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ticians who had played their hand so badly. He said
to me before he started for the House: "By the judg-
ment of the Irish people only do I, and will I, stand or
fall," and this he repeated in the House.

The astonishment of the House was unbounded. It
had been prepared for anything but this scornful repudi-
ation of the right of the English to judge him for a
downright denial of the charges made, for a skilful fenc-
ing with the arguments. The speech of Parnell was a
challenge to war. Impassive as ever, betraying no slight-
est sign of emotion, he tore up the accusations and threw
them scornfully in the face of his accuser.

"I can assure the House," he said, "that it is not
my belief that anything I can say at this time will have
the slightest effect on the public opinion of this House
or upon the public opinion of the country. I have been
accustomed during my political life to rely upon the
public opinion of those whom I have desired to help,
and with whose aid I have worked for the cause of pros-
perity and freedom in Ireland, and the utmost I desire
to do in the very few words I shall address to the House
is to make my position clear to the Irish people at home
and abroad.

"I say it is impossible to stem the torrent of preju-
dice that has arisen out of the events of the past few
days. I regret that the officials charged with the ad-
ministration of this Act are unfit for their posts. I am
sure the right hon. gentleman, the present Chief Secre-
tary to the Lord Lieutenant, must admit that to the
fullest extent, and when he looks round on the right
hon. member for Bradford, he must say: 'Why am I
here while he is there?' Why was he (Mr. Forster)
deposed, he the right hon. gentleman who has ac-



quired experience in the administration of Ireland
who, according to his own account, knew everything,
although he was almost invariably wrong? Why was
he deposed and the right hon. gentleman (Mr. Trevel-
yan), a 'prentice, although a very willing hand, put in
his position? I feel that the Chief Secretary to the
Lord Lieutenant must say with the Scriptures, 'I am
not worthy to unloose his shoe latchet.' It would be
far better to have the Act administered by the seasoned
politician now in disgrace and retirement. Call him
back to his post; send him to help Lord Spencer in the
congenial work of the gallows in Ireland. Send him
back to look after the secret inquisitions in Dublin
Castle. Send him to distribute the taxes which an un-
fortunate and starving peasantry have to pay for crimes
not committed by themselves. All this would be con-
genial work for the right hon. gentleman. We invite
you to man your ranks, and to send your ablest and
best men to push forward the task of misgoverning and
oppressing Ireland. For my part I am confident as
to the future of Ireland. Although the horizon may be
clouded, I believe our people will survive the present
oppression, as they have survived many and worse mis-
fortunes, and although our progress may be slow, it
will be sure. The time will come when this House and
the people of this country will admit, once again, that
they have been deceived, and that they have been
cheered by those who ought to be ashamed of themselves ;
that they have been led astray as to the right mode of
governing a noble, a brave, a generous, and an impul-
sive people; that they will reject their present leaders,
who are conducting them into the terrible courses into
which the Government appear determined to lead Ire-
land. I believe they will reject these guides and leaders



with as much determination, and just as much relief, as
they rejected the services of the right hon. gentleman
the member for Bradford."

Some time afterwards, in an interview I had with
him, Mr. Gladstone referred to this declaration of Par-
nell's that he would stand or fall only by the judg-
ment of the Irish people.

He said: "You know Mr. ParnelPs inmost feelings
better than others; does this truly represent his mind,
Mrs. O'Shea?"

I answered, as I could truly do: "Yes, Mr. Glad-
stone, that is his only and absolute ideal. I may say
Ireland's is the only voice he regards as having any
authority over him in the whole world."

"Yet Mr. Parnell is so much an Englishman in his
coldness and reserve?"

"He is a paradox, Mr. Gladstone, the enigma of genius
herself, a volcano capped with snow. Englishman him-
self, at least he is descended from Englishmen, he hates
England and the English and does not understand them;
he loves Ireland and her people through and through,
understands them absolutely, and is in nature as apart
and aloof from the Irish nature as you are yourself."

The hard, flint-like eyes softened a little in the eagle
face as the G. O. M. answered with a little sigh: "I
have much sympathy with his ambitions for Ireland,
Mrs. O'Shea. His is a curious personality; you are right,
I think yes, a paradox indeed, but a wonderful man!"

