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Sow-west And The Wigs

Irish Humour Home

The following humorous scene took place in the Court-house,
Green-street, Dublin:

The city of Dublin was often contested by Mr. John B. West--a
conservative barrister of no ordinary talents, whose early end caused
much regret. That gentleman was very heavy and clumsy in appearance, and
moved very awkwardly. Lord Plunket humorously called him Sow-West, a
name that adhered to him most tenaciously. O'Connell was opposed to West
on three or four different occasions. It is remarkable that the opening
scenes at the Dublin elections are conducted with far more decorum than
similar scenes in other parts of Ireland. All the masses are not
admitted indiscriminately to the Court where the hustings are
placed--the people are admitted by tickets, half of which are allotted
to each rival party. It is the interest of both parties to keep order,
and the candidates and their friends are therefore heard with tolerable
fairness. On the first day of a Dublin election, the most eloquent
members of either party come forward to uphold their favorite

On the occasion referred to, O'Connell, in addressing the people,
referred to the appearance of Sow-West, whom he humorously quizzed
upon the beauty of his appearance.

In reply Mr. West said, Ah, my friends! it's all very well for Mr.
O'Connell to attack me upon my appearance; but I can tell you, if you
saw Mr. O'Connell without his wig, he does not present a face which is
much to boast of.

To the surprise of the spectators, no less than of Mr. West himself,
O'Connell walked across, pulled off his wig, stood close by West, and
cried out--There, now, which of us is the better-looking--my wig is

This sally of practical humor was received with bursts of laughter and
cheering. O'Connell looked admirably, exhibiting a skull which, for
volume and development, was not to be surpassed.

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