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downcast, that he reminded us of the young hopefuls busy with slate and woe - begone deprecating air with pencil, under vigilant superintendwhich the late First Lord had slipped epce. Here was Jack in his literary into his place on a former occasion, capacity, sitting all alone, with very amidst the significant cheers of the tender aspect, spelling over a loveassembled victims of Government song, his eye filling every now and courtesies, in respect of our special se- then, as he could not help thinking clusion the day before from the sight that he that wrote that 'ere song of our own little demonstration at must have seen Jack's own particular Portsmouth. On his countenance hazel-eyed Bess in his native village. were impressed in great black letters, Here were the marines-as fine a “ Transit! Perseverance !” But his body of men as can be produced, and manly apology disarmed the House worthy of the expense the nation inand threw it into cheering humour. curs in training every one of them. So let an exoneretur be entered in Here are the Sixty-Eight-Pounders ! the case of our Foreign Under Se- --And at this precise conjuncture, encretary. Him passed and forgiven, ter, with courteous bows and courtewe commenced our inspection. Deck sies, some half-dozen French visitors, under deck, grisly rows of guns after the gentlemen consisting of two naval guns---here a couple of rows of sixty- officers, one military officer, all en eight pounders! Twas something grande tenue d'hiver, and one solemn like opening a bulldog's mouth to but keen-eyed priest, looking like a look inside, and note the number, lynx in spectacles, and two ladies. Our size, and condition of his glittering two naval friends stepped up quickly teeth, his eyes fixed on you the to a sixty-eight, looked at it quietly while with an expression which for a few moments, and then whissuggested that the sooner that little pered a word or two which I did not business was over the better for some catch. Then came up the two ladies ; one-a suggestion strengthened by the younger, and a very charming the sort of snap! with which his jaws one, tapped the grisly monster merclosed, when the moment had arrived rily with her parasol, and addressed for parting, between Curiosity and a laughing word to one of her two Impatience. Down, down we went, naval companions, who shrugged their to the depth of sixteen feet under shoulders, but looked considerately water, where divers mysterious reve- at that same silent monster-savage, lations were made by our most in- it may indeed be imagined, in his telligent and courteous cicerone - very silence; for his stomach was wellLieutenant Wilmot-concerning the nigh empty, with only a little paper perilous misadventure which had and powder, and no natural solid happened to the noble ship when food! Our French friends were now in Russian waters. Nothing could coming, however, in greater numbers, be nicer, or more dreadful, or more and themselves the very essence of assuring, than the appearance of courtesy and complaisance, were reeverything respectively.
ceived by Jack with his very best dear jolly Jack under every aspect, tip-top good-natured civility--a little and I do not know which pleased us grim, withal; for Jack, bless him! most. Here, he and another were is a comical creature; bis efforts at stowed away in a corner, intent on a politeness are touched with a quaint game of drafts. There, were some bashfulness; the least thing will dozen or two sitting at their tables, make him laugh or cry, but he's fast asleep, tired with their over- always steady! steady! at his gun. night's expedition ashore, and early Well, we quitted her Majesty's morning's work on return. Here was screw line-of-battle ship the Royal Jack's dinner getting ready, on a Albert,” well pleased with her and her stupendous scale. How many pail- 130 guns; but I did most sincerely fuls after pailfuls of inchoate soup wish that Lord True Blue's keen exwere tumbled down into the bottom- perienced eye had been there to scan less caldron that by-and-by had to her critically, and indicate her telling supply a thousand of these jolly points to an ignorant landsman ! hearties, I know not. There, were “ What do you think of your next
door neighbour, my friend ?” said I take its place in the firmament as a to one of the officers before I quitted. star of the first magnitude, and blaze What, the ‘Bretagne'?”. amidst awful space in eternal me
mory of royal English trust, and imOh, I've seen her."
