MoboReader > Literature > Tales from Many Sources / Vol. V

   Chapter 6 HOW FATHER TOM AND HIS HOLINESS DISPUTED IN METAPHYSICS

Tales from Many Sources / Vol. V By Various Characters: 13229

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03


AND ALGEBRA.

God be wid the time when I went to the classical seminary ov Firdramore! when I'd bring my sod o' turf undher my arm, and sit down on my shnug boss o' straw, wid my back to the masther and my shins to the fire, and score my sum in Dives's denominations or the double rule o' three, or play fox-and-geese wid purty Jane Cruise that sat next me, as plisantly as the day was long, widout any one so much as saying, "Mikey Heffernan, what's that you're about?"-for ever since I was in the one lodge wid poor ould Mat I had my own way in his school as free as ever I had in my mother's shebeen. God be wid them days, I say again, for its althered times wid me, I judge, since I got under Carlisle and Whateley. Sich sthrictness! sich ordher! sich dhrilling, and lecthiring, and tuthoring as they do get on wid! I wisht to gracious the one-half of their rules and rigilations was sunk in the say. And they're getting so sthrict, too, about having fair play for the heretic childher! We've to have no more schools in the chapels, nor masses in the schools. Oh, by this and by that it'll never do at all! The ould plan was twenty times betther; and, for my own part, if it wasn't that the clargy supports them in a manner, and the grant's a thing not easily done widout these hard times, I'd see if I couldn't get a sheltered spot nigh-hand the chapel, and set up again on the good ould principle: and faix, I think our Metropolitan 'ud stand to me, for I know that his Grace's motto was ever and always, that "Ignorance is the thrue mother ov piety."

But I'm running away from my narrative entirely, so I am. "You'll plase to ordher up the housekeeper, then," says Father Tom to the Pope, "wid a pint ov sweet milk in a skillet, and the bulk ov her fist ov butther, along wid a dust ov soft sugar in a saucer, and I'll show you the way of producing a decoction that, I'll be bound, will hunt the thirst out ov every nook and corner in your Holiness's blessed carcidge."

The Pope ordhered up the ingredients, and they were brought in by the head butler.

"That'll not do at all," says his Riv'rence, "the ingredients won't combine in due proportion unless ye do as I bid yez. Send up the housekeeper," says he, "for a faymale hand is ondispinsably necessary to produce the adaptation ov the particles and the concurrence ov the corpuscles, widout which you might boil till morning, and never fetch the cruds off ov it."

Well, the Pope whispered to his head butler, and by-and-by up there comes an ould faggot ov a Caillean, that was enough to frighten a horse from his oats.

"Don't thry for to desave me," says his Riv'rence, "for it's no use, I tell yez. Send up the housekeeper, I bid yez: I seen her presarving gooseberries in the panthry as I came up: she has eyes as black as a sloe," says he, "and cheeks like the rose in June; and sorra taste of this celestial mixthir shall crass the lips ov man or mortial this blessed night till she stirs the same up wid her own delicate little finger."

"Misther Maguire," says the Pope, "it's very unproper ov you to spake that way ov my housekeeper: I won't allow it, sir."

"Honour bright, your Holiness," says his Riv'rence, laying his hand on his heart.

"Oh, by this and by that, Misther Maguire," says the Pope, "I'll have none of your insiniwations: I don't care who sees my whole household," says he; "I don't care if all the faymales undher my roof was paraded down the High Street of Room," says he.

"Oh, it's plain to be seen how little you care who see's them," says his Riv'rence. "You're afeared, now, if I was to see your housekeeper, that I'd say she was too handsome."

"No, I'm not!" says the Pope; "I don't care who sees her," says he. "Anthony," says he to the head butler, "bid Eliza throw her apron over her head, and come up here." Wasn't that stout in the blessed man? Well, my dear, up she came, stepping like a three-year-old, and blushing like the brake o' day: for though her apron was thrown over her head as she came forrid, till you could barely see the tip ov her chin-more be token there was a lovely dimple in it, as I've been tould-yet she let it shlip a bit to one side, by chance like, jist as she got fornenst the fire, and if she wouldn't have given his Riv'rence a shot if he hadn't been a priest, it's no matther.

