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O'leary And John O'keefe

Irish Humour Home






In the Recollections of John O'Keefe, the following anecdote is
related:--

In 1775 I was in company with Father O'Leary, at the house of Flynn,
the printer in Cork. O'Leary had a fine smooth brogue; his learning was
extensive, and his wit brilliant. He was tall and thin, with, a long,
pale, and pleasant visage, smiling and expressive. His dress was an
entire suit of brown, of the old shape; a narrow stock, tight about his
neck; his wig amply powdered, with a high poking foretop. In the year,
1791, my son Tottenham and I met him in St. James's Park, (London,) at
the narrow entrance near Spring Gardens. A few minutes after, we were
joined accidentally by Jemmy Wilder, well known in Dublin--once the
famous Macheath, in Smock Alley--a worthy and respectable character, of
a fine, bold, athletic figure, but violent and extravagant in his mode
of acting. He had quitted the stage, and commenced picture-dealer; and
when we met him in the Park, was running after a man, who, he said, had
bought a picture of Rubens for three shillings and sixpence at a
broker's stall in Drury-lane, and which was to make his (Wilder's)
fortune. Our loud laughing at O'Leary's jokes, and his Irish brogue, and
our stopping up the pathway, which is here very narrow, brought a crowd
about us. O'Leary was very fond of the drama, and delighted in the
company of the 'Glorious Boys,' as he called the actors--particularly
that of Johnny Johnstone, for his fine singing in a room.





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