Too Long; Didn't ReadThe beginning of the battle as recorded in the last chapter took place on a Friday,—Friday, 11th November,—and consequently two entire days intervened before the debate could be renewed. There seemed to prevail an opinion during this interval that Mr. Gresham had been imprudent. It was acknowledged by all men that no finer speech than that delivered by him had ever been heard within the walls of that House. It was acknowledged also that as regarded the question of oratory Mr. Daubeny had failed signally. But the strategy of the Minister was said to have been excellent, whereas that of the ex-Minister was very loudly condemned. There is nothing so prejudicial to a cause as temper. This man is declared to be unfit for any position of note, because he always shows temper. Anything can be done with another man,—he can be made to fit almost any hole,—because he has his temper under command. It may, indeed, be assumed that a man who loses his temper while he is speaking is endeavouring to speak the truth such as he believes it to be, and again it may be assumed that a man who speaks constantly without losing his temper is not always entitled to the same implicit faith. Whether or not this be a reason the more for preferring the calm and tranquil man may be doubted; but the calm and tranquil man is preferred for public services. We want practical results rather than truth. A clear head is worth more than an honest heart. In a matter of horseflesh of what use is it to have all manner of good gifts if your horse won't go whither you want him, and refuses to stop when you bid him? Mr. Gresham had been very indiscreet, and had especially sinned in opposing the Address without arrangements with his party.
And he made the matter worse by retreating within his own shell during the whole of that Saturday, Sunday, and Monday morning. Lord Cantrip was with him three or four times, and he saw both Mr. Palliser, who had been Chancellor of the Exchequer under him, and Mr. Ratler. But he went amidst no congregation of Liberals, and asked for no support. He told Ratler that he wished gentlemen to vote altogether in accordance with their opinions; and it came to be whispered in certain circles that he had resigned, or was resigning, or would resign, the leadership of his party. Men said that his passions were too much for him, and that he was destroyed by feelings of regret, and almost of remorse.