"Now, my dear," says he, "you must take that skillet, and hould it over the fire till the milk comes to a blood-hate; and the way you'll know that will be by stirring it ons't or twice wid the little finger ov your right hand, afore you put in the butther: not that I misdoubt," says he, "but that the same finger's fairer nor the whitest milk that ever came from the tit."

"None of your deludhering talk to the young woman, sir," says the Pope, mighty stern. "Stir the posset as he bids you, Eliza, and then be off wid yourself," says he.

"I beg your Holiness's pardon ten thousand times," says his Riv'rence; "I'm sure I meant nothing onproper; I hope I'm uncapable ov any sich dirilection of my duty," says he. "But, marciful Saver!" he cried out, jumping up on a suddent, "look behind you, your Holiness-I'm blest but the room's on fire!"

Sure enough the candle fell down that minit, and was near setting fire to the windy-curtains, and there was some bustle, as you may suppose, getting things put to rights. And now I have to tell you ov a raally onpleasant occurrence. If I was a Prodesan that was in it, I'd say that while the Pope's back was turned, Father Tom made free wid the two lips ov Miss Eliza; but, upon my conscience, I believe it was a mere mistake that his Holiness fell into on account of his being an ould man, and not having aither his eyesight or his hearing very parfect. At any rate it can't be denied but that he had a sthrong imprission that sich was the case; for he wheeled about as quick as thought, jist as his Riv'rence was sitting down, and charged him wid the offince plain and plump. "Is it kissing my housekeeper before my face you are, you villain?" says he. "Go down out o' this," says he to Miss Eliza; "and do you be packing off wid you," he says to Father Tom, "for it's not safe, so it isn't, to have the likes ov you in a house where there's temptation in your way."

"Is it me?" says his Riv'rence; "why, what would your Holiness be at, at all? Sure I wasn't doing no sich thing."

"Would you have me doubt the evidence ov my sinses?" says the Pope; "would you have me doubt the testimony ov my eyes and ears?" says he.

"Indeed I would so," says his Riv'rence, "if they pretend to have informed your Holiness ov any

sich foolishness."

"Why," says the Pope, "I seen you afther kissing Eliza as plain as I see the nose on your face; I heard the smack you gave her as plain as ever I heard thundher."

"And how do you know whether you see the nose on my face or not?" says his Riv'rence; "and how do you know whether what you thought was thundher, was thundher at all? Them operations of the sinses," says he, "comprises only particular corporayal emotions, connected wid sartain confused perciptions called sinsations, and isn't to be depended upon at all. If we were to follow them blind guides, we might jist as well turn heretics at ons't. 'Pon my secret word, your Holiness, it's naither charitable nor orthodox ov you to set up the testimony ov your eyes and ears agin the characther of a clergyman. And now, see how aisy it is to explain all them phwenomena that perplexed you. I ris and went over beside the young woman because the skillet was boiling over, to help her to save the dhrop ov liquor that was in it; and as for the noise you heard, my dear man, it was neither more nor less nor myself dhrawing the cork out ov this blissid bottle."

"Don't offer to thrape that upon me!" says the Pope; "here's the cork in the bottle still, as tight as a wedge."

"I beg your pardon," says his Riv'rence, "that's not the cork at all," says he; "I dhrew the cork a good two minits ago, and it's very purtily spitted on the end ov this blessed cork-shcrew at this prisint moment; howandiver you can't see it, because it's only its raal prisence that's in it. But that appearance that you call a cork," says he, "is nothing but the outward spacies and external qualities of the cortical nathur. Them's nothing but the accidents of the cork that you're looking at and handling; but, as I tould you afore, the real cork's dhrew, and is here prisint on the end ov this nate little insthrument, and it was the noise I made in dhrawing it, and nothing else, that you mistook for the sound ov the pogue."

