London at the End of the Century:A Book of Gossip

a Beckett, Arthur William

1900

SPEAKERS AT THE END OF THE CENTURY.

 

I suppose everyone has heard at some time or another the most prominent speakers of the day. Mr. until the end retained his wonderful silver-toned voice and his earnest manner. The last time I had the opportunity of listening to the great statesman he was apparently heart and soul interested in some question about the wine duties. He had not been expected to speak, but was sitting with his head resting amidst his collars (shirt and coat), with his hands clasping his elbows. He was perfectly motionless, but his eyes were bright and piercing.

said a friend beside me,

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and my friend was right. All of a sudden Mr. sprang to his feet and poured forth a flood of earnest eloquence about something or other connected with bottles. At this date I have not the faintest idea what it was all about, but I know that at the time I was deeply moved, and had I had to vote should have certainly followed the right hon. gentleman into his favourite lobby. I was completely carried away by his evident earnestness-for the moment I honestly believed that the fate of my country, nay, the fate of the universe, depended upon something or other connected with bottles!

The last time I heard Lord Beaconsfield speak was at Willis's Rooms in the days of the old building. We had been called together to consider the advisability of erecting a statue to Lord , and the platform was occupied by several eminent ecclesiastics. There were, to the best of my recollection, an archbishop and two or three bishops, and plenty of deans, archdeacons, and such small clerical deer. Lord Beaconsfield was received with enthusiasm. He made a capital speech. I could not help contrasting his style-his calm measured sentences-with the dash and go of his great parliamentary rival. As earnestness was the essence of Mr. 's oratory, so was polished epigram the of Disraeli's carefully considered utterances. The great Conservative was delightfully calm. He was always

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dignified, and even when flippant distinctly majestic. I remember that on the occasion to which I refer he made a point which convulsed the audience the moment it was understood.

said Dizzy, turning to the archbishop, bishops, and the remainder of the clerics,

The speaker spoke perfectly gravely. For a moment there was a silence, and then when the audience took the point, came a shout of applause and a roar of laughter. The idea of suggesting the possibility that so eminently a respectful company might have found themselves in the same boat with the peccadilloes of Lord was too lovely for words!

 
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 Title Page
 Dedication
 PREFACE
CHAPTER I: LONDON AT THE END OF THE CENTURY
CHAPTER II: STRANGERS IN LONDON
CHAPTER III: RELIGION IN LONDON
CHAPTER IV: A PEEP INTO STAGELAND
CHAPTER V: PARLIAMENT UP TO DATE
CHAPTER VI: A NIGHT IN THE HOUSE
CHAPTER VII: THE PREMIER CLUB OF ENGLAND
CHAPTER VIII: LONDONERS HOLDING HOLIDAY
CHAPTER IX: THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CLUB
CHAPTER X: IN RATHER MIXED CLUBLAND
CHAPTER XI: IN AUXILIARY CLUBLAND
CHAPTER XII: A PANTOMIME AT DRURY LANE
CHAPTER XIII: LONDON EXHIBITIONS
CHAPTER XIV: COACHING THE UNIVERSITY CREW
CHAPTER XV: THE SEQUEL TO THE DERBY
CHAPTER XVI: THE LONDON GONDOLA
CHAPTER XVII: LONDON ON STRIKE
CHAPTER XVIII: LONDON FIRES
CHAPTER XIX: PALL MALL AND PRIVATE THOMAS ATKINS
CHAPTER XX: CONCERNING THE LONDON VOLUNTEERS
CHAPTER XXI: SERVING WITH THE LONDON MILITIA
CHAPTER XXII: LONDON GUNNERS AT SHOEBURYNESS
CHAPTER XXIII: BECOMING A SOCIETY LION
CHAPTER XXIV: ENTERTAINING THE WORKING MAN
CHAPTER XXV: CHOOSING A FANCY DRESS
CHAPTER XXVI: PARLIAMENTARY SPEAKING
CHAPTER XXVII: ART IN LONDON
CHAPTER XXVIII: SPENDING BANK HOLIDAY IN LONDON
CHAPTER XXIX: A BANK HOLIDAY WITHOUT 'ARRY
CHAPTER XXX: LONDON OUT OF TOWN
CHAPTER XXXI: LONDONERS AND THEIR SUMMER HOLIDAYS
CHAPTER XXXII: LONDONERS AND THE CHANNEL
CHAPTER XXXIII: LONDON UNDER DOCTOR'S ORDERS
CHAPTER XXXIV: TWO CITIES IN FORTY-EIGHT HOURS
CHAPTER XXXV: THE LONDONER'S SEARCH FOR HEALTH
CHAPTER XXXVI: THE PARISIAN PART OF THE LONDON DISTRICT
CHAPTER XXXVII: A NOVELTY IN LONDON RECREATIONS
CHAPTER XXXVIII: LONDON SCHOOLBOYS AT THE END OF THE CENTURY