« PreviousContinue »
SPEECH ON IMPERIAL INSTITUTE.
till January 4, 1887, that he had a feeling of faintness on climbing the Castle Hill, when he was attending sessions at Exeter; but this attack seemed so unimportant that, in the afternoon, he attended an oratorio in a village near Pynes. All this distinctly shows that he had been in his usual health, and even more than usually active. Nor did the passing illness of January 4 at all give him cause for serious thought about his condition. After his resignation, on January 7, he presided over a large county meeting in Exeter, and spoke on the Prince of Wales's scheme of an Imperial Institute, in commemoration of the Queen's Jubilee. He occupied this position as Lord Lieutenant of Devonshire, a post which he had held since January 1886. At the meeting which the Prince of Wales was to preside over in the following week, he was not destined to attend, though he set out for it. His work had ended ere he reached it. To be brief, his days were numbered; but he was unwarned of this, and felt full of power and readiness to work. All this is mentioned merely in contradiction of a report published in the Standard of January 7, that Lord Iddesleigh was extremely ill and dejected, and suffered from the work of the Foreign Office, That he first heard of the change at the Foreign Office from the newspapers was a circumstance to be explained, no doubt, by clumsiness or haste, but it was a circumstance deeply to be regretted.
The sudden close of the life of Lord Iddesleigh is too
familiar to need a long repetition. On January 11, he went up from Pynes to London, where he was to speak at the Mansion House on the Prince of Wales's scheme of an Imperial Institute. On the forenoon of the 12th of January, he went to the Foreign Office, and had a long talk with Sir James Fergusson, the Under-Secretary, to whom he said that he hoped his separation from his old colleagues would not be permanent. He was to call again at 6 P.M., and see Mr H. M. Stanley about the expedition to relieve Emin Bey, in which he was much interested. He then walked to Downing Street, to see Lord Salisbury, On reaching the anteroom, he sank into a chair, where Mr Henry Manners and Lord Walter Gordon Lennox found him very ill, and breathing with difficulty. He never spoke again, and died at five minutes past three, in the presence of two doctors, of Lord Salisbury, and of Mr Henry Manners.
It was a death-scene brief and painless, “ a sleep and a forgetting.” He died at peace, but with his mind still busy with national affairs. The notes of the speech which he was never to deliver were found in his pocket, and among the notes a brief classical quotation, India mittit ebur; a trace of his old and dear studies. About such a deatha euthanasia to himself, a shock intolerable to his nearest survivors, a sorrow to the whole country-eloquence were impertinent. The day before he had said, about his official work, “I shall leave no arrears." His work was done, and well done.
The regret for Lord Iddesleigh's death was universally felt, was universally expressed : by the Queen, with her usual warm sympathy; by his countrymen of almost all ranks and creeds. At the same moment as the funeral rites were paid amongst those who had been most dear to him at his own village of Upton Pyne, services were held at Westminster Abbey, Exeter Cathedral, and St Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh, at which public men of all parties and professions paid their last tribute to the honoured statesman. He rests in the place he had chosen, by the church in which he had worshipped from the happy days of his boyhood, and which he loved as a part of his home.
1 'Daily News
LITERARY PURSUITS- DOMESTIC LIFE.
TASTE FOR LITERATURE-REFUGE IN A TREE-DESULTORY READ
ING FAVOURITE BOOKS THE ANCIENT CLASSICS SIR
LORD IDDESLEIGH was one of those men of affairs, or of action, whom Nature has half intended to make bookworms or men of letters. As a boy, his relations remember that he had a favourite retreat under a tree, where he would take refuge when strangers came, happy, like Thomas à Kempis, in angulo cum libello. His father and
, grandfather would even implore one of his sisters to rout him from his "nook and his book," 1 and make him
1 In omnibus requiem quæsivi sed non inveni nisi in noexkins ond boeskins.-A Kempis.
play, or ride, or shoot. It was only in later life that he who had been famous as a rowing man attained respectable skill as a shot or a rider to hounds. In boyhood, field-sports came seldom between him and his books, and he practised with pleasure what he praised without paradox -the art of desultory reading. For the rector of a Scot
. tish university to tell his undergraduates that they might read (as the Scotch laird swore) “ at lairge,” was rather a bold act. He likened himself to the Matinian bee, which in a desultory fashion "employs each shining hour,” rather
“ than to the soaring, and possibly singing, swan of Dirce. Neither in precept nor in practice did he “confound desultory work with idleness.” He read much and in many directions, and in part perhaps, like Emerson and Dr Johnson," with his fingers,” because his active mind found repose as well as enjoyment in variety of study. The very word “desultory," as he mentioned in his address to the Edinburgh students, implies etymologically the leaping from one horse to another.
The steeds he rode in this light Numidian fashion were many. Theology, History, Poetry, the Drama, Romance, and Science were all in his stable. Like a true friend of books, he was no great lover of epitomes and “cribs.” If he had not read the league-long Mahabharata and Ramayana, still less, if possible, had he improved his mind, as Sir John Lubbock recommended, with Wheeler's condensations of these gigantic epics. It is odd to find him telling Sir John Lubbock, in a discussion of the "Hundred Best Books,” that he has never read Marcus Aurelius. But the