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Title: Charles Stewart Parnell
       His Love Story and Political Life

Author: Katharine O'Shea

Date of first publication: 1914

Release Date: January 9, 2020 [Project Gutenberg eBook #60895]

Date last updated: Jan. 20, 2021

Faded Page eBook #20210152

This eBook was produced by Al Haines.

CHARLES STEWART PARNELL Taken in the sitting-room at Wonersh Lodge, Eltham by Mrs. Parnell
Taken in the sitting-room at Wonersh Lodge, Eltham
by Mrs. Parnell


His Love Story and Political Life



(Mrs. Charles Stewart Parnell)

"No common soul was his; for good or ill
There was a mighty power
                    HAWKSHAW—Sonnet IX

London, New York, Toronto and Melbourne

First published in Two Volumes 1914
One Volume Edition 1921


Had the whole rich world been in my power,
I should have singled out thee, only thee,
From the whole world's collected treasury."


Of all the love stories in history possibly none had more intense reactions upon politics than that of Charles Stewart Parnell and Katharine O'Shea, which is unfolded with candour so compelling in this record of their life.

The engrossing interest in Ireland has demanded a new and popular edition of Mrs. Parnell's book. No real comprehension of the Irish question is possible without a thorough knowledge of Parnell's life and his part in the creation of the modern Home Rule movement; and no intimate knowledge of Parnell's character and the springs of his policy during the critical decade of the 'eighties can be had without studying the revelations of his correspondence with his wife.

In this edition some abridgment has been necessary to bring the book within the compass of a single volume. The less material parts of Mrs. Parnell's narrative of her own girlhood have been curtailed, and the long correspondence of Captain O'Shea has been summarised in a note appended to Chapter xxvii. One or two omissions are indicated in footnotes. The text has been subject to no other interference.

La Belle Sauvage,
, 1921.



On October 6th, 1891, nearly twenty-three years ago, Charles Stewart Parnell died in the arms of his wife; nearly twenty-three years ago the whole of the civilized world awoke to laud—or to condemn—the dead chief. It ranked him with the greatest heroes, or with the vilest sinners, of the world, because he had found and kept the haven of her arms with absolute disregard of that world's praise or blame, till death, the only power greater than the love that held him there, tore him from them.

And then the hate that followed him to the grave turned to the woman he had loved, to vent upon her its baffled spleen; not considering that such a man as he would keep the heart of his wife as closely in death as he had kept it in life, so closely that none could come near it, so secretly that none could find the way to plant therein a sting. And so for these more than twenty-two years, I, his wife, have lived upon memories so happy and so precious that, after time had brought back some meaning to my life, I took a certain pleasure in reading all men had to say of him whom they so little knew. Never in all the "lives," "articles," or "appreciations" I read had there been one that could say—or one that desired to say—that Parnell was not a man who stands out sharp and clear from other men for good or ill.

But now, after all these years, one of Parnell's erstwhile followers has arisen to explain to another generation that Parnell was not really such a man as this, that he {x} was one of Ireland's eternal failures. One who held her dear indeed, but one who balanced her welfare against the clutches of a light o' love with all the foolishness of callow degeneracy, so fondly imagined chivalry by the weak. Not a man who gave his country his whole life, and found the peace and courage of that life in the heart of the woman he loved. No, that is how a man lives and loves, whether in secret or before the whole world. That is how Parnell lived and loved, and now after these long years I break my silence lest the unmanly echo of excuse given forth by Mr. O'Brien in an age that loves excuse may cling about the name of the man I loved. It is a very poignant pain to me to give to the world any account of the sacred happiness of eleven years of my life and of the agony of sorrow that once seemed too great to bear; but I have borne it, and I am so near him now that I fear to leave near the name of that proud spirit the taint of excuse that he loathed.

Parnell never posed as "rather the victim than the destroyer of a happy home," as Mr. O'Brien suggested in the Cork Free Press of last year, and he maintained to the last day of his life that he suffered no "dishonour and discredit" in making the woman he loved his own.

And because Parnell contravened certain social laws, not regarding them as binding him in any way, and because I joined him in this contravention since his love made all else of no account to me, we did not shrink at the clamour of the upholders of those outraged laws, nor resent the pressing of the consequences that were inevitable and always foreseen. The freedom of choice we had ourselves claimed we acknowledged for others, and were wise enough to smile if, in some instances, the greatness of our offence was loudly proclaimed by those who he {xi} knew lived in a freedom of love more varied than our own. For the hypocrisy of those statesmen and politicians who, knowing for ten years that Parnell was my lover, had with the readiest tact and utmost courtesy accepted the fact as making a sure and safe channel of communication with him, whom they knew as a force to be placated; for those who, when the time came to stand by him in order to give Ireland the benefits they had promised him for her, repudiated him from under the cloak of the religion they thereby forswore, he, and I with him, felt a contempt unspeakable.

In this book I am giving to the public letters so sacred to my lover and myself that no eyes other than our own should ever have seen them, but that my son was jealous for his father's honour, and that I would not my lover's life should seem in these softer days a lesser thing, beset with fears and indecisions that he did not know. I have, lived in those eleven years of Parnell's love so constantly that nothing has been lost to me of them, and the few details of them that I give will show a little of what manner of man he was, while still I keep for my own heart so much that none shall ever know but he and I.

In regard to the political aspect of the book those who know the Irish history of those days will understand. My lover was the leader of a nation in revolt, and, as I could, I helped him as "King's Messenger" to the Government in office. It has been erroneously said by some of the Irish Party that I "inspired" certain measures of his, and biased him in various ways politically. Those who have said so did not know the man, for Parnell was before all a statesman; absolutely convinced of his policy and of his ability to carry that policy to its logical conclusion. Self-reliant and far-seeing, the master of his own mind.


I was never a "political lady," and, apart from him, I have never felt the slightest interest in politics, either Irish or English, and I can honestly say that except for urging him to make terms with the Government in order to obtain his liberation from prison, I did not once throughout those eleven years attempt to use my influence over him to "bias" his public life or politics; nor, being convinced that his opinions and measures were the only ones worth consideration, was I even tempted to do so. In my many interviews with Mr. Gladstone I was Parnell's messenger, and in all other work I did for him it was understood on both sides that I worked for Parnell alone.


Brighton, April, 1914.





































Charles Stewart Parnell


"Go forth; and if it be o'er stoney way
    Old Joy can lend what newer grief must borrow,
And it was sweet, and that was yesterday.
    And sweet is sweet, though purchased with sorrow.
                                                                                F. THOMPSON.

My father, Sir John Page Wood, was descended from the Woods of Tiverton, and was the eldest of the three sons of Sir Matthew Wood, Baronet, of Hatherley House, Gloucestershire. He was educated at Winchester and at Trinity College, Cambridge, and after entering into holy orders, before he was twenty-four years of age, was appointed private chaplain and secretary to Queen Caroline, performing the last offices for her at her death in 1820, and attending her body to its final resting-place in Brunswick. He then became chaplain to the Duke of Sussex, and in 1824 was appointed by the Corporation of London to the rectory of St. Peter's, Cornhill.

In 1820 my father married Emma Caroline, the youngest of the three daughters of Admiral Michell (and my father's uncle, Benjamin Wood, M.P. for Southwark at the time, married the second daughter, Maria, the "Aunt Ben" of this book). She was eighteen. My father was still at Cambridge. The improvident young pair found it difficult to live on the small allowance that was {2} considered sufficient for my father at college. They appear to have been very happy notwithstanding their difficulties, which were augmented a year later by the birth of a son; and while my father became "coach" to young men of slower wit, my mother, who was extremely talented with her brush, cheerfully turned her beautiful miniature painting to account for the benefit of her young husband and son. She soon became an exhibitor of larger works in London, and the brothers Finden engraved several of her pictures.

She and my father seem to have idolized their first child, "Little John," and his early death, at about four years old, was their first real sorrow. The boy was too precocious, and when he was three years old his proud young parents were writing "he can read well now, and is getting on splendidly with his Latin!"

Constable, the artist, was a friend of my mother's, who thought highly of her work, and gave her much encouragement, and the young people seem to have had no lack of friends in the world of art and letters. Of my mother, Charles Sheridan said he "delighted in her sparkling sallies," and the young Edwin Landseer was "mothered" by her to his "exceeding comfort."

My mother was appointed bedchamber woman to Queen Caroline, and became very fond of her. The consort of George IV. appears to have taken the greatest interest in "Little John," and I had until a short time ago—when it was stolen—a little workbox containing a half-finished sock the Queen was knitting for the little boy when her fatal illness began.

My parents then lived in London for some years while my father did duty at St. Peter's. In 1832 my father became vicar of Cressing, in Essex, and he took my {3} mother and their (I think three) children there, leaving a curate in charge of St. Peter's. Thirteen children in all were born to my parents (of whom I was the thirteenth), and of my brothers and sisters there were seven living at the time of my birth.

There was little room for all these young people in the vicarage at Cressing, and it was so extremely damp as to be unhealthy; so my parents moved to Glazenwood, a charming house with the most beautiful gardens I have ever seen in a place of moderate size. I think my brother Fred died here; but my first memories are of Rivenhall, where my parents moved soon after my birth. Rivenhall Place belonged to a friend of my father's, Sir Thomas Sutton Weston, of Felix Hall. The beautiful old place was a paradise for growing children, and the space and beauty of this home of my youth left me with a sad distaste for the little houses of many conveniences that it has been my lot to inhabit for the greater part of my life.

In politics my father was a thoroughgoing Whig, and as he was an able and fluent speaker, and absolutely fearless in his utterances, he became a great influence in the county during election times. I remember, when he was to speak at a political meeting, how he laughed as he tied me up in enormous orange ribbons and made me drive him there, and how immensely proud of him I was (though, of course, I could not understand a word of it all) as he spoke so persuasively that howls and ribald cries turned to cheers for "Sir John's man."

When he went to London to "take duty" at St. Peter's Cornhill, he and I used to stay at the Green Dragon, Bishopsgate Street. There was a beautiful old courtyard to this hotel with a balcony, overhung with creepers, {4} running all round the upper rooms. I loved this place, and when I was too young to care much for the long service and sermons, I was quite content that my father should tuck me up safely in bed before going to evensong at St. Peter's.

Sometimes I was not well enough to go to London with him, and on these occasions comforted myself as much as possible with a compensating interest in the habits of the Rev. Thomas Grosse, who took my father's place at Cressing. He was very good and kind to me, and in the summer evenings, when he knew I was missing my father, he would take me out to look for glow-worms, and show me the stars, teaching me the names of the planets. Years afterwards the knowledge I thus gained became a great happiness to me, as I taught Mr. Parnell all I knew of astronomy, and opened up to him a new world of absorbing interest.

Friends of my brother Evelyn frequently stayed at Rivenhall, and one of them, a colonel of Light Dragoons, was engaged to one of my elder sisters. This gentleman appealed to my youthful mind as being all that a hero should be, and I used to stick a red fez on my golden curls and gallop my pony past the dining-room windows so that he might see and admire the intrepid maiden, as the prince in my fairy book did!

I loved the winter evenings at Rivenhall when my brothers were not at home. My father used to sit by the fire reading his Times, with his great white cat on his knee, while I made his tea and hot buttered toast, and my mother and sister Anna read or sketched. I used to write the plots of tragic little stories which my "Pip"[1] used to read and call "blood-stained bandits," owing to the {5} violent action and the disregard of convention shown by all the characters concerned.

However, these childish efforts of mine led to greater results, as one evening my mother and sister laughingly offered to buy my "plot" in order to "write it up" into a novel. I was, of course, very proud to sell my idea, and thenceforth both my mother and sister wrote many successful novels, published by Chapman and Hall—and, I believe, at prices that are rarely realized by present-day novelists.

I was thus the unwitting means of greatly relieving my parents' anxiety of how to meet, with their not very large income, the heavy expense of educating and maintaining my brothers, and the responsibilities of their position.

My brothers loved to tease me, and, as I was so much younger than they, I never understood if they were really serious or only laughing at me. Evelyn was specially adroit in bewildering me, and used to curb my rebellion, when I was reluctant to fetch and carry for him, by drawing a harrowing picture of my remorse should he be killed "in the next war." The horror of this thought kept me a ready slave for years, till one day, in a gust of temper, I burst out with: "I shan't be sorry at all when you're killed in a war cos' I didn't find your silly things, and I wish you'd go away and be a dead hero now, so there!" I remember the horrified pause of my mother and sister and then the howl of laughter and applause from Evelyn and Charlie. Evelyn was very good to me after this, and considered, more, that even little girls have their feelings.

As a matter of fact, my mother was so entirely wrapped up in Evelyn that I think I was jealous, even though I {6} had my father so much to myself. My mother was most affectionate to all her children, but Evelyn was her idol, and from the time when, as a mere lad, he was wounded in the Crimean War, to the day of her death, he was first in all her thoughts.

Of my brothers and sisters I really knew only four at all well. Clarissa had died at seventeen, and Fred when I was very young; Frank was away with his regiment, my sister Pollie was married and away in India before I was born, and my sister Emma married Sir Thomas Barrett-Lennard while I was still very young. She was always very kind to me, and I used to love going to visit her at her house in Brighton. Visiting Sir Thomas Barrett-Lennard's country seat, Belhus, I did not like so much, because, though Belhus is very beautiful, I loved Rivenhall better.

My mother was a fine musician, and as I grew older, I began to long to play as she did. There was a beautiful grand piano in the drawing-room, and I used to try to pick out tunes upon it. My mother had spent much money on her eldest daughter's—Maria's (Pollie)—musical education. At the end of this Pollie said she detested it, and would never play a note again if she could help it. When I asked that I might be taught to play my mother said, "No. There is the piano; go and play it if you really want to learn." In time I could play very well by ear, and began to compose a little and seek for wider knowledge. My love of music led me to try composition, and I used to set to music any verses that took my fancy. Among these I was much pleased with Longfellow's "Weariness," and was so encouraged by my mother's praise of the setting that I sent the poet a copy. I was a very happy girl when he wrote to thank me, {7} saying that mine was the best setting of his poem he had ever heard.

Armed with the manuscript of this music and some others, the next time I went to London with my father I went to Boosey's, the musical publishers, and asked their representative to publish them.

"Quite impossible, my dear young lady," he answered at once. "We never take beginners' work!" I plaintively remarked that even Mozart was a "beginner" once, and could not understand why he laughed. Still, with a smile, he consented to look at the manuscript, and to my joy he ceased to laugh at me and tried some of it over, finally agreeing, much to my joy, to publish "Weariness" and a couple of other songs.

I remember my father's pleasure and the merry twinkle in his eye as he gravely assented to my suggestion that we were a very gifted family!

While my brother Frank (who was in the 17th Foot) was stationed at Aldershot he invited my sister Anna and myself down to see a review. He was married, and we stayed with him and his wife and children in the married officers' quarters, which appeared to us to be very gay and amusing.

I greatly enjoyed seeing the cavalry, with all the officers and men in full dress.

Many of the officers came over to call after the review, and among them was Willie O'Shea, who was then a cornet in the 18th Hussars. There was a small drama acted by the officers in the evening which my brother's wife took us to see, and there were many of the 18th Hussars, who paid us much attention, though, personally, I found the elderly and hawk-eyed colonel of the regiment far more interesting than the younger men.

[1] Sir John.



"A chiel's amang you takin' notes,
And, faith, he'll prent it!

Among other visitors to Rivenhall was Lieut.-Colonel Steele, of the Lancers, a dark, handsome man, who married my sister Anna.

I remember looking at Anna consideringly when I was told this was to be, for, as children do, I had hitherto merely regarded Anna as a sister too "grown-up" to play with on equal terms, and yet not as a person sufficiently interesting to be married to one of the magnificent beings who, like Evelyn's friends, wore such beautiful uniforms and jingly spurs. But my sister had soft brown hair and a lovely skin, blue eyes that were mocking, gay, or tender in response to many moods, and a very pretty figure. And I solemnly decided that she was really pretty, and quite "grown-up" enough to be loved by the "beautiful ones."

Anthony Trollope was a great friend of my father and mother, and used to stay with us a good deal for hunting. He was a very hard rider to hounds, and was a cause of great anxiety to my mother, for my sister Anna loved an intrepid "lead" out hunting, and delighted in following Trollope, who stuck at nothing. I used to rejoice in his "The Small House at Allington," and go about fitting the characters in the book to the people about {9} me—a mode of amusement that palled considerably on the victims.

I was always glad when our young cousin George (afterwards Sir George) Farwell (Lord Justice Farwell) came to see us. A dear lad, who quite won my childish admiration with his courtly manners and kind, considerate ways.

The Hon. Grantley-Barkley (who was seventy, I believe) was a dear old man who was very fond of me—as I was of him. I was but a child when he informed my parents that he wished to marry me when I was old enough! He was a dear friend of my father's, but, though the latter would not consider the matter seriously, my mother, who was an extraordinarily sympathetic woman, encouraged the idea.

Grantley-Barkley was always called the "Deer-slayer" by his friends. A fine old sportsman, his house, "The Hut," at Poole, Dorset, was a veritable museum of slain beasts, and I used to shudder secretly at the idea of becoming mistress of so many heads and horns.

The dear old man used to write long letters to me before I could answer them in anything but laborious print, and he wrote sheets to my mother inquiring of my welfare and the direction of my education. I still have many of the verses he composed in my honour, and though the last line of the verse that I insert worries me now as much as it did when I received it, so many years ago, I still think it very pretty sentiment:

"Then the Bird that above me is singing
    Shall chase the thought that is drear,
When the soul to her side it is winging
    The limbs must be lingering near!"

This little one-sided romance died a natural death as {10} I grew up, my old friend continuing to take the kindest interest in me, but accepting the fact that I was no exception to the law of youth that calls to youth in mating.

My brother Frank suggested to my brother-in-law, Sir Thomas Barrett-Lennard, that Willie O'Shea, who was a first-class steeplechase rider, would no doubt, if asked, ride the horse Honesty that Tom was going to run in the Brentwood Steeplechase. He had already ridden and won many races. Willie readily agreed to ride, and came to stay at Belhus for the race.

I was staying there at the time, and though I was considered too young to be really "out," as a rule I had my share in any festivities that were going on. I remember my brother-in-law saying casually to my sister Emma, who was giving a dinner party that evening: "Who is Katie to go in with, milady?" and she answered promptly, "Oh, she shall go in with O'Shea." A mild witticism that rather ruffled my youthful sense of importance.

My first sight of Willie then, as a grown-up, was on this evening, when I came rather late into the hall before dressing for dinner. He was standing near the fire, talking, with the eagerness that was not in those days bad form in young men, of the steeplechase he had ridden and won on Early Bird.

I had been so much the companion of older men than he that I was pleased with his youthful looks and vivacity. His dress pleased me also, and, though it would appear a terrible affair in the eyes of a modern young man, it was perfectly correct then for a young officer in the 18th Hussars, and extremely becoming to Willie: a brown velvet coat, cut rather fully, sealskin waistcoat, black-and-white check trousers, and an enormous carbuncle and diamond pin in his curiously folded scarf.


When introduced to me he was most condescending, and nettled me so much by his kindly patronage of my youthfulness that I promptly plunged into such a discussion of literary complexities, absorbed from my elders and utterly undigested, and he soon subsided into a bewildered and shocked silence.

However, in the few days of that visit we became very good friends, and I was immensely pleased when, on parting, Willie presented me with a really charming little poem written about my "golden hair and witsome speech."

Of course, as usual, I flew to show my father, who, reading, sighed, "Ah, too young for such nonsense. I want my Pippin for myself for years to come."[1]

In the summer at Belhus I met Willie again. Unconsciously we seemed to drift together in the long summer days. The rest of the household intent on their own affairs, we were content to be left together to explore the {12} cool depths of the glades, where the fallow deer ran before us, or the kitchen garden, where the high walls were covered with rose-coloured peaches, warm with the sun as we ate them. What we talked about I cannot remember, but it was nothing very wise I should imagine.

Week after week went by in our trance of contentment. I did not look forward, but was content to exist in the languorous summer heat—dreaming through the sunny days with Willie by my side, and thinking not at all of the future. I suppose my elders were content with the situation, as they must have known that such propinquity could have but one ending.

There was a man by whom I was attracted and who had paid me considerable attention—E.S., stationed at Purfleet. He was a fine athlete, and used to fill me with admiration by jumping over my pony's back without touching him at all. I sometimes thought idly of him during these days with Willie, but was content to drift along, until one day my sister asked me to drive over with a note of invitation to dinner for the officers at Purfleet.

In the cool of the evening I set out, with Willie, of course, in attendance. Willie, on arrival, sprang out of the pony cart to deliver the note, and as he was jumping in again glanced up at the window above us, where it happened E. S. and another officer were standing. Without a moment's hesitation Willie leant forward and kissed me full on the lips. Furious and crimson with the knowledge that the men at the window had seen him kiss me, I hustled my poor little pony home, vowing I would never speak to Willie again; but his apologies and explanation that he had only just wanted "to show those fellows that they must not make asses of themselves" seemed so funny and in keeping with the dreamy sense I had of belonging {13} to Willie that I soon forgave him, though I felt a little stab of regret when I found that E. S. declined the invitation to dinner. He never came again.

Willie had now to rejoin his regiment, and in the evening before his going, as I was leaving the drawing-room, he stopped to offer me a rose, kissing me on the face and hair as he did so.

A few mornings after I was sleeping the dreamless sleep of healthy girlhood when I was awakened by feeling a thick letter laid on my cheek and my mother leaning over me singing "Kathleen Mavourneen" in her rich contralto voice. I am afraid I was decidedly cross at having been awakened so suddenly, and, clasping my letter unopened, again subsided into slumber.

So far nearly all my personal communication with Willie when he was away had been carried on by telegraph, and I had not quite arrived at knowing what to reply to the sheets of poetic prose which flowed from his pen. Very frequently he came down just for a day to Rivenhall, and I drove to meet him at the station with my pony-chaise. Then we used to pass long hours at the lake fishing for pike, or talking to my father, who was always cheered by his society.

At this time Colonel Clive, of the Grenadier Guards, was a frequent visitor. I was really fond of him, and he pleased me by his pleasure in hearing me sing to my own accompaniment. I spent some happy hours in doing so for him when staying at Claridge's Hotel with my sister, and I remember that when I knew he was coming I used to twist a blue ribbon in my hair to please him.

Once, when staying at Claridge's, my sister and I went to his rooms to see the sketches of a friend of my brother Evelyn's, Mr. Hozier, the clever newspaper {14} correspondent, afterwards Sir H. Hozier, and father of Mrs. Winston Churchill. The drawings were, I believe, very clever, and I know the tea was delicious.

It was some time after this that the 18th Hussars were stationed at Brighton. Willie loved early morning gallops on the Downs, and, on one occasion, he rode off soon after daybreak on his steeplechaser, Early Bird, for a gallop on the race-course. At the early parade that morning Willie was missing, and, as inquiries were being made as to his whereabouts, a trooper reported that Early Bird had just been brought in dead lame, and bleeding profusely from a gash in the chest.

He had been found limping his way down the hill from the race-course. Willie's brother officers immediately set out to look for him, and found him lying unconscious some twenty yards from a chain across the course which was covered with blood, and evidently the cause of the mishap. They got him down to the barracks on a stretcher, and there he lay with broken ribs and concussion of the brain.

He told us afterwards that he was going at a hard gallop, and neither he nor Early Bird had seen the chain till they were right on it, too late to jump. There had never been a chain up before, and he had galloped over the same course on the previous morning.

I was at Rivenhall when I heard of the accident to Willie, and for six unhappy weeks I did little else than watch for news of him. My sister, Lady Barrett-Lennard, and Sir Thomas had gone to Preston Barracks to nurse him, and as soon as it was possible they moved him to their own house in Brighton. For six weeks he lay unconscious, and then at last the good news came that he was better, and that they were going to take him to Belhus to convalesce.


A great friend of Willie's, also in the 18th—Robert Cunninghame Graham—was invited down to keep him amused, and my sister, Mrs. Steele, and I met them in London and went down to Belhus with them. Willie was looking very ill, and was tenderly cared for by his friend Graham. He was too weak to speak, but, while driving to Belhus, he slipped a ring from his finger on to mine and pressed my hand under cover of the rugs.

Robert Cunninghame Graham, uncle of Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham, the Socialist writer and traveller, walked straight into our hearts, so gay, so careful of Willie was he, and so utterly bon camarade, that we seemed to have known him for years. In a few days Anna and I left Belhus, and Willie's father came over from Ireland to stay with him till he was completely recovered.

Before Willie left I was back at Belhus on the occasion of a dinner party, and was shyly glad to meet him again and at his desire to talk to me only.

While the others were all occupied singing and talking after dinner we sat on the yellow damask sofa, and he slipped a gold and turquoise locket on a long gold and blue enamel chain round my neck. It was a lovely thing, and I was very happy to know how much Willie cared for me.

[1] Captain O'Shea's family, the O'Sheas of Limerick, were a collateral branch of the O'Sheas of County Kerry. William O'Shea had three sons, Henry, John and Thaddeus, of whom the first named was Captain O'Shea's father. John went to Spain (where a branch of the family had been settled since 1641, and become the Duges of Sanlucas), founded a bank and prospered. Henry found the family estate (Rich Hill) heavily mortgaged, entered the law, and by hard work pulled the property out of bankruptcy and made a fortune. He married Catherine Quinlan, daughter of Edward Quinlan, of Tipperary, a Comtesse of Rome, and had two children, Captain O'Shea and Mary, afterwards Lady of the Royal Order of Theresa of Bavaria. The children had a cosmopolitan education, and the son went into the 18th Hussars, a keen sporting regiment, where he spent great sums of money. Finally, a bill for £15,000 coming in, his father told him that his mother and sister would have to suffer if this rate of expenditure continued. Captain O'Shea left the regiment just before his marriage to Miss Wood. The Comtesse O'Shea was a highly educated woman, assiduous in her practice of religion, but valetudinarian and lacking a sense of humour. Mary O'Shea's education had left her French in all her modes of thought and speech. Both ladies disapproved of the engagement between Captain O'Shea and Miss Wood.



"Fair shine the day on the house with open door;
Birds come and cry there and twitter in the chimney,
But I go for ever and come again no more.

The following autumn my father, mother, and I went to stay at Belhus on a long visit, my father going to Cressing each week for the Sunday duty, and returning to us on Monday morning.

We all enjoyed spending Christmas at Belhus. My mother and my sister Emma were devoted to one another, and loved being together. We were a much larger party also at Belhus, and there were so many visitors coming and going that I felt it was all more cheerful than being at home.

Among other visitors that winter, I well remember Mr. John Morley—now Lord Morley—as he was told off for me to entertain during the day. He was a very brilliant young man, and my elders explained to me that his tense intellect kept them at too great a strain for pleasurable conversation. "You, dear Katie, don't matter, as no one expects you to know anything!" remarked my sister with cheerful kindness. So I calmly invited John Morley to walk with me, and, as we paced through the park from one lodge to the other, my companion talked to me so easily and readily that I forgot my rôle of "fool of the family," and responded most intelligently to a really very interesting conversation.

With the ready tact of the really clever, he could already {17} adapt himself to great or small, and finding me simply ready to be interested, was most interesting, and I returned to my family happily conscious that I could now afford to ignore my brother Evelyn's advice to "look lovely and keep your mouth shut!"

John Morley, so far as I remember him then, was a very slight young man with a hard, keen face, the features strongly marked, and fair hair. He had (to me) a kindly manner, and did not consider it beneath him to talk seriously to a girl so young in knowledge, so excessively and shyly conscious of his superiority, and so much awed by my mission of keeping him amused and interested while my elders rested from his somewhat oppressive intellectuality. I remember wondering, in some alarm, as to what topic I should start if he suddenly stopped talking. But my fear was entirely groundless; he passed so easily from one thing interesting to me to another that I forgot to be self-conscious, and we discussed horses and dogs, books and their writers—agreeing that authors were, of all men, the most disappointing in appearance—my father, soldiers, and "going to London," with the greatest pleasure and mutual self-confidence. And I think that, after that enlightening talk, had I been told that in after years this suave, clever young man was to become—as Gladstone's lieutenant—one of my bitterest foes, I should perhaps have been interested, but utterly unalarmed, for I had in this little episode lost all awe of cleverness as such.

My father died in February, 1866. The vexed question of ways and means—always a vexed question in a clergyman's household when the head of the house dies—pressed heavily on my mother, who was left almost penniless by my father's death.

My mother and sisters were discussing what was best {18} to be done, and my mother was speaking sadly as I went into her room. "We must sell the cow, and, of course, the pig," my eldest sister (Emma) replied in her sweet, cheerful voice, which produced a little laugh, though a rather dismal one, and our sorrow was chased away for the moment.

My mother's sister, Mrs. Benjamin Wood, on hearing of her troubles, settled a yearly income on her, thus saving her from all future anxiety, most of her children being provided for under our grandfather's—old Sir Matthew Wood's—will.

During that year we lived chiefly at Rivenhall. It was a very quiet, sad year, but we had a few pleasant visitors. Sir George Dasent, of the Times, and also Mr. Dallas, who wrote leading articles for the same paper, were frequent visitors, and Mr. Chapman (of Chapman and Hall, publishers), with pretty Mrs. Chapman, Mr. Lewes, and many other literary people were very welcome guests. My mother and sister Anna (Mrs. Steele) were writing books, and much interested in all things literary. At the end of the year we joined my eldest sister and her husband at Brighton, and soon after this Willie returned from Spain and called on us at once, with the ever-faithful Cunninghame Graham. I now yielded to Willie's protest at being kept waiting longer, and we were married very quietly at Brighton on January 25, 1867. I narrowly escaped being married to Mr. Cunninghame Graham by mistake, as Willie and he—the "best man"—had got into wrong positions. It was only Mr. Graham's horrified "No, no, no," when asked whether he would have "this woman" to be his wife, that saved us from many complications.

My mother, brothers and sisters gave me beautiful {19} presents, and my dear sister Emma gave me my trousseau, while Willie himself gave me a gold-mounted dressing-bag. My old Aunt H. sent me a gold and turquoise bracelet. Willie saw this after I had shown him what my sister Mrs. Steele had given me—a carbuncle locket with diamond centre. Aunt H. was a very wealthy woman, my sister not at all well off, though in any case her present would have been much more to me than that of Aunt H. However, Willie merely remarked of Anna's gift: "That is lovely, darling, and this," taking up Aunt H.'s bracelet, "this will do for the dog," snapped it round the neck of my little Prince.

Long afterwards he and I went to call on Aunt H., and as usual I had Prince under my arm. I noticed Aunt H. break off in a sentence, and fix a surprised and indignant eye on my dog. I had forgotten all about Prince's collar being Aunt H.'s bracelet, and only thought she did not like my bringing the dog to call, till I caught Willie's eye. He had at once taken in the situation, and became so convulsed with laughter that I hastily made my adieu and hustled him off.

Sir Seymour Fitzgerald lent us Holbrook Hall for our honeymoon, a kindness that proved unkind, as the pomp and ceremony entailed by a large retinue of servants for our two selves were very wearisome to me. There was little or no occupation for us, as the weather was too bad to get out much; our kind host had naturally not lent us his hunters, and we were, or Willie was, too much in awe of the conventions to ask anyone to come and relieve our ennui. Indeed, I think that no two young people were ever more rejoiced than we were when we could return to the life of the sane without comment.

Willie had sold out of the army just before his marriage, {20} and his Uncle John, who had married a Spanish lady and settled in Madrid, offered Willie a partnership in his bank, O'Shea and Co., if he would put the £4,000 he received for his commission into it. This was too good an offer to be refused, so I said good-bye to my people, and bought some little presents for the servants at home, including a rich silk dress for my old nurse Lucy, who had been in my mother's service since the age of sixteen, and who was much upset that her youngest and dearest nursling should be taken away to such "heathenish, far-off places."

Before leaving England Willie and I stayed for a few days in London, and his mother and sister Mary called on us. They had not attended the marriage, as they would not lend their countenance to a "mixed" marriage, though once accomplished they accepted the situation. They were very nice and kind, and so gently superior that at once I became politely antagonistic. They brought me some beautiful Irish poplins which were made into gowns to wear in Madrid to impress the Spanish cousins, and a magnificent emerald bracelet, besides £200 worth of lovely Irish house-linen. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law were most generous indeed, and I then, and always, acknowledged them to be thoroughly good, kind-hearted women, but so hidebound with what was to me bigotry, with conventionality and tactlessness, that it was really a pain to me to be near them. They admired me, and very plainly disapproved of me; I admired them for their Parisian finish—(for want of a better term)—and for their undoubted goodness, but, though I was rather fond of Mary, they wearied me to death.

That week we crossed over to Boulogne, and there we had to stay for a few days, as I was too ill from the crossing to go farther. The second morning Willie, seeing I {21} was better, wanted to go out to déjeuner, and told me to lie still in bed, and he would tell them to send a maid with my food, as he knew that I, not being used to French customs, would not like a waiter to bring it. To make sure of my not being disturbed he locked the door. To my horror half an hour after he had gone there was a tap at the door, and a manservant opened it with his key, and marched in, despite my agitated protests in very home-made French. Once in, however, he made me so comfortable by his deft arrangement of a most tempting meal and paternal desire that "Madame should eat and recover herself," that I was able to laugh at Willie's annoyance on his return to find the waiter once more in possession and removing the tray.

We then went to Paris to stay with my mother-in-law and Mary for a few days, while they found me a French maid and showed me the sights. I had a great quantity of very long hair in those days, and Willie insisted on my having it very elaborately dressed—much to my annoyance—in the latest French fashion, which I did not consider becoming to me. My maid was also much occupied in making the toilet of my little dog. He was a lovely little creature, and Caroline would tie an enormous pale blue bow on him as a reward for the painful business of combing him. From the time Willie gave me this little dog to the day it died, about six years afterwards, it went everywhere with me. He was as good and quiet as possible when with me, but if I ever left him for a moment the shrill little howls would ring out till the nearest person to him would snatch him up, and fly to restore him to his affectionate, though long-suffering, mistress.

At Paris there was trouble with my mother-in-law and Mary at once because of him. They took me to see Notre {22} Dame, and as a matter of course Prince was in my arm under my cloak. As we came out I let my little dog down to run, and the Comtesse nearly fainted. "You took the dog into the church! Oh, Katie, how wrong, how could, you! Mary! what shall we do? Do you not think——?" and turning a reproachful glance on me, Mary responded, "Come, mother," and, leaving me amazed and indignant on the steps, they passed into Notre Dame again. With some curiosity I peeped in after them, and beheld them kneeling at prayer just inside the door. They came out almost at once, and the old Comtesse looked happier. "You did not understand, dear," said Mary kindly, "it is better not to take the little dog into a church." I was young enough to resent being told I did not understand, and promptly returned, "I understand, Mary, that you and the Comtesse consider it wicked to take Prince into Notre Dame. Well, I don't, and you must excuse me if I remind you that God made the dog; and I seem to remember something about a Child that was born in a stable with a lot of nice friendly beasts about, so you need not have gone back to pray about me and Prince, I think!" And, scooping up Prince, I stalked off with a dignity that was rather spoilt by my not having sufficient French to find my own way home, and having to wait at the carriage for them. We drove home with much stiffness, and only thawed sufficiently to assure Willie how much we had enjoyed ourselves!

While I was abroad I often used to get away by myself to spend many happy hours in the beautiful churches with Prince tucked under my arm, and often a friendly old priest would give us a smile as he passed on his way about the church, so it was apparently not a very deadly sin to take him with me.


Willie's mother and Mary became more reconciled to the little dog when they found how much admired he was in Paris. An old Frenchman, after seeing him one evening as Willie and I were leaving table d'hôte, made inquiries as to where we were staying, and called on Willie to offer £100 for "madame's pet" if at any time she wished to sell him. Willie was too wise to approach me with the offer, and assured monsieur that madame would consider the offer an insult only to be wiped out in monsieur's blood!



"A son to clasp my finger tight."—NORMAN GALE.

When we had been in Spain for nearly a year, there was some dispute about the business arrangements of Willie's partnership in his uncle's bank, and Willie withdrew altogether from the affair. We then decided to return to England. Though glad to go home, I parted from my Spanish relations with regret, and have always since my visit to them thought that the admixture of Irish and Spanish blood is most charming in its result.

On our return to England we lived in Clarges Street, London, for some time, while Willie was looking for a place in the country where he could start a stud farm. Willie was very fond of horses, and understood them well, and I was delighted at the idea of his getting some really good brood mares and breeding race-horses. We knew, of course, nothing of the enormous expense and many losses such an undertaking was certain to entail.

At last we decided to take Bennington Park, Hertfordshire, and on going there Willie bought some good blood stock, among the pick of which were Alice Maud, Scent, and Apricot. Soon we had all the boxes tenanted, and I spent many happy hours petting the lovely thoroughbred mares with their small velvety noses and intelligent eyes.

The chief form of social intercourse in the county was the giving of long, heavy, and most boring dinners. People thought nothing of driving eight or even ten miles {25} (and there were no motor-cars then) to eat their dinner in each other's houses, and this form of entertainment used to produce such an absolutely painful boredom in me that I frequently hid the invitations from Willie, who wished to "keep up with the county."

Willie and I were a good-looking young couple, and people liked to have us about. Willie, too, was a good conversationalist, and had a ready wit that made him welcome, since an Irishman and wit are synonymous to the conventional mind. That his witticisms pertained rather to the France of his education than the Ireland of his birth was unrecognized because unexpected.

I was—rather, I fear, to Willie's annoyance—labelled "delightfully unusual" soon after our going to Bennington, the cause being that I received my guests one evening with my then abundant hair hanging loosely to below my waist, twisted through with a wide blue ribbon. To Willie's scandalized glance I replied with a hasty whisper, "The very latest from Paris," and was rewarded with the mollified though puzzled expression very properly awarded by all men to the "latest fashion" of their womenkind.

I put off the queries of the ladies after dinner in the same way, and was rewarded by them by the general admission that it was a fashion for the few—who had the hair. Never did I admit that I had been out with the horses so late that I had had just time for Caroline to hurry me into a gown and shake down my hair as my first guest arrived. So little do we deserve the fame forced upon us.

Willie was never good at dunning friends for money owed, and as we had many brood mares, not our own, left with us for months at a time, the stable expenses, both for forage and wages, became appallingly large. It was always difficult to get the accounts in, and while Willie {26} did not like to worry the owners even for the amount for the bare keep of the animals, he was himself perpetually worried by forage contractors, the shoeing smith, and the weekly wage bill, besides the innumerable extra expenses pertaining to a large stable.

As I urged against the sale of the mares, which he so often threatened, their happy, peaceful maternity, in the long lush grass and shade of trees by day, their comfortable boxes at night, and their fondness of me, he used to stare gloomily at me and swear gently as he wished there were more profit than peace in their maternity and my sentimentality. But he could forget his worries in the pleasure of schooling the yearlings, and we agreed always to hold on as long as possible to a life we both found so interesting, and with the facile hope of youth we thought to get the better of our expenses in time.

In this year (1869) my eldest (surviving) brother, Frank, became very ill, and Willie and I went to Rivenhall to see him. He wanted me to nurse him, so I stayed on in my old home while Willie returned to Bennington.

Frank had consumption, and very badly; he suffered intensely, and I think I have never longed for the presence of a doctor with more anxiety than I did for Dr. Gimson's at that time. My perpetual fear was that the effect of the opiate he gave to deaden poor Frank's pain would wear off before he came again. When it grew dusk Frank desired me to put candles in every window, that he might not see the shadows—the terrifying shadows which delirium and continual doses of morphia never fail to produce.

Frank's very dear friend, Captain Hawley Smart, the novelist, came to Rivenhall in the hope that he could cheer poor Frank's last hours; but he was too ill to know or care, {27} and Hawley Smart could, like the rest of us, only await the pitying release of death.

We went on at Bennington in very much the same way until the end of that year. Willie had been betting very heavily in the hope of relieving the ever-increasing difficulty of meeting our heavy expenses, and now, in view of his losses in racing added to the cost attendant on keeping up such a large stud, the kind-hearted bank manager insisted that the large overdraft on his bank must be cleared. Hitherto, whenever he had become very pressing, Willie had sent him "something on account," and we had given a breakfast for his hunt, as Willie said such a good fellow "could not eat and ask at the same time." Now, however, Mr. Cheshire sorrowfully declined to eat, and maintained that his duty to his firm necessitated his insisting upon the clearing of the overdraft.

When Willie was made bankrupt, Mr. Hobson—a gentleman living near us with his very charming wife, who afterwards became Mrs. A. Yates—very kindly took my little old pony across the fields at night to his own place and kept him there so that he should not go into the sale of our goods. This defrauded no one, as the pony (my own) was beyond work, being my childhood's pet.

I was now nearing my first confinement, and my aunt, Mrs. Benjamin Wood, took a house for me at Brighton close to my sister's, Lady Barrett-Lennard. There my son Gerard was born.

I was very ill for some time after this, and my mother, Lady Wood, stayed with me, employing her time in making a lovely water-colour sketch for me.

Willie's affairs were now settled, and I had to give up all hope of returning to my dearly loved country home and all my pets; but I had the consolation of my beautiful babe, {28} and I forgot my sorrow in my greater possession. He was very healthy, so I had no trouble on that score.

A young solicitor who took Willie's affairs in hand, Mr. Charles Lane (of Lane and Monroe), very kindly took upon himself to call on my Uncle William, who was then Lord Chancellor of England, and ask him to assist us in our financial difficulties. Uncle William was much astonished at the application of this obviously nervous young solicitor, who with the courage born of despair went on to suggest that Lord Hatherley might give Willie a lucrative appointment.

Strangely enough it had never occurred to me to apply to Uncle William for anything, and when Mr. Lane called on us and solemnly presented me with a substantial cheque and a kind message from my uncle, Willie and I were as surprised as we were pleased, even though Mr. Lane explained that "the Lord Chancellor had no post suitable" for Willie's energies.

We then moved into a house on the Marine Parade, as the one we were in was very expensive, and though I was glad to be next door to my sister, I felt it was not fair to my aunt, Mrs. Wood, who was paying the rent for us.

My faithful French maid Caroline stuck to us all through our fallen fortunes, as also did our stud-groom, Selby, and though we could no longer pay them the high wages they had always had, they refused to leave us.

My aunt now took a cottage for me at Patcham, just put of Brighton, and I was able to have my pony there. The house at Patcham was a dear, little, old-fashioned place right against the Downs, and there I used to walk for miles in the early morning, the springy turf almost forcing one foot after the other, while the song of the {29} larks and scent of the close-growing, many-tinted herbage in the clear bright air filled me with joyous exhilaration.

Willie went to town, and often was away for days, on various businesses, and I was very lonely at home—even though I daily drove the old pony into Brighton that I might see my sister.

I had a cousin of Willie's, Mrs. Vaughan, to stay with me for some time, but she was perpetually wondering what Willie was doing that kept him so much away, and this added irritation to loneliness. I had had such a busy life at Bennington that I suffered much from the want of companionship and the loss of the many interests of my life there. I felt that I must make some friends here, and, attracted by a dark, handsome woman whom I used to meet riding when I walked on to the Downs, I made her acquaintance, and found in her a very congenial companion. Quiet and rather tragic in expression, she thawed to me, and we were becoming warmly attached to one another when Willie, in one of his now flying visits, heard me speak of my new friend. On hearing her name—it was one that a few years before had brought shame and sudden death into one of the oldest of the "great" families of England—he professed to be absolutely scandalized, and, with an assumption of authority that at once angered me, forbade me to have any more to do with her. He met my protests with a maddening superiority, and would not tell me why she was "beyond the pale." I explained to him my own opinion of many of the women he liked me to know and almost all the men, for I had not then learnt the hard lesson of social life, and that the one commandment still rigorously observed by social hypocrisy was, "Thou shalt not be found out."


When I met Mrs. —— again she soothed my indignation on her behalf, and as we sat there, high on a spur of a hill, watching the distant sea, she smiled a little sadly as she said to me: "Little fool, I have gambled in love and have won, and those who win must pay as well as those who lose. Never gamble, you very young thing, if you can help it; but if you do be sure that the stake is the only thing in the world to you, for only that will make it worth the winning and the paying."

It was nearly ten years afterwards that I, feeling restless and unhappy, had such a sudden longing for the sea, that one morning I left my home (at Eltham) very early and went down to Brighton for the day. I was alone, and wished to be alone; so I got out of the train at Preston, for fear I should meet any of my relations at Brighton station. A fancy then seized me to drive out to Patcham, about a mile farther on, to see if my former little house was occupied. Having decided that it was I dismissed my fly and walked up the bridle path beyond the house out on to the Downs, where, turning south, towards the sea, I walked steadily over the scented turf, forcing out of my heart all but the joy of movement in the sea wind, with the song of the skylarks in my ears.

I sang as I walked, looking towards the golden light and sullen blue of the sea, where a storm was beating up with the west wind. Presently I realized that I was very tired, and I sat down to rest upon a little hilltop where I could see over the whole of Brighton. The wind brought up the rain, and I rose and began to descend the hill towards Brighton. I wondered apathetically if my sister was in Brighton or if they were all at Belhus still. Anyhow, I knew there would be someone at her house who {31} would give me something to eat. Then I turned round, and began deliberately to climb up the hill on to the Downs again. After all, I thought, I had come here to be alone, and did not want to see my sister particularly. The family might all be there, and anyhow I did not want to see anybody who loved me and could bias my mind. I had come down to get away from Willie for a little while—or rather from the thought of him, for it was rarely enough I saw him. If I went down to see Emma and Tom they would ask how Willie was, and really I did not know, and then how were the children. Well, I could thankfully answer that the children were always well. Why should I be supposed to have no other interests than Willie and my children? Willie was not, as a matter of fact, at all interesting to me. As to my children, I loved them very dearly, but they were not old enough, or young enough, to engross my whole mind. Then there was dear old Aunt Ben, who was so old that she would not tolerate any topic of conversation of more recent date than the marriage of Queen Victoria. What a curiously narrow life mine was, I thought, narrow, narrow, narrow, and so deadly dull. It was better even to be up there on the Downs in the drifting rain—though I was soaked to the skin and so desperately tired and hungry. I paused for shelter behind a shepherd's hut as I saw the lithe spare form of my brother-in-law, Sir Thomas, dash past, head down and eyes half closed against the rain. He did not see me, and I watched him running like a boy through the driving mist till he disappeared. He had come over from Lewes, I supposed. He was a J.P., and had perhaps been over to the court; he never rode where he could walk—or rather run.

I waited, sheltering now from the rain, and through the {32} mist there presently came a girl riding. On seeing me she pulled up to ask the quickest way to Brighton, as the mist had confused her. As I answered her I was struck by a certain resemblance, in the dark eyes and proud tilt of the chin, to my friend of many years ago, whose battles I had fought with Willie, and who had told me something of her life while we sat very near this place. The girl now before me was young, and life had not yet written any bitterness upon her face; but as she thanked me, and, riding away, laughingly urged me to give up the attempt to "keep dry," and to fly home before I dissolved altogether, I had the voice of my old-time friend in my ears, and I answered aloud, "I am afraid; I tell you, I am afraid." But she was dead, I knew, and could not answer me, and I smiled angrily at my folly as I turned down the track to Preston, while I thought more quietly how the daughter whose loss had caused such bitter pain to my dear friend, when she had left all for love, had grown to happy womanhood in spite of all.

I was now feeling very faint from my long day of hard exercise without food, but there was a train about to start for London, and I would not miss it.

On the platform for Eltham, at Charing Cross, stood Mr. Parnell, waiting, watching the people as they passed the barriers. As our eyes met he turned and walked by my side. He did not speak, and I was too tired to do so, or to wonder at his being there. He helped me into the train and sat down opposite me, and I was too exhausted to care that he saw me wet and dishevelled. There were others in the carriage. I leant back and closed my eyes, and could have slept but that the little flames deep down in Parnell's eyes kept flickering before mine, though they were closed. I was very cold; and I felt that he took off {33} his coat and tucked it round me, but I would not open my eyes to look at him. He crossed over to the seat next to mine, and, leaning over me to fold the coat more closely round my knees, he whispered, "I love you, I love you. Oh, my dear, how I love you." And I slipped my hand into his, and knew I was not afraid.



"Thus while Thy several mercies plot
And work on me, now cold, now hot,
The work goes on and slacketh not.

Willie was away more than ever after this, and I became so bored and lonely that I told him that I must join him in London if he meant to be there so much. He then proposed to give up the Patcham house and move the small household to Harrow Road, London, temporarily, till we had time to find something less depressing.

In going we also hoped to shake off an acquaintance who haunted us at Brighton and Patcham, a Mr. D., but he soon found us out, and, realizing that I was determined to be "not at home" to him, he took to leaving gifts of beautiful Spanish lace at the door, directed to me, and only the words "from Romeo" inside.

This man had lived most of his life in Spain, and was a remarkably good judge of Spanish lace, and I must confess I was tempted to keep the rich creamy-white stuff that arrived anonymously. This "Romeo" was more than middle-aged, and, when he wrote that for "safety's sake" he would address messages to me through the "agony" column of the newspapers, Willie's wrath was unbounded.

He wrote to poor "Romeo" in sarcastic vein, alluding to his age and figure, his insolence in addressing "a young and beautiful" woman with his "pestilent" twaddle. He told him, too, that he withdrew from all business transactions {35} with him, and would have much pleasure in kicking "Romeo" if he dared call at the house again. I was almost sorry for the foolish old man; but that was wasted on him, for he continued, undeterred by Willie's anger, to address "Juliet" in prose and verse in the daily papers. As he said, the "Daily Press was open to all, and the Captain could not stop that!" I used to laugh helplessly as Willie opened the morning paper at breakfast, and, first gravely turning to the "agony" column, would read the latest message to "Juliet" from her devoted "Romeo," becoming so angry that breakfast was spoiled to him. The sudden cessation of our acquaintance prevented our making that of Mme. Adelina Patti though "Romeo" had arranged a dinner in order that I should meet her.

A few weeks after we arrived in Harrow Road Willie began to complain of feeling ill, and a swelling that had formed on his neck became very painful. He was confined to bed, and after great suffering for weeks, Mr. Edgar Barker, who was constantly in attendance, said he must operate to save Willie's life. I had no nurse, as at this time we were in such financial straits that I really did not know which way to turn, and Willie was too ill to be asked about anything. Mr. Barker said to me, "You must hold his head perfectly still, and not faint." So he operated, and all went well, in spite of my inexperience in surgical nursing. Mr. Barker, for whose kindness at this time I can never be sufficiently grateful, helped me in every way, and would not allow even Willie's mother and sister to do so, as their presence irritated the patient so intensely.

During this time of trouble a Mr. Calasher, a money-lender, called to have some acceptances of Willie's met. I left Willie's bedside for a few minutes to see him, and he was kindness itself, agreeing to a renewal on my signature {36} alone, and most kindly sending in some little delicacies that he thought Willie might fancy. When Willie had recovered and went to see Mr. Calasher about the bills, it being then more than ever impossible to meet them, he (Mr. Calasher) would not consent to a further renewal, but tore the bills across and gave them back to Willie, saying, "Don't worry yourself, Captain O'Shea, but pay me when you can, and add six per cent. interest if you are able." I am glad to say we did this within the year. His courtesy about these bills was a great relief to me, as Willie was far too ill to be spoken to about business, and I was at my wits' end for money to meet everyday expenses. The accommodating Jew who lends the indiscreet Christian his money—naturally with a businesslike determination to increase it—has so much said against him that I am glad to be able to speak my little word of gratitude of one who was considerate and chivalrous to Willie as well as myself, to his own detriment.

Better circumstances arising on Willie's recovery of health, we were anxious to get away from the depressions of Harrow Road, with its constant procession of hearses and mourners on the way to Kensal Green Cemetery. After a weary hunt we finally decided upon a house in Beaufort Gardens. My French maid rejoiced in returning to her light duties as lady's maid, and reigned over a staff of maids in unison with the butler. Selby, at last convinced that race-horses were out of the question with us, left us, with mutual expressions of esteem, to seek more congenial surroundings.

We went to Beaufort Gardens in 1872, and Willie insisted upon my making many new acquaintances. We soon found ourselves in a social swirl of visits, visitors and entertainments. I had always disliked society, as such. {37} Willie, however, thoroughly enjoyed this life, and as he was always worrying me to dress in the latest fashion, and would have a Frenchman in to dress my hair before every party, I became very rebellious.

Here my eldest daughter was born, and I was glad of the rest from parties and balls—even though so many people I did not care to see came "to cheer me up!" As soon as I was about again the life I found so wearisome recommenced. After escorting me home from a dance or reception that I had not wanted to go to, Willie would go off again to "finish up the night," and one night, when in terror I was seeking for burglars, I found a policeman sitting on the stairs. He explained genially that the door was open, and he thought it better to come inside and guard the door for the Captain's return!

Alfred Austin—not then Poet Laureate—was a great friend and constant visitor of ours at that time. He had been at school—at Oscott—with Willie, and he was, I remember, extremely sensitive to criticism. "Owen Meredith," Lord Lytton, was also a frequent visitor, especially when my sister Anna was with us—she being sympathetic to his genius.

I think Willie and I were beginning to jar upon one another a good deal now, and I loved to get away for long walks by myself through the parks of London. Kensington Gardens was a great solace to me in all seasons and weathers, and I spent much of my time there. I often turned into the Brompton Oratory on my way home for a few minutes' peace and rest of body and soul, and these quiet times were a comfort to me when suffering from the fret and worry of my domestic life.

I first made my way to the Oratory when my daughter Norah was baptized, and some little time afterwards one {38} of the Fathers called on me. Finally Father —— undertook to call regularly to instruct me in the Catholic religion. He and the other priests lent me any books I wanted, and "The Threshold of the Catholic Faith," and one other I have now. That I never got beyond the "Threshold" was no fault of these good Fathers, who taught me with endless patience and uncompromising directness. But I had before me two types of Catholic in Willie and his mother and sister, and both were to me stumbling-blocks. The former was, as I knew, what they call a "careless Catholic," and I thought that if he who had been born in that faith that means so much made so little of it, perhaps it was more of a beautiful dream than a reality of life. Yet when I turned and considered those "good Catholics," his mother and sister, I found such a fierce bigotry and deadly dullness of outlook, such an immense piety and so small a charity, that my whole being revolted against such a belittling of God-given life. Now, I know that Mary and the Comtesse disliked me personally, and also that my temperament was antagonistic to theirs, as indeed to Willie's, though the affection he and I had for one another eased the friction between us; but youth judges so much by results, and my excursion into the Catholic religion ended in abrupt revolt against all forms and creeds. This feeling was intensified when my second little girl, Carmen, was born and christened at the Oratory. I would not go in, but stood waiting in the porch, where I had so often marked tired men and women passing in to pray after their hard and joyless day of toil, and I felt that my children were taken from me, and that I was very lonely.

My Uncle William, Lord Hatherley, was Lord High Chancellor at this time, and we were a good deal at his house, both at "functions" and privately. His great {39} friend, Dean Stanley, was very kind to me; Dean Hook came, too, and many other Churchmen were continually in and out in their train. My cousin, William Stephens, who afterwards became Dean of Winchester, was then a very good-looking and agreeable young man; he followed my uncle about like a shadow, and my uncle and Aunt Charlotte were devoted to him. But my uncle gathered other society than that of Churchmen about him, and it amused me to watch for the pick of the intellectual world of the day as they swarmed up and down the stairs at the receptions, with the necessary make-weight of people who follow and pose in the wake of the great.

Willie insisted upon his wife being perfectly gowned on these occasions, and as he so often got out of going to those functions and insisted on my going alone, certain other relations of Lord Hatherley's would hover round me with their spiteful remarks of: "Dear Katie, alone again I poor dear girl, where does he go? How odd that you are so often alone—how little you know!" I was fond of my old uncle and he of me, but these little amenities did not make me like these social functions better, especially as his wife, my Aunt Charlotte, had a most irritating habit of shutting her eyes when greeting me, and, with her head slightly to one side, saying, "Poor dear! Poor lovely lamb!"

This winter, following the birth of my second girl, was bitterly cold, and my health, which had not been good for some time before her birth, caused much anxiety. After a consultation between Sir William Gull, Sir William Jenner, and my usual doctor, it was decided that we should go to Niton, Isle of Wight, as I was too weak to travel far. My dear old aunt, Mrs. Benjamin Wood, sent her own doctor to me, and he recommended me to inject opium—an {40} expression of opinion that horrified Sir William Jenner into saying, "That man's mad, or wants to get rid of you!"

Our pecuniary affairs were again causing us considerable anxiety, but my dear aunt played the fairy godmother once more, and sent Willie a cheque so that we could go to Niton without worry or anxiety, and stop there until my health should be re-established. We were delighted with the summer warmth of the sun, and spent a happy Christmas basking in it. Since the hotel was very expensive, Willie established me in lodgings with the children and nurses in Ventnor, and, finding the place decidedly dull, returned to London.

