19 DECEMBER 1896, Page 2

Lord Rathmore, better known as Mr. Plunkett. made a speech

in London on Wednesday to the members of the United Club. Very happy was his allusion to the final quarrel between Lord Rosebery and Sir William Harcourt over which of them was to summon the party meeting at the beginning of last Session as "a kind of Box and Cox arrange- ment, in which the distracted Lord Spencer was to appear in the somewhat uncongenial part of Mrs. Bouncer." "What dreadful domestic tragedy might have resulted if that meet- ing had come off we cannot now tell, for we are informed that the late Prime Minister wrote to say that he would have no political connection with the leader of his party in the House of Commons, and not long afterwards he very dexterously cleared out of the whole concern." These revelations perhaps explained the curious fact that no one in the Liberal party seems anxious to claim those honours which are usually the objects of ambition, "unless, indeed, my friend Mr. George Russell is making play for the vacant leadership with his two supporters, all Radical stalwarts of old-fashioned and uncompromising principles and courage." Lord Rathmore ended his speech by a reference to the com- plete tranquillity now existing in Ireland and to the excellent impression produced on all classes by Mr. Gerald Balfour. The state of Ireland suggested a story which, if only quasi- appropriate, is much too good to be lost. This item once ap- peared in an Irish candidate's election expenses : "Five shillings to keep the fiddler sober as long as he was sober."