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MR. GLADSTONE has committed many sins in the eyes of the Conservatives and Liberal Unionists, and one atrocious crime. The crime is that he is loved as few statesmen have ever been. He might indeed claim the I title of the well-beloved," like the French King who deserved the title much less. A striking proof of the affection felt for Mr Gladstone is the interest which his golden wedding excites." The above, taken from a well-known Gladstonian contemporary, is the heading of the special correspondent's descrip- tion of the presentation that was made to him by the National Liberal Club onlthe occa- sion of his golden wedding. Never before, perhaps, have we had so good an opportunity of testing the true value of these gushings of love and veneration of which we hear so often. The opportunity was in every way a most fitting one for their display. How few among us can hope for a similar blessing Mr and Mrs Gladstone have not only completed their jubilee of married life, but have reached it in the best of health, with their family circle unbroken, and with all the happiness that worldly prosperity can ensure. It was pre-eminently an occasion when every real friend and admirer should have shown their tangible appreciation of their great leader," and we should have expected that some really nobleoffeting from a grateful country, which might have been handed down as an heirloom from generation to generation, would have been proposed for his acceptance. But what did the National Liberal Club, the centre and focus of all the Gladstonianism in England, do? With profusions of lip-worship they declared they would celebrate it in a manner worthy of the occasion they talked loud and long, and expectation was on tip-toe as to what form the magnificent gift would take, and all sorts of conjectures were rife as to how England would honour the "greatest man that ever sat in the House of Commons," the noblest of her sons," etc. Never did mountain bring forth a more infinitesimal little mouse; great was the surprise when the com mittee decided that an address in the form of an ordinary sized album should be presented, consisting of five illuminated pages, illustrated by Walter Crane, Marcus Stone, Severn, Parsons, and MacWhirter. The surprise increased when it was found that there were about seven thousand subscribers whose sub- scriptions at the outside must have averaged the handsome sum of 6d to a shilling a piece But th most extraordinary part of the pro- ceedings has yet to be told. The managers of the National Liberal Club, finding their funds rather low, took a commercial view of the matter, and announced that everybody who attended the presentation, including members, must pay a guinea a head for themselves and for each lady they brought. This was so much disapproved of by many of the members that they would not go near, and the party who gathered there last Friday consisted chiefly of provincial Liberals, ready to pay for exhibition, and who in return received a good supper. It is caculated about fifteen hundred were present, and tickets were obtainable on the last day. Our readers may judge whether the Club or Mr Gladstone profited most by the transaction. Certainly love" and affection" have never been exhibited in a more strangely material form.




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