BENJAMIN DISRAELI is back in fashion. The dapper Earl of Beaconsfield, twice prime minister under Queen Victoria, makes a comeback whenever conservatives of a certain bent - toward "national greatness" rather than "limited government" - go hunting for a genealogy. Writing in the Weekly Standard, David Gelernter hailed him as "the inventor of modem conservatism" and "a 19th-century neocon." Sam Tanenhaus, New York Times Book Review editor with a hobbyist's interest in the Right, has urged conservatives to rediscover Disraeli's tradition, which he believes best represented in recent years by Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.Gladstone was born in Liverpool to evangelicals of Scottish origin. His mother descended from minor gentry. His father, John, was middle class and had made a fortune as a businessman in the Americas. To raise the status of his family beyond mere wealth, John Gladstone purchased land and a seat in the notoriously corrupt Parliament. He also modeled three of his sons' education on the example of George Canning, a broadly liberal, pro-commerce Tory of modest background who maintained close ties with the family. "[U]nder the shadow of the great name of Canning," Gladstone recalled, as a youth he had "rejoiced in the removal of religious disabilities" and in "the establishment of free commercial interchanges between nations; with Canning, and under the shadow of the yet more venerable name of Burke, my youthful mind and imagination were impressed."His relationship with her was one of the few topics that he did not confide to his wife. But like his overall association with working women, its existence was well known among the political elite. One contemporary wrote, "Gladstone seems to be going out of his mind. ... Gladstone's last passion is Mrs. [Laura Thistlethwayte]. He goes to dinner with her and she in return in her preachments to her congregation exhorts them to put up their prayers on behalf of Mr. G's reform bill." Another observer noted that Mrs.