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Title: Valentine M'Clutchy, The Irish Agent - The Works of William Carleton, Volume Two
Author: Carleton, William
Language: English
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VALENTINE M’CLUTCHY,

THE IRISH AGENT.


By William Carleton



PREFACE


It was not my intention to have written any Preface to this book, but
to have allowed it simply to speak for itself. As it is very
likely, however, that both it and the motives of its author may be
misrepresented by bigoted or venal pens, I think it necessary to
introduce it to the reader by a few brief observations. In the first
place, then, I beg to say, that the work presents phases of Irish life
and manners that have never been given to the public before by any other
writer upon the same subject. So far, therefore, the book is a perfectly
new book--not only to the Irish people, but also to the English
and Scotch. I know not whether the authenticity of the facts and
descriptions contained in it may be called in question; but this I do
know, that there is not an honest man, on either side, who has lived in
the north of Ireland, and reached the term of fifty years, who will not
recognize the conduct and language of the northern Orangemen as just,
truthful, and not one whit exaggerated. To our friends across the
Channel it is only necessary to say, that I was born in one of the most
Orange counties in Ireland (Tyrone)--that the violence and licentious
abuses of these armed civilians were perpetrated before my eyes--and
that the sounds of their outrages may be said still to ring in my ears.

I have written many works upon Irish life, and up to the present day
the man has never lived who could lay his finger upon any passage of my
writings, and say “that is false.” I cannot, however, avoid remarking
here, that within the last few years, a more enlarged knowledge of life,
and a more matured intercourse with society, have enabled me to overcome
many absurd prejudices with which I was imbued. Without compromising,
however, the _truth or integrity_ of any portion of my writings, I am
willing to admit, which I do frankly, and without hesitation, that I
published in my early works passages which were not calculated to do
any earthly good; but, on the contrary, to give unnecessary offence to a
great number of my countrymen. It is due to myself to state this, and to
say, that in the last edition of my works I have left as many of these
passages out as I readily could, without diminishing the interest, or
disturbing the narrative.

_A fortiori_, then, this book may be considered as full of truth and
fidelity as any I have ever written: and I must say, that in writing
it I have changed no principle whatsoever. I am a liberal Conservative,
and, I trust, a rational one; but I am not, nor ever was, an Orangeman;
neither can I endure their exclusive and arrogant assumption of loyalty,
nor the outrages which it has generated. In what portion of my former
writings, for instance, did I ever publish a line in their favor, or in
favor of any secret and illegal confederacy?

Again, with regard to the Landlords and Agents, have I not written a
tale called the “Poor Scholar,” and another called “Tubber Derg”? in
both of which their corruptions and oppressions are exposed. Let it not
be mistaken. The two great curses of Ireland are bad Landlords and bad
Agents, and in nineteen cases out of every twenty, the origin of the
crime lies with the Landlord or Agent, instead of the tenant.

With respect to the Established Church of forty years ago, if there is
any man living who asserts that I have not _under-drawn_ her, rather
than otherwise, he is less intimate with truth than I could wish. On
this subject I challenge and defy inquiry. I grant you she is much
changed for the better now; but yet there is much to be done in her
still. It is true Irishmen at present get Mitres, a fact which was
unknown forty years ago. We have now more Evangelicism, and consequently
more sleekness and hypocrisy, more external decorum, and, I would also
trust, more internal spirituality. We have now many eminent and pious
Prelates in the Church, whose admirable example is enough even to shame
the Clergymen under them into a sense of their duty. It is to be wished
that we had many more such as they, for they are wanted. The Irish
Evangelical party are certainly very numerous, and they must pardon me
a slight anachronism or two regarding them, concerning what has been
termed the Modern Reformation in these volumes. Are those who compose
this same party, by the way, acquainted with their own origin? If not, I
will tell them. They were begotten by the active spirit of the Church
of Rome, upon their own establishment, when she was asleep; so that they
owe their very existence to those whom they look upon as their enemies:
and if it were only for this reason alone, there ought to be more
peace between them. In England the same spirit has effected a similar
seduction on that Establishment, but with this difference, that the
Puseyites are a much more obedient and dutiful progeny than the Irish
Evangelicals--inasmuch as they have the grace to acknowledge the
relationship.

This book was written to exhibit a useful moral to the country. It will
startle, I humbly trust, many a hard-hearted Landlord and flagitious
Agent into a perception of their duty, and it will show the negligent
and reckless Absentee how those from whose toils and struggles he
derives his support, are oppressed, and fleeced, and trampled on in his
name.

It will also teach the violent and bigoted Conservative--or, in other
words, the man who _still_ inherits the Orange sentiments of past
times--a lesson that he ought not to forget. It will also test the whole
spirit of modern Conservatism, and its liberality. If there be at the
press, or anywhere else, a malignant bigot, with great rancor and little
honesty, it is very likely he will attack my book; and this, of course,
he is at liberty to do. I deny, however, that modern Conservatism is
capable of adopting or cherishing the outrages which disgraced the
Orangemen of forty years ago, or even of a later period. And for this
reason I am confident that the Conservative Press of Ireland will
not only sustain me, but fight my battles, if I shall be ungenerously
attacked. Let them look upon these pictures, and if it ever should
happen that arms and irresponsible power shall be entrusted to them,
perhaps the recollection of their truth may teach them a lesson of
forbearance and humanity toward those that differ from them in creed,
that may be of important service to our common country. If so, I
shall have rendered a service to that country, which, as is usual, may
probably be recognized as valuable, when perhaps my bones are mouldering
in the clay, and my ear insensible to all such acknowledgments.

As for, myself, I have been so completely sickened by the bigoted
on each side, that I have come to the determination, as every honest
Irishman ought, of knowing no party but my country, and of devoting such
talents as God has given me, to the promotion of her general interests,
and the happiness of her whole people.

Dublin, December 24, 1844.



CHAPTER I.--An Irish Pair and Spoileen Tent

--A Marriage Proposal--An Under Agent--An Old Irish Squire and Union
Lord.


The town of Castle Cumber it is not our intention to describe at
more length than simply to say, that it consists of two long streets,
intersecting each other, and two or three lanes of cabins--many of them
mud ones--that stretch out of it on each side at right angles. This
street, and these straggling appendages, together with a Church, a
Prison, a Court-house, a Catholic chapel, a few shops, and half a
dozen public houses, present to the spectator all the features that are
generally necessary for the description of that class of remote country
towns of which we write. Indeed, with the exception of an ancient Stone
Cross, that stands in the middle of the street, and a Fair green, as
it is termed, or common, where its two half-yearly fairs are held, and
which lies at the west end of it, there is little or nothing else to be
added. The fair I particularly mention, because on the day on which the
circumstances I am about to describe occurred, a fair was held in the
town, and upon the green in question. The month was December--the day
stormy and unpropitious. There had been a deep snow and hard frost
for nearly three weeks before; but now the aspect of the white earth
contrasted wildly with the large masses of black clouds which hung
motionless in the air, and cast a dark and gloomy spirit not only over
the appearance of inanimate nature, but into the heart of man himself.

About noon, just when the whole fair had been assembled, the storm
commenced with wind, sleet, and rain. Never was a more striking or
unexpected change produced. Women tucked up, nearly to the knees, their
garments, soaked with wet, clinging to their bodies and limbs, as if
a part of themselves--men drenched and buttoned up to the chin--all
splashing through the slippery streets, their shoes spouting with
snow-broth--the falling of tents--the shouting against the loudness
of the storm, in order to be heard--the bleating of sheep, lowing of
cattle, the deafening and wild hum of confused noises--all, when added
to the roaring of the sweeping blast, the merciless pelting of the rain,
and the inclement character of the whole day, presented a scene that
was tempestuous and desolate beyond belief. Age, decrepid and
shivering--youth, benumbed and stiffened with cold--rich and poor,
man and woman, all had evidently but one object in view, and that was
shelter.

Love, charity, amusement, business, were all either disappointed or
forced to suspend their operations, at least for the present. Every
one ran or walked as quickly as possible, with the exception of some
forenoon drunkard, who staggered along at his ease, with an eye half
indolent and half stupid, careless, if not unconscious of the wild
uproar, both elemental and otherwise, by which he was surrounded.

Nay, the very beggars and impostors--to whom, in general, severe
weather on such occasions is a godsend, as it presents them to their
fellow-creatures in a more pitiable aspect--were glad to disperse. In
truth, the effect of the storm upon them was perfectly miraculous.
Many a poor creature, blind from birth or infancy, was gifted with, or
restored to excellent sight; the maimed were suddenly cured--the deaf
made to hear--the dumb to speak--and the study baccagh, or cripple,
bounded away, at the rate of six miles an hour, cursing the whole thing
as a bad spec--a dead failure.

Solemn assignations of long promise, rustic courtships, and earnest
match-makings, were all knocked up, unless in case of those who availed
themselves of the early part of the day. Time and place, in fact, were
completely forgotten by the parties, each being anxious only to secure
the nearest and most commodious shelter. Nay, though ashamed to write
it, we are bound to confess that some of our countrymen were ungallant
enough, on meeting with their sweethearts, fairly to give them the
slip, or only to recognize them with a kind of dreary and equivocal
salutation, that might be termed a cross between a wink and a shiver.
Others, however, gallantly and magnanimously set the tempest at
defiance, or blessed their stars for sending them an opportunity of
sitting so close to their fair inamoratas, in order that their loving
pressure might, in some degree, aided by a glass of warm punch,
compensate the sweet creatures for the unexpected drenching they had
got.

It has been well observed, that there is no class of life in which
instances of great virtue and fortitude may not be found; and the
Justness of the apothegm was fully corroborated here. Cold, bitter and
tempestuous and terrible as was the day, amidst rain, wind, sleet, and
hail, there might be seen, in a thoroughfare about the centre of the
town, a cripple, apparently paralytic from the middle down, seated upon
the naked street, his legs stretched out before him, hirpling onward; by
alternately twisting his miserable body from right to left; while, as
if the softer sex were not to be surpassed in feats of hardihood or
heroism, a tattered creature, in the shape of woman, without cap, shoe,
or stocking, accompanied by two naked and shivering children, whose
artificial lamentations were now lost in those of nature, proceeded up
the street, in the very teeth of the beating tempest, attempting to sing
some dismal ditty, with a voice which resembled the imagined shriekings
of a ghoul, more than the accents of a human being. These two were the
only individuals who, in the true spirit of hardened imposture, braved
all the fury of the elements in carrying out their principles--so true
is it, that a rogue will often advance farther in the pursuit of a
knavish object, than an honest man will in the attainment of a just one.
To them may be added the poor fool of the town, Joe Lockhart, who, from
his childhood, was known to be indifferent to all changes of weather,
and who now, elated by the festive spirit of a fair day, moved about
from place to place, without hat or shoe--neither of which he ever
wore--just with as much indifference as if it had been a day in the
month of June.

If the inclemency of the day, however, was injurious to the general
transaction of business, there was one class to whose interests it amply
contributed--I mean the publicans, and such as opened _shebeen_ houses,
or erected refreshment tents for the occasion. In a great portion
of Ireland there are to be found, in all fairs, what the people term
_spoileen_ tents--that is, tents in which fresh mutton is boiled, and
sold out, with bread and soup, to all customers. I know not how it
happens; but be the motive or cause what it may, scarcely any one ever
goes into a spoileen tent, unless in a mood of mirth and jocularity. To
eat spoileen seriously, would be as rare a sight as to witness a wife
dancing on her husband’s coffin. It is very difficult, indeed,
to ascertain the reason why the eating of fresh mutton in such
circumstances is always associated with a spirit of strong ridicule and
humor. At all events, nothing can exceed the mirth that is always to be
found among the parties who frequent such tents. Fun, laughter, jest,
banter, attack, and repartee fly about in all directions, and the only
sounds heard are those of light-hearted noise and enjoyment.

Perhaps if the cause of this were closely traced, it might be found
to consist in a sense of shame, which Paddy good humoredly attempts
to laugh away. It is well known that the great body of the people pass
through life, without ever tasting beef or mutton--a, circumstance which
every one acquainted with the country knows to be true. It is also a
fact, that nineteen out of every twenty who go in to eat spoileen, are
actuated more by curiosity than hunger, inasmuch as they consist of such
persons as have never tasted it before. This, therefore, being generally
known, and each possessing latent consciousness of its truth, it is
considered best to take the matter in good humor, and escape the shame
of the thing, together with the poverty it implies, by turning it into
ridicule and jest. This indeed, is pretty evident, from the nature
of the spoileen keeper’s observations on being paid, which is
usually--“Thank you, Barney; you may now considher yourself a
gintleman;” or if a female--“Long life to you, Bridget; you may now go
into high life any time.”

It is unnecessary to say, that on the day in question, the spoileen
tents were crowded to suffocation. In general these are pretty large,
sometimes one, occasionally two fires being kept in each; over these,
placed upon three large stones, or suspended from three poles, united
at top, is the pot or pots in which the spoileen is boiled; whilst
patiently in a corner of the tent, stand the poor invalid sheep, that
are doomed, as necessity may require, to furnish forth this humorous
entertainment.

Truth to tell, there are many reasons why this feast is a comic one.
In the first place, the description of mutton which they get is badly
calculated to prejudice honest Paddy in favor of that food in general,
it being’ well known that in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, the
sacrifice falls upon disease, poverty, and extreme old age; or, if there
be any manifestation of humanity in the selection, it is--that while the
tenderer sex is spared, the male one is in general certain to be made
the victim, but never unless when he has been known to reach a most
patriarchal length of years. Then the suddenness of the act which
converts a portion of the venerable patriarch into a component part of
honest Paddy, is equally remarkable; for it generally happens that the
animal now standing in a corner of the tent, will in about half an
hour be undergoing the process of assimilation in his (Paddy’s) gastric
region. The elastic quality of the meat is indeed extraordinary, and
such as, with the knowledge of that fact, does sometimes render
Paddy’s treat of spoileen to his sweetheart an act of very questionable
gallantry. Be this as it may, there is scarcely anything in life richer
than to witness a tent of spoileen eaters in full operation. Tugging,
pulling, dragging, tearing, swinging of the head from side to side, want
of success, loss of temper, fatigue of jaw, recovery of good humor, and
the wolfish rally, mingled with mock curses, loud laughter, shouting and
singing, all going on together, are the ordinary characteristics of this
most original banquet.

About the centre of the town stood one of those houses of entertainment
which holds rank in such towns as a second rate inn. On the day in
question it was painfully overcrowded, and such was the hubbub of
loud talk, laughter, singing, roaring, clattering of pewter pots, and
thumping of tables, that it was almost impossible to hear or understand
anything in the shape of conversation. To this, however, there was one
exception. A small closet simply large enough to hold a table, and two
short forms, opened from a room above stairs looking into the stable
yard. In this there was a good fire, at which sat two men, being, with
a bed and small table, nearly as many as it was capable of holding with
ease.

One of these was a stout, broad-shouldered person, a good deal
knock-kneed, remarkably sallow in the complexion, with brows black
and beetling. He squinted, too, with one eye, and what between this
circumstance, a remarkably sharp but hooked nose, and the lowering
brows aforesaid, there was altogether about him a singular expression of
acuteness and malignity. In every sense he was a person against whom
you would feel disposed to guard yourself, whether in the ordinary
intercourse of life and its transactions, or still more in the secret
workings of the darker and more vindictive passions. He was what they
call a down-looking man; that is, one who in conversation could never
look you straight in the face, which fact, together with a habit of
quivering observable in his upper lip, when any way agitated, gave
unquestionable proof that his cowardice was equal to his malignity, as
his treachery was to both. His age might be about fifty, or, perhaps
beyond it.

The other was a tall man, well featured, of a clear fresh complexion,
a fine blue eye, and altogether, a kind, benevolent expression of
countenance. He had been rather stout, but not robust, and might,
perhaps, at the time we write of, be about the same age as his
companion. He was evidently a man of respectability, well dressed, not
badly educated, and on the present occasion wore good broadcloth and
top boots. The contrast between him and the other, was in nothing more
striking than the honest, joyous spirit of his laughter, which rang
clearly and mellowly on your ear, leaving behind it an expression of
candor, light-heartedness, and good nature, that could not be mistaken.
“It’s idle talk to speak about going such a day as this,” observed the
beetle-browed man, who stirred up the fire with something that passed
for a poker, in reply; “and to tell you the truth, upon my credit, Mr.
M’Loughlin, I’m not sorry that we happened to meet. You’re a man I’ve
a sincere regard for, and always had--and on that account--well have
something more to drink.” So saying, he stamped upon the floor, which,
was exactly over the bar, in order that some one might attend them with
the liquor.

“I’m obliged to you, Val,” replied his companion dryly, “for your good
opinion of me; but at the same time, God forbid that I should ever
deserve it--eh? ha, ha, ha. Well, well, let us have some drink, as you
say, at all events; only it must be at my expense as well as the rest.
Well, sure enough, you were the devil’s whip-thong in your day, and
if you haven’t repented yet, all I can say is, there is little time to
lose, if you wish to have a bright look up at the last day”--

“Ha, ha, go on, Mr. M’Loughlin, we all know you, the same pleasant
fellow you ever were, and upon my credit, as good a companion as any
one could sit with. All I wish is that we had here more of the family on
both sides, that the boys and girls might have something to whisper to
one another.”

“I didn’t care we had, Val, my boy; but how on earth will we get home?
Indeed such a terrible day I’ve seldom seen, for many years.”

“Faith, it’s good to have a dry roof over our heads, and a warm fire
before us, at any rate. There’s many a poor half-drowned devil in the
fair, would give a trifle to change places with us; there is, upon my
credit.”

In a few minutes the refreshments came in, much to the satisfaction
of the parties, who felt a strong sense of comfort, on contrasting the
warmth of their snug little room with the uproar of the storm that raged
without, and spent its fury upon the cold, bleak, and almost deserted
streets.

“I am glad, indeed, Mr. M’Loughlin,” continued his companion, “that
I happened to meet with you to-day--you and I are now neighbors, and
surely we ought to live like neighbors.”

“Well,” replied M’Loughlin dryly, “and don’t we do so? You haven’t found
me troublesome as a neighbor, have you? Eh, Val, my man?”

“No,” said the other, “certainly I have--upon my credit I haven’t, an’
that’s what I complain of; neither you nor your family associate with me
or mine.”

“Tut, Val, man,” replied M’Loughlin, still in the same dry, ironical
tone as before, “surely it’s not long since you came to march us. It’s
only two years and a half since you wormed out the O’Hagans, then the
farm lay near two years idle--ay--why, man, you’re not four months our
neighbor yet.”

“No--not all out; still, Mr. M’Loughlin, somehow you don’t treat me or
my family as neighbors. If you have to borrow anything, no matter what
it is, you never come to me for it. It was only the other day that you
wanted a rope to pull that breeding mare of yours out of the drain--and
yet you sent past me near half a mile, up to Widow Lenehan’s to borrow
it.”

“Heavens pity you, Val, for it’s a hard case; but every one has their
troubles, and it seems you are not without your own, poor man--eh--ha!
ha! ha!--Well, never mind, my friend; you’re better off now for all
that, than when you were only a process-server on the estate; however,
I’ll tell you what, Val the Vulture--you see I can be neighborly
sometimes--just let me know whenever you stand in need of a rope--mark,
I don’t say whenever you deserve it--and may I never taste worse liquor
than this, but you shall have it with right good will, hoping still that
you’ll make a proper use of it--ha! ha! ha! Come, man, in the mean time
take your liquor, an’ don’t look as if you’d eat me without salt; for I
tell you if you tried it, you’d find Brian M’Loughlin a tougher morsel
than you imagine.”

“If anybody else spoke to me in the style you do, Brian, I’d not be apt
to overlook it; upon my credit and reputation I would not.”

“No, but you’d look round it may be, ha! ha! ha! but go on, Vulture, who
minds what I say?”

“Nobody, to be sure, because you make one laugh whether they will or
not.”

“Faith, Vulture dear, and that’s what nobody can tax you with; or if
you do, it’s on the wrong side of the mouth you do it--and they say that
same is but indifferent mirth, Val.”

“I wish, Brian, you would sometimes speak seriously, and besides, you’re
always hard, too hard, upon me. Anything I did harshly, it was always in
the discharge of my duty.”

“Never mind, Val, the fewer of those old sores you rip up, the better
for yourself--I’m not going to put you through your catechism about
them. If you’re wise, let byegones be byegones; take that advice from
me. Whatever tricks you may have practised, you’re now a wealthy man,
and for the same reason the world will help you forget them, if you keep
your toe in your pump.”

“I _am_ a wealthy man, and can set the world at defiance, if it goes to
that; yes, Brian, a wealthier man than the world thinks--and as I said,
I defy it.”

“Faith, and you needn’t, for the world won’t put you to that trouble, at
least a great part of it, if you were ten times the vulture you are, so
long as you have a full purse. Eh, do you perceive me? ha! ha! ha!”

“Well, damn the devil, heaven pardon me for swearing, for it’s a thing I
hate----”

“----And yet, many a fat oath you’ve bolted in your time. Now on the
nick of your conscience, Val darling, how many Bibles did you wear out,
by a long and honest course of hard swearing?--eh--ha! ha! ha!”

“Ha! ha! ha! Brian, I see there is little use in speaking to you, or
being angry with you; you are a devilish pleasant hearty fellow, only
something a little too rough about the tongue.”

“Never mind, Val, by all accounts it would be easy to reckon them; but
seriously, is it true that the lower joint of your right thumb is horny,
in consequence of having caught the character of your conscience from
having kissed it so often?”

“Go on, Brian, go on; to be sure it is; they may say what they like--I
am not depending upon them, and I care little. But now, Brian, there
is one thing I will say, and I have long wished for an opportunity of
saying it.”

“That’s my bully, out with it; don’t be dashed, Val, you’ll get over
your modesty; upon my credit you will--ha! ha! ha!”

“D--n it, you can’t be serious for a minute; but no matter, I will
out with it--here’s your health and fireside, in the mean time!” Brian
merely nodded in reply, but said nothing. “Now you know, Brian, your
farm and mine lie very snugly beside one another; observe that that’s
what I begin with.”

“Very good.”

“Again, your family and mine live very close to one another, too.”

“Very good.”

“Now, what if part of the farms, and part of the families were to become
united, and get spliced together, eh?”

“Very good, very good.”

“Well, but do you really think so, Brian?”

“Go on, if you please, and let us hear more of it; state your case, as
you say at the sessions.”

“Well, then, there’s your daughter Mary, a handsome girl, and, by all
accounts, as good as she is handsome--and there’s my son Phil, who,
excepting the cast (* Squint)--is--but, at any rate, if he’s no beauty,
he’s a stout young fellow, for you know yourself that that little
closeness about the knees is always a sign of strength.”

“That little closeness, Val!--why, Vulture darling, isn’t one knee sugar
candy, and the other licking it?--but go on, it’s not bad for so far, go
on; upon my credit it’s not.”

“I am glad you like it for so far--then seriously, what would you think
of a marriage between them?”

“Devil a prettier move you could make, Val. As you say, the farms and
the families lie convenient to one another--and I don’t see what’s to
prevent your proposal from being realized. You’ll do well for Phil, of
course--for although he has the squint in both eyes, instead of only in
one, like yourself--and is twisted very much about the knees, more than
you are a good deal--still, Val--neighbor Val, as I now may call you--he
is a stout, left-legged, round-shouldered blade; and I question whether
the red poll does not become him better than a black one like yours
would.”

“Why I grant you, Brian, that he looks better on horseback than on foot,
and when mounted on ‘Handsome Harry,’ with top-boots and spurs, it’s
not on every highway you could meet his equal.”

“Devil a lie in that, Val--nor a boy better made to ride or shoot round
a corner you could not meet in Europe--but never mind; go on, Val--go
on, my friend; no, faith, on hill or in hollow, it would not be easy to
match him.”

“He’d make an excellent good husband.”

“He would not be your son if he did not--well?”

“Well, as to that, if the truth was known, I know where the blame
would lie--your daughter will not be the shrew and scold to him that my
blister was to me--upon my credit she won’t.”

“Devil, a lie in that either, Val--well, well--oh! I’ll take my oath she
won’t.”

“I don’t see why he and she might not be very happy together--you are
able to do handsomely for her, as report goes.”

“And willing, Val, and a bad father I’d be, if I were not.”

“Well then, Brian, so far all looks fair, and devilish glad I am that I
broached the thing at once. I have been thinking of it ever since I came
to the neighborhood--upon my credit I have.”.

“Faith, and so am I glad of it--but what’s to be done next, Val
darling?”

“Why the less time that’s lost upon it the better--we must bring the
youngsters together till they get acquainted--then we can have another
meeting, and settle the match out of hand. Did you ever see Phil on
‘Handsome Harry?’”

“Didn’t I?--to be sure I did--and upon my word, Val, he’s a credit to
the horse he rides, as the horse is to him--a comely couple they are in
truth. But, Val, or neighbor Val, as I now may call you, don’t you think
it would be better to wind up this business now that our hand’s in for
it? Let us hear what you’ll do, and I’ll follow you on my part, for
there’s no use in losing time about it--upon my credit there’s not.”

“What would you think, then, of the farm we’re in now--that is, the
O’Hagan property, as you call it? Suppose I gave him that, what will
you come down with for the girl? I know it can’t be under three
hundred--come, say three hundred, and it’s a match.”

“Three hundred! Oh! Val, you’re too soft--too moderate--too mild--indeed
you are--why three hundred would be nothing against the O’Hagan
property, as you call it--and, indeed, I don’t intend to put my daughter
off under five hundred, and that’s nearly double what three is--eh, Val,
what do you say, upon your credit now?”

“Faith, I’ll not quarrel with you if you make it six or eight.”

“Well now,” said M’Loughlin, rising up, whilst his honest features were
lit with indignation, “this joke or this impudence on your part, has
gone far enough--listen to me. What did I or my family do, I ask my
own conscience in the name of God--what sin did we commit--whom did we
oppress--whom did we rob--whom did we persecute--that a scoundrel like
you, the bastard spawn of an unprincipled profligate, remarkable only
for drunkenness, debauchery, and blasphemy--what, I say, did I and my
family do, that you, his son, who were, and are to this day, the low,
mean, willing scourge of every oppressor, the agent of their crimes--the
instrument of their villianies--you who undermined the honest man--who
sold and betrayed the poor man--who deceived and misled the widow and
her orphans, and rose upon their ruin--who have robbed your employers
as well as those you were employed against--a double traitor--steeped in
treachery, and perjured a thousand times to the core of your black and
deceitful heart--what crime, I say again, did I or mine commit--that
we, whose name and blood has been without a stain for a thousand years,
should suffer the insult that you now have offered Us--eh, look me in
the face now if you can, and answer me if you are able?”

M’Cloughlin as he concluded, calmly folded his arms, and looked at his
companion resolutely but sternly. The other, to do him justice, did
certainly raise his head, and fix his evil eye upon him for a moment--it
dropped after a single glance; in truth, he quailed before M’Loughlin;
his upper lip, as usual, quivered--his brow lowered, and looked black as
midnight, whilst all the rest of his face became the color of ashes.
In fact, that white smile, which is known to be the very emblem of
cowardice and revenge, sat upon his countenance, stamping upon it at
once the character of the spectre and the demon--a being to be both
feared and hated.

“Well, Brian M’Loughlin,” returned the other, “hear me.”

“Don’t dare to Brian me, sir,” returned M’Loughlin; “I’m a very humble
man, and ought to be an humble man, for I know well what a sinner I
am before God--but for all that, and if it were against even
religion itself--I feel too proud to suffer you to speak to me as you
do--no--don’t Brian me, but listen and let me show you what you are, and
what you have been; I can’t say what you will be, that does not lie with
any but God.”

“Well,” said M’Clutchy, “go on; I now can hear you, and what is more, I
wish to hear you--and whisper--speak your worst.”

It is said, that both cowardice and despair have their courage, and it
would appear from the manner and action of this man, that he now felt
actuated by some vague feeling resembling that which we have described.
He rose up and said,

“Brian M’Loughlin, do you think I ever can forget this?”

“What do you mean by that,” said M’Loughlin, “look me in the face, I
say, and tell me what you mean by it. I’m a man, and an honest man, and
there’s no treachery about me.”

The sternness with which he spoke, made the other quail again.

“There was little in it,” he replied, in a rebuked but cold and
malignant spirit; “I didn’t think you were so violent. I bore a great
deal from you this day, Mr. M’Louglin--a great deal, indeed, and so
patiently as I bore it too; upon my credit I did.”

M’Loughlin made no reply, but stamped on the floor, in order to bring up
some person to whom he might pay the reckoning.

“You need not stamp,” said the other, “this is my share of the
reckoning.”

“Your share, no: I told you before, it must not be yours. I wouldn’t
have it said, that bit or sup, paid for by your ill-gotten wealth,
should ever cross my lips--no, no.”

The waiter, or rather waitress, a red-haired, barefooted wench, now came
up.

“Here,” said M’Loughlin, “take the refreshments we’ve had last out of
that, and keep the change to yourself. I have settled what we’ve had
before, as well as this.”

“And why not allow me to settle for this?” asked M’Clutchy.

“Because,” replied this honest and respectable man, “I could not swallow
a thimbleful of anything paid for by your money; what is it? If I did I
would dream for weeks of all that you have done, or if I didn’t dream,
the sorrows and the wrongs of my near relative, Widow O’Hagan and her
family, would prevent me from sleeping; the Kellys that you’ve driven to
beggary--The Gormleys that you got put out--good God! and who now holds
their places? Your own cousin. It’s useless, however, to mention all
you’ve done. You, Val the Vulture, as the people call you, are one of
those scourges that rise and flourish upon the distresses of the poor,
and the injustice that you yourself bring upon them by your falsehood
and calumny; and all because the property they live on is neglected by
those who have a right to look after it. Ay, there is another of your
white and cowardly laughs. Well, you know that there is not a neglected
estate in the country but can produce another vulture like yourself,
playing the same heartless pranks upon the poor people--tying,
misrepresenting, swaggering over and robbing them, and that, too, in the
open face of day, merely because you think there is no one to bring you
to an account.

“Now go home,” he added, “and when next you want to get a wife for your
spanking son, that’s likely to become a squireen upon our hands, don’t
come to Brian M’Loughlin, who knows you from the paring of the nails to
the core of the heart.”

M’Glutchy looked at him and laughed again; “before you go, at all
events,” he replied, “I hope you remember the observation I made when I
introduced the discourse.”

“I can’t say I do,” said M’Loughlin, “but I suppose you will let us hear
it.”

“I will,” replied Val, and his brow darkened as before. “It was
this--your farm and mine lie very snugly together--observe, I said,
‘_that’s what I begin with_’--didn’t I say that?”

“You did, and now what else do you say?”

“The very same thing--that _your farm, and mine lie snugly
together_--and mark me, Mr. M’Loughlin--”

“I do--oh, upon my credit I do--ha, ha, ha!”

“Than _that’s what I end with_.”

“Ah,” replied M’Loughlin indignantly, “you think you have the ball at
your own foot, now that old Topertoe is gone, and his son has made you
his under agent. A nice job indeed it was, that transformed old drunken
Tom Topertoe into Lord Cumber, and made his son, the present Lord, too
proud to live on his own estate. However, I’d be glad to see the honest
man that ever envied the same old Tom his title, when we all know that
he got it for selling his country. As for you, Vulture, I defy and
despise you; when my rent’s due, thank God I am able to pay it, so you
may do your worst. While Mr. Hickman’s over you, the tenants have some
protection, in spite of your villainy, you unprincipled scoundrel.”

“Our farms lie snugly together, Mr: M’Loughlin, and _that’s what I end
with_.”

It was from the town of Castle Cumber, which we have described at the
opening of our narrative, that old Tom Topertoe, a squire of the true
Irish kidney, took his title. Topertoe, or Lord Castle Cumber, as we
must now call him, like many others, had the high honor of being a Union
Lord--that, is to say his attachment to his principles was so steady,
that he did not hesitate to sell his country for a title, and we may
add, something besides. It is not our intention, at this distance of
time, to discuss the merits of either the union or its repeal; but in
justice to truth and honor, or, perhaps, we should rather say, fraud and
profligacy, we are constrained to admit, that there is not to be found
in the annals of all history, any political negotiation based upon such
rank and festering corruption, as was the legislative union. Had the
motives which actuated the English government towards this country been
pure, and influenced by principles of equality and common justice, they
would never have had recourse to such unparalleled profligacy. This is
self-evident, for those who seek an honorable end will scorn to obtain
it by foul and dishonorable means. The conduct of England, therefore, in
this base and shameless traffic, is certainly a _prima face_ evidence
of her ultimate policy--a policy blacker in the very simplicity of its
iniquity than its worst enemies can paint it, and so obvious in its
character, that we question whether a man could be found, of ordinary
information, belonging to any party, capable at this moment of
deliberately and conscientiously defending it, so far as pertains to
this transaction. But enough of this.

Before the union, old Topertoe was master of three votes--that is, he
sat himself for the county, and returned members for two boroughs. He
was known by the sobriquet of Pater Noster Tom--not from any disposition
to devotion; but because, whether in parliament, on the hustings, or,
indeed, anywhere else, he never made a speech longer than the Lord’s
Prayer. And yet, short as it was, it generally puzzled the shrewdest
and most sagacious of his audience to understand it. Still, though not
without his faults, he was by no means a bad landlord, as landlords
went. ‘Tis true he was fond of his wine and of his wench--as a proof of
which, it was well known that he seldom or ever went to,bed with less
than four or five bottles under his belt; and as touching the latter,
that he had two agents in pay to cater for his passions. In both these
propensities he was certainly countenanced by the usages and moral
habits of the times; and the truth is, he grew rather popular than
otherwise, precisely on account of them. He was bluff, boisterous, and
not ill-natured--one of that bygone class who would horsewhip a tenant
to-day and fight a duel for him to-morrow. Above all things, he resided
on his estate, knew all his tenantry by name and person, and contracted,
by degrees, a kind of anomalous attachment for them, merely because they
were his property, and voted and fought for him at elections, and
often fought with him touching their relative positions of landlord and
tenant. Indeed, we question whether he would not enter into a quarrel as
readily for a tenant as he would for a favorite dog or horse; and we are
inclined to think, that to do him justice, he laid nearly as much value
on the one as on the other--a circumstance which we dare say several of
our modern landlords, both resident and absentee, will consider as, on
our part, a good-humored stretch of fiction.

His speech at elections absolutely became a proverb in the country; and,
indeed, when we remember the good-natured license of the times, as
many still may, together with the singular blending of generosity
and violence, horsewhipping and protection, mirth and mischief which
characterized the bearing of such men as Topertoe, we are fain to think,
to vary the proverb a little, that he might have spoken more and fared
worse.

“Here I am again, ye blaggards; your own ould Topertoe, that never had
a day’s illness, but the gout, bad luck to it. Damn your bloods, ye
affectionate rascals, sure you love me, and I love you, and ‘t isn’t
Gully Preston (his opponent) that can cut our loves in two. No, boys,
he’s not the blade to do that, at any rate! Hurra then, ye vagabones;
ould Tom Topertoe for ever! He loves his bottle and his wench, and will
make any rascal quiver on a daisy that would dare to say bow to your
blankets. Now, Gully Preston, make a speech--if you can! Hurra for Tom
Topertoe, that never had a day’s illness, but the gout, bad luck to it!
and don’t listen to Gully Preston, boys! Hurra!”

This speech, from which he never varied, was waited for at elections
with a vehemence of mirth and a force of popularity which no eloquence
brought against him could withstand. Indeed, it was perfectly well known
that it alone returned him, for when upon an occasion of considerable
doubt and difficulty, the two parties of the county having been
considered as equally balanced, he was advised by some foolish
friend, or enemy in disguise, to address them in a serious speech, the
consequences were near proving disastrous to his interests. When
he commenced--“Gentlemen--upon an occasion of such important
difficulty”--there was for about a quarter of a minute a dead
silence--that of astonishment--Topertoe, however, who had stuck fast,
was obliged to commence again---“Gentlemen--upon an occasion, of
such--” but it would not do, the groaning, shouting, hooting, and
yelling, were deafening for some minutes, much to the gratification of
his opponent. At length there was something like a pause, and several
voices shouted out--“what the divil do you mane, Tom?” “He’s showin’
the garran bane at last,” shouted another--“desartin’ his colors!”--“oh!
we’re gintlemen now it seems, an’ not his own blaggards, as we used to
be--Tiper-to’e’s vagabones that stood by him--oh no! Tom, to hell wid
you and your gintlemen--three cheers for Gully Preston!”

Tom saw it was nearly over with him, and Preston’s hopes ran high.
“Aisy, boys,” said the other, resuming his old, and, indeed, his natural
manner--“Aisy, ye vagabones--Topertoe’s ould speech for ever! Here I am
again, ye blaggards, that never had a day’s illness but the gout,
bad luck to it!” &c, &c. This was enough, the old feeling of fun and
attachment kindled up--the multitude joined him in his speech, precisely
as a popular singer is joined by the gods of the upper gallery in
some favorite air, and no sooner was it concluded, than the cheering,
throwing up of hats, and huzzaing, gave ample proof that he had
completely recovered his lost ground, and set himself right with the
people.

Such is a brief of old Topertoe, the first Lord of Castle Cumber, who,
by the way, did not wear his honors long, the gout, to which he was a
martyr, having taken him from under his coronet before he had it a year
on his brow. He was one of the men peculiar to his times, or rather who
aided in shaping them; easy, full of strong but gross impulses, quick
and outrageous in resentment, but possessed of broad uncouth humor, and
a sudden oblivion of his passion. Without reading or education--he was
coarse, sensual, careless, and extravagant, having no stronger or purer
principle to regulate him than that which originated in his passions
or his necessities. Of shame or moral sanction he knew nothing, and
consequently held himself amenable to the world on two points only--the
laws of duelling and those of gaming. He would take an insult from no
man, and always paid his gambling debts with honor; but beyond that, he
neither feared nor cared for anything in this world--and being a member
of the Hellfire Club, he did not believe in the other. In fact he was
the very man on whose peculiar temperament and character a corrupt and
wily politician might expect to impress his own principles with success.
Topertoe was consequently not only the very man to sell his country, but
to sell, it at the highest price, and be afterwards the first to laugh,
as he did, at his own corruption.

Of his eldest son, who of course succeeded to his rank and property,
there is not so much to be said at present, because he will appear, to
some extent, as an actor in our drama. It is enough then to say here
that he inherited his father’s vices, purged of their vulgarity and
grossness, without a single particle of his uncertain and capricious
good nature. In his manners he appeared more of the gentleman; was
lively, shallow, and versatile; but having been educated at an English
school and an English college, he felt, or affected to feel, all the
fashionable prejudices of the day and of his class against his native
country. He was an absentee from both pride and inclination, and it is
not surprising then that he knew but little of Ireland, and that little
was strongly to its disadvantage.

Another brother there was, whose unpretending character requires little
else than merely that he should be named. The honorable Alexander
Topertoe, who was also educated in England, from the moment his father
stained what he conceived to be the honor of their family by receiving a
title and twenty thousand pounds, as a bribe for his three votes against
a native parliament--hung his head in mortification and shame, and
having experienced at all times little else than neglect from his father
and brother, he hurried soon afterwards to the continent with a heavy
heart and a light purse, where for the present we must leave him.



CHAPTER II.--Birth and Origin of Mr. M’Clutchy

Christian Forgiveness--Mr. Hickman, the Head Agent--Darby O’Drive, the
Bailiff--And an Instructive Dialogue.


Time, which passes with a slow but certain pace, had already crept twice
around his yearly circle since the fair already described in the town
of Castle Cumber. The lapse of three years, however, had made no change
whatsoever in the heart or principles of Mr. Valentine M’Clutchy,
although he had on his external manner and bearing. He now assumed more
of the gentleman, and endeavored to impress himself upon those who came
in contact with him, as a person of great authority and importance.
One morning after the period just mentioned had! elapsed, he and his
graceful son, “Mister Phil,” were sitting in the parlor of Constitution
Cottage, for so they were pleased to designate a house which had no
pretension whatever to that unpretending appellation.

“So father,” said Phil, “you don’t forget that such was the treatment
M’Loughlin gave you!”

“Why, I remember it, Phil; but you know, Phil, I’m a patient and a
forgiving man notwithstanding; you know that Phil;--ha, ha, ha!”

“That was certainly the worst case came across us yet,” replied the son,
“none of the rest ventured to go so far, even when you had less power
than you have now.”

“I didn’t tell you all, Phil,” continued the father, following up the
same train of thought.

“And why not,” said Phil, “why should you conceal anything from me?”

“Because,” replied the other, “I think you have heard enough for the
present.”

The fact was, that M’Clutchy’s consciousness of the truth contained
in M’Loughlin’s indignant reproaches, was such as prevented him from
repeating them, even to his son, knowing right well that had he done
so they could not exactly have looked each other in the face without
sensations regarding their own conduct, which neither of them wished to
avow. There is a hypocrisy in villainy sometimes so deep that it cannot
bear to repeat its own iniquity, even in the presence of those who are
aware of it, and in this predicament stood Valentine M’Clutchy.

“Maybe he has relented,” said Phil, “or that he will give me his pretty
daughter yet--and you know they have the cash. The linen manufactory of
M’Loughlin and Harman is flourishing.”

“No, no, Phil,” replied the father, “you must give her up--that’s
past--but no matter, I’ll forgive him.”

Phil looked at him and smiled. “Come, come, father,” said he, “be
original--that last is a touch of M’Slime--of honest Solomon. Keep back
the forgiveness yet awhile, may be they may come round--begad, and upon
my honor and reputation, I shouldn’t wish to lose the girl--no, father,
don’t forgive them yet awhile.”

“Phil, we’ll do better for you, boy--don’t be a fool, I say, but have
sense--I tell you what, Phil,” continued his father, and his face
assumed a ghastly, deadly look, at once dark and pallid, “listen to
me;--I’ll forgive him, Phil, until the nettle, the chick-weed, the
burdock, the fulsome preshagh, the black fungus, the slimiest weed that
grows--aye, till the green mould of ruin itself, grows upon the spot
that is now his hearth--till the winter rain beats into, and the whiter
wind howls over it.”

“No marriage, then,” said Phil. “No marriage; but what keeps Darby
O’Drive? the rascal should have been here before--oh no,” said he,
looking at his watch, “he has better than half an hour yet.”

“What steps do you intend to take, father?”

“Phil, when I’m prepared, you shall know them. In the meantime leave
me--I must write to M’Slime, or send to him. M’Slime’s useful at a hint
or suggestion, but, with all his wiliness and hypocrisy, not capable of
carrying a difficult matter successfully out; he overdoes everything by
too much caution, and consequently gets himself into ridiculous scrapes,
besides I cannot and will not place full confidence in him. He is too
oily, and cants too much, to be trusted; I think, still, we may use him
and overreach him into the bargain. Are you going into Castle Cumber?”

“I am.”

“Well, drop these couple of letters in the post office, and tell Rankin
he must have the Garts finished by Monday next, at the farthest, or it
will be worse for him. By the way, I have that fellow in my eye too--he
had the assurance to tell me the other day, that he could not possibly
undertake the carts until he had M’Loughlin’s job at the manufactory
finished. Off with you now, I see O’Drive and Hanlon coming up.”

Graceful Phil in a few minutes was mounted in his usual lofty state on
“Handsome Harry,” and dashed off to Castle Cumber.

It may not be improper here, before we proceed farther, to give the
reader some additional knowledge of the parentage and personal history
of Mr. Valentine M’Clutchy, as well as a brief statement concerning the
Castle Cumber property, and the gentleman who acted in the capacity of
head agent.

The mother, then, of Valentine M’Clutchy, or as he was more generally
called Val the Vulture, was daughter to the county goaler, Christie
Clank by name, who had risen regularly through all the gradations of
office, until the power of promotion could no farther go. His daughter,
Kate Clank, was a celebrated beauty, and enjoyed a considerable extent
of local reputation, independently of being a great favorite with the
junior portion of the grand jury. Among the latter, however, there was
one, a young squire of very libertine principles, named Deaker, whose
suit to the fair Miss Clank proved more successful than those of his
competitors, and the consequence was the appearance of young Val. The
reader, therefore, already perceives that M’Clutchy’s real name was
Deaker; but perhaps he is not aware that, in the times of which we
write, it was usual for young unmarried men of wealth not to suffer
their illegitimate children to be named after them. There were, indeed,
many reasons for this. In the first place, the mere fact of assuming the
true name, was a standing argument of the father’s profligacy. Secondly,
the morals of the class and the period were so licentious, that the
legitimate portion of a family did not like to be either outnumbered or
insulted by their namesakes and illegitimate relatives, almost at
every turn of the public roads. In the third place, a young man of
this description could not, when seeking for a wife, feel the slightest
inclination to have a living catalogue of his immoralities enumerated
to her, under the names of Tom, or Dick, or Val so and so, all his
children. This, of course, was an involuntary respect paid to modesty,
and perhaps the strongest argument for suppressing the true name. The
practice, however, was by no means universal; but in frequent instances
it existed, and Val the Vulture’s was one of them. He was named after
neither father or mother, but after his grandmother, by the gaoler’s
side. Deaker would not suffer his name to be assumed; and so far as
his mother was concerned, the general tenor of her life rendered the
reminiscence of her’s anything but creditable to her offspring. With
respect to his education, Val’s gratitude was principally due to his
grandfather Clank, who had him well instructed. He himself, from the
beginning, was shrewd, clever, and intelligent, and possessed the power,
in a singular degree, of adapting himself to his society, whenever he
felt it his interest to do so. He could, indeed, raise or depress his
manners in a very surprising degree, and with an effort that often
occasioned astonishment. On the other hand, he was rapacious,
unscrupulous, cowardly, and so vindictive, that he was never known to
forgive an injury. These are qualities to which, when you add natural
adroitness and talent, you have such a character as has too frequently
impressed itself, with something like the agreeable sensations produced
by a red hot burning iron, upon the distresses, fears, and necessities
of the Irish people.

M’Clutchy rose from the humble office of process-server to that of
bailiff’s follower, bailiff, head-bailiff, barony constable, until,
finally, he felt himself a kind of factotum on the Castle Cumber
property; and in proportion as he rose, so did his manners rise with
him. For years before his introduction to our readers, he was the
practical manager of the estate; and so judiciously did he regulate
his own fortunes on it, that without any shameless or illegal breach of
honesty, he actually contrived to become a wealthy man, and to live in
a respectable manner. Much, however, will have more, and Val was
rapacious. On finding himself comparatively independent, he began to
take more enlarged, but still very cautious measures to secure some of
the good things of the estate to him and his. This he was the better
able to do, as he had, by the apparent candor of his manner, completely
wormed himself into the full confidence of the head agent--a gentleman
of high honor and integrity, remarkable alike for humanity and
benevolence; but utterly without suspicion. Two or three farms, whose
leases dropped, he most iniquitously took into his own hands, and so
far wheedled the agent, that he induced that gentleman to think he was
rendering a service to the property by doing so. The tenantry now
began to murmur--a complaint came here, and another there--here was an
instance of private and disguised oppression; and this was followed by
a, vindictive attempt to injure either the property or character of some
one who had the courage to tell him what he thought of his conduct.

Val apprehending that he might be out-borne by too powerful a mass
of testimony, contrived just then, through his misrepresentations to the
agent, who still confided in him, and by the political influence of
his father, the squire, who was the landlord’s strongest electioneering
supporter in the county, to get himself formally appointed under-agent.
Feeling now quite confident in his strength, and that his hold on the
prejudices, and, we may add, the ignorance of the absentee landlord, was
as strong, if not stronger than those of the agent himself, he began
to give a greater and less guarded scope to his natural principles.
Mr. Hickman, the agent, had been strongly disgusted by the political
profligacy with which the union was carried; and had, on more than one
occasion, intimated a doubt whether, as an honest man, he could render
political support to any one who had participated in its corruption or
recognized the justice of those principles on which it had been
carried. All this gave M’Clutchy that imperturbable insolence which is
inseparable from petty tyranny and licensed extortion. Day after day did
his character come out in all its natural deformity. The outcry against
him was not now confined to this portion of the property, or that--it
became pretty general; and, perhaps, at the time we have brought him on
the stage, there was not a man in Ireland, holding the situation he did,
who was more feared and more detested.

Some time previous to this, however, Hickman’s eyes were opened to his
undisguised character, and what he could do he did. On finding that the
Vulture was reviving all the oppressive usages with which property
in Ireland is so penally taxed, he immediately gave orders that such
exactions should be discontinued by M’Clutchy, and resisted by the
tenants. In spite of all this, however, there were upon the property
many timid persons, who, dreading his malignity of purpose, still
continued to yield to his avarice and rapacity, that which nothing else
but a dread of his vengeance could extort from them. Thus did he feather
his nest at the expense of their terrors.

Hickman, who had also been agent to old Topertoe, felt a kind of
personal attachment to that good-humored reprobate, so long as he
believed him to be honest. Old Tom’s venality, however, at the union,
made him rather sick of the connection, and the conduct, or rather
expensive profligacy of the young absentee Lord, rendered his situation,
as an honest and humane agent, one of great pain to himself, considering
his position between landlord and tenant.

He knew besides, that many men of his class had taken most scandalous
advantages of the embarrassments which their dishonesty had occasioned
in the affairs of their employers, and lent them their own rents in the
moments of distress, in order to get a lien on their property. For this
reason, and out of a feeling of honor and self-respect, Mr. Hickman had
made it a point of principle to lend the young Lord, no money under any
circumstances. As far as he could legitimately, and within the ordinary
calculations of humanity, feed Lord Cumber’s prodigality of expenditure
he did it. This, however, was not exactly the kind of agent which his
lordship wanted, and however highly he respected, and honored him, still
that direful word necessity goaded him into a forgetfulness of his own
real interests, and of what was due to Hickman. He wanted an agent
with less feeling, less scruple, less independence, and more of that
accommodating principle which would yield itself to, and go down with,
the impetuous current of his offensive vices, and satisfy their cravings
even at his own ruin. Such, then, was M’Clutchy--such the position of
Mr. Hickman, the agent--and such the general state of the Castle Cumber
property. As to the principles and necessities of its proprietor, if
they are not already known, we may assure our readers that they soon
will be.

Constitution Cottage, M’Clutchy’s residence, was, in fact, no cottage at
all, as we have said, but a very respectable house, and of considerable
size. Attached to it was an extensive yard and office houses, an
excellent garden, orchard, pigeon house, and everything, in fact, that
could constitute substantial comfort and convenience. It was situated
beside a small clump of old beeches, that sheltered it from the
north--to the front lay, at a few miles distance, a range of fine
mountains--and between them stretched as rich a valley, both in
fertility and beauty, as the eye of man could rest upon. The ground
before the door fell by an easy and gradual descent, until a little
further down it reached a green expanse of level meadow, through which
a clear river wound its lingering course, as if loth to pass away from
between the rich and grassy banks that enclosed it. It was, in fact, a
spot of that calm and perfectly rural character which draws the heart
unconsciously to the secret charm that rests upon it, and which even the
casual traveler leaves behind him with regret. Some improvements were
at the present time in an incipient state--such as plantations--garden
walls--and what seemed the lines of an avenue, or approach to the house,
which, by the way, stood in the centre of a farm that consisted of about
eighty Irish acres.

At length a single knock came, which was given by O’Drive, for Hanlon,
who was his assistant, durst not attempt such a thing in his presence;
and if ever a knock conveyed the duplicity of the man who gave it, that
did. Though, as we said, but a single one, yet there was no mistaking
its double meaning. It was impudent and servile; it was impudent, as
much as to say to the servants, “why don’t you open the door quickly for
a man who is so deep in your master’s confidence as I am?” while to that
master himself, it said, or seemed to say, “I am your creature, your
instrument, your slave, ready to execute any oppression, any hardship,
or villainy, on which you can employ me.”

It is said, and we believe with truth, that in military life no officer
is so severe and oppressive as he who has risen from the ranks, and been
most obsequious there. We do not doubt it, for the principle is a strong
one in human nature, and is by no means confined to either the army or
navy. At all events, shuffling, and cringing, and slinking Darby O’Drive
presented himself to Val the Vulture. There was a downcast, cowardly,
shy, uneasy, expression in his blank, straggling features, that seemed
to say, for God’s sake spare my very life--don’t annihilate me--here
I am--you see through me--heart, spirit, and soul--body, lungs, and
lights--could I tell _you_ a lie? No. Could I deceive you--such a man as
you, that can look through me as if I was a lanthorn, or a pane of
glass without a bull’s eye in it. No! only let me live and I’ll do your
bidding.

“Well,” said Val, in a sharp, imperious;one, “you’re punctual for a
wonder.”

“God be praised for that,” replied Darby, wiping the top of his nose
with the finger and thumb of an old mitten, “heaven be praised that I’m
not late.”

“Hold your damned canting, tongue, you knave, what place is this for
it?”

“Knave! well I am then.”

“Yes, you know you are--you are all knaves--every bailiff is a
knave--ahem--unless, indeed, one in a thousand.”

“It’s truth, indeed, plaise your honor.”

“Not but there’s worse than you after all, and be damned to you.”

“An’ betther, sir, too, i’ you please, for sure, God help me, I’m not
what I ought to be.”

“Well, mend then, why don’t you? for you want it. Come now, no jaw, I
tell you, but answer me what I am about to ask you; not a word now.”

“Well, no then, plaise your honor, I won’t in throth.”

“Did you warn the townland of Ballymackscud?”

“Yis, plaise your honor.”

“Are they ready--have they the rent?”

“Only some o’ them, sir,--an other some is axin’ for time, the thieves.”

“Who are asking for time?”

“Why the O’Shaughrans, sir--hopin’, indeed, that your honor will let
them wait till the markets rises, an not be forced to sell the grain
whin the prices is so low now that it would ridin them--but it’s
wondherful the onraisonableness of some people. Says I, ‘his honor, Mr.
M’Clutchy, is only doin’ his duty; but a betther hearted or a kinder man
never bruk the world’s bread than he is to them that desarves it at
his hands;’ so, sir, they began to--but--well, well, it’s no matther--I
tould them they were wrong--made it plain to them--but they wouldn’t be
convinced, say what I might.”

“Why, what did they say, were they abusing me--I suppose so?”

“Och! the poor sowls, sure it was only ignorance and foolishness on
their part--onraisonable cratures all or most of them is.”

“Let me know at once what they said, you knave, or upon my honor and
soul I’ll turn you out of the room and bring in Hanlon.”

“Plaise your honor, he wasn’t present--I left him outside, in regard
that I didn’t think he was fit to be trust--a safe with--no matther,
‘twas for a raison I had.” He gave a look at M’Clutchy as he spoke,
compounded of such far and distant cunning, scarcely perceptible--and
such obvious, yet retreating cowardice, scarcely perceptible also---that
no language could convey any notion of it.

“Ah!” said Val, “you are a neat lad--but go on--what did they say, for I
must have it out of you.”

“That I may die in happiness, your honor, but I’m afeard to tell
you--but, sure, if you’d give your promise, sir--your bright word of
honor, that you’d not pay me off for it, I’ll tell you.”

“Ah! you d----d crawling reptile, out with it--I won’t pay you off.”

[Illustration: PAGE 142-- there’s as many curses before you in hell]

“Well, then, here it is--oh! the curse o’ Cromwell on them this day,
for an ungrateful pack! they said, your honor, that--bad luck to them I
pray--that there wasn’t so black-hearted a scoundrel on the face of the
airth as your four quarthers--that the gallows is gapin’ for you--and
that there’s as many curses before you in hell as ‘ud blisther a
griddle.”

M’Clutchy’s face assumed its usual expression of diabolical malignity,
whilst, at the same time, he gave a look so piercing at Darby, as if
suspecting that the curse, from its peculiar character, was at least
partially his own invention,--that the latter, who stood like a
criminal, looking towards the floor, felt precisely what was going
forward in the other’s mind, and knew that he had nothing else for
it but to look him steadily in the face, as a mark of his perfect
innocence. Gradually, therefore, and slowly he raised his small gray
eyes until they met those of M’Clutchy, and thus the gaze continued
for nearly a minute between them, and that with such steadiness on both
sides, that they resembled a mesmeric doctor and his patient, rather
than anything else to which we could compare them. On the part of
M’Clutchy the gaze was that of an inquisitor looking into the heart of
him whom he suspected; on that of Darby, the eye, unconscious of evil,
betrayed nothing but the purest simplicity and candor.

And yet, when we consider that Darby most unquestionably did not only
ornament, but give peculiar point to the opinions expressed by the
tenantry against the Vulture, perhaps we ought to acknowledge that of
the two he possessed a larger share of histrionic talent.

At length M’Clutchy, whose eye, for reasons with which the reader is
already acquainted, was never either a firm or a steady one, removed it
from Darby, who nevertheless followed it with a simple but pertinacious
look, as much as to say, I have told you truth, and am now waiting your
leisure to proceed.

“What do you stare at?” said M’Clutchy, strongly disposed to vent his
malignity on the next object to him; “and, you beggarly scoundrel, what
did you say to that? Tell me, or I’ll heave you, head foremost, through
the window?”

“Why,” replied Darby, in a quiet, confident, and insinuating tone, “I
raisoned wid them--raisoned wid them like a Christian. ‘Now, Sheemus
O’Shaughran,’ says I, ‘you’ve said what I know to be a lie. I’m not the
man to put ill between you and his honor, Mr. M’Clutchy, but at the same
time,’ says I, ‘I’m his sarvint, and as an honest man I must do my duty.
I don’t intend to mintion a syllable of what you said this day; but as
his sarvint, and gettin’ bread through him, and undher him, I can’t, nor
I won’t, suffer his honor to be backbitten before his own face--for it’s
next to that. Now,’ says I, ‘be guided by me, and all will be right. In
the first place, you know, he’s entitled to _duty-fowl_*--in the next
place, he’s entitled to _duty-work_.’ ‘Ay, the landlord is,’ said they,
‘but not the Vul----’ ‘Whisht,’ says I, in a friendly whisper, puttin’
my hand across Dan’s mouth, an’ winkin’ both my eyes at him; ‘send his
honor down a pair of them fine fat turkeys--I know his honor’s fond
o’ them; but that’s not all,’ says I--‘do you wish to have a friend in
coort? I know you do. Well and good--he’s drawing gravel to make a new
avenue early next week, so, Sheemus O’Shaughran, if you wish to have
two friends in coort--a great one and a little one’--manin’ myself, God
pardon me, for the little one, your honor--‘you will,’ says I ‘early on
next Monday mornin’, send down a pair of horses and carts, and give him
a week’s duty work. Then,’ says I, ‘lave the rest to _somebody_, for I
won’t name names.’--No, your honor, I did’nt bring Hanlon in.--By the
same token, as a proof of it, there’s young Bandy Shaughran, the son,
wid a turkey under aich arm, comin’up to the hall door.”

     * These were iniquitous exactions, racked from the poor
     tenantry by the old landlords or their agents.

“Well,” proceeded M’Clutchy, without a single observation, “did you call
on the Slevins?”

“Yes, sir; they’re ready.”

“The Magonnels?”

“Not ready, sir; but a pair of geese, and two men on next Thursday and
Saturday. On Friday they must go to market to buy two _slips_.” (* young
pigs).

“Widow Gaffney?”

“Not ready, sir; but that I may never die in sin, a ‘cute shaver.”

“Why so--what did she say?”

“Oh, Mr. Hickman, sir, the head agent, your honor; that’s the go.
Throth, the same Mr. Hickman is--but, God forbid, sir, I’d spake a word
against the absent; but any way, he’s a good round thrifle, one way or
the other, out of your pocket, from Jinny-warry to December.”

“Darby, my good man, and most impertinent scoundrel, if you wish
to retain your present situation, never open your lips against that
excellent gentleman, Mr. Hickman. Mark my words--out you go, if I ever
discover that you mention him with disrespect.”

“Well, I won’t then; and God forgive me for spakin’ the truth--when it’s
not right.”

“Did you see the Mulhollands?”

“Mr. Hickman again, sir, an’ bad luck to---- Beg pardon, sir, I forgot.
Throth, sir, when I mentioned the duty work an’ the new aveny, they
whistled at you.”

“Whistled at me!”

“Yes, sir; an’ said that Mr. Hickman tould them to give you neither duty
fowl nor duty work, but to do their own business, and let you do yours.
Ay, and ‘twas the same from all the rest.”

“Well,” said Val, going to the window and looking abroad for a minute
or two,--“well--so much for Ballymackscud; now for its next neighbor,
Ballymackfud.”

“Mr. Hickman again, sir. The divil sweep the same Hickman, any way,”
 said Darby, in an aside, which he knew the other could easily hear. “Out
of the whole townland, sir, all I got was two men for the aveny--a goose
from Barney Scadden, and her last ten, along wid half-a-dozen eggs, from
that dacent creature, widow M’Murt. Throth four fine little clildre she
has, if they had anything on them, or anything to keep body and sowl
together.”

“You warned them all, of course?”

“Every sowl in the townland of Ballymackt ‘ud; and there’s the upshot.
But it’s all Mr. Hickman, sir; for he tould them--‘I will have none of
this work,’ says he; ‘the tenants musn’t be harrished and fleeshed
in this manner,’ says he. Yes, your honor, that’s the upshot from
Ballymackfud--two day’s work--a sick goose (for I disremembered
to mention that Barney said, wid a wink, that she’d require great
attintion, as she was in a delicate state of health)--one ould hen, and
a half-a-dozen eggs; which wouldn’t be the case, only for Hickman--not
but he’s a very respectable gentleman--by all accounts.”

“I told you before, sirra, that I will have nothing offensive to him
mentioned in my presence. Give this letter to Mr. M’Slime, and bring me
an answer as soon as you can. Will you have a glass of spirits?”

“Would it be intherfairin’ wid my duty, sir?”

“If you think so, don’t take it; you ought to know best.”

“Well, then, for this one time, in regard of a _Lhin-roe_* or the red
wather in my stomach, I’ll try it. I drank bog-bine last night goin’ to
bed, but divil a morsel o’ good it did me.”

     * Lhin-roe, or red water--the Irish name for heart-burn.

M’Clutchy handed him a full glass, which he held steadily before his
eye, till the other put up the decanter.

“Your honor’s health, sir,” said he, “and fireside; and if you war to
throw me out o’ fifty windies, I’ll add to that--here’s wishin’ that the
divil had his own, and I know where you’d soon be.”

“How, you villainous scoundrel,” said Val, starting with rising wrath,
“what do you mean by that?”

Darby made no reply, but hastily tossing off the glass, he seized his
hat, bolted outside the door, and putting in his head, said in a kind of
loud but confidential whisper--

“IN HICKMAN’S PLACE, your honor!”



CHAPTER III.--Solomon M’Slime, a Religious Attorney

--Solomon M’Slime, a Religious Attorney--His Office--Family
Devotions--Substitute for Breakfast--Misprision Blasphemy--Letter on
Business.


Pass we now to another worthy character, who had locality upon the
aforesaid property of Castle Cumber. Solomon M’Slime, the law agent, was
a satisfactory proof of the ease with which religion and law may meet
and aid each other in the heart and spirit of the same person. An
attorney, no doubt, is at all times an amiable, honest, and feeling
individual, simply upon professional principles; but when to all this is
added the benignant influence of serious and decided piety, it would not
be an easy task to find, among the several classes which compose society
in general, anything so truly engaging, so morally taintless, so sweetly
sanctimonious, so seductively comely, as is that pure and evengelical
exhibition of human character, that is found to be developed in a
religious attorney.

Solomon M’Slime was a man in whose heart the two principles kept their
constant residence; indeed so beautifully were they blended, that his
law might frequently be mistaken for religion, just as his religion,
on the other hand, was often known to smack strongly of law. In this
excellent man, these principles accommodated each with a benignant
indulgence, that manifested the beauty of holiness in a high degree.
If, for instance, law in its progress presented to him any obstacle of
doubtful morality, religion came forward with a sweet but serious smile,
and said to her companion, “My dear friend, or sister, in this case I
permit you.” And on the contrary, if religion felt over sensitive or
scrupulous, law had fifty arguments of safety, and precedent, and
high authority to justify her. But, indeed, we may observe, that in
a religious attorney these illiberal scruples do not often occur.
Mr. M’Slime knew the advantages of religion too well, to feel that
contraction of the mind and principles, which in so many ordinary cases
occasions religion and common morality to become almost identical.
Religion was to him a friend--a patroness in whose graces he stood so
high, that she permitted him to do many things which those who were more
estranged from her durst not attempt. He enjoyed that state of blessed
freedom which is accorded to so few, and, consequently, had his
“permissions” and his “privileges” to go in the wicked wayfares of this
trying world much greater lengths than those, who were less gifted
and favored by the sweet and consoling principle which regulated and
beautified his life.

Solomon was a small man, thin, sharp-featured, and solemn. He was
deliberate in his manner and movements, and correct but slow of speech.
Though solemn, however, he was not at all severe or querulous, as is too
frequently the case with those who affect to be religious. Far from it.
On the contrary, in him the gospel gifts appeared in a cheerful gravity
of disposition, and a good-humored lubricity of temper, that could turn
with equal flexibility and suavity to every incident of life, no matter
how trying to the erring heart. All the hinges of his spirit seemed to
have been graciously and abundantly oiled, and such was his serenity,
that it was quite evident he had a light within him. It was truly a
pleasure to speak to, or transact business with such a man; he seemed
always so full of inward peace, and comfort, and happiness. Nay, upon
some occasions, he could rise to a kind of sanctified facetiousness
that was perfectly delightful, and in the very singleness of his heart,
would, of an odd time, let out, easily and gently it is true, a small
joke, that savored a good deal of secular humor.

Then he was so full of charity and affection for all that were frail and
erring among our kind, that he never, or seldom, breathed a harsh word
against the offender. Or if, in the fulness of his benevolence, he found
it necessary to enumerate their faults, and place them, as it were, in
a catalogue, it was done in a spirit of such love, mingled with sorrow,
that those to whom he addressed himself, often thought it a pity that he
himself did not honor religion, by becoming the offender, simply for the
sake of afterwards becoming the patient.

In the religious world he was a very active and prominent man--punctual
in his devotional exercises, and always on the lookout for some of those
unfortunate brands with which society abounds, that he might, as he
termed it, have the pleasure of plucking them out of the burning. He
never went without a Bible and a variety of tracts in his pocket, and
seldom was missed from the platform of a religious meeting. He received
subscriptions for all public and private charities, and has repeatedly
been known to offer and afford consolation to the widow and orphan, at
a time when the pressure of business rendered the act truly one of
Christian interest and affection.

The hour was not more than ten o’clock, a.m. when Darby entered his
office, in which, by the way, lay three or four Bibles, in different
places. In a recess on one side of the chimney-piece, stood a
glass-covered bookcase, filled with the usual works on his profession,
whilst hung upon the walls, and consequently nearer observation,
were two or three pensile shelves, on which were to be found a small
collection of religious volumes, tracts, and other productions, all
bearing on the same subject. On the desk was a well-thumbed Bible to the
right, which was that used at family prayer; and on the opposite side, a
religious almanack and a copy of congregation hymns.

Darby, on reaching the hall door, knocked with considerable more
decision than he had done at M’Clutchy’s, but without appearing to have
made himself heard; after waiting patiently for some time, however,
he knocked again, and at length the door was opened by a very pretty
servant girl, about seventeen, who, upon his inquiring if her master
was at home, replied in a sighing voice, and with a demure face, “Oh,
yes--at family prayer.”

“When he’s done,” said Darby, “maybe you’d be kind enough to say that
Darby O’Drive has a message for him.”

The pretty servant did not nod--an act--which she considered as too
flippant for the solemnity of devotion--but she gently bowed her head,
and closed her eyes in assent--upon which was heard a somewhat cheerful
groan, replete with true unction, inside the parlor, followed by a voice
that said, “ah, Susannah!” pronounced in a tone of grave but placid
remonstrance; Susannah immediately entered, and the voice, which
was that of our attorney, proceeded--“Susannah take your place--long
measure, eight lines, four eights, and two sixes.” The psalm was then
raised or pitched by Solomon himself, who was followed by six or
eight others, each in a different key, but all with such reluctance
to approach their leader, that from a principle of unworthiness, they
allowed him, as the more pious, to get far in advance of them. In this
manner they sang two verses, and it was remarkable, that although on
coming to the conclusion, Solomon was far ahead, and the rest nowhere,
yet, from the same principle of unworthiness, they left the finish, as
they did the start, altogether to himself. The psalm was accordingly
wound up by a kind of understanding or accompaniment between his mouth
and nose, which seemed each moved by a zealous but godly struggle to
excel the other, if not in melody at least in loudness. They then
all knelt down, and Solomon launched, with a sonorous voice, into
an extempore prayer, which was accompanied by a solemn commentary of
groanings, sighings, moanings, and muffled ejaculations, that cannot
otherwise be described except by saying that they resembled something
between a screech and a scream. Their devotions being over, Darby,
having delivered M’Clutchy’s letter, was desired to take a seat in the
office, until Mr. M’Slime should be at leisure to send a reply.

“Sit down, my good friend, Darby, sit down, and be at ease, at least in
your body; I do not suffer any one who has an immortal soul to be saved
to stand in my office--and as you have one to be saved, Darby, you must
sit. The pride of this vain life is our besetting sin, and happy are
they who are enabled to overcome it--may he be praised!--sit down.”

“I’m thankful to you, sir,” said Darby, “oh, thin, Mr. M’Slime, it would
be well for the world if every attorney in it was like you, sir--there
would be little honesty goin’ asthray, sir, if there was.”

“Sam Sharpe, my dear boy, if you have not that bill of costs finished--”

“No sir.”

“A good boy, Sam--well, do not omit thirteen and four pence for
two letters, which I ought to have sent--as a part of my moral,
independently of my professional duty--to Widow Lenehan, having
explained to her by word of mouth, that which I ought in conscience,
to have written--but indeed my conscience often leads me to the--what
should I say?--the merciful side in these matters. No, Darby, my friend,
you cannot see into my heart, or you would not say so--I am frail,
Darby, and sinful--I am not up to the standard, my friend, neither have
I acted up to my privileges--the freedom of the gospel! is a blessed
thing, provided we abuse it not’--well, Sam, my good young friend--”

“That was entered before, sir, under the head of instructions.”

“Very right--apparently very right, Sam, and reasonable for you to think
so--but this was on a different occasion, although the same case.”

“Oh, I beg pardon, sir, I did not know that.”

“Sam, do not beg pardon--not of me--nor of any but One--go there, Sam,
you require it; we all require it, at least I do abundantly. Darby,
my friend, it is a principle with me never to lose an opportunity of
throwing in a word in season--but as the affairs of this life must be
attended to--only in a secondary degree, I admit--I will, therefore,
place you at the only true fountain where you can be properly refreshed.
Take this Bible, Darby, and it matters not where you open it, read and
be filled.”

Now, as Darby, in consequence of his early attendance upon M’Clutchy,
had been obliged to leave home that morning without his breakfast,
it must be admitted that he was not just then in the best possible
disposition to draw much edification from it. After poring over it
with a very sombre face for some time, he at length looked shrewdly
at M’Slime closing one eye a little, as was his custom; “I beg pardon,
sir,” said he, “but if I’m not mistaken this book I believe is intended
more for the sowl than the body.”

“For the body! truly, Darby, that last is a carnal thought, and I am
sorry to hear, it from your lips:--the Bible is a spiritual book, my
friend, and spiritually must it be received.”

“But, to a man like me, who hasn’t had his breakfast to-day yet, how
will it be sarviceable? will reading it keep off hunger or fill my
stomach?”

“Ah! Darby, my friend, that is gross talk--such views of divine truth
are really a perversion of the gifts of heaven. That book although it
will not fill your stomach, as you grossly call it, actually will do it
figuratively, which in point of fact is the same thing, or a greater--it
will enable you to bear hunger as a dispensation, Darby, to which it is
your duty as a Christian to submit. Nay, it will do more, my friend; it
will exalt your faith to such a divine pitch, that if you read it with
the proper spirit, you will pray that the dispensation thus laid on you
may continue, in order that the inner man may be purged.”

“Faith, and Mr. M’Slime, with great respect, if that is your doctrine
it isn’t your practice. The sorra word of prayer--God bless the
prayers!--came out o’ your lips today, an til you laid in a good warm
breakfast, and afther that, for fraid of disappointments, the very first
thing you prayed for was your daily bread--didn’t I hear you? But I’ll
tell you what, sir, ordher me my breakfast, and then I’ll be spakin’ to
you. A hungry man--or a hungry woman, or her hungry childre’ can’t eat
Bibles; although it is well known, God knows, that when hunger, and
famine, and starvation are widin them and upon them, that the same
Bible, but nothing else, is; handed to them by pious people in the shape
of consolation and relief. Now I’m thinkin’, Mr. M’Slime, that that is
not the best way to make the Bible respected. Are you goin’ to give me
my breakfast, sir? upon my sowl, beggin’ your pardon, if you do I’ll
bring the Bible home wid me, if that will satisfy you, for we haven’t
got e’er a one in our own little cabin.”

“Sharpe, my good boy, I’ll trouble you to take that Bible out of his
hands. I am not in the slightest degree offended, Darby--you will yet,
I trust, live to know better, may He grant it! I overlook the misprision
of blasphemy on your part, for you didn’t know what you said? but you
will, you will.

“This is a short reply to Mr. M’Clutchy’s note. I shall see him on my
way to the sessions to-morrow, but I have told him so in it. And now,
my friend, be assured I overlook the ungodly and carnal tenor of your
conversation--we are all frail and prone to error; I, at least, am
so--still we must part as Christians ought, Darby. You have asked me
for a breakfast, but I overlook that also--I ought to overlook it as
a Christian; for is not your immortal soul of infinitely greater value
than your perishable body? Undoubtedly--and as a proof that I value it
more, receive this--this, my brother sinner--oh! that I could say my
brother Christian also--receive it, Darby, and in the proper spirit too;
it is a tract written by the Rev. Vesuvius M’Slug, entitled ‘Spiritual
Food for Babes of Grace;’ I have myself found it graciously consolatory
and refreshing, and I hope that you also may, my friend.”

“Begad, sir,” said Darby, “it may be very good in its way, and I’ve
no doubt but it’s a very generous and Christian act in you to give
it--espishilly since it cost you nothing--but for all that, upon my
sowl, I’m strongly of opinion that to a hungry man it’s a bad substitute
for a breakfast.”

“Ah! by the way, Darby,” lending a deaf ear to this observation, “have
you heard, within the last day or two, anything of Mr. M’Clutchy’s
father, Mr. Deaker--how he is?”

“Why, sir,” replied Darby, “I’m tould he’s breaking down fast, but the
divil a one of him will give up the lady. Parsons, and ministers, and
even priests, have all been at him; but it is useless: he curses
and damns them right and left, and won’t be attended by any one but
her--hadn’t you betther try him, Mr. M’Slime? May be you might succeed.
Who knows but a little of the ‘Spiritual Food for Babes of Grace’
might sarve him as well as others. There’s a case for you. Sure he
acknowledges himself to be a member of the hell-fire club!”

“He’s a reprobate, my friend--impenitent, hopeless. I have myself tried
him, spoke with him, reasoned with him, but never was my humility,
my patience, so strongly tried. His language I will not repeat--but
canting knave, hypocrite, rascal attor--no, it is useless and unedifying
to repeat it. Now go, my friend, and do not forget that precious tract
which you have thrust so disrespectfully into your pocket.”

Darby, after a shrewd wink at one of the apprentices, which was
returned, passed out, and left Mr. M’Slime to the pursuit of his
salvation.

In the mean time, as we authors have peculiar “privileges,” as Mr.
M’Slime would say, we think if only due to our readers to let them have
a peep at M’Slime’s note to our friend Valentine M’Clutchy.

“My dear friend--I felt as deep an interest in the purport of your note
as you yourself possibly could. The parties alluded to I appreciate
precisely as you do--M’Loughlin has in the most unchristian manner
assailed my character as well as yours. So has his partner in the
concern--I mean Harman. But then, my friend, are we not Christians,
and shall we not return good for evil? Shall we not forgive them? Some
whispers, hints, very gentle and delicate have reached my ears, which
I do not wish to commit to paper;--but this I may say, until I see you
to-morrow, that I think your intentions with respect to M’Loughlin and
Harman are premature. There is a screw loose somewhere, so to speak,
that is all--but I believe, I can say, that if your father, Deaker,
will act to our purposes, all will be as we could wish. This is a
delicate subject, my dear friend, but still I am of opinion that if
you could, by any practicable means; soften the unfortunate female
who possesses such an ascendancy over him, all will be right. I would,
myself, undertake the perilous task for your sake--and perilous to
ordinary men I admit it would be, for she is beyond question exceedingly
comely. In me this would appear disinterested, whilst in you, suspicion
would become strong. Cash is wanted in the quarter you know, and cash
has been refused in another quarter, and when we meet I shall tell you
more about this matter. In the mean time it is well that there is no
legitimate issue--but should he will his property to this Delilah, or
could she be removed?--I mean to a local distance. But I shall see you
to-morrow (D.V.), when we can have freer conversation upon what may be
done. With humble but sincere prayers for your best wishes and welfare,
I am, my dear friend,

“Thine in the bonds of Christian love,

“Solomon M’Slime.

“P. S.--As it is a principle of mine to neglect no just opportunity of
improving my deceitful heart, I bought from a travelling pedlar this
morning, a book with the remarkable title of ‘The Spiritual Attorney,
or A Sure Guide to the Other World.’ I have not yet had time to look at
anything but the title page, and consequently am not able to inform you
which of the worlds he alludes to, ha, ha! You see, my friend, I do not
think there is evil in a joke that is harmless, or has a moral end in
view, as every joke ought to have.

“Thine as before,

“Sol. M’Slime.”



CHAPTER IV.--Poll Doolin, the Child Cadger

--Raymond, her Son--Short Dialogue on the Times--Polls Opinion on
the Causes of Immorality--Solomon is Generous--A Squire of the Old
School--And a Moral Dialogue.


The next morning was that on which the Quarter Sessions of Castle Cumber
commenced; and of course it was necessary for Darby O’Drive, who was
always full of business on such occasions, to see M’Clutchy, in order
to receive instructions touching his duties on various proceedings
connected with the estate. He had reached the crossroads that ran about
half-way between Constitution Cottage and Castle Cumber, when! he met,
just where the road turned to M’Clutchy’s, a woman named Poll Doolin,
accompanied, as she mostly was, by her son--a poor, harmless, idiot,
named Raymond; both of whom were well known throughout the whole parish.
Poll was a thin, sallow woman, with piercing dark eyes, and a very;
gipsy-like countenance. Her dress was always black, and very much worn;
in fact, everything about her was black--black stockings, black bonnet,
black hair, and black kerchief. Poll’s occupation was indeed a singular
one, and not very creditable to the morals of the day. Her means of
living were derived from the employment of child-cadger to the Foundling
Hospital of Dublin. In other words, she lived by conveying illegitimate
children from the places of their birth to the establishment just
mentioned, which has been very properly termed a bounty for national
immorality. Whenever a birth of this kind occurred, Poll was immediately
sent for--received her little charge with a name--whether true or false
mattered not--pinned to its dress--then her traveling expenses; after
which she delivered it at the hospital, got a receipt for its delivery,
and returned to claim her demand, which was paid only on her producing
it. In the mean time, the unfortunate infant had to encounter all the
comforts of the establishment, until it was drafted out to a charter
school, in which hot-bed of pollution it received that exquisitely
moral education that enabled it to be sent out into society admirably
qualified to sustain the high character of Protestantism.

“Morrow, Poll,” said Darby; “what’s the youngest news wid you? And
Raymond, my boy, how goes it wid you?”

“I don’t care for you,” replied the fool; “you drove away Widow
Branagan’s cow, an’ left the childre to the black wather. Bad luck to
you!”

Darby started; for there is a superstition among the Irish, that the
curse of an “innocent” is one of the most unlucky that can be uttered.

“Don’t curse me,” replied Darby; “sure, Raymond, I did only my duty.”

“Then who made you do your duty?” asked the other.

“Why, Val the Vul--hem--Mr. M’Clutchy, to be sure.”

“Bad luck to him then!”

His mother, who had been walking a little before him, turned, and,
rushing towards him, put her hand hastily towards his mouth, with the
obvious intention of suppressing the imprecation; but too late; it had
escaped, and be the consequence what it might, Val had got the exciting
cause of it.

“My poor unfortunate boy,” said she, “you oughtn’t to curse anybody;
stop this minute, and say God bless him.”

“God bless who?”

“Mr. McClutchy.”

“The devil bless him! ha, ha, ha! Doesn’t he harry the poor, an’ drive
away their cows from them--doesn’t he rack them an’ rob them--harry
them, rack them, rob them--

     “Harry them, rack them, rob them,
     Rob them, rack them, harry them--
     Harry them, rack them, rob them,
     Rob them, rack them, harry them.”

This he sung in an air somewhat like “Judy Callahan.”

“Ha, ha, ha! Oh the devil bless him! and they say a blessin’ from the
devil is very like a curse from God.”

The mother once more put up her hands to his face, but only with the
intention of fondling and caressing him. She tenderly stroked down his
head, and patted his cheek, and attempted to win him out of the evil
humor into which the sight of Darby had thrown him. Darby could observe,
however, that she appeared to be deeply troubled by the idiot’s conduct,
as was evident by the trembling of her hands, and a perturbation of
manner which she could not conceal.

“Raymond,” she said, soothingly, “won’t you be good for me, darlin’--for
your own mother, my poor helpless boy? Won’t you be good for me?”

“I will,” said he, in a more placid voice.

“And you will not curse anybody any more?”

“No, mother, no.”

“And won’t you bless Mr. M’Clutchy, my dear child?”

“There’s a fig for him,” he replied--there’s a fig for him. Now!”

“But you didn’t bless him, my darlin’--you didn’t bless him yet.”

As she spoke the words, her eye caught! his, and she perceived that it
began to gleam and kindle.

“Well no,” said she hastily; “no, I won’t ask you; only hould your
tongue--say no more.”

She again patted his cheek tenderly, and the fiery light which began to
burn in his eye, died gradually away, and no other expression remained
in it but the habitual one of innocence and good-nature.

“No, no,” said she, shaking her head, and speaking as much to herself as
to Darby; “I know him too well; no earthly power will put him out of
his own way, once he takes it into his head. This minute, if I had
spoke another word about the blessin’, Mr. M’Clutchy would a got
another curse; yet, except in these fits, my poor child is kindness and
tendheress itself.”

“Well now,” said Darby, “that that’s over, can you tell me, Poll, what’s
the news? When were you in Dublin?”

“I’ve given that up,” replied Poll; “I’m too ould and stiff for it now.
As for the news, you ought to know what’s goin’ as well as I do. You’re
nearly as much on the foot.”

“No; nor if every head in the parish was ‘ithin side o’mine, I wouldn’t
know as much in the news line as you, Poll.”

“The news that’s goin’ of late, Darby, is not good, an’ you know it.
There’s great grumlin’ an’ great complaints, ever since. Val, the lad,
became undher agent; and you know that too.”

“But how can I prevent that?” said Darby; “sure I’d side wid the people
if I could.”

“You’d side wid the people, an’ you’d side wid the man that oppresses
them, even in spite of Mr. Hickman.”

“God bless Mr. Hickman!” said Raymond, “and the divil curse him! and
sure ‘tis well known that the divil’s curse is only another name for
God’s blessin’. God bless, Mr. Hickman!”

“Amen, my darlin’ child, wid all my heart,” said Poll; “but, Darby,” she
continued, “take my word for it, that these things won’t end well. The
estate and neighborhood was peaceable and quiet till the Vulture began
his pranks, and now----”

“Very well,” said Darby, “the blame be his, an’ if it comes to that, the
punishment; so far as myself’s consarned, I say, let every herrin’ hang
by its own tail--I must do my duty. But tell me, Poll--hut, woman, never
mind the Vulture--let him go to the devil his own way--tell me do you
ever hear from your son Frank, that Brian M’Loughlin sent acrass?”

“No,” said she, “not a word; but the curse o’ heaven on Brian
M’Loughlin! Was my fine young man worth no more than his garran of
a horse, that he didn’t steal either, till he was put to it by the
Finigans.”

“Well, sure two o’ them were sent over soon afther him, if that’s any
comfort.”

“It’s no comfort,” replied Poll, “but I’ll tell you what’s a comfort,
the thought that I’ll never die till I have full revenge on Brian
M’Loughlin--ay, either on him or his--or both. Come, Raymond, have you
ne’er a spare curse now for Brian M’Loughlin?--you could give a fat one
to M’Clutchy this minute and have you none for Brian M’Loughlin?”

“No,” replied, the son, “he doesn’t be harryin’ the poor.”

“Well, but he transported your brother.

“No matter; Frank used to beat me--he was bad, an Brian M’Loughlin was
good to me, and does be good to me; he gives me my dinner or breakfast
whenever I go there--an’ a good bed in the barn. I won’t curse him.
Now!”

“It’s no use,” continued Poll, whose thin features had not yet subsided
from the inflammatory wildness of expression which had been awakened by
the curse, “it’s no use, he’ll only do what he likes himself, an’ the
best way is to never heed him.”

“I believe so,” said Darby, “but where’s your daughter Lucy now, Poll?”

“Why,” said Poll, “she has taken to my trade, an’ thravels up to the
Foundling; although, dear knows, it’s hardly worth her while now--it
won’t give her salt to her kale, poor girl.”

“Why, are the times mendin’?” asked Darby, who spoke in a moral point of
view.

“Mendin’!” exclaimed Poll, “oh, ay indeed--Troth they’re not fit to be
named in the one day with what they used to be. But indeed, of late
I’m happy to say that they are improvin’ a bit,” said she, speaking
professionally. “M’Clutchy’s givin’ them a lift, for I’ve ever an’
always remarked, that distress, and poverty, and neglect o’ the poor,
and hardship, and persecution, an’ oppression, and anything that way,
was sure to have my very heart broke wid business.”

“And tell me, Poll, did you ever happen to get a job from a sartin pious
gentleman, o’ the name of M’Slime?--now tell the truth.”

“It’s a question,” replied Poll, “you have no right to axe--you must
know, Darby O’Drive, that I’ve had my private business, as well as
my public business, an’ that I’d suffer that right hand to be cut off
sooner than betray trust. Honor bright, or what’s the world good for!”

They now reached a spot where the road branched into two, but Poll still
kept to that which led to M’Clutchy’s. “Are you for the Cottage too,”
 asked Darby.

“I am,” replied Poll, “I’ve been sent for; but what he wants wid me, I
know no more than the man in the moon.”

Just then the tramp of a horse’s feet was heard behind’ them, and in a
minute or two, Solomon M’Slime, who was also on his way to the Cottage,
rode up to them.

“A kind good morning to you Darby, my friend! I trust you did not
neglect to avail yourself of the--Ah!” said he complacently on catching
a glimpse of Poll’s face, “I think I ought to recollect your features,
my good woman--but, no--I can’t say I do--No, I must mistake them for
those of another--but, indeed, the best of us is liable to mistake and
error--all frail--flesh is grass.”

“You might often see my face,” returned Poll, “but I don’t think ever we
spoke before. I know you to look at you, sir, that’s all--an’ it’s thrue
what you say too, sir, there’s nothing but frailty in the world--divil a
much else--howsomever, be that as is may, honor bright’s my motive.”

“And a good motto it is, my excellent woman--is that interesting young
man your son?”

“He is, sir; but he’s a poor innocent that, hasn’t the full complement
of wit, sir, God help him!”

“Well, my good woman,” continued Solomon, “as he appears to be without
shoes to his feet, will you accept of five shillings, which is all the
silver I have about me, to buy him a pair.”

“Many thanks, Mr. M’Sl--hem--many thanks, sir; honor bright’s my
motive.”

“And let it always be so, my excellent, woman; a good morning to you
very kindly! Darby, I bid you also good morning, and peace be with you
both.”

So saying, he rode on at a quiet, easy amble, apparently at peace with
his heart, his conscience, his sleek cob, and all the world besides.

The sessions of Castle Cumber having concluded as sessions usually
conclude, we beg our reader to accompany us to Deaker Hall the residence
of M’Clutchy’s father, the squire. This man was far advanced in years,
but appeared to have been possessed of a constitution which sustains
sensuality, or perhaps that retrospective spirit which gloats over its
polluted recollections, on the very verge of the grave. In the case
before us, old age sharpened the inclination to vice in proportion as
it diminished the power of being vicious, and presented an instance of a
man, at the close of a long life, watching over the grave of a corrupted
heart, with a hope of meeting the wan spectres of his own departed
passions, since he could not meet the passions themselves; and he met
them, for they could not rest, but returned to their former habitation,
like unclean spirits as they were, each bringing seven more along with
it, but not to torment him. Such were the beings with which the soul of
this aged materialist was crowded. During life his well known motto was,
“let us eat, and drink and be merry, for to-morrow we die.” Upon this
principle, expanded into still wider depravity, did he live and act
during a protracted existence, and to those who knew him, and well known
he was, there appeared something frightfully revolting in the shameless
career of this impenitent old infidel.

Deaker was a large man, with a rainbow protuberance before, whose chin,
at the time we speak of, rested upon his breast, giving to him the exact
character which he bore--that of a man who to the last was studious
of every sensual opportunity. His gray, goatish eye, was vigilant and.
circumspect, and his under lip protruded in a manner, which, joined to
the character of his age, left no one at a loss for the general subject
matter of his thoughts. He always wore top boots, and generally went on
horseback, having that part of his hat which rested on the collar of his
coat, turned up and greasy.

Squire Deaker’s language was not more moral than his life--for he not
only enforced his principles by his example, but also by his precept.
His conversation consequently resolved itself into a mingled stream of
swearing and obscenity. Ridicule of religion, and a hardened triumph in
his own iniquitous exploits, illustrated and confirmed by a prodigality
of blasphemous asservations, constituted the staple of his thoughts and
expressions. According to his own principles he could not look forward
to another life, and consequently all that remained for him was to look
back upon an unbroken line of seduction and profligacy--upon wealth and
influence not merely abused, but prostituted to the lowest and
grossest purposes of our worst passions--upon systematic crime--unmanly
treachery--and that dishonest avarice which constituted the act of
heartless desertion in himself the ultimate ruin and degradation of
his victims. Such was this well known squire of the old school, whose
portrait, taken from life, will be recognized by every one who ever knew
him, should any such happen to peruse these pages.

At the period of which we write Squire Deaker was near eighty, and
although feeble and broken down, he still exhibited the remains of a
large, coarse, strong-boned animal, not without a vigorous twinkle of
low cunning in his eye, and a duplicity of character and principle about
his angular and ill-shaped eye-brows which could not be mistaken. He
was confined to his bed, and for the first time during many years, was
unable to attend the Castle Cumber quarter sessions.

It was the second or third day after their close that about the hour of
ten o’clock, a.m., he awoke from a heavy and unhealthy doze, which could
scarcely be termed sleep, but rather a kind of middle state between that
and waking. At length he raised his head, gasped, and on finding no one
in the room, he let fly a volley of execrations, and rang the bell.

“Is there any one there? Any one within hearing? I say Isabel, Isabel,
jezabel, are you all dead and d----d?”

“No, your honor, not yet--some of us at least,” replied a shrewd-looking
lad of about eighteen, nicking his appearance.

“Ha, Lanty--it’s you, is it? What do you mean by that, you devil’s
pick-tooth? Where’s Isabel? Where’s Jezabel? Playing her pranks, I
suppose--where is she, you devil’s tooth-brush? eh?”

“Do you want your brandy and wather, sir?”

“Brandy and h--l, you scoundrel! Where’s Miss Puzzle?”

“Why, she’s just rinsing her mouth, sir, wid a drop of “--

“Of what, you devil’s imp; but I know--she’s drinking--she’s drunk, you
young candidate for perdition?”

“I’m not an ould one, sir, any how; as to Miss Fuzzle, sir, she bid me
say, that she’s doin’ herself the pleasure of drinkin’ your health”--

“Ha, ha, ha! Oh, if I were near her--that’s all! drinking my health!
She’s tipsy, the she scoundrel, she never sends me that message unless
when she’s tipsy”--

“Not tipsy, your honor, only unwell--she’s a little touched wid the
falling sickness--she always takes it after rinsing her mouth, sir; for
she’s fond of a sweet breath, your honor.”

“Ah, she’s a confounded blackguard--a living quicksand, and nothing
else. Lanty, my lad, if the Mississippi was brandy grog, she’d dry the
river--drinking at this hour!--well, never mind, I was drunk myself last
night, and I’m half drunk yet. Here, you devil’s tinder box, mix me a
glass of brandy and water.”

“Wouldn’t you do it better yourself, sir?”

“No, you whelp, don’t you see how my hands, and be hanged to them,
tremble and shake. Put in another glass, I say--carry it to my mouth
now; hold, you croil--here’s the glorious, pious, and immortal memory!
Ho! Lanty, there’s nothing like being a good Protestant after all--so
I’ll stand to glorious Bill, to the last; nine times nine, and one cheer
more! hurra!”

He then laid himself back, and attempted to whistle the Boyne Water,
but having only one tusk in front, the sound produced resembled the wild
whistle of the wind through the chink of a door--shrill and monotonous;
after which he burst out into a chuckling laugh, tickled, probably, at
the notion of that celebrated melody proving disloyal in spite of him,
as refusing, as it were, to be whistled.

At this moment Miss Isabel, or as he most frequently called her Miss
Jezabel Puzzle, came in with a gleaming eye and an unsteady step--her
hair partially dishevelled, and her dress most negligently put on. The
moment Deaker saw her, his whole manner changed, notwithstanding his
previous violence--the swagger departed from him, his countenance fell,
and he lay mute and terror-stricken before her. It was indeed clear that
her sway over him was boundless, and such was the fact. On this occasion
she simply looked at him significantly, held up her hand in a menacing
attitude, and having made a mock curtesy, immediately left the room.

“Lanty,” said he in an undertone, when she had gone, “Lanty, you clip,
go and tell her to forgive me; I said too much, and I’m sorry for it,
say--go you scoundrel.”

“Faix I’ll do no such thing, sir,” replied Lanty, alarmed at the nature
of the message; “I know better than to come across her now; she’d whale
the life out o’ me. Sure she’s afther flailing the cook out o’ the
kitchen--and Tom Corbet the butler has one of his ears, he says, hangin’
off him as long as a blood-hound’s.”

“Speak easy,” said Doaker, in a voice of terror, “speak lower, or she
may hear you--Isn’t it strange,” he said to himself, “that I who never
feared God or man, should quail before this Jezabel!”

“Begad, an’ here’s one, your honor, that’ll make her quail, if he meets
her.”

“Who is it,” asked the other eagerly, “who is it you imp?”

“Why, Mr. M’Clutchy, sir; he’s ridin’ up the avenue.”

“Ay, Val the Vulture--Val the Vulture--I like that fellow--like him for
his confoundedly clever roguery; only he’s a hypocrite, and doesn’t set
the world at defiance as I do;--no, he’s a cowardly, skulking hypocrite,
nearly as great a one as M’Slime, but doesn’t talk so much about
religion as that oily gentleman.”

In a few moments M’Clutchy entered. “Good morrow, Val. Well, Val--well,
my Vulture, what’s in the wind now? Who’s to suffer? Are you ready for a
pounce? Eh?”

“I was sorry to hear that your health’s not so good, sir, as it was.”

“You lie, my dear Vulture, you lie in your throat, I tell you. You’re
watching for my carcase, snuffing the air at a distance under the hope
of a gorge. No--you didn’t care the devil had me, provided you could
make a haul by it.”

“I hope sir, there’s no----”

“Hope! You rascally hypocrite, what’s hope good for? Hope to rot in the
grave is it? To melt into corruption and feed the worms? What a precious
putrid carcase I’ll make, when I’m a month in the dirt. Maybe you
wouldn’t much relish the scent of me then, my worthy Vulture. Curse your
beak, at all events! what do you want? what did you come for?”

Val, who knew his worthy sire well, knew also the most successful method
of working out any purpose with him. He accordingly replied, conscious
that hypocrisy was out of the question--

“The fact is, sir, I want you to aid me in a piece of knavery.”

“I’ll do it--I’ll do it. Hang me if I don’t. Come--I like that--it
shows that there’s no mock modesty between us--that we know one another.
What’s the knavery?”

“Why, sir, I’m anxious, in the first place, to have Hickman, the head
agent, out, and in the next, to get into his place, if possible. Now, I
know that you can assist me in both, if you wish.”

“How?” asked Deaker, who was quite as able a tactician as his son; and
who, in fact, had contrived to put himself so completely! in possession
of the political influence of the county as to be able to return any one
he wished. “How is it to be done? Tell me that?”

“I have understood from George Gamble, Lord Cumber’s own man, that he
wants money.”

“Tut,” replied Deaker, who now forgot a great deal of his swearing, and
applied himself to the subject, with all the coolness and ability of a
thorough man of business.

“Tut, Val, is that your news? When was he ever otherwise? Come to the
point; the thing’s desirable--but how can it be done?”

“I think it can; but it must be by very nice handling indeed.”

“Well--your nice handling then?”

“The truth is, that Hickman, I suspect, is almost sick of the
agency--thanks to Lord Cumber’s extravagance, and an occasional bit of
blister which I, through the tenantry, lay on him at home. Cumber, you
know, is an unsteady scoundrel, and in the ordinary I transactions of
life, has no fixed principle, for he is possessed of little honor, and I
am afraid not much honesty.”

“Oh murder! this from Val the Vulture! Let me look at you! Did M’Slime
bite you? or have you turned Methodist? Holy Jupiter, what a sermon!
Curse your beak, sir; go on, and no preaching.”

“Not much honesty as I said. Now, sir, if you, who have him doubly in
your power--first, by the mortgage; and, secondly, as his political
godfather, who can either put him in, or keep him out of the country--if
you were to write him a friendly, confidential letter, in which,
observe, you are about to finally arrange your affairs; and you are
sorry--quite sorry--but the truth is, something must be done about the
mortgage--you are very sorry--mark--but you are old, and cannot leave
your property in an unsettled state. Just touch that part of it so--”

“Yes--touch and go.”

“Exactly--touch and go. Well, you pass then to the political portion
of it. Hickman’s political opinions are not well known, or at least
doubtful. Indeed you have reason to believe that he will not support
his lordship or his family--is not in the confidence of
government--displeased at the Union--and grumbles about corruption.
His lordship is abroad you know, and cannot think for himself. You speak
as his friend--his tried friend--he ought to have a man on his property
who is staunch, can be depended on, and who will see that full justice
is done him in his absence. Hickman, too, is against Ascendancy
principles. Do you see, sir?”

“Proceed--what next?”

“Why, we stop there for the present; nothing more can be done until we
hear from the scoundrel himself.”

“And what do you imagine will be the upshot?”

“Why, I think it not at all unlikely that he will place himself and
his interests, pecuniary and political, altogether in your hands, and
consequently you will probably have the guiding of him.”

“Well, Val, you are an able knave to be sure; but never mind; I like you
all the better. The true doctrine is always--eat, drink, and be merry,
for to-morrow you die,--take as much out of life and your fellow-men as
you can. There’s no knavery in the grave, my Vulture. There the honest
man and the knave are alike; and this being the case, what the devil is
public opinion worth?”

“It’s worth a great deal if we use it for our own purposes while we’re
here; otherwise I agree with you that it’s valueless in itself.”

“You’re a cursed clever fellow, Val, an able knave, as I said--but I
don’t like your son; he’s a dishonest blockhead, and I needn’t tell
you that the man who has not brains enough to be dishonest is a most
contemptible scoundrel.”

“Are you not able to get up?” asked Val, in a very dutiful and
affectionate voice.

“Able enough now, but my head swam a while ago at a deuced rate. I
was drunk, as usual, last night, and could do nothing, not even put a
tumbler to my mouth, until I took a stiff glass of brandy and water,
and that has set me up again. When shall I write to young Topertoe, the
Cumber blade?”

“The sooner the better, now; but I think you ought to rise and take some
exercise.”

“So I shall, immediately, and to-morrow I write then, according to your
able instructions, most subtle and sagacious Val. Are you off?”

“Yes, good-bye, sir, and many thanks.”

“None of your stuff I say, but be off out of this--” and as he spoke Val
disappeared.

So far the first steps for ousting Mr. Hickman were taken by this
precious father and his equally valuable son. Val, however, entertained
other speculations quite as ingenious, and far more malignant in
their tendency. Hickman, of course, he might, by undercurrents and
manoeuvering, succeed in ejecting from the agency; but he could not
absolutely ruin him. Nothing short of this, however, did he propose to
himself, so far as M’Loughlin, and, we may add, every one connected with
him, was concerned; for M’Clutchy possessed that kind of economy in his
moral feelings, that always prompted him to gratify his interest and his
malice by the same act of virtue. How he succeeded in this benevolent
resolution, time and the progress of this truthful history will show.



