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DISRAELI AND HIS DAY. 



DISRAELI AND HIS DAY 



SIR WILLIAM ERASER, BARONET 

M.A. CHRIST CHURCH, OXFORD 
AUTHOR OF "WORDS ON WELLINGTON" 




SECOND EDITION 

LONDON 

KEGAN PAUL, TRENCH, TRUBNER, & CO., Lx? 
1891 



The rights ot translation ana of reproduction are reserved. 



DISRAELI. 

E OF THE FIRST questions that I put 
to Disraeli was "Which Passion gives Plea- 
sure the latest? The conventional idea is, of 
course, Avarice." He replied, " No ! Revenge. A 
man will enjoy that when even Avarice has ceased 
to please." Yet no one preached more persistently 
the Prudence of Forgiveness ; nor practised it more 
systematically. 

DISRAELI WAS A strong illustration of the ab- 
surdity of the Theory that Imagination and Judg- 
ment are not found in the same individual. Bril- 
liant as was the former quality ; thoroughly sound in 
him was the latter. On three occasions he con- 
ducted very complicated affairs to a wise termina- 
tion. In the first, the son of an old and most 
valued friend had committed a most serious offence 
in relation to money. Among others he had forged 

A 



2 DISRAELI. 

his mother's name. I know that Disraeli under- 
took to save the wretched man, so far as it was 
possible. A criminal prosecution was avoided : and 
although he died a banished man, in a foreign 
and dismal country, no absolutely public scandal 
occurred. Travelling some years ago I stopped a 
day or two at S l Sebastian, in the north-east corner 
of Spain. Noticing on the door-posts of my bed- 
room some black seals bearing the British coat-of- 
arms I asked the reason. The landlord told me 
that an English gentleman had died there a week 
before : and that the British Vice-Consul had sealed 
up the door of the room which contained the dead 
man's little property. He did not remember the 
name; but showed it to me in the book; and said 
that the gentleman had come over for a few days' 
diversion from Bilbao. I found that it was the name 
of the miserable exile, whom I recollect among 
the handsomest and smartest men in London 
Society. 

In the second case Disraeli undertook to arrange 
so far as was possible the complicated and disas- 
trous condition of affairs in relation to the property 
of Lord S., who had from imprudence, and having 
been the dupe of several impostors, become very 



DISRAELI. 3 

much reduced in circumstances. Nothing could be 
more generous than the pains which he took; and 
nothing more prudent than the arrangements. At 
one of the many interviews relating to the busi- 
ness, a Solicitor of eminence, employed in the 
case, took Disraeli apart, and, intending to astonish 
him by his own exceptional astuteness, whispered 
to him in relation to a gentleman in the room, 

"I cannot help thinking, Sir, that M r has 

at some time or other raised money for Lord 
S." Disraeli calmly looked at him : and per- 
fectly unimpressed, said, "So I assumed from the 
first ! " 

The third case was, if possible, more serious than 
the first; it was of a character that cannot here 
be described : but the leading fact was that a lady 
absolutely refused to continue to cohabit with her 
husband. Both were persons by birth of high rank ; 
and it was in every way desirable to avoid publicity. 
Disraeli most kindly undertook to arrange matters 
privately : so far from yielding to any sentimental 
feeling, he gave his decision in strict and peremp- 
tory terms ; one being that the couple should never 
live together again. From some motive, notwith- 
standing this wise decision, the matter was brought 



4 DISRAELI. 

into Court ; but was tried in camera. The de- 
cision of the Judge was exactly and precisely 
the decision which Disraeli had come to. I 
should say that a more practical - minded man 
never existed. So far as regards his Imagina- 
tion, his writings of Fiction are copious testi- 
monials. 

ON ONE OCCASION Disraeli was carrying the 
House of Commons with him. M r K. H., now 
Lord B., at that time a Whig, was seated behind 
Lord John Russell : of course on the opposite side 
of the House to the orator. Roused to involuntary 
enthusiasm by Disraeli's eloquence, he cheered. 
Lord John leaned back, and said to his supporter 
in his very dry voice, " Don't do that ! " After 
Disraeli had finished his speech M r K. H. said to 
Lord John, " I could not help cheering : I admire 
his power so much." Lord John replied, "No 
reason that you should let him know it ! " 

SPEAKING TO ONE whom I know well, Disraeli 
said, "Do not let your mind dwell upon what you 
want, and what you have not got : always fix your 
mind upon what you have got." 



DISRAELI. 5 

NOT LONG AFTER the fight which occurred at 
Six-Mile-Bridge, in Ireland, in which the British 
and Irish soldiers did their duty thoroughly; and 
which resembled in its incidents an affair which 
had occurred some years before at Dolly's Brae, a 
Member of the House of Commons whose career 
and life ended most sadly, determined to bring the 
case before the House ; and took great pains in 
mastering the facts. It was considered by the 
leaders of the Tory Party that it would be desir- 
able for a general attack by the whole line to be 
made : and that the leader of the attack should be 
their most accomplished General as regards Ire- 
land, M r Whiteside ; afterwards Chief Justice. Con- 
sequently Lord Adolphus Vane had to yield: very 
reluctantly, and, at the personal request of Lord 
Derby, he gave way to the eloquent lawyer who 
began the debate. Whiteside's speech was a fine 
one. I remember his quoting with great effect 
from Hamlet. At the inquest the soldiers had 
been declared murderers : he gave the words 
of the grave-digger, "I am asked is this Law? 
I reply aye ! marry is't ; Crowners-quest Law ! " 
After this well-graced actor had left the stage the 
eyes of all were of course idly bent on those 



6 DISRAELI. 

that followed. A Member returning to the House 
at ten o'clock found Lord Adolphus Vane, who 
naturally wished to speak on his own subject, ad- 
dressing the House : he said to Disraeli, " What, 
still at Six-Mile-Bridge?" He replied, "Oh no! 
we have got over that : this is Dolly's bray ! " 

MY FIRST SIGHT of Disraeli was in the "Crush- 
room" of the Opera. I recognised him at once 
from the caricatures. His face was then a mass of 
wrinkles; absolutely wizened. In later years it was 
much smoother. At this -period he wore several 
gold chains on his waistcoat. I believe that in 
earlier days he was absolutely hung in them. The 
lady whom he paints as "Mrs. Felix Loraine" in 
"Vivian Grey," who was not Lady Caroline Lamb, 
asked him, while taking her down to dinner, 't What 
is the meaning, Ben ! of all these chains ? Are 
you practising for Lord Mayor? or what?" The 
same lady said, " You have described me, Ben ! in 
your novel. I admit that I have committed all 
the crimes you mention, except one: I assure 
you that I never committed murder." I had this 
from one who was present, and who outlived 
Disraeli. 



DISRAELI. 7 

I ASKED HIM, whether the present generation 
could produce the Jesters of the middle-ages, who, as 
we know, attended at great men's feasts. He said, 
" Yes ! where there is a demand there is always a 
supply." His recollection of details was exceptional 
When Lord Palmerston was Member for Tiverton, 
an insubordinate butcher gave him occasional trouble : 
the scene usually ended in his driving the Knight 
of the Blue Apron round the town in his carriage. 
Representing a neighbouring Borough, I naturally 
observed and remembered the name of the butcher. 
Many years afterwards speaking to Disraeli about 
Lord Palmerston, who was then Prime Minister, 
he said, " We must put him out : and have a 
' Rowcliffe ' Administration." 

Soon after Lord Palmerston became Premier I 
met Disraeli : in the course of conversation I said, 
"What is the history of Palmerston's success? we 
know that he is not a first-rate man." Disraeli 
replied, " Impudence ! Irish impudence ! " 

LORD PALMERSTON presided at an annual 
dinner of the "Royal Literary Fund." I asked 
Monckton Milnes, afterwards Lord Houghton, how 
Palmerston got on at the dinner : he answered, " For 



8 DISRAELI. 

a man who never read a book in his life, I think 
he did very well." Lord Palmerston might have 
led the House of Commons at thirty-five; but de- 
clined : giving as his reason that " his life would be 
a perpetual canvass," and that he could not endure 
it. Whether this were the real cause or not I do 
not know; the reason of his ultimately achieving 
his position in Parliament was that he was twenty 
years older than any other leading man : that he 
knew the Country well : and that on one subject 
he knew a great deal, and no one else knew any- 
thing : Foreign Affairs. 

Lord Palmerston never was a good speaker: he 
had a hesitation which came in at the most in- 
appropriate times : a good voice ; but no art : in 
speaking he would constantly use an anti-climax: 
he would say, for instance, "The language of the 
honourable gentleman is unusual, unparliamentary, 
violent, discreditable, and ahem ! " a pause " to 
be deprecated." I never knew him rise to real 
eloquence : and on one occasion only did I 
hear him speak with great ability: this was 
on the Danish question. Everybody who at- 
tended to such matters, had been completely 
puzzled by the complicated affairs of Schleswig- 



DISRAELI. 9 

Holstein. The clearest heads could make nothing 
of it : and the vast majority of the House of 
Commons did not attempt it. Lord Palmerston 
made a speech admirable in its clearness. I 
could not have believed it possible that he could 
make such a speech. Solving the difficulties, and 
presenting the essential points of the question, to 
the appreciation and comprehension of the House. 
Disraeli, seeing the effect that had been produced, 
in his reply characterised the speech as "per- 
spicuous ; but not satisfactory." It was splendidly 
perspicuous. 

I was not in Parliament at the time of the cele- 
brated " Pacifico Speech : " nor up to this time 
have I been able to understand by reading it, the 
effect which it produced : but I may say that except 
on these two occasions Lord Palmerston never made 
a great speech. 

On horseback he appeared of middle height ; 
being long in the body, with short legs : he had a 
smart, spruce, look; and was well represented in 
his numerous portraits in "Punch": one of these 
was suggested to Leech, then the leading artist, by 
myself. Lord Palmerston had lately paid a visit to 
the Emperor of the French at Compiegne : and 



Ib DISRAELI. 

Leech represented him at my suggestion in the 
Louis XV. hunting-dress worn there, three-cornered 
hat, high boots, etc., and tilting at a " quintain " 
bearing the word " Liberty." He substituted a 
" Cap of Liberty," which is hardly visible, for the 
word. 

Even the Garter Ribbon did not give him an 
aristocratic look. One of Lord Palmerston's aphor- 
isms was that "the best thing for the inside of 
a man is the outside of a horse " : he rode every 
day, unless prevented by press of business : and 
invariably took a long ride on Sunday. 

It was remarked of him that when in good health 
and spirits his whiskers were dyed of a bluish tint : 
when out of sorts he neglected this ornamentation. 
It is supposed that a laugh is indicative of character 
and feeling : I never heard a heartier laugh than 
Lord Palmerston's : very deep down, and musical. 
He gave you the impression of perfect good humour. 
I was presented to him by my mother at the first 
Ball to which I was invited in London ; a Ball 
given to the Queen by the Duchess of Sutherland 
at Stafford House. Passing into the great central 
Hall, we met Lord Palmerston, in his Civil Service 
dress, blue and gold; with the broad red ribbon 



DISRAELI. ii 

of the Bath. He shook hands with me, and said 
something good-natured. I wore for the first time 
the uniform of the First Regiment of Life Guards, 
which I had just joined. A few minutes afterwards 
I heard a lady say to Lord Palmerston, "Who is 
that very splendid young gentleman?" In a deep 
and singularly pleasing voice he answered, "I have 
not the remotest idea ! " The next occasion on 
which I saw him was at his own house in Carlton 
Gardens : I assume that he thought I was an 
attache to some Foreign Embassy. In those days 
no one but Cavalry Officers and foreigners wore 
moustaches. He addressed me in French; and 
very bad French indeed. Many years have rolled 
by: but I have never forgotten his remark, "II est 
beau temps ! " On the last occasion on which I 
saw him I was passing through Westminster Hall 
from the House of Commons; he had just dis- 
mounted from his horse. Thinking it would save 
the old boy trouble, I said, "The House is up, 
my Lord." He replied, " Thank you ! I am very 
much obleeged to you : how about Ayrton, and 
the Balance of Power?" I told him gently that 
nothing had been said on the subject. 

Lord Palmerston had a peculiarly flattering manner 



12 DISRAELI. 

of leaning forward when you were addressing the 
House, standing opposite to him of course. As 
he did this to me on several occasions, I assume 
that he did the same to others. Once, however, 
he did his best to snub me : without ultimate 
effect. When the Ionian Islands were given up, 
the Order of S l Michael and S' George fell into 
desuetude; it had been instituted at Lord Guild- 
ford's instigation on finding that the Members of 
the Ionian Parliament actually walked to S* Peters- 
burg, with a view to obtaining a decoration. It 
was necessary to counteract this : and S* George 
for England, and S' Michael as the leader of the 
celestial hierarchy, neither of whom were in any 
way connected with the Ionian Islands, were made 
the patrons of the new Order. The motto, 
"Auspicium melioris sevi," was and is singularly 
inappropriate : it should be changed to " Imperi 
Porrecta Majestas ! " Of course when the Islands 
were given up there was no longer a purpose 
in the Order. It occurred to me that it might 
be made most useful as a reward for Colonial 
Services : I brought forward the question in the 
House of Commons. I had studied Lord Pal- 
merston carefully : and I felt quite certain that he 



DISRAELI. 13 

would reply by telling the story, already an ancient 
one, that William IV. at Brighton complaining of 
the persecution by the Mayor of some large town, 
who pursued him even to his marine retreat, the 
King's son Lord Adolphus FitzClarence said, " I 
should 'Guelph' him, Sire, at once," another ver- 
sion being that the King said, " I shall have to 
Guelph him:" and Lord A. replied, "And serve 
him right ! Sire " ; that is, give him the Guelphic 
Order. So accurately had I taken Lord Palmer- 
ston's measure that, notwithstanding I had nar- 
rated this story, he said in his reply, "To repeat 
the story already told by the Honourable Baronet " ; 
and went through it again. I remember Sir 
James Douglas, at that time one of the few re- 
maining K.G.M.G.'s, giving tongue loudly, during 
my harangue : he did not want to be diluted. 
However the next year the Order was re-established 
on the lines suggested by myself: and I feel sure 
that the broad blue and red ribbon has made 
many an honest heart happy : and, to use the words 
of Falconbridge, many a "Joan a Lady." 

LORD GEORGE BENTINCK, on several occa- 
sions, prompted probably by Disraeli, produced a 



14 DISRAELI. 

sensation by appearing in the House of Commons 
in his top-boots and hunting garb : reminding the 
House, or at any rate those who knew something 
about Irish History, of "Tottenham in his boots." 
Another son of the Duke of Portland, Lord 
Henry Bentinck, was conspicuous as being almost, 
if not quite, the best whist-player in England : he 
was visiting Lord Jersey at Middleton Park in 
Oxfordshire. Lady Jersey told me that she hunted 
for and discovered the three best whist-players in the 
County ; and invited them specially to Middleton for 
the occasion. On the evening of Lord Henry's 
arrival, after dinner, the whist-party was made up. 
After half an hour or so Lady Jersey, approaching 
the table, said, "Lord Henry, how do you get on? 
How do they treat you?" He turned to her and 
said, " Lady Jersey ! what do you call this game ? 
It is very amusing!" 

ONE OF THE most conspicuous Members of 
the Parliament of 1852 was Henry Drummond, Mem- 
ber for Surrey, his dry humour charmed the House. 
He wrote a pungent pamphlet on Bright. 

OF WILLIAM THE IV TH ' S sons, I did not know 



DISRAELI. 15 

the eldest, Lord Munster. I knew Lord Frederick, 
the General, and Lord Adolphus, the Admiral. 
Paying a visit to Admiral Capel, the Naval Com- 
mandant, at Portsmouth, and being introduced to 
Lord Frederick, who was then the Military Com- 
mandant, I being a sub-lieutenant in the First Life 
Guards, he took me by the arm and in a stage- 
whisper said, " I should like to take the oppor- 
tunity of your being here to ask you what you think 
of my troops. If it will suit your convenience I will 
have the Garrison out to-morrow on Southsea Com- 
mon." It is unnecessary to say that this was the 
weekly or fortnightly Parade ; and had no more 
to do with .my visit to Portsmouth than would 
have been the case if I had visited the Moon. 

Lord Frederick was a good-natured man, who posed 
for George IV. He put up a monument to the Duke 
of Wellington on Southsea Common. It is a good 
deal to say that it was the very worst of the num- 
berless images of that distinguished warrior: but I 
honestly say that I never saw one which approached 
it as a caricature. On the plinth of the statue was 
naturally inscribed the name of Lieutenant-General 
Lord Frederick FitzClarence, G.C.H. It has since 
happily been removed. As to its present locality I 



16 DISRAELI. 

have no idea. Lord Adolphus, the sailor, was a man 
of peculiar appearance. Having one eyelid droop- 
ing, he held his head at a particular angle. I 
should say that he must have been not very unlike 
his father: also a jovial tar. On one occasion at 
a great Masked Ball at the Opera-House in Paris, I 
arrived there before the dancing had begun. I 
found a crowd of two hundred persons at the least 
collected, looking at two heads in the upper pros- 
cenium box. I enquired what they were staring at : 
and was told by a French lady in a very pretty cos- 
tume that the cheering which occasionally broke out 
was to show their appreciation of two English masks 
of exceptional grotesqueness. I discovered that the 
supposed masks were Lord Adolphus FitzClarence, 
and his life-long friend the late Sir George Womb- 
well. They were not in the least disguised : and 
appeared much diverted at the excitement they 
created. Thackeray's vignette, " Roguy and Poguy," 
in "Punch" is not unlike them. 

Lord Adolphus FitzClarence commanded the 
Royal Yacht; and conveyed Her Majesty on the 
visit which she paid to King Louis Philippe at 
the Chateau d'Eu. The King's sons were there; 
Lord Adolphus was placed next the Prince de 



DISRAELI. !7 

Joinville, a good sailor, an Admiral in the 
French Service. The Prince had become con- 
spicuous from bringing the remains of Napoleon 
from S' Helena : an ill-judged action of his father : 
on the voyage home he affected to believe that 
England and France were about to come to blows. 
The Prince was said to have "beat to quarters," 
and prepared for action against a possible English 
man-of-war. He said to Lord Adolphus in a 
friendly manner, "You, my Lord, and I are sea- 
men ; I have had one dream in life ; to command 
a smart French frigate, and to lay my own along- 
side of an English ship of the same strength for 
twenty minutes. Lord Adolphus replied in a perfect 
spirit of courtesy ; and with the quickness of his 
family; "I think, Sir, that ten would be enough." 

SOON AFTER I KNEW him, Disraeli said to 
me, "You have chosen the only career in which 
a man is never old : a Statesman can feel and 
inspire interest longer than any other man. I 
have seen Metternich in love ; some thought it 
sublime ; I thought it absurd : but, as a States- 
man, I felt the greatest reverence for him to the 
last." 



1 8 DISRAELI. 

I may say as an illustration of the truth of this 
that I waited on one occasion over seven hours 
at the bar of the House of Lords, with no seat, 
and nothing but a spike to lean on, in order to 
hear Lord Lyndhurst address the House for an 
hour, when he was past ninety; I was well re- 
paid. I may say more of him elsewhere : if ever 
the term " old man eloquent " was applicable to 
an orator, it was to him. 

I MAY BE pardoned for inserting a story told 
as to Metternich. Talleyrand was asked if he did 
not see a resemblance between Metternich and 
Mazarin ? The Bishop of Autun replied, " Yes ! 
Mazarin never told lies, but always deceived you : 
now Metternich always tells lies, and never de- 
ceives you." 

SPEAKING TO Disraeli on the subject of the 
House of Commons, he said, "Never trouble your 
head as to criticism. You know when you sit 
down after a speech precisely its value. A man 
does not deceive himself: he knows to the value 
of a shilling what his speech has been worth." In 
former years there was an impression among the 



DISRAELI. 19 

uninitiated that "Hansard" had a special reporter; 
and took down the words uttered in Parliament 
precisely. This was by no means the case. Han- 
sard's Debates are the result of honestly collating 
the various versions in the daily papers : and of 
course do not represent anything beyond the general 
sense of what was expressed. 

AT AN AFTERNOON party given by the Duke 
d'Aumale, when resident at Orleans House, Twick- 
enham, the Duke, who it is unnecessary to say 
gave the whole entertainment "en Prince," had 
sent to Paris for the Company of Actors of the 
Palais-Royal. They acted some vaudevilles on a 
theatre erected on the lawn. Disraeli said to me, 
" This is too much : all you want is Music, as 
an accompaniment to the Conversation." 

DISRAELI'S FACE to the last had those peculiar 
semi-circular wrinkles on either side of his mouth 
which I have often noticed in humorous actors. 
Dickens had them very conspicuously. 

AMONG THE GREAT men of Society in my 
early days the late Duke of Beaufort was conspicuous. 



20 DISRAELI. 

He was supposed to be the best-mannered man in 
London, of the "vieille cour": nothing could be 
more dignified nor more suave than his manner. It 
may have been a little artificial ; but, like all real 
politeness, thoroughly good-natured. He is credited 
with a saying worthy of record. He was asked 
whether he preferred an open or close carriage. 
He said, " A close carriage, for these reasons ; 
when the weather is cold, I am warm; when it is 
hot, I am cool ; when it is wet, I am dry ; when 
it is dry, I am clean." 

DISRAELI IN HIS youth was an admirer of Lady 
X., a person of exceptional beauty, who introduced 
him to Lord Lyndhurst. The popular idea was, 
on the publication of " Henrietta Temple," that the 
heroine of the story was a portrait of the Lady in 
question : she may have been so as regards appear- 
ance, but certainly in no other respect. I never 
saw her: but those who have unite in saying that 
she was a most beautiful woman : I knew her sister 
well : she also I believe was handsome in her youth. 
Being at a public ball in a remote county, I heard 
the name of Lady X. mentioned. I had read not 
long before, for the first time, " Henrietta Temple : " 



DISRAELI.] 21 

and having an opportunity of seeing the supposed 
heroine, of whose history I knew nothing at the 
time, my curiosity was naturally very great. Find- 
ing a relation, in whose house I was staying, he 
told me that he knew the lady; I begged him to 
point her out : and after much searching, he in- 
dicated a lady of mature years, of commanding 
person, and a look of unflinching determination. 
I could discern no trace of Beauty : I do not re- 
member ever to have met with so great a disen- 
chantment. I gazed at her with absolute wonder : 
that this was what remained of the lovely creation ; 
a creation not to be surpassed in fiction ; that this 
had been the object of Disraeli's impassioned love; 
that this thoroughly respectable old lady had roused 
the wild enthusiasm of the young Poet and States- 
man ! Never shall I forget that evening. I may 
tell of the lady whom I saw, that, her husband 
being painted in hunting costume, the painter asked 
her ladyship to procure a pair of his old boots; so 
that the realism of the portrait should be complete. 
She endeavoured to obtain them from her spouse : 
He replied, " No, my lady ; you've worn the breeches 
long enough ! I'll be damned if you shall have the 
boots ! " I had this from the painter. 



22 DISRAELI. 

It was not until many years had rolled by that 
I discovered that the disenchantment was itself an 
illusion : the innamorata of Disraeli's early days was 
a totally different person; bearing the same name; 
who had long been dead. 

ONE OF THE finest effects which Disraeli pro- 
duced was at the time when conspiracies against 
the life of Napoleon III. were the topic of con- 
versation : and when considerable political excite- 
ment on the subject existed. Disraeli made a 
speech of some length, and not of a very lively 
kind, in relation to this subject. Letters ad- 
dressed to London, not unconnected with these 
conspirators, had come to light : and consider- 
able scandal had been created on the subject. 
When, after speaking for half an hour, Disraeli 
used the words " mysterious correspondents," M r S., 
M.P. for Halifax, who had not long been a Mem- 
ber of the House, and had never seen Disraeli 
put forth his powers, imprudently, leaning across 
the table, said in a whisper which few could hear, 
"What correspondents?" Disraeli instantly turned 
upon him: and shouted at the very top of his 
voice, "What correspondents? says the Member for 



DISRAELI. 23 

Halifax : You know better than me, I suspect ! 
What correspondents ? says the Member for Halifax : 
The assassins of Europe! What correspondents? 
says the Member for Halifax: those who have 
pointed their daggers at the breast of our dearest 
ally ! " 

Cicero's denunciation of Catiline cannot have 
been finer. 

MANY OF THE SARCASMS and invectives, 
which Disraeli poured out upon Sir Robert Peel, 
have become part of the British language: I do 
not repeat them ; I am unwilling to vex any member 
of a family from whom I have received life-long 
kindness: but there is one so good, and so com- 
pletely within the rules of Parliamentary satire, 
that I must quote it. It was on the evening on 
which Sir Robert Peel announced his change of 
views on the Corn Laws : he prudently made a 
very long speech: exhausted the House: and by 
the time he made his announcement the atmosphere 
had become loaded: and the House fatigued. 
Disraeli, however, roused them by a few words ; 
amidst loud, vociferous cheering. The words were 
these. "What has occurred to-night reminds me, 



24 DISRAELI. 

Sir, of what occurred in the late war between 
Turkey and Russia : if I err in my facts the gallant 
Admiral opposite (Sir Charles Napier) will correct 
me. An expedition against Russia was projected: 
the grandest fleet ever manned by the Turks floated 
on the waters of the Bosphorus : the Sultan reviewed 
the fleet : he gave the command of it to his favourite 
Vizier : a man to whose hands the destiny of Turkey 
had been entrusted for years. The fleet set sail, 
amidst the enthusiasm of the Turks : the Muftis of 
Constantinople prayed for its success ; as the Muftis 
of England did at the last General Election. What 
was the dismay of the Turks ! What was the horror 
of the Sultan ! When his favourite Vizier led the 
fleet straight into the enemies' port ! (loud laughter). 
He too was maligned: he too was called a traitor: 
but he said, No ! his political opinions had changed : 
and his conscience would no longer permit him to 
remain in the service of the Sultan ! " 

I HAVE RELATED, in the beginning of this 
volume, that Disraeli said to me that the Passion 
which gave pleasure longest was Revenge. No man, 
in his career, deprived himself of this enjoyment 
more than he did : with boundless opportunities, he 



DISRAELI. 25 

rarely used them : as his Forgiveness was the result 
of Policy, so was his Vindictiveness. A striking 
incident occurred on the night on which Sir Robert 
Peel sat for the last time as Prime Minister: the 
subject was the Irish Arms Bill, on which he was 
defeated. The last words which he heard before 
yielding power, came from the lips of the man, of 
whom, a few years before, he might easily have 
made an energetic, if not an enthusiastic supporter. 
I do not believe that Disraeli ever committed him- 
self to the extent of asking Sir Robert Peel for 
Office : that was not in his nature : but he gave 
Sir Robert Peel every opportunity of knowing how 
clever, how energetic, how tenacious he was. Had 
Sir Robert Peel read character, he would have 
employed Disraeli; he need not have trusted him. 
If, by his own temperament of mind, he intuitively 
mistrusted the ringletted youth, who wished to win 
his favour, Prudence should have told him that to 
silence this ambitious aspirant would be wise. By 
placing him in a subordinate position in his Govern- 
ment he could have tried him : he might gradually 
have promoted him; or he might have given him 
employment abroad : he might, also, after a time, 
had he found that he were untrustworthy, have left 



26 DISRAELI. 

him to his own resources. My belief is that, had 
Disraeli been employed by Sir Robert Peel, he 
would never have betrayed him. I believe that he 
would have done his utmost to deserve the position, 
in which he had been placed: not from any en- 
thusiastic admiration of Sir Robert Peel, although 
he did him more justice than is supposed in his 
"Life of Lord George Bentinck"; but because he 
would have felt that, once in the groove of Office, 
his fortune was made. With the marvellous capacity, 
which he knew himself to possess, he also knew 
that, should he retain his seat in the House, 
his career was certain : and he would not have 
jeopardised that career by mutiny against so power- 
ful a master. 

Nothing can have exceeded the depression of 
feeling of Disraeli, as a young man, when the pros- 
pect of doing justice to his own great talents 
appeared hopeless. To be conscious of the power 
in his brain, and in his heart; of the Sagacity 
and Determination which were part of his nature; 
to know his great superiority to his fellow men ; 
and yet to feel, day after day, and year after year, 
that those great gifts were, so far as their fruition 
was concerned, utterly thrown away. The young 



DISRAELI. 27 

man, whom Sir Robert Peel had treated with hardly 
disguised contempt, in fifteen years hurled him 
from Power: It must have been with no ordinary 
delight that he pronounced the epitaph on the 
great Minister's political life. Looking at Sir Robert 
Peel, Disraeli ended his speech in these words : 
" 'Tis Nemesis inspires this Debate ! and stamps 
with the stigma of Parliamentary reprobation the 
catastrophe of a sinister career!" 

I BELIEVE THAT THE exact circumstances of 
Sir Robert Peel's death were not known at the 
time. Two young ladies who were walking with 
their governess in the Green Park, at a very short 
distance from Constitution Hill, observed a gentle- 
man, as they said, tipsy on horseback. Sir Robert 
was noticed to reel in his saddle several times. 
His horse, a steady, and surefooted animal, was 
walking: I have no doubt that he fell from the 
horse in a fit: and not by a false step in the 
animal. Being a man of very tall and bulky 
person, falling in that manner, he injured him- 
self: but the fatal wound was received by the 
well-meaning, but imprudent, act of placing him 
in a closed carriage, which was brought from Gros- 



28 DISRAELI. 

venor Place. This caused the points of the 
fractured ribs to penetrate the lungs : and this 
was the immediate cause of his death : had he 
been carried home on a shutter, he might have 
lived. It is singular that Sir Robert fell pre- 
cisely on the spot where he il depicted by Lord 
Lytton in "The New Timon." 

A GOOD JUDGE, and in this case an im- 
partial one; for he was the person attacked; 
said that the finest effect he had ever seen 
in the House of Commons was Disraeli's speech 
on the following subject : he added that it was 
the only occasion on which he had seen Dis- 
raeli really in a passion. It was in the Session 
during which the title of "Empress of India" 
was added to that of "Queen," not "of Great 
Britain and Ireland," as it is carelessly written, 
and generally by foreigners, but "Queen of the 
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland." I 
was much struck by the marvellous caution, and 
care, with which Disraeli conducted this measure 
through the House of Commons. There had been 
much talking, and wonder, and curiosity : some 
approved : some disapproved : at last, the evening 



DISRAELI. 29 

arrived when the Question was to be introduced. 
Disraeli spoke with consummate tact : He gave 
no one the slightest idea as to what would be 
the title. The Measure proposed that Her 
Majesty should be allowed to choose such title 
as she might think fit as Sovereign of India. 
After an opening of some ten minutes, or more, 
Disraeli said, " A number of Titles have been 
suggested by various persons; not one of whom 
had any means of knowing: and not one of which 
has the slightest Authenticity." He then, speak- 
ing very slowly, and watching the effect of each 
word, added, " I have heard a title mentioned ; 
the title of 'Empress of India'." He then paused 
for about four seconds, and said, "I have no 
reason to suppose that this may have the prefer- 
ence over any other. I have heard others 
suggested." Now, after the words " Empress of 
India," had the House shown any disposition to 
disapprove, he might easily, for the time, have 
gone to another topic : but he put the words in 
such a manner that he was enabled to ascertain 
the feeling of the House, without committing 
himself in the slightest degree as to what the 
Queen's future title should be. I never saw 



30 DISRAELI. 

"more discernment, and more delicacy displayed 
than was shown by him. 

That the title of "Empress of India" was wisely 
assumed ; and with excellent effect upon the 
native Princes, whether subordinate to us, or 
independent, I had no doubt whatever at the 
time : and I have none now. We know that the 
term "Emperor," as assumed by Julius Caesar in 
the word " Imperator," meant, as he told the 
Romans, merely the command of the armies of 
the Roman Republic : but he knew very well, and 
they very soon found out, that it meant a great 
deal more: and, in modern times, although I 
believe technically there is no difference in the 
rank of Emperor, and King, it has, from several 
circumstances, including the vast extent of do- 
minion ruled over by existing Emperors, become, 
in some respects, a higher title : and is so 
esteemed by the Princes of Hindostan. Not long 
after this, The Right Hon. Robert Lowe found 
himself among his constituents at East Retford : 
and he was there imprudent enough, and as a 
Privy Councillor wrong enough, to say that, 
whereas the Queen had for long wished to assume 
this title, and her successive advisers had refused 



DISRAELI. 31 

a measure on the subject, Her Majesty had at 
last found "a pliant Minister," who had yielded 
to her wishes. An allusion to the personal 
opinions of the Sovereign is strictly forbidden in 
Parliament. I had remained in the House from 
four until a quarter past ten; having an intuitive 
anticipation, that Disraeli would be splendid. My 
highest hopes were more than realised. Grand as 
I had always thought his style, and wondrous as 
his power, I never, on any occasion, knew him 
approach the effect produced on that evening. He 
spoke briefly. Occasionally it seemed as if he 
could not articulate ; his passion was so great. 
He leant with his left hand heavily upon the table : 
and the words, which I most clearly recollect, 
were, "A pliant Minister! A pliant Minister! If 
it were true, to utter such things here were in- 
famous ! False ! False ! False ! as those words are, 
nothing, Sir, that I dare utter in your presence can 
characterize what I think of them ! " The words 
" pliant Minister " seemed literally to choke him. The 
effect of his words upon the House was electrical. 

I SAW LORD ABERDEEN, the Prime Minister, 
for the first time in the Church at Stanmore, in 



32 DISRAELI. 

Middlesex. He was staying for the Sunday at 
the house of Lord Wicklow, his near relation. 
I dined with Lord Wicklow that evening. Lord 
Aberdeen seemed to me a very heavy old gentle- 
man ; of a very unconciliatory manner : and I was 
filled with astonishment at the position which he 
then occupied, Secretary for Foreign Affairs. I 
should say that two Ministers with less pleasing 
manners than Lord Aberdeen and Lord John 
Russell seldom existed. On one occasion, two 
Members of Parliament, one in Office at the time 
under Lord John Russell, paid a visit to his 
brother, the Duke of Bedford's, place, Woburn 
Abbey, at Whitsuntide. After seeing the house, 
they crossed the Park, and met Lord John Russell, 
then Prime Minister, in a narrow pathway: So far 
from taking the slightest notice of them, he simply 
returned their salute : and said not one word to 
either. Lord Lytton alludes to this affectation in 
his "New Timon." He says of Lord John in a 
clumsy line, 

" He wants your Votes, but your Affection not ; " 
and adds, 

" So cold a climate plays the deuce with votes ! " 



DISRAELI. 33 

I HAVE OFTEN THOUGHT that Disraeli's 
character resembled in many ways that of the 
first Napoleon : while speaking to him, I could 
completely realise the fascination which the Emperor 
exercised over his followers. It seems extraordinary 
that a man who never gave a thought to any 
human being but himself; who sacrificed thou- 
sands, and tens of thousands, without remorse, 
to his own ambition, should still have retained 
the hold which he did over the French people ! 
What may be the mysterious gift by which men 
controul others there is not space here to consider: 
but the feelings which I have heard others ex- 
press, and which I certainly had very strongly 
when speaking to Disraeli, must have been of the 
same peculiar character, that Napoleon I. inspired. 
One, who was originally on the Whig side, to 
whom Disraeli gave Office, told me that he had 
never met with any human being with such power 
to charm ; and this was the effect which he .pro- 
duced upon all who possessed either brains or 
heart. 

One characteristic of Napoleon I. Disraeli was 
without. The Sovereigns, the Viceroys, the Mar- 
shals, and Princes, of Napoleon's Empire, were 

c 



34 DISRAELI. 

the soldiers who had helped him to the Throne. 
Nothing of the kind took place with Disraeli : no 
rewards awaited those who had sacrificed every- 
thing in their support of him : no thought was 
given to them : they had served their purpose : 
and, except personal courtesy, they received no 
recompense of any sort or kind. One single excep- 
tion, and it is a very minute one, I am glad to 
give : He offered to recommend Lord Exmouth 
to Her Majesty as a Lord-in-Waiting. Lord Ex- 
mouth was poor, and had no influence : he had, 
in his youth, been a personal friend of Disraeli. 

Sitting on Disraeli's side of the House, an M.P. 
stepped forward; and, turning towards the Govern- 
ment Bench, and shaking his closed right hand 
at Disraeli, said, "For faithless men are ever faith- 
less still ! " I never saw such a scene : nor do I 
suppose had any other Member. Very shortly after 
this scene Disraeli gave this individual office. 

THE FOLLOWING FACTS of Disraeli's family 
are authentic. They are taken from the Register of 
the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, Bevis Marks. 
Benjamin dTsraeli, the Grandfather of the late 
Earl of Beaconsfield, was born in the year 1730. 



DISRAELI. 35 

He was twice married. In the year 1756, to 
Rebecca, daughter of Caspar and Abigail Mendes 
Furtado; who died in the year 1765. 

His second wife was Sarah Siprout de Gabay. 

Benjamin d'Israeli died on the 28 th of November 
1816. 

Isaac D'Israeli, his son, father of the Earl, was 
born on the i8 th of May 1766. 

The Register of Births gives the following: 

Benjamin, son of Isaac and Maria D'Israeli, 
Born 2i st December 1804. 

Naphtali, son of Isaac and Maria D'Israeli, Born 
5 th November 1807. 

Raphael (Ralph), son of Isaac and Maria D'Israeli, 
Born 9 th May 1809. 

Jacob (James), son of Isaac and Maria D'Israeli, 
Born 24* June 1813. 

Isaac D'Israeli, Lord Beaconsfield's father, with- 
drew from Membership of this Synagogue in the 
Year 1817. 

The cause assumed of Isaac D'Israeli, the Prime 
Minister's father, ceasing to be a Member of the 
Synagogue was that, having been a subscriber, he 
was asked to become a Warden ; a position not, I 
believe, unlike that of an Elder pf the Scotch 



36 DISRAELI. 

Established Church. This Office, as in the case 
of our High Sheriffs, was occasionally avoided by 
payment of a fine of forty pounds. Isaac D'Israeli, 
who cared for none of these things, he seems to 
have been a Gallio, withdrew at this time from 
the Membership : and did not visit the Synagogue 
subsequently. His son, who was then thirteen, 
does not appear after this period, to have taken 
part in, nor attended the ceremonies of the Jewish 
Church. Disraeli was formally admitted, with the 
usual ceremonies, to the Jewish Church on the 29 th 
of December 1804. Eight days after his birth. 

MANY STORIES have been told in relation to 
Disraeli's dress. I have lately seen one who 
perfectly remembers being with him in a box 
at the King's Theatre, Haymarket, the Opera- 
House of that day. He said that Disraeli wore a 
black velvet coat, waistcoat, and trousers. Whether 
this was from an independence of taste; or from a 
wish to appear unconventional, or to attract notoriety, 
my readers may determine for themselves. 

. SIR ROBERT PEEL produced considerable effect 
upon the House, by quoting the lines from 



DISRAELI. 37 

Canning's admirable poem, " The New Morality : " 
It was believed by many that Canning's death 
was owing to the persecution which he had met 
with from Sir Robert Peel, and other of his former 
friends : 

" Give me the avowed, the erect, the manly foe ! 
Straight I may meet : perchance may turn his blow. 
But of all plagues that Heaven in wrath may send, 
Save ! Save ! Oh save me from a candid friend ! " 

Disraeli replied, "The Scene the House of 
Commons ! the Poet M r Canning ! the Orator the 
Right Hon. Baronet ! I congratulate him upon 
his retentive Memory ! and his courageous Con- 
science ! " 

DISRAELI'S POLITICAL career was affected 
partly by his sestheticism. Pleased, as he may 
latterly have been, by his popularity, in his 
writings, his speeches, and his conduct, a pre- 
ference for the high and the brilliant in Society, 
is always indicated. I do not suppose that, at any 
time, notwithstanding "Vivian Grey," he played the 
sycophant: the consciousness of intellectual supe- 
riority would guard him in a great measure from 



38 DISRAELI. 

this : but he liked to have Dukes, and Marquesses, 
in his Cabinet: and with a feeling of refinement, 
which usually accompanies a high intellect, he dis- 
liked the socially sordid, and the mean. 

ONE OF THE earliest comic effects which I 
witnessed in the House was in the Spring of 
J 853. William Ewart was one of those men about 
whom the House had not quite made up its 
mind : his speeches had a certain amount of 
effect, from his apparent earnestness : he sat for 
Liverpool. He was a short, narrow-shouldered 
man, with a reddish-purple face: not by any means 
the result of intemperance. He spoke in a deep 
voice, frequently on subjects of Benevolence; and 
occasionally of Religion : in short he was esteemed 
one of the serious Members of the House. Joseph 
Hume, who sat below him, wore a hat with a rather 
broad brim; the hat had a long nap; and was a 
peculiar head-covering : it appeared to be too large 
for his very large head. His aspect was that of 
intense solemnity, and almost supernatural honesty. 
I believe that after Hume's death it was found 
that his economical strictures on the Government 
of the day, which were never ceasing, had resulted 



DISRAELI. 39 

in an endless succession of petty jobs, done for 
him by them. On the occasion to which I refer, 
Ewart had made an effective speech : he had 
appealed to all that was great, and noble, on the 
earth : he raised his eyes to Heaven : he asked 
posterity to do him justice, etc., etc., etc. Unfor- 
tunately, having moved the House by his harangue, 
while emphasizing the very last sentence he brought 
his right fist down with crushing violence upon 
Hume's hat. The effect was instantaneous, the 
large hat descended below Hume's chin, and his 
heavy, unintelligent, features were completely ob- 
scured. The House roared with laughter: and the 
pious orator sat down; looking, as well he might, 
considerably abashed. Hume's appearance at no 
time resembled the classic Roman bust, placed, 
why I know not, in the Library of the House of 
Commons. 

A scene not altogether dissimilar occurred, many 
years afterwards, when a certain Edwin James, 
Q.C., obtained a seat for the Borough of Maryle- 
bone. He was a farceur of the most unequivocal 
description. At that time Lord John Russell, 
who had seceded from the Whig Party, invari- 
ably sat on the end seat of the lower bench, 



40 DISRAELI. 

next to and below the gangway on the Opposi- 
tion side. Edwin James's face, being the most 
blustering and brow-beating of advocates when 
in Court, was ghastly in the extreme : a very 
florid man, his countenance usually flushed, on 
this occasion was deadly pale : and his nervous- 
ness painful to see even by an enemy. He had 
arranged a carefully prepared maiden speech : a 
more complete fiasco the House never beheld. 
He began in a highly declamatory style; threw his 
arms about with great vehemence ; and went so near 
to striking Lord John Russell's hat, that that noble- 
man, obviously, to our extreme merriment, became 
much alarmed. Leaving his seat would indicate 
desertion of his supporter. Repeatedly Edwin 
James' right hand went close to Lord John's head, 
who was affecting to listen to him with great inte- 
rest; his dodgings to avoid the fist were exquisite; 
but he was unprepared for the crushing blow that 
fell, not on his hat, but on Edwin James's Parlia- 
mentary prospects. As everyone knows, you ad- 
dress the Speaker, not the Members. In a very 
unconstitutional apostrophe Edwin James shouted 
to Lord John the words, " No, My Lord ! I tell 
you " What he was about to tell Lord John we 



DISRAELI. 41 

shall never know. The House had been laughing 
during this speech : it now burst into a roar ; in 
the midst of which the bully collapsed. 

A CONSPICUOUS character during Disraeli's 
epoch was Francis first Earl of Ellesmere. His 
career in the House of Commons was not remark- 
able. Inheriting the vast fortune of the last Duke 
of Bridgewater : and being himself a man above 
the average in intellectual culture, he played an 
important part in the great fiscal change inaugu- 
rated by Sir Robert Peel. At one time a Tory of 
Tories, he seceded from the party on the occasion 
of the change in the Corn Laws. I stayed occa- 
sionally at his villa on Saint George's Hill, in 
Surrey, and took several interesting walks with 
him. Lord Ellesmere had served in his youth in 
the First Regiment of Life Guards: and had re- 
ceived, together with Lord Francis Conyngham, after- 
wards 2 d Marquess of Conyngham, from George IV. 
the privilege of wearing the splendid uniform of 
that Regiment for the rest of his life. He was 
a tall and singularly handsome man, of extreme 
gravity of demeanour. In many conversations on 
Shakspere, I remember his quoting that most 






42 DISRAELI. 

beautiful passage from the ghost's speech in 
Hamlet, ignorantly and stupidly omitted in modern 
representations ; 

"I find thee apt: 

And duller shouldst thou be than the fat weed 
That roots itself at ease on Lethe's wharf" ; 

and adding, " That is an image from another 
world!" He told me a most interesting fact in 
relation to the Duke of Wellington : one of the 
Duke's most intimate friends, one who deserved to 
be so, was Lady Charlotte Greville, whose daughter 
Lord Ellesmere married. His brother-in-law, M r 
Algernon Greville, at that time a subaltern in the 
Army, dined with the Duke on the evening of 
the day of the great battle. He did not, of 
course, presume to address the Duke during the 
meal. The latter preserved complete silence, with 
this exception; he twice said, "Thank God I have 
met him ! " 

M r Algernon Greville became, some years after- 
wards, Private Secretary to the Duke. I knew 
his mother, Lady Charlotte Greville, when an old 
lady: and never met a more intelligent or delight- 
ful person. Lord Ellesmere wrote several books, 



DISRAELI. 43 

including a poetical description of an excursion to the 
Holy Land, in which he speaks of his wife as 

"She the Herminia of this new Crusade." 

Lord Ellesmere gave me a copy of the following 
lines : written by himself. 

BALACLAVA. 

"They thought we were coxcombs; they said we 
were born 

In the sunshine of peace-time like insects to fly : 
The Jester and Novelist made us their scorn : 

And lecturing Hypocrites joined in the cry. 

They said we were heroes best fitted to shine 
In the Barrack, and Ball-room, the Ring, and 

Parade ; 
That the source of what courage we boasted was 

Wine; 
And Woman the prize of what conquests we made. 

That Slander has melted like mists from the sun: 
It veils not the grave where its objects repose : 

On the limber of many a Muscovite gun 

They have scored its rebuke in the blood of 
their foes, 






44 DISRAELI, 

Ere their own was exhausted. Alas ! for the number, 
Too scanty to conquer; too many to fall; 

Of those whom no trumpet can wake from their 

slumber ; 
No leader can rally : no signal recall : 

Not even tha,t Leader, in whose gallant bearing, 
As he rose in the saddle the mandate to give, 
None could mark, as he gave it, one symptom 

declaring 

That none could accomplish that order, and 
live. 

It was hopeless ! all knew it : yet onward they 

bounded, 

With the order, and speed, of some festival day : 
When, with Kings to behold them, by gazers sur- 
rounded, 
They mimicked the semblance of Battle's array. 

Oh ! well may the remnant, that shattered, and 
broken, 

Returned from that onset, accept of the fame, 
Which, whenever the word Balaclava be spoken, 

Shall join its sad glories to Cardigan's name. 



DISRAELI. 45 

And in Beaudesert's Hall, when the yule-log is 

lighted, 
And the tale of high deeds makes its round by 

that fire, 

They shall tell how a son of that house has re- 
quited 
The lessons of valour he learned frem his Sire. 

Oh! would he had lived one short year to have 

noted, 
When the red tide of slaughter foamed over that 

plain, 
Above it the plume of a Paget that floated ! 

It was Anglesey charged in his offspring again ! " 

DISRAELI in writing the Life of Lord George 
Bentinck followed, to some extent, the example of 
Lord Bolingbroke in his "Patriot King." He 
seems to have idealized Lord George, as the type 
of what the British race of the present day would 
admire. One incident however Disraeli has not 
related. Disraeli, and Lord R, were staying at 
Wynyard Park, Lord Londonderry's seat in Dur- 
ham. Disraeli had taken a solitary walk : and 
returned to the house late in the afternoon. Lord 



46 DISRAELI. 

F. met him in the entrance-hall. While hanging 
up his hat, he asked Lord F. "Are the news- 
papers come? Is there any news?" Lord F. re- 
plied, " I am sorry to say, very bad news ! " Dis- 
raeli looked at him; and said, "What is it?" 
Lord F. replied, "Lord George is dead." He 
told me that Disraeli's face underwent such a 
change that he thought he was going to expire. 
He watched him for a few moments to see if he 
was falling: then pulled forward a hall-chair, in 
which Disraeli sat down. He said nothing : and 
in a few minutes Lord F. left him. Lord George 
Bentinck's death must have been, for the time, an 
annihilation of his hopes. 

THE AURAL effect of loud cheering in the 
House of Commons is peculiar. If you are fortu- 
nate enough to hear it during your speech the 
effect on the ear is completely different from that 
produced upon it when you are sitting among the 
cheerers. When sitting down, the noise is very 
great. When standing up it more resembles a very 
rapid vibration of the air than sound. I can only 
compare this to the appearance of the heated air, 
quivering over a meadow in summer. The great 



DISRAELI. 47 

triumph of all triumphs to a speaker is the abso- 
lute, and breathless, silence of his audience. If 
you can reduce them to a condition of fearing to 
laugh, or to cheer, lest they should miss a good 
thing, you may sit down satisfied with yourself: 
and remember Herod. 

A VERY LITTLE man indeed was an M.P. 
during the Parliament of 1874-1880. His name 
D r O'Leary : he was not much above five feet in 
height, if at all. Disraeli told me that this little 
man was the very image of Moore, the Poet : that 
he never saw such a likeness : he said, " If you 
wish to see Moore, come to life again, you can do 
it now : he is exactly what Moore was." 

MY BELIEF IS that Disraeli knew nothing of 
Art; and cared little for it. He purchased how- 
ever one picture, which, for the following reason, 
interests me. I had never bid for a picture, 
ancient, or modern, at Christie's. I happened 
to be at the sale-room in King Street : the crowd 
was considerable. A picture was on the easel 
for sale : I did not know the name of the 
painter: the subject, "The Nativity," of the pre- 



48 DISRAELI. 

Raffaelite School. I was so charmed with it : that 
I bid up to two thousand pounds. I then felt 
that I could not trust my judgment further : that 
I might be mistaken : and that the picture might 
be "run up" for trade purposes. It was bought 
for ^2,415. A few days afterwards I met M r C. : 
having noticed him in the crowd, I said, " Do you 
happen to know who bought that ' Francesca '" ? 
" I did. Disraeli told me to buy it for the 
National Gallery." It is now to be seen there, in 
a place of honour. I have no doubt that Disraeli 
acted on wise and official advice. 

HENRY CONSTANTINE, First Marquess of 
Normanby, was a character of the day that always 
delighted me. Made up latterly as an old dandy, 
with a curly wig, velvet-faced coat, many chains, 
and an elaborate costume, he had a charming 
manner. When I was a boy, my step-father 
having a house in Eastern Terrace, Brighton, I 
used not unfrequently to be invited to dinner at 
the house of Margaret, ne'e Shaw-Stewart, Duchess 
of Somerset, who lived at N- 9, in the Ter- 
race. I remember one evening Lord Normanby 
dined there; after dinner he was sitting on a 



DISRAELI. 49 

sofa, talking to M rs A., afterwards Marchioness 
of D. Lady Normanby came later in the even- 
ing. Her ladyship, who had in her youth played 
Juliet to admiration, in private theatricals at 
Florence, had become inordinately stout : M re 
A. turning to Lord Normanby said, as Lady Nor- 
manby entered, " Good gracious ! who can this 
fat woman be ? " Lord Normanby with the most 
perfect manner replied quietly, "That is Lady 
Normanby ; to whom I am most anxious to pre- 
sent you." When staying at Dessin's Hotel at 
Calais, now closed, I peeped into the window, on 
the ground-floor, of the next apartment. Boy as 
I was, it astonished me to see Lord Normanby 
playing at Ecarte with his own wife ! He may 
however have been rehearsing " Mantalini : " a 
name by which he was known. When Lord 
Lieutenant of Ireland, Lord Normanby said, or 
it was said for him, that his wish, and intention, 
were to make his Court resemble that of Charles 
II. I saw him in Dublin taking his afternoon 
ride, of course in plain clothes, between his two 
A.D.C.'s, both in undress uniform, but wearing 
their cocked-hats and plumes. Meeting him one 

day at dinner at Fulham, the subject of Women's 

D 






50 DISRAELI. 

appreciation of Aristocratic Simplicity came up. 
The ladies of course declared that there was 
nothing they admired so much. After listening 
for some time, Lord Normanby said, " I totally 
disagree with you : I believe that women have no 
appreciation of simplicity in dress, nor in anything 
else. I believe that the more a man bedizens 
himself with velvet, satin, gold chains, rings on 
his fingers, and varnished boots, the more they 
admire him." This, of course, was followed by 
cries of " Oh, Uncle Normanby ! you don't really 
think so ! " etc. etc. He calmly replied, " I have 
said what I believe to be the case. For example, 
for seven years I carried a cane which I felt was 
a degradation to me. It was a brown cane : the 
'Poire' (upper part) was made entirely of tur- 
quoises; it was a most disreputable cane. It was 
given to me. So long as I carried that cane I 
was all powerful. Every woman succumbed the 
moment she saw that cane ; they felt there was 
wealth, splendour, etc. I lost it. From that hour 
my power ceased : and I have never regained it." 
I perfectly recollect the cane; and used to wonder 
how any gentleman could carry such a thing; 
many of the turquoises had become, as is their 



DISRAELI. 51 

habit, discoloured It was a cane that the poorest 
" Walking Gentleman " on the stage would have 
despised. Lord Normanby obtained, it is said, 
everything he wished. As a young man the 
Governorship of Jamaica; G.C.H. and G.C.B. ; 
Home Secretaryship; Embassies; the Lord Lieu- 
tenancy of Ireland and a Marquessate. He wore 
more British Stars than the Great Duke himself. 
The Garter, S' Patrick, the Grand Cross of the 
Bath, and of the Guelphic Order of Hanover ; and, 
in his old age, satisfied his conscience by becoming 
a Tory. 

I HAVE NAMED Margaret, Duchess of Somer- 
set, a Lady whose sudden rise, although of 
ancient family, must have excited the spleen of 
spinsters, old and young, throughout the United 
Kingdom. Somewhat advanced in years, and 
known in her own circle as "Maggie Stewart," she 
was married by Edward, eleventh Duke of Somer- 
set; and became the Premiere Duchess of the 
Kingdom; there being no Duchess of Norfolk at 
the time. She appeared as such at the Coronation 
of Her present Majesty. When she was living in 
Eastern Terrace, Brighton, The Count de Cham- 



52 DISRAELI. 

bord, the son of the Duke de Berri, for many 
years the legitimate heir to the throne of France, 
used frequently to call in the afternoon, and I, 
who at the time was very ill, used to observe from 
my window the thoroughly Royal Honours with 
which the Duchess received the Prince. Within 
two minutes of his carriage stopping at the door, 
the Duchess, crossing the pavement, embraced him : 
and proceeded to conduct him up the staircase. 

MEETING DISRAELI within a few days of 
his first Premiership, an old friend congratulated 
him upon his triumph : " Yes ! " replied he, " I 
have climbed to the top of the greasy pole ! " 

I HAVE SUPPOSED, that Disraeli bore some 
resemblance, as a young man, to the great actor 
Edmund Kean ; and I have a belief that his style 
of utterance was not unlike his; in fact may 
have been founded upon it. I think, also, that 
Disraeli must have been affected by the grand 
style of Gibbon. He certainly shows the influence 
of his father's early manner. 

ONE EVENING, seated at dinner next but one 
to Disraeli, Lady C. V., for whom he had an 



DISRAELI. 53 

honest admiration, sitting between us, I was 
speaking to my neighbour on the other side, and 
I heard Disraeli say, "Ah ! there is a subject ! 
a stupendous one ! " So soon as I could de- 
cently turn to my left, I asked what this 
stupendous subject was. " Woman ! " replied he ; 
then louder, " WOMAN ! there's a Tremendous 
Topic." I regret that I did not, on some 
other occasion, ask what he thought ,on this 
interesting, but obscure, subject. I doubt, how- 
ever, whether he, more than the wisest men who 
have lived, ever obtained a glimpse behind the 
mysterious curtain between Man and Woman ; 
which has never been lifted. 

ON THE SAME evening, when the ladies had left 
the dining-room, he said, " You are well up in Eng- 
lish Poetry ! " " Yes." " I can puzzle you." " A rash 
boast!" "lean." "Try!" "Who wrote this line, 

'Small by degrees; and beautifully less'?" 

I answered at once, "Nobody." He said, "Oh! 
I have met my master at last." I added, "There 
is a line something like it in Prior's Poem, 
"Henry and Emma;" which, by the way, you 



54 DISRAELI. 

quote in "Henrietta Temple." He said, "Oh I 
collapse ! I give up altogether ! you know every- 
thing ! I assure you that is the test that I have 
applied all my life. I give you my word that I 
have never got the right answer before." I may 
add that a year or two after Disraeli's death I 
told this story to the present, John, Duke of 
Rutland. He said, "I remember perfectly forty 
years ago Disraeli put that question at my father's 
house, at Belvoir, and floored us all." 

AT AN OFFICIAL dinner, where none but men 
were present, Disraeli quoted to me the lines, 

"Is this a Banquet? this a genial room? 
No ! 'tis an Altar, and a Hecatomb ! " 

He added, "A man's dinner-party, in middle life, 
is horrible." 

MAJOR VIVIAN made a more or less successful 
speech on the subject of the War Office, and was 
complimented by Lord John Russell in a some- 
what fulsome manner. Disraeli said, " The Honour- 
able member for Truro appears to be elated at 
having, for the first time, carried a Motion. Every- 



DISRAELI. 55 

one, sooner or later, carries his first Motion. I 
can see nothing more to be proud of than a hen 
feels when she has laid her first egg. She always 
appears to be satisfied : and cackles over it a good 
deal." The peculiar features of Major Vivian added 
point to this. 

I ONCE DISCUSSED the incidents of a bull-fight 
with Disraeli : and remarked that there is one sub- 
lime moment; and one only; He at once replied, 
" Yes ! when the bull first comes in." 

THERE WAS NOTHING that Disraeli hated 
more than commonplace : and there was nothing 
that he made more use of. The impression that 
nothing went down with the House of Commons 
but solemn twaddle grew upon him. 

Towards the end of his career no one appeared 
to win his favour except those possessing this gift. 
Brilliant himself, he felt deeply that to shine was 
not to succeed ; the position which he achieved 
was in spite of his exceptional qualities ; not on 
account of them. 

THE FIRST CLUB to which I belonged in Lon- 



56 DISRAELI. 

don was in Albemarle Street: "THE ALFRED," a 
sort of minor "Athenaeum." It was suggested to 
me by my grand-uncle, M r Henry Holland, who 
had been at one time Lord Grey's Secretary, 
and Member for his father's pocket borough, 
Okehampton. The Club no longer exists. The 
name by which it was usually known was the 
"Half-Read Club;" and from the following anec- 
dote it must have deserved its name. One even- 
ing, during the short period of M r Canning's 
Premiership, at a house-dinner, the company was 
delighted by the presence of a fluent, and most 
amusing, and bald-headed, member, well acquainted 
with the politics of the day, with Art, Literature, 
in short all that an educated gentleman ought to 
know. He excused himself for leaving the com- 
pany somewhat early ; and they were unanimous as 
to the merits of the departed. They agreed that 
each should give an opinion as to who he might 
be. Various names were written down; and it 
was found that the majority pronounced him to 
be Sir Thomas Lawrence, President of the Royal 
Academy. Subsequent investigation, outside the 
Club, enabled them to ascertain that the amusing 
stranger was the Prime Minister, M r Canning. 



DISRAELI. 57 

I HEARD DISRAELI in a speech in the House 
of Commons tell the story of M r Canning having 
been invited to a dinner at a Club : wishing to 
surprise him, the Committee chose some very 
special Champagne of a dry quality, then a novelty. 
The dinner passed off well : but at the end some 
incautious member asked the Prime Minister 
whether he liked the Champagne. M r Canning re- 
plied, " A man who says that he likes that wine will 
say anything." " Now, M r Speaker," added Disraeli, 
"I can only say that any member of this House 
who declares that he approves of this motion 
would say " he paused " that he liked dry Cham- 
pagne." 

DISRAELI had a party staying with him at 
Hughenden : he had not been well previous to 
their visit : and one day his symptoms caused great 
anxiety. The guests conferred; and determined to 
send to London for his physician, D r K. In the 
meantime their host became conspicuously better : 
and a difficulty arose to account for the Phy- 
sician's presence. At last some lady broke it to 
him. He absolutely refused to see D r K. ; but 
ordered that dinner should be prepared; and con- 



58 DISRAELI. 

veyed to the Doctor's apartment. After dinner he 
said, addressing the company, " Will none of you 
go and visit the Prisoner ? " The hint was taken : 
but D r K. departed the next day, without seeing 
his patient. 

SOME GOOD SAYINGS have been recorded of 
Lord Alvanley : here is one that has not. Dining 
frequently at the mess of the i st Life Guards, 
he noticed that when "the cloth was removed," 
as it was in those days, sundry notes were brought 
in to the Officers : each 

"Note was written upon gilt-edged paper 
With a neat little crow-quill, slight and new." 

On the next occasion when this took place, 
Lord Alvanley turned to the mess-waiter, and said, 
" Bring me one ! " 

THE WISH expressed by Disraeli that every peasant 
in Bucks should have a Pont and a Tank was in 
allusion to the not unfrequent water-famines which 
occur in his part of the county. He most liberally 
lent his own horses and carts on these occasions. 

LORD LAMINGTON, better known as Baillie 
Cochrane, said two things worthy of being men- 



DISRAELI. 59 

tioned here : he remarked that, in the House of 
Commons, anyone who intended to speak should 
be there at the opening of the House : and that 
unless his nervous system were sufficiently sensitive 
. to catch the tone of the day, and each day varies, 
he would not make a successful speech. The 
other was this : He asked me if I knew much of 
Mentone, on " The Riviera." I told him that I 
had passed a day or two there. Lord Lamington 
said, "I am told that it is a place where you 
must have resources in yourself. I know what 
that means ; that you wish to hang yourself twice a 
day ! " 

I asked Lord Lamington in what part of France 
the Monastery of La Trappe was; he replied, "I 
have not the remotest idea " : " But," I said, " I 
read lately a most heartrending account of your 
visit; you describe beautifully the Sun rising over 
the mountains ; and your approach to the living 
tomb: you saw the brothers pass each other with- 
out speaking : one of them digging his grave, 
etc., etc. It was enough to wring tears from a 
statue." He quietly said, " I never was there 
in my life." "Do you mean to say that you 
did not write that article which is published 



60 DISRAELI. 

with your name ? " " Oh ! I remember now : I 
did : I wrote it from something that I saw in 
' Galignani's Messenger.' I have no idea where the 
place is." 

THERE WAS NO MEMBER of London society 
at the time I speak of for whom I had a greater 
respect and regard than Lady Essex. I never 
knew her until she was far advanced in age. 
Having been in her youth, as Miss Stephens, 
a most brilliantly successful singer, she married 
Lord Essex, when an old man. Her hospitality 
in Belgrave Square was not only great, but refined. 
No one better understood the art of collecting 
pleasant and clever people; and no one ever 
played the hostess with more dignity, nor more 
true kindness : nor had more excellent Cham- 
pagne. 

MR. HENRY BARING, known as "the Major," 
he had served in the I st Life Guards, for many 
years M.P. for Marlborough, said to me, "The 
House of Commons is a pleasant place, provided 
you don't work at it," meaning the drudgery of 
Railway Committees. I always have had a great 



DISRAELI. 61 

craving for work. On one occasion, M' Moffatt, 
who was listened to by the House on a particular 
subject, namely, the Tea-duties, and who had an 
invariable habit of omitting the letter H, was be- 
coming prolix: he had repeatedly used the word 
'ouse : "I 'ope the 'ouse : and per'aps the 'ouse," 
etc. M r Henry Baring, at a time when the 
Members were listening attentively, said across 
the House, in a stage-whisper, addressing the 
orator, " No ! no ! don't go on saying 'ouse : say 
House." 

DURING A DIVISION M r M., one of the 
"Mountain," who had for two years been howl- 
ing at Disraeli whenever a chance offered, found 
himself by accident or intention in the Govern- 
ment lobby. Disraeli, as usual, had taken post 
with his back to the fireplace. The Mountaineer 
approached him ; having no previous acquaintance : 
" M r Disraly ! I've had no opportunity of spak- 
ing to ye. Me darturs read yer books v.ith the 
greatest avidity." Disraeli replied nothing : but 
casting his eyes to the Gothic ceiling of the lobby 
muttered, " This is Fame ! " 



62 DISRAELI. 

"CONINGSBY" came out while I was at Eton: 
the boys instantly fastened on one mistake which 
proved that the Author was not an Eton man : 
he makes one of the characters say that he has 
come "from Brocas." This was conclusive: "The 
Brocas " being the correct term : as every Eton 
boy knows. 

LORD PALMERSTON on horseback looked a big 
man : and standing at the table of the House he 
did not appear ill-proportioned. Each foot, to de- 
scribe it mathematically, was a "four-sided irregular 
figure." His portraits in "Punch" are very like 
him. Those with a flower or straw in the mouth 
the best. He had a very horsey look. On one 
occasion he used a fine term, which I believe, but 
am not quite sure, to be original. "Nothing can 
be more deplorable than an inheritance of trium- 
phant wrong." I heard him at the commence- 
ment of the Crimean War quote two lines with 
good effect, 

" As oft have issued, host impelling host, 
The blue-eyed myriads from the Baltic coast ! " 

He pronounced "Baltic" "Boltic." 



DISRAELI. 63 

Lord Castlereagh in 1814 intended to quote 
four lines from the same beautiful Poem : they 
were these, 

" With grim delight the brood of Winter view 
A brighter day, and heavens of azure hue : 
Scent the new fragrance of the breathing rose : 
And quaff the pendent vintage as it grows." 

