« AnkstesnisTęsti »
"That 's decent, at least," she answered, withdrawing the touch, at which, perversely enough, I was piqued and fretted.
"Yes, he'll go," I averred. "I fancy you'll not be bothered again. He left you a message."
My cigar had gone out. I lit it again indifferently, getting a rich glimpse of her face as I did so.
"He asked me to tell you," I said slowly, "that you were right."
I felt her tremble, as if the words had withdrawn from her some invisible support. But immediately she straightened. It may have been with determination, but I was in a mood to see only self-satisfaction.
Yes, I thought, Hilda likes to be right; and no doubt she had been in dealing with Lowry. Almost any fine woman would have taken the same course. Yet the certainty of having been right at that most critical moment would, it seemed to me, harden the last tenderness in her; for she was, she was, hard.
I finished my cigar, the guilty tenth that day, and prepared to take leave.
"When shall I see you again?" she asked, walking with me to the gate.
It was uncertain, I replied, as I had to go to Tokio to-morrow, and perhaps directly from there to Kobe to join my ship. It had been charming to see her. Would she be here when I next re
At the gate we said good-by, she puzzled and perhaps a little pained. But not with self-suspicion, I sneered to myself, for to those who like being right as much as Hilda self-suspicion is scarcely a habit.
Two days later I sailed from Kobe. Six months ago I met an old friend of the Neilsons at the club in Shanghai. He had evidently known them well, and I admit that I listened hungrily to his talk of them.
They had never hit it off together, it seemed, though it was hard to say just why. She had always been charming in her manner toward Neilson, perfect, and their home was all it should be. Only, something was missing.
His opinion was that she secretly regarded her marriage a mistake, and would never marry again; perhaps because she was in love, and always had been, with a chap named Lowry, to whom she had been engaged before she met Neilson.
With an instant sinking of the heart I felt that he was right, and at the same time I knew that I loved her, knew it certainly. Yet on the night I gave her Lowry's message might I not have changed her? She had laid her hand on my arm as if
I put the thought away, rose, said good night, and went to my ship.
By JEAN STARR UNTERMEYER
There were estrangements on the road of love,
There were keen nights and sated moons, and trusts Grudgingly given and held light to prove
Your self-sufficiency, your manhood's dower,
There were renewals all along the way
Of pledges and of weeping, new delights;
Life and Letters of Sir Wilfrid Laurier
By OSCAR DOUGLAS SKELTON
In this instalment Professor Skelton writes of that period in Laurier's career when the Liberal party was under the control of many chiefs, who seldom had the confidence of their followers. The Conservatives had one leader, Sir John A. Macdonald. Few periods in the political history of Canada possess greater interest.
VII. THE LIBERAL LEADERSHIP
FOR a quarter of a century after Confederation, as for many years before it, the Conservative party of Canada followed a single leader. Never in Canada's history, and rarely in the annals of any other country, has any man dominated a great political party through so long a term as has John A. Macdonald. His leadership was not wholly unquestioned. At times severe illness, at others inattention to duties, and again the seemingly hopeless load of obloquy and discredit following the revelations of the Pacific scandal threatened his hold. Yet never
for long. Macdonald's vast patience
and resource, his uncanny knowledge of men and the motives that moved them, his grip on the popular imagination not less for his human failings than for his statesman's virtues, the mistakes of his opponents, or the weakness of his rivals, brought the party humbly and gratefully back to the incomparable leader. He was primarily an Ontario man, and each of the other provinces had its own leader, Cartier or Langevin, Tupper, Tilley; but the system of dual premiership which had marked the Union disappeared under Confederation, and the prime minister was really first. As year after year went by, and "John A." still reigned, his luck became legendary and his prestige invincible.
