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'Look here upon this picture, and on this' 

"Tbe counterfeil presentment of 'two' sov'reigns" 


Reproduced from a Contemporary Cartoon ol 1837 




"Hi» lameness prevented his taking much 
exercise; but a mind of usefulness and ingenuity 
seemed to furnish him with constant em- 
ployment within." — Jane Austen, Persuasion 



Copyright, 1898, by Haepkr & Beothrb«. 

AU HglUt reiervti. 




D(eJ» /Bbarcb 25, 1898 

Is he gone to a land of no laughter — 

This man that made mirth for us all? 
Proves Death but a silence hereafter, 

Where the echoes of Earth cannot fall? 
Once closed, have the lips no more duty? 

No more pleasure the exquisite ears? 
Has the heart done o'erflowing with beauty, 
As the eyes have with tears? 

Nay, if aught be sure, what can be surer 
Than that earth's good decays not with earth? 

And of all the heart's springs none are purer 
Than the spring of the fountains of mirth? 

He that sounds them has pierced the heart's hollow, 
The places where tears are and sleep ; 

For the foam-flakes that dance in life's shallows 
Are wrung from life's deep. 

J. Rhoasbb 


These Papers appeared in the MancTiester Guardian during 
the year 1897, and are here reproduced by the kind permission of 
Mr. C. P. Scott, M.P. It has not been thought necessary to alter 
some phrases which imply that they were published periodically. 

The Papers are exactly what the title implies. They con- 
sist in part of traditions and anecdotes which the writer has 
collected from people and books ; in part of incidents which 
he personally recollects. With respect to the traditional part, 
the usual crop of contradictions and disproofs may be anticipated, 
and may also be disregarded. Except in his own Recollections, 
the writer does not vouch for accuracy, but only "tells the tale 
as 'twas told to him." Some of the Links with the Past on which 
he relied have been snapped by death while the pages were passing 
through the press. 

Easter, 1898. 


I. Links with the Past 1 

n. Lord Russell 9 

III. Lord Shaftesbury 19 

IV. Cardinal Manning 31 

V. Lord Houghton 44 

VI. Religion and Morality 53 

VII. Social Equalization 66 

VIII. Social Amelioration 75 

IX. The Evangelical Influence 84 

X. Politics 93 

XI. Parliamentary Oratory 107 

XII. Parliamentary Oratory 117 

XIII. Conversation 126 

XIV. Conversation 134 

XV. Conversation 142 

XVI. Conversation 150 

XVII. Clergymen 157 

XVIII. Clergymen 165 

XIX. Repartee . 173 

XX. Titles 188 

XXI. The Queen's Accession 199 

XXII. "Princedoms, Virtues, Powers" 210 

XXIII. Lord Beaconsfield 217 

XXIV. Flatterers and Bores 226 

XXV. Epitaphs 233 

XXVI. Advertisements 248 



XXVII. Parodies in Prose 252 

XXVIII. Parodies in Verse 263 

XXIX. Parodies in Verse 278 

XXX. Verbal Infelicities 292 

XXXI. The Art of Putting Things 309 

XXXII. Children 319 

XXXIII. Letter- writing 327 

XXXIV. Officialdom 339 

XXXV. An Old Photograph-book 358 

Index 369 

The Contrast i^-ontispu 





. never can remember which came first, the 
the Romans." In my walk thronarh life I hav 

Of the celebrated Mrs. Disraeli her husband is report- 
ed to have said : " She is an excellent creature, but she 

Greeks or 
my walk through life I have constant- 
ly found myself among excellent creatures of this sort. 
The world is full of vague people, and in the average man, 
and still more in the average woman, the chronological 
sense seems to be entirely wanting. Thus, when I have 
occasionally stated in a mixed company that my first 
distinct recollection was the burning of Covent Garden 
Theatre, I have seen a general expression of surprised 
interest, and have been told, in a tone meant to be kind 
and complimentary, that my hearers would hardly have 
thought that my memory went back so far. The expla- 
nation has been that these excellent creatures had some 
vague notions of Rejected Addresses floating in their 
minds, and confounded the burning of Covent Garden 
Theatre in 1856 with that of Drury Lane Theatre in 1809. 
It was pleasant to feel that one bore one^s years so well as 
to make the error possible. 

But events, however striking, are only landmarks in 
A 1 


memory. They are isolated and detached, and begin 
and end in themselves. The real interest of one's early 
\ life is in its Links with the Past, through the old people 
whom one has known. Though I place my first distinct 
recollection in 1856, I have memories more or less hazy 
of an earlier date. 

There was an old Lady Robert Seymour, who lived in 
Portland Place, and died there in 1855, in her ninety- 
first year. Probably she is my most direct link with the 
past, for she carried down to the time of the Crimean War 
the habits and phraseology of Queen Charlotte's early 
Court. "Goold"of course she said for gold, and '' yal- 
ler"for yellow, and "laylock" for lilac. She laid the 
stress on the second syllable of balcony. She called her 
maid her "'ooman"; instead of sleeping at a place, she 
"lay" there, and when she consulted the doctor she 
spoke of having " used the 'potticary." 

There still lives, in full possession of all her faculties, 
a venerable lady who can say that her husband was born 
at Boston when America was a British dependency. This 
is the widow of Lord Chancellor Lyndhurst, who was 
born in 1772, and helped to defeat Mr. Gladstone's Paper 
Bill in the House of Lords on his eighty-eighth birthday. 
He died in 18G2. 

A conspicuous figure in my early recollections is Sir 
Henry Holland, M.D., father of the present Lord Knuts- 
ford. He was born in 1788, and died in 1873. The sto- 
ries of his superhuman vigor and activity would fill a vol- 
ume. In 1863 Bishop Wilberforce wrote to a friend 
abroad; "Sir Henry Holland, who got back safe from 
all his American rambles, has been taken by Palmerstou 
through the river at Broadlands, and lies very ill." How- 
ever, he completely threw off the effects of this mischance, 
and survived his aquatic host for some eight years. I 
well remember his telling me in 1868 that his first famous 



patient was the mysterious ''Pamela/' who became the 
wife of the Irish patriot, Lord Edward Fitzgerald. 

Every one who went about in London in the sixties 
and seventies will remember the dyed locks and crimson 
velvet waistcoat of William, fifth Earl Bathurst, who was 
born in 1791 and died in 1878. He told me that he was 
at a private school at Sunbury-on-Thames with William 
and John Russell, the latter of whom became the author 
of the Reform Bill and Prime Minister. At this delight- 
ful seminary, the peers' sons, including my informant, 
who was then the Hon. William Bathurst, had a hench 
to themselves. William and John Russell were not peers' 
sons, as their father had not then succeeded to the Duke- 
dom of Bedford. In 1802 he succeeded, on the sudden 
death of his elder brother, and became sixth Duke of 
Bedford ; and his sons, becoming Lord William and Lord 
John, were duly promoted to the privileged bench. Noth- 
ing in Pelliam or Vivian Grey quite equals this. 

When I went to Harrow, in 18G7, there was an old wom- 
an, by name Polly Arnold, still keeping a stationer's shop 
in the town, who had sold cribs to Byron when he was a 
Harrow boy ; and Byron's fag, a funny old gentleman in 
a brown wig — called Baron Heath — was a standing dish 
on our school speech-day. 

Once at a London dinner I happened to mention in 
the hearing of Mrs. Procter (widow of " Barry Cornwall," 
and mother of the poetess) that I was going next day to 
the Harrow speeches. "Ah," said Mrs. Procter, "that 
used to be a pleasant outing. The last time I went I 
drove down with Lord Byron and Dr. Parr, who had 
been breakfasting with my father." Mrs. Procter died in 

Among the remarkable women of our time, if merely 
in respect of longevity, must be enumerated Lady Louisa 
Stuart, sister and heir of the last Earl of Traquair. She 



was a friend and correspondent of Sir Walter Scott, 
who, in describing " Tully Veolan," drew Traquair House 
with literal exactness, even down to the rampant bears 
which still guard the locked entrance-gates against all 
comers until the Royal Stuarts shall return to claim 
their own. Lady Louisa Stuart lived to be a hundred, 
and died in 1876. 

Perhaps the most remarkable old lady whom I knew 
intimately was Caroline Lowther, Duchess of Cleveland, 
who was born in 1792 and died in 1883. She had been 
presented to Queen Charlotte when there were only forty 
people at the drawing-room, had danced with the Prince 
of Orange, and had attended the "breakfasts" given 
by Albinia Countess of Buckinghamshire (who died in 
1816), at her villa just outside London. The site of that 
villa is now Hobart Place, having taken its name from 
that of the Buckinghamshire family ; and under the trees 
of its orchard, still discoverable in the back gardens of 
the Hobart Place houses. Sir Hamilton Seymour, who 
lived to become Ambassador at Vienna, was stopped by 
a highwayman when travelling in his father's carriage. 
He died in 1880 — certainly a good link with the past. 

Another story of highway-robbery which excited me 
when I was a boy was that of the fifth Earl of Berke- 
ley, who died in 1810. He had always declared that 
any one might without disgrace be overcome by superior 
numbers, but that he would never surrender to a single 
highwayman. As he was crossing Hounslow Heath one 
night, on his way from Berkeley Castle to London, his 
travelling-carriage was stopped by a man on horseback, 
who put his head in at the window and said : " I believe 
you are Lord Berkeley ?" "I am." "I believe you have 
always boasted that you would never surrender to a sin- 
gle highwayman?" "I have." *'Well," presenting a 
pistol, "I am a single highwayman, and I say, 'Your 


money or your life/" "Yon cowardly dog," said Lord 
Berkeley, *'do you think I can't see your confederate 
skulking behind you ?" The highwayman, who was real- 
ly alone, looked hurriedly round, and Lord Berkeley shot 
him through the head. I asked Lady Caroline Maxse 
(1803-1886), who was born a Berkeley, if this story was 
true. I can never forget my thrill when she replied : 
" Yes ; and I am proud to say that I am that man's 
daughter \" 

Sir Moses Montefiore was born in 1784, and died in 
1885. It is a disheartening fact for the teetotalers that 
he had drunk a bottle of port-wine every day since he 
grew up. He had dined with Lord Nelson on board his 
ship, and vividly remembered the transcendent beauty 
of Lady Hamilton. The last time Sir Moses appeared in 
public was, if I mistake not, at a garden-party at Marl- 
borough House. The party was given on a Saturday. 
Sir Moses was restrained by religious scruples from us- 
ing his horses, and was, of course, too feeble to walk, so 
he was conveyed to the party in a magnificent sedan- 
chair. That was the only occasion on which I have seen 
such an article in use in London. 

When I began to go out in London, a conspicuous fig- 
ure in dinner-society and on Protestant platforms was 
Captain Francis Maude, K.N. He was born in 1778, and 
died in 1886. He used to say : " My grandfather was 
twelve years old when Charles II. died." And so, if 
pedigrees may be trusted, he was. Charles II. died in 
1685. Sir Eobert Maude was born in 1673. His son, 
the first Lord Hawarden, was born in 1729, and Captain 
Francis Maude was Lord Hawarden's youngest son. The 
year of his death (1886) saw also the disappearance of a 
truly venerable woman, Mrs. Hodgson, mother of Kirk- 
man and Stewart Hodgson, the well-known partners in 
Barings' house. Her age was not precisely known, but 



when a school -girl in Paris she had seen Robespierre 
execnted, and distinctly recollected the appearance of 
his bandaged face. Her grand - daughters, Mr. Stewart 
Hodgson's children, are quite young women, and if they 
live to the age which, with such ancestry, they are en- 
titled to anticipate, they will carry down into the mid- 
dle of the twentieth century the account, derived from 
an eye-witness, of the central event of the French Rev- 

One year later, in 1887, there died, at her family house 
in St. James's Square, Mrs. Anne Penelope Hoare, moth- 
er of the late Sir Henry Hoare, M.P. She recollected 
being at a children's party when the lady of the house 
came in and stopped the dancing because news had come 
that the King of France had been put to death. Her 
range of conscious knowledge extended from the execu- 
tion of Louis XVI. to the Jubilee of Queen Victoria. So 
short a thing is history. 

Sir Walter Stirling, Avho was born in 1802 and died in 
1888, was a funny little old gentleman of ubiquitous ac- 
tivity, running about London with a brown wig, short 
trousers, and a cotton umbrella. I well remember his 
saying to me, when Mr. Bradlaugh was committed to 
the Clock Tower : " I don't like this. I am afraid it will 
mean mischief. I am old enough to remember seeing 
Sir Francis Burdett taken to the Tower by the Sergeant- 
at-Arms with a military force. I saw the riot then, and 
I am afraid I shall see a riot again." 

In the same year (1888) died Mrs. Thomson Hankey, 
wife of a former M.P. for Peterborough. Her father, 
a Mr. Alexander, was born in 1729, and she had inherited 
from him traditions of London as it appeared to a young 
Scotsman in the year of the decapitation of the rebels 
after the rising of 1745, 

One of the most venerable and interesting figures in 



London, down to his death in 1891, was George Thomas, 
sixth Earl of Albemarle. He was born in 1799. He 
had played bat-trap-and-ball at St. Anne's Hill with Mr. 
Fox, and shared with his old comrade Sir Thomas Which- 
cote, who survived him by a few months, the honor of 
being the last survivor of Waterloo. A man whom I knew 
longer and more intimately than any of those whom I 
have described was the late Lord Charles James Fox 
Kussell. He was born in 1807, and died in 1894. His 
father's groom had led the uproar of London servants 
which in the last century damned the play " High Life 
Below Stairs." He remembered a Highlander who had 
followed the army of Prince Charles Edward in 1745, 
and had learned from another Highlander the Jacobite 
soldiers' song : 

"I would I were at Manchester, 
A-sitting on the grass, 
And by my side a bottle of wine, 
And on my lap a lass." 

He had officiated as a page at the coronation of George 
IV.; had conversed with Sir Walter Scott about The 
Bride of Lammermoor before the authorship was dis- 
closed ; had served in the Blues under Ernest Duke of 
Cumberland ; and had lost his way in trying to find the 
newly developed quarter of London called Belgrave 

Among living links, I hope it is not ungallant to enu- 
merate Lady Georgiana Grey, only surviving child of 

"That Earl, who forced his compeers to be just. 
And wrought in brave old age what youth had planned ;" 

Lady Louisa Tighe, who, as Lady Louisa Lennox, buckled 
the Duke of Wellington's sword when he set out from 
her mother's ball at Brussels for the field of Waterloo ; 



and Miss Eliza Smith, of Brighton, the vivacious and 
evergreen daughter of Horace Smith, who wrote Rejected 
Addresses. But these admirable and accomplished ladies 
hate garrulity, and the mere mention of their names is a 
signal to bring these disjointed reminiscences to a close. 



These chapters are founded on Links with the Past. 
Let me now describe in rather fuller detail three or four 
remarkable people with whom I had more than a cur- 
sory acquaintance, and who allowed me for many years 
the privilege of drawing without restriction on the rich 
stores of their political and social recollections. 

First among these in point of date, if of nothing else, 
I must place John Earl Eussell, the only person I have 
ever known who knew Napoleon the Great. Lord Rus- 
sell — or, to give him the name by which he was most 
familiar to his countrymen, Lord John Russell — w^ 
born in 1792, and when I first knew him he was already 
old ; but it might have been said of him with perfect 
truth that 

"Votiva patuit veluti descripta tabella 
Vita senis." 

After he resigned the leadership of the Liberal party, 
at Christmas, 1867, Lord Russell spent the greater part 
of his time at Pembroke Lodge, a house in Richmond 
Park, which takes its name from Elizabeth Countess 
of Pembroke, familiar to all students of last century's 
memoirs as the object of King George IIFs hopeless and 
pathetic love. As a token of his affection the King al- 
lowed Lady Pembroke to build herself a " lodge '' in the 
**vast wilderness" of Richmond Park, amid surround- 



ings which went far to realize Cowper's idea of a '' bound- 
less contiguity of shade." 

On her death, in 1831, Pembroke Lodge was assigned 
by William IV. to his son-in-law. Lord Erroll, and in 
1847 it was offered by the Queen to her Prime Minister, 
Lord John Russell, who then had no home except his 
house in Chesham Place. It was gratefully accepted, 
for indeed it had already been coveted as an ideal resi- 
dence for a busy politician who wanted fresh air, and 
could not safely be far from the House of Commons. 
As years went on Lord John spent more and more of 
his time in this delicious retreat, and in his declining 
years it was practically his only home. 

A quarter of a century ago it was a curious and inter- 
esting privilege for a young man to sit in the trellised 
dining-room of Pembroke Lodge, or to pace its terrace- 
walk looking down upon the Thames, in intimate con- 
verse with a statesman who had enjoyed the genial so- 
ciety of Mr. Fox, and had been the travelling companion 
of Lord Holland, had corresponded with Tom Moore, 
debated with Francis Jeffrey, and dined with Dr. Parr ; 
had visited Melrose Abbey in the company of Sir Walter 
Scott, and criticized the acting of Mrs. Siddons; con- 
versed with Napoleon in his seclusion at Elba, and rid- 
den with the Duke of Wellington along the lines of 
Torres Vedras. 

The genius of John Leech, constantly exercised on 
the subject for twenty years, has made all students of 
Punch familiar with Lord John Eussell's outward as- 
pect. We know from his boyish diary that on his 
eleventh birthday he was "4 feet 2 inches high and 
3 stone 12 lb. weight"; and though, as time went on, 
these extremely modest dimensions were slightly ex- 
ceeded, he was an unusually short man. His massive 
head and broad shoulders gave him when he sat the 



appearance of greater size, and when he rose to his feet 
the diminutive stature caused a feeling of surprise. 

Sydney Smith declared that when Lord John first 
contested Devonshire the burly electors were disap- 
pointed by the exiguity of their candidate, but were 
satisfied when it was explained to them that he had 
once been much larger, but was worn away by the anx- 
ieties and struggles of the Reform Bill of 1832. Never 
was so robust a spirit enshrined in so fragile a form. 
He inherited the miserable legacy of congenital weak- 
ness. Even in those untender days he was considered 
too delicate to remain at a public school. It was thought 
impossible for him to live through his first session of 

When he was fighting the Reform Bill through the 
House of Commons he had to be fed with arrowroot by 
a benevolent lady who was moved to compassion by his 
pitiful appearance. For years afterwards he was liable 
to fainting fits, had a wretched digestion, and was easil;^ 
upset by hot rooms, late hours, and bad air. These cir- 
cumstances, combined with his love of domestic life and 
his fondness for the country, led him to spend every 
evening that he could spare in his seclusion at Pembroke 
Lodge, and consequently cut him off, very much to his 
political disadvantage, fr«m constant and intimate asso- 
ciation with official colleagues and parliamentary sup- 

There were other characteristics which enhanced this 
unfortunate impression of aloofness. His voice had 
what used to be described in satirical writings of the 
first half of the centnry as ''an aristocratic drawl/' and 
his pronunciation was archaic. Like other high-bred 
people of his time, he talked of "cowcumbers" and 
"laylocks"; called a woman an '"ooman," and was 
*' much obleeged " where a degenerate age is content to 



be obliged. The frigidity of his address and the seem- 
ing stiffness of his manner, due really to an innate and 
incurable shyness, produced, even among people who 
ought to have known him well, a totally erroneous no- 
tion of his character and temperament. To Bulwer 
Lytton he seemed — 

"How formed to lead, if not too proud to please! 
His fame would fire you, but his manners freeze. 
Like or dislike, he does not care a jot ; 
He wants your vote, but your affections not ; 
Yet human hearts need sun as well as oats — 
So cold a climate plays the deuce with votes." 

It must be admitted that in some of the small social 
arts which are so valuable an equipment for a political 
leader Lord John was funnily deficient. He had no 
memory for faces, and was painfully apt to ignore his 
political followers when he met them beyond the walls 
of Parliament. Once, staying in a Scotch country-house, 

he found himself thrown with young Lord D , now 

Earl of S . He liked the young man's conversation, 

and was pleased to find that he was a Whig. When the 
party broke up, Lord John conquered his shyness suffi- 
ciently to say to his new friend : "Well, Lord D , I 

am very glad to have made your acquaintance, and now 
yon must come into the House of Commons and sup- 
port me there." "I have been doing that for the last 
ten years. Lord John,*' was the reply of the gratified 

This inability to remember faces was allied in Lord 
John with a curious artlessness of disposition which 
made it impossible for him to feign a cordiality he did 
not feel. Once, at a concert at Buckingham Palace, 
he was seen to get up suddenly, turn his back on the 
Duchess of Sutherland, by whom he had been sitting, 



walk to the remotest part of the room, and sit down by 
the Dachess of Inverness. When questioned afterwards 
as to the cause of his unceremonious move, which had 
the look of a quarrel, he said : " I could not have sat 
any longer by that great fire; I should have fainted." 

"Oh, that was a very good reason for moving ; but I 
hope you told the Duchess of Sutherland why you left 

'' Well— no. I don't think I did that. But I told the 
Duchess of Inverness why I came and sate by her !" 

Thus were the opportunities of paying harmless com- 
pliments recklessly thrown away. 

It was once remarked by a competent critic that 
" there have been ministers who knew the springs of 
that public opinion which is delivered ready digested 
to the nation every morning, and who have not scrupled 
to work them for their own diurnal glorification, even 
although the recoil might injure their colleagues. But^ 
Lord Russell has never bowed the knee to the poten- 
tates of the press ; he has offered no sacrifice of invita- 
tions to social editors ; and social editors have accord- 
ingly failed to discover the merits of a statesman who so 
little appreciated them until they have almost made the 
nation forget the services that Lord Russell has so faith- 
fully and courageously rendered." 

Be this as it may, there is no doubt that the old Whig 
statesman lacked those gifts or arts which make a man 
widely popular in a large society of superficial acquaint- 
ances. On his death-bed he said with touching pathos, 
" I have seemed cold to my friends, but it was not in my 
heart." The friends needed no such assurance. He was 
the idol of those who were most closely associated with 
him by the ties of blood or duty. Even to people out- 
side the innermost circle of intimacy there was some- 
thing peculiarly attractive in his singular mixture of 



gentleness and dignity. lie excelled as a host, doing 
the honors of his table with the old-fashioned grace 
which he had learned at Woburn Abbey and at Holland 
House when the century was young ; and in the charm 
of his conversation he was not easily equalled — never, in 
my experience, surpassed. He had the happy knack of 
expressing a judgment which might be antagonistic to 
the sentiments of those with whom he was dealing in 
language which, while perfectly void of offence, was 
calmly decisive. His reply to Sir Francis Burdett has 
been pronounced by Mr. Gladstone to be the best 
repartee ever made in Parliament. Sir Francis, an ex- 
Radical, attacking his former associates with all the bit- 
terness of a renegade, had said, " The most offensive 
thing in the world is the cant of patriotism." Lord 
John replied, "I quite agree that the cant of patriotism 
is a very offensive thing ; but the recant of patriotism is 
more offensive still." His letter to the Dean of Hereford 
about the election of Bishop Hampden is a classical in- 
stance of courteous controversy. Once a most illustri- 
ous personage asked him if it was true that he thought 
that under certain circumstances it was lawful for a sub- 
ject to disobey the Sovereign. "Well, speaking of a 
Sovereign of the House of Hanover, I can only answer 
in the affirmative." 

His copiousness of anecdote was inexhaustible. His 
stories always fitted the point, and the droll gravity of 
his way of telling them added greatly to their zest. Of 
his conversation with Napoleon at Elba I recollect only 
one question and answer. The Emperor took the little 
Englishman by the ear and asked him what was thought 
in England of his chance of returning to the throne of 
France. " I said, ' Sire, they think you have no chance 
at all.' ' Then you can tell them from me that they are 



This interview took place when Lord John was making 
a tour with Lord and Lady Holland, and much of his 
earlier life had been spent at Holland House, in the 
heart of that brilliant society which Macaulay so pict- 
uresquely described, and in which Luttrell and Samuel 
Rogers were conspicuous figures. Their conversation 
supplied Lord John with an anecdote which he used to 
bring out, with a twinkling eye and a chuckling laugh, 
whenever he heard that any public reform was regarded 
with misgiving by sensible men. Luttrell and Rogers 
were passing in a wherry under old London Bridge when 
its destruction was contemplated, and Rogers said, 
" Some very sensible men think that the removal of 
these narrow arches will cause such a rush of water as 
will be very dangerous." '' My dear Rogers," answered 
V Luttrell, " if some very sensible men had been attended 
to, we should still be eating acorns." 

Of William and John Scott, afterwards Lord Stowell 
and Lord Eldon, Lord John Russell used to tell with in- 
finite zest a story which he declared to be highly char- 
acteristic of the methods by which they made their fort- 
unes and position. When they were young men at the 
Bar, having had a stroke of professional luck, they de- 
termined to celebrate the occasion by having a dinner at 
a tavern and going to the play. When it was time to 
call for the reckoning William Scott dropped a guinea. 
He and his brother searched for it in vain, and came to 
the conclusion that it had fallen between the boards of 
the uncarpeted floor. 

" This is a bad job," said William ; " we must give up 
the play." 

" Stop a bit," said John ; " I know a trick worth two 
of that," and called the waitress. 

"Betty," said he, "we've dropped two guineas. See 
if you can find them." Betty went down on her hands 



and knees, and found the one guinea, which had rolled 
under the fender. 

''That's a very good girl, Betty," said John Scott, 
pocketing the coin, "and when you find the other you 
can keep it for your trouble." And the prudent broth- 
ers went with a light heart to the play, and so eventually 
to the Bench and the AVoolsack. 

In spite of profound dififerences of political opinion, 
Lord Kussell had a high regard for the memory of the 
Duke of Wellington, and had been much in his society 
in early life. Travelling in the Peninsula in 1813, he 
visited Lord Wellington at his headquarters near Burgos. 
On the morning after his arrival he rode out with his 
host and an aide-de-camp, and surveyed the position of 
the French army. Lord Wellington, peering through his 
glass, suddenly exclaimed, " By God ! they've changed 
their position !" and said no more. 

When they returned from their ride, the aide-de-camp 
said to Lord John, "You had better get away as quick 
as you can. I am confident that Lord Wellington means 
to make a move." Lord John took the hint, made his ex- 
cuses, and went on his way. That evening the British 
army was in full retreat, and Lord Eussell used to tell 
the story as illustrating the old Duke's extreme reticence 
when there was a chance of a military secret leaking 

Lord Russell's father, the sixth Duke of Bedford, be- 
longed to that section of the Whigs who thought that, 
while a Whig Ministry was impossible, it was wiser to 
support the Duke of Wellington, whom they believed to 
be a thoroughly honest man, than Canning, whom they 
regarded as an unscrupulous adventurer. Accordingly, 
the Duke of Wellington was a frequent visitor at Woburn 
Abbey, and showed consistent friendliness to Lord Rus- 
sell and his many brothers, all of whom were full of anec- 



dotes illustrative of his grim humor and robust common- 
sense. Let a few of tliem be recorded. 

The Government was contemplating the despatch of an 
expedition to Burma, with a view to taking Rangoon, and 
a question arose as to who would be the fittest general to 
be sent in command of the expedition. The Cabinet sent 
for the Duke of Wellington, and asked his advice. He 
instantly replied, "Send Lord Combermere." 

" But we have always understood that your grace 
thought Lord Combermere a fool." 

" So he is a fool, and a damned fool ; but he can take 
^ Rangoon." 

At the time of Queen Caroline's trial the mob of Lon- 
don sided with the Queen, and the Duke's strong adhe- 
sion to the King made him extremely unpopular. Riding 
up Crosvenor Place one day towards Apsley House, he 
was beset by a gang of workmen who were mending the 
road. They formed a cordon, shouldered their pickaxes, 
and swore they would not let the Duke pass till he said 
"God save the Queen." "Well, gentlemen, since you 
will have it so — ' God save the Queen,' and may all your 
wives be like her !" 

Mrs. Arbuthnot (wife of the Duke's private secretary, 
familiarly called " Gosh") was fond of parading her inti- 
macy with the Duke before miscellaneous company. One 
day, in a large party, she said to him : 

" Duke, I know you won't mind my asking you, but is 
it true that you were so much surprised when you found 
you had won the Battle of Waterloo ?" 

" By God ! not half as much surprised as I am now, 

When the Queen came to the throne her first public act 

was to go in state to St. James's Palace to be proclaimed. 

She naturally wished to be accompanied in her State 

coach only by the Duchess of Kent and one of the ladies 

B 17 


of the honsehold ; but Lord Albemarle, who was Master 
of the Horse, insisted that he had a right to travel with 
her Majesty in the coach, as he had done with William 
IV. The point was submitted to the Duke of "Welling- 
ton, as a kind of universal referee in matters of precedent 
and usage. His judgment was delightfully unflattering 
to the outraged magnate — " The Queen can make you go 
inside the coach or outside the coach, or run behind like 
a damned tinker's dog." 

And surely the whole literary profession, of which the 
present writer is a feeble unit, must cherish a sentiment 
of grateful respect for the memory of a man who, in re- 
fusing the dedication of a song, informed Mrs. Norton 
that he had been obliged to make a rule of refusing 
dedications, "because, in his situation as Chancellor of 
the University of Oxford, he had been much exjjosed to 



If the Christian Socialists ever frame a Calendar of 
Worthies (after the manner of Aiiguste Comte), it is to 
be hoped that they will mark among the most sacred and 
memorable of their anniversaries the day — April 28, 1801 
— which gave birth to Anthony Ashley, seventh Earl of 
Shaftesbury. His life of eighty -four years was conse- 
crated, from boyhood till death, to the social service of 
humanity ; and, for my own part, I must always regard the 
privilege of his friendship as among the highest honors 
of my life. Let me try to recall some of the outward 
and inward characteristics of this truly illustrious man. 

Lord Shaftesbury was tall and spare — almost gaunt — 
in figure, but powerfully framed, and capable of great ex- 
ertion. His features were handsome and strongly marked 
— an aquiline nose and very prominent chin. His com- 
plexion was as pale as marble, and contrasted effectively 
with a thick crop of jet-black hair which extreme old age 
scarcely tinged with silver. 

When he first entered Parliament a contemporary ob- 
server of the House of Commons wrote : "It would be 
difficult to imagine a more complete beau-ideal of aris- 
tocracy. His whole countenance has the coldness as well 
as the grace of a chiselled one, and expresses precision, 
prudence, and determination in no common degree." 
The stateliness of bearing, the unbroken figure, the high 
glance of stern though melancholy resolve, he retained 



to the end. But the incessant labor and anxiety of sixty 
years made their mark, and Sir John Millais's noble por- 
trait, painted in 1877, shows a countenance on which a 
lifelong contact with human suffering had written its 
tale in legible characters. 

All temperament is, I suppose, largely hereditary. 
Lord Shaftesbury's father, who was for nearly forty years 
chairman of committees in the House of Lords, was dis- 
tinguished by a strong intellect, an imperious temper, 
and a character singularly deficient in amiability. His 
mother (whose childish beauty is familiar to all lovers of 
Sir Joshua's art as the little girl frightened by the mask 
in the great " Marlborough Group") was the daughter of 
the third Duke of Marlborough by that Duchess whom 
Queen Charlotte pronounced to be the proudest woman 
in England. It is reasonable to suppose that from such 
a parentage and such an ancestry Lord Shatesbury de- 
rived some of the most conspicuous features of his char- 
acter. From his father he inherited his keenness of in- 
tellect, his habits of laborious industry, and his iron 
tenacity of purpose. From his mother he may have ac- 
quired that strong sense of personal dignity — that intui- 
tive and perhaps unconscious feeling of what was due to 
his station as well as to his individuality — which made 
his presence and address so impressive and sometimes 

Dignity was indeed the quality which immediately 
struck one on one's first encounter with Lord Shaftes- 
bury ; and with dignity were associated a marked impe- 
riousness and an eager rapidity of thought, utterance, 
and action. As one got to know him better, one began 
to realize his intense tenderness towards all weakness and 
suffering ; his overflowing affection for those who stood 
nearest to him ; his almost morbid sensitiveness ; his 
passionate indignation against cruelty or oppression. 



Now and then his conversation was brightened by brief 
and sudden gleams of genuine humor, but these gleams 
were rare. He had seen too much of human misery to 
be habitually jocose, and his whole nature was underlain 
by a groundwork of melancholy. 

The marble of manhood retained the impression 
stamped upon the wax of childhood. His early years 
had been profoundly miserable. His parents were stern 
disciplinarians of the antique type. His private school 
was a hell on earth ; and yet he used to say that he 
feared the master and the bullies less than he feared his 
parents. One element of joy, and one only, he recog- 
nized in looking back to those dark days, and that was the 
devotion of an old maid-servant, who comforted him in his 
childish sorrows, and taught him the rudiments of Chris- 
tian faith. In all the struggles and distresses of boy- 
hood and manhood, he used the words of prayer which he 
had learned from this good woman before he was seven 
years old, and of a keepsake which she left him — the gold 
watch which he wore to the last day of his life — he used 
to say, " That was given to me by the best friend I ever 
had in the world." 

At twelve years old Anthony Ashley went to Harrow, 
where he boarded with the Head Master, Dr. Butler, 
father of the present Master of Trinity. I have heard him 
say that the master in whose form he was, being a bad 
sleeper, held ''first school" at four o'clock on a winter's 
morning ; and that the boy for whom he fagged, being 
anxious to shine as a reciter, and finding it difficult to 
secure an audience, compelled him and his fellow-fag to 
listen night after night to his recitations, perched on a 
high stool where a nap was impossible. 

But in spite of these austerities, Anthony Ashley was 
happy at Harrow, and the place should be sacred in the 
eyes of all philanthropists, because it was there that, when 



he was fourteen years old, he consciously and definitely 
gave his life to the service of his fellow-men. He chanced 
to see a scene of drunken indecency and neglect at the 
funeral of one of the villagers, and exclaimed in horror, 
" Good heavens ! Can this be permitted simply because 
the man was poor and friendless ?" What followed is 
told by a tablet on the wall of the old school, which 
bears the following inscription : 

Love. Serve. 






THE pauper's FUNERAL 




Blessed is he that considereth the poor. 

After leaving Harrow, Lord Ashley (as he now was) 
spent two years at a private tutor's, and in 1819 he went 
up to Christ Church. In 1822 he took a First Class in 
Classics. The next four years were spent in study and 
travel, and in 1826 he was returned to Parliament, by the 
influence of his uncle, the Duke of Marlborough, for the 
Borough of Woodstock. On November 16th he recorded 
in his diary : '^Took the oaths of Parliament with great 
good-will ; a slight prayer for assistance in my thoughts 
and deeds." Never was a politician's prayer more abun- 
dantly granted. 

In 1830 Lord Ashley married a daughter of Lord Cow- 
per, and this marriage, independently of the radiant hap- 
piness which it brought, had an important bearing on his 


political career, for Lady Ashley's uncle was Lord Mel- 
bourne, and her mother became, by a second marriage, 
the wife of Lord Palmerston. Of Lord Melbourne and 
his strong common-sense. Lord Shaftesbury, in 1882, told 
me the following characteristic story. When the Queen 
became engaged to Prince Albert, she wished him to be 
made King Consort by Act of Parliament, and urged her 
wish upon the Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne. At first 
that sagacious man simply evaded the point, but when 
her Majesty insisted on a categorical answer, " I thought 
it my duty to be very plain with her. I said, 'For 
God's sake, let's hear no more of it, ma'am ; for if you 
once get the English people into the way of making 
\ kings, you will get them into the way of unmaking 
them.' " 

By this time Lord Ashley was deeply immersed in 
those philanthropic enterprises which he had deliber- 
ately chosen as the occupation of his lifetime. Eeform 
of the Lunacy Law and a humaner treatment of lunatics 
were the earliest objects to which he devoted himself. 
To attain them the more effectually, he got himself 
made a member, and subsequently chairman, of the Lu- 
nacy Commission, and threw himself into the work with 
characteristic thoroughness. He used to pay " surprise 
visits " both by day and night to public and private asy- 
lums, and discovered by those means a system of regu- 
lated and sanctioned cruelty which, as he narrated it in 
his old age, seemed almost too horrible for credence. 

The abolition of slavery all over the world was a cause 
which very early enlisted his sympathy, and he used to 
tell with grim humor how when, after he had become 
Lord Shaftesbury, he had signed an Open Letter to 
America in favor of emancipation, a Southern newspaper 
sarcastically inquired: "Where was this Lord Shaftes- 
bury when the noble-hearted Lord Ashley was doing his 



single-handed work on behalf of the English slaves in 
the factories of Lancashire and Yorkshire ?" 

Sanitary reform and the promotion of the public health 
were objects at which, in the middle part of his life, he 
worked hard, both as a landowner and as the unpaid 
Chairman of the Board of Health, The crusade against 
vivisection warmed his heart and woke his indignant 
eloquence in his declining years. His Memorial Service 
in Westminster Abbey was attended by representatives 
of nearly two hundred religious and philanthropic insti- 
tutions with which he had been connected, and which, 
in one way or another, he had served. But, of course, 
it is with the reform of the Factory Laws that his name 
is most inseparably associated. 

In 1833 Lord Ashley took up the Ten Hours Bill, pre- 
viously in the charge of Mr. Sadler, who had now lost 
his seat. He carried his Bill through the Second Read- 
ing, but it was opposed by Lord Althorp, who threw it 
out, and carried a modified proposal in 1833. In 1844 
the introduction of a new Bill for the regulation of labor 
in factories brought Lord Ashley back to his old battle- 
field. A desperate struggle was made to amend the Bill 
into a Ten Hours Bill, but this failed, owing to Sir Rob- 
ert Peel's threat of resignation. 

In 1845 Lord Ashley refused the Chief Secretaryship 
for Ireland, in order to be able to devote himself wholly 
to the Ten Hours Bill ; and, as soon as Parliament rose, 
he went on a tour through the manufacturing districts, 
speaking in public, mediating between masters and men, 
and organizing the Ten Hours Movement. 

In 1847 the Bill passed into law. On June 1st in that 
year Lord Ashley wrote in his diary: ''News that the 
Factory Bill has just passed the Third Reading. I am 
humbled that my heart is not bursting with thankfulness 
to Almighty God — that I can find breath and sense to 



express my joy. What reward shall we give unto the 
Lord for all the benefits lie luith conferred upon us ? 
God in His mercy prosper the work, and grant that these 
operatives may receive the cup of salvation and call upon 
the name of the Lord !" 

The perfervid vein of philanthropic zeal which is ap- 
parent in this extract animated and dominated every part 
of Lord Shaftesbury's nature and every action of his life. 
He had, if ever man had, " the Enthusiasm of Humani- 
ty." His religion, on its interior side, was rapt, emo- 
tional, and sometimes mystic ; but at the same time 
it was, in its outward manifestations, definite, tangible, 
and, beyond most men's, practical. At the age of twen- 
ty-seven he wrote in his diary : " On my soul, I believe 
that I desire the welfare of mankind I" At eighty-four 
he exclaimed, in view of his approaching end, " I cannot 
bear to leave the world with all the misery in it !" And 
this was no mere effusive declamation, but the genuine 
utterance of a zeal which condescended to the most mi- 
nute and laborious forms of practical expression. 

''Poor dear children !" he exclaimed to the superin- 
tendent of a ragged school, after hearing from some of 
the children their tale of cold and hunger. " What can 
we do for them ?" 

" My God shall supply all their need," replied the 
superintendent, with easy faith. 

"Yes," said Lord Shaftesbury, "He will, but they 
must have some food directly." He drove home, and 
instantly sent two churns of soup, enough to feed four 
hundred. That winter ten thousand basins of soup, 
made in Grosvenor Square, were distributed among the 
"dear little hearts" of Whitechapel. 

And as in small things, so in great. One principle 
consecrated his whole life. The love of God constrained 
him to the service of men, and no earthly object or con- 



sideration — however natural, innocent, or even laudable 
— was allowed for a moment to interpose itself between 
him and the supreme purpose for which he lived. He 
was by nature a man of keen ambition, and yet he twice 
refused office in the Household, once the Chief Sec- 
retaryship, and three times a seat in the Cabinet, be- 
cause acceptance would have hindered him in his social 
legislation and philanthropic business. When one con- 
siders his singular qualifications for public life — his phys- 
ical gifts, his power of sj^eech, his habits of business, his 
intimate connections with the official caste — when we re- 
member that he did not succeed to his paternal property 
till he was fifty years old, and then found it grossly 
neglected and burdened with debt ; and that his purse 
had been constantly drained by his philanthropic enter- 
prises ; I feel justified in saying that very few men have 
ever sacrificed so much for a cause which brought neither 
honor, nor riches, nor power, nor any visible reward, ex- 
cept the diminished suffering and increased happiness of 
multitudes who were the least able to help themselves. 

Lord Shaftesbury's devotion to the cause of Labor led 
him to make the Factory Acts a touchstone of character. 
To the end of his days his view of public men was large- 
ly governed by the part which they had played in that 
great controversy. " Gladstone voted against me," was 
a stern sentence not seldom on his lips. '' Bright was 
the most malignant opponent the Factory Bill ever had." 
"Cobden, though bitterly hostile, was better than 
Bright." Even men whom, on general grounds, he 
disliked and despised — such as Lord Beaconsfield and 
Bishop Wilberforce — found a saving clause in his judg- 
ment if he could truthfully say, "He helped me with 
the chininey - sweeps," or, ''He felt for the wretched 

But even apart from questions of humane sentiment 



and the supreme interests of social legislation, I always 
felt in my intercourse with Lord Shaftesbury that it 
would have been impossible for him to act for long to- 
gether in subordination to, or even in concert with, any 
political leader. Resolute, self-reliant, inflexible ; hat- 
ing compromise ; never turning aside by a hair's-breadth 
from the path of duty, incapable of flattering high or 
low ; dreading leaps in the dark, but dreading more 
than anything else the sacrifice of principle to party; 
he was essentially the type of politician who is the de- 
spair of the official wire-puller. 

Oddly enough. Lord Palmerston was the statesman 
with whom, despite all ethical dissimilarity, he had the 
most sympathy, and this arose jxirtly from their near re- 
lationship, and partly from Lord Palmerston's easy-going 
habit of placing his ecclesiastical patronage largely in 
Lord Shaftesbury^s hands. It was this unseen but not 
unfelt power as a confidential but irresjaonsible adviser 
that Lord Shaftesbury really enjoyed ; and, indeed, his 
political opinions were too individual to have allowed of 
binding association with either political party. He was, 
in the truest and best sense of the word, a Conservative. 
To call him a Tory would be quite misleading. He was 
not averse from Roman Catholic emancipation. He took 
no prominent part against the first Reform Bill. His re- 
sistance to the admission of the Jews to Parliament was 
directed rather against the method than the principle. 
Though not friendly to Women's Suffrage, he said : " I 
shall feel myself bound to conform to the national will, 
but I am not prepared to stimulate it." 

But, while no blind and unreasoning opponent of all 
change, he had a deep and lively veneration for the past. 
Institutions, doctrines, ceremonies, dignities, even social 
customs, which had descended from old time, had for 
him a fascination and an awe. In his high sense of the 



privileges and the duties of kingship, of aristocracy, of 
territorial possession, of established religions, he recalled 
the doctrine of Burke ; and he resembled that illustrious 
man in his passionate love of principle ; in his proud 
hatred of shifts and compromises ; in his contempt for 
the whole race of mechanical politicians and their ig- 
noble strife for place and power. 

When Lord Derby formed his Government in 1866, on 
the defeat of Lord Eussell's second Reform Bill, he en- 
deavored to obtain the sanction of Lord Shaftesbury's 
name and authority by offering him a seat in his Cabinet. 
This offer was promptly declined ; had it been accepted, 
it might have had an important bearing on the following 
event, which Avas narrated to me by Lord Shaftesbury in 
1882. One Avinter evening in 1867 he was sitting in his 
library in Glrosvenor Square, when the servant told him 
that there was a poor man waiting to see him. The man 
was shown in, and proved to be a laborer from Clerken- 
well, and one of the innumerable recipients of the old 
EarFs charity. He said, " My Lord, you have been very 
good to me, and I have come to tell you what I have 
heard." It appeared that at the public-house which he 
frequented he had overheard some Irishmen of desperate 
character plotting to blow up Olerkenwell Prison. He 
gave Lord Shaftesbury the information to be used as he 
thought best, but made it a condition that his name 
should not be divulged. If it were, his life would not 
be worth an hour's purchase. 

Lord Shaftesbury pledged himself to secrecy, ordered 
his carriage, and drove instantly to Whitehall. The 
authorities there refused, on grounds of official practice, 
to entertain the information without the name and ad- 
dress of the informant. These, of course, could not be 
given. The warning was rejected, and the jail blown 
up. Had Lord Shaftesbury been a Cabinet Minister, 



this triumph of officialism would probably not have 

What I have said of this favorite hero of mine in his 
public aspects will have prepared the sympathetic reader 
for the presentment of the man as he appeared in private 
life. For what he was abroad that he was at home. He 
was not a man who showed two natures or lived two 
lives. He was profoundly religious, eagerly benevolent, 
utterly impatient of whatever stood between him and the 
laudable object of the moment, warmly attached to those 
who shared his sympathies and helped his enterprises — 
Fort comme le diamant ; plus tendre qu'une m^re. The 
imperiousness which I described at the outset remained 
a leading characteristic to the last. His opinions were 
strong, his judgment was emphatic, his language un- 
measured. He had been, all through his public life, sur- 
rounded by a cohort of admiring and obedient coadjutors, 
and he was unused to, and intolerant of, disagreement or 
opposition. It was a disconcerting experience to speak 
on a platform where he was chairman, and, just as one 
was warming to an impressive passage, to feel a vigorous 
pull at one's coat-tail, and to hear a quick, imperative 
voice say, in no muffled tone, " My dear fellow, are you 
never going to stop ? We shall be here all night." 

But when due allowance was made for this natural 
habit of command. Lord Shaftesbury was delightful com- 
pany. Given to hospitality, he did the honors with 
stately grace ; and, on the rare occasions when he could 
be induced to dine out, his presence was sure to make 
the party a success. In early life he had been pestered 
by a delicate digestion, and had accustomed himself to a 
regimen of rigid simplicity ; but, though the most abste- 
mious of men, he knew and liked a good glass of wine, 
and in a small party would bring out of the treasures of 
his memory things new and old with a copiousness and a 



vivacity which fairly fascinated his hearers. His conver- 
sation had a certain flavor of literature. His classical 
scholarship was easy and graceful. He had the Latin 
poets at his fingers' ends, spoke French fluently, knew 
Milton by heart, and was a great admirer of Crabbe. His 
own style, both in speech and writing, was copious, vigor- 
ous, and often really eloquent. It had the same orna- 
mental precision as his exquisite handwriting. When he 
was among friends whom he thoroughly enjoyed, the 
sombre dignity of his conversation was constantly enliv- 
ened by flashes of a genuine humor, which relieved, by 
the force of vivid contrast, the habitual austerity of his 

A kind of proud humility was constantly present in his 
speech and bearing. Ostentation, display, lavish expen- 
diture would have been abhorrent alike to his taste and 
his principles. The stately figure which bore itself so 
majestically in Courts and Parliaments naturally unbent 
among the costermongers of Whitechapel and the labor- 
ers of Dorsetshire. His personal appointments were 
simple to a degree ; his own expenditure was restricted 
within the narrowest limits. But he loved, and was 
honestly proud of, his beautiful home — St. Giles's House, 
near Cranbourne — and when he received his guests, gen- 
tle or simple, at " The Saint," as he affectionately called 
it, the mixture of stateliness and geniality in his bear- 
ing and address was an object-lesson in high breeding. 
Once Lord Beaconsfield, who was staying with Lord 
Alington at Crichel, was driven over to call on Lord 
Shaftesbury at St. Giles's. When he rose to take his 
leave, he said, with characteristic magniloquence, but not 
without an element of truth : "Good-bye, my dear Lord. 
You have given me the privilege of seeing one of the most 
impressive of all spectacles — a great English nobleman 
living in patriarchal state in his own hereditary halls." 




I HAVE described a great philanthropist and a great 
statesman. My present subject is a man who combined 
in singular harmony the qualities of philanthropy and of 
statesmanship — Henry Edward, Cardinal Manning, and 
titular Archbishop of Westminster. 

My acquaintance with Cardinal Manning began in 
1883. Early in the Parliamentary session of that year 
he intimated, through a common friend, a desire to 
make my acquaintance. He wished to get an indepen- 
dent member of Parliament, and especially, if possible, 
a Liberal and a Churchman, to take up in the House of 
Commons the cause of Denominational Education. His 
scheme was much the same as that now adopted by the 
Government — the concurrent endowment of all denom- 
inational schools ; which, as he remarked, would prac- 
tically come to mean those of the Komans, the Anglicans, 
and the Wesleyans. In compliance with his request I 
presented myself at that strange, barrack-like building 
off the Vauxhall Bridge Eoad, which was formerly the 
Guards' Institute, and is now the Archbishop's House. 
Of course, I had long been familiar with the Cardinal's 
shrunken form and finely cut features, and that extraor- 
dinary dignity of bearing which gave him, though in 
reality below the middle height, the air and aspect of a 
tall man. But I only knew him as a conspicuous and 
impressive figure in society, on public platforms, and 



(where he specially loved to be) in the precincts of the 
House of Commons. I had never exchanged a word 
with him, and it was with a feeling of very special in- 
terest that I entered his presence. 

We had little in common. I was still a young man, 
and the Cardinal was already old. I was a stanch An- 
glican ; he the most devoted of Papalists. I was strongly 
opposed both to his Ultramontane policy and to those 
dexterous methods by which he was commonly supposed 
to promote it ; and, as far as the circumstances of my 
life had given me any insight into the interior of Eoman- 
ism, I agreed with the great Oratorian of Birmingham 
rather than with his brother - Cardinal of Westminster. 
But though I hope that my principles stood firm, all my 
prejudices melted away in that fascinating presence. 
Though there was something like half a century's differ- 
ence in our ages, I felt at once and completely at home 
with him. 

What made our perfect ease of intercourse more re- 
markable was that, as far as the Cardinal's immediate 
object was concerned, my visit was a total failure. I had 
no sympathy with his scheme for the endowment of de- 
nominational teaching, and, with all the will in the world 
to please him, I could not even meet him half-way. But 
this untoward circumstance did not import the least 
difficulty or restraint into our conversation. He gently 
glided from business into general topics; knew all about 
my career, congratulated me on some recent success, re- 
membered some of my belongings, inquired about my 
school and college, was interested to find that, like him- 
self, I had been at Harrow and Oxford, and, after an hour's 
pleasant chat, said : ''Now you must stay and have some 
luncheon." From that day to the end of his life I was a 
frequent visitor at his house, and every year that I knew 
him I learned to regard and respect him increasingly. 


Looking back over these fourteen years, and reviewing 
my impressions of his personality, I must put first the 
physical aspect of the man. He seemed older than he 
was, and even more ascetic, for he looked as if, like the 
cardinal in Lothair, he lived on biscuits and soda-water ; 
whereas he had a hearty appetite for his mid-day meal, 
and, in his own words, '^ enjoyed his tea." Still, he car- 
ried the irreducible minimum of flesh on his bones, and 
his hollow cheeks and shrunken jaws threw his massive 
forehead into striking prominence. His line of features 
was absolutely faultless in its statuesque regularity, but 
his face was saved from the insipidity of too great per- 
fection by the imperious — rather ruthless — lines of his 
mouth and the penetrating lustre of his deep-set eyes. 
His dress — a black cassock edged and buttoned with 
crimson, with a crimson skullcap and biretta, and a pec- 
toral cross of gold — enhanced the picturesqueness of his 
aspect, and as he entered the anteroom where one await- 
ed his approach, the most Protestant knee instinctively 

His dignity was astonishing. The position of a Car- 
dinal, with a princely rank recognized abroad, but offi- 
cially ignored in England, was a difficult one to carry off, 
but his exquisite tact enabled him to sustain it to perfec- 
tion. He never put himself forward; never asserted 
his rank ; never exposed himself to rebuffs ; still, he al- 
ways contrived to be the most conspicuous figure in any 
company which he entered ; and whether one greeted 
him with the homage due to a Prince of the Church or 
merely with the respect which no one refuses to a courtly 
old gentleman, his manner was equally easy, natural, and, 
unembarrassed. The fact that the Cardinal's name, after 
due consideration, was inserted in the Eoyal Commission 
on the Housing of the Poor immediately after that of the 
Prince of Wales and before Lord Salisbury's was the for- 
c 33 


mal recognition of a social precedence which his adroit- 
ness and judgment had already made his own. 

To imagine that Cardinal Manning regarded station or 
dignity, or even power, as treasures to be valued in them- 
selves would be ridiculously to misconceive the man. He 
had two supreme and absorbing objects in life — if, indeed, 
they may not be more j^roperly spoken of as one — the 
glory of God and the salvation of men. These were, in 
his intellect and conscience, identified with the victory of 
the Roman Church. To these all else was subordinated ; 
by its relation to these all else was weighed and calcu- 
lated. His ecclesiastical dignity, and the secular recog- 
nition of it, were valuable as means to high ends. They 
attracted public notice to his person and mission ; they 
secured him a wider hearing ; they gave him access to 
circles which, perhaps, would otherwise have been closed. 
Hence, and for no other reason, they were valuable. 

It is always to be borne in mind that Manning was es- 
sentially a man of the world, though he was much more 
than that. Be it far from me to disparage the ordinary 
type of Roman ecclesiastic, who is bred in a seminary, 
and perhaps spends his lifetime in a religions commu- 
nity. That peculiar training produces, often enough, a 
character of saintliness and unworldly grace on which 
one can only '^ look,'' to use a phrase of Mr. Gladstone's, 
" as men look up at the stars." But it was a very differ- 
ent process that had made Cardinal Manning what he 
was. He had touched life at many points. A wealthy 
home, four years at Harrow, Balliol in its palmiest days, 
a good degree, a College Fellowship, political and secular 
ambitions of no common kind, apprenticeshij) to the 
practical work of a Government office, a marriage bright- 
ly but all too briefly happy, the charge of a country par- 
ish, and an early initiation into the duties of ecclesiastical 
rulership ; all these experiences had made Henry Man- 



ning, by the time of his momentous change, an accom- 
plished man of the world. 

His subsequent career, though, of course, it super- 
added certain characteristics of its own, never obliter- 
ated or even concealed the marks left by those earlier 
phases, and the octogenarian Cardinal was a beautifully 
mannered, well-informed, sagacious old gentleman, who, 
but for his dress, might have passed for a Cabinet Minis- 
ter, an eminent judge, or a great county magnate. 

His mental alertness was remarkable. He seemed to 
read everything that came out, and to know all that was 
going on. He probed the secrets of character with a 
glance, and was particularly sharp on pretentiousness 
and self-importance. A well-known publicist, who per- 
haps thinks of himself rather more highly than he ought 
to think, once ventured to tell the Cardinal that he knew 
nothing about the subject of a painful agitation which 
pervaded London in the summer of 1885. ^'I have been 
hearing confessions in London for thirty years, and I 
fancy more people have confided their secrets to me than 
to you, Mr. ," was the Cardinal's reply. 

Once, when his burning sympathy with suffering and his 
profound contempt for Political Economy had led him, 
in his own words, to "poke fun at the Dismal Science,^' 
the Times lectured him in its most superior manner, and 
said that the venerable prelate seemed to mistake cause 
and effect. "That," said the Cardinal to me, "is the 
sort of criticism that an undergraduate makes, and thinks 
himself very clever. But I am told that in the present 
day the Times is chiefly written by undergraduates." 

I once asked him what he thought of a high dignitary 
of the English Church, who had gone a certain way in a 
public movement, and then had been frightened back by 
clamor. His reply was the single word "infirmus," ac- 
companied by that peculiar sniff which every one who 



ever conversed with him must remember as adding so 
mucli to the piquancy of his terse judgments. When he 
was asked his opinion of a famous biography in which a 
son had disclosed, with too absolute frankness, his father's 
innermost thoughts and feelings, the Cardinal replied : 
" I think that has committed the sin of Ham." 

His sense of humor was peculiarly keen, and though it 
was habitually kept under control, it was sometimes used 
to point a moral with admirable effect. 

" What are you going to do in life ?" he asked a rather 
flippant undergraduate at Oxford. 

" Oh, I'm going to take Holy Orders," was the airy 

"TaJce care you get them, my son." 

Though he was intolerant of bumptiousness, the Car- 
dinal liked young men. He often had some about him, 
and in speaking to them the friendliness of his manner 
was touched with fatherliness in a truly attractive fash- 
ion. And as with young men, so with children. Surely 
nothing could be prettier than this answer to a little girl 
in New York who had addressed some of her domestic 
experiences to "Cardinal Manning, England": 

'' My dear Child, — You ask me whether I am glad to 
receive letters from little children. I am always glad, for 
they write kindly and give no trouble. I wish all my let- 
ters were like them. Give my blessing to your father, 
and tell him that our good Master will reward him a hun- 
dredfold for all he has lost for the sake of his faith. Tell 
him that when he comes over to England he must come 
to see me. And mind you bring your violin, for I love 
music, but seldom have any time to hear it. The next 
three or four years of your life are very precious. They 
are like the ploughing-time and the sowing-time of the 
year. You are learning to know God, the Holy Trinity, 



the Incarnation, the presence and voice of the Holy Ghost 
in the Church of Jesns Christ. Learn all these things 
solidly, and yon will love the Blessed Sacrament and our 
Blessed Mother with all your heart. And now you will 
pray for me that I may make a good end of a long life, 
which cannot be far off. And may God guide you, and 
guard you in innocence and in fidelity through this evil, 
evil world ! And may His blessing be on your home and 
all belonging to you ! Believe me always a true friend, 

" Henry Edward, 
" Card. Abp. of Westminster." 

The Cardinal had, I should say, rather a contempt for 
women. He exercised a great influence over them, but 
I question if he rated their intellectual and moral quali- 
ties as highly as he ought, and their " rights " he held in 
utter detestation. General society, though in his later 
days he saw little of it except at the Athenaeum, he 
thoroughly enjoyed. Like most old people, he was fond 
of talking about old days, and as he had known hosts 
of important and interesting men, had a tenacious mem- 
ory, and spoke the most finished English, it was a pleas- 
ure to listen to his reminiscences. He wrote as well as 
he talked. His pointed and lucid style gave to his 
printed performances a semblance of cogency which 
they did not really possess ; and his letters — even his 
shortest notes — were as exrquisite in wording as in pen- 
manship. As he grew older he became increasingly sen- 
sible of the charms of " Auld Lang Syne," and he de- 
lighted to renew his acquaintance with the scenes and 
associations of his youth. 

On July 15, 1888, being the first day of the Eton and 
Harrow Match at Lord's, a few Old Harrovians of differ- 
ent generations met at a Harrow dinner. The Cardinal, 
who had just turned eighty, was invited. He declined 



to dine, on the ground that he never dined out, but he 
would on no account forego the opportunity of meeting 
the members of his old school, and he recalled with 
pride that he had been for two years in the Harrow 
Eleven. He appeared as soon as dinner was over, gal- 
lantly faced the cloud of cigar -smoke, was in his very 
best vein of anecdote and reminiscence, and stayed till 
the party broke up. 

The Cardinal's friendships were not, I believe, numer- 
ous, but his affection for Mr. Gladstone is well known. It 
dated from Oxford. Through Manning and Hope-Scott 
the influence of the Catholic revival reached the young 
member for Newark, and they were the godfathers of 
his eldest son. After their secession to Kome in 1851 
this profound friendship fell into abeyance. As far as 
Manning was concerned, it was renewed when, in 1868, 
Mr. Gladstone took in hand to disestablish the Irish 
Church. It was broken again by the controversy about 
Vaticanism in 1875 ; and a few years ago was happily 
revived by the good offices of a common friend. " Glad- 
stone is a very fine fellow,'^ said the Cardinal to me in 
1890. ''He is not vindictive. You may fight him as 
hard as you like, and when the fight is over you will 
find that it has left no rancor behind it." 

This affection for Mr. Gladstone was a personal matter, 
quite independent of politics ; but in political matters also 
they had much in common. " You know," wrote the Car- 
dinal to Mrs. Gladstone on her Golden "Wedding, " how 
nearly I have agreed in William's political career, espe- 
cially in his Irish j)olicy of the last twenty years." He ac- 
cepted the principle of Home Rule, though he thought 
badly of the Bill of 1886, and predicted its failure from the 
day when it was brought in. The exclusion of the Irish 
members was in his eyes a fatal blot, as tending rather to 
separation than to that Imperial federation which was 



his political ideal. But tlio Cardinal always held his 
politics in subordination to his religion, and at the Gen- 
eral Election of 1885 his vigorous intervention on behalf 
of denominational education, which he considered to be 
imperilled by the Radical policy, considerably embar- 
rassed the Liberal cause in those districts of London 
where there is a Roman Catholic vote. 

It is necessary to say a word about Cardinal Manning's 
method of religious propagandism. He excelled in the 
art of driving a nail where it would go. He never wor- 
ried his acquaintance with controversy, never introduced 
religious topics unseasonably, never cast his pearls before 
miappreciative animals. But when he saw a chance, an 
opening, a sympathetic tendency, or a weak spot, he fast- 
ened on it with unerring instinct. His line was rather 
admonitory than persuasive. When he thought that the 
person whom he was addressing had an inkling of the 
truth, but was held back from avowing it by cowardice 
or indecision, he would utter the most startling warnings 
about the danger of dallying with grace. 

*'I promise you to become a Catholic when I am 
twenty-one," said a young lady whom he was trying to 

'' But can you promise to live so long T' was the 
searching rejoinder. 

In Manning's belief, the Roman Church was the one 
oracle of truth and the one ark of salvation ; and his 
was the faith which would compass sea and land, sacri- 
fice all that it possessed, and give its body to be burned, 
if it might by any means bring one more soul to safety. 
If he could win a single human being to see the truth 
and act on it, he was supremely happy. To make the 
Church of Rome attractive, to enlarge her borders, to 
win recruits for her, was therefore his constant effort. 
He had an ulterior eye to it in all his public works — his 



zealous teetotalism, his advocacy of the claims of labor, 
his sympathy with the cause of Home Rule ; and the 
same principle which animated him in these large 
schemes of philanthropy and public policy made itself 
felt in the minutest details of daily life and personal 
dealing. Where he saw the possibility of making a con- 
vert, or even of dissipating prejudice and inclining a 
single Protestant more favorably towards Rome, he left 
no stone unturned to secure this all - important end. 
Hence it came that he was constantly, and not wholly 
without reason, depicted as a man whom in religious 
things it was impossible to trust ; with whom the end 
justified the means ; and whose every act and word, 
where the interests of his Church were involved, must 
be watched with the most jealous suspicion. 

All this was grossly overstated. Whatever else Cardi- 
nal Manning was, he was an English gentleman of the old 
school, with a nice sense of honor and propriety. But 
still, under a mass of calumny and exaggeration there 
lay this substratum of truth — that he who wills the end 
wills the means ; and that where the interests of a 
sacred cause are at stake, an enthusiastic adherent will 
sometimes use methods to which, in enterprises of less 
pith and moment, recourse could not possibly be had. 

Manning had what has been called " the ambition of 
distinctiveness.^' He felt that he had a special mission 
which no other man could so adequately fulfil, and this 
was to establish and popularize in England his own 
robust faith in the cause of the Papacy as identical with 
the cause of God. There never lived a stronger Papal- 
ist. He was more Ultramontane than the Ultramon- 
tanes. Everything Roman was to him divine. Italian 
architecture, Italian vestments, the Italian mode of pro- 
nouncing ecclesiastical Latin were dear to him, because 
they visibly and audibly implied the all-pervading pres- 



ence and power of Rome. Rightly or wrongly, he con- 
ceived that English Romanism, as it was when he joined 
the Roman Church, was practically Gallicanism ; that it 
minimized the Papal supremacy, was disloyal to the 
Temporal Power, and was prone to accommodate itself 
to its Protestant and secular environment. Against this 
time-serving spirit he set his face like a flint. He be- 
lieved that he had been divinely appointed to Papalize 
England. The cause of the Pope was the cause of God ; 
Manning was the person who could best serve the Pope's 
cause, and therefore all forces which opposed him were 
in effect opposing the Divine Will. This seems to have 
been his simple and sufficient creed, and certainly it had 
the merit of supplying a clear rule of action. It made 
itself felt in his hostility to the Religions Orders, and 
especially the Society of Jesus. Religious Orders are 
extra-episcopal. The Jesuits are scarcely subject to the 
Pope himself. Certainly neither the Orders nor the 
Society would, or could, be subject to Manning. A 
power independent of, or hostile to, his authority was 
inimical to religion, and must, as a religious duty, he 
checked, and, if possible, destroyed. Exactly the same 
principle animated his dealings with Cardinal Newman. 
Rightly or wrongly, Manning thought Newman a half- 
hearted Papalist. He dreaded alike his way of putting 
things and his practical policy. Newman's favorite 
scheme of establishing a Roman Catholic college at Ox- 
ford Manning regarded as fraught with peril to the 
faith of the rising generation. The scheme must, there- 
fore, be crushed and its author snubbed. 

I must in candor add that these differences of opinion 
between the two Cardinals were mixed with, and embit- 
tered by, a sense of personal dislike. When Newman 
died there appeared in a monthly magazine a series of 
very unflattering sketches by one who had knoAvn him 



well. I ventured to ask Cardinal Manning if he had 
seen these sketches. lie replied that he had, and thought 
them very shocking ; the writer must have a very un- 
enviable mind, etc. ; and then, having thus sacrificed to 
propriety, after a moment's pause he added: *'But if 
yon ask me if they are like poor Newman, I am bound 
to say — a photograph." 

It was, I suppose, matter of common knowledge that 
I Manning's early and conspicuous ascendency in the 
counsels of the Papacy rested largely on the intimacy of 
his personal relations with Pius IX. But it was news 
to most of us that (if his biographer is right) he wished 
to succeed Antonelli as Secretary of State in 1876, and 
to transfer the scene of his activities from Westminster 
to Rome ; and that he attributed the Pope's disregard of 
his wishes to mental decrepitude. The point, if true, 
is an important one, for his accession to the Secretary- 
ship of State, and permanent residence in Rome, could 
not have failed to affect the development of events when, 
two years later, the Papal throne became vacant by the 
death of Pius IX. But Deo aliter visum. It was or- 
dained that he should pass the evening of his days in 
England, and that he should outlive his intimacy at the 
Vatican and his influence on the general policy of the 
Church of Rome. With the accession of Leo XIII. a 
new order began, and Newman's elevation to the sacred 
purple seemed to aflBx the sanction of Infallibility to 
principles, views, and methods against which Manning 
had waged a Thirty Years' War. Henceforward he felt 
himself a stranger at the Vatican, and powerless beyond 
the limits of his own jurisdiction. 

Perhaps this restriction of exterior activities in the 
ecclesiastical sphere drove the venerable Cardinal to find 
a vent for his untiring energies in those various efforts 
of social reform in which, during the last ten years of 



his life, he played so conspicuous a part. If this be so, 
though Rome may have lost, England was unquestion- 
ably a gainer. It was during those ten years that I was 
honored by his friendship. The storms, the struggles, 
the ambitions, the intrigues which had filled so large a 
part of his middle life lay far behind. He was revered, 
useful, and I think contented, in his present life, and 
looked forward with serene confidence to the final, and 
not distant, issue. Thrice happy is the man who, in 
spite of increasing infirmity and the loss of much that 
once made life enjoyable, thus 

"Finds comfort in himself and in his cause, 
And, while the mortal mist is gathering, draws 
His breath in confidence of Heaven's applause." 


It is narrated of an ancient Fellow of All Souls' that, 
lamenting the changes which had transformed his Col- 
lege from a nest of aristocratic idlers into a society of 
accomplished scholars, he exclaimed : " Hang it all, sir, 
we were sui ge?ieris." What the nnreformed Fellows of 
All Souls' were among the common run of Oxford 
dons, that, it may truly (and with better syntax) be 
said, the late Lord Houghton was among his fellow- 
citizens. Of all the men I have ever known he was, 
I think, the most completely sui generis. His temper- 
ament and turn of mind were, as far as I know, quite 
unlike anything that obtained among his predecessors 
and contemporaries ; nor do I see them reproduced 
among the men who have come after him. His pecu- 
liarities were not external. His appearance accorded 
with his position. He looked very much what one would 
have expected in a country gentleman of large means 
and prosperous circumstances. His early portraits show 
that he was very like all the other young gentlemen of 
fashion whom D'Orsay drew, with their long hair, high 
collars, and stupendous neckcloths. The admirably faith- 
ful work of Mr. Lehmann will enable all posterity to 
know exactly what he looked in his later years, with his 
loose-fitting clothes, comfortable figure, and air of ge- 
nial gravity. Externally all was normal. His peculiar- 
ities were those of mental habit, temperament, and taste.* 



As far as I know, he had not a drop of foreign blood in 
his veins, yet his nature was essentially un-English. 

A country gentleman who frankly preferred living in 
London, and a Yorkshireman who detested sport, made 
a sufficiently strange phenomenon ; but in Lord Hough- 
ton the astonished world beheld as well a politician who 
wrote poetry, a railway director who lived in literature, 
a libre-penseur who championed the Tractarians, a sen- 
timentalist who talked like a cynic, and a philosopher 
who had elevated conviviality to the dignity of an exact 
science. Here, indeed, was a "living oxymoron" — a 
combination of inconsistent and incongruous qualities 
which to the typical John Bull — Lord Palmerston's "Fat 
man with a white hat in the twopenny omnibus " — was 
a sealed and hopeless mystery. 

Something of this unlikeness to his fellow-Englishmen 
was due, no doubt, to the fact that Lord Houghton, the 
only son of a gifted, eccentric, and indulgent father, was 
brought up at home. The glorification of the Public 
School has been ridiculously overdone. But it argues no 
blind faith in that strange system of unnatural restraints 
and scarcely more reasonable indulgences to share Gib- 
bon's opinion that the training of a Public School is the 
best adapted to the common run of Englishmen. 

"It made us what we were, sir," said Major Bagstock 
to Mr. Dombey ; "we were iron, sir, and it forged us." 
The average English boy being what he is by nature — "a 
soaring human boy," as Mr. Chadband called him — a 
Public School simply makes him more so. It confirms 
alike his characteristic faults and his peculiar virtues, 
and turns him out after five or six years that altogether 
lovely and gracious product — the Average Englishman. 
This may be readily conceded ; but, after all, the pleas- 
antness of the world as a place of residence, and the 
growing good of the human race, do not depend exclu- 



sivcly on the Average Englishman ; and something may 
be said for the system of training which has produced 
(not only all famous foreigners, for they, of course, are 
a negligible quantity), but such exceptional Englishmen 
as William Pitt, and Thomas Macaulay, and John Keble, 
and Samuel Wilberforce, and Richard Monckton Milnes. 

From an opulent and cultivated home young Milnes 
passed to the most famous college in the world, and 
found himself under the tuition of Whewell and Thirl- 
wall, and in the companionship of Alfred Tennyson and 
Julius Hare, Charles Buller and John Sterling — a high- 
hearted brotherhood who made their deep mark on the 
spiritual and intellectual life of their own generation and 
of that which succeeded it. 

After Cambridge came foreign travel, on a scale and 
plan quite outside the beaten track of the conventional 
'^ grand tour" as our fathers knew it. From the Con- 
tinent Richard Milnes brought back a gayety of spirit, a 
frankness of bearing, a lightness of touch which were 
quite un-English, and " a taste for French novels, French 
cookery, and French wines " with which Miss Crawley 
would have sympathized. In 1837 he entered Parliament 
as a " Liberal Conservative " for the Borough of Ponte- 
fract, over which his father exercised considerable in- 
fluence, and he immediately became a conspicuous figure 
in the social life of London. A few years later his posi- 
tion and character were drawn by the hand of a master in 
a passage which will well bear yet one more reproduc- 
tion : 

" Mr. Vavasour was a social favorite ; a poet, and a 
real poet, and a troubadour, as well as a Member of Par- 
liament ; travelled, sweet-tempered, and good-hearted ; 
amusing and clever. With catholic sympathies and an 
eclectic turn of mind, Mr. Vavasour saw something good 
in everybody and everything, which is certainly amiable, 



and perhaps just, but disqualifies a man in some degree 
for the business of life, which requires for its conduct a 
certain degree of prejudice. Mr. Vavasour's breakfasts 
were renowned. Whatever your creed, class, or country — 
one might almost add your character — you were a wel- 
come guest at his matutinal meal, provided you were 
celebrated. That qualification, however, was rigidly en- 
forced. A real philosopher, alike from his genial dispo- 
sition and from the influence of his rich and various in- 
formation, Vavasour moved amid the strife, sympathizing 
with every one ; and perhaps, after all, the philanthropy 
which was his boast was not untinged by a dash of humor, 
of which rare and charming quality he possessed no in- 
considerable portion. Vavasour liked to know everybody 
who was known, and to see everything which ought to be 
seen. His life was a gyration of energetic curiosity ; an 
insatiable whirl of social celebrity. There was not a con- 
gregation of sages and philosophers in any part of Europe 
which he did not attend as a brother. He was present 
at the camp of Kalish in his yeomanry uniform, and as- 
sisted at the festivals of Barcelona in an Andalusian 
jacket. He was everywhere, and at everything ; he had 
gone down in a diving-bell and gone up in a balloon. As 
for his acquaintances, he was welcomed in every land ; 
his universal sympathies seemed omnipotent. Emperor 
and King, Jacobin and Carbonaro, alike cherished him. 
He was the steward of Polish balls, and the vindicator 
of Russian humanity ; he dined with Louis Philippe, 
and gave dinners to Louis Blanc." 

