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To this captain Murray politely acceded, and he produced some laughable instances in support of the assertion, which gave the conversation a new turn.
O'Mooney felt extremely obliged to the captain for this, especially as he saw, by his countenance, that he also had suspicions of the truth. The first moment he found himself alone with Murray, our hero said to him, “ Murray, you are too good a fellow to impose upon, even in jest. Your keen countrywoman guessed the truth-I am an Irishman, but not a swindler. You shall hear why I conceal my country and name ; only keep my secret till to-morrow night, or I shall lose a hundred guineas by my frankness.”
O'Mooney then explained to him the nature of his bet. “ This is only my third detection, and half of it voluntary, I might say, if I chose to higgle, which I scorn to do."
Captain Murray was so much pleased by this openness, that as he shook hands with O'Mooney, he said, “ Give me leave to tell you, sir, that even if you should lose
your bet by this frank behaviour, you will have gained a better thing—a friend.”
In the evening our hero went with his friend and a party of gentlemen to Maidenhead, near which place a battle was to be fought next day, between two famous pugilists, Bourke and Belcher. At the appointed time the combatants appeared upon the stage ; the whole boxing corps and the gentlemen amateurs crowded to behold the spectacle. Phelim O’Mooney's heart beat for the Irish champion
Bourke ; but he kept a guard upon his tongue, and had even the forbearance not to bet upon his countryman's head. How many rounds were fought, and how many minutes the fight lasted, how many blows were put in on each side, or which was the game man of the two, we forbear to decide or relate, as all this has been settled in the
of the day; where also it was remarked, that Bourkė, whó lost the battle, “ was put into a post-chaise, and left standing half an hour, while another fight took place. This was very scandalous on the part of his friends," says the humane
historian, “ the poor man might possibly be dying."
Our hero O’Mooney's heart again got the better of his head. Forgetful of his bet, forgetful of every thing but humanity, he made his way up to the chaise, where Bourke was left.
" How are you my gay fellow ?” said he.
you see at all with the eye that's knocked out ? '
The brutal populace, who overheard this question, set up a roar of laughter : - A bull! a bull! an Irish bull! Did you hear the question this Irish gentleman asked his countryman?"
O’Mooney was detected a fourth time, and this time he was not ashamed. There was one man in the crowd who did not join in the laugh : a poor Irishman, of the name of Terence M‘Dermod. He had in former times gone out a grousing, near Cork, with our hero ; and the moment he heard his voice, he sprang forward, and with uncouth but honest demonstrations of joy, exclaimed, “ Ah, my dear
master ! my dear young master! Phelim O'Mooney, esq. And I have found your honour alive again? By the blessing of God above, I'll never part you now till I die; and I'll go to the world's end to sarve yees."
O’Mooney wished him at the world's end this instant, yet could not prevail upon himself to check this affectionate follower of the O'Mooneys. He, however, put half a crown into his hand, and hinted that if he wished really to serve him, it must be at some other time. The poor fellow threw down the money, saying, he would never leave him.
« Bid any thing, barring that. No, you
shall never part me. Do what you plase with me, still I'll be close to your heart, like your own shadow: knock me down if you will, and wilcome, ten times a day, and I'll be up again like a ninepin : only let me sarve your honour; I'll ask no wages nor take none.”
There was no withstanding all this; and whether our hero's good-nature deceived him we shall not determine, but he thought it most prudent, as he could not get rid of Terence, to take him into his service, to let him into his secret, to make him swear that he would never utter the name of Phelim O'Mooney during the remainder of this day. Terence heard the secret of the bet with joy, entered into the jest with all the readiness of an Irishman, and with equal joy and readiness, swore by the hind leg of the holy lamb that he would never mention, even to his own dog, the name of Phelim O'Mooney, esq., good or bad, till past twelve o'clock; and further, that he would, till the clock should strike that hour, call his master sir John Bull, and nothing else, to all men, women, and children, upon the floor of God's creation.
Satisfied with the fulness of this oath, O'Mooney resolved to return to town with his man Terence NI‘Dermod. He, however, contrived, before he got there, to make a practical bull, by which he was detected a fifth time. He got into the coach which was driving from London instead of that which was driving to London, and he would have been carried rapidly to Oxford, had not his man Terence, after they had proceeded a mile and a half on the wrong road, put his head down from the top of the coach, crying, as he looked in at the window, “ Master, sir John Bull, are you there? Do you know we're in the wrong box, going to Oxford ?
“ Your master's an Irishman, dare to say, as well as yourself,” said the coachman, as he let sir John out. He walked back to Maidenhead, and took a chaise to town.
It was six o'clock when he got to London, and he went into a coffee-house to dine. He sat down beside a gentleman who was reading the newspaper. * Any news to-day, sir ?”
The gentleman told him the news of the day, and then began to read aloud some paragraphs in a strong Hibernian accent. Our hero was sorry that he had met with another countryman ; but he resolved to set a guard upon his lips, and he knew that his own accent could not betray him. The stranger read on
for himself. The illuminations were in honour of the peace. He totally forgot his bet, his silence, and his prudence, in his sympathy with the general joy. He walked rapidly from street to street, admiring the various elegant devices. A crowd was standing before the windows of a house that was illuminated with extraordinary splendour. He inquired whose it was, and was informed that it belonged to a contractor, who had made an immense fortune by the war.
“ Then I'm sure these illuminations of his for the peace are none of the most sincere,” said O'Mooney. The mob were of his opinion ; and Phelim, who was now, alas ! worked up to the proper pitch for blundering, added, by way of pleasing his audience still more--" If this contractor had illuminated in character, it should have been with dark lanterns.”
“ Should it? by Jasus ! that would be an Irish illumination,” cried some one. Arrah, honey! you're an Irishman, whoever you are, and have spoke your
mind in character.” Sir John Bull was vexed that the piece of wit which he had aimed at the contractor had recoiled upon
himself. “ It is always, as my countryman observed, by having too much wit that I blunder. The deuce take me if I sport a single bon mot more this night. This is only my seventh detection, I have an eighth blunder still to the good; and if I can but keep my wit to myself till I am out of purgatory, then I shall be in heaven, and may sing lo triumphe in spite of my brother.”
Fortunately, Phelim had not made it any part of