Chapter 160140474

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Chapter NumberI
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article160140474
Full Date1881-01-22
Page Number36
Corrections0
Word Count1419
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleAdelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904)
Trove TitleEndymion
article text

THE NOVELIST.

ENDYMION*

[By the Bight Hod. the Eabl of Bb&consfield.]

CHAPTER I.

It ires a rich warm night, at the beginning oE August, when a gentleman enveloped in a cloak, for he was in evening dress, emerged from a Clnbhonse at the top of St. Jamea's-street, and descended that celebrated eminence. He had not proceeded more than half the way down the street when, encountering a friend, be stopped with some abrnptness.

" I have been looking for yon everywhere," he j

said. I

"What is it?"

" We can hardly talk about it here." " Shall we go to White's ?"

" I have just left it, and, between ourselves, I would rather we should he more alone. 'Tie as warm as noon. Let us cross the street, and get into St. James's-place. That is always my idea of solitude."

So they crossed the street, and at the corner of St. James's-place met several gentlemen who

bad inst come out of Brookes' Olubhouse.

These* saluted the companions as they passed, Bnd said, "Capital account from Ohiswiok— Lord Howard says the chief will be in Downing street on Monday."

" It is of ObiBwick that I am going to speak to you," said the gentleman in the cloak, put ting his arm in that of his companion as they walked on. " What I am about to tell you is known only to three persons, and is the most sacred of secrets. Nothing but our friendship could authorize me to impart it to you."

" I hope it is something to your advantage," said his companion.

" Nothing of that sort; it is of yourself that I am thinking. Since our political estrangement I have never had a contented moment. From Obristchurch until that unhappy paralytic stroke, which broke up a Government that had lasted fifteen years, and might have continued fifteen more, we seemed always to have been working together. That we should again unite is my dearest wish. A crisis is at hand. I want you to UBe it to your advantage. Enow, then, that what they were just saying about Ohiswick is moonshine. His case is hopeless, and it has been communicated to the King."

" Hopeless!"

" Rely upon it; it came direct from the cot tage to my friend."

" I thought he had a mission?" said his com panion with emotion! " and men with missions do not disappear till they have fulfilled them."

"But why diJ you think so? How often have I asked you for your grounds for such a convic tion ! There are none. The man of the age is clearly the Duke, the saviour of Europe, in the perfection of manhood, and with an iron con

stitution."

" The salvation of Europe is the affair of a past generation," said his oompanion. _ " We went something else now. The salvation of England should be the subject rather of our present thoughts."

" England! Why, when were things more sound ? Except the split among ourjown men, which will be now cured, there is not a cause of disquietude."

" I have much," said his friend. _

" You never used to have any, Sidney. What extraordinary revelations can have been made to you duriDg three months of office under a semi Whig Ministry ?"

"Your taunt is fair, though it pains me. And I confess to you that when I resolved to follow Canning, and join his new allies, I had many a twinge. I was bred in the Tory camp; the Tories put me in Parliament and gave me office. I lived with them, and liked them; we dined and voted together, and together paaquinaded our opponents! And yet, after Castlereagh's death, to whom, like yourself, I was much attached, I had great misgivings as to the'posi tiou of our party and the future of the country. I tried to drive them from my mind, and atlast took refuge in Canning, who seemed just the man appointed for an age of transition."

•• But a transition to what?"

" Well, his foreign policy was Liberal."

" The same as the Duke's; the same as poor dear old Caatlereagh's. Nothing more unjustthan the affected belief that there was any difference between them—a ruse cf the Whigs to foster discord in our ranks. And as for domestic affairs, no one is stouter against Parliamen tary Reform, while he is for the Church and no surrender, though he may make a harmless speech now and then, as many of us do, iu favour of the Oatholio claims."

" Well, we will not pursue this old contro versy, my dear Ferrars, particularly if it be true, as you say, thai Mr. Canning now lies upon

his death bed."

" If! I tell you at this moment it may be

all over."

" I am shaken to my very centre."

" It is, doubtless, a great blow to you," re joined Mr. FerrarB, " and I wish to alleviate it. That is why I was looking-for you. The King will, of course, send for the Duke; but I can tell you there will be a.disposition to draw back our friends that left us, at least the younger ones of promise. If you are awake, there is no reason why you should not retain your office."

" I am not so sure the King will send for the

Duke."

It Is certain."

" Well!" said his companion musingly; " it may be fancy, but I cannot resist the feeliDg tbat this country and the world generally are on the eve of a great change—and I do not think the Duke is the man for the epoch."

" I see no reason why there should be any great chaDge; certainly not in this country," said Mr. Ferrars. Here we have changed every thing that is required. Peel baa settled the criminal law and Huskisson the currency, aod though I am prepared myself to still further reduce the duties on foreign imports, no one can deny that on this subject the Govermeat is in advance of public opinion."

" The whole affair rests on too contracted a

basis," said his companion. " We are habitu ated to its exclusiveness, and no doubt custom in England ib a power; but let some event suddenly occur which makes a nation feel or think, and the whole thing might vanish as a

dream."

" What can happen ? Such affairs as the Luddites do not occur twice a century, and as for Spafields riots, they are impossible now with Peel's new police. The couotry is em ployed and prosperous, and were it not so the landed interest would always keep things straight."

" It is powerful, and has been powerful for a long time; but there are other interests besides

the landed interest now."

" 'Well, there is the colonial interest and the shipping interest," said Mr. Ferrars, " and both of them thoroughly with ns."

" I was not thinking of them," said his com panion. " It is the increase of population, and of a population not employed in the cultivation of the soil, and all the consequence of suoh circumstances that were passing over my mind."

"Don't you be too doctrinaire, my dear Sidney; you and I are practical men. We must deal with the existing, the urgent.; and

* The right of publishing "Endymlon" has been purchased by the Proprietors of tho Adelaide Observer.

there is nothing more pressing at this moment than the formation of a new Government. What I want is to see yon a member of it."

" Ah!" said his companion with a sigh, " do yon really think it so near as that ?"

" Why, what have we been talking of all this time, my dear Sidney ? Clear your head of all doubt, and, if possible, of all regrets; we moBt deal with facts, and we mast deal with them to-morrow."

" I still think he had a mission," said Sidney with a sigh, " if it were only to bring hope to a people."

" Well, I do not see he conld have done anything more," said Mr. Ferrars; " nor do I

believe his Government wonld have lasted daring the session. However, I mast now say good-night, for I must look in at the Sijiare. Think well of what I have said, and let me hear from you as soon as yon can."