Lord Beaconsfield's penetration in reading character 
and skill in delineating it were never, I think, displayed 
to better advantage than in the foregoing passage. Di- 
vested of its intentional and humorous exaggerations, it 
is not a caricature, but a portrait. It exhibits with sin- 
gular fidelity the qualities which made Lord Houghton, to 



the end of his long life, at once vniquo and lovable. We 
recognize the overflowing sympathy, the keen interest in 
life, the vivid faculty of enjoyment, the absolute freedom 
from national prejudice, the love of seeing and of being 

During the Chartist riots of 1848 Matthew Arnold 
wrote to his mother : " Tell Miss Martineau it is said 
here that Monckton Milnes refused to be sworn in a 
special constable, that he might be free to assume the 
post of President of the Republic at a moment's notice." 
And those who knew Lord Houghton best suspect that 
he himself originated the joke at his own expense. The 
assured ease of young Milnes's social manner, even among 
complete strangers, so unlike the morbid self-repression 
and proud humility of the typical Englishman, won for 
him the nickname of " The Cool of the Evening." His 
wholly un-English tolerance, and constant effort to put 
himself in the place of others whom the world con- 
demned, procured for him from Carlyle (who genuinely 
loved him) the title of " President of the Heaven-and- 
Hell - Amalgamation Company." Bishop Wilberforce 
wrote, describing a dinner-party in 1847 : " Carlyle was 
very great. Monckton Milnes drew him out. Milnes 
began the young man's cant of the present day — the bar- 
barity and wickedness of capital punishment ; that, after 
all, we could not be sure others were wicked, etc. Car- 
lyle broke out on him with : ' None of your Heaven-and- 
Hell - Amalgamation Companies for me. We do know 
what is wickedness. / know wicked men, men whom I 
would not live toith ; men whom under some conceivable 
circumstances I would kill or they should kill me. No, 
Milnes, there's no truth or greatness in all that. It's 
just poor, miserable littleness.' " 

Lord Houghton's faculty of enjoyment was peculiarly 
keen. He warmed both hands, and indeed all his nature, 



before the fire of life. "All impulses of soul and sense" 
affected him with agreeable emotions ; no pleasure of 
body or spirit came amiss to him. And in nothing was 
he more characteristically un-English than in the frank 
manifestation of his enjoyment, bubbling over with an 
infectious jollity, and never, even when touched by years 
and illness, taking his pleasures after that melancholy 
manner of our nation to which it is a point of literary 
honor not more directly to allude. Equally un-English 
was his frank openness of speech and bearing. His ad- 
dress was pre-eminently what old-fashioned people called 
"forthcoming." It was strikingly — even amusingly — 
free from that frigid dignity and arrogant reserve for 
which, as a nation, we are so justly famed. I never saw 
him kiss a guest on both cheeks, but if I had I should 
not have felt the least surprised. 

What would have surprised me would have been if the 
guest (whatever his difference of age or station) had not 
felt immediately and completely at home, or if Lord 
Houghton had not seemed and spoken as if they had 
known one another from the days of short frocks and 
skipping-ropes. There never lived so perfect a host. 
His sympathy was genius, and his hospitality a fine art. 
He was peculiarly sensitive to the claims of "Auld Lang 
Syne," and when a young man came up from Oxford or 
Cambridge to begin life in London he was certain to find 
that Lord Houghton had travelled on the Continent 
with his father, or had danced with his mother, or had 
made love to his aunt, and was eagerly on the look-out 
for an opportunity of showing gracious and valuable 
kindness to the son of his ancient friends. 

When I first lived in London Lord Houghton was oc- 
cupying a house in Arlington Street made famous by 
the fact that Hogarth drew its interior and decorations 
in his pictures of "Mariage ^ la Mode." And nowhere 
D 49 


did the social neophyte receive a warmer welcome, or 
find himself amid a more eclectic and representative so- 
ciety. Queens of fashion, professional beauties, authors 
and authoresses, ambassadors, philosophers, discoverers, 
actors — every one who was famous or even notorious, 
who had been anywhere or had done anything, from a 
successful speech in Parliament to a hazardous leap at 
the Aquarium — jostled one another on the Avide stair- 
case and in the gravely ornate drawing-rooms. And 
amid the motley crowd the genial host was omnipresent, 
with a warm greeting and a twinkling smile for each suc- 
cessive guest — a good story, a happy quotation, the last 
morsel of piquant gossip, the newest theory of ethics or 
of politics. 

Lord Houghton's humor had a quality which was quite 
its own. Nothing was sacred to it — neither age, nor sex, 
nor subject was spared ; but it was essentially good-nat- 
ured. It was the property of a famous spear to heal 
the wounds which itself had made ; the shafts of Lord 
Houghton's fun needed no healing virtue, for they made 
no wound. When that saintly friend of temperance and 
all good causes, Mr. Cowper Temple, was raised to the 
peerage as Lord Mount Temple, Lord Houghton went 
about saying : "You know that the precedent for Billy 
Cowper's title is in Don Juan — 

"'And Lord Mount Coffee-house, the Irish peer, 

Who killed himself for love, with drink, last year.'" 

When a very impecunious youth, who could barely afford 
to pay for his cab-fares, lost a pound to him at whist, 
Lord Houghton said, as he pocketed the coin, ''Ah! 
my dear boy, the great Lord Hertford, whom foolish peo- 
ple called the wicked Lord Hertford — Thackeray's Steyne 
and Dizzy's Monmouth — used to say, ' There is no pleas- 
/ ure in winning money from a man who does not feel it.' 



How true that was !" And when he saw a yonng friend 
at a club supping on pate defoie gras and champagne, he 
said encouragingly, " That's quite right. All the pleas- 
/ant things in life are unwholesome, or expensive, or 
wrong." And amid these rather grim morsels of ex- 
perimental philosophy he would interject certain ohiter 
dicta which came straight from the unspoiled goodness 
of a really kind heart. 

"All men are improved by prosperity," he used to 
say. Envy, hatred, and malice had no place in his nature. 
It was a positive enjoyment to him to see other peo- 
ple happy, and a friend's success was as gratifying as 
his own. His life, though in most respects singularly 
happy, had not been without its disappointments. At 
one time he had nursed political ambitions, and his pe- 
culiar knowledge of foreign affairs had seemed to in- 
dicate a special line of activity and success. But things 
went differently. He always professed to regard his 
peerage as "a Second Class in the School of Life," and 
himself as a political failure. Yet no tinge of sourness, 
or jealousy, or cynical disbelief in his more successful 
contemporaries ever marred the geniality of his political 

As years advanced he became not (as the manner of 
most men is) less Liberal, but more so ; keener in sym- 
pathy with all popular causes ; livelier in his indignation 
against monopoly and injustice. Thirty years ago, in the 
struggle for the Reform Bill of 1866, his character and 
position were happily hit off by Sir George Trevelyan in 
a description of a walk down Piccadilly : — 

" There on warm midsummer Sundays Fr5'ston's Bard is wont to 
Whom the Ridings trust and honor, Freedom's staunch and 
jovial friend : 



Loved where shrewd hard-handed craftsmen cluster round the 

northern kilns — 
He whom men style Baron Houghton, but the Gods call Dicky 


And eighteen years later there was a whimsical pathos 
in the phrase in which he announced his fatal illness to 
a friend: "Yes, I am going to join the Majority — and 
you know I have always preferred Minorities." 

It would be foreign to my purpose to criticize Lord 
Houghton as a poet. My object in these papers is mere- 
ly to record the characteristic traits of eminent men who 
have honored me with their friendship, and among those 
there is none for whose memory I cherish a warmer 
sentiment of affectionate gratitude than for him whose 
likeness I have now tried to sketch. His was the most 
precious of combinations — a genius and a heart. An 
estimate of his literary gifts and performances lies alto- 
gether outside my scope, but the political circumstances 
of the present hour impel me to conclude this paper with 
a quotation which, even if it stood alone, would, I think, 
justify Lord Beaconsfield's judgment quoted above — that 
"he was a poet, and a true poet." Here is the lyrical 
cry which, writing in 1843, he puts into the mouth of 
Greece : — 

" And if to his old Asian seat, 

From this usurped, unnatural throne, 
The Turk is driven, 'tis surely meet 

That we again should hold our own ; 
Be but Byzantium's native sign 

Of Cross on Crescent* once unfurled, 
And Greece shall guard by right divine 
The portals of the Eastern world." 

* The Turks adopted the sign of the Crescent from Byzantium 
after the Conquest: the Cross above the Crescent is found on many 
ruins of the Grecian city — among others, on the Genoese castle on 
the Bosphorus. 



In these papers I have been trying to recall some not- 
able people through whom I have been brought into con- 
tact with the social life of the past. I now propose to 
give the impressions which they conveyed to me of the 
moral, material, and political condition of England just 
at the moment when the old order was yielding place to 
new, and modern society was emerging from the birth- 
throes of the French Kevolution. All testimony seems 
to me to point to the fact that towards the close of the 
last century, Eeligion was almost extinct in the highest 
and lowest classes of English society. The poor were 
sunk in ignorance and barbarism, and the aristocracy 
was honeycombed by profligacy. Morality, discarded 
alike by high and low, took refuge in the great Middle 
Class, then, as now, largely influenced by Evangelical 
Dissent. A dissolute Heir - Apparent presided over a 
social system in which not merely religion but decency 
was habitually disregarded. The Princes of the Blood 
were notorious for a feedom of life and manners which 
would be ludicrous if it were not shocking. 

Here I may cite an unpublished diary of Lord Robert 
Seymour (son of the first Marquis of Hertford), who was 
born in 1748 and died in 1831. He was a man of fashion 
and a Member of Parliament ; and these are some of the 
incidents which he notes in 1788 : 

'^ The Prince of Wales declares there is not an honest 


Woman in London, excepting Ly. Parker and Ly. West- 
moreland, and those are so stupid he can make nothing 
of them, they are scarcely fit to blow their own Noses." 

**At Mrs. Vaneck's assembly last week, the Prince of 
Wales, very much to the honor of his polite and elegant 
Behavior, measured the breadth of Mrs. V. behind with 
his Handkerchief, and shew'd the measurement to most 
of the Company." 

" Another Trait of the P. of Wales' Eespectful Con- 
duct is that at an assembly he beckoned to the poor old 
Dutchess of Bedford across a large Room, and, when she 
had taken the trouble of crossing the Room, he very ab- 
ruptly told her he had nothing to say to her." 

" The P. of W. called on Miss Vaneck last week with 
two of his Equerries. On coming into the Room he ex- 
claimed, ' I mi(.st do it ; I must do it.' Miss V. asked him 
what it was that he was obliged to do, when he winked 
at St. Leger and the other accomplice, who lay'd Miss V. 
on the Floor, and the P. possitively wipped her. The 
occasion of this extraordinary behavior was occasioned 
by a Bett w'^''. I suppose he had made in one of his mad 
Fits. The next day, however, he wrote her a peniten- 
tial Letter, and she now receives him on the same footing 
as ever." 

'' The Prince of Wales very much affronted the D. of 
Orleans and his natural Brother, L'Abbe de la Fai, at 
Newmarket, L'Abbe declaring it possible to charm a 
Fish out of the Water, which being disputed occasioned 
a Bett ; and the Abbe stooped down over the water to 
tickle the Fish with a little switch. Fearing, however, 
the Prince s*^. play him some Trick, he declared he hoped 
the P. w"^. not use him unfairly by throwing him into 
the water. The P. answer'd him that he w*^. not upon 
his Honor. The Abbe had no sooner began the opera- 
tion by leaning over a little Bridge when the P. took hold 



of his Heels and threw him into the Water, which was 
rather deep. The Abbe, much enraged, the moment he 
got himself out run at the P. with g''. violence, a Horse- 
whip in his Hand, saying he thought very meanly of a P. 
who cou'd not keep his word. The P. flew fr. him, and 
getting to the Inn locked himself in one of the Rooms." 

"Prince of Wales, Mrs. FitzHerbert, the Duke and 
Dutchess of Cumberland, and Miss Pigott, Mrs. F.'s 
companion, went a Party to Windsor during the absence 
of The Family fm. Windsor ; and going to see a cold 
Bath Miss P. expressed a great wish to bathe this hot 
weather. The D. of C. very imprudently pushed her in, 
and the Dut. of C. having the presence of mind to throw 
out the Rope saved her when in such a disagreeable State 
from fear and surprise as to be near sinking. Mrs. F. 
went into convulsion Fits, and the Dut. fainted away, 
and the scene proved ridiculous in the extreme, as Re- 
port says the Duke called out to Miss P. that he was in- 
stantly coming to her in the water, and continued un- 
dressing himself. Poor Miss P.'s clothes entirely laid 
upon the water, and made her appear an awkward figure. 
They afterwards pushed in one of the Prince's attend- 

So much for High Life at the close of the last century. 
It is more difficult to realize that we are separated only 
by some sixty years from a time when the Lord Chan- 
cellor and a brother of the Sovereign conducted a busi- 
ness-like correspondence on the question whether the 
Chancellor had or had not turned the Prince out of the 
house for insulting his wife. The journals, newspapers, 
and memoirs of the time throw (especially for those who 
can read between the lines) a startling light on that 
hereditary principle which plays so important a part in 
our political system. All the ancillary vices flourished 
with a rank luxuriance. Hard drinking was the indis- 




pensable accomplishment of a fine gentleman, and great 
estates were constantly changing owners at the gaming- 

The fifth Duke of Bedford (who had the temerity to 
attack Burke's pension, and thereby drew down upon 
himself the most splendid repartee in literature) was a 
bosom friend of Fox, and lived in a like-minded society. 
One night at Newmarket he lost a colossal sum at hazard, 
and jumping up in a passion, he swore that the dice 
were loaded, put them in his pocket, and went to bed. 
Next morning he examined the dice in the presence of 
his boon companions, found that they were not loaded, 
and had to apologize and pay. Some years afterwards 
one of the party was lying on his death-bed, and he sent 
for the duke. "I have sent for you to tell you that you 
were right. The dice were loaded. We waited till you 
were asleep, went to your bedroom, took them out of 
your waistcoat pocket, replaced them with unloaded 
ones, and retired." 

*'But suppose I had woke and caught you doing it?" 
" Well, we were desperate men — and we had jnstols." 
Anecdotes of the same type might be multiplied end- 
lessly, and would serve to confirm the strong impression 
which all contemporary evidence leaves upon the mind — 
that the closing years of the last century witnessed 
the nadir of English virtue. The national conscience 
was in truth asleep, and it had a rude awakening. " I 
have heard persons of great weight and authority," writes 
Mr. Gladstone, "such as Mr. Grenville, and also, I think. 
Archbishop Howley, ascribe the beginnings of a reviving 
seriousness in the upper classes of lay society to a reac- 
tion against the horrors and impieties of the first French 
Kevolution in its later stages." And this reviving serious- 
ness was by no means confined to Nonconformist circles. 
In the last century the religious activities of the time 



proceeded largely (though not exclusively) from persons 
who, from one cause or another, were separated from the 
Established Church. Much theological learning and 
controversial skill, with the old traditions of Anglican 
divinity, had been drawn aside from the highway of the 
Establishment into the secluded byways of the Nonjurors. 
Whitefield and the Wesleys, and that grim but grand old 
Mother in Israel, Selina Countess of Huntingdon, found 
their evangelistic energies fatally cramped by episcopal 
authority, and, quite against their natural inclinations, 
were forced to act through independent organizations of 
their own making. But at the beginning of this century 
things took a different turn. 

The distinguishing mark of the religious revival which 
issued from the French Revolution was that it lived and 
moved and had its being within the precincts of the 
Church of England. Of that Church, as it existed at the 
close of the last century and the beginning of this, the 
characteristic feature had been a quiet worldliness. The 
typical clergyman, as drawn, for instance, in Crabbe's 
poems and Miss Austen's novels, is a well-bred, respecta- 
ble, and kindly person, playing an agreeable part in the 
social life of his neighborhood, and doing a secular work 
of solid value, but equally removed from the sacerdotal 
pretensions of the Caroline divines and from the awaken- 
ing fervor of the Evangelical preachers. The professors 
of a more spiritual or a more aggressive religion were at 
once disliked and despised. Sydney Smith was never 
tired of poking fun at the "sanctified village of Clap- 
ham'^ and its "serious" inhabitants, at missionary effort 
and revivalist enthusiasm. When Lady Louisa Lennox 
was engaged to a prominent Evangelical and Liberal — 
Mr. Tighe, of Woodstock — her mother, the Duchess of 
Richmond, said : " Poor Louisa is going to make a shock- 
ing marriage — a man called Tiggy, my dear, a Saint and 



a RadicaL" When Lord Melbourne had accidentally 
found himself the unwilling hearer of a rousing Evan- 
gelical sermon about sin and its consequences, he ex- 
claimed in much disgust as he left the church : "Things 
have come to a jiretty pass when religion is allowed to 
invade the sphere of private life !" 

Arthur Young tells us that a daughter of the first Lord 
Carrington said to a visitor : " My papa used to have 
prayers in his family ; hut none since he has been a Peer." 
A venerable Canon of Windsor, who was a younger son of 
a great family, told me that his old nurse, when she was 
putting him and his little brothers to bed, used to say : 
\ "If you're very good little boys, and go to bed without 
giving trouble, you needn't say your prayers to-night." 
When the late Lord Mount Temple was a youth, he 
wished to take Holy Orders ; and the project so horrified 
his parents that, after holding a family council, they 
plunged him into fashionable society in the hope of dis- 
tracting his mind from religion, and accomplished their 
end by making him join the Blues. 

The quiet worldliness which characterized the English 
Church as a whole was unpleasantly varied here and 
there by instances of grave and monstrous scandal. The 
system of Pluralities left isolated parishes in a condition 
of practical heathenism. Even bare morality was not 
always observed. In solitary places clerical drunken- 
ness was common. On Saturday afternoon the parson 
would return from the nearest town "market -merry." 
He consorted freely with the farmers, shared their hab- 
its, and spoke their language. 

I have known a lady to whom a country clergyman 
said, pointing to the darkened windows where a corpse 
lay awaiting burial, "There's a stifi 'un in that house." I 
have known a country gentleman in Shropshire who had 
seen his own vicar drop the chalice at the Holy Com- 



munion because he was too drunk to hold it. I know a 
corner of Bedfordshire where, within the recollection of 
persons living thirty years ago, three clerical neighbors 
used to meet for dinner at one another's parsonages in 
turn. One winter afternoon a corpse was brought for 
burial to the village church. The vicar of the place came 
from his dinner so drunk that he could not read the ser- 
vice, although his sister supported him with one hand 
and held the lantern with the other. He retired beaten, 
and both his guests made the same attempt with no bet- 
ter success. So the corpse was left in the church, and 
the vicar buried it next day when he had recovered from 
his debauch. 

While the prevailing tone of quiet worldliness was thus 
broken, here and there, by horrid scandals, in other 
places it was conspicuously relieved by splendid instances 
of piety and self-devotion, such as George Eliot drew in 
the character of Edgar Tryan of Milby. But the inno- 
vating clergy of the Evangelical persuasion had to force 
their way through " the teeth of clenched antagonisms." 
The bishops, as a rule, were opposed to enthusiasm, and 
the bishops of that day were, in virtue of their wealth, 
their secular importance, and their professional cohesive- 
ness, a formidable force in the life of the Church. 

In the *^good old days" of Erastian Churchmanship, 
before the Catholic revival had begun to breathe new life 
into ancient forms, a bishop was enthroned by proxy ! 
Sydney Smith, rebuking Archbishop Howley for his un- 
due readiness to surrender cathedral property to the 
Ecclesiastical Commission, pointed out that his conduct 
was inconsistent with having sworn at his enthrone- 
ment that he would not alienate the possessions of the 
Church of Canterbury. " The oath," he goes on, ''may 
be less present to the Archbishop's memory from the fact 
of his not having taken the oath in person, but by the 



medinm of a gentleman sent down by the coach to take 
it for him — a practice which, though I believe it to have 
been long established in the Church, surprised me, I con- 
fess, not a little. A proxy to vote, if you please — a proxy 
to consent to arrangements of estates, if wanted ; but a 
proxy sent down in the Canterbury fly to take the Crea- 
tor to witness that the Archbishop, detained in town by 
business or pleasure, will never violate that foundation 
of piety over which he presides — all this seems to me an 
act of the most extraordinary indolence ever recorded in 
history." In this judgment the least ritualistic of lay- 
men will heartily concur. But from Archbishop Howley 
to Archbishop Temple is a far cry, and the latest en- 
thronement in Canterbury Cathedral must have made 
clear to the most casual eye the enormous transfor- 
mation which sixty years have wrought alike in the in- 
ner temper and the outward aspects of the Church of 

Once Dr. Liddon, walking with me down the hall of 
Christ Church, pointed to the portrait of an extremely 
bloated and sensual-looking prelate on the wall, and said, 
with that peculiar kind of mincing precision which added 
so much to the point of his sarcasms: "How singular, 
dear friend, to reflect that that person was chosen, in the 
providential order, to connect Mr. Keble with the Apos- 
tles \" And certainly this connecting link bore little re- 
semblance to either end of the chain. The considerations 
which governed the selection of a bishop in those good 
old days were indeed not a little singular. Perhaps he 
was chosen because he was a sprig of good family, like 
Archbishop Cornwallis, whose junketings at Lambeth 
drew down upon him the ire of Lady Huntingdon and 
the threats of George III., and whose sole qualification 
for the clerical office was that when an undergraduate he 
had suffered from a stroke of palsy which partially crip- 



pled him, but " did not, however, prevent him from hold- 
ing a hand at cards." 

Perhaps he had been, like Bishop Snmner, "bear- 
leader" to a great man's son, and had won the gratitude 
of a powerful patron by extricating young hopeful from 
a matrimonial scrape. Perhaps, like Marsh or Van Mil- 
dert, he was a controversial pamphleteer who had toss- 
ed a Calvinist or gored an Evangelical. Or, perhaps, he 
was, like Blomfield and Monk, a " Greek Play Bishop," 
who had annotated ^schylus or composed a Sapphic Ode 
on a Royal marriage. "Young Crumpet is sent to 
school ; takes to his books ; spends the best years of his 
life in making Latin verses ; knows that the Crum in 
Crumpet is long and the pet short ; goes to the univer- 
sity ; gets a prize for an Essay on the Dispersion of the 
Jews ; takes Orders ; becomes a bishop's chaplain ; has 
a young nobleman for his pupil ; publishes a useless clas- 
sic and a Serious Call to the Unconverted ; and then goes 
through the Elysian transitions of Prebendary, Dean, 
Prelate, and the long train of purple, profit, and power." 

Few — and very few — are the adducible instances in 
which, in the reigns of George III., George IV., and 
William IV., a bishop was appointed for evangelistic 
zeal or pastoral efficiency. 

But, on whatever principle chosen, the bishop, once 
duly consecrated and enthroned, was a formidable per- 
son, and surrounded by a dignity scarcely less than royal. 
" Nobody likes our bishop," says Parson Lingon in Felix 
Holt. " He's all Greek and greediness, and too proud to 
dine with his own father." People still living can remem- 
ber the days when the Archbishop of Canterbury was pre- 
ceded by servants bearing flambeaux when he walked 
across from Lambeth Chapel to what were called " Mrs. 
Howley's Lodgings." When the Archbishop dined out 
he was treated with princely honors, and^no one left the 



party till His Grace had made his bow. Once a week he 
dined in state in the great hall of Lambeth, presiding 
over a company of self-invited guests — strange perver- 
sion of the old archiepiscopal charity to travellers and the 
poor — while, as Sydney Smith said, "the domestics of 
the prelacy stood, with swords and bag-wigs, round pig 
and turkey and venison, to defend, as it were, the ortho- 
dox gastronome from the fierce Unitarian, the fell Bap- 
tist, and all the famished children of dissent." When 
Sir John Coleridge, father of the late Lord Chief Justice, 
was a young man at the Bar, he wished to obtain a small 
legal post in the Archbishop's prerogative court. An in- 
fluential friend undertook to forward his application to 
the Archbishop. " But remember," he said, " in writing 
your letter, that His Grace can only be approached on 
gilt-edged paper. " Archbishop Harcourt never went from 
Bishopthorpe to York Minster except attended by his 
chaplains, in a coach and six, while Lady Anne was made 
to follow in a pair-horse carriage, to show her that her 
position was not the same thing among women that her 
husband's was among men. At Durham, which was 
worth £40,000 a year, the Bishop, as Prince Palatine, ex- 
ercised a secular jurisdiction, both civil and criminal, and 
the commission at the assizes ran in the name of " Our 
Lord the Bishop." At Ely, Bishop Sparke gave so many 
of his best livings to his family that it was locally said 
that you could find your way across the Fens on a dark 
night by the number of little Sparkes along the road ; and 
when this good prelate secured a residentiary canonry for 
his eldest son, the event was so much a matter of course 
that he did not deem it worthy of special notice ; but 
when he secured a second canonry for his second son, he 
was so filled with pious gratitude that, as a thanksgiving 
offering, he gave a ball at the Palace of Ely to all the 
county of Cambridge. " And I think," said Bishop 



Woodford, in telling me the story, "that the achieve- 
ment and the way of celebrating it were equally remark- 

This grand tradition of mingled splendor and profit 
ran down, in due degree, through all ranks of the hier- 
archy. The poorer bishoprics were commonly held in 
conjunction with a rich deanery or prebend, and not 
seldom with some important living ; so that the most 
impecunious successor of the Apostles could manage to 
have four horses to his carriage and his daily bottle of 
Madeira. Not so splendid as a palace, but quite as com- 
fortable, was a first-class deanery. A "Golden StalP' 
at Durham or St. Paul's made its occupant a rich man. 
And even the rectors of the more opulent parishes con- 
trived to "live," as the phrase went, "very much like 

The old Prince Bishops are as extinct as the dodo. 
The Ecclesiastical Commission has made an end of them. 
Bishop Sumner, of Winchester, who died in 1874, was 
the last of his race. But the dignified country clergy- 
man, who combined private means with a rich living, 
did his county business in person, and performed his re- 
ligious duties by deputy, survived into very recent times. 
I have known a fine old specimen of this class — a man 
who never entered his church on a week-day, nor wore a 
white neckcloth except on Sunday ; who was an active 
magistrate, a keen sportsman, an acknowledged authority 
on horticulture and farming; and who boasted that he 
had never written a sermon in his life, but could alter 
one with any man in England — which, in truth, he did 
so effectively that the author would never have recog- 
nized his own handiwork. When the neighboring par- 
sons first tried to get up a periodical "clerical meet- 
ing " for the study of theology, he responded genially to 
the suggestion : " Oh yes ; I think it sounds a capital 



thing, and I suppose we shall finish up with a rubber 
and a bit of supper." 

The reverence in which a rector of this type was held, 
and the difference, not merely of degree, but of kind, 
which was supposed to separate him from the inferior 
order of curates, were amusingly exemplified in the case 
of an old friend of mine. Keturning to his parish after 
his autumn holiday, and noticing a woman at her cottage 
door with a baby in her arms, he asked, ''Has that 
child been baptized ?" " Well, sir," replied the curtsey- 
y ing mother, "I shouldn't like to say as much as that; but 
^your young man came and did wliat lie could." 

Lost in these entrancing recollections of Anglicanism 
as it once was, but will never be again, I have wandered 
far from my theme. I began by saying that all one has 
read, all one has heard, all one has been able to collect by 
study or by conversation, points to the close of the last 
century as the low- water mark of English religion and 
morality. The first thirty years of this century wit- 
nessed a great revival, due chiefly to the Evangelical 
movement, not only, as in the last century, on lines out- 
side the Establishment, but in the very heart and core of 
the Church of England. The movement, though little 
countenanced by ecclesiastical authority, changed the 
whole tone of religious thought and life in England ; it 
recalled men to serious ideas of faith and duty; it curbed 
profligacy, it made decency fashionable, it revived the 
external usages of piety, and it prepared the way for that 
later movement which, issuing from Oxford in 1833, has 
so momentously transfigured the outward aspect of the 
Church of England. 

" I do not mean to say," wrote Mr. Gladstone in 1879, 
'' that the founders of the Oxford School announced, or 
even that they kneW, to how large an extent they were 
to be pupils and continuators of the Evangelical work, 



besides being something else. . . . Their distinctive 
speech was of Church and priesthood, of sacraments and 
services, as the vesture under the varied folds of which 
the form of the Divine Redeemer was to be exhibited 
to the world in a way capable of, and suited for, trans- 
mission by a collective body from generation to gen- 
eration. It may well have happened that, in straining 
to secure for their ideas what they thought their due 
place, some at least may have forgotten or disparaged 
that personal and experimental life of the human soul 
with God which profits by all ordinances, but is tied to 
none, dwelling ever, through all its varying moods, in 
the inner courts of the sanctuary whereof the walls are 
not built with hands. The only matter, however, with 
which I am now concerned is to record the fact that the 
pith and life of the Evangelical teaching, as it consists 
in the reintroduction of Christ our Lord to be the woof 
and warp of preaching, was the great gift of the move- 
ment to the teaching Church, and has now penetrated 
and possessed it on a scale so general that it may be 
considered as pervading the whole mass." 



It was a characteristic saying of Talleyrand that no 
one could conceive how pleasant a thing life was capa- 
ble of being who had not belonged to the French aris- 
tocracy before the Revolution. There were, no doubt, 
in the case of that great man's congeners some legal and 
constitutional prerogatives which rendered their condi- 
tion supremely enviable ; but so far as splendor, state- 
liness, and exclusive privilege are elements of a pleasant 
life, he might have extended his remark to England. 
Similar conditions of social existence here and in France 
were similarly and simultaneously transformed by the 
same tremendous upheaval which marked the final dis- 
appearance of the feudal spirit and the birth of the mod- 
ern world. 

The old order passed away, and the face of human 
society was made new. The law-abiding and temper- 
ate genius of the Anglo-Saxon race saved England from 
the excesses, the horrors, and the dramatic incidents 
which marked this period of transition in France ; but, 
though more quietly effected, the change in England 
was not less marked, less momentous, or less permanent 
than on the Continent. I have spoken in a former pa- 
per of the religious revival which was the most striking 
result in England of the Revolution in France. To-day 
I shall say a word about another result, or group of re- 
sults, which may be summarized as Social Equalization. 



The barriers between ranks and classes were to a large 
extent broken down. The prescriptive privileges of 
aristocracy were reduced. The ceremoniousness of so- 
cial demeanor was diminished. Great men were con- 
tent with less elaboration and display in their retinues, 
equipages, and mode of living. Dress lost ite richness 
of ornament and its distinctive characteristics. Young 
men of fashion no longer bedizened themselves in velvet, 
brocade, and gold lace. Knights of the Garter no longer 
displayed the Blue Ribbon in Parliament. Officers no 
longer went into society with uniform and sword. Bish- 
ops laid aside their wigs ; dignified clergy discarded the 
cassock. Colored coats, silk stockings, lace ruffles, and 
hair - powder survived only in the footmen's liveries. 
When the Reform Bill of 1833 received the Royal As- 
sent, the Lord Bathurst of the period, who had been a 
member of the Duke of Wellington's Cabinet, solemnly 
cut off his pigtail, saying : " Ichabod, for the glory is 
departed"; and to the first Reformed Parliament only 
one pigtail was returned (it pertained to Mr. Sheppard, 
M.P. for Frome) — an impressive symbol of social trans- 

The lines of demarcation between the peerage and the 
untitled classes were partially obliterated. How clear 
and rigid those lines had been it is difficult for us to con- 
ceive. In Humphrey Clinker the nobleman refuses to 
fight a duel with the squire on the ground of their so- 
cial inequality. Mr. Wilberforce declined a peerage 
because it would exclude his sons from intimacy with 
private gentlemen, clergymen, and mercantile families. 
I have stated in a previous paper that Lord Bathurst, 
who was born in 1791, told me that at his private school 
he and the other sons of peers sate together on a priv- 
ileged bench apart from the rest of the boys. A typical 
aristocrat was the first Marquis of Abercorn. He died 



in 1818, but he is still revered in Ulster under the name 
of " The Owld Marquis." This admirable nobleman 
always went out shooting in his Blue Eibbon, and re- 
quired his housemaids to wear white kid-gloves when 
they made his bed. Before he married his first cousin, 
Miss Cecil Hamilton, he induced the Prince Eegent to 
confer on her the titular rank of an Earl's daughter, that 
he might not marry beneath his position ; and, when he 
discovered that she contemplated eloping, he sent a mes- 
sage begging her to take the family-coach, as it ought 
never to be said that Lady Abercorn left her husband's 
roof in a hack-chaise. By such endearing traits do the 
truly great live in the hearts of posterity. 

In the earlier part of this century Dr. Arnold in- 
veighed with characteristic vigor against " the insolences 
of our aristocracy, the scandalous exemption of the 
peers from all ignominious punishments short of death, 
and the insolent practice of allowing peers to vote in 
criminal trials on their honor, while other men vote on 
their oath." But generally the claims of rank and birth 
were admitted with a childlike cheerfulness. The high 
function of government was the birthright of the few. 
The people, according to episcopal showing, had nothing 
to do with the laws but to obey them. The ingenious 
author of Russell's Modern Europe states in his preface 
to that immortal work that his object in adopting the 
form of a Series of Letters from a Nobleman to his Son 
is " to give more Weight to the Moral and Political 
Maxims, and to entitle the author to offer, without 
seeming to dictate to the World, such reflections on Life 
and Manners as are supposed more immediately to belong 
to the higher orders in Society." Nor were the priv- 
ileges of rank held to pertain merely to temporal con- 
cerns. When Selina Countess of Huntingdon asked 
the Duchess of Buckingham to accompany her to a ser- 



mon of Whitefield's, the Duchess replied : "I thank your 
hidyshij) for the information concerning the Method- 
ist preachers ; their doctrines are most repulsive, and 
strongly tinctured with impertinence and disrespect 
towards their superiors, in perpetually endeavoring to 
level all ranks and do away with all distinctions. It is 
monstrous to be told you have a heart as sinful as the 
common wretches that crawl on the earth ; and I cannot 
but wonder that your ladyship should relish any senti- 
ments so much at variance with high rank and good 

The exclusive and almost feudal character of the Eng- 
lish peerage was destroyed, finally and of set purpose, by 
Pitt when he declared that every man who had an estate 
of ten thousand a year had a right to be a peer. In 
Lord Beaconsfield's words : " He created a plebeian aris- 
tocracy and blended it with the patrician oligarchy. He 
made peers of second-rate squires and fat graziers. He 
caught them in the alleys of Lombard Street, and 
clutched them from the counting-houses of Cornhill." 
This democratization of the peerage was accompanied 
by great modifications of pomp and stateliness in the 
daily life of the peers. In the last century the Duke 
and Duchess of Atholl were always served at their own 
table before their guests, in recognition of their royal 
rank as Sovereigns of the Isle of Man ; and the Duke and 
Duchess of Argyll observed the same courteous usage for 
no better reason than because they liked it. The " House- 
hold Book " of Alnwick Castle records the extraordinary 
amplitude and complexity of the domestic hierarchy 
which ministered to the Duke and Duchess of North- 
umberland ; and at Arundel and Belvoir, and Trent- 
ham and Wentworth, the magnates of the peerage lived 
in a state little less than regal. Seneschals and gentle- 
men-ushers, ladies-in-waiting and pages-of-the-presence 


adorned noble as well as royal households. The private 
chaplain of a great Whig duke, within the recollection 
of people whom I have known, used to preface his ser- 
mon with a prayer for the nobility, and " especially for 
,the noble duke to whom I am indebted for my scarf" — 
the badge of chaplaincy — accompanying the words by a 
profound bow towards His Grace's pew. The last " run- 
ing footman" pertained to ''Old Q." — the notorious 
Duke of Queensberry, who died in 1810. Horace Wal- 
pole describes how, when a guest playing cards at Wo- 
burn Abbey dropped a silver piece on the floor, and said, 
" Oh, never mind ; let the Groom of the Chambers have 
it/' the Duchess replied, " Let the carpet-sweeper have 
it ; the Groom of the Chambers never takes anything 
but gold." 

These grotesque splendors of domestic living, the al- 
most regal magnificence of private entertainment, and the 
luxurious habits that were the distinguishing features of 
this epoch, went out with the last century. Dr. John- 
son, who died in 1784, had already noted their decline. 
There was a general approach towards external equaliza- 
tion of ranks, and that approach was accompanied by a 
general diffusion of material enjoyments and by a gradual 
acknowledgment of those rights to which the masses laid 

The luxury of the last century was prodigal rather than 
refined. The art of Brillat-Savarin had not arrived at 
that perfection which it afterwards attained, and which 
has so characterized the customs of society down to our 
own day. There lies before me as I write a tavern-bill for 
a dinner for seven persons in the year 1751. I repro- 
duce the items verbally and literally, and it will be at 
once perceived that the bill of fare here recorded is 
worth studying as a record of gastronomical exertion on 
a heroic scale : 



Bread and Beer. 

Potage de Tortue. 



Un Pate de Jambon de Bayone. 

Potage Julien Verd. 

Two Turbots to remove the 

Haunch of Venison. 

Palaits de Mouton. 

Selle de Mouton. 


Saucisses au Ecrevisses. 

Boudin Blanc a le Reine. 

Petits Pates a I'Espaniol. 

Coteletts a la Cardinal. 

Selle d'Agneau glace aux Co- 
co mbres. 

Saumon a la Chambord. 

Fillets de Saules Royales. 

Une bisque de Lait de Maquer- 

Un Lambert aux Innocents. 

Des Perdrix Sauce Vin de Cham- 

Poulets a le Russiene. 

Ris de Veau en Arlequin. 

Quee d'Agneau a la Montaban. 

Dix Cailles. 

Un Lapreau. 

Un Phesant. 

Dix Ortolans. 

Une Tourte de Cerises. 

Artichaux a le Provensalle. 

Choufleurs au flour. 

Cretes de Cocq en Bonets. 

Amorte de Jesuits. 



Ice Cream and Fruits. 

Fruit of various sorts, forced. 

Fruit from Market. 

Butter and Cheese. 





White wine. 







Spa and Bristol Waters. 

Oranges and Lemons. 

Coffee and Tea. 


The total charge for this dinner for seven amounted to 
£81 lis. 6d., and a footnote informs the curious reader 
that there was also "A turtle sent as a Present to the 
Company, and dress'd in a very high Goict after the West 
Indian Manner." Old cookery-books, such as the im- 
mortal work of Mrs. Glasse, Dr. Kitchener's Cook's Oracle, 
and the anonymous but admirable Culina, all concur in 
their testimony to the enormous amount of animal food 
which went to make an ordinary meal, and the amazing 



variety of irreconcilable ingredients which were combined 
to form a single dish. Lord Beaconsfield, whose knowl- 
edge of this recondite branch of English literature was 
curiously minute, thus describes — no doubt from authen- 
tic sources — a family dinner at the end of the last cen- 
tury : 

" The ample tureen of potage royal had a boned duck 
swimming in its centre. At the other end of the table 
scowled in death the grim countenance of a huge roast 
pike, flanked on one side by a leg of mutton d la daube, 
and on the other by the tempting delicacies of Bombarded 
Veal. To these succeeded that masterpiece of the culi- 
nary art, a grand Battalia Pie, in which the bodies of 
chickens, pigeons, and rabbits were embalmed in spices, 
cocks' combs, and savory balls, and well bedewed with 
one of those rich sauces of claret, anchovy, and sweet 
herbs in which our grandfathers delighted, and which 
was technically termed a Lear. A Florentine tourte or 
tansy, an old English custard, a more refined blamango, 
and a riband jelly of many colors offered a pleasant relief 
after these vaster inventions, and the repast closed with 
a dish of oyster-loaves and a pomepetone of larks." 

As the old order yielded place to the new, this enor- 
mous profusion of rich food became by degrees less fash- 
ionable, though its terrible traditions endured, through 
the days of Soyer and Francatelli, almost to our own 
time. But gradually refinement began to supersede pro- 
fusion. Simultaneously all forms of luxury spread from 
the aristocracy to the plutocracy ; while the middle and 
lower classes attained a degree of solid comfort which 
would a few years before have been impossible. Under 
Pitt's administration wealth increased rapidly. Great 
fortunes were amassed through the improvement of agri- 
cultural methods and the application of machinery to 
manufacture. The Indian Nabobs, as they were called, 



became a recognized and powerful element in society, 
and their habits of "Asiatic luxury" are represented by 
Chatham, Burke, Voltaire, and Home Tooke as produc- 
ing a marked effect upon the social life of the time. 
Lord Eobert Seymour notes in his diary for 1788 that a 
fashionable lady gave £100 a year to the cook who super- 
intended her suppers ; that at a sale of bric-a-brac 230 
guineas were paid for a mirror ; and that, at a ball given 
by the Knights of the Bath at the Pantheon, the decora- 
tions cost upwards of £3000. The general consumption 
of French and Portuguese wines in place of beer, which 
had till recently been the beverage even of the affluent, 
was regarded by grave writers as a most alarming sign of 
the times, and the cause of a great increase of drunk- 
enness among the upper classes. The habits and man- 
ners prevalent in London spread into the country. As 
the distinction between the nobility, who, roughly speak- 
ing, had been the frequenters of the capital, and the 
minor gentry, who had lived almost entirely on their own 
estates, gradually disappeared, the distinction between 
town and country life sensibly diminished. 

The enormous increase in the facilities for travelling 
and for the interchange of information contributed to 
the same result ; and grave men lamented the grow- 
ing addiction of the provincial ladies to the card- 
table, the theatre, the assembly, the masquerade, and — 
singular juxtaposition — the Circulating Library. The 
process of social assimilation, while it spread from town 
to country, and from nobility to gentry, reached down 
from the gentry to the merchants, and from the mer- 
chants to the tradesmen. The merchant had his villa 
three or four miles away from his place of business, and 
lived at Clapham or Dnlwich in a degree and kind of 
luxury which had a few years before been the monopoly 
of the aristocracy. The tradesman no longer inhabited 



the rooms over his shop, bnt a mansion in Bloomsbnry or 
Soho. Where, fifty years before, one fire in the kitchen 
served the whole family, and one dish of meat appeared 
on the table, now a footman waited at the banquet of 
imported luxuries, and small beer and punch had made 
way for Burgundy and Madeira. 

But the subject expands before us, and it is time to 
close. Now I propose to inquire how far this Social 
Equalization was accompanied by Social Amelioration. 



In my last chapter I endeavored to illustrate that 
process of Social Equalization which, issuing from the 
French Revolution, so conspicuously marked the close of 
the eighteenth century and the beginning of the nine- 
teenth. I concluded by saying that I would next inquire 
how far that Social Equalization was accompanied here 
in England by Social Amelioration. At this point it is 
necessary to look back a little, and to clear our minds of 
the delusion that an age of splendor is necessarily an age 
of refinement. We have seen something of the regal 
state and prodigal luxury which surrounded the English 
aristocracy in the middle of the last century. Yet at no 
period of our national history — unless, perhaps, during 
the orgies of the Restoration — were aristocratic morals 
at so low an ebb. Edmund Burke, in a passage which is 
as ethically questionable as it is rhetorically beautiful, 
taught that vice loses half its evil when it loses all its 
grossness. But in the English society of the last cen- 
tury grossness was as conspicuous as vice itself, and it in- 
fected not only the region of morals, but also that of 

Sir Walter Scott has described how, in his youth, re- 
fined gentlewomen read aloud to their families the most 
startling passages of the most outrageous authors. I 
have been told by one who heard it from an eye-witness 
that a great Whig duchess, who figures brilliantly in the 



social and political memoirs of the last century, turn- 
ing to the footman who was waiting on her at dinner, 
exclaimed, "I wish to God that you wouldn't keep 
rubbing your great greasy belly against the back of my 
chair/' Men and women of the highest fashion swore 
like troopers ; the Princes of the highest Blood Royal, 
who carried down into the middle of this century the 
courtly habits of the last, setting the example. Mr. 
Gladstone told me the following anecdote, which he had 
from the Lord Pembroke of the period, who was present 
at the scene. 

In the early days of the first Reformed Parliament the 
Whig Government were contemplating a reform of the 
law of Church Rates. Success was certain in the House 
of Commons, but the Tory peers, headed by the Duke 
of Cumberland, determined to defeat the Bill in the 
House of Lords. A meeting of the party was held, when 
it appeared that, in the balanced state of parties, the 
Tory peers could not effect their purpose unless they 
could rally the bishops to their aid. The question was. 
What would the Archbishop of Canterbury do ? He was 
Dr. Howley, the mildest and most apostolic of men, and 
the most averse from strife and contention. It was im- 
possible to be certain of his action, and the Duke of 
Cumberland posted off to Lambeth to ascertain it. Ke- 
turning in hot haste to the caucus, he burst into the 
room exclaiming, " It's all right, my lords ; the Arch- 
bishop says he will be damned to hell if he doesn't throw 
the Bill out." The Duke of Wellington's "Twopenny 
Damn " has become proverbial ; and Sydney Smith neat- 
ly rebuked a similar propensity in Lord Melbourne by 
saying, " Let us assume everybody and everything to 
be damned, and come to the point." The Miss Berrys, 
who had been the correspondents of Horace Walpole, 
and who carried down to the fifties the most refined tra- 



ditions of the social life of the last century, habitually 
''damned" the teakettle if it burned their fingers, and 
called their male friends by their surnames — "Come, 
Milnes, will you have a cup of tea ?" "Now, Macaulay, 
we have had enough of that subject." 

So much, then, for the refinement of the upper classes 
in the last century. Did the Social Equalization of 
which we have spoken bring with it anything in the way 
of Social Amelioration ? A philosophical orator of my 
time at the Oxford Union, now a valued member of the 
House of Lords, once said in a debate on national in- 
temperance that he had made a careful study of the sub- 
ject, and, with much show of scientific analysis, he thus 
announced the result of his researches : " The causes of 
national intemperance are three : first, the adulteration 
of liquor; second, the love of drink; and, third, the de- 
sire for more.- Knowing my incapacity to rival this 
masterpiece of exact thinking, I have not thought it 
necessary in these papers to enlarge on the national habit 
of excessive drinking in the late years of the last cen- 
tury. The grossness and the universality of the vice are 
too well known to need elaborating. All oral tradition, 
all contemporary literature, all satiric art tell the same 
horrid tale ; and the number of bottles which a single 
toper would consume at a sitting not only, in Burke's 
phrase, " outraged economy," but " staggered credi- 

In this respect, no doubt, the turn of the century wit- 
nessed some social amelioration among the upper classes 
of society. There was a change, if not in quantity, at 
least in quality. Where port and Madeira had been 
the staple drinks, corrected by libations of brandy, less 
potent beverages became fashionable. The late Mr. 
Thomson Hankey, formerly M.P. for Peterborough, told 
me that he remembered his father coming home from 



the city one day and saying to his mother, " My dear, I 
have ordered a dozen bottles of a new white wine. It is 
called sherry, and I am told the Prince Regent drinks 
nothing else." The late Lord Derby told me that the 
cellar - books at Knowsley and St. James's Square had 
been carefully kept for a hundred years, and that — con- 
trary to what every one would have supposed — the num- 
ber of bottles drunk in a year had not diminished. The 
alteration was in the alcoholic strength of the wines con- 
sumed. Burgundy, port, and Madeira had made way 
for light claret, champagne, and hock. That, even 
under these changed conditions of potency, the actual 
number of bottles consumed showed no diminution, was 
accounted for by the fact that at balls and evening parties 
a great deal more champagne was drunk than formerly, 
and that luncheon in a large house had now become prac- 
tically an earlier dinner. 

The growth of these subsidiary meals has been a curi- 
ous feature of the present century. We exclaim with 
horror at such preposterous bills of fare as that which 
I quoted in my last paper, but it should be remembered, 
in justice to our fathers, that dinner was the only sub- 
stantial meal of the day. Holland House was regarded 
in the first half of this century as the very ark and sanct- 
uary of refined luxury, and Macaulay tells us that the 
viands at a breakfast - party there were tea and coffee, 
eggs, rolls, and butter. The fashion of going to the 
Highlands for shooting, which began in tliis century, 
popularized in England certain northern habits of 
feeding, and a morning meal at which game and cold 
meat appeared was known in England as a "Scotch 
breakfast." Apparently it had made some way by 1840, 
for the l7igolclshy Legends, published in that year, 
thus describe the morning meal of the ill - fated Sir 
Thomas • 



" It seems he had taken a light breakfast — bacon, 
An egg, with a little broiled haddock ; at most 
A round and a half of some hot butter'd toast ; 
With a slice of cold sirloin from yesterday's roast." 

Luncheon, or "nuncheon" as some very ancient friends 
of mine always called it, was the merest mouthful. Men 
went out shooting with a sandwich in their pocket ; the 
ladies who sat at home had some cold chicken and wine 
and water brought into the drawing-room on a tray. 

Miss Austen in her novels always dismisses the mid- 
day meal under the cursory appellation of ''cold meat." 
The celebrated Dr. Kitchener, the sympathetic author 
of the Cook's Oracle, writing in 1825, says : " Your lunch- 
eon may consist of a bit of roasted poultry, a basin of 
beef tea, or eggs poached, or boiled in the shell ; fish 
plainly dressed, or a sandwich ; stale bread ; and half 
a pint of good home - brewed beer, or toast and water, 
with about one-fourth or one-third part of its measure 
of wine." And this prescription would no doubt have 
worn an aspect of liberal concession to the demands of 
the patient's appetite. It is difficult, by any effort of a 
morbid imagination, to realize a time when there was no 
five -o'clock tea; and yet that most sacred of our na- 
tional institutions was only invented by the Duchess of 
Bedford who died in 1857, and whose name should surely 
be enrolled in the Positivist Calendar as a benefactress 
of the human race. No wonder that by seven o'clock 
our fathers, and even our mothers, were ready to tackle 
a dinner of solid properties ; and even to supplement it 
with the amazing supper (which Dr. Kitchener pre- 
scribes for ''those who dine very late") of "gruel, or 
a little bread and cheese, or pounded cheese, and a glass 
of beer." 

This is a long digression from the subject of excessive 
drinking, with which, however, it is not remotely con- 



nectcd ; and both in respect of drunkenness and of glut- 
tony the habits of English society in the years which 
immediately succeeded the French Revolution showed 
a marked amelioration. To a company of enthusiastic 
Wordsworthians who were deploring their master's con- 
fession that he got drunk at Cambridge, Mr. Shorthouse, 
the accomplished author of John Inglesafit, soothingly 
remarked, that in all probability ''Wordsworth's stand- 
ard of intoxication was miserably low." 

Simultaneously with the restriction of excess there was 
seen a corresponding increase in refinement of taste and 
manners. Some of the more brutal forms of so-called 
sport, such as bull-baiting and cock-fighting, became less 
fashionable. The more civilized forms, such as fox- 
hunting and racing, increased in favor. -Esthetic cult- 
ure was more generally diffused. The stage was at the 
height of its glory. Music was a favorite form of public 
recreation. Great prices were given for works of art. 
The study of physical science, or "natural philosophy" 
as it was called, became popular. Public libraries and 
local "book-societies" sprang up, and there was a wide 
demand for encyclopaedias and similar vehicles for the 
diffusion of general knowledge. The love of natural 
beauty was beginning to move the hearts of men, and it 
found expression at once in an entirely new school of 
landscape-painting, and in a more romantic and natural 
form of poetry. 

But against these marked instances of social ameliora- 
tion must be set some darker traits of national life. The 
public conscience had not yet revolted against violence 
and brutality. The prize-ring, patronized by Royalty, was 
at its zenith. Humanitarians and philanthropists were 
as yet an obscure and ridiculed sect. The slave - trade, 
though menaced, was still undisturbed. Under a system 
scarcely distinguishable from slavery, pauper children 



were bound over to the owners of factories and sub- 
jected to the utmost rigor of enforced labor. The treat- 
ment of the insane was darkened by incredible barbari- 
ties. As late as 1828 Lord Shaftesbury found that the 
lunatics in Bedlam were chained to their straw beds, and 
left from Saturday to Monday without attendance, and 
with only bread and water within their reach, while the 
keepers were enjoying themselves. Discipline in the ser- 
vices, in workhouses, and in schools was of the most 
brutal type. Our prisons were unreformed. Our penal 
code was inconceivably sanguinary and savage. In 1770 
there were one hundred and sixty capital offences on 
the Statute-book, and by the beginning of this cen- 
tury the number had greatly increased. To steal five 
shillings' worth of goods from a shop was punishable by 
death. A girl of twenty-two was hanged for receiving a 
piece of woollen stuff from the man who had stolen it. 

In 1789 a woman was burned at the stake for coining. 
People still living have seen the skeletons of pirates and 
highwaymen hanging in chains. I have heard that the 
children of the Bluecoat School at Hertford were always 
taken to see the executions there; and as late as 1820 
the dead bodies of the Cato Street conspirators were de- 
capitated in front of Newgate, and the Westminster boys 
had a special holiday to enable them to see the sight, 
which was thus described by an eye - witness, the late 
Lord de Ros : " The executioner and his assistant cut 
down one of the corpses from the gallows, and placed it 
in the coflBn, but with the head hanging over on the 
block. The man with the knife instantly severed the 
head from the body, and the executioner, receiving it 
in his hands, held it up, saying, in a loud voice, ' This 
is the head of a traitor.' He then dropped it into the 
coffin, which, being removed, another was brought for- 
ward, and they proceeded to cut down the next body 
F 81 


and to go through the same ghastly operation. It was 
observed that the mob, which was very large, gazed in 
silence at the hanging of the conspirators, and showed 
not the least sympathy ; but when each head was cut off 
and held np a loud and deep groan of horror burst from all 
sides, which was not soon forgotten by those who heard it/' 
Duelling was the recognized mode of settling all per- 
sonal disputes, and no attempt was made to enforce the 
law which, theoretically, treated the killing of a man in 
a duel as wilful murder; but, on the other hand, debt 
was punished with what often was imprisonment for life. 
A woman died in the County Jail at Exeter after forty- 
five years' incarceration for a debt of £19. Crime was 
rampant. Daring burglaries, accompanied by every cir- 
cumstance of violence, took place nightly. Highway- 
men infested the suburban roads, and not seldom plied 
their calling in the capital itself. The iron post at the 
end of the narrow footway between the gardens of Dev- 
onshire House and Lansdowne House is said by tradition 
to have been placed there after a Knight of the Road 
had eluded the ofl&cers of justice by galloping down the 
stone steps and along the flagged path. I have told in a 
former paper how Sir Hamilton Seymour was "stopped" 
in his father's travelling carriage near the bottom of 
Grosvenor Place. Young gentlemen of broken fortunes, 
and tradesmen whose business had grown slack, swelled 
the ranks of these desperadoes. It was even said that 
an Irish prelate — Dr. Twysden, Bishop of Raphoe — 
whose incurable love of adventure had drawn him to 
''the road," received the penalty of his uncanonical di- 
version in the shape of a bullet from a traveller whom 
he had stopped on Hounslow Heath. The Lord Mayor 
was made to stand and deliver on Turnham Green. 
Stars and " Georges " were snipped off ambassadors and 
peers as they entered St. James's Palace. 



It is superfluous to multiply illustrations. Enough 
has been said to show that the circumscription of aris- 
tocratic privilege and the diffusion of material luxury 
did not precipitate the millennium. Social Equalization 
was not synonymous with Social Amelioration. Some 
improvement, indeed, in the tone and habit of society 
we have seen at the turn of the century ; but it was lit- 
tle more than a beginning I proceed to trace its devel- 
opment, and to indicate its source. 



I HAVE indicated the closing years of the last century 
as the period at which the moral and social life of Eng- 
land touched its lowest point. In support of this view 
I have cited the evidence of contemporary literature and 
biography, of people whom I have known, and of docu- 
ments which I have examined. I have quoted Mr. Glad- 
stone's testimony that "persons of great weight and au- 
thority" whom he knew in his youth ascribed the be- 
ginnings of a reviving seriousness in the upper classes 
of lay society to a reaction against the horrors and im- 
pieties of the French Revolution in its later stages. I 
closed my last chapter by saying that some improvement 
in our national habits was discernible by the beginning 
of the present century, and that I should next attempt 
to trace the development and to indicate the source of 
that improvement. 

Mr. Lecky justly remarks that '*it is difficult to meas- 
ure the change which must have passed over the public 
mind since the days when the lunatics in Bedlam were 
constantly spoken of as one of the sights of London ; 
when the maintenance of the African slave-trade was a 
foremost object of English commercial policy ; when 
men and even women were publicly whipped through 
the streets ; when skulls lined the top of Temple Bar 
and rotting corpses hung on gibbets along the Edgware 
Eoad ; when persons exposed in the pillory not unfre- 



quently died through the ill - usage of the mob ; and 
when the procession every six weeks of condemned 
criminals to Tyburn Avas one of the great festivals of 

Difficult, indeed, it is to measure so great a change, 
and it is not wholly easy to ascertain with precision its 
various and concurrent causes, and to attribute to each 
its proper potency. But we shall certainly not be wrong 
if, among those causes, we assign a prominent place to 
the Evangelical revival of religion. It would be a mis- 
take to claim for the Evangelical movement the whole 
credit of our social reform and philanthropic work. 
Even in the darkest times of spiritual torpor and gen- 
eral profligacy England could show a creditable amount 
of practical benevolence. The public charities of Lon- 
don were large and excellent. The first Foundling Hos- 
pital was established in 1739 ; the first Magdalen Hos- 
pital in 1769. In 1795 it was estimated that the annual 
expenditure on charity-schools, asylums, hospitals, and 
similar institutions in London was £750,000. 

Mr. Lecky, whose study of these social phenomena is 
exhaustive, imagines that the habit of unostentatious 
charity, which seems indigenous to England, was power- 
fully stimulated by the philosophy of Shaftesbury and 
Voltaire, by Kousseau's sentiment and Fielding's fiction. 
This theory may have something to say for itself, and in- 
deed it is antecedently plausible ; but I can hardly be- 
lieve that purely literary influences counted for so very 
much in the sphere of practice. I doubt if any consider- 
able number of Englishmen were effectively swayed by that 
humanitarian philosophy of France which in the actions 
of its maturity so awfully belied the promise of its youth. 
We are, I think, on surer ground when, admitting a na- 
tional bias towards material benevolence, and not deny- 
ing some stimulus from literature and philosophy, we 



assign to the Evangelical revival the main credit of our 
social regeneration. 

The life of John Wesley, practically coterminous with 
the last century, witnessed both the lowest point of our 
moral degradation and also the earliest promise of our 
moral restoration. He cannot, indeed, be reckoned the 
founder of the Evangelical school ; that title belongs 
rather to George Whitefield. But his influence, com- 
bined with that of his brother Charles, acting on such 
men as ISTewton and Cecil, and Venn and Scott, of Aston 
Sandford ; on Selina Lady Huntingdon and Mrs. Hannah 
More ; on Howard and Clarkson and William Wilber- 
force, made a deep mark on the Established Church, 
gave new and permanent life to English Nonconformity, 
and sensibly affected the character and aspect of secular 

Wesley himself had received the governing impulse of 
his life from Law's Serious Call and Christian Perfection, 
and he had been a member of one of those religious soci- 
eties (or guilds, as they would now be called) with which 
the piety of Bishop Beveridge and Dr. Horneck had en- 
riched the Church of England. These societies were, of 
course, distinctly Anglican in origin and character, and 
were stamped with the High Church theology. They 
constituted, so to say, a church within the Church, and, 
though they raised the level of jjersonal piety among their 
members to a very high point, they did not widely affect 
the general tone and character of national religion. The 
Evangelical leaders, relying on less exclusively ecclesias- 
tical methods, diffused their influence over a much wider 
area, and, under the impulse of their teaching, drunken- 
ness, indecency, and profanity were sensibly abated. The 
reaction from the rampant wickedness of the last century 
drove men into strict and even puritanical courses. 

Lord Robert Seymour wrote on the 20th March, 1788 : 



"Tho'Good Friday, Mrs. Sawbridge has an assembly this 
evening; tells her invited friends they really arc only to 
play for a watch which she has had some time on her 
hands and wishes to dispose of/' 

" ' Eeally, I declare 'pon my honor it's true ' (said Ly. 
Bridget Talmash to the Dutchess of Bolton) ' that a great 
many people now go to chapel. I saw a vast number of 
carriages at Portman Chapel last Sunday.' The Dut. 
told her she always went to chapel on Sunday, and in the 
country read prayers in the hall to her family." 

But now there began a marked abstention from fash- 
ionable forms of recreation, such as dancing, card -play- 
ing, and the drama. Sunday was observed with a Judaical 
rigor. A more frequent attendance on public worship 
was accompanied by the revival of family prayers and 
grace before meat. Manuals of private devotion were 
multiplied. Eeligions literature of all kinds was pub- 
lished in great quantity. A higher standard of morals 
was generally professed. Marriage was gradually restored 
in public estimation to its proper place, not merely as a 
civil bond or social festival, but as a chief solemnity of 
the Christian religion. 

There was no more significant sign of the times than 
this alteration, for in the last century some of the gravest 
of our social offences had clustered round the institution 
of marriage, which was almost as much dishonored in 
the observance as in the breach. In the first half of that 
century the irregular and clandestine weddings, cele- 
brated without banns or license in the Fleet Prison, had 
been one of the crying scandals of the middle and lower 
classes ; and in the second half, the nocturnal Sittings 
to Gretna Green of young couples who could afford such 
a Pilgrimage of Passion lowered the conception of mar- 
riage. It was through the elopement of Miss Child — 
heiress of the opulent banker at Temple Bar — from her 



ftitner's house in Berkeley Square (now Lord Rosebcry's) 
that the ownership of the great banking business passed 
eventually to the present Lord Jersey, and the annals of 
almost every aristocratic family contain the record of 
similar escapades. 

The Evangelical movement, not content with permeat- 
ing England, sought to expand itself all over the Empire. 
The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and the 
Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge had been 
essentially Anglican institutions ; and similar societies, 
but less ecclesiastical in character, now sprang up in great 
numbers. The London Missionary Society was founded 
in 1795, the Church Missionary Society in 1799, the Re- 
ligious Tract Society in the same year, and the British 
and Foreign Bible Society three years later. All these 
were distinctly creations of the Evangelical movement, 
as were also the Societies for the Reformation of Man- 
ners and for the Better Observance of the Lord's Day. 
Religious education found in the Evangelical party its 
most active friends. The Sunday School Society was 
founded in 1785. Two years later it was educating two 
hundred thousand children. Its most earnest champions 
were Rowland Hill and Mrs. Hannah More ; but it is 
worthy of note that this excellent lady, justly honored as 
a pioneer of elementary education, confined her curricu- 
lum to the Bible and the Catechism, and " such coarse 
works as may fit the children for servants, fallow of no 
writing for the poor." 

To the Society of Friends — a body not historically or 
theologically Evangelical — belongs the credit of having 
first awoke and tried to rouse others to a sense of the 
horrors and iniquities involved in the slave-trade ; but 
the adhesion of William Wilberforce and his friends at 
Clapham identified the movement for emancipation with 
the Evangelical party. Never were the enthusiasm, the 


activity, the nncompromising devotion to principle wliich 
marked the Evangelicals turned to better account. Their 
very narrowness gave intensity and concentration to their 
Avork, and their victory, though deferred, was complete. 
It has been truly said that when the English nation had 
been thoroughly convinced that slavery was a curse which 
must be got rid of at any cost, we cheerfully paid down 
as the price of its abolition twenty millions in cash, and 
threw the prosperity of our West Indian colonies into the 
bargain. Yet we only spent on it one-tenth of what it 
cost us to lose America, and one-fiftieth of what we spent 
in avenging the execution of Louis XVI. 

In spite of all these conspicuous and beneficent advan- 
ces in the direction of humanity, a great deal of severity, 
and what appears to us as brutality, remained embedded 
in our social system. I have spoken in previous papers 
of the methods of discipline enforced in the services, in 
jails, in workhouses, and in schools. A very similar 
spirit prevailed even in the home. Children were shut 
up in dark closets, starved, and flogged. Lord Shaftes- 
bury's father used to knock him down, and recommended 
his tutor at Harrow to follow the same regimen. Arch- 
deacon Denison describes in his autobiography how he 
and his brothers were thrashed by their tutor when they 
were youths of sixteen and had left Eton. The Faircliild 
Family— WxaX quaint picture of Evangelical life and man- 
ners — depicts a religious father punishing his quarrelsome 
children by taking them to see a murderer hanging in 
chains, and chastising every peccadillo of infancy with a 
severity which makes one long to flog Mr. Fairchild. 

But still, in spite of all these checks and drawbacks 
and evil survivals, the tide of humanitarianism flowed on, 
and gradually altered the aspect of English life. The 
bloody penal code was mitigated. Prisons and work- 
houses were reformed. The discipline of school and of 



home was tempered by the infusion of mercy and rea- 
son into the iron regimen of terror. And this general 
diminution of brutality was not the only form of social 
amelioration. It was accompanied by a gradual but per- 
ceptible increase in decency, refinement, and material 
prosperity. Splendor diminished, and luxury remained 
the monopoly of the rich ; but comfort — that peculiarly 
English treasure — was more generally diffused. In that 
diffusion the Evangelicals had their full share. Thack- 
eray's admirable description of Mrs. Hobson Newcome's 
villa is drawn from the life : "In Egypt itself there were 
not more savory fleshpots than those at Clapham. Her 
mansion was long the resort of the most favored among 
the religious world. The most eloquent expounders, the 
most gifted missionaries, the most interesting converts 
from foreign islands were to be found at her sumptuous 
table, spread with the produce of her magnificent gardens 
... a great shining mahogany table, covered with grapes, 
pineapples, plum-cake, port wine, and Madeira, and sur- 
rounded by stout men in black, with baggy white neck- 
cloths, who took little Tommy on their knees and ques- 
tioned him as to his right understanding of the place 
whither naughty boys were bound." 

Again, in his paper on Dinners the same great master 
of a fascinating subject speaks the words of truth and 
soberness when he says : " The inferior clergy dine very 
much and well. I don't know when I have been better 
entertained, as far as creature comforts go, than by men 
of very Low Church principles ; and one of the very best 
repasts that ever I saw in my life was at Darlington, given 
by a Quaker." The same admirable tradition of material 
comfort allied with Evangelical opinion extended into my 
own time. The characteristic weakness of Mr. Stiggins 
has no place in my recollection ; but Mr. Chadband I 
have frequently met in Evangelical circles, both inside 



and outside the Establishment. Debarred by the strict- 
ness of their principles from such amusements as dancing, 
cards, and theatres, the Evangelicals took their pleasure 
in eating and drinking. They abounded in hospitality ; 
and when they were not entertaining or being entertained, 
occupied their evenings with systematic reading, which 
gave their religious compositions a sound basis of general 
culture. Austerity, gloom, and Pharisaism had no place 
among the better class of Evangelicals. Wilberforce, 
pronounced by Madame de Stael to be the most agreeable 
man in England, was of '' a most gay and genial disposi- 
tion"; ''lived in perpetual sunshine, and shed its radi- 
ance all around him." Legh Eichmond was " exceed- 
ingly good company." Robinson, of Leicester, was "a 
capital conversationalist, very lively and bright." Alex- 
ander Knox found that Mrs. Hannah More '' far exceed- 
ed his expectations in pleasant manners and interesting 

The increasing taste for solid comfort and easy living 
which accompanied the development of humanitarian- 
ism, and in which, as we have just seen, the Evangelicals 
had their full share, was evidenced to the eye by the 
changes in domestic architecture. There was less pre- 
tension in exteriors and elevations, but more regard to 
convenience and propriety within. The space was not 
all sacrificed to reception-rooms. Bedrooms were multi- 
plied and enlarged ; and fireplaces were introduced into 
every room, transforming the arctic "powdering-closet" 
into a habitable dressing-room. The diminution of the 
"Window Tax made light and ventilation possible. Per- 
sonal cleanliness became fashionable, and the means of 
attaining it were cultivated. The whole art or science 
of domestic sanitation — rudimentary enough in its begin- 
nings — belongs to this century. The system which went 
before it was too primitively abominable to bear elaborate 



description. Sir Robert Rawlinson, the sanitary expert, 
who was called in to inspect Windsor Castle after the 
Prince Consort's death, reported that, within the Queen's 
reign, " cesspools full of putrid refuse and drains of the 
worst description existed beneath the basements. . . . 
Twenty of these cesspools were removed from the upper 
ward, and twenty - eight from the middle and lower 
wards. . . . Means of ventilation by windows in Windsor 
Castle were very defective. Even in the royal apart- 
ments the upper portions of the windows were fixed. 
Lower casements alone could be opened, so that by far 
the largest amount of air spaces in the rooms contained 
vitiated air, comparatively stagnant." When this was 
the condition of our Royal Palaces, no wonder that the 
typhoid-germ, like Solomon's spider, laid "hold with 
her hands, and was in kings' palaces." And well might 
Sir George Trevelyan, in his ardent youth, exclaim : 

" We must revere our sires-, they were a famous race of men. 
For every glass of port we drink, ttiey nothing thouglit of 

They lived above the foulest drains, they breathed the closest 

They had their yearly twinge of gout, but little seemed to 

But, though they burned their coals at home, nor fetched their 

ice from Wenham, 
They played the man before Quebec and stormed the lines at 

When sailors lived on mouldy bread and lumps of rusty pork. 
No Frenchman dared to show his nose between the Downs and 

But now that Jack gets beef and greens and next his skin wears 

The 'Standard' says we've not a ship in plight to hold the 


So much for Social Amelioration. 



These chapters are founded on contact with some 
very aged people whom, many years ago, it was my privi- 
lege to question about the scenes and events of their 
youth. From that contact one naturally derived certain 
clear impressions concerning the condition of England 
during the latter part of the last century and the earlier 
part of this. Of our religious, moral, and social con- 
dition at that time I have already spoken. Now I ap- 
proach our political condition, and that was to a great 
extent the product of the French Revolution. Some 
historians, indeed, when dealing with that inexhaustible 
theme, have wrought cause and effect into a circular 
chain, and have reckoned among the circumstances 
which prepared the way for the French Revolution the 
fact that Voltaire in his youth spent three years in Eng- 
land, and mastered the philosophy of Bacon, Newton, 
and Locke, the Deism of the English Free-thinkers, and 
the English theory of political liberty. That these 
doctrines, recommended by Voltaire's mordant genius 
and matchless style, and circulating in a community 
prepared by tyranny to receive them, acted as a power- 
ful solvent on the intellectual basis of French society, is 
indeed likely enough. But to pursue the theme would 
carry us too far back into the last century. In dealing 
with the recollections of persons whom one's self has 
known, we must dismiss from view the causes of the 



French Revolntion. Onr business is with its effect on 
political thought and action in England. 

About half-way through this century it became the 
fashion to make out that the effect of the Revolution on 
England had been exaggerated. Satirists made fun of 
our traditional Gallophobia. In that admirable skit on 
philosophical history, the introduction to the Book of 
Snobs, Thackeray first illustrates his theme by a reference 
to the French Revolution, and then adds (in sarcastic 
brackets): "Which the reader will be pleased to have 
introduced so early." Lord Beaconsfield, quizzing John 
Wilson Croker in Coningshy, says : " He bored his au- 
dience with too much history, especially the French 
Revolution, which he fancied was his forte, so that the 
people at last, whenever he made any allusion to the 
subject, were almost as much terrified as if they had seen 
the guillotine," In spite of these gibes, historians have 
of late years returned to the earlier and truer view, and 
have deliberately reaffirmed the tremendous effect of the 
Revolution on English politics. The philosophical Mr. 
Lecky says that it influenced English history in the 
later years of the last century more powerfully than any 
other event ; that it gave a completely new direction to 
the statesmanship of Pitt ; that it instantaneously shat- 
tered, and rendered ineffectual for a whole generation, 
one of the two great parties in the State ; and that it 
determined for a like period the character and complex- 
ion of our foreign policy. 

