gentleman who-who; yes, yes, I remember it all; but have you passed the civil-service examiners?" "No; I was preparing for the examination when I received that message, and came off at once.
"Well, you'll present yourself at Burlington House. Mr Blount will make out the order for you; you can go up the latter end of this week, and we shall want you immediately.”
"But I am not ready. I was reading for this examination when your telegram came, and I set off at the instant."
"Blount, Mr Blount!" screamed out the other, angrily; and as the affrighted youth presented himself, all pale and trembling, he went on, "What's the meaning of this, sir? You first attempt to pass this person off for Poynder; and when that scheme fails, you endeavour to slip him into the service without warrant or qualification. He tells me himself he knows nothing."
"Very little, certainly, but I don't remember telling you so," said Tony.
"And do you imagine, sir, that a bravado about your ignorance is the sure road to advancement? I can tell you, young gentleman, that the
days of mighty patronage are gone by; the public require to be served by competent officials. We are not in the era of Castlereaghs and Vansittarts. If you can satisfy the Commissioners, you may come back here; if you cannot, you may go back to-to whatever life you were leading before, and were probably most fit for. As for you, Mr Blount, I told you before that on the first occasion of your attempting to exercise here that talent for intrigue on which you pride yourself, and of which Mr Vance told me you were a proficient, I should report you. I now say, sir-and bear in mind I say so openly, and to yourself, and in presence of your friend here I shall do so this day."
"May I explain, sir?"
"You may not, sir-withdraw!" The wave of the hand that accompanied this order evidently included Tony, but he held his ground undismayed, while the other fell back, overwhelmed with shame and confusion.
Not deigning to be aware of Tony's continued presence in the room, Mr Brand again addressed himself to his writing materials, when a green-cloth door at the back of the room opened, and Mr Vance entered, and, advancing to where the other sat, leaned over his chair and whispered some words in his ear. "You'll find I'm right," muttered he as he finished.
And where's the Office to go to?" burst out the other, in a tone of ill-repressed passion-“ will you just tell me that? Where's the Office to go-if this continues?"
"That's neither your affair nor mine," whispered Vance. sort of things were done before we were born, and they will be done after we're in our graves!"
"And is he to walk in here, and say, 'I'm first for service; I don't care whether you like it or not'?"
"He's listening to you all this while-are you aware of that? whispered Vance; on which the other grew very red in the face, took off his spectacles, wiped and replaced them, and then, addressing Tony,
said, "Go away, sir-leave the Office."
"Mr Brand means that you need not wait," said Vance, approaching Tony. All you have to do is to leave your town address here, in the outer office, and come up once or twice a-day.
"And as to this examination," said Tony, stoutly, "it's better I should say once for all
"It's better you should just say nothing at all," said the other, goodhumouredly, as he slipped his arm inside of Tony's and led him away. "You see," whispered he, friend Mr Brand is hasty." "I should think he is hasty!" growled out Tony.
"But he is a warm-hearted-a truly warm-hearted man
"Warm enough he seems."
66 When you know him bet
"I don't want to know him better!" burst in Tony. "I got into a scrape already with just such another he was collector for the port of Derry, and I threw him out of the window, and all the blame was laid upon me!"
"Well, that certainly was hard," said Vance, with a droll twinkle of his eye—“I call that very hard.”
"So do I, after the language he used to me, saying all the while, I'm no duellist-I'm not for a sawpit, with coffee and pistols for two, and all that vulgar slang about murder and suchlike."
"And was he much hurt?" 66 No; not much. It was only his collar-bone and one rib, I think -I forget now—for I had to go over to Skye, and stay there a good part of the summer."
"Mr Blount, take down this gentleman's address, and show him where he is to wait; and don't—— here he lowered his voice, so that the remainder of his speech was inaudible to Tony.
"Not if I can help it, sir," replied Blount; "but if you knew how hard it is!"
There was something almost piteous in the youth's face as he spoke; and indeed Vance seemed moved to
a certain degree of compassion as he said, "Well, well, do your best
do your best-none can do more." "It's two o'clock. I'll go out and have a cigar with you, if you don't mind," said Blount to Tony. "We're quite close to the Park here and a little fresh air will do me good."
"Come along," said Tony, who, out of compassion, had already a sort of half-liking for the much-suffering young fellow.
