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washing his hands alike of the responsibility of the Treasury Bench and the ambitions of the Front Opposition Bench. How long he would have remained in this anomalous position is a problem cut short by his untimely death four years later. Lord Lyndhurst did not think the time had come when, on the threshold of his eighty-ninth year, he appeared in the House of Lords and denounced Mr. Gladstone's proposal for the abolition of the tax on paper. Few more painful sights have been witnessed in the House of Lords since Pitt was carried in swathed in flannel, than to see this old man leaning heavily upon the temporary railing they had built before him in deference to his infirmity, lifting up a feeble voice against the great leap towards light to which Mr. Glad. stone, then in the very prime of life, was inciting the nation.

Of quite a different kind is the emotion at this day created in the same assembly by the stubborn resistance which another Peer offers to the impertinent encroachments of age. Earl Grey is not so old by eleven years as was Lord Lyndhurst when he made this dying speech and confession of implacable conservatism, the while he leaned heavily on a temporary railing. His Lordship is a mere chicken of seventyeight. In other points of comparison he also falls short of Lord Lynd.

The ex-Lord Chancellor had something substantial to show during a brilliant and laborious life. Earl Grey founds his chief claim to public consideration on the fact that he is the son of the statesman who was Premier of the First Reform Cabinet. Earl Grey has never done anything particularly good himself, and has certainly never found anything good in the work of others. He has spent his life in opposition—for choice, opposition to his own side, a luxury of criticism the piquancy of which is much appreciated in parliamentary circles. If snug places at the Scaen Gate are reserved only for men who have done substantial and useful work, Earl Grey has no right to one. But his claims to retirement would, perhaps, not be too closely examined if only he would show a disposition to put them forward. But this is evi. dently not a thought that occurs to him. He has the fretful vanity which marred the last days of Earl Russell, without the records of accomplished work with which Earl Russell's old age was honourably buttressed. From time to time he delivers speeches of prodigious length, with voice so feeble that only those in his immediate neighbourhood can catch the pearls of wisdom that fall from his lips.

It was on this infirmity that Earl Granville delicately touched when Earl Grey, submitting with cheerful alacrity to be made a cat's-paw of by an almost equally aged but far more astute Peer, undertook to move the rejection of the Compensation for Disturbance Bill. The Earl, standing on the Conservative side, was, in an almost inarticulate voice, pouring forth a feeble flow of words into the ear of his placid Grace the Duke of Richmond. After this had gone on for about an hour, the proceedings being practically reduced to dumb-show, Earl Granville rose, and half leaning across the table, said, in his most engaging manner, “Will the noble Earl address his arguments to this side of the House ? Noble Lords near him are already convinced.”

In such case as that of Earl Grey the consequence of refusal to acknowledge facts painfully patent to the observer is not of serious account. When a man has no reputation to trifle with, the risk run obviously cannot be great. It is in the last chapters of the history of Lord Brougham and Earl Russell that may be read the melancholy results of unbridled lust of power. We have so few really great men born to a nation that their reputation justly becomes a public possession. An average man can do what he pleases with himself, his life, and his reputation. But men like Henry Brougham and John Russell in the past generation, and Lord Beaconsfield and Mr. Gladstone in the present, belong to the nation; and if they through failing perception are tempted to imperil their own reputation, it may be gravely considered whether the real owner should stand idly by and permit the precious but fragile gift to be shattered.

I have always felt that we, as a nation, are criminally negligent in permitting names that have been made illustrious by individuals to descend in the ordinary way to their progeny. We once had a great soldier, if not a very honest man, who won a momentous battle, and was made Duke of Marlborough. That was quite right. An illustrious deed was graced by a high title. But it seems logical that as there was only one battle of Blenheim, there should be only one Duke of Marlborough, and the title should not have been filtered down through a century and a half, till it shall be passed on to the tenth transmitter of a foolish face. Mr. Disraeli was free from embarrassing consideration of this kind when he accepted a peerage. He knew that in all history there would be only one Earl of Beaconsfield, and no chance that in time to come the title should be made ridiculous by incapacity, or sullied by infamy. The case of Mr. Gladstone is unhappily different. He has made the name familiar in the remotest corners of the world. The letters that spell it form a combination which recalls to men's minds one of the most richly-gifted geniuses the world has seen. Yet a few years and the great man shall have passed away, and respectable mediocrity will sit at the head of the household. And one will be “Mr. Gladstone," as the other was.

