BEACONSFIELD 183 time intrigue to get rid of him had yet to cease in his much of his stinted companionship, have confessed that own party; and but a few years before, a man growing with every wish to understand his character they never old, he was still in the lowest deeps of his disappointments succeeded. Sometimes they fancied they had got within and humiliations. How, then, could it be imagined that the topping walls of the maze, and might hope to gain the with six years of power from his seventieth year, the Jew point whence survey could be made of the whole; but as “adventurer,” mysterious and theatrical to the last, should often they found themselves, in a moment, where they fill a greater space in the mind of England twenty years stood at last and at first—outside. His speeches carry after death than Peel or Palmerston after five ? Of course us but a little way beyond the mental range; his novels it can be explained; and when explained, we see that rather baffle than instruct. It is commonly believed that Disraeli’s good fortune in this respect is not due entirely to Disraeli looked in the glass while describing Sidonia in his own merits. His last years of power might have been Coning shy. We group the following sentences from this " followed by as long a period of more acceptable government description for a purpose that will be presently seen:— than his own, to the effacement of his own from memory; (1) “He was admired by women, idolized by artists, rebut that did not happen. What did follow was a time ceived in all circles with great distinction, and of universal turbulence and suspicion, in which the pride appreciated for his intellect by the very fewCharacterof the nation was wounded again and again. To say to whom he at all opened himself.” (2) “For, though “Majuba” and “Gordon” recalls its deepest hurts, but affable and generous, it was impossible to penetrate him : not all of them ; and it may be that a pained and angry though unreserved in his manners his frankness was people, looking back, saw in the man whom they lately limited to the surface. He observed everything, thought displaced more than they had ever seen before. From ever, but avoided serious discussion. If you pressed him that time, at any rate, Disraeli has been acknowledged as for an opinion he took refuge in raillery, and threw out the regenerator and representative of the Imperial idea some paradox with which it was not easy to cope. The in England. He has also been accused on the same secret history of the world was Sidonia’s pastime. His grounds; and if the giver of good wine may be blamed great pleasure was to contrast the hidden motive with the for the guest who gets drunk on it, there is justice in the public pretext of transactions.” (3) “ He might have accusation. It is but a statement of fact, however, that discovered a spring of happiness in susceptibilities of the Disraeli retains his hold upon the popular mind on this heart • but this was a sealed fountain for Sidonia. In account mainly. The rekindling of the Imperial idea is his organization there was a peculiar, perhaps a great understood as a timely act of revolt and redemption : of deficiency; he was a man without affection. It would revolt against continuous humiliations deeply felt, re- be hard to say that he had no heart, for he was suscepdemption from the fate of nations obviously weak and tible of deep emotions; but not for individuals. Woman suspected of timidity. It has been called rescue-work— was to him a toy, man a machine.” These sentences are deliverance from the dangers of invited aggression and separately grouped here for the sake of suggesting that a philosophical neglect of the means of defence. And its they will more truly illustrate Disraeli’s character if taken first achievement for the country (this is again a mere as follows :—The first as representing his most cherished statement of fact) was the restoration of a much-damaged social ambitions — in whatever degree achieved. The self-respect and the creation of a great defensive fleet not second group as faithfully and closely descriptive of hima day too soon for safety. So much for “ the great heart self : descriptive too of a character purposely cloaked. of the people.” Meanwhile political students find to The third as much less simple; in part a mixture of their satisfaction that he never courted popularity, and truth with Byronic affectation, and for the rest (and never practised the art of working for “quick returns” more significantly), as intimating the resolute exercise of sympathy or applause. As “adventurer” he should of extraordinary powers of control over the promptings have done so; yet he neglected the cultivation of that and passions by which so many capable ambitions have paying art for the wisdom that looks to the long future, come to grief. So read, Sidonia and Benjamin Disraeli and bears its fruit, perchance, when no one cares to re- are brought into close resemblance by Disraeli himself; member who sowed the seed. So it is that to read some for what in this description is untrue to the suspected of his books and many of his speeches is to draw more fundamentals of his character is true to his known foibles. respect and admiration from their pages than could have But for a general interpretation of Lord Beaconsfield and been found there originally. The student of his life his career none serves so well as that which Froude insists understands that Disraeli’s claim to remembrance rests on most. He was thoroughly and unchangeably a Jew. not only on the breadth of his views, his deep insight, At but one remove, by birth, from southern Europe and his long foresight, but even more on the courage which the East, he Avas an Englishman in nothing but his allowed him to declare opinions supplied from those devotion to England and his solicitude for her honour qualities when there was no visible likelihood of their and prosperity. It was not wholly by volition and design justification by experience, and therefore when their that his mind was strange to others and worked in natural fate was to be slighted. His judgments had to absolute detachment. He had “ none of the hereditary await the event before they were absolved from ridicule prepossessions of the native Englishman.” No such preor delivered from neglect. The event arrives; he is in possessions disturbed his vision when it was bent upon the his grave; but his reputation loses nothing by that. It rising problems of the time, or rested on the machinery gains by regret that Death was beforehand with him. of government and the kind of men who worked it and “ Adventurer,” as applied to Disraeli, was a mere term their ways of working. The advantages of Sidonia’s of abuse. “ Mystery-man ” had much of the same intention, intellect and temperament were largely his, in affairs, but but in a blameless though not in a happy sense it was not without their drawbacks. His pride in his knowledge true of him to the end of his days. Even to his friends, of the English character was the pride of a student; and and to many near him, he remained mysterious to the we may doubt if it ever occurred to him that there would . last. It is impossible to doubt that some two or three, have been less pride but more knowledge had he been an four or five perchance, were at home in his mind, being Englishman. It is certain that in shrouding his oavu freely admitted there • but of partial admissions to its character he checked the communication of others to inner places there seem to have been few or none. Men himself, and so could continue to the end of his career who were long associated with him in affairs, and had the costly mistake of being theatrical in England. There
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