Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

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280                 Old Memories of East-Bourne. [Chap. XX.
was a naturalised Englishman of Austrian birth was a great linguist and caused much sensation by being able to address in 7 languages foreign sailors in a hospital at Greenwich. Lady Pirbright was the sister of a lady married into the family of a Barrister, one of my very oldest friends, A. G. Henriques, who lived many years at Brighton. Henriques came out as a Radical Candidate for Walworth in 1885. He paid me a visit at East-Bourne in order to be coached up in some of the ways of electioneering. He proved his inexperience by the following incident. When he became a candidate he was asked by the Dissenters to subscribe to the " Liberation Society" for disestablishing the Church, and he gave them a guinea. After he had done that, he read some of their prospectuses and circulars, and in 3 weeks he retired from the Society, because, as he told me himself, their scheme was simply one for robbing the Church of property consecrated to religious uses, and this, though himself a Jew. If he had consulted me a little earlier, I could have told him the same thing, and he would have saved his guinea.
I once talked over the subject of Parliamentary Debating Societies with H. C. Raikes, M.P., then Postmaster-General. He was an old friend, and I knew he had studied the subject of organisation for political purposes. This was what he said :" I always advocate amateur Parliaments being taken up by our party; I look upon them as very valuable weapons of Conservative warfare ; indeed, whichever party works them well will profit by doing so." Raikes used to come to East-Bourne as a visitor, and he was very indignant on one occasion at being charged, at the Burlington Hotel, Is. 6d. for the cooking of 2 pheasants which a friend had sent him.
The second London Society of the sort of which I was a member for several years was the " Kensington Parliament," several members of which on both sides of politics have made names for themselves since ; and I have no doubt whatever that personally, I owe much of my facility for speaking, whatever it may be, to the practice which I had in my early days.
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