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The Bedford-Row Conspiracy William Makepeace Thackeray

II. Shows how the plot began to thicken in or about Bedford Row.

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Mr. Crampton continued:--

"I think I know the cause of your patriotism. Has not William Pitt Scully, Esquire, had something to do with it?"

Mr. Perkins COULD not turn any redder than he was, but confessed with deep humiliation that "he HAD consulted Mr. Scully among other friends."

Mr. Crampton smiled--drew a letter from a heap before him, and tearing off the signature, handed over the document to his nephew. It contained the following paragraphs:--

"Hawksby has sounded Scully: we can have him any day we want him. He talks very big at present, and says he would not take anything under a. . . This is absurd. He has a Yorkshire nephew coming up to town, and wants a place for him. There is one vacant in the Tape Office, he says: have you not a promise of it?"

"I can't--I can't believe it," said John; "this, sir, is some weak invention of the enemy. Scully is the most honourable man breathing."

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"Mr. Scully is a gentleman in a very fair way to make a fortune," answered Mr. Crampton. "Look you, John--it is just as well for your sake that I should give you the news a few weeks before the papers, for I don't want you to be ruined, if I can help it, as I don't wish to have you on my hands. We know all the particulars of Scully's history. He was a Tory attorney at Oldborough; he was jilted by the present Lady Gorgon, turned Radical, and fought Sir George in his own borough. Sir George would have had the peerage he is dying for, had he not lost that second seat (by-the-by, my Lady will be here in five minutes), and Scully is now quite firm there. Well, my dear lad, we have bought your incorruptible Scully. Look here,"--and Mr. Crampton produced three Morning Posts.

"'THE HONOURABLE HENRY HAWKSBY'S DINNER-PARTY.--Lord So-and-So--Duke of So-and-So--W. Pitt Scully, Esq. M.P.'

"Hawksby is our neutral, our dinner-giver.

"'LADY DIANA DOLDRUM'S ROUT.--W. Pitt Scully, Esq,' again.

"'THE EARL OF MANTRAP'S GRAND DINNER.'--A Duke--four Lords--'Mr. Scully, and Sir George Gorgon.'"

"Well, but I don't see how you have bought him; look at his votes."

"My dear John," said Mr. Crampton, jingling his watch-seals very complacently, "I am letting you into fearful secrets. The great common end of party is to buy your opponents--the great statesman buys them for nothing."

Here the attendant genius of Mr. Crampton made his appearance, and whispered something, to which the little gentleman said, "Show her Ladyship in,"--when the attendant disappeared.

"John," said Mr. Crampton, with a very queer smile, "you can't stay in this room while Lady Gorgon is with me; but there is a little clerk's room behind the screen there, where you can wait until I call you."

John retired, and as he closed the door of communication, strange to say, little Mr. Crampton sprang up and said, "Confound the young ninny, he has shut the door!"

Mr. Crampton then, remembering that he wanted a map in the next room, sprang into it, left the door half open in coming out, and was in time to receive Her Ladyship with smiling face as she, ushered by Mr. Strongitharm, majestically sailed in.

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The Bedford-Row Conspiracy
William Makepeace Thackeray

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