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      He was standing, and the boy was lying, and the shots of the Apaches flew about them. He stooped, and catching up his defeated foe, whose defeat was not half so entire as his own, scrambled out of the pocket and back among the troops. He carried his prisoner, who kicked vigorously with his good leg, and struck with both fists in protest against the ignominy of being held under anybody's arm like a sack of grain, back to the tied horses."NAPOLEON."

      Austria stood in a hesitating position. On the one hand, she felt reluctant to join the Allies and assist in destroying the throne of the Emperor's son-in-law; but at the same time she was anxious to strengthen her own position by giving more strength to her neighbour, Prussia. For this purpose Austria offered her mediation for a peace on terms that would restore Prussia to a more becoming position, and such proposals of mediation were made by the Austrian Minister to Great Britain. But these entirely failed. On the one hand, Napoleon would concede nothing, but declared that he would entirely annihilate Prussia, and would give Silesia to Austria for her assistance in the war; on the other hand, Great Britain declared that there could be no peace unless France disgorged the bulk of her usurpations.

      Cairness reached out for the discarded Cornhill, and settled himself among the cushions. "They're going to dress, I rather think," he said. The minister almost sprang from his chair. "Good Lord! I ain't got any other clothes," he cried, looking ruefully at his dusty black.

      "Just nothing," Cairness laughed shortly, and breaking off one of the treasured geranium blossoms, stuck it in a buttonhole of his flannel shirt.And the Indian may be trusted to know of these. Here where the jacales clustered, there was grass and wood and water that might last indefinitely. The fortifications of Nature had been added to those of Nature's man. It was a stronghold.

      Unfortunately, however, for the continuance of the popularity of Mrs. Clarke, it appeared that she was now actually living in the keeping of this virtuous Colonel Wardle, who was thus chastising royal peccadilloes. The whole of the circumstances did not come out whilst the question was before the House of Commons, but enough to injure the credit irreparably of Colonel Wardle, and make Mrs. Clarke's evidence more than ever suspicious. The full information was brought out by a trial instituted by a Mr. Wright, an upholsterer, in Rathbone Place, for furnishing a new house for her in Westbourne Place. She had now quarrelled with Colonel Wardle, and he refused to pay the bill. Wardle, it appeared, had done his best to stop the coming on of the[572] trial, but in vain; Mrs. Clarke appeared against him, and not only deposed that he had gone with her to order the goods, but told her it was in return for her aid in prosecuting the Duke of York's case. Wardle was cast on the trial, with costs, having about two thousand pounds to pay, and losing all the popularity that he had gained by the investigation. He had been publicly thanked by public meetings, both in the City and the country, and now came this rueful expos. But it was too late now to save the Duke's reputation. The House of Commons had concluded its examination in March. It acquitted the Duke of any participation with his artful mistress in the vile profits on the sale of commissions, but that she had made such there was no question. The Duke did not await the decision of the Commons, but resigned his office. Lord Althorp, in moving that, as the Duke had resigned, the proceedings should go no further, said that the Duke had lost the confidence of the country for ever, and therefore there was no chance of his returning to that situation. This was the conclusion to which the House came on the 21st of March, and soon afterwards Sir David Dundas was appointed to succeed the Duke as Commander-in-chief, much to the chagrin of the army, and equally to its detriment. The Duke, though, like some of his brothers, very profligate, and, like themaccording to a statement made during the debates on his casecapable, as a youth, of learning either Greek or arithmetic, but not the value of money, seems to have discharged his duty to the army extremely well, of which old General Dundas was wholly incapable.THE BAYONET CHARGE AT TALAVERA. (See p. 577.)

