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The Golden Judge
written by "Gordon, Nathaniel"
...ecide such matters for themselves, without the motherly interference of London." Dublin agreed in principle to toss, but the wrangling over conditions and exceptions boiled up into the greatest inter-Irish quarreling of twenty years. It was still raging when General O'Reilly flew into the Vale of Kashmir with a broad smile and the Golden Judge. Again the great coin glittered high in the air while none other than Nehru himself called out, tensely: "Heads!" It fell "Tails." "So be it!" Nehru said calmly, shaking hands with the Governor-General of Pakistan. "Well, general," Nehru said, turning to O'Reilly with a smile, "are you satisfied now? I think we've proved we're a sporting people. So have the Chinese, and the Jews and the Arabs. But what about your own folk, the Irish? From what I read, their sporting qualities seem to be highly overrated. I'd say they'd never gamble but on a sure thing." The general's face went red at the insult, and so, a day later, did the collective face of all Irishmen, North and South. For a while there was aghast silence from the Emerald Isle, a silence sullen and embarrassed. And then a great rumbling roar of indignation. "Mr. Speaker!" cried a member of the Dail in Dublin. "Are the Irish people, who honor great gamblers only a little less than great poets, to be outdone by dark-skinned heathen? Mr. Speaker, I say no!" The following morning, the government of Eire formally offered to toss for the Six Lost Counties and, if the coin fell contrary, to say no more about them forever. Belfast agreed that same afternoon, and the whole island went wild with excitement. Hardly any Irishman failed to place some kind of side bet on the outcome, and stakes were laid that day that would be spoken of with prideful awe for generations to come. The remark of a Limerick drayman was widely quoted. "There's not a man of us here," he commented in the course of a game of darts at the Sword and Shamrock, "but ...

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