34 CHARLES STEWART PARNELL [1846 We walked through the house. Everywhere there was an exceptionally warm, agreeable atmosphere (in very pleasant contrast to the damp outside), but an inexpressible air of sadness all the time. There was absolute silence. The house might have been almost deserted. Indeed, one felt as if one were being shown over the castle or mansion of a great chief who had passed away long ago, and as if nothing had been touched since his death. There wras furniture, there were bookcases and books, all looking ancient, all apparently belonging to another time. In the hall hung a picture of the Irish House of Commons. The scene painted was an important debate. Curran was addressing the House. Around sat Grattan, Sir John Parnell, and other well-known figures of the day. But the memories which this picture awakened did not, as it were, belong more completely to the past than did the memories awakened in walking through the rooms at Avondale. We stood at a window: what a beautiful sight met our eyes ! The house stands on an eminence; around rise the Wicklow hills; beneath runs the little river Avonmore, through glens and dells that lend a delightful charm to a glorious scene. For quite ten minutes we exchanged not a word. It is the genius of the Parnells to invite silence and to suggest thought. I was thinking how beautiful everything was, and how sad. I said at length exactly what I thought, 1 It is most sad to wander through this house and to think what might have been.' We walked about the grounds, and new glimpses of interest and beauty constantly caught the eye. We passed through a wooded way close to the river's side—a delightfully solitary spot to commune with oneself. ' This/ said John, l was Charlie's favourite walk.