THE PRIME MINISTER
THE PRIME MINISTER
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1 Ferdinand Lopez
2 Everett Wharton
3 Mr Abel Wharton QC
4 Mrs Roby
5 'No one knows anything about him.'
6 An Old Friend Goes to Windsor
7 Another Old Friend
8 The Beginning of a New Career
9 Mrs Dicks' Dinner Party - No 1
10 Mrs Dicks' Dinner Party - No 2
11 Carlton Terrace
12 The Gathering of Clouds
13 Mr Wharton Complains
14 A Lover's Perseverance
15 Arthur Fletcher
16 Never Run Away!
18 The Duke of Omnium Thinks of Himself
20 Sir Orlando's Policy
21 The Duchess's New Swan
22 St James's Park
24 The Marriage
25 The Beginning of the Honeymoon
26 The End of the Honeymoon
27 The Duke's Misery
28 The Duchess is Much Troubled
29 The Two Candidates for Silverbridge
30 'Yes;--a lie!'
31 'Yes;--with a horsewhip in my hand'
32 'What business is it of yours?'
33 Showing that a Man Should not Howl
34 The Silverbridge Election
35 Lopez Back in London
36 The Jolly Blackbird
37 The Horns
38 Sir Orlando Retires
39 'Get round him'
40 'Come and try it'
41 The Value of a Thick Skin
43 Kauri Gum
44 Mr Wharton Thinks of a New Will
45 Mrs Sexty Parker
46 'He wants to get rich too quick'
47 As for Love!
48 'Has he ill-treated you?'
49 Where is Guatemala?
50 Mr Slide's Revenge
51 Coddling the Prime Minister
52 'I can sleep here tonight I suppose?'
53 Mr Hartlepool
55 Mrs Parker's Sorrows
56 What the Duchess Thought of Her Husband
57 The Explanation
58 'Quite settled'
59 The First and the Last
60 The Tenway Junction
61 The Widow and her Friends
62 Phineas Finn Has a Book to Read
63 The Duchess and her Friend
64 The New K.G.
65 There Must Be Time
66 The End of the Session
67 Mrs Lopez Prepares to Move
68 The Prime Minister's Political Creed
69 Mrs Parker's Fate
70 At Wharton
71 The Ladies at Longbarns Doubt
72 'He thinks that our days are numbered'
73 Only the Duke of Omnium
74 'I am disgraced and shamed'
75 The Great Wharton Alliance
76 Who Will it Be?
77 The Duchess in Manchester Square
78 The New Ministry
79 The Wharton Wedding
80 The Last Meeting at Matching
The Prime Minister
It is a certainty of service to a man to know who were his
grandfathers and who were his grandmothers if he entertain an
ambition to move in the upper circles of society and also of
service to be able to speak of them as of persons who were
themselves somebodies in their time. No doubt we all entertain
great respect for those who by their own energies have raised
themselves in the world; and when we hear that the son of a
washerwoman has become Lord Chancellor or Archbishop of
Canterbury we do theoretically and abstractedly feel a higher
reverence for such self-made magnate than for one who has been as
it were born into forensic or ecclesiastical purple. But not the
less must the offspring of the washerwoman have had very much
trouble on the subject of his birth unless he has been when
young as well as when old a very great man indeed. After the
goal has been absolutely reached and the honour and the titles
and the wealth actually won a man may talk with some humour
even with some affection of the maternal tub;--but while the
struggle is going on with the conviction strong upon the
struggler that he cannot be altogether successful unless he be
esteemed a gentleman not to be ashamed not to conceal the old
family circumstances not at any rate to be silent is difficult.
And the difficulty is certainly not less if fortunate
circumstances rather than hard work and intrinsic merit have
raised above his natural place an aspirant to high social
position. Can it be expected that such a one when dining with a
duchess shall speak of his father's small shop or bring into the
light of day his grandfather's cobbler's awl? And yet it is so
difficult to be altogether silent! It may not be necessary for
any of us to be always talking of our own parentage. We may be
generally reticent as to our uncles and aunts and may drop even
our brothers and sisters in our ordinary conversation. But if a
man never mentions his belongings among those with whom he lives
he becomes mysterious and almost open to suspicion. It begins
to be known that nobody knows anything of such a man and even
friends become afraid. It is certainly convenient to be able to
allude if it be but once in a year to some blood relation.
Ferdinand Lopez who in other respects had much in his
circumstances on which to congratulate himself suffered trouble
in his mind respecting his ancestors such as I have endeavoured
to describe. He did not know very much himself but what little
he did know he kept altogether to himself. He had no father or
mother no uncle aunt brother or sister no cousin even whom he
could mention in a cursory way to his dearest friend. He
suffered no doubt;--but with Spartan consistency he so hid his
trouble from the world that no one knew that he suffered. Those
with whom he lived and who speculated often and wondered much as
to who he was never dreamed that the silent man's reticence was a
burden to himself. At no special conjuncture of his life at no
period which could be marked with the finger of the observer did
he glaringly abstain from any statement which at the moment might
be natural. He never hesitated blushed or palpably laboured at
concealment; but the fact remained that though a great many men
and not a few women knew Ferdinand Lopez very well none of them
knew whence he had come or what was his family.
He was a man however naturally reticent who never alluded to
his own affairs unless in pursuit of some object the way to which
was clear before his eyes. Silence therefore on a matter which
is common in the mouths of most men was less difficult to him
than to another and the result less embarrassing. Dear old
Jones who tells his friends at the club of every pound that he
loses or wins at the races who boasts of Mary's favours and
mourns over Lucy's coldness almost in public who issues
bulletins on the state of his purse his stomach his stable and
his debts could not with any amount of care keep from us the
fact that his father was an attorney's clerk and made his first
money by discounting small bills. Everybody knows it and Jones
who like popularity grieves at the unfortunate publicity. But
Jones is relieved from a burden which would have broken his poor
shoulders and which even Ferdinand Lopez who is a strong man
often finds it hard to bear without wincing.
It was admitted on all sides that Ferdinand Lopez was a
'gentleman'. Johnson says that any other derivation of this
difficult word than that which causes it to signify 'a man of
ancestry' is whimsical. There are many who in defining the term
for their own use still adhere to Johnson's dictum;--but they
adhere to it with certain unexpressed allowances for possible
exceptions. The chances are very much in favour of the well-born
man but exceptions may exist. It was not generally believed
that Ferdinand Lopez was well born;--but he was a gentleman.
And this most precious rank was acceded to him although he was
employed--or at least had been employed--on business which
does not of itself give such a warrant of position as is supposed
to be afforded by the bar and the church by the military
services and by physic. He had been on the Stock Exchange and
still in some manner not clearly understood by his friends did
business in the City.
At the time with which we are now concerned Ferdinand Lopez was
thirty-three years old and as he had begun life early he had