London at the End of the Century:A Book of Gossip
a Beckett, Arthur William
EXTRA PARLIAMENTARY UTTERANCES.
I have spoken of parliamentary orators, and although I have never had the honour of sitting officially on the benches of the House during business, still I have had the pleasure and privilege of counting amongst my friends many M.P.'s. These gentlemen are supposed by their constituents to be full of eloquence, and so even if their remarks in have been confined to an occasional and an even scarcer cry of they are expected to give a taste of their quality when they get back to the voters they left (during the session) behind them. Nowadays it is not easy to pack a meeting, and even if it were it is not always expedient. There is nothing like making use of the safety-valve, and it is sometimes wiser to let your opponents in public rather than in private, especially when privacy means a long correspondence in the local press.
said one of my parliamentary friends the other day.
Then he told me that he got up his repartees for the occasion. He knew that he would be sure to meet a certain jocular cobbler, who was eqully certain of causing a good deal of interruption.
continued my friend,
My friend was rather anxious, for he had lost one of his greatest supporters, a gentleman habitually described by the chairman as This important personage was unable to come to the meeting, and the M.P. said he did not know how he should get on without him.
From these admissions I venture to think that political meetings in the provinces (and, if it comes to that, in London too) must not be absolutely earnest and entirely convincing.