« ПретходнаНастави »
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 M-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 till he came to a trial about a legacy which an old woman had left to her cats. O'Mooney exclaimed, " I hate cats almost as much as old women; and if I had been the English minister, I would have laid the dog-tax upon cats.”
“ If you had been the Irish minister, you mean," said the stranger, smiling; “ for I perceive now you are a countryman
my own.” “ How can you think so, sir?” said O’Mooney: “ You have no reason to suppose so from my accent, I believe.”
“ None in life-quite the contrary; for you speak remarkable pure English—not the least note or half note of the brogue; but there's another sort of freemason sign by which we Hibernians know one another and are known all over the globe. Whether to call it a confusion of expressions or of ideas, I can't tell. Now an Englishman, if he had been saying what you did, sir, just now, would have taken time to separate the dog and the tax, and he would have put the tax upon cats, and let the dogs go about their business." Our hero, with his usual good-humour, acknowledged himself to be fairly detected. “ Well, sir,” said the stranger,
- if I had not found you out before by the blunder, I should be sure now you were my countryman by your goodhumour. An Irishman can take what's said to him, provided no affront's meant, with more good-humour than
any man on earth.
- he lends himself, like the whale, to be tickled even by the fellow with the harpoon, till he finds what he is
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
up 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 gentleman.”
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 “ 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
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. 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
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