"I wish Skeffy was here," said Tony, as they went down-stairs. "Do you know Skeff Damer, then?"
"Know him! I believe he's about the fellow I like best in the world."
"So do I," cried the other, warmly; "he hasn't his equal livinghe's the best-hearted and he's the cleverest fellow I ever met."
And now they both set to, as really only young friends ever do, to extol a loved one with that heartiness that neither knows limit nor measure. What a good fellow he was- how much of this, without the least of that-how unspoiled too in the midst of the flattery he met with! If you just saw him as I did a few days back," said Tony, calling up in memory Skeffy's hearty enjoyment of their humble cottagelife.
"If you but knew how they think of him in the Office," said Blount, whose voice actually trembled as he touched on the holy of holies.
"Confound the Office!" cried Tony. "Yes; don't look shocked. I hate that dreary old house, and I detest the grim old fellows inside of it."
They're severe, certainly," muttered the other, in a deprecatory tone.
"Severe isn't the name for it. They insult-they outrage-that's what they do. I take it that you and the other young fellows here are gentlemen, and I ask, Why do you bear it-why do you put up with it? Perhaps you like it, however?"
No; we don't like it," said he, with an honest simplicity.
"Then, I ask again, why do you stand it?"
"I believe we stand it just because we can't help it." "Can't help it!"
"What could we do? What would you do?" asked Blount.
"I'd go straight at the first man that insulted me, and say, Retract that, or I'll pitch you over the banisters."
"That's all very fine with you fellows who have great connections and powerful relatives ready to stand by you and pull you out of any scrape, and then, if the worst comes, have means enough to live without work. That will do very well for you and Skeffy. Skeffy will have six thousand a-year one of these days. No one can keep him out of Digby Damer's estate; and you, for aught I know, may have more.'
"I haven't sixpence, nor the expectation of sixpence, in the world. If I am plucked at this examination I may go and enlist, or turn navvy, or go and sweep away the dead leaves like that fellow yonder." "Then take my advice, and don't go up."
"Go up, where?"
"Don't go up to be examined; just wait here in town; don't show too often at the Office, but come up of a morning about twelve, I'm generally down here by that time. There will be a great press for messengers soon, for they have made a regulation about one going only so far, and another taking up his bag and handing it on to a third; and the consequence is, there are three now stuck fast at Marseilles, and two at Belgrade, and all the Constantinople despatches have gone round by the Cape. Of course, as I say, they'll have to alter this, and then we shall suddenly want every fellow we can lay hands on; so all you have to do is just to be ready, and I'll take care to start you at the first chance."
"You're a good fellow," cried Tony, grasping his hand; "if you only knew what a bad swimmer it was you picked out of the water."
"Oh, I can do that much at least," said he, modestly, "though I'm not a clever fellow like Skeffy; but I must go back, or I shall catch it.' Look in the day after to-morrow."
"And let us dine together; that is, you will dine with me," said Tony. The other acceded freely, and they parted.
That magnetism by which young fellows are drawn instantaneously towards each other, and feel something that if not friendship is closely akin to it, never repeats itself in after life. We grow more cautious about our contracts as we grow older. I wonder do we make better bargains?
If Tony was then somewhat discouraged by his reception at the Office, he had the pleasure of thinking he was compensated in that new-found friend who was so fond of Skeffy, and who could talk away as enthusiastically about him as himself. "Now for M'Gruder and Canon Row, wherever that may be," said he, as he sauntered along; "I'll certainly go and see him, if only to shake hands with a fellow that showed such good blood.' "There was no one quality which Tony could prize higher than this. The man who could take a thrashing in good part, and forgive him who gave it, must be a fine fellow, he thought; and I'm not disposed to say he was
The address was 27 Canon Street, City; and it was a long way off, and the day somewhat spent when he reached it.
"Mr M'Gruder?" asked Tony, of a blear-eyed man, at a small faded desk in a narrow office.
“Inside!” said he, with a jerk of his thumb; and Tony pushed his way into a small room, so crammed with reams of paper that there was barely space to squeeze a passage to a little writing-table next the window.
"Well, sir, your pleasure," said M'Gruder, as Tony came forward. "You forget me, I see; my name is Butler."
"Eh! what! I ought not to for