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A Fop

Irish Humour Home




The two-edged sword of wit, as that faculty has been termed, was
wielded by O'Leary in the more serious circumstances of life, as well as
in its playful hours. An instance where the painful exercise of this was
happily spared, occurred at one of the meetings of the English
Catholics, during the celebrated Blue Book Controversy. One of the
individuals who was expected to advocate the objectionable designation
of protesting Catholic dissenters, an appellation equally ludicrous
and unnecessary, was remarkable for an affected mode of public speaking.
What in dress is termed foppish, would be appropriate as applied to
his oratory. He was no admirer of O'Leary, and the feeling of dislike
was as mutual as could well be conceived. Him, therefore, O'Leary
selected as the opponent with whom he meant to grapple. Those to whom
he communicated his intention, and who knew his powers, looked forward
with expectation on tiptoe for a scene of enjoyment that no
anticipation could exaggerate. Disappointment was, however, their lot.
The meeting passed over quietly, and neither the objectionable matter
nor speaker was brought forward. However much his friends regretted this
circumstance, O'Leary was himself sincerely pleased; for he never
desired to give unnecessary pain. The gentlemen in concert with whom he
acted, dined together after the meeting, and the conversation happening
to turn on the disappointment which they had experienced in the result
of the debate, one of them who knew O'Leary intimately, inquired what
line of argument he had intended to pursue, if the meeting had assumed
the objectionable aspect which was dreaded--this was applying the torch
to gunpowder: he commenced an exhibition of the ludicrous so like what
would have taken place, so true in manner and matter to what every one
who knew the parties could anticipate, that the assemblage was convulsed
with laughter to a degree that made it memorable in the recollections of
all who witnessed it.





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