Lord Castlereagh did not quote the lines ; think- 
ing that they might give offence to the Russian 
armies-, then invading France. The accounts of 
the British soldiers advancing upon Sebastopol 
describe precisely the trait mentioned in the 
last line. It was with difficulty that the Officers 
could prevent the men from plucking the unripe 
grapes in the vineyards through which they 
passed. 

THE FOLLOWING lines were apropos of the 
creation of the Dukedoms of Abercorn and West- 
minster. 

" Sidonia makes a Duke, his reign to grace : 
Gladstone another, on a change of place : 



64 DISRAELI. 

Sidonia makes an Empress : Let us hope 

That Gladstone will not trump him with a Pope ! " 

i.e., Cardinal Manning. 

I HAVE HEARD Disraeli say more than once, 
"The disappointed are always young." 

SAYING TO DISRAELI that the Members of 
the House were curiously heterogeneous, he replied, 
" True ! but their collective Taste is exquisite. No 
one can break the severest canons of good taste 
without creating a strong feeling against him." 
Bright, on one occasion, held up one of Lady 
Palmerston's cards, inviting to her Saturday evening 
parties. "These," said he, "are the means by 
which the noble Viscount attracts support." This 
was received with absolute silence. On that, or 
another occasion, Lord Palmerston, replying to 
Bright, began, "After the speech of the Hon. and 
Reverend gentleman." A thrill of disgust ran 
through the House; with whom Bright was never 
popular. 

MR. DARBY GRIFFITHS, Member for Devizes, 

whose frequent harangues were greeted with yells 



DISRAELI. 65 

of derision; and who, I believe, delighted in the 
vituperation which he received; asked Lord Pal- 
merston a question relating to Foreign Affairs. 
Some very insulting letters in reference to this 
Country had been addressed to Napoleon III. by 
sundry Colonels in his Army; suggesting that the 
Emperor should lead them to attack this "nest of 
assassins"; meaning London. On a remonstrance 
from our Government an apology was made by 
the Emperor : whereupon M r Darby Griffiths asked 
Lord Palmerston whether, as the offence had been 
given by the official publication of the letters in 
the " Moniteur," the apology would also be inserted 
in that official paper. Lord Palmerston replied, 
"Without wishing to be personally offensive, I must 
say that I consider the question of the Hon. Mem- 
ber for Devizes to be eminently absurd." This 
was the reply of a bully : knowing that M r D. G. 
was the butt of the House. He made a great 
mistake; the House received Lord Palmerston's 
reply in absolute silence, on both sides : The House 
would not stand its Members being insulted : to 
insult one was to insult all. In six weeks Lord 
Palmerston was out of office. 



66 DISRAELI. 

OF ALL THE chivalrously fair speakers I have 
heard Disraeli was the most so. I never knew 
him misrepresent his opponent in any case, small, 
or great. However noble the sentiment uttered, 
however great the truth, he could contrive to turn 
it into absurdity; but he never altered the words; 
he never pretended, as I have heard some eminent 
speakers, to mistake what had been said : and by 
cunning, and apparently unintentional, alteration 
give a different meaning to the sentiment. He 
was exact, and precise in his quotations to the 
utmost degree. So acute was Disraeli's intellect; 
and so true his sense of the ludicrous, that few 
could escape. 

AFTER THE Elections in the Spring of 1853, neces- 
sitated by the change of Government; at which 
the new Ministers had addressed their constituents, 
a slashing attack was made upon them by Disraeli ; 
then on the front Opposition bench. 

Sir James Graham, his favourite butt, had made 
a speech in the County of Cumberland, which 
Disraeli reviewed. After giving a few words to the 
other members of the new Cabinet he said, "But, 
we have been told, that though some evil must 



DISRAELI. 67 

await us, that although we must be prepared for 
some disaster, we should be compensated by the 
unrivalled abilities of the first Lord of the Admiralty. 
I have read with interest the Right Hon. Baronet's 
Speech, lately delivered at Carlisle : among other 
things I find that he told his Constituents that he 
' intended to take his stand upon Progress : ' a 
somewhat slippery foundation I should say. Now, 
Sir, I know the necessities of the Hustings : and 
do not wish to be too critical. I am willing to 
pass this over as a piece of oratorical slipslop," 
etc., etc. During this attack Sir James Graham's 
face grew blacker and blacker. Disraeli went on : 
" I ask, where are the Whigs, with their two cen- 
turies of splendid traditions? Where are the Radi- 
cals?" At this Sir John Shelley, who had made 
himself conspicuous on the front Bench when his 
party were in Opposition, rose at the fly ; he said 
" Hear ! Hear ! " Disraeli, without looking up, re- 
cognised his voice; and turning towards him said, 
" Used ! and abandoned ! Used without scruple ! 
and abandoned, not with too much delicacy ! " 
This is a good illustration of his great refinement. 
It would of course have been more antithetical to 
say " Used without scruple ! and abandoned without 



68 DISRAELI. 

delicacy ! " but he preferred the exact truth : show- 
ing, as he always did, that he was a consummate 
artist. 

DISRAELI, LIKE Napoleon and Wellington, was 
a bad rider. There is a wild legend of his having 
hunted on one occasion. He confirms it in a 
letter to his sister : he says that he rode across 
country for thirty miles and " stopped at nothing " : 
but I can hardly bring myself to believe it. The 
Right Hon. J. L. endeavoured to persuade me that 
Disraeli had not only hunted, but had hunted in 
a suit of bright green velvet, with gilt buttons. 
I do not think such a tale would ever have come 
except from a Privy Councillor. Leonora's ride 
behind her dead lover is a joke to this. I should 
have said that, like the sagacious Frenchman, when 
asked whether he hunted, he would have replied, 
"I have hunted." I know, however, that on one 
occasion, towards the close of his life, staying in a 
country-house he volunteered to accompany the ladies 
of the party on horseback : a rash proceeding which 
he sorely repented ; I use the term in its literal sense. 
The ride was of some duration ; possibly longer 
than he anticipated; when about five miles from 



DISRAELI. 69 

the house he showed great symptoms of discomfort. 
Placing his hand on the pummel of his saddle to 
raise himself, he enquired at intervals of five 
minutes if they were near home : how much 
longer it would be, etc., and was evidently in 
great pain. My informant told me that on reach- 
ing the house, and dismounting, Disraeli absolutely 
reeled with suffering : and that he made a sign to 
a servant to catch him, if he fell. 

Some years earlier, he attended a meet of fox- 
hounds : it was what is called a " lawn meet : " 
and took place close to the house of a most 
worthy Staffordshire Squire, M r Giffard of Chil- 
lington. He had in former days been of use to 
Disraeli, when a Candidate for Shrewsbury. A 
common friend told him that the host was unable 
to leave his arm-chair from illness : he had heard 
that he was there; and was most anxious to see 
him. He replied, " No ! " Subsequently another 
friend told him that M r Giffard would be disap- 
pointed if he did not see him. Disraeli still refused 
to dismount. This naturally surprised the gentleman 
at whose house he was staying. When they got 
home, Disraeli calmly said, "It is necessary that I 
should give you my reason for not dismounting: it 



70 DISRAELI. 

was founded upon my experience of this morning. 
I should have been glad to shake hands with my 
old friend : but I was convinced that, did I dis- 
mount from my horse, it would be a physical im- 
possibility for me again to place myself in the 
saddle." 



LORD MALMESBURY told me that, when he 
was a boy, at the time of the first Reform Bill, 
he was staying at Howick, Earl Grey's house. 
Believed to be too young to notice such matters, 
he heard daily conversations between Lord Grey 
and his colleagues on the Reform Bill, which they 
were preparing : he said that, except for the pur- 
pose of bringing themselves into Office, no words 
were exchanged between these Statesmen in relation 
to the good of the Country. 

IN THE DINING ROOM of Disraeli's house in 
Upper Grosvenor Street there was a bad copy of 
a well-known Murillo. One of his guests at a 
dinner-party, leading another up to the picture, 
said, "I like to see that!" "Why?" "It shows 
that he has a good heart." "You mean that he 



DISRAELI. 71 

is a Christian?" "Oh no! that he is painted 
sitting on his mother's knee." 

AT A BALL at Ashburnham House, then the 
Russian Embassy, taking Lady G. F., Lady Jersey's 
sister, one of the Great Duke's "dearest Georgies" 
of 1815, into the tea-room, I observed on an easel 
lighted by reflectors that most beautiful picture, " The 
Good Shepherd," by Murillo, the property of Lord 
Ashburnham. I called Lady G.'s attention to it. 
The old lady walked up to the picture : put on her 
eye-glass : examined it ; and said, " Yes ! beautiful ! 
one of the Villierses." 

THE TERM " Honourable Friend " has been much 
abused of late years. Parliamentary tradition has 
always been that the term must never be used 
except in relation to one who has sat in the same 
Cabinet. It has now become the loose practice for 
a Minister to speak of everyone on his own side of 
the House as his " Hon. Friend " : an absurdity. 

OF DISRAELI few members of his own party 
saw anything. He seldom took his meals at the 
Carlton Club; for reasons which he gave me in 



72 DISRAELI. 

vigorous vernacular: he was not often seen there 
in the daytime; never in the evening. I told him 
that I had done my best to establish Whist ; which 
had not been played there for many years. He 
said, " Quite right ! I am most anxious to make it 
a Night-Club," i.e., a dispensing cellar for vagrant 
M.P.S. 

Disraeli's seclusion may have been partly for 
his own convenience: partly from policy. A man 
in his position who is seldom seen soon becomes 
an abstract idea. The Kings of Persia were, I 
believe, formerly, never seen ; thus avoiding personal 
Jealousy, and Envy. 

A DISCUSSION taking place as to whether a vote 
was a Right, or a Privilege, Bernal Osborne sug- 
gested that it was neither : that it was " a Perquisite." 

THE REASON for Disraeli taking the Tory side, 
as a young man, was the advice of Lord Lynd- 
hurst. He pointed out to him that the clever 
young men of the day were going in for Radi- 
calism : that the Tories sadly wanted brains : and 
advised him to join their party. I had this from 
Lord Malmesbury : and it has recently been con- 



DISRAELI. 73 

firmed to me by Lord O., who knew Disraeli 
intimately; and who had it from himself. 

LORD LYNDHURST told me that at the time 
of the Cato Street Conspiracy, he, being Solicitor- 
General, was sent for by the Cabinet ; and his 
advice asked as to whether the proposed dinner 
at Lord Harrowby's house in Grosvenor Square, 
should take place or not. The conspirators were 
to enter the house by stratagem ; seize the servants ; 
and murder the Cabinet Ministers at table in the 
dining-room. Well-sharpened knives, and canvas 
bags for their heads, were provided : and everything 
was arranged for the massacre. Lord Lyndhurst 
told me that he strongly advised that the dinner 
should take place; as a certain means of capturing 
the traitors. Lord Eldon, the Lord Chancellor, 
who was sitting with his feet on the fender, said, 
" You won't be there ! I strongly object to the 
dinner taking place." Fortunately, the Archbishop 
of York, who lived next door, had a dinner-party : 
the watch, which was set for twenty-four hours 
previously, reported that "the carriages were setting 
down," and "all was right." 

Lord Lyndhurst told me that when he visited 



74 DISRAELI. 

George IV. at Windsor at about n before noon, 
he usually found the King in bed : and parcels 
containing any new invention or toy lying before 
him. I wish that I had asked him more about 
the character of George IV. : though a cynic, he 
was a wise judge of men, an admirable raconteur, 
and very agreeable. 

I DID NOT observe Disraeli during his last 
Premiership lay himself out for the admiration of 
women. At a Ball at Buckingham Palace he 
was in the supper-room. A lady said to me, 
"You were speaking to Mr. Disraeli: I should 
so very much like to know him ! " This was a 
married lady of mature years, but still handsome. 
Wishing to act good - naturedly I said to him, 
"There is a lady here of Beauty and Talent, 
who is very anxious to be presented to you. Her 
husband is a strong supporter of yours." Dis- 
raeli quietly said, " No ! I am too old for that 
sort of thing." This was said with perfect good- 
humour, but decision. I cannot remember what 
excuse I made to the lady : but it placed me 
rather in a difficulty. I found out some time 
afterwards that Disraeli had exactly gauged the 



DISRAELI. 75 

situation : the lady's husband had several times 
expressed strongly his opinion that a Peerage 
should reward his merits. 

I MIGHT be proud historically to be able to 
say that I have danced frequently vis-a-vis to one 
who danced with Marie Antoinette. One of the 
most regular ball-goers in my early days was the 
ninth Marquess of Huntly. He had inherited 
his Marquessate on the death of the last* Duke 
of Gordon. He was a little, dried-up, old gentle- 
man : his hair cut short ; and dyed a sort of 
purple : very much wrinkled in face : wearing the 
broad green Ribbon, and Star, of S' Andrew. 
He danced every quadrille : and always selected 
for partners the handsomest young ladies at the 
ball. Lord Huntly said very little to them : I 
believe that his real object was, in addition to 
pleasant society, the supper : for he was very poor. 
On one occasion the first Duke of Wellington gave 
a Ball : and had, possibly by accident, left him out. 
Lord Huntly wrote to the Duke : and expressed 
his regret; reminding him that he was "a Tory, 
and a dancing-man." As a young man he had 
been a favourite at Versailles. His appearance 



76 DISRAELI. 

always reminded me of a phrase, invented about 
that time, "a date in a dress coat." His sons 
were among the finest of men : one, Lord Francis 
Gordon, was our show man of the i st Life Guards : 
6 feet 3 inches in height. 

LONDON SOCIETY 1847-1870 was compara- 
tively small : it consisted of from 300 to 500 
persons; not more. The former number repre- 
sents those who met at the best Balls and evening 

i 
parties. A single new face added to this circle 

would be observed. Everyone knew everyone else; 
at least by sight. You met the same partners, 
night after night, for three months. There were 
usually two or three good balls in large houses 
every week : Lady Palmerston invariably gave a 
Saturday reception. The pleasantest nights were 
those when, after a smart debate in the House 
of Commons, one adjourned at half-past twelve 
or so to some great lady's ball. Sit-down suppers 
were unknown. Nothing could be more vivacious; 
nothing could be more exhilarating. 

A DINNER-PARTY is, and always was, a risk: 
nothing more pleasant when with " kindred spirits : " 
nothing more tiresome when without them : from 



DISRAELI. 77 

a dinner-party there is no escape; whereas at a 
Ball you can choose your company : and your 
retreat, at any moment, is secure. There were 
then one or two waiters in London whom every 
prudent person hired to announce their guests : 
one was named Amy; an elderly person of most 
aristocratic appearance. You felt that to be 
announced by him was an honour. There was 
no asking of names : you were conscious that if 
your name was not known by the personage on 
the stairs the Ball had been given in a cheap, 
and therefore, unworthy manner. On one occasion 
at a Ball given by a relation of my step-father, an 
Irish peer of great wealth, in Cavendish Square, 
Lord W. omitted to hire one of these omniscient 
attendants ; the result I shall never forget : the 
unfortunate family-butler endeavoured to catch the 
names of the incomers; and bawled them out 
on the staircase. The confusion was sublime : I 
remember Lord Paget, afterwards third Marquess 
of Anglesey, a smart young dancing-man of the 
period, was announced as Lord Bagot, a venerable 
nobleman who was unable to leave his house from 
gout, etc., etc. Distinguished persons arrived; and 
were announced by names bearing no resemblance 



78 DISRAELI. 

to their own. I do not think Lord W. ever tried 
the experiment again. 

DISRAELI'S LIVERY was peculiar. It was a 
bright brown. The servants' coats badly made : 
they wore no cockade. 

LORD HARRINGTON, better known as Viscount 
Petersham, used brown liveries ; and invented brown 
coats. He was a man of exquisite taste. The 
"Petersham" great-coat which I wore at ten years 
old, when at D r Everard's school at Brighton, was 
of fine brown cloth, with one, two, or three capes 
for the shoulder, and a velvet collar. Lord Harring- 
ton married Miss Foote the celebrated actress : his 
carriage, which we used to see daily, when on guard, 
from a window of the Horse-Guards, he living in 
Craig's Court, Charing Cross, was a picture of refine- 
ment. The carriage brown, with pale blue wheels; 
two servants standing behind in long brown great- 
coats and peculiar hats : the coachman the same : 
a pair of fine black horses, with black leather and 
brass harness, - stepping well together, very powerful 
animals : the equipage was in the style and form 
of the last century. 



DISRAELI. 79 

I DO NOT know the raison d'etre of the brown 
livery used by the Dukes of Wellington. The 
" drab " of several families, including the great 
house of Howard Dukes of Norfolk, Earls of 
Effingham, etc., represents white. Brown is a 
colour unknown in Heraldry. 

AS REGARDS Wisdom's loveliest sister, Taste, 
Disraeli had none. His house, on the healthiest 
spot in London, at the corner of Park Lane 
and Upper Grosvenor Street, was furnished in a 
thoroughly conventional, or " upholsterer's," manner : 
the ground floor window-curtains of brown: in the 
first floor, furniture of yellow damask : the second 
floor, in which he had a den or "sanctum," of pale 
blue poplin. There were none of the small articles 
of beauty, which indicate refinement on the part 
of the householder. The only moveable articles 
that I observed in the drawing-room, excepting the 
chairs and tables, were a complete set of the 
Tauchnitz Edition of his works. I said, "Does 
not that annoy you ? " Disraeli replied, " No ! on 
the contrary, I am flattered : he sent them to me 
himself." 



8o DISRAELI. 

I HAVE SPOKEN of Disraeli's liveries. Lord 
Derby's " turn-out " was by no means 'what it should 
have been : considering his high position, ancient 
lineage, and vast wealth. In those days the sight 
in S' James's Street of the equipages for the drawing- 
room was admirable. Carriages, horses, liveries, 
were such as could not be seen in any other 
country; they represented splendour, and good 
taste, combined in the highest degree. Lord 
Derby showed a pair of indifferent horses, covered 
with silver harness ; and, worse than all, before 
he was a Knight of the Garter, his harness bore 
an imitation Garter, with his family motto, "Sans 
Changer." 

It would be difficult to say whose was the 
finest " turn-out " : possibly the Duke of Beaufort's. 
Lord Foley's won popular applause : but it was too 
"apprete"; too "bandbox." The finest carriages 
waited in S' James's Square : the Ambassadors' in 
one of the Courts of S' James' Palace. To attend 
the Sovereign in a hired brougham was a thing 
then perfectly unknown. 

DISRAELI'S KNOWLEDGE of French was very 
scanty: it surprises me that, with so much intelli- 



DISRAELI. 81 

gence, he did not acquire this useful language. 
At Pepinsterre, in Belgium, I asked his permission 
to present to him a Dutch gentleman. I saw at 
once by his change of countenance that he thought 
he would have to speak in French. I managed 
to convey to him indirectly that the Baron spoke 
English very well. 

The story is well known, of the artifice by 
which he was induced at the Berlin Conference 
to use first-rate English, instead of fifth -rate 
French. 

DISRAELI STRONGLY objected to the intro- 
duction of cant terms. He publicly demurred to 
the use of the words "Blue Books" in . place of 
"Parliamentary Proceedings." He continued to 
use the term "Gentlemen of the Long Robe," 
which is correct, for years after others had disused 
it. He would never have condescended to call 
the "Seamen" of the Queen's Navy, by the term 
"Blue Jackets." I assume that the next gush will 
be to speak of soldiers as " Red Jackets." " Sea- 
man" is a fine manly term : and represents a noble 
class. "Blue Jackets" is a term fit only for a 
third-rate melodrama. Disraeli never would slur 



82 DISRAELI. 

the word " Parliament : " he pronounced it as it is 
spelt, in four syllables : the derivation, I have no 
doubt, being from " Parliamo mente," " Let us speak 
our mind ! " 

I KNEW DELANE, for many years Editor of 
" The Times," well. I have been told, on good 
authority, that when Disraeli and he were present at 
a dinner-party, at Sir Alexander Cockburn's C.J., 
Delane left the table without formal farewell, as 
he was privileged to do, in order to resume his 
most laborious task. Some young gentleman, who 
had been making himself familiar with Disraeli, 
with whom he was not previously acquainted, and 
whose measure, as regards discretion, Disraeli had 
taken accurately, turned to him, and said, " I 
should very much like to know your honest 
opinion of Delane." Disraeli glanced at the 
clock ; " News can be brought here from Serjeants' 
Inn in about half an hour. Delane has been gone 
a quarter; should the news be brought to us that 
Delane has been found dead in his cab before 
we part this evening, I will tell you what I think 
of him." 

Standing at the bar of the House of Lords 



DISRAELI. 83 

with Delane, at the time when a second Russian 
War seemed to be imminent, he said to me, 
"They take things quietly; don't they? It will 
take some time for the Russians to get here. 
There is only one thing that consoles me; that if 
there is to be a War, Disraeli will conduct it." 

I used frequently to ride with Delane in Hyde 
Park. We conversed on every topic; in relation 
to politics, army matters, etc. He told me not 
long before his death that he had never been able 
to induce me to move one inch in my opinions. 
I have no doubt that, in his position, he fre- 
quently met with persons who affected to bend 
their opinion to his : and who played the syco- 
phant whenever they had an opportunity. Riding 
at the time of year when Hyde Park was almost 
empty, I met an old acquaintance, a General 
Officer, who had just received a piece of very in- 
teresting news. It was a great social event, of a 
sensational character, relating to a marriage. He 
showed me the communication ; which I read : it 
was not confidential, but official. After considera- 
tion I said to him, " Should you object to my 
telling Delane? He has on several occasions been 
good-natured to me : I should be very glad to 



84 DISRAELI. 

repay him." My friend replied, " By all means ! 
I have been looking for him; he has been riding 
lately almost every day : he is not in Rotten Row 
now." I found him at the Reform Club. I told 
him the news, which he evidently believed; also 
that I had permission to tell him. He merely said 
"Thank you" rather drily; "Good evening." Not 
a word appeared in " The Times." Three days 
afterwards the news appeared in another morning 
paper. I was surprised; for he evidently saw that 
my information was authentic: and he certainly 
was not displeased with myself. He told me, 
some years afterwards, that he had felt the obli- 
gation, and what he was pleased to call my 
good-nature in wishing to do him service. I have 
no doubt now that he was very much displeased 
with his friends, the Whig Government, for not 
having given him early information. A few lines 
of what is, I believe, called an "editorial" would 
have made a sensation; he did not write them. 

The close of his life was sad. I used fre- 
quently to dine with him and his brother General 
Delane, who died lately, and their clever nephew 
Dasent, on the terrace at Homburg. He tried to 
be cheerful ; but looked very melancholy. One 



DISRAELI. 85 

evening I quoted some lines of Moore : he burst 
into tears. No human being could have con- 
tinued the strain upon his mind which he bore 
for many years. In addition to the enormous 
labour and responsibility of managing " The 
Times," he was fond of society: dined out in- 
cessantly; was always alive to what was going 
on : and being very agreeable, received repeated 
invitations. He was a man of very strong feelings : 
whether he liked you or disliked you, he did both 
with equal vehemence. 

DISRAELI LISTENED with deep attention to 
the first speech made by Doctor Magee, Bishop 
of Peterborough. He said to the person next to 
him, " Oho ! we have got a Customer here. " 

AN INCIDENT occurred during the Parliament 
of 1875-1880 of a dramatic character. I received 
a note delicately written requesting my attend- 
ance upon a lady, on a subject of importance. 
Prompted, as every M.P. is, by a stern sense of 
duty, I acceded to the request; which was dated 
from Quebec Street, Portman Square. I found a 
room brilliantly lighted; its occupant a lady beauti- 



86 DISRAELI. 

fully dressed ; of about 38 summers. Her appear- 
ance was decidedly comely : had I been much 
younger or much older I should have been cer- 
tainly epris. I asked her in what way I could 
be of service to her : she at once entered into 
business ; telling me particulars in relation to her 
deceased husband, and his affairs. I may say here 
that the lady was of the highest respectability : and 
that I found later an old and valued friend who 
had been present at her marriage in India. I 
listened to the tale of wrongs : and on the lady 
suggesting that an introduction to Lord Hartington 
was desirable, I replied that my acquaintance with 
Lord Hartington was slight; and that, although he 
had filled the position of Secretary for India, as I 
was politically opposed to him, my presentation 
would not be the best means of calling his atten- 
tion to the matter. While listening to further details, 
I turned over in my mind as to whom I should 
refer the lady; it occurred to me that Lord Strath- 
nairn, who had recently returned from Hindostan, 
once the scene of his most glorious victories, would 
be the very man to deal with the lady, and her case. 
I suggested that if she wrote to Lord Strathnairn 
it was by no means impossible that his Lord- 



DISRAELI. 87 

ship would appreciate the facts; and treat them 
in a proper manner. So far the tale is simple 
enough. 

Some weeks afterwards, as I entered the Palace 
of Westminster, knowing that a debate of some 
heaviness was going on in relation to India, I 
thought that I heard the Division-bell ringing : this 
is occasionally an illusion. I asked M r Cole, who 
still has a position in the Cloister, and keeps a 
register of what is going on in the House; he 
confirmed my idea. I walked up the Members' 
staircase, looked through the glass-door; found the 
circular hall next to the door of the House 
emptied ; it was in the days of the vast Tory 
majority; and waited patiently for the door to be 
unlocked. After some minutes the door-keeper 
opened the glass- door, close to which I stood. 
At the same moment I saw Disraeli, holding a 
bandana handkerchief to his face, which was 
hidden, actually run to the door, thence down the 
stairs which I had mounted, and disappear. I 
went into the House : and found a scene of wild 
confusion. I could get no answer from anyone as 
to what had taken place. All agreed that there 
had been a Division : but none seemed to know 



88 DISRAELI. 

what it was about : at last I found that in the 
midst of this important debate, involving the des- 
tiny of our Indian Empire, some Member on the 
Government side of the House had unexpectedly 
moved that the House do now adjourn. A scene 
of terrible disorder ensued : this extraordinary 
proposal was negatived by a large majority : and 
the debate was continued. No one could give an 
explanation : the mover of this inopportune motion 
had disappeared. I subsequently ascertained the 
facts. 

A card had been brought in by a Member of 
the House, and handed to Disraeli, who was sitting 
in the Prime Minister's seat, with a message that a 
Lady would be glad to see him at the door of 
the House. Now let the reader mark : Disraeli 
did not say to the Member bringing in the card, 
"I shall not go out;" he turned to the Minister 
next to him, and said loudly enough for the Mem- 
ber to hear, " I shall not go out." The Member 
retired. After some time Disraeli sent a con- 
fidential friend to reconnoitre : he reported that a 
Lady of imposing appearance and dressed in a 
pink silk dress, with flounces; I like to be particu- 
lar; and a hat in the extreme of fashion, was 



DISRAELI. 89 

standing at the door of the House of Commons ; 
awaiting his presence. A second friend, sent after 
an interval, reported that the lady was still present, 
but having moved to the refreshment-stall, was re- 
galing herself with a Bath bun, and a bottle of 
ginger-beer. She evidently had no intention of 
leaving the place. Now the reader will observe 
the master-mind of Disraeli. He surreptitiously 
conveyed his wishes to a supporter below the 
gangway, who would not be suspected. This 
Member in a spirit of loyalty to his Chief 
moved that the House be adjourned. The reader 
may or may not be aware that the result of this 
was that the circular hall, into which the public 
were then admitted, and where the Lady was 
standing, was instantly cleared ; the public being 
relegated to the corridor between the House of 
Commons and the House of Lords. A Division 
took place ; and before the door leading to the 
House of Lords was unlocked and the public re- 
admitted, Disraeli had levanted in the manner 
which I have endeavoured to portray. The Prime 
Minister of Britain tete-a-tete with a magnificent 
lady on the door-mat of the House of Commons, 
surrounded by a crowd of curious and cynical 



go DISRAELI. 

bystanders, would, as no doubt the great man 
felt, have jeopardised his personal dignity : his 
courtesy, official, and non-official, to women was 
exquisite. The Lady was, as the reader may have 
guessed, the heroine of Quebec Street 

THERE WAS no comparison in matters of fence 
between Disraeli and other Members of the House. 
His sword was at least a foot longer than that of 
others : he very rarely laid himself open to a retort. 
On one occasion he did so : and so obviously that 
even Lord Palmerston could ripost with effect. 
Someone had mentioned an anomaly in a projected 
measure of the Government. Disraeli replied that 
in this country many things were anomalous : that 
the British Constitution was anomalous. He was 
standing next ' to Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton. 
" For instance," said he, " the question may be 
asked, why is one man made a Minister because 
he can make a speech ? Why is another man 
made a Minister because he has written a book?" 
Lord Palmerston in answer naturally said, after 
repeating these words, " These are questions that, 
when I look opposite, I frequently ask myself." 



DISRAELI. 91 

AN INCIDENT occurred at a breakfast-party given 
by my mother, Lady Howard, at Craven Cottage, 
Fulham. Soon after M r and M 15 Disraeli had 
arrived, I was talking to them on the lawn. 
Disraeli, looking over my shoulder, said with great 
vivacity, " Look ! look behind ! there is some- 
thing going on ! " I turned round, and observed 
the family butler arguing some point with a par- 
ticularly dusty clergyman and his wife. So far as 
I knew my mother's guests by sight I concluded 
that these were not of them : beckoning to the 
butler I enquired He said, "Sir William, the 
gentleman came in here, thinking it was the 
Bishop of London's " : the Bishop, next door, 
having a clerical party on the same afternoon. 
The clergyman and his wife had vanished in the 
crowd. Disraeli watched them with great eager- 
ness, and delight ; he said to me, " Capital ! 
capital ! he is trying to hide." I beckoned to 
the butler and told him to repeat to the Reverend 
Gentleman that this was not the Prelate's house ; 
and that if he did not quit the premises to come 
to me again. Disraeli watched this interesting 
couple in the mazes of the brilliant throng with 
a schoolboy's interest : he did not take his eyes 



92 DISRAELI. 

from them until, conducted solemnly and cour- 
teously by the butler, they vanished from the scene. 
Disraeli then said, " Obviously a Casuist ! Having 
come in by error he felt no obligation to re- 
tire," etc. 

THE NEW PARLIAMENT met in November 
1852 under circumstances of peculiar excitement. 
Lord John Russell, the Prime Minister, had ac- 
cepted defeat in March, ostensibly on a Militia 
Bill ; in reality to avoid an awkward question which 
was approaching; and with a view to speedily re- 
turn to Office. His failure to do so shook the 
faith in him of the Whig Party : who no longer 
thought him the adroit tactician, which he had 
once shown himself. Lord Derby succeeded : but 
as his party was not in a working majority, an 
understanding was come to, that he should remain 
undisturbed, on condition that he dissolved Parlia- 
ment in the course of the summer. 

In the month of July writs were issued : and the 
General Election took place in that month, a time 
very interesting to myself, as regards my own 
Election, with which I will not trouble the reader, 
and of intense excitement throughout the country. 



DISRAELI. 93 

It had been said by the new Government that the 
question of the continuance or repeal of the altera- 
tion relating to the admission of corn should be de- 
cided by the " Verdict of the Country " : not a very 
constitutional course to pursue ; but the course 
which was pursued. A considerable number of 
Conservatives were returned for Boroughs as Free- 
Traders. Many Counties returned men who de- 
clared themselves still to be Protectionists. No 
sooner had the Elections ended than it was known 
that the Government were in a small minority. 

The cause of this defeat was, in a great measure, 
owing to the thorough want of judgment which 
Lord Derby had shown in placing the management 
of his Party, or as it is now called the "wire-pull- 
ing," in incompetent hands. 

Parliament met on the 4 th of November: the 
usual preliminaries were gone through : and the 
Speaker of the former Parliament, M r Shaw Lefevre, 
who had shown singular and conspicuous ability, 
was proposed by a Tory and a Whig, two common- 
place men, who made two common-place speeches. 

Disraeli alluded gracefully to his own position 
as Leader of the House. He said, "I cannot, 
but remember that not only is this a new Par- 



94 DISRAELI. 

liament, but that the individual, who from his 
position has the principal controul over the Busi- 
ness of the House, has hardly that experience 
which is necessary for the post he occupies." 
Joseph Hume played, unintentionally, the part of 
the " Low Comedy man " in the proceedings : he 
made a pathetic address to the Speaker-elect to 
permit him to attend his levees in plain clothes, 
instead of in uniform. 

The Speech from the Throne was delivered on 
the n th of November by the Sovereign in person. 

Alluding to the death of the Duke of Welling- 
ton, it passed on, in the usual common-place 
method of such speeches, to the topics of the day : 
it contained a passage expressing a hope that 
the Houses of Parliament would consider " How 
far it may be practicable equitably to mitigate the 
injury inflicted upon certain important interests : 
and to enable the industry of the country to meet 
successfully the unrestricted competition to which 
Parliament in its Wisdom has decided that it 
should be subjected." 

The Term "unrestricted competition" was here 
first used : it has been repeatedly criticised since ; 
it was, of course, Disraeli's: the words "unrecip- 



DISRAELI. 95 

rocal commerce" would, I should say, from his 
point of view, have better described the situation : 
these might not, however, have been suitable words 
to place in the Queen's mouth. 

The words in the next line, "Parliament in its 
Wisdom," were also subjected to much cynical 
allusion. 

The debate in the Lords was, as might be ex- 
pected, full of eulogistic language in relation to 
the great man who had just passed away. 

Lord Derby said in the course of a speech of 
some length, "Again, my Lords, I see him rising 
from that seat, amidst breathless silence of your 
Lordships' House ; and with faltering accents, but 
with a power and grasp of mind which seized, as 
it were intuitively, the very pith and marrow of 
the matter in hand, slowly and deliberately im- 
pressing on your Lordships' rapt attention the 
terse and sententious maxims, the results of calm 
and of mature experience." He quoted with effect 
the words of Manzoni : " But," said Lord Derby, 
" he is gone 

" Ove e Silenzio, e Tenebre, 
La Gloria che passo." 



96 DISRAELI. 

In the House of Commons the debate was 
carried on with ardour, but not with the excitement 
which followed later in the Session. One member, 
for whose memory I have the greatest respect, 
played an almost tragic part : this was M r Christo- 
pher. He had accepted office as Chancellor of 
the Duchy of Lancaster. A man of character and 
ability, Disraeli had placed him there as his show 
Country Gentleman. 

Of Scotch descent, of the great house of Dunira, 
he had inherited a considerable fortune ; and had, 
instead of his patronymic of Dundas, taken his 
actual name. He had always been a typical repre- 
sentative of the grand old-fashioned Tory ; of long 
experience in the House, where he was treated with 
universal honour. It was melancholy to hear him 
declare that he " bowed to the decision of the Coun- 
try" in favour of the continuance of the altered 
Corn Law. He said that he had not changed his 
opinion that the policy of Sir Robert Peel was not 
wise: but that, while he held this opinion, he was 
sensible that the state of public feeling rendered a 
return to Protection impossible. M r Christopher 
was immediately followed by Bernal Osborne ; I use 
this name, although by an error " Osborne " was sub- 



DISRAELI. 97 

stituted for " Bernal," instead of being added to the 
name which he inherited. I may here say that no 
one need hope to obtain an accurate representa- 
tion of what took place in Parliament either at 
that period, or since, by wandering among the 
colourless columns of " Hansard." Let anyone 
remark the difference between a speech reported in 
the first person and in the third. It is, of course, 
exceptional to report in the first person. This must 
necessarily be the case; but no speech ever was 
made by man, which the reader would admire as 
eloquent, if reported in the third person : it is, 
in the nature of things, impossible. It is a marvel 
of ingenuity to take down the "ipsissima verba" 
of one speaking. The speech of Bernal Osborne 
on this occasion is a good illustration. It was 
the first by him which I had heard : and I was 
very much struck with his power, and his great 
and genuine sense of humour. "Hansard" gives 
but a feeble image of what that speech really was. 
He said, " Why does not the Chancellor of 
the Exchequer (Disraeli), who has screwed up 
his courage on many points, take his physic like 
a man? Why does not the Right Hon. Gentle- 
man, the Soul and the Genius of the Cabinet, free 

G 



98 DISRAELI. 

himself from that bundle of incompetent Marquesses 
with whom he has imprudently tied himself up ? " 

Alluding to M 1 Christopher, who was sitting in 
grim silence on the opposite bench, and pointing 
at him, Bernal Osborne said, "And there 'bowing 
to the Country' stands the Black Penitent of the 
Administration," crossing his hands on his breast 
at the same time. M r Christopher's extremely 
swarthy complexion added point to this remark. 
He repeated the words which Disraeli had used 
out of the House, that something was "looming in 
the future " for the relief of the farmers : and those 
which Disraeli had used formerly in relation to the 
Government of Sir Robert Peel ; and he applied 
to the actual Government his term " an organised 
hypocrisy ; " a very clever expression : the wit of 
which appeals too much to the ear to be genuine. 

The first scene of the drama was closed by 
Colonel Sibthorp; one of the last genuine "char- 
acters" that the House possessed. A man of ex- 
tremely grotesque appearance ; of whom the portraits 
in " Punch " were hardly caricatures. He was in the 
habit, when addressing the House, of uttering 
numerous asides, which did not find their way 
into the newspaper reports. He would say, "The 



DISRAELI. 99 

House must wait until I find my glasses," and 
interchange amenities with any members who were 
sitting near him, occasionally of a very broad 
character. He said when in Opposition, "I have 
a tolerable opinion of the member for Tiverton 
(Palmerston). As for the rest of the Government, 
only look at them ! " As regards his out-of-door 
life, Colonel Sibthorp might frequently have been 
seen driving in Piccadilly on a high phaeton, with 
a lady dressed in crimson and yellow and green and 
several other colours : by no means always the same 
lady; but each bearing the characteristics of having 
added to the charms of nature a complexion more 
or less artificial. He was supposed to do this to 
carry out his own idea of the type of an honest, 
aristocratic, and independent County Member. 
Colonel Sibthorp prided himself on being a Tory 
of the old school. On the night which I am de- 
scribing he rose last in the debate; and expressed 
his disappointment, if not disgust, at the conduct of 
the Government. It was his wish, his anxiety, to 
have supported them; and he would now express 
briefly, independently, and fearlessly his opinions. 
He was heart and soul a Protectionist : he came into 
that House a Protectionist : and he would continue 



ico DISRAELI. 

in that House, even if alone, as a Protectionist. 
When he should dare to change his opinions, which 
he had so often professed in that House, he would 
at once resign that situation; and confess to his 
constituents that he no longer deserved their confi- 
dence. He was unchangeable in his opinion; and 
his conduct should be unchangeable. He had 
heard in relation to the Party which he had 
hitherto supported the word "duplicity." He was 
sorry to say that word represented his opinion of 
them. He ought not to have trespassed on the 
House; but as an honest man he would do his 
duty fearlessly; and he could not have retired to 
rest without expressing his feelings, and the deter- 
mination to stand by his principles. 

It was related that one of the workmen employed 
on the Houses of Parliament was heard to say to 
another, " I knew that Sibthorp ; I knew he'd never 
give way ! " 

A bit of light comedy was acted on the day 
after Colonel Sibthorp's harangue. A quarter of 
an hour after the meeting of the House, while 
members were passing in rapidly, Disraeli might 
have been observed, and was observed, arm- 
in-arm with Sibthorp. They paced round the 



DISRAELI. 101 

circumference of the hall close to the door of the 
House of Commons; both with solemn aspect; 
Disraeli apparently endeavouring to convince his 
honourable and gallant friend of what an erroneous 
view he had taken. 

A picture appeared in " Punch " drawn by Leech ; 
which represented Lord Derby, Disraeli, and Colonel 
Sibthorp as three " mutes." The picture was 
called "Undertakers Carousing after the Burial of 
Protection : " they are all much bespattered with 
mud. Disraeli is made to say, "Well, we've had 
a precious dirty walk; but now let us enjoy 
ourselves." Colonel Sibthorp replies, "It is all very 
well for you fellows to be jolly ; / was in earnest, 
7 was." The other figures are Lord Malmesbury, 
and Lord John Manners. A farmer looks with 
dismay on the scene. 

On the i5 th of November Disraeli took the 
opportunity on moving the expenses for the Duke 
of Wellington's funeral, to deliver a brilliant essay 
on that great man. I have printed it at length 
in "Words of Wellington;" and for that reason 
do not repeat it here. 

The vindictiveness of triumph of the party of 
Free Trade showed itself on the 23 rd of November ; 



102 DISRAELI. 

when the Right Hon. Charles Villiers, who in 1852 
was looked upon as the veteran of Free Trade, 
moved three resolutions. 

To M r Villiers should have been attributed what- 
ever glory attached to the new principles adopted : 
he had been pushed aside by Cobden and Bright; 
the idea originated with him. 

It was determined to make the Conservative 
Party drink the cup : and that it should be 
done in this form : " That the Act admitting 
foreign corn free was a wise, just, and bene- 
ficial measure : and that the Policy of Free Trade, 
as opposed to Protection, must contribute to 
the general prosperity, welfare, and contentment, 
of the people." M r Villiers' speech teemed with 
sarcasm : I should say that, as a matter of Policy, 
the trampling on the conquered foe was not wise. 
Disraeli followed M r Villiers. He frequently re- 
peated the term used, " Enormous Mischiefs," as 
applied to the conduct of his party : a method 
that he was fond of adopting, and of which he 
could make brilliant use : he would take up some 
careless, or ill-advised expression ; and repeatedly 
referring to it, make the utterer and the utter- 
ance seem ridiculous. He also reiterated the term 



DISRAELI. 103 

used in the Queen's speech "Unrestricted Com- 
petition." He addressed finally in impassioned tones 
the new Members, " It is to those, one third of 
the House, that I appeal with confidence. They 
have just entered, many of them after much long- 
ing, upon that scene to which they have looked 
forward with so much earnestness, suspense, and 
interest ; I doubt not that they are animated with 
a noble ambition ; and that many of them will here- 
after realise their loftiest aspirations. I can only say, 
from the bottom of my heart, that I wish that, on 
whatever benches they may sit, their most sanguine 
hopes may not be disappointed Whatever adds to 
the Intelligence, Interest, and Knowledge of the 
House adds also to its Credit : the interests of all 
are bound up in cherishing and maintaining the pre- 
dominance of the House of Commons. To those 
new Members I now appeal : to the generous, 
and to the young : I ask them to pause, now 
that they are at last arrived on the threshold of 
the Senate of their Country : and not to become 
the victims of exhausted factions; and of obsolete 
politics ! " 

Lord Palmerston said, speaking of the supporters 
of the Government, "That party have honourably, 



104 DISRAELI. 

I think, yielded their personal and original con- 
victions to their sense of what is the opinion of 
the Country, and of the House, on the matter. 
Far from joining in taunts and reproaches upon 
those who so yield their early impressions to the 
force of events, every man who endeavours to 
persuade another to come round to his opinion 
debars himself in justice from the right of re- 
proach. You should not," said he, addressing 
his own side, "force them to go down on their 
knees, and recant their opinions, in order to 
profess opinions which you choose to impose upon 
them. Sir, we are here an Assembly of Gentle- 
men : and we, who are gentlemen, on this side of 
the House, should remember that we are dealing 
with gentlemen on the other side. I cannot at all 
reconcile it to my feelings to call upon a set of 
English gentlemen unnecessarily to express opinions 
which they do not entertain ; or to recant opinions 
which may be still lingering in their minds. The 
Member for Manchester (Bright) while urging the 
Government to adopt the resolution of M r Villiers, 
has done his best to render it impossible for them 
to do so." He added, " I think it is ungenerous 
on the part of the majority, if majority there be, 



DISRAELI. 105 

to endeavour to compel the minority to subscribe 
to opinions of which they may not entirely approve." 
At the end of his speech he moved resolutions in 
the above sense. 

It was the first time that I heard Lord Pal- 
merston speak : Admitting a certain prejudice in 
his favour, I thought it was a good speech. He 
was an adroit speaker ; never a great one : even 
the tone of generosity which pervaded that speech 
did not give me an impression of its depth nor 
sincerity. It was the speech of a man of the 
world, who felt what I have expressed, that the 
vindictive character of M r Villiers's motion was not 
desirable ; nor would it tend to the ultimate benefit 
of the Whig party. 

The debate was continued on the 25* of Novem- 
ber. Sir James Graham and other prominent 
members taking part. Sir James Graham always 
spoke with dignity, and calmness ; great prepara- 
tion, and good effect. He held the sheets, on 
which his speech was carefully written, pinned at 
the upper left hand corner, in the manner of a 
barrister's brief, of note-paper size. His words 
were admirably weighed, carefully considered; and 
delivered with great solemnity. The expression of 



io6 DISRAELI. 

his face was not that of a man who feels earnestly 
what he is saying; on the contrary, he always 
reminded me of a character not so well known 
in England at that time as now; one who has 
been for many years rendered popular in this 
country; and whose cynicism, to use no stronger 
term, has filled many a theatre : I allude to 
Goethe's hero, Mephistopheles. His opinion of 
the House of Commons was high. I heard him 
call it, in private, " The most august assembly the 
world has ever known." 

M r Thomas Buncombe, Member for Finsbury, 
spoke in a brilliant style, of a "poco curante" 
character. He had begun life in the Guards. I 
remember his relating in my presence to Lady 
Donegal how he had been twice flogged at Harrow, 
after receiving his Commission. He had been one 
of the principal admirers of Madame Vestris : and 
posed as a sort of Alcibiades of not very high life. 
He alluded to Sir James Graham as having been 
" re-Whigged " for the occasion : and spoke of Lord 
Palmerston's amendment as "a cross." He de- 
clared that the country would think that the 
whole matter had been arranged : and that Lord 
Palmerston's generosity originated in the fact 



DISRAELI. 107 

that his party were not prepared to turn out the 
Government. 

Bernal Osborne again addressed the House : He 
described Sir William Clay, Member for the Tower 
Hamlets, as a " very gentlemanly man " ; " more 
fitted to weep over the ' Sorrows of Werter ' than to 
discuss the principles of Free Trade." He quoted, 
with great effect, some of the lucubrations on the 
hustings, and elsewhere, of M r Ball, and M r Chowler. 
He alluded to one at which groans for Sir Robert 
Peel had been given, as "The Arch-enemy of the 
Human Species." He continued to throw para- 
graphs of the most disagreeable and angular 
character at the heads of the unfortunate County 
Members who had been imprudent enough to 
utter sentiments, no doubt sincere, advocating Pro- 
tection. He alluded to Disraeli's brilliant simile of 
the Turkish Admiral; and he repeated Disraeli's 
words in 1846, who had alluded to the conversion 
of the Saxons by Charlemagne "in battalions;" and 
their being "baptized in platoons." He reminded 
the House that Disraeli had said of Sir Robert 
Peel, "His life has been one great Appropriation- 
Clause; and I believe that the Country will not 
long endure this huckstering tyranny of the Treasury 



io8 DISRAELI. 

Bench, these political pedlars, who bought their 
party in the cheapest; and sold us in the dearest 
market." He said that Disraeli, "with a face which 
I never saw equalled in a theatre," had told us 
"that he had never attempted to reverse the Policy 
of Free Trade." He pleasantly alluded to him 
as "a great state conjuror." Some imprudent 
member calling out "Shame" gave him the oppor- 
tunity that he wished for, to dwell for some time 
on the sarcasms uttered a few years earlier against 
Sir Robert Peel. 

M r Ball, "the farmers' Member," endeavoured to 
reply; but in a voice of such an extraordinarily 
lachrymose tone that he convulsed the House with 
merriment. I could not believe that it was his 
natural voice : he positively stopped to groan in 
the middle of a sentence : I have seldom heard the 
House laugh louder. He was, however, I have no 
doubt, in earnest : and this the House subsequently 
recognised. 

ON MONDAY, December the 2o th , Lord Derby 
declared in the House of Lords, in a speech of 
some length, that it was his intention to resign. 
He spoke in his best style; and in a forbearing 



DISRAELI. 109 

spirit He named with great generosity M r Charles 
Villiers, the leader of the attack upon him, as a 
"Gentleman of whom I desire to speak with all 
respect, because he has throughout consistently 
maintained, and steadily supported, the same 
opinions when they were unpopular, which he did 
when subsequently ratified by public opinion; so 
that he, at all events, has a perfect right to plume 
himself on the consistency of his opinions. To 
the hands of no man could a declaration of Free 
Trade policy be more fitly consigned." He then 
proceeded to ridicule "the arrangements behind 
the scenes" for the attack just made upon his 
Government. He showed how the first attack had 
failed in consequence of the conspirators forgetting 
or avoiding their respective parts. He spoke with 
respect of Lord Aberdeen, who he understood was 
to succeed him. Judging from Lord Aberdeen's 
former expressions, Lord Derby could have no 
doubt that his Government would be formed upon 
strictly Conservative Principles : how these prin- 
ciples were to be carried out with such associates 
as the noble Earl possessed gave Lord Derby 
doubt, and anxiety. He assured Lord Aberdeen, 
who was not present, that "should he follow the 



i io DISRAELI. 

principles which he had always professed, namely, 
those of Conservatism, with a view to resist the 
onward progress of democratic power in the Con- 
stitution, Lord Aberdeen should receive, if not the 
cordial, at all events the sincere and conscientious, 
support of the great Conservative Party." "Lord 
Aberdeen will find," added Lord Derby, "that if 
the past cannot be altogether forgotten, at least 
personal feeling shall exercise no influence on our 
conduct He will be encountered by no factious 
opposition. He will be met by no unprincipled 
combination." He passed a- graceful compliment 
on the administration of the Foreign Office by 
Lord Malmesbury. On the same afternoon, at the 
meeting of the House of Commons, Disraeli rose 
with an exceptional air of gaiety, very neatly 
dressed, and wearing a flower, if I remember 
rightly it was a wall- flower, in his coat: his appear- 
ance carefully studied. In a calm, and dignified 
manner, he made the announcement of the fact 
that Lord Derby had tendered to Her Majesty his 
resignation, and that of his Colleagues : and that 
the Queen had been pleased to accept the same. 

After stating that Lord Aberdeen, he understood, 
was to be the new Minister, he expressed his 



DISRAELI. in 

gratitude to the House for the manner in which, 
by both sides, he had been supported in attempt- 
ing to conduct the Business of the House. Owing 
to the excitement in his breast, hidden as it was 
by a placid demeanour, he used, according to 
Hansard, the expression, " grateful thanks " : a term 
that must have cost him subsequent regret. I 
can hardly believe it possible that, in any circum- 
stances, Disraeli could have uttered such a sole- 
cism. With other less intellectual beings the term 
is not uncommon : but coming from such a great 
master of language it added to the sadness of the 
situation. 

He continued, "If, Sir, in maintaining the too 
unequal struggle, any word has escaped my lips, 
which I hope has never been the case except in 
the way of retort, which has hurt the feelings of 
any gentleman in this House, I deeply regret it: 
and I hope that the impression on their part will 
be as transient as the sense of provocation was 
on my own. The kind opinion of the Members 
of this House, whatever may be their political 
opinions, and wherever I may sit, will always be 
to me a most precious possession : one which I 
shall always covet; and most highly appreciate". 



112 DISRAELI. 

Lord John Russell then rose, as leader of, "the 
Opposition ; complimenting Disraeli highly upon 
the admirable manner in which, during the time 
he had led the House, the Business of the House 
had been conducted. As regards what Disraeli 
had just said, Lord John cordially reciprocated the 
sentiments, adding, "Will those halcyon days ever 
arrive when an unpremeditated remark may not 
occasionally occur; and be the cause of unpleasant 
feelings ? " 

Sir James Graham echoed this; he had never 
failed to admire Disraeli's talents ; under great 
difficulties, he had conducted the cause of the 
Government for ten months with signal ability. 
Sir Charles Wood followed suit. 

Colonel Sibthorp declared to the House that 
he had not held any office; and that he never 
would. He said that he would have done the 
same as Lord Derby in the same circumstances. 
He spoke of the attack as made by a band, a 
phalanx, of conspirators : and in the spirit of 
prophecy he said, "People talk of dog and cat; 
that phalanx will be something worse. The cat 
and the dog will sometimes lie down together; 
but I predict that there are feelings in the Coali- 



DISRAELI. 113 

tion that will show themselves : a day will soon 
come when dissension, jealousy, and undermining, 
will show themselves in the new Cabinet ". He 
hoped that Disraeli would beware of the man-traps, 
and spring-guns of gentlemen opposite. 

Nothing could be milder than the tone of the 
Debate : and thus the first act of Disraeli's Minis- 
terial career ended. 



AMONG THE MINOR characters in the Drama 
enacted at S' Stephen's, in which Disraeli had 
risen from "first walking gentleman" to leading 
tragedian, were two whom I may now describe. 

One, Sir Richard Malins, Member for the snug 
Borough of Wallingford. Sir Richard subsequently 
rose to a high Judicial position : he was, in every 
way, a worthy man. I will give the reader a 
specimen of the style by which Honesty rose to be 
a Vice-Chancellor. 

There are occasionally circumstances in the House 
of Commons which compel the Managers of the 
Party to endeavour to obtain time. It has been 
said, "he who gains time gains everything". This 

is not always the case : but it goes some way in 

H 



114 DISRAELI. 

the House of Commons on special occasions. 
There as elsewhere Chance has much to do with 
Victory. On occasions ten votes may turn a Divi- 
sion. These ten votes may not be in the House : 
dining-room, library, smoking-room, and more occult 
places have in vain been scoured : there are not 
enough : what must be done ? Political clubs must 
be searched; and the private houses of Members: 
even the Englishman's castle is not sacred. Men 
have been actually torn from their conjugal couches, 
in order to enable an Opposition to attack, or a 
Government to defend itself. The tenderest rela- 
tions in life have to be severed: in short no one 
but a " Whip " knows the vigour and delicacy 
required under peculiar circumstances. One not 
uncommon contrivance is to induce some member 
with power of loquacity to prolong the Debate, in 
order to obtain the presence of the requisite number 
of Members. No one was more efficient in this 
than Sir Richard Malins. On it being intimated 
to this distinguished lawyer that a quarter of an 
hour was necessary, M r Malins, as he then was, 
would rise, with the solemnity of look of the whole 
Bench of Judges : and would thus begin, " M r 
Speaker ! I have listened, Sir, during this most 



DISRAELI. 115 

interesting Debate, with extreme attention, to the 
remarks of the Honourable, and Right Honourable 
Gentlemen, and of the Noble Lord who have ad- 
dressed you on the subject. I can only say, Sir, 
and I will detain the House but for a few 
minutes, that if the Right Honourable Gentleman, 
who last addressed you, had listened attentively to 
the Honourable Gentleman who preceded him, and 
above all, if he had listened to the language used 
by the Right Honourable Gentlemen on this side 
of the House, and particularly of the Right Honour- 
able Gentleman who is at this moment leaving his 
seat, then I say, Sir, that Right Honourable Gentle- 
men opposite would have been convinced by the 
remarks of the Right Honourable and Honourable 
Gentlemen on this side of the House, and also 
by the remarks of the Right Honourable Gentle- 
man who was sitting below me a few moments 
ago; I say, Sir, that if that Right Honourable 
Gentleman was not convinced by what fell 
from the Noble Lord also on his side of the 
House, he must have been convinced by the 
remarks made by the Right Honourable Member, 
who is now sitting beside him. M r Speaker, I 
am unwilling to recapitulate those arguments; be- 



Ii6 DISRAELI. 

cause I am conscious that anything that I might 
say would not add in any degree to the force of 
the argument of the Honourable Gentleman who 
sits beside me: still less do I venture to say that 
my arguments would add to the strength of the 
arguments already used by the Right Honourable 
Gentlemen opposite, by the Noble Lord who is 
not listening to me at this moment, and by the 
two Honourable Gentlemen who addressed you 
previous to my rising". He would then glance 
round, very rapidly, for a signal that he had done 
enough; and that the errant members had returned 
to the House. This probably not being the case, 
he would continue, "I now, Sir, come to the ques- 
tion which is really the matter of debate; but 
before I go into it, I must, Sir, refer the Right 
Honourable Gentleman opposite to the language 
used by a colleague of his own. More than fifteen 
years ago, before I had the honour, the great honour, 
of a seat in this House, I recollect, Sir, reading, 
when I was younger than I am now, I remember 
reading a Debate " : He would then take up a 
volume of " Hansard," which had been fetched for 
him; not a word of which had he seen before. 
"I well remember, Sir, reading in earlier days, 



DISRAELI. 117 

when I first entered the profession to which I 
have the honour to belong, I recollect, Sir, read- 
ing ; " he would find the place ; " a most interesting 
discussion in this House in the time, Sir, of your 
distinguished predecessor, now Lord Eversley, who 
has lately been raised to the dignity of a Vis- 
count, and the arguments then used ". He would 
then read extracts from Hansard : and, when he 
learned that a sufficient number of Members had 
come down to the House, he would add, "I beg 
to thank the House, Sir, for the patience with which 
they have listened to me". Such was the usual 
embodiment of the worthy embryo- Vice-Chancel- 
lor's ideas : a good man, whom I knew intimately : 
and not without a sense of humour. I met him 
several times travelling in Switzerland : I occasion- 
ally indulged him with imitations of his powerful 
style in the House : at which he, and his family, 
were, or affected to be, convulsed with merriment. 
One little incident in the successful career of Vice- 
Chancellor Sir Richard Malins I cannot forbear to 
relate. Those who knew the good man will appre- 
ciate it. He, Lady Malins, and myself, met, after 
he had left the House of Commons, at the large 
hotel at Bellagio on the Lake of Como. The 



Ii8 DISRAELI. 

Vice-Chancellor was leaning from a window of the 
entresol ; I was in the garden below ; we were waiting 
for dinner. I told him that recently traversing the 
Mont S l Gothard pass; it was, of course, before the 
railway; I had noticed in the little Inn at Altdorf 
his respected name, written in the early days of his 
career as a Barrister. It had obviously been in- 
serted amid the sweet enchantments of his recent 
marriage. Careless of the worries and annoy- 
ances of travelling, the dust, the heat, etc. etc., 
Malins and his bride were sipping the honey 
which is said to float on the cup of Matrimony. 
In the " Travellers' Book " was written, in his own 
neat writing, "M r and M rs Richard Malins. Very 
nice hotel ; exquisitely clean : the landlady a 
charming person ". 

The Vice-Chancellor admitted the genuineness 
of the writing. 

" Prepare yourself, Vice-Chancellor ! Underneath, 
some false friend, possessed by the demon of 
Envy, wrote these words ; and there they have 
remained for thirty years : ' Oh Malins I how can 
you tetl such lies? the landlady is a perfect devil: 
and the whole place almost as dirty as Lincoln's 



DISRAELI. 119 

Another celebrity was Sir William Bovill, Q.C. He 
rose by successive steps to be Chief-Justice of the 
Common Pleas. He was, I am proud to say, an 
intimate friend of mine. His Pickwickian appear- 
ance, and his bald head, would have pulled his 
client through anything. He was somewhat vain, I 
think, of being the Judge who tried the Tichborne 
Claimant: but the achievement of his life of which 
he was most proud was this. The party "Whip" 
being in a temporary difficulty, such as I have 
above described, Bovill rose to the situation. He 
was called upon to speak: and speak he did. He 
has told me how he rose, hardly knowing on what 
topic he was to discourse ; it was necessary to speak 
for at least ten minutes. Taking up the printed 
proceedings of the day, he discerned among a 
number of obsolete Statutes, which were to be 
repealed pro forma, and without any cause for 
Debate, a certain Act known as "Sir John Bar- 
nard's Act ". This was an Act on gambling Debts ; 
temp. George II. ; superseded and annulled by 
another of the present reign. To the astonishment 
of the House, Sir William Bovill discoursed most 
eloquently upon the character of this Act. He 
affected to think that the distinction between a 



120 DISRAELI. 

void and a voidable debt was too subtle for the 
comprehension of the House. No one could 
imagine why this eminent lawyer lavished sarcasm, 
and even contempt upon Sir John Barnard. Not- 
withstanding the surprised staring of the House, 
and the bewilderment of his party, on went Bovill, 
unchecked by interruptions ; conscious that he must 
sacrifice himself, possibly even his intellectual repu- 
tation, by an act of stern duty. I was sitting 
immediately below him ; and I confess that I was 
astonished at his procedure : guilelessly I imagined 
that he might have some subtle intention of cajoling 
his constituents. Sir John Barnard might possibly 
have a descendant, or namesake, highly unpopular 
in Bovill's borough : that he was adopting this 
insidious means of blasting the character of a per- 
fectly innocent man : in short no one could make 
head nor tail of what on earth he was speaking about. 
His speech had its effect : the House filled : and 
the Opposition, of which he was then a member, 
gained the day. From that time till his lamented 
death Bovill never ceased to take the keenest delight 
in this achievement : all the rest of his career seemed 
to have faded from his memory : but, to his last 
hour, his speech on " Sir John Barnard's Act " 



DISRAELI. 121 

warmed his heart; brought tears to his eyes; and 
colour to his cheek. 

One other illustration of deeds of the same 
sort should live in the memory of the House of 
Commons. It was done by no less a person than 
Sir Fitzroy Kelly, later Chief Baron of the Ex- 
chequer. The "Whip" of the day handed him a 
slip of paper; he was seated on the front opposi- 
tion bench; on the paper was written, "Speak for 
twenty minutes ! " He instantly rose, and, with a 
dignity, and an impressiveness, never surpassed, 
raising his hands to Heaven, exclaimed, "My grey 
hairs forbid me to be silent ! " 

WHALLEY, Member for Peterborough, annually 
plagued the House on the subject of "Maynooth"; 
he bored the -House extremely. There was, how- 
ever, some lingering good in Whalley. In the 
second year of the Parliament of 1874, at about 
half past eleven at night, he crossed the floor, and 
seating himself by me, said, " Sir William, will you 
allow me to address you ? " " Certainly, M r Whalley ; 
what is it about?" "You have taken an interest, Sir 
William, in the ' Metropolitan Commons Enclosure 
Bill'. Will you allow me to ask you to do me a 



122 DISRAELI. 

great favour?" "That entirely depends upon what 
it is". "You must have observed the impatience 
with which the House usually listens to my re- 
marks ". " I have ". " I have sent to the Peter- 
borough papers two columns of a speech, which I 
intended to deliver on the subject. The Business 
of the House is late : and they will not endure 
me after twelve o'clock, of that I am sure ". " They 
will not". "Sir William, there is only one thing 
that will enable me to speak : and unless I do so, 
you will understand I shall be in a dilemma at 
Peterborough ; for my speech will appear to-morrow ". 
"How can I help you, M r Whalley?" "In one 
way: I can only speak in reply to a strong per- 
sonal attack. Am I trespassing too far upon your 
good nature if I ask you to make it?" "I assure 
you, M r Whalley, that, though exceptionally kind- 
hearted, I can say very disagreeable things if I 
choose". "Of that I feel confident, Sir William. 
I hope I am not taking too great a liberty". 
"In short, you wish me to pitch into you 
thoroughly : to give it you hotly ". " I should 
consider it extremely kind if you would". "Well, 
M r Whalley, when is it to be done?" "You know 
when the ' Hocus Pocus ' begins at the table : 



DISRAELI. 123 

when the Clerk reads out the day for the second, 
and third reading of Bills, etc. etc. If you will get 
up when he reads out ' Metropolitan Commons 
Enclosure Bill ' : and go on so long as you feel 
inclined, I can then reply to you; and shall feel 
everlastingly obliged ". 

Whalley retired to his place : and affected to go 
to sleep. Accordingly having gone out, and got 
a copy of the Bill, in order that I might know 
something about it, I observed on the back of 
it, as the parents of the Bill, the names of M r 
Whalley and Sir George Bowyer. This was quite 
enough for my text. Sir George Bowyer being 
a Roman Catholic, and representing the Pope in 
the House ; Whalley, on the contrary, being, or 
professing to be, the most rabid of Protestants. 
Accordingly when Sir Erskine May stood up, at 
the termination of business, and read the long 
list of Bills to be postponed to various days, on 
his arriving at this particular Bill, I rose : I will 
not trouble the reader with my speech : I gave it 
M r Whalley so hotly, and so strongly as I pos- 
sibly could; accusing him of the most horrible 
forms of Jesuitry; that while affecting to champion 
the Protestantism of England, he was really a 



124 DISRAELI. 

secret agent of the Pope : that his demonstrations 
against Maynooth had always been a sham : that 
in this, as in other things, a secret, but perfectly 
cordial, understanding existed between him and 
Sir George Bowyer ; that no one could put the 
slightest confidence in him hereafter: that as 
for his unfortunate constituents, pity for them 
must, in every honest breast, be mingled with 
contempt, etc. etc. 

Had Sir George Bowyer been present, not being 
in the secret, his writhing would have diverted 
me. 

Whalley, who had affected to sleep during the 
beginning of my harangue, opened his eyes sud- 
denly; seized the paper of the proceedings of the 
day : glanced at it hurriedly ; asked his neighbour 
what it was all about ; gazed at me with horror ; 
and when I sat down, rose and delivered a speech 
of half an hour, to the utter bewilderment of the 
few Members left in the House, of the Speaker, 
the clerks, and the door-keepers. 

The House adjourned: walking down the centre 
of the House I said, without turning towards him, 
" M r Whalley, I hope I played my part well ". In 
a voice, hoarse with emotion, gratitude, and lack 



DISRAELI. 125 

of breath, he replied, " Admirably ! Sir William ; 
Admirably ! the best done thing I have ever 
known : I thank you jieartily : I wish you a very 
good night". We parted. 

To the uninitiated reader I may explain that 
these little comedies, occasionally played, are per- 
fectly consistent with absolute sincerity, and straight- 
forwardness of principle in serious matters. 

ONE OF THE singular characters who appeared 
in the House of Commons for a short time was 
D r Kenealy. The conspicuous occurrence of his 
life was his defence of the Claimant; who declared 
himself to be Sir Roger Tichborne. 

