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-iEi. 35] AN ILLEGIBLE EXTRACT 275
Parnell turned round and looked after him, saying: ' A Cabinet Council. I wonder what they are up to now. They are at their wits' end to get this Bill read a first time. I wonder what will they do. Something violent I suspect. I wish I knew.' It was amusing to watch him as he said this, rather aloud to himself than to me ; standing in the middle of the passage with folded arms, handsome, thoughtful face, figure erect and defiant, a very picture of dignity and authority. Looking at him one would have supposed that he was the Prime Minister, bent on upholding law and order, and that the innocent noblemen at whom he looked so suspiciously were Land Leaguers conspiring against the State. "We walked once more towards the Library, when three more Cabinet Ministers approached us. ' I am right/ whispered Parnell as they passed; 'it is a Cabinet Council. I'm off' (with a smile). 'I must get my people together/ and he disappeared through a side door.
I wrote out an extract for him to use in his speech on the Coercion Bill. Mr. A. M. Sullivan, who sat by him as he read it to the House, afterwards described the scene to me. ' He made an impressive speech, and was listened to as usual with much attention. Then he pulled a piece of foolscap out of his pocket and began to read its contents. He got through the first two or three sentences fairly well, but stopped at the fourth. Ultimately he made it out; only, however, to find himself hopelessly stuck in the fifth and following sentences. The House watched him as he turned the paper in every direction to decipher the illegible words. I felt quite embarrassed on his account, though he was cool and unconcerned. I leant forward looking at the writing over his shoulder. "Mr. Parnell/' I said, "I