56 CHARLES STEWART PAHNELL [1871-73
I expect we shall be killed next, for this car is certain to tumble down the embankment.' The car, however, did not tumble down the embankment, and Parnell escaped without a scratch. John was laid up with a severe illness after the accident, and Parnell nursed him all the time. ' No one/ said John, ' could have been a better nurse than Charlie; he was thoughtful, patient, and gentle as a woman.'
In 1872 Parnell, accompanied by John, returned to Avondale. Vote by ballot had just been extended to Ireland. The measure drew Parnell's attention once more to politics. He thought it was of greater practical importance than either the Irish Church Act or the Land Act, for it emancipated the voters. ' Now,' he said, ' something can be done if full advantage will be taken of this Ballot Act.' His sympathies had gone out to the Fenians after the Manchester executions. But he did not see how Feniaiiism was to be practically worked. The Ballot Act first suggested to him a mode of practical operation. The Irish voter was now a free man. He could send whom he liked to Parliament. He was master of the situation. An independent Irish party, free from the touch of English influence, was the thing wanted, and this party could be elected under the Ballot Act.
One morning in 1873 the two brothers were at breakfast at Avondale. John, who was essentially a Democrat, said, ' Well, Charlie, why don't you go into Parliament ? You are living all alone here, you represent the family, and you ought to take an interest in public affairs. Our family were always mixed up with politics, and you ought to take your place. Go in and help the tenants, and join the Home Bulers.' Parnell answered—knocking the top off an egg and