Having been returned to the House for Stafford, 
he advocated the cause of the Claimant in a speech 
of two hours and ten minutes; to which, notwith- 
standing that the subject had become stale in the 
extreme to every member, a full House listened 
with the deepest attention. There was no laugh- 
ing, no interruption. Kenealy spoke with con- 
siderable ability : and made a clear statement of 
the facts in relation to his late client. 

LORD PALMERSTON'S effrontery was consum- 



126 DISRAELI. 

mate : At a breakfast given in S l James's Square 
by Lord Eglinton on the occasion of the mar- 
riage of his step-daughter to the nineteenth 
Lord Shrewsbury, Lord Palmerston took in Lady 
Dufferin, the mother of the present Marquess 
of Dufferin and Ava, the Queen's most successful 
Viceroy. It is usual that the " Low-Comedy 
man" shall on these occasions return thanks for 
the bridesmaids. Lord Palmerston was " detailed " 
for this purpose. After a few commonplaces, he 
said, apropos of something that had passed, " I 
recollect well when I was a boy at Harrow there 
was a very popular song in which these lines 
occur, 

"It's a pity when charming women 
Talk of things which they don't understand ! " 

I exchanged looks with Lord Dufferin : these lines 
are from a song written by Lady Dufferin, when 
Lord Palmerston was about forty years old. The 
song is named " The Charming Woman " ; and 
begins, 

" So Miss Myrtle is going to marry : 
Oh how many hearts she will break ! " 



DISRAELI. 127 

AFTER THE first meeting of the Conservative 
party in Downing Street in 1852, at which Lord 
Derby addressed us in a good speech, Disraeli stood 
half-way down the stairs. I was presented to him 
by Lord Malmesbury, then Foreign Minister. He 
said at once, "I remember you at the Spitalfields 
Ball ". In the procession of Historical Characters 
that moved round the circumference of the vast pit 
and stage of Drury Lane Theatre, in the famous 
quadrille organised by Frances Anne Lady London- 
derry, in passing Disraeli and his wife, I heard 
him say, "That is the best dress of all". That I 
should remember the remark is not extraordinary : 
but I was struck with his tact, and sharpness of 
memory, in instantly recollecting the circumstance. 
A few days afterwards, I met him at dinner at 
Lord Salisbury's in Arlington Street, the father of 
the present Premier, a very grim old gentleman, 
whom I had often seen when at school at Hat- 
field. Before going in to dinner, Disraeli urged 
me strongly to speak in the House of Commons : 
I expressed to him my unwillingness to do so. 
He replied, " Speak, and speak at once : I am 
certain that you can speak well : for you spoke 
well on the hustings". I urged that the House 



128 DISRAELI. 

of Commons was a very different assembly. He 
said, "Better get a slight success now, than a 
great one hereafter : you will enjoy it more ". I 
might of course have said that to take the House 
by storm was not given to many : and I might 
have added that he, with his great abilities, had 
failed to do so. I told him that I thought it 
better to gain the ear of the House gradually : 
to speak first to a comparatively empty House : to 
accustom the members who were not present to 
see your name in the newspaper : and to divest 
their minds of the idea that you were unaccus- 
tomed to speak. I might have reminded him of 
M r Canning's advice, " Make your first speech on 
a turn-pike Bill : you know all about it ; nobody 
else knows anything." I acted upon my opinion : 
and, by a gradual process, I ultimately succeeded 
in what I have always held to be the highest 
ambition of a British gentleman, to obtain, and to 
keep, the "ear of the House of Commons." 



NO ONE CAN FORGET his sensations on first 
entering Parliament : and the awe of that mighty 
assembly felt by everyone destined to succeed 



DISRAELI. 129 

there. In 1852 power had not been transferred 
from the representatives to their constituents. 

The circumstances of the election of many were 
irregular ; paradoxical ; and unreal : but, once there, 
one felt that there was an Intelligence; a Sense of 
Honour ; an exquisitely accurate Criticism ; a perfect 
Justice ; and a noble Patriotism, which made them 
an unrivalled aggregate. 

Scorning the idea of delegacy; they knew that, 
once elected, they were the Members of a body, 
each individual of which was absolutely free from 
the Constituency which had returned him to Parlia- 
ment; that in the spirit of the Constitution they 
were so absolutely Peers as Members of the 
House of Lords ; that the Member for a small 
Borough was equally representing the Counties, 
the Universities, and the Cities of the United 
Kingdom; that though occasional, but rare, allu- 
sions were made to the Constituency which the 
Member represented, and although, for convenience, 
and for the purpose of courtesy, the name of his 
County, City, or Borough, was used by others in 
speaking instead of his own, he was part of an 
independent legislative body, the great majority of 
which were absolutely incorruptible. 



130 DISRAELI. 

The benches of the House of Commons, wisely 
so constructed, show the distinct separation of two 
great parties in the State. No central bench 
offers opportunity to doubting, nor to venal mem- 
bers. You must sit on one side or the other: 
your opinions may vary in strength : but British 
good sense has determined that to give the oppor- 
tunity to dubious characters is not desirable. 

On entering those doors you felt the exhilaration 
of success : but far deeper was the intoxication 
which soon affected everyone possessing a sensi- 
tive organisation, and an appreciative brain. To 
find oneself day after day breathing an atmosphere 
of good sense; to hear each important topic of the 
day freshly discussed by the first minds in the 
country; to listen to those, whose fame was world- 
wide; to meet daily in the charming companionship 
of Intelligence, and Patriotism ; to feel sure that 
ultimate success was certain, should you deserve it, 
within those walls. 

It was the same delicious sensation as breathing 
air containing an increased proportion of oxygen; 
such as we enjoy on the mountains of Switzerland. 

Every power of the mind was stimulated : 
thoughts that would lie dormant elsewhere here 



DISRAELI. 131 

came to the surface; and, at that time, one felt 
that the House of Commons was an intellectual 
Paradise. 

ONE OF THE neatest scenes enacted in the 
House of Commons, was in the Debate on Den- 
mark in 1864. M r Layard made charges against 
Disraeli as to his quotation of extracts from 
despatches : and used the word " garbling '. This 
was very properly resented by M r Gathorne Hardy, 
now Lord Cranbrook ; who showed clearly that in 
all the passages quoted by Disraeli the number of 
the page was given, so that immediate reference 
to the context was easy. He said that M r Layard 
had used the expression " falsification " in regard 
to extracts which were perfectly correct, and com- 
plete in themselves. He added that M r Layard 
had made a " calumnious " statement : M r Layard 
rose to order. The Speaker said that M r Hardy 
was not out of order. Then commenced a very 
remarkable scene: Lord Palmerston rose, notwith- 
standing the ruling of the Speaker (Denison), and 
against all order; and endeavoured to induce him 
to change his decision. This he refused to do : at 
the same time looking extremely uncomfortable. 



132 DISRAELI, 

Disraeli said a few words, justifying the term; then 
amidst tremendous uproar, M r Gladstone, Chancellor 
of the Exchequer, got up. He tried to induce the 
Speaker to withdraw, and alter, his decision ; without 
effect. Then followed a rich, but brief scene : To 
read the speech it appears solemnity itself; but 
it kept the House in roars of laughter. Bernal 
Osborne said that he intended to do his best to 
support .the authority of the Chair : that he was an 
old man ; and had passed many years in the 
House; he regretted that he had been permitted 
to live long enough to witness such a fearful, 
such a degrading, exhibition! "To see you, Sir," 
looking at the Speaker, "treated in this horrible, 
this revolting, manner by the Prime Minister, and 
by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, is something 
too dreadful : I can hardly endure it, Sir ; I hope 
that I may not live long enough to witness again 
such a fearful scene", etc. etc. He sat down ap- 
parently overcome by his feelings. The contrasts 
between the solemnity of the Speaker, the satire of 
Bernal Osborne, the great anger of the Chancellor 
of the Exchequer, and the effrontery of Lord Pal- 
merston were exquisite. M r Layard said that, when 
he used the word "falsification," he was merely 



DISRAELI, 133 

quoting M r Gladstone. The best scene however 
was to come. Many hours afterwards, when the 
Debate was closing, M r Pope Hennessy rose; and, 
holding a volume of "Hansard" open in his left 
hand, said, "Sir, before this Debate is adjourned I 
trust I may be allowed to call the attention of the 
House to a circumstance, which may, at all events, 
have the effect of inducing the Members of Her 
Majesty's Government in future to pay the deference 
which is due to the Chair. I find that the noble 
Viscount (Palmerston) at the head of the Govern- 
ment, on the 27 th of April 1855, in addressing the 
House, used the following words, 'Every reasonable 
man must have been convinced that the charges 
made by the Hon. Member were "false and calum- 
nious." 5 Who was the Hon. Member referred to 
by the noble Viscount? The present Under- Secretary 
for Foreign Affairs (M r Layard). Sir, the noble 
Viscount was called to Order by an Hon. Member, 
who then sat below the gangway. Your predecessor 
decided that the noble Viscount was in order : and 
yet we have to-night been witnesses of an extra- 
ordinary scene in which the noble Viscount took a 
conspicuous part ". (Cries of Read ! Read !) He 
then gave this extract from " Hansard " : " M r Otway 



134 DISRAELI. 

rose to order. He respectfully submitted that the 
noble Viscount had used words, which were alto- 
gether unparliamentary, when he charged another 
Member with stating that which was 'false and 
calumnious.' M r Speaker: What I understand the 
noble Viscount to say was that the charges made 
by the Hon. Member for Aylesbury (M r Layard) 
were ' false and calumnious.' (Cheers.) Viscount 
Palmerston : Sir, I repeat what I was about to say. 
(Loud cheering.) The charges were utterly 'false 
and calumnious.'" 

M r Hennessy continued : "And yet, Sir, the same 
noble Viscount who used that language in this 
House in 1855, towards the present Under-Secretary, 
rose to-night, not only to call to order a Right 
Hon. Gentleman who used a similar, and indeed 
identical phrase, but actually to call in question 
the decision of yourself, Sir, the Speaker of the 
House of Commons." This show-up of Lord 
Palmerston was greeted by the Opposition, as 
may be supposed, with vociferous and prolonged 
cheering. 

BERNAL OSBORNE, dining with one of his 
race who by patient perseverance and energy had 



DISRAELI. 135 

raised himself from a humble to a great position, 
the host had done his best to provide wine of 
a rare vintage for his guest : " Taste that ' Clos 
Vougeot,' Mr. Osborne; I think you will like it." 
"Yes! by no means bad! I remember, you were 
always famous for your 'Old Clo"." 

A VERY CHARACTERISTIC anecdote I feel 
obliged to omit, as I have narrated it in " Words on 
Wellington " : the reader will find it in that work. 
" Napoleon and Disraeli : or the Woodcutter of 
Montmartre ", is the subject. 

I AM UNWILLING to quote at any length: but 
the following description of Lady Blessington, and 
of Disraeli as a young man, is graphic : and I 
think worthy of transcription. It is from a volume, 
at one time very popular, " Pencillings by the Way," 
by N. P. Willis, an American : the scene Gore 
House, Kensington. 

"I found Lady Blessington alone. The Picture 
to my eye, as the door opened, was a very lovely 
one. A woman of remarkable beauty, half buried 
in a fauteuil of yellow satin, reading by a magni- 
ficent lamp suspended from the centre of the 



136 DISRAELI. 

arched ceiling : sofas, couches, ottomans, and busts, 
arranged in rather a crowded sumptuousness through 
the room : enamel tables covered with expensive, 
and elegant, trifles in every corner; and a delicate 
white hand relieved on the back of a book, to 
which the eye was attracted by the blaze of its 
diamond rings. As the servant mentioned my 
name, she rose; and gave me her hand very cor- 
dially : and a gentleman entering immediately after, 
she presented me to Count d'Orsay, the well-known 
' Pelham ' of London ; and certainly the most 
splendid specimen of a man, and a well dressed 
one, that I had ever seen. 

"She was extremely curious to know the degrees 
of reputation the present popular authors of Eng- 
land enjoy among us : particularly Bulwer, and 
Disraeli, the author of 'Vivian Grey.' 'Do they 
like the Disraelis in America ? ' I assured her 
Ladyship that the ' Curiosities of Literature,' by 
the father, and ' Vivian Grey ' and ' Contarini 
Fleming ' by the son, were universally known. ' I 
am pleased at that; for I like them both. Disraeli 
the elder came here with his son the other night. 
It would have delighted you to see the old man's 
pride in him; and the son's respect, and affection, 



DISRAELI. 137 

for his father. In his manners, Disraeli the younger 
is quite his own character of "Vivian Grey;" full 
of Genius, and Eloquence, with extreme, good 
nature ; and a perfect frankness of character ' ! ! 

"Remembering her talents, and her rank, and 
the unenvying admiration she received from the 
world of Fashion, and Genius, it would be difficult 
to reconcile her lot to the Doctrine of Compen- 
sation ". 

Considering that Lady Blessington was not re- 
ceived in London Society, it appears to me that 
the Doctrine of Compensation was illustrated; not 
controverted. 

From the general description given by Willis, 
and others, it is quite clear that Lytton Bulwer, 
as he then was, the author of " Pelham ", was 
thought more of than Benjamin Disraeli, author of 
"Vivian Grey". I am surprised that the resem- 
blance of style in these two works, of which 
"Pelham" was the earlier, has not been pointed 
out. I have no space for analysis : nor do I 
impute to Disraeli the slightest want of originality. 
"Pelham" was published two years before "Vivian 
Grey". Lord Lytton spoke to me on the subject 
of "Pelham". 



138 DISRAELI. 

ARTHUR ROEBUCK, known at one period as 
the "Bath brick," was, next to Disraeli, the best 
speaker in the House of Commons. His style, so 
different as possible from Disraeli's, was the perfec- 
tion of incisiveness, and condensation. Not a word 
wasted : the wrong word never used : quiet, terse, 
nervous, and exquisitely perfect, English. Roebuck 
gave an opportunity to Disraeli to utter two pas- 
sages not likely to die. Roebuck had written a 
stinging pamphlet. Disraeli said, " Crab-apples grow 
upon crab trees : and the meagre and acid mind 
produces the meagre and acid pamphlet ". At 
another time, " The Hon. and learned Member 
for Bath has indulged us, Sir, to-night, with 
his melodramatic Invective ; and his Sadlers' Wells 
Sarcasm." 

Samuel Warren, always named in " Punch " as 
"Our Sam," was a source to me of perennial 
delight : Sooner, or later, I hope to give some 
anecdotes of that wonderful character. For the 
present I will content myself with this : Warren 
and Roebuck were both, as young men, mem- 
bers of a Debating Society, all, or nearly all of 
whom were lawyers. The debates were smart, 
and vigorous : and the hits occasionally hard. 



DISRAELI. 139 

Roebuck had indulged in invective against the 
great Sam : who at that time had already become 
famous by his best work, "The Diary of a late 
Physician". In the course of his harangue, 
Roebuck had stated that it had been imputed to 
him that he was a "Party Man." He repudiated 
that statement : he denied it with indignation. He 
was not a party man : he never had been a party 
man : and he swore by everything that he held 
sacred that he never would be a party man. This 
produced considerable applause : in the midst of 
which Roebuck sat down. Warren, with that 
solemnity of demeanour with which his friends 
were familiar, rose : and in a deep voice, and 
with the impress of earnestness, said, "My learned 
friend has just informed you that he is not a 
party man : that he never has been a party man : 
and in terms of fearful adjuration he has sworn 
that he never will be a party man. M r Chairman, 
what my friend has said reminds me painfully of 
the words of Cicero, 'That he who belongs to 
no party is probably too vile for any ' ". As 
they left the debating-hall an hour later, the two 
men, as is the custom of their profession, walked 
away together in apparent amity. Roebuck com- 






140 DISRAELI. 

plimented Warren upon having made a good 
hit : and added, " I am fairly well up in Cicero ; 
but I cannot form the least idea where I shall 
find the passage you quoted ". " No more can 
I", said Warren. "Good night". 

I sat next to 'Roebuck at a dinner in the City, 
given by The Salters' Company. I delighted him 
by showing how well I was up in his history : 
and how much I appreciated his eloquence. I 
quoted from the article in "The Times" of many 
years before. It began, "Arthur Roebuck is him- 
self again ". Another article, beginning " The Queen 
(Adelaide) has done it all ", he told me was written 
by Lord Brougham : and we laughed over Brougham's 
impudence in saying, at a public meeting, that he 
would write to King William by the post that even- 
ing, to tell him what a reception he had had. This, 
Roebuck said, took place at Inverness. 

AS REGARDS DIVISIONS in the House of 
Commons, Disraeli, when Prime Minister, was most 
strict. No Member of the Government was ever 
permitted to absent himself from a Division : if 
he did so, he was obliged to give his excuse, in 
writing, to Disraeli within the week. On one 



DISRAELI. 141 

occasion a Member of the Government absented 
himself from an important Division without excuse : 
Disraeli said, " This won't do ! he has taken the 
shilling ". 

I REMEMBER IN 1852, while Disraeli was 
speaking, a Member of long experience in the 
House turning to me, and saying, "It is years 
since I have heard those cheers : the Whigs never 
cheer like that : and the Tories never except when 
on the right of the Chair ". This is a very singular 
phase of human nature : the authority of the person 
who gave me this statement was perfect : a man 
of great experience, and close observation. 

DISRAELI'S KNOWLEDGE of French was very 
imperfect : and, judging from one specimen, his pro- 
nunciation was peculiar. He spoke of a foreigner, 
high in the ranks of diplomacy, as an "epicier;" 
pronouncing the last syllable as we pronounce 
" overseer ". 

NOT VERY LONG after the passing of the Re- 
form Bill of 1867, I was asked to subscribe to a 
portrait of the late Lord Derby : the author of that 



142 DISRAELI. 

Act. I said that I would do so on one condition ; 
that he was painted taking a "Leap in the Dark." 
This most unstatesmanlike expression had been 
used by him. 

DISRAELI HELD THE theory that no man 
was regular in his attendance in the House of 
Commons until he was married : a somewhat 
Hibernian compliment to that holy state. I remem- 
ber M re Disraeli saying to me, after I lost my seat 
in 1853, "Don't marry until you regain your seat". 

DISRAELI, on my asking him whether caricatures 
did a man harm in public life, said, "In these 
days every man's object is to be made ridiculous." 

THE FOLLOWING HOROSCOPE of Disraeli, 
written by the first Lord Lytton, is very remark- 
able. The signature "E. L. B." proves it to have 
been before Bulwer changed his name to Lytton : 
about 1838. 

JUDEX. 

"A singularly fortunate figure: a strongly marked 
influence towards the acquisition of coveted objects. 



DISRAELI. 143 

He would gain largely by marriage in the 
pecuniary sense; which makes a crisis in his life. 

He would have a peaceful hearth, to his own 
taste; and leaving him free for ambitious objects. 

In honours he has not only luck; but a felicity 
far beyond the most favourable prospects that 
could be reasonably anticipated from his past 
career, his present position, or his personal en- 
dowments. 

He will leave a higher name than I should say 
his intellect quite warranted; or than would now 
be conjectured. 

He will certainly have very high influence, 
whether official or in rank; high as compared with 
his birth, or actual achievements. 

He has a temperament that finds pleasure in 
what belongs to social life. 

He has not the reserve common to Literary men. 

He has considerable veneration : and will keep 
well with Church, and State : not merely from 
policy ; but from sentiment, and instinct. 

His illnesses will be few and quick : but his last 
illness may be lingering. 

He is likely to live to an old age : the close of 
his career much honoured. 



144 DISRAELI. 

He will be to the last largely before the public : 
much feared by his opponents ; but greatly be- 
loved, not only by those immediately about him, 
but by large numbers of persons to whom he is 
personally unknown. 

He will die, whether in or out of office, in an 
exceptionally high position : greatly lamented ; and 
surrounded to the end by all the magnificent 
planetary influences of a propitious Jupiter. 

No figure I have drawn more surprises me than 
this : it is so completely opposed to what I myself 
should have augured, not only from the rest of his 
career, but from my knowledge of the man. 

He will bequeath a repute out of all proportion 
to the opinion now entertained of his intellect 
by those who think most highly of it. Greater 
honours far than he has yet acquired are in 
store for him. 

His enemies, though active, are not persevering. 

His official friends, though not ardent, will yet 
minister to his success ". 

I HAVE BEEN ASKED whether I ever saw 
Disraeli laugh : I never did : but I have been 
informed, on good authority, that on two occasions 



DISRAELI. 145 

he laughed distinctly. The first was in the House 
of Commons. He had spoken before dinner : had 
refuted arguments used at a previous sitting : and 
anticipated those of a future time. He was replied 
to some hours later by a Member holding a con- 
spicuous place in the House of Commons : the 
latter had not heard his words ; and was told by 
a friend that Disraeli had gone through his argu- 
ments; and had stated that they would some years 
hence be again brought forward by " the rhetorician 
of the day". 

The Right Honourable gentleman in question 
replied at i o o'clock ; and in the course of his 
speech, said, "The Chancellor of the Exchequer 
has been pleased to speak of me as the 'rhetorician 
of the day ' : coming from such a source I indeed 
value the compliment : and I accept it ". Disraeli 
here stood up : and calmly gazing at the orator 
said, "I can assure the Right Honourable gentle- 
man that when I used that expression I had no 
thought of him in my mind". 

One, who was in the gallery opposite, assured 

me that on sitting down Disraeli decidedly laughed. 

The second occasion was at the dinner of 

Ministers, formerly held at Greenwich at the close 

K 



I 4 6 DISRAELI. 

of each Session. A most worthy countryman of 
mine, who had won his title by legal acumen, 
Lord Gordon, volunteered at dessert to sing a 
comic song of his own composition : I may say 
that of all the serious Scotsmen that I have 
known he was the most solemn. Disraeli, who sat 
opposite, gazed at him through his glass, with 
the same expression as that of Professor Owen, 
when examining the bones of the "Mastodon In- 
comprehensibilis ", or other strange animal of the 
past. His countenance was unmoved until the 
fifth verse; when he burst out laughing; and I am 
told on excellent authority, that his laugh could 
be heard : this I can hardly believe. Disraeli's 
expression was usually that of patient, and melan- 
choly endurance : it always reminded me of the 
words of Shylock, 

" For sufferance is the badge of all our tribe ". 

I never saw him look cheerful : though occasional 
gleams of satisfaction crossed his face. 

LIKE ALL MEN who have a real knowledge and 
appreciation of true poetry, Disraeli was a great 
admirer of Gray. He said to me with great fervour, 



DISRAELI. 147 

" Byron visited Greece : he walked on Olympus : 
he drank from Castalia; there was everything to 
inspire him. Gray never was in Greece in his 
life : yet he wrote finer lines than Byron : 

' Woods that wave o'er Delphi's steep : 
Isles that crown the JEgean deep : 
Fields that cool Ilissus laves, 
Or where Mseander's amber waves 
In lingering labyrinths creep ' " : 

He pronounced the last line very slowly. 

On another occasion I asked him which he ad- 
mired most of the stanzas of "Gray's Elegy". He 
replied, "That will require a good deal of think- 
ing". He added, "You have made up your 
mind". "Yes. 

' The boast of Heraldry ; the pomp of Power : 
And all that Beauty, all that Wealth e'er gave, 
Await alike the inevitable hour : 
The paths of Glory lead but to the Grave'". 

He said nothing : I heard him take a very long 
breath. 

I may mention here an incredible fact, that in 



148 DISRAELI. 

the group of British worthies on the stately 
memorial in Hyde Park, Gray has been omitted. 
A Poet who, if ever Poet achieved Immortality, 
has it unquestionably. 

LORD PALMERSTON has credit for occasional 
indulgence in verse. He wrote one couplet which 
will live : 

"A very small man with the Tories 
Is a very great man with the Whigs". 

LORD DERBY WAS too free with his sarcasms; 
good-humoured although they usually were. 

In 1852, admitting the difficulties of forming a 
Government, he is related to have said to a 
person of importance who enquired how his 
Government was getting on, "We get on well 
up to a certain height ; and then we get 
'Dizzy'". At the close of his tenure of office 
in the same year he said to the same person, 
" The mess is great ; but Benjamin's mess is the 
greatest of all". 

DISRAELI ALWAYS DRESSED neatly: his 
dress in the House of Commons, when I first 



DISRAELI. 149 

remember him, was simple : if it erred, it was 
on the side of monotony : trousers well made, 
but quite nondescript ; Wellington boots with rather 
narrow square toes ; a dark-coloured frock-coat ; and 
an invariable double-breasted plush waistcoat, of 
tabby colour. This waistcoat he wore for many 
years, in winter : a black tie rather loose : his hair 
very neatly brushed : and, until latterly, a single curl 
hanging low on his forehead. 

In the summer he usually wore a blue frock-coat 
with velvet collar, tightly buttoned; the cloth very 
thin ; an unquestionable pair of stays could be 
seen through it : not of course in front but behind 
the arms. When intending to address the House 
on an important occasion, Disraeli never placed 
his hat on his head. 

Unlike Thackeray's Lord Steyne, Disraeli by no 
means "scorned the artifices of the toilet". His 
hair, and pointed beard, were dyed a deep black : 
this could clearly be seen when from carelessness 
the dye had not been renewed. 

The brown coat, in which he is painted at the 
Junior Carlton Club, and that in which he figures 
in the first number of " Vanity Fair ", were pic- 
turesque and becoming. 



ISO DISRAELI. 

I have often speculated as to what would have 
been Disraeli's appearance if he had ever dropped 
the young man; and allowed the greyness of age 
to be sufficient ornament. 

He had to the last some touch of "Vivian 
Grey " ; and his " pose " of appearance was that 
of youth. 

He retained a good and sprightly figure to the 
last : that is to say, when in the House of Com- 
mons or the House of Lords. I have met him 
in the street, bent down, apparently in the latter 
stages of decay : within half an hour I have seen 
him in Parliament using the declamatory action 
and vigour of five and twenty. 

During his last Premiership I dined with him 
in Downing Street : on entering he replied to my 
commonplace hope that he was no worse for the 
bitter weather, with a feeble groan. I ventured 
to add that I found him surrounded by his 
illustrious predecessors ; he groaned again. " Sir 
Robert Walpole over the chimney-piece ! " He 
feebly bleated the word "Walpole". At first I 
thought he must be dying : then, harmless as 
were my words, I thought they might have shocked 
him. I waited for a minute or two : and was 



DISRAELI. 151 

followed by the Duke of Buckingham and Chandos, 
his intimate personal friend from boyhood : a 
nobleman of by no means formal manners ; his 
words bore close resemblance to my own : to my 
relief Disraeli replied in the same ghastly manner. 
I felt that he could not survive the night. Within 
a quarter of an hour, all being seated at dinner, I 
observed him talking to the Austrian Ambassador, 
Count Apponyi, with extreme vivacity : during the 
whole of dinner their conversation was kept up : 
I saw no sign of flagging. 

This is difficult to account for. One theory has 
been that Disraeli took carefully measured doses of 
opium : these being calculated to act at a given 
time, that the effect of the subtle drug was as 
I have described. I never saw such phenomena 
in any other person : in fact I remember divert- 
ing the late Lord B., who was a great admirer 
of Disraeli, by telling him that I believed D. was 
in reality a corpse ; which occasionally came to 
life : and that if he had ever been a human 
being, it must have been at a far distant period 
of the world's existence. 

A PATHETIC AND DRAMATIC incident 



152 DISRAELI. 

occurred a few days before the death of Lord 
B., a man with everything the world could give ; 
an income of over ^60,000 per annum ; of con- 
siderable ability. He died at a comparatively 
early age. 

Disraeli visited him on his death-bed. Lord B. 
addressed him in the words of the Roman 
Gladiators: "Ave Imperator! moriturus te saluto". 

I DINED WITH DISRAELI on the evening of 
the day on which the Princess Royal married the 
Crown Prince of Prussia ; the late Emperor of Ger- 
many. I had been present at S' James's Palace. 
Disraeli asked me which of the three processions, 
the Queen's, the Bride's, or the Bridegroom's, was 
best : I told him. He then asked me, " Will he 
do? Is he a man?" "Yes" to both questions. 
He asked me my reason : I told him of a trait I 
had observed. He then told us a story of what 
had occurred when paying a visit in "The 
Marais," in Paris. My observation is not worth 
recording : and I cannot do justice to his story : we 
had drawn the same conclusion. Everything in the 
Prince's subsequent career showed that we were 
right. 



DISRAELI. 153 

Disraeli showed me, on the same evening, a cup 
made of Derbyshire spar; which George Smythe, 
"Coningsby," had bequeathed to him on his death- 
bed. He said, with much feeling, " It is not a great 
thing : but for a man to remember one at all at 
such a time is most gratifying ". 

I recollect that there were present at the dinner 
M r Ward Hunt, M r Sclater-Booth, now Lord Basing, 
and the present Lord Beauchamp, then M r Edward 
Lygon. 

Relating to a friend how brilliant Disraeli had 
been during the whole evening ; although at first 
he required some drawing out, my sagacious friend 
said, "You have omitted to say what lady was 
there." "Yes; M rs Norton." "I thought so. 
Disraeli never lets off his fireworks unless a woman 
be present." 

I KNEW GEORGE SMYTHE, Lord Strangford, 
well, during the later part of his short career. No 
man began life with brighter prospects : the son 
of " Hibernian Strangford," born in the atmos- 
phere of Office, he was appointed, at a very early 
age, Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs. He pub- 
lished a volume of Poems, " Historic Fancies " ; 






154 DISRAELI. 

written in the style which Macaulay made popular, 
of considerable merit. With an appearance intelli- 
gent, but insignificant ; a good manner and a habit 
of saying pleasant things, he was popular in Society : 
and was held deservedly high as a Politician. 

An incident occurred in his career, which 
formerly was frequently introduced into novels of 
Society, and even put on the stage : A Duel. 
He had, as he supposed, reason to complain 
of a previous colleague : " A former friend for 
foe." 

They fired in a secluded part of a solemn 
wood in Kent. A cock-pheasant, startled by the 
noise of the pistols, startled the combatants : there 
was no sham about the encounter : a friend told me 
that he picked up the wadding of George Smythe's 
pistol close to where M r R. had stood. 

I HAVE NEVER known anyone who saw the 
late Lord Derby walking in London. I have 
seen him riding in the Park : I never met him 
in the street. I once only saw him at the 
Carlton Club. He sat next to me while I was at 
supper, after the House of Commons. He was 
then Chancellor of our University of Oxford: I 



DISRAELI. 155 

presumed to say to him how very desirable it 
seemed to me to alter, if possible, the system of 
debts of under-graduates. In my day, a young 
man with money or expectations was pestered 
every morning by a most vile set of tradesmen : 
far more pestilential, and far more mischievous, 
were those who did not reside in Oxford. There 
were half a dozen London tailors, who sent their 
emissaries to entangle young men with debts that 
were frequently ruinous. In some Colleges a check 
could be used by observing these men come into 
the College, or by shutting them out : but Christ 
Church is a thoroughfare: the public have a right 
to cross from Canterbury Gate to Tom Gate: and 
thus these wretches had access to all the staircases 
without let or hindrance. In a very short time 
they gave me up : I having no particular fancy 
to order six plush waistcoats at a time, because 
Lord Stamford, their Cambridge decoy, had just 
done so. I suggested that no debt should be re- 
coverable after the end of term; and that no action 
should be brought against any under-graduate except 
in the Vice-Chancellor's Court, at Oxford. 

Lord Derby replied that he agreed that the 
state of things was very bad : but added that 



156 DISRAELI. 

a change would lead to " a system of Honour " : 
and that would be worse. I fear that no answer 
could be given to this. I hope that things are 
better now. 

SO COMPLETE was the domination of Disraeli 
in the Commons, and of Lord Derby in the Lords, 
that few Members of capacity were inclined to 
speak. One felt that if Disraeli omitted a point it 
was because he thought that point had better be 
omitted. No one for a moment conjectured that 
he could unintentionally omit anything of import- 
ance. 

Disraeli never lost an opportunity of encouraging 
young Members; he used all his powers of per- 
suasion to induce them to speak. Kindness, good- 
natured hints for success, all were forthcoming: but 
their sense of his infinite superiority checked them. 
Lord Derby in the House of Lords was a man 
of another sort : not only was he by far the 
finest speaker among the admirable orators of that 
House; but he was a tyrant. No Peer ever re- 
ceived encouragement from him. It was to be 
Lord Derby or nothing: and whatever Lord Derby 
did not choose to say he would not allow to be 



DISRAELI. 157 

said. I know this from many Peers ; any Peer, 
particularly a young Peer, who had a natural wish 
to address the House, was always checked. 

Lord Derby never showed the slightest intimacy 
with any member of his party as such: except 
possibly a few of those who were in his Cabinet ; 
and who were necessary to him. 

DISRAELI'S HISTORICAL inclinations were to- 
wards Lord Bolingbroke's idea, "A Patriot King." 
I was lately reminded of a remark, made many 
years ago, that I did not think that Disraeli was 
naturally ungrateful : but that he was ungrateful 
because he thought Lord Bolingbroke was un- 
grateful. 

IT WAS TO Lord Lyndhurst alone that Disraeli 
confided that he was the Author of the "Runny- 
mede Letters." I cannot understand the doubt as 
to the meaning of the word "Runnymede." It is 
a meadow full of " runs ", that is, small narrow 
streams rising to the level of the grass : such as 
we see in Switzerland and in the Pyrenees; and at 
Runnymede at present. 



158 DISRAELI. 

MR. HENRY DRUMMOND made a sarcastic 
speech in 1852, in exquisite language, miserably 
caricatured in " Hansard " : at the close he said, 
"Sir Robert Peel, in my opinion, inflicted an in- 
delible blow on this House : the effects of which 
we are now feeling. Sir Robert Peel gave a blow 
to public confidence in public men, which the 
present generation will not recover." 

ONE EPISODE in the Session of 1852 was 
dramatic in its incidents. The Right Honourable 
W. B. occupied a position of subordinate character 
in Lord Derby's recently formed Government. I 
attribute to him, in a great measure, the disaster 
which fell upon that Government. If ten seats 
more had been gained at the General Election by 
the Ministry, they might have weathered the storm. 
I believe that these seats were lost by the bad 
management, the want of temper, the utter ignorance 
of men, and of things, in the character of W. B. 
How Lord Derby could have been so infatuated 
as to make him his head wire-puller baffles my 
understanding. M r Horsfall was the Tory Candi- 
date in July 1852, for the Borough of Derby. He 
was returned. Circumstances were brought early to 



DISRAELI. 159 

the knowledge of the House of Commons which 
were stoutly, and vehemently denied by W. B. : not 
only did he deny the facts ; but he publicly declared 
that the whole of these statements were the result of 
" a foul, and scandalous conspiracy ", and that " false- 
hood and subornation to perjury " had been resorted 
to in that conspiracy. His statements naturally pro- 
voked great indignation on the part of those who 
had already called attention to the alleged facts; 
and the matter being judiciously placed by the 
Whigs in the hands of the first advocate of the 
day, Sir Alexander Cockburn, he addressed the 
House on the subject in a most masterly speech. 

I have always taken great delight in listening to 
the well-reasoned speeches of lawyers. I do not 
remember any occasion in which I was more 
charmed by the beautifully elaborate chain of evi- 
dence, which this eminent pleader produced; and 
the quiet way in which he wound the folds, which 
became more and more impossible to escape from, 
round the object of his perfectly courteous denun- 
ciation. 

The facts as stated by Sir Alexander Cockburn 
were these. At an Election previous to M r HorsfalPs 
candidature, a M r Flewker, ominous name ! had been 



160 DISRAELI. 

an Agent for the Tory Party. Finding himself 
considerably out of pocket, he asked for reimburse- 
ment ; this was not granted : so, at M r Horsfall's 
Election, becoming acquainted with the manoeuvres 
of some Members of his own Party, he related these 
particulars to the enemy. One of those strangers, 
who occasionally " dropped from the Moon " at 
the time of severe contests, appeared in Derby. 
Morgan, the "Man from the Moon", said that he 
had come from Chester ; whereas it was known that 
he had arrived from Shrewsbury ; this he admitted ; 
saying, "M r Frail sent me". Now M r Frail had 
been for some time an active Agent in Shrewsbury ; 
also holding the position of Clerk of the Course 
at the Races : a man of very exceptional astuteness ; 
and, as he was subsequently described, "familiar 
with every possible contrivance used at elections". 
Morgan, when asked by Flewker for the letter of 
introduction from Frail, said he had none; but he 
had a letter which Frail had given him; and this 
he produced : if M r Flewker had been a Puritan 
he might have exclaimed, "The Lord has delivered 
them into my hands " ; for he was actually shown a 
letter in the handwriting of the Secretary-at-War, 
which he at once recognised. He exclaimed, 



DISRAELI. 161 

" Why, I know this writing ! and see ! it is signed 
'W. B.'!" I omit a number of particulars, all of 
which Sir A. Cockburn related one by one, with 
consummate skill; and I shift the scene to a 
cellar at " The County Tavern ", in Derby. In- 
formation having been given to the Police by 
Flewker, they proceeded to the cellar. The door 
was guarded by a man who was strange to them : 
he stopped them ; but on their making the signal, 
and pronouncing the pass-word, " It is all right : 
Radford sent me ", he admitted them. They found 
in the cellar Morgan; whom they apprehended; 
and upon him two hundred and sixty-five pounds 
in gold, and forty pounds in bank-notes. On the 
table before him was a book, in which were 
entered the names, and numbers on the Register, 
of the electors : against these names, and numbers, 
were figures indicating the sums already received 
by the voters : and, more important than all, they 
found in his pocket this letter; "A good, and safe 
man, with judgment, and quickness, is wanted 
immediately at Derby. I suppose that you cannot 
leave your own place"; the letter was addressed to 
Frail, at Shrewsbury ; " if not, send some one whom 

you can trust : let him go to Derby on receiving 

L 



1 62 DISRAELI. 

this, and find 'The County Tavern,' in the centre 
of the town, saying that he came from Chester ; that 
will be enough". The letter was signed "W. B.": 
and more than this, it was actually sealed with the 
well-known seal of the Carlton Club ; bearing the 
name of that institution upon it. Morgan, on 
being apprehended, treated the matter very philo- 
sophically: he said, "After all, this is a small 
affair ". He spoke with considerable contempt of 
Derby ; saying, " Derby is but a poor place ! your 
voters are satisfied here with two or three pounds 
apiece ! in Shrewsbury a vote costs twenty times 
as much". This seemed a clear case: an attempt 
had been made, to make out that this highly 
criminatory letter, which was dated "Monday" 
only, referred to a previous Election. The orator 
annihilated this theory by giving among other proofs, 
that the envelope found in Morgan's pocket, hold- 
ing it up before the House, had on it, written in 
pencil, the names of all the stations where a man 
coming from Shrewsbury, would have to change his 
train before arriving at Derby. On Sir Alexander 
Cockburn resuming his seat, Sir John Yarde Buller, 
a typical Tory County Member, wisely moved that 
a Select Committee should at once be appointed 



DISRAELI. 163 

to take the matter into consideration. This was 
agreed to. 

After the Drama comes the Farce. Amidst these 
disasters, 

" The wreck of Matter, and the crash of Worlds ", 

the ludicrous intervened : as it usually does. In 
the course of investigation by a Select Com- 
mittee of the House of Commons of the serious 
charges brought by Sir Alexander Cockburn 
against the unfortunate W. B., a very important 
witness, the said Frail of Shrewsbury, Clerk of 
the Course, etc., etc., was examined. One of the 
Committee, I think the Chairman, was the Right 
Hon. H. Goulburn, Chancellor of the Exchequer 
in Sir Robert Peel's Government; an individual of 
portentously solemn aspect, and demeanour. Frail, 
who was a middle-aged man, in robust health, 
had very early in life, been a call-boy in a 
provincial theatre. Finding himself in a difficulty, 
he hit upon a method of enlisting the sympathy 
of the Committee; after dressing himself as a 
conventional old man, with spectacles, a grey wig, 
etc., and assuming great weakness of ham, he, giving 
his crutches to a friend, had himself carried into the 



164 DISRAELI. 

Committee Room ; and placed in the witnesses' chair. 
After making out so good a case as he could for 
himself, he was cross-questioned as usual. M r 
Goulburn said, "M r Frail, I must ask you if this 
is the first affair of the kind, in which you have 
been engaged?" Frail said, "I have acted in 
Elections, Sir, before". M r Goulburn, "I do not 
mean that : I mean in these nefarious transactions, 
of which we have heard so much". "Well, 
Sir ", he said, " I have done nothing to be ashamed 
of; except once". M r Goulburn, "I am sorry 
to press you, M r Frail, but in the interests of 
Justice I must do so. To what do you allude?" 
Frail, " The circumstances are so painful, Sir, 
that I hope you won't insist upon a reply". 
M r Goulburn, " I must ". " Sir, I am a very old 
man", said Frail, in a husky voice, coughing 
violently. M r Goulburn, "I am sorry, M r Frail, 
but I must have an answer". "Well, Sir, there is 
only one offence that weighs upon my conscience, 
and for which I hope that Heaven may forgive 
me". M r Goulburn, "What is it?" Frail, "Well, 
Sir, it was when I got your brother, M r Serjeant 
Goulburn, in for Leicester : the bribing was some- 
thing horrible ; it has weighed me down ever since ". 



DISRAELI. 165 

ANOTHER INCIDENT OCCURRED to the 
venerable Goulburn, not altogether of a pleasant 
character. Bernal Osborne, in a speech of some 
length, was summing up the demerits of Sir 
Robert Peel and his followers; among others, he 
mentioned M r Goulburn; and artfully induced the 
House of Commons to believe that he intended 
to praise Sir Robert's Chancellor of the Exchequer. 
He said that while at various times Sir Robert 
Peel had been deserted by his friends, there was 
one who had adhered to him with chivalrous 
tenacity; looking at M r Goulburn. The House 
cheered, with the sympathy which it always 
feels, or at any rate shows, to loyal political 
devotion. They did not know what was coming ; 
nor, no doubt, did the hero of the moment, 
who looked so chivalrous as he could. Bernal 
Osborne then added these words, " Of whatever 
changes the Right Honourable Baronet (Sir Robert 
Peel) showed himself capable; amidst all the vaga- 
ries of his life; whenever the Right Honourable 
Baronet changed from one side of this House to 
the other, there," pointing at Goulburn, "was that 
miserable old tin kettle still fastened to his tail". 



1 66 DISRAELI. 

THE FINAL ACT of the Session of 1852, in which 
Disraeli appeared for the last time for some years 
in the character of Chancellor of the Exchequer, 
began on the 3 rd of December. He spoke on his 
Budget. His speech lasted for five hours : he 
showed towards the close signs of great exhaus- 
tion. His speech fills seventy columns and a half 
of " Hansard " ; a prodigious effort for a man for 
the first time in Office. I have heard that this 
Budget, the ostensible cause of the termination of 
the Tory Government, was drawn by Sir Charles 
Trevelyan, a permanent Official of the Treasury. 
It was listened to with patient attention : some- 
thing took place, which was not observable by the 
majority of the House. I sat in the south side- 
gallery during the speech; and, looking immediately 
below me, I noticed that Sir George Grey, and Sir 
Charles Wood, nearly related, facing Disraeli, the 
latter having been Chancellor of the Exchequer, 
kept interchanging signs, and nudging one another, 
laughing occasionally, while Disraeli was speaking; 
in fact turning him into ridicule, in a manner 
which was not only unfair, but ungentlemanlike ; 
considering their social position compared to Dis- 
raeli's, their life-long experience of the House, and 



DISRAELI. 167 

his extreme difficulties : difficulties which he had 
encountered in a manly, and well-bred manner. I 
mention this; for it was the unperceived cause of 
the vehemence with which Disraeli attacked these 
two men in his final speech. 

The Debate ended on the i6 th of December. 

This night presented the most extraordinary scene 
that I have ever witnessed; Disraeli rose to make 
his final reply at about ten o'clock. He stood up, 
amidst loud cheers from his Party, with studied 
calmness ; he spoke with precision : from the first 
word to the last every syllable could be heard; and 
nothing more perfect could, of its kind, be imagined. 
He dealt with the various objections that had been 
made. He addressed himself, in the first instance, 
to the remarks of Sir Charles Wood. He said that 
instead of addressing the Chair, Sir Charles had 
addressed his remarks to himself personally. He 
spoke of Sir James Graham as being "prompt in 
accusation at all times". He said that he felt a 
"great respect, and regard for Sir James Graham; 
more perhaps the latter, than the former " : these 
were his precise words ; they formed a peg, a 
very small one, for a subsequent attack upon 
himself; he made a rhetorical mistake in saying 



168 DISRAELI. 

this. The first passage which roused his Party 
to enthusiasm, was when, after summing up his 
reply to Sir C. Wood, he denounced him : he 
said, " Talk of recklessness ! What in the whole 
history of Finance is equal to the recklessness of 
the Right Honourable Gentleman? who, when he 
had been beaten, baffled, humiliated, came down 
to the House of Commons, and stated that he 
had sufficient Revenue, without resorting to his 
abandoned proposition. The future historian will 
not be believed, when he states that a Minister 
came down with a proposal to nearly double the 
Income Tax, and, when that measure was re- 
jected, announced the very next day, that his ways 
and means were ample without it". Disraeli con- 
tinued; looking at Sir G. Grey, and Sir C. Wood; 
" The Right Honourable Gentleman tells me in 
not very polished, and in scarcely Parliamentary 
language, that I do not know my business. He 
may have learnt his business; of that the House 
of Commons is the best judge; I care not to be 
his critic; but if he has learnt this, he must learn 
another lesson, that Petulance is not Sarcasm; and 
that Insolence is not Invective!" 

I cannot describe the cheers with which these 



DISRAELI. 169 

words were accompanied and followed : the reader 
must picture, if he can, the intense excitement 
which was felt at what Disraeli himself, in speaking 
to me subsequently, called a " death-struggle ". 

He then continued his refutations. He declared 
of the Whigs, "We find them, with taunts to us, 
teaching all the fallacies which we at least have 
had the courage honourably to give up. Tell me 
Protection is dead ! Tell me there is no Protec- 
tionist Party in the Country ! Why, 'tis rampant ! 
and 'tis there ! They have taken up our principles 
with our benches ; and I believe they will be quite 
as unsuccessful". He spoke of M r Goulburn, Sir 
R. Peel's Chancellor of the Exchequer, as "that 
weird Sibyl"; towards the close he made a 
splendid apostrophe. It was well known of course 
that Sir C. Wood had on at least one, if not 
two occasions, withdrawn his Budget. Disraeli, in 
measured accents, and after attracting and riveting 
by his gestures the attention of the House, said, 
" I have been told, Sir, that M r Pitt took back his 
Budget; and I have been reminded that, in more 
recent days, others have taken back their Budget". 
Then raising his voice still louder, "Never, Sir, 
can I hope to emulate the greatness of M r 



170 DISRAELI. 

Pitt!" then, pointing at Sir Charles Wood, "But, 
never, never, will I stoop to the degradation of 
others ! " 

He completed his speech in these words, " Yes ! 
I know what I have to face ! " looking at the 
bench on which Sir Robert Peel's former sup- 
porters sat, opposite, to his right, " I know that 
I am opposed by a Coalition (tremendous cheer- 
ing). That Coalition may be successful, as 
coalitions have been before now". Then raising 
his right hand, and speaking in his loudest voice, 
a voice that became more melodious as it grew 
louder, " But Coalitions are short-lived ! " he paused 
while his Party cheered; then, "England does not 
love Coalitions ! " bringing his right hand down 
on the table in front of him. He ended this 
most brilliant oration with these words, uttered 
in a most impassioned tone, " I appeal from this 
Coalition to the Public Opinion which governs 
this Country; whose mild and irresistible influence 
can controul even the decrees of Parliaments ; 
and without whose support the most august and 
ancient Institutions are but 'the baseless fabric 
of a vision ' ! " 

The cheering that followed these words can- 



DISRAELI. 171 

not be described; it was prolonged for several 
minutes. 

On M r Gladstone's rising an uproar ensued such 
as I have never heard since. It was felt by the 
Tory Party that to the separation of the body of 
men who had changed their side of the House 
after Sir Robert Peel's abandonment, was owing 
the impending defeat. 

No time had been given since the summer for 
passion to cool. The desperate contests which had 
then taken place had left a deep-seated bitterness 
in the hearts of many ; and nothing could exceed 
the violence felt, and displayed. M r Gladstone 
stood for several minutes unable to make himself 
heard. One old gentleman, seated on my right 
hand, seats under the Gallery at that time were in 
total darkness, shouted in a voice loud enough to 
deafen one : he actually screamed at M r Gladstone ; 
he had evidently had a rough time of it at his 
own election. I could not see his face; and have 
no idea who he was ; but the noise that he made 
was so exceptional that M r Gladstone noticed it; 
and, pointing with his finger, alluded to the "dark 
corners of this House," from which he assumed 
the noise entirely issued. 



172 DISRAELI. 

After prolonged tumult, he began his speech by 
laying hold of Disraeli's slip ; quoting the latter as 
having said that he "regarded Sir James Graham; 
but did not respect him " : accusing Disraeli of 
indecency, and impropriety, in having so spoken 
about his "venerable friend". 

There was everything in this debate to make it 
in the highest degree dramatic. It was a passage 
of History. During the invective of Disraeli's 
speech, the Opposition presented a most remark- 
able appearance; not speaking to each other, pale 
in the gas-light. It reminded one of the scenes 
in the National Convention of the French Revolu- 
tion. To complete the effect, although in Mid- 
winter, a loud thunderstorm raged : the peals were 
heard and the flashes of lightning could be seen 
in the Chamber itself. The thought struck me at 
the time that this resembled the Battle of Thrasy- 
mene, when 

"An earthquake reeled unheededly away". 

A Division was taken ; the numbers for the Govern- 
ment were two hundred and eighty-six ; against them 
three hundred and five. Ten seats would have 
changed their fate : and the fate of Europe. 



DISRAELI. 173 

The Coalition Government that ensued could but 
have a disastrous result ; that result was the War 
with Russia. 

The temporary truce between the Whigs and 
the Peel Party, patched up with the sole view of 
removing the Tory Ministry, soon broke up. Men 
utterly different in their principles had gained 
their object : they were mechanically, not chemi- 
cally, combined. Lord Aberdeen became Prime 
Minister; a we.ll intentioned, and amiable man, who 
had no more idea of plunging into War than into the 
ocean. His personal character was well known to 
the Emperor Nicholas. He had, I believe, in his 
youth, accompanied the Emperor, then Grand Duke, 
over the field of dead and wounded the day after 
the great Battle of Leipsic ; and had expressed, as 
any man of humanity would, the awful responsibility 
resting upon his head, who provokes a war. 

The Emperor told Sir Hamilton Seymour, our 
Ambassador at his Court, that he had, when in 
England, conversed with three members of Sir 
Robert Peel's Government. Two had refused his 
proposals. One had approved. The two who 
would not consent to the partition of Turkey, 
"the sick man" as he called him, were the 



174 DISRAELI. 

Duke of Wellington, and Sir Robert Peel: the 
one who had leant towards the Emperor's views 
was Lord Aberdeen. That man was now Prime 
Minister of England. What might not the 
Emperor accomplish in dealing with this gentle 
spirit? All historians are agreed that this country 
"drifted into war", to repeat the term used at the 
time, unintentionally, and unconsciously. More 
than this; the Emperor of Russia knew well that 
he had to deal with a divided Cabinet; that in 
all probability one moiety of the Cabinet would 
oppose the other ; that one section would probably 
befriend him; and that his time had come. His 
recollections of the former European War per- 
suaded him that Britain would never coalesce with 
the democratic Empire of France. He believed 
that the prejudices of the French in relation 
to their first Emperor were still strong. He never 
pictured for a moment that British and French 
bayonets could be together levelled against his 
troops ; in short an ambitious and unscrupulous man 
was convinced that the longed for opportunity had 
arrived. 

We know the sad results of the Division of that 
night. Millions upon millions added to our public 



DISRAELI. 175 

debt, hundreds of thousands of brave men on all 
sides slaughtered or starved. Famine and Pesti- 
lence stalked through Europe. A War, for which 
this country was thoroughly unprepared, was en- 
gaged in; the scenes of misery that occurred can 
never be wiped out from human recollection. 

So infatuated was the Government that all would 
end quietly, that they actually proposed and 
carried a vote for the return of the Foot Guards 
from Malta; to which place they were sent. Lord 
Aberdeen told a relation of mine that he might 
pass the winter at Rome : " There will be no 
war". 

The Emperor Nicholas had boasted publicly that, 
powerful as were his armies, and skilful as were 
his Generals, he had two Marshals of greater 
importance than them all, " Marshal January and 
Marshal February". "These", he said emphati- 
cally, " will win my Battles ! Woe to those by 
whom they are attacked ! " 

A powerful design appeared in "Punch", by 
Leech. The Emperor Nicholas lies dead : a gaunt 
skeleton has placed its icy fingers on his breast; 
snow surrounds him : underneath is written, " Mar- 
shal February turns traitor ! " 



176 DISRAELI. 

DISRAELI THROUGHOUT his career knew the 
value of honourable friends : men on whom the 
sensible section of Society looked with respect; 
and with respect that was deserved. Among Dis- 
raeli's intimates was the Right Hon. Henry Baillie, 
for many years Member for the County of Inver- 
ness. I knew him well. 

On several important occasions Disraeli consulted 
him. 

M r Baillie told me that the scene in the 
" sponging-house ", in " Henrietta Temple ", in 
which the hero is rescued by a foreign friend, 
Count de Mirabel, was witnessed by himself. 
The hero of the adventure was Disraeli ; who 
found himself in this disagreeable predicament. 
The rescuer was Alfred Count d'Orsay. As all 
readers may not know the meaning of the. term 
" sponging-house ", I may say that it was a tem- 
porary abode, to which debtors were taken, in 
order that they might, if possible, arrange with 
their creditors; and not be consigned to an abso- 
lute prison. 

M r Baillie was Disraeli's Second in the projected 
duels with O'Connell, and his son. 

He told me how the first acquaintance was made 



DISRAELI. 177 

between two characters of great notoriety in a gene- 
ration earlier than our own, Alfred Count d'Orsay, 
and the wife of the last Lord Blessington. Travelling 
slowly to Italy, Lord and Lady Blessington stopped 
a. night at Valence, on the Rhone. On arriving, 
the landlord of the hotel expressed his regret that 
he could not give them a separate room for their 
dinner. He added that if they would not object 
to dine in the semi-public room, their dinner could 
be served at once. They entered the room; and 
observed that a dinner for several persons was 
laid. The landlord explained that the meal was 
prepared for the officers of the Cavalry Regiment 
quartered in the town. Lord and Lady Bles- 
sington dined at a separate table : at the end of 
dinner Count d'Orsay, then a very handsome young 
man, an Officer in the Regiment, approached, and 
respectfully offered the apologies of his brother 
Officers for the inconvenience which they feared 
that they had caused to his Lordship, and her 
Ladyship. Count d'Orsay was commissioned to 
ask permission for the Officers to drink the health 
of the beautiful lady who had visited Valence. 
This was the beginning of a portentous acquaint- 
ance; the history of which it is unnecessary to 

M 



178 DISRAELI. 

repeat. Count d'Orsay followed them to Rome. 
A few months later Lady Blessington's step- 
daughter, born of Lord Blessington's first wife, 
was sent for from school in England and married 
to Count d'Orsay. After Count d'Orsay's death 
in 1852, she married the Hon. Spencer Cowper, 
the son of Lord Cowper, step-son of Lord Palmer- 
ston, and nephew of Lord Melbourne. I knew M r 
Cowper well at Rome : Lady Harriette was then 
dead. 

M r Spencer Cowper inherited from M r Motteaux 
over twenty thousand a year, and a Country House, 
now the residence of the Prince of Wales, San- 
dringham. A very amiable, and well-informed man, 
full of most interesting stories of the past, he was 
so inveterate, and hopeless a gambler, that when I 
knew him, none of his wealth was left. His sole 
property was what had been settled upon Lady 
Harriette d'Orsay, on her first marriage, by her 
father, Lord Blessington. 

Had I space I could relate many interesting 
anecdotes that he told me of Lord Melbourne, 
Lord Byron, and Lady Caroline Lamb. The 
following characteristic letter he received from his 
step-father, Lord Palmerston, then Foreign Secre- 



DISRAELI. 179 

tary. It was addressed to him when a poor attache* 
to the Legation at Stockholm. 

" MY DEAR SPENCER, 

A M r Mottukes has left you twenty-two 
thousand a year : I send you leave of absence : 
make your Will before you start". Yours, 

PALMERSTON. 

He told me that more than once in his life he 
was so devoured by ennui that he remained in 
bed for several days. This drove him to the 
gambling-table ; and at last all was gone. He 
induced me, at Rome, to take a few shares in 
the Roman lottery ; of which I had heard often ; 
but had never troubled myself about it. I bought 
five tickets. The next day, when driving, M r 
Cowper persuaded me to give him some numbers ; 
adding that I was so lucky that he was sure to 
win. I told him that I could not pass on my 
luck : at last I consented : I gave him the number 
of the carriage which we were in; the number of 
the house in the Corso that we were passing; the 
number of the day of the month ; and of the 
week. These he carefully wrote down. We saw 
the curious proceedings of the "Tombola" or 



iSo DISRAELI. 

Drawing. A number of State Functionaries appeared 
on a lofty balcony in the Via Ripetta. A boy 
dipped his hand into the wheel, which held the 
lots. The very first drawn was my number. 
Not one of M r Spencer Cowper's numbers came 

up. 

/ 

AFTER LORD BLESSINGTON'S death Lady 
Blessington lived for some years at Gore House, 
on the road to Kensington, now pulled down. 
There she received the notorieties of the day; 
including Prince Louis Napoleon, Disraeli, Lytton 
Bulwer, Moore, Horace and James Smith, Wash- 
ington Irving, N. P. Willis, in short any one who 
had achieved literary or political reputation. Lady 
Blessington, finding that she was unable to con- 
tinue her hospitality, left London for Paris. 
After her death Count d'Orsay resided with his 
sister, the Duchesse de Grammont, in the Rue Ville 
1'Eveque. I first met him at her house. He 
had an exceptionally pleasant manner : perfectly 
unaffected. His life, when in London, was very 
singular. Being deeply in debt, he was unable to 
leave the precincts of Gore House, for fear of 
arrest. To this the first day of the week was 



DISRAELI. i8t 

an exception. From Monday morning till Saturday 
night he could not go out; but contrived to take 
exercise by riding round and round the small 
garden which existed at the back of Gore House. 
At length, by means of disguise, a sheriffs officer 
obtained an entrance. One writ served would have 
been followed by numberless others : Count d'Orsay 
set out next morning for Paris. The creditors of 
Lady Blessington became importunate. Several 
friends offered to relieve her from pressing neces- 
sities; but she declined the relief: she appears 
to have been more or less tired of the precarious 
splendour by which she had been for some years 
surrounded. Her carriage used to appear daily in 
the Park : having heard from my mother how 
exquisitely lovely Lady Blessington had been, I 
could not see any remains of beauty in her face. 
She wore a broad bandage of lace, I can use no 
other term, under her chin; as represented in a 
bad print by R. J. Lane, A.R.A., from a bust of 
her by Count d'Orsay. Her carriage was drawn 
by two beautiful bay horses, carefully chosen by 
Count d'Orsay; but the general effect seemed too 
much "made up" to be in good taste. A green 
hammer-cloth with broad white border on the 



182 DISRAELI. 

seat of the coachman; the latter wearing what 
Thackeray calls " a silver wig." The general 
effect was, I should say, slightly vulgar : the 
vulgarity being redeemed by the real beauty of 
the horses. Lady Blessington used to sit forward 
in her coach so that every one passing could see 
her at the window. A sale took place of Lady 
Blessington's property at Gore House in 1849. 
I visited the house a day or two before the sale. 
A great crowd, of the usual character, filled it 
Of all sad sights, from an aesthetic point of view, 
a house treated in this way is the saddest : from 
the reckless, and ruthless, manner in which beauti- 
ful objects have been treated; displaced, and dis- 
regarded; no article can look itself under such 
circumstances. 

Nearly twelve thousand pounds were obtained at 
the sale. The item which struck me most was the 
Coronation robe and coronet of Lord Blessington, 
hanging on a peg behind a bed-room door. In an 
account of the sale written by Lady Blessington's 
servant to her he states that no less than twenty 
thousand persons had visited the house. He con- 
cludes with this pathetic passage : " M. Thackeray 
est venu aussi : il avait les larmes aux yeux en 



DISRAELI. 183 

partant. C'est peut-etre la seule personne que j'ai 
vu reellement affecte* en votre depart." 

I HAVE HEARD on good authority that in his 
own house Lord Derby, by this term I invariably 
mean the Prime Minister, was by no means so 
courteous as a host is bound in honour to be. 
Lord Derby would single out one of his guests, 
not always a man; and would lose no opportunity 
of making him or her absurd : nor ever spare 
them when he could make a 1 joke. Neither rela- 
tionship nor sex was regarded. With the pleasantest 
of smiles, Lord Derby's face in repose was sinister. 
He could on occasion be playful without wounding. 
An elderly lady, the daughter of a Duke, had 
been for many years married to a Commoner : 
Lord Derby advised the raising of this excellent 
gentleman to a Peerage : thus the lady to her 
annoyance lost precedence : a Baroness being of 
a lower rank than the daughter of a Duke. A 
few months later, the lady and her husband were 
staying at Knowsley : Lord Derby took her down 

to dinner: as they descended the stairs Lady 

said, " Oh ! Lord Derby, I hesitated to give you 
my arm : I have not seen you since you dis- 



184 DISRAELI. 

honoured me." Lord Derby instantly replied, 
" Hush ! don't say a word about it ! and no one 
will find us out ! " 

THROUGHOUT HIS CAREER Disraeli seems 
to have had one fixed idea : that he was to be 
the mysterious wire-puller; the voice behind the 
Throne; unseen, but suspected. That he should 
rise to be the absolute monarch, which he was at 
last, does not seem to have been anticipated by 
him. His patience was great : and the supreme 
dignity of Prime Minister at last seemed to come 
to him unasked. Lord Derby's illness, and conse- 
quent incapacity, forced it upon him. The enor- 
mous majority which followed him at his second 
Premiership he could hardly have dreamed of. 

SO DRAMATIC was Disraeli's first appearance 
in the House of Commons, that it attracted neces- 
sarily much attention : by this, no doubt, he was 
pleased. An exaggerated idea got abroad as to 
his reception. Those who are familiar with the 
House, and its ways, can perfectly understand what 
occurred. The scene has often been related, and 
I have no wish to repeat the description. I allude 



DISRAELI. 185 

to it only for the purpose of pointing out to those 
who have never entered the House of Commons 
what took place. There had been much recrimi- 
nation in relation to Disraeli's first attempt to 
be elected; the affairs of Hume, O'Connell, etc., 
were not forgotten. Disraeli's appearance was 
grotesque : even in those days of somewhat outre 
dress, it must have been surprising. His curly 
hair carefully arranged : his sallow face : his rings, 
chains, etc., must have made him a singular 
being in the eyes of an Assembly that has 
always been remarkable for the unstudied dress of 
its Members. 

Notwithstanding the exaggerated style of his first 
speech the House generally did not receive him 
badly. Opposite to him were his deadly enemies, 
the followers of O'Connell; watching, like hungry 
hounds, the opportunity to fall upon their prey. 
Disraeli knew this : and was conscious that the 
slightest slip might be fatal to him. Many a 
man would have been unnerved: Disraeli, how- 
ever, bravely proceeded. Reading his speech now, 
in cold blood, it does not seem a bad one. Con- 
siderable apparent effrontery, the not unfrequent 
result of being ill at ease; the reference to the 



1 86 DISRAELI. 

"Keys of S' Peter"; and, no doubt, the manner, 
and assumed excitement of the speaker, while it 
tended to awaken the attention of the House, 
made Disraeli's course very precarious. From the 
eastern, and more appreciative portion of the 
House, he was cheered : and from curiosity, from 
interest, and good nature, the leading men of both 
sides approved; and applauded. His voice was, 
however, finally drowned by the Irish Members ; 
who had but one object; to destroy him. He 
then uttered the well-known words, which have, 
however, frequently been mis-quoted. They were 
these, "I should have been glad to hear a cheer 
even from an opponent " : renewed uproar : " I 
have tried several things in my life; and in the 
end I have usually succeeded : you will not 
listen to me now; the time will come when you 
will hear me ". He sat down : very prudently, spoke 
some days later, on a common-place topic, Copy- 
right: and gradually, and deliberately, by carefully 
avoiding to utter anything that was not good sense, 
gained the just and priceless appreciation of the 
British House of Commons. 

I HAVE QUOTED the report of the end of 



DISRAELI. 187 

Disraeli's first speech. Disraeli's last words on 
that memorable night were these ; not observed 
amid the clamour ; " When I rise in this Assembly 
hereafter a dropped pin shall be heard ! " This 
he told himself to the late Duke and Duchess 
of Richmond on the same evening. I have it 
from one who heard it from the Duchess. 

THE THIRD LORD ST. GERMANS told me 
that it was he who introduced Disraeli to Sir 
Robert Peel. Knowing Disraeli's great ability he 
invited him to meet Sir Robert at breakfast. 
Sir Robert Peel was not at any time the most 
approachable of men : to borrow an expression, 
you could not "go up to him in the stable" with 
certainty. On this occasion, according to Lord S* 
Germans, Disraeli, probably from nervousness, did 
not recommend himself to Sir Robert. He asked 
him to lend him some papers, to illustrate a work 
which he was writing. From his appearance, or 
manner, Sir Robert Peel seemed to take an intui- 
tive dislike to him. He " buried his chin in his 
neck-cloth ", to use Lord S' Germans's expression ; 
and did not speak a word to Disraeli during the 
remainder of the meal. 



1 88 DISRAELI. 

