Arnold visits Archibald

From: Rosebery – Statesman in Turmoil (2005), by Leo McKinstry:

“…in the summer of 1892…

…It is an indication of (Rosebery’s) importance to the Liberal cause that no one, not even Sir William Harcourt, could contemplate forming a government without him at its centre…it was agreed that (Arnold) Morley (the Chief Whip) should make the trip…

In the hallway he was greeted by Rosebery…The pair then went out for a stroll in the gardens overlooking the Firth of Forth. Morley’s account of their conversation is probably the most candid description ever recorded of Rosebery’s tortured mind:

It was not until he took up his third line of defence that I found anything to say. This was that his enjoyment of privacy became daily more keen; that his life during the last year and a half had given him a perfect passion for solitude. On this I warned, ‘A man must be very sure of himself before he seeks the existence of a solitary. It is well enough in the hour of fatigue and depression to find solace in drawing pictures of tranquil isolation from the common herd. But it is all delusion and dream. I have, like plenty of other people, had hours of misery which I soothed with semi-voluptuous thoughts of suicide. Your plan is one of slow suicide. Solitude is a slow poison. You would no sooner have definitely committed yourself to it than you would awake with a ruinous shock to the ghastly thing you had done. The poison would work. You are in a morbid state now. But resolute solitude would make you more and more morbid, up to the point of downright mental danger.

…Later the two men took another walk in the park…Rosebery then dramatically announced a change of heart…”

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