The Liberal party had no such good fortune. It had not one chief, but many. Leader after leader took up the task of vanquishing Sir John, and leader after leader laid it down again. Brown, Mackenzie, Blake, in turn failed, or found success but momentary, and Laurier won through to power only after his
great rival had passed from the scene. All were men of outstanding personal force, of unquestioned sincerity, and of devotion to their country's good, endowed with many of the qualities that stir a people's and a party's loyalty. Brown and Blake and Laurier had broad constructive vision and a statesmanlike grasp of the wider issues of politics, and if Brown did not wholly despise the arts of the practical politician, Mackenzie and Blake, as well as their successor, scorned corruption and fought it whether in the ranks in front or in the ranks behind them. Yet in the first thirty years of Confederation the Liberals held power for five years, and the Conservatives for five and twenty.
In so far as the Conservatives owed their victories to the people's belief that they were more national-minded, more positive and optimistic in their policies, whether of trade development or of railway building, there might be room for dispute, but none for despair. In so far as they owed their fortune to a greater readiness to grant or to promise
favors to a person or a class at public cost, or to gerrymander a riding or a province, it was not surprising that many observers grew doubtful of democracy. There is more than the loser's disappointment in Mackenzie's words to a friend a few days after his defeat in 1878.
The recent verdict has shaken my confidence in the general soundness of public opinion and has given cause to fear that an upright administration of public affairs will not be appreciated by the mass of the people. If political criminals and political chicanery are to be preferred to such a course as we pursued, the outlook is an alarming one.
Whichever of these factors is held the more weighty, there was a third of undoubted force, the constant and disturbing shift in leadership. The Liberal party entered the dominion field under a heavy disability. Their opponent was in power, possessed of the honey-pots of patronage; they had nothing to offer but the stern task of opposition that for years to come must be its own reward. True, when the project of Confederation was adopted, Macdonald had been steadily losing his grip on his party as well as on himself, and the Government formed to carry the project through was a coalition in which the Liberals had a fair-sized share. But the coalition, and later the opportunity of patching up alliances with men from the new provinces that were entering the Union, gave Macdonald a new lease of life. Brown, with all his downright and domineering force, could not hold his own in the administration against his shrewd and supple rival; bitterly disappointed, he shook the dust of the cabinet from his feet, and the Liberal tinge soon faded out of the coalition.
Throughout the Union period George Brown had dominated the Liberal party of Canada West. A fiery and uncompromising Covenanter, fierce in assault upon sectional or religious or racial or class privilege, constructive on occasion, as in his insistence upon the acquisition of the Northwest and his championing of Confederation, hard-hitting in parliamentary debate, a whirlwind force in country campaigning, a shrewd and tireless organizer, Brown had many qualities of a great party leader. But he was too impatient and too sure not only of the superiority of his own powers, but of the absolute rightness of his own opinions to be able to keep a parliamentary following contented and in line.
Alexander Mackenzie had brought his Scotch radicalism and his dour downrightness to Canada in 1842, a year before George Brown arrived similarly freighted. But where Brown, trained to journalism, plunged at once into politics, Mackenzie, every whit as keen, had first to earn a living in occupations which offered less scope. He had left school at thirteen, herded and plowed on Scottish farms, and turned stone-cutter before
emigrating to Canada as a lad of twenty. When John A. Macdonald was building up his law practice in Kingston and representing that city in the provincial parliament, and Oliver Mowat and Alexander Campbell, one-time students in Macdonald's office, were beginning to practise, in the same town Alexander Mackenzie was dressing or laying stone for the doorway of St. Mary's Cathedral, the Martello tower at Fort Henry, or the walls of the city hall, attending the local temperance society, joining in the worship of the Baptist Church, or debating hotly with his fellow-workmen the iniquity of the clergy reserves or Governor Metcalfe's last stand for high Toryism. Pushing farther west, in Sarnia, he became in turn a prosperous contractor, an editor strong alike on principles and on personalities, and in 1861 member for Lambton in the provincial parliament. He declined to walk into Macdonald's coalition parlor, was elected a member of the first dominion and of the second provincial parliament, joined Blake in 1871 in overturning the government which Sir John had set up in Ontario under his clansman and former foe, John Sandfield Macdonald, became provincial treasurer under Blake as premier, and in 1872, when the abolition of dual representation forced both Blake and himself to choose between Toronto and Ottawa, decided for the federal field, but not until he had joined Blake in setting Oliver Mowat firmly on the provincial throne that pawky chieftain was to occupy for a quarter of a century.
