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Eminent Victorians, first published in 1918 and consisting of biographies of four leading figures from the Victorian era. Its fame rests on the irreverence and wit Strachey brought to bear on three men and a woman who had till then been regarded as heroes and heroine. They were: * Cardinal Manning * Florence Nightingale * Thomas Arnold * General Gordon The book made Strachey's name and placed him firmly in the top rank of biographers, where he remains.
of poets, in a bitter mood, has described the characteristics of a certain class of persons, whom he did not like. ‘They,’ he says, ‘that have power to hurt and will do none, That do not do the things they most do show, Who, moving others, are themselves as stone, Unmovèd, cold, and to temptation slow, They rightly do inherit heaven’s graces, And husband nature’s riches from expense; They are the lords and owners of their faces.…’ The words might have been written for Sir Evelyn Baring.
all that were ever read at our meeting,’ says Sir Mountstuart Elphinstone Grant-Duff, was one on “Wherein consists the special beauty of imperfection and decay?” in which were propounded the questions “Are not ruins recognized and felt to be more beautiful than perfect structures? Why are they so? Ought they to be so?” ’ Unfortunately, however, the answers given to these questions by the Metaphysical Society have not been recorded for the instruction of mankind. Manning read several papers, and
politely ignored her; but it was impossible to ignore Flo Nightingale. When she spoke, they were obliged to listen; and, when they had once begun to do that – what might not follow? She knew her power, and she used it. She supported her weightiest minutes with familiar witty little notes. The Bison began to look grave. It might be difficult – it might be damned difficult – to put down one’s head against the white hand of a lady. Of Miss Nightingale’s friends, the most important was Sidney
the case, to create the hospitals at Scutari. Whether this argument would have satisfied the artisans, was never discovered, for only a very few copies of the book were printed for private circulation. One copy was sent to Mr Mill, who acknowledged it in an extremely polite letter. He felt himself obliged, however, to confess that he had not been altogether convinced by Miss Nightingale’s proof of the existence of God. Miss Nightingale was surprised and mortified; she had thought better of Mr
time the indications of the providential government of the world, his pupils never seemed to make much progress in the subject. Could it have been that the time allotted to it was insufficient? Dr Arnold had some suspicions that this might be the case. With modern languages there was the same difficulty. Here his hopes were certainly not excessive. ‘I assume it,’ he wrote, ‘as the foundation of all my view of the case, that boys at a public school never will learn to speak or pronounce French