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Upon the midlands now the industrious muse doth fall,
The shires which we the heart of England well may call.

My native country thou, which so brave spirits hast bred,
If there be virtues yet remaining in the earth,
Or any good of thine thou bred'st into my birth,
Accept it as thine own, whilst now I sing of thee,
Of all thy later brood the unworthiest though I be.”

DRAYTON : l'olyolbion.

THE WORKS

OF

G E O R G E ELIOT

FELIX HOLT, THE RADICAL

VOL. II.

WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS

EDINBURGH AND LONDON

MDCCCLXXVIII

All Rights reserved

PR 4650 11878

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If he come not, the play is marred.-Midsummer Night's Dream.

Rufus Lyon was very happy on that mild November
morning appointed for the great conference in the
larger room at the Free School, between himself and
the Rev. Theodore Sherlock, B.A. The disappoint-
ment of not contending with the Rector in person,
which had at first been bitter, had been gradually
lost sight of in the positive enjoyment of an oppor-
tunity for debating on any terms. Mr Lyon had
two grand elements of pleasure on such occasions :
confidence in the strength of his case, and confidence
in his own power of advocacy. Not—to use his own
phrase—not that he "glorified himself herein ;" for
speech and exposition were so easy to him, that if he
argued forcibly, he believed it to be simply because
the truth was forcible. He was not proud of moving
VOL. II.

A

easily in his native medium. A panting man thinks of himself as a clever swimmer; but a fish swims much better, and takes his performance as a matter of course.

Whether Mr Sherlock were that panting, selfgratulating man, remained a secret. Philip Debarry, much occupied with his electioneering affairs, had only once had an opportunity of asking his uncle how Sherlock got on, and the Rector had said, curtly, “I think he'll do. I've supplied him well with references.( I advise him to read only, and decline everything else as out of order. Lyon will speak to a point, and then Sherlock will read : it will be all the more telling. It will give variety.) But on this particular morning peremptory business connected with the magistracy called the Rector away.

Due notice had been given, and the feminine world of Treby Magna was much more agitated by the prospect than by that of any candidate's speech. Mrs Pendrell at the Bank, Mrs Tiliot, and the Church ladies generally, felt bound to hear the Curate, who was known, apparently by an intuition concerning the nature of curates, to be a very clever young man; and he would show them what learning had to say on the right side. One or two Dissenting ladies were not without emotion at the thought that, seated on the front benches, they should be brought near to old Church friends, and have a longer greeting than had taken place since the Catholic Emancipation. Mrs Muscat, who had been a beauty, and was as nice in her millinery as any Trebian lady

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