CHAPTER V.--A Mysterious Meeting

--Description of a Summer Evening--A Jealous Vision--Letter from Squire
Beaker to Lord Cumber--Lord Cumber’s Reply.


The season was now about the close of May, that delightful month
which presents, the heart and all our purer sensations with a twofold
enjoyment; for in that sweet period have we not all the tenderness and
delicacy of spring, combined with the fuller and more expanded charms
of the leafy summer--like that portion of female life, in which the
eye feels it difficult to determine whether the delicate beauty of
the blushing girl, or the riper loveliness of the full grown maid,
predominates in the person. The time was evening, about half an hour
before that soft repose of twilight, in which may be perceived the
subsiding stir of busy life as it murmurs itself into slumber, after the
active pursuits of day. On a green upland lawn, that was a sheep walk,
some portions of which were studded over with the blooming and fragrant
furze, stood an old ecclesiastical ruin, grey from time, and breathing
with that spirit of vague but dreamy reverie, which it caught from the
loveliness of the season, the calmness and the golden light of the hour,
accessories, that, by their influence, gave a solemn beauty to its very
desolation. It reminded one somewhat of the light which coming death
throws upon the cheek of youth when he treacherously treads in the soft
and noiseless steps of decline--or rather of that still purer light,
which, when the aged Christian arrives at the close of a well spent
life, accompanied by peace, and hope, and calmness, falls like a glory
on his bed of death. The ruin was but small, a remnant of one of those
humble, but rude temples, in which God was worshipped in simplicity and
peace, far from the noisy tumults and sanguinary conflicts of ambitious
man.

Through this sweet upland, and close to the ruin, ran a footpath that
led to a mountain village of considerable extent. Immediately behind the
ruin stood a few large hawthorn trees, now white with blossoms, whose
fragrance made the very air a luxury, and from whose branches came forth
those gushes of evening melody that shed tenderness and tranquility into
the troubled heart. The country in the distance lay charmed, as it were,
by the calm spirit of peace which seemed to have diffused itself
over the whole landscape--western windows were turned into fire--the
motionless lakes shone like mirrors wherever they caught the beams of
the evening light, as did several bends of the broad river which barely
moved within its winding banks through the meadows below. The sun at
length became half concealed behind the summit of the western hills, so
that his rich and gorgeous beams fell only upon the surrounding uplands,
now lit into purple, leaving the valleys and lower parts of the country
to repose in that beautiful shadow which can be looked upon from the
higher parts, only through the crimson glory of the departing light.
And now the sun has disappeared--is gone--but still how beautiful is
the fading splendor that sleeps for a little on the mountain tops, then
becomes dimmer and dimmer--then a faint streak which gradually melts
away until it is finally lost in the soft shadows of that thoughtful
hour. And even thus passeth away all human glory! The ruin which we have
mentioned stood about half way between the residence of Brian M’Loughlin
and the mountain village to which we have alluded. Proceeding homewards
from the latter place, having performed an errand of mercy and charity,
was a very beautiful girl, exquisitely formed, but somewhat below the
middle size. She was Brian M’Loughlin’s only daughter--a creature that
breathed of goodness, grace, and all those delightful qualities that make
woman a ministering angel amidst the cares, and miseries, and sorrows
of life. Her figure, symmetry itself, was so light, and graceful, and
elegant, that a new charm was displayed by every motion, as a new beauty
was discovered by every change of her expressive countenance; her hair
was like the raven’s wing, and her black eye, instead of being sharp and
piercing, was more in accordance with the benignity of her character,
soft, sweet, and mellow. Her bust and arm were perfection, and the small
white hand and taper fingers would have told a connoisseur or sculptor,
that her foot, in lightness and elegance of formation, might have
excited, the envy of Iris or Camilla.

Having reached the ruin, she was surprised to see the figure of a thin
woman, dressed in black, issue out of it, and approach her with somewhat
of caution in her manner. Mary M’Loughlin was a girl of strong mind and
firm character, and not likely to feel alarmed by any groundless cause
of apprehension. She immediately recognized the woman, who was no other
than our old friend Poll Doolin, and in the phrases peculiar to the
country, made the usual kind inquiry after her health and welfare.

“It’s a very unusual thing, Poll,” she proceeded, “to see you in this
part of the neighborhood!”

“It is,” returned Poll, “I wasn’t so near the mountains this many a day;
an’ I wouldn’t be here now, only on your account. Miss M’Loughlin.”

Now, Mary was by no means ignorant of the enmity which this woman
entertained against her father and family, in consequence of having
prosecuted and transported her profligate son. Without the slightest
apprehension on that account, she felt, however, a good deal puzzled
as to the meaning which could be attached to Poll’s words. “How, on my
account, Poll? I don’t understand you.”

“Neither you nor yours desarve it at my hands; but for all that, I am
here to do you a good tarn.”

“I hope I never deserved any evil at your! hands, Poll.”

“No, but you’re your father’s daughter for all that, an’ it’s not usual
to hate the tree and spare the branches.”

“I suppose you allude to the transportation of your son; but remember,
Poll, that I was only a child then; and don’t forget that had your son
been honest, he might I still be a comfort and a credit to you, instead
of a shame and a sorrow. I don’t I mean, nor do I wish to hurt your
feelings, Poll; but I am anxious that you should not indulge in such
bitterness of heart against my father, who only did what he could not
avoid.”

“Well,” said Poll, “never mind that--although it isn’t aisy for a mother
to forget her child wid all his faults; I am here, as I said, on your
‘account--I am here to tell you, that there is danger about you and
before you, and to put you on your guard against it. I am here, Miss
Mary M’Loughlin, and if I’m not your friend--I’m not sayin’ that I am
not--still I’m the friend of one that is your friend, and that will
protect you if he can.”

“That is very strange, Poll, for I know not how I can have an enemy.
What danger could a simple inoffensive girl like me feel? I who have
never knowingly offended anybody.”

“I have said the truth,” replied Poll, “and did my duty--you’re now
warned, so be on your guard and take care of yourself.”

“But how, Poll? You mention danger, yet have not told me what it is,
where it’s to come from, nor how I am to guard myself against it.”

“I’m not at liberty,” said Poll, “but this I can tell you, it’s
threatening you, and it comes from a quarther where you’d never look for
it.”

Mary, who was neither timid nor surprised, smiled with the confidence of
innocence, and replied, after a short pause of thought--

“Well, Poll, I have been thinking over my friends, and cannot find one
that is likely to be my enemy; at all events I am deeply obliged to you,
still if you could mention what the danger is, I would certainly
feel the obligation to be greater. As it is, I thank you again. Good
evening!”

“Stay, Miss Mary,” replied Poll, walking eagerly a step or two after
her, “stay a minute; I have run a risk in doin’ this--only promise me,
to keep what I said to you a saicret for a while--as well as that you
ever had any private talk wid me. Promise this.”

“I shall certainly not promise any such thing, Poll; so far from that,
I will mention every word of your conversation to my father and family,
the moment I reach home. If, as you say, there is danger before or
around me, there are none whose protection I should so naturally seek.”

“But this,” said Poll, with an appearance of deep anxiety, “this is a
matther of mere indifference to you: it’s to me the danger is, if you
spake of it--to me, I say--not to you.”

“But I can have no secrets from my family.”

“Well, but is it ginerous in you to put me--ay’, my very life in
danger--when all you have to do is merely to say nothing? However, since
I must speak out--you’ll put more than me in danger--them that you love
betther, an’ that you’d never carry a light heart if anything happened
them.”

Mary started--and a light seemed suddenly to break upon her.

“How,” said she, “my engagement to Francis Harman is no secret; our
marriage at no distant day being sanctioned by both our families. Is he
involved in danger connected with your hints?”

“Deep and deadly, both to him and me. You don’t know it, Miss Mary. If
you love him, as you do--as is well known you do--if you would keep him
and my poor worthless self out of danger, may be out of bloodshed--don’t
mention a syllable of this meetin’ to any one; but of all persons livin’
to himself, until I give you lave, until I can tell you it will be safe
to do so. See, I kneel down with hands clasped, I beg it of you for his
sake and safety!”

It was pretty well known through the parish, especially by the
initiated, that this same Poll Doolin, had in truth most of its secrets
in keeping; and that she had frequently conducted with success those
rustic intrigues which are to be found in humble, as well as in high
life. The former part of Poll’s character, however, was all that had
ever reached the youthful ears of poor innocent Mary, whilst of her
address as a diplomatist in the plots and pursuits of love, she was
utterly ignorant. Naturally unsuspicious, as we have already said,
she looked upon the woman’s knowing character rather as a circumstance
calculated to corroborate the truth of the mystery which she, must have
discovered: and was so much moved by the unquestionable sincerity of her
manner, and the safety of her own lover, that she assured her she would
keep the secret, until permitted to divulge it; which she begged might
be at as early a period as possible. Poll thanked her eagerly and
gratefully, and in a few minutes, having made a circuit behind the ruin,
sought the lower and richer country by a different path.

Mary unconsciously stood for some time after Poll had left her,
meditating over the strange and almost unaccountable scene which had
just taken place, when a rich voice, with which she was well acquainted,
addressed her. She started, and on turning about, found Francis Harman
before her. Twilight had now nearly passed away, and the dusk of evening
was deepening into the darkness of a summer night.

“What on earth are you thinking of alone in this place, my dear Mary,
and who was that woman who just left you?”

Mary, though firm of character, was also tender and warm of heart, and
felt deeply for those she loved. The interview with Poll, therefore, had
excited apprehensions concerning Harman’s safety, which disturbed her
far more than any she felt for herself. He gave her his right arm as he
spoke, and they went on towards her father’s house.

“Good God,” he exclaimed, before she had time to answer him, “what
has disturbed or alarmed you, my sweet Mary? I feel your heart beating
against my arm, in a most extraordinary manner. How is this?”

The consciousness of the injunction so solemnly and recently imposed,
distressed her exceedingly. Her love of truth was like her love of life
or of heaven, a sacred and instinctive principle which she must now
not only violate, but be forced to run into the hateful practice of
dissimulation. All this passed through her mind in a moment.

“My dear Francis, I will freely admit that the beatings of my heart are
not altogether without cause; I have been somewhat disturbed, but it
will not signify; I shall be quite well in a moment--but where did you
come from?”

“They told me you had gone up to poor Widow Carrick’s--and I took the
short way, thinking to find you there. But what has disturbed you, my
dear Mary? Something has, and greatly too.”

She looked up with an affectionate smile into his face, although there
trembled a tear upon her eyelids, as she spoke--

“Do not ask me, my dear Frank; nor don’t think the circumstance of
much importance. It is a little secret of mine, which I cannot for the
present disclose.”

“Well, my love, I only ask to know if the woman that left you was Poll
Doolin.”

“I cannot answer even that, Frank; but such as the secret is, I trust
you shall soon know it.”

“That is enough, my darling. I am satisfied that you would conceal
nothing from either your family or me, which might be detrimental either
to yourself or us--or which we ought to know.”

“That is true,” said she, “I feel that it is true.”

“But then on the other hand,” said he, playfully, “suppose our little
darling were in possession of a secret which we ought not to know--what
character should we bestow on the secret?”

This, though said in love and jest, distressed her so much that she
was forced to tell him so--“my dear Francis,” she replied, with as
much composure as she could assume, “do not press me on the subject;--I
cannot speak upon it now, and I consequently must throw myself on your
love and generosity only for a short time, I hope.”

“Not a syllable, my darling, on the subject until you resume it
yourself--how are Widow Carrick’s sick children?”

“Somewhat better,” she replied, “the two eldest are recovering, and want
nourishment, which, with the exception of my poor contributions, they
cannot get.”

“God love and guard your kind and charitable heart, my sweet Mary,” said
he, looking down tenderly into her beautiful face, and pressing her arm
lovingly against his side.

“What a hard-hearted man that under agent, M’Clutchy, is,” she
exclaimed, her beautiful eye brightening with indignation--“do you know
that while her children were ill, his bailiff, Darby O’Drive, by his
orders or authority, or some claim or other, took away her goose and
the only half-dozen of eggs she had for them--indeed, Frank, he’s a sad
curse to the property.”

“He is what an old Vandal was once called for his cruelty and
oppression--the Scourge of God,” replied Harman, “such certainly the
unhappy tenantry of the Topertoe family find him. Harsh and heartless
as he is, however, what would he be were it not for the vigilance and
humanity of Mr. Hickman? But are you aware, Mary, that his graceful son
Phil was a suitor of yours?”

“Of mine---ha, ha, ha!--oh, that’s too comical, Frank--but I am not--Had
I really ever that honor?”

“Most certainly; his amiable father had the modesty to propose a
matrimonial union between your family and his!”

“I never heard of it,” replied Mary, “never;--but that is easily
accounted for--my father, I know, would not insult me by the very
mention of it.”

“It’s a fact though, that the illegitimate son of the blasphemous old
squire, and of the virtuous and celebrated Kate Clank, hoped to have
united the M’Loughlin blood with his!”

“Hush!” exclaimed Mary, shuddering, “the very thought is sickening,
revolting.”

“It’s not a pleasant subject, certainly,” said Harman, “and the less
that is said about it the more disgust we shall avoid, at any rate.”

Her lover having safely conducted Mary home, remained with her family
only a few minutes, as the evening was advanced, and he had still to go
as far as Castle Cumber, upon business connected with the manufactory,
which M’Loughlin and his father had placed wholly under his
superintendence.

Upon what slight circumstances does the happiness of individuals,
nay, even of states and kingdoms, too frequently depend! Harman most
assuredly was incapable of altogether dismissing the circumstance of
the evening--involved in mystery as they unquestionably were--out of his
mind; not that he entertained the slightest possible suspicion of Mary’s
prudence or affection; but he felt a kind of surprise at the novelty
of the position in which he saw she was placed, and no little pain in
consequence of the disagreeable necessity for silence which she admitted
had been imposed on her. His confidence in her, however, was boundless;
and from this perfect reliance on her discretion and truth, he derived
an assurance that she was acting with strict propriety under the
circumstances, whatever might be their character or tendency.

It may be necessary to mention here that a right of passage ran from
Beleeven, the name of the village in which M’Loughlin resided, to the
Castle Cumber high road, which it joined a little beyond Constitution
Cottage, passing immediately through an angle of the clump of beeches
already mentioned as growing behind the house. By this path, which
shortened the way very much, Harman, and indeed every pedestrian
acquainted with it, was in the habit of passing, and on the night in
question he was proceeding along it at a pretty quick pace, when, having
reached the beeches just alluded to, he perceived two figures, a male
and female, apparently engaged in close and earnest conversation. The
distance at first was too great to enable him to form any opinion as to
who they were, nor would he have even asked himself the question, were
it not that the way necessarily brought him pretty near them. The reader
may form some conception then of his surprise, his perplexity, and,
disguise it as he might, his pain, on ascertaining that the female was
no other than Poll Doolin, and her companion, graceful Phil himself--the
gallant and accomplished owner of Handsome Harry.

It appeared quite evident that the subject matter of their conversation
was designed for no other ears than their own, or why speak as they did
in low and guarded tones, that implied great secrecy and caution. Nay,
what proved still a plainer corroboration of this--no sooner was the
noise of his footsteps heard, than Poll squatted herself down behind
the small hedge which separated the pathway from the space on which they
stood, and this clearly with a hope of concealing her person from
his observation. Phil also turned away his face with a purpose of
concealment, but the impression left by his lank and scraggy outline,
as it stood twisted before Harman, was such as could not be mistaken.
Poll’s identity not only on this occasion, but also during her hasty
separation from Mary, was now established beyond the possibility of a
doubt; a fact which lent to both her interviews a degree of mystery that
confounded Harman. On thinking over the matter coolly, he could scarcely
help believing that Her appearance here was in some way connected with
the, circumstances which had occasioned Mary so much agitation and
alarm. This suspicion, however, soon gave way to a more generous
estimate of her character, and he could not permit himself for a moment
to imagine the existence of anything that was prejudicial to her truth
and affection. At the same time he felt it impossible to prevent himself
from experiencing a strong sense of anxiety, or perhaps we should say, a
feeling of involuntary pain, which lay like a dead weight upon his heart
and spirits. In truth, do what he might and reason as he would, he could
not expel from his mind the new and painful principle which disturbed
it. And thus he went on, sometimes triumphantly defending Mary from all
ungenerous suspicion, and again writhing under the vague and shapeless
surmises which the singular events of the evening sent crowding to
his imagination. His dreams on retiring to seek repose were
frightful--several times in the night he saw graceful Phil squinting
at him with a nondescript leer of vengeance and derision in his yellow
goggle eyes, and bearing Mary off, like some misshapen ogre of old,
mounted upon Handsome Harry, who appeared to be gifted with the speed
of Hark-away or flying Childers, whilst he himself could do nothing but
stand helplessly by, and contemplate the triumph of his hated rival.

In the mean time the respected father and grandfather of that worthy
young gentleman were laboring as assiduously for his advancement in
life as if he had been gifted with a catalogue of all human virtues.
Old Deaker, true to his word, addressed the very next day the following
characteristic epistle--

“To the Right Hon. Lord Cumber.

“My Lord--It is unnecessary to tell you that I was, during my life,
a plain blunt fellow in all my transactions. When I was honest, I was
honest like a man; and when I did the roguery, I did it like a open,
fearless knave, that defied the world and scorned hypocrisy. I am,
therefore, the same consistent old scoundrel as ever; or the same bluff,
good-humored rascal which your old father--who sold his country--and
yourself--who would sell it too, if you had one to sell--ever found me.
To make short work, then, I want you to dismiss that poor, scurvy devil,
Hickman, from your agency, and put that misbegotten spawn of mine in
his place. I mean Val M’Clutchy, or Val the Vulture, as they have very
properly christened him. Hickman’s not the thing, in any sense. He can’t
manage the people, and they impose upon him--then you suffer, of course.
Bedsides, he’s an anti-ascendancy man, of late, and will go against you
at the forthcoming Election. The fellow pretends to have a conscience,
and be cursed to him--prates about the Union--preaches against
corruption--and talks about the people, as if they were fit to be
anything else than what they are. This is a pretty fellow for you to
have as an agent to your property. Now, I’ll tell you what, my Lord--you
know old Deaker well. His motto is--‘Let us eat, drink, and be merry,
for to-morrow we die--’ I’ll tell you what, I say; I have a mortgage on
your property for fourteen thousand pounds. Now, put in Val or I’ll be
speaking to my lawyer about it. Put in Val, or you will never warm your
posteriors in a seat for this county, so long as I carry the key of it.
In doing so, make no wry faces about it--you will only serve yourself
and your property, and serve Val into the bargain. Val, to be sure,
is as confounded a scoundrel as any of us, but then he is a staunch
Protestant; and you ought not to be told at this time of day, that the
greater the scoundrel the better the agent. Would you have a fellow,
for instance, whose conscience, indeed, must stand between you and your
interest? Would you have some honest blockhead, who, when you are to be
served by a piece of friendly rascality, will plead scruples. If so, you
are a greater fool than I ever took you to be. Make Val your agent, and
it is not you that will suffer by him, but the people--whom, of course,
no one cares a curse about. I ought to have some claim on you, I think.
Many a lift I have given your precious old father, Tom Topertoe, when I
did not think of pleading scruples. To tell you the truth, many a dirty
trick I played for him, and never brought my conscience to account for
it. Make the most of this rascally world, and of the rascals that are in
it, for we are all alike in the grave. Put in Val, then, and don’t made
an enemy of

“Your old friend,

“Randal Deaker.

“P.S.--As to Val, he knows nothing of this transaction--I told him I
would say so, and I keep my word. I forgot to say that if you write this
beggarly devil, Hickman, a sharp letter for money, he may probably
save you the trouble of turning him out. I know him well--he is a thin
skinned fool, and will be apt to bolt, if you follow my advice.

“Yours as you deserve it,

“R D.”


Now, it is necessary to say here, that amidst all this pretence of open
villainy, there ran an undercurrent of cunning that might escape the
observation of most men. In truth, old Deaker was not only a knave, but
a most unscrupulous oppressor at heart, especially when he happened to
get a man in his power from whom he wished to extort a favor, or on
whom he wished to inflict an injury. In the present instance he felt
perfectly conscious of his power over the heartless profligate, to whom
he wrote such a characteristic letter, and the result shows that he
neither miscalculated the feeble principles of his correspondent, nor
the consequences of his own influence over him. By due return of post he
received a reply, of which the following is a copy:--

“Old Deaker--You have me fast, and you know it--so I suppose must is
the word; now I’ll tell you what I want, you old villain; I want two
thousand pounds, and if M’Clutchy is to get the agency, I must have
the money--so there is my must as well as yours. In the meantime I have
written to Hickman on the same subject, want of money, I mean--what the
consequences may be, I know not, but I fancy I can guess them.

“Yours,

“Cumber.”



CHAPTER VI.--The Life and Virtues of an Irish Absentee

--Duties of an Irish Landlord--An Apologue on Property--Reasons for
Appointing an Agent--M’Clutchy’s Notions of His Duties--Receipt to make
a Forty Shilling Freeholder.


Lord Cumber to Henry Hickman, Esq.

“London, April 1st, 18--

“My Dear Hickman,

“I wrote to you the day before yesterday, and, as the letter was one of
a very pressing nature, I hope its influence won’t be lost upon you.
To you who are so well acquainted with the cursed pickle in which I am
placed, it is unnecessary to say that I shall be fairly done up, unless
you can squeeze something for me out of those rascally tenants of mine.
Fairly done up is not the proper term either; for between you and me, I
strongly suspect a young fellow called Swingler, an ironmonger’s son,
of giving me a twist too much, on more than one occasion. He was
introduced, that is, proposed as a member of our club, by Sir Robert
Ratsbane, whose grandfather was a druggist, and seconded by Lord
Loadstone, the celebrated lady-killer, as a regular pigeon, who dropped,
by the death of old ‘burn the wind,’ into half a million at least. The
fellow did appear to be a very capital speculation, but the whole thing,
however, was a trick, as I strongly suspect; for after losing to a
tolerably smart tune, our gentleman began to illustrate the doctrine of
reaction, and has, under the character of a pigeon, already fleeced half
a score of us. Last week I suffered to the tune of eight hundred--Sir
Heavyhead to that of twelve--Bill Swag five--and the Hon. Tom Trickman
himself, who scarcely ever loses, gave bills for six fifties. I can’t
stand this, Hickman, that is, I cannot afford to stand it. What is
fifteen thousand a year to a man like me, who must support his rank, or
be driven to the purgatorial alternative of being imprisoned on his own
estate? Hickman, you have no bowels for me, although you can have for
the hard-fisted boors on my property, who wont pay up as they ought, and
all through your indolence and neglect. You must send me money, get it
where you will; beg, borrow, rob, drive, cant, sell out--for money I
must have. Two thousand within a fortnight, and no disappointment,
or I’m dished. You know not the demands upon me, and therefore you,
naturally enough, think very easily--much too easily--of my confounded
difficulties. If you had an opera girl to keep, as I have--and a
devilish expensive appendage the affectionate jade is--perhaps you might
feel a little more Christian sympathy for me than you do. If you had the
expense of my yacht--my large stud at Melton Mowbry and Doncaster, and
the yearly deficits in my betting book, besides the never ending train
of jockies, grooms, feeders, trainers, _et hoc genus omne_--to meet, it
is probable, old boy, you would not feel so boundless an interest, as
you say you do, in the peace and welfare of another man’s tenantry, and
all this at that other man’s expense. You’re confoundedly unreasonable,
Hickman. Why feel, or pretend to feel, more for these fellows, their
barelegged wives, and ragged brats, than you do for a nobleman of rank,
to whom you are deeply indebted. I mean you no offence, Hickman; you are
in other respects an honest fellow enough, and if possessed of only a
little less heart, as the times go, and more skill in raising money from
these people, you would be invaluable to such a distressed devil as I
am. As it is, I regret to say, that you are more a friend to my tenantry
than to myself, which is a poor qualification for an agent. In fact, we,
the Irish aristocracy living here, or absentees as you call us, instead
of being assailed by abuse, want of patriotism, neglect of duties, and
all that kind of stuff, have an especial claim upon the compassion of
their countrymen. If you knew what we, with limited means and encumbered
properties, must suffer in attempting to compete with the aristocracy
of this country, who are enormously rich, you would say that we deserve
immortal credit for holding out and keeping up appearances as we
do--not that I think we always come off scott-free from their ridicule,
especially when they see the shifts to which we are put, in order to
stretch onward at their own pace. However, we must drink when we are
thirsty, as well as they, and if the water happen to be low in the
cistern, which, indeed, is mostly the case with us, we must, as the
rook in the fable did with the pebbles, throw in rack-renting, drivings,
executions, mortgages, loans, &c, in order to bring it within our
reach--for there is ingenuity in everything, as the proverb says, except
in roasting of eggs.

“Come, then, Hickman, set to work at once. My yacht has been damaged by
a foolish wager I made to run her through a creek of reefs at low water,
so that the mere repairs will cost me a cool two hundred at least.
Besides this, I have pledged myself to buy my charming little Signora a
pair of Blenheim spaniels that she has fallen in love with, for which I
shall have to fork out a hundred and fifty down. I say, then, again,
my dear Hickman, money, money; money by _any_ means, but by _all_ means
money; _rem, sed quocunque modo rem_.

“By the way is there not a man there, a kind of under-fellow in
something--agent, I believe--some time appointed, named M’Snitchy, or
M’Smatchey, M’Clutchy, or some such euphonious appellative? Somebody,
old Deaker I think, once mentioned him to me in strong terms, and said
he might become capable of being useful; and you know, Hickman, as well
as I do, that every property circumstanced as mine is, requires a useful
fellow of that particular description. For instance, I dare say, there
are certain proceedings connected with your duty to which you have
no great inclination, and, under these circumstances, would it not
be prudent at least to resort to the agency of somebody like this
M’Clutchy; a fellow not overburthened with too strong a perception of
the necessary pressure. But the truth is, if I proceed in this manner,
your humanity, as the cant goes, will take the alarm; you will say that
my residence abroad has not improved my principles; and that I am rather
strongly tainted with club morality, and the ethics of the gaming,
house. So would you, perhaps, if you breathed my atmosphere, and were
exposed to my temptations. But now I am preaching, and not to the right
purpose either; so as I said before, I say again--money, money, money.

“I am, my dear Hickman,
“Thy friend in distress,
“Cumber.”


Henry Hickman, Esq., to the Right Honorable Lord Viscount Cumber:--

Primrose Hill, April 18--

“My Lord:

“I have had the honor of receiving both your communications, and have
read them, especially that of the first instant, with great pain. I need
not tell you, that I have been your father’s friend--that I have been,
and still am your friend, and as such, from my age and anxiety for your
lordship’s welfare and reputation, I must take the liberty of one who
has both sincerely at heart, to write to you in terms which a mere agent
could not with propriety use. As this letter, therefore, is written
for your own eye only, you will be good enough to remember that in
everything severe and home-spoken in it, the friend, and not the agent
speaks--at the same time, I must admit, that it is from the knowledge
gained as an agent that I remonstrate as a friend.

“It is now beyond a doubt, my Lord, that your position is one surrounded
with difficulties scarcely to be surmounted, unless by measures which I,
as an honest man, cannot permit myself to adopt. So long as the course
of life, which it has pleased your lordship’s better taste and judgment
to pursue, did not bring within the compass of my duties as your agent,
the exhibition of principles at variance with humanity and justice, so
long did I fulfil those duties with all the ability and zeal for your
just interests which I could exert. But now I perceive, that you have
driven me to that line beyond which I cannot put my foot, without
dishonor to myself. I have been the agent of your property, my Lord, but
I shall never become the instrument of your vices; and believe me, this
is a distinction which in our unhappy country, is too seldom observed.
Many an agent, my Lord, has built himself a fortune out of the very
necessities of his employer, and left to his children the honorable
reflection that their independence originated from profligacy on the one
hand and dishonesty on the other. You see, my Lord, I find it necessary
to be very plain with you, and to say, that however you may feel
yourself disposed to follow the one course, I shall not rival you in the
other. I cannot become a scourge inflicted by your necessities, not to
use a harsher word, upon a suffering people, who are already exhausted
and provoked by an excess of severity and neglect. Think of the
predicament in which you would have me stand--of the defence which you
place, in my lips. Should your tenantry ask me--‘why are you thus cruel
and oppressive-upon us?’ what reply could I make but this--‘I am thus
cruel because his lordship is profligate. He wants money to support
his-mistress, to feed her vanities and excesses, and you must endure
distress and privation, that the insatiable rapacity of a courtezan may
be gratified. His lordship, too, has horses and dogs, in the welfare of
which he feels a deep interest.’ ‘But why does he not feel an interest
in us?’ ‘So he does, for are not you the persons by whose toil and labor
he is enabled to support them all?’ ‘So that in point of fact, we
are made indirectly the agents of his crimes. The privations which
we suffer--the sweat of our brows--the labor of our hands, go to
the-support of his wantonness, his luxury, and his extravagance!
This, then, is his interest in us?’ ‘Yes--_work, that you may feed
them_--starve, that his mistress may riot in wantonness; perish your
children that his dogs may be fed!’ In such a position as this, my Lord,
I shall never place myself, but you may easily find many that will. The
moment your necessities are known, knavery will be immediately at work,
and assume its guardianship over folly. Indeed there is a monarchical
spirit in knavery, which has never yet been observed. The knave keeps
his fool, as did the kings of old, with this only difference, and a
material one it is--that whilst the fool always lived at the king’s
expense, the knave lives at the fool’s. How your lordship may feel under
the new administration I cannot say, but I am inclined to think, you
will not find it a distinction without a difference. By this, of course,
you understand, my Lord, that I at once resign my agency.

“And now, my Lord, in addition to many other unavailable remonstrances
made by me, not only against your licentious habits as a man, but
against your still more indefensible conduct as a landlord, allow me
to address you in a spirit of honesty, which I fear is not easily found
among the class to which I belong. I look upon this as a duty which I
owe less to you than to my country, because I am satisfied that the
most important service which can be rendered to any man, not ashamed
of either your habits or principles, is to lay before him a clear, but
short and simple statement, of that which constitutes his duty as
a landlord--I should say an Irish landlord--for there is a national
idiosyncrasy of constitution about such a man, which appears to prevent
him from properly discharging his duties, either as a friend to himself,
or a just man to his tenantry.

“The first principle, therefore, which an Irish landlord--or, indeed any
landlord--should lay down, as his fixed and unerring guide, is ever to
remember that his tenantry are his best friends--his only patrons--and
that instead of looking down upon them with contempt, neglect, or even
indifference, he should feel that they are his chief benefactors, who
prop his influence, maintain his rank, and support his authority.

“The second is--that the duties of the landlord to his tenantry are much
greater, and far more important than those of his tenantry to him, and
should at least be quite as equitably and attentively discharged.

“The third is--to remember that the great mass of the population in
Ireland belong to one creed, and the great bulk of landed proprietors
to another; and to take care that none of those fierce and iniquitous
prerogatives of power, which are claimed and exercised by those who
possess property, shall be suffered, in the name of religion, or
politics, or prejudice of any kind, to disturb or abridge the civil or
religious rights of the people, and thus weaken the bonds which should
render the interests of landlord and tenant identical. Prejudice so
exercised is tyranny. Every landlord should remember that the soil is of
no religion.

“The fourth is--simply to remember that those who live upon our
property have bodies and souls, passions, reflections, and feelings
like ourselves. That they are susceptible of hunger, cold, grief,
joy, sickness, and sorrow--that they love their children and domestic
relatives, are attached to their religion, bound by strong and heartfelt
ties to the soil they live on, and are, in fact, moved by all those
general laws and principles of life and nature, which go to make up
social and individual happiness--to remember, in short, that they are
men who have higher destinies in life, than merely administering to the
wants, excesses, or crimes of others; and that no condition has ever yet
been known to subsist between landlord and tenant, or even between man
and man, by which one party is required to surrender comfort, freedom,
and enjoyment, in fact, all that life is good for, merely to gratify the
wants, vices, or ambition of the other.

“The fifth and last is--not by oppression, cruelty, or rapacity, to goad
the people into madness and outrage, under the plausible name of law
or justice; or to drive the national mind--which is a clear one--into
reflections that may lead it to fall back upon first principles, or
force it to remember that the universal consent by which the rights of
property are acknowledged, may, under the exasperation of overstrained
pressure, in a land so peculiarly circumstanced as Ireland is,
be altogether withheld, and thus its whole foundations shaken or
overturned, and the justice of individual claims and prescriptive right
lost in the tumult.

“These principles are simple, my Lord, but they ought at least to be
better known, or what would be still more desirable, better practised.
As, however, my paper is nearly filled, I shall finish my communication
with a short fab!e, to which I beg your lordship’s serious attention.

“There lived a man once, who was foolish enough to entertain a senseless
prejudice against cows, because they did not give milk all the year
round. This man was married, and of course, had a numerous family of
children, and being very lazy and improvident, depended principally upon
the kindliness of an excellent cow, whose milk was the chief means of
his support and theirs. At length in the due course of time, the poor
cow, as every one must know, began to yield it in diminished quantities,
and as it happened to be a severe year, and as the lazy man we speak of
had made no provision for its occurrence, it is unnecessary to say that
he and his family were put to the greatest straits for subsistence.
Finding, after much deliberation, that the poor animal, which they
kicked and cudgelled to excess could not change the laws of nature, or
afford them that which she did not possess, it was determined by her
proprietor, that as she failed in supplying them with sufficient milk
they should try the fleams, and have recourse to her blood, in order
to eke out their support. Accordingly she was bled, along with being
milked; but if the quantity of milk she gave before was little, it now
became less, so that in proportion as they drew upon the one the other
diminished, as was but natural. In this way they proceeded, milking and
bleeding the poor animal at the same time, not only without any benefit
to themselves, but with a certain prospect of her ultimate loss, when
one day the cow, after having ruminated for some time on the treatment
she was receiving, began to reflect that she could not be much worse,
or rather that she must soon altogether sink under this system of double
drainage. ‘Well’ thought she, ‘I feel how matters must close with me
at last; I am indeed near the end of my tether; what have I now to fear
when I know that I cannot be worse? And if I am to die, as I must, is it
not better to have satisfaction for my sufferings’? Accordingly, me next
morning when her owner went to get blood for their breakfast, it so
happened that the cow thrust a horn into him, and he was found lying
a corpse under her lifeless carcase--the last drop of her blood having
been expended under the final operation of the fleams. My Lord, the
moral of this is as obvious as it is fearful--and fearfully have the
circumstances of the country, and the principles of such men as you,
caused it to be illustrated. If landlords will press too severely
upon the functions of human suffering and patience, it is not to be
surprised, although it is to be deplored, that where no legal remedy
exists against individual cruelty or rapacity, or that plausible
selfishness, which is the worst species of oppression--that the law, I
say, which protects only the one party should be forgotten or despised
by the other, and a fiercer code of vengeance substituted in its stead.

“With respect to Mr. M’Clutchy, surely your lordship must remember that
by your own letter he was appointed under agent more than three years
ago.

“If, after the many remonstrances I have had occasion to make against
his general conduct to the tenants, you consider him a useful man upon
your property, you will, in that case, have to abide the consequences of
your confidence in him. You are, at all events, duly forewarned.

“I now must beg leave, my Lord, to render up my trust, to resign my
situation as the agent of your estates--I do so with pain, but the
course of your lordship’s life has left me no other alternative. I
cannot rack and goad your tenants, nor injure your own property. I
cannot paralyze industry, cramp honest exertion, or distress poverty
still further, merely to supply necessities which are little less than
criminal in yourself and ruinous to your tenantry.

“Believe me, my Lord, I would not abandon you in your difficulties, if I
saw any honorable means of extricating you from them. You know, however,
that every practicable step has been taken for that purpose, but without
effect--your property should grow rapidly indeed, in order to keep pace
with the increasing and incessant demands which are made upon it. We
can borrow no more, and the knowledge of that fact alone, ought to set
a limit to your extravagance. Excuse this plainness, my Lord, it is well
meant and void of intentional offence.

“I shall be ready in a few days to deliver all books, papers, documents,
&c, connected With the property, to any person duly authorized by your
Lordship to receive them.

“I have the honor to be, &c,

“Henby Hickman.”


The Right Honorable Lord Cumber to Valentine M’Clutchy:--

Doncaster, April, 18--

“Sir:

“In consequence of certain communications which have passed between Mr.
Hickman and myself, I have determined that he shall no longer act in
the capacity of my agent. The situation is therefore open, and, until
a competent person shall be appointed, I authorize you to discharge its
duties, and receive from him a correct statement of all accounts
between us, together with all deeds, leases, books, papers, &c, in his
possession; you first having procured me adequate security, the amount
of which will be determined by M’Slime, my law agent, who will join or
aid you in making all necessary arrangements.

“You will also have the goodness, as soon afterwards as you feel it
practicable, to transmit me a bond fide account of the Ballyrocket and
Tulygrindem estates, their capability of improvement, condition of the
tenantry, what leases are expired, if any, and those which will soon
drop, with a view of seeing what can be made out of it. In this, also,
M’Slime will aid you.

“As to the person who may succeed Hickman, as a necessary preliminary he
must lay down two thousand pounds, in the shape of an equivalent for the
appointment. Could you within a fortnight or so, raise so much? If so,
let me hear from you without delay, as it is not unlikely in that case,
I may appoint yourself.

“By the way, do you understand the manufacture of forty shilling
free-holders in an economical way, because if you do, it would be a
desideratum. Parliament, it is said, will be dissolved in June, and I
want, as well as I can remember, nearly two hundred votes. My brother
lost the last election by something about that number, and I know he
feels very anxious to get into parliament for many reasons. He is now on
the continent, where he has been for the last three years.”


Valentine M’Clutchy, Esq., to the Right Hon. Lord Viscount Cumber:--

“My Lord:

“I have had the honor of receiving your Lordship’s kind communication,
to which I hasten to make the earliest possible reply. And first, my
Lord, allow me to return sincere thanks for your warm kindness, in
promising to appoint me your agent. You may rest assured, my Lord, that
I will go through my duties as such without favor or affection to any
one, barring your lordship, whose interests it will night and day become
my duty to study. With, respect to the loan your lordship makes allusion
to, I fear it will be out of my power to raise it--that is to the full
amount; but if one-half would do, I might by the aid of friends get it
together. As for security, I trust it is only necessary to say, that
Randal Deaker and Cadwallader Tullywagger, Esqrs., are ready to give it
to any amount, so that there is no difficulty there at all events.

“On looking again at your lordship’s kind letter, it appears possible
that I made a mistake in considering the two thousand as a loan; but
on the other hand, there is not a man living, who respects the high
principles and delicate feelings of our aristocracy more than I do,
and the consequence was, that I feared in supposing it otherwise than a
loan, I might offend your lordship’s keen sense of honor, which I pledge
my credit and reputation would grieve my heart even to think of. Under
this impression, then, I shall continue to believe it a loan, until I
have the honor of hearing from your lordship again.

“Your anxiety, my Lord, to ascertain the state of your property and the
condition of your tenantry is certainly honorable to yourself, as being
a direct proof of the generous interest you feel in their welfare. It is
fortunate in this instance, that your lordship should apply to a man who
has had the opportunities of becoming acquainted with both. True, I am
a simple-minded man, my Lord, and if I possess one quality more
than another it is a love of truth, and a slow, but straightforward
perseverance in whatever is right. It is to this, always under
Providence, that I owe everything. I grant indeed, that it ill becomes
me to speak in this manner of myself, but my object in doing so is,
that as I am about to enter into communications touching your lordship’s
tenants and property, you may be induced to place the fullest confidence
in whatever I shall say. Many a time, indeed, my excellent and worthy
friend, Mr. Hickman, has made the same observation, and I felt it
gratifying in the highest degree to hear this from a man who is truth
itself, and whose only fault is--if it be one--that his heart is too
kind, and rather easily imposed on by those who deal in fraud and
cunning. A man like him, who, if he cannot speak well of an absent
friend, will be silent, is a jewel in this life which ought to be worn
in the very core of the heart.

“With respect to the Ballyracket estate, of which I shall speak first, I
cannot report so favorably as I could wish. The task, in fact, is to me,
personally, a very painful one; especially with reference to that well
meaning and estimable gentleman, Mr. Hickman. In the first place, my
Lord, the tenantry are not at all in arrears, a circumstance which is
by no means in favor of the landlord, especially an Irish one. Every one
knows that an Irish landlord has other demands upon his tenantry besides
the payment of their rents. Is there no stress, for instance, to be laid
upon his political influence, which cannot be exerted unless
through their agency? Now a tenant not in arrears to his landlord is
comparatively independent, but it is not with an independent tenantry
that a landlord can work his wishes. No, my Lord; the safe principle
is to keep the tenant two or three gales behind, and if he fails in
submission, or turns restiff, and becomes openly contumacious, then
you have the means of rectifying the errors of his judgment in your own
hands, and it can be done with the color of both law and justice, behind
which any man may stand without the imputation of harsh motives, or
an excessive love of subordination. I am sorry that Mr. Hickman should
differ with me on this point, for he is a man whose opinions are
very valuable on many things, with the exception of his amiable and
kind-hearted obstinacy.

“The next disadvantage to your interests, my Lord, is another error--I
am sorry to be forced to say it--of Mr. Hickman. That gentleman is an
advocate for education and the spread of knowledge. Now if an agent were
as much devoted to the interests of the people as he is and ought to be
to those of the landlord, this principle might pass; but as I take it,
that the sole duty of an agent is to extend the interest of his employer
exclusively, so am I opposed to any plan or practice by which the people
may be taught to think too clearly. For let me ask, my Lord, what class
of persons, at the approach of an election, for instance, or during
its continuance, are most available for our interests? Who are driven
without reluctance, without thought, or without reason, in blind and
infatuated multitudes, to the hustings? Certainly not those who have
been educated, or taught to think and act for themselves; but the poor
and the ignorant. And, my Lord, is not the vote of an ignorant man as
valid in law as one who is enlightened? For these reasons, then, I do
not approve of the new schools which Mr. Hickman has established; and
I was pleased to hear that your lordship was sufficiently awake to your
own interests, to decline granting them any support. No, my Lord; an
educated people will be a thinking people--a thinking people will be an
independent people--but an independent people will not be a manageable
people; and if that is not placing the subject in a satisfactory light,
I know not what is.

“I need scarcely assure you, my Lord, that in my own humble way, I did
everything I reasonably could to discountenance the education system. I
even went so far as to prevent several of the tenants from sending
their children to these schools; but, as usual, I experienced but little
gratitude at their hands, or at those of their parents. This, however,
was not so much owing to my interference, as to the accidental
circumstance of three or four of them having been hanged or transported
for crimes which they were base enough to impute to the ignorance
occasioned by my principles--for so they spoke.

“Such then is the condition of the Ballyracket tenantry. They are not in
arrears, and you may consequently guess at the wretched state of their
moral feelings. They are, in fact, every day becoming more aware of the
very kind of knowledge which we don’t wish them to possess. They do not
slink aside when they see you now; on the contrary, they stand erect,
and look you fearlessly in the face. Upon my credit and reputation
this is truth--melancholy truth, my Lord--and I fear that at the next
election you will find it so to your cost.

“I have lost no time in ascertaining the other particulars mentioned in
your lordship’s letter. The leases of three townlands expired on
March last. They are Derrydowny, Cracknaboulteen, and Ballyweltem. The
principal tenant of Derrydowny is a very respectable widow---one Mrs.
M’Swaddle--a woman of serious habits, if not of decided piety. She
has three daughters, all of whom sit under the ministration of a Mr.
Bolthan--which is pronounced Bottom--a young preacher, belonging to the
Methodist connection. They are to all appearance well in the world, keep
a conversation car, and have the reputation of being very honest and
saving--Old M’Swaddle himself was a revenue collector, and it is
said, died richer than they are willing to admit. Cracknaboulteen is
altogether in the possession of the celebrated family of the M’Kegs--or,
as they are called, the Five Sols--the name of each being Solomon, which
is shortened into Sol. There is lame Sol, blind Sol, long Sol, uncertain
Sol, and Sol of the mountain. They are celebrated distillers of poteen
whiskey, but are not rich. The estate, in fact, would be better without
them, were it not for their votes. The townland of Ballyweltem is
principally the property of a wild faction, named M’Kippeen, whose great
delight is to keep up perpetual feud against an opposite faction of
the O’Squads, who on their part are every whit as eager for the fray as
their enemies. These are also poor enough, and in an election are
not to be depended on. I should say, in addition to this, that several
renewal, fines will fall in during the course of the winter. I
shall, however, examine the leases, and other documents, still more
searchingly, and see what can be got out of it, and how far we can go.

“The Tullygrindem estate is, I am sorry to say, in a still more
disheartening condition. There is a very bitter and knowing family
living on the townland of Beleeven, named M’Loughlin, who contrive to
spread dangerous and destructive principles among the tenantry. They
are cunning, unscrupulous, and vindictive, but cautious, plausible, and
cloaked with the deepest hypocrisy. I have been endeavoring for years
to conciliate, or rather, reform them by kindness, but hitherto
without effect; whether I shall ultimately succeed in purifying this
fountain-head of bigotry and unconstitutional principle--I do not wish
to use a shorter, but a much stronger term--I cannot yet say. I
shall, at all events, from a sense of justice to you, my Lord, and of
kindness--mistaken it may be, I grant you--to them, continue to make the
desirable attempt. My amiable friend, Hickman, has certainly been
made the dupe of their adroitness, but, indeed, he is too simple
and credulous for this world, as every kind-hearted man, with great
benevolence and little judgment, usually is. If I had not risen honestly
and honorably, as I trust I may say, through the gradations of office
upon this property, I think it probable I, might myself have been
deceived and misled by the natural and seductive tact of this dangerous
family. Mr. Hickman espouses their quarrel, not exactly their quarrel,
but their cause against me; but that is so completely in accordance with
his easy simplicity of character, and his pardonable love of popularity,
that it rather endears him to, me than otherwise.

“Indeed, I may say, my Lord, candidly and confidentially, that there
is a spirit abroad upon your estates, which requires to be vigilantly
watched, and checked with all due and reasonable promptitude; I allude
principally to these M’Loughlins, and when I state that my excellent
and well disposed friend is absolutely popular among your tenantry, even
although he made them pay up to the very last gale, and that I am by no
means in good odor with them, you will not be surprised when I furnish
your lordship with a key to this same state of feeling which exists so
generally in this country. This, then, my Lord, is the secret:--whenever
an Irish agent devotes himself honestly to the wants, wishes, and
interests of his employer, especially if he be needy and pressed for
money, so sure will he become unpopular with the tenantry. Now, I am
somewhat unpopular with the tenantry, and my amiable friend, Hickman, is
beloved by them; but I think your lordship by this time understands the
why and the wherefore on both sides. As your agent, my Lord, I should
regret such popularity, at the same time, I think the intentions of
poor, sweet, amiable Hickman’s heart, are such as we must all love and
admire.

“With respect, my Lord, to the manufacture of the “forties,” as a
certain comical class of freeholders are termed, I could have easily
undertaken to double the number you mention, on the most reasonable
terms, were it not for the discouraging system adopted by Mr. Hickman.
As it is, I must see what can be done; but your lordship knows that I
can take no step either in this or anything else, until my appointment
shall be finally confirmed. Perhaps you are not aware of the remarkable
document, on the subject in question, which has recently gone its rounds
in this country. It is called--

“‘A RECEIPT TO MAKE A FORTY SHILLING FREEHOLDER.’

“‘Take the poorest Irishman you can get, he must be destitute and
ignorant, for then he will be slavish, give him a mud cabin, but no
education; let the former be a bad model of an indifferent pig-stye, and
held at thrice its value. Put him to repose on a comfortable bed of
damp straw, with his own coat and his wife’s petticoat, for bed-clothes.
Pamper him on two half meals of potatoes and point per day--with water
_ad libitum_. For clothing--let him have a new shirt once every three
years--to give him exercise and keep him clean--a hat once in every
seven, and brogues whenever he can get them. His coat and breeches--lest
he might grow too independent--must be worn upon the principle of the
Highlander’s knife, which, although a century in the family, was never
changed, except sometimes the handle and sometimes the blade. Let his
right to vote be founded upon a freehold property of six feet square, or
as much as may be encompassed by his own shift, and take care that there
be a gooseberry bush in the centre of it; he must have from four to
ten children, as a proof of his standing in society, all fashionably
dressed, and coming at the rate of one every twelve months. Having thus,
by a liberal system of feeding and clothing, rendered him strong for
labor, you must work him from dark to dark--pay him fourpence a day for
three quarters of the year, with permission to beg or starve for the
remainder. When in health task him beyond his strength, and when
sick neglect him--for there is nothing so beautiful as kindness in a
landlord, and gratitude in a tenant--and thus will your virtues become
reciprocal. He must live under a gradation of six landlords, so that
whoever defaults, he may suffer--and he will have the advantage of six
tyrants instead of one. Your agent is to wheedle, and your bailiff to
bully him; the one must promise, and the other threaten; but if both
fail, you must try him yourself. Should he become intractable under all
this, you must take purer measures.--Compliment him on his wife--praise
and admire his children--play upon his affections, and corrupt him
through his very virtues--for that will show that you love your country
and her people better than your own interests. Place a promise of
independence on one side of him, but a ruined cottage and extermination
on the other. When all his scruples are thus honorably overcome, and his
conscience skilfully removed, take him for twenty minutes or so out of
his rags, put him into a voting suit that he may avoid suspicion, bring
him up to the poll--steep him in the strongest perjury, then strip him
of his voting suit, clap him into his rags, and having thus fitted him
for the perpetration of any treachery or crime, set him at large
once more, that he may disseminate your own principles upon your
own property, until you may require him again. Having thus honestly
discharged your duty to God and your country, go calmly to your pillow,
where you can rest in the consciousness of having done all that a
virtuous man and true patriot can do, to promote the comfort and
independence of his fellow creatures.’

“I have the honor to be, &c., &c.,
“VAL M’CLUTCHY,”



Lord Cumber to Solomon M’Slime, Esq., Attorney at Law:

“DEAR SIR:

“Enclosed is a letter to Mr. M’Clutchy, which I will trouble you to
forward to him as soon as you can. It contains his appointment to the
vacant agency, together with the proper power of attorney, and I have
every reason to hope that my property will improve under him. I did
think it no breach of any honorable principle to make him advance, by
way of compensation, the sum of two thousand pounds. It is a thing very
usually done, I am aware, and by men who would not bear any imputation
against their honor. But I know not how it is, his letter has deterred
me from taking the money in that light. It would be certainly too bad
to allow a person of his birth and standing in the world to teach one
of mine a lesson in delicacy of feeling. For this reason, then, let
him advance the money on the usual terms of loan:--that you can
adjust between you. All I ask is, that you will not lose one moment
of unnecessary time in accomplishing this business, and remitting the
money. Two thousand in a fortnight will be of more value to me than four
in a month, owing to the peculiar difficulties in which I am placed.

“Yours, CUMBER.

“P.S.--I say, my little saint, I hope you are as religious as ever--but
in the meantime as it is not unlikely--but on the contrary very
probable--if not altogether certain--that I shall be in Ireland should
the election take place, I trust you will have the kindness to let me
know if there’s e’er a pretty girl in the neighborhood--that wants
a friend and protector--ha, ha, ha--as great a sinner as ever, you
see--but for that reason you know the more entitled to your prayers
for my conversion. The greater the saint, the greater the sinner
now-a-days--or is it the other way? I forget.

“CUMBER.”


Lord Cumber to Val M’Clutchy, enclosed in the above:

“Dear Sir:

“I am very happy in appointing you to the important situation of my
agent, with all the necessary powers and authority to act as may best
seem to you for my advantage. The money I will take on your own terms,
only I beg that you will lose no time in remitting it. I agree with you
in thinking that Mr. Hickman, however well meaning, was deficient
in firmness and penetration of character, so far as the tenants were
concerned; and I would recommend you to avoid the errors which you
perceived in him. With many principles laid down in your letter I agree,
but not with all. For instance, if I understand you right, you would
appear to advocate too much indulgence to the tenantry at my expense;
for what else is allowing them to run into arrears. This certainly
keeps the money out of my pocket, and you cannot surely expect me to
countenance such a proceeding as that:--whilst I say this, it is due to
you that I consider your ultimate object a correct one. Property loses
a great portion of its value, unless a landlord’s influence over the
people be as strong as his right to the soil; and for this reason, the
duty of every landlord is to exercise as powerful a control over the
former, and get as much out of the latter as he can. The landlords, to be
sure, are of one religion and the people of another; but so long as we
can avail ourselves of the latter for political purposes, we need care
but little about their creed. The results in this case are precisely the
same as if the country were Protestant, and that is as much as we
want. Indeed I question if the whole Irish population were Protestant
to-morrow, whether the fact would not be against us. I now speak
as identifying myself with British interests. Would we find them as
manageable and as easily shaped to our purposes? I fear not. They would
demand education, knowledge, and all the fulness of civil liberty; they
would become independent, they would think for themselves, and in
what predicament would that place us? Could we then work our British
interests, foster British prejudices, and aid British ambition as we do?
Certainly not, unless we had the people with us, and without them we are
nothing.

“On the whole, then, so long as we continue to maintain our proper
influence over them, I think, without doubt, we are much safer as we
stand.

“With respect to the discharge of your duty, your own judgment will be a
better guide than mine. As I said before, avoid Hickman’s errors; I fear
he was too soft, credulous, and easily played upon. Excess of feeling,
in fact, is a bad qualification in an agent. Humanity is very well in
its place; but a strong sense of duty is worth a thousand of it.
It strikes me, that you would do well to put on a manner in your
intercourse with the tenants, as much opposed to Hickman’s as possible.
Be generally angry, speak loud, swear roundly, and make them know their
place. To bully and browbeat is not easily done with success, even in
a just cause, although with a broken-spirited people it is a good gift;
but after all I apprehend the best method is just to adapt your bearing
to the character of the person you have to deal with, if you wish, as
you ought, to arrive at that ascendency of feeling on your part, and
subserviency on theirs, which are necessary to keep them in proper
temper for your purposes.

“Your receipt for making a forty shilling freeholder contains many
excellent ingredients, but I do not think it was honestly drawn up; that
is, I believe it to be the production of some one who was not friendly
to that system of franchise. I have little else to say, except that you
will find it necessary I think to be very firm and rigorous. Remember
that we are here to-day, and gone to-morrow; so upon this principle keep
them moving at a steady pace. In three words, think of my difficulties,
and get all you can out of them--still remembering, as we say in the
ring, never to train them below their strength, for that would be the
loss of our own battle.

“Yours,
“Cumber.”


Solomon M’Slime, Esq., Attorney-at-law, to Lord Cumber,

“My esteemed Lord:

“I had the unmerited honor--for, indeed, to a man sensible of his many
frailties as I am, I feel it is an unmerited honor--to receive any
communication from one whom the Lord hath exalted to a place of such
high rank in this world, as that which your lordship so worthily fills.
It gives me great gratification, my Lord, to learn from your last letter
that you have appointed my friend, Mr. Valentine M’Clutchy, as your
agent. I am not in the habit of attributing such circumstances as
this--being, as they generally are, matters of mere worldly prudence
and convenience--to any over-ruling cause from above; but truly the
appointment of such a man at this particular time, looks as if there
were a principle of good at work for your lordship’s interests. May you
continue, as you do, to deserve it! Your change of agents is, indeed,
one that, through the talent, energy, and integrity of Mr. M’Clutchy, is
likely to redound much and largely to your own benefit. In his capacity
of under agent, I have had frequent opportunities of transacting
business with him; and when I contrast his quickness, clearness,
honesty, and skill, with the evident want of----but no, my Lord; far be
it from me, as a Christian man, to institute any rash comparison either
in favor of my fellow-creature or against him, so long as sin and
prejudice even for that which is good, and frailty, may render us, as
they often do, liable to error. In Mr. M’Clutchy it is possible I may
be mistaken; in Mr. Hickman it is possible I may be mistaken--I am not
infallible--I am frail--a very sinner, but not removed wholly, I would
trust, out of the range of grace. My Lord, I say again, that, as a
conscientious man, and as far as mere human reason--which is at best
but short-sighted--enables me to judge, I am truly cheered in spirit by
this, I trust, providential change in the agency of your property. My
Lord, in my various correspondence, I generally endeavor to make it
a rule not to forget my Christian duties, or, so to speak, to cast a
single grain of the good seed into the hearts of those to whom I am
privileged to write. The calls of religion are, indeed, strong upon
us, if we permitted ourselves to listen to them as we ought. Will your
lordship then pardon me for reminding you, that, however humble the
instrument, I have before now been the honored means of setting your
godly examples of charity before the world, with the single-hearted
purpose and hope that it might imitate your virtues. There is in the
neighborhood a case at present of great distress, in the person of a
widow and her three young children, who have been left destitute by the
guilt and consequent deportation of her unhappy husband to Australia,
for the crime of feloniously abstracting live mutton. I defended him
professionally, or, I should say--although I do not boast of it--with an
eye to the relief of his interesting wife, but without success; and what
rendered his crime more unpardonable, he had the unparalleled wickedness
to say, that he was instigated to it by the ill-advice and intemperate
habits of this amiable woman. Will your lordship, then, allow me to put
your honored name in the list of her Christian friends? Allow me, my
Lord, to subscribe myself,

“Your lordship’s frail, unworthy,
“But faithful and honored servant,
“Solomon M’Slime.”

“P.S.--With respect to your jocose and ironical postscript, may I again
take the liberty of throwing in a word in season. If your lordship could
so far assume a proper Christian seriousness of character, as to render
the act of kindness and protection on your part such as might confer a
competent independence upon a female of religious dispositions, I doubt
not, should your lordship’s charity continue unabated on your arrival
here, that some such desirable opportunity might offer, as that of
rescuing a comely but desolate maiden from distress.

“There is, indeed, a man here living on your lordship’s property, who
has a daughter endowed with a large portion of that vain gift called
beauty. Her father and family are people of bad principle, without
conscience or honesty, and, withal, utterly destitute of religion--not
but that they carry themselves very plausibly to the world. Among such
people, my Lord, it is not possible that this engaging damsel, who is
now so youthful and innocent, could resist the evil influence of the
principles that prevail in her family. Indeed, her abiding among them
cannot be for her welfare in any sense.

“I have the honor, &c.”


Valentine M’Clutchy, Esq., to Solomon M’Slime.

“My dear M’Slime:

“As it is beyond any doubt, that in the fair discharge of our duty, you
and I can be mutually serviceable to each other; and as it is equally
evident that it is our interest, and what is more, the interest of Lord
Cumber, that we should be so, I therefore think it right to observe,
that in all transactions between us, each should treat the other with
the most perfect confidence. For this reason, I beg to assure you, once
for all, that in any proceeding that may appear harsh towards any of
his lordship’s tenantry, I am and shall be actuated by no other feeling,
than a strong, conscientious sense of my duty to him. This is, was, and
will bo the principle of my whole life. And you know very well, my dear
M’Slime, that if I were less devoted to those interests than I am, my
popularity would be greater among the tenantry. Indeed, few men have
a right to know this better than yourself, inasmuch as you stand in
precisely the same beloved relation to them that I do.

“Our excellent friend Hickman is a very worthy man and exceedingly well
meaning. Don’t you think so? Oh, I am sure you do. Yet I know not how
it happened that he left out of his system of agency some of the most
valuable rights and privileges of the landlord. These I will mention to
you when I see you, and when I have more time. I consequently must
say, that in attempting to revive these rights, even while I was
deputy-agent, the unjust odium that is falling upon me already, even
while I had scarce time to move in them, ought rather to be--that is
morally speaking--visited upon him who allowed them to lapse. Now that
the fine old leases of the M’Loughlins and the Harmans, and others, have
dropped, what can I do but study Lord Cumber’s interest, in the first
instance? Not but I would serve them if I could, and will if I can. I
bear them no ill-feeling; and if they have joined in the calumnies and
threats that are so unjustly uttered against me, what can I do, and
what ought I do, but return good for evil? You, as a truly religious and
pious man, will feel delighted to support me in this principle, and also
to aid me in bearing it practically out. Any services of a similar kind
that I can honestly and conscientiously render you--and none other would
you accept--I shall be on my part delighted to offer. In the meantime,
let me have your excellent advice as to the most efficient means of
stifling the unreasonable murmurs that are rising among the people--and
as touching M’Loughlin’s and Harman’s properties, I should be glad to see
you, in order to consult upon what may or can be done for them, always
compatibly with Lord Cumber’s interests.

“The pair of turkies which I send you are the result of my reviving one
of his lordship’s rights. They are _duty-turkies_, and I do not think
they will eat the worse for the blessings which Darby O’Drive tells me
accompanied them; at least I don’t find they do.

“All that I have yet written, however, is only preliminary; but now to
business. I have received the letter which Lord Cumber transmitted to
me, under your frank, in which I am appointed his head agent. He also is
willing to accept the two thousand pounds on my own terms--that is, of
course, as a loan, at the usual rate of interest. But don’t you think,
my dear M’Slime, that with respect to this large sum, an understanding
might be entered into--or rather an arrangement made, in a quiet way,
that would, I flatter myself, turn out of great ultimate advantage to
his lordship. The truth is, that Lord Cumber, like most generous men, is
very negligent of his own interests--at least much more so than he ought
to be; and it would be most beneficial to him, in every sense, to have
a person managing his estates, in the best possible condition to serve
him. His property, in fact, is not represented in the grand jury panel
of the county. This is a great loss to him--a serious loss. In the first
place, it is wretchedly, shamefully deficient in roads--both public and
private. In the next place, there are many rents left unpaid, through
the inability of the people, which we could get paid by the making of
these roads, and other county arrangements, which the ill-thinking call
jobs. In the third and last place, he has on his property no magistrate
friendly to his aforesaid interests, and who would devote himself
to them with suitable energy and zeal. Indeed, with regard to the
murmurings and heart-burnings alluded to, I fear that such a magistrate
will soon become a matter of necessity. There is a bad spirit rising and
getting abroad, wherever it came from--and you know, my dear M’Slime,
that it could not proceed from either you or me. You know that--you
feel it. Now, what I would propose is this--Lord Cumber has
sufficient interest with the government, to have me--all-unworthy as
I am--appointed a magistrate. Let the government but hint to the
chancellor, and the thing is done. In that event, instead of giving him
this large sum of money as a loan, let it go as a _per contra_ to my
appointment to the bench. And there is another consideration by no means
to be overlooked, which is, that by this arrangement the government
would be certain to have in the commission a man who would prove himself
one of the precise class which they stand in need of--that is, a useful
man, devoted to their wishes.

“Now, my dear M’Slime, I mention this to you with all the confidence
of unshaken friendship. From you these representations will go to his
lordship with a much better grace than they would from me. Tell him
in your own peculiar way, that he shall have the two thousand for the
magistracy. That is my first object as his friend--this once obtained,
I have no doubt of seeing myself, ere long, a member of the grand panel,
and capable of serving him still more extensively.

“Believe me to be,
“My dear M’Slime, &c,
“Valentine M’Clutchy.

“P.S.--I heard you once express a wish about a certain farm--but mum’s
the word--only this, I have something in my eye for you.”


Solomon M’Slime to the Right Hon. Lord Cumber:--

“My Gracious Lord:

“I, of course, cannot look upon the condition you annex to the
appointment of the agent as unreasonable, although my friend M’Clutchy
insists, he says, for the honor of the aristocracy, that it was a
mistake on your lordship’s part, and that a loan only was meant. Be this
as it may, I humbly hope a thought has been vouchsafed to me, by which
the matter may, under Providence, assume a more agreeable character for
all parties. Last night, my Lord, immediately after family worship, I
found myself much refreshed in mind, but rather jaded in my poor sinful
body, after the fatigues of the day--for, indeed, I had ridden a good
deal since morning. However, I desired Susanna--a pious young person,
who acts as children’s maid, and understands my habits--to procure me
a little hot water and sugar, into which, out of a necessary regard for
health, which is imposed as a duty on us all, I poured a little brandy,
partly for sustainment and partly to qualify the water. Having swallowed
a little of this I found the two principles combine together, almost
like kindred spirits, and consequently experienced both nourishment and
edification from the draught. It was then, my Lord, that it was given me
to turn my mind upon the transaction alluded to, I mean the condition of
paying two thousand pounds for the privilege of managing your property.
Indeed the thing was vouchsafed to me in this light;--your property,
my Lord, is not represented in the grand panel of the county, which is
certainly a serious loss to you, as there is no one here to advocate
your interests, especially since poor Mr. Deaker’s infirmities (would
that they were all only of the body!) have caused him to attend the
grand jury less frequently. Many arrangements might be advantageously
made, by which your lordship would indirectly benefit;--that is, the
money, so to speak, might be made to go into one pocket, in order that
it should be transferred to yours. Then you have not; a magistrate in
your estates devoted to your special interests, as you ought to have;
this is a very necessary thing, my Lord, and to which I humbly endeavor
to direct your attention. Again, my Lord, you have no magistrate of
true Protestant and Ascendancy principles, who from time to time, might
manifest to the government that you did not forget their interests
no more than your own. Now, my Lord, what man can be, or is better
qualified to serve your Lordship in all these capacities than that
staunch and unflinching Protestant, Mr. Val M’Clutchy? In what
individual could the commission of the peace more appropriately or
worthily rest than in your own agent? I therefore beg your lordship to
turn this in your mind, and if advised by one so humble, I would suggest
the trial of a short prayer previous to entering on it. Should you exert
your influence for that purpose with the government, the gracious, I
trust I may call it so--appointment--would be immediately made, and I
think I know the grateful disposition of Mr. M’Clutchy sufficiently well
to assure your lordship, that from a thorough Christian sense of your
kindness, the two thousand pounds will be, on that condition, placed in
your lordship’s hands.

“I have the honor to be, my Lord,
“Solomon M’Slime.

“P.S. Mr. M’Clutchy is ignorant that a suggestion so well calculated
to advance the best interests of general religion, has been graciously
intimated to one so unworthy as I am.”


Lord Cumber to Solomon M’Slime, Esq:--

“It is done--a bargain--I have arranged the business here with the
secretary, and am obliged to you, my sleek little saint, for suggesting
it; I wonder M’Clutchy himself did not think of it. I feel glad the old
leases have dropped, for I am sure, that between you and him, you will
take out of these farms all that can be taken. Of course M’Clutchy and
you are at liberty to revive anything you like, provided it be done
properly. What is it to me, who never go there? I do believe Hickman
was not merely an easy fellow, but a fool; as to _glove-money--
Healing-money--duty-fowls--and duty-work_--I tell you again, provided
you increase my remittances, and work the cash out of these fellows, you
may insist upon as many of them as you can get.

“Yours,

“CUMBER.

“P.S.--What, my little saint, did you mean by that charitable blunder,
concerning the widow, in your last letter? I never knew before that
a woman was a widow merely because her husband was transported, as he
ought to be, for sheep stealing, or because he happened to live, by
compulsion, in another country. However, no matter; give her, for me,
whatever you think proper, and add it to your bill of costs, as you will
do.

“Cumber.”


Solomon M’Slime, Esq., to Lord Cumber:--

“My Gracious Lord:

“As I have never intentionally varied from truth, I could not bear
even for a moment to seem to fall into the opposite principle. I was
certainly very busy on the day I had the honor and privilege of writing
to your lordship, and much distressed both in mind and heart, by the
woeful backsliding of a member of our congregation. On looking over the
copy of the letter, however, I perceive one thing that is gratifying
to me. My Lord, I made no mistake. It is not, perhaps, known to your
Lordship that there are two descriptions of widows--the real and
the vegetable; that is, the widow by death, and the widow by local
separation from her husband. Indeed the latter is a class that requires
as much sustainment and comfort as the other--being as they are, more
numerous, and suffering all the privations of widowhood, poor things,
except its reality. The expression, my Lord, is figurative, and taken
from the agricultural occupation of ploughing; for whenever one animal
is unyoked for any other purpose, such as travelling a journey or the
like, the other is forthwith turned into some park or grassy paddock,
and indeed generally enjoys more comfortable times than if still with
the yoke-fellow; for which reason the return of the latter is seldom
very earnestly desired by the other. I am happy to tell you, my Lord,
that some very refreshing revivals in the religious world have recently
occurred here, such as I trust will cause true religion to spread and be
honored in the land; but on the other hand, I fear that Satan is at work
among many evil designing persons on your Lordship’s inheritance in this
our neighborhood. Of this, however, that good and conscientious man
Mr. M’Clutchy, will, I doubt not, give you all proper information and
advice.

“I have the honor to be, my Lord with profound humility,
“Your Lordship’s unworthy servant,
“Solomon M’Slime.”


Valentine M’Clutchy, Esq., J. P., to Lord Cumber:--

“My Lord:

“In point of fact, nothing could be more beneficial to your property,
than my very seasonable appointment to the commission of the peace. It
has extended my powers of working for your advantage, and armed me with
authority that will be found very necessary in repressing outrages and
disturbances when they occur; and I regret to say, that they are likely
to occur much too frequently. I should be sorry to doubt Mr. Hickman’s
candor, but in spite of all my charity, I can scarcely avoid thinking
that he did not treat your Lordship with that openness of purpose and
confidence to which every landlord is entitled. Of course, I say this
with great pain, and rather between ourselves, as it were; for heaven
forbid, that a single syllable should escape either my tongue or pen,
that might injure that gentleman’s character. The path of duty, however,
is often a stern one, as I find it to be on the present occasion. The
truth, then, is, that I fear Mr. Hickman must have kept the disturbed
state of your tenantry from your Lordship’s knowledge, owing probably to
a reluctance in exposing his own laxity of management. Indeed, I wish I
could with a conscientious sense of my duty to your Lordship end here,
so far as he is concerned. But under every circumstance, truth, and
honesty, and candor, will in the long run tell for themselves. It is an
unquestionable fact, then, that from whatever cause it may proceed, your
tenantry and he, ever since my appointment, have had much intercourse
of--not exactly a public---nor can I decidedly term it--a private
nature; and it is equally true, that in proportion as this intercourse
became extended and enlarged, so did the dissatisfaction of the people
increase, until they are now almost ripe for outrage. I have observed,
I think, that poor Hickman never was remarkable for strength of mind,
though not destitute of a certain kind of sagacity; and whether his
tampering--if it be tampering--with these people,--be the result of
a foolish principle of envy, or whether on the other hand, there is
anything political in it, I really cannot say. All I can do is to
state the facts, and leave the inference to your lordship’s superior
penetration.

“If, however, it be the fact, that Hickman could stop to foment this
unhappy feeling on your property, still, my Lord, he is not alone in
it. Indeed it is possible that the intercourse between him and them may
after all be innocent, however suspicions it looks, I trust and hope it
is so--for there are two other families in the neighborhood, who, to
my certain knowledge, have, by diffusing wicked and disloyal principles
among the tenantry, done incalculable injury. I had indeed some notion
of communicating with government on the subject, but I have not as yet
been able to get any information sufficiently tangible to work on. In
the meantime, I think the wisest and most prudent steps I could take for
your Lordship’s advantage, would be to get them as quietly as possible
off the estate. I think, from a twofold sense of duty, I shall be forced
to do so. Their leases very fortunately have dropped in the first place,
and it will not be your interest to renew them on political grounds;
for they have lately expressed a determination to vote against your
brother--and in the next, we can get much larger fines from other
sources. Besides his large farm, one of these men, M’Loughlin, holds
a smaller one of eighteen acres, of which there are fifteen years yet
unexpired, yet on consulting with Mr. M’Slime, and examining the lease,
he is of opinion that it contains a flaw, and can be broken. I am sure,
my lord, for your sake I shall be glad of it.

“I cannot conclude without feeling grateful to Heaven for having given
me such a son as I am blessed with. He is, indeed, quite invaluable to
me in managing these refractory people, and were it not for his aid
and vigor, I could not have been able to send your lordship the last
remittance. He is truly zealous in your cause, but I regret to say, that
I am not likely to be able to avail myself long of his services. He is
about taking a large farm in a different part of the country with a view
to marriage, a circumstance which just now occasions me much anxiety of
mind, as he will be a serious loss to both your lordship and me. I
am also looking out for an under agent, but cannot find one to my
satisfaction. Will your lordship be kind enough to acknowledge the
remittance of last week?

“I have the honor to be, my lord,
“Val M’C.”


Lord Cumber to Val M’C, Esq.:--

“Dear Sir:

“The check came safely to hand, and seasonably, and the oftener I
receive such communications the better. The best part of it, however, is
gone to the devil already, for I lost six hundred on Alley Croker at the
last Ascot meeting; I write in a hurry, but have time to desire you to
keep your son, if possible, on the property. By the way, as the under
agency is vacant, I request you will let him have it--and, if he wants a
farm to marry on, try and find him one somewhere on the estate: who
has a better right? and, I dare say, he will make as good a tenant as
another. As to Hickman, I think you are quite mistaken, the truth being
that he resigned, but was not dismissed the agency, and if he has not
a wish to get himself replaced--which I do not think--I don’t know what
the deuce he should begin to plot about. I rather think the cause of
complaint amongst the people is, that they find some difference between
his laxity and your rigor; if so, you must only let them growl away, and
when, ever they resort to violence, of course punish them.

“Very truly yours,
“Cumber.”

“P.S.--By all means get those mischievous fellows--I forget their
names--off the property, as I shall have no tenant under me who will
create disturbance or sow dissension among the people. I thank you
for the fine hamper of fowl, and have only to say, as above, that the
oftener, &c, &c.

“Cumber.”



CHAPTER VII.--Reflections on Absenteeism

--Virtues of a Loyal Magistrate--A Small Dose of Flattery--A Brace of
Blessings--Darby has Notions of becoming a Convert--Hints to a Trusty
Bailiff, with a Bit of Mystery--Drum Dhu, and the Comforts of Christmas
Eve--An Extermination.

One of the greatest curses attending absenteeism is the facility
with which a dishonest and oppressive agent can maintain a system of
misrepresentation and falsehood, either to screen his own delinquency or
to destroy the reputation of those whom he hates or fears. An absentee
landlord has no guarantee beyond the honor and integrity of the man to
whom he entrusts the management of his property, and consequently he
ought to know that his very residence abroad presents strong temptations
to persons, who, in too many instances, are not possessed of any
principle strong enough to compete with their rapacity or cruelty.
Valentine M’Clutchy was one of those fellows in whom the heart was
naturally so hard and selfish that he loved both wealth and the
infliction of oppression, simply on account of the pleasure which they
afforded him. To such a man, and they formed too numerous a class, the
estate of an absentee landlord presented an appropriate, and generally
a safe field for action. The great principle of his life was, in every
transaction that occurred, to make the interest of the landlord on one
hand, and of the tenant on the other, subservient to his own. This was
their rule, and the cunning and adroitness necessary to carry it into
practical effect, were sometimes scarcely deemed worth concealment, so
strong was their sense of impunity, and their disregard of what seldom
took place--retribution. Indeed, the absence of the landlord gave
them necessarily, as matters were managed, an unlimited power over the
people, and gratified that malignant vigilance which ever attends upon
suspicion and conscious guilt. Many of the tenants, for instance,
when driven to the uttermost depths of distress and misery, have been
desperate enough to appeal to the head landlords, and almost in every
case the agent himself was enabled to show them their own letters, which
the absentee had in the meantime transmitted to the identical party
whose tyranny had occasioned them.

The appointment of Phil to the under agency was felt even more strongly
than the removal of Mr. Hickman or Val’s succession to that gentleman;
for there was about honest Val something which the people could not
absolutely despise. His talents for business, however, prostituted as
they were to such infamous purposes, only rendered him a greater
scourge to the unhappy tenantry over whom he was placed. As for Phil, he
experienced at their hands that combined feeling of hatred and contempt
with which we look upon a man who has every disposition to villany but
not the ability to accomplish its purposes in a masterly manner.

Val’s promotion to the Bench did not occasion so much surprise as might
be supposed. It is well known, that every such scoundrel, however he may
disregard the opinions of the people whom he despises, leaves nothing
undone that either meanness or ingenuity can accomplish to sustain a
plausible character with the gentry of the neighborhood. In the times of
which we write, the great passport to popularity among one party was the
expression of strong political opinions. For this reason, Val, who was
too cunning to neglect any subordinate aid to his success in life, had
created for himself a certain description of character, which in a great
degree occasioned much of his dishonesty and oppression to be overlooked
or forgiven. Like his father, old Deaker, he was a furious Orangeman,
of the true, loyal, and Ascendancy class--drank the glorious, pious,
and immortal memory every day after dinner--was, in fact, master of an
Orange Lodge, and altogether a man of that thorough, staunch, Protestant
principle, which was then, as it has been since, prostituted to the
worst purposes. For this reason, he was looked upon, by those of his own
class not so much as a heartless and unscrupulous knave, as a good sound
Protestant, whose religion and loyalty were of the right kidney. In
accordance with these principles, he lost no time in assuming the
character of an active useful man, who considered it the most important
part of his duty to extend his political opinions by every means in his
power, and to discountenance, in all shapes and under all circumstances,
such as were opposed to them. For this purpose, there was only one
object left untried and unaccomplished; but time and his undoubted
loyalty soon enabled him to achieve it. Not long after his appointment
to the agency, he began to experience some of these uneasy sensations
which a consciousness of not having deserved well at the hands of the
people will occasion. The man, as we have said, was a coward at heart;
but like many others of the same class, he contrived on most occasions
to conceal it. He now considered that it would, at all events, be a safe
and prudent act on his part to raise a corps of yeomanry, securing
a commission in it for himself and Phil. In this case he deemed it
necessary to be able to lay, before government such satisfactory proofs
as would ensure the accomplishment of his object, and at the same time
establish his own loyalty and devotion to the higher powers. No man
possessed the art of combining several motives, under the simple guise
of one act, with greater skill than M’Clutchy. For instance, he had an
opportunity of removing from the estate as many as possible of those
whom he could not reckon on for political support. Thus would he, in the
least suspicious manner, and in the very act of loyalty, occasion
that quantity of disturbance just necessary to corroborate his
representations to government--free property from disaffected persons,
whose consciences were proof against both his threats and promises--and
prove to the world that Valentine M’Clutchy was the man to suppress
disturbance, punish offenders, maintain peace, and, in short, exhibit
precisely that loyal and truly Protestant spirit which the times
required, and which, in the end, generally contrived to bring its own
reward along with it.

One evening, about this period, our worthy agent was sitting in his back
parlor, enjoying with Phil the comforts of a warm tumbler of punch, when
the old knock already described was heard at the hall door.

“How the devil does that rascal contrive to give such a knock?” said
Phil--“upon my honor and reputation, father, I could know it out of a
thousand.”

“It’s very difficult to say,” replied the other; “but I agree with you
in its character--and yet, I am convinced that Master Darby by no means
entertains the terror of me which he affects. However, be this as it
may, he is invaluable for his attachment to our interests, and the trust
which we can repose in him. I intend to make him a sergeant in our new
corps--and talking of that, Phil, you are not aware that I received this
morning a letter from Lord Cumber, in which he thanks me for the hint,
and says he will do everything in his power to forward the business. I
have proposed that he shall be colonel, and that the corps be named the
Castle Cumber Yeomanry. I shall myself be captain and paymaster, and you
shall have a slice of something off it, Phil, my boy.”

“I have no objection in life,” replied Phil, “and let the slice be a
good one; only I am rather quakerly as to actual fighting, which may God
of his infinite mercy prevent!”

“There will be no fighting, my hero,” replied the father, laughing;
“if there were, Phil, I would myself rise above all claims for military
glory; but here there will be nothing but a healthy chase across the
country after an occasional rebel or whiteboy, or perhaps the seizing of
a still, and the capture of many a keg of neat poteen, Phil--eh? What do
you say to that my boy?”

“I have no objection to that,” said Phil, “provided everything is done
in an open, manly manner--in broad day-light. These scoundrel whiteboys
have such devilish good practice at hedge-firing, that I have already
made up my mind to decline all warfare that won’t be sanctioned by the
sun. I believe in my soul they see better without light than with it, so
that the darkness which would be a protection to them, could be none to
me.”

At this moment, a tap--such as a thief would give when ascertaining
if the master of the house were asleep, in order that he might rob
him--came to the door, and upon being desired to “come in and be d----d”

Darby entered.

“You’re an hour late, you scoundrel,” said Val; “what have you to say
for yourself?”

“Yes,” added Phil, who was a perfect Achilles to every bailiff and
driver on the estate--“what have you to say for yourself? If I served
you right, upon my honor and reputation, I would kick you out. I would,
you scoundrel, and I ought.”

“I know you ought, squire, for I desarve it; but, any how, sure it was
the floods that sent me round. The stick was covered above three feet,
and I had to go round by the bridge. Throth his honor there ought to
make the Grand Jury put a bridge acrass it, and I wish to goodness,
Square Phil, you would spake to him to get them to do it next summer.”

When Solomon said, that all was vanity and vexation of spirit, we hope
he did not mean that the two terms were at all synonymous; because, if
he did, we unquestionably stand prepared to contest his knowledge of
human nature, despite both his wisdom and experience. Darby’s reply was
not a long one, but its effect was powerful. The very notion that Val
M’Clutchy could, should, might, or ought to have such influence over the
Grand Jury of the county was irresistible with the father; and that he
should live to be actually called squire, nay to hear the word with his
own ears, was equally so with the son.

Vanity! What sensation can the hearts of thousands--millions feel, that
ought for a moment be compared, in an ecstatic sense of enjoyment, with
those which arise from gratified vanity?

“Come, you sneaking scoundrel, take a glass of spirits--the night’s
severe,” said Val.

“Yes, you sneaking scoundrel, take a glass of spirits, and we’ll see
what can be done about the bridge before next winter,” added Phil.

“All I can say is, gintlemen,” said Darby, “that if you both take it
up, it will be done. In the mane time, here’s both your healths,
your honors; an’ may you both be spared on the property, as a pair of
blessins to the estate!” Then, running over to Phil, he whispered in
a playhouse voice--“Square Phil, I daren’t let his honor hear me now,
but--here’s black confusion to Hickman, the desaver!”

“What is he saying, Phil? What is the cursed sneaking scoundrel saying?”

“Why your honor,” interposed Darby, “I was axin’ permission jist to add
a thrifle to what I’m goin’ to drink.”

“What do you mean?” said Val.

“Just, your honor, to drink the glorious, pious, and immoral mimory!
hip, hip, hurra!”

“And how can you drink it, you rascal, and you a papist?” asked Phil,
still highly delighted with Darby’s loyalty. “What would your priest say
if he knew it?”

“Why,” said Darby, quite unconscious of the testimony he was bearing to
his own duplicity, “sure they can forgive me that, along with my other
sins. But, any how, I have a great notion to leave them and their
ralligion altogether.”

“How is that, you scoundrel?” asked Val.

“Yes, you scoundrel; how is that?” added Phil.

“Why, troth,” replied Darby, “I can’t well account for it myself,
barrin’ it comes from an enlightened conscience. Mr. M’Slime gave me a
tract, some time ago, called Spiritual Food for Babes of Grace, and I
thought in my own conscience, afther readin’ it carefully over, that it
applied very much to my condition.”

“Ah!” said Phil, “what a babe you are! but no matter; I’m glad you
have notions of becoming a good sound Protestant; take my word there’s
nothing like it. A man that’s a good sound Protestant is always a loyal
fellow, and when he’s drunk, drinks--to hell with the Pope.”

“Phil, don’t be a fool,” said his father, who inherited many, if not
all of old Deaker’s opinions. “If you are about to become a
Protestant, Darby, that’s a very different thing from changing your
religion--inasmuch as you must have one to change first. However, as you
say, M’Slime’s your man, and be guided by him.”

“So I intend, sir; and he has been spakin’ to me about comin’ forrid
publicly, in regard of an intention he has of writin’ a new tract
consarning me, to be called the Converted Bailiff, or a Companion to
the Religious Attorney; and he says, sir, that he’ll get us bound up
together.”

“Does he?” said Val, dryly; “strung up, I suppose he means.”

“Troth your honor’s right,” replied Darby; “but my own mimory isn’t what
it used to be--it was strung up he said, sure enough, sir.”

“Very well,” said Val, “but now to business. Phil, my boy, you move off
for a little--Darby and I have a small matter to talk over, that nobody
must hear but ourselves.”

“All right,” replied Phil; “so take care of yourselves;” and accordingly
left the room.

Now the truth was, that M’Clutchy, who perfectly understood the
half-witted character of his son--for be it known that worthy Phil was
considered by those who had the honor of his acquaintance, as anything
but an oracle--did not feel himself justified in admitting the said Phil
to full confidence in all his plans and speculations.

“You see now,” said he, addressing Darby sternly--“you see the opinion
which I entertain of your honesty, when I trust you more than I do my
son.”

“Troth I do your honor--and by the same token did I ever betray you?”

“Betray, you scoundrel! what had you to betray?” said Val indignantly,
whatever I do is for the benefit of the country in general, and for Lord
Cumber’s property in particular: you know that.”

“Know it! doesn’t the whole world know it, sir?”

“Well, then”--said Val, softening---“now to business. In the first place
observe my words--listen.”

Darby said nothing, but looked at him in the attitude of deep and
breathless attention.

“Whenever you happen to execute a warrant of distress--that is, when
removing furniture or any other property off the premises, keep a sharp
look out for any papers or parchments that happen to come in your way.
It would do no harm if you should slip them quietly into your pocket and
bring them to me. I say quietly, because there is a spirit abroad among
the people that we must watch; but if they once suspected that we were
on the look out for it, they might baffle us; these papers, you know can
be returned.”

“I see, your honor,” said Darby--“there you are right, as, indeed, you
always are.”

“Very well, then. Is the night dark and stormy?”

“So dark, sir, that a blind man could see it.”

Val then approached the bailiff, looked cautiously about the
room--opened the door, and peeped into the hall; after which he
returned, and placing about half-a-dozen written papers in his hand,
whispered something to him with great earnestness and deliberation.
Darby heard him with profound attention, nodded his head significantly
as he spoke, and placed the point of his right hand fore-finger on the
papers, as if he said, “I see--I understand--I am to do so and so with
these; it’s all clear--all right, and it shall be done before I sleep.”

The conversation then fell into its original channel, and Phil was
summoned, in order to receive his instructions touching a ceremony which
was to take place on the following day but one; which ceremony simply
consisted in turning out upon the wide world, without house, or home, or
shelter, about twenty three families, containing among them the young,
the aged, the sick, and the dying--but this is a scene to which we must
beg the reader’s more particular attention.

There stood, facing the west, about two miles from Constitution Cottage,
an irregular string of cabins, with here and there something that might
approach the comfortable air of a middle size house. The soil on which
they stood was an elevated moor, studded with rocks and small cultivated
patches, which the hard hand of labor had, with toil and difficulty,
worn from what might otherwise be called a cold, bleak, desert. The
rocks in several instances were overgrown with underwood and shrubs
of different descriptions, which were browsed upon by meagre and
hungry-looking goats, the only description of cattle that the poverty
of these poor people allowed them to keep, with the exception of two
or three families, who were able to indulge in the luxury of a cow. In
winter it had an air of shivering desolation that was enough to chill
the very blood, even to think of; but in summer, the greenness of the
shrubs, some of which were aromatic and fragrant, relieved the dark,
depressing spirit which seemed to brood upon it. This little colony,
notwithstanding the wretchedness of its appearance, was not, however,
shut out from a share of human happiness. The manners of its inhabitants
were primeval and simple, and if their enjoyments were few and limited,
so also were their desires. God gave them the summer breeze to purify
their blood, the sun of heaven to irradiate the bleakness of their
mountains, the morning and evening dressed in all their beauty, and
music of their mountain streams, and that of the feathered songsters, to
enliven their souls with its melody. The voices of spring, of summer, of
autumn, were cheerful in their ears as the voices of friends, and even
winter, with all his wildness and desolation, was not without a grim
complacence which they loved. They were a poor, harmless, little
community, so very humble and inoffensive, as to be absolutely beneath
the reach of human resentment or injustice. Alas! they were not so.

The cause of the oppression which was now about to place them in its
iron grasp, was as simple as it was iniquitous. They refused to vote for
Lord Cumber’s brother, and were independent enough to respect the rights
of conscience, in defiance of M’Clutchy’s denunciations. They had voted
for the gentleman who gave them employment, and who happened besides, to
entertain opinions which they approved. M’Clutchy’s object was to remove
them from the property, in order that he might replace them with a more
obedient and less conscientious class; for this was his principle of
action under such circumstances.

It so happened that there lived among them a man named O’Regan, who,
in point of comfort, was at the head of this little community. He was a
quiet and an affectionate individual, industrious, sober, and every way
well conducted. This inoffensive and virtuous man, and Iris faithful
wife, had been for some time before the period we are describing,
under the shadow of deep affliction. Their second child, and his little
brother, together with the eldest, who for two or three years before had
been at service in England, were all that had been spared to them--the
rest having died young. This second boy was named Torley, and him they
loved with an excess of tenderness and affection that could scarcely be
blamed. The boy was handsome and manly, full of feeling, and possessed
of great resolution and courage; all this, however, was ultimately of
no avail in adding to the span of the poor youth’s life. One day in the
beginning of autumn, he overloaded himself with a log of fir which
he had found in the moors; having laid it down to rest, he broke a
blood-vessel in attempting to raise it to his shoulder the second time:
he staggered home, related the accident as it had occurred, and laid
himself down gently upon his bed. Decline then set in, and the
handsome and high-spirited Torley O’Regan, lay patiently awaiting his
dissolution, his languid eye dim with the shadow of its approach. From
the moment it was ascertained that his death, early and unexpectedly,
was known to be certain, the grief of his parents transcended the bounds
of ordinary sorrow. It was indeed, a distressing thing to witness their
sufferings, and to feel, in the inmost chambers of the heart, the awful
wail of their desolation and despair.

Winter had now arrived in all its severity, and the very day selected
for the removal of these poor people was that which fills, or was
designed to fill, every Christian heart with hope, charity, affection
for our kind, and the innocent enjoyment of that festive spirit which
gives to the season a charm that throws the memory back upon the
sweetest recollections of life--I mean Christmas eve. The morning,
however, was ushered in by storm. There had been above a fortnight’s
snow, accompanied by hard frost, and to this was added now the force
of a piercing wind, and a tremendous down pouring of hard dry drift,
against which it is at any time almost impossible even to walk, unless
when supported by health, youth, and uncommon strength.

In O’Regan’s house there was, indeed, the terrible union of a most
bitter and twofold misery. The boy was literally dying, and to this was
added the consciousness that M’Clutchy would work his way in spite
of storm, tempest, and sickness, nay, even death itself. A few of the
inhabitants of the wild mountain village, which, by the way, was named
Drum Dhu, from its black and desolate look, had too much the fear of
M’Clutchy before their eyes, to await his measures, and accordingly
sought out some other shelter. It was said, however, and generally
supposed, by several of the neighboring gentry, that even M’Clutchy
himself would scarcely dare to take such a step, in defiance of common
humanity, public opinion, and the laws both of God and--we were about
to add--man, but the word cannot be written. Every step he took was
strictly and perfectly legal, and the consequence was, that he had that
strong argument, “I am supporthed by the, laws of the land,” to enable
him to trample upon all the principles of humanity and justice--to
gratify political rancor, personal hatred, to oppress, persecute, and
ruin.

Removal, however, in Torley O’Regan’s case, would have been instant
death. Motion or effort of any kind were strictly forbidden, as was
conversation, except in the calmest and lowest tones, and everything
at at all approaching to excitement. Still the terror lest this inhuman
agent might carry his resolution into effect on such a day, and under
such circumstances, gave to their pitiable sense of his loss a dark and
deadly hue of misery, at which the heart actually sickens. From the hour
of nine o’clock on that ominous morning, the inhabitants of Drum Dhu
were passing, despite the storm, from cabin to cabin, discussing
the probable events of the day, and asking each other if it could be
possible that M’Clutchy would turn them out under such a tempest. Nor
was this all. The scene indeed was one which ought never to be witnessed
in any country. Misery in all its shapes was there--suffering in its
severest pangs--sickness--disease--famine--and death--to all which was
to be added bleak, houseless, homeless, roofless desolation. Had the
season been summer they might have slept in the fields, made themselves
temporary sheds, or carried their sick, and aged, and helpless, to
distant places where humanity might aid and relieve them. But no--here
were the elements of God, as it were, called in by the malignity and
wickedness of man to war against old age, infancy, and disease.

For a day or two proceeding this, poor Torley thought he felt a little
better, that is to say, his usual symptoms of suffering were litigated,
as is sometimes the case when human weakness literally sinks below the
reach of pain itself. Ten o’clock had arrived and he had not yet awoke,
having only fallen asleep a little before daybreak. His father went
to his bed-side, and looking down saw that he was still asleep, with
a peaceful smile irradiating his features, as it were with a sense
of inward happiness and tranquility. He beckoned to his mother who
approached the bed, and contemplated him with that tearless agony which
sears the heart and brain, until the feeling would be gladly
exchanged for madness. The conversation which followed was in Irish, a
circumstance that accounts for its figurative style and tenderness of
expression.

“What is that smile,” said the father. “It is the peace of God,” said
the mother, “shining from an innocent and happy heart. Oh! Torley, my
son, my son!”

“Yes,” replied the father, “he is going to meet happy hearts, but he
will leave none in this house behind him--even little Brian that he
loved so well--but where was there a heart so loving as his?” This we
need scarcely observe, was all said in whispers.

“Ah!” said the father, “you may well ask--but don’t you remember this
day week, when we were talking of M’Clutchy--‘I hope,’ says he, ‘that
if he should come, I’ll be where no agent can turn me out--that is, in
heaven--for I wouldn’t wish to live to see you both and little Brian
put from the place that we all loved so well--and then he wiped away the
tears from his pale cheeks.--Oh! Torley, my son--my son--are you laving
us! laving us forever?”

The father sat down quietly on a chair, and put his hand upon his
forehead, as if to keep the upper part of his head from flying off--for
such, he said, were the sensations he felt. He then wrung his hands
until the joints cracked, and gave one short convulsive sob, which no
effort of his could repress. The boy soon afterwards opened his eyes,
and fixed them with the same peaceful and affectionate smile upon his
parents.

“Torley,” said the mother, kissing him, “how do you feel, our flower?”

“Aisier,” said he, “but I think weaker--I had a dream,” he continued;
“I thought I was looking in through a great gate at the most beautiful
place that ever was--and I said to myself, what country can that be,
that’s so full of light, and music, and green trees, and beautiful
rivers? ‘That is heaven,’ said a sweet voice beside me, but I could
see no one. I looked again, and then I thought I saw my three little
brothers standin’ inside the gate smilin’--and I said, ‘ar’n’t you my
brothers that died when you were young?’ ‘Yes,’ said they, ‘and we are
come to welcome you here.’ I was then goin’ to go in, when I thought I
saw my father and Brian runnun’ hand in hand towards the gate, and as’ I
was goin’ in I thought they called after me--‘wait, Torley, dear, for we
will follow you soon.’”

“And I hope we all will, our blessed treasure; for when you leave us,
son of our hearts, what temptation will we have to stay afther you? Your
voice, achora, will be in our ears, and your sweet looks in our eyes--
but that is all that will be left of you--and your father and I will
never have a day’s happiness more. Oh, never--never!”

“You both know I wouldn’t lave you if I could help it, but it’s the will
of God that I should go; then when I’ll be so happy, won’t it take the
edge off your grief. Bring Brian here. He and I were all that was
left you, since Ned went to England--and now you will have only him. I
needn’t bid you to love him, for I know that you loved both of us, may
be more than you ought, or more than I desarved; but not surely more
than Brian does. Brian, my darling, come and kiss your own Torley that
keept you sleeping every night in his bosom, and never was properly
happy without you--kiss me when I can feel you, for I know that before
long, you will kiss me when I can’t kiss you--Brian, my darling life,
how loth I am to lave you, and to lave you all, father--to lave you all,
mother.”

As he spoke, and paused from time to time, the tumult of the storm
without, and the fury with which it swept against the roof, door,
and windows of the house, made a terrible diapason to the sweet and
affecting tone of feeling which pervaded the remarks of the dying
boy. His father, however, who felt an irrepressible dread of what was
expected to take place, started at the close of the last words, and
with a heart divided between the two terrors, stood in that stupefaction
which is only the resting-place of misery, where it takes breath and
strengthens itself for its greatest trials. Ho stood with one hand as
before, pressed upon his forehead, and pointed with the other to the
door. The wife, too, paused, for she could not doubt for a moment, that
she heard sounds mingling with those of the storm which belonged not to
it. It was Christmas eve!

“Stop, Mary,” said he, the very current of his heart stilled--its
beating pulses frozen, as it were, by the terrible apprehension--“stop,
Mary; you can open the door, but in such a morning as this you couldn’t
shut it, and the wind and drift would come in and fill the house, and
be the death of our boy. No, I must open the door myself, and it will
require all my strength to shut it.”

“I hear it all, now,” said Torley, “the cries and the shouting, the
screechings and the--well, you need not be afeared; put poor Brian in
with me, for I know there is no Irishman but will respect a death-bed,
be it landlord, or agent, ay, or bailey. Oh, no, father, the hand of
God is upon us, and if they respect nothing else, they will surely respect
that. They won’t move me, mother, when they see me; for that would kill
me--that would be to murder a dying man.”

The father made no reply, but rushed towards the door, which he opened
and closed after him with more ease than he had expected. The storm, in
fact, was subsiding; the small hard drift had ceased, and it was evident
from the appearance of the sky that there was likely to be a change for
the better.

It would, indeed, appear, as if the Divine Being actually restrained and
checked the elements, on witnessing the cruel, heartless, and oppressive
purposes of man. But, what a scene presented itself to O’Regan, on going
forth to witness the proceedings which were then about to take place on
this woeful day!

Entering the northern end of this wild collection of sheelings was
seen a posse of bailiffs, drivers, constables, keepers, and all that
hard-hearted class of ruffians that constitute the staff of a land agent
upon occasions similar to this. Immediately behind these followed a body
of Orange yeomanry, dressed in regimentals, and with fire-arms--each
man carrying thirty rounds of ball cartridge. We say Orange yeomen
advisedly, because, at the period we speak of, Roman Catholics were not
admitted into the yeomanry, unless, perhaps, one in a corps; and even
out of ten corps, perhaps, you might not find the ten exceptions. When
we add to this the fact, that every Protestant young man was then
an Orangeman, and that a strong, relentless feeling of religious and
political hatred subsisted between them and the Catholic party, we think
that there are few, even among our strongest Conservatives, if any,
who would attempt to defend the inhuman policy of allowing one party of
Irishmen, stimulated by the worst passions, to be let loose thus armed
upon defenceless men, whom, besides, they looked upon and treated as
enemies.

The men in question, who were known by the sobriquet of Deaker’s
Dashers, were, in point of fact, the terror of every one in the country
who was not an Orangeman, no matter what his creed or conduct might
be. They were to a man guided by the true Tory principle, not only of
supporting Protestantism, but of putting down Popery; and yet, with
singular inconsistency, they were seldom or never seen within a church
door, all their religion consisting in giving violent and offensive
toasts, and their loyalty in playing party tunes, singing Orange songs,
meeting in Orange lodges, and executing the will of some such oppressor
as M’Clutchy, who was by no means an exaggerated specimen of the Orange
Tory.

Deaker’s Dashers were commanded on this occasion by a little squat
figure, all belly, with a short pair of legs at one end, and a little
red, fiery face, that looked as if it would explode--at the other.
The figure was mounted on horseback, and as it and its party gallantly
entered this city of cabins, it clapped its hands on its side, to
impress the enemy, no doubt, with a due sense of its military character
and prowess. Behind the whole procession, at a little distance, rode
M’Clutchy and M’Slime, graceful Phil having declined the honor of the
expedition altogether, principally, he said, in consequence of the
shortness of the days, and the consequent very sudden approach of night.
We cannot omit to state, that Darby O’Drive was full of consequence and
importance, and led on his followers, with a roll of paper containing
the list of fill those who were to be expelled, rolled up in his hand,
somewhat like a baton of office. Opposed to this display stood a crowd
of poor shivering wretches, with all the marks of poverty and struggle,
and, in many cases, of famine and extreme destitution, about them and
upon them. Women with their half starved children in their arms, many
of them without shoes or stockings--laboring care-worn men, their heads
bound up in cotton handkerchiefs, as intimating illness or recovery
from illness--old men bent over their staves, some with long white hair,
streaming to the breeze, and all with haggard looks of terror, produced
by the well known presence among them of Deaker’s Dashers.

And this was Christmas eve--a time of joy and festivity!

Other features were also presented, which gave to this miserable scene
a still more depressing character. The voice of lamentation was loud,
especially from the females, both young and old--all of whom, with some
exceptions, were in tears. Many were rending their hair, others clapping
their hands in distraction--some were kneeling to Heaven to implore
its protection, and not a few to call down its vengeance upon their
oppressors. From many of the men, especially the young and healthy,
came stifled curses, and smothered determinations of deep and fearful
vengeance. Brows darkened, eyes gleamed, and teeth were ground with a
spirit that could neither be mistaken or scarcely condemned. M’Clutchy
was then sowing the wind; but whether at a future day to reap the
whirlwind, we are not now prepared to state.

