LONDON, WELLINGTON COLLEGE, April 26th-May 2nd, 1880.
—Filling up of offices and trying to fit square men into round holes went on thro' the week; and Uncle W. looks as if a little more of it would send him into his grave! Of course Lord Granville and Hartington had their choice of the leading places; and it is excellent Ld. G. being at the F.O. and Cavendish Indian Secretary. Everyone steps into a hash of difficulties; but I should think there was nothing to equal India, with the Afghan war dragging on and costing mountains of money every month, the country taxed to death and deeply discontented, and to crown all, a monstrous miscalculation of ______ millions in the Estimates, which will have to be made up somehow. The Radical element to be introduced into the Cabinet has been rather a knotty question; Sir Charles Dilke everybody thought would be the best man, but (a dead secret) the Queen drew the line there ! and one can't wonder at her, as some years ago he publicly made an onslaught on the Monarchy. The alternative is the Birmingham demagogue, Mr. Chamberlain, a conceited man, but clever and honest, I believe; and just the sort who will have his teeth drawn by office and position. Sir Charles is Under-Secretary of Foreign Affairs and will probably be very useful: not much fear of his Republican principles being ever heard of again!
Saturday we went to Wellington College and our political gossip was highly appreciated by the Wickhams and Edward (brother). Said brother is doing stop-gap master's work, and intensely enjoying it: delightful to hear Edward Wickham's strong approval of him. At this moment things are indeed most well and prosperous with the dear old 8. Mr. Childers (War Secretary) has appointed Nevy his private 1st secretary — a really perfect thing for him, and he for it, methinks; and Spencer is one of Ld. G.'s under-secretaries — he was getting very sick of his dilettante life, and it is a capital thing!
Oh dear! I have never mentioned how excellently Herbert Gladstone fought thro' his Middlesex campaign, speaking capitally and winning all hearts, notably Mr. Lowe's ! ! who fell regularly in love with him.