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Jater. He could no more have escaped Many of us had long come to that concluhis destined work in politics than Robert sion. It was better to have Isaac Butt's Burns could have avoided writing poetry. policy than absolutely nothing, for after But as some chance impulse or inspiration all it kept the little Parliamentary lamp has suddenly set many a poet writing, so burning, and any light, however feeble, there appears to have been an event might have been looked to as a light of which suddenly made Mr. Parnell a poli- hope. But it was clear to most of us that tician. At the time of the Fenian out- the annual debate on Home Rule might break of 1867, Parnell's mother was in go on for a century without making any Ireland, staying at Avondale, his place in impression on public opinion, and with. the county of Wicklow.
She was an
out converting the House of Commons. American, and was known to be in sym- The House of Commons did not care pathy with many of the Fenians, to whom three straws about the whole question. she had been very kind. The Dublin au- The House of Commons never takes the thorities got into their mind the absurd initiative. Free trade could never have idea that she was sheltering Fenians and been carried merely by Parlianientary destoring firearms in her son's house. The bates on the merits of the question. The police were sent to search the house, and Anti-Corn Law League got hold of the I am told they persisted in searching the English democracy, and the English delady's own bedioom. Charles, her son, mocracy, aided by an extraordinary and was then at Cambridge. The news of most calamitous crisis, converted Sir Robwhat he regarded naturally as a wanton ert Peel and the House of Commons. insult to his mother filled him with anger. “ Famine itself, against which we had He was then a very young man, and not warred, joined us,
* said John Bright. disposed to make much allowance for offi- Without the Free Trade League, and, as cial stupidity, over-zeal and blundering, it would seem, without the Irish famine, But even when the very natural anger had the eloquence of Cobden and Bright subsided or spent itself the question re- would have called aloud to solitude for mained : " What is this national cause years and years. Mr. Parnell seems to which has my mother's sympathy-for have made up his mind from a very early which men calling themselves Fenians are period of his political life that the first prosecuted and imprisoned and trans- thing to do was to get a strong force of ported, and for which they are willing to public opinion in Ireland behind hiin. die ? Is there a national cause ? and if Later on he came to be possessed with a so, why am I not in it, as my ancestor feeling of the necessity for a great force was in the days of Henry Grattan ?” Mr. of English public opinion behind him. Parnell began to study Irish politics. The But the first work was to get bold of moment he had made up his mind he Ireland, and bring its popular sentiment flung himself into the struggle with char- and support back to constitutional and acteristic energy and determination. Parliamentary agitation.
I have already shown what was the con- An English reader will never understand dition of the field over which Mr. Parnell exactly what Mr. Parnell did or how he had to cast his eyes before making up his came to do it, unless he gets into his mind mind as to his own course of action. It the central fact that when Mr. Parnell is curious to think what a fresh, untrained carue into the House of Commons Ireland mind it was. Mr. Parnell had never at- was only just barely recovering from a fit tended the debates in the House of Com- of very natural revulsion gainst all Parliamons, or read about them, or cared about mentary agitation. This feeling of revul. them. He had known nothing of the sion had a twofold inspiration. AdvenFenian cause or the Fenian leaders. But turers like Sadleir and Keogh had used he seems to have at once made up his Parliamentary agitation for their own mind that there was nothing to be done swindling purposes, and their game had by armed insurrection, and that there was failed and ended in hideous personal and nothing to be done by the sort of Parlia- political catastrophes. Honest Irishmen mentary agitation which was going on. who had done all their best for Ireland in Now, if that had been the only conclusion the House of Commons had succeeded in he came to, there would not have been doing little or nothing, and some of them much political instinct or inspiration in it. had died and some of them had left the country. Therefore the new national by joining with a small and earnest set of movenient under the new name of Home English Radicals in obstructing the policy Rule had not taken much hold of the of the Tory Government in South Africa. heart of the Irish population. To this He took the leading part in the obstrucvery day-to this very hour—the memory tive movement which ended in the aboliof Sadleir and Keogh is appealed to in tion of Aogging in the army and navy. Ireland as a warning against any manner Probably it was his experience of the effect of Parliamentary agitation which does not that could be produced upon English have as its first principle hatred and hos- popular feeling by a bold and daring pol. tility to the English Liberal party. It is icy of this kind which first put into his forgotten that Keogh's most impassioned mind the idea that Home Rule itself could appeals were made to the men of the hill- be carried by such a policy. Only by side, that he appealed shrilly to the uncon- degrees and slowly could there have come stitutional forces, and professed a noble on him a clear appreciation of the tremen. scorn of anything merely Parliamentary dous strength of a policy of systematized -until his scorn of Parliamentary meth- obstruction. I have heard it told as an ods had found him so firm in his Parlia- anecdote of Mr. Spurgeon—I do not know mentary seat as to enable him to use Far- whether it is true or not—that when someliamentary methods for his own persoval body asked him what he would have done advantage. It was Parnell's skill, fore- in his early preaching career if he had sight, and good fortune which enabled failed to secure the attention of the conhim to turn the very liatred of the English gregation, he declared that if he could not Parliament into a means of bringing Ire- have accomplished his object otherwise he land back to the ways of Parliamentary would bave mounted the pulpit in a red agitation. Does this seem a paradox? coat, and so compelled attention. Mr. I shall show very easily that it was a sound Spurgeon had a just confidence in what he and statesmanlike policy.