At the end of June, 1883, Parnell went over to conduct
Mr. Healy's election at Monaghan (an Ulster strong-
hold), for which division he was returned a month after
he had quitted Richmond Prison.

He immediately afterwards (on July 4th) attended
the Cork banquet given in his honour. He wrote the



following letter to me to allay the fears I had expressed
in regard to certain political actions which he here re-
pudiates and which had reached my ears from other


Tuesday night.

When I received your note I at once determined to go over
to you to-morrow morning and to give up my engagement to
speak at the Cork banquet to-morrow night, as I knew my
own was very much troubled about something, and felt sure
that I could comfort and reassure her. I have since been
besieged the whole evening by entreaties and threats not
to throw over Cork, and it has been represented to me, and
with truth, that half the result of the Monaghan victory will
be lost if I leave Cork to the Whigs and my enemies. I have
been very much perplexed and dragged in different ways,
but have at this hour (2 a. m.) made up my mind to ask my
own Wifie to suspend her judgment for another twenty-four
hours about whatever is tormenting her, to place some little
confidence in her husband's honour and fidelity for that short
time, and to believe that he now swears to her, and that he
will repeat the same oath to her on Thursday evening, that
whatever statement has been made about him which is cal-
culated to lower him in his wife's opinion in the slightest
degree is a foul lie.

I feel that I can ask this of my own Wifie, and that she
will not withdraw her confidence and love from her own hus-
band until he can return and defend himself.

I shall leave for Cork by to-morrow morning's train at
nine o'clock, speak at banquet, and return by night mail the
same day to Dublin, and be in time to leave Dublin by
mail train for London on Thursday morning. Let me know
at Palace Chambers where I shall see you on Thursday

Trust your husband, and do not credit any slander of him.




2 a. m., July 4, 1883.

MY DEAR MRS. O'SnEA, I seize a vacant moment to
write you a few words, as it does not look as if Irish affairs
would permit me to see you for some time longer. Perhaps
even a week or ten days may pass by before I can see Eltham
again. I also wish you to forward enclosed to Captain O'Shea,
as I have not got his address.

I have had several conversations with Fr. White, who is
a very superior man, and has impressed me very much.

I intend to make it my first business to look up West Clare,
and trust that Captain O'Shea may be able to meet me there.

With best regards, yours always sincerely,




MY DEAREST WIFIE, Your letters received, and always
give me the greatest happiness to read.

Please continue writing. I will make arrangements to have
them kept out of sight here.

Shall see him* Wednesday evening or Thursday morning,
and do what I can. I fear his position in Clare is irretrievable.

With best love, YOUR HUSBAND.



MY DEAR MRS. O'SHEA, Will you kindly direct, enclose,
and post enclosed.

Many thanks for your letter, also for two from Captain
O'Shea, which I will reply to shortly. Believe me, in haste,
yours very truly, CHAS. S. PARNELL.

Just before Christmas in 1883 I took a furnished
house in Brighton for three months for my children.

"Captain O'Shea.


I had arranged to take a house in Second Avenue, which
both Parnell and I liked, but Willie came down and in-
sisted on my taking a house facing the sea in Medina
Terrace; so I (with difficulty) got out of my former agree-
ment, and certainly the house Willie chose was very much
pleasanter, owing to its close proximity to the sea.

Willie undertook to stay here to be with the children
while I went back to my aunt (coming myself to Brigh-
ton for one or two days in the week).

Willie asked Parnell to come and stay. He did so,
and Willie and he discussed the Local Government Bill
at all hours, as Parnell wished to f?nd out what the views
of Mr. Chamberlain and the Tories were better as-
certainable by Willie than others.

I went back to my aunt for Christmas Eve. It was
bitterly cold, and as the old lady never cared for fes-
tivities, she was soon glad to shut herself up in her warm
house and "forget in slumber the foolish junketings I
permit in my domestics, my love."

