Lord Salisbury was at Hatfield, and late at night his son went to the local telegraph office, to wait for the verdict. Telephones were not used in private houses then; so the great news had to be carried to Hatfield on foot. It came at three o'clock in the morning and the eager young Cecil ran up the hill towards the park gates, waking the villagers with his shouting. He was able to tell his father that the bill had been defeated by thirty votes.
MR. GLADSTONE had to write 1 to the Queen again, that his cabinet had determined
"it was their duty humbly"to advise her
"to dissolve the present Parliament."But he would not accept defeat and during the weeks before the inevitable election, he went back to the scenes of his earlier triumphs, in Midlothian, to catch the voters up in the magic net of his words. On June 28 he spoke in Hengler's Circus and wrote afterwards,
"Few buildings give so noble a presentation of an audience. Once more my voice held out in a marvellous manner. I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit, but the hand of the Lord was strong upon me."This time Mr. Gladstone's fate depended upon voters, who were mostly horrified by the Irish plan, and not upon the divine cooperation in which he was so confident. When the results of the election were declared in July, the opponents of Irish Home Rule in the Commons exceeded its friends by one hundred and ten.
Again the venerable leader went to the Queen with his seals, and with what he thought might be his
" last word with the Sovereign after fifty-five years of political life, and a good quarter of a century's service rendered to her in office."He wrote:
"The Queen was in good spirits; her manners altogether pleasant. She made me sit at once. Asked after my wife as we began, and sent a kind message to her as we ended. About me personally, I think, her single remark was that I should require some rest. I remember that on a closing audience in 1874 she said she felt sure I might be reckoned upon to support the throne. She did not say anything of the sort to-day. Her mind and opinions have since that day been seriously warped, and I respect her for the scrupulous avoidance of anything which could have seemed to indicate a desire on her part to claim anything in common with me."2
Queen Victoria could afford to be "altogether pleasant." Eight days