perial French perfidy ! instead of a “ Well-eh? If you were laid- joyous thundering welcome to our “ Oh, certainly—"
Royal Lady, with a million FrenchShe's ten more guns, you know.” men in arms, whose swords would “Oh, I know. Good morning, flash like lightning in defence of the gentlemen ! good morning! The Sacred Person of their trusting visitor. Fairy's' moving up to the Vic- “I see her—there she is," quoth toria and Albert, and the Queen one of our generals, who swore by will embark directly. Good morning, his glass as the best on board. gentlemen !” When we were about “She's just alighted on the stairs half-way between the "Royal Albert" -and the Empress and she have and the “ Pera,” a rather louder voice thrown back their veils, they are than the Lieutenant's told us of the kissing each other Queen’s movements : for such a sud- It might be so : 'twas confirmed by den and fearful uproar of rival gun- a right honourable friend, in simple nery burst forth as nearly stunned my vindication of his Dollond : and it ears, and seemed as if it would blow needed no glass—even such a thing our little boat, with its inconceivably as mine, which had never done duty precious little freight of legislative for its kind lender, but in the operawisdom not to forget those who house-to see the little white puffs had the honour of rowing it out of followed by immense reports, burstthe water. To a landsman, with a ing forth from forts and batteries far spark of imagination, nothing can back on shore, not spitting out venom suggest more appalling thoughts, or fury, but in their own way giving than to be within fifty or a hun- fiercely jubilant welcome to Queen dred yards of a line-of-battle ship Victoria, setting foot upon the soil with her guns pointed towards him ; of La Belle France ! his tiny oars bearing him but too Luncheon is ready, sir, and slowly out of reach-blazing away, the steamer goes on shore in ten a lurid flash followed by a furious minutes," whispered a most courteous outburst of white smoke--flash after steward, recalling one of the Faithful flash-smoke after smoke, thunder Commons of Her Majesty from the after thunder ; then a moment's seventh heaven of imagination to pause, and a blasting outburst simul- which he was ascending: taneously of flame and smoke, with Well, admiral, what of the ear-splitting uproar; not from one ‘Bretagne'?” ship only, but fifteen or twenty, suc- “Faith, my friend, she's not to be ceeded by battery after battery from despised, I can tell you !” said he, shore. Thank heaven! we escaped cutting a goodly hunch of bread. scot-free, and got on board the “Pera” “Steward, get me a glass of Bass's as the “Fairy" glided past us, in time ale; I don't care for this Bordeaux to shout “God save the Queen !” till after dinner.” while our brave band gave vehe- By the time that the announced ment utterance to the somewhat ten minutes had elapsed, you might familiar, but ever-dear air, set to have seen a very considerable number those heart - stirring words. As we of the Commons seated and standing watched the progress of the “Fairy” on our attendant steamer- ugh! towards shore, the uproar grew fiercer such a tub! but we found her, and fiercer, till some timorous inexpe- though neither“ neat” nor“ gaudy," rienced fair one on board her hus- capable of carrying us about band's or brother's yacht, might have object of lively scrutiny amidst the imagined that the Frenchmen were brilliant craft around us! Into the bent on blowing England's queenly harbour we steamed steadily, in spite Majesty into an inconceivable number of an artillery officer shouting and of millions of majestic atoms, to be motioning us back with an energy scattered, and for ever, each finally to of voice and gesticulation increasing
to a point of apparent frenzy as be marked in my calendar with a he saw the dingy little craft hold- red-hot letter C! ing on her way, with sullen sput- “Prenez garde, messieurs !” sharptering, into the span-new barbour. ly whispered a soldier, interposing But we had put ourselves under the his arm between me and a corpulent command of a right honourable friend with whom I was heartily gentleman who spoke French like a condoling, for I saw his sufferingsFrenchman, and mounted the paddle- between us two and the edge of the box, and stood there with a noble stupendous empty Bassin, weat scarce calmness and determination ! as we a yard's distance from its unprotected approached nearer and nearer to declivity of, apparently, some sixty the steps still covered by the crim- feet. We fell back, almost appalled at son cloth so recently ascended by our unsuspected proximity. We then the royal party, nearer also and stood and gazed around us, with the nearer to the suddenly stirring, greatest of living engineers to point threatening accumulation of soldiery. out all that was striking and imporDown those steps came forth with tant - the honourable Meinber for a superior officer, with grave and Whitby,-- not to mention, also, an peremptory tone and air, repelling honourable and gallant military from further approach the Commons Member, whose opinion on such of England, and their aforesaid tub! matters all the military world would At that awful moment stood on the respect, but who was too much paddle - box the right honourable occupied with his own thoughts, member for the borough of Hertford, and too busily using his fieldwhose other honourable member was glass, to utter a single word to us. also on board, resolute as the rest of On the other side of the vast chasm, us: a word or two interchanged be- hollowed out of the solid rock tween our right honourable, fluent, with an inconceivable amount of and persuasive spokesman, and the labour, perseverance, and science, frowning Militaire, appeared to estab- were four or five slips, one of lish between thern an eternal friend- them occupied by a newly-comship. Off went the two hats, civil and pleted and beautiful man - of - war, military. Our illustrious chief took the “ Ville de Nantes” ready to bé out a paper and presented it to the launched on Saturday, as soon as other, who, after a glance at it, poured the vast space before her should have forth a torrent of Oui ! oui ! oui !” been prepared for her reception-and invitations to alight. The thing by being filled with the requisite was over : the Commons of England, depth of water—the work which was in the name of perfide Albion, landed to be, we were told, of an hour ! Here and took possession of the stupend- and there, at a little distance, at the ous arsenal of Cherbourg, not only bottom of the basin, were a few being never stopped by anybody workmen, who looked like Lillipuwhowsoever, whithersoever any of us tians to the Gulliver surveying them chose to go, but meeting with with such grave curiosity from the readiest-ay, and eagerest-courtesy edge of the declivity. They were imaginable or desirable !
