I have before remarked upon Mr. Chamberlain’s self-command and imperturbability. Some persons are, perhaps, inclined to think that because he keeps himself so well in hand and so rarely indulges in sentiment that he is devoid of feeling and emotion. Not so. I recollect that on the death of Mr. John Henry Chamberlain—no relation of his, but a gentleman whose personal character, artistic skill, and intellectual gifts he, and many others, held in high esteem—a meeting was held to consider the desirability of having some memorial of one whose loss was so deeply deplored. Mr. Chamberlain took a prominent part in the proceedings, and I well remember how deeply affected he was when, in the course of his touching references to his deceased friend, he said, “I feel that his death, then, is the crowning of a noble life. He has been called from us in the moment of victory, and we who remain behind are to be pitied, for we have lost a great leader, and there are none to take his place.”
“The task which is imposed upon us is certainly a very melancholy one. One by one our leaders are removed from us. The gaps in our ranks are becoming painfully apparent. Still, there is much work to be done, and we shall best honour those who are gone by endeavouring, as best we may, to continue and complete the work which they have so well commenced. In this spirit we may be content to bide our turn, hoping that when we, too, are called away our record may not shame the bright example of those who have gone before us.”
When making these touching remarks Mr. Chamberlain’s voice became tremulous with emotion. He evidently experienced the greatest difficulty in commanding his feelings, and when he sat down I saw tear-drops in his eyes. Never have I seen him so overcome, and it is only justice to him to cite this incident as showing that sentiment and feeling, though rarely manifested, are not foreign to his real nature.
With respect to Mr. Chamberlain’s personal appearance his form and features are now well known, but for a time he was a somewhat troublesome subject to caricaturists. When he was first budding out into national importance the clever artist of Vanity Fair at that time came down to Birmingham to draw him. He succeeded in making a good caricature, but it was said that he found his task by no means an easy one. It was the nose, I believe, that puzzled the artist.