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first at the sky, then at her broom, and then at his umbrella. "Do you think it will rain?" she asked. "Rain," he replied, with a faint inflection of irony in his tone"my dear lady, 'après nous le déluge' is not on the cards."
Why do you put so much emphasis on nous? there is nothing between us." “There may be one umbrella between us before long," he answered impatiently. It was evident that there was to be war to the knife between them, and every inch of ground would have to be contested. He had served in many engagements-sometimes with widows, sometimes with ingénues, always with women with histories and uncomfortable backgrounds; but he had never quite met with a woman like Diana. She puzzled him as she had done others, and this determined him to finesse. She saw this, and doubled back. He hedged, she ditched-that is to say, she dug a pitfall for him. She offered him a nut. "She wishes to find out if they're false," he thought. "She shan't." Centuries of civilisation and refinement were swept away in that brief moment, and the look of the wild early settler overspread his delicately cut features. He took the proffered nut, and looking her steadily in the face, said, very slowly, and with the clearest pre-, not post-nasal enunciation, "You bet," and spun the nut into the air with the velocity of a catapult. It was to be point and counterpoint to the very end.
At that moment Saracinesca strolled out of the Ark, looking very sulky, and as if he had been quarrelling with his dear wife, which is, I am sorry to hear, a habit into which he has fallen of late. "Lady Baby" instantly tacked herself on to him, in order to play him off against "Sir Peter"
silly little girl! But Sir Peter, who was just behind, swung himself up on to the outside of the Ark, and watched the pair go off with an amused smile on his face.
They may go to Jericho if they like; they will find me sitting here on their return; or if not, they know my address in town.' So saying he lit a cheroot.
And now a strong smell of seawater and vitriol was borne on the breeze,-Mehalah was coming on to the scene, followed by Anthony Hammond, looking very shabby and sheepish, and as if he had just been refused-or accepted. He and Mehalah cannot have had much in common. I should have thought his tastes lay in the opposite direction from strong language and vitriol; but he was ever shillyshallying, and willy-nillying, and thus found himself landed on a surf-beaten shore of new and possibly tempestuous experiences.
I had not time to follow up this strange concurrence of atoms, for just then "Lady Dolly" came out quickly, evidently agacée, because the "Moths" had got at her valuable furs while shut up, and because worthy "Mr Smith" had been kind enough to say he would devote "a part of his life" to seeing her safe home. She was very young and lovely, but her daughters were elderly women; she always called them her aunts when at Trouville, and made them wear poke-bonnets, and go about in bath-chairs. "Je connais mon époque," she would say, and rising and risen generations could make no head against her.
And now another panel of the door was opened, and instead of a pas de deux there began a regular stampede, and dozens of figures flashed down the plank and away. Some were carrying hansom-cabs, some suspicious-looking bundles
labelled "Life and Remains of," and I am sure I saw an arm protruding here and a leg there, and yet every one was laughing, and had a sort of spasmodic grin on their faces. Some had "struck ile," some their wives, some both -others had opened veins, gold or jugular. There was a great hubbub, and I heard cries of "Hello, 'Barnes !"" "Is that you, 'Potter'?" "You're "In the wrong Box.' "No, I'm in the ditto Paradise." "Are you 'Jekyll and Hyde' or 'Vice Versâ '?" "Oh, it's all the same, for Jekyll's vice (e mute) and Hyde versa (worser)." "Is that the Mark of Cain'?" "Yes, it is the mark of the beast." "Are you 'Called Back'?" "No; I'm 'Found Out."" All this, and much more, I heard, and I was moving away, muttering softly to myself, "Good old Ephemera!" when there was a lull, and I observed "Thoth ” step out on to the plank, leading the "little Lord Fauntleroy" by the hand. "What a bad companion for the child!" I said to myself; and then I recollected that the boy had reduced an aged and irascible nobleman to submission, and that he was capa-.