You know there was no conthravening what he said; and the Pope couldn't openly deny it. Howandiver he thried to pick a hole in it this way. "Granting," says he, "that there is the differ you say betwixt the reality ov the cork and them cortical accidents, and that it's quite possible, as you alledge, that the thrue cork is really prisint on the end ov the shcrew, while the accidents keep the mouth ov the bottle stopped-still," says he, "I can't undherstand, though willing to acquit you, how the dhrawing ov the real cork, that's onpalpable and widout accidents, could produce the accident of that sinsible explosion I heard jist now."

"All I can say," says his Riv'rence, "is, that I'm sinsible it was a real accident, anyhow."

"Ay," says the Pope, "the kiss you gev Eliza, you mane."

"No," says his Riv'rence, "but the report I made."

"I don't doubt you," says the Pope.

"No cork could be dhrew with less noise," says his Riv'rence.

"It would be hard for anything to be less nor nothing, barring algebra," says the Pope.

"I can prove to the conthrary," says his Riv'rence. "This glass ov whisky is less nor that tumbler ov punch, and that tumbler of punch is nothing to this jug ov scaltheen."

"Do you judge by superficial misure or by the liquid contents?" says the Pope.

"Don't stop me betwixt my premisses and my conclusion," says his Riv'rence; "Ergo, this glass ov whisky is less nor nothing; and for that raison I see no harm in life in adding it to the contents ov the same jug, just by way ov a frost-nail."

"Adding what's less nor nothing," says the Pope, "is subtraction according to algebra; so here goes to make the rule good," says he, filling his tumbler wid the blessed stuff, and sitting down again at the table, for the anger didn't stay two minits on him, the good-hearted ould sowl.

"Two minuses makes one plus," says his Riv'rence, as ready as you plase, "and that'll account for the increased daycrement I mane to take the liberty of producing in the same mixed quantity," says he, follying his Holiness's epistolical example.

"By all that's good," says the Pope, "that's the best stuff I ever tasted; you call it a mixed quantity, but I say it's prime."

"Since it's ov the first ordher, then," says his Riv'rence, "we'll have the less deffeequilty in reducing it to a simple equation."

"You'll have no fractions at my side, anyhow," says the Pope. "Faix, I'm afeared," says he, "it's only too asy ov solution our sum is like to be."

"Never fear for that," says his Riv'rence, "I've a good stock of surds here in the bottle; for I tell you it will take us a long time to exthract the root ov it, at the rate we're going on."

"What makes you call the blessed quart an irrational quantity?" says the Pope.

"Becase it's too much for one, and too little for two," says his Riv'rence.

"Clear it ov its coefficient, and we'll thry," says the Pope.

"Hand me over the exponent, then," says his Riv'rence.

"What's that?" says the Pope.

"The shcrew, to be sure," says his Riv'rence.

"What for?" says the Pope.

"To dhraw the cork," says his Riv'rence.

"Sure the cork's dhrew," says the Pope.

"But the sperits can't get out on account of the accidents that's stuck in the neck ov the bottle," says his Riv'rence.

"Accident ought to be passable to sperit," says the Pope, "and that makes me suspect that the reality ov the cork's in it afther all."

"That's a barony-masia," says his Riv'rence, "and I'm not bound to answer it. But the fact is, that it's the accidents ov the sperits too that's in it, and the reality's passed out through the cortical spacies as you say; for, you may have observed, we've both been in real good sperits ever since the cork was dhrawn, and were else would the real sperits come from if they wouldn't come out ov the bottle?"

"Well, then," says the Pope, "since we've got the reality, there's no use troubling ourselves wid the accidents."

"Oh, begad," says his Riv'rence, "the accidents is very essential too; for a man may be in the best ov good sperits, as far as his immaterial part goes, and yet need the accidental qualities ov good liquor to hunt the sinsible thirst out ov him." So he dhraws the cork in earnest, and sets about brewing the other skillet ov scaltheen; but, faix, he had to get up the ingredients this time by the hands ov ould Molly; though devil a taste ov her little finger he'd let widin a yard ov the same decoction.

But, my dear, here's the Freeman's Journal, and we'll see what's the news afore we finish the residuary proceedings of their two Holinesses.

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