The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 12
Thoughts of Connor O'Keefe
Thoughts of Connor O'Keefe.
Well, Misther Edditur darlin, here I am once more—You see, sir, bein of a mighty bashful nature, I got ashamed entirely throublin you so often with my views and sintamints. But I declare, sir, I'm not myself at all whin I dont write to you—and there's nothin in the wide world ayqual to a frend that'll undherstand a body's notions of things.—Tis a thousand pities, sir, that my nibors isn't takin more to my opinions; bekase they'd be better and happier if they did; and bekase they're rattlin rhymers, and there's nothing ayqual to versificayshon for making a thayme popular. Sure, sir, if we had only a Tom Moore to sing us songs of pace, the cannons should be silent, for nobody would be cheated out of sich melodies. But what am I talkin of! Where could we find another Tom Moore? Why, sir, you might walk from Tralee to Teheran, and not meet his ayquals as a Lyric! Whin I think of "Nora Creina," and "Dear harp of my country," and "The meeting of the waters,"I declare my eyes get dim; knowing well that there's few now can sing thim with proper pathos, let alone compose the likes. As I tould you in a former letther, we used to have poets in ould Clare; but they're nearly all dead and gone—and 'tis myself that's lamintin that some bard didn't leave me his mantle, and give me the power of improvin and delightin my cotimporaries. There isn't the layste doubt, sir, but I'd excel in parodies!—thats where my forte would lie. And if I only had the gaynius now, tis myself that'd give a new version of "The meeting of the waters." You see, sir, I'd make it "The meeting on the waters,"—and maybe I wouldn't celebrate the raycent Pace meetin between Misther Bull and the Munseers. I declare to my heart, sir, that it tuk my fancy so much, I was on the point of writin you a long letther on the subject, only, as I mintioned above, my native bashfulness hindered me.
Sure, 'twas an illegant sight entirely to see thim two fleets come out there, and, with the eyes of the whole world fixed on thim, salute ayche other as friends and fellows! What betther could we desire, sir? Tisn't all at once that wrong things can come right; and tis cheerin enough for uz that we can talk of a Pace movement instead of a Pace stagnayshon. And I declare I dont think in the range of the present century, you could find a happier event than the "Meeting on the waters!" Sure, we all know well, that if Nelson and other grate men of his time could foresee a thing so contrary to their noshuns of dignity, and so unlikely; they'd ayther die of grief or give up fighting. "England expects that every man will do his duty!" ses the dyin hayro, jist sixty years ago. Well, sir, you see, at last every man is beginning to do his duty, and to cast aside his mane, unworthy suspicions, and to accept the friendship that's offered to him.
France says, Thurrum a lawe! well, poor Misther Bull puts out his hand, but it is unwillingly and doubtingly; still he does put out his hand, and that's a grate dale. As I said before, things can't come right all at once, and soon Misther John will bid farewell to his mistrust; and he'll grip his nibor's hand and give it the hearty squeeze of friendship!page 551
Faix, I'm tould, sir, that the "Meetin on the waters" didn't end in mere bowin and scrapin, and showing off their bunting; but there was to finish all, such a dinner given to the English blue jackets, that you'd think it was a wedding or a christening—such lashens and lavins of everything good. And Frinch and English seemed bent upon outdoing aych other in politeness. Mr. Bull declared and protested that there was nothing in the world he was so fond of as frog pie, and the munseers couldn't relish anything but roast beef. And thin, whin the wine and punch cum on the table every mother's son of thim got on his legs. The Frinch praising the English, and the English praising the Frinch; and Misther Bull parlayvooing, and the munseers murdherin the king's English! And they both palaverin aych other, till you'd think this terrestial ball was split down the middle and divided between thim! Firin away wit and crackin jokes was the latest engagement between Frinch and English—and its very certain that if ayther Tom Moore or Peter Beeranger had left behind thim one good hearty song of Pace, the two frends would have sung it in chorus till the very walls resounded!
Of coorse, sir, you had the best means of gettin news from forren parts; and maybe what I'm telling you is all secondhand, maybe you heard before. But as I give it on authority, and as it cum from head quarters, it can do no harm to relayte it. A good story bears to be told twice—and, moreover, tis a fine subject to dwell on, I considher it one of the grandest events of modhern times. And every Pace man ought to think the same.—Let the snarling cynics hould their tongue! 'Tis no thayme for wit to disparage the merits of the pace banquet—let us be thankful that the world has seen ould foes meet, to honour aych other, and to quinch out the dying embers of distrust and suspicion, by that "Meetin on the waters." In the words of Erin's Bard, let us say—
So firmly fond,
May last the bond,
They wore that day together:
And ne'er may fall
One drop of gall,
On wit's celestial feather!
With increasing attachment to the cause of Pace—and increasin admirayshon for its promoters, I remain, Sir,
Your obedient Servant,