– Another installment in my series
Stories of the world during the time Winston Churchill lived in it: 1874 to 1965.
In this section, we see Lord Randolph in his prime, speaking of the great liberal champion, William Gladstone. Gladstone’s image was that of a simple man, chopping wood as Abraham Lincoln was reputed to split rails. Lord Randolph did not see Gladstone as any Lincoln, however.
Entire forests must perish so that Gladstone may sweat.
He imagined a deputation of workingmen who come to speak to Gladstone at his “humble Castle named Hawarden”. But they cannot be received anywhere in the mansion for that would have been
out of harmony with the advertisement ‘boom’.” So they are conducted out back onto his ornamental grounds. . . strewn with the wreckage and the ruins of the Prime Minister’s sport. All round them, we may suppose, lay the rotting trunks of once umbrageous trees; all round them, tossed by the winds, were boughs and bark and withered shoots. They came suddenly on the Prime Minister and Master Herbert [his son], in scanty attire and profuse perspiration, engaged in the destruction of a gigantic oak, just giving its last dying groan. They are permitted to gaze and to worship and adore, and, having conducted themselves with exemplary propriety, are each of them presented with a few chips as a memorial of that memorable scene.
Thus Gladstone hands out the fruits of his government programs:
Chips to the faithful allies in Afghanistan, chips to the trusting native races of South Africa, chips to the Egyptian fellah, chips to the British farmer, chips to the manufacturer and the artisan, chips to the agricultural laborer, chips to the House of Commons itself. To all who leaned upon Mr. Gladstone, who trusted him, and who hoped for something from him – chips, nothing but chips – hard, dry, unnourishing, indigestible chips.
This was a Lord Randolf speech when he was at the top of his game.
This series consists of short summaries for passages from the book that I am writing. Graphic is that of another Churchill book that I really like.
Other Installments of this series (in progress).