The local doctor at Ventnor, who had been put in charge of my shattered health, was not satisfied that it was in any way improving, and, finding one day that I was in the habit of taking sleeping draughts, he snorted angrily off to the chemist and returned with a large tin of meat extract, with which he presented me, adding the intimation that it was worth a dozen bottles of my draught—which happened to be a powder—and that my London doctors were bereft of intelligence. I was too tired to argue the point and contented myself with the observation that all doctors save the one in attendance were fellows in intelligence—a sentiment he considered suspiciously for some moments before snorting away like the amiable little steam engine he was. His specific for sleeplessness was much more wholesome than drugs, and I have always found it so since then.



"D'un coeur qui t'aime,
    Mon Dieu, qui peut troubler la tranquille paix?
Il cherche, en tout, ta volunté suprème,
    Et ne se cherche jamais.
Sur la terre, dans le ciel même,
    Est-il d'autre bonheur que la tranquille paix
D'un coeur qui t'aime?

Willie was too busy to come down to Ventnor again, and I became so depressed by the relaxing air and by the sight of the many poor consumptive people I met at every turn, veritable signposts in their different stages of disease of the road I had been warned that I was on, that I decided to go nearer home. My doctor suggested Hastings, and there I went, taking my small family under the kindly escort of one of my nephews.

Willie soon came down, and, as my health improved rapidly, we stayed on for some time, making frequent visits to my Aunt "Ben" at Eltham, who was making our stay at the seaside possible. This was practically my first introduction to my aunt, as my former visits were when, as a little child, I was only allowed to sit by her side in the "tapestry room" trying to do some needlework under her supervision, and assisting her in the consumption of the luscious peaches she always had on the table. In those days I would have been wild with terror at the idea of being left alone with this aunt, who always wore the fashions of her early Victorian youth, and who would not tolerate the slightest noise in the house. I now found her {42} of fascinating interest, and even the painful sense of "hush" in her house, the noiseless stepping of the servants and the careful seclusion of sunlight had attractions for me. My uncle, Benjamin Wood, had died very many years before, and my aunt never alluded to him. She herself had never left Eltham since his death, and had only once been in a railway train, living in complete seclusion in her fine old Georgian house, only "taking the air" in the grounds adjoining or emerging forth in her chariot to drive for an hour daily.

She lived in the intellectual world of the Greek poets, and of Addison, Swift and Racine; and there was a leisure and a scholarly atmosphere about her life that seemed to banish the hurry and turmoil of the modern world at her gate. She was extremely generous in subscribing to what she termed "Organizations for the better conduct of charitable relief," and, though of no particular religious belief, she subscribed to the various objects of local charity when asked to do so by the clergyman of the parish. The latter gentleman once made the mistake of offering to read the Scriptures to her on the occasion of an illness, and I well remember his face of consternation when she replied: "I thank you, Mr. ——, but I am still well able to read, and the Scriptures do not interest me." Yet during the many years I spent in constant companionship with her the quiet peace which reigned by her side gave me the most restful and soothing hours of my life.

After we had paid her several visits in this way she informed me that she had ascertained that I was much alone, that she was very tenderly attached to me, and would wish to provide for me and my children if I would come to live near her so that I could be her constant companion. She added that she considered that this arrangement would {43} be more "seemly" for me, as Willie was obliged to be away from home so much.

After consultation with the (county court) judge, Gordon Whitbread, her nephew and my cousin, who always transacted her business for her, she bought a house for me at the other side of her park, and arranged to settle a regular income on me and to educate my children. In return she asked that her "Swan"—as she always called me—should be her daily companion. This I was until her death, at the age of ninety-four, about fifteen years later.

My aunt lived a life of great seclusion, and, with the exception of George Meredith (the author), and the Rev. —— Wilkinson, who each came down once a week to read to her, her oculist and great friend, Dr. Bader, and two old ladies, friends of her youth, she rarely saw anyone. Her house—"The Lodge," Eltham—was fine old Georgian, spoilt inside by the erection of mock pillars in the hall. She was very particular that no one should tread upon the highly polished floors, and, as the two large halls had only rugs laid about on the shining surface, one had either to make many "tacks" to reach the desired door or seat, or take a short cut on tiptoe and risk her "displeasure."

It was amusing to watch George Meredith on his excursion from the front door to the dressing-room at the foot of the stairs, where my aunt kept three pairs of slippers for the use of her "gentlemen readers" lest their boots should soil the carpets. To reach this little room he had—if in a good mood and conforming to his old friend's regulations—to walk straight ahead past the room, and make a detour round a pillar of (imitation) green marble and a table, back to the door. On days of rebellion against these forms and ceremonies he would hesitate for {44} a moment just inside the door, and, with a reckless uplifting of his head, begin a hasty stride across the sacred places; a stride which became an agitated tip-toeing under the scandalized gaze of the footman. Before he began to read to my aunt the following dialogue invariably took place:—

"Now, my dear lady, I will read you something of my own."

"Indeed, my dear Mr. Meredith, I cannot comprehend your works."

"I will explain my meaning, dear Mrs. Wood."

"You are prodigiously kind, dear Mr. Meredith, but I should prefer Molière to-day."

While Willie and I were still living in London we went down one day to see a furnished house we wished to rent for a few weeks, and, remembering my Aunt Ben's injunction to convey her "felicitations to her dear Mr. Meredith," we called on him.

I had not before met George Meredith, and had only read one of his works—and that "behind the door" when I was very young, owing to some belated scruple of my elders. I remember, as we neared the house, asking Willie the names of Meredith's other works, so that I might be ready primed with intelligent interest, and Willie's sarcastic little smile, as he mentioned one or two, adding, "You need not worry yourself; Meredith will soon enlighten us as to his books. They say it's the one thing he ever talks about." But we spent a delightful afternoon with Mr. Meredith, who showed us all his literary treasures and the little house at the end of the garden where he wrote. While we sat in the lovely little garden drinking tea our host descanted on the exquisite haze of heat that threw soft shadows about the house and gave the great trees {45} in the background the appearance of an enchanted forest. George Meredith was "reader" to Chapman and Hall in those days, and he spoke to me appreciatively of the work of my mother and sister, who published with Chapman and Hall.

In these days at Eltham I learnt to know George Meredith very well, as I saw him almost every week when he came down to read to my aunt. The old lady did not like triangular conversation, so as soon as they were fairly launched in reading or conversation, I would gladly slip away to my own occupations. To Aunt Ben, Meredith appeared to be a very young man indeed, and in her gentle, high-bred way she loved to tease him about his very great appreciation of his own work—and person. Meredith took her gentle raillery absolutely in good part and would hold forth upon what the literary world "of all time" owed him in his books, and also upon what Lady This-or-that had said in admiration of his good looks at such-and-such a gathering. My aunt used to delight in these tales, which were delivered in the mock serious manner of a boy telling his mother of his prowess, real or imagined; and after a time of listening to him, with only her gently modulated little bursts of laughter to encourage him, she would say, "Oh, my dear Mr. Meredith, your conceit is as wonderful as your genius!"—bringing forth from him the protest, "My dear lady, no! But it is a pleasure to you to hear of my successes and to me to tell you of them." And so I would leave them to their playful badinage and reading.

Meredith was very fond of his old friend, and always treated her with the chivalrous and rather elaborate courtesy that he well knew she delighted in. His weekly visits were a great pleasure to her, and although she would not {46} allow him to read anything modern and never anything of his own work, I think he must have enjoyed his reading and talk with this clever old lady, for often the stipulated two hours of the "classics and their discussion" lengthened into the three or four that caused him to miss all the most convenient trains home.

One evening as I was going into the house I saw him standing on the terrace gazing after the retreating form of my little girl Carmen, then about six years old. As I came up he pointed at the stiff little back and said, "She was flying along like a fairy Atalanta when I caught her, and said, 'What is your name?' 'Miss Nothin'-at-all!' she replied, with such fierce dignity that I dropped her in alarm."

I called the child to come back and speak politely to Mr. Meredith, but, to his amusement, was only rewarded by an airy wave of the hand as she fled down a by-path.

As I sometimes chatted to Mr. Meredith on his way through the grounds to the station, he would tell me of "that blessed woman," as he used to call his (second) wife, already then dead, and of how he missed her kind and always sympathetic presence on his return home and in his work. Sometimes the handsome head would droop, and I thought he looked careworn and sad as he spoke of her, and in doing so he lost for the moment all the mannerisms and "effectiveness" which were sometimes rather wearisome in him. As my aunt grew very old she—in the last few years of her life—became unequal to listening and talking to her "gentlemen readers," and to me she deputed the task of telling them so. In the case of George Meredith it was rather painful to me, as I feared the loss of the £300 a year my aunt had so long paid him for his {47} weekly visits might be a serious one to him. But he, too, had aged in all these years, and perhaps his visits to his old friend were becoming rather irksome to him in their regularity. Curiously enough, I shared my aunt's inability to enjoy his work, and to the last I met his mocking inquiry as to my "progress in literature" (i.e. his novels) by a deprecating "Only 'Richard Feverel.'"

The house my aunt bought for me was just across her park, and she had a gate made in the park fence so that I might go backwards and forwards to her house more quickly. My house was a comfortable villa with the usual little "front garden" and larger one in the rear. There were excellent stables at the end of this garden. The house, "Wonersh Lodge," had the usual dining-room and drawing-room, with two other sitting-rooms opening severally into the garden, and a large conservatory, which I afterwards made over to Mr. Parnell for his own use. My aunt furnished the house, and we were most comfortable, while my children rejoiced in having the run of the park and grounds after the restraint of town life.

Willie was very much in London now, and occupied himself in getting up a company to develop some mining business in Spain. He always drew up a prospectus excellently; on reading it one could hardly help believing—as he invariably did—that here at last was the golden opportunity of speculators. Some influential men put into the Spanish venture sums varying from £1,000 to £10,000. Our old friend Christopher Weguelin took great interest in it, and eventually Willie was offered the post of manager, at La Mines, at a good salary. It was a very acceptable post to Willie, as he loved the life in foreign countries. There was a very good house, and he had it planted round with eucalyptus trees to keep off the {48} fever so prevalent there, and from which the men working the mines suffered greatly.

Willie was, however, immune to fever, and never had it. He was away in Spain for over eighteen months this time, and did not come home at all during the period.

My son now, at eight years old, proved too much for his French governess, so we arranged for him to go to a school at Blackheath, though he was two years younger than the age generally accepted there. The little girls were started afresh with a German governess, and on Willie's return from Spain he stayed at Eltham for a time.

We were pleased to see one another again, but once more the wearing friction caused by our totally dissimilar temperaments began to make us feel that close companionship was impossible, and we mutually agreed that he should have rooms in London, visiting Eltham to see myself and the children at week-ends. After a while the regularity of his week-end visits became very much broken, but he still arrived fairly regularly to take the children to Mass at Chislehurst on Sunday mornings, and he would often get me up to town to do hostess when he wished to give a dinner-party. I had all my life been well known at Thomas's Hotel, Berkeley Square, as my parents and family had always stayed there when in London. So here I used to help Willie with his parties, and to suffer the boredom incidental to this form of entertainment.

On one occasion Willie, who always said that even if only for the sake of our children I ought not to "drop out of everything," worried me into accepting invitations to a ball given by the Countess ——, whom I did not know, and for this I came up to town late in the afternoon, dined quietly at the hotel by myself, and dressed {49} for the ball, ready for Willie to fetch me as he had promised after his dinner with some friends. I was ready at half-past eleven as had been arranged, and the carriage came round for me at a quarter to twelve. At twelve the manageress, a friend from my childhood, came to see if she could "do anything for me" as Captain O'Shea was so late. At 12.30 the head waiter, who used to lift me into my chair at table on our first acquaintance, came to know if "Miss Katie" was anxious about "the Captain," and got snubbed by the manageress for his pains. At one o'clock, white with anger and trembling with mortification, I tore off my beautiful frock and got into bed. At nine o'clock the next morning Willie called, having only just remembered my existence and the ball to which he was to have taken me.

Willie was now longing for some definite occupation, and he knew many political people. While he was on a visit to Ireland early in 1880 he was constantly urged by his friends, the O'Donnells and others, to try for a seat in the next Parliament. A dissolution seemed imminent. He had often talked of becoming a member for some Irish constituency, and now, on again meeting The O'Gorman Mahon in Ireland, he was very easily persuaded to stand in with him for County Clare. He wrote home to me to know what I thought of the idea, saying that he feared that, much as he should like it, the expenses would be almost too heavy for us to manage. I wrote back strongly encouraging him to stand, for I knew it would give him occupation he liked and keep us apart—and therefore good friends. Up to this time Willie had not met Mr. Parnell.



"I loved those hapless ones—the Irish Poor—
                                                        All my life long.
Little did I for them in outward deed,
And yet be unto them of praise the meed
For the stiff fight I urged 'gainst lust and greed:
                                                        I learnt it there.
                                                                    —SIR WILLIAM BUTLER.

"The introduction of the Arms Bill has interfered with Mr. Parnell's further stay in France, and it is probable he will be in his place in the House of Commons by the time this is printed."

This paragraph appeared in the Nation early in 1880. On the 8th March of that year, the Disraeli Parliament dissolved, and on the 29th April Mr. Gladstone formed his Ministry.

In the Disraeli Parliament Mr. Parnell was the actual, though Mr. Shaw had been the nominal, leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party since the death of Mr. Isaac Butt in 1879. Shaw continued the Butt tradition of moderation and conciliation which had made the Irish Party an unconsidered fraction in British politics. Parnell represented the new attitude of uncompromising hostility to all British parties and of unceasing opposition to all their measures until the grievances of Ireland were redressed. He carried the majority of his Party with him, and in Ireland he was already the people's hero.

Born in June, 1846, Parnell was still a young man. {51} He came of a fine race; he was a member of the same family as the famous poet, Thomas Parnell, as Lord Congleton, Radical reformer and statesman, and, above all, Sir John Parnell, who sat and worked with Grattan in Ireland's Great Parliament and shared with him the bitter fight against the Union. On his mother's side he was the grandson of the famous Commodore Charles Stewart, of the American Navy, whose bravery and success in the War of Independence are well known. It was natural that a man of such ancestry should become a champion of the rights of his native land.

Yet though in 1879 he was the virtual chief of the Irish Party, eight years before he was an Irish country gentleman, living quietly on his estates at Avondale in County Wicklow.

It is a mistake to say that his mother "planted his hatred of England in him," as she so seldom saw him as a boy. He was sent to school in England at six years old, and he used to tell me how his father—who died when he (Charles S. Parnell) was twelve years old—would send for him to come to Ireland to see him. His mother, Mrs. Delia Parnell, lived chiefly in America, going over to Avondale that her children might be born in Ireland, and returning as soon as possible to America. After her husband's death she only visited the place occasionally, and altogether saw very little of her son Charles. He often told me how well he remembered being sent for in his father's last illness to go to him at Dublin, and the last journey with his dying father back to Avondale. His father had made him his heir and a ward of Court.

In reality Parnell's hatred of England arose when he began to study the records of England's misgovernment {52} in Ireland, and of the barbarities that were inflicted upon her peasantry in the name of England's authority.

For years before he left the seclusion of Avondale this hatred had been growing. He followed the Fenian movement with the liveliest interest, and he often accompanied his sister Fanny when she took her verses to the offices of the Irish World. The sufferings of the Fenian prisoners, so courageously borne, stirred his blood and awakened his imagination. It can be imagined with what inward anger the young man heard of the detective raid on his mother's house in Temple Street, Dublin—when they found and impounded the sword he was privileged to wear as an officer of the Wicklow Militia.

But it was the Manchester affair of 1867 and the execution of Allen, Larkin and O'Brien which crystallized his hatred of England. From that moment he was only biding his time. Yet he was slow to move, and loath to speak his mind, and, until he went to America in 1871, he was better known for his cricketing and his autumn shooting than for his politics. When he returned to Avondale with his brother John in 1872 the Ballot Act had just been passed, and it was the consciousness of the possibilities of the secret vote as a weapon against England that finally persuaded him to be a politician.

But, though he joined the newly formed Home Rule League, it was not until 1874 that he stood for Parliament in Dublin County. He came out at the bottom of the poll. The election cost him £2,000; the £300 which he had received from the Home Rule League he handed back to them. In April, 1875, he stood for Meath and was placed at the top of the poll.

When he entered Parliament the Irish Party, as I have said, was of little account. The case for Ireland was {53} argued by Isaac Butt with fine reasonableness and forensic skill, but it produced absolutely no effect. The English parties smiled and patted the Irish indulgently on the head. In Ireland all the more resolute and enthusiastic spirits had an utter contempt for their Parliamentary representatives; from the machine nothing was to be hoped. It was the mission of Parnell to change all that, to unite all the warring elements of the Nationalist movements into one force to be hurled against England.

But still he waited and watched—learning the rules of the House, studying the strength and weaknesses of the machine he was to use and to attack. He found it more instructive to watch Biggar than Butt, for Biggar was employing those methods of obstruction which Parnell afterwards used with such perfect skill. From June, 1876, he took a hand in affairs. Side by side with Biggar, he began his relentless obstruction of Parliamentary business until the demands of Ireland should be considered. Already in 1877 he was fighting Butt for the direction of the Irish Party. On September 1st of that year Parnell became President of the Home Rule Confederation of Great Britain in place of Butt, and the victory was really won. Thenceforward Parnell was the true leader of the Irish movement inside Parliament and out of it. He attracted the support of Fenians by his uncompromising tactics and his fearless utterances, and when the New Departure was proclaimed by Michael Davitt (just out of prison) and John Devoy, and the Land League was formed in 1879, Parnell was elected president.

The objects of the League were "best to be attained by defending those who may be threatened with eviction for refusing to pay unjust rents; and by obtaining such reforms in the laws relating to land as will enable every {54} tenant to become the owner of his holding by paying a fair rent for a limited number of years." The League was meant by its founders, Davitt and Devoy, to work for the abolition of landlordism in Ireland, which, in turn, should pave the way for separation. Though Parnell was himself working for Home Rule, the League became a tremendous driving power behind his constitutional demands. For some months Disraeli's Government did nothing, while the agitation spread like wildfire. Then in November three of the leaders were arrested, on December 5th a fourth—and in a few days released! Ireland laughed, and the League grew. On December 21st Parnell and Dillon sailed for New York to appeal for funds to save the tenant farmers and to tighten the bond between the new movement and the revolutionary societies of America. His triumphal progress through the States and Canada, his reception by the Governors of States, members of Congress, judges and other representative men, and finally his appearance before Congress to develop his views on the Irish situation, are well known. It was on this journey—at Toronto—that he was first hailed as the "Uncrowned King."

The unexpected news of the dissolution summoned him home. In going out Disraeli tried to make Home Rule the issue of the election, but Lord Hartington—who was then leading the Liberal Party—and Mr. Gladstone refused to take up the challenge. All the English parties were united in hostility to Home Rule.

But the violent manifesto of Disraeli threw the Irish voting strength in England into the Liberal scale. The Liberals swept the country.

Curiously enough, even in Ireland the issue of the election was not Home Rule. There it was the land, and {55} nothing but the land. For the harvest of 1879 had been the worst since the great famine; evictions were in full swing, and the Land League had begun its work.

The demand was for a measure securing the "three F's": Fixity of tenure, fair rents determined by a legal tribunal, and free sale of the tenant's interest. But in many constituencies the demand was for the extinction of landlordism.

Parnell carried the election on his back. He was fighting not only the Liberals and the Tories, but the moderate Home Rule followers of Mr. Shaw. His energy seemed inexhaustible; from one end of Ireland to the other he organized the campaign, and addressed meetings. The result was a triumph for his policy and for the Land League. Of the 61 Home Rulers elected, 39 were Parnellites.



"One evening he asked the miller where the river went."
"'It goes down the valley,' answered he, 'and turns a power
of mills.'

Willie and The O'Gorman Mahon had been returned at the General Election, and many and varied were the stories The O'Gorman Mahon told me subsequently of their amusing experiences. How they kissed nearly every girl in Clare and drank with every man—and poor Willie loathed Irish whisky—how Willie's innate fastidiousness in dress brought gloom into the eyes of the peasantry until his unfeigned admiration of their babies and live stock, scrambing together about the cabins, "lifted a smile to the lip."

The O'Gorman Mahon was then a tall, handsome old man with a perfect snowstorm of white hair, and eyes as merry and blue as those of a boy. He could look as fierce as an old eagle on occasion, however, and had fought, in his day, more duels than he could remember. A fine specimen of the old type of Irishman.

When he came down to Eltham to see us, Willie and I took him over to Greenwich and gave him a fish dinner. We sat late into the night talking of Irish affairs, and The O'Gorman Mahon said to me, "If you meet Parnell, Mrs. O'Shea, be good to him. His begging expedition to America has about finished him, and I don't believe he'll last the session out."


He went on to speak of Mr. Parnell; how aloof and reserved he was, and how he received any inquiries as to his obviously bad health with a freezing hostility that gave the inquirers a ruffled sense of tactlessness.

Willie broke in to say that he and I were going to give some political dinners in London and would ask Parnell, though he was sure he would not come. The O'Gorman Mahon paid some idle compliment, but I was not interested particularly in their stories of Parnell, though I mentally decided that if I gave any dinners to the Irish Party for Willie I would make a point of getting Parnell.

On the 26th of April the members of the Irish Party met in Dublin to elect a chairman, and the meeting was adjourned without coming to a decision, but in May Mr. Parnell was chosen as leader. Willie voted for him, with twenty-two others, and telegraphed to me to say that he had done so, but feared that Mr. Parnell might be too "advanced." The fact was that many people admired steady-going William Shaw, the then chairman, as being very "safe," and doubted whither their allegiance to Mr. Parnell would lead them. Years after, when their politics had diverged, Mr. Parnell said: "I was right when I said in '80, as Willie got up on that platform at Ennis, dressed to kill, that he was just the man we did not want in the Party."

After the meeting of Parliament Willie was insistent that I should give some dinner parties in London, and, as his rooms were too small for this purpose, we arranged to have a couple of private rooms at Thomas's Hotel—my old haunt in Berkeley Square. There were no ladies' clubs in those days, but this hotel served me for many years as well as such a club could have done.


We gave several dinners, and to each of them I asked Mr. Parnell. Among the first to come were Mr. Justin McCarthy (the elder), Colonel Colthurst, Richard Power, Colonel Nolan, and several others; but—in spite of his acceptance of the invitation—Mr. Parnell did not come. Someone alluded to the "vacant chair," and laughingly defied me to fill it; the rest of our guests took up the tale and vied with each other in tales of the inaccessibility of Parnell, of how he ignored even the invitations of the most important political hostesses in London, and of his dislike of all social intercourse—though he had mixed freely in society in America and Paris before he became a politician for the sake of the Irish poor. I then became determined that I would get Parnell to come, and said, amid laughter and applause: "The uncrowned King of Ireland shall sit in that chair at the next dinner I give!"

One bright sunny day when the House was sitting I drove, accompanied by my sister, Mrs. Steele (who had a house in Buckingham Gate), to the House of Commons and sent in a card asking Mr. Parnell to come out and speak to us in Palace Yard.

He came out, a tall, gaunt figure, thin and deadly pale. He looked straight at me smiling, and his curiously burning eyes looked into mine with a wondering intentness that threw into my brain the sudden thought: "This man is wonderful—and different."

I asked him why he had not answered my last invitation to dinner, and if nothing would induce him to come. He answered that he had not opened his letters for days, but if I would let him, he would come to dinner directly he returned from Paris, where he had to go for his sister's wedding.


In leaning forward in the cab to say good-bye a rose I was wearing in my bodice fell out on to my skirt. He picked it up and, touching it lightly with his lips, placed it in his button-hole.

This rose I found long years afterwards done up in an envelope, with my name and the date, among his most private papers, and when he died I laid it upon his heart.

This is the first letter I had from Mr. Parnell:—

    July 17, 1880.

MY DEAR MRS. O'SHEA,—We have all been in such a "disturbed" condition lately that I have been quite unable to wander further from here than a radius of about one hundred paces allons. And this notwithstanding the powerful attractions which have been tending to seduce me from my duty towards my country in the direction of Thomas's Hotel.

I am going over to Paris on Monday evening or Tuesday morning to attend my sister's wedding, and on my return will write you again and ask for an opportunity of seeing you.—Yours very truly, CHAS. S. PARNELL.

On his return from Paris Mr. Parnell wrote to me, and again we asked him to dinner, letting him name his own date. We thought he would like a quiet dinner, and invited only my sister, Mrs. Steele, my nephew, Sir Matthew Wood, Mr. Justin McCarthy, and a couple of others whose names I forget. On receiving his reply accepting the invitation for the following Friday, we engaged a box at the Gaiety Theatre—where Marion Hood was acting (for whom I had a great admiration)—as we thought it would be a relief to the "Leader" to get away from politics for once.

On the day of the dinner I got this note:—



MY DEAR MRS. O'SHEA,—I dined with the Blakes on Wednesday, and by the time dinner was over it was too late to go to the meeting—the Post Office is all right here.

I cannot imagine who originated the paragraph. I have certainly made no arrangements up to the present to go either to Ireland or America or announced any intention to anybody.—Yours, CHAS. S. PARNELL.

He arrived late, but apologetic, and was looking painfully ill and white, the only life-light in his face being given by the fathomless eyes of rich brown, varying to the brilliance of flame. The depth of expression and sudden fire of his eyes held me to the day of his death.

We had a pleasant dinner, talking of small nothings, and, avoiding the controversial subject of politics, Mr. Parnell directed most of his conversation to my sister during dinner. She could talk brilliantly, and her quick, light handling of each subject as it came up kept him interested and amused. I was really anxious that he should have an agreeable evening, and my relief was great when he said that he was glad to go to the theatre with us, as the change of thought it gave was a good rest for him.

On arrival at the theatre he and I seemed to fall naturally into our places in the dark corner of the box facing the stage and screened from the sight of the audience, while my sister and the others sat in front.

After we had settled in our seats Mr. Parnell began to talk to me. I had a feeling of complete sympathy and companionship with him, as though I had always known this strange, unusual man with the thin face and pinched nostrils, who sat by my side staring with that curious {61} intent gaze at the stage, and telling me in a low monotone of his American tour and of his broken health.

Then, turning more to me, he paused; and, as the light from the stage caught his eyes, they seemed like sudden flames. I leaned a little towards him, still with that odd feeling of his having always been there by my side; and his eyes smiled into mine as he broke off his theme and began to tell me of how he had met once more in America a lady to whom he had been practically engaged some few years before.

Her father would not dower her to go to Ireland, and Parnell would not think of giving up the Irish cause and settling in America. The engagement therefore hung fire; but on this last visit to America he had sought her out and found himself cold and disillusioned.

She was a very pretty girl, he said, with golden hair, small features and blue eyes. One evening, on this last visit, he went to a ball with her, and, as she was going up the stairs, she pressed into his hand a paper on which was written the following verse:

"Unless you can muse in a crowd all day
    On the absent face that fixed you,
Unless you can dream that his faith is fast
    Through behoving and unbehoving,
Unless you can die when the dream is past,
    Oh, never call it loving."

He asked me who had written the lines, and I answered that it sounded like one of the Brownings (it is E. B. Browning's), and he said simply: "Well, I could not do all that, so I went home."

I suggested that perhaps the lady had suffered in his desertion, but he said that he had seen her, that same evening, suddenly much attracted by a young advocate {62} named A——, who had just entered the room, and decided in his own mind that his vacillation had lost him the young lady. The strenuous work he had then put his whole heart into had driven out all traces of regret.

After this dinner-party I met him frequently in the Ladies' Gallery of the House. I did not tell him when I was going; but, whenever I went, he came up for a few minutes; and, if the Wednesday sittings were not very important or required his presence, he would ask me to drive with him. We drove many miles this way in a hansom cab out into the country, to the river at Mortlake, or elsewhere. We chiefly discussed Willie's chances of being returned again for Clare, in case another election was sprung upon us. Both Willie and I were very anxious to secure Mr. Parnell's promise about this, as The O'Gorman Mahon was old, and we were desirous of making Willie's seat in Parliament secure.

While he sat by my side in the meadows by the river he promised he would do his best to keep Willie in Parliament, and to secure County Clare for him should the occasion arise. Thus we would sit there through the summer afternoon, watching the gay traffic on the river, in talk, or in the silence of tried friendship, till the growing shadows warned us that it was time to drive back to London.

Soon after my first meeting with Mr. Parnell, my sister, Mrs. Steele, invited Mr. Parnell, Mr. McCarthy and myself to luncheon. We had a very pleasant little party at her house. During lunch Mr. Parnell told us he was going to his place in Ireland for some shooting, and Mr. McCarthy and my sister chaffed him for leaving us for the lesser game of partridge shooting, but he observed {63} gravely, "I have the partridges there, and here I cannot always have your society."

I had to leave early, as I was anxious to return to see my aunt; and Mr. Parnell said he would accompany me to the station. When we got to Charing Cross the train had already gone; and Mr. Parnell picked out a good horse from the cab rank, saying it would be much pleasanter to drive down on such a beautiful afternoon. We did so, but I would not let him stay, as I was not sure what state of confusion the house might be in, left in my absence in the possession of the children and governess. I told him I had to hurry over the park to my aunt, as really was the case, and he reluctantly returned to London.

On the next Wednesday evening Mr. Parnell was to dine with me at Thomas's Hotel. He met me at Cannon Street Station as the train came in, and asked me to have some tea with him at the hotel there and go on to Thomas's together. We went to the Cannon Street Hotel dining-rooms, but on looking in he saw some of the Irish members there and said it would be more comfortable for us in his private sitting-room. I was under the impression that he lived at Keppel Street, but he told me he had just taken rooms in the Cannon Street Hotel. We had tea in his sitting-room, and he talked politics to me freely till I was interested and at ease, and then lapsed into one of those long silences of his that I was already beginning to know were dangerous in the complete sympathy they evoked between us.

Presently I said, "Come! we shall be late!"; and he rose without a word and followed me downstairs. There were some members of his Party still standing about in the hall, but, as he always did afterwards when I was {64} with him, he ignored them absolutely and handed me into a waiting cab.

He and I dined at Thomas's Hotel that evening, and after dinner I returned home to Eltham. Mr. Parnell left for Ireland by the morning mail.

From Dublin he wrote to me:—

September 9, 1880.

MY DEAR MRS. O'SHEA,—Just a line to say that I have arrived here, and go on to Avondale, Rathdrum, this evening, where I hope to hear from you before very long.

I may tell you also in confidence that I don't feel quite so content at the prospect of ten days' absence from London amongst the hills and valleys of Wicklow as I should have done some three months since.

The cause is mysterious, but perhaps you will help me to find it, or her, on my return.—Yours always, CHAS. S. PARNELL.

Then from his home:—

    September 11, 1880.

MY DEAR MRS. O'SHEA,—I take the opportunity which a few hours in Dublin gives me of letting you know that I am still in the land of the living, notwithstanding the real difficulty of either living or being, which every moment becomes more evident, in the absence of a certain kind and fair face.

Probably you will not hear from me again for a few days, as I am going into the mountains for some shooting, removed from post offices and such like consolations for broken-hearted politicians, but if, as I hope, a letter from you should reach me even there, I shall try and send you an answer.—Yours very sincerely, CHAS. S. PARNELL.



"But then—I supposed you to be but a fellow guest?"
"Ah, no" he answered, he in that cold, unshaken voice, "I
have but come home.

Whenever I went to town, or elsewhere, I always returned at night to see that my children were all right and to be ready to go to my aunt as usual every morning. One day, on my return from a drive with my aunt, I found that my old nurse Lucy, who still lived with me, was very ill, having had a stroke of paralysis while I was away. She lingered only a couple of days before she died and left a great void in my heart. My children missed their admiring old confidante sadly. She had always been devoted to me as the youngest of her "own babies," as she called my mother's children, and had shared in all my fortunes and misfortunes since I returned from Spain. She was always very proud, and so fearful of becoming a burden to anyone, that she rented a room in her sister's house so that she should feel independent. So often, when "times were bad" with us, she would press some of her savings into my hand and say that "The Captain must want a little change, Dearie, going about as he does!"

In her earlier life she had had her romance, and had spent some years in saving up to marry her "sweetheart," as she called him; but shortly before the wedding her father's business failed, and she immediately gave him {66} all her little nest-egg, with the result that her lover refused to marry her. So then, at the great age of ninety, after her blameless life had been passed since the age of sixteen in unselfish devotion to us all, we laid her to rest by the side of my father and mother at Cressing, Willie taking her down to Essex and attending the funeral.

As she lay dying I got this note from Mr. Parnell:—

    September 22, 1880.

MY DEAR MRS. O'SHEA,—I cannot keep myself away from you any longer, so shall leave to-night for London.

Please wire me to 16, Keppel Street, Russell Square, if I may hope to see you to-morrow and where, after 4 p.m.—Yours always, C. S. P.

Owing to the piteous clinging to my fingers of my old Lucy I was unable to go to London even for an hour to meet Mr. Parnell, so I telegraphed to that effect, and received the following letter:—

    Friday evening, September 24, 1880.

MY DEAR MRS. O'SHEA,—On arriving at Keppel Street yesterday I found that your wire had just arrived, and that the boy refused to leave it as I was not stopping there. Going at once to the district postal office I asked for and received the wire, and to-day went to London Bridge Station at 12.15.

The train from Eltham had just left, so I came on to Charing Cross and sent a note by messenger to you at Thomas's, with directions to bring it back if you were not there, which turned out to be the case. I am very much troubled at not having seen you, especially as I must return to Ireland to-night—I came on purpose for you, and had no other business. I think it possible, on reflection, that the telegraph people may have wired you that they were unable to deliver your message, and, if so, must reproach myself for not having written you last night.—Your very disappointed C. S. P.


From Dublin he wrote me:

Saturday morning, September 25, 1880.

MY DEAR MRS. O'SHEA,—In my hurried note to you last night I had not time to sympathize with you in this troublesome time you have been going through recently; how I wish it might have been possible for me to have seen you even for a few minutes to tell you how very much I feel any trouble which comes to you.

I am just starting for New Ross, where there is a meeting to-morrow.

If you can spare time to write me to Avondale, the letters will reach me in due course.—Yours always, C. S. P.

September 29, 1880.

MY DEAR MRS. O'SHEA,—I have received your wire, but not the letter which you say you were writing me to Dublin for Monday.

I suppose then you may have sent it to Rathdrum instead, whither I am going this evening, and that I may soon have the happiness of reading a few words written by you.

I am due at Cork on Sunday, after which I propose to visit London again, and renew my attempt to gain a glimpse of you. Shall probably arrive there on Tuesday if I hear from you in the meanwhile that you will see me.

On Friday evening I shall be at Morrison's on my way to Kilkenny for Saturday, and shall be intensely delighted to have a wire from you to meet me there.—Yours always, CHAS. S. PARNELL.

Meanwhile Willie was in communication with Mr. Gladstone, Mr. Tintern (one of the Liberal agents) and others, in reference to a meeting held by him.

Mr. Tintern wrote from Tenby commenting with satisfaction on the report of Willie's successful meeting, on Willie's kind mention of the Government, and on the good the meeting must do by promoting orderly progress and better feeling between one class and another. But he {68} expressed surprise that Willie should think the Government had not treated him and West Clare well. He at least...! Mr. Gladstone wrote from Downing Street on the 21st September about the meeting in much the same terms. He expressed himself as gratified to think that the important local proceedings with regard to the land question showed the union of people and pastors against the extremists.

Life at Eltham went on in the same routine. My aunt was well, and would sit for long hours at the south door of her house—looking away up "King John's Chase"—the ruins of King John's Palace were at Eltham, and my aunt's park and grounds were part of the ancient Royal demesne. In these summer evenings she loved to sit at the top of the broad flight of shallow steps with me, and tell my little girls stories of her life of long ago.

Sometimes her favourite Dr. Bader would bring his zither down from London and play to us; or my aunt and I would sit in the great tapestry room with all of the seven windows open, listening to the song of the æolian harp as the soft breeze touched its strings and died away in harmony through the evening stillness.

Sometimes, too, she would sing in her soft, gentle old voice the songs of her youth, to the accompaniment of her guitar. "We met, 'twas in a crowd," was a favourite old song of hers, half forgotten since she used to sing it to the music of her spinet seventy years before, but Dr. Bader found the words in an old book, and the dear old lady crooned it sentimentally to me as we sat waiting for the hooting of the owls which signalled to her maid the time for shutting her lady's windows.

And I was conscious of sudden gusts of unrest and revolt against these leisured, peaceful days where the {69} chiming of the great clock in the hall was the only indication of the flight of time, and the outside world of another age called to me with the manifold interests into which I had been so suddenly plunged with the power to help in the making and marring of a destiny.

In the autumn of 1880 Mr. Parnell came to stay with us at Eltham, only going to Dublin as occasion required. Willie had invited him to come, and I got in some flowers in pots and palms to make my drawing-room look pretty for him.

Mr. Parnell, who was in very bad health at that time, a few days later complained of sore throat, and looked, as I thought, mournfully at my indoor garden, which I industriously watered every day. It then dawned upon me that he was accusing this of giving him sore throat, and I taxed him with it. He evidently feared to vex me, but admitted that he did think it was so, and "wouldn't it do if they were not watered so often?" He was childishly touched when I at once had them all removed, and he sank happily on to the sofa, saying that "plants were such damp things!"

His throat became no better, and he looked so terribly ill when—as he often did now—he fell asleep from sheer weakness on the sofa before the fire, that I became very uneasy about him. Once, on awaking from one of these sleeps of exhaustion, he told me abruptly that he believed it was the green in the carpet that gave him sore throat. There and then we cut a bit out, and sent it to London to be analysed, but without result. It was quite a harmless carpet.

During this time I nursed him assiduously, making him take nourishment at regular intervals, seeing that these day-sleeps of his were not disturbed, and forcing {70} him to take fresh air in long drives through the country around us. At length I had the satisfaction of seeing his strength gradually return sufficiently to enable him to take the exercise that finished the process of this building-up, and he became stronger than he had been for some years. I do not think anyone but we who saw him then at Eltham, without the mask of reserve he always presented to the outside world, had any idea of how near death's door his exertions on behalf of the famine-stricken peasants of Ireland had brought him.

Once in that autumn, after he came to us, I took him for a long drive in an open carriage through the hop-growing district of Kent. I had not thought of the fact that hundreds of the poorest of the Irish came over for the hop-picking, and might recognize him.

After driving over Chislehurst Common and round by the lovely Grays, we came right into a crowd of the Irish "hoppers"—men, women, and children. In a moment there was a wild surge towards the carriage, with cries of "The Chief! The Chief!" and "Parnell! Parnell! Parnell!" The coachman jerked the horses on to their haunches for fear of knocking down the enthusiastic men and women who were crowding up—trying to kiss Parnell's hand, and calling for "a few words."

He lifted his cap with that grave, aloof smile of his, and said no, he was not well enough to make the smallest of speeches, but he was glad to see them, and would talk to them when they went home to Ireland. Then, bidding them to "mind the little ones," who were scrambling about the horses' legs, to the manifest anxiety of the coachman, he waved them away, and we drove off amid fervent "God keep your honours!" and cheers.

These Irish hop-pickers were so inured to privation {71} in their own country that they were very popular among the Kentish hop-farmers, as they did not grumble so much as did the English pickers at the scandalously inefficient accommodation provided for them.

Often before Parnell became really strong I used to watch for hours beside him as he slept before the drawing-room fire, till I had to rouse him in time to go to the House. Once, when he was moving restlessly, I heard him murmur in his sleep, as I pulled the light rug better over him: "Steer carefully out of the harbour—there are breakers ahead."

He now had all the parcels and letters he received sent on to me, so that I might open them and give him only those it was necessary for him to deal with. There were hundreds of letters to go through every week, though, as he calmly explained, "If you get tired with them, leave them and they'll answer themselves."

Often among the parcels there were comestibles, and among these every week came a box of eggs without the name and address of the sender. I was glad to see these eggs as the winter came on and with it the usual reluctance of our hens to provide us with sufficient eggs, but Mr. Parnell would not allow me to use them, for he said: "They might be eggs, but then again they might not," and I had to send them a good distance down the garden and have them broken to make sure of their genuineness, and then he would worry lest our dogs should find them and poison themselves.

On his visits to Ireland he wrote to me continually:—


MY DEAR MRS. O'SHEA,—I have just a moment on my return from Ennis to catch the late post and reply to your wire.


I received your two letters quite safely, and you may write me even nicer ones with perfect confidence. I blame myself very much for not having written you on my way through Dublin on Saturday, as you were evidently anxious about your notes, but I hope you will forgive me as there were only a few minutes to spare.

I trust to see you in London on Tuesday next. Is it true that Captain O'Shea is in Paris, and, if so, when do you expect his return? ... I have had no shooting, weather too wet, but shall try to-morrow, when you may expect some heather.

    Friday evening, October 2, 1880.

Have just received your wire; somehow or other something from you seems a necessary part of my daily existence, and if I have to go a day or two without even a telegram it seems dreadful.

I want to know how you intend to excuse yourself for telling me not to come on purpose if I must return. (To Ireland.) Of course, I am going on purpose to see you; and it is also unhappily true that I cannot remain long.

Shall cross Monday evening, and shall call at Morrison's for a message.

Please write or wire me in London to 16 Keppel Street, Russell Square, where I shall call on Tuesday.

    Monday night, October 4, 1880.

Just arrived.... I write you on the only bit of paper to be found at this late hour (a scrap taken from one of your own notes), to say that I hope to reach London to-morrow (Tuesday) evening and to see you on Wednesday when and where you wish. Please write or wire me to Keppel Street. This envelope will present the appearance of having been tampered with, but it has not.

    Tuesday evening, October 5, 1880.

A frightful gale has been blowing all day in Channel and still continues.


Under these circumstances shall postpone crossing till to-morrow evening.

Can meet you in London at 9 to-morrow evening anywhere you say.

    Monday evening, October 17, 1880.

MY OWN LOVE,—You cannot imagine how much you have occupied my thoughts all day and how very greatly the prospect of seeing you again very soon comforts me.

On Monday evening I think it will be necessary for me to go to Avondale; afterwards I trust, if things are propitious on your side, to return to London on Tuesday or Wednesday.—Yours always, C.

    October 22, 1880.

I was very much pleased to receive your wire this morning, forwarded from Dublin, that you had received my note of last Saturday. I was beginning to fear that it had gone wrong.

After I had finished at Roscommon and received your message in Dublin on Monday I decided upon coming here where I have been unexpectedly detained.

If all goes well you will see me in London on Monday evening next.... I send you enclosed one or two poor sprigs of heather, which I plucked for you three weeks ago, also my best love, and hope you will believe that I always think of you as the one dear object whose presence has ever been a great happiness to me.

Meanwhile the Government had been temporizing with the land question. They had brought in a very feeble Compensation for Disturbances Bill and they had allowed it to be further weakened by amendments. This Bill was rejected by the House of Lords, with the result that the number of evictions in Ireland grew hourly greater and the agitation of the Land League against them; outrages, too, were of common occurrence and increased in intensity.


Speaking at Ennis on September 19th Mr. Parnell enunciated the principle which has since gone by the name of "The Boycott."

"What are you to do," he asked, "to a tenant who bids for a farm from which another tenant has been evicted?"

Several voices cried: "Shoot him!"

"I think," went on Mr. Parnell, "I heard somebody say 'Shoot him!' I wish to point out to you a very much better way—a more Christian and charitable way, which will give the lost man an opportunity of repenting. When a man takes a farm from which another has been unjustly evicted, you must shun him on the roadside when you meet him; you must shun him in the shop; you must shun him on the fair-green and in the market-place, and even in the place of worship, by leaving him alone; by putting him into a sort of moral Coventry; by isolating him from the rest of the country, as if he were a leper of old—you must show him your detestation of the crime he has committed."

Forster, the Irish Secretary, who had some amount of sympathy for the tenants, was, however, a Quaker, and the outrages horrified him more than the evictions. Nor, strangely, was he able to connect the one with the other. Undoubtedly the evictions almost ceased, but, said he, they have ceased because of the outrages, and the outrages were the work of the Land League; and he pressed for the arrest of its leaders. This was unwise, considering that it was Parnell who had advocated the abandonment of violence for the moral suasion of the boycott.

On November 3rd Forster decided to prosecute the leaders of the Land League, and among them Parnell, Dillon, Biggar, Sexton and T. D. Sullivan. Two days {75} later, in a speech at Dublin, Parnell expressed his regret that Forster was degenerating from a statesman to a tool of the landlords. Biggar when he heard the news exclaimed, "Damned lawyers, sir, damned lawyers! Wasting the public money! Wasting the public money! Whigs damned rogues! Forster damned fool!"

    November 4, 1880.

MY DEAR MRS. O'SHEA,—I take advantage of almost the first moment I have had to myself since leaving you to write a few hasty lines. And first I must again thank you for all your kindness, which made my stay at Eltham so happy and pleasant.

The thunderbolt, as you will have seen, has at last fallen, and we are in the midst of loyal preparations of a most appalling character.

I do not suppose I shall have an opportunity of being in London again before next Thursday, but trust to be more fortunate in seeing Captain O'Shea then than the last time.—Yours very truly, CHAS. S. PARNELL.


MY DEAR MRS. O'SHEA,—I hope to arrive in London on Tuesday morning, and trust to have the pleasure of seeing you before I leave. Do you think you shall be in town on Tuesday?

Kindly address 16, Keppel Street.—Yours very truly, CHAS. S. PARNELL.

On November 5th that year the village was great on the subject of "gunpowder, treason, and plot," and during dinner that evening there was such a noise and shouting outside my house that I asked the maid who was waiting what all the excitement was about.

She answered breathlessly that "the procession, ma'am, {76} have got Miss Anna Parnell in a effigy 'longside of the Pope, and was waiting outside for us to see before they burnt 'em in the village."

This electrifying intelligence was received with grave indifference by Mr. Parnell till the disappointed maid left the room; then with a sudden bubble of laughter—"Poor Anna! Her pride in being burnt, as a menace to England, would be so drowned in horror at her company that it would put the fire out!"

The cheering and hooting went on for some time outside the house, but, finding we were not to be drawn, the crowd at last escorted the effigies down to the village and burnt them, though with less amusement than they had anticipated.

    November 6, 1880.

MY DEAR MRS. O'SHEA,—You can have very little idea how dreadfully disappointed I felt on arriving here this evening not to find a letter from either you or Captain O'Shea. I send this in hope that it may induce you to write in reply to my last letter and telegram, which would appear not to have reached you.—Yours very sincerely, CHAS. S. PARNELL.


MY DEAR MRS. O'SHEA,—I enclose keys, which I took away by mistake. Will you kindly hand enclosed letter to the proper person[3] and oblige,—Yours very truly, CHAS. S. PARNELL.

    Wednesday night, November 11, 1880.

MY DEAREST LOVE,—I have made all arrangements to be in London on Saturday morning, and shall call at Keppel Street for a letter from you. It is quite impossible for me to {77} tell you just how very much you have changed my life, what a small interest I take in what is going on about me, and how I detest everything which has happened during the last few days to keep me away from you—I think of you always, and you must never believe there is to be any "fading." By the way, you must not send me any more artificial letters. I want as much of your own self as you can transfer into written words, or else none at all.—Your always, C. S. P.

A telegram goes to you, and one to W.,[4] to-morrow, which are by no means strictly accurate.

    December 2, 1880.

MY DEAR MRS. O'SHEA,—I succeeded in getting the train at Euston with just ten minutes to spare, and, arriving here this morning, found that my presence to-day was indispensable.

I need not tell you how much I regretted leaving Eltham so suddenly; but we cannot always do as we wish in this world.

My stay with you has been so pleasant and charming that I was almost beginning to forget my other duties; but Ireland seems to have gotten on very well without me in the interval.

Trusting to see you again next week on my way to Paris.—Yours very sincerely, CHAS. S. PARNELL.

I have been exceedingly anxious all day at not receiving your promised telegram to hear how you got home.

[1] These letters were really written from London.

[2] Sent to Dublin to be posted.

[3] Myself.

[4] Captain O'Shea.



"The surest way to prevent seditions is to take away the matter of them."—LORD BACON.

Through the whole of 1880 Parnell was determinedly organizing the Land League throughout Ireland, and during the winter, doubtless encouraged by the enormous distress that prevailed over the whole country, the force and power of the League grew with a rapidity that surpassed even the expectations of Parnell and his party. All through the vacation Parnell and his followers held meetings in carefully calculated areas of Ireland, and in his speeches Parnell explained the meaning and wide-reaching scope of the League's agitation, i.e. that tenant farmers were to trust in their own combination alone and "should give no faith to the promises of the English Ministers."

During the early session that year Parnell had introduced a Bill called "Suspension of Ejectments Bill," and this first pressed upon the House the necessity of dealing with the Irish landlord troubles. Parnell's party urged this Bill with so united a front that Mr. Gladstone was obliged to consider the main substance of it, and he agreed to insert a clause in the "Relief of Distress Bill" which would deal with impending evictions of Irish tenants. But the Speaker of the House held that the interpolation of such a clause would not be "in order," and the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. Forster) then, by Mr. Gladstone's direction, brought in his "Disturbances Bill," {79} which was to all practical purposes Parnell's Bill under another name.

In the course of the debate on this Bill Mr. Gladstone himself said that "in the circumstances of distress prevalent in Ireland (at that time) a sentence of eviction is the equivalent of a sentence of death." These absolutely true words of Gladstone's were used by Parnell very many times during his Land League tours both in speeches and privately, and many times he added—as so often he did to me at home—bitter comment upon the apathy of the English Government, upon the curious insensibility of the English law-makers, who knew these things to be true in Ireland and yet were content to go on in their policy of drift, unless forced into action by those who saw the appalling reality of the distress among the Irish poor that was so comfortably deplored in London.

In this connexion Parnell used to say that the fundamental failure in the English government of Ireland was: First, the complete inability of the Ministers in power to realize anything that was not before their eyes; and, secondly, their cast-iron conviction that Ireland was the one country of the world that was to be understood and governed by those to whom she was little but a name.

In all this time of trouble and eviction Parnell went backwards and forwards between England (Eltham) and Ireland as occasion required, and so successful were his efforts in spreading the agitation and linking up the League that the Government became uneasy as to the outcome of this new menace to landlordism. Finally Parnell and fourteen of his followers were put on trial, charged with "conspiracy to impoverish landlords." Parnell, of course, went over to Ireland for these "State trials," but he considered the whole thing such a farce, in that it was {80} an impotent effort of the Government to intimidate him, that he could not take it seriously in any way. No jury (in Ireland) would agree to convict him he was well aware, and he attended the trials chiefly, he said, for the "look of the thing," and to give the support of his presence to his colleagues. Incidentally he told me on one occasion that he had considerably hurried the jury when he was very anxious to catch a train in time for the night mail to England (Eltham) by "willing" them to agree (to disagree) without the long discussion of local politics with which all self-respecting Irish jurors beguile the weary ways of law. He observed that here, in the question of how far an unconscious agent can be "willed" into a desired action, he had discovered another and most entrancing study for us when we had more time to go into it thoroughly.

Talking of the Land League's procedure against the interests of the Irish landlords, I may, I think, here pertinently remind those who have, among so many other accusations, brought against Parnell the charge of self-seeking in regard to money matters, that Parnell himself was an Irish landlord and of very considerable estates, and that this land campaign (really, of course, directed against eviction), meant, to all practical purposes, the loss of his rents, and that not only for a time, as in other cases, but, with the very generous interpretation put upon his wishes by the "Chief's" tenants, for all time—or rather for all his lifetime. Captain O'Shea also had certain estates in Ireland, and naturally, not being in sympathy with Parnell's policy, but being at heart a thorough Whig and a strong advocate for Mr. Shaw, the ex-leader of the Irish party, he was furious at the League's anti-landlord work, and refused to have any hand in it. He considered {81} that hapless as was the plight of those who had to pay in rent the money they did not possess, that of the landlord whose rent was his all was but little to be preferred.

During this period the stories of the evictions brought home to me by Parnell himself made my heart sick, and often he sat far into the night at Eltham speaking in that low, broken monotone, that with him always betokened intense feeling strongly held in check, of the terrible cruelty of some of the things done in the name of justice in unhappy Ireland. How old people, and sometimes those sick beyond recovery, women with the children they had borne but a few hours before, little children naked as they had come into the world, all thrust out from the little squalid cabins which were all they had for home, thrust out on the roadside to perish, or to live as they could. I in my English ignorance used to say: "Why did they not go into the workhouse or to neighbours?" and Parnell would look wonderingly at me as he told me that for the most part such places were few and far between in Ireland, and "neighbours," good as they were to each other, were in the same trouble. There were instances where a wife would beg, and with none effect, that the bailiffs and police should wait but the little half-hour that her dying husband drew his last breath; and where a husband carried his wife from her bed to the "shelter" of the rainswept moor that their child might be born out of the sight of the soldiers deputed to guard the officials who had been sent to pull their home about their ears. And, remembering these and so many other tales of some of the 50,000 evictions that he afterwards calculated had taken place in Ireland, I have never wondered at the implacable hatred of England that can never really die out of the Irish heart.


On December 4th, 1880, he wrote to me from Dublin:

I was exceedingly pleased to receive your letters; to say the truth, I have been quite homesick since leaving Eltham, and news from you seems like news from home.

The Court refused our application to-day for a postponement of the trial (of the Land League), but this we expected, and it does not much signify, as it turns out that we need not necessarily attend the trial unless absolutely directed to do so by the Court.

You will also be pleased to hear that the special jury panel, of which we obtained a copy last night, is of such a character as in the opinion of competent judges to give us every chance of a disagreement by the jury in their verdict, but we cannot, of course, form an absolute conclusion until the jury has been sworn, when we shall be able to tell pretty certainly one way or the other.

Since writing Captain O'Shea it does not look as if I could get further away from Ireland than London, as Paris is inconvenient from its distance.

I have no letter from him yet in reply to mine.

And again on the 9th:—

I returned from Waterford last night, and shall probably get through all necessary work here by Saturday evening so as to enable me to start for London on Sunday morning. I do not know how long I can remain in London, but shall run down and see you on Monday, and perhaps my plans will be more fixed by that time.

I have decided not to attend any more meetings until after the opening of Parliament, as everything now can go on without me.

Kindly inform Captain O'Shea that the meeting of Irish members will be in Dublin on the 4th January.

On December 12th of that year Mr. Parnell wrote from Avondale to say that the jury panel was to be struck on the following Monday for the prosecution of the Land League.


... And it will be necessary for me to see it before giving final directions.

I have consequently postponed my departure till Monday evening.

I have come here to arrange my papers and find a number which I should not like to destroy, and which I should not like the Government to get hold of in the event of their searching my house in the troublous times which appear before us. May I leave them at Eltham?

And the next day:—

I have just received a note from Healy, who is to be tried at Cork on Thursday, saying that his counsel thinks it of the utmost importance I should be present.

This is very hard lines on me, as I had looked forward to a little rest in London before my own trial commences; but I do not see how it can be helped, as Healy's is the first of the State trials, and it is of the utmost importance to secure an acquittal and not merely a disagreement. I shall leave Cork on Thursday night and arrive in London Friday evening, and shall call to see you at Eltham Saturday. Your letters, one directed here and the others to Morrison's, reached me in due course, and I hope to hear from you again very soon.

Parnell, now, always made my house his headquarters in England, and on his return from Ireland after the trials came down at once as soon as he had ascertained that I was alone.

There were times when he wished to keep quiet and let no one know where he was; and, as it became known to the Government that Mr. Parnell frequented my house a good deal, it was somewhat difficult to avoid the detectives who were employed to watch his comings and goings.

On one occasion in 1880 he was informed privately that his arrest for "sedition" was being urged upon the Government, and that it would be well to go abroad for a short time. I think his enigmatic reply, "I will {84} disappear for a few weeks," must have puzzled his informant. He came down to me at night, and when I answered his signal at my sitting-room window, and let him in, he told me with a deprecating smile that I must hide him for a few weeks. As I sat watching him eat the supper I always had ready for him at 3 a.m. I felt rather hopeless, as he was a big man, and I did not see how he could be hidden from the servants. He said the latter must not know he was there, as they would talk to the tradespeople, and they to the Government men. He did not wish to be arrested until later on, when it might be more useful than not.

Then he awaited suggestions, and at length we decided that a little room opening out of my own must be utilized for him, as I always kept it locked and never allowed a servant into it—except very occasionally to "turn it out." It was a little boudoir dressing-room, and had a sofa in it.