At length it was deemed time that the ceremony should commence; and
M’Clutchy, armed also with a case of pistols, rode up to Darby:--

“O’Drive, you scoundrel,” he shouted--for he saw his enemy, and got
courageous, especially since he had a body of his father’s Dashers at
his back--“O’Drive, you scoundrel, do you mean to keep us here all
day? Why don’t you commence? Whose is the first name on your list?
The ejectment must proceed,” addressing the poor people as much as
Darby--“it must proceed. Everything we do is by Lord Cumber’s orders,
and strictly according to the law of the land. Every attempt at refusing
to give up peaceable possession, makes you liable to be punished; and
punished, by d--n you shall be.”

“Do not swear, my dear friend,” interposed M’Slime; “swear not at all;
but let thy yea be yea, and thy nay, nay; for whatsoever is more than
this cometh of evil. My good friends,” he added, addressing himself to
the people, “I could not feel justified in losing this opportunity to
throw in a word in season for your sakes. I need scarcely tell you that
Mr. M’Clutchy, whose character for benevolence and humanity is perfectly
well known--and I would allude to his strong sense of religion, and its
practical influence on his conduct, were I not afraid of giving rise
to a feeling of spiritual pride in the heart of any fellow-creature,
however humble;--I need not tell you, I say, that he and I are here as
your true friends. I, a frail and unworthy sinner, avow myself as your
friend; at least, it is the most anxious and sincere wish of my heart
to do good to you; for, I trust I can honestly say, that I love my
Catholic--I mean my Roman Catholic friends, and desire to meet them in
the bonds of Christ. Yes, we are your friends. You know it is true
that God loveth whom he chasteneth, and that it is always good to
pass through the furnace of tribulation. What are we, then, but the
instruments of his chastisement of you, and of bringing you through that
furnace for your own good and for His honor! Be truly grateful, then,
for this instance of His interposition in your favor. It is only a
blessing in disguise; my friends--strongly disguised, I grant you--but
still a blessing. And now, my friends, to prove my own sincerity--my
affection, and, I trust, Christian interest in your welfare, I say unto
you, that if such among you as lack bread will come to me, when this
dispensation in your favor is concluded, I shall give them that which
will truly nourish them.”

M’Clutohy could not stand this, but went down to the little squab
Dasher, who joined him in a loud fit of laughter at M’Slime’s little
word in season; so that the poor dismayed people had the bitter
reflection to add to their other convictions, that their misery, their
cares, and their sorrows, were made a mockery of by those who were
actually inflicting them.

“When Darby, on whose face there was a heartless smirk of satisfaction
at this opportunity of gratifying M’Clutchy, was about to enter the
first cabin, there arose from the trembling creatures a loud murmur of
wild and unregulated lamentation, which actually startled the bailiff’s,
who looked as if they were about to be assaulted. An old man then
approached M’Clutchy, bent with age and infirmity, and whose white hair
hung far down, his shoulders--

“Sir,” said he, taking off his hat, and standing before him uncovered,
severe and still bitter as was the day--“I stand here in the name of
these poor creatures you see about us, to beg you, for the sake of
God--of Christ who redeemed us--and of the Holy Spirit that gives
kindness and charity to the heart--not on this blake hill undher sich
a sky, and on sich a day, to turn us out of the only shelter we have on
earth! There’s people here that will die if they’re brought outside
the door. We did not, at laist the most part of all you see before you,
think you had any thought of houldin’ good your threat in such a time
of cowld, and storm, and disolation. Look at us, sir, then, have pity
on us! Make it your own case, if you can, and maybe that will bring our
destitution nearer you--and besides, sir, there’s a great number of us
thought betther about votin’ with you, and surely you won’t think of
puttin’ them out.”

“It’s too late now,” said M’Clutchy; “if you had promised me your votes
in time, it was not my intention to have disturbed you--at present I am
acting altogether by Lord Cumber’s orders, who desires that every one
refusing to vote for him shall be made an example of, and removed from
the property--O’Drive, you scoundrel, do your duty.”

At this moment there rushed forth from the again agitated crowd an old
woman, whose grizzled locks had escaped from under her dowd cap, and
were blown in confusion about her head; she wore a drugget gown that
had once been yellow, and a deep blue petticoat of the same stuff; a
circumstance, which, joined to the excitement, gave to her appearance a
good deal of picturesque effect.


“Low born tyrant,” she shouted, kneeling rapidly down and holding up her
clasped hands, but not in supplication--“low born, tyrant,” she shouted,
“stop;--spawn of blasphemin’ Deaker, stop--bastard of the notorious Kate
Clank, hould your hand? You see we know you and yours well. You were a
bad son to a bad mother, and the curse of God will pursue you and
yours, for that and your other villanies. Go back and hould your hand, I
say--and don’t dare to bring the vengeance of God upon you, for the plot
of hell you are about to work out this day. I know that plot. Be warned.
Look about you here, and think of what you’re going to do. Have you
no feeling for ould and helpless age--for the weakness of women, the
innocence of children? Are you not afraid on such a day to come near
the bed of sickness, or the bed of death, with such an intention? Here’s
widows and orphans, the sick and the dyin’, ould age half dead, Mid
infancy half starved; and is it upon these, that you and blasphemin’
Deaker’s bloody Dashers are goin’ to work your will? Hould your hand, I
say, or if you don’t, although I needn’t curse you myself, for I am
too wicked for that--yet in the name of all these harmless and helpless
creatures before you, I call their curses on your head. In the name
of all the care, and pain, and sorrow, and starvation, and affliction,
that’s now before your eyes, be you cursed in soul and body--in all you
touch--in all you love--cursed here, and cursed hereafter forever, if
you proceed in your wicked intentions this woeful day!”

“Who is that mad-woman?” said M’Clutchy. “Let her be removed. All I can
say is, that she has taken a very unsuccessful method of staying the
proceedings.”

“Who am I?” said she; “I will tell you that. Look at this,” she replied,
exposing her bosom; “these are the breasts that suckled you--between
them did you lie, you ungrateful viper! Yes, you may stare--it’s many a
long year since the name of Kate Clank reached your ears, and now that
you have heard it, it is not to bless you. Well, you remember when you
heard it last--on the day you hunted your dogs at me, and threatened to
have me horse-whipped--ay, to horse-whip me with your own hands, should
I ever come near your cursed house. Now, you know who I am, and now I
have kept my word, which was never to die till I gave you a shamed face.
Kate Clank, your mother, is before you!”

M’Clutchy took the matter very coolly certainly--laughed at her, and, in
a voice of thunder, desired the ejectments to proceed.

But how shall we dwell upon this miserable work? The wailings and
screams, the solicitations for mercy, their prayers, their imprecations
and promises, were all sternly disregarded; and on went the justice of
law, accompanied by the tumult of misery. The old were dragged out--the
bedriden grand-mother had her couch of straw taken from under her. From
the house of death, the corpse of an aged female was carried out amidst
the shrieks and imprecations of both men and women! The sick child that
clung with faintness to the bosom of its distracted mother, was put out
under the freezing blast of the north; and on, on, onward, from house to
house, went the steps of law, accompanied still by the increasing tumult
of misery. This was upon Christmas eve--a day of “joy and festivity!”

At length they reached O’Regan’s,and it is not our intention to describe
the occurrence at any length. It could not be done. O’Regan clasped his
hands, so did his wife; they knelt--they wept--they supplicated.
They stated the nature of his malady--decline--from having ruptured a
blood-vessel. They ran to M’Clutchy, to M’Slime, to the squat figure
on horseback. They prayed to Darby, and especially entreated a ruffian
follower who had been remarkable for, and wanton in, his inhumanity, but
with no effect. Darby shook his head.

“It couldn’t be done,” said he.

“No,” replied the other, whose name was Grimes, “we can’t make any
differ between one and another--so out he goes.”

“Father,” observed the meek boy, “let them. I will only be the sooner in
heaven.”

He was placed sitting up in bed by the bailiff’s, trembling in the cold
rush of the blast; but the moment the father saw their polluted and
sacrilegious hands upon him--he rushed forward accompanied by his
mother.

“Stay,” he said, in a loud, hoarse voice, “since you will have him out,
let our hands, not yours, be upon him.”

The ruffian told him they could not stand there all day, and without any
farther respect for their feelings, they rudely wrapped the bed-clothes
about him, and, carrying him out, he was placed upon a chair before the
door. His parents were immediately beside him, and took him now into
then own care; but it was too late--he smiled as he looked into their
faces, then looked at his little brother, and giving one long drawn
sigh, he passed, without pain or suffering, saving a slight shudder,
into happiness. O’Regan, when he saw that his noble and beloved boy was
gone, surrendered him into the keeping of his wife and other friends,
who prevented his body from falling off the chair. He then bent his eye
sternly upon the group of bailiffs, especially upon the rude ruffian,
Grimes, whose conduct was so atrocious.

“Now listen,” said he, kneeling down beside his dead son--“listen all
of you that has wrought this murder of my dying boy! He is yet warm,”
 he added, grinding his teeth and looking up to heaven, “and here beside
him, I pray, that the gates of mercy may be closed upon my soul through
sill eternity, if I die without vengeance for your death, my son!”

His mother, who was now in a state between stupor and distraction,
exclaimed--

“To be sure, darling, and I’ll assist you, and so will Torley.”

The death of this boy, under circumstances of such incredible cruelty,
occasioned even M’Clutchy to relax something of his original intentions.
He persisted, however, in accomplishing all the ejectments without
exception, but when this was over, he allowed them to re-occupy their
miserable cabins, until the weather should get milder, and until such
of them as could, might be able to procure some other shelter for
themselves and families.

When all was over, M’Slime, who had brought with him a sheaf of tracts
for their spiritual sustenance, saw, from the deeply tragic character
of the proceedings, that he might spare himself the trouble of such
Christian sympathy as he wished to manifest for their salvation. He
and M’Clutchy, to whom, by the way, he presented the truly spiritual
sustenance of some good brandy out of a flask, with which he balanced
the tracts in his other pocket, then took their way in the very centre
of the Dashers, leaving behind them all those sorrows of life, for
which, however, they might well be glad to exchange their consciences
and their wealth.

The circumstances which we have just described, were too striking not to
excite considerable indignation among all reasonable minds at the time.
An account of that day’s proceedings got into the papers, but was so
promptly and fully contradicted by the united testimony of M’Clutchy and
M’Slime, that the matter was made to appear very highly complimentary
to the benevolence and humanity of both. “So far from the proceedings in
question,” the contradiction went on to say, “being marked by the wanton
cruelty and inhumanity imputed to them, they were, on the contrary, as
remarkable for the kindness and forbearance evinced by Messrs. M’Clutchy
and M’Slime. The whole thing was a mere legal form, conducted in a most
benevolent and Christian spirit. The people were all restored to their
tenements the moment the business of the day was concluded, and we
cannot readily forget the admirable advice and exhortation offered to
them, and so appropriately offered by Solomon M’Slime, Esq., the truly
Christian and benevolent law agent of the property in question.”

By these proceedings, however, M’Clutchy had gained Ms point, which was,
under the guise of a zealous course of public duty, to create a basis on
which to ground his private representations of the state of the country
to government. He accordingly lost no time in communicating on the
subject with Lord Cumber, who at once supported him in the project of
raising a body of cavalry for the better security of the public peace;
as, indeed, it was his interest to do, inasmuch, as it advanced his own
importance in the eye of government quite as much as it did M’Clutchy’s.
A strong case was therefore made out by this plausible intriguer. In a
few days after the affair of Drum Dhu, honest Val contrived to receive
secret information of the existence of certain illegal papers which
clearly showed that there existed a wide and still spreading conspiracy
in the country. As yet, he said, he could not ground any proceeding of a
definite character upon them.

The information, he proceeded to say, when writing to the Castle, which
came to him anonymously, was to the effect that by secretly searching
the eaves of certain houses specified in the communication received, he
would find documents, clearly corroborating the existence and design of
the conspiracy just alluded to. That he had accordingly done so, and
to his utter surprise, found that his anonymous informant was right. He
begged to enclose copies of the papers, together with the names of the
families residing in the houses where they were found. He did not like,
indeed, to be called a “Conspiracy hunter,” as no man more deprecated
their existence; but he was so devotedly attached to the interests of
his revered sovereign, and those of his government, that no matter at
what risk, either of person or reputation, he would never shrink from
avowing or manifesting that attachment to them. And he had the honor to
be, his very obedient servant.

Valentine M’Clutohy, J.P.

P.S.--He begged to enclose for his perusal a letter from his warm
friend, Lord Cumber, on the necessity, as he properly terms it, of
getting up a corps of cavalry, which is indeed a second thought, as
they would be much better adapted, upon long pursuits and under pressing
circumstances, for scouring the country, which is now so dreadfully
disturbed. And has once more the honor to be, Val M’C.


Representations like these, aided by that most foolish and besotted
tendency which so many of the ignorant and uneducated peasantry have of
entering into such associations, did not fail in working out M’Clutchy’s
designs. Most of those in whose houses these papers were placed, fled
the country, among whom was O’Regan, whose dying son Deaker’s Dashers
treated with such indefensible barbarity; and what made everything
appear to fall in with his good fortune, it was much about this period
that Grimes, the unfeeling man whom O’Regan appeared to have in his eye
when he uttered such an awful vow of vengeance, was found murdered not
far from his own house, with a slip of paper pinned to his coat, on
which were written, in a disguised hand the words--“Remember O’Regan’s
son, and let tyrants tremble.”

Many strong circumstances appeared to bring this murder home to O’Regan.
From the day of his son’s death until the illegal papers were found in
the eave of his house, he had never rested one moment. His whole
soul seemed darkly to brood over that distressing event, and to have
undergone a change, as it were, from good to evil. His brow lowered,
his cheek got gaunt and haggard, and his eye hollow and wolfish with
ferocity. Neither did he make any great secret of his intention to
execute vengeance on those who hurried his dying child out of life
whilst in the very throes of dissolution. He was never known, however,
to name any names, nor to mark out any particular individual for
revenge. His denunciations were general, but fearful in their import.
The necessity, too, of deserting his wife and child sealed his ruin,
which was not hard to do, as the man was at best but poor, or merely
able, as it is termed, to live from hand to mouth. His flight,
therefore, and all the circumstances of the case considered, it is
not strange that he was the object of general suspicion, and that the
officers of justice were sharply on the lookout for a clue to him.

In this position matters were, when the Castle Cumber corps of cavalry
made their appearance under all the glitter of new arms, housings and
uniforms, with Valentine M’Clutchy as their captain and paymaster, and
graceful Phil as lieutenant. Upon what slight circumstances do great
events often turn. Because Phil had an ungainly twist in his legs, or
in other words, because he was knock-kneed, and could not appear to
advantage as an infantry officer, was the character of the corps changed
from foot to cavalry, so that Phil and Handsome Harry had an opportunity
of exhibiting their points together. A year had now elapsed, and the
same wintry month of December had again returned, and yet no search had
been successful in finding any trace of O’Regan; but if our readers
will be so good as to accompany us to another scene, they will have an
opportunity of learning at least the character which M’Clutchy’s new
corps had won in the country.



CHAPTER VIII.--Poverty and Sorrow

A Winter Morning--Father Roche--A Mountain Journey--Raymond
Na-hattha--Cabin on the Moors--M’Clutchy’s Bloodhounds--The Conflict--A
Treble Death.


It is the chill and ghastly dawn of a severe winter morning; the gray,
cheerless opening of day borrows its faint light only for the purpose of
enabling you to see that the country about you is partially covered with
snow, and that the angry sky is loaded with storm. The rising sun, like
some poverty-stricken invalid, driven, as it were, by necessity, to the
occupation of the day, seems scarcely able to rise, and does so with
a sickly and reluctant aspect. Abroad, there is no voice of joy or
kindness--no cheerful murmur with which the heart can sympathize--all
the warm and exhilarating harmonies that breathe from nature in her
more genial moods are silent. A black freezing spirit darkens the very
light of day, and throws its dismal shadow upon everything about us,
whilst the only sounds that fall upon the ear are the roaring of
the bitter winds among the naked trees, or the hoarse voice of the
half-frozen river, rising and falling--now near, and now far away in the
distance.

On such a morning as this it was, and at such an hour, that a
pale-faced, thin woman, with all the melancholy evidences of destitution
and sorrow about her, knocked at the door of her parish priest, the
Rev. Francis Roche. The very knock she gave had in it a character of
respectful but eager haste. Her appearance, too, was miserable, and as
she stood in the cold wintry twilight, it would have satisfied any one
that deep affliction and wasting poverty were both at her humble heart.
She had on neither shoe nor stocking, and the consequence was, that the
sharp and jagged surface of the frozen ground, rendered severer by the
impatient speed of her journey, had cut her feet in such a manner that
the blood flowed from them in several places. Cloak or bonnet she had
none; but instead of the former her humble gown was turned over her
shoulders, and in place of the latter she wore a thin kerchief, drawn
round her head, and held under her chin with one hand, as the lower
classes of Irishwomen do in short and hasty journeys. Her journey,
however, though hasty in this instance, was by do means short; and it
was easy to perceive by her distracted manner and stifled sobs, that
however poorly protected against the bitter elements, she had a grief
within which rendered her insensible to their severity.

It was also apparent, that, though humble in life, she possessed, like
thousands of her countrywomen, a mind of sufficient compass and strength
to comprehend, when adequately moved, the united working of more than
one principle at the same moment. We have said it was evident that she
was under the influence of deep sorrow, but this was not all--a second
glance might disclose the exhibition of a still higher principle. The
woman was at prayer, and it was easy to perceive by the beads which she
held in her fervently clasped hands, by the occasional knocking of her
breast, and the earnest look of supplication to heaven, that her soul
poured forth its aspirations in the deep-felt and anxious spirit of that
religion, which affliction is found so often to kindle in the peasant’s
heart. She had only knocked a second time when the door was opened, and
having folded up her beads, she put them into her bosom, and entering
the priest’s house, immediately found herself in the kitchen. In a
moment a middle-aged woman, with a rush light in her hand, stirred up
the greeshough, and raking the live turf out of it, she threw on a dozen
well-dried peats out of the chimney corner, and soon had a comfortable
and blazing fire, at which the afflicted creature, having first
intimated her wish that his reverence should accompany her home, was
desired to sit until he should be ready to set out.

“Why, then,” exclaimed the good-natured woman, “but you had abitther
thramp of it this cowld and cuttin’ mornin’--and a cowld and cuttin’
mornin’ it is--for sure didn’t I feel as if the very nose was whipt
off o’ me when I only wint to open the door for you. Sit near the fire,
achora, and warm yourself--throth myself feels like a sieve, the way
the cowld’s goin’ through me;--sit over, achora, sit over, and get some
heat into you.”

“Thank you,” said the woman, “but you know it’s not a safe thing to go
near the fire when one is frozen or very cowld--‘twould only make me
worse when I go out again, besides givin’ me pain now.”

“Och, troth you’re right, I forgot that--but you surely didn’t come
far, if one’s to judge by your dress; though, God knows, far or near,
you have the light coverin’ an you for such a morning as this is, the
Lord be praised!”

“I came better than three miles,” replied the woman.

“Than what?”

“Than three miles.”

“Saver above, is it possible! without cloak or bonnet, shoe or
stockin’--an’ you have your affliction at home, too, poor thing; why the
Lord look down an you, an’ pity you I pray his blessed name this day!
Stop, I must warm you a drink of brave new milk, and that’ll help to
put the cowld out of your heart--sit round here, from the breath of that
back door--I’ll have it ready for you in a jiffey; throth will I, an’
you’ll see it’ll warm you and do you good.”

“God help me,” exclaimed the woman, “I’ll take the drink, bekase I
wouldn’t refuse your kind heart; but it’s not meat, nor drink, nor
cowld, nor storm, that’s throublin’ me--I could bear all that, and many
a time did--but then I had _him!_ but now who’s to comfort us--who are
we to look to--who is to be our friend? Oh, in the wide world--but God
is good!”--said she, checking herself from a pious apprehension that
she was not sufficiently submissive to his will, “God is good--but still
it’s hard to think of losing him.”

“Well, you won’t lose him, I hope,” said the good creature, stirring
the new milk with a spoon, and tasting it to ascertain if it was warm
enough--“Of coorse it’s your husband you--whitch! whitch!--the divil be
off you for a skillet, I’ve a’most scalded myself wid you--it’s so thin
that it has a thing boilin’ before you could say Jack Robinson. Here
now, achora, try it, an’ take care it’s not a trifle too hot--it’ll
comfort you, anyhow.”

It is in a country like Ireland, where there is so much of that close
and wasting poverty which constitutes absolute misery, that these
beautiful gushes of pure and tender humanity are to be found, which
spring in the obscurity of life out of the natural goodness and
untutored piety of the Irish heart. It is these virtues, unseen and
unknown, as they generally are, except by the humble individuals on whom
they are exerted--that so often light up by their radiance the
darkness and destitution of the cold and lowly cabin, and that gives an
unconscious sense of cheerfulness under great privations, which
those who do not know the people often attribute to other and more
discreditable causes.

While the poor woman in question was drinking the warm milk--the very
best restorative by the way which she could get--for poverty is mostly
forced to find out its own humble comforts--Father Roche entered the
kitchen, buttoned up and prepared for the journey. On looking at her he
seemed startled by the scantiness of her dress on such a morning--and
when she rose up at his entrance and dropped him a curtesy, exclaiming,
“God save you, Father!”--at the same time swallowing down the remainder
of the milk that she might not lose a moment; he cast his eye round the
kitchen to see whether she had actually come in the dress she wore.

“How far have you come this morning, my poor woman?” he inquired.

“From the ride of the Sliebeen More Mountains, plaise your reverence.”

“What, in your present dress! without shoe or stocking?”

“True enough, sir; but indeed it was little the cowld, or sleet, or
frost, troubled me.”

“Yes, God help you, I can believe that too--for I understand the cause
of it too well--but have hope--Katty, what was that you gave her?”

“A mouthful of warm milk, your reverence, to put the cowld out of her
heart.”

“Ah, Katty, I wish we could put sorrow and affliction out of it--but
you did well and right in the meantime; still you must do better, Katty,
lend her your cloak--and your shoes and stockings too, poor thing!”

“I’m oblaged to your reverence,” she replied, “but indeed I won’t
feel the want of them; as I said, there’s only one thought that I am
suffering about--and that is, for your reverence to see my husband
before he departs.”

“Yes--but the consequences of this cold and bitter journey may fall
upon you at another time--and before long, too--so be advised by me, and
don’t refuse to take them.”

“It’s not aisy to do that, sir,” she replied with a faint smile, for as
she spoke, his servant had the cloak already about her shoulders; “it
appears,” she continued, “that this kind woman must have her will and
way in everything.”

“To be sure I will,” said Katty, “espishially in everything that’s
right, any how--come here now, and while his reverence is getting his
staff and mittens in the room above, I’ll help you on with the shoes and
stockings. Now,” she added, in one of those touching and irresistible
whispers that are produced by kindness and not by secrecy, “if anything
happens--as God forbid there should--but if anything does happen, keep
these till afther everything is over. Before strangers you know one
wouldn’t like to appear too bare, if they could help it.”

The tone in which these words were spoke could not fail in at once
reaching the poor woman’s heart. She wept as much from gratitude as the
gloomy alternative involved in Katty’s benevolent offer.

“God bless you,” she exclaimed, “but I trust in the Almighty, there
may be hope and that they won’t be wanted. Still, how can I hope when I
think of the way he’s in? But God is good, blessed be his holy name!”

So saying, the priest came down,and they both set out on their bleak and
desolate journey.

The natural aspect of the surrounding country was in good keeping with
the wild and stormy character of the morning. Before them, in the back
ground, rose a magnificent range of mountains, whose snowy peaks were
occasionally seen far above the dusky clouds which drifted rapidly
across their bosoms. The whole landscape, in fact, teemed with a
spirit of savage grandeur. Many of the glens on each side were deep
and precipitous, where rock beetled over rock, and ledge projected over
ledge, in a manner so fearful that the mind of the spectator, excited
and rapt into terror by the contemplation of them, wondered why they did
not long ago tumble into the chasm beneath, so slight was their apparent
support. Even in the mildest, seasons desolation brooded over the lesser
hills and mountains about them; what then must it not have been at the
period we are describing? From a hill a little to the right, over which
they had to pass, a precipitous headland was visible, against which the
mighty heavings of the ocean could be heard hoarsely thundering at a
distance, and the giant billows, in periods of storm and tempest, seen
shivering themselves into white; foam that rose nearly to the summit of
their immovable barriers.

Such was the toilsome country over which our two travellers had to pass.

It was not without difficulty and fatigue that the priest and his
companion wended their way towards one of the moors we have, mentioned.
The snow beat against them with great violence, sometimes rendering
it almost impossible for them to keep their eyes open or to see
their proper path across the hills. The woman, however, trod her
way instinctively, and whilst the, priest aided her by his superior
strength, she in return guided him by a clearer sagacity. Neither spoke
much, for in truth each had enough to do in combating with the toil and
peril of the journey, as well as in thinking of the melancholy scene to
which they were hastening. Words of consolation and comfort he did
from time to time utter; but he felt that his situation was one of
difficulty. To inspire hope where there was probably no hope, might be
only to deepen her affliction; and, on the other hand, to weigh down a
heart already heavy laden by unnecessarily adding one gloomy forboding
to its burthen, was not in his nature. Such comfort as he could give
without bearing too strongly upon either her hopes or her fears he did
give; and we do not think that an apostle, had he been in his place,
could or ought to have done more.

They had now arrived within half a mile of the moor, when they felt
themselves overtaken by a man whose figure was of a very singular and
startling description, being apparently as wild and untamed as the
barren waste on which he made his appearance. He was actually two or
three inches above the common height, but in addition to this fact, and
as if not satisfied with it, he wore three hats, one sheathed a little
into the other, so that they could not readily separate, and the under
one he kept always fastened to his head, in order to prevent the whole
pyramid from falling off. His person seemed to gain still greater height
from the circumstance of his wearing a long surtout that reached to his
heels, and which he kept constantly buttoned closely about him. His feet
were cased in a tight pair of leather buskins, for it was one of his
singularities that he could endure neither boot nor shoe, and he always
wore a glove of some kind on his left hand, but never any on his right.
His features might be termed regular, even handsome; and his eyes were
absolutely brilliant, yet, notwithstanding this, it was impossible to
look for a moment upon his _tout ensemble_ without perceiving that that
spirit which stamps the impress of reason and intellect upon the human
countenance, was not visible in his. Like a new and well-proportioned
house which had never been occupied, everything seemed externally
regular and perfect, whilst it was evident by its still and lonely
character, as contrasted with the busy marks of on-going life in those
around it, that it was void and without an inhabitant.

Like many others of his unhappy class, Poll Doolin’s son,
“Raymond-na-hattha,” for it was he, and so had he been nick-named,
in consequence of his wearing such a number of hats, had a remarkable
mixture of humor, simplicity, and cunning. He entertained a great
penchant, or rather a passion for cock-fighting, and on the present
occasion carried a game one under his arm. Throughout the country no
man possessed a bird of that species, with whose pedigree he was not
thoroughly acquainted; and, truth to tell, he proved himself as great
a thief as he was a genealogist among them. Many a time the unfortunate
foxes from some neighboring cover were cursed and banned, when, if
the truth had been known, the only fox that despoiled the roost was
Raymond-na-hattha. One thing, however, was certain, that unless the
cock was thoroughly game he might enjoy his liberty and ease long enough
without molestation from Raymond. We had well nigh forgotten to say that
he wore on the right side of his topmost hat a cockade of yellow cloth,
from which two or three ribbons of a scarlet color fluttered down to his
shoulder, a bit of vanity which added very much to the fantastic nature
of his general costume.

“Ha! Raymond, my good boy,” said the priest, “how does it happen
that you are so early up this stormy morning? would you not be more
comfortable in your bed?”

“Airly up,” replied Raymond, “airly up! that’s good--to be sure you’re a
priest, but you don’t know everything.”

“Why, what am I ignorant of now, Raymond?”

“Why, that I didn’t go to bed yet--so that it’s up late, instead of
early, I am--d’ye hear? ha, ha, now take that.”

“When, where, and how did you spend the night then, Raymond; but you
seem in a hurry--surely if you trot on at this fate we cannot keep up
with you.” The truth is, Raymond’s general rate of travelling was very
rapid. “Where did you spend the night, Raymond,” continued the priest.

“Wid a set o’ jolly cocks--ha, ha,--now make money of that, d’ye hear.”

“You’re a riddle, Raymond; you’re a riddle; there’s no understanding
you--where did you get the cock?--but I needn’t ask; of course you stole
him.”

“Then why do you ax if you think so?”

“Because you’re notorious for stealing cocks--every one knows as much.”

“No, never steal ‘em,--fond o’ me--come wid me themselves. Look.” The
words were scarcely uttered when he tossed the bird up into the air, and
certainly, after flying about for a few yards, he alit, and tottering
against the wind towards Raymond, stretched out his neck, as if he
wished to be again taken up by him.

“I see,” said the priest, “but answer me--where did you spend last night
now?”

“I tould you,” said Raymond, “wid de jolly cocks--sure I mostly roost
it; an’ better company too than most people, for they’re fond o’ me.
Didn’t you see? ha, ha!”

“I believe I understand you now,” said Father Roche; “you’ve slept near
somebody’s hen roost, and have stolen the cock--to whom are you carrying
it?”

“You won’t tell to-morrow; ha, ha, there now, take a rub too--that’s
one.”

“Poor creature,” said the priest to his companion, “I am told he is
affectionate, and where he takes a fancy or has received a kindness,
very grateful.”

The parish where the circumstances we are describing occurred, having
been that in which Raymond was born, of course the poor fool was
familiar to every one in it, as indeed every one in it, young and old,
was to him.

During the short dialogue between him and the priest, the female,
absorbed in her own heavy sorrow, was observed by Raymond occasionally
to wipe the tears from her eyes; a slight change, a shade of apparent
compassion came over his countenance, and turning to her, he gently laid
his hand upon her shoulder, and said, in a voice different from, his
flighty and abrupt manner--

“Don’t cry, Mary, he has company, and good things that were brought to
him--he has indeed, Mary; so don’t be crying now.”

“What do you mean, poor boy?” asked the woman; “I don’t understand you,
Raymond.”

“It is difficult to do that at all times,” said Father Roche, “but
notwithstanding the wildness of his manner, he is seldom without
meaning. Raymond will you tell me where you came from now?” he asked.

“From your house,” he replied; “I went to fetch you to him; but you were
both gone, and I overtook you--I could aisy do that--ha ha.”

“But what is the company that’s with him, Raymond?” asked the female,
naturally anxious to understand this part of his communication. Raymond,
however, was now in one of his silent moods, and appeared not to hear
her; at all events, he did not think it worth his while to give her any
reply. For a short period he kept murmuring indistinctly to himself, or
if a word or two became audible, it was clear that his favorite sport of
cock-fighting had altogether engrossed his attention.

They had now reached a rough, dark knoll of heath, which brought them
in view of the cabin to which they were going, and also commanded an
extensive and glorious prospect of the rich and magnificent inland
country which lay behind them. The priest and his now almost exhausted
companion, to whom its scenery was familiar, waited not to look back
upon its beauty or its richness. Not so Raymond, who, from the moment
they began to ascend the elevation, kept constantly looking back, and
straining his eyes in one particular direction. At length he started,
and placing his right hand upon the priest’s shoulder, said in a
suppressed but eager voice--

“Go on--go on--they’re coming.” Then, turning to the female--“Come,”
 said he; “come, Mary,--I’ll help you.”

“Who is coming?” she exclaimed, whilst the paleness of death and terror
settled in her face; “for God’s mercy, Raymond, who is coming?”

“I saw them,” said he; “I saw them. Come--come fast--I’ll help
you--don’t thrimble--don’t thrimble.”

“Let us be guided by him,” said the priest. “Raymond,” he added, “we
cannot go much faster through this marshy heath, but do you aid Mary as
well as you can; as for me, I will try if it be possible to quicken my
pace.”

He accordingly proceeded in advance of the other two for a little;
but it was only for a little. The female--who seemed excited by some
uncommon terror, and the wild, apprehensive manner of her companion,
into something not unlike the energy of despair--rushed on, as if she
had been only setting out, or gained supernatural strength. In a few
minutes she was beside the priest, whom she encouraged, and besought,
and entreated--ay, and in some moments of more vehement feeling,
absolutely chided, for not keeping pace with herself. They had now,
however, came within about a hundred yards of the cabin, which they soon
reached--the female entering it about a minute or two before the others,
in order to make those humble arrangements about a sick-bed, which,
however poverty may be forced to overlook on ordinary occasions, are
always attended to on the approach of the doctor, or the minister of
religion. In the instance before us, she had barely time to comfort her
sick husband, by an assurance that the priest had arrived, after which
she hastily wiped his lips and kissed them, then settled his head more
easily; after which she spread out to the best advantage the poor quilt
which covered him, and tucked it in about his lowly bed, so as to give
it something of a more tidy appearance.

The interior of the cottage, which the priest and Raymond entered
together, was, when the bitter and inclement nature of the morning, and
the state of the miserable inmates is considered, enough to make any
heart possessing humanity shudder. Two or three stools; a couple of
pots; a few shelves, supported on pegs driven into the peat wall;
about a bushel of raw potatoes lying in a corner; a small heap of damp
turf--for the foregoing summer had been so incessantly wet, that the
turf, unless when very early cut, could not be saved; a few wooden
noggins and dishes; together with a bundle of straw, covered up in a
corner with the sick man’s coat, which, when shaken out at night, was
a bed; and those, with the exception of their own simple domestic truth
and affection, were their only riches. The floor, too, as is not unusual
in such mountain cabins, was nothing but the natural peat, and so
damp and soft was it, that in wet weather the marks of their feet were
visibly impressed on it at every step. With the exception of liberty to
go and come, pure air, and the light of the blessed day, they might as
well have dragged out their existence in a subterraneous keep belonging
to some tyrannical old baron of the feudal ages.

There was one small apartment in this cabin, but what it contained,
if it did contain anything, could not readily be seen, for the hole or
window, which in summer admitted the light, was now filled with rags
to keep out the cold. From this little room, however, the priest as he
entered, was surprised to see a young man come forth, apparently much
moved by some object which he had seen in it.

“Mr. Harman,” said the priest, a good deal surprised, “who could have
expected to find you here?”

They shook hands as he spoke, each casting his eyes upon this woeful
scene of misery. “God pity them,” ejaculated the priest, clasping his
hands, and looking upwards, “and sustain them!”

“I owe it to poor Raymond, here,” replied the other, “and I feel obliged
to him; but,” said he, taking Father Roche over to the door, “here will
be a double death--father and son.”

“Father and son, how is that?--she mentioned nothing of the son.”

“It is very possible,” said Harman, “that they are not conscious of his
danger. I fear, however, that the poor boy has not many hours to live.”

All that we have just described, occurred in three minutes; but short
as was the time, the wife’s impatience to have the rites of the church
administered, could scarcely be restrained; nor was poor Raymond’s
anxiety much less.

“They’re comin’,” said he, “Mr. Harman, they are comin’; hurry, hurry, I
know what they’ll do.”

“Who are coming, Raymond?” asked Harman. “Oh!” said the fool,
“hurry--M’Clutchy’s blood-hounds.”

The wife clapped her hands, shrieked, and falling on her knees,
exclaimed in a piercing voice, “merciful God, look down on us! Oh,
Father Roche, there is not a moment to be lost!”

The priest and Harman again exchanged a melancholy glance;--“you
must all retire into the little room,” said the clergyman, “until I
administer to him the last rites.”

They accordingly withdrew, the woman having first left a lit rush light
candle at his bed-side, as she knew the ceremony required.

The man’s strength was wasting fast, and his voice sinking rapidly,
but on the other hand he was calm and rational, a circumstance which
relieved the priest’s mind very much. As is usual, having put a stole
about his neck, he first heard his confession, earnestly exhorted him
to repentance, and soothed and comforted him with all those promises
and consolations which are held out to repentant sinners. He then
administered the Extreme Unction; which being over, the ceremony, and
a solemn one it must be considered, was concluded. On this occasion,
however, his death-bed consolations did not end here. There are in the
Roman Catholic Church prayers for the dying, many of them replete with
the fervor of Christian faith, and calculated to raise the soul to the
hopes of immortality. These the priest read in a slow manner, so as that
the dying man could easily accompany him, which he did with his hands
clasped, upon his breast, and his eyes closed, unless when he raised
them occasionally to heaven. He then exhorted him with an anxiety for
his salvation which transcended all earthly and temporal considerations,
prayed with him and for him, whilst the tears streamed in torrents down
his cheeks. Nor was the spirit of his holy mission lost; the penitent
man’s face assumed a placid and serene expression; the light of immortal
hope beamed upon it; and raising his eyes and his feeble arms to heaven,
he uttered several ejaculations in a tone of voice too low to be heard.
At length he exclaimed aloud, “thanks to the Almighty that I did not
commit this murder as I intended! I found it done to my hand; but
I don’t know who did it, as I am to meet my God!” The words were
pronounced with difficulty; indeed they were scarcely uttered, when his
arms fell lifelessly, as it were, by his side--they were again suddenly
drawn up, however, as if by a convulsive motion, and the priest saw
that the agonies of death were about to commence; still, it was easy to
perceive that the man was collected and rational.

It was now, however, that a scene took place, which could not, we
imagine, be witnessed out of distracted and unhappy Ireland. Raymond,
who appeared to dread the approach of those whom he termed M’Clutchy’s
blood-hounds, no sooner saw that the religious rites were concluded,
than he ran out to reconnoitre. In a moment, however, he returned a
picture of terror, and dragging the woman to the door, pointed to a
declivity below the house, exclaiming--

[Illustration: PAGE 186-- See, Mary, see--they’re gallopin]

“See, Mary, see--they’re gallopin’.” The dying man seemed conscious of
what was said, for the groan he gave was wild and startling; his wife
dropped on her knees at the door, where she could watch her husband and
those who approached, and clasping her hands, exclaimed, “To your mercy,
O Lord of heaven, to your mercy take him, before he falls into their
hands, that will show him none!” She then bestowed upon him a look full
of an impatient agony, which no language could describe; her eyes had
already become wild and piercing--her cheek flushed--and her frame
animated with a spirit that seemed to partake at once of terror, intense
hatred, and something like frenzy.

“They are gallopin’! they are gallopin’!” she said, “and they will find
life in him!” She then wrung her hands, but shed not a tear--“speed,
Hugh,” she said, “speed, speed, husband of my heart--the arms of God are
they not open for you, and why do you stay?” These sentiments, we
should have informed our readers, were uttered, or rather chaunted in
a recitative of sorrow, in Irish; Irish being the language in which
the peasantry who happen to speak both it and English, always express
themselves when more than usually excited. “The sacred oil of salvation
is upon you--the sacrament of peace and forgiveness has lightened your
soul--the breath of mercy is the breath you’re breathin’--the hope of
Jesus is in your heart, and the intercession of his blessed mother, she
that knew sorrow herself, is before you! Then, light of my heart, the
arms of God are they not open for you, and why do you stay here?”

“Nearer--nearer,” she exclaimed, “they are nearer--whippin’ and spurrin’
their horses! Hugh O’Regan, that was the sun of my life, and of my
heart, and ever without a cloud, hasten to the God of mercy! Oh, surely,
you will not blame your own Mary that was your lovin’ wife--and the
treasure of your young and manly heart, for wishin’ to see you taken
from her eyes--and for wishing to see the eyes that,never looked upon
us all but with love and kindness, closed on us forever. Oh,” said she,
putting her hands to her forehead, “an’ is it--is it come to this--that
I that was dearer to him than his own life a thousand times, should now
be glad to see him die--be glad to see him die! Oh! they are here,”
 she shrieked, “before the door--you may hear their horses’ feet!
Hugh O’Regan,” and her voice became louder and more energetic--“the
white-skinned--the fair of hair, the strong of hand, and the true of
heart--as you ever loved me that was once your happy bride--as you ever
loved the religion of our holy church--as you hope for happiness and
mercy, hasten from me--from our orphan--from all--oh, hasten to the arms
of your God!”

During this scene there was a solemn silence in the house, the priest
and Harman having both been struck mute at the solemnity of the scene.

“They are here--they are here!” she screamed. “Oh, sun of my heart,
think not now of me, nor of the children of your love, for we will
follow you in time--but think of the happy country you’re going to,--to
live in the sunshine of heaven, among saints and angels for ever! Oh,
sun of my heart, think too of what you lave behind you! What is it?
Oh! what is it to you--but poverty, and misery, and hardship--the cowld
cabin and the damp bed--the frost of the sky--the frown of power, and
the scourge of law--all this, oh, right hand of my affection, with the
hard labor and the scanty food, do you fly from! Sure we had no friend
in this world to protect or defend us against them that, would trample
us under their feet! No friend for us because we are poor, and no friend
for our religion because it is despised. Then hasten, hasten, O light of
my heart--and take refuge in the mercy of your God!”

“Mary,” said the priest, who had his eyes fixed upon the sick man, “Give
God thanks, he is dead--and beyond the reach of human enmity forever.”

She immediately prostrated herself on the floor in token of humility and
thanksgiving--then raising her eyes to heaven, she said, “may the heart
of the woeful widow be grateful to the God who has taken him to his
mercy before they came upon him! But here they are, and now I am not
afraid of them. They can’t insult my blessed husband now, nor murdher
him, as his father’s villains did our dyin’ son, on the cowld Esker of
Drum Dhu; nor disturb him with their barbarous torments on the bed of
death--and glory be to God for that!”

Many of our readers may be led to imagine that the terrors of Mary
O’Regan were altogether unproportioned to anything that might be
apprehended from the approach of the officers of justice, or, at least
to those who came to execute the law. The state of Irish society at that
time, however, was very different from what it is now, or has been for
the last twenty years. At that period one party was in the ascendant and
the other directly under their feet; the former was in the possession
of irresponsible power, and the other, in many matters, without any
tribunal whatsoever to which, they could appeal. The Established Church
of Ireland was then a sordid corporation, whose wealth was parcelled
out, not only without principle, but without shame, to the English and
Irish aristocracy, but principally to the English. Church livings were
not filled with men remarkable for learning and piety, but awarded to
political prostitution, and often to young rakes of known and unblushing
profligacy, connected with families of rank. The consequence was, that
a gross secular spirit, replete with political hatred and religious
rancor, was the only principle which existed in the place of true
religion. That word was then, except in rare cases indeed, a dead
letter; for such was the state of Protestant society then, and for
several years afterwards, that it mattered not how much or how little a
man of that creed knew about the principles of his own church; and as
it was administered the less he knew of it the better--all that was
necessary to constitute a good Protestant was “to hate the Pope.” In
truth--for it cannot be concealed, and we write it with deep pain and
sorrow--the Established Church of Ireland was then, in point of fact,
little else than a mere political engine held by the English government
for the purpose of securing the adherence of those who were willing to
give support to their measures.

In such a state of things, then, it need not be wondered at, that,
neglected and secularized as it was at the period we write of, it should
produce a class of men, whose passions in everything connected with
religion and politics were intolerant and exclusive. Every church, no
matter what its creed, unfortunately has its elect of such professors.
Nor were these confined to the lower classes alone--far from it. The
squire and nobleman were too frequently both alike remarkable for the
exhibition of such principles. Of this class was our friend M’Clutchy,
who was now a justice of the peace, a grand juror, and a captain of
cavalry--his corps having, a little time before, been completed. With
this posse, as the officers of justice, the pranks he played were
grievous to think of or to remember. He and they were, in fact, the
terror of the whole Roman Catholic population; and from the spirit in
which they executed justice, were seldom called by any other name than
that of M’Clutchy’s Bloodhounds. Upon the present occasion they were
unaccompanied by M’Clutchy himself--a circumstance which was not to
be regretted, as there was little to be expected from his presence but
additional brutality and insult.

On arriving at the door, they hastily dismounted, and rushed into the
cabin with their usual violence and impetuosity, each being armed with a
carbine and bayonet.

“Hallo!” said the leader, whose name was Sharpe; “what’s here? shamming
sickness is it?”

“No,” said Father Roche; “it is death?”

“Ay! shamming death then. Never mind--we’ll soon see that. Come, Steele,
give him a prod--a gentle one--and I’ll engage it’ll make him find
tongue, if anything will.”

Steele, to whom this was addressed, drew his bayonet, and commenced
screwing it on, for the purpose of executing his orders.

“A devilish good trick, too,” said he; “and the first of the kind that
has been practised on us yet--here goes--”

Up until this moment O’Regan’s wife sat beside the dead body of
her husband, without either word or motion. A smile of--it might
be satisfaction, perhaps even joy, at his release; or it might be
hatred--was on her face, and in her eye; but when the man pointed his
bayonet at the corpse of her husband, she started to her knees, and
opening out her arms, exclaimed--

“Here’s my heart--and through that heart your bayonet will go, before it
touches his body. Oh, if you have hearts in your bodies, you will surely
spare the dead!”

“Here goes, ma’am,” he repeated, “and you had better lave that--we’re
not in the habit of being checked by the like of you, at any rate, or
any of your creed.”

“I am not afeared to profess my creed--nor ashamed of it,” she
exclaimed; and if it went to that, I would die for it--but I tell you,
that before your bayonet touches the dead body of my husband, it must
pass through my heart!”

“Don’t be alarmed, Mary,” said the priest; “they surely cannot be
serious. It’s not possible that any being in the shape of man could be
guilty of such a sacrilegious outrage upon the dead as they threaten.”

“What is it your business?” said the leader; “go and tare off your
masses, and be hanged; none of your Popish interference here, or it’ll
be worse for you! I say the fellow’s not dead--he’s only skeining. Come,
Alick, put the woman aside, and tickle him up.”

“Keep aside, I tell you,” said Steele, again addressing her--“keep
aside, my good woman, till I obey my orders--and don’t provoke me.”

Father Roche was again advancing to remonstrate with him, for the man’s
determination seemed likely to get stronger by opposition--when, just as
the bayonet which had already passed under the woman’s arm, was within a
few inches of O’Regan’s body, he felt himself dragged forcibly back,
and Raymond-na-hattha stood before him, having seized both carbine and
bayonet with a strong grip.

“Don’t do that,” he exclaimed--“don’t--you’d hurt him--sure you’d hurt
poor Hugh!”

The touching simplicity of this language, which, to a heart possessing
the least tincture of humanity, would have more, force than the
strongest argument, was thrown away upon him to whom it was directed.

“Fling the blasted idiot off,” shouted Sharpe; “don’t you see he has let
the cat out o’ the bag--how could the man be hurted if he was dead; I
knew it was a schame.” To throw Raymond off, however, was easier said
than done, as the fellow found on attempting it. A struggle commenced
between them, which, though violent, was not of long duration. Raymond’s
eye got turbid, and glared with a fiery light; but otherwise his
complexion did not change. By a vehement twist, he wrenched the arms
out of Steele’s hands, hurling him from him at the same time, with such
force, that he fell on the floor with a crash.

“Now,” said he, pointing the bayonet to his neck, “would you like
it?---ha, ha!--think of that.”

Four carbines--the whole party consisting of five--were immediately
levelled at him; and it is not improbable that half a minute more would
have closed both his existence and his history, had not Father Roche and
the widow both succeeded, with some difficulty, in drawing him back from
the prostrate officer of justice. Raymond, after a little time, gave up
the arms; but his eye still blazed at his opponent, with a glare that
could not be misunderstood.

Harman, who had hitherto taken no part whatsoever in the altercation,
now interfered; and with feelings which he found it nearly impossible to
restrain, pointed out to them the wanton cruelty of such conduct towards
both the living and the dead. “I am ashamed of you,” said he, “as
countrymen, as Irishmen. Your treatment of this poor heartbroken woman,
amidst her desolation and sorrow, is a disgrace to the country that
gave you birth, and to the religion you profess, if, indeed, you profess
any.”

“Come, come, my good fellow,” said Sharpe, “what is it you say about my
religion? I tell you I’ll allow no man to spake a syllable against my
religion; so keep quiet if you’re wise, and don’t attack that, otherwise
don’t be surprised if I make you dance the devil’s hornpipe in half a
shake, great a hairo as you are.”

“And yet you felt no scruple in just now insulting religion, in the
person of this reverend gentleman who never offended you.”

“Him! why what the hell is he but a priest?”

“And the more entitled to your respect on that account--but since you
are so easily excited in defence of your own creed, why so ready to
attack in such offensive and insulting language that of another?”

“Come, come, Sharpe,” said another of them, “are we to be here all
day--whatever we’re to do let us do it at once; if the fellow’s dead,
why he has had a devilish good escape of it, and if not, let us clap him
on a horse, that is, provided he’s able to travel. I think myself he has
got the start of us, and that the wind’s out of him.”

“Take your time,” said Steele, who felt anxious to avenge his defeat
upon some one, “we must know, that before ever we leave the house--and
by the great Boyne, the first person that goes between me and him will
get the contents of this,” and as he uttered the words he coolly and
deliberately cocked the gun, and was advancing as before to the dead
body.

“Holdback,” said Harman, in a voice which made the man start, whilst
with a firm tread and resolute eye, he stood face to face before him;
“hold back, and dare not violate that sacred and awful privilege, which
in every country and creed under heaven is sufficient to protect the
defenceless dead. What can be your object in this? are you men--have
you the spirit, the courage, of men? If you are human beings, is not
the sight of that unhappy fellow-creature--I hope he is happy
now,--stretched out in death before you, sufficient, by the very
stillness of departed life, to calm the brutal frenzy of your passions!
Have you common courage? No; I tell you to your teeth that none but
spiritless caitiffs and cowards would, in the presence of death and
sorrow--in the miserable cabin of the destitute widow and her orphan
boy--exhibit the ruffianly outrages of men who are wanton in their
cruelty, merely because they know there is none to resist them; and I
may add, because they think that their excesses, however barbarous, will
be shielded by higher authority. No, I tell you, if there stood man for
man before you, even without arms in their hands, you would not dare to
act and swagger as you do, or to play these cruel pranks of oppression
and tyranny anywhere, much less in the house of death and affliction.
Fie upon you, you are a disgrace to everything that is human, a reproach
to every feeling of manhood, and every principle of religion.”

Hardened as they were by the habits of their profligate and debasing
employment, such was the ascendancy of manly truth and and moral feeling
over them, that for a minute or two they quailed under the indignant
glance of Harman. Steele drew back his gun, and looked round on his
companions to ascertain their feeling.

“Gentleman,” said Father Roche, anxious to mollify them as much as he
could--“gentleman, for the sake of that poor heart-broken widowed woman
and her orphan son--for her and his sake, and if not for theirs then,
for the sake of God himself, before whose awful judgment-seat we must
all stand to render an account of our works, I entreat--I implore you to
withdraw--do, gentlemen, and leave her and her children to their sorrows
and their misery, for the world has little else for them.”

“I’m willing to go,” said a fellow, ironically called Handsome Hacket,
because he was blind of an eye and deeply pock-pitted--“there’s no use
in quarrellin’ with a woman certainly--and I don’t think there can be
any doubt about the man’s death; devil a bit.”

“Well said, Vainus,” exclaimed Sharpe, “and it is not ten days since
we were defrauded of Parra Rackan who escaped from us in Jemmy Reilly’s
coffin--when we thought to nab him in the wakehouse--and when we went
away didn’t they set him at large, and then go back to bury the man that
was dead. Now, how da you know, Vainus, my purty boy, that this fellow’s
not playin’ us a trick o’ the same color?”

“Come, come,” said another of them who had not yet spoke, “it’s aisy
to know that. Curse me, Steele, if you don’t give him a tickle, I
will--that’s all--we’re losin’ the day and I want my breakfast Living
or dead, and be hanged to him, I’m starved for want of something to
eat--and to drink, too--so be quick I tell you.”

“Very well, my buck,” said Steele--“that’s your sort--here goes--”

He once more advanced with a savage determination to effect his
purpose--when the priest gently and in a mild spirit of remonstrance
laid his hand upon his shoulder; but he had scarcely done so, when
one of them seized him by the collar and flung, or rather attempted to
fling, him back with great violence.

“Go on, Steele,” shouted the last speaker, whose name was Harpur--“Go
on--and be cursed, man, we will support you.”

The words, however, were scarcely out of his lips, when Raymond, his eye
glaring like that of a tiger with the wildness of untamed resentment,
sprang upon him with a bound, and in a moment they once more grappled
together. It was, however, only for a moment--for by the heavy blow he
received from Raymond, the man staggered and fell, but ere he reached
the ground, the gun, which had been ineffectually aimed at the poor
fool, went off, and lodged its contents in the heart of the last
speaker, who staggered, groaned, and fell lifeless where he stood.

For a minute or so, this fatal and unexpected catastrophe stunned them.
They looked upon each other amazed and apparently stupefied, “What,”
 cried Sharpe, “is Harpur dead?” Two of them then placed their arms
against the wall in order to ascertain the exact nature of the injury
inflicted.

At this moment, Sharpe, who saw at once the man was indeed lifeless,
raised his gun about to take aim at Raymond, when a blow from Harman
felled him to the earth.

“And here’s for your kindness, Mister Harman,” shouted Steele; but
ere the words were uttered, O’Regan’s wife threw herself upon him
so effectually, that he felt it impossible to avail himself of his
fire-arms.

“Fight now,” she shouted in Irish, “it is for your lives--it is for the
widow--for the orphan--for the bed of death--and the dead that’s upon
it--fight now--for God will be with us! May his strength and power be
in your arms and your hearts, prays the woeful widow this day!
Villain--villain,” she shouted, “I have you powerless now--but it’s the
strength of God that is in me, and not my own!”

The conflict that ensued now was bitter, savage, deadly. The moment
Sharpe was knocked down, Raymond flew to their firearms, handed one to
Harman, and kept the other himself. The men who used them were fierce,
and powerful, and cruel. In a moment a furious contest took place. The
four men immediately grappled, each one attempting to wrest the gun
from his antagonist. Raymond, whose passions were now roused so as to
resemble the ravenous fury of madness itself, at one time howled like
a beast of prey, and shouted, and screamed, and laughed with maniac
wildness that was enough to make almost any heart quail. His eyes
blazed, his figure dilated, his muscles stood out, his mouth was white
with froth, and his eyebrows were knit into a deep and deadly scowl.
Altogether his appearance was frightful and appalling.

Harman was still better matched, and the struggle with his foe was for
some time doubtful enough, the latter being one of the strongest and
most resolute men in the whole parish. A powerful tug for the gun now
took place, each pulling in opposite directions with all his might. At
length a thought struck Harman, who all at once let the gun go, when
the other having no longer any resisting power to sustain him, fell back
upon the floor, and in an instant Harman’s knee was on his chest and the
gun in his possession. The man ground his teeth, and looking up into his
face with a black scowl of hatred, exclaimed--

“It is your turn now, but I will have mine.”

“You have had yours too long, villain,” replied the other, “but in
the mean time I will teach you to respect the bed of death and the
afflictions of the widow.”

Saying which, he vigorously applied the butt of the gun to his ribs,
until he had rendered him anything but disposed for further conflict.

Both victories were achieved much about the same time; Raymond’s
opponent being far the more severely punished of the two. “What,
however, was their surprise after each had expelled his man from the
cabin, to find Steele down, his gun lying on one side. O’Regan’s wife
fastened on his throat, and himself panting and almost black in the
face!

“Here now,” she exclaimed, “the battle of the widow was well fought,
and God gave us strength. Put this man out with the rest.” This was
accordingly done, but as in the case of his companions, the gun for the
present was retained.

“See now,” she proceeded, still in Irish, “what the hand of a weak
woman can do, when her heart is strengthened by God, against cruelty and
oppression. What made that strong man weak in my grasp? Because he knew
that the weakness of the widow was his shame--the touch of her hand took
away his strength; and what had he within or about him to depend upon?
could he look in upon his wicked heart, and be strong? could he look
upon the darkness of a bad conscience, and be strong? could he look on
me--upon my dead husband, and his bed of death, and be strong? No--and
above all, could he look up to the Almighty God in heaven, and be
strong--no--no--no--but from all these I gained strength--for surely,
surely, I had it not in myself!”

She uttered these sentiments with wonderful energy, and indeed, from
the fire in her eye, and the flush of her cheek, it was evident she
was highly excited. Father Roche, who had been engaged, and indeed, had
enough to do in keeping the poor child quiet and aloof from the fray,
especially from his mother--now entreated that she would endeavor to
compose herself, as she had reason to thank God, he said, that neither
she herself nor her resolute defenders had sustained any personal
injury. She did not seem to have heard him--for on looking on the body
of her husband she almost bounded over to the bed, and kneeling down
rapturously, and in a spirit of enthusiastic triumph, kissed his lips.

“Now, my husband,” said she, “we have fought and gained the victory--no
insult did you get--no dishonor on your lowly bed where you’re sleepin’
your last sleep. Hugh, do you know, asthore, how the wife of your heart
fought for you? Your own poor, weak, sorrowful, heart-broken, but loving
wife, that was as feeble as an infant this mornin’! But who gave her
the strength to put down a strong and wicked man’? The God--the good
God--and to him be the glory!--in whose bosom you are now happy. Ay, we
conquered--ha--ha--ha--we conquered--we conquered--ha--ha--ha!”

The dead body of Harpur in the meantime had been removed by his
companions, who it was evident felt as much, if not more bitterness at
their own defeat, than they did by the fatal accident which deprived him
of life.

Scarcely had the wild triumph of O’Regan’s wife time to subside, when
it soon became evident that the tragical incidents of this bitter and
melancholy morning were not yet completed.

The child alluded to by Harman in his first brief conversation with
Father Roche, had been for some time past in a much more dangerous state
than his parents suspected, or at least than his unhappy mother did,
whose principal care was engrossed by the situation of her husband.
The poor boy, at all times affectionate and uncomplaining, felt loth to
obtrude his little wants and sufferings upon her attention, knowing
as he did, that, owing to the nursing of his father, she was scarcely
permitted three hours sleep out of the twenty-four. If he could have
been afforded even the ordinary comforts of a sick-bed, it is possible
he might have recovered. The only drink he could call for was “the black
water,” as it is termed by the people, and his only nutrition a dry
potato, which he could not take; the bed he lay upon was damp straw, yet
did this patient child never utter a syllable to dishearten his mother,
or deepen the gloom which hung over the circumstances of the family,
and his father’s heart. When asked how he was, he uniformly replied
“better,” and his large lucid eyes would faintly smile upon his mother,
as if to give her hope, after which the desolate boy would amuse himself
by handling the bedclothes as invalids often do, or play with the humid
straw of his cold and miserable bed, or strive to chat with his mother.

These details are very painful to those whose hearts are so elegantly
and fashionably tender that they recoil with humane horror from scenes
of humble wretchedness and destitution. It is good, however, that they
should be known to exist, for we assure the great and wealthy that
they actually do exist, and may be found in all their sharpness and
melancholy truth within the evening shadow which falls from many a proud
and wealthy dwelling in this our native land.

After all, it is likely, that had not the fearful occurrences of this
morning taken place, their sweet boy might have been spared to them. The
shock, however, occasioned by the discharge of the gun, and the noise
of the conflict, acting upon a frame so feeble were more than he could
bear. Be this as it may, the constables were not many minutes gone,
when, to their surprise, he staggered back again out of his little
room, where Father Roche had placed him, and tottering across the floor,
slipped in the deceased man’s blood, and fell. The mother flew to him,
but Harman had already raised him up; when on his feet, he looked at
the blood and shuddered--a still more deadly paleness settled on his
face--his breath came short, and his lips got dry and parched--he could
not speak nor stand, had not Harman supported him. He looked again at
the blood with horror, and then at his mother, whilst he shrank up, as
it were, into himself, and shivered from head to foot.

“Darling of my heart,” she exclaimed, “I understand you. Bryan, our
treasure, be a man for the sake of your poor heart-broken mother--I
will, I will, my darling life, I will wipe it off of you, every stain of
it--why should such blood and my innocent son come together?”

She now got a cloth, and in a few moments left not a trace of it upon
him. He had not yet spoken, but on finding himself cleansed from it, he
stretched out his hands, thereby intimating that he wished to go to her.

“Do you not perceive a bottle on the shelf there?” said Harman, “it
contains wine which I brought for his--,” he checked himself;--“Alas!
my poor boy,” he exclaimed involuntarily, “you are doubly dear to
your-mother now. Mix it with water,” he proceeded, “and give him a
little, it will strengthen and revive him.”

“Better,” said Father Roche in a low voice, not intended for his, “to
put him back into his own bed; he is not now in a state to be made
acquainted with his woeful loss.” As he spoke the boy glanced at the
corpse of his father, and almost at the same moment his mother put wine
and water to his lips. He was about to taste it, but on looking into
the little tin porringer that contained it, he put it away from him, and
shuddered strongly.

“It’s mixed with the blood,” said he, “and I can’t;” and again he put it
away from him.

“Bryan, asthore,” said his mother, “it’s not blood; sure it’s wine that
Mr. Harman, the blessin’ of God be upon him, brought to you.”

He turned away again, however, and would not take it. “Bring me to my
father,” said he, once more stretching out his arms towards his mother,
“let me stay a while with him.”

“But he’s asleep, Bryan,” said Harman, “and I’m sure you would not wish
to awaken him.”

“I would like to kiss him then,” he replied, “and to sleep a while with
him.”

“Och, let him, poor darling,” said his mother, as she took him in her
arms, “it may ease his little heart, and then he’ll feel satisfied.”

“Well, if you’re allowed to go to him won’t you lie very quiet, and not
speak so as to disturb him?” said Harman.

“I’m tired,” said the child, “and I’d like to sleep in his bed. I used
sometimes to do it before, and my father always kept his arms about me.”

His mother’s features became convulsed, and she looked up in mute
affliction to heaven; but still, notwithstanding her misery, she was
unable to shed one tear.

“Pulse of my heart” (cushla machree), she said, kissing him, “you
must have your innocent and loving wish.” She then gently raised the
bed-clothes and placed him beside his father.

The poor pale boy sat up in the bed for about a minute, during which he
glanced at the still features of the departed, then at his mother, and
then at the pool of blood on the floor, and again he shuddered. All at
once, however, he started and looked about him; but in a manner
that betokened delight rather than alarm--his eyes brightened--and an
expression almost of radiance settled upon his face. “Mother,” said he,
“kiss me, and let Mr. Harman kiss me.”

They both did so, and his poor mother felt her heart relieved, by the
happiness depicted on his face. “Glory be to God,” she exclaimed, “see
what a change for the better has come over my blessed child.”

Father Roche looked at Harman, and shook his head--“Blessed he will be
soon,” said he, in a low whisper, “the child is dying.”

The boy started again, and the former serenity lit up his pale features.

“Bryan, you are better, darling of my life; you look a thousand pounds
better than you did awhile ago.”

The boy looked into her face and smiled.---“I am,” said he, “but did you
not hear it?”

“Hear what, jewel of my heart?”

“There it is again;” said he, looking eagerly and delightfully about
him, “my father’s voice;--that’s three times it called, me, but it
didn’t come from the bed, although he’s in it. I will kiss him and then
sleep--but I will miss his arms from about me, I think.”

He then fixed himself beside that loving parent, aided by his mother,
and getting his arm around his pulseless neck, he kissed him, and laying
down his fair head, he fell asleep in that affecting posture. There was
a solemn stillness for some minutes, and a strange feeling of fear crept
over his mother’s heart. She looked into the eyes of those who were
about her, but the looks they returned to her carried, no consolation to
her spirit.

“My child,” she exclaimed--“Oh, my child, what is this? Bryan, my
life--my light, what ails you?” She stooped, and gently turning him
about so as to see his face, she looked keenly into it for a few
moments, and there certainly was the same seraphic expression which so
lately lit it tip. Still she felt dissatisfied, till putting her ear to
his mouth and her hand to his heart, the woeful truth became known to
her. The guiltless spirit of her fair-haired son had followed, that of
his father.

When the afflicted widow saw the full extent of her loss, she clasped
her hands together, and rose up with something of a hasty movement. She
looked about the miserable cabin for a moment, and then peered into
the face of every one in the room--all of whom, with the exception of
Raymond, were in tears. She then pressed her temples, as if striving
to recollect what had happened--sat down again beside her husband and
child, and to their astonishment began to sing an old and melancholy
Irish air, in a voice whose wild sweetness was in singular keeping with
its mournful spirit.

To the bystanders this was more affecting a thousand times than the most
vehement and outrageous grief. Father Roche, however, who had had a
much more comprehensive experience than his companion, knew, or at least
hoped that it would not last long.

Several of the neighbors, having seen the dead body of the constable
borne away, suspected that something extraordinary had occurred on the
mountain, and consequently came flocking to the cabin, anxious to
know the truth. By this means, their acquaintances were brought
about them--aid in every shape, as far as it could be afforded, was
administered, and in a short time they had a little stock of meal,
butter, milk, candles, and such other simple comforts as their poor
friends and neighbors had to bestow. Such is the usual kindness of
the Irish people to each other in moments of destitution and sorrow.
Nothing, on the present occasion, could surpass their anxiety in
ascertaining the wants of this unhappy family: and in such circumstances
it is that the honest prompting of the humble heart, and its sincere
participation in the calamities of its kindred poor, are known to shine
forth with a lustre, which nothing but its distance from the observation
of the great, or their own wilful blindness to it, could prevent it from
being seen and appreciated as it ought.

Having seen her surrounded by friends and neighbors, Father Roche, after
first offering as far as he thought he could reasonably attempt it, some
kind advice and consolation, prepared to take his departure with Harman,
leaving Raymond behind them, who indeed refused to go. “No,” said he,
“I can feed Dickey here--but sure they’ll want me to run messages--I’m
active and soople, an I’ll go to every place, for the widow can’t. But
tell me, is the purty boy, the fair haired boy asleep, or what?--tell
me?”

“Why do you ask, Raymond?” said Father Rocche.

“Bekase I love him,” replied Raymond, “and I hope he’ll waken! I would
like to see him kiss his father again--but I’m afeared somehow I never
will. If he awakens I’ll give him the cock any how--bad luck to me but I
will.”

“Hush,” said the priest, whilst a tear started to his eye at this most
artless exhibition of affection for the child--“don’t swear, Raymond.
The sweet boy will never waken in this world; but he will in heaven,
where he is awake already, and where you will see him again.”

“I would rather see him here,” replied the other; “and I wish I had
gev him the cock first, when he came out of the room; but what’d she do
without his white head before her?--what’ll she do, and not have that
to look at? But stop,” said Raymond--“wait a minute, and we’ll soon see
whether he’ll waken or not.”

He then went into the little room where the poor child had lain during
his illness, and immediately returned, bearing the cock in his hands--

“Wait,” said he; “I was bringing the bird to poor little Brian, for I
promised it to him. We’ll see--we’ll see.”

As he uttered the words, he placed the bird down on the child’s bosom
and called out--

“Brian, here’s your present for you, that I promised you--won’t you
waken?--spake open your blue eyes, achora machree, and look at the fine
bird I brought you.”

It was a most affecting little incident; for the contrast between the
fiery scintillations flashed from the eye of the noble bird, the utter
unbroken stillness of death, as character was so mournfully impressed
upon the fair sweet features of innocence, was indeed such as few
parental hearts could withstand. Raymond looked awhile as if even he had
been struck by it.

“Ah no,” said he, going down to his mother; “no, Mary, he will never
waken--and then what will you do for Brian’s white head?”

“Whisht!” she replied; “whisht, and I’ll sing you a song. I have nothing
else to do now but to sing and be happy--

     “‘Farewell father, farewell mother,
     Farewell friends, and farewell foes!
     I now will go and court some other,
     For love it was the causer of all my woes.”

“An’ so it was,” she said; “for I did love some one, I think; but who
they were, or where they are gone to, I cannot tell. Is your name,”
 she added, her eye blazing as she spoke to Raymond, “is your, name
M’Clutchy?”

“Say it is,” suggested one of the neighbors; “may be it may startle the
poor thing into her senses.”

“That’s not very likely,” replied another, “for it has startled her out
of them--God in his mercy pity her!”

Raymond, however, adopted the first suggestion, without knowing why; and
said in a loud voice--

“Ay is it; my name is Val the Vulture, that commands the blood-hounds.”

The creature started--became for a moment as if convulsed--then
proceeded at a speed that was incredible, screaming frightfully, across
the dark and desolate scenery that surrounded the house. It was vain to
pursue her; for there was none there capable of doing it with success,
unless Raymond, who understood not that she had become insane.



CHAPTER IX.--A Dialogue, exhibiting Singular Principles of Justice

--Solomon’s Tracts and Triumph--A Sincere Convert--Darby’s Views of
Religion--Poll Doolin’s Honesty--Solomon’s Christian Generosity to a
Man in Difficulty--M’Loughlin and his Family.


The extraordinary scene which we have just detailed as occurring in the
mountain hut, took place on Saturday morning and about twelve on the
subsequent Monday, the following dialogue passed between honest Val! and
his son, Philip the graceful.

“That was a most unlucky accident that happened Harpur on Saturday,”
 said Val, dryly, and looking with a good deal of significance at the
other.

“Unlucky,” said Phil, “faith and honor, my good father, I don’t know
what to think.”

“You don’t, Phil!” replied Val; “why, what the deuce could you deem more
unlucky than to be shot stone dead, without a moment’s notice.”

Phil’s color went a little at the bare notion of such a fate; but on
observing an expression of peculiar complacency lurking in his father’s
eye, it returned again, and after a little assurance settled down into
its original hue.

“To himself certainly,” said Phil, “it was a bad business; no one can
deny that.”

“But, my excellent son, Phil, it may turn out a very lucky incident for
us in the mean time. He is, Phil, a wise man in this world who can
turn the misfortunes or crimes of others to his own advantage. There
is Harman for instance, Phil; now I believe you are not excessively
attached to him.”

“I hate him as I do hell,” replied Phil.

“Very good--you hate him as you do hell--well, on the other hand, there
is M’Loughlin, his partner in the manufactory, and his joint lessee in
their farm--now I hate him as I do--I was about to say the devil--but I
feel loth to render that misrepresented gentleman an injustice--that
is, if there be such a gentleman--which, with my worthy father, I much
doubt. Don’t you think now it is a fortunate thing that we can indict
Harman for Harpur’s murder. I really think, and it is said, he murdered
him. We would include the priest in the indictment as accessory, but
that might be attended with personal danger--and the less real danger we
incur the better for ourselves.”

“Faith and honor, father, that doctrine’s worthy of an oracle--as,
indeed, most of what you say is.”

“But mark me, Phil; our object is simply his ruin, not his death. Let
us beggar M’Loughlin and him, and drive them out of the country.
No--no--not the death of either of them; on the contrary, I should wish
them to live, if it was only that they might feel my revenge--and that
I knew they felt it. I would not hang them if I could, for my own sake.”
 He got pale, ground his teeth, knit his black beetle brow, and exhibited
the diabolical cast of features for which he was remarkable whenever his
evil passions began to stir in his heart.

“Now,” said he to Phil, “keep a close mouth above all things, for we
must proceed with caution. I have here a letter from Lord Cumber, in
which, at my private suggestion, he declines to renew their leases.
Indeed, on serious consideration, I have recently advised him to grant
no renewals, except in cases where every reliance can be placed upon
the principles of the parties. The want of a lease is a very wholesome
restriction on the conduct of our enemies. M’Slime opposes me in this,
because he cannot pocket as much as usual; but though I cannot readily
break with him, still, I trust, that in a short time I shall be able to
turn his flank in a manner for which he is but little prepared. I have
reason to think he is tampering with O’Drive--in fact O’Drive told me as
much--O’Drive, however, is at work for me, although honest Solomon
does not suspect him. The pious attorney, who is bestowing more of his
attention to religion than ever, has got bitten by the Conversion mania,
and thinks he will be charged with a neglect of his gifts, as he calls
them, unless he can produce a live convert actually made by his own
hands. I accordingly suggested to O’Drive to consult him on some
religious scruples that he is supposed to have felt from the perusal of
a tract written by M’Slime himself.

“Why,” said Phil, “are you not aware that he gave me three or four dozen
of them for gratuitous distribution, as he calls it. Yes, it is called
‘The Religious Attorney,’ being a reconcilement between honesty and
law, or a blessed union between light and darkness; by Solomon M’Slime,
attorney at law.

“Which tract,” continued Val, “was written for the sole purpose of
recommending himself to the notice of the religious world aforesaid,
more, by the way, as an attorney than as a Christian. And a very good
speculation it proved, for, whereas he was then scarcely able to make
both ends meet by mere professional roguery, and dressed in a black
gown--which you know he always wears in court--yet he no sooner threw
the cloak of religion over that, than he advanced rapidly--and the
consequence is that he is now privately a usurious discounter of bills.”

“Faith and honor, now, father, do you,tell me so?”

“It’s a fact, Philip, my son, and what is more--but the truth is, that
neither he nor I can afford to quarrel with each other.”

“Why, father? what’s that ‘more’ you were going to add?”

“At this present time, Phil, it must bo secret--but it is arranged
between him and me, that he is to succeed Harman in Beleveen; whilst you
are to come in for M’Loughlin’s holding.”

“For which I shall have the pleasure,to drink your health to-night, my
old boy--upon my honor and soul you are an excellent old cock, and I’m
very proud of you.”

“Go ahead, Phil; no nonsense. But stay, are those fellows of mine come
yet?--I shall receive their informations, and have Harman in the stone
jug before night. It is a bad case of murder committed upon a man in the
execution of the law, do you see, Phil, and consequently I cannot take
bail.”

“No, certainly not, captain--as Darby says, certainly not, plaise your
worship--ha, ha!”

“Come, Phil, keep quiet; it is now time that operations should seriously
commence. I have gained most of my points, thank--Valentine M’Clutchy,
at all events. I am head agent; you are my Deputy-master of an Orange
Lodge--a Magistrate, and write J.P. after my name--Captain and Paymaster
in the Castle Cumber cavalry, and you lieutenant; and though last, not
least, thanks to my zeal and activity in the Protestant cause, I am at
length a member of the Grand Panel of the county. Phil, my boy, there is
nothing like religion and loyalty when well managed, but otherwise--”

“They are not worth a feather,” replied Phil; “right, captain--there’s
an oracle again.”

“And, Phil, my son; what is there wrong in this? In fact there is
scarcely a better capital to trade on than religion and loyalty. You
know what I mean, Phil;--not the things, if there be such things, which
I must beg leave to doubt; but that principle which causes one man to
hate another, in proportion to its influence over him.”

“Ay,” said Phil, “just as you and I, who have not got a touch of
religion in our whole composition, have the character of being two of
the staunchest Protestants in the county.”

“Yes,” replied the father, “and in this case the fiction is as good
and better than the truth. The fiction, Phil, under which our religion
appears is our own interests--no, I am wrong--the fiction under which
our interest appeal’s is our religion--that is the way of it; and
the truth is, Phil, that ninety-nine men out of every hundred will
go ninety-nine miles for their interests, before they will go one for
either religion or truth--that’s the way of it, too. However, pass
that--now about Poll Doolin and the hint I gave you?”

“Why, you know at that time matters were not ripe for it. Don’t you
remember telling me so yourself?”

“I do, but I speak of your present intentions.”

“Faith, my present intentions would be to marry the girl, Papist though
she be, if I could; but as that’s out of the question, I will now follow
up your hint.”

“Then you had better see Poll, and go on with it. Are you aware,
besides, that the concern is tottering?”

“The manufactory! No--is that possible?”

“It is a fact; but you know not how honest Solomon and I have been at
work. It is tottering, Lieutenant M’Clutchy, and in a short time you
will see what you shall see.”

“Well,” said Phil, “so far everything is turning out very fortunate for
us--but I think, Captain, that you are one of those men who are born
under what they call a lucky planet;--eh? old boy?”

“Well, I think so; but in the meantime see Poll Doolin, and after that
pay a visit to my father. The old scoundrel is upon his last legs, and
there can be no harm in paying him some attention now. You are not a
favorite of his; so smooth him down as much as you can. I don’t myself
expect that he will remember either of us in his will; but, as he is
hasty and capricious, it is difficult to say what effect a favorable
impression might have upon him.”

“Neither are you a favorite with Isabel, or Jezabel, as he calls her.”

“No, I made a bad move there--but, after all, what did I, or rather,
what could I lose by neglecting her? Did she not succeed in banishing
every one of his relatives from about him? It was neither her interest
nor her inclination to keep in with his friends:--go and see him, at all
events; reconnoitre, and report accordingly--and now if these fellows
are come let them be sent in.”

Phil accordingly withdrew to follow up his own speculations, and in a
few minutes our friends, who so bravely distinguished themselves in the
widow’s cabin, entered the office. Val, like most men of his class and
experience, was forced to undergo strong contests between the vanity
occasioned by his success in life, and his own shrewd sense and acute
perception of character. Whenever he could indulge that vanity without
allowing its gratification to be perceived by others, he always did so;
but if he happened to have a person to deal with, whom he suspected of
a sufficiently keen penetration, his own sagacity always checked its
display. No man ever puzzled him so thoroughly as O’Drive, who so
varied and timed his flattery, as to keep him in a state of perpetual
alternation between a perception of the fellow’s knavery, and a belief
in his simplicity of heart. On one occasion he would exclaim to himself
or Phil, “This O’Drive is a desperate knave,--it’s impossible that he
can be honest;” and again, “Well, well; there is too much simplicity
there, too much truth unnecessarily told, to allow me to consider that
poor devil a rogue--no, he is honest.” The consequence was, that Darby
flattered him, and he relished it so strongly because he did not imagine
it was intentional, that Darby understood his weak points, in that
respect, better than any man living. This, in a country where the people
are shrewd observers in general, could scarcely be supposed to escape
their observation; nor did it. Darby’s manner was so naturally imitated
by others, that even the keen and vigilant Valentine M’Olutchy was
frequently over-reached without being at all conscious of the fact.

When the men of the Castle Cumber corps came in, they found their
captain sitting, or rather lolling, in a deep-seated arm-chair, dressed
in a morning-gown and red morocco slippers. He was, or appeared to be,
deeply engaged over a pile of papers, parchments, and letters, and for
about a minute raised not his head. At length he drew a long breath,
and exclaimed in a soliloquy--“just so, my lord, just so; every man that
scruples to support the Protestant interests will meet no
countenance from you;--‘nor shall he, Mr. M’Clutchy, from you, as my
representative,’ you add--‘and I beg you’”--he went on to road a few
lines further--“‘to transmit me the names and capacities of all
those who are duly active on my property in suppressing disturbance,
convicting criminals, and preserving the peace; especially those who are
remarkable for loyal and constitutional principles; such are the men we
will cherish, such are the men we must and ought to serve.’ It is very
true, my lord, it is very true indeed, and--oh! my friends, I beg your
pardon! I hadn’t noticed you--oh, dear me! how is this? why I didn’t
imagine you had been so sadly abused as all this comes to--this is
dreadful, and all in resisting the king’s warrant against the murderer.
But how did it happen that this Harman murdered our poor friend Harpur?”

“Harpur is done for, captain, sure enough; there’s no doubt of that.”

“Well, it’s one comfort that we live in a country where there is
justice, my friends. Of course you will prosecute him for this
diabolical murder; I sent for you to receive your informations, and we
shall lodge him in gaol before night.”

“I would rather prosecute that Blackguard Rimon-a-hattha,” said a
man, whose head was awfully swollen, and bound up with a handkerchief,
“Rimon, Captain, is the greatest rascal of the two--he is, by, Japurs.”

“Yes, but is he not an idiot, Johnston? In point of law he is only a
fiction, and cannot be prosecuted.”

“Fiction, Captain! Sowl, I don’t know what you call a fiction--but if
I’m guessin’ properly, hell to the much of it was in his blows--look at
how my head is, and I wish you could see my ribs, plase your worship.”

“Well but let us come to the most important matter first--and before
I go further, my friends and brothers, I would just throw out for
your satisfaction, a few observations that I wish to impress upon you.
Recollect that in this business, and in every business like it, you must
have the pleasure at least of reflecting that you have now a magistrate
who will see that all due care is taken of your interests--who will
accompany your proceedings step by step, and see that all is as it ought
to be. That is not partiality, my dear friends; that is not favor nor
affection, nor leaning to you; no, nor--ha, ha, ha, leaning from you,
either, my friends.”

“Long life to your worship! Long life to you, Captain! You’re the right
sort, and no mistake.”

“M’Dowel, what detained you from your lodge on Thursday night.”

“I was buying a springer in Hush fair, and didn’t get home in time, your
worship.”

“Well, M’Dowel, mark-me,--I neither can, nor will, overlook neglect in
these matters. The man that neglects them wilfully, is a man I won’t
depend upon--and two of your neighbors were absent from parade on
Wednesday week. Now, it’s really too bad to expect that I, or any other
gentleman in the country, will exert ourselves so strenuously to sustain
and extend our own principles, or! to speak plainly, to keep them up--to
maintain our ascendancy,--if we cannot reckon upon the earnest and
cordial support of those for whose sake we take all this trouble--upon
my honor it’s a shame.”

“It is a shame, Captain, and I say here’s one,” placing his hand upon
his heart, “of the right kidney. By the holy William, there is.”

“We’re all so, your worship,” replied Sharpe, “and sure every one knows
it--but, plaise your honor, what’s to be done about Harman?”

“Why, prosecute him for the murder of course.”

“But then,” said one of them, “sure Harman didn’t murder him,
Captain--among ourselves, it was all accident.”

M’Clutchy seemed surprised at this, and after hearing their individual
opinions, which indeed, conflicted very much, some positively asserting
that he did, and others that he did not, murder the man, he began to
view the matter in a somewhat different and more cautious light. He
mused for some time; however, and after a second and more deliberate
investigation, finding that there were two for the murder and only one
against it, he at length took their informations, resolving to bring the
matter to trial at all hazards. The warrant for Harmon’s apprehension
was accordingly issued, and entrusted to a dozen of the most resolute
fellows in his corps; who so far enabled our magistrate to fulfil his
intention, that they lodged his enemy in the county prison that very
night.

The next morning, when reading the papers, our Captain was not a little
surprised at reading in one of them an advertisement to the following
effect:

“To the public--found, in the office of Mr. Solomon M’Slime, a Bank
of Ireland Note, of large amount. The person losing it may have it by
giving a proper description of same, and paying the expenses of this
advertisement. N. B.--It is expected, as the loser of the note must be
in affluent circumstances, that he will, from principles of Christian
sympathy, contribute, or enable some Christian friend to contribute, a
moderate donation to some of our greatest public charities. Thus will
that which at the first view appears to be serious calamity, be made,
under Him, a blessing and a consolation, not only to the wealthy
individual who lost the money, but to some of our destitute fellow
creatures. This, however, is not named as a condition, but merely as a
suggestion offered from motives of benignity and duty.

“Also, just published, _The Religious Attorney_; being a reconcilement
between Honesty and Law; or a blessed Union between Light and Darkness.
By S. M’S. Tenth Thousand.

“Also, in the Press, and will soon be published, done up neatly in
foolscap, and rogue’s binding for cheapness, by the same author, _The
Converted Bailiff_; being designed as a companion to _The Religious
Attorney_. These productions need not be sought for with any of the
profane booksellers of the city; but only at the Religious Depositories,
or at those godly establishments in Sackville street and College green.”

This, however, was not all. In a different column appeared the
following; which, however, did not surprise M’Clutchy:

     “Glorious Triumph of Religious Truth.

“In another part of our paper, our readers will perceive in an
advertisement, an additional proof, if such were necessary, of the
strong integrity of that ornament of his profession, both as an Attorney
and Christian, Mr. Solomon M’Slime. This gentleman, whilst he devotes
himself, with a pure and guileless heart, to the extensive practice
which his high principles and great skill have gained him in his
profession, does not neglect the still higher and more important
interests of himself and his fellow creatures. It is a gracious thing to
know that a spirit of deep and earnest inquiry is now abroad, by which
hundreds are, under God, brought from darkness to light--from the gall
of bitterness and the bond of iniquity, out into the freedom of perfect
day. Verily there is a new Reformation abroad--the strongholds of
Popery are fast falling one after another. In the neighborhood of
Mount-starve-’em, the spirit has been poured out most abundantly;
and this manifestation is the more gracious, when we reflect that the
dreadful famine which now prevails throughout the country, has been made
(always under Him) the precious but trying means of bringing the poor
benighted creatures to taste the fruits of a better faith. Nothing,
indeed, can equal the bounty of that excellent nobleman, Lord------,
who supplies beef and blankets--Bibles and bread--to those who may
be likened to the multitude that were fed so miraculously in the
wilderness--that is to say, who followed the good shepherd for his
doctrine, and were filled with bread. Mr. M’Slime, who has within
his own humble sphere not been inactive, can boast at least of having
plucked one brand out of the burning, in the person of Darby O’Drive,
the respectable bailiff of Valentine M’Clutchy, Esq., the benevolent
agent of the Castle Cumber estate--to which Mr. M’Slime himself is law
agent. It is understood that on next Sabbath (D.V.) Mr. O’Drive will
make a public profession of his faith--or, in other words, “that he will
recant the errors of Popery, and embrace those of Protestantism.” * The
merit of his conversion is due--but merit there is none--to Mr.
M’Slime, or rather to his two very popular and searching tracts, called,
‘Spiritual Food for Babes of Grace,’ and ‘The Religious Attorney,’
which he had placed for perusal in Mr. O’Drive’s hands. Mr. O’Drive now
declares himself a Babe of Grace, and free from the bonds of sin; or,
as he more simply, but truthfully and characteristically expresses it--a
beautiful specimen indeed of his simplicity of views--‘he is replevined
from the pound of human fraility--no longer likely to be brought to
the devil’s auction, or knocked down to Satan as a bad bargain.’--For
ourselves, we cannot help thinking that this undoubted triumph of
religious truth, in the person of Darby O’Drive, is as creditable to the
zeal of Mr. M’Slime, as it is to his sincerity. Encouraged by this
great success, Mr. M’Slime, seconded by several of our leading
controversialists, has succeeded in getting up a polemical discussion,
on the merits of the Protestant and Popish creeds. The particulars have
not been decided upon, but they shall probably appear in an early number
of our paper. In the meantime we are authorized by Mr. Darby O’Drive
to issue a formal challenge to any Popish and idolatrous bailiff in
Ireland, to discuss with him the relative powers, warrants, processes,
triumphs, conflagrations, and executions of their resspective churches.”

     * This expression has been attributed to Faulkner, the
     printer of Swift’s works; but it is much more likely that it
     belongs to the Dean himself.

He had scarcely finished this characteristic paragraph, when O’Drive’s
knock, as usual, was heard, and in a few minutes the redoubted champion
and challenger entered. There was a knavish demureness about him, and a
kind of comic solemnity in his small, cunning gray eye, that no painter
could copy.

“Why, you scoundrel,” said Val, “you’re overdoing the thing altogether;
is it possible that M’Slime is such a spooney as not to see through
you?”

“Ah, Captain, you don’t make any allowance for my simplicity; sure you
know, sir, I must grow young and innocent, if I’m to become a babe of
grace, your worship.”

“But what’s the meaning of all this work about discussions and such
stuff?”

“Faith, sir, it’s all thrue enough at any rate; we’re to have a
religious field day here in the Sessions house of Castle Cumber; the
whole thing is regulated--the seconds, and bottle houlders, and all is
appointed. There’s the Rev. Christopher Gammon, Rev. Vesuvius M’Slug,
who’s powerful against Popery, the Rev. Bernard Brimstone, and the Rev.
Phineas Lucre, with many more on the side of truth. On that of Popery
and falsehood there’s the Rev. Father M’Stake, the Rev. Father O’Flary,
the Rev. Father M’Fire, and the Rev. Nicholas O’Scorch, D.D. Dr. Sombre
is to be second on our side; and Father M’Fud on the part of Popery and
idolatry.”

“And when is this precious spouting match to take place, you rascal?”

“Why, sir, on Monday week; and on next Sunday, sir, I’m to read my
rekintation, plaise God.”

“But I didn’t intend that you should go to such lengths as
that--however, that’s your own affair.”

“But, Captain ahagur, sure it’s on your account I’m doin’ it--won’t it
enable me to get the blind side of him about one or two tilings we want
to come at.”

“Indeed, I believe certainly, that if he has a blind side at all, it is
his own hypocrisy.”

“Be my soul, and it’ll go hard or we’ll worm out the sacret we want.
There is one tiling I’m sartin of, he thinks, now that I’m turnin’ by
the way, that I’m ready to desart and desave you, Captain, an’ indeed he
says many things of you that he ought not to’ say.”

“Let us hear them.”

“Why, sir, he said the other day--but sorra one o’ me likes to be
repeatin’ these things.”

“Come, come, you rascal, out with it.”

“He said, sir, that he feared the divil had a hard howlt o you--that was
the day I brought him the last letter, sir--that your heart, Captain,
was full o’ desate, and damnably wicked, plase your worship, and that if
you didn’t improve your morals you’d go where there is--something about
gnashing of teeth, your honor.”

“He’s a double distilled scoundrel,” replied Val, bitterly, “and
although I know him well, I am determined still to know him better.”

“Double distilled!--ay, faith, rectified many degrees above proof; but
never mind; if I don’t put a spoke in his wheel, I’m not here.”

“Well, never mind now, either--give the hypocritical little scoundrel
this letter.”

“I will, and thank you, Captain! God bless your honor, and grant you
‘long to reign over us, happy and glorious, God save the king! armin.’
You see, captain, I’ve the right strain of loyalty in me, any how, ha,
ha, ha! Throth, if I ever change in airnest, it isn’t among the yallow
bellies I’ll go; but into his majesty’s own church, Captain Val--the
brave church where they have the bells, and the big blessed lookin’
bishops, and their organs and coaches; aye, faith, and where everything
is dacent and jintlemanly. Sure blood alive, Captain Val, beggin’
your pardon, what’s the use of a religion if it’s not respectable and
ginteel? What signifies a ministher of any religion, if he hasn’t a fat
purse in his pocket, and a good round belly before him, for that shows,
plaise your worship, that religion is more than a name, any how; an’
upon my conscience--oh, holy Moses, Captain Val, if M’Slime was to
hear me swearin’ this way! God pardon me! how-and-ever, but upon
my conscience, it isn’t the religion that keeps a man poor, but the
religion that puts the flesh on his bones, and keeps it there, that is
the right one--aye, and not only that, but that keeps a good coat on
his back, your honor, and a good pair of breeches to his posterals--for
which raison, whenever I do sariously turn it’ll be--but you may
guess--it’ll be to the only true and loyal church;--for when a man
can get both fat, and loyal, and religious, all at one move, he’s a
confounded fool that won’t become religious.”

This certainly, though not intended for it, was a true and bitter
comment upon the principles of such men as M’Clutchy, who considered
a profane and licentious attachment to a mere Establishment as a high
duty, not because that establishment was the exponent of divine truth,
but of a mere political symbol, adopted by subordinate and secular aids,
to bind men of the same principles together.

“Begone, you rascal, and confound your dissertation. Go and deliver the
letter, as I desired you, and bring me an answer.”

“Sartinly, Captain, and will have an eye about me, into the bargain. How
is Captain Phil, sir, before I go?”

M’Clutchy made a motion of indignation, but could not, in the meantime,
altogether repress a smile; and Darby, taking his hat with a kind of
shrewd and confidential grin, ran out of the office.

Our narrative now passes to the house of Poll Doolin, which was situated
in a row of cottages towards the north side of Castle Cumber. Her son
Raymond and she were its only inmates, and the former was in the act of
replacing a hat among the _tria juncta in uno_, which he always wore.

“Raymond,” said his mother, “now that you’ve got your supper, you must
keep house till I come back.”

“Must I indeed?---why must I? answer me that, there now, that’s one.”

“Becase I’m goin’ out on business.”

“What business?--where to?--what brought Phil M’Clutchy here
yestherday?--tell me that--eh?”

“Oh, I couldn’t tell you that, Raymond.”

“Don’t do anything for Phil, he’s Val’s son, that keeps the
blood-hounds. Ah, poor Brian, and his white head--no’, he’ll never
waken--never waken--an’ what has she now to look at! Mother, I’d give
all the cocks I ever had to see him and his white head in his mother’s
arms again--God’s curse on Val! God’s curse on him! I hate him--I hate
Phil--I hate all of them--don’t mother; do nothing for them.”

“You foolish boy, what do you know about it?--keep the house till I come
back, and I’ll bring you a pennyworth of tobaccy?”

“But you will go?” said Raymond.

“I must, you fool.”

“Very well, then, take it out o’ that--there now, that’s one.”

It was now drawing on towards dusk, and Poll, assuming her black bonnet,
and throwing her black cloak about her shoulders, sallied out with that
furtive air which always accompanies one who is conscious of something
that requires concealment. Her motions always were rapid, but on
this occasion she walked like one whose mind brooded lover
difficulties--sometimes she went very quick, then slackened her pace,
and once or twice stood still, musing with her right hand to her chin.
At length she reached the residence of Brian M’Loughlin, just after
night had set it--she entered not, but glided about the house, waited,
watched, listened, and peeped into the house, very like a thief that
was setting the premises. Ultimately she took her stand at a particular
window in the rear of the building, where she kept watch with great
patience, though for what purpose it would appear very difficult to
guess. Patience, however, is often rewarded, and it was so in the case
before us. After about half an hour a light fell through the glass, and
Poll, availing herself of the opportunity, tapped gently: at first
it was not noticed, and she tapped again, somewhat louder; this was
successful--a gentle voice inquired in tones more of surprise than
alarm, “who is there, and what is your business!”

“A friend,” said Poll.

“Poll Doolin!”

“The same, and I’m here on a case of life and death. Could you come out
for a start--three minutes will do.”

“Certainly not--you trifled unnecessarily with my feelings before--I
will have no more mysteries. I can raise the window, however, and
anything you have to say can be said where we stand.” She raised the sash
as she spoke. “Now,” said she “what is your business, Poll?”

“Life and death, as I said,” replied Poll “Do you not know that Mr.
Harman is to be tried for murder, and that the assizes will open in a
few days?”

“Unfortunately I do,” replied Mary, sighing deeply, “but there can be no
doubt of his acquittal. Father Roche has been here, who was present, and
told us how the whole circumstance occurred.”

“I don’t doubt that,” said Poll, “but this I tell you, and this you may
rely on, that hang he will, in spite of fate; he’s doomed.”

“Great God!” exclaimed the now terrified girl, “you chill the blood in
my veins--doomed!--what do you mean, Poll?”

“M’Clutchy will have him hanged in spite of all opposition--you know his
power now--he can carry everything his own way.”

“I know,” replied the other, “that his influence is unfortunately great,
no doubt, and cruelly is it exercised; but still, I don’t know that he
can carry everything his own way.”

“Do you know what packing a jury means?”

“Alas!” replied Mary, starting, and getting pale, “I do indeed, Poll. I
have heard of it too frequently.”

“What, then, has the Vulture, the blood-hound, to do, but to get twelve
Orangemen upon the jury, and the work is done?”

The unhappy girl burst into tears, and wrung her hands, for, however
questionable the veracity of her present informant, she knew, from the
unfortunate circumstances of the country, that such corrupt influences
had too frequently been exerted.

“Don’t you know,” added Poll, “that the thing can be done? Isn’t the
sheriff himself an Orangeman--isn’t the sub-sheriff an Orangeman--isn’t
the grand jury Orange, aren’t they all Orange through other?”

“I believe so, indeed,” said Mary, still weeping bitterly, “and there
is, I fear, little or no hope.”

“Well, but,” replied Poll, “what if I could give you hope?”

“You, Poll, what can you mean? You!”

“Yes, me,” said Poll, “poor as I stand here now.”

“Well, but how?”

“Through them that can turn old Val the Vulture round their finger. What
do you think brought me here--or who do you think sent me? Don’t you
know that I have no raison to like a bone in the skin of one o’ your
family, and that it’s more, of coorse, to plaise others than myself that
I’m here; but, over and above that, you, Miss M’Loughlin, never offended
or injured me, and I’m willin’ to sarve you in this business, if you
will sarve yourself.”

“But, how--but, how?” replied the distracted girl, “only tell me how?”

“There is one, and only one, that can twist Val round his finger, and
in this same business is willing to do so--and that one is his own son,
Phil.”

Mary stood for a moment without even breathing; indeed, she exhibited
strong symptoms of disgust at his very name.

“He is a person I detest,” she replied, “beyond any human creature.”

“That may be,” said Poll, “but still he can save the man that is to be
your husband; and that’s what you ought to think of--the time is short
now, and the loss of a day may ruin all. Listen Miss M’Loughlin:--Mr.
Phil desired me to say to you, that if you will allow him a few minutes’
conversation with you behind the garden, about dusk or a little after
it, he’ll satisfy you that he can and will save him--but it must be on
the condition of seeing you, as I say.”

“Let him be generous,” she replied, “and impose no such condition.”

“He won’t interfare on any other terms,” replied Poll; “he knows, it
seems, that you have an unfavorable opinion of him, and he wishes to
prove to you that he doesn’t desarve it.”

Mary paused for some time, and appeared very much distressed. I fear,
thought she, it is selfish in me to think of my own feelings, or to have
a moment’s hesitation in sacrificing them to his safety. It is certainly
a disgusting task to meet this man; but what ought I not to do,
consistent with conscious rectitude of motive, to save my dear Harman’s
life, for I fear the circumstances come to that.

“Well, then, Poll, if I meet this man, mark me, it is solely for the
purpose of striving to save Mr. Harman’s life; and observe, because Mr.
M’Clutchy is ungenerous enough to make my meeting him the condition of
his interference.”

“That,” said Poll, “is for yourself to consider; but surely you would
be a strange girl, if you refused to meet him for such a purpose. That
would be a quare way of showing your love to Mr. Harman.”

“I shall meet him, then,” said Mary, “at the stile behind the garden;
and may God direct and protect me in what I purpose!”

Poll gave no amen, to this, as it might be supposed she would have done,
but simply said--

“I’m glad, Miss M’Loughlin, that you’re doin’ what you are doin’. It’ll
be a comfort maybe to yourself to reflect on it hereafther. Good night,
Miss.”

Mary bade her good night, and after closing the shutters of her room
which she had come to do, retired; and with an anxious heart returned to
the parlor.

M’Loughlin’s family consisted of three sons and but one daughter, Mary,
with whom our readers are already acquainted. The eldest, James, was a
fine young man of twenty-three; the second, Tom, was younger than Mary,
who then was entering her twenty-first; and the youngest, called Brian,
after his father, was only eighteen. The honest fellow’s brow was
clouded with a deep expression of melancholy, and he sat for some time
silent after Mary’s return to the parlor. At length he said in a kind of
soliloquy--

“I wish, _Raymond-na-hattha_, you had been behind the Slievbeen
Mountains that bitter morning you came for James Harman!”

“If he had,” said Tom, “poor James wouldn’t be where he is to-night.”

“But I hope, father,” said Mary, in a voice which though it trembled a
little, yet expressed a certain portion of confidence--“I hope as it
was an accident, that there will not be any serious risk.”

“I would be sorry to take any hope out of your heart that’s in it,
Mary; but, still, I can’t forget that Val the Vulture’s his bitterest
enemy--and we all know what he’s capable of doing. His son, too,
graceful Phil, is still worse against him than the father, especially
ever since Harman pulled his nose for what he said of Mary here. Did I
ever mention it to you?”

“No, sir,” replied Mary, coloring without exactly knowing why, “you
never did.”

“I was present,” said young Brian, “but it wasn’t so much for what he
said, for he got afraid, but the way he looked.”

“The scoundrel,” said James, indignantly, “well Brian--”

“‘Twas at the Ball Alley,” proceeded the young fellow, “in Castle
Cumber; Mary was passing homewards, and Phil was speaking to long Tom
Sharpe, father to one of the blood-hounds. ‘That’s a purty girl,’ said
Sharpe, ‘who is she?’ ‘Oh,’ says Phil, ‘an acquaintance of mine--but I
can say no more honor bright,’ and he winked one of his squinting eyes
as he spoke. James Harman who was standing behind him stepped forward,
‘but I can say more,’ said he, ‘she’s daughter to Brian M’Loughlin, and
no acquaintance of yours--and what is more, never will be; ay, and what
is more,’ said James, ‘here’s a proof of it;’ and as he spoke he pulled
Phil’s proboscis, and then wiped his fingers in his purty face. ‘Now,
you cowardly scoundrel,’ he added, ‘let that teach you not to speak of
any respectable female in such a tone, or to claim an acquaintance where
you have it not.’”

“Never mind, my good fellow,” said Phil, “I’ll make you smoke for this.”

“You know where I’m to be found,” said James, “and your remedy too; but
you haven’t the spirit to take it like a man--and so I leave you with
the white feather in your cap.”

