The Mirrors of Downing Street eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 117 pages of information about The Mirrors of Downing Street.

More and more, I think, gentlemen will stand aloof from politics—­I mean, gentlemen who have received in their blood and in their training those notions of graciousness, sweetness, and nobleness which flow from centuries of piety and learning.  Only here and there will such a man accept the odious conditions of our public life, inspired by a sense of duty, and prepared to endure the intolerable ugliness and dishonesty of politics for the sake of a cause which moves him with all the force of a great affection.  But on the whole it is probable that the political fortunes of this great and beautiful country are committed for many years to hands which are not merely over-rough for so precious a charge, but not near clean enough for the sacredness of the English cause.

Only by indirect action, only by a much more faithful energy on the part of Aristocracy and the Church, and a far nobler realization of its responsibilities by the Press, can the ancient spirit of England make itself felt in the sordid lists of Westminster.  Till then he who crows loudest will rule the roost.

FOOTNOTE: 

[1] Croker writes from Paris of a visit to St. Cloud, where he found Bluecher and his staff in possession:  “The great hall was a common guard-house, in which the Prussians were drinking, spitting, smoking, and sleeping in all directions.”  Denon complained greatly of the Prussians and said he was “malheureux to have to do with a bete feroce, un animal indecrottable, le Prince Bluecher.”

LORD FISHER

BARON FISHER, ADMIRAL OF THE FLEET (JOHN ARBUTHNOT FISHER)

Born, 1841; entered Navy, 1854; took part in 1860 in the Capture of Canton and the Peiho Forts; Crimean War, 1855; China War, 1859-60; Egyptian War and Bombardment of Alexandria, 1882; Lord of the Admiralty, 1892-97; Commander-in-Chief, North American Station, 1897-99; Mediterranean Station, 1899-02; Commander-in-Chief, 1903-1904; 1st Sea Lord, 1904-10; 1914-15; died, 1920.

[Illustration:  BARON FISHER]

CHAPTER III

LORD FISHER

     "Look for a tough wedge for a tough log."

     PUBLIUS SYRUS.

No man I have met ever gave me so authentic a feeling of originality as this dare-devil of genius, this pirate of public life, who more than any other Englishman saved British democracy from a Prussian domination.

It is possible to regard him as a very simple soul mastered by one tremendous purpose and by that purpose exalted to a most valid greatness.  If this purpose be kept steadily in mind, one may indeed see in Lord Fisher something quite childlike.  At any rate it is only when the overmastering purpose is forgotten that he can be seen with the eyes of his enemies, that is to say as a monster, a scoundrel, and an imbecile.

He was asked on one occasion if he had been a little unscrupulous in getting his way at the Admiralty.  He replied that if his own brother had got in front of him when he was trying to do something for England he would have knocked that brother down and walked over his body.

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The Mirrors of Downing Street from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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