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PAGE 5

Jonathan Swift
by [?]

Let us accept the work of genius as we find it; not bemoaning because it is not better, but giving thanks because it is so good.

* * * * *

Well-fed, rollicking priest is Father O’Toole of Dublin, with a big, round face, a double chin, and a brogue that you can cut with a knife.

My letter of introduction from Monseigneur Satolli caused him at once to bring in a large, suspicious, black bottle and two glasses. Then we talked–talked of Ireland’s wrongs and woman’s rights, and of all the Irishmen in America whom I was supposed to know. We spoke of the illustrious Irishmen who had passed on, and I mentioned a name that caused the holy father to spring from his chair in indignation.

“Shwift is it! Shwift! No, me lad, don’t go near him! He was the divil’s own, the very worsht that ever followed the swish of a petticoat. No, no; if ye go to his grave it’ll bring ye bad luck for a year. It’s Tom Moore ye want–Tom was the bye. Arrah! now, and it’s meself phat’ll go wid ye.”

And so the reverend father put on a long, black coat and his Saint Patrick’s Day hat, and we started. We were met at the gate by a delegation of “shpalpeens” that had located me on the inside of the house and were lying in wait.

All American travelers in Ireland are supposed to be millionaires, and this may possibly explain the lavish attention that is often tendered them. At any rate, various members of the delegation wished “long life to the iligant ‘merican gintleman,” and hinted in terms unmistakable that pence would be acceptable. The holy father applied his cane vigorously to the ragged rears of the more presumptuous, and bade them begone, but still they followed and pressed close about.

“Here, I’ll show you how to get rid of the dirty gang,” said his holiness. “Have ye a penny, I don’t know?”

I produced a handful of small change, which the father immediately took and tossed into the street. Instantly there was a heterogeneous mass of young Hibernians piled up in the dirt in a grand struggle for spoils. It reminded me of football incidents I had seen at fair Harvard. In the meantime, we escaped down a convenient alley and crossed the River Liffey to Old Dublin; inside the walls of the old city, through crooked lanes and winding streets that here and there showed signs of departed gentility, where now was only squalor, want and vice, until we came to Number Twelve Angier Street, a quaint, three-story brick building now used as a “public.” In the wall above the door is a marble slab with this inscription: “Here was born Thomas Moore, on the Twenty-eighth day of May, Seventeen Hundred Seventy-eight.” Above this in a niche is a bust of the poet.

Tom’s father was a worthy greengrocer who, according to the author of “Lalla Rookh,” always gave good measure and full count. It was ever a cause of regret to the elder Moore that his son did not show sufficient capacity to be trusted safely with the business.

The upper rooms of the house were shown to us by an obliging landlady. Father O’Toole had been here before, and led the way to a snug little chamber and explained that in this room the future poet of Ireland was found under one of his father’s cabbage-leaves.

We descended to the neat little barroom with its sanded floor and polished glassware and shining brass. The holy father ordered ‘arf-and-‘arf at my expense and recited one of Moore’s ballads. The landlady then gave us Byron’s “Here’s a Health to Thee, Tom Moore.” A neighbor came in. Then we had more ballads, more ‘arf-and-‘arf, a selection from “Lalla Rookh,” and various tales of the poet’s early life, which possibly would be hard to verify.