intended to say. Only get the congregaWhy not start in the House of Com- tion to listen at the first, and all the rest mons an Irish National party, which should was safe. Something like that was the express by its very action in Parliament idea of Mr. Parnell and of his few assothe distrust and hatred felt by so many of ciates in the early days of his obstruction. the Irish people for any and every English The immediate business was to obstruct Parliament ?' Would not the vast major- coercion, and the Tory Government who ity of the Irish people soon begin to put were pressing it on.
work faith in a party which employed its posi- enough in itself to win the approval of all tion in the House of Commons to worry Irish Nationalists. Besides that, there and obstruct the House of Commons, and was the fact that, while Isaac Butt always make it ridiculous in the eyes of foreign showed the utmost deference to the rules nations ? What ardent Irish Nationalist and the usages and the conventionalities of could refuse to give his approval and his the House of Commons, this new party support to a party like that! Mr. Par- proclaimed an absolute indifference to all nell came in at a fortunate time for such public opinion and all judgment except a policy. The Tories were engaged in the public opinion and ihe jndgment of passing a Coercion Act, and the prisons the people of Ireland. And then behind were yet full of Fenian captives. The all that—and this was the thought that country was getting tired of Butt's annual came latest up in Mr. Parnell's mindmotions and the annual compliments paid was the idea that if the Irish Nationalis to hiin by Ministers of the Crown. could compel England, and especially the new sensation ran through the veins of English democracy, to listen to what they the people when it was found that a group had to say for Ireland, the English deof men had come up in the House of mocracy would be converted to our cause. Commons who were determined to ob- Mr. Parnell had at that time, and for struct the Government and every Govern- years after, a great faith in the ultimate ment in every way, and turn the rules of justice of English public opinion. He the House of Commons against the House was patient, and quite willing to await reitself. Mr. Parnell very wisely did not sults. I remember years after this, when confine himself to Irish questions. Very the Painell Cominission was about to early in his career he signalized himself open, I told him one day that I thought some members of the Liberal Opposition ine that when Home Role was carried hc were a little afraid of the possibility of hoped very soon to be able to retire into unpleasant disclosures being made. He private life. So practical was his turn of answered very composedly. “ It is quite mind that he told me some years ago he natural that they should be afraid," he had been studying the famous old building said. “They do not know but that we in College Green, and that he feared it may at one time or other have been pre- would be found wholly unsuited for the vailed upon to sanction, or at all events to purposes of a modern Irish Parliament. overlook, tbe doing of some wild things. “We must sit there for a session or two, We are not alarmed, because we know he said, “ for the sake of the historic asthat we never did anything of the kind. sociation ; but I fear that we shall then But they cannot know that as we do." have to find out some other place-per
It was in that frame of mind that he haps to build a new place altogether. took all the odium heaped upon him and He knew well that we were years off then his followers during the early chapters of from the accomplishment of our wishes ; obstruction. “ It will all come right in but his faith was firm that the wishes the end,” he used to say. “They will must be accomplished, and he was already find that we have a real political purpose looking out for the practical arrangements in what we are doing, and they will do us which must be made on their accomplishjustice yet.” I have heard and read a ment. The act was characteristic of the great deal about Mr. Parnell's ingrained man. He was eminently practical ; he hatred for England and the English. I had no interest in abstractions. Even never learned anything of the kind from national sentiments he regarded but as any words of his, until the days of Com- means to accomplish a practical result. I mittee Room Number Fifteen. He was a have no wish to speak about the events of cool and critical observer of national pe- the last twelve months. It is a fine and a culiarities here, there, and everywhere, true saying that the forbearance which and his criticisins were unusually keen seemed too much for the living seems too and just. He often criticised English little for the dead. I think of Mr. Parways as he criticised Irish ways or French nell as I knew him during the years that or American ways, but of ingrained ha- we fought side by side. As Carlyle asks, tred to England 1 at least knew nothing. when trying to sum up the character of Some of his followers owned to such a Mirabeaii, " What formula is there, never feeling, and declared that they could not so comprehensive, that will express truly belp it. I never heard him say anything the plus and the minus of him-give us of the kind. Ile appeared to me to bave the accurate net result of him ?" "There bad hardly any antipathies. He was pos- is hitherto none such,” says Carlyle, speaksessed by one great idea—“possessed,” ing (f Mirabean.
ing of Mirabean. "There is hitherto none in the old sense—the idea of carrying such,” I say, speaking of Parnell.– ConHome Rule for Ireland. He always told temporary Review.
