Smalley, George W.
CHAPTER VII: Lawyers, Judges, Doctors, Divines, and Soldiers in London Society
LAWYERS, JUDGES, DOCTORS, DIVINES, AND SOLDIERS IN LONDON SOCIETY.
As I have just made mention of no less a person than the Attorney-General, I will say something more about the legal luminaries who are to be encountered in London society. It is not my business to compose a little treatise for public edification on the subject of the legal profession, which, as far as I have been able to observe, consists principally of gentlemen who have nothing to do, and of whom no one hears anything; secondly, of gentlemen who have a great deal to do, but who are for social purposes unknown; thirdly, of lawyers who combine success or eminence in their calling with social notoriety. The lawyer who belongs to either of the two first categories may be an estimable person, but is indistinguishable, from the point of view I can alone take now, from any other variety of hard-working Briton. Who wants to know where or how the great pundit of the Chancery Bar, Mr. Jones, lives? or what is the appearance, and what are the ideas, of his scarcely less successful rival, Mr. Robinson? To the ordinary member of society these are, and will always be, names. It is better that I should describe a few of the gentlemen learned in the law to whom you are likely to be presented in the course of your pilgrimage through society in London.
I shall begin with the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Coleridge, who enjoys the fame of being the best conversationalist and the most agreeable companion at a dinner-table. On his private virtues I will forbear to dwell. He is pious and thrifty; he is a widower;
|he is a High Churchman, a great scholar; he reads novels, but is generally believed never to have looked at or heard of any newspaper except the Times. He is the friend of Mr. Henry Irving, but he was never acquainted with the name of Mr. Corney Grain, a delightful drawing-room entertainer, until that gentleman had been brought before his notice officially. Lord Coleridge is fond of the theatres, but the theatres which he does not personally visit are to him as if they were not. He knows the Haymarket and the Lyceum, but of the Gaiety and the Globe-I select the names at random -he would, I suspect, putting on that air of innocent amazement of which he is a master, profess himself in a state of "unqualified nescience."|
This peculiarity on his part may at first surprise you a little. It will cease to surprise you when you know him somewhat better, and have acquired an insight into his bland irony. I am not quite certain whether, if you mentioned to him you were going to see the Derby or the Ascot Cup run for, he would not look at you with benign and wondering curiosity, and then ask you whether these hippic contests took place in England.
I have often, years ago, heard his Lordship examine or crossexamine witnesses in court, and if ever any individual assumed with perfect success the manner of the heathen Chinee, which, according to Mr. Bret Harte, was childlike and bland, that individual was the present Lord Chief Justice of England. Other counsel, when they found the man or woman before them in the witnessbox stubbornly stupid or reticent, would attempt to browbeat and bully. Sir John Coleridge, as he was then, would shake his head with a seraphic smile in disapproval of so inhuman a proceeding, and would wait his turn. He went upon an entirely different tack. He never bullied, never hurried or flustered any one, but he got out of every one the exact thing he wanted, and by dint of sheer suavity inveigled those whom he interrogated into making the most suicidal admissions.
The way in which he accomplished it was this. He treated the witness before him not merely as a gentleman or a lady, but as a kind of superior being who had at his or her disposal just the information to extricate him from an appalling difficulty. " My good friend," he said, or seemed to say, " pray help me. I really know nothing about this matter. My own faculties are exceedingly limited. I am a simple searcher after truth, and I respectfully pray
|for your assistance. Let me proceed to ask you in my own unsophisticated way a few modest questions." When those modest questions had been put and, as they invariably were, answered in the exact way in which the questioner anticipated and designed, the prisoner at the bar, if it was a hanging case and Sir John Coleridge was against him, was a dead man. He felt the hempen cord tighten round his neck, and turned pale and sick.|
Of its kind this is the highest sort of art I have ever seen displayed in a court of justice. I am not surprised that Lord Coleridge should be a great patron of actors. If he has learned something from them, they may have perfected their education by studying him; for he, indeed, was, and is, the greatest actor of all. To sum up his character, I should say that Lord Coleridge was, while having a consummate eye to artistic effect, a little too obviously artificial. His voice is too dulcet to be quite natural; his conversation too primly eloquent to flow spontaneously; his anecdotes too much elaborated, and, I am constrained to say, not unfrequently bearing too close a resemblance to stories which have long since become classical, to have the air of genuineness. His Lordship, in fact, conveys the idea that there is a good deal in the background which he does not find it convenient to bring prominently forward, and yet which is just as much a part of the man himself, and of his life, as the impressive personality and sententious sagacity or ornate instructiveness which sum up the idea conceived of him by society.
Contrast with Lord Coleridge another English judge well known in what are called fashionable and sporting circles-Sir Henry Hawkins. They designate him a hanging judge because it is not his habit to treat crime as merely the abnormal development of virtue, or to commiserate thieves and murderers as irresponsible lunatics. Facts are to him what ideas are to the Lord Chief Justice. The latter has the spirit of a law-reformer, but then he thinks that no legal reform can be worth having which is not first approved by his own conscience; that is to say, Lord Coleridge is perpetually engaged in the attempt to construct a new legal code which shall have precedence over any code in existence out of his own subjective notions of right and wrong. His conscience--he holds with the High Church divines-is the image of God reflected within him. Its verdicts, therefore, are infallible and absolute. Consequently, anything he can do to twist the laws of man into conformity with the laws of God-otherwise with the ideas of Lord Chief Justice
|Coleridge-is calculated to promote the dignity of law and the moral improvement of the human race.|
Sir Henry Hawkins is entirely free from any of these judicial sentimentalisms. The object of the law, as he understands it, is to put down crime, to be a terror to evil-doers. This object it cannot effect unless it treats criminals as criminals, and not as the proteges of the hopeful experimentalist in social ethics. I confess I never look at Lord Coleridge and then at Sir Henry Hawkins when I happen to meet them-which is exceedingly seldom-at the same dinnertable without being reminded of the screen-scene in the "School for Scandal." Lord Coleridge appears to me the Joseph Surface of that episode, which elicits from his brother Charles the ironical observation, "There is nothing so noble as a man of sentiment." Sir Henry Hawkins is the Sir Peter Teazle, who bluntly interposes with the "Oh, damn your sentiments!" But then Sir Henry Hawkins is not, as Lord Coleridge is, a metaphysician, a theologian, a scholar, a nineteenth-century Chrysostom. He is only a first-rate lawyer, a clear-sighted judge of evidence, with an intellect which acts as an acid solvent to cant of all sorts-a man of the world who has no wish to pose as a latter-day edition of a father of the early Christian Church, a Greek sophist, or a mediaeval anchorite.
