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JEi. 35] EEADY FOR THE WORST 311
He struck the keynote of defiance which suited the temper of the audience. Mr. Gladstone spoke at Leeds as if he had a special mission to stand between Parnell and Ireland. Ireland answered at Wexf ord repudiating the help of any Englishman, and reminding the Prime Minister that whatever she had got from England she had got by the strength of her own right hand.
On the evening of the Wexf ord meeting two Irish members dined with Parnell. ' We felt/ one of them has since said to me,' that he was bound to be arrested after this speech, and we thought that he ought to give us some instructions as to the' future in case our
suspicions should prove correct. P----- (the other
member) suggested that I should ask him for instructions. I suggested that P------should be the spokesman.
In fact neither of us quite liked the job, not knowing exactly how he would take it. We all three sat down
together. P------and I were like a pair of schoolboys,
anxious to get information but afraid to ask for it. It
was a comical situation. JP------kept kicking me under
the table to go on, and I kept h'ming and hawing, and beating about the bush, but Parnell, who was not at all inclined to talk, could not be drawn.
' At length I plucked up courage and said: " Do you think, Mr. Parnell, that you are likely to be arrested after your speech to-day ? " " I think I am likely to be arrested at any time—so are we all. A speech is not necessary. Old Buckshot1 thinks that by making Ireland a jail he will settle the Irish question." Then
1 ' Buckshot' was a nickname given to Mr. Forster in reference to the kind of ammunition which the constabulary were ordered to use in case of being obliged to fire on the people. The name was scarcely appropriate to Mr. Forster, because the buckshot had been ordered by his predecessor. I once pointed this out to ParnelL He said: 'I believe so; but Forster uses the buckshot, so it comes to the same thing. It is a very good name for him.'