Pur Autre Vie

I'm not wrong, I'm just an asshole

Friday, August 15, 2014

Dizziness from Success

To quote from the diary of then-seventeen-year-old Lucy Lyttleton, a niece (by marriage) of William Gladstone, as quoted in Gladstone by Roy Jenkins:
Uncle William has taken office under Ld. Palmerston as Ch. of the Exchequer, thereby raising an uproar in the midst of which we are simmering, [in] view [of] his well-known antipathy to the Premier.  What seems clear is that he feels it right to swallow personal feelings for the sake of the country; besides he agrees at present with Lord P.'s foreign policy, also he joins several Peelites. . . .  There is this question, however:  why, if he can swallow Palmn. couldn't he swallow Dizzy, and in spite of him go in under Lord Derby?  I don't pretend to be able to answer this, but one can enough understand things to be much excited and interested. . . .
Now there's a lot going on in this passage, but what amuses me is the reference to "Dizzy."  Can you guess who that is?  I am going to take the unusual step of inserting a "break" so that you can guess before you click to see the answer.

Benjamin Disraeli!

Gladstone despised him and refused to serve in Derby's government with him.  But he was also not a fan of Palmerston, and yet he agreed to serve in his government.  This is what has confused Lucy Lyttleton.  Also confusing is that Gladstone had recently voted (against many of his fellow Peelites) in support of Derby's government.  Nevertheless he joined Palmerston's government when it replaced Derby's.

But anyway, it cracks me up that Lyttleton referred to Disraeli as "Dizzy."  It makes the whole thing seem as though it could have happened yesterday.