IN JUNE, 1834, Disraeli says, "Gore House is 
the focus of the Durham party. I dined yesterday 
with Lady Blessington ; and Durham was among 
the guests. He talked to me nearly the whole 
evening: thus I have had three interviews of late 
with three remarkable men, who fill the public ear 
at present, O'Connell, Beckford, and Lord Durham ". 
He adds, "D'Orsay has taken my portrait". The 
portrait in question could never have been really 
like him. Count d'Orsay, with all his great ability, 
was not a good portrait maker. I recommended 
the Manager of " White's " to obtain a set of Count 
d'Orsay's portraits : they remind one of the 
originals. 

DISRAELI SPEAKS OF Sir Robert Peel having 
been defended at the time of his change "by all 
the pompous mediocrity of a Chairman of Quarter 
Sessions ". The term " sublime of common-place ", 
applied to Sir R. Peel, is Disraeli's; the expres- 
sion "sublime of mediocrity", which he also uses, 
is Byron's. 

IN MANY OF DISRAELI'S novels there appears 
a fondness for the Church of Rome. I conceive 



DISRAELI. 189 

this regard to be purely aesthetic. Disraeli loved 
an ancient organisation : and idealised its complete- 
ness. He had towards this branch of the Christian 
Church the same feeling that he had towards the 
aristocratic system of Britain. He admired it as 
an elaborate machine ; which had endured through 
ages of failure and success. 

I HAVE BEEN frequently asked if I could form 
any idea of what Disraeli's religious convictions 
were. I have always answered, and I say now, 
that I never heard him give the slightest hint, by 
which any idea could be formed on this subject. 
I asked the late Lord B., who knew Disraeli well, 
and for whom he had an enthusiastic admiration, 
whether he had ever been able to form an idea as 
to this subject. Lord B. was exceptionally fond of 
talking on the deeper phases of religious faith; and 
I have no doubt whatever wished extremely to 
obtain Disraeli's opinions. Lord B. told me that 
he had never heard the faintest expression of 
opinion, in relation to this awful subject, from 
Disraeli. 

THE PROFESSED CREED of Disraeli was that 



190 DISRAELI. 

of a "complete Jew," that is to say, he believed 
in "Him that had come"; and "did not look for 
another". To use his own words, he "believed in 
Calvary, as well as in Sinai ". 

MR. GEORGE TOMLINE, whom I knew inti- 
mately, told me that when he was Disraeli's col- 
league for Shrewsbury, he remembered his using 
the trite simile, "What are we after all? What are 
the best of us? Mites crawling about a cheese!" 
This was his feeling, when a young man ; a senti- 
ment that does not usually diminish as a deeper 
perception of the emptiness of life and its pursuits 
comes on. 

IT SURPRISED me extremely that any man 
could speak, in private life, with the point he did. 
It has been objected to the characters in the 
" School for Scandal " that no set of persons could 
ever, at any time, have talked with the wit, and 
epigrammatic terseness, which characterises that 
most brilliant play. I found Disraeli's conversation 
equally pointed; equally brilliant. He may have 
reserved his best sayings for those whom he knew 
could appreciate them. 



DISRAELI. 191 

IN A CONVERSATION with Disraeli in his 
blue chamber in the early Spring of 1853, he said 
to me, "What should you think of an alliance with 
Cobden and Bright ? " I replied, " It would not do 
at all." " Why not ? " " In the first place, the Party 
would never agree to it : and in the next, Bright 
and Cobden will never again be the men they have 
been". The conversation took place immediately 
after the Repeal of the Corn Laws. Disraeli seemed 
very much surprised : and added, " Is that your 
deliberate opinion ? " I told him that it was : he 
asked my reasons. I said that Cobden and Bright 
had achieved the one great act of their lives ; in 
obtaining the abolition of the duty on imported 
corn and raw material : that they would always 
be conspicuous men ; and that they would always 
have a certain influence in the House of Com- 
mons, because they had influence out of doors, 
and had been so far successful : but that anything 
approaching to an alliance with them would not 
only not be beneficial; but would be fatal. 

Disraeli used one expression that startled me. 
He said, "You must be prepared for great organic 
changes." As I left his house, and walked down 
Grosvenor Street, I formed a decided opinion that 



192 DISRAELI. 

there was no organic change that Disraeli was not 
capable of favouring. I did not of course repeat 
his words to anyone; but they remained in my 
mind. About three weeks afterwards, I was walk- 
ing with M rs Disraeli at a Charity Bazaar held in 
the riding-school of the Knightsbridge Barracks. 
After giving broad hints that Disraeli intended 
making me a " Whip," she said, " How do you 
think an alliance with Bright would do?" I 
answered, "Did you ever hear a very ancient 
story of the man, who, when the ship was sinking, 
tied himself to the anchor ? " She had not : I 
simply pointed the moral No doubt the position 
of the Tory Party in a minority was most galling 
to Disraeli : I suspect that there were few steps 
that he would not have taken to change that 
minority into a majority. 

He was, it is fair to say, at all times ready to 
give up his personal position; and to give way to 
a leader from his enemies: Lord F. told me that 
he twice conveyed a message from Disraeli to Sir 
James Graham, offering him the leadership of the 
Tory Party. 

THE CHARACTERS OF COBDEN, AND 



DISRAELI. 193 

BRIGHT, were nearly so different as those of Don 
Quixote, and Sancho Panza. I believed in Cob- 
den : I utterly disbelieved in Bright Cobden was 
a well-intentioned man, with a conviction of the 
truth of his ideas on the particular subjects in 
which he worked ; he was, so far as a man can 
be, devoid of personal ambition, and vanity; he 
felt, as he frequently said, acutely the disadvan- 
tages arising from a want of breadth of mind ; for 
he was narrow-minded ; in accomplishing what 
he did, he thoroughly believed that he was 
benefiting his countrymen. I liked his style of 
speaking : there was no apparent pretension : very 
quiet, very distinct; the words uttered slowly, and 
most carefully : he paid his audience the compli- 
ment of convincing them that whatever he uttered 
in the House of Commons was the result of 
long, deep, and minute thought : he was a born 
logician. Like all masters of that great art, he 
scorned to be base : a man who will, know- 
ingly, use false arguments is quite capable of 
stealing, if he thought he would not be detected. 
I never heard Cobden sophisticate : though I 
not unfrequently disagreed with his views, I do 
not believe that he would have intentionally 

N 



194 DISRAELI. 

argued falsely : this is saying much for a man 
who was very much in earnest in his cause. 
Nothing could be more delicate than his manner 
of conducting an argument. He convinced you 
that he believed what he was saying : without which 
few arguments really avail. His style was this; 
I am not of course quoting words that he ever 
uttered, " I look round me, and I see three or 
four hundred Members of the House of Commons, 
all of whom have the belief that at this moment 
they are wearing black coats. Now I know the 
disadvantage under which I labour : I have not 
been half so well educated as most of you : but 
if you will listen to me for a few minutes I shall 
endeavour, so far as my humble capacity goes, to 
convert you to my own belief that your coats are 
not black." He would then use the most deep 
and subtle arguments : and at the end of a 
quarter of an hour, if you had reasoning power 
in your mind, you would begin to doubt whether 
he was not right. I have never heard a more 
finished reasoner : his premises were not unfrequently 
wrong. 

A GREATER CONTRAST could hardly have 



DISRAELI. 195 

been seen to him than Bright. Bright was be- 
lieved by some to be honest, because he was fat 
and rude. A plain-spoken man, that is to say one 
who has that name, is in nine cases out of ten, 
utterly insincere : his roughness is a brutal attempt 
to cover his deceit. There can be no greater mis- 
take than to suppose that Bright was, as Cobden 
was, a power in the House of Commons : he was 
nothing of the sort; I speak of course of his best 
days : once in Office, he sank into obscurity. 
Sitting, as he did, on the flank of the Whig 
Government, and frequently attacking them, it was 
not the game of the Tory Party to disconcert him. 
We, of course, enjoyed the sarcasms with which he 
pelted his friends above the gangway : and on no 
occasion was an attack made upon him personally 
from the front bench on the Tory side. 

One of the things, to which I looked forward 
with hope, was a distinct attack on Bright by Dis- 
raeli. Occasionally sarcasms of a very disagreeable 
sort passed between them, but a hand-to-hand 
engagement never took place. Bright's style in the 
House of Commons was that of a man who tells 
his audience that they are all fools, and most of 
them rogues; whereas he is about to express the 



196 DISRAELI. 

views of the only sensible, and honest man in the 
place. Speaking very slowly, and very distinctly, 
a carefully prepared speech, with one or two bright 
points, but very little effective argument. The 
sophisms, and false arguments, with which Bright 
indulged the inhabitants of populous cities, were 
not used in the House of Commons. He knew 
well that there they would be detected and ex- 
posed. Whatever power Bright had in Parliament 
was due to the influence which he had obtained 
out of doors by addressing an audience that could 
not detect, nor refute, his sophistry. He never lost 
an opportunity of pouring his venom, nine-tenths 
of which was utterly unmerited, upon what he was 
pleased to call the " upper classes ". 

On one occasion Disraeli fired a shot at him which 
caused us keen delight. Bright had been away from 
the House for upwards of two years. On coming 
back he looked particularly neat, and smart, as a 
man does who has not had on his best clothes for 
some time : his hair was very carefully brushed. On 
that evening a debate took place on the genial sub- 
ject of turnpikes : a Baronet from the west of Eng- 
land, a County Member, gave us his views at some 
length. Turnpikes, I suspect, were a subject in 



DISRAELI. 197 

which Disraeli was not deeply versed. Anticipating 
this, Bright rose : and in a most offensive manner 
recommended Disraeli to listen to the sage counsel 
of the Baronet who had just sat down. Disraeli 
followed: alluded to the arguments of the Baronet, 
and then said, "I now come to the Member for 
Birmingham." Bright immediately "pavonered" 
himself, threw his shoulders back ; and obviously 
anticipated that Disraeli would say in the con- 
ventional manner, "Whom we are all glad to see 
back again ". Disraeli had no intention of the 
sort. He placed his glass in his right eye : looked 
at Bright : and calmly said, in a tone of depre- 
ciation which cannot be described, "Of whom we 
have not seen much of late ". Bright turned livid : 
I never saw a human countenance express passion 
so deeply. We of course laughed. Disraeli then 
quietly added, "The Hon. Gentleman has indulged 
us once more this evening with that self-complacent 
catalogue of his own achievements with which in 
former years the House was familiar. I fail to 
find anything novel in his remarks, and I pass on 

at once to the Member for ". For Comedy 

I never saw anything finer. One rudeness of 
which Bright was constantly guilty was this; when 



198 DISRAELI. 

Disraeli in the course of a great speech was ap- 
proaching a point of exceptional brilliance Bright 
would rise from his place, and walk slowly out 
of the House : immediately returning behind the 
Speaker's chair; I have known him do this over 
and over again, for the sole purpose of insulting 
Disraeli. 

Of all men that I have ever seen in public 
life the man most full of splenetic bitterness and 
vanity was John Bright. The following scene 
occurred at the first meeting of the new Parliament 
on the 2 nd of February 1866. The subject of 
debate was the choice of a Speaker ; when M r 
Denison was elected. It may be necessary to point 
out that anyone attending the Speaker's dinners 
was obliged to wear uniform, or full dress. It had 
been anticipated that Bright meditated an attack 
upon the Government : when he rose the most 
breathless silence prevailed. M r Gladstone's face, 
then Chancellor of the Exchequer, was a picture 
of dismay. 

On going home I wrote the following : 

"BRIGHT'S BREECHES". 
"M r Bright, after a slight clearing of the throat, 



DISRAELI. 199 

and with increased colour, amid the silence of the 
House, and to the visible dread of the Govern- 
ment, proceeded through a laboured exordium, to 
invoke the name of Cobden, whose Quixotic self- 
denial of Speaker's dinners for twenty-four years 
was eulogized with great fervour, and some bathos, 
by his elderly Sancho Panza : 

" Sir ! M r Speaker, if I pause, 
It is, Sir, in my Country's cause : 
If I should deepen, Sir, my voice, 
'Tis not to deprecate the choice 
This House has in its wisdom made : 
'Tis not to make a vain parade 
Of idle, heart-consuming, grief 
For him whose bright career was brief: 
'Tis not to pour the ready tear 
For him who is no longer here : 
'Tis not to stir the lowering storm 
Of 'bit-by-bit,' 'piece-meal,' Reform. 
To sweep to Cobden's fame the chords; 
Nor to abuse the House of Lords : 
No, Sir, nor yet to prop the Throne, 
When by my axe its legs are gone : 
A nobler theme my voice will sound : 



200 DISRAELI. 

A nobler theme these walls rebound: 
I'm a plain man, no gauds, nor riches : 
I speak, Sir, of a pair of breeches. 
You, Sir, afford to bond and free, 
A liberal Hospitality: 
For which you're liberally paid : 
Still, I have ne'er that vote gainsaid : 
The starving millions of the land 
Submit to this at my command : 
Nor, in good faith, can I conceal 
I rather like a dainty meal: 

One thing alone my conscience twitches; 


That thing, Sir, is a pair of breeches. 

Sir, ' The Society of friends ' 
To great pugnacity pretends. 
No longer are we men of Peace; 
Of lambs we've nothing but the fleece : 
All milk of human kindness lacking, 
I'm happy only when attacking : 
Still, Sir, we stick to drab and black : 
And, though the single-breasted sack 
Prevails among the 'upper classes,' 
Who batten on the toiling masses, 
We wear out court-coats every day, 
Long, collarless, and cut away : 



DISRAELI. 201 

But Breeches are against our laws. 

Sir, I would hope to plead the cause 

Of Conscience : my lamented friend, 

Long laboured to produce this end : 

Like shoe-stringed Roland, ne'er forgot, 

He was in heart a ' sans atlotte.' 

For thirty years he strove in vain (Cries of 

' Question ' /) 

"Pis, not of you, Sir, I complain ; 
But if that name be honoured still ; 
That gentle mind; that vigorous will; 
Oh ! let from us our shame be torn : 
And Breeches be no longer worn. 

"M r Bright resumed his seat; and the Chancellor 
of the Exchequer, whose perturbation was painful 
at the beginning of his Hon. Friend's speech; 
rose smiling: and referred the important question 
of Breeches or no Breeches to the Good Sense, 
Judgment, Experience, Impartiality, and Aristocratic 
Demeanour of the Speaker. 

"A little known essay of Milton, *de breechi- 
bus non portandis] containing an Epigram by the 
venerable Poet on a pair of breeches worn 
by Nell Gwyn, was observed under M r Bright's 



202 DISRAELI. 

arm as he left the House before M r Gladstone's 
reply ". 

Lord John Manners gave an admirable reply to 
Bright. Bright had quoted some boyish lines from 
a Poem of Lord John : the latter replied, " I 
would far sooner be the foolish young man who 
wrote the lines ; than the malignant old man who 
quoted them". 

LORD AMPTHILL, British Ambassador at 
Berlin, whom I saw in London not long after the 
Berlin Congress, assured me that everyone of the 
distinguished men who met there had formed, and 
expressed to him, the highest opinion of Disraeli's 
powers. In addition to their admiration of his 
intellect, they were much struck by the calmness of 
thought, and the indications of depth of mind, 
which he showed. The Imperial Ambassador from 
the Sultan remarked particularly the exceptional 
dignity of his demeanour : his decision of character 
came out in its strongest light during the Con- 
ference. Sometime after the Conference, a man of 
high rank paying a visit to Prince Bismarck, the 
latter pointed to the wall on which there were 
but three pictures suspended. He said, " One is 



DISRAELI. 203 

a portrait of my Wife : one of the Emperor, 
my Sovereign ; the third of Lord Beaconsfield ". 
Lord Ampthill told me a characteristic remark 
of Disraeli's : it was not told to me in con- 
fidence; but I do not feel justified in naming 
the person alluded to. Disraeli said, " I was sin- 
cerely sorry to have a difference of opinion with 

your friend : He has one idea; it is that, 

under every circumstance of political life, the wise 
course is to do nothing. In the abstract I agree 
with him : but I vainly endeavoured to persuade 
him that, however admirable the theory, it is not 
applicable to modern politics ". 
When I saw Lord Ampthill at Berlin, then Lord 
Odo Russell, on entering the room, I said, "Well! 
here you are : where you deserve to be ". He 
replied in the words used by King Victor Em- 
manuel when he met Garibaldi after the creation 
of the Kingdom of Italy, " Grazie a voi ! " I 
had known Lord Odo Russell at Rome. I had 
received courtesy from him; and liked him. 
Shortly afterwards he was appointed to the office 
of permanent Non-Parliamentary Secretary to the 
Foreign Office. A few weeks later, happening to 
pass up S' James's Street, I met him at the corner 



204 DISRAELI. 

of Jermyn Street : I congratulated him on his 
appointment : and I added, " If I may presume 
to offer advice to such an able Diplomat, it is 
this, 'Don't give up your present office, except 
for an Embassy'". He opened his eyes very wide; 
and after a pause said, with the peculiar half-foreign 
accent which he had, "There is a class of persons 
who are proverbially forbidden to be choosers". I 
replied, "I do not consider that you belong to 
that class ". He said, " Helas ! yes ". I said, 
" You did very well at Rome : and you are Lord 
Russell's nephew : don't go under an Embassy ". 
He walked slowly down the street : I turned round, 
and observed that he was looking at the pave- 
ment, thinking. I did not see him again until 
he was Ambassador at Berlin; a Grand Cross of 
the Bath, etc. He told me in the conversation 
which we had there, that when he met me he 
had made up his mind to take the smallest thing 
offered : that he was very poor : and that he 
had no choice. He added, "Had it not been 
for you, and your advice, my bones would have 
whitened before now at Buenos Ayres, or Monte- 
video ". 

On the day on which it was announced that he 



DISRAELI. 205 

had been created Lord Ampthill, I wrote to him 
from the House of Commons that there was a dif- 
ficulty in pronouncing his name : and that I strongly 
recommended him to tell his brother Ambassadors 
that the reason for which the Queen had selected 
this particular title was, that he had never permitted 
himself to be sat upon. He informed me that he 
had conveyed the information as from me to no 
less a person than His Imperial Majesty, the 
Kaiser, who sent me his compliments on the 
"mot". During the never-ending "Question Ro- 
maine" he had stood the attacks of almost every 
European newspaper most bravely : indeed I never 
saw a man more qualified to hold the difficult 
post which he held at Rome : I thought it my 
duty to state this at the time in the House 
of Commons. This, coming from one opposed 
to his party in politics, he told me afterwards he 
felt deeply. His death was a great loss to the 
Diplomatic Service. He had suavity, and firm- 
ness, and richly deserved the honours which he 
obtained. 

I ASKED DISRAELI if he did not occasionally 
find, when he sat down after a speech, that he 



206 DISRAELI. 

had omitted some good thing, which he had in- 
tended to say. He replied, " I never sit down 
without doing so : but if I once used notes, I 
should lean upon them : and that would never do ". 

THE ONLY TIME in which I ever saw the 
cloud of sadness removed from his face was after 
the first critical division on his Reform Bill of 
1867. I was not a Member of the House of 
Commons at the time : I waited at the Carlton Club 
until past one o'clock A.M. to hear the result. He 
came into the coffee-room where some M.P.'s 
were assembled, endeavouring to procure a few 
eggs, or ill-cooked grilled bones, the starvation 
fare afforded to the Rulers of the Country on 
such occasions. He walked from the door of the 
Coffee-room to the central desk, on which lights 
stand; his face radiant. He said, "This is the 
greatest night since '41 !" 

NO ONE NEED be told how the most important 
events turn upon small things : and, even small men. 
At the time, in 1866, when the "Cave of Adullam," 
a name wittily given to it by Bright, was formed, 
matters proceeded much further than is generally 



DISRAELI. 207 

known. A section of the Whig Party were not pre- 
pared to support the democratic measure proposed. 
It was generally believed that an outside support 
would be given : the fact was, that those taking 
a principal part in the movement would have joined 
Lord Derby as Cabinet Ministers. The three most 
conspicuous persons at the time were the Duke 
of Westminster, Lord Lansdowne, and Robert 
Lowe. The Duke of Westminster supplied high 
rank, and vast wealth; M r Lowe intellect; and 
Lord Lansdowne ancient Whig traditions. The 
latter had held office himself; and his father had 
been, through many generations, the arch-type of 
the old Whig Party ; a sort of political referee : 
who had held office, in his early days, under the 
great Whig leader, Charles Fox. In S' James's 
Street, I met a Member of the House of Com- 
mons. He said to me, " Lord Lansdowne died 
last night ". My remark was, " All is over ! it is 
no use struggling against fate ! " Not of brilliant 
ability, nor of conspicuous success, Lord Lans- 
downe was precisely in the position that the 
Tories required in an ally, for the reasons which 
I have given. With his death the whole fabric 
fell to pieces at once. The circumstances of 



208 DISRAELI. 

Lord Lansdowne's death, at this particular crisis, 
were dramatic. He was playing at Whist, in 
the drawing-room at "White's". Colonel Edward 
Taylor, the Manager of the Conservative Party, 
was sitting near; being, I assume, in constant 
attendance, in consideration of the approaching 
alliance. Lord Lansdowne dropped his cards on 
the table : they were picked up by Colonel Taylor, 
and given to him. He played for a minute or two 
longer : dropped them again : said, " I feel very ill : 
will some one fetch me a cab?" A four-wheeled 
cab was obtained : he was placed in it, accom- 
panied by Colonel Taylor, or some other friend ; 
and died, either in the cab, or immediately on 
his arrival at Lansdowne House. 

IN 1847 150 invitations to a Ball at Buckingham 
Palace were addressed to dead persons : M re Clive, 
author of " Paul Ferroll," in a Poem of great power 
but poor verse, suggests what would have been the 
results, had the 150 guests appeared at the Ball : 
the dead lover: the mother: the wife; finding 
themselves forgotten. 

Lord John Russell, when Prime Minister, did 
not think it unconstitutional to send to the Lord 



DISRAELI. 209 

Chamberlain's Office for seventy blank cards for 
Her Majesty's Ball : and to fill them up in his 
own handwriting. 

DISRAELI WAS FOND of alliteration, which has 
more power than is generally supposed. When he 
wrote to Lord Grey de Wilton, at a Bath Election, 
he said that the Whigs had "Meddled and 
Muddled". The phrase ran through England. I 
always held that the term " Kilmainham Treaty" 
was a mistake: "Kilmainham Compact" would 
have been far better. 

A CHARACTERISTIC of Lord Palmerston, 
showing a decided want of breeding, was his 
habitually keeping his hosts and their other guests 
waiting for dinner : It was not the case of a few 
minutes : he would cause an hour's delay ; an act 
of extreme rudeness. I well remember dining 
at the corner of Park Lane, not in the middle 
of the season, when there might be the excuse 
of occupation, but on the 15* of September, pro- 
bably the "emptiest" day in the year in London. 
It was past nine o'clock before Lord and Lady 

Palmerston arrived : it was their constant practice. 

o 



2io DISRAELI. 

AS REGARDS THE House of Commons, I 
may say a word to those who have an ambition 
to excel there. I should advise an aspirant, if he 
can, to act upon the following suggestions; Never, 
under any circumstances, to speak on a subject 
with which he is not thoroughly acquainted. To 
be content to see the points, which he has care- 
fully prepared, taken, one after another, by pre- 
vious speakers; and should they all be exhausted, 
to sit still. Not tq attempt to learn a speech by 
heart, but, on a great occasion, when he wishes to 
earn distinction, to write out what he intends to 
say, each day for five consecutive days; in each 
case destroying, and not copying, nor learning by 
heart, the previous draught. On rising, to pause, 
if he can, for ten seconds : he will find this a very 
long time : to begin in rather a low voice ; and 
very slowly; not an easy task. Not to look at any 
one : should he do so, an imaginary change of 
countenance may check the current of his ideas 
completely. He will fancy ridicule and contempt 
in the face of one who is, very possibly, not listen- 
ing to him : for in the House of Commons you 
may hear for an hour without listening. To 
give the House the impression that his rising is 



DISRAELI. 211 

nothing extraordinary: that it is 'a matter of course. 
Not to attempt to address the House when it is 
impatient; just before a Division, etc. Not to be 
bullied by the "Whips" into shortening his speech 
because they want to get into Committee : and, 
if he can persuade himself to do it, to sit down 
immediately on making a good point. To have 
fifty good words prepared, with which he can finish 
up at any time. Not, if it can be avoided, to 
speak soon after a meal; to eat plain food, and 
not too 'much, at two or three o'clock P.M., if 
he intends to address the House that evening. 
Never to be tempted, under any circumstances, to 
stimulate his intellect, nor to nerve himself, by wine 
nor spirits. To acquire fluency, it is good practice 
to take up a French book, or newspaper, and read 
it out in English. If it be natural to you to 
gesticulate, it is wise to do so : I do not think 
that the gestures which are taught do a man any 
good. A pointed quotation enhances a speech : 
search Dryden's " Absalom and Achitophel " : 
" Hudibras " : Canning's " New Morality " : and 
Young's "Night Thoughts". Finally, make the 
Rules of the House your constant study. 



212 DISRAELI. 

IN REPLYING ON the motion of D r Kenealy in 
relation to the claimant to the Tichborne Baronetcy, 
nothing could show better Taste or Tact than 
Disraeli's Speech. 

The dedication of D r Kenealy's Dramatic Poem, 
"A NEW PANTOMIME", in which there is much 
Thought, is remarkable. 

"To THE RIGHT HON. B. DISRAELI, M.P." 

"To you the first, and kindest, of Critics of this 
Poem in a fragmentary form, I now dedicate it in 
its complete development. I beg you will accept 
it as a token, however slight, of the deep, sincere, 
and affectionate admiration in which I hold you. 
Although I dare not hope that it is in all things 
worthy of the applause of the finest intellect in 
Europe, and, as Spencer Walpole recently said, 
'of the most splendid Genius that ever the House 
of Commons produced ' ; nevertheless it is no 
slight gratification to me to* be permitted to in- 
scribe this work to the most illustrious living Orator, 
and Statesman : and to one who as a Writer ranks 
with the highest on the roll of Fame. For these 
rare qualities the world admires you : but, for my 
own part, I value more that noble Candour and 



DISRAELI. 213 

majestic Integrity of Soul which win from all who 
approach you Love and Attachment As I cast 
my eyes on Gainsborough's superb portrait of Pitt, 
which now hangs before me, I retrace in my mind 
the wonderful similarity in your mental elements : 
but Pitt, though superlatively great, could not have 
written ' Vivian Grey ' or ' Sybil.' That yo'u are 
now misunderstood by many is but the fate of all 
who achieve : but History will do justice to one of 
the truest, brightest, and most disinterested public 
characters that ever illuminated our Country's Annals. 

E. V. K." 
This was written in 1863. 

THE SPEAKER is obliged, whenever his atten- 
tion is called to the fact, or alleged fact, that forty 
Members are not present, to count the House, 
after waiting for two minutes. 

On one occasion, the Member for the North 
Riding of Yorkshire, W. Morritt of Rokeby, was 
addressing the House on the subject of the Agri- 
cultural Interest. The House was obviously very 
thin : he said, " I am very sorry that I have not a 
larger audience. I am sorry that, when I go back 
to the North Riding, I shall have to tell the 



214 DISRAELI. 

farmers of Yorkshire that when I addressed the 
House of Commons on a subject interesting to 
them, there were only, let me see ! how many 
Members present " : he then began to count. The 
Speaker rising immediately, said, " Order ! Order ! 
My attention has been called to the number of 
Members present in the House." After two minutes 
he proceeded to count. The House adjourned : and 
Morritt, being a man of most exceptional sharp- 
ness, found that he had done what I believe had 
not been done before in the history of the House 
of Commons, "counted himself out." 

THREE ADMIRABLE descriptions of a contested 
Election are given by Warren, Lytton, and Dickens. 
Dickens gives the most amusing : Lytton the most 
graphic: Warren the most technically correct. 

THE SPELLING of "Sybil" "has been com- 
mented on as unusual; "Teste David cum 
Sibylla". It will be found to be spelt "Sybil" by 
Disraeli the elder. 

AT THE PRIVATE SCHOOL at Enfield, at 
which Disraeli got his early education, the wife 
of his schoolmaster spoke of him as " Is he 



DISRAELI. 21 5 

really". He was perpetually making political 
parties among the boys. 

I FEEL great surprise at the manner in which 
Disraeli left the House of Commons. Fond as 
he was of the dramatic, he might have produced 
a startling effect had he uttered some of those 
terse, and vigorous sentences of which he was 
capable, at such a crisis in his life. He gave no 
intimation whatever of what he was about to do; 
indeed, it was the only evening on which I re- 
member seeing him really asleep in the House. 
The announcement was made the next morning in 
" The Times " ; and took every one by surprise. 
He may not have been well on that evening : 
otherwise it is extraordinary that he did not de- 
claim his own Epitaph : and utter words which 
would have lived so long as the English language. 

THE GREAT ANTIPATHY which existed be- 
tween Lowe and Disraeli, I have never heard 
accounted for. Disraeli accused Lowe of "hating 
everything, and everybody " : but he did not give 
the reasons why he particularly hated Disraeli. 
The following lines suggested themselves to an M.P. 



216 DISRAELI. 

BOB TO BEN : (across the House). 
" By all means, if you wish it, we'll take and we'll 

give: 

To your candid remark I've a candid reply : 
My hair will be white, so long as I live; 
While yours will be black, so long as you dye ". 

W. F. 

NAPOLEON I. said, "The Rhine rises in Verona". 
We may say that the Euphrates rises in Cyprus : 
it is well for us to possess the source. 

THE SPECIAL OBJECT, in my early days, of 
Disraeli's derision was Joseph Hume ; the " unco 
guid " Member for Montrose : Either the recol- 
lections of Wycombe, or the affected solemnity 
of Hume, roused Disraeli's spleen : he was never 
tired of gibing at him, whom he invariably 
called his "Hon. Friend". Cobden having read 
a very abusive letter, we called out " Name ! 
name ! " Cobden would not give the name of 
the writer: but handed the letter to Hume, who 
was sitting immediately below him. Hume at 
once nodded his head in a portentous manner 
of approval ; and Cobden continued, " My Hon. 



DISRAELI. 217 

Friend below me will guarantee the respectability 
of the writer". Disraeli, who followed, said, "My 
Hon. Friend, the Member for Montrose, with 
that frankness which characterises him, guarantees 
the respectability of a writer, whom two minutes 
before he had never heard of". At another time, 
Disraeli said of Hume, " My Hon. Friend, the Mem- 
ber for Montrose, has spoken this evening with 
that perspicuity of expression, and that accuracy 
of detail, which he always shows : particularly on 
subjects as to which he is profoundly ignorant". 

The great moment, however, of Hume's life, 
from a House of Commons point of view, was 
when, replying to the frequent taunts of Members 
opposite, and particularly to one member who con- 
stantly tormented him, he said, in broad Scotch, 
" You are perpetually worrying me about my impu- 
tations, and allegations ; I have long known you : it 
is time that I should tell you, to your face, that 
you are yourself the greatest allegator in the House ". 

AT A DINNER PARTY Disraeli, then Premier, 
was seated next to a lady of very high rank. 
The lady, a true patriot, was urging vehemently 
that the Government should adopt a strong 



2i8 DISRAELI. 

line of conduct as regards the Eastern question. 
She turned to Disraeli and said, " I cannot imagine 
what you are waiting for ! " He calmly replied, 
" At this moment, Madam, for the potatoes ". 

ON HIS DEATH-BED Sir Robert Peel sent for 
Sir James Graham : the dying Minister stretched 
out his hand ; and, on Sir James taking it, said, 
"Graham, I am glad that the last speech I have 
made was for Peace". 

BERNAL OSBORNE, who belonged to the same 
ancient race as Disraeli, was impudent enough 
to say to him, " I saw you walking in the 
Park with M re Disraeli : tell me, what feeling can 
you have towards that old lady?" Disraeli looked 
at him calmly; and replied, "A feeling to your 
nature perfectly unknown : Gratitude ! " An answer 
worthy of Athens in the days of Pericles. 

ON THE DAY on which the news came of the 
fall of the French Empire, consequent upon Sedan, 
I met Disraeli's colleague, M r Caledon Dupre, 
in Piccadilly. He said to me, "Did you meet 
Disraly ? " so he always pronounced his name. 
" No ". " He must have turned up Park Lane. 



DISRAELI. 219 

What do you think he said about the news?" 
"I have no idea". He said, "Here's a smash! 
Overend and Gurney was nothing to it!" 

I CONFESS to great surprise that, during the 
nine years since his death, none of those who 
lived in daily intimacy with Disraeli have produced 
any of the brilliant things which he must have 
said during the many years of their acquaintance. 
Nothing of the kind has appeared : and nothing 
has been, nor is, projected. The confidential com- 
munications between the Sovereign and the Prime 
Minister, and between the Prime Minister and his 
colleagues, are of course sacred; not only for one 
or two generations, but for ever. 

DISRAELI'S WILL is a model of thoughtful 
care as regards the prevention of any publication 
that might be a breach of confidence. This con- 
tingency is elaborately prevented. 

He makes no suggestion in his will of a bio- 
grapher. No hint whatever is given as to Lord 
Rowton : he has the sole custody of Disraeli's 
papers : nothing more. No one has seen these : and 
he intends nothinsr. 



220 DISRAELI. 

I DO NOT BELIEVE for a moment that Disraeli 
would, for his own Ambition, have ever contem- 
plated the possibility of bringing on a War; but I 
think that, had there been a European War, he 
would have felt that in conducting it he was in 
his true element. At one time it seemed to be 
near : I have given the opinion of Delane, a 
very shrewd judge of things and men, and tho- 
roughly opposed to Disraeli in politics, as regards 
the latter's capabilities in this respect. Disraeli 
would have been "the Castlereagh of our day". 
Had a war broken out, I have little doubt that 
he would have made the greatness of Britain re- 
spected. 

EXCEPT FOR THE purpose of the moment, no 
one more heartily despised popularity than Dis- 
raeli. He calls it " the Echo of Folly : and the 
Shadow of Renown". 

I WAS PRESENT at the dinner given to Disraeli 
at the Duke of Wellington's riding-school, after his 
return from Berlin : not that I considered that there 
was much to throw up our hats about : but the 



DISRAELI. 221 

appearance of a difference in the Tory Party was 
not desirable. Disraeli was not brilliant; although 
his speech, when read, produced a great effect. It 
would have been more dignified, and as a matter 
of rhetoric better, if he had not pronounced the 
well-known passage on M r Gladstone. Nothing in 
his career was nobler than his stoical indifference to 
Sarcasm, Slander, and every form of Misrepresenta- 
tion, and Calumny. 

ONE OF THE incidents of Disraeli's early career 
that brought him considerable, and not undesired, 
notoriety is a case known among lawyers as 
"Austin's Case". The Queen proceeded against 
Disraeli, according to the due forms of law, for 
having libelled an eminent member of the legal 
profession. The circumstances were briefly these. 
M r Wyndham Lewis and Disraeli, were returned 
at the General Election of 1837, for Maidstone. 
In 1838, M r Wyndham Lewis died : his vacancy 
was filled up by the election of M r Fector Laurie : 
M r Laurie was petitioned against; and Austin, 
Q.C., was the leading counsel against the sitting 
Member. In the course of his remarks he was 
reported to have said that irregular influence had 



222 DISRAELI. 

been brought to bear upon the electors at the 
Election of the previous year ; that is, when 
M r Wyndham Lewis and Disraeli were returned. 
Disraeli, a Member of the House, was not present 
in the Committee-Room : but he read in a news- 
paper that in the course of his speech Austin had 
reflected personally upon him : implying, if not 
saying, that at his Election Disraeli had not only 
promised money to the voters, but after his 
promise he had paid them nothing : a statement 
of the most damaging character. Disraeli was 
known at that time to be poor; and nothing could 
be more injurious to a man beginning a political 
career than even an innuendo against the certainty 
of his promises being kept : to say nothing of the 
implication of having acted corruptly. Disraeli 
went immediately to Lord Ernest Bruce, afterwards 
Marquess of Ailesbury, a Member of the Com- 
mittee which tried the Petition. Lord Ernest 
Bruce was, during his whole life, more or less 
deaf: latterly almost absolutely deaf: he also was 
not altogether unimbued with the spirit of mischief. 
I have no doubt whatever, that when Disraeli 
asked him the question as to what had passed, 
partly from not hearing, and partly perhaps from 



DISRAELI. 223 

the motive named, he told him that Austin, Q.C., 
had distinctly reflected upon his personal conduct. 
Upon this Disraeli wrote the following letter : 
which certainly confirms his statement, made many 
years afterwards, that he "admired invective." 



MAIDSTONE ELECTION COMMITTEE. 
" To the Editor of the Morning Post. 

" SIR : In opening the case of the petitioners 
against the return of M r Fector Laurie for Maidstone 
on Friday last, M r Austin stated that M r D'Israeli 
at the general election had entered into engage- 
ments with the electors of Maidstone : and made 
pecuniary promises to them which he had left 
unfulfilled. 

"I should instantly have noticed this assertion 
of the learned gentleman; had not a friend, to 
whose opinion I was bound to defer, assured me 
that M r Austin, by the custom of his profession, 
was authorised to make any statement from his 
brief which he was prepared to substantiate, or to 
attempt to substantiate. 

"The inquiry into the last Maidstone Election 
has now terminated: and I take the earliest oppor- 



224 DISRAELI. 

tunity of declaring, and in a manner the most 
unqualified and unequivocal, that the statement 
of the learned gentleman is utterly false. There is 
not the slightest shadow of a foundation for it. I 
myself never, either directly, or indirectly, entered 
into any pecuniary engagements with, or made 
any pecuniary promises to the electors of Maid- 
stone: and therefore I cannot have broken any, 
or left any unfulfilled. The whole expenses of 
the contest in question were defrayed by my 
lamented ' colleague ; and I discharged to him my 
moiety of those expenses; as is well known to 
those who are entitled to any knowledge on the 
subject. 

"I am informed, Sir, that it is quite useless, 
and even unreasonable, in me, to expect from 
M r Austin any satisfaction for those impertinent 
calumnies; because M r Austin is a member of an 
honourable profession, the first principle of whose 
practice appears to be that they may say any- 
thing provided they be paid for it. The privilege 
of circulating falsehoods with impunity is delicately 
described as ' doing your duty towards your client ' : 
which appears to be a very different process to 
doing your duty towards your neighbour. 



DISRAELI. 22$ 

"This may be the usage of M r Austin's profes- 
sion : and it may be the custom of Society to 
submit to its practice : but, for my part, it appears 
to me to be nothing better than a disgusting and 
intolerable tyranny; and I, for one, shall not bow 
to it in silence. 

"I therefore repeat that the statement of M r 
Austin was false : and, inasmuch as he never at- 
tempted to substantiate it, I conclude that it was, 
on his side, but the blustering artifice of a rhetorical 
hireling; availing himself of the vile license of a 
loose-tongued lawyer, not only to make a statement 
which was false; but to make it with a conscious- 
ness of its falsehood. I am, Sir, your obedient 
and faithful servant, 

"B. D'lSRAELI. 

" CARLTON CLUB, June %th ". 

It was for this letter that he was brought into 
Court. The circumstances were peculiar. Pro- 
fessedly Counsel is not permitted to advance 
any statement unless he has evidence to support 
it: in this case had Austin, Q.C., made the state- 
ment, it would hardly have been considered 

fair to reflect upon a person who was not repre- 

p 



226 DISRAELI. 

sented : nor to go back to the Election of the 
previous year; unless it were absolutely necessary 
to prove his present case. However, whether Austin 
did use the expressions imputed to him, or not, he 
had no opportunity of bringing forward evidence; 
for this reason, M r Laurie, the Member petitioned 
against, resigned his seat; and the case at once 
collapsed. However, Austin, Q.C., declared that he 
had never used the expressions : and that he had 
never reflected in the slightest degree upon M r 
Disraeli. There was, accordingly, nothing to be 
done but what Disraeli did. He appeared in 
Court, to receive judgment : and made the amende 
for having erroneously imputed to Austin, Q.C., 
very base conduct. I had from one who subse- 
quently became eminent, the late Sir Thomas 
Henry, for many years chief Stipendiary Magis- 
trate for the Metropolis, a description of the 
scene which occurred. Disraeli came into Court 
elaborately dressed : his appearance thoroughly 
studied. He rose in due time ; and spoke with 
calmness, clearness, and self-possession. He pro- 
duced a most favourable impression upon all 
those who were present Admitting his own 
error, he took good care that his opponents 



DISRAELI. 227 

should not get off with impunity. For the 
whole of his speech I have not space : I think 
that what I print below will repay the reader's 
perusal Disraeli pointed out that the descrip- 
tion which he expressed of the assumed duty 
of an Advocate in his letter to the " Morning Post," 
dated June the 5 th , by no means represented 
the duty of an Advocate according to his own 
views : that the opinion, which he had given of 
the conduct of the Bar in general, was not his 
own, but was the conduct sternly, and strenuously, 
laid down by the highest Authority in the King- 
dom. The man, whose opinion he was about 
to quote, had filled the highest office which a 
Barrister can hope to obtain : he had sat on the 
Woolsack : his opinions were constantly quoted in 
the Courts ; how should he, Disraeli, be able to 
know that they were not the opinions of every 
Member of the Bar ? He then proceeded to 
quote, word for word, the opinion of the eminent 
person to whom he had alluded. 

"An Advocate, by the sacred duty which he 
owes his client, knows in the discharge of that 
office but one person in the world; that client, 
and none other. To save that client by all expe- 



228 DISRAELI. 

dient means, to protect that client at all hazards 
and cost to all others, and, among others, to 
himself, is the highest, and most unquestioned of 
his duties : and he must not regard the alarm, 
the suffering, the torment, the destruction, which he 
may bring upon any other. Nay,- separating even 
the duties of a Patriot from those of an Advo- 
cate, and casting them, if needs be, to the winds, 
he must go on, reckless of the consequences, if 
his fate should unhappily be to involve his country 
in confusion, for his client's protection". 

" Here, my Lords, is a sketch," continued Disraeli, 
"and by a great master. Here, my Lords, is the 
rationale of the duties of an Advocate drawn up 
by a Lord Chancellor. In this, my Lords, is the 
idea of those duties expressed before the highest 
tribunal of the country. They were expressed by 
the Attorney-General of a Queen of England. 
According to this high Authority, it is the duty of 
a Counsel for his triumph even to commit treason. 

"If then, my Lords, I have erred in my esti- 
mate of the extent of these duties, it cannot be 
said that I have erred without authority. Nor can 
this be considered as the expression of a mere 
rhetorical ebullition. My Lords, I read this passage 



DISRAELI. 229 

from an edition of the Speech which is published 
by the noble orator : who, satisfied with the fame 
that he has so long enjoyed, now deems it worthy 
of the immortality of his own revision : and has 
just published this description unaltered after twenty 
years' reflection : and with its most important parts 
printed in capital letters". 

It may be well to inform such of my readers as are 
not lawyers that the opinions quoted word for word 
by Disraeli are those of Lord Brougham ; whose ideas 
of Honour were about equal to those of a gorilla. 

One question, which Mankind has never deter- 
mined, I can now settle. On the evidence of Sir 
Thomas Henry, Disraeli did wear rings outside 
his gloves; and so appeared on this occasion. 

DISRAELI was not much given to the pleasures 
of the table. His appearance showed this. He 
affected the "Gourmet." I have a theory that 
persons who live to old age have usually small 
stomachs; I mean internally. They suffer in youth, 
from eating more than the stomach can hold : I 
believe that they are repaid, if it be repayment, 
by living to an exceptional age. Lord Lucan at 89, 
was a case in point ; he was to the last fresh as a boy. 



230 DISRAELI. 

Disraeli depicts "Sidonia" cutting the crust from 
a home-baked loaf, and drinking champagne. I 
regret not having asked him whether this was his 
ideal of food : there are few better combinations. 
Sidonia first appears as a character in " Alarcos ". 

LORD DERBY dressed himself in a conspicu- 
ously old-fashioned manner. He was the last 
whom I recollect in a green frock-coat. He 
usually wore a canary-coloured cashmere waist- 
coat; double eye-glass pendant from a hair chain; 
and, swathed round his neck, a mass of material, 
not silk, nor satin, falling down, which completely 
hid his shirt-front ; and certainly deserved Moore's 
appellation of a "feather-bed-neckcloth". His shirt 
collars stood somewhat high on his cheeks, and he 
occasionally dipped his chin deeply between them. 
His trousers, usually of a light-coloured cloth, had 
a peculiar slit on the outer side, near the instep, 
which has completely gone out of use. His 
remark relating to a certain Clerk of the Council, 
the notorious Charles Greville, is worth repeating. 
It was the duty of this individual to attend the 
meetings of Her Majesty's Privy Council alter- 
nately with another. It being pointed out to Lord 



DISRAELI. 231 

Derby that, since he had been Premier, M r 
Greville had not once attended, he replied, " Is 
that the case ? I had not observed it : when I 
order coals to be put on the fire, I do not notice 
whether it be John, or Thomas, who does it." 

WHEN DISRAELI WAS first returned for 
Maidstone as colleague of M r Wyndham Lewis : 
whose widow, as we know, he married, Count 
d'Orsay offered him this sage advice : in his 
peculiar English, he said to Disraeli, alluding to 
M re Wyndham Lewis, " You will not make love ! 
You will not intrigue ! You have your seat : do 
not risk anything! If a widow, then marry!" I 
should say that, although he may possibly have 
obtained his seat partly by the goodwill of the lady, 
he would not have been such a fool as, for the 
sake of her charms, to jeopardise what he valued 
a hundred times more. The wisdom of the 
maxim, " Evitez le crampon ", was, I doubt not, 
through his life fully appreciated. 

NO MAN of that vast and perennial community, 
the Jewish race, ever obtained the admiration, and 
the affection of that shrewd body more than Disraeli. 



232 DISRAELI. 

I can give an instance of this. Prince Frederic 
of Schleswig- Holstein, who resided for some years 
in this Country, and supported himself mainly by 
literature, being about to make a tour on the 
Continent, and wishing to obtain information on 
topics with which the race of Israel would pro- 
bably be familiar, asked Disraeli to give him a few 
letters of introduction. Disraeli accordingly wrote, 
"Be of all the use you .can to Prince Frederic 
of Schleswig-Holstein ". The Prince said, on his 
return, that in no one case had he shown them 
to a Jew, without receiving the greatest possible 
cordiality and assistance. 
X 

A SINGULAR CHARACTER during Disraeli's 
epoch was Bethell, afterwards Lord Westbury. 
A Peer said to him, " I am surprised that, in 
your position, you permit yourself to indulge in 
expressions that indicate an uncontrouled temper." 
" All simulated, my Lord ; all simulated ! " said 
the Lord Chancellor. 

ON A CABINET Colleague remarking that Sir 
J. P. was getting out of his depth in the matter 
which he was discussing in the House, Disraeli 



DISRAELI. 233 

said, " Out of his depth ! He's three miles from 
the shore ! " 

DURING DISRAELI'S CANVASS for Shrews- 
bury with M r George Tomline in 1841 they arrived 
at the entrance of a passage, or cul de sac, which 
was called either the "Nag's Head" or the 
" White Horse " passage : they were told, by 
M r Wyberg How, that it was not of the slightest 
use to ask for a vote in that passage : every voter 
being already pledged to their opponents, Temple 
and Barry. Disraeli, however, insisted on going 
into each house alone : and he obtained a promise 
of support from every voter save one. On return- 
ing to the main street he asked M r How the name 
of the passage, or court : and, on being told it, 
he mirthfully exclaimed, "Henceforth let it be 
called Cato Street : for I have found them all 
traitors but one". His allusion was to the Thistle- 
wood Conspiracy of 1820. 

During the same canvass, being followed by a 
crowd of operatives from a local thread-factory, 
who hooted to order, to prevent his being heard, 
he addressed the multitude from a window in the 
square. He was struck by a missile, thrown by a 



234 DISRAELI. 

factory hand. In no way disconcerted, he leaned 
forward on the balcony; and said quietly, but very 
loudly, " Poor white slaves ! factory niggers ! you 
know not what you do ! " 

DISRAELI possessed in a very great degree a 
marked characteristic of his race ; patient tenacity : 
and the loftiest form of Courage : Fortitude. To 
say that Shakspere erred in any matter relating 
to human nature is almost blasphemy ; but I have 
always held the belief that he did so in the 
final scene between Shylock and his enemies. Not 
only would it have ennobled the situation, but it 
would have been more true to nature, had he 
made the Jew absolutely refuse to renounce his 
Faith. Every just man who sees the play must 
sympathise more or less with the Jew, who had 
been most foully used : and the case against whom 
is not pleaded by a lawyer. In the law of 
all countries, or at any rate in the equity of all 
nations, if the decisive judgment gives a penalty, 
the means of obtaining payment is inferred. I 
suspect that Shakspere leaned to the violent pre- 
judice of his age against an intellectual, tenacious, 
and, provided you let them alone, harmless race. 



DISRAELI. 235 

AN INTERESTING and important incident in 
Disraeli's career was that of the legacy left to him 
by a lady, who until late in his life had no personal 
acquaintance with him. I have reason to believe 
that the following was what really occurred. Dis- 
raeli was paying a visit at Lord Houghton's place 
in Yorkshire. He received a letter at breakfast, 
expressing a wish to make his acquaintance on 
the part of a lady. He was amused at this : and 
mentioned the fact. A relation of Lord Hough- 
ton's knew the lady : and strongly recommended 
Disraeli to comply with her request. 

I am not sure whether he did so immediately; 
or whether he did not receive a second letter re- 
questing him to pay a visit to the West of England 
where the lady lived. He took the opportunity of 
a visit to Sir Lawrence Palk, near Torquay. There 
he became acquainted with the lady : he found her 
somewhat advanced in years, but of exceptional 
intelligence; and having an enthusiastic admiration 
for himself. He subsequently presented M ra Dis- 
raeli to M re Brydges Willyams : an intimacy of some 
years followed. The lady asked Disraeli to find 
her a respectable, and confidential Solicitor, who 
should make her will. He prudently did not 



236 DISRAELI. 

recommend his own, M r Rose ; but requested the 
latter to name some thoroughly trustworthy mem- 
ber of his profession, with whom he had no 
previous personal acquaintance, and who, of 
course, did not know Disraeli. This was done. 
M rs Brydges Willyams died : and bequeathed 
to Disraeli a considerable fortune. The person 
who told me these particulars added that Disraeli 
had said, on his suggesting that the ultimate value 
was about forty thousand pounds, " Nearer fifty." 

I HAVE ALLUDED to Lord Ernest Bruce, as 
figuring on the Maidstone Petition Committee in 
1839 ; and to the difficulty which his deafness ob- 
tained for Disraeli. Lord Ernest Bruce, whom I 
knew intimately, became, on the death of his elder 
brother, Marquess of Ailesbury. 

He was a most amusing raconteur, full of stories 
of the past; and to anyone who would take the 
trouble to speak slowly, and distinctly to him, his 
deafness interfered in no way with his powers of 
narration. Soon after his brother's death, he had 
to perform a ceremony of which some readers may 
not know. The heir-at-law of a Knight of the 
Garter is bound to return the Collar of the Order 



DISRAELI. 237 

personally to the Sovereign, within a certain time 
after his relation's decease. Lord Ailesbury told me 
that, sitting in the House of Lords, he found him- 
self next to Lord Beaconsfield. Lord Ailesbury 
said, "I suppose I shall meet you at Windsor to- 
morrow: I have to go there with my brother's 
Garter ". Disraeli, in a deep tone, and with more 
than Mephistophelian seductiveness, said, " Is it not 
almost a pity?" At the time of the Peelite split, 
Lord Ernest, who was Member for Marlborough, 
left the Tory party, and followed Sir Robert Peel. 
Since then he had always voted with the Whigs. 
He twice related this story to me : and each time 
said, "It would not quite do, would it?" meaning, 
of course, his return to the Tories. I replied, " You 
wish me to give you an honest answer: It would 
not do at all ! " He died ribbonless. 

I remember a most amusing ride from a break- 
fast party at Campden Hill, Kensington, in which 
I was between Monckton Milnes, afterwards Lord 
Houghton, and Lord Ernest Bruce. I quoted the 
well-known words of Malvolio : " Some are born 
great : some achieve greatness : and some have 
greatness thrust upon them " : we could not de- 
termine before reaching Hyde Park Corner as to 



238 DISRAELI. 

which of the three each phrase applied. Nothing 
amused Lord Ailesbury more than what I had told 
him many years ago, that I was quite certain that 
Lord Methuselah, as depicted by Thackeray in " M ra 
Perkins's Ball," was his father. This suggestion 
seemed to exercise a complete charm over his 
mind : he immediately bought a copy of that 
immortal work; which, published at four shillings, 
now fetches ten or fifteen guineas. I was per- 
fectly in earnest. I well remember, as a boy, the 
old Lord at Brighton. He was precisely Lord 
Methuselah. His curly George IV. wig, his nose, 
his wrinkles, his dress, his evening suit, everything 
resembled the portrait : I have little doubt that 
Thackeray sketched him. His widow flourishes : a 
shrewd woman; kind-hearted; the most- welcomed 
guest in the stately homes of England : known and 
loved as " Lady A ". 

I MUST NOW introduce to the reader a lady, 
who played no unconspicuous part in the West of 
England, during Disraeli's epoch. Disraeli admired 
her. He said to her, " Lady Rolle, if I had half 
your energy, I should be the first man in Eng- 
land". Lady Rolle descended from a very ancient 



DISRAELI. 239 

family; the daughter of a Peer whose family goes 
far back into English history, and in the male line, 
the Trefusis : I do not know what is their plural 
She married, as a young woman, Lord Rolle, 
the immortal hero of the Rolliad; whose place 
she inherited : and was looked upon in Devon- 
shire as all-powerful ; and unattackable : with a very 
large fortune, residing at Bicton, she was knelt 
to by her neighbours. Her political feelings were 
strong ; her power was great. On his appointment as 
Secretary of State in May 1835, Lord John Russell, 
M.P. for South Devon, had to be re-elected : he met 
Lady Rolle at a Ball in London. With that peculiar 
drawl which his Lordship used, he said to her, "Lady 
Rolle, are you leaving London soon ? " "I am ". 
"Then we shall meet in the West" "I am going 
to Devonshire to-morrow : and I am going to put 
you out," and she did : I had this from herself. 

The Castle of this " Semiramis of the West " was 
guarded by an avenue of tasteless " Araucarias ". 
I was graciously received. My first quest was, as 
it usually is on arriving at a house, the Library. 
I found the room completely lined with bookcases ; 
no book larger than a small octavo ; the most 
delicious size to handle : but every cabinet was 



240 DISRAELI. 

closed with gilded wire. A cynical friend, whom 
I found sitting there, said to me, "I suppose you 
think you will have the reading of those books?" 
"I suppose I shall." "Do not dream of it! Those 
books are left in trust; Lady Rolle has never per- 
mitted any individual to take down a volume ". 
The books were collected by Lord Rolle with 
the greatest care : and I have no doubt are a most 
interesting assortment One piece of tyranny I 
thought it my duty to resent. The first evening at 
dinner I found myself placed at an end of the table, 
close to the open doors of a newly-built conser- 
vatory. Lady Rolle would not permit any one to 
hint that this conservatory had reduced the tem- 
perature of the dining-room to something intolerable. 
I mildly suggested that the doors might be shut. 
She affected not to hear me. I considered that 
my duty, as representing in Parliament the Capital 
of North Devon, called upon me to do what I did. 
That, to change the metaphor, the dragon must be 
dealt with in her cave. Accordingly I sent for my 
great-coat : put it on : and sat through dinner in 
it; and repeated the process the next night On 
the third night the doors were closed. This tale 
is still recorded in the dark winter evenings through- 



DISRAELI. 241 

out that beautiful county. I will only add that 
Lady Rolle always remained a fast friend of mine : 
and neither then, nor at any other time, did she show 
the slightest rancour. She was a short and rosy- 
faced lady : she suffered severely from gout 

Lord Rolle being Colonel of two Regiments, the 
North and South Devon Yeomanry, George III. said 
to him, " If the French land, how shall I know 
where to find you, my Lord ? " " Wherever the 
French may be, Sire, your Majesty will find me". 

Disraeli when on a visit in North Devon said, 
" To be married is to be managed ". 

SIR JAMES GRAHAM and Sir John Pakington 
sitting together, an M.P. said to Disraeli, "What 
a judicial look those two noses have ! " " Yes ! 
Quarter Sessions, and Petty Sessions ! " 



A REMARKABLE book was published some 
years ago under the fanciful title of "Thalatta; 
or The *Great Commoner." It to some extent 
idealises Disraeli: it is evident that the author, 
whoever he was, and this has not been disclosed, 
took him in some respects as his model, 



242 DISRAELI. 

AN EXQUISITE definition of a successful 
speaker, whose name I omit, was made by 
Disraeli : The M.P., a man of exceptional capacity, 
was being discussed : Disraeli's opinion was asked 
as to whether he was a Statesman or not. He 
replied, " He is almost a Statesman : and almost 
a Gentleman". 

ONE OF THE MOST conspicuous characters 
in the London world was Lady Combermere, the 
third wife of the gallant and sagacious soldier who 
was Colonel-in-Chief of my Regiment ; and who 
commanded the Cavalry during the Peninsular War. 
Lord Combermere's third wife was Miss Gibbins ; 
an heiress. Both lived to a very great age. He 
to 95. She to 90. Lady Combermere, during her 
husband's life, and afterwards, was most hospitable. 
At the corner house, 48 Belgrave Square, she con- 
stantly entertained : she was an exceptionally clever 
woman, addicted to Art, in which she could hardly 
be said to shine. She had great talents for Society; 
and to the last, when unable to quit her chair, 
was fond of seeing her friends. A more appre- 
ciative mind I have not met with : her quickness 
to the end of her life was extraordinary. 



DISRAELI. 243 

The last time I visited her, I observed what a 
much more cheerful world this would be if we were 
on terms of intimacy and friendship with those whom 
we affect to despise, but who might well look down 
upon us if they knew us as we know them, " Dumb 
Animals". She instantly replied, "It might be 
troublesome ". Such a philosophical reply would 
have been good from anyone : but considering her 
state of health at the time, and her age, I was 
astonished. 

I told her that the first Lord Lytton had said 
that if he did not give a dinner party on Sunday he 
was so devoured by ennui on that day that he should 
hang himself. Lady Combermere instantly said, " I 
told you that story". "Yes," I replied, "you did: 
fifteen years ago: you had it from himself". 

ONE WHO SAT for many years in close proximity 
to Disraeli, on the front bench of the House of 
Commons, told me that the only sign that he had 
observed of Disraeli's feeling an attack acutely, was 
a slight pulling forward of the wrist of his shirt. 
Holding it delicately at the edge with the finger 
and thumb of the other hand, he gave it a slight 
twitch forward : beyond that he could see no sign. 



244 DISRAELI. 

THE HEAD of the House of Drummond, Bankers, 
defined bribery at an Election as the "3 per cents, 
finding their level " : i.e., to balance the Landed 
Interest 

I HAVE SAID that Disraeli was a "Gourmet," 
not a " Gourmand ". He says that, to enjoy a 
recherche dish, you should have " Silence, Solitude, 
and a subdued light." 

FEW MEN STOOD higher in Parliament than 
General the Hon. Henry Lygon, later Lord Beau- 
champ, for many years Member for Worcestershire ; 
father of the present Peer. Disraeli valued his 
judgment: and constantly consulted him as to the 
feeling of the House of Commons. I frequently 
sat by General Lygon : and heard him, when a 
Member made a good hit, and evoked cheering or 
laughter, exclaim, " Sit down, Sir ! sit down at once ! " 
I never knew him address the House : his powers 
as an orator must have been limited : it is a County 
legend that, returning thanks in the City of Wor- 
cester, at a large banquet given in his honour, 
he declared himself "grattered and flatified". 



DISRAELI. 245 

I HAVE BEEN told that a stately monument has 
been erected in Dublin, since I was there, to the 
memory of Thomas Moore : and that, for some 
occult reason, that monument is known through- 
out Ireland as " The Vale of Avoca ". M r Quentin 
Dick told me a very remarkable circumstance re- 
lating to Tom Moore : but I do not feel justified 
in occupying space in this volume with it. I must 
reserve it for another. 

CHIEF-JUSTICE WHITESIDE told me, as 
regards the want of equanimity on the part of 
those who address the House of Commons for the 
first time, that a Member who subsequently 
became famous in the Irish Parliament, asked a 
friend for criticism of his speech. The friend 
replied, " The only fault I can find is, that you 
called the Speaker 'Sir' much too often". The 
orator replied, " My dear friend ! did you know the 
state I was in while speaking, you would be glad 
that I did not call him 'Ma'am'". A friend told 
Whiteside that he always knew when to stop in his 
speeches : when he saw the Speaker's wig surrounded 
by blue flames, it was time to leave off. 

Disraeli writes, "The blare of trumpets, a thou- 



246 DISRAELI. 

sand lookers on, have induced men to lead a 'For- 
lorn Hope ' : Ambition, one's Constituents, or the 
Hell of previous failure, have induced men to do 
a far more despsrate thing : speak in tKe House 
of Commons". 

THERE CAN BE no greater mistake than to 
suppose that brilliant speeches, such as Disraeli's, 
were of no direct benefit to the House of Commons : 
this is sheer hallucination. If it were not for these 
occasional displays of fireworks, no intelligent and % 
independent man would go near the House. One 
object should be to make the House of Commons 
an attractive place for men possessed of intellect : 
none who have that misfortune would ever attend, 
if the House were to be "Vestrified". I heard 
him say with impressive earnestness, "Let us re- 
member ! we are a Senate : not a Vestry ! " 

SOME HAVE EXPRESSED surprise that Dis- 
raeli did not write his own Biography. What he 
called " the dry bones of his History " can, of course, 
be written : but the delicate shades ; the tone ; and 
all that makes a picture, are rare. It has seldom 
been the case that men who have reached great 



DISRAELI. 247 

eminence have left an Autobiography : I conclude 
that they followed the principle, on the whole 
perhaps a wise one, of giving their decision, that 
is performing their acts, but leaving no expressed 
reason for them. One would have thought that 
Napoleon L, in the dreary solitude of S' Helena, 
would have occupied his time in writing his his- 
tory: and, from the style of his public documents, 
this would have been in itself a Work of Art. 
Beyond a few scanty memoirs dictated to an Irish 
surgeon, and to Las Cases, interesting though 
these notes are, he left no personal record 
behind him. 

THE BEST METHOD of giving the reader an 
idea of the delights of London Society up to about 
ten or fifteen years ago, is by a list of the Palaces, 
which were then open : and which received " The 
World " ; that is from three hundred to five hundred 
persons ; week after week, and night after night, 
during the Spring and Summer months. I begin 
with "Number One, London," as it has been 
called, Apsley House ; Cambridge House ; Bath 
House ; Devonshire House ; Chandos House ; the 
large houses in Cavendish Square; in Portman 



248 DISRAEL 

Square ; Montagu House, in Bryanston Square ; 
Dudley House ; Holford House ; Chesterfield 
House; Holdernesse House; Lansdowne House; 
the houses in Berkeley Square, including Lady 
Jersey's; Grosvenor House; almost every house 
in Grosvenor Square, Charles Street, and Hill Street ; 
Spencer House ; the large houses in Arlington 
Street; in Carlton Terrace, and Gardens; Lord 
Carrington's House, Whitehall, now pulled down; 
that vast Palace, Northumberland House, Charing 
Cross, now swept away; Montague House, the 
Duke of Buccleuch's, in Whitehall; several houses 
in Grosvenor Place ; Lord Fitzwilliam's House in 
Halkin Street; Sefton House; most of the houses 
in Belgrave Square and S* James's Square, and, 
grander than all, Stafford House, and Bridgewater 
House. 

I mention these as the principal houses in which 
it is fit to give Balls ; where there is ample room 
and breathing-space. Let the reader compare this 
state of things with what exists now : and if he or 
she wishes further to satisfy his or her curiosity, 
turn to the files of the " Morning Post " of the 
period, in which on the Monday of every week the 
abundance of brilliant entertainments was announced. 



DISRAELI. 249 

" Breakfasts ", that is, afternoon, out-of-door, 
parties, were frequent in July : Lady Londonderry at 
Rosebank, Fulham ; M rs Lawrence at Ealing ; the 
mother of the Rothschilds at Gunnersbury; Lord 
Mansfield at Caen Wood, Hampstead, a dream of 
Beauty; and I may say last, but not least, my 
mother, Lady Howard's, at Craven Cottage, Ful- 
ham; a most cheerful, sunny abode, lived in, before 
my stepfather purchased it, by Lord Lytton : it was 
here that he wrote "Ernest Maltravers", and its 
sequel " Alice " ; he describes the Cottage in the 
former beautiful story. The place was formed by the 
Margravine of Anspach, when married to Lord 
Craven. Chiswick saw large parties in the days of 
the bachelor Duke of Devonshire : that and Holland 
House are ideal places for such a purpose ; but both 
are triste in our climate : they should be in Italy. 

I REMEMBER a Ball, which lasted till some time 
after daybreak, given by Lady Kinnoull, at Hampden 
House, in Green Street, Park Lane : and I recall the 
riddance for ever from my mind of the conven- 
tional, and utterly false, idea that the early morn- 
ing light is unbecoming. The rubbish that has 
been written about the tell-tale effect of the Sun 



250 DISRAELI. 

breaking into the ballroom, by those who never 
saw it, is utter nonsense. I never saw anything more 
beautiful than the light of the numberless candles 
blended with the sunlight, upon the women at the 
end of that ball. So far from it detracting, as fools 
have written, from their complexions, it added to 
their beauty. I noticed the same effect lately, at 
dawn, after a Ball at Bridgewater House. 