Now this, I venture humbly to submit, ought not to be. We have now, happily, reached a stage of politics when we are promised leisure for developing domestic and social legislation. I seize the opportunity of throwing out a suggestion which may be well worth the consideration I would propose

of any new Member of the House of Commons anxious to do good to his country and make some position for himself. two short Bills, as, owing to personal and popular prejudice, it might be difficult to pass both propositions in a single Bill. By the first measure it would be provided that when-as in the case, to mention a few recent examples, of Mr. Gladstone, Lord Beaconsfield, Charles Dickens, Mr. Thackeray, and Mr. Tennyson-a man has by his own genius raised an obscure name to the highest pinnacle of fame, his name should become extinct at his death, and that if his family insist upon the necessity of having a name, they should be at liberty to select

any other.

The other short Bill might at the outset be met with some prejudice. But I feel confident the more fully and the more calmly it is considered, the more thoroughly will it recommend itself to the minds of all right-thinking people. As a rule, the enemies of the fame of a man of genius are those of his own household, with exception so rare in history that the Pitts, father and son, have been worked to death as illustrations. Men of genius, and even ordinarily clever men, invariably have exceedingly commonplace sons to inherit their name. This is the evil that would be dealt with in the first measure here roughly sketched. But there would remain the even more dangerous enemy which a man has within himself. Physiologists tell us that within seven years every particle of our physical form undergoes change ; that there is not in this year 1880 one corpuscle of the physical man that bore our name and wore our clothes in 1873. The same process is at work in the mental organisation. It would be absurd to say that the Lord Brougham who used to write drivel to the Times in 1860 was the same man who defended Queen Caroline in 1820. Yet the law and the tender usages of society gave to him the unchallenged right and actually to go

about as the brilliant man who lived from the first year of the century till, say, 1850.

It is no use arguing with these illustrious seniors. Victor Hugo, on the threshold of his seventy-ninth year, is accustomed to remonstrance from friends, some careful for his health, others jealous for his fame, who join in the entreaty that he will rest on his laurels. By way of preface to “L'Ane,” published the other day, he puts their case, and floors them with triumphant answer :

to usurp

the name,

“_Mais tu brûles! Prends garde, esprit! Parmi les hommes,
Pour nous guider, ingrats ténébreux que nous sommes,
Ta flamme te dévore, et l'on peut mesurer
Combien de temps tu vas sur la terre durer.
La vie en notre nuit n'est pas inépuisable.

Quand nos mains plusieurs fois ont retourné le sable


Et remonté l'horloge, et que devant nos yeux
L'ombre et l'aurore ont pris possession des cieux
Tour à tour, et pendant un certain nombre d'heures,
Il faut finir. Prends garde, il faudra que tu meures.
Tu vas t'user trop vite à brûler nuit et jour!
Tu nous verses la paix, la clémence, l'amour,
La justice, le droit, la vérité sacrée ;
Mais ta substance meurt, pendant que ton feu crée.
Ne te consume pas ! Ami, songe au tombeau !"-
Calme, il répond :—“Je fais mon dévoir de flambeau.”

It is always thus, and Lord Brougham at eighty-five maundering at a Social Science Meeting, or Earl Russell at the same age feebly attempting to mould the form of European Policy, would, if besought to spare themselves, have calmly replied, “Je fais mon dévoir de flambeau.”

What I propose to do by the second short Bill—here freely offered to the sponsorship of any aspiring young Meinber—is, that when men of the stamp of Brougham, Russell, Disraeli, and Gladstone reach a certain age, that a grateful and appreciative people should put them to death. I am fully aware that the matter is open to controversy, and that much is to be said on the other side. I merely record my own opinion, that if on their approaching birthdays some one authorised to act in the name of the nation were to press upon Lord Beaconsfield a cup of hemlock, and were gently to lead Mr. Gladstone to Tower Hill, and there affectionately behead him, the country would make the best return in its power for the lifelong labour which these illustrious men have ungrudgingly given to it.

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Oh, was it the sigh of the night-wind ?

Though curtains fell fold upon fold, And windows were closed on the darkness,

For day and its hours had been toldOr was it a voice that I heard then,

Whilst watching the up-leaping flame, A voice with a mournful vibration,

That syllabled softly my name?

Oh, was it a face that bent o'er me,

And tear-drops that plashed on my cheek, A cry through the stillness that roused me,

Whilst striving, still striving to speak ? Or was it a dream that I had then,

A beautiful dream quickly flown?

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The fire had died down into embers,

and the tears were my own.

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