There was snow that Christmas, very deep at Eltham;
and Parnell, who had joined me there, walked round
the snowy paths of my aunt's place with me in the
moonlight. Now and then he moved with me into the
shadow of the trees as a few lads and men, with the
inevitable cornet and trombone of a village "band,"
plunged through the drifts on their short cut to the old
house. There they sang Christmas carols to their hearts'
content, knowing they were earning their yearly bonus,
to be presented with a polite message of her "distaste" for
carol singing by "Mrs. Ben's" (as she was affectionately
called in the village) man-servant the next morning.

Parnell and I enjoyed that pacing up and down the
wide terrace in the snowy moonlight. The snow had
drifted up against the old urns and the long, low balus-


. r "V ""^

. I




trade that divided the north and south lawns; and the
great shadows of the beech trees looked unfamiliar and
mysterious pierced here and there, where the blanket
covering of snow had dropped off, by the cold glitter of
moonlight on the whiteness.

Right away to the south lay the "Chase/* leading
away to Chislehurst, wide, cold, and lonely in the moon-
light, and I told Parnell that the cloud shadows that
flitted over the glistening whiteness were the phantoms
of the hunters of King John's time, who used to hunt
over this ground, renewing their sport in the moonlight.

Parnell loved to hear these little imaginations, and
I loved to tell them to him for the sake of seeing the
grave smile come, and of hearing the naive "Is that
so? " of his appreciation.

We walked up and down in the moonlight till the
carols died away, and we heard the church clocks strike
twelve. Then we stood together to listen to the Christ-
mas bells sound clear and sharp from many villages on
the frosty air, while Parnell again spoke to me of his
belief that the soul after death resumed life in the planet
under whose influence it was born. He spoke of his
belief in a personal destiny and fate, against which it
was useless for mortals to contend or fight, and how he
believed that certain souls had to meet and become one,
till in death the second planet life parted them until
the sheer longing for one another brought them together
again in after ages.*

I said, "But it seems so lonely like that!" and he
answered, "It is lonely; that is why I am so afraid always
of death, and why I hope with every bit of me that
we shall die together."

*On the day of Parnell's death, October 6, 1891, a new planet was dis-



The next day I went to Brighton to see the children
for Christmas, and in the New Year Willie went to
Ireland, returning to Brighton to stay with the children
for a short time before they came home in February
and he went to Lisbon.

The following telegrams and letters show the develop-
ment of affairs during the course of this year : -


Feb. 29, 1884.

(Handed in at the House of Commons Office.)

Thanks. Happy to accept your invitation to dinner this
evening for seven o'clock.

May 30, 1884.

Captain and I arrived safely.

(Willie went to stay at Avondale for a couple of days.
K. P.)

M ay 31, 1884.
(Rathdrum Office.)

Captain leaves here to-morrow (Sunday) morning, and
leaves Kingston to-morrow evening.


Sept. 10.

Willie is looking very well indeed, in fact much better
than I have ever seen him before.



I hope soon to be through pressing business here and in
country, and to be able to leave on Saturday. Yours,

C. S. P.

Friday, Oct. 28, 1884.

MY DEAR MRS. O 'SHEA, I shall be at Dover for a few
days longer, and afterwards propose visiting the Netherlands
and returning through Paris. If I thought that Captain
O'Shea would soon be in England I should wait for him, but
if not should take my chance of meeting him in Paris on my

My stay in the Netherlands will not exceed three days,
but I shall remain in Paris for at least a similar period. I
say "the Netherlands" because I don't yet know whether
I shall have to go to Holland or Belgium or both. Kindly
let me have a line or wire to former address. Always yours,


I was ill at the time the following letters were written,
and Captain O'Shea was coming to Eltham a good deal.

ELTHAM, 1884.

Should have come sooner, but could not get away. There
was an explosion of a bomb at the Home Office just before I
left; it blew down a large piece of the front wall and did a
great deal of damage, they say.

I will not go near the hotel to-night if I see a crowd there,
and will leave early in the morning and come down here to

Friday, 4 p. m.

I came down here late last night and was immensely re-
lieved to hear that you were better.

I slept very comfortably here last night, and had an excel-
lent breakfast this morning, which Phyllis brought me.