Again, Sir Henry Hawkins does not boast the possession of a great uncle who was so wholly impossible as Samuel Taylor Coleridgepoet, mystic, religious dreamer, and entirely untrustworthy in every relation of life. When Sir Henry Hawkins has done his day's work he takes a stroll with a terrier of a particularly sporting type; and this over, dines at the Turf Club, or wherever else his engagements and inclinations may prompt him. Whither Lord Coleridge retires, if he has not to keep a dinner appointment with prelates or with titled laymen more severe in their notions than prelates themselves, I have not the faintest idea.
Among the other judges who are to be met with in London society the most notable perhaps are Mr. Baron Huddleston, Mr. Justice Stephen, and the Master of the Rolls, Sir Baliol Brett. The last of these is on the Bench a man of singular acumen, gifted with an extraordinary memory, with a marvellous capacity to seize the points that are of real importance, and with a remarkable knack of continuously illustrating and emphasizing the line of argument he has from the first resolved to maintain. He sees far and he sees clearly, but he never sees either to the right or to the left. His
|appearance is in his favor, and e/loquent of his prosperity. There is too much of refinement and intellectual power in his face not to render it impressive. He is a man of distinction and dignity, and though in drawing-rooms one might think that his first object was to produce a favorable impression on ladies of title, young and old, though he has some of the conceits and affectations of a superannuated petit maitre, every one perceives immediately that he is far more than he pretends to be. Sleek and florid one may think him, and he is. Talk five minutes to him, and, after he has gratified his vision by looking down on his jewelled fingers and his well-trimmed nails, you will discover that the Master of the Rolls is a person of rare shrewdness and sagacity, and of wide and varied knowledge.|
While Sir Baliol Brett might be taken easily for any person rather than a judge, Mr. Baron Huddleston and Mr. Justice Stephen wear the judge conspicuously, ostentatiously on their shirt-fronts. Not, indeed, in the same manner. There are, perhaps, no two men in London society, and certainly no two judges, who are more diametrically dissimilar. Although Mr. Baron Huddleston expends his energies on his profession, and he lays out his whole life with a paramount regard to the duties imposed on him by the Bench, he does not live forgetful of society or its claims; and in his scheme of existence the polite world, of which he is an acknowledged ornament, occupies a prominent place. He married the daughter of the late and the sister of the present Duke of St. Albans. He is thus honored with the patent of a brevet nobility. He has shown much acuteness in discovering that he is more important and diverting in society in proportion as he utilizes for its benefit the special experiences he has acquired as a judge. His conversation is free from trivial banalities.
In a word, he is interesting because he speaks of what he knows and of what others do not, yet in such a way that he is never obscure or unintelligible. Experts have more authority than is well for themselves or for the rest of mankind in England. Nor do I know a greater weariness to the flesh than a specialist discoursing on some topic of which he is supposed to possess the monopoly. Mr. Baron Huddleston has all the advantages of alegal specialist, and none of his drawbacks. He never obtrudes his professional experiences. He never throws them away. He economizes them, introducing them just when and where he perceives that they may be subservient to the general conversational good
|of the community. He will spin you legal and judicial yarns by the yard if lie is quite certain that there is a real demand for them. But in general society he is content to give just a judicial flavor to the conversation exactly as the late Bishop of Winchester, Dr. Wilberforce-and the two men have a great deal in common redundant-was an adept in giving an ecclesiastical or episcopal flavor to it. A judge or a bishop in society ought, in my opinion, to be what onion is in a salad or garlic in an omelette-it should scarcely be detected, and yet it should animate the whole.|
Mr. Justice Stephen does not, any more than Mr. Baron Huddleston, aggressively remind those about him that he is a judge. But then he does not condescend to trifles. He has no small-talk, and one can as readily imagine an elephant dancing a minuet as Fitz- James Stephen, to call him by the name which seems most familiar to his friends, engaged in the free give-and-take of casual conversation. He is above all things a professor, a homilist, a superior creature. He must have a thesis, a text, an audience. Give him now a verse from a poet or an incident in a novel-he is wonderfully well read in the romances of Victor Hugo-an ethical paradox, or a specious commonplace; give him, I say, any one of these things, and you will hear an interesting little lecture quite worthy of a mechanics' institute. He wants, indeed, lightness of touch. Nasmyth hammers are sometimes indispensable, but they have not superseded nut-crackers; and Mr. Justice Stephen is the embodiment of the force, though it is not always quite as delicately adjusted with him as in the original, of the former of these two implements.
