Finley Peter Dunne: A great nation at war (in the vernacular)
Finley Peter Dunne
Member of the Anti-Imperialist League
From Mr. Dooley in Peace and in War (1898)
On War Preparations
“Well,” Mr. Hennessy asked, “how goes th’ war?”
“Splendid, thank ye,” said Mr. Dooley. “Fine, fine. It makes me hear-rt throb with pride that I’m a citizen iv th’ Sixth Wa-ard.”
“Has th’ ar-rmy started f’r Cuba yet?”
“Wan ar-rmy, says ye? Twinty! Las’ Choosdah an advance ar-rmy iv wan hundherd an’ twinty thousand men landed fr’m th’ Gussie, with tin thousand cannons hurlin’ projick-tyles weighin’ eight hundherd pounds sivinteen miles. Winsdah night a second ar-rmy iv injineers, miners, plumbers, an’ lawn tinnis experts, numberin’ in all four hundherd an’ eighty thousand men, ar-rmed with death-dealin’ canned goods, was hurried to Havana to storm th’ city.
“Thursdah mornin’ three thousand full rigimints iv r-rough r-riders swum their hor-rses acrost to Matoonzas, an’ afther a spirited battle captured th’ Rainy Christiny golf links, two up an’ hell to play, an’ will hold thim again all comers. Th’ same afthernoon th’ reg’lar cavalry, con-sistin’ iv four hundherd an’ eight thousan’ well-mounted men, was loaded aboord th’ tug Lucy J., and departed on their earned iv death amidst th’ cheers iv eight millyon sojers left behind at Chickamaha. These cav’lry’ll co-operate with Commodore Schlow; an’ whin he desthroys th’ Spanish fleet, as he does ivry Sundah an’ holy day except in Lent, an’ finds out where they ar-re an’ desthroys thim, afther batterin’ down th’ forts where they ar-re con-cealed so that he can’t see thim, but thinks they ar-re on their way f’r to fight Cousin George Dooley, th’ cav’lry will make a dash back to Tampa, where Gin’ral Miles is preparin’ to desthroy th’ Spanish at wan blow,–an’ he’s th’ boy to blow.
“The gin’ral arrived th’ other day, fully prepared f’r th’ bloody wurruk iv war. He had his intire fam’ly with him. He r-rode recklessly into camp, mounted on a superb specyal ca-ar. As himsilf an’ Uncle Mike Miles, an’ Cousin Hennery Miles, an’ Master Miles, aged eight years, dismounted fr’m th’ specyal train, they were received with wild cheers be eight millyon iv th’ bravest sojers that iver give up their lives f’r their counthry. Th’ press cinchorship is so pow’rful that no news is allowed to go out; but I have it fr’m th’ specyal corryspondint iv Mesilf, Clancy th’ Butcher, Mike Casey, an’ th’ City Direchtry that Gin’ral Miles instantly repaired himsilf to th’ hotel, where he made his plans f’r cr-rushin’ th’ Spanyards at wan blow. He will equip th’ ar-rmy with blow-guns at wanst. His uniforms ar-re comin’ down in specyal steel protected bullyon trains fr’m th’ mint, where they’ve been kept f’r a year. He has ordhered out th’ gold resarve f’r to equip his staff, numberin’ eight thousan’ men, manny iv whom ar-re clubmen; an’, as soon as he can have his pitchers took, he will cr-rush th’ Spanish with wan blow. Th’ purpose iv th’ gin’ral is to permit no delay. Decisive action is demanded be th’ people. An’, whin th’ hot air masheens has been sint to th’ front, Gin’ral Miles will strike wan blow that’ll be th’ damdest blow since th’ year iv th’ big wind in Ireland.
“Iv coorse, they’se dissinsions in th’ cabinet; but they don’t amount to nawthin’. Th’ Sicrety iv War is in favor iv sawin’ th’ Spanish ar-rmy into two-be-four joists. Th’ Sicrety iv th’ Three-asury has a scheme f’r roonin’ thim be lindin’ thim money. Th’ Sicrety iv th’ Navy wants to sue thim befure th’ Mattsachusetts Supreme Coort. I’ve heerd that th’ Prisident is arrangin’ a knee dhrill, with th’ idee iv prayin’ th’ villyans to th’ divvil. But these diff’rences don’t count. We’re all wan people, an’ we look to Gin’ral Miles to desthroy th’ Spanish with wan blow. Whin it comes, trees will be lifted out be th’ roots. Morro Castle’ll cave in, an’ th’ air’ll be full iv Spanish whiskers. A long blow, a sthrong blow, an’ a blow all together.”
“We’re a gr-reat people,” said Mr. Hennessy, earnestly.
“We ar-re,” said Mr. Dooley. “We ar-re that. An’ th’ best iv it is, we know we ar-re.”