Am now going up to London to settle the report of La-
bourers' Committee, which had not time to attend to yester-
day, and hope to be back about eleven o'clock. - - Yours,

C. S. P.


Do you think I had best wait here or go up to London and
wait for a telegram from you?

We finished our committee yesterday, so if he* goes early
I could return perhaps early enough to see you this evening
for a few minutes.

I felt very much relieved by your letter last night. How-
ever, it is evident you must take great care.

If you think I had best not wait, will you telegraph? Other-
wise see me later, when I will wait. Yours.


Many thanks for kind note.

I am going to London now, and hope to return reason-
ably early, as the debate is not likely to last long. I do not
feel the cold at all.

There ought to be no difficulty in my seeing you to-mor-
row, and I will manage it.

I do not like your having a headache, and you must really
take care of yourself and not get up too soon. Yours always.

I am obliged to go up early to attend Labourers' Com-
mittee, which meets at eleven to-day to consider its final re-

Please send me telegram to House if you can, as I ought
to be able to return early this evening.

Phyllis is looking after me first rate. Yours.

Parnell was always unselfish and most considerate
when I was ill, and once when I was very weak after an

"Captain O'Shea.


illness of some duration he returned home to Eltham
in broad daylight in a hansom cab, triumphantly sup-
porting one end of a large couch, the other end of which
spread its upholstered length over the roof. This in-
valid's chair he, with the help of my maids, arranged
in my sitting-room, adjusting its complicated "rests"
with earnest abstraction, after which he led the pro-
cession up to my room, and in spite of my amused pro-
tests carried me down and placed me on the couch amid
cushions and shawls, and spent a happy evening in
"watching me" as I lay comfortably on my new pos-

In 1884 we ran down to Hastings for a few days in
the middle of the Session, when my aunt's old friend
came to stay with her and gave me freedom. Parnell
delighted in these sudden "run-away" visits to the sea
when the House was in full swing of business, and said
they braced and freshened him up more than anything
else could do. We stayed at the Queen's Hotel, and
Parnell revelled in the sudden freedom from politics
casting all thought and care from him as we walked by
the sea and gave ourselves up to the enjoyment of the
fresh salt air.

He was hugely pleased, on going into a shop in Robert-
son Street for notepaper, to find some embossed with
the monogram "K. P." in blue and gold. He declared
it was a good omen, and bought me more boxes of it
than I could use for many years. He also bought me
a little red diary, after long and earnest efforts in se-
lection. Red he did not like much, as he said it was the
sanguinary hue of English oppression; but diaries can
apparently only be bound in red, green, or purple, and
purple was the colour of sorrow, and green the most pain-
ful expression of all ill-luck!



This diary was to make up to me for my natural
indignation at, nearly, his first act on returning to me
from some absence. He had gone over to the fire and
caught sight of my diary, bound in green, that I had
inadvertently left on the mantelpiece. With an ex-
clamation of horror he had thrown it straight into the
fire, holding me back from the rescue I struggled to
attempt, and only replying to my indignant protests
that he was sorry if the contents were really so valuable
as I said, but anything between green covers was better

In these short visits to the seaside we always looked
about for a house that Parnell could buy later on, but
as he always kept a regretful eye upon Brighton, where
it was inexpedient that we should be seen much together,
we never really settled on one for purchase, though he
rented one in Eastbourne with that idea, only to dis-
cover that a brother of his was living there. When we
had a few hours to spare we had very happy times hunt-
ing round Sussex in the neighbourhood of Brighton
(Brighton air did him so much good), hoping to find a
suitable country house, but the train service was always
a difficulty, except in the town itself.




"Amid all the forms of life that surround us, not one, excepting the dog,
has made an alliance with us" MAURICE MAETERLINCK.