Labitur hora ;
Dabitur mora; Ne tu sis futilis Semper labora; Ne sis inutilis, Vigila, ora!
ble of converting an archbishop, or of dealing faithfully with a drunken charwoman. This decided me not to interfere, but to wend my way homewards. The word " Thoth,' however, would keep running in my head-Thoth -what other word does it.remind me of? I have it-Thought— knock out the u and the g, and transpose the ht and you have it. Modern Thought, Modern Thoth -why, it rhymes with froth!! Why, yes! What? eh? I felt on the eve of a tremendous discovery, when, with that sudden snort, gasp, and start [which the reader has fondly and indulgently anticipated from the first], 'I woke!, A shilling "dreadful" lay open on my knee-on the table lay a pile of magazines and novels and from behind the bars of their brass-wire cages the backs of great books by great authors flickered reproachfully upon me in the firelight.
FOR THE PANEL OF AN OLD CASE CLOCK.
I rose, lit the lamp, seated myself in an easy-chair, and opened my book where I had left off. Incorrigible old Ephemeris !
Hours glide away;
Thou, though much yearning,
H. E. M..
THE PARNELL IMBROGLIO.
RARELY, if ever, has the political world been thrown into such a state of confusion and excitement as that which had its beginning during the last week of November, and can hardly be said to have sobered down and settled at the present time of writing. In order to arrive at a clear comprehension of the situation, it is necessary to recall the position of affairs at the commencement of the month, and the anticipations with which the coming session of Parliament was regarded at that time. The autumn campaign, alike of Unionists and Gladstonians, had scarcely closed; the fierce and unscrupulous attacks upon the Irish policy of the Government upon one side, and the courageous defence of the same upon the other, were still ringing in our ears. The charge of obstruction, freely and loudly advanced, and as fiercely repudiated by men who in almost the same breath intimated their intention to obstruct in the future, was attracting an amount of attention which would probably have been greater but for the promised excitement upon the subject of Tipperary and its patriotic destroyers; and the principal question of practical importance seemed to be whether Government would be allowed to make such substantial progress with the two bills which they had undertaken to introduce as to justify them in having called Parliament together for the despatch of business upon the 25th November.
appeared to divide political parties, and altered the whole of the relations which had for some time past been established between two large sections of politicians. During the whole of the recess the speeches delivered by Gladstonians and Parnellites had assumed the most cordial alliance and concord between the two. Long and loud had been the denunciations by both of the Coercion Government; confident the announcements of the gradual but certain change of public feeling in the direction of Home Rule; and bitter the taunts and invective hurled against her Majesty's Ministers, on account of their apparent inclination to be content with their present majority in both Houses of Parliament, and their refusal to plunge the country into the turmoil of a premature dissolution at the bidding of their opponents. It was in vain that in the columns of this Magazine, and in other Unionist writings and speeches, it was again and again pointed out that no definite plan of Home Rule had been placed before the country since 1886, and that the first attempt at any such practical step would infallibly rend and split up the English and Irish Home Rulers as it had done in that year. All such observations were contemptuously disregarded and scouted as the perverse pleadings of the enemies of Home Rule; and, contenting themselves with vague generalities and idle platitudes about "selfgovernment" and "Ireland for the Irish," the Gladstonian party continued to avoid coming to close quarters, and to uphold their leader in his evident determination to seek the suffrages of the constituencies at the general elec
tion, uncommitted to any definite scheme, and unencumbered by any definite principle upon the question of Home Rule.
The undoubted intention of Mr Gladstone and his colleagues was to conceal all ascertained or possible differences of opinion between themselves and their Irish allies until after the general election; or, in other words, to give the constituencies no opportunity of pronouncing upon the merits of any proposed legislation, but to induce them to restore Mr Gladstone to power with such a majority as should enable him to treat the question of Home Rule with a free hand. In order to accomplish this result, it was of course necessary to present before the country an unbroken front, and to make it appear that perfect unanimity existed between the English and Irish Home Rulers. The game was well played. It might indeed have succeeded for a time, although deceit and insincerity are vices so unpalatable to the British people that in the longrun they invariably recoil upon those who seek to utilise them for party advantage. In the present case, the exposure of the trick could not have been long delayed, and a Home Rule victory at the polls, followed as it must have been by the bursting of the Home Rule bubble at the first attempt at practical legislation, would have assuredly brought about the exposure and discomfiture of the politicians who had climbed power by such insidious devices. Fate, however, had an earlier disgrace in store for those who had so craftily laid their plans, and their detection and disappointment came upon them in an unexpected shape, and from an unlooked-for quarter.