This anecdote for various reasons distressed Mary beyond relief. It
increased her detestation of young M’Clutchy to the highest possible
pitch, and rendered the very thought of him doubly odious to her heart.
Her understanding became bewildered, and for a while she knew not
what she said or did. Taking a candle and attempting to conceal her
agitation, she withdrew again to her own room, where she sat for nearly
half an hour endeavoring to shape her tumultuous thoughts into something
of clearness and order.

M’Loughlin’s brow, however, after her departure, still remained clouded.
“Misfortunes they say,” said he, “never come single; here is our
lease out, and we will not get a renewal notwithstanding the fine we
offered--and to mend the matter some good friend has spread a report
that the firm of M’Loughlin and Harman is unsafe. Our creditors are
coming down upon us fast--but it’s the way of the world, every one
striving to keep himself safe. If these men were not set upon us by some
coward in the dark there would be neither loss nor risk to them nor to
us; but if they press on us out of the usual course, I fear we won’t be
able to stand it. Then poor Harman, too! heighonee!” After some further
conversation, in which it was clear that M’Clutchy’s and M’Slime’s
manoeuvres had begun to develop themselves, Mary rejoined them. Her
countenance on her return was evidently more composed, and impressed
with a more decided, perhaps we should say, determined character. She
had made her mind up. M’Clutchy, junior, was no doubt one of the most
detastable of men, but as she knew that she hated him, and felt a
perfect consciousness of all that was truthful, and pure, and cautious
in herself, she came once more to the resolution of sacrificing her own
disgust to the noble object of saving her lover. Besides, it was by no
means an unreasonable hope on her part; for such was the state of party
and political feeling at the time, that wiser and more experienced heads
would have calculated rightly, and calculated as she did.

“Father,” said she, on returning to the parlor, “don’t be cast down too
much about Harman--I think, considering everything, that his case is far
from being hopeless. There is Father Roche--as for poor Mary O’Regan, in
consequence of her insanity, she unfortunately can be of no use--and
one of the blood-hounds are against the two others. Now, two to two, is
surely strong evidence in his favor.”

She did not, however, make the slightest allusion to the grounds
on which she actually did rest her hope--that is to say, on Phil’s
influence over his father.

M’Loughlin was glad to see that her spirits were so much more improved
than they had been; and so far from uttering anything calculated,
to depress them, he appeared to feel much more easy in his mind than
before--and, perhaps, actually did so.

“Well,” said he to his wife, who was a woman of few words but deep
feeling; “Kathleen, will you see that we get a glass of punch--the boys
and I; there can be no harm surely in drinking a ------; but it’s time
enough to drink it when we see the liquor before us. Mary, avourneen,
as you are activer than your mother, will you undertake that duty?--do,
avillish machree.”

In a few minutes Mary quietly but actively had the decanter, sugar, and
hot water before them; and Brian, having mixed a tumbler for himself,
and shoved the materials over to his two eldest boys, resumed the
conversation.

“Come, boys; are you mixed?”

“All ready, sir.”

“Well, here’s that James Harman may triumph over his enemies!”

This was drank, we need not say, with an anxious and sincere heart.

“Do you know now,” said M’Loughlin, “that I think there’s a very great
difference between little M’Slime, and that Vulture of hell, M’Clutchy.
The little fellow came riding past to-day, and seeing me in the field,
he beckoned to me:--

“‘I hope,’ says he, ‘that certain reports, which I was sorry to hear of,
are unfounded?’

“‘What reports, Mr. M’Slime?’ says I to him.

“‘Why,’ said he, ‘it is not out of idle curiosity that I make the
inquiry, but I trust from better and more Christian motives;’ and, upon
my conscience, the little fellow turned up his eyes towards heaven, in a
way that would shame Father Roche himself. Faith, if there wasn’t truth
there, I don’t know where you could get it. ‘The reports I speak of,’
says he, ‘touch the solvency of your firm.’

“‘Able to pay fifty shillings in a pound,’ said I, not willing to
encourage the outcry.

“‘I’m delighted to hear it,’ says generous little Solomon; ‘but all I
have to say is, that if it had been otherwise, or should it actually be
otherwise, so far as a few hundred pounds go, you may draw upon a man--a
sinner--a frail mortal and an unworthy--named Solomon M’Slime. This,’ he
went on, ‘is not mere worldly friendship, Mr. M’Loughlin, that promises
much until the necessity arrives, and then do all such promises flee
as it were into the wilderness. No, my friend,’ says the warm-hearted
little saint, ‘no my friend, these offers are founded not on my own
strength, so to say, but upon those blessed precepts, Mr. M’Loughlin,
which teach us to love our neighbors as ourselves--and to do unto
others even as we wish they should do unto us.’ He squeezed my hand,
and whispered in my ear--‘As far as three hundred pounds go, should you
require it, rely on me; but harkee,’ says he, ‘and now,’--well, here’s
his health--‘and now,’ says he, ‘and now,’--oh! I knew he was in
earnest--‘and now,’ says he, ‘one word with you--I trust--I hope, I may
say, that I am a Christian man, who would not speak aught against my
neighbor; but this, out of a principle of Christian kindness, I will
say;--beware of Valentine M’Clutchy. It is known there!’ said he,
pointing his finger, and turning up his eyes to heaven--‘it is known
there from what motives I speak this. I am glad I saw thee--peace be
with thee--farewell, and do not despise or overlook my services, or my
poor sinful offers.’”

“Now,” said the simple-minded but upright and unsuspicious man, “I do
say that was no every-day offer. I would be glad to hear M’Clutchy
make such an offer to any man--for which reason here’s little Solomon’s
health once more, and long life to him!”



CHAPTER X.--A Dutiful Grandson and a Respectable Grandmother

--Military Dialogue --Disobedience of Orders--Solomon’s Candor--A
Confidential Communication--Solomon Dances the Swaggering jig--Honest
Correspondence--Darby’s Motion of Spiritual Things--Two Religions Better
than One--Darby’s Love of Truth.

We believe our readers may understand, that although we have ourselves
taken the liberty of insinuating that little Solomon, as M’Loughlin
called him, was not precisely--but we beg pardon, it is time enough
to speak of that yet. All we have to say in the mean time is, that
Solomon’s character, up to the period we speak of, was not merely
spotless, but a burning and a shining light in the eyes of all the
saints and sinners of the religious world, not only in Castle Cumber,
but in the metropolis itself. Solomon was an Elder of his congregation,
in which Sabbath after Sabbath he took his usual prominent part as
collector--raised the psalms--sang loudest--and whenever the minister
alluded to the mercy that was extended to sinners, Solomon’s groan of
humility--of sympathy with the frail, and of despair for the impenitent;
his groan, we say, under these varied intimations of Gospel truth,
was more than a sermon in itself. It not only proclaimed to the
whole congregation that he was a sinner, but that he felt for
sinners--rejoiced in their repentance, which he often did in a
nondescript scream, between a groan and a cackle of holy joy, that
alarmed the congregation; but also wept for their hardness of heart,
when he imagined that it was likely to terminate in final reprobation,
with such a pathetic fervency, that on many such occasions some of those
who sat beside him were obliged to whisper--“Brother M’Slime, you are
too much overcome--too piously excited--do not allow yourself to exhibit
such an excess of Christian sympathy, or there will be many instances
among the weaker vessels of relapses and backslidings, from not
understanding that it is more for others thou art feeling than for
thyself.”

Solomon then took his hands from before his face, wiped his eyes with
his handkerchief on which they had been embedded, and with a serene and
rather heavenly countenance looked up to the preacher, then closing his
eyes as if in a state of ethereal enjoyment, he clasped his hands with
a sweet smile, twirling his thumbs and bowing his head, as the speaker
closed every paragraph of the discourse.

These observations account very plainly for the opinions touching
Solomon which were expressed by M’Loughlin. Solomon was at this time an
unadulterated saint--a professor--in fact one of the elect who had cast
his anchor sure. But as the proverb gays, time will tell.

That night M’Loughlin and his family retired to bed for the first time
overshadowed, as it were, by a gloomy presentiment of some change, which
disturbed and depressed their hearts. They slept, however, in peace and
tranquillity, free from those snake-like pangs which coil themselves
around guilt, and deaden its tendencies to remorse, whilst they envenom
its baser and blacker purposes.

M’Slime himself at this crisis was beginning privately to feel some of
the very natural consequences of his own oft acknowledged frailty. Phil,
who had just left Constitution Cottage a few minutes before Darby’s
arrival, had not seen him that morning. The day before he had called
upon his grandfather, who told him out of the pallor window to “go to
h---; you may call tomorrow, you cowardly whelp, if you wish to see
me--but in the meantime,” he added as before, “go where I desired you.”

Phil, who possessed a great deal of his father’s selfishness and also of
his low cunning, but none at all of his ability, turned back indignantly
and rode home again. He had not passed more than about a hundred yards
from the avenue out into the highway, when he met Sharpe, one of the
heroes of the cabin.

We shall not detail their conversation, which, of course, embraced
many of the circumstances connected with their duties, excepting a few
interjectional imprecations which Phil in an occasional parenthesis
dutifully bestowed upon his grandfather.

“So, Sharpe, the fool Rimon made such a devil of a fight (the infernal
old scoundrel)--and took the gun.”

“Why, Captain Phil, if he hasn’t the strength of ten men, I’ll never
manoeuvre on parade while I live--he’s a bloody rascal.”

“(A double distilled old scoundrel, and I wish the devil had him,)--he’s
a bad bird, Sharpe, fool and all as he is, there’s no doubt of that.
What did the priest do?”

“Why, your honor, I can’t say that he took much part in it, barrin’ once
that he went between us and the woman.”

“He had no right to do that--(the blaspheming old vagabond,)--none at
all, Sharpe, and he ought to be prosecuted.”

“He ought, Captain, and will, I hope.”

“But then, Shaj-pe, if we swing Harman it will be enough, for
Harman--(he’ll fiz for it, and that soon I hope)--is another bad bird.”

“Oh, devil a worse, Captain, but even if he escapes us now, we’ll manage
him yet.”

They now came to a turn in the road, and found themselves at a bridge, a
little beyond which two roads met. On approaching, they observed an old
woman sitting on a large stone that lay a little beyond the arch. She
was meagrely and poorly dressed, had no cap on, her gray locks were only
bound by a red ribbon that encircled her head, but did not confine her
hair, which floated in large masses about her shoulders, a circumstance
that added to the startling vehemence of character that appeared in
her face, and gave to her whole person an expression which could not be
overlooked. When they had come up to where she sat, and were about to
pass without further notice, she started up, and with steps surprisingly
rapid, and full of energy, seized upon. Phil’s bridle.

“Well!” she exclaimed, “I saw you going, and I see you coming, but you
cannot tell me that he is dead. No, the death damp of his blaspheming
carcase is not yet on the air, because if it was,” and she turned her
nose against the wind, like a hound, “I would snuff it. No, no; he
is not gone, but he will soon go, and what a catalogue of crimes will
follow after him! The man’s conscience is a gaol where every thought and
wish of his guilty life and godless heart is a felon; and the blackest
calendar that ever was spread before God was his. Oh! I wonder do the
chains in his conscience rattle? they do, but his ears are deaf, and he
doesn’t hear them; but he will, and feel them too, yet.”

Phil, who had got alarmed at the extraordinary energy of her manner,
as well as of her language, said, “what do you want, and who are you
speaking of?”

“Who am I speaking of? who should I be speaking of but of old Deaker,
the blasphemer?--and who am I speaking to but the son of the ungodly
villain who threatened to horsewhip the mother that bore him. Do you
know me now?”

“Let go my bridle,” exclaimed Phil, “let go my bridle, you old faggot,
or upon my honor and soul I’ll give you a cut of my whip.”

“No,” she replied, no whit daunted, “no, I’m near my eightieth year. I’m
old, and wrinkled, and gray--my memory forgets everything now but my own
crimes, and the crimes of those that are still worse than myself--old I
am, and wicked, and unrepenting--but I shall yet live to pour the curses
that rise out of an ill-spent life into his dying oar, until his very
soul will feel the scorches of perdition before its everlasting tortures
come upon it in hell. I am old,” she proceeded, “but I will yet live
to see the son that cursed his mother, and threatened to raise his
sacrilegious hand against her that bore him, laid down like a tree,
rooted up and lopped--lying like a rotten log, without sap, without
strength, and only fit to be cut up and cast into the fire. I am old,”
 she replied, “but I shall live to see out the guilty race of you all.”

“Go to the devil, you croaking old vagabond,” exclaimed Phil, raising
his whip, and letting it fall upon her almost naked shoulders, with a
force as unmanly, as it was cruel, and impious, and shocking.

She uttered a scream of anguish, and writhed several times, until her
eyes became filled with tears. “My cup is not full yet,” she exclaimed,
sobbing, “neither is yours, but it soon will be, you knew me well when
you gave that blow; but go now, and see how you’ll prosper after it.”

Sharpe, even Sharpe, felt shocked at the cowardly spirit which could
inflict such an outrage upon old age, under any circumstances; but much
less under those which even he understood so well.

“Captain,” said he, “if it was only for the credit of the Castle Cumber
cavalry, I’m sorry that you gave that blow; those men on the other side
of the road there were looking at you, and you may take my word it will
spread.”

“How dare you speak to me in that style?” asked Phil in a rage, and
availing himself of his authority over him, “what is it your business,
Sharpe? Sharpe, you’re a scoundrel, for speaking to me in this
style--damn my honor and blood, but you are. What do you know about that
old vagabond?”

“Captain,” said Sharpe, who was a sturdy fellow in his way, “I’m no
scoundrel; and I do know that you have just horsewhipped your notorious
ould grandmother.”

“Fall back,” said Phil, “and consider yourself arrested.”

“Arrest and be hanged,” replied Sharpe, “I don’t care a fig about you--I
was in Deaker’s corps this many a year, and if you attempt to come the
officer over me, let me tell you you’re mistaken. We’re not on duty now,
my buck, and you have no more authority over me than you have over the
devil--me a scoundrel! my good fellow, I know who is the scoundrel.”

“My good fellow! Damn my honor and blood, do you apply that to me?”

“No, I don’t,” said Sharpe, “for you’re a cursed bad fellow, and no
gentleman--didn’t Harman pull your nose in Castle Cumber, and you
wanted the courage then that you had for your ould grandmother--me, a
scoundrel!”

“I’ll tell you what, Sharpe; is this respect, sir, to your commanding
officer? Sharpe I’ll mark you out for this.”

“Don’t you know,” replied Sharpe, “that two of us c&n play at that game;
you had better keep yourself quiet, if you’re wise--a man that’s in the
habit of getting his nose pulled should be very inoffensive.”

“Very well,” said gallant Phil, “I’ll say no more, but--” He then put
spurs to handsome Harry, and rode off, full of vengeance against Sharpe,
and of indignation at the contumelious reception he experienced at the
hands of his grandfather.

Val’s letter to M’Slime was, as our readers know, anything but an index
to the state of regard in which he held that worthy gentleman. As we
said, however, that ground was beginning to break a little under his
feet, in spite of all his unction and Christian charity, we shall, while
Darby is on his way to deliver his letter, take that opportunity of
detailing a conversation between honest Solomon and Poll Doolin, upon
one or two topics connected with our tale.

“Sam,” said Solomon to his clerk, “you were not present with us at
prayer this morning! You know we do not join in family worship until
you come; and it is but our duty to take an interest in your spiritual
welfare. In the meantime, I should regret, for your own sake, that
anything in the shape of a falling away from your opportunities should
appear in you. I speak now as your friend, Sam, not as your master--nay,
rather as your brother, Sam--as a man who is not without his own
lapses and infirmities, but who still trusts--though not by his own
strength--that he may be looked upon, in some faint degree, as an
example of what a man, wrestling with the cares and trials of life,
ought at, least, to strive to be. To Him be the praise!”

“I certainly overslept myself this morning, sir--that is the truth.”

“Yes, Sam; sloth is one of the disguises under which the enemy often
assails and overcomes us. But to business, Sam. There is an old woman in
Castle Cumber, whose name I scarcely remember. She goes dressed in faded
black, and has a son, to whom, for wise purposes of course, it pleased
Him to deny a full measure of ordinary sense?”

“Poll Doolin, sir, the old child-cadger, and her foolish son, Raymond of
the hats.”

“Don’t say foolish, Sam; don’t say foolish--we know not well what the
true difference between wisdom and folly is, nor how much wisdom is
manifested in the peculiar state of this person. We know not, indeed,
whether what we blindly, perhaps, term folly, may not be a gift to
be thankful for. You know the Word says, that the wisdom of man is
foolishness before God. Our duty therefore is, to be thankful and
humble.”

“Well, sir; but about Poll Doolin, the child-cadger?”

“Child-cadger! that is a term I don’t understand, Sam.”

“Why, sir, it means a woman who carries--”

“Sam, hold; if it be associated with human frailty, it is best left
unspoken. The woman, however, be she what she may--and I know not what
she is--but that she is a responsible being--a partaker of our common
nature, and is entitled to our sympathy. She is, I understand, in some
difficulty, out of which, it seems, professional advice may help to take
her. I expect her, therefore, about this time; and will you, Samuel,
just stand at that window, and when you see her approach the house,
do just, quietly, and without noise, open the hall door. Something has
occurred to discompose the Christian tone which usually prevails in our
household; and poor Susanna is going. But, at all events, Sam, you are
aware, it is said, that we ought not to let our left hand know what our
right hand doeth.”

“I know the text, sir, well; it ends with--‘and he that giveth in
secret, will reward thee openly.’”

“He--hem--ahem! yes it does so end; heigho! I feel, Sam, slightly
depressed in spirit, as it were, and moved, as if somewhat of my usual
support were withdrawn from me.”

“Here she is, sir,” said Sam.

“Very well, Sam; please to let her in as quietly as may be, and then
take this declaration to the back office, and copy it as soon as you
can--it is of importance. We should always endeavor to render services
to our fellow creatures.”

In the mean time, Sam very softly opened the hall door, and the next
moment Poll entered.

Solomon, as usual, was certainly seated at his office, and held his
features composed and serious to a degree; still, in spite of everything
he could do, there was an expression half of embarrassment, and half
of the very slightest perceptible tendency to a waggish simile, we can
scarcely call it--but, whatever it might be, there it certainly was,
betraying to Poll, in spite of all his efforts, that there was still the
least tincture imaginable of human frailty associated with such a vast
mass of sanctity.

Polly, when she entered, took a seat, and loosening the strings of her
bonnet, raised it a little, and without uttering a word sat silently
looking in M’Slime’s face, with a very comic and significant expression
on her own.

“No, Polly,” said he, with a serious smile, “no, you are mistaken
indeed--frail we all are, I grant you; but in this case am acting for
another. No, no, Polly--I trust those days of vanity are gone.”

“Well, then, what else am I to do? I sent the reports abroad about
M’Loughlin and Harman’s being about to break; and of M’Loughlin I’ll
soon have my revenge, by the way--I and somebody else have the train
laid for it.”

“Polly, it was from no unchristian spirit of ill-will to them--for I
trust that of such a spirit I am incapable--but to prevent them, by
an unjust act, from injuring, perhaps from ruining others. That is my
motive; but, at the same time, the whole matter is understood to be
strictly confidential between you and me.”

“Don’t you know, Mr. M’Slime, that when there was an occasion for
trustin’ me, I didn’t betray you to the world?”

“No--you did not; and it is for that reason that I trust you now.”

“Ay, and you may, too; honor bright is my motive. You remember the
day you passed Darby O’Drive and me, on our way to M’Clutchy’s? Did I
pretend to know you then?”

“You acted then, Poll, with great and commendable discretion, which you
will please to remember I did not overlook.”

“No,” said Poll, “you behaved decently enough.”

“But observe me now, Poll; if this report concerning the firm of
M’Loughlin and Harman should by any possibility be traced to us, or
rather to yourself, and that you should be pressed to disclose it,
which, of course, you could not be; but if a weak moment should ever
come--it is best then to speak the truth, and put the saddle as they
rather profanely say, upon Valentine M’Clutchy, the right horse here.”

“Upon M’Clutchy! why bad as he is, he never opened his lips to me on
this subject.”

“But he did to me, Poll, because it was from him I first heard the
suggestion; so that in point of truth and justice, you are bound by your
own conscience, or you ought at least--to lay it at his door--and that
now you understand better”--he smiled a little as he uttered these
words--“But why don’t you get a better bonnet, that one is very shabby?”

“It’s aisier said than done,” replied Poll, “the poor must always look
poor, and will too.”

“There then, are ten shillings, Poll; bestow them on that, or on any
other purpose you prefer.”

“Thank you, Mr. M’Slime, troth in the little job I did for you at our
first acquaintance I found you--any way not worse than another. Well,
but you can’t desave me now--I see it in your eye--you have something
else to say to me.”

“Oh, nothing to signify. Merely a serious young person would wish to
remove for change of air to some quiet nook until health--which, indeed,
is the chiefest of temporal blessings, might be recovered.”

“Man or woman?”

“A serious young woman, Poll.”

“I see, I see, Mr. M’Slime; I know nothing more about it.”

“Poll, listen--I shall no longer withhold confidence from you in
this matter--unfortunately a member, indeed, I may say, two of our
congregation have had a woeful fall. He ranks very high in it, and this
is an act of the greater Christian friendship in me, inasmuch as in
undertaking the management of this for him, I certainly run great risks
of suffering in my own reputation. I cannot name him, for that would
be a breach of confidence in me, but you are called upon to perform the
duty required, and through me he shall compensate you for your trouble.”

“Very well,” replied Poll, “it must be done--and I can tell him whoever
he is, that he could not come to any one that understands such matters
betther.”

“Good morning, Poll! Let me hear from you as soon as you can. Peace be
with thee! but Poll, remember one thing, Harman and the M’Loughlins are
going to America.” Poll nodded significantly, but made no reply.

The moment she had gone, which she did by the aid of Solomon himself,
who opened and closed the hall door after her, with a quietness of
manner that seemed to communicate oil to the hinges themselves, he
touched the bell, and in due time Susanna looked in.

“You rang, sir,” said she.

“That arrangement is made;” said he, “so far all is well, or nearly
so--go now.” Susanna immediately withdrew, the few words he said seeming
to have diffused sunshine into a face which appeared doubly serious.

When she was gone, Solomon laid his head down upon the desk before him,
and remained in that position for some time. At length without at all
raising it he began to play his knuckles against the lid, with a
degree of alacrity which would not have disgraced the activity of a
sleight-of-hand man. He at last rose, drew a long breath, and wore a
very smiling face; but this was not all--O sanctity! O religion! Instead
of going to his Bible, as one would imagine he ought to have done,
instead of even taking up a psalm-book, and indulging in a spiritual
song, he absolutely commenced whistling the Swaggering Jig, which he
accompanied with as nimble a foot, and in as good time as if he had been
a dancing-master all his life.

“Ah,” said he, “I could have done it once, and would like to do it
still, only for this wicked and censorious world.” A knock from Darby
O’Drive recalled him to a perception of his gifts, and when Darby
entered he looked calm and serious as usual. Little could Darby have
imagined, although perfectly aware of M’Slime’s knavery, that the pious
little man had just concluded “a short exercise,” in performing the
Swaggering Jig. As it was, however, he found him in a state which might
either be termed a religious meditation, or an intense application to
business--a Bible being on the one hand, and a brief on the other; but
to which of the two he had devoted himself, neither Darby, nor indeed
any one else, could guess. There, however, he sat, a kind of holy link
between the law and the gospel.

When Darby entered, and delivered the letter, M’Slime on receiving it
exclaimed, “Ah, from my excellent friend, M’Clutchy. Sit down, Darby,
sit down, and whilst I am casting my eye over this note, do now, in
order that we may make the most of our opportunities, do, I say, Darby,
just read a chapter in this--” handing him over the Bible as he spoke. In
the meantime he read as follows:--

“Strictly confidential.

“My Dear M’Slime:

“In order that the thing may be done as much in the shape and form of
a matter of business as possible, don’t you think it would be well
for you, as Harman’s lease has expired, to send me a regular written
proposal for it--which proposal I may be able to show in justification
of myself, should anything unfavorable turn up afterwards. Harman’s
offer was just double yours, but that is burnt; of course you will also
burn this when you have read it. Your offer of assistance to M’Loughlin
was well thought of; and even if we never, I mean you, should be
paid, you are still a gainer by two hundred pounds. Each has offered
a thousand a piece to have the leases renewed at the present rent; you
give five hundred, very good suppose you lose three--that is, suppose
M’Loughlin is driven, as, please God, he shall be, to allow you to
accept a bill for three hundred--don’t you see that you are still two
hundred in pocket; no, I am wrong, not two but seven hundred. You can
therefore well afford to lose three by the transaction, although, as I
have said, it is not, in point of fact, losing three, but gaining seven,
or at least five. Phil has also sent me a written proposal, which I
will keep, but M’Loughlin’s is gone the way of Harman’s, as a matter of
prudence. As for the private consideration between us, that is only
to be glanced at. I give you my honor that Phil has tendered me two
hundred, which I will not take, of course, either from you or him until
the premises are cleared of the present tenants, This must be done
very soon, and, I think it is much to be wished that Harman, who is a
choleric scoundrel, should be put out of the way, if possible, If he is
transported it will save us a good deal of annoyance. I should regret
a meeting between him and Phil very much. Phil tells me that he once
pulled his, Harman’s, nose, and it is very natural that he should bear
him a grudge for it. There is half a year’s rent due this day, and the
term mentioned in the notice to quit, expires next week. So far,
then, all is right; we have them in our power, and can proceed safely.
Parliament will, it is well ascertained, be certainly dissolved about
the end of May next, so that we must work double tides to bring in
his Lordship. There is a devilish spirit abroad, however, which will
occasion us much trouble; but I cannot agree with you about renewing the
leases, notwithstanding. It is just doing by those who are obstinate and
ill-disposed, precisely as we ought; that is, holding a whip over their
heads, and assuring them that we shall let it fall with rigor, unless
they are agreeable as they ought. The Hon. Richard Topertoe is in
London, but, between you and me, it matters little where he is; you
may judge of what an intermeddling fool he must be, when he had the
presumption to urge his Lordship to come to his native land, and live
on his estate. This d----d Ribbonism and outrage, in spite of all our
efforts, are still increasing; I think, however, that I shall be able
to make a pounce some of these days. I have my spies at work, and let me
tell you, that talk as they may, about its treachery and rascality, the
spy system is an admirable one; in fact, it is like a two-edged sword,
and cuts both ways, just as you wish. If, for instance, you cannot find
Ribbonism made to your hand, you may make it--that is, you can
corrupt first, and betray afterwards; which, at critical moments is
unquestionably (I say this between ourselves) a decided advantage. By
the by, my dear Solomon, the force of religion must be singularly strong
and impressive in your life and conduct, when you have been able so
wholesomely to influence that rascal bailiff of ours, Darby O’Drive. I
have seldom, indeed, never witnessed so striking a change as you have
produced in him; to tell you the truth, I felt a little chagrined and
jealous about it; but as he owes us a kind of divided allegiance, I must
rest contented.

“Believe me to be, my dear M’Slime,
“Yours affectionately and faithfully,
“Val M’Clutchy, J.P.”


To this, while Darby was tooth and nail at the Bible, Solomon wrote the
following reply--

“My Dear M’Clutchy:

“I have just read your letter of this date, and agree with you in the
necessity and propriety of my sending you a written proposal which you
can show at a future time, in order to justify yourself should it be
necessary so to do. I also need not say that your conduct in destroying
the proposals of M’Loughlin and Harman was equally creditable to your
head and heart. Prudence and discretion, my dear Val, are not virtues
of every day occurrence, and as to giving the preference to a Christian
friend, I do not see how a man as you are, with a strong sense of
religion, could without injuring your conscience avoid it. What is it
after all, my dear friend, but a spoiling of the Egyptians, as holy
Moses did, when about to lead the children of Israel from bondage. In
that case it was what may be termed in these our days a description of
justifiable theft, such as many professors of the word do, in matters of
business, feel themselves warranted even now in imitating. It requires,
however, to be done carefully, and within the freedom of the perfect
law; but, by no means, with a worldly or secular spirit, otherwise
it will be deprived of that unction which renders the act a gracious
exemplification of our Christian privileges, instead of a departure from
rectitude, which it would be if committed by an ungodly person. These
are distinctions, my dear friend, which I grant you is not permitted to
many to make--only, indeed, I may humbly and fearfully say to such as
have by long wrestling with the spirit been able to see truth, when the
inward eye has been purged from the grossness of passion, for which
to Him be praise and power. Amen! I herewith enclose you the proposal
formally made, and will be ready to hand over the two hundred Christian
manifestations of my gratitude at the proper season. As to Lord Cumber
being a loser by the transaction, such a loss must have been, we are
bound to hope, shaped out for him as a punishment inflicted for gracious
purposes. It is true he is ignorant of it, and I trust he shall remain
so; but then we know that many a blessing comes to us in deep disguise,
and that many a dispensation which we look upon as a favor from above,
is far from being so. If, then, it be true that this thing is vouchsafed
to him as a hidden blessing, let us be thankful that we have been
selected as the unworthy means through whom he is made to receive it; or
if it comes to him as a punishment, still it is our duty to reflect that
we are merely the instruments through whose frailties, or virtues, as
the case may be, he is visited, and that from the beginning this and
many other acts which a blind unenlightened world might censure, were
ordained for us, in order that the perfect scheme of Providence might be
fulfilled.

“With respect to the spy system, I do agree with you fully. Many things
must be done in secret, which the perversity of the world will not bear
to hear of without committing sin. For instance, my dear Val, in sowing
your crop of loyalty, so to speak, it might not, perhaps, be wrong--I
am speaking, now observe, with reference to the cunning of the serpent,
which you know we are enjoined to have, and if to have, of course to use
when necessary; it might not, perhaps, be wrong I say, to cast a tare
or two, if only for the purpose of employing our friends and fellow
creatures to pull them, out again. It is as it were, giving the idle
employment, and enabling ourselves in the mean time to gather an
abundant harvest into our own garners.

“With respect to Darby, I trust, that if my unworthy example and earnest
precept have been successful in rescuing him from the bonds of error
and sin--but what is still more dangerous, from the damnable thrall
of Popery--it is not for me to vainly extol myself therefor. His
conversion, however, will, I trust, be edifying to that interesting, but
neglected class, the bailiffs of Ireland. With reference to them, I
am engaged during the very few leisure hours that I can steal--so
to speak--from my professional employment, in writing a second tract
especially for their improvement. It will be appropriately called, _The
Bailiff’s Beacon or a Strengthener for tender Consciences_, By their
friend and brother Christian, Solomon M’Slime, Attorney at Law.

“Verily, my lines have been made to fall in pleasant places. On
yesterday, I had the satisfaction to be appointed _soul_ agent to the
Religious Cosmopolitan Assurance Association, being a branch of the
Grand Junction Spiritual Railway Society for travellers to a better
world. The salary is liberal, but the appointment--especially to a man
of sincere principles--is full of care and responsibility. Allow me, my
dear Val, to recommend you and your friends to purchase shares in
the Spiritual Railway Society--it is under Him the safest of all
associations yet established. The arrangements are admirably adapted
for the projects in view. All the seats are delightfully soft, and as
somnolent as church pews, to which they bear a close resemblance. The
machine men, and all those appointed to situations on the line, are
mostly in orders; but belong to different denominations. The scheme
originated in Oxford, and has spread rapidly throughout the length
and breadth of the land. Several of the stokers are bishops, and the
reverend feeders discharge their respective duties with singular effect.
It is hoped besides, that it may, under divine guidance, be the glorious
means of bringing Popery within the influence of truth, whilst its
enemies--for it has enemies--as who has not--its enemies assert that
whether it shall take in Popery, or Popery take in it, is a matter very
difficult to be determined.

“They are also exceedingly expert at tract writing, which they perform,
if I may say so, without boasting or vanity, very much in my own spirit.
Poor Susanna is ailing--I mean a serious young person in our family
who tended our little olive branches and understood my habits. She is
leaving us, and I shall miss her, for I am one of those persons, my dear
friend, who have a heart for--and I trust I may say, that can sympathize
with--my fellow creatures, however humble. Do you remember that I once
availed myself of a Christian privilege, to mention between us the
subject of family prayer?

“I remain, my dear M’Clutchy, with, may I hope, a few of the graces of
my calling--an earnest wrestler against sin,

“Solomon M’Slime.”


“Now, Darby,” said he, having folded the letter enclosing his tender for
Harman’s farm, and handed, it to him, “now, that so much is despatched,
I trust we may have a word or two upon a subject of still higher
importance. How do you feel in a spiritual way?--Are your views as clear
as ever?--are you supported--I mean inwardly, for that is the only true
support after all?”

“Thrath, Mr. M’Slime, I’m afeard to spake, sir, for fraid I’d say either
more or less than the truth.”

“That is a good sign, Darby, but you must avoid profane swearing, which
is a habit you contracted when in the bonds of iniquity; but you must
reform it--or rather, grace will be given you to reform it.”

“I hope so,” replied Darby, “and that I’ll still get a clearer knowledge
of the truth, plaise Goodness.”

Darby, as he uttered these words, would have given a trifle to have had
M’Clutchy to look at. Little did Solomon suspect the truth to which his
convert alluded.

“May it in charity be granted!” exclaimed Solomon, slightly twitching up
his eyebrows. “But, Darby, will you be properly prepared on next Sabbath
(D.V.) to bear strong testimony against error and idolatry?”

“Why, I’ll do my best, sir,” replied Darby, “and you know the best can
do no more.”

“Well, but you can faithfully say that you are utterly free from every
taint of Popery.”

“Faith, sir, I don’t know that that would be altogether prudent. Did you
never hear of the ould proverb, sir--not to throw out the dirty water
till you get in the clane--I’m not sure that I have a sufficient grip
of the new light yet,” said Darby, falling unconsciously into his usual
style of conversation, “but, I hope that by next Sunday, I’ll be able
to shine;--an’, be me sowl, if I don’t, sir, it’ll be none o’ my
fawt--divil resave the purtier convert in Europe than I’ll make when I
come to know a little about it.”

“Darby,” said Solomon, impatiently, “this is really very trying to one
so anxious for your spiritual welfare as I am. This awful swearing--I
really fear that some of your light has been withdrawn since our last
interview.”

“Not at all unlikely,” replied Darby; “but wid great submission, don’t
you think, sir, that two religions is betther than one?”

“How do you mean by adverting to such an impossibility?”

“Why, sir, suppose I kept the ould one, and joined this new reformation
to it, wouldn’t I have two chances instead o’ one?”

“Darby,” said Solomon, “avoid, or rather Pray that you may be enabled
to avoid the enemy; for I fear he is leading you into a darker error.
I tell you--I say unto you--that you would be much better to have no
religion than the Popish. You have reminded me of one proverb, suffer me
to remind you of another; do you not know, to speak in a worldly figure,
that an empty house is better than a bad tenant? why, I looked on you
with pride, with a kind of and joy as one wilom I had wrestled for, and
won from the enemy; but I fear you are elapsing.”

“I hope in God sir,” very gravely, “that you and he won’t have to toss
up for me; for I feel myself sometimes one thing, and sometimes the
other.”

“Ah!” replied Solomon, “I fear I must give you up, and in that case it
will not be in my power to employ you in a very confidential matter,
the management of which I imagined I could have entrusted to you.
That, however, cannot be now, as no one not amply provided with strong
religious dispositions, could be relied on in it.”

Darby, who, in fact, was playing M’Slime precisely as a skilful
fisherman does his fish; who, in order to induce him the more eagerly to
swallow the bait, pretends to withdraw it from his jaws, by which means
it is certain to be gulped down, and the fish caught.

“Ah, sir,” replied Darby, “I’m greatly afeared that every person like me
must struggle with great temptations.”

“That is an excellent observation,” said Solomon; “and I do suppose,
that since this desirable change took place in your heart, you must have
been woefully beset.”

“Never suffered so much in my life,” replied the other. “Now there’s
your two beautiful tracts, and may I never die in sin--I hope, sir,
there’s no great harm in that oath?

“No great harm but you had better omit it, however--it smacks of sin and
superstition.”

“Well, sir--may I never--I beg pardon--but any how, the truth is, that
ever since I tuck to readin’ them, I feel myself gettin’ as dishonest as
if the devil--”

“Do not name him so, Darby--it is profane; say the enemy, or Satan, or
the tempter.”

“As if the whole three o’ them, then, war at my elbow. Why, for the
last three or four days, I may say, they have cleared me out as clane
of honesty as the black boy himself, and it is worse I am gettin’. Now,
sir, it stands to sense, that that’s temptation.”

“Unquestionably; and my great hope and consolation is, that you
yourself are conscious of it. All you have to do now, is to pray
unceasingly--wrestle in prayer, and you will ultimately triumph. Sing
spiritual songs, too; read my tracts with attention; and, in short,
if you resist the dev--hem--Satan, they will flee from you. Give
that letter to Mr. M’Clutchy, and let me see you on the day after
to-morrow--like a giant refreshed with new strength.”

“Well, now,” said Darby, assuming a more serious look--“do you know,
sir, that I think your words have put new strength into me. Somehow
I feel as if there was a load removed from me. May the mother of
heaven--hem--I do, sir; and now, as a proof of it, I wouldn’t feel
justified, sir, in leaving you, widout sayin’ a word or two about the
same M’Clutchy, who, between you and me--but I hope it won’t go farther,
sir?”

“I don’t think it would be permitted to me to betray confidence--I
humbly think so. Be not afraid, but speak.”

“Why, sir, he has got a dirty trick of speakin’ disrespectfully of you
behind your back.”

“Human weakness, Darby! poor profligate man! Proceed, what does he say?”

“Why, sir, if it ‘ud be agreeable to you, I’d rather not be goin’ over
it.”

“We should know our friends from our enemies, O’Drive; but I forgive
him, and shall earnestly pray for him this night. What did he say?”

“Why he said, sir--verily, thin, I’m ashamed to say it.”

“Did he speak only of myself?” inquired Solomon, with something like a
slight, but repressed appearance of alarm.

“Oh, of nobody else, sir. Well, then, he said, sir--but sure I’m only
repatin’ his wicked words--he said, sir, that if you were cut up into
the size of snipe shot, there would be as much roguery in the least
grain of you, as would corrupt a nation of pickpockets.”

“Poor man! I forgive him. Do you not see me smile, Darby?”

“I do, indeed, sir.”

“Well, that is a smile of forgiveness--of pure Christian
forgiveness--free from the slightest taint of human infirmity. I am
given to feel this delightful state of mind at the present moment--may
He be praised!--proceed.”

“It is a blessed state, sir, and as you can bear it--and as I can trust
you, what I could not him--I will go on:--” he said, “besides, sir, that
your example had made the ould boy himself a worse boy now than he had
ever been before he ever knew you I--that in temptin’ you, he got new
dodges of wickedness that he was never up to till he met you, and
that he’s now receivin’ lessons from you in the shape of a convartin’
parson.”

“Ah! well!--I see, I see--that is an unchristian allusion to my recent
intercourse with the Rev. Phineas Lucre, the respected and highly
connected rector of Castle Cumber, and his nephew, the Rev. Boanerges
Frothwell, both of whom take a deep interest in the New Reformation
movement which is now so graciously advancing. However, I shall pray for
that man this night.”

“Sir, I feel much relieved; I’m a changed man widin these few minutes, I
may say--but what, afther all, is aquil to a good example? I feel, sir,
as if a strong hatred of idolaphry was comin’ an me.”

“Idolatry, you mean, Darby?”

“Yes, sir, that’s what I mean.”

“Where is that letter of Mr. M’Clutchy’s--oh, I have it. Well, Darby,”
 said M’Slime, quietly changing it for another, “here it is; now, do you
see how I commit that letter to the flames?” placing M’Clutchy’s under
the side of a brief; “and even as the flames die away before your eyes,
so dies away--not my resentment, Darby, for none do I entertain against
him--but the memory of his offensive expressions.”

“Sir,” said Darby, “this is wonderful! I often heard of religion and
forgiveness of injuries, but antil this day I never saw them in their
thrue colors. The day after to-morrow I’m to call, sir?”

“The day after to-morrow.”

“Well, sir, may the Holy Virgin this day--och, indeed I do not know what
I’m sayin’ sir--Religion! well if that’s not religion what is or can be?
Good mornin’ sir.”

“Good morning, Darby, and remember my advice--pray, sing, wrestle--peace
be with you!”



CHAPTER XI.--Darby and Solomon at Prayer

--An Instance of Pure Charity---Candidates for Conversion--An
Appropriate Confidence--The Rev. Phineas Lucre and his Curate, Mr.
Clement--Rev. Father Roche and his Curate, Father M’Cabe.


Darby was opening the hall-door, when, as if struck by a new train
of thought, he again tapped at the office door, and begged pardon for
entering.

“I’m in a sweet state, sir,” said he; “and would you forgive me, now
that my heart is, full, by lookin’ at such an example, if I tuck
the liberty of axin’ you to kneel down and offer a Father an’ Ave
an’--hem--och, what am I sayin’--an’ offer up a wurd in saison for that
unfortunate blaggard, M’Clutchy--any how, it’ll improve myself, and
I feel as if there was new strength put into me. Oh, the netarnal
scoundrel! To spake the way he did of sich a man--sich a scantlin of
grace--of--oh, then, do, sir; let us offer up one prayer for him, the
vagabond!”

The reader will perceive, however, by and by, that Darby’s sudden and
enthusiastic principle of charity towards M’Clutchy, wanted that very
simple requisite, sincerity--a commodity, by the way, in which the
worthy bailiff never much dealt. Indeed we may say here, that the object
of his return was connected with anything but religion.

A shade of feeling, somewhat rueful, sat on M’Slime’s features, until
he caught Darby’s eye fixed upon him, when, after rebuking him for the
terms in which he proposed the, prayer, he knelt down, and with a most
serene smile, commenced an earnest supplication, which became still more
vehement--then louder--bewailed his lost state--deplored his keeping
aloof from the means of grace--feared that the example of his old, and
sinful, and blasphemous father, and his most profligate mother, had
rendered his heart impenetrable to all visitations of conscience or
religion--if conscience he ever had, or religion he ever heard; both of
which, he, the humble and sinful suppliant, doubted. What then was his
state? Oh! how could a charitable or truly religious heart bear to think
of it without being deeply affected”--handkerchief here applied to the
eyes, and some sobs--a nondescript sound from Darby, accompanied by
a most pathetic shaking of the sides--evidently as much affected as
M’Slime.--The prayer was then wound up in a long, heavy, dolorous
cadence, which evidently proceeded from a strong conviction that he who
prayed was laboring against all hope and expectation that the humble
“mean” then adopted would be attended by any gracious result--the voice
consequently quavered off into a most dismal sound, which seemed, as
it were, to echo back a doleful answer to their solicitations,
and accordingly Solomon rose up with a groan that could not be
misunderstood.

“You see, O’Drive,” said he, “we have received no answer--or rather
a bad one--I fear his is a hopeless case, as, indeed, that of every
reprobate and castaway is; and this distresses me.”

“Mr. M’Slime,” said Darby, “will you excuse me, sir--but the thruth
is, I never properly knew you before.” These words he uttered in a low
confidential voice, precisely such as we might suppose a man to speak
in, who, under his circumstances, had got new convictions. “I’ll appear
next Sabbath, and what is better, I think in a few days I’ll be able to
bring three or four more along wid me.”

“Do you think so?” said M’Slime, a good deal elated at the thought; for
the attorney was only playing his game, which certainly was not the case
with the greater number of the new reformation men, who were as sincere
in their motives as he was hypocritical in his exertions. “And what are
their names, Darby?”

“I feel, sir,” replied O’Drive, “that it’s my duty as a Christian,
brought out of the land of cordage--”

“Bondage, Darby.”

“Of bondage, to do all I can for the spread o’ the gospel. Their names,”
 responded Darby, rubbing his elbow with a perplexed face; “don’t you
think sir it would be better to wait awhile, till we’d see what could be
done with them privately?”

“No, Darby, give me their names and residences, and I will see, that
however hard the times are, they shall not at least be starved for want
of--truth.”

“Well, then,” said Darby, “first, there is Paudeen Rafferty, of
Dernascobe; Paudeen, sir, is, at the present spaking, badly given to
drink, and he swears, and fights mortially, too, the hathen; but, then,
he’s in darkness, sir, yet; and you know that the greater the sinner the
greater the saint. If Paudeen was dacently convarted he’d make a mighty
fine Christian no doubt. To be sure he has two wives, along wid his love
for liquor and fightin’; but wouldn’t it be a good plan to bring them
over, too, sir; the poor lost cratures, sunk, as they are, in hathenism
and vociferation?”

“Very good, I have him down, Darby; we must struggle, however, to win
him over and to induce him to give up his guilty connections. Are they
young, Darby!”

“Two of the best looking young women in the parish.”

“We must only see, then, if they can be rescued also; for that is a
duty--a pressing duty, certainly.”

“But I’m afeard, sir, it ‘ud take a ship load o’ Scripture to convart
the three o’ them.”

“We shall try, however; nothing is to be despaired of under such
circumstances, unless I am afraid the regeneration of that unhappy man
M’Clutchy--(eyes turned up). Who next?”

“Why, you may set down Harry M’Murt, of Drinnska. Harry’s an unsettled
kind of fellow, or as they call him a Rake. It would be an active
charity to convert him--and that could convert him for he has as many
twists in him as an eel--if it was only for the sake of gettin’ him to
spake the truth.”

“Who else, Darby?”

“Put down Charley Casey, sir; and if you take my advice, you’ll set
in at the convarsion of him while his famine lasts--otherwise, he’s a
bitter idolapher as ever welted an Orangeman; but against that, he
has the stomach o’ three men--and the best time to come at him wid the
gospel is the present. Bait it wid a flitch of bacon on the one side,
and a collop o’ fresh meat on the other, now before the praties comes
in, and you’re sure of him.”

“Any others, Dairby?--but, indeed, as far as we have gone yet, the cases
appear to me to be difficult ones. However, there is joy in heaven,
Darby, over one sinner--and surely the greater the sin the greater the
joy and the triumph. Any others?”

“Mark down Molly Crudden, sir--she would be a glorious catch if a word
in saison could fasten on her. She goes by the name of Funny Eye. The
poor woman is mother to a large family of childre, sir; and the worst of
it is, that no two o’ them goies by the same name. It would be a proud
day that we could make sure of her, especially as Father Roche and Mr.
M’Cabe, his curate, were obliged to give her up, and forbid her the
parish; but Funny Eye only winks and laughs at them and the world. She’s
the last, sir--but I’ll be on the look out, God willin’, for a few more
desperate cases to crown our victory over the dev--ahem! over Satan and
the priests.”

“Well, then, let me see you, as I said, the day after to-morrow, and in
the mean time--peace, and joy, and victory be with you!”

“The same to you, sir, and many of them! Amin--I pray the sweet queen o’
heaven this day!”

“Darby,” said M’Slime, who looked upon his mingling up religious
expressions peculiar to his class as a proof of his sincerity--“Darby,”
 said he in a low, condensed, and collected voice--“I said I had the
execution of a commission to entrust to you.”

“But, sir,” said Darby, whose ears, could they have shaped themselves
according to his wishes, would have ran into points in order to hear
with more acuteness--“Sir,” said he, “I doubt I’m not worthy of such a
trust.”

“Perfectly worthy, Darby,” continued Solomon, “if I did not think so I
would not employ you--I have engaged another person to prepare, as it
were, the way for you; but the truth is, it would never do to allow that
person and the young person of whom you are going to take charge to
be seen together. Evil constructions would most assuredly be put on
innocent actions, Darby, as they often are; and for this reason it
is that I have partly changed my mind, and will entrust one-half the
commission I speak of to you.” As if, however, he feared that the very
walls might justify the old proverb by proving that they had ears,
he stood up and whispered a short, but apparently most interesting
communication to Darby, who appeared to listen to a tale that was
calculated rather to excite admiration than any other feeling. And
we have little doubt, indeed, that the tale in question was given as
illustrating the exertion of as pure an instance of Christian compassion
and benevolence as ever was manifested in the secret depths of that true
piety which shuns the light; for Darby’s journey was most assuredly to
be made in the dark and still hours of the night. On opening the door
a party of three or four clients were about to knock, but having given
them admission he went away at rather a brisk, if not a hasty pace.

Darby having concluded this interview was proceeding, not exactly in the
direction of M’Clutchy’s, but as the reader shall soon hear, to a very
different person, no other than the Rev. Phineas Lucre, D.D., Rector of
the Parish of Castle Cumber; a living at that time worth about eighteen
hundred a year.

The Rev. Phineas Lucre, then, was a portly gentleman, having a proud,
consequential air stamped upon his broad brow and purple features.
His wife was niece to a nobleman, through whose influence he had been
promoted over the head of a learned and pious curate, whose junior
Mr. Lucre had been in the ministry only about the short period of
twenty-five years. Many persons said that the curate had been badly
treated in this transaction, but those persons must have known that
he had no friends except the poor and afflicted of his parish, whose
recommendation of him to his bishop, or the minister of the day,
would have had little weight. His domestic family, too, was large, a
circumstance rather to his disadvantage; but he himself was of studious,
simple, and inexpensive habits. As for dinners he gave none, except
a few fragments of his family’s scanty meal to some hungry, perhaps,
deserted children, or to a sick laborer when abandoned by his landlord
or employer, the moment he became unable to work. From the gentry of
the neighborhood he got no invitations, because he would neither
sing--dance--drink--nor countenance the profligacies of their sons--nor
flatter the pride and vanity of their wives and daughters. For these
reasons, and because he dared to preach home truths from his pulpit, he
and his unpretending children had been frequently made objects of their
ridicule and insolence. What right, then, had any one to assert that the
Rev. Mr. Clement had received injustice by the promotion over his head
of the Rev. Phineas Lucre, to the wealthy living of Castle Cumber,
when he had no plausible or just grounds beyond those to which we have
adverted, on which to rest his claim for preferment? The curate was
pious, we admit, but, then, his wife’s uncle was not a lord. He was
learned, but, then, he had neither power nor the inclination to repay
his patrons--supposing him to have such, by a genius for intrigue,
or the possession of political influence. He discharged his religious
duties as well as the health of a frame worn by affliction, toil, and
poverty, permitted him; but, then, he wrote no pamphlets adapted to the
politics by which he might rise in the church. He visited the sick and
prayed with them; but he employed not his abilities in proving to the
world that the Establishment rewarded piety and learning, rather than
venal talents for state intrigue or family influence.

Far different from him was his aforenamed rector, the Rev. Phineas
Lucre. Though immeasurably inferior to his curate in learning, and
all the requisite qualifications for a minister of God, yet was he
sufficiently well read in the theology of his day, to keep up a splendid
equipage. Without piety to God, or charity to man, he possessed,
however, fervent attachment, to his church, and unconquerable devotion
to his party. If he neglected the widow and the orphan whom he could
serve, he did not neglect the great and honorable, who could serve
himself. He was inaccessible to the poor, ‘tis true; but on the other
hand, what man exhibited such polished courtesy, and urbanity of manner,
to the rich and exalted. Inferiors complained that he was haughty and
insolent; yet it was well known, in the teeth of all this, that no man
ever gave more signal proofs of humility and obedience to those who
held patronage over him. It mattered little, therefore, that he had
no virtues for the sick, or poverty-stricken, in private life, when he
possessed so many excellent ones for those in whose eyes it was worth
while to be virtuous as a public man.

Mr. Lucre, possessing high political connection, and withal affecting
to be very religious, presented singular points of character for
observation. He was a great disciplinarian in theory, and rendered it
imperative on his poor overworn curate to be so in practice; but being
always engaged in the pursuit of some ecclesiastical windfall, he
consequently spent most of his time, and of his money, either in our
own metropolis or London--but principally in the latter. He did not,
however, leave either his discipline or his devotion as a public
man behind him. In Dublin, he was practical in worshipping the Lord
Lieutenant--and in London, the King; whilst his curate was only
worshipping God in the country. The result of his better sense and more
seasonable piety soon became evident, on his part, in the shape of an
appointment to a second living; and that of his curate, in obscurity,
poverty, and that useless gift, a good conscience.

We have said that Mr. Lucre was not Pious; yet we are far from saying
that he had not all the credit of piety. His name, in fact, was always
conspicuous among the most bountiful contributors to the religious
societies. Indeed he looked upon most of them as excellent auxiliaries
to the cold and scanty labors of those worldly-minded or indolent
pastors, who think, when they have furnished every family in the parish
with a Bible and a sheaf of tracts, that they have done their duty. Mr.
Lucre, consequently, bore an excellent character everywhere but among
the poor, sick, and indigent of his two large parishes; and if a
eulogium had been called for on him, he would have received an admirable
one from the societies to whose funds he contributed, from the gentry of
his respective parishes, and from the grand juries of the two counties
in which they we’re situated.

What more than this could be expected? Here was ample testimony for
those who required it, to establish the zeal, efficiency, talents,
integrity, charity and piety of that worthy and useful minister of
God--the Rev. Phineas Lucre, D.D.

Such were a few of the virtues which belonged to this gentleman. His
claims for preferment were, indeed, peculiarly strong; and when we
mention the political influence of himself and his friends, his wife’s
powerful connections, added to his able pamphlets, and the great mass
of sound information regarding the state of the country, which in the
discharge of his religious duties, he communicated from time to time to
the government of the day--we think we have said enough to satisfy our
readers that he ought not to be overlooked in the wealthy and pious
Establishment, which the Irish Church then was. Still, in fact, we
cannot stop here, for in good truth Mr. Lucre had yet stronger claims
for preferment than any we have yet mentioned. He did not stand in need
of it. In addition to a large dowry received with his wife, he possessed
a private fortune of fourteen hundred pounds per annum, with which,
joined to his two large livings, he was enabled to turn out a very
primitive and apostolic equipage, such as would have made the hearts
of the Apostles rejoice in reflecting, that so many new virtues were
to spring up in the progress of society from the lowly-religion they
established.

Such is a pretty full sketch of a large class which existed at a former
period in the Established Church of Ireland. Mr. Lucre was, besides,
what may be termed one of the first fruits of that which is called
modern sanctity or saintship, being about two-thirds of the Tory and
High Churchman, and one of the Evangelical.

In the same parish of Castle Cumber resided two other clergyman of
a different creed and character; the Rev. James Roche, the venerable
parish priest, was one of those admirable pastors whose lives are the
most touching and beautiful exponent of the Christian faith. In this
amiable man were combined all these primitive virtues which are so
suitable, and, we may add, necessary, to those who are called upon to
mingle with the cares and affections, joys and sufferings, of an humble
people. Without pride, beyond the serene simplicity which belonged to
his office, he yet possessed the power of engaging the affections and
respect of all who knew him, whether high or low. With the poor, and
those entrusted to his spiritual charge, were all his sympathies, both
as a man and a pastor. His, indeed, was no idle charge, nor idly, nor
with coldness or pride, were its duties entered upon or performed. His
little purse and small means were, less his own than the property of the
poor around him; his eye was vigilant of want and of sorrow, of crime
and frailty--and wherever the painful rebuke, the humble and the
consoling word was necessary, there stood he to I administer it. Such
was Father Roche, as the pastor of a large but poor flock, who had few
sympathies to expect, save those which this venerable man was able to
afford them. Very different from him, on the other hand, was his
curate, the Rev. Patrick M’Cabe, or M’Flail, as he was nicknamed by the
Orangemen of the parish, in consequence of a very unsacerdotal tendency
to use the horsewhip, as a last resource, especially in cases where
reason and the influence of argument failed. He was a powerful young
man, in point of physical strength, but as his temperament was hot and
choleric, the consciousness of this strength often led him, under its
impulse, in desperate cases, to a mode of reasoning, which, after
all, no man more than himself subsequently regretted. Zealous he
unquestionably was, but beyond the bounds prescribed by a spirit of
Christian moderation. I know not how it happened, but the Orangeman
hated him with an intensity of detestation, which, however, he paid back
to them tenfold. His vast strength, which had been much improved by a
strong relish for athletic exercises, at which he was unrivaled, when
joined to a naturally courageous and combative temperament, often
prompted him to manifest, in cases of self-defence, the possession
of powers which they feared to call into exercise. This disposition,
however, which, after all, was not so unnatural, he properly restrained
and kept I in subjection; but, in order to compensate for it, he
certainly did pepper them, in his polemical discourses, with a vehemence
of abuse, which, unquestionably, they deserved at his hands--and got.
With the exception of too much zeal in religious matters, his conduct
was, in every other respect, correct and proper.

To return now to Darby, whose steps have been directed, not exactly
towards Constitution Cottage, but towards the spacious glebe-house of
the Rev. Phineas Lucre, which brought him about a mile or two out of his
way. The fact is he was beginning to tire of M’Slime, who, whenever he
had occasion for his services, was certain to shear him of his fees
on the one hand precisely as M’Clutchy did on the other. The change of
agents was consequently of no advantage to him, as he had expected it
would be; for such was the rapacity of the two harpies that each of
them took as much as they could out of the unfortunate tenants, and left
Darby little to comfort himself, with the exception of what he got
by their virtuous example, an example which he was exceedingly apt to
follow, if not to exceed. For this reason he detested them both, and
consequently felt a natural anxiety to set them together by the ears
whenever he thought the proper occasion for it should arrive. Now, an
event had taken place the very day before this, which opened up to his
mind a new plan of operations altogether. This was the death of the
under gaoler of Castle Cumber. Darby began to think of this as a good
speculation, should it succeed; but alas! upon second reflection there
stood an insurmountable difficulty in his way. He was a Roman Catholic
so far as he was anything; and this being a situation of too much trust
and confidence at the period to be given to any one of that persuasion,
he knew he he could not obtain it. Well, but here again he was
fortunate, and not without the prospect of some consolation. The
extraordinary movement in the religious world, called the New
Reformation, had just then set in with a liveliness of judgment, and a
celerity of conversion among the lower classes of Roman Catholics, which
scarcely anybody could understand. The saints, however, or evangelical
party, headed by an amiable, benevolent, but somewhat credulous
nobleman, on whose property the movement first commenced, ascribed this
extraordinary conversion altogether to themselves.

The season to be sure in which it occurred was one of unprecedented
destitution and famine. Fuel was both scarce and bad--the preceding
crops had failed, and food was not only of a deleterious quality, but
scarcely to be procured at all. The winter, too, was wet and stormy, and
the deluges of rain daily and incessant. In fact, cold, and nakedness,
and hunger met together in almost every house and every cabin, with the
exception of those of the farmers alone, who, by the way, mostly held
land upon a very small scale. In this district, then, and in such a
period of calamity, and misery, and utter famine, did the movement
called the New Reformation originate.

“Sure, blood alive,” thought Darby, “now that every one’s turnin’,
there’s no harm to have a thrial at it myself; I can become as good a
Prodestan as most o’ them in four and twenty hours, and stand a chance
of the Jaolership for my pains. I’ll go to Mr. Lucre, who is a gentleman
at any rate, and allow him to think he has the convartin’ o’ me. Well,”
 he proceeded, with a chuckle, “it’s one comfort, divil a much religion
I have to lose; and another, that the divil a much I have to gain in
exchange; and now,” he went on, “there’s little Solomon thinks I did’nt
see him burnin’ the wrong letther; but faith, Solomon, my lad, there
must be something in it that would do neither you nor M’Clutchy much
good, if it was known, or you wouldn’t thry that trick--but, in the mean
time, I’ve secured them both.”

Now, the reader must know, that Darby’s return in such a truly
charitable spirit to ask Solomon for the virtue of his prayers in behalf
of M’Clutchy, was as knavish a ruse as ever was put in practice. Solomon
had placed M’Clutchy’s letter secretly under a brief, as we have said,
and Darby, who knew the identical spot and position in which M’Slime was
in the habit of praying, knew also that he would kneel with his back to
the desk on which the brief lay. It all happened precisely as he wished,
and, accordingly, while Solomon was doing the hypocrite, Darby did the
thief, and having let in those who were approaching, he came away, as we
said.

He lost not a moment after he had got to a lonely part of the road,
in putting them between two flat stones--we mean M’Clutchy’s letter to
Solomon, with that gentleman’s answer. There, he determined, they should
remain until after dark, when he could secure both without risk, and see
what might be done with them.

“Now,” thought he, “that I’ve Solomon in a double pickle--for he can’t
inquire about the letter without letting it be seen that he tould a
lie, and practised a bit of knavery, any how--an’ as regwdin’ the other
thing, I have him fast.”

In the meantime, Father M’Cabe, who had read M’Slime’s paragraph in the
Castle Cumber “True Blue,” respecting Darby’s conversion, had a sharp
eye out for him, as they term it in the country. Indeed, after two or
three vain attempts to see him, the Rev. gentleman was satisfied with
sending him a gentle message of congratulation upon his change of
creed, which was significantly wound up by a slight hint, that he might,
probably, on their next meeting, give him a nice treat, but of what
particular description was not communicated. Darby having secured the
letters as described, was proceeding at a pretty quick pace towards Mr.
Lucre’s, when, whom should he meet in a narrow part of the way, which
was enclosed between two immense white thorn hedges, through which any
notion of escape was impracticable--but the Rev. Father M’Cabe. He
tried every shift--looked back as if he expected some friend to follow
him--then to the right--again to the left--then stooped to examine the
ground, as if he had lost something of value or importance. At length,
finding every other trick useless, he adopted that one so common among
boys in desperate cases--we mean the attempt to make a mask of the right
shoulder in order to conceal the face. Even this failed, and he found
himself compelled to meet the fixed and stern gaze of the colossal
priest, who was on horseback, and bore in his huge right hand a whip,
that might, so gripped, have tamed a buffalo, or the centaur himself, if
he were not fabulous.

“Why--my good, honest and most religious friend, Mr. Darby O’Drive--the
odor of whose sanctity, you scoundrel, has already perfumed the whole
Parish--is it possible that Providence in kindness to me, and in pure
justice to yourself, has thrown you into my way at last.” This for the
present was accompanied only by a peculiar quivering motion of the whip,
resulting from the quick vibrations which his sense of Darby’s hypocrisy
had communicated through the hand to the weapon which it held.

“God save your Reverence!” replied Darby, “an’ in troth I’m glad to
see you look so well--faith it’s in a glow o’ health you are, may God
continue it to you! Be my sowl, it’s you that can pepper the Orangemen,
any how, your Reverence--and how is Father Roche, sir--although sure
enough he’s no match for you in givin’ it home to the thieves.”

“Silence, you hypocritical sleeveen, don’t think you’ll crawl up my
wrist--as you do up M’Clutchy’s and M’Slime’s. Is it true that you have
become an apostate?”

Darby here attempted to work up a kind of sly significant wheedling
expression into his eye, as he stole a half timid, half confidant glance
at the priest--but it would not do--the effort was a failure, and no
wonder--for there before him sat the terrible catechist like an embodied
thunder cloud--red, lurid, and ready to explode before him--nay he could
see the very lightning playing and scintillating in his eyes, just as
it often does about the cloud before the bursting of the peal. In this
instance there was neither sympathy nor community of feeling between
them, and Darby found that no meditated exposition of pious fraud,
such as “quartering on the enemy,” or “doing the thieves,” or any other
interested ruse, had the slightest chance of being tolerated by the
uncompromising curate. The consequence was, that the rising roguery died
away from Darby’s face, on which there remained nothing but a blank
and baffled expression, that gave strong assurance of his being in a
situation of great perplexity. The most timid and cowardly animals will,
however, sometimes turn upon their captors, and Darby although he
felt no disposition to bandy words with the curate, resolved,
notwithstanding, to abide by the new creed, until he should be able
to ascertain his chance of the gaolership. There was, besides, another
motive. He knew Mr. Lucre’s character so well, that he determined to
pursue such a course, during his interview, as might ensure him a sound
horse-whipping; for it occurred to him that a bit of martyrdom would
make a capital opening argument during his first interview with Mr.
Lucre.

“Did you hear me, sir?” again inquired the curate, making his whip
whistle past his own right foot, just as if he had aimed it at the
stirrup--“is it true that you have turned apostate?”

“I thought you knew it, sir,” said Darby, “or if you didn’t, why did you
read me out the Sunday before last from the althar?”

“Then you acknowledge it,” cried the priest, “you have the brass to
acknowledge it, have you?” And here the whip made a most ferocious sweep
in the air.

“Yes,” replied Darby, thinking by the admission to increase the
impending castigation--“yes, sir; I don’t belong to your flock now--you
have no authority whatsomever over me--mind that.”

[Illustration: PAGE 216-- Oh, what a sweet convert you are]

“Haven’t I indeed, Mr. Convert--oh, what a sweet convert you are--but
we’ll see whether I have or not, by and by. Where are you bound for now?
To taste of Mr. Lucre’s flesh pots? eh?”

“I’m bound for Mr. Lucre’s, sure enough; and I hope there’s no great
harm in that.”

“Oh, none in the world, my worthy neophyte, none. Mr. Lucre’s argument
and Lord ----‘s bacon are very powerful during this hard season. Those
that haven’t a stitch to their backs are clothed--those that haven’t a
morsel to eat are fed--and if they haven’t a fire, they get plenty of
fuel to burn their apostate skins at; and because this heretical crew
avail themselves of the destitution of these wretches--and lure them
from their own faith by a blanket and a flitch of bacon, they call that
conversion--the new Reformation by the way, ha--ha--ha--oh, it’s too
good!”

“And do you think, sir,” said Darby, “that if they had a hard or an
enlightened hoult of their own creed, that that would do it?”

The whip here described a circle, one part of whose circumference sang
within a few inches of Darby’s ear--who, forgetting his relish for
martyrdom, drew back his head to avoid it.

“None of your back jaw,” said M’Cabe; “don’t you know, sirra, that in
spite of this Methodist Lord and the proud parson’s temptations, you
are commanded to renounce the devil, the world, and the flesh? Don’t you
know that?”

“But,” replied Darby, “are we commanded to renounce the devil, the
world, and a bit o’ fresh mait?”

“Ha--you snivelling scoundrel,” said the curate, “you’ve got their
arguments already I see--but I know how to take them out of you, before
you leave my hands.”

“Surely,” continued Darby, “you wouldn’t have a naked man renounce a
warm pair o’ breeches, or a good coat to his back--does the Scriptur
forbid him that?”

“You will have it,” replied the curate, who felt for the moment
astounded at Darby’s, audacity, “you are determined on it; but I will
have patience with you yet, a little, till I see what brought you over,
if I can. Don’t you admit, as I said, that you are commanded to renounce
the devil, the world, and the flesh--particularly the flesh, sirra, for
there’s a peculiar stress laid upon that in the Greek.”

“Well, but does it go in the Greek against a flitch o’ bacon and a wisp
o’ greens, your reverence? Faith, beggin’ your pardon, if you were to
see some o’ the new convarts, how comfortable they are wid their good
frieze coats, and their new warm blankets, sittin’ beside their good
fires, you’d maybe not blame them so much as you do. Your religion, sir,
only provides for the sowl; but theirs, you see, provides any how for
the body--and faith, I say, the last is a great advantage in these hard
times.”

The priest’s astonishment increased at the boldness with which Darby
continued the argument, or rather, which prompted him to argue at all.
He looked at him, and gave a smile.

“Well,” said he, almost forgetting his anger--for he was by no means
deficient in a perception of the humorous--“but no matter--it will do
by and by. You villain,” said he, forced into the comic spirit of the
argument; “do you not know that it said--cursed is he who becometh an
apostate, and eateth the flesh of heretics.”

“Aitin’ the flesh of heretics is forbidden, I dare say, sure enough,”
 replied Darby; “an’ troth it’s a commandment not likely to be
broken--for dirty morsels they are, God knows; but is there anything
said against aitin’ the flesh of their sheep or cows--or that forbids us
to have a touch at a good fat goose, or a turkey, or any harmless little
trifle o’ the kind? Troth myself never thought, sir, that beef or mutton
was of any particular religion before.”

“Yes, sir; beef and mutton, when they’re good, are Catholic--but when
they’re lean, why, like a bad Christian, they’re Protestant, of course,
and that’s well known,” said the priest, still amused, against his will,
by Darby’s arguments.

“Faith, and wid great respect, the same is but a poor argument for your
own--hem--I mane, sir, for your church; for if the best beef and mutton
be of the thrue religion, the Protestants have it all to nothing.
There, they’re infallible, and no mistake. The fat o’ the land, your
reverence,” said Darby, with a wink; “don’t you understand? They’ve got
that any how.”

A slight cut of the whip across the shoulders made him jump and rub
himself, whilst the priest, struck with his utter want of principle,
exclaimed.

“You double-dealing scoundrel, how dare you wink at me, as if we felt
anything in common?”

The blow occasioned Darby’s gorge to rise; for like every other knave,
when conscious of his own dishonesty, and its detection, he felt his bad
passions overpower him.

“You must,” said the priest, whose anger was now excited by his
extraordinary assurance--“you must renounce their religion, you must
renounce M’Slime and Lucre--their flitches, flannels, and friezes. You
must--”

“Beggin’ your pardon,” said Darby, “I never received any of their
flitches or their flannels. I don’t stand in need of them--it’s an
enlightened independent convart I am.”

“Well, then,” continued the priest, “you must burn their tracts and
their treatises, their books and Bibles of every description, and return
to your own church.”

“To become acquainted,” replied Darby, “with that piece o’ doctrine
in your hand there? Faith and I feel the truth o’ that as it is, your
reverence; and it is yourself that can bring it home to one. But, why,
wid submission, don’t you imitate Father Roche? By me sowl, I tell you
to your face, that so long; as you take your divinity from the saddler’s
shop, so long you will have obedient men, but indifferent Catholics.”

“What!” replied M’Cabe, in a rage, “do you dare to use such language to
my face--a reprobate--a brazen contumacious apostate! I’ve had this
in for you; and now (here he gave him a round half dozen) go off to
M’Slime, and Lucre, and Lord------, and when you see them, tell them
from me, that if they don’t give up perverting my flock, I’ll give them
enough of their own game.”

Darby’s face got pale, with a most deadly expression of rage--an
expression, indeed, so very different from that cringing, creeping one
which it usually wore, that M’Cabe, on looking at him, felt startled, if
not awed, intrepid and exasperated as he was. Darby stood and looked at
him coldly, but, at the same time, with unflinching fearlessness in the
face.

“You have done it,” he said, “and I knew you would. Now, listen to
me--are you not as aiger to make convarts as either M’Slime or Lucre?”

“You will have it again, you scoundrel,” said the curate, approaching
him with uplifted whip.

“Stand back,” said Darby, “I’ve jist got all I wanted--stand back, or by
all the vestments ever you wore, if your whip only touches my body,
as light as if it wouldn’t bend a feather, I’ll have you in heaven, or
purgatory, before you can cry ‘God forgive me.’”

The other still advanced, and was about to let the whip fall, when Darby
stretched his right hand before him, holding a cocked and loaded pistol
presented to the curate’s breast.

“Now,” said he, “let your whip fall if you like; but if you do, I’ll
lodge this bullet,” touching the pistol with his left forefinger, “in
your heart, and your last mass is said. You blame Lucre and M’Slime for
making convarts; but ai’en’t you every bit as anxious to bring over
the Protestants as they are to bring over us? Aren’t you paradin’ them
Sunday af’ther Sunday, and boastin’ that you are takin’ more from the
heretics than they are takin’ from you? Wasn’t your last convart Bob
Beatty, that you brought over because he had the fallin’ sickness, and
you left it upon him never to enter a church door, or taste bacon; and
now you have him that was a rank Orangeman and a blood-hound six weeks
ago, a sound Catholic to-day? Why, your reverence, with regard to
convart makin’ divil the laist taste o’ differ I see between you on
either side, only that they are able to give betther value in this world
for the change than you are--that’s all. You’re surprised at seeing my
pistols, but of late I don’t go any where unprovided; for, to tell you
the thruth, either as a bailiff or a convart, it’s not likely I’d be
safe widout them; and I think that yourself are a very good proof of
it.”

“Very well, my good, fine, pious convart; I’ll keep my eye on you. I
understand your piety.”

“And I can tell you, my good, meek, pious priest, I’ll keep mine on you;
and now pass on, if you’re wise--and so _bannath lath_.”

Each then passed on, pursuing his respective destination. They had
not gone far, however, when both chanced to look back at the same
moment--M’Cabe shook his whip, with a frown, at Darby, who, on the
other side, significantly touched the pocket in which he carried his
fire-arms, and nodded his head in return.

Now, it is an undeniable fact, that characters similar to that of Darby,
were too common in the country; and, indeed, it is to be regretted that
they were employed at all, inasmuch as the insolence of their conduct,
on the one hand, did nearly as much harm as the neglect of the
hard-hearted landlord himself, on the other. Be this as it may, however,
we are bound to say that Darby deserved much more at M’Cabe’s hands than
either that Rev. gentleman was aware of then, or our readers now. The
truth was, that no sooner had M’Slime’s paragraph touching Darby’s
conversion gone abroad, than he became highly unpopular among the
Catholics of the parish. Father M’Cabe, in consequence of Darby’s
conduct, and taking him as a specimen, uttered some lively prophecies,
touching’ the ultimate fate of the new Reformation. He even admonished
his flock against Darby:--

“I have warned you all now,” he said, “and if after this I hear of a
single perversion, woe be unto that pervert, for it is better for his
miserable soul that he had never been born. Is there a man here base
enough to sell his birthright for a mess of Mr. Lucre’s pottage? Is
there a man here, who is not too strongly imbued with a hatred of
heresy, to laugh to scorn their bribes and their Bibles. Not a man, or,
if there is, let him go out from amongst us, in order that we may know
him--that we may avoid his outgoings and his incomings--that we may flee
from him as a pestilence--a plague--a famine. No, there is none here so
base and unprincipled as all that--and I here prophesy that from this
day forth, this Reformation has got its death-blow--and that time will
prove it. Now, remember, I warn you against their arts, their bribes,
and their temptations--and if, as I said, any one of this flock shall
prove so wicked as to join them--then, I say again, better for his
unfortunate soul that he had never come into existence, than to come in
contact with this leprous and polluted heresy.”

Darby having heard--for he never went to mass--that he was denounced by
the priest, and feeling that his carrying into execution the heartless
and oppressive proceedings of M’Clutchy had, taken together, certainly
made him as unpopular a man as any individual of his contemptible
standing in life could be, resolved, in the first place, to carry arms
for his own protection, and, in the next, to take a step which he
knew would vex the curate sorely. Accordingly, he lost no time in
circulating, and having it circulated by others, that the great
Reformation Society would give, in a private way, five guineas a head
to every convert, taking them either by the individual or the family,
although the conversion of the latter, he said, was far more coveted
than even a greater number of individuals, when they were not bound by
the same ties of blood, inasmuch, as the bringing them over by families
was an outpouring of grace which could not be withstood. The consequence
was, that all the profligate and unprincipled who had cold, and
nakedness, and famine, in addition to their own utter want of all moral
feeling to stimulate them, looked upon the new Reformation and its
liberal promises as a complete windfall blown into their way by some
unexpected piece of good fortune. Five guineas a head! And all for only
going to church, and gaining for ever more the heart and affections of
the good and kind Lord ------. There was also another class, the simple
and honest poor, who had no other way of avoiding all the rigors and
privations of that terrible season, than a painful compliance with the
only principle which could rescue themselves and their children, from a
state of things worse than death itself--and which might probably have
terminated in death--we mean the principle of the new Reformation. There
was, still, a third class--which consisted of a set of thorough Irish
wags, who looked upon the whole thing as an excellent joke--and who,
while they had not a rag to their backs, nor a morsel for their mouths,
enjoyed the whole ceremony of reading their recantation, renouncing
Popery, and all that, as a capital spree while it lasted, and a thing
that ought by all means to be encouraged, until better times came.

In vain, therefore, did Father M’Cabe denounce and prophesy--in vain did
he launch all the dogmas of the church--in vain did he warn, lecture,
and threaten--Darby’s private hint had gone abroad precisely a day
or two before their encounter, and the consequence was what might be
expected. Darby, in fact, overreached him, a circumstance of which, at
the period of their meeting, he was ignorant; but he had just learned
how “the word,” as it was called, had spread, in so extraordinary a
manner, maugre all his opposition a short time before they met; and our
readers need not feel surprised at the tone and temper with which, after
having heard such intelligence, he addressed Darby, nor at the treatment
which that worthy personage received at his hands. Had he known that it
was Darby’s “word” which in point of fact had occasioned “the spread”
 we speak of, he would have made that worthy missionary exhibit a much
greater degree of alacrity than he did.

Before Darby arrives at Mr. Lucre’s, however, we must take the liberty
of anticipating him a little, in order to be present at a conversation
which occurred on this very subject between the worthy Rector and the
Rev. Mr. Clement, his curate. Mr. Clement, like the pious and excellent
Father Roche, was one of those clergymen who feel that these unbecoming
and useless exhibitions, called religious discussions, instead of
promoting a liberal or enlarged view of religion, are only calculated to
envenom the feelings, to extinguish charity, and to contract the
heart. Nay, more, there never was a discussion, they said--and we join
them--since the days of Ussher and the Jesuit, that did not terminate in
a tumult of angry and unchristian recrimination, in which all the common
courtesies of life, not to mention the professed duties of Christian
men, were trampled on, and violated without scruple. In the preparations
for the forthcoming discussion, therefore, neither of these worthy men
took any part whatsoever. The severe duties of so large a parish, the
calls of the sick, the poor, and the dying, together with the varied
phases of human misery that pressed upon their notice as they toiled
through the obscure and neglected paths of life, all in their opinion,
and, in ours, too, constituted a sufficiently ample code of duty,
without embroiling themselves in these loud and turbulent encounters.

Mr. Clement, who, on this same day, had received a message from Mr.
Lucre, found that gentleman in remarkably good spirits. He had just
received a present of a fine haunch of venison from a fox-hunting
nobleman in the neighborhood, and was gloating over it, ere its descent
into the larder, with the ruddy fire of epicurism blazing in his eyes.
“Clement,” said he, with a grave, subdued grunt of enjoyment, “come this
way--turn up the venison, Francis--eh, what say you now, Clement? Look
at the depth of the fat!--what a prime fellow that was!--see the flank
he had!--six inches on the ribs at, least! As our countryman, Goldsmith,
says, ‘the lean was so white, and the fat was so ruddy.’”

Clement had often before witnessed this hot spirit of luxury, which
becomes doubly carnal and gross in a minister of God. On this occasion
he did not even smile, but replied gravely, “I am not a judge of
venison, Mr. Lucre; but, I believe you have misquoted the poet, who, I
think, says, ‘the fat was so white, and the lean was so ruddy.’”

“Well, that’s not much, Clement; but, if you were a judge, this would
both delight and astonish you. Now, Francis, I charge you, as you value
your place, your reputation, your future welfare, to be cautious
in dressing it. You know how I wish it done, and, besides, Lord
Mountmorgage, Sir Harry Beevor, Lord ------, and a few clerical friends,
are to dine with me. Come in Clement--Francis, you have heard what
I said! If that haunch is spoiled, I shall discharge you without a
character most positively, so look to it.”

When they entered the library, the table of which was covered with
religious magazines, missionary papers, and reports of religious
societies, both at home and abroad, Mr. Lucre, after throwing himself
into a rich cushioned arm-chair, motioned to his curate to take a seat.

“I have sent for you, Clement,” said he, “to have your advice and
assistance on a subject, in which, I feel confident, that as a sincere
and zealous Protestant, you will take a warm interest. You have heard of
the establishment of our New Reformation Society, of course.”

“I believe it is pretty generally known,” replied Clement.

“It is now,” replied Lucre; “but our objects are admirable. We propose
to carry controversy into all the strongholds of Popery--to enlighten
both priest and people, and, if possible, to transfer the whole Popish
population--_per satiram_--by the lump, as it were--”

“_Per saturum_, I believe,” observed Clement, bowing, “if I may take the
liberty.”

“Sati, satu--well, you may be right; my memory, Clement, retains large
passages best, and ever did--to transfer the whole Popish population
to the Established Church. It is a noble, a glorious speculation, if it
only can be accomplished. Think of the advantages it would confer upon
us! What stability would it not give the Church.”

“I cannot exactly see what peculiar stability it would give the Church,”
 replied Clement, “with the exception of mere numbers alone.”

“How so--what do you mean?”

“Why, sir,” replied Clement, “if we had the numbers you speak of
to-morrow, we would be certainly worse off than we are today. They could
only pay us our tithes, and that they do as it is; if they formed a
portion, and the largest portion they would form, of our church, think
of the immense number of clergy they would require to look to their
religious wants--the number of churches and chapels of ease that must be
built--the number of livings that must be divided--nay, my dear sir, in
addition to this, you may easily see, that for every one bishop now, we
should have at least four, then, and that the incomes would diminish in
proportion. As it is now, sir, we have the tithes without the trouble of
laboring for them, but it would be a different case in your new position
of affairs.”

Mr. Lucre, who, in the heat of his zeal, had neither permitted himself
to see matters in this light, nor to perceive that Clement’s arguments
concealed, under a grave aspect, something of irony and satire, looked
upon his curate with dismay--the smooth and rosy cheek got pale, as did
the whole purple face down to the third chin, each of which reminded one
of the diminished rainbows in the sky, if we may be allowed to except
that they were not so heavenly.

“Clement,” said he, “you amaze me--that is a most exceedingly clear view
of the matter. Transfer them! no such thing, it would be a most dreadful
calamity, unless church property were proportionately increased; but,
could not that be done, Clement? Yes,” said he, exulting at the idea,
as one of which he ought to feel proud, “that could and would be
done--besides I relish the multiplication of the bishoprics, under any
circumstances, and therefore we will proceed with the Reformation. At
all events, it would be a great blessing to get rid of Popery, which we
would do, if we could accomplish this glorious project.”

“I must confess, sir,” replied Mr. Clement gravely, “that I have never
been anxious for a mere change of speculative opinions in any man,
unless when accompanied by a corresponding improvement in his life and
morals. With respect to the Reformation Society, I beg leave to
observe that I think the plan for the present is unseasonable, and only
calculated to fill the kingdom with religious dissention and hatred.
The people, sir, are not prepared to have their religion taken by storm;
they are too shrewd for that; and I really think we have no just cause
to feel anxious for the conversion of those who cannot appreciate the
principles upon which they embrace our faith, as must be the case with
ninety-nine out of every hundred of them. I have ever been of opinion
that the policy pursued by England towards this country has been the
bane of its happiness. She deprived the Irish Roman Catholics of the
means of acquiring education, and then punished them for the crimes
which proceeded from their ignorance. They were a dissatisfied, a
tumultuous, and an impracticable, because they were an oppressed,
people; and where, by the way, is there a people, worthy to be named
such, who will or ought to rest contented under penal and oppressive
laws. But there was a day when they would have been grateful for the
relaxation of such laws. Oppression, however, has its traditions, and
so has revenge, and these can descend from father to son, without
education. If Roman Catholic disabilities had been removed at a proper
time, they would long since have been forgotten, but they were not, and
now they are remembered, and will be remembered. The prejudices of the
Roman Catholics, however, and their enmity towards those who oppressed
them, increased with their numbers and their knowledge. The religion of
those who kept them down was Protestant; and think you, sir, that, be
the merits of that religion what they may, these are the people to
come over in large masses, without esteem for us, reflection, or any
knowledge of its principles, and embrace the creed of the very men
whom they look upon as their oppressors. Sir, there is but one way of
converting the Irish, and it this:--Let them find the best arguments for
Protestantism in the lives of its ministers, and of all who profess it.
Let the higher Protestant clergy move more among the humbler classes
even of their own flocks--let them be found more frequently where
the Roman Catholic priest always is--at the sick-bed--in the house of
mourning, of death, and of sin--let them abandon the unbecoming pursuits
of an ungodly ambition--cast from them the crooked and dishonest
manoeuvres of political negotiation and intrigue--let them live more
humbly, and more in accordance with the gospel which they preach--let
them not set their hearts upon the church merely because it is a wealthy
corporation, calculated rather to gratify their own worldly ambition or
cupidity, than the spiritual exigencies of their own flocks--let them
not draw their revenues from the pockets of a poor people who disclaim
their faith, whilst they denounce and revile that faith as a thing not
to be tolerated. Let them do this, sir--free Protestantism from the
golden shackles which make it the slave of Mammon, that it may be able
to work--do this, and depend upon it, that it will then flourish as it
ought; but, in my humble opinion, until such a reform first takes place
with ourselves, it is idle to expect that Roman Catholics will come
over to us, unless, indeed, a few from sordid and dishonest motives--and
these we were better without. I think, therefore, that the present
Reformation Society is unseasonable and ill-advised, nor do I hesitate
to predict that the event will prove it so. In conclusion, sir, I am
sorry to say, that I’ve seldom seen one of those very zealous clergymen
who would not rather convert one individual from Popery than ten from
sin.”

“Why, Clement, you are a liberal!”

“I trust, sir, I am a Christian. As for liberalism, as it is generally
understood, no man scorns the cant of it more than I do. But I cannot
think that a Roman Catholic man sincerely worshipping God--even with,
many obvious errors in his forms, or, with what we consider absurdities
in his very creed--I cannot think, I say, that such a man, worshipping
the Almighty according to his knowledge, will be damned. To think so
is precisely the doctrine of exclusive salvation, with which we charge
Popery itself.”

Mr. Lucre’s face, during the enunciation of these sentiments,
glowed like a furnace thrice heated--he turned up his eyes--groaned
aloud--struck the arm of his chair with his open hand--then commenced
fanning his breast, as if the act were necessary to cool that
evangelical indignation, in which there is said to be no sin.

“Clement,” said he, “this--this”--here he kept fanning down his choler
for half a minute--“this is--astonishing--awful--monstrous--monstrous
doctrine to come from the lips of a clergyman--man”--another
fanning--“of the Established Church; but what is still worse,
from--from--the lips of my curate! my curate! I’ll trouble you to touch
the bell--thank you, sir. But, Mr. Clement, the circumstance of giving
utterance to such opinions, so abruptly, as if you were merely stating
some common-place fact--without evincing the slightest consideration for
me--without reflecting upon who and what I am--without remembering my
position--my influence--the purity and orthodoxy of my doctrine--the
services I have rendered to religion, and to a Protestant
government--(John, a glass of water; quickly)--you forget, sir, that I
have proved the Romish Church to be both damnable and idolatrous--that
she is without the means of salvation--that her light is out--her
candlestick removed--and that she is nothing now but darkness, and
abomination, and blasphemy. Yes, sir; knowing all this, you could openly
express such doctrines, without giving me a moment’s notice, or anything
to, prepare me for such a shock!--sir, I am very much distressed
indeed; but I thank my God that this excitement--(bring it here,
John; quick:)--that this excitement is Christian excitement--Christian
excitement, Mr. Clement; for I am not, I trust, without thai zeal for
the interests of my church, of my King, and of Protestantism at large,
which becomes a man who has labored for them as I have done.”

Here, notwithstanding the excessive thirst which seemed to have fastened
on him, he put the glass to his lips; but, sooth to say, like the
widow’s cruse, it seemed to have been gifted with the miraculous
property of going from his lips as full as when it came to them.

“I assure you, Mr. Lucre,” replied Clement, “in uttering my sentiments,
I most certainly had not the slightest intention of giving you offence.
I spoke calmly, and candidly, and truly, what I think and feel--and I
regret that I should have offended you so much; for I only expressed
the common charity of our religion, which hopeth all things--is slow to
condemn, and forbids us to judge, lest we be judged.”

“Clement,” said Mr. Lucre, who, to speak truth, had ascribed his
excitement--what a base, servile, dishonest, hypocritical scoundrel of
a word is that excitement--ready to adopt any meaning, to conceal any
failing, to disguise any fact, to run any lying message whatsoever at
the beck and service of falsehood or hypocrisy. If a man is drunk, in
steps excitement--Lord, sir, he was only excited, a little excited;--if
a man is in a rage, like Mr. Lucre, he is only excited, moved by
Christian excitement--out upon it!--but, like every other slavish
instrument, we must use it--had ascribed his excitement, we say, to
causes that had nothing whatsoever to do in occasioning it--the _bona
fide_ one being the indirect rebuke, to him, and the class to which
he belonged, that was contained in Clement’s observations upon the
Established Church and her ecclesiastics. “Clement,” said he, “I must be
plain with you. For some time past I have really suspected the soundness
of your views--I had doubts of your orthodoxy; but out of consideration
for your large family, I did not press you for an explanation.”

“Then, sir,” replied Clement, “allow me to say, that as an orthodox
clergyman, jealous of the purity of our creed, and anxious for the
spiritual welfare of your flock, it was your duty to have done so. As
for me, I shall be at all times both ready and willing to render
an account of the faith that is in me. I neither fear nor deprecate
investigation, sir, I assure you.”

“I certainly knew not, however, that you were so far gone in
latitudinarianism, as I find, unfortunately, to be the case. I hold a
responsible--a sacred situation, as a Protestant minister, Mr. Clement,
and consequently cannot suffer such doctrine to spread through my flock.
Besides, had you taken an active part in promoting this Reformation,
as, with your learning and talents I know you could have done--I make no
allusion now to your unhappy principles--had you done so it was my fixed
intention to have increased your salary ten pounds per annum, out of my
own pocket, notwithstanding the great claims that are upon me.”

“My legal salary, I believe, Mr. Lucre, is seventy-five pounds per
annum, and the value of your benefice is one thousand four hundred. I
may say the whole duty is performed by me. Out of that one thousand four
hundred, I receive sixty; but I shall add nothing more--for indeed I
have yet several visits to make before I go home. As to my orthodoxy,
sir, you will take your own course. To my bishop I am ready to explain
my opinions; they are in accordance with the Word of God; and if for
entertaining them I am deprived of the slender support for which I
labor, as your curate, my trust in God will not be the less.”

Mr. Lucre declined any reply, but bowed very politely, and rang
the bell, to order his carriage, as a hint to Mr. Clement that the
conversation was closed. The latter bowed, bade him good morning, and
departed.

When Mr. Clement said he had some visits to make, we must, lest the
reader might suppose they are visits of ceremony, follow his steps in
order to learn the nature of these visits.

About half a mile from the Glebe house of Castle Cumber, the meek and
unassuming curate entered into an abode of misery and sorrow, which
would require a far more touching pen than ours to describe. A poor
widow sat upon the edge of a little truckle bed with the head of one of
her children on her lap; another lay in the same bed silent and feeble,
and looking evidently ill. Mr. Clement remembered to have seen the boy
whom she supported, not long before playing about the cottage, his rosy
cheeks heightened into a glow of health and beauty by the exercise, and
his fair, thick-clustered hair blown about by the breeze. The child was
dying, and the tender power of a mother’s love prompted her to keep him
as near her breaking heart as she could, during the short space that
remained of his brief existence. When Mr. Clement entered, the lonely
mother looked upon him with an aspect of such bitter sorrow, of such
helpless supplication in her misery, as if she said, am I left to the
affliction of my own heart! Am I cut off from the piety and comfort,
which distress like mine ought to derive from Christian sympathy and
fellowship! Have I not even a human face to look upon, but those of my
dying children! Such in similar circumstances are the questions which
the heart will ask. She could not immediately speak, but with the head
of her dying boy upon her heart she sat in mute and unbroken agony,
every pang of her departing orphan throwing a deeper shade of affliction
over her countenance, and a keener barb of sorrow into her heart.

The champion of God, however, was at his post. He advanced to the
bed-side, and in tones which proclaimed the fulness of his sympathy in
her sufferings, and with a countenance lit up by that trust in heaven
which long trials of his own and similar bereavements had given him, he
addressed her in words of comfort and consolation, and raised her heart
to better hopes than any which this world of care and trial can bestow.
It is difficult, however, to give comfort in such moments, nor is it
prudent to enforce it too strongly. The widow looked upon her boy’s
face, which was sweetly marked with the graces of innocence, even in
the throes of death. The light of life was nearly withdrawn from his dim
blue eye; but he felt from time to time for the mother’s, hands, and
the mother’s bosom. He was striving, too, to utter his little complaint;
attempting probably to describe his sufferings, and to beg relief from
his unhappy parent; but the dissolving power of death was on all his
faculties; his words lapsed into each, other indistinctly, and were
consequently unintelligible. Mrs. Vincent, for such was the widow’s
name, heard the words addressed to her by Mr. Clement; she raised her
eyes, to heaven for a moment, and then turned them, heavy with misery,
upon her dying boy. Her heart--her hopes:--almost her whole being
were peculiarly centered in the object before her; and though she had
imagined that sympathy might support her, she now felt that no human
power could give her consolation. The tears were falling fast from Mr.
Clement’s cheeks, who felt, that until the agonies of the boy were
over, it would be vain to offer her any kind of support. At length she
exclaimed--

“Oh! Saviour, who suffered the agony of the cross, and who loved little
children like him, let your mercy descend upon my beloved! Suffer him to
come to you soon. Oh! Saviour--hear a mother’s prayer, for I loved him
above all, and he was our life! Core of my heart, you are striving to
tell your mother what you suffer, but the weight of death is upon your
tongue, and you cannot do it! I am here, my beloved sufferer--I am
here--you struggle to find my hands to tell me--to tell me--but I cannot
help you.”

“Mrs. Vincent,” said the curate, “we have reason to believe that what
appears to us to be the agony of death, is not felt so severely as we
imagine; strive to moderate your grief--and reflect that he will soon
be in peace, and joy, and happiness, that will never end. His little
sorrows and sufferings will soon be over, and the bosom of a merciful
God will receive him into life and glory.”

“But, sir,” replied the widow, the tears fast streaming down her cheeks,
“do you not see what he suffers? Look at the moisture that is on his
little brow, and see how he writhes with the pain. He thinks that I can
stop it, and it is for that he presses my hand. During his whole illness
that was still his cry--‘oh, mother, take away this pain, why don’t you
take away the pain!’”

Mr. Clement was a father, and an affectionate one, and this allusion
to the innocence of the little sufferer touched his heart, and he was
silent.

The widow proceeded: “there he lies, my only--only son--his departed
father’s image, and I looked up to him to be one day my support, my
pride, and my happiness--but see what he is now! Oh! James, James,
wouldn’t I lay down my life to save yours!”

“You look at the dark side of the picture, Mrs. Vincent,” said the
curate. “Think upon what he may escape by his early and his happy death.
You know not, but that there was crime, and sin, and affliction before
him. Consider how many parents there are now in the world, who would
feel happy that their children, who bring shame, and distress, and
misery upon them, had been taken to God in their childhood. And, surely,
there is still a God to provide for your self and your other little
ones; for remember, you have still those who have tender claims upon
your heart.”

“I know you are right, sir,” she replied “but in cases like this, nature
must have its way. Death, death, but you’re cruel! Oh--blessed Father,
what is this!”

One last convulsive spasm, one low agonizing groan, accompanied by a
relaxation of the little fingers which had pressed her hands, closed the
sufferings of the widow’s pride. She stooped wildly over him and pressed
him to her heart, as if by doing so she could draw his pains into her
own frame, as they Were already in her spirit; but his murmurings were
silent, and on looking closely into his countenance, she perceived that
his Redeemer had, indeed, suffered her little one to go unto him; that
all his little pains and agonies were over forever.

“His sufferings are past,” she exclaimed, “James, your sufferings are
over!” As she uttered the words, the curate was astonished by hearing
her burst out into one or two wild hysteric laughs, which happily ended
in tears.

“No more,” she continued, “you’ll feel no more pain now, my precious
boy; your voice will never sound in my ears again; you’ll never call
on me to say ‘mother, take away my pain;’ the Sunday mornin’ will never
come when I will take pride in dressing you. My morning and evening kiss
will never more be given--all my heart was fixed on is gone, and I care
not now what becomes of me.”

What could the good curate do? He strove to soothe, sustain, and comfort
her, but in vain; the poor widow heard him not.

“Jenny,” said she, at length, turning to, the other sick child, “your
brother is at rest! James is at rest; he will disturb your sleep now no
more--nor will you disturb his.”

“Oh! but he couldn’t help it, mammy; it was the pain that made him.”

As the child uttered these words, the widow put her hand to her heart,
gave two or three rapid sobs--her bosom heaved, and her head fell back
over a chair that was accidentally beside her. Mr. Clement caught her
in time to prevent her from falling; he placed her upright on the chair,
which he carried to, the little dresser, where he found a jug of water,
the only drink she had to give her sick children. With this he bathed
her temples and wet her lips, after which he looked upon the scene of
death and affliction by which he was surrounded.

“Gracious Father,” he exclaimed, “let, your mercy reach this most
pitiable family! Look with eyes of pity and compassion upon this
afflicted and bereaved woman! Oh, support her--she is poor and nearly
heart-broken, and the world has abandoned her! Oh, do not abandon her,
Father of all mercy, and God of all consolation!”

As he concluded, the widow recovered, and felt his tears falling upon
her face. On looking she perceived how deeply he was affected. Her lips
opened unconsciously with a blessing on him who shared in, and soothed
her sorrows--her voice was feeble, for she had not yet recovered her
strength; but the low murmur of her prayers and blessings rose like the
sounds of sweet but melancholy music to heaven, and was heard there.

Mr. Clement then went over to the bed, and with his own hands smoothed
it down for the little sick sister of the departed boy, adjusting the
bed-clothes about her as well as he could, for the other children were
too., young to do anything. He then divided the hair upon the
lifeless child’s forehead--contemplated his beautiful features for a
moment--caught his little hand in his--let it fall--oh! how lifelessly!
he then shook his head, raised his eyes, and pointing to heaven,
exclaimed--

“There--Mrs. Vincent, let your hopes lie there.”

He then departed, with a promise of seeing her soon.



CHAPTER XII.--Interview between Darby and Mr. Lucre

--Darby feels Scriptural, and was as Scripturally treated--Mr. Lucre’s
Christian Disposition towards Father M’Cabe--A few Brands offer
Themselves to be Plucked from the Burning--Their Qualification, for
Conversion, as stated by Themselves.


Mr. Lucre, like almost every Protestant rector of the day, was a
magistrate, a circumstance which prevented Mr. Clement from feeling
any surprise at seeing a considerable number of persons, of both sexes,
approaching the glebe. He imagined, naturally enough, that they were
going upon law business, as it is termed--for he knew that Mr. Lucre,
during his angel visits to Castle Cumber, took much more delight in
administering the law than the gospel, unless, when ready made, in the
shape of Bibles. When Darby, also, arrived, he found a considerable
number of these persons standing among a little clump of trees in the
lawn, apparently waiting for some person to break the ice, and go in
first--a feat which each felt anxious to decline himself, whilst he
pressed it very strongly upon his neighbor. No sooner had Darby made
his appearance than a communication took place between him and them,
in which it was settled that he was to have the first interview, and
afterwards direct the conduct and motions of the rest. There was,
indeed, a dry, knowing look about him, which seemed to imply, in fact,
that they were not there without some suggestion from himself.

Darby was very well known to Mr. Lucre, for whom he had frequently acted
in the capacity of a bailiff; he accordingly entered with something like
an appearance of business, but so admirably balanced was his conduct on
this occasion, between his usual sneaking and servile manner, and
his privileges as a Christian, that it would be difficult to witness
anything so inimitably well managed as his deportment. One circumstance
was certainly strongly in his favor; Father M’Cabe had taken care to
imprint with his whip a _prima facie_ testimony of sincerity upon
his countenance, which was black, and swollen into large welts by the
exposition of doctrinal truth which he had received at that gentleman’s
hands. Lucre, on seeing him, very naturally imagined he was coming
to lodge informations for some outrage committed on him either in the
discharge of his duty as bailiff, or, for having become a convert, a
fact with which he had become acquainted from the True Blue.

“Well, O’Drive,” said he, “what is the matter now? you are sadly
abused--how came this to pass?”

Darby first looked upwards, very like a man who was conscientiously
soliciting some especial grace or gift from above; his lips moved as if
in prayer, but he was otherwise motionless--at length he ceased--drew
a lone breath, and assumed the serenity of one whose prayer had
been granted. The only word he uttered that could possibly be at all
understood, was amen; which he pronounced lowly, but still distinctly,
and in as unpopish a manner as he could.

“I beg your pardon, sir,” he replied, “but now my heart’s aisier--I hope
I have overcome that feeling that was an me--I can now forgive him for
the sake of the spread o’ the gospel, and I do.”

“What has happened your face?--you are sadly abused!”

“A small taste o’ parsecution, sir, which the Lord put into Father
M’Cabe’s horsewhip--heart I mane--to give me, bekaise I renounced his
hathenism, and came into the light o’ thruth--may He be praised for it!”
 Here followed an upturning of the eyes after the manner of M’Slime.

“Do you mean to tell me, O’Drive, that this outrage has been committed
on you by that savage priest, M’Cabe?”

“It was he left me as you see, sir--but it’s good to suffer in this
world, especially for the thruth. Indeed I am proud of this face,” he
continued, blinking with a visage so comically disastrous at Mr. Lucre,
that had that gentleman had the slightest possible perception of the
ludicrous in his composition, not all the gifts and graces that ever
were poured down upon the whole staff of the Reformation Society
together, would have prevented him from laughing outright. “Of course
you are come,” pursued Lucre, “to swear information against this man?”

