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   Chapter 4 HOW FATHER TOM SACKED HIS HOLINESS IN THEOLOGY

Tales from Many Sources / Vol. V By Various Characters: 12222

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03


AND LOGIC.

Well, the lecthir's over, and I'm kilt out and out. My bitther curse upon the man that invinted the same Boord! I thought ons't I'd fadomed the say ov throuble; and that was when I got through fractions at ould Mat Kavanagh's school, in Firdramore-God be good to poor Mat's sowl, though he did deny the cause the day he suffered! but it's fluxions itself we're set to bottom now, sink or shwim! May I never die if my head isn't as throughother as anything wid their ordinals and cardinals-and, begob, it's all nothing to the econimy lecthir that I have to go to at two o'clock. Howandiver, I mustn't forget that we left his Riv'rence and his Holiness sitting fornenst one another in the parlor ov the Vatican, jist afther mixing their second tumbler.

When they had got well down into the same, they fell, as I was telling you, into larned discourse. For, you see, the Pope was curious to find out whether Father Tom was the great theologian all out that people said; and says he, "Mister Maguire," says he, "What answer do you make to the heretics when they quote them passidges agin thransubstantiation out ov the Fathers?" says he.

"Why," says his Riv'rence, "as there should be no sich passidges I make myself mighty aisy about them; but if you want to know how I dispose ov them," says he, "just repate one ov them, and I'll show you how to catapomphericate it in two shakes."

"Why, then," says the Pope, "myself disremimbers the particlar passidges they alledge out ov them ould felleys," says he, "though sure enough they're more numerous nor edifying-so we'll jist suppose that a heretic was to find sich a saying as this in Austin, 'Every sensible man knows that thransubstantiation is a lie,'-or this out of Tertullian or Plutarch, 'the bishop ov Room is a common imposther,'-now tell me, could you answer him?"

"As easy as kiss," says his Riv'rence. "In the first, we're to understand that the exprission, 'Every sinsible man,' signifies simply, 'Every man that judges by his nath'ral sinses;' and we all know that nobody folleying them seven deludhers could ever find out the mysthery that's in it, if somebody didn't come in to his assistance wid an eighth sinse, which is the only sinse to be depended on, being the sinse ov the Church. So that, regarding the first quotation which your Holiness has supposed, it makes clane for us, and tee-totally agin the heretics."

"That's the explanation sure enough," says his Holiness; "and now what div you say to my being a common imposther?"

"Faix, I think," says his Riv'rence, "wid all submission to the betther judgment ov the learned father that your Holiness has quoted, he'd have been a thrifle nearer the thruth, if he had said that the bishop ov Room is the grand imposther and top-sawyer in that line over us all."

"What do you mane?" says the Pope, getting quite red in the face.

"What would I mane," says his Riv'rence, as composed as a docther ov physic, "but that your Holiness is at the head ov all them-troth I had a'most forgot I wasn't a bishop myself," says he (the deludher was going to say, as the head of all uz)-"that has the gift ov laying on hands. For sure," says he, "imposther and imposithir is all one, so you're only to undherstand manuum, and the job is done. Awouich!" says he, "if any heretic 'ud go for to cast up sich a passidge as that agin me, I'd soon give him a lesson in the p'lite art ov cutting a stick to welt his own back wid."

"'Pon my apostolical word," says the Pope, "you've cleared up them two pints in a most satiswhacthery manner."

"You see," says his Riv'rence-by this time they wor mixing their third tumbler-"the writings ov them Fathers is to be thrated wid great veneration; and it 'ud be the height ov presumption in any one to sit down to interpret them widout providing himself wid a genteel assortment ov the best figures ov rhetoric, sich as mettonymy, hyperbol, cattychraysis, prolipsis, mettylipsis, superbaton, pollysyndreton, hustheronprotheron, prosodypeia and the like, in ordher that he may never be at a loss for shuitable sintiments when he comes to their high-flown passidges. For unless we thrate them Fathers liberally to a handsome allowance ov thropes and figures, they'd set up heresy at ons't, so they would."

"It's thrue for you," says the Pope; "the figures ov spache is the pillars ov the Church."

"Bedad," says his Riv'rence, "I dunna what we'd do widout them at all."

"Which one do you prefir?" says the Pope; "that is," says he, "which figure of spache do you find most usefullest when you're hard set?"

"Metaphour's very good," says his Riv'rence, "and so's mettonymy-and I've known prosodypeia stand to me at a pinch mighty well-but for a constancy, superbaton's the figure for my money. Devil be in me," says he, "but I'd prove black white as fast as a horse 'ud throt wid only a good stock ov superbaton."

"Faix," says the Pope, wid a sly look, "you'd need to have it backed, I judge, wid a small taste of assurance."

"Well now, jist for that word," says his Riv'rence, "I'll prove it widout aither one or other. Black," says he, "is one thing and white is another thing. You don't conthravene that? But every thing is aither one thing or another thing; I defy the apostle Paul to get over that dilemma. Well! If any thing be one thing, well and good; but if it be another thing, then it's plain it isn't both things, and so can't be two things-nobody can deny that. But what can't be two things must be one thing,-Ergo, whether it's one thing or another thing it's all one. But black is one thing and white is another thing,-Ergo, black and white is all one. Quod erat demonsthrandum."

"Stop a bit," says the Pope, "I can't althegither give in to your second minor-no-your second major," says he, and he stopped. "Faix, then," says he, getting confused, "I don't rightly remimber where it was exactly that I thought I seen the flaw in your premises. Howsomdiver," says he, "I don't deny that it's a good conclusion, and one that 'ud be ov materi'l service to the Church if it was dhrawn wid a little mor

e distinctiveness."

