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PAUL RATCLIFFE'S ADVENTURES.

A RAMBLERS JOTTINGS.

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A RAMBLERS JOTTINGS. To prove how many Londoners are out of town, I was told by a barrister the other day that having attended the Sheriffs' Court in Red Lion-street professionally, a jury was about to be empannelled, and out of sixteen jurors that had been sum- moned, the excuse for non-attendance of eleven was out of town;" and in consequence the sheriffs' sitting bad to be adjourned. I attended at the House of Lords the other day to hear the prorogation of Parliament. Being admitted to the Reporters' Gallery, I looked around me, trying to recall the splendour of a Royal Opening and a Queen's Speech; but now Westminster Palace (as it is termed) looked dull and melancholy, leaving an impression on the mind that upholsterers and workmen must be somewhere about, laying their desolating hand upon the bright ornaments that one was accus- tomed to see there. The huge ornamental candle- sticks were wrapped in brown holland," and the woolsack was covered with the same material, whilst a musty smell came upon your nasal organs, such as you would find on entering an unoccupied house. Presently two attendants, with black coats and white neck-ties, made their appearance, and creeping stealthily, like undertakers' men, to the throne, they set aside the covering, when the Royal seat of Queen Victoria shone resplendently amid the general gloom. At two o'clock precisely Lord Cranworth, the present Lord Chancellor, attended by his mace and purse bearers, made his appearance, and two clerks, in wigs and gowns, took their seats at the table. The Lord Chaneellor, for the nonce representing Royalty in his own per- son, walked to the foot of the throne and took off his hat. The clerk of the Crown then handed in the return of the sixteen Scotch Peers who had been elected to seats in the House. Then the clerk of the table (the Hon. Slingsby Bethell) read the precept ordering the Parliament to re-assemble on Wednes- day, the 1st of November next. It is usual at this time to summons the Commons to hear" the Queen's will and pleasure." Colonel Clifford, the Yeoman Usher of the Black Rod, whose duty it is to perform this office, now made his appearance with the black wand, but his services were not needed, as virtually there is no Speaker, or no House of Commons, for the one is not elected, and the others have neither taken their oaths of allegiance nor their seats since the last general election. There was an evident expectation that some one should be present who was not there. The Lord Chancellor, in the briefest manner, declared the Parliament prorogued, and Sir Denis Le Marchant, clerk of the House of Commons, in his wig and Jf t. gown, just met his lordship at the door as he was r retiring. These two eminent personages shook hands, and a few words having passed between t them, mace and purse bearers (the name of the ) latter individual being" Goodbody"), Usher of the Black Rod, clerks at the table, and the Lord J Chancellor, all disappeared, not to meet again for business until the 1st of November, and then, probably, only to go through the same form. In speaking of the Lord Chancellor, it might be interesting to refer-to his early life. He was the son of the Rev. Edmund Rolfe, of Cranworth, Norfolk, who was a first cousin of Horatio Lord Nelson. He was educated at Winchester and Trinity College, Cambridge, and was seventeenth wrangler in 1812, when in his twenty-first year. In 1815 he took his B.A. degree, and then M.A., and became Fellow of Downing College. Previous to his being called to the bar, he worked hard in a solicitor's office, and step by step he fought his way until, in 1832, he was made King's Counsel; in 1839 he was raised to the bench as one of the Barons of the Exchequer, which he retained until 1850, when he became Vice-Chancellor; in 1851 Lord Chief Justice, and from 1852 to 1858, Lord Chancellor of England; since which time he has lived rather a retired life, but, on the resignation of Lord Westbury, he was con- sidered the most fitting man amongst those who had retired from the woolsack to again take that position. I saw his lordship not only in the House of Lords, but, on the following day, in the Agricultural-hall, at the opening of the Exhi- bition of Art; and I can affirm that his lordship, although seventy-five years of age, is as clear in judgment, as active in mind, and as fluent in words as ever he was in his life, proving, in his person, that hard work does not destroy the intel- lect or lessen the mental or physical powers. I should observe that, doubtless, the clerk at the Herald office, aware of his up-hill fight in life, in presenting him with his coat of arms, as Baron Cranworth gave him this motto, Post nubila phosbus —"After clouds sunshine." A word may also be said about Sir Denis Le Marchant. He is the principal clerk of the House of Commons, and during a Session he may be seen with his two assistants, all wigged and gowned, sitting on chairs near the table in front of the Speaker. It is his duty to make minutes, not of the arguments held in the House, but on the de- cisions at which it arrives-in other words, to re- cord the votes, resolutions, addresses, orders, re- ports, divisions, and all other proceedings on which a decision has been arrived at. To see that these reports are correctly printed and dis- tributed to the members, to