All contemporary Europe — all subsequent time — quiv- 
ered with the shock and sickened at the carnage ; but I 
have gathered that it was not till the capture of the 
Bastille that the events which were taking place in France 
attracted any general or lively interest in England. The 
strifes of rival politicians, the illness of George III., and 
the consequent questions as to the Regency, engrossed 



the public mind, and what little interest was felt in 
foreign affairs was directed much more to the possible 
designs of Russia than to the actual condition of France. 
The capture of the Bastille, however, was an event so 
startling and so dramatic that it instantly arrested the 
public attention of England, and the events which im- 
mediately followed in rapid and striking succession raised 
interest into xcitement, and excitement into passion. 
Men who had been accustomed from their childhood to 
regard the Monarchy of France as the type of a splendid, 
powerful, and enduring polity now saw a National Army 
constituted in complete independence of the Crown ; a 
Representative Body assuming absolute power and de- 
nying the King's right to dissolve ; the King himself 
borne in ignominious triumph to the palace of the Mu- 
nicipality ; the summary abrogation of the whole feudal 
system, which a year before had seemed endowed with 
perpetual vigor ; an insurrection of the peasantry against 
their territorial tyrants, accompanied by every horror of 
pillage, arson, and bloodshed ; the beautiful and stately 
Queen flying, half naked, for her life, amid the slaugh- 
ter of her sentinels and courtiers ; and the King himself 
virtually a prisoner in the very Court which, up to that 
moment, had seemed the ark and sanctuary of absolute 
government. All over England these events produced 
their immediate and natural effect. Enemies of relig- 
ious establishments took courage from the downfall of 
ecclesiastical institutions in France. Enemies of mon- 
archy rejoiced in the formal and public degradation of 
a monarch. Those who had long been conscientiously 
working for Parliamentary reform saw with glee their 
principles expressed in the most uncompromising terms 
in the French Declaration of Rights, and practically ap- 
plied in the constitution of the Sovereign Body of France. 
These convinced and constitutional reformers found 



new and strange allies. Serious advocates of Republican 
institutions, mere lovers of change and excitement, se- 
cret sympathizers with lawlessness and violence, seden- 
tary theorists, reckless adventurers, and local busybodies 
associated themselves in the endeavor to popularize the 
French Revolution in England and to imbue the English 
mind with congenial sentiments. The movement had 
leaders of greater mark. The Duke of Norfolk and the 
Duke of Richmond, Lord Lansdowne and Lord Stanhope, 
held language about the Sovereignty of the People such 
as filled the reverent and orderly mind of Burke with 
indignant astonishment. In Dr. Priestley the revolution- 
ary party had an eminent man of science and a polemical 
writer of rare power. Dr. Price was a rhetorician whom 
any cause would have gladly enlisted as its champion. The 
Revolution Society, founded to commemorate the capt- 
ure of the Bastille, corresponded with the leaders of the 
Revolution, and promised its alliance in a revolutionary 
compact. And, to add a touch of comedy to these more 
serious demonstrations, the young Duke of Bedford and 
other leaders of fashion discarded hair-powder, and wore 
their hair cut short in what was understood to be the 
Republican mode of Paris. 

Amid all this hurly-lDurly Pitt maintained a stately 
and cautious reserve. Probably he foresaw his oppor- 
tunity in the inevitable disruption of his opponents ; 
and if so, his foresight was soon realized by events. On 
the capture of the Bastille, Fox exclaimed : " How much 
the greatest event it is that ever happened in the world ! 
and how much the best !" At the same time Burke was 
writing to an intimate friend : " The old Parisian feroci- 
ty has broken out in a shocking manner. It is true that 
this may be no more than a sudden explosion. If so, no 
indication can be taken from it ; but if it should be char- 
acter rather than accident, then that people are not fit 



for liberty, and must have a strong hand like that of 
their former masters to coerce them." This contrast 
between the judgments of the two great Whigs was con- 
tinuously and rapidly heightened. Fox threw himself 
into the revolutionary cause with all the ardor which 
he had displayed on behalf of American independence. 
Burke opposed with characteristic vehemence the French 
attempt to build up a theoretical Constitution on the 
ruins of religion, history, and authority ; and any fresh 
act of cruelty or oppression which accompanied the proc- 
ess stirred in him that tremendous indignation against 
violence and injustice of which Warren Hastings had 
learned by stern experience the intensity and the vol- 
ume. The Reflections on the French Revolution and the 
Appeal from the Neiu to the Old Whigs expressed in the 
most splendid English which was ever written the dire 
apprehensions that darkened their author's receptive and 
impassioned mind. " A voice like the Apocalypse sound- 
ed over Engla,nd, and even echoed in all the Courts of 
Europe. Burke poured the vials of his hoarded vengeance 
into the agitated heart of Christendom, and stimulated 
the panic of a world by the wild pictures of his inspired 

Meanwhile the Whig party was rent in twain. The 
Duke of Portland, Lord Fitzwilliam, the Duke of Devon- 
shire, Lord John Cavendish, and Sir George Elliot ad- 
hered to Burke. Fox as stoutly opposed him, and was 
reinforced by Sheridan, Francis, Erskine, and Grey. 
The pathetic issue of the dispute, in Burke's formal 
repudiation of Fox's friendship, has taken its place among 
those historic Partings of Friends which have modified 
the course of human society. As far as can now be 
judged, the bulk of the country was with Burke, and 
the execution of Louis XVI. was followed by an aston- 
ishing outbreak of popular feeling. The theatres were 
G 97 


closed. The whole population wore monrning. The 
streets rang with the cry, " War with France !" The 
very pulpits re-echoed the summons. Fox himself was 
constrained to declare to the electors of Westminster 
that there was no one outside France who did not con- 
sider this sad catastrophe "as a most revolting act of 
cruelty and injustice." 

But it was too late. The horror and indignation of 
England were not to be allayed by soothing words of 
decorous sympathy from men who had applauded the 
earlier stages of the tragedy, though they wept at its cul- 
mination. The warlike spirit of the race Avas aroused, 
and it spoke in the cry, "No peace with the regicides !" 
Pitt clearly discerned the feeling of the country, and 
promptly gave effect to it. He dismissed Chauvelin, who 
informally represented the Eevolutionary Government in 
London, and he demanded from Parliament an immedi- 
ate augmentation of the forces. 

On January 20, 1793, France declared war against the 
King of England. The great struggle had begun, and 
that declaration was a new starting-point in the political 
history of England. English parties entered into new 
combinations. English politics assumed a new complex- 
ion. Pitt's imperial mind maintained its ascendency, 
but the drift of his policy was entirely changed. All the 
schemes of Parliamentary, financial, and commercial re- 
form in which he had been immersed yielded place to the 
stern expedients of a Minister fighting for his life against 
revolution abroad and sedition at home. For though, 
as I said just now, popular sentiment was stirred by the 
King's execution into vehement hostility to France, still 
the progress of the war was attended by domestic con- 
sequences which considerably modified this sentiment. 
Hostility gave way to passive acquiescence, and acquies- 
cence to active sympathy. 



Among the causes which produced this change were 
the immense increase of national burdens ; the sudden 
agglomeration of a lawless population in the manufactur- 
ing towns which the war called into being ; the growing 
difficulties in Ireland, where revolutionary theories found 
ready learners ; the absolute abandonment of all attempts 
at social and political improvement ; the dogged deter- 
mination of those in authority to remedy no grievance 
however patent, and to correct no abuse however inde- 

The wise and temperate reforms for which the times 
were ripe, and which the civil genius of Pitt pre-emi- 
nently qualified him to effect, were not only suspended, 
but finally abandoned under the influence of an insane 
reaction. The besotted resistance to all change stimu- 
lated the desire for it. Physical distress co-operated 
with political discontent to produce a state of popular 
disaffection such as the whole preceding century had 
never seen. The severest measures of coercion and re- 
pression only, and scarcely, restrained the populace from 
open and desperate insurrection, and thirty years of this 
experience brought England to the verge of a civil catas- 

Patriotism was lost in partisanship. Political faction 
ran to an incredible excess. The whole community was 
divided into two hostile camps. Broadly speaking, the 
cause of France was espoused, with different degrees of 
fervor, by all lovers of civil and religious freedom at 
home. To the Whigs the humiliation of Pitt was a more 
cherished object than the defeat of Napoleon. Fox wrote 
to a friend : " The triumph of the French Government 
over the English does, in fact, afford me a degree of 
pleasure which it is very difficult to disguise " ; and I 
have gathered that this was the prevalent temper of 
Whiggery during the long and desperate struggle with 



Republican and Imperial France. AVhat Byron called 
" The crowning carnage, Waterloo," brought no abate- 
ment of political rancor. The question of France, in- 
deed, Avas eliminated from the contest, but its elimination 
enabled English Liberals to concentrate their hostility on 
the Tory Government without incurring the reproach of 
unpatriotic sympathy with the enemies of England. 

In the great fight between Tory and Whig, Govern- 
ment and Opposition, Authority and Freedom, there was 
no quarter. Neither age nor sex was spared. No de- 
partment of national life was untouched by the fury of 
the contest. The Royal Family was divided. The Duke 
of Cumberland was one of the most dogged and unscru- 
pulous leaders of the Tory party ; the Duke of Sussex 
toasted the memory of Charles James Fox, and at a pub- 
lic dinner joined in singing " The Trumpet of Liberty," 
of which the chorus ran : 

" Fall, tyrants, fall ! 
These are the days of liberty ; 
Fall, tyrants, fall !" 

The Established Chnrch was on the side of authority ; 
the Dissenters stood for freedom. '' Our opponents," 
said Lord John Russell, in one of his earliest speeches — 
" our opponents deafen us with their cry of ' Church 
and King,' Shall I tell you what they mean by it ? 
They mean a Church without the Gospel and a King 
above the law." An old Radical electioneerer, describ- 
ing the activity of the country clergy on the Tory side, 
said : "In every village we have the Black Recruiting- 
Sergeant against us." Even within sacred walls the 
echoes of the fight were heard. The State Holy-days — 
Gunpowder Treason, Charles the Martyr, the Restoration, 
and the Accession — gave suitable occasion for sermons of 
the most polemical vehemence. Even the two Collects 



for the King at the beginning of the Communion Service 
were regarded as respectively Tory and Whig. The first, 
with its bold assertion of the Divine Eight of Sovereignty, ' 
was that which commended itself to every loyal clergy- 
man on his promotion; and unfavorable conclusions were 
drawn with regard to the civil sentiments of the man 
who preferred the colorless alternative. As in the Church, 
so in our educational system. Oxford, with its Caroline 
and Jacobite traditions, was the Tory University ; Cam- 
bridge, the nursing mother of Whigs ; Eton was supposed 
to cherish a sentiment of romantic affection for the 
Stuarts ; Harrow was profoundly Hanoverian. Even the 
drama was involved in political antipathies, and the most 
powerful adherents of Kean and Kemble were found re- 
spectively among the leaders of Whig and Tory society. 
The vigor, heartiness, and sincerity of this political 
hatred put to shame the more tepid convictions of our 
degenerate days. The first Earl of Leicester, better 
known as "Coke of Norfolk," told my father that when 
he was a child his grandfather took him on his knee and 
said, "Now, remember, Tom, as long as you live, never 
trust a Tory"; and he used to say, "I never have, and, 
by God, I never will." The little daughter of a great 
Whig statesman, accustomed from her cradle to hear 
language of this sort, asked her mother, "Mamma, are 
Tories born wicked, or do they grow wicked afterwards ?" 
and her mother judiciously replied, " They are born 
wicked, and grow worse." I well remember in my youth 
an eccentric old maiden lady — Miss Harriett Fanny 
Cuyler — who had spent a long and interesting life in the 
innermost circles of aristocratic Whiggery, and she never 
would enter a four - wheel cab until she had extorted 
from the driver his personal assurance that he never had 
cases of infectious disease in his cab, that he was not a 
Puseyite, and was a Whig. 



I am bound to say that this vehement prejudice was 
I not unnatural in a generation that remembered, either 
personally or by immediate tradition, the iron coercion 
which Pitt exercised in his later days, and which his suc- 
cessors continued. The barbarous executions for high- 
treason remain a blot on the fair fame of the nineteenth 
century. Scarcely less horrible were the trials for sedi- 
tion, which sent an English clergyman to transportation 
for life because he had signed a petition in favor of 
Parliamentary reform. 

"The good old Code, like Argus, had a hundred watchful eyes, 
And each old English peasant had his good old English spies. 
To tempt his starving discontent with good old English lies, 
Then call the British yeomanry to stop his peevish cries." 

At Woburn, a market-town forty miles from London, 
under the very shadow of a great Whig house, no politi- 
cal meeting could be held for fear of Pitt's spies, who 
dropped down from London by the night coach and re- 
turned to lay information against popular speakers ; and 
when the politicians of the place desired to express their 
sentiments, they had to repair secretly to an adjacent 
village off the coach-road, where they were harangued 
under cover of night by the young sons of the Duke of 

The ferocity, the venality, the profligate expenditure, 
the delirious excitement of contested elections have 
made an indelible mark on our political history. In 
1780 King George III. personally canvassed the borough 
of Windsor against the Whig candidate. Admiral Kep- 
pel, and propitiated a silk mercer by calling at his shop 
and saying: " The Queen wants a gown — wants a gown. 
No Keppel. No Keppel." It is pleasant to reflect that 
the friends of freedom were not an inch behind the up- 
holders of tyranny in the vigor and adroitness of their 



electioneering methods. Tlie contest for the City of 
Westminster in 1788 is thus described in the manu- 
script diary of Lord Robert Seymour : 

"The Riotts at the Westr. Election are carried such 
lengths the Military obliged to be called into the assist- 
ance of Ld. Hood's party. Several Persons have been 
killed by Ld. J. Townsend's Butchers who cleave them to 
the Ground with their Cleavers — Mr. Fox very narrowly 
escaped being killed by a Bayonet wch. w'd certainly 
have been fatal had not a poor Black saved him fm. the 
blow. Mr. Macnamara's Life is despaired of — & several 
others have died in the difft. Hospitals. Next Thurs- 
day decides the business. 

"July 25. — Lord John Townsend likely to get the 
Election — what has chiefly contributed to Ld. Hood's 
losing it is that Mr. Pulteney is his Friend — Mr. P. can 
command 15,000 Votes — & as he is universally disliked 
by his Tenants they are unanimous in voting against 
him — wch. for Ld. H. proves a very unfortunate circum- 
stance. The Duke of Bedford sent £10,000 towards the 
Expenses of the Opposition. 

"It is thought that Lord Hood will not attempt a 
Scrutiny. One of Ld. Hood's votes was discovered to be 
a carrot-scraper in St. James's Market who sleeps in a 
little Kennel about the Size of a Hen Coup. 

"Augt. 5th — The Election decided in favor of Ld. 
J. T., who was chaired — and attend'd by a Procession of 
a mile in length. On his Head was a Crown of Laurel. 
C. Fox foUow'd him in a Landau & 6 Horses cover'd in 
Favors & Lawrels. The appearance this Procession 
made was equal in splendor to the public Entry of an 

A by-election was impending in Yorkshire, and Pitt, 
paying a social visit to the famous Mrs. B. — one of the 
Whig Queens of the West Riding — said, banteringly, 



** Well, the election is all right for us. Ten thousand 
guineas for the use of our side go down to Yorkshire to- 
night by a sure hand." "The devil they do !" respond- 
ed Mrs. B., and that night the bearer of the precious 
burden was stopped by a highwayman on the Great North 
Road, and the ten thousand guineas procured the return 
of the Whig candidate. The electioneering methods, 
less adventurous but not more scrupulous, of a rather 
later day have been depicted in Pickwick, and Middle- 
march, and Coningshy, and My Novel, with all the sug- 
gestive fun of a painting by Hogarth. 

And so, with startling incidents and culpable ex- 
pedients and varying fortunes, the great struggle for 
political freedom was conducted through the first thirty 
years of the present century, and it has been my interest- 
ing fortune to know some of the toughest of the com- 
batants both among the leaders and in the rank-and-file. 
And from all of them alike — and not only from them, 
but from all who remembered the time — I have gathered 
the impression that all through their earlier life the hid- 
den fires of revolution were smouldering under English 
society, and that again and again an actual outbreak was 
only averted by some happy stroke of fortune. At the 
Election of 1868 an old laborer in the agricultural Bor- 
ough of Woodstock told a Liberal canvasser from Oxford 
that in his youth arms had been stored in his father's 
cottage so as to be in readiness for the outbreak which 
was to take place if Lord Grey's Keform Bill was finally 
defeated. A Whig nobleman, of great experience and 
calm judgment, told me that if our Gracious Queen had 
died before she succeeded to the throne, and thereby 
Ernest Duke of Cumberland had become King on the 
death of William IV., no earthly power could have avert- 
ed a revolution. " I have no hesitation in saying," I 
heard Mr. Gladstone say, ''that if the repeal of the 



Corn Laws had been defeated, or even retarded, we 
should have had a revolution." Charles Kingsley and 
his fellow-workers for Social Reform expected a Revo- 
lution in April, 1848. 

But, after all, these testimonies belong to the region of 
conjecture. Let me close this paper by a narrative of 
fact, derived from the late Lord de Ros, an eye-witness 
of the events which he narrated. Arthur Thistlewood, 
one of the Oato Street conspirators, was a young Eng- 
lishman who had been in Paris in the time of Robes- 
pierre^s ascendency, and had there imbibed revolution- 
ary sentiments. He served for a short time as an officer 
in the English army, and after quitting the service he 
made himself notorious by trying to organize a political 
riot in London, for which he was tried and acquitted. 
He subsequently collected round him a secret society, 
chiefly recruited from the class of disaffected citizens, 
and proceeded to arrange a plan by which he hoped to 
paralyze Government and establish a reign of Terror in 

One evening, in the winter of 1819-20, a full-dress 
ball was given by the Spanish Ambassador in Portland 
Place, and was attended by the Prince Regent, the Royal 
Dukes, the Duke of Wellington, the Ministers of State, 
and the leaders of fashion and society. ''About one 
o'clock, just before supper, a sort of order was circulated 
among the junior officers to draw towards the head of the 
stairs, though no one knew for what reason, except that 
an unusual crowd had assembled in the street. The ap- 
pearance of Lavender and one or two well-known Bow 
Street officers in the entrance-hall also gave rise to sur- 
mises of some impending riot. While the officers were 
whispering to one another as to what was expected to 
happen, a great noise was heard in the street, the crowd 
dispersed with loud cries in all directions, and a squad- 



ron of the 2d Life Guards arrived with drawn swords at 
a gallop from their barracks (then situate in King 
Street), and rapidly formed in front of the Ambassador's 
house. Lavender and the Bow Street officers now with- 
drew ; the officers who had gathered about the stair-head 
were desired to return to the ballroom. 

"The alarm, whatever it might have been, appeared 
to be over, and before the company broke up the Life 
Guards had been withdrawn to their barracks. Inside 
the Ambassador's house all had remained so quiet that 
very few of the ladies present were aware till next day 
that anything unusual had happened, but it became 
known after a short time that the Duke of Wellington 
had received information of an intended attack upon the 
house, which the precautions taken had probably pre- 
vented ; and upon the trial of Thistlewood and his gang 
(for the Cato Street Conspiracy) it came out, among 
other evidence of the various wild schemes they had 
formed, that Thistlewood had certainly entertained the 
project, at the time of this ball, to attack the Spanish 
Ambassador's house, and destroy the Regent and other 
Eoyal personages, as well as the Ministers, who were 
sure to be, most of them, present on the occasion." 

For details of the Cato Street Conspiracy the curious 
reader is referred to the Annual Register for 1820, and 
it is strange to reflect that these explosions of revolution- 
ary rage occurred well within the recollection of old 
friends of mine, now living, among whom I hope it is 
not invidious to mention Lady Georgiana Grey and Mr. 
Charles Villiers. 



In my last chapter I endeavored to give some account 
of the political condition of England during the closing 
years of the eighteenth and the earlier part of the nine- 
teenth century. Closely connected with the subject of 
politics is that of Parliamentary Oratory, and for a right 
estimate of oratory personal impressions (such as those 
on which throughout these chapters I have relied) are 
peculiarly valuable. They serve both to correct and to 
confirm. It is impossible to form from the perusal of a 
printed speech anything but the vaguest and often the 
most erroneous notion of the eifect which it produced 
upon its hearers. But from the testimony of contem- 
poraries one can often gain the clew to what is otherwise 
unintelligible. One learns what were the special attri- 
butes of bearing, voice, or gesture, the circumstances of 
delivery, or even the antecedent conditions of character 
and reputation, which perhaps doomed some magnificent 
peroration to ludicrous failure, or, on the contrary, " or- 
dained strength" out of stammering lips and disjointed 
sentences. Testimony of this kind the circumstances of 
my life have given me in great abundance. My chain of 
tradition links me to the days of the giants. 

Almost all the old people whose opinions and experi- 
ence I have recorded were connected, either personally 
or through their nearest relations, with one or other of 
the Houses of Parliament. Not a few of them were con- 



spicnons actors on the stage of political life. Lord Robert 
Seymour, from whose diary I have quoted, died in 1831, 
after a long life spent in the House of Commons, which 
he entered in 1771, and of which for twenty-three years 
he was a fellow-member with Edmund Burke. Let me 
linger for a moment on that illustrious name. 

In originality, erudition, and accomplishments Burke 
had no rival among Parliamentary speakers. His prose 
is, as we read it now, the most fascinating, the most mu- 
sical, in the English language. It bears on every page 
the divine lineaments of genius. Yet an orator requires 
something more than mere force of words. He must feel, 
while he speaks, the pulse of his audience, and instinc- 
tively regulate every sentence by reference to their feel- 
ings. All contemporary evidence shows that in this kind of 
oratorical tact Burke was eminently deficient. His nick- 
name, "The Dinner-bell of the House of Commons," 
speaks for his effect on the mind of the average M.P. 
"In vain," said Moore, "did Burke's genius put forth 
its superb plumage, glittering all over with the hundred 
eyes of fancy. The gait of the bird was heavy and awk- 
ward, and its voice seemed rather to scare than attract." 
Macaulay has done full justice to the extraordinary 
blaze of brilliancy which on supreme occasions threw these 
minor defects into the shade. Even now the old oak 
rafters of Westminster Hall seem to echo that superla- 
tive peroration which taught Mrs. Siddons a higher flight 
of tragedy than her own, and made the accused procon- 
sul feel himself for the moment the guiltiest of men. Mr. 
Gladstone avers that Burke was directly responsible for 
I the war with France, for "Pitt could not have resisted 
1 him." For the more refined, the more cultivated, the 
more speculative intellects he had — and has — an almost 
supernatural charm. His style is, without any exception, 
the richest, the most picturesque, the most inspired and 



inspiring in the language. In its glories and its terrors 
it resembles the Apocalypse. Mr. Morley, in the most 
striking of all his critical essays, has truly said that the 
natural ardor which impelled Burke to clothe his judg- 
ments in glowing and exaggerated phrase is one secret of 
his power over us, because it kindles in those who are 
capable of that generous infection a respondent interest 
and sympathy. " He has the sacred gift of inspiring 
men to care for high things, and to make their lives at 
once rich and austere." Such a gift is rare indeed. We 
feel no emotion of revolt when Mackintosh speaks of 
Shakespeare and Burke in the same breath as being, 
both of them, above mere talent. We do not dissent 
when Macaulay, after reading Burke's works over again, 
exclaims : " How admirable ! The greatest man since 
Milton r 

No sane critic would dream of comparing the genius of 
Pitt with that of Burke. Yet where Burke failed Pitt 
succeeded. Burke's speeches, indeed, are a part of our 
national literature ; Pitt was, in spite of grave and unde- 
niable faults, the greatest Minister that ever governed 
England. Foremost among the gifts by which he ac- 
quired his supreme ascendency must be placed his power 
of parliamentary speaking. He was not, as his father 
was, an orator in that highest sense of oratory which im- 
plies something of inspiration, of genius, of passionate 
and poetic rapture ; but he was a public speaker of ex- 
traordinary merit. He had while still a youth what Col- 
eridge aptly termed "a premature and unnatural dexterity 
in the combination of words," and this developed into a 
" power of pouring forth with endless facility perfectly 
modulated sentences of perfectly chosen language, which 
as far surpassed the reach of a normal intellect as the 
feats of an acrobat exceed the capacities of a normal 
body." It was eloquence particularly well calculated to 



sway a popular assembly which yet had none of the char- 
acteristics of a mob. A sonorous voice ; a figure and 
bearing which, though stifi and ungainly, were singular- 
ly dignified ; an inexhaustible copiousness of grandilo- 
quent phrase ; a peculiar vein of sarcasm which froze like 
ice and cut like steel — these were some of the character- 
istics of the oratory which from 1782 to 1806 at once 
awed and fascinated the House of Commons. 

"1 never want a word, but Mr. Pitt always has at com- 
mand the right word." This was the generous tribute of 
Pitt's most eminent rival, Charles James Fox. Never 
were great opponents in public life more exactly designed 
by nature to be contrasts to one another. While every 
tone of Pitt's voice and every muscle of his countenance 
expressed with unmistakable distinctness the cold and 
stately composure of his character, every particle of Fox's 
mental and physical formation bore witness to his fiery 
and passionate enthusiasm. "What is that fat gentle- 
man in such a passion about ?" was the artless query of 
the late Lord Eversley, who, as Mr. Speaker Shaw-Le- 
fevre, so long presided over the House of Commons, and 
who as a child had been taken to the gallery to hear Mr. 
Fox. While Pitt was the embodied representative of Or- 
der, his rival was the Apostle and Evangelist of Liberty. 
If the master passion of Pitt's mind was enthusiasm for 
his country. Fox was swayed by the still nobler enthusi- 
asm of Humanity. His style of oratory was the exact re- 
flex of his mind. He was unequalled in passionate argu- 
ment, in impromptu reply, in ready and spontaneous 
declamation. His style was unstudied to a fault. Though 
he was so intimately acquainted with the great models of 
classical antiquity, his oratory owed little to the contact, 
and nothing to the formal arts of rhetoric — everything to 
inborn genius and the greatness of the causes which he 
espoused. It would be difficult to point to a single pub- 


lie question of his time on which liis voice did not sound 
with rousing effect, and whenever that voice Avas heard 
it was on behalf of freedom, humanity, and the sacred 
brotherhood of nations. 

I pass on to the orator of whose masterpiece Fox said 
that " eloquent indeed it was ; so much so that all he 
had ever heard, all he had ever read, dwindled into noth- 
ing and vanished like vapor before the sun." In spark- 
ling brilliancy and pointed wit, in all the livelier graces of 
declamation and delivery, Sheridan surpassed all his con- 
temporaries. When he concluded his speech on the 
charge against Warren Hastings of plundering the Be- 
gums of Oude, the peers and strangers joined with the 
House in a tumult of applause, and could not be restrain- 
ed from clapping their hands in ecstasy. The House ad- 
journed in order to recover its self-possession. Pitt de- 
clared that this speech surpassed all the eloquence of 
ancient and modern times, and possessed everything that 
genius or art could furnish to agitate or control the hu- 
man mind. And yet, while Sheridan's supreme efforts 
met with this startling success, his deficiencies in states- 
manship and character prevented him from commanding 
that position in the House and in the Government which 
his oratorical gift, if not thus handicapped, must have 
secured for its possessor. 

As a speaker in his own sphere Lord Erskine was not 
inferior to the greatest of his contemporaries. He ex- 
celled in fire, force, and passion. Lord Brougham finely 
described "that noble figure every look of whose coun- 
tenance is expressive, every motion of whose form grace- 
ful ; an eye that sparkles and pierces and almost assures 
victory, while it ' speaks audience ere the tongue.' " Yet, 
as is so often the case, the unequalled advocate found 
himself in the House of Commons less conspicuously suc- 
cessful than he had been at the Bar. The forensic man- 


ner of speech, in which he was a head and shoulders 
higher than any of his legal contemporaries, is, after all, 
distinct from parliamentary eloquence. 

The same disqualification attached to the oratory of 
Lord Brougham, whose speech at the bar of the House of 
Lords in defence of Queen Caroline had made so deep an 
impression. His extraordinary fierceness and even vio- 
lence of nature pervaded his whole physical as well as 
intellectual being. When he spoke he was on springs 
and quicksilver, and poured forth sarcasm, invective, ar- 
gument, and declamation in a promiscuous and headlong 
flood. Yet all contemporary evidence shows that his 
grandest efforts were dogged by the inevitable fate of the 
man who, not content with excellence in one or two de- 
partments, aims at the highest point in all. In reading 
his speeches, while one admires the versatility, one is 
haunted by that fatal sense of superficiality which gave 
rise to the caustic saying that if the Lord Chancellor 
only knew a little law he would know something about 

Pitt died in 1806, but he lived long enough to hear the 
splendid eloquence of Grattan, rich in imagination, meta- 
phor, and epigram ; and to open the doors of the official 
hierarchy to George Canning. Trained by Pitt, and in 
many gifts and graces his superior. Canning first dis- 
played his full greatness after the death of his illustrious 
master. For twenty years he was the most accomplished 
debater in the House of Commons, and yet he never suc- 
ceeded in winning the full confidence of the nation, nor, 
except in foreign affairs, in leaving his mark upon our 
national policy. ''The English are afraid of genius," 
and when genius is displayed in the person of a social ad- 
venturer, however brilliant and delightful, it is doubly 
alarming. We can judge of Canning's speeches more ex- 
actly than of those of his predecessors, for by the time 



that he had become famoi^s the art of parliamentary re- 
porting had attained almost to its present perfection ; 
and there are none which more amply repay critical 

Second only to Bnrke in the grandeur and richness of 
his imagery, he far excelled him in readiness, in tact, and 
in those adventitious advantages which go so far to make 
an orator. Mr. Gladstone still recalls the "light and 
music" of the eloquence with which he fascinated Liver- 
pool seventy years ago. Scarcely any one has contrib- 
uted so many beautiful thoughts and happy phrases to 
the common stock of public speech. All contemporary 
observers testify to the effect produced by the proud 
strength of his declaration on foreign policy : "I called 
the New World into existence iu order to redress the 
balance of the Old." And the language does not contain 
a more magnificent or perfect image than that in which 
he likens a strong nation at peace to a great man-of-war 
lying calm and motionless till the moment for action 
comes, when " it puts forth all its beauty and its bravery, 
collects its scattered elements of strength, and awakens 
its dormant thunder." 

Lord John Russell entered the House of Commons in 
1813, and left it in 1861. He used to say that in his 
early days there were a dozen men there who could make 
a finer speech than any one now living ; " but," he used 
to add, "there were not another dozen who could under- 
stand what they were talking about." I asked him who 
was, on the whole, the best speaker he ever heard. He 
answered "Lord Plunket," and subsequently gave as his 
reason this — that while Pluuket had his national Irish 
gifts of fluency, brilliant imagination, and ready wit very 
highly developed, they were all adjuncts to his strong, 
cool, inflexible argument. This, it will be readily ob- 
served, is a very rare and a very striking combination, 
H 113 


and goes far to account for the transcendent success 
which riunket attained at the Bar and in the House, 
and alike in tlio Irish and the English Parliament. Lord 
Brougham said of him that his eloquence was a continu- 
ous flow of ''clear statement, close reasoning, felicitous 
illustration, all confined strictly to the subject in hand ; 
every portion, without any exception, furthering the proc- 
ess of conviction " ; and I do not know a more impres- 
sive passage of sombre passion than the peroration of his 
first speech against the Act of Union: "For my own 
part, I will resist it to the last gasp of my existence, and 
with the last drop of my blood ; and when I feel the hour 
of my dissolution approaching I will, like the father of 
Hannibal, take my children to the altar and swear them 
to eternal hostility against the invaders of their country's 

Before the death of Pitt another great man had risen 
to eminence, though the main achievement of his life 
associates him with 1832. Lord Grey was distinguished 
by a stately and massive eloquence which exactly suited 
his high purpose and earnest gravity of nature, while its 
effect was enormously enhanced by his handsome pres- 
ence and kingly bearing. Though the leader of the pop- 
ular cause, he was an aristocrat in nature, and pre-emi- 
nently qualified for the great part which, during twenty 
years, he played in that essentially aristocratic assembly 
— the unreformed House of Commons. In a subsequent 
paper I hope to say a little about parliamentary orators 
of a rather more recent date ; and here it may not be un- 
interesting to compare the House of Commons as we 
have seen it and known it, modified by successive exten- 
sions of the suffrage, with what it was before Grey and 
Kussell destroyed forever its exclusive character. 

The following description is taken from Lord Beacons- 
field, who is drawing a character derived in part from 



Sir Francis Burdett (1770-1840) and in part from 
George Byng, who was M.P. for Middlesex for fifty-six 
years, and died in 1847 : " He was the father of the 
House, though it was difficult to believe that from his 
appearance. He was tall, and had kept his distinguished 
figure ; a handsome man, with a musical voice, and a 
countenance now benignant, though very bright, and 
once haughty. He still retained the same fashion of cos- 
tume in which he had ridden up to Westminster more 
than half a century ago to support his dear friend Charles 
Fox — real top-boots and a blue coat and buff waistcoat. 
He had a large estate, and had refused an earldom. 
Knowing E., he came and sate by him one day in the 
House, and asked him, good-naturedly, how he liked 
his new life. ' It is very different from what it was when 
I was your age. Up to Easter we rarely had a regular 
debate, never a party division ; very few people came up 
indeed. But there was a good deal of speaking on all 
subjects before dinner. We had the privilege then of 
speaking on the presentation of petitions at any length, 
and we seldom spoke on any other occasion. After 
Easter there was always at least one great party fight. 
This was a mighty affair, talked of for weeks before it 
came off, and then rarely an adjourned debate. We were 
gentlemen, used to sit up late, and should have been 
sitting up somewhere else had we not been in the House 
of Commons. After this party fight the House for the 
rest of the session was a mere club. . . . The House of 
Commons was very much like what the House of Lords 
is now. You went home to dine, and then came back 
for an important division. . . . Twenty years ago no man 
would think of coming down to the House except in 
evening dress. I remember, so late as Mr. Canning, the 
Minister always came down in silk stockings and panta- 
loons or knee-breeches. All these things change, and 



quoting Virgil will be the next thing to disappear. In 
the last Parliament we often had Latin quotations, but 
never from a member with a new constituency. I have 
heard Greek quoted here, but that was long ago, and a 
great mistake. The House was quite alarmed. Charles 
Fox used to say as to quotation : " No Greek ; as much 
Latin as you like ; and never French under any circum- 
stances. No English poet unless he has completed his 
century."' These were, like some other good rules, the 
unwritten orders of the House of Commons/' 


I CONCLUDED my last chapter with a quotation from 
Lord Beaconsfield, describing parliamentary speaking as 
it was when he entered the House of Commons in 1837. 
Of that particular form of speaking perhaps the greatest 
master was Sir Robert Peel. He was deficient in those 
gifts of imagination and romance which are essential to 
the highest oratory. He utterly lacked — possibly he 
would have despised — that almost prophetic rapture 
which we recognize in Burke and Chatham and Erskine. 
His manner was frigid and pompous, and his rhetorical 
devices were mechanical. Every parliamentary sketch 
of the time satirizes his habit of turning round towards 
his supporters at given periods to ask for their applause ; 
his trick of emphasizing his points by perpetually strik- 
ing the box before him ; and his inveterate propensity to 
indulge in hackneyed quotation. But when we have 
said this we have said all that can be urged in his dis- 
paragement. As a parliamentary speaker of the second, 
and perhaps most useful, class he has never been excelled. 
Firmly, though dispassionately, persuaded of certain po- 
litical and economic doctrines, he brought to the task of 
promoting them unfailing tact, prompt courage, inti- 
mate acquaintance with the foibles of his hearers, un- 
conquerable patience and perseverance, and an inexhaust- 
ible supply of sonorous phrases and rounded periods. 
Nor was his success confined to the House of Commons. 



As a speaker on pnblic platforms, in the heyday of the 
ten-pound householder and the middle-class franchise, 
he was peculiarly in his element. He had beyond most 
men the art of ''making a platitude endurable by mak- 
ing it pompous." He excelled in demonstrating the ma- 
terial advantages of a moderate and cautious conserva- 
tism, and he could draw at will and with effect upon a 
prodigious fund of constitutional commonplaces. If we 
measure the merit of a parliamentary speaker by his prac- 
tical influence, we must allow that Peel was pre-eminently 

In the foremost rank of orators a place must certainly 
be assigned to O'Connell. He was not at his best in the 
House of Commons. His coarseness, violence, and cun- 
ning were seen to the Avorst advantage in what was still 
an assemblage of gentlemen. His powers of ridicule, 
sarcasm, and invective, his dramatic and sensational pre- 
dilections, required another scene for their effective dis- 
play. But few men have ever been so richly endowed 
by nature with the original, the incommunicable, the 
inspired qualifications which go to make an orator. He 
was magnificently built, and blessed with a voice which, 
by all contemporary testimony, was one of the most thrill- 
ing, flexible, and melodious that ever vibrated through 
a popular assembly. " From grave to gay, from lively to 
severe," he flew without delay or difficulty. The raciest 
wit gave point to the most irrelevant personalities, and 
cogency to the most illogical syllogisms ; the most dar- 
ing perversions of truth and justice were driven home by 
appeals to the emotions which the coldest natures could 
scarcely withstand. "The passions of his audience were 
playthings in his hand." Lord Lytton thus describes 
the effect of the great oratorical power of the leader 
of the Eepeal agitation and the champion of Catholic 
emancipation : 



" Once to my sight the giant thus was given : 
Wall'd by wide air, and loof'd by boundless heaven. 
Beneath his feet the human ocean lay, 
And wave on wave flow'd into space away. 
Methought no clarion could have sent its sound 
Even to the centre of the hosts around ; 
But, as I thought, rose the sonorous swell, 
As from some church tower swings the silvery bell. 
Aloft and clear, from airy tide to tide 
It glided, easy as a bird may glide ; 
To the last verge of that vast audience sent. 
It play'd with each wild passion as it went ; 
Now stirr'd the uproar, now the murmur still'd. 
And sobs or laughter answer'd as it will'd. 
Then did I know what spells of infinite choice, 
To rouse or lull, hath the sweet human voice ; 
Then did I seem to seize the sudden clue 
To that grand troublous Life Antique — to view, 
Under the rockstand of Demosthenes, 
Mutable Athens heave her noisy seas." 

A remarkable contrast, as far as outward characteris- 
tics went, was offered by the other great orator of the 
same time. Shell was very small and of mean presence, 
with a singularly fidgety manner, a shrill voice, and a 
delivery unintelligibly rapid. But in sheer beauty of 
elaborated diction not O'Connell nor any one else could 
surpass him. There are few finer speeches in the lan- 
guage than that in Avhich he took Lord Lyndhurst to 
task for applying the word "alien" to the Irish in a 
speech on municipal reform : 

** Aliens ! Good God ! was Arthur Duke of "Welling- 
ton in the House of Lords, and did he not start up and 
exclaim : 'Hold ! I have seen the aliens do their duty'? 
... I appeal to the gallant soldier before me, from 
whose opinions I differ, but who bears, I know, a gener- 
ous heart in an intrepid bosom, tell me, for you needs 
must remember — on that day when the destinies of man- 



kind were trembling in the balance — while death fell in 
showers — tell me if for an instant, when to hesitate for 
an instant was to be lost, the ^aliens' blenched. . . , 
On the field of AVaterloo the blood of England, of Scot- 
land, and of Ireland flowed in the same stream and 
drenched the same field. When the chill morning dawn- 
ed their dead lay cold and stark together ; in the same 
deep pit their bodies were deposited ; the green corn 
of spring is now breaking from their commingled dust ; 
the dew falls from heaven upon this union in the grave. 
Partakers in every peril, in the glory shall we not be per- 
mitted to participate ? And shall we be told as a re- 
quital that we are 'aliens' from the noble country for 
whose salvation our life-blood was poured out ?" 

By the time which we are now considering there had 
risen to eminence a man who, if he could not be ranked 
with the great orators of the beginning of the century, 
yet inherited their best traditions and came very near 
to rivalling their fame. I refer to the great Lord Derby. 
His eloquence was of the most impetuous kind, corre- 
sponding to the sensitive fierceness of the man, and had 
gained for him the nickname of " The Eupert of De- 
bate." Lord Beaconsfield, speaking in the last year of 
his life to Mr. Matthew Arnold, said that the task of 
carrying Mr. Forster's Coercion Bill of 1881 through the 
House of Commons " needed such a man as Lord Derby 
was in his youth — a man full of nerve, dash, fire, and 
resource, who carried the House irresistibly along with 
him" — no mean tribute from a consummate judge. 
Among Lord Derby's ancillary qualifications were his 
musical voice, his fine English style, and his facility in 
apt and novel quotation, as when he applied Meg Mer- 
rilies's threnody over the ruins of Derncleugh to the 
destruction of the Irish Church Establishment. I turn 
to Lord Lytton again for a description : 



"One after one, the Lords of Time advauce ; 
Here Stanley meets — how Stanley scorns ! — the glance. 
The brilliant chief, irregularly great, 
Frank, haughty, rash, the Rupert of Debate ; 
Nor gout nor toil his freshness can destroy, 
And time still leaves all Eton in the boy. 
First in the class, and keenest in the ring, 
He saps like Gladstone, and he fights like Spring ! 
Yet who not listens, with delighted smile, 
To the pure Saxon of that silver style ; 
In the clear style a heart as clear is seen, 
Prompt to the rash, revolving from the mean." 

I turn now to Lord Derby's most eminent rival — 
Lord Eussell, Writing in 1844, Lord Beaconsfield thus 
describes him : " He is not a natural orator, and labors 
under physical deficiencies which even a Demosthenic 
impulse could scarcely overcome. But he is experienced 
in debate, quick in reply, fertile in resource, takes large 
views, and frequently compensates for a dry and hesitat- 
ing manner by the expression of those noble truths that 
flash across the fancy and rise spontaneously to the lip 
of men of poetic temperament when addressing popular 
assemblies." Twenty years earlier Moore had described 
Lord John Kussell's public speaking in a peculiarly 
happy image : 

"An eloquence, not like those rills from a height 
Which sparkle and foam and in vapor are o'er ; 
But a current that works out its way into light 
Through the filtering recesses of thought and of lore." 

Cobden, when they were opposed to one another in the 
earlier days of the struggle for Free Trade, described 
him as "a cunning little fox," and avowed that he 
dreaded his dexterity in parliamentary debate more than 
that of any other opponent. 
In 1834 Lord John made his memorable declaration 


in favor of a liberal policy with reference to the Irish 
Church Establishment, and, in his own words, "The 
speech made a great impression ; the cheering was loud 
and general ; and Stanley expressed his sense of it in a 
well-known note to Sir James Graham: 'Johnny has 
upset the coach.'" The phrase was perpetuated by 
Lord Lytton, to whom I must go once again for a per- 
fectly apt description of the Whig leader, both in his 
defects of manner and in his essential greatness : 

"Next cool, and all unconscious of reproach, 
Comes the calm Johnny who 'upset the coach,' 
How formed to lead, if not too proud to please ! 
His fame would fire you, but his manners freeze, 
Like or dislike, he does not care a jot ; 
He wants your vote, but your affections not. 
Yet human hearts need sun as well as oats ; 
So cold a climate plays the deuce with votes. 
But see our hero when the steam is on. 
And languid Johnny glows to Glorious John ! 
When Hampden's thought, by Falkland's muses drest, 
Lights the pale cheek and swells the generous breast ; 
When the pent heat expands the quickening soul. 
And foremost in the race the wheels of genius roll." 

As the general idea of these papers has been a con- 
catenation of Links with the Past, I must say a word 
about Lord Palmerston, who was born in 1784, entered 
Parliament in 1807, and was still leading the House of 
Commons when I first attended its debates. A man who, 
when turned seventy, could speak from the " dusk of a 
summer evening to the dawn of a summer morning" in 
defence of his foreign policy, and carry the vindication 
of it by a majority of forty-six, was certainly no com- 
mon performer on the parliamentary stage; and yet 
Lord Palmerston had very slender claims to the title 
of an orator. His style was not only devoid of ornament 



and rhetorical device, but it was slipshod and untidy in 
the last degree, lie eked ont his sentences with ''hum" 
and "hah"; he cleared his throat, and flourished his 
pocket-handkerchief, and sucked his orange ; he rounded 
his periods with ''You know what I mean" and "All 
that kind of thing," and seemed actually to revel in an 
anticlimax — "I think the hon. member's proposal an 
outrageous violation of constitutional propriety, a daring 
departure from traditional policy, and, in short, a great 

It taxed all the skill of the reporters' gallery to trim 
his speeches into decent form ; and yet no one was lis- 
tened to with keener interest, no one was so much 
dreaded as an opponent, and no one ever approached 
him in the art of putting a plausible face upon a doubt- 
ful policy and making the worse appear the better cause. 
Palmerston's parliamentary success perfectly illustrates 
the Judgment of Demosthenes, that " it is not the 
orator's language that matters, nor the tone of his voice; 
but what matters is that he should have the same predi- 
lections as the majority, and should entertain the same 
likes and dislikes as his country." If those are the re- 
quisites of public speaking, Palmerston was supreme. 

The most conspicuous of all Links with the Past in 
the matter of Parliamentary Oratory is obviously Mr. 
Gladstone. Like the younger Pitt, he had a "prema- 
ture and unnatural dexterity in the combination of 
words." He was trained under the immediate influence 
of Canning, who was his father's friend. When he was 
sixteen his style was already formed. I quote from the 
records of the Eton Debating Society for 1826 : 

"Thus much, sir, I have said, as conceiving myself 
bound in fairness not to regard the names under which 
men have hidden their designs so much as the designs 
themselves. I am well aware that my prejudices and 



my predilections have long been enlisted on the side of 
Toryism — (cheers) — and that in a cause like this I am 
not likely to be influenced unfairly against men bearing 
that name and professing to act on the principles which 
I have always been accustomed to revere. But the good 
of my country must stand on a higher ground than dis- 
tinctions like these. In common fairness and in com- 
mon candor, I feel myself compelled to give my decisive 
verdict against the conduct of men whose measures I 
firmly believe to have been hostile to British interests, 
destructive of British glory, and subversive of the 
splendid and I trust lasting, fabric of the British Con- 

Mr. Gladstone entered Parliament when he was not 
quite twenty-three, at the General Election of 1832, and 
it is evident from a perusal of his early speeches in the 
House of Commons, imperfectly reported in the third 
person, and from contemporary evidence, that, when 
due allowance is made for growth and development, his 
manner of oratory was then the same as it is to-day. 
Then, as afterwards, he was only too fluent. His style 
was copious, redundant, and involved, and his speeches 
were garnished, after the manner of his time, with Ho- 
ratian and Virgilian tags. His voice was always clear, 
flexible, and musical, though his utterance was marked, 
even more strongly than now, by a Lancastrian "burr." 
His gesture was varied and animated, though not vio- 
lent. He turned his face and body from side to side, 
and often wheeled right round to face his own party as 
he appealed for their cheers. 

" Did you ever feel nervous in public speaking ?" 
asked the late Lord Coleridge. 

" In opening a subject, often," answered Mr. Glad- 
stone ; "in reply, never." 

It was a characteristic saying, for, in truth, he was a 


born debater, never so happy as when coping on the spur 
of the moment with the arguments and appeals which 
an opponent had spent perhaps days in elaborating be- 
forehand. Again, in the art of elucidating figures he 
was unequalled. He was the first Chancellor of the 
Exchequer who ever made the Budget interesting. " He 
talked shop," it was said, ''like a tenth muse." He 
could apply all the resources of a glowing rhetoric to 
the most prosaic questions of cost and profit ; could 
make beer romantic and sugar serious. He could sweep 
the widest horizon of the financial future, and yet stoop 
to bestow the minutest attention on the microcosm of 
penny stamps and the monetary merits of half -farthings. 
And yet, extraordinary as were these feats of intellec- 
tual athletics, Mr. Gladstone's unapproached supremacy 
as an orator was not really seen until he touched the 
moral elements involved in some great political issue. 
Then, indeed, he spoke like a prophet and a man in- 
spired. His whole physical formation seemed to become 
"fusile" with the fire of his ethical passion, and his 
eloquence flowed like a stream of molten lava, carrying 
all before it in its irresistible rush, glorious as well as 
terrible, and fertilizing while it subdued. Mr. Glad- 
stone's departure from the House of Commons closed a 
splendid tradition, and Parliamentary Oratory as our 
fathers understood it may now be reckoned among the 
lost arts. 



We have agreed that Parliamentary Oratory, as onr 
fathers understood that phrase, is a lost art. Must Con- 
versation be included in the same category ? To answer 
with positiveness is difficult; but this much may be 
readily conceded — that a belief in the decadence of con- 
versation is natural to those who have specially culti- 
vated Links with the Past ; who grew up in the tradi- 
tions of Luttrell and Mackintosh, and Lord Alvanley and 
Samuel Rogers ; who have felt Sydney Smith's irresisti- 
ble fun, and known the overwhelming fulness of Lord 
Macaulay. It is not unreasonable even in that later gen- 
eration which can still recall the frank but high-bred gay- 
ety of the great Lord Derby, the rollicking good-humor 
and animal spirits of Bishop Wilberforce, the saturnine 
epigrams of Lord Beaconsfield, the versatility and choice 
diction of Lord Houghton, the many-sided yet concen- 
trated malice which supplied the stock-in-trade of Abra- 
ham Hayward. More recent losses have been heavier 
still. Nine years ago died Mr. Matthew Arnold, who 
possessed the various elements which make good conver- 
sation — urbanity, liveliness, quick sympathy, keen in- 
terest in the world's works and ways, the happiest choice 
of words, and a natural and never - failing humor, as 
genial as it was pungent. It was his good fortune that 
he knew how to be a man of the world without being 
frivolous, and a man of letters without being pedantic. 



Eight years ago I was asked to discnss the Art of Con- 
versation in one of tlie monthly reviews, and I conkl 
then illustrate it by such living instances as Lord Gran- 
ville, Sir Robert Peel, Lord Coleridge, Lord Bowen, Mr. 
Browning, and Mr. Lowell. Each of those distinguished 
men had a conversational gift which was peculiarly his 
own. Each talked like himself, and like no one else ; 
each made his distinct and individual contribution to the 
social agreeableness of London. If in now endeavoring 
to recall their characteristic gifts I use words which I 
have used before, my excuse must be that the contem- 
porary record of a personal impression cannot with ad- 
vantage be retouched after the lapse of years. 

Lord Granville's most notable quality was a humor- 
ous urbanity. As a story-teller he was unsurpassed. 
He had been everywhere and had known every one. He 
was quick to seize a point, and extraordinarily apt in 
anecdote and illustration. His fine taste appreciated 
whatever was best in life, in conversation, in literature, 
even when (as in his selection of the preface to the Sandus 
as his favorite piece of English prose) it was gathered 
from fields in which he had not habitually roamed. A 
man whose career had been so full of vivid and varied 
interests must often have felt acutely bored by the trivial 
round of social conversation. But if he could not rise — 
who can? — to the apostolic virtue of suffering bores 
gladly, at any rate he endured their onslaughts as un- 
flinchingly as he bore the gout. A smiling countenance 
and an unfailing courtesy concealed the torment which 
was none the less keen because it was unexpressed. He 
could always feel, or at least could show, a gracious in- 
terest in what interested his company, and he possessed 
in supreme perfection the happy knack of putting those 
to whom he spoke in good conceit with themselves. 

The late Sir Robert Peel was, both mentally and physi- 


cally, one of the most picturesque figures in society. 
Alike in his character and in his aspect, the Creole blood 
which he had inherited from his maternal descent tri- 
umphed over the robust and serviceable commonplace 
which was the characteristic quality of the Peels. Lord 
Beaconsfield described "a still gallant figure, scrupu- 
lously attired ; a blue frock-coat, with a ribboned button- 
hole ; a well - turned boot ; hat a little too hidalgoish, 
but quite new. There was something respectable and 
substantial about him, notwithstanding his mustaches 
and a carriage too debonair for his years. ^' The descrip- 
tion, for whomsover intended, is a lifelike portrait of 
Sir Robert Peel. His most salient feature as a talker 
was his lovely voice — deep, flexible, melodious. Mr. 
Gladstone — no mean judge of such matters — pronounced 
it the finest organ he ever heard in Parliament ; but, 
with all due submission to so high an authority, I should 
have said that it was a voice better adapted to the draw- 
ing-room than to the House of Commons. In a large 
space a higher note and a clearer tone tell better, but 
in the close quarters of social intercourse one appreciates 
the sympathetic qualities of a rich barytone. And Sir 
Robert's voice, admirable in itself, was the vehicle of 
conversation quite worthy of it. He could talk of art 
and sport, and politics and books ; he had a great mem- 
ory, varied information, lively interest in the world and 
its doings, and a full-bodied humor which recalled the 
social tone of the last century. 

His vein of personal raillery was rather robust than re- 
fined. Nothing has been heard in our time quite like 
his criticism of Sir Edgar Boehm in the House of Com- 
mons, or his joke about Mr. Justice Chitty at the elec- 
tion for Oxford in 1880. But his humor (to quote his 
own words) "had an English ring," and much must be 
pardoned to a man who, in this portentous age of reti- 



cence and pose, was wholly free from solemnity, and 
when he heard or saw what was ludicrous was not afraid 
to laugh at it. Sir Robert Peel was an excellent hand at 
what our fathers called banter and we call chaff. A prig 
or a pedant was his favorite butt, and the performance 
was rendered all the more effective by his elaborate as- 
sumption of the grand seigneur's manner. The victim 
was dimly conscious that he was being laughed at, but 
comically uncertain about the best means of reprisal. 
Sydney Smith described Sir James Mackintosh as "abat- 
ing and dissolving pompous gentlemen with the most 
successful ridicule." Whoever performs that process is 
a social benefactor, and the greatest master of it whom I 
have ever known was Sir Robert Peel. 

The Judges live so entirely in their own narrow and 
rather technical circle that their social abilities are lost 
to the world. It is a pity, for several of them are men 
well fitted by their talents and accomplishments to take 
a leading part in society. The late Lord Coleridge was 
pre-eminently a case in point. Personally, I had an al- 
most fanatical admiration for his genius, and in many of 
the qualities which make an agreeable talker he was un- 
surpassed. Every one who ever heard him at the Bar or 
on the Bench must recall that silvery voice and that per- 
fect elocution which prompted a competent judge of such 
matters to say: "I should enjoy listening to Coleridge 
even if he only read out a page of BradsTiaw." To these 
gifts were added an immense store of varied knowledge, 
a genuine enthusiasm for whatever is beautiful in litera- 
ture or art, an inexhaustible copiousness of anecdote, and 
a happy knack of exact yet not offensive mimicry. It is 
always pleasant to see a man in great station who, in the 
intercourse of society, is perfectly untrammelled by pomp 
and form, can make a joke and enjoy it, and is not too 
cautious to garnish his conversation with personalities 
I 129 


or to season it with sarcasm. Perhaps Lord Coleridge's 
gibes were a little out of place on "the Royal Bench of 
British Themis/' but at a dinner -table they were de- 
lightful, and they derived a double zest from the exqui- 
site precision and finish of the English in which they 
were conveyed. 

Another judge who excelled in conversation was the 
late Lord Bowen. Those who knew him intimately 
would say that he was the best talker in London. In 
spite of the burden of learning which he carried and 
his marvellous rapidity and grasp of mind, his social de- 
meanor was quiet and unobtrusive almost to the point of 
affectation. His manner was singularly suave and win- 
ning, and his smile resembled that of the much-quoted 
Chinaman who played but did not understand the game 
of euchre. This singular gentleness of speech gave a 
special piquancy to his keen and delicate satire, his readi- 
ness in repartee, and his subtle irony. No one ever met 
Lord Bowen without wishing to meet him again ; no one 
ever made his acquaintance without desiring his friend- 
ship. The meritorious but disappointing memoir of him 
just published only illustrates afresh the impossibility of 
transplanting to the printed page the rarefied humor of 
so delicate a spirit. Had he been more widely known, 
the traditions of his table-talk would probably have taken 
their place with the best recollections of English conver- 
sation. His admirers can only regret that gifts so rich 
and so rare should have been buried in judicial dining- 
rooms or squandered on the dismal orgies of the Cosmo- 
politan Club, where dull men sit round a meagre fire, in 
a large, draughty, and half -lit room, drinking lemon- 
squash and talking for talking's sake — the most melan- 
choly of occupations. 

The society of London between 1870 and 1890 con- 
tained no more striking or interesting figure than that of 



Robert Browning. No one meeting him for the first time 
and unfurnished with a clew would have guessed his voca- 
tion. He might have been a diplomatist, a statesman, 
a discoverer, or a man of science. But whatever was his 
calling, one felt sure that it must be something essentially 
practical. Of the disordered appearance, the unconven- 
tional demeanor, the rapt and mystic air which we assume 
to be characteristic of the poet he had absolutely none. 
And his conversation corresponded to his appearance. It 
abounded in vigor, in fire, in vivacity. It was genuine- 
ly interesting, and often strikingly eloquent, yet all the 
time it was entirely free from mystery, vagueness, and 
jargon. It was the crisp, emphatic, and powerful dis- 
course of a man of the world who was incomparably 
better informed than the mass of hjs congeners. Mr. 
Browning was the readiest, the blithest, and the most 
forcible of talkers, and when he dealt in criticism the 
edge of his sword was mercilessly whetted against preten- 
sion and vanity. The inflection of his voice, the flash of 
his eye, the pose of his head, the action of his hand, all 
lent their special emphasis to the condemnation. '^ I like 
religion to be treated seriously," he exclaimed with refer- 
ence to a theological novel of great renown, *'and I don't 
want to know what this curate or that curate thought 
about it. No, I don't." Surely the secret thoughts of 
many hearts found utterance in that emphatic cry. 

Here I must venture to insert a personal reminiscence. 
Mr. Browning had honored me with his company at din- 
ner, and an unduly fervent admirer had button -holed 
him throughout a long evening, plying him with ques- 
tions about what he meant by this line, and whom he in- 
tended by that character. It was more than flesh and 
blood could stand, and at last the master extricated him- 
self from the grasp of the disciple, exclaiming with the 
most airy grace, *'But, my dear fellow, this is too bad. / 



am monopolizing you." Now and then, at rather rare 
intervals, when time and place, and company and sur- 
roundings, were altogether suitable, Mr. Browning would 
consent to appear in his true character and to delight his 
hearers by speaking of his art. Then the higher and rarer 
qualities of his genius came into play. He kindled with 
responsive fire at a beautiful thought, and burned with 
contagious enthusiasm over a phrase which struck his 
fancy. Yet all the while the poetic rapture was under- 
lain by a groundwork of robust sense. Eant, and gush, 
and affectation were abhorrent to his nature, and even in 
his grandest flights of fancy he was always intelligible. 

The late Mr. Lowell must certainly be reckoned among 
the famous talkers of his time. During the years that 
he represented the United States in London his trim 
sentences, his airy omniscience, his minute and circum- 
stantial way of laying down literary law, were the inevita- 
ble ornaments of serious dinners and cultured tea-tables. 
My first encounter with Mr. Lowell took place many years 
before he entered on his diplomatic career. It was in 
1872, when I chanced to meet him in a company of tour- 
ists at Durham Castle. Though I was a devotee of the 
Bigloiu Papers, I did not know their distinguished author 
even by sight ; and I was intensely amused by the air of 
easy mastery, the calm and almost fatherly patronage, 
with which this cultivated American overrode the indig- 
nant showwoman ; pointed out, for the general benefit 
of the admiring tourists, the gaps and lapses in her ar- 
tistic, architectural, and archaeological knowledge ; and 
made mullion and portcullis, and armor and tapestry the 
pegs for a series of neat discourses on mediaBval history, 
domestic decoration, and the science of fortification. 

Which things are an allegory. We, as a nation, take 
this calm assurance of foreigners at its own valuation. 
We consent to be told that we do not know our own poets, 



cannot pronounce our own language, and have no well- 
educated women. But after a time this process palls. We 
question the divine right of the superiority thus imposed 
on us. We ask on what foundation these high claims 
rest, and we discover all at once that we have paid a great 
deal of deference where very little was deserved. By 
processes such as these I came to find, in years long sub- 
sequent to the encounter at Durham, that Mr. Lowell, 
though an accomplished politician, a brilliant writer, and 
an admirable after-dinner speaker, was, conversationally 
considered, an inaccurate man with an accurate manner. 
But, after all, inaccuracy is by no means the worst of 
conversational faults, and when he was in the vein Mr. 
Lowell could be exceedingly good company. He liked 
talking, and talked not only much but very well. He 
had a genuine vein of wit and great dexterity in phrase- 
making ; and on due occasion would produce from the 
rich stores of his own experience some of the most vivid 
and striking incidents, both civil and military, of that 
tremendous struggle for human freedom with which his 
name and fame must be always and most honorably asso- 



Brave men have lived since as well as before Agamem- 
non, and those who know the present society of London 
may not unreasonably ask whether, even granting the 
heavy losses which I enumerated in my last paper, the 
Art of Conversation is really extinct. Are the talkers of 
to-day in truth so immeasurably inferior to the great men 
who preceded them ? Before we can answer these ques- 
tions, even tentatively, we must try to define our idea of 
good conversation, and this can best be done by rigid- 
ly ruling out what is bad. To begin with, all affecta- 
tion, unreality, and straining after effect are intolerable ; 
scarcely less so are rhetoric, declamation, and whatever 
tends towards speech-making. Mimicry is a very dan- 
gerous trick, rare in perfection, and contemptible when 
imperfect. An apt story well told is delicious, but there 
was sound philosophy in Mr. Pinto's view that "when a 
man fell into his anecdotage it was a sign for him to re- 
tire from the world." One touch of ill-nature makes the 
whole world kin, and a spice of malice tickles the intel- 
lectual palate ; but a conversation which is mainly mali- 
cious is entirely dull. Constant joking is a weariness to 
the flesh ; but, on the other hand, a sustained serious- 
ness of discourse is fatally apt to recall the conversation 
between the Hon. Elijah Pogram and the Three Literary 
Ladies — ''How Pogram got out of his depth instantly, 
and how the Three L.L.'s were never in theirs, is a piece 



of history not worth recording. Suffice it that, being 
all four out of their depths and all unable to swim, 
they splashed up words in all directions, and floundered 
about famously. On the whole, it was considered to 
have been the severest mental exercise ever heard in 
the National Hotel, and the whole company observed 
that their heads ached with the effort — as well they 

A talker who monopolizes the conversation is by com- 
mon consent insufferable, and a man who regulates his 
choice of topics by reference to what interests not his 
hearers but himself has yet to learn the alphabet of the 
art. Conversation is like lawn - tennis, and requires 
alacrity in return at least as much as vigor in service. 
A happy phrase, an nnexpected collocation of words, a 
habitual precision in the choice of terms, are rare and 
shining ornaments of conversation, but they do not for 
an instant supply the place of lively and interesting mat- 
ter, and an excessive care for them is apt to tell unfavor- 
ably on the substance of discourse. 

" I might as well attempt to gather up the foam of the 
sea as to convey an idea of the extraordinary language in 
which he clothed his description. There were at least 
five words in every sentence that must have been very 
much astonished at the use they were put to, and yet no 
others apparently could so well have expressed his idea. 
He talked like a racehorse approaching the winning-post 
— every muscle in action, and the utmost energy of ex- 
pression flung out into every burst." This is a con- 
temporary description of Lord Beaconsfield's conversa- 
tion in those distant days when, as a young man about 
town, he was talking and dressing his way into social 
fame. Though written in admiration, it seems to me to 
describe the most intolerable performance that could 
ever have afflicted society. He talked like a raceliorse 



approaching the 2oinning - post. Could the wit of man 
devise a more appalling image ? 

Mr. Matthew Arnold once said to me : "People think 
that I can teach them style. AVhat stuff it all is ! Have 
something to say, and say it as clearly as you can. That 
is the only secret of style." This dictum applies, I 
think, at least as well to conversation as to literature. 
The one thing needful is to have something to say. The 
way of saying it may best be left to take care of itself. 
A young man about town once remarked to me, in the 
tone of one who utters an accepted truism : " It is so 
much more interesting to talk about people than things." 
The sentiment was highly characteristic of the mental 
calibre and associations of the speaker ; and certainly 
the habitual talk — for it is not conversation — of that 
section of society which calls itself " smart " seems to 
touch the lowest depth of spiteful and sordid dulness. 
But still, when the mischiefs of habitual personality have 
been admitted to the uttermost, there remains something 
to be said on the other side. We are not inhabitants of 
Jupiter or Saturn, but human beings to whom nothing 
that is human is wholly alien. And if in the pursuit of 
high abstractions and improving themes we imitate too 
closely Wordsworth's avoidance of Personal Talk, our 
dinner-table will run much risk of becoming as dull as 
the poet's own fireside. 

Granting, then, that to have something to say which is 
worth hearing is the substance of good conversation, we 
must reckon among its accidents and ornaments a man- 
ner which knows how to be easy and free without being 
free - and - easy ; a habitual deference to the tastes and 
even the prejudices of other people ; a hearty desire to 
be, or at least to seem, interested in their concerns ; and 
a constant recollection that even the most patient hear- 
ers may sometimes wish to be speakers. Above all else, 



the agreeable talker cultivates gentleness and delicacy of 
speech, avoids aggressive and overwhelming displays, 
and remembers the tortured cry of the neurotic bard : 

" Vociferated logic kills me quite ; 
A noisy maa is always in the right — 
I twirl my thumbs, fall back into my chair, 
Fix on the wainscot a distressful stare ; 
And when I hope his blunders all are out, 
Reply discreetly, ' To be sure — no doubt !' " 

If these, or something like these, are the attributes of 
good conversation, in whom do we find them best ex- 
emplified ? Who best understands the Art of Conver- 
sation ? Who, in a word, are our best talkers ? I hope 
that I shall not be considered ungallant if I say nothing 
about the part borne in conversation by ladies. Eeally, 
it is a sacred awe that makes me mute. London is hap- 
py in the possession of not a few hostesses, excellently 
accomplished, and not more accomplished than gracious, 
of whom it is no flattery to say that to know them is a 
liberal education. But, as Lord Beaconsfield observes 
in a more than usually grotesque passage of Lothair, 
" We must not profane the mysteries of Bona Dea." 
We will not ''peep and botanize" on sacred soil, nor 
submit our most refined delights to the impertinences 
of critical analysis. 

In considering the Art of Conversation I obey a nat- 
ural instinct when I think first of Mr. Charles Villiers, 
M.P. His venerable age alone would entitle him to this 
pre-eminence, for he was born in 1802, and though he 
has now retired from general society, he was for seventy 
years one of the best talkers in London. Born of a fam- 
ily which combined high rank with intellectual distinc- 
tion, his parentage was a passport to all that was best in 
social and political life. It argues no political bias to 



maintain that in the first quarter of this century Tory- 
ism afiforded its neophytes no educational opportunities 
equal to those which a young Whig enjoyed at Bowood 
and Panshanger and Holland House. There the best 
traditions of the last century were constantly reinforced 
by accessions of fresh intellect. The charmed circle was 
indeed essentially, but it was not exclusively, aristo- 
cratic ; genius held the key, and there was a carriere 
ouverte mix taletits. 

Thus it came to pass that the society of Lord Lans- 
downe and Lord Holland and Lord Melbourne was also 
the society of Brougham, and Mackintosh, and Macau- 
lay, and Sydney Smith. It presented every variety of 
accomplishment and experience and social charm, and 
offered to a man beginning life the best conceivable edu- 
cation in the art of making oneself agreeable. For that 
art Mr. Villiers had a natural genius, and his lifelong 
association with the Whigs superadded a technical train- 
ing in social art. But this, though much, was by no 
means all. I hold it to be an axiom that a man who is 
only a member of society can never be so agreeable as 
one who is something else as well. And Mr. Villiers, 
though "a man about town," a story-teller, and a diner- 
out of high renown, has had seventy years' experience 
of practical business and Parliamentary life. Thus the 
resources of his knowledge have been perpetually en- 
larged, and, learning much, he has forgotten nothing. 
The stores of his memory are full of treasures, new and 
old. He has taken part in the making of history, and 
can estimate the great men of the present day by a com- 
parison with the political immortals. 

That this comparison is not always favorable to some 
exalted reputations of the present hour is indeed suf- 
ficiently notorious to all who have the pleasure of Mr. 
Villiers's acquaintance ; and nowhere is his mastery of 



the art of conversation more conspicnous than in his 
knack of implying dislike and insinuating contempt 
without crude abuse or noisy denunciation. He has a 
delicate sense of fun, a keen eye for incongruities and 
absurdities, and that genuine cynicism which springs, 
not from the poor desire to be thought worldly-wise, but 
from a lifelong acquaintance with the foibles of political 
men. To these gifts must be added a voice which age 
has not robbed of its sympathetic qualities, a style of dic- 
tion and a habit of pronunciation which belong to the 
last century, and that formal yet facile courtesy which 
no one less than eighty years old seems capable of even 

I have instanced Mr. Villiers as an eminent talker. I 
now turn to an eminent man who talks — Mr. Gladstone. 
An absurd story has long been current among credulous 
people with rampant prejudices that Mr. Gladstone was 
habitually uncivil to the Queen. Now, it happens that 
Mr. Gladstone is the most courteous of mankind. His 
courtesy is one of his most engaging gifts, and accounts 
in no small degree for his power of attracting the regard 
of young men and undistinguished people generally. To 
all such he is polite to the point of deference, yet never 
condescending. His manners to all alike — young and 
old, rich and poor — are the ceremonious manners of the 
old school, and his demeanor towards ladies is a model 
of chivalrous propriety. It would therefore have been to 
the last degree improbable that he should make a depart- 
ure from his usual habits in the case of a lady who was 
also his Sovereign. And, as a matter of fact, the story 
is so ridiculously wide of the mark that it deserves men- 
tion only because, in itself false, it is founded on a truth 
connected with the subject of our present inquiry. 

" 1," said the Duke of Wellington on a memorable oc- 
casion, *'have no small talk, and Peel has no manners." 



Mr. Gladstone has manners, but no small talk. lie is so 
consumed by zeal for great subjects that he leaves out of 
account the possibility that they may not interest other 
people. He pays to every one, and not least to ladies, 
the compliment of assuming that they are on his own in- 
tellectual level, engrossed in the subjects which engross 
him, and furnished with at least as much information 
as will enable them to follow and to understand him. 
Hence the genesis of that absurd story about his de- 
meanor to the Queen. 

" He speaks to me as if I was a public meeting," is a 
complaint which is said to have proceeded from illustrious 
lips. That most successful of all courtiers, the astute 
Lord Beaconsfield, used to engage her Majesty in con- 
versation about water-color drawing and the third-cousin- 
ships of German princes. Mr. Gladstone harangues her 
about the polity of the Hittites, or the harmony between 
the Athanasiau Creed and Homer. The Queen, perplexed 
and uncomfortable, tries to make a digression — addresses 
a remark to a daughter, or proffers biscuits to a begging 
terrier. Mr. Gladstone restrains himself with an effort 
till the Princess has answered or the dog has sat down, 
and then promptly resumes: "I was about to say — " 
Meanwhile the flood has gathered force by delay, and 
when it bursts forth again it carries all before it. 

No image except that of a flood can convey the notion 
of Mr. Gladstone's table-talk on a subject which interests 
him keenly — its rapidity, its volume, its splash and dash, 
its frequent beauty, its striking effects, the amount of 
varied matter which it brings with it, the hopelessness of 
trying to withstand it, the unexpectedness of its onrush, 
the subdued but fertilized condition of the subjected area 
over which it has passed. The bare mention of a topic 
which interests Mr. Gladstone opens the floodgates and 
submerges a province. But the torrent does not wait for 



the invitation. If not invited it comes of its own ac- 
cord ; headlong, overwhelming, sweeping all before it, 
and gathering fresh force from every obstacle which it 
encounters on its course. Such is Mr. Gladstone's table- 
talk. For conversation, strictly so called, he has no turn. 
He asks questions when he wants information, and an- 
swers them copiously when asked by others. But of 
give-and-take, of meeting you half-way, of paying you 
back in your own conversational coin, he has no notion. 
He discourses, he lectures, he harangues. But if a sub- 
ject is started which does not interest him it falls flat. 
He makes no attempt to return the ball. Although, when 
he is amused, his amusement is intense and long sus- 
tained, his sense of humor is highly capricious. It is im- 
possible for even his most intimate friends to guess be- 
forehand what will amuse him and what will not ; and he 
has a most disconcerting habit of taking a comic story in 
grim earnest, and arguing some farcical fantasy as if it 
was a serious proposition of law or logic. Nothing fun- 
nier can be imagined than the discomfiture of a story- 
teller who has fondly thought to tickle the great man's 
fancy by an anecdote which depends for its point upon 
some trait of baseness, cynicism, or sharp practice. He 
finds his tale received in dead silence, looks up wonder- 
ingly for an explanation, and finds that what was in- 
tended to amuse has only disgusted. Mr. Browning once 
told Mr. Gladstone a highly characteristic story of Dis- 
raelitish duplicity, and for all reply heard a voice choked 
with indignation : '' Do you call that amusing. Browning? 
I callit devilish." 