What could you expect, however, when you look at the man? A head of enormous proportions is planted, with nothing intervening except an inch-and-a-half neck, upon the shoulders of a giant. Force is written upon every line of his countenance, upon every square inch of his trunk. He is not a particularly engaging person, but a very impressive one. The genius of the Anglo- Saxon race is embodied in men of this stamp. He lacks geniality and play of fancy, but in their stead he has a grim and neverflagging perception of what he means and what he wants. He is not only a worker whose sole form of amusement is a variety of work, he is probably never conscious of fatigue. It is not so far back that he went to India, and since the days of Macaulay's visit to that portion of the British Empire no man ever labored
|in India as Fitz-James Stephen did. Ordinary mortals of a less robust frame and less heroic powers of concentration visit Hindustan and partially succumb to the enervating influences of the climate. Stephen was far above all that sort of thing. He had not voyaged four thousand miles from England to do nothing. He accomplished marvels of industry, and he filled his purse. Shortly after his return he was made a judge, and here he is in England to-day, treating toil as if it were a pastime, and, when not considering knotty cases or delivering weighty judgments in court, amusing himself with writing discourses on any subject which, provided it be sufficiently stiff, he can discover in the borderland between metaphysics and law.|
Many other judges than these there are, to say nothing of counsel learned in the law, who are after their modest fashion constellations in the firmament of London society. But they all twinkle in nearly the same fashion, and it would be a little tedious to describe the various degrees of radiance which they shed. Some of them, like Mr. Justice Grove, are eminent men of science. Lord Justice Bowen is a judge who, widely differing from any of those already mentioned, is a persona grata to London society. The youngest of the illustrious potentates of the High Court of Appeal, he represents the influences and the culture of the most approved Oxford school. Legal and judicial subjects, as a social talker, he eschews; nor are the mere frivolities of society, fond of society though he is, to his taste. He discusses matters of art and literature, blue china and science, with the impartiality of a philosopher and the precision of a professor. His voice has the academic ring, and his appearance is of a kind that one instinctively connects rather with an ecclesiastic or a schoolmaster than a judge.
As for the remaining occupants of the judicial bench, they are not for the most part personages in London society. If you sit next at dinner to any well-informed and highly educated gentleman who is either particularly outspoken or particularly reserved in his comments, who cavils at much, or who commits himself to nothing, the chances are either that that gentleman is a judge or that he is a very eminent lawyer. Unless there is some particular reason to induce them to do so, the last thing which they will discuss is-and it is extremely natural that this should be the casetheir own professional avocations. They are sportsmen and whistplayers, like Mr. Charles Russell; or men of society and patrons of
|the theatre, like Mr. Montagu Williams; or students of the seamy side of human nature, like Mr. Henry Poland. The great bulk of them have not characteristics even as definite as these. They are perfectly colorless, and the general tendency of London society is to reduce not only them but all professional men to a dead level of monotony.|
London society is, indeed, as great a leveller as Death itself, and professional men who are recognized in London society owe their position, with some exceptions, not to their eminence in their own callings, but to their capacity for being absorbed into their environment. This is true of professional men of all kinds in their social capacity. Thus there is in London society no military caste. Military officers, or, to speak more accurately, gentlemen bearing military rank, abound. But great numbers of them are retired, or on half-pay, waiting, often hopelessly, for active employment. The true soldier type is somewhat of a bird of passage; now in London, now in the remote wilds of Africa or Afghanistan, now re-appearing, to be feted and petted on every side. The successful soldier is welcomed at Windsor or in the most exclusive coteries. His mantel-piece is crowded with cards of invitation, and the Prince of Wales secures his election to the Marlborough Club. Lord Wolseley has society at his feet. Lady Wolseley shares in the conquest, having rendered her lord and master infinite service by her tact, industry, and strict attention to the business of calls, correspondence, and entertainment. The Wolseleys are met everywhere.
A keen soldier, whose first and last thought is for his profession, Lord Wolseley is also a thorough man of the world. He likes to be supposed to know everything, to do everything, to be capable of everything. The last bit of gossip, the last political canard, flows glibly from his lips; he is a dilettante in art, and will readily preside at a dinner of literary men. Bright-eyed and vivacious, he talks fluently of the social life around him as one behind the scenes and deep in its mysteries. But a passing remark, a chance question, a single hint, will draw him out directly on the subject he has nearest his heart. Ever ready to discuss military matters, and with a freedom that has won him at times no little ill-will, Lord Wolseley is most tenacious of his opinions, and the uncompromising champion of the new institutions which he has helped to create, and which are still on their trial. Those who hold opposite
|views may expect no quarter; comrades of all ranks, high and low alike, come under his lash, a reactionary royal duke no less than the careless subaltern.|
To those who are of his way of thinking, and who will support him through thick and thin, he is a stanch and true friend. There are many such men whom he has himself selected and pushed to the front, and who have repaid his appreciation by steady and unstinting devotion. It is pleasant to see him in the midst of his own followers. They are his chosen intimates and associates; he is frank and cordial with them, free-spoken, as a comrade, yet retaining, although never seeming to claim, their respect. At one time the epithet Wolseleyite, as applied to the Wolseley school, was employed as a term of reproach. In the future it may be regarded as a term of distinction, for the men whose names are on every tongue when England's frequent wars are in progress are those who began or graduated under Wolseley. Sir Evelyn Wood has a reputation of his own; but the mobile, easily excited young general, fluent of speech, prompt in action, with the habitually grave expression of a man who has pondered deeply upon the mysteries of the higher life, would not have climbed the ladder so rapidly had not he cast in his fortunes with the conqueror of King Coffee Calcali. Sir George Greaves, a blunt and brusque soldier, was the close ally and adviser of Lord Wolseley in the Ashanti campaign. Sir John McNeil is another Wolseleyite, who owes to his war-services the favor of his sovereign. There is little of the silken, supple courtier about him; he is only too eager to exchange the court for a camp, as now, when his soldierly character, aided perhaps by royal influence, have sent him as a brigadier to Suakin. He is no doubt useful as an equerry, but what the Queen likes best in him is his Scotchman's love of sport. One of the liveliest of the Queen's canine pets is a Scotch terrier, the gift of Sir John McNeil.