preparing the site on which the EmBut oh, how hot it was! How peror was to perform his share of the blinding the light of the sun's eye, inauguration ; and a long flight of glaring down upon us through the steps covered with crimson cloth bright blue above us, without a led down to the spot from the fursingle intervening fleece of cloud! ther extremity, where were three Yet the soldiery seemed to enjoy the temporary structures being prepared baking process that was going on! for the occasion by numbers of men, They could indeed be “done” no and also some dozen laughing and “browner," and seemed to move chatting lively - eyed sempstresses, about with a brisk alacrity that told busily. engaged under an awning, of a March or October day's duty, stitching gilded bees on drapery. Ali instead of that tremendous, swelter- these localities, which may hereafter ing Thursday afternoon of the 5th acquire an interest and importance August, A.D. 1858, henceforth to in the eyes of Englishmen, not at present generally or properly appreci- nal beyond the appointed timeable, I pass over undescribed, be- doubtless enjoying the ovation precause a fair notion of them has been pared for her and the Emperor in the already communicated to the public town-many of us, I among the by the graphic pens of the inquisitive number, returned to the “ Pera,” all and ubiquitous “ Own Correspon- of whose boats were allowed free dents” of the public press; and also entrance and exit into the strictlybecause the military and naval read- guarded basin which we had traversers of Blackwood's Magazine will, ed in our tub. It had gone with anI am told, have an opportunity of other party of honourable Members profiting by the observations of a mili- on an expedition to the breakwater; tary contributor. If, however, for and when we reached our ship, we these reasons I say little now, be were not reluctant to descend to assured that I am very far from being lunch, and then repose in the shady the only member of the legislature places in the comparatively deserted on whom, without regard to party deck. The quietude and freshness political considerations, what we wit- were charming. The breeze swept nessed that day made an indelible gently, and the sun shone brightly and very deep impression. The results but not oppressively, on those chatof a century's untiring labour, engi- ting together under the awningneering skill, and enormous expen- a quiet party of six or eight, who diture are now visible, as on the eve were somewhat tired of sight-seeing of completion ; and must force grave on shore and afloat. There was our consideration on every English ob- Deputy-Serjeant, in cheerful humour, server, with reference to our ambi- finding all things going on so pleatious, warlike, and fickle neighbours' santly everywhere, there was our means, intentions, and opportunities learned and agreeable Chaplain ; for the future. I can tell you that not there were several elderly and junior one of our party quitted the shore, at Members; and no cigar contaminated the close of that memorable after- the delightful air. After we had comnoon's reconnoitring of the Cher- pared notes of what each of us had bourg arsenal, disposed to undervalue seen, and regarded as most worthy of the tremendous capabilities at length observation and recollection, the conacquired by France, or underrate the versation turned on House of Comcommensurate responsibility cast up- mons reminiscences, many of them on those charged with maintain- illustrating what we may call the ing the safety and honour of Old by-play and behind-the-scenes—the England. My own individual con- inner life-of the House, and very clusions collected themselves into a entertaining they were. At length single brief sentence-To be Fore- the youngest of our number-a very warned is to be Forearmed.