More than thirty years have passed since the festive 
evening described by Sir George Trevelyan in The Ladies 
in Parliament : 

"When, over the port of the innermost bin, 
The circle of diners was laughing with Phinn ; 
When Brookfield had hit on his happiest vein, 
And Harcourt was capping the jokes of Delane." 

The sole survivor of that brilliant group now leads the 
Opposition ; but at the time when the lines were written 
he had not yet entered the House of Commons. As a 
youth of twenty -five he had astonished the political 
world by his anonymous letters on The Morality of Public 
Men, in which he denounced, in the style of Junius, the 
Protectionist revival of 1853, and to which he prefixed 
the scathing motto : 

" Quid Grasses, quid Pompeios evertit ? . . . 
Summus nempe locus nulla non arte pctitus." 

He had fought a plucky but unsuccessful fight at Kirk- 
caldy; was making his five thousand a year at the Par- 
liamentary Bar ; had taught the world international law 
over the signature of " Historicus," and was already, 
what he is still, one of the most conspicuous and inter- 
esting figures in the society of London. Of Sir William 



Harcourt's political alliances this is not the place nor 
am I the person to treat. 

"Let the high Muse chant loves Olympian: 
We are but mortals, and must sing of Man." 

My theme is not Sir William Harcourt the politican, but 
Sir William Harcourt the man, the member of society — 
above all, the talker. And, although I have thus delib- 
erately put politics on one side, it is strictly relevant to 
my purpose to observe that Sir William is essentially and 
typically a Whig. For Whiggery, rightly understood, 
is not a political creed, but a social caste. The Whig, 
like the poet, is born, not made. It is as difl&cult to be- 
come a Whig as to become a Jew. Macaulay was proba- 
bly the only man who, being born outside the privileged 
enclosure, ever penetrated to its heart and assimilated 
its spirit. The Whigs, indeed, as a body have held cer- 
tain political opinions and pursued certain political tac- 
tics which have been analyzed by the hand of a master 
in Chapters XIX. and XXI. of the unexpurgated Book of 
Snobs. But those opinions and those practices have been 
mere accidents, though perhaps inseparable accidents, of 
Whiggery. Its substance has been relationship. 

When Lord John Russell formed his first Administra- 
tion his opponents alleged that it was mainly composed 
of his cousins, and one of his younger brothers was 
charged with the impossible task of rebutting the accu- 
sation in a public speech. Mr. Beresford Hope, in one 
of his novels, made excellent fun of what he called " the 
sacred circle of the great- grand -motherhood." He 
showed — what, indeed, the Whigs themselves knew un- 
commonly well — that from a certain Earl Gower, who 
flourished in the last century, and was great-great-great- 
grandfather of the present Duke of Sutherland, are de- 
scended all the Levesons, Cowers, Howards, Cavendishes, 



Grosvenors, Russells, and Ilarcourts who walk on the 
face of the earth. Truly a noble and a highly favored 
progeny. ''They are our superiors," said Thackeray; 
"and that's the fact. I am not a Whig myself (perhaps 
it is as unnecessary to say so as to say I'm not a King 
Pippin in a golden coach, or King Hudson, or Miss Bur- 
dett-Coutts). Fm not a Whig ; but oh, how I should 
like to be one !" 

From this illustrious stock Sir William Harcourt is 
descended through his grandmother. Lady Anne Har- 
court — born Leveson-Gower, and wife of the last Prince- 
Archbishop of York (whom, by the way. Sir William 
strikingly resembles both in figure and in feature). 
When one meets Sir William Harcourt for the first time 
in society, perhaps one is first struck by the fact that he 
is in aspect and bearing a great gentleman of the old 
school, and then that he is an admirable talker. He is a 
true Whig in culture as well as in blood. Though his 
conversation is never pedantic, it rests on a wide and 
strong basis of generous learning. Even those who most 
cordially admire his political ability do not always re- 
member that he is an excellent scholar, and graduated 
as eighth in the First Class of the Classical Tripos in 
the year when Bishop Lightfoot was Senior Classic. He 
has the Corpus Poetarum and Shakspeare and Pope at 
his finger-ends, and his intimate acquaintance with the 
political history of England elicited a characteristic com- 
pliment from Lord Beaconsfield. It is his favorite boast 
that in all his tastes, sentiments, and mental habits he 
belongs to the eighteenth century, which he glorifies as 
the golden age of reason, patriotism, and liberal learn- 
ing. This self -estimate strikes me as perfectly sound, 
and it requires a very slight effort of the imagination 
to conceive this well-born young Templar wielding his 
doughty pen in the Bangorian Controversy, or declaim- 



ing on the hnstings for Wilkes and Liberty; bandying 
witticisms with Sheridan, and capping Latin verses with 
Charles James Fox ; or helping to rule England as a 
member of that "Venetian Oligarchy" on which Lord 
Beaconsfield lavished all the vials of his sarcasm. In 
truth, it is not fanciful to say that whatever was best in 
the last century — its robust common - sense, its racy 
humor, its thorough and unaffected learning, its cere- 
monious courtesy for great occasions, its jolly self-aban- 
donment in social intercourse — is exhibited in the de- 
meanor and conversation of Sir William Harcourt. He 
is an admirable host, and, to borrow a phrase from Syd- 
ney Smith, "receives his friends with that honest Joy 
which warms more than dinner or wine." As a guest, 
he is a splendid acquisition, always ready to amuse and 
to be amused, delighting in the rapid cut-and-thrust of 
personal banter, and bringing out of his treasure things 
new and old for the amusement and the benefit of a later 
and less instructed generation. 

Extracts from the private conversation of living peo- 
ple, as a rule, I forbear ; but some of Sir William's quota- 
tions are so extraordinarily apt that they deserve a per- 
manent place in the annals of table-talk. That famous 
old country gentleman, the late Sir Eainald Knightley 
(who was the living double of Dickens's Sir Leicester 
Dedlock), had been expatiating after dinner on the un- 
doubted glories of his famous pedigree. The company 
was getting a little restive under the recitation, when Sir 
William was heard to say, in an appreciative aside, " This 
reminds me of Addison's evening hymn : 

'"And Knightley to the listening earth 
Repeats the story of his birth.'" 

Surely the force of apt citation can no farther go. When 
Lord Tennyson chanced to say in Sir William Harcourt's 
K 145 


hearing that his pipe after breakfast was the most enjoy- 
able of the day, Sir William softy murmured the Tenny- 
sonian line : 

"The earliest pipe of half -awakened birds." 

Some historians say that he substituted *' bards" for 
" birds," and the reception accorded by the poet to the 
parody was not as cordial as its excellence deserved. 

Another capital talker is Sir George Trevelyan. He 
has been, from the necessities of his position, a man of 
the world and a politician, and he is as ready as Mr. Ber- 
tie - Tremaine's guests in Endymion to talk of " that 
heinous subject on which enormous fibs are ever told — 
the Registration." But, after all, the man of the world 
and the politician are only respectable parts which he has 
been bound to assume, and he has played them with as- 
siduity and success ; but the true man in Sir George 
Trevelyan is the man of letters. Whenever he touches a 
historical or literary theme his whole being seems to un- 
dergo a transformation. The real nature flashes out 
through his twinkling eyes. While he muses the fire 
burns, and, like the Psalmist, he speaks with his tongue. 
Dates and details, facts and traditions, cantos of poetry, 
reams of prose, English and Latin and Greek and French, 
come tumbling out in headlong but not disorderly array. 
He jumps at an opening, seizes an allusion, replies with 
lightning quickness to a conversational challenge, and is 
ready at a moment's notice to decide any literary or his- 
torical controversy in a measured tone of deliberate em- 
phasis which is not wholly free from exaggeration. Like 
his uncle. Lord Macaulay, Sir George Trevelyan has "his 
own heightened and telling way of putting things," and 
those who know him well make allowance for this habit. 
For the rest, he is delightful company, light-hearted as a 
boy, full of autobiographical chit-chat about Harrow and 



Trinity, and India and Holly Lodge, eagerly interested in 
his friends' concerns, brimming over with enthusiasm, 
never bored, never flat, never stale. A well -concerted 
party is a kind of unconscious conspiracy to promote 
cheerfulness and enjoyment, and in such an undertaking 
there can be no more serviceable ally than Sir George 

Mr. John Morley's agreeableness in conversation is of a 
d liferent kind. His leading characteristic is a dignified 
austerity of demeanor which repels familiarity and tends 
to keep conversation on a high level ; but each time one 
meets him there is less formality and less restraint, and 
the grave courtesy which never fails is soon touched with 
friendliness and frank good -humor in a singularly at- 
tractive fashion. He talks, not much, but remarkably 
well. His sentences are deliberate, clear-cut, often elo- 
quent. He excels in phrase-making. His quotations are 
apt and novel. His fine taste and varied reading enable 
him to hold his own in many fields where the merely pro- 
fessional politician is apt to be terribly astray. His kind- 
ness to social and literary beginners is one of his most 
engaging traits. He invariably finds something pleasant 
to say about the most immature and unpromising efforts, 
and he has the knack of so handling his own early expe- 
rience as to make it an encouragement and a stimulus, 
and not (as the manner of some is) a burden and a bogey. 
Mr. Morley never obtrudes his own opinions, never intro- 
duces debatable matter, never dogmatizes. But he is 
always ready to pick up the gauntlet, especially if a Tory 
flings it down ; is merciless towards ill-informed asser- 
tion, and is the alert and unsparing enemy of what Mr. 
Ruskin calls " the obscene empires of Mammon and 

Lord Salisbury goes so little into general society that 
his qualities as a talker are not familiarly known. He is 



painfully shy, and at a club or in a large party undergoes 
the torments of the lost. Yet no one can listen, even 
casually, to his conversation without appreciating the 
fine manner, full of both dignity and of courtesy ; the 
utter freedom from pomposity, formality, and self-as- 
sertion, and the agreeable dash of genuine cynicism 
which modifies, though it does not mask, the flavor of 
his fun. After a visit to Hatfield in 1868, Bishop Wil- 
berforce wrote in his diary : '* Gladstone how struck 
with Salisbury: 'Never saw a more perfect host.'" 
And again: "He remarked to me on the great power 
of charming and pleasant host-ing possessed by Salis- 
bury." And it is the universal testimony of Lord Salis- 
bury's guests, whether at Hatfield or in Arlington Street, 
that he is seen at his very best in his own house. The 
combination of such genuine amiability in private life 
with such calculated brutality in public utterance con- 
stitutes a psychological problem which might profitably 
be made the subject of a Romanes Lecture. 

Barring the shyness, from which Mr. Balfour is con- 
spicuously free, there is something of Lord Salisbury's 
social manner about his accomplished nephew. He has 
the same courtesy, the same sense of humor, the same 
freedom from official solemnity. But the characteristics 
of the elder man are exaggerated in the younger. The 
cynicism which is natural in Lord Salisbury is affected 
in Mr. Balfour. He cultivates the art of indifference, 
and gives himself the airs of a jaded Epicurean who 
craves only for a new sensation. There is what an Irish 
member, in a moment of inspiration, called a " toplofti- 
ness" about his social demeanor which is not a little irri- 
tating. He is too anxious to show that he is not as other 
men are. Among politicians he is a philosopher ; among 
philosophers, a politician. Before that hard-bitten crew 
whom Burke ridiculed — the "calculators and economists" 



— he will talk airily of golf and ladies' fashions; and 
ladies he will seek to impress by the Praise of Vivisection 
or the Defence of Philosophic Doubt. His social agree- 
ableness has, indeed, been marred by the fatuous idolatry 
of a fashionable clique, stimulating the self-consciousness 
which was his natural foible ; but when he can for a mo- 
ment forget himself he still is excellent company, for he 
is genuinely amiable and thoroughly well informed. 



The writer of these chapters has always felt some in- 
ward affinity to the character of Lord St. Jerome in 
Lothair, of whom it is recorded that he loved conversa- 
tion, thongh he never conversed. ''There must be an 
audience/' he would say, "and I am the audience." In 
my capacity of audience I assign a high place to the 
agreeableness of Lord Rosebery's conversation. To be- 
gin with, he has a delightful voice. It is low, but per- 
fectly distinct, rich and sympathetic in quality, and sin- 
gularly refined in accent. It is exactly the sort of voice 
which bespeaks the goodwill of the hearer and recom- 
mends what it utters. In a former chapter we agreed that 
the chief requisite of good conversation is to have some- 
thing to say which is worth saying ; and here Lord Rose- 
bery is excellently equipped. Last week the newspapers 
announced with a flourish of rhetorical trumpets that he 
had just celebrated his fiftieth birthday.* Some of the 
trumpeters, with a laudable intention to be civil, cried, 
"Is it possible that he can be so old ?" Others, with 
subtler art, professed themselves unable to believe that 
he was so young. Each compliment contained its ele- 
ment of truth. In appearance, air, and tastes Lord Rose- 
bery is still young. In experience, knowledge, and con- 
duct he is already old. He has had a vivid and a varied 

* May 7, 1897. 


experience. He is equally at home on Epsom Downs 
and in the House of Lords. His life has been full of ac- 
tion, incident, and interest. He has not only collected 
books, but has read them ; and has found time, even 
amid the engrossing demands of the London County 
Council, the Turf, and the Foreign Office, not only 
for study, but — what is much more remarkable — for 

So far, then, as substance goes, his conversation is (to 
use Mr. Gladstone's quaint phrase) "as full of infinitely 
varied matter as an egg is full of meat"; and in its ac- 
cidents and ornaments it complies exactly with the con- 
ditions laid down in a former paper — a manner which 
knows how to be easy and free without being free-and- 
easy ; habitual deference to the tastes and prejudices of 
other people ; a courteous desire to be, or at least to 
seem, interested in their concerns ; and a recollection 
that even the most patient hearers (among whom the 
present writer reckons himself) may sometimes wish to 
be speakers. To these gifts he adds a keen sense of 
humor, a habit of close observation, and a sub-acid vein 
of sarcasm which resembles the dash of Tarragon in a 
successful salad. In a word. Lord Rosebery is one of the 
most agreeable talkers of the day ; and even if it is true 
that il s'ecoute quand il jMrle, his friends may reply that 
it would be strange indeed if one could help listening to 
what is always so agreeable and often so brilliant. 

A genial journalist recently said that Mr. Goschen 
was now chiefly remembered by the fact that he had 
once had Sir Alfred Milner for his private secretary. 
But, whatever may be thought of the First Lord of the 
Admiralty as a politician and an administrator, I claim 
for him a high place among agreeable talkers. There 
are some men who habitually use the same style of speech 
in public and private life. Happily for his friends, this 



is not the case with Mr. Goschen. Nothing can be less 
agreeable than his public style, whether on the platform 
or in the House of Commons. Its tawdry staginess, its 
"Sadler's "Wells sarcasm," its constant striving after 
strong effects, are distressing to good taste. But in pri- 
vate life he is another and a much more agreeable man. 
He is courteous, genial, perfectly free from affectation, 
and enters into the discussion of social banalities as 
eagerly and as brightly as if he had never converted the 
Three per Cents, or established the ratio between dead 
millionaires and new iron-clads. His easiness in con- 
versation is perhaps a little marred by a Teutonic ten- 
dency to excessive analysis which will not suffer him to 
rest until he has resolved every subject, and almost every 
phrase, into its primary elements. But this philosophic 
temperament has its counterbalancing advantages in a 
genuine openness of mind, willingness to weigh and 
measure opposing views, and inaccessibility to intellect- 
ual passion. It is true that on the platform the exigen- 
cies of his position compel him to indulge in mock- 
heroics and cut rhetorical capers for which nature never 
designed him ; but these are for public consumption only, 
and when he is not playing to the gallery he can discuss 
his political opponents and their sayings and doings as 
dispassionately as a microscopist examines a black" beetle. 
Himself a good talker, Mr. Goschen encourages good 
talk in other people ; and in old days, when the Art of 
Conversation was still seriously cultivated, he used to 
gather round his table in Portland Place a group of inti- 
mate friends who found in '34 port the true well-spring 
of successful conversation. Among these were Lord 
Sherbrooke, whose aptness in quotation and dexterity in 
repartee have never been surpassed in my experience; 
and Lord Chief Justice Cockburn, whose "sunny face 
and voice of music, which lent melody to scorn and 



sometimes reached the depth of pathos/' were gracefully 
commemorated by Lord Beaconsfield in his sketch of 
Hortensins. But this belongs to ancient history, and 
my business is with the conversation of to-day. 

Very distinctly of to-day is the conversation of Mr. 
Labouchere. Even our country cousins are aware that 
the Member for Northampton is less an ornament of 
general society than the oracle of an initiated circle. 
The smoking-room of the House of Commons is his 
shrine, and there, poised in an American rocking-chair 
and delicately toying with a cigarette, he unlocks the 
varied treasures of his well-stored memory, and throws 
over the changing scenes of life the mild light of his 
genial philosophy. It is a chequered experience that has 
made him what he is. He has known men and cities ; 
has probed in turn the mysteries of the caucus, the 
green-room, and the Stock Exchange ; has been a diplo- 
matist, a financier, a journalist, and a politician. Under 
these circumstances, it is perhaps not surprising that his 
faith — no doubt originally robust — in the purity of 
human nature and the uprightness of human motive 
should have undergone some process of degeneration. 
Still it may be questioned whether, after all that he has 
seen and done, he is the absolute and all-round cynic 
that he would seem to be. The palpable endeavor to 
make out the worst of every one — including himself — 
gives a certain flavor of unreality to his conversation ; 
but, in spite of this peculiarity, he is an engaging talker. 
His language is racy and incisive, and he talks as neatly 
as he writes. His voice is pleasant, and his utterance 
deliberate and effective. He has a keen eye for absurdi- 
ties and incongruities, a shrewd insight into affectation 
and bombast, and an admirable impatience of all the 
moral and intellectual qualities which constitute the 
Bore. He is by no means inclined to bow his knee too 



slavishly to an exalted reputation, and analyzes with agree- 
able frankness the personal and political qualities of great 
and good men, even if they sit on the Front Opposition 
Bench. As a contributor to enjoyment, as a promoter 
of fun, as an uuniasker of political and social humbug, 
he is unsurpassed. His performances in debate are no 
concern of mine, for I am speaking of conversation only ; 
but most Members of Parliament will agree that he is 
the best companion that can be found for the last weary 
half-hour before the division-bell rings, when some emi- 
nent nonentity is declaiming his forgone conclusions to 
an audience whose whole mind is fixed on the chance of 
finding a disengaged cab in Palace Yard. 

Like Mr. Labouchere, Lord Acton has touched life at 
many points — but not the same ones. He is a theologian, 
a professor, a man of letters, a member of society ; and 
his conversation derives a distinct tinge from each of 
these environments. When, at intervals all too long, he 
quits his retirement at Cannes or Cambridge, and flits 
mysteriously across the social scene, his appearance is 
hailed with devout rejoicing by every one who appreci- 
ates manifold learning, a courtly manner, and a delicately 
sarcastic vein of humor. The distinguishing feature of 
Lord Acton's conversation is an air of sphinx-like mys- 
tery, which suggests that he knows a great deal more than 
he is willing to impart. Partly by what he says, and even 
more by what he leaves unsaid, his hearers are made to 
feel that, if he has not acted conspicuous parts, he has 
been behind the scenes of many and very different thea- 

He has had relations, neither few nor unimportant, 
with the Pope and Old Catholics, with Oxford and Lam- 
beth, with the cultivated Whiggery of the great English 
families, with the philosophic radicalism of Germany, and 
with those Nationalist complications which, in these later 



days, have drawn official Liberalism into their folds. He 
has long lived on terms of the closest intimacy with Mr. 
Gladstone, and may perhaps be bracketed with Canon 
MacColl and Sir Algernon "West as the most absolute and 
profound Gladstonian outside the family circle of Hawar- 
den. But he is thoroughly eclectic in his friendships, 
and when he is in London he flits from Lady Hayter's 
tea-table to Mr. Goschen's bureau, analyzes at the Athe- 
naeum the gossip which he has acquired at Brooks's, and 
by dinner-time is able, if only he is willing, to tell you 
what the Greek intends and what the Turk ; the secret 
reasons for Archbishop Temple's appointment, and the 
subject of Mr. Gladstone's next book ; how long Lord 
Salisbury will combine the Premiership with the Foreign 
Office ; and the latest theory about the side of Whitehall 
on which Charles L was beheaded. 

The ranks of our good talkers — none too numerous a 
body at the best, and sadly thinned by the losses which I 
described in a former paper — have been opportunely re- 
inforced by the discovery of Mr. Augustine Birrell. For 
forty-seven years he has walked this earth, but it is only 
during the last eight — in short, since he entered Parlia- 
ment — that the admirable qualities of his conversation 
have been generally recognized. Before that time his de- 
lightful Obiter Dicta had secured for him a wide circle of 
friends who had never seen his face, and by these admir- 
ers his first appearance on the social scene was awaited 
with lively interest. What would he be like ? Should 
we be disillusioned ? Would he talk as pleasantly as he 
wrote ? "Well, in due course he appeared, and the ques- 
tions were soon answered in a sense as laudatory as his 
friends or even himself could have desired. It was 
unanimously voted that his conversation was as agreeable 
as his writing ; but, oddly enough, its agreeableness was 
of an entirely different kind. His literary knack of 



chatty criticism had required a new word to convey its 
precise effect. To "birrell" is now a verb as firmly es- 
tablished as to " boycott," and it signifies a style, light, 
easy, playful, pretty, rather discursive, perhaps a little 
superficial. Its characteristic note is grace. But when 
the eponymous hero of the new verb entered the conver- 
sational lists it was seen that his predominant quality was 

An enthusiastic admirer who sketched him in a novel 
christened him with the nickname of "The Harmonious 
Blacksmith," and the collocation of words happily hits 
off the special quality of his conversation. There is burly 
strength in his positive opinions, his cogent statement, 
his remorseless logic, his thorough knowledge of the per- 
sons and things that he discusses. In his sledge-hammer 
blows against humbug and wickedness, intellectual affec- 
tation, and moral baseness, he is the Blacksmith all over. 
In his geniality, his sociability, his genuine love of fun, 
his frank readiness to amuse or be amused, the epithet 
*' harmonious" is abundantly justified. He cultivates to 
some extent the airs and tones of the last century, in 
which his studies have largely lain. He says what he 
means, and calls a spade a spade, and glories in an old- 
fashioned prejudice. He is the jolliest of companions 
and the steadiest of friends, and perhaps the most genu- 
ine book-lover in London, where, as a rule, society is 
too '^ cultured" to read books, though willing enough to 
chatter about them. 



Olerus Anglicanus stupor rrnindi. I believe that this 
complimentary proverb originally referred to the learn- 
ing of the English clergy, but it would apply with equal 
truth to their social agreeableness. When I was writing 
about the Art of Conversation and the men who excelled 
in it, I was surprised to find how many of the best say- 
ings that recurred spontaneously to my memory had a 
clerical origin ; and it struck me that a not uninterest- 
ing paper might be written about the social agreeable- 
ness of clergymen. A mere layman may well feel a nat- 
ural and becoming diffidence in venturing to handle so 
high a theme. 

In a former paper I said something of the secular mag- 
nificence which surrounded great prelates in the good 
old days, when the Archbishop of Canterbury could 
only be approached on gilt-edged paper ; and even the 
Bishop of impecunious Oxford never appeared in his 
Cathedral city without four horses and two powdered 
footmen. In a certain sense, no doubt, these splendid 
products of established religion conduced to social agree- 
ableness. Like the excellent prelate described in Friend- 
ship's Garland, they " had thoroughly learned the divine 
lesson that charity begins at home." They maintained 
an abundant hospitality ; they celebrated domestic events 
by balls at the episcopal palace ; they did not disdain (as 
we gather from the Life of the Hon. and Kev. George 



Spencer) the relaxation of a rubber of whist, even on 
the night before an Ordination, with a candidate for a 
partner. They dined out, like that well -drawn bishop 
in Little Dorrit, who " was crisp, fresh, cheerful, affable, 
bland, but so surprisingly innocent"; or like the prel- 
ate on whom Thackeray moralized: "My Lord, I was 
pleased to see good thing after good thing disappear be- 
fore you ; and think that no man ever better became that 
rounded episcopal apron. How amiable he was ! how 
kind ! He put water into his wine. Let us respect the 
moderation of the Establishment." 

But the agreeableness which I had in my mind when 
I took upon myself to discourse of agreeable clergymen 
was not an official but a personal agreeableness. We 
have been told on high authority that the merriment of 
parsons is mighty offensive; but the truth of this dic- 
tum depends entirely on the topic of the merriment. A 
clergyman who made light of the religion which he pro- 
fessed to teach, or even joked about the incidents and 
accompaniments of his sacred calling, would by common 
consent be intolerable. Decency exacts from priests at 
least a semblance of piety ; but I entirely deny that there 
is anything offensive in the ''merriment of parsons" 
when it plays round subjects outside the scope of their 
professional duties. 

Of Sydney Smith Lord Houghton recorded that "he 
never, except once, knew him to make a jest on any re- 
ligious subject, and then he immediately withdi'ew his 
words, and seemed ashamed that he had uttered them"; 
and I regard the admirable Sydney as not only the 
supreme head of all ecclesiastical jesters, but as, on the 
whole, the greatest humorist whose jokes have come 
down to us in an authentic and unmutilated form. Al- 
most alone among professional jokers, he made his merri- 
ment — rich, natural, fantastic, unbridled as it was — sub- 



serve the serious purposes of his life and writing. Each 
joke was a link in an argument; each sarcasm was a 
moral lesson. 

Peter Plymley's Letters, and those addressed to Arch- 
deacon Singleton, the Essays on American Taxation and 
Peisecufing Bishojjs, will probably be read as long as the 
Tale of a Tub or Macaulay's review of Montgomery's 
Poems; while of detached and isolated jokes — pure 
freaks of fun clad in literary garb — an incredible num- 
ber of those which are current in daily converse deduce ^ 
their birth from this incomparable Canon. 

When one is talking of facetious clergymen, it is in- 
evitable to think of Bishop Wilberforce ; but his humor 
was of an entirely different quality from that of Syd- 
ney Smith. To begin with, it is unquotable. It must, 
I think, have struck every reader of the Bishop's Life, 
whether in the three huge volumes of the authorized 
Biography or in the briefer but more characteristic mon- 
ograph of Dean Burgon, that, though the biographers — 
had themselves tasted and enjoyed to the full the pecul- 
iar flavor of his fun, they utterly failed in the attempt 
to convey it to the reader. Puerile puns, personal ban- 
ter of a rather homely type, and good stories collected 
from other people are all that the books disclose. Ani- 
mal spirits did the rest ; and yet, by the concurrent tes- 
timony of nearly all who knew him. Bishop Wilberforce 
was not only one of the most agreeable but one of the 
most amusing men of his time. We know from one of 
his own letters that he peculiarly disliked the descrip- 
tion which Lord Beaconsfield gave of him in Lotliair, 
and, on the principle of Ce n'est que la verite qui hlesse, 
it may be worth while to recall it: "The Bishop was 
particularly playful on the morrow at breakfast. Though 
his face beamed with Christian kindness, there was a 
twinkle in his eye which seemed not entirely superior to 



mundane self-complacency, even to a sense of earthly 
merriment. His seraphic raillery elicited sympathetic 
applause from the ladies, especially from the daughters 
of the house, who laughed occasionally, even before his 
angelic jokes were well launched." 

Mr. Bright once said, with characteristic downright- 
ness, ''If I was paid what a bishop is paid for doing 
what a bishop does, I should find abundant cause for 
merriment in the credulity of my countrymen"; and, 
waiving the theological animus which the saying implies, 
it is not uncharitable to surmise that a general sense of 
prosperity, and a strong faculty of enjoying life in all its 
aspects and phases, had much to do with Bishop Wil- 
berforce's exuberant and infectious jollity. "A truly 
emotional spirit," wrote Matthew Arnold, after meeting 
him in a country house, "he undoubtedly has beneath 
his outside of society-haunting and men-pleasing, and 
each of the two lives he leads gives him the more zest 
for the other." 

A scarcely less prominent figure in society than Bishop 
Wilberforce, and to many people a much more attractive 
one, was Dean Stanley. A clergyman to whom the Queen 
signed herself ''Ever yours affectionately" must cer- 
tainly be regarded as the social head of his profession, 
and every circumstance of Stanley's nature and ante- 
cedents exactly fitted him for the part. He was in truth 
a spoiled child of fortune, in a sense more refined and 
spiritual than the phrase generally conveys. Born of 
famous ancestry, in a bright and unworldly home ; early 
filled with the moral and intellectual enthusiasms of 
Rugby in its best days ; steeped in the characteristic 
culture of Oxford, and advancing, by easy stages of well- 
deserved promotion, to the most delightful of all offices 
in the Church of England, his inward nature accorded 
well with this happy environment. It was in a singular 



degree pure, simple, refined, ingenuous. All the grosser 
and harsher elements of human character seemed to have 
been omitted from his composition. He was naturally 
good, naturally graceful, naturally amiable. A sense of 
humor was, I think, almost the only intellectual gift 
with which he was not endowed. Lord Beaconsfield 
spoke of his " picturesque sensibility," and the phrase 
was happily chosen. He had the keenest sympathy with 
whatever was graceful in literature ; a style full of flexi- 
bility and color ; a rare faculty of graphic description ; 
and all-glorified by something of the poet's imagination. 
His conversation was incessant, teeming with informa- 
tion, and illustrated by familiar acquaintance with all 
the best that has been thought and said in the world. 

Never was a brighter intellect or a more gallant heart 
housed in a more fragile form. His figure, features, 
bearing, and accent were the very type of refinement ; 
and as the spare figure, so short yet so full of dignity, 
marked out by the decanal dress and the red ribbon of 
the Order of the Bath, threaded its way through the 
crowded saloons of London society, one felt that the 
Church, as a civilizing institution, could not be more 
appropriately represented, 

A lady who had been brought up as a Presbyterian, 
but had conformed to Anglicanism, once said to the pres- 
ent writer : "I dislike the Episcopal Church as much as 
ever, but I love the Decanal Church." Her warmest ad- 
miration was reserved for that particular Dean, supreme 
alike in station and in charm, whom I have just now 
been describing ; but there were, at the time of speak- 
ing, several other members of the same order who were 
conspicuous ornaments of the society in which they 
moved. There was Dr. Elliot, Dean of Bristol, a yearly 
visitor to London ; handsome, clever, agreeable, highly 
connected ; an administrator, a politician, an admirable 
L 161 


talker, and so little trammelled by any ecclesiastical 
prejudices or habitudes that he might have been the 
original of Dr. Stanhope in Barchester Towers. There 
was Dr. Liddell, Dean of Christ Church, whose period- 
ical appearances at Court and in society displayed to the 
admiring gaze of the world the very handsomest and 
stateliest specimen of the old English gentleman that our 
time has produced. There was Dr. Church, Dean of St. 
Paul's, by many competent judges pronounced to be our 
most accomplished man of letters, yet so modest and so 
retiring that the world was never suffered to come in 
contact with him except through his books. And there 
was Dr. Vaughan, Dean of Llandaff, who concealed un- 
der the blandest of manners a remorseless sarcasm and a 
mordant wit, and who never returned from the compar- 
ative publicity of the Athenaeum to the domestic shades 
of the Temple without leaving behind him some pungent 
sentence which travelled from mouth to mouth, and 
spared neither age nor sex nor friendship nor affinity. 

The very highest dignitaries of the Church in London 
have never, in my experience, contributed very largely 
to its social life. The garden-parties of Fulham and 
Lambeth are, indeed, recognized incidents of the London 
season ; but they present to the critical eye less the as- 
pect of a social gathering than that of a Church Congress 
combined with a Mothers' Meeting. The overwhelm- 
ing disparity between the position of host and guests 
is painfully apparent, and that "drop-down-dead-ative- 
ness" of manner which Sydney Smith quizzed still char- 
acterizes the demeanor of the unbeneficed clergy. Arch- 
bishop Tait, whose natural stateliness of aspect and 
manner was one of the most conspicuous qualifications 
for his great office, was a dignified and hospitable host ; 
and Archbishop Thomson, reinforced by a beautiful and 
charming wife, was sometimes spoken of as the Arch- 



bishop of Society. Archbishop Benson looked the part 
to perfection, but did not take much share in general 
conversation, though I remember one terse saying of his 
in which the odium theologicum supplied the place of 
wit. A portrait of Cardinal Manning was exhibited at 
the Koyal Academy, and I remarked to the Archbishop 
on the extraordinary picturesqueness of the Cardinal's 
appearance. " The dress is very effective," replied the 
Archbishop, dryly, "but I don't think there is much be- 
sides." " Oh, surely it is a fine head ?" " No, not a 
fine head ; only 7io face." 

Passing down through the ranks of the hierarchy, I 
shall presently have something to say about two or three 
metropolitan Canons who are notable figures in society ; 
but before I come to them I must offer a word of affec- 
tionate tribute to the memory of Dr. Liddon. Probably 
there never was a man whose social habit and manner 
were less like what a mere outsider would have inferred 
from his physical aspect and public demeanor. Nature 
had given him the outward semblance of a foreigner and 
an ascetic ; a lifelong study of ecclesiastical rhetoric had 
stamped him with a mannerism which belongs peculiar- 
ly to the pulpit. But the true inwardness of the man 
was that of the typical John Bull — hearty, natural, full 
of humor, utterly free from self-consciousness. He had 
a healthy appetite, and was not ashamed to gratify it ; 
liked a good glass of wine ; was peculiarly fond of so- 
ciable company, whether as host or guest ; and told an 
amusing story with incomparable zest and point. His 
verbal felicity was a marked feature of his conversation. 
His description of Archbishop Benson (revived, with 
strange taste, by the Saturday Revieio on the occasion 
of the Archbishop's death) was a masterpiece of sarcas- 
tic character-drawing. The judicious Bishop Davidson 
and the accomplished Canon Mason were the subjects 



of similar pleasantries ; and there was substantial truth 
as well as genuine fun in his letter to a friend written 
one dark Christmas from Amen Court : " London is just 
now buried under a dense fog. This is commonly attrib- 
uted to Dr. Westcott having opened his study-window at 



Of the "Merriment of Parsons" one of the most con- 
spicuous instances was to be found in the Rev. W. H. 
Brookfield, the "little Frank Whitestock " of Thackeray's 
Curate's Walk, and the subject of Lord Tennyson's char- 
acteristic elegy : 

" Brooks, for they call'd you so that knew you best — 
Old Brooks, who loved so well to mouth my rhymes, 
How oft we two have heard St. Mary's chimes ! 
How oft the Cantab supper, host and guest, 
"Would echo helpless laughter to your jest ! 

" You man of humorous-melancholy mark 
Dead of some inward agony — is it so ? 
Our kindlier, trustier Jaques, past away! 
I cannot laud this life, it looks so dark : 
Skcoc bvap — dream of a shadow, go — 
God bless you. I shall join you in a day." 

This tribute is as true in substance as it is striking in 
phrase. I have noticed the same peculiarity about Mr. 
Brookfield's humor as about Jenny Lind's singing. Those 
who had once heard it were always eager to talk about it. 
Ask some elderly man about the early triumphs of the 
Swedish Nightingale^ and notice how he kindles. "Ah ! 
Jenny Lind ! Yes, there was never anything like that !" 
And he begins about the Figlia, and how she came along 
the bridge in the Sonnambula ; and you feel the tender- 



ness in his voice, as of a positive love for her whose voice 
seems still ringing throiigh him as he talks. I have no- 
ticed exactly the same phenomenon when people who 
knew Mr. Brookfield hear his name mentioned in casual 
conversation. " Ah ! Brookfield ! Yes ; there never was 
any one quite like him !" And off they go, with visible 
pleasure and genuine emotion, to describe the inimitable 
charm, the touch of genius which brought humorous de- 
light out of the commonest incidents, the tinge of brood- 
ing melancholy which threw the flashing fun into such 
high relief. 

Not soon will fade from the memory of any who ever 
heard it the history of the examination at the ladies' 
school, where Brookfield, who had thought that he was 
only expected to examine in languages and literature, 
found himself required to set a paper in physical science. 
" What was I to do ? I know nothing about hydrogen 
or oxygen or any other ' gQ^\.' So I set them a paper in 
common-sense, or what I called ' Applied Science.' One 
of my questions was, '■ "What would you do to cure a cold 
in the head ?' One young lady answered, ' I should put 
my feet in hot mustard and water till you were in a pro- 
fuse perspiration.' Another said, ' I should put him to 
bed, give him a soothing drink, and sit by him till he 
was better.' But, before handing in her paper, she ran 
her pen through all the ' him's ' and ' he's,' and substi- 
tuted 'her 'and 'she.'" 

Mr. Brookfield was during the greater part of his life a 
hard-working servant of the public, and his friends could 
only obtain his delightful company in the rare and scanty 
intervals of school-inspecting — a profession of which not 
even the leisure is leisurely. The type of the French 
abbe, whose sacerdotal avocations lay completely in the 
background and who could give the best hours of the 
days and nights to the pleasures or duties of society, was 



best represented in onr day by the Rev. William Harness 
and the Rev. Henry White. Mr. Harness was a diner- 
out of the first water ; an author and a critic ; perhaps 
the best Shakspearian scholar of his time ; and a recog- 
nized and even dreaded authority on all matters con- 
nected only with the art and literature of the drama. 
Mr. White, burdened only with the sinecure chaplaincies 
of the Savoy and the House of Commons, took the Thea- 
tre as his parish, mediated with the happiest tact between 
the Church and the Stage, and pronounced a genial ben- 
ediction over the famous little suppers in Stratton Street 
at which an enthusiastic patroness used to entertain Sir 
Henry Irving when the public labors of the Lyceum were 
ended for the night. 

Canon Malcolm MacColl is an abbe with a difference. 
No one eats his dinner more sociably or tells a story 
more aptly ; no one enjoys good society more keenly or 
is more appreciated in it ; but he does not make society 
a profession. He is conscientiously devoted to the duties 
of his canonry ; he is an accomplished theologian ; and 
he is perhaps the most expert and vigorous pamphleteer 
in England. The Franco-German War, the Athanasian 
Creed, the Ritualistic prosecutions, the case for Home 
Rule, and the misdeeds of the Sultan, have in turn pro- 
duced from his pen pamphlets which have rushed into 
huge circulations and swollen to the dimensions of solid 
treatises. Canon MacColl is genuinely and ex animo an 
ecclesiastic ; but he is a politician as well. His inflexible 
integrity and fine sense of honor have enabled him to 
play, with credit to himself and advantage to the public, 
the rather risky part of the Priest in Politics. He has 
been trusted alike by Lord Salisbury and by Mr. Glad- 
stone ; has conducted negotiations of great pith and mo- 
ment ; and has been behind the scenes of some historic 
performances. Yet he has never made an enemy, nor 



betrayed a secret, nor lowered the honor of his sacred 

Miss Mabel Collins, in her vivid story of The Star Sap- 
phire, has drawn under a very thin pseudonym a striking 
portrait of a clergyman who, with his environment, plays 
a considerable part in the social agreeableness of London 
at the present moment. Is social agreeableness a hered- 
itary gift ? Nowadays, when everything, good or bad, 
is referred to heredity, one is inclined to say that it must 
be ; and though no training could supply the gift where 
Nature had withheld it, yet a judicious education can 
develop a social faculty which ancestry has transmitted. 
It is recorded, I think, of Madame de Stael, that, after 
her first conversation with William Wilberforce, she 
said : " I have always heard that Mr. Wilberforce was 
the most religious man in England, but I did not know 
that he was also the wittiest." The agreeableness of the 
great j)hilanthropist's son — William Wilberforce, Bishop 
of Oxford and of Winchester — I discussed in my last 
paper. We may put aside the fulsome dithyrambics 
of grateful archdeacons and promoted chaplains, and be 
content to rest the Bishop's reputation for agreeableness 
on testimony so little interested as that of Matthew 
Arnold and Archbishop Tait. The Archbishop wrote, 
after the Bishop's death, of his " social and irresistibly 
fascinating side, as displayed in his dealings with so- 
ciety " ; and in 1864 Mr. Arnold, after listening with 
only very moderate admiration to one of the Bishop's 
celebrated sermons, wrote : "Where he was excellent was 
in his speeches at luncheon afterwards — gay, easy, cordial, 
and wonderfully happy." 

I think that one gathers from all dispassionate ob- 
servers of the Bishop that what struck them most in 
him was the blending of boisterous fun and animal 
spirits with a deep and abiding sense of the seriousness 



of religion. In the philanthropist -father the religions 
seriousness rather preponderated over the fun ; in the 
Bishop - son (by a curious inversion of parts) the fun 
sometimes concealed the religiousness. To those who 
speculate in race and pedigree and transmitted qualities 
it is interesting to watch the two elements contending in 
the character of Canon Basil Wilberforce, the Bishop's 
youngest and best-beloved son. When you see his grace- 
ful figure and clean-shaved ecclesiastical face in the pul- 
pit of his strangely old-fashioned church, or catch the 
vibrating notes of his beautifully modulated voice in 

"The hush of the dread high-altar, 
Where the Abbey makes us We," 

you feel yourself in the presence of a born ecclesiastic, 
called from his cradle by an irresistible vocation to a 
separate and sanctified career. 

When you see him on the platform of some great pub- 
lic meeting, pouring forth argument, appeal, sarcasm, 
anecdote, fun, and pathos in a never-ceasing flood of ad- 
mirably chosen English, yon feel that you are under the 
spell of a born orator, who 

"Now stirs the uproar, now the murmur stills, 
While sobs and laughter answer as he wills." 

And yet again, when you see the priest of Sunday, the 
orator of Monday, presiding on Tuesday with easy yet 
finished courtesy at the hospitable table of the most 
beautiful dining - room in London, or welcomed with 
equal warmth for his racy humor and his unfailing 
sympathy in the homes of his countless friends, you feel 
that here is a man naturally framed for society, in whom 
his father and grandfather live again. Truly a combina- 
tion of hereditary gifts is displayed in Canon Wilber- 



force ; and the social agreeableness of London received 
a notable addition when Mr. Gladstone transferred him 
from Southampton to Dean's Yard. 

Of agreeable Canons there is no end, and the Chapter 
of Westminster is peculiarly rich in them. Mr. Gore's 
ascetic saintliness of life conceals from the general world, 
but not from the privileged circle of his intimate friends, 
the high breeding of a great Whig family and the philoso- 
phy of Balliol. Archdeacon Furse has the refined scholar- 
ship and delicate literary sense which characterized Eton 
in its days of glory. Dr. Duckworth's handsome pres- 
ence has long been welcomed in the very highest of all 
social circles. Mr. Eyton's massive bulk and warm heart, 
and rugged humor and sturdy common -sense, produce 
the efEect of a clerical Dr. Johnson. But perhaps we 
must turn our backs on the Abbey and pursue our walk 
along the Thames Embankment as far as St. Paul's if 
we want to discover the very finest flower of canonical 
culture and charm, for it blushes unseen in the shady re- 
cesses of Amen Court. Henry Scott Holland, Canon of 
St. Paul's, is beyond all question one of the most agree- 
able men of his time. In fun and geniality and warm- 
hearted hospitality he is a worthy successor of Sydney 
Smith, whose oflBcial house he inhabits ; and to those 
elements of agreeableness he adds certain others which 
his admirable predecessor could scarcely have claimed. 
He has all the sensitiveness of genius, with its sympathy, 
its versatility, its unexpected turns, its rapid transitions 
from grave to gay, its vivid appreciation of all that is 
beautiful in art and nature, literature and life. His 
temperament is essentially musical, and indeed it was 
from him that I borrowed, in a former paragraph, my 
description of Jenny Lind and her effect on her hearers. 
No man in London, I should think, has so many and 
such devoted friends in every class and stratum ; and 



those friends acknowledge in him not only the most 
vivacious and exhilarating of social companions, but one 
of the moral forces which have done most to quicken 
their consciences and lift their lives. 

Before I have done with the agreeableness of clergymen 
I must say a word about two academical personages, of 
whom it was not always easy to remember that they were 
clergymen, and whose agreeableness struck one in differ- 
ent lights, according as one happened to be the victim or 
the witness of their jocosity. If any one wishes to know 
what the late Master of Balliol was really like in his social 
aspect, I should refer him, not to the two volumes of the 
conscientious Biography which we have just been reading, 
nor even to the amusing chit-chat of Mr. Lionel Tolle- 
mache's recollections, but to the cleverest work of a very 
clever Balliol man — Mr. W. H. Mallock's New Repuhlic. 
The description of Mr. Jowett's appearance, conversation, 
and social bearing is photographic, and the sermon which 
Mr. Mallock puts into his mouth is not a parody, but an 
absolutely faultless reproduction both of substance and 
of style. That it excessively irritated the subject of the 
sketch is the best proof of its accuracy. For my own 
part, I must freely admit that I do not write as an ad- 
mirer of Mr. Jowett ; but one saying of his, which I had 
the advantage of hearing, does much to atone, in my 
judgment, for the snappish impertinences on which his 
reputation for wit has been generally based. The scene was 
the Master's own dining-room, and the moment that the 
ladies had left the room one of the guests began a most out- 
rageous conversation. Every one sat flabbergasted. The 
Master winced with annoyance ; and then, bending down 
the table towards the offender, said in his shrillest tone : 
'* Shall we continue this conversation in the drawing- 
room ?" and rose from his chair. It was really a stroke 
of genius thus both to terminate and to rebuke the im- 



propriety without violating the decorum due from host 
to guest. 

Of the late Master of Trinity — Dr. Thompson — it was 
said : " He casteth forth his ice like morsels. Who is able 
to abide his frost ?" The stories of his mordant wit are 
endless, but an Oxford man can scarcely hope to narrate 
them with proper accuracy. He was nothing if not crit- 
ical. At Seeley's Inaugural Lecture as Professor of His- 
tory his only remark was : " Well, well. I did not think 
we could so soon have had occasion to regret poor Kings- 
ley." To a gushing admirer who said that a certain pop- 
ular preacher had so much taste : " Oh, yes ; so very 
much, and all so very bad." Of a certain Dr. Woods, 
who wrote elementary mathematical books for school- 
boys, and whose statue occupies the most conspicuous 
position in the ante- chapel of St. John's College : " The 
Johnian Newton." His hit at the present Chief Secre- 
tary for Ireland, when he was a junior Fellow of Trinity, 
is classical : " We are none of us infallible — not even the 
youngest of us." But it requires an eye-witness of the 
scene to do justice to the exordium of the Master's ser- 
mon on the Parable of the Talents, addressed in Trinity 
Chapel to what considers itself, and not without justice, 
the cleverest congregation in the world : " It would be 
obviously superfluous in a congregation such as that 
which I now address to expatiate on the responsibilities 
of those who have five, or even two, talents. I shall, 
therefore, confine my observations to the more ordinary 
case of those of us who have one talent." 



Lord Beaconsfield, describing Monsignore Berwick 
in Lothair, says that he " conld always, when necessary, 
sparkle with anecdote or blaze with repartee." The 
former performance is considerably easier than the latter. 
Indeed, when a man has a varied experience, a retentive 
memory, and a sufficient copiousness of speech, the facil- 
ity of story-telling may attain the character of a disease. 
The "sparkle" evaporates, but the ''anecdote" is left; 
and we feel inclined to agree with another Beaconsfield- 
ian creation — Mr. Pinto — who remarked that "when a 
man fell into his anecdotage it was a sign for him to re- 
tire from the world." But though anecdotes may become 
tedious, a repartee is always delightful ; and, while by no 
means inclined to admit the general inferiority of con- 
temporary conversation to that of the last generation, I 
am disposed to think that in the art of repartee our pred- 
ecessors excelled us. 

If this is true, it may be partly due to the greater free- 
dom of an age when well-bred men and refined women 
spoke their minds with an uncompromising plainness 
which would now be voted intolerable. I have said that 
the old Koyal Dukes were distinguished by the racy vigor 
of their conversation ; and the Duke of Cumberland, af- 
terwards King Ernest of Hanover, was held to excel all 
his brothers in this respect. I was told by the late Sir 
Charles Wyke that he was once walking with the Duke 



of Cnmberland along Piccadilly when the Duke of 
Gloucester (first cousin to Cumberland, and familiarly 
known as "Silly Billy") came out of Gloucester House. 
" Duke of Gloucester, Duke of Gloucester, stop a minute. 
I want to speak to you," roared the Duke of Cumberland. 
Poor Silly Billy, whom nobody ever noticed, was delight- 
ed to find himself thus accosted, and ambled up smiling. 
" Who's your tailor ?" shouted Cumberland. " Stultz," 
replied Gloucester. " Thank you. I only wanted to 
know, because, whoever he is, he ought to be avoided like 
the pestilence." Exit Silly Billy. 

Of this inoffensive but not brilliant prince (who, by the 
way, was Chancellor of the University of Cambridge) it 
is related that once at a levee he noticed a naval friend 
with a much-tanned face. " How do, admiral ? Glad to 
see you again. It's a long time since you have been at a 
levee." "Yes, sir. Since I last saw your Koyal High- 
ness I have been nearly to the North Pole." "' By God, 
you look more as if you had been to the South Pole." It 
is but bare justice to his depreciated memory to observe 
that the Duke of Gloucester scored a point against his 
kingly cousin when, on hearing that William IV. had 
consented to the Reform Bill, he ejaculated, " Who's Sil- 
ly Billy now ?" But this is a digression. 

Early in this century a famous lady, whose name, for 
obvious reasons, I forbear to indicate even by an initial, 
had inherited great wealth under a will which, to put it 
mildly, occasioned much surprise. She shared an opera- 
box with a certain Lady D , who loved the flowing 

wine-cup not wisely but too well. One night Lady D 

was visibly intoxicated at the opera, and her friend told 
her that the partnership in the box must cease, as she 
could not appear again in company so disgraceful. "As 

you please," said Lady D . " I may have had a glass 

of wine too much ; but at any rate I never forged my 



father's signature, and then murdered the butler to pie- 
vent his telling/' 

Beau Brummell, the Prince of Dandies and the most 
insolent of men, was once asked by a lady if he would 
'* take a cup of tea." " Thank you, ma'am," he replied, 
*'I never tahe anything but physic." "1 beg your par- 
don," replied the hostess, ''you also take liberties." 

The Duchess of Somerset, born Sheridan, and famous 
as the Queen of Beauty at the Eglinton Tournament of 
1839, was pre-eminent in this agreeable art of swift re- 
sponse. One day she called at a shop to inquire for some 
article which she had purchased the day before, and 
which had not been sent home. The order could not be 
traced. The proprietor of the establishment inquired, 
with great concern : " May I ask who took your Grace's 
order ? Was it a young gentleman with fair hair ?" 
"No ; it was an elderly nobleman with a bald head." 

Lady W R , an Englishwoman who had spent 

her life in diplomatic society abroad and in old age held 
a "salon" in Loudon, was talking during the Franco- 
German War of 1870 to the French Ambassador, who 
complained bitterly that England had not intervened on 
behalf of France. "But, after all," he said, "it was only 
what we might have expected. We always believed that 
you were a nation of shopkeepers, and now we know you 

are." "And we," replied Lady W R , "always 

believed that you were a nation of soldiers, and now we 
know you are not" — a repartee worthy to rank with 
Queen Mary's reply to Lady Lochleven about the sacra- 
mental character of marriage, in the third volume of The 

A young lady, who had just been appointed a Maid of 
Honor, was telling some friends with whom she was din- 
ing that one of the conditions of the office was that she 
should not keep a diary of what went on at Court. A 



cynical man of the world who was present said : " What 
a tiresome rule ! I think I should keep my diary all the 
same." "Then," replied the young lady. "I am afraid 
you would not be a Maid of Honor." 

In the famous society of old Holland House a conspic- 
uous and interesting figure was Henry Luttrell. It was 
known that he must be getting on in life, for he had sat 
in the Irish Parliament, but his precise age no one knew. 
At length Lady Holland, whose curiosity was restrained 
by no considerations of courtesy, asked him point-blank : 
" Now, Luttrell, we're all dying to know how old you 
are. Just tell me." Eyeing his questioner gravely, Lut- 
trell made answer : " It is an odd question ; but as you. 
Lady Holland, ask it, I don't mind telling you. If I liye 
till next year, I shall be — devilish old." 

For the mutual amenities of Melbourne and Alvanley 
and Rogers and Allen, for Lord Holland's genial humor, 
and for Lady Holland's indiscriminate insolence, we can 
refer to Lord Macaulay's Life and Charles Greville's Jour- 
nals, and the enormous mass of contemporary memoirs. 
Most of these verbal encounters were fought, with all im- 
aginable good humor, over some social or literary topic ; 
but now and then, when political passion was really 
roused, they took a fiercely personal tone. 

Let one instance of elaborate invective suffice. Sir 
James Mackintosh, who, as the writer of the Vindiciae Gal- 
licae, had been the foremost apologist for the French Rev- 
olution, fell later under the influence of Bnrke, and pro- 
claimed the most unmeasured hostility to the Revolution 
and its authors, their works and ways. Having thus be- 
come a vehement champion of law and order, he exclaim- 
ed one day that O'Coighley, the priest who negotiated 
between the Revolutionary parties in Ireland and France, 
was the basest of mankind. ''No, Mackintosh," replied 
that sound though pedantic old Whig, Dr. Parr ; "he 



might have been much worse. He was an Irishman ; he 
might have been a Scotsman. He was a priest ; he might 
have been a lawyer. He was a rebel ; he might have 
been a renegade." 

These severe forms of elaborate sarcasm belong, I 
think, to a past age. Lord Beaconsfield was the last man 
who indulged in them. When the Greville Memoirs — 
that mine of social information in which I have so often 
quarried — came out, some one asked Mr. Disraeli, as he 
then was, if he had read them. He replied : '* No, I do 
not feel attracted to them. I knew the author, and he 
was the most conceited person with whom I have ever 
been brought in contact, although I have read Cicero and 
known Bulwer Lytton." This three-edged compliment 
has seldom been excelled. In a lighter style, and more 
accordant with feminine grace, was Lady Morley's com- 
ment on the decaying charms of her famous rival, Lady 
Jersey — the Zenobia of Endymion — of whom some gush- 
ing admirer had said that she looked so splendid going 
to Court in her mourning array of black and diamonds — 
"it was like night." " Yes, my dear, hnt minuit 2Jcisse." 
A masculine analogue to this amiable compliment may 
be cited from the table-talk of Lord Granville — certainly 
not an unkindly man — to whom the late Mr. Delane had 
been complaining of the difficulty of finding a suitable 
wedding-present for a young lady of the house of Roths- 
child. " It would be absurd to give a Rothschild a costly 
gift. I should like to find something not intrinsically 
valuable, but interesting because it is rare." "Nothing 
easier, my dear fellow ; send her a lock of your hair." 

When the J)^eio Review was started, its accomplished 
editor designed it to be an inexpensive copy of the Nine- 
teenth Century, It was to cost only sixpence, and was to 
be written by bearers of famous names — those of the 
British aristocracy for choice. He was complaining in 
M 177 


society of the difficulty of finding a suitable title, when a 
vivacious lady said : " We have got Cornhill, and Liulgate, 
and Strand — why not call yours Cheap-side f 

Oxford has always been a nursing-mother of polished 
satirists. Of a small sprig of aristocracy, who was an 
undergraduate in my time, it was said by a friend that 
he was like Euclid's definition of a point : he had no 
parts and no magnitude, but had position. In previous 
papers I have quoted the late Master of Balliol and Lord 
Sherbrooke. Professor Thorold Rogers excelled in a 
Shandean vein. Lord Bowen is immortalized by his 
emendation to the Judges' address to the Queen, which 
had contained the Heep-like sentence : " Conscious as we 
are of our own unworthiness for the great office to which 
we have been called." ''Wouldn't it be better to say, 
'Conscious as we are of one another's unworthiness'?" 
Henry Smith, Professor of Geometry, the wittiest, most 
learned, and most genial of Irishmen, said of a well-known 
man of science : "His only fault is that he sometimes 
mistakes the Editor of Nature for the Author of Nature." 
A great lawyer who is now a great judge, and has, with 
good reason, the very highest opinion of himself, stood 
as a Liberal at the General Election of 1880. His Tory 
opponents set on foot a rumor that he was an Atheist, 
and when Henry Smith heard it he said : "Now that's 
really too bad, for is a man who reluctantly acknowl- 
edges the existence of a Superior Being." 

At dinner at Balliol the Master's guests were dis- 
cussing the careers of two Balliol men, one of whom 
had just been made a judge and the other a bishop. 
"Oh," said Henry Smith, "I think the bishop is the 
greater man. A judge, at the most, can only say ' You 
be hanged,' but a bishop can say 'You be damned.'" 
"Yes," characteristically twittered the Master; "but if 
/ the judge says 'You be hanged,' 3^ou are hanged." 




Henry Smith, though a delightful companion, was a 
very unsatisfactory politician — nominally, indeed, a Lib- 
eral, but full of qualifications and exceptions. When 
Mr. Gathorne Hardy was raised to the peerage at the 
crisis of the Eastern Question in 1878, and thereby va- 
cated his seat for the University of Oxford, Henry Smith 
came forward as a candidate in the Liberal interest ; but 
his language about the great controversy of the moment 
was so lukewarm that Professor Freeman said that, in- 
stead of sitting for Oxford in the House of Commons, he 
ought to represent Laodicea in the Parliament of Asia 

Of Dr. Haig-Brown it is reported that, being at a pub- 
lic dinner at Godalming, he was toasted by the Mayor as 
a man who knew how to combine the fortlter in re with 
the suavUer in modo. In replying to the toast he said : 
''I am really overwhelmed, not only by the quality, but 
by the quantity of the Mayor's eulogium." 

It has been a matter of frequent remark that, con- 
sidering what an immense proportion of parliamentary 
time has been engrossed during the last seventeen years 
by Irish speeches, we have heard so little Irish humor, 
whether conscious or unconscious — whether jokes or 
"bulls." An admirably vigorous simile was used by the 
late Mr. O'Sullivan, when he complained that the whiskey 
supplied at the bar was like ''a torch-light procession 
marching down your throat"; but of Irish bulls in Par- 
liament I have only heard one — proceeding, if my mem- 
ory serves me, from Mr. T. Healy : " As long as the 
voice of Irish suffering is dumb, the ear of English com- 
passion is deaf to it." One I read in the columns of 
the Irish Times : " The key of the Irish difficulty is not 
to be found in the empty pocket of the landlord." The 
best I ever heard was not an Irish but a Welsh bull. It 
was uttered by one of the members for the Principality 



in the debate on the Welsh Church Bill, in indignant 
protest against the allegation that the majority of Welsh- 
men now belonged to the Established Church. He said, 
*' It is a lie, sir ; and it is high time that we nailed this 
lie to the mast." 

Among tellers of Irish stories, Lord Morris is supreme ; 
one of his best depicts two Irish officials of the good old 
times discussing, in all the confidence of their after-din- 
ner claret, the principles on which they bestowed their 
patronage. Said the first, " Well, I don't mind admitting 
that, cceter is paribus, I prefer my own relations." ''My 
dear boy," replied his boon companion, " cceteris paribus 
be damned." The cleverest thing that I have lately 
heard was from a young lady, who is an Irishwoman, and 
I hope that its excellence will excuse the personality. It 
must be premised that Lord Erne is a gentleman who 
abounds in anecdote, and that Lady Erne is an extremely 
handsome woman. Their irreverent compatriot has nick- 
named them 

"The storied Erne and animated bust." 

Frances Countess Waldegrave, who had previously 
been married three times, took as her fourth husband 
an Irishman, Mr. Chichester Fortescue, who was shortly 
afterwards made Chief Secretary. The first night that 
Lady Waldegrave and Mr. Fortescue appeared at the 
theatre in Dublin, an irreverent wag in the gallery called 
out, " Which of the four do you like best, my lady ?" 
Instantaneous from the Chief Secretary's box came the 
adroit reply : " Why, the Irishman, of course !" 

The late Lord Coleridge was once speaking in the 
House of Commons in support of Women's Rights. One 
of his main arguments was that there was no essential 
difference between the masculine and the feminine in- 
tellect. For example, he said, some of the most valuable 



qualities of what is called the judicial genius — sensi- 
bility, quickness, delicacy — are peculiarly feminine. In 
reply, Sergeant Dowse said : " The argument of the hon. 
and learned Member, compendiously stated, amounts to 
this : because some judges are old women, therefore all 
old women are fit to be judges." 

To my friend Mr. Julian Sturgis, himself one of the 
happiest of phrase-makers, I am indebted for the follow- 
ing gems from America : 

Mr. Evarts, formerly Secretary of State, showed an 
English friend the place where Washington was said to 
have thrown a dollar across the Potomac. The Eng- 
lish friend expressed surprise; "but," said Mr. Evarts, 
"you must remember that a dollar went farther in 
those days." A Senator met Mr. Evarts next day, and 
said that he had been amused by his jest. "But," 
said Mr. Evarts, "I met a mere journalist just after- 
wards who said, 'Oh, Mr. Evarts, you should have 
said that it was a small matter to throw a dollar across 
the Potomac for a man who had chucked a Sovereign 
across the Atlantic' " Mr. Evarts, weary of making 
many jokes, would invent a journalist or other man and 
tell a story as his. It was he who, on a kindly busybody 
expressing surprise at his daring to drink so many differ- 
ent wines at dinner, said that it was only the indifferent 
wines of which he was afraid. 

It was Mr. Motley who said in Boston : " Give me the 
luxuries of life, and I care not who has the necessaries." 

Mr. Tom Appleton, famous for many witty sayings 
(among them the well-known "Good Americans, when 
they die, go to Paris "), heard some grave city fathers 
debating what could be done to mitigate the cruel east 
wind at an exposed corner of a certain street in Bos- 
ton. He suggested that they should tether a shorn lamb 



A witty Bostonian going to dine with a neighbor was 

met by her with a face of apology. ''I could not get 

another man,'' she said ; ''and we are four women, and 

. you will have to take us all into dinner." " Fore-warned 

is four-armed," said he with a bow. 

This gentleman was in a hotel in Boston when the law 
forbidding the sale of liquor was in force. "What would 
you say/' said an angry Bostonian, " if a man from St. 
Louis, where they have freedom, were to come in and 
ask yon where he could get a drink ?" Now it was 
known that spirits could be clandestinely bought in a 
room under the roof, and the wit, pointing upwards, re- 
plied, "I should say, 'Fils de St. Louis, montez an ciel.'" 

Madame Apponyi was in London during the debates 
on the Reform Bill of 1867, and, like all foreigners and 
not a few Englishmen, was much perplexed by the 
"Compound Householder," who figured so largely in 
the discussion. Hayward explained that he was the Mas- 
culine of the Femme Incomprise. 

One of the best repartees ever made, because the brief- 
est and the Justest, was made by "the gorgeous Lady 
Blessington " to Napoleon III. When Prince Louis 
Napoleon was living in impecunious exile in London he 
had been a constant guest at Lady Blessington's hos- 
pitable and brilliant but Bohemian house. And she, 
when visiting Paris after the cou}) d'etat, naturally ex- 
pected to receive at the Tuileries some return for the un- 
bounded hospitalities of Gore House. Weeks passed, no 
invitation arrived, and the Imperial Court took no notice 
of Lady Blessington's presence. At length she encoun- 
tered the Emperor at a great reception. As he passed 
through the bowing and curtseying crowd, the Emperor 
caught sight of his former hostess. " Ah, Miladi Bless- 
ington ! Eestez-vous longtemps a Paris ?" " Et vous, 
Sire ?'* History does not record the usurper's reply. 



Henry Philpotts, Bishop of Exeter from 1830 to 1869, 
lived at a beautiful villa near Torquay, and an enthusi- 
astic lady who visited him there burst into dithyrambics, 
and cried, " What a lovely spot this is. Bishop ! It is so 
Swiss." " Yes, ma'am," blandly replied old Harry of 
Exeter, " it is very Swiss ; only there is no sea in Switz- 
erland, and there are no mountains here." One day one 
of his clergy desiring to renew a lease of some episcopal 
property, the Bishop named a preposterous sum as the 
fine on renewal. The poor parson, consenting with re- 
luctance, said, '' Well, I suppose it is better than endan- 
gering the lease, but certainly your lordship has got the 
lion's share." "But, my dear sir, I am sure you would 
not wish me to have that of the other creature." 

Still, after all, for a bishop to score off a clergyman is 
an inglorious victory ; it is like the triumph of a magis- 
trate over a prisoner or of a don over an undergradu- 
ate. Bishop Wilberforce, whose powers of repartee were 
among his most conspicuous gifts, was always ready to 
use them where retaliation was possible— not in the safe 
enclosure of the episcopal study, but on the open battle- 
field of the platform and the House of Lords. At the 
great meeting in St. James's Hall in the summer of 
1868 to protest against the Disestablishment of the Irish 
Church some Orange enthusiast, in the hope of disturb- 
ing the Bishop, kept interrupting his honeyed eloquence 
with inopportune shouts of " Speak up, my lord !" " I 
am already speaking up," replied the Bishop, in his most 
dulcet tone ; '' I always speak up ; and I decline to 
, speak down to the level of the ill-mannered person in 
the gallery." Every one whose memory runs back thirty 
years will recall the Homeric encounters between the 
Bishop and Lord Chancellor Westbury in the House of 
Lords, and will remember the melancholy circumstances 
under which Lord Westbury had to resign his ofl&ce. 



When he was leaving the Royal Closet after sarrendering 
the Great Seal into the Queen's hands, Lord Westbury 
met the Bishop, who was going in to the Queen. It was 
a painful encounter, and in reminding the Bishop of the 
occurrence when next they met, Westbury said, " I felt 
inclined to say, ' Hast thou found me, mine enemy ?' " 
The Bishop in relating this used to say: "^'I never in my 
life was so tempted as to finish the quotation, and say, 
' Yea, I have found thee, because thou hast sold thyself 
to work iniquity.' But by a great effort I kept it down, 
and said, ' Does your lordship remember the end of the 
quotation ?' " The Bishop, who enjoyed a laugh against 
himself, used to say that he had once been effectually 
scored off by a young clergyman whom he had rebuked 
for his addiction to fox - hunting. The Bishop urged 
that it had a worldly appearance. The curate replied 
that it was not a bit more worldly than a ball at Blen- 
heim Palace at which the Bishop had been present. The 
Bishop explained that he was staying in the house, but 
was never within three rooms of the dancing. " Oh, if 
it comes to that," replied the curate, " I never am with- 
in three fields of the hounds." 

One of the best replies — it is scarcely a repartee — tra- 
ditionally reported at Oxford was made by the great Saint 
of the Tractarian Movement, the Rev. Charles Marriott. 
A brother-Fellow of Oriel had behaved rather outrage- 
ously at dinner over night, and, coming out of chapel 
next morning, essayed to apologize to Marriott : " My 
friend, I'm afraid I made rather a fool of myself last 
night." " My dear fellow, I assure you I observed noth- 
ing unusual." 

In a former paper about the Art of Conversation I re- 
ferred to the singular readiness which characterized Lord 
Sherbrooke's talk. A good instance of it was his reply 
to the strenuous advocate of modern studies, who, pre- 



snming on Sherbrooke's sympathy, said, " I have the 
greatest contempt for Aristotle." "But not that con- 
tempt which familiarity breeds, I should imagine," was 
Sherbrooke's mild rejoinder. " I have got a box at the 
Lyceum to-night," I once heard a lady say, " and a place 
to spare. Lord Sherbrooke, will you come ? If you are 
engaged, I must take the Bishop of Gibraltar." " Oh, 
that's no good. Gibraltar can never be taken." 

In 1872, when University College, Oxford, celebrated 
the thousandth anniversary of its foundation. Lord Sher- 
brooke, as an old University College man, made the 
speech of the evening. His theme was a complaint of the 
iconoclastic tendency of the New Historians. Nothing 
was safe from their sacrilegious research. Every tradi- 
tion, however venerable, however precious, was resolved 
into a myth or a fable. "For example," he said, "we 
have always believed that certain lands which this col- 
lege owns in Berkshire were given to us by King Alfred. 
Now the New Historians come and tell us that this 
could not have been the case, because they can prove 
that the lands in question never belonged to the King. 
It seems to me that the New Historians prove too much — 
indeed, they prove the very point which they contest. 
If the lands had belonged to the King, he would prob- 
ably have kept them to himself ; but as they belonged to 
some one else, he made a handsome present of them to 
the College." 

Lord Beaconsfield's excellence in conversation lay 
rather in studied epigrams than in impromptu repartees. 
But in his old electioneering contests he used sometimes 
to make very happy hits. When he came forward, a 
young, penniless, unknown coxcomb, to contest High 
Wycombe against the dominating Whiggery of the Greys 
and the Carringtons, some one in the crowd shouted, 
"We know all about Colonel Grey; but pray what do 



^' you stand on ?" *'I stand on my head/' was the prompt 
reply, to which Mr. Gladstone always renders unstinted 
admiration. At Aylesbury the Radical leader had been a 
man of notoriously profligate life, and when Mr. Disraeli 
came to seek re-election as Tory Chancellor of the Ex- 
chequer this tribune of the people produced at the hust- 
ings the Radical manifesto which Mr. Disraeli had issued 
twenty years before. " What do you say to that, sir ?" 
" I say that we all sow our wild oats, and no one knows 

the meaning of that phrase better than you, Mr. ." 

A friend of mine in the diplomatic service, visiting 
Rome in the old days of the Temporal Power, had the 
honor of an interview with Pio Nono. The Pope gra- 
ciously offered him a cigar — " I am told you will find 
this very fine." The Englishman made that stupidest of 
all answers, "Thank your Holiness, but I have no vices." 
**This isn't a vice ; if it was, you would have it." An- 
other repartee from the Vatican reached me a few years 
ago, when the German Emperor paid his visit to Leo 
XIII. Count Herbert Bismarck was in attendance on his 
Imperial master, and when they reached the door of the 
Pope's audience - chamber the Emperor passed in, and 
the Count tried to follow. A gentleman of the Papal 
Court motioned him to stand back, as there must be no 
third person at the interview between the Pope and the 
Emperor. "I am Count Herbert Bismarck," shouted the 
German, as he struggled to follow his master. '' That," 
replied the Roman, with calm dignity, "may account 
for, but it does not excuse, your conduct." 

But, after all these "fashnable fax and polite anny- 
goats," as Thackeray would have called them, after all 
these engaging courtesies of kings and prelates and great 
ladies, I think that the honors in the way of repartee 
rest with the little Harrow boy who was shouting himself 
hoarse in the jubilation of victory after an Eton and 



Harrow match at Lord's, in which Harrow had it hollow. 
To him an Eton boy, of corresponding years, severely 
observed : " AVell, you Harrow fellows needn't be so 
beastly cocky. When you wanted a Head Master you 
had to come to Eton to get one." The small Harrovian 
was dumbfounded for a moment, and then, pulling him- 
self together for a final effort of deadly sarcasm, ex- 
claimed : "Well, at any rate, no one can say that we 
ever produced a Mr. Gladstone." 



The List of Honors, usually published on Her Maj- 
esty's Birthday, is this year* reserved till the Jubilee 
Day, and to sanguine aspirants I would say, in Mrs. 
Gamp's immortal words, "Seek not to proticipate." 
Such a list always contains food for the reflective mind, 
and some of the thoughts which it suggests may even lie 
too deep for tears. Why is my namesake picked out 
for knighthood, while I remain hidden in my native 
obscurity ? Why is my rival made a C.B., while I "go 
forth Companionless" to meet the chances and the vexa- 
tions of another year ? But there is balm in Gilead. 
If I have fared badly, my friends have done little better. 
Like Mr. Squeers, when Bolder's father was two-pound- 
ten short, they have had their disappointments to con- 
tend against. A, who was so confident of a peerage, is 
fobbed off with a baronetcy ; and B, whose labors for 
the Primrose League entitled him to expect the Bath, 
finds himself grouped with the Queen's footmen in the 
Eoyal Victorian Order. As when Sir Robert Peel de- 
clined to forma Government in 1839 " twenty gentlemen 
who had not been appointed Under Secretaries of State 
moaned over the martyrdom of young ambition," so 
during the first fortnight of 1897 at least that number 
of middle-aged self-seekers came to the regretful con- 

* 1897. 


elusion that Lord Salisbury was not sufficiently a man 
of the world for his present position, and inwardly asked 
why a judge or a surgeon should be preferred before 
a company-promoter or a party hack. And while feel- 
ing is thus fermenting at the base of the social edifice, 
things are not really tranquil at the summit. 