OF ALL the Parliamentary struggles which I have 
witnessed, none approached that of 1858. The cir- 
cumstances which led to this brilliant debate were, 
briefly, these : Lord Derby was in office : at that 
time the Governor-General of India was subordinate 
to the authority of the Hon. East India Company. 
He was appointed by them : and was their servant : 
but the Government of this vast and important 
Dependency was checked by "The Board of Con- 
troul," representing the Imperial Government. After 
the confiscation of the Kingdom of Oude, and the 
nameless horrors which history records of that 
dreadful period, Lord Canning, Governor-General 
of India, an amiable and clever Statesman, had 
issued a Proclamation, addressed to the inhabitants, 
stating that, as a result of what was called their 



DISRAELI. 251 

Rebellion, the whole of the land in the late King- 
dom of Oude was confiscated : and would in future 
be held by British authority. Lord Ellenborough, 
who had filled the office of Governor-General, 
and, showing considerable administrative, and 
military talents, although a civilian, had made 
himself conspicuous by several brilliant achieve- 
ments, now occupied the place of President of the 
Board of Controul. On receiving a draft of the 
proposed despatch from Lord Canning, he wrote 
a reply which seemed a most statesmanlike, able, 
and temperate paper. Lord Ellenborough pointed 
out that, although we had subdued the mutiny, in 
which murder, and every crime had been committed 
by the soldiers who were receiving our pay, and 
who had eaten our salt, yet that Humanity, and 
Policy, both forbad a vindictive retribution. He 
pointed out that, whereas we had captured a King- 
dom, which only recently had been an independent 
state, our conduct should be actuated by lenity 
towards the general inhabitants. Reading the de- 
spatch now, the terms which I presumed to use in 
the House in relation to it in this debate, represent 
precisely what still I feel. However, the issue was 
not joined in this manner. The grievance which 



252 DISRAELI. 

was supposed to exist against the Government was 
that this despatch, written by Lord Ellenborough, 
had become known at home; and was considered 
to blame Lord Canning, for issuing a proclamation 
of Confiscation, in Oude. Angry discussions took 
place : and Lord Ellenborough, in the finest speech 
which I have ever heard, announced that he had 
resigned his office to the Queen; and that Her 
Majesty had accepted it. This, however, did not 
satisfy the Opposition : they believed that the Govern- 
ment was weak ; the Government were not in a 
majority in the House of Commons : and this attack, 
as they were pleased to call it, upon Lord Canning, 
was the excuse of the Opposition for a violent 
assault upon the Ministry : with the avowed 
object of removing them from Office. A longer 
debate has hardly taken place in the history of 
the House of Commons. It spread, with intervals, 
over ten nights : Ross, who for fifty years was 
the sagacious and excellent head-reporter of "The 
Times," told me that, from beginning to end, 
there was not, in his judgment, one bad speech 
delivered. I was astonished to find what brilliant 
powers of argument, and of elocution, the House 
then held. The brain of every man of capacity 



DISRAELI. 253 

was, of course, stimulated to the highest degree : 
and the result was a series of scenes that no one 
who took part in them, or witnessed them, will 
ever forget. The mover of the hostile resolution 
was M r Cardwell, afterwards Viscount Cardwell. 
He was of the school of Sir Robert Peel : a con- 
temporary of M r Gladstone : and he, like him, had 
seceded from the Tory Party at the time of Sir 
Robert Peel's change. The Government was in 
a minority in the House. I listened carefully to 
M r Cardwell's speech : and made up my mind 
that he would not carry his Resolution. I have 
never seen anything approaching the personal feel- 
ing, and resentment, which was shown during this 
debate ; not only in the House, but in Society. 
Wherever you went, nothing else was spoken of. 
Language almost transgressing the borders of decency 
was used : and it seemed at one time as if men 
would have come to blows. "The Derby" inter- 
vened : this breathing space gave a little time to 
cool : but the fury was renewed afterwards : nothing 
like it has occurred since. It must have resembled 
the state of things at the time of the Reform 
Bills of 1831, and 1832. No one can form the 
least idea from looking at Hansard of what 



254 DISRAELI. 

took place. The cheering, groaning, laughing, were 
beyond belief. We considered ourselves justified in 
using inarticulate means of rendering the eloquence 
of the other side nugatory. Our system was this; 
there were about twenty- five of us ; and I am 
afraid that -I was, to a certain extent, the organiser, 
and captain of the party. If a speaker on the 
Opposition side uttered any offensive remark, we 
greeted him with the most crushing ironical cheers : 
if he uttered some noble sentiment of Patriotism 
we affected to be overwhelmed with the grandeur 
of his ideas; exclaiming as the public do when 
a rocket goes up : if he became pathetic, we 
groaned for five minutes : on the other hand, 
should any member of the Opposition venture upon 
a joke, we affected convulsive merriment, which 
lasted until the unfortunate man's voice was com- 
pletely drowned. When I say that we absolutely 
demolished a man of such consummate effrontery as 
Bethell, ex- Attorney-General, and later Lord Chan- 
cellor, any reader who remembers him will wonder 
at our prowess. I have glanced at Hansard ; I 
find that Bethell's speech has been toned down, 
probably by his own alteration, to mildness, and 
gentleness. I will give the reader a specimen of 



DISRAELI. 255 

what he really said : He leant on the table of the 
House ; and, looking steadily at Disraeli, lisped 
these words in a manner the peculiarity of which 
it is impossible to describe ; but which will not 
be forgotten by those who heard him speak. 
"Since you have been in Office yar whole con- 
duct has been absurd ! Yar India Bill was a 
tissue of nonsense! How did we receive it? We 
covered you with good-humoured widicule ! " When 
things reached this point, I turned to Vansittart, 
Member for Windsor, and said, " This will never 
do ! " From that moment, whatever may be re- 
corded of the future Lord Chancellor in Han- 
sard, no word of his could be heard by those 
in his immediate neighbourhood. 

I drew my conclusion that the Resolution would 
not be carried entirely from a careful and steady 
observation of the House while M r Cardwell was 
speaking. The final night of the Debate was the 
Friday in the second week. On Thursday, the 
day previous, I was returning at a little past mid- 
night from a party, at the west end of Piccadilly. 
By the dead wall between the gates of Devonshire 
House I met Disraeli, arm-in-arm with Sir William 
JollifTe, then Secretary of the Treasury, and 



256 DISRAELI. 

Manager for the Party. Disraeli said, "Where have 
you. been ? " I replied, " To Baron Rothschild's ". 
The street was empty ; and a bright Moon was 
shining. Disraeli said, "What does the Baron say 
about it ? He knows most things ! " I replied, 
"There was a great crowd; and I did not see 
him. You need have no anxiety; the Motion will 
not be put from the Chair"., I shall never forget 
Disraeli's look of blank astonishment : his face was 
quite clear in the moonlight He was silent : after 
half a minute had passed, he said " Good night ! " 
I answered, " Good night : dormez bien ! " I found, 
some months afterwards, that he had sent his 
most trusty colleague in the Cabinet at ten the 
next morning to my mother, in Belgrave Square, 
to ascertain how I had found this out. She 
answered that I had not found it out : that it was my 
opinion : that I had said in the previous week that 
the Motion would not be carried : and that the day 
before I had said that it would not be put. I 
find in the betting-book at " White's " that I backed 
my opinion against Lord M.'s for ten pounds. I 
went down to the House on that memorable 
Friday at five. Waiting in the circular Hall 
outside the door, I saw my friend and school- 



DISRAELI, 257 

fellow Lord Dunkellin come up the Members' 
stairs with M r Cardwell. M r Cardwell went into 
the House : I said to Lord Dunkellin, " So 
your cock won't fight after all ! " " What do you 
mean ? " "I mean what I say : that Cardwell's 
Motion will be withdrawn." He answered, "With 1 
drawn ! impossible ! " " I will bet you five pounds 
it will be withdrawn to-night." He said, "My dear 
fellow, I can't bet with you, because I know ". 
"What do you know?" "I have walked from 
the Treasury with Cardwell : he told me that 
nothing will induce him to withdraw : he feels that 
he is personally committed : he told me that the 
thing would decidedly go on : and the Division be 
taken to-night". "Is that what he said?" "Yes, 
word for word ". " Then I will bet you ten 
pounds he withdraws it". "With that knowledge ?" 
" With that knowledge ". We went into the House. 
At first everything seemed to go on as before : 
but at half-past five some Members on the Oppo- 
sition side began speaking about "the good of 
the country : " " the absence of party feeling : " 
"the wish for the sake of India that things might 
quiet down ". The moment I heard this I ejaculated, 
"The Lord has delivered them into our hands". 



258 DISRAELI. 

The perception rapidly grew among the five-and- 
twenty whom I have mentioned as acting, more or 
less, under my orders. For an hour and a half 
speaker after speaker rose on the Opposition side. 
Obviously the whole scene had been planned. 
They implored M r Cardwell to withdraw his resolu- 
tion. Each time that one of these high-minded 
patriots rose, we greeted him with shouts of so 
derisive a character as would have shaken a heart 
of adamant. The more virtuous their language, the 
more we laughed at them : finally, when Lord John 
Russell requested Cardwell to withdraw his Resolu- 
tion, our merriment reached the skies. At last the 
Speaker, Denison, who in his heart was a pretty 
stiff partisan, rose ; and with a pale countenance 
asked, "Is it your pleasure that this Motion be 
withdrawn ? " Our shout of " Aye " was deafen- 
ing : I can still see Palmerston leaning forward in 
his seat, with a broad grin on his face, evidently 
appreciating our enthusiasm, and, though its victim, 
amused at our triumph. 

Two crisp five pound notes were in my pocket 
when I left the House. 

One terrible drawback, however, we had. Disraeli 
intended to wind up the Debate; to advance with 



DISRAELI. 259 

the column of his Imperial Guard ; to make a final 
desperate effort for Victory. He was by this sudden 
collapse deprived of his opportunity. He delivered 
the speech, which he had prepared for the House 
of Commons, a few days later at a meeting at 
Slough. The leader of the attack on Lord Ellen- 
borough in the House of Lords had been Lord 
Shaftesbury ; a man who had earned universal 
respect by the sacrifice of his career to charitable 
and, in the main, wise objects. He had at one 
time represented Dorsetshire on highly Protectionist 
opinions. My uncle, M r Farquharson of Langton. 
who had the key of the County at that time in his 
pocket, had removed him from the House of Com- 
mons on his change. Under the present circum- 
stances, notwithstanding his high character, no very 
kindly feeling towards him prevailed on the Tory 
benches. It was felt that he had taken advantage 
of his reputation for generosity and high-mindedness 
to make what was not altogether a worthy attack 
upon the Government : and that if the Government 
had erred, it was on the side of Humanity. He 
had prefaced his speech against the Tory party by 
saying that no one could impute to him that in 
acting as he did, he was moved by the Spirit of 



260 DISRAELI. 

Party. Disraeli said at Slough, " In another place " 
(the House of Lords) "a higher reputation de- 
scended on the scene. Gamaliel himself came 
down : and bearing the broad phylactery of Faction 
on his brow, he thanked his God, like the Pharisee 
of old, that he at least was not as other men : and 
that he was influenced by no party motive." These 
words would, under the circumstances of intense 
excitement to which the House of Commons 
had worked itself, if delivered there, have had an 
unequalled reception. 

Many years afterwards, Disraeli said to me, " I 
shall never forget that night when I met you in 
Piccadilly at the time of Cardwell's motion. I 
believed that we were smashed. At the moment 
you met us, I was arranging with JollifTe the details 
of our going out. I had no more doubt that the 
Government would be defeated the next day than 
I had of my own existence. You, in a light and 
airy manner, said, ' Don't be anxious : it is all 
right : the resolution will never be put from the 
Chair ! ' I shall never forget that moment, so long 
as I live". 

I HAVE SAID that the speech which Lord Ellen- 



DISRAELI. 261 

borough made in saying farewell for ever to Public 
Office was the finest which I have ever heard. I 
still think so. I stood at the Bar of the House of 
Lords ; and heard every word. Of fine presence ; 
calm, stately, and dignified ; delivering admirably 
chosen words; a glorious voice; and the expression 
of the views of a real Statesman : it was sublime. 
Lord Ellenborough's style reminded me much of 
the ideal which I had formed of Lord Chatham's. 
Lord Chatham cannot have been finer. To listen 
to that speech was an event in one's life. I 
can hear the words now, while the right arm was 
slowly extended, " My Lords ! I am for discrimina- 
tive amnesty ! " Lord Ellenborough spoke rarely : 
his style was perfect. 

When Lord Ellenborough's speech ended, my 
valued friend, Hodgson, for many years M.P. for 
Carlisle, and Cumberland, walked with me from 
" the Lords " into the House of Commons. We 
stood at the Bar : Sir Hugh Cairns was at the 
peroration of the speech which made him ulti- 
mately Lord Chancellor. As we stood side by 
side Hodgson touched my hand, and said, "It 
doesn't do after the Lords ! does it ? " I replied, 
"No indeed!" Lord Cairns was coldness itself: 



262 DISRAELI. 

quite incapable of rousing the slightest emotion : 
speaking as a lawyer, he gave you no impression 
of feeling whatever : nor was his style simple and 
luminous enough to compensate for his want of 
passion. 

Some amusement was caused, during the debate, 
by Colonel Sykes, an old Indian, who endeavoured, 
ingeniously, to make out that the whole thing turned 
upon the meaning of a word. He said, so far as 
could be found out amidst the laughing which his 
style excited, that "Confiscation" translated into 

Hindostanee was represented by the word : 

he could not recollect what the word was. Even- 
tually he brought out some word, which I believe 
that he invented at the time, which sounded like 
" Rummy Jummy " : the uproar that ensued was 
tremendous. Having got so far, he could not re- 
collect what the English of this was. Some good- 
natured Member on our side shouted out "Seques- 
tration ". He thanked him : and said that was 
what he meant to imply. 

It was believed that Lord Canning had been 
led to issue this somewhat vindictive proclamation 
by those about him : it certainly seems now, as 
a matter of good sense, that a clearer line 



DISRAELI. 263 

should have been drawn between the mutineers 
who were our soldiers, and the inhabitants of 
Oude ; who if they had taken arms at all, were 
only fighting for what had been lately their 
Country : and for, until a short time before, their 
Sovereign. 

ONE OF THE CURIOSITIES of the House, 
very rarely seen, was Erie Drax, for many 
years Member for a Dorsetshire Borough. He 
appeared about one evening in the Session : in some 
Sessions not at all. His appearance was that of 
a villainous Don Quixote; or Lismahago. At a 
General Election, on the day previous to the nomi- 
nation, he put out the following address to his 
Constituents : " Electors of Wareham ! I understand 
that some evil-disposed person has been circulating 
a report that I wish my tenants, and other persons 
dependent upon me, to vote according to their 
conscience. This is a dastardly lie; calculated to 
injure me. I have no wish of the sort. I 
wish, and I intend, that these persons shall 
vote for me ". 

AN INTERESTING episode, illustrating the 



264 DISRAELI. 

quickness of the House, and of one brilliant 
member, is worthy of record : Two distinguished 
Members of the Government, one Member for 
a County, the other for a very snug Borough, 
the property of Lord Egmont, seceded from 
the Tory Government ; they gave their reasons, 
which were honest, for their secession. The 
latter addressed the House at great length on the 
subject of Reform in the abstract : and explained 
the cause of his leaving the high position which 
he had lately occupied. The House listened 
with an attention worthy of the gravity of the 
character of him who addressed it. A most 
elaborate, and carefully prepared essay was given 
to us. No smile lighted the face of any 
Member : in fact the situation was serious in the 
extreme. Sitting opposite to the orator, not on a 
seat, but on the floor of the gangway, the path 
which divides the House of Commons in half 
laterally, sat Bernal Osborne, watching M r W., and 
listening to his words with real, or affected, in- 
terest. His attitude was that of a jackdaw, or any 
bird with a long beak, who is compelled to hold 
his head sideways to obtain a clear view of his , 
object. After an hour's] description of the good 



DISRAELI. 265 

and evil of Reform in the abstract, M r W. uttered 
these words : 

" Now, M r Speaker, I approach another, and most 
important branch of this great subject. I shall 
have to use a term ; frequent in the vernacular ; 
familiar to the ears of all whom I am now address- 
ing; but, when I do so, it will be in no mocking 
spirit; but with all the solemnity that such a great 
subject requires. Before I enter upon it, I will 
ask the House seriously to answer this question 
' How will you define the terms ' rotten ' and ' pocket 
borough ' ? " 

Quick as lightning Bernal Osborne said distinctly 
" Midhurst ". M r W.'s own seat ! The effect was 
an instant and deafening roar through the whole 
House. 

ONE REASON of Lord Palmerston's success was 
that he never fired over the heads of his audience : 
rarely, if ever, emerging from commonplace and 
conventionality, he caused no trouble to the minds 
of his hearers, and in a man willing to sacrifice 
himself, or incapable of better things, this is, of 
course, an easy road to popularity. 

I was reminded by Sir R. Gorst, a clear-headed 



266 DISRAELI. 

Member of the Tory party, of a remark which I 
made to him soon after re-entering the House in 
1875. "I see what this House is: they hate a 
man who makes them think ! " This Palmerston 
never did. 

OF ALL the anecdotes which I have known spoiled, 
I can conceive nothing more cruel than the fol- 
lowing. What really occurred was this : Soon after 
Disraeli had obtained a seat in the House of Com- 
mons, he was standing at the bar of the House 
of Lords. The Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, 
was passing out : a friend good-naturedly said, 
"Lord Melbourne, I must ask you to permit me 
to present to you one of our last recruits, M r 
Disraeli ". 

Lord Melbourne shook hands with him : and 
laying his hand upon his shoulder, said, "Well, 
young gentleman, and what do you intend to be?" 
Disraeli, appreciating the situation, the man, and 
his half-sneer, looked at Lord Melbourne, and 
said quietly, " Prime Minister ". 

This most interesting story has been, in several 
books, written by those who ought to know better, 
disgracefully mangled. It has been related that 



DISRAELI. 267 

Lord Melbourne asked Disraeli, in the presence of 
M re Norton, the silly question, "What would you 
like to be?" as if he were a child brought down 
to dessert, and that Disraeli replied, "I should 
like to be Prime Minister". As I remember a 
child answering, " A Gardener " : and another, more 
observant, "A Ram". 

What really occurred was as I have narrated : 
and, considering that he carried out his intention, 
I think it one of the most remarkable incidents in 
a very remarkable career. , 

THE FEELINGS OF Disraeli, when he became 
all-powerful, may have been those of a Commander- 
in-Chief after a campaign : and those of a successful 
candidate after a Parliamentary Election : the latter 
is by that time so weary of the whole question, has 
been so worried during the contest, and so full of 
anxiety, that when it is over, whether he be suc- 
cessful or not, the conduct of individuals, and the 
enthusiasm which he has inspired, form a subject 
which his mind intuitively avoids. No one can 
imagine, who has not tried it, the strain upon the 
mind during a contested election for those who 
are really in earnest ; they feel that their destiny 



268 DISRAELI. 

for five years, possibly for their whole life, will 
be decided by the precarious result of a few hours. 
Philosophical as may be the Candidate, if he be 
really in earnest he feels the struggle terribly. To 
be told, day after day, by one of his principal sup- 
porters, that another principal supporter is betraying 
him ; to hear the story of the first repeated by the 
second; to know that a single unfortunate word 
may deprive him of his chance ; that his own army 
may be only half in earnest; while the enemy is 
thirsting for his blood; the endless petty complica- 
tions, and varying chances of the fight, make a 
sum total that no one can imagine unless they have 
gone through it as a principal. 

Your supporters wish to win : and are exultant, 
and depressed, as the battle rages ; but no one but 
the Candidate himself can feel as he feels : and, 
what adds greatly to his anxieties, he is forbidden 
to express them. Napoleon said, "Men grow old 
quickly on battlefields " : the same may be said of 
contested Elections. Once the victory won, or the 
battle lost, the ex-Candidate tries to banish from his 
mind all relating to it ; unless some special circum- 
stance brings to his knowledge the conduct of in- 
dividuals. 



DISRAELI. 269 

SHORTLY BEFORE his leaving England for 
Berlin, I expressed to one who was in his confi- 
dence how glad I was that Disraeli was himself 
to represent the British Empire at the Congress, 
adding that I never had heard of anyone deeper 
than he, with one exception. " Who is that ? " 
" Mephisto ! and I would only back him at five to 
four ". " I will tell him : that is just the sort of 
compliment that he appreciates ". 

DISRAELI has written that the British race are the 
most enthusiastic in the world. Agricola, our earliest 
critic, remarked that they were the most cynical ; 
the latter spoke, no doubt, of the English : the High- 
landers gave him no opportunity of testing them. 

Both opinions I should say were true. 

I have, at various elections, canvassed a vast 
number of what are called " the humbler classes ". 
I should say that cynicism was a most distinct 
characteristic of their nature ; doubts, more or less 
veiled, as to your real object in getting into Parlia- 
ment : a suspicion that by doing so you expect to 
gain money, etc. : I have seen the same race 
roused to a condition of enthusiasm not to be sur- 
passed in the world. 



270 DISRAELI. 

I have seen a town of considerable size, inhabited 
almost entirely by the "working class," appear to 
have entirely lost its senses, from the madness of 
excitement : not one half quarrelling with the other, 
and thus rousing their mutual passions ; but where 
the multitude was all on one side. I have seen 
50,000 individuals accompany a successful candi- 
date to the Railway Station, and assemble on the 
neighbouring hills, in honour of a man whom not 
one of them had seen a week before. 

Napoleon I. asked these two questions, before 
he gave a man an important command ; " Has he 
the gift of inspiring enthusiasm? Is he lucky 
(heureux)?" Such should be among the gifts 
of a man who goes to contest a British Con- 
stituency. 

THE ONLY communication which I made to 
Disraeli at the time of his last Premiership was 
one which I was told he felt deeply; I asked a 
common friend to tell him that I was sure that 
the feeling in his heart which dominated all others 
was. that one who had believed in him from the 
first; whose whole life and soul had been devoted 
to him; who had longed and prayed for his 



DISRAELI. 271 

ultimate success; was, now that his success had 
come, no more : his wife. 

A PECULIAR symptom of emotion was observed 
in Disraeli by myself; and some years afterwards, 
by a person of greater importance. I had, as a 
Magistrate of Middlesex, worked very hard and 
with ultimate success, to obtain better treatment 
for the unfortunate persons not only technically, 
but often actually guiltless, who are committed for 
trial : for a more pitiable class, those who are sent 
to prison, because they are unable to find bail; 
and for a still more cruelly treated class, who are 
sent to prison because, being bound to be present 
as witnesses at a trial, they are unable to find 
money-security for their presence. Up to the time 
of which I speak, it will hardly be believed that 
these persons were not only treated as convicted 
criminals, but were condemned to perform the 
most menial offices in the prison; and were com- 
pelled to do this, notwithstanding that a very 
small remuneration, even a glass of beer, would 
have obtained ample labour from those in the 
same prison, who had been convicted of crime : 
and sentenced to imprisonment. 



272 DISRAELI. 

These innocent persons were treated as convicted 
prisoners, and in the winter, compelled to remain 
in darkness in their respective cells, alone, with 
nothing to relieve their anxious and miserable 
thoughts from 4 P.M. until 8 A.M. : the only light 
admitted was a faint glimmer through a hole above 
the door of the cell. I carried a remedial Reso- 
lution by a majority of one. 

It was necessary that this change of rules should 
be ratified by the Secretary of State for the Home 
Department : those whose duty it was to forward 
the Resolution to the Secretary of State did not 
do so. Two years after this I re-entered the 
House of Commons : and discovered what had 
occurred. I at once took steps to enforce the 
change in the regulations. I communicated to 
the Secretary of State ; the Tory party was in 
office at the time; and the Right Hon. gentleman 
assured me that he not only approved ; but hoped 
to have certain papers ready for me on the Thurs- 
day. I put the question. I was much surprised 
when the Right Hon. X. rose, and turning to the 
party behind him, of which I was one, said, "I 
must appeal to the House whether this question 
should have been put." Down on me immedi- 



DISRAELI. 273 

ately fell a deluge of deafening ironical cheers. 
Had I committed a crime, I could not have 
been treated with more sudden, and complete 
vituperation. 

The facts were these ; fifty-two questions were 
on the paper of the House on that day : at that 
time an unusual, and inordinate number. The 
large majority of questions were from the Opposi- 
tion : but, instead of singling out one of these for 
obloquy, the Minister X. turned upon me, at the 
instigation, I have no doubt, of Disraeli : I heard 
Disraeli, being very near him, cheer most dis- 
tinctly. I might, of course, have instantly turned 
the tables upon X. and upon Disraeli by simply 
saying that I had previously negotiated the matter, 
with the Home Secretary. It is equally a matter 
of course that I never thought of such a thing : 
the laws of honour in the House of Commons 
are perfectly understood. I need not say that no 
very deep effect was produced upon myself: but 
I felt that I could not, and would not, submit 
to such treatment from those from whom I had 
not in the slightest degree deserved it. I spoke 
in the evening to my friend Hodgson, the Member 

for Cumberland : I told him that I intended having 

s 



274 DISRAELI. 

an apology the next day. Hodgson said, "From 
X. ? " " No ; from the Prime Minister." Hodgson 
said, " Do you think you will get one ? " " Come 
down to-morrow, and 'you will see." I may here 
explain that, on Friday evenings, on a particular 
formal motion, it is in the power of any Member 
to bring forward any topic he may choose. I 
accordingly raised the question again. Within two 
minutes of my rising, Disraeli, who was eating 
his dinner in the little room at the back of the 
Speaker's Chair, reserved for the Prime Minister, 
entered the House, with his mouth full. He 
took his seat on the front bench; two rows below 
me; and listened to my harangue. Having the 
useful gift of "les larmes dans la voix," I used 
it : and drew a pathetic picture of the sufferings 
of the prisoners ; then having enlisted the sym- 
pathies of the House, I said a few words on my 
own wrongs. Disraeli rose on my sitting down, 
expressed his deep regret, etc. etc. One passage 
diverted me. Disraeli did not deny what had 
taken place, but said, "If the House were fuller 
I should appeal to Members as to whether my 
Hon. friend has not taken too strong a view," etc. 
This hypothetical denial was quite characteristic. 



DISRAELI. 275 

During my performance I watched Disraeli 
narrowly. I could not see his face : but I noticed 
that whenever I became in any way disagreeable, 
in short, whenever my words really bit, they were 
invariably followed by one movement. Sitting, as 
he always did, with his right knee over his left, 
whenever the words touched him, he moved the 
pendent leg twice or three times; then curved his 
foot upwards. I could observe no other sign of 
emotion : but this was distinct. Some years after- 
wards, on a somewhat more important occasion, 
at the Conference at Berlin, a great German Philo- 
sopher, Herr , went to Berlin on purpose to 

study Disraeli's character. He said afterwards that 
he was most struck by the more than Indian 
stoicism which Disraeli showed. To this there was 
one exception: "Like all men of his race, he has 
one sign of emotion which never fails to show 
itself: the movement of the leg that is crossed 
over the other : and of the foot. " The person who 
told me this had never heard me hint, nor had 
anyone, that I had observed this peculiar symptom 
on the earlier occasion to which I have referred. 

I HAVE READ in a Life of Lord Derby that he 



276 DISRAELI. 

was instructed in elocution by his stepmother. His 
father's second wife was an actress of celebrity, 
named Farren. The author of the Life expresses 
surprise that " there was nothing melodramatic in 
Lord Derby's style". It seems strange that anyone 
should think that a clever and experienced actress 
should instruct her stepson, the future Statesman, 
to use a melodramatic style : she certainly would 
never have drilled him to perform in the wind- 
mill school of Rossi and Salvini; "To tear a 
passion to tatters". Lord Derby's style was in 
the best school of elocution. Though artistic to 
a skilled observer, it appeared to be Nature and 
Simplicity. 

He would begin his speech standing close to 
the table of the House of Lords : occasionally 
placing both hands upon it: he would then, after 
a time, step back, close to the bench from which 
he had risen ; and continue his explanation with 
some slight gesture. As he became more impres- 
sive, he would advance his right foot near the 
table; the left foot being kept behind, and resting 
on the point. His action, with his right hand only, 
was studied. His manner of holding his head 
very dignified ; but without stiffness, or formality. 



DISRAELI. 277 

I did not know at the time of hearing his 
speeches that he had had a dramatic education : 
but I well remember how much impressed I was 
with his Grace, Dignity, and Artistic Skill. 

I more than once noticed that the speech de- 
livered in the morning to his Party, was repeated 
word for word in the House of Lords in the even- 
ing: at least one-third of it. Lord Derby said 
that he never closed his eyes the night before an 
important speech. 

I CAN JUST RECOLLECT the end of the period 
of Coaches. When at school at D r Everard's, at 
Brighton, called by an envious world "The House 
of Lords", but where the cane was freely adminis- 
tered to Lords and Commoners alike, I came to 
London with three schoolfellows in "The Age" 
Coach. 

The Brighton half of the fifty-two miles was 
"tooled," to use the vernacular of the day, by 
Captain Brakenbury. This gentleman, of ancient 
historical race, was got up in a thorough coach- 
man's style: a bright green cut-away coat, gilt 
" basket " buttons, a bouquet in his breast, and a 
very horsey hat. Half way to London, he exchanged 



278 DISRAELI. 

places with the driver of the "down" coach 
no less a person than Sir S t- Vincent Cotton, a 
man of good family, and of exceptionally aristo- 
cratic appearance. I remember, as if it were yester- 
day, "The Age" turning with ease into that impos- 
sible " cul de sac " the yard of the " Golden Cross, 
Charing Cross", which still exists. The Duchess 
of Beaufort came in a yellow britzska to meet 
her son, then Lord Glamorgan; the others were 
Sir Henry de Bathe and Colonel Ellison : the 
latter is now dead. The Duchess of Beaufort 
died lately. Sir S L Vincent, who wore a white 
great-coat, with several capes on the shoulders, 
said to me, "Sir William, your carpet-bag is all 
right ". 

I tendered to Sir S f - Vincent half-a-crown, the 
honorarium of that day; there was no want of 
dignity in the recipient; and I trust none in the 
donor. 

AN EQUALLY fashionable coach was "The Tag- 
lioni"; which plied between London, Hounslow, 
and Windsor. It bore a portrait on the hind boot 
(boite) of the celebrated dancer. This coach was 
patronised by the Officers of the Household Brigade 



DISRAELI. 279 

quartered at Windsor; and of the Light Dragoons 
at Hounslow. 

DISRAELI was most exact in his pronunciation, 
not only as to important words such as " Parlia- 
ment " : but always. I showed to him a letter of 
some length, which the Committee of a Club had 
written to me. He read it through; placed it on 
the table in front of him ; and said, " Insolence 
itself ! " giving the sound of the o ; not " insul- 
ence," as it is frequently pronounced. Another 
word, " Business ", he pronounced correctly ; as a 
trisyllable. 

IN ONE of the first speeches that I heard of 
Bernal Osborne, George Hudson, the "Railway 
King", of whom might be said, as of Cato, some- 
times "mero caluisse virtus", attracted his atten- 
tion by some inarticulate sounds, expressive of 
doubts of the fact uttered by the orator: it was 
about six P.M. : turning upon Hudson, he said, " I 
must beg the Member for Sunderland not to in- 
terrupt me : at this early period of the evening, 
he has no excuse for making a noise". This of 
course did not diminish the wrath of Hudson ; 



280 DISRAELI. 

who sprang to his feet; and endeavoured to ad- 
dress the House. Bernal Osborne, however, con- 
tinued : " Sit down, pray ! I accept your apology : 
say no more ! " 

On another occasion he was very neat : It was 
on the vote for the Royal Academy of Music; 
the House being in Committee. Bernal Osborne 
said, " We heard in former years of the merits 
of the English Opera: Now, Sir, one of the 
most popular of English Operas has always been 
' Artaxerxes ' : In that Opera is a well-known song ; 
it begins, ' In Infancy our hopes and fears.' Sir, 
this vote is in its infancy ; and I propose that we 
put an end to its hopes and fears ; and strangle it 
at once". 

THE CONSUMMATE WISDOM of the Rules 
of the House of Commons, such as they were, 
cannot be surpassed : this result of the good sense 
and experience of ages, excited the marvel of all 
who studied them : and they were worthy of a 
life-long study. I happened to meet at Nice 
a Hungarian of very great distinction ; General 
Klapka. I spoke to him of the rules of our British 
House of Commons. He seemed to be very much 



DISRAELI. 281 

struck with what I told him. On returning to 
London, I forwarded him a copy of Sir Erskine 
May's work upon the Rules, which lies upon the 
table of the House : I heard sometime later from 
Sir Erskine May himself, that the book had been 
sent for; had been translated into the Czech lan- 
guage : and that the rules had been adopted in 
the Hungarian Parliament. Some alterations, for 
the worse, have been adopted of late years : e.g. t 
the nonsensical "40 to stand up" Rule. There 
is only one rule, and that has not been altered, 
which would have been better out of our House of 
Commons Statutes. Up to 1818, no two motions 
for Adjournment could be made consecutively : it 
was necessary that a substantive motion should 
intervene. 

Some subtle individual, at or about that date, 
put an end to this sensible rule, by moving, 
after the adjournment of " the House," the 
adjournment of " the Debate " : declaring that 
that was a substantive motion : and by alternating 
these motions rendering technical obstruction un- 
limited. The original practice should never have 
been changed. It is absolutely impossible, that a 
free assembly can proceed, provided there be per- 



282 DISRAELI. 

sons determined to interrupt proceedings within its 
. rules. It is not necessary to break the Rules of 
the House. By moving endless amendments, or 
endless " Instructions to the Committee ", terms well 
known and understood, it is easy to create hope- 
less obstruction. Every clause in a Bill may be 
amended; every word. Supposing that each of 
fifty Members shall address the House on each 
clause, they can, without infraction of the regula- 
tions, render all proceeding out of the question. 
What is to happen in the future? No one can 
tell. Should it be determined by a party in 
the House of Commons that legislation shall not 
take place, this result can be brought about: and to 
put a stop to this, our Rules of Liberty will be 
abrogated: an Assembly that has been the wonder 
and the admiration of the civilised world, will be 
degraded : and become the subject of contempt. 

I was present when Disraeli, with an emphasis 
not to be exceeded, placed his hand upon the 
Book of Rules which lies upon the table of the 
House, and uttered these words; never to be 
forgotten by those who heard them, "Let us 
remember ! these Rules were made for Gentle- 
men I" That is the whole question. 



DISRAELI. 283 

M RS DISRAELI had the reputation of uttering 
gauche sayings ; and of being remarkable for the 
want of good sense in her remarks : I failed to 
observe this. It is but fair, however, to give one 
specimen, which I know to be perfectly authentic. 
It occurred while staying with her husband at one 
of the ancestral homes of England, one of the 
most splendid of our Provincial Palaces. The wife 
of the lordly proprietor was a person of ex- 
ceptional refinement ; and a deep and sincere 
sense of propriety : she had carefully swept from 
the walls all pictures of a character that our less 
squeamish forefathers would not have objected 
to. As it happened, in the bed-room allotted to 
M r and M rs Disraeli one picture remained ; not 
in any way exceeding those works of great artists 
displayed in the National Gallery; but of a 
decidedly classic character as regards drapery. 
Such as might have attracted the attention of 
the gentleman who signs himself " A British 
Matron ". 

At breakfast, the first morning after their arrival, 
M re Disraeli addressed the lady of the house in these 

words : " Lady , I find that your house is full 

of indecent pictures ! " Knowing well the character 



284 DISRAELI. 

of their hostess, dismay might have been observed 
on the faces of the guests : undaunted, M rs Disraeli 
continued, " There is a most horrible picture in 
our bedroom : Disraeli says it is Venus and Adonis : 
I have been awake half the night trying to prevent 
him looking at it." I know this to be true : the 
elder son of the house told it to me, who was 
present at breakfast. 

ONE REASON THAT made Disraeli's style so 
effective in the House was that he never assumed 
to be in earnest So far from there being any 
assumption of superiority, or of surpassing virtue, he 
appeared to wish to make the House believe that 
he was not in any way, morally, nor intellectually 
better than any one of them; that the comments 
which he was making were those of an astute 
advocate : and that he neither more nor less 
pretended to be right, than a lawyer who is plead- 
ing upon the facts which he brings before you. 
So far from trying to persuade his hearers that 
he was the only honest man in the place, and 
the only man of intelligence, he professed to simply 
state the facts so plainly as possible: and that the 
result of his argument must be, to the intelligent 



DISRAELI. 285 

persons who were listening to him, a matter of 
course. He was the "poor player" in velveteen 
and spangles endeavouring to divert them outside 
his booth. Should he bring out, which he rarely 
did, a quotation, it was after carefully leading up to 
it : those gems of thought, and of expression, which 
are scattered, not too thickly, in his harangues, were 
never introduced except at the climax of a carefully 
considered argument. 

SUBSEQUENT to his early training in the Law 
in a Solicitor's office, Disraeli read in the chambers 
of his uncle, a barrister of prominence, M r Basevi. 
It has been related to me by one who was later 
a pupil that Disraeli always declared that he did 
not intend the Law to be his profession : that he 
intended to make a name as a Statesman ; he con- 
stantly harped upon this string ; but I have no 
doubt that he benefited by the instruction which 
he received in the office of the eminent Convey- 
ancer, who was related to him. 

Another uncle of Disraeli's was Basevi the Archi- 
tect, well known by his work in London, who died 
by an unfortunate accident in Ely Cathedral. He 
had a habit of walking with his hands in his 



286 DISRAELI. 

pockets : had it not been for this he might have 
saved himself, when falling between the boards of the 
scaffolding, from whence he was inspecting his work. 

DRIVING TO THE HOUSE OF COMMONS 
with her husband, who was about to make a speech 
of great importance, by the clumsiness of the ser- 
vant in closing the door, M re Disraeli's hand was 
severely injured : the pain must have been extreme ; 
but not a groan escaped her : she bore all the 
suffering without a word, fearing lest it might 
disturb her husband's equanimity at the time 
when it was required to address the House of 
Commons. 

SPEAKING OF A TIME which I fondly hope 
has not quite passed away, the House of Commons 
has always shown the greatest jealousy as regards 
its Members ; to succeed there you must devote 
yourself to the House, its ways, its laws, and 
its traditions. Not only was a man entering the 
House with a reputation out of doors looked 
at with the keenest severity; but he soon learnt, 
if he were capable of learning, that when he 
entered that assembly he must begin again as a 



DISRAELI. 287 

child : no Fame, however great elsewhere, did 
him any good there; it might elicit curiosity, and 
possibly interest; but the House of Commons told 
you plainly that your reputation must be made 
within its walls : there you must be born again : 
and that it was by your own fault or your own in- 
capacity if you failed to make a just reputation. I 
have seen striking instances of men, with deserved 
renown, who never were able to comprehend the 
"Genius Loci"; and whose failure was undeniable. 
Perhaps the most conspicuous of these was John 
Stuart Mill. I heard most of the speeches which 
he made. He entirely failed to affect the House; 
it was not in him : powerful as he was as a writer, 
he had not those peculiar gifts which the House 
of Commons requires : as regards that place, " His 
name is writ in water ". I heard Macaulay once : 
his speech fell dead. 

I ASKED DISRAELI whether he had paid any 
attention to Mesmerism, etc., which was at the 
time the fashion. He replied, "No, I have not: 
Lytton tells me he has seen a man walk on the 
ceiling; I told him, if he could show me that, I 
would certainly go and see it". 



288 DISRAELI. 

ONE OF THE SECRETS of Disraeli's success 
was his strong sense of the Dramatic. John 
Bull, whatever he may pretend, admires an Actor : 
he likes something different to himself; that is 
to say, one who is more skilful than he is in 
the art which he loves. To say that the British 
race are not actors is to talk nonsense : any man 
who has gone through contested elections has a 
very different impression. Take for instance a 
corrupt borough : of course such places do not 
exist now. You might canvass a town, one-third 
of whose electors were corrupt ; you might visit 
them in their houses over and over again ; you 
would not see or hear a single hint that would 
induce you to suppose the electors were not the 
most virtuous of mankind. The acting was perfect : 
the solemn and intense repudiation of corrupt 
motives : the deep and earnest pathos, with which 
their political convictions were pleaded; the scorn 
of gold ; the immaculate history of their ancestors, 
all freemen of the borough ; none of whom had 
ever looked for money; the well-earned reputation 
which each of these honest men had among his 
kinsmen and neighbours; the earnest wish for your 
success ; or the equally honest hope that you might 



DISRAELI. 289 

be defeated; all came from blameless breasts. You 
felt as" you left each % cottage, or each shop, that a 
spotless being was standing behind the counter, 
or sitting at the fireside : and you reached home 
each day more and more convinced that Virtue 
having been lost sight of in many parts of the 
World, still lingered in the Borough, which you 
hoped and intended to represent in the House of 
Commons. 

ONE OF THOSE whom Disraeli particularly dis- 
liked was A. H. His dislike was probably owing 
to some early criticism of his works : I suspect that 
few hatreds are deeper, or more lasting. Whatever- 
be the cause he certainly detested this individual ; 
who belonged, I believe, to the same ancient race 
as himself. In an early letter to his sister, Dis- 
raeli speaks of "the delectable A. H." The term 
which Disraeli applied to him has often been mis- 
quoted. It has been said that he called A. H. "A 
literary louse ". This was not the case : what he 
called him was, " The louse of Literature ", crawling 
over and defiling the works of other men : while 
his means of sustenance were derived from their 

heads. 

T 



290 DISRAELI. 

ON BEING ASKED as to some individual what 
was the best method of influencing him, Disraeli 
replied, " Get at his friends ; that is always the best 
way". I suspect that confidential communication 
with an M.P.'s local Agent was another, not too 
honest, method used by him. 

SOME TIME AFTER Lord George Bentinck 
appeared above the political horizon, considerable 
sensation was made by what seemed to be hardly 
worthy of notice. Lord Lyndhurst expressed his 
opinion that a Statesman should be "a man of 
stable mind." This was wrongly interpreted to be 
a cut at Lord George Bentinck, who took his amuse- 
ment, in the most noble manner, "on the Turf". 
Disraeli describes with pathos how Lord George 
received the news that a horse, "Surplice", which 
he had sold only a short time before, on giving up 
racing, had won the Derby. "The Blue Ribbon of 
the Turf", a term now become well-known, was 
used for the first time. Lord George Bentinck was 
one of those men who did honour to the Turf, 
as well as to his political profession. Such men 
are of priceless value in any pursuit : they give 
a tone, and a character, and establish canons of 



DISRAELI. 291 

Honour, which dignify their occupation : it is by 
such men, and by their exhibition of spotless con- 
duct, that England has remained great and free. 

I NEVER OBSERVED in Disraeli the slightest 
appearance of false pride. There is no precise 
English term for what I mean; it is best described 
in the French " Orgueil ", as distinguished from 
" Fierle* ". That he was conscious of his intellectual 
superiority no one could doubt; he had an honest 
contempt for ignorance, and stupidity; but as re- 
gards his position in the State ; and the success 
which would have turned an ordinary head, he 
showed no sign of deterioration. Any approach 
to a liberty would have been met with extreme 
severity. I heard of one case, that I believe to be 
true, although almost incredible, of an individual 
who addressed him in the Division lobby, and 
actually asked him for a Peerage. Disraeli gave 
him a look; and moved away without a word. 

An admirable expression, applicable to those 
whom we occasionally meet, borrowed from the 
stable, sums up all these questions, "Can he or 
she stand corn?" An under-bred horse, and an 
under-bred man or woman, whatever may be their 



292 DISRAELI. 

position, and their descent, cannot "stand corn." 
This phrase cannot be mended. His brilliant ulti- 
mate success never turned Disraeli's head. 

VERY FEW PERSONS have had an opportunity 
of hearing Disraeli speak. The Members of the 
House, as we know, number about 650 : a space is 
allotted to the public in the Speaker's and Upper 
Gallery : a very small space is allowed to ladies. 
Besides these, and the three clerks, the Serjeant-at- 
Arms, and the door-keepers, no one, under any cir- 
cumstances has an opportunity of hearing the speak- 
ing in the House of Commons. When any matter 
of great importance is discussed, when the fate of a 
Government is to be decided, or a measure of vast 
influence accepted or rejected, every place is filled 
long before the Debate. I have known many who 
have taken the keenest interest in politics, and 
who were well ^able to appreciate eloquence, not 
one of whom has ever had an opportunity of 
hearing Disraeli speak. 

No one, who has not done so, can form 
any idea of his powers. His speeches when 
read give no adequate idea of their effect. The 
impression made on an emotional Assembly like 



DISRAELI. 293 

the House of Commons can never be put in 
print. The varying sensations, fluctuating like 
the breast of the ocean; the minute rhetorical 
effects, which moved his audience so powerfully; 
the alterations of voice; the pauses; the grand 
gestures, which he occasionally, but not frequently, 
used : all these are utterly lost upon the reader 
of a debate. Disraeli had a perfectly melodious 
voice; and what is rare, a voice increasing in 
beauty of tone the more loudly that he spoke : 
he had the proud consciousness of having a master- 
mind; and a masterly power of influencing men. 
He wrote to his sister early in life, "I have listened 
to the great speakers in the House of Commons : 
I can surpass them all ! " His judgment was right : 
and he lived to give his prophecy a splendid fulfil- 
ment. To the reader who has read and admired 
his speeches I say, "Quid si tonantem ipsum audi- 
visses ! " 

AS REGARDS PARTY discipline, a question which 
has been so frequently discussed, I agree after much 
reflection with the dictum of Charles Fox: "If it 
were not for party feeling, and party discipline, 
Corruption would step into their places". As in 



294 DISRAELI. 

everything British, "give and take," forbearance, and 
the recognised laws of Honour have moderated the 
feelings of party. The oil of good sense has lubri- 
cated the marvellous machine of Parliamentary 
government. I recall the opinion of a statesman of 
cynical character, Sir James Graham. After the 
defeat of Disraeli's Reform Bill in 1859, I heard 
Sir James say, "The Division of last night should 
be recorded in letters of gold : there is not one of 
: you (the Tories) who does not deserve to have 
his name made immortal: you all hated the Bill; 
there was not a man absent : it gives me hopes 
that Parliamentary Government may continue". A 
nobler scene followed. The Parliament was barely 
two years old. At every dissolution, at the least two 
hundred members lose their seats ; and, as we well 
knew, one hundred of us on the Tory Side would 
fall : many not to rise again : yet when Disraeli 
announced that the Queen had been advised at 
once to dissolve Parliament, we raised a loud and 
heartfelt cheer. This was the noblest act on the 
part of the Tory Party that I have ever witnessed : 
nor do I believe that in their grand history it 
could be surpassed. We had been defeated on 
a measure which, as Sir James Graham said, we 



DISRAELI. 295 

loathed. We had loyally supported the Minister 
who had introduced it. The result of the Dissolu- 
tion was that many were banished to waste weary 
years in exile : and many never re-entered the 
House of Commons. The fabled tale of the 
" Vengeur " has remained in the memory of man : 
the afternoon in which what I related occurred 
should not be left out by the historian of those 
days. 

SIR JAMES GRAHAM died as he had lived; 
a Philosopher. His watch was before him : he 
carefully noted the hours, and minutes, that passed 
away between the fatal announcement of his 
Physician and his death. Nearly the last words 
he uttered were these, "I have served my country 
for forty years : I can recognise no act of mine 
that was not done with a view to the real interests 
of my country. I shall live in history for one 
thing only ; my name will be pointed at as that 
of the man who opened the letters". This refer- 
ence was to a case of some letters being opened 
by the legal power of the Secretary of State. Sir 
James Graham opened, re-sealed, and delivered the 
letters : the contents of these letters, copied out, were 



296 DISRAELI. 

of a highly compromising character : and resulted in 
the execution of some Italian conspirators. 

DISRAELI USED this expression to a man who 
had attacked him, and whom he despised, "The 
mercy of my silence ". 

THE TERM " Ogleby-Chatham ", applied to Lord 
Palmerston by a Frenchman, was not correct : Lord 
Palmerston had neither the Senility nor the Refine- 
ment of the hero of "The Clandestine Marriage". 
He was a very coarse feeder: and would not have 
been horrified at " buttered toast in the dog days ! " 
he would have eaten it. I have seen him drinking 
the decocted, not infused, filth, House of Commons 
tea ! ! He had neither the Statesmanship nor the 
Dignity of the Great Commoner. 

WALKING with a friend along Pall Mall, the 
friend turned at the corner of the Athenaeum Club, 
making for the Duke of York's steps, as the shortest 
route to the House of Commons : " No, no ! " said 
Disraeli, " not that way : it's so damned dull ! " 

THE RESULT of Lord Aberdeen's Government 



DISRAELI. 297 

going to war, when they were totally unprepared, 
might have been anticipated. The weapon, by which 
the fatal blow was given, came, not from the Tories ; 
it came from a strong supporter of the Whigs, the 
well-known Arthur Roebuck ; a man of exceptional 
eloquence, and great ability, to whom, during his 
career, justice was not done. Roebuck gave notice 
that he would move for a Select Committee "to 
inquire into the condition of our Army before 
Sebastopol; and into the conduct of those de- 
partments of the Government whose duty it has 
been to administer to the wants of that Army ". On 
the day on which this motion came on, and previous 
to its being moved, Lord John Russell announced 
that he had left the Government. Up to that time 
neither the Members of Parliament, nor the public, 
still less the Government itself, had any idea that 
Lord John intended to abandon them. 

On this evening, Lord John made a deliberate, 
and elaborate attack upon his colleagues. He de- 
scribed the accounts from the Crimea as "not only 
painful; but horrible, and heartrending"; words that 
rang through England : and he heaped obloquy upon 
the Cabinet, which he had just left The principal 
object of his attack was the Duke of Newcastle; 



298 DISRAELI. 

who held the position of Minister for War ; a newly 
created office, with Cabinet rank, and entirely diffe- 
rent from Secretary at War, a subordinate, not in the 
Cabinet. Up to the time of the appointment of the 
Duke of Newcastle, the Minister for the Colonies 
was also Minister for War. A new Department was 
created : at the head of which the Duke of New- 
castle was placed. It appeared from Lord John's 
statement that from the first he had disapproved of 
the Duke of Newcastle as an administrator: and 
had endeavoured to dislodge him. The Duke of 
Newcastle, who had thought it his duty to resign 
his Office, replied in a speech, which I heard, 
of considerable ability: it was delivered with great 
dignity, and extreme forbearance. He showed, 
beyond all doubt, that during the whole time that 
Lord John Russell had been expressing to others 
his distrust of the powers of the Duke, he had been 
constantly at his elbow : and, mark this 1 that no 
act of the Duke's had been done, in relation to 
the War, except at the suggestion of Lord John 
Russell, or with his thorough approval. This the 
Duke pronounced in the most emphatic way : his 
words naturally produced a considerable sensation. 
Disraeli described Lord John's conduct as "what 



DISRAELI. 299 

would have been called in the language of the 
last century, a profligate intrigue." Lord Derby, 
in a speech of refined sarcasm, asked, whereas 
they had just been told that a Member of the 
Cabinet, who had led the attack against his late 
colleagues in general, had particularly singled out 
the colleague who had trusted him most impli- 
citly, and to whom he had given constant advice, 
what must be the condition of the remainder of 
the Cabinet? If what had taken place was the 
fruit of intimacy, and cordial feeling between the 
Duke \)f Newcastle and Lord John Russell, on what 
terms could the remainder of the Ministers be ? 
He said that " He was not disposed to diminish 
the effect of that picture of an interior, which has 
been, with such graphic power, described by the 
Noble Duke : the Cabinet ' peint par soi-meme ' 
forms one of the most effective pictures ever pre- 
sented to Parliament". 

Lord Aberdeen's Government being out, the 
vastly important question arose as to who should 
succeed him. The coalition of men of opposite 
principles formed in the year 1852, for the purpose 
of ousting the Tories, had failed contemptibly : 
they had allowed the country to drift into a war, 



300 DISRAELI. 

for which they were utterly unprepared: An Army 
of fine, stalwart, soldiers had perished, not by the 
sword, nor by the bullets of the enemy, not even 
by Pestilence, nor Famine, nor Idleness, the great 
devourers of armies ; but in consequence of a project 
being undertaken, for which no due preparation had 
been made. The bitter feeling created in 1852, 
had by no means subsided : it was felt that owing 
to there having been a Coalition Government, War 
had ensued. It was suspected in the country that, 
if we were not the cat's-paw of France, we were at 
best playing the game of the French Emperor. 
The whole Cabinet of Lord Aberdeen had shared 
the national reprobation: and the Country called 
decidedly upon a new and fresh Government to carry 
on the war, and to bring it to an honourable con- 
clusion. It was universally believed by those who 
paid attention to politics, and indeed it was the 
instinct of the earnest portion of the people of this 
Country, that an opportunity had at length arrived 
for Lord Derby to take the helm : it was also 
felt that, by so doing, he would rally every honest 
heart around him. By a combination of circum- 
stances the Whig party and the Peelites were both 
thoroughly discredited. This was the great oppor- 



DISRAELI. 301 

tunity of Lord Derby's life. It is difficult to 
make it understood how vehement was the feel- 
ing in his favour at the time. It was believed, 
and justly believed, that things in the Crimea 
were about to mend ; and that all that was 
required was a vigorous Administration. Errors 
had been detected, and might be remedied: the 
whole heart of England was set upon supporting 
a new Government : nor would any section of 
intriguers have dared to endeavour to undermine 
a Ministry, that should set to work honestly 
and vigorously, to replace Britain in the position 
which she ought never to have lost No one 
doubted in Parliament for a moment that Lord 
Derby, whom the Queen sent for at once, would 
have taken up the reins of Office, which had fallen 
from discredited hands; and would have declared 
himself, in a great oration which would have thrilled 
through the Empire, to be a Minister prepared to 
carry on "a just and necessary war" to its trium- 
phant termination. Had he done so, he would have 
been so strong as any Minister that ever rilled his 
great place : he would have roused an enthusiasm 
such as we have read that the first Pitt, the 
great Chatham, roused. All sections of Britain, 



302 DISRAELI. 

and all classes, from the members of the House 
of Lords to the crowd in the streets, had but 
one cry, "A new and vigorous Government" It is 
true that the Tory Party were not in a majority in 
the House of Commons : under ordinary circum- 
stances this might have been an excuse for their 
not taking Office : as it was, it was no excuse. 
None of the men who had just lost power in such 
a pitiable manner, dared have united against a 
new Cabinet. If Lord Derby had said openly, "I 
know that I am in a minority in the House of 
Commons; I know that I may be out-voted to- 
morrow; but all other Parties in the State having 
tried, and failed, to form an Administration, I 
have consented to do so. The Country must 
clearly understand what I mean. I shall only leave 
Office on one condition; that a distinct vote of 
Want of Confidence in me and my colleagues be 
passed by the House of Commons : to that I shall 
yield; but to nothing else: but while I say this, 
I add in the same breath, so convinced am I of 
the generous feeling and the honest love of their 
Country which fills the breast of every man in this 
Empire, that until I have had a fair, but not 
too much prolonged trial, that vote will not be 



DISRAELI. 303 

passed". Had Lord Derby said this, had he 
made a Cabinet, which he might well have done 
of his own party, with the addition of those who 
had previously served ; had he admitted Lord 
Ellenborough, a most able administrator, and Sir 
Edward Bulwer Lytton, a man of great capacity, 
the very men who now refused would have joined 
him. 

Even without these aids, so peculiar were the 
circumstances of the day, that the first thirteen 

men that he should meet in the House of Com- 

s 

mons and Lords, with himself at their head, must 
have succeeded. What happened? Lord Derby 
gave the history of what took place most clearly 
in a speech, which he made in the House of 
Lords : every word of which I listened to with 
eagerness : and with bitter disappointment. I have, 
as others have, frequently since read the history of 
this crisis : never for a moment have I changed 
my opinion that on the evening on which Lord 
Derby made his statement, the 8 th of February 
1855, he ceased for ever to deserve the reputation 
of a Statesman. 

The House of Lords was crowded : the Peeresses' 
Gallery full : the extra lights near the Throne burn- 



304 DISRAELI. 

ing: everything showed a great occasion. No one 
guessed what was coming. The rank and file of 
the party had no doubt that Lord Derby would 
announce that he had accepted office. I happened 
to be standing next to a lady, whose husband 
ultimately filled the high office of Lord Chancellor : 
I said, "Who is it to be?" She replied, with the 
dignity of anticipated grandeur, "Lord Derby, of 
course ! " 

Lord Derby spoke well, and with considerable 
emphasis: Before long it became clear, from the 
tone and character of his words, that it was not 
his intention to do what his party unanimously 
thought was his duty. He began to speak of his 
unwillingness to be "a Minister on sufferance:" he 
said that he was unwilling to be dependent for 
support from day to day upon precarious and un- 
certain majorities; "to find it necessary to con- 
ciliate some half dozen men here, or obviate the 
objection of some half dozen there; and to 
scramble through the Session of Parliament:" all 
of which arguments would, under ordinary circum- 
stances, have been plausible : they were not so in 
these. He spoke of Lord Ellenborough and Sir 
Edward Bulwer Lytton as being ready to join 



DISRAELI. 305 

him : he admitted that he had the support of 
three hundred Members in the House of Com- 
mons: but he recalled what had happened to him 
in 1852. He spoke of the attacks made on him 
in the newspapers : and he ended his speech by 
saying, that he had felt, and he had advised the 
Queen, that he would not, for he could not, form 
a Government, without the assistance of Lord 
Palmerston: that he had, accordingly, immediately 
upon leaving Buckingham Palace, called upon Lord 
Palmerston : that Lord Palmerston had given him 
clearly to understand that he would be glad to 
join Lord Derby's new Government; but that he, 
Lord Palmerston, would require that two Members 
of the late Administration, namely, M r Gladstone 
and M r Sidney Herbert, be invited to take part 
in the new Cabinet: Lord Derby added that he 
had completely agreed with Lord Palmerston; and, 
more than that, he had suggested that, as these two 
had been formerly Members of the Tory Party, he 
thought that they would be well qualified to sup- 
port him on this occasion. He also pointed out 
to Lord Palmerston, and this was of great import- 
ance, that he, Lord Palmerston, should lead the 

House of Commons : and that Lord Ellenborough 

u 



306 DISRAELI. 

should be Minister for War; as the labours of this 
most important Office would be impossible, if 
joined to the Leadership of the House of Commons. 
He stated to Lord Palmerston that Disraeli had 
already said that "he would waive all claim and 
pretension to lead the House : and would willingly, 
and readily, act under the direction of the noble 
Viscount's ability and experience". Lord Derby 
added that, not only would M r Disraeli make this 
sacrifice, but that he, M r Disraeli, "hoped that such 
a surrender might render more easy the accession 
of two of the friends of the noble Viscount, who 
might be willing to act under him, but less willing 
to act under himself". Lord Derby quitted Lord 
Palmerston, after half-an-hour's interview : it was 
arranged with Her Majesty that a messenger should 
wait to carry to Windsor the result of the con- 
fidential message which Lord Derby had sent to 
M r Gladstone and M r Sidney Herbert by Lord 
Palmerston. Lord Derby waited in vain : Lord 
Palmerston did not return. The interview had 
ended at two o'clock : and at half-past nine, the 
latest moment that the messenger for Windsor could 
be detained, Lord Derby wrote to Lord Palmer- 
ston for his decision. Great was his surprise, when 



DISRAELI. 307 

Lord Palmerston, instead of returning to say that 
the offer of Lord Derby had been accepted or 
refused by M r Gladstone and M r Sidney Herbert, 
merely sent a note to say that, "on full and com- 
plete reflection, he had come to the conclusion 
that if he were to join Lord Derby's Government, 
he could not give it full support." Lord Palmer- 
ston added, that he had communicated with M r 
Gladstone and M r Sidney Herbert ; and that they 
would write their own answers to Lord Derby. At 
half-past twelve, the same night, Lord Derby received 
a note from M r Gladstone : and, between seven 
and eight the following morning, one from M r 
Sidney Herbert. Lord Derby said that he was 
very much struck with an expression in M r Glad- 
stone's note; M r Gladstone, after stating that 
Lord Palmerston had communicated to him "the 
wish which I had expressed, that he, M r Glad- 
stone, should form part of my Administration, 
added, ' I also learned from Lord Palmerston that 
he is not of opinion that he can himself render 
you useful service in your Administration'". Lord 
Derby expressed his extreme astonishment at this. 
He had, after receiving from Lord Palmerston the 
earnestly expressed wish to join him in his Govern- 



308 DISRAELI. 

ment, confided to him the fact that he should have 
difficulty in forming a Government without his aid. 
Lord Palmerston was solely commissioned to ask 
M r Gladstone and M r Sidney Herbert whether 
they would join Lord Derby. He appears, from 
Lord Derby's statement, to have done nothing of 
the sort; but to have stated to both that Lord 
Derby could not form a Government without the 
aid of those two, and himself. M r Gladstone and 
M r Sidney Herbert declined to join Lord Derby's 
Government It is painful to suspect that Lord 
Palmerston, during his interview with these two 
gentlemen, whose hands were perfectly free, may 
have suggested that he himself might become the 
Minister. The statement made by Lord Derby 
created a very great sensation at the time : as well, 
indeed, it might. 

Lord Palmerston, as we know, became Minister : 
his explanation of the above transaction may be 
found in the debate of the i6 th of February 1855. 
A very careful reading of his speech entirely fails 
to clear up his very ambiguous conduct. That 
Lord Derby should have been so imprudent as to 
confide to Lord Palmerston the fact that he could 
not form a Government without him surprises me. 



DISRAELI. 309 

Had Lord Derby boldly taken up the reins, had 
he declared that he would do as I have suggested 
above, I had no doubt at the time, and I have 
no doubt now, that his Government would have 
been a strong one. Had the contingency arisen, 
which he anticipated, of another combination 
against him on the part of the Whig and Peelite 
parties, he would have had an opportunity, such 
as few Ministers have ever had, of placing the 
great Tory Party once more in an unequivocal 
majority: not by "dishing the Whigs," not by 
taking " a leap in the dark," but by an honest 
appeal to the patriotism of the British People. So 
strong was the feeling at the time against the 
late Government, so eager was the anticipation of 
good from a new one, that a Dissolution on the 
cry of " Intrigue and Faction ! " must have re- 
sulted in a very large majority in the House of 
Commons. This was so thoroughly felt at the 
time, that Lord Derby would not have been 
molested : he would have kept office. More than 
this; had he boldly seated himself in the chair 
of Premier, those who joined Lord Palmerston 
immediately afterwards would have joined him: 
Lord Palmerston himself would have joined him, 



3io DISRAELI. 

when he found that success had followed bold- 
ness; as it usually does. I well remember, when 
Lord Derby sat down after his fatal speech, turn- 
ing to George Smythe, and saying to him " Is not 
that enough to damn the Party ? " He replied, 
" Enough to damn a hundred parties ! " 

Lord Derby had not only ruined his party; he 
had insulted them : he spoke of " raw and worth- 
less recruits ! " and used other quite undeserved 
terms of contempt. 

I believe that from that time the Tory Party had 
but little confidence in Lord Derby. From every 
part of the Country remonstrances came. There 
was hardly a County, hardly a Borough, in the 
United Kingdom, that did not express disgust 
I well remember Colonel Edward Taylor, the 
best manager which the Party has had, standing 
in the entrance- hall of Buckingham House, Pall 
Mall, which the Carlton Club temporarily occu- 
pied, the next morning : his hands were full of 
letters, which he was tearing open. I said to 
him, " Here's a blunder ! was there ever anything 
like it?" He replied, "Every one says the same 
thing." No wonder that Disraeli's reproaches were 
of the bitterest, and well-deserved. No wonder 



DISRAELI. 311 

that he spoke his mind to Lord Derby : all his 
toil wasted : all his just hopes destroyed. 

The forces which Lord Derby commanded had 
behaved with a Loyalty and a Chivalry that 
were not to be surpassed. Nothing could be 
finer than their discipline : nothing nobler than 
their behaviour : and now, after long and weari- 
some waiting, after enduring all the miseries of 
disappointment, an opportunity had at last oc- 
curred. The Enemy was flying. Where is the 
Tory Leader? Where is "Rupert", so named by 
Disraeli and Lytton ? Is he proudly planting 
the Standard of the King on the inmost walls 
of the deserted citadel ? Is he congratulating 
his followers upon the fortune which had at last 
attended their gallant efforts, and their splendid 
Loyalty ? He is doing nothing of the sort. 
" Rupert " is galloping to the rear so fast as his 
horse can carry him. To drop metaphor, Lord 
Derby was shooting snipes with Lord Malmesbury, 
in Hampshire : and joking about the troubles which 
he had avoided. 

Right well did he deserve the terms in which 
Disraeli spoke of him : the sentiments expressed by 
him were the sentiments of the Tory Party. I heard 



312 DISRAELI. 

what was said at the time by his deserted followers ; 
and I know that their contempt was deserved. 

DISRAELI'S COMMENTS in the House on 
Lord Palmerston's accession to Office were amusing. 
Lord Palmerston had declared that the People of 
England were without a leader: and that he, like 
King Richard, had exclaimed, " I will be your 
leader ! " Disraeli turned this by saying that Lord 
Palmerston had compared the Members of the 
House of Commons to " the rabble of Smithfield ; 
lately headed by Wat Tyler". He, naturally, ex- 
pressed doubts whether the new Government, which 
was made up of the old materials, would succeed 
any better. He said, "Sir, let us hope that, 
although we have the same individuals regulating 
our affairs, these men, who a fortnight ago were 
voted to be unparalleled blunderers, may now be 
transformed into expert Statesmen " : and he wisely 
added, "So long as they attempt to do their duty 
in the conduct of this war, they may reckon on 
the same support as their identical predecessors 
received: should they fall, they will not be able to 
impute that fall to the factious hostility of those 
who sit opposite to them". 



DISRAELI. 313 

He called them "a re-burnished Ministry ". 

