Read ON DIPLOMACY of Mr. Dooley in Peace and in War , free online book, by Finley Peter Dunne, on

“I’ll explain it to ye,” said Mr. Dooley. “’Tis this way. Ye see, this here Sagasta is a boonco steerer like Canada Bill, an’ th’ likes iv him. A smart man is this Sagasta, an’ wan that can put a crimp in th’ ca-ards that ye cudden’t take out with a washerwoman’s wringer. He’s been through manny a ha-ard game. Talk about th’ County Dimocracy picnic, where a three-ca-ard man goes in debt ivry time he hurls th’ broads, ‘tis nawthin’ to what this here Spanish onion has been again an’ beat. F’r years an’ years he’s played on’y profissionals. Th’ la-ads he’s tackled have more marked ca-ards in their pockets thin a preacher fr’m Mitchigan an’ more bad money thin ye cud shake out iv th’ coat-tail pockets iv a prosp’rous banker fr’m Injianny. He’s been up again Gladstun an’ Bisma-arck an’ ol’ what-ye-call-’im, th’ Eyetalian, his name’s got away from me, an’ he’s done thim all.

“Well, business is bad. No wan will play with him. No money’s comin’ in. Th’ circus has moved on to th’ nex’ town, an’ left him without a customer. Th’ Jew man that loaned him th’ bank-roll threatens to seize th’ ca-ards on’ th’ table. Whin, lo an’ behold, down th’ sthreet comes a ma-an fr’m th’ counthry, a lawyer fr’m Ohio, with a gripsack in his hand. Oh, but he’s a proud man. He’s been in town long enough f’r to get out iv th’ way iv th’ throlley ca-ar whin th’ bell rings. He’s larned not to thry an’ light his see-gar at th’ ilicthric light. He doesn’t offer to pay th’ ilivator ma-an f’r carryin’ him upstairs. He’s got so he can pass a tall buildin’ without thryin’ f’r to turn a back summersault. An’ he’s as haughty about it as a new man on an ice-wagon. They’se nawthin’ ye can tell him. He thinks iv himsilf goin’ back to Canton with a r-red necktie on, an’ settin’ on a cracker box an’ tellin’ th’ lads whin they come in fr’m pitchin’ hor-rseshoes what a hot time he’s had, an’ how he’s seen th’ hootchy-kootchy an’ th’ Pammer House barber shop, an’ th’ other ondacint sights iv a gr-reat city.

“An’ so he comes up to where Sagasta is kind iv throwin’ th’ ca-ards idly on th’ top iv th’ bar’l, an’ Sagasta pipes him out iv th’ corner iv his eye, an’ says to himsilf: ‘Oh, I dinnaw,’ an’ thanks hiven f’r th’ law that has a sucker bor-rn ivry minyit. An’ th’ la-ad fr’m Canton thinks he can pick out th’ Jack, an’ sometimes he can an’ sometimes he can’t; but th’ end iv it is th’ Spanyard has him thrimmed down to his chest protector, an’ he’ll be goin’ back to Canton in a blanket. Ye see it ain’t his game. If it was pitchin’ hor-rseshoes, ’twud be diff’rent. He cud bate Sagasta at that. He cud do him at rasslin’ or chasin’ th’ greased pig, or in a wan-legged race or th’ tug-iv-war. He cud make him look foolish at liftin’ a kag iv beer or hitchin’ up a team. But, whin it comes to di-plo-macy, th’ Spanyard has him again th’ rail, an’ counts on him till his ar-rm is sore.”

“Why don’t he tur-rn in an’ fight?” demanded the patriotic Mr. Hennessy.

“Lord knows,” said Mr. Dooley. “Mebbe ‘twill tur-rn out th’ way it did with two frinds iv mine. They was Joe Larkin an’ a little r-red-headed man be th’ name iv O’Brien, an’ they wint out to th’ picanic at Ogden’s grove, where wanst a year Ireland’s freed. They was a shell ma-an wurrukin’ near th’ fence, an’ Larkin says, says he: ’He’s aisy. Lave me have some money, an’ we’ll do him. I can see th’ pea go undher th’ shell ivry time.’ So O’Brien bein’ a hot spoort loaned him th’ money, an’ he wint at it. Ivry time Larkin cud see th’ pea go undher th’ shell as plain as day. Wanst or twict th’ shell man was so careless that he left th’ pea undher th’ edge iv th’ shell. But in five minyits all iv O’Brien’s money was in th’ bad ma-an’s pockits, an’ he was lookin’ around f’r more foolish pathrites. It took O’Brien some time f’r to decide what to do. Thin says he, ‘’Twas my money this fool blowed in.’ An’ he made a dash f’r th’ shell ma’an; an’ he not on’y got what he’d lost, but all th’ r-rest iv th’ capital besides. Ye see, that was his game. That was where he come in. An’ he took th’ money an’ carrid it over to a cor-rner iv th’ gr-rounds where a la-ad had wan iv thim matcheens where ye pay tin cints f’r th’ privilege iv seein’ how har-rd ye can hit with a sledge-hammer, an’ there he stayed till th’ polis come ar-round to dhrive people off th’ gr-rounds.”