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than to measures is a weak point in their mental constitution. A stranger reading for the first time our public papers, or gazing at our multitudinous caricatures, would think that the country was shaken to its very foundations by a few prominent names as if by Atlantian earthquakes. This is a reprehensible sacrifice of their own intelligence and independence of spirit made at the altar of egotism. It is not always the most fluent haranguer, the boldest denunciator, or the most necessitous claimant for office who makes the best administrator or the truest friend to the people. The avowed duplicity of Mr. Gladstone, for example, in allowing himself to be elected for Oxford at the very time that he was, by his own account, meditating the destruction of the Irish Protestant Church, takes away from any possible respect that can be entertained for in many respects a very clever man, but who does not possess that high sense of principle which is expected from a leading statesman. The men of Lancashire rejected the so-called honourable gentleman as their representative because the majority happened to be not only sound Protestants, but also because in every one of their large towns they are brought face to face with an Irish colony, which exhibits to them, in its social and religious characteristics, the fruits of a system which is dominated by Roman Catholicism. It is more than passing strange; it is humiliating to all true Englishmen, to see their country, at a time when the last strongholds of a medieval and barbarous dominion-Italy, Austria, and Spain-are throwing off the shackles and superstitions of a system that is destructive of all social, political, and religious freedom, vexed and torn by sentimental enthusiasts in its own bosom, sapped in its dearest rights by a foreign hierarchy, and threatened with spoliation to pacify a hostile and degenerate population. Luckily the triumph of the anti-English party is not yet insured, and they may depend upon it that there will be a stout resistance on the part of all true Protestants, whether of the Established Church, or the Presbyterian Church, or among the Dissenters, ere liberties won on the field of battle are handed over to the tender mercies of a foreign dominion. The spirit of our ancestors is not extinct if it is dormant. The upper classes have to a certain extent been carried away for the moment by church and collegiate seductions; the middle classes have in a similar way been to a certain extent indolent or indifferent; Presbyterians and Dissenters but also only to a certain extent-have been won over to the injury of their cause by the charms of the voluntary system, and by their envy or hatred of an Established Church; whilst the lower classes understand little of what is going on, or, if they do, rejoice in the prospects of a general discomfiture of all Church parties. It is the fashion to veil the future by denouncing all who expose the logical sequence of events as alarmists; but such a proceeding does not take away from the fact that such a state of the

public mind bodes graver evils, if statesmen abet the mischief by aiding in its progress, and that sad for Old England will be the day when the real tendency of events becomes patent to all.

A church may exist without a state, as is exemplified by Romanism itself; but a state cannot thrive without a church. If, as a result of success in procuring the disestablishment or disendowment of the Protestant Church of Ireland, an attempt were made to separate Church and State in England, or to disendow the English Protestant Church, the landed interest, the aristocracy and the monarchy, might follow in the wake, for they have no stronger claims upon the people than has the national church. Dissent would also soon give way before a wealthy, organised, and ambitious foreign hierarchy, and it would have the satisfaction of knowing that it had laboured in its own destruction. Everything that has tended and contributed to make Great Britain what it is, a great, free, and powerful nation, the envy and admiration of the world, would be exchanged for popular anarchy or a demoralising superstition, which all experience has shown to be utterly incompatible with freedom of thought or action, or with national power and prosperity.

The Conservative party has, after an appeal made to the country, under a new constituency, gone out of power, and the initiative and executive government of the country has passed into the hands of a Liberal majority-a majority furnished chiefly from Scotland and Ireland. But considering that the policy of the new ministry has not found acceptance with either the great bulk or the better informed among the people of England, and that a considerable number of so-called Liberals will probably be really Conservative, in the sense of proceeding only with such moderate reforms as the Conservatives themselves would hail with rejoicing, and will be opposed to all revolutionary changes, there is every likelihood of a real working constitutional majority in the new house, and of a tenure of power on the part of the new ministry, which can only be extended by avoiding the main issues.

Should, however, such issues be pressed, a still further result is probable, to which affairs have for some time past been tending, and that is, that the old historical parties of Whig and Tory will become obsolete, and a new class of politicians will spring up, who will be at once Liberal and Conservative. There is every evidence, amidst shades of opinion as diversified as the foliage of the forest, that this is an epoch when a crisis may be expected in the history of England, and the best thing that can happen will be the formation of a moderate and constitutional party of politicians, by the union of Liberal-Conservatives with Conservative-Liberals, who will carry out all necessary reforms, but will at the same time do battle in the cause of the Queen, and Church and State, and exert itself to the utmost in preserving the ancient constitution of the realm from rack and ruin.





JOHNNY had now begun to conceive that his knowledge of human nature was equal to that of a grown-up person; he was half disposed to give it a conspicuous place in his pocket-book lest any of its details should be lost. His acquaintance with the sea and seafaring men opened his eyes, and since his tea at the rectory a whole volume of clerical life was in his possession. But further and more varied information was in store. He was punctual to his appointment the next day with Mr. Frere, but as Harry had not returned he was kept waiting in the dispensary, where he experienced a sense of novel odours from cabalistic bottles and tinctures of many hues. He had an ingenious and wondering mind, to him, therefore, the smell of rhubarb was surprising. He was struck at the sight of mystical names gilded on a hundred drawers and on rows of bottles shelf above shelf; it was to him like a dictionary of alchemy turned inside out, and he studied the inscrutable symbols until his senses, unable to fathom them, appeared to be translated into the Latin above.

