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323               CHARLES  STEWART PARNKLL            [1891
desert the Chief in the end ? ' Others said : * Why did he waste time over these Boulogne negotiations ? If ho were not a fool he would have known that nothing could have come of them.' One Bet of people lost faith in his heart, another lost faith in his head. To this hour the Boulogne negotiations are a stick with which Mr. Hoaly never fails to flagellate Mr. Dillon and Mr. O'Brien. The * fighting Catholic curates * wore driven to Mr. lloaly's side hy what was called the Boulogne fiasco more than by anything else. * Some of the Decoders,1 said Parnoll with bitter scorn—'the majority of them-—have changed only twice; Mr. Dillon and Mr. O'Brien have changed four times/
The Liberal leaders looked upon Mr. Dillon and Mr. O'Brien as a pair of simpletons for allowing themselves to be drawn into negotiations with the most superb political strategist of the day, Mr. Gladstone alone excepted. But this was not the worst. There scorned a possibility that the Liberals might bo caught in the net which Mr. O'Brien w¥as so innocently helping Parneli to spread. The Liberal tactics were, of course, obvious; Parnoll was to be isolated, and O'Brien and Dillon were to be kept out of his hands. The Liberals ultimately succeeded in drawing Dillon and O'Brien out of Paniell's hands, though in so doing they wuro forcod to give assurances which would certainly never have been obtained but for the skilful operations of the Chief.
I saw Parneli frequently during the Boulogne negotiations, and indeed throughout the whole of this last campaign. One evening in the House of Commons I said to him : ' People don't believe in these Boulogne negotiations ; they say that you are talking of peace, but that you mean war all the time.' * Oh, indeed/ he replied, smiling, 'do they? Well, you know if youtiu^ naid : * Why did his pomi HH the frieml «»f l^urut-n anil                1   on tlianlurt, than'it^ was a                                  andry to nil} you