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the fearless denunciation, by tongue and pen, of abuses in high and low places, the attraction becomes influence and popularity. Sir Francis Burdett played this game very well at the beginning of the nineteenth century, and Mr. Labouchere played it even better at its close, for he did not, like Sir Francis Burdett, turn Tory in his old age. The Laboucheres (whether of Huguenot origin or not) have been great people in the high finance of Amsterdam and in society at The Hague for more than a century, and are still the leading house of bankers and financiers in Holland. The late member for Northampton eschewed the national and family trade of banking (except as a shareholder), and began life in the diplomatic service, where he was a thorn in the side of the Foreign Office. For Henry Labouchere was a born rebel; he could no more help being an Ishmael than he could help his decidedly Dutch physiognomy. His mind was of that irreverent, inquiring order, which takes nothing for granted, and frequently assumes that everything established is an imposture. The exposure of humbugs and swindlers in all walks became the passion of Mr. Labouchere's life, and he undoubtedly rendered very great service to society, at considerable personal expense. There was not a begging-letter writer, or a bucket-shop keeper, or an extortionate moneylender, or a religious quack, or a fraudulent company promoter, or a purveyor of obscenity in any guise, who did not await the weekly issue of "Truth" with rage and trembling. As an exposer of fraud Mr. Labouchere must have disbursed large sums, though we have no doubt the circulation of his paper recouped him. But innumerable libel actions are not defended for nothing, and there must have been a large detective staff, for information, as Lord Salisbury once said of our secret service fund, is en
tirely a question of money. Nor should it be forgotten in an enumeration of his services to the public, that we owe it to Mr. Labouchere that Constitution Hill is now a public thoroughfare. "The courage of the man," as we once heard a speaker in Hyde Park exclaim, "in fighting the Queen and all the bigwigs to open Constitution Hill!" We are not aware that society has ever shown the smallest gratitude to Mr. Labouchere: but we shall be surprised if the "tardy bust," in some form or other, is not, more nostro, raised to "buried merit." When we turn from the assailant of abuses and the terror of evil-doers to the political journalist and member of Parliament, the record is blurred by extravagance and rabid partisanship. It is impossible that so clear-headed a man of the world as Mr. Labouchere can have believed all that he used to say and write of the Tory leaders. He once accused Lord Salisbury of helping a titled criminal to escape from a warrant, and of telling a lie to cover his connivance. was, of course, instantly suspended by the Speaker, and it is more than probable that the ebullition was calculated. This was not the only time that Mr. Labouchere offended the taste of the House of Commons, for in 1881, when Mr. Gladstone pronounced a funeral eulogy on Lord Beaconsfield, Mr. Labouchere's attack on the policy and career of the dead statesman was drowned by murmurs from all sides. With these two exceptions, Mr. Labouchere managed very tactfully to assert the most violent opinions without making enemies of his brother members. There are many journalists in the House of Commons to-day, some of whom earn their living by turning their colleagues into ridicule-a gross abuse of the freemasonry of Parliament. Mr. Labouchere was too well-bred, as well as too good-natured, to make this mistake. The leaders on both sides
Mr. Labouchere considered fair game, but he never attacked private members, however prominent or obnoxious. Like Abraham Lincoln, he had a weakness for repeating or inventing coarse stories, which were not always amusing, but made him a favorite of the smoking-room. This was the most exasperating as he was a really witty man. On the floor of the House of Commons "the Christian member for Northampton" made no effect whatever. His speeches were as a rule merely réchauffés of his articles in "Truth," delivered in a languid drawl with the aid of bits of paper, which he dropped one by one into his hat after use. He once told the writer that he spoke to the reporters, and regarded his fellow-members as rows of lay figures. "Until you get into that frame of mind," he said kindly enough to a youngster not of his own side, "you will never succeed in politics." But it was with a stilo in his hand, and a cigarette-holder in his mouth that Mr. Labouchere became great. The editor of "Truth" has never got credit for the real excellence of his prose style, simply because no one expects to meet with first-rate English in a society weekly. Mr. Labouchere used to write a great deal in his paper twenty-five years ago, sometimes "notes". and sometimes leaders. Though unsigned, his "copy" was unmistakable. In directness, in simplicity, in terseness of wit and humor, Mr. Labouchere's prose was Voltairean: it was better than Cobbett's, for that great master of journalism spoiled his effects by exaggeration and violent vituperation. Good writing is so rare in the English press that it is a thousand pities these articles should be lost.
