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His Triumph Over Dr Johnson

Irish Humour Home






O'Leary told us of a whimsical triumph which he once enjoyed over the
celebrated Dr. Johnson. O'Leary was very anxious to be introduced to
that learned man, and Mr. Arthur Murphy took him one morning to the
doctor's lodgings. On his entering the room, the doctor viewed him from
top to toe, without taking any notice of him; and, at length, darting
one of his sourest looks at him, he spoke to him in the Hebrew language,
to which O'Leary made no reply. 'Why do you not answer me, sir?' 'Faith,
sir,' said O'Leary, 'because I don't understand the language in which
you are addressing me.' Upon this, the doctor, with a contemptuous
sneer, said to Murphy, 'Why, sir, this is a pretty fellow you have
brought hither. Sir, he does not comprehend the primitive language.'
O'Leary immediately bowed very low, and complimented the doctor in a
long speech in Irish, to which the doctor, not understanding a word,
made no reply, but looked at Murphy. O'Leary, seeing the doctor was
puzzled at hearing a language of which he was ignorant, said to Murphy,
pointing to the doctor, 'This is a pretty fellow to whom you have
brought me. Sir, he does not understand the language of the sister
kingdom.' The reverend padre then made another low bow, and quitted
the room.





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