read aloud all such documents as the House may require to hear, &c. The two barristers who sit next him assist in this duty. During the choice of a Speaker-and such will be the case at the next meeting of Parliament- Sir Denis Le Marchant acts as President. He does not, however, sit in the Speaker's chair, but takes his place at the table where the Chair- man of Committees sits during business, he has, however, the same power of putting a question and can direct a division in the same manner as the Speaker does. His salary is < £ 2,000 a year, with a comfortable residence in the Speaker's Court, near the House of Commons, with coals, candles, &c. I have eften heard his dinner bell ringing at seven o'clock in the evening, loud enough to arouse the dormant spirits of the Thames, whilst reporters, whose rooms adjoin, and who are working hard to get copy for evening papers, wonder why their nerves should be shaken by such conventional forms. Sir Denis is the first baronet, but is a scion of a distinguished family, and has been by no means idle in the world. He held the offices of Secretary to the Board of Trade, Under-Secretary to the Home Department, Clerk to the Crown in Chancery, and Secretary to the Treasury, before he was appointed to the present lucrative office. The hon. baronet is now in his 70hli year. In the Clubs in London and elsewhere there is much talk just now about Alpine climbers, and the uselessness of young men imperilling their lives for that which profits nothing. There was a club formed in the metropolis some years ago, called the Alpine Club, at which adventurous young men became members that they may meet and record their exploits. Maps of these mountain ranges were hung round the room, and the ascent of this or that gentleman was marked upon it, and those who could attain the most perilous po- sition had the greatest applause. A cry of Cui bono," however, has gone forward since so many accidents have occurred, and the public ask these adventurers whether they have ever offered to the world viva voce, or in writing, half-a-dozen remarks, scientific, novel, or amusing regarding their ascents! Some of these adventurous spirits, when attacked by the press, have come boldly to the rescue, and asked if we should like to see the pluck and darins- of englishmen checked. Well, if any good re- suited from such daring, I think every one would say, no; but if we saw a man walking upon a plank over a wide and deep chasm, when he could go safely over a substantial bridge, we should say he was foolhardy. There are safe roads up Mont Blanc and other Alpine mountains, which bring thetravel- ler a sufficient height to view the country beneath him, and tojudge of that which is abovehim. Whatis gained by ascending untrodden districts of ice and snow but the pride of saying, I have been where few other men have ? I heard this debated the other evening, and was particularly struck with the uselessness of these travels. Upon being questioned, the rash travellers oftentimes crib a poetical effusion from "Manfred," some go further, and quote learnedly from Murchison about strata; some will even Grladstonise, and talk of utilising the ice, and bringing it several fathoms thick to the London market, others quote from Airey of speculations on electric storms, and many bring back trophies in the shape ,of chamois skins. I hope not to be rude, but it really re- minds me of some twenty years ago, when the Chartist riots were general. In a local town huge placards announced that there would be a meeting on a neighbouring hill of all those persons who desired the Charter. Crowds of miners filled the little town, and the lord- lieutenant of the county was appealed to that he should oppose the meeting. Oh, let them alone," he replied, they will do no harm;" and upon the day named the hill was covered; the stump orators addressed the meeting; there was no breach of the peace, however, and the men went quietly home. The lord-lieutenant's policy was judicious; by not making them objects of importance he completely disarmed them. A local paper the next day in commenting upon this added these lines This Chartist band, this Chartist band, of full three thousand men, Went up the hill, went up the hill, 'and then came down again." And so Alpine.adventurers for the most part have been up the hill and down again, and all the issue of their exploit is that they have done it. I think it is Haliburton, in Sam Slick," who describes English travellers sigh: seeing in America. Upon one occasion, a gentleman had arrived at the nearest hotel to the falls of Niagara, and finding the next morning that it rained, he said, Waiter, is that the sound of the falls that I hear ? Is that the spray from it that I see in the distance^ Yes, sir." "Oh, then, let me have my bill—I'm off; I've seen as much of it as I want." Sheridan once asked a friend why he incurred the danger of descending a very deep coal mine. Oh," was the response, merely for the purpose of saying I had done so." That," said the wit,, "you can do without going, and the public will be, like yourself, none the wiser." In public discussions that I have heard upon the subject, men of science and men of mind say that we should treat with disgust the foolhardy spirit of the age, that prompts men to do deeds of daring in which there is no good purpose, rather than apply their energies in some course which would be useful to the world.

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