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January 27, 2009

Disraeli's gears.

Yes, I am a Jew. And when the ancestors of the right honourable gentleman were brutal savages in an unknown island, mine were priests in the temple of Solomon.

He was as precocious as they come, and a comeback kid all his life. Though he had early success as a writer, he failed miserably in business. He ran for office and kept losing. As a young man, he picked ill-considered fights with the likes of the dangerously witty Irish barrister-politician Daniel O'Connell. Finally, in 1837, he was elected to the House of Commons but blew his maiden speech so badly he was laughed at uproariously from beginning to end. He dressed funny. He attracted too much attention. He was Jewish, if a practicing Anglican. Even the idea of practicing law, which he pursued for awhile, left him feeling stale and useless. Mainly, Benjamin Disraeli (1804–1881), the future prime minister of the UK, needed to move. Disraeli felt most alive when he was doing something public and difficult. "I am dying for action, and rust like a Damascus sabre in the sheath of a poltroon." In Disraeli, A. Maurois (Random House 1928).


Posted by JD Hull at January 27, 2009 11:59 PM


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