ON PRAYERS FOR VICTORY
by Finley Peter Dunne
It looks to me," said Mr. Dooley, "as though me frind Mack'd got tired iv th' Sthrateejy Board, an' was goin' to lave th' war to th' men in black."
"How's that?" asked Mr. Hennessy, who has at best but a clouded view of public affairs.
"Well," said Mr. Dooley, "while th' sthrateejans have been wearin' out their jeans on cracker-boxes in Wash'n'ton, they'se been goin' on th' mos' deadly conflict iver heerd tell iv between th' pow'rful preachin' navies iv th' two counthries. Manila is nawthin' at all to th' scenes iv carnage an' slaughter, as Hogan says, that's been brought about be these desthroyers. Th' Spanyards fired th' openin' gun whin th' bishop iv Cades, a pow'rful turreted monitor (ol' style), attackted us with both for'ard guns, an' sint a storm iv brimstone an' hell into us. But th' victhry was not f'r long with th' hated Spanyard. He was answered be our whole fleet iv preachers. Thin he was jined be th' bishop iv Barsaloona an' th' bishop iv Mahdrid an' th' bishop iv Havana, all battle-ships iv th' first class, followed be a fleet iv cruisers r-runnin' all th' way fr'm a full-ar-rmored vicar gin'ral to a protected parish priest. To meet thim, we sint th' bishop iv New York, th' bishop iv Philadelphia, th' bishop iv Baltimore, an' th' bishop iv Chicago, accompanied be a flyin' squadhron iv Methodists, three Presbyteryan monitors, a fleet iv Baptist submarine desthroyers, an' a formidable array iv Universalist an' Unitaryan torpedo boats, with a Jew r-ram. Manetime th' bishop iv Manila had fired a solid prayer, weighin' a ton, at San Francisco; an' a masked batthry iv Congregationalists replied, inflictin' severe damage. Our Atlantic fleet is now sarchin' f'r th' inimy, an' the bishop iv New York is blockadin' th' bishop iv Sandago de Cuba; an' they'se been an exchange iv prayers between th' bishop iv Baltimore an' th' bishop iv Havana without much damage.
"Th' Lord knows how it'll come out. First wan side prays that th' wrath iv Hiven'll descind on th' other, an' thin th' other side returns th' compliment with inthrest. Th' Spanish bishop says we're a lot iv murdherin', irreligious thieves, an' ought to be swept fr'm th' face iv th' earth. We say his people ar-re th' same, an' manny iv thim. He wishes Hivin to sink our ships an' desthroy our men; an' we hope he'll injye th' same gr-reat blessin'. We have a shade th' best iv him, f'r his fleets ar-re all iv th' same class an' ol' style, an' we have some iv th' most modhern prayin' machines in the warruld; but he prays har-rd, an' 'tis no aisy wurruk to silence him."
"What d'ye think about it?" asked Mr. Hennessy.
"Well," said Mr. Dooley, "I dinnaw jus' what to think iv it. Me own idee is that war is not a matther iv prayers so much as a matther iv punchin'; an' th' on'y place a prayer book stops a bullet is in th' story books. 'Tis like what Father Kelly said. Three weeks ago las' Sundah he met Hogan; an' Hogan, wantin' to be smart, ast him if he'd offered up prayers f'r th' success iv th' cause. 'Faith, I did not,' says th' good man. 'I was in too much iv a hurry to get away.' 'What was th' matther?' ast Hogan. 'I had me uniform to brush up an' me soord to polish,' says Father Kelly. 'I am goin' with th' rig'mint to-morrah,' he says; an' he says, 'If ye hear iv me waitin' to pray,' he says, 'anny time they'se a call f'r me,' he says, 'to be in a fight,' he says, 'ye may conclude,' he says, 'that I've lost me mind, an' won't be back to me parish,' he says. 'Hogan,' he says, 'I'll go into th' battle with a prayer book in wan hand an' a soord in th' other,' he says; ' n,' if th' wurruk calls f'r two hands, 'tis not th' soord I'll dhrop,' he says. 'Don't ye believe in prayer?' says Hogan. 'I do,' says th' good man; 'but,' he says, 'a healthy person ought,' he says, 'to be ashamed,' he says, 'to ask f'r help in a fight,' he says."
"That's th' way I look at it," said Mr. Hennessy. "When 'tis an aven thing in th' prayin', may th' best man win."
"Ye're r-right, Hinnissy," said Mr. Dooley, warmly. "Ye're r-right. An' th' best man will win."