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aversion, yet this was more than atoned for by the unbounded affection for her son, which even on the brink of the grave Mrs. St. Leger evinced was her ruling passion; and Florence actually loved her for not thinking that she herself was good enough for him. The worst of her trials, in her new capacity, was the incessant praises of Dr. B, his endless inquiries as to the hospitals she had attended? his surprise at her youthful and anti-professional appearance, and his reiterated promises of patronage and recommendation! On the evening of the fifth day Mrs. St. Leger was pronounced out of danger. The fever had quite left her; and she was profuse in her thanks to Dr. B for his unremitting attention, of which she said she had a confused but strong impression.
"Not at all, Madam, not at all," said the Doctor, "it is to this young woman you are indebted, for never did I see so indefatigable a nurse she has not left you night or day these five days, and many a thing has she anticipated, which I was not here to order: yet which nevertheless was of more importance than medicine itself." “Come hither, child," said Mrs. St. Leger, putting aside the curtain, " as far as money can repay your services, you shall not find me ungrateful; but you look very young for a nurse, and rather of a different rank of life too; but how long have you been a nurse? and where did Dr. B- hear of you?"
"I am not a regular nurse, Madam," said Florence, blushing and stammering," and it was not Dr. B- but Mrs. Charlton who found me out, for her own daughter being ill, she was obliged to go to her, and as it was co late at night she could not get any body else I came, and thought I might be able to nurse you if I was but wakeful and careful."
"And God knows you have been both," cried Dr. B
"And I shall not forget either," said Mrs. St. Leger; and then added, with a sigh," but Leslie has he not been here? Surely if he can think of anything but his wife, he might have come when I was so ill."
"Oh, for that matter," said the Doctor, "Mrs. Charlton and I held a cabinet council, and as he was electioneering, we determined not to harass him by letting him know of your illness till you were out of all danger; but I wrote to him yesterday, and should not be surprised if he were here to-night; he could not be here before-do you think he could, Mrs. Charlton ?" addressing the housekeeper, who had returned that morning, and now came into the room with some arrow-root.
'Oh dear no, Sir, by no manner o' means."
Mrs. St. Leger seemed appeased at this, but could not retreat without aiming one more shaft at Florence. "I think Mrs. Leslie St. Leger, in common respect, putting humanity out of the question, might have sent to inquire after me."
"Mrs. Leslie St. Leger has inquired after you four or five times a day, Ma'am," said the housekeeper, darting a look at Florence's crimson cheek, as she thus pointedly alluded to her almost hourly inquiries in her capacity of nurse: the good woman stirred the arrowroot somewhat more vehemently than it seemed to require; and
Mrs. St. Leger turned to Dr. B with a sigh of resignation at her son's wife having for once actually done what she said she ought to do-and inquired if there was any news?
"No, nothing, except that Lady Erpingham has gone off with Lord Rentall."
Lady Erpingham! and left her two children!—you amaze me!" said Mrs. St. Leger sinking back upon her pillow, as if she had been electrified.
Humph!" quoth the Doctor, "she was much too automaton a personage for me to be surprised at anything she did; but it is a common error to mistake vacuity for virtue, and ignorance for innocence. Why, here is Mr. St. Leger, I have no doubt," cried the Doctor, as a carriage stopped at the door. In another minute a step was heard upon the stairs, Florence attempted a precipitate escape into the dressing-room, but was detained by Mrs. St. Leger laying her hand upon her arm, and ordering her not to go. In another instant Leslie was in the room, and at his mother's bed-side: he did not see his wife in his anxiety to see his mother; and poor Florence had fainted from fear of the denouement that must inevitably take place. Dr. B put out his arm to prevent her falling to the ground. Mrs. Charlton ran for some water. Leslie turned to see what was the cause of the commotion-he saw a woman lying across the bed with her face downward. As he helped to raise her, the dim light from a solitary candle gleamed upon her face, and he beheld his wife to all appearance dead. "Good God! Florence, my own poor Florence! how came you here? and they have murdered you!" cried Leslie, frantically:-" will no one save her?" continued he, "send -go-bring a physician-every physician-bring them all!"
"Gently, sir," said the Doctor," she will recover soon, if you do not all crowd round her, and keep the air from her."
