SJ?8 CHARLES STEWAKT PARNELL [1881
of the Irish members to resist the ruling of the Speaker, or to reopen in any shape the discussion which had been so summarily closed that morning, would be attendee! with grave consequences, the nature of which, htnvcwor, no one ventured to define. ' They will be Bent to the Tower/ said one bystander. 'Nonsense/ said another. ' Then what will happen ? ' said the first. 'God knows/ was the reply, ' but the House is not iu a temper to stand any nonsense now.'
About twelve o'clock the Speaker passed through the Lobby to take the chair, looking as if nothing out of the ordinary routine of business had occurred. lie was soon followed by the Irish party, who marched from the Library through the Lobby in single file with Parnell at their head, looking somewhat perplexed, but combative and defiant. After some preliminary matters had been disposed of, Mr. Labouchere rose, and in a full House, breathless, I think I may say, with expectation, and perhaps anxiety, said in his clear, boll-like voice : 'I wish to ask you, sir, whether, in bringing the debate upon the question which was before the House this morning to a sudden close, you acted under any standing order of the House, and if so, which/ Mr. Labouchere's rising was received with complete silence, and when he resumed his place only a very feeble cheer broke from the Irish ranks. It was plain the Irish members had not yet recovered from the effects of the Speaker's blow, and they were far too anxious and too uncertain as to the issue of the combat to cheer much or heartily. When Mr. Labouchere sat down the Speaker rose, and, folding Ms gown around him with dignity, said: ' I acted on my own responsibility, and from a sense of duty to the House/ Then a loud and prolonged cheer broke from