Election And Railway Dinners
O'Connell's enormous appetite often excited surprise. He ate a
prodigious quantity, even for a man of such large frame. At one of the
Irish elections, he was greatly annoyed at his candidate being unseated
for a few months, by the blundering decision of the assessor. On the day
when the election terminated, O'Connell was engaged to dine with a Roman
Catholic priest, who piqued himself not a little on the honor of
aining the Liberator. The company assembled at the appointed hour,
much dispirited at the adverse turn which the election had taken at the
last moment. O'Connell himself was particularly angry, and chafed with
ill-temper at the blunder of the assessor, who would not even listen to
Dinner came on, and a turkey-pout smoked before the hospitable
clergyman. Mr. O'Connell, what part of the fowl shall I help you to?
cried the reverend host, with an air of empressement.
His ears were electrified by O'Connell's rejoinder--Oh! hang it, cut it
through the middle, and give me half the bird!
For an orator of a style so copious and diffuse, it was singular how
admirably laconic he could become when he chose. During dinner, while
occupied with the viands, he would express himself with the terseness
and condensation of Tacitus.
A railway company once gave a complimentary dinner at Kingstown, and
O'Connell, who had supported the Bill in the House of Commons, was
invited. The sea breeze on the Kingstown pier sharpened his appetite. He
had already partaken heartily of the second course, when one of the
directors, seeing O'Connell's plate nearly empty, asked--Pray, sir,
what will you be helped to next?
Hastily glancing at the dishes still untasted, O'Connell, with a full
mouth, answered--Mutton--well done--and much of it.