/Ex. 20] AN APT PUPIL 85
lesson was not lost on Parnell, who sat calmly by and watched the performance with interest and amusement. Four days later he himself took part in the discussion, and made his maiden speech. It was short, modest, spoken in a thin voice and with manifest nervousness. However, he got out what he wanted to way, and what he said, hrieily and even spasmodically, was the kernel of the whole matter. 11 trust/ he said, * that England will give to Irishmen the right which they claim - the right of self-government. Why should Ireland 1m treated as a geographical fragment of England, as I heard an ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer call her some time, ago ? Ireland is not a geographical fragment. She. is a nation.1
The year 1H75 passed quietly away in Parliament and in Ireland. .Pamell remained chiefly a calm spectator of the proceedings of the. I louse of Commons, watching, learning, biding his time. lie, was ignorant of public nfiairn, and lie read no books. .Hut ho was not ashamed to ask for information, and to pick up knowledge in that way, 'How do you get materials/ ho asked one of the Irish members, ' for questioning the Ministers ? ' 4 Why/ said his friend, smiling at the simplicity of the novice*, * from the newspapers, from our constituents, from many sources/ * Ah/ said Parnell, '1 must try and ask a question myself some day.'
With his eminently practical turn of mind he soon Baw that it was absolutely necessary, for the purpose of parliamentary warfare, to obtain a complete mastery of the rules of debate. .But he did not, as some Btippone, read up the subject laboriouHly. Ho never did anything laboriously. What ho knew, he knew intuitively, or learned by some easy method of his own devising, Books he avoided. 'How am I to leara