It is not long since the chief of the princely House of 
Duff was raised to the first order of the peerage, and 
one or two opulent earls, encouraged by his example, 
are understood to be looking upward. Every constitu- 
tional Briton, whatever his political creed, has in his 
heart of hearts a wholesome reverence for a dukedom. 
Lord Beaconsfield, who understood these little traits 
of our national character even more perfectly than 
Thackeray, says of his favorite St. Aldegonde (who was 
heir to the richest dukedom in the kingdom) that " he 
held extreme opinions, especially on political affairs, 
being a Republican of the reddest dye. He was opposed 
to all privilege, and indeed to all orders of men except 
dukes, who were a necessity." That is a delicious touch. 
St. Aldegonde, whatever his political aberrations, voiced 
the universal sentiment of his less fortunate fellow- 
citizens ; nor can the most soaring ambition of the 
British Matron desire a nobler epitaph than that of the 
lady immortalized by Thomas Ingoldsby : 

"She drank prussic acid without any water, 
And died like a Duke-and-a-Ducbess's daughter." 

As, according to Dr. Johnson, all claret would be port 
if it could, so, presumably, every marquis would like to 
be a duke ; and yet, as a matter of fact, that Elysian 
translation is seldom made. A marquis, properly re- 
garded, is not so much a nascent duke as an amplified 
earl. A shrewd observer of the world once said to me : 
" When an earl gets a marquisate, it is worth a hundred 



thousand pounds in hard money to his family." The ex- 
planation of this cryptic utterance is that, whereas an 
earl's younger sons are "misters," a marquis's younger 
sons are "lords." Each "my lord" can make a "my 
lady," and therefore commands a distinctly higher price 
in the marriage market of a wholesomely minded com- 
munity. Miss Higgs, with her fifty thousand pounds, 
might scorn the notion of becoming the Honorable Mrs. 
Percy Popjoy ; but as Lady Magnus Charters she would 
feel a laudable ambition gratified. 

An earldom is, in its combination of euphony, antiq- 
uity, and association, perhaps the most impressive of 
all the titles in the peerage. Most rightly did the four- 
teenth Earl of Derby decline to be degraded into a brand- 
new duke. An earldom has always been the right of a 
Prime Minister who wishes to leave the Commons. In 
1880 a member of the House of Russell (in which there 
are certain Whiggish traditions of jobbery) was fighting 
a hotly contested election, and his ardent supporters 
brought out a sarcastic placard — " Benjamin Earl of 
Beaconsfield ! He made himself an earl and the peoj)le 
poor" ; to which a rejoinder was instantly forthcoming — 
" John Earl Russell ! He made himself an earl and his 
relations rich." The amount of truth in the two state- 
ments was about equal. In 1885 this order of the peer- 
age missed the greatest distinction which fate is likely 
ever to oifer it, when Mr. Gladstone declined the earl- 
dom proffered by her Majesty on his retirement from 
office. Had he accepted it, it was understood that the 
representatives of the last Earl of Liverpool would have 
waived their claims to the extinct title, and the greatest 
of the Queen's Prime Ministers would have borne the 
name of the city which gave him birth. 

But, magnificent and euphonious as an earldom is, the 
children of an earl are the half-castes of the peerage. 



The eldest son is " my lord," and his sisters are " my 
lady"; and ever since the days of Mr. Foker, Senior, it 
has been de rigueur for an opulent brewer to marry an 
earl's daughter ; but the younger sons are not distin- 
guishable from the ignominious progeny of viscounts and 
barons. Two little boys, respectively the eldest and the 
second son of an earl, were playing on the front stair- 
case of their home, when the eldest fell over into the 
hall below. The younger called to the footman who 
picked his brother up, " Is he hurt ?" " Killed, my lord," 
was the instantaneous reply of a servant who knew the 
devolution of a courtesy title. 

As the marquesses people the debatable land between 
the dukes and the earls, so do the viscounts between the 
earls and the barons. A child whom Matthew Arnold 
was examining in grammar once wrote of certain words 
which he found it hard to classify under their proper 
parts of speech that they were '' thrown into the common 
sink, which is adverbs." I hope I shall not be consid- 
ered guilty of any disrespect if I say that ex-Speakers, 
ex-Secretaries of State, successful generals, and ambi- 
tions barons who are not quite good enough for earl- 
doms, are " thrown into the common sink, which is 
viscounts." Not only heralds and genealogists, but 
every one who has the historic sense, must have felt 
an emotion of regret when the splendid title of twenty- 
third Baron Dacre was merged by Mr. Speaker Brand 
in the pinchbeck dignity of first Viscount Hampden. 

After viscounts, barons. The baronage of England is 
headed by the bishops ; but we have so recently dis- 
coursed of those right reverend peers that, Dante-like, 
we will not reason of them, but pass on — only remarking, 
as we pass, that it is held on good authority that no 
human being ever experiences a rapture so intense as an 
American bishop from a Western State when he first 



hears himself called "My lord" at a London dinner- 
party. After the spiritual barons come the secular barons 
— the "common or garden" peers of the United King- 
dom. Of these there are considerably more than three 
hundred ; and of all, except some thirty or forty at the 
most, it may be said without offence that they are prod- 
ucts of the opulent middle - class. Pitt destroyed delib- 
erately and forever the exclusive character of the British 
peerage when, as Lord Beaconsfield said, he " created a 
plebeian aristocracy and blended it with the patrician 
oligarchy." And in order to gain admission to this "ple- 
beian aristocracy," men otherwise reasonable and honest 
will spend incredible sums, undergo prodigious exertions, 
associate themselves with the basest intrigues, and per- 
form the most unblushing tergiversations. Lord Hough- 
ton told me that he said to a well-known politician who 
boasted that he had refused a peerage : " Then you made 
a great mistake. A peerage would have secured you 
three things that you are much in need of — social con- 
sideration, longer credit with your tradesmen, and better 
marriages for your younger children." 

It is unlucky that comparatively recent legislation has 
put it out of the power of a Prime Minister to create 
fresh Irish peers, for an Irish peerage was a cheap and 
convenient method of rewarding political service. Lord 
Palmerston held that, combining social rank with eligi- 
bility to the House of Commons, it was the most desir- 
able distinction for a politician. Pitt, when his banker, 
Mr. Smith (who lived in Whitehall), desired the right 
of driving through the Horse Guards, said : " No, I can't 
give you that ; but I will make you an Irish peer" ; and 
the banker became the first Lord Carrington. 

What is a baronet ? ask some. Sir Wilfrid Lawson 
(who ought to know) replies that he is a man " who has 
ceased to be a gentleman and has not become a noble- 



man." But this is too severe a judgment. It breathes 
a spirit of contempt bred of familiarity, which may, with- 
out irreverence, be assumed by a member of an exalted 
Order, but which a humble outsider would do well to 
avoid. As Major Pendennis said of a similar manifesta- 
tion, ** It sits prettily enough on a young patrician in 
early life, though nothing is so loathsome among persons 
of our rank." I turn, therefore, for an answer to Sir 
Bernard Burke, who says : " The hereditary Order of 
Baronets was created by patent in England by King 
James I. in 1611. At the institution many of the chief 
estated gentlemen of the kingdom were selected for the 
dignity. The first batch of baronets comprised some of 
the principal landed proprietors among the best-descend- 
ed gentlemen of the kingdom, and the list was headed 
by a name illustrious more than any other for the intel- 
lectual pre-eminence with which it is associated — the 
name of Bacon. The Order of Baronets is scarcely esti- 
mated at its proper value." 

I cannot help feeling that this account of the baronet- 
age, though admirable in tone and spirit, and actually 
pathetic in its closing touch of regretful melancholy, is a 
little wanting in what the French would call ''actuality." 
It leaves out of sight the most endearing, because the 
most human, trait of the baronetage — its pecuniary ori- 
gin. On this point let us hear the historian David Hume : 
" The title of Baronet was sold, and two hundred pat- 
ents of that species of knighthood were disposed of for 
so many thousand pounds." This was truly epoch-mak- 
ing. It was one of those "actions of the just" which 
"smell sweet and blossom in the dust." King James's 
baronets were the models and precursors of all who to 
the end of time should traffic in the purchase of honors. 
Their example has justified posterity, and the prece- 
dent which they set is to-day the principal method by 
N 193 


which the war -chests of our political parties are re- 

Another authority, handling the same high theme, 
tells us that the rebellion in Ulster gave rise to this Or- 
der, and *' it was required of each baronet on his creation 
to pay into the Exchequer as much as would maintain 
thirty soldiers three years at eight-pence a day in the 
province of Ulster," and as a historical memorial of their 
original service the baronets bear as an augmentation to 
their coats of arms the royal badge of Ulster — a Bloody 
Hand on a white field. It was in apt reference to this 
that a famous Whip, on learning that a baronet of his 
party was extremely anxious to be promoted to the peer- 
age, said, *' You can tell Sir Peter Proudflesh, with my 
compliments, that if he wants a peerage he will have to 
put his Bloody Hand into his pocket. We don't do these 
things for nothing." 

For the female mind the baronetage has a peculiar 
fascination. As there was once a female Freemason, so 
there was once a female baronet — Dame Maria BoUes, of 
Osberton, in the County of Nottingham. The rank of 
a baronet's wife is not unfrequently conferred on the 
widow of a man to whom a baronetcy had been promised 
and who died too soon to receive it. " Call me a vul- 
gar woman !" screamed a lady once prominent in society 
when some ' 'damned good-natured friend" repeated a crit- 
ical comment. '' Call me a vulgar woman ! me, who was 
Miss Blank, of Blank Hall, and if I had been a boy should 
have been a baronet !" 

The baronets of fiction are like their congeners in real 
life — a numerous and a motley band. Lord Beaconsfield 
described, with a brilliancy of touch which was all his 
own, the labors and the sacrifices of Sir Vavasour Fire- 
brace on behalf of the Order of Baronets and the priv- 
ileges wrongfully withheld from them. " They are evi- 



dently the body destined to save this country ; blending 
all sympathies — the Crown, of which they are the pecul- 
iar champions ; the nobles, of whom they are the popu- 
lar branch ; the people, who recognize in them their nat- 
ural leaders. . . . Had the poor King lived, we should at 
least have had the Badge," added Sir Vavasour, mourn- 

" The Badge ?" 

" It would have satisfied Sir Grosvenor le Draughte ; 
he was for compromise. But, confound him, his father 
was only an accoucheur. " 

A great merit of the baronets, from the novelist's point 
of view, is that they and their belongings are so un- 
commonly easy to draw. With the baronet and his fam- 
ily all is plain sailing. He is Sir Grosvenor, his wife is 
Lady le Draughte, his sons, elder and younger, are Mr. 
le Draughte, and his daughters Miss le Draughte. The 
wayfaring man, though a fool, cannot err where the rule 
is so simple, and accordingly the baronets enjoy a de- 
served popularity with those novelists who look up to 
the titled classes of society as men look at the stars, but 
are a little puzzled about their proper designations. Miss 
Braddon alone has drawn more baronets, virtuous and 
vicious, handsome and hideous, than would have colon- 
ized Ulster ten times over and left a residue for Nova 
Scotia. Sir Pitt Crawley and Sir Barnes Newcome will 
live as long as English novels are read, and I hope that 
dull forgetfulness will never seize as its prey Sir Alured 
Mogyns Smyth de Mogyns, who was born Alfred Smith 
Muggins, but traced a descent from Hogyn Mogyn of the 
Hundred Beeves, and took for his motto " Ung Roy ung 
Mogyns." His pedigree is drawn by the hand of a mas- 
ter in the seventh chapter of the Booh of Snobs, and is 
imitated with great fidelity on more than one page of 
Burke's Peerage. 



An eye closely intent upon the lesser beauties of the 
natural Avorld will find a very engaging specimen of the 
genus Baronet in Sir Barnet Skettles, who was so kind 
to Paul Dombey and so angry with poor Mr. Baps. Sir 
Leicester Dedlock is on a larger scale — in fact, almost 
too "fine and large" for life. But I recall a fleeting vi- 
sion of perfect loveliness among Miss Monflathers's pupils 
— "a baronet's daughter who by some extraordinary re- 
versal of the laws of nature was not only plain in feat- 
ure but dull in intellect." 

So far we have spoken only of hereditary honors ; but 
our review would be singularly incomplete if it excluded 
those which are purely personal. Of these, of course, 
incomparably the highest is the Order of the Garter, and 
its most charactei'istic glory is that, in Lord Melbourne's 
phrase, ''there is no damned nonsense of merit about 
it." The Emperor of Lilliput rewarded his courtiers 
with three fine silken threads, one of which was blue, 
one green, and one red. The Emperor held a stick hori- 
zontally, and the candidates crept under it, backwards 
and forwards, several times. Whoever showed the most 
agility in creeping was rewarded with the blue thread. 

Let us hope that the methods of chivalry have under- 
gone some modification since the days of Queen Anne, 
and that the Blue Ribbon of the Garter, which ranks 
with the Golden Fleece and makes its wearer a comrade 
of all the crowned heads of Europe, is attained by acts 
more dignified than those which awoke the picturesque 
satire of Dean Swift. But I do not feel sure about it. 

Great is the charm of a personal decoration. Byron 
wrote : 

"Ye stars, that are the poetry of heaven." 

"A stupid line," says Mr. St. Barbe, in Etidt/mion; 
" he should have written, ' Ye stars, which are the poetry 



of dress.'" North of the Tweed the green thread of 
Swift's imagination — " the most ancient and most noble 
Order of the Thistle " — is scarcely less coveted than the 
supreme honor of the Garter ; but wild horses should 
not tear from me the name of the Scottish peer of whom 

his political leader said^ ' If I gave the Thistle, he 

would eat it." 

The Bath tries to make up by the lurid splendor of its 
ribbon and the brilliancy of its star for its comparative- 
ly humble and homely associations. It is the peculiar 
prize of Generals and Home Secretaries, and is display- 
ed with manly openness on the bosom of the statesman 
once characteristically described by Lord Beaconsfield as 
" Mr. Secretary Cross, whom I can never remember to 
call Sir Richard." But, after all said and done, the in- 
stitution of knighthood is older than any particular or- 
der of knights ; and lovers of the old world must observe 
with regret the discredit into which it has fallen since 
it became the guerdon of the successful grocer. 

"When Lord Beaconsfield left office in 1880 he con- 
ferred a knighthood — the first of a long series similarly 
bestowed — on an eminent journalist. The friends of the 
new knight were inclined to banter him, and proposed 
his health at dinner in facetious terms. Lord Beacons- 
field, who was of the company, looked preternaturally 
grave, and filling his glass, gazed steadily at the flattered 
editor and said in his deepest tone : " Yes, Sir A. B., I 
drink to your good health, and I congratulate you on 
having attained a rank which was deemed sufficient honor 
for Sir Philip Sidney and Sir Walter Ealeigh, Sir Isaac 
Newton and Sir Christopher "Wren." 

But a truce to this idle jesting on exalted themes — too 
palpably the utterance of social envy and mortified am- 
bition. " They are our superiors, and that's the fact," 
as the modest author of the Book of Snohs exclaims in 



his chapter on the Whigs. " I am not a Whig myself ; 
bat, oh, how I should like to be one !" In a similar spirit 
of compunctious self-abasement, the present writer may 
exclaim, ''I have not myself been included in the list 
of Birthday Honors — but, oh, how I should like to be 
there V 



The writer of these papers would not willingly fall 
behind his countrymen in the loyal sentiments and 
picturesque memories proper to the **high midsummer 
pomps" which begin to-morrow.* But there is an al- 
most insuperable difficulty in finding anything to write 
which shall be at once new and true ; and this paper 
must therefore consist largely of extracts. As the sun of 
June brings out wasps, so the genial influence of the 
Jubilee has produced an incredible abundance of fibs, 
myths, and fables. They have for their subject the early 
days of our Gracious Sovereign, and round that central 
theme they play with every variety of picturesque in- 
ventiveness. Nor has invention alone been at work, Ee- 
search has been equally busy. Miss Wynn's description, 
admirable in its simplicity, of the manner in which the 
girl-queen received the news of her accession was given 
to the world by Abraham Hayward in Diaries of a Lady 
of Quality a generation ago. Within the last month it 
must have done duty a hundred times. 

Scarcely less familiar is the more elaborate but still 
impressive passage from Sybil, in which Lord Beacons- 
field described the same event. And yet, as far as my 
observation has gone, the citations from this fine descrip- 
tion have always stopped short just at the opening of the 

* Sunday, June 20, 1897. 


most appropriate passage ; my readers, at any rate, shall 
see it and judge it for themselves. If there is one feat- 
ure in the national life of the last sixty years on which 
Englishmen may justly pride themselves it is the amel- 
ioration of the social condition of the workers. Put- 
ting aside all ecclesiastical revivals, all purely political 
changes, and all appeals, however successful, to the hor- 
rible arbitrament of the sword, it is Social Reform which 
has made the Queen's reign memorable and glorious. The 
first incident of that reign was described in Sybil not only 
with vivid observation of the present, but with something 
of prophetic insight into the future. 

" In a sweet and thrilling voice, and with a composed 
mien which indicates rather the absorbing sense of au- 
gust duty than an absence of emotion, the queen an- 
nounces her accession to the throne of her ancestors, and 
her humble hope that Divine Providence will guard over 
the fulfilment of her lofty trust. The prelates and cap- 
tains and chief men of her realm then advance to the 
throne, and, kneeling before her, pledge their troth and 
take the sacred oaths of allegiance and supremacy — al- 
legiance to one who rules over the land that the great 
Macedonian could not conquer, and over a continent of 
which Columbus never dreamed : to the Queen of every 
sea, and of nations in every zone. 

" It is not of these that I would speak, but of a nation 
nearer her footstool, and which at this moment looks to 
her with anxiety, with affection, perhaps with hope. Fair 
and serene, she has the blood and beauty of the Saxon. 
Will it be her proud destiny at length to bear relief to 
suffering millions, and, with that soft hand which might 
inspire troubadours and guerdon knights, break the last 
links in the chain of Saxon thraldom ?" 

To-day, with pride and thankfulness, chastened though 
it be by our sense of national shortcomings, we can an- 



swer Yes to this wistful question of genius and humanity. 
We have seen the regulation of dangerous labor, the pro- 
tection of women and children from excessive toil, the 
removal of the tax on bread, the establishment of a sys- 
tem of national education ; and, in Macaulay's phrase, a 
point which yesterday was invisible is our goal to-day, and 
will be our starting-post to-morrow. 

Her Majesty ascended the throne on June 20, 1837, 
and on the 29th the Times published a delightfully char- 
acteristic article against the Liberal Ministers, " into 
whose hands the all but infant and helpless Queen has 
been compelled by her unhappy condition to deliver up 
herself and her indignant people." Bating one word, 
this might be an extract from an article on the formation 
of Mr. Gladstone's Home Eule Government. Surely the 
consistency of the Times in evil-speaking is one of the 
most precious of our national possessions. On June 30 
the Koyal Assent was given by commission to forty Bills 
— the first Bills which became law in the Queen's reign ; 
and, the clerks in the House of Lords having been accus- 
tomed ever since the days of Queen Anne to say " His 
Majesty " and " Le Eoy le veult," there was hopeless 
bungling over the feminine appellations, now after 130 
years revived. However, the Bills scrambled through 
somehow, and among them was the Act which abolished 
the pillory — an auspicious commencement of a humane 
and reforming reign. On July 8 came the rather belated 
burial of William IV. at Windsor, and on the 11th the 
newly completed Buckingham Palace was occupied for 
the first time, the Queen and the Duchess of Kent mov- 
ing thither from Kensington. 

On July 17 Parliament was prorogued by the Queen in 
person. Her Majesty's first speech from the Throne re- 
ferred to friendly relations with Foreign Powers, the 
diminntion of capital punishment, and "discreet im- 



provements in ecclesiastical institutions/' It was read 
in a clear and musical voice, with a fascinating grace of 
accent and elocution which never faded from the memory 
of those who heard it. As long as Her Majesty continu- 
ed to open and prorogue Parliament in person the same 
perfection of delivery was always noticed. An old M.P., 
by no means inclined to be a courtier, told me that when 
Her Majesty approached the part of her speech relating 
to the estimates, her way of uttering the words ''Gentle- 
men of the House of Commons " was the most winning 
address he had ever heard : it gave to an official demand 
the character of a personal request. After the Prince 
Consort's death in 1861 the Queen did not again appear 
at Westminster till the opening of the new Parliament in 
1866. On that occasion the speech was read by the Lord 
Chancellor, and the same usage has prevailed whenever 
Her Majesty has opened Parliament since that time. But 
on several occasions of late years she has read her reply 
to addresses presented by public bodies, and I well rec- 
ollect that at the opening of the Imperial Institute in 
1893, though the timbre of her voice was deeper than in 
early years, the same admirable elocution made every 
syllable audible. 

In June, 1837, the most lively emotion in the masses 
of the people was the joy of a great escape. I have said 
before that grave men, not the least given to exaggera- 
tion, told me their profound conviction that had Prin- 
cess Victoria died in youth, and her uncle, Ernest Duke 
of Cumberland, succeeded to the throne on the death of 
William IV., no earthly power could have averted a revo- 
lution. Into the causes of that intense unpopularity 
this is not the occasion to enter ; but let me just describe 
a curious print of the year 1837 which lies before me as I 
write.* It is headed ** The Contrast," and is divided into 
* See frontispiece. 


two panels. On your left hand is a young girl, simply 
dressed in mourning, with a pearl necklace and a gauzy 
shawl, and her hair coiled in plaits, something after the 
fashion of a crown. Under this portrait is " Victoria.'^ 
On the other side of the picture is a hideous old man, 
with shaggy eyebrows and scowling gaze, wrapped in a 
military cloak with fur collar and black stock. Under 
this portrait is "Ernest," and running the whole length 
of the picture is the legend : 

"Look here upon this picture — and on this — 
The counterfeit presentment of two Sovereigns." 

This print was given to me by a veteran Eef ormer, who 
told me that it expressed in visible form the universal 
sentiment of England. That sentiment was daily and 
hourly confirmed by all that was heard and seen of the 
girl-queen. We read of her walking with a gallant suite 
upon the terrace at Windsor, dressed in scarlet uniform 
and mounted on her roan charger, to receive with uplift- 
ed hand the salute of her troops ; or seated on the throne 
of the Plantagenets at the opening of her Parliament, 
and invoking the divine benediction on the labors which 
should conduce to " the welfare and contentment of My 
people," We see her yielding her bright intelligence to 
the constitutional guidance, wise though worldly, of her 
first Prime Minister, the sagacious Melbourne. And 
then, when the exigencies of parliamentary government 
forced her to exchange her Whig advisers for the Tories, 
we see her carrying out with exact propriety the consti- 
tutional lessons taught by " the friend of her youth," 
and extending to each premier in turn, whether person- 
ally agreeable to her or not, the same absolute confidence 
and loyalty. 

As regards domestic life, we have been told by Mr. 
Gladstone that ''even among happy marriages her mar- 



riage was exceptional, so nearly did the union of thought, 
heart, and action both fulfil the ideal and bring duality 
near to the borders of identity." 

And so twenty years went on, full of an evergrowing 
popularity, and a purifying influence on the tone of so- 
ciety never fully realized till the personal presence was 
withdrawn. And then came the blow which crushed 
her life — "the sun going down at noon" — and total 
disappearance from all festivity and parade and social 
splendor, but never from political duty. In later years 
we have seen the gradual resumption of more public 
ofl&ces ; the occasional reappearances, so earnestly an- 
ticipated by her subjects, and hedged with something of 
a divinity more than regal ; the incomparable majesty 
of personal bearing which has taught so many an on- 
looker that dignity has nothing to do with height, or 
beauty, or splendor of raiment ; and, mingled with that 
majesty and unspeakably enhancing it, the human sym- 
pathy with suffering and sorrow, which has made Queen 
Victoria, as none of her predecessors ever was or could 
be, the Mother of her People. 

And the response of the English people to that sym- 
pathy — the recognition of that motherhood — is writ- 
ten, not only in the printed records of the reign, but on 
the "fleshly tables" of English hearts. Let one home- 
ly citation suffice as an illustration. It is taken from a 
letter of condolence addressed to the Queen on the death 
of Prince ''Eddie," Duke of Clarence, in 1892: 

" To our beloved Queen, Victoria. 

''Dear Lady, — We, the surviving widows and mothers 
of some of the men and boys who lost their lives by the 
explosion which occurred in the Oaks Colliery, near 
Barnsley, in December, 1866, desire to tell your Majesty 
how stunned we all feel by the cruel and unexpected 



blow which has taken Prince Eddie from his dear Grand- 
mother, his loving parents, his beloved intended, and an 
admiring nation. The sad news affected us deeply, we 
all believing that his youthful strength would carry him 
through the danger. Dear Lady, we feel more than we 
can express. To tell you that we sincerely condole with 
your Majesty and the Prince of Wales in your and their 
sad bereavement and great distress is not to tell you all 
we feel ; but the widow of Albert the Good and the 
parents of Prince Eddie will understand what we feel 
when we say that we feel all that widows and mothers 
feel who have lost those who were dear as life to them. 
Dear Lady, we remember with gratitude all that you 
did for us Oaks widows in the time of our great trouble, 
and we cannot forget you in yours. We have not for- 
gotten that it was you, dear Queen, who set the example, 
so promptly followed by all feeling people, of forming a 
fund for the relief of our distress — a fund which kept us 
out of the workhouse at the time and has kept us out 
ever since. . . . We wish it were in our power, dear 
Lady, to dry up your tears and comfort you, but that 
we cannot do. But what we can do, and will do, is to 
pray God, in His mercy and goodness, to comfort and 
strengthen you in this your time of great trouble. — 
Wishing your Majesty, the Prince and Princess of Wales, 
and the Princess May all the strength, consolation, and 
comfort which God alone can give, and which He never 
fails to give to all who seek Him in truth and sincerity, 
we remain, beloved Queen, your loving and grateful 
though sorrowing subjects, 

" The Oaks Widows. 

"(Signed on behalf of the widows by Sarah Brad- 
let, one of them.) 

" Poor Eddie ! to die so young, and so much happi- 
ness in prospect. Oh ! 'tis hard."' 



The historic associations, half gay, half sad, of the 
week on which we are just entering tempt me to linger 
on this fascinating theme, and I cannot illustrate it 
better than by quoting the concluding paragraphs from 
a sermon, which now has something of the dignity of 
fulfilled prophecy, and which was preached by Sydney 
Smith in St. Paul's Cathedral on the Sunday after the 
Queen's accession. 

The sermon is throughout a noble composition, grand- 
ly conceived and admirably expressed. It begins with 
some grave reflections on the " folly and nothingness of 
all things human " as exemplified by the death of a king. 
It goes on to enforce on the young Queen the paramount 
duties of educating her people, avoiding war, and cul- 
tivating personal religion. It concludes with the fol- 
lowing passage, which in its letter, or at least in its 
spirit, might well find a place in some of to-morrow's 
sermons : " The Patriot Queen, whom I am painting, 
reverences the National Church, frequents its worship, 
and regulates her faith by its precepts ; but she with- 
stands the encroachments and keeps down the ambition 
natural to Establishments, and by rendering the privi- 
leges of the Church compatible with the civil freedom 
of all sects, confers strength upon and adds duration to 
that wise and magnificent institution. And then this 
youthful Monarch, profoundly but wisely religious, dis- 
daining hypocrisy, and far above the childish follies of 
false piety, casts herself upon God, and seeks from the 
Gospel of His Blessed Son a path for her steps and a 
comfort for her soul. Here is a picture which warms 
every English heart, and would bring all this congrega- 
tion upon their bended knees to pray it may be realized. 
What limits to the glory and happiness of the native 
land if the Creator should in His mercy have placed in 
the heart of this royal woman the rudiments of wisdom 



and mercy ? And if, giving them time to expand, and 
to bless our children's children with her goodness, He 
should grant to her a long sojourning upon earth, and 
leave her to reign over us till she is well stricken in 
years, what glory ! what happiness ! what joy ! what 
bounty of God ! I of course can only expect to see the 
beginning of such a splendid period ; but when I do 
see it I shall exclaim : * Lord, now lettest Thou Thy 
servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen Thy 

As respects the avoidance of war, the event has hardly 
accorded with the aspiration. It is melancholy to recall 
the idealist enthusiasms which preceded the Exhibition 
of 1851, and to contrast them with the realities of the 
present hour. Then the arts of industry and the com- 
petitions of peace were to supplant for ever the science 
of bloodshed. Nations were to beat their swords into 
ploughshares and their spears into pruning-hooks, and 
men were not to learn war any more. And this was on 
the eve of the Crimea — the most ruinous, the most cruel, 
and the least justifiable of all campaigns. In one corner 
of the world or another, the war-drum has throbbed 
almost without intermission from that day to this. 

But when we turn to other aspirations the retrospect 
is more cheerful. Slavery has been entirely abolished, 
and, with all due respect to Mr. George Cnrzon, is not 
going to be re-established under the British flag. The 
punishment of death, rendered infinitely more impres- 
sive, and therefore more deterrent, by its withdrawal 
from the public gaze, is reserved for ofiEences which even 
Komilly would not have condoned. The diminution of 
crime is an acknowledged fact. Better laws and im- 
proved institutions — judicial, political, social, sanitary — 
we flatter ourselves that we may claim. National Edu- 
cation dates from 1870, and its operation during a quar- 



ter of a century has changed the face of the industrial 
world. Queen Victoria in her later years reigns over an 
educated people. 

Of the most important theme of all — our national ad- 
vance in religion, morality, and the principles of humane 
living — I have spoken in previous papers, and this is 
not the occasion for anything but the briefest recapitu- 
lation. " Where is boasting ? It is excluded." There 
is much to be thankful for, much to encourage, some- 
thing to cause anxiety, and nothing to justify bombast. 
No one believes more profoundly than I do in the provi- 
dential mission of the English race, and the very inten- 
sity of my faith in that mission makes me even painfully 
anxious that we should interpret it aright. Men who 
were undergraduates at Oxford in the seventies learned 
the interpretation, in words of unsurpassable beauty, 
from John Euskin : 

"There is a destiny now possible to us — the highest 
ever set before a nation, to be accepted or refused. "We 
are still undegenerate in race ; a race mingled of the 
best northern blood. We are not yet dissolute in temper, 
but still have the firmness to govern and the grace to 
obey. We have been taught a religion of pure mercy, 
which we must either now finally betray or learn to de- 
fend by fulfilling. And we are rich in an inheritance 
of honor, bequeathed to us through a thousand years of 
noble history, which it should be our daily thirst to 
increase with splendid avarice, so that Englishmen, if 
it be as in to covet honor, should be the most offending 
souls alive. 

" Within the last few years we have had the laws of 
natural science opened to us with a rapidity which has 
been blinded by its brightness, and means of transit 
and communication given to us which have made but 
one kingdom of the habitable globe. One kingdom — but 



who is to be its King ? Is there to be no King in it, 
think jou, and every man to do that which is right in 
his own eyes ? Or only kings of terror, and the obscene 
Empires of Mammon and Belial ? Or will yoti, youths 
of England, make your country again a royal throne of 
Kings, a sceptred isle, for all the world a source of light, 
a centre of peace ; mistress of learning and of the arts ; 
faithful guardian of great memories in the midst of ir- 
reverent and ephemeral visions ; faithful servant of time- 
tried principles, under temptation from fond experi- 
ments and licentious desires ; and, amid the cruel and 
clamorous jealousies of the nations, worshipped in her 
strange valor of good-will towards men ? 

"Vexilla Regis prodeunt. Yes, but of which King? 
There are the two oriflammes ; which shall we plant on 
the furthest islands — the one that floats in heavenly fire, 
or that which hangs heavy with foul tissue of terrestrial 
gold ?" 


The celebrations of the past week * have set us all 
upon a royal tack. Diary-keepers have turned back to 
their earliest volumes for stories of the girl-queen ; there 
has been an unprecedented run on the Annual Register 
for 1837; and every rusty old print of Princess Victoria 
in the costume of Kate Nickleby has been paraded as a 
pearl of price. As I always pride myself on following 
what Mr. Matthew Arnold used to call " the great mun- 
dane movement," I have been careful to obey the im- 
pulse of the hour. I have cudgelled my memory for 
Collections and Recollections suitable to this season of 
retrospective enthusiasm. Last week I endeavored to 
touch some of the more serious aspects of the Jubilee, 
but now that the great day has come and gone — "Bed- 
time, Hal, and all well" — a lighter handling of the ma- 
jestic theme may not be esteemed unpardonable. 

Those of my fellow-chroniclers who have blacked them- 
selves all over for the part have acted on the principle 
that no human life can be properly understood without 
an exhaustive knowledge of its grandfathers and grand- 
mothers. They have resuscitated George III. and called 
Queen Charlotte from her long home. With a less heroic 
insistence on the historic method, I leave grandparents 
out of sight, and begin my gossip with the Queen's 

* June 20-7, 1897. 


uncles. Of George IV. it is less necessary that I should 
speak, for has not his character been faithfully drawn in 
Thackeray's Lectures on the Four Georges ? 

" The dandy of sixty, who bows with a grace, 
And has taste in wigs, collars, cuirasses, and lace, 
Who to tricksters and fools leaves the State and its treasure, 
And, while Britain's in tears, sails about at his pleasure," 

was styled, as we all know, "the First Gentleman in 
Europe." I forget if I have previously narrated the 
following instance of gentlemanlike conduct. If I have, 
it will bear repetition. The late Lord Charles Russell 
(1807-1894), when a youth of eighteen, had just received 
a commission in the Blues, and was commanded, with 
the rest of his regiment, to a full-dress ball at Carlton 
House, where the King then held his Court. Unluckily 
for his peace of mind, the young subaltern dressed at his 
father's house, and, not being used to the splendid par- 
aphernalia of the Blues' full dress, he omitted to put on 
his aiguillette. Arrived at Carlton House, the company, 
before they could enter the ball-room, had to advance in 
single file along a corridor in which the old King, be- 
wigged and bestarred, was seated on a sofa. When the 
hapless youth who lacked the aiguillette approached the 
presence, he heard a very high voice exclaim, " Who is 
this damned fellow ?" Retreat was impossible, and there 
was nothing for it but to shuffle on and try to pass the 
King without further rebuke. Not a bit of it. As he 
neared the sofa the King exclaimed, " Good-evening, sir. 
I suppose you are the regimental doctor ?" and the im- 
perfectly accoutred youth, covered with confusion as 
with a cloak, fled blushing into the ball-room, and hid 
himself from further observation. And yet the narrator 
of this painful story always declared that George IV. 
could be very gracious when the fancy took him ; that 



he was uniformly kind to children ; and that on public 
occasions his manner was the perfection of kingly cour- 
tesy. His gorgeous habits and profuse expenditure 
made him strangely popular. The people, though they 
detested his conduct, thought him " every inch a King." 
Lord Shaftesbury, noting in his diary for May 19, 1849, 
the attempt of Hamilton upon the Queen's life, writes : 
" The profligate George IV. passed through a life of sel- 
fishness and sin without a single proved attempt to take 
it. This mild and virtuous young woman has four times 
already been exposed to imminent peril." 

The careers of the King's younger brothers and sisters 
would fill a volume of ''queer stories." Of the Duke of 
York, Mr. Goldwin Smith genially remarks, that " the 
only meritorious action of his life was that he once risked 
it in a duel." The Duke of Clarence — Burns's "Royal 
young tarry-breeks " — lived in disreputable seclusion till 
he ascended the throne, and then was so excited by his 
elevation that people thought he was going mad. The 
Duke of Cumberland was the object of a popular detesta- 
tion, of which the grounds can be discovered in the An- 
nual Register for 1810. The Duke of Sussex made two 
marriages in defiance of the Royal Marriage Act, and 
took a political part as active on the Liberal side as that 
of the Duke of Cumberland among the Tories. The 
Duke of Cambridge is chiefiy remembered by his gro- 
tesque habit (recorded, by the way, in Happy Thoughts) 
of making loud responses of his own invention to the 
service in church. "Let us pray," said the clergyman. 
" By all means," said the Duke. The clergyman begins 
the prayer for rain. The Duke exclaims : " No good as 
long as the wind is in the east." 

Clergymayi : " ' Zacchseus stood forth and said. Behold, 
Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor.'" 

Duke : "Too much, too much ; don't mind tithes, but 



can't stand that." To two of the Commandments, which 
I decline to discriminate, the Duke's responses were : 
" Quite right, quite right, but very difficult sometimes "; 
and "No, no ! It was my brother Ernest did that." 

Those who care to pursue these curious byways of not 
very ancient history are referred to the unfailing Gre- 
ville ; to Lady Anne Hamilton's Secret History of the 
Court of England ; and to the Recollections of a Lady of 
Quality, commonly ascribed to the late Lady Charlotte 
Bury. The closer our acquaintance with the manners 
and habits of the last age, even in what are called " the 
highest circles," the more wonderful will appear the 
social transformation which dates from Her Majesty's ac- 
cession. Thackeray spoke the words of truth and sober- 
ness when, after describing the virtues and the limita- 
tions of George III., he said : "I think we acknowledge 
in the inheritrix of his sceptre a wiser rule and a life as 
honorable and pure ; and I am sure that the future 
painter of our manners will pay a willing allegiance to 
that good life, and be loyal to the memory of that unsul- 
lied virtue." 

For the earlier years of the Queen's reign Greville 
continues to be a fairly safe guide, though his footing at 
the palace was by no means so intimate as it had been in 
the roystering days of George IV. and William IV. Of 
course. Her Majesty's own volumes and Sir Theodore 
Martin's Life of the Prince Consort are of primary au- 
thority. Interesting glimpses are to be caught in the 
first volume of Bishop Wilberforce's Life, ere yet his ter- 
giversation in the matter of Bishop Hampden had for- 
feited the Royal favor ; and the historian of the future 
will probably make great use of the Letters of Sarah Lady 
Lyttelton — Governess to the Queen's children — which, 
being printed for private circulation, are unluckily with- 
held from the present generation. 



A rather pleasing instance of the ultra-German eti- 
quette fomented by Prince Albert was told me by an eye- 
witness of the scene. The Prime Minister and his wife 
were dining at Buckingham Palace very shortly after 
they had received an addition to their family. When the 
ladies retired to the drawing-room after dinner, the 
Queen said most kindly to the Premier's wife, " I know 

you are not very strong yet, Lady ; so I beg you will 

sit down. And, when the Prince comes in, Lady D 

shall stand in front of you." This device of screening a 
breach of etiquette by hiding it behind the portly figure 
of a British Matron always struck me as extremely droll. 

Courtly etiquette, with the conditions out of which it 
springs and its effect upon the character of those who are 
subjected to it, has, of course, been a favorite theme of 
satirists time oat of mind, and there can scarcely be a 
more fruitful one. There are no heights to which it does 
not rise, nor depths to which it does not sink. In the 
service for the Queen's Accession the Christological 
Psalms are boldly transferred to the Sovereign by the 
calm substitution of "her" for "Him." A few years 
back — I do not know if it is so now — I noticed that in 
the prayer-books in St. George's Chapel at Windsor all 
the pronouns which referred to the Holy Trinity were 
spelled with small letters, and those which referred to the 
Queen with capitals. So much for the heights of eti- 
quette, and for its depths we will go to Thackeray's ac- 
count of an incident stated to have occurred on the birth 
of the Duke of Connaught : 

" Lord John he next alights, 

And who comes here in haste ? 
The Hero of a Hundred Fights, 
The caudle for to taste. 

" Then Mrs. Lily the nuss. 

Towards them steps with joy ; 


Says the brave old Duke, ' Come tell to us, 
Is it a gal or boy ?' 

" Says Mrs. L. to the Duke, 
'Your Grace, it is a Prince.^ 
And at that nurse's bold rebuke 
He did both laugh and wince." 

Such was the etiquette of the Royal nursery in 1850 ; 
but little Princes, even though ushered into the world 
under such very impressive circumstances, grow up into 
something not very unlike other little boys when once 
they go to school. Of course, in former days young 
Princes were educated at home by private tutors. This 
was the education of the Queen^s uncles and of her sons. 
A very different experience has been permitted to her 
grandsons. The Prince of Wales's boys, as we all re- 
member, were middies ; Princess Christian's sons were 
at Wellington ; Prince Arthur of Connaught is at Eton. 
There he is to be joined next year by the little Duke of 
Albany, who is now at a private school in the New For- 
est. He has among his school-fellows his cousin Prince 
Alexander of Battenberg, of whom a delightful story is 
current just now. Like many other little boys, he ran 
short of pocket-money, and wrote an ingenious letter to 
his august Grandmother asking for some slight pecuniary 
assistance. He received in return a just rebuke, telling 
him that little boys should keep within their limits, and 
that he must wait till his allowance next became due. 
Shortly afterwards the undefeated little Prince resumed 
the correspondence in something like the following form : 
"My dear Grandmamma, — I am sure you will be glad to 
know that I need not trouble you for any money just 
now, for I sold your last letter to another boy here for 

As Royalty emerges from infancy and boyhood into 



the vulgar and artificial atmosphere of the grown-up 
world, it is daily and hourly exposed to such sycophancy 
that Royal persons acquire, quite unconsciously, a habit 
of regarding every subject in heaven and earth in its re- 
lation to themselves. An amusing instance of this oc- 
curred a few years ago on an occasion when one of our 
most popular Princesses expressed a gracious wish to 
present a very smart young gentleman to the Queen. 
This young man had a remarkably good opinion of him- 
self ; was the eldest son of a peer, and a Member of Par- 
liament ; and it happened that he was also related to a 
lady who belonged to one of the Royal Households. So 
the Princess led the young exquisite to the august pres- 
ence, and then sweetly said, " I present Mr. , who 

is" — not Lord A.'s eldest son or Member for Loamshire, 
but — " nephew to dear Aunt Cambridge's lady." My 
young friend told me that he had never till that moment 
realized how completely he lacked a position of his own 
in the universe of created being. 


Archbishop Tait wrote on February 11, 1877 : " At- 
tended this week the opening of Parliament, the Queen 
being present, and wearing for the first time, some one 
says, her crown as Empress of India. Lord Beaconsfield 
was on her left side, holding aloft the Sword of State. 
At five the House again was crammed to see him take his 
seat ; and Slingsby Bethell, equal to the occasion, read 
aloud the writ in very distinct tones. All seemed to be 
founded on the model, 'What shall be done to the man 
whom the king delighteth to honor ?' " 

Je ne suis pas la rose, mats fai vecu prh d'elle. For 
the last month* our thoughts have been fixed upon the 
Queen to the exclusion of all else. But now the regal 
splendors of the Jubilee have faded. The majestic theme 
is, in fact, exhausted ; and we turn, by a natural tran- 
sition, from the Royal Rose to its subservient primrose ; 
from the wisest of Sovereigns to the wiliest of Premiers ; 
from the character, habits, and life of the Queen to the 
personality of that extraordinary child of Israel who, 
though he was not the Rose, lived uncommonly near it ; 
and who, more than any other Minister before or since 
his day, contrived to identify himself in the public view 
with the Crown itself. There is nothing invidious in 
this use of a racial term. It was one of Lord Beacons- 

*JuDe, 1897. 


field's finest qualities that he labored all through his life 
to make his race glorious and admired. To a Jewish boy 
— a friend of my own — who was presented to him in his 
old age he said : " You and I belong to a race which can 
do everything but fail." 

Is Lord Beaconsfield's biography ever to be given to 
the world ? Not in our time, at any rate, if we may 
judge by the signs. Perhaps Lord Eowton finds it more 
convenient to live on the vague but splendid anticipa- 
tions of future success than on the admitted and definite 
failure of a too cautious book. Perhaps he finds his per- 
sonal dignity enhanced by those mysterious Sittings to 
AVindsor and Osborne, where he is understood to be com- 
paring manuscripts and revising proofs with an Illus- 
trious Personage. But there is the less occasion to 
lament Lord Rowton's tardiness, because we already pos- 
sess Mr. Fronde's admirable monograph on Lord Beacons- 
field in the series of The Queen's Prime Ministers, and 
an extremely clear-sighted account of his relations with 
the Crown in Mr. Reginald Brett's Yo^e of Empire. 

My present purpose is not controversial. I do not in- 
tend to estimate the soundness of Lord Beaconsfield's 
opinions or the permanent value of his political work. 
It is enough to recall what the late German Ambassa- 
dor — Count Miinster — related to me after the Congress 
of Berlin, and what, in a curtailed form, has been so 
often quoted. Prince Bismarck said: "1 think nothing 
of their Lord Salisbury. He is only a lath painted to 
look like iron. But that old Jew means business." This 
is merely a parenthesis. I am at present concerned only 
with Lord Beaconsfield's personal traits. When I first 
encountered him he was already an old man. He had 
left far behind those wonderful days of the black velvet 
dress -coat lined with white satin, the "gorgeous gold 
flowers on a splendidly embroidered waistcoat," the jew-, 



elled rings worn ontside the white gloves, the evening 
cane of ivory inlaid with gold and adorned with a tassel 
of black silk. " We were none of us fools," said one of 
his most brilliant contemporaries, " and each man talked 
his best ; but we all agreed that the cleverest fellow in 
the party was the young Jew in the green velvet trou- 
sers." Considerably in the background, too, were the 
grotesque performances of his middle life, when, making 
up for the character of a country gentleman, he "rode 
an Arabian mare for thirty miles across country without 
stopping," attended Quarter Sessions in drab breeches 
and gaiters, and wandered about the lanes round Hugh- 
enden pecking up primroses with a spud. 

When I first saw Mr. Disraeli, as he then was, all 
these follies were matters of ancient history. They had 
played their part and were discarded. He was dressed 
much like other gentlemen of the Sixties — in a black 
frock coat, gray or drab trousers, a waistcoat cut rather 
low, and a black cravat which went once roijnd the neck 
and was tied in a loose bow. In the country his costume 
was a little more adventurous. A black velveteen jacket, 
a colored waistcoat, a Tyrolese hat, lent picturesque in- 
cident and variety to his appearance. But the brilliant 
colors were reserved for public occasions. I never saw 
him look better than in his peer's robes of scarlet and 
ermine when he took his seat in the House of Lords, or 
more amazing than when, tightly buttoned up in the 
Privy Councillor's uniform of blue and gold, he stood 
in the "general circle" at the Drawing-room or Levee. 
In his second Administration he looked extraordinarily 
old. His form was shrunk, and his face of a death-like 
pallor. Ever since an illness in early manhood he had 
always dyed his hair, and the contrast between the arti- 
ficial blackness and the natural paleness was extremely 
startling. The one sign of vitality which his appear- 



iiuce presented was the brilliancy of his dark eyes, which 
still flashed with penetrating lustre. 

The immense powers of conversation of which we read 
so much in his early days, when he " talked like a race- 
horse approaching the winning-post," and held the whole 
company spellbound by his tropical eloquence, had utterly 
vanished. He seemed, as he was, habitually oppressed 
by illness or discomfort. He sat for hours together in 
moody silence. When he opened his lips it was to pay 
an elaborate (and sometimes misplaced) compliment to a 
lady, or to utter an epigrammatic judgment on men or 
books, which recalled the conversational triumphs of his 
prime. Skill in phrasemaking was perhaps the literary 
gift which he most admired. In a conversation with Mr. 
Matthew Arnold shortly before his death he said, with 
a touch of pathos: ''You are a fortunate man. The 
young men read you ; they no longer read me. And you 
have invented phrases which every one quotes — such as 
'Philistinism' and 'Sweetness and light.'" It was a 
characteristic compliment, for he dearly loved a good 
phrase. From the necessities of his position as a fighting 
politician, his own best performances in that line were 
sarcasms ; and indeed sarcasm was the gift in which, 
from first to last, in public and in private, in writing and 
in speaking, he peculiarly excelled. To recall the in- 
stances would be to rewrite his political novels and to 
transcribe those attacks on Sir Robert Peel which made 
his fame and fortune. 

It was my good fortune when quite a boy to be present 
at the debates in the House of Commons on the Tory 
Reform Bill of 1867. Never were Mr. Disraeli's gifts 
of sarcasm, satire, and ridicule so freely displayed, and 
never did they find so responsive a subject as Mr. Glad- 
stone. As school-boys say, "he rose freely." The Bill 
was read a second time without a division, but in Com- 



mittee the fun waxed fast and furious, and was marked 
by the liveliest encounters between the Leader of the 
House and the Leader of the Opposition. At the con- 
clusion of one of these passages of arms Mr. Disraeli 
gravely congratulated himself on having such a substan- 
tial piece of furniture as the table of the House between 
himself and his energetic opponent. In May, 1867, Lord 
Houghton writes thus : "I met Gladstone at breakfast. 
He seems quite awed with the diabolical cleverness of 
Dizzy, who, he says, is gradually driving all ideas of po- 
litical honor out of the House, and accustoming it to the 
most revolting cynicism." Was it cynicism, or some re- 
lated but more agreeable quality, which suggested Mr. 
Disraeli's reply to the wealthy manufacturer, newly ar- 
rived in the House of Commons, who complimented him 
on his novels ? ''I can't say Fve read them myself. 
Novels are not in my line. But my daughters tell me 
they are uncommonly good." " Ah," said the Leader of 
the House, in his deepest note, ''this, indeed, is fame." 
The mention of novels reminds me of a story which I 
heard twenty years ago, when Mr. Mallock produced his 
first book — the admirable Neio Republic. A lady who was 
his constant friend and benefactress begged Lord Beacons- 
field to read the book and say something civil about it. 
The Prime Minister replied with a groan : "Ask me any- 
thing, dear lady, except this. I am an old man. Do 
not make me read your young friends' romances." '' Oh, 
but he would be a great accession to the Tory party, and 
a civil word from you would secure him forever." "Oh 
— well, then, give me a pen and a sheet of paper," and, 
sitting down in the lady's drawing - room, he wrote : 

" Dear Mrs. , — I am sorry that I cannot dine with 

yon, but I am going down to Hughenden for a week. 
Would that my solitude could be peopled by the bright 
creations of Mr. Mallock's fancy." "Will that do for 



your young friend ?" Surely, as an appreciation of a 
book which one has not read, this is absolutely perfect. 

When Lord Beaconsfield was driven from office by the 
General Election of 1880, one of his supporters in the 
House of Commons begged a great favor — " May I bring 
my boy to see you, and will you give him some word of 
counsel which he may treasure all his life as the utter- 
ance of the greatest Englishman who ever lived ?" Lord 
Beaconsfield groaned, but consented. On the appointed 
day the proud father presented himself with his young 
hopeful in Lord Beaconsfield's presence. " My dear 
young friend," said the statesman, " your good papa has 
asked me to give you a word of counsel which may serve 
you all your life. Never ask who wrote the Letters of 
Junius, or on which side of Whitehall Charles I. was be- 
headed ; for if you do you will be considered a bore — and 
that is something too dreadful for you at your tender 
age to understand." For these last two stories I by no 
means vouch. They belong to the flotsam and jetsam of 
ephemeral gossip. But the following, which I regard 
as eminently characteristic, I had from Lord Kandolph 

Towards the end of Lord Beaconsfield's second Pre- 
miership a younger politician asked the Premier to din- 
ner. It was a domestic event of the first importance, 
and no pains were spared to make the entertainment a 
success. When the ladies retired, the host came and sat 
where the hostess had been, next to his distinguished 
guest. "^ Will you have some more claret. Lord Beacons- 
field ?" " No, thank you, my dear fellow. It is admir- 
able wine — true Falernian — but I have already exceeded 
my prescribed quantity, and the gout holds me in its 
horrid clutch." When the party had broken up, the 
host and hostess were talking it over. "I think the 
chief enjoyed himself," said the host, ''and I know he 



liked his claret." "Claret!" exclaimed the hostess; 
" why, he drank brandy-and-water all dinner-time." 

I said in an earlier paragraph that Lord Beaconsfield's 
flattery was sometimes misplaced. An instance recurs to 
my recollection. He was staying in a country house 
where the whole party was Conservative with the excep- 
tion of one rather plain, elderly lady, who belonged to a 
great Whig family. The Tory leader was holding forth 
on politics to an admiring circle when the Whig lady 
came into the room. Pausing in his conversation, Lord 
Beaconsfield exclaimed, in his most histrionic manner, 
*'But, hush ! We must not continue these Tory heresies 
until those pretty little ears have been covered up with 
those pretty little hands" — a strange remark under any 
circumstances, and stranger still if, as his friends be- 
lieved, it was honestly intended as an acceptable com- 

Mr. Brett, who shows a curious sympathy with the 
personal character of Lord Beaconsfield, acquits him of 
the charge of flattery, and quotes his own description of 
his method : "I never contradict ; I never deny ; but I 
sometimes forget," On the other hand, it has always 
been asserted by those who had the best opportunities of 
personal observation that Lord Beaconsfield succeeded 
in converting the dislike with which he had once been 
regarded in the highest quarters into admiration and 
even affection, by his elaborate and studied acquiescence 
in every claim, social or political, of Royalty, and by his 
unflagging perseverance in the art of flattery. He was a 
courtier, not by birth or breeding, but by genius. What 
could be more skilful than the inclusion of Leaves from 
the Journal of our Life in the Highlands with Coningshy 
and Sybil in the phrase " We authors" ? — than his grave 
declaration, "Your Majesty is the head of the literary 
profession " — than his announcement at the dinner-table 



at Windsor, with reference to some disputed point of 
regal genealogy, ** We are in the presence of probably 
the only Person in Europe who could tell us " ? In the 
last year of his life he said to Mr. Matthew Arnold, in a 
strange burst of confidence which showed how complete- 
ly he realized that his fall from power was final : " You 
have heard me accused of being a flatterer. It is true. 
I am a flatterer. I have found it useful. Every one likes 
flattery ; and when you come to Royalty you should lay 
it on with a trowel." As a courtier Lord Beaconsfield 
excelled. Once, sitting at dinner by the Princess of 
Wales, he was trying to cut a hard dinner - roll. The 
knife slipped and cut his finger, which the Princess, with 
her natural grace, instantly wrapped up in her handker- 
chief. The old gentleman gave a dramatic groan, and 
exclaimed, " I asked for bread and they gave me a stone ; 
but I had a Princess to bind my wounds." 

The atmosphere of a Court naturally suited him, and 
he had a quaint trick of transferring the grandiose no- 
menclature of palaces to his own very modest domain of 
Hughenden. He called his simple drawing-room the sa- 
loon ; he styled his pond the lake ; he expatiated on the 
beauties of the terrace - walks, the " Golden Gate," and 
the '' German Forest." His style of entertaining was 
more showy than comfortable. Nothing could excel the 
grandeur of his state coach and powdered footmen ; but 
when the ice at dessert came up melting, one of his friends 
exclaimed, "At last, my dear Dizzy, we have got some- 
thing hot " ; and in the days when he was Chancellor of 
the Exchequer some critical guest remarked of the soup 
that it was apparently made with Deferred Stock. When 
Lady Beaconsfield died he sent for his agent and said : 
"1 desire that Her Ladyship's remains should be borne 
to the grave by the tenants of the estate." Presently the 
agent came back with a troubled countenance and said, 



" I regret to say there are not tenants enough to carry a 

Lord Beaconsfield's last years were tormented by a 
bronchial asthma of gouty origin, against which he fought 
with tenacious and uncomplaining courage. The last 
six weeks of his life, described all too graphically by 
Dr. Kidd in an article in the Nineteenth Century, were a 
hand-to-hand struggle with death. Every day the end 
was expected, and his early compatriot, companion, and 
so-called friend, Bernal Osborne, found it in his heart to 
remark, *' Ah, overdoing it — as he always overdid every- 

For my own part, I never was numbered among Lord 
Beaconsfield's friends, and I regarded the Imperialistic 
and pro-Turkish policy of his latter days with an equal 
measure of indignation and contempt. But I place his 
political novels among the masterpieces of Victorian lit- 
erature, and I have a sneaking affection for the man who 
wrote the following passage : "We live in an age when 
to be young and to be indifferent can be no longer sy- 
nonymous. We must prepare for the coming hour. The 
claims of the Future are represented by suffering mill- 
ions, and the Youth of a Nation are the Trustees of Pos- 


Can" a flatterer be flattered ? Does he instinctively 
recognize the commodity in which he deals ? And, if 
he does so recognize it, does he enjoy or dislike the ap- 
plication of it to his own case ? These questions are 
suggested to my mind by the ungrudging tribute paid 
in my last chapter to Lord Beaconsfield's pre-eminence 
in the art of flattery. 

" Supreme of heroes, bravest, noblest, best !" 

No one else ever flattered so long and so much, so boldly 
and so persistently, so skilfully and with such success. 
And it so happened that at the very crisis of his roman- 
tic career he became the subject of an act of flattery 
quite as daring as any of his own performances in the 
same line, and one which was attended with diplomatic 
consequences of infinite pith and moment. 

It fell out on this wise. When the Congress of the 
Powers assembled at Berlin in the summer of 1878, our 
Ambassador in that city of stucco palaces was the loved 
and lamented Lord Odo Russell, afterwards Lord Ampt- 
hill, a born diplomatist if ever there was one, with a 
suavity and affectionateness of manner and a charm of 
voice which would have enabled him, in homely phrase, 
to whistle the bird ofE the bough. On the evening be- 
fore the formal opening of the Congress Lord Beacons- 
field arrived in all his plenipotentiary glory, and was re- 



ceived with high honors at the British Embassy. In the 
course of the evening one of his private secretaries came 
to Lord Odo Russell and said: ''Lord Odo, we are in a 
frightful mess, and we can only turn to you to help us 
out of it. The old chief has determined to open the 
proceedings of the Congress in French. He has written 
out the devil's own long speech in French and learned 
it by heart, and is going to fire it off at the Congress to- 
morrow. We shall be the laughing-stock of Europe. 
He pronounces epicier as if it rhymed with overseer, and 
all his pronunciation is to match. It is as much as our 
places are worth to tell him so : can you help us ?" Lord 
Odo listened with amused good humor to this tale of 
woe, and then replied : " It is a very delicate mission 
that you ask me to undertake, but then I am fond of 
delicate missions. I will see what I can do." And so 
he repaired to the state bedroom, where our venerable 
Plenipotentiary was beginning those very elaborate proc- 
esses of the toilette with which he prepared for the 
couch. " My dear lord," began Lord Odo, " a dread- 
ful rumor has reached us." "Indeed! Pray what is 
it ?" "We have heard that you intend to open the pro- 
ceedings to-morrow in French." "Well, Lord Odo, 
what of that ?" " Why, of course, we all know that there 
is no one in Europe more competent to do so than your- 
self. But then, after all, to make a French speech is a 
commonplace accomplishment. There will be at least 
half a dozen men at the Congress who could do it almost, 
if not quite, as well as yourself. But, on the other 
hand, who but you can make an English speech ? All 
these Plenipotentiaries have come from the various Courts 
of Europe expecting the greatest intellectual treat of 
their lives in hearing English spoken by its greatest 
living master. The question for you, my dear lord, is — 
Will you disappoint them ?" Lord Beaconsfield put 



his glass in his eye, fixed his gaze on Lord Odo, and then 
said : " There is much force in what you say. I will 
consider the point." And next day he ojiened the pro- 
ceedings in English. Now the psychological conundrum 
is this — Did he swallow the flattery, and honestly believe 
that the object of Lord Odo's appeal was to have the 
pleasure of hearing him speak English ? Or did he see 
through the manoeuvre, and recognize a polite intima- 
tion that a French speech from him would throw an air 
of comedy over all the proceedings of the Congress, and 
perhaps kill it with ridicule ? The problem is well fitted 
to be made the subject of a Prize Essay ; but personally 
I incline to believe that he saw through the manoeuvre 
and acted on the hint. If this be the true reading of 
the case, the answer to my opening question is that the 
'^flatterer cannot be fiattered. 

We saw in my last paper how careful Lord Beaconsfield 
Avas, in the great days of his political struggles, to flatter 
every one who came within his reach. To the same ef- 
fect is the story that when he was accosted by any one 
who claimed acquaintance but whose face he had forgot- 
ten he always used to inquire, in a tone of affectionate 

^ solicitude, " And how is the old complaint ?" But 
when he grew older, and had attained the highest ob- 
jects of his political ambition, these little arts, having 
served their purpose, were discarded, like the green vel- 
vet trousers and tasselled canes of his aspiring youth. 
There was no more use for them, and they were dropped. 

/ He manifested less and less of the apostolic virtue of suf- 
fering bores gladly ; and, though always delightful to his 
intimate friends, he was less and less inclined to curry 
'' favor with mere acquaintances. A characteristic instance 
of this later manner has been given to the world in a 
book of chit-chat by a prosy gentleman whose name it 
would be unkind to recall. 



This worthy soul narrates with artless candor that 
towards the end of Lord Beaconsfield's second Adminis- 
tration he had the honor of dining with the great man, 
whose political follower he was, at his official residence 
in Downing Street. When he arrived he found his host 
looking ghastly ill, and apparently incapable of speech. 
He made some commonplace remark about the weather 
or the House, and the only reply was a dismal groan. A 
second remark was similarly received, and the visitor 
then abandoned the attempt in despair. " I felt he 
would not survive the night. Within a quarter of an 
hour, all being seated at dinner, I observed him talking 
to the Austrian Ambassador with extreme vivacity. Dur- 
ing the whole of dinner their conversation was kept up ; 
I saw no sign of flagging. This is difficult to accoutit 
for." And the worthy man goes on to theorize about 
the cause, and suggests that Lord Beaconsfield was in 
the habit of taking doses of opium which were so timed 
that their effect passed off at a certain moment ! 

This freedom from self-knowledge which bores enjoy is 
one of their most striking characteristics. One of the 
principal clubs in Pall Mall has the misfortune to be fre- 
quented by a gentleman who is by common consent the 
greatest bore and button-holer in London. He always 
reminds me of the philosopher described by Sir George 
Trevelyan, who used to wander about asking " Why are 
''' we created ? Whither do we tend ? Have we an inner 
consciousness ?" till all his friends, when they saw him 
from afar, used to exclaim : " Why was Tompkins crea- 
ted ? Is he tending this way ? Has he an inner con- 
sciousness that he is a bore ?" 

Well, a few years ago this good man, on his return 
from his autumn holiday, was telling all his acquaint- 
ances at the club that he had been occupying a house at 
the Lakes not far from Mr. Ruskin, who, he added, was 



in a very melancholy state. " I am truly sorry for that/' 
said one of his hearers. " What is the matter with him ?" 
"Well/' replied the bntton-holer, "I was walking one 
day in the lane which separated Ruskin's house from 
mine, and I saw him coming down the lane towards me. 
The moment he caught sight of me he darted into a wood 
which was close by, and hid behind a tree till I had pass- 
ed. Oh, very sad indeed." But the truly pathetic part 
of it was one's consciousness that what Mr. Ruskin did 
we should all have done, and that not all the trees in 
Birnam Wood and the Forest of Arden combined would 
have hidden the multitude of brother - clubmen who 
sought to avoid the narrator. 

The faculty of boring belongs, unhappily, to no one 

y period of life. Age cannot wither it, nor custom stale 
its infinite variety. Middle life is its heyday. Perhaps 
infancy is free from it, but I strongly suspect that it is a 
form of original sin, and shows itself very early. Boys 
are notoriously rich in it ; with them it takes two forms, 
the loquacious and the awkward ; and in some excep- 
tionally favored cases the two forms are combined. I 
once was talking with an eminent educationist about 
the characteristic qualities produced by various Public 
Schools, and when I asked him what Harrow produced 
he replied: "A certain shy bumptiousness." It was a 

- judgment which wrung my Harrovian withers, but of 
which I could not dispute the truth. 

One of the forms which shyness takes in boyhood is 
an inability to get up and go. When Dr. Vaughan was 
Head Master of Harrow, and had to entertain his boys 
at breakfast, this inability was frequently manifested, 
and was met by the Doctor in a most characteristic fash- 
ion. When the muffins and sausages had been devour- 
ed, the perfunctory inquiries about the health of "your 
people" made and answered, and all permissible school- 



topics discussed, there used to ensue a horrid silence, 
while *' Dr. Blimber's young friends " sat tightly glued 
to their chairs. Then the Doctor would approach with 
cat-like softness, and, extending his hand to the shyest 
and most loutish boy, would say, " Must you go ? Can't 
you stay ?" and the party broke up with magical celerity. 
Such at least was our Harrovian tradition. 

Nothing is so refreshing to a jaded sense of humor as 
to be the recipient of one of your own stories retold you 
with appreciative fervor but with all the point left out. 
This was my experience not long ago with reference to 
the story of Dr. Vaughan and his boy-bores which I have 
just related. A Dissenting minister was telling me, with 
extreme satisfaction, that he had a son at Trinity Col- 
lege, Cambridge. He went on to praise the Master, Dr. 
Butler, whom he extolled to the skies, winding up his 
eulogy with, *'He has such wonderful tact in dealing 
with shy undergraduates." I began to scent my old story 
from afar, but held my peace and awaited results. " You 
know," he continued, " that young men are sometimes 
a little awkward about making a move and going away 
when a party is over. Well, when Dr. Butler has under- 
graduates to breakfast, if they linger inconveniently long 
when he wants to be busy, he has such a happy knack of 
getting rid of them. It is so tactful, so like him. He 
goes up to one of them and says, ' Can't you go 9 Must 
you stay f and they are off immediately." So, as Macau- 
lay says of Montgomery's literary thefts, may such ill-got 
gains ever prosper. 

My Dissenting minister had a congener in the late 

Lord P , who was a rollicking man about town 

thirty years ago, and was famous, among other accom- 
plishments, for this peculiar art of so telling a story as 
to destroy the point. When the two large houses at Al- 
bert Gate, of which one is now the French Embassy and 



the other the abode of Mr. Arthur Sassoon, were built, 
their size and cost were regarded as prohibitive, and 
some wag christened them " Malta and Gibraltar, be- 
cause they can never be taken." Lord P thought 

that this must be an excellent joke, because every one 
laughed at it ; and so he ran round the town saying to 
each man he met : " I say, do you know what they call 
those houses at Albert Gate ? They call them Malta 
and Gibraltar, because they can never be let. Isn't it 
awfully good ?" We all remember an innocent riddle of 
our childhood — " Why was the elephant the last animal 
to get into the Ark ?" — to which the answer was, " Be- 
cause he had to pack his trunk." Lord P asked the 

riddle, and gave as the answer, " Because he had to pack 
his portmanteau," and was beyond measure astonished 
when his hearers did not join in his uproarious laughter. 

Poor Lord P ! he was a fellow of infinite jest, 

though not always exactly in the sense that he intend- 
ed. If he had only known of it, he might with advan- 
tage have resorted to the conversational device of old 
Samuel Eogers, who, when he told a story which failed 
to produce a laugh, used to observe in a reflective tone, 
^ " The curious part of that story is that stupid people 
never see the point of it"; and then loud, though be- 
lated, guffaws resounded round the table. 



"One word more, and I have done." This immemorial 
sentence, the unfailing refuge of the parliamentary orator 
who feels that he is boring the House, I now apply to my 
dissertations on Lord Beaconsfield. "One word more" 
about him, "and I have done." Suitably enough, that 
one word relates to his epitaph ; or, to speak more strict- 
ly, to the inscription on his monument in Hughenden 
Church. It was penned, I believe, by an illustrious hand: 







Kings love him that speaketh right. — Prov. xvi. 13 

When this tablet was erected, the memories of Lord 
Beaconsfield's Eastern policy were still rankling in the 
minds of at least half England, and there were critics 
who observed that it would have been better to avoid the 
too obvious inference that Queens love him that speaketh 
wrong. Others remarked that language so eulogistic 
had never before been inscribed by a Sovereign's hand 
upon a Minister's tomb, although the Crown of England 
had been served by a long succession of men at least as 
eminent,as conscientious,and as loyal as Ben jamin Disraeli. 



Of course the Disraelitisli faction in the press and 
the whole Conservative party revelled in the unprece- 
dented character of the inscription, and said triumph- 
antly, though jierhaps indecorously, that it showed the 
absolute concord which had existed between the Sov- 
ereign and the late Premier. They pointed out that no 
such language of confidence and affection was likely to 
be used towards Lord Beaconsfield's successor ; and they 
seemed even to feel a kind of second-hand glory reflected 
on themselves, as the disciples and inheritors of a tradi- 
tion which had been so signally honored. But the Dis- 
raelites boasted all too soon. Two years later the follow- 
ing inscription appeared in the church-yard of Crathie, 



the devoted and faithful personal attendant and beloved friend of 
Queen Victoria. ..." That friend on whose fidelity you count, 
that friend given you by circumstances over which you have no 
control, was God's own gift." 

Profound was the mortification which the appearance 
of this epitaph produced among the Disraelites. It was 
at least as cordial, as appreciative, and as honorific as 
the inscription at Hughenden; and all the elaborate 
edifice of partisan swagger and unconstitutional sug- 
gestion which had been so carefully reared was seen to 
be utterly baseless. Alike in the inscription at Hughen- 
den and in the epitaph at Crathie there was the frank 
expression of a warm-hearted and grateful nature tow- 
ards a departed friend on whom it had leaned for suc- 
cor and assistance ; and although Tory paragraphists 
might snarl and sneer, the ordinary Englishman, and 
especially the ordinary Kadical, saw with pleasure that 



at least as high a tribute was paid to the gillie as to 
the Minister. 

From the epitaph in particular to epitaphs in general 
the transition is natural and easy. Mr. Gladstone, whose 
knowledge of such matters is extensive and peculiar, 
once told me the precise number — I have forgotten what 
it is — of books in the English language about epitaphs. 
Any one who is curious about such matters can find 
them all in St. DeinioFs Library at Hawarden. But al- 
though I am not versed in the literature of epitaphs, epi- 
taphs themselves have always been a favorite study of 
mine. The late Dean Burgon once gave a lecture on 
epitaphs, and appealed for striking instances to all his 
friends, among others to dear old " Bodley Coxe " — the 
Bodleian Librarian at Oxford. Coxe took a pencil and 
instantly wrote an epitaph which he had read on an in- 
fant's grave in Eglingham church-yard, Northumberland* 

"When the Archangel's trump shall blow 
And souls to bodies join, 
Thousands will wish their life below ^ 

Had been as brief as mine." 

Putting aside the hideousness of the rhyme "join" and 
*'mine" (whichever way you take the sound), the qua- 
train must be admitted to contain a thrilling thought in 
an effective phrase. 

It is now a quarter of a century since I read in the 
Cathedral church-yard at Eipon the following inscription: 

"Bold Infidelity, turn pale and die, 
Beneath this stone three infants' ashes lie : 

Say— Are they lost or saved ? 
If Death's by sin, they sinned, because they're here : 
If Heaven's by works, in Heaven they can't appear. 

Reason — Ah! how depraved! 
Revere the Bible's page — the knot's untied : 
They died, for Adam sinned ; Ihey live, for Christ has died." 



All Evangelical theology is contained in this strange 

The following I found only last year at the west end 
of Lincoln Minster : 


DAME HARRIOT, daughter of lieu. -general chtjrchill, 



SHE DYED FEB. 6, 1777, AGED 51. 
























The style feels the century ; but, though the rhetorical 
elaboration may raise a smile, this is excellent English 
of its time and class. And what a delightful woman 
must Lady Fawkener have been ! To have kept her com- 
plexion to the last, and to have so combined amusing- 



ness with information that "while she enlightened, she 
enlivened/' was a twofold triumph not often achieved. 
One cannot help pausing on the last line of the epitaph, 
with its curious touch of rebuke to, or at least dissent 
from, the prevailing materialism of the time. That the 
invisible life is the real life, and that all earthly exist- 
ence is but " a figure of the true," is a thought which 
seems to belong rather to antiquity, or to the religious 
sentiment of the present hour, than to the deadest period 
of the most unspiritual century. 

For the epitaph which appears on the following page, in 
an altogether different style of excellence, I am not per- 
sonally responsible. It is stated in the Annual Register 
to exist in a church-yard in Northumberland. 

If the epitaph is not a genuine transcript, it does infinite 
credit to the wag who invented it. A more perfect study 
in character I have never read. "Temperate, chaste, 
and charitable, but proud, peevish, and passionate," is 
as good as the "bland, passionate, and deeply religious" 
of the best-known of all epitaphs ; and the type of econ- 
omy which, while liberal in larger matters, " would sac- 
rifice one's eyes to a farthing candle," is drawn by the 
hand of a master. " She was a professed enemy to flat- 
tery" is an excellent litotes (as the grammarians would 
say) for the plainer statement that she was contradic- 
tory and censorious. It reminds me of the Rev. C. P. 
Golightly — the "old Golly" of my Oxford days — whose 
excess of charity made it impossible for him to express 
even the mildest censure on his friends. Some of the 
Fellows of Oriel, who had long groaned under the dry 
temper and mordant tongue of their old Provost, Dr. 
Hawkins, were joining in an outcry against his intoler- 
able coldness and severity. Truth would not allow Go- 
lightly to dissent, and charity forbade him to agree, so 
he liberated his soul by gently remarking : " If I were 




OF THOMAS BOND and MARY his wife. 


















































forced to choose an epithet to describe the dear Provost, 
I think the last I should choose would be 'gushing.'" 
But this is a digression to the litotes of the common- 
room from the litotes of the tombstone. 

