Paul Gosslett's Confessions in Love, Law, and The Civil Service

Paul Gosslett's Confessions in Love, Law, and The Civil Service

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“So there are, if pluck were the only requisite; but something more isneeded. If Sir Joseph should not like to acknowledge the debt,—if,on his recovery, he should come to think that the thing might have beenbetter managed, less cost incurred, and so on,—the Government willfeel embarrassed; they can't well quarrel with an old supporter; theycan't well stick the thing in the estimates; so that, to cover the outlayin some decent fashion, they must give it a public-service look beforethey can put it into the Extraordinaries; and so Lord S. has hit upon thisscheme. You are aware that a great question is now disputed between theBourbonists of Naples and the party of New Italy,—whether brigandagemeans highway robbery, or is the outburst of national enthusiasm in favorof the old dynasty. The friends of King Bomba, of course, call it a 'LaVendée;' the others laugh at this, and say that the whole affair is simplyassassination and robbery, and totally destitute of any politicalcoloring. Who knows on which side the truth lies, or whether some portionof truth does not attach to each of these versions? Now, there are, as yousaid awhile ago, scores of fellows who would have pluck enough to treatwith the brigands; but there are not so many who could be trusted toreport of them,—to give a clear and detailed account of what he sawof them,—of their organization, their sentiments, their ambitions,and their political views, if they have any. You are just the man to dothis. You have that knack of observation and that readiness with your penwhich are needed. In fact, you seem to me the very fellow to do thiscreditably.”
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“Why, it's downright insanity! It is a thousand pities they had n't caughtthe fellow years ago. Are you aware that there's scarcely a crime in thestatute-book he has not committed? I'd not say murder wasn't amongst them.Why, sir, he cheated me,—me,—the man who now speaks to you,—atbilliards. He greased my cue, sir. It was proved,—proved beyond theshadow of a doubt. The fellow called it a practical joke, but he forgot Ihad five ducats on the game; and he had the barefaced insolence to amuseNaples by a representation of me as I sided my ball, and knocked themarker down afterwards, thinking it was his fault. He was attached, thisSt. John was, to my mission here at the time; but I wrote home to demand—notto ask, but demand—his recall. His father's vote was, however, ofconsequence to the Government, and they refused me. Yes, sir, they refusedme; they told me to give him a leave of absence if I did not like to seehim at the Legation; and I gave it, sir. And, thank Heaven, the fellowwent into Calabria, and fell into the hands of the brigands,—toogood company for him, I 'm certain. I 'll be shot if he could n't corruptthem; and now you 're come out here to pay a ransom for a fellow that anyother country but England would send to the galleys.”
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