14 FEBRUARY 1880, Page 23

Meditations in the Tea-Room. By " M. P." (Pickering.)—Here we

have a collection of thoughts, aphorisms, comments on men and things, showing a shrewd, somewhat cynical, spirit, often expressed with much vigour and point. We should think that "M. P.'s " poli- tical creed is somewhat like that of Lord Palmerston,—that he gener- ally goes into the Liberal lobby, but has not much faith in legislation. In fact, his whole conception of government, unless ho is ironical, is a satire on Parliaments, and all such things. " The State is rather a fortress, mainly designed for offence, than a city for refuge. If, with other old writers, we liken it to a ship, then with a man-of- war only can we make the comparison. It serves for us to live in, but cramps us sadly ; securely enough we can sleep, but soundly never ; discipline we bear, but love it no more than lime-juice. Meanwhile, we can play the missionary, the policeman, and the bandit, as we choose. We can free the slave, by enslaving his master; we can dress whole nations in our shoddy, we can dye that shoddy scarlet ; we can teach the goose-step where we please ; and cry March !' And all this throughout an empire so extensive that in some parts of it some people are always sitting down to breakfast, provided they are not dying of hunger." " When Mr. Gladstone fell from power to post-cards," is smartly said.