Long ago Sir Thomas Baker attached himself to Lord Wolseley's fortunes, and has risen with them; a smooth-spoken, pleasant-mannered man, acceptable in every drawing-room, and much repandu in London society when not actively engaged abroad.
Perhaps the most remarkable of Wolseley's followers, the one who has risen most rapidly, and who will do best if he escape the spears of the Soudanese warriors, is Sir Redvers Buller. His promotion gives the lie to the common opinion that speedy advancement
|is denied to real merit in the British army. Fifteen years ago Redvers Buller was a lieutenant in a rifle regiment. To-day he is a general officer with reasonable hopes of a peerage if he lives many years more. He is a soldier heart and soul: he would not relinquish his profession even when the death of an elder brother gave him the succession to wide estates. Nothing holds him back when there is fighting on hand; neither the cares of a country place nor a newly wedded wife. Abrupt, even discourteous in his manner, he impresses you with his bold, uncompromising spirit. Diffidence does not enter into his composition; he is so self-reliant that he would be thought merely conceited if a weaker man. His value is now generally recognized; but even when fewer people believed in him, Buller fully believed in himself. This excessive self-confidence is not a pleasing trait, backed up as it is by a contempt he is often at no pains to conceal for the best efforts of others. Buller may be strong enough to despise popularity, but it is certain that, although respected, feared even, he is not greatly liked by his brethren in arms.|
Lieutenants like Sir Redvers Buller help to keep alive and embitter the opposition to his chief. Wolseley's success has gained him many foes; enemies public and private, who deny his talents, and would scarcely regret his failure in the very arduous undertaking he has now in hand. A very open and unfriendly critic is Sir Edward Hamley, whose hostility dates from Tel-el-Kebir. His bitter feelings found vent after the campaign in a public print. In no army but the British would a subordinate divisional general have dared to pass such an affront upon his commander. But Hamley aspires to be an oracle; he affects an European reputation as a military man of letters. And he is always ready to express his views with the vehemence of conviction. His constant attitude is that of the genius unappreciated. A pretty knack in composition, and a pedantic but not profound acquaintance with military literature, seems to have encouraged him in the belief that he is an undeveloped Napoleon. Only opportunity was needed, he thought; yet when the chance came, in Egypt, what did he do with it? Now he is consumed with inward jealousy of every competitor, old and young, and vents his spite in scathing invective on all. Sir Edward is in consequence an agreeable and amusing companion, caustic, a trifle too ponderous in his talk, and too formal in his satirical epigrams, but listened to gladly by all who like to hear
|their friends abused. He is something of a bon vivant, and indefatigable as a diner-out. A comfortable look of embonpoint is growing upon him. It is little likely that Hamley, although con vinced of his own superior capacity, will be actively employed again. Were he less overbearing, less intolerant, less ill-natured, he might give useful advice upon general questions, but he is hardly suited for command. He may soon, indeed, be included among the "has beens," like Lord Napier, Sir "Dan" Lysons, Sir Alfred Horsford, or Sir Charles Ellice.|
The last of these, possessor of a substantial income and of a hospitable house in Eaton Square, long filled a large space in London life. Fortune has always smiled upon Sir Charles. As a young man the massacre of a hecatomb of brother-officers at Chillianwallah, while he was absent on the staff at Malta, pushed him at one stroke to the top of the regimental tree. He fought an ill- conceived and badly executed action in the Indian mutiny, which would have ruined another, but was with Ellice the stepping-stone to the best appointments in the service. He has passed from post to post, from one command to another. Essentially a persona grata to the Duke of Cambridge, he enjoyed the fullest share of that august person's patronage, and was in succession Military Secretary, Quartermaster- General, and Adjutant-General at the Horse Guards. It is difficult for an outsider to realize his fitness for the highest staff employment. Extremely suave in manner and very dignified in deportment, his mental calibre is mediocre, and his chief talent has been displayed in picking the brains of capable subordinates. This was the secret of his unwavering championship of Colonel Home, and the poignancy with which he regretted that excellent officer's premature death.
Strange to say, the best military talent does not generally gather about the Horse Guards. Lord Wolseley's influence, when in power, may be effective in filling the junior posts with the best coming men. But the seniors, the heads of departments, must, before all things, be personally acceptable to the Duke. This sadly limits the field of choice. Now and again the right man falls into the right place, as when Sir Edmund Whitmore, urbane, considerate, and as impartial as the exigencies of his place admitted, filled the office of Military Secretary. The last appointment, that of Sir Archibald Alison to succeed Lord Wolseley as Adjutant-General, might seem an exception to the rule; but no one thrown into the
|society of Sir Archibald Alison could credit him with commanding capacity. So garrulous a man, one who laughs so readily and so inanely at his own or any joke, cannot impress you with his power. He has seen war, no doubt, and paid the penalty in his person; but an empty sleeve, although an honorable record of service, is not a convincing proof of power to lead.|
The narrow-minded official is to be seen in the man next him in rank at the Horse Guards. Sir Arthur Herbert, the Quartermaster General, has filled many minor posts satisfactorily, but he is weak and irresolute, or his face belies him. Lord Chelmsford is another English general of some social prominence, whose appearance explains his want of success as a leader of men. Face and physique both indicate feebleness of character. One can understand, after listening to his verbose defence of the operations he conducted, why the earlier phases of the Zulu war were not more brilliant. So much straitness of vision, combined with such an inordinate love of petty detail, would infallibly produce an incompetent commander. They said of Lord Chelmsford in Africa, that he wished to do everybody's work; he could stoop to help a fatigue-party pick up stones from a road, but he was incapable of designing a great strategical plan. Lord Chelmsford is most suited to the position in which he is supposed to be happiest, that of senior assistant in the organ-loft of St. Peter's, Eaton Square.
