Mr. Gladstone’s Last Cabinet Part II
Archibald Philip Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery, accounts for the last hours in active British politics for the 'Grand Old Man'.
On March 1, Mr Gladstone held his last Cabinet. After the business was concluded Kimberley said that he could not allow our meeting to terminate without saying in a word how painful it was to us to part with our chief, and in a moment the honest old-fellow was sobbing, unable to proceed. Mr. G. was about to reply when a cry of “Stop!” was heard. It was the Chancellor of the Exchequer. As soon as he had arrested Mr. G’s attention he pulled from his pocket a handkerchief and a manuscript and at once commenced weeping loudly. Then he said, “I think I can best express my feelings by reading the letter I have addressed to you, Sir, on this occasion”— on which he declaimed to us a somewhat pompous valedictory address of which I only remember vaguely a long-drawn metaphor taken from the solar system. Mr. Gladstone was obviously disgusted. He said a few cold words, and always referred to this Cabinet as “the blubbering Cabinet”.