I suspect that one arch-intriguer may have been 
mixed up in the affair: I mean Napoleon III. 
That he would be a strong advocate for Lord 
Palmerston's Premiership is most probable : I think 
that it is not unlikely that what occurred some 
years afterwards, in relation to the throwing out 
of the " Conspiracy- to- Murder Bill" by Disraeli, 
which caused the Emperor very great annoyance, 
may have been caused, in some measure, by 
Disraeli's recollections of his conduct at this 
crisis. 

I suspect that that subtle mind had much to 
do with the interior of successive British Cabinets, 
during the time its owner sat on the throne of 
France. 

DISRAELI described the character of an individual 
as "not redeemed by a single vice." 

THE ONLY PERSON whom I have met who 
reminds me in any way of the manner of Dis- 
raeli in private life, is M r Henry Irving. When I 
first had the honour of knowing him, I could not 
persuade myself that he was not imitating Disraeli's 



3 H DISRAELI. 

manner : the peculiar slowness and deliberation of 
utterance; a voice very much of the same timbre; 
and the resemblance in other minute particulars 
surprised me. M r Irving told me that he had, to 
his regret, never heard Disraeli speak in Parlia- 
ment : and, I think, added that he had no personal 
acquaintance with him. 

I REMARKED to M rs Disraeli that there was one 
situation in which my imagination could not pic- 
ture Disraeli, namely, in a country-house : that 
polite prison tempered by pheasants. She said, 
" You are right. Whenever we go to a country- 
house the same thing happens: Disraeli is not 
only bored, and has constant ennui, but he takes 
to eating as a resource: he eats at breakfast; 
luncheon ; and dinner : the result is, by the end 
of the third day he becomes dreadfully bilious ; 
and we have to come away". 

DISRAELI IS SUPPOSED to have represented 
Thackeray, in his last novel of " Endymion," as 
M r S l Barbe. I do not see any great resemblance. 
There was no love lost between them. I met 
Thackeray in Knightsbridge : He said to me, 



DISRAELI. 315 

being fond of throwing in bits of French, of 
which he was a master, " Comment trouvez-vous 
cet horn me ? il est capable de tout ! " 

I HAVE HEARD the eleventh Duke of Somerset 
discourse on the great orators of the past : I re- 
member his saying that he had listened to Fox in 
the House of Commons for four hours, and been 
sorry when he left off. I took part in an interest- 
ing conversation when dining with Lord Jersey in 
Berkeley Square : Lord Lyndhurst, and the pre- 
sent Lord Derby, were the only others present. 
Lord Jersey said that Fox had a trick of saying 
in the House "But, Sir", repeatedly. I assume 
that very few speakers but what have some trick 
of the sort; and are unconscious of it until it be 
pointed out to them. It is a resting of the mind : 
if it were not for these involuntary, and unperceived, 
resting-places, the current of words could hardly 
flow with correctness. 

AN EXCELLENT country Squire, M r Plowden, 
living on the borders of Wiltshire, who has not long 
been dead, when considerably past ninety told me 
many stories of the past He had frequently seen 



316 DISRAELI. 

Lord Nelson : he gave me a graphic description of 
M r Pitt returning thanks, for his Ministry, at the 
Guildhall dinner, after the battle of Trafalgar. He 
was seated near to him : he told me that nothing 
could exceed Pitt's dignity of manner: that his 
style was more or less formal, but very impressive : 
and that he gave you the idea of being a master 
of Rhetoric. I visited, not long ago, the house 
in which M r Pitt lived, on Wimbledon Common. 
It is still called " Bowling-Green House " : and is 
on the right of the road going from London. The 
house has been enlarged : but his bedroom and 
the room, downstairs, in which he and Lord Mel- 
ville drank their " potations pottle-deep " still exist. 
It was here that his duel with Tierney took place. 

GEORGE SMYTHE told me some interesting 
facts on a matter which may cause surprise : the 
absolute separation of political from personal feel- 
ing. I had expressed to him my wonder at seeing 
Disraeli and Lord John Russell, very shortly after 
an embittered controversy in the House, chatting 
together with good-humoured familiarity. George 
Smythe replied, "The fact is, Disraeli is glad to 
find some one with brains in his skull: there are 



DISRAELI. 317 

not a great many " ; and he added that at the 
time when he himself was Under-Secretary for 
Foreign Affairs, when Lord Derby's attacks upon 
his chief, Lord Aberdeen, were most venomous, 
and of daily occurrence, they dined together every 
night ; sometimes at the house of one, sometimes 
of the other ; sometimes at a Club : but their 
evening meal was always taken together. 

DISRAELI pointed out to me that there is 
much more excitement when the Party to which 
a Member of the House of Commons belongs is 
in Opposition than when his own Party is in 
power. Nothing can be less exciting than to 
serve a Government which has an easy majority. 
There is no one to attack. When in Opposition, 
you are a free lance : the more mischief that you 
can do to the Government the better : you have 
no responsibility : and bring none to the Leaders 
of the Party whom you support. 

IT SURPRISES me that at no time has any 
Member of the House of Commons quoted from 
Disraeli's novels the numberless opinions with which 
he might have been pelted. There is an armoury 



318 DISRAELI. 

of these weapons in his works : had they been 
judiciously selected and impelled, they would have 
caused him great annoyance. Occasionally when, 
in conversation, I quoted some passages, not of 
course of a hostile kind, I could see in his face 
the opinion, " How very disagreeable this man 
might be, if he were on the other side". Here is 
one good specimen : Disraeli makes a Minister say 
to one of his myrmidons, previous to a critical 
Division, "Let every man of the Party believe that 
he is to be an Under-Secretary ". 

CONSIDERING the manner in which Disraeli 
was looked upon during nearly the whole of his 
life, I was astonished at the marvellous effect pro- 
duced on the Public by his death : certainly 
up to the last time when he became Prime 
Minister, few people seemed to care about him, 
or his future : indeed, had he died before his last 
Premiership, I can hardly think that his death 
would have caused any excitement. At seventy he 
obtained a brilliant success. His theory was that 
ultimately Success attends Effort and Patience : 
I know that when congratulated upon his final 
triumph he said, " Yes ! but it has come too late ! " 



DISRAELI. 319 

Voltaire and La Bruyere together sum up the 
realities of Fortune : 

All comes to him who learns to wait : 
All comes; but ever comes too late. 

AS REGARDS THE Cynicism displayed through- 
out Disraeli's novels, who can be surprised? He 
had been sneered at, mocked, neglected : every 
opprobrious name had, at one time or another, 
been applied to him : mankind had laughed at 
him : Impostor, Lunatic, Profligate, Sceptic, every 
term of contempt had been lavished upon him : 
four-fifths of this, as he knew right well, were 
merely the result of his success : one is surprised 
that he had any feeling for others left. 

"FORTI NIHIL DIFFICILE," his motto, was 
his own adoption : a man may adopt and change 
his motto and crest as he may prefer : the device 
was criticised at Disraeli's election for Shrewsbury : 
it was said to have been adopted at that time. 

HE SPEAKS of Melancholy being "the doom of 
energetic celibacy". 



320 DISRAELI. 

DISRAELI WAS fond of inserting little metaphors 
in his conversation. During the last time he was 
Prime Minister, while a Conference of importance 
was sitting on the Continent, I met him in Pall 
Mall close to the War Office. It was a bitter cold 
day : he had a white silk pocket-handkerchief tied, 
not round his throat, but over his chin : he ap- 
peared to be in the last stage of exhaustion. He 
stopped me; and after a few good-natured words 
said, "Has the dove left the ark?" I thought for 
a moment that it was some allusion to the olive- 
branch of Peace. I replied, " If you do not know, 
nobody else can". He then said, "It's a dread- 
ful thing for the country ". " Oh ! you mean the 
floods : I beg your pardon ". I felt that it 
was very kind of him to stop even for a minute 
on such a day ; and said, " We must not lose 
our Prime Minister ". He said, " Thank you 
for your kindness ", and walked on. I looked 
after him, and really expected from his apparent 
condition that he would not reach Marlborough 
House. His appearance was generally of a settled, 
hopeless, calm : as if his last hour were immedi- 
ately approaching; and he knew it 



DISRAELI. 321 

LORD PALMERSTON was as a young man 
known as " Cupid " : the part he played in Society 
was that of a transitory Lothario to a not very high 
class of Calistas., 

ONE SECRET of Lord Palmerston's success was 
that he always affected to take the House into his 
confidence : his " nods and becks and wreathed 
smiles " were all for the Members : he wished them 
to believe that he was laughing at the outside Public. 

THE CHARACTER which Disraeli gives Lord 
Melbourne in the "Runnymede Letters" is "A 
mild, middle-aged, lounging, man : gifted with no 
ordinary abilities, cultivated with no ordinary care : 
but the victim of sauntering". I well remember 
seeing Lord Melbourne walking with the Queen, 
when I was a boy at Eton. The Sovereign, fol- 
lowed by the Court, used to walk on the Eastern 
Terrace of Windsor Castle : Lord Melbourne wore 
his hat slightly on one side : his features were 
good : his general air that of a listless poco- 
curante : his conduct towards his Sovereign was 
high-minded and conscientious. 

The Windsor Uniform, which is not, as errone- 

x 



322 DISRAELI. 

ously fancied, a coat covered with gold lace, but 
a simple blue coat with scarlet collar and cuffs 
and handsome pin-buttons bearing the Royal 
Crown and Cypher, seemed to contrast unfavour- 
ably with the varied colour of waistcoats and 
trousers worn with it. Lord Melbourne's clothes 
were not gaudy, but nondescript : a neckcloth of 
the fashion of the day, a sort of tartan pattern : 
the apparent carelessness of his dress and general 
appearance hardly seemed to me to suit the dignity 
of the Prime Minister. In addition to this, the 
Court not wearing gloves always gave him, although 
according to the severest rules of etiquette, an un- 
tidy appearance. 

The Prince Consort never looked better than 
in the Windsor Uniform : the double-breasted coat 
buttoned across his chest, with the Garter Star; 
trousers usually of what was called Oxford Mixture, 
that is a dark gray ; his coat exceptionally well made. 
I remember his opening the new buildings at Eton, 
in Weston's Yard : he certainly reached the ideal, 
as regards appearance. I was at Eton when a 
happy event took place : a Triumphal Arch was 
erected on the occasion of Her Majesty's Mar- 
riage: instead of crossing the Slough Road, an 



DISRAELI. 323 

arch of enormous dimensions, and covered with 
illuminated lamps, was placed between what was 
called "Spiers's Corner" and the elm tree in the 
garden on the opposite side of the road leading 
towards Okes's and "Angelo's Lane." The boys, 
of course, accompanied the carriage to the Castle, 
with vociferous acclamations. 

I SHOULD SAY that the Country which Disraeli 
loved best was Spain: Her ancient associations; 
the mixed descent from the Goth and the Moor; 
the poetical ideal of the Spaniard ; and the romantic 
character of the Spanish people, and their history, 
affected him. 

AN UNPLEASANT incident occurred to Disraeli 
the year before he entered the House of Lords : 
in the unseemly rush which takes place when the 
Commons are summoned to the presence of their 
Sovereign the Prime Minister was thrown down, 
and narrowly escaped injury. On being raised, 
he quietly said, " This shall not occur again ! " 
At the same ceremony the next year he carried 
the Sword of State immediately before the Queen. 



324 DISRAELI. 

THE FAMILY LETTERS which he wrote during 
his early travels in Spain allude obscurely to some 
great grief. It is difficult to say whether the ill 
was of the heart : or whether, as in the immortal 
diagnosis of Sawyer (late Nockemorf), " the stomach 
was the primary cause." 

Physical Love is short-lived ; Affection, however 
tender, is survived or replaced. I should say that 
Disraeli's case was neither of these forms : one 
would expect in such a temperament to find a far 
deeper passion, the Love of the Imagination. In 
a nature such as his, the fatal power of con- 
ceiving the Ideal, joined to a quick and accurate 
perception of blemishes, must have been a source 
of torment. No one can read " Henrietta Temple " 
and not feel that it surpasses in sentiment Rous- 
seau and Byron. 

DISRAELI said, "When I meet a man whose 
name I cannot remember, I give myself two minutes : 
then, if it be a hopeless case, I always say, "And 
how is the old complaint?" 

IT IS REMARKABLE as regards his supposed 
reply, when asked upon what principle he stood, 



DISRAELI. 325 

Radical or Tory, "I stand upon my head," that in 
a letter to his sister dated the 8 th April 1833, Dis- 
raeli quotes it from a newspaper. He says, " In 
'The Town' yesterday, I am told that some one 
asked Disraeli, in offering himself for Marylebone, 
on what he intended to stand, 'On my head,' 
was the reply ". 



DISRAELI'S DIET was, I should say, scanty; 
I have no doubt that he wisely economised his 
interior space. We have heard the story of the 
Epicure who, at a tavern, burst into tears : on 
being asked the reason of his grief he said, "You 
ask me why I weep; Look at that man wasting 
a glorious appetite on a leg of mutton ! " Dis- 
raeli did not do this. He says in one place "I 
live solely on snipes ". 

HIS FIRST ACQUAINTANCE with O'Connell 
was evidently of a friendly kind. He dined with 
him in May 1834, at O'Connell's house: I am 
confirmed in my belief that the affair at Taun- 
ton arose entirely from a misapprehension of what 
Disraeli said. 






326 DISRAELI. 

As regards Disraeli's advocacy of Triennial Parlia- 
ments and Vote by Ballot, at Wycombe, as not 
being inconsistent with the principles of Toryism, 
he writes in 1834, that he hears that "Triennial 
Parliaments are to be a Cabinet Measure; also an 
extension of the Constituency : the Ballot to stand 
on its merits : in short a Revolution ". He adds, 
" This must lead to a fatal collision with the House 
of Lords ". These were precisely the measures 
which he had shortly before advocated. As to 
the letter to O'Connell, he says to his sister, 
" I do not regret the letter : the expressions were 
well weighed : and without it the affair was but 
clever pamphleteering ". I have no doubt that 
every word was considered with the greatest possible 
self-criticism : and that it was intended to attract 
attention : and to show what the writer's powers of 
expression were, when he took pains. 

I HAVE MENTIONED "Rose Bank," Lady 
Londonderry's Cottage on the Thames near Ful- 
ham, as the scene of breakfast-parties. Of "Rose 
Bank," long anterior to the breakfasts to which 
I have alluded, Disraeli says, " It is the prettiest 
baby-house in the world : a Pavilion, rather than 



DISRAELI. 327 

a Villa; all green paint, white chintz, and looking- 
glass." 

I mention in this relation the name of one 
whom I saw there. He was the first "Swell" 
that I had ever seen : the term " Dandy " had 
long before disappeared. I was then an Eton boy. 
I am glad to say he still flourishes. Nothing 
could be more perfect than his dress ; " Duck ", 
i.e., stout linen, trousers were then the fashion : 
his had very fine vertical lines of red and blue ; 
the climate must have been warmer than now. 
Everything was neat; unostentatious; in short per- 
fect. I have never seen any one so well dressed. 
I hope he will forgive me, as a very old friend, for 
mentioning his name, The Hon. S' George Foley; 
he is, I believe, now a General; and his services 
have been requited by the high military honour 
of K.C.B., but so perfect has been always his 
social position, that I dare to say that most of his 
friends are ignorant of the fact. 

One of the legends that linger within the gloomy 
chambers of Dublin Castle is that Captain Foley, 
who had been for many years on the Staff of 
successive Lords Lieutenant, was asked at dinner 
by His Excellency, "What Regiment are you in, 



328 DISRAELI. 

Foley ? " " Upon my word, Sir, I don't know : my 
servant is in the room; I have no doubt that he 
knows ". 

Captain Foley showed himself later on to be a 
true soldier. Thackeray admits that "the dandy 
regiments fought best in Spain". Placed on the 
Staff of the French Commander-in-Chief, Colonel 
Foley fought at the Alma, Balaclava, Inkermann, 
and the Tchernaya. Subsequently he distinguished 
himself by a French command in China when 
acting as British Commissioner. A general officer 
of great critical power told me that the finest thing 
he ever saw was General Foley leading a hand- 
ful of Frenchmen against the flank of a heavy 
column of Chinese. May the last of the "Swells" 
long flourish ! 

BYRON AND HORACE, both appreciators of 
the beautiful, and great Poets, said in their last 
days that they had failed to find an ideal. Horace 
speaks of the " Spes mutui cordis " being over : 
Byron echoes Horace's words, 

" The hope of mutual hearts is o'er ". 

I doubt whether Disraeli found his ideal of 
woman. He never hinted to me that he had. 



DISRAELI. 329 

DISRAELI said that successive Governments held 
nearly the same Policy : That Ministerial Measures 
were usually taken from the pigeon-holes of their 
predecessors. 

AS REGARDS the much-vexed question of the 
early professions of politics by Disraeli, as an- 
nounced in his addresses to the Electors of Wy- 
combe, Marylebone, Taunton, etc., an examination 
of his various documents and speeches leads one 
to the conclusion, that first and foremost, Ben- 
jamin Disraeli wished to enter the House of Com- 
mons : that Benjamin Disraeli persuaded himself 
that his object in life ought to be to destroy the 
Whig party : that in asking for the support of 
Daniel O'Connell and Joseph Hume, one a dan- 
gerous Irish demagogue, the other a Scotch Radical, 
he intended to use their support solely for the 
purpose of defeating the Whig Candidate : that he 
wished it to be thought later that he had never pro- 
fessed Radicalism, although in a letter to his sister 
he calls himself " a Radical " : that he disagreed 
with O'Connell : that he intended to oppose the 
son of the Whig Minister, Colonel Grey, by the 
united aid of the Tories, and the Radicals : it 



330 DISRAELI. 

is but justice to say that at his first Election he 
was proposed and seconded by a Tory and Radical 
respectively. M r Treacher, ominous name, was the 
Radical proposer: M r Rose was the Tory seconder. 

It is very difficult to understand how Triennial 
Parliaments and Vote by . Ballot, both of which 
in early days he decidedly promised to support, 
were consistent with any form of Toryism. The 
Politics of Lord Bolingbroke, and of Sir William 
Wyndham, could not convey any distinct ideas to 
the electors of High Wycombe, unless they were 
of a more highly educated type than those within 
my recollection. 

As regards the correspondence with Hume and 
O'Connell on the subject, Bulwer, afterwards Lord 
Lytton, was the intermediary : Disraeli's letters to 
him, and the indirect communications received by 
Hume and O'Connell are written in the mystic 
style dear to the Oriental mind. 

AS REGARDS THE internecine quarrel between 
Disraeli and O'Connell, whom he politely de- 
scribed later as an " over-rated rebel," the fol- 
lowing is probably the solution of the beginning 
of the difficulty. Disraeli, standing for Taunton, 



DISRAELI. 331 

and hoping to be in Parliament, could not have 
had any direct object in picking a quarrel with 
O'Connell, whom there seems to be no doubt 
he personally liked. What I believe happened 
was this. His object was, when opposing the 
Whig, Labouchere, to show that the Whigs, 
whom O'Connell designated as "base, bloody, 
and brutal," were now licking his hands for their 
own purposes. It was by no means an unfair 
taunt to tell M r Labouchere that his party were 
now bending to, and kissing the hand of one 
whom they had not long before denounced as an 
incendiary and a traitor. To any one who has 
experience of the hustings, and particularly to 
those who are familiar with Disraeli's style, it is 
not difficult to fancy his addressing the Electors 
in this manner : " And now I have to tell my 
opponent the brief history of his party, with which 
he may or may not be familiar. There was a 
time when between them and Daniel O'Connell 
the most frantic and frenzied hatred existed : 
no abuse was too lavish, no name was bad 
enough, for O'Connell : and the lowest depths of 
vituperation were exhausted by him upon the 
Whigs. The mildest terms with which he was 



332 DISRAELI. 

then assailed were Incendiary and Traitor: what 
do we find now? We find, if not my Honourable 
Opponent himself, yet the great Whig party, 
actually bowing down to, idolising, and worshipping 
this Traitor ! this Incendiary ! I ask him, will he, 
or will he not, support this Traitor, this Incen- 
diary ? Is the Traitor his friend ? or is he not ? " 
etc., etc. Now, however honest and well-inten- 
tioned may be the report of a speech delivered 
on the hustings, every one knows, who has been 
there, that the incessant noise, the questions, the 
interruptions, are so deafening, that even the most 
powerful speaker finds it very difficult to make 
himself understood, or even to be heard. The 
immortal description of Eatanswill, in " Pickwick ", 
is hardly a caricature : and Disraeli, with his 
ringlets, possibly his velvet coat, and his violent 
declamations, must have been very difficult to 
follow. A report of this speech, including the 
terms "Incendiary" and "Traitor," was sent to 
O'Connell, with disagreeable comments upon it 
in the London newspapers : immediately upon 
this, wrong-headed as he was, O'Connell threw out 
his fulmination. It was not so much, I suspect, 
the terms "Incendiary" and "Traitor" that stung 



DISRAELI. 333 

O'Connell, as the consciousness that he had entered 
upon an alliance with the Whig Party. 

What followed was a fine illustration of the fact 
"that Disraeli "admired Invective". As regards the 
letter, which O'Connell said had been "posted in the 
streets of Taunton", it is remarkable that no copy 
was produced. In "The Sun" newspaper of the 
6 th of May 1835, O'Connell's speech on Disraeli, 
copied from the " Dublin Morning Register," is 
give* 1 . It is too long to quote : most of the pas- 
sage in it are well known : I mean those relating 
to "the Impenitent Thief". O'Connell applies to 
Disraeli in this speech the terms " Miscreant," and 
" Liar ; " and he adds, " He is the most degraded 
of his species : England is degraded in tolerating, 
or having upon the face of her Society, a mis- 
creant of his abominable, foul, and atrocious nature. 
(Cheers.) My language is harsh; and I owe an 
apology for it : but I will tell you why I owe that 
apology : it is for this reason ; that if there be 
harsher terms in the British language, I would use 
them : because the harshest of all terms would be 
descriptive of the most degraded of his species ". 
(Cheers and laughter.) Let the reader mark 
the next sentences, " He is just the fellow for the 



334 DISRAELI. 

Conservative Club : he has Falsehood enough, 
Depravity enough, and Selfishness enough, to be- 
come the fitting leader of the Conservatives : he is 
Conservatism Personified ". 

Then followed a challenge from Disraeli to 
Morgan O'Connell, the agitator's son. The father, 
after shooting a man in a duel, at which he most 
reluctantly appeared, declined to fight any more ; 
and refused to defend the insults, which he con- 
tinued to offer, in the manner customary at that 
time. Morgan O'Connell replied that he had 
called on Lord Alvanley for satisfaction because 
he had insulted his father by wishing to expel him 
from Brooks's Club : the fact being that O'Connell 
pere had called Lord Alvanley a "bloated buffoon". 
He declined to give Disraeli satisfaction, because 
he had that day heard for the first time of the 
language used by his father. This was followed 
by the remarkable letter addressed to Daniel 
O'Connell : it is good in composition. 

Disraeli distinctly says in it that the quotation 
in a newspaper which had angered O'Connell was 
from a "hasty and garbled" report: and that 
the speech as reported "Scarcely contains a sen- 
tence, or an expression, as they emanated from 



DISRAELI. 335 

my mouth ". This I believe. He says that 
O'Connell had seized the opportunity, because it 
was in the interests of his party to represent him, 
Disraeli, as "a Political Apostate". He reminds 
O'Connell, who had taunted him with ill-success 
at Elections, that he, Disraeli, "had no threaten- 
ing skeletons to canvass for him : has no death's- 
head and cross-bones blazoned on his banners". 
He tells O'Connell that he expects to be a Repre- 
sentative of the People before the Repeal of the 
Union : and he ends the letter with these words, 
" We shall meet at Philippi ! and rest assured that, 
confident in a good cause, and in energies which 
have not been altogether unimproved, I will seize 
the first opportunity of inflicting upon you a casti- 
gation, which will make you, at the same time, 
remember, and repent, the insults that you have 
lavished upon 

BENJAMIN DISRAELI". 

HE NEXT CAME to blows with a newspaper, at 
that time a strong supporter of the Whig party of 
the day : and connected with which, as Disraeli 
assumed, was a Member of Parliament. Towards 
this newspaper he uses the following delicate meta- 



336 DISRAELI. 

phor. "When Jupiter hurls the thunder-bolt", this 
was a compliment to " The Times ", " it may be 
mercy in the God to veil his glory with a cloud : 
but we can only view with feelings of contemptuous 
lenity the mischievous varlet who pelts us with 
mud as we ride by; and then hides behind a 
dust-cart ". 

In "The Times" of the 3i st of December 1835, 
a letter appears from Disraeli, giving a fair and 
lucid statement of his past conduct from his own 
point of view. It is carefully written ; well-ex- 
pressed; and conspicuous for moderation. In this 
letter there are a few sportive terms; "rheumy 
rhetoric"; "the frisky brilliancy of an expiring 
squib " ; he states that he found the Tories after 
the Reform Bill of 1832, in a state of "ignorant 
stupefaction". "The Whigs assured them that 
they were annihilated : and they believed them ". 
He declares that, when they gave him their sup- 
port, such as it was, both Hume and O'Connell 
were standing aloof from the Whigs: that they 
were not anxious to see the Whigs too strong : 
and that they had given him a support which 
he did not require. He adds towards the end, 
that the Editor of the newspaper that had attacked 



DISRAELI. 337 

him had made "quavering remarks" on his "Vin- 
dication of the English Constitution " : and that 
he, the Editor, had a "smile of idiot wonder" 
when he heard that there had been "Tories in the 
reign of Queen Anne ! " He finishes by declaring, 
" I feel that I have darted at least one harpoon in 
the floundering sides of the Whig Leviathan ! his 
roaring and his bellowing, his foaming mouth, 
and his lashing tail, will not daunt me ! It is the 
roar of Agony, of anticipated Annihilation ! the 
foam of Phrenzy ; and the contortion of Despair ". 
The letter on the whole, however, is sensible. 
Another letter addressed to the same newspaper, 
on December the 26 th , 1835, by Disraeli is worth 
quoting, for a curious reason. The last words are 
these, " My letter to Lord Lyndhurst, just pub- 
lished, to which you allude, contains the Opinions 
with which I entered political life four years ago; 
Opinions which I adopted when the Tory party I 
opposed appeared likely to enjoy power for half a 
century : Opinions which I hope half a century 
hence I may still profess ! " The Editor says, 
good-humouredly, "We echo very cordially the 
hope of M r Disraeli, that fifty years hence he 

may still profess Opinions of any sort ! we would 

Y 



338 DISRAELI. 

add the humble ejaculation, ' May we be there 
to see ! ' The Compliments of the Season, and 
many happy returns to us both will then be 
pretty fully realised ! M r Disraeli's confidence in 
his longevity is, we trust, better founded than his 
reliance on his future constituents, if we may judge 
from the past ". The article ends with these words, 
" Fifty years hence M r Disraeli and we shall, we 
trust, be better friends : though his sanguine pros- 
pect of attaining that period convinces us that he 
is, as we supposed, not only 'the Younger,' but 
the Youngest of the Disraelis ! " The prophecy was 
very nearly fulfilled, for Disraeli died in 1881, just 
within the fifty years expected : what is worthy of 
remark is that at the time of his decease he had 
no stronger nor more intelligent supporter than the 
newspaper in question. 

IN THE SPRING of 1853, I lost my seat in 
the House of Commons on petition. I dined that 
evening with Lord Wilton at his house in Gros- 
venor Square. Except the present Lord Lichfield 
and myself, the guests were Lord Derby's late 
Cabinet. I was sitting next to Disraeli, and, not- 
withstanding my misfortune, we had a cheery 



DISRAELI. 339 

evening. After dinner Lord Derby rose, and said, 
" This is not an occasion for giving toasts, nor for 
speaking; but there is one toast that I must give; 
and, under the circumstances, I shall couple with 
it the name of Sir William Fraser. I give you 
'Pure Conservatism'". Disraeli turned to me, and 
said, " He goes joking on : ignorant of the catas- 
trophe ". I replied, " He is not at all ignorant : I 
told him before dinner". Soon afterwards Disraeli 
said, " I ought to feel for you ; but I don't. I 
can't ! I feel nothing ! " He was then forty-nine. 
I assume that his sensibility did not increase 
afterwards. He added, "Think of the 'kick-out' I 
have had ! let that console you ! " his tone and 
manner were good-natured : I think that he was 
slightly sorry that I had lost my seat. Disraeli 
had always a great idea of Youth and Enthu- 
siasm. I remember George Smythe telling me, 
after some civil words which he had heard of me 
from Disraeli, that he had said, "A young man 
with such enthusiasm as his, is a fortune in 
himself. 

DISRAELI'S MAIN OBJECT in early life was 
to make himself conspicuous, at all costs, and all 



340 DISRAELI. 

hazards. A better-bred man would not have done 
this. The craze for notoriety does not exist in 
the mind of a high-bred Gentleman. However 
beneficial it may be intentionally to play the fool 
in Youth, and I by no means deny that in Dis- 
raeli's case it succeeded, a man with self-respect 
will not, and cannot, do it. 

Disraeli had not been at a public School. Dis- 
raeli had no one, little or great, whose criticism he 
dreaded. He looked upon himself, in the absurdi- 
ties which he performed, with his velvet coat, his 
rings, his ringlets, his ruffles, etc., as an actor 
who goes on the stage to play a part. He was too 
sagacious not to feel the absurdity of his own 
conduct ; keen as he was to discern absurdity in 
others : his repeated efforts to get himself talked 
about, were all part of an ignoble but profitable 
comedy. 

I HAVE WRITTEN of Disraeli as "Disraeli". 
By that name he will be known in History. Horace 
Walpole rarely signed himself " Orford " : none 
speak of Bacon as Lord S' Albans : Macaulay, "and 
others who ought to know better, clumsily call 
him "Lord Bacon"; a title which never existed. 



DISRAELI. 341 

DISRAELI CONFIRMS a theory which I hold, 
that Races of men are most influenced by those 
who do not belong to them. We have a strong 
illustration in Napoleon I. and in Disraeli. Careless 
people allude to Napoleon as a Frenchman ; he was 
no more a Frenchman than he was an Englishman, 
or an American : his family were Italians of Italians. 
Emigrating from the mainland, they settled in 
Corsica: the Corsicans having an exaggeration of 
the Italian character. At school Napoleon shook 
his fist at the boys ; and said, " Some day you 
Frenchmen shall smart for this ! " He had nothing 
of the Frenchman in him : and for that reason 
he dominated them. Disraeli had not a drop of 
British blood in his veins. He could watch ; study ; 
observe ; calculate ; do everything but sympathise : 
he, like Napoleon, used a people to obtain supreme 
power. 

I OBSERVED no touch of pathos in his speak- 
ing : he could be dismal ; not pathetic. 

ONE TRAIT in Lord John Russell's character 
surprised me. It is true that the inner, and outer, 
life of a man usually differ. The steady, uncom- 



342 DISRAELI. 

promising, Virtue of public life has, not unfre- 
quently, been accompanied by conjugal infidelity : 
whereas the political roue is frequently a model 
of domestic virtue. When the death of Lord 
John's first wife, Lady Ribblesdale, was an- 
nounced to him, he fell senseless on the floor. I 
had this from the person who told him the sad 
news. 

ON TWO OCCASIONS Lord Derby erred con- 
spicuously in Taste and Judgment. In one he 
spoke of the Roman Catholics as being "un- 
muzzled " : on the other, he alluded to the generic 
term " Italian " as being nondescript : and with 
surprising folly quoted the passage where Macbeth, 
addressing the murderers who have just declared 
" We are men, my Liege ! " says, 

"Aye in the catalogue ye go for men; 
As hounds, and greyhounds, mongrels, spaniels, curs, 
Shoughs, water-rugs, and demi-wolves, are classed 
All by the name of dogs ! " 

AT THE TIME of the Chinese War I met 
Disraeli and M rs Disraeli by the Serpentine ; 



DISRAELI. 343 

where skating was going on. M r had recently 
been appointed to an Office in the Government. 
He was not a man qualified to give them strength : 
I remarked to Disraeli, "I suppose they act on 
the principle of the Chinese troops of putting 
their women in the weakest place ". He stopped : 
and with great solemnity said, "Don't throw that 
away ! never throw things away ! keep that for a 
great speech in the House of Commons ! " I 
replied : " Oh, it is not good enough ! " " Trust 
me, it is quite good enough ! " I felt depressed : 
and said, " Well ! it is not good enough for me ! " 
After the lapse of years I do not think that it was 
so bad. I said to him, "It is too late : I met 
B. K. " ; naming a middle-aged M.P., an ardent 
supporter, " in Kensington Gardens ; and I told 
him ". In his deepest voice Disraeli said, " No harm 
done ! he would not understand what you meant ! " 
An exquisite summing up of the individual in 
question. 

THE READER MUST forgive if "Sorrows of 
mine own intrude ". After being dislodged from my 
position in the West in 1853, I at once opened a 
campaign in the East. George Smythe brought me 



344 DISRAELI. 

the message : I have no doubt that I was sent 
to Harwich in good faith ; it was on the all-powerful 
"Attwood Interest". One or two of the humours 
of the Election I venture to record. I was opposed 
by a strong local man, M r B., an elderly person. 
After many dreary weeks of solitude at the "Three 
Cups " Hotel, the only passe-temps being to watch 
the corpses, removed from the sunk-fort, of 
soldiers who died daily of small-pox, the Election 
took place. A few days previously I was intro- 
duced to an elderly, red -faced man, dressed 
as a sailor; whose profession, I had no doubt, 

was that of a smuggler. I said " Well ! M r 

I am told that you know everything. What is 
it to be?" He said, "Sir William, I am called 
the ' Political Barometer ' ". " Well ! shall I be 
returned ? " " No, Sir William, you will not I 
will tell you why : You are a gentleman ; now we 
want a blackguard". 

The day of nomination was brilliant : a large 
multitude assembled : an abundance of yellow 
flowers were shown : yellow being the colour of my 
opponent M r B. was named first : in his speech 
he said, " Gentlemen ! I wish to ask you one 
question only : I have the greatest possible respect 



DISRAELI. 345 

for Sir William Fraser: none of you respect him 
more : but I ask you farmers, if you were about 
to purchase a horse, would you choose a seasoned 
animal ? or would you prefer a colt ? " " One 
word! M r B.," interrupted I. "As many as you 
like, Sir William ! " said the old man, pausing 
for breath. " I may be a Colt ! I am not a Re- 
volver ! " a four-barrelled pun. This, which I con- 
fess I thought above the comprehension of the 
Essex populace, was received with a shout of 
delight When M r B. had concluded I followed : 
I do not give my speech ; for two reasons : one 
is, that it would not interest the reader : the other, 
that I cannot remember it I recollect saying, 
" You may shake your laburnums ! but you cannot 
return a man like that ! " received with merriment. 
I followed up this : " As M r B. has alluded to my 
age, I allude to his. Seventy-two, or twenty-seven; 
which will you have ? In the words of the injured 
Queen of France, I appeal to every mother who 
listens to me ! " I was surprised that this subtle 
historical allusion was appreciated. They roared : 
and I heard a very dirty, and slightly drunken 
woman in the crowd say, " Well ! he's a Member 
for to-day, at any rate ! " The next day the polling 



346 DISRAELI. 

took place. We knew it would be a near thing. 
The Constituency is small : the voters dropped in 
one by one. I waited, and watched for the con- 
tingent from Dovercourt; as Napoleon watched for 
Grouchy. They came at last : but it was of no 
use : the great Attwood firm had blown up two 
days before the Election, which the Whig Govern- 
ment had postponed, knowing what was coming : 
and I went up with them. 

MY DREARY CAMPAIGN at Harwich was inter- 
rupted by a very exciting scene. Lord Derby had 
been elected Chancellor of the University of Oxford, 
in place of the Duke of Wellington. I went to 
Oxford, of which University I am a Master, to see 
the ceremony. On the platform at Swindon I met 
Disraeli. He, in a more peremptory manner than I 
liked, asked me why I was not at Harwich. I told 
him that I had canvassed every Elector in the 
place over and over again. I thought his manner 
nervous, and rather querulous. I felt quite certain 
that he had doubts as to what his reception by 
the University would be. 

On the day of Installation Lord Derby was placed 
in due form on his Throne in the Theatre. To 



DISRAELI. 347 

those who have not been in the Sheldonian build- 
ing I may explain that it is in the shape of an 
ordinary theatre ; of a large size : the stage is re- 
placed by an organ-loft : and the door of entrance to 
the Pit, or floor of the Theatre, is where the leader 
of the orchestra usually sits ; in the chord of the 
arc ; immediately opposite to the Throne of the 
Chancellor in the centre of the semi-circle on 
the first tier. 

Lord Derby's appearance was magnificent. Dressed 
in his rich robes of black satin, with masses of 
gold ; tall ; of exceptionally dignified presence ; no 
one could look the Chancellor better than he. On 
either side of him sat the Bishops in their pic- 
turesque Convocation robes, and the Doctors in 
scarlet gowns. After the ceremony of Installation, 
those about to receive the Honorary Degree of 
" Doctrinae Civilis Lector," were admitted in single 
file : passing from the door of entrance across the 
area, to the Chancellor's throne. As each approached, 
Lord Derby put the question in a sonorous voice, 
" Placet ne vobis, Domini Doctores ? Placet ne vobis, 
Magistri ? " The University conferred the Degree 
on all the important Members of Lord Derby's 
Government. Lord Shrewsbury, with whom I re- 



348 DISRAELI. 

turned to town, alone refused it : and regretted his 
refusal. 

In addressing the recipients of this great honour, 
Lord Derby began in the case of Privy Councillors, 
"Vir Honoratissime ! " in others, "Vir Doctissime!" 
They then took their seats on either side of his 
Throne. A great effect was produced when Lord 
Stanley, now Lord Derby, approached to be ad- 
mitted to a Doctor's degree by his father. The 
Chancellor said, slowly, and distinctly, in a voice 
that rang through the Theatre, "Fili mi dilec- 
tissime ! " 

Lord Derby's reception had been, as may be 
supposed, most enthusiastic, particularly by the 
Undergraduates, who on these occasions fill to re- 
pletion the upper gallery : but it was not equal to 
that which Disraeli received. So soon as his face 
appeared at the door, looking very pale, there was 
a burst of cheering: but his great triumph was 
reserved for the moment when Lord Derby touched 
his hand : I never heard a louder cheer : it was 
prolonged ; and continued for several minutes. 
Disraeli, still looking pale, but with considerable 
lighting up of his face, calmly moved to his seat. 
About two minutes afterwards, I, who was watch- 



DISRAELI. 349 

ing him, noticed that he looked with his eye-glass 
along the gallery of ladies on the second tier of the 
Theatre, searching for some one : so soon as he 
saw his wife, his eye-glass dropped: and in a 
significant manner he kissed his hand to her. 
This was not done for effect : it was from good- 
nature; and a wish to do exactly what was right. 

An ode was recited by the Poet, who, the 
year before, had delighted us with the "Feast of 
Belshazzar ". 

Tact was required in eulogising the new Chan- 
cellor; while an allusion was necessary to the great 
man who, a year before, had filled that high posi- 
tion. Tact was shown : I recall a line anent the 
Duke, 

" And wiped the bloody honour from his sword ''. 

The Poet adroitly told how, when we were 
looking round to find one to replace our greatest 
man, we chose Lord Derby. 

The Banquet at Christ Church in the evening 
I shall relate farther on. I do not wish the two 
pictures to interfere with each other. 

SOON AFTER I first knew Disraeli he discoursed 
on Life and a Career; he exaggerated the advan- 



350 DISRAELI. 

tages of physical beauty: this induces me to sup- 
pose that he could not have been exceptionally 
handsome. Had this been his fate he would have 
known how heavily handicapped are those who 
possess this supposed advantage : he would have 
utilised this knowledge in his writings : for he 
treated emotions as marketable commodities. He 
took the conventional view of such gifts. I re- 
member his saying in a lugubrious tone, " Wait 
till the time comes when you are no longer irre- 
sistible ! " " Wait till the time comes when you 
have broken hearts ; and had your own broken ! " 
This he repeated, inquisitively. 

IF DISRAELI COMPLAINED, and I do not 
know that he did, of being misinterpreted, he may 
thank his early writings for it : no human being 
can read "Vivian Grey" and "Contarini Fleming" 
without wonder that any man can have been im- 
prudent enough to write down such sentiments : 
in the former he paints the ne plus ultra of Poli- 
tical Profligacy : we can only suppose, and hope, 
that Disraeli meant to draw, not himself, but an 
ideally adventurous scoundrel. Indeed "Vivian 
Grey " seems to be a caricature : or like another 



DISRAELI. 351 

story in which the Marquess of Carabas figures, a 
nursery tale. Still there were a good many people 
in the world who wished to take this seriously : and 
when it was followed, some time afterwards, by 
the "Runnymede Letters," I do not think that 
Disraeli could complain that, as to his sentiments, 
he had been wronged. 

DISRAELI constantly harps upon the delights 
of Youth, the golden season, etc. The experience 
of most persons I believe to be, that Youth 
has quite as many sorrows as any period of 
life : childhood has more. The only real con- 
solation of Youth is that Youth aspires : and 
this enables it to endure its sufferings. In this 
country political success in Youth is impossible : 
now and then a rocket may go up; but the stick 
falls : the light is gone. Men are too envious, 
and too jealous, to allow political success to a 
young man. The French are a much vainer and 
more envious people than we are. They say, "On 
couronne la perruque". This is, to a great extent, 
the case in all countries. Disraeli said to Baron 
H., "In these days no man earns distinction 
before forty : few after fifty ". 



352 DISRAELI. 

Disraeli says, "To be glorious when young is 
the Gift of the Gods " : but a man must be dis- 
tinguished in one way only. The cruel and care- 
less nurse who affects to guide us through life 
whispers, " You must not eat all your cake now : 
I shall keep some for bye-and-bye." 

DISRAELI'S GENEROSITY in some things was 
conspicuous ; probably, to some extent, from his ad- 
miration of Magnanimity, as being artistic. Carlyle 
asked, " How long will John Bull permit this 
absurd monkey to dance upon his stomach?" 
The despised Jew, the object of Carlyle's coarse 
vituperation, repaid this by taking the first oppor- 
tunity after he became all-powerful to offer his 
maligner the Grand Cross of the Order of the 
Bath : the first time that this honour has been 
offered to any literary man, as a literary man : and, 
in language unsurpassed for delicacy, a pension. 

I REMEMBER George Smythe, who was un- 
questionably a disciple of Disraeli's, saying to 
me, "I am all for a Radical party with Great 
Names," meaning, no doubt, that the great names 
should be Benjamin Disraeli and George Smythe. 



DISRAELI. 353 

Disraeli always sneered at a "Venetian oligarchy". 
A " Council of Ten " which may be changed when- 
ever we choose gives us a much better chance 
of real, practical, liberty, than any other method. 
Where a million of men are armed, and under 
the orders of a good-humoured, intelligent, and 
well-intentioned Monarch, a State may exist : but 
without this, the position of a "Great Name," 
with no Aristocracy, would not be enviable ; 
and would not last long. Napoleon I. said, "A 
Nation with an Aristocracy is a ship on the sea; 
without it, a balloon in the air". He found 
that, although he tried hard, he could not invent 
an Aristocracy; nor create one. 

ON THE EVENING on which Lord Derby was 
made Chancellor of Oxford, and Disraeli a Doctor 
of Civil Law, the Dean and Canons of Christ 
Church gave a dinner in Cardinal Wolsey's mag- 
nificent Hall. All members of the "House", if 
you call it a College you will be drowned in Mer- 
cury, that is, Christ Church, may dine there every 
night of term-time, by a permission which is con- 
tinuous : The Dean, Canons, and Students alone 

have a right : it is a compliment for Members 

z 






354 DISRAELI. 

of Christ Church not on the foundation to be in- 
vited, on the day reserved, by the Dean and Canons. 
Lord Derby, the new Chancellor, sat on the 
right of the Dean, at the High Table; the Hall 
was full of distinguished persons. After dinner a 
few toasts were given : M r Gladstone, who was 
then Member for the great Tory University, but 
who had ceased to be connected with Lord Derby's 
Party, spoke. A story was circulated that M r 
Gladstone's reception was bad : nothing could 
be more untrue : Members of Christ Church are 
gentlemen : they would not invite a man to dinner ; 
and then insult him. M r Gladstone spoke with 
tact, and good taste; he very happily quoted lines 
from Lord Derby's translation of Manzoni's Ode, 
" II Cinque Maggio ". The subject is Napoleon 
gazing from a lofty rock in Saint Helena upon the 
troubled ocean below him : it pictures him fancying 
a vast army obeying his command. The lines 
quoted by M r Gladstone were, 

" He saw the quick-struck tents again : 
The hot assault : the battle-plain : 
The troops in martial pomp arrayed : 
The pealing of the Artillery : 



DISRAELI. 355 

The torrent charge of Cavalry : 
The hasty word, 
In thunder heard : 
Heard ; and obeyed ". 

The last line is "Heard, and at once obeyed". 
M r Gladstone judiciously shortened it. 

Disraeli did not speak. After dinner, we ad- 
journed to the lecture-room, at the top of the 
exquisite staircase, for coffee. I observed that the 
room soon emptied : and found that the Under- 
graduates had followed Disraeli across the grand 
quadrangle. 

The crowd had reached the centre near "Mer- 
cury " : it was raining slightly : some one called 
out, "Speak!" Disraeli stopped: and very dis- 
tinctly said, " Gentlemen ! within these classic walls 
I dare not presume to attempt to thank you ! 
but, believe this, never will I forget your generous 
kindness ". The " will " for the commonplace 
" shall " is noticeable. 

"1867. 

IN THE YEAR of the great crime, 

When the false English Nobles, and their Jew, 



356 DISRAELI. 

By God demented, slew 

The trust they stood twice pledged to keep 

from wrong, 

One said, take up thy Song, 
That breathes the mild and almost mythic time 
Of England's prime. 
But I. Ah me! 
The freedom of the few, 
That, in our Free land, were indeed the free, 
Can song renew? 

Ill singing 'tis, with blotting prison-bars, 
How high soe'er, betwixt us and the stars : 
111 singing 'tis when there are none to hear : 
And days are near 
When England shall forget 
The fading glow which for a little while 
Illumes her yet ; 
The lovely smile 
That grows so faint and wan: 
Her people shouting in her dying ear 
* Are not two daws worth two of any swan ? ' 

In this year the middle and upper classes were 
disfranchised by M r Disraeli's Government ; and the 



DISRAELI. 357 

final destruction of the liberties of England by the 
Act of 1884 rendered inevitable. 

COVENTRY PATMORE". 

So sings a Poet of the day. It is but justice to 
consider what relation his vigorous words bear to 
"the Jew" and the "English Nobles." 

The Jew could have done nothing without the 
English Nobles : the Reform Bill of 1867, was 
passed by the Tory County Members ; who had, 
during their political existence, been loudest in their 
shouts against Reform. Had it not been for their 
support, the Bill could never have become law. 
In the case of Sir Robert Peel and the Corn Laws, 
even he, with his immeasurably greater influence, 
failed : the mass of his supporters absolutely re- 
fused to follow him in his change. 

Disraeli's position was far inferior to Sir 
Robert Peel's. True, he had never abandoned his 
party. As he points out, in an allusion to Boling- 
broke," from the moment when he cast in his lot 
with the Tories he never deserted them. He 
"educated" them. 

Disraeli introduced his 'measure of Reform in 
1867 in a series of Resolutions. These con- 



358 DISRAELI. 

tained points, which he declared to be absolutely 
fixed; and which nothing should induce him to 
abandon : they were abandoned by him immediately 
afterwards, without scruple, and without hesitation. 

I was not a Member of Parliament at the time : I 
read of the "fixed points"; and at once expressed 
my appreciation by the word "gooseberry-bushes": 
the defence of a camp by a chevaux-de-frise of 
this prickly, and succulent fruit, would have been 
equally valuable, as regards protection : but even 
these contemptible gooseberry-bushes were cut 
down. 

A meeting was held at the Carlton Club, 
known in history as the " County Caucus ". The 
Act of 1867, ensured the County Members their 
seats for at least fifteen years : it swept out the 
Borough Members on the Tory side with the 
besom of destruction : a typical County Member 
was placed in the Chair: and an ultra-typical 
County Member conveyed "the sense of the 
meeting" to Lord Derby. 

It was certainly startling to find those so acting 
who had for years past avowed their strongest and 
deepest convictions in favour of a system which 
was absolutely demolished by this Act. That this 



DISRAELI. 359 

was done without apology or regret, caused, and 
no wonder, the bitterest feelings among those who 
felt that all had been sacrificed in vain : it was 
felt bitterly by those who saw by the abolition 
of many Borough seats an end to their own per- 
sonal careers : that all the hopes which had 
buoyed them up in the weary struggles, and amid 
all the disappointments of their past life, were 
at an end : many felt that had they consented to 
measures of a far less democratic character at the 
beginning of their political lives, their paths would 
have been smooth ; and that the goal of an honest 
ambition might have been reached. They had 
refused to support Democracy: and now, after the 
struggles of a lifetime, their own party had ini- 
tiated Democracy. It was not as if they had fallen 
in battle : not as if the cause, for which they 
fought, had been defeated : not as if " a banded 
nation" had "pressed them to the ground": then 
they might have left a memory behind them of un- 
successful courage and loyalty. No consolation of 
this kind visited their breasts: they had been aban- 
doned, not by treacherous allies, but by half their 
own army; and that half consisting of those who 
instead of a life of struggle, expense, and labour, 



36o DISRAELI. 

had, for the most part, luxuriated in easy seats 
and uncontested Elections. 

Without wishing to acquit Disraeli of the part 
which he played, it is fair to point out that he 
was by no means in a position to controul the 
Tory party, to the extent of making them do 
what they did not wish. 

They had for years reviled him : they had de- 
spised him ; or affected to despise him. They had 
spoken of him as " the Jew : " had actually attri- 
buted their failure to him ! he being their mainstay. 
Their contempt he felt deeply : and I suspect that 
when he held them up to "covert scorn" in the 
Edinburgh Speech, as having been " educated " by 
himself, Mephistophelian vindictiveness may have 
had possession of him. This Prophet of Khorassan 
lifted his veil. When Policy and Revenge unite, 
they are irresistible, at least in a nature such as 
Disraeli's. The result of the Bill of 1867, was, as 
he well knew, and as every one knew who had 
brains in his head, utterly Democratic. Lord Win- 
chilsea had said of the Reform Bill of 1832, that 
it " must have been conceived by one with the heart 
of a traitor, and the head of a fool ! " Democracy 
may always have been the soundest of creeds; but 



DISRAELI. 361 

if it be so, the fervid eloquence, the powerful 
denunciations, the merciless sarcasms, the philo- 
sophic aphorisms, all of which Disraeli had " hurled 
at the foe", were absolutely worthless, and com- 
pletely insincere. He had said, as to a milder 
Reform Bill, "We shall still be England, but not 
Old England". 

Lord Salisbury, General Peel, and Lord Car- 
narvon left the Government: an article in the 
" Quarterly Review," published soon after, headed 
"The Conservative Surrender", expressed the views 
of those who had thought it their duty to re- 
fuse support to the Reform Bill of 1867. 

I was present when General Peel spoke. His 
speech teemed with good sense, and with manly 
honour. No member of the House of Commons 
more completely commanded respect than General 
Peel. Perfectly staunch ; thoroughly loyal ; of great 
intellectual capacity, he was one of those men 
one rejoices to have known, and to have been 
able to call a friend. His father, the first 
Baronet, often declared that he had by far the 
best brains in the family; that his intellect, and 
above all his judgment, were superior to his 
elder brother's, the Prime Minister. He several 



362 DISRAELI. 

times faltered, affected by his strong and honest 
feelings; finally he broke down. 

"Woe betides a Country when 
She sees the tears of bearded men ! " 

His speech produced a great effect upon the 
House. 

There was no strategic need of the Bill No 
doubt Disraeli saw that, as regards his own per- 
sonal prospects, he could not be successful so long 
as the weapon of "Reform" remained in the hands 
of the Whigs: that if this means of attack were 
allowed to remain in their hands, his position could 
always be assailed. 

I heard Bernal Osborne, shortly after the 
passing of the Bill, say to a Member of the Tory 
Party, with brutal frankness, "Every one knew 
that we were blackguards : but we thought that 
you were Gentlemen." 

James Clay, M.P. for Hull, a first-rate whist- 
player, a very intimate friend of Disraeli's from 
boyhood, related that when he had suggested to 
Disraeli to rid the Reform Bill of 1867 of some 
more safeguards, Disraeli replied, " I dare not ! I 
have pared them to the quick ! " Had a word 



DISRAELI. 363 

been said by the late Lord Derby against the 
measure, it never could have seen the light : the 
Country did not care for it: the Tory Party hated 
it: the question had been from time to time 
forced on by the Whigs only as a means of attack- 
ing the Tory Government. 

Upon the late Lord Derby's shoulders must rest 
most of the responsibility. Without him Disraeli 
was utterly powerless : we are indebted for the 
Reform Bill of 1867, to Lord Derby, as we are 
indebted to him mainly for the Reform Bill of 
1832 ; when he sprang on the table at Brooks's 
Club, and in impassioned language urged on the 
Revolution which took place. 

I HAVE GIVEN the view on the Reform Bill of 
1867, of those members of the Conservative Party 
who did not find themselves capable of changing 
the opinions of a lifetime in a month. I think it 
only right to add a circumstance that occurred 
subsequently. Ralph Earle, M.P., who had been 
for many years confidential private secretary to 
Disraeli, quarrelled with him for some reason that 
has not been explained; and which may never 
be known. He considered himself to have been 



364 DISRAELI. 

harshly treated in being dismissed from Disraeli's 
confidence on receiving an official appointment ; 
and, though possessing much cleverness, and a 
considerable amount of good sense, made the great 
error of attacking Disraeli in the House of Com- 
mons. A more painful exhibition never was wit- 
nessed. Earle had no power of speaking; he 
addressed the House of Commons just before a 
Division, when it is always impatient ; pouring 
out his invectives against his late master in a 
feeble manner, and producing, as might be sup- 
posed, the effect of rendering himself absurd. The 
House knew nothing of the circumstances of 
the quarrel; and cared as little. Earle had, 
of course, plenty of enemies, who turned upon 
him, and upbraided him for what appeared to 
be an act of unprovoked ingratitude. He never 
gave me the slightest hint as to the cause of his 
quarrel with a man whom I know that he admired 
enthusiastically. He was a most useful servant to 
Disraeli; for he was capable, not only of repeating 
to him what the public feeling of the day was, but 
he had quite enough of the Statesman in him to be 
able to offer advice, which Disraeli would be sure 
to listen to,' and appreciate : a subtle mind ; and 



DISRAELI. 365 

great natural ability. I had not seen Earle since 
his esclandre. I was at an afternoon party, given 
by Sir Charles Buxton at the Castle Hotel, Rich- 
mond. In the crowd assembled on the lawn I 
observed him : he seemed to feel shy as to 
speaking to me: I said, "Good morning". He 
came up to me : I give his precise words : 
"Disraeli and I have quarrelled, as you know: the 
quarrel is absolutely hopeless : it can never be 
made up under any circumstances : I know what 
your feelings have always been about Disraeli; 
and I know, of course, what they must be about 
this Reform Bill. I think it right to tell you 
that I was behind the scenes the whole time; I 
know everything that occurred. It was not Dis- 
raeli's Bill: it was Lord Derby's." I never saw 
him again. He has long been dead. 

DISRAELI, after summing up the Duke of Wel- 
lington's qualities; and doing full justice to his 
great sagacity, ends by saying, "The history of 
the Duke's failure as a Statesman might be con- 
tained in the words, 'He did not know England.'" 
The history of Lord Palmerston's success was that 
he did know England. He was not equal to Lord 



366 DISRAELI. 

John Russell in knowledge of the House of Com- 
mons ; of which knowledge, since Sir Robert Peel, 
Lord John was the first master : but Lord Palmer- 
ston thoroughly understood common-place minds; 
and was very careful to trim his sails according 
to the gale of temporary and shallow popularity. 
Disraeli speaks of Sir Robert Peel as the greatest 
Member of Parliament that ever lived; and no 
doubt he had studied this all-important matter long 
and deeply. A knowledge of the House of Com- 
mons is an absolute specialty : few acquire it. 
Those who have acquired it recognise each other 
at once : to many minds the study is perfectly 
hopeless : it requires a peculiar combination of 
mental qualities; and success only attends those 
who are deeply and exclusively interested in the 
study. 

I NEVER SAW Lord John Russell unnerved 
but once : it was when in 1853 he rose after 
the denunciations of the Duke of Newcastle, and 
M r Gladstone, on his deserting them in their 
dire extremity : when Roebuck moved for his 
Committee to inquire into the Administration of 
Army matters, in relation to the Crimean War. 



DISRAELI. 367 

His face was ghastly. I am confident that he 
stood up under the belief that the House would 
receive him with shouts of execration : he paused 
for a minute to look round the House: he was 
received in silence : he at once regained confi- 
dence; and proceeded to defend his conduct. 

DISRAELI described Whiteside's style as " Donny- 
brook Fair." 

LORD PALMERSTON was not only incapable 
of a fine style : he never attempted it. He never 
sacrificed his speech to himself. He said what 
he had to say in seemingly careless, and absolutely 
inartistic, language : it gave no pleasure to his 
hearers; but at the end of a speech you always 
knew what he meant. 

AS REGARDS POETRY, Eloquence, Composi- 
tion, and Expression, Disraeli had a strong apprecia- 
tion of the refined ; he loathed twaddle, and was 
an excellent critic of style. I never heard him 
allude to the Classics. I doubt whether he was 
familiar with him who excelled all the Classics put 
together. I do not remember his making a quota- 
tion, either in the House of Commons, nor in 



368 DISRAELI. 

private, from Shakspere : one would have thought 
that his mind must have revelled in those glorious 
creations. He had very few books in his London 
house. I have been told that he admired Shelley, 
and that school of Poetry. I never heard him 
quote from him. 

THE VOLUME of lyrics by Lord Derby consists 
mainly of translations. They have merit ; but he 
had not the ijSeiav aoid^v- without which, whatever 
Mankind may pretend, Poetry does not charm. 

I KNOW FROM one who occasionally stayed at 
Hughenden when ladies were Disraeli's guests, 
that he seemed to find considerable difficulty in 
talking to them ; his conversation was laboured : 
and what Thackeray calls "clumsy compliments" 
were not unused. He appears to have been one 
of those men who shine in the society of women ; 
but only when they are listeners to conversation 
between himself and other men : he was brilliant 
in talking before them, not in talking to them. 
The dialogues which he inserts in his novels 
are, occasionally, very unnatural. He can make 



DISRAELI. 369 

Philosophers and men of Culture, men in Political 
Life, and Thinkers, speak with point and effect; 
but when he comes to school-boys, or labouring- 
men, he seerns to me to write nonsense. The 
dialogues between Eton boys in "Coningsby" were 
the subject of ruthless and just criticism at Eton. 
They were voted absurd. With five years' expe- 
rience of Eton, I never heard boys talk in a 
manner at all like that of " Coningsby " and 
" Lord Henry Sidney " : although it was necessary 
in "Sybil" for the workman to give his views, I 
doubt whether any workman ever expressed them 
in the manner of Disraeli's operatives. 

LORD JOHN RUSSELL is believed by many to 
have been the originator of Reform ; he is supposed 
to have been a "Reformer" from his birth. This 
is a complete error. One of the few good speeches 
which he delivered was a few years before he 
became a "Reformer;" he used, in relation to the 
Question of Reform, this perfect metaphor, " I, Sir, 
am not prepared, like the boy in the Eastern fable, 
to exchange old lamps for new : nor will I throw 
the destiny of my country into the wheel, on the 
chance of what Fortune may throw out ! " 

2 A 



370 DISRAELI. 

AT THE TIME when Lord John Russell held 
Office under Lord Aberdeen "without portfolio," 
Disraeli made a very happy hit "We understand 
that the Noble Lord, the Member for the City, 
has accepted a position, which gives him the right 
to occupy a small room in the neighbourhood of 
Somerset House, where there is nothing to do. I 
can only assume that he has received the situation 
of toll-taker at Waterloo Bridge ! " 

IN THE CONVERSATION with Disraeli on the 
evening of my losing my seat in 1853 he said to 
me, "You have now but one thing left in life, a 
course of Balzac ! " 

Balzac's thoughts are an inexhaustible mine ; but 
a depressing study. 

I HAVE SPOKEN of the carriages and horses of 
the past. Perfection was shown in a carriage, now 
obsolete, called a "vis-a-vis;" one with the massive 
character and shape of a coach ; but only holding 
two persons, face to face. There were but two of 
these carriages within my recollection. Lady Jersey's 
and Lady Londonderry's; the former was by far in 
the better taste ; the subdued green body ; the upper 



DISRAELI. 371 

part, of course, black; the coat-of-arms on the 
panels ; and small metal coronets, along the upper 
edge of the body; brass ornaments on the har- 
ness ; the finest pair of horses in London ; the two 
footmen, in drab greatcoats, carrying the large 
brass-headed canes of the period ; with nothing 
gaudy : the general effect was extremely good. 
Lady Londonderry's was a much more conspicuous 
equipage ; but by no means in such good taste : 
yellow panels to the carriage : a great quantity 
of silver on the harness ; on the horses ; and on 
the hats and the blue coats of the footmen. 
This is a carriage not likely to be revived ; ac- 
cording to the highest canons of Taste, it showed 
a superfluity of Power. Lord Pembroke, the 
middle-aged "Swell" of the day, drove a "Til- 
bury," a sort of gig, with a peculiar spring, the top 
of which was parallel with the back of the seat. 
The universal vehicle of the "Jeunesse Doree" 
was the " Cabriolet " : one horse ; a lad behind 
standing ; and a hood with springs to let up or 
down. With a good horse, the effect was excel- 
lent. The owner was a portrait in a frame. 

The "Brougham" superseded this, after many 
years, as a Bachelor's carriage. 



372 DISRAELI. 

IT IS DIFFICULT to conceive what would have 
been Disraeli's life had he been excluded from the 
House of Commons. The position of a Statesman 
is peculiar. In almost any other occupation a 
man may, if compelled, exchange one pursuit for 
another : not so in Politics. Let a young man 
make the House of Commons his career, and 
he will find that he soon ceases to care for other 
things : he will feel that every other occupation is 
utterly and thoroughly insipid : the greatest of all 
pursuits, it destroys all enjoyment in other things. 
I do not say that being in the House of Com- 
mons prevents other occupations ; on the con- 
trary, I have always found that, during the time 
that I was in Parliament, I was more fit than 
at other times to pursue what I had to do with 
zest and ardour. Once out of the House, life 
seems not worth having : and the spring of exist- 
ence diminishes marvellously in power. The Science 
of Politics has been well described as " That noble 
Science of Politics, which of all sciences is the 
most important to the welfare of Nations : which, 
of all Sciences, most tends to expand and invigo- 
rate the mind ; which draws Nutriment and Orna- 
ment from every part of Philosophy and Literature ; 



DISRAELI. 373 

and dispenses, in return, Nutriment and Ornament 
to all." 

Nothing is easier than to say to a man who is, 
as most are, for a time out of Parliament, " Why 
not find other pursuits ? " " Why not occupy your- 
self in Charity, and doing good?" A man will do 
so ; but he knows right well that no excitement, 
and no interest, come near to that which the 
House of Commons affords. One who has tasted 
the excitement of Political life in the House of 
Commons will, whatever may be his occupations 
elsewhere, feel starvation of the brain, and the hell 
of involuntary idleness. 

THE CIRCUMSTANCES of Disraeli's marriage 
were these. M r Wyndham Lewis, a man in busi- 
ness, and rich, had left his widow five thousand a 
year for life: the best situated house in London, 
in Park Lane, close to Grosvenor Gate; with the 
curious addition of "coals and candles." Another 
widow, of considerable means, existed at the same 
time ; M re Camac : a gentleman named Lushing- 
ton, a handsome young man, was a pretender 
to these ladies. He married M re Camac : and 
died. The lady, who was remarkable for her dia- 



374 DISRAELI. 

monds, again married. I remember her perfectly : 
she was certainly not a person who would have 
suited Disraeli. Disraeli by his marriage found 
himself, at once, in comfortable circumstances : but 
I should say that he was by no means free from 
debt. He never, however, at any time caused his 
wife to regret the marriage : and although he pro- 
bably then paid some of his debts, I do not feel 
quite sure even of this : the personal legacy which 
he received many years afterwards from M rs Brydges 
Willyams was most welcome. It is remarkable 
that neither he, nor Napoleon III., both men of 
extreme ambition, and each at one time very poor, 
ever incurred hostile criticism in relation to money 
matters. 

THE DAY WHICH I have no doubt changed 
Disraeli's destiny was that on which the Prince of 
Wales returned thanks for his recovery from illness 
at S' Paul's Cathedral. 

Those who were in political life at the time had 
no doubt that Disraeli considered, that as regards 
the Premiership, his chances were over. He had 
filled that high position for a short time ; he had 
won the highest prize of Political life : and none 



DISRAELI. 375 

of those who saw most of him doubted $hat 
eventually an Earldom, and the Presidency of the 
Council, would be his chosen portion. Should the 
Tory Party again come into office, it was believed 
that the Premiership would be conferred upon 
another : and that Disraeli, having played the 
"Jeune Premier," would not appear on the stage 
as a " Heavy Utility," but as the benevolent 
parent, who blesses everybody before the curtain 
falls. 

On that day " Demos " was in a capital 
humour. A humble individual walking up Ludgate 
Hill, when it had been cleared for the Procession, 
was asked if he were a Prince ? On the other 
side another voice informed him that he looked 
like one. Loud cheering followed. 