General Crealock, again, has talents artistic rather than military. He owed his first advancement to the happy caricatures that raised a smile at Crimean head-quarters in days of dire disaster. Since then he has wielded brush and pencil with unwearied assiduity and much facility, but has never risen far above the amateur. But little of the sportsman, he can yet draw a horse or a dog; without any knowledge of anatomy, he can catch a likeness and copy the human figure passably. His devotion to the arts has been sedulously turned towards the decoration of his own person, General Crealock being uniformly remarkable for a strange originality in costume, mostly florid and quite independent of fashion. He made long-waisted, long-tailed overcoats, tight trousers, and broadbrimmed hats noticeable before the days of the mashers. He is fond of garish colors in his dress; he has expended years of patient pains on a curling beard, worn in despite of military regulations, and a divinely waxed, interminably involuted corkscrew mustache. All this has naturally occupied him too much to allow of any deep
|and close study of his profession. He might have been useful in the junior grades of the general staff, but as a leader in the field he was a conspicuous failure. His groans from the Tugela, when crying for the condiments still wanting to complete his commissariat, made him the laughing-stock of Europe. A more enterprising and more competent general would have organized his trains for himself; at least he would have managed to advance somehow when his cooperation was so urgently required.|
There are many soldiers in society without great military pretensions who are still very typical of their class. Generals like Barnard Hankey, a kindly, warm-hearted friend, beloved of duchesses and welcome at cosey tea-tables, who might, had he seen more service in the days when he was young, have gained higher honors; " Charlie" Fraser, a glorified dragoon who has reached the apotheosis of old dandydom, and whose glossy hats and inimitable boot-varnish youthful plungers worship from afar; or "Tim" Reilly, a gunner who has made no mark as a scientific artillerist, but who has, nevertheless, a solid understanding concealed somewhere in a somewhat too solid mountain of flesh. " Tim," though uncomfortably overgrown, is not thick-headed; he can say shrewd, sharp things, and he is not without honor among smart people. Admirable as a raconteur, a noted jester and mime, General "Pug" Macdonnell is happiest in gatherings where there are no womenkind. "Pug" is one of the Prince of Wales's favorite henchmen; Poins at a pinch, with good imitation of excellent wit, who will keep dinner-table or smoking-room in a roar. But he does not covet, nor has he ever achieved, much military renown. The names of such men might be multiplied indefinitely; they fluctuate between the Park and Pall Mall, and never put on uniform except to go to Court, a duty which they perform religiously at least once every season.
The most hopeful sign for the future of the British army is the soldierly spirit of the upper classes, which send so many to take service in its ranks. Scions of the best families, the heads themselves, are glad to bear the Queen's commission. The passion for warlike adventure has been inherited through generations of fighting ancestors, and these often fortunate youths, who might linger amid the soft pleasures of London life, eagerly seek to share in the dangers and hardships of any campaign. The British peerage was well represented in the last battles in the Soudan. One earl, Airlie, was Stewart's Brigade-Major; and Lord Airlie had already proved his thoroughness as a soldier by accepting the laborious duties of adjutant of his regiment, the 10th Hussars. Another peer, Lord Cochrane, or more exactly Lord Dundonald, highly distinguished himself at the battle of Abu Klea; a clever, thoughtful youth, who, before he embraced the career of arms, had mastered the intricacies of chemistry, experimental and applied. Other peers and peers' sons, notably Lord St. Vincent, have met their death on recent hard-fought fields; many more cheerfully face exile and hard knocks in search of reputation. Foremost among them is Colonel Methuen, big, stalwart, handsome " Paul," an athlete in frame and by predilection; skilled in self-defence, and a masterhand with single-stick and foil. Paul Methuen is one of the gentlest, sweetest-tempered of men, good as gold, universally popular in London and in his profession. But he is ready for any rough work that may offer anywhere. Just now he has turned a leader of irregular horse on the South African frontier, whence he may pass to the Upper Nile, or the rocky fastnesses of Afghanistan. He is the exact opposite of the common ignorant conception of the British guardsman, who, so far from being an indolent voluptuary, is perhaps the most eager for active service of any of his professional brethren.
