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

“Why aren’t you out attending the reunion of the Dooley family?” Mr. McKenna asked the philosopher.

“Thim’s no rel-ations to me,” Mr. Dooley answered. “Thim’s farmer Dooleys. No wan iv our fam’ly iver lived in th’ counthry. We live in th’ city, where they burn gas an’ have a polis foorce to get on to. We’re no farmers, divvle th’ bit. We belong to th’ industhreel classes. Thim must be th’ Fermanagh Dooleys, a poor lot, Jawn, an’ always on good terms with th’ landlord, bad ciss to thim, says I. We’re from Roscommon. They’se a Dooley family in Wixford an’ wan near Ballybone that belonged to th’ constabulary. I met him but wanst. ‘Twas at an iviction; an’, though he didn’t know me, I inthrajooced mesilf be landin’ him back iv th’ ear with a bouldher th’ size iv ye’er two fists together. He didn’t know me aftherwards, ayether.

“We niver had but wan reunion iv th’ Dooley fam’ly, an’ that was tin years ago. Me cousin Felix’s boy Aloysius, him that aftherwards wint to New York an’ got a good job dhrivin’ a carredge f’r th’ captain iv a polis station, he was full iv pothry an’ things; an’ he come around wan night, an’ says he, ‘D’ye know,’ he says, ‘’twud be th’ hite iv a good thing f’r th’ Dooleys to have a reunion,’ he says. ’We ought to come together,’ he says, ‘an’ show the people iv this ward,’ he says, ’how sthrong we are,’ he says. ‘Ye might do it betther, me buck,’ says I, ‘shovellin’ slag at th’ mills,’ I says. ’But annyhow, if ye’er mind’s set on it, go ahead,’ I says, ‘an’ I’ll attind to havin’ th’ polis there,’ I says, ‘f’r I have a dhrag at th’ station.’

“Well, he sint out letthers to all th’ Roscommon Dooleys; an’ on a Saturdah night we come together in a rinted hall an’ held th’ reunion. ’Twas great sport f’r a while. Some iv us hadn’t spoke frindly to each other f’r twinty years, an’ we set around an’ tol’ stories iv Roscommon an’ its green fields, an’ th’ stirabout pot that was niver filled, an’ th’ blue sky overhead an’ th’ boggy ground undherfoot. ’Which Dooley was it that hamsthrung th’ cows?’ ‘Mike Dooley’s Pat.’ ’Naw such thing: ‘twas Pat Dooley’s Mike. I mane Pat Dooley’s Mike’s Pat.’ F’r ’tis with us as with th’ rest iv our people. Ye take th’ Dutchman: he has as manny names to give to his childher as they’se nails in his boots, but an Irishman has th’ pick iv on’y a few. I knowed a man be th’ name iv Clancy, a man fr’m Kildare. He had fifteen childher; an’, whin th’ las’ come, he says, ‘Dooley, d’ye happen to know anny saints?’ ’None iv thim thrades here,’ says I. ‘Why?’ says I. ‘They’se a new kid at th’ house,’ he says; ‘an’, be me troth, I’ve run out iv all th’ saints I knew, an’, if somewan don’t come to me assistance, I’ll have to turn th’ child out on th’ wurruld without th’ rag iv a name to his back,’ he says.

“But I was tellin’ ye about th’ reunion. They was lashins iv dhrink an’ story-tellin’, an’ Felix’s boy Aloysius histed a banner he had made with ‘Dooley aboo’ painted on it. But, afther th’ night got along, some iv us begun to raymimber that most iv us hadn’t been frinds f’r long. Mrs. Morgan Dooley, she that was Molly Dooley befure she married Morgan, she turns to me, an’ says she, ’’Tis sthrange they let in that Hogan woman,’ she says, that Hogan woman, Jawn, bein’ th’ wife iv her husband’s brother. She heerd her say it, an’ she says, ’I’d have ye to undherstand that no wan iver come out iv Roscommon that cud hold up their heads with th’ Hogans,’ she says. ‘’Tis not f’r th’ likes iv ye to slandher a fam’ly that’s iv th’ landed gintry iv Ireland, an’ f’r two pins I’d hit ye a poke in th’ eye,’ she says. If it hadn’t been f’r me bein’ between thim, they’d have been trouble; f’r they was good frinds wanst. What is it th’ good book says about a woman scorned? Faith, I’ve forgotten.

“Thin me uncle Mike come in, as rough a man as iver laid hands on a polisman. Felix Dooley was makin’ a speech on th’ vartues iv th’ fam’ly. ‘Th’ Dooleys,’ says he, ‘can stand before all th’ wurruld, an’ no man can say ought agin ayether their honor or their integrity,’ says he. ‘Th’ man that’s throwin’ that at ye,’ says me uncle Mike, ’stole a saw fr’m me in th’ year sivinty-five.’ Felix paid no attintion to me uncle Mike, but wint on, ‘We point proudly to th’ motto, “Dooley aboo Dooley f’river."’ ‘Th’ saw aboo,’ says me uncle Mike. ‘Th’ Dooleys,’ says Felix, ‘stood beside Red Hugh O’Neill; an’, whin he cut aff his hand, ’ ‘He didn’t cut it off with anny wan else’s saw,’ says me uncle Mike. ‘They’se an old sayin’,’ wint on Felix. ‘An’ ol’ saw,’ says me uncle Mike. ’But ‘twas new whin ye stole it.’

“‘Now look here,’ says Aloysius, ’this thing has gone far enough. ’Tis an outrage that this here man shud come here f’r to insult th’ head iv th’ fam’ly.’ ‘Th’ head iv what fam’ly?’ says Morgan Dooley, jumpin’ up as hot as fire. ‘I’m th’ head iv th’ fam’ly,’ he says, ’be right iv histhry.’ ‘Ye’re an ol’ cow,’ says me uncle Mike. ‘Th’ back iv me hand an’ th’ sowl iv me fût to all iv ye,’ he says. ‘I quit ye,’ he says. ‘Ye’re all livin’ here undher assumed names’; an’ he wint out, followed be Morgan Dooley with a chair in each hand.

“Well, they wasn’t two Dooleys in th’ hall’d speak whin th’ meetin’ broke up; an’ th’ Lord knows, but I don’t to this day, who’s th’ head iv th’ Dooley fam’ly. All I know is that I had wan th’ nex’ mornin’.”