Those persons who watch with interest lected his memorials of the torture-chamthe latest developments of French litera. ber into a volume, and it may be feared ture probably found some amusement and that a good many English readers will be some instruction in the series of “inter- frightened away from a highly entertainviews”-for the word as well as the thing ing book by the somewhat alarming pomp has been adopted from us by our neigb- of science in its title-Enquête sur l'Evobors—interviews with men of letters, and lution littéraire. If this book be fairly especialiy with young men of letters, representative of the intellectual movement which appeared not long since in the pages in France-and a book containing confesof tbe Echo de Paris. M. Jules Furet, sions from MM. Renan, De Goncourt, the skilful Chief Inquisitor, has now col- Zola, Anatole France, Maurice Barrès,
Jules Lemaître, Mallarmé, Verlaine, nor in any way whatever to trumpet mediMoréas, Mirbeau, Leconte de Lisle, Ca- ocrity or what is beneath mediocrity. tulle Mendès, Coppée, Vacquerie, Rod, Nay, I cannot even utter diy own and some half a hundred of other writers éloge.” It was a magnanimous resolve ; may be considered representative—the but the interviewer was not defrauded ; characteristic vices and foibles of the man on the contrary, he was well content to of letters assuredly play no inconsiderable have secured so striking a communication. part in the “ evolution of literature. More trying was the reception given to Here may be learned the art of literary him by M. Guy de Maupassant, whose self-advertisement in both the direct way, reputation is that of the man in all Paris which thrusts forward the “I," naked most difficult to approach. M. Huret and unashamed, and the indirect way, tells, with a touch of pathos, how longwhich reflects the “I” in the mirrors of ingly he had anticipated this particular admired and admiring friends; here may interview. From early youth the ideal be witnessed the indignant revolt of youth autbor of his imagination had been Guy against age-youth, which, after centuries de Maupassant; true, he had heard the of venerable folly, has at last found the great disciple of Flaubert styled “un secret of all beauty and the key to univer- snob,” but to what calumnies is not genius sal truth ; here may be seen the scorn of exposed ? and now the eventful moment self-satisfied age for aspiring youth ; here of audience was come. I quote from the pride of mystification ; the war of M. Huret the record of what followed :: schools, the batred of successful rivals, and the bitterer hatred of successful com
“I ring. A servant, or rather a flunkey, rades. “I have read your Enquêtes,"
appears; you know that insolent eye which
we see in all the antechambers of the ambi. writes M. Gustave Guiches,
66 which move
tious bourgeois. Monsienr is not at home.' so picturesquely through the courtless I wrote some words, potwithstanding, on my aesthetics of the day. It is as if I were
card, and I was introduced, passing through reading over again the Tentation de Saint and entering a luxurious room which I have
an anteclamber decorated with Arab hangings, Antoine. From these studies of yours no time to describe, whore tender colors ruled, there creeps over me a nightmare as dis- and which in its general effect seemed to me tressing as that caused by the vision of re- to be in far from excellent taste. ligious chaos in Flaubert's book. I have
“ Enter the master. I surveyed him with seen defiling past me symbolists, instru• Maupassant! Guy de Maupassant! For so
curiosity and remained stupefied: Guy de inentalists, decadents, naturalists, neo
much time as it takes to bow, choose a chair, realists, supra-naturalists, psychologists, and sit down I inwardly repeated the name, Parnassiens, mages, Positivists, Buddh- and gazed at the little man before me ; shoul. ists, Tolstojzers ; I have heard fierce im
ders not too broad ; heavy, bi-colored musprecations, bitter laughter, cries of pity, steeped in alcohol. He courteously begged
tache, chestnut, the hairs as if they had been solemn anathemas, subtle analyses, abso- me to be seated. But on the first words relute syntheses, proclamations eloquently ferring to literature, a consultation, etc., he improvised. Everything has been said, assumed a disagreeable aspect, as if the vicre-said, unsaid.” And M. Guiches there- tim of headache or in some way thoroughly
uncomfortable. 'Oh, monsieur,' he said upon proceeds to add his own particular and his words came wearily and his whole air speech to the confusion of Babel. “ Lit
was splenetic, 'I beg of you, do not speak to erary Evolution !" cries M. Paul Bonne- me of literature! I am suffering from severe tain, “ evolution of a tortoise wriggling
neuralgia ; I start for Nice the day after to
morrow,- so my physician orders me-the aton its back !"