Many months ago there had been rumours of an approaching
suit in the Divorce Court-O'Shea v. O'Shea, in which Mr Charles Stewart Parnell was to figure as co-respondent. But it was understood that the Irish leader had given assurances that he could and would emerge unscathed from this attack upon his character; and remembering his escape from the ordeal of the Special Commission, and the failure of the charges then brought against him upon the testimony of the Pigott letters, men generally believed that he would be no less successful in the present case, and the majority were probably inclined to attribute the whole affair to personal or political animosity seeking its revenge in uncertain charges against private character. Great, therefore, was the surprise when the divorce suit really came on, and it appeared that Mr Parnell offered no defence, and that judgment was given against him. The particulars and merits of this case are not within our range of discussion to-day. It will be sufficient to say that it was a bad case in a bad class of cases, inasmuch as it showed an abuse of friendship, an habitual depravity, and an elaborated system of deceit, which are happily of rare occurrence even in such cases.
Up to this point the narrative is clear and simple enough, and does not bear upon the political crisis which presently arose. It was more than a week after this trial, and with a full knowledge of the facts disclosed thereat, that the Irish Parliamentary party deliberately and unanimously reelected Mr Parnell as their chairman and leader. Thereby, indeed, they only indorsed the proceedings of a large Nationalist meeting which had been held in Dublin upon the 20th November, three days after the verdict had been given At this meetin the O'Shea case.
ing Mr Timothy Healy, Mr Justin M'Carthy, and other Irish members spoke eagerly and vehemently in favour of the leadership of Mr Parnell, and the independent opinion of the Irish party would appear to have been clearly and decidedly given. Mr "Tim Healy' was especially vehement in his laudation of Mr Parnell; and Mr M'Carthy went so far as to hint in no obscure language that the whole truth of the O'Shea case had not yet been disclosed, and that a different complexion would yet be put upon the affair, of which statement he has so far furnished no explanation. We need not stop to discuss the question whether or no the decision of the Irish Parliamentary party can be defended and justified. On the one hand it may be contended that a man who has proved himself unworthy to be trusted in the private relations of life is equally untrustworthy in public and political affairs. On the other side it may be urged that history is full of instances of men whose moral characters would not bear investigation, but whose fidelity and services to the cause which they had espoused were great and undoubted. Moreover, it is not an easy thing to draw the line when we once begin to estimate the exact amount of moral blame which should determine the political associates of any man to cut them selves adrift from him, and there is something to be said in favour of the theory that, as a general rule, it is the wisest plan to separate altogether the affairs of social and private life from the management of political parties and the conduct of public business. Be this as it may, however, nothing is more clear and certain than that the Irish Parliamentary party deliberately took one view upon the subject under consideration, and
the majority of English Gladstonians took a view diametrically opposed to that of their allies. As far as we are able to judge, the outburst of Liberal-and especially of Nonconformist-disgust with Mr Parnell was, at least at the beginning, spontaneous and genuine, and there is little doubt that Mr Gladstone was set in motion by the pressure of the rank and file of his party. His natural inclination could hardly have been to interfere with or to dictate to the allies, of whom, even during the present crisis, he has written that he has "always held in public as well as in private that the Nationalist party of Ireland ought to remain entirely independent of the Liberal party of Great Britain.” Yet what is it but the most direct interference and dictation on the part of Mr Gladstone to address to the Irish Parliamentary party a communication by which he declared that the retention of Mr Parnell as their leader would render his own leadership "almost a nullity," and "would be productive of consequences disastrous in the highest degree to the cause of Ireland"? If such an intimation had been given to the Irish party at any time between the delivery of the verdict in the O'Shea case on the 17th, and the meeting of Parliament upon the 25th November, there might have been an opportunity afforded to the Irish members to consider their position before committing themselves to the choice of a leader. The fact of Mr Gladstone having so long delayed the communication goes far to show that he had not determined upon it until the pressure of his English supporters obliged him to do so; but at the same time it operated with great unfairness upon those Irish members who gave Mr Gladstone credit for really desiring that their party should be independent, and