‘But,’ said I, ‘you are a Roman Catholic; and I thought that persons of your religion were excluded from Parliament?’

‘Why, upon that very thing the whole matter hinges; people of our religion are determined to be no longer excluded from Parliament, but to have a share in the government of the nation. Not that I care anything about the matter; I merely obey the will of my guardians; my thoughts are fixed on something better than politics.’

‘I understand you,’ said I; ‘dog-fighting - well, I can easily conceive that to some minds dog-fighting - ‘

‘I was not thinking of dog-fighting,’ said Francis Ardry, interrupting me.

‘Not thinking of dog-fighting!’ I ejaculated.

‘No,’ said Francis Ardry, ‘something higher and much more rational than dog-fighting at present occupies my thoughts.’

‘Dear me,’ said I, ‘I thought I had heard you say that there was nothing like it!’

‘Like what?’ said Francis Ardry.

‘Dog-fighting, to be sure,’ said I.

‘Pooh,’ said Francis Ardry; ‘who but the gross and unrefined care anything for dog-fighting? That which at present engages my waking and sleeping thoughts is love - divine love - there is nothing like that. Listen to me, I have a secret to confide to you.’

And then Francis Ardry proceeded to make me his confidant. It appeared that he had had the good fortune to make the acquaintance of the most delightful young Frenchwoman imaginable, Annette La Noire by name, who had just arrived from her native country with the intention of obtaining the situation of governess in some English family; a position which, on account of her many accomplishments, she was eminently qualified to fill. Francis Ardry had, however, persuaded her to relinquish her intention for the present, on the ground that, until she had become acclimated in England, her health would probably suffer from the confinement inseparable from the occupation in which she was desirous of engaging; he had, moreover - for it appeared that she was the most frank and confiding creature in the world - succeeded in persuading her to permit him to hire for her a very handsome first floor in his own neighbourhood, and to accept a few inconsiderable presents in money and jewellery. ‘I am looking out for a handsome gig and horse,’ said Francis Ardry, at the conclusion of his narration; ‘it were a burning shame that so divine a creature should have to go about a place like London on foot, or in a paltry hackney coach.’

‘But,’ said I, ‘will not the pursuit of politics prevent your devoting much time to this fair lady?’

‘It will prevent me devoting all my time,’ said Francis Ardry, ‘as I gladly would; but what can I do? My guardians wish me to qualify myself for a political orator, and I dare not offend them by a refusal. If I offend my guardians, I should find it impossible - unless I have recourse to Jews and money-lenders - to support Annette; present her with articles of dress and jewellery, and purchase a horse and cabriolet worthy of conveying her angelic person through the streets of London.’

After a pause, in which Francis Ardry appeared lost in thought, his mind being probably occupied with the subject of Annette, I broke silence by observing, ‘So your fellow-religionists are really going to make a serious attempt to procure their emancipation?’

‘Yes,’ said Francis Ardry, starting from his reverie; ‘everything has been arranged; even a leader has been chosen, at least for us of Ireland, upon the whole the most suitable man in the world for the occasion - a barrister of considerable talent, mighty voice, and magnificent impudence. With emancipation, liberty, and redress for the wrongs of Ireland in his mouth, he is to force his way into the British House of Commons,

  By PanEris using Melati.

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