By Daniel R. Schwarz (auth.)
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An example is the scene in which the Duke succumbs to the temptation of gambling, perhaps the most effective scene in the first two full-length novels. Within the company of the dissipated group, our sympathies for the Duke increase because he is gulled by men beside whom he is a mere novice. Disraeli depicts excessive gambling as a kind of moral cannibalism, whose obsessed practitioners abandon civility and lose their fundamental sanity: No attempt at breakfast now, no affectation of making a toilet or airing the room.
63). When the young Duke receives Fitz-Pompey's final letter and learns of Mrs Dallington Vere's machinations, he undergoes the fmal step of moral conversion; he 'turned with trembling and disgust from these dark terminations of unprincipled careers; and these fatal evidences of the indulgence of unbridled passions. How nearly, too, had he been shipwrecked in this moral whirlpool! ' (V, xiii, p. 324). This passage not only brings to a climax the Duke's characterisation and gives shape and structure to much, if not all, of the narrative; it also shows how Disraeli can render a self-recognition scene·efficiently and movingly when his plot requires it.
Why what's a king? Why should one man break the equal sanctity of our chosen race? Is their blood purer than our own? Weare all the seed of Abraham' (IX, i, pp. just asHonain and Schirene tempt Alroy, Abidan tempts Jabaster by appealing to his vanity: 'Thou ne'er didst err, but when thou placedst a crown upon Disraeli's Early Fiction 47 this haughty stripling .... 'Twas thy mind inspired the deed. And now he is king; and now Jabaster, the very soul oflsrael, who should be our Judge and leader, Jabaster trembles in disgrace ..