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&T. 36] PRISON LIFE 323
more than any of the suspects under the prison treatment. I asked one of the warders if that were so. He said: ' Not at all. He was a delicate gentleman, but he bore up as well as any of them.' Parnell himself did not complain of his treatment in Kilmainham. One night, shortly after his release, when a scratch dinner had been prepared for him in the house of a Dublin friend, the hostess apologised, saying : ' This is worse than Kjlmainham.' 'Ah well, come/ he said smiling, ' Kilmainham was not so bad after all.'
One of his favourite recreations in jail was chess. All the ' suspects' used to meet in the central hall, and there Parnell would be often seen playing chess with one of his comrades. ' I often played with him/ says one of these. ' He was not a scientific chess player, and he clearly had very little practice. I used always to beat him, and I am not a good player; but his play was characteristic. He was very slow in making moves. As soon as he had decided on some course, instead of moving the piece slowly, as people who think slowly generally do, he would pounce upon it and rap it energetically down on the spot he wanted, suddenly developing some fierce movement of attack. When he was stopped he would relapse into a state of thoughtfulness once more until he had worked out another plan of assault; then he would again move rapidly and energetically until he was brought to a standstill again/
On April 10, 1882, Parnell was allowed to leave Kilmainham to visit his sister, Mrs. Thomson, whose son was dying in Paris. It was whispered at the time that this was merely an excuse to get out of prison; that Parnell's nephew was not dying; even some malignant spirits went so far as to say that he had no