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NORTH. Ay, a plebiscite.

SHEPHERD. An' the prize for the wunner o' the competeetion is a bank-bill for a hunder poun’s.

NORTH. Correct, James; I observe you read your newspaper diligently enough. But is it not lamentable to see a once great political party reduced to the condition of the Gladstonians; torn by internal dissension, distracted by personal intrigue, and equally destitute of men and measures ?

TICKLER. Say, rather, that it would be pitiable were it not that they deserve no better fate. When they sold themselves to the Irish gang, they lost all title to the sympathy of honest and rightthinking men. The Pope's brass band was a collection of honourable gentlemen compared with Mr Parnell's kerns and gallowglasses; and the Gladstonians have no right to complain if they caught more than they bargained for from such singular allies. I grant that, as a rule, a strong Opposition is a blessing to the country; but I have no desire to see a party which is solemnly pledged to a policy of dismemberment materially strengthened. Could anything be more significant of their total want of principle than the eagerness of many among them to throw Home Rule overboard, because Home Rule has been found not to pay?

NORTH. Very true, my dear Tickler; but I believe you will agree with me that the want of a strong Opposition constitutes a serious danger for the party in power. The majority becomes careless, loses spirit, tends to break up into groups, becomes less coherent and energetic than it ought to be.

SHEPHERD. A wee thing lowse in the glue, sir, as Mr John or his worthy freen', auld Tom, micht say.

NORTH. An appropriate metaphor indeed, James, for the Elysian fields. But, as I was saying, not only does the majority become flabby in the face of a weak and discredited Opposition, but the Government takes to playing tricks which it dare not venture upon when the enemy is well organised and vigilant. Look, for example, at the Vaccination Bill—a measure intensely repugnant to the bulk of Conservative and rational sentiment. Was ever so gratuitous a concession made to a parcel of ignorant and offensive maniacs? And all for the sake of keeping or winning a few seats which could easily have been spared !

SHEPHERD. I wad like fine, Mr North, to hear your defeneetion o’a “conscientious" objector. Ma conscience ! Gin the Shepherd had his

“ Tom

SHEPHERD. I ken fine what ye're at, Mr North ; parteecl'ars o' my leddy Fowerstars' pairty, whaur the wine was "undeneeable,” an' whaur the pawms cost as muckle siller's wad pit a West Indian colony, safe an' soun', upon its legs. Short wark wad I mak' o'thae infernal sugar bounties. But the maania for publeecity is somethin' awfu', aneuch to turn a body's stamack. Leddy Fiddle - Faddle (set her up!) was obsairved last Monanday shopin' in Sloan Street, dentily attired in a smairt mawve tock an' an celegant winsey creation o' Yoojeeny's; or Lord

Noddy was perceived takin' a daun'er roond the Pawrk, faultlessly got up, as us’al; or Mistress High Flyer's bal masky, whilk included twa three Hebrew money - lenders an' a dizzen company-promoters at the verra least, was distinguished by a It wise exclusiveness.' An' the warst o't is, that Leddy Fiddle-Faddle, an' Lord Tom, an' Mistress High Flyer wad sit them doon on their hunkers an'mak a fine humdudgeon, an' mebbe even skirl for sheer vexation, gin their names wisna prented in the papers; ay, an' they feed, an? pamper, an' wheedle, an' coax, an' do the ceevil to the pawrasites wha yearn a leevlihood-puir misguidit deevils—by writin' sic like trash. But gin a wheen lords an' leddies, no' preceesely o' the first fawshion, think nae shame to beg an' Heech for adverteesements o' the sort, what say ye, Mr North, to the authors wha suld ken a hantle better? Wae's me, wae's me for the dignity o' leeterature! It's pawragraphs here, an' pawragraphs there; whiles a bit interview, an' whiles a bit denner; wi' oor gude freen' Mr Wamblewame, the “guest o' the evenin',” an' hoo he has brocht the true flevvour o'the shambles to mony a twitching nostril; or the health o’ Miss Claw-the-midden, gentlemen, an' may she lang be sparit to probb the beilin' sores o humanity to the verra roots.

NORTH.

are.

Yet we must suppose that there is a public eager to hear of such matters, or else they would never be dished up so regularly as they

A queer beast the public, as Mr John used to say; and who can tell what it will fancy for its next meal? Why, a daily paper is said to have added fifty thousand to its circulation, by what?

TICKLER. A set of papers by Mr Kipling, sir?

SHEPHERD. An exposhy o' an obvious impostor?

NORTH. Wrong, gentlemen, though your guesses were ingenious. No; by taking a vote of its Radical readers on the Opposition leadership and the Opposition programme.

SHEPHERD. What's this they ca't again? I ken it's an unco kittle word to pronounce.

NORTH. Ay, a plebiscite.

SHEPHERD. An' the prize for the wunner o'the competeetion is a bank-bill for a hunder poun's.

NORTH. Correct, James; I observe you read your newspaper diligently enough. But is it not lamentable to see a once great political party reduced to the condition of the Gladstonians; torn by internal dissension, distracted by personal intrigue, and equally destitute of men and measures ?

TICKLER. Say, rather, that it would be pitiable were it not that they deserve no better fate. When they sold themselves to the Irish gang, they lost all title to the sympathy of honest and rightthinking men. The Pope's brass band was a collection of honourable gentlemen compared with Mr Parnell's kerns and gallowglasses; and the Gladstonians have no right to complain if they caught more than they bargained for from such singular allies. I grant that, as a rule, a strong Opposition is a blessing to the country; but I have no desire to see a party which is solemnly pledged to a policy of dismemberment materially strengthened. Could anything be more significant of their total want of principle than the eagerness of many among them to throw Home Rule overboard, because Home Rule has been found not to pay ?