“I have prayed for it,” said Darby in a soliloquy, “and I feel that it
has been granted. Swear information, sir?--I’ll strive and do betther
than that, I hope; I must now take my stand by the Bible, sir; that will
be the color I’ll hoist while I live. In that blessed book I read these
words this mornin’, ‘love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do
good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you
and parsecute you.’ Sir, when I read these words, I felt them slidin’
into my heart, and I couldn’t help repeatin’ them to myself, ever
since--and, even when Father M’Cabe was playin’ his whip about my ears,
I was as hard at work prayin’ for his sowl.”

This, we have no doubt, was perfectly true, only we fear that our
blessed convert forgot to state the precise nature and object of the
prayer in question, and to mention whether it was to the upper or lower
settlement he consigned the soul alluded to. This Christian spirit of
Darby’s, however, was by no means in keeping with that of Mr. Lucre, who
never was of opinion, in his most charitable of moods, that the gospel
should altogether supersede the law. On this occasion, especially, he
felt an acuteness of anxiety to got the priest within his power, which
the spirit of no gospel that ever was written could repress. M’Cabe and
he had never met, or, at least, never spoke; but the priest had, since
the commencement of the new movement, sent him a number of the most
ludicrous messages, and transmitted to him, for selection, a large
assortment of the most comical and degrading epithets. Here, then,
was an opportunity of gratifying his resentment in a Christian and
constitutional spirit, and with no obstacle in his way but Darby’s
inveterate piety. This, however, for the sake of truth, he hoped to
remove, or so modify, that it would not prevent him from punishing that
very disloyal and idolatrous delinquent.

“Those feelings, O’Drive, are all very good and creditable to you, and
I am delighted indeed that you entertain them--but, in the meantime, you
owe a duty to society greater than that which you owe to yourself.
This man, this priest--a huge, ferocious person I understand he is--has
latterly been going about the parish foaming and raging, and seeking
whom he can horsewhip.”

“That’s thruth, sir, poor dark hathen--an’, sir--jist beggin’ your
pardon for one minute, half a minute, sir--you know we’re desired when
an inimy strikes us upon one cheek to turn the other to him; well, as I
said, sir, I found myself very Scriptural this whole day, so when he hit
me the first welt on this cheek, I turns round the other, an’ now look
at the state it’s in, sir--but that’s not all, sir, he tuck the hint at
once, and gave it to me on both sides, till he left me as you see me.
Still, sir, I can forgive him, and I have done it.”

“That, as I said, reflects great credit on your principles--but, in the
meantime, you can still retain these principles and prosecute him.
Your lodging informations against him does not interfere with your own
personal forgiveness of him at all--because it is in behalf of, and for
the safety of society that you come forward to prosecute now.”

Darby, who in point of fact had his course already taken, shook his head
and replied, falling back upon the form of M’Slime’s language as much as
he could--

“I feel, sir,” he replied, “that I’m not permitted.”

“Permitted!” repeated the other. “What do you menu?”

“I’m not permitted from above, sir, to prosecute this man. I’m not
justified in it.”

“Quite ridiculous, O’Drive, where did you pick up this jargon of the
conventicle--but that reminds me, by the by--you are not a convert
to the Established Church. You belong to the Dissenters, and owe your
change of opinions to Mr. M’Slime.”

“If I don’t belong to the Established Church now, sir,” replied Darby,
“I won’t be long so.”

“Why,” inquired the other, “are you not satisfied with the denomination
of Christians you have joined?”

“M’Slime, sir, converted me--as you say--but I’ve great objections--and
between you and me, I, fear it’s not altogether safe for any man to take
his religion from an attorney.”

A smile, as much as he could condescend to, passed over the haughty, but
dignified features of Mr. Lucre.

“O’Drive,” said he, “I did not think you possessed so much simplicity
of character as I perceive you do--but touching the prosecution of this
man--you must lodge information, forthwith. You shall bring the warrant
to Mr. M’Clutchy who will back it, and put it into the hands of those
who will lose little time in having it executed.”

“I am sorry, sir, that my conscience doesn’t justify me in doin’ what
you wish.”

“What do you mean by conscience, sir?” asked the other, getting warm,
“if you have a conscience you will have no scruple in punishing a man
who is an open enemy to truth, to the gospel, and to the spread of it
through a benighted land. How can you reconcile it to your conscience to
let such a man escape.”

“Simply by forgiving him, sir--by lettin’ the great, big, ignorant
hathen, have the full benefit of a gospel forgiveness. That’s what I
mean, sir, and surely it stands to sense that I couldn’t prosecute him
wid these feelin’s, barrin’ I’d go against the Word.”

“O’Drive,” said Lucre, evidently mortified at Darby’s obstinacy, “one of
two things is true; either you are utterly ignorant, perhaps, with every
disposition to know them, of the sanctions and obligations of religion,
or you are still a Papist at heart, and an impostor. I tell you, sir,
once more, that it is upon religious grounds that you ought to prosecute
this wild priest; because in doing so, you render a most important
service to religion and morality, both of which are outraged in his
person. You ought to know this. Again, sir, if you are a Protestant, and
have thoroughly cast Popery from your heart, you must necessarily be a
loyal man and a good subject; but if you refuse to prosecute him, you
can be neither the one nor the other, but a Papist and an impostor,
and I’ve done with you. If Mr. M’Clutchy knew, sir, that you refused
to prosecute a priest for such a violent outrage upon your person, I
imagine you would not long hold the situation of bailiff under him.”

Darby looked into the floor like a philosopher solving a problem.
“I see, sir,” said he, “I see--well--you have made that clear enough
sartinly; but you know, sir, how could you expect such deep raisoning
upon these subjects from a man like me. I see the duty of it now
clearly; but, when, sir, on the other hand if I prosecute him, what’s to
become of me? Will you, sir, bear my funeral expenses?”

“Every penny, O’Drive,” replied the other, eagerly. “Tut,” he exclaimed,
checking himself, “I--I--I thought you meant the expenses of the
prosecution.”

“It’s much the same, sir,” replied Darby, “the one will be sure to
follow the other. You know the state the country’s in now, sir, and
how the people on both sides are ready to skiver one another about this
religion, and rents and tithes, and dear knows what besides. As it
is, sir,” he proceeded, “you see that I dursn’t walk the road without
these,” and he produced the pistols as he spoke, “but what chance, sir,
would I have if I prosecuted a priest? Why, my life wouldn’t be worth
two hours’ purchase.”

Mr. Lucre himself could not help feeling and admitting the truth of
this, but as he could devise no plan to obviate the dangers alluded to,
he still scrupled not to urge the prosecution.

“Sir,” said Darby starting, as if a gleam of light had shot across his
brain, “a thought has just struck me, and I hope it was something from
above that sent it. If there was any kind of situation, sir, that
I could fill, and that would keep me in a place of safety where the
hathens couldn’t get at me, everything would be right; and be the same
token, sir, now that I think of it, isn’t the under gaoler-ship of
Castle Cumber vacant this minute.”

Lucre who, in fact, had set his heart on prosecuting and punishing the
priest, would have gladly made Darby governor of the best gaol in his
majesty’s dominions, rather than lose this opportunity of effecting his
purpose.

“Rest contented, O’Drive,” he replied, “you shall have it--I pledge
myself that you shall have it. My influence is sufficient for much more
than so paltry a trifle as that. And now for the informations.”

“Ah, sir,” replied the other, “that wouldn’t mend the matter a bit. Let
it go once abroad that I swore them, and I’d never see to-morrow night.
No, sir, if you wish him properly prosecuted,--and I think I ought to
know how to do it, too;--but if you wish him properly punished, place
me first out of harm’s way--out o’ the reach o’ the hathens; put me into
the situation before we take a single step in the business, then I’ll be
safe and can work in it to some purpose.”

“It shall be done,” said Lucre, “and I will go about it presently, but
in the mean time the matter rests as it is. If what you say is true, and
I believe it is, your own safety depends upon your silence.”

“Not a breath,” replied Darby; “and now, sir, about what brought me
here--I wanted to say that I’d wish ‘_to read_’ upon Sunday next.”

“What do you mean?” asked Lucre.

“Why, sir, as I said, I don’t like to take my religion from an
attorney--and I’m afeard, besides, that he’s not altogether orthybox,
in regard that he hinted once that God was ------; but, indeed I
disremember his words, for it wasn’t aisy to hould them when you got
them.”

“He, of course, is a Fatalist and Predestinarian,” said Lucre; “but
what is this you were about to say?”

“Why, sir, that I’d wish publicly to read my recompensation in your
church on Sunday next.”

“And why in my church?” asked the proud parson, who felt his vanity
touched, not by anything Darby had yet said, but by the indescribable
expression of flattery which appeared in his face.

“Why, sir,” he replied, “bekase it’s given out on all hands that there’s
no end to your larnin’--that it’s wondherful the books you wrote--and
as for your preachin’, that it ‘ud make one think themselves in heaven,
hell, or purgatory, accordin as you wished.”

“Very well, O’Drive, very well indeed,” exclaimed Lucre, caught on
his weakest side by this artful compliment; “but you must forget
purgatory--however I can conceive that it was the mere force of
habit that prompted you to utter it. Well, then, you shall read your
recantation on Sunday, since you wish it--there will be about a dozen or
two others, and you had better attend early. Good-day, O’Drive!”

“Plaise your honor,” said Darby, who never could be honest to both
parties, “there’s a batch o’ convarts outside waitin’ to see you, but
between you and me, I think you had as well be on your guard wid some o’
them, I know what they want.”

“And pray, what is that, O’Drive?”

“Why, thin, for fraid I may be doin’ the crathurs injustice, sir, I
won’t say; only jist take my hint, any how. Good mornin’ kindly, sir!”

As Darby passed the group we have alluded to, he winked at them very
knowingly, “go up,” said he, “go up I say:--may be I didn’t give yez
a lift since, and mark me, huld to the five guineas a head, and to be
provided for aftherwards. Paddy Cummins do you go up, I say--bannath
lath!”

Paddy went up, and in a few minutes a ragged, famine-wasted creature
entered with his old caubeen between his hands, and after having ducked
down his head, and shrugged his shoulders alternately, stood with an
abashed look before Mr. Lucre.

“Well, my good man, what is your business with me?”

To this the countryman prepared to reply,--first, by two or three
additional shrugs; secondly, by raising his right elbow, and pulling
up all that remained of the collar of his tattered cothamore, or great
coat, after which he gave a hem.

“Have you no tongue, my good fellow?”

A shrug--“hem--why, sir, but that was a great sarmon you praiched
on last Sunda’, plaise you honor. Faitha, sir, there was mighty fine
discoorsin’ in it about rail-ligion?”

“O! the sermon--did you hear it, my good man?”

“Faitha, sir, I was there sure enough, in spite o’ Father M’Cabe, an’
all.”

“Sit down, my good friend, sit down--well, you attended the sermon, you
say--pray how did you like it?”

“Faitha, sir, sure nobody could dislike it bedad, sir, we’re all greatly
disappointed wid the priests afther hearin’ it--it was wondherful to
hear, the deep larnin’ you brought forrid, sir, against them, an’ our
church in gineral. Begad myself was mightily improved by it.”

“Don’t swear, though--well you were improved by it, you say--pray what
is your name?”

“I’m one Paddy Cummins, sir, a shister’s son of--”

“Well, Cummins, I’m very happy to hear that you were edified, and
happier still that you had sense to perceive the side upon which truth
lay.”

“Faitha, thin, your reverence, I seen that widout much throuble; but,
sure they say, sir, there’s to be a power of us turnin’ over to yez.”

“I hope so, Cummins--we are anxious that you should see the errors of
the creed you so ignorantly profess, and abandon them.”

“Sure enough, sir--dad, sir, your ministhers is fine men, so you
are--then you’re so rich, sir, plaise your honor--they do be sayin’,
sir, that the reverend gintlemen of your church have got a great deal of
money among them somehow, in regard that it ‘ud be needful to help poor
crathurs that ‘ud turn, and keep them from the parsecution, sir.”

“Cummins, my good friend, allow me to set you right. We never give
a penny of money to any one for the sake of bringing him over to our
church; if converts come to us it must be from conviction, not from
interest.”

“I see, sir--but sure I’m not wantin’ the promise at all, your
honor--sure I know you must keep yourselves clear anyway--only the five
guineas a head that I’m tould is to be given.”

“Five guineas a head!--pray who told you so?”

“Faitha, sir, I couldn’t exactly say, but every one says it. It’s said
we’re to get five guineas a head, sir, and be provided for afther; I
have nine o’ them, sir, eight crathurs and Biddy herself--she can’t
spake English, but, wid the help o’ God, I could consthre it for her.
Faith, she’d make a choice Prodestan, sir, for wanst she takes a thing
into her head the devil wouldn’t get it out. As for me, I don’t want a
promise at all, your reverence, barrin’ that if it ‘ud be plaisin’ to
you, jist to lay your forefinger along your nose--merely to show that
we undherstand one another--it ‘ud be as good to me as the bank. The
crathur on the breast, your reverence, we’d throw in as a luck penny, or
dhuragh, and little Paddy we give at half price.”

“Did you hear all this?”

“Faitha, then, we did, sir--and sure, as you don’t like to have the
thing known, I can keep my tongue atween my teeth as well as e’er a
convart livin’--an’ as for Biddy, by only keepin’ her from the dhrink,
she’s as close as the gate of heaven to a heretic. Bedad, sir, this new
light bates everything.”

“My good friend, Cummins, I tell you I have no money to give,--neither
is there anything to be given,--for the sake of conversion--but, if
your notions of your own religion are unsettled, put yourself under Lord
------‘s chaplain; and, if, in the due course of time, he thinks you
sufficiently improved to embrace our faith, you and your family may be
aided by some comforts suitable to your condition.”

Cummins’ face lengthened visibly at ‘an intimation which threw him so
far from his expectations; the truth being, that he calculated upon
receiving the money the moment he read his recantation. He looked at
Mr. Lucre again as significantly as he could--gave his head a scratch of
remonstrance--shrugged himself as before--rubbed his elbow--turned round
his hat slowly, examined its shape, and gave it a smarter set, after
which he gave a dry hem and prepared to speak.

“I’ll hear nothing further on the subject,” said the other, “withdraw.”

Without more ado Cummins slunk out of the room, highly disappointed, but
still not without hopes from Lord ------, to whom, or his chaplain, he
resolved to apply. In the meantime he made the best of his way home to
his starving wife and children, without having communicated the result
of his visit to those who were assembled at the glebe house.

He had scarcely left the hall door when another claimant for admission
presented himself in the person of a huge, tattered fellow, with red,
stiff hair standing up like reeds through the broken crown of his hat,
which he took off on entering. This candidate for Protestantism had
neither shoe nor stocking on him, but stalked in, leaving the prints of
his colossal feet upon the hall through which he passed.

“Well, friend, what is wrong with you?--why did’nt you rub your filthy
feet, sir, before you entered the room? You have soiled all my carpet.”

“I beg your honor’s parding,” said the huge fellow; “I’ll soon cure
that.” Having said which he trotted up to the hearth-rug, in which,
before Lucre had time even to speak, by a wipe from each foot, he left
two immense streaks of mud, which we guess took some hard scrubbing to
remove. “Now, your honor, I hope I’ll do.”

Lucre saw it was useless to remonstrate with him, and said, with more
temper than could be expected--

“Man, what’s your business?”

“I come, sirra,”--this man had a habit of pronouncing sir as sirra,
which he could never overcome--“to tell your reverence to enther me down
at wanst.”

“For what purpose should I enter you down?”

“For the money, sirra; I have seven o’ them, and we’ll all go. You
may christen us if you wish, sirra. ‘Deed I’m tould we must all be
christened over agin, an’ in that case, maybe it ‘ud be plaisin’ to you
to stand godfather for me, yourself, your reverence.”

“What do you mean?--but I suppose I understand you.”

“I mean, sirra, to become a Protestan--I an’ my family, I’m Nickey
Feasthalagh, that was in on suspicion o’ the burnin’ of Nugent’s hay;
and by them five crasses I was as innocent of that as the child onborn,
so I was. Sure they couldn’t prove an me, becoorse I came out wid flying
colors, glory be to God! Here I am now, sir, an’ a right good Prodestan
I’ll make when I come to understand it. An’ let me whisper this, sirra,
I’ll be dam useful in fairs and markets to help the Orangemen to lick
ourselves, your honor, in a skrimmage or party fight, or anything o’
that kidney.”

“I am sorry, Nick Fistula, as you say your name is--”

“Mickey, sirra.”

“Well, Nickey, or Nick, or whatever it may be, I am sorry to say that
you won’t do. You are too great an ornament to your own creed ever to
shine in ours. I happen to know your character--begone.”

“Is Misthre Lucre widin?” asked a third candidate, whose wife
accompanied him--“if he is, maybe you’d tell him that one Barney Grattan
wishes to have a thrifle o’ speech wid his honor.”

“Come in,” said the servant with a smile, after having acquainted his
master.

The man and his wife accordingly entered, having first wiped their feet
as they had been ordered.

“Well, my good man, what’s your business.”

“Rosha, will you let his honor know what we wor spakin’ about? She’ll
tell you, sir.”

“Plaise your honor,” said she, “we’re convarts.”

“Well,” said Mr. Lucre, “that is at least coming to the point. And pray,
my good woman, who converted you?”

“Faix, the accounts that’s abroad, sir, about the gintleman from Dublin,
that’s so full of larnin’, your reverance, and so rich, they say.”

“Then it was the mere accounts that wrought this change in you?”

“_Dhamnu orth a Rosha, go dhe shin dher thu?_” said the husband in
Irish; for he felt that the wife was more explicit than was necessary.
“Never heed her, sir; the crathur, your reverence, is so through other,
that she doesn’t know what she’s sayin’, especially spakin’ to so
honorable a gentleman as your reverence.”

“Then let us hear your version, or rather your conversion.”

“Myself, sir, does be thinkin’ a great deal about these docthrines and
jinnyologies that people is now all runnin’ upon. I can tell a story,
sir, at a wake, or an my kailee wid a, neighbor, as well as e’er a man
in the five parishes. The people say I’m very long headed all out, and
can see far into a thing. They do, indeed, plaise your reverence.”

“Very good.”

“Did you ever hear about one Fin M’Cool who was a great buffer in his
day, and how his wife put the trick upon a big bosthoon of a giant that
came down from Munster to bother Fin? Did you ever hear that, sir?”

“No; neither do I wish to hear it just now.”

“Nor the song of Beal Derg O’Donnel, sir, nor the ‘Fairy River,’
nor ‘the Life and Adventures of Larry Dorneen’s Ass,’ plaise your
reverence.”

“No--but I wish you would allow your wife to relate your business here.”

“Well, sir, the people say I’m very longheaded, and can see far into a
thing--”

“But, my good man, I care not what the people say--tell your story
briefly.”

“--An’ can see far into a thing, your reverence, becaise I’m
long-headed. All longheaded people, sir, is cute, an’ do you know why
they’re cute, sir? No, you don’t, but I’ll tell you--bekaise they’re
long-headed. Now, sir, what ‘ud you think to turn Roman Catholic awhile
till I’d malivogue you in arguin’ Scripture?--I want to prove to you,
sir, that I’m the boy that understands things.”

“What’s your business with me?”

“Will you thry it, sir, and you’ll see how I’ll sober you to your
heart’s delight.”

“What brought your husband to me, my good woman?”

“_Bhe dha husth; fag a rogarah lumsa_.”

“He’s comin’ to it, plaise your reverence,” said the wife.

“Well, sir, so you see, bein’ given to deep ways of thinkin’ o’ my own,
I had many bouts at arguin’ Scripthur--as every longheaded man has, of
coorse--an’ yestherday meetin’ wid Brian Broghan, the mealman--him that
keeps it up on the poor, sir--he challenged me, but, in three skips of
a Scotch Gray, I sacked him cleaner than one of his own meal bags, and
dusted him afterwards:--‘so,’ says he, misther Grattan, see what it is
to be long-headed.”

“It’s worse,” observed Lucre, “to be long-winded. Come to an end, sir.”

“‘Long-headed,’ says he, ‘an’, of coorse you’ll be takin’ the money,’
says Brougham; ‘what money?’ says I. ‘Why, the five guineas,’ says he,
‘that the Biblemen is givin’ to every one that will turn wid them, he
happens to be long-headed--but otherwise, not a penny.’ So, sir, myself,
you see, havin’ the intention to come over long afore for fraid yez
might think it was for the money I am doin’ it. But is there such a
thing, sir?”

“Not a penny, and so you may tell your friends.”

“Well, but, sir, grantin’ that, still you’ll acknowledge that I’m
long-headed.”

“No, only long-winded.”

“Not long-headed, then?”

“No, certainly not.”

“_Damnu orth a veehone bradagh!_ come Rosha. Not long-headed! troth it’s
a poor religion to depind on--an’ I’ll make a show of it yet, if I’m
spared. Come, woman alive.”

Honest Barney was the last but one who was honored by a hearing, though
not the last by a score of those who expected it, and, sooth to say, the
appearance of that one threw the whole proceedings into such exquisite
ridicule, that we cannot resist the temptation of giving his claims and
arguments a place among the rest. The convert in question was no other
than our old friend _Raymond-na-hattha_, or Raymond of the hats; who,
moved by the example of others, and only possessed of a dim notion of
the cause that brought them together, came among them from that vague
motive of action which prompts almost every creature like him to make
one in a crowd, wherever it may assemble. The mind of poor Raymond
was of a very anomalous character indeed; for his memory, which was
wonderful, accumulated in one heterogeneous mass, all the incidents
in which he had ever taken any part, and these were called out of the
confusion, precisely as some chord of association happened to be struck
in any conversation which he held. For this reason he sometimes uttered
sentiments that would have come with more propriety from the lips of a
philosopher than a fool, and again fell to the level of pure idiotism,
so singular were his alternations from sense to nonsense. Lucre’s
porter, himself a wag, knew perfectly well what was going forward, and,
indeed, took very considerable delight in the movement. When Raymond
presented himself, the porter, to whom he was very well known,
determined, for the joke’s sake, that he should have the honor of an
interview as well as the rest. Lucre, as we said, being but seldom at
Castle Cumber, was ignorant of Raymond’s person and character, and,
indeed, we may add, that he stood in a position precisely similar with
respect to almost every one of his own flock. When Raymond entered,
then, he was addressed in much the same terms as the others.

“Well, friend, what is your business?--

“John, admit no more, and let the carriage come round--are you a convert
also?”

“Yes, I am; what have you to give me?”

“A pure and peaceful religion, my friend.”

“Where is it?”

“In this book--this is the Word of God, that preacheth peace and
salvation to all.”

“Has Val M’Clutchy this book?”

“Of course he has--it is not to be supposed that so able and staunch a
friend of Protestantism, of the religion of the state, could be without
this book, or ignorant of it.”

Raymond put it tip to his nose, and after seeming to smell it, said,
with a strong shudder, “how did you do this among you? How did you do
it?--look at it--see, see, it’s dripping wid blood--here’s murder
on this page, there’s starvation on that--there’s the blood-hounds
huntin’--look, sir, look at the poor creature almost worn down, makin’
his way to hide, but he can’t; they have him, they have him--see how
they drag him, as if he was, a--ay, drag, drag, he’s yours now, he’s
yours--whip and scourge, whip and scourge--more blood, more blood--and
this is it, this--don’t you see it, sir, comin’ down in drops when I
hould it up that way!”

“My good friend, you are certainly in liquor--your language is that of a
man strongly affected by drink.”

“And this is it,” Raymond proceeded; “look at this page, that’s not the
one the blood is on; no, no, there’s nothing here but madness. Ah!” said
he, lowering his voice to a tone of deep compassion, “sure she’s mad;
they killed Hugh O’Began, and they killed the two sons, and then she
went mad.--So, you see, there it is now--on that page there’s blood,
and, on this one,--with the big letter on it, there’s madness. Then agin
comes the Turnin’ out. How would you like to walk three long, dreary
miles, in sleet, and frost, and snow, havin’ no house to go to--wid
thin breeches to your bottom, an’ maybe a hole in them--widout shoe or
stockin’ on your hooves--wid a couple of shiverin’, half starved, sick
childre, tied by an ould praskeen to your back, an’ you sinkin’ wid
hunger all the time?--ay, and the tail o’ your old coat blown up behind
every minute, like a sparrow before the wind!--Eh, how would you like
it?”

Lucre still stuck to the hypothesis of liquor, and accordingly went and
rang the porter’s bell, who immediately appeared.

“John,” said his master, “I desire you will immediately show this man
out--he is so scandalously affected with liquor, that he knows not the
purport of his own language.”

John approached his master with a face of awful tenor:--“for God’s sake,
sir,” said he, “don’t say a word that might cross him, sure he’s the
great madman, _Raymond-na-hattha_. Just sit still, and let him take
his own way, and he’ll do no harm in life; appear to listen to him, and
he’ll be like a child--but, if you go to harshness, he’d tear you, and
me, and all that’s in the house, into minced meat.”

Once more did Lucre’s countenance lose its accustomed hue; but, on this
occasion, it assumed the color of a duck egg, or something between a bad
white and a bad blue; “my good friend,” said he, “will you please to take
a seat--John, stay in the room.” This he said in a whisper.

“There,” proceeded Raymond, who had been busily engaged in examining the
pages of the Bible, “there is the page where that’s on--the puttin’ out
in the clouds and storm of heaven--there it is on that page. Look at the
ould man and the ould woman there--see them tremblin’. Don’t cry--don’t
cry; but they are--see the widow there wid her orphans--there’s a
sick boy in that house, and a poor sick girl in that other house--see,
they’re all cryin’--all cryin’--for they must go out, and on sich a day!
All that, now, is upon these two other pages, bekaise, you see, no one
page would hould all that. But see here--here’s a page wid only one
side of it covered--let vis see what’s on it. Oh, ay--here’s the poor
craythur’s childre, wid the poor father and the poor mother; but they
have the one cow to give milk to moisten their bit. Ha--ha--look again,
there she goes off to the pound! Don’t cry, poor helpless crathers; but
how can you help cryin’ when your poor mother’s cryin’. That’s a bitther
thing, too, and it’s on this page--see--that--that--that’s it I’ve
between my fingers--look at it--‘how wet it is wid the poor craythur’s
tears; but there’s no blood here--no, no--nothing but tears. Oh,
here--see here--a page as big as the rest, bat wid nothing on it. Ay,
I know that--that’s an empty farm that nobody dare take, or woe be to
them. But here--I seen him “--here he shuddered strongly--“I seen him!
His father and mother were both standing undher him--that was the worst
of all. It’s in this page. He was only one-and-twenty, and the eyes he
had; but how did it happen, that although they hanged him, every one
loved him? I seen his father and the poor mother looking up to the
gallows where he stood, and then she fainted, and she then got sick,
and poor ould Brian has nobody now but himself; and all that’s on this
page.” Here poor Raymond shed tears, so completely was he overpowered
by the force of his own imaginings. He again proceeded--“And the poor
white-headed son. What wouldn’t the poor mother give to have his white
head to look at? but he will never waken--he will never waken more.
What’s the name o’ this book?” he inquired of Mr. Lucre.

“My excellent and most intelligent friend,” replied that gentleman, in
atone of meekness and humility that would have shamed an apostle; “my
most interesting friend, the name of that book in the Bible.”

“The Bible! oh yes; but am I doin’ it right?” he inquired; “am I puttin’
the explanation to it as I ought? Sure they all oxplain it, and it’s
only fair that Raymond should show his larnin’ as well as any of them.
Let us see, then--murdher and bloodshed, hangin’ and starvin’, huntin’,
purshuin, whippin’, cowld and nakedness, hunger and sickness, death and
then madness, and then death agin, and then damnation! Did I explain
it?”

“Perfectly, my friend--nothing can do better.”

“Well, then, think of it; but these aren’t my explanations--but I know
who puts them to that bad book! Don’t they take all I said out of it?
They do; and, sure, don’t you see the poor people’s blood, and tears,
and everything upon it; sure all I said is in it. Here,” he exclaimed,
shuddering, “take it away, or may be it’ll make me as wicked as the rest
of you. But, after all, maybe it’s not the fault of the book, but of the
people.” It would indeed be difficult to find a more frightful comment
upon the crimes and atrocities which have been perpetrated in this
divided country, in the name, and under the character of religion, than
that which issued, with a kind of methodical incoherency, from the lips
of _Raymond-na-hattha_. When he had concluded, Mr. Lucre, having first
wiped the big drops of perspiration from his forehead, politely asked
him if there was anything he could do for him.

“Oh, ay,” said he; “but first bring me a lump of good mate, and a quart
of portlier.”

“You shall have it, my excellent friend. John, ring the bell. You are a
very interesting person, Mr.--Mr.--

“_Raymond-na-hattha_, sir.”

“Mr. Raiment--very interesting, indeed. (Good God! am I to run the risk
of being-strangled in my own house by a madman!) Oh--here, Alick;
bring up some cold meat and a bottle of porter. Anything to make you
comfortable, my good sir.”

“I only want to see if all’s right, sir,” said Raymond, “and I’ll tell
you by and by.” This was followed by a look of most pitiable distress
from Lucre to his servant, John.

Raymond no sooner saw the cold beef and bread laid down, together with a
bottle of porter, than he commenced an exhibition, which first, awoke
Mr. Lucre’s astonishment, next his admiration, and lastly his envy.
Raymond’s performance, however, was of that rare description which loses
by too frequent practice, and is only seen to advantage when the
opportunities for exhibition are few. Three mortal pounds having at
length disappeared, together with the greater part of a quartern loaf,
and two bottles of porter, for Raymond had made bold to call for a
second, he now wiped his mouth with the cuff of his coat first, and
afterwards, by way of a more delicate touch, with the gathered palm of
his hand; then, looking at Mr. Lucre, who sat perspiring with terror in
his gorgeous easy chair, our readers may judge of the ease it just then
communicated to that reverend gentleman, when he said, “It’s all right
enough, sir.”

“I’m delighted to hear it,” replied Mr. Lucre, applying the _sudariolum_
once more with a very nervous and quivering hand to his forehead:

“Is there anything else in which I can serve you, my good sir?”

[Illustration: PAGE 231-- Borrow the loan of your religion]

“Yes, there is--all’s right, I’ve now made the thrial, and it will do--I
want to borrow the loan of your religion till the new praties comes in.”

“You shall have it, my worthy sir--you shall have it, with very great
pleasure.”

“The raison why I came to you for it,” said Raymond, who, evidently in
this joke, had been put up by some one, “was bekaise I was tould that
it’s as good as new with you--‘seldom used lasts long,’ you know--but,
such as it is, I’ll borry it for--ah, there now, that’s one; all right,
all right,” pointing to the fragments of the meat and bread--“I wouldn’t
ax betther; so, till the praties comes in, mind I’ll take care of it;
and, if I don’t bring it back safe, I’ll bring you a betther one in it’s
place.” He then nodded familiarly to Mr. Lucre, and left the house. The
latter felt as if he breathed new life once more, but he could not so
readily pardon the man for admitting him.

“What is the reason, sir,” he asked, his face reddening, “that you
suffered that formidable madman to get into the house?”

“Why, sir,” replied the porter, “when I opened the door, he shot in like
a bolt; and, as for preventing him after that, if I had attempted it,
he’d have had me in fragments long ago. When he’s not opposed, sir, or
crossed, he’s quiet as a lamb, and wouldn’t hurt a child; but, if he’s
vexed, and won’t get his own way, why ten men wouldn’t stand him.”

“Take care that he shall never be admitted here again,” said his master;
“I really am quite disturbed and nervous by his conduct and language,
which are perfectly unintelligible. Indeed I am absolutely unwell--the
shock was awful, and to occur on such a day, too--I fear my appetite
will be very much affected by it--a circumstance which would be
distressing beyond belief. Stop--perhaps it is not yet too late--ask
Francis is the venison down, and, if not, desire him not to dress it
to-day--I am out of appetite, say.”

John went, and in a couple of minutes returned, “Francis says it’s
down, sir, for some time,” replied the man, “and that it must be dressed
to-day, otherwise it will be spoiled.”

“And this is owing to you, you scoundrel,” said his master in a
rage, “owing to your neglect and carlessness--but there is no placing
dependence upon one of you. See, you rascal, the position in which I
am--here is a delicious haunch of venison for dinner, and now I am so
much agitated and out of order that my appetite will be quite gone, and
it will be eaten by others before my face, while I cannot touch it. For
a very trifle I would this moment discharge you from my service, and
without a character too.”

“I am very sorry, sir, but the truth--”

“Begone, you scoundrel, and leave the room, or I shall use the
horse-whip to you.”

John disappeared, and this great and zealous prop of Protestantism
walked to and fro his study, almost gnashing his teeth from the
apprehension of not having an appetite for the haunch of venison.



CHAPTER XIII.--Darby’s Brief Retirement from Public Life.

--A Controversial Discussion, together with the Virtues it Produced


Our readers may recollect that Darby in his pleasant dialogue with
Father M’Cabe, alluded to a man named Bob Beatty, as a person afflicted
with epilepsy. It was then reported that the priest had miraculously
cured him of that complaint; but, whether he had or not, one thing, at
least, was certain, that he became a Roman Catholic, and went regularly
to mass. He had been, in fact, exceedingly notorious for his violence as
an Orangeman, and was what the people then termed a blood-hound, and the
son of a man who had earned an unenviable reputation as a Tory hunter;
which means a person who devoted the whole energies of his life, and
brought all the rancour of a religious hatred to the task of pursuing
and capturing such unfortunate Catholics as came within grasp of penal
laws. Beatty, like all converts, the moment he embraced the Roman
Catholic creed, became a most outrageous opponent to the principles of
Protestantism. Every Orangeman and Protestant must be damned, and it
stood to reason they should, for didn’t they oppose the Pope? Bob, then,
was an especial protege of Father M’Cabe’s, who, on his part, had very
little to complain of his convert, unless it might be the difficulty
of overcoming a habit of strong swearing which had brought itself so
closely into his conversation, that he must either remain altogether
silent, or let fly the oaths. Another slight weakness, which was rather
annoying to the priest too, consisted in a habit Bob had, when any way
affected with liquor, of drinking in the very fervor of his new-born
zeal, that celebrated old toast, “to hell with the Pope!” These,
however, were but mere specks, and would be removed in time, by inducing
better habits. Now, it so happened, that on the day in question, Bob was
wending his way to Father M’Cabe’s, to communicate some matter connected
with his religious feelings, and to ask his advice and opinion.

“How confoundedly blind the world is,” thought Bob, “not to see that
Popery--” he never called it anything else--“is the true faith! Curse
me but Priest M’Cabe is a famous fellow!--Zounds, what an Orangeman he
would make!--he’s just the cut for it, an’ it’s a thousand pities he’s
not one--but!--what the hell am I sayin?’ They say he’s cross and
ill-tempered, but I deny it--isn’t he patient, except when in a
passion? and never in a passion unless when provoked; what the d--l more
would they have? I know I let fly an oath myself of an odd time (every
third word, good reader), but, then, sure the faith is never injured by
the vessel that contains it. Begad, but I’m sorry for my father, though,
for, as there’s no salvation out o’ Popery, the devil of it is, that
he’s lost beyond purchase.”

In such eccentric speculations did Bob amuse himself, until, in
consequence of the rapid pace at which he went, he overtook a
fellow-traveller, who turned out to be no other than our friend Darby
O’Drive. There was, in fact, considering the peculiar character of these
two converts, something irresistibly comic in this encounter. Bob knew
little or nothing of the Roman Catholic creed; and, as for Darby, we
need not say that he was thoroughly ignorant of Protestantism. Yet,
nothing could be more certain--if one could judge by the fierce
controversial cock of Bob’s hat, and the sneering contemptuous
expression of Darby’s face, that a hard battle, touching the safest way
of salvation, was about to be fought between them.

Bob, indeed, had of late been anxious to meet Darby, in order, as he
said, to make him “show the cloven foot, the rascal;” but Darby’s ire
against the priest was now up; and besides, he reflected that a display
of some kind would recommend him to the Reformationists, especially,
he hoped, to Mr. Lucre, who, he was resolved, should hear it. The two
converts looked at each other with no charitable aspect. Darby was about
to speak, but Bob, who thought there was not a moment to be lost, gave
him a controversial facer before he had time to utter a word:--“How many
articles in your church?”

[Illustration: PAGE 233-- How many articles in your church?]

“How many articles in my church! There’s one bad one in your church more
than ought to be in it, since they got you:--but can you tell me how
many sins cry to heaven for vengeance on you, you poor lost hathen?”

“Don’t hathen me, you had betther; but answer my question, you rascally
heretic.”

“Heretic inagh! oh, thin, is it from a barefaced idolather like you that
we hear heretic called to us! Faith, it’s come to a purty time o’ day
wid us!”

“You’re a blessed convart not to know the Forty-nine articles of your
fat establishment!”

“And I’ll hould a wager that you don’t know this minute how many
saikerments in your idolathry. Oh, what a swaggerin’ Catholic you are,
you poor hair-brained blackguard!”

“I believe you found some convincin’ texts in the big purse of the Bible
blackguards--do you smell that, Darby?”

“You have a full purse, they say, but, by the time Father M’Cabe takes
the price of your trangressions out of it--as he won’t fail to do--take
my word for it, it’ll be as lank as a stocking without a leg in it--do
you smell that, Bob ahagur?”

“Where was your church before the Reformation?”

“Where was your face before it was washed?”

“Do you know the four pillars that your Church rests upon? because if
you don’t, I’LL tell you--it was Harry the aigth, Martin Luther, the
Law, and the Devil. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. Ah, what a purty
boy you are, and what a deludin’ face you’ve got.”

“So the priest’s doin’ you--he’s the man can pluck a fat goose, Bob.”

“Don’t talk of pluckin’ geese--you have taken some feathers out o’ the
Bible blades, to all accounts. How do you expect to be saved by joining
an open heresy?”

“Whisht, you hathen, that has taken to idolathry bekase Father M’Cabe
made an ass of you by a thrick that every one knows. But I tell you to
your brazen face, that you’ll be worse yet than ever you were.”

“You disgraced your family by turnin’ apostate, and we know what for.
Little Solomon, the greatest rogue unhanged, gave you the only grace you
got or ever will get.”

“Why, you poor turncoat, isn’t the whole country laughin’ at you,
and none more than your own friends. The great fightin’ Orangeman and
blood-hound turned voteen!--oh, are we alive afther that!”

“The blaggard bailiff and swindler turned swadler, hopin’ to get a
fatter cut from the Bible blades, oh!”

“Have you your bades about you? if you have, I’ll throuble you to give
us a touch of your Padareen Partha. Orange Bob at his Padareen Partha!
ha, ha, ha.”

“You know much about Protestantism. Blow me, but it’s a sin to see such
a knavish scoundrel professing it.”

“It’s a greater sin, you Orange omad-hawn, to see the likes o’ you
disgracin’ the bades an’ the blessed religion you tuck an you.”

“You were no disgrace, then, to the one you left; but you are a burnin’
scandal to the one you joined, and they ought to kick you out of it.”

In fact, both converts, in the bitterness of their hatred, were
beginning to forget the new characters they had to support, and to glide
back unconsciously, or we should rather say, by the force of conscience,
to their original creeds.

“If Father M’Cabe was wise he’d send you to the heretics again.”

“If the Protestants regarded their own character, and the decency of
their religion, they’d send you back to your cursed Popery again.”

“It’s no beef atin’ creed, anyway,” said Darby, who had, without knowing
it, become once more a staunch Papist, “ours isn’t.”

“It’s one of knavery and roguery,” replied Bob, “sure devil a thing one
of you knows only to believe in your Pope.”

“You had betther not abuse the Pope,” said Darby, “for fraid I’d give
you a touch o’ your ould complaint, the fallin’ sickness, you know, wid
my fist.”

“Two could play at that game, Darby, and I say, to hell with him--and
the priests are all knaves and rogues, every one of them.”

“Are they, faith,” said Darby, “here’s an answer for that, anyhow.”

“Text for text, you Popish rascal.”

A fierce battle took place on the open highway, which was fought with
intense’ bitterness on both sides. The contest, which was pretty equal,
might, however, have been terminated by the defeat of one of them,
had they been permitted to fight without support on either side; this,
however, was not to be. A tolerably large crowd, composed of an equal
number of Catholics and Protestants, collected from the adjoining
fields, where they had been at labor, immediately joined them. Their
appearance, unhappily, had only the effect of renewing the battle.
The Catholics, ignorant of the turn which the controversy had taken,
supported Bob and Protestantism; whilst the Protestants, owing to a
similar mistake, fought like devils for Darby and the Pope. A pretty
smart skirmish, in fact, which lasted more than twenty minutes, took
place between the parties, and were it not that their wives, sisters,
daughters, and mothers, assisted by many who were more peaceably
disposed, threw themselves between them, it might have been much more
serious than it was. If the weapons of warfare ceased, however, so did
not their tongues; there was abundance of rustic controversy exchanged
between them, that is to say, polemical scurrility much of the same
enlightened character as that in the preceding dialogue. The fact of
the two parties, too, that came to their assistance, having mistaken the
proper grounds of the quarrel, reduced Darby and Bob to the necessity
of retracing their steps, and hoisting once more their new colors,
otherwise their respective friends, had they discovered the blunder they
had committed, would, unquestionably, have fought the battle a second
time on its proper merits. Bob, escorted by his Catholic friends, who
shouted and huzza’d as they went along, proceeded to Father M’Cabe’s;
whilst Darby and his adherents, following their example, went towards
M’Clutchy’s, and having left him within sight of Constitution Cottage,
they returned to their labor.

We have already said, that neither M’Clutchy nor M’Slime was at all a
favorite with Darby. Darby was naturally as avaricious, and griping, and
oppressive as either of them; and as he was the principal instrument of
their rapacity and extortion, he deemed it but fair and just that they
should leave him at least a reasonable share of their iniquitous gains.
They were not, however, the gentlemen to leave much behind them, and
the upshot was, that Darby became not only highly dissatisfied at their
conduct towards him, but jealous and vigilant of all their movements,
and determined to watch an opportunity of getting them both into
his power. M’Slime’s trick about M’Clutchy’s letter first awoke his
suspicions, and the reader is already acquainted with the dexterous
piece of piety by which he secured it. Both letters now were in his
possession, or at least in a safe place; but as he had not yet read
them, he did not exactly know what line of conduct or deportment to
assume. Then, how face M’Clutchy without M’Slime’s answer? Darby,
however, was fertile, and precisely the kind of man who could, as they
sav, kill two birds with one stone. He had it;--. just the very thing
that would serve every purpose. Accordingly, instead of going to
M’Clutchy’s at all, he turned his steps to his own house; tied an old
stocking around his head, got his face bandaged, and deliberately took
to his bed in a very severe state of illness. And, indeed, to tell the
truth, a day or two in bed was not calculated to do him the least harm,
but a great deal of good; for what, between the united contributions of
Father M’Cabe and Bob Beatty, he was by no means an unfit subject for
the enjoyment of a few days’ retirement from public life.



CHAPTER XIV.--Poll Doolin’s Honesty, and Phil’s Gallantry

--A Beautiful but Cowardly Method of Destroying Female Reputation.--A
Domiciliary Visit from the Blood-hounds--Irresponsible Power


At length the hour of Mary M’Loughlin’s appointment with Phil arrived,
and the poor girl found herself so completely divided between the
contending principles of love for Harman and aversion towards Phil,
that she scarcely knew the purport of her thoughts or actions. Harman’s
safety, however, was the predominant idea in her soul, and in order
to effect that, or at least to leave nothing undone to effect it,
she resolved, as pure and disinterested attachment always will do--to
sacrifice her detestation for young M’Clutchy, so far as to give him an
opportunity of satisfying her that he was sincere in wishing to save her
lover. This setting aside her invincible and instinctive hatred of that
worthy gentleman, was, she thought, not at least unreasonable, and with
her mind thus regulated she accordingly awaited the appointed time. On
reaching the back of her father’s garden she found that Phil had not
arrived, but somewhat to her relief she was accosted by Poll Doolin,
who approached from a clump of trees that stood in deep and impenetrable
shadow, whilst she and Poll were easily visible under the dim light of
what is called a watery and cloudy moon.

Poll, as she addressed her, spoke eagerly, and her voice trembled with
what appeared to Mary to be deep and earnest agitation.

“Miss M’Loughlin,” she exclaimed, in a low, but tremulous voice, “I now
forgive your father all--I forgive him and his--you need not forgive,
for I never bore you ill-will--but I am bound to tell you that there’s
danger over your father’s house and hearth this night. There is but one
can save them, and he will. You must go into your own room, raise the
window, and he will soon be there.”

“What is that, Poll,” said Mary, seriously alarmed, “I thought I heard
the sound of low voices among the trees there. Who are they, or what is
it?”

“Make haste,” said Poll, leading the way, “go round to your room and
come to the window. It’s an awful business--there is people there in the
clump--be quick, and when you come to the window raise it, and I’ll tell
you more through it.”

Mary, in a state of great terror, felt that ignorant as she was of the
dangers and difficulties by which she was surrounded, she had no other
alternative than to be guided by Poll, who seemed to know the full
extent of the mysterious circumstances to which she made such wild and
startling allusions.

Poll immediately proceeded to Miss M’Loughlin’s bed-room, the window of
which was soon opened by Mary herself, who with trembling hands raised
it no higher than merely to allow the necessary communication between
them.

“You don’t know, nor could you never suspect,” said Poll, “the struggles
that Misther Phil is makin’ for you and yours. This night, maybe
this hour, will show his friendship for your family. And now, Mary
M’Loughlin, if you wish to have yourself and them safe--safe, I say,
from his own father’s blood-hounds,” and this she hissed into her ear,
squeezing her hand at the same time until it became painful--in a voice
so low, earnest, and condensed, that it was scarcely in human nature to
question the woman’s sincerity; “if,” she continued, “you wish to have
them safe--and Harman safe, be guided by him, and let him manage it
his own way. He will ask you to do nothing that is wrong or improper in
itself; but as you love your own family--as you value Harman’s life--let
him act according to his own way, for he knows them he has to deal with
best.”

“Wo--wo--heavy and bitter betide you, Poll Doolin, if you are now
deceiving me, or prompting mo to do anything that is improper! I
will not act in this business blindfold--neither I nor my family are
conscious of evil, and I shall certainly acquaint them this moment with
the danger that is over them.”

“By the souls of the dead,” replied Poll, uttering the oath in Irish,
“if you do what you say there will be blood shed this night--the blood,
too, of the nearest and dearest to you! Do not be mad, I say, do not be
mad!”

“May God guide me?” exclaimed the distressed girl, bursting into tears;
“for of myself I know not how to act.”

“Be guided by Mr. Phil,” said she; “he is the only man living that can
prevent the damnable work that is designed against your family this
night.”

She had scarcely uttered the words when Phil came breathless to the
window, and, as if moved by a sense of alarm, and an apprehension of
danger still greater than that expressed by Poll herself, he exclaimed--

“Miss M’Loughlin, it’s no time for ceremony--my father’s blood-hounds
are at your father’s door; and there is but one way of saving your
family from violence and outrage. Excuse me--but I must pass in by this
window. You don’t know what I risk by it; but for your sake and theirs
it must be done.”

Even as he spake, the trampling of horses feet and the jingling of arms
were distinctly heard at M’Loughlin.’s door--a circumstance which so
completely paralyzed the distracted girl, that she became perfectly
powerless with affright. Phil availed himself of the moment, put his
hand to the window, which he raised up, and deliberately entered, after
which he shut it down. Poll, while he did so, coughed aloud, as if
giving a signal; and in an instant, a number of individuals mostly
females, approached the window, near enough to see young M’Clutchy
enter, and shut the window after him.

“Now,” said Poll to the spectators, “I hope you’re all satisfied; and
you, James Harman, will believe your own eyes, if you don’t Poll Doolin.
Is that girl a fit wife for your cousin, do you think? Well, you’re
satisfied, are you? Go home now, and help forrid the match, if you can.
You’re a good witness of her conduct, at any rate.”

“I did not believe you, Poll,” replied the young man whom she addressed;
“but unfortunately I am now satisfied, sure enough. My own eyes cannot
deceive me. Lost and unhappy girl! what will become of her? But that’s
not all--for she has proved herself treacherous, and deceitful, and
worthless.”

“Ay,” said the crones whom Poll had brought to witness what certainly
seemed to them to be the innocent girl’s shame and degradation--“ay,”
 they observed, “there’s now an end to her character, at any rate.
The pride of the M’Loughlins has got a fall at last--and indeed they
desarved it; for they held their heads as upsettin’ as if they were
dacent Protestants, and them nothing but Papishes affeher all.”

“Go home, now,” said Poll; “go home all of yez. You’ve seen enough,
and too much. Throth I’m sorry for the girl, and did all I could, to
persuade her against the step she tuck; but it was no use--she was more
like one that tuck love powdhers from him, than a raisonable bein’.”

Harman’s cousin had already departed, but in such a state of amazement,
indignation, and disgust, that he felt himself incapable of continuing a
conversation with any one, or of bestowing his attention upon any other
topic whatsoever. He was thunderstruck--his very faculties were nearly
paralyzed, and his whole mind literally clouded in one dark chaos of
confusion and distress.

“Now,” said Poll to the females who accompanied her--“go home every one
of yez; but, for goodness sake don’t be spakin’ of what you seen this
night. The poor girl’s correcther’s gone, sure enough; but for all that,
let us have nothing to say to her or Mr. Phil. It’ll all come out time
enough, and more than time enough, without our help; so, as I said,
hould a hard cheek about it. Indeed it’s the safest way to do so--for
the same M’Loughlins is a dangerous and bitther faction to make or
meddle with. Go off now, in the name of goodness, and say nothin’ to
nobody--barring, indeed, to some one that won’t carry it farther.”

Whilst this dialogue, which did not occupy more than a couple of
minutes, was proceeding, a scene of a different character took place
in M’Loughlin’s parlor, upon a topic which, at that period, was a very
plausible pretext for much brutal outrage and violence on the part of
the Orange yeomanry--we mean the possession, or the imputed
possession, of fire-arms. Indeed the state of society in a great part of
Ireland--shortly after the rebellion of ninety-eight--was then such as a
modern conservative would blush for. An Orangeman, who may have happened
to entertain a pique against a Roman Catholic, or sustained an injury
from one, had nothing more to do than send abroad, or get some one to
send abroad for him, a report that he had fire-arms in his possession.
No sooner had this rumor spread, than a party of these yeomanry
assembled in their regimentals, and with loaded fire-arms, proceeded,
generally in the middle of the night or about day-break, to the
residence of the suspected person. The door, if not immediately opened,
was broken in--the whole house ransacked--the men frequently beaten
severely, and the ears of females insulted by the coarsest and most
indecent language.

These scenes, which in nineteen cases out of twenty, the Orangemen got
up to gratify private hatred and malignity, were very frequent, and
may show us the danger of any government entrusting power, in whatever
shape, or arms or ammunition, to irresponsible hands, or subjecting one
party to the fierce passions and bigoted impulses of another.

The noise of their horses’ feet as they approached M’Loughlin’s house
in a gallop, alarmed that family, who knew at once that it was a
domiciliary visit from M’Clutchy’s cavalry.

“Raise the window,” said M’Loughlin himself, “and ask them what they
want--or stay, open the door,” he added at the same time to another,
“and do not let us give them an excuse for breaking it in. It’s the
blood-hounds, sure enough,” observed he, “and here they are.”

In a moment they were dismounted, and having found the hall door
open, the parlor was crowded with armed men, who manifested all the
overbearing insolence and wanton insult of those who know that they can
do so with impunity.

“Come, M’Loughlin,” said Cochrane, now their leader, “you ribelly Papish
rascal, produce your arms--for we have been informed that you have arms
consaled in the house.”

“Pray who informed you, Mr. Cochrane?”

“That’s not your business, my man,” replied Cochrane, “out with them
before we search.”

“I’ll tell you what, Cochrane,” replied M’Loughlin, “whoever informed
you that we have arms is a liar--we have no arms.”

“And right well they know that,” said his son, “it’s not for arms they
come, but it’s a good excuse to insult the family.”

His father (who, on looking more closely at them, now perceived that
they were tipsy, and some of them quite drunk) though a man of singular
intrepidity, deemed it the wisest and safest course to speak to them as
civilly as possible.

“I did’nt think, Tom Cochrane,” said he, “that either I or any of my
family, deserved such a visit as this from, I may say, my own door
neighbors. It’s not over civil, I think, to come in this manner,
disturbing a quiet and inoffensive family.”

“What’s the ribelly rascal sayin’?” asked a drunken fellow, who lurched
across the floor, and would have fallen, had he not come in contact with
a chest of drawers, “what, wha-at’s he say-ayin? but I sa-ay here’s to
hell with the Po-po-pope--hurra!”

“Ah?” said young M’Loughlin, “you have the ball at your own foot now,
but if we were man to man, with equal weapons, there would be none of
this swagger.”

“What’s tha-at the young rible says,” said ‘the drunken fellow,
deliberately covering him with his cavalry pistol--“another word, and
I’ll let day-light through you.”

“Come, Burke,” said a man named Irwin, throwing up the muzzle of
the pistol, “none o’ this work, you drunken brute. Don’t be alarmed,
M’Loughlin, you shan’t be injured.”

“Go go to h--l, George, I’ll do what I--I li-like; sure ‘all these
ribels ha-hate King William that sa-saved us from brass money a-and
wooden noggins--eh, stay, shoes it is; no matter, they ought to be
brogues I think, for it--it’s brogues--ay, brogues, the papish--it is,
by hell, ‘brogues and broghans an’ a’ the Pa-papishes wear--that
saved us from bra-brass money, an--and wooden brogues, that’s it--for
dam-damme if ever the Papishers was da-dacent enough to wear brass
shoes, never, by jingo; so, boys, it’s brass brogues--ay, do they
ha-hate King William, that put us in the pil-pillory, the pillory in
hell, and the devils pel-peltin’ us with priests,--hurra boys, recover
arms--stand at aise--ha--ram down Catholics--hurra!”

“Mr. M’Loughlin--”

“Mislher M’Loughlin! ay, there’s respect for a Pa-pish, an’ from a
purple man, too!”

“You had better be quiet, Burke,” retorted Irwin, who was a determined
and powerful man.

“For God’s sake, gentlemen,” said Mrs. M’Loughlin, “do not disturb or
alarm our family--you are at liberty to search the house, but, as God
is above us, we have no arms of any kind, and consequently there can be
none in the house.”

“Don’t believe her,” said Burke, “she’s Papish--” He had not time to add
the offensive epithet, what ever it might have been, for Irwin--who, in
truth, accompanied the party with the special intention of repressing
outrage against the M’Loughlins whom he very much respected--having
caught him by the neck, shook the words back again, as it were, into his
very throat. “You ill-tongued drunken ruffian,” said he, “if you don’t
hold your scoundrell tongue, I’ll pitch you head foremost out of the
house. We must search, Mrs. M’Loughlin,” said Irwin, “but it will be
done as quietly as possible.”

They then proceeded through all the rooms, into which, singular as it
may appear, they scarcely looked, until they came into that in which we
left Mary M’Loughlin and Phil. The moment this worthy gentleman heard
their approach, he immediately shut the door, and, with all the seeming
trepidation and anxiety of a man who feared discover bustled about, and
made a show of preparing to resist their entrance. On coming to the
door, therefore, they found it shut, and everything apparently silent
within.

“Open the door,” said Irwin, “we want to search for arms.”

“Ah! boys,” said Phil in a whisper through he key-hole, “pass on if you
love me--I give you my word of honor that there’s no arms here but a
brace that is worth any money to be locked in.”

“We must open, Mr. Phil,” said Sharpe, “you know our ordhers. By
Japurs,” said he, in a side voice to the rest, “the fellow wasn’t
boastin’ at all; it’s true enough--I’ll uould goold he was right, and
that we’ll find her inside with him.”

“When I see it, I’ll believe it,” said Irwin, but not till then. Open,
sir,” said he, “open, if all’s right.”

“Oh, d--n it, boys,” said Phil again, “this is too bad--honor
bright:--surely you wouldn’t expose us, especially the girl.” At the
same time he withdrew his shoulder from the door, which flew open, and
discovered him striving to soothe and console Miss M’Loughlin, who
had not yet recovered her alarm and agitation, so as to understand the
circumstances which took place about her. In fact, she had been in that
description of excitement which, without taking away animation, leaves
the female (for it is peculiar to the sex) utterly incapable of taking
anything more than a vague cognizance of that which occurs before her
eyes. The moment she and Phil were discovered together, not all Irwin’s
influence could prevent the party from indulging in a shout of triumph.
This startled her, and was, indeed, the means of restoring her to
perfect consciousness, and a full perception of her situation.

“What is this?” she inquired, “and why is it that a peaceable house
is filled with armed men? and you, Mr. M’Clutchy, for what treacherous
purpose did you intrude into my private room?”

M’Loughlin. himself, from a natural dread of collision between his
sons and the licentious yeomanry, and trusting to the friendship and
steadiness of Irwin, literally stood sentinel at the parlor door, and
prevented them from accompanying the others in the search.

“My darling Mary,” said Phil, “it’s too late now, you see, to speak in
this tone--we’re caught, that’s all, found out, and be cursed to these
fellows. If they had found us anywhere else but in your bed-room, I
didn’t so much care; however, it can’t be helped now.”

As he spoke he raised his eye-brows from time to time at his companions,
and winked with an expression of triumph so cowardly and diabolical,
that it is quite beyond our ability to describe it. They, in the
meantime, winked and nodded in return, laughed heartily, and poked one
another in the ribs.

“Bravo, Mr. Phil!--success, Captain!--more power to you!”

“Come now, boys,” said Phil, “let us go. Mary, my darling, I must leave
you; but we’ll meet again where they can’t disturb us--stand around me,
boys, for, upon my honor and soul, these hot-headed fellows of brothers
of hers will knock my brain’s out, if you don’t guard me well; here,
put me in the middle of you--good by, Mary, never mind this, we’ll meet
again.”

However anxious M’Loughlin had been to prevent the possibility of angry
words or blows between his sons and these men still the extraordinary
yell which accompanied the discovery of young M’Clutchy in his
daughter’s bedroom, occasioned him to relax his vigilance, and rush to
the spot, after having warned and urged them to remain where they were.
Notwithstanding his remonstrances, they followed his footsteps, and the
whole family, in fact, reached her door as Phil uttered the last words.

“Great God, what is this,” exclaimed her father, “how came M’Clutchy,
Val the Vulture’s son, into my daughter’s sleeping-room? How came you
here, sir?” he added sternly, “explain it.”

Not even a posse of eighteen armed men, standing in a circle about him,
each with a cocked and loaded pistol in his hand, could prevent the
cowardly and craven soul of him from quailing before the eye of her
indignant father. His face became like a sheet of paper, perfectly
bloodless, and his eye sank as if it were never again to look from the
earth, or in the direction of the blessed light of heaven.

“Ah!” he proceeded, “you are, indeed, your treacherous, cowardly, and
cruel father’s son; you cannot raise your eye upon me, and neither
could he. Mary,” he proceeded, addressing his daughter, “how did this
treacherous scoundrel get into your room? tell the truth--but that I
need not add, for I know you will.”

His daughter had been standing for some time in a posture that betrayed
neither terror nor apprehension. Raised to her full height, she looked
upon M’Clutchy and his men alternately, but principally upon himself,
with a smile which in truth was fearful. Her eyes brightened into clear
and perfect fire, the roundness of her beautiful arm was distended
by the coming forth of its muscles--her lips became firm--her cheek
heightened in color--and her temples were little less than scarlet.
There she stood, a concentration of scorn, contempt, and hatred the
most intense, pouring upon the dastardly villain an unbroken stream of
withering fury, that was enough to drive back his cowardly soul into the
deepest and blackest recesses of its own satanic baseness. Her father,
in fact, was obliged to address her twice, before he could arrest her
attention; for such was the measureless indignation which her eye poured
upon him, that she could scarcely look upon any other object.

“My child, did you hear me?” said her father. “How did this heartless
and down-looking scoundrel get into your apartment?”

She looked quickly upon her father’s features--

“How?” said she; “how but by treachery, falsehood, and fraud! Is he not
Val M’Clutchy’s son, my dear father?”

Her brothers had not yet uttered a syllable, but stood like their sister
with flushed cheeks and burning indignation in their eyes. On hearing
what their sister had just said, however, as if they had all been
moved by the same impulse, thought, or determination--as in truth they
were--their countenances became pale as death--they looked at each
other significantly--then at Phil--and they appeared very calm, as
if relieved--satisfied; but the expression of the eye darkened into a
meaning that was dreadful to look upon.

“That is enough, my child,” replied her father; “I suppose, my friends,
you are now satisfied--.”

“Yes, by h--l,” shouted Burke, “we are now satisfied.”

Irwin had him again by the neck--“Silence,” said he, “or, as heaven’s
above mo, I’ll drive your brainless skull in with the butt of my
pistol.”

“You are satisfied,” continued M’Loughlin, “that there are no arms here.
I hope you will now withdraw. As for you, treacherous and cowardly spawn
of a treacherous and cowardly father, go home and tell him to do his
worst.--that I scorn and defy him--that I will live to see him----; but
I am wrong,he is below our anger, and I will not waste words upon him.”

“You will find you have used a thrifle too many for all that,” said
another of them; “when he hears them, you may be sure he’ll put them in
his pocket for you--as hear them he will.”

“We don’t care a d--n,” said another, “what he does to blackguard
Papishes, so long as he’s a right good Orangeman, and a right good
Protestant, too.”

“Come now,” said Irwin, “our duty is over--let us start for home; we
have no further business here.”

“Won’t you give us something to drink?” asked a new voice; “I think we
desarve it for our civility. We neither broke doors nor furniture, nor
stabbed either bed or bed-clothes. We treated you well, and if you’re
dacent you’ll treat us well.”

“Confound him,” said a fresh hand; “I’d not drink his cursed Papish
whiskey. Sure the Papishes gets the priest to christen it for them. I
wouldn’t drink his cursed Papish whiskey.”

“No, nor I,” said several voices;--upon which a loud and angry dispute
arose among them, as to whether it were consistent with true loyalty,
and the duties of a staunch Protestant and Orangeman, to drink ‘Papish
liquor,’ as they termed it, at all.

Irwin, who joined the negative party, insisted strongly that it would be
disgraceful for any man who had drunk the glorious, pious, and immortal
memory, ever to contaminate his loyal lips with whiskey that had been
made a Papish of by the priest. This carried the argument, or otherwise
it is hard to say what mischief might have arisen, had they heightened
their previous intoxication.

Phil, during this dialogue, still retained his place in the centre
of his friends; but from time to time he kept glancing from under his
eyebrows at M’Loughlin and his sons, in that spaniel-like manner, which
betrays a consciousness of offence and a dread of punishment.

Irwin now caused them to move off; and, indeed, scarcely anything could
be more ludicrous than the utter prostration of all manly feeling upon
the part of the chief offender. On separating, the same baleful
and pallid glances were exchanged between the brothers, who clearly
possessed an instinctive community of feeling upon the chief incident of
the night--we mean that of finding M’Clutchy in their sister’s bedroom.
Irwin noticed their mute, motionless, but ghastly resentment, as did
Phil himself, who, whether they looked at him or not, felt that their
eyes were upon him, and that come what might, so long as he remained
in the country he was marked as their victim. This consciousness of his
deserts was not at all lessened by the observations of Irwin upon his
conduct; for be it known, that although there subsisted a political bond
that caused Phil and the violent spirits of the neighborhood to come
frequently together, yet nothing could exceed the contempt which they
felt for him in his private and individual capacity.

“Brother M’Clutchy,” said Irwin, “I’m afraid you’ve made a bad night’s
work of it. By the moon above us, I wouldn’t take the whole Castle
Cumber property and stand in your shoes from this night out.”

“Why so?” said Phil, who was now safe and beyond their immediate reach;
“why so, Irwin? I’ll tell you what, Irwin; d---- my honor, but I think
you’re cowardly. Did you see how steady I was to-night? Not a syllable
escaped my lips; but, zounds, didn’t you see how my eye told?”

“Faith, I certainly did, brother Phil, and a devilish bad tale it told,
too, for yourself. Your father has promised me a new lease, with your
life in it; but after this night, and after what I saw, I’ll beg to have
your name left out of that transaction.”

“But didn’t you see, George,” returned Phil, “that a man of them
durstn’t look me in the face? They couldn’t stand my eye; upon my honor
they couldn’t.”

“Ay,” said Burke, “that’s because they’re Papishes. A rascally Papish
can never look a Protestant in the face.”

“Well but,” said Phil, “you would not believe that the girl was so fond
of me as she is, until you saw it. I knew very well they had no arms;
so, as I wished to give you an opportunity of judging for yourselves, I
put the journey upon that footing.”

“Well,” said Irwin, “we shall see the upshot--that’s all.”

They then escorted Phil home, after which they dispersed.

When M’Loughlin’s family assembled in the parlor, after their departure,
a deep gloom I brooded over them for some minutes. Mary herself was the
first to introduce the incident which gave them so much distress, and in
which she herself had been so painfully involved. She lost not a moment,
therefore, in relating fully and candidly the whole nature of her
intercourse with Poll Doolin, and the hopes held out to her of Harman’s
safety, through Phil M’Clutchy. At the same time, she expressed in
forcible language, the sacrifice of feeling which it had cost her, and
the invincible disgust with which she heard his very name alluded
to. She then simply related the circumstance of his entering her
room through the open window, and her belief, in consequence of the
representations of Poll Doolin, that he did so out of his excessive
anxiety to prevent bloodshed by the troopers--the trampling of whose
horses’ feet and the ringing of whose arms had so completely overpowered
her with the apprehension of violence, that she became incapable of
preventing M’Clutchy’s entrance, or even of uttering a word for two or
three minutes.

“However,” said she, “I now see their design, which was to’ ruin my
reputation, and throw a stain upon my character and good name. So far, I
fear, they have succeeded.” Tears then came to her relief, and she wept
long and bitterly.

“Do not let it trouble you, my darling,” said her father. “Your
conscience and heart are innocent, and that is a satisfaction greater
than anything can deprive you of. You were merely wrong in not letting
us know the conversation that took place between Poll Doolin and you;
because, although you did not know it, we could have told you that Poll
is a woman that no modest female ought to speak to in a private way.
There was your error, Mary; but the heart was right with you, and
there’s no one here going to blame you for a fault that you didn’t know
to be one.”

Mary started on hearing this account of Poll Doolin, for she felt now
that the interviews she held with her were calculated to heighten her
disgrace, when taken in connection with the occurrence of the night.
Her brothers, however, who knew her truth and many virtues, joined their
parents in comforting and supporting her, but without the success which
they could have wished. The more she thought of the toils and snares
that had been laid for her, the more her perception of the calamity
began to gain strength, and her mind to darken. She became restless,
perplexed, and feverish--her tears ceased to flow--she sighed deeply,
and seemed to sink into that most withering of maladies, dry grief,
which, in her case, was certainly the tearless anguish of the heart.
In this state she went to bed, conscious of her own purity, but by no
means, in its full extent, of the ruined reputation to which she must
awake on the succeeding day.

Mary’s brothers, with the exception of the words in which they joined
their father and mother in consoling her, scarcely uttered a syllable
that night--the same silent spirit, be it of good or evil, remained upon
them. They looked at each other, however, from time to time, and seemed
to need no other interpreter of what passed within them, but their own
wild and deep-meaning glances. This did not escape their father, who was
so much struck, perhaps alarmed, by it, that he very properly deemed it
his duty to remonstrate with them on the subject.

“Boys,” said he, “I don’t understand your conduct this night, and, above
all, I don’t understand your looks--or rather, I think I do, I’m afraid
I do--but, listen to me, remember that revenge belongs to God. You know
what the Scripture says, ‘Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord, and I will
repay it.’ Leave that bad son of a worse father to God.”

“He has destroyed Mary’s reputation,” said John, the eldest; “I might,
possibly, forgive him if he had killed her like a common murderer, but
he has destroyed our pure-hearted sister’s reputation, ha, ha, ha.” The
laugh that followed these last words came out so unexpectedly, abruptly,
and wildly, that his father and mother both started. He then took the
poker in his hands, and, with a smile at his brothers, in which much
might be read, he clenched his teeth, and wound it round his arms with
apparent ease. “If I gotten thousand pounds,” said he, “I could not have
done that two hours ago, but I can now--are you satisfied?” said he to
his brothers.

“Yes, John,” they replied, “we are satisfied--that will do.”

“Yes,” he proceeded, “I could forgive anything but that. The father’s
notice to us to quit the holding on which we and our forefathers lived
so long, and expended so much money--and his refusal to grant us a
lease, are nothing:--now we could forgive all that; but this,
this--oh, I have no name for it--the language has not words to express
it--but--well, well, no matter for the present. If the cowardly
scoundrel would fight!--but he won’t, for the courage is not in him.”



CHAPTER XV.--Objects of an English Traveller

--Introduction of a New Character--Correspondence between Evory Easel,
Esq., and Sam Spinageberd, Esq.--Susanna and the Elder; or, the
Conventicle in Trouble--Phils Gallantry and Courage.


It was about eleven o’clock the next day that a person in the garb of a
gentleman, that is, the garb was a plain one enough, but the air of the
person who wore it was evidently that of a man who had seen and mingled
in respectable life, was travelling towards Springfield, the residence
of Mr. Hickman, when he overtook two females, one of whom was dressed in
such a way as made it clear that she wished to avoid the risk of being
known. She was a little above the middle size, and there could be
little doubt, from the outline of her figure, that, in the opinion
of unsuspicious people, she had reached the dignity of a matron. Her
companion was dressed in faded black, from top to toe, and from the
expression of her thin, sallow face, and piercing black eyes, there
could be little doubt she had seen a good deal of the world as it exists
in rustic life. The person who overtook these two females carried a
portfolio, and appeared to observe the country and its scenery, as he
went along with well marked attention.

“Pray, ma’am,” said he, “whose is that fine old building to the right,
which appears to be going to ruin? It is evidently not inhabited.”

“You’re a stranger in the place, then,” replied the female, “or you
surely might know Castle Cumber House, where old Tom Topertoe used
to live before the union came. He was made a lord of for sellin’ our
parliament, and now his son, the present lord, is leadin’ a blessed life
abroad, for he never shows his face here.”

“He is an absentee, then?”

“To be sure he is, and so is every man of them now, barrin’ an odd
one. The country’s deserted, and although business is lookin’ up
a little--take your time, Susanna, we needn’t be in sich a hurry
now--although, as I said, business is lookin’ up a little, still it’s
nothing to what it was when the gentry lived at home wid us.”

“Who is agent to this Lord Cumber, pray?”

“A blessed boy, by all accounts, but that’s all I’ll say about him--I
know him too well to make him my enemy.”

“Why, is he not popular--is he not liked by the tenantry?”

“Oh, Lord, to be sure--they doat upon him; and, indeed, no wondher, he’s
so kind and indulgent to the poor. To tell you the truth, he’s a great
blessin’ to the country.”

“That, to be sure, is very satisfactory--and, pray, if I may take the
liberty, who is his law agent, or has he one?”

“Why, another blessed--hem--a very pious devout man, named Mr. Solomon
M’Slime, an attorney--but, indeed, an attorney that almost shames the
Bible itself, he’s so religious. Isn’t he, Susanna?”

“He hath good gifts; if he doth not abuse them.”

“Religion is certainly the best principle in life, if sincerely felt,
and not prostituted and made a mask of.”

“A mask! isn’t that, sir, a thing that people put on and off their face,
according as it may suit them?”

“Just so, madam; you have exactly described it.”

“Oh, the divil a mask ever he made of it, then, for he never lays it
aside at all. He has kept it on so steadily, that, I’ll take my oath,
if he was to throw, it off now, he wouldn’t know himself in the
looking-glass, it’s so long since he got a glimpse of his own face.”

“Lord Cumber must be a happy man to have two such valuable agents upon
his property.”

“Talkin’ of Lord Cumber and his property, if you wish to know all about
them, here’s your man comin’ over by the cross road here--he’s goin’
to M’Clutchy’s I suppose, and, as you appear to be goin’ in the same
direction, I’ll hand you over to him. Good morrow, Darby?”

“Good morrow, kindly, Poll, and--eh--who’s this you’ve got wid you?” he
continued, eyeing Susanna, “a stranger to me, any how. Well, Poll, and
how are you?”

“There’s no use in complainin’, Darby; I’m middlin’--and how is
yourself?”

“Throth, Poll, I’ve a lump in my stomach that I fear will settle me yet,
if I don’t get it removed somehow. But, sure, the hathens, I forgive
them.” In the meantime he slyly rubbed his nose and winked both eyes, as
he looked towards Susanna, as much as to say, “I know all.”

Poll, however, declined to notice the recognition, but renewed the
discourse--

“Why, Darby, how did the lump come into your stomach? Faith, in these
hard times, there’s many a poor divel would be glad to have such a
complaint--eh?”

“And, is it possible you didn’t hear it?” he asked with surprise,
“howandever, you shall. I was carrying a letther from Mr. M’Slime, that
good, pious crature”--another shrewd look at Susanna, “Mr. M’Slime to
Mr. M’Clutchy, another good gintleman, too, and who should attack me
on the way but that turncoat hathen Bob Beatty, wid a whole posse of
idolathers at his heels. They first abused me because I left them in
their darkness, and then went to search me for writs, swearin’ that
they’d make me ait every writ I happened to have about me. Now, I
didn’t like to let Mr. M’Slime’s letther fall into their hands, and,
accordingly, I tore it up and swallowed it, jist in ordher to disappoint
the hathens. Howandever, I’m sufferin’ for it, but sure you know, Poll,
it’s our duty--I don’t mane yours, for you’re a hathen and idolather
still--but mine; it’s my duty to suffer for the thruth, anyhow.”

Poll’s laughter was loud and vehement on hearing these sentiments from
a man she knew so well; but, to tell the truth, Darby, who felt that, in
consequence of his last interview with Lucre, he was in for it, came to
the resolution of doing it heavy, as they say, or, in other words, of
going the whole hog.

“This appears to be a strange country, observed the traveller.

“Wait,” said Poll, “till you come to know it, and you’ll say that.”

“No, but wait,” observed Darby, “till the spread comes, and then you may
say it.”

“What do you mean by the spread?” asked! the stranger.

“Why, the spread o’ the gospel--of religion, to be shure,” replied
Darby; “and in this counthry,” he added, “a glorious spread it is,
the Lord be praised! Are you travellin far in this direction, sir, wid
summission?”

“I am going as far as Springfield, the residence of a Mr. Hickman, to
whom I have a letter of introduction. Do you know him?”

“He was an agent on this property,” replied Darby; “but Mr. M’Clutchy
came afther him; and, indeed, the tenants is mighty well satisfied wid
the change. Hickman, sir, was next to a hathen--made no differ in life
between an idolather and a loyal Protestant, but Mr. M’Clutchy, on the
other hand, knows how to lean to his own, as he ought to do. And in
regard o’ that, I’d advise you when you see Mr. Hickman, jist to be on
your guard as to what he may say about the Castle Cumber property,
and them that’s employed an it. Between you and me, he’s not over
scrupulous, and don’t be surprised if he lays it hot and heavy on Mr.
M’Clutchy and others, not forgettin’ your humble sarvant, merely in
regard of our honesty and loyalty, for I’m a staunch Protestant, myself,
glory be to God, and will support the Castle Cumber inthrest through
thick and thin. Now, sir,” he added, “there’s two ways to Hickman’s; and
between you and me agin’ Mr. Hickman is a real gentleman, exceptin’ his
little failings about M’Clutchy; but who is widout them? I dunna, but it
would be as well if he had remained agent still; and when you see him,
if you happen to say that Darby O’Drive tould you so, I think he’ll
understand you. Well--there’s two ways, as I said, to this place--one by
this road, that turns to the right--which, indeed, is the shortest--the
other is by Constitution Cottage, which is M’Clutchy’s place, where I am
goin’ to.”

The stranger, after thanking Darby for his information, took the shorter
road, and in about an hour or so reached Springfield.

It is not our intention to detail his interview with Mr. Hickman. For
the present it is sufficient to say, that he produced to that gentleman
a letter of introduction from Lord Cumber himself, who removed all
mystery from about him, by stating that he was an English artist, who
came over on a foolish professional tour, to see and take sketches of
the country, as it appeared in its scenery, as well as in the features,
character, and costume of its inhabitants. He had also introductions to
M’Clutchy, M’Slime, Squire Deaker, M. Lucre, and several other prominent
characters of the neighborhood.

As this gentleman amused himself by keeping an accurate and regular
journal of all events connected with the Castle Cumber property, or
which occurred on it, we feel exceedingly happy in being able to lay
these important chronicles before our readers, satisfied as we are, that
they will be valued, at least on the other side of the channel, exactly
in proportion to the scanty opportunities he had of becoming acquainted
with our language, manners, and character. The MS. is now before us,
and the only privilege we reserve to ourselves is simply to give his
dialogue an Irish turn, and to fill up an odd chasm here and there,
occasioned by his ignorance of circumstances which have come to our
knowledge through personal cognizance, and various other sources. The
journal now in our possession is certainly the original one; but we know
that copies of it were addressed successively, as the events occurred,
to a gentleman in London, named Spinageberd, under cover to Lord Cumber
himself, who kindly gave them the benefit of his frank, during the
correspondence. Our friend, the journalist, as the reader will perceive,
does not merely confine himself to severe facts, but gives us all the
hints, innuendoes, and rumors of the day, both personal, religious and
political. With these, our duty is simply to confirm or contradict them
where we can, and where we cannot, to leave them just as we found them,
resting upon their intrinsic claims to belief or otherwise. Having
premised thus far, we beg leave to introduce to our reader’s special
acquaintance, Evory Easel, Esq., an English Artist and Savan, coming to
_do_ a portion of the country, ladies and gentleman, as has been often
done before.


Batch No. I. Evory Easel, Esq., to Sam Spinageberd, Esq.

“Old Spinageberd:

“Here I am at last, in the land of fun and fighting---mirth and
misery--orange and green. I would have written to you a month ago, but,
that such a course was altogether out of my calculation. The moment I
arrived, I came to the determination of sauntering quietly about, but
confining myself to a certain locality, listening to, and treasuring
up, whatever I could see or hear, without yet availing myself of Lord
Cumber’s introductions, in order that my first impressions of the
country and the people, might result from personal observation, and not
from the bias, which accounts heard here from either party, might be apt
to produce. First, then, I can see the folly, not to say the injustice,
which I ought to say, of a landlord placing his property under the
management of a furious partisan, whose opinions, political and
religious are not merely at variance with but, totally opposed to, those
whose interests are entrusted to his impartiality and honesty. In the
management of a property circumstanced as that of Castle Cumber is,
where the population is about one-half Roman Catholic, and the
other half Protestant and Presbyterian, between us, any man, my dear
Spinageberd, not a fool or knave, must see the madness of employing a
fellow who avows himself an enemy to the creed of one portion of the
tenantry, and a staunch supporter of their opponents. Is this fair, or
can justice originate in its purity from such a source? Is it reasonable
to suppose that a Roman Catholic tenantry, who, whatever they may bear,
are impatient of any insult or injustice offered to their creed, or,
which is the same thing, to themselves on account of that creed,--is it
reasonable, I say, to suppose that such a people could rest satisfied
with a man who acts towards them only through the medium of his fierce
and ungovernable prejudices? Is it not absurd to imagine for one moment
that property can be fairly administered through such hands, and, if
not property, how much less justice itself. You may judge of my
astonishment, as an Englishman, when I find that the administration of
justice is in complete keeping with that of property; for, I find it an
indisputable fact, that nineteen magistrates, out of every twenty, are
Orangemen, or party men of some description, opposed to Roman Catholic
principles. And, yet, the Roman Catholic party are expected to exhibit
attachment to the government which not merely deprives them of their
civil rights, but literally places the execution of the laws in the
hands of their worst and bitterest enemies. I say so deliberately; for
I find that nothing so strongly recommends a man to the office
of magistrate, or, indeed, to any office under government, as the
circumstance of being a strong, conspicuous anti-Catholic. In writing
to you, my dear Spinageberd, you may rest assured that I will give
expression to nothing but truths which are too well known to be
contradicted. The subject of property in Ireland, is one, which,
inasmuch as it is surrounded with great difficulties, is also entitled
to great consideration.

“If there be any one prejudice in the character of an Irish peasant
stronger or more dangerous than another--and he has many, they say, that
are both strong and dangerous--it is that which relates to property and
the possession of it. This prejudice is, indeed, so conscious of its own
strength, and imbued in this opinion with so deep a conviction of its
justice, that, in ordinary circumstances, it scorns the aid of all
collateral and subordinate principles and even flings religion aside, as
an unnecessary ally, justice, therefore, or oppression, or partiality in
the administration of property, constitutes the greatest crime known to
the agrarian law, and is consequently resisted by the most unmitigable
and remorseless punishment. The peasant who feels, or believes himself
to be treated with injustice, or cruelty, never pauses to reflect upon
the religion of the man whom he looks upon as his oppressor. He will
shoot a Catholic landlord or agent from behind a hedge, with as much
good will as he would a Protestant. Indeed, in general, he will prefer a
Protestant landlord to those of his own creed, knowing well, as he does,
that the latter, where they are possessed of property, constitute the
very worst class of landlords in the kingdom. As religion, therefore, is
not at all necessarily mixed up with the Irishman’s prejudices as this
subject--it is consequently both dangerous and wicked to force it to an
adhesion with so dreadful a principle as that which resorts to noon-day
or midnight murder. This is unfortunately what such fellows as this
M’Clutchy do. They find the Irish peasant with but one formidable
prejudice in relation to property, and by a course of neglect,
oppression, and rapacity, joined to all the malignant rancor of
religious bigotry and party feeling, they leave him goaded by a hundred.
I believe in my soul that there are many fire-brands like M’Clutchy in
this country, who create the crime, in order to have the gratification
of punishing it, and of wreaking a legal vengeance upon the unfortunate
being who has been guilty of it, in order that they may recommend
themselves as loyal men to the government of the day. If this be so, how
can the country be peaceable? If it be peaceable, such men can have
no opportunity of testing their loyalty, and if they do not test their
loyalty, they can have no claim upon the government, and having no claim
upon the government, they will get nothing from it. The day will come, I
hope, when the very existence of men like these, and of the system which
encouraged; them, will be looked upon with disgust and wonder--when the
government of our country will make no invidious distinctions of creed
or party, and will not base the administration of its principles upon
the encouragement of hatred between man and man.

“Hickman, the former agent, was the first to whom I presented Lord
Cumber’s letter. He is a gentleman by birth, education, and property; a
man of a large and a liberal mind, well stored with information and has
the character of being highly, if not punctiliously honorable. His age
is about fifty-five, but owing to his regular and temperate habits of
life, and in this country temperance is a virtue indeed, he scarcely,
looks beyond forty. Indeed, I may observe by the way, that in this
blessed year of ----, the after-dinner indulgences of the Irish
squirearchy, who are the only class that remain in the country, resemble
the drunken orgies of Silenus and his satyrs, more than anything else to
which I can compare them. The conversation is in general licentious,
and the drinking beastly; and I don’t know after all, but the Irish are
greater losers by their example than they would be by their absence.

“On making inquiries into the state and management of this property,
I found Hickman actuated by that fine spirit of gentlemanly delicacy,
which every one, rich and poor, attribute to him. M’Clutchy having
succeeded him, he very politely declined to enter into the subject
at any length, but told me that I could be at no loss in receiving
authentic information on a subject so much and so painfully canvassed.
I find it is a custom in this country for agents to lend money to their
employers, especially when they happen to be in a state of considerable
embarrassment, by which means the unfortunate landlord is seldom able
to discharge or change his agent, should he misconduct himself; and is
consequently saddled with a vampire probably for life, or while there is
any blood to be got out of him. Hickman, who has other agencies, makes
it a point of principle, never to lend money to a landlord, by which
means he avoids those imputations which are so frequently and justly
brought against those who trade upon the embarrassments of their
employers, in order to get them into their power.

“May 13.--There are two newspapers in the town of Castle Cumber,
conducted upon opposite principles: one of them is called _The Castle
Cumber True Blue_, and is the organ of the Orange Tory party, and the
High Church portion of the Establishment. The other advocates the cause
of the Presbyterians, Dissenters, and gives an occasional lift to the
Catholics. There is also a small party here, which, however, is gaining
ground every day, called the Evangelical, an epithet adopted for the
purpose of distinguishing them from the mere worldly and political High
Churchmen, who, together with all the loyalty and wealth, have
certainly all the indifference to religion, and most of the secular and
ecclesiastical corruptions that have disgraced the Church, and left it
little better than a large mass of bribes in the hands of the English
minister. In such a state of things, you may judge how that rare grace,
piety, is rewarded. There is, besides, no such thing to be found in
this country as an Irish bishop, nor, is a bishop ever appointed for his
learning or his piety; on the contrary, the unerring principle of their
elevation to the mitre, is either political, or family influence, or
both. I wish I could stop here but I cannot; there are, unfortunately,
still more flagitious motives for their appointment. English ministers
have been found who were so strongly influenced by respect for the
religion and Church Establishment of the Irish, that they have not
blushed to promote men, who were the convenient instruments of their
own profligacy, to some of the richest sees in the kingdom. But I am
travelling out of my record; so to return. The name of the second paper
is the _Genuine Patriot, and Castle Cumber Equivocal_; this last journal
is, indeed, sorely distressed between the Catholic and Evangelical
parties. The fact is, that the Evangelicals entertain such a horror of
Popery, as a spiritual abomination, that they feel highly offended that
their advocates should also be the advocate of Old Broadbottom, as the
Orangemen call the Pope; in consequence, they say, of his sitting upon
seven hills. The editors of these papers are too decidedly opposed
in general, to be on bad terms with each other; or, to speak more
intelligibly, they are not on the same side, and consequently do not
hate each other as they ought and would. The town of Castle Cumber, like
every other country town, is one mass of active and incessant scandal;
and, it not infrequently happens that the _True Blue_ will generously
defend an individual on the opposite side, and the _Genuine Patriot_
fight for a High Churchman. The whole secret of this, however is,
that it is the High Churchman who writes in the _Patriot_, and the
Evangelical in the _True Blue_, each well knowing that a defence by
an opposing paper is worth more than one by his favorite organ. In the
instance I am about to specify, however, the case was otherwise, each
paper adhering to the individual of his own principles. On taking up the
_True Blue_ I read the following passage, to which I have fortunately
obtained a key that will make the whole matter quite intelligible. The
article was headed:--

“Susanna and the Elder; or the Conventicle in trouble.

“‘For some time past we regret, sincerely regret, as Christian men, that
a rumor has, by degrees, been creeping into circulation, which we trust
is, like most rumors of the kind, without foundation. The reputation
of a very pious professional gentleman, well known for his zeal and
activity in the religious world, is said to be involved in it, but, we
trust, untruly. The gentleman in question, has, we know, many enemies;
and we would fain hope, that this is merely some evil device fabricated
by the adversaries of piety and religion. The circumstances alluded
to are briefly these: Susanna, says the evil tongue of rumor, was a
religious young person, residing in the character of children’s maid in
the family. She was of decided piety, and never known to be absent
from morning and evening worship; it seems, besides, that she is
young, comely, and very agreeable, indeed, to the mere, secular eye her
symmetry had been remarkable, but indeed female graces are seldom long
lived; she is not now, it seems, in the respectable gentleman’s family
alluded to, and her friends are anxious to see her, but cannot. So the
idle story goes, but we hesitate not to say that it originates in the
vindictive malice of some concealed enemy, who envies the gentleman
in question his pure and unsullied reputation. We would not ourselves
advert to it at all, but that we hope it may meet his eye, and prompt
him to take the earliest measures to contradict and refute it, as we are
certain he will and can do.’

“This was all exceedingly kind, and certainly so very charitable that
the Equivocal could not, with any claim to Christian principles, suffer
itself to be outdone in that blessed spirit of brotherly love and
forgiveness, which, it trusted, always characterized its pages.

“‘We are delighted,’ it said, ‘at the mild and benevolent tone in which,
under the common misconception, a little anecdote, simple and harmless
in itself, was uttered. Indeed, we smiled--but we trust the smile
was that of a Christian--on hearing our respected and respectable
contemporary doling out the mistake of a child, with such an air
of solemn interest in the reputation of a gentleman whose name and
character are beyond the reach of either calumny or envy. The harmless
misconception on which, by a chance expression, the silly rumor was
founded, is known to all the friends of the gentleman in question. He
himself, however, being one of those deep-feeling Christians, who are
not insensible to the means which often resorted to, for wise purposes,
in order to try us and prove our faith, is far from looking on the
mistake--as, in the weakness of their own strength, many would as a
thing to be despised and contemned. No; he receives it as a warning,
it may be for him to be more preciously alive to his privileges, and to
take care when he stands lest he might fall. Altogether, therefore, he
receives this thing as an evidence that he is cared for, and that it is
his duty to look upon it as an awakening of his, perhaps, too worldly
and forgetful spirit, to higher and better duties; and if so, then will
it prove a blessing unto him, and will not have been given in vain. We
would not, therefore, be outdone even in charity by our good friend of
the _True Blue_; and we remember that when about six months ago, he was
said to have been found in a state scarcely compatible with sobriety,
in the channel of Castle Cumber main street, opposite the office door of
the Equivocal, on his way home from an Orange lodge, we not only aided
him, as was our duty, but we placed the circumstance in its proper
light--a mere giddiness in the head, accompanied by a total prostration
of physical strength, to both of which even the most temperate, and
sober, are occasionally liable. The defect of speech, accompanied by
a strong tendency to lethargy, we accounted for at the time, by a
transient cessation or paralysis of the tongue, and a congestion of
blood on the brain, all of which frequently attack persons of the
soberest habits. Others might have said it was intoxication, or
drunkenness, and so might his character have been injured; but when his
incapacity to stand was placed upon its proper footing, the matter was
made perfectly clear, and there was, consequently, no doubt about it. So
easy is it to distort a circumstance, that is harmless and indifferent
in itself, into a grievous fault, especially where there is not
Christian charity to throw a cloak over it.’

“‘Such is a specimen of two paragraphs--one from each paper; and
considering that the subject was a delicate one, and involving; the
character of a professor, we think it was as delicately handled on both
sides as possible. I am told it is to be publicly alluded to to-morrow
in the congregation of which the subject of it, a Mr. Solomon M’Slime,
an attorney, is an elder--a circumstance which plainly accounts for the
heading of the paragraph in the True Blue.

“There were, however, about a week or ten days ago, a couple of
paragraphs in the _True Blue_--which, by the way, is Mr. M’Clutchy’s
favorite paper--of a very painful description. There is a highly
respectable man here, named M’Loughlin--and you will please to observe,
my dear Spinageberd, that this M’Loughlin is respected and well spoken
of by every class and party; remember that, I say. This man is a partner
with a young fellow named Harman, who is also very popular with parties.
Harman, it seems, was present at some scene up in the mountains, where
M’Clutchy’s blood-hounds, as they are called, from their ferocity when
on duty, had gone to take a man suspected for murder. At all events, one
of the blood-hounds in the straggle--for they were all armed, as they
usually are--lost his life by the discharge--said to be accidental,
but sworn to be otherwise, before Mr. Magistrate M’Clutchy--of a loaded
carbine. He was to have been tried at the assizes which have just
terminated; but his trial has been postponed until the next assizes,
it is said for want of sufficient evidence. Be this as it may, it seems
that M’Loughlin’s beautiful daughter was soon to have been married
to her father’s young partner, now in prison. The unfortunate girl,
however, manifested the frailty of her sex: for while her former lover
was led to suppose that he possessed all the fulness of her affection,
she was literally carrying on a private and guilty intrigue with one of
the worst looking scoundrels that ever disgraced humanity--I mean Phil,
as he is called, only son to Valentine M’Clutchy--who, by the way, goes
among the people under the sobriquet of Val the Vulture. I need not say
what the effects of this young woman’s dishonor have produced upon
her family. Young M’Clutchy was seen by several to go into her own
apartment, and was actually found striving to conceal himself there by
his father’s blood-hounds who had received information that M’Loughlin
had fire-arms in his house. The consequence is, that the girl’s
reputation is gone for ever. ‘Tis true the verdict against her is not
unanimous. There is a woman, named Poll Doolin, mentioned, who bears a
most unrelenting enmity against M’Loughlin and his family, for having
transported one of her sons. She is said to have been the go-between
on this occasion, and that the whole thing is a cowardly and diabolical
plot between this Phil--whom the girl, it seems, refused to marry
before--and herself. I don’t know how this may be; but the damning fact
of this ugly scoundrel having been seen to go into her room, with her
own consent, and being found there, attempting to conceal himself, by
his father’s cavalry, overweighs, in my opinion, anything that can
be said in her favor. As it is, the family are to be pitied, and she
herself, it seems, is confined to her bed with either nervous or brain
fever, I don’t know which--but the disclosure of the intrigue has
had such an effect upon her mind, that it is scarcely thought she will
recover it. Every one who knew her is astonished at it; and what adds to
the distress of her and her family is, that Harman, whose cousin was
an eye-witness to the fact of her receiving Phil into her chamber, has
written both to her and them, and that henceforth he renounces her for
ever.

“There have also been strong rumors touching the insolvency of the firm
of M’Loughlin and Harman, and, it is to be feared, that this untoward
exposure will injure them even in a worldly point of view. In the _True
Blue_ there are two paragraphs of the following stamp--paragraphs that
certainly deserve to get the ears of those who either wrote or published
them cropped off their heads.

“Unprecedented Feat of Gallantry and Courage!

“Public rumor has already exonerated us from the delicacy which would
otherwise have restrained our pen from alluding to a feat of gallantry
and courage performed by a young gentleman who does not live a hundred
miles from Constitution Cottage. It seems that a _laison_ once subsisted
between him and a young lady of great personal attractions, and, at
that time, supposed (erroneously) to be entitled to a handsome dowry,
considering that the fair creature worships at the Mallet Office, and
bestows, in the exercise of her usual devotion, some soft blows upon
her fair, but not insensible bosom. Our readers will understand us. The
young gentleman in question, however, hearing that the lady had been
recently betrothed to a partner of her father’s, prompted by that spirit
of gallant mischief or dare-devilism for which he is so remarkable, did,
under very dangerous circumstances, actually renew his intimacy, and
had several stolen, and, consequently, sweet meetings with the charming
creature. This, however, reached his father’s ears, who, on proper
information, despatched a troop of his own cavalry to bring the young
gentleman home--and so accurate was the intelligence received, that,
on reaching her father’s house, they went directly to the young lady’s
chamber, from which they led out the object of their search, after
several vain but resolute attempts to exclude them from his bower
of love. This unfortunate discovery has occasioned a great deal of
embarrassment in the family, and broken up the lady’s intended marriage
with her father’s partner. But what strikes us, is the daring courage of
the hero who thus gallantly risked life and limb, rather than that the
lady of his love should pine in vain. Except Leander’s, of old, we know
of no such feat of love and gallantry in these degenerate days.’

“This other is equally malignant and vindictive

“‘Messrs. Harman and M’Loughlin.

“‘We shall be very happy, indeed exceedingly so, to contradict
an unpleasing rumor, affecting the solvency of our respected
fellow-townsmen, Messrs. Harman and M’Loughlin. We. do not ourselves
give any credit to such rumors; but how strange, by the way, that such
an expression should drop from our pen on such a subject? No, we
believe them to be perfectly solvent; or, if we err in supposing so, we
certainly err in the company of those on whose opinions, we, in general,
are disposed to rely. We are inclined to believe, and we think, that for
the credit of so respectable a firm, it is our duty to state it, that
the rumor affecting their solvency has been mistaken for another of an
almost equally painful character connected with domestic life, which,
by the unhappy attachment of ****** to a young gentleman of a different
creed, and proverbially loyal principles, has thrown the whole family
into confusion and distress.’

“These, my dear Spinageberd, are the two paragraphs, literally
transcribed, from the True Blue, and I do not think it necessary to
add any comment to them. On tomorrow I have resolved to attend the
Dissenting Chapel, a place of worship where I have never yet been, and
I am anxious, at all events, to see what the distinctions are between
their mode of worship and that of the Church of Englandism. Besides,
to admit the truth, I am also anxious to see how this Solomon--this
religious attorney, whose person I well know--will deport himself under
circumstances which assuredly would test the firmness of most men,
unless strongly and graciously sustained, as they say themselves.”



CHAPTER XVI.--Solomon in Trouble

--Is Publicly Prayed for--His Gracious Deliverance, and Triumph--An
Orangeman’s View of Protestantism and of Popery--Phil’s Discretion and
Valor.


“Monday, half-past eleven o’clock.

“My Dear Spinageberd:

“In pursuance of my intention, I attended the Castle Cumber
Meeting-house yesterday, and must confess that I very much admire the
earnest and unassuming simplicity of the dissenting ritual. They have
neither the epileptical rant nor goatish impulses of the Methodists,
nor the drowsy uniformity from which not all the solemn beauty of the
service can redeem the Liturgy of the Church of England. In singing, the
whole congregation generally take a part--a circumstance which, however
it may impress their worship with a proof of sincerity, certainly adds
nothing to its melody.

“The paragraph of ‘Susanna and the’ Elder’ having taken wind, little
Solomon, as they call him, attended his usual seat, with a most unusual
manifestation of grace and unction beaming from his countenance. He
was there early; and before the service commenced he sat with his hands
locked in each other, their palms up, as was natural, but his eyes cast
down, in peaceful self-communion, as was evident from the divine and
ecstatic smile with which, from time to time, he cast up his enraptured
eyes to heaven, and sighed--sighed with an excess of happiness which was
vouchsafed to but few, or, perhaps, for those depraved and uncharitable
sinners who had sent abroad such an ungodly scandal against a champion
of the faith. At all events, at the commencement of the service, the
minister--a rather jolly-looking man, with a good round belly apparently
well lined--read out of a written paper, the following short address to
those present:--

“‘The prayers of this congregation are requested for one of its most
active and useful members, who is an elder thereof. They are requested
to enable him to fight the good fight, under the sore trials of a wicked
world which have come upon him in the shape of scandal. But inasmuch as
these dispensations are dealt out to us often for our soul’s good and
ultimate comfort, the individual in question doth not wish you to pray
for a cessation of this, he trusts, benign punishment. He receives it
as a token--a manifestation that out of the great congregation of the
faithful that inherit the church, he--an erring individual--a frail
unit, is not neglected nor his spiritual concerns overlooked. He
therefore doth not wish you to say, “cease Lord, this evil unto this
man,” but yea, rather to beseech, that if it be for his good, it may
be multiplied unto him, and that he may feel it is good for him to be
afflicted. Pray, therefore, that he may be purged by this tribulation,
and that like those who were placed in the furnace, nine times heated,
he may come out without a hair of his head singed--unhurt and rejoicing,
ready again to fight the good fight, with much shouting, the rattling of
chariots, and the noise of triumph and victory.’

“During the perusal of this all eyes were turned upon Solomon, whose
face was now perfectly seraphic, and his soul wrapped up into the ninth
heaven. Of those around him it was quite clear that he was altogether
incognizant. His eyelids were down as before, but the smile on his face
now was a perfect glory; it was unbroken, and the upturning of the
eyes proceeded from, and could be, nothing less than a glimpse of that
happiness which no other eye ever had seen but that of Solomon’s at
that moment, and which, it was equally certain, no heart but his could
conceive. When it was concluded the psalm commenced, and if there had
been any doubt before, there could be none now that his triumph was
great, and the victory over the world and his enemies obtained, whilst a
fresh accession of grace was added to that which had been vouchsafed him
before. He led the psalm now with a fervor of spirit and fulness of lung
which had never been heard in the chapel before; nay, he moved both head
and foot to the time, as if he had only to wish it, and he could ascend
at once to heaven. This, indeed, was a victory, this was a moment of
rejoicing--here was the Christian soldier rattling home in his triumphal
chariot, to the sound of the trumpet, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer.

“When the service was over he shook hands with as many of his friends as
he could, exclaiming, ‘oh, what a blessed day has this been to me! what
a time of rejoicing; indeed it is good to be tried. Truly the sources of
comfort were opened to my soul on this day more abundantly than I dared
to hope for--I feel my privileges more strongly, and more of the new man
within me--I am sustained and comforted, and feel that it was good for
me to be here this day--I did not hope for this, but it was graciously
granted to me, notwithstanding. How good, how heavenly a thing it is to
be called upon to suffer, especially when we are able to do so in faith
and obedience. May He be praised for all. Amen! Amen!’