"On your peril do not trifle with me," said Leslie, looking wildly on his wife's wasted form, and the wan cheek, where want of sleep, and so many nights and days of watching had wrought a change that appeared fearful in his eyes:-"you think she will recover."
"She is recovering," said Dr. B, dashing a tear from the corner of his eye, for he now began to comprehend the whole scene, and how Florence had been so good a nurse, although she had not walked the hospitals.
"Mother, mother," said Leslie, willing to grasp at hope from every one," do you think she'll recover?"
"I do, Leslie," said Mrs. St. Leger, bursting into tears, as she placed Florence's cold hand in Leslie's burning palm, and pressed them both within her own-and I do think, although everybody does not say so, that she is an angel.
THE CHARACTER OF GEORGE CANNING.
THERE is no time at which an eminent man is so little considered, so much forgotten and disregarded, as for a few years succeeding his decease. His name no longer noised above that of others, by the busy zeal of his partisans, or the still more boisterous energies of his opponents, drops suddenly, as it were, from the mouths of men. To his contemporaries he has ceased to be of importance; the most paltry pretender to his place is of more. Posterity does not exist for him, until the period has arrived, when the dead are separated from the living; until the times in which he lived, and the scenes in which he acted, have become to us as a distant prospect of which the eye can at once single out the remarkable objects, while all the minor parts the orators whose orations are only great to those in whose favour they harangue-the politicians whose deeds are only important to those to whom they can give places, melt into the general mass of every-day insignificance. The French, who are as fond of putting philosophy into action, as we are coy of connecting theory with practice, have lately marked out a kind of intermediate space between the past and the present, the Tomb and the Pantheon; but even ten years is too short a time for this apotheosis. At the present moment Mr. Canning seems rather to have slipped away from what is going on, than to be a part of what has gone by. It is true we have ceased to look for the clearly chiselled countenance which the slouched hat only slightly concealed; we no longer watch for the lip satirically curled; the penetrating eye (peering along the opposing benches) of the old parliamentary leader, in his accustomed place in the House of Commons. We do not expect at the end of a discussion to hear the singularly mellifluous and sonorous voice-the classical language, now pointed into epigram, now elevated into poesy, now burning with passion (it was too rarely rich of thought), which curbed into still attention a willing and long broken audience. But if we should be surprised at seeing Mr. Canning rise to answer Sir Charles Wetherell or Sir Robert Peel, we should hardly be less so at hearing him classed with Mr. Pitt, Mr. Fox, or any of those great men who are sufficiently separated from ourselves to be the property of history. It would rather appear, from the kind of manner in which his memory is now regarded, that he has retired from public affairs, than that he is actually no more. We make this remark, because we think no judgment can be formed as to the reputation which a public man will bear with posterity, from that which he leaves immediately behind him. It is not that the world does him injustice. It feels that the time has not come to judge him justly. Under these disadvantages we commence our task.
We do not profess to be of that order of critics who boldly deck their friends with all Roman virtues, and as conscientiously bedaub their opponents with every political iniquity. Men must be viewed in relation with the circumstances under which they appear. Mr. Canning was born in a particular state of society, under a particular form of government, and brought forward in public life at a very peculiar era in the politics and circumstances of the world.
From the time of Queen Anne, the state had been divided into two aristocratic parties, whose watchwords were principles (which might be said to be constitutionally attached to opposition or place), but whose struggle was for power. Public opinion, was the opinion of certain coteries; public men were, generally speaking, men neither brought forward by the public, nor for the sake of the public. It was necessary that some one should make such a speech as would "tell well," and procure a round of cheers from the House. If such an individual could be found with a large landed estate, and a coronet entailed upon him, so much the better; if not, why, he must be sought for elsewhere. A school or college reputation, an able pamphlet, a club or county-meeting oration pointed him out. The Minister, or the great man who wished to be Minister, brought him into Parliament: if he failed, he sank into insignificance; if he succeeded, he worked for his master during a certain time, and then became a Minister or a great man himself. As for the people, he had nothing whatsoever to do with them; they returned some jolly Squire who feasted them well, or some Nabob who purchased their votes. The community was represented by all the rich boobies who paid them -the Whigs and the Tories-by the cleverest men they could find, whom, in fact, they paid. Under such a state of things, cheerfully acquiesced in, it is hardly wonderful that what is called "the people" should have been very much plundered and very much despised.