NORTH. Very true, my dear Tickler ; but I believe you will agree with me that the want of a strong Opposition constitutes a serious danger for the party in power. The majority becomes careless, loses spirit, tends to break up into groups, becomes less coherent and energetic than it ought to be.

SHEPHERD. A wee thing lowse in the glue, sir, as Mr John or his worthy freen', auld Tom, micht say.

NORTH. An appropriate metaphor indeed, James, for the Elysian fields. But, as I was saying, not only does the majority become flabby in the face of a weak and discredited Opposition, but the Government takes to playing tricks which it dare not venture upon when the enemy is well organised and vigilant. Look, for example, at the Vaccination Bill—a measure intensely repugnant to the bulk of Conservative and rational sentiment. Was ever so gratuitous a concession made to a parcel of ignorant and offensive maniacs? And all for the sake of keeping or winning a few seats which could easily have been spared !

SHEPHERD. I wad like fine, Mr North, to hear your defeneetion o' a "conscientious" objector. Ma conscience ! Gin the Shepherd had his

SHEPHERD.

66

I ken fine what ye're at, Mr North ; parteecl’ars o' my leddy Fowerstars' pairty, whaur the wine was “undeneeable,” an' whaur the pawms cost as muckle siller's wad pit a West Indian colony, safe an' soun', upon its legs. Short wark wad I mak' o'thae infernal sugar bounties. But the maania for publeecity is somethin' awfu', aneuch to turn a body's stamack. Leddy Fiddle - Faddle (set her up!) was obsairved last Monanday shopin' in Sloan Street, dentily attired in a smairt mawve tock an'an eelegant winsey creation o'Yoojeeny's; or Lord

Tom Noddy was perceived takin' a daun'er roond the Pawrk, faultlessly got up, as us'al; or Mistress High Flyer's bal masky, whilk included twa three Hebrew money - lenders an' a dizzen company-promoters at the verra least, was distinguished by a "wise exclusiveness." An' the warst o't is, that Leddy Fiddle-Faddle, an' Lord Tom, an' Mistress High Flyer wad sit them doon on their hunkers an'mak a fine humdudgeon, an' mebbe even skirl for sheer vexation, gin their names wisna prented in the papers ; ay, an' they feed, an' pamper, an' wheedle, an' coax, an' do the ceevil to the pawrasites wha yearn a leevlihood-puir misguidit deevils—by writin' sic like trash. But gin a wheen lords an' leddies, no' preceesely o' the first fawshion, think nae shame to beg an’ Heech for adverteesements o' the sort, what say ye, Mr North, to the authors wha suld ken a hantle better? Wae's me, wae's me for the dignity o' leeterature ! It's pawragraphs here, an’ pawragraphs there; whiles a bit interview, an' whiles a bit denner; wi' oor gude freen’ Mr Wamblewame, the "guest o' the evenin',” an' hoo he has brocht the true flevvour o'the shambles to mony a twitching nostril ; or the health o’ Miss Claw-the-midden, gentlemen, an' may she lang be sparit to probb the beilin' sores o' humanity to the verra roots.

NORTH. Yet we must suppose that there is a public eager to hear of such matters, or else they would never be dished up so regularly as they

A queer beast the public, as Mr John used to say; and who can tell what it will fancy for its next meal? Why, a daily paper is said to have added fifty thousand to its circulation, by what?

TICKLER. A set of papers by Mr Kipling, sir?

SHEPHERD. An exposhy o' an obvious impostor ?

NORTH. Wrong, gentlemen, though your guesses were ingenious. No; by taking a vote of its Radical readers on the Opposition leadership and the Opposition programme.

SHEPHERD. What's this they ca't again? I ken it's an unco kittle word to pronounce.

are.

NORTH. Ay, a plebiscite.

SHEPHERD. An' the prize for the wunner o' the competeetion is a bank-bill for a hunder poun’s.

NORTH. Correct, James; I observe you read your newspaper diligently enough. But is it not lamentable to see a once great political party reduced to the condition of the Gladstonians; torn by internal dissension, distracted by personal intrigue, and equally destitute of men and measures ?

TICKLER. Say, rather, that it would be pitiable were it not that they deserve no better fate. When they sold themselves to the Irish gang, they lost all title to the sympathy of honest and rightthinking men. The Pope's brass band was a collection of honourable gentlemen compared with Mr Parnell's kerns and gallowglasses; and the Gladstonians have no right to complain if they caught more than they bargained for from such singular allies. I grant that, as a rule, a strong Opposition is a blessing to the country; but I have no desire to see a party which is solemnly pledged to a policy of dismemberment materially strengthened. Could anything be more significant of their total want of principle than the eagerness of many among them to throw Home Rule overboard, because Home Rule has been found not to pay ?

NORTH. Very true, my dear Tickler ; but I believe you will agree with me that the want of a strong Opposition constitutes a serious danger for the party in power. The majority becomes careless, loses spirit, tends to break up into groups, becomes less coherent and energetic than it ought to be.

SHEPHERD. A wee thing lowse in the glue, sir, as Mr John or his worthy freen', auld Tom, micht say.

NORTH. An appropriate metaphor indeed, James, for the Elysian fields. But, as I was saying, not only does the majority become flabby in the face of a weak and discredited Opposition, but the Government takes to playing tricks which it dare not venture upon when the enemy is well organised and vigilant. Look, for example, at the Vaccination Bill—a measure intensely repugnant to the bulk of Conservative and rational sentiment. Was ever so gratuitous a concession made to a parcel of ignorant and offensive maniacs? And all for the sake of keeping or winning a few seats which could easily have been spared !

SHEPHERD. I wad like fine, Mr North, to hear your defeneetion o' a "conscientious" objector. Ma conscience! Gin the Shepherd had his

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