Edward Blake came by other ways to power. His father, William Hume Blake, a member of a distinguished Irish family, had come to Canada in 1832 with a colony of kinsmen and neighbors who had combined to charter a vessel. Finding a backwoods clearing far from corresponding to his dreams of a forest estate, the elder Blake turned city man and barrister, fought on the Liberal side in the struggle for responsible government, entered the Baldwin-Lafontaine cabinet in 1848, swept the House on a memorable occasion by his fierce exposure of Tory claims to a superior loyalty, was prevented by the speaker's intervention from fighting a duel with John A. Macdonald, became the first
Chancellor of Upper Canada, and made the name of Blake a mark of honor by his high interpretation of the judge's calling. Edward Blake, born in 1833 on his father's clearing, went through the University of Toronto with high honors, was called to the bar in 1859, rose to unquestioned leadership of the equity bar almost at a stroke, became a member of both the federal and the provincial parliaments in 1867, and premier of Ontario four years later. After a year of office, he resigned the premiership to Mowat, and chose a federal career.
Mackenzie and Blake both entered public life possessed of a deeply rooted and almost hereditary Liberalism. In nearly every other respect of training, as of temperament, they were poles apart. Mackenzie had the self-taught man's unevenness as well as his intensity; Blake's leisurely training had given him a wider culture, but less driving force. Both had extraordinary memories, but Mackenzie's was vertical, furnishing him with a store of fact and precedent as to the achievements of the good men and the lapses of the sinners through many a year of party warfare, while Blake's was horizontal, enabling him to survey with his mind's eye every present angle and every minutest detail of the most complicated issue. Mackenzie was the best debater in parliament, "a grand man on his legs," as Laurier used to say, going straight for his antagonist's weakest point with unerring keenness and unsparing stroke. Blake was its most masterful and overwhelming logician, surveying every phase of the case, fitting argument into argument and heaping up demonstration upon demonstration until his opponent sank crushed under the weight. Rarely, when deeply moved, passion added a force and fire to his words that burned up resistance.
Mr. Goldwin Smith, with that thoroughgoing snobbery of which none but the radical aware of the condescension involved in consorting with other radicals is capable, once remarked, in a phrase curiously reminiscent of that other Oxford don who snubbed the hopes of "Mr. Jude Fawley, stonemason," that Mackenzie had been bred
a stone-mason, and that as premier a stone-mason he remained. It was a bigger man than Smith who saw in all Mackenzie's political achievements the same honest efficiency, the same plummet-straight workmanship, that marked his masonry. There is on record a letter of Mackenzie to George Brown, written in 1872, which sets forth in sincere, honorable, and pathetic words his sense of his own deficiencies and of Blake's strong qualities:
I know too well my own deficiencies as a political leader to wonder at other people seeing them as well. The want of early advantages was but ill compensated for by an anxious-enough effort to acquire such in the midst of a laborious life, deeply furrowed by domestic trials, and it has left me but illfitted to grapple with questions and circumstances constantly coming up in Parliament. I am quite aware of the advantages possessed by a leader of men, of high mental culture and having ample means, especially when joined to intellectual power and personal excellence. Therefore I do not wonder at, or complain of, those who see in others possessing such, greater fitness for the work required of them than myself.
National spirit brought discontent with party spirit. In the years before Confederation, political life had been degenerating into personal vendettas; parties were becoming fighting clans, public life a succession of bitter feuds. Shrieking personalities were the staple of discussion in parliament and in press. A Liberal had come to mean a man who feared and hated John A. Macdonald; a Conservative, a man who scorned and hated George Brown. Now, so many an ardent young man dreamed, the time had come to sweep away all these unrealities, to build afresh parties based on ideas-parties which could appeal to every province alike and not seek to impose on the new provinces the discredited leaders and labels of the old, parties that would be constructive and would stand for "Canada First."
Distinct from these youthful crusaders, who stood ostentatiously aloof from both the old parties, there was a wing of the Liberal party with much the same ends in view, but believing that a reor ganized Liberalism was the best means