of the minister's fondness for claret had he been dull and incapable instead of brilliant and incapable. The present Lord Granville's title dates from 1833, when it was conferred on his father, of whom the late M. Thiers was wont to say that he realized the beau idéal of a diplomatist.
The earldom of Leicester has been held by a De Montford, and in more modern times by Dudleys, by Sydneys, and by Cokes; that of Ellesmere by Egertons and by Leveson Gowers; that of Stratford by Wentworths and by Byngs; that of Feversham by a Duras and by Duncombes. There has been but one Earl of Beaconsfield, but Lord Beaconsfield was the title selected by Burke when about to be raised to the peerage. Before the patent could be made out Burke's only son died, and the father had no longer a motive for accepting what to him could only be an empty honor.
Among extant viscounties that of Halifax undoubtedly recalls the most august memories. George Saville, Viscount and afterwards Marquis of Halifax, was succeeded in the title by his son, who died without male issue in 1700, when his honors became extinct. Charles Montague was created Lord Halifax the same year, and Earl of Halifax in 1714. Sir Charles Wood's claim to take the title of Viscount Halifax might be justified by his long representation of the borough in Parliament. For a similar reason it was lately rumored that Mr. Gathorne Hardy was nearly be coming Lord Oxford instead of Lord Cranbrook. About the same time a stranger rumor was afloat, to wit that a descendant of the De Veres was about to claim the famous earldom inseparably associated with their name.
The vicissitudes of the various baronial titles would occupy too long a time in the telling. Nearly all the old titles on the list are baronies in fee, and follow a different rule of descent from ordinary peerages. The first fifteen barons thus derive their titles through female ancestors. The Barony of De Ros, first on the list, has passed through more than one family; and indeed it would be difficult to find half a dozen peers whose direct ancestors in the male line had been heard of in the year 1264, when the premier barony was created.
To dwell on the curious fate of certain episcopal titles might be more interesting, as to the profane mind it would doubtless prove amusing. But one forbears: only trusting that so meek and unassuming a prelate as Dr. Thomson feels happy in the chair of Wolsey, and that Dr. Tait has never been disturbed with doubts as to the genuineness of his spiritual descent from such confirmed Papists as St. Augustine and St. Thomas à Becket. E. C. Grenville Murray.
From The Saturday Review.
The power of drawing a character is a distinct faculty, and a rare one. Most people acquire an impression of those with whom they come in close contact in a way which refuses to convey itself to others in language. They have an instinct which gives serviceable hints, but they are speechless if they attempt to convey these hints to other minds. Everybody indeed can give a ready answer as to the more prominent characteristics of a mere acquaintance. Society has its formulas which can be adapted and applied. A conventional phrase describes us perhaps fairly enough to the cool and easily satisfied curiosity of a chance inquirer. It is when the hearer wants to have, and the observer would fain give, a true, fair, comprehensive estimate and picture of a character that the difficulty of the task reveals itself. The more we know of a man, the harder it is to paint him so as to convey to others our own impressions. If we are not practised in character-drawing as an art, the task when first proposed startles by the unexpected hindrances we encounter to any setting-out and arrangement of our ideas, however intimate the experience on which they are founded. We flounder, we put the wrong thing foremost, we feel that we are misrepresenting ourselves and our subject. How hard we find it to disentangle in our own minds the qualities that happen to charm or to offend us individually from those which make the abstract noble or ignoble character; to disengage our thoughts from the merely personal relation in which we stand to our subject dependent on a thousand trifling accidents — that is, if we attempt to do without the current coin of the world’s phrases, which, however useful, sound hackneyed and lowering when we have to bring under review original qualities and combinations. Nor, after all, is much gained by fluency. If people are too glib and ready in their definition, there is, ten to one, some personal bias at bottom. For in all attempts at close delineation men are apt to let out as much about themselves as about the character they aim at setting before us.