Skip to main content

Full text of "The Life Of Charles Stewart Parnell Vol - I"

See other formats

36              CHARLES  STEWART PARNELL          [1846-54
and warmly attached to the members of his family, especially to Emily, Fanny, and John. He had few companions outside the home circle, and was very shy with strangers. Delighting in all sorts of games— outdoor and indoor—his favourite pastime was playing at soldiers. He never liked to be beaten at anything, and was resourceful and ingenious, though not too punctilious or scrupulous, in the adoption of means for out-manoeuvring his opponents. One day he had a game of soldiers with his sister Fanny. ' He commanded one well-organised division, while she directed the movements of another and opposing force. These never came into actual conflict, but faced one another impassively, wrhile their respective commanders peppered with pop-guns at the enemy's lines. For several days the war continued without apparent advantage being gained by either side. One morning, however, heavy cannonading was heard in the furthest corner of the room (produced by rolling a spiked ball across the floor). Pickets were called in, and in three minutes from the firing of the first shot there was a general engagement all along the line. Strange as it may seem, Fanny's soldiers fell by the score and hundred, while those commanded by her brother refused to waver even when palpably hit. This went on for some time until Fanny's army was utterly annihilated. It was learned, from his own confession, an hour after this Waterloo, that Charles had, before the battle began, glued his soldiers' feet securely to the floor.' l He also liked the game of ' follow-my-leader.' ' Charlie/ says a member of the family, ' liked playing the game of •" follow-my-leader," but always insisted on being
1 This story is told in Mr. Sherlock's clever little sketch of Parnell.