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business, indeed! You know well enough
that the bird-stuffing now is a mere
pretext; a mere something that I keep for my
'idle hands to do,' and that it's no
necessity, thank the Lord! So let me bide
here, lad, and aid in the good work. I
think I may be of use among a few of them,
yet." And he was right. Not merely was
the old man's name known and venerated
among the older "hands" as one of the
"martyrs of '48," but his quaint caustic
tongue made him an immense favourite
with the younger men, and soon there were
no meetings brought to a close without
loud demands for a " bit speech" from Jack
Byrne.

Nor was it amongst the farmer and
manufacturing classes alone that Mr. Joyce
received pledges of support. Several of
the neighbouring county gentry and clergy,
who had hung back during Mr. Bokenham's
candidature, enrolled themselves on
the committee of the new comer; and one
of his most active adherents was Mr.
Benthall. It was not until after due deliberation,
and much weighing of pros and cons,
that the head-master of Helmingham
Grammar School took this step; but he
smiled when he had thoroughly made up
his mind, and muttered something to
himself about its being " a shot for Madam in
more ways than one." When he had
decided he was by no means underhand in
his conduct, but went straight to Mr. Creswell,
taking the opportunity of catching
him away from home and alone, and told
him that the Benthall family had been
staunch Liberals for generations; and that,
however much he might regret being
opposed in politics to a gentleman for whom
he entertained such a profound esteem and
regard, he could not forswear the family
political faith. Mr. Creswell made him a
polite reply, and forthwith forgot all about
it; and Marian, though she was in the
habit of questioning her husband pretty
closely at the end of each day as to the
progress he had made, looked upon Mr.
Benthall's vote as so perfectly secure that
she never asked about the matter.

Notwithstanding the favourable
reception which he met with everywhere, and
the success which seemed invariably to
attend him in his canvass, Joyce found it
very heavy work. The constant excitement
soon began to tell upon him, and the
absurdity of the questions sometimes asked,
or the pledges occasionally required of him,
irritated him so much that he began to inquire
of himself whether he was really wise
in going through with the affair, and
whether he was not paying a little too
dearly even for that revenge for which he
had longed, and which was almost within
his grasp. His fidelity to the cause to
which he had pledged himself would doubtless
have caused him to smother these
murmurings without any extraneous aid; but
just at that time he had an adventure which
at once put an end to all doubt on the
subject.

One bright wintry morning he arose at
the hotel with the determination to take a
day's rest from his labours, and to endeavour
to recruit himself by a little quiet and
fresh air. He had been up late the previous
night at a very large meeting of his
supporters, the largest as yet gathered
together, which he had addressed with even
more than wonted effect. He felt that he
was speaking more forcibly than usual; he
could not tell why, he did not even know
what prompted him; but he felt it. It
could not have been the presence of the
parliamentary agent, Mr. Fyfe, who had
come down from London to see how his
young friend was getting on, and who was
really very much astonished at his young
friend's eloquence. Walter Joyce was
speaking of the way in which the opposite
party had, when in power, broken
the pledges they had given, and laughed to
scorn the promises they had made when
seeking power, and in dilating upon it he
used a personal illustration, comparing the
voters to a girl who had been jilted and
betrayed by her lover, who had been
unexpectly raised to riches. Unconsciously
fired by his own experience, he displayed a
most forcible and highly-wrought picture
of the despair of the girl and the villany of
the man, and roused his audience to a
perfect storm of enthusiasm. No one who
heard him, as he thought, except Jack
Byrne, had the least inkling of his story,
or of its effect upon his eloquence; but the
"hands" were immensely touched and
delighted, and the effect was electrical.
Walter went home thoroughly knocked up,
and the next morning the reaction had set
in. He felt it impossible to attend to
business, sent messages to Mr. Fyfe and to
Byrne, telling them they must get on without
him for the day, and, after a slight
breakfast, hurried out of the hotel by the
back way. There were always plenty of
loafers and idlers hanging round all sides
of the house, eager to stare at him, to prefer
a petition to him, or to point him out
to their friends; but this morning he was

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