"I'll make it as plain as the nose on your Holiness's face, by superbaton," says his Riv'rence. "My adversary says, black is not another colour, that is, white? Now that's jist a parallel passidge wid the one out ov Tartullian that me and Hayes smashed the heretics on in Clarendon Sthreet, 'This is my body-that is, the figure ov my body.' That's a superbaton, and we showed that it oughtn't to be read that way at all, but this way, 'This figure of my body is my body.' Jist so wid my adversary's proposition, it mustn't be undherstood the way it reads, by no manner of manes; but it's to be taken this way,-'Black-that is, white, is not another colour,'-green, if you like, or orange, by dad, for anything I care, for my case is proved. 'Black,' that is, 'white,' lave out the 'that,' by sinnalayphy, and you have the orthodox conclusion, 'Black is white,' or by convarsion, 'White is black.'"

"It's as clear as mud," says the Pope.

"Begad," says his Riv'rence, "I'm in great humour for disputin' to-night. I wisht your Holiness was a heretic jist for two minutes," says he, "till you'd see the flaking I'd give you!"

"Well then, for the fun o' the thing, suppose me my namesake, if you like," says the Pope, laughing, "though, by Jayminy," says he, "he's not one that I take much pride out ov."

"Very good-devil a betther joke ever I had," says his Riv'rence. "Come, then, Misther Pope," says he, "hould up that purty face ov yours, and answer me this question. Which 'ud be the biggest lie, if I said I seen a turkey-cock lying on the broad ov his back, and picking the stars out ov the sky, or if I was to say that I seen a gandher in the same intherestin' posture, raycreating himself wid similar asthronomical experiments? Answer me that, you ould swaddler?" says he.

"How durst you call me a swaddler, sir?" says the Pope, forgetting, the dear man, the part that he was acting.

"Don't think for to bully me!" says his Riv'rence, "I always daar to spake the truth, and it's well known that you're nothing but a swaddling ould sinner ov a saint," says he, never letting on to persave that his Holiness had forgot what they were agreed on.

"By all that's good," says the Pope, "I often hard ov the imperance ov you Irish afore," says he, "but I never expected to be called a saint in my own house either by Irishman or Hottentot. I'll till you what, Misther Maguire," says he, "if you can't keep a civil tongue in your head, you had betther be walking off wid yourself; for I beg lave to give you to undherstand, that it won't be for the good ov your health if you call me by sich an outprobrious epithet again," says he.

"Oh, indeed! then things is come to a purty pass," says his Riv'rence (the dear funny soul that he ever was!) "when the likes of you compares one of the Maguires ov Tempo wid a wild Ingine! Why, man alive, the Maguires was kings ov Fermanagh three thousand years afore your grandfather, that was the first ov your breed that ever wore shoes and stockings" (I'm bound to say, in justice to the poor Prodesan, that this was all spoken by his Riv'rence by way of a figure ov spache), "was sint his Majesty's arrand to cultivate the friendship of Prince Lee Boo in Botteney Bay! Oh Bryan dear," says he, letting on to cry, "if you were alive to hear a boddagh Sassenagh like this casting up his counthry to one ov the name ov Maguire!"

"In the name ov God," says the Pope, very solemniously, "what is the maning ov all this at all at all?" says he.

"Sure," says his Riv'rence, whispering to him across the table, "sure you know we're acting a conthravarsy, and you tuck the part ov the Prodesan champion. You wouldn't be angry wid me, I'm sure, for sarving out the heretic to the best ov my ability."

"Oh begad, I had forgot," says the Pope, the good-natured ould crethur; "sure enough you were only taking your part, as a good Milesian Catholic ought, agin the heretic Sassenagh. Well," says he, "fire away now, and I'll put up wid as many conthroversial compliments as you plase to pay me."

"Well, then, answer me my question, you santimonious ould dandy," says his Riv'rence.

"In troth, then," says the Pope, "I dunna which 'ud be the biggest lie: to my mind," says he, "the one appears to be about as big a bounce as the other."

"Why, then, you poor simpleton," says his Riv'rence, "don't you persave that, forbye the advantage the gandher 'ud have in the length ov his neck, it 'ud be next to onpossible for the turkey-cock lying thataway to see what he was about, by rason ov his djollars and other accouthrements hanging back over his eyes? The one about as big a bounce as the other! Oh, you misfortunate crethur! if you had ever larned your A B C in theology, you'd have known that there's a differ betuxt them two lies so great, that, begad, I wouldn't wondher if it 'ud make a balance ov five years in purgathory to the sowl that 'ud be in it. Ay, and if it wasn't that the Church is too liberal entirely, so she is, it 'ud cost his heirs and succissors betther nor ten pounds to have him out as soon as the other. Get along, man, and take half-a-year at dogmatical theology: go and read your Dens, you poor dunce, you!"

"Raally," says the Pope, "you're making the heretic's shoes too hot to hould me. I wondher how the Prodesans can stand afore you at all."

"Don't think to delude me," says his Riv'rence, "don't think to back out ov your challenge now," says he, "but come to the scratch like a man, if you are a man, and answer me my question. What's the rason, now, that Julius C?sar and the Vargin Mary was born upon the one day?-answer me that, if you wouldn't be hissed off the platform?"

Well, my dear, the Pope couldn't answer it, and he had to acknowledge himself sacked. Then he axed his Riv'rence to tell him the rason himself; and Father Tom communicated it to him in Latin. But as that is a very deep question, I never hard what the answer was, except that I'm tould it was so mysterious, it made the Pope's hair stand on end.

But there's two o'clock, and I'll be late for the lecthir.

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