Mr. Parnell was then still feeling ill and run down, and enjoyed his fortnight's absolute rest in this room. None of the servants knew that he was there, and I took all his food up at night, cooking little dainty dishes for him at the open fire, much to his pleasure and amusement. He spent the time very happily, resting, writing "seditious" speeches for future use, and reading "Alice in Wonderland." This book was a favourite of his, and I gave it to him with the solemnity that befitted his grave reading of it. I do not think he ever thought it in the least amusing, but he would read it earnestly from cover to cover, and, without a smile, remark that it was a "curious book."

In all this fortnight no one had the least idea that he was in the house, and the only comment I ever heard upon {85} my prisoner's diet was that "the mistress ate much more when she had her meals served in her sitting-room."

At the end of this fortnight he had arranged to go to Paris on some Land League business, and wanted me to go to see him off. He had brought certain political correspondence from Avondale and London and placed it in my charge, and this I kept in a box in this little private room, where I hid them. But there were two papers that he did not wish left even here, and, fearing arrest, could not carry on him. For these he had a wide, hollow gold bracelet made in Paris, and after inserting the papers he screwed the bracelet safely on my arm; there it remained for three years, and was then unscrewed by him and the contents destroyed.

The winter of 1880 was terribly cold, and as I let him out of the house in the bitterly cold morning I wished he did not consider it necessary to go to Paris by such a roundabout route as he had chosen.

However, we drove off to Lewisham that morning, quite unobserved; from thence we went by train to New Cross, and drove by cab to London Bridge. At Vauxhall we started for Lowestoft; for Mr. Parnell had arranged to go to Paris via Harwich. I was anxious about him, for the cold was intense, and the deep snow over the large dreary waste of salt marshes seemed reflected in his pallor. Our train slowly passed through the dreary tract of country, feet deep in its white covering, and we could see no sign of life but an occasional seagull vainly seeking for food, and sending a weird call through the lonely silences.

I wrapped Parnell up in his rugs as he tried to sleep. I loathed the great white expanse that made him look so ill, and I wished I had him at home again, where I could {86} better fight the great fear that so often beset my heart: that I could not long keep off the death that hovered near him. A lady and gentleman in the carriage remarked to me—thinking he slept—that my husband looked terribly ill, could they do anything? And I noticed the little smile of content that flitted over his face as he heard me briskly reply that, No, he had been ill, but was so much better and stronger that I was not at all uneasy. It was the cold glare of the snow that made him look so delicate, but he was really quite strong. He hated to be thought ill, and did not see the doubt in their faces at my reply.

Arrived at Lowestoft I insisted upon his resting and having a good meal, after which he felt so cheered up that he decided to return to London with me, and go to Paris by the usual route the next day!

We had a new Irish cook at this time, from County Tipperary, and her joy exceeded all bounds when she learnt that the Irish leader was really in the house and she was to cook for him. I had to ask Mr. Parnell to see her for a moment, as she was too excited to settle to her cooking. Directly she got into the room Ellen fell down on her knees and kissed his hands, much to his horror, for, although used to such homage in Ireland, he disliked it extremely, and he told me with some reproach that he had expected to be quite free from that sort of thing in my house.

At Christmas he tipped my servants generously, and indeed Ellen and the parlourmaid Mary vied with each other in their attention to his comfort. The enthusiasm of the cook was so great that she bought an enormous gold locket, and, having inserted a portrait of Mr. Parnell in it, wore it constantly. Mary, not to be outdone, thereupon bought a locket of identically the same design, and {87} wore it with an air of defiance, when bringing in tea, on New Year's Day.

This was against all regulations, and I said laughingly to Mr. Parnell that he was introducing lawlessness into my household. He answered, "Leave it to me," and when Mary appeared again he said gently to her, "Mary, that is a magnificent locket, and I see you are kind enough to wear my portrait in it. Mrs. O'Shea tells me that Ellen has bought one also, but I just want you and Ellen not to wear them outside like that, for Mrs. O'Shea lets me come down here for a rest, and if people know I'm here I shall be worried to death with politics and people calling." So Mary promised faithfully, and Ellen came running in to promise too, and to threaten vengeance on "the others" if absolute silence was not observed. The lockets went "inside," and only a tiny bit of chain was allowed to show at the throat in evidence of homage continued, though hidden.

Meanwhile, events were fusing in Ireland. Parnell had gone over there immediately after Christmas. From Dublin he wrote:—

    Monday evening, December 27, 1880.

MY DEAR MRS. O'SHEA,—I have been exceedingly anxious all day at not receiving your promised telegram to hear how you got home; trust I may have something to-morrow morning that it is all right.[1]—Yours in haste, C. S. P.

    Tuesday, December 28, 1880.

MY DEAREST WIFE,—You will be delighted to learn that everything is proceeding first-rate so far.

The jury sworn to-day cannot possibly convict us, and there is a very fair chance of an acquittal. I do not think {88} the Government will attempt to prevent me from being present at the opening of Parliament, though I am not quite sure yet whether it will be prudent for me to leave until Wednesday evening. So far as I can see there is no necessity for the presence of any of the Traversers; one of them, Gordon, who has broken his leg, has not appeared at all, and his absence has not been even mentioned or noticed.

I was immensely relieved by your letter this morning. You must take great care of yourself for my sake and your and my future.—Yours always, C. S. P.

I have wired and written to Madrid[2] explaining situation lest my observations at yesterday's meeting as to doubt of my being in Parliament, intended to throw dust in eyes of Government, might be literally interpreted.

    Thursday, December 30, 1880.

MY DEAREST LOVE,—Your letters have reached me quite safely, and you cannot tell how much pleasure they give me. I fear I was very foolish to allow you to come with me the day of my departure; I felt sure it would do much harm, and until your first letter arrived I was in a continual panic lest some dreadful disaster had happened.

That my poor love should have suffered so much makes my heart very sore, and she must take great care of herself for the sake of our future....

I enclose letter from W.S.[3]—Yours always affectionately, C. S. P.

Will send you photo to-morrow.

    January 3, 1881.

MY DEAREST WIFIE,—Was most delighted on return this morning from Avondale to find your three letters and telegrams. I think it would make you happy and more contented during my absence if you knew how I watched for your letters, and how often I read and re-read them.

I felt very much tempted to run over and spend the New Year and Sunday with you, but feared you might not be alone.


It pains me very much that my own love was unhappy about that stupid thing in the Freeman on Thursday. An old and ugly woman with whom I was very slightly acquainted, but who wanted to put herself en evidence, perched herself just behind me, and got a gentleman sitting next to her to hand me down a slip of paper, on which was written some message of congratulation. I only rewarded her with a stare, did not even bow or smile, and certainly sent no communication of any kind in reply. That was all. I will ask my own dearest to believe in me while I am away, and never again to feel unhappiness from want of confidence.

I have made all arrangements to leave by mail on Wednesday morning, and shall be with my own wifie on Wednesday evening about eight.—Yours, C. S. P.

Mr. Parnell held the Party meeting in Dublin on January 4th, and returned to me on January 5th, in time for the meeting of the House (on 6th January, 1881), not having thought it necessary to remain in Ireland till the termination of the trials—a circumstance which, curiously enough, was not publicly remarked upon. We spent some days together at Eltham, and I took Mr. Parnell to see my aunt, who was much charmed with him. His quiet manners and soft, clear voice pleased her greatly, as also did his personal appearance. She took his arm, and paced up and down the tapestry room with him, while she told him how she was introduced to O'Connell in the old days, when her husband, Benjamin Wood, was M.P. for Southwark. She had met O'Connell at the House, and heard what was said to have been one of his greatest speeches. She said, "I much prefer your voice, Mr. Parnell, for Daniel O'Connell's enunciation was startling to me."

Though such a great age, my aunt had still a very pretty round arm, and as she always wore the net sleeves of her youth, fastened with old-fashioned bracelets, Mr. Parnell noticed this, and commented upon the fact to me. {90} The old lady was much gratified when I told her of this. She enlisted his sympathy by telling him that she had to pay £500 a year in order to keep her beautiful old grounds intact, as the Crown desired to sell the place for building lots, and she was determined to die in the old house she had lived in for over fifty years.

The State trial ended on January 25th, 1881, the foreman of the jury stating: "We are unanimous that we cannot agree," as Mr. Parnell had assured me they would. He was in Court and loudly cheered as he hastened off to catch the boat to England.

[1] That Captain O'Shea had left Eltham for Madrid.

[2] To Captain O'Shea.

[3] Captain O'Shea.



"Live to-day—the past is registered—the future is unguessed—the instant ours."—MORTIMER COLLINS.

Forster's Coercion Bill was introduced on January 24th, 1881, and on the 25th Mr. Gladstone moved that it should have precedence of all other business before the House. Mr. Parnell fiercely opposed this motion, and kept his followers hard at work in opposition—thus forcing the House to sit from 4 p.m. on Tuesday until 2 p.m. of the next day. The details of these sittings have been recounted ad nauseam, and I need not repeat them here, but only record Parnell's fierce joy in these political fights, and my pride in him as I watched him from the Ladies' Gallery. Sometimes Willie would wish to give the seats he secured in the Ladies' Gallery to friends of his, and on such occasions I always knew that Mr. Parnell would ballot one for me. Of course, later on I could always secure a seat without ballot, if one was vacant, as I had to wait to receive messages from Mr. Parnell and Mr. Gladstone, and it was made known to the attendants that on any important occasion I held priority of place.

As a rule, after an all-night sitting he used to drive down to Eltham in order not to become well known on the Eltham railway, and come through the conservatory into my sitting-room, where I would have supper ready for him before the fire, with his smoking-jacket and slippers ready to put on. He seldom spoke after his first {92} greeting. He would take off his frock-coat and boots, and, when I slipped on the others for him, he would eat his supper quite silently, thinking over the events of the night. I never worried him to talk. Supper finished, he would light a cigar and sit down in his own arm-chair, saying, "Well, Queenie, the Old Man spoke to-night," or "So-and-so spoke," and then slowly tell me of all that had passed during the sitting, and his opinion of the present and future, so far as politics were concerned.

Sometimes when he had spoken himself he would say: "I did not speak well to-night," and sometimes it was: "I lost that quotation you gave me and brought it out sideways, and there it was all the time crushed up in my hand! Then I forgot the fellow's name and called him 'the poet.'"

"Well, Shakespeare can be called 'the poet,'" I would return soothingly.

"Yes? Is that so? It seemed to worry some of the reporters; one came and asked me what I meant! You must make me learn it better next time."

Once he began to talk he confided all his thoughts to me unreservedly, and the more freely that he had not been worried to talk when he came in cold or tired. He used to say that it was such a relief to get right away from the House when a sitting was over, and he enjoyed the drive down to Eltham in a hansom cab every night or early morning. It was only an eight-miles drive, but part of it was then very pleasant, through country lanes and over a common. Now London has swallowed up most of these pretty bits.

After relieving his mind of all political affairs of the day he would talk of things that were of home interest to us—of his stone quarries at Arklow, his saw-mills, etc., {93} of what Kerr, his Irish agent, was doing at Avondale; or of some of his hobbies at home. So we would talk till daylight sent pale gleams of light under the window curtains, and he would say: "I am really sleepy, Queenie; I'll go to bed," and as a rule he would sleep soundly until about four o'clock in the afternoon, when he would come down to breakfast in my sitting-room.

Parnell was always generous in letting any members of his Party speak when they had a chance of distinguishing themselves, and he would at once give way when he thought any member could speak better on any subject than himself. This most of his Party, if not all, acknowledged at one time. I mention the characteristic because I have noticed in more than one of the so-called "Lives" written by those strangely ignorant of the man's real character, that considerable stress is laid upon Parnell's jealousy. He was jealous, abnormally so where his affections were concerned, but not in political life.

Gladstone once said that "Parnell always knew what he wanted to say, and said it," but he was not a ready speaker, and his constitutional nervousness, hidden though it was under the iron mask of reserve he always wore in public, rendered public speaking very painful work to him. He was extremely modest about his own speeches, and frequently would say to me that So-and-so "would have put that much better to the House, but I could not have trusted him to say it and leave it." He considered that most Irishmen spoilt things by over-elaboration. Here also I may record a protest at the tales of gross discourtesies, spoken utterly without motive, recorded in some of these "Lives."

The Parnell I knew—and I may claim to have known him more intimately than anyone else on earth, both in {94} public and private life—was incapable of such motiveless brusqueries. That Parnell could crush utterly and without remorse I know; that he could deal harshly, even brutally, with anyone or anything that stood against him in the path he meant to tread, I admit; but that he would ever go out of his way to say a grossly rude thing or make an unprovoked attack, whether upon the personal appearance, morals, or character of another man, I absolutely deny. Parnell was ruthless in all his dealings with those who thwarted his will, but—he was never petty.

Parnell had a most beautiful and harmonious voice when speaking in public. Very clear it was, even in moments of passion against his own and his country's foes—passion modulated and suppressed until I have seen, from the Ladies' Gallery, his hand clenched until the "Orders of the Day" which he held were crushed into pulp, and only that prevented his nails piercing his hand. Often I have taken the "Orders" out of his pocket, twisted into shreds—a fate that also overtook the slips of notes and the occasional quotations he had got me to look out for him.

Sometimes when he was going to speak I could not leave my aunt long enough to be sure of getting to the Ladies' Gallery in time to hear him; or we might think it inexpedient that I should be seen to arrive so soon after him at the House. On these occasions, when I was able, I would arrive perhaps in the middle of his speech and look down upon him, saying in my heart, "I have come!"; and invariably I would see the answering signal—the lift of the head and lingering touch of the white rose in his coat, which told me, "I know, my Queen!"

This telepathy of the soul, intuition, or what you will, was so strong between us that, whatever the business {95} before the House, whether Parnell was speaking or not, in spite of the absolute impossibility of distinguishing any face or form behind the grille of the Ladies' Gallery, Parnell was aware of my presence, even though often he did not expect me, as soon as I came in, and answered my wordless message by the signal that I knew.

Sometimes he would wish to speak to me before I went home, and would signal by certain manipulations of his handkerchief to me to go and await him at Charing Cross, or another of our meeting-places, and there he would come to me to tell me how things were going, or to chat for a few minutes, or get from me the replies to messages sent through me to Mr. Gladstone.

* * * * * *

    Wednesday, February 23, 1881.

MY DEAR MRS. O'SHEA,—Am just starting for Calais.

Kindly send on my portmanteau with my letters and other things in my room or in the wardrobe to me at Hotel Brighton, Rue de Rivoli, Paris.—Yours always, C. S. P.

February 25, 1881.

MY DEAREST KATIE,—I have just received your three letters, and am so delighted to read them hurriedly before sending you this line in time for post.

I never had the slightest doubt of my darling, and cannot imagine why she should think so.

Did not know I was going when leaving here, but was induced to leave by private information, the nature of which I will send you in my next.

Am not yet sure whether I shall return, but shall manage to see you in any case.—Yours, C.

    Sunday evening, February 27, 1881.

MY DEAR MRS. O'SHEA,—I cannot understand your {96} telegram received to-day at all, although I have been thinking it over all the evening. I wired back as you appeared to request in it, "All right."

There was no letter for me from you at the usual address, so I enclose another, as I fear something may have gone wrong. You can write me freely in my own name under cover to this address: Thomas Adams and Co., Limited, 33 Rue d'Hauteville, Paris, and they will forward the letters safely to me.

I have been warned from Dublin that there is some plot on foot against us which has been originated by information received from Cork, and you will guess the original source.

I am expecting further information to-morrow in reference to it. I have received five letters in all from you since my arrival in Paris. Best not post your letters at Eltham.

I did not know when leaving you that I was going my departure was influenced by information of reliable kind that my arrest was intended for passage in Clare speech, and that bail would be refused, and I should be left in jail until Habeas Corpus was suspended, when I could have been again arrested. I think, however, they have now abandoned this intention, but will make sure before I return.

This is my third letter to you since my arrival here.—Yours, C. S. P.

    Tuesday, March 1, 1881.

MY DEAREST LOVE,—To-day I have received your four letters, the earliest of which was written on Saturday. You do not seem to have written on Friday, as there was nothing for me on Saturday or Sunday.

I propose returning to London on Thursday morning, leaving here Wednesday evening, but it is just possible I may not leave till Thursday morning, in which case I shall not be able to see my Katie until Friday.

If I return Thursday morning, my Queen may expect to see me about one o'clock.

Your letters make me both happy and sad, happy to hear from my own, but sad when I see how troubled you are.—Always yours, CHARLES.


    Tuesday, April 19, 1881.

DEAREST KATIE,—I send you authority for letters. They are in two forms, one authorising delivery to you, and the other to' bearer.

To-night I leave by boat for Dublin, arriving to-morrow morning. I trust my own wifie has not permitted herself to be too unhappy, and that she has not been worried. I am writing with her own beautiful face before me, and have just kissed it.—Always your husband.

Please write me to Morrison's.



"Admire, exult—despise—laugh, weep—for here
There is much matter for all feeling: Man!
Thou Pendulum betwixt a smile and tear.

In the early summer of 1881 my aunt had one of her old friends to stay with her, and I seized the opportunity of freedom to take my children to Brighton for a month, after settling the old ladies together. I had gone down before the children to take rooms for them, and was walking across Brighton Station when I was suddenly joined by a tall man whom I did not recognize for a moment until he said quietly, "Don't you know me?" It was Mr. Parnell, who had slipped into the train at Clapham Junction, knowing that I was going to Brighton, and had cut off his beard with his pocket scissors in the train in order to avoid being recognized at Brighton. He had wrapped a white muffler round his throat, and pulled it as high as possible over the lower part of his face, with the result that the manageress of the hotel he stayed at was certain that he had an infectious illness of the throat, and rather demurred at letting him in. It was only by the expedient of complaining loudly at being kept waiting in the draught with his "raging toothache" that "Mr. Stewart" was reluctantly admitted. I could not bear his appearance neither bearded nor shaven—so he went off soon after arrival, was properly shaved, and relieved the {99} hotel staff by discarding the muffler and assuring them that he was free from pain now his "tooth" was out.

He went to Cork soon after this and, to please me, was photographed without his beard and with the ring I had given him on his finger. We had had a little quarrel, and were very unhappy until we had made it up again, and he had this photograph done to remind me that he wore my ring. He also gave sittings to Henry O'Shea (no relation of Captain O'Shea) for a portrait (pencil) at this time, and this was sent to him while he was in Kilmainham. He liked this sketch much, and wrote to the paper for which it was done to this effect. When he left the prison he brought this sketch home to me, and I have it now. It hung in our dining-room till he died, and he always liked it, but I still think it a little hard and expressionless; the eyes are too large and empty. There was a painting done of Parnell years afterwards, and here also the artist failed with the eyes. This latter portrait was not, I think, done from life, but from photographs, so there was reason for the failure in this respect, photographs making unsatisfactory studies. The artist who painted this last picture gave Parnell blue eyes; presumably following the idea that Parnell was an Irishman, and must therefore have blue eyes, whereas the facts were that Parnell was not an Irishman, but the son of an Englishman resident in Ireland and his American wife, and had brown eyes, not large, but with the smouldering fires in them that gave character to his cold, high-bred face.

Parnell had so many hobbies and interests in his home life that it is difficult to enumerate them all. He once said rather wearily that if he had not "taken off his coat" in the Irish cause and for the Irish people he could have been {100} always happy at home working at things so much more congenial to him.

At one time he took up all the intricacies of bookkeeping in order that he might check his Irish agent's accounts, and many weeks he sat immersed in double entry, estate accounts keeping, commercial booking, etc., in the evening, while I sat near him typing replies to his letters ready for his signature. He used to threaten me with lessons in book-keeping, so that I might be ready to help him with the estate management at Avondale when we went to live there; but I felt that my duties as his extra and most private secretary were sufficiently arduous, and declined instruction in account-keeping.

Many hours were also spent in architectural drawings, which interested him greatly. At that time Brighton Station was being rebuilt, and Parnell was intensely interested in getting the "span" of the roof. He spent hours at odd times pacing the station, measuring distances, heights, depth of roof, etc., etc., and in drawing up plans in order that he might build a cattle shed on the same lines at Avondale. These plans he afterwards submitted to a well-known architect for his opinion on them, and they were returned as absolutely correct in every detail. He then reduced the whole thing to scale and had the cattle shed made from these plans at Avondale.

I well remember his look of reproach at me when I laughed while reading him a letter from his agent at Avondale the following winter. The agent said that Mrs. Delia Parnell (Parnell's mother) had arrived unexpectedly at Avondale, and, after seeing the new cattle shed, had at once decided to give an entertainment in it. This she had done, having the cattle shifted from their comfortable {101} quarters, the place boarded in, and a temporary floor laid down.

Parnell did not see that this expensive and troublesome eviction of his cattle for so frivolous a reason was in the least funny, and was very greatly annoyed at the whole proceeding. He was always most chivalrously kind to his mother, however, and his protest on this occasion was very gentle, though coupled with firm insistence, on the instant restoration of the cattle-house to its tenants.

Another of his hobbies was the "assaying" of small pieces of quartz from the stream at Wicklow, and I used to help him for hours at this, keeping his blow-pipe constantly at work, while he, silent and absorbed, manipulated the crucibles. When we went to live at Brighton, after my aunt's death, he had a furnace fitted up in one of the rooms so that he could work on a larger scale. His endeavour to obtain gold from this quartz was rewarded to a certain extent; but the working was, of course, far too laborious and expensive to be profitable otherwise than as a hobby. However, Parnell for five years worked at it in various odd hours till he had extracted sufficient gold to line my wedding ring, even though his hope of getting enough for the whole ring was not fulfilled.

When working at these things Parnell was absolutely oblivious to the passing of time, and it was with difficulty that I prevailed upon him to take sufficient exercise, or even to take his meals before they were spoiled by waiting. He would order his horse, "President," to be taken to a certain place about a half-mile from the house, at the hour he wished to ride, and then become so absorbed in the particular hobby of the moment that even I could get nothing from him but an abstracted smile and a gentle {102} "Is that so?" in answer to the intimation that his horse had been waiting some two hours or more for him.

Many a day I have let him work up to the last possible moment, and then literally pulled off the old "cardigan" jacket he worked in, and forced him into his frock-coat for the House; and it happened more than once that he was due to attend a meeting in Ireland, and when I had packed his things and had the carriage at the door ready for him he would throw himself into a chair and with his slow, grave smile say, "You are in a hurry to get rid of me; I will not go yet. Sit down and let me look at you a bit, my Queen." I would protest that he must go, that he would lose the mail train. "Then I'll be no use at the meeting, for it will be over!" he would mockingly reply; and so, when the last possible chance of his being in time had vanished, he would sit opposite me through the evening talking of politics, Avondale, the assaying—of anything that came into his head always watching me with that intent, considering gaze that was my bewilderment and my joy.

When he failed a meeting like this, where hundreds of people were waiting for him—or other appointments, private or public—I sometimes would want him to telegraph, or write, apologizing or excusing his non-attendance, but this he would never do, saying, "You do not learn the ethics of kingship, Queenie. Never explain, never apologize"; adding, with his rare laugh: "I could never keep my rabble together if I were not above the human weakness of apology."

When Parnell came home from Ireland after these meetings he would sit smoking and watching me as I went through the pockets of the coats he had worn while away. It was a most interesting game, and he enjoyed it {103} as much as I when I brought out a new trophy from the depths of the deepest and most obvious side pocket. It was a point of honour that he should not "feel or look" till he got home to me, and I have a dear little collection of souvenirs now from these pockets—little medals with the images of various saints, scapulars and badges, slipped in by the deft, modest fingers of sweet-faced nuns, in the crowds, whose startled, deprecating blushes when he turned and caught the delinquent in the act always won a courteous bow and smile from the heretic "Chief" whose conversion their patriotic hearts so ardently desired. I found also odds and ends pressed upon him by the hero-worshipping peasants, some gruesome scrap of the rope that had hanged some unknown scamp and hero, so "aising to the bone-pains, an' his riv'rance not looking, a bit of a twisht roun' yer honour's arrm!" or perhaps a flattened old bullet that had gained some fancied power in its evil journey through a man's heart. Then there were the brand-new kerchiefs of most vivid green, most beautifully embroidered by the clever fingers of "herself," and so many four-leaved, and therefore "lucky," shamrocks from the "colleens," who went singing all the year if they thereby earned a smile from the Chief. Even the little children used to make sudden, shy offerings to their hero; a "quare bit ave a stone," a "farden me mither giv me," or some uneasy looking fragment of what might once have been a bird's egg. Of sticks, blackthorns and others, I once had an enormous collection brought back to me at various times by Parnell, but these, together with the two riding-whips I had myself given him, were stolen from me some ten years ago, when I was moving from one house to another. The two riding-whips I prized very highly, for Parnell was so pleased {104} when I gave them to him. One was gold-mounted, the other silver-mounted, and each had "C.S.P." engraved upon it.

Among my stick collection was one made of horn—a curious thing, carved and inlaid with ivory, sent him by some unknown American admirer. He used this stick on his last journey upstairs from the sitting-room to the bed where he died.

In January of 1881, Willie, who had rooms then in Charles Street, Haymarket, came down to Eltham suddenly, very angry indeed with me because he had seen some men watching his lodgings, and imagined that I had engaged a detective to do so. As I had never had an idea of doing anything of the sort I was extremely annoyed, and a violent quarrel was the result. As a matter of fact, the men were watching the upper floor, where a friend of Willie's lived, and this friend's wife afterwards divorced him.

All these months, since my first meeting with Mr. Parnell, Willie knew at least that I frequently met him at the House. He had invited him to Eltham himself, though when the visit was first proposed I said my house was too shabby, the children would worry so nervous a man and we had better not break the routine of our (Willie's and my) life (which by then was tacitly accepted as a formal separation of a friendly sort) giving any and every excuse, because of the danger I knew I was not able to withstand.

But Willie was blind to the existence of the fierce, bewildering force that was rising within me in answer to call of those passion-haunted eyes, that waking or sleeping never left me. Willie then, as always, was content that what was his, was his for good or ill. He knew {105} that men, in our past life together, had admired me, even that some had loved me; but that was to their own undoing, an impertinence that had very properly recoiled upon their own heads. His wife could not love anyone but himself; perhaps unfortunately she did not even do that, but after all "love" was only a relative term—a little vulgar even, after girlhood had passed, and the mild affection of his own feelings towards her were no doubt reciprocated, in spite of the unfortunate temperamental differences that made constant companionship impossible.

So Parnell came, having in his gentle, insistent way urged his invitation, and from Willie. And now Willie and I were quarrelling because he, my lawful husband, had come down without the invitation that was now (for some years) understood as due to the courtesy of friends, and because he had become vaguely suspicious. Flying rumours had perhaps reached his ears; and now it was too late, for he dared not formulate them, they were too vague; too late, for I had been swept into the avalanche of Parnell's love; too late, for I possessed the husband of my heart for all eternity.

I had fought against our love; but Parnell would not fight, and I was alone. I had urged my children and his work; but he answered me: "For good or ill, I am your husband, your lover, your children, your all. And I will give my life to Ireland, but to you I give my love, whether it be your heaven or your hell. It is destiny. When I first looked into your eyes I knew."

When Willie arrived so suddenly at Eltham Mr. Parnell was not there, but Willie went into his room, and finding his portmanteau, sent it to London, and left my house, declaring he would challenge Parnell to fight a duel and would shoot him.


"My dear Mrs. O'Shea," wrote Parnell from London on the 7th of January, "will you kindly ask Captain O'Shea where he left my luggage? I inquired at both parcel office, cloak-room, and this hotel at Charing Cross to-day, and they were not to be found."

Willie later challenged Parnell, sending The O'Gorman Mahon to him as his second; but the duel was not fought. My sister, Mrs. Steele, came down to see me, and patched up a peace between myself and Willie; and Mr. Parnell, while making arrangements to go abroad to meet Willie, explained to him that he (Parnell) must have a medium of communication between the Government and himself, that Mrs. O'Shea had kindly undertaken the office for him, and, as this would render negotiations possible and safe, he trusted that Willie would make no objection to his meeting her after the duel.

"I replied to Captain O'Shea's note yesterday," writes Parnell, "and sent my reply by a careful messenger to the Salisbury Club; and it must be waiting him there.

"He has just written me a very insulting letter, and I shall be obliged to send a friend to him if I do not have a satisfactory reply to a second note I have just sent him."

Willie then thought he had been too hasty in his action, and, knowing I had become immersed in the Irish cause, merely made the condition that Mr. Parnell should not stay at Eltham.

From the date of this bitter quarrel Parnell and I were one, without further scruple, without fear, and without remorse.

The following are "cypher" letters of private messages to me bearing upon the matter of the threatened duel:—


July 20, 1881.

MY DEAR MRS. O'SHEA,—Just a line to say that I am very well and wondering when I shall see you again.

I hope that your cold is better.—Your very truly, CHAS. S. PARNELL.

    Thursday night, July 22, 1881.

MY DEAR MRS. O'SHEA,—I have received both your very kind letters quite safely, and am looking forward to seeing you somewhere or somehow to-morrow.

I am very much troubled at everything you have to undergo, and trust that it will not last long.—Yours always, CHAS. S. PARNELL.

I am still quite well. Thank you very much, for enclosure.

        Sunday evening, July 25, 1881.

MY DEAR MRS. O'SHEA,—-I write to ask you to send my travelling cap, if it is at Eltham, to me here, as I may have to go over to Paris or Boulogne some day this week.

I hope your eyes are quite well again and that you are enjoying these cool times.

I have been very lonely all to-day and yesterday. Have not seen anyone that I know.—Yours always, CHAS. S. PARNELL.

July 26, 1881.

MY DEAR MRS. O'SHEA,—I am still staying at the same address, and have postponed going to France, so you need not send my cap.—Yours always, CHAS. S. PARNELL.



"—and there is one stirring hour ... when a wakeful influence goes abroad over the sleeping hemisphere.... Do the stars rain down an influence?"—ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON.

During his leisure moments at Eltham Mr. Parnell took up the study of astronomy with the vigour that always characterized him when he was interested in a subject. He had picked out from my bookshelf a book of stars—one of Sir Robert Ball's, I believe, that I had bought at random one day, and became at once interested. From the teaching of an old friend of my father's I had a fairly good knowledge of astronomy, and, though by no means well up in the latest research and discoveries, I was able to tell him much of the stellar systems that was new to him. Finding how he devoured the little book of Sir Robert Ball's, I got several of the latter's interesting works for him, besides Herschel's.

Then Mr. Parnell told me of a magnificent telescope he had at Avondale, and sent for it. When this arrived he sent for a few sacks of Portland cement, with which he made a pedestal in my garden, and himself mounted the telescope upon it. He made an ingenious arrangement whereby the slightest touch would tilt the telescope to the desired angle, and we spent many nights, he and I, watching the stars and following the courses of the planets till they faded in the dawn. Then he thought of how near to us was the Observatory at Greenwich, and got a permit to {109} go over the Observatory. After that, on the days when my aunt had her readers with her, I used to accompany him to the Observatory, where we spent many hours.

He could always absorb very quickly any knowledge that appealed to him, and he soon had the pleasure of teaching me much about the latest discoveries, and about a subject intensely interesting to him—the wonderful way in which the telescopes used in the great observatories of the world are made.

In time this study of the stars began to worry him too much, and he reluctantly gave up all serious work on the subject. He said it was all too immense and absorbing to think about in a life that was primarily concerned with politics. But the pedestal remained, and still we occasionally mounted the telescope and kept vigil with the stars through the summer night.

On April 7, 1881, Mr. Gladstone had introduced his Land Bill into the House of Commons. It was a better Bill than the Irish Party had reason to expect, but it had grave defects, and the Irish had not been consulted; while the Government's policy of coercion and Forster's attitude towards Parnell and his followers made co-operation between the Liberals and the Irish impossible. Parnell's policy was to hold aloof and press for amendments. After being crippled in the House of Lords the Bill became law. At a Land League Convention held in Dublin on September 14 a resolution was adopted, on the suggestion of Parnell, that the Act should be tested by selected cases. "Nothing," said Parnell, "could be more disastrous to our cause or our organization, and to your hopes of getting your rents reduced, than an indiscriminate rush of the tenantry into the Land Courts."


A few days later Parnell was drawn in triumph through the streets of Dublin. The same day Forster wrote to Gladstone suggesting that Parnell should be arrested under the Coercion Act.

He suggested, moreover, that in his next speech at Leeds, on October 7, Mr. Gladstone should impeach Parnell and his policy. Gladstone obeyed. The people of Ireland, he cried, wished to use the Land Act and Parnell would not let them, but "the resources of civilisation were not yet exhausted."

Parnell retorted with passion and scorn in his famous Wexford speech delivered on October 9.[1]

"Suppose they arrest you, Mr. Parnell," asked an Irish member, who dined with the Leader on the evening of the speech, "have you any instructions to give us? Who will take your place?" "Ah!" he said, deliberately, looking through a glass of champagne which he had just raised to his lips. "Ah, if I am arrested Captain Moonlight will take my place."[2]

All through 1881 Parnell was constantly paying flying visits to Ireland, and also to various parts of England, working up the "League," addressing meetings and privately ascertaining for himself how far the temper of the "reactionaries" could be trusted to do the work he wished without becoming too greatly involved in the tactics of the "Invincibles" proper. He came home to me now always between the times of his journeyings up and down {111} the country, and if it was not certain that I should be alone he would write me a formal though friendly note or letter that anyone could have been shown, in which was given some word or sign that let me know a place or time of meeting him, either in London or nearer my home. On some of these occasions my duties to my aunt would keep me, so that I might be an hour or more late in arriving at the place where he awaited me; but never once in all those years did he once fail me or leave the place of appointment before I came, even though it might be at the loss of the mail train to Ireland, and leaving some thousands of people waiting in vain for the speech he was too far away to make. Sometimes I would become conscience-stricken on such an occasion, but he would only comment that one speech more or less was a little matter, and what was lost by a speech not made was amply compensated for by the deepened impression of his mystery and power gained by the people. "For it is the strange thing I found out early in political life," he would say, "they think I'm much more wonderful when I do nothing than when I'm working hard."

    September 10, 1881.

MY DEAR MRS. O'SHEA,—Will you kindly address and post enclosed.

I am quite recovered from my attack, and the doctor says that I shall be able to travel in a few days.—Yours very truly, CHAS. S. PARNELL.

The enclosure was the following letter:—

    September 10, 1881.

MY OWN WIFIE,—I know that you must have been much {112} worried yesterday by my failure to send you a few words, but my Beauty will forgive her own husband.

Your wire has been put into my hand as I write, and shall have an instant answer.

It gives me so much pleasure to know that your trouble has not returned since I left, and that my wires give you pleasure. Your King thinks very very often of his dearest Queen, and wishes her not to be sad, but to try and be happy for his sake. Everything is going on very well here, and your King is much satisfied.

    September 25, 1881.

MY OWN LOVELIEST,—I send you these few words to assure Wifie that her husband always thinks of her and hopes that she is well and happy. YOUR OWN KING.

October 4, 1881.

MY OWN WIFIE,—I have satisfied myself, by two separate tests to-day, that there is a good deal of silver in the dark stone of which there is so much in the old mine. In fact nearly the whole lode consists of this (the miners are working in it in the North Level). I cannot say how many ounces there will be to the ton until I get it assayed, but if there should be six or eight ounces to the ton it ought to pay to work.


    October 7, 1881.

MY OWN WIFE,—I called to-day to see him[3] on my return from Dungarvan, but he was out, and I waited for him three hours. Calling again at eleven to-night, he was again out, but returned just as I was writing to make an appointment for the morning. He says that he leaves to-morrow (Friday) evening, and stops to shoot on Saturday in Wales, and goes on Tuesday to Paris to see the Papal Nuncio, who he says has requested him to come. This, then, is the last letter I can send you for the present through Eltham, so I hope to have the other address from you to-morrow morning.

My dearest Katie must have been very lonely ever since. {113} Did she get my three letters? Her husband has been so busy he has not even had time to sleep, but he has never been too busy to think of her.

I can go over to London early next week if I may see you. Should I remain in London or go down to you?

With numerous kisses to my beautiful Queenie.

C. S. P.

October 8, 1881.

MY DEAREST LITTLE WIFIE,—Your husband has been very good since he left you, and is longing to see you again. He has kept his eyes, thought, and love all for you, and my sweetest love may be assured that he always will.

To-morrow I go to Avondale, thence to Wexford on Sunday, whence I return Monday morning and hope to be with my Queenie on Tuesday or Wednesday at latest.

Everything in Dublin has been settled up pretty satisfactorily, and I trust only to have to make an occasional appearance in Ireland during the rest of the autumn and winter. ALWAYS YOUR KING.

On October 11th, Forster crossed to England, having first arranged with Sir Thomas Steele, Commander-in-Chief in Ireland, that, should the Cabinet agree to arrest Parnell, Forster would wire the one word "Proceed."

The same day Parnell returned to Avondale, and on the next night was back in Dublin.

    October 11, 1881.

MY OWN KATIE,—I found two letters and two wires from your King's Queen here on my arrival an hour ago. Your telegram this morning took a great weight off my mind, as your silence made me almost panic-stricken lest you had been hurt by that —— and had not been able to get to town.

To-morrow I go to Kildare,[4] and shall try and start for London Friday morning; but I cannot be sure of this, as "something"[5] may turn up at last moment, and there is {114} also a meeting of the Executive on Saturday, which they want me to stay for.

However, Wifie knows I will do the best I can, and she will get a wire from me on Friday, soon after or as soon as she receives this, telling her what I have done. If I arrive London Friday night shall go to same hotel and shall wait for my darling.

Will she mind asking for my number?


On October 12th, 1881, I was in London on Mr. Parnell's business—to ascertain the movements of the Government. He, of course, was in Ireland and had warned me that it would be impossible for him to keep out of prison much longer, and that any further effort to avoid arrest would be inexpedient on all counts. I was much depressed about this and urged him to put it off as long as possible.

My health was then delicate, and I felt an unreasonable fear and loneliness when he was away from me. He was very tender and considerate to me, but pointed out that the turmoil and rebellion he had brought to a head in Ireland must be very carefully handled to be productive of ultimate good, and that he could "mark time" with the Land League better in Kilmainham than out, thus rendering this force more useful to the Home Rule campaign and less wanton in destruction. Parnell used, but never abused, the weapons of political strife he forged.

He desired immediate information of the decision of the Government to arrest him, that he might destroy any papers that, found on him, might frustrate his plans and cause unnecessary difficulty to those working with him. So when on October 12th information was sent to me, at the house where I waited in London in the neighbourhood of Piccadilly, that a Cabinet Council had been hurriedly {115} summoned, I wired in code to Parnell and directly after the Cabinet Council I was able to inform him that Forster had left for Ireland with the warrant for his arrest.

I could not bear the thought of his arrest, and after writing to him under cover to a person in Ireland who would, I knew, get my letter to him, whether in or out of prison, I telegraphed to Parnell again to know if he could meet me at Holyhead if I started at once. I had so much of his business in hand now, and he had expected to see me at least once more before the inevitable separation of his imprisonment. I felt almost unable to cope with the situation; I was not strong and I was full of anxiety as to the probable effects upon Parnell's health of life in Kilmainham Gaol. In addition to my anxiety, the deception I had to practise towards Captain O'Shea, seldom as I saw him, told upon my nerves just now. However, Parnell's message in reply, written in our private code, reassured me. While he still thought it better to suffer arrest at once, he would not go out of his way to meet it, and would be careful when in Kilmainham so that his imprisonment should be of short duration. He would not allow me to go to the fatigue of a journey to Holyhead, nor would he go abroad to avoid arrest, and I went home comforting myself as I could with his confident spirit and loving messages.

On October 13th there was a terrible gale throughout the South of England, and at Eltham, after a sleepless night, I was up early—far too early to disturb my old aunt—and wandered out through her park in the gale. The battling with the wind lifted a little the load of restlessness and anxiety as to what was happening in Ireland from my heart.

I was with my aunt as usual all that day, and was {116} glad of the quiet and rest. The old lady gazed out at the still raging storm and told me tales of her youth, while I listened to the voice I loved in the wind outside, saying to me again and again what he had said before he left me, "Be brave, Queenie. I cannot stay outside while all these others are arrested, and it is bound to be soon now."

Towards evening, when the storm had cleared a little, and my aunt had fallen asleep before the fire, I went home to get the evening papers I always had sent over from Blackheath before Willie came down from London to dinner, as he had written to say he would do. However, on my return home I found Willie already there, extremely pleased to be able to announce to me that Parnell had been arrested that morning. I knew his news directly I saw his face, and as I was really prepared for it I did not flinch, but replied languidly that I had thought Parnell "couldn't keep out of gaol much longer, didn't you?"

But Willie was so fiercely and openly joyful that my maids, who were ardent Parnellites, were much shocked, and I, being terribly overwrought, laughed at their disgusted faces as I went to dress for dinner. It was really the laugh of tears, but that laugh of jangled nerves and misery did me good service with Willie, and we got through dinner amicably enough, while he descanted upon the wickedness and folly of Parnell's policy and the way the Irish question should really be settled, and would be if it could be left to him and those who thought with him. He observed me closely, as he criticised Parnell and his policy, and reiterated his pleasure in knowing he was "laid by the heels."

I was now quite calm again, and smiled at him as I reminded him that I was now as ardent a Parnellite as {117} Parnell himself, and had already done so much hard work for "the cause" that my politics were far more reactionary that when he had introduced Parnell to me: unlike his (Willie's) own, which were less so. My heart being in Kilmainham Gaol with my lover, I was momentarily at peace, and could ask Willie questions as to the mode of life and prison discipline of political prisoners. Willie, as are so many men, was never so happy as when giving information.

The next day I received my King's letter, written as he was arrested:—

    October 13, 1881.

MY OWN QUEENIE,—I have just been arrested by two fine-looking detectives, and write these words to wifie to tell her that she must be a brave little woman and not fret after her husband.

The only thing that makes me worried and unhappy is that it may hurt you and our child.

You know, darling, that on this account it will be wicked of you to grieve, as I can never have any other wife but you, and if anything happens to you I must die childless. Be good and brave, dear little wifie, then. YOUR OWN HUSBAND.

Politically it is a fortunate thing for me that I have been arrested, as the movement is breaking fast, and all will be quiet in a few months, when I shall be released.

Speaking at the Guildhall on the day of Parnell's arrest Mr. Gladstone said: "Within these few minutes I have been informed that towards the vindication of the law, of order, of the rights of property, and the freedom of the land, of the first elements of political life and civilization, the first step has been taken in the arrest of the man who has made himself pre-eminent in the attempt to destroy the authority of the law, and substitute what {118} would end in being nothing more than anarchical oppression exercised upon the people of Ireland."

When he uttered the word "arrest" he was stopped by the audience rising en masse and cheering frantically. "Parnell's arrest"—I quote from the "Life of Forster"—"was hailed almost as though it had been the news of a signal victory gained by England over a hated and formidable enemy."

Sexton, O'Kelly, Dillon, O'Brien, and J. P. Quinn, secretary of the League, were quickly arrested, while warrants were issued for Biggar, Healy, and Arthur O'Connor. Healy was in England, and Biggar and O'Connor managed to join him there.

[1] Parnell in this speech vigorously attacked Gladstone's policy, calling him a "masquerading knight-errant" and a champion of the liberties of every nation except Ireland. He pointed out that Gladstone had a good word for the late Isaac Butt, and added scornfully that "in the opinion of an English statesman no man was good in Ireland until he was buried." By implication he challenged the Government to arrest him under the Coercion Act.

[2] "The Life of Parnell," by Barry O'Brien.

[3] Captain O'Shea.

[4] He was to have addressed a meeting at Naas.

[5] Possibility of arrest.



"Love is not a flower that grows on the dull earth;
    Springs by the calendar; must wait for the sun.
        * * * * * * *
E'en while you look the peerless flower is up
    Consummate in the birth.

At the news of the arrest a wave of indignation swept through Ireland. In Dublin there were riots. In many places shops were closed and towns and villages went into mourning as if for the death of a king.

Five days later the Land League countered the arrest by issuing the No Rent manifesto.

Parnell was really opposed to it. Dillon openly so, but the majority of the leaders then in Kilmainham Gaol approved of it, and it was signed and published in United Ireland on October 17th. The signature is interesting, it runs thus:—

"Charles S. Parnell, President, Kilmainham Gaol; A. J. Kettle, Honorary Secretary, Kilmainham Gaol; Michael Davitt, Honorary Secretary, Portland Prison; Thomas Brennan, Honorary Secretary, Kilmainham Gaol; Thomas Geston, Head Organizer, Kilmainham Gaol; Patrick Egan, Treasurer, Paris."

Meanwhile arrests and evictions went on all over Ireland, and the Coercion Act was used mercilessly and unscrupulously on behalf of the landlords. The Ladies' Land League and its president, Miss Anna Parnell, became very busy.

* * * * * *


From the time of Parnell's arrest onward until the birth of his child in the following February I lived a curiously subconscious existence; pursuing the usual routine of my life at home and with my aunt, but feeling that all that was of life in me had gone with my lover to prison, and only came back to me in the letters that were my only mark of time. I had to be careful now; Willie became solicitous for my health, and wished to come to Eltham more frequently than I would allow. He thought February would seal our reconciliation, whereas I knew it would cement the cold hatred I felt towards him, and consummate the love I bore my child's father.

October 14, 1881.

My OWN DEAREST WIFIE,—I have found a means of communicating with you, and of your communicating in return.

Please put your letters into enclosed envelope, first putting them into an inner envelope, on the joining of which you can write your initials with a similar pencil to mine, and they will reach me all right.

I am very comfortable here, and have a beautiful room facing the sun—the best in the prison. There are three or four of the best of the men in adjoining rooms with whom I can associate all day long, so that time does not hang heavy nor do I feel lonely. My only fear is about my darling Queenie. I have been racked with torture all to-day, last night, and yesterday, lest the shock may have hurt you or our child. Oh, darling, write or wire me as soon as you get this that you are well and will try not to be unhappy until you see your husband again. You may wire me here.

I have your beautiful face with me here; it is such a comfort. I kiss it every morning. YOUR KING.

    October 17, 1881.

MY DEAR MRS. O'SHEA,—I was very much pleased to receive your two letters, which reached me safely after having {121} been duly perused by the Governor. I am also writing to Captain O'Shea's Paris address to acknowledge his.

The last letter which you directed to Morrison's also reached me.

If you have not done so already, please inquire in London about the messages you were expecting, and about any others that may arrive in future, and let me know in your next whether you have received them.

This prison is not at all damp, although the air on the north side is rather so, but I am on the south side, and am so far exceedingly comfortable and not in the slightest degree dull. We are allowed to play ball, and you will be glad to hear that I won my first game against one of the best and most practised players in the place, although I have not played for twenty years.

I have received the Times, Engineer, Engineering, Mining Journal, Pall Mall Gazette, Universe, from a London office, also the Engineer directed in your handwriting.

Shall be delighted to hear from you as often as you care to write.—Yours always, C. S. P.

When you write again, please let me know how you are. I have been very anxious for news on that point.

October 19, 1881.

MY OWN DARLING QUEENIE,—I have just received your charming little letter of Tuesday, which I have been anxiously expecting for the last week. It has taken an enormous load off my mind. I shall send you a long letter to-morrow or next day, but for the present you had better not come over, as there are five or six other men in rooms adjacent to mine who find out about everybody who visits me. Besides, you would not be permitted to see me except in presence of two warders, and it might only make you more unhappy.

You must not be alarmed about rumours that the Government have evidence that we are involved in a treasonable conspiracy. There is absolutely no foundation whatever for such a statement, and it is only made to defend their own proceedings.

Dearest little Queenie, keep up your spirits. I am very {122} comfortable and very well, and expect to see my darling before the New Year.

Don't put my name in inner envelope in future, as if opened it might implicate others.

October 21, 1881.

MY OWN DARLING WIFIE,—I wrote you a short note this afternoon, which I succeeded in getting off safely. Now after we have been all locked up safely for the night, and when everything is quiet and I am alone, I am going to send my own Queenie some news. But first I must tell you that I sleep exceedingly well, and am allowed to read the newspapers in bed in the morning, and breakfast there also, if I wish.

I want, however, to give you a little history from the commencement of my stay here.

When I heard that the detectives were asking for me a terror—one which has often been present with me in anticipation—fell upon me, for I remembered that my darling had told me that she feared it would kill her; and I kept the men out of my room while I was writing you a few hasty words of comfort and of hope, for I knew the shock would be very terrible to my sweet love.

I feared that I could not post it, but they stopped the cab just before reaching the prison and allowed me to drop the letter into a pillar-box. My only torture during those first few days was the unhappiness of my queen. I wired Mrs. S. to know how you were, but the wire was sent back with a note that it could not be delivered as she had gone to R. Finally your first letter came, and then I knew for the first time that you were safe. You must not mind my being in the infirmary. I am only there because it is more comfortable than being in a cell, and you have longer hours of association, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., instead of being locked up at 6 and obliged to eat by yourself. The infirmary is a collection of rooms, and each has a room to himself—Dillon is in a cell, but he is allowed as a special privilege to come over and associate with us during the daytime. I am obliged to invent little maladies for myself from day to day in order to give Dr. Kenny an excuse for keeping me in the infirmary, but I have never felt better in {123} my life. Have quite forgotten that I am in prison, and should very much miss the rattle of the keys and the slam of the doors. The latest discovery is heart affection.

The only thing I don't like is that the Government insist upon sending a lot of police into the gaol every night, two of whom sleep against my door and two more under my window. Just at present we are all in great disgrace on account of the manifesto, and the poor warders have been most of them dismissed and fresh ones brought in. A very strict watch is kept, and I have been obliged to exert my ingenuity to get letters out to you and to get yours in return. If Wifie is very good and becomes strong and happy again I may let her come over and see me after a time, but for five days more I am not to be allowed to see any visitor, but I will write you again about your coming. They have let us off very easily. I fully expected that we should have been scattered in different gaols through the country as a punishment, but they evidently think no other place safe enough for me. Indeed, this place is not safe, and I can get out whenever I like, but it is probably the best policy to wait to be released. And now good-night, my own dear little Wifie. Promise your husband that you will sleep well and look as beautiful when we meet again as the last time I pressed your sweet lips. YOUR OWN HUSBAND.

October 26, 1881.

MY DEAR MRS. O'SHEA,—Many thanks for your kind letter. I am anxiously waiting for another note from you to say that you have quite recovered from the indisposition you speak of.

I was in hopes that time would pass mote slowly in prison than outside, but it seems to pass quite as quickly as anywhere else except those hours at Eltham.—Yours always, C. S. P.

October 28, 1881.

MY DEAR MRS. O'SHEA,—Not having heard from you this week, I write this to say that I hope you are better, and that the absence of a letter from you is not to be attributed to any increase in the indisposition of which you spoke in your last. {124}

I am glad to be able to tell you that I am exceedingly well. Health and spirits never better.—Yours very truly, CHAS. S. PARNELL.

November 1, 1881.

MY DEAR MRS. O'SHEA,—Thanks very much for your letters and telegram.

I was rather indisposed yesterday, but am very much better to-day. I am told that everybody gets a turn after they have been here for three or four weeks, but that they then become all right. I write you this lest you and other friends should be troubled by exaggerated reports in the newspapers.

My esteemed friend Mr. Forster has become very disagreeable lately. He refuses to allow me to see my solicitor except in presence and hearing of two warders, so I have declined to see him at all. He also refuses to allow me to see visitors except in the cage, which I have also declined to do, but probably things may be relaxed again after a time.—Yours very truly, C. S. P.

Parnell had a certain visitor who was permitted to see him in Kilmainham on his "necessary and private" business, though not alone, and this gentleman was able to take his letters out, and bring them to him, unobserved, and after putting them into another outer envelope address them to "Mrs. Carpenter" at an address in London, whence I fetched them. Or sometimes he would send a formal letter to me at Eltham enclosing one addressed to some political or other personage. If Willie were at Eltham I would show him this note asking me to post enclosure on a certain date. The enclosure was, of course, to me—sent thus to keep me from the fatigue of going to town so often. The Governor of Kilmainham for some reason became suspicious of Parnell's visitor, and forbade his interviews except in the close proximity of two warders selected by himself, and Parnell refused to see him at all {125} under these restrictions. He wrote me a friendly letter then, telling me this, and other little news of his prison life, as to an ordinary acquaintance, and addressed it direct to Eltham, sending it to be approved by the Governor and posted in the ordinary way. In this letter, that anyone might have seen, there was a message by a private sign to go to the house in town for a letter within a few days. On doing so, I found my letter as usual, posted by a friendly warder, and contained in it was a recipe for invisible ink, and this ink could only be "developed" by one particular formula, a combination known only to one chemist. We were saved an infinity of trouble and anxiety, as we could now write between the lines of an ordinary or typewritten letter without detection, and it was no longer essential to get a third person to direct the envelopes. In time the Governor again became suspicious, and the friendly warder was dismissed—or Parnell was told so. However, this was only a temporary inconvenience, as Parnell was able in a couple of days to reorganize his communications with me, and this time they were not broken.

November 2, 1881.

I have just succeeded in having my communications, which were cut for a while, restored, and have received your letter of Friday night. In writing me please always acknowledge receipt of my letters by their date. I have quite recovered. My illness did me good, and I have a first-rate appetite.

You must not mind reports about my health. In fact, our "plots" have been completely disarranged by the necessity of writing and wiring my Queenie that there is nothing the matter with me.

I hope to be able to arrange to see you as soon as I hear that W. is firmly fixed.

I look at my beautiful Queen's face every night before I {126} go to bed and long for the time when I may be with you again. Only for that I should be happier here than anywhere else.

November 5, 1881.

MY DARLING WIFIE,—When I received your dear letter to-day I had just time to send you a few hasty lines in acknowledgment; now when everything is quiet and with your own sweet face before me I can give my thoughts up entirely to my Queen, and talk to you almost as well as if you were in my arms. It seems to me a long, long time since our hasty good-bye, although the first three weeks of my present life—which term will have been completed to-morrow morning—has seemed only a moment. I often feel very sad when I think of poor, unhappy Katie waiting for her husband who does not come any longer as he used to come, but who will come again to her and will not again leave her.

I am trying to make arrangements that my own Queenie may come to me this time. I shall ask my ruler here if I may see my cousin, "Mrs. Bligh, who is coming from England to see me," in his office, and with only himself present. After all, darling, the only way in which I could have escaped being here would have been by going to America, and then I could not have seen you at all, and I know I should not have been so happy or so comfortable in America as here, and, besides, I should have been beset by so many dangers there.

I admire supremely my life of ease, laziness, absence of care and responsibility here. My only trouble is about your health and happiness and this has been my only trouble from the first. Queenie, then, will see that she also must try not to be so unhappy, especially as her husband's love is becoming stronger and more intense every hour and every day.

You will be anxious to know what my short illness was about. It was of a very unromantic kind—not the heart, but the stomach. I had not much appetite for some days, and was tempted by a turkey to eat too much, thence very severe indigestion and considerable pain for about an hour. However "our doctor," by means of mustard and chlorodyne, got me all right again, and my appetite is now as good as ever. In fact, I have gotten over very quickly the "mal du prison" {127} which comes on everybody sooner or later more or less severely.

One of the men in this quarter who has been here for nearly nine months, poor fellow, looks after me as if he was my—brother, I was going to say, but I will substitute Mary.[1] He makes me a soda and lemon in the morning, and then gives me my breakfast. At dinner he takes care that I get all the nicest bits and concocts the most perfect black coffee in a "Kaffee Kanne" out of berries, which he roasts and grinds fresh each day. Finally, in the evening, just before we are separated for the night, he brews me a steaming tumbler of hot whisky. He has marked all my clothes for me also, and sees that the washerwoman does not rob me. Don't you begin to feel quite jealous?

I am going to ask Katie to put her proper initials upon the inner envelope of her next letter—-thus, K. P. Your writing on the outside envelope of the one which came to-day will do splendidly.

I do not think there is the least probability of my being moved; this is the strongest place they have, and they are daily trying to increase its strength according to their own notions, which are not very brilliant. My room is very warm and perfectly dry. They wanted me to go to another, which did not face the sun, but I refused, so they did not persist.

With a thousand kisses to my own Wifie, and hoping soon to lay my head in its old place.

Good-night, my darling.

November 7, 1881.

I did not advertise in Standard.

MY DARLING QUEENIE,—Your two letters received, and King is very much troubled about you.

I am very warm—have fire and gas in my room all night if I want it.

Dearest Wifie must try and get back her spirits and good looks for her own husband's sake. C. S. P.

November 12, 1881.

MY DARLING WIFIE,—I have received my darling's letter {128} of the 9th quite safely, also the enclosure in the previous one, which I will keep as you wish it; but I shall not want it, my own love.

