Sketches in the House (1893) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 279 pages of information about Sketches in the House (1893).
and the whole arrangement of the Opposition broke down in an important and essential point.  On the previous occasion Mr. Balfour, by preconcerted plan, was speaking at the moment when the guillotine fell—­with the idea, of course, of bringing into greater relief the wickedness of the Government.  Mr. Goschen was marked out to perform the same task this Thursday, but who should get up but Atherley Jones.  The delighted Liberals cheered him to the echo.  Mr. Goschen had to sit down, and so the whole denouement collapsed, and the curtain fell not on the lofty and eminent form of a former Chancellor of the Exchequer, but on the less imposing figure of the disgruntled Liberal, who is always anxious to strike his party a blow.

Then comes the division.  There is some excitement, though we know we have won.  And then we cheer, as we hear that we have won by 27!  Clause 9 is now put as a whole.  Our majority rises to 29—­we cheer even more loudly.

[Sidenote:  Tramp, Tramp, Tramp.]

We go through the lobbies in eight more successive divisions.  It is the dreariest performance.  “That Clause so-and-so stand part of the Bill,” says the Chairman.  A shout of “Ayes!” followed by a shout of “Noes!”—­then a cry of “Division!”—­then the same thing over again—­and again—­and again.  We stand at 85 majority in nearly every division.  But we don’t cheer, for it is too monotonous; and as for the poor Tories—­where be the wild shouts of “Gag, gag!” with which they rent the general air—­their hoarse cries of “Shame, shame”—­their open and foul taunts in the face of the G.O.M.?  Silent—­sombre—­dogged—­we go through the dreary round.  Tout casse—­tout passe—­tout lasse.

CHAPTER XVII.

THE FIGHT IN THE HOUSE.

[Sidenote:  The fatal Thursday.]

By this time everybody has read to his heart’s content all the proceedings of that historic and dreadful Thursday night.  I have already published elsewhere an account of my experiences; and within my limits here I must somewhat curtail the story.  But it is well to correct some of the many errors which have found their way into the press.  In the slight reaction which has followed the first wild outburst, it is now seen that there were certain exaggerations in the accounts.  For instance, though there was an exchange of blows, altogether not more than five people were concerned in this most odious part of the whole transaction.

[Sidenote:  Herod—­Judas.]

The row began in a curious kind of way; and, indeed, to properly understand the events of the night, it is necessary to make a perfectly complete separation between two distinct periods.  The fall of the guillotine is always certain to be accompanied by a scene of some excitement and violence.  The violence has been diminishing steadily, as the different compartments have succeeded each other; and though there were some ugly rumours, the general expectation was that things

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Sketches in the House (1893) from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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