They are mostly capital soldiers, these gallant members of the Household Brigade, and their merits are generally recognized. At this moment a Guards General, Stephenson, commands in Lower Egypt; another, Fremantle, was chief at Suakin, and is now a brigadier under Graham. Ewart, a life-guardsman, somewhat unfairly to light-cavalry officers perhaps, is in command of Graham's cavalry. Dozens of others are clamorous candidates for employment. Men like Edward Clive, Fitzroy, Crichton, or Moncrieff might safely be entrusted with any important work. Others, like George Villiers, now military attache in Paris, or Everard Primrose, who, till he joined Lord Wolseley, held the same post in Vienna, are excellently suited to represent our British army abroad. Colonel Villiers has a silky, caressing manner which wins him friends directly, and his handsome, engaging presence has secured him more than one bonne fortune. Colonel Primrose seems older than his years; his rather stern and impassive face wears a grave, preoccupied look, but he talks well, and impresses you as a thoughtful, sensible man of the world. A third military attache
|may be mentioned here, Colonel Swaine, who, until his health broke down, had been acting as military secretary to Lord Wolseley, but whose post is really at Berlin. The godson of the King of the Belgians, Leopold Victor Swaine has many of the characteristics of the highly-trained Continental officer; he is a fluent linguist and has much of the German's solidity and thoroughness. With such officers as these the reproach once levelled at the British army has no longer any foundation in fact. It cannot well be said nowadays that British soldiers are lions led by asses; at any rate, under the new short-service system, the lions are but whelps, and with the marked development of professional education the asses have learned much wisdom.|
British naval officers are drawn from the same sections of society as those in the army, and, with due allowance for difference in training and experience, display nearly identical characteristics. Great fame has generally been denied them. They are generally well bred and well informed, although apt in society to be bluff, outspoken, exuberantly genial, at times a little too noisy, and hearty. " Pim" Macdonald is one of this class; an intimate ally and associate of the Prince of Wales, apt in repartee, well stocked with quaint and curious anecdote, and ready to take a leading part in any sports that may be afoot in the royal coterie. His appearance is less that of the rough, weather-beaten sea-captain than of the sleek physician or financier; with a handsome face, a mobile eye, and a mouth which proclaims his character at a glance. Admiral Wilson, again, who has a distinguished record of services, and has given proofs of the highest personal courage, is no less popular with the Heir-Apparent-a welcome guest at Sandringham or Marlborough House. The future Earl of Shaftesbury, Lord Ashley, is more remarkable perhaps for a very low-crowned hat than brilliant services afloat, but lie is a kindly, warm-hearted soul whom everybody likes. George Tryon, now Admiral on the Australian station, is widely known, but less popular. The overbearing manner of the man who, as Secretary to the Admiralty, had long the prospects of his brother-officers in his hands does not please or conciliate; and it may be doubted whether he will greatly help forward the adjustment of pending delicate and difficult colonial questions. " Fred " Maxse did a gallant thing in his youth, and was long petted and made much of in society; but with years he has developed a wildly radical, almost communistic, spirit which
|has alarmed and estranged many friends. There is probably as good stuff in the naval officer of to-day as when Britain really ruled the seas; but he has hitherto lacked opportunity, and modern science has so revolutionized his profession that he will not easily maintain his pre eminence in future naval wars.|
There are many eminent divines and preachers in England. Some of them are the centres of a little group of intimate admirers and friends, but when they are in society their professional status is practically relinquished, and they are recognized and respected, not as clerics, but as highly educated and agreeable men. The late Bishop Wilberforce did much by his own example to cement this union between the Church and the world, or, as some might uncharitably say, between religion, the flesh, and the devil. The late Dean of Westminster, Arthur Stanley, as he was always called affectionately by London society, contributed unintentionally and in a different degree to the same result. There is no Anglican ecclesiastic living to-day who discharges any of these functions. Dr. Magee, the Bishop of Peterborough, has much of Wilberforce's conversational happiness, as he has also of his oratorical power, but in a harsher and heavier key. Canon Liddon and Dean Church very seldom appear in society, and would resent the imputation of being in the world, and of it, as Wilberforce and Stanley delighted to be.
Of course society in London being the most moral and respectable in the world, dreading above all things the consequences of those very scandals the incidents of which it discusses with such avidity, naturally-and thus paying a tribute to the strength of the democracy-holds in high esteem the Church as an institution and the ordinances of religion. London is the only European capital entirely given over to the rule of sabbatarianism. Of late years, indeed, this despotism has been somewhat relaxed. The Sunday dinner-parties, which were once confined almost to business persons--lawyers, actors, and litterateurs--are now universal; as much the vogue in the best houses known to society as on its Bohemian borderland. The day, however, retains, notwithstanding the many pleasanter innovations which have relieved its austerity, some of the signs of its primitive sanctity. Most of the smart people go to church, to the Chapel Royal, or to St. Margaret's, Westminster, if they belong to the political set; and many other shrines are specially set apart for society's elect. Even those who do not go to
|church obligingly recognize in theory the obligation of going there when they talk of, or take a part in, the after-church parade in Hyde Park. It is astonishing how far the most atomic quantity of the ecclesiastical leaven will reach, and how much of secular indulgence it will condone. That hour and a half spent in a Protestant temple earns for society the right to pass the remainder of its day, whether in town or country house, exactly as it pleases; beguiling the hours with flirtation or small-talk, piquet, ecarte, poker, baccarat, or tennis.|
The least spiritually-minded of ladies in London society may have a taste for dipping into devotional books, and even among Protestants may have her own special "director." It is not, perhaps, that she feels the want of these now, but she may feel the want of them some day. That is the principle on which many persons go to church. It is like drinking from a mineral spring at a watering-place. One does not need it now, but one never knows that it may not produce some good hereafter. Some ladies as well as gentlemen there are with a passion for mysticism which the functions and the faith whether of the Anglican or Roman communion are not enough to gratify. There is an English peer who openly professes the faith of Mahomet. The propaganda of Esoteric Buddhism and Spiritualism has recently made marked progress, and has afforded a career to several adventurous notoriety hunters.
But the teachers and preachers who belong to the more orthodox and generally accepted creeds have, notwithstanding the advance of these bizarre superstitions, lost none of their power. The Queen is a theologian as well as a stateswoman, with some sympathy for theological latitudinarianism, but thoroughly sound in her religious views, with a bias in the direction of Scotch Presbyterianism, and on the whole in favor of what in England is called Moderate Churchmanship. The late Dr. Norman Macleod was a homilist Her Majesty specially admired, and was said to have enjoyed her spiritual confidence. The Prince of Wales is also, as I have intimated elsewhere, a capital judge of a sermon, and fond of hearing a good one. That perhaps explains why there exists in English society a distinct feeling in favor of going to church.
