120 Glimpses of Our Ancestors.
and that we suck it in with our mother's milk.* My Uncle Mason must have sucked very hard, for a more incorrigible, unmitigated old Tory never breathed. His Toryism was in his flesh and bones. It was not an affair, as our modern political opinions are, of reasoning and arguing and such-like slow processes. It was a constitutional (I mean physically constitutional) fact—bound up with blood and brain and nerve and muscle and associated with the insoluble mysteries of human nature. The idea that my Uncle Mason could have been anything but a Tory ! Absurd ! ridiculous ! It would have been to deny his raison d'etre. He was, I am sure, a little Tory in long clothes, and held to his mother's breast as Filmer did to the Right Divine of Kings! Whilst at school he must have had a foretaste of all his subsequent joy and pride at the spectacle which the schools of those days presented of unbounded authority and dogmatism on one side and a mixture of servility and brutal tyranny—over younger boys—on the other.
But these are mere surmises of mine as to my Uncle's juvenile Toryism—a re-construction of the boy from the man. It was as a man—as a formed and complete Tory—that I knew him, when his education was finished—when the Tory principles of the age had poured into the matrix made by Nature to receive them, and had become as hard and infrangible as the bronze statues of stern-looking Imperators that are still dug up after ages of entombment. The man and the politician were then welded together, so that no fracture could be detected to indicate where the man ended and the politician began.
And yet my Uncle was no politician—that is, in the modern sense of the term. He never made a political speech in his life, and couldn't for the life of him have laid down a political axiom. He was a party man to the backbone ; and his party
* Shakspeare makes Volumnia say to her son, Coriolanus,—
" Thy valiantness was mine: thou suck'dst it from me."