Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/167

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153
IRISH IMMIGRANTS IN THE COLONIES.

O'Donovan. He once held a good position in the colony, but he lost it through his fondness for the bottle. He then sank by degrees in the social scale, until finally he became a groom in the stable of Mr. Justice Willis, an irascible gentleman who prided himself on his classical knowledge, and who invariably opened each session of his court with a pedantic address crowded with Latin and Greek quotations. On one of these occasions of state, the ordinary court crier could not attend through illness, and His Honour, seeing that his groom was a good-looking, well-proportioned fellow, called upon O'Donovan to take the vacant high place in court, make the usual official announcements, and preserve order and decorum in the place of justice. O'Donovan did as he was commanded, and all went well until the judge in his scarlet robes commenced to read his usual grandiloquent address in the presence of a crowded court. For the first five minutes he confined himself to the English tongue, but soon His Honour plunged into an unlucky quotation from Horace. Like the war-horse when he hears the sound of the trumpet, so did the temporary crier prick up his ears at the familiar sounds. The judge negotiated four lines successfully, but in the middle of the fifth he floundered; and O'Donovan, forgetting where and what he was for the moment, yelled out in indignation: "See here, your Honour, you are murdering my favourite author, and I will not allow that to be done by either judge or jury. Just listen to me, and I will give you the only true and correct version." Then, to the amazement and the amusement of the whole court, the crier recited a passage of Horace in the most approved academic style. As for the judge, who was so abruptly, unexpectedly, and scandalously pulled up in the course of his address, he was for a time