“Now, my dear friend, who will say, after all this, that the stage is
the great school for actors? who ever saw on the boards of a theatre a
more finished performance than that of Solomon M’Slime? It so happens
that I am acquainted with the whole circumstances, and, consequently,
can fully appreciate his talents. In the mean time I am paying a visit
of business to M’Clutchy to-morrow, that I may have an opportunity of
a nearer inspection into his character. He is said to be an able, deep,
vindictive, and rapacious man--cowardly, but cruel--treacherous, but
plausible; and without the slightest remorse of conscience to restrain
him from the accomplishment of any purpose, no matter how flagitious.
And, yet, the cure for all this, in the eyes of his own party, is his
boundless loyalty, and his thorough Protestantism. No wonder the church
should be no longer useful or respected when she is supported only by
such Protestants as Valentine M’Clutchy, and his class.”


“Thursday.--At a little after ten, I waited upon this, famous agent to
the Castle Cumber property, and found him in his office, looking over an
account-book with his son. He had a bad face--black, heavy, over-hanging
eyebrows, and an upper lip that quivers and gets pale when engaged even
in earnest conversation--his forehead is low, but broad and massive,
indicating the minor accessories of intellect, together with great
acuteness and cunning; altogether he had the head and face of a felon.
For purposes which you shall know hereafter, I declined presenting Lord
Cumber’s letter of introduction, which I calculated would put the
fellow on his guard, deeming it, more prudent to introduce myself as a
stranger, anxious, if I could do so conveniently, to settle somewhere
in the neighborhood. The son’s back was towards me when I entered, and
until he had finished the account at which he had been engaged, which
he did by a good deal of altering and erasing, he did not deem, it worth
while to look about him even at the entrance of a stranger. Having heard
me express my intention of looking for a residence in the vicinity, he
did me the honor of one of the most comical stares I ever saw. He is a
tall fellow, about six feet, his shoulders are narrow, but round as the
curve of a pot--his neck is, at least, eighteen inches in length, on the
top of which stands a head, somewhat of a three-cornered shape, like a
country barber’s wig block, only not so intelligent looking. His nose is
short, and turned up a little at the top--his squint is awful, but then,
it is peculiar to himself; for his eyes, instead of looking around them
as such eyes do, appear to keep a jealous and vigilant watch of each
other across his nose--his chin is short and retreating, and from, his
wide mouth project two immeasurable buck teeth, that lie together like
a’pair of tiles upon a dog kennel. Heavens! that a beautiful girl--as
it is said everywhere Miss M’Loughlin is, and until now proverbially
correct in her conduct and deportment--should admit such a misshapen
kraken as this into her apartment, and at night, too! After having
stared at me for some time with a great deal of cunning and a great deal
of folly in his countenance, he again began to pore over the blank pages
of his book, as if he had been working out some difficult calculation.

“‘And,’ said the father, after we had been chatting for some time, ‘have
you seen anything in the neighborhood that you think would suit you?’

“‘I am too much of a stranger, sir,’ I replied, ‘to be able to answer in
the affirmative--but I admire the country and the scenery, both of
which in this immediate neighborhood, are extremely beautiful and
interesting.’

“‘They are so,’ he replied, ‘and the country is a fine one, certainly.’

“‘Ay,’ said Phil, ‘only for these cursed Papists.’

“As he spoke he looked at me very significantly, and drew three of his
yellow fingers across his chin, but added nothing more. This, by the
way, he did half a dozen times, and, on mentioning the circumstance, it
has been suggested to me that it must have been the sign by which one
Orangeman makes himself known to another.

“‘The Papists,’ I replied, ‘do not enter into any objection of mine
against a residence in the neighborhood; but, as you, Mr. M’Clutchy, as
agent of this fine property, must be well acquainted with the state
and circumstances of the country, you would really confer a favor by
enabling me, as a stranger, to form correct impressions of the place and
people.’

“‘Then,’ said he, ‘in the first place allow me to ask what are your
politics? As an Englishman, which I perceive you are by your accent--I
take it for granted that you are a Protestant.’

“‘I am a Protestant, certainly,’ I replied, ‘and a Church of England
one.’

“‘Ay, but that’s not enough,’ said Phil, ‘that won’t do, my good sir;
d--n my honor if it would be worth a fig in this country.’

“‘I am very ignorant of Irish politics, I admit,’ said I, ‘but, I trust,
I am in good hands for the receipt of sound information on the subject.’

“‘No, no,’ continued Phil, ‘that’s nothing--to be a mere Church of
England man, or a Church of Ireland man either, would never do here, I
tell you. Upon my honor, but that’s doctrine.’

“‘Well, but what would do,’ I inquired; for I certainly felt a good deal
of curiosity to know what he was coming to.

“‘The great principle here,’ said the son, ‘is to hate and keep down the
Papists, and you can’t do that properly unless you’re an Orangeman. Hate
and keep down the Papists, that’s the true religion, I pledge you my
honor and reputation it is.’

“‘You put the principle too strong, and rather naked, Phil,’ observed
the father; ‘but the truth is, sir,’ he added, turning to me, ‘that you
may perceive that fine spirit of Protestant enthusiasm in the young man,
which is just now so much wanted in, and so beneficial to the country
and the government. We must, sir, make allowance for this in the
high-spirited and young, and ardent; but, still, after deducting a
little for zeal and enthusiasm, he has expressed nothing but truth--with
the exception, indeed, that we are not bound to hate them, Phil; on the
contrary, we are bound to love our enemies.’

“‘Beggingyour pardon, father, I say we are bound to hate them.’

“‘Why, so, sir, may I ask,’ said I.

“‘Why so--why because--because--they--because as--aren’t they Papists,
and is not that sufficient--and, again, here’s another reason still
stronger, aren’t we Orangemen? Now, sir, did you, or any one, even hear
of such a thing as a good, sound Orangeman loving a Papist--a bloody
Papist. My word and honor, but that’s good!’

“‘The truth is,’ said the father, ‘that the turbulence of their
principles has the country almost ripe for insurrection. I have myself
received above half a dozen notices, and my son there, as many; some
threatening life, others property, and I suppose the result will be,
that I must reside for safety in the metropolis. My house is this moment
in a state of barricade--look at my windows, literally checkered with
stancheon bars--and as for arms, let me see, we have six blunderbusses,
eight cases of pistols, four muskets, two carbines, with a variety of
side arms, amounting to a couple of dozen. Such, sir, is the state of
the country, owing, certainly, as my son says, to the spirit of Popery,
and to the fact of my discharging my duty toward Lord Cumber with
fidelity and firmness!

“‘In that case,’ I observed, ‘there is little to induce any man
possessing some property to reside here.’

“‘Certainly nothing,’ he replied, ‘but a great many inducements to get
out of it.’

“‘Does Lord Cumber ever visit his property here?’ I asked.

“‘He has too much sense,’ returned the agent; ‘but now that parliament
is dissolved, he will come over to the Election. We must return either
him or his brother the Hon. Dick Topertoe, who, I understand, has no
fixed principles whatsoever.’

“‘But why return such a man? Why not put up and support one of your own
way of thinking?’

“‘Why, because in the first place, we must keep out Hartley, who is
a liberal, and also an advocate for emancipating Popery; and, in the
second, if it be bad to have no principles, like Topertoe, it is worse
to have bad ones like Hartley. He’ll do to stop a gap until we get
better, and then unless he comes round, we’ll send him adrift.’

“‘Is he in Ireland? I mean does he reside in the country?’

“‘Not he, sir; it seems he’s a wayward devil, very different from the
rest of the family--and with none of the dash and spirit of the Topertoe
blood in him.’

“‘In that case, he will be no great loss; but Mr. M’Clutchy,
notwithstanding all you have said I am so much charmed with the beauty
of the country, that I would gladly settle in the neighborhood, if I
could procure a suitable residence, together with a good large farm,
which I would rent. Is there anything in that way vacant on the estate?’

“‘At present, sir, nothing; but it is possible there may be, and if you
should remain in the country, I shall feel great pleasure in acquainting
you.’

“‘Because I was told,’ I continued, ‘that there are two large farms,
either of which would suit me admirably; but I dare say I have been
misinformed. I allude to Mr. M’Loughlin’s and Herman’s holdings, which I
understand are out of lease.’

“‘Yes,’ said he, sighing, ‘I am sorry for those men; but the truth is,
my good sir, that in this affair I am not a free agent. Lord Cumber,
in consequence of some very accurate information that reached him, has
determined to put them out of their holdings, now that their leases
have expired. I am, you know, but his agent, and cannot set up my will
against his.’

“‘But could you not take their part?--could you not remonstrate with
him, and set him right, rather than see injustice done to innocent men?’

“‘You surely cannot imagine, sir, that I have not done so. Earnestly,
indeed, have I begged of him to reconsider his orders, and to withdraw
them; but like all the Topertoes, he is as obstinate as a mule. The
consequence is, however, that whilst the whole blame of the transaction
is really his, the odium will fall upon me, as it always does.’

“Here Phil, the son, who had been for the last few minutes paring away
the pen with his knife, gave a sudden yelp, not unlike what a hound
would utter when he gets an unexpected cut of the whip. It was certainly
meant for a laugh, as I could perceive by the frightful grin which drew
back his lips I from his yellow projecting tusks, as his face appeared
to me in the looking-glass--a fact which he seemed to forget.

“‘Then, Mr. M’Clutchy, the farms of these men, are they disposed of?’

“‘They are disposed of; and, indeed, in any event, I could not, in
justice to the landlord’s interests, receive the offers which M’Loughlin
and Harman made me. My son here, who, as under agent feels it necessary
to reside on the property, and who is about to take unto himself a wife
besides, has made me a very liberal offer for M’Loughlin’s holding--one,
indeed, which I did not feel myself at liberty to refuse. Mr. M’Slime,
our respected law agent, I also considered a very proper tenant for
Harman’s; and that matter is also closed--by which means I secured two
respectable, safe, and unobjectionable tenants, on whose votes, at all
events, we can reckon, which was more than we could do with the other
two--both of whom had expressed their determination to vote in favor of
Hartley.’

“‘What are the religious opinions of those men, Mr. M’Clutchy?’

“‘M’Loughlin is a Papist--’

“‘But Harman is worse,’ interrupted Phil; ‘for he’s a Protestant, and no
Orangeman.’

“‘I thought,’ I replied, ‘that nothing could be so bad as a Papist, much
less worse.’

“‘Oh yes,’ said Phil, ‘that’s worse; because one always knows that
a Papist’s a Papist--but when you find a Protestant who is not an
Orangeman, on my sacred honor, you don’t know what to make of him. The
Papists are all cowards, too.’

“‘Then,’ said I, ‘you have the less difficulty in keeping them down.’

“‘Upon my soul and honor, sir, you don’t know how a naked Papist will
run from a gun and bayonet. I have often seen it.’

“At this moment a tap came to the door, and a servant man, in Orange
livery, announced a gentleman to see Mr. Philip M’Clutchy. I rose to
take my departure; but Phil insisted I should stop.

“‘Don’t go, sir,’ said he; ‘I have something to propose to you by and
by.’ I accordingly took my seat.

“When the gentleman entered, he looked about, and selecting Phil, bowed
to him, and then to us.

“‘Ah, Mr. Hartley! how do you do?’ said Val, shaking hands with him;
‘and how is your cousin, whom we hope to have the pleasure of beating
soon?--ha, ha, ha. Take a seat.’

“‘Thank you,’ said the other; ‘but the fact is, that time’s just now
precious, and I wish to have a few words with Mr. Philip here.’

“‘What is it, Hartley? How are you, Hartley? I’m glad to see you.’

“‘Quite well, Phil; but if you have no objection, I would rather speak
to you in another room. It’s a matter of some importance, and of some
delicacy, too.’

“‘Oh, curse the delicacy, man; out with it.’

“‘I really cannot, Phil, unless by ourselves.’

“They both then withdrew to the back parlor, where, after a period of
about ten minutes, Phil came rushing in with a face on him, and in a
state of trepidation utterly indescribable; Hartley, on the other hand,
cool and serious, following him.

“‘Phil,’ said he, ‘think of what you are about to do. Don’t exclude
yourself hereafter from the rank and privileges of a gentleman.
Pause, if you respect yourself, and regard your reputation as a man of
courage.’

“‘D----d fine talk in you--who--who’s a fire-eater, Hartley. What do
you think, father--?’ Hartley put, or rather attempted to put his hand
across his mouth, to prevent his cowardly and degrading communication;
but in vain. ‘What do you think, father,’ he continued, ‘but there’s
that cowardly scoundrel, young M’Loughlin, has sent me a challenge?
Isn’t the country come to a pretty pass, when a Papist durst do such a
thing?’

“‘Why not a Papist?’ said Hartley. ‘Has not a Papist flesh, and blood,
and bones, like another man? Is a Papist to be insensible to insult? Is
he to sit down tamely and meanly under disgrace and injury? Has he no
soul to feel the dignity of just resentment? Is he not to defend his
sister, when her character has been basely and treacherously ruined? Is
he to see her stretched on her death-bed, by your villainy, and not to
avenge her? By heavens, if, under the circumstances of the provocation
which you gave him, and his whole family, he would be as mean and
cowardly a poltroon as I find you to be--if he suffered--’

“‘Do you call me a poltroon?’ said Phil, so shivering and pale, that his
voice betrayed his cowardice.

“‘Yes,’ said the other, ‘as arrant a poltroon as ever I met. I tell
you, you must either fight him, or publish a statement of your own
unparalleled disgrace. Don’t think you shall get out of it.’

“‘I tell you, sir,’ said Val, ‘that he shall not fight him. I would not
suffer a son of mine to put himself on a level with such a person as
young M’Loughlin.’

“‘On a level with him he never will be, for no earthly advantage could
raise him to it; but pray, Mr. M’Clutchy, who are you?’

“‘Val’s brow fell, and his lip paled and quivered, as the fine young
fellow looked him steadily in the face.

“‘Never mind him, father,’ said Phil ‘you know he’s a fire-eater.’

“‘There is no use in altercations of this sort,’ replied Val, calmly.
‘As for young M’Loughlin, or old M’Loughlin, if they think themselves
injured, they have the laws of the land to appeal to for redress. As for
us, we will fight them with other weapons besides pistols and firearms.’

“‘D---- my honor,’ said, Phil, ‘if I’d stoop to fight any Papist. Aren’t
they all rebels? And what gentleman would fight a rebel?’

“‘Honor!’ exclaimed Hartley; ‘don’t profane that sacred word--I can have
no more patience with such a craven-hearted rascal, who could stoop to
such base revenge against the unsullied reputation of a virtuous and
admirable girl, because she spurned your scoundrelly addresses.’

“‘He never paid his addresses to her,’ said Val;--‘never.’

“‘No I didn’t,’ said Phil. ‘At any rate I never had any notion of
marrying her.’

“‘You are a dastardly liar, sir,’ responded Hartley. ‘You know you had.
How can your father and you look each other in the face, when you say
so?’

“‘Go on,’ said Phil, ‘you’re a fire-eater: so you may say what you
like.’

“‘Didn’t your father, in your name, propose for her upon some former
occasion, in the fair of Castle Cumber, and he remembers the answer he
got.’

“‘Go on,’ said Phil, ‘you’re a fire-eater; that’s all I have to say to
you.’

“‘And now, having ruined her reputation by a base and cowardly plot
concocted with a wicked old woman, who would blast the whole family if
she could, because M’Loughlin transported her felon son; you, now,
like a paltry clown as you are, skulk out of the consequences of your
treachery, and refuse to give satisfaction for the diabolical injury you
have inflicted on the whole family.’

“‘Go on,’ said Phil, ‘you’re a fire-eater.’

“‘You forget,’ said Val, ‘that I am a magistrate, and what the
consequences may be to yourself for carrying a hostile message.’

“‘Ah,’ said Hartley, ‘you are a magistrate, and shame on the government
that can stoop to the degradation of raising such rascals as you are to
become dispensers of justice; it is you and the like of you, that are a
curse to the country. As for you, Phil M’Clutchy, I now know, and always
suspected, the stuff you are made of. You are a disgrace to the very
Orangemen you associate with; for they are, in general, brave fellows,
although too often cruel and oppressive when hunted on and stimulated by
such as you and your rascally upstart of a father.’

“‘Go on,’ said Phil, ‘you are a fire-eater.’

“‘I now leave you both,’ continued the young Hotspur, with a blazing
eye and flushed cheek, ‘with the greatest portion of scorn and contempt
which one man can bestow upon another.’

“‘Go off,’ said Phil, ‘you are a fire-eater.’

“‘Phil,’ said the father, ‘send for M’Murt, and let him get the
ejectments from M’Slime--we shall not, at all events, be insulted and
bearded by Papists, or their emissaries, so long as I can clear one of
them off the estate.’

“‘But, good God, Mr. M’Clutchy, surely these other Papists you speak of,
have not participated in the offences, if such they are, of M’Loughlin
and Harman.’

“‘Ay, but they’re all of the same kidney,’ said Phil; ‘they hate us
because we keep them down.’

“‘And what can be more natural than that?’ I observed; ‘just reverse the
matter--suppose they were in your place, and kept you down, would you
love them for it?’

“‘Why, what kind of talk is that,’ said Phil, ‘they keep us down! Are
they not rebels?’

“‘You observed,’ I replied, getting tired of this sickening and
senseless bigotry, ‘that you wished to make a proposal of some kind to
me before I went.’

“‘Yes,’ he replied, ‘I wished, if it be a thing that you remain in the
neighborhood, to propose that you should become an Orangeman, and join
my father’s lodge. You say you want a farm on the estate; now, if
you do, take my advice and become an Orangeman; you will then have a
stronger claim, for my father always gives them the preference.’

“‘By Lord Cumber’s desire, Phil; but I shall be very happy, indeed,
sir,’ proceeded Val, ‘that is, provided you get an introduction--for, at
present, you will pardon me for saying we are strangers.’

“‘I should first wish to witness the proceedings of an Orange Lodge,’
I said, ‘but I suppose that, of course, is impossible, unless to the
initiated.’

“‘Certainly, of course,’ said M’Clutchy.

“‘But, father,’ said Phil, ‘couldn’t we admit him after the business of
the lodge is concluded.’

“‘It is not often done,’ replied the father; ‘but it sometimes
is--however, we shall have the pleasure, Mr. Easel--(I forgot to say
that I had sent in my card, so that he knew my name),--we shall have the
pleasure of a better acquaintance, I trust.’

“‘I tell you what,’ said Phil, leaping off his chair, ‘d---n my honor,
but I was wrong to let young Hartley go without a thrashing. The
cowardly scoundrel was exceedingly insulting.’

“‘No, no, Phil,’ said the father; ‘you acted with admirable coolness and
prudence.’

“‘I tell you I ought to have kicked the rascal out,’ said Phil, getting
into a passion; ‘I’ll follow him and teach the impudent vagabond a
lesson he wants.’

“He seized his hat, and buttoned up his coat, as if for combat, whilst
he spoke.

“‘Phil, be quiet,’ said his father, rising up and putting his arms about
him; ‘be quiet now. There will be no taming him down, if his spirit
gets up,’ said Val, addressing me; ‘for all our sakes, Phil, keep quiet
and sit down. Good heaven! the strength of him! Phil, keep quiet, I say,
you shan’t go after him.’

“‘Let me go,’ shouted the other; ‘let me go, I say. I will smash him
to atoms. Upon my honor and reputation, he shall not escape me this
way--I’ll send him home a hoop--a triangle--a zoologist. I’ll beat him
into mustard, the cowardly scoundrel! And only you were a magistrate,
father, I would have done it before you. Let me go, I say--the M’Clutchy
blood is up in me! Father, you’re a scoundrel if you hold me! You
know what a lion I am--what a raging lion, when roused. Hands off,
M’Clutchy, I say, when you know I’m a thunderbolt.’

“The tugging and pulling that took place here between the father and son
were extraordinary, and I could not in common decency decline assisting
the latter to hold him in. I consequently lent him my aid seriously; but
this only made things worse:--the more he was held, the more violent and
outrageous he became. He foamed at the mouth--stormed--swore--and tore
about with such vehemence, that I really began to think the fellow was a
dull flint, which produced, fire slowly, but that there was fire in
him. The struggle still proceeded, and we pulled and dragged each other
through every part of the house:--chairs, and tables, and office-stools
were all overturned--and Phil’s cry was still for war.

“It’s all to no purpose,’ he shouted--‘I’ll not leave an unbroken bone
in that scoundrel Hartley’s body.’

“‘I know you wouldn’t, if you got at him,’ said Val. ‘He would certainly
be the death of him,’ he added aside tome; ‘he would give him some fatal
blow, and that’s what I’m afraid of.’

“Phil was now perfectly furious--in fact he resembled a drunken man, and
might have passed for such.

“‘Hartley, you scoundrel, where are you, till I make mummy of you?’ he
shouted.

“‘Here I am,’ replied Hartley, entering’ the room, walking up to him,
and looking him sternly in the face--‘here I am--what’s your will with
me?’

“So comic a paralysis was, perhaps, never witnessed. Phil stood
motionless, helpless, speechless. The white cowardly froth rose to
his lips, his color became ashy, his jaw fell, he shook, shrunk into
himself, and gasped for breath--his eyes became hollow, his squint
deepened, and such was his utter prostration of strength, that his very
tongue lolled out with weakness, like that of a newly dropped calf, when
attempting to stand for the first time. At length he got out--

“‘Hold! I believe, I’ll restrain myself; but only my father’s a
magistrate------’

“‘Your father’s a scoundrel, and you are another,’ said Hartley; ‘and
here’s my respect for you.’

“Whilst speaking, he caught Phil by the nose with one hand, and also by
the collar of his coat with the other, and in this position led him, in
a most comical way, round the room, after which he turned him about,
and inflicted a few vigorous kicks upon a part of him which must be
nameless.

“‘I am not sorry,’ said he, ‘that I forgot my note-case in the other
room, as it has given me an opportunity of taming a raging lion so
easily.’

“‘Goon,’ said Phil, whose language, as well as valor, was fairly
exhausted, ‘it’s well you’re a fire-eater, and my father a magistrate,
or by my honor, I’d know how to deal with you.’

“Such, my dear Spinageberd, is a domestic sketch of the Agent and Under
Agent of that exceedingly sapient nobleman, Lord Cumber; and if ever,
excellent landlord that he is, he should by any possible chance come
to see these lines, perhaps he might be disposed to think that an
occasional peep at his own property, and an examination into the
principles upon which it is managed, might open to him a new field of
action worth cultivating, even as an experiment not likely to end in any
injurious result to either him or it. In a day or two I shall call upon
Mr. Solomon M’Slime, with whom I am anxious to have a conversation,
as, indeed, I am with the leading characters on the property. You may
accordingly expect an occasional batch of observations from me, made
upon the spot, and fresh from my interviews with the individuals to whom
they relate.”



CHAPTER XVII.--A Moral Survey, or a Wise Man led by a Fool

--Marks of Unjust Agency--Reflections thereon--A Mountain Water-Spout,
and Rising of a Torrent--The Insane Mother over the Graves of her
Family--Raymond’s Humanity--His Rescue from Death.


“Friday, * * *

“I have amused myself--you will see how appropriate the word is by and
by--since my last communication, in going over the whole Castle
Cumber estate, and noting down the traces which this irresponsible
and rapacious oppressor, aided by his constables, bailiffs, and
blood-hounds, have left behind them. When I describe the guide into
whose hands I have committed myself, I am inclined to think you will
not feel much disposed to compliment me on my discretion;--the aforesaid
guide being no other than a young fellow, named _Raymond-na-Hattha_,
which means, they tell me, Raymond of the Hats--a sobriquet very
properly bestowed on him in consequence of a habit he has of always
wearing three or four hats at a time, one within the other--a
circumstance which, joined to his extraordinary natural height and great
strength, gives him absolutely a gigantic appearance. This Raymond is
the fool of the parish; but in selecting him for my conductor, I acted
under the advice of those who knew him better than I could. There
is not, in fact, a field or farm-house, or a cottage, within a
circumference of miles, which he does not know, and where he is not
also known. He has ever since his childhood evinced a most extraordinary
fancy for game cocks--an attachment not at all surprising, when it is
known that not only was his father, Morgan Monahan, the most celebrated
breeder and handler of that courageous bird--but his mother, Poll
Doolin--married women here frequently preserve, or are called by, their
maiden names through life--who learned it from her husband, was
equally famous for this very feminine accomplishment. Poor Raymond,
notwithstanding his privation, is, however, exceedingly shrewd in many
things, especially where he can make himself understood. As he speaks,
however, in unconnected sentences, in which there is put forth no more
than one phase of the subject he alludes to, or the idea he entertains,
it is unquestionably not an easy task to understand him without an
interpreter. He is singularly fond of children--very benevolent--and
consequently feels a degree of hatred and horror at anything in the
shape of cruelty or oppression, almost beyond belief, in a person
deprived of reason. This morning he was with me by appointment, about
half-past nine, and after getting his breakfast----but no matter--the
manipulation he exhibited would have been death to a dyspeptic patient,
from sheer envy--we sallied forth to trace this man, M’Clutchy, by
the awful marks of ruin, and tyranny, and persecution; for these words
convey the principles of what he hath left, and is leaving behind him.

“‘Now, Raymond,’ said I, ‘as you know the country well, I shall be
guided by you. I wish to see a place called Drum Dhu. Can you conduct
me there?’

“‘Ay!’ he replied with surprise; ‘Why! Sure there’s scarcely anybody
there now. When we go on farther, we may look up, but we’ll see no
smoke, as there used to be. ‘Twas there young Torly Regan died on that
day--an’ her, poor Mary--but they’re all gone from her--and Hugh the
eldest is in England or America--but him--the youngest--he’ll never
waken--and what will the poor mother do for his white head now that she
hasn’t it to look at? No, he wouldn’t waken, although I brought him the
cock.’

“‘Of whom are you speaking now, Raymond?’

“‘I’ll tell you two things that’s the same,’ he replied; ‘and I’ll tell
you the man that has them both.’

“‘Let me hear, Raymond.’

“‘The devil’s blessin’ and God’s curse;--sure they’re the same--ha,
ha--there now--that’s one. You didn’t know that--no, no: you didn’t.’

“‘And who is it that has them, Raymond?’

“‘M’Clutchy--Val the Vulture; sure ‘twas he did that all, and is doin’
it still. Poor Mary!--Brian will never waken;--she’ll never see his eyes
again, ‘tany rate--nor his white head--oh! his white head! God ought to
kill Val, and I wondher he doesn’t.’

“‘Raymond, my good friend,’ said I, ‘if you travel at this rate, I must
give up the journey altogether.’

“The fact is, that when excited, as he was now by the topic in question,
he gets into what is termed a sling trot, which carries him on at
about six miles an hour, without ever feeling fatigued. He immediately
slackened his pace, and looked towards me, with a consciousness of
having forgotten himself and acted wrongly.

“‘Well, no,’ said he, ‘I won’t; but sure I hate him.’

“‘Hate whom?’

“‘M’Clutchy--and that was it; for I always do it; but I won’t again, for
you couldn’t keep up wid me if I spoke about him.’

“We then turned towards the mountains; and as we went along, the
desolate impresses of the evil agent began here and there to become
visible. On the road-side there were the humble traces of two or three
cabins, whose little hearths had been extinguished, and whose walls were
levelled to the earth. The black fungus, the burdock, the nettle, and
all those offensive weeds that follow in the train of oppression and
ruin were here; and as the dreary wind stirred them into sluggish
motion, and piped its melancholy wail through these desolate little
mounds, I could not help asking myself--if those who do these things
ever think that there is a reckoning in after life, where power, and
insolence, and wealth misapplied, and rancor, and pride, and rapacity,
and persecution, and revenge, and sensuality, and gluttony, will be
placed face to face with those humble beings, on whose rights and
privileges of simple existence they have trampled with such a selfish
and exterminating tread. A host of thoughts and reflections began to
crowd upon my mind; but the subject was too painful--and after avoiding
it as well as I could, we proceeded on our little tour of observation.

“How easy it is for the commonest observer to mark even the striking
characters that are impressed on the physical features of an estate
which is managed by care and kindness--where general happiness and
principles of active industry are diffused through the people? And,
on the other hand, do not all the depressing symbols of neglect and
mismanagement present equally obvious exponents of their operation, upon
properties like this of Castle Cumber? On this property, it is not every
tenant that is allowed to have an interest in the soil at all, since the
accession of M’Clutchy. He has succeeded in inducing the head landlord
to decline granting leases to any but those who are his political
supporters--that is, who will vote for him or his nominee at an
election; or, in other words, who will enable him to sell both their
political privileges and his own, to gratify his cupidity or ambition,
without conferring a single advantage upon themselves. From those,
therefore, who have too much honesty to prostitute their votes to his
corrupt and selfish negotiations with power, leases are withheld, in
order that they may, with more becoming and plausible oppression, be
removed from the property, and the staunch political supporter brought
in in their stead. This may be all very good policy, but it is certainly
bad humanity, and worse religion, In fact, it is the practice of that
cruel dogma, which prompts us to sacrifice the principles of others to
our own, and to deprive them of the very privilege which we ourselves
claim--that of acting according to our conscientious impressions. ‘Do
unto others,’ says Mr. M’Clutchy and his class, as you would not wish
that others should do unto you.’ How beautifully here is the practice
of the loud and headlong supporter of the Protestant Church, and its
political ascendancy, made to harmonize with the principles of that
neglected thing called the Gospel? In fact as we went along, it was easy
to mark, on the houses and farmsteads about us, the injustice of making
this heartless distinction. The man who felt himself secure and fixed by
a vested right in the possession of his tenement, had heart and motive
to work and improve it, undepressed by the consciousness that his
improvements to-day might be trafficked on by a wicked and unjust agent
tomorrow. He knows, that in developing all the advantages and good
qualities of the soil, he is not only discharging an important duty to
himself and his landlord, but also to his children’s children after him;
and the result is, that the comfort, contentment, and self-respect which
he gains by the consciousness of his security, are evident at a glance
upon himself, his house, and his holding. On the other hand, reverse
this picture, and what is the consequence? Just what is here visible.
There is a man who may be sent adrift on the shortest notice, unless
he is base enough to trade upon his principles and vote against his
conscience. What interest has he in the soil, or in the prosperity of
his landlord? If he make improvements this year, he may see the landlord
derive all the advantages of them the next; or, what is quite as likely,
he may know that some Valentine M’Clutchy may put them in his
own pocket, and keep the landlord in the dark regarding the whole
transaction. What a bounty on dishonesty and knavery in an agent is
this? How unjust to the interest of the tenant, in the first place--in
the next to that of the landlord--and, finally, how destructive to the
very nature and properties of the soil itself, which rapidly degenerates
by bad and negligent culture, and. consequently becomes impoverished
and diminished in value. All this was evident as we went along. Here was
warmth, and wealth, and independence staring us in the face; there was
negligence, desponding struggle, and decline, conscious, as it were, of
their unseemly appearance, and anxious, one would think, to shrink away
from the searching eye of observation.

“‘But here again, Raymond; what have we here? There is a fine looking
farmhouse, evidently untenanted. How is that?’

“‘Ha, ha,’ replied Raymond with a bitter smile, ‘ha, ha! Let them take
it, and see what Captain Whiteboy will do? He has the possession--ha,
ha--an’ who’ll get him to give it up? Who dare take that, or any of
Captain Whiteboy’s farms? But sure it’s not, much--only a coal, a
rushlight, and a prod of a pike or a baynet--but I know who ought to
have them.’

“The house in question was considerably dilapidated. Its doors were not
visible, and its windows had all been shivered. Its smokeless chimneys,
its cold and desolate appearance, together with the still more ruinous
condition of the outhouses, added to the utter silence which prevailed
about it, and the absence of every symptom of life and motion--all told
a tale which has left many a bloody moral to the country. The slaps,
gates, and enclosures were down--the hedges broken or cut away--the
fences trampled on and levelled to the earth--and nothing seemed to
thrive--for the garden was overrun with them--but the rank weeds already
alluded to, as those which love to trace the footsteps of ruin and
desolation, in order to show, as it were, what they leave behind them.
As we advanced, other and more startling proofs of M’Clutchy came in our
way--proofs which did not consist of ruined houses, desolate villages,
or roofless-cottages--but of those unfortunate persons, whose simple
circle of domestic life--whose little cares, and struggles, and sorrows,
and affections, formed the whole round of their humble existence,
and its enjoyments, as given them by Almighty God himself. All these,
however, like the feelings and affections of the manacled slave, were
as completely overlooked by those who turned them adrift, as if in
possessing such feelings, they had invaded a right which belonged
only to their betters, and which,the same betters, by the way, seldom
exercise either in such strength or purity as those whom they despise
and oppress. Aged men we met, bent, with years, and weighed down still
more by that houseless sorrow, which is found accompanying them along
the highways of life:--through its rugged solitudes and its dreariest
paths--in the storm and in the tempest--wherever they go--in want,
nakedness, and destitution--still at their side is that houseless
sorrow--pouring into their memories and their hearts the conviction,
which is most terrible to old age, that it has no home here but the
grave--no pillow on which to forget its cares but the dust. The sight
of these wretched old men, turned out from, the little holdings that
sheltered their helplessness, to beg a morsel, through utter charity, in
the decrepitude of life, was enough to make a man wish that he had
never been born to witness such a wanton abuse of that power which
was entrusted to man for the purpose of diffusing happiness instead of
misery. All these were known to Raymond, who, as far as he could, gave
me their brief and unfortunate history. That which showed us, however,
the heartless evils of the-clearance system in its immediate operation
upon the poorer classes, was the groups of squalid females who traversed
the country, accompanied by their pale and sickly looking children, all
in a state of mendicancy, and wofully destitute of clothing. The system
in this case being to deny their husbands employment upon the property,
in order to drive them, by the strong scourge of necessity, off it, the
poor men were compelled to seek it elsewhere, whilst their sorrowing and
heart-broken families were fain to remain and beg a morsel from those
who were best acquainted with the history of their expulsion, and who,
consequently, could yield to them and their little ones a more cordial
and liberal sympathy. After thus witnessing the consequences of bad
management, and worse feeling, in the shape of houses desolate, villages
levelled, farms waste, old age homeless, and feeble mothers tottering
under their weaker children--after witnessing, I say, all this, we came
to the village called Drum Dhu, being one of those out of which these
unhappy creatures were so mercilessly driven.

“A village of this description is, to say the least of it, no credit to
the landed proprietors of any country. It is the necessary result of a
bad system. But we know that if the landlord paid the attention which
he ought to pay, to both the rights and duties of his property, a bad
system could never be established upon it. I am far from saying, indeed,
my dear Spinageberd, there are not cases in which the landlord finds
himself in circumstances of great difficulty. Bad, unprincipled,
vindictive, and idle tenants enough there are in this country--as I am
given to understand from those who know it best--plotting scoundrels,
who, like tainted sheep, are not only corrupt themselves, but
infect others, whom they bring along with themselves to their proper
destination, the gallows. Enough and too many of these there are to be
found, who are cruel without cause, and treacherous without provocation;
and this is evident, by the criminal records of the country, from
which it is clear that it is not in general the aggrieved man who takes
justice in his own hands, but the idle profligate I speak of now. Many
indeed of all these, it is an act due to public peace and tranquility to
dislodge from any and from every estate; but at the same time, it is not
just that the many innocent should suffer as well as the guilty few. To
return, however, to the landlord. It often happens, that when portions
of his property fall out of lease, he finds it over-stocked with a swarm
of paupers, who are not his tenants at all and never were--but who in
consequence of the vices of sub-letting, have multiplied in proportion
to the rapacity and extortion of middle-men, and third-men, and
fourth-men--and though last, not least, of the political exigencies
of the landlord himself, to serve whose purposes they were laboriously
subdivided off into tattered legions of fraud, corruption, and perjury.
Having, therefore, either connived at, or encouraged the creation of
thess creatures upon his property for corrupt purposes, is he justified,
when such a change in the elective franchise has occurred as renders
them of no political importance to him, in turning them out of their
little holdings, without aid or provision of some sort, and without
reflecting besides, that they are in this, the moment of their sorest
distress, nothing else than the neglected tools and forgotten victims of
his own ambition. Or can he be surprised, after hardening them into
the iniquity of half a dozen elections, that he finds fellows in their
number who would feel no more scruples in putting a bullet into him
from behind a hedge, than they would into a dog? Verily, my dear Simon
Spinageberd, the more I look into the political and civil education
which the people of Ireland have received, I am only surprised that
property in this country rests upon so firm and secure a basis as I find
it does.

“On arriving at Drum Dhu, the spectacle which presented itself to us was
marked, not merely by the vestiges of inhumanity and bad policy, but by
the wanton insolence of sectarian spirit and bitter party feeling.
On some of the doors had been written with chalk or charcoal, “Clear
off--to hell or Connaught!” “Down with Popery!” “M’Clutchy’s cavalry
and Ballyhack wreckers for ever!” In accordance with these offensive
principles most of all the smaller cottages and cabins had been
literally wrecked and left uninhabitable, in the violence of this bad
impulse, although at the present moment they are about to be re-erected,
to bear out the hollow promises that will be necessary for the
forthcoming election. The village was indeed a miserable and frightful
scene. There it stood, between thirty and forty small and humble
habitations, from which, with the exception of about five or six, all
the inmates had been dispossessed, without any consideration for age,
sex, poverty, or sickness. Nay, I am assured that a young man was
carried out during the agonies of death, and expired in the street,
under the fury of a stormy and tempestuous day. Of those who remained,
four who are Protestants, and two whom are Catholics, have promised to
vote with M’Clutchy, who is here the great representative of Lord
Cumber and his property. If, indeed, you were now to look upon these two
miserable lines of silent and tenantless walls, most of them unroofed,
and tumbled into heaps of green ruin, that are fast melting out of
shape, for they were mostly composed of mere peat--you would surely say,
as the Eastern Vizier said in the apologue. ‘God prosper Mr. Valentine
M’Clutchy!--for so long as Lord Cumber has him for an agent, he will
never want plenty of ruined villages!’ My companion muttered many things
to himself, but said nothing intelligible, until he came to one of the
ruins pretty near the centre:--

“‘Ay,’ said he, ‘here is the place they said he died--here before the
door--and in there is where he lay during his long sickness. The wet
thatch and the sods is lying there now. Many a time I was with him. Poor
Torley!’

“‘Of whom do you speak now, Raymond?’ I asked.

“‘Come away,’ he said, not noticing my question,--‘come till I show
you the other place that the neighbors built privately when he was
dying--the father I mean--ay, and the other wid the white head, him that
wouldn’t waken--come.’

“I followed him, for truth to tell, I was sick at heart of all that I
had witnessed that morning, and now felt anxious, if I could, to relieve
my imagination of this melancholy imagery and its causes altogether.
He went farther up towards the higher mountains, in rather a slanting
direction, but not immediately into their darkest recesses, and after a
walk of about two miles more, he stopped at the scattered turf walls of
what must once have been a cold, damp, and most comfortless cabin.

“‘There,’ said he, I saw it all; ‘twas the blood-hounds. He died, and
her white-headed boy died; him, you know, that wouldn’t waken--there
is where they both died; and see here’--there was at this moment a most
revolting expression of ferocious triumph in his eye as he spoke--‘see,
here the blood-hound dropped, for the bullet went through him!--Ha, ha,
that’s one; the three dead--the three dead! Come now, come, come.’ He
then seemed much changed, for he shuddered as he spoke, and after
a little time, much to my astonishment, a spirit of tenderness and
humanity settled on his face, his eyes filled with tears, and he
exclaimed, ‘Poor Mary! they’re all gone, and she will never see his
white head again; and his eyes won’t open any more; no, they’re all
gone, all gone: oh! come away!’

“I had heard as much of this brutal tragedy as made his allusions barely
intelligible, but on attempting to gain any further information from
him, he relapsed, as he generally did, into his usual abruptness of
manner. He now passed down towards the cultivated country, at a pace
which I was once more obliged to request him to moderate.

“‘Well,’ said he, ‘if you don’t care, I needn’t, for we’ll have it--I
know by the roarin’ of the river and by the look of the mountains there
above.’

“‘What shall we have, Raymond?’ I inquired.

“‘No matther,’ said he, rather to himself than to me, ‘we can cross the
stick.* But I’ll show you the place, for I was there at the time, and
his coffin was on the top of his father’s. Ha, ha, I liked that, and
they all cried but Mary, and she laughed and sung, and clapped her hands
when the clay was makin’ a noise upon them, and then the people cried
more. I cried for him in the little coffin, for I loved him--I wondher
God doesn’t kill M’Clutchy--the curse o’ God, and the blessin’ o’ the
devil on him! Ha, ha, there’s one now: let him take it.’

     * In mountain rivers a “stick,” or plank, is frequently a
     substitute for a bridge.

“We still proceeded at a brisk pace for about a mile and a half,
leaving the dark and savage hills behind us, when Raymond turning about,
directed my attention to the mountains. These were overhung by masses
of black clouds, that were all charged with rain and the elements of
a tempest. From one of these depended a phenomenon which I had never
witnessed before--I mean a water spout, wavering in its black and
terrible beauty over this savage scenery, thus adding its gloomy
grandeur to the sublimity of the thunder-storm, which now deepened,
peal after peal, among the mountains. To such as are unacquainted with
mountain scenery, and have never witnessed an inland water spout, it
is only necessary to say, that it resembles a long inverted cone, that
hangs from a bank of clouds whose blackness is impenetrable. It appears
immovable at the upper part, where it joins the clouds; but, as it
gradually tapers to a long and delicate point, it waves to and fro with
a beautiful and gentle motion, which blends a sense of grace with the
very terror it excites. It seldom lasts more than a few minutes, for,
as soon as the clouds are dispersed by the thunder it disappears so
quickly, that, having once taken your eye off it when it begins to
diminish, it is gone before you can catch it again--a fact which adds
something of a wild and supernatural character to its life-like motion
and appearance. The storm in which we saw it, was altogether confined
to the mountains, where it raged for a long time, evidently pouring down
deluges of rain, whilst on the hill side which we traversed, there was
nothing but calmness and sunshine.

“‘It will be before us,’ said Raymond, pointing to a dry torrent bed
close beside us; ‘whisht, here it is---ha, ha, I like that--see it, see
it!’

“I looked in the direction of his hand, and was entranced in a kind of
wild and novel delight, by witnessing a large bursting body of water,
something between a dark and yellow hue, tumbling down the bed of the
river, with a roaring noise and impetuosity of which I had never formed
any conception before. From the spot we stood on, up to its formation
among the mountains, the river was literally a furious mountain torrent,
foaming over its very banks, whilst from the same place down to the
cultivated country it was almost dry, with merely an odd pool, connected
here and there by a stream too shallow to cover the round worn stones in
its channel. So rapid, and, indeed dangerous, is the rise of a mountain
flood, that many a life of man and beast have fallen victims to the
fatal speed of its progress. Raymond now bent his steps over to
the left, and, in a few minutes, we entered a graveyard, so closely
surrounded by majestic whitethorns, that it came upon me by surprise.

“‘Whisht,’ said he, ‘she’s often here--behind this ould chapel. For ‘tis
there they are, the two big coffins and the little one--but I liked the
little one best.’

“He conducted me to an old mullioned window in the gable, through which
a single glance discovered to me the female of whose insanity, and the
dreadful cause of it, I had before heard. Whilst pointing her out to me,
he laid his hand upon my shoulder, and, heavy as it was, I could feel
the more distinctly by its vibrations that he trembled; and, on looking
into his face I perceived that he had got deadly pale, and that the same
spirit of humanity and compassion, to which I have alluded, had returned
to it once more. There was not reason in his face, to be sure, but there
certainly was an expression there, trembling, and mild, and beautiful,
as is the light of the morning star, before the glory of the sun has
unveiled itself in heaven. To Raymond’s mind that early herald had
indeed come, but that was all--to him had never arisen the light of
perfect day.

“‘There she is,’ said he, ‘look at her, but don’t spake.’

“I looked at her with deep and melancholy interest. She sat on a broken
tombstone that lay beside the grave of those in whom her whole happiness
in this life had centered. Her dress was wofully neglected, her hair
loose, that is, it escaped from her cap, her white bosom was bare, and
her feet without shoe or stocking. I could easily perceive, that great
as her privations had been, God had now, perhaps in mercy, taken
away her consciousness of them, for she often smiled whilst talking
to herself, and occasionally seemed to feel that fulness of happiness
which, whether real or not, appears so frequently in the insane.
At length she stooped down, and kissed the clay of their graves,
exclaiming--

“‘There is something here that I love; but nobody will tell me what
it is--no, not one. No matter, I know I love something--I know I love
somebody--somebody--and they love me--but now will no one tell me where
they are? Wouldn’t Hugh come to me if I called him? but sure I did, and
he won’t come--and Torley, too, won’t come, and my own poor white-head,
even he won’t come to me. But whisht, may be they’re asleep; ay,
asleep, and ah, sure if ever any creatures wanted sleep, they do--sleep,
darlin’s, sleep--I’ll not make a noise to waken one of you--but what’s
that?’

“Here she clasped her hands, and looked with such a gaze of affright and
horror around her, as I never saw on a human face before.

“‘What’s that? It’s them, it’s them,’ she exclaimed--‘I hear their
horses’ feet, I hear them cursin’ and swearin’--but no matther, I’m not
to be frightened. Amn’t I Hugh Roe’s wife?--Isn’t here God on my side,
an’ are ye a match for him.--Here--here’s my breast, my heart, and
through that you must go before you touch him. But then,’ she added,
with a sigh, ‘where’s them that I love, an’ am waitin’ for, an’ why
don’t they come?’

“She once more stooped down, and kissing the grave, whispered, but loud
enough to be heard, ‘are ye here? If ye are, ye may speak to me--it’s
not them, they don’t know where ye are yet--but sure ye may speak to me.
It’s Mary, Hugh--your mother, Torley--your own mother, Brian dear, with
the fair locks.’

“‘Ay,’ said Raymond, ‘that’s the white-head she misses--that’s him that
I loved--but sure she needn’t call him for he won’t waken. I’ll spake to
her.’ As he uttered the words he passed rapidly out of a broken portion
of the wall, and, before she was aware of his approach, stood
beside her. I thought she would have been startled by his unexpected
appearance, but I was mistaken; she surveyed him not only without alarm,
but benignly; and after having examined him for some moments, she said,
‘there are three of them, but they will not come--don’t you know how I
loved somebody?’

“‘Which o’ them?’ said Raymond.

“‘It’s a long sleep,’ she said, without noticing the question, ‘a long
sleep--well, they want it, poor things, for there was but little for
them but care, and cowld, and hardship--Sure we had sickness--Torley
left us first; but,--let me see,--where did Poor Brian go? Well, no
matter, we had sickness, as I said, and sometimes we had little or
nothing to eat, but sure still wasn’t my hand tendher about them. I felt
my heart in my fingers when I touched them, and, if I gave them a drink
didn’t my heart burn, and oh! it was then I knew how I loved them!
Whisht, then, poor things--och sure I’ll do my best--I’ll struggle for
you as well as I can--you have none but me to do it--it’s not the black
wather I’d give my darlin’ child if I had betther; but gruel is what I
can’t get, for the sorra one grain of mail is undher the roof wid me;
but I’ll warm the cowld potato for my pet, and you can play wid it till
you fall asleep, accushla. Yes, I will kiss you; for afther all, isn’t
that the richest little treat that your poor mother has to comfort you
with in your poor cowld sick bed--one and all o’ ye.’

“Here she rocked herself to and fro, precisely as if she had been
sitting by the sick bed, then stooping down a third time, she kissed the
earth that contained them once more--

“‘Ah,’ she exclaimed, ‘how cowld their lips are! how cowld my
white-haired boy’s lips are! and their sleep is long--Oh! but their
sleep is long!’

“Raymond, during these incoherent expressions, stood mutely beside her,
his lips, however, often moving, as if he were communing with himself,
or endeavoring to shape some words of rude comfort in her sorrows; but
ever and anon, as he seemed to go about it, his face moved with feelings
which he could not utter, like the surface of a brook stirred by the
breeze that passes over it. At length he laid his hand gently on her
shoulder, and exclaimed in a tone of wild and thrilling compassion--

“‘Mary!’

“She then started for a moment, and looking around her with something
like curiosity rather than alarm, replied--

“‘Well--’

“‘Mary,’ said he, ‘make haste and go to heaven; make haste and go to
heaven--you’ll find them all there--Hugh Regan, and Torley, and little
Brian. Don’t stop here, for there will be more blood, more bloodhounds,
and more Val M’Clutchy’s.’

“She did not seem to have noticed his particular words, but there
appeared to have been some association awakened which gave a new impulse
to her thoughts--

“‘Come away,’ said she, ‘come away!’

“Raymond turned, and looking towards where I stood, beckoned me to
follow them; and truly it was a touching sight to see this unregulated
attempt of the poor innocent, to sooth the heavy sorrows--if such they
were now--of one of whose malady could appreciate no sympathy, and whose
stricken heart was apparently beyond the reach of consolation forever.

“Both now proceeded in silence, Raymond still holding her by the hand,
and affording her every assistance, as we crossed the fields, in order
to shorten the path which led us to the Castle Cumber road. On coming
to a ditch, for instance, he would lift her, but still with care and
gentleness, in his powerful arms, and place her, with scarcely any
effort of her own strength, which, indeed, was nearly gone, safely and
easily upon the other side.

“We had now crossed that part of the sloping upland which led us
out upon a bridle road, that passed close by M’Loughlin’s house and
manufactory, and which, slanted across a ford in the river, a little
above their flax-mill. Having got out upon this little road, Raymond,
who, as well as his companion, had for some time past proceeded in
silence, stopped suddenly, and said--‘Where is heaven, Mary?’

“She involuntarily looked up towards the sky, with a quick but
more significant glance than any I had yet seen her give; but this
immediately passed away, and she said in a low voice, very full of the
usual tones of sorrow:--‘Heaven--it’s there,’ she replied, pointing
behind her, towards the burying-place, ‘in their graves!’

“Raymond looked at me, and smiled, as if much pleased with the answer.
‘Ay,’ said he, ‘so it is--wherever his white head lies is heaven.’

“I cannot tell how it happened, but I know that I felt every source of
tenderness and compassion in my heart moved and opened more by these
simple words on both sides, than by all that had passed since we met
her.

“In a few minutes more we reached that part of the road immediately
adjoining M’Loughlin’s house, and which expanded itself as it reached
the river, that here became a ford, being crossed in ordinary cases
by stone steps. As is usual in the case of such, floods, which fall as
rapidly as they rise, we found about a dozen persons of both sexes, some
sitting, others standing, but all waiting until the river should subside
so as to be passed with safety--the little wooden bridge alluded to
having been literally swept away. Among these was Poll Doolin, the
mother of Raymond, who, however, did not appear to take any particular
notice of her, but kept close by, and directed all his attention to,
unhappy Mary O’Regan. About half an hour, had elapsed, when Raymond,
casting his eye upon the decreasing torrent, said--

“‘It is now low enough--come, Mary, I will carry you safe over--Raymond
has often crossed it higher, ay, when it was over the rock there to our
right--come.’ He lifted her up in his arms without another word, and,
with firm and confident steps, proceeded to ford the still powerful and
angry stream.

“‘Raymond, are you mad?’ shouted his mother; ‘ten times your strength
couldn’t stand that flood--come back, you headstrong creature, or you’ll
both be lost, as sure as you attempt it.’

“Her remonstrances, however, were in vain. Raymond did not even look
back, nor pay the slightest attention to what she said.

“‘Never mind them,’ said he; ‘I know best--it’s often I crossed it.’

“On reaching the centre of the stream, however, he appeared to feel as
if he had miscalculated the strength of either it or himself. He stood
for a moment literally shaking like a reed in its strong current--the
passive maniac still in his arms, uncertain whether to advance with her
or go back. Experience, however, had often told him, that if the fording
it were at all practicable, the danger was tenfold to return, for by
the very act of changing the position, a man must necessarily lose the
firmness of his opposition to the stream, and consequently be borne away
without the power of resisting it. Raymond, therefore, balanced himself
as steadily as possible, and by feeling and making sure his footing in
the most cautious manner--the slightest possible slip or stumble being
at that moment fatal--he, with surprising strength and courage, had just
succeeded in placing her safely on the rock he had before alluded to,
when a stone turned under him--his foot gave way--and the poor creature,
whose reason was veiled to almost every impulse but that of a wild
and touching humanity, tumbled down the boiling torrent, helpless and
unresisting as a child, and utterly beyond the reach of assistance. My
own sensations and feelings I really cannot describe, because, in point
of fact, such was the tumult--the horror--of my mind at that moment,
that I have no distinct recollection of my impressions. I think for
a short space I must have lost both my sight and hearing, for I now
distinctly remember to have heard, only for the first time, the piercing
screams of his mother rising above the wild and alarming cries of the
others--but not until he had gone down the stream, and disappeared round
a sharp angle or bend, which it formed about eight or ten yards below
where he fell.

“There grew a little to the left of the spot where this shocking
disaster occurred, a small clump of whitethorn trees, so closely matted
together, that it was impossible to see through them. We all, therefore,
ran round as if by instinct, to watch the tumbling body of poor Raymond,
when what was our surprise to see a powerful young man, about eight or
ten yards below us, dashing into the stream; where, although the current
was narrower, it was less violent, and holding by a strong projecting
branch of hazel that grew on the bank, stretch across the flood, and,
as the body of Raymond passed him, seize it with a vigorous grasp, which
brought it close to where he stood. Feeling that both were now out of
the force of the current, he caught it in his arms, and ere any of
us had either time or presence of mind even to proffer assistance, he
carried, or rather dragged it out of the water, and laid it on the dry
bank.

“‘Come,’ said he, ‘I am afraid there is little time to be lost--help
me up with him to my father’s, till we see what can be done to recover
life, if life is left.’

“The fact is, however, that Raymond was not altogether insensible; for,
as young M’Loughlin--the same, by the way, who had sent the message to
Phil--had concluded, he opened his eyes, breathed, and after gulping up
some water, looked about him.

“‘Ah!’ said he, ‘poor Mary--she’s gone to them at last; but she’ll be
happier with them. Take my hand,’ said he to M’Loughlin, ‘sure I thought
I could do it. Poor Mary!’

“This instantly directed our attention to the unhappy woman, whom we had
all overlooked and forgotten for the moment, and I need not say that
our satisfaction was complete, on finding her sitting calmly on the rock
where Raymond had placed her, at the risk of his life. Poll Doolin, now
seeing that her idiot son was safe, and feeling that she was indebted
for his life to the son of that man on whom she is said by many to have
wreaked such a fearful vengeance, through the ruined reputation of
his only daughter, now approached the young man, and with her features
deeply convulsed by a sense probably of her obligation to him, she
stretched out her hand, ‘John M’Loughlin,’ said she, ‘from this day out
may God prosper me here and hereafter, if I’m not the friend of you and
yours!’

“‘Bad and vindictive woman,’ replied the other indignantly, whilst he
held back the hand she sought, ‘our accounts are now settled--I have
saved your son; you have murdered my sister. If you are capable of
remorse I now leave you to the hell of your own conscience, which can be
but little less in punishment than that of the damned.’

“Raymond, whose attention had been divided between them and Mary
O’Regan, now said--

“‘Ha, ha, mother--there--that’s one--you’ll sleep sound now I hope,
for you didn’t lately--that little thing that comes to your bedside at
night, won’t trouble you any more, I suppose. No, no, the thing you say
in your sleep, that is black in the face, has its tongue out, and the
handkerchief drawn tight about its neck. You’d give back the money in
your dhrame; but sorry a penny while you’re waken, I’ll engage.’

“Poll turned away rebuked, but not, if one could judge, either in
resentment or revenge. Raymond’s words she had not heard, and of course
paid no attention to what he said; but the latter, now seeing that
the river had fallen considerably, again dashed into the stream, and
crossing over, lifted the poor insane widow off the rock, and setting
her down in safety on the other side, they both proceeded onwards
together.

“‘The ford, sir, will not be passable for at least another hour,’ said
young M’Loughlin, addressing me, ‘but if you will have the kindness to
step up to my father’s, and rest a little after your mountain journey,
for I think you have been up the hills, you will find it at least more
comfortable than standing here, and less fatiguing than going round
by the bridge, which would make it at least five miles added to your
journey.’

“I thanked him, said I felt obliged, and would gladly avail myself of
his very civil invitation.

“‘Perhaps,’ he added, ‘you might wish to see our flax and linen
manufactory; if so, and that you do not think it troublesome, I will
feel great pleasure in showing it to you.’

“I expressed my obligations, but pleaded fatigue, which indeed I felt;
and we consequently soon found ourselves in his father’s parlor, where
I met a very venerable old gentleman, the Rev. Mr. Roche, the Roman
Catholic pastor of the parish.”

We must here exercise the privilege, which, at the commencement of
this correspondence, we assured our readers we should reserve to
ourselves--we allude to the ability which we possess, from ampler
and clearer sources of information--to throw into Mr. Easel’s
correspondence, in their proper place, such incidents as he could
not have possibly known, but which let in considerable light upon the
progress of his narrative.



CHAPTER XVIII.--An Execution by Val’s Blood-Hounds

Cruel Consequences of Phil’s Plot Against Mary M’Loughlin--Dreadful
Determination of her Brothers--An Oath of Blood--Father Roche’s
Knowledge of Nature--Interview Between Mary and her Brothers--Influence
and Triumph of Domestic Affection


The hellish and cowardly plot against Mary M’Loughlin’s reputation, and
which the reader knows has already been planned and perpetrated by
Poll Doolin and Phil M’Clutchy, was, as such vile calumnies mostly are,
generally successful with the public. On her own immediate relations
and family, who knew her firmness, candor, purity of heart, and
self-respect, the foul slander had no effect whatsoever, at least in
shaking their confidence in her sense of honor and discretion. With the
greedy and brutal public, however, it was otherwise; and the discovery
of this fact, which reached them in a thousand ways, it was that filled
their hearts with such unparalleled distress, terrible agony, and that
expanding spirit of revenge which is never satisfied, until it closes
on him whose crime has given it birth. In truth,--and it is not to be
wondered at--as how almost could it be otherwise?--the diabolical and
cowardly crime of Phil M’Clutchy towards their sweet and unoffending
sister, had changed her three brothers from men into so many savage and
insatiable Frankensteins, resolved never to cease dogging his guilty
steps, until their vengeance had slaked its burning thirst in his
caitiff blood.

Immediately after the night of its occurrence, a change began to take
place in the conduct and deportment of their general acquaintances.
Visitors dropped off, some from actual delicacy, and an unaffected
compassion, and others from that shrinking fear of moral contagion,
which is always most loudly and severely expressed by the private sinner
and hypocrite. Their sister’s conduct was, in fact, the topic of
general discussion throughout the parish, and we need not say that such
discussions usually were terminated--first in great compassion for the
poor girl, and then as their virtue warmed, in as earnest denunciations
of her guilt. To an indifferent person, however, without any prejudice
either for or against her, it was really impossible, considering the
satanic success with which the plot was managed, and the number of
witnesses actually present at its accomplishment, to consider Miss
M’Loughlin as free at least from gross and indefensible levity, and a
most unjustifiable relaxation of female prudence, at a period when it
was known she was actually engaged to another.

This certainly looked very suspicious, and we need scarcely say that a
cessation of all visits, intimacy, and correspondence, immediately took
place, on the part of female friends and acquaintances. In fact the
innocent victim of this dastardly plot was completely deserted, and the
little party of her friends was by no means a match for the large and
godly hosts who charitably combined to establish her guilt. Her father,
with all his manliness of character, and sterling integrity, was not
distressed on his daughter’s account only. There was another cause of
anxiety to him equally deep--we mean the mysterious change that had come
over his sons, in consequence of this blasting calamity. He saw clearly
that they had come to the dark and stern determination of avenging their
sister’s disgrace upon its author, and that at whatever risk. This in
truth to him was the greater affliction of the two, and he accordingly
addressed himself with all his authority and influence over them, to
the difficult task of plucking this frightful resolution out of their
hearts. In his attempt to execute this task, he found himself baffled
and obstructed by other circumstances of a very distracting nature.
First, there were the rascally paragraphs alluding to his embarrassments
on the one hand, and those which, while pretending to vindicate him and
his partner from any risk of bankruptcy, levelled the assassin’s blow
at the reputation of his poor daughter, on the other. Both told; but
the first with an effect which no mere moral courage or consciousness
of integrity, however high, could enable him to meet. Creditors came in,
alarmed very naturally at the reports against his solvency, and
demanded settlement of their accounts from the firm. These, in the
first instances, were immediately made out and paid; but this would not
do--other claimants came, equally pressing--one after another--and
each so anxious in the early panic to secure himself, that ere long the
instability which, in the beginning, had no existence, was gradually
felt, and the firm of Harman and M’Loughlin felt themselves on the eve
of actual bankruptcy.

These matters all pressed heavily and bitterly on both father and sons.
But we have yet omitted to mention that which, amidst all the lights
in which the daughter contemplated the ruin of her fair fame, fell with
most desolating consequences upon her heart--we mean her rejection by
Harman, and the deliberate expression of his belief in her guilt. And,
indeed, when our readers remember how artfully the web of iniquity
was drawn around her, and the circumstances of mystery in which Harman
himself had witnessed her connection with Poll Doolin, whose character
for conducting intrigues he knew too well, they need not be surprised
that he threw her off as a deceitful and treacherous wanton, in whom
no man of a generous and honorable nature could or ought to place
confidence, and who was unworthy even of an explanation. Mary
M’Loughlin could have borne everything but this. Yes; the abandonment
of friends--of acquaintances--of a fickle world itself; but here it was
where her moral courage foiled her. The very hope to which her heart had
clung from its first early and innocent impulses--the man to whom she
looked up as the future guide, friend, and partner of her life, and for
whose sake and safety she had suffered herself to be brought within
the meshes of her enemies and his--this man, her betrothed husband, had
openly expressed his conviction of her being unfit to become his wife,
upon hearing from his cousin and namesake an account of what that young
man had witnessed. Something between a nervous and brain fever had
seized her on the very night of this heinous stratagem; but from that
she was gradually recovering when at length she heard, by accident, of
Harman’s having unequivocally and finally withdrawn from the engagement.
Under this she sank. It was now in vain to attempt giving her support,
or cheering her spirits. Depression, debility, apathy, restlessness,
and all the symptoms of a breaking constitution and a broken heart,
soon began to set in and mark her for an early, and what was worse, an
ignominious grave. It was then that her brothers deemed it full time to
act. Their father, on the night before the day on which poor Raymond was
rescued from death, observed them secretly preparing firearms,--for they
had already, as the reader knows, satisfied themselves that M’Clutchy,
junior, would not fight--took an opportunity of securing their weapons
in a place where he knew they could not be found. This, however, was of
little avail--they told him it must and should be done, and that neither
he nor any other individual in existence should debar them from the
execution of their just, calm, and reasonable vengeance--for such were
their very words. In this situation matters were, when about eleven
o’clock the next morning, Father Roche, who, from the beginning, had
been there to aid and console, as was his wont, wherever calamity or
sorrow called upon him, made his appearance in the family, much to the
relief of M’Loughlin’s mind, who dreaded the gloomy deed which his sons
had proposed to themselves to execute, and who knew besides, that in
this good and pious priest he had a powerful and eloquent ally. After
the first salutations had passed, M’Loughlin asked for a private
interview with him; and when they had remained about a quarter of an
hour together, the three sons were sent for, all of whom entered with
silent and sullen resolution strongly impressed on their stern, pale,
and immovable features. Father Roche himself was startled even into
something like terror, when he witnessed this most extraordinary change
in the whole bearing and deportment of the young men, whom he had always
known so buoyant and open-hearted.

“My dear young friends,” said he, calmly and affectionately, “your
father has just disclosed to me a circumstance, to which, did it not
proceed from his lips, I could not yield credit. Is it true that
you have come to the most unchristian and frightful determination of
shedding blood?”

“Call it just and righteous,” said John, calmly.

“Yes,” followed the other two, “it is both.”

“In his cowardly crime he has evaded the responsibility of law,”
 continued John, “and we care not if his punishment goes beyond law
itself. We will answer for it with our lives--but in the mean time, he
must die.”

“You see, Father Roche,” observed M’Loughlin, “to what a hardened state
the strong temptations of the devil has brought them.”

“It is not that,” said John; “it is affection for our injured sister,
whom he has doubly murdered--it is also hatred of himself, and of the
oppression we are receiving in so many shapes at his hands. He must
die.”

“Yes,” repeated the two brothers, “he must die, it is now too late.”

“Ha!” said the priest, “I understand you; there is an oath here.”

The three brothers smiled, but spoke not.

“Are ye my sons?” said the father, in tears, “and will you, who were
ever obedient and dutiful, disregard me now?”

“In this one thing we must,” said John “we know you not now as our
father. Am I right?” said he, addressing his brothers.

“You are right,” they replied, “in this thing he is not our father.”

“Great God!” said the priest, trembling with absolute dread at a scene
so different from any he had ever witnessed, “Merciful Father, hear our
prayers, and drive the evil spirits of vengeance and blood out of the
hearts of these wicked men!”

“Amen!” said their father, “and rescue them from the strong temptations
of the devil which are in them and upon them. Why do you not even pray
to God--”

“--For strength to do it--we did, and we do,” said John, interrupting
him.

Father Roche looked at them, and there they stood, pale, silent, and
with a smile upon their lips which filled him with a description of
awe and fear that was new to him. Their father was little better; the
perspiration stood on his brow, and as he looked at them, he at times
began to doubt their very identity, and to believe that the whole
interview might be a phantasma, or a hideous dream.

“You have sworn an oath,” said the priest. “Rash and sinful men, you
dared blasphemously to take, as it were, the Almighty into a league of
blood! Do you not know that the creature you are about to slay is the
work of your Creator, even as you are yourselves, and what power
have you over his life? I see, I see,” he added, “you have taken a
sacrilegious oath of blood!”

“We have taken an oath of blood,” said they, “and we will keep it.”

“But is this just to your sister?” said the priest; “do you believe in
the justice of an Almighty Providence? Is there no probability that, if
this man lives, circumstances may come to light by which her fair and
spotless character may be vindicated to the world? On the contrary,
should you now take his life, you prevent any such possibility from ever
happening; and your own rashness and ungodly crime, will be the means of
sending her name down to posterity, foul and spotted with the imputation
of woman’s worst guilt. Is that love for your sister?”

Father Roche now began to see that he must argue with their passions--or
with that strong affection for their sister, upon which these
fearful passions were founded--rather than with their reason or their
prejudices, which, in point of fact were now immovably set in the dark
determination of crime.

“Do you forget,” he added, “that there are laws in the country to
pursue and overtake the murderer? Do you forget that you will die an
ignominious death, and that, instead of acting an honorable part in
life, as becomes your ancient and noble name, you will bequeath nothing
to your parents but an inheritance of shame and infamy?”

“We have thought of all this before,” said John.

“No, not all,” said the youngest; “not all, but nearly.”

“Well, nearly,” said the other.

“Then,” said the priest, “you will not hesitate to renounce your most
foul and diabolical intention?”

“We have sworn it,” said John, “and it must be done.” To this the others
calmly assented.

“Well, then,” said the earnest Christian, “since you fear neither
disgrace, nor shame, nor the force of human laws, nor the dread of human
punishment, you are not so hardened as to bid defiance to the Almighty,
by whom you will be judged. Has he not said, ‘thou shalt do no murder?
and that whoso sheddeth blood, by man shall his blood be shed.’ I now
ask you,” said he, “as one of the humblest of his accredited messengers,
do you believe in God and fear him?”

“We are sworn,” said John; “the blood of him who has dishonored our
sister’s name we will shed, and it is neither priest nor parent who will
or shall prevent us.”

“Is not a rash and unlawful oath a crime?” said Father Roche: “yes, and
you know it is better broken than kept. I call upon you now, as your
spiritual guide, to renounce that blasphemous oath of blood, and in the
name of the Almighty and all powerful God, I command you to do it.”

“We deny your right to interfere,” replied John, “we are not now at
confession--keep within your limits; for as sure as there is death and
Judgment, so sure as we will fulfil our oath in avenging the disgrace of
our sister. That ends all, and we will speak no more.”

The good old man began to fear that he should be put to the most painful
necessity of lodging informations before a magistrate, and thus become
the means of bringing’ disgrace and evil upon the family when it
occurred to him to ask them a last question.

“My dear young men,” said he, “I have forgotten, in the agitation of
mind occasioned by the unprecedented disclosure of your evil and wilful
intentions, to ask, if you so far renounce God as to refuse to worship
him. Kneel down, and let us pray.” He himself and their father knelt,
but the three brothers stood as sullen and immovable as before. Tho
priest uttered a short prayer, but their conduct so completely
perplexed and shocked him, that he rose up, and with tears in his eyes,
exclaimed--

“I am now an old man, and have witnessed many instances of error, and
sin, and deep crime, but never before have I seen in persons of your
early years, such instances--such awful, terrible instances--of that
impenitence in which the heart, setting aside God and his sacred
ordinances, is given over to the hardness of final reprobation. I can do
no more, as the ambassador of Christ, but I must not stand by and see a
fellow-creature--oh! thank God,” he exclaimed, “a thought recurs to my
mind which had for a time passed out of it. My good friend,” he said,
addressing old M’Loughlin, “will you bring Mary in, if she is able to
come--say I request to see her here.”

“We will go now,” said the eldest, “you can want us no longer.”

“You shall not go,” replied Father Roche firmly, “if you are men,
stay--or, if cowards, who are afraid to look into the depths of your
own dark designs, you will and may go--we want you not.” This language
perplexed them, but they stood as before, and moved not.

In a few minutes Mary came in, leaning on her father’s arm; but, ah!
what a change from the elegant outline and clear, healthy cheek--from
the red plump lips, and dark mellow eyes, which carried fascination
in every glance and grace in every motion! Sweet, and beautiful, and
interesting, she still unquestionably was, but her pale cheek, languid
eye, and low tremulous voice, told a tale, which, when the cause of it
was reflected on, had literally scorched up out of her brother’s hearts
every remaining vestige of humanity.

“Mary,” said the priest, we have requested your presence, my child, for
a most important purpose--and, in communicating that purpose to you, we
indeed give the strongest proof of our confidence in your firmness and
good sense--nay, I will add, in the truth and fervor of your dependence
on the sustaining power of religion.”

“In my own strength or discretion I will never depend more,” she
replied, sighing deeply.

“You must exert great courage and firmness now, then,” rejoined Father
Roche; “In the first place, you are about to have a disclosure made
which will be apt to shock you; and, in the next place, I have only to
say, that it is the absolute necessity of your knowing it, in order to
prevent dreadful consequences from ensuing upon it, that forces us to
make you cognizant of it at all.”

“I trust I shall endeavor at least to bear it,” she returned; “I am
not strong, and I do not think that too much preparation will add to my
strength.”

“I agree with you, my child,” said Father Roche, “and have only made
such as I deemed indispensably necessary. The fact then is, my poor
girl, that your brothers meditate violence against that most base and
wicked person who--”

“I know, sir, the person to whom you allude; but I will thank you, if
you can avoid it, not to name him.”

“I have no such intention,” replied the good man, “but bad and
profligate as he is, it is still worse that your three brothers should
propose such violence.”

“But what do you mean by violence--of course violence of any description
is beneath them. Surely,--John, you would not stoop--”

She looked at them as she spoke, and, as before, there was no mistaking
the meaning of the cold and deadly smile which lay upon their lips, and
contrasted so strongly and strangely with their kindling eyes.

“What fearful expression is this,” she asked, with evident terror and
trepidation; “my dear brothers, what does this mean?--that is, if you
be my brothers, for I can scarcely recognize you--what is it, in the
name of heaven?”

The brothers looked at her, but spoke not, nor moved.

“They have taken an oath, Mary, to wipe out your shame in his blood,”
 added the priest.

She immediately rose up without aid, and approached them.

“This is not true, my dear brothers,” said she, “this cannot be
true--deny it for your sister.”

“We cannot deny it, Mary,” said John, “for it is true, and must be
done--our vengeance is ripe, hot, burning, and will wait no longer.”

“John,” said she, calmly, “recollect ‘vengeance is mine, saith the Lord,
and I will repay it.’”

“I told them so,” said their father, “but I receive no attention at
their hands.”

“Vengeance is ours,” said John, in a deeper and more determined voice
than he had ever uttered, “vengeance is ours, and we shall repay it.”
 The others repeated his words as before.

“Obstinate and unhappy young men,” said the priest, “you know not, or
you forget, that this is blasphemy.”

“This, my dear sir,” observed their sister, getting still more
deadly,pale than before, “is not blasphemy, it is insanity--my three
brothers are insane; that is it. Relieve me, John,” said she, recovering
herself, “and say it is so.”

“If we were insane, Mary,” replied her brother, calmly, “our words would
go for nothing.”

“But, is it not a dreadful thing,” she continued, “that I should be glad
of such an alternative?”

“Mary,” said the priest, “ask them to pray; they refused to join me and
their father, perhaps you may be more successful.”

“They will certainly pray,” said she; “I never knew them to omit it
a night, much less refuse it. Surely they will join their poor sister
Mary, who will not long--” She hesitated from motives which the reader
can understand, but immediately knelt down to prayer.

During prayer the three brothers stood and knelt not, neither did they
speak. When prayers were concluded, she arose, and with tears in her
eyes, approached her eldest-brother.

“John,” said she, “can it be that the brother of Mary M’Loughlin is an
assassin? I will answer for you,” she said. “Kiss me, for I am weak and
feeble, and must go to bed.”

“I cannot kiss you,” he replied; “I can never kiss you more, Mary--for
it must be--done.”

The tears still streamed copiously down her cheeks, as they did down
those of her father and the amiable priest. The latter, who never took
his eye off her, was praying; incessantly, as might be seen by the
motion, of his lips.

“Alick,” she proceeded, turning to her second brother, “surely won’t
refuse to kiss and embrace his only sister, before she withdraws for the
day.”

“I cannot kiss you, my pure sister; I can never kiss you more. We have
sworn, and it must be done.”

“I thought I had brothers,” said she, “but I find I am now
brotherless--yet perhaps not altogether so. I had once a young,
generous, innocent, and very affectionate playfellow. It was known
that I loved him--that we all loved him best. Will he desert his loving
sister, now that the world has done so? or will he allow her to kiss,
him, and to pray that the darkness of guilt may never overshadow his
young and generous spirit. Bryan,” she added, “I am Mary, your sister,
whom you loved--and surely you are my own dearest brother.”

Whilst she uttered the words, the tears: which flowed from her eyes
fell upon his face. He looked at her pale features, so full of love and
tenderness--the muscles of his face worked strongly; but at length, with
a loud cry, he threw himself over, caught her in his arms, and laying
her head upon his bosom, wept aloud. The evil spell was now broken.
Neither John nor Alick could resist the contagion of tenderness
which their beloved sister shed into their hearts. Their tears
flowed fast--their caresses were added to those of Brian; and as they
penitently embraced her, they retracted their awful oath, and promised
never again to think of violence, revenge, or bloodshed.

Thus did the force and purity of domestic affection charm back into
their hearts the very spirit which its own excess had before driven
out of it;--and thus it is that many a triumph over crime is won by
the tenderness and strength of that affection, when neither reason,
nor religion, nor any other principle that we are acquainted with,
can succeed in leading captive the fearful purposes of resentment and
revenge.

“Now,” said Father Eoche, “we have still a, duty to perform, and that
is, to return thanks to Almighty God for the dark and deadly crime, and
the woeful sorrow, which, by his grace and mercy, he has averted from
this family; and I think we may take this blessing--for such surely it
is--as an earnest hope that the same Divine hand, which has put aside
this impending calamity from us, may, and will, in his own good time,
remove the other afflictions which the enmity and wickedness of evil
hearts, and evil councils have brought upon us; but especially let us
kneel and return thanks for the great and happy change which, through
the humility and affection of one of us, has been wrought upon the
rest.”

He then knelt down, and on this occasion the iron sinews of these young
men became soft, and were bent in remorse, sorrow, repentance. The pious
priest prayed fervently and humbly, and as his tears fell fast, in the
trusting sincerity of his heart and the meek earnestness of his
spirit, it is almost unnecessary to say, that those of his little flock
accompanied him. The brothers wept bitterly, for the rocky heart of each
had been touched, and religion completed the triumph which affection had
begun.

Such had been the situation of this family on the day alluded to by
Mr. Easel, who could not, of course, have had any means of becoming
acquainted with them, but as we felt that the incidents were necessary
to give fulness to his narrative, we did not hesitate to introduce them
here, where a knowledge of them was so necessary. We now allow Mr. Easel
himself to resume his narrative.


“This venerable pastor,” continues Mr. Easel, “is a thin, pale man, but,
evidently, in consequence of temperance and moderation in his general
habits of living, a healthy one. He cannot be less than seventy, but the
singular clearness of his complexion, and the steady lustre of his
gray eye, lead you to suppose that he is scarcely that. He is tall and
without stoop, and, from the intellectual character of his high and
benevolent forehead, added to the mildness of his other features, and
his whole face, he presented, I must say, a very striking combination of
dignity and meekness. His dress is plain, and nothing can be more fine
and impressive than the contrast between his simple black apparel, and
the long flowing snow-white hair which falls over it. His holy zeal as
a Christian minister, unobscured by secular feelings, or an unbecoming
participation in the angry turmoils of political life, possessed all
the simple beauty of pure and primitive piety. Father Roche received
his education on the Continent, in several parts of which he has held
ecclesiastical appointments, one being the Presidency of an Irish
College. He consequently speaks most, if not all, of the continental
languages; but so utterly free from display, and so simple are his
manners, that you would not on a first interview, no, nor on a second,
ever suppose the man to be what he is--a most accomplished scholar and
divine. In one thing, however, you never could be mistaken--that his
manners, with all their simplicity, are those of a gentleman, possessing
as they do, all the ease, and, when he chooses, the elegance of a man
who has moved in high and polished society. He has only been a few
years in Ireland. After a glass of wine and some desultory conversation
touching public events and the state of this unfortunate and unsettled
country, upon all of which he spoke with singular good temper and
moderation, we went to see the manufactory, now that I had recovered
from my fatigue. This building is two or three hundred yards from the
house, and as we were on our way there, it so happened that he and I
found ourselves together, and at some distance from M’Loughlin and his
sons.

“‘You were introduced, sir,’ said he, ‘to me as Mr. Easel.’

“I bowed.

“‘I am not inquisitive,’ he added with a smile, ‘because in this case I
do not find it necessary; but I am candid.’

“I began to feel slightly uneasy, so I only bowed again, but could say
nothing.

“‘I have met you on the continent.’

“‘It is quite possible,’ I replied, ‘I have been there.’

“He laid his finger on my shoulder, and added still with a gentle and
significant smile, ‘I am in possession of your secret, and I say so, to
take you merely as far as I am concerned, out of a false, and myself
out of a somewhat painful position. It would be embarrassing to me, for
instance, to meet and treat you as that which you are not, knowing as
I do what you are; and it will relieve you from the difficulty of
sustaining a part that is not your own, at least so far as I am
concerned.’

“‘I certainly perceive,’ I replied, ‘that you are in possession of that,
which in this country, I thought known only to myself and another.’

“‘Your secret,’ he said emphatically, ‘shall be inviolable.’

“‘I feel it, my good sir,’ I replied, ‘and now, let me ask, on what part
of the continent did we meet?’

“Let it suffice to say here, that he brought himself distinctly to my
memory, through the medium of a very kind office performed for a
friend of mine, who, at the time, stood in circumstances not only of
difficulty, but of considerable personal danger.

“Having viewed the manufactory, which is somewhat of a novelty in this
immediate locality, we were about to take our leave, when four men,
evidently strangers, and each remarkable for that hardened and insolent
look which begets suspicion at a glance, now entered the concern with an
air of ruffian authority, and with all the offensive forms of which the
law is capable, laid on an execution, to the amount of fourteen hundred
pounds.

“Old M’Loughlin received the intelligence, and witnessed the
proceedings, with a smile, in which there was something that struck me
as being peculiarly manly and independent.

“‘This,’ said he, ‘although coming from a quarter that I deemed to be
friendly, is the heaviest blow, connected with our business, that we
have received yet. Still, gentlemen,’ he proceeded, addressing
Father Roche and myself, ‘I trust it won’t signify--a mere passing
embarrassment. This manufactory, as you may perceive, complete through
all its machinery, which is of the very best and costliest description,
together with the property in it, is worth five times the amount of the
execution.’

“‘Yes, but you forget,’ replied the leading ruffian, ‘that property
under an execution isn’t to be judged by its real value. In general it
doesn’t bring one-tenth, no, nor one-fifteenth of its true value, when
auctioned out, as it will be, under a writ.’

“‘Ay, by Jabers,’ said another of them, ‘an’ what’s better still, you
forget that your lease is expired, and that Lord Cumber has sent over
word for you not to get a renewal--nor Harman either.’

“‘Is this true?’ I inquired of Father Roche; ‘do you imagine it to be
possible?’

“‘That fellow is bad authority for anything,’ he replied, ‘but I fear
that in this Point, he is too correct. However, let us ask M’Loughlin
himself, who, certainly, has the best right to know.’

“This I resolved on, not because I was ignorant of the fact, which
you know I had from M’Clutchy himself, but that I might ascertain that
gentleman’s mode of transacting business, and his fairness towards Lord
Cumber’s tenants.

“‘What this man says, Mr. M’Loughlin, surely cannot be possible--does he
mean to assert that Lord Cumber refused to renew your lease, although
he must be aware that you have expended in the erection of this fine
manufactory a sum not less, I should suppose, than five or six thousand
pounds.’

“‘Seven thousand six hundred,’ replied the old man, setting me right,
‘nearly four thousand between Harman and us.’

“‘But he does not refuse to renew your leases certainly?’

“‘No,’ said M’Loughlin, ‘I cannot say that he does; but we have not been
able to get anything like a distinct reply from him on the subject--and,
as far as reports go, they are certainly not in our favor. We have
written to Lord Cumber himself, and the only reply we could obtain was,
that he had placed the whole matter in the hands of M’Clutchy, in whose
justice and integrity, he said, he had the highest confidence, and that
consequently we must abide by his decision. My own impression is, that
he is determined to ruin us, which he certainly will, should he refuse
us a renewal.’

“‘There can be no doubt about it,’ said the eldest son, ‘nor that his
management of the estate and his general administration of justice are
woefully one-sided.’

“‘I don’t choose to hear Mr. M’Clutchy abused,’ said the leading fellow,
who, in truth, was one of his blood-hounds, as were all the rest, with
one exception only, ‘nor I won’t hear him abused. You wouldn’t have
him show the same favor to Papists that he would show to good, honest
Protestants, that are staunch and. loyal to Church and State--by Jabers,
that would be nice work! Do you think a man’s not to show favor to his
own side, either as a magistrate or agent?--faith that’s good!’

“‘And I’ll tell you more,’ said another of them, addressing John
M’Loughlin, ‘do you think, that if he dared to put Papishes on a level
with us, that we’d suffer it? By Gog, you’re out of it if you do--we
know a horse of another color, my buck.’

“‘To whom do you address such insolent language as this?’ asked the
young man, ‘you are here in execution of your duty, and you had better
confine yourself to that.’

“‘To you, my buck, I address it, and to any Papish that doesn’t like
it--and if I’m here to discharge my duty, I’ll discharge it,’ and he
shook his head with insolence as he spoke; ‘an’ what’s more, I’m
afeard of no man--and I’ll discharge my duty as I like, that’s another
thing--as I like to discharge it. Ha! d--n me, I’m not to be put down by
a parcel of Priests and Papishes, if they were ten times as bad as they
are.’

“‘You are a low ruffian,’ replied the young man, ‘far beneath my
resentment or my notice; and it is precisely such scoundrels as
you, ignorant and brutal, who bring shame and infamy upon religion
itself--and are a multiplied curse to the country.’

“‘Very well, my buck,’ persisted this ferocious bigot, ‘may be the day
will come when we’ll make you remember this traisen, and swally it too.
How would you like to get a touch of the wreckers, my buck?--an’ by
Jabers, take care that you’re not in for a lick. A lease! d--n me but
it would be a nice thing to give the like o’ you a lease! None o’ your
sort, my buck, will get that trick, so long as loyal M’Clutchy’s on the
property.’

“Father Roche having taken the young man’s arm, led him away; wishing
to avoid any further altercation with such persons, and immediately
afterwards they set about completing an inventory of all the property,
machinery, etc., in the establishment.

“‘There was one expression used by that man,’ I observed, when we
got out again upon the Castle Cumber road, ‘which I do not properly
understand; it was, ‘how should you like to get a touch of the
wreckers?’

“‘The wreckers, sir,’ replied old M’Loughlin, ‘are a set of men such as
that fellow we have just been speaking to--brimful of venom and hatred
against Catholics and their religion. Their creed consists of two
principles, one of which I have just mentioned, that is, hatred of
us; the other is a blind attachment to the Orange system. These two
combined, constitute a loyalist of the present day; and with such
impressions operating upon a large mass of men like the fellow inside,
who belong to an ascendant party, and are permitted to carry arms and
ammunition wherever they like, either to search your house or mine,
on the most frivolous pretences, it is not surprising that the country
should be as it is; but it is surprising, that exposed as we are to such
men, without adequate protection, we should possess any attachment at
all to the throne and, constitution of these realms; or to a government
which not only suffers such a state of things to exist, but either
connives at or encourages it. For instance, it was the exhibition of
such principles as you have heard that man avow, that got him and those
who accompany him their appointments; for, I am sorry to say, that there
is no such successful recommendation as this violent party! spirit, even
to situations of the very lowest class. The highest are generally held
by Orangemen, and it is attachment to their system that constitutes
the only passport now-a-days to every office in the country, from the
secretary to the scavenger.’

“This, I fear, is rather an overtime account of the state of things in
the portion of Ireland from which I write; but, whilst I admit this,
I am far from saying that the faults are all on one side. There are
prejudices equally ferocious, and quite as senseless and ignorant, on
the part of the Roman Catholic party--prejudices resulting sometimes
from education, and sometimes from the want of it; but, which certainly
contribute their full share to the almost disorganized state of society
by which I am surrounded.”


From the same to the same in continuation.

“May 10, 18--. My dear Spinageberd---Feeling, as I did, exceedingly
anxious to make myself acquainted with the true principles of the Orange
institutions which have spread themselves so rapidly over the country, I
need scarcely say to you that I left nothing that was fair and honorable
undone, on my part, to accomplish that object; or, in other words,
to ascertain whether their private principles, as a political body,
harmonize with their public practices. It is but fair to render justice
to every party, and consequently it is only right and equitable to
inquire whether the violent outrages committed by the low and ignorant
men who belong to their body, are defensible by the regulations which
are laid down for their guidance.

“On looking over the general declaration of the objects of the
institution, one is certainly struck by the fairness, and liberality,
and moderation, joined to a becoming avowal of attachment to the
Protestant religion and the throne, which it breathes. Here, however,
it is, _verbatim et literatim_, in its authentic shape, with all that is
good or evil in it laid clearly before you. I deem it right, however, to
preface it by the greater portion of a short but significant Report, to
which are prefixed the following memorable names:--

“‘At a meeting of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, November 29, 1798.
Present:--Thomas Verner, Grand Master; J. C. Beresford, grand secretary;
R. C. Smith, jun., deputy secretary; H. A. Woodward; J. S. Rochfort; T.
F. Knipe; Samuel Montgomery; Harding Giffard; William Richardson; John
Fisher; William Corbett; W. G. Galway; Francis Gregory. Harding Giffard
and S. Montgomery, Esqrs., reported as follows:--

“‘Having been honored by the Grand Lodge with instructions to revise and
select a proper system of rules, for the government of Orange Lodges, we
beg leave to make a report of our progress.

“‘We are happy in being able to say, that in our duty upon this
occasion, we received the greatest assistance from the experience of the
Grand Master of Ireland, and his Deputy Grand Secretary, who did us the
honor of imparting to us their sentiments.

“‘Encouraged by their help, we have ventured very materially to alter
the shape of the confused system which was referred to us preserving the
spirit, and, as much as possible, the original words, except where we
had to encounter gross violations of language and grammar.

“‘The general, plan of our proceeding has been this, we have thrown what
are, in our opinion, very improperly called the six first general rules,
into one plain short declaration of the sentiments of the body.

“‘Next in order we have given the qualifications of an Orangeman,
selected from the Antrim regulations, and the rather, as it breathes
a spirit of piety which cannot be too generally diffused throughout an
institution, whose chief object, whatever political shape it may assume,
is to preserve the Protestant Religion. ******

“‘Samuel Montgomery, “‘Henby Giffard. ‘“Nov. 20, 1798.”


GENERAL DECLARATION OF THE OBJECTS OF THE ORANGE INSTITUTION.

“‘We associate, to the utmost of our power, to support and defend
his Majesty King George the Third, the constitution and laws of this
country, and the succession to the Throne in his Majesty’s illustrious
house, being Protestants; for the defence of our persons and properties;
and to maintain the peace of the country; and _for these purposes to we
will be at all times ready to assist the civil and, military powers in
the just and lawful discharge of their duty_. We also associate in honor
of King William the Third, Prince of Orange, whose name we bear,
as supporters of his glorious memory, and the true religion by him
completely established in these kingdoms. And in order to prove our
gratitude and affection for his name, we will annually celebrate the
victory over James at the Boyne, on the first day of July, O.S., in
every year, which day shall be our grand Era for ever.

We further declare that we are exclusively a Protestant Association;
yet, detesting as we do, any intolerant spirit, we solemnly pledge
ourselves to each other, _that we will not persecute, injure, or upbraid
any person on account of his religious opinions, PROVIDED THE SAME BE
NOT HOSTILE TO THE STATE_; but that we will, on the contrary, be aiding
and assisting’ to every loyal subject, of every religious description,
in protecting him from violence and oppression.


Qualifications requisite for an Orangeman.

“‘He should have a sincere love and veneration for his Almighty Maker,
productive of those lively and happy fruits, righteousness and obedience
to his commands; a firm and steadfast faith in the Saviour of the world,
convinced that he is the only mediator between a sinful creature and an
offended Creator--without these he cannot be a Christian; of a humane
and compassionate disposition, and a courteous and affable behavior. He
should be an utter enemy to savage brutality and unchristian cruelty; a
lover of society and improving company; and have a laudable regard for
the Protestant religion, and a sincere desire to propagate its precepts;
zealous in promoting the honor, happiness, and prosperity of his king
and country; heartily desirous of victory and success in those pursuits,
yet convinced and assured that God alone can grant them. He should have
a hatred of cursing and swearing, and taking the name of God in vain (a
shameful practice), and he should use all opportunities of discouraging
it among his brethren. Wisdom and prudence should guide his
actions--honesty and integrity direct his conduct--and the honor and
glory of his king and country be the motives of his endeavors--lastly,
he should pay the strictest attention to a religious observance of the
Sabbath, and also to temperance and sobriety.


Obligation of an Orangeman.

“I, A. B., do solemnly and sincerely swear, of my own free will and
accord, that I will, to the utmost of my power, support and defend the
present king, George III., his heirs and successors, so long as he or
they support the Protestant ascendancy, the constitution, and laws
of these kingdoms; and that I will ever hold sacred the name of our
glorious deliverer, William III., prince of Orange; and I do further
swear, that I am not, nor ever was, a Roman Catholic or Papist; that I
was not, am not, nor ever will be, a United Irishman, and that I never
took the oath of secrecy to that, or any other treasonable society; and
I do further swear, in the presence of Almighty God, that I will always
conceal, and never will reveal, either part or parts of what is now to
be privately communicated to me, until I shall be authorized so to do
by the proper authorities of the Orange institution; that I will neither
write it, nor indite it, stamp, stain, or engrave it, nor cause it so to
be done, on paper, parchment, leaf, bark, stick, or stone, or anything,
so that it may be known; and I do further swear, that I have not, to my
knowledge or belief, been proposed and rejected in, or expelled from
any other Orange Lodge; and that I now become an Orangeman without fear,
bribery, or corruption.

“‘SO HELP ME GOD.’


Secret Articles.

“‘1st. That we will bear true allegiance to his majesty, king George
III., his heirs and successors, so long as he or they support the
Protestant ascendancy and that we will faithfully support and maintain
the laws and constitution of these kingdoms.

“‘2d. That we will be true to all Orangemen in all just actions,
neither wronging one, nor seeing him wronged to our knowledge, without
acquainting him thereof.

‘“3d. That we are not to see a brother offended for sixpence or one
shilling, or more, if convenient, which must be returned next meeting if
possible.

“‘4th. We must not give the first assault to any person whatever; that
may bring a brother into trouble.

“‘5th. We are not to carry away money, goods, or anything from any
person whatever, except arms and ammunition, and those only from an
enemy.

“‘6th. We are to appear in ten hours’ warning, or whatever time is
required, if possible (provided it is not hurtful to ourselves or
families, and that we are served with a lawful summons from the master),
otherwise we are fined as the company think proper.

“‘7th. No man can be made an Orangeman without the unanimous approbation
of the body.

“‘8th. An Orangeman is to keep a brother’s secrets as his own, unless in
case of murder, treason, and perjury; and that of his own free will.

“‘9th. No Roman Catholic can be admitted on any account.

“‘10th. Any Orangeman who acts contrary to these rules shall be
expelled, and the same reported to all the Lodges in the kingdom and
elsewhere.

“‘GOD SAVE THE KING.’


“Among the Secret Articles are the following, which, by the way, are
pretty significant, when properly understood:--

“‘4th--We must not give the first assault to any person whatever; that
might bring a brother into trouble.’

“‘5th--We are not to carry away money, goods, or anything from any
person whatever, except arms and ammunition, and those only from an
enemy.’

“‘6th--We are to appear in ten hours’ warning, or whatever time is
required, if possible, (provided it is not hurtful to ourselves or
families, and that we are served with a lawful summons from the master),
otherwise we are fined as the company think proper.’

“The Marksman’s obligation is merely a repetition of the same
description of allegiance to the king, his heirs, and successors, so
long as he or they maintain the Protestant ascendancy, &c, &c, together
with such other obligations of secrecy as are to be found either in
Orange or Ribbon Lodges, with very slight difference in their form and
expression.

“Now, my dear Spinageberd, I first call your attention to that portion
which is headed ‘Qualifications necessary for an Orangeman;’ and I think
you will agree with me that it would be difficult, almost impossible, to
find in any organized society, whether open or secret, a more formidable
code of qualifications for such as may be anxious to enroll themselves
amongst its members. And I have no doubt, that had the other portions of
it been conceived and acted on in the same spirit, Orangeism would
have become a very different system from that which under its name
now influences the principles, and inflames the passions of the lower
classes of Protestants, and stimulates them too frequently to violence,
and outrage, and persecution itself, under a conviction that they
are only discharging their duties by a faithful adherence to its
obligations. These obligations, however, admirable as they are and
ably drawn up, possess neither power nor influence in the system, being
nothing more nor less than an abstract series of religious and moral
duties recommended to practice, but stript of any force of obligation
that might impress them on the heart and principles. They are not
embodied at all in the code in any shape or form that might touch the
conscience or regulate the conduct, but on the contrary, stand there as
a thing to look at and admire, but not as a matter of duty. If they had
been even drawn up as a solemn declaration, asserting on the part of the
newly made member, a conviction that strict observance of their precepts
was an indispensable and necessary part of his obligations as an
Orangeman, they might have been productive of good effect, and raised
the practices of the institution from many of the low and gross
atrocities which disgraced it. I cannot deny, however, that Orangeism,
with all its crimes and outrages, has rendered very important services
to the political Protestantism of the country. In fact, it was produced
at the period of its formation by the almost utter absence of spiritual
religion in the Established Church. Some principle was necessary to keep
Protestantism from falling to pieces, and as a good one could not be
found in a church which is at this moment one mass of sordid and selfish
secularity,* there was nothing left for it but a combination such
as this. Indeed, you could form no conception of the state of the
Protestant Church here, even while I write, although you might form
a very gorgeous one of the Establishment. The truth is she is all
Establishment and no Church; and is, to quote Swift’s celebrated
simile--

     “Like a fat corpse upon a bed,
     That rots and stinks in state.”

     * Let the reader remember that this, and almost everything
     that refers to the Irish Establishment, is supposed to have
     been written about forty years ago.

“There was no purifying or restraining power in the Establishment to
modify, improve, or elevate the principles of Orangeism at all. And what
has been the consequence? Why, that in attempting to infuse her spirit
into the new system she was overmatched herself, and instead of making
Orangeism Christian, the institution has made her Orange. This is fact.
The only thing we have here now in the shape of a Church is the Orange
system, for if you take that away what remains?

“This, my dear Spinageberd, is not to be wondered at; for no effects are
without their causes. In this country nobody ever dreams of entering the
Established Church, from pure and pious motives. In such a Church piety
may be corrupted, but it is seldom rewarded. No, the description of
persons who now enter the Church are the younger sons of our nobility
and gentry, of our squires, our dignitaries, and wealthy professional
men; of our judges, generals, our deans, and our bishops. Among the sons
of such men the Church is carved out, with the exception of the chines,
and sirloins, and other best joints, all of which are devoured by
peculiar description of Englishmen, named Bishops, who are remarkable
for excessively long claws and very shark-like teeth. In this, however,
we do not blame England, but agree with Dean Swift who asserted, that in
his day, she uniformly selected the most unassuming, learned and pious
individuals she could get; fitted them out as became such excellent
Christian men, and sent them over with the best intentions imaginable,
to instruct the Irish in all Christian truth and humility. It so
happened, however, that as soon as they had reached Hounslow Heath, they
were every man, without exception, stopped, stripped, and robbed, by
the gentlemen who frequent that celebrated locality; who, thinking that
robbery on the high Church was safer and more lucrative than robbery
upon the highway, came over here instead of pious men, where they
remained in their original capacity for the remainder of their lives.

“It is impossible, in fact, that a Church so deeply infected with
political corruption, so shamefully neglected in all that is spiritual
and regenerative, and so openly prostituted to intrigue and ambition,
can ever work with that high and holy efficacy which should characterize
her. These, however, are not her purposes, nor are they aimed at. She
exists here merely as an unholy bond between the political interests
of the two countries, maintaining British authority by her wealth, and
corrupting Irish honesty by her example. I have already enumerated the
class of persons who enter her, and touched upon the motives by which
they are influenced. In large families, for instance, if there happen
to be a young fellow either too idle, or too stupid for the labor and
duties of the other professions, there is no inconvenience or regret
felt. No matter--he Dick, or Jack, or Tom, as the case may be, will do
very well for the Church. ‘You will make a very good parson, Tom--or a
Dean--or a-----no hang it, there I must stop, I was about to say Bishop,
but not being an Englishman, you cannot carve that dish, Dick. Never
mind--you can feed upon a fat living--or if one won’t do--why, we must
see and get you a pair of them, Bill.’

“But this, my dear Spinageberd, is not all. You will be surprised, when
I tell you, that there is no system of education necessary for entering
into orders. No system, I repeat--properly so called--either Scriptural
or Ecclesiastical. Some few divinity lectures are to be attended, which
in general are neither well attended--nor worth attending--and that, I
believe, is all. One thing is certain, that the getting certificates of
attendance for these lectures is a mere form, as is the examination for
orders. The consequence is, that a young candidate for a living goes
into the Church burthened with very little of that lore which might
spoil his appetite for its enjoyment; so harmoniously does everything
here work together for the good of the pastors at the expense of the
people.

“I think I have shown you that there is little in the Church of Ireland
that is likely to regulate or purify the spirit of Orangeism when coming
in contact with itself. That it had little to gain from the Church in
a spiritual way, and that the Church is not fulfilling the ends of
her establishment here in any sense, is evident from the Report in the
little work from which I have taken these extracts. In that passage
it would appear that the very existence of a Church is forgotten
altogether; for Orangeism is termed ‘an institution, whose chief
object--whatever political shape it may assume--is to preserve the
Protestant religion.’ I will now, before I close this batch, direct your
attention to one or two passages that prove most distinctly the fact,
that there stand clear in this oath of an Orangeman, principles, founded
on foregone practices and conclusions, which never should have existence
in a country so situated as this is.

“The Orangemen, for instance, in the paper headed their ‘General
Declaration,’ say, ‘We associate for the defence of our persons and
properties, and to maintain the peace of the country; and for these
purposes we will be at all times ready to assist the civil and military
powers in the just and lawful discharge of their duty.’

“This, now, is all very plausible, but, perhaps, by looking a little
more closely into the circumstances of the case, we may be able to
perceive that in this passage, and one or two others of a similar
character, the most objectionable part of the system lies disguised--if
one can say disguised, because to me, my dear Spinageberd, the matter
seems obvious enough. Who, then, are these men that come forward with
arms in their hands, to proffer aid to the civil and military powers in
the discharge of their duty? A self-constituted body without authority,
who have certainly proved themselves to be brave men, and rendered most
important services to the state, at a time when such services were, no
doubt, both necessary and acceptable. The crisis, however, in which this
aid was given and received, being but of brief duration, soon passed
away, leaving the party opposed to government--the rebels--broken,
punished, flogged, banished, hanged; in fact, completely discomfited,
subdued, beaten down. In other words, the rebellion of ‘98 having been
thoroughly suppressed, this self-elected body of men, tasting the sweets
of authority, retain, under different circumstances, these obligations,
which, we admit, the previous situation of the country had rendered
necessary. They retain them in times of peace, and bring into operation
against men who were no longer either in a disposition or capacity to
resist, those strong prejudices and that fierce spirit which, originated
in tumult and civil war. Why, nobody complains of the conduct of
Orangemen, as a, body, in ‘98; it is of their outrages since, that the
country, and such as were opposed to them, have a right to complain.