Mr. Labouchere had another conspicnous foible: in the words of a French moralist, "il faisait une fan-faronnade des vices, dont il n'était pas capable." He took so low a view of his fellows that out of mere good-fellowship he The Saturday Review.
was bound to make himself out as bad as he conceived them to be, or rather worse. Once, after a rubber was over, his partner pointed out that his play, though successful, was extremely risky, as the adversary might have held such-and-such a card. "I agree," said Labouchere, "but then I took the precaution of looking over my adversary's hand." When he was City editor of the "World" (his first essay in journalism), he tried operating on the Stock Exchange, and to help his speculation would write up the shares of which he was a bull, and write down the shares of which he was a bear. After he was caught at these manoeuvres by the publication of some letters never intended for the light of day, Labouchere blandly asked, "What greater proof can I give of my belief in the shares I write up than buying them? Or what stronger evidence can there be of my disbelief in a share than my selling it?" He soon gave up speculating, however, being much too clever not to realize that he could not play against the professional financiers. In the Home Rule days, between 1886 and 1895, Mr. Labouchere was plunged in intrigue, and it was he who first saw through Pigott, and induced the forger to confess to Sir George Lewis and himself, by what means is not yet known. What is almost incredible, but is apparently true, is that this clear-sighted cynic, this laughing philosopher, who wrote himself down an unprincipled trifler, was really disappointed because Mr. Gladstone did not ask him to join his Cabinet in 1892, and genuinely offended because he was not, in the alternative, sent as ambassador to Washington! Such are the "follies of the wise"! Labouchere was what our neighbors used to call "très fin du siècle"; he was a very clever and amusing personality, whose withdrawal from politics and journalism left us all sadder men.
INSULT AS A FINE ART.
An injury, it is said, is sooner forgotten than an insult. We all know this to be true, nor is the reason obscure; the human mind resents most powerfully that kind of offence which is vague, subtle, and difficult of proof. The mind reads continually into the indefinite new meanings and new accusations and ponders upon their foundations. An injury, such as the infliction of pecuniary loss or a wound, is measurable and may be easily put out of the memory when the inconvenience or bitterness is past. An insult, even when small, is almost inexhaustible because it breeds suspicion. We do not know what motive may lie behind it; often we are not even sure whether an insult has been intended. An insult may be embodied in a look, an intonation, a gesture. Who shall produce proof in what must always be a matter of intention? When insult shapes itself into perfect definiteness it is an affair for the Courts, and you may take action for libel or slander. But insult of the common intangible kind provokes in response all the variations of temperament of which men and races are capable. The Durbar at Delhi has set the world talking of an insult which was said to have been offered by the Gaekwar of Baroda to the King. How difficult to prove whether what seemed a studied indifference in rendering homage was really deliberate! It appeared to onlookers to be unmistakably so, but the Gaekwar when charged with insolence apologized fully and explained his behavior.
Apology is the only remedy for insult, and it is one of the great opportunities for self-recommendation; for every one of sensibility and humanity likes the person who is generous and frank enough to remove misunderstanding at his own cost. Yet how often
pride stands in the way of sincere apology! Strangest of paradoxes that the simplest method of earning a reputation for candor and moral courage should be persistently ignored in favor of the doubtful satisfaction of deluding oneself with the argument that so long as an apology has not been offered none has been really needed! Apology is the rarest of solvents, not only because few people can apologize gracefully, but because apology is seldom requested. It is of the nature of insult that it should not justify requests for apology. To exact amends for an insult which it may be said was never intended would be in itself an offer of insult.
True nobility ignores insult. It appears to be unconscious of it. It is overtly incapable of receiving it. In no matter is a man more clearly seen to be a gentleman or the reverse than in his treatment of insult. But to the gentlemanlike rule that insult should not be recognized there is one great exception. It is when insult is offered through a person to a cause or an institution. When the Gaekwar of Baroda appeared to insult the King an apology was exacted, not because the King could not afford to act on a sound rule like other people, but because the slight seemed to be directed to the institution of British sovereignty in India. For that reason it was rightly held that the Gaekwar's conduct could not be ignored. We have heard it related that on a State occasion in Austria an archduke suffered from the insults of a well-known man who kicked the archduke's boot whenever he passed him. The archduke had no doubt in his mind that an insult was intended, but he could not prove it, and as sovereignty was not directly attacked in his person he preferred not
to recognize the insult. "What a clumsy person!" was all that he muttered whenever his enemy stumbled fiercely across his boot.
