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ANECDOTES OF LORD BEACONSFIELD., Issue 7916, 25 May 1889
ANECDOTES OF LORD BEACONSFIELD.
[From Our Special Correspondent.]
London, March 29,
The most interesting article I have as yet come across in the April magazines is a "reminiscing" paper anent Lord Beaconsfield by an evidently well-informed writer, I make the following extracts, beginning with these hitherto unpublished facts about his last novel:—
In the year 1872 Lord Beaconsfield commenced his last novel, ' Endymion,' a work which he undertook chiefly from the honorable desire to obtain a sum of money that would finally wipe off a residue of his monetary engagements. He worked at it pretty steadily till the general election of 1874 called him into office, when his literary work was set aside. Still he wrote at it occasionally till the beginning of the year 1876, when the Eastern Question coming to the front and engrossing his attention, Be, as be thought finally, laid the work aside. He then wrote a letter to Lord Rowton, enclosing the manuscript, unfinished by something lik« 100 pages of printed matter. He stated his view that the pressure of public work would preclude his continuing the novel, and in the event of his decease he instructed Lord Rowton to finish the work, but not to volunteer the aiinouncemeut that it had been left in an incomplete state, or to avow his collaboration, leaving the book to stand solely in the name of its original creator, Lord Beacons-fi-ild, however, living through his own administration, and finding comparative Insure when in Opposition, completed the novel with his own hand, and it was sold for the splendid sum of LIO.OOO, possession of which sum enabled him to fulfil his cherished des : re of paying off his debts. I believe that, as far as Lord Rowton is concerned, the biography of Lord Beaconsfield will remain unwritten. Contrary to general belief, there is, I understand, no such wealth of material as is assumed to exist. Lord Beaconsfield never contemplated having his memoirs written. He wrote no diary, nor did he ever, either in his life or in his testamentary directions, make provisions for his biography being written. He kept no copies of his own letters, and though there remain at present in Lord Rowton's possession piles of letters received by him from more or less eminent personages, these, though possibly -useful to compilers of the biographies of his contemporaries, are not regarded as a sufficient basis on .which to raise the superstructure of a memoir worthy of Lord Beaconsfield. There is beyond this the difficulty of dealing with much of the correspondence, which is of a strictly confidential character. During the last years of his life he was often sadly conscious of his infirmity, and deeply regretted the occasional pain he involuntarily gave. He was constantly, though all unconsciously, " cutting " people whom, if he could have recognised them, he would have been delighted to salute or to speak with. His companion in his walks and drives was always on the qui vive to advise him of the approach of friends or consequences. Once this arrangement led to comical acquaintances. Walking out one day, they met the Prince of Wales approaching, and Lord Beaconsfield was duly informed of his approach. Close by His Royal Highness walked a commissionaire speeding on an errand, and to him Lord Beaconsfield, raising his hat, bowed with courtly grace, the Prince passing unobserved.
One Mehemet Pasha quite won his heart by telling him he could not be an Englishman, but was rather one of Eastern race, " because he walked so slowly." Those who knew him half a century later will remember how this peculiarity marked him to the last. There were few thiogs in a small way more impressive in the House of Commons than to witness Mr Disraeli's approach to the table after returning from the division lobby. With head slightly bent, he glided with long slow Btride down the very centre of the floor, bowing with stately grace to the Speaker. Whether coming in after a crushing defeat or returning after an important victory he never varied his measured gait, the more remarkable among the hurrying throng of the House after a division.
ANECDOTES OF LORD BEACONSFIELD., Issue 7916, 25 May 1889
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