The statement about the food was only to prepare the way to get up a collection in the country so as to save the American money for other purposes.

We think of announcing by and by that we have gone on Government food, and then start the subscription, as there is no other way of getting money from the country. In any case, this could not affect me, as I am in the infirmary, and should be entitled to get whatever Dr. Kenny orders for me. Wifie may depend upon it that whatever happens we shall take good care of ourselves; at present we are living upon all the good things of the world—game, etc. The authorities have intimated to me twice that I may go out if I will say that I will go abroad, but I have replied that I am not in any hurry, and that when I go out I shall go or stay where I please. In fact, I much prefer to wait here till the meeting of Parliament.

Will write Wifie a long letter to-morrow.


November 14, 1881.

MY OWN QUEENIE,—Your husband continues very well, and very much contented with the position of things outside.

I am told the Government don't exactly know what to do with us now they have got us, and will take the first decent excuse which presents itself of sending us about our business.

Queenie's letters give me great comfort, as I think I see by them she is not quite so unhappy as she was, and has more hope of seeing her King soon again. I am in a continual state of alarm, however, lest something may hurt you.



MY OWN QUEENIE,—I hope my darling will not hurt herself going after those letters. I have got some paper to write direct to you, and shall try one on Monday. I do not use it for writing to anybody else, so that Queenie need not be afraid {129} of that, but she should write very lightly, and with a gold pen.

My own little Wifie, I so wish I could be with you to comfort and take care of you, but will you not try to care for yourself, my darling, for my sake?


MY DEAREST QUEENIE,—I write hastily to say that I am receiving your darling letters all right, though the watch is very close, and it is difficult to get them either out or in.

I am exceedingly well, sleep very well, go to bed at ten or eleven, or whenever I like, get up at nine, or whenever I like.

Do, beautiful Wifie, take care of yourself and your King's child.

November 18, 1881.

Use thinner letter paper in future, as envelopes are suspiciously bulky.

Your own King continues very well, and has received your two letters safely.

Our mutual friend is waiting for me at present, and probably has some more for me and will take this. I have just heard on good authority that they intend to move me to Armagh the end of this week or beginning of next in order to give me an opportunity of escaping while there. However, they may change their mind, and in any case it will make no difference to me personally. Armagh is healthier and nicer in every way, I am told by our Chief W., who comes from there. I am also told, on the same authority who informed me of projected move to Armagh, that we shall be certainly all released before Christmas.

I am disposed to think I have got heavier, but shall know to-morrow when I weigh.

Best love to our child.


November 21, 1881.

MY OWN QUEENIE,—Yours of the 18th has reached me safely, and though I am relieved to know that my darling is {130} a little less miserable, yet I am still very much troubled and anxious about you. Has he[2] left yet? It is frightful that you should be exposed to such daily torture. My own Wifie must try and strengthen herself, and get some sleep for her husband's sake and for our child's sake, who must be suffering much also.

I am convinced that if it had not been for the unfortunate result of Tyrone I should not be here. I hope that Stafford may be followed by another success in Derry, and that it may open their eyes to the danger of their present proceedings. I can really honestly tell Wifie that my health is not only as good, but better than it has been at any time for the last twelve months.

I don't know who it was sent me the quilt; I am sending it to Wicklow, as it is green—a colour I detest. I don't want it here at all, as there are too many things on my bed as it is.


The Woolwich or Charlton post offices will do very well when you recommence writing.

November 29, 1881.

MY OWN QUEENIE,—I was very happy in receiving my darling's letter of yesterday to-day. My messenger was looking very frightened, and fears his letters may be opened any day. So perhaps it will be safest for Wifie not to write again for a few days, until I see further, or until I can manage another address. I can manage, however, to write my Queenie two or three times a week. You must not be frightened if you see we have all gone on P. F.[3] It will not be so as far as we are concerned here, and will only be for a week as regards the others, but Wifie must not tell anybody that I have not done so, as it would create discontent amongst the others. The man who has been taking care of me is going out to-morrow, and will be a loss to me. He has been very ill during the last week from bad sore throat, and was very nearly suffocated the night before last, so I sent O'Gorman Mahon to Forster about him, with the desired effect of getting his {131} discharge. One of the others will supply his place to me, but not so well.

Have not been weighed yet, but will to-morrow. I think Wifie has my last weight. After eight at night I read books, newspapers, and write until about twelve or one, when I go to bed. I also think a good deal of my own darling during that time when everything is quiet, and wonder how soon I shall be with you again.

The time is passing rather more slowly this month than the first, but still it is not yet monotonous.

With best love.


MY OWN QUEENIE,—I have just received your two letters, one of Tuesday, the other 25th, and am enormously relieved to find you are well. You can direct the next envelopes in a feigned hand; it is safer than sending you any more. The outside envelope of yours of the 25th appears to have been tampered with, but the inside one is all right. I am trying to arrange that you may see me as soon as he[4] is gone to Madrid, and you become quite strong, and will write you more fully about it to-morrow. ALWAYS YOUR KING.

Gum your inside envelopes well. There is no risk of my being moved.

December 3, 1881.

MY OWN QUEENIE,—Your letter of the 1st has just reached me.

You ought to have had a note by the 1st explaining about P. fare, and suggesting caution until another means of communication can be found, as my messenger fears his letters may be opened any day.

I am exceedingly well, and am not really on prison fare, as we can get anything we want here.

Am rejoiced to learn that Wifie hopes our child will be strong—I think it ought to have a good constitution.

All my pains and aches have quite disappeared, and I have become quite acclimatized, I expect to be so fresh when I {132} get out that even Wifie won't be able to hold me, although her bonds are very strong and pleasant.


Tuesday, December 6, 1881.

MY QUEENIE,—I have not yet been able to arrange other means of communication for my own darling, but hope to do so shortly.

Her dear letter of the 1st has reached me quite safely, but it would be a risk for her to write again to the same place. In any case I will send you in my next a prescription which will enable you to write ordinary letters with something added.

Your King never felt nearly so well in his life before. The strong exercise, ball-playing, which I have missed very much during the last few years of my life, is improving me immensely, as strong exercise always agreed with me.


Wednesday, December 7, 1881.

MY OWN QUEENIE,—You may see a paragraph about my health in the Freeman of Friday which may worry you, so write to say that it is very much exaggerated for the purpose of preventing a change in our rooms to some which are not in any way so nice.

I have caught a slight cold, which the doctor thinks will pass off in a day or two.

I will write you direct to-morrow with the secret ink of which the prescription is on the other side. No. 1 is for writing, No. 2 is for bringing it out. Wifie may write me with this to the same address as usual and in the same way, but she should write also with ordinary ink on the first page of the letter something as follows:

DEAR SIR,—I have yours of —— inst., and will pay attention to the directions given.—Yours truly, R. CAMPBELL.

The secret handwriting should be with a clean quill pen, and should be written lightly.

I feel much better this afternoon than I did this morning.



You had best test the No. 1 solution by attempting to bring it out with No. 2. If it does not come out well increase the strength of both solutions. Use unglazed rough paper. Do not be worried, darling, and take good care of our child.

Friday, December 9, 1881.

MY OWN QUEENIE,—I wired you yesterday as I was dreadfully frightened about the effect the par in Freeman would have on you, and hope you did not get into overmuch trouble about telegram.

The feverish cold quite passed away yesterday after one night, and I am up to-day but keeping a poor mouth, so as to try to baulk a pretty scheme for moving us from our present rooms into others where they think we will be safer. You must not pay any attention to O. D.'s account, as it was carefully got up.

I don't eat bread, only for breakfast, but D. and I have each two raw chops smuggled in daily which we do for ourselves, and we also make our own tea.

We also always have a cold ham in stock—Queenie must not think I am deceiving her about anything—I never felt as well in my life as when I wrote to tell her so the evening before I was taken ill, and next morning I woke with a hot head.

At present I am getting all my food from the Governor's kitchen, and it is excellent.

We hope by the row we are making to compel Government to make the food sufficiently good to satisfy the men and take expense of their keep off our resources.

In future you had best brush any letters I write you to E. with No. 2 solution, as, unless you desire me not to do so, I will write you for the future alternately to E. and W. Place so as to save you the trouble and fatigue of going to London so often. ALWAYS YOUR OWN HUSBAND.

December 13, 1881.

MY OWN QUEENIE,—Your two letters have reached me quite safely and are all right.

I am quite well again now, and could go out were it not that the weather is so cold that the doctor does not think it prudent.


I hope my darling is well and has not been hurt by the anxiety. My mind has been in the utmost distress about my Wifie and her child all the week, and you do not know what a relief your telegram from London was.

December 14, 1881.

MY DARLING QUEENIE,—Your second letter reached me all right, and I can read them perfectly. But, my darling, you frighten me dreadfully when you tell me that I am "surely killing" you and our child.

I am quite well again now, my own, and was out to-day for a short time, and will take much better care of myself for the future. It was not the food, but a chill after over-heating myself at ball. But I do not intend to go back on prison fare, even nominally, again, as the announcement that we were on it has served the purpose of stimulating the subscription.

Rather than that my beautiful Wifie should run any risk I will resign my seat, leave politics, and go away somewhere with my own Queenie, as soon as she wishes; will she come? Let me know, darling, in your next about this, whether it is safe for you that I should be kept here any longer.


There can be no doubt we shall be released at opening of Parliament, but I think not sooner.

Dr. K. was allowed to be with me at night while I was ill, and we are not to be changed from our rooms.

December 15, 1881.

MY OWN DARLING QUEENIE,—Nothing in the world is worth the risk of any harm or injury to you. How could I ever live without my own Katie?—and if you are in danger, my darling, I will go to you at once.

Dearest Wifie, your letter has frightened me more than I can tell you. Do write, my darling, and tell me that you are better. I have had nothing from you for several days. I am quite well and strong again.

We have made arrangements so that everybody will be allowed to feed himself for the future, the poorer men getting so much a week. YOUR OWN HUSBAND.


December 16, 1881.

MY OWN QUEENIE,—I think it will be best to make the change you suggest in yours of yesterday, but you need not trouble or fatigue yourself about it immediately.

I am going on all right, darling, and expect to have another game of ball to-morrow, but shall take care not to heat myself.

I could not very well make any arrangement or enter into any undertaking with Government unless I retired altogether from politics.

Your letter has relieved me very much. I have been dreadfully frightened about you for the last week. Do take care of yourself, my own darling, and I will also take good care of myself for the future.

We have both to live for each other for many happy years together.

You need not write near so heavily or use so much ink, and it would be also better to have a softer paper, more like blotting paper. YOUR OWN KING.

December 22, 1881.

Many happy returns of Christmas, my own darling. Though your husband cannot be with you this time, he looks forward to very many happy returns with you.

I am very, very happy that my own Wifie is better, and that she has been relieved from some of the intolerable annoyance for a time.

Your husband is quite well. We have succeeded in getting our new exercise ground.


Xmas Eve.

Letters of 22nd and 23rd arrived safely.

MY OWN QUEENIE,—Just as the coming day is approaching I send my own love what she has asked me for, and trust that it will make her forget our squabble of last Xmas Day, as I had long since forgotten it.

My darling, you are and always will be everything to me, and every day you become more and more, if possible, more than everything to me.





Queenie need not be in the least anxious about me. I have been getting my meals from the Governor's kitchen up to the present, but to-morrow we return to the old arrangement of being supplied from the outside. Nominally we are to get only one meal a day from the outside, but in reality they will permit those who wish and can afford it to get the other two meals as well from outside, at their own expense, of course, and those who are with me in these quarters intend to do this. I do not receive any letters from any ladies I know, except one from Mrs. S., shortly after I came here. She wrote to sympathize, and said she had been ill. I replied after a time, asking how you were, but forgot to ask how she was, and she has not written since. Am glad to say that none of my "young women" have written.

Let me know as soon as he goes and I will write you home.

Government are not likely to go out for a while, but they will scarcely go out without letting me out first.


December 30, 1881.

MY OWN QUEENIE,—Your two letters just received but not read yet. I hope Wifie is sleeping better and getting stronger like her husband.

I am very nervous about the doctors, and you should at all events tell one of them the right time, so that he may be on hand, otherwise you may not have one at all. It will never do to run this risk.

I will write Queenie a long letter to-night.

[1] My parlourmaid.

[2] Captain O'Shea was staying at Eltham for some days.

[3] Prison fare.

[4] Captain O'Shea.



"The soul of a philosopher will consider that it is the office of philosophy to set her free."—SOCRATES.

January 3, 1882.

MY OWN DARLING QUEENIE,—Many happy New Years, my own love, with your husband to make you happy.

My Queenie must take great care of herself, and must be sure to have at least one doctor in February. It will never do to let it trust to chance.

There is every prospect of my being able to see my darling soon, but it does not do to be too sure, as things change so much from day to day.

January 7, 1882.

MY OWN QUEENIE,—If Queenie could see her husband reading her letters over and over again every night she would have more faith in their readable quality and power for giving her husband happiness than she can have in looking at the blank paper as the result of her work. The paper of that of the 6th, which reached me to-day, is exactly suited; but Wifie, in sending two sheets, one of them quite blank, makes a bad conspirator, but I must forgive her, as the result is by no means blank to me.

I do feel very anxious about you, my darling, and cannot help it. You must tell the doctor, and never mind about ——. Could you not go to London or Brighton about the beginning of February? London would be best, if you could get him away on any pretext; but if you could not, Brighton would leave you most free from him.

It is perfectly dreadful that Wifie should be so worried at night. I had hoped that the doctor's orders would have prevented that.

I am being fed very well. Chops or grilled turkey or eggs {140} and bacon for breakfast, soup and chops for luncheon, and joint and vegetables, etc., for dinner, and sometimes oysters. The "one meal a day" is only a pretence. Each man gets £2 when arrested, and 15s. a week, and can feed himself as he likes. Most of them pocket the money and make the Government feed them. You can understand the unwillingness of W.'s friend to leave under these circumstances. The Government food is much better now after the row about it, so most of the men can manage very well with it, and send the 15s. home or put it in bank. I expect the majority of the Irish people will be here after a time, the pay is so good and it is quite a safe place. I am very well, dearest Queenie, and enjoying our new exercise yard very much.


January 11, 1882.

MY OWN QUEENIE,—Yes, I will go to you, my love, immediately I am released. There is nothing in the world that I can do in Ireland, nor is it likely that I shall be able to do anything here for a long time to come. Certainly until the Coercion Act has expired I will not speak here again, so Queenie need not be afraid that when she gets me again she will lose me.

I am disposed to think that Government at present intend to release me shortly before opening of Parliament, but, of course, they may change their mind and hasten or postpone my release. Anyhow, let Queenie's mind be quite at rest, I am very well and am growing more vigorous every day, the air and exercise in the new yard suiting me exactly.

I long very, very much to be with my own Wifie again, and wish I could take care of and comfort her in the time that is coming—Queenie has been very good and very loving to her husband to give him this child, and to take such care of it during this long, sad interval, but she must remember that she is far more to me than all the world beside, and that she must specially take care of herself, as her King cannot now live without her.

I had forgotten to tell you that the jacket and other things you gave me have been very useful and comfortable. During my illness I wore it all the time, and wear it now in the {141} mornings to read the newspapers. It has quite cured pain in shoulder.

I do trust you have been now relieved for a time by his departure, and that you are getting a little sleep. It is enough to have killed you several times over, my own Queenie.


January 17, 1882.

MY OWN QUEENIE,—The large paper is very good, the best for the purpose of any you have tried yet.

Your husband is so happy that you have at last been left free for a time.

Queenie may send her letters from any place about that she likes, but she had best not write direct, as there is a very sharp-eyed man over the letters.

Very much lighter writing will do, and it might be written between the lines of the ordinary ink, but it is best not to risk anything just now.

I think Brighton will do very well if Wifie likes it, and if it would be safe for her to be so far from London. Her King could be there quite well, as he intends to take a holiday when released, and will not go to work at once.

Have just received formal and usual notice of further detention, first three months being up. The other two have also received theirs. This has no significance one way or the other, as nobody has ever been released at the end of the exact period. My own Wifie must try and keep herself well and strong. Does she feel so? I wish I could be with my poor darling.

It is really the only reason why I wish for a change, and my Queenie's loneliness and weariness makes me very unhappy. Yesterday and to-day as three of us were exercising in our yard the gates in adjoining yard leading into the outer world were opened twice to permit some carts to come in and go out. A low wall only separated the two yards, across which we could have easily sprung; there was no warder in our yard, and only one in the next, with his back turned to us. So, you see, we can get out whenever we want to. Trying to escape is six months with hard labour, so we have nothing {142} to gain by it, even if they keep us till end of Act in October, which they are not at all likely to do.


January 21, 1882.

MY OWN QUEENIE,—On further consideration I think it would be much too risky for my darling to go to Brighton, as you would be too far from the doctor, so let it be London or home. I shall find means to see my Wifie wherever she is.

It looks like our release shortly.

Yours of 19th received.

January 23, 1882.

We have got an air-gun and practise every day.

MY OWN QUEENIE,—Your letter of the day before yesterday makes me very nervous about my own love again, as I fear from it that you are going to distress and worry yourself about me again. I can assure you, my own, that I am exceedingly well, and am likely to remain so.

Notwithstanding the newspapers, it is most unlikely they will keep us here till the commencement of session. D., indeed, will probably go out in a day or two on account of his health; but in any case my Queenie must not think of worrying about her husband, as he is very comfortable and happy where he is, if he might only see his own Wifie sometimes. I should feel quite lonely now in London without being able to see my darling, and I should very much prefer to stay here than to be all alone in London while Wifie is suffering, except that I know it would comfort her to have me even so near her.

I hope you have received my letter saying that I think London or home the best for you, and not Brighton; the latter would be much too far from the doctors. Does Wifie feel strong and well? I fear my poor Queenie has had a dreadful time of it, and our poor little child also.


January 28, 1882.

MY OWN DEAREST QUEENIE, I did not like to write direct, lest there should be any mistake, especially as my paper is not very suitable. It looks as if they were going to keep me here {143} for a while longer, probably till a month or so after the opening of session, in order that they may get their new rules more easily.

I do not know what to say, my darling, about your going to Brighton, but Queenie will decide best for herself. I hope Wifie will not feel much worried about not seeing me so soon as she hoped. Her husband is very well indeed, and in the best of spirits.

I do not like your going to London so often, it may hurt you. Is there any address you could get nearer home, so that you would not have to go so far?

My poor little Wifie, I wish I could be with you, but Queenie must be good and take care of herself.

It looks to-day as if D. would go out soon; in that case it would facilitate our release. YOUR OWN KING.

January 31, 1882.

Have received your two letters postmarked E. Be cautious about writing for a few days. I am very well, and trust my darling is well.

Rumours about legal adviser being arrested, but will send you another address to-morrow.

February 2, 1882.

MY OWN QUEENIE,—Have just received your third letter with E. postmark—shall write you to-morrow direct so as to avoid for you the fatigue of going to London. The writing between the lines comes out perfectly, and you need at no time write more heavily.

With best love and urgent request that my darling will take care of herself. YOUR OWN KING.

February 3, 1882.

MY OWN QUEENIE,—You really must try and sleep properly at night and stop worrying yourself about me. I can assure my darling there is nothing to feel unhappy about so far as my health goes. I really cannot remember when I have ever felt so well in my life.

It is very very hard not to be able to see each other, and that my poor Wifie should not have her husband with her {144} now—I think after this letter I shall be able to write you a few lines occasionally home, so as to save Wifie going to London, but if she writes to me in the same way she must be very careful and write very lightly and between the lines. A gold pen is, I think, better than a quill.

The alarm about the legal adviser has blown over, so Queenie may direct as usual.

The Paris failures don't concern us in any way, as everything is secure.[1]

Give my best love to our little child, and take good care of yourself and it for my sake. YOUR OWN HUSBAND.

February 10, 1882.

MY OWN QUEENIE,—I have received your note postmarked 7th, but have not had time to read it yet.

I hope my darling will take better care of herself; that journey to London in the fog was most dangerous for her.

I think that we shall probably be released by the middle of March, as it will be known then which way the tenants intend to go, and we shall be able to decide whether it is worth our while remaining here any longer.

How does Queenie intend letting her husband know how she is?


February 14.

MY OWN DARLING QUEENIE,—To-day I have written you direct, sending a few words between the lines, just to see how it will answer. I find that rubbing with blotting paper after the words are dry takes away any glistening or appearance of letters. My own Wifie had best not try writing direct here, but send all her letters as usual, and continue to do so.

The note I have just written goes out through a warder, and I think I shall always be able to manage in that way, but in case Queenie should get a letter from me through the Governor she will see it marked with his initials on the top left-hand corner, and in that case she might write me a commonplace letter direct here, but nothing between the lines.

Wifie is very good indeed to write her husband such beautiful {145} letters; if she only knew what a pleasure and happiness every word from her is to her husband it might make her feel a little less unhappy. I am very much troubled about my darling having become so thin, and fear that you have suffered a great deal more than you have ever told me, and that you are not strong. I often reproach myself for having been so cruel to my own love in staying so long away from her that time, which has led to such a long, long separation. I was dragged into that Kildare engagement, otherwise I should have been safe with Wifie. Until then I had settled that I should leave Ireland after Wexford. It would, however, have been very difficult for me to have kept out of the country even if I had left then, and on the whole I hope it will turn out all for the best. At least, I am very glad that the days of platform speeches have gone by and are not likely to return. I cannot describe to you the disgust I always felt with those meetings, knowing as I did how hollow and wanting in solidity everything connected with the movement was. When I was arrested I did not think the movement would have survived a month, but this wretched Government have such a fashion for doing things by halves that it has managed to keep things going in several of the counties up till now. However, next month, when the seeding time comes, will probably see the end of all things and our speedy release.

I hope Wifie has got her house in London; I am exceedingly anxious about those long journeys to London for you, my own. Your husband is very well indeed, and is, I think, actually beginning to grow fat!

I think Queenie ought to congratulate me at being away from the House instead of pitying me.

When I get out I hope to have a good long rest with my own little Wifie somewhere, and to listen to the waves breaking as we used those mornings of spring last May.


February 17, 1882.

MY OWN QUEENIE,—I had written my Queenie a nice long letter which she should have liked very much, but an alarm came before my messenger arrived that we were all going to be searched, and I was obliged to burn it.


I intend to try and send you a letter direct, written between the lines—I find that by rubbing the words after they are dry it removes all the glistening appearance.

Queenie had best not write me direct at any time, but she can send me a word in the usual way as soon as she is able to tell me how she is. Your King will wait very anxiously for that word. Oh, my Queenie, do take care of yourself, and do not run any risk by remaining at E.

It is exceedingly likely that we shall all be released about the end of March, as then the lading time comes, and the tenants will have to decide whether they will pay or not, and as the majority have decided to pay already it is most likely the minority will then follow suit. YOUR OWN KING.

February 17, 1882.

MY OWN DARLING QUEENIE,—I cannot describe to you what a relief your little note was that everything was quite right. Oh, my Wifie, when I had your two short messages of the 14th your poor husband burst into tears and could not hold up his head or think of anything until my darling's note arrived that everything was right.

My own, you must be very good and quiet until you are quite strong again, and do not be in a hurry to get up.

I have only just a minute to close this as my Mercury is waiting. YOUR OWN LOVING HUSBAND.

My baby was born on February 16th, 1882. I was very ill, but the joy of possessing Parnell's child carried me through my trouble. She was a beautiful baby, apparently strong and healthy—for the first few weeks—and with the brown eyes of her father. This child of tragedy rarely cried, but lay watching me with eyes thoughtful and searching beyond the possibility of her little life. I used to seek in hers for the fires always smouldering in the depths of her father's eyes, but could not get beyond that curious gravity and understanding in them, lightened only by the little smile she gave when I came near.

* * * * * *


March 5, 1882.

MY DEAR MRS. O'SHEA,—It is so long since I have heard from you that I sometimes wonder whether you have quite forgotten me.

In case you see any of my friends who may inquire after me, will you kindly tell them that I am very well, and that there is no truth in the stupid rumour which appeared in some of the London papers about the seven days' solitary confinement—I was merely prevented from receiving or sending letters for a week; the latter portion of the sentence did not trouble me much, as I am an even worse correspondent in here than when I was outside.

I think you will scarcely know me when you see me again, I have become so fat.

I have not heard from your sister for a great many months; in fact have only had one letter from her since I have been here.

Believe me, yours very truly, CHAS. S. PARNELL.

March 16, 1882.

MY OWN DARLING QUEENIE,—You are very good to your husband in writing so often and so lovingly to your King, even when you must have been suffering terribly. I cannot describe to my little Wifie how hopeless and utterly miserable I felt until your little note came that all was quite right. I am very happy, my own, that our little daughter pleases you, and that you are not too much disappointed, and that she is strong and good-tempered. Does Queenie think she will be too big? I shall love her very much better than if it had been a son; indeed, my darling, I do love her very much already, and feel very much like a father. What do you intend to call her?

Will you not give her papa's best love and innumerable kisses?

I have been arranging a little happiness, I hope, for Queenie, as soon as she is strong and well enough to come over here and can manage it. I have been training up Captain Barlow, the chairman of the Prisons Board, to allow me to see my married sisters in private. To-day I got him to give {148} me a private visit with one of them, Mrs. Dickinson, for the first time, and I did so with the intention of passing Queenie off as another married sister after a time. Wifie will then be able to come and see for herself how well her husband looks, and how happy and comfortable he is. I don't know whether they intend to move me or not, and do not like to guess, but wherever I go I shall be probably very well off. The dusting they got in the House the other night about treatment of the rank and file will do them good. I am told that all the police in the King's County were drafted into Tullamore and put into plain clothes to form an audience for Forster. Shall send Wifie my weight to-morrow with certificate of chief warder so that you may believe it.

Do you remember what it was the last time? I think Wifie has the ticket, and that it was about twelve stone.

I hear from all over the country that the tenants are everywhere settling, so we shall be probably out in a couple of months, unless we are kept to make sure that they pay the next time.

I hope my own love will take good care of herself and not try to go to London too soon. I want Queenie when I see her to be an even younger little Wifie than when I gave her that last kiss.

The idea of nursing our little daughter was too preposterous. Do, my own darling, think of yourself and take great, great care of your husband's own little Wifie.

Good-night, my own darling Queenie.


March 23, 1882.

MY OWN DARLING WIFIE,—I have only just got an opportunity of sending my Queenie a few lines, and will write a nice long letter to-night.

No letter came to me from you between that dated March 14 and the two of March 20. A reference to his[2] return from Paris makes me think that you may have sent me one between, informing me that he had gone, which I did not receive. If you think one has been intercepted write in {149} future to Mr. W. Kerr, Casino, Rathdrum, and they will reach me safely, otherwise no change need be made.

The letter written between the lines, of which I spoke, was that refused by the warder, and I did not send it.

Mrs. S. has written me that she has "seen you recently," and that you "have not left your room," assuming that I know all about it. What am I to say to her?

I have not been weighed yet, but shall try to-day and send my own darling the true weight. It must be considerably more than 12-5.

My beautiful little Wifie must continue to take great care of herself and not go too often to town.


March 24, 1882.

MY OWN QUEENIE,—Since writing you yesterday have received your letter dated 17th, which had accidentally gone astray, so if there is no other letter which I ought to have got you can send to the same address as usual.


March 27, 1882.

MY OWN DARLING QUEENIE,—I am very anxious about our little daughter. Is it dangerous?

Was weighed yesterday—12 st. 7 lb. Have certainly gained five or six pounds since I have been here.

How did Wifie find out I had grown a beard?


I don't think we shall be moved.

March 29, 1882.

MY OWN DARLING LITTLE WIFIE,—I am very much relieved to hear that our little child is better, and is likely to be all right soon; but fear my poor Queenie must have been exhausted by all that hunting about for nurses. I cannot consent to Wifie turning nurse even when brown eyes do come. She is much too good and beautiful for anything of the kind.

Do you remember a small pair of scissors with fine points that Queenie once gave me in London? I have got them still, and cut my cigar with them every morning.


Shall write Mrs. —— as you suggest, and say how sorry to hear you had not left your room, and that I had seen the event in the Times and hoped you would soon be quite well again. If my own can make an arrangement now for him[3] to keep away, I think she ought to do so. It will be too intolerable having him about always. When I see Wifie again or am released, I can consider the situation, but until then, if you can you had best make some arrangement.

Wifie must not be frightened at the vapourings of the Government yesterday; they amount to nothing, and they know perfectly well that neither I nor any of my friends outside have sanctioned in any way certain recent deplorable occurrences. They are simply the result of leaving the people without guidance and appear to be quite spontaneous. In any case the country is likely to quiet down as the days get longer and the crops commence to spring up. D. is to be released immediately the House adjourns for Easter, and after a time, when they find nothing happening as a consequence of his release, they will probably take courage and let me out also. Anyhow this Government are going down the hill very fast, and are not likely to last more than another session, and we will take care that if they once go out they shall not come in again very quickly. My own loveliest Wifie, I do not think they intend moving me. YOUR LOVING HUSBAND.

March 30.

The London correspondent of Freeman is very ignorant.

March 30, 1882.

MY OWN LITTLE WIFIE,—The letter posted at Bexley reached me all right after it had gone astray for two or three days. Queenie's of 28th has also reached me.

I suppose you did not address one to Casino, as I have had none from there. I wrote yesterday to say that I think you had best make some arrangement about him pending my release, and when that takes place we can consider further.

I will let my darling see me any time as soon as she is quite strong again. We are going to have a weekly biography {151} of doubtful Irish members in Irishman or rather United Ireland which will come out again shortly in such a form as to save it from seizure.

If Queenie sends me some of our daughter's hair I will put it in the locket I have with Wifie's. Would Sophie make a nice second name? It was the name of one of my sisters whom I was said to be most like of the family; but possibly it might make suspicions.

I am very anxious about my darling going to London so often; it must be very bad for you. You may try your next letter upon ordinary paper, unglazed, and do not crowd what you write in ordinary ink into one little space in the middle of the sheet. After the solution has dried if you rub over the letters with an ink eraser it will remove all the glistening and appearance of letters. I wonder they have never opened any of them, but they may do it at any time. It would not hurt me in any way as I do not use it for any other purpose. Unless, indeed, they sent it to a certain person.

Queenie must not be alarmed about stupid rumours in the papers. You know what these liners are, and the Freeman agent in London is singularly stupid and badly informed.


April 5, 1883.

MY OWN DEAREST WIFIE,—I think it very likely that something will be done by the Government shortly on the arrears question. If this be so, things will undoubtedly quiet down a great deal, and it will give us an opportunity of coming to some arrangement. I do not in the least apprehend that any further steps will be taken against me in any case, though, of course, they would eagerly grasp at the slightest thing in order to try and throw discredit on me.

So far as I can judge, the number of outrages has diminished very materially during the last two or three weeks, and is likely to continue decreasing.

My own Wifie must remember that I was only 12 st. 2 lb. when I came here, as I had fallen away very much after I left her, and that I have got back 5 lb. since, notwithstanding my illness, which left me very thin indeed. Poor little Queenie {152} must be greatly troubled and anxious at all the rumours she hears, but she need not regard any of them; she knows what newspaper men are.

Give my best love and ever so many kisses to our little daughter. I am very much troubled about her health, and hope it will not make her permanently delicate.

I am longing very very much to see my own Wifie. I love you, my darling, more and more every day, and I should feel quite reconciled to giving up politics for ever and living with my sweet Katie all by ourselves away from everybody and everything. I do not think anything will ever induce me to speak from a platform again. I always disliked it excessively, but I should loathe it now. Wifie must not, however, suppose that I am annoyed with the way things have gone. On the contrary, everything has succeeded remarkably, and much better than anybody could have expected.

It is thought that D.[4] will be released to-morrow.—Good-night, my own Wifie. YOUR LOVING HUSBAND.

April 7, 1882.

MY OWN DEAREST WIFIE,—I am so happy from receiving your letter of the 5th to-day, although part of what you say about our daughter makes me very anxious indeed.

I hope the poor little thing will soon get over it. Her hair is absolutely lovely. I am so glad it is more like Queenie's than mine, although there is enough of mine in it to spoil it somewhat and render it less beautiful than Wifie's. Still, there is a splendid golden tint in it which is quite exceptional.

Wifie need not feel at all anxious about me or anything which the Government are likely to do or be able to do. Although there have been one or two bad events things are getting much quieter every day. D. is going abroad and will not even appear in the House for a couple of months. My mother's health has, I fear, become very much broken latterly, and after a time I think of applying to go over to see her, but I must try and get O. K.[5] out first.

I am still keeping very well, although have missed the ball-playing very much for the last three weeks, as O. K., {153} who used to play with me, has been ill. I think my weight is very good considering the hard exercise I have been taking and the good condition I am in. I hope my precious one is getting strong again and that she will have some good news to tell me of our little daughter when she writes next.


I will not speak of my anguish when I found that the child of my love was slowly dying, and that the doctors I called in could do nothing for her. Slowly she faded from me, daily gaining in that far-reaching expression of understanding that dying children have so strongly, and my pain was the greater in that I feared her father would never see her now.

Willie was very good; I told him my baby was dying and I must be left alone. He had no suspicion of the truth, and only stipulated that the child should be baptized at once—urged thereto, I think, by his mother and sister. I had no objection to this. Parnell and I had long before agreed that it would be safer to have the child christened as a Catholic, and he had no feeling at all against the Catholic religion, considering, indeed, that for those who required a religion it was an admirable one. I made an altar of flowers in my drawing-room, as the child was much too ill to be taken to church, and there the priest, Father Hart, came and baptized Sophie Claude. Sophie, after Parnell's sister, Claude, after Lord Truro, an old friend of mine.

A few days before the death of my baby I had the unspeakable comfort of knowing that Parnell could come to me for a few hours and perhaps see his child while she lived. His nephew, son of his sister Delia (Mrs. Thomson), had died in Paris, and the authorities gave Parnell leave on "parole" to attend the young man's {154} funeral. A brilliant, handsome fellow, great sympathy was felt with the parents of this only son.

Spring was very early that year, and in the April morning when the air was fragrant with the sweet freshness of the spring flowers and the very breath of life was in the wind, Parnell came to me and I put his dying child into his arms.

That evening he had to go on to Paris.

        Thursday, April 13, 1882.

MY OWN QUEENIE,—I hope to leave Paris on Saturday morning. The doctor says the fever is not infectious, but I doubt it very much, as a great many people amongst the American colony are having it just now. I am staying here, but I am obliged to go to the house, which has been well disinfected, to see my sister, who is very much cut up. The risk to me is a minimum, as I had this fever very badly when I was young, and they say people very rarely have it a second time, and then only slightly.

At all events it is the ordinary typhoid, which doctors say is not catching.

I shall take a Turkish bath every day I am here, and adopt other precautions. YOUR OWN LOVING KING.

        Saturday, April 15, 1882.

MY DEAR MRS. O'SHEA,—I think of leaving Paris to spend a few days in the south or elsewhere on Monday morning. Had intended starting this evening, but caught a slight cold coming over, which the doctor, whom my sister insisted on seeing me, says is nothing, but think I had best not travel till Monday.

I am very glad that I came over, as my sister is in a very low state, and my coming has picked her up very much, believe me, yours always truly, CHARLES S. PARNELL.


        Sunday, April 16, 1882.

MY DEAR MRS. O'SHEA,—Having fallen into the hands of the doctor, he informed me to-day that he was coming again to-morrow morning, and upon my saying that I wished to commence my journey to the country to-morrow he said he would let me go on Tuesday morning. Perhaps it is better so, as I might catch fresh cold if I started so soon as to-morrow.

I was out a good deal yesterday by the doctor's orders, and dined with my sister in the evening. She is much better.

To-day a north wind is blowing, and I shall not go out much, although my cold is quite gone. I think I caught it from leaving off a flannel jacket which I used to wear when asleep in prison. It would have been a bad chest cold had I not taken two Turkish baths immediately I felt it coming on.

I am staying here under the name of Stewart, and have not been found out yet.—Yours very sincerely,


After his nephew's funeral he returned to Eltham, having, before, telegraphed to Willie to say that he was coming. He wished to conciliate Willie as much as possible, and believed that his politics might now prove useful.

All that night of the 21st April Parnell and Willie sat up in my dining-room discussing the Irish question, and bit by bit working out the "Kilmainham Treaty." Willie wanted me to join them, but I would not leave my baby, and when the daylight came and they went to lie down for a few hours' rest before Parnell left for Ireland, my little one died as my lover stole in to kiss us both and say good-bye.

Overlooking the valley in the Catholic churchyard at Chislehurst is her little grave, headed by a granite cross {156} and wreathed about with clematis and white roses; and often as we drove past on our way home through the summer evenings Parnell would go in to scatter the wild flowers he had gathered for me over little Sophie's resting-place.

The following letter from my sister-in-law, Mary O'Shea, I insert, as proving, I think very conclusively, that my little one's paternity was utterly unsuspected by the O'Sheas.

    Sunday, May 21, 1882.

DEAREST KATIE,—We are very pleased to be able to hope that you are better. How is your dear aunt? We trust she is better. I cannot express our feelings of affectionate regard for her, nor can I say adequately how truly we desire her happiness here and for all eternity in Heaven. She has been so sweet a friend and so charming in all her ways towards your dear children, "the butterflies"—most attractive designation. Dear Lady O'Donnell wrote a rapturous description of the little creatures. She loved your dear little Claude, and shared your grief at losing her, but happy child, how glorious is her existence! What a contrast to ours, we who must struggle on, working out our salvation in fear and trembling!..."

[1] An allusion to political funds banked in Paris.

[2] Captain O'Shea.

[3] Captain O'Shea.

[4] Dillon.

[5] O'Kelly.



"Shall I say stipulation, King?"
"No, Queenie, he prefers 'suggestions desirable to be

Parnell, in accordance with his "parole," returned to Kilmainham at the end of the term of leave and immediately formulated the conditions of the arrangement it was proposed to make with the Government. The draft of this historic document was as follows:—

"KILMAINHAM, April 25th, 1882.

"We think in the first place that no time should be lost in endeavouring to obtain a satisfactory settlement of the arrears question, and that the solution proposed in the Bill standing for second reading to-morrow—Wednesday—would provide a satisfactory solution, though the Church Fund would have to be supplemented by a grant from Imperial resources of probably a million or so.

"Next as regards the permanent amendment of the Land Act, we consider that the rent-fixing clauses should be amended to as great an extent as is possible, having in view the necessity of passing an Amending Bill through the House of Lords; that leaseholders who have taken leases either before or since the Act of 1870 should be permitted to apply to have a fair rent fixed, and that the purchase clauses should be amended as suggested by the Bill, the second reading of which will be moved by Mr. Redmond to-morrow.


"If the Government were to announce their intention of proposing a satisfactory settlement of the arrears difficulty as indicated above, we on our part would make it known that the No Rent manifesto was withdrawn, and we should advise the tenants to settle with their landlords; we should also then be in a better position than we ever occupied before to make our exertions effective in putting a stop to the outrages which are unhappily of late so prevalent.

"If the result of the arrears settlement and the further ameliorative measures suggested above were the material diminution of outrages before the end of the session, and the prospect of the return of the country after a time to something like a normal condition, we should hope that the Government would allow the Coercion Act to lapse, and govern the country by the same laws as in England."

Willie wrote to Gladstone on April 13th, and two days after Gladstone replied promising to communicate with Forster. The rest of the letter was taken up with compliments to Willie, and some carefully-worded phrases which really meant that Gladstone was prepared to go to very great lengths indeed to quiet Ireland and to keep her quiet.

Willie sent to Chamberlain a copy of his letter to Gladstone. Chamberlain was impressed and guarded. He welcomed negotiations, but pointed out that if the Government were going to smile on the Irish Party the Irish Party must smile on the Government. With some amount of exaggerated fervour he mooted the possibility of an anti-Irish movement comparable with the anti-Semitic movement abroad. That, he pointed out, would be bad for everybody, and accordingly he welcomed the {159} olive branch. In the sequel, of course, Chamberlain took a very active part in pressing for the release of Parnell. While on "parole," and after his return from Paris, Parnell entered into communication with Mr. Justin McCarthy with regard to the proposed "Treaty," and the following letter was written from Eltham:—

Saturday, April 22, 1882.

MY DEAR MCCARTHY,—I have arrived in England, and will call to see you to-morrow afternoon some time. I cannot at present give you the exact hour, but would it be too much to ask you to remain at home after three o'clock? I trust you will have some news of result of Cabinet to-day.—Yours very truly, C. S. P.

This letter was followed up by one from Kilmainham.


    April 25, 1882.

MY DEAR MCCARTHY,—I send you a letter embodying our conversation, and which, if you think it desirable, you might take the earliest opportunity of showing to Chamberlain.

Do not let it out of your hands, but if he wishes you might give him a copy of the body of it.—Yours very truly,



The enclosure was identical with the draft treaty—apart from a few verbal alterations of which the chief was the substitution of "an Amendment Bill" for an "Amending Bill" in the second paragraph.

* * * * * *

Tuesday, April 25, 1882.

MY OWN QUEENIE,—I enclose you a letter. What do you think I had best say to it?[1]


I told my friend in Jermyn Street what steps to take, so that the matter referred to in enclosed will probably go on all right without, or with, the further participation of the writer. I thought of writing him that I had received his note too late to reply for Wednesday, but that in any case my letter from Paris ought to be sufficient indication of confidence.

I missed nine train on Sunday and came on by twelve, sleeping at Crewe and getting on board mail boat before mail train arrived. Everything went off very nicely and quietly, and I have not caught any cold this time. O. K. had aired my bed very carefully, etc., and they were all very glad to see me again, with the exception of the authorities.

I have been thinking all day of how desolate and lonely my Queenie must be in her great sorrow. I wish so much that I might have stayed to comfort her, but I have indeed every hope and confidence that our separation will not now last very long. It is too terrible to think that on this the saddest day[2] of all others—and, let us hope, the saddest that we both shall ever see again—my Wifie should have nobody with her.

Good-bye, my own darling, YOUR LOVING KING.

Mr. Parnell wrote as follows to Captain O'Shea:—

    April 28.

I was very sorry that you had left Albert Mansions before I reached London from Eltham, as I had wished to tell you that after our conversation I had made up my mind that it would be proper for me to put Mr. McCarthy in possession of the views which I had previously communicated to you. I desire to impress upon you the absolute necessity of a settlement of the arrears question which will leave no recurring sore connected with it behind, and which will enable us to show the smaller tenantry that they have been treated with justice and some generosity.

The proposal you have described to me as suggested in some quarters, of making a loan, over however many years the payment might be spread, should be absolutely rejected, {161} for reasons which I have already fully explained to you. If the arrears question be settled upon the lines indicated by us, I have every confidence—a confidence shared by my colleagues—that the exertions which we should be able to make strenuously and unremittingly would be effective in stopping outrages and intimidation of all kinds.

As regards permanent legislation of an ameliorative character, I may say that the views which you always shared with me as to the admission of leaseholders to the fair rent clauses of the Act are more confirmed than ever. So long as the flower of the Irish peasantry are kept outside the Act there cannot be any permanent settlement of the land question, which we all so much desire.

I should also strongly hope that some compromise might be arrived at this season with regard to the amendment of the tenure clauses. It is unnecessary for me to dwell upon the enormous advantages to be derived from the full extension of the purchase clauses, which now seem practically to have been adopted by all parties.

The accomplishment of the programme I have sketched would, in my judgment, be regarded by the country as a practical settlement of the land question, and would, I feel sure, enable us to co-operate cordially for the future with the Liberal Party in forwarding Liberal principles; so that the Government, at the end of the session, would, from the state of the country, feel themselves thoroughly justified in dispensing with further coercive measures.—Yours very truly,


Saturday, April 30, 1882.

MY OWN QUEENIE,—He[3] came over to see me, so I thought it best to give him a letter, as he would have been dreadfully mortified if he had had nothing to show.

Everything is going very well, and I hope will continue straight.

Received two letters from my own lovie yesterday. Do, my own, keep up as much as you can.



I had reason to know, from various sources of information kept open by me on Parnell's behalf during his imprisonment, that the Government would liberate him with considerable relief if given any surety of conciliatory policy on his part. Parnell at liberty was a disturbing force, and the culminating embarrassment of English government in Ireland, but Parnell in prison had become merely a concentrated embarrassment in that there was now no governmental possibility of dealing with the reactionary spirit he had let loose in Ireland—a spirit that was at least better controllable as a weapon in Parnell's hand than as the scattered and absolutely irresponsible fulminations, unreasoning and motiveless, of lawless desperadoes.

With Parnell as her chief the Ireland he had roused might indeed be a scourge of whips to the British Government, but without him this Ireland was undoubtedly a scourge of scorpions.

So Parnell came out of Kilmainham on the treaty arranged at Eltham, and as Willie was to be the official bearer of the olive branch to the Government, he went over to see Parnell on his return to Kilmainham and to get from him a letter for his own satisfaction, as he said Parnell was "so shifty" he could not be trusted to carry out any agreement that was not in writing, and the letter was to set forth the various modifications of his policy of obstruction that he would undertake to observe on his (immediate) liberation and assurance of future concessions to Ireland. This letter had in substance been written at Eltham, but Parnell had stipulated for a few days to consider the matter further and would not give Willie his final decision then. On the other side he had to consider that any treaty with the Government would place him in {163} a very awkward position with the Land League and would certainly affect the financial aid to the Irish cause so generously contributed by America. It was also certain, he knew, that the Government would be obliged, in either case, to liberate him with the other Irish political prisoners at no distant period, and this without his placing himself under any obligation at all to the Government. This would please the extreme party of his followers far better, even though it would keep open the way to further outrage and crime in Ireland.

I had never before ventured to influence Parnell in any way politically; but now I greatly dreaded for him this latter policy of the extremists and the perpetual strain of watchfulness and control it engendered—with the Coercion Laws such a policy must, in the long run, inevitably produce, unless, indeed, England was prepared to yield to force; an unthinkable proposition.

So now I threw the whole strength of my influence on the side of the treaty of conciliation and urged upon him the greater good for Ireland likely to accrue in the making by him of immediate peace. I was very anxious that he should "reign" by constitutional means, and had every hope of establishing such amicable communications between him and the Government as would lead to that end. But he had this great force now to reckon with—the force of centuries of cruelty, wrong, and oppression that had bred an irresponsibility and callous disregard of suffering, nay, rather a vindictive madness and lust of destruction in Ireland. In his seeking for a weapon to use for the betterment of England's government of Ireland Parnell had discovered this underlying force of hate, and, using the influence of his personality, he strove to direct it into the service of the Ireland that he loved. But he afterwards {164} stood appalled at the intensity of the passion of hate that he had loosed, and no one but he—and I with him—knew the awful strength of that force of destruction that was only held in subservience by the sheer dominance of his will. He replied to my pleadings: "Yes, I hold them now with my back to the wall, but if I turn to the Government I turn my back to them—and then——?"

But my great fear for him won his decision for peace, and he wrote and signed the "letter" that Willie wanted to take to the Government.

The Prime Minister had been prepared for its coming, and made known that such a treaty of peace would be acceptable. Willie took this letter to Forster, who knew of no understanding with the Prime Minister, and was absolutely against any such negotiations. He scoffed at the letter, at its terms, and at Willie for bringing it, but the latter pointed out that the matter was one for the Prime Minister's consideration alone, and Mr. Forster was bound to submit it to him without delay. He of course did so, but with confidence as to its rejection and, on its immediate acceptance and the liberation of Parnell, resigned his office as Chief Secretary for Ireland.

Lord Cowper resigned with him. This was on the 2nd of May. On the 26th of April discussion on Mr. Redmond's Land Bill was started in the House of Commons. This Bill, which had been drafted by Parnell in Kilmainham, proposed to amend the Land Act of 1881 in four main particulars: (1) Arrears of excessive rent; (2) admission of leaseholders to the benefit of the Land Court; (3) amendment of tenure clauses; (4) extension of purchase clauses by the advance from the State of the whole of the purchase money. Mr. Gladstone applauded the Irish Party and opposed the Bill. He practically {165} admitted that recent decisions of the Irish judges were nullifying the effect of the tenure clauses, but he did not want yet to reopen the question. He recognized, however, the necessity of dealing with "Arrears."

When, on May 2nd, he announced to the House the resignation of Lord Cowper and Mr. Forster and the decision of the Cabinet to release the three Irish M.P.'s who had been in Kilmainham since October, he definitely promised an Arrears Bill, and stated that there was no present intention to renew the Coercion Act. So, with this public promise of Mr. Gladstone, and with the tacit understanding that Parnell would "slow down the agitation" Parnell came out of gaol. "It is an act," averred Mr. Gladstone, "done without any negotiation, promise, or engagement whatever."

Two days later Forster denounced the action of the Cabinet. He believed that the unconditioned release of the Irish leaders would tend to the encouragement of crime. As he went on to justify the arrests Parnell entered the House and took his seat. The Irish cheered wildly. Then Forster continued: "The real reason why these gentlemen were arrested ... was because they were trying to carry out their will—'their unwritten law' ... by working the ruin and the injury of the Queen's subjects by intimidation of one kind or another. If Mr. Parnell had not been placed in Kilmainham he would very quickly have become in reality what he was called by many of his friends—the King of Ireland." He did not say Parnell and his friends had directly incited, what they had done was far more dangerous. They had established a system of intimidation.... They should have been released after a public promise had been given, or when Ireland was quiet, or fresh powers had been granted {166} to the Government. "A surrender is bad, a compromise or arrangement is worse.... If all England cannot govern the Member for Cork then let us acknowledge he is the greatest power in Ireland to-day."

Mr. Gladstone, in reply, said he had no right to humiliate Parnell by demanding a penitential confession of guilt, and once more he disclaimed that the release was the result of a bargain. Parnell, following him, asserted—what was the truth—that no mention of his release was made by him in any written or oral communication with his friends.

The same night, May 4th, was announced the appointment of Lord Spencer as Lord-Lieutenant and Lord Frederick Cavendish as Chief Secretary. The post had first been offered to Sir Charles Dilke, but he had refused the offer. It is stated that in certain quarters the name of Mr. Chamberlain had been mentioned, and that he had signified his willingness to accept the offer if it were made. Apparently it was not made. We cannot avoid speculating what would have happened had he gone to Ireland. He had taken a leading part in the release of Parnell; would that have saved him—since the Phoenix Park murderers did not intend to kill Lord Frederick? And if Mr. Chamberlain had been killed in May, 1882, what other course might British politics have taken? Would Tariff Reform ever have been a Tory election cry? Would there have been no Boer War? Would the Tories not have enjoyed that long term of office which for years kept the question of Home Rule in abeyance? It were foolish to say yes or no to any of these questions, but at least we may say that the fact Mr. Chamberlain was not asked to become Irish Secretary in 1882 is one of the most momentous in British politics.


While in Kilmainham Parnell had found it absolutely impossible to control in any way the incitements to crime and the wild expenditure of the Ladies' Land League. His sister, Anna Parnell, was at the head of this marvellous organization which she spread in well-ordered ramifications throughout the country. Her generalship was magnificent and complete, and there appeared to be no detail of this revolutionary army with which she was not completely familiar and completely determined to control. Parnell wrote to her again and again from prison, pointing out the crass folly of the criminality for which the Ladies' League, now, solely existed. He even urged the Governmental representations made to him for the suppression of this league of anarchy, and the hopeless financial position it was creating—the estimated weekly expenditure of these ladies running into thousands of pounds; money contributed chiefly by America for the fighting policy of the Irish Party—but to no purpose.

The fanatic spirit in these ladies was extreme; in Anna Parnell it was abnormal, and Parnell saw no way of saving her, or the country, from her folly but by fulfilling his threat of vetoing the payment of another penny to the Ladies' Land League. This he then did, and thus automatically broke up this wild army of mercenaries. Anna Parnell never forgave her brother for this act, and to the last day of his life refused to hold any communication with him again. Parnell had much family affection, and many times made overtures of peace to his sister, of whom he was really fond, and for whose strength of mind and will he had much respect. On two occasions he met her accidentally and tried to speak to her, but she resolutely turned from him and refused any reply to the letters he wrote her.

[1] From Captain O'Shea re "Kilmainham Treaty."

[2] The day of our little daughter's funeral.

[3] Captain O'Shea.



"The blood more stirs
To rouse a lion than to start a hare.

On Parnell's release from Kilmainham he returned to me at Eltham, and on May 6, 1882, went to Weymouth to welcome Michael Davitt, who came out of Portland prison on that day. He returned to Eltham that Saturday evening, and the next morning, Sunday, I drove with him to Blackheath Station, as he had to go to London to see Davitt and others. At the station I asked him to get me a newspaper before he left, and waited for it in the carriage.

From where I sat in the carriage I could see Parnell's back as he stood just inside the station door. I was watching him, and he half turned and smiled at me as he opened the paper—the Sunday Observer—to glance at the news before he brought it to me. He told me afterwards that he wanted to see what was said about Michael Davitt. He had now come to the top of the steps and, as he suddenly stopped, I noticed a curious rigidity about his arms—raised in holding the newspaper open. He stood so absolutely still that I was suddenly frightened, horribly, sickeningly afraid—of I knew not what, and, leaning forward, called out, "King, what is it?" Then he came down the steps to me and, pointing to the headline, said, "Look!" And I read, "Murder of Lord Frederick Cavendish and Mr. Burke!"


I heard the train coming in, and tried to pull myself together, for the awful significance of the horrible thing to my lover, just released from Kilmainham on the Treaty, came home to me with a rush of pain. His face was ashen, and he stared, frowning heavily, before him, unconsciously crushing the hand I had slipped into his until the rings I wore cut and bruised my fingers.

I said to him, "Quick, you must catch this train. See Davitt and the others as arranged and as many more as you can find. Go, you will know what to do, but you must meet them all at once." He turned heavily away, saying, "I shall resign," and I answered as I ran beside him to the platform, "No, you are not a coward."

Before I left Blackheath I wired to Willie to bring Parnell to dinner at Eltham if he could possibly manage it, and spent one of the most terrible days of my life considering the effect this awful crime would probably have upon my lover's career.

Willie came down that evening, Parnell with him. They were both very gloomy and depressed, and Parnell, after his greeting of me—as though this were our first meeting since he came out of prison—sat gazing stonily before him, only glancing across at Willie with the stormy flare in his eyes when the latter—who was really sorry for Parnell, as well as shocked at the murders—said something that jarred upon him. During dinner Willie told me of what had been done during the day, of the absolute horror and consternation of the Irish Party, of what Mr. Chamberlain had said on hearing of the murders, and of Parnell's continuous threat, throughout that awful day, of retiring from public life altogether.

Willie said to me: "I wish you would urge Parnell not to talk so, Dick; he can't resign his seat now, the {170} thing's impossible; he must show that it simply does not touch him politically in any way."

I turned to Parnell and said: "I do absolutely agree with Willie about it, Mr. Parnell. It would be throwing the whole country over and a reflection upon all who joined in that Treaty."

Parnell at last roused himself and said: "Well, I will write to the G.O.M.[1] and offer to resign, and abide by his decision; the thing makes me feel hopeless of doing any good."

On the wall of the dining-room where we sat hung a large engraving of the "House" of 1880. All the members of that Parliament were in the picture, and among them, of course, Mr. Parnell and Captain O'Shea. As the maid turned to leave the room, after placing the coffee tray on a little side table, this picture, which hung immediately behind Parnell, fell to the floor with a crash that, in the state of nervous tension we were all in, brought us to our feet in alarm. Willie's chair overturned as he jumped up; but Parnell's was steady, held in a grip that showed his knuckles white as he held it slightly raised off the floor, while he stood, half turned, staring at the picture as it lay among the splintered glass.

Willie laughed, and, coming to help the parlourmaid to pick up the picture, exclaimed: "There goes Home Rule, Parnell!" But he also had in him a slight dash of the superstition that was so highly developed in Parnell's fatalistic nature, and his smile turned to gravity as he glanced at Parnell's tense expression and listened to my hasty explanation of the fall: "Perhaps the wire was rotten, or the maid had shaken the picture as she passed!" Parnell took the loose end of the wire in both hands and {171} tried to break it. He could not. Willie said: "Mary (the parlourmaid) was the other side of the room, so she could not have shaken it." Parnell said nothing, and we began to speak of other things.

Afterwards I said to him: "You did not really mind about that picture, did you? It was only a rotten wire!" and he answered: "It was an omen, I think, darling, but for whom? Willie or me?" and when I told him I wished he would not talk such nonsense, and that I did not believe in omens or want any falling pictures to be "omens" for either of them, he smiled and said no more.

The immediate consequence of the Phoenix Park murders was the introduction of a Crimes Bill by Sir William Harcourt on May 11th. Parnell was not approached on the subject. He was given no opportunity of criticizing the proposals and of suggesting any more moderate measure which might have appealed to that great body of Irish Nationalists who viewed the murders with horror. The new Bill went roughshod over Irish opinion, and the conciliatory effect of the Arrears Bill, introduced a few days later, was altogether marred.

