The Worlds Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906. Vols. VIIX: British
Buying a Present for the Priest
By Samuel Lover (17971868)
From Rory OMore
I PROMISED my mother to bring a present to the priest from Dublin, and I could not make up my mind rightly what to get all the time I was there. I thought of a pair o top-boots; for, indeed, his riverences is none of the best, and only you know them to be top-boots, you would not take them to be top-boots, bekase the bottoms has been put in so often that the tops is wore out intirely, and is no more like top-boots than my brogues. So I wint to a shop in Dublin, and picked out the purtiest pair o top-boots I could seewhin I say purty, I dont mane a flourishin taarin pair, but sich as was fit for a priest, a respectable pair of bootsand with that I pulled out my good money to pay for thim, whin jist at that minit, remembering the thricks o the town, I bethought o myself, and, says I, I suppose these are the right thing? says I to the man. You can thry them, says he. How can I thry them? says I. Pull them on you, says he. Throth, an Id be sorry, says I, to take sich a liberty with them, says I. Why, arent you goin to ware thim? says he. Is it me? says I. Me ware top-boots? Do you think its taking lave of my sinsis I am? says I. Then what do you want to buy them for? says he. For his riverence, Father Kinshela, says I. Are they the right sort for him? How should I know? says he. Youre a purty bootmaker, says I, not to know how to make a priests boot! How do I know his size? says he. Oh, dont be comin off that way, says I. Theres no sitch great differ betune priests and other min!
To be sure, said Rory; and it was only jist a come off for his own ignorance. Tell me his size, says the fellow, and Ill fit him. Hes betune five and six feet, says I. Most men are, says he, laughin at me. He was an impidint fellow. Its not the five, nor six, but his two feet I want to know the size of, says he. So I persaived he was jeerin me, and, says I, Why, then, you respectful vagabone o the world, you Dublin jackeen! do you mane to insinivate that Father Kinshela ever wint bare-futted in his life, that I could know the size of his fut? says I, and with that I threw the boots in his face. Take that, says I, you dirty thief o the world! You impidint vagabone o the world! You ignorant citizen o the world! And with that I left the place.
Well, sir, on laving the shop, as soon as I kem to myself afther the fellows impidince, I begun to think what was the next best thing I could get for his riverence; and with that, while I was thinkin about it, I seen a very respectable owld gintleman goin by, with the most beautiful stick in his hand I ever set my eyes on, and a golden head to it that was worth its weight in gold; and it gev him such an iligant look altogether, that, says I to myself, Its the very thing for Father Kinshela, if I could get sitch another.
And so I wint lookin about me every shop seen as I wint by, and at last, in a sthreet they call Dame Sthreetand, by the same token, I didnt know why they called it Dame Sthreet till I axd, and I was towld they called it Dame Sthreet bekase the ladies were so fond of walkin there; and lovely craythurs they wor! And I cant blieve that the town is such an onwholesome place to live in, for most o the ladies I seen there had the most beautiful rosy cheeks I ever clapt my eyes uponand the beautiful rowlin eyes o them! Well, it was in Dame Sthreet, as I was sayin, that I kem to a shop where there was a power o sticks, and so I wint in and looked at thim, and a man in the place kem to me, and axd me if I wanted a cane. No, says I, I dont want a cane; its a stick I want, says I. A cane, you mane, says he. No, says I, its a stick; for I was determined to have no cane, but to stick to the stick. Heres a nate one, says he. I dont want a nate one, says I, but a responsible one, says I. Faith! says he, if an Irishmans stick was responsible, it would have a great dale to answer for. And he laughed a power. I didnt know myself what he meant, but thats what he said.
Well, I picked out one that looked to my likina good substantial stick, with an ivory top to itfor I seen that the goold-headed ones was so dear I couldnt come up to them; and so says I, Give me howld o that, says I, and I tuk a grip with it. I never was so surprised in my life. I thought to get a good, brave handful of a solid stick, but, my dear, it was well it didnt fly out o my hand amost, it was so light. Phew! says I, what sort of a stick is this? I tell you its not a stick, but a cane, says he. Faith! I blieve you, says I. You see how good and light it is, says he. Think o that, sir! To call a stick good and lightas if there could be any good in life in a stick that wasnt heavy, and could sthreck a good blow! Is it jokin you are? says I. Dont you feel it yourself? says he. Throth, I can hardly feel it at all, says I. Sure, thats the beauty of it, says he. Think o the ignorant vagabone! To call a stick a beauty that was as light amost as a bulrush! And so you can hardly feel it! says he, grinnin. Yis, indeed, says I; and, whats worse, I dont think I could make any one else feel it either. Oh! you want a stick to bate people with! says he. To be sure, says I; sure, thats the use of a stick. To knock the sinsis out o people! says he, grinnin again. Sartinly, says I, if theyre saucy, lookin hard at him at the same time. Well, these is only walkin-sticks, says he. Throth, you may say runnin-sticks, says I, for you darent stand before any one with sich a thraneen as that in your fist. Well, pick out the heaviest o them you plaze, says he; take your choice. So I went pokin and rummagin among them, and, if you believe me, there wasnt a stick in their whole shop worth a kick in the shinsdivil a one!
No, no, no, sir! I see youre quite a stranger in the counthry. The priest join it! Oh! by no manes! But he comes and stops it! And, av coorse, the only way he can stop it is to ride into thim, and wallop thim all round before him, and disparse thimscatter thim like chaff before the wind; and its the best o sticks he requires for that same.
As for that matther, sir, said Rory, theres no knowin the minit he might want it, for he is often necessiated to have recoorse to it. It might be, going through the village, the public-house is too full, and in he goes and dhrives thim out. Oh! it would delight your heart to see the style he clears a public-house in, in no time!
Oh, no! he doesnt like to throw away his discoorse on thim; and why should he? He keeps that for the blessed althar on Sunday, which is a fitter place for it; besides, he does not like to be sevare on us.
Yis, sir; but what o that? Sure thats nothin to his tonguehis words is like swoords or razhors, I may say. Were used to a lick of a stick every day, but not to sich language as his riverence sometimes murthers us with whin we displaze him. Oh! its terrible, so it is, to have the weight of his tongue on you! Throth, Id rather let him bate me from this till to-morrow, than have one angry word with him.