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British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli is stymied by Liberal opponent Gladstone in an attempt to appropriate an unusually large slice of power and financial credit, and, feeling "bound to furnish [his] antagonists with arguments, but not with comprehension," he retires to his country estate, Hughenden, amidst public agitation. A mysterious Mrs. Travers, whom Disraeli knows to be a Russian spy, learns of Disraeli's intention to buy the Suez Canal from Egypt and ensure England's Indian Empire, when the prime minister receives a coded telegram indicating Egyptian khedive Ismail Pasha's immediate financial throes and his susceptibility to an offer. Unable to obtain credit from the Bank of England, he arranges through international Jewish banker Hugh Meyers for funding and dispatches Charles (Lord Deeford) with Meyer's check to Cairo. Charles arrives ahead of Foljambe, Mrs. Travers' accomplice, and obtains the controlling shares in the Canal, but Disraeli's elation is shortlived as Meyers informs him of his firm's bankruptcy. Disraeli bluffs the reluctant Bank of England manager, Lord Probert, into honoring the check, and Queen Victoria later graces a reception at Downing Street honoring Disraeli, who has made her "Empress of India."