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was played off before the grand piece, as Bayes says, to insinuate the plot of the latter into the boxes, pit, and gallery, we must, on this occasion, follow his example, as the plot of one grand piece was, through the art of the managers, no less confused than any of his.
An-election of a delegate to the Common Hall was to take place at the sign of the Westminster Arms, in the room of the late secretary, and some of the electors, who had always been his admirers, imagined that Merryman would be the fittest person to succeed him, as he had always been his political shadow. These persons were, such as were either mistaken in Merryman's abilities, or had been blinded by the dust which flew from the Summer House. Brush himself, although he found a good tool in Merryman, was too well aware of his dissoluteness and indo. lence not to be afraid to trust him with any considerable post, as was evident enough from the circumstance that Merryman was not present with the new household when they were first presented to the Lord, and that the office to which he was afterwards appointed was not
filled for some time afterwards. They were afraid either to trust him or to break with him, as he was very hard-mouthed. If it should be granted to these persons either blinded by mistake (for there is no recovery of people blinded by gold-dust) that they had not had time enough, since the death of Brush, to discover that Merryman was only an opaque body, like the moon, and borrowed all his light from the sun, Brush; and that when the earth (the grave) was between them, all Merryman's splendour was eclipsed: yet why would they not take his own word for it when he, with more art than honesty, confessed that he was unfit to succeed his revered friend Brush in a public office, as he had always been extremely indolent in his own private concerns ? They must have been of that description of people who, after they have once given an opinion of a man, will never be induced to own their error although they themselves are fully sensible of it. Merryman played the coquette as artfully as if he had been an actor in Ben Jonson's days, when the female parts were performed by men, and had grounded himself by practice in all the crocodile art; he whimpered—be whined-he drew forth a tear*, by means of an onion or otherwise, and exhibited a scene which could be equalled only by Quirke's dagger scene. was one thing,” he said, “ to represent the electors of the Westminster Arms, and another thing to represent those of the Staffordshire Arms. The former were, at least, the second body of the kind in the manor; but he had represented the latter for many years, and he was highly indebted to them. He would, therefore, with the utmost reluctance, resign the high honour which they intended for him, to some person more capable of filling the dutics of such a station.” Almost any man was that person ; but one of the electors had no sooner taken him at his word, and proposed a most respectable gentleman, than Merryman's jealousy made a broad discovery of his duplicity by attacking both the proposer and the proposed. The fact was that though, from the most interested motives, he declined the present offer, yet he looked upon it as a kind of insult that any person should be deemed fit to succeed the late secretary, but himself. The reasons of his declension were, however, obvious enough to the eye of common sense. By the constitution of the manor, a general election of delegates was to take place in every seventh year; the period of the next general election was only some months distant; and he would not shew his ingratitude to his old constituents for so short a reign, particularly as he wanted to make such a merit with them of this temporary preference given to themselves over one of the first bodies in the manor, as should induce them to accept his beloved son in his room at the next general election, when he had fully predetermined to desert them.
* The following anecdote (which is matter of fact) may serve as a shining proof of the reverence of this hypocrite and his colleagues for the memory of their dearest friend. On the night of the interment of the remains of Brush, Merryman went to a pastry-cook, who had just set up in business near A-y He, in Py, and ordered a supper for Mr. Merryman and the other friends of Mr. Brush. The supper was excellent, but Mr, Brush's friends forgot to pay for it, and the poor pastrycook must put it down to the memory of Mr. Brush.---Hy. pocrites! could ye not be honest on such an occasion ? Ye can shed tears (Merryman's sentimental French plate) because they cost nothing, and serve to gull fools: but must a tradesmian's family be at the expence of the last tribute to the departed friend about whom you have pretended to blubber so much? Proh pudar!
“ We'll mock the time with fairest show : False face must hide what the false heart doth know.”
SHAKSPEARE. Merryman's duplicity and artifice, however, had nearly, very nearly, miscarried in the grand point; it totally failed in the secondary point, and, in the end, blew away all the baseless fabric of his unmerited fame. The electors, who assembled at the Westminster Arms, were, as we have already said, at least the second body of that kind in the manor; and, from their respectability, and their neighbourhood to the Common Hall, they had always enjoyed a great weight with the steward. Merryman, buoyed up with the appartntly voluntary offer of the electors to choose him for their representative, haughtily declared, previously to the general election, that he would not be indebted for his election to the least iota of household influence; bis vanity made him imagine that he could depend on the same attachment of the electors as his predecessor had enjoyed, and that, through them, he