“In another passage the declaration is still stronger and more
significant: ‘We further declare,’ say they, ‘that we are exclusively a
Protestant association; yet, detesting as we do, any intolerant spirit,
we solemnly pledge ourselves to each other, that we will not persecute,
injure, nor upbraid any person on account of his religious opinions,
provided the same be not hostile to the state.’

‘“That is to say, they will persecute, injure, or upbraid such persons
only whose religious opinions are hostile to the state. But, now, let
me ask any man of common sense, if he could for a moment hesitate to
declare on oath what religion they have alluded to as being hostile to
the state? There is, in truth, but one answer to be given--the Roman
Catholic. What else, then, is this excessive loyalty to the state but a
clause of justification for their own excesses, committed in the name,
and on the behalf of religion itself? Did they not also constitute
themselves the judges who were first to determine the nature of these
opinions, and afterwards the authorities who should punish them? Here
is one triumphant party with arms in their hand, who have only, if they
wish, to mark out a victim, and declare his religion and principles
as hostile to the state; and, lo! they are at liberty, by their own
regulations, to ‘persecute’ him!

“In the 5th secret article there occurs the following:--‘We are not to
carry away money, goods, or anything, from any person whatever, except
arms and ammunition, and these only from an enemy.’

“This certainly shows the nature of the cruel and domiciliary tyranny
which they, subsequently to ‘98, carried to such excess in different
parts of the country; and here, as in the other instance, what was there
to guide them in determining the crime which constituted an enemy?
Why, their own fierce prejudices alone. Here, then, we find a body
irresponsible and self-constituted, confederated together, and trained
in the use of arms (but literally unknown to the constitution), sitting,
without any legal authority, upon the religious opinions of a class
that are hateful and obnoxious to them--and, in fact, combining within
themselves the united offices of both judge and executioner. With
the character of their loyalty I have no quarrel; I perceive it is
conditional; but the doctrine of unconditional loyalty is so slavish and
absurd, that the sooner such an unnecessary fetterlock is struck off the
mind the better. To-morrow evening, however, I am to be introduced to an
Orange Lodge, after the actual business of it shall have been transacted
and closed. This is a privilege not conceded to many, but it is one of
which I shall very gladly avail myself, in order that I may infer from
their conduct some faint conception of what it generally is.”



CHAPTER XIX.--An Orange Lodge at Full Work

--Solomon in all his Glory--He Defines Drinking to be a Religious
Exercise--True Blue and the Equivocal--Phil’s Eloquence--A Charter
Toast.


From the same to the same.

“Friday, * * *

“The order of business for each night of meeting is, I find, as
follows:--1. Lodge to open with prayer, members standing. 2. General
rules read. 3. Members proposed. 4. Reports from committee. 5. Names of
members called over. 6. Members balloted for. 7. Members made. 8. Lodge
to close with prayer, members standing.

“It was about eight o’clock, when, accompanied by a young fellow named
Graham, we reached the Lodge, which, in violation of one of its own
rules, was held in what was formerly called the Topertoe Tavern, but
which has since been changed to the Castle Cumber Arms--being a field
_per pale_, on which is quartered a purse, and what seems to be an
inverted utensil of lead, hammered into a coronet. In the other is a
large mouth, grinning, opposite to which is a stuffed pocket, from which
hangs the motto, ‘_ne quid detrimenti res privata capiat_.’ Under the
foot of the gentleman is the neck of a famine-struck woman, surrounded
by naked and starving children, and it is by the convenient aid of her
neck that he is enabled to reach the purse, _or_; and, indeed, such is
his eagerness to catch it and the coronet, that he does not seem to
care much whether he strangles her or not. On the leaden coronet, is the
motto, alluding to the head which fills it, ‘_similis simili gaudet_.’

“I should mention, before proceeding further, that Mr. Valentine
M’Clutchy, being master of the Lodge in question, was the individual
from whom I had received permission to be present under the
circumstances already specified. The ceremony of making a member is
involved in that ridiculous mystery which is calculated to meet the
vulgar prejudices of low and ignorant men. Sometimes they are made one
by one, and occasionally, or, I believe, more frequently in batches
of three or more, in order to save time and heighten the effect. The
novice, then, before entering the Lodge, is taken into another room,
where he is blindfolded, and desired to denude himself of his shoes
and stockings, his right arm is then taken out of his coat and shirt
sleeves, in order to leave his right shoulder bare. He then enters the
Lodge, where he is received in silence with the exception of the master,
who puts certain queries to him, which must be appropriately answered.
After this he receives on the naked shoulder three smart slaps of
the open hand, as a proof of his willingness to bear every kind
of persecution for the sake of truth--of his steadfastness to the
principles of Orangeism, and of his actual determination to bear
violence, and, if necessary, death itself, rather than abandon it or
betray his brethren.

“About nine o’clock the business of the Lodge had been despatched,
and in a few minutes I received an intimation to enter from the Deputy
Master, who was no other than the redoubtable and heroic Phil himself;
the father having been prevented from coming, it appeared, by sudden
indisposition. As I entered, they were all seated, to the number of
thirty-five or forty, about a long table, from which rose, reeking and
warm, the powerful exhalations of strong punch. On paying my respects, I
was received and presented to them by Phil, who on this occasion, was
in great feather, being rigged out in all the paraphernalia of Deputy
Master. The rest, also, were dressed in their orange robes, which
certainly gave them a good deal of imposing effect.

“‘Gentlemen,’ said Phil,--‘Bob Sparrow, I’ll trouble you to touch the
bell, and be d--d to you--gentlemen, this is a particular friend of mine
and my father’s--that is, we intend to make a good deal of interest in
him, if it’s not his own fault, and to push him on in a way that may
serve him--but, then, he’s in the dark yet; however, I hope he won’t be
long so. This, gentlemen, is Mr. Weasel from England, who has come over
to see the country.’

“‘Your health, Mr. Weasel,’ resounded from all sides, ‘you’re welcome
among us, and so is every friend of brother Captain Phil’s.’

“‘Gentlemen,’ said I,’ I feel much obliged for the cordiality of your
reception--but, allow me to say, that Mr. M’Clutchy has made a slight
mistake in my name, which is Easel, not Weasel.’

“‘Never mind, sir,’ they replied, among a jingle of glasses, which
almost prevented me from being heard, ‘never mind, Mr. Evil, we don’t
care a curse what your name is, provided you’re a good Protestant. Your
name may be Belzebub, instead of Evil, or Devil, for that matter--all we
want to know is, whether you’re staunch and of the right metal.’

“‘That, gentlemen,’ I replied, ‘I trust time will tell’

“‘I shall be very proud--I speak it not, I hope, in a worldly sense,’
said a little thin man dressed in black--‘no, not in a worldly sense I
shall be proud, sir, of your acquaintance. To me it is quite sufficient
that you are here as the friend of my excellent friend, Mr. Valentine
M’Clutchy; a man, I trust, not without a deep and searching spirit of--’

“‘Come, Solomon,’ said a large, broad-shouldered man, with a face in
which were singularly blended the almost incompatible principles of fun
and ferocity, ‘Come, Solomon, none of your preaching here so soon--you
know you’re not up to the praying point yet, nor within four tumblers of
it. So, as you say yourself, wait for your gifts, my lad.’

“‘Ah, Tom,’ replied Solomon with a smile, ‘alway’s facetious--always
fond of a harmless and edifying jest.’

“‘My name, sir,’ added he, ‘is M’Slime; I have the honor to be Law Agent
to the Castle Cumber property, and occasionally to transact business
with our friend M’Clutchy.’

“Here the waiter entered with a glass and tumbler, and Phil desired them
to shove me up the decanter. This, however, I declined, as not being yet
sufficiently accustomed to whiskey punch to be able to drink it without
indisposition. I begged, however, to be allowed to substitute a little
cold sherry and water in its stead.

“‘I’m afeard, sir,’ observed another strong-looking man, ‘that you are
likely to prove a cool Orangeman on our hands. I never saw the man that
shied his tumbler good for much.’

“‘Sir,’ said Solomon, ‘you need not feel surprised at the tone of voice
and familiarity in which these persons address you or me. They are, so
to speak, sturdy and independent men, who, to the natural boldness
of their character, add on such occasions as this, something of the
equality and license that are necessarily to be found in an Orange
Lodge. I am myself here, I trust, on different and higher principles.
Indeed it is from a purely religious motive that I come, as well as
to give them the benefit of a frail, but not, I would hope, altogether
unedifying example. Their language makes me often feel now much I stand
in need of grace, and how good it is sometimes for me to be tempted
within my strength. I also drink punch here, lest by declining it I
might get into too strong a feeling of pride, in probably possessing
greater gifts; and I need not say, sir, that a watchful Christian will
be slow to miss any opportunity of keeping himself humble. It is, then,
for this purpose that I sometimes, when among these men, make
myself even as one of them, and humble myself, always with an eye to
edification even to the fourth or fifth cup.’

“‘But I trust, sir, that these Christian descents from your vantage
ground are generally rewarded.’

“‘Without boasting, I trust I may say so. These little sacrifices of
mine are not without their own appropriate compensations. Indeed, it
is seldom that such stretches of duty on the right side, and for the
improvement of others, are made altogether in vain. For instance, after
the humility--if I can call it so--of the third cup, I am rewarded
with an easy uprising of the spiritual man--a greater sense of inward
freedom--an elevation of the soul--a benign beatitude of spirit, that
diffuses a calm, serene happiness through my whole being.’

“‘That, sir, must be delightful.’

“‘It is delightful, but it is what these men--carnal I do not wish to
call them lest I fall--it is, however, what these men--or, indeed,
any merely carnal man, cannot feel. This, however, I feel to be a
communication made to me, that in this thing I should not for the time
stop; and I feel that I am not free to pass the fourth or fifth cup,
knowing as how greater freedom and additional privileges will be
granted.’

“‘Are the stages marked, sir, between the fourth and fifth tumblers?’

“‘Cups, my friend--there is a beauty, sir, in the economy of this that
is not to be concealed. For instance, the line between the third and
fourth cups is much better marked, and no doubt for wiser purposes, than
is that between the fourth and fifth. At the fourth my spirit is filled
with strong devotional tendencies--and it is given to me to address
the Lodge with something like unctional effect; but at the fifth this
ecstatic spirit rises still higher, and assumes the form of praise, and
psalms, spiritual songs, and political anthems. In this whole assembly,
I am sorry to say, that there is but one other humble individual who,
if I may so speak, is similarly gifted, and goes along with me, _pari
passu_, as they say, step by step, and cup by cup, until we reach the
highest order, which is praise. But, indeed, to persons so gifted in
their liquor, drinking is decidedly a religious exercise. That person
is the little fellow to the right of the red-faced man up yonder, the
little fellow I mean, who is pale in the face and wants an eye. His name
is Bob Spaight; he is grand cobbler, by appointment, to the Lodge, and
attends all the Popish executions in the province, from principle; for
he is, between you and me, a Christian man of high privileges. As for
our little touches of _melodia sacra_ during the fifth cup, the only
drawback is, that no matter what the measure of the psalm be, whether
long or short, Bob is sure to sing it either to the tune of _Croppies
lie Down_, or the _Boyne Water_, they being the only two he can manage;
a circumstance which forces us, however otherwise united, to part
company in the melody, unless when moved by compassion for poor Bob, I
occasionally join him in _Croppies lie Down_ or the other tune, for the
purpose of sustaining him as a Christian and Orangeman.’

“At this time it was with something like effort that he or I could
hear each other as we spoke, and, by the way, it was quite evident that
little Solomon was very nearly in all his glory, from the very slight
liquefaction of language which, might be observed in his conversation.

“It occurred to me now, that as Solomon’s heart was a little bit open,
and as the tide of conversation flowed both loud and tumultuous, it was
a very good opportunity of getting out of him a tolerably fair account
of the persons by whom we were surrounded. I accordingly asked him the
name and occupation of several whom I had observed as the most striking
individuals present.

“‘That large man with the red face,’ said I, ‘beside your pious and
musical friend Spaight--who is he?’

“‘He is an Orange butcher, sir, who would think very little of giving
a knock on the head to any Protestant who won’t deal with him. His
landlord’s tenants are about half Catholics and half Protestants, and
as he makes it a point to leave them his custom in about equal degrees,
this fellow--who, between you and me--is right in the principle, if
he would only carry it out a little more quietly--makes it a standing
grievance every lodge night. And, by and by, you will hear them abuse
each other like pickpockets for the same reason. There is a grim-looking
fellow, with the great fists, a blacksmith, who is at deadly enmity
with that light firm-looking man--touching the shoeing of M’Clutchy’s
cavalry. Val, who knows a thing or two, if I may so speak, keeps them
one off and the other on so admirably, that he contrives to get his
own horses shod and all his other iron work done, free, _gratis_, for
nothing between them. This is the truth, brother Weasel: in fact my dear
brother Weasel, it is the truth. There are few here who are not moved by
some personal hope or expectation from something or from somebody. Down
there near the door are a set of fellows--whisper in your ear--about as
great scoundrels as you could meet with; insolent, fierce, furious
men, with bad passions and no principles, whose chief delight is to get
drunk--to kick up party feuds in fairs and markets, and who have, in
fact, a natural love for strife. But all are not so. There are many
respectable men here who, though a little touched, as is only natural
after all, by a little cacoethes of self-interest, yet, never suffer it
to interfere with the steadiness and propriety of their conduct, or the
love of peace and good will. It is these men, who, in truth, sustain the
character of the Orange-Institution. These are the men of independence
and education who repress--as far as they can--the turbulence and
outrage of the others. But harken! now they begin.’

“At this moment the din in the room was excessive. Phil had now begun to
feel the influence of liquor, as was evident from the frequent thumpings
which the table received at his hand--the awful knitting of his
eyebrows, as he commanded silence--and the multiplicity of ‘d--n my
honors,’ which interlarded his conversation.

“‘Silence, I say,’ he shouted; ‘d--n my honor if I’ll bear this. Here’s
Mr. Weasel--eh--Evil, or Devil; d--n my honor, I forget--who has come
ov--over all the way--(All the way from Galloway, is that it?--go
on)--all the way from England, to get a good sample of Protestantism to
bring home with him to distribute among his father’s tenantry. Now if
he can’t find that among ourselves to-night, where the devil would, or
could, or ought he to go look for it?’

“‘Hurra--bravo--hear brother Captain Phil.’

“‘Yes, gentlemen,’ continued Phil, rising up; ‘yes, Mr.
Civil--Evil--Devil; d--n my honor, I must be on it now--I am bold to say
that we are--are--a set of--’

“‘Hurra--hurra--we are, brother Captain Phil’

“‘And, gentlemen, not only that, but true blues. (Three cheers for the
Castle Cumber True Blue.) And what’s a true blue, gentlemen? I ask
you zealously--I ask you as a gentleman--I ask you as a man--I ask you
determinedly, as one that will do or die, if it comes to that’--(here
there was a thump on the table at every word)--I ask you as an officer
of the Castle Cumber Cavalry--and, gentlemen, let any man that hears
me--that hears me, I say--because, gentlemen, I ask upon independent
principles, as the Deputy-Master of this Lodge, gentlemen--(cheers,
hurra, hurra)--and the question is an important one--one of the greatest
and most extraordinary comprehension, so to speak; because, gentlemen,
it involves--this great question does--it involves the welfare of his
majesty, gentlemen, and of the great and good King William, gentlemen,
who freed us from Pope and Popery, gentlemen, and wooden shoes,
gentlemen--’

“‘But not from wooden spoons, gentlemen,’ in a disguised voice from the
lower end of the table.

“‘Eh?--certainly not--certainly not--I thank my worthy brother for
the hint. No, gentlemen, we unfortunately have wooden spoons up to
the present day; but, gentlemen, if we work well together--if we be
in earnest--if we draw the blade and throw away the scabbard, like our
brothers, the glorious heroes of Scullabogue--there is as little doubt,
gentlemen, as that the sun this moment--the moon, gentlemen; I beg
pardon--shines this moment, that we will yet banish wooden spoons, as
the great and good King William did Popery, brass money, and wooden
shoes. Gentlemen, you will excuse me for this warmth; but I am not
ashamed of it--it is the warmth, gentlemen, that keeps us cool in the
moment--the glorious, pious and immortal moment of danger and true
loyalty, and attachment to our Church, which we all love and practise
on constitutional principles. I trust, gentlemen, you will excuse me
for this historical account of my feelings--they are the principles,
gentlemen, of a gentleman--of a man--of an officer of the Castle Cumber
Cavalry--and lastly of him who has the honor--the glorious, pious,
and immortal honor, I may say, to hold the honorable situation of
Deputy-Master of this honorable Lodge. Gentlemen, I propose our charter
toast, with nine times nine--the glorious, pious, and immortal memory.
Take the time, gentlemen, from me--hip, hip, hurra.’

“‘Brother M’Clutchy,’ said a solemn-looking man, dressed in black, ‘you
are a little out of order--or if not out of order, you have, with
great respect, travelled beyond the usages of the Lodge. In the first
place--of course you will pardon me--I speak with great respect--but, in
the first place, you have proposed the charter toast, before that of
the King, Protestant Ascendancy, Church and State; and besides, have
proposed it with nine times nine, though it is always drunk in solemn
silence.’

“‘In all truth and piety, I deny that,’ replied little Bob Spaight.
‘When I was in Lodge Eleventeen, eleven-teen--no, seventeen, ay,
seventeen--we always, undher God, drank it with cheers. Some of them
danced--but othes I won’t name them, that were more graciously gifted,
chorused it with that blessed air of ‘_Croppies lie Down_,’ and
sometimes with the precious psalm of the ‘_Boyne Water_.’

“‘I’m obliged to Mr. Hintwell for his observations, for I’m sure they
were well meant; but, gentlemen, with every respect for his--his greater
and more tractable qualifications, I must say, that I acted from zeal,
from zeal--zeal, gentlemen, what’s an Orangeman without zeal? I’ll tell
you what he is--an Orangeman without zeal is a shadow without a light,
a smoke without a fire,’ or a Papist without treason. That’s what he’s
like, and now, having answered him, I think I may sit down.’

“Phil, however, whose first night of office it happened to be, as
Chairman of the Lodge, had still sense enough about him to go on with
the toasts in their proper order. He accordingly commenced with the
King, Protestant Ascendancy, the Gates of Bandon, with several other
toasts peculiar to the time and place. At length he rose and said:--

“‘Gentlemen, are you charged--fill high, gentlemen, for, though it’s a
low toast, we’ll gloriously rise and drink it--are you all charged?’

“‘All charged, hurra, captain!’

“‘Here, gentlemen, another of our charter toast--The pope in the
pillory, the pillory in hell, and the devils pelting him with priests!
Gentlemen, I cannot let that--that beautiful toast pass without--out
adding a few words to it. Gentlemen it presents a glorious sight, a
glorious, pious, and immortal memory of the great and good--ha, beg
pardon, gentlemen--a glorious, pious, and immortal sight--think of the
pillory, gentlemen, isn’t that in itself a glorious and pious sight? And
think of the pope, gentlemen; isn’t the pope also a glorious and pious
sight?’

“‘With all truth and piety, and undher God, I deny that,’ said Bob
Spaight.

“‘And so do I,’ said a second.

“‘And I,’ added a third.

“‘What damned Popish doctrine is this?’ said several others.

“‘Brother Phil, be good enough to recollect yourself,’ said Solomon,
‘we feel, that as a Protestant and Orangeman, you are not doctrinally
correct now; be steady, or rather steadfast--fast in the faith.’

“Phil, however, looked oracles, his whole face and person were literally
being expanded, as it were, with the consciousness of some immediate
triumph.

“‘Gentlemen,’ he proceeded, ‘have a little patience--I say the pope is a
glorious and pious sight--’

“‘Undher God--’

“‘Silence Bob.’

“‘But I mean when he’s in the pillory--ek; d--n my honor, I have you all
there! ha, ha, ha!’

“‘Hurra, hurra, three cheers more for the captain!’

“‘Gentlemen,’ he proceeded, ‘please to fill again--I give you now the
Castle Cumber press, the _True Blue and Equivocal_, with the healths of
Messrs. Yellowboy and Cantwell.’

“‘Hurra! Messrs. Yallowboy and Cant-well! hurra, Mr. Yellow, Mr.
Yellow.’

“Mr. Yellowboy, who had not been able to come earlier, in consequence of
the morrow being publishing day with him, now rose. He was a tall, thin,
bony-looking person, who might very well have taken his name from his
complexion.

“‘Mr. Chairman, gentlemen, and brothers--I rise with great and powerful
diffidence to speak, to express myself, and to utter my sentiments
before this most respectable, and, what is more, truly loyal
auditory--hem. In returning thanks, gentlemen, for the Castle Cumber
True Blue (cheers), I am sure I am not actuated by any motive but that
staunch and loyal one which stimulates us all--hem. The True Blue,
gentlemen, is conducted--has been conducted--and shall be conducted to
all eternity--should I continue to be so long at the head of it--so long
I say, gentlemen’--here the speaker’s eye began to roll--and he slapped
the table with vehemence--‘I shall, if at the head of it so long,
conduct it to all eternity upon the self-same, identical, underivating
principles that have identified me with it for the last six months.
What’s Pruddestantism, gentlemen, without a bold, straightforward press
to take care of its pruvileges and interests? It’s nothing, gentlemen.’

“‘Undher God, sir, and with all piety and perseverance I deny--’

“‘Silence, brother Bob, don’t interrupt Mr. Yellowboy, he’ll make
himself plain by and by.’

“‘I deny--’

“‘Silence--I say.’

“‘Nothing, gentlemen--a candle that’s of no use unless it’s lit--and
the press is the match that lights it (hurra, cheers). But, as I said
in defending Pruddestantism, we advocate civil and religious liberty all
over the world--I say so boldly--for, gentlemen, whatever I say, I do
say boldly’--here he glanced at the Equivocal--‘I am not the man to
present you with two faces--or I’m not the man rather to carry
two faces--and only show you one of them--I’m not the man to make
prutensions as a defender of civil and religious liberty, with a
Protestant face to the front of my head, and a Popish face in
my pocket--to be produced for the adversary of Popery and
idolatry--whenever I can conciliate a clique by doing so.’ Here there
was a look of sarcastic defiance turned upon Cantwell--who, conscious of
his own integrity--merely returned it with a meek and benignant smile, a
la Solomon.

“‘No, gentlemen, I am none of those things--but a bold, honest,
uncompermising Pruddestant--who will support the church and Constitution
for ever--who will uphold Pruddestant Ascendancy to the Day of
Judgment--keep down Popery and treason--and support civil and religious
liberty over the world to all eternity.’

“‘Cheers--hurra--hurra--success brother Yellowboy.’

“‘And now, gentlemen, before I sit down there is but one observation
more that I wish to make. If it was only idontified with myself I would
never notice it--but it’s not only idontified with me but with you,
gentlemen--for I am sorry to say there is a snake in the grass--a base,
dangerous, Equivocal, crawling reptile among us--who, wherever truth and
loyalty is concerned, never has a leg to stand upon, or can put a pen
to paper but with a deceitful calumniating attention. He who can divulge
the secrets of our Lodge’--(Here there was another furious look sent
across which received a polite bow and smile as before)--‘who can
divulge, gentlemen, the secrets of our Lodge, and allude to those who
have been there--I refer, gentlemen, to a paragraph that appeared in the
Equivocal some time ago--in which a hint was thrown out that I was found
by the editor of that paper lying-drunk in the channel of Castle Cumber
Main-street, opposite his office--that he brought me in, recovered
me, and then helped me home. Now, gentlemen, I’ll just mention one
circumstance that will disprove the whole base and calumnious charge--it
is this--on rising next morning I found that I had eight and three
halfpence safe in my pocket--and yet that reptile says that he carried
me into his house!!! Having thus, gentlemen, triumphantly refuted that
charge, I have the pleasure of drinking your healths--the healths of all
honest men, and confusion to those who betray the secrets of an Orange
Lodge!’

“As each paper had its party in the Lodge, it is not to be supposed that
this attack upon the Editor of the Equivocal was at all received with
unanimous approbation. Far from it. Several hisses were given, which
again were met by cheers, and these by counter cheers. In this
disorder Mr. Cantwell rose, his face beaming with mildness and
benignity--sweetness and smiles--and having bowed, stood all meekness
and patience until the cheering was over.

“‘Brother Cantwell,’ said Solomon, ‘remember to discard
self-reliance--let thy sup--support be from ‘--but before he could
finish, brother Cantwell turned round, and blandly bowing to him, seemed
to say--for-he did not speak--

“‘My dear brother M’Slime, I follow your admirable advice; you see I
do--I shall’

“‘Mr. Chairman,’ said he, ‘gentlemen and dear brothers’--here he paused
a moment, whilst calmly removing the tumbler out of his way that he
might have room to place his hand upon the table and gently lean towards
the chairman. He then serenely smoothed down the frill of his shirt,
during which his friends cheered--and ere commencing he gave them
another short, and, as it were, parenthetical bow. ‘Mr. Chairman,
gentlemen, and dear brothers, I do not rise upon this very unpleasant
occasion--unpleasant to me it is, but not on my account--for the purpose
of giving vent to the coarse effusions of an unlettered mind, that
shapes its vulgar outpourings in bad language and worse feeling. No, I
am incapable of the bad feeling, in the first place, and, thanks to
my education, of illiterate language, in the second. It has pleased my
friend Mr. Yellowboy--if he will still allow me to call him so--for I
appeal to you all whether it becomes those who sit under this hallowed
roof to disagree--it has pleased him, I say, to bring charges against
me, to some of which I certainly must plead guilty--if guilt there be
in it. It has pleased him to charge me with the unbrotherly crime, the
unchristian crime, the un-orange crime’--here he smiled more blandly
at every term, and then brought his smiling eye to bear on his
antagonist--‘of lifting him out of the channel about twelve o’clock
at night, where he lay--I may say so among ourselves--in state of most
comfortable, but un-orange-like intoxication.’

“The audience now being mostly drunk, were tickled with this compliment
to their sobriety, and cheered and shouted for more than a minute. ‘Go
on Cantwell! By Japers, you’re no blockhead!’

“‘Under Providence, and with all piety I say it, he will vanquish the
yallow sinner over there.’

“‘Brother Cantwell,’ observed Mr. M’Slime, ‘go on--the gift is not
withheld.’

“Another smiling bow to M’Slime, as much as to say, ‘I know it’s not--I
feel it’s not.’

“‘This, gentlemen, and dear brothers, was my crime--I acted the good
Samaritan towards him--that was my crime. May I often commit it!’

“‘Is that your pretended charity, sir?’ said Yellowboy, whose temper
was sorely tried by the other’s calmness; ‘don’t you know, sir, that you
cannot become the Samaritan unless I become the drunkard? and yet you
hope often to commit it!’

“No notice whatsoever taken of this.

“‘--But perhaps there was still a greater crime in this affair. I
allude to the crime of having, after the account of his frailty had
taken wind through the whole country, ventured to defend it, or rather
to place it in such a light as might enable the public to place it to
the account of mere animal exhaustion, independent of the real
cause. And I have reason to know, that to a very enlarged extent I
succeeded--for many persons having heard of the circumstance in its
worse and most offensive sense, actually came to my office--’

“‘Yes, after you had made it public, as far as you could.’

“‘--To my office, to inquire into it. And I assure you all, gentlemen,
that from motives at once of the Christian and the Orangeman, I merely
informed them that the gentleman had certainly had, about the time
specified, a very severe fit--I did not add of intoxication--oh the
contrary, I charitably stopped there, and now it would appear that this
forbearance on my part is another crime. But even that is not all. The
occasion which called forth the paragraph in the paper which I have
honor to conduct, was one which I shall just allude to. Some time ago
there was inserted in the True Blue a short article headed ‘Susanna and
the Elder,’ in which certain vague and idle reports, fabricated by some
person who bears enmity to a most respectable Christian gentleman, who
honors us this moment with his presence--’

“Solomon here approached him, and grasping his hand, exclaimed--

“‘Thank you, my dear brother Cantwell--thank you a hundred times;
yours is the part of a true Christian; so go on, I entreat you--here is
nothing to be ashamed of--I know it is good to be tried.’

“‘Now it was really the charity contained in the article from the True
Blue that struck me so forcibly--for it not only breathed the scandal so
gently, as that it would scarcely stain a mirror--and it did not stain
the mirror against which the report was directed--but it placed it as
it were, before his eyes, that he might not be maligned without his
knowledge, on taking steps to triumph over it, which our friend did--and
great was his triumph and meekly was it borne on the occasion. With
respect to my political creed, gentlemen, you all know it is my boast
that I belong to no party. I advocate broad and general principles; and
the more comprehensive they are, so does my love of kind take a wider
range. I am a patriot, that is my boast--a moderate man--an educated
man; I am, at least, a competent master of the English language, which I
trust I can write and speak like a gentleman. I am not given to low
and gross habits of life; I am never found in a state of beastly
intoxication late at night, or early in the day; nor do I suffer my
paper to become the vehicle of gratifying that private slander or
personal resentment which I am not capable of writing myself, and
have not the courage to acknowledge as a man. I am not a poor, kicked,
horse-whipped, and degraded scoundrel, whose malignity is only surpassed
by my cowardice--whose principal delight is to stab in the dark--a
lurking assassin, but not an open murderer--a sneaking, skulking thief,
without the manliness of the highwayman--a pitiful, servile--but, I
believe, I have said enough. Well, gentlemen, I trust I am none of
these; nor am I saying who is. Perhaps it would be impossible to find
them all centred in the same man; but if it were, it would certainly
be quite as extraordinary to find that man seated at an Orange Lodge.
Brother Yellowboy, I have the pleasure of drinking your health.’

“Brother Yellowboy felt that he was no match at all for Cantwell; so in
order to escape the further venom of his tongue, he drank his in return,
and joined in the cheers with which his speech was received; for by this
time the audience cared not a fig what was said by either party.”



CHAPTER XX.--Sobriety and Loyalty

--A Checkered Dialogue--The Beauty and Necessity of Human Frailty
--A Burning and Shining Light Going Home in the Dark--The Value of a
Lanthorn.


“The character or forms of decency which had hitherto prevailed, now
began to disappear. M’Clutchy’s blood-hounds, or wreckers--for they
were indiscriminately termed both--having drank a great deal of liquor,
became quite violent, and nothing now was heard but party songs, loud
talk, and offensive toasts, mingled with a good deal of personal abuse,
and private jealousies of each other’s influence with M’Clutchy.

“‘D--n your blood, Grimes, I’m as loyal as ever you were. Wasn’t
my grandfather a Tory hunter, who houghed and hanged more bloody
Papishes--’

“‘Who’s that,’ said Bob, ‘talking about hanging Papishes? Where--where
are they to be hanged? Under God, I have seen more of the villains
hanged than any other frail sinner in the province. Oh, it is a
consoling--a sustaining sight!’

“‘What’s the reason, then, that the Protestant gentry of the country
don’t stand by their own? Why do they deal with Papishes? By Japers they
don’t daserve us to stand by them.’

“‘I say, Fulton, it’s a d--d lie. I was at the wrecking of the
Ballygrass Threshers, when you shabbed sickness and wouldn’t go.’

“‘And I am glad I didn’t. A purty business you made of it--to pull down
the houses, and wreck the furniture about the ears of a set of women and
children; I say such conduct is disgraceful to Orangemen.’

“‘An’ what the devil right have you to expect the sargeantship, then,
when you won’t perform its duties?’

“‘I don’t care a d--n about you or it. The Pope in the pillory, the
pillory in h--l--’

“‘--Sent the bullet through his palm, and kept his finger and thumb
together ever since--

“‘Lerolero lillibullero, lillibullerobuuenela.’--

     ‘--Sleet or slaughter, holy water,
     Sprinkle the Catholics every one;
     Cut them asunder, and make them lie undher,
     The Protestant boys will carry their own.--.

“‘They can never stand the guns--the lead makes them fly--and, by
Japers, they’ll get it.--’

“‘What health, man? out with it; are we to sit here all night for it?--’

“‘He gets half his bread from a d----d Papish, merely because, he’s his
tenant--instead of getting the whole of it from me, that’s better than a
tenant, a brother Orangeman--

     “‘King James he pitched his tents between
     The lines for to retire;
     But King William threw his bomb balls in,
     And set them all on fire.’--

“In fact the confusion of Babel was nothing to it now, every voice was
loud, and what between singing, swearing, shouting, arguing, drinking
toasts, and howling, of various descriptions, it would not be easy to to
find anything in any other country that could be compared to it.

“Phil himself was by this time nearly as drunk as any of them, but in
consequence of several hints from those who preserved their sobriety,
and several of them did, he now got to his legs, and called silence.

“‘Silence, sil-sil-silence, I say, d--n my honor if I’ll bear this. Do
you think (hiccup) we can separate without drinking the Castle
Cu-Cumber toast. Fill, gentle-(hic-cup)-men, here’s Lord Cumber and
the Castle-Castle Cu-Cumber property, with the health of
Sol-Sol-Solo-Solomon M’Slime, Esq.--

     “‘For God will be our king this day,
     And I’ll be the general over--eh--over--no, no, under.’--

“‘Under, I believe (hiccup)--’

“‘Silence, there, I say.’

“‘My friends--my dear friends,’ said Solomon--‘my brothers--Christian
brethren, I should say, for you are Christian brethren--Lord Cumber’s
health is a good thing, and his property is a good thing; and I--I
return you thanks for it, as I am bound to do, as a Christian. Am I
Christian? Well--’ (here he smiled, and laying his hand upon his heart,
added,) ‘well I know what I feel here, that is all. My dear friends, I
said that Lord Cumber’s health and property were good things, but I know
a thing that’s better, more valuable, richer--and what is that? It
is here, in this poor frail--but not frail so long as that thing is
here--that thing, what is it? Oh, if you had prayed for it, wrestled
for it, fought for it, as I did, you would know what it is, and all the
delightful and elevating consolations it brings along with it. Surely
some one drank Lord Cumber’s health! That was well; he sitteth in a high
place, and deserveth honor. Let us drink his health, my friends--let us
drink it, yea, abundantly, even unto rejoicing. But what is this thing?
Why, it is the sense of inward support, a mild, sweet light, that
diffuses pleasant thoughts through you, that multiplies every good gift
about you, that makes one cup of pleasant liquor seem two. It is not
to many that these things are vouchsafed; not, I believe, to any here,
always with humility and fear be it spoken, excepting Bob Spaight and
myself--

“‘--July the first in Oldbridge town,

responded Bob,

     “’ There was a grievous battle,
     Where many a man lay on the ground,
     By the cannons that did rattle.’--

“‘Yea,’ pursued Bob, ‘the gift is come, brother Solomon--the fifth cup
always brings it--

--‘King James he pitched his tents between’--

“‘Aye, but, brother Bob,’ resumed Solomon, ‘the gift is a little too
soon on this occasion. Let me give the words, and, Bob, if you could
manage the ‘Protestant Boys,’ rather than ‘Croppies lie Down,’ it would
suit it; and, indeed, it would be well if the whole congregation joined
us in it. I shall give the words--let me see, long measure, eight lines,
four nines, and four six-sixes;--

     “‘There’s nought but care on every hand,
     In every hour that passes, oh,
     What signifies the life o’ man,
     An’ ‘twere not for the lasses, oh.”

eh, let me see--am I right?’

“‘Right,’ they shouted, ‘never were half so right, Solomon. We’ll join
you to a man,’ and accordingly, with one voice, they gave the stanza
at the top of their voices, little Bob leading them, to the air of
‘Croppies lie Down,’ in a style that was perfectly irresistible.

“Thus ended a night in an Orange Lodge, but not so out of it. Those who
had to go any distance, were armed, and the consequence was, that when
they got into the street, they commenced their usual courses: shots were
fired in every direction, offensive songs were sung--any money for the
face of a Papist--to hell with the Pope--Ram down Catholics, and so
on. At length, by degrees these all ceased, the streets gradually grew
quiet, then still, and another night closed upon the habits of a class
of men, who, in the wantonness of their power, scarcely knew what they
did.

“Having witnessed the scene just described--a scene that accounted very
clearly for at least one important phase of Irish life--I deemed it full
time to go to bed, this being the inn in which I stop. I accordingly was
about to ascend the staircase, from the lobby, for we sat in the back
drawing-room, when I thought I heard a voice that was not unfamiliar to
me, giving expression to language--in which I could perceive there was
a very peculiar blending of love and devotion; that is to say, it was
exceedingly difficult, from the admirable tact with which he balanced
the application of the two principles, whether Solomon, for it was he,
loved the physical or the spiritual system of the barmaid, for it was
she, with more earnestness and warmth. The family at this time had all
retired for the night, with the exception of boots, and the barmaid in
question, a well made, pretty Irish girl, with a pair of roguish eyes in
her head, that beamed with fun and good humor. Solomon, instead of going
home, had got into a little retired spot behind the bar, called the
snuggery, and into which, of course, she attended him with a glass of
liquor.

“‘Eliza,’ said Solomon, ‘Eliza, I have often had an intention of asking
you to allow me the privilege and the pleasure, Eliza, of some serious
conversation with you. It is a trying world, a wicked world, and to--to
a girl--so charming a girl as you are, Eliza--’

“‘Charming, Mr. M’Slime; well, well!’

“‘Charming, certainly, as regards your person, your external
person--your person is indeed very charming, and verily, Eliza, this
brandy and water is truly precious, so beautifully blended, that I
cannot--now, Eliza, will you pardon me a small, but, I trust, not
unedifying joke; yes, you will--I know--I see you will--very well, then,
the little joke is pardoned--this brandy and water are so beautifully
blended, that I cannot help thinking there is something in that sweet
hand of yours that diffuses a delicious flavor upon it--I know that such
things exist.’

“‘Upon my word, Mr. M’Slime, from such a religious gentleman as you are,
I didn’t expect--’

“‘Ah, my dear Eliza, that is coming to the root of the matter, and I
am glad to find that you are not insensible to it. On that subject, my
sweet girl, and you are a sweet girl--it is that I propose to speak
with you--to commune with you--in a spirit, my dear Eliza, of love and
affection. Will you then take a seat--a seat, my dear Eliza.’

“‘I fear I cannot, sir; you know there is no one else to keep an eye to
the bar.’

“‘The business of the bar, my dear girl, is over for this night; but
not, I trust--sincerely trust--that of the sweet barmaid; do sit, Eliza,
pray be seated, and let me have a word with you in season; thank you,
but not at such a distance, Eliza, such an inconvenient distance; I say
inconvenient--because--ugh, ugh, I have caught a slight cold--as a trial
it came--and I will receive it so, that has fallen for the time--ugh,
ugh, ugh--upon my lungs, and renders it a good deal troublesome to me
to speak loud; so that the nearer you sit--and it has affected my head
a little, only with a slight deafness, though, which--were you speaking,
my dear?’

“‘No, sir.’

“‘Yes, so I thought, you were saying something--will soon pass away.’

“I thought this dialogue, on the part of M’Slime, too characteristic
to be lost. I accordingly stole somewhat near the snuggery, until I got
into a position from whence I could see them clearly, without being seen
myself. It was quite evident from the humor, which, in spite of a demure
face glinted from her eye, that Eliza’s object was to occasion M’Slime
to assume his real character, for I could easily see that from time to
time she felt very considerable difficulty in suppressing her laughter.

“‘The deafness, Eliza, I feel particularly troublesome, though not
painful; as while transacting business it f-forces me to sit so, very
close to my clients.’

“‘But I am not a client, Mr. M’Slime, and you need not draw your chair
so close to me--there now, that will do.’

“‘You are my sweet--sweet girl; you are my client--and you shall be my
client--and upon a most important subject--the most important of all;
verily, Eliza, this is a most delicious cup of refreshment. How did
you flavor it--but, indeed, if I were, as I have been, before I was
graciously called and chosen, I would have recourse to a harmless
gallantry, and say that this most ambrosial beverage must have caught
its sweetness from your lips--its fragrance from your breath--and its
lustre from your eyes--I would say so--if I were as I have been--and,
indeed, as I am--even yet, frail, Eliza, still frail, and very far,
indeed, from perfection--but--still, even as I am I could scarcely
scruple to relapse a little--yea, only a little, Eliza, for the sake of
such lips--of such eyes--and such a fragrant breath. Alas! we are all
frail.’

“‘But, Mr. M’Slime, I surely didn’t think that you who stand so high
in the religious world, and that the people look upon as a saint, would
talk as you do.’

“‘Ah, Eliza, my dear girl, it is very natural for you in your hitherto
darkened state to say so; but, sweet Eliza, if you had your privileges,
you could understand me. For instance, in the indulgence of this
precious little dialogue with you, I am only following up a duty that
strengthens myself; for, Eliza, my precious creature, if more light were
given you, you would be permitted to feel that an occasional lapse is
for our good, by showing us our own weakness and how little we can do
of ourselves. No--there is nothing which gives us so much confidence and
strength as to know our own weakness; but, my sweet girl, of what use is
it for us to know it, if we do not feel it; and why feel it--unless we
suffer it for better purposes to teach us a practical lesson to humble
us.’

“‘That’s queer doctrine, Mr. M’Slime, and I don’t properly understand
it.’

“‘I know you don’t, my darling girl; for it has not been given to you,
as yet, to understand it. Nay, it seems, as it were, a stumbling block
to you, in your present state.’

“‘Why, do you think me so very great a sinner, sir?’

“‘Not by acts, Eliza--and what a soft name is Eliza--soft as a pillow
of down--but by condition. You are exalted now, upon pride--not personal
pride, but the pride of position. You think you are incapable of error
or infirmity, but you must be brought--down to a sense of your own
frailty, as it were, for it is upon a consciousness of that, that you
must build.’

“‘That is to say, I must commit sin first, in order to know the grace of
repentance afterwards.’

“‘You put it too strongly, Eliza; but here is the illustration:--You
know it is said ‘there is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth,
more than over ninety and nine just men.’ And I know many, Eliza, who go
through a long course of virtuous iniquity, in order that their triumph
in the end may be the greater. I have myself practised it on a small
way, and found it refreshing. And now, Eliza, bring me another cup of
brandy and water, even for my stomach’s sake; and, Eliza, my
charming girl, put it to those sweet lips--that it may catch the true
fragrance--Christian fragrance I wish I could say--for they are fragrant
lips--and a sweet arm--a full tapering arm you are gifted with. Ah!
Eliza, if you could feel as I feel--nay, it was the chair that was
unsteady--my my heart is dis--dissolving, Eliza. If you were only a
little more frail, my sweet girl--we could feel this a kind of religious
exercise. Oh! these precious little frailties--these precious little
frailties!’

“‘Mr. M’Slime you will excuse me, but I think you have got enough, and a
little too much liquor. If you should be seen going home in an unsteady
state your character would suffer.’

“‘Another cup of refreshment, Eliza--but I am not perfection--no--nor
would I be perfection. What would life be without these precious little
frailties--that make us what we are.’

“‘With all piety and undher------’

“‘Who is that,’ inquired the maid, evidently startled, if not affrighted
by a strange voice.

“‘I join--join you, brother M’Slime, for another cup of refreshment.’

“‘Bob Spaight--brother Bob--I am glad you are here; Eliza, my
darling--my dove--another cup for Bob, and after that we shall aid each
other home--will render one another Christian and mutual assistance.’

“‘Yes,’ replied Bob, clearing his voice:--

(Both voices simultaneously:)

     Bob--‘King James he pitched his tents between

     Solomon--‘There’s naught but care on every hand,

     Bob--‘The lines for to retire,

     Solomon--‘In every hour that passes, O

     Bob--‘But King William threw his bomb balls in,

     Solomon--‘What signifies the life o’ man,

     Bob--‘And set them all on fire.’

     Solomon--‘An’ ‘twerna for the lasses, O!’

“Many thanks, sweet Eliza--oh! that I could say my frail Eliza; but I
shall be able to say so yet, I trust; I shall be able to say so.’

“‘God forbid,’ she replied. ‘This is not for you, Mr. M’Slime--I
certainly will give you no more this night. But Bob here is a favorite
of mine. Bob, you will see Mr. M’Slime home?’

“‘In all piety and truth, I shall see that burning and shining light
home,’ returned Bob; ‘in the meantime I will thank you for the loan of a
lanthorn; the night is one of most unchristian darkness.’

“Solomon had now reclined his head upon the table as if for sleep, which
he very probably would have indulged in, despite of all opposition;
but just at this moment his horse, car, and servant most opportunely
arrived, and with the aid of Bob, succeeded in getting him away, much
against his own inclination; for it would appear by his language that he
had no intention whatsoever of departing, if left to himself.

“‘I shall not go,’ said he; ‘it is permitted to me to sojourn here this
night. Where is Eliza? Oh! Eliza, my darling--these precious little
frailties.’

“‘Bring the little hypocrite home out of this,’ said she, with a good
deal of indignation; for, in truth, the worthy saint uttered the last
words in so significant a voice, with such a confidential crow, as
might have thrown out intimations not quite favorable to her sense of
propriety on the occasion. He was literally forced out, therefore; but
not until he had made several efforts to grasp Eliza’s hand, and to get
his arm around her.

“‘She’s a sweet creature--a delightful dove; but too innocent.
Oh! Eliza, these precious little frailties!--these precious little
frailties!’

“‘It’s a shame,’ said Eliza, ‘and a scandal to see any man making such
pretensions to religion, in such a state.’

“‘In all piety and truth,’ said Bob, ‘I say he’s a burning and a shining
light!’

     “’ King James he pitched his tents between
     Their lines for to retire,’ &c., &c.

“And so they departed, very much to the satisfaction of Eliza and Boots,
who were both obliged to sit up until his departure, although fatigued
with a long day’s hard and incessant labor. I also retired to my pillow,
where I lay for a considerable time reflecting on the occurrences of
the night, and the ease with which an ingenious hypocrite may turn the
forms, but not the spirit of religion, to the worst and most iniquitous
purpose.”

* * * * *

And thus far our friend, Mr. Easel, whom we leave to follow up his
examinations into the state of the Castle Cumber property, and its
management, hoping that discoveries and disclosures may at some future
day be of service to the tenantry on that fine estate, as well as to the
country at large. In the meantime, we beg our readers to accompany us to
the scene of many an act of gross corruption, where jobs, and jobbing,
and selfishness in their worst shapes, aided by knavery, fraud, bigotry,
party rancor, personal hate, and revenge long cherished--where active
loyalty and high political Protestantism, assuming the name of religion,
and all the other passions and prejudices that have been suffered to
scourge the country so long--have often been in full operation, without
check, restraint, or any wholesome responsibility, that might, or could,
or ought to have protected the property of the people from rapine, and
their persons from oppression. The scene we allude to is the Grand Jury
Room of Castle Cumber.



CHAPTER XXI.--Darby’s Piety Rewarded

--A Protestant Charger, with his Precious Burthen--A Disaffected Hack
supporting a Pillar of the Church--A Political and Religious Discussion
in a Friendly Way


The Assizes had now arrived, and the Grand Panel of the county met once
more to transact their fiscal and criminal business. We omit the grand
entry of the Judges, escorted, as they were, by a large military guard,
and the _posse comitatus_ of the county, not omitting to mention a
goodly and imposing array of the gentry and squirearchy of the immediate
and surrounding districts, many of Whom were pranked out in all the
grandeur of their Orange robes. As, however, we are only yet upon our
way there, we beg you to direct your attention to two gentlemen dressed
in black, and mounted each in a peculiar and characteristic manner.
One of them is a large, bloated, but rather handsome, and decidedly
aristocratic looking man, with a vermilion face, mounted upon a splendid
charger, whose blood and action must have been trained to that kind of
subdued but elegant bearing that would seem to indicate, upon the part
of the animal, a consciousness that he too owed a duty to the Church
and Constitution, and had a just right to come within the category of
a staunch and loyal Protestant horse, as being entrusted with the
life, virtues, and dignity of no less a person than the Rev. Phineas
Lucre--all of which are now on his back assembled, as they always are,
in that reverend gentleman’s precious person. Here we account at once
for the animal’s cautious sobriety of step, and pride and dignity
of action, together with his devoted attachment to the Church and
Constitution by which he lived, and owing to which he wore a coat quite
as sleek, but by no means so black as his master’s. The gentleman
by whom he appears to be accompanied, much--if we can judge by their
motions--against his will, seems to be quite as strongly contrasted
to him, as the rough undressed hack upon which he is mounted is to the
sanctified and aristocratic nag that is honored by bearing the Rev.
Phineas Lucre. The hack in question is, nevertheless, a stout
and desperate looking varmint, with a red vindictive eye, moving,
ill-tempered ears, and a tail that seems to be the seat of intellect,
if a person is to take its quick and furious whisking as being given
in reply to Mr. Lucre’s observations, or by way of corroboration of the
truth uttered by the huge and able-bodied individual who is astride of
him. That individual is no other than the Rev. Father M’Cabe, who is
dressed in a coat and waistcoat of coarse black broadcloth, somewhat
worse for the wear, a pair of black breeches, deprived of their original
gloss, and a pair of boots well greased with honest hog’s lard--the fact
being, that the wonderful discovery of Day and Martin had not then come
to light. Mr. M’Cabe has clearly an unsettled and dissatisfied seat, and
does not sit his horse with the ease and dignity of his companion. In
fact, he feels that matters are not proceeding as he could wish, neither
does the hack at all appear to bear cordiality or affection to the state
which keeps him on such short commons. They are, by no means, either of
them in a state of peace or patience with the powers that be, and when
the priest, at the conclusion of every sentence, gives the garran an
angry dash of the spurs, as much as to say, was not that observation
right, no man could mistake the venomous spirit in which the tail is
whisked, and the head shaken, in reply.

It is scarcely necessary to say that either Mr. Lucre or Mr. M’Cabe
were at all upon terms of intimacy. Mr. M’Cabe considered Mr. Lucre as a
wealthy epicure, fat and heretical; whilst Mr. Lucre looked upon Father
McCabe as vulgar and idolatrous. It was impossible, in fact, that
with such an opinion of each other, they could for a moment agree in
anything, or meet as men qualified by the virtues of their station to
discharge on any one duty in common. On the day in question, Mr. Lucre
was riding towards Castle Cumber, with the pious intention of getting
Darby O’Drive’s appointment to the under jailorship confirmed. This was
one motive, but there was another still stronger, which was, to have
an interview with the leading men of the Grand Jury, for the purpose of
getting a new road run past his Glebe House, in the first place, and,
in the next, to secure a good job for himself, as a magistrate. At all
events he was proceeding towards Castle Cumber, apparently engaged in
the contemplation of some important subject, but whether it was the new
road to his glebe, or the old one to heaven, is beyond our penetration
to determine. Be this as it may, such was his abstraction, that he
noticed not the Rev. Father M’Cabe, who had ridden for some time along
with him, until that gentleman thought proper to break the ice of
ceremony, and address him.

“Sir, your most obedient,” said the priest; “excuse my freedom--I am the
Rev. Mr. M’Cabe, Catholic Curate of Castle Cumber; but as I reside in
the parish it is very possible you don’t know me.”

Mr. Lucre felt much hurt at the insinuation thrown out against his long
absence from the parish and replied:--

“I do not, sir, in the least regret our want of intimacy. The character
of your ministry in the parish is such, that he who can congratulate
himself on not being acquainted with you has something to boast of.
Excuse me, sir, but I beg to assure you, that I am not at all solicitous
of the honor of your company.”

“Touching my ministry,” said the priest, “which it pleases you to
condemn, I’d have you to know, that I will teach my people how to resist
oppression so long as I am able to teach them anything. I will not allow
them to remain tame drudges under burthens that make you and such as you
as fat and proud as Lucifer.”

“I request you will be good enough, sir, to take some other way,” said
Mr. Lucre; “you are a rude and vulgar person whom I neither know nor
wish to know. The pike and torch, sir, are congenial weapons to such a
mind as yours; I do beg you will take some other way, and not continue
to annoy me any longer.”

“This way, man alive--”

“Man alive! To whom do you address such, a term?” said Mr. Lucre; “I
really have never met so very vulgar a person; I am quite sickened, upon
my honor. Man alive!! I trust I shall soon get rid of you.”

“This way, man alive,” responded the priest, “is as free to me, in spite
of corrupt jobs and grand juries, as it is to you or any other tyrant,
whether spiritual or temporal. If there are turbulence and disturbances
in this parish, it is because bad laws, unjustly administered, drive the
people, first, into poverty, and then into resistance. And, sir, you are
not to tell me, for I will not believe it, that a bad law, dishonestly
and partially administered, is not to be resisted by every legal means.”

“Do you call noon-day murder, midnight assassination, and incendiarism,
legal? Do you call schooling the people into rebellion, and
familiarizing them with crime, legal? All this may be allegiance to your
pope, but it deserves a halter from the king and laws, of England.”

“The king and laws of England, sir, have ever been more liberal of
halters to the Irish Catholics, than they have been of either common
justice or fair play. What do the Catholic people get, or have ever
got, from you and such as you, in return for the luxury which you draw,
without thanks, from their sweat and labor, but gaols, and chains, and
scourges, and halters. Hanging, and transportations, triangles, and
drumhead verdicts, are admirable means to conciliate the Catholic people
of Ireland.”

“The Catholic people of Ireland may thank you, and such red hot
intemperate men as you, for the hangings, and transportations which the
violated laws of the country justly awarded them.”

“And have you, sir, who wring the blood and sweat out of them, the
audacity to use such language to me? Did not your English kings and your
English laws make education a crime, and did you not then most
inhumanly and cruelly punish us for the offences which want of education
occasioned?”

“Yes; because you made such knowledge as you then acquired, the vehicle,
as you are doing now, of spreading abroad disaffection against Church
and State, and of disturbing the peace of the country.”

“Because, proud parson, when the people become enlightened by education,
they insist, and will insist upon their rights, and refuse to be pressed
to death by such a bloated and blood-sucking incubus as your Established
Church.”

“If this be true, then, upon your own showing, you ought to be favorable
to education among the people; but that, we know you are not. You have
no schools; and you will not suffer us, who are willing, to educate them
for you.”

“Certainly not, we have no notion to sit tamely by and see you, and such
as you, instil your own principles into our flocks. But in talking of
education, in what state, let me ask you, is your own church in this
blessed year of 1804, with all her wealth and splendor at her back? I
tell you, sir, in every district where the population is equal, we can
show two Catholic schools for your one. When you impute our poverty,
sir, as a reluctance to educate our people, you utter a libel against
the Catholic priesthood of Ireland for which you deserve to be
prosecuted in a court of justice, and nailed snugly to the pillory
afterwards.”

“Nailed snugly to the pillory! I never felt myself so much degraded as
by this conversation with you.”

“Sir, the Catholic priesthood have always been at their duty at the bed
of sickness, and sorrow, and death, among the poor and afflicted; where
you, who live by their hard and slavish labor, have never been known to
show your red nose.”

“Red nose--ha--ha--dear me, how well bred, how admirably accomplished,
and how finely polished. Red nose!”

“Faith, you did well to correct me, it is only a mulberry. Wasn’t your
Irish Establishment in a blessed torpor--dying like a plethoric parson
after his venison or turtle, until ould Jack Wesley roused it? Then,
indeed, when you saw your flocks running to barns and hedges after
the black caps, and the high-cheeked disciples of sanctity and strong
dinners--you yawned, rubbed your eyes, stroked your dewlaps, and waddled
off to fight in your own defence against the long-winded invaders of
your rounds and sirloins. Where was your love of education before that
shock, my worthy Bible man? Faith, I’m peppering you!”

“Sir, if I could have anticipated such very vulgar insolence, I would
have taken some other way. Why obtrude yourself thus upon me? I trust
you have no notion of personal Violence?”

“Wesley nudged you.”

“Nudged us! I do not understand your slang at all, my good sir. Those
who are taken from the ditch to the college, and sent back from the
college with the crust of their original prejudices hardened upon them,
are not those from whom educated men are to expect refinement or good
manners.”

“From the ditch! We are taken from humble life, proud parson, to the
college; and it is better to enter college from the simplicity of
humble life, than to enter the church with the rank savor of fashionable
profligacy strong upon us. Not a bad preparation for a carnal
establishment, where every temptation is presented to glut every
passion.”

“You forget, sir, what a system of abomination your church was before
the light of the Reformation came upon her; and what a mockery of
religion she is to this day.”

“Whatever I may forget, I cannot but remember the mockery of religion
presented by your proud and bloated Bishops who roll in wealth,
indolence, and sensuality; robbing the poor, whilst they themselves go
to h--l worth hundreds of thousands. I cannot forget that your church is
a market for venal and titled slaves, who are bought by the minister of
the day to uphold his party--that it is a carcass thrown to the wolfish,
sons and brothers of the English and Irish aristocracy--and that
its bishops and dignitaries exceed in pride, violence of temper, and
insolence of deportment, any other class of persons in society. Sure
they have their chaplains to pray for them--but my soul to glory--those
that pray by proxy will go to heaven by proxy--and so they ought.
Eh--faith I’m peppering you.”

“_De te fabula narratur_. Don’t you live by praying for others? What are
your masses?”

“Fabula, why, a fibula for your fabula, man alive. What is your new
fangled creed, but a fabula from the beginning?”

“And are you yourself not a hireling in every sense of the word? Do you
not make merchandise of the crimes and ignorance of your people?”

“Make merchandise! This from you who take away a tenth part of the poor
man’s labor without the consciousness of even professing his creed?”

“Do you ever worship the Lord aright, or address him in any language
which the people can understand?”

“And do you ever seek salvation with half the zeal displayed when you
lay your keen nostril to the trail of a fresh benefice or a fat mitre.
Do you not, most of you, think more of your hounds and kennels, than you
do of either your churches or your flocks?”

Mr. Lucre at length pulled up his horse and fixing his eyes on Father
M’Cabe, inquired why he should have fastened upon him in so offensive a
manner; and Mr. M’Cabe pulling up the hack we spoke of, fixed a pair of
fiery orbs on him in return, and replied--

“I haven’t done with you yet, my worthy parson. You needn’t scowl, I
say, for if you had as many chins upon you as there are articles in
your creed, I wouldn’t be prevented from bringing you to an account for
interfering with my flock.”

“Rude and wretched man, how?”

“By attempting to pervert Darby O’Drive, the bailiff, and seduce him
over to your heresies.”

“I would bring him over from his idolatry and superstition. But why do
you, sir, tamper with a man--named--named--let me see--Bob--Bob Beatty,
I think, who belongs to my congregation?”

“Simply because I wish to bring him over from a false church to the true
one.”

“It appears that because this simple person has been afflicted with
epilepsy, you have attempted, through some pious juggling or other,
to effect his cure, by enjoining him not to enter a church door or eat
swine’s flesh during his life. Are you not ashamed, sir, of such ungodly
frauds as this?”

“Swine’s flesh! Call it bacon, man alive, like a man. Yes, and I tell
you moreover, that I have cured him--and with a blessing shall cure him
better still, if that is any consolation to you. From being a purple
Orangeman, I have him now hard at work every day at his _Padderheen
Partha_. But I now caution you not to unsettle the religious principles
of Darby O’Drive, the bailiff.”

“Why, sir, the man has no religious opinion, nor ever had; thanks to Mr.
M’Cabe.”

“And I’m bound to say, that such a thickheaded villian in religious
matters as Bob Beatty I never met. God knows I had a sore handful of
him. So, now remember my caution, and good bye to you; I think you’ll
know me again when you meet me.”

Lucre gave him a haughty scowl ere the priest turned off a bridle road,
but made no other reply--not even by inclining his head to him; but,
indeed, it was hardly to be expected that he should.

Such is the anxiety to snap up a convert in Ireland, it matters not from
what church or to what church, that Mr. Lucre lost no time in securing
the appointment of honest Darby to the office of Castle Cumber Deputy
Goaler--an appointment to which both M’Clutchy and M’Slime strongly
recommended him, not certainly from an excess of affection towards that
simple and worthy man, but from a misgiving that an important portion
of a certain correspondence in the shape of two letters was in his
possession, and that so far they were prudent in declining to provoke
his enmity.



CHAPTEK XXII.---Castle Cumber Grand Jury Room

--A Concientious Hangman--Way to a Glebe House of More Importance than
the Way to Heaven--Irish Method of Dispensing Justice--Short Debate
on the Spy System--Genealogical Memoranda--Patriotic Presentments--A
Riverless Bridge


We pass now, however, to the Grand Jury Room of the county, and truly as
a subordinate tribunal for aiding the administration of justice, it was,
at the time of which we write, one of the most anomalous exhibitions
that could be witnessed. It was a long room, about thirty-six or forty
feet in length, by thirty, with a fire-place at each end, and one or two
at the sides. Above the chimney-piece was an oil painting of William
the Third, together with a small bronze equestrian statue of the same
prince, and another of George the Third. There were some other portraits
of past and present jurors, presented by themselves or their friends.
But there was certainly one which we cannot omit, although by whom
presented, or on what occasion, we are wholly unable to inform the
reader. We are inclined to think it must have been placed there by some
satirical wag, who wished to ridicule the extent to which mere royalty
was carried in those days, and the warmth of admiration with which its
most besotted manifestations were received. The picture in question was
the portrait of a pious hangman, who was too conscientious to hang any
one but a Papist. They called him Jerry Giles; a little squat fellow,
with a face like a triangle, a broken nose, and a pair of misplaced or
ill-matched eye-brows, one of them being nearly an inch higher up the
forehead than the other. Jerry, it seems, had his own opinions, one of
which was, that there existed no law in the constitution for hanging a
Protestant. He said that if he were to hang a Protestant felon, he
would be forced to consider it in his conscience only another name for
suicide; and that, with a blessing, he would string up none but
such vile wretches as were out of the pale of the constitution, and
consequently not entitled to any political grace or salvation whatever.
And, indeed, upon the principles of the day, the portrait of Jerry was
nearly as well entitled to be hung among the grand jurors as that of any
one there.

Seated about a long table, covered with green baize, were a number of
men, with papers before them; whilst grouped in different parts of the
room were the younger persons, amusing themselves by the accidents of
the last meet--if it happened to be the hunting season--or the last
duel, or the last female victim to the corruption and profligacy of
some of those from whom, the people were to expect justice, and their
families protection. Others were whistling or humming some favorite air;
and one of them, a poet, was reading a squib which he had prepared for
the forthcoming election.

“Deaker, come here,” said the Foreman, “you are up to everything. Here
is Lucre, the parson, wants to have a presentment for a new line of road
running through his glebe, or to his glebe--for I suppose it is the same
thing.”

“Well,” replied Deaker, “and let him have it. Isn’t he as well entitled
to a job as any of us? What the devil--why not put a few feathers in his
nest, man? The county has a broad back.”

“His nest is better feathered than he deserves. He has two enormous
livings, a good private fortune, and now, indeed, he must come to saddle
himself upon the county in the shape of a job.”

“He has rendered good service, Mr. Hartley,” replied another of them;
“good service to the government, sir, with every respect for your
wonderful liberality and honesty.”

“What do you mean, sir?” asked Hartley, sternly; “do you throw out any
imputation against my honor or my honesty?”

“Oh, Lord, no--by no means; I have no relish at all for your cold lead,
Mr. Hartley--only that I don’t think you stand the best chance in the
world of being returned for Castle Cumber, sir--that is all.”

“Hartley,” asked another, with a loud laugh, “is it true that your
cousin, on bringing a message to young Phil M’Clutchy, pulled his nose,
and kicked him _a posteriore_ round the room?”

“Ask his father, Dick,” said Hartley, smiling; “I have heard he was
present, and, of course, he knows best.”

“I say, Vulture,” inquired the other, “is it true?”

“Ay,” returned old Deaker, “as true as the nose on your face. That
precious Phil, was a cowardly whelp all his life--so was his father.
D--n you, sirra; where did you get your cowardice? I’m sure it was
not from me; that is if you be mine, which is a rather problematical
circumstance; for I take it you are as likely to be the descent of some
rascally turnkey or hatchman, and be hanged to you, as mine.”

“Is it true, Val,” persisted the former querist, “that young Hartley
pulled Phil’s nose?”

“We have come here for other purposes, Dick,” said Val. “Certainly Phil
did not wish to strike the young man in his own house, and had more
sense than to violate the peace in the presence of a magistrate, and
that magistrate his own father.”

“How the devil did he put his comether on M’Loughlin’s pretty daughter,
Val?” asked another from a different part of the room.

“That,” said Deaker, “is the only spirited thing I ever knew him to
manage. Is it true, Val, that he was found in her bedroom?”

“It is certainly true,” replied Val, with a smile of peculiar meaning;
“and with her own consent too.”

“That’s false, Val,” replied Hartley; “and you know it. That he was in
her room for a couple of minutes is true; but that he was there for
any purpose prejudicial to her honor, that is, with her own consent,
is false. The whole thing was a cowardly trick on the part of your son,
concocted by the aid of old Poll Doolin, for the purpose of injuring the
girl’s reputation.”

“Ay,” said old Deaker, “I dare say you are right, Hartley, if Poll
Doolin was in it; but, d--n her, she’s dangerous, even at a distance,
if all that’s said of her be true. I say, Spavin”--this was a nickname
given to the Foreman, in consequence of a slight halt or lameness
for which he was remarkable--“are we not to find bills for something,
against Harman, who is about to be married to that wench.”

“What,” said Hartley, laughing, “is it on that account? I think if you
said so Deaker, you’d not be very far from the truth.”

“He murdered one of my fellows,” said M’Clutchy, “one of the staunchest
Protestants and loyalest men that ever was in the country; and, what is
more, he did it in cold blood.”

“You were not present,” said Hartley, “and consequently have no right to
attempt to prejudice the minds of the jury against him.”

“We shall find the bills for all that,” said Spavin, “the interference
of such fellows in the execution of the laws must be put a stop to.”

“You are right, Spavin,” said Sir William; “if we can’t hang him, let us
send him across. He had no business to touch the hair of a blood-hound’s
head. Gad, Hartley, this is pretty justice, isn’t it? why didn’t the
disloyal rascal stand and let himself be shot in obedience to the spirit
of the constitution, rather than molest a blood-hound. I tell you, my
good friends, that this method of managing things will bring about its
own remedy yet.”

“Oh, Sir William, you and Hartley would run well in a chaise
together--both always for the rebels.”

“Whom do you call the rebels?”

“Why the Papists, to be sure.”

“No more rebels, Moore, than you are,” replied Hartley--“I find a Papist
as good as another man, if he’s as well and as fairly treated.”

“Irwin,” said a large gouty man, whose legs were wrapped in flannel, “of
course you’ve heard of Sir William’s method of dispensing justice. Will
that too, sir, find its own remedy--eh? ha, ha, ha; d------e, it’s the
most novel thing going.”

“No--how is it, Anderson?”

“Why, if two neighbors chance to fall out, or have a quarrel, and if it
happens also that they come to take the law of one another, as they
call it, what does the worthy baronet do, do you imagine? ‘Well, my good
fellow,’ proceeds our justice, ‘you want to take the law of this man?’

“‘Yes, your honor.’

“‘And you want to take the law of him,’ addressing the other.

“‘I do, the rascal.’

“‘Very well, my good friends, if you wish to get law you have come to
the wrong shop for it--we deal in nothing but justice here: so if you
prefer justice to law, you shall have it.’

“‘Whichever your honor thinks is best for us.’

“‘Very well, then; are you able to fight this man?’

“‘Ha, ha, is it there you are, Sir William?’ says the fellow,
brightening, ‘able is it! ay, and willing too.’

“‘And,’ says the baronet, addressing the other again, ‘are you a match
for him, do you think?’

“‘Say no more, Sir William; only it was surely the Lord put the words
into your mouth.’

“‘But,’ proceeds Sir W., ‘mark me, if you don’t both abide by this
battle--if either of you, no matter which is beaten, shall attempt to
get law elsewhere, upon my honor and soul, I will prosecute you both.’
The justice being well furnished with a sheaf of cudgels for the
purpose, selects one for each, brings them quietly to the stable yard
where he lets them fight it out, each having first solemnly promised to
abide the result.”

“Is that true, baronet?”

“Perfectly true,” replied Sir William; “but I fear that like some of
your wise and impartial proceedings here, it will soon work its own
cure. The business has increased so damnably--this dispensation of
justice I mean--on my hands, that my stable yard resembles a fives
court rather than anything else I know. The method harmonizes with their
habits so beautifully, that if there is an angry word between them it is
only ‘d--n you, are you for Sir W.?’ ‘Yes, you villain step out.’ They
accordingly come, and as they touch their hats, I ask, well, my good
fellows, what do you want now? ‘Not law Sir William, but justice--the
cudgels, plase your honor.’ In the beginning I was in the habit of
making them relate the cause of quarrel first, and then fight it out
afterwards, but experience soon taught me that all this was a mere waste
of time. In general now, I pass all that by; the complainants have their
comfortable fight, as they say, and go home perfectly satisfied.”

“Here, you secretary, what the devil are you at there? Why d-----e,
it wasn’t to toss half crowns with that rascal of a treasurer you came
here, sir; let us get through the business, and then you may both toss
off to the devil, where you’ll go at last.”

“Why,” said the secretary, “I placed the papers all arranged in proper
order before you.”

“Yes, sir; I suppose you did; but who the devil can keep anything or
anybody in order, in such a Babel as this? Beevor, I’ll thank you to
postpone the singing of your squib for the election; or take to the
street when our business is over, and give it to the crowd.”

“You be d----d, Spavin,” replied Beevor;

“I’ll finish it, if the devil was at the back door.”

“Darcy,” said Deaker, addressing a thin, red-faced man beside him, “I
saw a pretty bit of goods in Castle Cumber market on Thursday.”

“Why, Deaker,” replied the other, “is it possible that with one foot
and more than half your body in the grave, and your shadow in h--l, you
sinner, you have not yet given up your profligacy.”

“Eat, drink, and be merry, Tom, for tomorrow we die; but about this
pretty bit of goods--I tried to price her, but it wouldn’t do; and when
I pressed hard, what do you think of the little tit, but put herself
under the protection of old Priest Roche, and told him I had insulted
her.”

“Who is she, Deaker?” inquired a young fellow with a good deal of
libertine interest.

“Ah, Bob,” replied Deaker, laughing; “there you are, one of the holy
triad. Here, Baronet--did you ever hear what Mad Jolly-block, their
father, the drinking parson of Mount Carnal, as some one christened his
residence, said of his three sons?--and that chap there’s one of them.”

“No; let us hear it.”

“‘Dan,’ said the father, speaking of the eldest, ‘would eat the devil;
Jack,’ the second, ‘would drink the devil; and Bob, this chap here,
‘would both eat and drink him, in the first, place, and outwit him
afterwards.’ That’s Bob, the youngest--he there with a lip like a
dropsical sausage. He has sent him here to pick up a little honesty, and
much loyalty.”

“And a great deal of morality,” replied Bob, laughing, “from Deaker the
virtuous.”

“No, no,” replied Deaker; “you need never leave your Reverend father’s
wing for that.”

“Deaker, do you fleece the poor as much as ever?” replied Bob.

“Ah, you are another sweet Agent, as times go. Do you touch them at the
renewals as usual?”

“Egad, Bob, I was very good at that; but there’s an unmatrimonial son of
mine, Val the Vulture, there, and d--me, when I look back upon my life,
and compare it with his, it’s enough to make me repent of my humanity,
to think of the opportunities I have neglected.”

“Gentlemen,” observed Hartley, “it strikes me, no matter what the
multiplicity of other virtues we possess, there is somehow nothing like
a superabundance of shame among us; we appear to glory in our vices.”

“Why confound it, Hartley,” replied Deaker, “where’s the use of assuming
what we do not and cannot feel? Would you have me preach honesty, who am
as d----d a rogue as there is here? Indeed, with the exception of that
whelp of mine, I believe the greatest--but that fellow’s my master.”

“Nobody can quarrel with your candor, Deaker, because it’s all at your
own expense,” said the treasurer.

“Egad, and here it is at yours, Gilburne; with the exception always of
myself and my son, you are the deepest rogue here--and I am very much
afraid that your securities will be of my opinion when it is too late.”
 He laughed heartily at this; and then, as usual, took to whistling his
favorite tune of the Boyne Water.

Our readers may perceive that there was among them an open, hardy scorn
not only of all shame, but of the very forms of common decency and
self-respect. The feelings, the habits, the practices, the distribution
of jobs and of jobbings, the exercise of petty authority, party spirit,
and personal resentment, all went the same way, and took the same bent;
because, in point of fact, there was in this little assembly of
village tyrants, no such thing as an opposition--for three or four--were
nothing--no balance of feeling--no division of opinion--and consequently
no check upon the double profligacy of practice and principle, which
went forward under circumstances where there existed a complete sense of
security, and an utter absence of all responsibility.

“Gentlemen, we are losing a great deal of time unnecessarily,” observed
M’Clutchy, “let us first get through the business, and afterwards we
will be more at leisure for this trifling. The bills for Harman are not
yet found.”

“Not found,” replied Spavin, “why how soft you are, Val.”

“Why they are not,” reiterated Val.

“And why are they not?”

“Ask Counsellor Browbeater, the hard-faced barrister, that has the right
of Black Trot in the Castle, and he will tell you.”

“We all know that very well, Val, no thanks to your squeamishness,”
 observed Deaker; “the truth is, he did not wish to let him out for a
reason he has,” he added, winking at the rest.

“Let us hear the calendar,” said Hartley, “and got through the business
as quickly as we can, secretary.”

“Is that Browbeater,” asked Sir William, “who was engaged in the spy
system a little before I returned from England--a d----d scandalous
transaction.”

“The spy system, Sir William, is a very useful one to government,”
 replied Val, “and they would be devilish fools if they did not encourage
it.”

“That may be your opinion, Mr. M’Clutchy,” said Sir William, “and your
practice, for aught I know; but, permit me to say, that it is not the
opinion of a gentleman, a man of honor, nor of any honest man, however
humble.”

“I perfectly agree with you, Sir William,” said Hartley, “and I despise
the government which can stoop to such discreditable treachery, for it
is nothing else. The government that could adopt such a tool as this
Browbeater, would not scruple to violate the sanctity either of private
life or public confidence, if it suited their interest--nay, I question
whether they would not be guilty of a felony itself, and open the very
letters in the post-office, which are placed there under the sacred seal
of public faith. However, never mind; proceed with the calendar.”

“Here is the case of some of your wreckers, M’Clutchy, charged here with
illegally, maliciously, and violently pulling down several houses in
the village of Crockaniska--assaulting and maltreating the unoffending
inhabitants.”

“Halt there a moment,” said Val; “rebels, every man of the said
inhabitants, which I can prove. My men, who are remarkable for their
Protestantism and loyalty, went upon private information--”

“More of the spy system,” said Hartley, smiling.

“Mr. Hartley, you may smile, but truth is truth,” replied Val; “we had
private information that they had arms and rebellious papers, and the
latter we have got under the thatch of their cabins.”

“Private information!--still more of the spy system,” repeated Hartley,
smiling again.

“But not the arms?” asked Sir William.

“No, Sir William, not the arms; the rebels were too quick for us there.”

“Then, they expected you it seems,” observed Hartley; “and, if so, when
taking away the arms, I am anxious to know why they should have been
such fools as to leave the papers behind them.”

“I am not here to account for their conduct, sir,” replied Val, “but to
state the facts as they occurred--they may, for instance, not have had
time to bring them. It is not a month, for instance, since my fellows
in Still hunting--and talking of that, Mr. Hartley, will you allow me
to send you a couple of kegs of such stuff as is not to be had on every
hill head; I offer it from pure good will, for I really regret that
there should be any want of cordiality between our families.”

“Our families,” asked Hartley, with a look of surprise and indignation,
“our families, sir! what do you mean?”

“Oh, damn it, Hartley, don’t explode; I mean nothing offensive between
us--then, dropping the families,” said Val, fawningly, for he saw the
other’s nostril begin to dilate--

“And, you cowardly hound, why should you drop the families,” inquired
Deaker, taking fire; “do you forget, sirra, who your father was?”

“And do you forget, sirra,” resumed Hartley, “who your mother is?”

“Damn it,” replied Val, still with fawning good-humor, “how am I
accountable for their conduct before I had existence? I neither made
them as they were, nor as they are.”

“Then have the modesty,” said Hartley, “to forbear any allusion to them,
especially in the way of comparison.”

“For one of them, Hartley, I reply,” said Deaker, “that he is of a
better family than yourself; and don’t imagine, my worthy fellow, that
however you may browbeat others, you will be permitted to bully or
browbeat me. I say, sir, there is better blood in my veins than ever ran
through yours.”

“I had no intention of bullying or browbeating any man here,” replied
Hartley, “much less one whose age and virtues must prevent him--”

“Not from meeting you like a man,” said Deaker; “old as I am, I can yet
stand my ground, or if not, d--n me, I can tie a stake to my bottom, and
you may take that as a proof that I won’t run away.”

“Nobody suspects you for that,” said the other. “Out of the long
catalogue of human virtues, courage is the only one loft you, or indeed,
you ever had--unless, indeed, it be the shameless and diabolical honesty
of glorying in your own vices.”

“Why, Hartley!” replied Deaker, “you forget, that you had more vices,
and, hammers, too, in your family, and more brass, than ever I or mine
could’ boast of. If the memory of that successful old tinker, your
grandfather, had not passed out of your mind, you would make no allusion
to vices or screws, and take care, my good hot-brained young fellow,
that you don’t die in your family trade, and come to the pully yet.”

Hartley, who was hasty, but exceedingly good-natured, although certainly
a noted duelist, now burst out into a hearty laugh, as did most of the
rest.

“Deaker,” said he, “there is no use in being angry with you, nor in
being ashamed that my fortune was created by industry and honesty,
for both of which virtues I have reason heartily to thank my good old
grandfather, the hardware man, as you have for thanking the sire of your
father, the worthy tailor, who had the honor of being appointed one of
Peg Nicholson’s knights, ha, ha, ha!”

The laughter now became general and excessive; but not one of them
enjoyed, or seemed at least, to enjoy it with more good-humor than Val;
who, indeed, was never known to exhibit any want of temper to his equals
during his life.

“Well,” said he, “ha, ha, ha! now that that breeze has blown over--about
the poteen, Hartley?”

“Thanks, Val; but no poteen, if you please.”

“Then, gentlemen,” said Val, “to resume business; I was alluding to the
seizure of a Still about a month ago near Drum Dhu, where the parties
just had time to secure the Still itself, but were forced to leave the
head and worm behind them; now, that I give as a fair illustration of
our getting the papers, and missing the arms. Besides,” said he, in a
wheedling and confidential tone, addressed to a clique of his friends,
the jobbers, whom he joined at the lower end of the room, “you are all
aware that my fellows are staunch Orangemen, every one of them, and
the government itself feels, for I have reason to know it, that it is
neither politic or prudent to check the spirit which is now abroad among
them; so far from that, I can tell you it is expected that we should
stimulate and increase it, until the times change. The bills against
these men must, therefore, be thrown out.”

“I’ll agree to that,” said a leading man of his own party, “only on one
condition. There are three of my own tenants, Papists to be sure, in for
distilling poteen. Now, we must have them out, Val, for one good turn
deserves another.

“But why?” inquired Val and his friends.

“Why, simply, because the poor fellows were distilling for myself,” he
replied; “all the apparatus were mine, and I can’t think of allowing
them to be transported for my own act.”

“Very well, then a bargain be it,” said Val, “so out they go.”

Whilst every man was thus working, either for his friends or against his
enemies, or not unfrequently both, Hartley, who, in point of fact, felt
always anxious to do as much good as he could, addressed Sir William:

“Have you no friends in difficulty, Sir William, or who require your
advocacy now? I see the jobbers are hard at work. Some working heaven
and earth to wreak the vengeance of law upon their enemies; others quite
as anxious to turn aside justice from their friends.”

“Eh! what’s that!” said Sir William, starting up; “come, Hartley, you
are right; there are four of my tenants in for a fray--the M’Caffreys,
and the poor devils stand no chance with such a jury as they will have.
I hear them named below there--so let us join the jobbers as you say,
and see if we cannot get the Bills thrown out.”

“Very well,” said Val, as they approached him, “the M’Caffreys go to
trial.”

“Sir William, excuse me,” said Hartley; “will you allow me to interfere,
in the first instance?”

“My dear fellow, certainly, with great pleasure, and I shall aid you as
far as I can.”

“Val,” said Hartley, in that kind of familiar tone which he knew would
go far with such a man as M’Clutchy, and which was in such accordance
with his own natural good-humor--“Val, my good fellow, and the best man
of business here, by the way, notwithstanding the poteen affair, I want
you to stand my friend and also Sir William’s here.”

“How is that, Hartley?”

“There are four men in from the Mountain Bar, named M’Caffrey. Now we
want to have the Bills against them ignored; and simply for a plain
reason--at this season of the year any lengthy imprisonment would ruin
them. It was a faction fight or something of that kind, and of course
there is no feeling of a religious or party nature in it. Am I not
right, Sir William?”

“Perfectly; the thing took place during my absence in England for
the last few months. Had I been at home, the matter would have been
peaceably decided in my own stable-yard.”

“Yes,” observed Val, “but it appears there was a man’s life in danger.”

“Yes, but, sir, his life is now out of danger.”

“Well, but does not this,” rejoined Val in his most serious mood, “look
very like obstructing the course of justice?”

“Why, you d----d scoundrel,” said the Baronet, “what, in nineteen cases
out of twenty, is done at every assizes where matters connected
with religion or politics are concerned, that ought not to be called
obstructing the course of justice?”

“We shall return true Bills, Sir William and that is the only reply I
have to make, except to thank you for your courtesy.”

“Mr. M’Clutchy,” said Hartley, “I know your good sense and forbearance,
both of which are so creditable to you. These poor fellows will be
ruined, for both you and I know what kind of jury that is to try them.”

“An honest jury, Mr. Hartley,” said Mr, M’Clutchy, who was now beginning
to feel a little of his power--“an honest jury, Mr. Hartley.”

“I give you leave to say so, Val; but, in the meantime, I will accept
one favor from you, if you grant me two.”

“How is that sir?” asked Val.

“Send me that poteen you spoke of, and ignore the Bills against these
M’Caffreys.”

“No, sir,” replied Val, looking with his own peculiar beetle-browed
smile at Sir William, “I shall not; for by G--, we will find true Bills
against the four M’Caffreys. We might do something for humanity, Mr.
Hartley; but we are not to be made fools of before our own faces.”

“I do not understand you,” replied Hartley.

“He is nothing but a scoundrel, as I said,” returned Sir William--“that
is all; a low-born scoundrel; and it is a disgrace to see such a
fellow’s name upon any Grand Jury list.”

“Hartley,” replied Spavin, “we do not wish to refuse either Sir William
or you in such a matter as this; but the fact is, M’Clutchy is right.
This is at bottom a party matter--a political matter, and you know it
is.”

“No, sir; on my own part and on Sir William’s I disclaim any such
knowledge.”

“You know, Hartley, you are canvassing the county.”

“Yes, but what has that to do with these; men or their affairs?”

“What--why you know that if we ignore the Bills against them, they will
be out and ready to vote for you at the forthcoming election.”

Hartley looked at him with surprise but said nothing.

“Now,” he proceeded, “I will tell you what we will do. If you and Sir
William pledge your words, as men of honor, that you will not accept the
votes of these men, the matter you wish shall be managed.”

Sir William started to his feet.

“Great God,” said he, “is it not monstrous that an oath of secrecy
should bind us to conceal these inquiries?”

“It is monstrous, Sir William,” replied his friend; “I do believe there
is not such, a scene of shameless and hardened corruption on earth, as a
Grand Jury Room at the present day.”

This, however, they said rather aside to each other.

“No, sir,” replied Hartley to the last proposal, “neither I nor Sir
William shall enter into any such shameful compromise. I felt perfectly
satisfied of the slight chance of justice which these poor men had, and
will have from a jury so composed as theirs I know will be; and that was
the reason why I did not hesitate to try, if I could, with any effect,
save them from what I now perceive is designed for them--a political
punishment independent of crime.”

“Never mind,” said Sir William, taking him aside, “never mind, Hartley;
we will be able to defeat them yet. I shall send for the prosecuting
parties; get them to withdraw proceedings, and immediately fight it out
in my lawn or stable-yard.”

After a great deal of similar squabbling and negotiation, the gentleman
at length got through the criminal calendar for the county, and with
still more startling honesty and disinterestedness, entered upon the
transactions of its fiscal business. Beaker, whenever he took no part
in the discussions that accompanied the settlement of each question, sat
reading a newspaper to the air of the Boyne Water, which he whistled
from habit in a low manner that was scarcely audible, unless to some
one who felt anxious to derive amusement, as several did, from the
originality of the performance.

“Gentlemen,” said the secretary, “here is a list of the presentments.
The first is--For two miles and a quarter of a new road, running
from George Ganderwell’s house at the Crooked Commons, out along
Pat Donnellan’s little farm of the Stripe, through which it runs
longitudinally; then across Jemmy league’s meadow, over the Muffin Burn,
then through widow Doran’s garden, bisecting Darby M’Lorrinan’s three
acre field, afterwards entering the Glebe, and passing close to the
lodge of the Rev. Phineas Lucre’s avenue.”

“Is there any opposition to this?” inquired the chairman.

“Read the next,” said M’Clutchy, “and then we shall be the better able
to see.”

No. 2. “For four miles of road, commencing at the Ban Ard river, which
it crosses, running through Frank Fagan’s croft, along Rogues Town, over
Tom Magill’s Long-shot meadow, across the Sally Slums, up Davy Aiken’s
Misery-meerin, by Parra Rakkan’s haggard, up the Dumb Hill, into Lucky
Lavery’s Patch, and from that right ahead to Constitution Cottage, the
residence of Valentine M’Clutchy, Esq., within two hundred yards of
which it joins the high road to Castle Cumber.”

“Now the question is,” said Val, “can both these be passed during this
term?”

“Val,” replied young Jollyblock, “if ever a man was afflicted with
modesty and disinterestedness you are he; and well becomes me the
parson, too, in his share of the job; but it’s all right, gentlemen.
Work away, I Say. The Parson-magistrate, and the Agent-grand-juror have
set us an excellent example--ha---In.--ha! Deaker, drop whistling the
Boyne Water there, and see what’s going on here.”

“No,” said Deaker, “there never was such air composed as the Boyne
Water; and my only request is, that I may die whistling it. Damn it,
Jollyblock, unless a man is a good Protestant he’s bad for everything
else.”

“But how the devil Deaker, can you call yourself a good Protestant, when
you believe in nothing?”

“Why,” said Deaker, “I believe that a certain set of political opinions
are necessary for our safety and welfare in this world; and, I
believe, that these are to be found in the Church, and that it is good
Protestantism to abide by them, yes, and by the Church too, so long as
she teaches nothing but politics, as she does, and acts up to them.”

“And does your faith stop there?”

“How could it go farther with the lives of such men as your father and
Lucre staring me in the face? Precept, Dick, is of little value when
example is against it. For instance, where’s the use of men’s preaching
up piety and religion, when their own conduct is a libel upon their
doctrine? Suppose, now, there are two roads--and ‘tis said there are:
No. 1, leading to an imaginary region, placed above; No. 2, to another
imaginary region, placed below--very good; the parson says to jon and to
me, do so and so, and take the No. 1 road; but, in the meantime, he does
himself the very reverse of this so and so, and takes the No. 2 road.
Now, which are we to respect most, his advice or his example?”

“Let us go on,” said Spavin, “perhaps there are others whose claims are
as modest and disinterested; we shan’t say anything about being as well
founded. You secretary fellow, read away.”

“Before you go any farther,” said a droll-looking person named M’Small,
“you must pass me a bridge over Lumlay’s Leap. Our party voted you about
thirty miles of roads to repair thoroughly, and you know that although
you only veneered them, we said nothing.”

“But,” replied Val, “who ever heard of a bridge without water; and I
know there’s not a stream within three miles of you.”

“Never mind that,” replied M’Small, “let me have the bridge first, and
we’ll see what can be done about the water afterwards. If God in his
mercy would send a wet winter next season, who knows but we might
present for a new river at the January assizes.”

“You must have it,” said Deaker, “give M’Small the bridge, and, as he
says, we’ll see afterwards what can be done for a river for it.”

“M’Small,” said Hartley, “what if you’d get a presentment for a couple
of mountain water spouts; who knows but it might answer the purpose?”

“I’m afraid,” said M’Small, who, by the way, was a good deal of a
humorist, “I fear, Hartley, that the jurisdiction of the grand panel
would scarcely reach so high. In the meantime I shall think of it.”

The bridge, however, was not only passed, but built, and actually stands
to this day, an undeniable monument of the frugality and honesty of
grand jurors, and the affection which they were then capable of bearing
to each other, when their interests happened to be at stake, which was
just four times in the year.

In the meantime, the tumultuous battle of jobs in all its noise,
recrimination, and jangle of conflicting interests, and incredible
selfishness commenced. There were strong mutual objections to pass the
roads to Mr. Lucre and M’Clutehy, and a regular conflict between their
respective partisans accordingly took place. M’Clutchy’s party were
absolutely shocked at the grossness and impiety of such a man as Mr.
Lucre, a person of such great wealth, an absentee, a nonresident-rector,
dipping his hand in the affairs of the county for the sake of a job.

His party, for he had a strong one, dwelt upon his rights as a civil
officer, a magistrate, and justice of quorum--upon his sterling
principles as a loyal Protestant, who had rendered very important
services to the Church and the government. It was such as he, they said,
who supported the true dignity and respectability of Protestantism, and
it would be a scandal to refuse him a road to his glebe. Deaker groaned
several times during this eulogium, and repeated his favorite text--let
us eat, drink, and be merry, for to-morrow we die; but whether
its application was designed for Lucre or himself, was not very
easy--perhaps we should rather say difficult to determine.

“That is all very true,” replied Val’s party; “but in the meantime,
it would be quite as creditable for him to pay some attention to the
spiritual interests of his parish, and the condition of its tottering
old church, as to be mulcting the county for a job.”

“What can you know about his church,” inquired Spavin, “who have never
been seen in it, except on last Easter Monday, when you were candidate
for the church wardenship? M’Clutehy,” he added, “we all know you are a
Protestant of your father’s color; it’s the best Protestantism that puts
most into your pocket.”

“And on what other principle is Lucre himself now proceeding, or has
ever proceeded?” replied Val’s friends--for Val himself had always a
wholesome repugnance to personal discussion.

In fact, one would have imagined, on hearing Val’s party declaiming
against the selfishness of Lucre, that they themselves entertained a
most virtuous horror against jobs and corruptions of all kinds, and
had within them an actual _bona fide_ regard for religion, in all
its purity, spiritual beauty, and truth; whilst on the contrary, the
Lucreites, who certainly had the worst cause, seemed to think that
M’Clutchy, in preferring his own corruption to that of the parson, was
guilty of a complete desertion of that sterling and mutually concessive
Protestant feeling which they considered to constitute its highest
principle, and absolutely to merge into the manifestation of something
inimical to a Protestant government.

At length it was suggested by him of the bridge, that in order to meet
the wishes of two such excellent men, and such admirable representatives
of pure Protestant virtue and spirit, it would be best to pass both
presentments on the present occasion, and drop or postpone some of the
minor ones until next term--a suggestion which was eagerly received by
both parties, inasmuch as it satisfied the rapacity of each, without
giving a victory to either. This, however, was far from terminating
either the business or the debates that arose out of the minor
conflicting interests of the jurors. A good deal of hanging fire there
was also, but given and returned in a better spirit, between. Val’s
friends and Lucre’s.

“Why doesn’t Lucre,” said the former, “afford us a little more of his
company in the parish?”

“Ah,” replied the Lucreites, “we suppose if he gave you more of his
venison and claret, he would experience less of your opposition.”

“I really am afraid to go to church,” said Val, who, now that the storm
had passed, resumed his usual insinuating habit of light sarcasm: “I
am afraid to go, lest the crazy old church, which really, between
ourselves--I speak of course in a friendly way now--is in a most
shameful and dangerous state, should fall upon me.”

“I did not think,” said M’Small, “that you had such a strong sense of
your own deserts left, Val!--I have some hopes of you yet.”

“Ah,” said Val, “I fear that on your way to heaven, if you meet a
difficulty, you will not be likely to find a grand jury to build a
bridge for you across it.”

“I perfectly agree with you,” replied M’Small, “the face of a grand
juror will be a novel sight in that direction.”

“And in the other direction,” observed Hartley, “no bridges will be
wanted.”

“Why so?” said M’Small.

“Because,” he replied, “there will be such an absence of water as will
render them unnecessary.”

“Ay,” retorted another, “but as there will be plenty of grand jurors
we may do then as we did now, build the bridge without the water, and
trouble ourselves no further with the consequences.”

After much more conversation, partly on business, and partly on
desultory topics, the quarrellings, and bickerings, and all the noisy
enmities of that corrupt little world that is contained within--we
should rather say, that was contained within the walls of a grand jury
room, ceased; and, with the exception of one or two small matters of
no consequence, everything was settled, but not so as to give general
satisfaction; for there still remained a considerable number of
grumblers, whose objects had been either completely lost in greater
corruption, or set aside for the present.

“Here’s another matter,” said Spavin, “which we had better settle at
once. A man here named O’Drive--Darby O’Drive--is to be appointed to the
under gaolership--he is strongly recommended by Mr. Lucre, as a man that
has renounced Popery.”

“That’s enough, Spavin,” said Hartley, “that, I suppose, comprises all
the virtues necessary for an under gaoler, at all events.”

“You know him, M’Clutchy,” said one or two of them.

“He’ll make a good under gaoler,” replied Val, “as there will be in
Europe. Appoint him, gentlemen; you will get no such man.”

“And that is just,” said Sir William aside to Hartley, “all that Val’s
recommendation is good for.”

And thus closed as much as we feel necessary to describe of that
extraordinary scene--a grand jury room in the year 1804, or
thereabouts.



CHAPTER XXIII.--A Rent Day

--Relative Position of Landlord and Tenant--Grades of Tenantry--Phil’s
Notion of Respect--Paddy Corrigan’s Protestant Wig--Phil and Solomon in
a Fit of Admiration--The Widow Tyrrell.


One single week in the progress of time, after the exhibition last
described, had wonderfully advanced the catastrophe of our simple and
uncomplicated narrative. Harman, very much to the mortification of
M’Clutchy, was acquitted, the evidence being not only in his favor, but
actually of such a character, as to prove clearly that his trial was
merely one of those dishonest stretches of political vengeance which
characterized the times. On coming out, however, he found the affairs of
the firm in a state of bankruptcy and ruin. The insidious paragraphs in
the papers, masked with compassion, and “a hope that the affairs of
this respectable firm--which was hitherto supposed to be a solvent
one--would, still, be wound up in a way, they trusted, somewhat more
satisfactory than was given out by their enemies.” Nor was this the
worst, so far as Harman himself was concerned. The impression of Mary
M’Loughlin’s perfidy had been now so thoroughly stamped into his heart,
that he neither could, nor would listen to any attempt upon the part of
their mutual friends at her vindication. This last stroke of anguish was
owing, also, to Phil’s diabolical ingenuity. Harman on reflecting day
after day, and hour by hour, upon the occurrence, and comparing it with
her conduct and confusion on previous occasions, felt, as we before
said, strongly inclined to believe her guilty. He determined, however,
not to rest here, but to sift the matter to the bottom. He accordingly
heard from his cousin, and from several others, while in prison, such
details of the particulars, and such an authentic list of the persons
who were present, many of whom, owing to the ingenious malignity
of Poll Doolin, were friendly and favorable to the family--that he
privately sent for them, and on comparing the narratives one with the
other, he found the harmony among them so strong, that he gave up all
thoughts of her, save such as recurred involuntarily to his mind with
indignation and anguish. In addition to his other mortifications, it
happened that the second day after his release from imprisonment was
what the agents call “Gale day;” that is, the day upon which they get
into their chair of state, as it were, and in all the insolence of
office receive their rents, and give a general audience to the tenantry.
Phil, indeed, even more than the father, looked forward to these days
with an exultation of soul and a consciousness of authority, that fully
repaid him for all the insults, disasters, and tweakings of the nose,
which he was forced to suffer during the whole year besides. In truth,
nothing could equal, much less surpass, the Pistolian spirit by which
this lion-hearted gentleman was then animated. His frown, swagger,
bluster, and authoritative shakings of his head, the annihilating
ferocity of his look, and the inflated pomp of manner with which he
addressed them, and “damned his honor,” were all inimitable in their
way. The father was more cautious and within bounds, simply because he
had more sense, and knew the world better; but, at the same time, it
was easy to see by his manner, that in spite of all his efforts at
impartiality and justice, he possessed the poison as well as the wisdom
of the serpent, but not one atom of the harmlessness of the dove. At
another table, a little to the right of M’Clutchy, sat M’Slime, ready to
take his appropriate part in the proceedings of the day, and prepared,
whilst engaged in the task of seeing that everything was done according
to law, to throw in “a word in season, touching the interests of the
gospel.”

At length eleven o’clock arrived, and found Val, Phil, our old friend
Darby, who had not yet entered upon the duties of his office, together
with one or two other understrappers, all ready for business. The two
principal characters were surrounded by books, rentals, receipts, and
every other document necessary and usual upon such occasions. The day
was wet and cold, and by no means in the spirit of the season; but we
know not why it happens, that there seems in general to be a fatality
of disastrous weather peculiar to such days, leading one to imagine that
the agent possessed such a necromantic foreknowledge of the weather,
as enabled him to superinduce the severity of the elements upon his own
cruelty. In a country so poor as Ireland, the scene presented by a rent
day is one too impressive and melancholy ever to be forgotten by any
heart touched with benevolence. There is little, if any, of that
erect freedom of demeanor and natural exhibition of good will, which
characterize conscious independence and a sense of protection on the
part of the tenant; whilst on that of the agent or landlord there is
a contemptuous hardness of manner, a vile indifference, and utter
disregard of the feelings of those by whom he is surrounded, that might
enable the shallowest observer to say at a glance, there is no sympathy
between that man and these people.

But that is not all. Give yourself time to observe them more closely,
listen to that agent pouring his insolent invective upon the head of
this poor man, whose only crime is his poverty, and whose spirit appears
to be broken down with the struggles and sufferings of life; yet, who
hears his honesty impugned, his efforts ridiculed, and his character
blackened, without manifesting any other than a calm spirit that looks
inwards to his own heart for the consciousness of these falsehoods. Look
at this, we repeat, and you will surely feel yourself forced to
say--not that there is no sympathy between these men, but there sits the
oppressor and there stands the oppressed.

But even this is not all. Bestow a still more searching glance upon
the scene. Here is more than invective; more than the imputation of
dishonesty and fraud; more than the cruel defamation of character in the
presence of so many. Mark the words of that agent or landlord again. He
is sealing the fate of this struggling man; he tells him he is to have
no home--no house to shelter himself, his wife, and their children; that
he must be dispossessed, ejected, turned out upon the world, without
friends to support or aid him, or the means to sustain their physical
existence. Hear all this, and mark the brow of that denounced man;
observe how it knits and darkens; how firmly he compressess his
lips, and with what a long, determined, gloomy gaze he surveys his
denouncer--observe all this, we repeat; and need you feel surprised,
at finding yourself compelled to go still farther, and say there sits a
doomed man and there most assuredly stands his murderer.

Let it not be supposed that we are capable of justifying murder, or the
shedding of human blood; but we are palliating, and ever shall palliate
that crime in the humble man, which originates in the oppression
of the great man. Is the act which banishes happiness and
contentment--introduces poverty, misery, destitution--which scatters
out of the heart all the little amenities and sweet endearments of
life--which wastes away the strength of the spirit, and paralyzes that
of the hand--which dims the eye and gives paleness to the cheek, and by
combining all these together makes home--yes, home, the trysting place
of all the affections, a thing to be thought of only with dread--an
asylum for the miseries of life;--is the act, we say, which inflicts
upon a human being, or a human family, this scathing and multitudinous
curse--no crime? In the sight of God and in the sight of man is it no
crime? Yes! In the sight of God and man it is a deep, an awful, and a
most heartless crime! To return, however, to our rent day. The whole
morning was unseasonably cold and stormy, and as there was but little
shelter about the place, we need scarcely say, that the poor creatures
who were congregated before the door were compelled to bear the full
force of its inclemency.