On returning from S' Paul's, Disraeli met with an 
overpowering " Ovation " : I should say " Triumph," 
for he was in his chariot : this not only continued 
from the City to Waterloo Place; but his carriage, 
ascending Regent Street, turning to the right along 
Oxford Street, and thence back to the Carlton 
Club, the cheers which greeted him from all 
classes convinced him that, for the day at least, 
a more popular man did not exist in Eng- 



376 DISRAELI. 

land. Soon after his return I happened to pass 
into the morning-room of the Carlton Club. Dis- 
raeli was leaning against the table immediately 
opposite to the glass door, wearing the curious 
white coat, which he had for years occasionally 
put on over his usual dress. Familiar as I was 
with his looks and expression, or what he thought 
the absence of expression, I never saw him with 
such a countenance as he had at that moment. I 
have heard it said by one, who spoke to Napo- 
leon I. at Orange in France, that his face was as 
of one who looks into another world: that is the 
only description I can give of Disraeli's look at 
the moment I speak of. He seemed more like 
a statue than a human being: never before nor 
since have I seen anything approaching it : he 
was ostensibly listening to M r Sclater Booth, now 
Lord Basing. In the afternoon I said to the 
latter, " What was Disraeli talking about when 
I came into the room?" He replied, "About 
some County business : I wanted his opinion." I 
said, " I will tell you what he was thinking 
about : he was thinking that he will be Prime 
Minister again ! " I had no doubt at the time : 
nor have I ever doubted since. 



DISRAELI. 377 

I WAS THE LAST person with whom Disraeli 
conversed in the Carlton Club. He seldom came 
there. I on that day went up to speak to him : 
a thing I rarely did. 

He was standing in the middle of the morning- 
room, looking vacantly around : I said to him, 
"I know you wish one to speak to you." He said, 
"I am very much obliged to you: I am so blind; 
I come here ; I look round ; I see no one ; I 
go away." I said to him, "You told me many 
years ago, when I first lost my seat, that I ought 
to go through ' a course of Balzac ' : I have 
been very ill lately; I have been going through 'a 
course of Beaconsfield.'" He paused a moment, 
to consider what he should say that was civil; 
and then, "I am glad to have had so appreciative 
a reader." I said, "I hope you have got a good 
sum for the last edition." "Which is that?" "A 
very gorgeous one ; in brown cloth, gilt : ' The 
Beaconsfield Edition.'" "I must inquire about 
that ! " "I should have liked very much at 
some time to have gone through the characters of 
your early novels with you : but I never liked to 
trouble you." " They were not portraits : they 
were photographs." " Pardon me, surely they 



378 DISRAELI. 

were not photographs, which give every trait of 
the individual ; they were idealised portraits." 
" Yes, you are quite right : that is the correct 
term ; ' Idealised Portraits. ' ' " There is a man in 
this room at this moment whom you mention by 
name in the first chapter of 'Vivian Grey.'" "Is 
there?" said Disraeli, in a deep voice, looking 
round : " Where ? " " That fat man, with a red 
face, fast asleep in the arm-chair." Disraeli gazed 
at the individual : and then said, " Who is he ? " 
" His name is Appleyard." Disraeli uttered one of 
those oracular and depreciatory grunts which were 
frequent with him when he wished not to express 
an articulate opinion. I said to him, "Our poor 
friend Hodgson is gone at last." "Yes: he was 
a good man ! " " The last good thing that he 
heard in this world is worthy of being re-, 
peated, even to you." "What was it?" I told 
him the story. " Admirable ! admirable ! what 
might have been said a thousand times : and 
never has been ! " The reader must take my 
word for it, that the "mot" was extremely good; 
or I should not have repeated it to Disraeli. 
I omit it, not on account of its length; but its 
breadth. 



DISRAELI. 379 

Apropos of this story, I told him that there were 
peculiar symptoms, occasionally developed in old 
gentlemen, of exceptional gaiety : which were by 
no means omens of longevity. I said that the 
term used to me by a Surgeon of eminence, 
was either " Le Retour de Jeunesse," or " Le 
Renouveau de Jeunesse." We then spoke on dif- 
ferent matters : after about five minutes Disraeli, 
looking calmly at me, said, "You have not re- 
membered the name of that complaint, have 
you?" Neither Augur smiled. I said, "No; but 
I know who told me : and I will find out, and let 
you know." He would, I think, have liked to 
catch the complaint in question. The correct 
term, as I remembered later, is "Le Regain de 
Jeunesse," " the aftercrop of youth." I never saw 
him again. His illness, beginning as most illnesses 
do with a chill, caught upon that evening, ended 
his career. 

HE SPOKE to me of a Political Career generally. 
He had then been twice Chancellor of the Ex- 
chequer. I said, being at the time out of Parliament, 
how bitter was the disappointment, and how dreary 
existence was, when deprived of one's only source 



380 DISRAELI. 

of interest. Disraeli said, " Look at it as you will, 
ours is a beastly profession." These were the precise 
words that he used : I am quite sure that he was 
sincere. 

AS REGARDS the methodical coolness which he 
showed towards his supporters after he became all- 
powerful, Lord X. related to me a case which 
modified my opinion of him favourably. Lord X. 
was a favourite of his, and held at the time a 
high office. He told me that, sitting next to 
Disraeli in the House of Lords he said to him : 
"I am going to ask you to do me a great favour." 
He added, " Disraeli absolutely shrank away from 
me, as if I had attempted to stab him ! I have 
no doubt that he thought that I meant the Garter : 
what I asked him to do was to write his name 
in the first volume of my copy of his collected 
works." 

IT IS DIFFICULT for me, even now, to con- 
ceive how the disastrous Election of 1880 was 
brought about: an Election which changed the 
Tory Party from being in an enormous majority, 
a hundred on ordinary occasions, and at least 



DISRAELI. 381 

forty on every other, into a minority. I happened 
a fortnight before when the rumour had spread, 
to see one who knew Disraeli intimately. I said to 
him, " They have a ghastly rumour going about as 
to a Dissolution." He said nothing. I added, " If 
Disraeli dissolves this Parliament at all, we will not 
put him in Bedlam, nor in Hanwell; we will keep 
for him a very small cell in Colney Hatch ! " On 
the day of the fatal announcement, I was sitting 
next to Colonel Makins, the excellent Member for 
Essex; he said, "They have got it hot this after- 
noon about a Dissolution." I replied, "Oh, non- 
sense ! " This was during " Question-time " : five 
minutes later Sir Stafford Northcote rose to answer 
a question : I at once said to Colonel Makins, " I 
will bet you five to one they are going to dissolve." 
"What makes you think so?" "Look at North- 
cote's hair! They have had a tremendous row in 
the Cabinet : depend upon that." We know what 
followed The all-powerful, numerous, and loyal 
Tory Party was scattered to the winds. The 
enemy was perfectly prepared : Disraeli and his 
own army had nothing ready. It is to me at 
this moment an insoluble mystery how a man with 
his sagacity could possibly have performed such 



382 DISRAELI. 

an act of suicide. The casual winning of two 
or three bye- elections could have been no real 
reason : had he any rational motive for his act, 
that motive has not transpired. As regards the 
means by which the majority was reversed, I have 
my own opinion. An enormous sum of money was 
expended : the expenditure showed that a prac- 
tically unlimited fund was at the disposal of the 
Opposition. One great power in Europe had a 
direct object in dislodging Disraeli. I am unwilling 
to go further : I leave to the future historian and 
investigator to trace the cause of the enormous 
change which came over British Constituencies 
in 1880. 

ONE UNQUESTIONABLY FINE trait in Dis- 
raeli's character was his apparent disregard for 
money. 

I know what few know in relation to his con- 
duct in the matter of his latest publications. For 
" Lothair " he had received a very large sum, and 
he received also a large sum for ' Endymion." 
"Endymion" was a financial failure. He called 
upon the publisher, and offered to refund what- 
ever part of the purchase-money he would consider 



DISRAELI. 383 

just. The publisher, in an equally honourable spirit, 
refused to receive anything in payment. One thou- 
sand pounds was offered for an advance copy of 
" Endymion " the day before publication ; and re- 
fused. 

I THINK that on the whole the most graphic 
scene which Disraeli has given in his writings is 
that in the "Young Duke," where the gamblers sit 
at play for three nights and two days, heaping 
the used cards on the carpet 

DISRAELI WAS JUDICIOUS in his compliments. 
He was too wise to praise where the person praised 
had reason to doubt. The Philosophy of accepting 
or refusing to believe in good-natured praise, depends 
upon the good sense of the person to whom it is 
addressed. Undeserved praise, like false jewels, can 
give but little satisfaction : I believe self-criticism is 
usually very cruel. I happened to be presented, 
many years ago, in Germany, to a Crowned Head. 
The Crowned Head expressed a hope that I should 
re- enter Parliament : a hope which I fervently 
seconded. He added, " I remember what M r 
Disraeli told me about you when I was in Eng- 



384 DISRAELI. 

land four years ago." I bowed. He added, "He 
told me that he knew of only one man alive who 
thoroughly understood the House of Commons : 
that was yourself." That Disraeli should have 
uttered the words at all was pleasant : he could 
not possibly have calculated that I should become 
acquainted with the Illustrious Person in question : 
and for that reason I feel sure that he felt what 
he said. 

ON HIS FIRST becoming Premier the wife of 
Sir X. Y. stepped from her brougham in S* James's 
Street, and effusively said, " You are at last in 
your right place ! where you ought to be ! " Disraeli, 
who could not have liked this "open-air demonstra- 
tion," at once replied, "What is the good of it all, 
so long as Sir X. lives?" 

DISRAELI SAID, on some one making a common- 
place remark about the bad weather, " Never quarrel 
with Nature ! " At another time he said, " Don't 
let us have opinions : give us facts ! " One of 
Disraeli's life-long friends was the Right Hon. 
Beresford Hope. " Coningsby " was written at his 
father's beautiful place, "The Deepdene," in Surrey. 



DISRAELI. 385 

A scene that diverted the House took place on the 
night of an important debate. M r Beresford Hope 
did not approve of Disraeli's conduct on Reform. 
His style of speaking was exceptionally jerky and 
disjointed, and his movements, while addressing 
the House, of a very angular sort. Devoted to 
Medievalism in Architecture, he resembled from his 
peculiar attitudes, the 

Saints that from pictured windows smile; 
And tint the stones when evenings close. 

He had presumed, with good-humoured sarcasm, 
to taunt Disraeli with indulging the House once 
more with the "Asian Mystery." Disraeli retorted 
in the same spirit : and repeating the words " Asian 
Mystery," said that that term, whatever it might 
mean, was at least equal to the " Batavian Humour " 
just displayed ; alluding to the Dutch origin of the 
Hopes. He added, "I am one of those, Sir, 
who admire Invective: I think it an ornament of 
Debate." He then paused : and, looking at M' 
Hope, added, "But it requires practice": a fitting 
commentary upon the bear- like oratorical gym- 
nastics which the House had just witnessed. 

2 B 



386 DISRAELI. 

SPEAKING one day to Disraeli on the question 
of whether a verbatim report of all speeches would 
be of use : whether it would be read : in short 
considering the pros and cons which have been 
repeatedly brought forward, I said to him, speak- 
ing of Hansard and its imperfections, " I sup- 
pose you look down with Olympian serenity on 
these matters." He replied, "On the contrary, I 
feel them acutely. I don't so much object to what 
they leave out: I am deeply annoyed by what they 
put in. For example, every one believes that I 
have said that my views as to the admission of 
Jews into Parliament are ' peculiar and mysterious ' : 
peculiar they are, for obvious reasons : but at 
no period of my life was I capable of uttering 
such arrant nonsense as to say that they were 
mysterious." 



WRITING OF Lord George Bentinck, Disraeli 
describes "his manner of speaking in the House 
of Commons" as "not felicitous." He adds that 
"he was deficient in taste; but had fervour of 
feeling." Lord George reminded him of Burke's 
character of Lord Keppel. 



DISRAELI. 387 

THE FIRST TIME of my being present in the 
House of Lords was when taken there by my 
stepfather. I was fortunate enough to hear two 
men of eminence address the House; one very 
superior to the other. They were Phillpotts, Bishop 
of Exeter; and Thirlwall, Bishop of S' David's. 
The subject was the advisability of appointing an 
Ambassador or Minister at the Papal Court of 
Rome. Thirlwall, famous as an historian, was a 
clear, but common-place, speaker. Boy as I was, 
I was very much impressed with the grand elocu- 
tion and the power of argument of the Bishop 
of Exeter: his manner was full of dignity; and 
his reasoning logical. 

Many years later I witnessed an encounter be- 
tween Bishop Phillpotts and Samuel Wilberforce, 
Bishop of Oxford. I had heard Bishop Wilberforce 
speak ; his was the " floppy and fluffy style : " a great 
simulation of energy ; much gesticulation ; much 
effort ; and an inadequate result. This might be 
forgiven : what passed on this occasion convinced 
me that the Bishop was not to be placed very 
high in the hierarchy of honest men. The Bishop 
of Exeter had used these words, "What has been 
said by the Noble Earl is not only the contra- 



388 DISRAELI. 

dictory, but the contrary of truth." The Bishop 
of Oxford in his reply said, " My lords, the Noble 
Prelate has said that the statement of the Noble 
Earl is not only the contradictory but the contrary 
of the truth. My Lords, I entirely fail to recog- 
nise the distinction between these terms." To 
those of my readers who have an acquaintance 
with that most noble art, Logic, no explanation of 
these terms is necessary : to others I would say 
that the difference of these terms " Contrary " 
and " Contradictory " is this : " Let the major 
premiss be ' All A is B : ' the Contradictory of this 
is, ' Some A is not B : ' the Contrary is, ' No A 
is B.' " If this had not been uttered in the House 
of Lords, and if the utterer had not been a 
Bishop, I should have said that this statement of 
Bishop Wilberforce was a falsehood : he knew per- 
fectly well the difference between the logical terms 
"Contrary" and "Contradictory": he knew per- 
fectly what the Bishop of Exeter wanted to im- 
ply: and he also knew that there were not many 
Members of the House of Lords who would 
understand the carefully chosen terms of that 
great ecclesiastical power, " Henry of Exeter." 



DISRAELI. 389 

I HAVE BEEN asked more than once what I 
thought on the subject of holding notes in your 
hand when addressing the House of Commons. 
My own practice was to write say four or five 
heads of topics on the blank side of the printed 
proceedings of the day, holding them in the right 
hand. I have been asked whether I have ever 
found I could read them, however largely written, 
when addressing the House : I was obliged to 
answer that I never could. I should say that the 
advantage of notes is precisely this. They have 
the same effect on you as would be produced on 
the mind of a man swimming from Dover to 
Calais. If he has a boat near him, the proba- 
bility is that he does not get into the boat : but 
so long as it is close by him he has more strength 
and confidence than if he were on the ocean 
perfectly alone. 

The Classic statues of orators hold a scroll in 
the hand. 

I ALWAYS FOUND that the way to enjoy the 
House of Commons was never to be absent. I 
never knew two hours pass there without some- 
thing amusing or interesting : if you were away, 



390 DISRAELI. 

and missed your attendance for a day or two, or 
even for a few hours, something would be sure to 
happen at which you particularly wished to be 
present. I am told that the House of Commons 
has become very dull : I can only say that my 
experience of it was exactly the contrary : whether 
it was that the ludicrous, which mixes in every 
human affair, was strongly contrasted with the out- 
ward solemnity of the proceedings or not, I do 
not know : but a more diverting and amusing 
place I never was in. 

OF ALL THE natural orators, and Ireland has 
produced a great many, that I have heard, White- 
side was the best : there was not much depth in 
his speeches : the points were not numerous : and 
his style was not condensed; but his fine presence, 
his noble voice, great animation of manner, and 
intelligence of look, delighted the House. Over 
six feet in height, with arms almost longer than 
their due proportion, he appeared to revel in his 
oratory : not only was it easy to him, but the 
facility seemed to grow; and as the brain of the 
true speaker is stimulated by the flow of blood 
caused by his own elocution, so, as he warmed to 



DISRAELI. 391 

his subject, his style improved. Speaking to him 
on the principles of Oratory, Whiteside said to me, 
" Whenever you are about to make a joke ; 
whenever you are about to quote Poetry, in the 
House of Commons, or elsewhere, always explain 
your joke beforehand ; always paraphrase your 
Poetry." 

He gave me, as an illustration, an extract from 
Grattan's speech on the abolition of the Irish 
Parliament. Grattan compared it to the recently 
dead body of a beautiful girl : he gave a descrip- 
tion of the life-like look which her body still wore : 
of the difficulty of believing that she was really 
dead; and then burst upon his audience with the 
exquisite lines from " Romeo and Juliet " : 

" Oh ! my Love ! 

Death, that hath sucked the honey of thy breath, 
Hath had no power yet upon thy beauty. 
Thou art not conquered. Beauty's ensign yet 
Is crimson in thy lips, and in thy cheeks : 
And Death's pale flag is not advanced there!" 

Whiteside deplored his appointment as Chief 
Justice in Ireland. It removed him from the 
House of Commons. I think that it broke his heart 



392 DISRAELI. 

Meeting him in Paris on the occasion of a grand 
review in the Champ de Mars, where he was look- 
ing on with M rs Whiteside, at some distance from 
the crowd, he informed me that a mysterious in- 
dividual had been following them all day long. It 
was in the days of the Empire, when money could 
be obtained by reporting the conversation of sus- 
picious strangers to the police. I saw an individual 
standing under a tree not very far off; accordingly 
I began to address Whiteside in the most fearfully 
compromising terms; made remarks of a critical 
kind on the Empire, the Emperor, the system of 
Government, the Rights of Man, etc., reproduc- 
ing such sentiments as I could recall of Robert 
Emmett, Tom Paine, etc. Whiteside's counten- 
ance, being then Chief Justice, was fearful to 
behold. He begged and implored me to stop; in 
vain ! I continued until I had plied him with high 
treason enough to lead him to the scaffold. I felt, 
however, as I told him afterwards, that my personal 
friendship with the Emperor would have saved him 
from anything beyond a temporary incarceration. 
It was delightful to watch the spy drinking in my 
words. The Emperor did not think it necessary 
to take any steps. 



DISRAELI. 393 

His resemblance to the portrait of the great sur- 
geon, John Hunter, by Sir Joshua Reynolds, was 
remarkable. 

MR. GLADSTONE, pausing for a moment as if 
forgetting his next sentence, Disraeli instantly said 
across the table, as though to help the orator, 
" Your last word was ' Revolution.' " 

ONE OF DISRAELI'S HITS, which took the 
House best, was after the first speech of Bernal 
Osborne on leaving office. Bernal Osborne had 
been for five years Secretary to the Admiralty : 
during those five years he had not once been 
allowed to speak. It seems marvellous that the 
ambition of office should tempt a man to sacrifice 
such a gift as he had for the sake of place. 
Disraeli began, "After the wild yell of liberty, to 
which we have just listened." He might have said, 
but did not, probably because it would not have 
been within the bounds of House of Commons' 
courtesy, in the words of Grattan addressing Flood, 
" You have been silent, Sir, for five years ; and 
you have been silent because you have been 
paid ! " 



394 DISRAELI. 

WHATEVER MAY BE thought of Disraeli's 
career as a Statesman, no one who has watched and 
examined his work as an Artist, can have any doubt 
of his supremacy. Whether honesty of purpose and 
of conduct leads to success in life or not, is, I 
should say, at least a doubtful point : I have no 
doubt that absolute honesty and truth, as regards 
Art, are always successful in the long run : it may 
be a very long run : but ultimately Truth is an 
essential to success in all Art. Disraeli seldom 
wandered from the strictest and severest rules of 
Art. In his speeches an inartistic word or two 
may occasionally, but very rarely, have escaped him, 
from the hurry of the moment ; but he went on the 
principle that the rules of Rhetoric are fixed, and he 
must never break those canons. He followed the 
rules of Logic and of Rhetoric as perfectly as the 
great Michael Angelo followed those of Painting, 
Sculpture, and Architecture : to say nothing of his 
Poetry, and felt the words of the greatest artist, 
" Trifles make Perfection." He considered that in 
Oratory, as in Poetry, the perspective must be care- 
fully preserved : having a collectively critical audi- 
ence, he avoided all attempts to dupe them by false 
and meretricious Art. So perfect was his style, that 



DISRAELI. 395 

I found little difficulty in repeating many of his sen- 
tences, word for word, immediately after hearing 
them delivered. Very shortly after entering Par- 
liament for the first time, I spoke to George 
Smythe, on the steps of the Carlton Club: I 
quoted passage after passage of a speech, which 
I had just heard, having walked up from the 
House of Commons. He said, "You are quoting 
from Disraeli's speech of yesterday?" "No, the 
one that he has just delivered this evening." 
Smythe expressed great surprise at my being able 
to remember Disraeli's words so accurately. I 
attribute this in a great measure to the great 
vigour and absolute precision of his style. The 
Right Hon. G. W. Hunt, on my expressing these 
views to him, said, "I do not agree with you : I 
think Disraeli's speeches are very good when you 
read them the next day; but I don't at all agree 
that they affect you at the moment." I might 
have been uncivil enough to say, "That depends 
upon the intelligence of the hearer " : but, con- 
sidering that Disraeli made M r Hunt First Lord 
of the Admiralty, and Chancellor of the Exchequer, 
of course I must have been mistaken. 

The House of Commons, in those days, appre- 



396 DISRAELI. 

elated in less than a second the brilliant things 
that Disraeli uttered. In the case where Disraeli 
informed Sir C. Wood that " Petulance was not 
Sarcasm," and that "Insolence was not Invective," 
so deafening and instantaneous was the shout 
of the House, that it cut off the last syllables of 
the last word. One newspaper reported him as 
having said that " Insolence was not Integrity " ! 
t; Petulance is not Wit," is in Landor's " Imaginary 
Conversation" between Rousseau and Malesherbes. 
I have seen Disraeli receive an ovation ab- 
solutely unapproached by any other Member : I 
have at least three times known him, on finishing 
his speech, obtain in a crowded House from the 
Members opposite, whom he has been attacking 
for two hours with every weapon of refined 
sarcasm and close logic, vociferations of applause 
that vied with those who sat on his own side : a 
noble and generous recognition of Genius; worthy 
of the Senate of the greatest Empire the world 
has known. 

I HEARD AN OLD member relate to Disraeli; 
at the beginning of a new Parliament ; that 
a feeble individual had said to him, " If you 



DISRAELI. 397 

please, Sir, where do the Members for Boroughs 
sit ? " Disraeli was diverted at this ; he said, " Yes ! 
and in three months we shall have him bawling, 
and bellowing, and making such a row, there will 
be no holding him ! " 

IT IS A curious fact that Lord Lytton ; in using 
this term I always intend the first Peer; never 
addressed the House of Lords. Very poor in 
delivery, but admirable in matter, I am surprised 
that an audience which would have suited him, 
in some respects, better than the House of 
Commons, had no opportunity of hearing him. 
He could deliver a fine essay; but was entirely 
devoid of even the elements of action. So far 
from impressing his hearers by his manner, it was 
grotesque : the only thing to which I can com- 
pare it, and I am thinking of his greatest speech, 
was that of the old-fashioned post-boy. Lord 
Lytton's action was the up and down movement 
of those monotonous individuals. At Lord Lytton's 
funeral in Westminster Abbey, a member of the 
Whig Government asked me which I thought the 
greatest of Lord Lytton's works: I said, "As you 
are a Cabinet Minister, I think I must hear your 



398 DISRAELI. 

opinion first." He said, " The ' Last Days of 
Pompeii.' What do you think ? " " His speech 
in 1859 against Reform." He paused for a minute : 
and said, "Yes! I think you are right: it was a 
perfect statement of your case." 

THE CONDITION of the Tory Party as regards 
what is called an "Organ," was in former days 
most deplorable. "The Times" and other daily 
papers fired into the Tories in the most merciless 
manner. There were no means of replying. A 
defunct machine known as " The Morning Herald " 
was, ostensibly, the Party organ; I know that 
Disraeli was provoked beyond endurance by articles 
that appeared in it, which, as he said, did not 
represent, but misrepresent, the Party. I give 
this as an illustration. Lord C. and Mr. Charles 
Ducane not knowing each other, came to me in 
the Carlton Club the day after Lord Lytton's speech 
in 1859.10 which I have referred. Both said, "I 
have brought something that will delight you ; some- 
thing after your own heart." It was this. The last 
words of this great speech were these, " Democracy 
will not cease its demands until you have placed 
Property and Knowledge at the mercy of im- 



DISRAELI. 399 

patient Poverty and uninstructed Numbers " : thus 
rendered by the "Morning Herald": "And he 
thought on the whole he should vote against the 
amendment." 

IN THE FIRST conversation which I had with 
Disraeli in his own house in the Spring of 1853, 
he asked me what I thought on the subject of a 
newspaper, to be the recognised organ of the Tories. 
He deplored the condition of things. I ventured 
to say that I believed that by looking for it, and 
paying for it, so good newspaper-writing might be 
obtained as existed. Disraeli said, "It is easy to 
say that : I have looked everywhere ; and I have 
entirely failed to find it." In confirmation of my 
theory I may add that within a moderate time " The 
Saturday Review" and "The Daily Telegraph," 
neither of which then existed, were established. 
Later, Ralph Earle, Disraeli's able secretary, inspired, 
I have no doubt, by him, asked! me this question, 
" I want to know particularly what you think as to 
this. Do you believe that if an Archangel were 
sent down specially for the sole purpose of reviving 
the 'Morning Herald,' he could do it? Think 
before you answer." " I have already made up my 



400 DISRAELI. 

mind : he could not." Things are very different 
now, when the Tory Party has able,, intelligent, 
and willing representatives. 

I HAVE SAID that Lord Lytton never addressed 
the House of Lords. On one occasion he was to 
have done so ; and on a very important subject 
To the great disappointment of his friends and ad- 
mirers, and of the House of Lords generally, Lord 
Grey induced him to give up the subject to him : 
and the House of Lords never heard his voice. 

DISRAELI'S BEHAVIOUR in the House of 
Commons was always studied ; even when not 
addressing the House. When about to speak on 
an important topic, he always sat with his hat off: 
he invariably sat with one knee over the other ; his 
arms folded across his breast ; leaning against the 
back of his seat; his hat slightly over his brows: 
the more vehement the attack of his adversary 
became, the more he affected somnolence : when 
it waxed very hot indeed, he, without removing 
the pendent leg, brought his body round towards 
the west ; placing his eyeglass, with the forefinger 
of his right hand curved over it, to his right eye, 



DISRAELI. 401 

he glanced for about three seconds at the clock 
over the entrance door; replacing the glass in the 
breast of his coat, he again relapsed into simulated 
sleep. 

IN THE FIRST Parliament in which I sat, 
Disraeli wore his frock-coat open, displaying his 
plush waistcoat; he had a nervous trick difficult 
to describe. It was this. He raised both forearms 
from the elbow as if struck with a sudden idea of 
throwing the lappels of his coat wide open ; but 
invariably failed to accomplish his object; he 
touched each lappel with the points of his finger 
and thumb; producing no effect upon the coat. 
He entirely gave up this practice : in later years 
he rose with his coat buttoned across his breast : 
he usually moved his open hands downwards above 
his hips ; he then pulled his coat down in 
front, and threw his shoulders back. He began 
slowly, and very deliberately. Whenever he was 
about to produce a good thing, and his good 
things were very good, any one in the habit of 
watching him knew precisely when they were 
coming. Before producing the point, he would 
always pause, and give a nervous cough: the 

2 C 



402 DISRAELI. 

action of his hands was remarkable. He carried 
a cambric handkerchief, of spotless whiteness, in 
his left skirt pocket. He would place both hands 
in both pockets behind him ; then bring out the 
white handkerchief, and hold it in his left hand 
before him for a few seconds; pass it to his right 
hand : then with his right hand pass the handker- 
chief lightly under his nose, hardly touching it; 
and then with his left hand replace the hand- 
kerchief in his pocket; still holding his hand, 
with the handkerchief in it, in his pocket, until a 
fresh topic. 

I was fortunately in the House of Lords, shortly 
before his departure with Lord Salisbury for the 
Berlin Conference. Lord Granville had spoken, and 
had expressed real or affected regret that Lord 
Beaconsfield and Lord Salisbury should both be 
absent at the same time from the Councils of the 
Queen. Disraeli replied, " The Noble Earl has ex- 
pressed his regret that my noble friend sitting on my 
right and myself should be abroad at the same time : 
he has been pleased to add that he considers 
that the absence of the Noble Marquess and of 
myself from the Cabinet will diminish the personal 
importance of those that remain. My Lords"; 



DISRAELI. 403 

here out came the handkerchief; " I can conceive 
no circumstance, ahem ! more calculated to add 
to it!" 

Aristotle says that the greatest man is he who 
is great and knows it : a more sublime expression 
of honest and well-deserved self-esteem than this 
never was uttered. Every one felt how true it 
was : and how great the position of a man who 
dared to say it : and to know that it would not 
bring ridicule upon him. 

DISRAELI'S CRITICISM on M.P.s was ex- 
quisite : usually delivered to his colleagues sitting 
near him. Looking at a certain Member, who 
had acquired late notoriety, he said, " For twelve 
years this man was a bore : he has suddenly become 
an Institution." 

When M r Biggar first rose to address the House, 
instead of the not uncommon remark, "Who is 
this ? " Disraeli spied him through his glass and 
said, "What is that?" adding, "He seems to be 
what in Ireland you call a ' Lepraun ' ! " 

Of another Member, whose physical short-sighted- 
ness was conspicuous, and whose constant applica- 
tion, and dropping, of his eye-glass, irritated the 



404 DISRAELI. 

House, Disraeli said, " If this man had eyes, how 
the House would damn them ! " 

THE DREAM of Fair Women on a "Drawing- 
room day," when the Queen's Receptions were at 
S* James's Palace, was such as no other Country 
could display. The silly idea, occasionally cropping 
up, that Her Majesty should' hold her Drawing- 
rooms in the evening, is answered at once by 
pointing out that if this were done, old dresses, 
altered and worn again year after year, would 
appear : by daylight this is impossible ; let London 
tradespeople consider this. 

Heartrending pictures are drawn of the dilatory 
Duchess and the cruel Countess deferring their 
orders for their Drawing-room dresses until so late 
that the poor sempstress is forced to toil all night 
to complete the order in time. This is a capital cry 
against "the Classes." The fact being that it is not 
the Duchess, nor the Countess, but the dressmaker 
who delays : dreading that her new designs in Court 
Costume, if completed early, should be copied by 
envious rivals. 

LORD LYNDHURST told me that the finest effect 



DISRAELI. 405 

that he had known was on Queen Caroline's Bill in 
the House of Lords. An immaterial witness, named 
Restelli, terrified by the threats of the mob, had 
been permitted to return to Italy. Brougham, the 
Queen's Advocate, found this out : he asked quietly 
for the witness, who had given his evidence, to be 
recalled : he being across the sea, this was im- 
possible. The next day Brougham insisted : on the 
third day, when the Crown Lawyers admitted the 
fact that he was gone, Lord Brougham's denuncia- 
tion was splendid : he declared that the clandestine 
removal of this witness was characteristic of the 
conduct of the prosecution of his illustrious client : 
that this witness could and would have cleared Her 
Majesty's character; it was for this reason that he 
had been forcibly removed, etc., etc. The witness's 
evidence being, as Brougham well knew, of no im- 
portance whatever. 

IT IS DEPLORABLE that so many of the most 
brilliant productions of the Human Intellect are 
unrecorded : the writer laboriously records his 
ideas, the orator pours them forth with unpreme- 
ditated vigour and fire : they perish ! In the 
House of Commons it is marvellous that the ipsis- 



406 DISRAELI. 

sima verba of a Debate are recorded, printed, and 
circulated through the Empire the next morning ! 
Here, however, much is lost to posterity. There 
is the file of the daily papers; how few refer to 
it? Let the speaker receive his speech from Han- 
sard for correction in a fortnight : can he recall 
his own words ? Let him write them immediately 
after delivery ; are they, can they be, exact ? As 
regards corrections, the speaker strikes out, or 
softens the pungent and stinging words that gave 
zest to his hearers ; he softens ; he relents ; he 
erases; the tide of anger has ebbed; the result 
is often commonplace. 

ON THE OCCASION of the King of the Belgians 
presiding at the dinner of the Royal Literary 
Fund, Disraeli delivered this speech : " Sire, Forty 
years ago a portion of Europe, and not the least 
fair, seemed doomed by an inexorable fate to 
permanent dependence and periodical devastation : 
and yet the conditions of that Country were 
favourable to civilisation and human happiness : a 
fertile soil skilfully cultivated; a land covered 
with beautiful cities ; occupied by a race prone 
alike to Liberty and Religion ; and always excel- 



DISRAELI. 407 

ling in the fine arts. (Cheers.) In the midst of 
a European convulsion a great statesman, desirous 
of terminating that deplorable destiny, conceived 
the idea of establishing the independence of Bel- 
gium on the principle of political neutrality. 
(Cheers.) The idea was welcomed at first with 
sceptical contempt. But we, who live in the after 
generations, can bear witness to its triumphant 
success ; and can recognise the noble policy which 
consecrated to perpetual peace the battlefield of 
Europe. (Cheers.) 

" Such a fortunate result was, no doubt, owing in 
a great degree to the qualities of the race which 
inhabited the land. They have shown on more 
than one occasion, under severe trials, that they 
possess those two qualities which can alone en- 
able a nation to maintain neutrality, Energy and 
Discretion. (Cheers.) But we must not forget 
that it was their fortunate lot that the first Mon- 
arch who ascended their throne was the most 
eminent Statesman of the nineteenth century. 
(Cheers.) With consummate Prudence, with un- 
erring Judgment, with vast and varied Experience, 
he combined those qualities which at the same time 
win and retain the hearts of communities. We can, 



408 DISRAELI. 

especially at this moment, remember with pride 
that he was virtually an English Prince : (cheers) 
not merely because he was doubly allied to our 
Royal House, but because he had been educated 
for years in this Country in the practice of Con- 
stitutional Freedom. (Cheers.) When he ascended 
the throne, he resolved at once to be, not the chief 
of a party, but the Monarch of a Nation. (Hear, 
hear.) When he died, Europe was disheartened. 
The times were troublous and menacing; and all 
felt how much depended upon the character of his 
successor. In his presence it would not be be- 
coming, it would be in every sense presumptuous, 
to offer a panegyric : but I may be permitted to 
speak of a public career in the language of critical 
appreciation : and I think that all will agree that 
the King of the Belgians, from the first moment 
he entered public life, has proved that he was 
conscious of the spirit of the age in which he lived : 
(cheers) that he felt that Authority to be revered 
must be enlightened ; and that the seat of no 
Sovereign was so secure as that of him who had 
confidence in his subjects. (Cheers.) 

"The King of the Belgians, our Sovereign Chair- 
man, derived from his Royal Father another heri- 



DISRAELI. 409 

tage, besides the fair provinces of Flanders : he 
inherited an affection for the people of England. 
(Cheers.) He had proved that on many instances ; 
and on many occasions; but never, in my mind, 
with more happy boldness than when he crossed 
the Channel, and determined to accept our invita- 
tion, and become the Chairman of the Royal 
Literary Fund. (Cheers.) With what felicity he 
has fulfilled his duties this evening you are all 
witnesses. (Cheers.) I have been connected with 
your Society for many years ; as those who pre- 
ceded me of my name were from its beginning : 
and I think I can venture to say that in your 
annals none of those who have sat in that chair 
have performed its duties in a manner more admir- 
able. (Cheers.) It is something delightful, though 
at first sight inconsistent, that the Republic of 
Letters should, as it were, be presided over to-day 
by a Monarch : but if there be a charming incon- 
sistency in such a circumstance, let us meet it with 
one as amiably flagrant : and give to our Sovereign 
Chairman to-night a right Royal welcome. (Cheers.) 
It is with these feelings, gentlemen, that I now 
propose to you 'The health of His Majesty, the 
King.'" 



4io DISRAELI. 

DISRAELI spoke of "allowing full benefit to 
survivors" as "the Commonplace of Spoliation." 

WHETHER DISRAELI'S likings were strong or 
not, I do not know; I should doubt his feelings 
of friendship being warm ; on the other hand, 
his dislikes were unmistakeable : not that he fre- 
quently feit personal hatred, except with good 
cause : his animosity was roused by his sestheti- 
cism. A person had been of considerable use in 
founding an Institution in the country. Disraeli 
had taken a profound dislike, or rather disgust, 
towards him. Being unable to fulfil an appoint- 
ment, he wrote a note of excuse beginning 
" Dear Sir " : his private secretary pointed out 
that the individual in question would feel very 
much annoyed by this formal address; and asked 
him if he would not substitute the term "Dear 

M r ." Disraeli replied that he would not : 

later it was pointed out to him that M r was 

of great importance in shire : he merely said, 

" Damn shire ! " Later he was assured that it 

was in the interests of the Party to conciliate M r 

. He simply replied, " Damn the Party ! " 

He would not change the term: and did not. 



DISRAELI. 411 

I HAVE HEARD it discussed whether if Disraeli 
had been at Eton it would not have materially 
changed his character: I believe that it would 
not. Disraeli at Eton would have had a char- 
acter of his own. He would not have mixed very 
familiarly with other boys. He would at first 
have been knocked about : because he was ori- 
ginal; and a Jew. Although not distinguished in 
classics, he would towards the end of his Eton 
life have had a name in the School. 

I cannot picture him as a child. His mind 
must have been mature, or almost mature, from 
the first. Eton would have given him the advan- 
tage, to some extent, of ease in Society; which 
he never had. He seemed to have an exaggerated 
feeling that he was not quite up to the mark in 
social matters; and that he was being criticised 
by his interlocutor. 

HE SAID to me, a few years before his death, 
"Where do you live now?" I replied, "I am one 
whom you describe as ' the only real monarch, 
a man in chambers.'" "A desolate monarchy!" 
I replied, " I do not feel it so : at any rate I do 
not mean to abdicate." In another place, "Vivian 



4 I2 DISRAELI. 

Grey" Chapter i., he says, "that true freeman, a 
man in chambers." 

I HAD, some months before Napoleon III.'s 
death, an interesting interview with the ex-Emperor 
at Chislehurst I may give the rest of the conver- 
sation in another book. I was interested to hear 
his opinion of Disraeli. It is bad manners to ask 
a Monarch questions, but I led the conversation 
round to this point. 

The Emperor looked somewhat black when I 
alluded to Disraeli. Knowing that he had been 
a frequenter of Lady Blessington's parties, I 
said, " Your Majesty met M r Disraeli in former 
years at Gore House." He did not even say 
" Yes " ; but, after a pause, " I am told that he 
is a good speaker." Not another word was forth- 
coming on the subject. A fortnight afterwards I 
happened to be sitting next to Disraeli at the Club. 
I told him that I had lately had an interview with 
a man who had made a considerable dust in the 
world : he said, " Who ? " I told him : and added, 
" He is not very fond of us : he does not love 
the Tories." All he said was, "A good-natured 
man." 



DISRAELI. 413 

A SIGN OF PALMERSTON'S astuteness was 
shown by his not qualifying as a Peer of Ireland. As 
a Member of the House of Commons he could not vote 
for an Irish Peer : but I believe that he might have 
been elected a Representative Peer, had he qualified, 
and been by this means ejected from the House of 
Commons ; the chance of this he prudently avoided. 

ONE OF THE MOST PERFECT illustrations of 
good taste, and the retort courteous, was shown in 
an early reply of Disraeli to the Duke of Argyll. 
The latter had made, soon after Disraeli's entry to 
the Lords, a good but impetuous speech : and had 
wound up his harangue by saying, " Your Lordships 
must not suppose that I am influenced in what I 
have said by feeling." Disraeli, in his reply, said, 
" If, my Lords, the speech of the noble Duke, admir- 
able as it was, is a specimen of his style when not 
under the influence of feeling, I look forward with 
considerable apprehension to what I may have to 
encounter when he shall be under that influence." 

His own first speech in the House of Lords lasted 
precisely ten minutes. 

I WAS PRESENT when Disraeli took his seat as 
a Peer. 



4M DISRAELI. 

He entered by the door on the right of the bar 
between two Earls, Derby and Bradford ; all three 
wearing their Parliamentary robes of scarlet cloth 
and ermine; preceded by Garter, and Black Rod; 
the Earl Marshal, and the Lord Great Chamberlain 
in their robes ; the latter carrying his wand of office. 

The first three steps which Disraeli took were 
stagy ; he appeared to feel that this was a mistake : 
then walked slowly : and went through the rest 
of the ceremony with true dignity. After the pre- 
liminary of his Patent being read, he was conducted 
to the lowest Bench near the door where he 
had entered ; that of the Barons : the other Peers 
sat on either side of him. From thence he was 
conducted to " the Dukes' Bench : " on which, as 
Lord Privy Seal, he had a right to sit The response 
to the Lord Chancellor's greeting was gone through 
with grace : and later, divested of his robes, he took 
his place as leader of the House of Lords. I was 
particularly struck with the perfect ease with which 
he leaned forward, glanced at the Chancellor, and 
moved the adjournment of the House. One would 
have thought that he had passed his life there : this 
was always his demeanour in the House of Lords. 

In not one of his speeches in the House of 



DISRAELI. 415 

Lords was there the slightest trace either of too 
much self-consciousness, too much familiarity, illness 
at ease, nor indeed of any quality that a gentleman 
would not show under the circumstances. 

Having been for many years used to address 
the Speaker as "Sir," he never made the mis- 
take of substituting that word for " my Lords : " he 
adapted himself to his new situation " as to the 
manner born." 

HIS SLIGHTLY CYNICAL tact was shown in 
this little incident. An Election of great uncer- 
tainty, and what the London newspapers call "fierce 
excitement," happened in a country-town not very 
far from London. So close was the contest that 
every vote was of great importance : it was ex- 
pected that one or two votes might decide the 
result. A gentleman in the suburbs of the town, 
of small property, but great self-importance, in 
consequence of some supposed grievance held 
back. Besides his own vote he could controul one 
other; his solitary tenant. Desperate things require 
desperate remedies. An Officer living in the 
town determined to administer that remedy. He 
came up to London ; and sent his card in to 



416 DISRAELI. 

Disraeli in the early morning, with the name of 
the Borough written below. He was admitted : 
and in a few minutes the great man appeared, 
dressed like Cato (on the Stage) in a "flowered 
gown." The visitor, apologising for the intrusion, 
briefly stated his object. Disraeli agreed that it 
was desirable that he should at once write a 
private note to the individual ; as a means to induce 
him to vote the next day as was wished. Taking pen 
and paper, he wrote a few lines. He then turned 
to his visitor ; and said, " How many acres has the 
man got?" "Thirty." "I see; I think I had 
better add this, 'Considering, Sir, your stake in the 
County.'" The visitor acquiesced; the note was 
finished : the object accomplished : and the Tory 
returned. 

DISRAELI SAYS in his latest novel that there 
are only two things which an Englishman cannot 
command, "to be a Knight of the Garter, or a 
member of ' White's.' " 

When Napoleon III. was made a Knight of the 
Garter, he said on leaving the Sovereign's presence, 
" I am a gentleman at last." Had you asked him 
on that day, knowing Society and England as he 



DISRAELI. 417 

did, if there was one thing he still wished, he 
would have said, " Yes ! Elect me to ' White's.' " 

I have told elsewhere how Count Buol, the 
Austrian Ambassador to this Country, when he 
quitted it, with no intention of returning, wished 
ardently to be a Member of that most select 
Institution : I do not exaggerate the fact in the 
least when I say that the Emperor would have 
thought that the crowning honour of English 
Society. He had been in earlier years a member 
of the " Army and Navy " Club : and continued his 
membership while sitting on the throne of France; 
and after his fall ; He made a present to the Club 
of some very beautiful tapestry. 

I might add more of Napoleon III., but must 
defer it to a future volume. 

IT HAS BEEN SAID that in the worst period of 
the horrors of the French Revolution, there were 
still fifty men in French society whose good opinion 
no one could sacrifice with impunity. This was 
very much the state of things as regards " White's " 
Club : no one who knew the Club in its great days 
but must deplore the fact that such an Institu- 
tion has perished. The Duke of Wellington always 

2 D 



4 i 8 DISRAELI. 

spoke of "White's bow- window" as a tribunal whose 
decrees were final. No one presumed to sit there 
until past forty. 

I CANNOT LET PASS without remark one who 
shone in his generation. The great Poole. Dis- 
raeli introduces him in " Endymion " as " M r Vigo " ; 
from the neighbouring street. I honoured Poole 
as a man, although I despised him as a tailor. 
He tried on a uniform which he made for me, 
I really believe, nine times. My impression is 
that this simple method gave him opportunities of 
visiting the I st Life Guards' Barracks. He always 
came in state ; driving a handsome skewbald 
horse : but, with consummate tact, always drew 
up in the rear of the Officers' house. Poole's 
manners were those of a respectful gentleman. 
Though I did not again employ him, I made 
a point of invariably bowing to him; an atten- 
tion which he appeared to appreciate. He used 
to take post in the midst of his family on the 
road to Hammersmith, and surveyed with pleased 
philosophy the guests returning from the Prince 
and Princess of Wales's afternoon parties at Chis- 
wick. As year by year rolled by, I always on 



DISRAELI. 419. 

these occasions took off my hat to Poole; and I 
could see in his face real gratification. He felt 
that there was one individual who looked upon 
him as something better than a tailor; great as he 
believed himself to be. On two occasions I 
observed his good-breeding. Being in the crowd 
immediately after the Derby had been run, I saw 
advancing a well-dressed figure, and as at that time 
of year old school-fellows, and Spring-Captains 
abound, I thought for a moment that the face 
belonged to one of these classes. I instinctively 
held out my hand. It was Poole. At once per- 
ceiving my mistake, he raised his hat most 
respectfully, bowed, and passed by. The second 
occasion was at the marriage of a brother-officer, 
Lord Mount Charles, afterwards Marquess of 
Conyngham. Poole, of whom Lord Mount Charles 
was an early patron, was standing at the back of 
the group, in the central aisle of the Church. 
To him approached an old lady, the aunt of 
the Bride; the Duchess of Bedford. Having been 
for some years very little in London Society, see- 
ing a gentleman-like man leaning against a pew 
door, she good-naturedly and naturally said, "I 
hope that I may have the pleasure of seeing 



420 DISRAELI. 

you at my house in Belgrave Square, after the 
ceremony." Poole bowed respectfully. Had he 
been a snob, he would have gone to the breakfast. 
Had he not known what to do, he would have 
said, " I am a tailor." He did neither : he quietly 
replied, " I shall have the honour of waiting upon 
your Grace : " and did not go. 

DISRAELI occasionally smoked; but I suspect 
did not latterly care much for Tobacco. Sitting 
next to him at Lord Shrewsbury's, in Belgrave 
Square, cigars were handed round after dinner. 
He shook his head ; and turning to me said, 
"The Grave of Love!" I replied, "'Tobacco is 
the tomb of Love, said Egremont holding up a 
cigar.' " He looked very much pleased ; and 
said, " I apologise : I thought the remark was 
original." 

On one occasion he was induced to visit the 
room of Captain Gossett, for many years Serjeant-at- 
Arms, lent by the Queen to the House of Commons. 
He had got about half way through the cigar that 
was given him ; his friend said, " You don't care 
about that cigar." Disraeli answered, "You should 
treat a cigar like a mistress; put it away before 



DISRAELI. 421 

you are sick of it." Following the same idea as 
Byron, who says, 

" Wean, and not wear out, your joys ! " 

ONE OF THE most curious characters of late 
years in Parliament was Whalley, Member for Peter- 
borough. He had been a Solicitor : I had a theory 
about him, that, as in a Greek Play, a dreadful 
Nemesis followed him. Those who studied the 
statistics of the House declared that Whalley had 
never resumed his seat without having committed 
a breach of the Orders of the House. He was 
always wrong in whatever he did : it seemed like a 
retribution for the tricks which he may have played 
his clients. In addition to this, his addresses were 
of that never-ending character that in those days the 
House would not tolerate. On one occasion, when 
the Speaker, Denison, was rising to leave the Chair, 
for the House to go into Committee, Whalley 
sprang to his feet. The Speaker, the embodiment 
of reserve, taken off his guard, ejaculated in a voice 
that could be heard through the whole building, 
" Oh, Lord ! " Whalley gave an opportunity for a 
most respectable, I might almost say typical, country 
gentleman to earn the one distinction of his Parlia- 



422 DISRAELI. 

mentary life. The House had met on a most impor- 
tant occasion, to determine the fate of the Govern- 
ment. Every bench was crammed. The side- 
galleries full of Members. The Peers' seats full; 
and the seats for distinguished strangers had not 
a vacant place. The newly arrived Chinese Embassy 
was present. Previous to the decisive motion being 
brought forward Whalley was on the paper to 
move a Resolution in relation to Maynooth College, 
Ireland. This was always, in the days of Spooner, 
a most disagreeable question to the House. It 
was taken up after his death by Whalley ; to the 
boundless disgust of every Member of the House 
of Commons, except himself. Notwithstanding the 
crowded state and impatience 9f the House, all 
anxious for the crisis, Whalley went pounding 
on, uttering a quantity of platitudes against May- 
nooth, against Roman Catholics in general, the 
Vatican, the Cardinals, and the Pope. Everybody 
had heard everything he said over and over again; 
he became intolerable ; but there was no stop- 
ping him; shouting and ironical cheering, laughter, 
groaning, buzzing, i.e., soft conversation, the most 
effective weapon of the House, were all used with- 
out avail. A sudden brilliant inspiration visited 



DISRAELI. 423 

the brain of a Sussex Baronet of ancient race, of 
dignified and somewhat sleepy presence. He sat 
on the third bench, on the Opposition side of the 
House. I was near him. At least five hundred 
impatient Senators had tried to put down Whalley 
without effect. Sir Percy Burrell succeeded. To 
the uninitiated I must explain, that should the 
Speaker's attention be called, but not otherwise, to 
the alleged fact that forty Members are not present 
in the House, he is obliged by law to ring a bell, 
which is on the table, to turn the sand-glass, which 
runs out in two minutes; and then to commence 
counting. The actual number present, when un- 
counted, is of no importance; the Speaker has no 
choice. Sir Percy Burrell said quietly, but dis- 
tinctly, without rising, "M r Speaker, there are not 
forty Members present." The Speaker, Denison, 
whose sense of humour was not great, heard his 
words; and seeing that there were at least five 
hundred Members in the House, gave him a scowl, 
and said in a low tone, " Order, order ! " Sir Percy 
Burrell again said very distinctly indeed, but with- 
out rising, "There are not forty Members present, 
Sir ! " The Speaker gave him a fiendish look, but 
said nothing : he evidently felt that it was no time for 



424 DISRAELI. 

joking. Sir Percy Burrell then rose, folded his arms, 
and in a voice that rang far above the clamour said, 
" M.' Speaker ! there are not forty Members in the 
House." The five hundred Members, with that 
brilliant alacrity which characterised them, instantly 
seized the situation, and endeavoured to reduce 
their number to forty. They sprang to their feet, 
and simultaneously dashed to the entrance door. 
Those in the Gallery followed their example, falling 
over each other down the narrow staircase. The 
bell was rung ; the sand-glass was turned : it was 
obviously impossible that five hundred Members 
could get out of the House in two minutes. Some 
had escaped, but many rushed back from the 
door, and gave up the attempt to go out. A 
scene of the wildest confusion ensued. To all 
strangers it must have been one of absolute bewil- 
derment First of all, hearing such a monstrous 
falsehood come from a respectable member of the 
House; then the extraordinary effect produced by 
those simple words. However, the unfortunate 
Speaker was obliged to count forty. Then, with 
great dignity and calmness, looking at Whalley, 
the cause of all this confusion, he said, "It is 
obvious that there are more than forty members 



DISRAELI. 425 

present; the hon. member for Peterborough may 
possibly accept what has taken place as an indi- 
cation that the House is somewhat impatient." 
Accordingly, Whalley wound up his remarks 
rapidly. Another scene followed, to which the 

House instantly put a stop. M r , who had 

not previously addressed the House of Com- 
mons, had made up his mind that a display 
of Protestantism would be for his benefit; at the 
time or hereafter. He rose with an appearance 
of intense conviction, folded his arms, and 
uttered these words, which will never perish : " M r 
Speaker! From the storm-bound coast of Labra- 
dor" What had come, or was likely to come, 

mankind will never know. Such a demoniacal yell 
greeted his earnest utterance that the unfortunate 
novice collapsed, and subsided. What could have 
been the impression on the mind of the Chinese 
Embassy as regards the "outer Barbarians," and 
their method of conducting legislation, cannot be 
imagined. 

I NEVER SAW Disraeli unnerved but once. It 
was by a curious character who sat in the Parlia- 
ment of 1874-80, Major O'Gorman. Major O'Gor- 



426 DISRAELI. 

man had been not only a distinguished officer, but 
a handsome man. He was, however, at this time 
remarkable for a most extensive "bow-window," 
which was conspicuous in the pale blue trousers 
which he usually wore in the House. 

He had a peculiar physical ailment, the exact 
character of which I do not know; the effect was, 
about every third or fourth minute, a visible spasm 
of the abdomen, for which Members opposite used 
to watch with something of the same anxiety as one 
watches the discharge of a big cannon. You heard 
Members say, particularly when the Debate was 
dull, " There it is again : " and many took a morbid 
interest in counting the number of spasms in an 
hour: the less educated M.P.s held that "the 
Major " had a weasel in his inside. However, once 
on his legs, Major O'Gorman was a very good speaker. 
He knew well how to get and keep the ear of the 
House : and frequently told amusing Irish stories, 
briefly and with great judgment. In an early part 
of the Parliament we had great disturbances about 
the admission of fugitive slaves on board the Queen's 
ships. Major O'Gorman ended a speech with these 
words, " Mr. Speaker, I have lived among the 
negroes : I know;! something of their habits : I 



DISRAELI. 427 

have listened to-night to a good deal from those 
who never saw a negro in their lives; every 
negro I have seen might say in the words of the 
Poet, 

'I never was given to work: 
It wasn't the way with the Bradies: 
But I'd make a most illigant Turk : 
For I'm fond of tobacco . . . and ladies.'" 

He was a man of exceptional capacity : and we 
were sincerely sorry to hear of his death. 

On one night Major O'Gorman seemed to have 
taken an extra glass of Usquebaugh. He left his 
usual place, the third bench below the gangway 
on the Opposition side, and walking up the centre 
of the House, took post on the second bench 
opposite Disraeli, who was speaking on some very 
serious subject. Major O'Gorman uttered, at in- 
tervals, inarticulate sounds of a baffling description. 
These seemed to upset Disraeli completely: after 
a while he said, "This House admits every pecu- 
liarity of human nature, from Pitt to Rory O'More." 
He intended to fix on the Major a nickname. 
It fell perfectly flat : it was not accepted by the 
House. 



428 DISRAELI. 

DISRAELI ON THE afternoon of a Tuesday had 
heard on good authority that an arrangement had 
been come to between the Whig Party and the 
Home Rulers as regards some measure for the 
morning sitting of the next day. The Home Rulers 
had agreed to support the Whigs on that evening, 
on condition of receiving their support on the 
next day; this compact was known only to a few. 
Disraeli in the course of his speech said empha- 
tically, " I have become aware of the dastardly con- 
spiracy which is afoot." There was great uproar 
at this; the allusion not being known. It lasted 
some time : we divided : passing Disraeli in the 
lobby, I made a remark that the House had 
found out what he meant. He replied, " No ! I 
went too far ! always stick to Irony : there you 
are safe " : a practice which he almost invariably 
followed. I ventured to say that half the human 
race did not understand Irony; in which he ac- 
quiesced. He meant no doubt that Irony in the 
House of Commons was the best weapon. 

THE SUGGESTION to shorten the Easter holi- 
day and lengthen the Whitsuntide holiday being 
rejected, Disraeli said, " "My! dear fellow, what 



DISRAELI. 429 

can you expect from a Government that is not in 
Society?" 

THE IDLE THEORY that it is a man's own 
fault if he do not succeed in political life is most 
absurd. Let a man possess a safe seat in the 
House of Commons, and his abilities, whatever 
they may be, are sure to be ultimately appreci- 
ated : but he must have the safe seat. If you 
are not in the House of Commons, you have no 
chance : and the certainty of a seat is, and has 
been for many years, an unknown quality. In a 
letter to his sister, Disraeli clearly points out this : 
he says, " Unless you can strike your root deeply 
into a Constituency," as he did after his marriage, 
"you have no chance." 

To be in one Parliament ; out of the next ; 
to return when your own Party is no longer in 
Office ', makes success extremely doubtful, however 
great may be the individual's ability. 

ASKED WHETHER Shakspere's line, 

" Sweet are the uses of Adversity " 

were true, Disraeli replied, " Yes : if it does not 
last too long." 



430 DISRAELI. 

IT HAS BEEN SAID that man has three char- 
acters; one that is his own; one that he wishes 
to be thought ; a third, what the world thinks of 
him. As regards the second, there is considerable 
resemblance between Disraeli and the ideal char- 
acters painted by Lord Byron. 

In Disraeli's early youth Byron's Poetry was in the 
mind of every one with a heart, or a head. There 
are few in each generation who love or appreciate 
Poetry. Byron set the fashion. It became the 
mode to read Poetry: he produced a great influ- 
ence upon several generations. "The Corsair" 
was published in 1814. It has always struck me 
that Disraeli was imbued with a strong sense of 
the picturesque though theatrical character of the 
" Conrad " of Byron's freshest and least stagy Poem : 

" That man of loneliness and mystery : 
Scarce seen to smile : and seldom heard to sigh : 
Who sways their souls with that commanding art 
That dazzles, leads, yet chills, the vulgar heart. 
What is that spell that this his lawless train 
Confess, and envy, yet oppose in vain? 
What should it be, that thus their faith combined ? 
The power of Thought : the magic of the Mind. 



DISRAELI. 431 

Linked with success : assumed ; and kept with skill ; 
That moulded others' weakness to his will : 
Wields with their hands; but still to these un- 
known, 

Makes even their mightiest deeds appear his own. 
Such hath it been : shall be ; beneath the sun : 
The many still must labour for the one." 

The physical resemblance to Conrad was studied : 

" Sunburnt his cheek : his forehead high and pale 
The sable curls in wild profusion veil." 

It was only late in life that Disraeli abolished the 
peculiar curl on the centre of his forehead. 

" As if within that murkiness of mind 
Worked feelings fearful and yet undefined." 

Disraeli had not a " searching eye." His mental 
vision was however most astute : 

" He had the skill when cunning's gaze would seek 
To probe his heart, and watch his changing cheek, 
At once the observer's purpose to espy." 

One felt, Woe betide any one who endeavoured 
to play tricks ; or to deceive him. 



432 DISRAELI. 

11 Lone, wild, and strange, he stood alike exempt 
From all Affection, and from all Contempt ; 
His name could sadden ; and his acts surprise : 
And they that feared him dared not to despise." 

The one redeeming characteristic of " the Corsair " 
may or may not have existed at some time in Disraeli's 
breast. Whether he at any time felt a deep, life-long, 
interminable passion I have not ascertained. If 
this misfortune visited him, he kept it a profound 
secret. The women whom he admired in his youth 
he still, in a wayward manner, appreciated in his age. 

It was believed by the multitude at the time of 
the writing of " Henrietta Temple " that the lovely 
idealism of the heroine was the portrait of Lady X., 
with whom his association had become notorious. 
This is absolute nonsense. Lady X. was a handsome, 
voluptuous, woman. She resembled in no respect the 
exquisite form and character of Disraeli's heroine, 
" Henrietta Temple." I do not for a moment believe 
that Disraeli would have succumbed to a hopeless 
passion. He had too much manliness not to 

" Scorn the dull crowd that haunt the gloomy shrine 
Of hopeless love, to murmur and repine." 

My impression is that, had he at any time _had a 



DISRAELI. 433 

" grande passion? he would have thought it necessary 
and profitable to inform the world, indirectly of the 
fact in his novels. 

No one can form a just opinion of Disraeli's lite- 
rary powers until they have studied the "Runnymede 
Letters." They are by far the most powerful produc- 
tions of his pen : and are most admirable in style. 
To one person only Disraeli admitted the authorship 
of these letters ; Lord Lyndhurst He never, I believe, 
publicly acknowledged himself their author. Pub- 
lished under somewhat the same circumstances as 
the letters of " Junius," they far surpass them. They 
are dedicated collectively to Sir Robert Peel ; and 
the letter addessed to Sir Robert by no means indi- 
cates personal hostility. On the contrary, Disraeli 
seems to have had, and often expressed, a high 
opinion of that Statesman's Parliamentary powers. 
In the dedicatory letter to Sir Robert, dated July 27, 
1836, signed "Runnymede," he speaks of O'Connell, 
who had succeeded in evoking his deepest resent- 
ment, as " The vagabond delegate of a foreign priest- 
hood," and "a hired disturber." In his letter to 
Lord Melbourne he speaks of him as " the slave of 
Desidia : " and advises the Premier " To cease to 
saunter over the Destinies of a Nation ; and lounge 

2 E 



434 DISRAELI. 

away the Glory of an Empire." He alludes to the 
Whig coalition with O'Connell in these genial terms, 
"While I watch your ludicrous counsels, an awful 
shadow rises from behind the Chair of the Lord 
President. Slaves ! it is your master : it is Eblis ! 
with Captain Rock's bloody cap shrouding his atro- 
cious countenance : in one hand he waves a torch, in 
the other a skull." In his letter to Thomas Attwood, 
then a would-be demagogue, he says, "I have in- 
variably observed that ' the People ' of the politician 
means the circle of his interests. ' The People ' of 
the Whigs are the ten-pounders who vote in their 
favour." He appears to have had an intuitive and 
comprehensible dislike and contempt for Lord 
Brougham : of whom it was said, that if he knew 
a little law, he would know a little of everything. 
At the end of his letter to the ex-Chancellor he 
says, "I can see the unaccustomed robes on the 
dignified form of Lord Cottenham : and his spick 
and span coronet fall from the obstetric brow of 
the Baronial Bickersteth." In the letter to Sir 
Robert Peel he says of O'Connell, "Already we 
hear his bellow ! Already our atmosphere is tainted 
with the venomous expirations of his malignant 
lungs! Yet a little while and his incendiary crest 



DISRAELI. 435 

will appear on our horizon." Disraeli contrasts the 
serene retirement of Drayton, Sir Robert Peel's 
country-house, with the repentant i solitude of 
Ho wick, Lord Grey's. He compares Sir Robert 
Peel, as " Cheered after his vexatious defeat by the 
sympathies of a Nation, with the worn-out Machia- 
velli wringing his helpless hands over his hearth, in 
remorseful despair ; and looking up with a sigh at 
his scowling ancestors ! " He says, " The Whigs 
only wish to destroy the Tories ; the Radicals, 
the Constitution ; and the Repealers of the Union, 
the Empire." He compares Goulburn, at one time 
Chancellor of the Exchequer, to an industrious flea. 
In his letter to Lord John Russell, the greatest 
contempt is evidently felt, or, at least, expressed. 
He says, " You were born with a strong Ambition ; 
and a feeble Intellect. This intellect produced the 
feeblest Tragedy in our language, ' Don Carlos ; ' the 
feeblest Romance in our literature, 'The Nun of 
Arouca ; ' and the feeblest Political Essay on record, 
'The Causes of the French Revolution.'" "You 
talked at one time to your intimates of retiring 
from that public life in which you had not suc- 
ceeded in making yourself popular, when you paced, 
like a feeble Catiline, the avenues of Holland 



436 DISRAELI. 

House." He calls Lord John Russell "a minia- 
ture Mokhana ; " and he taunts him with having 
revenged himself on the House of Lords "by de- 
nouncing, with a conceit worthy of Don Carlos, its 
solemn suffrage as ' the whisper of a faction ' : " and 
winds up this very uncomplimentary epistle with 
the words, "How thunderstruck, my Lord, must 
be our visitor when he is told to recognise a 
Secretary of State in an infinitely small Scarabseus. 
Yes ! my Lord, when he learns that you are the 
leader of the English House of Commons, our 
traveller may begin to comprehend how the Egyp- 
tians worshipped AN INSECT." In his letter to 
"The People," he says of O'Connell, "The hired 
writers would persuade you that he is a great man. 
He has not a single quality of a great orator; 
except a good voice. I defy his courtiers to pro- 
duce a passage from any speech which he has 
delivered illumined by a single flash of genius, or 
tinged with the slightest evidence of Thought, or 
Taste, or Study. Learning he has none ; little 
reading : his style in speaking is ragged, bald, half- 
disjointed. His pathos is the stage sentiment of a 
barn. His invective is slang. He is a systematic 
liar : a beggarly cheat : a swindler : and a poltroon. 



DISRAELI. 437 

He has committed every crime that does not require 
courage. He has described your House of Com- 
mons, even when reformed, as an assembly of six 
hundred swindlers." His letter to Lord Stanley, 
the late Lord Derby, the Prime Minister, is com- 
plimentary. He says that the " Runnymede Letters " 
are written " by one whose name, in spite of the 
audacious license of frantic conjecture, has never 
yet been even intimated : can never be discovered : 
and will never be revealed." He opens his letter 
to Lord Palmerston with the words, " My Lord ! 
the Minister who maintains himself in power in 
spite of the contempt of the whole Nation must 
be gifted with no ordinary capacity." He speaks 
of "the finished character of your Lordship's airy 
pen." He adds that Lord Palmerston "has attained 
the acme of second-rate statesmanship : and remains 
fixed on his pedestal; the great Apollo of aspiring 
understrappers." 

He then alludes to the Whigs. "The intellectual 
poverty of that ancient faction, who headed a 
Revolution with which they did not sympathise, in 
order to possess themselves of a power which they 
cannot wield." He speaks of Lord Palmerston's 
"Saturnalia of undetected scrapes, and unpunished 



438 DISRAELI. 

blunders " : and ends with words that have been 
more quoted than any passage in the letters, " Me- 
thinks I can see your Lordship, the Sporus of 
politics, cajoling France with an airy compliment; 
and menacing Russia with a perfumed cane." 