      When Parliament reassembled, after the Christmas recess, the great question of economical reform took the first place in its deliberations. The great Yorkshire petition was introduced on the 8th of February by Sir George Savile, who, as the forms of the House then allowed, made a speech on its presentation. He was a small, weakly man, but of the most upright character, and was listened to with the highest respect. On the 11th Burke rose to bring forward his extensive scheme of retrenchment and reform. It was a scheme of reforms so vast and multiform as to require five Bills to include them. It dealt with the sale of the Crown lands; the abolition of the separate jurisdictions of the Principality of Wales, the Duchies of Cornwall, Chester, and Lancaster; of the Court offices of Treasurer, Comptroller, Cofferer, Keeper of the Stag, Buck, and Fox Hounds, of the Wardrobe, Robes, Jewels, etc.; of the recently-instituted office of Third Secretary of State; the reduction and simplification of offices in the Ordnance and Mint departments; the Patent Office of the Exchequer; the regulation of the pay offices of the army, navy, and of pensioners; and, finally, the Civil List. Such a host of corrupt interests was assailed by this wholesale scheme, that it was certain to receive a very determined opposition; and it might have been supposed that it would be encountered by the most rabid rage. But not so. The great tribe whose interests were affected were too adroit strategists for that; they were too well assured that, being legion, and all knit up together from the Crown downwards, embracing every branch of the aristocracy, they were safe, and might, therefore, listen to the fervid eloquence of the poetic Irishman, as they would to a tragedy that did not affect them further than their amusement was concerned. Lord North very soon managed to put the Principality and the Duchies out of the range of his inquiries. He declared that nobody was more zealous for a permanent system of economy than he was; but then, unfortunately, the king's[264] patrimonial revenue was concerned in these Duchies, and therefore he must be first consulted; and, what was still more embarrassing was, that these proposals affected the rights of the Prince of Wales, and therefore could not be mooted till he was of age; so that branch of the inquiry was lopped off, under the gentle phrase of postponement. When the discussion reached the reform of the king's household, Burke was compelled to admit that a former attempt to reform this lavish yet penurious household by Lord Talbot, had been suddenly stopped, because, forsooth, it would endanger the situation of an honourable member who was turnspit in the kitchen! The end of it was, that though all expressed themselves as delighted and as acquiescent, almost every detail was thrown out in committee. The only point carried was that which abolished the Board of Trade, by a majority, however, of only eight. The Board of Trade was ere long restored again. The other portions of Burke's great scheme occupied the House through March, April, and May, and then was got rid of by a man?uvre in the committee, Burke declaring that he would bring the measure forward again next session.The congress had opened at Aix-la-Chapelle early in the spring, but it did not begin its sittings till the 11th of March, 1748, Sandwich being sent thither as our Plenipotentiary. The campaign, however, opened simultaneously, and, could Cumberland and the king have managed it, war would soon have overturned the hopes of peace; but circumstances were too much for them. The Prince of Nassau, ambitious as he was of military renown, failed to bring into the field his Dutch levies; the thirty thousand Prussians, as Pelham had expected, did not appear. The Dutch, so far from furnishing the sums they had engaged for, sent to London to raise the loan of a million sterling; but London itself had ceased to be a money-lending place. The war had drained the resources even of the British capital. To complete the deadlock, Marshal Saxe advanced into the field, and showed to the world that, though Cumberland might beat an army of famine-exhausted Highlanders, he was no match for him. He completely out-generalled him, made false demonstrations against Breda, where the Allied army lay, and then suddenly concentrated his forces before Maestricht, which, it was evident, must soon fall into his hands. Maestricht secured, the highway into Holland was open.



      Austria also furnished thirty thousand men, under Prince Schwarzenberg, but with secret orders to do no more than just keep up appearances, as Alexander had done during the campaign of Wagram. It was of the utmost consequence that Turkey should have been conciliated by Napoleon. Russia had long been ravaging the outlying provinces of that empire, and nothing could have been more plain than the policy of engaging Turkey against Russia at this crisis, to divide the latter's attention by menacing its eastern boundaries. But Buonaparte ever since the Treaty of Tilsit had been neglecting the Turks, to allow his ally, Alexander, to make his aggressions on them, and now he altered his plan too late. When he made overtures, so late as March of this year, not only to put them in possession of Moldavia and Wallachia, but to recover the[40] Crimea for the Turks, on condition that they should invade Russia from the east with a hundred thousand men, his offer was rejected, the Porte having already been persuaded by the British to make peace with Russia at Bucharest. Thus France, entering on this great enterprise, left Spain and Sweden in open hostility, and carried with her Austria and Prussia as very dubious allies. At the same time the news arrived of the fall of Ciudad Rodrigo, in Spain, and, with this, the certainty that Great Britain would do all in her power to arouse and support the enemies of Napoleon in every quarter.


      She nodded.