The second reading of the latter measure was moved by Mr. Gladstone on May 22nd. In the course of his speech he said: "Eviction in the exercise of a legal right may be to the prejudice of your neighbours, may involve the highest reprehension, may even imply deep moral guilt. There may be outrages which—all things considered, the persons and the facts—may be less guilty in the sight of God than evictions."

The Bill was bitterly opposed by the Tory Party.

I had written to Mr. Gladstone expressing a wish that {172} he should see Mr. Parnell. He wrote in answer from Downing Street on May 25th, 1882, declining to do so in private, though in public he was more than ready to co-operate with Parnell.

I suggested in reply that we should meet and talk the matter over, and it was arranged that he should come to see me at Thomas's Hotel on June 2nd. He arrived punctually at three o'clock. We had a long talk about Parnell and about politics—chiefly, of course, as referring to Ireland. He was extremely agreeable and courteous, and I remember very well the great charm of manner he possessed, a charm that struck me afresh at each subsequent meeting. A natural charm and, no doubt, a natural insincerity, but one which is such an immense asset in the career of a great man: that of making others believe—or wish to believe—that they are on the same plane of intellect and diplomacy as himself! He was a very great old man, I thought, as his wonderful eagle's eyes showed just sufficient admiration in them to savour of homage without offence. And I may say here that, with all the perfect courtesy of which, when he chose, he was past master, he knew before the conclusion of our interview, and allowed me to know that he knew, what I desired that he should know—that my personal interest in Parnell was my only interest in Irish politics.

Mr. Gladstone having agreed that it would be of considerable convenience to the Government to be in private and amicable communication with Mr. Parnell, and that I, whose interests were inseparable from those of the Irish leader, would be confidently accepted as such intermediary by him, we parted satisfied, I think, on both sides with the afternoon's compact.

After this first interview with Mr. Gladstone I had {173} frequently to see him at Downing Street—taking him drafts, clauses, and various proposed amendments (of Bills affecting Ireland) that Parnell proposed, altered, and suggested privately to Gladstone before putting them before the House. Parnell, of course, always intent on the betterment of the law as affecting Ireland; Gladstone bargaining for the Irish vote, when without it he would have lost his majority.

Parnell would sometimes write the rough draft of what he wished Gladstone to know, or sometimes write what he had to say in the form of a letter (often dating it from my house!), but occasionally he would do neither, as, on more than one important occasion, he said: "I don't trust that Grand Old Spider farther than I can see him. Sweetheart, learn this by heart, and let it off at him yourself." Then I had to take down in my own handwriting what he wished proposed to Gladstone, and at the subsequent interview "let it off" at him. Very often letters were sufficient, and in this case I almost invariably wrote them, or, if the letter was in Parnell's handwriting addressed to me, under cover of my envelope, I would request its return, and this was done; letters intended for Parnell by Gladstone being invariably addressed to me.

It was by my suggestion Mr. Gladstone opened these private negotiations with Mr. Parnell, and I was myself much amused to find that both these great statesmen were of one mind as to the danger of such a trusting of one another as such negotiations necessitated. When I said to Parnell, "Why not see Gladstone yourself privately, and get what you can from him, in return for the Irish vote?" he at once replied that such a proceeding would be fatal to the "cause," and when I said much the same thing to {174} Gladstone at our first interview—which latter was a brilliant inspiration of Parnell's own—he replied that "such a proceeding" would be fatal to his position, but, he added, "it might be advantageous to the Irish leader and myself if you, Mrs. O'Shea, would accept the thankless office of go-between, as you suggest. A safe and secret intermediary might well prove to be of the greatest assistance to us both in our efforts for the welfare of the country." I have wondered since which country the G.O.M. had in his mind as he spoke.

On June 17 and 18, 1882, Gladstone wrote to me. The letter of the 17th was little more than a formal acknowledgment, but in his note of the following day he referred me to something which had passed at our last interview. He had on that occasion directed my attention to the proposal to amend certain severe clauses of the Crimes Act.

Meanwhile the Irish were fighting the Crimes Bill inch by inch. It had been read a second time on May 25 after three nights' debate. The most drastic clause, from the legal point of view, was the suspension of the right of trial by jury in all grave cases of agrarian crime, which (and the Government would decide when) would be tried by a Court of three judges, in such district as the Attorney-general might decide. Public meetings could be proclaimed and newspapers suppressed. The police were vested with power to search private houses and arrest night wanderers. Finally, and against this the Irish Party especially protested—magistrates were empowered to convict summarily on charges of incitement, boycotting, and membership of a secret society.

This was the iron heel with a vengeance; it took from the Irish the last vestige of citizen right. Parnell opposed, {175} yet not violently; the remembrance of the Phoenix Park murders held him back. But the speeches of his followers were bitter in the extreme. "What profit," cried Dillon, "can you ever expect from governing a nation which nothing conciliates, and nothing can subdue?" Of all the fifty Coercion Acts passed in the eighty-eight years since the Union this was the worst.

The second reading was carried by 383 votes against 45.

Parnell expressed a desire that Gladstone should have his (Parnell's) views distinctly put before him by me—not in writing. This did not suit Gladstone. He had no intention of giving away his hand in regard to the Crimes Bill, and, in the then temper of his own Party and of the Conservatives, was not at all desirous of making any further private concession that would certainly place him in a too favourable light (as regards this Bill) in the eyes of the Irishmen.

He was determined not to see me again with reference to the Crimes Bill, and on June 23 he wrote me to that effect. It was obvious from the tone of his letter that he was annoyed by the continued opposition of the Irish Party, which, from his point of view, only served to impede the progress of the Arrears Bill.

On one of my visits to Downing Street I told Gladstone of the inner working of the Ladies' Land League, about which he was curious. I mentioned to him the enormous sum these Lady Leaguers had expended and the great difficulty Parnell had had in suppressing them. When he heard the sum of their estimated weekly expenditure a grim smile flitted over his face. "Very satisfactory," he remarked, "as the ladies have evidently put these large sums beyond the power of—of the Land League's expenditure!"


Gladstone would not sit still when he talked to me, but liked to pace up and down the long room with me. On my entry he would rise from his desk to greet me and, solemnly handing me a chair, would walk down the room to the door at the end, which was always open when I entered, close it firmly and, pacing back to the door of my entry, push it. These preparations always made me smile—a smile in which he joined as, coming up to me and offering me his arm, he said: "Do you mind walking up and down the room, I talk better so." So we paced up and down while I voiced Parnell's instructions and listened to the G.O.M.'s views, intentions, and tentative suggestions, always on my part keeping to "It is considered that, etc.," in giving Parnell's point, and always receiving "your friend should, etc.," or "I am prepared to concede to your friend, etc., in return."

He was so careful in this regard that one day I said: "What is it you shut up in that room, Mr. Gladstone, when I come to see you?"

"Persons, or a person, you do not come to see, Mrs. O'Shea. Only a secretary or so, and occasionally, in these times of foolish panic, detectives. No," in answer to my look of inquiry, "no one can overhear a word we say when we pace up and down like this, and, as you do not mind it, it refreshes me."

Always as I stood face to face with this Grand Old Man on leaving, and looked into his slate-coloured eyes, so like those of an eagle, I experienced a sudden uneasy feeling, in spite of his gracious courtesy, of how like to a beautiful bird of prey this old man was: with the piercing, cruel eyes belying the tender, courteous smile, and how, relentless as an eagle, men like this had struck and torn their victims. But to me, personally, he always showed {177} the marvellous charm of manner which sent me away feeling that I was at least a compelling force in the great game of politics and worthy of the place I held.

The political history of this time has been written many times, and from various points of view, and in this book I do not propose to repeat it, but only to record such point or detail as at the time affected my King in his home life.

[1] Gladstone.



"Good Cinna, take this paper, and look you, lay it in the
praetor's chair, where Brutus may but find it!
                                                            —SHAKESPEARE (JULIUS CÆSAR).

Negotiations concerning the Crimes Bill were broken off, but before the end of June, 1882, I was once more acting as envoy to Gladstone. The following is a characteristic memorandum drafted by Parnell for transmission by me to the Prime Minister:—

Although the Coercion Bill as likely to pass into law is of such a character as to render it impossible for him to take any further part in the Irish Land movement, yet he trusts that the administration of the Act by the Government will be of such a moderate character as to enable him to co-operate generally with Mr. G. in Parliament and in the English constituencies in carrying to a successful end that land legislation the foundations of which were so broadly laid in the Act of last session, and in gaining those other measures of general reform for the benefit of the peoples of both England and Ireland which now constitute the programme of the Liberal Party.

Since his (Parnell's) release he has taken steps to secure that no portion of the invested surplus of the fund shall be drawn without his signature, and he will endeavour to provide that future remittances from the offices of the central organization in America shall be added to this fund; the remittances through the Irish World, however, he has no hopes of being able to control in any way.

The Bill[1] to go through all its stages in six days—Supply to be facilitated.


Duration to be limited to three months after assembly of a new Parliament if present Parliament is dissolved within three years—treason felony struck out on report.

Centres of disturbance are being rapidly created throughout Ireland, owing to loss by tenants of legal interest in their holdings through sale or expiry of period of redemption. The formation of the new Landlord Corporation accompanied by a harsh administration of the Coercion Act will tend to encourage landlords to resist reasonable concessions.

He has placed new clauses on the notice paper for the Arrears Bill which will go far to meet these difficulties, and will do what he can to facilitate Supply and the passage of that Bill, also to prevent obstruction to other Government business.

These notes were submitted a second time to Mr. Gladstone, with the addition of the following paragraphs:—

This danger might be met by insertion of clauses in Arrears Bill having compulsory retrospective effect as far back as June, 1880, and making provision for payment of costs.

It is most desirable that Parliament should reassemble after short holiday to make whatever permanent amendments the Government think necessary in the Land Act.

On June 29th Mr. Gladstone wrote thanking me for my letter and returning "the enclosure."[2] Reference was made by him to the murders of Mr. Walter Bourke and Corporal Wallace in Galway; and though I have no doubt he did not suspect Parnell of the least shade of complicity, it was plain that he did not completely acquit the extremists of the Irish World.

The progress of the Crimes Bill was more hotly contested than ever in the committee stage, which extended over twenty-four sittings of the House. Clauses were {180} fought word by word, sentence by sentence. The Bill was read a third time on July 8th, and was passed by the Lords four days later, receiving the Royal Assent on the following day. In less than a week 17 counties were proclaimed; and by the beginning of August 170 suspects were in custody.

On July 21st the Arrears Bill passed the Commons by 169 to 98. Lord Eversley (Mr. Shaw Lefevre) rightly observes that instead of appealing to justice Mr. Gladstone based his support of the Bill on expediency. For years tenants had been burdened with excessive rents on land which their efforts had raised from prairie value. The wiping out of the accumulated arrears of these unjust rents could hardly be termed a mere act of expediency.

On July 31st the Lords returned the Bill to the Commons cut to pieces. Certain minor concessions were made, and the Bill was sent back otherwise in its original form. When next it appeared in the Lords the Irish landlord peers revolted. The Bill promised them part payment of what they had looked upon as a bad debt; and so—not for the sake of justice, but for the sake of that bait of two years' rent—they supported the Bill, which was passed by the Lords on August 10th. On or about August 18th, when it became law, fifty suspects were released.

I had addressed an appeal to Mr. Gladstone against the death sentence passed upon a young Irishman on very doubtful evidence. On September 14th he wrote saying that he would certainly bring the appeal under the notice of Lord Spencer. I was in correspondence with Mr. Gladstone throughout November of this year.

Ireland did not figure largely in the Parliamentary legislation of 1883, though a number of minor Irish Bills, on tramways, fisheries and so forth, which received the {181} support of Parnell, were carried. Parnell's position in Ireland was impregnable, but the extremists in America were exasperated by his constitutional agitation. Early in 1883 Patrick Ford started a dynamite crusade against England in the Irish World, and attempts were actually made to blow up public buildings in London, while a nitro-glycerine factory was discovered in Birmingham. Immediately an Explosives Bill of the most drastic character was introduced by Sir William Harcourt and rushed through the Commons in a single sitting. The Irish Party offered no opposition.

It is significant of the tactics of Mr. Gladstone that he was secretly striving to influence the Vatican against Home Rule. A Mr. Errington, an Irish Catholic, but a Whig member of Parliament, had been sent to Rome with a letter of recommendation from Lord Granville. Mr. Gladstone had also written about him through Cardinal Manning, who was opposed to the mission. His business was at first to work for a Papal reprimand of priests who engaged in Land League agitation. He succeeded finally in engineering a rescript, dated May 11th, 1883, calling upon bishops to restrain priests from taking part in the Parnell testimonial.

Willie was very anxious that Mr. O'Hart (O'Hart's Irish Pedigrees) should be granted a pension from the Civil List. Mr. Gladstone had already declined to include him in the List of Beneficiaries. Now at Willie's urgent request I most reluctantly asked Mr. Gladstone to reconsider his decision as to Mr. O'Hart, and on September 19th, 1884, received a snub for my pains. I had told Gladstone that Lord Spencer was credited with having expressed the opinion that Parnell had some connexion with the Phoenix Park murders. Gladstone {182} now said he was sure that Spencer did not really believe this.

In October, 1884, Mr. Trevelyan ceased to be Irish Secretary and entered the Cabinet as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. The vacant post was offered to Mr. Shaw Lefevre, but on hearing that Lord Spencer intended to seek for the renewal of the Coercion Act when it expired in September, 1885, he refused the offer. Mr. (afterwards Sir Henry) Campbell-Bannerman became Chief Secretary on October 24th.

During 1884 Parnell kept quiet, and my negotiations on his behalf with Gladstone were intermittent.

In the early part of the year, however, a document of tremendous import was submitted—none other than "A Proposed Constitution for Ireland," drawn up by Parnell, which was as follows:—

An elected Chamber with power to make enactments regarding all the domestic concerns of Ireland, but without power to interfere in any Imperial matter.

The Chamber to consist of three hundred members.

Two hundred and six of the number to be elected under the present suffrage, by the present Irish constituencies, with special arrangements for securing to the Protestant minority a representation proportionate to their numbers; the remaining 94 members to be named in the Act constituting the Chamber.

The principle of nomination regarding this proportion of members to last necessarily only during the duration of the first Chamber.

The number of elected members, suffrage, and boundaries constituencies for election of succeeding Chamber to be capable of alteration by the preceding Chamber, excepting those special arrangements for securing to the Protestant minority a proportionate representation, which arrangements shall be fixed and immutable.

The first Chamber to last for three years, unless sooner dissolved by the Crown.


The Chamber shall have power to enact laws and make regulations regarding all the domestic and internal affairs of Ireland, including her sea fisheries.

The Chamber shall also have power to raise a revenue for any purpose over which it has jurisdiction, by direct taxation upon property, by Customs duties, and by licences.

The Chamber shall have power to create departments for the transaction of all business connected with the affairs over which it has jurisdiction, and to appoint and dismiss chief and subordinate officials for such departments, to fix the term of their office, and to fix and pay their salaries; and to maintain a police force for the preservation of order and the enforcement of the law.

This power will include the constitution of Courts of Justice and the appointment or payment of all judges, magistrates, and other officials of such Courts, provided that the appointment of judges and magistrates shall in each case be subject to the assent of the Crown.

No enactment of the Chamber shall have the force of law until it shall have received the assent of the Crown.

A sum of one million pounds sterling per annum shall be paid by the Chamber to the Imperial Treasury in lieu of the right of the Crown to levy taxes in Ireland for Imperial purposes, which right would be held in suspense so long as punctual payment was made of the above annual sum.

The right of the Imperial Parliament to legislate regarding the domestic concerns and internal affairs of Ireland will also be held in suspense, only to be exercised for weighty and urgent cause.

The abolition of the office of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and all other offices in Ireland under the Crown connected with the domestic affairs of that country.

The representation of Ireland in the Imperial Parliament might be retained or might be given up. If it be retained the Speaker might have the power of deciding what questions the Irish members might take part in as Imperial questions, if this limitation were thought desirable.

Such Naval and Military force as the Crown thought requisite from time to time would be maintained in Ireland out {184} of the contribution of one million pounds per annum to the Imperial Treasury; any excess in the cost of these forces over such sum being provided for out of the Imperial Revenue (i.e. by Great Britain).

The Militia would also be levied, controlled, and paid by the Crown, and all forts, military barracks, posts, and strong places of the country would be held and garrisoned by the Crown forces.

No volunteer force to be raised in Ireland without the consent of the Crown and enactment of the Imperial Parliament, and, if raised, to be paid for and controlled by the Crown.

On May 11th, 1884, Lord Richard Grosvenor wrote a non-committal acknowledgment of the receipt of this memorandum.

The Government was then devoting its attention to the Franchise Bill and the Redistribution of Seats Bill, and it had been decided to incorporate Ireland in the scheme. This Parnell considered to be of tremendous importance. Speaking in December, 1883, at the Dublin banquet held in his honour, he alluded to the force which had then been gained for Ireland. The change was, in fact, enormous. Instead of the franchise being confined practically to the farmers, it would now include the labourers and the cottier tenants, and the number of voters in Ireland would go up from 200,000 to 600,000. How would those labourers and cottier tenants vote? Lord Randolph Churchill (who supported the Bill against his Party) and Mr. Chamberlain thought, strangely enough, that their inclusion would help the landlord interest. Parnell knew better, and when the Bill became law, in December, 1884, he leapt into action. This was the weapon for which he had been waiting. From December to March of the following year he went through Ireland organizing for the imminent General Election.


In the early months of 1885 the Liberal Government was in a bad way. It had narrowly escaped defeat on the vote of censure for its failure to relieve Gordon at Khartoum. The Cabinet was divided against itself. Many of the Liberal members were inclined to rebel, and the Irish were working with the Tory Opposition. Ireland was the rock upon which the Government was to come to a wreck. The majority of the Cabinet was in favour of continued coercion. Mr. Chamberlain, Sir Charles Dilke, and Mr. Shaw Lefevre were strongly opposed to it. But on the subject of local government for Ireland the difference of opinion was even more dangerous. Chamberlain submitted a scheme for an elective National Council in Dublin, with control over administrative Boards and Departments, but not over the police and the administration of the law. It had been ascertained indirectly that Parnell would accept this scheme, and would not oppose a moderate Coercion Act. Gladstone was prepared to go a step further and give the National Council control over the police. A vote was taken in the Cabinet. All the Peers, with the exception of Lord Granville,[3] were against, and the Commoners, with the exception of Lord Hartington, were in favour of the scheme. Therefore "for the present" the scheme was abandoned. This was in May. The battle over coercion remained to be fought. In less than four weeks the Government was out of office.

Gladstone had not been able to make up his mind to abandon coercion altogether, though he had endeavoured to sweeten the draught with the promise of a Land Purchase Bill, and Parnell had been able to arrange privately {186} with the Conservative Opposition that if they came into power coercion would be dropped.

On June 8th the Government was beaten on the second reading of the Budget. The ostensible question, which concerned nobody, was that of a tax on wine and beer. The whole of the thirty-nine Irish members voted for the Opposition, and the Government was beaten by twelve. Thereupon Gladstone resigned and Lord Salisbury formed his first Ministry. Parnell held the key of the position. He had put the Tories into power; at his will he could put them out again.

Lord Carnarvon became Lord Lieutenant, Sir Michael Hicks-Beach Chief Secretary, and the intention was expressed to govern Ireland by constitutional methods. Coercion for the time being was abandoned, Lord Carnarvon had thought much on Irish questions, and his rule was in marked contrast to that of his immediate predecessors.

On July 14th Lord Richard Grosvenor suddenly remembered Parnell's draft Constitution for Ireland which I had submitted to Gladstone. Did it still hold good? To this letter I replied, and on July 23rd Lord Richard wrote again asking for a plain answer. But this at the moment it was impossible to give, for the attitude the Tories would take up with regard to Home Rule was not yet certain. Lord Carnarvon, the Lord Lieutenant, was believed to be very favourably disposed to the Irish demands, and Lord Randolph Churchill seemed willing to go far. On July 28th Lord Richard wrote again, imploring us to show our hand. Evidently the Irish vote was worth securing.

It is interesting to note that on July 17th Mr. Chamberlain, speaking at Holloway, urged that the pacification {187} of Ireland depended on the concession to her of the right to govern herself in the matter of purely local business.

At the end of July Parnell met Lord Carnarvon in London. The Lord Lieutenant had already been in communication with Sir Charles Gavan Duffy and Mr. Justin McCarthy upon the subject of Home Rule, and there can be little doubt he was in earnest in his agreement with the principle. How far he was used by his Party as a cat's-paw to play for the Irish vote is another question. At least Lord Salisbury knew of the proceedings of his colleague and was perhaps not averse from using Lord Carnarvon's convictions to win Parnell's support at the forthcoming elections without giving a definite Party pledge. The conversation between Lord Carnarvon and Parnell led the latter to believe that the Tories were prepared to support a measure of local government for Ireland. But how far were the Liberals prepared to go?

On August 4th Mr. Gladstone wrote to me further with reference to the proposed constitution for Ireland. Did this represent Parnell's views now? He was urgent in asking for an answer. In one of my notes I had spoken of the suggestion that a proposition of his son, Mr. Herbert (now Lord) Gladstone, should be substituted for it. Mr. Gladstone now assured me on the best authority that no such proposition had been made. I gathered, however, that his son had made some suggestions.

To this a long and comprehensive reply was sent—apparently too long and comprehensive. No doubt he wanted a definite and limited scheme to be set before him. I had referred in my letter to certain changes which had occurred since the draft was sent. I knew that Gladstone knew what those changes were, for the frantic appeals for {188} a definite statement were precisely the counter-bidding against the heightened biddings of Lord Randolph Churchill and the Conservative Party in which Gladstone declared he would not engage. He was obviously disinclined to make an offer until Parnell had pinned himself down to a final demand. If only he could know what the Home Rule Party wanted!

The following day Mr. Gladstone set out on a yachting expedition (to Norway), and a few days later, on August 11th, Parliament was prorogued.

Parnell opened his campaign in Dublin on August 11th, when he announced that he and his Party would stand for an Irish Parliament and nothing else. There was no talk now of a National Council. Lord Hartington replied declaring Parnell's proposals to be fatal and mischievous, and on September 9th Lord Richard wrote, on behalf of Mr. Gladstone, who was back in England, pleading for details.

On October 7th Lord Salisbury, speaking at Newport (Mon.), made a diplomatic statement about Ireland which suggested much and promised nothing.

Later in the month I sent Mr. Gladstone a paper containing the views of Mr. Parnell, and on November 3rd Lord Richard Grosvenor replied, referring me to the Government of the day, but thanking me for the information. There was some mention in the letter of Willie's prospects for Mid-Armagh. Apparently that affair was off, since Willie had himself written to such an effect. Willie was given a gentle rap on the fingers for having in Ireland talked over the plans for his election with another person.[4]


On November 9th, at Edinburgh, Mr. Gladstone made a speech which rivalled Lord Salisbury's in elusiveness. The constitutional demands of Ireland must not be disregarded, but it would be a vital danger if at such a time there was not a Party politically independent of the Irish vote.

Parnell desired precisely the contrary, and on November 21st, the eve of the General Election, a manifesto was issued calling upon Irish voters in Great Britain to vote against the Liberal Party.

Before Parnell's interview with Lord Carnarvon I had sent Gladstone Parnell's suggestions for a new Home Rule Bill. Mr. Gladstone wrote expressing satisfaction at the news of the intended interview, but he would not be drawn. Nevertheless Parnell made another attempt, {190} and on December 14th, 1885, addressed the following letter from my house at Eltham:—

    December 14th, 1885.

MY DEAR MRS. O'SHEA,—It appeared to me from Mr. Gladstone's utterances in Scotland that he would admit the justice of Ireland's claim for autonomy, and also the expediency of soon endeavouring to satisfy it provided the result of the General Election went to show an overwhelming preponderance of the opinion of the representatives of Ireland in favour of this claim. A very proper reservation was also made regarding the maintenance of the supremacy of the Crown in Ireland and all the authority of Parliament necessary for this supremacy.

We now know that more than five-sixths of the Irish members elected by household suffrage have been returned, mostly by very large majorities, as supporters of the institution of an Irish Parliament, that a clear majority, seventeen out of thirty-three, from the Ulster constituencies have been so returned, and that only one county and one city in Ireland, Antrim and Belfast respectively, are without Nationalist representation.

Under these circumstances does it not seem that the question has now resolved itself firstly into a consideration of the details of the proposed settlement, and secondly, as to the procedure to be adopted in obtaining the assent of Parliament, and if needful of the British electorate to this settlement? As regards the first matter, the rough sketch, which I sent you some weeks back, appeared then, and still appears to me, the smallest proposal which would be likely to find favour in Ireland if brought forward by an English Minister, but it is not one which I could undertake to suggest publicly myself, though if it were enacted I would work in Ireland to have it accepted bona fide as a final settlement, and I believe it would prove to be one.


This proposal was carefully designed with a view to propitiate English prejudice, and to afford those guarantees against hasty legislation, interference in extraneous matters, and unfair action against particular classes, apprehended by {192} many persons as a result of the establishment of an Irish Parliament. It did not involve a repeal of the Act of Union, an irrevocable step, and the Imperial Parliament having conferred the privilege by statute would thus always be in a position to recall it by a similar method, if the privilege was abused.

It provided for a special proportionate representation for the large Protestant minority of Ireland. It also left to the Imperial Parliament the practical decision from time to time as to the matters which did or did not come within the province of the local legislature. These are all important concessions and guarantees, and some opinion must surely have been formed by now upon these and other details.

As regards the question of procedure, I am desirous of knowing after a time whether the solution of the Irish question would be made the first and only business by a Liberal Government till the question was settled. The reform of procedure would probably be found not so necessary or pressing if the Imperial Parliament could get rid of its Irish work. It appeared to me that the best way to turn out the present Government would be by a general vote of censure without special reference to Ireland, or by a vote directed against some act of policy other than Irish, for which occasion may shortly arise. We might then either abstain or vote for the censure as might be deemed best. I have not seen Lord C.,[5] and shall probably not arrange to do so for a week or two, as I wish to know how the other side is disposed first. I have always felt Mr. Gladstone is the only living statesman who has both the power and the will to carry a settlement it would be possible for me to accept and work with.

I doubt Lord C.'s power to do so, though I know him to be very well disposed. However, if neither party can offer a solution of the question I should prefer the Conservatives to remain in office, as under them we could at least work out gradually a solution of the Land question. You will see from this letter that I am very much in the dark, except as to my own mind and that of Ireland, that I want information as to whether Mr. Gladstone has, as I suppose, accepted the principle of a Chamber for Ireland with power over her domestic and {193} internal affairs, and, if so, which, if any, of the details contained in sketch he objects to or is in doubt about. Further, it is important that I should be advised before the meeting of Parliament what procedure would in his judgment be best for bringing about that change of Government which would enable Mr. Gladstone to deal authoritatively with the Irish question.—Yours very truly, CHAS. S. PARNELL.

I sent this letter to Gladstone, and on December 16, three days before the completion of the General Election, he dispatched from Hawarden a long reply; but he said nothing more than he had already said in public at Midlothian and elsewhere and in private letters to me. Throughout this period the one fact apparent was that he would pledge the Liberal Party to nothing until he was in office and supported by the Irish Party. While there was a Tory Government in alliance with Parnell he would do nothing. Whether or no he was sincere in his advice to us to take Home Rule rather from the Tories than the Liberals if possible—because many Liberals would support a Tory Home Rule Bill, while all Tories would oppose a Liberal measure—this I cannot say. He offered it constantly, though he urged that a trafficking with both Parties for the purpose of getting the best terms possible, when, as in the end it must be, avowed, would injure a Tory measure and kill a Liberal one.

The result of the election was that the Tories in alliance with the Parnellites outnumbered the Liberals by four. The Liberals in alliance with Parnell would have outnumbered the Tories by 167. Parnell had swept the board in Ireland, and in the House of Commons he was dictator.

Immediately after the General Election the Salisbury Cabinet met to consider its Irish policy, and Lord Carnarvon at once tendered his resignation. The conclusion {194} to be drawn is obvious. Compact or no compact, Lord Carnarvon had reason to believe that the Cabinet were prepared to pursue a certain line of policy which it now appeared they had no intention of pursuing. The reason for the volte face, too, is plain. Tories plus Parnellites formed too narrow a majority of the House for Governmental purposes. The Irish were no longer of any use, and they were abandoned.

Correspondence with Mr. Gladstone continued, and his letters were still cautious. He seemed to fear the soreness of certain Liberals over the Parnellite opposition at the polls, but he confessed to be very willing to co-operate with the Tory Government in the matter of Home Rule, and he stated that he had acquainted the Government with his disposition. Letters of December 19th, 22nd, and 24th are all more or less to this effect. He harped on the word "bribe."

As a matter of fact, Mr. Gladstone had approached the Cabinet through Mr. Balfour, both personally and by letter, urging that it would be a calamity if this great question were to fall into the lines of Party conflict. The Cabinet seem to have treated Mr. Gladstone's letter with scant respect. In spite of Lord Carnarvon's tendered resignation, Lord Salisbury was resolved to make no concession to Home Rule. Lord Carnarvon agreed not to resign until the opening of Parliament.

A statement in the Press inspired by Mr. Herbert Gladstone to the effect that Mr. Gladstone was prepared to concede an Irish Parliament in Dublin was declared by the latter to be "inaccurate and not authentic." But on December 26 he issued a memorandum to certain of his more reliable followers to the effect that he would support the Tories in a Home Rule policy which should satisfy {195} him and the Irish Nationalists, and that if he were called upon to form a Government the preparation of a scheme of duly guarded Home Rule would be an indispensable condition.

On December 29 I wrote to Gladstone, forwarding a memorandum from Parnell. On the last day of the year he sent me a memorandum marked "Secret," in which he summarized the position between Parnell and himself. It amounted to this: Parnell wanted a definite pledge that there should be no more coercion before throwing the Tories out of power and putting the Liberals in. Gladstone, while realizing the gravity of O'Brien's statistics in the Nineteenth Century as to the result of exceptional legislation, refused to give this pledge. He alluded philosophically to the probable course of events if the Address went through unamended. Mr. Parnell wrote to me to the following effect embodying the points I was to pass on to Gladstone.

DEAR MRS. O'SHEA,—In reply to your query it would be inexpedient that the Government.... But, in any case, we should move a series of separate amendments to the Address—one asking for a suspension of the support by the naval, military and constabulary forces of the Crown of ejectments, pending the consideration by Parliament of the proposed Land measure; another praying the Crown to remove Chief Justice May from the Bench; a third condemning the practice of jury packing, resorted to by the Crown in all the recent trials; a fourth asking her Majesty to fulfil the promise contained in the Speech of last year for the equalization of the borough franchise in Ireland to that in England; a fifth condemning the proclamation of the meetings at Brookeboro' and Cullohill; and a sixth protesting against the proclamation and additional police force sent to several of the counties.

This would be an assault along the whole line of English misgovernment in Ireland, and should, in my opinion, be {196} delivered before we allow the Address to leave the House. The first fortnight or so of the session would thus be occupied while the Government were making up their minds as to their proposed Land Bill.

At the meeting of the Party I think of proposing a resolution recommending the minority to pay more deference to the opinion of the majority than they did last session, and urging all the Irish members to sit together in opposition.

Kindly let me know what you think of these proposals.—Yours truly, CHARLES S. PARNELL.

These blanks were left in the letter as the phrases omitted were too confidential to be written. I learnt them and quoted them to Gladstone.

On January 21 Parliament met to transact business, and the resignations of Lord Carnarvon and Sir W. Hart Dyke were announced. Notice was given of a new Coercion Act, and on the 26th the Government was defeated by 331 to 252 votes—not, however, on an Irish amendment, but on the motion of Jesse Collings raising the question of "three acres and a cow."

[1] The Coercion Bill

[2] The enclosure was a letter from a notorious Invincible in America who had written to Parnell assuring him of his support and protesting against the anti-Parnell pro-Davitt agitation got up by Ford in the Irish World. Gladstone had expressed a wish to see one of his letters.

[3] Lord Morley has stated that Granville voted for the scheme, and Lord Eversley that all Peers voted against it.

[4] Captain O'Shea had made himself unpopular with the Irish Party, and when in 1885 he wanted their co-operation in his re-election for County Clare, only Parnell was ready to help him. He had always refused to sit with the Party, had taken a place on the Government benches, and thence kept up a running fire of sarcastic comment on the speeches and mannerisms of his fellow-countrymen. His intimacy with Chamberlain was also a cause of suspicion, and he would not take the Party pledge. Mrs. O'Shea was anxious for him to remain in Parliament, as his political interests left him little time for visiting Eltham. The need for watchful diplomacy when he was there was irksome to her. Especially since the February of 1882 she could not bear to be near him. Parnell had great doubt of the possibility of getting Captain O'Shea returned for Clare or any other Irish seat without the pledge. O'Shea, under the impression that he himself had been the chief negotiator of the "Kilmainham Treaty," accused Parnell of ingratitude and treachery. Mrs. O'Shea then got into touch with Lord Richard Grosvenor, and a scheme was put on foot for getting Captain O'Shea nominated for the Exchange Division of Liverpool as a Liberal. The united strength of the Liberal Party, exercised by Lord Richard Grosvenor and through him by Mr. Gladstone, and of Parnell's influence on the Irish vote, failed to carry him in. The retirement of the English Liberal candidate, Mr. T. E. Stephens, even after nomination and the concentration of the Liberal forces on O'Shea's election did not suffice. Mr. L. R. Baily, the Conservative, defeated him by 55 votes. Captain O'Shea then returned to the demand for an Irish seat, and persisted in being nominated at the by-election pending in Galway. He still refused to take the Party pledge. Parnell, therefore, at first refused to countenance his candidature, but finally gave way, and he was elected.

[5] Lord Carnarvon.



"Memories, images and precious thoughts
That shall not die, and cannot be destroyed.

Before forming his Cabinet Mr. Gladstone enunciated the necessity for an examination whether it was practicable to establish a legislative body to sit in Dublin, and to deal with Irish, as distinguished from Imperial affairs.

Five of the members of his last Cabinet—Lords Hartington, Derby, Northbrook, Selborne and Carlingford—signified their absolute opposition to Home Rule. Two—Mr. Chamberlain and Mr. Trevelyan—agreed to the inquiry provisionally. Two—Sir Charles Dilke and Mr. Shaw Lefevre—had been defeated at the General Election. Seven—Lords Granville, Spencer, Kimberley, Ripon and Rosebery, Sir William Harcourt and Mr. Childers—agreed absolutely. Four new men—Mr. Morley, Mr. Campbell-Bannerman, Mr. Mundella and Lord Herschell—came into the Cabinet. Mr. Morley became Irish Secretary. A scheme was drafted by Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Morley. It consisted of two Bills, a Home Rule Bill and a Land Bill. On the scheme being laid before the Cabinet Mr. Chamberlain and Mr. Trevelyan resigned.[1]


On April 8th, 1886, the evening of the introduction of the Home Rule Bill, Mr. Gladstone sent his private secretary down to Eltham with a letter to me asking me to telegraph one word, "Yes," if he was to introduce the Bill that night. In this case he was to speak shortly after four o'clock. Mr. Parnell had not given him the required answer earlier, as he had up to the last moment been trying to induce Mr. Gladstone to give the Bill wider and more comprehensive clauses than the G.O.M. would assent to. Now, however, he had said to me, as he started that evening for the House: "This Bill will do as a beginning; they shall have more presently. If the Old Man wires to know if it is all right answer 'Yes.'" Mr. Gladstone had previously arranged with me that I should be at home waiting for his message in order that I might let him know that Parnell and the "Party" were ready.

His messenger was so late that I simply snatched Gladstone's letter from him and, scribbling my "Yes" on the enclosed Government form, sent my waiting servant flying to the telegraph office with it. After which I had time to join in the regrets of Mr. Gladstone's secretary that his master had made it impossible for me to get up to the House in time for his introduction of the Bill. The secretary told me that he would have "derived considerable interest" from the proceedings, but I felt much {199} more keenly than that about this Bill that I had taken so often in its swaddling clothes from parent to foster parent, and I was very much disappointed at not being present at its introduction to a larger life.

The debate on the first and second readings lasted sixteen days. It is to be remembered that in his attack on the Bill Mr. Chamberlain did not oppose Home Rule, but only this particular scheme.

A great wish of Willie's was to be appointed Under-secretary for Ireland. I had on various occasions made the suggestion to Mr. Gladstone, but without successful issue. Gladstone had a perfect manner of refusing appointments when personally asked for them; it was always an apparent pain to him; nothing but the knowledge of his duty restrained him from interference, and though I was not really anxious that Willie should receive this appointment I was willing to please him by asking for it, and it might have excited suspicion if I had not asked. I must admit that Mr. Gladstone never to my knowledge of him all those years made an appointment from motives of private favour. Here once more, when he wrote regretting he couldn't poach on his colleagues' patronage preserves, his manners were perfect.

On May 8th an urgent letter from Gladstone at Downing Street was delivered at my house. Mr. Morley had lost track of Mr. Parnell, and wanted to know where he was. It was apparently the most natural thing in the world to ask me where was Parnell. A form of Government telegram was enclosed for my reply.

In view of the fact that Mr. Gladstone and his colleagues were so pained, surprised, and properly shocked when Mr. Parnell was publicly arraigned as my lover, the frantic way in which they applied to me, when they were {200} unable to find him, was, afterwards, a source of considerable amusement to us both.

From the time of my first interview with Mr. Gladstone onwards, no time was lost in "failing to trace him here" before hurried application was made to me at my—and Parnell's—permanent address. I did not choose that the Irish Party should have his private address—nor did Parnell choose it—but I was most particular that the Government should know it. Governments—especially Liberal Governments—are before all things simple-minded and of childlike guilelessness.

I remember when on one occasion the Government desired to know Parnell's views on certain matters before elaborating a Bill shortly to go before the House, a special messenger was sent to Eltham with a letter. I had gone to the seaside with my children, and my servants had standing orders that they knew nothing of Mr. Parnell or of his whereabouts. So the nonplussed Governmental messenger meditated upon my doorstep for one moment only, then, armed with "Mrs. O'Shea's address" at Hastings, came straight on to receive Mr. Parnell's reply, and safely deliver it within the stipulated time. But there can be no doubt, of course, that Mr. Gladstone's "Poor fellow, poor fellow, what a terrible fall," subsequent to the hounding, at his word, of his gallant opponent to death by the Irish sycophants, alluded to the breaking of the eleventh commandment of social life: "Thou shalt not be found out" (publicly), rather than to the seventh of orthodox Christianity.

On June 7th Mr. Parnell spoke on the Home Rule Bill. It was the last night of the debate, and he had carefully prepared his speech.

The rejection of the Bill by a full House—343 against {201} 313 votes—was immediately followed by the dissolution of Parliament. Thus in July, 1886, the Liberals went out in alliance with the Irish leader, whom, only twelve months before, they had gone out denouncing with all his followers.

So ends the most important period of my negotiations with Gladstone. The subsequent course of them may be sketched briefly.

In July, 1886, Gladstone replied to certain suggestions of Parnell recommending perseverance with the Home Rule scheme, with the objection that he was unable to carry the Gladstonian Party beyond a certain point.

There were times when Mr. Gladstone became somewhat uneasy in regard to the possible consequences of so many interviews with me. Also someone said once to him, "Supposing Mrs. O'Shea told Parnell you said so and so, and it was more than you meant to say?" On June 15th, 1887, for example, he wrote asking with utmost politeness for a letter instead of an interview.

However, on August 22nd of the same year I find him writing from Hawarden thanking me for some gift (of game or fruit) and expressing hope of the future.

Gladstone now told me that he wished to meet Parnell in order to talk over the political situation, and I suggested that a visit to Hawarden by Parnell would have a good effect politically. Gladstone then asked Parnell to Hawarden to discuss the outlook in politics, an invitation which Parnell did not answer at once, as he first wished to ascertain the tactics of the Conservative Party.

On August 30th, 1889, Mr. Gladstone wrote to Parnell a most private letter, lamenting that he had not heard from him and his friends with reference to a visit to Hawarden. The fact was that since Parnell had received {202} Gladstone's invitation the Tories had been making advances, and had just proffered a Roman Catholic University for Ireland. Gladstone was right in supposing that here was the cause of Parnell's silence. He was not angry, but he threatened Parnell with the effect of this new proposal on Nonconformist and Presbyterian Liberals.

In October the air was clearer, the Government's Irish University scheme had gone awry, and Gladstone was jubilant. He wrote on the 16th renewing the invitation. With regard to the Home Rule Bill he was all for reserve; with regard to Parnell's action against the Times all for dispatch.

It was two months later, however (on December 19th), that Parnell, on his way to Liverpool, visited Gladstone at Hawarden. It was a short but agreeable visit, and at dinner Mr. Parnell sat next to Miss Gladstone. The conversation turned upon actors and acting, and Miss Gladstone said, "Who is the greatest actor you have ever seen, Mr. Parnell?" "Your father, undoubtedly!" he promptly returned, much to her delight.

As Parnell became moderate in politics Gladstone became more extreme. I remember one evening in April or May, 1888, driving with Parnell to Morley's house in Elm Park Gardens where Parnell and Morley had a quiet conversation together.

I waited in the hansom cab a little way off the house for a considerable time, and at last Parnell came out with an amused expression on his face. As we were driving home he said:

"We can never satisfy English politicians! They imprisoned me for causing agitation in Ireland, and now they want agitation, if not outrage. Morley said to me: 'The people must be made to wake up a bit; can't you {203} do anything to stir them up?'" Then with a laugh: "If they knew how easy it was for me to stir Ireland up, and how confoundedly difficult I have found it to quiet her down again, they would be very careful before giving me such an invitation!" And, with the experience of the past to give force and conviction to his words, he had shown Mr. Morley the extreme danger of Mr. Gladstone's suggestions.

[1] The letters of Captain O'Shea preserved by Mrs. Parnell throw some light on Mr. Chamberlain's mind. In December, 1884, Chamberlain dealt at length with the Nationalist movement and the sentiment behind it, and unfolded his plan for a "National Board" for Ireland. In March, 1885, he was discussing the possibility of an arrangement with the Irish Party to get the Redistribution Bill and the Crimes Bill quickly into law on condition that the Government brought in Local Government Bills, including one for Ireland. In May, Captain O'Shea wrote that Gladstone was strongly in favour of this solution, and that, to Chamberlain's surprise, Lord Hartington did not reject the proposal off-hand, as expected. He added that the Cardinal had power to assure Parnell and the Government of the full support of the Catholic Church. Captain O'Shea's personal interest in the abortive scheme is revealed in the following passage from a letter of May 4, 1885: "The reason I am anxious about the Local Self-Government scheme is that if Chamberlain has power, which I think he will in the next Parliament, he will offer me the Chief Secretaryship, or the equivalent post if the name is abolished, if the boys will let me have it."



"He who for winds and clouds
    Maketh a pathway free,
Through waste or hostile crowds
    Can make a way for thee.
                                                        —PAUL GERHARDT.

One morning in 1882 I saw in the morning papers a cable message announcing the death of Miss Fanny Parnell. Mr. Parnell was at my house at the time, but asleep. After an all-night sitting I would never allow him to be roused until four in the afternoon, when he would have breakfast and chat with me until it was time to go to the House. On seeing the newspaper cable from America about his sister I thought it better to wake him and tell him of it, lest he should read it while I was away with my aunt. I knew that Fanny Parnell was his favourite sister, and he had told me that she was the cleverest and most beautiful woman in his family. This I knew was high praise, as Willie had met Mrs. Thomson—another of Parnell's sisters—and had told me that she was the most strikingly beautiful woman he had ever met.

I woke him and told him of his sister's death as gently as I could, but he was terribly shocked, and I could not leave him at all that day. For a time he utterly broke down, but presently a cable arrived for him—sent on from London—saying that his sister's body was to be embalmed and brought to Ireland, and his horror and indignation {205} were extreme. He immediately wrote out a message for me to cable from London on his behalf, absolutely forbidding the embalmment of his sister's body, and saying that she was to be buried in America.

The idea of death was at all times very painful to him, but that anyone should be embalmed and taken from one place to another after death was to him unspeakably awful. For this, amongst other reasons, I could not bear to have him taken to Ireland—to Glasnevin Cemetery—after his death. My desire was to have him near me and, as he would have wished, to have taken care of his grave myself. But I gave way to the longing of the Ireland he had lived for, and to the clamour of those who had helped to kill him. How they dealt with him alive is history now, but how they dealt with him in death is not so well known; and I give an extract from the message of a friend, who had gone to see his grave a few short years after his death: "Your husband's grave is the most desolate and neglected spot in the whole cemetery, and I grieve to tell you of the painful impression it made upon me."

I then sent over a servant, with some flowers, and his report was even worse. Fragments of glass from the broken artificial wreaths, placed there years before; trampled, neglected grass, and little of that but weeds; and the bare untidy backings and wires of the wreaths I had been sending for the greeting of so many days marked only in the calendar of our love.

Poor Ireland—a child in her asking, a child in her receiving, and so much a child in her forgetting.

When Mr. Parnell first came to Eltham he told me that he had had, since his boyhood at school, a habit of sleep-walking whenever he was at all run down in health. {206} When he was in America he used to lock the door of his room and put the key into a box with a spring lock that he had bought for the purpose. He feared he might wander about the hotel in his sleep. Also he warned me, when he first came, that he was subject to "night terrors," very much as a highly strung child is, and in these he would spring up panic-stricken out of deep sleep, and, without fully awaking, try to beat off the imaginary foe that pressed upon him. It was a species of nightmare; not apparently excited by any particular cause other than general want of tone. After a few years of careful dieting I succeeded in freeing him of these painful and most wearing attacks.

When the attacks came on I went into his room and held him until he became fully conscious, for I feared that he would hurt himself. They were followed by a profuse perspiration and deep sleep of several hours. He was terribly worried about these nightmares, but I assured him that it was only indigestion in a peculiar form. "You really think so?" he would reply, and when I told him that they would pass off with careful dieting he was reassured, and he followed my directions so implicitly as to diet that he soon proved me right.

He became very much run down again after his sister's death, but recovered perfectly, and had no recurrence of these attacks until some years after, when he suffered from a nervous breakdown brought on by overwork. Sir Henry Thompson treated him then, and he quickly recovered.

Soon after I met Mr. Parnell I sent to Worcester for some white roses in pots to keep in my hothouse in order to provide my exigeant lover with buttonholes. He loved white roses, he told me, and would not be content with any other flower from me; nor would he wear a rose from {207} my garden, as he said anyone could have those who asked me for them. So I had to keep a constantly blooming company of white roses in my conservatory to provide a buttonhole of ceremony on his speech days, or on other occasions when I wished him to look particularly well. Sometimes we would drive out miles into the country. Keston Common was a favourite resort of ours, and, as we rarely took a servant with us, we would either put up the horse I drove (Dictator, given to me by Mr. Parnell) at some inn, or tie him to a tree while we wandered about or sat under the trees talking.

He would do his best to learn the names of the wild flowers he picked for me—with uncomfortably short stalks!—but, beyond being at last able to name a dandelion or buttercup at sight, he did not shine in any branch of botany. "What did you call this fine plant?" he would ask with a glimmer of fun in his eyes. "It is not a plant you have, but a single flower branch, and it is called a king-cup—picked much too short!" I would answer severely, and he laughed as he tumbled his trophies into my lap and insisted that the ferns ruthlessly dug and cut out with his pocket-knife would grow all right, in spite of their denuded roots, if I "made them do it, in the greenhouse!"

When it was too wet to go out, or if he was not well, he used to amuse himself at home in my sitting-room practising shooting with an air-gun. He used a lighted candle for target, and became so expert in putting out the light this way that it became too troublesome to light the candle so often, and we substituted other targets.

Sometimes he would go to the farther end of my aunt's park, where there was a pond basin, dried up long before, {208} and many happy hours were spent there, shooting in turn, with his revolvers.

I remember on one Sunday afternoon my aunt's bailiff came down, having heard revolver shots, though the sound was deadened by the high banks. The bailiff was much perturbed by our Sunday sport, chiefly because it was Sunday. He did not dare press his opinion upon me, as he knew my position in my aunt's household was impregnable, but he had always been jealous of my coming to Eltham, where he had served her for over forty years, and he was now so plainly antagonistic that Mr. Parnell, who did not particularly wish his presence with me talked about, rose to the occasion with the tact he could exert when he considered it worth while.

"Oh, is that you, Mr. ——?" rising from an absorbed examination of his last bull's-eye. "Mrs. O'Shea was telling me when we started this match of your being such a good shot with a gun. Do have a shot with my revolver; see here, I've got a bull's-eye five times running against Mrs. O'Shea's one. Now let us see what you can do."

Mr. —— hesitated; he was a fine shot and had won prizes in his youth, and was susceptible to flattery.

Mr. Parnell said dryly: "I don't suppose you have had so much practice as I lately, but—" The bailiff turned a wary eye on his wife, who was waiting for him at the gate of a rookery some way off, and Mr. Parnell smiled as he said: "The lady will not see you," in such a gently sarcastic manner that Mr. —— was nettled, and picking up the revolver shot so wildly that he missed the little target altogether.

I said: "Mr. —— can shoot, really, Mr. Parnell, as I told you, but he is nervous!" So Mr. —— went on, making shot after shot with varying success till {209} Mrs. —— appeared on the scene dressed in her best and Sunday virtue, which was resplendent in Eltham. She gazed with pain upon Mr. ——, who, to appear at ease, entered into a discussion of revolver patterns with Mr. Parnell. I talked cheerfully to her for a few moments, and introduced Mr. Parnell, which gratified her immensely, and the two went off happy, but so conscious of the enormity of having given countenance to such desecration of the Sabbath, in Sunday shooting, that we knew we were safe from their perhaps inconvenient chatter.

Mr. Parnell was always interested in cricket, and I had a private pitch laid out for him at Eltham in a two-acre field. As a young man he had been an enthusiast, and the captain of his eleven. He never went to matches, however, after he entered Parliament.

He talked to me much about Avondale. He loved the place, and was never tired of planning the alterations and improvements he meant to make in the old house when we could marry. He often went over to Ireland expressly to see how things were going there, but after 1880 he could never stay even a few days there in peace. The after-effects of the awful famine, in such terrible cases of poverty and woe as were brought to his notice the moment he arrived in his old home, made it impossible for him to remain there at all. No one man could deal charitably with all these poor people and live, and as time went on Mr. Parnell's visits became necessarily shorter, for the demands were so many, and the poverty so great, that he could not carry the burden and continue the political life necessary to their alleviation. He told me that he despaired of ever having a penny in his pocket when he took me there, as he always hoped to do.

He was very fond of the old woman he kept at {210} Avondale in charge of the house, and who attended to his few needs when he was there; and whenever he went there he would get me to go to Fortnum and Mason's to buy a pound of their 4s. a pound tea for the old dame, who much appreciated this delicious tea, though she of course stewed it into poison before drinking it.

This old servant of his had the most curious ideas on "first aid to the injured," and when on one occasion Mr. Parnell had his hand crushed in some machinery at his Arklow quarries, she dressed the injured fingers with cobwebs from the cellar walls. To my astonishment he asked for cobwebs at Eltham once, when he had cut his finger, to "wrap it in." My children, with delighted interest, produced cobwebs (and spiders) from the cellar, and I had the greatest difficulty in preventing a "cure" so likely to produce blood-poisoning. He accepted the peasant lore of Ireland with the simplicity of a child, and I still remember his doubtful "Is that so?" when I told him it was most dangerous to put anything so dusty as a cobweb on an open wound. "Susan Gaffney said cobwebs would stop the poison. They all do it," meaning the peasants.

On August 16th, 1882, he was presented with the freedom of the City of Dublin. He wished to avoid a public demonstration, but the Corporation insisted on making the most of the occasion.

    Saturday, August 20, 1882.

MY OWN QUEENIE,—Your two letters have given me the greatest pleasure, and I am so much obliged to Wifie for the trouble she has taken about the request I made to her.

The two D.'s[1] have quarrelled with, me because I won't {211} allow any further expenditure by the ladies and because I have made arrangements to make the payments myself for the future. They were in hopes of creating a party against me in the country by distributing the funds amongst their own creatures and are proportionately disappointed.

I hope to have everything settled by Tuesday evening so as to enable me to leave town then, and after a week in the country propose to return to Wifie.


In October, 1882, was founded the National League, which was to fill the gap caused by the suppression of the Land League. A Convention had been called for the 17th of the month.

October 10, 1882.

MY OWN QUEENIE,—I hope to be able to start for London on Thursday evening.

The doctor says it was an attack of dysenterical diarrhoea, but not of a severe character, and very little fever. It is now quite over. He says my stomach must have been getting out of order for some time.

I hope Wifie has been taking good care of herself, and that she has not been alarmed.

Her husband will go right back to her, and will not return to Avondale for the shooting.

With ever so much love, my own Queenie,


Friday evening, October 14, 1882.

My OWN DARLING WIFIE,—I have been so longing to be with you during all these dreary hours, still more dreary as they have been made by the knowledge that Wifie has been unhappy and anxious all the time. Her letters came to me quite safely and were a great pleasure, and I want some more. On Tuesday or Wednesday, I forget which, I left my room for the first time and caught a slight cold, which threw me back somewhat, but I have more than regained my lost ground to-day, and am to leave my room again to-morrow, and if I {212} don't over-eat myself or catch cold again, shall go on all right.

The Conference will most probably last two days, but I hope to be able to leave on Wednesday, or at latest on Thursday evening, to be with my Queenie until the end of the Session.

Do please write me a nice letter, my darling.


October 17.

MY DEAREST WIFIE,—I have arrived all right, and got through the first day of the Convention successfully.

You will be glad to hear that the telegrams which I missed were of no importance, and I received them this morning unopened, as well as yours also unopened.

With best love to my own Katie.

The Convention duly met, Parnell presiding, and the National League was formed, with Home Rule and peasant proprietorship as the two main articles of its creed.


MY OWN DARLING WIFIE,—I have been so delighted to receive both your letters quite safely; you have no idea how much I long for a letter or a wire from you, and how frightened and nervous I feel when, as sometimes happens, a whole day goes by without any news.

I was very much afraid that my little wife would not have approved of all my speech, and so much relieved to find that you did not scold me.

Has anything been done about the monument yet? I hope there will not be any hitch.

Am trying to get together a meeting of directors in Dublin for next Saturday, which I can take on my way back to you, and which I trust may afford the desired relief. I have been doing a good deal of healthy and necessary work since my arrival here, out riding or driving in the open air all day long. I ride a horse called Tory, a splendid thoroughbred of my sister's, though he has now seen his best days. He goes just {213} like an india-rubber ball. I have been very successful in that part of the business which I came over for that I have been able to attend to thus far; having already discovered several quarries on my own land, much nearer to the railway station than the one we are working on, and for which we have to pay a heavy royalty. I have every confidence that one and all of them will be found suitable upon trial. Kerr is rather a duffer about anything except book-keeping. He ought to have found these out for himself long since, as I gave him the clue when leaving here last September.

My brother-in-law's funeral takes place to-morrow. I am going in a closed carriage, and shall be careful not to expose myself or stand about in the churchyard.

I am certain of being able to finish up everything here so as to leave Ireland on Saturday or Sunday at the latest, and shall soon have my only and best treasure in my arms again.


I shall be in Dublin on Tuesday evening, and shall sleep at Morrison's that night, returning here next day.

From these quarries at Arklow Parnell supplied the Dublin Corporation with "setts" for many of the streets in Dublin. These setts (granite, pavement kerbing) were not turned out quickly enough by his men at first, so he tried the experiment of giving the men a share in the profits, and this he found answered well in keeping the supply up to the demand of the corporation.

Some of the polished granite work turned out by his men was beautiful, and a heavy granite garden vase and a Celtic cross appeared in the London (Irish) Exhibition and also in the Cork Exhibition.

1882-83 was a very anxious time for me, and the nervous tension caused by the agitation in the political world and the continual threatenings of violence, intrigue, and physical force, made privately to Parnell, against him and others, was so great that, by the end of '83, if I had not {214} had my lover's health to care for I should myself have broken down altogether. As it was, there were days when the slightest sound or movement was an agony to me in the throes of neuralgia brought on by the overstrain of the nerves. But for his sake I concealed my misery of pain as well as I could, and in so doing won back a measure of health for myself, which would perhaps have been lost to me had I been able to give way to my "nerves."

During this time I attended the sittings of the House as often as I was able, going up to town as soon as I could leave my aunt for the night, so that I might hear Parnell if he spoke, and in any case drive home with him. We always drove home in a hansom cab, as we both loved the cool of the night or of the early morning air.

