And, mindful of the two Bishops sweating over their hot curries on that hot afternoon, Alec leaned over the table and said: "you were going to tell us, when Connor here had his funny turn, about the guns and how you justify selling armaments to the different Fleets and how you weren't bringing Death and Destruction into this place, yes?" and Paddy and Danny glanced at each other and lowered their voices, not that the Bishops could have heard them anyway, over their wheezes and sharp intakes of breath; "well," said Paddy: "it was like this – first, I created a little Space/Time loop and took an ass and cart from here to Woolwich Arsenal in 1930, where I'd already made the acquaintance of an Irishman who worked there – in the transport department – and he supplied me with ten crates of Lee-Enfields, £20 cash in hand and no questions asked, and I brought them back here, 20 rifles in each, equals 200 rifles; I did that fifty times in a week, which brought us ten thousand rifles, while only 200 left Woolwich, I got the same crates every time; what a wheeze! 200 bought and paid for and we got ten thousand! but, and here's the best part, half a million rounds of rubber bullets arrived here, but only ten thousand left Woolwich – now ain't that a perfect wheeze; no-body's going to get killed by rubber bullets, unless they're really unlucky, and the Fleets are armed with rifles which aren't going to be around for over a hundred years! no spare parts, no machine-tools to make spare parts, and ammunition that might raise a bruise but ain't gonna kill nobody!" and he sat back in his chair and laughed till the tears ran down his face and Alec and Connor stared at him with the amazement of chickens who'd just got their heads chopped off! the gall, the ingenuity of his scheme, it was quite uncommon and staggering in it's execution: "but how," asked Alec: "did you not bump into yourself in all that whizzing about in your pneumatic tubes?" and Paddy grinned smugly: "if Einstein and Stephen Hawking were here, they'd explain it better than me, but it was all to do with the elliptical flow of the Continuum, or at least that was what they agreed over a jug of punch one rowdy night in The Holy Ground and I proved it! oh, boy. that was some night we had, wasn't it Danny?" and Danny wiped the sweat from his brow: "aye, until they sang that rude song and got us all chucked out; I never realised what a fine, clear, singing voice old Ein had until then; but the landlord wasn't having it, not him: what was it he roared? 'I don't give two farts for who your friends are, or whatever Noble Prizes they might have won, this is a Republican House, you know the House Rules: No Religion, No Politics, No Aristocracy and No Pornography, and that was us, out on our arses in the rain, Paddy and me and old Ein and Stevie! that was a bit of a dampener, but at least we had found out how to do it in theory, and it worked a treat!" at which Paddy agreed heartily: "we paid my contact £20 and sold the goods for £20,000 – what a profit margin!" and he slapped his thigh like a Principal Boy and signalled to the waiter for four more drinks; and after they'd arrived, great foaming tankards, Paddy leaned in close, his tone suddenly serious: "but here's our problem, lads – someone's lips have been flapping, I think it was that Mcgonagall fella, fancies himself as a poet, but it's sheer doggerel if ye ask me, onyway, the United Irishmen have got wind of it and asked us to supply them with 20,000 rifles and two million rounds of real ammunition for their rising, I mean Bejasus, they'd wipe out the British Army here in two days and that would bring in a fuckin Desert Storm, we'd be set back years and so would their own cause, you know what England's like – they've lost America but they won't fuckn lose Ireland, fer Chrissake! they'd use the British Navy to transport the entire population to Australia and replace them with the unemployed of Birmingham and Bathgate, Bognor Regis and Bermondsey – can you imagine Ireland without any Irish? we can thole a lot of hard times, but we canna thole that! it would just be a Little Blighty by the Sea! and that's the last thing we want, but Napper Tandy's been putting the squeeze on us and we need someone educated, untainted and authoritative to address them, Alec, you see where I'm going with this?" but before Alec had a chance to reply, the doors were swept open and a covey of obese, bareboned, sprightly, spraddle-gaited, grave and giggling rather elderly men bustled, staggered, traipsed, wandered and meandered in: "ye Gods!" cried Danny: "they must be having their Convocation here – see – bald Bishop Burton from Londonderry, Bishop Monkton from Galway, that dowfart, and Bishop Itchington from Tipperary, Bishop Sutton from Cork, Bishop Snympton from Thurles, he's a nincompoop, Bishop Frome from Wexford, and even ould Bishop Wilton from Macgillycuddy Reeks, talk about Rotten and Pocket Boroughs, there's only Wilton and his Housekeeper within 20 miles of the Cathedral, if ye can call it one – it's a thatched cottage with one bedroom and an altar on the mantelpiece, but she's a right goer, is Mary MacDelaine, and that's Gospel from one who's received the host in her bed and yer maun himself standin at the head of it, in his vestments, cryin "Hail Mary, Hail Mary!" while she shouts: "Punish me Lord, for I have sinned – oh! oh! deeper, Jasus, plunge it deeper, you wit de red hot poker!" and he sat back, his face crimson with the memory, "mind I was a young jackanapes at the time, up for anything, and up anything too in them days, but I'm older and wiser now and lay off the mad women altogether!"