O'leary Versus Curran
In the Reminiscences of the celebrated singer and composer, Michael
Kelly, the following interesting anecdotes are given: I had the
pleasure to be introduced to my worthy countryman, the Rev. Father
O'Leary, the well-known Roman Catholic priest; he was a man of infinite
wit, of instructing and amusing conversation. I felt highly honored by
the notice of this pillar of the Roman Church; our tastes were
congenial, for hi
reverence was mighty fond of whisky-punch, and so was
I; and many a jug of Saint Patrick's eye-water, night after night, did
his Reverence and myself enjoy, chatting over the exhilarating and
national beverage. He sometimes favored me with his company at dinner;
when he did, I always had a corned shoulder of mutton for him, for he,
like some others of his countrymen who shall be nameless, was
marvellously fond of that dish.
One day the facetious John Philpot Curran, who was very partial to the
said corned mutton, did me the honor to meet him. To enjoy the society
of such men was an intellectual treat. They were great friends, and
seemed to have a mutual respect for each other's talents and, as it may
be easily imagined, O'Leary versus Curran was no bad match.
One day, after dinner, Curran said to him, 'Reverend father, I wish you
were Saint Peter.'
'And why, Counsellor, would you wish that I were Saint Peter?' asked
'Because, reverend father, in that case,' said Curran, 'you would have
the keys of heaven, and you could let me in.'
'By my honor and conscience, Counsellor,' replied the divine, 'it would
be better for you if I had the keys of the other place, for then I could
let you out' Curran enjoyed the joke, which, he admitted, had a good
deal of justice in it.