During these anxious days I did not let Parnell have one-half of the threatening and other worrying letters he received. He brought me his letters and parcels from the House, and from a London address he had, to be sorted out. I gave him those for his secretary's answering, any personal ones I thought he would wish to see, and just as many "threats" as I thought would make him a little careful of himself for my sake. The bulk of the "warnings," threats of murder, and invitations to murder I kept to myself, fearing that he would worry himself on my account and object to my continual "shadowing" of him, which I considered his chief protection. He always carried a revolver in his pocket during this time, and insisted on my being similarly provided when I drove home with him at night.

These precautions may appear fantastic in these later sober times, but they were very necessary during that time of lawlessness and unrest in Ireland, when the prophecy made by Parnell to me ere he finally decided to leave {215} Kilmainham on the Treaty had become fact: "If I turn to the Government I turn away from them—and then?"

The force of his personality was carrying him through the seething of the baffled hatred he would not use, but not without a danger so real and so acute that many a time I was tempted to throw his honour to the winds and implore from the Government the protection he would have died rather than ask for himself. But I held on to the end till the sheer force of his dauntless courage and proud will broke down the secret intrigue of spleen that, held by him back from England's governance, would have revenged itself upon the holding hand, had it dared.

There was a lonely part of the road between London and Eltham after going through Lee, over a common where, to the right, was a deep ditch, and, beyond, the land of (the late) Mr. Blenkiorn, breeder of racehorses. There were no houses near in those days, and on moonlight nights we could see a long way on each side of a rather desolate bit of country. The moon which gave light also gave shadows, and more than once from some way off we saw the shadow of a man running behind the hedge on the way we had to pass. I always took the side of the hansom near the park, as I thought it would conceal to some degree the fact of Parnell's being there. I knew, too, that the fact of my being a woman was still some little protection, but I took the precaution of telling the driver to drive quickly and not stop for anyone at any lonely point in the road. Once, to my horror, when we were nearly over the common, I saw a man rise from the ditch and the glint of steel in the moonlight. The man driving saw it, too, and, with a lurch that threw us forward in the cab, he lashed his horse into a gallop. I could just see that the man threw up his arms as he staggered {216} backwards into the ditch and a shot rang out; but nothing dreadful had happened after all. The man had obviously slipped as he sprang up the bank, and, in throwing up his arms to recover his balance, his pistol had gone off—for neither of ours had been discharged. So this exciting drive had no more serious consequences than the rather heavy price of the cabman's putting up in the village till day brought him renewed confidence in the safety of the London road.

Sometimes after a late sitting Parnell and I would get some coffee at the early coffee stalls for workmen on the way from London. In the early morning half-light, when the day was just beginning to break, we loved to watch drowsy London rubbing the sleep from her eyes, hastening her labouring sons upon their way to ease the later waking of their luxurious brothers. Parnell was always interested in manual labourers; he loved to watch them at work, and he liked to talk to them of their work and of their homes. A man with a hammer or a pick-axe was almost an irresistible attraction to him, and he would often get me to stand and watch the men engaged on a road or harbour work.

About this time (it was in 1883) Mr. (afterwards Sir) Howard Vincent, head of the Detective Department of Scotland Yard, sent a note to the House of Commons asking Parnell to see him for a few minutes, as he had an important communication to make to him. Parnell was just going to speak, so he brought me the note up to the Ladies' Gallery, and, hastily putting it into my hand, said: "See to this for me."

It was a morning sitting, and I hurried off to Scotland Yard hoping to get back in time to hear Parnell speak, and yet anxious to hear what the note meant. I was shown {217} into Sir Howard Vincent's private room directly I arrived, and he expressed great pleasure, as well as great surprise, at seeing me. I showed him his note to Parnell, and asked him to what it referred. He answered that the "officials" all considered the matter serious, and that the Government were prepared to give Mr. Parnell protection if he wished it.

I told him that Mr. Parnell would, I was sure, not like that at all, and, after a long conversation of no particular definiteness, Sir Howard said: "I do not think you believe in this particular threat against Mr. Parnell, do you, Mrs. O'Shea?"

I replied: "Well, it does seem rather like a hoax to me. Would you mind letting me see the 'letter of warning'?" He laughed and said: "Not at all, but I've torn it up and flung it into the waste-paper basket."

I promptly picked up the basket in question and turned it over on his table, saying: "Let us piece it together." He pretended to help me for a few moments, as I neatly put together various uninteresting documents, and then, with a deprecating smile, swept them all together, saying: "It is your game, Mrs. O'Shea; you are too clever. Why didn't you send Mr. Parnell round?" and we parted with laughing expressions of goodwill and amusement on his part that we had not been taken in.

The Government, of course, were bent on forcing "police protection" on Parnell as a convenience to themselves and a means of ascertaining the extent of his influence over the Invincibles. The Government did not trust Parnell, and they wished to frighten him into care of himself and thus weaken the trust of the Irish in him.

One evening in 1882 or 1883, when Parnell and I were waiting at Brighton station to catch the train to London, {218} we noticed that there was much crowding round the book-stall placards and much excitement among buyers of newspapers. Parnell did not wish to be recognized, as he was supposed at that time to be in Ireland; but, hearing Gladstone's name mentioned by a passer-by, our curiosity got the better of our caution and we went to get a paper. Parnell, being so tall a man, could see over the heads of the crowd, and, reading the placard, turned back without getting a paper to tell me that the excitement was over the report of "the assassination of Mr. Parnell." I then asked him to get into the train so that we should run no risk of his being known, and managed to get through the crowd to buy a paper myself. How the report arose we never knew, but at that time, when every post brought Parnell some threat of violence and my nerves were jarred and tense with daily fear for him, it took all my fortitude to answer his smile and joke at the unfounded report which left me sick and shaken.

[1] Dillon and Davitt.



"Feeling is deep and still, and the word that floats on the surface
Is as the tossing buoy, that betrays where the anchor is hidden.

Mr. Forster made his notorious attack upon Mr. Parnell in February, 1883, accusing him of encouraging and conniving at murder, outrage, and treachery. On his return home Parnell showed, as he would not deign to show in the House, a fierce joy in the false move of his enemies and the scorn and contempt of the lack of control which could lead a politician of Forster's experience into such a faux pas as this personal attack on him. Here, then, he had what he wanted; in this attack was the repudiation of those charges, made by the "extremists" in Ireland and America, of pandering to the Government—made by them ever since he left Kilmainham on the Treaty—here was another cord to bind the Nationalist forces together without in any way repudiating that Treaty. Here was a fresh weapon given into his hand by an ex-Government official who could not govern his personal spleen by political intelligence.

"No," he said to me, when I asked him if he did not mean to answer Forster at all, "I shall not answer. I shall let him hang himself with his own rope."

But the Party would not have this, and urged him so strongly that he did—not answer—but show his contempt of the whole thing and of the English politicians who had played their hand so badly. He said to me before he started {220} for the House: "By the judgment 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 repudiation of the right of the English to judge him—for a downright denial of the charges made, for a skilful fencing with the arguments. The speech of Parnell was a challenge to war. Impassive as ever, betraying no slightest sign of emotion, he tore up the accusations and threw them scornfully in the face of his accuser.[1]

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

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

I answered, as I could truly do: "Yes, Mr. Gladstone, 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 himself, 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, {221} 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 stronghold), for which division he was returned a month after he had quitted Richmond Prison.

He immediately afterwards (on July 4) 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 repudiates and which had reached my ears from other sources:—

    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 calculated to {222} 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 husband 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 evening.

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

    2 a.m., July 4, 1883.

MY DEAR MRS. O'SHEA,—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[2] 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. I had arranged to go into a house in Second Avenue, which both Parnell and I liked, but Willie came down and insisted on my taking one facing the sea in Medina Terrace; so I (with difficulty) got out of my former agreement, 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 Brighton 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 find out what the views of Mr. Chamberlain and the Tories were—better ascertainable 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 festivities, 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 {224} 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 balustrade 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 moonlight, 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 naïve "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 Christmas 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 {225} 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.[3]

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."

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 development 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.)


May 31, 1884.

(Rathdrum Office.)



Captain leaves here to-morrow (Sunday) morning, and leaves Kingstown 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 return.

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, {227} and will leave early in the morning and come down here to breakfast.

    Friday, 4 p.m.

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

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

Am now going up to London to settle the report of Labourers' Committee, which had not time to attend to yesterday, 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[4] 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. However, it is evident you must take great care.

If you think I had best not wait, will you telegraph? Otherwise see me later, when I will wait.—Yours.


Many thanks for kind note.

I am going to London now, and hope to return reasonably 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-morrow, 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' Committee, which meets at eleven to-day to consider its final report.

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 illness of some duration he returned home to Eltham in broad daylight in a hansom cab, triumphantly supporting one end of a large couch, the other end of which spread its upholstered length over the roof. This invalid'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 procession up to my room, and in spite of my amused protests 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 possession.

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 Robertson 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 selection. 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 {229} colour of sorrow, and green the most painful 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 exclamation 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 burnt!

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 discover that a brother of his was living there. When we had a few hours to spare we had very happy times hunting 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.

[1] "The time will come," said Parnell in this speech, "when this House and the people of this country will admit 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 impulsive people."

[2] Captain O'Shea.

[3] On the day of Parnell's death, October 6, 1891, a new planet was discovered.

[4] Captain O'Shea.



"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 Eltham, 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 mantelpiece 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 was published years ago without permission or acknowledgment 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 {231} 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 hamper here. Mary and I unpacked it with fear and trembling, lest there should have been no tea and sugar, as I had forgotten 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 returned 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'SHEA,—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 President, a beautiful horse of sixteen hands and a weight-carrier, {232} 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 stableman, 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 extraordinarily 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 emergency. 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 immense 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, finding 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 {233} 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 waiting to take the horse, proceeded to rub him down while considering the matter, thereby delighting the crowd of onlookers.

The policeman besought him to "get on the 'orse, sir, and ride hoff," before the whole street got "'eld hup," but Parnell gently declined, as he knew that President had now no chance of keeping his feet on the ice-coated pavement. After fully considering the matter he found the chief thing was to get himself out of the crowd as quickly as possible, and, slipping a little comfort into the constable's hand, he ordered him to put the horse up at the nearest stables and drove off, ignoring all queries and protests.

He sent me a telegram from the House to assure me of his safe arrival, but forgot all about his waiting servant, who, after some hours, not daring to return home, telegraphed to me to know what he was to do, as his master had not arrived. The whole thing amused Parnell intensely, but unfortunately he had given the policeman the name of Prescott, and, in absence of mind, sent his groom the next day to find and bring back the horse of "Mr. Stewart." It was a most expensive trial of President's utility. The pocket-book I still use daily, and prize very highly; it is as perfect, though much worn, as when he bought it, some twenty-six years ago.

After my old collie Elfie died, Parnell offered to get me another dog, and, as I wanted an Irish wolf-hound, he and I went to see one that was advertised for sale. It was a magnificent animal, but we had much doubt as to {234} its true breed, and decided that Mr. Parnell should not buy it.

He then suggested bringing me an Irish setter the next time he went to Ireland, and, as the idea pleased me, he brought a half-grown setter given him by Mr. Corbett, M.P., who said this dog, Grouse, was the very best he had ever had. Grouse became at once the constant companion and pleasure of his master and myself. He was a beautiful dog, and most faithful and affectionate. Mr. Parnell would tease him by pretending to be jealous when Grouse lay at my feet with his head on my foot, and when the dog rose with the dignity that always characterized him, and went over to Parnell, resting his head on his knee and assuring him of his absolute devotion, I would in my turn despair at having no dog to love me.

After a few moments of this game poor Grouse would sit exactly between us, looking from one to the other, and whining at the impossibility of pleasing us both at once. Then Parnell would move to my side on the sofa so that Grouse could rest his chin on our clasped hands, to his great contentment. The dog always slept in Parnell's room, and, in his last illness, when the doctors wished to have Grouse removed, Parnell would not allow it.

Mr. Corbett was very sad when he heard that Grouse had become a lady's pet, as the old sportsman considered it a sin to "spoil" a gun dog; but I think that if he had known the pleasure Grouse gave "the Chief" he would have been glad that the dog should have exchanged the Wicklow Mountains for the hated Saxon's home. Parnell took Grouse over for the grouse-shooting one season and telegraphed to me that he had done very well, but he soon brought him back to me.

Another dog that Parnell brought home to me from {235} Ireland was a mongrel Irish terrier that he had found wandering in the streets of Killaloe. He had been dreadfully starved and ill-used, and was quite savage when handed over to me at Brighton with muzzle and chain on, but with kindness and good feeding he soon became as devoted to us as Grouse was, and with him used thoroughly to enjoy following Parnell when he rode over the Downs for his daily exercise.

After we went to Brighton Parnell would give the dogs a swim in the sea every day, and Grouse's strong swimming was a great delight to his master. Pincher, the terrier, was the cause of much anxiety, as he used to swim right out to sea—so far that we lost sight of the little dark head—and Parnell had very often to get a boat out and fetch the exhausted little beast back. This little dog lived for many years after his master's death (Grouse only two years), but he would never allow another man to touch him without trying to bite him. He was fond of Parnell, but always on guard with other men, though quite good-tempered with women. Parnell used to say that Pincher must have been so badly treated by some man that he had learned distrust of all males. Many a time he came home from his rides with rueful amusement at the exaggerated value placed upon their legs by shepherds or labourers he had met on the Downs who had been bitten by Pincher with a careless indiscrimination that at last earned him a muzzle.

Parnell also brought to Eltham a very old setter, Ranger. He had been a splendid dog, and now his limbs were too feeble to follow his faithful heart in his master's sport. So Mr. Parnell took pity on him, and asked Mr. Corbett to let him have the dog for a lady who would care for his old age, and Ranger came to us, spending the {236} evening of his life in basking on the sunny lawn at Eltham, wagging a dignified tail of appreciation and greeting to those of us he met on his stiff walks about the place or dreaming his doggie dreams of the sport of the past, happy and cared for till he died.

* * * * * *

The following letter was sent to United Ireland on April 11, 1885, in regard to the proposed visit of the Prince of Wales to Ireland:—

You ask for my views regarding the visit of the Prince of Wales. In reply, I desire to say that if the usages of the Constitution existed in Ireland as they do in England there would, to my judgment, be no inconsistency in those who believe in the limited monarchy as the best form of government taking a suitable part in the reception of the Prince. But in view of the fact that the Constitution has never been administered in Ireland according to its spirit and precedents, that the power of the Crown as wielded by Earl Spencer and other Viceroys is despotic and unlimited to the last degree, and that in the present instance the Royal personage is to be used by the two English political parties in Ireland for the purpose of injuring and insulting the Irish Nationalist Party, and of impeding, if possible, their work, I fail to see upon what ground it can be claimed from any lover of constitutional government under a limited monarchy that the Prince is entitled to a reception from the independent and patriotic people of Ireland, or to any recognition save from the garrison of officials and landowners and place-hunters who fatten upon the poverty and misfortunes of the country. Let me suggest a parallel. Would it be tolerated in England for a moment if the Government, for their own party purposes, on the eve of a general election, were to use the Prince of Wales as an electioneering agent in any section of the country, and were to send him upon a Royal progress in order to embarrass their political opponents? The breach of constitutional privilege becomes still graver when we consider that it is the march of {237} a nation which is now sought to be impeded—the fruition of a long struggle and of many sacrifices which the adventitious aid of this Royal visit is enlisted to injure. I have, however, every confidence that our people, having been suitably forewarned, will not allow their hospitable nature and cordial disposition to carry them into any attitude which might be taken as one of condonation for the past or satisfaction with the present state of affairs.


This letter was written at Eltham, and there was a laughing battle between us over the writing of it. I threatened to make him hang out "Union Jacks" from every window of Avondale if he made things unpleasant in Ireland for the Prince, and he, in pretended horror, wrote the above, and tossed it to me for the alterations (which I, of course, did not make) that my "English prejudices" demanded. But he seriously believed that this visit of the Prince to Ireland was timed by the advisers of his Royal Highness with singular and malicious advertence to the State of the political situation, and he commented most strongly upon the poverty of imagination and chivalry of a great country such as England who could find no better use for her Prince than that of an electioneering agent.



"Green leaves a-floating,
    Castles of the foam,
Boats of mine a-boating,
    Where will all come home?

In May, 1886, I took my children to the Queen's Hotel, Eastbourne, for a change, and, after a few days spent in looking for lodgings, I settled them in St. John's Road. Parnell enjoyed the bathing at Eastbourne greatly, and was much distressed that the weakness of my heart prevented my joining him in his swims, and that boating had most disastrous effects on me.

He was boyishly determined that I should at any rate join him in some way in his sea "sports," and one warm May evening he insisted that if I went into the sea fully dressed it could not hurt me. I thought it would at any rate be most uncomfortable, but to please him I held tightly to his arm while we waded far out to sea till the waves came to my shoulder and threw me off my feet.

He held me tightly, laughing aloud as the ripple of waves and wind caught my hair and loosed it about my shoulders; and, as I grew cold and white, my wonderful lover carried me, with all my weight of soaked clothing, back to the shore, kissing the wet hair that the wind twisted about his face and whispering the love that almost frightened me in its strength. Luckily the dusk of evening had come down upon us, and I was able to get back {239} to the house in my wet things, half-walking and half-carried by Parnell, without unduly shocking Eastbourne's conventions.

As I thought I should be able to be away from my aunt, with occasional flying visits to her, for about two months, Parnell had two of our horses brought down to Eastbourne. He had during that time to go to London and Ireland, but it was on the whole a peaceful little interlude in his strenuous political life, and we were very happy. He rode his horse President in the morning, and afterwards I drove him far out into the country around Eastbourne with Dictator in my phaeton.

We often drove out to Birling Gap—a favourite haunt of ours—and there we selected a site for the ideal house of our dreams; a place where one could hear nothing but the beating of the surf on the rocks below and the wild call of the sea-birds. He loved that place, where we could be absolutely alone save for the coastguardsman along the cliff, who never intruded his interesting conversation, but who was always ready for a chat when we cared to hear his stories of the sea.

It was impossible to drive near the place, so we had to leave Dictator and the phaeton far off on the last bit possible to drive upon. Parnell had an easy method of "hitching" a horse to something, in the firm faith that he would find it there on return a few hours later, and this made me very uneasy where my far from patient Dictator was concerned. Parnell would settle the horse with a feed, in charge of his groom, well sheltered behind a hill, and take a fantastic pleasure in observing the sulky gloom of the young man's face after an hour or so of this isolated meditation.

Parnell had a great love of sea-storms, and when there {240} was a gale blowing from the west, and rough weather assured, he loved to get me out to Birling Gap to listen to the roar of the sea and the screaming of the wind as it blew around us, nearly carrying us off our feet. He would tie his coat about me, and hold me firmly against the wind as it tore about us, and while we gazed out at the raging waves he would exclaim: "Isn't this glorious, my Queen? Isn't it alive?"

Our coastguardsman friend always seemed somewhat pleased to see us, though undoubtedly he thought us odd in our amusements. I have often thought since that if we had built our house in that isolated loveliness, where the sound of the sea and moan of the wind were incessant, there would have been some truth in what was said afterwards as to our house in Walsingham Terrace, that it was so "terribly dreary."

On one occasion we drove to Pevensey, and, passing the station on our return, a crowd from some local train came pouring out. Parnell asked me to pull up to let the crowd go by; but to his consternation this attracted the attention of some young men in the crowd, who at once recognized him, and, waving their hats, cried "Parnell, Parnell!" with that horrible emphasis on the "nell" that is so prevalent. Parnell, lifting his hat, urged me in an agonized tone to drive on, but it was too late. The crowd clustered about us, insisting on shaking hands with him, and throwing covertly interested glances at his companion. They would not let us go on till he had made a little impromptu speech on current affairs, after which we drove off amid cheers.

Parnell never swore, and "Goodness gracious!" learned from his nurse in extreme youth, was the strongest expression he ever used, but the dull, quiet anger such a {241} contretemps as this caused him would, I felt, have been relieved could he have acquired the habit of "language." This little incident at Pevensey would lead to newspaper paragraphs, and it was hard we could not have a few days' quiet amusement without having it boomed through the country. However, a brilliant thought struck me. If we were to be bothered by paragraphs let them be our own! So we drew up by the wayside, and concocted a paragraph which told an over-interested world that "Mr. Parnell had been staying at Hastings with his sister, and on visiting Pevensey with her had," etc., etc. This, forwarded to the Press Association, left us in peace at Eastbourne to complete our little holiday.

Apropos of Parnell's "Goodness gracious," he was at first quite unconscious of his use of the words, and it was only on Willie's plaintive query as to why he did not d—-n like other men, instead of using "that foolish and vulgar expression," he became aware of it. He then admitted with some amusement that he liked the homely old expression and did not d—-n merely because it never occurred to him to do so.

On the cliffs towards Beachy Head is a house that at that time was built but not quite finished. Parnell took me up to see it, and suggested that it might be a charming seaside retreat for us, even though not the ideal we always had in our minds. This house then had a beautiful and wide outlook over the sea, and I liked it so much that he arranged to take it on a three years' agreement directly it was finished. He wanted to have all the walls distempered instead of papered, and we spent many hours over this and the selection of the Minton tiles for the hall. The details of the house interested him greatly, and one day when the men working there had gone to dinner Parnell {242} showed me how to lay the tiles with so much energy that we had finished their work by the time the men returned. He then insisted upon my writing "Heatherbell Cottage" on a tile, which he proceeded to inlay over the front door, earning the comment from the men working there that he seemed to know as much about the "job" as they did.

He then turned his attention to making a smooth lawn in our little garden, spending hours pulling a roller up and down, while I sat on the steps writing from his dictation "A Proposed Constitution for the Irish and the English Peoples"—a production that excited the greatest wrath in the minds of some of the Irish Party at a subsequent meeting. I do not think that the English members of Parliament were ever made acquainted with the benefits proposed for their consideration under this "Constitution."

This Constitution was more fun than anything else. Parnell undoubtedly put it before certain members of the Irish Party instead of one drafted by his own hand. He told me afterwards that they looked "absolutely ill" when they saw my handwriting, so he would not withdraw it in favour of his own—till later.

I was sitting on the doorstep of our new house one day, idly watching Parnell build a bank that was to be turfed over to keep us from prying eyes, when he stopped suddenly and, leaning on his spade, said: "I am a poet! And descended from the poet, Thomas Parnell."

"Not a poet," I answered gently, "even though descended from one."

"I am a poet myself; give me a pencil and paper." And, throwing himself down beside me, he wrote down the following verse proudly. "It came to me while I was digging," he said as he tossed it over to me, "and it is a {243} real poem, and makes me a real poet. It's as good as any of Tom Parnell's stuff!"

I was forced to confess that I agreed with him, as I do now, that it was and is as good as, and better to me than, any of Thomas Parnell's stuff, or "the stuff" of any poet who ever graced the world with song. This is it:—

"The grass shall cease to grow,
The river's stream to run,
The stars shall ponder in their course,
No more shall shine the sun;
The moon shall never wane or grow,
The tide shall cease to ebb and flow,
    Ere I shall cease to love you."
                                                            CHAS. PARNELL.

One evening in 1886, on his return from town, Parnell told me about Mr. O'Brien's Plan of Campaign. He did not approve of it, and said that he did not wish to have anything to do with the working of it, adding: "I shall let O'Brien run it by himself."

Parnell was looking and feeling very ill at this time, and when Mr. O'Brien took upon himself to call at my house to see him, entirely uninvited, Parnell was not really well enough to see him. He was suffering from nervous breakdown, chiefly brought on by gastric trouble, which in its turn was produced by overwork and the strain of political life. All through his life Parnell was delicate. From 1880, when I first met him (and nursed him into health) to 1891, when he died, it was only by incessant watchfulness and care that I was able to maintain his health at all. It is certainly the fact that only his indomitable will and power of mind rendered him capable of enduring the strain of his public life and of the feats {244} of strength that few men of far greater physique would have attempted.

It was in allusion to this illness at the time of the visit of Mr. O'Brien that Parnell said in his speech at the Eighty Club (May 8, 1888): "I was ill, dangerously ill; it was an illness from which I have not entirely recovered up to this day. I was so ill that I could not put pen to paper, or even read the newspaper. I knew nothing about the movement until weeks after it had started, and even then I was so feeble that for several months—absolutely up to the meeting of Parliament—I was positively unable to take part in any public matter, and was scarcely able to do so for months afterwards. But, if I had been in a position to advise, I candidly submit to you that I should have advised against it."

Mr. O'Brien called again to see Parnell during the time he was so ill, and he left his room for the first time to go down to the sitting-room to see him. They had a long talk over the Plan of Campaign and other matters, and the interview left Parnell so exhausted that he was very ill again for some days afterwards.

Long after he told me, "All I got for getting up to see O'Brien was that he went about telling people that I was insane."

Mr. Parnell had been feeling low and depressed all through the summer of this year, and towards the autumn I became very much worried about his lassitude and general feeling of illness. I tried different diets without effect, and, thinking it might be better for him to go straight to bed after "the House," I took a house in London for him and settled him there, but he could not bear the loneliness and came back to Eltham as usual after a few nights. In November he became worse, and I insisted {245} upon his consulting a doctor, suggesting Sir Henry Thompson, as I had heard he was very clever. I took him to London on the afternoon of November 6, in a closed carriage, and he was feeling so weak and nervous that he asked me to go in and see Sir Henry first for him. His nerves had completely broken down and I felt terribly worried about him. He stayed in the waiting-room while I went into the consulting-room. Here Sir Henry hurried in from dinner, extremely irritable at being disturbed at such an unseemly hour for a "Mr. Charles Stewart," whom he did not know. "Look, look, look! Look at the clock! What's the matter? I have a consultation in a few minutes!"

I was very glad that the door between the rooms was shut, as I felt that such a reception in his state of nerves would have caused Parnell to leave the house without waiting for an interview. I began to point out that "my" patient could not, in such a low state, face such an ungenial reception. So he permitted me to explain a little about Mr. Stewart's ill-health, and as he was kindness itself, losing every trace of impatience, he helped Parnell into his room, where, after receiving a smile of assurance from Parnell, and having seen the relief in his face, I left them together, feeling what an inestimable blessing it was to have placed Parnell's health in such a haven of security in so far as human skill could aid it.

The knowledge, throughout the rest of Parnell's life, of being able to obtain Sir Henry Thompson's advice was a great comfort to this overwrought man.

Sir Henry Thompson warned me that it was most important for Mr. Parnell's health that his feet should be kept very warm, as his circulation was bad. When his feet became cold it upset his digestion, and this so {246} disorganized his general health that he was then laid up for several days. I always insisted upon his frequently changing his shoes and socks when he was at home, and gave him a little black bag containing a change whenever he was sure to be away for a few hours, as I found that the trouble of the frequent changing was amply compensated for in warm feet and therefore better health.

So curiously inquisitive were some of the Irish Party about its contents that the little bag with the change of socks and shoes became an obsession with them till one of them made the brilliant discovery that "Parnell had boots and socks in it to save him from wet feet!" Parnell used to complain to me when he handed it over to me that I might see by the different coloured socks that he had kept his promise of "changing" in town, that ——'s eyes seemed to be boring holes in the bag, and he was really thinking it would be better to hang the other shoes and socks round his neck if he must take them about with him!

When Parnell had to go over to Ireland he desired his secretary, Mr. Campbell, to bring his correspondence down to me at Eastbourne in order that I might deal with one or two matters on which he desired immediate intelligence telegraphed to him in our private code. He had long since registered the telegraphic address of "Satellite" for me that he might be able to telegraph with more privacy, and this arrangement had proved its usefulness many times in political and private matters. He had himself put together the code words we used, and insisted on my learning them by heart, to obviate the risk of any misunderstanding in case of loss.

Most of the words used were taken from his assaying operations, though not all, and were sent as from one {247} engineer to another about work in hand. In the code Willie appeared as "Tailings" and with Middlings, Crude, Gas, Overseer, Slag, Concentrate, Deposit, and a few other such words for Gladstone, Chamberlain, and other politicians, our code was an excellent working medium of private communication.

Before we took the house in Eastbourne we made a flying visit to Bognor, but this, though in those days a pretty, fresh, little place, was very difficult to get at, and impossible from a politician's point of view. We went there on a gloriously stormy day, and thoroughly enjoyed it. In our search for houses we even got as far as Selsey, but when, on our going into the house we had come to see, the caretaker carefully double-locked the door, Parnell turned with a horrified gesture to me, and insisted upon leaving at once without going over the house at all. It was an omen of misfortune, he said, and we could never be happy in such a house.

I have always thought that one of the greatest charms of Parnell's personality was the extraordinary simplicity of his outlook on ordinary life allied to the extremely subtle trend of his intellect.

A man of moods, he never permitted a mood to blind him to probable, or possible, issues in political matters. A keen judge of character, he summed up, mentally docketed, and placed in the pigeon-hole of memory, each and every man who came into his political vision, and could thus at any time place, sort, and direct any pawn of the Irish political game. Yet in things having no political significance his simplicity was almost absurd in its naïveté.

An amusing instance of what I mean occurred while we were at Eastbourne in '86. There was a boy I {248} employed about the house at Eltham, who was growing too fast, and looked as though he would be all the better for a little sea air. As I was taking my own servants down to Eastbourne I took this boy down also for a holiday, since it made little difference as to expense. This child was, I suppose, about fourteen years old, and once as I sat at the window, sorting Parnell's letters, and enjoying the morning air, I was suddenly struck with consternation to see my protégé, Jimmie, escorted up the road between two of Eastbourne's largest policemen. I said to Parnell, "Look!" and, following the direction of my horrified forefinger, he gazed sadly out at Jimmie, and replied, "Throwing stones, I'll wager. More paragraphs, sweetheart! You shouldn't have boys about."

But the large policeman insisted upon an interview with "the gentleman," with "Mr. Stewart," and, on my having the whole party in to hear the worst, we were informed that poor Jimmie had been caught trying to change a £50 note at the grocer's shop! "Mr. Stewart's" cold gravity of expression changed to one of deprecating amusement as I glanced indignantly at him. "I had no change, constable, so of course sent the boy to change the note," explained Parnell. "Told 'em so," threw in Jimmie, now feeling fairly safe and the centre of interest. But Eastbourne policemen are far too unimaginative to believe that boys of Jimmie's age are to be sent for change for £50 notes, and it was with the utmost difficulty we got rid of these stolid guardians of our pockets.

Parnell, after sending the boy for change, had temporarily forgotten the matter, and no explanation could convince him that it was the obvious thing that the boy should be "arrested" on trying to change so large a note. {249} "Jimmie's a nuisance, but anyone can see that he is honest," was his conclusion.

On one of our excursions, ostensibly to look for a house, but really as much as anything for the purpose of getting away for a few hours to the sea, we went to Herne Bay. This was a charming and lonely little place then; a cluster of houses set in green fields and a fresh sea dashing over the little pier. It was always on days when the wind was high that the longing for the sea came over us, and thus we generally found the sea responding to our mood.

At this little village of Herne Bay the house we saw was unsuitable, but the day is a memory of salt wind and rough waves, followed by a picnic dinner at the little inn, where Parnell ordered a fowl to be roasted, and was momentarily saddened by my refusal to eat that murdered bird, which had been so pleasantly finding its own dinner when he gave the order.



"My true love hath my heart and I have his."
                                                                        —SIR PHILIP SIDNEY.

Once when Parnell had to go to Ireland by the morning mail, after a late sitting of the House, I went up to the St. Pancras Hotel, where he had a room that night, and made the waiter bring up a tray into the bedroom, with a cold bird, some tomatoes and materials for salad dressing, adding a bottle of still Moselle (Parnell always drank still Moselle by his doctor's, Sir Henry Thompson's, orders, and no other wine). I knew he would be rushed to catch the train when he returned in the early morning, and that he would miss the little meal I always had ready for him, and this missing a meal was very bad for him.

When I had prepared the supper table to my liking I sat down by the open window and watched the flare of light in the sky and the wide panoramic view of mean streets and wide spaces I had from this window, of one of the rooms highest up in this high building; and the shrieks and oaths of men and women came up to me as they quarrelled, and the drunken brawls of some past semblance of humanity floated up to me till dawn brought peace to the city, as these poor dregs of life slunk back to their dens to seek the oblivion of sleep. I shall never forget the sights and sounds of that night, for never before had the horror of a great city's streets at night been so forcibly brought before me.


In the early dawn Parnell came, and, seeing his supper there, sat down to eat it without question, as I had known he would. He ate in a preoccupied way as he thought over his speech, and after telling of various points in it, suddenly said, "Ah, I was really hungry; and you found some tomatoes. I'll make the salad if you'll eat some." So he made a delicious salad, and we feasted upon it before I left him to go down to Eltham by the early train, and to give him time for a short rest before catching the mail train for Ireland.

* * * * * *

"There is one great comfort about this," I used to say to myself, after two hours' walking up and down that most uncomfortable station, Waterloo Junction, "and that is that he always comes at last." I had often to comfort myself with that reflection as I waited about at various stations for Parnell.

When he had to be late I often went up to the House to fetch him out to dinner at a restaurant. He hated dining in the House, and there were one or two points in the diet ordered him by Sir Henry Thompson that I insisted upon for him where he would not take the trouble to insist for himself. After dinner I would drive him nearly back to the House. There he got out, and if he felt lonely at the idea of driving down to Eltham by himself as he sometimes did, or if he thought he would want to talk to me again before he came home (as he very often did!) I would promise to wait for him at some station, so that he could find me without observation. It would have been much more comfortable, of course, for me to have waited in a house or rooms somewhere, but people were so extraordinarily curious about Parnell that it would have been {252} impossible so to get any peace unless we changed the address every week, and this would have been decidedly too expensive. As it was, he was often followed to the station by a detective or some private busybody who could not realize that even a public man may possible prefer to keep a little of his life to himself.

So very many hours I waited for him at various stations! The officials (at each and all) were most kind and considerate to the lonely lady who had to be driven, by sheer force of regulations, from one waiting-room to another as the lights were put out, and who finally would take to a steady tramp up and down the station platform till at length (such a long length sometimes!) she was joined by her husband and almost lifted into the hansom-cab they invariably drove off in.

When I felt that he really wanted me to wait I could not bear to go home, and though Waterloo was the most uncomfortable station of all to keep vigil in I often chose it, as, owing to the early morning trains at the Junction, I could always be sure that it would not be altogether shut up.

I think the officials must have known who Parnell was, as I always had a free pass (from him) for all these lines, but they never intruded, and, in spite of my pass, received and kept his telegrams for me (he often telegraphed from the little office near the House, in the name "Preston") with perfect tact. The porters were very good to me also, and many a scuttle of coal was recklessly emptied on a waiting-room fire after hours as "reg'lations 'gainst keepin' on gas strong, but it will be fairly cheerful like with the firelight, ma'am." The railway men are a kindly race, for I rarely tipped these men.

* * * * * *



I arrived here to-night.

I fear I may be detained till rather late to-night, so hope you will not wait up for me. I expect to return home about 3.30.

The above is a note, one of very many, sent down to me at Eltham, so that I should, if I wished, go to bed before Parnell came home. I did this only once or twice, as I fancied I heard him directly I closed my eyes, and would go down, only to find a dreary blank of disappointment. So I made him agree to my staying in my sitting-room, where from the open window I could hear for miles the regular trotting of the cab-horse bringing him home.

He only stipulated that I should not go out along the roads to meet him at night. In March, 1887, I thought my King was looking tired and worried. There had been various annoying happenings owing to new reports of his life at Eltham having been put about. I had had unpleasant letters from Willie, and the latter and I were not now on speaking terms. With this and his hard work Parnell was looking fagged and worn. His health, always an anxiety to me, seemed to fail, and the languor that grew upon him frightened me. I determined that he should be spared the long cold night-drive down to Eltham, and suggested his having a house near the House of Commons to which he could return and get immediate rest after a night sitting. He had a little house at Brockley, which he had taken in the name of "Clement Preston," and furnished, and here he had a man and wife to look after him. I had never lived there, but used to drive over to see him for a short time when it was inexpedient that he should be at Eltham. He never liked this house, and hated the way the people used to hang about to see him go in and {254} out, "Clement Preston" apparently being but a poor protection in keeping off curiosity as to Parnell's habits. He wearily said he did not want to live in London unless I would live there too, but, as I pointed out, that was impossible, and I took a house in York Terrace, Regent's Park (furnished), for him. Here I installed him with two servants, who absolutely worshipped the ground he walked upon, and, having placed various books about, books that he considered of pleasant relaxation, such as engineering and mining treatises, with a couple of Dickens' works that he had always been "going to read," and a few technical journals, I went home haunted by his grave, considering eyes and his sad "You must not leave me here by myself; I don't want to be here without you!" hoping that after a day or two he would settle down and feel the benefit of getting more quickly to bed.

The house was charming, with, on one side, a lovely outlook over Regent's Park. It was very pretty and comfortable, and I used to make flying visits to him, to sit with him while he ate his breakfast.

For three weeks I congratulated myself on having been self-denying enough to earn him better rest, even at the cost to myself of not having him so much with me; then, on my return from my aunt, whose great age was now beginning to tell upon her, late one evening, I felt anxious and worried about my lover, even though my good-night telegram was awaiting me. He always telegraphed "good-night" if he was away from me. I tried to shake the feeling off, but after dinner I found myself mechanically making up the fire in my sitting-room as I did when sitting up for Parnell after a late sitting of the House. I felt amused at my absent-mindedness, and sat down before the fire, thinking that I would take advantage of {255} the beautiful blaze I had made. I sat there idly, thinking of Parnell, wondering what exactly he was doing at that moment, and presently, hearing the servants go to bed, and feeling disinclined for bed myself, I got a book.

I could not settle to reading, and began to feel very lonely and to wish I were really waiting up for Parnell, as I used to. I thought of my aunt, of how very old she was, of her immense goodness to me ever since I had lived at Eltham, and of what a great blank there would be when she died—her life seemed to be like a flame flickering in the wind now, and it might go out any day. I got up to shake off my sad thoughts, and, throwing open my window, leant out and listened to the wind in the trees.

I heard the clock strike two, and listened, as I had always done, about this time, for the regular beat of the horse's hoofs that would bring my King home. I could hear nothing, and my longing for his presence was so great that I called out under my breath, "I wish you would come. I do wish you would come." Then I think I became drowsy, for I started up from the window, suddenly hearing three o'clock ring out from the village and the steady trot-trot of a horse in the distance.

I held my breath to listen, my heart beating with an eager joy. I could hear the beat of the hoofs round the corner into the village as they came from the Common, then lost as they went up the High Street, and suddenly clearer with the jingle of the cab bells as they turned the top of the road and stopped. I knew now, and opened the door quickly as my love came up the little side-walk past the window, giving the familiar signal as he went up the two steps; and I was in his arms as he whispered, "Oh, my love, you must not leave me alone again."



"For none on earth so lone as he
Whose way of thought is high and free,
Beyond the mist, beyond the cloud,
Beyond the clamour of the crowd.

I had long since had a high paling put round my garden to screen it from the inquisitive eyes of persons who had, until this was done, the impertinence to lean over the short stone wall and railings to watch Parnell as he went in and out. This new paling was seven feet high. On the carriage gates there was bronze ornamental work, thick and heavy. Once this was cut through by someone unknown and fell, the next time the gate was opened, upon the head of the groom, as he stooped to unbolt it.

This little "accident" was no doubt intended for Mr. Parnell's or for my benefit, and the fact that the young man's arm was pushed against the gate, above his head, as he stooped to ease the bolt, doubtless saved him from a cracked skull. As it was, he was badly bruised and cut, some fifty pounds of bronze work falling partly upon him. After this he examined the work on the other gate, and, finding that this also had been cut through, with the help of the gardener lifted it off before further damage was done. This pointless and malignant spite might easily have had far more serious consequences, since my children were going out by these gates driving their ponies, and it was quite by chance that they had called {257} the groom to open the gates for them, for one or other of them generally played at being the "footman" on these occasions. The police could not trace the perpetrators of the little pleasantry.

I then made a beautiful, thick rose-hedge at one side of this garden, and the roses grew and flourished to such an extent that it proved an effectual screen from the too-pressing attention of persons, who had not, I suppose, very many interests of their own.

On the morning that the (so-called) Parnell letters appeared in the Times (March 7, 1887), they were cut out and pasted on the gate by a person or persons unknown; and here also the perspicacity of our local police failed to find the merrymaker.

On that day I did not give Parnell the Times opened as usual for his glance over the political reports while he breakfasted. He asked for it, but I wanted him to finish his breakfast first, and replied: "The Times is unusually stodgy; do eat your breakfast first."

He said he must finish a bit of assaying he had left over-night before going to London, and would not have time for papers afterwards, so I told him of the letters, and propped the Times against the teapot as usual.

He read the whole thing; meditatively buttering and eating his toast the while. I supplied him with marmalade, and turned over the folded paper for him so that he could read more easily.

He made no remark at all till he had finished breakfast, and carefully clipped the end off his cigar; then, with a smile, he tossed the paper at me, saying, "Now for that assaying I didn't finish! Wouldn't you hide your head with shame if your King were so stupid as that, my Queen?"


I helped him to set his chemicals right, urging on him that the thing was very serious, and that he must attend to it; but he only replied: "You think about it for me while I am finishing this. Now don't spoil this for me. It will do presently!" and I subsided with the Times while he worked at his crucibles, and jotted down results—absolutely absorbed for more than two hours, and only brought back to politics by my call of "You absolutely must start now."

He had a wonderful little machine—a balance that gave the weight of almost infinitesimal parts of a grain—and this might be touched by no one but himself. He now reluctantly covered it with its glass case and lovingly padded it round with a cloth, lest a rough movement in the room should put it out of balance.

I said, "Now, my King, you must attend to the Times. You must take an action against them."

"No. Why should I?" struggling into his coat as I held it for him. "I have never taken any notice of any newspapers, nor of anyone. Why should I now?"

However, he promised me he would consult the "Party" about the letters, and left assuring me that the English Times was a paper of no particular importance, after all.

He got home before I did that evening, and I found him on my return weighing the infinitesimal specks of his morning's extraction of gold with the utmost accuracy. He gave me a smile and the fire-flame of his welcoming eyes as usual, but murmured, "Don't speak for one moment; I'll tell you the moment I have finished this," and I had to sit with as much patience as I could muster while he finished his calculations. Then, coming over to me in triumph, he informed my for once uninterested ears {259} that he had now completed the extraction of something or other of a grain of the gold for my wedding ring.

On my firmly recalling his attention to the matter of the letters he said wearily—all the interest and buoyancy gone—"They want me to fight it, but it will be a terrible nuisance, my Queenie; I have seen Lewis, and he is going to see Russell—Sir Charles, you know—and then I am to see him again."

He was very undecided about the necessity of taking the action against the Times, and more than once pointed out to me that the opinion of that paper and its readers did not really interest him; but, on my refusing to accept this at all, and urging that Ireland required that he should defend himself in this, and that my view was that of the Irish Party, he promised to take the matter seriously, merely remarking with an amused cynicism that if Ireland wanted him to cudgel a clean bill of health out of England she would find work for all the blackthorns she grew.

Soon my absorbed study of the forged letters caught Parnell's interest, he shook off his apathy, and joined my study of his handwriting of many years, and those of the various possible (and impossible) imitators. Once he became interested he threw himself into it as wholeheartedly as he did into any other hobby. We spent hours in this study of calligraphy, and made some interesting and amusing discoveries.

After a couple of interviews with Mr. Lewis and Sir Charles Russell, Parnell one evening asked me if I would mind seeing Lewis, as he had expressed a wish to see me. I went therefore to Ely Place, and had an interview with Mr. (Sir George) Lewis. After we had talked over the situation he gave me tea, and made an appointment for another interview in a few days' time. I put before {260} him my various conclusions as to handwritings, one of which he considered might be useful.

We had frequent consultations after this, and, as the time of the trial drew near, Lewis's offices and the passages leading to it, with the waiting rooms, were filled with the witnesses from Ireland concerned in the trial. The case did not worry Parnell much—except that it took up so much of our all too little leisure time, which was so precious to us.

The following letters, written from Avondale during the anxious time preceding the trial, will serve to show how little the matter affected his ordinary interests.

August 30, 1887.

MY OWN WIFIE,—I have been exceedingly anxious about you ever since I left. You seemed so very ill that it has been haunting me ever since that I ought to have stayed in London. My own darling may write to me whenever she pleases. I was so longing for a telegram all day yesterday, but not getting one came to the conclusion that you had not been able to go to London.

I have been round the place here, everything going on well. The new mine is improving, so I have been tempted to continue it for a short while longer.

It will not be necessary for me to remain here longer than a few days, so that whenever you are ready for me I can return.


I am very well indeed.

January 4, 1888.

I finished will before going to bed on Monday, and will execute it and send it north to-morrow. Am pretty sure to be able to return next Monday or Tuesday at latest.

MY OWN DARLING QUEENIE,—I got off all right yesterday morning, forgetting the lamp, however, until I was in train, when I decided upon telegraphing them from Chester to send it on at once, which I did. I am having the carpenter to fix {261} a strong hook in the ceiling joist for it to hang upon, and it will be a great improvement on the present state of affairs, as the consumption of candles is enormous, while giving very little light. They are undoubtedly the best and safest lamps out; in fact, absolutely safe.

One of the little lamps here was broken since, so I have suspended the other one also, as it was no use by itself.

The room will be very nice for a large suspended lamp; it is about 13½ feet high, by 24 feet by 20 feet.

I had only half an hour to wait at Kingstown for the train, which I spent in the waiting-room, and a quarter of an hour at Bray.

The sea was rather rough, but not too rough for me. I studied the swinging of a lamp minutely during the passage, and derived valuable lessons for the new ship.[1]

Am going to Arklow in the morning. Everything going on here very well, notwithstanding which I have been advising and admonishing K.[2] all day.

E.[3] is here all by herself, mother being expected to-night.

Miss B. B. was very old, very ugly, and very vulgar; in fact, E. says the worst sponge that ever got hold of my mother. She drank nothing but whisky, and took it to bed with her.

There was dancing after theatricals till six in the morning.[4]

I am very anxious about my own love, and so glad to get telegram to-day; expect letter to-morrow. Raining torrents all day. YOUR OWN HUSBAND.

A couple of weeks before the action came on Parnell came home in great amusement. Lewis had written asking him most particularly to call, as he had had a consultation with Sir Charles Russell and wished to report the result to Parnell. On Parnell's calling, thinking some {262} new phase of the case had been evolved, Mr. Lewis had "hoped he would not be annoyed," but Sir Charles and he were rather worried about his (Parnell's) clothes, and would he very much mind having a new frock-coat from Poole's for the trial! Parnell had great fun with me over that Poole coat, and when it came home we tried it on with great ceremony, Parnell stroking its silk facings with pride, and insisting upon a back view of it in the long mirror in my room.

Mr. Lewis inspired me with the greatest confidence, and his charmingly deferential manner fascinated me, while the keen brown eyes seemed to read the hidden secrets of the soul. He was always exquisitely dressed, and, when I made some playful remark about Parnell's new coat, he told me in confidence that Parnell's Irish homespuns were a great trial to him—this with such earnestness that I tried to suppress my laughter, as I explained to him what a pleasure it was to me to be possessed of a man who was above clothes; not below them in slovenliness, but above them and unconscious of his coverings.

Very many years after this, long after my husband's death, this acquaintance with Sir George Lewis served me in good stead. Circumstances arose which rendered me very doubtful and uneasy in regard to the probity of my trustee and solicitor, who had charge of my whole income and the capital thereof. I had had no communication with Sir George Lewis for very many years; but then the happy thought struck me that he would advise me privately and disinterestedly. My son went to him on my behalf, and it is entirely owing to the prompt action taken by Sir George that any part of my little income was saved to me.


My trustee had been speculating wildly, and, among that of other clients, every penny of my small fortune had been misappropriated. Sir George compelled the repayment of what was possible by the discredited and ruined man, and thus saved me by his kind and energetic intervention from absolute destitution. Apart from the very serious loss it entailed upon me, the downfall of my trustee, clever, good-looking and altogether charming, was a great blow to us all. He had been so much a friend, and I and my son and daughters had trusted him so completely.

The result of the Parnell Commission is well known. I continued to see Mr. Lewis regularly before the case came on, and on one occasion he asked me if I would mind going to Wood's Hotel, close by Ely Place, to meet him on a matter that had to do with the case. This I did, and, being early, awaited him in the coffee room. When he came we had a long business talk about the case, and he assured me that the issue was now completely secured. People were passing in and out as we talked, and several I noticed passed very close to us, and stared curiously at me before going out.

Suddenly, on observing this, I asked Mr. Lewis why he had arranged our interview in this place instead of at his office as usual. He made some evasive reply about a client of his who occupied a very distinguished position—and he mentioned this personage by name—having an appointment at the office, and disliking the fact of any other person being received during the same hour of his visit.

I pointed out to Mr. Lewis that he was surely speaking at random, as the person he mentioned could not be left about at his office like a nobody while he talked to {264} me at an hotel. At this he laughed, and asked that I should be satisfied with his reply until he saw me again, and with this I had to be content, though I was somewhat ruffled at his not offering a sufficient explanation of his odd place of appointment, and I curtly refused to make another at the office for the following week.

Our interview had ostensibly been for the purpose of discussing certain letters I had given into his care at a former interview, but, as he afterwards told me, he had asked those persons, who had, I thought, stared at me in the hotel, if they could identify me with someone who had been impersonating me with the hope of better entangling Parnell, and of preventing him from publicly protecting his honour for fear of dragging me into the case. The "gentlemen from Ireland" who had had so good a look at me were forced to admit that they had never seen me before in their lives.

Shortly before the case came on I asked Mr. Lewis if he would mind my going to see Mr. Soames (solicitor for the Times). He answered, "I do not see why you should not do so if you wish it," and to Parnell, who had just come in, "It will be quite safe for her to see Soames." "Yes, of course, she knows best," answered Parnell, and off I went, pursued by Mr. Lewis's "You must come straight back here, Mrs. O'Shea," as he put me into the waiting cab.

My waiting cab was always an acute irritation to Lewis. Alter his first greeting of me he invariably asked me if my cab was waiting. "Yes, of course, how else should get home?" "You are not going to drive home!" with horror. "No, but to the station." "Pay him off, my dear lady, and I'll send for another when I have given you some tea," encouragingly. "But I like this horse, he {265} has such good legs." Then dear Mr. Lewis used to get intensely irritated, and send someone flying to pay my cab to go away at once. I never dared at this stage to tell him that I always made a compact with the cabman that "waiting did not count."

On my arrival at Mr. Soames's office he saw me at once without any pretence of being "too busy." In fact his office appeared almost deserted, and he welcomed me as his "cousin." He took some time in arranging the exact collateral degree of our relationship, but beyond this our interview behind his closely shut glass-panelled door led to nothing. I was desirous of finding out which way his suspicions tended—as obviously he did not really think that Parnell had written the letters; he, on his part, was trying to find out why I had come.

On the 1st of March, 1889, Pigott shot himself in Madrid. It was a painful affair, and Parnell was sorry for the poor creature.

When Parnell attended the House for the first time after the result of the Parnell Commission was made known, I was not well, and could not get to the Ladies' Gallery, as I had hoped to do, but long before he came I had had reports of the tremendous ovation he received; how every section of the House—Ministers, Opposition—all rose at his entry as one man, cheering themselves hoarse and shouting his name. I asked him afterwards if he had not felt very proud and happy then, but he only smiled, and answered, "They would all be at my throat in a week if they could!" I thought of that speech a little later on.

Soon after the death of Pigott Mr. Parnell met Mr. and Mrs. Gladstone at Mrs. Sydney Buxton's[5] "at home." {266} Almost the only comment, when he got home was: "That's over; thank goodness!"

On May 28th, 1889, Sir Charles and Lady Russell gave a reception in honour of the hero of the fight. Parnell hated these affairs, but, as I pointed out to him, it would be very sad if all those people assembled to meet him and he was not there. The reception was a time of adulation for him from first to last, I afterwards heard, but when Parnell came home and told me all about it he remarked, "It was all very kind and just as troublesome as usual—or would have been had I not discovered a pretty little brown head with friendly eyes that looked as shy as I felt."

I answered, "Dear me, who was this charming lady? I should like to know!"

"That is just what she was, a charming little lady, an Irishwoman. You know, Queenie, you are the only Englishwoman I can bear! This was Katharine Tynan; you read some of her things to me," and he went on to speak of others at the reception, afterwards reverting to the pleasure he had felt in meeting Katharine Tynan, who he believed genuinely felt what all "those others" were saying.

Presumably "those others" were perfectly sincere in their appreciation of him, but Parnell, so English in his own nature, had a constitutional distrust of English people, and, curiously enough, he did not understand them well, while the Irish character was an open book to him. At a reception like this where the guests were, of course, mostly English, Parnell would retire behind his coldest, most aloof bulwark of exquisite courtesy, and, to use his own simile about Katharine Tynan, "I felt as though a little friendly bird had made a song for me in {267} an unfriendly land." We often afterwards spoke of the "little friendly bird," and, should Mrs. Hinkson (Katharine Tynan) ever see this book, she will know that the "Chief" appreciated both her loyalty and her song.

Directly the result of the Parnell Commission was made known Mr. Parnell was elected a life member of the National Liberal Club; an election which afforded him a certain grave amusement at the time and a query later on, when the "National Liberals" wished to depose him, as to whether a "life member" can dare be so illogical as to continue life without the membership.

On the 8th March, 1889, he was entertained for the second time at the Eighty Club, and, a few days later, at a great meeting at St. James's Hall. At both meetings the enthusiasm was so great that the whole body of people present rose en masse as he entered, cheering, waving handkerchiefs, and shouting his name for some time before they allowed him to sit down.

Naturally these ovations of my hero gave me the greatest pride and joy, but he would never allow me to say much about them.

"You see, my dear, these people are not really pleased with me," he would say. "They thought I had written those letters, and now they are extolling their own sense of justice in cheering me because I did not write them. I might as wisely shout myself hoarse if a court of law decided that Gladstone had not told somebody to rob a bank!" And I would reply: "Well, I love to hear and read about your being properly appreciated," only to get a reproving "You are an illogical woman. These people do not appreciate me, they only howl with joy because I have been found within the law. The English make a law and bow down and worship it till they find it {268} obsolete—long after this is obvious to other nations—then they bravely make another, and start afresh in the opposite direction. That's why I am glad Ireland has a religion; there is so little hope for a nation that worships laws."

And when I persisted, "But don't you feel a little excited and proud when they all cheer you, really you?" and the little flames showed in his eyes as he said, "Yes, when it is really me, when I am in the midst of a peasant crowd in Ireland. Then I feel a little as I do when I see you smile across the street at me before we meet, but for these others it is then I know how I hate the English, and it is then, if I begin to feel a little bit elated, I remember the howling of the mob I once saw chasing a man to lynch him years ago. Don't be too pleased with the clapping of these law-lovers, Queenie. I have a presentiment that you will hear them another way before long, and I am exactly the same, either way!"

At the National Liberal Club, at which Sir Frank Lockwood presided, Mr. Parnell and Lord Spencer shook hands for the first time. When Parnell rose to speak he received a perfect ovation. He said:

"There is only one way in which you can govern Ireland within the Constitution, and that is by allowing her to govern herself in all those matters which cannot interfere with the greatness and well-being of the Empire of which she forms a part. I admit there is another way. That is a way that has not been tried yet.... There is a way in which you might obtain at all events some present success in the government of Ireland. It is not Mr. Balfour's bastard plan of a semi-constitutional, a semi-coercive method. You might find among yourselves some great Englishman or Scotsman, who would go over to Ireland—her Parliamentary representation having been taken away {269} from her—and would do justice to her people notwithstanding the complaints of Irish landlordism. Such a man might be found who, on the other hand, would oppose a stern front to the inciters of revolution or outrage, and on the other hand would check the exorbitant demands of the governing classes in that country, and perhaps the result might be successful. But it would have to be a method outside the Constitution both on the one side and on the other. Your Irish Governor would have to have full power to check the evil-doer; whether the evil-doer were a lord or a peasant, whether the malefactor hailed from Westminster or New York, the power should be equally exercised and constantly maintained. In that way, perhaps, as I have said, you might govern Ireland for a season. That, in my judgment, from the first time when I entered political life, appeared to me to be the only alternative to the concession to Ireland of full power over her own domestic interests, and her future. In one way only, I also saw, could the power and influence of a constitutional party be banded together within the limits of the law; by acting on those principles laid down by Lucas and Gavan Duffy in 1852, that they should hold themselves aloof from all English political parties and combinations, that they should refuse place and office for themselves or for their friends or their relations, and that the Irish constituencies should refuse to return any member who was a traitor to those pledges."

