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about, and then he pays away, and pitches the fellow, boat and all, to the devil. Ah, countryman! you would give me credit indeed for my good humour if you knew what danger you have put me in by detecting me for an Irishman. I have been found out six times, and if I blunder twice more before twelve o'clock this night, I shall lose a hundred guineas by it: but I will make sure of my bet; for I will go home straight this minute, lock myself up in my room, and not say a word to any mortal till the watchman cries ‘ past twelve o'clock,'--then the fast and long Lent of my tongue will be fairly over; and if you'll meet me, my dear friend, at the King's Arms, we will have a good supper and keep Easter for ever.”
Phelim, pursuant to his resolution, returned to his hotel, and shut himself
in his room, where he remained in perfect silence and consequent safety till about nine o'clock. Suddenly he heard a great huzzaing in the street; he looked out of the window, and saw that all the houses in the street were illuminated. His landlady came bustling into his apartment, followed by waiters with candles. His spirits instantly rose, though he did not clearly know the cause of the rejoicings. “I give you joy, ma'am. What are you all illuminating for ?
said he to his landlady. “ Thank you, sir, with all my heart. I am not It is either for a great victory or the peace.
. Bob--waiter-step out and inquire for the gentle. man.”
The gentleman preferred stepping out to inquire
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
“ 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
his bet that he should not speak to himself an Irish idiom, or that he should not think a bull. Resolved to be as obstinately silent as a monk of La Trappe, he once more shut himself up in his cell, and fell fast asleep-dreamed that fat bulls of Basan encompassed him round about—that he ran down a steep hill to escape them--that his foot slipped-he rolled to the bottom-felt the bull's horns in his side-heard the bull bellowing in his ears—wakened--and found Terence M-Dermod bellowing at his room door.
« Sir John Bull! sir John Bull! murder! murder ! my dear master, sir John Bull! murder, robbery, and reward ! let me in! for the love of the holy Virgin! they are all after you !”
“ Who? are you drunk, Terence?" said sir John, opening the door.
No, but they are mad-all mad.” ~ Who?”
“ The constable. They are all mad entirely, and the lord mayor, all along with your honour's making me swear I would not tell your name.
Sure they are all coming armed in a body to put you in gaol for a forgery, unless I run back and tell them the truth Will I?”
“ First tell me the truth, blunderer !”
“ I'll make my affidavit I never blundered, plase your honour, but just went to the merchant's, as you ordered, with the draught, signed with the name I swore not to utter till past twelve. I presents the draught, and waits to be paid. • Are you Mr. O’Mooney's servant ?' says one of the clerks after a
while. No, sir, not at all, sir,' said I ; • I'm sir John Bull's, at your sarvice. He puzzles and puzzles, and asks me did I bring the draught, and was that your writing at the bottom of it? I still said it was my master's writing, sir John Bulls, and no other. They whispered from one up to tother, and then said it was a forgery, as I overheard, and must go before the
mayor. With that, while the master, who was called down to be examined as to his opinion, was putting on his glasses to spell it out, I gives them, one and all, the slip, and whips out of the street door and home to give your honour notice, and have been breaking my heart at the door this half hour to make you hear—and now you have it all.”
I am in a worse dilemma now than when between the horns of the bull,” thought sir John: “I must now either tell my real name, avow myself an Irishman, and so lose my bet, or else go to gaol.”
He preferred going to gaol. He resolved to pretend to be dumb, and he charged Terence not to betray him. The officers of justice came to take him up: sir John resigned himself to them, making signs that he could not speak. He was carried before a magistrate. The merchant had never seen Mr. Phelim O'Mooney, but could swear to his handwriting and signature, having many of his letters and draughts. The draught in question was produced. Sir John Bull would neither acknowledge nor deny the signature, but in dumb show made signs of innocence. No art or persuasion could
make him speak; he kept his fingers on his lips. One of the bailiffs offered to open sir John's mouth. Sir John clenched his hand, in token that if they used violence he knew his remedy. To the magistrate he was all bows and respect: but the law, in spite of civility, must take its course.
Terence M·Dermod beat his breast, and called upon all the saints in the Irish calender when he saw the committal actually made out, and his dear master given over to the constables. Nothing but his own oath and his master's commanding eye, which was fixed upon him at this instant, could have made him forbear to utter, what he had never in his life been before so strongly tempted to tell—the truth.
Determined to win his wager, our hero suffered himself to be carried to a lock-up house, and persisted in keeping silence till the clock struck twelve ! Then the charm was broken, and he spoke. He began talking to himself, and singing as loud as he possibly could. The next morning Terence, who was no longer bound by his oath to conceal Phelim's name, hastened to his master's correspondent in town, told the whole story, and O’Mooney was liberated. Having won his bet by his wit and steadiness, he had now the prudence to give up these adventuring schemes, to which he had so nearly become a dupe ; he returned immediately to Ireland to his brother, and determined to settle quietly to business. His good brother paid him the hundred guineas most joyfully, declaring that he had never spent a hundred guineas better in his life than in