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George Smoothly is not a favourable at your humility, or rather lack of one, nor am I thoroughly convinced ambition. Look you here now. I of the sincerity of his professions; could give you many instances of but he desired me to regard the main men, your own countrymen, who subject of our conversation as confi- came to London quite friendless, dential; and such being the case, I without prospects, and with scarce a cannot be more explicit.

shilling in their pockets. They bad “Quite right; you are a good lad, no such education as you have reand know how to act honourably. ceived ; but they had good principles, Faith must be kept even with a rogue, industry, and that indomitable reso-mind, I don't apply that epithet to lution which can conquer even forany one in particular-but to trust a tune. I doubt not that some of these rogue after you have once detected men might-not perhaps at first, but him, is an act of egregious folly. certainly after a reasonable period But let me understand. Is your en- of probation-have been received ingagement with Sir George Smoothly, to the public service in some grade of whatever nature it may have been, suitable to their station. You Scotchat an end? Are your hands free ?" men stick by one another with a

“Very nearly so. In fact, I have tenacity most creditable to your naonly to revise my paper."

tionality; and it is not a difficult Be done with it, then, as quickly thing, through the good offices of as you can, but don't commit your- some member of Parliament, to proself further. Now, as I have con. cure an appointment as a tide-waiter, stituted myself Grand Inquisitor for a letter-carrier, or a subordinate stathe nonce, I must go on with your tion in the Excise. The men I refer examination. Thus much I know to never thought of such employalready, that you follow no regular ment. They fought their way as profession. Now, tell me frankly, do shopmen, as journeymen, as artisans, you aspire to entering the public throwing their whole soul and energy service ?”

into their business, saving money “Frankly, such is my wish. You when they could get it, practising must know, Mr Osborne, that I have thrift, making themselves indispenfew friends, hardly any means, and sable to their employers ; until, one no resources but such slight share of by one, they rose in the social scale, talent as God has given me. Con- became honoured members of the sequently, I desire, if possible, to great commercial world ; and such procure some permanent appoint- you will find at this day among the ment."

wealthiest citizens of London. Have “ It is very strange,” said Mr Os- you ever thought of this, my young borne, musingly, “that nine out of friend?” ten of the clever young men who “ Alas!" said I, not, however, withcome to London entertain precisely out an impression that Mr Osborne the same ideas. They all want to be was making out a strong case against provided for out of the public purse. me, “your point is a commercial They ask for permanent appoint- career, for which I am altogether ments, forgetting, or not aware, that unfitted.” the public service is of all others the "Pardon me!" replied Mr Osworst remunerated, the most harass- borne ; "I have merely given you ing, and the least likely to lead to an illustration. You will admit that distinction. Is there not a Scotch such men acted more wisely in trustproverb, Mr Sinclair, to the effecting to their own energy and persethat kings' bones are better than verance, than if they had solicited other folks' meat ? I suspect you and obtained some small public aphave been reared in that opinion.” pointment. Your case differs from

“No, indeed, sir!" I replied. “My theirs, but simply in degree. If you wish has always been for independ- were a barrister, though only in ence, but that is surely not incon- name, patronage might help you to sistent with public employment." a comfortable berth. Lawyers have

"I made no such assertion,” re- a wide nest, but they keep it excluplied Mr Osborne. “I only marvel sively to themselves, and allow of no interlopers. If you were in orders, the object of your desire lie hunand could be of use to your party dreds of the young aristocracy who promotion might follow. But what

are fit for nothing else, and who is it that you can expect ? Do you swarm in the troubled waters of pawish to go into the Treasury as a tronage as thick as ground-sharks in junior clerk? Why, I'll insure you the surf at Madras. Dixi ; I have a larger salary, with more rapid pro- spoken. Take another glass of claret, motion, if you choose to become a for the enjoyment of which I fear reader in the printing-office! Or is our conversation has spoiled you. it your ambition to become a minis- Never mind. Think over what I ter's private secretary? My dear lad! have said. To-morrow we shall go look at the times in which we live. to church for morning service; but, Ministries are bowled down like nine- as I am no Puritan, I shall be ready pins, and when the principal is up- to hear your views thereafter. Å set, where is the subordinate? And white-wash ? No? Well then, let then, mark you ; between you and us join the ladies."

