Dizzy: The Life & Personality of Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield

Dizzy: The Life & Personality of Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield

Dizzy: The Life & Personality of Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield

Dizzy: The Life & Personality of Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield

Excerpt

The romantic story of his ancestry which Benjamin Disraeli composed, and possibly believed, throws a light on his character, but leaves his lineage obscure. He liked to think that they had owned large estates in Spain during the Moorish supremacy, and that with the coming of Torquemada and the Inquisition they had been compelled to seek refuge in the territories of the Venetian Republic, where for more than two centuries they had flourished as merchant princes. Fancy ends and fact begins with the arrival of his grandfather in England shortly after the defeat of the Young Pretender in 1745 had firmly established the Hanoverian succession. This grandfather changed his name Israeli to the more imposing D'Israeli. After some years of struggle as a merchant and stockbroker, he made a successful second marriage and a small fortune. He was a kind-hearted man, who tipped his small grandson Benjamin when his wife was not there to see him do it. She was "a demon" according to her grandson, who remembered with horror his visits to her. He had to walk all the way from Bloomsbury to Kensington, where he received "no kindness, no tea, no tips--nothing." But on one occasion she was so pleasant that Benjamin's mother remarked, "Depend upon it she is going to die." And she did. Benjamin's father, Isaac, was of a dreamy nature, preferring solitude and books to company and business, and when he at . . .

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