In July Parnell was presented with the freedom of the City of Edinburgh. In his speech of acknowledgment he said:

"In what way could Ireland, supposing she wished to injure you, be more powerful to effect injury to your Imperial interests than she is at present? If you concede {270} to her people the power to work out their own future, to make themselves happy and prosperous, how do you make yourselves weaker to withstand wrongdoing against yourselves? Will not your physical capacity be the same as it is now? Will you not still have your troops in the country? Will you not still have all the power of the Empire? ... In what way do we make you weaker? In what way shall we be stronger to injure you? What soldiers shall we have? What armed policemen shall we have? What cannons shall we have? What single means shall we have, beyond the constitution, that we have not now, to work you injury?"[6]

[1] He studied the balance of the lamp for the "new ship" he was inventing—the one he was always trying at Brighton. (See p. 277.)

[2] Kerr, Mr. Parnell's agent and bailiff.

[3] Emily Dickinson, Parnell's sister.

[4] Mrs. Delia Parnell was giving the theatricals and dance in the great new cattle-shed he had had built from his own plans, modelled on the plan of the new station at Brighton.

[5] Now Viscountess Buxton.

[6] A letter of this period from Parnell to Cecil Rhodes, dealing with the Imperial aspect of Home Rule, is unfortunately the only important document left of the correspondence between the two, the rest having been accidentally destroyed. Parnell had been greatly interested in the political tactics of Rhodes in South Africa. When in London Rhodes sought an interview, which took place at the Westminster Palace Hotel. In the letter of June 23, 1888, Parnell expresses his gladness at knowing that Rhodes considers that the measure of Home Rule to be granted to Ireland should be "thoroughgoing," and adds: "I cordially agree with your opinion that there should be effective safeguards for the maintenance of Imperial unity." The two men had been discussing the question of the exclusion or inclusion of Irish representation at Westminster. Parnell judged exclusion to have been a defect of the Bill of 1886, and shared Rhodes's view that inclusion would facilitate the larger measure of Imperial federation.

Parnell returned to this point in 1891 in the course of his correspondence with Dillon and O'Brien on the question of the leadership of the Nationalist Party. He asserted in a letter to Gill, one of the intermediaries in these discussions, that he could prove "by documentary evidence" that the second reading of the 1886 Bill was lost "because the Liberal leaders declined till too late to agree to the retention of any Irish Members in any shape or for any purpose."



"We went as children joyous, or oprest,
In some absorbing care, or blest,
In nodding conversation—hand in hand.
                                            —HONORA SHEE (THE LOVER'S DIARY).

My aunt appeared to me to be failing in health a good deal at the beginning of 1888, and, though she sometimes seemed to be stronger, and chatted with all her old interest in the things of the past, there were days when she was so quiet and drowsy that I feared to rouse her by talking. At other times she would like me to talk and read to her as usual, but was so languid and tired that a little smile and pressure of the hand I held was the only response she made. In April she had a slight attack of bronchitis, and her doctor ordered her opium to ease her lungs. She much objected to all opiates, but her doctor's treatment seemed to ease her. She would not let me sleep in her house, as she thought, as usual, that it would "disorganize the household," but I went now nearly every night across the park in the fragrant spring nights to inquire, under her maid's window, if Mrs. "Ben" was asleep.

The owls had nested for years in a great tree by my aunt's bedroom windows, and I loved to watch them in the moonlight hawking for the food they had to supply in such abundance now to the screeching owlets in the nest. The old birds used to sit on Aunt Ben's window-sill, and hoot, and had done so, much to her pleasure, for the sixty {272} or seventy years of her residence in the house; but now her maid shook her head sadly, as she leant out of the window to tell me of her mistress's condition, saying "That's an omen, m'am; the dear mistress must be going soon." I answered irritably that the owls had hooted there since Mr. Benjamin's time, as her mistress had often told her, but felt her "Time will show, m'am," to be unanswerable.

On these May nights, if he was at home, Parnell would walk across the park with me and wait on a seat for me till I had obtained the latest bulletin.

One morning, very early, when her night had been restless, I made Mary Ann (my aunt's personal maid) come down and let me in. On going up to the great four-post bed where the dear little old lady lay, looking as small and frail as a child, she put out one, now feeble, white hand, and held mine. I told the maid she could go and rest a bit, and I would call her if my aunt wanted her.

When she was gone, my aunt, who was breathing with difficulty, whispered as I bent down to kiss her hand, "You do believe, do you not, my Swan?" I answered, "Yes, auntie, of course I do believe, most firmly." She said, "I am glad. I wish you could come with me, my darling!" and I sobbingly told her that I wished I could too.

I stayed by her side and smoothed her hand till she ceased to breathe, and then waited by her as all her servants who had been with her for many years filed past the bed, and took a last look at their stern but just and much-loved mistress.

She left a great void in my life, and the sensation of being always wanted and tied to one place that I had sometimes felt so keenly hard I would now have given {273} much to feel again. With this old lady died, so far as my acquaintance went, the last of the old world—that old world of leisure and books and gentle courtesy of days when men might wear their gallantry without foolishness, and women knew the value of their sex.

Through all those years in which I waited on my aunt I never heard her use a clipped word, or use a sentence not grammatically perfect and beautifully rounded off, and although in the hurry of modern life I sometimes felt impatient when chided for some swallowed pronunciation or ignored g's, I look back upon the years of my life spent in that old-world atmosphere as a very precious memory.

After my aunt's death Eltham became intolerable to me, and I took a small country house near Mottingham till I could let my own house. Directly we left Eltham the pretty garden was devastated by relic-hunters, who pulled the place to pieces in obtaining mementoes of "the house where Parnell had lived."

The house at Mottingham was damp, and we longed for the sea.

For various reasons we had been obliged to relinquish any idea of living in the little house we had finished, with so much pleasure, at Eastbourne, and at last we had removed the few things we had stored there, and in 1887 had finally decided to take the end house of Walsingham Terrace (No. 10), Brighton. Shortly after my aunt's death we went down to live there. The position then was attractive to us: cornfields from one side of the house away up to Shoreham basin and harbour, a waste of hay at the back of the house, an excellent train service and a sufficient distance from Brighton proper to enable us to avoid the crowd. While we were living there people used to walk and drive out to see "Parnell's house," but this was not {274} particularly annoying, as when he was at home we went out early, or late—anyhow, at a time when the average person is kept at home by appetite. Personally, if it was not glaringly inconvenient, I was always rather proud and interested in the popular attention Parnell attracted wherever he went.

Here Parnell had the dining-room as his own sitting-room, where he kept the roll-top desk I had given him for all his papers and political work, while down in the basement there was a room in which he had a furnace fitted up, and where we used to burn the crushed ore before assaying it. We spent many hours down there, and I sometimes feared the excessive heat must have been bad for him; but he did not think so, and would become so absorbed in this work that I used to have the greatest difficulty in getting him out for the gallop on his horse President across the Downs, which did him so much good.

I found at length the only way was to get his cap and whip and show them to the dogs. Immediately I did this they would begin to bark wildly and jump up at him to make him start for the run they loved so much. Parnell would then say reproachfully, "Oh, Queenie, how can you deceive the poor dogs like that?" and I would answer that the only way to keep them believing in us was to go at once for that belated ride. Once started none of the party, dogs or horses, enjoyed it more than he.

In this house we had from the side windows of Parnell's and from my room in which he afterwards died, a view of the most wonderful sunsets I have ever seen in England. Then the whole west was a veritable fairyland of gold and crimson, and the harbour and Shoreham town, with the little country church of Aldrington against the setting of the Downs, were touched with a pearly mist of {275} light that lifted them far out of the prosaic ugliness we knew by the blank light of midday. Parnell used to say to me as we walked away to the golden harbour, "Is it really like this, my Queen, or as we see it at noon?" I could only reply that it was both—the both that made life at once so interesting and so difficult.

Often in the following spring my King and I would drive out as far as the foot of the Downs near the training stables beyond Southwick; and then, climbing to the crest of the hills, go for long walks, away over the Downs, walking or resting as we felt inclined, returning as night fell, to drive home.

One sunny morning, lengthening into a brighter day, I especially remember, when the south-west wind sent the flickering shadows across the Downs where its sea-scents mingled with the sweet pungency of the young herbage. As we walked along hand in hand we were gay in the glorious spring of the year, feeling that while love walked so closely with us youth could not lag too far behind, and in the wide expanse of the South Downs, which appealed so much to both our natures, we forgot all care and trouble.

Very far away, standing clear against the skyline, there was a figure of a shepherd, his flock a little lower showed grey against the dull green distance. He stood motionless, as these lonely Down shepherds do. The tumbled heap by him, we said, was his dog. So we watched him some miles away for more than an hour. We wondered what he thought of, and whether all this lonely loveliness meant anything to him, or if he would be glad to change his quiet life for the rush and hurry of a town.

Presently, from where we sat, at the highest point of the hills, we saw some horses going at full gallop over the training ground, the horses straining at the bit, and {276} seemingly glad to be alive. The dull thud of the hoofs came up to us to mingle with the incessant trilling of the skylarks and the bleating of the distant sheep. Now we turned seaward, overlooking Shoreham Harbour, and watched the vessels going out to sea on voyages fraught with unknown possibilities.

In spite of the excessive beauty of the scene, in the region of thought it had a saddening effect on us; and, as the last gleams of sunlight fell across the sea, lightly touching the sails as they slipped out of the light into the wider darkness of the leaden waves, we turned and retraced our steps, I leaning on his arm as we went down to the valley again.

A favourite haunt of ours at Brighton was a little shop in Pool Valley altogether devoted to the sale of pebbles and crystals of various sorts, also of jet. Parnell did not like the jet, but was greatly interested in the pebbles and the polishing of them.

He spent much time after we had found this shop in watching the process of cutting crystals and polishing the pebbles. Onyx ball beads he selected in sizes with the greatest care, and had a long chain of them made for me with a gold ball between each two onyx beads. To these he had added a locket composed of crystal and onyx, and was much pleased with the result.

The chain, when finished, was a little heavy, but he had had such a happy time in selecting each bead and so carefully matching the markings that I wore it with a light heart till he noticed it was rubbing my neck, and insisted upon my taking it off there and then for ever.

Another favourite haunt of ours was Smith's second-hand bookshop in North Street, where he would stand for an hour at a time poring over old books on mechanics, {277} or mining, while I dug out "bargains" amongst the poets of a bygone age, and discussed books with the proprietor.

Parnell always tried to get a few days' shooting every year in Ireland on the grouse moors he hired at Anghavanagh, and I had much pleasure in getting together hampers of provisions for him in London to take over with him, as the arrangements he had been used to before I met him were decidedly primitive and very trying to his health. I always found that a good supply of hams and tongues, with the very best tea that I could procure, a new spirit kettle (every year) and a goodly supply of rugs and blankets rendered him sufficiently comfortable, and returned him to me without the acute attacks of indigestion that had formerly rendered these holidays among the mountains so little gain to him in health.

I had to insist upon his learning to make his own tea to save him from the "stewed" tea made by his servant in Ireland, and I found it better to label the tea I got for his personal use: "For presents," and that which he might give away: "For Mr. Parnell's own use," as he said plaintively, "They seem to like my tea best!"

He used to love these shooting expeditions, but would never stay more than a few days, as he could not bear to be away from me longer. I used to wish it were possible for me to go to Ireland with him in order that he might enjoy his shooting to the full, but that was impossible, and he always declared that "Three or four days broke the back of that little shoot, anyhow!"

For many months Parnell tried to invent a vessel which would so cut through the water as to obviate any sensation of the motion of the waves. When he had done this the ship was to be built, and I would be enabled to cross the Atlantic as comfortably as I now made the journey {278} to Brighton! Incidentally this invention was also to make our fortunes. Although the building of the ship had to be indefinitely postponed, the models made and tested by Parnell were really wonderful. He had had no training in mechanics, nor did he know anything of shipbuilding or engineering, except such information as he obtained from the various books he read for amusement at rare intervals—but these models he made, and tried off the underdeck of the Chain Pier at Brighton, were extraordinarily ingenious.

I do not venture to record this on my own authority, for I know absolutely nothing of such matters, but the firm, who cast the copper "floats" for him from his plans, and continually altered and corrected the models after trials, came to the conclusion that Mr. "Smith" was on the verge of a very useful invention; though, to his annoyance, they would not dissociate the torpedo-like structure from Portsmouth and the Admiralty. I frequently took my children down to Brighton for a few days' change, and on these occasions Mr. Parnell would stay at a place near the Chain Pier, and we would spend most of the day on the underdeck of the pier-head trying the "invention."

Once a hobby like this got hold of him he could think of nothing else in his leisure time, and this note is a specimen of many sent round from his hotel:—

Am making new float, which will sink five feet, and shall have it ready to try to-morrow at 12.30. Will meet you on Chain Pier at that hour. Am anxious to make this trial before returning, and we will take Hassocks and Burgess Hill in afternoon on way back to look at houses to let.

This new model we tried in all weathers, and, as at last it seemed to answer perfectly, with the exception of its lack of speed, he said he would patent it, and get {279} someone who had more knowledge than he to overcome the speed difficulty. To my uninitiated mind the thing looked like a treble torpedo-boat. Had he lived I think he would have gone further into the matter, but, by the time this was finished, one thing after another occurred with such rapidity that it was perforce laid aside.

I remember one rough, stormy day when we had been much worried and were wondering whether the time of waiting we had imposed upon ourselves (that Ireland might not risk the leadership which seemed her only hope) till the way could be opened to our complete union before the world, was not to be too long for our endurance. It was a wild storm, and Parnell had to hold me as we slowly beat our way to the pier-head. The chains were up to prevent anyone going on to the lower deck, but Parnell lifted me over, and we tried the "float," though it was useless to do so, as the waves shattered the slight thing against the pier before Parnell could sink it to the required depth.

Then we stood looking out at the great waves—so near, and shaking the whole pier-head in their surge. Parnell remarked that the old place could not last long, and as I turned to get a fresh hold on him, for I could not stand against the wind, and the motion of the sea sickened me, the blazing fires in his eyes leapt to mine, and, crushing me roughly to himself, he picked me up and held me clear over the sea, saying, "Oh, my wife, my wife, I believe I'll jump in with you, and we shall be free for ever."

Had I shown any fear I think he would have done it, but I only held him tight and said: "As you will, my only love, but the children?" He turned then, and carried me to the upper deck, hiding my eyes from the horrible roll and sucking of the sea beneath our feet.



"Papel y tinta y poca justicia."
("Paper, ink, and a little justice.")
                                                —OLD SPANISH PROVERB.

In November, 1890, Parnell was served with a copy of the petition in the divorce case, O'Shea v. O'Shea and Parnell, by Wontner at Messrs. Lewis and Lewis's. I was served with the petition in the same month at 10, Walsingham Terrace, Brighton. Mr. George Lewis and his confidential clerk came down, and took some evidence for the case from me, but Parnell declined to instruct any solicitor from the first to last. He, however, accompanied me when I went to town to consult Sir Frank Lockwood, my counsel, a junior counsel being also present.

"The consultation broke up in peals of laughter," said one of the less important of the evening papers of the time. This was quite true, but it had no bearing on the case at all, for the laughter was caused by the extremely funny stories told us, in his own inimitable way, by Sir Frank Lockwood. The two or three times I saw him stand out in my memory as hours of brilliant wit and nonsense, that cheered and invigorated us far more than the advice we did not ask for could have done. Parnell would not fight the case, and I could not fight it without him. The last time I saw Sir Frank Lockwood, the day before the case came on, he begged me to get Parnell to let him fight it. I was suffering acutely from neuralgic headache at the {281} time, but I did my best to get Parnell to defend the case, though to no purpose.

We left Sir Frank Lockwood with a promise to telegraph to him by eight o'clock the next morning if we would go up and appear in Court at all, as he had to be there by ten o'clock.

We had to return to Brighton in the Pullman car, as we could not get a carriage to ourselves. It was crowded, and Parnell was known; it was therefore very difficult to talk without being overheard. Parnell appeared absolutely unconscious of the eyes furtively watching him from behind every newspaper, or, indeed, openly in the carriage, and he had the power of putting himself absolutely beyond and above self-consciousness. This is what rendered him so completely impervious to criticism. But to me, with a splitting headache, the gleam of so many eyes, seen through a mist of pain, had the most uncanny effect. They seemed like animals watching from their lair. Parnell gave me a cheerful little smile now and then, and directly we got home he insisted upon my going to bed. There he fed me himself with the tiny amount I forced myself to take to please him, and held the glass to my lips while I sipped the sparkling Moselle I had been ordered to take for the bad attacks of neuralgia.

After he had had his own dinner he came up and smoked by my bedside. I tried to persuade him to go up with me in the morning to the Court and make some fight in the case, but he said:

"No, Queenie. What's the use? We want the divorce, and, divorce or not, I shall always come where you are. I shall always come to my home every night whatever happens. Now I'm going to read you to sleep."

He was always the most gentle and tender of nurses, {282} and would sit by my side for hours without moving when I was ill, reading or thinking. After a short sleep I lay awake wondering what it would be best to say to Lockwood in the morning. I had told him that anyhow I would go up; but, as my lover said, what would be the use of it? And whatever I could make of Captain O'Shea's desertion—or practical desertion—of me, I knew absolutely nothing of his private life, and cared less. Our position would be worse if we were not enabled to marry, for we were inseparable while life lasted.

Then, after going over the pros and cons till my brain felt on fire, I said irritably, "I don't believe you are listening to what I say!" He replied, "I am not, beloved; here is the telegram all written out for you while you slept. We have been longing for this freedom all these years, and now you are afraid!"

I broke down and cried, because I feared for him and for his work, and he soothed me as one would a child as he told me that his life-work was Ireland's always, but that his heart and his soul were mine to keep for ever—since first he looked into my eyes that summer morning, ten years before.

"Queenie," he went on, "put away all fear and regret for my public life. I have given, and will give, Ireland what is in me to give. That I have vowed to her, but my private life shall never belong to any country, but to one woman. There will be a howl, but it will be the howl of hypocrites; not altogether, for some of these Irish fools are genuine in their belief that forms and creeds can govern life and men; perhaps they are right so far as they can experience life. But I am not as they, for they are among the world's children. I am a man, and I have told these children what they want, and they clamour for it. {283} If they will let me, I will get it for them. But if they turn from me, my Queen, it matters not at all in the end. What the ultimate government of Ireland will be is settled, and it will be so, and what my share in the work has been and is to be, also. I do wish you would stop fretting about me. We know nothing of how or why, but only that we love one another, and that through all the ages is the one fact that cannot be forgotten nor put aside by us."

He spoke slowly, with many silences between sentence and sentence, and presently I said: "But perhaps I have hurt your work."

"No, you have not. I sometimes think that is why you came to me, for I was very ill then and you kept the life in me and the will to go on when I was very weary of it all; you have stood to me for comfort and strength and my very life. I have never been able to feel in the least sorry for having come into your life. It had to be, and the bad times I have caused you and the stones that have been flung and that will be flung at you are all no matter, because to us there is no one else in all the world that matters at all—when you get to the bottom of things."

Late next morning I awoke from the deep sleep of exhaustion to find him sitting by me superintending the arrangement of "letters, tea and toast," and to my anxious query as to the time I was answered by his quiet laugh, and "I've done you this time, Queenie; I sent the telegram long ago, and they must be enjoying themselves in Court by now!"

That was Saturday, November 15th, and on Monday, the 17th, my Brighton solicitor brought me down a copy of the "decree nisi." We were very happy that evening, and Parnell declared he would have the "decree" framed. We made many plans for the future that evening of where {284} we should go when the six months had passed and the decree made absolute. I even ventured to suggest that he might marry someone else once I was set completely free, but my lover was not amused and scolded me for suggesting such disgusting ideas.

Sir Frank Lockwood was terribly distressed about us and his inability to "save Parnell for his country," but he was very kind to me, and did all he could to help me in certain legal matters.

On November 26th there was a meeting of the Irish Party, which my King attended. The meeting was adjourned until December 1st. When my lover came home to me that evening I would not let him speak till he had changed his cold boots and socks; then he came over to me, and took me into his arms, saying, "I think we shall have to fight, Queenie. Can you bear it? I'm afraid it is going to be tough work."

I said, "Yes, if you can." But I must confess that when I looked at the frail figure and white face that was so painfully delicate, whose only vitality seemed to lie in the deep, burning eyes, my heart misgave me for I very much doubted if his health would stand any prolonged strain.

I burst out passionately, "Why does it matter more now? They have all known for years," and his rare, low laugh came out with genuine amusement as he replied, "My sweetheart, they are afraid of shocking Mr. Gladstone."

"But Gladstone——" I began, bewildered.

"Just so, but we are public reprobates now, it just makes the difference. He is a 'devout Christian,' they tell me."

While Parnell sat down at work at his manifesto I {285} deliberated for hours as to whether I ought to let him go on. Should I urge him to come abroad with me? I knew he would come if I said I could not bear the public fight. I looked at him as he sat now absolutely absorbed in what he was writing, and now looking across at me when he had something ready to be pinned together. He did not speak, only the smoulder in his eyes grew deeper as he wrote.

I loved him so much, and I did so long to take him away from all the ingratitude and trouble—to some sunny land where we could forget the world and be forgotten. But then I knew that he would not forget; that he would come at my bidding, but that his desertion of Ireland would lie at his heart; that if he was to be happy he must fight to the end. I knew him too well to dare to take him away from the cause he had made his life-work; that even if it killed him I must let him fight—fight to the end—it was himself—the great self that I loved, and that I would not spoil even through my love, though it might bring the end in death.

I looked up feeling that he was watching me, and met the burning fire-flame of his eyes steadily, through my tears, as he said, closing his hand over mine, "I am feeling very ill, Queenie, but I think I shall win through. I shall never give in unless you make me, and I want you to promise me that you will never make me less than the man you have known." I promised it.

He was feeling very ill. November was always a bad month for his health, and the cold and damp gave him rheumatism. His left arm pained him almost continuously all this winter. I used to rub it and his shoulder with firwood oil, in which he had great belief, and pack his arm in wool, which seemed to be some relief.


On Saturday morning, November 29th, his manifesto appeared in all the papers.[2]

War was now declared, and the first battle was fought in Committee Room 15, where all the miserable treachery of Parnell's followers—and others—was exposed. The Grand Old Man had spoken, and his mandate must be obeyed. Ever swift to take advantage of a political opportunity, he struck at the right moment, remorselessly, for he knew that without giving away the whole of his policy Parnell could not point to the hypocrisy of a religious scruple so suddenly afflicting a great statesman at the eleventh hour. For ten years Gladstone had known of the relations between Parnell and myself, and had taken full advantage of the facility this intimacy offered him in keeping in touch with the Irish leader. For ten years. But that was a private knowledge. Now it was a public knowledge, and an English statesman must always appear on the side of the angels.

So Mr. Gladstone found his religion could at last be useful to his country. Parnell felt no resentment towards Gladstone. He merely said to me, with his grave smile: "That old Spider has nearly all my flies in his web," and, to my indignation against Gladstone he replied: "You don't make allowances for statecraft. He has the Non-conformist conscience to consider, and you know as well {287} as I do that he always loathed me. But these fools, who throw me over at his bidding, make me a little sad." And I thought of that old eagle face, with the cruel eyes that always belied the smile he gave me, and wondered no longer at the premonition of disaster that I had so often felt in his presence.

For the Irish Party I have never felt anything but pity—pity that they were not worthy of the man and the opportunity, and, seeing the punishment that the years have brought upon Ireland, that their craven hearts could not be loyal to her greatest son. I have wondered at the blindness of her mistress, England; wondered that England should still hold out the reward of Home Rule to Ireland, whose sons can fight even, it is said, their brothers, but who fight as children, unknowing and unmeaning, without the knowledge of a cause and without idea of loyalty.

How long the Irish Party had known of the relations between Parnell and myself need not be here discussed. Some years before certain members of the Party opened one of my letters to Parnell. I make no comment.

Parnell very seldom mentioned them. His outlook was so much wider than is generally understood and his comment on members of the Party was always, both before and after the split, calm, considerate, and as being impersonal to himself.

He regarded the Catholic Church's attitude towards him as being the logical outcome of her profession. He was not, even in the last months, when the priests' veto to their people turned the fight against him in Ireland, bitter against them, even though I was. His strongest comment was:—"They have to obey their bishops, and they Rome—and that's why the whole system of their interference in politics is so infernal!"


Mr. Gladstone sent the following letter to Mr. Morley on November 24th:—

... While clinging to the hope of communication from Mr. Parnell to whomsoever addressed, I thought it necessary, viewing the arrangements for the commencement of the Session to-morrow, to acquaint Mr. McCarthy with the conclusion at which, after using all the means of observation and reflection in my power, I had myself arrived. It was that, notwithstanding the splendid services rendered by Mr. Parnell to his country, his continuance at the present moment in the leadership would be productive of consequences disastrous in the highest degree to the cause of Ireland.

I think I may be warranted in asking you so far to expand the conclusion I have given above as to add that the continuance I speak of would not only place many hearty and effective friends of the Irish cause in a position of great embarrassment, but would render my retention of the leadership of the Liberal Party, based as it has been mainly upon the presentation of the Irish cause, almost a nullity.

Thus Mr. Gladstone signed the death-warrant of Home Rule for Ireland.

On November 18th, 1890, there was a meeting of the National League in Dublin. On the same day the following paragraph appeared in the London letter of the Freeman's Journal:—

"I have direct authority for stating that Mr. Parnell has not the remotest intention of abandoning either permanently or temporarily his position or his duties as leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party. This may be implicitly accepted as Mr. Parnell's firm resolution, and perhaps by learning it in time the Pigottist Press may be spared the humiliation of indulging in a prolonged outburst of useless vilification. In arriving at this determination, I need not say that Mr. Parnell is actuated exclusively by a sense of his responsibility to the Irish people, by whose suffrages he holds his public position, {289} and who alone have the power or the right to influence his public action. The wild, unscrupulous, and insincere shriekings of the Pigottists on the platform and in the Press can and will do nothing to alter Mr. Parnell's resolve."

Parnell wrote to me from London after the meeting in Committee Room 15.

MY OWN DARLING WIFIE,—I have received your letter through Phyllis, and hope to return to Brighton to-night per last train and tell you all the news. Meanwhile I may say that I am exceedingly well, having had twelve hours' sleep last night.

The meeting adjourned to-day till to-morrow at 12 or 1 to consider an amendment moved by one of my side that Gladstone, Harcourt, and Morley's views should be obtained as to their action on certain points in my manifesto.


December 3, 1890.

The following letters speak for themselves:—


MY DEAR WILLIE,—Thanks very much for your kind letter, which is most consoling and encouraging. It did not require this fresh proof of your friendship to convince me that I have always justly relied upon you as one of the most single-minded and attached of my colleagues.—Yours very sincerely,




MY DEAR DOCTOR,—I shall be very much obliged if you can call over to see me this afternoon, as I am not feeling very well, and oblige, yours very truly,


Don't mention that I am unwell to anybody, lest it should get into the newspapers.—-C. S. P.

To all his brothers and sisters, and, most of all, to his mother, Parnell was most generous and affectionate, {290} and of that generosity and affectionate regard I have abundant proof.

One of the last letters he wrote was to his mother:—

I am weary, dear mother, of these troubles, weary unto death; but it is all in a good cause. With health and the assistance of my friends I am confident of the result. The statements my enemies have so often made regarding my relations with you are on a par with the endless calumnies they shoot upon me from behind every bush. Let them pass. They will die of their own venom. It would indeed be dignifying them to notice their existence!


NOTE.—Mrs. Parnell preserved a long series of letters from Captain O'Shea, dating from 1882 to 1891. The earlier ones are mainly concerned with tactical political movements, the most important of which are the conversations between O'Shea and Chamberlain, noted on page 197. Those of the 1885 period deal chiefly with O'Shea's grievance against Parnell in connexion with the Clare election. In one he complains of the "absolute baseness" of Parnell's conduct. To all who spoke to him of it he says, "I replied, 'Poor devil, he is obliged to allow himself to be kicked to the right or the left and look pleasant. But he has the consolation of having been well paid for the pain—£40,000, the tribute of the priests and people of Ireland!'" The reference was to the great Irish subscription, headed by the Archbishop of Cashel, made in order to enable Parnell to clear his estates from the mortgages which oppressed them.

The later letters, from the end of 1886 onwards, reveal the violent strain in the relations of Captain and Mrs. O'Shea. Beginning with a private letter to Mr. Stead, objecting to a statement in The Pall Mall Gazette that Parnell was staying on a visit with him, O'Shea went on to write to his wife's solicitor, Mr. H. Pym, suggesting that she should, for her children's sake, "declare her renunciation of communication with" Parnell, and then consulted Chamberlain on his difficulties.

Finally, as a Catholic, he turned to Cardinal Manning for advice. His first interview with the head of the Roman Catholic {291} Church in England was on October 19th, 1889, when the question of separation as against divorce was discussed. A long correspondence followed. Manning was reluctant to agree to the proceedings for divorce, and delayed his decision till December 4th, when he laid down the course to be pursued, viz., (1) to collect all evidence in writing; (2) to lay it before the Bishop of the Diocese and ask for trial; (3) the latter would appoint a day for hearing; (4) judgment having been given, the case would go to Rome with a full report of the proceedings. O'Shea had already become impatient, and when, in another interview, Manning described to him the constitution of the Ecclesiastical Court which would report to Rome, he declared that he hesitated to approach a tribunal not having the right to administer the oath, and respectfully intimated his intention to take the case into the English Divorce Court.

The letters close in 1891 with a correspondence between Captain O Shea and the Primate of Ireland in which the former repudiates a suggestion made by the Bishop of Galway (Dr. MacCormack) in February of that year that "in 1886 after having failed to foist Captain O'Shea upon a neighbouring county, the then leader had the effrontery of prostituting the Galway City constituency as a hush gift to O'Shea." Describing this as a "grotesquely false" libel, Captain O'Shea details the course of events before the election, his refusal to take the Nationalist pledge, and his support by the then Bishop of Galway (Dr. Carr) and his clergy.

Mr. Healy, in a speech at Kilkenny, had made an attack on Captain O'Shea on the same lines. O'Shea was defended by Lord Stalbridge (formerly Lord Richard Grosvenor) and also by Chamberlain. The former related the part he played in the promotion of O'Shea's candidature at Liverpool as a supporter of Mr. Gladstone and the latter quoted a letter in which on January 22, 1896, he had urged O'Shea to "get Mr. Parnell's exequatur for one of the vacant seats" in Ireland, as "it is really the least he can do for you after all you have done for him." "Surely," wrote Chamberlain, "it must be to the interest of the Irish Party to keep open channels of communication with the Liberal leaders." The point was clinched by a letter addressed by Mr. Timothy Harrington to the Freeman's {292} Journal, stating that "Mr. Parnell, during the Galway election in 1886, explained to his followers that he had only adopted Captain O'Shea as candidate for Galway at the special request of Mr. Chamberlain.... The strongest confirmation was given to it immediately after the election, when Captain O'Shea followed Mr. Chamberlain out of the House of Commons, and refused to vote on the Home Rule Bill." On this aspect of the question, O'Shea himself says, in his letter to the Primate: "If I were such a man as Dr. MacCormack insinuates—a man who would buy a seat in Parliament at the price of his honour—I need only have given a silent vote for Mr. Gladstone's Home Rule Bill and my seat was as safe as any in Ireland."

[1] See Note, page 290.

[2] Parnell dealt in detail with the question of the Parliamentary independence of the Irish Party, and repudiated the right of any English party to exercise a veto on the Irish leadership. He described his conversations at Hawarden with Gladstone in the previous November on the details of the scheme to be fathered by the Liberal Party when it returned to office, related the circumstances of Morley's suggestion to him that he should become Chief Secretary for Ireland, and referred scornfully to "the English wolves now howling for my destruction." He thought the Irish people would agree with him that even if their threats of the indefinite postponement of a Home Rule scheme were realized, postponement would be preferable to a compromise of Irish national rights.



"Vulneratus non victus."

In December a vacancy occurred in Kilkenny, and, on December 9th, my King started for Ireland, and stayed with Dr. Kenny for the night in Dublin. Of the great meeting in the Rotunda I give Miss Katharine Tynan's description, because of all the eye-witnesses' accounts of it that I have kept, none gives the true glimpse of Parnell as she does.

"It was nearly 8.30 when we heard the bands coming; then the windows were lit up by the lurid glare of thousands of torches in the street outside. There was a distant roaring like the sea. The great gathering within waited silently with expectation. Then the cheering began, and we craned our necks and looked on eagerly, and there was the tall, slender, distinguished figure of the Irish leader making its way across the platform. I don't think any words could do justice to his reception. The house rose at him; everywhere around there was a sea of passionate faces, loving, admiring, almost worshipping that silent, pale man. The cheering broke out again and again; there was no quelling it. Mr. Parnell bowed from side to side, sweeping the assemblage with his eagle glance. The people were fairly mad with excitement. I don't think anyone outside Ireland can understand what a charm Mr. Parnell has for the Irish heart; that wonderful personality of his, his proud {294} bearing, his handsome, strong face, the distinction of look which marks him more than anyone I have ever seen. All these are irresistible to the artistic Irish.

"I said to Dr. Kenny, who was standing by me, 'He is the only quiet man here.' 'Outwardly,' said the keen medical man, emphatically. Looking again, one saw the dilated nostrils, the flashing eye, the passionate face; the leader was simply drinking in thirstily this immense love, which must have been more heartening than one can say after that bitter time in the English capital. Mr. Parnell looked frail enough in body—perhaps the black frock-coat, buttoned so tightly across his chest, gave him that look of attenuation; but he also looked full of indomitable spirit and fire.

"For a time silence was not obtainable. Then Father Walter Hurley climbed on the table and stood with his arms extended. It was curious how the attitude silenced a crowd which could hear no words.

"When Mr. Parnell came to speak, the passion within him found vent. It was a wonderful speech; not one word of it for oratorical effect, but every word charged with a pregnant message to the people who were listening to him, and the millions who should read him. It was a long speech, lasting nearly an hour; but listened to with intense interest, punctuated by fierce cries against men whom this crisis has made odious, now and then marked in a pause by a deep-drawn moan of delight. It was a great speech, simple, direct, suave—with no device and no artificiality. Mr. Parnell said long ago, in a furious moment in the House of Commons, that he cared nothing for the opinion of the English people. One remembered it now, noting his passionate assurances to his own people, who loved him too well to ask him questions."


During this meeting the anti-Parnellites took the opportunity to seize Parnell's paper, United Ireland, and the offices. A witness's account of the incident contained in Mr. Barry O'Brien's "Life of Charles Stewart Parnell" appealed to me immensely, because this little affair was of intense interest to me, and all, or nearly all, I could get out of Parnell himself on the subject was a soft laugh and, "It was splendid fun. I wish I could burgle my own premises every day!"

Something like this appears to have happened. The anti-Parnellite garrison was strongly entrenched in the offices of the newspaper—doors and windows all barred. The streets were filled with a crowd of Parnellites crying death and destruction on the enemy, and pouring in faster from the side streets. Men threading their way through the mass were distributing sticks and revolvers.

Parnell had been apprised of the event at the meeting, and a pony-trap was waiting for him outside the Rotunda. He got into it with Dr. Kenny, and they dashed off to the scene of action. At the sight of their Chief the crowd went wild; cheers for Parnell and curses for his enemies filled the air. At full gallop the pony-trap dashed through the mass of people (which gave way as if by magic), and was brought up before the offices with a jerk that sent the horse sprawling on the ground. Parnell jumped out of the trap, sprang up the steps, and knocked loudly at the door of the offices. There was a dramatic moment of silence—the crowd hushed and expectant. Then Parnell quietly gave some orders to those nearest him. In a brief space they were off and back again with pickaxe and crowbar. Parnell wished to vault the area railings and attack the area door, but he was held back. So several of his followers dropped into the area, while Parnell {296} himself attacked the front door with the crowbar. The door yielded, and he and many others rushed into the house. A second party came from the area, and the united force dashed upstairs. The rest was a Homeric struggle between garrison and besiegers, fought from staircase to staircase and story to story. At length the garrison was downed to the last man. A window of the second story was removed, and Parnell came out to his people. He had lost his hat, his hair was tumbled, his face was quite white, his eyes were filled with the wild joy of the battle. His face and clothes were powdered with dust and plaster. For a moment again the crowd was silent; then it burst into a roar.

Parnell made a short speech, came down, got into the trap, and drove to the railway station.

On the 11th, when he nominated Mr. Vincent Scully, he stayed at Kilkenny. That day he wrote to me that he was feeling ill, and his telegram of "good night" was weary in tone. But the next day he wrote that he was feeling far better, and his letter was very hopeful of success. He insisted on returning to me every Saturday, if it was in any way possible, during these months of fighting, and going back to Ireland on the next evening, Sunday. I begged him to spare himself the fatigue of this constant journeying, but he could not rest away; so, in despair, I gave up the fight against my own desire to have him at home for even these few hours. This election lasted ten days. Polling took place on December 22, and that morning he telegraphed to me not to expect victory, so I knew he was sure of defeat long before the poll was declared. He returned to Dublin that night, and addressed a meeting outside the National Club.


It was during one of these last meetings that someone in the crowd threw lime in the Chief's face. It has been said that the thing was a hoax, and that the substance thrown was flour. It was not flour, but lime, and had not Parnell shut his eyes in time he would undoubtedly have been blinded. As it was his eyes were not injured, and but for a tiny scar on the outer edge of his right eye he was not hurt. I well remember the awful hours I passed pacing up and down my room at Brighton waiting, waiting for news after seeing the morning paper. He had telegraphed to me directly after the cowardly assault was made, but he could not send it himself as he could not leave his friends. The man to whom he gave the telegram for dispatch boasted to his fellows that he had a message from Parnell, and in the crowd and scuffle it was taken from him; so it was not until midday, when my own telegram of inquiry reached him, that Parnell knew that I had not received his; and by the time his reassuring message arrived I was nearly out of my mind. The newspapers had made the very most of the affair, and I thought my husband was blinded.

At the end of December Mr. William O'Brien returned from America, but, as a warrant was out for his arrest, he could not enter Ireland. Much against his own wish Parnell went over to Boulogne to see him, as the Party were so anxious that he should go. He did not think that it would do any good, and, feeling ill, he hated undertaking the extra fatigue. He felt, too, that he would have to fight "all along the line" in Ireland, and continued the war without cessation, although he went over to Boulogne several times to hear what Mr. O'Brien had to say. He was, however, on good terms with O'Brien, and suggested him as leader of the Party in the {298} event of his own resignation. The suggestion did not prove acceptable to the Party.[1]

Throughout this time he occasionally attended the sittings of the House, and, on returning home one sad evening, he did not speak much after his first greeting. I felt that something had troubled him unusually, but forbore to worry him, knowing that he would tell me presently. After a while he turned to me, and all he said was, "O'Kelly has gone too."

I did not answer in words, for my heart bled for him in this the only personal sorrow he had suffered in the disloyalty of his Party. Anger, scorn, and contempt, yes! but this was the first and only blow to his affections. For the first time since that miserable and most cowardly exhibition of treachery in Committee Room 15 there was a little break in his voice. They had been friends for so long, and had worked with each other in American and Irish politics so intimately. He had loved him, and now O'Kelly had "gone too."

When Mr. Gladstone gave the word, and the insecure virtue of the country obeyed it, because it is a very shocking thing to be found out, the anti-Parnellites were {299} extremely ingenious in inventing new forms of scurrility in connexion with my supposed name. From one end of chivalrous Ireland to the other—urged on more especially by a certain emotional Irish member of Parliament—the name of "Kitty" O'Shea was sung and screamed, wrapped about with all the filth that foul minds, vivid imaginations, and black hatred of the aloof, proud Chief could evolve, the Chief whom they could not hurt save through the woman he loved!

They hurt him now a little, it is true, but not very greatly. My husband said to me after the Kilkenny election, "It would really have hurt, my Queen, if those devils had got hold of your real name, my Queenie, or even the 'Katie' or 'Dick' that your relations and Willie called you." And then I was glad, so very glad that the gallant company of mud-slingers had with one accord leapt to the conclusion that those who love me called me "Kitty" because my name was Katharine. For me it was a little thing to bear for the man who loved me as never woman has been loved before, and the only thing that I could not have borne would have been the thought that one of those who hated him had pierced the armour of his pride and touched his heart.

* * * * * *

On 22nd April, 1891, Mr. Frederick Kerley wrote from 10, Broad Court, Bow Street, W.C., to Mr. Thomson, to say that he had succeeded that day in serving Mr. Parnell with a copy of the Judge's Order, which Mr. Thomson had handed to him on the evening of the 20th instant. He saw Mr. Parnell at 7.5 p.m. pass through the barrier on to the Brighton platform at Victoria Station. He walked by his side and, addressing him, {300} said, "Mr. Parnell, I believe?" Parnell replied, "Yes." He said he was desired to hand him that paper, at the same time handing him the copy, when the following conversation ensued:

Parnell: "What is it?"

Kerley: "It is a Judge's Order."

P.: "Oh, it is the costs."

K.: "Yes, it is. That is a copy, this is the original, and the signature of Mr. Justice Butt," and Kerley showed the original to him.

P.: "Oh, very well."

K.: "This is Mr. Wontner's card, who is the solicitor in the matter."

Mr. Parnell took the card and said, "Thank you."

It had all been clone very quietly. No one saw what was done, and Parnell was not subjected to the slightest annoyance, and he did not appear to be the least annoyed. Kerley did not enclose the original, as he was afraid to trust it through the post, but would hand it to Mr. Thomson personally.

    Wired 10 a.m., 23 April, '91.

Copy Order costs P. served personally last evening. Letter follows.

[1] The conversations with O'Brien and Dillon in France and the correspondence which followed were concerned with the attitude of the Irish Party towards the details of the Home Rule Bill to be introduced when the Liberals came into power. Mr. Justin McCarthy had been elected leader of the party, but Parnell insisted on his traditional right to a predominant voice in its decisions. At the beginning of 1891 there were anxious discussions about Gladstone's intentions as to the number of Irish Members to be retained at Westminster and as to the basis of a public declaration of Liberal policy. The proposals made to him were not satisfactory either to Parnell's political judgment or to his amour propre. They came to nothing, however, and both O'Brien and Dillon were arrested on their return to Ireland and put "out of the way for a bit," as Parnell said. He complained of the "depressing effect" these two colleagues had upon him; it was "so hard to keep them to the difficulties of the moment while they were so eagerly passing on the troubles of to-morrow."



"If I must speake the schoole-master's language, I will confess that character comes of the infinite moode [Greek: charázo], which signifieth to ingrave or make a deep impression."—(CHARACTERS) OVERBURY.

When I first met Mr. Parnell in 1880 he was unusually tall and very thin. His features were delicate with that pallid pearly tint of skin that was always peculiarly his. The shadows under his deep sombre eyes made them appear larger than they were, and the eyes themselves were the most striking feature of his cold, handsome face. They were a deep brown, with no apparent unusualness about them except an odd compulsion and insistence in their direct gaze that, while giving the impression that he was looking through and beyond them, bent men unconsciously to his will. But when moved by strong feeling a thousand little fires seemed to burn and flicker in the sombre depths, and his cold, inscrutable expression gave way to a storm of feeling that held one spellbound by its utter unexpectedness.

His hair was very dark brown, with a bronze glint on it in sunlight, and grew very thickly on the back of the shapely head, thinning about the high forehead. His beard, moustache and eyebrows were a lighter brown. His features were very delicate, especially about the fine-cut nostrils; and the upper lip short, though the mouth was not particularly well shaped. His was a very {302} handsome, aristocratic face, very cold, proud and reserved; almost all the photographs of him render the face too heavy, and thicken the features.

He had an old-world courtliness of manner when speaking to women, a very quiet, very grave charm of consideration that appealed to them at once in its silent tribute to the delicacy of womanhood. I always thought his manner to women, whether equals or dependents, was perfect. In general society he was gracious without being familiar, courteous but reserved, interested yet aloof, and of such an unconscious dignity that no one, man or woman, ever took a liberty with him.

In the society of men his characteristic reserve and "aloofness" were much more strongly marked, and even in the true friendship he had with at least two men he could more easily have died than have lifted the veil of reserve that hid his inmost feeling. I do not now allude to his feeling for myself, but to any strong motive of his heart—his love for Ireland and of her peasantry, his admiration that was almost worship of the great forces of nature—the seas and the winds, the wonders of the planet worlds and the marvels of science.

Yet I have known him expand and be thoroughly happy, and even boyish, in the society of men he trusted. Immensely, even arrogantly proud, he was still keenly sensitive and shy, and he was never gratuitously offensive to anyone. In debate his thrusts were ever within the irony permitted to gentlemen at war, even if beyond that which could be congenial to the Speaker of the House or to a chairman of committee.

He was never petty in battle, and all the abuse, hatred and execration showered upon him in public and in private, whether by the opponents of his political life or by the {303} (self-elected) judges of his private life, caused no deviation in the policy that was his or on the path that he meant to tread. His policy was the outcome of long, silent deliberation, with every probable issue considered, every possible contingency allowed for, and then followed up with quiet, unwearying persistency and determination. When he succeeded in forcing his will upon the House it was well, but he was not elated, passing on to the next point to be gained. When he failed, he had done his best; but "the fates" willed otherwise than he, and again he passed on to the next thing without perturbation. No one could flatter Parnell, neither could anyone humiliate him. "What I am, I am, what I am not I cannot be," was his summing up of his own and of every other man's personality.

His cold, scientific way of sorting out and labelling his own Party at first made me hesitatingly complain, "But, after all, they are human beings!" and his characteristic answer was "In politics, as in war, there are no men, only weapons."

In regard to "Nationalization," he declared that, while there must be growth, there could be no change, and when I would point out in friendly malice that his "nationalism" of one year need not necessarily be that of another, and could very easily be less comprehensive, he would answer with smiling scorn, "That only means that lack of judgment is righted by growth in understanding!"

Parnell went into nothing half-heartedly, and was never content till he had grasped every detail of his subject. For this reason he gave up the study of astronomy, which had become of engrossing interest to him, for he said that astronomy is so enormous a subject that it would have demanded his whole time and energy to satisfy him. He {304} was constitutionally lazy, and absolutely loathed beginning anything, his delicate health having, no doubt, much to do with this inertia, of which he was very well aware. He always made me promise to "worry" him into making a start on any important political work, meeting or appointment, when the proper time came, and often I found this a very sad duty, for he was so absolutely happy when working at one of his many hobbies, or sitting quietly in his chair "watching" me, and talking or keeping silent as the mood possessed him, that it was misery to me to disturb him and send him off to do something that was not interesting to him. He used to comfort me by assuring me that it was only the "beginnings" he hated, and that he was all right when he was "once started."

He was extraordinarily modest about his own intellectual ability, and decidedly underrated the wonderful powers of his mind, while he had the utmost admiration for "brain," whether of friend or foe. Frequently he would say that that "Grand Old Spider" (his private name for Mr. Gladstone) was worth fighting because he was so amazingly clever. His own followers he picked with careful consideration of their usefulness to his policy, and appreciated to the full the occasionally brilliant ability some of them showed. His mind, in politics at least, was analytical, and he would sift, and sort, and mentally docket each member of the Irish Party, in company with the more prominent of the Liberal Party, till the whole assumed to him the aspect of an immense game, in which he could watch and direct most of the more important moves. The policy of the Conservatives he considered to be too obvious to require study.

In character Parnell was curiously complex. Just, {305} tender and considerate, he was nevertheless incapable of forgiving an injury, and most certainly he never forgot one. His code of honour forbade him to bring up a wrong of private life against a public man, and he had the subtle love of truth that dares to use it as the shield of expediency.

Physically Parnell was so much afraid of pain and ill-health that he suffered in every little indisposition and hurt far more than others of less highly strung and sensitive temperament. He had such a horror of death that it was only by the exercise of the greatest self-control that he could endure the knowledge or sight of it; but his self-control was so perfect that never by word or deed did he betray the intense effort and real loathing he suffered when obliged to attend a funeral, or to be in any way brought into contact with death or the thought thereof. Whenever we passed, in our drive, a churchyard or cemetery he would turn his head away, or even ask me to take another road. The only exception to this very real horror of his was the little grave of our baby girl at Chislehurst, which he loved; but then he always said she did not die, "she only went to sleep."

Oppression of the weak and helpless, or any act of cruelty, filled him with the deep hatred and indignation that had first led him to make the cause of his hapless country his own, and he would spend hours in silent, concentrated thought, altogether oblivious of his surroundings, working out some point or way to lift a little of the burden of the wronged.

Parnell was very fond of animals, and was their very good friend always, taking every care himself to see that his horses and dogs were properly looked after. During one of the last meetings he attended in Ireland he jumped {306} off his car in the midst of a hostile crowd to rescue a terrier that was being kicked and run over by the mob.

His will was autocratic, and once he had made up his mind to any course he would brook no interference, nor suffer anything to stand in his way. Yet, in his home life, he would come to no decision without seeking my approval, and was absolutely unselfish and considerate. I have known him deadly white, with the still, cold passion that any deliberate thwarting of his will produced in him, sweep aside out of "the Party" and out of all further recognition in any capacity a man who had done useful work, and who, thus thrown out, might have been—and was—dangerous to Parnell's political policy in many ways. He had gone against Parnell's explicit instructions in a certain matter. I ventured to point out that this man might be dangerous as an enemy, and he answered: "While I am leader they (the Party) are my tools, or they go!" From his servants also he exacted prompt, unquestioning obedience always, but he was the most gentle and considerate of masters, and they, as a rule, almost worshipped him.

He had much pride of family and family affection, but he was utterly undemonstrative and shy. Even when he nursed his brother John through a long and painful illness, caused by a railway accident in America when they were both very young men, the wall of reserve was never broken down, and I do not think his family ever realized how strong his affection for them was.

Parnell was not in the least a well-read man. His genius was natural and unaided; he was a maker of history, not a reader of it. He took no interest in literature as such, but for works on subjects interesting to him—mining, mechanics, or engineering and (later) astronomy—he {307} had an insatiable appetite and such a tremendous power of concentration that he absolutely absorbed knowledge where he chose. I have known him to argue some intricate and technical point of engineering with a man of thirty years' practical experience (in America and India), who at length admitted Parnell to be right and himself mistaken, though on this particular point Parnell's deductions were made from a two hours' study of the subject some three years or more before.

For pictures he cared not at all, and music he absolutely disliked; though to amuse me he would sometimes "sing," in a soft undertone and with much gravity, funny little nursery rhymes and snatches of the songs of his college days.

His dislike of social life was so great that he would never accept any invitation that could be in any way avoided; and if sometimes I absolutely insisted upon his going to any reception or dinner party, he would go with the grim determination of one fulfilling a most unpleasant duty. He often told me that it was because he hated "Saxons" (a hatred which years of tradition had fostered) so much, and felt ill at ease in any gathering of English people.

He certainly did not feel this with the working classes, with whom he would constantly converse and watch at work when we were out together. Agricultural labourers did not interest him so much, but he used to spend hours talking to mechanics of all classes, seamen, road-menders, builders, and any and every kind of artisan. To these he always spoke in an easy, friendly way of their work, their wages, and the conditions of labour, and I never remarked that suspiciousness and reserve, characteristic of the English wageworker, in these men when Parnell talked {308} with them. They seemed to accept him, not as one of themselves, but as an interesting and an interested "labour leader," who had the unusual merit of wishing to hear their views instead of offering them his own.

Parnell was intensely superstitious, with all the superstition of the Irish peasant, and in this he was unreasoning and unreasonable. This trait was evidently acquired in earliest childhood and had grown with his growth, for some of these superstitions are the heritage of ages in the Irish people, and have their origin in some perfectly natural fear, or association, that has, generation by generation, by alteration of habit or circumstance, lost its force while retaining, or even adding to, its expression.

Parnell would agree perfectly that this was a fact, nevertheless to do so-and-so was "unlucky," and there was the end of it—it must not be done. Certain combinations of numbers, of lights or circumstances, were "omens," and must be carefully avoided. Evidently, as an intelligent child will, he had eagerly caught up and absorbed all and every suggestion offered him by the converse of his nurse and her associates, and the impressions thus made were overlaid, but not erased, as he grew up isolated, by the very reticence of his nature, from his fellows. His dislike of the colour green, as being unlucky, he could not himself understand, for it is certainly not an Irish feeling, but it was there so decidedly that he would not sit in any room that had this colour in it, nor would he allow me to wear or use any of the magnificent silks or embroideries that were so often presented to him, if, as was generally the case, they had green in their composition.

Parnell had no religious conviction of creed and {309} dogma, but he had an immense reverence, learnt, I think, from the Irish peasantry, for any genuine religious conviction. He personally believed in a vast and universal law of "attraction," of which the elemental forces of Nature were part, and the whole of which tended towards some unknown, and unknowable, end, in immensely distant periods of time. The world, he considered, was but a small part of the unthinkably vast "whole" through which the "Spirit" (the soul) of man passed towards the fulfilment of its destiny in the completion of "attraction." Of a first "Cause" and predestined "End" he was convinced, though he believed their attributes to be unknown and unknowable.

As I have said before, he was not a man who read, or sought to acquire the opinions or knowledge of others, unless he had some peculiar interest in a subject. He considered, and formed his own beliefs and opinions, holding them with the same quiet, convinced recognition of his right of judgment that he extended to the judgment of others.

Parnell's moral standard was a high one, if it is once conceded that as regards the marriage bond his honest conviction was that there is none where intense mutual attraction—commonly called love—does not exist, or where it ceases to exist. To Parnell's heart and conscience I was no more the wife of Captain O'Shea when he (Parnell) first met me than I was after Captain O'Shea had divorced me, ten years later. He took nothing from Captain O'Shea that the law of the land could give, or could dispossess him of, therefore he did him no wrong. I do not presume to say whether in this conviction he was right or wrong, but here I set down Parnell's point of view, with the happy knowledge that never for one moment have I {310} regretted that I made his point of view my own in this as in all things else.

Parnell's political life was one single-minded ambition for the good of his country. He was no place or popularity hunter. Stung to the quick in early manhood by the awful suffering of the Irish peasantry and by the callous indifference of the English Government, he, with all the pure chivalry of youth, vowed himself to their service, and, so far as in him lay, to the forcing of the governing country to a better fulfilment of her responsibilities. In the course of years the gaining of Home Rule for Ireland became for him the only solution of the problem. To this end he devoted all his energies, and for this end men became as tools to him, to be used and thrown aside, so that he could carve out the liberation of Ireland from the great nation whom he declared could "rule slaves as freemen, but who would only rule free men as slaves."

Some have said that Parnell was avaricious. He was not. In small matters he was careful, and on himself he spent the very smallest amount possible for his position. He indulged himself in no luxuries beyond the purchase of a few scientific books and instruments, on which indulgence he spent many moments of anxious deliberation lest he should need the money for political purposes. His own private income was spent in forwarding his political work, in the "relief funds" of Ireland's many needs, and on his estates in Ireland, where he did his utmost to promote industries that should prove to be of real benefit to the people. To his mother and other near relations he was always generous, and to the many calls upon his charity in Ireland he was rarely unresponsive.

In temper Parnell was quiet, deep and bitter. He was {311} so absolutely self-controlled that few knew of the volcanic force and fire that burned beneath his icy exterior.

In the presence of suffering he was gentle, unselfish and helpful. Indeed, I may say that at all times at home he was the most unselfish man I have ever met.

Of his moral courage all the world knows, yet no one, I think, but myself can know how absolute it was; how dauntless and unshaken, how absolutely and unconsciously heroic Parnell's courage was. Through good report, or ill report, in his public life, or in his private life, he never changed, never wavered. Hailed as his country's saviour, execrated as her betrayer, exalted as a conqueror, or judged and condemned by the self-elected court of English hypocrisy, he kept a serene heart and unembittered mind, treading the path he had chosen, and doing the work he had made his own for Ireland's sake.

And there are those who can in no way understand that some few men are born who stand apart, by the very grandeur of Nature's plan—men of whom it is true to say that "after making him the mould was broken," and of whom the average law can neither judge aright nor understand. In his childhood, in his boyhood, and in his manhood Parnell was "apart." I was the one human being admitted into the inner sanctuaries of his soul, with all their intricate glooms and dazzling lights; mine was not the folly to judge, but the love to understand.



"O gentle wind that bloweth south
    To where my love re-paireth,
Convey a kiss to his dear mouth
    And tell me how he fareth.
                                                        —OLD BALLAD.

"He that well and rightly considereth his own works will find little cause to judge hardly of another."—THOMAS À KEMPIS.

