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.