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It had poured at Oban, it streamed at Strome;
When we tried to go out the rain drove us home;
At Tobermory it was still the same story,
And at Ballachulish it made us feel foolish;
But when we had reached the magnificent Strome

Ferry,
We saw a sight
Which made us quite

Merry;

Very.
We saw a vessel of brilliant whiteness,
And a company bowing with great politeness,

And we shaded our eyes

In glad surprise,
And said to one another, “Now what's to be done ?

That's the Sun

Beam.
How bright it doth seem !
And who's on board ?

Why, upon my word,
When I look again, how silly I am
Not to have known Sir Willyam

Harcourt,
Pride of the Home Office and the Bar Court;

And there as I reckon,

Beginning to beckon,
Is Mr Gwynne Holford, late member for Brecon.”
But oh! what an outburst of welcome broke from us,
When there came to our gangway a boat with Sir Thomas

Brassey,
With many a lady and laddie and lassie!
It was quite “too too” with “How d'ye do ?
And in such a blare of universality,
We seem to lose individuality,
While never was known such hospitality.
VOL. II.

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They asked us to dinner, they asked us to tea.
“But nothing of that sort will do," said we;
“This night we have marked for a musical swarry,
And to disappoint our crew we'd be sorry.
We've the Well of St Keyne, and the Nancy Brig,
And Miss Mabel is ready to play us a jig;
But if you'll allow us, your sails being furled,
We will visit the vessel that went round the world."
But oh! how Columbus and Francis Drake
With
envy

in their graves must shake!
And sure the ship Argo had ne'er such a cargo ;
Nor that which was built in Sicilian waters
For the ancient tyrant, his sons and his daughters,
Which had gardens and bowers, and goldfish and flowers.
No; nothing can match the Sunbeam gay,
Or the motes that people its brilliant ray.
There are schoolrooms and smoking-rooms, bedrooms and baths,

With hot and cold water turned on;
And we wander through passages, doorways, and paths,

Till we can't make out where we are gone.
Through dining-room, drawing-room, boudoir, and study,
I pass till my brain is quite mixed up and muddy;
Ι
With silk and with satin and velvet arrayed,
And china and shell-work and ivory displayed-
Gifts from this Royal Prince, or that Maori chief,
And from Japs and Chinese : it was quite a relief
To escape from such splendour, and, wiping my pen,
To sit down in the dear snug Pandora again.

From Oban they sailed north, by the cliffs and moul. dering castles

“Each on its own dark cape reclined,
And listening to its own wild wind ”-

and they stayed at Dunvegan. Here they were on familiar

1885.]

VISIT TO BALMORAL.

273

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ground, and saw familiar sights,-Flora Macdonald's stays, the sword of Rory More, and the mysterious Fairy Flag, which brings victory to the Macleods.

Early in September they sailed south, and, after a few brief visits to Stobo, Pitlour, and other houses, Sir Stafford went to Hopetoun and made Conservative speeches at a Conservative gathering. The Provost of Edinburgh, although a Liberal, met him at luncheon at the Conservative Club, and took him to view Heriot's Hospital, the foundation of “ Jingling Geordie.” Sir Stafford visited Dalkeith, stayed at Birnam, at St Mary's Tower, and then crossed the Tweed.

He had a great deal of political work in Scotland, late in 1885, after an official visit to Balmoral. Staying at Blythswood he spoke at Glasgow: "It was an enthusiastic lively audience, sometimes a little noisy, but very goodhumoured. The most striking thing was the way they cheered Lord Beaconsfield's name. It was an interruption of quite two minutes." He was nervous at having to speak in a hall built specially for Mr Gladstone, whose voice fills a very considerable amount of hall. Next year, in June, he spoke on the Union with Ireland, at Paisley. In September he visited Balmoral, and this was the last time he crossed the Border, or saw the heather, of which Sir Walter Scott said that if he did not see it every year he thought he should die. For Sir Stafford, holidays and work were very nearly over: he had one last trial to bear, and then his earthly task was done.

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274

CHAPTER XIX.

LAST DAYS AND DEATH.

TESTIMONIAL FROM HOUSE OF COMMONS- COMMISSION ON DEPRESSION IN TRADE LORD RANDOLPH'S

RESIGNATION

LORD SALISBURY AT THE FOREIGN OFFICE-NEWS OF THIS
CHANGE—LORD IDDESLEIGH'S HEALTH—HIS DEATH.

It has been seen that, on the defeat of Mr Gladstone's Government in 1885, and the accession of Lord Salisbury's short-lived Cabinet, Sir Stafford Northcote went to the House of Lords with the title of Earl of Iddesleigh, and with the office of First Lord of the Treasury. As he said later, when a splendid testimonial was offered him by members of both parties, in March 1886, “For thirty years the House of Commons was his home.” Thirty years see, in most cases, the life's work of a man; for him little more was left of life and work. “The House of Commons was his love, that was the place his heart went out to, and he could not get rid of his feelings. He always knew that he should greatly feel leaving the House of Commons, and he could only say that he had felt the separation a great deal more than he had thought 1886.]

COMMISSION ON DEPRESSION OF TRADE.

275

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he should." His departure was not, one may venture to say, of benefit to his party, nor to the House. An admirable example of patriotic conduct and courtesy was lost, where it could ill be spared. One of the last barriers to partisan rancour was removed. Even the official journals of his party felt and deplored the loss and the change. For his own part, Lord Iddesleigh was at once engaged in the kind of work which he had often done so well; he presided over the Commission which examined into the Depression in Trade. This Commission was appointed by the Conservatives as soon as they came into office, in 1885. Its report, or rather its reports, were not issued till a few days after its President's death in 1887. Lord Iddesleigh's unrivalled financial experience, and the sagacity of his views on trade, naturally marked him out as the President.

The Commission was doubtless appointed for a political reason, The “bad times” since 1875 had, as we have seen, been pretty freely attributed to the Tories. The justice of these charges we have examined: they were partly superstitious, an affair of belief in luck, partly they rested on the foreign policy of Mr Disraeli's Government. It has been said that another foreign policy might have avoided certain expenses; but no policy could have altered the general conditions which depress business. There were Conservatives, however, who believed in “fair trade,” in a commercial league between England and her colonies, and in other specifics. It was well, at least, to hear what they had to say, and to collect information.

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