IN 1885 I had a new room built on to my house at Elt-
harn, adjoining my sitting-room and leading into the
greenhouse, and thence to the garden. Parnell and I
took the greatest interest in the building of this room;
he superintended every detail, saw that the cement was
laid to the proper depth under the flooring, and sent
to Avondale for sufficient sweet-chestnut wood to have
the room panelled half-way up and to make beautiful,
heavy double-doors, window settings and the mantel-
piece and fittings. It was a very comfortable and warm
room when finished, and, to celebrate its completion
it was to be Parnell's own study and workroom I
photographed him in it, sitting in his own special easy
chair, surrounded by his assaying paraphernalia and
holding his pestle and mortar. This photograph (which
serves as the frontispiece to Vol. I. of this book) was
published years ago without permission or acknowledg-
ment by one or other of two persons to whom I had
given it, after my husband's death, as a very private
and special memento of him. It hurt me much when I
first knew of it but people do these things.

Early in 1885 Parnell bought a new horse in Ireland
which he arranged to bring to England, and subsequently
brought others over. The two letters which follow refer


to these matters, and were written to me in case the
horses should be noticed arriving in Eltham and the
fact reported to Captain O'Shea.

January 14, 1885.

MY OWN QUEENIE, A word to say that your promised
letter has not yet reached me, and I suppose it may turn up
to-morrow. The parcel came safely to Dublin, and the ham-
per here. Mary and I unpacked it with fear and trembling,
lest there should have been no tea and sugar, as I had for-
gotten to say anything to you about them; but they were
all right.

The new horse is very quiet and a very fine one; strong
and short legs, with plenty of bone, a splendid fore-quarter,
and a good turn of speed. I suppose I may bring him back
with me. The telegram I sent you on Day of Convention
was found late at night posted in a letter box, and was re-
turned to bearer, who never said anything to me about it,
otherwise you would have heard result about six o'clock.
With best love to my little wife, YOUR KING.


February 3, 1885.

MY DEAR MRS. O'SnEA, I have sent two horses to
London to-day (Euston) and should feel very much obliged
if you would allow them to stand in your stables for a few
days, until I can make other arrangements.

They will reach Euston about 1 p. m. to-morrow. Could
you find two careful men to meet them? One saddle is gone
with the horses, so another saddle would be necessary. They
should be walked carefully through London, as one of them
specially is very shy and unused to town.

I am going over to Liverpool to-night. I enclose order for
the horses. Yours very truly, CHAS. S. PARNELL.



Parnell rented some stables fairly near my house for
his horses, and took much interest in their welfare. He
was not a man who had very much knowledge of horses,
but he was a fine horseman, and on his hunter Presi-
dent, a beautiful horse of sixteen hands and a weight-
carrier, he looked remarkably well. He took a scientific
interest in the shoeing of the horses and, to the great
annoyance of his grooms, would constantly try new
methods of shoeing in order to deaden the "jar" of the
contact of the road. This trial of new methods proved a
boon to my horse Dictator given me by Parnell
for the tenderness of his feet was completely cured when
Parnell, dead against the conservative ideas of my sta-
bleman, insisted on his having leathers inserted between
Dictator's foot and shoe.

This horse Dictator was a great pleasure to us, though
he pulled rather badly. He was very fast and extraor-
dinarily sure-footed, keeping his feet in the worst frost,
even when driven on the slippery London paving in hard
night frosts. He would trot away to London in much
less time than Parnell could get there by any other means.
Parnell did not drive well, leaving the reins slack upon the
horse's back, so that he had no control over it in any emer-
gency. My nervousness in this was so great that he very
good-naturedly left all the driving to me, saying: "Well,
that's how the jarveys drive in Ireland!" in answer to my
plaintive "I've never seen anyone drive like that."

President was a very solid horse, in mind as well as
in body, and once when Parnell had ridden him up to
New Cross in a frost President sat down violently and
was so impressed with the safety of his position that he
refused to get up again until Parnell who was of im-
mense muscular strength with the help of a couple of
stalwart policemen, literally lifted him to his feet.



Parnell then went into an adjacent saddler's shop to
buy a "rubber" to give President a rub down and, find-
ing a rather original make of pocket-book on the counter,
with beautifully-sewn leather covers, became so immersed
in the selection of one for me that at length an irate
policeman looked in to order him to remove his horse
at once, as it was causing "an obstruction!" Parnell,
recalled to the problem of how to get President and
himself to Westminster Bridge, where his servant was

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