SENATOR MEIGHEN occasionally reflects that things might be worse, but not very much.
One of the few things he likes about being leader of the Senate is that he has no Board of Strategy. Another thing is that he also has no Cabinet colleagues to make suggestions about maintaining the dignity of a Prime Minister.
He considers it unique but not wholly surprising that Mr. Bennett has no Cabinet to tell him anything.
He is still the most dexterous verbal swordsman in the country, but finds little satisfaction in stabbing holes in stuffed shirts.
He has, however, accepted the philosophy that he should not examine the equine’s dental orifice too critically.
He is a historical demonstration that intellect in politics is apt to be a handicap rather than an advantage, unless accompanied by a sense of humor, a talent for dramatics, a capacity for bulldozing, or all three.
He went to school in St. Marys, Ontario, and there have been times when he has wished that he had stayed there.
After that he went through Toronto University and became a school teacher, a lawyer, a politician, a statesman, a financier.
He is not quite sure what he is now, but, whatever it is, he wishes he were something else.
Upon retrospective analysis, he considers that financiers are probably a little superior to politicians and that school teachers are better than either.
Not So Sure Now
HE IS NOW not quite so sure as he was in 1928 that he is a great financier, except by comparison.
After he gave up politics for finance he gained about twenty-five pounds, and does not appear to be in serious danger of losing these in the duties attached to his present office.
He felt humiliated when people congratulated him upon his elevation to the Senate, and even worse when they consoled him.
The only real consolation about it is that it gives him a chance to get away from Toronto now and then.
He believes that something should be done about the depression. He favors re-establishing silver as a monetary standard, but as yet has not quite convinced Mr. Bennett, an Ottawa economist who is also interested in political affairs.
There are a number of things on which he has not yet convinced Mr. Bennett, and still more on which he has not even tried.
In all the years he has been in public life he believes that there has never been an instance when his memory has failed him as to fact or figure, but he is quite capable of appearing at a wedding in brown shoes and a top hat, if he remembers that there is a wedding and where it is being held.
He has lost some of the delightful uncertainty of his attire, but has not yet learned to put on his collar and tie properly or to wear a hat that does not look like an undertaker’s.
He and Mackenzie King are the same age, and he is happy to believe that this is almost the only point of resemblance between them.
So is Mr. King.
Among other people whom he is glad he does not resemble too closely are Howard Ferguson, Agnes MacPhail, exSenator McDougald, Lady Willingdon and Sir Herbert Holt.
All his life he has been handicapped by the stupidity of his fellows and his inability to do anything about it.
He has never been able to resist making a sharp remark, even when the circumstances required a dull one.
He Baffled Lloyd George
HE IS reputed to be one of the few men whose purposes Lloyd George was never able to divine, but he has balanced this by being almost the only man who seems unable to make an accurate measurement of Senator Webster.
He is quite fond of dancing.
He was officially a member of the Canadian delegation to the Imperial Economic Conference in Ottawa last year," but was not called upon by Mr. Bennett to attend any of the sessions and is, in fact, only now finding out what really happened.
He admires rhetorical intricacies, and on occasions has shown himself to be peculiarly susceptible to flattery concealed in verbiage.
He has inadequate judgment of character, and probably will never understand why Sir Arthur Currie would not accept the terms of his proposal to become a Member of his Cabinet.
He cherishes a strictly private and forlorn hope that somehow and some day there will be a proper understanding and vindication of the “ready, aye ready” speech he once made in Hamilton, Ontario.
He can make a speech in French if he rehearses carefully, but he has never had the Hamilton oration translated fot that purpose.
He has pride without conceit, and wit but no humor.
A great many people continue to regard him as the only great Canadian statesman since the war, but they have probably overlooked the activities of Howard Ferguson in saving England from degeneration.
The same people still hope that he will some day return to the House of Commons, but it may be taken as quite definite that he will never do so unless a favorable opportunity occurs.
He is not quite sure what he would do if he were Prime Minister again, except that he would not have another Winnipeg convention.—The End
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