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254                CHARLES STEWABT PARNELL             [1890
Irish member. (I don't know what will be done until the party meets to-day. But the letter was a shock to our people last night/
' Well, what do your people now say ?'
Irish member. ' They say that Gladstone will retire from the leadership of the Liberal party if Parnell does not retire from the leadership of the Irish party.'
' As a matter of fact, does Gladstone say so much ?' [and I quoted the sentence I have put in italics in Mr. Gladstone's letter].
Irish member. ' Oh, he means that. Of course he never says anything clearly. But every Irish member believes that the meaning of the letter is what I say.'
'And you are going to fling Parnell overboard because Mr. Gladstone tells you ? '
Irish member. 'Well, for myself I will stand by Parnell, but let me put the view of many of our men to you. We have been telling the Irish people to trust in Mr. Gladstone and the Liberal party. We have said that when the Liberals come back to office they will restore the evicted tenants, pass a new Land Act, and grant Home Bule. Now, if we go back, and say we have broken with the Liberal party, we have broken with Mr. Gladstone, what will the people say to us? That is the fix we are in.'
I said : ' Let me put the case in another way to you. You have all condoned Parnelrs moral offence; you have had your Leinster Hall meeting, your cables from the American delegates, the meeting of the parliamentary party, the enthusiastic re-election of Parnell as leader. And now, in an instant, at the bidding of an Englishman, you eat your own words and you abandon your own leader 1 What do you think every-self-respecting man in the ^orlcl will" say of you when you have done thisive up Farnoll because Mr. Gladstone has written this letter? *                            of