Lord Glenelg, whom, when an old man, I knew 
well, and liked much, was Colonial Secretary in 
Lord Melbourne's second Government. As a 
speaker, admirable in style; and with more than 
a Highlander's clearness of head. Disraeli speaks 
of him as "the guardian of our Colonial Empire, 
stretched on an easy couch in listlessness ; with all 
the prim voluptuousness of a Puritanic Sardanapalus." 
In the sixteenth letter, addressed to the House of 
Lords, Disraeli asks, " My Lords ! are you prepared 
to dismiss circumstances from your consideration, and 
legislate solely upon principles? Is a great Empire 
to be dissolved by an idle logomachy? If Dublin 
have an equal right with Westminster to the pre- 
sence of a Parliament, is the right of York less valid ? 
Repeal the Union, my Lords ! and revive the Hep- 
tarchy." He adds, "Because the Irish Papists have 
shown themselves unworthy of a political franchise, 
we are told that it necessarily follows that they 
should be intrusted with a municipal one." 



DISRAELI. 439 

Alluding again to O'Connell, he says, "Let it not be 
said that the British Constitution sank before a rebel 
without dignity, and a demagogue without courage. 
Will the Peers of England cringe to this prowling 
mercenary ? this man who has even degraded crime ? 
who has deprived treason of its grandeur, and sedi- 
tion of its sentiment ; who is paid for his Patriotism ; 
and whose Philanthropy is hired by the job?" 

AS REGARDS the non-production of any work 
giving interesting details of the colloquial brilliancy 
of Disraeli, injustice has been done. It has been 
assumed without reason that Disraeli bequeathed 
to his secretary, Lord Rowton, directions to publish 
a record of his life and sayings. Nothing of the 
kind took place. I have examined Disraeli's will 
with care. He does not suggest that Lord Rowton 
should be his biographer. Disraeli bequeaths his 
papers as his other property to trustees, Lord 
Rothschild and Sir Philip Rose; and directs that 
no one shall have access to his private papers ex- 
cept by the sanction of Lord Rowton. Before 
writing this volume, I ascertained that no work is, 
nor has been, contemplated giving, to use an old 
term, the colloquial ana of Disraeli. 



440 DISRAELI. 

MRS. BRYDGES WILLYAMS says in her will 
that she bequeaths her fortune to Disraeli "in 
testimony of her affection for him ; and in approval 
and admiration of his efforts to vindicate the race 
of Israel : her views respecting which he is well 
acquainted with ; and which no doubt he will 
endeavour to accomplish." 

In the will of Disraeli's father, Isaac Disraeli, 
dated May the 3i st , 1847, he leaves to his "much 
loved daughter-in-law, M re Mary Ann Disraeli," his 
collection of prints ; his portrait to his daughter 
Sarah ; and twenty-five guineas each to his sons 
Ralph and James, to purchase rings. All his real 
estate, and the residue of the personalty, to his " son 
Benjamin." James Disraeli, of Cromwell Place, 
who died December the 23 rd , 1868, makes Disraeli 
his residuary legatee. 

DISRAELI was for some time at a school kept 
by M r Potticary, a retired Unitarian Minister, who 
lived from 1813 to 1817 in Elliot Place, Black- 
heath. A schoolfellow says, " I cannot say that 
Benjamin Disraeli at this period of his life exhibited 
any unusual zeal for classical studies; and I doubt 
whether his attainments in this direction, when he 



DISRAELI. 441 

left the school for M r Cogan's at Walthamstow, 
reached higher than the usual grind in Livy and 
Caesar : but I well remember that he was the com- 
piler and editor of a School newspaper, which made 
its appearance on Saturdays, when the gingerbread- 
seller was also to be seen ; and that the right of 
perusal was estimated at the cost of a sheet of 
gingerbread, (Parliament ?) the money value of which 
was in those days the third of a penny." Another 
contemporary relates that the fact that by the rules 
of grammar " ut " should be followed by the subjunc- 
tive mood, was not reached by the apprehension of 
the future Premier. 

WITH a view to enable his talented son to 
succeed at the Bar, Disraeli's father articled him to 
the firm of Swain, Stevens, Maples, Pearce, and 
Hunt, of 6 Frederick's Place, Old Jewry. The 
articles of clerkship are dated the loth of Novem- 
ber 1821. He is described by one of the partners 
as being most assiduous in his attention to 
business; and as showing great ability in its 
transaction. 

A very early work by Disraeli was "Velvet 
Lawn " it was sold at a Charity Bazaar at 



442 DISRAELI. 

Aylesbury, Buckingham, or Wycombe. It was a 
duodecimo volume of fifty pages; written in the 
style of Boccaccio. Copies of this work are very 
rare. 

IT MUST HAVE BEEN no slight triumph for 
Disraeli, returning from Berlin, with " Peace with 
Honour," to know that he whom the builders had 
rejected as Foreign Secretary in 1852 had become 
the head-stone of the corner. 

I HOPE IN SOME future work to describe 
more fully than I have done in this the characters 
of a generation preceding mine ; and of those who 
have played a prominent part in my own day. 
Napoleon III., Thackeray, Dickens, Gustave Dore", 
Lytton, Emile Augier, Dumas the elder, O'Neill, 
Regnier, Macready, Charles Kean, Madame Vestris, 
Count Rossi, deserve collectively a volume. 

THE BUST of Disraeli, now placed in the Cen- 
tral Hall of the Carlton Club, is a not altogether 
unsatisfactory portrait of him. In the dress of 
the present day, with shirt-collars, waistcoat, and 
dress-coat, it will hardly be admired by future 



DISRAELI. 443 

generations as a work of art. It has, however, 
irrespective of the likeness, the merit of representing 
him in what at Eton we called his " Sunday -best." 
The only other bust in the hall is that of Lord 
Derby, the Prime Minister. This is in the classic 
style, and gives him a most disagreeable expres- 
sion. The countenance of Disraeli is such as he 
occasionally had; but, as Lord Byron says, "A 
wretched picture and worse bust " are the destiny of 
great men. The full-length portrait in oil in the 
Junior Carlton Club, gives, on the whole, as good 
an idea of Disraeli in his later days as any portrait 
that exists. 

HUGHENDEN MANOR, which Disraeli pur- 
chased in 1847, is a substantial and more or less 
picturesque house, of a villa character; placed on 
the slope of a steep and wooded hill, within two 
miles of High Wycombe. The principal entrance- 
gate bears an Earl's coronet. The Vicarage is 
close to the house and to the Church. The 
park is of considerable extent, and well laid 
out. I do not know whether the place was 
formed by Lancelot Brown, but it resembles in 
its style the works of that great artist's genius. 



444 DISRAELI. 

The characteristics of Disraeli's abode are, as 
they should be in this gloomy country, snugness, 
and cheerfulness. The rooms are well propor- 
tioned, well contrived, and exceptionally comfort- 
able. The Drawing-room, in which, conducted 
by the Vicar and his wife, I was received by 
the lady of the house, is a lofty room, the 
walls of which bear pictures of interest. The 
most conspicuous is a portrait of Her present 
Majesty, painted with exceptional vigour, and 
given, I believe, by the Queen to her Prime 
Minister. Over the entrance door is a portrait 
in white satin of Lady Blessington, attributed to 
Sir Thomas Lawrence ; painted, I should say, by 
a French artist. The face is very lovely, of an 
espiegle character. The portrait is also here of 
Alfred Count D'Orsay. This is in profile; not 
unlike the Count; but too solemn in expression. 
There is a portrait of Lord Byron, idealised, by 
Westall; giving more of his character than the 
" wretched pictures " which he denounced. Over the 
door opening to the Library is a "counterfeit pre- 
sentment " of Disraeli, painted by Sir Francis Grant, 
which I remember in his studio at the time that I was 
there undergoing an operation in 1850. I thought at 



DISRAELI. 445 

the time that the portrait was much like what Disraeli 
must have been in his younger days. At the time 
that it was painted he was forty-six. The portrait 
represents him as thirty. I have been told by those 
who saw his body in its coffin that Disraeli when dead 
bore a close resemblance to this portrait. This is not 
unfrequently the case with those to whom death gives 
a juvenility of aspect : wiping out the lines which 
anxiety has traced in middle life, and in old age. 
Entering the Library, the scale of which has been 
enlarged in graphic representation, I found it a most 
cheerful apartment. The Sun was shining brightly : 
this room receives the rays of our seldom seen star. 
I saw Disraeli's favourite leather chair, covered with 
his colour, brown : fairly comfortable for lounging, but 
without elbows. From the angle of his sofa a lovely 
landscape can be seen : having in the distance, as all 
landscapes should have, a town ; High Wycombe. A 
man's seat tells his character. The sofa has too much 
of the form of an "upholsterer's" sofa: such as 
may be seen in the lodging-houses and hotels of Great 
Britain. The hangings of the library are of yellow 
satin damask, such as was used in his London house. 
In the Hall, adjacent to the Library, is a poor portrait 
of the late Lord Stanhope, then Lord Mahon, writ- 



446 DISRAELI. 

ing. The Dining-room, which is spacious, struck me 
as being very gloomy : no pictures nor other orna- 
ments adorn it. The architecture of this and of 
other rooms on the ground-floor is in the style best 
described as " George IV. Gothic." The walls of the 
staircase of the house are covered with portraits, some 
well, some badly, painted, of Disraeli's associates in his 
later days. The most interesting room in the house 
is the large, airy, cheerful bedroom which he occupied. 
The walls of this room are covered with portraits of 
his family. That which first struck me is the portrait 
of his grandfather, Benjamin Disraeli. It is of the 
head and shoulders ; with a crimson or " mulberry " 
coat, and white neckcloth ; the powdered hair 
combed back from the face. A querulous, irritable, 
severe face; sharply-pointed nose; thin lips; small 
eyes ; at once reminding one of Sheridan's phrase 
"a damned disinheriting countenance." There is 
another portrait of the same individual on the proper 
left of the bed. This is inferior in art, but gives the 
same expression. 

Near the portrait of his grandfather is one of 
his father, Isaac Disraeli, dressed in the schoolboy 
dress of the last century ; a " Sandford and Mer- 
ton " dress : the face thoroughly Spanish, such as 



DISRAELI. 447 

Coello would have painted. On the proper right of 
the bedstead is a portrait of the schoolboy in advanced 
middle life; a corpulent person, with slightly pow- 
dered dark hair, writing. Over the chimney-piece 
are two somewhat grotesque portraits of Disraeli and 
his wife : both of which have been engraved. They 
are by Chalon; whom Thackeray delighted to call 
" Shalloon." Curls are redundant in both. They are 
in water-colour. 

By far the most interesting pendant to the 
walls is between these. It is the portrait of 
Disraeli's mother by Cosway, with her child. 
Cosway had an artist's admiration for Disraeli's 
mother, whom he knew well. Possessing a large 
number of this refined artist's works, I do not 
know one more charming than this. The lady, in 
a classic attitude, leans forward, bearing the future 
Prime Minister on her left knee. It is the gem of 
the house. In another room on this floor is a 
most disgusting portrait in oils of Disraeli, painted 
towards the end of his life. It is revolting : and 
if the Trustees permitted, should at once be put 
behind the fire. Passing to the top- floor of the 
house, I found a cheerful room devoted to smok- 
ing ; comfortable ; not over furnished ; with sofas 



448 DISRAELI. 

and arm-chairs; having on the walls large prints, 
mostly proofs, presented to the lord of the house. 
Disraeli was not much given to smoking, but his 
hospitality, and his liking for friendly society, in- 
duced him to frequent this room. Passing through 
the house to the church, accompanied by the Rev. 
M r and M rs Blagden, who have occupied the 
Vicarage from a period long anterior to Disraeli's 
death, I saw his grave. A more cheerful grave, 
if I may use the term, I have not seen. In 
close contact with the eastern exterior wall of the 
Church, the upper surface slopes downwards. It 
is enclosed by an artistic railing of brown and 
gold. The central of three small arches built into 
the wall of the church bears the name of Lady 
Beaconsfield, with the coronet of a Viscountess 
upon it : the compartment on the right of this 
bears the name of M rs Brydges Willyams : the 
left, of Disraeli's brother. Disraeli's own name is 
inserted below that of his wife : and is scarcely 
legible from outside the railings. I ventured to 
suggest that this was a serious defect. An addition 
should be made to the railing of an Earl's coronet 
in the centre : this could be done unostentatiously : 
the tomb would then bear an indication of the 



DISRAELI. 449 

Minister interred therein. At present it is the 
tomb of Lady Beaconsfield. The addition which 
I have suggested would make it what it ought 
to be, the memorial of her husband. 

The Church itself, the inside of which we next 
visited, is of the most substantial character ; dating 
from an early part of the twelfth century. Several 
monuments of men in armour, with their legs 
crossed, represent the family of the great historical 
character, Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester. 
The Altar-cloth has been worked with exquisite 
taste by M re Blagden ; and a lengthy cushion which 
covers the front seat is the work of Disraeli's 
sister : spoken of by those who knew her as a most 
intellectual and charming person. It is in the old- 
fashioned cross-stitch : I hope that her name may 
be attached to it. On the north of the Chancel 
is a marble slab placed there in remembrance of 
Disraeli by desire of the Queen. Many trees exist, 
near the house, planted by distinguished persons ; 
they seem to flourish in the congenial soil and 
climate. There is no appearance of neglect in 
any part of the property. In the Library, the 
books, in their wire cages, appear to be those 
which Disraeli inherited from his father. 

2 F 



450 DISRAELI. 

I OBSERVED to the Vicar, that Hughenden, being 
situated on a steep slope, afforded Disraeli no 
means of taking that most pernicious exercise, a 
purposeless walk. In the evening of my visit I 
happened to see one of Disraeli's Cabinet col- 
leagues at the Carlton Club. Without any allusion 
to the above remark having been made, he said 
to me, " I remember when at Hughenden saying 
to Disraeli, ' Let us take a walk.' ' A walk ! out 
of the question: a saunter if you please.'" 

A NOBLE MEMBER of the House of Commons, 
who has risen to great eminence, paused in his first 
speech to yawn. "He'll do," at once exclaimed 
Disraeli. 

I HEARD MACAULAY speak once in Parlia- 
ment. His manner and style were very heavy : and 
his appearance equally so : his features and expres- 
sion meaningless. My first remark on seeing him was, 
"He is like Palmerston with a cold in his head." 

IN FORMER DAYS it was not necessary for a 
member to attempt to take the House by storm. 
The best speakers waited until they had studied 



DISRAELI. 451 

the House. Lord Palmerston sat thirteen years 
in the House before he addressed it. A Parlia- 
mentary life is too short in these days for those 
wise and gradual approaches. 

I DO NOT KNOW whether Disraeli was seriously 
annoyed by the numberless caricatures and character 
portraits which appeared of him during the greater 
part of his life. Dining with a valued friend, Lady 

M , afterwards created Lady T , her little 

girl coming down to dessert, was presented in due 
form to the great man. The child, like Boswell's 
Veronica, seemed pleased with his appearance : she 
said, " I know you ! I've seen you in Punch ! " I 
should say that, on the whole, the incessant placing 
him in ridiculous situations did cause him annoy- 
ance. He pensioned his caricaturist's widow. 

DISRAELI inherited a defective eyesight from 
his father. He more than once complained of it 
to me. He told me that I was an excellent House 
of Commons critic : adding that he never could be 
this. He said, " Unless you can see the faces oppo- 
site to you, you cannot judge of the opinion of 
the House of Commons." 



452 DISRAELI. 

JOHN BULL loves the dramatic. Disraeli said, 
" In politics there is nothing like a surprise." 

LORD ARTHUR RUSSELL, brother of my friend 
Lord Ampthill, approaching Lord Derby's house in 
St. James's Square, met Disraeli near Norfolk House: 
the latter said, " If you are going to the Derbys, 
they are not at home : come with me to the House 
of Commons " ; taking his arm. They passed in 
front of "The Travellers". Later in the day some 
member of that Club, a Whig, said to Lord Arthur 
in the House of Commons, " I fancied that I saw 
you in Pall-Mall, arm-in-arm with Disraeli." Lord 
Arthur related this to Disraeli : he turned upon 
him, and said, " You did not deny me ! ? The 
cock would have crowed!" 

DISRAELI seemed to me to be almost ashamed 
of his ostentatious uxoriousness. I asked him if 
he were going somewhere alone : meaning without 
the other Ministers. He replied in a deep tone, 
" No. Mary Ann is going. I cannot leave her 
quite in the lurch." 

DISRAELI remarked that the policy in details 



DISRAELI. 453 

and even in measures, proposed by successive Ad- 
ministrations, varied but little; and that most 
Bills proposed by a Government had been found 
in the pigeon-holes of their predecessors. 

NAPOLEON III. and Disraeli inspired the same 
feeling as that felt by playgoers towards a clever 
actor : he amuses : and therefore interests. 

I HAVE spoken of the great head-waiter of my 
early days. I am pleased to find an allusion to him 
in a letter of Disraeli's : telling of a breakfast-party at 
Gunnersbury, he says, " Our old friend Amy was of 
great use to us." He, like myself, appreciated great- 
ness : I am proud of his confirmation of my early 
perception of character. Amy was like the French 
Ambassador, the Count of Saint Aulaire : but with 
even more dignity. 

THE RULES and practice of the House of Com- 
mons, at that time excellent in their good sense, 
were occasionally appreciated by the higher class 
of foreigners. I was surprised at one instance of 
accurate knowledge on the part of a Frenchman. I 
was sitting as an M.P. on the bench then appropriated 



458 DISRAELI. 

to distinguished strangers, the front bench below 
the western gallery, on either side of the entrance 
door. I was in conversation with Montalembert. 
Disraeli was speaking : I cheered. Montalembert 
turned to me and said, " That is forbidden : while 
sitting here you must not cheer." He was perfectly 
accurate : well as I believed that I knew the practice 
of the House, I did not know this. 

A MEMBER in the House of Commons sneering 
at an oration given elsewhere as "an after-dinner 
speech," Disraeli with real anger repeated the term : 
" An after-dinner speech ! An after-dinner speech ! 
The Hon. Member sneers at an after-dinner speech ! 
The greatest speeches ever delivered in this place 
have been after-dinner speeches ! " 

WHEN SIR CHARLES DU CANE, who, having 
been successful in the House of Commons, naturally 
found himself at the antipodes, had a final inter- 
view with Disraeli before his departure for Tasmania, 
which Colony he ruled admirably, Sir Charles ex- 
pressed to him his hope that on his return he might 
find Disraeli in a higher political position. Disraeli 
moved his vertical right hand laterally in front of 



DISRAELI. 455 

him; and quietly said, "The pendulum swings." 
The fortunes of the Tory Party at that time were 
by no means hopeful. When Sir Charles left Tas- 
mania they were still sadly below par. When he 
landed in England on the 4 th of February 1875, 
he found them in an overwhelming majority : a 
majority of forty on doubtful questions : a majority 
of one hundred in ordinary Divisions. 

I AM SURPRISED that Disraeli's drama "Alar- 
cos" was not produced on the stage. I have read 
it from the first line to the last ; an impossible feat 
unless the poetry be good. It is a fine, declama- 
tory, play : with a powerful, and interesting, plot : 
not complicated. In its situations highly dramatic. 
With Macready's stilted style it would, I should say, 
have been most successful. The lines are exquisitely 
smooth ; and, without pretension to great ideas, the 
sentiments are quite of a character to affect an audi- 
ence. Of the "Revolutionary Epic" I have never 
been able to make head nor tail. 

IF EVER there were two natures opposed to each 
other, those of Disraeli and M r George Bentinck, 
for many years Member for Norfolk, known as " Big 



456 DISRAELI. 

Ben," were those two. The latter took a hostile 
position as regards Disraeli, which, if it did not 
amount to personal dislike, went beyond the ordinary 
limits of political opposition. Sitting behind the 
Tory Party, a position he ultimately relinquished for 
"below the gangway," not wanting in good sense, 
though without oratorical power, Disraeli was afraid 
of him : this accounts for his offering him twice a 
seat in the Cabinet. I have this from M r Bentinck. 
He amused me by telling me that while speaking to 
Disraeli he raised his fist, in gesticulation. Disraeli 
started back ; M r Bentinck added, " The Jew be- 
lieved I was going to strike him ! " 

I discussed the Reform Bill of 1867 with "Big 
Ben." He did not much like the subject ; he never 
could refute my statement, that that revolutionary 
measure was carried, not by " the Jew," as he always 
called him, but by the County members of England ; 
of which class " Big Ben " was an avowed type. 

BRILLIANT AS I have always considered Disraeli's 
Novels of early and middle life, I was deeply disap- 
pointed by his later productions. I felt it my duty to 
buy " Lothair " : but found great difficulty in reading 
it. I found " Endymion " impossible. There are two 



DISRAELI. 457 

things in "Lothair," frequently quoted, against which 
I must enter my anecdotic protest. One that critics 
are men who have failed themselves. This I have 
no doubt, to speak Hibernice, was said by the first 
author of the first critic. I remember it many years 
ago in an article in the " Illustrated London News." 
The other that, whereas all wise men have one creed, 
that creed is one which they never express. This is 
so old as the existence of creeds. Disraeli's father 
gives it in his earliest work. 

PROBABLY the most interesting circumstance in 
relation to Disraeli to half the human race, is 
the question of M rs Disraeli's age. I can throw light 
upon this important question. Staying at Middleton 
Park, Lord Jersey, who differed with " The Times," 
would not take it in. Disraeli had a difficulty with 
Lord Palmerston. Lady Jersey, enthusiastic as usual 
for Disraeli, drove with her daughter and myself to 
Bicester to obtain "The Times." I read out the 
debate in the carriage. After I had finished, Lady 
C. V. said to me, " Do you know how old M rs 
Disraeli is ? " " No." Lady C. said, " She is eighty." 
I replied, " Impossible." " She is." Lady Jersey then 
said " Yes ; she is eighty. I know it by the date 



458 DISRAELI. 

of my own marriage." Lady C. V.'s remark might 
have been that of a young lady of whom I think 
M re Disraeli was not fond ; but Lady Jersey, who 
was a matter-of-fact woman, spoke as if she was 
absolutely certain. 

M rs Disraeli died nine years later. 

ONE OF THE most effective cases of Disraeli's 
rapid and successful generalship was on the night 
when the question was discussed whether John 
Mitchel was qualified to take his seat. The circum- 
stances were briefly these : Mitchel had been con- 
victed of felony : he had been released on parole : 
some time before his sentence would have been 
completed he renounced his parole; and escaped 
from the colony. The question was not very easy 
of solution. Was a man once a felon always a 
felon ? Had he expiated his felony by the com- 
pletion of his sentence : the period of his complete 
sentence having been passed when elected to the 
House ? A debate of much acrimony took place ; 
and it was clearly the opinion of the lawyers in 
the House on both sides that he might legally be 
a Member of Parliament. The thing was going 
badly. Disraeli rose : folding his arms in his most 



DISRAELI. 459 

dignified manner, looking down the House, he 
exclaimed : " I stand here to defend the privileges 
of Parliament ! and I will not permit a convicted 
felon to take his seat upon yonder bench." We 
went to a division, and carried our case triumphantly. 
I ventured in the lobby to hint the word " Marengo " 
as I passed Disraeli. He gave me a very significant 
look of acquiescence. It was Kellerman's charge 
repeated. 

LORD DERBY invariably answered every letter 
addressed to him with his own hand. It was amusing 
when he had cut telling jokes against his old 
friends the Whigs, to hear the Whig ladies express- 
ing their pity that Lord Derby said such things ! 
"It was in such bad taste," you heard them say. 

WHEN THE CHINESE Ambassador was pre- 
sented to him by the Secretary of Embassy, who 
interpreted his words, Disraeli replied to an expres- 
sion of regret on the part of the Chinese that he 
could not speak English, " Pray tell the Ambas- 
sador, in most respectful terms, that I hope that 
His Excellency will remain in this country until I 
can speak Chinese." 



460 DISRAELI. 

DISRAELI coming away from a marriage said, 
" This is a dismal business : it always depresses me. 
After a funeral I am cheerful. I feel that one has 
got rid of some one." 

THE UNDIGNIFIED MANNER of shortening 
Disraeli's name annoyed his wife. No one would, 
of course, except by extreme inadvertence, have 
used an abbreviation in his or her presence. At a 
party at Lady Palmerston's, returning from the tea- 
table with M re Disraeli, M r Henry Corry, First Lord 
of the Admiralty, Lord Rowton's father, was leaning 
against the doorway on my right, M rs Disraeli being 
on my left arm. He bowed, and said, " Good even- 
ing, M rs Disraeli." M r Corry occasionally stam- 
mered. M rs Disraeli stopped and said, " I do not 
mind your calling me M rs Dizzy. I do not allow 
every one to do so, I can assure you." I told her 
that M r Corry had said " M rs Disraeli." I felt 
sure that he did : he was an exceptionally well- 
bred man : I thought her rebuke dignified : and 
from her point of view right. 

DINING WITH the Duke of S. at S. House imme- 
diately after Disraeli's return from Berlin, he related, 



DISRAELI. 461 

with evident pleasure, that when he entered the 
room for his first interview with Bismarck, the large 
dog which invariably remained near his master's per- 
son ran out and made demonstrations of affection. 
He added, with great gusto, that the same intelli- 
gent animal had endeavoured to devour Prince 
Gortschakoff, the Russian Ambassador, when he first 
approached the great Chancellor. 

At the same hospitable board he uttered these 
words; words that will not be forgotten, "When 
Gentlemen cease to be returned to Parliament, 
this Empire will perish." 

THE SIMPLE TRICKS played by Disraeli, his 
"Maundy Thursday," his "looming in the Future," 
etc. etc., and other cajoleries, had the merit of 
" tickling the ears of the groundlings," without 
making "the judicious grieve." 

THE OPPORTUNITIES of a Minister in the 
confidential communications which it is his duty to 
make to the Sovereign, of vilifying his opponents 
or deteriorating his friends are unlimited. No 
Minister who has served a Sovereign of this Em- 
pire ever acted with greater good faith, and few 



462 DISRAELI. 

with so great, as Disraeli. In every communication 
made, every character of friend or enemy was given 
by Disraeli with the ne plus ultra of Honesty : and 
with perfect Chivalry. 

JAMES CLAY, M.P. for Hull, was Disraeli's com- 
panion when travelling in the East in early days. 
A man of exceptional astuteness, he was opposed 
during his political career to Disraeli. He told a 
friend who told me, that, with the ample oppor- 
tunities which he had had of watching Disraeli 
when he was a young and poor man, he never 
could detect the slightest aberration from the strictest 
honour in pecuniary matters. 

MEETING the Chairman of Committees of the 
House of Commons in February 1889, he advised 
me to put the letters which I had written on 
the subject of the Waterloo Ball-room into " a 
less fugitive form." No one reads a pamphlet; 
the letters would not have extended beyond this. 
At the end of my walk I concluded that I 
could remember enough sayings and doings of 
the Duke of Wellington to fill a moderate sized 
volume. Instead of on the I st of May, as I 



DISRAELI. 463 

expected, the book was published on the 22 nd 
of June ; perhaps the most unfavourable day in 
the year. On my return from the Continent in 
November, the publisher informed me that he had 
disposed of an edition of one thousand copies as 
follows. Nine hundred ordinary copies ; seventy-five 
on large paper; twenty-five on large paper, "author's 
copies " : thirty had been distributed for review. I 
have not at any time kept a note-book. I have 
taken down from the bookshelves of my brain the 
volumes " Wellington " and " Disraeli." Possibly I 
may find others, not unworthy of perusal. 

SPEAKER DENISON was not conspicuous for 
his readiness of resource in dealing with the very 
complicated rules and practice of the House of 
Commons. A difficult question on Order arose. 
Speaker Denison, as was his wont, touched the 
Senior Clerk, Sir Thomas Erskine May. Sir 
Thomas rising, was asked by the Speaker what 
on earth he recommended him to do. The legend 
tells that Sir Thomas whispered, " I recommend 
you, Sir, to be very cautious " : then vanished 
through the door at the back of the Chair. 



464 DISRAELI. 

I SHOULD HAVE been glad, had I sufficient 
space, to have placed in the " Walhalla " of this 
volume many of those with whom I have served 
in stormy political campaigns. One deserves allu- 
sion; as possessing what in these days is so sorely 
wanting, Individuality. Stuart Mill in his "Essay 
on Liberty " may well deplore the gradual but 
unquestionable disappearance of Original Character. 
One picture stands out in my imagination, that of the 
Right Honourable George Cavendish Bentinck ; M.P. 
for the remote but patriotic Borough of Whitehaven : 
known in the vernacular of the House of Com- 
mons as "Little George": a rsrjay&nos cajj, Anglice 
"a brick." Of this many-sided character, of this 
strong individuality, I may give a few traits. Having 
filled the highly important Office of Judge Advocate 
General of Her Majesty's Forces, an Office which 
brings its holder into personal communication with 
the Sovereign, having sat in Parliament since 1859, 
the exceptional fluency of his speech, with a sturdy 
sense of humour, and an unswerving love of his 
Country, there can be no wonder that Mr. Ben- 
tinck is looked up to. An admirable and ex- 
perienced judge of Art; an authority on Church 
ornamentation, and Architecture; the discoverer 



DISRAELI. 465 

of the most interesting cryptographic records 
of the reign of Elizabeth, which had lain dead for 
centuries amid the limitless Archives of Venice ; 
and the prescriptions for several homely diseases 
written by the great philosopher, Locke, when an 
assistant-surgeon in the Navy, M r Bentinck adds 
to these distinctions those of possessing vast wealth, 
a Palace in Grafton Street filled with objects of 
virtu. It was said of the Regent by Moore that 
he was a " Cacique in Mexico : and Prince in 
Wales." M r Bentinck is the Sovereign of an 
island in the Southern Sea. He has an exquisite 
knowledge of the French language; I remember 
an illustration. A Baronet on the Whig side, who 
has since seen the error of his ways, used the ex- 
pression in relation to the Tory party then in 
Opposition, "A miserable minority." M r Bentinck 
with linguistic promptness instantly replied, " The 
Honourable Baronet talks about our ' miserable 
minority.' I tell you that it is your ' miserable 
majority ' : the Honourable Baronet is sufficiently 
acquainted with the French language to understand 
me." On another occasion M r Crawford, probably 
the most solemn man that ever represented the 
City of London, in a most exciting discussion on 

2 G 



466 DISRAELI. 

the subject of the organ-grinding nuisance, with 
the gentle dulness that ever loves a joke, appealed 
imprudently to M r Bentinck, who was a strong 
advocate for the Bill, as to what he would do with 
the monkey, when the organ-grinder was locked up. 
" Little George," with the rapidity of lightning, 
replied, " Give it in charge of the Metropolitan 
Members." So much for his wit. He has, however, 
a quality which the House loves better : humour. 
Few pleasanter ways have I known of passing the 
evening than watching the gyrations of the Member 
for Whitehaven when, arriving at the House at about 
ii P.M. in a costume that shows that he has been 
the Amphitryon of a banquet, the Sardanapalus 
of Grafton Street has proceeded to attack M r 
Gladstone. Standing immediately opposite the Rt. 
Hon. Gentleman, and in a tone of exceptional 
gravity, M r Bentinck had, when I was last in 
Parliament, a most admirable manner of trotting 
out M r Gladstone's shortcomings. He would ask 
that Rt. Hon. Gentleman how he could reconcile 
the opinions which he had stated this evening v;ith 
those which he had uttered in the year, say 1847. 
He would ask M r Gladstone whether he con- 
sidered such wholesale tergiversations consistent 



DISRAELI. 467 

with the character of a British Statesman. He 
would state that he thought it necessary to expose 
these fearfully contradictory opinions. All this would 
be done with a smile ; betraying, however, a real relish 
in using the sharp knife of an operator. The only 
classical illustration that I can give is to ask the 
reader to picture to himself Roscius denouncing 
Catiline. For Roscius was, pace Henry VI., a 
broad comic actor. 

I am forbidden for want of space from enlarging 
upon the qualities of this distinguished man. Re- 
membering him as I do from my earliest boyhood, 
I detect no change in appearance, nor in manner. 
Whether reclining in his gondola on the canals of 
his favourite Venice ; or attacking M r Gladstone 
with genial vituperation, " Little George" is always 
great. 

AT THE WYCOMBE ELECTION, when opposing 
Lord Grey's son, a bill was posted declaring that 
Disraeli was "a Tory in, disguise." "A Tory in 
disguise!" he exclaimed. "I am no Tory in dis- 
guise ! I will tell you how you may define a Tory 
in disguise : ' A Whig in place ! ' " 



468 DISRAELI. 

ONE OF THE FINEST speeches ever made by 
Disraeli was utterly unrecorded. It was a great 
speech as regards Statesmanship, and as regards 
Manliness. After the disastrous and ruinous dis- 
solution of 1880, the members of the Tory Party 
still in the House of Commons, and those who 
had sat in the Parliament of 1874-80, were asked 
by Disraeli to meet him in the large gallery of 
Bridgewater House. I hesitated as to whether I 
should attend the meeting : however, I am glad 
that I did so. Disraeli addressed us at con- 
siderable length : and, with chivalrous generosity, 
he not only gave no blame to those who had 
advised the fatal step of dissolution, which had re- 
duced our majority of 100 to a wretched minority; 
but he went the extreme length of saying, "I 
shared their error." These were his exact words. 
He went particularly into the question of the future 
of the Empire : I remember his saying with deep 
emphasis, "I do not dread the political future as 
regards the electors of England. I wish that I 
could say the same of Scotland and Ireland." The 
meeting was confidential : nothing appeared in 
any newspaper but a meagre outline of the pro- 
ceedings. 



DISRAELI. 469 

WHEN SIR CHARLES DU CANE was made 
a Lord of the Admiralty he was re-elected for 
Essex : he asked me for a good quotation : he 
said that it must point to the recent defeat of the 
Whig Government, brought about by the act of 
their own supporters, and that it must allude to 
the British Navy. After a few minutes' thinking, 
I suggested Cowper's lines on " The Royal 
George " 

"It was not in the Battle: 

No Tempest gave the shock : 
She sprang no fatal leak : 
She ran upon no rock. 

A land-breeze shook the shrouds 
And she was overset." 

According to the Essex papers this was brilliantly 
successful. 

DISRAELI'S style of elocution was always re- 
strained : he never " let himself go." His gestures 
slight, formal, and infrequent. He was not one 
of those whose action in speaking goes naturally 
with the words. He was not a " born actor " : a 



47 DISRAELI. 

term I have heard applied to a person of less 
importance ; whose limbs moved with the words 
uttered ; with unstudied and unconscious artistic 
accuracy. 

A DISTINGUISHED foreign diplomatist, con- 
versing with Lord Palmerston on the merits of 
European languages, said, "You have no term in 
English precisely representing our French word 
' Sentiment? " Lord Palmerston replied, " We have 
a word exactly representing it : ' Humbug.' " 

I GIVE THE FOLLOWING; but request the 
reader to help himself to several pinches of salt : 
Disraeli is stated by Monckton Milnes, Lord 
Houghton, to have said, "I have no personal ani- 
mosity towards Sir Robert Peel : I admire him : 
but he has chosen to disregard me : and I must 
destroy him, or he must destroy me." Now I 
heard Lord Houghton say, "The first rule in 
debate is, ' misrepresent your opponent : say that 
he has said what he has not said.'" This being 
his view, I omit another of his stories anent 
Disraeli : it would require the full contents of 
a salt-cellar. 



DISRAELI. 471 

DISRAELI affected to despise "apt alliteration's 
artful aid." No one used it more. In a poem 
attributed to B. Osborne he is spoken of as 
"Alliterative Dizzy." I heard him denounce the 
Whigs as " an obsolete oligarchy " : his speeches 
and writings teem with clever alliteration. 

A REMARKABLE change for the better has 
occurred of late years in the dress of English- 
women. Lord Alvanley said that if English meat 
were dressed by French cooks ; and English 
women by French milliners ; life would be worth 
living. In the former respect great improvements 
have been made : although four-year-old mutton 
and beef, with shame be it said, are now not 
often found. No one would believe the extreme 
tastelessness with which women in England, ex- 
cept of the " haute voice," were formerly habited. 
Unless among "real ladies," you never saw a 
woman whose apparel was not in bad taste. Now 
in an hour's walk in London you will hardly 
meet an ill-dressed woman. The change is some- 
thing incredible. Fashions which extend very far 
down in the social scale are, as a rule, very 
ornamental ; the defect being their too rapid 



472 DISRAELI. 

changes. Should a gracefully shaped hat or gar- 
ment of any sort be adopted, in a few weeks 
it is abolished, in the interest of the dress- 
makers, in favour frequently of something less 
admirable. The taking off the duty on French 
leather at once revolutionised an important item 
in women's appearance. I can just recollect the 
abominable coverings which women in my child- 
hood used in bad weather for their feet. The 
protection was a horrible covering known as "the 
Gloucester Boot." It was hardly more than a 
bag with buttons : made of a sort of frieze or 
felt; placed over the indoor shoe; in appearance 
most revolting. All that has been changed : 
and although, as a rule, the "pie ingles" is not 
small : it is not infrequently well shaped. Eng- 
lishwomen may now look down with modest com- 
placency; and quote Shakspere's line, 

" There's a Divinity that shapes our ends." 

DISRAELI'S prayer for "Imperium et Libertas" 
made a sensation in what is called "the Literary 
World." "Who said it? Which Roman Em- 
peror ? " It was attributed to nearly all in turn : 
outside the Caesars, Sejanus was credited with it. 



DISRAELI. 473 

British classics are, I fear, not much studied. 
In Bolingbroke's "PATRIOT KING" is this pas- 
sage : " A King, in the temper of whose govern- 
ment, like that of Nerva, things so seldom allied 
as Empire and Liberty are intimately mixed ; co- 
exist together inseparably; and constitute one real 
essence." 

DISRAELI described one of his intimates as 
" the first Diplomatist in Europe " : at another 
time as having precisely the manner of an elderly 
French sr 



PROBABLY the roughest epoch in Disraeli's life 
was his Election for Shrewsbury. The incessant 
reproach of his nationality; a sin not to be for- 
given by the virtuous electors of that borough ; 
was of course constantly hurled at him. The 
changes were rung on the word "Jew" without 
cessation. Disraeli's appearance was exceptionally 
youthful ; the style of his oratory, and the fluency 
of his speech, only tended to aggravate those 
whom he addressed. During the whole time of 
his speech there were incessant shouts of " Jew " 
and "Judas." Portions of a pig were held up 



474 DISRAELI. 

on sticks ; and advanced so closely as possible to 
his nose. " Bring a bit of pork for the Jew," 
etc. etc., in the accustomed style of "our Sove- 
reign, the People." In the midst of a most for- 
cible harangue his curiosity was aroused by a 
man advancing towards the hustings ; and stop- 
ping a small cart drawn by a "Jerusalem pony" 
immediately in the front of the orator. Disraeli, 
pausing to take breath, said, "What is the mean- 
ing of your equipage, my friend ? " " Well, I 
be come here to take you back to Jerusalem." 
This joke, which was not badly conceived, merely 
evoked a good-humoured smile : Disraeli's perfect 
calmness and equanimity produced the usual 
effect ; if not of checking the attacks ; of forcing 
the respect of those who made them. 

At the Taunton Election, during his canvass, 
Disraeli addressed the multitude from a window. 
He was assailed with incessant shouts of " A Jew ! 
A Jew ! " He calmly replied, " You accuse me 
of being a Jew ! I am proud of it. I am of 
the House of Israel : and I glory in my de- 
scent ! You will find, should you elect me, that 
I am a typical Israelite ; an Israelite without 
guile." 



DISRAELI. 475 

DISRAELI once mystified his audience by pro- 
posing the toast, "Narrow Majorities." The 
hidden meaning of this was, that the majorities 
of the Whig Government were becoming so narrow 
that they would shortly be driven to a dissolu- 
tion of Parliament. 

Disraeli's godfathers, when he was admitted 
to the Church of Christ, were Sharon Turner, 
the distinguished Anglo-Saxon scholar, and Samuel 
Rogers, the author of "The Pleasures of Memory." 

Disraeli employed M r Bailey, Solicitor, to raise 
a considerable loan for the purposes of an Elec- 
tion : promising to repay the amount on a given 
day with a good premium. The money was 
advanced. The loan and the premium were 
punctually repaid on the day agreed. In this, 
as in all other pecuniary matters, Disraeli was 
scrupulously punctilious. Thoroughly appreciating 
the power of Wealth : and acutely sensible to 
the impotence of Poverty, he seems at no time 
to have had a craving for money. His wants 
were few : and his good sense told him that 
superfluities could easily be dispensed with. 

I HAVE GIVEN my opinion of Disraeli's know- 



476 DISRAELI. 

ledge of the classics. In a work published re- 
cently I was amused to find a statement made 
by Sir Stafford Northcote, after paying a visit to 
Disraeli at Hughenden. I am not surprised that 
Disraeli thought " everything that Gladstone wrote 
about Homer was wrong " : this was natural. 
What follows is highly comic : " He used to be 
fond of Sophocles, and carried him about : he 
did not much care for ^Eschylus," etc. Disraeli 
may have carried a Sophocles in his pocket : 
but at no time of his life could he have trans- 
lated two lines of that great dramatist without 
a lexicon. Of ^Eschylus he was equally ignorant, 
so far as the Greek text : and the same was the 
case with Euripides. I will go further : he could 
not have translated the much easier Greek of 
Homer, nor of Herodotus : and I feel sure that 
he could not have construed the easiest Greek 
of all, a chapter in either of the four Gospels. 

Lord , who knew Disraeli more intimately, and 

longer, than any one now alive, holds the same 
opinion : Disraeli frequently alludes to him as an 
admirable classic scholar ; who has retained his 
knowledge of the dead languages. He not only 
stayed with Disraeli at his house in London, as a 



DISRAELI. 477 

young man ; but travelled with him on the Con- 
tinent. Numberless opportunities occurred for 
exchanging opinions on the subject of the great 
classic writers. No allusion to any of them ever 
passed Disraeli's lips. The knowledge of Mytho- 
logy shown in "Ixion" and elsewhere could 
easily be obtained, and was no doubt, from that 
encyclopaedia of filth forced into the hands of 
every schoolboy of thirteen, " Lempriere's Dic- 
tionary." That the son of the Author of "The 
Curiosities of Literature " could easily get up 
a knowledge of the subjects of the plays of 
^Eschylus, Sophocles, etc., there can be no doubt : 
but as for carrying a Sophocles in his pocket, as 
an every day resource, I can only say that he 
accurately measured the well-intentioned and guile- 
less being with whom he was conversing. I 
am surprised that Sir Stafford's journal does not 
produce an added note : " Disraeli said that in 
his youth he was fascinated by the prose epic, 
1 Jack the Giant- Killer.' For pure fiction he thought 
that nothing equalled 'Jack and the Beanstalk.' 
To complete the trilogy he named ' The House that 
Jack Built.' This he considered a sort of poetical 
sorites. I confess that I was astonished to find 



478 DISRAELI. 

that, notwithstanding the vast and various interests 
that were occupying his mind, Disraeli could repeat 
this terse and vigorous narrative without missing a 
word ! One remark, showing his deep erudition, 
attracted the attention of the worthy Vicar who 
had looked in during the evening : Disraeli proved 
conclusively that the events related must have 
occurred before the separation of the Anglican from 
the Roman branch of the Catholic Church : pointing 
out the term 'the Priest all shaven and shorn'; 
clearly showing an antiquity earlier than the reign 
of Henry vui. The blending of the Imaginative 
and the Real in 'Puss in Boots' had, no doubt, 
a great influence on his literary future. One char- 
acter impressed him forcibly; the Marquess of 
Carabas. He introduces him in his earliest 
novel." 

DISRAELI had peculiar charms for the agricul- 
tural mind. From his origin, appearance, and 
manner one would not have expected this. I 
have always revered as pure types of the best 
form of County Members M r Pell and M r Clare 
Read: both high-minded and exceptionally able 
men : clear in their political views, and in their 



DISRAELI. 479 

views of what is right. Speaking of Disraeli's 
amusing pranks, his dodges, and his occasional 
claptraps, I remember M r Pell saying, "In spite 
of it all, damn the fellow ! one cannot help 
loving him ! " 

WHEN LORD DERBY was Minister for the Colo- 
nies amusement was caused in the geographical 
world by his speaking of the "Island of Deme- 
rara." This was before my day; but standing at 
the bar of the House of Lords I heard him say, 
" My Lords, this reminds me of the celebrated 
duel between the Earl of Chatham and Sir Richard 
Strahan ! " This allusion to the Commanders of 
Walcheren was omitted by the newspapers. One 
paper inserted it : but chivalrously corrected it the 
next day as having been their own error. 

NOTHING COULD BE more artistic than the 
manner in which Disraeli introduced his good 
things. He gradually led the House up to them ; 
and invariably produced his best thing at the 
precisely proper period of his speech. 

ON ONE OCCASION, a threat of assassination 



480 DISRAELI. 

was made. Reading the case, I doubted whether the 
insanity of the culprit was not assumed : meeting 
Disraeli soon afterwards, I suggested that the man 
was not mad ; and hoped he would not escape. Dis- 
raeli replied, "He is quite mad enough to murder 
me"; and added, "I sincerely hope they will lock 
him up." 

FEW WOULD HAVE thought Joseph Hume to 
be a Poet : he competed for the Prologue after 
the burning of Holland's Drury Lane Theatre : im- 
mortalised by the "Rejected Addresses" of the 
brothers Smith. Hume always spoke of the " Tottle 
of the Whole ". 

DISRAELI'S APPRECIATION of the speeches of 
others was exquisite. I always felt that it was worth 
while to address the House of Commons if he were 
present. You knew that, whether you did well or ill, 
there was one present who could appreciate you : 
and that no amount of pains and effort were wasted 
if you had so brilliantly an intelligent man to ob- 
serve your expressed thoughts. 

THE PRACTICE OF bowing when leaving the 
House, or on turning to the right or left when enter- 



DISRAELI. 481 

ing, has nothing to do with the Speaker ; it descends 
from the practice, still used in Cathedrals and Colle- 
giate Churches, of bowing to the East. Parliament 
sat for many years in St. Stephen's Chapel; hence 
the practice has descended. I have no doubt that it 
extends far earlier than the forms of Christianity ; 
and that we should find the source of the practice in 
the ancient Sun-worship, at one period the universal 
religion of mankind. 

IN THE CASE of one who made numberless 
speeches, it is remarkable how few words of Sir 
Robert Peel have lived in the memory of man. I can 
recall but two sentences : " The Battle of the Con- 
stitution must be fought in the Registration Courts." 
The second is a higher flight : " It is no easy task to 
reconcile an hereditary Monarchy, a proud Aristoc- 
racy, and a reformed House of Commons." 

I REGRET that Disraeli did not revive the office of 
Lord High Treasurer, I suggested this to him : and 
also in the House of Commons. If this be undesir- 
able, the Premiership should be united to the office 
of Lord Privy Seal. This would give additional 

income ; and Precedence. It is paradoxical that the 

2 H 



482 DISRAELI. 

Prime Minister should have no rank over the other 
Commissioners of the Treasury : and that on State 
Occasions the members of his Cabinet should walk 
before him. Latterly Disraeli held the offices of 
Lord Privy Seal and First Commissioner of the 
Treasury at the same time. 

WHEN DISRAELI was Prime Minister I thought 
that it was an opportunity to obtain from him a 
measure which should afford to the respectable and 
much-sought Order of Baronets the means of finding 
out whether they are Baronets or not. At present there 
is nothing to prevent any one assuming the title of his 
relation, or indeed of any one else, who may or may 
not be more entitled to it than himself. I took some 
trouble about this : and found that the same title had 
been held for several generations, in several cases, by 
two persons, each believing that they were entitled to 
it. I did not go into the question of Precedence : 
though there can be no doubt that by analogy Baronets 
should rank before the eldest sons of Barons. The 
non-existence of a tribunal to determine the right to 
this title is a most absurd anomaly. The question was, 
I believe, referred to each Minister, as is the practice 
before a projected measure is drafted. One obstacle 



DISRAELI. 483 

was that a very high judicial functionary had a doubt- 
ful right to his Baronetcy. I had no suspicion of this 
until the great man in question told me that it was 
better on the whole that such questions should not 
be raised. I suggested to Disraeli that the good- 
humoured sarcasm with which he deals with this dis- 
tinguished order in " Sybil " should induce him to do 
something for us. The difficulty is to establish a 
tribunal which would be cheap. A. B. or C. may say, 
" You may call me a Baronet or not, as you like ; 
I shall call myself one; but I shall not pay ^50 or 
;ioo to a lawyer to prove my right ". Lord Cairns, 
the Lord 'Chancellor, suggested to me that to put 
Baronets within the Statute which enables a person to 
prove heirship would be enough. I ventured to sug- 
gest that where no property was concerned an expen- 
sive lawsuit would not be readily gone into. 

The courtesy prefix of " Honourable," still given 
to Judges, was for one hundred years used to 
Baronets ; and should be restored. 



I FIND THE following story mangled by the 
roadside : the reader may be pleased to see it 
placed on its legs. Sir John Pakington, First Lord 



484 DISRAELI. 

of the Admiralty, arrived late at a Cabinet Council : 
he expressed his regret ; adding that he had been 
at Portsmouth and had a difficulty in landing from 
Spithead : the sailors declaring that they had never 
seen such a swell in the Solent as when he landed. 
Lord Derby said, "You mean while you were on 
board the Fleet ; not when you came away." 

IN WRITING THE most familiar letters, Disraeli 
invariably followed the old fashion of repeating the 
last word at the foot of each page. 

His signature was usually "Dizv." So it appears 
under Count D'Orsay's portrait of him. This 
signature will be alluded to at the end of this 
volume. 

ONE OF THE happiest of Disraeli's Aphorisms, 
and they " crowd on my soul," is, " In these days 
neither Wealth nor a Pedigree avail : for the 
former, the world is too rich; for the latter, too 
knowing." 

Among those who knew Disraeli, no one appre- 
ciated him more than Lord Dufferin, who, after an 
admirable administration as Viceroy of the Queen's 
vast Empire in the East, is now Ambassador to the 



DISRAELI. 485 

Court of the King of Italy. The son and nephew of 
three intimate friends of Disraeli's youth, he was for- 
tunate enough to obtain his acquaintance early in 
life. 

The following letter, which I received during the 
progress of this work, gratified me ; not only as coming 
from a lifelong friend, but as giving a bright illustra- 
tion of Disraeli's manner : 

"HOTEL VITTORIA, SORRENTO, 
%lh August 1890. 

"Mv DEAR FRASER. 

.1 was so glad to get a line 

from you : and I hope that you may be able to carry 
out your intention of coming to Rome. 

" It would be a great pleasure both to Lady Dufferin 
and myself to make your stay agreeable. 

" I am sure that you will write a very amusing book 
about Disraeli, and I only wish that I could help you 
in it. 

" My mother was amongst the earliest of his 
acquaintances to recognise his great abilities : and 
saw a great deal of him at M re Norton's, when he 
was a young man about town. She did not see very 
much of him after he had once entered upon his 



486 DISRAELI. 

political career. Here, however, is a little anecdote 
which is very characteristic and amusing. 

" My mother had a great admiration for the ' Curio- 
sities of Literature ' ; and was anxious to make the 
acquaintance of Disraeli's father : but there was a dif- 
ficulty about this, as at the moment he was not on 
good terms with his father. 

" However, one day he appeared in my mother's 
drawing-room, with his father in tow. As soon as they 
were both seated, Disraeli turned round, and looking 
at his father as if he were a piece of ornamental china, 
said to my mother, ' Madam, I have brought you my 
father. I have been reconciled to my father on two 
conditions. The first was that he should come to see 
you; the second that he should pay my debts.' 

" I do not know whether you will think this worthy 
of your volume. Ever yours sincerely, 

" DUFFERIN AND AVA." 

Of the three " Weird Sisters," as they were 
called, the Duchess of Somerset, better known in 
her youth as Lady Seymour, the Queen of Beauty 
at the Egiinton Tournament, was conspicuously 
the handsomest woman in London. I remember 
at a concert at her stepmother-in-law's in Park 



DISRAELI. 487 

Lane, at once recognising her. She had scarcely 
any colour, but a most statuesque figure; and 
beautiful features. For many years before her death 
she became unduly large. Though very strong- 
minded, and not showing it outwardly, I think that 
she felt the change very much. M rs Norton retained 
her figure and her very handsome features to the last. 
These two sisters, though courteous in manner, gave 
you an idea of hardness. Lady Dufferin, on the 
contrary, was suave and gentle. I should say that 
in her youth the term " pretty " must have been more 
applicable to her than handsome. Her manner most 
pleasing, and better bred than that of her sisters. 
She was the author of many clever pieces, in- 
cluding " The Charming Woman," a lyric set to 
the same air as the well-known hymn, 

" To thee, oh dear, dear country." 

She would, I believe, have published more : but 
her husband, then Captain Blackwood, was averse 
to his wife sharing the publicity of her sister, M rs 
Norton : whose reputation as an author and a 
Poet is well known. 



THIS QUESTION and answer were characteristic 



488 DISRAELI. 

of Lord Palmerston. "What is Merit?" said he. 
"The opinion which one man has of another." 

During a vacation Lord Palmerston had made a 
speech on Education in which he had declared, 
possibly from having no experience of them, that 
"all children are born good." Disraeli alluded to 
this remarkable opinion. " The noble Viscount, 
among other pleasant means of passing his holiday, 
has abolished Original Sin ! " 

LABORIOUS as was his life, Disraeli was natu- 
rally an indolent man. He never professed to be 
anything else : and had a contempt for those whose 
temperament was not habitually languid. It will 
occur to every reader that this is a paradox in relation 
to the Aphorism that " Genius is, or has, an infinite 
capacity for taking pains." I believe that these are 
perfectly consistent ideas. I believe that no man 
is so painstaking, and that no man finds it so diffi- 
cult to arrive at self-satisfaction in his work, as the 
man of great capacity, and an indolent habit. The 
very fact that he feels the exacting quality of his 
own Genius makes him hesitate to undertake work. 
It has been told of our great lyric poet, Campbell, 
an exceptionally indolent man, that he would ride 



DISRAELI. 489 

from Sydenham to London to change a comma 
into a semicolon. So would every man who 
deserves the name of Genius : I believe that 
Disraeli's self-criticism was of a most searching 
and exquisite character. 

The drudgery of figures he loathed. His mind 
was Logical : whether he had ever turned his 
attention to Mathematics, I do not know : I should 
say not. I have a very strong impression that he 
was a very idle boy. 

HAVING TAKEN THE portentous step of Mar- 
riage, Disraeli was enabled to become a County 
Member. His colleague Dupre said to me, when 
speaking of the hopelessness of an uncertain seat, 
" Do you think that Disraeli would have been Prime 
Minister if he had been fighting Boroughs all his life ? " 

HATS PLAY A conspicuous part in the House 
of Commons. Sitting covered is probably per- 
mitted as taking away an easy means of insubor- 
dination and disorder, if the rule were to sit 
uncovered. A good hat is not frequently seen 
there. No one can secure a place unless its owner 
be there at prayer-time ; Members now do not 



490 DISRAELI. 

scruple to secure their places with a second hat 
before prayers; even early in the morning. It 
seems extraordinary that in a country like ours 
there should not be room in the Senate-House 
for all the Members. Speaking from the side- 
galleries ought to be encouraged : not only would 
the Member addressing the House be better heard, 
but he would be at a decided advantage in speak- 
ing from the gallery. One little incident relating 
to a hat I must relate. Sitting next to an esteemed 
friend, a distinguished member of the legal pro- 
fession, he rose to address the House on a 
subject of considerable interest The Tory party 
were at the time in opposition : I was distressed 
to observe that his whole line of argument was 
in favour of a proposal of the actual Government. 
I noticed that he had in close proximity to his 
person a perfectly new hat. It was an exquisite hat : 
and must have cost from twenty-three to twenty- 
five shillings. I placed this hat immediately behind 
him ; so that when he sat down he would crush it. 
Not only did he continue his argument, but he posi- 
tively began to attack his own side. This my sense of 
justice convinced me would never do. I may men- 
tion that a Judgeship was at the time vacant. I felt 



DISRAELI. 491 

that this terrible dereliction from party duty must be 
punished. I deliberately changed the position of the 
beautiful hat, exquisite in its glossy freshness, from 
vertical to horizontal : my worst hopes were realised. 
After a peroration, in which he denounced the want 
of good sense of his own leaders, he sat down amid 
the cheering of our opponents. Crash into hopeless 
ruin went the hat ! Placed vertically, it might have 
been restored : laterally, it was annihilated. I can 
see him now, holding up the hat with a look which 
reminded me of Macbeth glancing at his bloody 
fingers. "This is a sorry sight." He never knew, 
and I believe never suspected, who had done this. 
When he reads this work, as he will, it may remind 
him that there is an earthly retribution. I ought to 
add that he obtained a Judgeship. 

A MATERIAL ELEMENT in the future of Con- 
stitutional Government is the non-existence of safe 
seats. Formerly, if a Member obtained a seat for a 
County, it was frequently, I might almost say gene- 
rally, for life. There were many Boroughs equally 
secure. This system has been completely swept 
away : difficult as it is, in the present day, to obtain a 
seat in Parliament, to retain one is more difficult. 



492 DISRAELI. 

From the moment of his election each Member knows 
that a rival is working, day by day, week by week, 
month by month, for his destruction. No matter 
how liberal he may be in the matter of subscrip- 
tions, the new candidate will have the cry of the 
multitude at the next election : no one can say that 
his seat is safe. This of course limits the choice 
of a Minister for offices : and in addition to this it 
makes Parliament as a profession impossible. The 
long experience necessary to make a perfect Repre- 
sentative, not a delegate nor mandatory, is out of 
the question. Government by Experts has been 
abolished. 

I KNOW OF ONLY one passage in which Byron 
speaks of the House of Commons. He says with 
great truth, that the House of Commons must be 
a most formidable body to address : not so much 
from the pre-eminence of talent, as from the col- 
lective good sense. I recall the saying of a man 
of very different mind and temperament, Sir John 
Pakington, with whom I made an excursion from 
Naples to the Temples at Passtum. While we were 
returning, he said, " Whatever a man may go through 
in life, he will tell you that he has never had such 



DISRAELI. 493 

a trial of his nerves as the second time he rises to 
speak in the House of Commons. The first time 
he does not know what is coming: the second is 
awful ! " 

I KNOW FROM those who for many years were 
the immediate neighbours of Disraeli, how cheerful 
and how pleasant he was habitually in the intimacy 
of daily and friendly intercourse. Those who did 
not look beneath the surface found him a gay 
companion ; but sadness was habitually seated in 
his countenance. That pathetic line, 

"And Melancholy marked him for her own," 

was as applicable to Disraeli as to its author. A 
Poet of the present day has in his best lines 
written of 

"Tears from the -depths of some divine despair." 

The innate and never-ending grief of all those 
who have adorned Humanity existed in Disraeli. 
This was written in his face : in his voice : and 
showed itself through all the brilliant fiction which 
he produced. What was the heritage of his old 
age? Was it, as he asks, Despair? 



494 DISRAELI. 

THE THOROUGHLY PRACTICAL view which 
Disraeli took of that subject of immense importance, 
our North-Western frontier in India, was treated 
with ridicule by the foolish. The term "Scientific 
Frontier" was thoroughly correct. We have at 
length, I hope, a scientific frontier. If we have 
not, we shall have the Russians on the Indus : 
possibly at Calcutta. 

SIR B. L. walked for two hours with Carlyle on the 
day on which Disraeli offered to recommend him 
for the Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath and a 
Pension : His letter and Carlyle's reply have been 
published, and, for that reason, I omit them. He 
described the letter being brought to him by a 
Treasury messenger : the large black seal : his wonder 
as to what the official envelope could contain : and 
his great surprise on reading the offer, conveyed in 
language of consummate tact and delicacy. Cailyle 
said "The letter of Disraeli was flattering, generous, 
and magnanimous; his overlooking all that I have 
said and done against him was great." He added 
"The accurate perception of merit in others is one 
of the highest characteristics of a fine intellect. I 
should not have given Disraeli credit for possessing 



DISRAELI. 495 

it; had it not been brought home so directly 
to me." 

He repeated the words "generous" and "mag- 
nanimous " several times. 

THE DREAD of Political "Mrs. Grundys" pre- 
vented, I have little doubt, Disraeli from pro- 
pounding something original in Taxation. His 
penny stamp on cheques, which was jeered at, 
answered admirably. I am surprised that no 
Chancellor of the Exchequer has attempted taxation 
by stamps on buying and selling. I believe that a 
halfpenny stamp, payable on every item sold above 
a certain value, with a heavy and easily-recovered 
penalty for .avoidance, would bring in a very large 
revenue : and, provided care be taken not to tax 
articles purchased by those to whom, and they are 
many, a halfpenny is an object, that it would not 
be unpopular. An experiment should be made. 
This system might save us from the blighting 
effects of the clumsy confiscation in the form of 
Succession Duty, and Income Tax, under which 
we now groan. 

OPENING an Irish Bill, Disraeli said: "This is 



496 DISRAELI. 

a measure of Necessity, conceived in a spirit of 
Conciliation ". 

DISRAELI summed up a Right Hon. Opponent 
as " an over-educated Mechanic ". 

He advised a friend on the Government bench 
" Never explain ! " He strongly objected to a Mem- 
ber when addressing the House being interrupted : 
he never rose to interrupt; nor to explain his own 
words : treating misrepresentation, intentional or 
unintentional, with silent, but marked, contempt. 

IT WAS universally admitted that the order kept 
by Disraeli in the House of Commons was un- 
rivalled : following certain rules which he made : 
never interfering unnecessarily : and, when appear- 
ing as a " Deus ex machina ", always appealing 
to the good sense, and especially to the Dignity 
of the House. 

DISRAELI at Cabinet meetings when in office, 
and non-official meetings of his ex-Cabinet, kept 
great state. His manner most formal. Great 
dignity ; and due deference exacted. On one 
occasion, in addition to his Cabinet, he requested 
the attendance of the late Duke of Buccleuch ; a 



DISRAELI, 497 

princely contributor to the "Party Fund," whose 
"Calm Wisdom" he thoroughly appreciated. The 
matter was the preparation of the Queen's Speech : 
the Duke arriving late, Disraeli addressed him with 
extreme solemnity : " We have presumed to com- 
mence our labours, in anticipation of your Grace's 
most valuable opinion," &c. 

He usually at a Cabinet Council addressed Minis- 
ters by the name of their office. 

He said to Lord Chancellor Cairns : " I never 
trust a gentleman by halves." 

On all official or semi-official occasions, even in 
cases where a few Statesmen only were summoned, 
Disraeli was always dressed with scrupulous care : 
his gloves, boots, and hat the perfection of neatness. 

Entering the room, he at once placed himself in 
an arm-chair with solemnity: the rest sitting near 
to him. He then asked each his opinion : at 
a Cabinet Meeting the proceedings under his reign 
were not too formal. 

From time immemorial the only refreshment at 
Cabinet Councils has been two plates of biscuits 
and a decanter of water on a side-table. . 



IT FELL to my lot to conduct Gustave Dore 

2 i 



49 DISRAELI. 

over the Houses of Parliament, at the time in 
Session: I hope to produce a memoir of this 
thoroughly original artist, and most amiable man, 
in another volume. 

I had also the honour to conduct President 
Grant and Senator Conkling. In "Words on Wel- 
lington" I gave an anecdote which to my surprise 
was misinterpreted. I related how General Grant 
had at a dinner-party at Apsley House asked the 
second Duke of Wellington whether his father was 
"a military man." I did not suppose that any one 
would imagine that I intended to paint this most 
distinguished American soldier as ignorant of the 
great Duke's career. The point of the joke was in 
the difference of the " first and second intention " of 
the term used. 

General Grant of course meant, had the Duke a 
military education ? As we say " an Eton man," 
"a Sandhurst man," \ as Americans "a West-Point 
man." I thought it right to say in the same work 
that the second Duke of Wellington did not remember 
the question : not that it had not been asked. Since 
the publication I have seen the friend who told me 
the story: he is certain of the fact, and interprets 
the question as I do. 



DISRAELI. 499 

DISRAELI said of an M.P. whom he did not like : 
" He is as dull as when he emerged from his 
natural filth : there has been no gleam of sunshine 
on his slime." 

I HAVE ALWAYS held that there is nothing that 
cannot be found in Shakspere. Had Sir Isaac 
Newton, instead of watching his apples, read 
his Shakspere, he would have found the principle 
of gravitation clearly laid down one hundred years 
before his day by the mighty William in "Antony 
and Cleopatra ". I was, however, I admit, surprised 
at finding that Disraeli was mentioned by name 
by Shakspere. Not only this, but the signature 
commonly used by him, "Dizv", is indicated. 
In "Measure for Measure", Act iv. sc. 3, this 
wondrous foreknowledge may be found. The scene 
is laid in obvious prelusion to an incident in 
" DIZY'S " early life, related by me. 

DISRAELI'S CONVERSATION was exhilaration 
for the day. It was Epigram from first to last 

The only line that occurs to me as expressing 
the sensation of converse with him is Byron's 
" The heart awakens, and the spirit soars." 



500 DISRAELI. 

What must have been the disappointments, the 
endurance of such an intellect during a long career 
of Ambition? What must have been the sufferings 
of his wondrous mind, with such powers of acute 
perception, in having to deal with those who were a 
necessity to him ? What marvellous patience with 
stupidity ! and how little companionship ! how very 
little sympathy ! 
Like all 

Who tread the friendless desert of Success, 

his path was desolate. 

If I were to endeavour to sum up the ultimate 
feeling with which he inspired me, it would be 
represented by the word PITY. 



THE END. 



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