CHAPTER XXV.-ARTHUR PAUNCE.

When I awoke next morning, the Then for the first time I began to sun shining cheerfully through the perceive the grave error I had comgay chintz curtains of my bed, Mr mitted in not selecting a professionOsborne's language gave me ample an error which cannot be too much subject for reflection. Was it indeed exposed, or too unequivocally contrue that I was in danger of sacrific- demned. All professions have their ing my time and subjecting myself own peculiar rewards and prizes to the bitter pangs of disappoint- which are attainable through pament by grasping at a shadow ? tience and perseverance, but for the Was it folly in me, left without a mere adventurer, whatever may be profession, to desire employment in his ability, there is nothing of the the public service? Were the chances kind. He may succeed by some of success so small, and the advan- lucky accident, but the chances are tages to be gained so trifling, as this woefully against him. His lack of a shrewd observer had represented profession, acknowledged and recog; them to be? These were questions nised by all, is naturally attributed to which I had not as yet applied to deficiency either in application or myself, but they were clearly of the talent. He has no regular certificate utmost importance. I was vexed to produce ; no exact position in and amazed at my stupidity and society to which he can lay an unwant of foresight in blundering on questioned claim. ward without any clear aim or dis- Bitterly did I regret my folly in tinct object before me. I could not having abandoned the law without disguise from myself that I stood in going through the ceremony of asthe unenviable position of a vague suming the barrister's gown. Had place - hunter, somewhat analogous I taken that step, which at one time to that of the sons of Eli; for was I was perfectly within my power, not, notwithstanding all my boasts of what a prospect might now have independence, crouching for a piece been open to me! Lawyers who of silver and a morsel of bread ? could make even a decent appearAnd then the gain-would my ambi- ance before committees, were in tion be satisfied with the situation of high request. The demand was for a clerk in a public office? Would a certain time much greater than the that elevate my social position, or supply. Seniors who were known entitle me to aspire to the hand of to be men of experience and ability, Mary Beaton ? Clearly I was on the had so many briefs showered in upon wrong road; or rather, like the them, that it was absolutely imtraveller overtaken by a fog on the possible to count upon their attendmuirland, I had altogether lost my ance. A steady junior, who would way.

pledge himself to attend only one

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committee each day, was instantly the field is as wide as the functions bought up. Elderly gentlemen, who are important. Let who will sneer for many a long year had laid aside at the press, it is a rising and a the horse-hair wig, now assumed it growing power. Men speak reverwith far brighter prospects than they ently enough of the tracts of Bacon, had conceived in the days of their Milton, Marvell, Swift, and Addiardent boyhood; and the dullest son, while they affect to despise the blockhead who could utter two con- anonymous contributions of the day; nected sentences, or conduct an exa- yet wbat were these tracts but the mination from a brief, was sure to precursors of the leading articles that have a pocketful of guineas.

appear in our daily papers? I tell you From all participation in this that we want the best men, and must golden shower I was utterly ex- have them at any price. To influence cluded. Not a drop of it could come public opinion, as we do and shall my way. I began to see that in influence it, is no ignoble calling." adopting an erratic course, I was so “Most cordially do I concur, Mr far from securing independence, that Osborne, in every word you have I had absolutely sacrificed it; and uttered regarding the dignity of the now, when too late, I found myself press," I replied. I only wish that little better than a veritable Bohe- such sentiments were more generally mian. Well !—I had no one but my- entertained.” self to blame for it, and I must even “There I differ from you,” said Mr make the best of circumstances. So, Osborne," at least if you imply that laying aside in the mean time all writers for the press ought to receive thoughts of patronage, I resolved to an unusual share of individual congive a serious ear to Mr Osborne's sideration. Drop the anonymous, proposal.