promising County Member- being Passing along an extended line of warmly congratulated by another as huge anchors, we came upon a pic- having distinguished himself during turesque object-a cone of large the last session by a maiden speech, cannon-balls, with brass field-pieces –“I was present, too, when you supporting them, and surmounted made your debût,” said one, turnwith other smaller military weapons ing to another, who good-naturedly and flags arranged most tastefully- gave the following account of his the whole combined with what seemed passage through that terrible ordeal. to me a sort of deadly gracefulness; "I had resolved not to open my lips for I can find no other words with during my first session,” said he, which to express the effect produced and kept my resolution firmly duron my mind by the style of group- ing three months, except that I ing before me—the elegant arrange- had once to present a Petition ; and ment of these weapons of destruction. when the Speaker suddenly called out As the Majesty, with whom all my name, for which, at the moment, around us were so closely concerned, I was not prepared, a mist came over had delayed her arrival at the arse my eyes, and the paper trembled in my hands, during the few inarticu- more disposed to give the thing up in late words in which I endeavoured to despair." At length arrived the day, indicate its object. Bring it up, big with my little fate. I repeated quoth the late Speaker, in that melo- the speech in my dressing room that dious voice of his, which will never morning, as usual, but, alas ! more inbe forgotten by those who heard it; accurately than ever, and felt sick at and having handed in my petition heart. I dined, very slightly, at three to the clerk, he crammed it, with a o'clock, and shortly afterwards took a matter-of-fact air, into a bag, and glass of port-wine, with an egg beaten 80 ended my first experiment on up in it, to clear my voice. Then the indulgence of the House. At down to the House I went, sighing length, however, I was urged by one at every step with anxiety and apwhose position entitled him to be prehension, afraid to look anybody in heard with respect, to endeavour to the face, and lapsed into a sudden address the House, for several rea- taciturnity, and took my seat on one sons; which he urged so forcibly, that of the back-benches, cold as death. I reluctantly assented, and promised, Presently entered the noble lord who but with an inward spasm, to speak was to open the discussion, and my on a particular question, when it next heart beat. He was one of only came before the House. It was one two who knew that I should attempt of great public interest and impor- to speak. Oh, how I envied his tance, but not within the category of perfect self-possession ! his practical party questions. Shortly afterwards knowledge of the House, and of I left town, and took an early oppor- his own weight and position in tunity of shaping my thoughts into it! Then another, and another, and a short address. The subject was one another rose ; I getting less and less with which I was familiar, and yet I self-possessed, as time wore on. I was so nervously apprehensive and had resolved to wait till the House fastidious, that I wrote out my speech had, so to speak, ebbed down to dead eight times before I could please my- low dinner point, viz., eight o'clock. self! I should have gone on writing 'You're going to speak- it's written it, up to the present moment, if I all over your face,” said Sir had not reflected that I had just sitting next to me, good-humouredly. three weeks' time left to commit it I whispered in the affirmative; for to memory—”
* Editor of the far-famed Arundines Cami,
at that particular moment I dared “Commit it to memory?" inquired not tell a fib. “Well-you won't rise one or two, surprisedly. — “why, before nine, of course—and I'll jun surely, you were no novice in pub— and get dinner! That will do,
“Yes—I committed it to memory, won't it?'. ‘Yes ;' I faltered, inverbatim et literatim, for breaking the wardly adding By that time it will ice of the House of Commons is a do, or I shall have been done for!' very fearful business to any one. If Away he went; and resolving to I repeated it once, I repeated it at follow the speaker who next rose, least a hundred times, whenever I Islipped out to the refreshmenthad the opportunity of being alone! stand, and took a glass of SeltzerI tried, moreover, to prepare myself water, with a small dash of cogniac for the awful moment at which, on in it, and returned to my seat. There my rising, the cry of New Member!' were then about thirty Members in would cause every other who had the House, but among them, most of risen, not so entitled, to resume his the leading men, on whose absence I seat, leaving me standing in solitary had anxiously calculated. I glanced
possession of that fearful House! at the reporters' gallery, and down I kept my own counsel,—and as the again, in trepidation ; the strangers appointed day drew near, and I gallery was crowded—the one might thought of the ' break-down' which have to chronicle what the other would be ruthlessly recorded by the would witness -- a Break-Down! For truthful reporters, and amuse so many these reasons, Şir,-quoth the speaker good-natured pitying friends round then on his legs, looking round for the breakfast-tables, and at the clubs, his hat, “I shall unhesitatingly – "ext morning-felt myself more and I heard no more ; down he sat; my