If a young man of talent and ambition wished to embrace a public life, he generally found the opportunity of being introduced to some borough proprietor, a respectable and dignified-looking gentleman, who received him with the utmost courtesy, complimented him on his accomplishments, spoke to him in the most friendly manner respecting his prospects, and expressed feelings, which to a mind predisposed to judge favourably, might very fairly have seemed patriotic. But supposing this same young man presented himself on the hustings of a popular election-he might be as learned or as eloquent as you please the first question asked him would still be, "Do you mean to pay what is customary, and open the public-houses?" If the persons putting these questions expected to be regarded with affection or respect, they showed an egregious ignorance of the first principles of human nature-they became contemptible in themselves, contemptible in their representatives.
Thus there was no sincere, there could be no sincere, love for popular rights, amongst those who were anxious for public distinction and not wealthy enough to buy popular favour. The fault was not all theirs. Let us confess the truth-it was, in part, the fault of the people, or rather of the system which left the people thus ignorant and unreflecting. The talented and ambitious men, who had no money to throw away at elections, repudiated, on the one hand, by this great body, and adopted, on the other, by a particular class, could hardly be expected to care much for the comfort or the welfare of those with whom they had no sympathy of feeling, no community of interest. When, in order to judge correctly, it was necessary to feel with the feelings of the poor man, they were ordinarily in error; when the rectitude of their policy might be decided by the feelings of a gentleman, it was more usual to find them right. Bread or beer might be dear or
cheap, they cared little about it-a victory however, gained or lost, affected them more deeply. A mob might be massacred without exciting their compassion-and yet they might feel sincerely the loss of a general or a statesman. Such were the men who may fairly be called "Political Adventurers;" a class from which some names may be found in the most brilliant parts of our later history. Such were our political adventurers; the creatures of those feelings and institutions which called them into existence, at the time (1793) when Mr. Pitt sent for Mr. Canning-a scholar of eminence, and a young man of superior and shining abilities-and offered him a seat in Parliament. The following is the simple manner in which this interview is spoken of, by a biographer of Mr. Canning :---
"Mr. Pitt, through a private channel, communicated his desire to see Mr. Canning-Mr. Canning of course complied. Mr. Pitt immediately proceeded, on their meeting, to declare to Mr. Canning the object of his requesting an interview with him, which was to state that he had heard of Mr. Canning's reputation as a scholar and a speaker, and that if he concurred in the policy which Government was then pursuing, arrangements would be made to bring him into Parliament."
These few words will briefly tell to future generations the manner of making Members of Parliament in olden times. Mr. Canning's early friends were of the Opposition faction, and among those who were the most violent in their opinions-he had been considered and spoken of as their protegé. But a seat in parliament from the hands of a Prime Minister, who, however haughty and reserved in his general manners, had perhaps, for that very reason, a peculiar power in fixing himself in the minds of those whom he wished to please, was a tempting offer to a young man conscious of superior talent, but rendered by his situation in life agreeably alive to such flattering and powerful notice. It is fair, moreover, to admit that the offer came at a critical period, after Mr. Fox had wept at his separation from Mr. Burke, and when the oldest political friends were becoming every day more disunited.
Already the first efflorescence of the French Revolution had passed away. The National Assembly, composed of the earliest and most reasonable advocates of liberty, had ceased to exist. Its great orator and oracle, the genius of that mighty epoch-Mirabeau, was dead, and his bust stood veiled in the theatre of his former glory! The public prisons had been broken open, and their captives barbarously murdered by a drunken and bestial populace. The steps of the stately palace of Louis XIV.'s descendant had been trodden more than once in triumph by the same brutal and unforbearing mob. La Fayette, whose snow-white charger had formerly borne the hopes of France, was an exile and a traitor. Louis XVI. the people's King, the idol of the federated festival in the Champs de Mars," the only prince, perhaps," says the eloquent writer of "The French Revolution,"*"who, having no passion, united those two qualities which make good kings-a fear of God and a love for the people."-Louis XVI., the heir of Hugues Capet, of St. Louis, of Henry IV., grasped in the clutch of three common executioners; his hands ignominiously * M. Mignet.
April-VOL. XXXIV. NO. CXXXVI.