Tuesday, January 18, 2011

06May1877, Gladstone Speech after Pandemonium

—Pleasant cold day. F. appeared at 10.30 very tired but happy and satisfied. I can't but be proud of what he has done. The gentlemen and I all walked to Eversley; Charles and I being much agog to see Kingsley's Church and home, after reading his noble life. It was a 9-miles business there and back, and I was proud of my legs....

Monday. For once Auntie P. and I sacrificed L. Hospital bodily, having places at the House for the Great Speech. I was with Gerty in the Ballot box. After the altered mode of procedure was announced there were 2 hours of pandemonium. The Tories received Mr. Trevelyan's amendment and Uncle W.'s acceptance of it with shouts of laughter, and of course from their side came many taunts. But the horrid part was the disorder of the extreme Radicals who had meant to support the whole of the Resolutions. As they profess the most thorough belief in Uncle W. they might, however perplexed and mortified they were—quite allowably—have had sufficient trust in him to hold their tongues, knowing he would not sacrifice principle, and waiting to hear his own explanation. Instead of which one after another got up to badger him with impossible questions, till one was ready to scream. But I kept saying to myself, "The speech—the speech will set all right!" and so indeed it did. After the 2 hours' baiting, at 7 o'clock, members pouring out to dinner, and when one would have supposed him exhausted in spirits and strength, up he got and delivered a magnificent 3 hrs' speech, admirable in argument, in irony, in frank explanation, in uncompromising principle, in detail; but perhaps unequalled by any of his former great speeches in intense feeling and force of conviction: his voice and delivery gaining as he went on, and the peroration a glorious burst of eloquence which moved people to tears. It was wonderful to see the effect as he went on. The House filling by degrees—the half-hearted cheers warming up—the silent and disgusted Radicals gradually joining—and at last, united enthusiasm. The Willy's, Charles, F., and I went home straight to dinner (at 10!)

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