On June 24th, 1891, Mr. Parnell drove over to Steyning to see that all the arrangements for our marriage at the registrar's office there on the next day were complete. Mr. Edward Cripps, the registrar, had everything in order, and it was arranged that we should come very early so as to baffle the newspaper correspondents, who had already been worrying Mr. Cripps, and who hung about our house at Brighton with an inconvenient pertinacity. We had given Mr. Parnell's servant elaborate orders to await us, with Dictator in the phaeton, at a short distance from the house about eleven o'clock on the 25th, and told him he would be required as a witness at our wedding. This little ruse gave us the early morning of the 25th clear, as the newspaper men soon had these instructions out of the discomfited young man, who had been told not to talk to reporters.

On June 25th I was awakened at daybreak by my lover's tapping at my door and calling to me: "Get up, get up, it is time to be married!" Then a humming and excitement began through the house as the maids flew {313} about to get us and breakfast ready "in time," before two of them, Phyllis Bryson, my very dear personal maid—who had put off her own marriage for many years in order to remain with me—and my children's old nurse, drove off to catch the early train to Steyning, where they were to be witnesses of our marriage. Phyllis was so determined to put the finishing touches to me herself that she was at last hustled off by Parnell, who was in a nervous fear that everyone would be late but the newspaper men. Phyllis was fastening a posy at my breast when Parnell gently but firmly took it from her and replaced it with white roses he had got for me the day before. Seeing her look of disappointment he said, "She must wear mine to-day, Phyllis, but she shall carry yours, and you shall keep them in remembrance; now you must go!"

He drove the maids down the stairs and into the waiting cab, going himself to the stables some way from the house, and returning in an amazingly short time with Dictator in the phaeton and with a ruffled-looking groom who appeared to have been sleeping in his livery—it was so badly put on. Parnell ordered him in to have a cup of tea and something to eat while he held the horse, nervously calling to me at my window to be quick and come down. Then, giving the groom an enormous "buttonhole," with fierce orders not to dare to put it on till we were well on our way, Parnell escorted me out of the house, and settled me in the phaeton with elaborate care.

As a rule Parnell never noticed what I wore. Clothes were always "things" to him. "Your things become you always" was the utmost compliment for a new gown I could ever extract from him; but that morning, as he climbed in beside me and I took the reins, he said, {314} "Queenie, you look lovely in that lace stuff and the beautiful hat with the roses! I am so proud of you!"

And I was proud of my King, of my wonderful lover, as we drove through that glorious June morning, past the fields of growing corn, by the hedges heavy with wild roses and "traveller's joy," round the bend of the river at Lancing, past the ruined tower where we had so often watched the kestrels hover, over the bridge and up the street of pretty, old-world Bramber into Steyning, and on to the consummation of our happiness.

Parnell hardly spoke at all during this drive. Only, soon after the start at six o'clock, he said, "Listen," and, smiling, "They are after us; let Dictator go!" as we heard the clattering of horses far behind. I let Dictator go, and he—the fastest (driving) horse I have ever seen—skimmed over the nine miles in so gallant a mood that it seemed to us but a few minutes' journey.

Mr. Cripps was in attendance, and Mrs. Cripps had very charmingly decorated the little room with flowers, so there was none of the dreariness usual with a registry marriage. As we waited for our witnesses to arrive—we had beaten the train!—my King looked at us both in the small mirror on the wall of the little room, and, adjusting his white rose in his frock-coat, said joyously, "It isn't every woman who makes so good a marriage as you are making, Queenie, is it? and to such a handsome fellow, too!" blowing kisses to me in the glass. Then the two maids arrived, and the little ceremony that was to legalize our union of many years was quickly over.

On the return drive my husband pulled up the hood of the phaeton, and, to my questioning look—for it was a hot morning—he answered solemnly, "It's the right thing to do." As we drove off, bowing and laughing {315} our thanks to Mr. Cripps and the others for their kind and enthusiastic felicitations, he said, "How could I kiss you good wishes for our married life unless we were hooded up like this!"

Just as we drove out of Steyning we passed the newspaper men arriving at a gallop, and we peered out doubtfully at them, fearing they would turn and come back after us. But I let Dictator have his head, and, though they pulled up, they knew that pursuit was hopeless. My husband looked back round the hood of the phaeton, and the groom called out delightedly, "They've give up, and gone on to Mr. Cripps, sir."

On our return to Walsingham Terrace we had to run the gauntlet between waiting Pressmen up the steps to the house, but at my husband's imperious "Stand back; let Mrs. Parnell pass! Presently, presently; I'll see you presently!" they fell back, and we hid ourselves in the house and sat down to our dainty little wedding breakfast. Parnell would not allow me to have a wedding cake, because he said he would not be able to bear seeing me eat our wedding cake without him, and, as I knew, the very sight of a rich cake made him ill.

Meanwhile the reporters had taken a firm stand at the front door, and were worrying the servants to exasperation. One, a lady reporter for an American newspaper, being more enterprising than the rest, got into the house adjoining ours, which I also rented at that time, and came through the door of communication on the balcony into my bedroom. Here she was found by Phyllis, and as my furious little maid was too small to turn the American lady out, she slipped out of the door and locked it, to prevent further intrusion.

Then she came down to us in the dining-room, found {316} on the way that the cook had basely given in to bribery, having "Just let one of the poor gentlemen stand in the hall," and gave up the battle in despair—saying, "Will Mrs. O'Shea see him, Mr. —— wants to know?"

"Phyllis!" exclaimed my husband in a horrified voice, "what do you mean? Who is Mrs. O'Shea?"

Poor Phyllis gave one gasp at me and fled in confusion.

Then my King saw some of the newspaper people, and eased their minds of their duty to their respective papers. The lady from America he utterly refused to see, as she had forced herself into my room, but, undaunted, she left vowing that she would cable a better "interview" than any of them to her paper. They were kind enough to send it to me in due course, and I must admit that even if not exactly accurate, it was distinctly "bright." It was an illustrated "interview," and Parnell and I appeared seated together on a stout little sofa, he clad in a fur coat, and I in a dangerously décolleté garment, diaphanous in the extreme, and apparently attached to me by large diamonds. My sedate Phyllis had become a stage "grisette" of most frivolous demeanour, and my poor bedroom—in fact, the most solid and ugly emanation of Early Victorian virtue I have ever had bequeathed to me—appeared to an interested American State as the "very utmost" in fluffy viciousness that could be evolved in the united capitals of the demi-mondaine.

I showed this "interview" to my husband, though rather doubtful if he would be amused by it; but he only said, staring sadly at it, "I don't think that American lady can be a very nice person."

After he had sent the reporters off my King settled into his old coat again, and subsided into his easy chair, smoking and quietly watching me. I told him he must {317} give up that close scrutiny of me, and that I did not stare at him till he grew shy.

"Why not?" he said. "A cat may look at a king, and surely a man may look at his wife!"

But I refused to stay indoors talking nonsense on so lovely a day, and we wandered out together along the fields to Aldrington. Along there is a place where they make bricks. We stood to watch the men at work, and Parnell talked to them till they went off to dinner. Parnell watched them away till they were out of sight, and then said, "Come on, Queenie, we'll make some bricks, too. I've learnt all about it in watching them!" So we very carefully made two bricks between us, and put them with the others in the kiln to burn. I suggested marking our two bricks, so that we might know them when we returned, but when we looked in the kiln some hours later they all appeared alike.

Then we got down to the sea and sat down to watch it and rest. Far beyond the basin at Aldrington, near the mouth of Shoreham Harbour, we had the shore to ourselves and talked of the future, when Ireland had settled down, and my King—king, indeed, in forcing reason upon that unreasonable land and wresting the justice of Home Rule from England—could abdicate; when we could go to find a better climate, so that his health might become all I wished. We talked of the summer visits we would make to Avondale, and of the glorious days when he need never go away from me. Of the time when his hobbies could be pursued to the end, instead of broken off for political work. And we talked of Ireland, for Parnell loved her, and what he loved I would not hate or thrust out from his thoughts, even on this day that God had made.

Yet, as we sat together, silent now, even though we {318} spoke together still with the happiness that has no words, a storm came over the sea. It had been very hot all day and a thunderstorm was inevitable; but, as we sheltered under the breakwater, I wished that this one day might have been without a storm.

Reading my thoughts, he said: "The storms and thunderings will never hurt us now, Queenie, my wife, for there is nothing in the wide world that can be greater than our love; there is nothing in all the world but you and I." And I was comforted because I did not remember death.

The news of our marriage was in all the evening papers, and already that night began the bombardment of telegrams and letters of congratulation and otherwise! The first telegram was to me, "Mrs. Parnell," and we opened it together with much interest and read its kind message from "Six Irish Girls" with great pleasure. The others, the number of which ran into many hundreds, varied from the heartiest congratulation to the foulest abuse, and were equally of no moment to my husband, as he made no attempt to open anything in the ever-growing heap of correspondence that, for weeks I kept on a large tray in my sitting-room, and which, by making a determined effort daily, I kept within bounds.

"Why do you have to open them all?" he asked me, looking at the heap with the indolent disgust that always characterized him at the sight of many letters.

"Well, I like reading the nice ones, and I can't tell which they are till they're opened," I explained. "Now here is one that looks the very epitome of all that is good and land outside-thick, good paper, beautiful handwriting—and yet the inside is unprintable!"

Parnell held out his hand for it, but I would not give {319} anything so dirty into his hand, and tore it across for the wastepaper basket, giving him instead a dear little letter from a peasant woman in Ireland, who invoked more blessings upon our heads than Heaven could well spare us.

Little more than three months afterwards the telegrams and letters again poured into the house. This time they were messages of condolence, and otherwise. And again their message fell upon unheeding ears, for the still, cold form lying in the proud tranquillity of death had taken with him all my sorrow and my joy; and as in that perfect happiness I had known no bitterness, for he was there, now again these words of venom, speaking gladness because he was dead, held no sting for me, for he was gone, and with him took my heart.

The very many letters of true sympathy which reached me after my husband's death were put away in boxes, and kept for me till I was well enough for my daughter to read them to me. Among these were many from clergymen of all denominations and of all ranks in the great army of God. As I lay with closed eyes listening to the message of these hearts I did not know I seemed to be back in the little church at Cressing, and to hear my father's voice through the mists of remembrance, saying: "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is Charity." ...

Among our many wedding presents was a charming little alabaster clock from my husband's sister, Emily Dickinson. It was a ship's "wheel," and we were very gay over its coming, disputing as to which of us should henceforth be the "man at the wheel." Parnell's mother also was very sweet and kind to me, sending me several much prized letters. Other members of my husband's family also wrote very kindly to me, and I can still see {320} his tender smile at me as he saw my appreciation of his family's attitude.

The presents we liked best, after Mrs. Dickinson's clock, were the little humble offerings of little value and much love sent by working men and women, by our servants, and by others of far countries and near. Parcels arrived from the four quarters of the globe, and many were beyond recognition on arrival, but the fragments were grateful to me as bearing a message of true homage to my King.

Of other feeling there was little among these wedding gifts, though one evening my eldest daughter who was with me, remarked casually to me that she had confiscated a newly arrived "registered" parcel addressed to me. "Oh, but you must not," I exclaimed, "I want them all!" But she answered gloomily that this parcel had contained a mouse, and "not at all the kind of mouse that anyone could have wanted for days past." So I subsided without further interrogation.

Once when Parnell and I were staying at Bournemouth we became very fond of some old engravings hanging in our hotel sitting-room, illustrating "The Dowie Dens of Yarrow," and now, through these fighting months in Ireland, we used this old ballad as a medium for private telegrams, as we could not be sure they would not fall into other hands. The idea took root when he first left me to attend what I feared would be a hostile meeting in Ireland. He had wired the political result to me, but had not said how he was feeling. I telegraphed to him: "O gentle wind that bloweth south," and promptly came the reply to me: "He fareth well."

All through these fighting months in Ireland he telegraphed to me always in the morning and also in the {321} evening of every day he was away from me, and whenever he could snatch a moment he wrote to me. He was in no way unhappy in this last fight, and had only the insidious "tiredness" that grew upon him with such deadly foreshadowing of the end we would not see given him a little respite, he could, he said, have enjoyed the stress and storm of battle. To bend these rebels in Ireland to his will became but a secondary driving force to that of gaining for Ireland the self-government to which he had pledged himself for her, and I think it gave that zest and joy in hardness to the battle that all the great fighters of the world seem to have experienced.

I am not giving all his letters of this time; just a few of the little messages of my husband's love in these last days I must keep for my own heart to live upon; but the two or three that I give are sufficient to show the high, quiet spirit of the man who was said to be "at bay." Letters, I think, rather of a king, serene in his belief in the ultimate sanity of his people and of the justice of his cause.

    March 24, 1891.

The reception here yesterday was magnificent, and the whole country for twenty-five miles from here to the town of Sligo is solid for us, and will vote 90 out of 100 for us, the priests being in our favour with one exception, and the seceders being unable to hold a meeting anywhere. I am to keep in this friendly district, and to hold meetings there, and shall not go outside of it.

The town of Sligo, and the district from there to Cliffony, is hostile, the priests being against us, and I shall not go into it, but we have a good friendly minority even in this district, whom our agents will canvass privately. You will see the situation on the map.

Wire me to Ballina, every day, which will be my headquarters; also write particulars if any news.


    August 15, 1891.

MY OWN WIFIE,—Your telegram only received this evening, in consequence of my being at the mine.

I think you might fix the end of the year as the time you and I would guarantee the payment of the costs.[1] If Wontner accepts this or any modification of it which would give me, say, three months to pay, telegraph Pym as follows: "No." If he declines to accept, or you cannot come to any definite arrangement with Wontner by Tuesday at midday, telegraph Pym "Yes." I have written Pym advising him accordingly about the appeal, and sending the lodgment money, but it would be better if possible that you should telegraph Pym on Monday afternoon. I trust to be able to cross on Tuesday morning or evening at latest. It is very fine here, but I have had no shooting, and do not expect any, as I have to be in Dublin all day Monday arranging about new paper.—-With best love, YOUR OWN HUSBAND.

You should ask Wontner to telegraph you definitely as early as possible on Monday.

    September 1, 1891.

MY OWN WIFIE,—I have received Magurri's letter safely, and hope to be able to leave here on Wednesday (to-morrow) evening, sleeping at Holyhead, and visiting the place in Wales[2] next morning on my way back to London.

MacDermott says he does not think I can get the loan from Hibernian Bank concluded within a fortnight, but will hasten matters as much as possible. The bank and their solicitors approve the security and proposal generally, but it will take a little time to make the searches and go through other formalities which lawyers always insist upon in such cases.

By to-morrow I expect to have done as much as I possibly can for the present in the matter of the new paper. It has been a very troublesome business, as a dispute has arisen between different sections of my own friends as to who shall {323} have the largest share in the management of the new organ. This dispute somewhat impedes progress and increases the difficulties. However, the matter is not so pressing, as the Freeman question is again postponed for another fortnight. I expect to make a satisfactory arrangement about my Freeman shares, under which I shall lose nothing by them. Kerr is making progress in getting up a small company to buy a steamer, and I think he may succeed.

I have been very much bored, as I am obliged to remain in the hotel all day every day, waiting to see people who may call about the different undertakings. I wonder whether you have been driving at all, and how the eyes are, and how you have been doing. You have not written to tell me.—With much love,


    Monday, September 7, 1801

MY OWN WIFIE,—I have told Kerr that he cannot have any of the first thousand, so he is going to manage without it for the present, so you may reckon on that amount

The bank was to have given me that sum to-day, but a hitch occurred on Saturday which I removed to-day, and the board will meet to-morrow and ratify the advance.


In great haste.

The trouble about the jealousies of would-be directors on the new board still continues, and have postponed selection till next week—crossing to-morrow night.

On my husband's return home from Ireland in September, after having established the Irish Daily Independent, he was looking so worn out and ill that I was thoroughly alarmed about his health. He was very cheerful and happy while he was at home, and I had much difficulty in keeping him quietly lying down to rest on the sofa. But, though he protested while following my wishes, I saw as I sat watching him while he slept that {324} the tired, grey shadows were growing deeper upon his beautiful face, and that in sleep he had that absolute stillness which one only finds in very healthy children or in the absolutely exhausted sleep of adults.

I tried to induce him to see Sir Henry Thompson in town, but he would not consent—saying that he could not waste a moment of his little time at home, and that, though he did feel tired, that was all.

"I am not ill," he said, "only a little tired. Queenie, my wife, you do not really think I am ill, do you?"

Knowing the one weakness of his brave heart, his anger and terror at the idea of illness and of the far-off death that might divide us, I answered only that I thought he was too tired, that nothing, not even Ireland, was worth it, and I besought him now at last to give it all up, and to hide away with me till a long rest, away from the turmoil and contention, had saved him from the tiredness that would, I feared, become real illness if he went on.

He lay watching me as I spoke, and, after a long pause, he answered, "I am in your hands, Queenie, and you shall do with me what you will; but you promised."

"You mean I promised that I would never make you less than——-"

"Less than your King," he interrupted, "and if I give in now I shall be less than that. I would rather die than give in now—give in to the howling of the English mob. But if you say it I will do it, and you will never hear of it again from me, my love, my own wife." And as I gazed down into the deep, smouldering eyes, where the little flames always leapt out to meet mine, I knew I could not say it, I knew that in the depths of those eyes was more than even my love could fathom, that in the martyrdom of our love was to be our reparation.


I sent him off bright and happy to the last meeting at Creggs. As he drove off to the station and Dictator rounded the corner of the house, he turned, as usual, to wave to me, and raised the white rose in his buttonhole to his lips with an answering smile.

He sent me a telegram from London as he was starting from Euston Station, one from Holyhead, and another from Dublin. For the Creggs meeting he stayed with Mr. and Mrs. Mahoney, and his telegram from their house was cheerful, though he said he was not feeling very well.

In the few lines I had from him here I knew he was in much pain again from the rheumatism in his left arm. He always told me exactly how he was feeling, as he knew that unless he did this I would have suffered untold misery from apprehension while he was away. From Creggs he telegraphed that he was about to speak, and it was "terrible weather." I thought with satisfaction that I had put a special change into a bag for him, and he had promised not to be parted from it, so I knew he would find means of changing his things directly after the meeting. His "good night" telegram did not reassure me; he was in bad pain from the rheumatism, but hoped to get it out with a Turkish bath on the way home.

He stayed in Dublin to see about the new paper which though "going" well, was a perpetual trouble to him owing to the petty jealousies of the staff. He crossed over from Ireland feeling very ill, with violent pains all over him; he was implored to go to bed, and remain there for a few days till he felt better, before starting for England; but he only replied: "No, I want to get home; I must go home!"

He telegraphed to me from Holyhead as usual, and {326} directly he got to London, and before coming on to Brighton he had a Turkish bath in London.

He seemed to me very weak when he got out of the buggy. I had sent a closed fly to meet him, as well as the buggy, but as a forlorn hope, for he would always be met by Dictator in the buggy at the station

I helped him into the house, and he sank into his own chair before the blazing fire I had made, in spite of the warm weather, and said: "Oh, my Wifie, it is good to be back. You may keep me a bit now!"

I was rather worried that he should have travelled immediately after a Turkish bath, but he said it had done him much good. I did not worry him then, but after he had eaten a fairly good dinner I told him that I wanted him to have Sir Henry Thompson down the next day. He laughed at the idea, but I was very much in earnest, and he said he would see how he felt in the morning.

He told me that he had had to have his arm in a sling all the time he was away, but that he thought he had become so much worse because the change of clothes I had packed separately in a small bag (which he had promised not to be parted from) in case he had to speak in the rain, had been taken home in error by his host, and he had had to sit in his wet things for some hours.

I was much vexed when I heard this, for I always made such a point of his not keeping on damp things, and provided against it so carefully when starting him off.

He said: "It is no matter, really, I think, and I won't go away again till I'm really well this time. They were all so kind to me, but I was feeling so ill that I had to point out that breakfast was made for me, not I for breakfast, when I was expected to come down quickly for it. {327} I do hate being away from home, especially when I feel ill."

After dinner that night he sat before the fire trying to smoke a cigar, but he did not care for it as usual, and presently threw it away half smoked. He wanted to "feel" I was there, he said, so I sat by his feet on the rug, and leant my head against his knee while he stroked my hair. I stopped his hand because I feared the pain might come on again, and held it while he smiled assent to my suggestion that he should try to sleep a little. Grouse and Pincher, our setter and terrier, had to come close by us, and, as they settled by his feet, he said: "This is really a beautiful rest."

He dozed now and then, and I could see how wan and exhausted the still, clear-cut face was, and I vowed to myself that he should not again leave my care until his health was completely re-established.

Presently he asked for his stick and wanted to go into the other room for a while, but he could not walk without my assistance, his legs were too weak to support him. I was terribly worried now, but did not let him see it, and only said: "Now you are up you must let me help you to bed, so that you can get all the rest you need—and you are not going to leave home again till you take me for a real honeymoon in a country where the sun is strong enough to get the cold out of your bones. We will get out of England this winter." And he answered: "So we will, Wifie, directly I get that mortgage through."

Then, as we made our painful way up the stairs—for the last time—he laughed at the Irish setter, who was trying to help him lift the stick he used, and said: "Grouse thinks we are doing this for his own special benefit." I undressed him, and got him into bed, and he said: "Come {328} and lie down as quickly as you can, Wifie," but I rubbed him with the firwood oil, and packed his arm in the wool he so much believed in, before I lay down.

He dozed off, but woke shortly, and could not sleep again. He asked me if I thought the champagne Dr. Kenny had made him take in Dublin had made him worse, but I reassured him, for he had been so exhausted he had required something, and no doubt Dr. Kenny had known that it would do him good, although in a general way it was bad for him.

During the night I made him promise he would see a doctor in the morning. Presently he said: "I would rather write to Thompson, as he understands me." I said I would telegraph to him to come down, but this excited my husband, who said, "No, the fee would be enormous at this distance." I pointed out that his health was more precious than the quarries and saw-mills at Arklow, on which he was just proposing to spend some hundreds of pounds, but he put me off with, "We'll make it all right in the morning, Wifie."

Finding he still did not sleep, I gently massaged his shoulders and arms with oil, and wrapped him in wool again.

He talked a good deal, chiefly of the Irish peasantry, of their privations and sufferings, the deadly poverty and the prevalence of the very pain (rheumatism) from which he was suffering, in their case aggravated by the damp, insanitary cabins in which they lived. And he murmured under his breath: "There are no means at hand for calculating the people who suffered in silence during those awful years of famine." That was what J. H. Mohonagy said of the famine, from '79 to '80. And he went on: "I wish I could do something for them—the Irish {329} peasantry—they are worth helping. I have always wished it, but there is so much between—and they 'suffer in silence,' Wifie."

In the morning he felt better, and was much happier about himself. He absolutely refused to let me send for Sir Henry Thompson, and, sitting up in bed after a good breakfast, smoked a cigar while he wrote notes for a speech. During his last absence I had bought a large engraving of Lord Leighton's picture "Wedded," and, seeing this hanging in the room, he made me bring it and put it up at the foot of the bed for him to see. He was very much amused at the muscular young couple in the picture, and waving his cigar at it said: "We are a fine pair, Wifie; hang us up where I can look at us."

I had ready for him to sign an agreement to rent a house near Merstham, Surrey, that we had arranged to take so that he could get to London more quickly, and have a change from the sea. It was a pretty little country house, and he had taken great interest in it. I would not let him sign it now, or do any business, but he made me read the agreement over to him, and said that part of our real "honeymoon" should be spent there. He later insisted upon writing to his solicitor (his brother-in-law, Mr. MacDermott) about a mortgage he was raising on his estate, as he wished to have the matter completed quickly. (It was not completed, owing to his death.)

On Sunday he was not so well, but insisted that what he had written to Sir Henry Thompson was enough, as he would answer at once. My persistence seemed to fret him so much that I desisted, and told him that I had sent for a local doctor, as I could not bear to be without advice about the pain.

He was a good patient in one way, scrupulously {330} following his doctor's directions, but in another a very difficult patient, as he was so very easily depressed about himself, all the fatalism that was natural to him tending to overcome his immense desire for health. A short talk with the doctor who saw him seemed to inspire him with confidence, and he said he felt better.

That night (Sunday) he did not sleep, and this worried him a great deal, as he had a superstition that if he did not sleep for two consecutive nights he would die. I tried at first to reason him out of this idea, but he said he had always "felt" this, and had never before failed to sleep. I besought him to let me telegraph for Sir Henry Thompson now, but he would not allow it, and became so feverish at the idea that I did not press the point, though I determined to consult the doctor in attendance about this in the morning. Towards morning he became very feverish, and it was difficult to keep his skin in the perspiration that he desired.

That morning Sir Henry Thompson telegraphed recommending me to call in Dr. Willoughby Furner, but as Dr. Jowers was already in attendance, and my husband liked him, there was no reason to change. That day he was in much pain, afraid to move a finger because of it. He heard from Sir Henry Thompson and, after I read the letter to him, he said: "You see, sweetheart, I was right; Thompson says just what Jowers does; there's no need to have him down."

After my husband's death I received the following letters from Sir Henry Thompson:—

    October 7, 1891.

DEAR MRS. PARNELL,—I am indeed shocked and distressed by the news which the afternoon journals announce here to-day.


So little did I think when I received the letter written by my old esteemed patient, dated October 3, that his end was so near.

With the feelings which this shock have aroused I cannot do otherwise than ask permission to express my sincere sympathy and condolence in the terrible and, I imagine, even to you who must have known more of his health than anyone else, this sudden affliction. The more so as I think you accompanied him once, if not more than once, in his visits to me in Wimpole Street. Of such expression of feeling towards you in this great trial you will at least find multitudes ready to join, and may find some slight consolation in the knowledge that sympathy with you will be widely felt both here and in America.

Under present circumstances I cannot expect or wish to trouble you to communicate with me. But I should be deeply interested in knowing (for my private interest in him and in what befell him) what followed the communication I made to you, whether you had attendance (professional) on the spot before my letter arrived, and what was said, or supposed, to have been the cause of the fatal result, or any details which some friend could send me.

With renewed assurance of my deep sympathy,—Believe me, yours truly, HENRY THOMPSON.

I think I must have received one of his very last letters, if not his last.

    Saturday afternoon, October 10, 1891.

DEAR MRS. PARNELL,—I am very glad you have written me, if the doing so, or if the reply I may be able to send you, can in any way help to mitigate any one of the numerous and infinitely painful circumstances, or their influence, rather, on your mind just now.

Such inquiries as those which suggest themselves to you are so natural that it is impossible to repress them.

One never knows exactly what might have happened in any incident of life had some other course been taken. But whatever course may be supposed, it is useless to pursue it, {332} since only one can ever be taken in this life, namely, that one which is chosen by the individual in every case.

In reference to that asked by you, I feel very strongly that the sad catastrophe was by no means the outcome of any one act—or omission to act—and is far more truly indicated in that passage in yours which describes him as saying to Dr. Jowers, "had he only been able to follow my advice during the last few months," etc. There is the gist of the matter! I doubt whether anything would have saved him when passing through London. A blow had been struck—not so heavy—apparently a light one; but his worn-out constitution, of late fearfully overtaxed by a spirit too strong for its bodily tenement, had no power to resist, and gave way, wholly unable to make any fight for itself against the enemy. Hence what would in a fairly robust state of health have been only a temporary conflict with a mild attack of inflammation, developed into a severe form, overwhelming the vital force with great rapidity and rendering all medical aid powerless. I don't believe that any medicine, any treatment, could have enabled his weakened condition to resist successfully. He wanted no medicine to combat the complaint. He wanted physical force, increased vitality to keep the attack at bay. I have nothing to say of the prescription, except that it appears to me quite appropriate under the circumstances and these I have learnt from the public Press. Dr. Jowers is an experienced and most capable man, and I think you may rest assured that he could scarcely have been in safer hands.

If I were to regret anything it would be that he had not found a spare half-hour to come and see me some time ago. Let me see then how his strength was and whether he could not be fortified a little for the wearing life he was leading. But then these are acts of prudence and foresight which very few ardent men of action ever find time to take. Nevertheless, it is then that advice is really efficient. It is in nine times out of ten sought too late; when it is indeed a matter of little consequence what prescription is written, or, indeed, who has written it, provided only that it does no mischief.

I should very much have liked to see him again at any time. After the first visit I always knew my patient, and felt much interested in him, although I never showed any {333} reference to the fact, preferring to follow his own lead in reference to name, a matter he refers to in the letter of the 3rd inst.

By the way, you know, of course, I received that letter only on Monday morning, and lost not an instant in replying, telegraphing that I was doing so.

You ask me to return it—"his last letter"—as I suspected. I cannot tell you how I was valuing it, and that I intended to place it among my most treasured souvenirs, of which I have many. But I cannot refuse it to his suffering and heart-broken widow, if she desires me to return it, and will do so. It consists only of a few professional words, a patient to his doctor—nothing more, and it is addressed by yourself—as I believe. It is not here—I am writing at the club; but if you still ask me I cannot hesitate an instant, and will send it to you.

Come and see me any time you are able, by and by. I will answer any inquiries you may wish to make. I am at home (only let me know a day beforehand, if you can) every morning from 9.30 to 12—not after, except by quite special arrangement.

With sincere sympathy, believe me, dear Mrs. Parnell, yours truly, HENRY THOMPSON.

My husband was in great pain on the Monday, and seemed to feel a sudden horror that he was being held down by some strong unseen power, and asked my help—thank God, always my help—to fight against it. He tried to get out of bed, although he was too weak to stand, and I had to gently force him back, and cover him up, telling him how dangerous a chill would be. He said: "Hold me tight, then, yourself, till I can fight those others." Then he seemed to doze for a few minutes, and when he opened his eyes again it was to ask me to lie down beside him and put my hand in his, so that he could "feel" I was there. I did so, and he lay still, quite happy again, and spoke of the "sunny land" where we would go as soon as he was better. "We will be so happy, Queenie; there are so many things happier than politics."


He did not sleep that night, and the next morning (Tuesday) he was very feverish, with a bright colour on his usually white face. I wanted to send the dogs from the room, because I feared they would disturb him, but he opened his eyes and said: "Not Grouse; let old Grouse stay, I like him there."

His doctor said that for a day or two we could not look for much improvement. After his medicine that afternoon he lay quietly with his eyes closed, just smiling if I touched him. The doctor came in again, but there was no change, and he left promising to call early the next morning. During the evening my husband seemed to doze, and, listening intently, I heard him mutter "the Conservative Party."

Late in the evening he suddenly opened his eyes and said: "Kiss me, sweet Wifie, and I will try to sleep a little." I lay down by his side, and kissed the burning lips he pressed to mine for the last time. The fire of them, fierce beyond any I had ever felt, even in his most loving moods, startled me, and as I slipped my hand from under his head he gave a little sigh and became unconscious. The doctor came at once, but no remedies prevailed against this sudden failure of the heart's action, and my husband died without regaining consciousness, before his last kiss was cold on my lips.

There is little more to add. All that last night I sat by my husband watching and listening for the look and the word he would never give me again. All that night I whispered to him to speak to me, and I fancied that he moved, and that the fools who said he was dead did not really know. He had never failed to answer my every look and word before. His face was so peaceful; so well, all the tiredness had gone from it now. I would not open {335} the door because I feared to disturb him—he had always liked us to be alone. And the rain and the wind swept about the house as though the whole world shared my desolation.

He did not make any "dying speech," or refer in any way at the last to his "Colleagues and the Irish people," as was at the time erroneously reported. I was too broken then and too indifferent to what any sensation-lovers put about to contradict this story, but, as I am now giving to the world the absolutely true account of the Parnell whom I knew and loved, I am able to state that he was incapable of an affectation so complete. The last words Parnell spoke were given to the wife who had never failed him, to the love that was stronger than death—"Kiss me, sweet Wifie, and I will try to sleep a little."

[1] Of the Divorce Case.

[2] We had an idea of renting a house in Wales.



  "AGONY" column advertisements, 35

  Aldershot, a review at, 7

  Allen, Fenian leader, 52

  Arklow, quarries at, 213

  Arms Bill, the, introduction of, 50

  Arrears Bill, a promised, 165
    becomes law, 180
    introduction of, 171

  Astronomy, Parnell's study of, 303

  "Aunt Ben" (see Mrs. Benjamin Wood)

  Austin, Alfred, friendship with, 37

  Avondale, Parnell's estates at, 51
    Parnell's love of, 209

  BADER, DR., 43, 68

  Baily, L. R., 189 (note)

  Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J., 194

  Ballina, Parnell's reception at, 321

  Ballot Act, the, passing of, 52

  Barker, Edgar, 35

  Barlow, Captain, 147

  Barrett-Lennard, Lady, 10, 14, 16, 19
    Sir Thomas, 6, 14, 31

  Beaufort Gardens, 36

  Belhus, visits to, 6, 16

  Bennington Park, Hertfordshire, 24

  Biggar, J. G., 74
    obstructs Parliamentary business, 53
    warrant for arrest of, 118

  Birling Gap, visits to, 239

  Bognor, visit to, 247

  Book-keeping, Parnell's studies in, 100

  Boulogne, Parnell meets O'Brien at, 297

  Bourke, Walter, murder of, 179

  Boycott, principle enunciated, 74

  Brennan, Thomas, 119

  Brighton, a day on the downs at, 30 et seq.
    life at, 28

  Brighton, Local Government Bill discussed at, 223
    Mrs. O'Shea's house at, 273
    railway station rebuilt, 100
    visits to, 229

  Brompton Oratory, 37

  Bryson, Phyllis, 313, 315, 316

  Burke, Mr., murder of, 168

  Butt, Isaac, 50, 53

  Butt, Mr. Justice, 300

  Buxton, Mrs. Sydney, 265


  Campbell, Mr. Parnell's secretary, 246

  Campbell-Bannerman, Sir Henry, accepts Irish Secretaryship, 182
    enters the Cabinet, 197

  Canada, Parnell's reception in, 54

  Carlingford, Lord, opposes Home Rule, 197

  Carnarvon, Lord, becomes Lord Lieutenant, 186
    meets Parnell, 187
    resignation of, 193, 196

  Carr, Dr., Bishop of Galway, 291

  Cavendish, Lord Frederick, becomes Chief Secretary, 166
    murder of, 168

  Chamberlain, Joseph, 158, 184
    and Healy's speech, 291
    and the Chief Secretaryship, 166
    opposes coercion, 185
    proposes National Board for Ireland, 185, 197 (note)
    resignation of, 197

  Childers, Mr., supports Home Rule, 197

  Churchill, Lord Randolph, 184

  Clare, Capt. O'Shea returned for, 56

  Clive, Colonel, 13

  Coercion Bill, the, introduced, 91
    memorandum on, from Parnell to Gladstone, 178

  Collings, Jesse, 196

  Colthurst, Col., 58

  Committee Room Fifteen, momentous meeting in, 286

  Compensation for Disturbances Bill, 73

  Congleton, Lord, 51

  Constable and Mrs. Wood, 2

  Corbett, Mr., 234

  Cork, banquet at, in honour of Parnell, 221

  Cowper, Lord, resignation of, 164

  Creggs, Parnell goes to his last meeting at, 325

  Crimes Bill, becomes law, 180
    introduced by Sir W. Harcourt, 171
    negotiations on, 199
    second reading of, 174

  Cripps, Edward, 312, 314

  DALLAS, MR., 18

  Dasent, Sir George, 18

  Davitt, Michael, 53, 54, 119
    quarrels with Parnell, 210
    release of, 168

  Derby, Lord, opposes Home Rule, 197

  Devoy, John, 53, 54

  Dickinson, Emily, 261 (note), 319

  "Dictator," horse named, 207, 232, 313, 314

  Dilke, Sir Charles, 166
    defeated at General Election, 197
    opposes coercion, 185

  Dillon, John, arrest of, 118
    quarrels with Parnell, 210
    sails for New York, 54

  "Disturbances Bill," debate on, 78 et seq.

  Dublin, freedom of, presented to Parnell, 210
    Land League Convention at, 109
    Parnell defeated in, 52
    Parnell's meeting at, 293

  Duffy, Sir Charles Gavan, 187

  Dyke, Sir W. Hart, resigns, 196

  EASTBOURNE, holiday at, 238 et seq.

  Edinburgh, freedom of, presented to Parnell, 269

  Egan, Patrick, 119

  Eighty Club, ovation for Parnell at 267
    Parnell's speech at, 244

  Eltham, a snowy Christmas at, 223, 224
    fifth of November celebrations at, 75
    life at, 30, 43 et seq., 68 et seq., 223, 228
    new room built at, 230
    Parnell at, 69, 79, 83, 223, 228

  Errington, Mr., 181

  Eversley, Lord (see Lefevre, Shaw)

  Evictions in Ireland, 81
    Gladstone on, 171

  Explosives Bill, introduction of, 181

  FARWELL, GEORGE (Lord Justice), 9

  Fenian movement, the, 52

  Finden, the brothers, 2

  Fitzgerald, Sir Seymour, 19

  Ford, Patrick, starts dynamite crusade against England, 181

  Forster, W. E., and the Land League, 74
    attacks Parnell, 219
    becomes "disagreeable," 124
    Coercion Bill of, 91
    denounces the Cabinet, 165
    introduces "Disturbances Bill," 78
    resignation of, 164
    suggests Parnell's arrest, 110

  Franchise Bill, 184

  Freeman's Journal, announcement as to Parnell's intentions in, 288
    letter from Timothy Harrington to, 291

  GAFFNEY, SUSAN, and "first aid," 210

  Galway, Bishop of, 291
    O'Shea returned for, 291

  Geston, Thomas, 119

  Gill, Mr., 270 (note)

  Gimson, Dr., 26

  Gladstone Herbert (Lord), 187, 194

  Gladstone, Rt. Hon. W. E., 158
    a tribute to Parnell, 93
    a yachting expedition, 188
    action after divorce case, 286
    an elusive speech of, 189
    and Capt. O'Shea, 68
    and evictions, 171
    and Parnell's Home Rule draft, 187
    and the Coercion Bill, 91
    announces arrest of Parnell, 117
    approaches Tory Party on Home Rule, 194
    forms a Ministry, 50, 54
    interviews Mrs. O'Shea, 172
    introduces his Land Bill, 109
    letter to Morley on overthrow of Parnell, 288
    on Parnell's character, 220
    perfect manners of, 199
    promises an Arrears Bill, 165
    resignation of, 186
    speech on "Disturbances Bill," 79
    summarizes position between Parnell and himself, 195

  Glasnevin Cemetery, Parnell's grave in, 205

  Glazenwood, life at, 3

  Graham, Robert Bontine Cunninghame, 15

  Graham, Robert Cunninghame, 15, 18

  Grantley-Barkley, the Hon., 9

  Granville, Lord, 185
    supports Home Rule, 197

  Greenwich Observatory, visits to, 109

  Grosse, Rev. Thomas, author and, 4

  Grosvenor, Lord Richard, 184, 188
    and Capt. O'Shea's candidature for Liverpool, 189 (note), 291
    asks for Home Rule draft, 186

  "Grouse," dog named, 234, 327, 334

  Gull, Sir William, 39

  HARCOURT, SIR W., introduces Crimes Bill, 171
    introduces Explosives Bill, 181
    supports Home Rule, 197

  Harrington, Timothy, and O'Shea's candidature, 291

  Hartington, Lord, 54
    opposes Home Rule, 188, 197

  Hastings, visits to, 41, 228

  Hatherley, Lord Chancellor, 28, 38

  Hawarden, Parnell's visit to, 202

  Healy, Timothy, attacks Capt. O'Shea, 291
    returned for Monaghan, 221
    State trial of, 83
    warrant issued for arrest of, 118

  Herne Bay, a day at, 249

  Herschell, Lord, enters the Cabinet, 197

  Hertfordshire, social customs in, 24 et seq.

  Hicks-Beach, Sir Michael, becomes Chief Secretary, 186

  Hinkson, Mrs. (see Tynan, Katharine)

  Hobson, Mr., 27

  Holbrook Hall, honeymoon at, 19

  Home Office, explosion of bomb at, 226

  Home Rule Bill, the first, 197 et seq.

  Home Rule League, the formation of, 52

  Home Rule scheme submitted to Gladstone, 182

  Hood, Marion, actress, 59

  Hook, Dean, 39

  Hozier, Mr. (Sir H.) 12, 13

  Hurley, Father Walter, 294

  IRELAND, evictions in, 81
    fundamental failure in English government of, 79
    how news of Parnell's arrest was received in, 119
    State trials in, 79 et seq.

  Irish Daily Independent founded by Parnell, 323

  Irish Party, the, Parnell and, 50 et seq.
    Parnell elected chairman of, 57
    treachery of, after divorce case, 287

  Irish World, Patrick Ford's crusade in, 199 (note), 181


  Jowers, Dr., 330, 332

  KENNY, DR., 122, 289, 293, 294, 328

  Kent, hop-pickers' reception of Parnell in, 70

  Kerley, Frederick, serves Parnell with Judge's Order, 299

  Kerr, Mr., Parnell's agent, 93, 261

  Kettle, A. J., 118

  Kilkenny, a vacancy in, 293
    Healy's speech at, 291

  Kilmainham Gaol, Parnell in, 99, 119 et seq.

  Kilmainham Treaty, the, 157 et seq.

  Kimberley, Lord, supports Home Rule, 197


  Ladies' Land League, 119, 167, 175

  Land Bill, Gladstone's, 197
    introduction of, 109

  Land League, the, amazing growth of, 78
    formation of, 53
    Forster and, 74
    "three F's of," 55

  Land Purchase Bill, 185

  Landseer, Edwin, 2

  Lane, Charles, 28

  Larkin, Fenian leader, 52

  Lefevre, Shaw, defeated at General Election, 197
    opposed to coercion, 180, 185
    refuses Irish Secretaryship, 182

  Lewes, Mr., 18

  Lewis, Sir George, and divorce case, 280
    and the "Parnell letters," 259, 261, 262

  Liberal Government in 1885, 185

  Lime thrown in Parnell's face, 297

  Liverpool, Capt. O'Shea's candidature for, 189 (note)

  Lockwood, Sir Frank, 268, 280, 284

  London remembrances, 250 et seq.

  Lords, House of, and the Arrears Bill, 180

  Lytton, Lord, 37


  MacDermott, Mr., 329

  Madrid, Pigott's suicide in, 265

  Manchester, the Fenian movement in, 52

  Manning, Cardinal, and O'Shea's divorce, 290 et seq.
    opposes Mr. Errington's mission, 181

  Mary (parlourmaid), 86, 87, 127

  McCarthy, Justin, 58, 59, 187
    and Kilmainham Treaty, 159
    leader of Irish Party, 298 (note)

  Meath, Parnell M.P. for, 52

  Meredith, George, reminiscences of, 43

  Michell, Admiral, 1

  Michell, Caroline, 1

  Michell, Maria, 1

  Mohonagy, J. H., 328

  Monaghan, election at, 221

  Morley, John (Lord), 16, 17, 185 (note)
    enters the Cabinet, 197
    Parnell and, 202

  Mundella, Mr., enters the Cabinet, 197

  NATIONAL LEAGUE founded, 211, 212

  National Liberal Club, Parnell elected a life member of, 267
    Parnell's speech at, 268

  Nationalism, Parnell's conception of, 303

  Niton, a visit to, 39-40

  Nolan, Colonel, 58

  No Rent manifesto, issue of the, 119

  Northbrook, Lord, opposes Home Rule, 197

  O'BRIEN, Fenian leader, 52

  O'Brien, William, arrest of, 118
    chats with Parnell, 244
    meets Parnell at Boulogne, 297

  O'Connell, Daniel, 89

  O'Connor, Arthur, 118

  O'Gorman Mahon, The, 49, 56, 106

  O'Hart and Civil List pension, 181

  O'Kelly, arrest of, 118
    deserts Parnell, 298

  O'Shea, Capt. ("Willie"), 18
    a forgotten appointment, 49
    an accident to, 14
    and Kilmainham Treaty, 159-160
    and Land League's policy, 80
    and Mid-Armagh election, 188
    and Phoenix Park murders, 169
    and "Romeo," 34-5
    and the Irish Party, 188-9 (note)
    as actor, 7
    candidate for Liverpool, 189 (note)
    challenges Parnell to fight a duel, 106
    desire for Under-Secretaryship, 198 (note), 199
    divorce case against Mrs. O'Shea, 280 et seq.
    enters 18th Hussars, 11 (note)
    enters political life, 49
    financial difficulties of, [25 et seq., 34 et seq.
    his ancestry, 11
    illness of, and operation on, 35
    leaves his regiment, 11 (note), 19
    love of social life, 24, 37
    marriage of, 18
    returned for Parliament, 56
    strained relations with his wife, 104, 253, 290
    stud-farming, 24
    takes Parnell's letter to Forster, 164
    week-end visits to Eltham, 48

  O'Shea, Carmen, birth of, 38
    George Meredith and, 46

  O'Shea, Comtesse, 11 (note), 20, 21 et seq., 38

  O'Shea, Gerard, 27

  O'Shea, Henry, 11 (note)
    pencil portrait of Parnell, 99

  O'Shea, John, 11 (note), 20

  O'Shea, Katharine, 29
    a dinner to Parnell, 59
    a prized pocket-book, 233
    an afternoon with George Meredith, 44
    and Longfellow, 6
    as companion to "Aunt Ben," 43
    as intermediary between Government and Parnell, 91, 95, 172,
        174, 178 et seq.
    assists at an operation, 35
    astronomical studies, 108
    birth of Parnell's child, 120, 146
    children of, 27, 37, 38, 46
    death of "Aunt Ben," 272
    death of Parnell's child, 155
    dinner parties in London, 57 et seq.
    dislike of society, 24, 37, 48
    early life of, 3 et seq.
    family life, 5 et seq.
    first letter from Parnell, 59
    first literary success, 5
    first meeting with Parnell, 58
    friction with Capt. O'Shea, 104, 253, 290
    her love of music, 6
    her name abused by anti-Parnellites, 299
    hides Parnell at Eltham, 84
    instructed in the Catholic religion, 38
    interview with Gladstone on Parnell's feelings, 220
    interviews Mr. Soames, 265
    interviews Sir G. Lewis, 259, 262, 263
    intimate knowledge of Parnell's character, 301 et seq.
    leaves Eltham, 273
    letter from Parnell formulating Irish policy, 190
    letters from Capt. O'Shea, 290
    London remembrances, 250 et seq.
    marries Capt. O'Shea, 18
    marries Parnell, 314
    meets Capt. O'Shea, 10 et seq.
    nurses Parnell, 69
    overstrained nerves, 214
    parliamentary associations, 91
    refuses to fight divorce case, 282
    reminiscences of Gladstone, 174 et seq.
    removes to Brighton, 273
    "Romeo" and, 34-5
    seaside holidays, 238 et seq.
    served with petition in divorce case, 280
    wedding presents, 19, 20, 31
    with Parnell at his death, 334

  O'Shea, Mary, 11 (note), 20, 21 et seq., 38, 156

  O'Shea, Norah, 46

  O'Shea, Thaddeus, 11 (note)

  O'Shea, William, 11 (note)

  "Owen Meredith" (see Lytton, Lord)

  PARIS, a visit to, 21

  Parliament, a long sitting of, 91

  Parnell, Anna, 119
    and the Ladies' Land League, 167
    burned in effigy, 76

  Parnell, Charles Stewart, a love avowal by, 33
    a poem by, 243
    a warrant for his arrest, 115
    aim of his political life, 310
    and Cecil Rhodes, 270 (note)
    and death of his sister Fanny, 204
    and O'Shea's candidature, 189 (note)
    and the Irish Party, 50 et seq., 284
    arrested for sedition, 116
    as autocrat, 306
    assaying work of, 101
    astronomical studies of, 108
    at Brighton, 98, 100, 223, 229, 273
    at Eltham, 69, 79, 83, 223, 228
    attends banquet at Cork, 221
    attends nephew's funeral on parole, 153 et seq.
    birth of his child, 120
    buys dogs for Mrs. O'Shea, 234, 235
    complex character of, 304
    conducts Healy's election, 221
    consults Sir Henry Thompson, 245
    death of his daughter, 155
    death of his father, 51
    deserted by O'Kelly, 298
    dictator in the Commons, 193
    discusses Local Government Bill with Capt. O'Shea, 223
    dislike of green bindings, 229
    dislike of social life, 307
    distrust of Gladstone, 110 (note), 173
    elected life member of National Liberal Club, 267
    entrusts political correspondence to Mrs. O'Shea, 85
    family affection of, 306
    fatalism of, 170
    founds Irish Daily Independent, 323
    freedom of City of Dublin presented to, 210
    freedom of City of Edinburgh for, 269
    general appearance of, 301 et seq.
    generosity of, 310
    great meeting at Rotunda, Dublin, 293
    hatred of oppression, 305
    his ancestry, 51
    his fear of death, 225, 305
    his hatred of England, 51, 81
    his love of animals, 305
    hobbies and interests of, 99 et seq.
    holiday at Eastbourne, 238
    Home Rule scheme submitted to Gladstone, 182
    illness of, 243
    in danger, 204 et seq.
    interest in the working classes, 216, 307
    interviews newspaper men after his marriage, 316
    interviews Sir Geo. Lewis, 261
    Irish subscribe to pay off mortgages on his estates, 290 (note)
    joins Home Rule League, 52
    Kilmainhain days and letters, 119 et seq., 139 et seq.
    last hours and death of, 319, 333 et seq.
    learns of Phoenix Park murders, 168
    leaves for Ireland, 320
    letter to his mother, 290
    letters in invisible ink, 125, 132, 133
    letters of congratulation (and otherwise) on his marriage, 318
    love of white roses, 206
    makes bricks, 317
    makes model ships, 278
    manifesto to people of Ireland, 284, 286
    marries Mrs. O'Shea, 314
    meets Katharine Tynan, 266
    meets Lord Carnarvon, 187
    meets O'Brien at Boulogne, 297
    modesty of, 304
    moral standard of, 309
    nightmares and sleep-walking, 205-6
    nominates Vincent Scully for Kilkenny, 296
    on trial for conspiracy, 79
    opens Home Rule campaign, 188
    organizes for General Election, 184
    ovation in Parliament after trial, 265
    ovations at Eighty Club and St. James's Hall, 267
    picks wild flowers, 207
    President of Home Rule Confederation, 53
    President of the Land League, 53
    puts Tories in power, 186
    quarrying at Arklow, 213
    reads forged letters in the Times, 257
    reads report of his assassination, 218
    recognized at Pevensey, 240
    refuses to defend divorce case, 280, 281
    release of, 165
    religious beliefs of, 309
    replies to Forster's attack, 219
    retakes offices of United Ireland, 295-6
    return home and beginning of last illness, 323
    sails for New York, 54
    sees his dying child, 154, 155
    sends horses to Eltham, 231
    served with Judge's Order, 299
    shaves his beard, 98
    shooting in Ireland, 277
    shooting practice of, 207
    speech at Eighty Club, 244
    speech at National Liberal Club, 268
    speech on first Home Rule Bill, 200
    stands for Parliament, 52
    superstitious nature of, 247, 308
    takes house at Brockley, 253
    takes house in Regent's Park, 254
    takes house near Beachy Head, 241
    telegraphic code with Mrs. O'Shea, 246
    temper of, 310
    threats against, 214
    unselfishness of, 311
    views on proposed visit of Prince of Wales, 236
    visits "Aunt Ben," 89
    visits Gladstone, 202
    visits Morley, 202
    wedding presents, 319
    Wexford speech of, 110
    with Mrs. O'Shea at Hastings, 228

  Parnell, Fanny, 52
    death of, 204

  Parnell, Mrs. Delia, 51, 100, 261 (note), 319

  Parnell, John, 306

  Parnell, Sir John, 51

  Parnell, Thomas, poet, 51

  Parnell Commission, the, 256 et seq.

  Patcham, life at, 28

  Pevensey, Parnell recognized at, 240

  Phoenix park murders, 166, 168 et seq.

  Pigott, suicide of, 265

  "Pincher," dog named, 235

  Power, Richard, 58

  "President," Parnell's horse, 231, 239

  "Preston, Clement," 253

  Pym, H., 290, 322

    (see also O'Shea, Comtesse)

  Quinlan, Edward, 11 (note)

  Quinn, J. P., arrest of, 118

  "RANGER," dog named, 235

  Redistribution of Seats Bill, 184

  Redmond, William, letter from Parnell to, 289

  Redmond's Land Bill, 164

  Rhodes, Cecil, Parnell's letter to,
    on Home Rule, 270 (note)

  Ripon, Lord, supports Home Rule, 197

  Rivenhall, life at, 3 et seq., 18
    visitors at, 8, 26

  "Romeo," 34, 35

  Rosebery, Lord, supports Home Rule, 197

  Russell, Sir Charles, 259
    a reception to Parnell, 266

  ST. JAMES'S HALL, ovation for Parnell at, 267

  St. Peter's, Cornhill, 1

  Salisbury, Lord, diplomatic statement about Ireland, 188
    first Ministry of, 186

  Scully, Vincent, nominated for Kilkenny, 296

  Selby, stud-groom of Capt. O'Shea, 28, 36

  Sexton, Mr., arrest of, 118

  Shaw, William, and the Irish Parliamentary Party, 50, 57

  Sheridan, Charles, and Mrs. Wood, 2

  Sleeplessness, a specific for, 40

  Sligo, hostility of, to Parnell, 321

  Smart, Capt. Hawley, 27

  Soames, Mr., interview with, 265

  Spain, Capt. and Mrs. O'Shea in, 24
    Capt. O'Shea's managerial post in, 47

  Spencer, Lord, and Phoenix Park murders, 181
    appointed Lord-Lieutenant, 166
    shakes hands with Parnell, 268
    supports Home Rule, 197

  Stalbridge, Lord (see Grosvenor, Lord Richard)

  Stanley, Dean, 39

  "State trials" in Ireland, 79 et seq.

  Stead, Mr., O'Shea and, 290

  Steele, Lt.-Col., 8

  Steele, Mrs., 18, 58, 59, 60, 106

  Steele, Sir Thomas, 113

  Stephens, T. E., retirement of, 189 (note)

  Stephens, William, Dean of Winchester, 39

  Stewart, Commodore Charles, 51

  Steyning, Parnell's marriage at, 312

  Sussex, Duke of, 1

  TELEGRAPHIC CODE, Parnell's, 246

  Thomson, Mrs., 204

  Thompson, Sir Henry, consulted by Parnell, 245
    letters to Mrs. Parnell, 330, 331
    treats Parnell for nervous breakdown, 206

  "Three acres and a cow," 196

  Times, the, "Parnell letters" in, 257

  Tintern, Mr., and Capt. O'Shea, 67

  "Tory," Parnell's horse, 212

  Trevelyan, Mr., ceases to be Irish Secretary, 182
    resignation of, 197

  Trollope, Anthony, 8

  Tynan, Katharine, on Parnell's Dublin meeting, 293
    Parnell's meeting with, 266

  United Ireland, and proposed visit of Prince of Wales, 236
    publishes No Rent manifesto, 119
    seized by anti-Parnellites, 295

  United States, Parnell in the, 54


  Ventnor, a visit to, 40

  Vincent, Sir Howard, and police protection for Parnell, 217

  WALES, Prince of, a proposed visit to Ireland, 236

  Wallace, Corporal, murder of, 179

  Weguelin, Christopher, 47

  Weston, Sir Thomas Sutton, 3

  Werford speech, Parnell's, 110

  Whitbread, Judge, 43

  Wilkinson, Rev. Mr., 43

  Wonersh Lodge, Eltham, 47

  Wontner, Mr., and the costs of divorce case, 322

  Wood, Anna, 4, 7, 15, 37
    marriage of, 8

  Wood, Benjamin, death of, 42
    marriage of, 1

  Wood, Charlie, 5

  Wood, Clarissa, 6

  Wood, Emma, 6

  Wood, Evelyn, 4 et seq., 17

  Wood, Frank, 6, 7, 10, 26

  Wood, Fred, death of, 3, 6

  Wood, Katharine (see O'Shea, Katharine)

  Wood, Lady, 1 et seq., 27

  Wood, Maria (Pollie), 6

  Wood, Mrs. Benjamin ("Aunt Ben"), 1, 18, 27, 28, 31, 39, 40,
        41 et seq., 68
    and carol singers, 224
    and George Meredith, 43 et seq.
    and O'Connell, 89
    and Parnell, 89
    death of, 43, 272

  Wood, Sir Matthew, 1

  Wood, Sir Matthew (grandson of preceding), 59

  Wood, Sir John Page, 1
    appointed rector of St. Peter's, Cornhill, 1 et seq.
    becomes vicar of Cressing, 2
    birth of a son, 2
    death of, 17
    political views of, 3

  YATES, Mrs. A., 27


[The end of Charles Stewart Parnell by Katharine O'Shea]