The most imposing figure among London ecclesiastics is that of Cardinal Manning, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster. Ascetic in appearance and in life, urbane and courtly in
|manner, intense in his convictions, narrow in his views, fervid and vehement in his pulpit oratory, he is seldom to be seen in any other society than that of which the great Roman Catholic houses-the Duke of Norfolk's, Lord Derby's, Lord Ripon's-are the centres. A few years ago a certain Monsignor Capel, made famous by a penand-ink portrait of him as Monsignor Catesby in one of Lord Beaconsfield's novels, shot like a meteor through the social firmament. His relations with Cardinal Manning were not fortunate, and he has temporarily disappeared. Among Anglican prelates there is none who fills anything like the same place in the social system as was formerly occupied by Wilberforce, Bishop of Winchester. The Archbishop of York has some qualifications for the Court and the salon. Dr. Magee, Bishop of Peterborough, destined by nature to be a great parliamentary debater or a great judge, crowning his career with the Lord Chancellorship, is sometimes to be met at dinner-tables, and has a gift of saying pungent things in a witty and sparkling way. Archdeacon Farrar is the most extensively admired of pulpit declaimers. His eloquence is inexhaustible and ornate. He deluges his congregation with magnificent words and splendid images. But his is the genius rather of the popular journalist than of the traditional school of Anglican preachers. Mr. Teignmouth Shore, a voluble and amiable Irishman, has combined the mission of improving society and advancing himself. He is a Court favorite, and exactly understands the temper of the upper classes in England. He is the ornament of a fashionable chapel in Mayfair, and his discourses are a melange of religious and secular comment, a fusion of art, literature, and science, dished up in the style of the popular journalist, presented to his patrons in a pleasant and easily intelligible form.|
All this time the doctors have been waiting. Some of these successfully, if unconsciously, carry their profession into the social circles in which'they move. Before I give any instances of this, I should like to point out the peculiarly favorable position which the men of medicine occupy. The influences of the age are in their favor. It is in England the epoch of introspection. The English are always thinking that something is wrong with their morals or with their conscience, with their digestion or with their lungs. They are perpetually inditing, or causing others to indite, homilies on the deterioration, physical or ethical, of their race. As a matter-of-fact, perhaps nowhere in the world will you find men and
|women in such perfect health as in London society. If it is not polite to speculate much as to the welfare of their souls, they are always soliloquizing on the condition of the carnal envelope of those spiritual organs. In fact, the attention which was once-or if it was not, ought to be-spent upon their ghostly sanity is now spent upon their stomachs. This is the doctors' opportunity. And since every one has his or her pet ailment, the physician is a power to an extent to which, when what I have called introspection was not quite so much the rage, was impossible.|
The influence of doctors on diet is everywhere conspicuous. It is the fashionable thing for ladies and gentlemen in London society to carry about with them a list of prohibited dishes and drinks, very often rigidly to abstain from all in which they once most lavishly indulged, because their doctors have placed these pleasures of the palate under their ban.
The disciplinary precepts of physicians must, I think, have had a considerable effect upon the trade of wine-merchants. Yet, if they have checked that commerce in some quarters, they have expanded it in others. Indeed, there are certain doctors in London to whom a peculiar vendor of wines is as necessary an appendage as a chemist. If you consult one apostle of Galen he will tell you to forswear everything except a port of a particular vintage, procurable only at an address which he will give you, and which he straightway proceeds to write down. Another oracle of the profession admonishes you that if for the space of six months you touch anything but a beverage concocted out of grapes grown in some inaccessible vineyard in a remote corner of Europe you will be a dead man. That wine, he confidentially adds, is the exclusive specialite of a firm in the City, or the West End, which will not supply casual customers with the precious fluid. You, however, shall be, thanks to his recommendation, a privileged person. His card-and here he gives you one-will be the "open sesame" to the cellars which contain the true elixir of life-the one and only antidote to gout and liver-complaint, dyspepsia, consumption, cold in the head, and blue-devils.
That London doctors can and often do make the fortune of watering-places, or of places as barren of water as the Great Sahara, there can be no doubt. Bath, whither I went some weeks ago, has had quartered upon it for some time a large contingent of London society. The town, which is one of the most beautiful in England,
|is experiencing a blissful revival of its glories. Its mineral springs have been brought into fashion again because the doctors, who speak with authority, have discovered that all their ancient virtues have returned to them. Other spots may ere long enjoy the same good fortune. The enchanter, in the shape of the M.D. who has a following, has but to wave his wand, pronounce his incantation, and the spell is complete. It would be an excellent investment, if one could ascertain betimes the localities destined to find favor in the doctors' eyes, to buy up house property in the district.|
Curiously enough, the physicians who are chiefly responsible for the asceticism now the vogue in many circles are they who mingle most in society. I suppose there is no one who has terrified more persons into total or partial abstinence from intoxicating fluids than Sir Andrew Clark. Yet that distinguished doctor is frequently to be met with at the dinner-tables of the great and wealthy. Nor, so far as I have been able to observe, does he exclusively restrict himself to some aerated water, qualified by the most trivial infusion of Scotch whiskey. He is a shrewd student of human nature, as well as, I doubt not, a considerable man of science-this canny Aberdonian.
Some years ago he conveyed to Mrs. Gladstone a deep impression of his powers. Mr. Gladstone recognized in him a careful doctor and a good High Churchman. The combination pleased the present Prime Minister, and Sir Andrew Clark's fame and fortune were as good as made. His happy faculty of oracular utterances, the solemn aphorisms with which he clinches his counsel to his patients, the sonorous platitudes with which he emphasizes the simplest of sanitary maxims, his quick eye, the kind severity of his manner, the air of judicial sympathy with which he interrogates those who come to see him upon their maladies, the calm deliberation, the systematic shunning of the semblance of haste-these are the qualities which cause London society to repose confidence in Sir Andrew Clark. Moreover he is, when encountered in the dining-rooms and drawing-rooms of the metropolis, an agreeable and companionable person, with plenty of anecdotes and a gift of humor, the point of which is heightened by his Scotch accent. Sir Andrew Clark is a typical physician of his period, justly confident, doubtless, in his acquaintance with the British pharmacopoeia, but confident rather in, and accomplishing more by, his comprehensive and microscopic knowledge of human nature.