In the church-yard of Harrow-on-the-Hill is an epitaph 
remarkable for its happy combination of verse and prose : 










AUGUST 7'", 1838. AGED 33 YEARS. 

"Bright rose the morn and vigrous rose poor Port, 
Gay on the Train he used his wonted sport. 
Ere noon arrived, his mangled form they bore. 
With pain distorted and o'erwhelmed with gore ; 
When evening came to close the fatal day, 
A mutilated corpse the sufferer lay." 

In St. Anne's church-yard, Soho, is read : 











"The grave, great teacher, to a level brings 
Heroes and beggars, galley-slaves and kings." 


111 Winchester Cathedral yard : 







1769, AGED 26 YEARS. 
















With professedly comic epitaphs — the cramie repetita of 
'' Cheltenham Waters" and " The Landlord of the Lion " 
— I do not purpose to insult the intelligence of my read- 
ers. But I cannot forbear to quote a sarcastic epitaph 
suggested by the famous Lord Alvanley for a noble friend 
of his who had been expelled from society for cheating at 
whist : 




HENRY WILLIAM, twenty-second LORD , 


In its point and brevity this is as good as a Greek epi- 

What I am about to quote is indeed not an epitaph, for 
it is not, so far as I am aware, inscribed on any tomb ; 
but, as an elegiac poem, it is in nature congruous to the 
epitaph, and alike in metre and in sentiment it is too 
remarkable to be left in obscurity. I copied it from a 
Yorkshire newspaper two years ago, and I now give it 
verbally and literally, only altering the last two lines, so 
as to avoid mentioning the name of the good man in 
whose honor it was composed : 

A beloved Christian gentleman has yielded his breath 
And passed away, but for the truly good there is no death. 
His work bears fruit which sweet undying fragrance gives, 
And in vivid and ineffaceable deeds the good man ever lives. 
He was a philanthropist in its true and broadest sense, 
Who wrought much good secretly and sought no recompense. 
An administrator of justice and advocate of the helpless and 

His life and actions to the world most eloquently speak. 
Sympathy true and deep surrounds the lady of noble birth 
Who bears his name, and whom all revere for sterling worth I 
Who takes a noble part in every sweet and gracious deed, 
For whom, in her great sorrow, every heart must bleed. 
To him that's gone many appealed, on whom all could depend, 
And in him rich and poor have lost a valued friend / 
And ever shall be cherished in men's hearts (a deathless roll) 
The revered familiar name of John Thomas Peter Pole. 

The following performance, in a similar vein, I bought 
in the streets of London from an itinerant minstrel who 
vended his own compositions : 
q 241 



Listen to the church bells tolling, 

How they sound so clear in the air, 

Telling us of the lost one who in his country was so dear. 

He has lingered through his illness, 

Although he suffered many a pain ; 

Now to think he has been taken, 

Just as he succeeded his Father's reign ! 

He was a noble Emperor, he was good to all mankind, 

So gently toll the bell, and quietly draw the blind. 

He will be missed by many now that he has left this shore. 
Because he was a man for Peace, he was not the one for War. 
No one can say that while he lived but what he did his best 
To keep the country around him in quietness and rest. 
Her dear Empress Victoria will take it much to heart, 
For she was a fond and loving wife, and now they have to part. 
He was a noble Emperor, so gentle and so kind, 
So gently toll the bell, and quietly draw the blind. 

It was while driving with the King of Italy in the autumn, 1886, 
When the Emperor got wet through, which caused this dreadful 

He tried his best to shake it off, but no, it was to be his fate, 
All the doctors could not save him, for he was in such a dread- 
ful state ; 
Now he has been called away, there is not the slightest doubt, 
But what the people in the country will be very much put about. 
By what is being said now, and what has been said before. 
It seems very plainly there means to be a war. 
He was a noble Emperor, a nobleman in mind. 
So gently toll the bell, and quietly draw the blind. 



Lately, when hnntiug in my diary for Epitaphs, I 
came upon a collection of Advertisements. No branch 
of literature is more suggestive of philosophical reflec- 
tions. I take my specimens quite at random, just as 
they turn up in my diary, and the first which meets my 
eye is printed on the sad sea-green of the Westminster 
Gazette : 

''Guardian, whose late ward merits the highest en- 
comiums, seeks for him the position of Secretary to a 
Nobleman or Lady of Position : one with literary tastes 
preferred : the young gentleman is highly connected, dis- 
tinguished-looking, a lover of books, remarkably steady, 
and exceptionally well read, clever and ambitious : has 
travelled much : good linguist, photographer, musician : 
a moderate fortune, but debarred by timidity from com- 
petitive examination." 

I have always longed to know the fate of this lucky 
youth. Few of us can boast of even '' a moderate fort- 
une," and fewer still of such an additional combination 
of gifts, graces, and accomplishments. On the other 
hand, most of us, at one time or another in our career, 
have felt " debarred by timidity from competitive exam- 
ination." But, unluckily, we have had fathers of our 
flesh who corrected us, and college dons who forced us 
to face the agonies of the Schools, instead of an amiable 
guardian who bestowed on us "the highest encomiums," 



and sought to plant us on Ladies of Position, ''with lit- 
erary tastes preferred." 

Another case, presenting some points of resemblance 
to the last, but far less favored by fortune, was notified 
to the compassionate world by the Morning Post, in 1889 : 

" Will any rich person take a gentleman and board 
him ? Of good family : age 27 : good musician : thor- 
oughly conversant with all office-work : no objection to 
turn Jew: lost his money through dishonest trustee : ex- 
cellent writer." 

I earnestly hope that this poor victim of fraud has long 
since found his desired haven in some comfortable He- 
brew home, where he can exercise his skill in writing 
and office-work during the day and display his musical 
accomplishments after the family supper. I have known 
not a few young Gentiles who would be glad to be adopt- 
ed on similar terms. 

The next is extracted from the Manchester Guardian 
of 1894 : 

"A Child of God, seeking employment, would like to 
take charge of property and collect rents; has a slight 
knowledge of architecture and sanitary; can give un- 
exceptionable references ; aged 31 ; married." 

What offers ? Very few, I should fear, in a community 
so shrewdly commercial as Manchester, where, I under- 
stand, religious profession is seldom taken as a substitute 
for technical training. The mention of that famous city 
reminds me that not long ago I was describing Cheetham 
College to an ignorant outsider, who, not realizing how 
the name was spelled, observed that it sounded as if Mr. 
Squeers had been caught by the Oxford Movement and 
the Gothic Revival, and had sought to give an ecclesias- 
tical air to his famous seminary of Dotheboys Hall by 
transforming it into "Cheat'em College." 

That immortal pedagogue owed much of his deserved 


success to his skill in the art of drawing an advertise- 
ment : 

*'At Mr. Wackford Squeers's Academy, Dotheboys 
Hall, at the delightful village of Dotheboys, in York- 
shire, youth are boarded, clothed, booked, furnished 
with pocket - money, provided with all necessaries, in- 
structed in all languages, living and dead, mathematics, 
orthography, geometry, astronomy, trigonometry, the 
use of the globes, algebra, singlestick (if required), writ- 
ing, arithmetic, fortification, and every other branch 
of classical literature. Terms, twenty guineas per an- 
num. No extras, no vacation, and diet unparalleled." 

Now, mark what follows. Wackford Squeers the 
younger was, as we all know, destined by his parents to 
follow the school-master^s profession, to assist his father 
as long as assistance was required, and then to take the 
management of the Hall and its pupils into his own 
hands. "Am I to take care of the school when I grow 
up a man, father ?" said Wackford, junior. "You are, 
my son," replied Mr. Squeers, in a sentimental voice. 
" Oh, my eye, won't I give it to the boys !" exclaimed 
the interesting child, grasping his father's cane — " won't 
I make 'em squeak again !" But we know also that, 
owing to the pressure of pecuniary and legal difficulties, 
and the ill-timed interference of Mr. John Browdie, the 
school at Dotheboys Hall was at any rate temporarily 
broken up. So far we have authentic records to rely on ; 
the remainder is pure conjecture. But I am persuaded 
that Wackford Squeers the younger, with all the dogged 
perseverance of a true Yorkshireman, struggled man- 
fully against misfortune ; resolved to make a home for 
his parents and sister ; and, as soon as he could raise 
the needful capital, opened a private school in the South 
of England, as far as possible from the scene of earlier 
misfortune. Making due allowance for change of time 



and circnmstances, I trace a close similarity of substance 
and style between the advertisement which I quoted 
above and that which I give below, and I feel persuaded 
that young AVackford inherited from his more famous 
father this peculiar power of attracting parental con- 
fidence by means of picturesque statement. We have 
read the earlier manifesto ; let us now compare the later : 

"Vacancies now occur in the establishment of a gentle- 
man who undertakes the care and education of a few 
backward boys, who are beguiled and trained to study 
by kind discipline, without the least severity (which too 
often frustrates the end desired). Situation extremely 
healthy. Sea and country air ; deep gravelly soil. Chris- 
tian gentility assiduously cultivated on sound Church 
principles. Diet unsurpassed. Wardrobes carefully pre- 
served. The course of instruction comprises English, 
classics, mathematics, and science. Inclusive terms, 30 
guineas per annum, quarterly in advance. Music, draw- 
ing, and modern languages are extras, but moderate. 
Address , Chichester." 

Was it Vivian Grey or Pelham who was educated at 
a private school where "the only extras were pure milk 
and the guitar"? 

I believe that there is no charitable institution which 
more thoroughly deserves support than the Metropolitan 
Association for Befriending Young Servants, affec- 
tionately contracted by its supporters into the "Mabys." 
Here is one of its advertisements, from which, I am 
bound to say, the alluring skill displayed by Mr. Squeers 
is curiously absent : 

"Will any one undertake as Sekvant a bright, clean, 
neat girl, who is deceitful, lazy, and inclined to be dis- 
honest ? Address, Hon. Secretary, M.A.B.Y.S., 21 
Charlotte Street, S.E." 

I remember some years ago an advertisement which 


sought a kind master and a pleasant home for a large, 
savage dog ; and I remember how admirably Punch de- 
scribed the kind of life which the "large, savage dog" 
would lead the "kind master" when he got him. But 
really the vision of a bright maid-servant who is " de- 
ceitful, lazy, and inclined to be dishonest," and the 
havoc which she might work in a well-ordered house- 
hold, is scarcely less appalling. A much more deserving 
case is this which I append : 

" Under - Housekeeper, under - Matron, desired by a 
Young Woman, age 22. Energetic, domesticated. 
Great misfortune in losing right arm, but good artiJficial 
one. Happy home, with small remuneration. Ap- 

ply —" 

It is not, I fear, in my power to make a contribution 
of permanent value to the " Great Servant Question." 
But, having given instances of insufficient qualification 
in people seeking to be employed, I now turn to the 
opposite side of the account, and, after perusing what 
follows, would respectfully ask. Who is sufficient for 
these things ? 

" Can any lady or gentleman recommend a Man and 
Wife (Church of England)? Man useful indoors and 
out. Principal duties large flower-garden, small conser- 
vatory, draw bath-chair, must wait at table, understand 
lamps, non-smoker, wear dress suit except in garden. 
Clothes and beer not found. Family, lady and child, 
lady-help. House-parlor-maid kept. Must not object 
to small bedroom. Wife plain cook (good), to under- 
take kitchen offices, dining-room, and hall (wash clothes). 
Joint wages 50^., all found. ." 

Now there is really a study in exacting eccentricity 
which Thackeray might have made the subject of a 
"Eoundabout Paper." In the first place, the two ser- 
vants must be man and wife. Unmarried people need 



not apply, and yet they must be contented with a small 
bedroom. The family consists of a lady (apparently an 
invalid), a child, a lady-help, and a house-parlor-maid. 
For these the wife must cook, and cook well, besides 
cleaning the dining-room, hall, and offices, and washing 
the clothes. Her husband, yet more accommodating, 
must attend to a large flower-garden and a small conser- 
vatory, must draw a bath-chair, wait at table, and clean 
lamps. After all these varied and arduous labors, he is 
denied the refreshment of a pipe ; but, as a kind of com- 
pensation, he is not obliged to wear his dress suit when 
he is gardening ! The joint wages are 501., with all 
found except clothes and beer ; and the lucky recipients 
of this overpowering guerdon must be members of the 
Church of England. 

This last requirement reminds me of a letter from a 
girl-emigrant written to Lady Laura Ridding, wife of the 
Bishop of Southwell, who had befriended her at home. 
** Dear Madam, — I hope this finds you as well as it leaves 
me. The ship is in the middle of the Red Sea, and it 
is fearfully hot. I am in a terrible state of melting all 
day long. But, honored Madam, I know yon will be 
pleased to hear that I am still a member of the Church 
of England." I hope the good plain cook and her non- 
smoking, bath -chair -drawing, large -gardening husband 
may be able to comfort themselves with the same reflec- 
tion when the varied toils of the day are ended and they 
seek their well-earned repose in the *' small bedroom." 

From these lowly mysteries of domestic service I pass 
at a bound to the exalted atmosphere of courtly life : 

"The Great -niece of a Lord Chamberlain to King 
George III. eequires a situation as Companion to a 
lady, or Cicerone to young ladies. Her mind is highly 
cultivated. English habits and Parisian accent. Apply, 

by letter, Caesar, ." 



" Vieille ecole, bonne ecole, begad !" cried Major Pen- 
dennis, and here would have been a companion for Mrs. 
Pendennis or a cicerone for Laura after his own heart. 
The austere traditions of the Court of George III. and 
Queen Charlotte might be expected to survive in the 
grand-niece of their Lord Chamberlain ; and what a tact- 
ful concession to the prejudices of Mrs. Grundy in the 
statement that, though the accent may be Parisian, the 
habits are English ! This excellent lady — evidently a 
near relation to Mrs. General, in Little Dorrit — reintro- 
duces us to the genteel society in which we are most at 
home ; and here I may remark that the love of aristocracy 
which is so marked and so amiable a feature of our na- 
tional character finds its expression not only in the ad- 
vertisement columns, but in the daily notices of deaths 
and marriages. For example: ''On the 22d inst., at 
Lisbon, William Thorold Wood, cousin to the Bishop of 
Rochester, to Sir John Thorold, of Syston Park, and 
brother to the Rector of Widmerpool. He was a man of 
great mental endowments and exemplary conduct." I 
dare say he was, but I fear they would have gone unre- 
corded had it not been for the more impressive fact that 
he was kinsman to a Bishop and a Baronet. 

Here is a gem of purest ray serene, extracted by me 
from the Morning Post of 1893 : 

" Copper Wedding. 

"De Courcelles— St. Aubyn.— On the 7th Novem- 
ber, 1883, at St. Marylebone Church, W., by the Rev. 
Grant E. Thomas, B.C.L., and privately, owing to family 
bereavements, the Rev. J. Hector de Courcelles, M.A., 
Worcester College, Oxford, and some time incumbent 
of St. Andrew's, Ardrossan, to Matilda Chrysogoria, 
daughter of the late Rev. William John St. Aubyn, 
M.A., rector of Stoke Damerel, Devonport, and grand- 



daughter of Sir John St. Aubyn, F.R.S., fifth Baronet 
of Clowance and St. Michael's Mount, in the county of 
Cornwall, and also granddaughter of the late Sir Thomas 
Barrett Lennard, Bart., of Belhus, Essex, and his wife 
Dorothy, Lady Lennard, sister and co-heir of the above- 
named Sir John St. Aubyn, Bart., F.R.S." 

Was the following skit, which appeared in the same 
paper directly afterwards, undeserved ? 

"Brazen Wedding. 

" Poyntz-d'Argent — Champignon. — On November 
9, 1888, at St. Wombat's, Stony Stratford, by the Rev. 
Peter Broke Poyntz-d'Argent, father of the bridegroom, 
and privately, owing to affliction in bride's family, the 
Rev. Maximus Cadwallader Poyntz-d'Argent, B.A., 
Brasenose, and some time curate-in-charge of Cabbidge, 
Beds, to Rosy Gillian, only surviving child of Vane 
Champignon, Esq., of Champignon, Beds, and grand- 
daughter of the late Sir De Horsey Champignon, Kt., of 
Muckross, and maternal great - grandniece of the late 
Honorable Carolina A. W. Skeggs." 

The closing allusion to the Vicar of Wakefield redeems 
the ribaldry with a touch of literary grace. 

I cannot quit the subject of Advertisements without 
saying a word about the Medical branch of this fine art ; 
and, knowing the enormous fortunes which have often 
been made out of a casual prescription for ac7ie or alope- 
cia, I freely place at the disposal of any aspiring young 
chemist who reads this paper the following tale of enter- 
prise and success. A few years ago, according to the 
information before me, a London doctor had a lady pa- 
tient who complained of an incessant neuralgia in her 
face and jaw. The doctor could detect nothing amiss, 
but exhausted his skill, his patience, and his remedies in 
trying to comfort the complainant, who, however, re- 



fused to be comforted. At length, being convinced that 
the case was one of pure hypochondria, he wrote to the 
afflicted lady, saying that he did not feel justified in any 
longer taking her money for a case which was evidently 
beyond his powers, but recommended her to try change 
of air, to live in the country, and to trust for her cure to 
the edax renim which sooner or later cures all human 

The lady departed in sorrow, but in faith ; obeyed her 
doctor's intructions to the letter, and established herself 
not a hundred miles from the good city of Newcastle. 
Once established there, her first care was to seek the 
local chemist and to place her doctor's letter in his hands. 
A smart young assistant was presiding at the counter ; he 
read the doctor's letter, and promptly made up a bottle, 
which he labelled " Edax Rerum. To be taken twice a 
day before meals," and for which he demanded lis. 6d. 
The lady rejoicingly paid, and requested that a similar 
bottle might be sent to her every week till further notice. 
She continued to use and to pay for this specific for a 
year and a half, and then, finding her neuralgia consider- 
ably abated, she came up to London for a week's amuse- 
ment. Full of gratitude, she called on her former doc- 
tor, and said that though she had felt a little hurt at 
the abrupt manner in which he had dismissed so old a 
patient, still she could not forbear to tell him that his 
last prescription had done her far more good than any of 
its predecessors, and that, indeed, she now regarded 
herself as practically cured. Explanations followed ; in- 
quires were set on foot ; the chemist's assistant sailed for 
South Africa; and " Edax Rerum " is now largely in de- 
mand among the unlettered heroes who bear the banner 
of the Chartered Company. 



" Parody/' wrote Mr. Matthew Arnold in 1883, "is 
a vile art, but I must say I read Poor Matthias, in the 
World, with an amused pleasure." It was a generous 
appreciation, for the original Poor Matthias — an elegy 
on a canary — is an exquisite little poem, and the World's 
parody of it is a rather dull imitation. On the whole, I 
agree with Mr. Arnold that parody is a vile art ; but the 
dictum is a little too sweeping. A parody of anything 
really good, whether in prose or verse, is as odious as a 
burlesque of Hamlet ; but, on the other hand, parody is 
the appropriate punishment for certain kinds of literary 
affectation. There are, and always have been, some 
styles of poetry and of prose which no one endowed with 
an ear for rhythm and a sense of humor could forbear 
to parody. Such, to a generation brought up on Milton 
and Pope, were the styles of the various poetasters sat- 
irized in Rejected Addresses ; but excellent as are the 
metrical parodies in that famous book, the prose is 
even better. Modern parodists, of whom I will speak 
more particularly in a future paper, have, I think, sur- 
passed such poems as The Baby's Debut and A Tale 
of Drury Lane, but in the far more difficult art of 
imitating a prose style none that I know of has even 
approached the author of the Hampshire Farmer's Ad- 
dress and Johnson's Ghost. Does any one read William 
Cobbett nowadays ? If so, let him compare what fol- 



lows with the recorded specimens of Cobbett's public 
speaking : 

"Most thinking People, — When persons address an 
audience from the stage, it is usual, either in words or 
gesture, to say ' Ladies and gentlemen, your servant.* 
If I were base enough, mean enough, paltry enough, and 
brute beast enough to follow that fashion, I should tell two 
lies in a breath. In the first place, you are not ladies and 
gentlemen, but, I hope, something better — that is to say, 
honest men and women ; and, in the next place, if you 
were ever so much ladies, and ever so much gentlemen, 
I am not, nor ever will be, your humble servant." 

With Dr. Johnson's style — supposing we had ever for- 
gotten its masculine force and its balanced antitheses — 
we have been made again familiar by the erudite labors 
of Dr. Birkbeck Hill and Mr. Augustine Birrell. But 
even those learned critics might, I think, have mistaken 
a copy for an original if in some collection of old speeches 
they had lighted on the ensuing address : 

''That which was organized by the moral ability of 
one has been executed by the physical efforts of many, 
and Drurt Lane Theatre is now complete. Of that 
part behind the curtain, which has not yet been des- 
tined to glow beneath the brush of the varnisher or vi- 
brate to the hammer of the carpenter, little is thought 
by the public, and little need be said by the Committee. 
Truth, however, is not to be sacrificed to the accommo- 
dation of either, and he who should pronounce that our 
edifice has received its final embellishment would be 
disseminating falsehood without incurring favor, and 
risking the disgrace of detection without participating 
in the advantage of success."' 

An excellent morsel of Johnsonese prose belongs to a 
more recent date. It became current about the time 
when the scheme of Dr. Murray's Dictionary of the 



English Language was first made public. It took the 
form of a dialogue between Dr. Johnson and Boswell in 
the shades : 

" BosiveU: Pray, sir, what would you say if you were 
told that the next dictionary of the English language 
would be written by a Scotchman and a Presbyterian 
domiciled at Oxford ? 

"Dr. J. : Sir, in order to be facetious, it is not neces- 
sary to be indecent." 

When Bulwer-Lytton brought out his play JVot so Bad 
as we Seem, his friends good-naturedly altered its title 
to Not so Good as we Expected. And when a lady's news- 
paper advertised a work called " How to dress on fifteen 
pounds a year, as a Lady. By a Lady," Punch was ready 
with the characteristic parody: "How to dress on noth- 
ing a year, as a Kafiir. By a Kaffir." 

Mr. Gladstone's authority compels me to submit the 
ensuing imitation of Macaulay — the most easily parodied 
of all prose writers — to the judgment of my readers. It 
was written by the late Abraham Hayward. Macaulay 
is contrasting, in his customary vein of over-wrought 
and over -colored detail, the evils of arbitrary govern- 
ment with those of a debased currency ; 

" The misgovernment of Charles and James, gross as 
it had been, had not prevented the common business of 
life from going steadily and prosperously on. While 
the honor and independence of the State were sold to 
a foreign Power, while chartered rights were invaded, 
while fundamental laws were violated, hundreds of thou- 
sands of quiet, honest, and industrious families labored 
and traded, ate their meals, and lay down to rest in com- 
fort and security. Whether Whigs or Tories, Protestants 
or Jesuits were uppermost, the grazier drove his beasts 
to market ; the grocer weighed out his currants ; the 
draper measured out his broadcloth ; the hum of buyers 



and sellers was as loud as ever in the towns ; the har- 
vest-home was celebrated as joyously as ever in the ham- 
lets ; the cream overflowed the pails of Cheshire ; the 
apple juice foamed in the presses of Herefordshire ; the 
piles of crockery glowed in the furnaces of the Trent ; 
and the barrows of coal rolled fast along the timber rail- 
ways of the Tyne." 

This reads like a parody, but is a literal transcript of 
the original ; and Hayward justly observes that there is 
no reason why this rigmarole should ever stop, as long 
as there is a trade, calling, or occupation to be particu- 
larized. The pith of the proposition (which needed no 
proof) is contained in the first sentence. Why not con- 
tinue thus ? 

*' The apothecary vended his drugs as usual • the poul- 
terer crammed his turkeys ; the fishmonger skinned his 
eels ; the wine-merchant adulterated his port ; as many 
hot-cross buns as ever were eaten on Good Friday, as 
many pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, as many Christmas 
pies on Christmas Day ; on area steps the domestic drudge 
took in her daily pennyworth of the chalky mixture 
which Londoners call milk ; through area bars the feline 
tribe, vigilant as ever, watched the arrival of the cat's- 
meat man ; the courtesan flaunted in the Haymarket ; 
the cab rattled through the Strand ; and, from the sub- 
urban regions of Fulham and Putney, the cart of the 
market-gardener wended its slow and midnight way along 
Piccadilly to deposit its load of cabbages and turnips in 
Covent Garden." 

Twice has Mr. Gladstone publicly called attention to 
the merits of this "effective morsel of parody," as he 
styles it ; and he judiciously adds that what follows (by 
the late Dean Hook) is *'a like attempt, but less happy." 
Most people remember the attack on the constitution of 
the Court of Chancery in the preface to Bleah House. 



Dean Ilook, in a laudable attempt to soothe the ruffled 
feelings of his old friend Vice-Chancellor Page Wood, of 
whom Dickens in that preface had made fun, thus en- 
deavors to translate the accusation into Macaulayese : 


" The Courts of Justice. 

" The Court of Chancery was corrupt. The guardian 
of lunatics was the cause of insanity to the suitors in his 
court. An attempt at reform was made when Wood was 
Solicitor-General. It consisted chiefly in increasing the 
number of judges in the Equity Court. Government 
was pleased by an increase of patronage ; the lawyers 
approved of the new professional prizes. The Gov- 
ernment papers applauded. Wood became Vice-Chan- 
cellor. At the close of 1855 the Equity Courts were 
without business. People had become weary of seeking 
justice where justice was not to be found. The state of 
the Bench was unsatisfactory. Cranworth was feeble ; 
Knight Bruce, though powerful, sacrificed justice to a 
joke ; Turner was heavy ; Romilly was scientific ; Kin- 
dersley was slow ; Stuart was pompous ; Wood was at 

If I were to indulge in quotations from well-known 
parodies of prose, this chapter would soon overflow all 
proper dimensions. I forbear, therefore, to do more 
than remind my readers of Thackeray's Novels hy Emi- 
nent Hands and Bret Harte's Sensation Novels, only re- 
marking, with reference to the latter book, that " Miss 
Mix " is in places really indistinguishable from Jane Eyre. 
The sermon by Mr. Jowett in Mr. Mallock's Netu Repub- 
lic is so perfect an imitation, both in substance and in 
style, that it suggested to some readers the idea that it 
had been reproduced from notes of an actual discourse. 



On spoken, as distinguished from written, eloquence 
there are some capital skits in the Anti-Jacohin, where 
(under the name of Macfungus) excellent fun is made 
of the too mellifluous eloquence of Sir James Mack- 

The differentiating absurdities of after-dinner oratory 
are photographed in Thackeray's Dinner in the City, 
where the speech of the American Minister seems to 
have formed a model for a long series of similar per- 
formances. Dickens's experience as a reporter in the 
gallery of the House of Commons had given him a per- 
fect command of that peculiar style of speaking which 
is called Parliamentary, and he used it with great effect 
in his accounts of the inaugural meeting of the ''United 
Metropolitan Improved Hot Muffin and Crumpet Baking 
and Punctual Delivery Company" in Nicliolas Nickleby 
(where he introduces a capital sketch of Tom Duncombe, 
Radical Member for Finsbury) ; and in the interview 
between Mr. Gregsbury, M.P., and his constituents in 
a later chapter of the same immortal book. 

The parliamentary eloquence of a later day was ad- 
mirably reproduced in Mr. Edward Jenkins's prophetic 
squib (published in 1872), Barney Geoghegan, M.P., and 
Home Rule at St. Stephe7i's. As this clever little book 
has, I fear, lapsed into complete oblivion, I venture to 
cite a passage. It will vividly recall to the memory of 
middle-aged politicians the style and tone of the verbal 
duels which, towards the end of Mr. Gladstone's first 
Administration, took place so frequently between the 
Leader of the House and the Leader of the Opposition. 
Mr. Geoghegan has been returned, a very early Home 
Ruler, for the Borough of Rashkillen, and for some 
violent breaches of order is committed to the custody 
of the Sergeant -at -Arms. On this the Leader of the 
House rises and addresses the Speaker : 
R 257 


"Sir, — The House cannot but sympathize with you in 
the eloquent and indignant denunciation you have ut- 
tered against the painful invasion of the decorum of the 
House which we have just witnessed. There can be no 
doubt in any mind, even in the minds of those with whom 
the hon. member now at the bar usually acts, that of all 
methods of argument which could be employed in this 
House, he has selected the least politic. Sir, may I be 
permitted, with great deference, to say a word upon a 
remark that fell from the Chair, and which might be 
misunderstood ? Solitary and anomalous instances of 
this kind could never be legitimately used as arguments 
against general systems of representation or the course 
of a recent policy. I do not, at this moment, venture to 
pronounce an opinion upon the degree of criminality 
that attaches to the hon. member now unhappily in the 
custody of the officer of the House. It is possible — I do 
not say it is probable, I do not now say whether I shall 
be prepared to commit myself to that hypothesis or not 
— but it is not impossible that the hon. member or some 
of his friends may be able to urge some extenuating cir- 
cumstances — (Oh ! oh !) — I mean circumstances that, 
when duly weighed, may have a tendency in a greater or 
less degree to modify the Judgment of the House upon the 
extraordinary event that has occurred. Sir, it becomes 
a great people and a great assembly like this to be patient, 
dignified, and generous. The honorable member, whom 
we regret to see in his present position, no doubt repre- 
sents a phase of Irish opinion unfamiliar to this House. 
(Cheers and laughter.) . . . The House is naturally in a 
rather excited state after an event so unusual, and I vent- 
ure to urge that it should not hastily proceed to action. 
We must be careful of the feelings of the Irish people. 
(Oh ! oh !) If we are to govern Ireland according to Irish 
ideas we must make allowance for personal, local, and 



transitory ebullitions of Irish feeling, having no general 
or universal consequence or bearing. . . . The course, 
therefore, which I propose to take is this — to move that 
the hon. member shall remain in the custody of the Ser- 
geant-at-Arms, that a Committee be appointed to take 
evidence, and that their report be discussed this day 

To this replies the Leader of the Opposition : 
" The right hon. gentleman is to be congratulated on 
the results of his Irish policy. (Cheers and laughter.) 
. . . Sir, this, I presume, is one of the right hon. gen- 
tleman's contented and pacified people ! I deeply sym- 
pathize with the right hon. gentleman. His policy 
produces strange and portentous results. A policy of 
concession, of confiscation, of truckling to ecclesiastical 
arrogance, to popular passions and ignorant prejudices, 
of lenity to Fenian revolutionists, has at length brought 
us to this, that the outrages of Galway and Tipperary, no 
longer restricted to those charming counties, no longer 
restrained to even Her Majesty's judges, are to reach the 
interior of this House and the august person of its Speak- 
er. (Cheers.) Sir, I wash my hands of all responsibility 
for this absurd and anomalous state of things. When- 
ever it has fallen to the Tory party to conduct the affairs 
of Ireland, they have consistently pursued a policy of 
mingled firmness and conciliation with the most distin- 
guished success. All the great measures of reform in 
Ireland may be said to have had their root in the action 
of the Tory party, though, as usual, the praise has been 
appropriated by the right hon. gentleman and his allies. 
We have preferred, instead of truckling to prejudice or 
passion, to appeal, and. we still appeal, to the sublime in- 
stincts of an ancient people !" 

I hope that an unknown author, whose skill in repro- 
ducing an archaic style I heartily admire, will forgive me 



for qnoting the following narrative of certain doings de- 
creed by the General Post Office on the occasion of the 
Jubilee of the Penny Post. Like all that is truly good 
in literature^ it will be seen that this narrative was not 
for its own time alone, but for the future, and has its 
relevancy to events of the present day : 

"1. Now it came to pass in the month June of the 
Post-office Jubilee, that Raikes, the Postmaster-General, 
said to himself, Lo ! an opening whereby I may find 
grace in the sight of the Queen ! 

" 2. And Raikes appointed an Executive Committee ; 
and Baines, the Inspector - General of Mails, made he 

" 3. He called also Cardin, the Receiver and Account- 
ant-General ; Preece, Lord of the Lightning ; Thomp- 
son, the Secretarial Officer ; and Tombs, the Controller. 

"4. Then did these four send to the Heads of Depart- 
ments, the Postmasters and Sub-Postmasters, the Letter 
Receivers, the Clerks-in-Charge, the Postal Officers, the 
Telegraphists, the Sorters, the Postmen ; yea, from the 
lowest even unto the highest sent they out. 

"5. And the word of Baines and of them that were 
with him went forth that the Jubilee should be kept by 
a conversazione at the South Kensington Museum on 
Wednesday the second day of the month July in the 
year 1890. 

" 6. And Victoria the Queen became a patron of the 
Jubilee celebration ; and her heart was stirred within 
her ; for she said. For three whole years have I not had 
a Jubilee. 

" 7. And the word of Baines and of them that were 
with him went forth again to the Heads of Departments, 
the Postmasters and Sub - Postmasters, the Letter Re- 
ceivers, the Clerks-in-Charge, the Postal Officers and 
Telegraphists, the Sorters and the Postmen. 



" 8. Saying unto them, Lo I the Queen is become Pa- 
tron of the Rowland Hill Memorial and Benevolent Fund, 
and of the conversazione in the Museum ; and we the 
Executive Committee bid you, from the lowest even to 
the highest, to join with us at the tenth hour of the con- 
versazione in a great shouting to praise the name of the 
Queen our patron. 

" 9. Each man in his Post Office at the tenth hour 
shall shout upon her name ; and a record thereof shall be 
sent to us that we may cause its memory to endure for- 

" 10. Then a great fear came upon the Postmasters, 
the Sub -Postmasters, and the Letter Keceivers, which 
were bidden to make thejecord. 

'" 11. For they said. If those over whom we are set in 
authority shout not at the tenth hour, and we send an 
evil report, we shall surely perish. 

" 12. And they besought their men to shout aloud at 
the tenth hour, lest a worse thing should befall. 

** 13. And they that were of the tribes of Nob and of 
Snob rejoiced with an exceeding great joy, and did shout 
with their whole might ; so that their voices became as 
the voices of them that sell tidings in the street at night- 

" 14. But the Telegraphists and the Sorters and the 
Postmen, and them that were of the tribes of Rag and of 
Tag, hardened their hearts, and were silent at the tenth 
hour ; for they said among themselves, * Shall the poor 
man shout in his poverty, and the hungry celebrate his 
lack of bread ?' 

** 15. Now Preece, Lord of Lightning, had wrought 
with a cord of metal that they who were at the con- 
versazione might hear the shouting from the Post 

"16. And the tenth hour came ; and lo ! there was no 


great shout ; and the tribes of Nob and Snob were as the 
voice of men calling in the wilderness. 

" 17. Then was the wrath of Baines kindled against 
the tribes of Rag and Tag for that they had not shouted 
according to his word ; and he commanded that their 
chief men and counsellors should be cast out of the 
Queen's Post Office. 

"18. And Raikes, the Postmaster -General, told the 
Queen all the travail of Baines, the Inspector-General, 
and of them that were with him, and how they had 
wrought all for the greater glory of the Queen's name. 

'' 19. And the Queen hearkened to the word of Raikes, 
and lifted up Baines to be a Centurion of the Bath ; also 
she placed honors upon Cardin, the Receiver-General and 
Accountant-General ; upon Preece, Lord of Lightning ; 
upon Thompson, the Secretarial Officer ; and upon 
Tombs, the Controller, so that they dazzled the eyes of 
the tribe of Snob, and. were favorably entreated of the 
sons of Nob. 

" 20. And they lived long in the land ; and all men 
said pleasant things unto them. 

"21. But they of Tag and of Rag that had been cast 
out were utterly forgotten ; so that they were fain to cry 
aloud, saying, ' How long, ye honest and upright in 
heart, shall Snobs and Nobs be rulers over us, seeing that 
they are but men like unto us, though they imagine us 
in their hearts to be otherwise ?' 

"22. And the answer is not yet." 


To-day I embark on the shoreless sea of metrical paro- 
dy, and I begin my cruise by reaffirming that in this de- 
partment Rejected Addresses, though distinctly good for 
their time, have been left far behind by modern achieve- 
ments. The sense of style seems to have grown acuter, 
and the art of reproducing it has been brought to abso- 
lute perfection. The theory of development is instruc- 
tively illustrated in the history of metrical parody. 

Of the same date as Rejected Addresses, Q,ndi of about 
equal merit, is the Poetry of the Anti-Jacohin, which our 
grandfathers, if they combined literary taste with Con- 
servative opinions, were never tired of repeating. The 
extraordinary brilliancy of the group of men who con- 
tributed to it guaranteed the general character of the 
book. Its merely satiric verse is a little beside my pres- 
ent mark ; but as a parody the ballad of Diihe Smithson 
of Northumberland, founded on Chevy Chase, ranks high, 
and the inscription for the cell in Newgate, where Mrs. 
Brownrigg, who murdered her apprentices, was impris- 
oned, is even better. Southey, in his Eadical youth, had 
written some lines on the cell in Chepstow Castle where 
Henry Marten the Eegicide was confined : 

" For thirty years secluded from mankind 
Here Marten lingered . . . 

Dost thou ask his crime ? 
He had rebell'd against the King, and sate 
In judgment on him." 

Here is Canning's parody : 

"For one long term, or e'er her trial came, 
Here Brownrigg lingered . . . 

Dost thou ask her crime ? 
She whipped two female 'prentices to death, 
And hid them in a coal-hole." 

The time of Rejected Addresses and the Anti-Jacobin 
was also the heyday of parliamentary quotation, and old 
parliamentary hands nsed to cite a happy instance of in- 
stantaneous parody by Daniel O'Connell, who, having 
noticed that the speaker to whom he was replying had 
his speech written out in his hat, immediately likened 
him to Goldsmith's village schoolmaster, saying : 

" And still they gazed, and still the wonder grew 
That one small hat could carry all he knew." 

Another instance of the same kind Avas O'Connell's ex- 
temporized description of three ultra - Protestant mem- 
bers, Colonel Verner, Colonel Vandeleur, and Colonel 
Sibthorpe, the third of whom was conspicuous in a closely 
shaven age for his profusion of facial hair : 

" Three Colonels, in three different counties born, 
Armagh and Clare and Lincoln did adorn. 
The first in direst bigotry surpassed : 
The next in impudence : in both the last. 
The force of nature could no further go — 
To beard the third, she shaved the former two. " 

A similarly happy turn to an old quotation was given 
by Baron Parke, afterwards Lord Wensleydale. His old 
friend and comrade at the Bar, Sir David Dundas, had 
just been appointed Solicitor-General, and, in reply to 
Baron Parke's invitation to dinner, he wrote that he 
could not accept it, as he had been already invited by 



seven peers for the same evening. He promptly received 
the following couplets : 

" Seven thriving cities fight for Homer dead 
Through which the living Homer begged his bread." 

" Seven noble Lords ask Davie to break bread 
Who wouldn't care a d were Davie dead." 

The Ingoldshy Legends — long since, I believe, deposed 
from their position in public favor — were published in 
1840. Their principal merits are a vein of humor, rol- 
licking and often coarse, but genuine and infectious ; 
great command over unusual metres ; and an unequalled 
ingenuity in making double and treble rhymes — e.g. : 

" The poor little page, too, himself got no quarter, but 
Was found the next day with his head in the water-butt." 

There is a general flavor of parody about most of the 
ballads. It does not as a rule amount to more than a 
rather clumsy mockery of mediaevalism, but the verses 
prefixed to the Lag of St. Geyigulphus are really rather 
like a fragment of a black-letter ballad. The book con- 
tains only one parody, borrowed from Samuel Lover's 
Lyrics of Ireland, and then the result is truly offensive, 
for the poem which he chooses for his experiment is one 
of the most beautiful in the language — the Burial of Sir 
John Moore, which is transmuted into a stupid story of 
vulgar debauch. Of much the same date as the Ingolds- 
hy Legends was the Old Curiosity Shop, and no one who 
has a really scholarly acquaintance with Dickens will for- 
get the delightful scraps of Tom Moore's amatory ditties 
with which, slightly adapted to current circumstances, 
Dick Swiveller used to console himself when Destiny 
seemed too strong for him. And it will be remembered 
that Mr. Slum composed some very telling parodies of 



the same popular author as advertisements for Mrs. Jar- 
ley's AVaxworks ; but I forbear to quote here what is so 
easily accessible. 

By way of tracing the development of the Art of Par- 
ody, I am taking my samples in chronological order. In 
1845 the Newdigate Prize for an English poem at Oxford 
was won by J. W. Burgon, afterwards Dean of Chichester. 
The subject was Petra. The successful poem was, on 
the whole, not much better and not much worse than 
the general run of such compositions ; but it contained 
one couplet which Dean Stanley regarded as an absolute 
gem — a volume of description condensed into two lines : 

" Match me such marvel, save in Eastern clime — 
A rose-red city, half as old as time." 

The couplet was universally praised and quoted, and, as 
a natural consequence, parodied. There resided then 
(and long after) at Trinity College, Oxford, an extraor- 
dinarily old don called Short. When I was an under- 
graduate he was still tottering about, and there was a 
tradition — based on what authority I know not — that the 
great Sir Robert Peel had " coached " with him for his 
degree. To his case the University parodists instantly 
adapted Burgon's beautiful couplet, saying thus : 

" Match rne such marvel, save in college port — 
That rose-red liquor, half as old as Short." 

In 1845 the poet of Young England was the present 
Duke of Rutland, who, as Lord John Manners, produced 
in England's Trust some chivalric songs which, in their 
own way, have never been surpassed. I suppose there 
has seldom been a couplet so often or so deservedly 
quoted as : 

*' Let wealth and commerce, laws and learning die. 
But leave us still our old nobility." 


Far better than any parody is this chivalric aspiration 
from the same poem : 

" Oh ! would some noble dare again to raise 
The feudal banner of forgotten days, 
And live, despising slander's harmless hate, 
The potent ruler of his petty state ! 
Then would the different classes once again 
Feel the kind pressure of the social chain." 

All this medifeval mnmmery was peculiarly distasteful to 
the mordant mind of Thackeray, and he made fun of 
Lord John's chivalric aspirations in Lord Southdown's 
Lines upon my Sister's Portrait : 

" The castle towers of Bareacres are fair upon the lea. 
Where the cliffs of bonny Diddlesex rise up from out the 

I stood upon the doujon-keep — it is a sacred place, 
Where floated for eight hundred years the banner of my 

Argent, a dexter sinople, and gules an azure field — 
There ne'er was nobler cognizance on knightly warrior's 


The Ballads of Bon Gaultier, published anonymously 
in 1855, had a success which would only have been pos- 
sible at a time when really artistic parodies were un- 
known. Bon Gaultier's verses are not as a rule much 
more than rough - and - ready imitations ; and, like so 
much of the humor of their day, and of Scotch humor 
in particular, they generally depend for their point upon 
drinking and drunkenness. Some of the different forms 
of the Puff Poetical are amusing, especially the advertise- 
ment of Doudney Brothers' waistcoats, and the Puff 
Direct in which Parr's Life-pills are glorified after the 
manner of a German ballad. The Laureate is a fair hit 
at some of Tennyson's earlier mannerisms : 



" Who would not be 
The Laureate bold. 
With his butt of sherry ' 
To keep him merry, 
And nothiug to do but pocket his gold ?" 

But The Lay of the Lovelorn is a clumsy and rather vul- 
gar skit oil Locksley Hall — a poem on which two such 
writers as Sir Theodore Martin and Professor Aytoun 
would have done well not to lay their sacrilegious hands. 
We have now passed through the middle stage of the 
development which I am trying to trace ; we are leaving 
clumsiness and vulgarity behind us, and are approaching 
the age of perfection. Sir George Trevelyan's parodies 
are transitional. He was born in 1838, three times won 
the prize poem at Harrow, and brought out his Cam- 
bridge squibs in and soon after the year 1858. Horace 
at the University of Athens, originally written for acting 
at the famous " A.D.C.," still holds its own as one of the 
wittiest of extravaganzas. It contains a really pretty im- 
itation of the 10th Eclogue, and it is studded with im- 
itations of Horace adapted to the events of under- 
graduate life, of which the only possible fault is that, 
for the general reader, they are too topical. Here is a 

sample : 

" 'Donee gratus eram tibi.' 

" Hot. While still you loved your Horace best 
Of all my peers who round you pressed 
(Though not in expurgated versions), 
More proud I lived than King of Persians. 

" Lyd. And while as yet no other dame 

Had kindled in your breast a flame 
(Though Niebuhr her existence doubt), 
I cut historic Ilia out. 

" Hor. Dark Chloe now my homage owns. 
Skilled on the banjo and the bones ; 


For whom I would not fear to die, 
If death would paas my charmer by. 

" Lyd. I now am lodging at the rus- 
In-urbe of young Decius Mus. 
Twice over would I gladly die 
To see him hit in either eye. 

"Hot. But should the old love come again, 
And Lydia her sway retain, 
If to my heart once more I take her, 
And bid black Chloe wed the baker ? 

"Lyd. Though you be treacherous as audit 

When at the fire you've lately thawed it, 
For Decius Mus no more I'd care 
Than for their plate the Dons of Clare." 

Really this is a much better rendering of the famous 
ode than nine-tenths of its more pompous competitors ; 
and the allusions to the perfidious qualities of Trinity 
Audit Ale and the mercenary conduct of the Fellows of 
Clare need no explanation for Cambridge readers, and 
little for others. But it may be fairly objected that this 
is not, in strictness, a parody. That is true, and indeed 
as a parodist Sir George Trevelyan belongs to the metri- 
cal miocene. His Horace, when serving as a volunteer 
in the Republican Army, bursts into a pretty snatch of 
song which has a flavor of Moore : 

" The minstrel boy from the wars is gone, 
All out of breath you'll find him ; 
He has run some five miles, off and on, 
And his shield has flung behind him." 

And the Bedmaker's Song in one of the Cambridge 
scenes is sweetly reminiscent of a delightful and for- 
gotten bard : 



" I make the butter fly, all in an hour; 

I put aside the preserves and cold meats, 

Telling my master the cream has turned sour, 

Hiding the pickles, purloining the sweets. 

" I never languish for husband or dower ; 
I never sigh to see ' gyps ' at my feet ; 
I make the butter fly, all in an hour. 
Taking it home for my Saturday treat." 

This, unless I greatly err, is a very good parody of 
Thomas Ilaynes Bayly, author of some of the most pop- 
ular songs of a sentimental cast which were chanted in 
our youth and before it. But this is ground on which I 
must not trench, for Mr. Andrew Lang has made it his 
own. The most delightful essay in one of his books of 
Keprints deals with this amazing bard, and contains 
some parodies so perfect that Mr. Haynes Bayly would 
have rejoicingly claimed them as his own. 

Charles Stuart Calverley is by common consent the 
king of metrical parodists. All who went before merely 
adumbrated him and led up to him ; all who have come 
since are descended from him and reflect him. Of course 
he was infinitely more than a mere imitator of rhymes 
and rhythms. He was a true poet ; he was one of the 
most graceful scholars that Cambridge ever produced ; 
and all his exuberent fun was based on a broad and 
strong foundation of Greek, Latin, and English litera- 
ture. Verses and Translations, hy C. 8. C, which ap- 
peared in 1862, was a young man's book, although its 
author had already established his reputation as a hum- 
orist by the inimitable Examination-Paper on Pickivich ; 
and, being a young man's book, it was a book of unequal 
merit. The translations I leave on one side, as lying 
outside my present purview, only remarking as I pass 
that if there is a finer rendering than that of Ajax — C45- 
092 — I do not know where it is to be found. My busi- 



ness is with the parodies. It was not till ten years later 
that in Fly Leaves Calverley asserted his supremacy in 
the art, but even in Verses and Translations he gave 
good promise of what was to be. 

Of all poems in the world, I suppose Horatius has 
been most frequently and most justly parodied. Every 
Public School magazine contains at least one parody of it 
every year. In my Oxford days there was current an ad- 
mirable version of it (attributed to the Rev. W. W. Merry, 
now Rector of Lincoln College), which began — 

" Augustus Smalls, of Boniface, 
By all the powers he swore 
That, though he had been ploughed three times, 
He would be ploughed no more," 

and traced with curious fidelity the successive steps in 
the process of preparation till the dreadful day of exam- 
ination arrived : 

' ' They said he made strange quantities, 

Which none might make but he ; 
And that strange things were in his Prose, 

Canine to a degree ; 
But they called his Viva Voce fair, 

They said his ' Books ' would do ; 
And native cheek, where facts were weak, 

Brought him triumphant through. 
And in each Oxford college 

In the dim November daj^s, 
When undergraduates fresh from hall 

Are gathering round the blaze ; 
When the ' crusted port ' is circling, 

And the Moderator's lit, 
And the weed glows in the Freshman's mouth, 

And makes him turn to spit ; 
With laughing and with chaffing 

The story they renew, 
How Smalls of Boniface went in, 

And actually got through." 


So much for the Oxford rendering of Macaulay's fa- 
mous lay. " C. S. C." thus adapted it to Cambridge, and 
to a different aspect of undergraduate life : 

" On pinnacled St. Mary's 

Lingers the setting sun ; 
Into the street the blackguards 

Are skulking one by one ; 
Butcher and Boots and Bargeman 

Lay pipe and pewter down, 
And with wild shout come tumbling out 

To join the Town and Gown. 

" 'Twere long to tell how Boxer 
Was countered on the cheek, 
And knocked into the middle 
Of the ensuing week ; 
How Barnacles the Freshman 

Was asked his name and college, 
And how he did the fatal facts 
Reluctantly acknowledge." 

Quite different, but better because more difficult, is 
this essay in Proverbial Philosophy : 

I heard the wild notes of the lark floating far over the blue sky, 
And my foolish heart went after him, and, lo I I blessed him as he 

rose ; 
Foolish ! for far better is the trained boudoir bullfinch. 
Which pipeth the semblance of a tune and mechanically draweth 

up water. 
For verily, O my daughter, the world is a masquerade, 
And God made thee one thing that thou mightest make thyself an- 
A maiden's heart is as champagne, ever aspiring and struggling. 
And it needed that its motions be checked by the silvered cork of 

He that can afford the price, his be the precious treasure, 
Let him drink deeply of its sweetness, nor grumble if it tasteth of 
the cork. 



Enoch Arden was published in 1864, and was not en- 
thusiastically received by true lovers of Tennyson, though 
people who had never read him before thought it wonder- 
fully fine. A cousin of mine always contended that the 
story ended wrongly, and that the truly human, and there- 
fore dramatic, conclusion would have been as follows : 

"For Philip's dwelling fronted on the street, 
And Enoch, coming, saw the house a blaze 
Of light, and Annie drinking from a mug — 
A funny mug, all blue, with strange device 
Of birds and waters and a little man. 
And Philip held a bottle ; and a smell 
Of strong tobacco, with a fainter smell — 
But still a smell, and quite distinct — of gin, 
Was there. He raised the latch, aad, stealing by 
The cupboard, where a row of teacups stood, 
Hard by the genial hearth, he paused behind 
The luckless pair ; then drawing back his foot — 
His manly foot, all clad in sailors' hose — 
He swung it forth with such a grievous kick 
That Philip, in a moment, was propelled 
Against his wife, though not his wife ; and she 
Fell forwards, smashing saucers, cups, and jug ; 
Fell in a heap. All shapeless on the floor 
Philip and Annie and the crockery lay. 
Then Enoch's voice accompanied his foot, 
For both were raised, with horrid oath and kick, 
Till constables came in with Miriam Lane 
And bare them all to prison, railing loud. 
Then Philip was discharged and ran away. 
And Enoch paid a fine for the assault ; 
And Annie went to Philip, telling him * 

That she would see old Enoch further first 
Before she would acknowledge him to be 
Himself, if Philip only would return. 
But Philip said that he would rather not. 
Then Annie plucked such handfuls of his hair 
Out of his head that he was nearly bald. 
But Enoch laughed and said, 'Well done, my girl.' 
And so the two shook hands and made it up." 
8 273 


In 1869 Lewis Carroll published a little book of rhymes 
called Phantasmagoria. It chiefly related to Oxford. 
Partly because it was anonymous, partly because it was 
mainly topical, the book had no success. But it con- 
tained two or three parodies which deserve to rank with 
the best in the language. Unluckily I have not the 
book at hand, and if I give samples it must be from 
memory, and therefore with some risk of slips. One 
that I remember is an imitation of a ballad in black- 
letter. It runs something like this : 

"I have a horse, a right good horse ; 

Ne do I envy those 
Who onward urge their heady course 

Till sodayne on their nose 
They light with unexpected force — 

It is a Horse of Clothes." 

Then, again, there is excellent metaphysical foolmg in 
The Three Voices. But far the best parody in the book 
— and the most richly deserved by the absurdity of its 
original — is Hiaiuatha' s Photographing. It has the 
double merit of absolute similarity in cadence and life- 
like realism. Here again I rely on memory, and the 
limits of space forbid complete citation : 

"From his shoulders Hiawatha 
Took the camera of rosewood, 
Made of folding, sliding rosewood. 
In its case it lay compacted, 
Folded into next to nothing. 
« But he pulled the joints and hinges, 

Pulled and pushed the jointe and hinges, 
Till it looked all squares and oblongs. 
Like a complicated figure 
In the Second Book of Euclid. 
This he perched upon a tripod, 
And the family in order 
Sate before it for their portraits. 


Mystic, awful was the process. 

Every one as he was taken 

Volunteered his own suggestions, 

His invaluable suggestions. 

First the Governor, the Father. 

He suggested velvet curtains, 

And the corner of a table. 

Of a rosewood diniog-table. 

He would hold a scroll of something ; 

Hold it firmly in his left hand ; 

He would have his right hand buried 

(Like Napoleon) in his waistcoat ; 

He would contemplate the distance. 

With a look of pensive meaning, 

As of ducks that die in thunder. 

Grand, heoric, was the notion, 

Yet the picture failed completely, 

Failed, because he moved a little ; 

Moved, because he could not help it." 

Who does not know that Father in the flesh ? anc? 
who has not seen him — velvet curtains, dining-table, 
scroll, and all — on the most conspicuous wall of the 
Royal Academy ? The Father being disposed of, 

"Next his better half took courage, 
She would have her portrait taken." 

But her restlessness and questionings proved fatal to the 

"Next the son, the Stunning Cantab. 
He suggested curves of beauty. 
Curves pervading all the figure, 
Which the eye might follow onward, ' 

Till they centred in the breastpin, 
Centred in the golden breastpin. 
He had learnt it all from Ruskin, 
Author of the Stones of Venice." 

But, in spite of such culture, the portrait was a 


failure, and the elder sister fared no better. Then the 
younger brother followed, and his portrait was so awful 
that — 

"By comparison, the others 

Might be thought to have succeeded — 

To have partially succeeded." 

Undaunted by these repeated failures, Hiawatha, by a 
great final effort, "tumbled all the tribe together "in 
the manner of a family group, and — 

"Did at last obtain a picture 
Where the faces all succeeded, 
Each came out a perfect likeness. 
Then they joined and all abused it. 
Unrestrainedly abused it, 
As the worst and ugliest picture 
They could possibly have dreamed of; 
Giving one such strange expressions, 
Sulkiness, conceit, and meanness. 
Really any one would take us 
(Any one who didn't know us) 
For the most unpleasant people. 
Hiawatha seemed to think so, 
Seemed to think it not unlikely." 

How true to life is this final touch of indignation at 
the unflattering truth ! But time and space forbid me 
further to pursue the photographic song of Hiawatha. 

Phantasmagoria filled an aching void during the ten 
years which elapsed between the appearance of Verses 
and Translations and that of Fly Leaves. The latter 
book is small, only 124 pages in all, including the Pic- 
wick Examination-Paper, but what marvels of mirth 
and poetry and satire it contains ! How secure its place 
in the affections of all who love the gentle art of parody ! 
My rule is not to quote extensively from books which 
are widely known ; but I must give myself the pleasure 



of quoting just six lines which even appreciative critics 
generally overlook. They relate to the conversation of 
the travelling tinker : 

" Thus on he prattled like a babbling brook. 
Then I : ' The sun hath slipt behind the hill, 
And my Aunt Vivian dines at half-past six.' 
So in all love we parted ; I to the Hall, 
He to the village. It was noised next noon 
That chickens had been miss'd at Syllabub Farm." 

Will any one stake his literary reputation on the asser- 
tion that these lines are not really Tennyson's ? 



When I embarked upon the subject of metrical parody 
I said that it was a shoreless sea. For my own part, I 
enjoy sailing through these rippling waters, and cannot 
be induced to hurry the pace. Let us put in for a mo- 
ment at Belfast. There in 1874 the British Association 
held its annual meeting, and Professor Tyndall delivered 
an inaugural address in which he revived and glorified 
the Atomic Theory of the Universe. His glowing pero- 
ration ran as follows : '' Here I must quit a theme too 
great for me to handle, but which will be handled by 
the loftiest minds ages after you and I, like streaks of 
morning cloud, shall have melted into the infinite azure 
of the past." Shortly afterwards BlackivoocVs Magazine, 
always famous for its humorous and satiric verse, pub- 
lished a rhymed abstract of Tyndall's address, of which 
I quote (from memory) the concluding lines : 

" Let us greatly honor the Atom, so lively, so wise, and so 
small ; 

The Atomists, too, let us honor — Epicurus, Lucretius, and all. 

Let UB damn with faint praise Bishop Butler, in whom many 
atoms combined 

To form that remarkable structure which it pleased him to 
call his mind. 

Next praise we the noble body to which, for the time, we be- 

(Ere yet the swift course of the Atom hath hurried us breath- 
less along) — 



The British Association— like Leviathan worshipped by Hobbes, 
The incarnation of wisdom built up of our witless nobs ; 
Which will carry on endless discussion till I, and probably you, 
Have melted in infinite azure — and, in short, till all is blue." 

Surely this translation of the Professor's misplaced 
dithyrambics into the homeliest of colloquialisms is 
both good parody and just criticism. 

In 1876 there appeared a clever little book (attributed 
to Sir Frederick Pollock) which was styled Leading 
Cases done into English, hy an Ajjprentice of Lincoln's 
Inn. It appealed only to a limited public, for it is act- 
ually a collection of sixteen important law cases set forth, 
with explanatory notes, in excellent verse, imitated from 
poets great and small. Chaucer, Browning, Tennyson, 
Swinburne, Clough, Rossetti, and James Rhoades supply 
the models, and I have been credibly informed that the 
law is as good as the versification. Mr. Swinburne was 
in those days the favorite butt of young parodists, and 
the gem of the book is the dedication to " J. S.," or 
" John Styles," a mythical person, nearly related to 
John Doe and Richard Eoe, with whom all budding 
jurists had in old days to make acquaintance. The dis- 
appearance of the venerated initials from modern law- 
books inspired the following : 

" When waters are rent with commotion 

Of storms, or with sunlight made whole, 
The river still pours to the ocean 

The stream of its effluent soul ; 
You, too, from all lips of all living, 

Of worship disthroned and discrowned, 
Shall know by these gifts of my giving 

That faith is yet found ; 

" By the sight of my song-flight of cases 
That bears, on wings woven of rhyme, 
Names set for a sign in high places 
By sentence of men of old time ; 


From all counties they meet and they mingle, 

Dead suitors whom Westminster saw ; 
They are many, but your name is single, 

Pure flower of pure law. 

" So I pour you this drink of my verses, 

Of learning made lovely with lays, 
Song bitter and sweet that rehearses 

The deeds of your eminent days ; 
Yea, in these evil days from their reading 

Some profit a student shall draw, 
Though some points are of obsolete pleading. 

And some are not law. 

" Though the Courts, that were manifold, dwindle 

To divers Divisions of One, 
And on fire from your face may rekindle 

The light of old learning undone ; 
We have suitors and briefs for our payment, 

While, so long as a Court shall hold pleas, 
We talk moonshine with wigs for our raiment, 

Not sinking the fees." 

Some five - and - twenty years ago there appeared the 
first number of a magazine called The Dark Blue. It 
was published in London, but was understood to repre- 
sent in some occult way the thought and life of Young 
Oxford, and its contributors were mainly Oxford men. 
The first number contained an amazing ditty called " The 
Sun of my Songs." It was dark, and mystic, and trans- 
cendental, and unintelligible. It dealt extensively in 
strange words and cryptic phrases. One verse I must 
transcribe : — 

" Yet all your song 
Is — ' Ding dong, 
Summer is dead, 
Spring is dead — 
O my heart, and O my head 1 


Go a-singing a silly song, 
All wrong, 
For all is dead. 

Ding dong, 
And I am dead ! 

Dong !' " 

I quote thus fully because Cambridge, never backward 
in poking fun at her more romantic sister on the Isis, 
shortly afterwards produced an excellent little magazine 
named sarcastically The Light Green, and devoted to the 
ridicule of its cerulean rival. The poem from which I 
have just quoted was thus burlesqued, if indeed bur- 
lesque of such a composition were possible : 

" Ding dong, ding dong, 
There goes the gong ; 
Dick, come along, 

It is time for dinner. 
Wash your face, 
Take your place. 
Where's your grace. 

You little sinner ? 
Baby cry. 
Wipe his eye. 
Baby good, 
Give him food. 
Baby sleepy, 
Go to bed. 
Baby naughty. 
Smack his head !" 

The Light Green, which had only an ephemeral life, was, 
I have always heard, entirely, or almost entirely, the 
work of one undergraduate. I believe that his name 
was Hilton, and that he died young. Beyond that I 
have never been able to get any account of him ; but he 
certainly had the knack of catching and reproducing 
style. The '' May Exam." is a really good imitation of 



**The May Qneen." The departing undergraduate thus 
addresses his "gyp " : 

"When the men come up again, Filcher, and the Term is at its 
You'll never see me more iu these long gay rooms at night ; 
When the ' old dry wines ' are circling, and the claret-cup flows 

And the loo is fast and furious, with a fiver in the pool." 

In 1872 Lewis Carroll brought out Through the LooTc- 
ing-glnss, and every one who has ever read that pretty 
work of poetic fancy, will remember the ballad of the 
Walrus and the Carpenter. It was parodied in The 
Light Green under the title of the ''Vulture and the 
Husbandman." This poem described the agonies of a 
viva-voce examination, and it derived its title from two 
facts of evil omen — that the Vulture plucks its victim, 
and that the Husbandman makes his living by plough- 

" Two undergraduates came up, 
And slowly took a seat, 
They kuit their brows, and bit their thumbs, 

As if they found them sweet ; 
And this was odd, because, you know, 
Thumbs are not good to eat. 

" 'The time has come,' the Vulture said, 

' To talk of many things — 
Of Accidence and Adjectives, 

And names of Jewish Kings ; 
How many notes a Sackbut has, 

And whether Shawms have strings.' 

"'Please, sir,' the Undergraduates said, 
Turning a little blue, 
♦We did not know that was the sort 

Of thing we had to do.' 
'We thank you much,' the Vulture said; 
'Send up another two.'" 


The base expedients to which an examination reduces 
its victims are hit off with much dexterity in "The 
Heathen Pass-ee " — a parody of an American poem which 
is too familiar to justify quotation : 

"Tom Crib was his name, 

And I shall not deny, 
In regard to the same. 

What that name might imply ; 
But his face it was trustful and childlike, 

And he had the most innocent eye. 

" On the cuffs of his shirt 

He had managed to get 
What he hoped had been dirt. 

But which proved, I regret. 
To be notes on the Rise of the Drama — 

A question invariably set. 

" In the crown of his cap 

Were the Furies and Fates, 
And a delicate map 

Of the Dorian States ; 
And we found in his palms, which were hollow, 

What are frequent in palms — that is, dates." 

Deservedly dear to the heart of English youth are the 
Nonsense Rhymes of Edward Lear. It will be recol- 
lected that the form of the verse as originally construct- 
ed reproduced the final word of the first line at the end 
of the fifth, thus : 

"There was an old person of Basing 
Whose presence of mind was amazing ; 

He purchased a steed 

Which he rode at full speed. 
And escaped from the people of Basing." 

But in the process of development it became unusual to 
find a new word for the end of the fifth line, thus at 



once securing a threefold rhyme and introducing the 
element of unexpectedness, instead of inevitableness, 
into the conclusion. Thus The Light Green sang of the 
Colleges in which it circulated : 

"There was an old Fellow of Trinity, 
A Doctor well versed in divinity ; 

But be took to free-tliinkiDg, 

And then to deep drinking, 
And so had to leave the vicinity." 


"There was a young genius of Queen's 
Who was fond of explosive machines ; 

He blew open a door, 

But he'll do so no more ; 
For it chanced that that door was the Dean's." 


" There was a young gourmand of John's 
Who'd a notion of dining off swans ; 

To the ' Backs ' he took big nets 

To capture the cygnets, 
But was told they were kept for the Dons." 

So far The Light Green. 

Not at all dissimilar in feeling to these ebullitions of 
youthful fancy were the parodies of nursery rhymes 
which the lamented Corney Grain invented for one of 
his most popular entertainments, and used to accompany 
on the piano in his own inimitable style. I well re- 
member the opening verse of one, in which an incident 
in the social career of a Liberal millionaire was under- 
stood to be immortalized : 

" Old Mr. Parvenu gave a great ball, 
And of all his smart guests he knew no one at all ; 
Old Mr. Parvenu went up to bed, 
And his guests said good-night to the butler instead." 


Twenty years ago we were in the crisis of the great 
Jingo fever, and Lord Beaconsfield's antics in the East 
were frightening all sober citizens out of their senses. 
It was at that period that the music-halls rang with the 
"Great MacDermott's " Tyrtaean strain : 

" We don't want to fight ; but, by Jingo, if we do. 
We've got the ships, we've got the men, we've got the money too," 

and the word "Jingo" took its place in the language as 
the recognized symbol of a warlike policy. At Easter, 
1878, it was announced that the Government were bring- 
ing black troops from India to Malta to aid our English 
forces in whatever enterprises lay before them. The re- 
frain of the music-hall was instantly adapted with great 
effect, even the grave Spectator giving currency to the 
parody : 

"We don't want to fight ; but, by Jingo, if we do. 

We won't go to the front ourselves, but we'll send the mild Hindoo." 

Two years passed. Lord Beaconsfield was deposed. 
The tide of popular feeling turned in favor of Liberal- 
ism, and " Jingo " became a term of reproach. Mr. 
Tennyson, as he then was, endeavored to revive the pa- 
triotic spirit of his countrymen by publishing "Hands All 
Round " — a poem which had the distinguished honor of 
being quoted in the House of Commons by Sir Ellis Ash- 
mead-Bartlett. Forthwith an irreverent parodist — some 
say Mr. Andrew Lang — appeared with the following coun- 
terblast : 


(Being an attempt to arrange Mr. Tennyson's noble words for truly 
patriotic. Protectionist, and Auti-aboriginal circles.) 

"A health to Jingo first, and then 
A health to shell, a health to shot ! 
The man who hates not other men 
I deem no perfect patriot. 



To all who bold all England mad 
We drink ; to all who'd tax her food ! 

We pledge the man who hates the Rad. ! 
We drink to Bartle Frere and Froude I 

"Drinks all round ! 
Here's to Jingo, king and crowned ! 

To the great cause of Jingo drink, my boys, 
And the great name of Jingo, round and round I 

" To all the companies that long 

To rob, as folk robbed years ago ; 
To all that wield the double thong. 

From Queensland round to Borneo I 
To all that, under Indian skies. 

Call Aryan man a 'blasted nigger'; 
To all rapacious enterprise ; 

To rigor everywhere, and vigor 1 

" Drinks all round ! 
Here's to Jingo, king and crowned ! 

To the great name of Jingo drink, my boys, 
And every filibuster, round and round 1 

" To all our Statesmen, while they see 

An outlet new for British trade, 
Where British fabrics still may be 

With British size all overweighed ! 
Wherever gin and guns are sold 

We've scooped the artless nigger in; 
Where men give ivory and gold, 

We give them measles, tracts, and gin I 

" Drinks all round ! 
Here's to Jingo, king and crowned I 

To the great name of Jingo drink, my boys, 
And to Adulteration, round and round I" 

The Jingo fever having abated, another malady ap- 
peared in the body politic. Trouble broke out in Ireland, 
and in January, 1881, Parliament was summoned to pass 
Mr. Forster's Coercion Act. My diary for that date sup- 
plies me with the following excellent imitation of a vet- 


eran Poet of Freedom rushing with ardent sympathy into 
the Irish struggle against Gladstonian tyranny : 

Par Victor Hugo. 

O Irlande, grand pays du shillelagh et du bog, 

Oii les patriotes vont toujours ce qu'oa appelle le whole hog, 

Aujourd'liui je prends la plume, moi qui est vieux. 

Pour dire au grand patriot Parnell, ' How d'ye do ?' 

Erin, aux armes ! le whisky vous donne la force 

De se battre I'un pour I'autre comme les fameux Frfires Corses. 

Voire Land League et vos Home Rulers sont des liberateurs. 

Payez la valuation de Griflath et n'ayez pas peur. 

De la tenure la flxite c'est I'astre de vos rSves, 

Que Rory des Collines vit et que les landgrabbers crfivent ; 

Moi, je suis vieux, mais dans I'ombre je vois clair, 

Bientot serez-vous maitres de vos bonnes pommes de terre. 

C'est le brave Biggar, le T. P. O'Connor, et les autres 

Qui sont vos sauveurs, comme Gambetta etait le n6tre ; 

Suivez-les, et la victoire sera toujours si vous, 

Si S, Milbank ce cher Porster ne vous envoie pas. Hooroo I" 

By the time that these lines were written the late Mr. 
J. K. Stephen — affectionately known by his friends as 
"Jem Stephen" — was beginning to be recognized as an 
extraordinarily good writer of humorous verse. His per- 
formances in this line were not collected till ten years 
later ("Lapsus Calami/' 1891), and his brilliant career 
was cut short by the results of an accident in 1892. I 
reproduce the following sonnet, not only because I think 
it an excellent criticism aptly expressed, but because I 
desire to pay my tribute of admiration to the memory 
of one of whom all men spoke golden words : 

" Two voices are there : one is of the deep ; 
It learns the storm-cloud's thunderous melody, 
Now roars, now murmurs with the changing sea, 
Now bird-like pipes, now closes soft in sleep ; 



And one is of an old, half-witted sheep 

Which bleats articulate monotony, 

And indicates that two and one are three. 

That grass is green, lakes damp, and mountains steep ; 

And, Wordsworth, both are thine. At certain times 

Forth from the heart of thy melodious rhymes 

The form and pressure of high thoughts will burst ; 

At other times — Good Lord ! I'd rather be 

Quite unacquainted with the A, B, C 

Than write such hopeless rubbish as thy worst." 

I hope that there are few among my readers who have 
not in their time known and loved the dear old ditty 
which tells us how 

" There was a youth, and a well-belovdd youth, 
And he was a squire's son. 
And he loved the Bailiff's daughter dear 
Who dwelt at Islington." 

"Well, to all who have followed that touching story of 
love and grief I commend the following version of it. 
French, after all, is the true language of sentiment : 

"II y avait un gar^on. 
Fort aimable et fort bon. 

Qui etait le fils du Lord Mayor ; 
Et il aimait la fille 
D'un sergent de ville 

Qui demeurait a Leycesster Sqvare. 

"Mais elle etait un peu prude, 
Et n'avait pas I'habitude 

De coqueter, comme les autres demoiselles ; 
Jusqu'a ce que Lord Mayor 
(Homme brutal, comme tous les pfires) 
L'eloigna de sa tourterelle. 

"Aprfis quelques ans d'absence 
Au rencontre elle s'elance ; 

Elle se fait une toilette de trfis bon goflt — 
Des pantoufles sur les pieds, 
Des lunettes sur le nez, 

Et un collier sur le cou — c'etait tout I 


" Mais bientOt elle s'assit 
Dans la rue Piccadilli, 

Car il faisait extremement chaud ; 
Et la elle vit s'avancer 
L'unique objet de ses pensees, 

Sur le plus magnifique de chevaux I 

" ' Je suis pauvre et sans ressource I 
Pr6te, pr^te-moi ta bourse, 

Ou ta montre, pour me montrer confiance.* 
' Jeune femme, je ne vous connais, 
Ainsi il faut me donner 

Une adresse et quelques references.' 

" 'Men adresse— c'est Leycesster Sqvare, 
Et pour reference j'espfire 

Que la statue de Shakespeare vous sufflra.* 
' Ah ! connais-tu, ma mie, 
La fille du sergent ?' ' Si ; 

Mais elle est morte comme un rat I' 

" ' Si defunte est ma belle, 
Prenez, s'il vous plait, ma selle, 

Et ma bride, et mon cheval incomparable r 
Car il ne faut rien dire, 
Mais vite, vite m'ensevelir 
Dans un desert sec et desagreable. ' 

" 'Ah! mon brave, arrgte-toi. 
Je suis ton unique choix ; 

La fille du sergent sans peur 1 
Pour mon trousseau, c'est modeste, 
Vous le voyez ! Pour le reste, 

Je t'epouse dans une demi-heure I' 

" Mais le jeune homme epouvante 
Sur son cheval vite remontait. 