and the best of you would be useless. “So, then,” said that gentleman, Who could care for the opinions, if when we sallied forth in the after announced as such, of John Smith or noon, "you are willing for the pre- Paul Jones? No doubt they are good sent to drop that nice little scheme men and true, but they are serviceabout entering the public service? able because they are part of the Understand me—I don't mean to regiment. We don't allow them to say that you should reject a desirable ride forth and tilt on their own acoffer if such were made; but I think count. Fame I do not promise you, it vastly absurd that you should lose but good employment and the means your time by dancing attendance on of making yourself useful : and, after this or the other political character, all, what more could you expect from and doing jobs for them without a professional career? But lest you even the certainty of being thanked. should be appalled by the prospect It is no doubt to be regretted that of becoming what fine gentlemen, you are of no profession-still

, all who are not without some knowledge men cannot be professional. There of the interior economy of spungingare a great many things which lie houses, call a worn-out literary hack, out of the province of lawyers, doc- I shall let you into a secret. Jourtors, and divines; and these must be nalism is not the worst kind of done by other people. You have introduction to ministerial favour. educated yourself up to a high liter- Your friend Montresor is a notable ary point. Well, then, literature is instance of that; and, for my own your proper line. If you were one part, I am obliged to keep a watchof those ridiculous young fellows, ful eye on the motions of the rocs of who think that literature consists in the Treasury. One of the most prostringing rhymes together, I would mising young writers I ever had as soon advise you to enlist in a was caught up last year and dropped marching regiment as to follow any into a consulship near the Equator. such profitless occupation; but you I would not have parted with him have too much sense for that. We for a wilderness of consuls !” want writers for the press—men who “Well, Mr Osborne, I shall be can direct, and in some measure con- ready, so far as I have the power, to trol, the public mind; and, trust me, carry out your views.”

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“That's right! I thought we perhaps, you may consider a queer should come to an understanding. one, but I can think of none better. What I propose is this: I don't I happen, among other plagues, to want you to go into the political de- be afflicted with a nephew, a wild partment-we are already provided scamp, but honourable, I believe, in with a robustious specimen of le the right meaning of the word. This beau Sabreur—but there is a new hopeful young gentleman, by name element developing itself which re- Arthur Faunce, having a patrimony quires immediate attention ; I mean of his own, which obviates the nethe growth of the railway system. cessity of his applying himself to any For good or for evil, that will have kind of business, has become a rean enormous influence on the in- gular man about town, and knows terests of the country, and its pro- everybody of any mark or notoriety.

, gress must be narrowly watched in I wish I could say with truth that every phase. I wish you to devote the little villain confined his acyourself to that subject, but stop ! quaintance to persons of respectaperhaps you have been dabbling?" bility, but such is not the case. He

“I assure you, sir," I replied, "these is as familiar with the city as with hands are clean from the contact of the west end-knows all about Jews, any kind of scrip."

sharks, sharpers, money-lenders, and So much the better,” said Mr betting-men-has each fresh scandal Osborne. “Let them remain so. at his fingers'-end—and has visited The subject is a difficult one, and every baunt in the metropolis. This will require much time and study; I admit is but a bad account to give but that, of course, you will not of a young fellow, and one not likely grudge. Observe ; what I want to to predispose you to make his acħave, both with regard to the merits quaintance ; still Attie has good of competing lines, and the sound- points about him, and I am not ness of the movement generally, is without hope that in time he may the plain unvarnished truth. If I sober down. He is, of all others, consulted interest alone, I should the very best man to give you inforsay to you, Write up the railways, mation regarding doubtful characfor the advertisements have brought ters, of whom you will see many, and us a prodigious harvest ; but in a I have asked him here to-day to meet matter of this magnitude there must

you." be no paltering. It behoves us to We heard a burst of laughter tell the public what is sound and from the drawing-room as we entered what is rotten- to caution them the hall. against bubbles, of which there are * That's Attie Faunce!” said Mr many afloat—and to see that Govern- Osborne. “He has been telling some ment officials are not remiss in their of his droll stories to the ladies, and duty. You shall have what reason- the rogue can be irresistibly comiable assistance you may require, and cal.” these are the terms I propose.

