AN EARLY CHILDHOOD BY PADDY FLANAGAN
CHAPTER SIX: THE FALL OF CHARLES STEWART PARNELL AND THE NATIVITY OF THE PORNOGRAPHIC INDUSTRY (PART THREE)
Down the lane we went, and under the window of the home of the Chestertons. Well Holy God, we looked up at that bedroom window and wasn’t Melissa Chesterton only de-robing in her gaslit room? Climbed up the ladder against the back wall in the laneway, so we did, one foot each to the top rung, the other leg hanging loose as we started to rub our cadgers staring at that window.
Next, the shocking twist to the whole affair happened quick smart, with another woman appearing in Melissa Chesterton’s window. And indeed it was an affair because wait till I tell you now: She was none other than Kitty O’Shea her very self! Wife of an army officer, suddenly acting fierce lesbianic, so she was. And who turned up in that bedroom then? Charles. Stewart. Parnell. Like, WTF, like?
With big thick cigars, handing them around, so he was, all flahoolach, asking the two women to “Lewinsky these babies!”
They had their fun, in full view of ourselves, a-kissin’ and a-canoodlin’. They drew over the curtains to continue their cooourtins. A great veil of shame will be drawn over the entire incident, were it not for the fact that Mad Leopold Cassidy had been using his new Daguerrotype Picture Capturer – the very earliest, most up to the minute twentieth century technology – to capture the whole incident. I had thought the CLICK! CLICK! CLICK! had been some foostering on Leopold’s part, but he hadn’t had a hand to his part at all at all the entire time.
Now, the fact that CSP was a Protestant meant that he could do whatever immoral divilment he chose. Having watched the Protestant goings on, we departed the scene after throwing a blind cat in the window to observe what would happen, Mad Leopold Cassidy That Jewish Bastard continuing to take his phothos. CLICK CLICK CLICK! The moggy started shrieking and running around, leaping atop Parnell’s head and tearing his hairpiece off, before scarpering into the night. And then Melissa’s uncle GK Max Chesterton showed up in that bedroom, and all hell broke loose what with him being something of a member of the fourth estate. Or the third estate or whatever it is. And the scandal hit the papers the very next day.
And I remember with cerebral acuity the very day Charles Stewart Parnell was toppled from grace by the Catholic hierarchy – it being the following day. PJ Bán Ceagher, as the knee pipes musician, gathered us all around Main Square tylet and knocked out an old Irish lament on his knee pipes while he sang in sean nós, adapting the air and lyrics of an old Gaelic lament, and he didn’t sing in the vernacular, but used English as he let loose, full of emotion and voice quavering whenever he hit his falsetto, and his song was unsurpassed in its advocacy of commercialised Redmondite debauchery:
“The bearded Irish Protestant ponce
Was playing around with an officer’s wife
In a love-nest in Wickla he is ensconced,
I hope he stays there for the rest of his life.
Avondale, Avondale, Avondale.
Refresh your day, the healthy way
Drink more, drink more, drink Avondale
The fresh, fresh taste of which you’ll avail. ”
PJ Bán Ceagher was paid two shillings and sixpence by a dairy for that little jingle, which was a lot more money than it sounds in those days, but he was shot dead two days later by a stray blind cat that had been fiddling around with a pre-Revolutionary American antique Wesson, Enfield, Stills, Nash and Young rifle that was lying on the ground at an antiques auction that actually turned into a Redmond/Parnell dichotomous bifurcatory incident in which a number of people were killed by the cat. And Crosby.
Of course, the likes of PJ was the exception rather than the rule, as many a tear was shed because of C.S.P.; he had done a lot for the country, sordid affair or no, but when he denied having an affair “with that woman, Miss O’Shea”, we assumed it was the truth he was telling. But all the phwackin’ psychologists point out today – after the fact, indeedy aye oh – that they KNEW just by the look of him in the documentary footage – that he was telling fibs. Either that, or through the images that Mad Leopold had taken. On discovery that his lies were a load of old hocus bunkum, there was something of a ferrari. But enough about his sponsorship by an Italian car manufacturer in order to fund his court costs, anti Papist upbringing or no. Or no indeed!
Everyone was saying that he’d been economical with the truth in order to protect his own image; others still said that he’d lied so that he could continue the green struggle irregardless of his private life; some in the minority talked about the way in which he said “that woman”, as if to denigrate Miss O’Leary or Miss O'Shea, or whatever that bint's name was, to the status of “durt-bord” or “said-table” (it doesn’t translate well from the Irish). Ahem, excuse me Lord bless us and save us Ahem Oh Holy God excuse me but believe you me, the press really had a field day going to town on him. Which was ironical, given that fields are not as often found in towns as in the countryside.
C.S.P. should have, in my view, remained at the head of the movement, rather than be tarnished as a lascivious moral cad. If anything, he died a broken man, if only because he was too good a person with a heart of gold and a beard.
Well, the Victorian era came crashing round, down on its ears around the turn of the century, in 1901, to be correct, when it was forced to an end by the nine hundred year old Queen Vic her very self.
Part 4 of this chapter is here.
Part 4 of this chapter is here.