mosphere here in Paris oppresses me, the M. Léon Hennique, author of Pouf, noise, the agitation ; I am really very far from and of the more recent Un Caractère, a well.' I sympathized, and approaching the study, in the form of a novel, of the more subject again with the utmost precaution and obscure hypnotic phenomena, was one of my best skill, tried to elicit some vague exthe few who faced round upon the in pression of opinion, oh, literature, mon
sieur! I never speak of it. I write when it genious and courteous tormentor, con- gives me pleasure to do so, but speak of itfronting him with a direct negative. “I
I no! Besides at present I know not one man cannot persuade inyself," he wrote, “to of letters. I am on good terms with Zola, belabor the masters, to use my finger- them I rarely see, and the rest never. I know
with Goncourt, in spite of his Memoirs, but nails on the writers of my own generation, only the younger Dumas ; our provinces are to cleave in twain my younger brethren, not the same and we never speak of literaprose fiction.
ture .. there are so many other things.. I questions. Of the Psychologists he in. opened my eyes like portholes. Yes,' I said, quired . What is the significance, and knowing his taste for this amusement, 'yacht- what is the future, of the present reaction ing.' And so many others. Stay, monsieur, the proof that I am telling you the truth is against Naturalism ? Is there a bond of this- not long ago they promised me a seat in kinship between the Psychological school the Academy-twenty-eight names sure, and and the Syrnbolists ? Is there not, again, I refused it, and crosses and all that; no, something in common between the Natoreally, it does not interest me ; let us, I beg, speak no more of literature.'
ralists and the Parnassiers in their disdain
of personal sentiment on the part of the And such, adds the interviewer, with a writer, in their tendency to pessimism, touch of pardonable irony, are the views and in their aim at plastic or concrete of M. de Maupassant on the contemporary presentation of what is positive and real, evolution of literature.
rather than the suggestion or evocation of The immediate occasion or excuse for things invisible ? Of the SymbolistM. Huret's inquiry was the appearance of Decadents he inquired : What is the two noteworthy books : the Jardin de meaning of this word inscribed upon
their Bérénice, the last volume of M. Maurice banner what are their poetic aims ? how Barrès, the young Boulangist deputy, who
are they related to the Parnassiens ? who “dines with Stendhal, and sups with are their representative writers ? what are Saint Ignatius,” and the Fèlerin passionné the works which embody the purposes of of M. Jean Moréas. If M. Barrès can be the movement ? And in a similar manner ranged in a class, we must reckon him suitable interrogations were framed for the among the “ Psychologists,” whose boast elder schools of Parnassus and of Nature. is to have displaced the Naturalists in But, like an accomplished interviewer,
M. Moréas, a Greek by M. Huret did not tie himself to his own birth, rejecting the leadership of Mallarmé order of examination ; he kept his hands and Verlaine, both, alas ! now beyond free and his eyes open ; he was alive at the fatal fortieth year, and therefore in every point. If he could not run down the cold and shallows of extreine antiquity, his game, there might still be some profit proclaims himself with no uncertain voice in the accidents and incidents of the chase. as chief of the Symbolists, and it would If he could not come to the winning post, seem that his claim has been allowed if a
he might get pick up some Atalanta's banquet (2nd February) in his honor be apple on or off the course. To touch in the proper proof of poetical leadership. now and again a bit of local color was a “Passionate pi!grim !" exclaims one of relief from the scientific severity of his the tribe, himself a symbolist decadent, Enquête. The doctrine of M. Anatole
‘ pilgrims without a pilgrimage, and pas- I'rance on the elision of e mute was intersionate-oh, no! No one has ever met rupted, not altogether unhappily, by the two of these pilgrims together on the same incursion of a charming child of eight or route." Yet the Passionate Pilgrim of nine into the critic's study ; her terraM. Moréas is a volume to note, if not for cotta frock and her floating hair come well its contents, at least for its aims with re- into the picture, and thu suavity of the spect to style and metrical form. The critic, who could so gracefully reply to a author was born in 1856, and having cartel from M. Leconte de Lisle,* is here reached, in 1884, the happiest age for a shown in pretty pleadings with his little poet, is said by his malicious friends to daughter that she should not desert bim have grown since then no older. As the at the luncheon-table.
" Ces jeunes Psychologists have in prose fiction suc- gens ! Tous fumistes !” exclaimed a ceeded to the Naturalists, so in poetry feminine voice at the moment when the the Symbolists aim at the overthrow of interviewer entered the study of M. de the Parnassien dynasty ; and thus the two lérédia. It was madame, who was readbooks which have been named served suffi- ing aloud from the Echo the last words ciently well for a centre around which to group the questions and answers of the *“ I have never been wanting in the respect inquisitor and his victims.
due to M. Leconte de Lisle. If he generously Before setting to work, M. Huret con
forgets in my favor that he was born in 1820. sidered the order in which he should call needs tell him that he is one of those glories
it is my duty not to forget the fact. Must I his witnesses, and carefully prepared bis which we dare not touch ?"