Mr Faunce was a very boyishSo saying, he handed me a slip of looking individual, with a slight but paper, containing a most liberal Offer compact figure, curly hair, quick so liberal, indeed, that it was far eyes, and a smiling mouth. He was beyond my expectation.

neatly but somewhat too foppishly "I only dread, Mr Osborne,” said dressed, being much addicted to sar. I, “that my inexperience may dis- torial adornment; his boots were as appoint your expectations. How

perfect in shape as if they had just ever, I shall do my best.”

been taken from the last, and his “No man can do more,” said Mr gloves would have satisfied a PariOsborne. “But you are, I am given sian. He would have appeared someto understand, as yet almost a what effeminate, but for a saucy constranger to London ; and this kind fident air which to him was habitual, of work requires knowledge of in- and which gave additional piquancy dividuals, as well as general sound to his talk. High-bred he certainly judgment. Now in order to supply was not; but his manners were those that, I have devised a scheme which, of a gentleman, though without a

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particle of diffidence or reserve. His “Forgive me, Mr Osborne," said spirits were exuberant, his sense of I,“if I beg that nothing further may the ludicrous keen, and his mimetic be said on the subject. I will thrust talents extraordinary. Such was Mr myself on the acquaintance of no man Attie Faunce.

living. Mr Faunce has a perfect For my own part, I looked at first right to object; and I am only sorry upon this strange ally with some that this proposition, for which I am little apprehension ; for he clearly not answerable, was ever made.” could be mischievous if he pleased, “Now, Mr Sinclair," said Faunce, and I had seen enough of the world rising from his seat and coming to know that nothing gives greater round to my side of the table, with delight to young gentlemen of this a sweetness of manner which I cerstamp than leading their companions tainly did not expect, "you must into scrapes. However, Attie, over do the honour to take my hand. It whom his uncle had much influence, is I who am not worthy of your intibehaved himself tolerably well, and macy, for I know something about the dinner passed over as well as you already. Bingham, whom you could have been expected.

have met at the house of your friend When, however, over our wine, Mr Carlton, has spoken of you more Mr Osborne explained his views to than once ; and, to say the truth, I Master Faunce, that hopeful youth felt a little puzzled, when I saw you burst into an uncontrollable scream here to-day for the first time-my of merriment.

uncle never tells me whom I am to “Bravo-bravo! mon oncle !” he meet-whether you were the same cried. “So you have found a use for Mr Sinclair wħose adventure in me at last; and I am to have the Switzerland was much spoken of in honour, in consequence of my inti- town last autumn.” mate acquaintance with all that is “What adventure do you allude disrespectable, of piloting Mr Sin- to, Attie ?” said Mr Osborne. clair through the shoals and narrows Nothing of any consequence,” I of London vagabondism! Really interposed. A thing not worth you over-estimate my poor abilities. speaking of.” Don't you think a detective officer That,” said Faunce, “is not the would answer your purpose better ?” opinion of Lord Windermere, who,

“Come, Attie; don't be a fool! I am credibly informed, thinks it When you can make yourself useful, very strange indeed that you have which seldom happens, I expect you given him no sign of your existence. will do it.”

Of course I know nothing of Lord “But, sir, have you really con- Windermere ; but I have heard as sidered this matter seriously? I am much from those who have the very, glad, I am sure, to make Mr honour of his acquaintance.” Sinclair's acquaintance” — said Mr “Lord Windermere!” cried Mr Faunce, looking, however, as if his Osborne, “one of the best and gladness was infinitesimally small — truest noblemen of England! And " but I hardly think that an arrange- have you, Mr Sinclair, with such an ment such as you propose can be introduction, been pottering with a very agreeable to him. I know, sir, Smoothly? But of that, more at a you consider me to be rather a loose convenient season. Upon my soul, fish ; and although in that respect as it is some recompense to old fellows in some others you may have exag- like myself, whose years have slipped gerated my merits, I cannot fancy from them, to observe that lads inthat a gentleman of staid habits and variably lose or throw away their sedentary occupations would like to best opportunities. What a grand be seen associating with a youth who, thing it must have been to have I confess, is much better known at lived before the Flood ! A man could Tattersall’s than at the Athenæum.” then afford to bestow eighty or an

“The worse for you, Attie! the hundred years upon preliminary eduworse for you,” said Mr Osborne. cation. About the middle of his “I wish to Heaven, boy, you kept second century he might begin to better company."

think of marrying; and, if human

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