La liberte lui etait trop chfire I 
Et la pauvre fille degofitee 
N'avait qu'3. reprendre sa route, et 
Son adresse est encore Leycesster Sqvare." 


The chiefs of the Permanent Civil Service are not 
nsnally, as Swift said, " Blasted with poetic fire/' but 
this delightful ditty is from the pen of Mr. Henry Gra- 
ham, the Clerk of the Parliaments. 

Of the metrical parodists of the present hour two are 
extremely good. Mr. Owen Seaman is, beyond and be- 
fore all his rivals, "up to date," and pokes his lyrical 
fun at such songsters as Mr. Alfred Austin, Mr. William 
Watson, Mr. Eudyard Kipling, and Mr. Ki chard Le Gal- 
lieuue. But " Q" is content to try his hand on poets of 
more ancient standing ; and he is not only of the school 
but of the lineage of " C. S. C." I have said before that 
I forbear as a rule to quote from books as easily accessi- 
ble as Gi'een Bays ; but is there a branch of the famous 
" Omar Khayydm Club" in Manchester ? If there be, to 
it I dedicate the last handful of precious stuff which I 
have gathered on this long voyage, only apologizing to 
the uninitiated reader for the pregnant allnsiveness, 
which none but a sworn Khayyamite can perfectly ap- 
prehend : 


" Wake ! for the closed Pavilion doors have kept 
Their silence while the white-eyed Kaffir slept, 

And wailed the Nightingale with 'Jug, jug, jug I' 
Whereat, for empty cup, the White Rose wept. 

" Enter with me where yonder door hangs out 
Its Red Triangle to a world of drought. 

Inviting to the Palace of the Djinn, 
Where death, Aladdin, waits as Chuckeroflt. 

" Methought, last night, that one in suit of woe 

Stood by the Tavern-door and whispered, ' Lo ! 

The Pledge departed, what avails the Cup ? 

Then take the Pledge and let the Wine-cup go.' 



' But I : ' For every thirsty soul tbat drains 
This Anodyne of Thought its rim contains — 

Freewill the can, Necessity the must; 
Pour off the imist, and, see, the can remains. 

'Then, pot or glass, why label it "With care" 1 
Or why your Sheepskin with my Gourd compare? 

Lo ! here the Bar and I the only Judge : 
O, Dog that bit me, I exact a hair 1' " 



Se non e vero, said a very great Lord Mayor within the 
last few weeks, e hen traviata. His lordship's lingaistic 
slip served him right. Latin is fair play, though some 
of us are in the condition of the auctioneer in The Mill 
on the Floss who had brought away with him from Mud- 
port Grammar School " a sense of understanding Latin 
generally, though his comprehension of any particular 
Latin was not ready." But to quote from any other lan- 
guage is to commit an outrage on your guests. The late 
Sir Robert Fowler was, I believe, the only Lord Mayor 
who ever ventured to quote Greek, but I have heard him 
do it, and have seen the turtle-fed company smile with 
alien lips in the painful attempt to look as if they under- 
stood it, and in abject terror lest their neighbor should 
ask them to translate. The late Mr. James Payn used 
to tell a pleasing tale of a learned clergyman who quoted 
Greek at dinner. The lady who was sitting by Mr. 
Payn inquired in a whisper what one of these quotations 
meant. He gave her to understand, with a well-assumed 
^ blush, that it was scarcely fit for a lady's ear. " Good 
heavens!" she exclaimed; ''you don't mean to say — " 
'' Please don't ask any more," said Payn, pleadingly, " I 
really could not tell you." Which was true to the ear, 
if not to the sense. 

Municipal eloquence has been time out of mind a 
storehouse of delight. It was, according to tradition, a 



provincial mayor who, blessed with a numerous progeny, 
publicly expressed the pious hope that his sons might 
grow up to be better citizens than their father, and his 
daughters more virtuous women than their mother. 
There was a worthy alderman at Oxford in my time who 
was entertained at a public dinner on his retirement 
from civic office. In replying to the toast of his health, 
he said it had always been his anxious endeavor to ad- 
^minister justice without swerving to "partiality on the 
one hand or impartiality on the other." Surely he must 
have been near kin to the moralist who always tried to 
tread "the narrow path which lay between right and 
wrong"; or, perchance, to the newly elected mayor who, 
in returning thanks for his elevation, said that during 
his year of office he should lay aside all his political pre- 
possessions and be, "like Csesar's wife, all things to all 
men." It was said of my old friend the late Dean 
Burgon that once, in a sermon on the transcendent 
merits of the Anglican School of Theology, he ex- 
claimed, with a fervor which was all his own, "May I 
live the life of a Taylor, and die the death of a Bull I" 

The admirable Mr. Brooke, when he purposed to con- 
test the Borough of Middlemarch, found Will Ladislaw 
extremely useful, because he "remembered what the 
right quotations are — Omne tulit punctum, and that sort 
of thing." And certainly an apt quotation is one of the 
most effective decorations of a public speech ; but the 
dangers of inappositeness are correspondingly formi- 
dable. I have always heard that the most infelicitous 
quotation on record was made by the fourth Lord Fitz- 
william at a county meeting held at York to raise a fund 
for the repair of the Minster after the fire which so 
nearly destroyed it in 1829. Previous speakers had, 
naturally, appealed to the pious munificence of Church- 
men. Lord Fitzwilliam, as the leading Whig of the 



connty, thought that it would be an excellent move to 
enlist the sympathies of the rich Nonconformists, and 
that he was the man to do it. So he perorated some- 
what after the following fashion : " And if the liberality 
of Yorkshire Churchmen proves insufficient to restore 
the chief glory of our native county, then, with all con- 
fidence, I turn to our excellent Dissenting brethren, 
and I exclaim, with the Latin poet, 

"Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo." 

Mr. Anstey Guthrie has some pleasant instances of 
texts misapplied. He was staying once in a Scotch 
country-house where, over his bed, hung an illuminated 
scroll with the inscription, "Occupy tilll come," which, 
as Mr. Guthrie Justly observes, is an unusually extended 
invitation, even for Scottish notions of hospitality. Ac- 
cording to the same authority, the leading citizen of a 
seaside town erected some iron benches on the sea front, 
and, with the view of at once commemorating his own 
munificence and giving a profitable turn to the thoughts 
of the sitters, inscribed on the backs — 





"the 8EA 18 HIS AND HE MADE IT." 

Nothing is more deeply rooted in the mind of the 
average man than that certain well-known aphorisms of 
piety are to be found in the Bible — possibly in that lost 
book, the Second Epistle to the Ephesians, which 
Dickens must have had in his mind when he wrote in 
Dombey and Son of the First Epistle to that Church. 
"In the midst of life we are in death" is a favorite 




quotation from this imaginary Scripture. " His end 
was peace " holds its place on many a tomb in virtue of 
a similar belief. " He tempers the wind to the shorn 
lamb " is, I believe commonly attributed to Solomon ; 
and a charming song which was popular in my youth 
declared that, though the loss of friends was sad, it 
would have been much sadder 

' ' Had we ne'er heard that Scripture word, 
'Not lost, but gone before.'" 

Mrs. Gamp, with some hazy recollections of the New 
Testament floating in her mind, invented the admirable 
aphorism that ''Rich folks may ride on camels, but it 
ain't so easy for 'em to see out of a needle's eye." And 
a lady of my acquaintance, soliloquizing on the afflic- 
tions of life and the serenity of her own temper, ex- 
claimed, "How true it is what Solomon says, 'A con- 
tented spirit is like a perpetual dropping on a rainy 
day !' " 

A Dissenting minister, winding up a week's mission, 
is reported to have said, "And if any spark of grace has 

/ been kindled by these exercises, oh, we pray thee, water 
that spark." An old peasant-woman in Buckingham- 
shire, extolling the merits of her favorite curate, said 

y to the rector, " I do say that Mr. Woods is quite an 
angel in sheep's clothing ;" and Dr. Liddon told me of 
a Presbyterian minister who was called on at short 
notice to officiate at the parish-church of Crathie in the 
presence of the Queen, and, transported by this tremen- 
dous experience, burst forth in rhetorical supplication : 
" Grant that as she grows to be an old woman she may 

/ be made a new man ; and that in all righteous causes 
she may go forth before her people like a he-goat on the 
Undergraduates, whose wretched existence for a week 



before each examination is spent in the hasty acquisition 
of much ill-assorted and indigestible knowledge, are not 
seldom the victims of similar confusions. At Oxford — 
and, for all I know, at Cambridge too — a hideous custom 
prevails of placing before the examinee a list of isolated 
texts, and requiring him to supply the name of the 
speaker, the occasion, and the context. 

Qiiestion. " ' My punishment is greater than I can 
bear.' Who said this ? Under what circumstances ?" 

Answer. "Agag, when he was hewn in pieces." 

One wonders at what stage of the process he began to 
think it was going a little too far. " What is faith ?" 
inquired an examiner in '' Pass-Divinity." " Faith is the 
faculty by which we are enabled to believe that which 
we know is not true," replied the undergraduate, who 
had learned his definition by heart, but imperfectly, from 
a popular cram-book. A superficial knowledge of liter- 
ture may sometimes be a snare. ''Can you give me any 
particulars of Oliver Cromwell's death ?" asked an Ex- 
aminer in History in 1874. " Oh yes, sir," eagerly re- 
plied the victim ; " he exclaimed, ' Had I but served my 
God as I have served my King, He would not in mine 
age have left me naked to mine enemies.'" 

" Things one would rather have expressed differently " 
are, I believe, a discovery of Mr. Punch's. Of course he 
did not create them. They must be as old as human nat- 
ure itself. The history of their discovery is not unlike 
that of another epoch-making achievement of the same 
great genius, as set forth in the preface to The Book of 
Snobs. First, the world was made ; then, as a matter of 
course, snobs ; they existed for years and years, and were 
no more known than America. But presently — inge^is 
patehat tellus — people became darkly aware that there 
was such a race. Then in time a name arose to designate 
that race. That name has spread over England like rail- 



roads. Snobs are known and recognized throughout an 
Empire on which the sun never sets. Punch appeared 
at the ripe season to chronicle their history, and the in- 
dividual came forth to write that history in Punch. 

Mutatis mutandis, we may apply this historical method 
to the origin and discovery of " Things one would rather 
have expressed differently." They must have existed as 
long as language ; they must have flourished wherever 
men and women encountered one another in social inter- 
course. But the glory of having discovered them, rec- 
ognized them, classified them, and established them 
among the permanent sources of human enjoyment be- 
longs to Mr. Punch alone. 

He was the first that ever burst 
Into that silent sea. 

Let us humbly follow in his wake. 

We shall see later on that no department of human 
speech is altogether free from "Things one would rather 
have expressed differently "; but, naturally, the great bulk 
of them belong to social conversation ; and just as the 
essential quality of a " bull " is that it expresses substan- 
tial sense in the guise of verbal nonsense, so the social 
" Thing one would rather have expressed differently," to 
be really precious, must show a polite intention struggling 
with verbal infelicity. Mr. Corney Grain, narrating his 
early experiences as a social entertainer, used to describe 

an evening party given by the Dowager Duchess of S 

at which he was engaged to play and sing. Late in the 

evening the young Duke of S came in, and Mr. Grain 

heard his mother prompting him in an anxious under- 
tone : *' Pray go and say something civil to Mr. Grain. 
Yon know he's quite a gentleman — not a common profes- 
sional person." Thus instructed, the young Duke strolled 
up to the piano and said : " Good evening, Mr. Grain. 




I'm sorry I am so late, and have missed yonr performance. 

But I Avas at Lady 's. We had a dancing-dog there." 

The married daughter of one of the most brilliant men 
of the Queen's reign has an only child. An amiable ma- 
tron of her acquaintance, anxious to be thoroughly kind, 

said, "Oh, Mrs. W , I hear that you have such a 

clever little boy." Mrs. W., beaming with a mother's 
pride, replied, " Well, yes, I think Koger is rather a 
sharp little fellow." " Yes," replied her friend. " How 
often one sees that — the talent skipping a generation !" 
A stately old rector in Buckinghamshire — a younger son 
of a great family — whom I knew well in my youth, had, 
and was justly proud of, a remarkably pretty and well- 
appointed rectory. To him an acquaintance, coming for 
the first time to call, genially exclaimed : " What a de- 
lightful rectory ! Really a stranger arriving in the vil- 
lage, and not knowing who lived here, would take it for 
a gentleman's house." One of our best-known novelists, 
the most sensitively courteous of men, arriving very late 
at a dinner-party, was overcome with confusion — " I am 
truly sorry to be so shockingly late." The genial host- 
ess, only meaning to assure him that he was not the last, 

emphatically replied : ''Oh, Mr. , you can't come too 

late." A member of the present Cabinet was engaged 
with his wife and daughter to dine at a friend's house in 
the height of the season. The daughter fell ill at the 
last moment, and her parents first telegraphed her ex- 
cuses for dislocating the party, and then repeating them 
earnestly on arriving. The hostess, receiving them with 
the most cordial sympathy, exclaimed : " Oh, it doesn't 
matter the least to us, we are only so sorry for your 
daughter." An eminent authoress who lives not a hun- 
dred miles from Eichmond Hill was asked, in my hear- 
ing, if she had been to "write her name" at White Lodge, 
in Eichmond Park (where the late Duchess of Teck lived), 



on the occasion of an important event in the Duchess's 
family. She replied that she had not, because she did 
not know the Duchess, and saw no use in adding another 
stranger's signature to the enormous list. " Oh, that's 
a pity," was the rejoinder ; " the Royal Family think 
more of the quantity of names than the quality.'' 

In all these cases the courtesy of the intention was 
manifest ; but sometimes it is less easy to discover. Not 
long ago Sir Henry Irving most kindly went down to 
one of our great Public Schools to give some Shake- 
sperian recitations. Talking over the arrangements with 
the Head Master, who is not a man of felicities and fa- 
cilities, he said : "Each piece will take about an hour; 
and there must be fifteen minutes' interval between the 
two." "Oh! certainly," replied the Head Master; "yon 
couldn't expect the boys to stand two hours of it with- 
out a break." The newly appointed rector of one of the 
chief parishes in London was entertained at dinner by a 
prominent member of the congregation. Conversation 
turned on the use of stimulants as an aid to intellectual 
and physical effort, and Mr. Gladstone's historic egg-flip 
was cited. " Well, for my own part," said the divine, 
" I am quite independent of that kind of help. The 
only occasion in my life when I used anything of the sort 
was when I was in for my tripos at Cambridge, and then, 
by the doctor's order, I took a dose of strychnine, in or- 
der to clear the brain." The hostess, in a tone of the 
deepest interest, inquired, " How soon did the effect pass 
off ?" and the rector, a man of academical distinction, 
who had done his level best in his inaugural sermons on 
the previous Sunday, didn't half like the question. 

Not long ago I was dining with one of the City Com- 
panies. On my right was another guest — a member of 
the Worshipful Company of Butchers. We had a long 
and genial conversation on the state of trade and other 



topics relevant to Smithfield, when, in the midst of it, I 
was suddenly called on to return thanks for the visitors. 
The chairman, in proposing the toast, was good enough 
to speak of my belongings and myself in far too flatter- 
ing terms, to which I hope that I suitably responded. 
When I resumed my seat my butcher-friend exclaimed, 
with the most obvious sincerity: "I declare, sir, I'm 
quite ashamed of myself. To think that I have been 
sitting alongside of a gentleman all the evening, and 
never found it out !" 

The doorkeepers and attendants at the House of Com- 
mons are all old servants, who generally have lived in 
great families, and have obtained their places through 
influential recommendations. One of these fine old men 
encountered, on the opening day of a new Parliament, a 
young sprig of a great family who had just been for the 
first time elected to the House of Commons, and thus 
accosted him with tears in his eyes : '' I am glad indeed, 
sir, to see yon here ; and when I think that I helped to 
put your noble grandfather and grandmother both into 
their coffins, it makes me feel quite at home with you." 
Never, surely, was a political career more impressively 

These Verbal Infelicities are by no means confined to 
social intercourse. Lord Cross, when the House laughed 
at his memorable speech in favor of Spiritual Peers, 
exclaimed in solemn remonstrance, " I hear a smile." 
When the Bishop of Southwell, preaching in the Lon- 
don Mission of 1885, began his sermon by saying, " I feel 
a feeling which I feel you all feel," it is only fair to as- 
sume that he said something which he would rather have 
expressed differently. Quite lately I heard a Radical 
rhetorician exclaim, " If the Liberal party is to main- 
tain its position, it must move forward." A clerically 
minded orator, fresh from a signal triumph at a Dioce- 



san Conference, informed me, together with some hun- 
dreds of other hearers, that when his Resolution was put 
" quite a shower of hands went up "; and at a mission- 
ary meeting I once heard that impressive personage, 
" the Deputation from the parent society," involve him- 
self very delightfully in extemporaneous imagery. He 
had been explaining that here in England we hear so 
much of the rival systems and operations of the Society 
for the Propagation of the Gospel and the Church Mis- 
sionary Society that we are often led to regard them as 
hostile institutions ; whereas if, as he himself had done, 
his hearers would go out to the mission field and observe 
the working of the societies at close quarters, they would 
find them to be in essential unison. " Even so," he ex- 
claimed ; "as I walked in the beautiful park which ad- 
joins your town to-day, I noticed what appeared at a 
distance to be one gigantic tree. It was only when I 
got close to it and sat down under its branches that I 
perceived that what I had thought was one tree was real- 
ly two trees — as completely distinct in origin, growth, 
and nature as if they had stood a hundred miles apart." 
No one in the audience (besides myself) noticed the in- 
felicity of the illustration ; nor do I think that the wor- 
thy "Deputation," if he had perceived it, would have had 
the presence of mind to act as a famous preacher did in 
like circumstances, and, throwing up his hands, exclaim, 
" Oh, blessed contrast !" 

But it does not always require verbal infelicity to pro- 
duce a " Thing one would rather have expressed differ- 
ently." The mere misplacement of a comma will do it. 
A highly distinguished graduate of Oxford determined 
to enter the Nonconformist ministry, and, quite unneces- 
sarily, published a manifesto setting forth his reasons and 
his intentions. In his enumeration of the various meth- 
ods by which he was going to mark his aloofness from 



the sacerdotalism of the Established Church, he wrote : 
— " I shall wear no clothes, to distinguish me from my 
fellow-Christians." Need I say that all the picture-shops 
of the University promptly displayed a fancy portrait of 
the newly fledged minister clad in what Artemus Ward 
called " the scandalous style of the Greek slave," and 
bearing the unkind inscription: "The Kev. X, Y. Z. 
distinguishing himself from his fellow-Christians"? 

An imperfect sympathy with the prepossessions of 
one's environment may often lead the unwary talker to 
give a totally erroneous impression of his meaning. 
Thus the Professor of Sanskrit at Oxford once brought 
an Indian army - chaplain to dine at the high table of 
Oriel, and in the common-room after dinner the Fellows 
courteously turned the conversation to the subject of 
life and work in India, on which the chaplain held forth 
with fluency and zest. When he had made an end of 
speaking, the Professor of Anglo - Saxon, who was not 
only a very learned scholar, but also a very devout clergy- 
man, leaned forward and said, " I am a little hard of 
hearing, sir, but from what I could gather I rejoice to 
infer that you consider the position of an army-chaplain 
in India a hopeful field." "Hopeful field indeed," re- 
plied the chaplain ; " I should rather think so ! You 
begin at £400 a year !" 

A too transparent honesty which reveals each transient 
emotion through the medium of suddenly chosen words 
is not without its perils. None that heard it can ever 
forget Norman Macleod's story of the Presbyterian min- 
ister who, when he noticed champagne - glasses on the 
dinner - table, began his grace, " Bountiful Jehovah !" 
but, when he saw only claret-glasses, subsided into, "We 
are not worthy of the least of Thy mercies." I deny the 
right of Bishop Wilberforce in narrating this story in his 
diary to stigmatize this good man as "gluttonous." He 



was simply honest, and his honesty led him into one of 
those " Things one would rather have expressed differ- 
ently." But, however expressed, the meaning would 
have been the same, and equally sound. 

Absence of mind, of course, conversationally slays its 
thousands, though perhaps more by the way of " Things 
one would rather have left unsaid " than by " Things one 
would rather have expressed differently." The late Arch- 
bishop Trench, a man of singularly vague and dreamy 
habits, resigned the See of Dublin on account of advanc- 
ing years, and settled in London. He once went back to 
pay a visit to his successor. Lord Plunket. Finding 
himself back again in his old palace, sitting at his old 
dinner -table, and gazing across it at his old wife, he 
lapsed in memory to the days when he was master of the 
house, and gently remarked to Mrs. Trench, " I am 
afraid, my dear, that we must put this cook down among 
our failures." Delight of Lord and Lady Plunket ! 

Medical men are sometimes led by carelessness of 
phrase into giving their patients shocks. The country 
doctor who, combining in his morning's round a visit to 
the Squire and another to the Vicar, said that he was try- 
ing to kill two birds with one stone, would probably have 
expressed himself differently if he had premeditated his 
remark ; and a London physician who found his patient 
busy composing a book of Kecollections, and asked, 
" Why have you put it off so long ?" uttered a '' Thing 
one would rather have left unsaid." The " donniest" of 
Oxford dons in an unexampled fit of good nature once 
undertook to discharge the duties of the chaplain of Ox- 
ford jail during the Long Vacation. Unluckily it so 
fell out that he had to perform the terrible office of pre- 
paring a condemned felon for execution, and it was felt 
that he said a " Thing one would rather have expressed 
differently," when, at the close of his final interview, he 



left the condemned cell observing, "Well, at eight 
o'clock to-morrow morning, then." 

The path of those who inhabit Courts is thickly beset 
with pitfalls- There are so many things that must be 
left unsaid, and so many more that must be expressed 
differently. Who does not know the " Copper Horse " 
at Windsor — that equestrian statue at the end of the 
Long AValk, to which (and back again) the local flyman 
always offers to drive the tourist ? The Queen was en- 
tertaining a great man, who, in the afternoon, walked 
from the Castle to Cumberland Lodge. At dinner Her 
Majesty, full, as always, of gracious solicitude for the 
comfort of her guests, said, " I hope you were not tired 
by your long walk?" "Oh, not at all, thank you, 
ma'am. I got a lift back as far as the Copper Horse." 
" As far as what ?" inquired Her Majesty, in palpable 
astonishment. " Oh, the Copper Horse, at the end of 
the Long Walk !" " That's not a copper horse. That's 
my grandfather !" 

A little learning is proverbially dangerous, and often 
lures vague people into unsuspected perils. One of the 
most charming ladies of my acquaintance, remonstrating 
with her mother for letting the fire go out on a rather 
chilly day, exclaimed : " Oh ! dear mamma, how could 
you be so careless ? If you had been a Vestal Virgin 
you would have been bricked up." When the London 
County Council first came into existence, it used to as- 
semble in the Guildhall, and the following dialogue took 
place between a highly cultured councillor and one of his 
commercial colleagues : 

Culhired Councillor : " The acoustics of this place seem 
very bad." 

Commercial Councillor (sniffing) : " Indeed, sir ? I 
haven't perceived anything unpleasant." 

A well-known lady had lived for some years in a house 



in Harley Street which contained some fine ornamenta- 
tion by Angelica Kauffman, and, on moving to another 
quarter of the town, she loudly lamented the loss of her 
former drawing-room, "for it was so beautifully painted 
by Fra Angelico." 

Mistakes of idiom are naturally the prolific parents of 
error, or, as Mrs. Lirriper said, with an admirable confu- 
sion of metaphors, breed fruitful hot water for all parties 
concerned. " The wines of this hotel leave one nothing 
to hope for," was the alluring advertisement of a Swiss 
innkeeper who thought that his vintage left nothing to 
be desired. Lady Dnfferin, in her Eeminiscences of 
Viceregal Life, has some excellent instances of the same 
sort. "Your Enormity" is a delightful variant on 
" Your Excellency," and there is something really pa- 
thetic in the Baboo's benediction, "Yon have been very 
•^good to us, and may Almighty God give you tit for tat." 
But to deride these errors of idiom scarcely lies in the 
mouth of an Englishman. A friend of mine, wishing to 
express his opinion that a Frenchman was an idiot, told 

him that he was a " cretonne." Lord R , preaching 

at the French Exhibition, implored his hearers to come 
and drink of the " eau de vie " ; and a good-natured 
Cockney, complaining of the incivility of French drivers, 
said : " It is so uncalled for, because I always try to make 
things pleasant by beginning with 'Bonjour, Cochon.'" 
Even in our own tongue Englishmen sometimes come to 
grief over an idiomatic proverb. In a debate in Convo- 
cation at Oxford, Dr. Liddon, referring to a concession 
made by the opposite side, said, "It is proverbially un- 
gracious to look a gift horse in the face." And though 
the undergraduates in the gallery roared "Mouth, sir; 
mouth !" till they were hoarse, the Angelic Doctor never 
perceived the unmeaningness of his proverb. 

Some years ago a complaint of inefficiency was pre- 
u 305 


ferred against a workhouse - chaplain, and, when the 
Board of Guardians came to consider the case, one of the 
Guardians, defending the chaplain, observed that " Mr. 

P was only fifty-two, and had a mother running 

about." Commenting on this line of defence, a newspa- 
per, which took the view hostile to the chaplain, causti- 
cally remarked : ''On this principle, the more athletic 
or restless were a clergyman's relatives, the more valu- 
able an acquisition would he himself be to the Church. 
Supposing that some Embertide a bishop were fortunate 
enough to secure among his candidates for ordination a 
a man who, in addition to ' a mother running about,' 
had a brother who gained prizes at Lillie Bridge, and a 
cousin who pulled in the 'Varsity Eight, and a nephew 
who was in the School Eleven, to say nothing of a grand- 
mother who had St. Vitus's dance, and an aunt in the 
country whose mind wandered, then surely Dr. Liddon 
himself would have to look out for his laurels." 

The " Things one would rather have expressed differ- 
ently " for which reporters are responsible are of course 
legion-. I forbear to quote such familiar instances as 
*'the shattered libertine of debate," applied to Mr. Ber- 
nal Osborne, and " the roaring loom of the Times," when 
Mr. Lowell had spoken of the "roaring loom of time." 
I content myself with two which occurred in my own im- 
mediate circle. A clerical uncle of mine took the Blue 
Eibbon in his old age, and at a public meeting stated 
that his reason for so doing was that for thirty years he 
had been trying to cure drunkards by making them drink 
in moderation, but had never once succeeded. He was 
thus reported : " The rev. gentleman stated that his 
reason for taking the Blue Ribbon was that for thirty 
years he had been trying to drink in moderation, but had 
never once succeeded." Another near relation of mine, 
protesting on a public platform against some misrepresen- 



tation by opponents, said : " The worst enemy that any 
cause can have to fight is a double lie in the shape of half 
a truth." The newspaper which reported the proceed- 
ings gave the sentiment thus : " The worst enemy that 
any cause can have to fight is a double eye in the shape 
of half a tooth." And, when an indignant remonstrance 
was addressed to the editor, he blandly said that he cer- 
tainly had not understood the phrase, but imagined it 
must be a quotation from an old writer. 

But, if journalistic reporting on which some care and 
thought are bestowed sometimes proves so misleading, 
common rumor is far more prolific of things which would 
have been better expressed differently. It is now (thank 
goodness !) a good many years since " spelling-bees " 
were a favorite amusement in London drawing-rooms. 
The late Lady Combermere, an octogenarian dame who 
retained a sempiternal taste for les petit s jeux innocents, 
kindly invited a young curate whom she had been asked 
to befriend to take part in a "spelling-bee." He got on 
splendidly for a while and then broke down among the 
repeated "n's" in '*^ drunkenness." Returning crest- 
fallen to his suburban parish, he was soon gratified by 
hearing the rumor that he had been turned out of a 
lady's house at the West End for drunkenness. 

Shy people are constantly getting into conversational 
scrapes, their tongues carrying them whither they know 
not ; like the shy young man who was arguing with a 
charming and intellectual young lady. 

Chai'ming Young Lady : " The worst of me is that I 
am so apt to be run away with by an inference." 

Shy You7ig Man : *' Oh, how I wish I was an in- 
ference !" 

When the late Dr. Woodford became Bishop of Ely, 
a rumor went before him in the diocese that he was a 
misogynist. He was staying, on his first round of Con- 

307 - 


firmations, at a conntry house, attended by an astonish- 
ingly mild young chaplain, very like the hero of The 
Private Secretary. In the evening the lady of the house 
said, archly, to this youthful Levite, " I hope you can 
contradict the story which we have heard about our new 
Ijishop, that he hates ladies." The chaplain, in much 
confusion, hastily replied, ** Oh, that is quite an exag- 
geration ; but I do think his lordship feels safer with the 
married ladies." 

Let me conclude with a personal reminiscence of a 
" Thing one would rather have left unsaid." A remark- 
ably pompous clergyman who was a Diocesan Inspector 
of Schools showed me a theme on a Scriptural subject, 
written by a girl who was trying to pass from being a 
pupil-teacher to a school-mistress. The theme was full 
of absurd mistakes, over which the inspector snorted 
stertorously. "Well, what do you think of that?" he 
inquired, when I handed back the paper. " Oh," said 
I, in perfectly good faith, "the mistakes are bad enough, 
but the writing is far worse. It really is a disgrace." 
" Oh, my writing !" said the inspector : " I copied the 
theme out." Even after the lapse of twenty years I 
turn hot all over when I recall the sensations of that 



It was "A. K. H. B.," if I recollect aright, who wrote 
a popular essay on '*The Art of Putting Things." As I 
know nothing of the essay beyond its title, and am not 
quite certain about that, I shall not be guilty of inten- 
tional plagiarism if I attempt to discuss the same sub- 
ject. It is not identical with the theme which I have Just 
handled, for ''Things one would rather have expressed 
differently " are essentially things which one might have 
expressed better. If one is not conscious of this at the 
moment, Sheridan's "damned good-natured friend" is al- 
ways at hand to point it out, and the poignancy of one's 
regret creates the zest of the situation. For example, 
when a German financier, contesting an English borough, 
drove over an old woman on the polling day, and affec- 
tionately pressed five shillings into her hand, saying, 
/"Never mind, my tear, here's something to get drunk 
with," his agent instantly pointed out that she wore the 
Blue Bibbon, and that her husband was an influential 
class-leader among the Wesleyans. 

But "The Art of Putting Things" includes also the 
things which one might have expressed worse, and covers 
the cases where a dexterous choice of words seems, at any 
rate to the speaker, to have extricated him from a con- 
versational quandary. As an instance of this perilous art 
carried to high perfection, may be cited Abraham Lin- 
coln's judgment on an unreadably sentimental book : 




/ " People who like this sort of thing will find this the sort 
of thing they like " — humbly imitated by two eminent 
men on this side of the Atlantic, one of whom is in the 
habit of writing to straggling authors : "Thank you for 
sending me your book, which I shall lose no time in read- 
ing" ; while the other prefers the less truthful but per- 
haps more flattering formula : " I have read your blank 
verse, and much like it." 

The late Mr. Walter Pater was once invited to admire 
a hideous wedding-present, compact of ormolu and mala- 
chite. Closing his eyes, the founder of modern assthet- 
ics leaned back in his chair, and, waving away the offend- 
ing object, murmured in his softest tone: "Oh, very 
rich, very handsome, very expensive, I am sure. But 
they mustti't make any more of them." 

Dexterities of phrase sometimes recoil with dire effect 
upon their author. A very popular clergyman of my ac- 
quaintance prides himself on never forgetting an inhabi- 
tant of his parish. He was stopped one day in the street 
by an aggrieved parishioner whom, to use a homely 
phrase, he did not know from Adam. Eeady in resource, 
he produced his pocket-book, and, hastily jotting down a 
memorandum of the parishioner's grievance, he said, 
with an insinuating smile, "It is so stupid of me, but I 
always forget how you spell your name." " J-O-N-E-S," 
was the gruff response ; and the shepherd and the sheep 
went their several ways in mutual disgust. Perhaps the 
worst recorded attempt at an escape from a conversa- 
tional difficulty was made by an East-end curate who 
specially cultivated the friendship of the artisans. One 
day a carpenter arrived in his room and, producing a 
photograph, said, "I've brought you my boy's likeness, 
as you said you'd like to have it." 

Curate (rapturously): "How awfully good of you to 
remember ! What a capital likeness ! How is he ?" 




Carpenter: "Why, sir, don't you remember? He's 

Curate: ''Oh yes, of course, I know that. I mean, 
/ ho2v's the man who took the photograph ?'' 

The art of disguising an unpleasant truth with a grace- 
ful phrase was well illustrated in the case of a friend of 
mine, not remarkable for physical courage, of whom a 
tactful phrenologist pronounced that he was "full of 
precaution against real or imaginary danger." It is not 
every one who can tell a man he is an arrant coward 
without offending him. The same art, as applied by a 
man to his own shortcomings, is exemplified in the story 
of the ecclesiastical dignitary who gloried in his Presence 
of Mind. According to Dean Stanley, who knew him 
well, he used to narrate the incident in the following 
terms : 

"A friend invited me to go out with him on the water. 
The sky was threatening, and I declined. At length he 
succeeded in persuading me, and we embarked. A 
- squall came on, the boat lurched, and my friend fell 
overboard. Twice he sank, and twice he rose to the 
surface. He placed his hands on the prow and endeav- 
ored to climb in. There was great apprehension lest 
he should upset the boat. Providentially, I had brought 
my umbrella with me. I had the presence of mind to 
' strike him two or three hard blows over the knuckles. 
He let go his hold, and sank. The boat righted itself, 
and we were saved." 

The art of avoiding a conversational unpleasantness by 
a graceful way of putting things belongs, I suppose, in 
its highest perfection, to the East. "When Lord Dufferin 
was Viceroy of India, he had a " shikarry," or sporting 
servant, whose special duty was to attend the visitors 
at the Viceregal Court on their shooting excursions. 
Eeturning one day from one of these expeditions the 



sliikarry encountered the Viceroy, who, full of courteous 
solicitude for his guests' enjoyment, asked : '' Well, 
what sort of sport has Lord had ?" " Oh," re- 
plied the scrupulously polite Indian, "the young Sahib 
shot divinely, but God was very merciful to the birds." 
Compare this honeyed speech with the terms in which 
an English gamekeeper would convey his oj^inion of a 
bad shot, and we are forced to admit the social su- 
periority of Lord Salisbury's "black man." 

But if we turn from the Orient to the Occident, and 
from our dependencies to the United Kingdom, the Art 
of Putting Things is found to flourish better on Irish 
than on Scotch or English soil, "We all remember that 
Archbishop Whately is said to have thanked God on his 
death-bed that he had never given a penny in indiscrim- 
inate charity. Perhaps one might find more suitable 
subjects of moribund self - congratulation ; and I have 
always rejoiced in the mental picture of the Archbishop, 
in all the frigid pomp of Political Economy, waving off 
the Dublin beggar with " Go away ; go away. I never 
give to any one in the street," and receiving the in- 
stantaneous rejoinder : " Then where would your rev- 
erence have me wait on you ?" A lady of my acquaint- 
ance, who is a proprietress in county Galway, is in the 
habit of receiving her own rents. One day, when a ten- 
ant-farmer had pleaded long and unsuccessfully for an 
abatement, he exclaimed as he handed over his money : 
" Well, my lady, all I can say is that if I had my time 
.over again it's not a tenant-farmer I'd be. I'd follow 
one of the learn'd professions." The proprietress gently 
replied that even in the learned professions there were 
losses as well as gains, and perhaps he would have found 
professional life as precarious as farming. " Ah, my 
lady, how can that be then ?" replied the son of St. 
Patrick. " If you're a lawyer — win or lose, you're paid. 



If you're a doctor — kill or cure, you're paid. If you're a 
priest — heaven or hell, you're paid." Who can imagine 
an English farmer pleading the case for an abatement 
with this happy mixture of fun and satire ? 

"Polite" and "urbane" are words which etymolog- 

/ ically bear witness that the ancient world, alike Greek 
and Roman, believed that the arts of courtesy were the 
products of the town rather than of the country. Some- 
thing of the same distinction may occasionally be traced 
even in the civilization of modern England. The house- 
surgeon of a London hospital was attending to the in- 
juries of a poor woman whose arm had been severely 
bitten. As he was dressing the wound he said : " I can- 
not make out what sort of creature bit you. This is too 
small for a horse's bite, and too large for a dog's." "Oh, 
, sir," replied the patient, "it wasn't an animal; it was 
another lydy.'" Surely the force of Politeness or Ur- 
banity could no further go. On the other hand, it was 
a country clergyman who, in view of the approaching 
Confirmation, announced that on the morning of the cer- 

y emony the young ladies would assemble at the Vicarage 
and the young ivonien at the National School. 

" Let us distinguish," said the philosopher, and cer- 
tainly the arbitrary use of the term " lady " and "gen- 
tleman " suggests some curious studies in the Art of 
Putting Things. A good woman who let furnished apart- 
ments in a country town, describing a lodger who had 
apparently " known better days," said, " I am positive 
she was a real born lady, for she hadn't the least idea 

y how to do hanything for herself ; it took her hours to 
peel her potatoes." Carlyle has illustrated from the an- 
nals of our criminal jurisprudence the truly British con- 
ception of " a very respectable man " as one who keeps a 
' gig ; and, similarly, I recollect that in the famous trial 
of Kerr and Benson, the turf - swindlers, twenty years 



ago, a witness testified, with reference to one of the 
prisoners, that he had always considered him a " per- 
fect gentleman " ; and, being pressed by counsel to give 
his reasons for this view, said, " He had rooms at the 
Langham Hotel, and dined with the Lord Mayor." 

On the other hand, it would seem that in certain circles 
and contingencies the ''grand old name of Gentleman" 
is regarded as a term of opprobrium. The late Lord 
Wriothesley Russell, who was for many years a Canon of 
Windsor, used to conduct a mission-service for the House- 
hold troops quartered there ; and one of his converts, a 
stalwart trooper of the Blues, expressing his gratitude 
for these voluntary ministrations, and contrasting them 
with the officer -like and disciplinary methods of the 
army - chaplains, genially exclaimed, " But I always say 
there's not a bit of the gentleman about you, my lord." 
When Dr. Harold Browne became Bishop of Ely, he 
asked the head verger some questions as to where his pred- 
ecessor had been accustomed to sit in the Cathedral, what 
part he had taken in the services, and so on. The verger 
proved quite unable to supply the required information, 
and said in self-excuse, " Well, you see, my lord, his late 
lordship wasn't at all a church-going gentleman"; which 
being interpreted meant that, on account of age and in- 
firmities, Bishoj) Turton had long confined his ministra- 
tions to his private chapel. 

Just after a change of Government not many years 
ago, an officer of the Royal Household was chatting with 
one of the Queen's old coachmen (whose name and loca- 
tion I, for obvious reasons, forbear to indicate). ''Well, 
Whipcord, have you seen your new Master of the Horse 
yet ?" "Yes, sir, I have ; and I should say that his lord- 
ship is more of an in-doors man." The phrase has a touch 
of genial contempt for a long-descended but effete aris- 
tocracy which tickles the democratic palate. It was not 



old Whipcord, but a brother in the craft, who, when 
asked, during the Jubilee of 1887, if he was driving any 
of the Imperial and Royal guests then quartered at Buck- 

/ ingham Palace, replied, with calm self-respect : " No, sir ; 
I am the Queen's coachman. I don't drive the riff-raff." 
I take this to be a sublime instance of the Art of Putting 
Things. Lingering for a moment on these back-stairs of 

history, let me tell the tragic tale of Mr. and Mrs. M . 

Mr. M was one of the merchant-princes of London, 

and Mrs. M had occasion to engage a new house- 
keeper for their palace in Park Lane. The outgoing of- 
ficial wrote to her incoming successor a detailed account 
of the house and its inmates. The butler was a very 
pleasant man. The chef was inclined to tipple. The 
lady's-maid gave herself airs ; and the head housemaid 
was a very well principled young woman — and so on and 
so forth. After the signature, huddled away in a casual 
postscript, came the damning sentence, "As for Mr. and 

■^ Mrs. M , they behave as tvell as they know how. " Was 

it by inadvertence, or from a desire to let people know 
their proper place, that the recipient of this letter al- 
lowed its contents to find their way to the children of the 
family ? 

As incidentally indicated above, a free recourse to al- 
coholic stimulus used to be, in less temperate days, close- 
ly associated with the culinary art ; and one of the best 
cooks I ever knew was urged by her mistress to attend a 
great meeting for the propagation of the Blue Ribbon, to 
be held not a hundred miles from Southampton, and ad- 
dressed by a famous preacher of total abstinence. The 
meeting was enthusiastic, and the Blue Ribbon was free- 
ly distributed. Next morning the lady anxiously asked 
her cook what effect the oratory had produced on her, 
and she replied, with the evident sense of narrow escape 

from imminent danger, " Well, my lady, if Mr. had 



gone on for five minutes more, I believe I should have 
/ taken the Kibbon too ; but, thank goodness ! he stopped 
in time." 

So far, I find, I have chiefly dealt with the Art of Put- 
ting Things as practised by the " urbane " or town-bred 
classes. Let me give a few instances of ''pagan" or 
countrified use. The blacksmith of my native village was 
describing to me with unaffected pathos the sudden death 
of his very aged father ; "and," he simply added, ''the 
worst part of it was that I had to go and break it to my 
poor old mother." Genuinely entering into my friend's 
grief, I said : " Yes ; that must have been terrible. How 
did you break it ?" " Well, I went into her cottage and 
. I said, 'Dad's dead.' She said, 'What?' and I said, 
'Dad's dead, and you may as well know it first as last.'" 
Breaking it ! Truly a curious instance of the rural Art 
of Putting Things. 

A laborer in Buckinghamshire, being asked how the 
rector of the village was, replied, " Well, he's getting 
wonderful old ; but they do tell me that his understand- 
ing's no worse than it always was" — a pagan synonym 
for the hackneyed phrase that one is in full jDossession of 
one's faculties. This entire avoidance of flattering cir- 
cumlocutions, though it sometimes produces these rather 
startling effects, gives a peculiar raciness to rustic ora- 
tory. Not long ago a member for a rural constituency, 
who had always professed the most democratic senti- 
ments, suddenly astonished his constituents by taking a 
peerage. During the election caused by his transmigra- 
tion, one of his former supporters said at a public meet- 
ing: "Mr. says as how he's going to the House of 

Lords to leaven it. I tell you he can't no more leaven the 
xHouse of Lords than you can sweeten a cart-load of muck 
with a pot of marmalade." During the General Elec- 
tion of 1892 I heard an old laborer on a village green de- 



nouncing the evils of an Established Church. "I'll tell 
you how it is with one of these 'ere State parsons. If 
you take away his book, he can't preach ; and if you take 

/ away his gownd, he mus'n't preach ; and if you take away 
his screw, he'll be damned if he'll preach." The humor 
which underlies the roughness of countrified speech is 
often not only genuine but subtle. I have heard a story 
of a young laborer who, on his way to his day's work, 
called at the registrar's office to register his father's 
death. When the official asked the date of the event, the 
son replied, "He ain't dead yet, but he'll be dead before 
night, so I thought it would save me another journey if 
you would put it down now." "Oh, that won't do at 
all," said the registrar ; " perhaps your father will live 
till to-morrow." "Well, I don't know, sir; the doctor 

/' says as he won't ; and he knoius tvhat he has given 

The accomplished authoress of Country Conversations 
has put on record some delightful specimens of rural 
dialogue, culled chiefly from the laboring classes of 
Cheshire. And, rising in the social scale from the la- 
borer to the farmer, what could be more life-like than 
this tale of an ill-starred wooing ? " My son Tom has 
met with a disappointment about getting married. You 

know he's got that nice farm at H ; so he met a 

young lady at a dance, and he was very much took up, 
and she seemed quite agreeable. So, as he heard she 
had Five Hundred, he wrote next day to purshue the ac- 
quaintance, and her father wrote and asked Tom to come 

over to S . Eh, dear ! Poor fellow ! He went off 

in such sperrits, and he looked so spruce in his best 
clothes, with a new tie and all. So next day, when I 
heard him come to the gate, I ran out as pleased as 
could be ; but I see in a moment he was sadly cast down. 
' Why, Tom, my lad,' says I, ' what is it ?' 'Why, moth- 



er/ says he, ' she'd understood mine was a harable, and 
she will not marry to a dairy.'" 

From Cheshire to East Anglia is a far cry, but let me 
give one more lesson in the Art of Putting Things, de- 
rived from that delightful writer, Dr. Jessopp. In one 
of his studies of rural life the Doctor tells in his own 
inimitable style a story of which the moral is the necessi- 
ty of using plain words when you are preaching to the 
poor. The story runs that in the parish where he served 
his first curacy there was an old farmer on whom had 
fallen all the troubles of Job — loss of stock, loss of cap- 
ital, eviction from his holding, the death of his wife, 
and the failure of his own health. The well-meaning 
young curate, though full of compassion, could find no 
more novel topic of consolation than to say that all these 
trials were the dispensations of Providence. On this the 
poor old victim brightened up and said with a cheerful 
smile, " Ah yes, sir ; I know that right enough. That 
old Providence has been against me all along ; but I 
reckon there's One above that will put a stopper on him 
if he goes too far." Evidently, as Dr. Jessopp observes, 
" Providence" was to the good old man a learned syn- 
onym for the devil. 



The hnmors of childhood include in rich abundance 
both Things which would have been better left unsaid 
and Things which might have been expressed differently. 
But just now they lack their sacred bard. There is no 
one to observe and chronicle them. It is a pity, for the 
"heart that watches and receives" will often find in the 
pleasantries of childhood a good deal that deserves per- 

The children of fiction are a mixed company, some 

■\- life-like and some eminently the reverse. In Joan Miss 

Khoda Broughton drew with unequalled skill a family of 

odious children. Henry Kingsley took a more genial 

view of his subject, and sketched some pleasant children 

^ in Austin Elliot, and some delightful ones in the last 
chapter of Ravenshoe. The "Last of the Neros" in 

*-■ Barchester Towers is admirably drawn, and all elderly 
bachelors must have sympathized with good Mr. Thorne 
when, by way of making himself agreeable to the mother, 
Signora Vesey-Neroni, he took the child upon his knee, 
jumping her up and down, saying, " Diddle, diddle, did- 
dle," and was rewarded with, " I don't want to be did- 
dle-diddle-diddled. Let me go, you naughty old man." 
Dickens's children are by common consent intolerable, 
but a quarter of a century ago we were all thrilled by 

' Miss Montgomery's Misuyider stood. It is credibly re- 
ported that an earlier and more susceptible generation 



was moved to tears by the sinfulness of Topsy and the 
saintliness of Eva ; and the adventures of the Fairchild 
Family enjoy a deserved popularity among all lovers of 
unintentional humor. But the "sacred bard" of child- 
life was John Leech, whose twofold skill immortalized 
it with pen and with pencil. The childish incidents and 
sayings which Leech illustrated were, I believe, always 
taken from real life. His sisters "kept an establish- 
ment," as Mr. Dombey said — the very duplicate of that 
to which little Paul was sent. " ' It is not a Prepara- 
tory School by any means. Should I express my mean- 
ing,' said Miss Tox with peculiar sweetness, ' if I desig- 
nated it an infantine boarding-house of a very select 
description ?' 

" ' On an exceedingly limited and particular scale,' 
suggested Mrs. Chick, with a glance at her brother. 
" ' Oh ! exclusion itself,' said Miss Tox." 
The analogy may be even more closely pressed, for, as 
at Mrs. Pipchin's, so at Miss Leech's, " juvenile nobility 
itself was no stranger to the establishment." Miss Tox 
told Mr. Dombey that " the humble individual who now 
addressed him was once under Mrs. Pipchin's charge "; 
and, similarly, the obscure writer of these papers was 
once under Miss Leech's. Her school supplied the 
originals of all the little boys, whether greedy or gra- 
cious, grave or gay, on foot or on pony-back, in knicker- 
bockers or in nightshirts, who figure so frequently in 
Puncli between 1850 and 1864 ; and one of the pleasant- 
est recollections of those distant days is the kindness 
with which the great artist used to receive us when, as 
the supreme reward of exceptionally good conduct, we 
were taken to see him in his studio at Kensington. It is 
my rule not to quote at length from what is readily 
accessible, and therefore I cull only one delightful epi- 
sode from Leech's Sketches of Life and Character. Two 





little chaps are discnssing the age of a third, and the 
one reflectively remarks : " Well, I don't 'zactly know 
how old Charlie is ; but he must be very old, for he 
blows his own nose." Happy and far-distant days, when 
such an accomplishment seemed to be characteristic of a 
remotely future age ! " Mamma," inquired an infant 
aristocrat of a superlatively refined mother, '' when shall 
I be old enough to eat bread and cheese with a knife, 
and put the knife in my mouth ?" But the answer is 
not recorded. 

The vagueness of the young with respect to the age 
of their elders is pleasingly illustrated by the early his- 
tory of a nobleman who recently represented a division 
of Manchester in Parliament. His mother had a maid, 
who seemed to childish eyes extremely old. The chil- 
dren of the family longed to know her age, but were 
much too well - bred to ask a question which they felt 
would be painful ; so they sought to attain the desired 
end by a system of ingenious traps. The future Mem- 
ber for Manchester chanced in a lucky hour to find 
in his Book of Useful Knowledge the tradition that 
the aloe flowers only once in a hundred years. He in- 
stantly saw his opportunity, and, accosting the maid 
with winning air and wheedling accent, asked insinuat- 
ingly, "Dunn, have you often seen the aloe flower ?" 

The Enfant Terrible, though his name is imported 
from France, is an indigenous growth of English soil. A 
young husband and wife of my acquaintance were con- 
versing in the comfortable belief that "Tommy didn't 
understand," when Tommy looked up from his toys and 
said, reprovingly, "Mamma, oughtn't you to have said 
that in French ?" 

The late Lord , who had a deformed foot, was going 

to visit the Queen at Osborne, and before his arrival the 
Queen and Prince Albert debated whether it would be 
X 321 


better to warn the Prince of Wales and the Princess 
Royal of his physical peculiarity, so as to avoid em- 
barrassing remarks, or to leave it to their own good 

feeling. The latter course was adopted. Lord duly 

arrived. The foot elicited no remarks from the Royal 
children, and the visit passed off anxiously but with suc- 
cess. Next day the Princess Royal asked the Queen, 

" Where is Lord ?" " He has gone back to London, 

dear." "Oh ! what a pity! He had promised to show 
Bertie and me his foot !" They had caught him in 
the corridor, and made their own terms with their cap- 

In more recent years the little daughter of one of the 
Queen's most confidential advisers had the unexampled 
honor of being invited to luncheon with Her Majesty. 
During the meal, an Illustrious Lady, negotiating a 
pigeon after the German fashion, took up one of its 
bones with her finger and thumb. The little visitor, 
whose sense of British propriety was stronger than her 
awe of Courts, regarded the proceeding with wonder- 
dilated eyes, and then burst out : " Oh, Piggy-wiggy, 
Piggy-wiggy ! You are Piggy-wiggy." Probably she is 
now languishing in the dungeon-keep of Windsor Castle. 

If the essence of the Enfant Terrible is that he or 
she causes profound embarrassment to the surrounding 
adults, the palm of pre-eminence must be assigned to the 
children of a famous diplomatist, who, some twenty years 
ago, organized a charade and performed it without as- 
sistance from their elders. The scene displayed a Cru- 
sader knight returning from the wars to his ancestral 
castle. At the castle gate he was welcomed by his beau- 
tiful and rejoicing wife, to whom, after tender saluta- 
tions, he recounted his triumphs on the tented field and 
■" the number of paynim whom he had slain. " And I, too, 
my lord," replied his wife, pointing with conscious pride 



to a long row of dolls of various sizes — " and I, too, my 
lord, have not been idle." Tahlemc indeed ! 

The argumentative child is scarcely less trying than 
the Enfant Terrible. Miss Sellon, the foundress of Eng- 
lish sisterhoods, adopted and brought up in her convent 
at Devonport a little Irish waif who had been made an 
orphan by the outbreak of cholera in 1849. The infant's 
customs and manners, especially at table, were a perpet- 
ual trial to a community of refined old maids. " Chew 
your food, Aileen," said Miss Sellon. '' If you please, 
' mother, the whale didn't chew Jonah," was the prompt 
reply of the little Eomanist, who had been taught that 
the examples of Holy Writ were for our imitation. An- 
swers made in examinations I forbear, as a rule, to quote, 
but one I must give, because it so beautifully illustrates 
the value of ecclesiastical observances in our elementary 
schools : 

Vicar : " Now, my dear, do you know what happened 
, on Ascension Day ? " 

CJiild: " Yes, sir, please. We had buns and a swing." 

Natural childhood should know nothing of social forms, 
and the coachman's son who described his father's mas- 
ter as ''the man that rides in dad's carriage," showed a 
finely democratic instinct. But the boastful child is a 
very unpleasant product of nature or of art. " We've 
got a private master comes to teach us at home, but we 
ain't proud, because Ma says it's sinful," quoth Morleena 
Kenwigs, under her mother's instructions, when Nicholas 
Nickleby gave her French lessons. The infant daughter 
of a country clergyman, drinking tea in the nursery of 
the episcopal palace, boasted that at the vicarage they 
had a hen which laid an egg every day. " Oh, that's 
nothing," retorted the bishop's daughter ; " Papa lays a 
foundation-stone every week." 

The precocious child, even when thoroughly well- 


meaning, is a source of terror by virtue of its intense 
earnestness. In the days when Maurice first discredited 
the doctrine of Eternal Punishment, some learned and 
theological people were discussing, in a country-house 
near Oxford, the abstract credibility of endless pain. 
Suddenly the child of the house (now its owner), who 
was playing on the hearth-rug, looked up and said, " But 
how am I to know that it isn't hell already, and that I 
am not in it ?" — a question which threw a lurid light on 
his educational and disciplinary experiences. Some of 
my readers will probably recollect the "Japanese Vil- 
lage " at Knightsbridge — a pretty show of Oriental wares 
which was burned down, just at the height of its popular- 
ity, a few years ago. On the day of its destruction I was 
at the house of a famous financier, whose children had 
been to see the show only two days before. One of them, 
an urchin of eight, immensely interested by the news of 
the fire, asked, not if the pretty things were burned or the 
people hurt, but this one question: ''Mamma, was it in- 
sured ?" Verily, ton chat chasse de race. An excellent 
story of commercial precocity reaches me from one of 
the many correspondents who have been good enough to 
write to me in connection with this series of papers. It 
may be specially commended to the promoters of that 
class of company which is specially affected by the widow, 
the orphan, and the curate. Two small boys, walking 
down Tottenham Court Eoad, passed a tobacconist's 
shop. The bigger remarked, " I say. Bill, I've got a 
ha'penny, and if you've got one too, we'll have a penny 
smoke between us." Bill produced his copper, and 
Tommy, diving into the shop, promptly reappeared with 
a penny cigar in his mouth. The boys walked side by 
side for a few minutes, when the smaller mildly said, " I 
say, Tom, when am I to have a puff ? The weed's half 
mine." *' Oh, you shut up," was the business-like reply. 



" I'm the chairman of this company, and you are only a 
shareholder. Yon can spit." 

The joys of childhood are a theme on which a good 
deal of verse has been expended. I am far from denying 
that they are real, but I contend that they take common- 
ly a form which is quite inconsistent with poetry, and 
that the poet (like heaven) '^ies about us in our infancy." 
y " 1 wish every day in the year was a pot of jam," was the 
obviously sincere exclamation of a fat little boy whom I 
knew, and whom Leech would have delighted to draw. 
Two little London girls who had been sent by the kind- 
ness of the vicar's wife to have "a happy day in the 
country," narrating their experiences on their return, 
, said, " Oh yes ! mum, we did 'ave a 'appy day. We saw 
two pigs killed and a gentleman buried." And the little 
boy who was asked if he thought he should like a hymn- 
book for his birthday present replied that "he tliought 
. he should like a hymn-book, but he Jcnew he should like 
a squirt." A small cousin of mine, hearing his big 
brothers describe their experiences at a Public School, 
observed with unction, '' If ever I have a fag of my own, 
I will stick pins into him." But now we are leaving 
childhood behind, and attaining to the riper joys of full- 
blooded boyhood. 

" O running stream of sparkling joy 
To be a soaring human boy I" 

exclaimed Mr. Chadband in a moment of inspiration. 
" In the strictest sense a boy," was Mr. Gladstone's ex- 
pressive phrase in his controversy with Colonel Dopping. 
For my own part, I confess to a frank dislike of boys. 
I dislike them equally whether they are priggish boys, 
like Kenelm Chillingly, who asked his mother if she 
was never overpowered by a sense of her own identity ; 
or sentimental boys, like Dibbins in Basil the Schoolboy, 



who, discussing with a friend how to spend a whole 
holiday, said, " Let us go to Dingley Dell and talk about 
Byron"; or manly boys like Tom Tulliver, of whom it 
is excellently said that he was the kind of boy who is 
commonly spoken of as being very fond of animals — 
that is, very fond of throwing stones at them. 
Whatever their type, 

" I've seemed of late 
To shrink from happy boyhood — boys 
Have grown so noisy, and I hate 
A noise. 
They fright me when the beech is green, 

By swarming up its stem for eggs ; 
They drive their horrid hoops between 

My legs. 
It's idle to repine, I know ; 

I'll tell you what I'll do instead : 
I'll drink my arrow-root, and go 
To bed." 

But before I do so let me tell one boy-story, connected 
with the Eton and Harrow match, which has always 
struck me as rather pleasing. In the year 1866, when 
F. C. Cobden, who was afterwards so famous for his 
bowling in the Cambridge Eleven, was playing for Har- 
row, an affable father, by way of making conversation 
for a little Harrow boy at Lord's, asked, " Is your Cob- 
den any relation to the great Cobden ?" " Why, he is 
the great Cobden," was the simple and swift reply. 
There spoke the true spirit of hero-worship. 



"Odd men write odd letters." This rather platitudi- 
nous sentence, from an otherwise excellent essay of the 
late Bishop Thorold's, is abundantly illustrated alike by 
my Collections and by my Recollections. I plunge at 
random into my subject, and immediately encounter the 
following letter from a Protestant clergyman in the north 
of Ireland, written in response to a suggestion that he 
might with advantage study Mr. Gladstone's magnificent 
Speech on the Second Reading of the Afl&rmation Bill 
in 1883 : 

**My dear Sir, — I have received your recommenda- 
tion to read carefully the speech of Mr. Gladstone in 
favor of admitting the infidel Bradlaugh into Parlia- 
ment. I did so when it was delivered, and I must say 
that the strength of argument rests with the opposition. 
I fully expect, in the event of a dissolution, the Govern- 
ment will lose between fifty and sixty seats. Any con- 
clusion can be arrived at, according to the premises laid 
down. Mr. G. avoided the Scriptural lines and followed 
his own. All parties knew the feeling of the country on 
the subject, and, notwithstanding the bullying and ma- 
jority of Gladstone, he was defeated. Before the Irish 
Church was robbed, I was nominated to the Deanery of 
Tuam, but, Mr. Disraeli resigning, I was defrauded of 
my just right by Mr. Gladstone, and my wife. Lady 



— , the only surviving child of an Earl, was sadly dis- 

appointed ; but there is a just Judge above. The letter 
of nomination is still in my possession. 

*' I am, dear sir, yours faithfully, 

It is highly characteristic of Mr. Gladstone that, when 
this letter was shown to him by its recipient as a speci- 
men of epistolary oddity, he read it, not with a smile, 
but with a portentous frown, and, handing it back, 
sternly asked, " What does the fellow mean by quoting 
an engagement entered into by my predecessor as bind- 
ing on me ?" 

It is not only clergy " defrauded " of expected dig- 
nities that write odd letters. Young curates in search 
of benefices often seek to gratify their innocent am- 
bitions by the most ingenious appeals. Here is a letter 
received not many years ago by the Prime Minister of 
the day : 

" I have no doubt but that your time is fully occu- 
pied. I will therefore compress as much as possible 
what I wish to say, and frame my request in a few 
words. Some time ago my mother wrote to her brother. 

Lord , asking him to try and do something for me in 

the way of obtaining a living. The reply from Lady 

was that my uncle could do nothing to help me. 

I naturally thought that a Premier possessed of such a 
plenitude of power as yourself could find it a matter of 
less difficulty to transform a curate into a rector or vicar 
than to create a peer. My name is in the Chancellor's 
List — a proceeding, as far as results, somewhat suggest- 
ive, I fear, of the Greek Kalends. . . . My future father- 
in-law is a member of the City Liberal Club, in which a 
large bust of yourself was unveiled last year. I am thirty- 



one years of age ; a High Churchman ; musical, etc. ; 

graduate of . If I had a living I could marry, . , . 

I am very anxious to marry, but I am very poor, and a 
living would help me very much. Being a Southerner, 
fond of music and of books, I naturally would like to be 
somewhere near town. I hope you will be able to help 
me in this respect, and thus afford much happiness to 
more than one." 

There is great force in that appeal to the "large bust." 

Here is are quest which Bishop Thorold received from an 

admirer, who unfortunately omitted to give his address : 

" Eev. and learned Sir, — Coming into your pres- 
ence through the medium of a letter, I do so in the 
spirit of respect due to you as a gentleman and a 
scholar. I unfortunately am a scholar, biit a black- 
guard. I heard you preach a few times, and thought 
you might pity the position I have brought myself to. 
I should be grateful to you for an old coat or an old pair 
of boots." 

And, while the seekers after emolument write odd 
letters, odd letters are also written by their admirers on 
their behalf. A few years ago one of the principal ben- 
efices in West London was vacated, and, the presentation 
lapsing to the Crown, the Prime Minister was favored 
with the following appeal : 

" Sir, — Doubtless you do not often get a letter from a 
working man on the subject of clerical appointments, but 
as I here you have got to find a minister for to fill Mr. 
Boyd Carpenter's place, allow me to ask you to just go 
some Sunday afternoon and here our little curate, Mr. 

, at St. Matthew's Church — he is a good. Earnest 

little man, and a genuine little Fellow ; got no humbug 



about him, but a sound Churchman, is an Extempor 
Preacher, and deserves promotion. Nobody knows I 
am writing to you, and it is not a matter of kiss and go 
by favor, but simply asking you to take a run over and 
here him, and then put him a stept higher — he deserves 
it. I know Mr. Snlivan will give him a good character, 
and so will Mr. Alcroft, the Patron. Now do go over 
and here him before you make a choice. We working 
men will be sorry to lose him, but we think he ought not 
to be missed promotion, as he is a good fellow. 
" Your obediently servant.'* 

Ladies, as might naturally be expected, are even more 
enthusiastic in advocating the claims of their favorite 
divines. Writing lately on the Agreeableness of Clergy- 
men, I described some of the Canons of St. Paul's and 
Westminster, and casually referred to the handsome 
presence of Dr. Duckworth. I immediately received the 
following effusion, which, wishing to oblige the writer, 
and having no access to the Church Family Neiuspaper, 
I now make public : 

" A member of the Kev. Canon Duckworth's congrega- 
tion for more than twenty-five years has been much pained 
by the scant and curious manner in which he is mentioned 
by you, and begs to say that his Gospel teaching, his 
scholarly and yet simple and charitable discourses (and 
teaching), his courteous and sympathetic and prompt an- 
swers to his people's requests and inquiries, his energet- 
ic and constant work in his parish, are beyond praise. 
Added to all is his clear and sonorous voice in his ren- 
dering of the prayer and praise amongst us. A grateful 
parishioner hopes and ashs for some further recognition 
of his position in the Church of Christ, in the Church 
Family Newspaper, June 12." 



So far the Church. I now turn to the world. 

In the second volume of Lord Beaconsficld's Endymion 
will be found a description, by a hand which was never 
excelled in that sort of business, of that grotesque revi- 
val of mediasval mummery, the Tournament at Eglin- 
toun Castle in 1839. But the writer, conceding some- 
thing to the requirements of art, ignores the fact that 
the splendid pageant was spoiled by rain. Two years' 
preparation and enormous expense were thrown away. 
A grand cavalcade, in which Prince Louis Napoleon rode 
as one of the knights, left Eglintoun Castle on August 
28 at two in the afternoon, with heralds, banners, pur- 
suivants, the knight-marshal, the jester, the King of the 
Tournament, the Queen of Beauty, and a glowing assem- 
blage of knights and ladies, seneschals, chamberlains, 
esquires, pages, and men-at-arms, and took their way in 
procession to the lists, which were overlooked by galler- 
ies in which nearly two thousand spectators were ac- 
commodated ; but all the while the rain came down in 
bucketsful, never ceased while the tourney proceeded, 
and brought the proceedings to a premature and igno- 
minious close. I only mention the occurrence here be- 
cause the Queen of Beauty, elected to that high honor 
by unanimous acclamation, was Jane Sheridan, Lady 
Seymour ; and there is all the charm of vivid contrast in 
turning from the reckless expenditure and fantastic brill- 
iancy of 1839 to the following correspondence, which 
was published in the newspapers in the early part of 

Anne, Lady Shuckburgh, was the wife of Sir Francis 
Shuckburgh, a Northamptonshire baronet, and to her the 
Queen of Beauty, forsaking the triumphs of chivalry for 
the duties of domestic economy, addressed the following 
letter : 



" Lady Seymour presents her compliments to Lady 
Shuckbnrgh, and would be obliged to her for the charac- 
ter of Mary Stedman, who states that she lived twelve 
months, and still is, in Lady Shuckburgh's establish- 
ment. Can Mary Stedman cook plain dishes well ? make 
bread ? and is she honest, good-tempered, sober, willing, 
and cleanly ? Lady Seymour would also like to know 
the reason why she leaves Lady Shuckburgh's service ? 
Direct, under cover to Lord Seymour, Maiden Bradley." 

To this polite and business-like inquiry Lady Shuck- 
burgh replied as follows : 

" Lady Shuckburgh presents her compliments to Lady 
Seymour. Her ladyship's note, dated October 28, only 
reached her yesterday, November 3. Lady Shuckburgh 
was unacquainted Avith the name of the kitchan-maid 
until mentioned by Lady Seymour, as it is her custom 
neither to apply for or give characters to any of the un- 
der servants, this being always done by the housekeeper, 
Mrs. Couch — and this was well known to the young 
woman ; therefore Lady Shuckburgh is surprised at her 
referring any lady to her for a character. Lady Shuck- 
burgh having a professed cook, as well as a housekeeper, 
in her establishment, it is not very likely she herself 
should know anything of the abilities or merits of the 
under servants ; therefore she is unable to answer Lady 
Seymour's note. Lady Shuckburgh cannot imagine 
Mary Stedman to be capable of cooking for any except 
the servants'-hall table. 

" November 4, Pavilion, Hans Place." 

But Sheridan's granddaughter was quite the wrong sub- 
ject for these experiments in fine-ladyism, and she lost 
no time in replying as follows : 

"Lady Seymour presents her compliments to Lady 


Shnckbnrgh, and begs she will order her housekeeper, 
Mrs. Pouch, to send the girl's character without delay ; 
otherwise another young woman will be sought for else- 
where, as Lady Seymour's children cannot remain with- 
out their dinners because Lady Shuckburgh, keeping a 
'professed cook and a housekeeper,' thinks a knowledge 
of the details of her establishment beneath her notice. 
Lady Seymour understands from Stedman that, in addi- 
tion to her other talents, she was actually capable of 
dressing food fit for the little Shuckburghs to partake of 
when hungry." 

To this note was appended a pen-and-ink vignette by 
Lady Seymour representing the three " little Shuck- 
burghs," with large heads and cauliflower wigs, sitting 
at a round table and voraciously scrambling for mutton 
chops dressed by Mary Stedman, who was seen looking on 
with supreme satisfaction, while Lady Shuckburgh ap- 
peared in the distance in evident dismay. A crushing 
rejoinder closed this correspondence : 

" Madam, — Lady Shuckburgh has directed me to ac- 
quaint you that she declines answering your note, the 
vulgarity of which is beneath contempt ; and although it 
may be the characteristic of the Sheridans to be vulgar, 
coarse, and witty, it is not that of a Mady,' unless she hap- 
pens to have been born in a garret and bred in a kitchen. 
Mary Stedman informs me that your ladyship does not 
keep either a cook or a housekeeper, and that you only re- 
quire a girl who can cook a mutton chop. If so, I appre- 
hend that Mary Stedman, or any other scullion, will be 
found fully equal to cook for or manage the establishment 
of the Queen of Beauty. I am, your Ladyship, &c., 

'•^ Elizabeth Couch (not Pouch)." 

"Odd men," quoth Bishop Thorold, "write odd let- 


ters," and so do odd women. The original of the follow- 
ing epistle to Mr. Gladstone lies before me. It is dated 
Cannes, March 15, 1893 : 

" Far away from my native Land, my bitter indigna- 
tion as a Welshwoman prompts me to reproach you, you 
had, wicked, false, treacherous Old Man ! for your iniqui- 
tous scheme to roh and overthrow the dearly beloved Old 
Church of my Country. You have no conscience, but I 
pray that God may even yet give you one that will sorely 
smart and trouble you before you die. You pretend to 
be religious, you old hypocrite ! that you may more suc- 
cessfully pander to the evil passions of the lowest and 
most ignorant of the Welsh people. But you neither 
care for nor respect the principles of Eeligion, or you 
would not distress the minds of all true Christian people 
by instigating a mob to commit the awful sin of Sacri- 
lege. You think you will shine in History, but it will 
be a notoriety similar to that of Nero. I see some one 
pays you the unintentional compliment of comparing you 
to Pontius Pilate, and I am sorry, for Pilate, though a 
political time-server, was, with all his faults, a very re- 
spectable man in comparison with you. And he did not, 
like you, profess the Christian Religion. You are cer- 
tainly clever. So also is your lord and master the Devil. 
And I cannot regard it as sinful to hate and despise you, 
any more than it is sinful to abhor Him. So with full 
measure of contempt and detestation, accept these com- 
pliments from 

" A Daughter of Old Wales." 

It is a triumph of female perseverance and ingenuity 
that the whole of the foregoing is compressed into a sin- 
gle post-card. 

Some letters, like the foregoing, are odd from their ex- 
traordinary rudeness. Others — not usually, it must be 



admitted. Englishmen's letters — are odd from their ex- 
cessive civility. An Italian priest working in London 
wrote to a Roman Catholic M.P., asking for an order of 
admission to the House of Commons, and, on receiving 
it, acknowledged it as follows : 

" To the Hon. Mr. , M.P. 

" Hon. Sir, Son in Jesu Christ, I beg most respectfully 
you, Hon. Sir, to accept the very deep gratitude for the 
ticket which you, Hon. Sir, with noble kindness favored 
me by post to-day. May the Blessing of God Almighty 
come upon you, Hon. Sir, and may he preserve you, Hon. 
Sir, for ever and ever. Amen. With all due respect, I 
have the honor to be, Hon. Sir, your most 
" humble and obedient servant. 

Surely the British Constituent might take a lesson 
from this extremely polite letter-writer when his long- 
suffering member has squeezed him into the Strangers' 

Some letters, again, are odd from their excess of can- 
dor. A gentleman, unknown to me, soliciting pecuniary 
assistance, informed me that, having ''sought relief from 
trouble in dissipation," he " committed an act which sent 
him into Penal Servitude," and shortly after his release 
" wrote a book containing many suggestions for the re- 
form of prison discipline." A lady, widely known for 
the benevolent use she makes of great wealth, received 
a letter from an absolute stranger, setting forth that he 
had been so unfortunate as to overdraw his account at 
his banker's, and adding, *'As I know that it will only 
cost you a scratch of the pen to set this right, I make 
no apology for asking you to do so." 

Among " odd men " might certainly be reckoned the 
late Archdeacon Denison, and he displayed his oddness 



very characteristically when, having quarrelled with the 
Committee of Council on Education, he refused to have 
his parish schools inspected, and thus intimated his re- 
solve to the inspector : 

" My dear Bellairs, — I love you very much ; but, if 
you ever come here again to inspect, I lock the door of 
the school, and tell the boys to put you in the pond." 

I am not sure whether the great Duke of Wellington 
can probably be described as an " odd man," but beyond 
question he wrote odd letters. I have already quoted 
from his reply to Mrs. Norton, when she asked leave to 
dedicate a song to him — "I have made it a rule to have 
nothing dedicated to me, and have kept it in every in- 
stance, though I have been Chancellor of the University 
of Oxford, and in other situations much exposed to au- 
thors." The Duke replied to every letter that he re- 
ceived, but his replies were not always acceptable to 
their recipients. When a philanthropist begged him to 
present some petitions to the House of Lords on behalf 
of the wretched chimney-sweeps, the Duke wrote back : 
"Mr. Stevens had tliouglit fit to leave some petitions 
at Apsley House. They will be found with the porter." 
The Duke's correspondence with "Miss J.," which was 
published by Mr. Fisher Unwin some ten years ago, and 
is much less known than it deserves to be, contains some 
gems of composition. Miss J. consulted the Duke about 
her duty when a fellow -passenger in the stage-coach 
swore, and he wrote : "I don't consider with you that 
it is necessary to enter into a disputation with every wan- 
dering Blasphemer. Much must depend upon the cir- 
cumstances." And when the good lady mixed flirtation 
with piety, and irritability with both, he wrote : "The 
Duke of Wellington presents His Compliments to Miss J. 