He then took to watching Mr. Frere, to listening to what passed while he diagnosticated, prognosticated, and dispensed his medicine.

Mr. Frere could cork a bottle, roll a pill, and at the same time order out a tongue from across the counter. The patients put out their tongues, and were subjected to personal remarks, which to the boy seemed ungracious, such as "what a nasty coat!" The censure was applied to no small number of the sick, in many instances without grounds. It appeared even ironical when a man in a linen jacket was reproached for his thick fur, though it was in the dog-days, and others who wore black coats were pronounced white, brown, or yellow, according to the passing whim.

"Yours is the jaundice," observed Mr. Frere to a man in a tight smock frock.

Johnny took an observation; he was just thinking that the poor fellow looked like his mother's canary, when the notion was upset by the man's own exclamation of "Thank the Lord, I sleeps like a pig!"

Then a fat woman came sailing forward to the counter, with a whine as she lurched and rolled from side to side.



"Are you in pain, my good woman?" said Mr. Frere.

"Pain, sir; why, I suffer shipwreck!"

With these words she tossed and waved her hands, as if she was all at sea. He gave her a dose of hartshorn, which ran at Johnny's nose; he fell back and sneezed.

"You, too, look poorly this morning," observed Mr. Frere to the next patient.

"Yes, sir, I had an awful struggle last night; I could hardly keep soul and body together."

Johnny had no sooner admired the victory obtained by this man over himself, for he had evidently succeeded, than he was called upon to witness a phenomenon equally strange, for another quietly exclaimed:

"My head is splitting into a thousand pieces!"

Many other incredible statements were put forward.

"My heart comes into my mouth at the sight of victuals," said one old woman.

"Feel me," said a youth; "I am a bag of bones."

A tall, superstitious-looking man begged a visit of Mr. Frere to his daughter.

"She will appear to you as the ghost of her former self," said the father. "You can see through her."

Johnny turned his face to Mr. Frere's, and was surprised to find that he did not tremble with fear.

In a similar fashion the examinations went on for a whole hour, filling the boy's mind with wonder at one time, with doubts at another.

The patients could not close their lids, for sleep had left their pillows. They were deaf, and heard a hundred hammers in their ears; the roaring in their heads might be heard for miles off. They had no taste, so they could not touch a thing, and they took only half their medicine because they saw double. Needlewomen overwrought with work fancied they had thread-worms, and dressmakers went still further, and complained of tape-worms: at least, such did the boy-student decide to be their several callings.

"Was it true," thought he, "or was it a play got up to amuse him, like the comedy that he had witnessed at Mr. Wynn's?"

He was disposed to adopt the latter view, inasmuch as the patients spoke in a whine while they acted their diseases before the doctor, and in a natural voice while talking among themselves, often joking and laughing as they made their exit.

At this juncture Captain Bray and Mr. Vinnicomb entered the dispensary arm-in-arm, to the surprise and delight of Mr. Frere, who was only too well aware of their chronic antipathy to each other.

"We are not very well to-day," said the first; "we have been indulging in greengages too freely."

On finding John Prentis there, the friendly couple shook his hand, and greeted him with united kind regards; he was rescued from their salutation by the timely entrance of young Harry, fresh from school, the future companion of his studies.

"Oh, here he is," said Mr. Frere; "excuse me, gentlemen, for half a minute. Look here, Harry, this is John Prentis, he is going with you every day to school; it is all settled, and you will call for him every morning at ten minutes to nine on your way. So now you have only to understand each other and be friends." The boys grinned at each other by way of mutual confidence, then Harry dragged Johnny into the dining-room for a chat over the horrors of the school.

Harry was not a good boy at that time, but as Johnny was, it was of no consequence, for a bad example is often useful as a contrast, and as a warning. It is hard to find language in which to define one peculiarity in the character of Harry Frere, and a naughty one it was. He swore like Old Harry, and yet he didn't, and here lies the difficulty, for Mr. Frere swore not at all. His habit might have corrupted John had his name been Jack, but it wasn't; Johnny had never descended so low. So, by parity of reasoning, had Harry been Henry, he would have been safe. It was so ordered, however, that Johnny took his impressions from his mother like the wax from the seal, and Harry from his like the seal from the wax.

This great failing of Harry Frere was only one of many; among others he was not true to his word. He gave his father his promise to take John Prentis straight to school and back; on doing so he little thought that he would be watched. They were not accompanied, because the schoolfellows of Johnny would have laughed, but they were followed over every inch of ground that they traversed either by Vinnicomb or Bray, who had their instructions, as well as the young scholars; and without thwarting them in their course took good care that no hireling should molest or tamper with them on their way. So bold was Harry, he did not begin even right, but starting fair only until out of sight, he proposed to turn down the street and have a peep at the sea. Johnny refused, and went towards the school; Harry, a little ashamed, rejoined him, and they arrived together the first day.

After this, Harry and his friend went punctually to school for the first week, during which Johnny had a quiet conscience, and said his lessons admirably to Mr. Fiddle, who, placing his arms round the neophyte's neck, insidiously coaxed him on, and encouraged him. On the second week Johnny heard his conscience whisper as if it were John's on its downward path to Jack's. He had been twice with Harry to try a dodge with the waves, instead of walking direct to school. Harry took the lead, he was an old

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