1858 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Horace Twiss

Cyrus Redding, in Fifty Years' Recollections (1858) 3:223-24.



Horace Twiss, with his grave countenance, who should have been called single-speech, for he made but one good speech in Parliament, was a sober and attentive man of business — his solemnity sometimes passing for extra wisdom. One day, going to see a friend in the Temple, I met him on the ground floor. "Come with me," said he, "Twiss is rehearsing; don't make a noise." Horace had to be down at the house that evening. We peeped through the key-hole, hearing him in practice, and saw him address the tongs, placed upright against the bars, as "Mr. Speaker;" but we could not hear all the oration. The hon. member preserved wondrous gravity, and the tongs, falling, said to himself, "Aye, now the speaker has left the chair." Twiss had no genius, but was, as I should imagine, a safe and trustworthy man of business, who might be securely relied upon. The penetration of the Duke of Wellington discovered this, to which Twiss mainly owed a short official career, so unlucky for himself, through no fault of his own. Though often one in snug conversational dinner-parties, the larger part composed of the wits of the hour, he cut no more of a figure among them than myself. I believe, however, that his judgment was sounder than that of any of the circle to which I allude, and that he was an honest, upright man.