Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

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The Old Sussex Tory.                   125
would not sit down to a table at which there were 13 guests. He would make anyone who upset the salt throw some of it over his or her left shoulder. He never started on a journey, nor would allow anybody else if he could help it, on a Friday. And everybody humoured him in his crotchets; such a dear, kind-hearted, jolly, plucky old gentleman was my Uncle the old Tory. He was a child in his opinions, but he was a hero in his acts; he did not know what it was to be " daunted;" he had what Churchill calls a " matchless intrepidity of face;" he would speak up like a man to my Lord Duke This or to the great Earl of That, if there was something to say for the public good or for a neighbour or a neighbour's son. He did not.know what fear—I had almost said modesty—was. He was certainly a very impudent man. That is, there was nothing he would not ask for, and nobody whom he would not ask, if he wanted to get something for somebody. There was no shame-facedness in him. And that, too, was a characteristic of the old Tories! They thought they had a right to all they could get, which was pretty well everything that was worth having in this world! As to anybody else, on the other side, wishing to get anything—it was robbery, spoliation, high treason, revolutionary! Put the rascals in gaol—transport them—hang them up as high as Haman !
A terrible blow was the Reform Bill, and, after that, the repeal of the Corn Laws, to my Uncle Mason. They upset his politics, as Sir Walter had demoralised his bookshelves. He could not argue—what old Tory ever could ?—but he knew it was all wrong, and that it would end in anarchy and destruction. It was too bad of us reforming youngsters to plague the old gentleman like so many picadores, and to make him rush, in defence of his beloved Toryism, into the very jaws of an absurdity! There was no difficulty in it. Like the great mass of his party, he knew nothing of principles: only men. Now, one of his men was Huskisson, whom he knew personally, and potently believed to be a Tory, whilst all the while that great statesman was working hard to bring
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