She is quite mistaken. He has no Lock of Hair of Hers. 
He never had one." 

Cnrtness in letter-writing does not necessarily indicate 
oddity. It often is the most judicious method of avoid- 
ing interminable correspondence. When one of Bishop 
Thorold's clergy wrote to beg leave of absence from his 
duties in order that he might make a long tour in the 

East, he received for all reply : " Dear , Go to 

Jericho. — Yours, A.W.R." At a moment when scarlet- 
fever was ravaging Haileybury, and suggestions for treat- 
ment were pouring in by every post, the Head Master had 
a lithographed answer prepared, which ran : " Dear 
Sir, — I am obliged by your opinions, and retain my 
own." An admirable answer was made by another Head 
Master to a pompous matron, who wrote that, before she 
sent her boy to his school, she must ask if he was very 
particular about the social antecedents of his pupils : 
''Dear madam, as long as your son behaves himself and 
his fees are paid, no questions will be asked about his 
social antecedents." 

Sydney Smith's reply, when Lord Houghton, then 
young "Dicky Milues," wrote him an angry letter about 
some supposed unfriendliness, was a model of mature 
and genial wisdom: "Dear Milnes, — Never lose your 
good temper, which is one of your best qualities." When 
the then Dean of Hereford wrote a solemn and elaborate 
letter to Lord John Russell, announcing that he and his 
colleagues would refuse to elect Dr. Hampden to the 
See, Lord John replied : " Sir,— I have had the honor 
to receive your letter of the 22d inst., in which you in- 
timate to me your intention of violating the law." Some 

years ago Lady , who is well known as an ardent 

worker in the interests of the Roman Church, wrote 

to the Duke of , who was equally known as a sturdy 

Protestant, that she was greatly interested in a Roman 
Y 337 


Catholic charity, and, knowing the Duke's wide benevo- 
lence, had ventured to put down his name for £100. 
The Duke wrote back : " Dear Lady , — It is a curi- 
ous coincidence that, just before I got your letter, I had 
put down your name for a like sum to the English Mis- 
sion for Converting Irish Catholics ; so no money need 
pass between us." But perhaps the supreme honors of 
curt correspondence belong to Mr. Bright. Let one 
instance suffice. Having been calumniated by a Tory 
orator at Barrow, Mr. Bright wrote as follows about his 
traducer : " He may not know that he is ignorant, but 
he cannot be ignorant that he lies. And after such a 
speech the meeting thanked him — I presume because 
they enjoyed what he had given them. I think the 
speaker was named Smith. He is a discredit to the 
numerous family of that name." 



The annonncements relating to the first Cabinet of 
the winter set me thinking whether my readers might 
be interested in seeing what I have '^collected" as to 
the daily life and labors of Her Majesty's Ministers. I 
decided that I would try the experiment, and, acting on 
the principle which I have professed before — that when 
once one has deliberately chosen certain words to express 
one's meaning one cannot, as a rule, alter them with 
advantage — I have obtained the kind permission of the 
editor of the Windsor Magazine to borrow from some for- 
mer writings of my own. 

The Cabinet is the Board of Directors of the British 
Empire. All its members are theoretically equal; but, 
as at other Boards, the effective power really resides in 
three or four. At the present moment Manchester is 
represented by one of these potent few. Saturday is the 
usual day for the meeting of the Cabinet, though it may 
be convened at any moment as special occasion arises. 
Describing the potato-disease which settled the repeal of 
the Corn Laws, Lord Beaconsfield wrote : " This mys- 
terious but universal sickness of a single root changed 
the history of the world. 'There is no gambling like 
politics,' said Lord Eoehampton, as he glanced at the 
Times : ' four Cabinets in one week ! The Government 
must be more sick than the potatoes !' " 

Twelve is the usual hour for the meeting of the 


Cabinet, and the business is generally over by two. At 
the Cabinets held during November the legislative pro- 
gramme for next session is settled, and the preparation 
of each measure is assigned to a sub-committee of Minis- 
ters specially conversant with the subject-matter. Lord 
Salisbury holds his Cabinets at the Foreign Office ; but 
the old place of meeting was the official residence of the 
First Lord of the Treasury at 10 Downing Street, in a 
pillared room looking over the Horse Guards Parade, 
and hung with portraits of departed First Lords. 

In theory, of course, the proceedings of the Cabinet 
are absolutely secret. The Privy Councillor's oath 
prohibits all disclosures. No record is kept of the 
business done. The door is guarded by vigilant attend- 
ants against possible eavesdroppers. The despatch- 
boxes which constantly circulate between Cabinet Min- 
isters, carrying confidential matters, are locked with 
special keys, said to date from the administration of 
Mr. Pitt ; and the possession of these keys constitutes 
admission into what Lord Beaconsfield called ''the 
circles of high initiation." Yet in reality more leaks 
out than is supposed. In the Cabinet of 1880-5 the 
leakage to the press was systematic and continuous. 
Even Mr. Gladstone, the stiffest of sticklers for official 
reticence, held that a Cabinet Minister might impart 
his secrets to his wife and his Private Secretary. The 
wives of official men are not always as trustworthy as Mrs. 
Bucket in Bleak House, and some of the Private Secre- 
taries in the Government of 1880 were little more than 
boys. Two members of the Cabinet were notorious for 
their free communications to the press, and it was often 
remarked that the Birmingham Daily Post was pecul- 
iarly well informed. A noble lord who held a high 
office, and who, though the most pompous, was not the 
wisest of mankind, was habitually a victim to a certain 



journalist of known enterprise, who used to waylay him 
outside Downing Street and accost him with jaunty 

confidence : " Well, Lord , so you have settled on 

so-and-so, after all ?" The noble lord, astonished that 
the Cabinet's decision was already public property, 
would reply : ''As you know so much, there can be 
no harm in telling the rest"; and the journalist, grin- 
ning like a dog, ran off to print the precious morsel in a 
special edition of the Millbank Gazette. Mr. Justin 
McCarthy could, I believe, tell a curious story of a high- 
ly important piece of foreign intelligence communicated 
by a Minister to the Daily Neius, of a resulting question 
in the House of Commons, and of the same Minister's 
emphatic declaration that no effort should be wanting 
to trace this violator of official confidence and bring him 
to condign punishment. 

While it is true that outsiders sometimes become 
possessed by these dodges of official secrets, it is not less 
true that Cabinet Ministers are often curiously in the 
dark about great and even startling events. A political 
lady once said to me : "Do you in your party think 

much of my neighbor, Mr. ?" As in duty bound, 

I replied, "Oh yes, a great deal." She rejoined: "I 
shouldn't have thought it, for when the boys are shout- 
ing any startling news in the special editions I see him 
run out without his hat to buy an evening paper. That 
doesn't looh tu ell for a Cabinet Minister.'^ On the even- 
ing of May 6, 1882, I dined in company with Mr. Bright. 
He stayed late, but never heard a word of the Phoenix 
Park murders, went off quietly to bed, and read of them 
as news in the next morning's Observer. 

But, after all, attendance at the Cabinet, though a 
most important, is only an occasional, event in the life of 
one of Her Majesty's Ministers. Let us consider the 
ordinary routine of his day's work during the session 



of Parliament. The truly virtuous Minister, we may 
presume, struggles down to the dining-room to read 
prayers and to breakfast in the bosom of his family 
between 9 and 10 a.m. But the self-indulgent bachelor 
declines to be called, and sleeps his sleep out. Mr. Arthur 
Balfour invariably breakfasts at 12 ; and more politicians 
than would admit it consume their tea and toast in bed. 
Mercifully, the dreadful habit of giving breakfast-parties, 
though sanctioned by the memories of Holland and 
Macaulay and Rogers and Houghton, virtually died out 
with the disappearance of Mr. Gladstone. 

" Men who breakfast out are generally Liberals," says 
Lady St. Julians in Sybil, " Have not you observed 
that ?" 

" I wonder why ?" 

" It shows a restless, revolutionary mind," said Lady 
Firebrace, "that can settle to nothing, but must be run- 
ning after gossip the moment they are awake." 

" Yes," said Lady St. Julians, '' I think those men 
who breakfast out, or who give breakfasts, are generally 
dangerous characters ; at least I would not trust them." 

And Lady St. Julians' doctrine, though half a century 
old, applies with perfect exactness to those enemies of 
the human race who endeavor to keep alive or to resus- 
citate this desperate tradition. Juvenal described the 
untimely fate of the man who went into his bath with 
an undigested peacock in his system. Scarcely pleas- 
anter are the sensations of the Minister or the M.P. who 
goes from a breakfast-party, full of buttered muffins and 
broiled salmon to the sedentary desk-work of his office 
or the fusty wrangles of a Grand Committee. 

Breakfast over, the Minister's fancy lightly turns to 
thoughts of exercise. If he is a man of active habits 
and strenuous tastes, he may take a gentle breather up 
Highgate Hill, like Mr. Gladstone, or play tennis, like 



Sir Edward Grey. Lord Spencer when in office might 
be seen any morning cantering up St. James's Street on 
a hack, or pounding round Hyde Park in high naval de- 
bate with Sir Ughtred Kay-Shuttleworth. Lord Eose- 
bery drives himself in a cab ; Mr. Asquith is driven ; 
both occasionally survey the riding world over the rail- 
ings of Rotten Eow ; and even Lord Salisbury may be 
found prowling about the Green Park, to which his 
house in Arlington Street has a private access. Mr. 
Balfour, as we all know, is a devotee of the cycle, and 
his example is catching ; but Mr. Chamberlain holds fast 
to the soothing belief that when a man has walked up- 
stairs to bed he has made as much demand on his physi- 
cal energies as is good for him, and that exercise was 
invented by the doctors in order to bring grist to their 

Whichever of these examples our Minister prefers to 
follow, his exercise or his lounge must be over by 12 
o'clock. The Grand Committees meet at that hour ; on 
Wednesday the House meets then ; and, if he is not re- 
quired by departmental business to attend either the 
Committee or the House, he will probably be at his 
office by mid-day. The exterior aspect of the Govern- 
ment offices in Whitehall is sufficiently well known, and 
any peculiarities which it may present are referable to 
the fact that the execution of an Italian design was in- 
trusted by the wisdom of Parliament to a Gothic archi- 
tect. Inside, their leading characteristics are the abun- 
dance and steepness of the stairs, the total absence of 
light, and an atmosphere densely charged with Irish 
stew. Why the servants of the British Government 
should live exclusively on this delicacy, and why its 
odors should prevail with equal pungency "from morn 
to noon, from noon to dewy eve," are matters of specu- 
lation too recondite for a popular sketch like this. 



The Minister's own room is probably on the first floor ; 
perhaps looking into Whitehall, perhaps into the Foreign 
Office Square, perhaps on to the Horse Guards Parade. 
It is a large room, with immense windows, and a fire- 
place ingeniously contrived to send all its heat up the 
chimney. If the office is one of the older ones, the room 
probably contains some good pieces of furniture derived 
from a less penurious age than ours — a bureau or book- 
case of mahogany dark with years, showing in its staid 
ornamentation traces of Chippendale or Sheraton ; a big 
clock in a handsome case ; and an interesting portrait 
of some historic statesmen who presided over the de- 
partment two centuries ago. But in the more modern 
offices all is barren. Since the late Mr. Ayrton was First 
Commissioner of Works a squalid cheapness has reigned 
snj)reme. Deal and paint are everywhere ; doors that 
won't shut, bells that won't ring, and curtains that won't 
meet. In two articles alone there is prodigality — books 
and stationery. Hansard's Debates, the statutes at 
Large, treatises illustrating the work of the office, and 
books of reference innumerable are there ; and the sta- 
tionery shows a delightful variety of shape, size, and text- 
ure, adapted to every conceivable exigency of official cor- 

It is, indeed, in the item of stationery, and in that 
alone, that the grand old constitutional system of per- 
quisites survives. Morbidly conscientious Ministers 
sometimes keep a supply of their private letter-paper on 
their office-table and use it for their private correspond- 
ence. But the more frankly human sort write all their 
letters on official paper. On whatever paper written. 
Ministers' letters go free from the office and the House 
of Commons ; and certain artful correspondents outside, 
knowing that a letter to a public office need not be 
stamped, write to the Minister at his official address and 



save their penny. In days gone by each SecPOtary of 
State received on his appointment a silver inkstand, 
which he could hand down as a keepsake to his children. 
Mr. Gladstone, when he was Chancellor of the Excheq- 
uer, abolished this little perquisite, and the only token 
of office which an outgoing Minister can now take with 
him is his despatch-box. The wife of a Minister who 
had long occupied an official residence said with a pen- 
sive sigh on being evicted from office, " I hope I am not 
avaricious, but I must say, when one was hanging up 
pictures, it was very pleasant to have the Board of 
Works' carpenter and a bag of the largest nails for noth- 

The late Sir William Gregory used to narrate how, 
when a child, he was taken by his grandfather, who was 
Under-Secretary for Ireland, to see the Chief Secretary, 
Lord Melbourne, in his official room. The good-natured 
old Whig asked the boy if there was anything in the 
room that he would like ; and he chose a large stick of 
sealing-wax. " That's right," said Lord Melbourne, 
pressing a bundle of pens into his hand, " begin life 
early ; all these things belong to the public, and your 
business must always be to get out of the public as much 
as you can." There spoke the true spirit of our great 
governing families. 

And now our Minister, seated at his official table, 
touches his pneumatic bell. His Private Secretary ap- 
pears with a pile of papers, and the day's work begins. 
That work, of course, differs enormously in amount, nat- 
ure, importance, and interest with different offices. To 
the outside world probably one office is much the same 
as another, but the difference in the esoteric view is 
wide indeed. When the Revised Version of the New 
Testament came out, an accomplished gentleman who 
had once been Mr. Gladstone's Private Secretary, and 



had been appointed by him to an important post in the 
permanent Civil Service, said : ''Mr. Ghxdstone I have 
been looking at the Revised Version, and I think it dis- 
tinctly inferior to the old one." 

"Indeed," said Mr. Gladstone, with all his theological 
ardor roused at once ; " I am very much interested to 
hear you say so. Pray give me an instance." 

"Well," replied the Permanent Official, " look at the 
first verse of the second chapter of St. Luke. That verse 
used to run, ' There went out a decree from Csesar Au- 
gustus that all the world should be taxed.' Well, I 
always thought that a splendid idea — a tax levied on the 
whole world by a single Act — a grand stroke, worthy of 
a great empire and an imperial treasury. But in the Re- 
vised Version I find, ' There went out a decree that all 
the world should be enrolled ' — a mere counting ! a cen- 
sus ! the sort of thing the Local Government Board 
could do ! Will any one tell me that the new version is 
as good as the old one in this passage ?" 

This story aptly illustrates the sentiments with which 
the more powerful and more ancient departments regard 
those later births of time, the Board of Trade, the Local 
Government Board, the Board of Agriculture, and even 
the Scotch Office — though this last is redeemed from ut- 
ter contempt by the irritable patriotism of our Scottish 
fellow-citizens, and by the beautiful house in which it is 
lodged. For a Minister who loves an arbitrary and sin- 
gle-handed authority the India Office is the most attrac- 
tive of all. The Secretary of State for India is (except 
in financial matters, where he is controlled by his Coun- 
cil) a pure despot. He has the Viceroy at the end of a 
telegraph-wire, and the Queen's three hundred millions 
of Indian subjects under his thumb. His salary is not 
voted by the House of Commons ; very few M.P.'s care 
a rap about India ; and he is practically free from Parlia- 



mentary control. The Foreign Office, of course, is full 
of interest, and its social traditions have always been of 
the most dignified sort — from the days when Mr. Ran- 
ville-Ranville used to frequent Mrs. Perkins's Balls to 
the existing reign of Sir Thomas Sanderson and Mr. Eric 

The Treasury has its finger in every departmental pie 
except the Indian one, for no Minister and no depart- 
ment can carry out reforms or even discharge its ordi- 
nary routine without public money, and of public money 
the Treasury is the vigilant and inflexible guardian. " I 
am directed to acquaint you that My Lords do not see 
their way to comply with your suggestion, inasmuch as 
to do so would be to open a serious door." This delight- 
ful formula, with its dread suggestion of a flippant door 
and all the mischief to which it might lead, is daily em- 
ployed to check the ardor of Ministers who are seeking 
to advance the benefit of the race (including their own 
popularity among their constituents) by a judicious ex- 
penditure of public money. But whatever be the scope 
and function of the office, and whatever the nature of 
the work done there, the mode of doing it is pretty much 
the same. Whether the matter in question originates in- 
side the office by some direction or inquiry of the chief, 
or comes by letter from outside, it is referred to the par- 
ticular department of the office which is concerned with 
it. A clerk makes a careful minute, giving the facts of 
the case and the practice of the office as bearing on it. 
The paper is then sent to any other department or per- 
son in the office that can possibly have any concern with 
it. It is minuted by each, and it gradually passes up by 
more or fewer official gradations to the Under-Secretary 
of State, who reads, or is supposed to read, all that has 
been written on the paper in its earlier stages, balances 
the perhaps conflicting views of different annotators, and, 



if the matter is too important for his own decision, sums 
lip in a minute of recommendation to the chief. The 
ultimate decision, however, is probably less affected by 
the Under-Secretary's minute than by the oral advice of 
a much more important personage, the Permanent Head 
of the office. 

It would be beyond my present scope to discuss the 
composition and powers of the permanent Civil Service, 
whose chiefs have been, at least since the days of Bage- 
hot, recognized as the real rulers of this country. In 
absolute knowledge of their business, in self-denying de- 
votion to duty, in ability, patience, courtesy, and readi- 
ness to help the fleeting Political Official, the permanent 
chiefs of the Civil Service are worthy of the highest 
honor. That they are conservative to the core is only 
to say that they are human. On being appointed to per- 
manent office the extremest theorists, like the bees in the 
famous epigram, " cease to hum " their revolutionary 
airs, and settle down into the profound conviction that 
things are well as they are. All the more remarkable is 
the entire equanimity with which the Permanent Official 
accepts the unpalatable decision of a chief who is strong 
enough to override him, and the absolute loyalty with 
which he will carry out a policy which he cordially dis- 

Much of a Minister's comfort and success depends 
upon his Private Secretary. Some Ministers import for 
this function a young gentleman of fashion whom they 
know at home — a picturesque butterfly who flits gayly 
through the dusty air of the office, making, by the splen- 
dor of his raiment, sunshine in its shady places, and 
daintily passing on the work to unrecognized and unre- 
warded clerks. But the better practice is to appoint as 
Private Secretary one of the permanent staff of the office. 
He supplies his chief with official information, hunts up 



necessary references, writes his letters, and interviews 
his bores. 

AVhen the late Lord Ampthill was a junior clerk in 
the Foreign Office, Lord Palmerston, then Foreign Sec- 
retary, introduced an innovation whereby, instead of be- 
ing solemnly summoned by a verbal message, the clerks 
were expected to answer his bell. Some haughty spirits 
rebelled against being treated like footmen, and tried to 
organize resistance ; but Odo Russell, as he then was, re- 
fused to join the rebellious movement, saying that what- 
ever method apprised him most quickly of Lord Pal- 
merston's wishes was the method which he preferred. 
The aggrieved clerks regarded him as a traitor to his or- 
der — but he died an ambassador. Trollope described the 
wounded feelings of a young clerk whose chief sent him 
to fetch his slippers ; and in our own day a Private Sec- 
retary, who had patiently taken tickets for the play for 
his chief's daughters, drew the line when he was told to 
take the chief's razors to be ground. But such assertions 
of independence are extremely rare, and as a rule the 
Private Secretary is the most cheerful and the most alert 
of ministering spirits. 

But it is time to return from this personal digression 
to the routine of the day's work. Among the most im- 
portant of the morning's duties is the preparation of 
answers to be given in the House of Commons, and it is 
often necessary to have answers ready by three o'clock 
to questions which have only appeared that morning on 
the notice-paper. The range of questions is infinite, and 
all the resources of the office are taxed in order to pre- 
pare answers at once accurate in fact and wise in policy, 
to pass them under the Minister's review, and to get them 
fairly copied out before the House meets. As a rule 
the Minister, knowing something of the temper of Par- 
liament, wishes to give a full, explicit, and intelligible 



answer, or even to go a little beyond the strict terms of 
the question if he sees what his interrogator is driving 
at. But this policy is abhorrent to the Permanent Offi- 
cial. The traditions of the Circumlocution Office are by 
no means dead, and the crime of " wanting to know, 
yon know," is one of the most heinous that the M.P. 
can commit. The answers, therefore, as prepared for 
the Minister are generally Jejune, often barely civil, some- 
times actually misleading. But the Minister, if he be a 
wise man, edits them into a more informing shape, and, 
after long and careful deliberation as to the probable 
effect of his words and the reception which they will 
have from his questioner, he sends the bundle of written 
answers away to be fair-copied and turns to his corre- 

And here the practice of Ministers varies exceedingly. 
Lord Salisbury writes almost everything with his own 
hand. Mr. Balfour dictates to a short-hand clerk. Most 
Ministers write a great deal by their Private Secretaries. 
Letters of any importance are usually transcribed into 
a copying-book. A Minister whom I knew used to burn 
the fragment of blotting-paper with which he had blotted 
his letter, and laid it down as an axiom that, if a con- 
stituent wrote and asked a member to vote for a partic- 
ular measure, the member should on no account give a 
more precise reply than, " I shall have great pleasure in 
voting in the sense you desire." For, as this expert ob- 
served with great truth, "unless the constituent has 
kept a copy of his letter — and the chances are twenty to 
one against that — there will be nothing to prove what 
the sense he desired was, and you will be perfectly safe 
in voting as you like." 

The letters received by a Minister are many, various, 
and surprising. Of course a great proportion of them 
relate to public business, and a considerable number to 



the affairs of his constituency. But, in addition to all 
this, lunatics, cranks, and impostors mark a Minister for 
their own, and their applications for loans, gifts, and 
offices of profit would exhaust the total patronage of the 
Crown and break the Bank of England. When the day's 
official papers have been dealt with, answers to questions 
settled, correspondence read, and the replies written or 
dictated, it is very likely time to go to a conference on 
some Bill with which the office is concerned. This con- 
ference will consist of the Minister in charge of the Bill, 
two or three of his colleagues who have special knowledge 
of the subject, the Permanent Officials, the Parliamentary 
draftsman, and perhaps one of the Law Officers. At the 
conference the amendments on the paper are carefully 
discussed, together with the objects for which they were 
presumably put down, their probable effect, their merits 
or demerits, and the best mode of meeting them. An 
hour soon passes in this kind of anticipatory debate, and 
the Minister is called away to receive a deputation. 

The scene is exactly like that which Matthew Arnold 
described at the Social Science Congress — the large bare 
room, dusty air, and jaded light, serried ranks of men 
with bald heads and women in spectacles ; the local 
M.P., like Mr. Gregsbury in Nicholas NicMehy, full of 
affability and importance, introducing the selected spokes- 
men — "Our worthy mayor"; ''Our leading employer of 
labor"; "Miss Twoshoes, a philanthropic worker in all 
good causes " — the Minister, profoundly ignorant of the 
whole subject, smiling blandly, or gazing earnestly from 
his padded chair ; the Permanent Official at his elbow mur- 
muring what the "practice of the department" has been, 
what his predecessor said on a similar occasion ten years 
ago, and why the object of the deputation is equally mis- 
chievous and impossible ; and the Minister finally ex- 
pressing sympathy and promising earnest consideration. 



Mr. Bright, though the laziest of mankind at official work, 
was the ideal hand at receiving deputations. Some Min- 
isters scold or snub or harangue, but he let them talk 
their full, listened patiently, smiled pleasantly, said 
very little, treated the subject with gravity or banter as 
its nature required, paid the introducing member a com- 
pliment on his assiduity and public spirit, and sent them 
all away on excellent terms with themselves and highly 
gratified by their intelligent and courteous reception. 

So far we have described our Minister's purely depart- 
mental duties. But perhaps the Cabinet meets at twelve, 
and at the Cabinet he must, to use Mr. Gladstone's 
phrase, " throw his mind into the common stock " with 
his fellow-Ministers, and take part in the discussions and 
decisions which govern the Empire. By two o'clock or 
thereabouts the Cabinet is over. The labors of the morn- 
ing are now beginning to tell, and exhausted nature rings 
her luncheon-bell. Here again men's habits widely differ. 
If our Minister has breakfasted late, he will go on till 
four or five, and then have tea and toast, and perhaps a 
poached egg ; but if he is an early man he craves for 
nutriment more substantial. He must not go out to 
luncheon at a friend's house, for he will be tempted to 
eat and drink too much, and absence from official terri- 
tory in the middle of the day has a bad look of idleness 
and self-indulgence. The dura ilia of the present Duke 
of Devonshire could always cope with a slice of the office- 
joint, a hunch of the office-bread, a glass of the office- 
sherry. But, as a rule, if a man cannot manage to get 
back to the family meal in South Kensington or Caven- 
dish Square, he turns into a club, has a cutlet and a glass 
of claret, and goes back to his office for another hour's 
work before going to the House. 

At 3.30 questions begin, and every Minister is in his 
place, unless, indeed, there is a Levee or a Drawing-room, 



when a certain number of Ministers, besides the great 
Ofl&cers of State, are expected to be present. The Min- 
ister lets himself into the House by a private door — of 
which Ministers alone have the key — at the back of the 
Chair. For an hour and a half, or perhaps longer, the 
storm of questions rages, and then the Minister, if he is 
in charge of the Bill under discussion, settles himself on 
the Treasury Bench to spend the remainder of the day 
in a hand-to-hand encounter with the banded forces of 
the Opposition, which will tax to their utmost his brain, 
nerve, and physical endurance. If, however, he is not 
directly concerned with the business, he goes out per- 
haps for a breath of air and a cup of tea on the Terrace, 
and then buries himself in his private room — generally a 
miserable little dog-hole in the basement of the House of 
Commons — where he finds a pile of office-boxes, contain- 
ing papers which must be read, minuted, and returned 
to the office with all convenient despatch. From these 
labors he is suddenly summoned by the shrill ting-ting 
of the division-bell and the raucous bellow of the police- 
man to take part in a division. He rushes upstairs two 
steps at a time, and squeezes himself into the House 
through the almost closed doors. " What are we ?" he 
shouts to the Whip. *'Ayes" or ''Noes" is the hurried 
answer ; and he stalks through the lobby to discharge 
this intelligent function, dives down to his room again, 
only, if the House is in Committee, to be dragged up 
again ten minutes afterwards for another repetition of 
the same farce, and so on indefinitely. 

It may be asked why a Minister should undergo all 
this worry of running up and down and in and out, 
laying down his work and taking it up again, dropping 
threads, and losing touch, and wasting time, all to give 
a purely party vote, settled for him by his colleague in 
charge of the Bill, on a subject with which he is per- 
z 353 


Bonally nnfamiliar. If the Government is in peril, of 
course every vote is wanted ; but, with a normal ma- 
jority, Ministers' votes might surely be " taken as read," 
and assumed to be given to the side to which they be- 
long. But the traditions of Government require Min- 
isters to vote. It is a point of honor for each man to be 
in as many divisions as possible. A record is kept of all 
the divisions of the session and of the week, and a list is 
sent round every Monday morning showing in how many 
each Minister has voted. 

The Whips, who must live and move and have their 
being in the House, naturally head the list, and their 
colleagues follow in a rather uncertain order. A Min- 
ister's place in this list is mainly governed by the ques- 
tion whether he dines at the House or not. If he dines 
away and " pairs," of course he does not in the least 
jeopardize his party or embarrass his colleagues, but 
''pairs "are not indicated in the list of divisions, and 
as divisions have an awkward knack of happening be- 
tween nine and ten, the habitual diner - out naturally 
sinks in the list. If he is a married man, the claims 
of the home are to a certain extent recognized by his 
Whirls; but woe to the bachelor who, with no domestic 
excuse, steals away for two hours' relaxation. The good 
Minister therefore stays at the House and dines there. 
Perhaps he is entertaining ladies in the crypt-like din- 
ing-rooms which look on the Terrace, and in that case 
the charms of society may neutralize the discomforts of 
the room and the unattractive character of the food. 
But if he dine upstairs at the Ministerial table, few in- 
deed are the alleviations of his lot. In the first place, he 
must dine with the colleagues with whom his whole 
waking life is passed — excellent fellows and capital com- 
pany — but nature demands an occasional enlargement of 
the mental horizon. Then, if by chance he has one 



special bugbear — a bore or an egotist, a man with dirty 
hands or a churlish temper — that man will inevitably 
come and sit down beside him and insist on being affec- 
tionate and fraternal. 

The room is very hot ; dinners have been going on in 
it for the last two hours ; the Kriirrj — the odor of roast 
meat, which the gods loved, but which most men dislike 
— pervades the atmosphere ; your next-door neighbor is 
eating a rather high grouse while you are at your apple- 
tart, or the perfumes of a deliquescent Camembert 
mingle with your coffee. As to beverages, you may, if 
you choose, follow the example of Lord Cross, who, when 
he was Sir Richard, drank beer in its native pewter ; or of 
Mr. Radcliffe Cooke, who tries to popularize cider ; or 
you may venture on that thickest, blackest, and most 
potent of vintages which a few years back still went by 
the name of " Mr. Disraeli's port." But as a rule these 
heroic draughts are eschewed by the modern Minister. 
Perhaps, if he is in good spirits after making a success- 
ful speech or fighting his Estimates through Committee, 
he will indulge himself with an imperial pint of cham- 
pagne ; but more often a whiskey -and -soda or a half- 
bottle of Zeltinger quenches his modest thirst. 

On "Wednesday and Saturday our Minister, if he is not 
out of London, probably dines at a large dinner-party. 
Once a session he must dine in full dress with the 
Speaker ; once he must dine at or give a full-dress din- 
ner " to celebrate Her Majesty's birthday." On the eve 
of the meeting of Parliament he must dine again in full 
dress with the Leader of the House, to hear the re- 
hearsal of the "gracious Speech from the Throne." 
But, as a rule, his fate on Wednesday and Saturday is a 
ceremonious banquet at a colleague's house, and a party 
strictly political — perhaps the Prime Minister as the 
main attraction, reinforced by Lord and Lady Deci- 



mns Tite - Barnacle, Mr. and Mrs. Stiltstalkiug, Sir 
John Taper, and young Mr. Tadpole. A political din- 
ner of thirty colleagues, male and female, in the dog- 
days is only a shade less intolerable than the greasy 
rations and mephitic vapors of the House of Commons 

At the political dinner, "shop" is the order of the day. 
Conversation turns on Brown's successful speech, Jones's 
palpable falling-off, Robinson's chance of office, the ex- 
planation of a recent by-election, or the prospects of an 
impending division. And, to fill the cup of boredom to 
the brim, the political dinner is usually followed by a po- 
litical evening-party. On Saturday the Minister proba- 
bly does two hours' work at his office and has some boxes 
sent to his house, but the afternoon he spends in cycling, 
or golfing, or riding, or boating, or he leaves London till 
Monday morning. On Wednesday he is at the House till 
six, and then escapes for a breath of air before dinner. 
But on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, as a 
rule, he is at the House from its meeting at three till it 
adjourns at any hour after midnight. After dinner he 
smokes and reads and tries to work in his room, and goes 
to sleep and wakes again, and towards midnight is un- 
naturally lively. Outsiders believe in the " twelve o'clock 
rule," but insiders know that, as a matter of fact, it is 
suspended as often as an Irish member in the '80 Parlia- 
ment. Whoever else slopes homewards, the Government 
must stay. Before now a Minister has been fetched out 
of his bed, to which he had surreptitiously retired, by a 
messenger in a hansom, and taken back to the House to 
defend his estimates at three in the morning. 

"There they sit with ranks unbroken, cheering on the fierce de- 
Till the sunrise lights them homeward as they tramp through 
Storey's Gate, 



Racked with headache, pale and haggard, worn by nights of end- 
less talk, 
While the early sparrows twitter all along the Birdcage Walk." 

Some ardent sonls there are who, if report speaks true, 
are not content with even this amount of exertion and 
excitement, but finish the night, or begin the day, with 
a rubber at the chib or even a turn at baccarat. How- 
ever, we are describing not choice spirits or chartered 
viveurs, but the blameless Minister, whose whole life dur- 
ing the Parliamentary session is the undeviating and con- 
scientious discharge of unexciting duty ; and he, when 
he lays his head upon his respectable pillow any time after 
1 A.M., may surely go to sleep in the comfortable con- 
sciousness that he has done a fair day's work for a not ex- 
orbitant remuneration. 



The diary from which these Eecollections have been 
gathered dates from my thirteenth year, and it has lately 
received some unexpected illustration. In turning out 
the contents of a neglected cupboard, I stumbled on an 
old photograph-book, which I filled when I was a boy 
at a Public School. That school has lately been de- 
scribed under the name of Lyonness, and the name will 
serve as well as another. The book had been mislaid 
years ago, and when it accidentally came to light a strange 
aroma of old times seemed still to hang about it. Inside 
and out it was reminiscent of a life which may still be 
going on — I never go to Lyonness now, and therefore I 
cannot tell — but which certainly existed once, and in 
which I bore my part. Externally the book bore mani- 
fest traces of a schoolboy's ownership, in broken corners, 
plentiful ink -stains; from exercises and punishments; 
droppings of illicit candle-grease, consumed long after 
curfew-time ; round marks like fairy-rings on a green- 
sward, which indicated the stand-point of extinct jam-pots 
— where are those jam-pots now ? But while the outside 
of the book spoke thus, as it were, by innuendo and sug- 
gestion, the inside seemed to shout with joyous laughter 
or chuckle with irreverent mirth ; or murmured, in tones 
lower perhaps, but certainly not less distinct, of things 
which were neither joyous nor amusing. 

The book had been carefully arranged. As I turned 
over the leaves there came back the memory of holiday 



evenings and the interested questionings of sisters over 
each new face or scene ; and the kind fingers which did 
the pastings-in ; and the care with which we made por- 
trait and landscape fit into and illustrate one another. 
And what memories, what impressions, strong and clear 
as yesterday's, clung to each succeeding view ! The spire 
— that "pinnacle perched on a precipice" — with its em- 
bosoming trees, as one had so often seen it from the 
North-Western Railway, while the finger of fate, pro- 
truding from the carriage window, pointed it out with 
— ''There's where you will go to school." And, years 
later, came the day when one travelled for the first 
time by a train which did not rush through Lyonness 
Station (then how small), but stopped there, and dis- 
gorged its crowd of boys and their confusion of lug- 
gage, and one's self among the rest, and one's father just 
as excited and anxious and eager as his son. 

A scurry for a seat on the omnibus or a tramp uphill, 
and we find ourselves abruptly in the village street. 
Then did each page as I turned it over bring some fresh 
recollections of one's unspeakable sense of newness and 
desolation ; the haunting fear of doing something ludi- 
crous ; the morbid dread of chaff and of being " greened," 
which even in my time had, happily, supplanted the old 
terrors of being tossed in a blanket or roasted at a fire. 
Even less, I venture to think, was one thrilled by the 
heroic ambitions, the magnificent visions of struggle and 
success, which stir the heroes of schoolboy-novels on the 
day of their arrival. 

Here was a view of the School Library, with its patch 
of greensward separating it from the dust and trafiic of 
the road. There was the Old School with its Fourth 
Form Room, of which one had heard so much that the 
actual sight of it made one half inclined to laugh and 
half to cry with surprise and disappointment. There 



was the twisting High Street, with its precipitons cause- 
way ; there was the faithful presentment of the fash- 
ionable "tuck-shop," with two boys standing in the 
road, and the leg of a third caught by the camera as he 
hurried past ; and, wandering through all these scenes 
in the album, as one had wandered through them in real 
life, I reached at last my boarding-house, then a place 
of mystery and wonderful expectations and untried ex- 
periences ; now full of memories, some bright, some sad, 
but all gathering enchantment from their retrospective 
distance ; and in every brick and beam and cupboard 
and corner as familiar as home itself. 

The next picture, a view of the School Bathing-place, 
carried me a stage onward in memory, to my first sum- 
mer-quarter. Two terms of school-life had inured one 
to a new existence, and one began to know the pleasures, 
as well as the pains, of a Public School. It was a time 
of cloudless skies, and abundant "strawberry mashes," 
and clolce far niente in that sweetly shaded pool, when 
the sky was at its bluest, and the air at its hottest, and 
the water at its most inviting temperature. 

And then the Old Speech-Eoom, so ugly, so incommo- 
dious, where we stood penned together like sheep for 
the slaughter, under the gallery, to hear our fate on the 
first morning of our school-life, and where, when he had 
made his way up the school, the budding scholar re- 
ceived his prize or declaimed his verses on Speech-day. 
That was the crowning day of the young orator's ambi- 
tion, where there was an arch of evergreens reared over 
the school gate, and Lyonness was all alive with car- 
riages, and relations, and grandees, 

"And, as Lear, he pour'd forth the deep imprecation, 
By his daughters of kingdom and reason deprived, 
Till, fired by loud plaudits and self-adulation. 
He regarded himself as a Garrick revived." 


Opposite the old Speech-Room was the interior of the 
Chapel, with its roof still echoing the thunder of the 
Parting Hymn ; and the pulpit, with its unforgotten 
pleadings for truthfulness and purity ; and the organ, 
still vocal with those glorious psalms. And, high over 
all, the churchyard hill, with its heaven-pointing spire, 
and the Poet's Tomb ; and, below, the incomparable ex- 
panse of pasture and woodland stretching right away to 
the " proud keep with its double belt of kindred and 
coeval towers/' 

"Still does yon bank its living hues unfold, 
With bloomy wealth of amethyst and gold ; 
How oft at eve we watched, while there we lay, 
The flaming sun lead down the dying day. 
Soothed by the breeze that wandered to and fro 
Through the glad foliage musically low. 
Still stands that tree, and rears its stately form 
In rugged strength, and mocks the winter storm ; 
There, while of slender shade and sapling growth, 
We carved our schoolboy names, a mutual troth. 
All, all, revives a bliss too bright to last. 
And every leaflet whispers of the past." 

And while the views of places were thus eloquent of 
the old days, assuredly not less so were the portraits. 
There was the revered presence of the Head Master in 
his silken robes, looking exactly as he did when 

" In studious ranks around, the listening throng 
Drank the deep wisdom of his learned tongue ; 
Nor guessed his love, but only feared his power : 
A friend for life — the terror of an hour." 

And there was the Mathematical Master — the Rev. 
Rhadamanthus Rhomboid — compared with whom his 
classical namesake was a lenient judge. An admirable 
example was old Mr. Rhomboid of a pedagogic type which, 
I am told, is passing away — precise, accurate, stern, 



solid ; knowing very little, but that little thoroughly ; 
never overlooking a slip, but seldom guilty of an injus- 
tice ; sternest and most unbending of prehistoric Tories, 
both in matters political and educational ; yet carrying 
concealed somewhere under the square-cut waistcoat a 
heart which knew how to sympathize with boy-flesh and 
the many ills which it is heir to. Good old Mr. Rhom- 
boid ! I wonder if he is still alive. 

Facing him in the album, and most appropriately con- 
trasted, was the portrait of a young master — the em- 
bodiment of all that Mr. Rhomboid most heartily 
loathed. We will call him Vivian Grey. Vivian Grey 
was an Oxford Double First of unusual brilliancy, and 
therefore found a special charm and a satisfying sense 
of being suitably employed in his duty at Lyonness, 
which was to instil ruTrrw and Phcednis into the five-and- 
thirty little wiseacres who constituted the lowest form. 
Over the heads of these sages his political and metaphy- 
sical utterances rolled like harmless thunder, for he was 
at once a transcendentalist in philosophy and a utilita- 
rian Radical of the purest dye. All of which mattered 
singularly little to his five - and - thirty disciples, but 
caused infinite commotion and annoyance to the Rhom- 
boids and Rhadamanthuses. Vivian Grey at Oxford had 
belonged to that school which has been described as pro- 
fessing " one Kant with aK, and many a cant with a c." 
At Lyonness he was currently supposed to have helped 
to break the railings of Hyde Park and to be a Head 
Centre of the Fenian Brotherhood. In personal appear- 
ance Mr. Grey was bearded like the pard — and in those 
days the scholastic order shaved — while his taste in dress 
made it likely that he was the '^Man in the Red Tie" 
whom we remember at the Oxford Commemoration some 
five-and-twenty years ago. In short, he was the very 
embodiment of all that was most abhorrent to the old 



traditions of the school - master's profession ; and pro- 
portionately great was the appositeness of a practical 
joke which was played me on my second or third morn- 
ing at Lyonness. I was told to go for my mathematical 
lesson to Mr. Rhomboid, who tenanted a room in the 
Old School. Next door to his room was Mr. Grey's, and 
I need not say that tlie first boy whom I asked for guid- 
ance playfully directed me to the wrong door. I enter, 
and the Third Form suspend their Phcedrus. " Please, 
sir, are you Mr. Rhomboid ?" I ask, amid unsmother- 
able laughter. Never shall I forget the indignant fe- 
rocity with which the professor of the new lights drove 
me from the room, nor the tranquil austerity with which 
Mr. Rhomboid, when I reached him, set me ''fifty lines" 
before he asked me my name. 

On the same page I find the portrait of two men who 
have before now figured in the world of school -fiction 
under the names of Rose and Gordon. Of Mr. Rose I 
will say no more than that he was an excellent school- 
master and a most true saint, and that to his influence 
and warnings many a man can, in the long retrospect, 
trace his escape from moral ruin. He died the death of 
the Just — ten years ago. Mr. Gordon is now a decorous 
Dean, but at Lyonness he was the most brilliant, the 
most irregular, and the most fascinating of teachers. He 
spoiled me for a whole quarter. I loved him for it then, 
and I thank him even now. 

These more distinguished portraits, of cabinet dimen- 
sions, were scattered up and down among the miscella- 
neous herd of cartes de visite. The art of Messrs. Hills 
and Saunders was denoted by the pretentious character 
of the chairs introduced — the ecclesiastical Glastonbury 
for masters, and velvet-backs studded with gilt nails for 
boys. The productions of the rival photographer were 
distinguished by a pillar of variegated marble, or possi- 



bly scagliola, on which the person portrayed leaned, bent, 
and propped himself in every phase of graceful discom- 
fort. The athletes and members of the School Eleven, 
dressed in appropriate flannel, were depicted as a rule 
with their arms crossed over the backs of chairs, and 
brought very much into focus, so as to display the mus- 
cular development in high relief. The more studious 
portion of the community, " with leaden eye that loved 
the ground,*' scanned small photograph-books with ab- 
sorbing interest ; while a group of editors, of whom I was 
one, were gathered round a small table, with pens, ink, 
and paper, the finger pressed on the forehead, and on the 
floor proofs of the journal which we edited — was it the 
Tyro or the Triumvirate? 

Among the athletes I instantly recognize Biceps Max., 
captain of the Cricket Eleven, and practically autocrat 
of my house — " Charity's" the house was called, in allu- 
sion to a prominent feature of my tutor's character. 
Well, at Charity's we did not think much of intellectual 
distinction in those days, and little recked that Biceps 
was '' unworthy to be classed" in the terminal examina- 
tion. We were much more concerned with the fact that 
he made the highest score at Lord's ; that we at Chari- 
ty's were absolutely under his thumb, in the most literal 
acceptation of that phrase ; that he beat us into mum- 
mies if we evaded cricket-fagging ; and that if we burned 
his toast he chastised us with a tea-tray. Where is Bi- 
ceps now, and what ? If he took Orders, I am sure he 
must be a Muscular Christian of the most aggressive 
type. If he is an Old Bailey barrister, I pity the timid 
witness whom he cross-examines. Why do I never meet 
him at the club or in society ? It would be a refreshing 
novelty to sit at dinner opposite a man who corrected 
your juvenile shortcomings with a tea-tray ! Would he 
attempt it again if I contradicted him in conversation, 



or confuted him in argument, or capped his best story 
with a better ? 

Next comes Longbow — Old Longbow, as we called him, 
I suppose as a term of endearment, for there was no 
young Longbow. He was an Irishman, and the estab- 
lished wit, buffoon, or jester of the school. Innumera- 
ble stories are still told of his youthful escapades, of his 
audacity and skill in cribbing, of his dexterity in getting 
out of scrapes, of his repartees to masters and persons in 
authority. He it was who took up the same exercise in 
algebra to Mr. Rhomboid all the time he was in the Sixth 
Form, and obtained marks, ostensibly for a French exer- 
cise, with a composition called De camelo qualis sit. He 
alone of created boys could joke in the rarefied air of the 
Head Master's schoolroom, and had power to "chase 
away the passing frown'' with some audacious witticism 
for which an English boy would have been punished. 
Longbow was ploughed three times at Oxford, and once 
rusticated. But he is now the very orthodox vicar of a 
West-end parish, a centre of moral good, and a pattern 
of ecclesiastical propriety. Then, leaving these heroic 
figures and coming to my own contemporaries, I discern 
little Paley, esteemed a prodigy of parts — Paley, who 
won an Entrance Scholarship while still in knickerbock- 
ers ; Paley, who ran up the school faster than any boy 
on record ; Paley, who was popularly supposed never to 
have been turned in a " rep " or to have made a false 
quantity ; Paley, for whom his tutor and the whole mag- 
isterial body were never tired of predicting a miraculous 
success in after life. Poor Paley ! He is at this moment 
languishing in the Temple, consoling himself for pro- 
fessional failure by contemplating the largest extant col- 
lection of Lyonness prize-books. I knew Paley, as boys 
say, "at home," and when he had been a few years at 
the Bar, I asked his mother if he had got any briefs yet. 



** Yes," slie answered, with maternal pride; ''he has 
been very lucky in that way." "And has he got a ver- 
dict ?" I asked. " Oh no," replied the simple soul ; 
"we don't aspire to anything so grand as that." 

Next to Paley in my book is Roderick Random, the 
cricketer. Dear Random, my contemporary, my form- 
fellow and house-fellow ; partaker with me in the igno- 
miny of Biceps's tea-tray and the tedium of Mr. Rhom- 
boid's jsroblems ; my sympathetic companion in every 
amusement, and the pleasant drag on every intellectual 
effort — Random, who never knew a lesson, nor could, 
answer a question ; who never could get up in time for 
the First School nor lay his hand on his own Virgil — 
Random, who spent more of his half-holidays in Extra 
School than any boy of his day, and had acquired by 
long practice the power of writing the "record" num- 
ber of lines in an hour ; who never told a lie, nor bullied 
a weaker boy, nor dropped an unkind jest, nor uttered 
a shameful word — Random, for whom every one in au- 
thority predicted ruin, speedy and inevitable ; who is, 
therefore, the best of landlords and the most popular of 
country gentlemen ; who was the most promising officer 
in the Guards till duty called him elsewhere, and at the 
last election came in at the top of the poll for his native 

Then what shall we say for Lucian Gay, whose bright 
eyes and curly hair greet me on the same page, with the 
attractive charm which won me when we stood together 
under the Speech-room gallery on the first morning of 
our school-life ? Gay was often at the top of his form, 
yet sometimes near the bottom ; wrote, apparently by 
inspiration, the most brilliant verses ; and never could 
put two and two together in Mr. Rhomboid's schoolroom. 
He had the most astonishing memory on record, and an 
inventive faculty which often did him even better ser- 



vice. He was the sonl of every intellectual enterprise 
in the scliool, the best speaker at the Debating Society ; 
the best performer on Speech-day ; who knew nothing 
about ye and less about /xtV and St ; who composed satiri- 
cal choruses when he should have been taking notes on 
Tacitus ; edited a School Journal with surprising brill- 
iancy ; failed to conjugate the verbs in fxi during hi is 
last fortnight in the school ; and won the Balliol Scholar- 
ship when he was seventeen. I trust, if this meets his 
eye, he will accept it as a tribute of affectionate recol- 
lection from one who worked with him, idled with him, 
and joked with him for five happy years. 

Under another face, marked by a more spiritual grace, 
I find written Requiescat. None who ever knew them 
will forget that bright and pure beauty, those eyes of 
strange, supernatural light, that voice which thrilled 
and vibrated with an unearthly charm. All who were 
his contemporaries remember that dauntless courage, 
that heroic virtue, that stainless purity of thought and 
speech, before which all evil things seemed to shrink 
away abashed. We remember how the outward beauty 
of body seemed only the visible symbol of a goodness 
which dwelt within, and how moral and intellectual ex- 
cellence grew up together, blending into a perfect whole. 
We remember the School Concert, and the enchanting 
voice, and the words of the song which afterwards 
sounded like a warning prophecy, and the last walk 
together in the gloaming of a June holiday, and the 
loving, thrilling companionship, and the tender talk of 
home. And then for a day or two we missed the ac- 
customed presence, and dimly caught a word of dan- 
gerous illness ; and then came the agony of the parting 
scene, and the clear, hard, pitiless school-bell, cutting on 
our hearts the sense of an irreparable loss, as it thrilled 
through the sultry darkness of the summer night. 



Here I shut the book. And with the memories which 
that picture called up I may well bring these Recol- 
lections to a close. It is something to remember, amid 
the bustle and bitterness of active life, that one once 
had youth, and hope, and eagerness, and large oppor- 
tunities, and generous friends. A tender and regretful 
sentiment seems to cling to the very walls and trees 
among which one cherished such bright ambitions and 
felt the passionate sympathy of such loving hearts. 
The innocence and the confidence of boyhood pass 
away soon enough, and thrice happy is he who has 
contrived to keep " the young lamb's heart among the 
full-grown flocks." 

" O'er twenty leagues of morning dew, 

Across the cheery breezes, 
Can fairies fail to whisper true 

What youth and fancy pleases ? 
As strength decays with after days, 

And eyes have ceased to glisten. 
Those souls alone, not older grown. 

Will have the ears to listen. 
Keep youth a guest of heart and breast. 

And though the hair be whiter — 
Ho ho ! ba ha ! Tra la la la ! 

You hear them all the brighter 1" 


Abkrcorn, first Marquis of, 67, 68. 

Acton, Lord, 154. 

Albemarle, sixth Earl of, 7 ; fifth 

Earl of, 18. 
Albert, Prince Consort, 92, 202, 

205, 213, 321. 
Albert Edward, Prince of Wales 

(see Wales). 
Alvanley, Lord, 126, 176, 240. 
Ampthill, Lord, 226-228, 349. 
Appleton, Thomas, 181. 
Apponyi, Madame, 182. 
Arbuthnot, Mrs., 17. 
Argyll, Duke and Duchess of, 69. 
Arnold, Matthew, 48, 120, 126, 136, 

160, 168, 191, 220, 224, 262, 

351; Dr., 68. 
Atholl, Duke and Duchess of, 69. 
Aytoun, Professor W. E., 268. 

Balfour, A. J., 148-149, 342, 343, 
350; G. W., 172. 

Barham, R. H. (Thomas Ingolds- 
by), 189. 

Bathurst, fifth Earl, 8, 4, 67. 

Battenberg, Prince Alexander of, 

Bayly, Thomas HajTies, 270. 

Beaconsfield, Earl of, chap, xxiii., 
1, 26, 30, 47, 50, 52, 69, 72, 
94, 114, 117, 120, 126, 128, 
136, 137, 140, 141, 144-145, 
153, 159, 161, 173, 177, 185, 
189, 190, 192, 194, 197, 199, 
226, 228-229, 233, 234, 285, 
327, 331, 339, 555; Viscount- 
ess, 1, 224. 

Bedford, Anna Maria, Duchess of, 
79; fifth Duke of, 56; Ger- 
trude, Duchess of, 54; sixth 
Duke of, 3, 16. 

Benson, Dr., Archbishop of Can- 
terbury, 163. 

Benson, Harry, 313. 

Berkeley, fifth Earl of, 4. 

Berry, the Misses, 76. 

Birrell, Augustine, 155-156, 253. 

Bismarck, Count Herbert, 186, 218. 

Blessington, Countess of, 182. 

Blomfield, Dr., Bishop of London, 

Bolles, Dame Maria, 194. 

Bolton, Duchess of 87. 

Bond, Thomas and Mary, 238. 

Boswell, 254. 

Bowen, Lord, 127, 130, 178. 

Braddon, Miss, 195. 

Bradlaugh, Charles, 6, 327. 

Bradley, Sarah, 205. 

Bright, John, 26, 160, 338, 341, 

Brookfield, Rev. W. H., 142, 165- 

Brougham, Lord, 111-112, 114, 138. 

Broughton, Miss, 319. 

Brown, John, 234. 

Browne, Dr., Bishop of Ely, 314. 

Browning, Robert, 127, 131-132, 
141, 279. 

Brownrigg, Mrs., 263. 

Brummell, Beau, 175. • 

Buckinghamshire, Albinia, Countesa 
of, 4, 68. 

Bull, Bishop, chap, i., 294. 




Burdett, Sir Francis, 6, 14, 115. 

Burgon, Dean, 235, 266, 293. 

Burke, Sir Bernard, 193, 195; Ed- 
mund, 28, 56, 73, 15, 77, 96- 
97, 108-109, 113, 117, 148, 

Bury, Lady Charlotte, 213. 

Butler, Dr., 231 ; Bishop, of Lich- 
field, 278. 

Byng, George, 115. 

Byron, Lord, 3, 100, 196, 326. 

Calverley, C. S., 270, 272, 290. 

Cambridge, Adolphus, Duke of, 212 ; 
Duchess of, 216. 

Canning, George, 16, 112, 115, 123, 

Canterbury, Archbishops Benson, 
Cornwallis, Howley, Tait, and 
Temple, of {see those headings). 

Carlyle, Thomas, 48, 313. 

Carrington, first Lord, 58, 192. 

" Carroll, Lewis," 274, 282. 

Chamberlain, Joseph, 343. 

Charles I., 155, 222; IL, 5. 

Chatham, William Pitt, Earl of, 73, 

Child, Miss, 87. 

Chitty, Mr. Justice, 128. 

Church, R. W., Dean of St. Paul's, 

Churchill, Lord Randolph, 222. 

Clarence, Edward, Duke of, 204- 
205 ; William, Duke of, 212. 

Cleveland, Caroline, Duchess of, 4. 

Cobbett, William, 252. 

Cobden, F. C, 326 ; Richard, 26, 

Cockburn, Sir Alexander, 152. 

"Coke of Norfolk," first Earl of 
Leicester, 101. 

Coleridge, Lord, 109, 124, 127, 129- 
130, 180; Sir J. T., 62. 

Collins, Mabel, 168. 

Combermere, Viscount, 17; Viscount- 
ess, 307. 

Connaught, Duke of, 214; Prince 
Arthur of, 215. 

Cornwallis, Dr., Archbishop of Can- 
terbury, 60. 

Corsica, Theodore, King of, 239. 
Cowper - Temple, W. F. (Lord 

Mount- Temple), 10, 50, 68. 
Coxe, Rev. H. 0., 235. 
Croker, J. W., 94. 
Cross, Viscount, 197, 300, 355. 
Cumberland, Ernest, Duke of, 7, 

76, 100, 104, 173, 202, 212; 

Henry Frederick, Duke of, 55. 
Cuyler, Miss, 101. 

De Courcelles, Rev. J. H., 249. 
Delane, J. T., 142, 177. 
Denison, Archdeacon, 89, 335. 
Derby, Earl of, 28, 120-121, 126, 

190 ; late Earl of, 78. 
De Ros, Lord, 81, 105. 
Devonshire, Duke of, 352. 
Dickens, Charles, 257, 265, 319. 
Disraeli {see Beaconsfield). 
Dopping, Colonel, 325. 
D'Orsay, Count Alfred, 44. 
Dowse, Sergeant, 181. 
Dublin, Archbishops Plunket, 

Trench, and Whately, of {see 

those headings). 
Duckworth, Rev. Dr., 170, 330. 
Dufferin, Marquis of, 311-312,415- 

416; Countess of, 306. 
Duncombe, Thomas, 257. 
Duudas, Sir David, 264. 

Eldon, Earl of, 15. 

Elliot, Dr., Dean of Bristol, 161. 

Ely, I3ishops Browne, Sparke, Tur- 

ton, and Woodford, of {see those 

Erne, Earl and Countess, 180. 
Erskine, Lord, 97, 111, 117. 
Evarts, Jeremiah, 181. 
Exeter, Dr. Philpotts, Bishop of, 183. 
Eyton, Rev. Robert, 170 

Fa'r^ener, Dame Harriot, 236. 
Fitzgerald, Lady Edward, 3. 
Fitz Herbert, Mrs., 55. 
Fitzwilliam, fourth Earl, 293. 
Forster, W. E., 120, 286, 287. 
Fox, C. J., 7, 10, 66, 97-100, 103, 
110-111, 115-116, 145. 



Frederick, The Emperor, 242; The 
Empress (Princess Roval), 242, 

Freeman, Professor E. A., 179. 

Frere, Sir Bartle, 280. 

Froude, J. A., 218, 286. 

Furse, Archdeacon, 170. 

Gambetta, 287. 

Gathorne Hardy (Earl of Cran- 
brook), 179. 

George IV. {see under Kings). 

Gladstone, W. E., 2, 14, 26, 34, 38, 
56, 64, 76, 84, 104, 108, 113, 
123-125, 128, 139-141, 148, 
151, 155, 167, 170, 186, 187, 
190, 203, 220, 235, 254, 255, 
257, 299, 325, 327-328, 334, 
340, 342, 345-346, 352. 

Glasse, Hannah, 71. 

Gloucester, Duke of (" Silly Billy "), 

Golightly, Rev. C. P., 237, 238. 

Gore, Rev. Charles, 170. 

Goschen, G. J., 151-152, 155. 

Gower, Earl, 143. 

Graham, Henry, 290. 

Grain, Corney, 284, 297. 

Granville, second Earl, 127, 177. 

Grattan, Henry, 112. 

Grenville, Thomas, 56. 

Greville, Charles, 176, 213. 

Grey, Earl, 97, 104, 114; Colonel 
Charles, 185 ; Lady Georgiana, 
7, 106. 

Guthrie, Anstey, 294. 

Haig-Erown, Dr., 179. 

Hamilton, Lady Anne, 213 ; Cecil, 
68 ; Emma, Lady, 5. 

Hampden, first Viscount, 191 ; Dr., 
Bishop of Hereford, 14, 213, 

Hankey, Thomson, 77 ; Mrs. Thom- 
son, 6. 

Hanover, Ernest, King of, 173. 

Harcourt, Lady Aime, 62, 144; Ed- 
ward, Archbishop of York, 62, 
144 ; Sir William Vernon, 142- 

Harness, Rev. William, 167. 

Harte, Bret, 256. 

Hawkins, Edward, D.D., 238. 

Uayward, Abraham, 126, 182, 199, 

Healy, Timothy, 179. 

Heath, Baron, 3. 

Hertford, first Marquis of, 53 ; third 
Marquis of, 50. 

Hilton, A. C, 281. 

Hoare, Mrs., 6 ; Sir Henry, 6. 

Holland, Sir Henry, M.D., 2 ; Rev. 
H. S., 170; Lord, 10, 16, 138, 
176, 342; Lady, 16, 176. 

Hook, Dean, 256. 

Hope, A. J. B. Beresford, 143. 

Hope-Scott, J. R., 38. 

Houghton, Lord, chap, v., 77, 126, 
158, 192, 221, 337, 342. 

Howley, Dr., Archbishop of Can- 
terbury, 56, 59-60, 61, 77. 

Hugo, Victor, 287. 

Hume, David, 193. 

Huntingdon, Selina, Countess of, 
57, 60, 68, 86. 

" Ingoldsby, Thomas " (R. H. Bar- 
ham), 189. 
Inverness, Duchess of, 13. 
Irving, Sir Henry, 167, 299. 

" J., Miss," 336-337. 
Jenkins, Edward, 257. 
Jersey, Countess of, 177. 
Jessopp, Dr., 318. 

Johnson, Dr., 70, 170, 189, 263-264. 
Jowett, Rev. Benjamin, 171, 178, 

Keble, John, 46, 60. 

Kent, Duchess of, 17, 201. 

Keppel, Admiral, 102. 

Kidd, Dr., 225. 

Kings, Ernest of Hanover, 173 ; 

George IV., 78, 105, 211-212; 

Theodore of Corsica, 239. 
Kingsley, Rev. Charles, 172; Henry, 

Kipling, Rudyard, 290. 
Kitchener, Dr., 71, 79. 



Knox, Alexander, 91. 
Kmitsford, Viscount, 2. 
Kurr, William, 413. 

LAitoucnEKE, Henry, 153-154. 

La Fai, I'Abb^ de, 54. 

Lang, Andrew, 270, 285. 

Lansdowne, Marquis of, 06, 138. 

Law, Rev. William, 86. 

Lawson, Sir Wilfrid, 192. 

Lear, Edward, 283. 

Lecky, W. E. H., 84, 85, 94. 

Leecii, John, 10, 320-321, 325; Miss, 

Leicester, Earl of ("Coke of Nor- 
folk "), 101. 

Lennox, Lady Louisa, 7, 57. 

Leo XIIL, 42, 186. 

Lever, Samuel, 265. 

Liddell, H. G., Dean of Christ 
Church, 162. 

Liddon, Dr., 60, 163, 295 305-306. 

Lightfoot, Dr., Bishop of Durham, 

Lily, Mrs., 214. 

Lincoln, Abraham, 309. 

Lind, Jenny, 165-166, 170. 

London, Dr. Blomfield, Bishop of, 61. 

Lowell, 127, 132-133, 306. 

Lowther, Caroline (Duchess of Cleve- 
land), 4. 

Luttrell, Henry, 15, 126, 176. 

Lyndhurst, Lady, 2; Lord, 2, 119. 

Lyttelton, Sarah, Lady, 213. 

Lytton, Lord, 12, 118, 120-121, 177, 

Macaulay, Lord, 15, 46, 77, 78, 
108-109, 126, 138, 146, 159, 
176, 231, 264, 272, 342. 

M'Carthy, Justin, 341. 

MacColI, Rev. Malcolm, 155, 167. 

Mackintosh, Sir James, 109, 126, 
129, 138, 176, 257. 

Macleod, Rev. Norman, 302. 

Mallock, W. H., 171, 221, 256. 

Manners, Lord John (Duke of Rut- 
land), 266-267. 

Manning, H. E., Cardinal, chap, iv., 

Marlborough, third Duke of, 20; 

fourth Duke of, 22. 
Marriott, Rev. Charles, 184. 
Marsh, Dr., Bishop of Peterborough, 

Marten, Henry, 263. 
Martin, Sir Theodore, 213, 268. 
Maude, Capt. Francis, 5. 
Maxse, Lady Caroline, 5. 
Melbourne," Viscount, 23, 58, 76, 

138, 176, 196, 203, 345. 
Merry, Rev. W. W., 271. 
Milnes, R. M. {see Lord Houghton). 
"Miss J.," 336. 

Monk, Dr., Bishop of Gloucester, 61. 
Montefiore, Sir Moses, 5. 
Montgomery, Miss, 319 ; Robert, 159, 

Moore, Thomas, 10, 108, 121, 178, 

More, Hannah, 86, 88, 91. 
Morley, John, 109, 147; Countess 

of, 177. 
Morris, Lord, 179. 
Motley, J. L., 181. 
Mount-Temple, Lord, 50, 58. 
Miinster, Count Herbert, 218. 

Napoleon L, 9, 10, 14, 99 ; IIL, 182, 

Newman, Cardinal, 41-42. 
Northumberland, Duke and Duchess 

of, 69. 
Norton, Mrs., 18, 336. 

Oaks Widows, the, 204-205. 
O'Coighley, J., 176. 
O'Connell, Daniel, 118-119, 264. 
" Old Q," 70. 
Orleans, Duke of, 54. 
Osborne, Bernal, 226, 306. 
O'Sullivan, W. H., 179. 

Palmerston, Viscount, 2, 23, 27, 45, 
122-123, 192, 349; Viscountess, 

" Pamela," 3. 

Parke, Sir James (Lord Wensley- 
dale), 264. 

Parker, Lady, 64. 



Paniell, C. S., 287. 

I'aiT, Dr., 4, 13, 1*76. 

Pater, Walter, 310. 

Payn, James, 292. 

Peel, Sir Rol)ert (father), 24, 117- 
118, 139, 220, 206 ; (son), 127- 

Pembroke, Countess of, 9-10 ; Earl 
of, 76. 

Philpotts, Dr., Bishop of Exeter, 

Pigott, Miss, 55. 

Pitt, William (see Chatham); Will- 
iam (younger), 46, 69, 72, 96, 
98-99, 102, 103, 108-112, 114, 
123, 192, 340. 

Piris IX., 41-43, 186. 

Plunket, Lord Chancellor, 113. 

Pollock, Sir Frederick, 279. 

Popes, Leo Xjn.,42, 186; Pius IX., 
41-43, 186. 

Port, Thomas, 239. 

Prince Regent, 78, 105. 

Princess Royal, 242, 322. 

Procter, Mrs., 3. 

" Q," 290. 

Queen Victoria, chap, xxi.,6, 10, 17. 
18, 23, 92, 104, 139-140, 160, 
178, 184, 210, 212, 213-214, 
217, 233, 234, 260, 261, 304, 

Queensberry, Duke of (" Old Q."), 

Raikes, H. C, 260-262. 

Raphoe, Dr. Twysden, Bishop of, 82. 

Rawlinson, Sir Robert, 92. 

Reynolds, Sir Joshua, 20. 

Rhoades, James, 279. 

Richmond, Rev. Legh, 91 ; Duchess 

of, 57. 
Ridding, Dr., Bishop of Southwell, 

248 ; Lady Laura, 248. 
Robinson, Rev. Thomas, 91. 
Rochester, Dr. Thorold, Bishop of 

{see Thorold). 
Rogers, Samuel, 15, 126, 176, 232, 

' 342; Professor Thorold, 178. 
Rosebery, Earl of, 88, 150-151, 343. 

RoBsetti, D. G., 279. 
Rowton, Lord, 218. 
Ruskin, John, 147, 208-209, 230. 
Russell, Lord Charles, 7, 211 ; Lord 
John (sixtli Duke of Bedford), 

3, 16 ; Lord John (first Earl 
Russell), chap, ii., 3, 28, 100, 
113, 114, 121-122, 143, 190, 
214, 337; Odo (Lord Ampthill), 
226-228, 349; Lord William, 
3 ; William, 68 ; Lord Wriothes- 
ley, 314. 

Rutland, Duke of, 266-267. 

St. AtTBTN, Sir John, 250 ; Matilda 

Chrvsogoria, 249 ; Rev. W. J., 

St. Leger, J. H., 54. 
Salisbury, Marquis of, 33, 147-149, 

155, 167, 189, 218, 312, 340, 

343, 350. 
Sawbridge, Mrs., 87. 
Scott, John (Earl of Eldon), 15-16; 

Rev. Thomas, 86 ; Sir Walter, 

4, 7, 10, 75; William (Lord 
Stowell), 16-16. 

Seaman, Owen, 290. 

Seeley, Sir John, 172. 

Sellon, Miss, 323. 

Seymour, Lady Robert, 2 ; Sir Ham- 
ilton, 4, 82 ; Jane Sheridan, 
Lailv, 175, 331-333 ; Lord Rob- 
ert, "53, 73, 86, 103, 108. 

Shaftesbury, sixth Earl of, 20, 85; 
seventh Earl of, chap, iii., 81, 
89, 212; Countess of, 22. 

Shaw-Lefevre, Charles (Viscount 
Eversley), 110. 

Shell, R. L., 119. 

Sheppard, Thomas, 67. 

Sherbrooke, Viscount, 152, 178, 185. 

Sheridan, Jane (Lady Seymour, 
Duchess of Somerset), 175, 331- 
333; R. B., 97, 111, 145, 309. 

Short, Thomas, 266. 

Shorthouse, J. II., 80. 

Shuckburgh, Lady, 331-333. 

Sibthorpe, Colonel, 264. 

Siddons, Mrs., 10, 108. 

Sidney, Sir Philip, 197. 



"Silly Billv," 174. 

Smith, Eliza, 8 ; Goldwin, 212; Pro- 
fessor Henry, 178-179; Horace, 
8 ; Robert (Lord Carringtoii), 
192; Sydney, 11, 57, 59, 62, 76, 
126, 129, 138, 145, 168, 159, 
162, 170, 206, 337. 

Somerset, Duchess of, 175, 331-333. 

Southey, Robert, 263. 

Southwell, Dr. Ridding, Bishop of, 
246, 300. 

Sparke, Dr., Bishop of Ely, 62. 

Spencer, Rev. George, 157, 158; Earl, 

Btaol, Madame de, 91, 168. 

Stanhope, Earl, 96. 

Stanley, Dean, 122, 160-161,266, 

Stephen, J. K., 287. 

Sterling, John, 46. 

Stirling, Sir Walter, 6. 

Stowell, Lord, 15-16. 

Stuart, Lady Louisa, 4; Prince 
Charles Edward, 7. 

Sturgis, Julian, 181. 

Sumner, Dr., Bishop of Winchester, 
61, 63. 

Sussex, Duke of, 100, 212. 

Sutherland, Duchess of, 12. 

Swinburne, A. C, 279. 

Tait, Dr., Archbishop of Canterbury, 

162, 168, 217. 
Talleyrand, Prince, 66. 
Talmash, Lady Bridget, 87. 
Temple, Dr., Archbishop of Canter- 
bury, 60, 155. 
Tennyson, Lord, 46, 145, 165, 267, 

273, 277, 279, 285. 
Thackeray, W. M., 50, 90, 94, 144, 

158, 186, 189, 213, 214, 247, 

257, 267. 
Thatcher, Thomas, 240. 
Theodore, King of Corsica, 239. 
Thirl wall, Dr., Bishop of St. David's, 

Thistlewood, Arthur, 105. 
Thompson, Dr. (Master of Trinity), 

Thomson, Archbishop, 162. 

Thorold, Dr., Bishop of Winchester, 

249, 327, 329, 333, 337; Sir 

John, 249. 
Tighc, Lad^ Louisa, 7, 57 ; Mr., 57, 

Tollemache, Lionel, 171. 
Townsend, Lord John, 103. 
Trench, Dr., Archbishop of Dublin, 

Trevelyan, Sir George, 51, 92, 142, 

146, 229, 268-269. 
TroUope, Anthony, 349. 
Turton, Dr., Bishop of Ely, 314. 
Twysden, Dr., Bishop of Raphoe, 82. 
Tyndall, Professor, 278. 

Vandeleur, Colonel, 264. 

Vaneck, Mrs. and Miss, 54. 

Van Mildert, Dr., Bishop of Durham, 

Vaughan, Dean, 162, 230, 231. 
Venn, Henry, 86. 
Verner, Colonel, 264. 
Victoria, Her Majesty, Queen (see 

under Queen) ; Princess Royal, 

242, 322. 
Villiers, C. P., 106, 137-139. 

Waldegrave, Frances, Countess, 

Wales, Albert Edward, Prince of, 

33, 205, 215, 322; Alexandra, 

Princess of, 205, 224 ; George, 

Prince of, 53-54. 
Walpole, Horace, 70, 76. 
Watson, William, 290. 
Wellington, Duke of, 7, 10, 16-18, 

67, 76, 105-106, 119, 139, 214, 

Wensleydale, Lord, 264. 
Wesley, Rev. Charles, 57, 86 ; Rev. 

John, 57, 86. 
West, Sir Algernon, 155. 
Westbury, Lord, 184. 
Westcott, Dr., Bishop of Durham, 

Westmoreland, Countess of, 54. 
Whately, Dr., Archbishop of Dublin, 

Whewell, Dr., 46. 



Whichcote, Sir Thomas, 7. 

White, Rev. Henry, 167. 

Whitefield, Rev. George, 57, 69, 86. 

Wilberforce, Rev. Basil, 169; Sam- 
uel, Bishop, 2, 26, 46, 48, 91, 
126, 148, 159, 160, 183-184, 213, 
302; William, 67, 86, 88, 168. 

Wilkes, John, 145. 

Winchester, Bishops Sumner, 
Tiiorold, and Wilberforce, of, 
(see those headings). 

Woodford, Dr., Bishop of Ely, 62, 

63, 307. 
Woods, Dr., 172. 
Wordsworth, William, 80, 136, 

Wyke, Sir Charles, 173. 

York, Edward Harcourt, Archbish- 
op of, 62, 144 ; Frederick, 
Duke of, 212. 

Young, Arthur, 58. 






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