If a retort to an insult is ever to be effective and no doubt the rule of silence may have its exceptions-it must flash back like a gunshot and kill like a gun; it must have wit or a supreme readiness. There is a story that in the seventeenth century an ambassador of the Persian Emperor visited the Great Moghul. The ambassador was instructed not to demean his mighty master by bowing before the Moghul. The courtiers of the Moghul, knowing this, arranged the approach to the throne so that the ambassador would have to pass under a low wooden decorative arch. There he would be compelled to bow or he could not get through. The ambasador on coming to the arch turned round and backed through, with his head away from the throne. "He comes through like a donkey!" was the neat aside of the Moghul; but it was capped and bettered by that of the plenipotentiary: "The only proper way in a stable of mules!" Ingenuousness-if it be not indeed the feigned ingenuousness of wit-may sometimes withdraw the sting of an insult. Whistler feigned ingenuousness in one of his letters reprinted in the "Gentle Art of Making Enemies." He had written, it appears, of some painter that he was a kind of Blank and Blank, naming a well-known press-cutting firm. The firm asked for an apology; the comparison was likely to bring their highly valuable services into contempt. "You absurd people," replied Whistler innocently, "you don't mean to say you really exist!" He had always thought that the name was a kind of symbol for the sort of thing he had derided, and behold in shooting at a dummy he had brought down a real man! Similarly-was this a case of real ingenuousness?-a young lady in a
foreign country found herself threatened with legal proceedings because she had addressed a letter, ordering some cloth, to "The Brigand of the Marches" at a certain town where the goods were sold. The shopman to whom the letter was duly delivered (for "The Brigand of the Marches" was, indeed, his familiar, though doubtless quite undeserved, nickname) protested that the direction on the letter was calculated to bring him into derision and do injury to his business. He demanded a full apology. "Monsieur," wrote the alarmed young lady, "I am extremely sorry that I made a mistake in addressing you as "The Brigand of the Marches.' Having never heard you spoken of under any other name I presumed that it was the sign of your shop. I should greatly regret it if I did you an injury. You are, of course, quite at liberty to make any use you like of this letter."
But, as we have implied, such instances are dangerous precedents. Bacon says of revenge what may be said with equal truth of dealing with insult: "Certainly in taking revenge a man is but even with his enemy, but in passing it over he is superior; for it is a prince's part to pardon; and Solomon, I am sure, saith, It is the glory of a man to pass by an offence.” He who studies insult, like him who studies revenge, "keeps his wounds green." Bacon distinguishes between public and private revenge, as we have distinguished be tween impersonal and personal insult. Revenge, he says, was taken successfully for the deaths of Cæsar, Pertinax, and Henry III. of France. "But in private revenges it is not so. Nay, rather, vindictive persons live the life of witches, who, as they are mischievous, so end they infortunate."
The gestures of the Latin races and the great range of intonation—perhaps the same thing is true of the Celtic part of the British people as compared
with the Teutonic-are a facile vehicle for insult. Insults hang sequestered in the movements of the eyes and the fingers. The Frenchman is temperamentally disinclined to ignore what he thinks he clearly perceives. The writer recalls a conversation with a Frenchman who argued that it is impossible for Englishmen to preserve their honor, since they do not fight duels. Each imagined case of insult mentioned in the conversation was examined on its merits. "Yes, that is all very well," the Frenchman would say, "but suppose a man spits at you, what then? That cannot be ignored. You cannot honorably do nothing then." To this fearful crux he repeatedly returned. The English rejoinder that the case never arises seemed to him as unsatisThe Spectator.
factory as it would seem to most of us adequate. Among Englishmen it is felt to be unprofitable to insult those who are unlikely to wince. It is reserved rather for uneducated people here to try with insult to lacerate their victim's feelings. It is a common trick to create suspicion by conveying discreditable tales about near relations or dear friends-"anything to give pain," in fact, as Michael genially says in the "Wrong Box." When insult is practised on one who passes it over as a gentleman should, the author of the insult' must enjoy the effects by faith. The faith of the malicious is very weak. They prefer plainer returns. Therefore to ignore insult is generally to defeat it.
TO NINETEEN HUNDRED AND TWELVE.
Good Year, you have indeed your work cut out!
I cannot (at the moment) call to mind
A programme more exhausting; nay, I doubt
Confronted by a task so strangely fruity.
By cutting off the wherewithal of boilers.
His hydra-head. These ought to keep you going.