Sir William Gull is endowed with all Sir Andrew Clark's command of noble and sagacious sentiments. If his prescriptions could be sometimes dispensed with, it is worth paying a couple of guineas for them in order to store one's memory with the wise saws and modern instances of which he is full. His presence is more that of the ideal doctor than Sir Andrew Clark's. You could not, wherever you might see him, mistake him for anything but a doctor; whereas Sir Andrew might equally well be a lawyer, a farmer, a school-master, or a parson. He plumes himself on his power of probing the secret hearts of his patients to their lowest depths by eagle glances and by pregnant and pithy pieces of professional sententiousness, enunciated in a melodramatic undertone. His manner is as perfectly calm and collected as is to be found in phlegmatic England itself. He can be kind as well as courteous; but whether he is simply the latter or whether he infuses into his demeanor something of the former, nothing appears to proceed from the spontaneous emotion of the instant-everything is prearranged. If he is not as great a doctor as many hold him to be, he is a marvellous piece of human machinery.
The more purely social side of the medical profession is displayed by men like Dr. Quain and Sir Oscar Clayton. The latter of these I should pronounce without hesitation the nearest approach to the Court physician of a century since, now extant. He is attached in his professional capacity to the household of the Duke of Edinburgh; but as it was once said of an historical head-master of Eton that one could not help having a respect for a man who had whipped in his day the whole bench of bishops, so one's admiration for Sir Oscar Clayton is increased by the circumstance that he has physicked, for more or less serious, more or less noble, or ignoble, ailments, the principal members of the aristocracy of England. It often occurs to me as I look upon this little knight of the lancetwell stricken in years, well made up, radiant in hair-dyes and cosmetics the secret of which rests with himself alone, deferential and insinuating in manner, with all sorts of stories calculated to suit every variety of audience, from a prelate to a demirep, at his disposal-that the spirit of the courtly leech of the Grand Monarch or of the Caroline restoration in England must be enshrined in him.
Of Dr. Quain, certainly one of the most distinguished children of AEsculapius-alas! that the child should now be rapidly marching
|towards the goal of septuagenarianism-it may be said that he is a cheery, kindly, genial, and gifted Irishman first and a great physician afterwards. Heaven forbid that when I say this I should hint anything like disparagement at that most worthy of doctors, that most stanch, omniscient, and fluently conversational of friends! Indeed, Dr. Quain is not only a Hippocrates of vast experience and profoundly scientific attainments, but a medical writer of the highest authority. He has produced within the last few years an encyclopaedia of medical knowledge. How he found time for such a chef-d'oeuvre is the standing wonder to his friends. The explanation doubtless is that the doctor has an extraordinary appreciation of the value of time and diet for industrial purposes. He never loses an hour or a minute. The evenings that he gives to society recruit his energies for toil, and there is, I am informed, authentic testimony on record that Dr. Quain, after an evening spent with convivial friends, prosecutes his editorial labors, literary or scientific, till the bell rings for matins-a religious service that he usually makes a point of attending.|
He is a perfect treasure-house of miscellaneous anecdotes, equally charming and various as host or guest, with a professional acquaintance of men who have made their mark in all departments of life, which has usually ripened into a personal friendship unprecedented, I should think, in the history of the Royal College of Physicians. Several decades of London life have not destroyed his rich native brogue, but rather chastened it. He takes that easy view of life peculiar to prosperous, and for that matter unprosperous, natives of the Emerald Isle. He is, in a word, a medical philosopher of the Epicurean type.
Dr. Morell Mackenzie is too entirely devoted to his profession to have much time to spare for the social distractions of Sir Oscar Clayton or Dr. Quain. He is probably one of the most gifted specialists in Europe, with one of the shrewdest heads on his shoulders. For these reasons he is not too much beloved by the members of his own fraternity. He is, however, as kindly as he is clever, and hospitable upon a big scale. This hospitality he shares in common with-though between the entertainments of the two men there is no similarity-Sir Henry Thompson. The former is renowned for his big banquets; the latter for his small select parties, at which the number is strictly limited to eight. He calls them his octaves. At these you will find a company well assorted
|and easily amalgamating, dishes judiciously chosen, and sound wine. Sir Henry Thompson, who is indebted for his knighthood to the surgical skill which he exhibited in operating on the august person of the King of the Belgians, is also an accomplished artist, and many of the most pleasing pictures which adorn the walls of his house are from his own brush. He is an aesthete rather than an apolaust. He delights in whatever lends charm and elegance to life. He takes the same sort of pride and care in his cellar, although he never touches wine, that a scientific floriculturist might take in his greenhouses though their contents never had a place in his drawing-room vases. Each of the four doctors whose names I have last mentioned discharges distinct social services by bringing the members of various social sections into mutual communication. Politicians, litterateurs, artists, actors, journalists, professional men of all grades, find themselves in each other's company under the auspices of Quain and Clayton, Mackenzie and Thompson. Thus we have a quaternion of doctors who, in addition to the benefits they confer upon humanity by the exercise of the healing art, supply in the plenitude of their amiable thoughtfulness that social cement which causes society's various parts pleasantly to cohere. Such masters of medical science as Sir William Jenner and Sir James Paget constitute a more solemn class in the hierarchy of physicians. The latter is specially in favor with the Whig aristocracy, and the former is much occupied with the Queen.|
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|Chapter I: The Court and Royal Family|
|Chapter II: The Princes and Royal Dukes|
|Chapter III: Cosmopolitanism of London Society|
|Chapter IV: Diplomatists and Their Hosts|
|Chapter V: Some of Society's Sets|
|Chapter VI: Society in Town and Country|
|Chapter VII: Lawyers, Judges, Doctors, Divines, and Soldiers in London Society|
|Chapter VIII: London Society, Politics and Politicians|
|Chapter IX: Statesmen in Society|
|Chapter X: Senate and Salon|
|Chapter XI: Litterateurs in Society -Journalism|
|Chapter XII: Actors, Actresses, and Artists in Society|