At the date of our story, 189 –, there were still nominally three great political parties in England, the Jingoes, the Shillyshallies, and the Thoroughgoers. The power of the last-named had been long in abeyance, but was now coming to the front with such impetus that it promised shortly to sway the national legislature exclusively, so that there remained little chance for the other two parties to regain their footing except by coalition.