Indeed, it may be observed with truth, that when people are met together
under circumstances of a painful nature, they cannot relax or melt into
that social ease which generally marks those who come together with no
such restraint upon the heart or spirits. Here, too, as in every other
department of life, all the various grades of poverty and dependence
fall into their respective classes. In one place, for instance, might be
seen together those more comfortable farmers who were able to meet their
engagements, but who labored under the galling conviction, that, however
hard and severely industry might put forth its exertions, there was no
ultimate expectation of independence--no cheering reflection, that they
resided under a landlord who would feel gratified and proud at their
progressive prosperity. Alas! it is wonderful how much happiness a bad
landlord destroys! These men stood with their backs to the wind and
storm, lowly conversing upon the disastrous change which was coming,
and had come, over the estate. Their brows were lowered, their dialogue
languid and gloomy, and altogether their whole appearance was that of
men who felt that they lived neither for themselves or their families,
but for those who took no interest whatsoever in their happiness or
welfare.

In another place were grouped together men who were still worse off than
the former--men, we mean, who were able to meet their engagements,
but at the expense of all, or mostly all, that constitutes domestic
comfort--who had bad beds, bad food, and indifferent clothes. These
persons were far more humbled in their bearing than the former, took a
less prominent situation in the crowd, and seemed to have deeper
care, and much more personal feeling to repress or combat. It is an
indisputable fact, that the very severe and vexatious tyranny exercised
over them had absolutely driven the poor creatures into hypocrisy
and falsehood--a general and almost uniform consequence of conduct
so peculiarly oppressive. They were all, at best, God knows, but very
poorly clothed; yet, if it so happened that one or two of them, somewhat
more comfortable than the rest, happened to have got a new coat a little
before gale day, he invariably declined to appear in it, knowing, as
he did, that he should receive a torrent of abuse from the agent,
in consequence of “getting fat, impudent, and well-dressed on his
Lordship’s property;” terms of abuse, which, together with the cause
that produced them, are at this moment well known to thousands as
expressions whose general occurrence on such, occasions has almost fixed
them into proverb. Will our English neighbors believe this? That we know
not, but we can assure them that they may.

There were other groups farther down in the scale of distress, where
embarrassment and struggle told a yet more painful tale; those who came
with their rent, in full to be sure, but literally racked up from their
own private destitution--who were obliged to sell the meal, or oats, or
wheat, at a ruinous loss, in order to meet the inexorable demands of the
merciless and tyrannical agent. Here were all the’ external evidences
of their condition legible by a single look at their persons; they also
herded together, ill clad, ill fed, timid, broken down, heartless. All
these, however, had their rents--had them full and complete in amount;
now the reader may well say, this picture is, indeed, very painful, and
I am glad it is closed at last. Closed! oh, no, kind reader, it is not
closed, nor could it be closed by any writer acquainted either with
the subject or the country. What are we to say of those who had not the
rent, and who came there only to make that melancholy statement, and to
pray for mercy? Here was raggedness, shivering--not merely with the
cold assault of the elements--but from the dreaded apprehension of
the terrible agent--downcast looks that spoke of keen and cutting
misery--eyes that were dead and hopeless in expression--and
occasionally, a hasty wringing of the hands, accompanied by an
expression so dejected and lamentable, as makes us, when we cast our
eye in imagination upon such men as Valentine M’Clutchy, cry out aloud,
“where are the lightnings of the Almighty, and why are his
thunderbolts asleep?” There was there the poor gray-haired old man--the
grandfather--accompanied, perhaps, by his promising young grandsons,
left fatherless and motherless to his care, and brought now in order
that the agent might see with his eyes how soon he will have their aid
to cultivate their little farm, and consequently, to make it pay better,
he hopes. Then the widow, tremulous with the excess of many feelings,
many cares, and many bitter and indignant apprehensions. If handsome
herself, or if the mother of daughters old enough, and sufficiently
attractive, for the purposes of debauchery, oh! what has she to contend
with? Poor, helpless, friendless, coming to offer her humble apology for
not being able to be prepared for the day. Alas! how may she, clutched
as she is in the fangs of that man, or his scoundrel and profligate
son--how may she fight out the noble battle of religion, and virtue, and
poverty, against the united influences of oppression and lust, wealth
and villany.

The appearance of these different groups--when the inclemency of the
day, their sinking hearts, and downcast pale countenances, were taken
into consideration--was really a strong exponent of the greatest evil
which characterizes and oppresses the country--the unsettled state
of property, and of the relative position of landlord and tenant in
Ireland.

At length the hall-door was opened, and a hard-faced ruffian came
out upon the steps, shouting the name of a man named O’Hare. The man
immediately approached the steps, and after shaking the heavy rain
out of his big coat, and having whisked his hat backwards and forwards
several times, that he might not soil his honor’s office, he was brought
in, and having made his humble bow, stood to hear his honor’s pleasure.
His honor, however, who had divided the labor between himself and Phil,
had also, by an arrangement which was understood between them, allotted
that young gentleman, at his own request, a peculiar class marked out in
the rental, in which class this man stood. “O’Hare,” said Val, “how do
you do?”

“Upon my conscience, your honor, but poorly,” replied O’Hare, “the last
heavy fit of illness, joined to the bad times, sir--”

“O’Hare,” said Solomon, “suffer me humbly, and without assuming anything
to myself, to point out to you the impropriety of swearing; I do it, my
friend, in all humility; for I fear, that so long as you indulge in that
most sinful practice, the times will seldom be other than bad with you,
or, indeed, with any one that gives way to so Wicked a habit. Excuse me,
O’Hare, I speak to you as a Christian, I humbly trust.”

“By G--, that’s good, father,” exclaimed Phil, “M’Slime preaching to
such a fellow as this!”

“I humbly thank you, sir,” said O’Hare to Solomon, “for your kindness
in--”

“Thank the devil, sirra,” said Phil; “What the devil does he or I care
about your d----d thanks. Have you your rent?”

The man, with trembling hands, placed some notes, and gold, and silver
before him--the latter being rolled up in the former.

“I’m short for the present,” he added, “just thirty shilling, sir; but
you can give me an acknowledgment for the sum I give you now: a regular
receipt will do when I bring you the balance, which, God willin’, will
be in about a fortnight.”

“Ay, and this is your rent, Mr. O’Hare,” exclaimed Phil, gathering up
the money into a lump, and with all his force flinging it at the
man’s head; “this is your rent, Mister O’Hare,” placing an emphasis of
contempt on the word Mr.; “thirty shillings short, Mr. O’Hare, but I’ll
tell you what, Mr. O’Hare, by ---, if you don’t have the full rent for
me in two hours, Mr. O’Hare, I’ll make short work, and you may sleep
on the dunghill. I can in ten minutes get more rent than you pay, Mr.
O’Hare, so now go to h--l, and get the money, or out you go.”

The poor man stooped down, and with considerable search and difficulty,
succeeded in picking up his money.

“In two hours, sir,” said he, “I could never do it.”

“That’s your own business,” said Phil, “not mine--if you have it not for
me in two hours, out you go; so now be off to hell out of this, and get
it.”

Val, who had been poring over an account-book, now raised his head, as
if disturbed by the noise for the first time--

“What’s the matter?” said he, “what is it, Phil?”

“Why, d--n my honor,” replied Phil, “but that scoundrel O’Hare, had the
assurance to come to me thirty shillings short of his rent, and, what is
more, only brought me a part of it in gold!”

“God help me!” exclaimed poor O’Hare, “I know not what to do--sure I did
the--best I could.”

He then went out to the hall, and was about to leave the house, when
Val rising, called him into another room, where both remained for a few
minutes, after which the man went away, thanking his honor, and praying
God to bless him; and Val, having; seated himself at the desk, appeared
to feel rather pleased at their little interview than otherwise.

“Ah, my dear friend, M’Clutchy,” said Solomon, “you are a treasure in
your way--when you do a kind act it is always in secret, ever mindful of
our spiritual obligations, my friend.”

“Why,” said Val, “a man is not always to trumpet forth any little act
of kindness he may choose to render to a poor simple fellow like O’Hare.
You mustn’t mind him, Phil--I have told him not to be in a hurry, but to
take his time.”

“Very well,” said Phil, who had just knowledge enough of his father’s
villany, to feel satisfied, that in whatever arrangement took place
between them, O’Hare’s interest was not consulted;* “very well; d--n my
honor, I suppose it’s all right, old cock.”

     * This scene is verbatim et literatim from life.

Our readers, we presume, have already observed, that however tenderly
our friend Solomon felt for the shearing habit of the poor, he was
somehow rather reluctant in offering a word in season to any one else.
What his motive could be for this we are really at a loss to know,
unless it proceeded from a charitable consciousness, that as there was
no earthly hope of improving them by admonition, it was only deepening
their responsibility to give it--for Solomon was charitable in all
things.

“Call in Tom Maguire, from Edenmore,” said Val. “Now,” he proceeded,
“this is a stiff-necked scoundrel, who refuses to vote for us; but it
will go hard, or I shall work him to some purpose. Well, Maguire,” he
proceeded, after the man had entered, “I’m glad to see you--how do you
do?”

“I’m much obliged to you, sir,” replied the other--“why just able to
make both ends barely meet, and no more; but as the time goes, sure it’s
well to be able to do that same, thank goodness.”

“Tom,” said Solomon, “I am pleased to hear you speak in such a spirit;
that was piously expressed--very much so indeed.”

“Well, Tom,” proceeded Val; “I suppose you are prepared?”

“Why, sir,” replied Tom, who, by the way, was a bit of a wag; “you know,
or at least Mr. M’Slime does, that it’s good to be always prepared. The
rent in full is there, sir,” he added, laying it down on the table; “and
I’ll thank you for the receipt.”

Val deliberately reckoned over the gold--for in no other coin would he
receive it--and then drew a long breath, and appeared satisfied, but not
altogether free from some touch of hesitation.

“Ay,” said he, “it is all right, Tom, certainly--yes, certainly, it
is all right. Darby, fill Tom a bumper of whiskey--not that--I say the
large glass, you scoundrel.”

“Throth, Captain, ‘tisn’t my heart ‘ud hindher me to give him the
largest in the house; but I have a conscientious scruple against doin’
what I believe isn’t right. My Bible tells me--. Well, well, sure I’m
only obeying orders. Here, Tom,” he added, handing him the large bumper.

“Confound the fellow,” said Val; “ever since he has become a convert to
Mr. Lucre there’s no getting a word out of him that hasn’t religion in
it.”

“Ah, Captain,” replied Darby, “sure Mr. M’Slime there knows, that ‘out
of the abundance of the heart the mouth spaiketh.’”

“I cannot answer for what you are latterly, Darby,” replied
Solomon--“thank you, Tom,” to Maguire, who had held his glass in his
hand for some time, and at length hurriedly drank their healths;--“but I
know that the first spiritual nutrition you received, was at least
from one who belonged to an Apostolical Church--a voluntary
Presbytery--unpolluted by the mammon of unrighteousness, on which your
Church of Ireland is established.”

“But you know,” said Darby, “that we’re ordhered to make for ourselves,
friends of that same mammon of unrighteousness.”

“Upon my honor,” said Phil, “I know that you’re a hypocritical old
scoundrel. Be off to h--l, sir, and hold your tongue.”

“Throth and I will, Captain Phil--I will then,” and he was silent; but
his face, as he glanced first at Tom Maguire, and then at Solomon and
the rest, was a perfect jewel, beyond all price.

“Tom,” proceeded Val, “I hope you’ve thought over what I mentioned to
you on our canvass the other day?”

“I have, sir,” said Tom, “and I’m still of the same opinion. I’ll vote
for Hartley and no other.”

“You don’t imagine of what service Lord Cumber and I could be of to
you.”

“I know of no service Lord Cumber ever was to any of his tenants,”
 replied Maguire; “except, indeed, to keep them ground to the earth, in
supportin’ his extravagance, and that he might spend their hard earnings
in another country, not caring one damn whether they live or starve.
It’s for that raison, sir, I vote, and will vote against him.”

“Well, but,” said Val, whose brow began to darken, “you have not
considered what an enemy he can be to those like you, whose obstinacy
draws down his resentment upon them. Have you ever considered that--
eh?”

“I don’t see how he can readily be a worse enemy to me, or any tenant
he has, than he is at present. I’ll trouble you for my receipt, Mr.
M’Clutchy, but I won’t vote for him. I beg your pardon, sir,” said he,
on looking at the receipt which Val, as he spoke, had handed to him;
“this isn’t signed--your name’s not to it.”

“Show,” said Val; “upon my life it is not. You are right, Maguire; but
the truth is, M’Slime, that while speaking on any subject that affects
Lord Cumber’s interests, I am scarcely conscious of doing anything else.
Now, sir,” he proceeded, addressing Maguire, with a brow like midnight;
“there is your receipt--bring it home--show it to your family--and tell
them it is the last of the kind you will ever receive on the property of
Lord Cumber. I shall let you know, sir, that I am somewhat stronger than
you are.”

“That’s all to be proved yet, sir,” said the sturdy farmer: “you know
the proverb, sir--‘man proposes, but God disposes.’”

“What do you mean, sirra? What language is this to my father? Be off to
h--l or Connaught, sir, or we’ll make it worse for you--ha!--bow-wow.”
 He did not utter the last interjection, but his face expressed it.

“That’s not the religious individual I took him to be,” said Solomon;
“there is much of the leaven of iniquity in him.”

“Religion be hanged, M’Slime!” said Phil, “what religion could you
expect a Papist like him to have?”

“M’Murt, call in old Paddy Corrigan.”

A venerable old man, who, though nearly a hundred years old, stood
actually as erect as the Apollo Belvidere himself, now entered. He was,
however, but poorly clad, and had nothing else remarkable about him,
with the exception of a rich wig, which would puzzle any one to know how
it had got upon his head. On entering, he took off his hat as usual, and
paid his salutation.

“What the devil do you mean, Corrigan?” said Phil, once more in a
fluster; “what kind of respect is that in our presence?--what kind of
respect is that, I say? Take off your wig, sir.”

“With great respect to you, sir,” replied Corrigan, “I have been in as
jinteel company as this, and it’s the first time ever I was axed to take
my wig off.”

“Phil,” said Val, who really felt somewhat ashamed of this ignorant
and tyrannical coxcomb, “Phil, my good boy, I think you are rather
foolish--never mind him, Paddy, he is only jesting.”

“Are not you the man?” asked Solomon, “in whom our rector, Mr. Lucre,
takes such a deep and Christian interest?”

“I am, sir,” returned Corrigan.

“And pray, what interest does he take in you?” said Val.

“Troth, sir,” replied Paddy, “he is very kind and very good to me.
Indeed, he’s the generous gentleman, and the good Christian, that
doesn’t forget Paddy Corrigan.”

“But, Paddy, what does he do for you?” asked the agent.

“Why, sir,” replied Corrigan, “he gives: me a cast-off wig once a year,
God bless him!--This is his I have on me. Throth, ever since I began
to wear them I feel a strong-relish for beef and mutton, and such fine
feedin’; but somehow, God forgive me, I! haven’t the same leanin’ to
devotion that I used to have.”

“Paddy, my old boy,” said Phil, “that alters the case altogether. I
thought the wig was as Popish as yourself; but had I known that it was
a staunch and constitutional concern, of sound High Church principle, I
should have treated it with respect. I might have known, indeed, that
it could not be a Popish one, Paddy, for I see it has the thorough
Protestant curl.”

The father looked at Phil, to ascertain whether he was serious or not,
but so unmeaning or equivocal was the expression of his countenance that
he could make nothing out of it.

“You are reasoning,” said Solomon, “upon wrong, certainly not upon
purely gospel principles, Phil. The wig at this moment has a great deal
more of Popery in it than ever it had of Protestantism.”

“And, if I’m not much mistaken, more honesty, too,” observed Val, who
had not forgotten the opposition he received in the grand jury room by
Lucre’s friends; nor the fact that the same reverend gentleman had taken
many fat slices of his mouth on several other occasions.

“Well, then, confound the wig,” said Phil, “and that’s all I have to say
about it.”

Paddy then paid his rent, and having received a receipt, was about to
go, when Val thus addressed him:--“Paddy, I hope you will not hesitate
to give up that farm of yours at Slatbeg; I told you before that if you
do, I’ll be a friend to you for life.”

“I’ll sell it, sir,” said Paddy; “but surely you wouldn’t have me to
give up my interest in such a farm as that.”

“I’ll make it up to you in other ways,” said Val; “and I’ll mention you
besides to Lord Cumber.”

“I’m thankful to you, sir,” said Paddy; “but it’s in heaven I’ll be,
most likely, before ever you see his face.”

“Then, you won’t give it up, nor rely upon my generosity or Lord
Cumber’s? It’s Lord Cumber you will be obliging, not me.”

“Wid every respect for you both, sir,” replied Paddy, “I must think
of my own flesh and blood, my childre, and grand-childre, and
great-grand-childre, before I think of either you or him. The day, sir,
you made me tipsy, and sent me on your own car for the lease, I would a
given it--but then, they wouldn’t let me at home, and so, on thinking-it
over--”

“Pooh, you’re doting, man, you’re doting,” said Val. “go home, now--but
I tell you, you will have cause to remember this before you die, old as
you are--go home.”

“The truth is, Solomon, I was offered two hundred pounds for it by one
of my ‘hounds’ which would be a good thing enough, and would afford you
a slice into the bargain. The old fellow would have brought me the
lease the day he speaks of, were it not for the family--and, talking of
leases, you will not forget to draw up those two for the O’Flaherties,
with a flaw in each. They are certainly with us up to the present time,
but, then, we can never be sure of these Papists.”

“No, d--n my honor, if ever we can,” re-echoed Phil; “they hate us
because we keep them down. Put in two good thumping flaws, Solomon, and
be hanged to you; so that we can pop them out if ever they refuse to
vote for us.”

“Never you mind Solomon,” said his father, “Solomon will put in a pair
of flaws that will do him honor.”

“If I did not feel that in doing so, my dear M’Clutchy, I am rendering
a service to religion, and fighting a just and righteous fight against
Popery and idolatry, I would not deem myself as one permitted to do this
thing--but the work is a helping forward of religion, and that is my
justification.”

“Call Philip Duggan in.”

A poor looking man now entered with a staff in his hand, by the aid of
which he walked, for he was lame.

“Well, Duggan, your rent?”

“I have scrambled it together, sir, from God knows how many quarthers.”

“Phil,” said Solomon aside, “is it not painful to hear how habitually
these dark creatures take the sacred name in vain.”

“By ---, it’s perfectly shocking,” said Phil, “but what else could you
expect from them?”

“Duggan,” said Val, “what is this, here’s a mistake--you are short three
pound ten.”

“Beggin’ your pardon, sir, it’s all right,” replied Duggan; “you see,
your honor, here’s my little account for the work I wrought for you for
five weeks wid horse and cart, up until I put my knee out o’ joint in
the quarry--you remember, sir, when I brought it to you, you said to let
it stand, that you would allow for it in the next gale.”

“I remember no such thing, my good fellow, or, if ever I said such a
thing, it must have been a mistake; do you imagine, now--are you really
so stupid and silly as to imagine that I could transmit this account of
yours to Lord Cumber, in payment of his rent?”

“But wasn’t it by your own ordhers I did it, sir?”

“No, sir; it couldn’t be by my orders. Duggan, you’re a great knave, I
see. I once had a good opinion of you; but I now perceive my error. Here
you trump up a dishonest bill against me, when you know perfectly well
that most of the work you charge me with was duty work.”

“Beggin,’ your pardon, sir, I paid you the duty-work besides, if you’ll
remember it.”

“I tell you, sirra, you are a most impudent and knavish scoundrel, to
speak to me in this style, and in my own office, too! Go and get the
balance of the rent, otherwise you shall repent it; and, mark me, sirra,
no more of your dishonesty.”

“As God is to judge me--”

“Ah, my friend--,” began Solomon.

“Be off to h--l, sir, out of this,” thundered Phil. “Be off, I say, to
h--l or Connaught; or if you don’t, take my word for it, you’ll find
yourself in a worse mess. To address my father in such language! Be off,
sir; ha!”--Bow-wow! said his face once more.

“Ah,” said Solomon, when the man had retired, “I see your patience and
your difficulties--but there is no man free from the latter in this
checkered vale of sorrow.”

“Call Roger Regan,” said Val; “here’s a fellow, now, who has an
excellent farm at a low rent, yet he never is prepared with a penny.
Well Regan.”

“Oh! devil resave the penny, sir;--you, must only prize (appraise) the
craps; the ould game, sir--the ould game; however, it’s a merry world as
long as it lasts, and we must only take our own fun out of it.”

“What is the matter with your head, Regan?” asked Val.

“Devil a much, sir; a couple o’ cuts that you might lay your finger
in. We an’ the Haimigans had another set to on Thursday last, but be my
sowl, we thrashed them into chaff--as we’re well able to do. Will I have
the pleasure of drinking your health, gintlemen? I think I see the right
sort here.”

“Give him a glass of spirits,” said Val; “I think, Regan, you have seen
some one drinking to-day already.”

“Well, gintlemen, here’s--if we’re to have a short life, may it be a
merry one!--and may we never ait worse mait than mutton. Mr.
M’Slime, more power to you!--She’s next door to me”--and he winked at
Solomon--“an’ barrin’ the paleness, by the powers gettin’ on famous;
throth, sir,” in reply to Val--“only share of two half-pints wid Paddy
Colgan, in regard of that day that’s in it--blowin’ bullocks--and, I
believe, another half-pint wid Para Bellow. Blood, sir, but that’s a
beautiful drop! Sowl it would take the tear off a widow’s pig--or the
widow herself. Faith, Mr. M’Clutchy, I could tell where the cow grazes
that was milked for that! Awough! However, no matther, I’m rantin’ Regan
from sweet Anghadarra--Regan the Rake that never seen to-morrow. Whish!
more power!”

“That will do, Regan; you have not your rent.”

“Oh! d--n the penny, as usual.--Success!

“Well, but what’s to be done? I must come down.”

“Devil afoot you’ll come down, please your honor; but you’ll come up and
prize the crap. It’s worth five times the rent, at any rate--that’s one
comfort. Hurroo!”

“Upon my honor, Regan, I’m tired of this I have done it several times
through kindness to yourself and family, but I cannot, really, do it any
more.”

“Very well, sir--no offence--what one won’t, another will; I can raise
three times the rent on it in four and twenty hours.”

“What an unfortunate man you are, to be sure. Well, Regan, I shall
appraise your crops and take them, or a competent share of them in
payment, on this occasion--but mark me, it shall be the last.”

“More power, I say.--Long life to you, sir. You know a hawk from a
hand-saw, any how--and be my sowl, kind father, for you--whish! I’m
rantin’ Regan from sweet Anghadarra!”

So saying, poor, idle, drinking, negligent, pugnacious Regan, by his own
sheer neglect, put his property into the hands of the most relentless
harpy that ever robbed and fleeced a tenantry. This mode of proceeding
was, in fact, one of the many methods resorted to by rapacious agents,
for filling their own pockets at the expense of the tenant, who, by
this means, seldom received more than a fourth part of the value of his
crops. The agent under the mask of obliging him, and saving his crops
from the hammer, took them at a valuation when the markets were low;
and in order that he might be able to do so, he always kept over the
tenant’s head what is called a hanging gale--which means that he was
half a year’s rent in arrear. The crops were then brought home to the
agent’s place, and frequently, to save appearances, to the haggard of
some friend of his, where they were kept until the markets got up to the
highest price. So that it was not an unusual thing for the iniquitous
agent to double the rent, one-half of which he coolly put into his own
pocket.--In pastoral lands the butter was appraised in the same manner,
mostly with similar results to both parties. To return--when Regan had
departed, Val asked Solomon what he thought of him. “Think of him,” said
Solomon, who could not forgive the allusion to Susanna, “I would fain
think of him as becomes a Christian; but, somehow, I could not help
feeling, whenever I looked at him, there was the outline of an execution
in his face; however, I may be mistaken--indeed, I hope--I trust I
am--the villain!”

“M’Murt, call in Catharine Tyrrell.”

“Yes,” said Phil, “call in Widow Tyrrell. Now, Solomon, only you have
no relish for anything except what’s sanctified and spiritual, you would
say that here comes such a specimen of Irish beauty as you have seldom
seen.”

“I never had any objection,” said Solomon, who, in spite of all his
gravity, betrayed an alertness on this occasion that was certainly not
usual to him;--“I never had any objection to look upon any work from
His hand, with pleasure. Indeed, on the contrary, I often felt that
it raised my sense of--of what was beautiful, in such a way that my
feelings became, as it were, full of a sweet fervor that was not to
be despised; I will consequently not decline to look upon this comely
widow--that is--in the serious light I mention.”

“How do you do, Mrs. Tyrrell? I hope you have not got much wet?” said
Val, turning round very blandly.

“Oh, Mrs. Tyrrell, I hope you’re very well,” followed Phil; “I fear you
have got wet--have the goodness to take a chair, Mrs. Tyrrell--and a
glass of wine, ma’am.”

Mrs. Tyrrell took a chair, but she declined the glass of wine.
Mrs. Tyrrell had been the wife of a young husband, who died in his
twenty-fourth year, just when they had been about a year and a half
married. She was herself, on the day in question, about the same age as
her husband when he died. She had been a widow just two years, and
had one child, a son. She was indeed a beautiful woman--in fact a very
beautiful woman, as one could almost see in her humble condition
of life. Her tresses were a raven black, but her skin was white and
polished as ivory. Her face was a fine specimen of the oval--her brows
exquisitely pencilled--and her large black, but mellow eyes, flashed
a look that went into your very heart. But, if there was anything that
struck you as being more fascinating than another, it was the expression
of innocence, and purity, and sweetness, that lay about her small
mouth and beautifully rounded chin. Her form was symmetry itself, and a
glimpse of the small, but beautiful foot and ankle, left no doubt upon
the mind as to the general harmony of her whole figure. On this occasion
there was a positive air about her which added to the interest she
excited; for, we believe, it may be truly observed, that beauty never
appears so impressively or tenderly fascinating, as when it is slightly
overshadowed with care. We need scarcely say, that there was a great
deal of contrast in the gaze she received from Phil and our friend
Solomon. That of Phil was the gross, impudent stare of a libertine and
fool--a stare, which, in the eye of a virtuous woman, soon receives its
own withering rebuke of scorn and indignation. That of Solomon, on the
other hand, was a look in which there lurked a vast deal of cunning,
regulated and sharpened by experience, and disguised by hypocrisy into
something that absolutely resembled the open, ardent admiration of a
child, or of some innocent man that had hardly ever been in the world.
There was, however, a villainous dropping of the corners of the mouth,
with an almost irrepressible tendency to lick the lips, accompanied with
an exudation of internal moisture from the glands--vulgarly termed a
watering of the teeth--which, to a close observer, would have betrayed
him at once, and which were evident from the involuntary workings of his
whole face.

“Mrs. Tyrrell,” said Val, “I am glad to hear that you are making
considerable improvements on your farm.”

“Improvements, sir,” replied the widow in amazement; “I don’t know who
could have told you that, sir. Didn’t my potato crop fail altogether
with me, and my flax, where I had it spread on the holme below, was all
swept away by the flood.”

“I am sorry to hear that, Mrs. Tyrrell;--we are very hard up for money
here, and the landlord doesn’t know on what hand to turn; I must raise
a large sum for him forthwith:--indeed to tell you the truth, I have
received instructions that are not at all pleasant to myself--I am to
let no one pass, he says, and if I cannot get the rent otherwise, I am
to enforce it. Now this is very unpleasant, Mrs. Tyrrell, inasmuch as it
compels me to take steps that I shall feel very painful.

“God help me, then,” replied the poor young woman, “for, as to rent,
sir, I have it not; and, indeed, Mr. M’Clutchy, what brought me here
to-day, was to ask a little time, just till I get my butter made up and
sold.

“Yes, but what can I do, Mrs. Tyrrell? I have no power to let any one
off, even where I feel inclined, as I do in your case. It really is
not in my power; Lord Cumber took care to leave me no discretion in the
business at all.”

“But surely, sir, you don’t mean to say, that unless I pay the rent, you
will seize upon my property.’

“This,” said Val, as if to himself, “is really very distressing--
unfortunately, Mrs. Tyrrell, I must indeed, unless you can raise the
money in some way; wouldn’t your friends, for instance, stand by you,
until your butter is made up?”

“I have no such friends,” replied the poor woman, “them that would,
arn’t able; and them that are able, won’t; and, that’s only the way of
the world, sir.”

“It’s too true, indeed, Mrs. Tyrrell; I am very sorry, exceedingly
sorry, for what must be done. It is such circumstances as these that
make me wish I never had become an agent.”

“For God’s sake, sir, have patience with me for about a month or six
weeks, and I will be able to pay it all easily.”

“If I was my own master,” returned Val, “it would give me pleasure to do
so, but I am not.”

Here there was a groan from Solomon of compassion for the poor widow,
followed by a second, which was clearly a comment upon the first. What
a pity, said the first, to see so interesting a young widow without the
means of paying her rent--and is it not a wicked and hard-hearted world,
said the second that has not in it one individual to befriend her! Mrs.
Tyrrell looked round on hearing an expression of sympathy, and there was
Solomon gazing on her with a look, in which admiration and sympathy were
so well feigned, that she felt grateful to Solomon in her heart. As for
Phil, whether he gazed at her, his father, or at the attorney, such
was the comprehensive latitudinarianism of his squint, that she felt it
impossible to tell; neither, indeed, did she care. She was now in tears,
and Val having declared his determination to proceed, was silent, as if
out of respect to her feelings. At length she rose up, and when on the
eve of going out, she asked for the last time:--

“Mr. M’Clutchy is there no hope? I trust, sir, that when you consider
how long my family and my husband have been living on this property,
you’ll think better of it than to bring myself and my poor orphan boy to
beggary and ruin. What will become of him and myself!”

“D--n my honor, Mrs. Tyrrell, but I feel for you,” said Phil, eagerly,
as if rushing head foremost into a fit of the purest humanity.

“Do not be cast down, Mrs. Tyrrell,” said Solomon, “there is one who can
befriend the widow, and who will be a father to the fatherless. Rely
on Him!--who knows but an instrument may be raised up for your relief.
Don’t be thus cast down.”

“No,” said Phil, “do not, or you will only spoil them devlish fine eyes
of yours, Mrs. Tyrrell, by crying. Come, come, father, you must
give her,the time she asks; upon my honor, I’ll guarantee she, won’t
disappoint.

“And, if he is not sufficient, I will join him,” said Solomon; “you
may rest upon her word, my friend, for I am satisfied that no serious
falsehood’s in the habit of proceeding from a mouth so sweet and
comely in expression, as Mrs. Tyrrell’s. Come, Val, have a heart, and be
compassionate towards the fair widow.”

“If you or Phil will pay the money,” said M’Clutchy, “well and good; but
you both know, that otherwise it is out of my power.” There is a
vast deal of acuteness of observation in Irish women, together with
a quickness of perception, that sometimes resembles instinct. Mrs.
Tyrrell’s purity of feeling and good sense were offended at the
compliments which the attorney and Phil mixed up with the sympathy they
expressed for her. She felt something jar disagreeably upon her natural
delicacy, by their selecting the moment of her distress for giving
utterance to language, which, coming at any time from either of them
to one in her station of life, was improper; but, under the present
circumstances, an insult, and an impertinent trifling with her
affliction.

“Well,” said she, without paying them the slightest attention, “I must
say, Mr. M’Clutchy, that if you proceed as you threaten to do, your
conduct towards me and my poor orphan will be such as I don’t think you
can justify either to God or man. I wish you good morning, sir; I have
no more to say upon it.”

“Oh, Mrs. Tyrrell, if you begin to abuse us and lay down the law on the
matter, I have no more to say either.”

She then went out, but had not left the hall, when Phil, following, said
in a low, impudent, confidential tone--

“Don’t be in a hurry, Mrs. Tyrrell, just step into the parlor for a few
minutes, and we’ll see what can be done--step in.”

“No, sir,” she replied, feeling very naturally offended at the
familiarity of his manner, I will not step in; anything you have to, say
you can say it here.”

“Yes--but, then, they may overhear us. D--n my honor, but you’re a very
pretty woman, Mrs. Tyrrell, and I’d be sorry to see harsh, proceedings
taken against you--that is, if we could understand one another. The
scarlet hue of indignation had already overspread her face and temples,
her eyes flashed, and her voice became firm and full.

“What do you mean, sir,” she asked.

“Why,” said he, “couldn’t there be an understanding between us? In fact,
Mrs. Tyrrell, you would find me a friend to you.”

She made no reply but returned into the room.

“Mr. M’Clutchy,” said she, “I thought that a woman--especially a poor,
unprotected widow like me--might, at least, come into your house about
her necessary business without being insulted; I thought that if there
was one house above another where I ought to expect protection, it is
yours. It’s your duty, I think, to protect them that’s livin’ upon
this property, and strugglin’ to pay you, or him that employs you, the
hard-earned rent that keeps them in poverty and hardship. I think, sir,
it ought to be your duty, as I said, to protect me, and such as me,
rather than leave us exposed to the abominable proposals of your son.”

“How is this?” said Val; “where are you, Phil?”

Phil entered with a grin on him, that betrayed very clearly the morals
of the father, as well as of himself. There was not the slightest
appearance of shame or confusion about him; on the contrary, he looked
upon the matter as a good joke, but, by no means, so good as if it had
been successful.

“Phil,” said his father, barely restraining a smile, “is it possible
that you could dare to insult Mrs. Tyrrell under this roof?”

“D--n my honor, a confounded lie,” replied Phil; “she wanted me to lend
her the money, and because I did not, she told you I made proposals to
her. All revenge and a lie.”

Mrs. Tyrrell looked at him--“Well,” said she, “if there is a just God
in heaven, you will be made an example of yet. Oh! little they know that
own this property, and every other property like it--of the insults,
and hardships, and oppressions, that their tenantry must suffer in
their absence from them that’s placed over them; and without any one to
protect them or appeal to for satisfaction or relief--sir, that villain
in the shape of your son--that cowardly villain knows that the words he
insulted me in are not yet cowld upon his lips.”

“I have reason to put every confidence in what my son says,” replied
Val very coolly, “and he is not a villain, Mrs. Tyrrell--so I wish you a
good morning, ma’am!”

This virtuous poor woman flushed with a sense of outraged modesty, with
scorn and indignation, left the room; and with a distracted mind and
a breaking heart, sought her orphan, whose innocent face of wonder she
bedewed on her return home with tears of the bitterest sorrow.

It is not our intention to describe at full length the several
melancholy scenes which occurred between poverty and dependence on one
side and cold, cruel, insolent authority, on the other. It is needless
and would be painful to tell how much age and helplessness suffered at
the hands of these two persons; especially at those of Phil, whose chief
delight appeared to consist in an authoritative display of pomp and
natural cruelty.

The widow had not been more than a minute gone, when the door opened,
and in walked, without note or preparation, a stout swarthy looking
fellow named M’Clean. “Well, Tom,” said Val, “is this you?”

“Brother M’Clean,” said Solomon, “how are you?”

“What would ail me?” said M’Clean, “there’s nothing wrong with me but
what money could cure--if I had it.”

“And you have no money, Tom!” said Val, smiling, “that, Tom, is a bad
business--for we never wanted it more than we do at present. Seriously,
have you the rent?”

“D--n the penny, brother M’Clutchy; and what’s more, won’t have it for
at least three months.”

“That’s bad again, Tom. Any news?--any report?”

“Why, ay--there was a gun, or a pistol, or a pike, or something that
way, seen with the Gallaghers of Kilscaddan.”

“Ha--are you sure of that?”

“Not myself sure; but I heard it on good authority; but I think we had
better make sure, by paying them a visit some night soon.”

“We will talk about that,” said Val; “but I am told that you treated
priest Roche badly the other night. Is that true?”

“Why, what did you hear?” asked M’Clean.

“I heard you fired into his house; that you know was dangerous.”

“All right,” said Phil; “what right have. Popish priests to live under
a Protestant government? By my sacred honor, I’d banish them like wild
cats.”

“No,” said M’Clean, in reply to Val, “we did not; all we did was to play
‘Croppies lie Down,’ as we passed the house, and fire three volleys over
it--not into it; but if there was e’er a one among us with a bad aim you
know, that wasn’t his fault or ours; ha--ha--by Japers,” said he in a
low, confidential whisper, “we frightened the seven senses out of him,
at any rate--the bloody Papist rascal--for sure they are all that, and
be d----d to them.”

“Capital doctrine--and so they are, Tom; light, Tom; so you frightened
the bog Latin out of him! ha! ha! ha!”

“Ha--ha--ha--by my sowl we did, and more maybe, if it was known; I must
be off now.”

“Go and help yourself to a bumper of spirits before you go,” said Val;
“and, Tom, keep a sharp lookout, and whenever you find, or hear of arms,
let me know immediately.”

Tom only nodded to that, as he put the glass to his lips; “gentlemen,”
 said he, “your healths; here’s no Popery! no surrender!” saying which,
he deposited the empty glass on the table, giving the same time two
or three short coughs occasioned by the strength of the liquor. “Good
morning, gentlemen--brother, M’Slime”--he voiced and nodded significantly
at Solomon, then added--“good people are scarce; so be a good boy and
take care of yourself.”

“Now, Tom, be a good fellow and don’t forget the rent,” said Val; Tom
nodded again, for it was a habit he had, and departed.

The next person who presented himself was a little, meagre, thin looking
man, with a dry, serious air about him, that seemed to mark him as a
kind of curiosity in his way. From the moment he entered, Solomon seemed
to shrink up into half his ordinary dimensions, nor did the stranger
seem unconscious of this, if one could judge by the pungent expression
of his small gray eyes which were fastened on Solomon with a bitter
significance that indicated such a community of knowledge as did not
seem to be pleasant to either of them.

“Ah, Sam Wallace,” said Val, “always punctual, and never more welcome
than now; scraping and scrambling we are, Sam, to make up the demand for
the landlord.”

“What way ir ye, Mr. M’Clutchy; am gled to see ye luck so well; I a-am
indeed.”

“Thank you, Sam. How are all your family.”

“Deed, as well as can be expected under the stain that’s over us.”

“Stain! What do you mean, Sam?”

“Feth, a main what’s purty well known; that misfortune that befell our
daughter Susanna.”

“Dear me, Sam, how was that?”

“The way of it was this--she went as a children’s maid into a religious
femily”--here the two glittering eyes were fiercely fastened upon
Solomon--“where she became a serious young person of decided piety, as
they call it--an’ h--l till me, but another month will make it decided
enough---well, sir, deel a long she was there till the saint, her
masther, made a sinner of her, and now she’s likely to have her gifts,
such as they ir.

“I am very sorry to hear this, Sam; but, surely the man who seduced your
daughter does not deserve to be called religious.”

“Disn’t he, feth? why, Lord bless you, sure it was all done in a
religious way--they sang psalms together, prayed together, read the
Bible together, and now the truth is, that the consequence will be
speaking for itself some of these days.”

Here another fiery look was darted at Solomon, who appeared deeply
engaged among leases, papers, and such other documents as were before
him.

“It’s a bad business certainly, Sam--but now about the rent?”

“Hut! de’il a penny o’ rent I have--hell take the tester; and yet,
for all that, all pay you afore a laive the room--what do you think of
that?”

“I don’t understand it, Sam.”

“Now,” said Sam, going over to Solomon, “you’ll pay Mr. M’Clutchy the
sum of twelve pounds, fourteen, and three pence for me, Mr. M’Slime--if
you please, sir.”

There was a peremptory tone in his words, which, joined to the
glittering look he riveted on Solomon, actually fascinated that worthy
gentleman.

“My friend,” replied Solomon, taking out his pocket-book, and seeming to
look for a memorandum, “you have made a slight mistake against yourself;
the sum, I find, is twelve pounds, seventeen, and three pence, so that
you have made a slight mistake of three shillings, as I said, against
yourself.”

“Do you pay the half year’s rent, which is the sum, I say, and you may
give the three shillings in charity, which I know you will do.”

“Shall I fill the receipt,” asked Val, looking to Solomon.

“Fill it,” said the other, “I am very glad I happened to have so much
about me, poor man.”

“So am I,” returned Sam, significantly.

Solomon rose, and with all the calmness of manner which he could assume,
laid the money down before M’Clutchy.

“Try,” said he, “if that is right.”

“Show here,” said Sam, “ail reckon em;” and having done so, he put one
particular note in his pocket--“Never you mind,” he added, addressing
himself to Val, “I’ll give you another note for this;” and he winked
significantly as he spoke. He accordingly did so, and having paid the
money and received his receipt, he bid them goodbye, once more winking,
and touching his waistcoat pocket as he went. He had not been long gone,
however, when Solomon once more examined his pocket-book, and in a tone
which no pen could describe, exclaimed, “verily, the ways of Providence
are wonderful! Will you look again at that money?” said he--“I have
given away a note for ten pounds instead of a note for one.”

“It is not here, then,” replied Val, “but I’ll venture to say that Sam,
the knave, put it in his pocket when he made the exchange.”

“Shall I call him back?” said Phil, “there he goes towards the gate.”

“No,” replied the other, “I have great reliance on Sam’s honesty. He
will return it no doubt on perceiving the mistake, or if not, I shall
send to him for it. Yes, I know Sam is honest--truly the ways of
Providence are wonderful.”

So saying, with a visage peculiarly rueful and mortified, he closed his
book and put it in his pocket.

The last person whom we shall notice was Brian M’Loughlin, on whose
features care had recently made a deep impression. On being asked to
sit, he declined--“I thank you,” said he, “my visit will be but a short
one, and what I have to say, I can say standing.”

“That as you please, Mr. M’Loughlin; shall I fill your receipts?”

“No,” replied the other, “I simply came to state, that, owing to the
derangement of our affairs, I am not just now in a condition to pay my
rent.”

“That is unpleasant, Mr. M’Loughlin.”

“Of course it is,” he replied; “that was my only business, Mr.
M’Clutchy, and now I bid you good-day.”

“Not so fast, if you please, Mr. M’Loughlin; do not be in such a hurry.
You remember a meeting you and I had once in Castle Cumber fair?”

“I do.”

“You remember the extraordinary civility with which you treated me?”

“I do, Val, and I only expressed what I thought then and think now; but
indeed you have improved the wrong way wonderfully since.”

“Your language was indiscreet then, and it is so now.”

“It was true for all that, Mr. M’Clutchy.”

“Now, might not I, if I wished, take ample revenge for the insulting
terms you applied to me?”

“You might, and I suppose you will--I expect nothing else, for I know
you well.”

“You do not know me. Mr. M’Loughlin, so far from acting up to what
you imagine, I shall not avail myself of your position; I have no
such intention, I assure you, so that whatever apprehensions you
may entertain from others, you need have none from me. And, now,
Mr. M’Loughlin, do you not perceive that you judged me unjustly and
uncharitably?”

“That’s to be seen yet, Mr. M’Clutchy, time will tell.”

“Well, then, make your mind easy; I shall take no proceedings in
consequence of your situation--so far from that, I shall wait patiently
till it is your convenience to pay the rent--so now, I wish you good
day, Mr. M’Loughlin.”

“That is a beautiful exhibition of Christian spirit,” exclaimed Solomon,
“good works are truly the fruit of faith.”

“Before you go,” said Phil, with a sneer, “will you allow me to ask how
poor Mary is.”

M’Loughlin paused, and calmly looked first at Phil, and then at his
father.

“Phil,” said the latter, “I shall order you out of the room, sir, if I
hear another word on that unfortunate subject. I am very sorry, I assure
you, Mr. M’Loughlin, for that untoward transaction--to be sure, I wish
your daughter had been a little more prudent, but young ladies cannot,
or at least, do not always regulate their passions or attachments; and
so, when they make a false step, they must suffer for it. As for myself,
I can only express my sincere regret that the _faux pas_ happened, and
that it should have got wind in such a way as to deprive the poor girl
of her character.”

After contemplating the father and son for some time alternately, with
a look in which was visible the most withering contempt and scorn, and
which made them both quail before him, he replied:

“Your falsehood, scoundrels, is as vindictive as it is cowardly, and you
both know it; but I am an honest man, and I feel to stoop to a defence
of my virtuous child against either of you, would be a degradation to
her as well as to myself. I therefore go, leaving you my contempt and
scorn, I could almost say my pity.”

He then walked out, neither father nor son having thought it prudent to
brave the expression of his eye by replying to his words.

“Now,” said Val, addressing Solomon, “let there be an execution issued
without a moment’s delay--the man is doomed, his hour has come; and
so, may I never prosper, if I don’t scatter him and his, houseless and
homeless, to the four corners of heaven! I have meshed him at last, and
now for vengeance.”

“But,” said Solomon, in a tone of slight remonstrance, “I trust, my dear
M’Clutchy, that,in taking vengeance upon this man and his family, you
will do so in a proper spirit, and guard against the imputations of an
uncharitable world. When you take vengeance, let your motives be always
pure and upright and even charitable--of course you expect and hope
that you ruin this man and his; family for their own spiritual good. The
affliction that you are about! to bring on them, will soften and subdue
their hard and obstinate hearts, and lead them it is to be hoped, to a
better and more Christian state of feeling. May He grant it!”

“Of course,” replied Val, humoring him in his hypocrisy, “of course it
is from these motives I act; certainly it is.”

“In that case,” said Solomon, “I am bound to acknowledge that I never
have heard a man vow vengeance, or express a determination to ruin his
fellow creature, upon more delightfully Christian principles. It is a
great privilege, indeed, to be able to ruin a whole family in such a
blessed spirit, I have no doubt you feel it so.”



CHAPTEK XXIV.--Raymond’s Sense of Justice

--Voice of the Ideal--Poll Doolin’s Remorse--Conversation on Irish
Property--Disclosure concerning Mary M’Laughlin


About dusk, on the evening of that day, Poll Doolin having put on her
black bonnet, prepared to go out upon some matter of a private nature,
as was clearly evident by her manner, and the cautious nature of all her
movements. Raymond, who eyed her closely, at length said--

“Take care now--don’t harm them.”

“Them!” replied Poll, “who do you mean by them?”

“The M’Loughlins--go and look at Mary, and then ask yourself why you
join the divil:--there now, that’s one. Who saved me? do you know that,
or do you care? Very well, go now and join the divil, if you like, but I
know what I’ll do some fine night. Here he leaped in a state of perfect
exultation from the ground.

“Why, what will you do?” said Poll.

“You’ll not tell to-morrow,” replied Raymond, “neither will any one
else; but I don’t forget poor white-head, nor Mary M’Loughlin.”

“Well, keep the house like a good boy,” she said, “till I come back;
and, if anybody should come in, or ask where I am, say that I went up to
Jerry Hannigan’s for soap and candles.”

“Ay, but that’s not true, because I know you’re goin’ to join the divil;
but, no matter--go there--you’ll have his blessin’ any how, and it’s
long since he gave it to you--with his left hand. I wish I wasn’t your
son--but no matther, no matther.”

She then peeped out to see that the coast was clear, and finding that
all was safe, she turned her steps hurriedly and stealthily, in a
direction leading from, instead of to Castle Cumber. When she was gone,
Raymond immediately closed and bolted the door, and began as before, to
spring up in the air in a most singular and unaccountable manner.
The glee, however, which became apparent on his countenance, had an
expression of ferocity that was frightful; his eyes gleamed with fire,
his nostrils expanded, and a glare of terrible triumph lit up every
feature with something of a lurid light.

“Ha, ha!” he exclaimed, addressing, as some imaginary individual, an old
pillow which he caught up; “I have you at last--now, now, now; ha, you
have a throat, have you? I feel it now, now, now! Ay, that will do; hoo,
hoo--out with it, out with it; I see the tip of it only, but you must
give better measure ay, that’s like it. Hee, hee, hee! Oh, there--that
same tongue never did you good, nor anybody else good--and what blessed
eyes you have! they are comin’ out, too, by degrees, as the lawyers
goes to Heaven! Now! now! now! ay, where’s your strugglin’ gone to? It’s
little you’ll make of it in Raymond’s iron fingers--Halloo, this is for
white-head, and white-head’s--poor little white-head’s---father, and
for poor little white-head’s mother, and this--ay, the froth’s comin’
now, now, now--and this last’s for poor Mary M’Loughlin! Eh, ho, ho!
There now--settled at last, with your sweet grin upon you, and your
tongue out, as if you were makin’ fun of me--for a beauty you were, and
a beauty you are, and there I lave you!”

While uttering these words, he went through with violent gesticulations,
the whole course and form of physical action that he deemed necessary to
the act of strangling worthy Phil, whose graceful eidolon was receiving
at his hands this unpleasant specimen of the pressure from without. He
had one knee on the ground, his huge arms moving with muscular energy,
as he crushed and compressed the pillow, until the very veins of his
forehead stood out nearly black with the force at once of hatred and
exertion. Waving thus wrought his vengeance out to his own satisfaction,
he once more, in imagination, transformed the pillow into his little
white-head, as he loved to call him; and assumed a very different aspect
from that which marked the strangulation scene just described.

“Come here,” said he--taking it up tenderly in his arms--“come
here--don’t be afeard now; there’s nobody that can do you any harm. Ah!
my poor white-head--don’t! you want your mother to keep up your poor
sick head, and to lay your poor pale face against her breast? And
your father--you would like to get upon his knee and climb up to kiss
him--wouldn’t you, white-head? Yes, he says he would--white-head says he
would--and tell me, sure I have the cock for you still; and if you want
a drink I have-something better than bog wather for you--the sickening
bog wather! Oh! the poor-pale face--and the poor sickly eye--up in the
cowld mountains, and no one to think about you, or to give you comfort!
Whisht now--be good--och, why do I say that, poor white-head--for sure
you were always good! Well wait--bog wather--ah, no--but wait here--or
come wid me--I won’t lay you down, for I love you, my poor white-head;
but come, and you must have it. My mother’s gone out--and she’s not
good; but you must have it.”

He rose, still holding the pillow like a child in his arms, and going
over to a cupboard, took from it a jug of milk, and so completely was
he borne away by the force of his imagination that he actually poured a
portion of the milk upon the pillow.

The act seemed for the moment to dispel, the illusion--but only for
a moment; the benevolent heart of the poor creature seemed, to take
delight in these humane reminiscences; and, almost immediately, he was.
proceeding with his simple, but touching little drama.

“Well,” said he, “that’s better than cowld bog wather; how would the
rich like to see their sick childre put on cowld wather and cowld
pratees? But who cares for the rich, for the rich doesn’t care about
huz; but no matther, white-head--if you’ll only just open your eyes
and spake to me, I’ll give you the cock.” He gave a peculiar call, as
he spoke, which was perfectly well known to the bird in question, which
immediately flew from the roost, and went up to him; Raymond then gently
laid the pillow down, and taking the cock up, put his head under one of
his wings, and placed him on the pillow where he lay quietly and as if
asleep. For many minutes he kept his eyes fixed upon the objects before
him, until the image in his mind growing still stronger, and more
distinct, became at last so painful that he, burst into tears.

“No,” said he, “he will never open his eyes again; he will never look
upon any one more: and what will she do when she hasn’t his white head
before her?”

Whilst poor Raymond thus indulged himself in the caprices of a
benevolent imagination, his mother was hastening to the house of Mr.
Hickman, the former agent of the Castle Cumber property, with the
intention of rendering an act of justice to an individual and a family
whom she had assisted deeply and cruelly to injure. Whilst she is on the
way, however, we will take the liberty of introducing our readers to Mr.
Hickman’s dining-room, where a small party are assembled; consisting of
the host himself, Mr. Easel, the artist, Mr. Harman, and the Rev. Mr.
Clement; and as their conversation bears upon the topic of which we
write, we trust it may not be considered intruding upon private society
to detail a part of it.

“Property in this country,” said Hickman, “is surrounded by many
difficulties--difficulties which unfortunately fall chiefly upon those
who cultivate it. In the first place, there is the neglect of the
landlord; in the next, the positive oppression of either himself or
his agent; in the third, influence of strong party feeling--leaning too
heavily on one class, and sparing or indulging the other; and perhaps,
what is worse than all, and may be considered the _fons et origo
malorum_, the absence of any principle possessing shape or form, or that
can be recognized as a salutary duty on the part of the landlord.
This is the great want and the great evil. There should be a distinct
principle to guide, to stimulate, and when necessary to restrain
him; such a principle as would prevent him from managing his property
according to the influence of his passions, his prejudices, or his
necessities.”

“That is very true,” said Mr. Clement, “and there is another duty which
a landlord owes to those who reside upon his property, but one which
unfortunately is not recognized as such; I mean a moral duty. In
my opinion a landlord should be an example of moral propriety and
moderation to his tenantry, so as that the influence of his conduct
might make a salutary impression upon their lives and principles.
At present the landed Proprietary of Ireland find in the country no
tribunal by which they are to be judged; a fact which gives them the
full possession of unlimited authority; and we all know that the absence
of responsibility is a great incentive to crime. No man in a free
country should be invested with arbitrary power; and yet, it is
undeniable that an Irish landlord can exercise it whenever he pleases.”

“Then what would you do,” said Easel; “where is your remedy?”

“Let there be protective laws enacted, which will secure the tenant from
the oppression and injustice of the landlord. Let him not lie, as he
does, at the mercy of his caprices, passions, or prejudices.”

“In other words,” said Harman, “set the wolves to form protective
enactments for the sheep. I fear, my good sir, that such a scheme
is much too Utopian for any practically beneficial purpose. In the
meantime, if it can be done, let it. No legislation, however, will
be able, in my mind, to bind so powerful a class as the landlords of
Ireland are, unless a strong and sturdy public opinion is created in the
country.”

“But how is this to be done?” asked Easel.

“It is to be done by educating the people; by teaching them their proper
value in society; by instructing them in their moral and civil duties.
Let them not labor under that humiliating and slavish error, that the
landlord is everything, and themselves nothing; but let the absurdity
be removed, and each party placed upon the basis of just and equal
principle.”

“It is very right,” said Hickman, “to educate the people, but who is to
educate the landlords?”

“A heavy task, I fear,” said Easel, “from what I have observed since I
came to the country.”

“The public opinion I speak of will force them into a knowledge of their
duties. At present they disregard public opinion, because it is too
feeble to influence them; and consequently they feel neither fear nor
shame. So long as the landlords and the people come together as opposing
or antithetical principles, it is not to be supposed that the country
can prosper.”

“But how will you guide or restrain the landlord in estimating the value
of his property?” inquired Mr. Clement. “Here are two brothers, for
instance, each possessed of landed property; one is humane and
moderate, guided both by good sense and good feeling; this man will
not overburthen his tenant by exacting an oppressive rent. The other,
however, is precisely the reverse of him, being naturally either
rapacious or profligate, or perhaps both; he considers it his duty to
take as much out of the soil as he can, without ever thinking of the
hardships which he inflicts upon the tenant. Now, how would you remedy
this, and prevent the tenant from becoming the victim either of his
rapacity or profligacy?”

“Simply by taking from him all authority in estimating the value of his
own property.

“But how?” said Clement, “is not that an invasion of private right?”

“No; it is nothing more than a principle which transfers an unsafe
privilege to other hands in order to prevent its abuse.”

“But how would you value the land?”

“I am not at this moment about to legislate for it; but I think,
however, that it would be by no means difficult to find machinery
sufficiently simple and effective for the purpose. I am clearly of
opinion that there should, be a maximum value on all land, beyond
which, unless for special purposes--such, for instance, as building--no
landlord ought to be permitted to go. This would prevent an incredible
amount of rack-renting and oppression on the one hand; and of poverty,
revenge, and bloodshed on the other. Where is the landlord now who looks
to the moral character or industrial habits of a tenant? Scarcely one.
On the contrary, whoever bids highest, or bribes highest, is sure to
be successful, without any reference to the very qualities which, in a
tenant, ought to be considered as of most importance.”

“I have now,” said Easel, “made myself acquainted with the condition and
management of the Castle Cumber property; and, truth to tell, I am not
surprised at the frightful state of society upon it. M’Clutchy is
the type of too numerous a class, and his son is a most consummate
scoundrel. Why my--why Lord Cumber should have appointed him to his
agency I cannot imagine.”

“But I can,” said Harman; “that which has appointed many a scoundrel
like him--necessity on the part of the landlord, and a desire to extend
his political influence in the county.”

“He could not have gone a more successful way about it, however,”
 observed Easel.

“If there be one curse,” observed Harman, “worse than another on any
such property, it is to have for your agent an outrageous partisan--a
man who is friendly to one party and inimical to another--a fellow who
scruples not to avail himself of his position, for the gratification of
party rancor, and who makes the performance of his duties subservient to
his prejudices, both religious and political. Think, for instance, of a
rancorous No-Popery-man being made agent to an estate where the majority
of the tenantry are Catholics.”

“As is the case on the Castle Cumber estate,” said Easel.

“And as is the case on too many estates, throughout the country,” added
Harman; but the truth is, that unless something is done soon to redress
the local grievances of the people, there will, I fear, be bad work
among us ere long. The tenantry are all ready in a state of tumult; they
assemble on Sundays in vindictive-looking and suspicious groups; they
whisper together, as if fraught with some secret purposes; and I am also
told that they frequently hold nightly meetings to deliberate on what
may be done. Between the M’Clutchys and M’Slimes, I must say they have
ample cause for discontent.”

“Everything considered,” said Easel, “it is better that we should
anticipate them. When I say we, you of course know who I mean; but
indeed we shall expect every aid, and it will be welcome, no matter from
what quarter it comes.”

“M’Clutchy and the estate in question are topics on which I wish not to
speak,” said Hickman; “I do not blame Lord Cumber for dismissing me,
Mr. Easel, the fact being--that I dismissed myself; but I most sincerely
hope and trust, for the sake of the people, that some change for the
better may take place. Good God, sir, how popular your----how popular
Lord Cumber might become, and what a blessing to his tenantry and his
country he might be in a short time.”

“I feel that, Mr. Hickman,” said Easel, “I feel it now, because I know
it. In this instance, too, I trust that knowledge will be power. Lord
Cumber, sir, like other Irish Lords, has nothing to detain him in his
native country but his own virtue. His absence, however, and the absence
of his class in general, is, I fear “--and he smiled as he spoke--a
proof that his virtue, as an Irish nobleman, and theirs, is not
sufficiently strong to resist the temptations of an English court, and
all its frivolous, expensive, and fashionable habits. He has now no
duty as an Irish peer to render his residence in Ireland, at least for a
considerable portion of the year, a matter of necessity to his class and
his country. However, let us not despair--I have reason to think that
his brother has nearly succeeded in bringing him to a sense of his duty;
and it is not impossible that the aspect of affairs may be soon changed
upon his estate.”

“The sooner, the better, for the sake of the people,” said Harman. “By
the by, Mr. Clement, are you to be one of the Reverend gladiators in
this controversial tournay, which is about to take place in Castle
Cumber?”

“No,” said Mr. Clement; “I look upon such exhibitions as manifestations
of fanaticism, or bigotry, and generally of both. They are, in fact,
productive of no earthly good, but of much lamentable evil; for instead
of inculcating brotherly love, kindness, and charity--they inflame the
worst passions of adverse creeds--engender hatred, ill-will, and fill
the public mind with those narrow principles which disturb social
harmony, and poison our moral feelings in the very fountain of the
heart. I believe there is no instance on record of a sincere convert
being made by such discussions.”

“But is there not an extensive system of conversion proceeding, called
the New Reformation?” asked Easel. “It appears to me by the papers, that
the Roman Catholic population are embracing Protestantism by hundreds.”

“How little are the true causes of great events known,” said Hickman,
laughing; “who, for instance, would suppose that the great spiritual
principle by which this important movement has been sustained is the
failure of the potato crop in the country, where this gracious work is
proceeding. One would think, if everything said were true, that there
are epidemics in religion as well as in disease; but the truth is, that
the knavery or distress of two or three Catholics who were relieved,
when in a state of famine, by a benevolent and kind-hearted nobleman,
who certainly would encourage neither dishonesty nor imposture, first
set this Reformation agoing. The persons I speak of, fearing that his
Lordship’s benevolence might cease to continue, embraced Protestantism
_pro forma and pro tempore_. This went abroad, and almost immediately
all who were in circumstances of similar destitution adopted the same
course, and never did man pay more dearly for evangelical truth than did
his Lordship. In the forthcoming battle the parsons are to prove to the
world that all who belong to Popery must be damned, whilst the priests,
on the other hand, broil the parsons until they blaze in their own fat.
But, my God, when will charity and common sense prevail over bigotry and
brimstone!”

At this moment a servant entered to say that Poll Doolin--for she was
well known--wished to see Mr. Harman on very particular business.

“I can scarcely bear to look on the wretch,” said Harman, “but as I
Strongly suspect, that she may in some shape be useful to us, I desired
her to come here. She called three times upon me, but I could not bring
myself to see or speak to’ her; she shall be the bearer of no messages
to me,” he said bitterly, “let her carry them elsewhere; d--n her.”

He betrayed deep and powerful emotion as he spoke, but, as his allusions
were understood, there was--from a respect for his feelings, on the part
of his audience--no reply made to his observations.

“Since she called first,” said Harman, pursuing the train of melancholy
thought, “some vague notion, like the shadow of a dream crossed me;
but, alas! it is transgressing the bounds of imagination itself even
to suppose that it could be true. However, if it were, it is in your
presence, sir” he said, addressing himself to Easel, “that I should wish
to have it detailed; and, perhaps, after all, this slight, but latent
reflection of hope, influenced me in desiring her to come here.
Gentlemen, excuse me,” said he, covering his face with his hands, “I am
very wretched and unhappy--I cannot account for what has occurred; it
looks like an impossibility, but it is true. Oh, if he were a man!--but,
no, no, you all know how contemptible--what a dastardly scoundrel he
is!”

“Harman, my dear fellow,” said Hickman, “we understand you, we respect
your feelings, and we sympathize with you--but, in the meantime, do see
and hear this woman.”

He had scarcely uttered the words when the servant entered, stating that
she was at the door.

“Let her come in,” said Harman; “let the vile wretch come in.”

“And, do you, John, withdraw,” said Hickman.

Poll Doolin entered.

Her appearance threw Harman into a violent state of agitation; he
trembled, got pale, and seemed absolutely sickened by the presence of
the wicked wretch who had been the vile instrument of Phil M’Clutchy’s
success, of Mary M’Loughlin’s dishonor, and of his own unhappiness. It
was the paleness, however, of indignation, of distress, of misery, of
despair. His blood, despite the paleness of his face, absolutely boiled
in his veins, and that the more hotly, because he had no object on which
he could wreak his vengeance. Poll, who was always cool, and not without
considerable powers of observation, at once noticed the tumult of his
feelings, and, as if replying to them, said--

“I don’t blame you, Mr. Harman, thinkin’ as you do; the sight of me
is not pleasant to you--and, indeed, you don’t hate me more than you
ought.”

“What is your business with me?” said Harman.

Poll looked around her for a moment, and replied--

“I’m glad of it, the more the better; Francis Harman,” she proceeded,
“sit down, and listen to me; yes, listen to me--for I have it in my
power to make you a happy man.”

“Great God! could my dream be true?” said Harman, placing himself in the
chair.

“Listen to me,” she continued.

“I listen; be brief--for I am in no humor for either falsehood or
imposture.”

“I never bore you ill-will,” she said, “and yet I have--and may God
forgive me for it I--scalded the very heart within you.”

Harman again covered his face with his hands and groaned.

“Will it relieve your heart to know that Mary M’Loughlin’s an innocent
and a slandered girl?”

“Prove that,” said Harman, starting to his feet, “oh, prove that, Poll,
and never whilst I have life shall you want a--but, alas!” he exclaimed,
“I am a beggar, and can promise you nothing.”

“And I’ll tell you who beggared you before all is over--but, as I said,
listen. It’s now fifteen years since Brian M’Loughlin transported my son
Dick, for stealin’ a horse from him; he was my only son, barrin’ poor
Raymond, who was then a mere slip. He was a fine young man, but he was
wild and wicked, and it was in Squire Deaker’s house, and about
Squire Deaker’s stables, that he picked up his dishonesty and love of
horses--he was groom to that ould profligate, who took him into sarvice
for a raison he had.”

“Be as brief as you can,” said Harman, “brief--brief.”

“On the contrary, Mr. Harman,” said Clement, “let her, if you will be
advised by me, take her own time, and her own way.”

“Thank you, sir,” said Poll, “that’s just what I wish. Well, he,
M’Loughlin, transported my boy, that my heart was in, and from that
minute I swore never to die till I’d revenge that act upon him. Very
well--I kept my word. Phil M’Clutchy sent for me, and in his father’s
presence, we made up a plot to disgrace Miss M’Loughlin. I brought her
out two or three times to meet me privately, and it was all on your
account, by the way, for I tould her you were in danger; and I so
contrived it, that on one or two occasions you should see myself and her
together. I made her promise solemnly not to tell that she saw me, or
mention what passed between us, or if she did, that your life was not
safe; her love for you, kept her silent even to yourself. But it was
when you were sent to gaol, that we found we had the best opportunity of
ruining her, which was all I wanted: but Phil, the boy, wished to give
you a stab as well as her. As for myself it was in for a penny, in for a
pound with me, and I didn’t care a traheen what you suffered, provided
I had my revenge on any one belongin’ to Brian M’Loughlin, that
transported my son.”

“Is Mary M’Loughlin innocent?” asked Harman, starting from his seat, and
placing his face within a few inches of Poll Doolin’s.

Poll calmly put her hand upon his shoulder, and said:--

“Sit down, young man; don’t disturb or stop me in what I’m sayin’, and
you’ll come the sooner at the truth.”

“You are right,” he replied, “but who can blame me?--my happiness
depends on it.”

“Listen,” said she, “we made up a plan that she was to meet Phil behind
her father’s garden--and why? Why, because I told her that Val had
made up his mind to hang you; but I said that Phil, for her sake, could
prevent that, and save you, if she would only see him that he might
clear himself of some reports that had gone abroad on him. For your
sake she consented to that; but not until I had brought her nearly to
despair, and till she believed that there was no other hope for you.
It was Val M’Clutchy, though, that put me up to bring several of the
neighbors, and among the rest your own cousin, to witness the trick of
Phil’s gettin’ in at the windy; as it was his to bring the bloodhounds,
at the very minute, to catch the scoundrel in the poor girl’s bedroom.
That was enough; all the wather in the say couldn’t wash her white, when
this was given to the tongue of scandal to work upon.”

“But,” said Mr. Clement, “you unfortunate woman, let me ask, why you
suffered Mr. Harman to live under a conviction of Miss M’Loughlin’s
guilt?”

“I tould you I had sworn to be revenged on either him, M’Loughlin, or
his; and so I was--may God forgive me!--but one day that my poor foolish
son undertook to convey Hugh Roe O’Regan’s wife across the ford of Drum
Dhu river while in a flood, he lost his footing, and never would breathe
the breath of life again, only that God sent John M’Loughlin to the
spot, and at the risk of his own life, he saved poor Raymond’s. From
that day out my heart changed. If one son was sent from me in life,
the other was saved from death; and I swore to tell you the truth. But
that’s not the only injury I have done you. They put me up, and so
did Solomon M’Slime, to drop hints wherever I went, that you and Mr.
M’Loughlin were on the point of failin’; and, I believe, from some words
I heard Phil say to Solomon one morning, that they put something into
the paper that injured you.”

“What was it you heard?” said Hickman.

“Phil said--‘all right, Solomon, it’s in--and--d--n my honor and
reputation, but it will set a screw loose in the same firm;’ he was
reading the paper as he spoke.”

“All this is of great value,” said Easel, “and must be made use of.”

“As for me,” said Harman in an impassioned voice, “I care not a jot for
our bankruptcy; the great and oppressive evil of my heart is removed; I
ought, I admit, to have known that admirable girl better than to suffer
any suspicion of; her to have-entered into my heart; but, then, I must
have discredited my own eyes--and so I ought. God bless you, Poll!
I forgive you all that you and those malignant villains have made me
suffer, in consequence of what you have just now disclosed to us.”

“I could not have believed this,” observed Easel; “I scarcely thought
that such profound infamy was in human nature. Good God--and these two
men hold the important offices of Head and Under Agent on the Castle
Cumber estate!”

“Have you nothing particular, Poll, about that pious little man,
M’Slime?” asked Hickman. Poll, however, who in no instance was ever
known to abuse professional confidence, shook her head in the negative.

“No;” said she, “I know nothing that I can tell about him; honor
bright’s my motive--no--no. However, thank God, I’ve aised my mind by
tellin’ the truth, and when you see Mr. M’Loughlin, Mr. Harman, I’ll
thank you to let him know that I have done his daughter justice, and
that from the minute his son saved mine, I had no ill-will to him or his
family.” She then departed.



CHAPTER XXV.--Val and his Son brought to Trial

A Ribbon Lodge--Their Crimes against the People,--Their Doom and
Sentence--A Rebel Priest Preaching Treason--A Respite.


It is undoubtedly a fact, as was observed in the dialogue just given,
that the state of affairs on this property was absolutely fearful. The
framework of society was nearly broken up, for such was the heartless
rapacity and cruelty--such the multiplied and ingenious devices by which
he harassed and robbed the tenantry, or wreaked his personal vengeance
on all who were obnoxious to him or his son, that it was actually
impossible matters could proceed much longer in a peaceable state. If
the reader will accompany us to a large waste house, from which a
man had been some time before ejected, merely because Val had a pique
against him, he may gather from the lips of the people themselves, there
assembled, on the very night in question, sufficiently clear symptoms of
the state of feeling in the neighborhood.

The hour at which they assembled, or rather began to assemble, was
eleven o’clock, from which period until twelve they came in small groups
of two or three at a time; so as to avoid observation on the way. Some
of them had their faces blackened, and others who appeared utterly
indifferent to consequences, did not think it worth their while to
assume such a disguise. The waste house in which they were assembled,
stood on a hillside, about half way between Castle Cumber and Drum Dhu;
so that its isolated situation was an additional proof of their security
from, surprise by the bloodhounds. The party were nearly all armed, each
with such weapons as he could get, and most of them with fire or side
arms, such as they were. They had several lights, but so cautious were
they, that quilts and window-cloth’s were brought to hang over the
windows, to prevent them from being seen; for it was well known that the
house was not inhabited, and the appearance of lights in it would most
certainly send the wreckers on their back; as it was, however, they
obviated all danger of this in the way I mention. When these men were
met together, it might be supposed that they presented countenances
marked by savage and ferocious passions, and that atrocity and cruelty
were the-predominating traits in each face. This, however, was not so.
In general they were just as any other number of men brought together
for any purpose might be. Some, to be sure, among them betrayed strong
indications of animal impulse; but taken together, they looked just as
I say. When they were all nearly assembled, one might-naturally imagine
that the usual animated dialogue and discussions, which the cause that
brought them together furnished, would have taken place. This, however,
was not the case. On the contrary, there was something singularly wild,
solemn, and dreadful, in their comparative quietness; for silence we
could not absolutely term it.

There were many reasons for this. In the first place, there existed
an apprehension of the yeomanry and cavalry, who had on more than one
occasion surprised meetings of this description before. ‘Tis true
they had sentinels placed--but the sentinels themselves had been made
prisoners of by parties of yeomen and blood-hounds, who had come in
colored clothes, in twos and threes, like the Ribbon men themselves.
There were other motives, however, for the stillness which
prevailed--motives which, when we consider them, invest the whole
proceedings with something that is calculated to fill the mind with
apprehension and fear. Here were men unquestionably assembled for
illegal purposes--for the perpetration of crime--for the shedding
of human blood. But in what light did they view this terrible
determination? Simply as a redress of grievances; as the only means left
them of doing that for themselves which the laws refused to do for them.
They keenly and bitterly felt the scourge of the oppressor, who,
under the sanction, and in the name of those laws which ought to
have protected them, left scarcely anything undone to drive them
to desperation; and now finding that the law existed only for their
punishment, they resolved to legislate for themselves, and retaliate
on their oppressor. There is an awful lesson in all this; for it is
certainly a frightful thing to see law and justice so partially and
iniquitously administered as to disorganize society, and to make men
look upon murder as an act of justice, and the shedding of blood as a
moral triumph, if not a moral virtue. When, therefore, the very little
conversation which took place among them, and that little in so low a
tone, is placed in connection with the dark and deadly object of their
meeting, it is no wonder that one cannot help feeling strangely and
fearfully on contemplating it.

About twelve o’clock they were all assembled but one individual, whom
they appeared to expect, and for whom they looked out eagerly. Indeed
they all came to a unanimous resolution of doing nothing that pertained
to the business of the night until he should come. For this purpose they
had not to wait long. A little past twelve a tall and powerful young
man entered, leading by the hand poor insane Mary O’Regan--his pitiable
and unconscious mother. He had heard of the death of his brother, during
the cruel scene at Drum Dhu, and of the other inhuman outrage which
had driven her mad. He had come from a remote part of England with the
single, fixed, and irrevocable purpose of wreaking vengeance on the head
of him who had brought madness, desolation, and death upon his family.

On his entering, there was a slight low murmur of approbation, but the
appearance of his mother caused it to die away. This, however, was
almost immediately succeeded by another of a very different
character--one in which there was a blending of many feelings--compassion,
rage, revenge. The first thing the young man did was to take a candle in
his hand, and hold it first close to his mother, so as that she might be
distinctly seen, and afterward, near to his own face, in order that she
might have a clear and equally distinct view of him. “Mother,” said he,
then, in a full voice, “do you know your son?” Her eye was upon him as
he spoke, but it was vacant; there appeared no trace of recognition or
meaning in it.

“You all see that miserable sight,” said he--“there my mother stands,
and doesn’t know who it is that is spaking to her. There she stands,
blasted and destroyed by the oppressor. You all see this heart-breaking
sight with your own eyes, and you all know who did it.”

‘Tis singular how closely virtue and crime are allied! The very sympathy
excited by this touching and melancholy spectacle--the very tenderness
of the compassion that was felt for the mother and son, hardened the
heart in a different sense, and stimulated them to vengeance.

“Now,” said the young man, whose name was Owen, “let them that have been
oppressed and harassed by this Vulture, state their grievances, one at a
time.”

An old man near sixty rose up, and after two or three attempts to speak,
was overpowered by his feelings, and burst into tears. “Poor Jemmy
Devlin!” they exclaimed, “may God pity you!”

“Spake for Jemmy, some of you, as the poor man isn’t able to spake for
himself.”

“Why, the case was this,” said a neighbor of the poor man’s. “Jemmy’s
son, Peter, was abused by Phil, the boy, because he didn’t pay him
duty-work, and neglect his own harvest. He told Peter that he was a
Popish rebel and would be hanged. Peter told him to his teeth that he
was a liar, and that he couldn’t be good, havin’ the father’s bastard
dhrop in him. That was very well, but one night in about a month
afterwards, the house was surrounded by the bloodhounds, poor Peter’s
clo’es searched, and some Ribbon papers found in them; they also got, or
pretended to get, other papers in the thatch of the house. The boy
was dragged out of his bed, sent to goal, tried, found guilty on the
evidence of the bloodhounds, and sentenced to be flogged three times;
but never was flogged a third time, for he died on the fourth day after
the second flogging; and so, bein’ an only son--indeed all the child the
poor couple had--the old man is now childless and distracted, God help
him!”

“Very well,” exclaimed Owen bitterly--“very well--who next?”

A man named M’Mahon rose up,--“The curse of the Almighty God may for
ever rest upon him!” he exclaimed. “He transported my two brave sons,
because they were White-boys; and if they were, who made them Whiteboys
but himself and his cruelty? I will never see my darling sons’ faces
again, but if I die without settlin’ accounts wid him, may I never know
happiness here or hereafter!”

The usual murmur of commiseration followed this.

“Well,” said Owen, “whose turn comes next?”

About a dozen of those who had been turned out of Drum Dhu now stood up.

“We were turned out,” said one of them, who acted as spokesman, “on one
of the bittherest days that God ever sent on the earth; out of shame, I
believe, because your brother and ould Mary Casey died, he let us back
for a few days, but after that we had to flit. Some of the houses he had
pulled down, and then he had to build them again for his voters. Oh, if
it was only known what we suffered!”

“And why did he turn you out?”

“Why, because we didn’t promise to vote as he wished.”

“He took my crop,” said another, “at his own valuation, drew it home,
and stacked it until the markets rose. I know what he got beyond the
rent,” proceeded the man, “but divil a rap ever the villain gave me back
of the surplus, but put it in his pocket--and now I and my family are
starving.”

“Ay, and,” said another, “he took five firkins of as good butter from
me as ever was made by hand, and at his own price, too. What could I
do?--he said it was as a friend he did it; but if I objected to it, he
said he must only seize. May the divil seize him, at any rate, as he
will, the villain, I trust in God! He got to my own knowledge, thirteen
pence a pound for it, and all he allowed me for it was eight pence
halfpenny. May the devil run an auger through him, or baste his sowl wid
it, this night; for of all the villains that ever cursed an estate, he’s
the greatest--barrin’ the scoundrel that employs him.”

A poor but decent-looking man rose up. “I could bear,” said he, “his
cheating, or his defrauding me out of my right--I could bear that,
although it’s bad enough too; but when I think of the shame and disgrace
his son brought upon my innocent girl, undher his father’s roof,
where she was at sarvice--may God curse him this night! My child--my
child--when I think of what she was, and what she is, sure the thought
of it is enough to drive me distracted, and to break my heart. Are we to
live undher sich men? Ought we to allow sich villains to tramp us undher
their feet? When I spoke to his blasted son about ruinin’ my child--‘My
good fellow,’ says he, ‘if you don’t keep a civil tongue in your head,
I will trot you off the estate--I will send you to graze somewhere else.
It’s d--d proud you ought to feel for your daughter having a child by
the like o’ me;’--for that’s the way--they first injure us, and kick us
about as they plaise, and then laugh at and insult us.”

Another man got up. “You all know,” said he, “that I hould fourteen
acres in the townland of Augha-Winchal; and when Jerry Grogan went to
America last spring, I offered for his farm of twelve acres, that lay
into my own, marchin it. I offered him the rent he axed, which indeed
was too much at any rate--but it lay so snug to me, that I could take
more out of it than another. ‘You shall have the farm, Frank,’ said he;
‘but if you do, there must be ten pounds of an Imput.’* Well and good,
I paid him the ten pounds, and Paddy Gormly, of Aughadarragh, gave him
another Input for the same farm; and yet, hell bellis the villain, he
gave it to neither of us, but to one of his own Blood-hounds, who gave
him twenty for it. But that wasn’t all--when I axed him for my money,
he laughs in iny face, and says, ‘Is ‘it jokin’ you are? Keep yourself
quiet,’ says he, ‘or may be I’ll make it a black joke to you.’ Hell
re-save him!”

     * Imput--a douceur--or, in other words, a bribe to the
     agent, on entering upon a farm.

“He engaged me, and my horse and car,” said another, “and Toal Hart with
his, in the same way; to draw stones from Kilrud-den; and he said that
whatever we earned he’d allow us in the rint. Of coorse we were glad to
bounce at it; and, indeed, he made us both believe that it was a favor
he did us. So far so good; but when the rint day came, hell purshue the
testher he’d allow either of us; but threatened and abused us, callin’
us names till the dogs wouldn’t lick our blood. The Lord conshume him
for a netarnal villain!”

“That’s all very well, but yait till you hear how he sarved me out,”
 said a poor, simple-looking creature. “It was at the gale day before
the last, that I went to him wid my six guineas of rint. ‘Paddy Hanlon,’
says he, ‘I’m glad to see you; an’, Paddy, I’ve something in my eye for
you; but don’t be spakin’ of it. Is that the rent?--hand it to me--an’,
Paddy, as this is Hurry Day with me--do like a good decent man, call
down on Saturday about twelve o’clock, and I’ll give you your receipt,
and mention the other thing.’ By coorse I went highly delighted; but the
receipt he gave me was a notice to pay the same gale over agin, tellin’
me besides, that of all the complatest rascals ever came acrass him
I was the greatest; that he’d banish me off the estate and what not!
Accordingly, I had to pay the same rint twiste. Now will any one tell me
how that man can prosper by robbin’ and oppressin the poor in this way?
Hell scorch him!”

The next that rose was a tall, thin-looking man, with much care and
sorrow in his face. “Many a happy day,” he said, “did I and mine spend
under this roof; and now we may say that we hardly have a roof to
cover us. Myself, and my wife, hould a cabin on’ the estate of Major
Richardson. My sons and daughters, instead of living comfortably at home
with us, are now scattered abroad, earnin’ their hard bread on other
people’s floors. And why? Because the Vulture’s profligate son couldn’t
succeed in ruinin’ one of my daughters; and because her brother ‘Tom
tould him that if ever he catched him comin’ about the place again, or
annoyin’ his sisther, he’d split him with a spade. Afther that,
they were both very friendly--father and son--and when I brought my
half-year’s rent--‘never mind now,’ said they, ‘bring it home, Andy;
maybe you may want it for something else that ‘ud be useful to you.
Buy a couple o’ cows--or keep it till next rent day; we won’t hurry
you--you’re a dacent man, and we respect you.’ Well, I did put the
money to other uses, when what should come down on me when the next half
year’s rent was due, but an Execution. He got a man of his own to swear
that I was about to run away wid the rent, and go to America; and in
a few days we were scattered widout a house to cover us. May the Lord
reward him accordin’ to his works!”

There were other unprincipled cases where Phil’s profligacy was
brought to bear upon the poverty and destitution of the uneducated
and unprotected female; but it is not our intention to do more than to
allude to them.

We now return to young O’Regan himself, who, at the conclusion, once
more got a candle, and precisely in the same manner as he had done in
the beginning, held it up and asked in a full firm voice, “mother,
do you know your son?” And again received the same melancholy and
unconscious gaze. “Now,” said he, “you’ve all heard an account, and
a true account, of these two villains’ conduct. What have they left
undone? They have cheated you, robbed you, and oppressed you in every
shape. They have scourged to death and transported your sons--and they
have ruined your daughters, and brought them to sin and shame--sorrow
and distraction. What have they left undone, I ax again? Haven’t they
treated yez like the dirt under their feet? hunted yez like bloodhounds,
as they are--and as if ye were mad dogs? What is there that they haven’t
made yez suffer? Shame, sin, poverty, hardship, bloodshed, ruin, death,
and madness; look there”--he added, vehemently pointing to his insane
mother--“there’s one proof that you see; and you’ve heard and know the
rest. And now for their trial.”

Those blood-stirring observations were followed by a deep silence, in
fact, like that of death.

“Now,” said he, pulling out a paper, “I have marked down here twelve
names that I will read for you. They are to act as a jury; they are to
thry them both for their lives--and then to let us hear their sentence.”

He then read over the twelve names, every man answering to his name as
he called them out.

“Now,” he proceeded, “this is how you are to act; your silence will give
consent to any question that is asked of you. Are you willin’ that these
twelve men should thry Valentine M’Clutchy and his son for their lives;
and that the sentence is to be put in execution on them?” To this there
was a profound and ominous silence.

“Very well,” said he, “you agree to this. Now,” said he to the jurors,
“find your sentence.”

The men met together, and whispered in the centre of the floor, for a
few minutes--when he, who acted as foreman, turned towards O’Regan and
said--“They’re doomed.”

“To what death?”

“To be both shot.”

“Are you all satisfied with this sentence?”

Another silence as deep and ominous as before.

“Very well,” said he, “you all agree. As for the sentence, it is a just
one; none of you need throuble yourselves any farther about that; you
may take my word for it, that it will be carried into execution. Are you
willing it should?”

For the third time an unbroken silence. “That’s enough,” said he; “and
now let us go quietly home.”

“It is not enough,” said a voice at the door; “let none depart without
my permission, I command you;” and the words were no sooner uttered than
the venerable Father Roche entered the house.

“Wretched and misguided men,” said he, to what a scene of blood and
crime have I just now been an ear witness? Are you men who live under
my ministry?--who have so often heard and attended to my sincere and
earnest admonitions? I cannot think ye are, and yet, I see no face here
that is unknown to me. Oh, think for a moment, reflect, if you can, upon
what you have been doing!--planning the brutal, ungodly murder of two
of your fellow creatures! And What makes the crime still more revolting,
these two fellow creatures father and son. What constituted you judges
over them? If they have oppressed you, and driven many of you to ruin
and distress, and even to madness, yet, do you not know that there is
a just God above to whom they must be accountable for the deeds done in
the flesh? Are you to put yourselves in the place of the Almighty?--to
snatch the sceptre of justice and judgment out of his hands, and take
that awful office into your own, which belongs only to him? Are ye
indeed mad, my friends? Do you not know that out of the multitude
assembled here this moment there is not one of you whose life would not
be justly forfeited to the law? not one. I paused at the half closed
door before I entered, and was thus enabled to hear your awful, your
guilty, your blasphemous proceedings. Justice belongs to God, and in
mocking justice you mock the God of Justice.”

“But you don’t know, Father Roche,” said O’Regan, “you couldn’t imagine
all the villany he and his son have been guilty of, and all they’ve made
the people suffer.”

“I do know it too well; and these are grievances that God in his own
good time will remove; but it is not for us to stain our souls with
guilt in order to redress them. Now, my children, do you believe that
I feel an interest in your welfare, and in your happiness hereafter? Do
you believe this?”

“We do, sir; who feels for us as you do?”

“Well, then, will you give me a proof of this?”

“Name it, sir, name it.”

“I know you will,” continued the old man; “I know you will. Then, in the
name of the merciful God, I implore, I entreat--and, if that will
not do, then, as his servant, and the humble minister of his word and
will--I command you to disavow the murderous purpose you have come to
this night. Heavenly Father,” said he, looking up with all the fervor
of sublime piety, “we entreat you to take from these mistaken men the
wicked intention of imbruing their guilty hands in blood; teach them a
clear sense of Christian duty; to love their very enemies; to forgive
all injuries that may be inflicted on them; and to lead such lives as
may never be disturbed by a sense of guilt or the tortures of remorse!”
 The tears flowed fast down his aged cheeks as he spoke, and his deep
sobbings for some time prevented him from speaking. Those whom he
addressed were touched, awakened, melted. He proceeded:--

“Take pity on their condition, O Lord, and in thine own good time, if it
be thy will, let their unhappy lot in this life be improved! But,
above, all things, soften their hearts, inspire them with good and pious
purposes, and guard them from the temptations of revenge! They are my
flock--they are my children--and, as such, thou knowest how I lave and
feel for them!”

They were more deeply moved, more clearly awakened, and more
penetratingly touched. Several sobs were heard towards the close of his
prayer, and a new spirit was diffused among them.

“Now, my children,” said he, “will you obey the old man that loves you?”

“We will,” was the universal response, “we will obey you.”

“Then,” said he, “you promise in the presence of God, that you will not
injure Valentine M’Clutchy and his son?”

“In the presence of God we promise,” was the unanimous reply.

“Then, my children, may the blessing of Almighty God be with you, and
guard and protect you wherever you go. And now proceed home, and sleep
with consciences unburthened by guilt.”

And thus were Valentine M’Clutchy and his son saved, on this occasion,
by the very man whom they termed “a rebellious Popish priest.”

It was observed, however, by most of those present that Owen O’Regan
availed himself of the good priest’s remonstrance to disappear from the
meeting--thus evading the solemn obligation to refrain from crime, into
which all the rest entered.



CHAPTER XXVI.--Harman’s Interview with Mary M’Loughlin

--An Execution for Rent Forty Years ago--Gordon Harvey’s Friendly
Remonstrance with his Brother Orangemen.


The development, by Poll Doolin, of the diabolical plot against Mary
M’Loughlin’s character, so successfully carried into effect by Phil
and Poll herself, took a deadly weight off Harman’s heart. Mary, the
following morning, little aware that full justice had been rendered her,
was sitting in the parlor with her mother, who had been complaining for
a day or two of indisposition, and would have admitted more fully the
alarming’ symptoms she felt, were it not for the declining health of her
daughter. If there be one misery in life more calculated than another to
wither and consume the heart, to make society odious, man to look like a
blot in the creation, and the very providence of God doubtful, it is
to feel one’s character publicly slandered and misrepresented by
the cowardly and malignant, by the skulking scoundrel and the moral
assassin--to feel yourself loaded with imputations that are false,
calumnious, and cruel. Mary M’Loughlin felt all this bitterly.

In her heart; so bitterly, indeed, that all relish for life had departed
from her. She was now spiritless, hopeless, without an aim or object, or
anything to sustain her, or to give interest to existence. Philosophy,
which too often knows little about actual life, tells us that a
consciousness of being innocent of the social slanders that are heaped
upon an individual, is a principle that ought to support and console
him. But the truth is, that this very consciousness of innocence is
precisely the circumstance which sharpens and poisons the arrow that
pierces him, and gives rancor to the wound.

On the morning in question, Mary sat by her mother who lay reclining
on a sofa, each kindly attempting to conceal from the other the illness
which she felt. Mary was pale, wasted, and drooping; the mother, on the
contrary, was flushed and feverish.

“I wish, my dear mother,” said she, “that you would yield to me, and go
to bed: you are certainly worse than you wish us to believe.”

“It won’t signify, Mary; it’s nothing but cold I got, and it will pass
away. I think nothing of myself, but it grieves my heart to see you look
so ill; why don’t you strive to keep up your spirits, and to be what
you used to be? But God help you, my poor child,” said she, as the tears
started to her eyes, “sure it’s hard for you to do so.”

“Mother,” she replied, “it is hard for me; I am every way surrounded
with deep and hopeless affliction. I often wish that I could lay my
head quietly in the grave; but then, I should wish to do so with my name
unstained--and, on the other hand, what is there that can bind me to
life? I am not afraid of death, but I fear to die now; I know not,
mother, what to do, I am very much to be pitied. Oh,” she added, whilst
the tears fell in torrents from her cheeks, “after all, I feel that
nothing but death can still the thoughts that disturb me, and release me
from the anguish that weighs me down and consumes me day by day.”

“My dear child,” replied her mother, “we must only trust to God, who,
in his own good time, will set everything right. As it is, there is no
respectable person in the neighborhood who believes the falsehood, with
the exception of some of the diabolical Wretch’s friends.”

Mary here shuddered, and exhibited the strongest possible symptoms of
aversion, even to momentary sickness.

“If,” pursued the mother, “the unfortunate impression could be removed
from poor, mistaken Harman, all would be soon right.”

The mention of Harman deeply affected the poor girl; she made no reply,
but for some minutes wept in great bitterness.

“Mother,” said she, after a little time, “I fear you are concealing
the state of your own health; I am sure, from your flushed face
and oppressive manner of speaking, that you are worse than you think
yourself, or will admit.”

“Indeed, to tell the truth, Mary, I fear I am; I feel certainly very
feverish--I am burning.”

“Then, for heaven’s sake, go to bed, my dear mother; and let the doctor
at once be sent for.”

“If I don’t get easier soon, I will,” replied her mother, “I do not much
like going to bed, it looks so like a fit of sickness.”

At this moment a tap at the door announced a visitor, and almost
immediately Harman entered the parlor. It is scarcely necessary to say,
that Mary was quite unprepared for his appearance, as indeed was her
mother. The latter sat up on the sofa, but spoke not, for she scarcely
knew in what terms to address him. Mary, though much moved previous to
his entrance, now assumed the appearance of a coldness, which in her
heart she did not feel. That her lover, who ought to have known her
so well, should have permitted himself to be borne away by such an
ungenerous suspicion of her fidelity, was a reflection which caused her
many a bitter pang. On the other hand, when she looked back upon the
snare into which she had been drawn, it was impossible not to admit
that the force of appearances made a strong case against her. For this
reason, therefore, she scarcely blamed Harman, whilst, at the same
time, she certainly felt that there was something due to her previous
character, and the maidenly delicacy of her whole life.

“You are surprised, Mary, to see me here,” said Harman; “and you, Mrs.
M’Loughlin, are no doubt equally so?”

“I think it is very natural we should be, James,” replied Mrs.
M’Loughlin. “I must confess that your visit is an unexpected one
certainly, and my anxiety now is, to know the cause to which we may
attribute it. Sit down.”

He did not sit, however, but exclaimed--“Good heavens, what is this?
Why, Mary, I should scarcely have known you. This change is dreadful.”

Neither of the females spoke; but the daughter bestowed on him a single
look--long, fixed, and sorrowful--which did more to reprove and soften
him, than any language could have done. It went to his heart--it
filled him with grief, repentance, remorse. For many a day and night
afterwards, her image, and that look, were before him, exerting a
power over his soul, which kindled his love to a height it would never
otherwise have reached. He approached her.

“What reparation do I not owe you, my beloved Mary, for my base and
ungenerous belief in that scoundrel’s vile calumny? Such reparation,
however, as I can make, I will. You are not aware that Poll Doolin has
confessed and disclosed the whole infamous plot; and in a few days the
calumny will be extinct. As for me, you know not what a heavy weight
pressed my heart down to the uttermost depths of suffering. I have not
been without other calamities--yet this, I take heaven to witness, was
the only one I felt.”

There was a tone of deep feeling and earnest sincerity in his words,
which could not for a moment be mistaken. His face, too, was pale, and
full of care, and his person much thinner than it had been.

Mary saw all this at a glance--as did her mother. “Poor James,” said the
latter, “you have had your own troubles, and severe ones, too, since we
saw you last.”

“They are gone,” he replied; “I care not, and think little about them,
now that Mary’s character is vindicated. If I should never see her,
never speak to her more, the consciousness that she is the same angelic
being that I first found her to be, would sustain me under the severest
and most depressing calamities of life. And God knows,” he said, “I
am likely to experience them in their worst shape; but, still, I have
courage now to bear up against them.”

On approaching Mary nearer, he perceived that her eyes were suffused
with tears--and the sight deeply affected him. “My dear Mary,” said he,
“is there not one word for me? Oh, believe me, if ever man felt deep
remorse I do.”

She put her hand out to him, and almost at the same instant became
insensible. In a moment he placed her, by her mother’s desire, on the
sofa, and rang the bell for some of the servants to attend. Indeed,
it would be difficult, if not impossible, to look upon a more touching
picture of sorrow and suffering than that pure-looking and beautiful
girl presented as she lay there insensible; her pale but exquisite
features impressed with a melancholy at once deep and tender, as was
evinced by the large tear-drops that lay upon her cheeks.

“May God grant that her heart be not broken,” exclaimed her mother,
“and that she be not already beyond the reach of all that our affections
would hope and wish! Poor girl,” she added, “the only portion of the
calamity that touched her to her heart was the reflection that you had
ceased to love her!”

Mrs. M’Loughlin whilst she spoke kept her eyes fixed upon her daughter’s
pale but placid face; and whilst she did so, she perceived that a few
large tears fell upon it, and literally mingled with those of the poor
sufferer’s which had been there before. She looked up and saw that
Harman was deeply moved.

“Even if it should be so,” he exclaimed, “I shall be only justly
punished for having; dared to doubt her.”

A servant having now entered, a little cold water was got, which,
on being sprinkled over her face and applied to her lips, aided in
recovering her.

“Your appearance,” said she, “and the intelligence you brought were
so unexpected, and my weakness so great, that I felt myself overcome;
however, I am better--I am better, now;” but whilst she uttered these
words her voice grew tremulous, and they were scarcely out of her lips
when she burst out into an excessive fit of weeping. For several minutes
this continued, and she appeared to feel relieved; she then entered into
conversation, and was able to talk with more ease and firmness than she
had evinced for many a day before. It was just then that a knock came
to the hall door, and in a couple of minutes about a dozen of Val’s
blood-hounds, selected to act as bailiffs and keepers--a task to which
they were accustomed--entered the house with an Execution to seize for
rent. This, at all times and under all circumstances, is a scene in
which a peculiar license is given to brutality and ruffianism; but in
the present case there were additional motives; with which the reader is
already acquainted, for insulting this family. Not that the mere-levying
of an Execution was a matter of novelty to either Mary or her mother,
for of late there had unfortunately been several in the house and on
their property before. These, however, were conducted with a degree of
civility that intimated respect for, if not sympathy with, the feelings
of a family so inoffensive, so beneficial to the neighborhood by the
employment they afforded, and, in short, every way so worthy of respect.

“What is all this about?” asked Harman.

“Why,” said one of the fellows, “we’re seizin’ for rent: that’s what
it’s about.”

“Rent,” observed the other, surprised, “why, it is only a few minutes
since Mr. M’Loughlin told me that M’Clutchy assured him--”

“Captain M’Clutchy, sir, if you plaise.”

“Very well--Captain M’Clutchy, or Colonel M’Olutchy, if you wish,
assured him that--”

“I have nothing to do with what he assured him,” replied the fellow; “my
duty is to take an inventory of the furniture; beg pardon, ladies, but
we must do our duty you know.”

“Let them have their way,” said Mrs. M’Loughlin, “let them have their
way; I know what they are capable of. Mary, my dear, be firm--as I said
before--our only trust is in God, my child.”

“I am firm, my dear mother; for, as James said, the grief of griefs
has been removed from me. I can now support myself under anything--but
you--indeed, James, she is battling against illness these three or
four days--and will not go to bed; it is for you I now feel, mother.”

Mr. M’Loughlin and his family here entered; and truth to tell, boundless
was the indignation of the honest fellow, at this most oppressive and
perfidious proceeding on the part of the treacherous agent.

“Ah,” said he, “I knew it--and I said it--but let the scoundrel do his
worst; I scorn him, and I defy him in the very height of his ill-gotten
authority. My children,” said he, “keep yourselves cool. Let not this
cowardly act of oppression and revenge disturb or provoke you. This
country, as it is at present governed--and this property as it is at
present managed--is no place for us to live in. Let the scoundrel then
do his worst. As for us, we will follow the example of other respectable
families, who, like ourselves, have been forced to seek a home in
a distant country. We will emigrate to America, as soon as I can
conveniently make arrangements for that purpose; for God knows I am sick
of my native land, and the petty oppressors which in so many ways harass
and goad the people almost to madness.”

He had no sooner uttered these words, than the fellow whose name was
Hudson, whispered to one of his companions, who immediately disappeared
with something like a grin of exultation on his countenance. Mrs.
M’Loughlin’s illness was now such as she could no longer attempt to
conceal. The painful shock occasioned by this last vindictive proceeding
on the part of M’Clutchy, came at a most unhappy moment. Overcome by
that and her illness, she was obliged to go to bed, aided by her husband
and her daughter; but before she went, it was considered necessary to
get one of the ruffians, as an act of favor, to take an inventory of
the furniture in her chamber, in order that her sick room might not be
intruded upon afterwards.

Mary having put her sick mother to bed, returned to the parlor, from
whence she was proceeding to the kitchen, to make whey with her own
hands for the invalid, when in passing along the hall, Harman and her
brother John met her. She was in a hurry, and was about to pass without
speaking a word, when she and they were startled by the following
dialogue--

“So, Bob, did you see the pale beauty in the parlor?”

“I did, she’s a devilish pretty girl.”

“She is so--well, but do you know that she is one of Mr. Phil’s ladies.
Sure he was caught in her bed-room some time ago.”

“Certainly, every one knows that; and it appears she is breaking her
heart because he won’t make an honest woman of her.”

John caught his sister, whose agitation, was dreadful, and led her away;
making at the same time, a signal to Harman to remain quiet until his
return--a difficult task, and. Harman felt it so. In the meantime, the.
following appendix was added to the dialogue already detailed--

“Why do you hould such talk under this, roof, Leeper?” asked a third
voice.

The only reply given to this very natural query was a subdued cackle,
evidently proceeding from the two first speakers.

“Do you both see that strong horse-pistol,” said the third voice--for in
those days; an Execution was almost always levied by armed men--“by the
Bible of truth, if I hear another word of such conversation from any
man here while we’re under this roof, I’ll sink the butt of it into his
skull! It’s bad enough that we’re here on an unpleasant duty--”

“Unpleasant! speak for yourself.”

“Silence, you ruffian--on an unpleasant-duty; but that’s no reason that
we should grieve the hearts and insult the feelings of a respectable
family like this. The truth, or rather the blasted falsehood that was
put out on the young lady is now known almost everywhere, for Poll
Doolin has let out the truth.

“But didn’t Misther Phil desire us to say it, so as that they might hear
us.”

“Mr. Phil’s a cowardly scoundrel, and nothing else; but, mark me, Phil
or no Phil, keep your teeth shut on that subject.”

“Just as much or as little of that as we like, if you please, Mr. ----.”

“Very well, you know my mind--so take the consequences, that’s all.”

“Here goes then,” said the ruffian, speaking in a deliberately loud
voice, “it’s well known that Miss M’Loughlin is Misther Phil’s----”

A heavy blow, followed by a crash on the floor--a brief conflict as if
with another person, another blow, and another crash followed. Harman,
in a state of feeling which our readers may imagine, but which we cannot
describe, pushed in the door, which, in fact, was partially open.

“What, what is this?” he asked, pretending ignorance, “is it fighting
among yourselves you are? Fie, fie! Gordon Harvey, what is the matter?”

“Only a little quarrel of our own, Mr. Harman,” replied the excellent
fellow. “The truth is, sir, that these men--ay, gather yourselves up,
do; you ought to have known Gordon Harvey’s blow, for you have often
enough heard of it before now; there is no great mistake about that,
you scoundrels--the truth is, Mr. Harman, that these fellows were primed
with whiskey at M’Clutchy’s and they gave me provoking language that
I couldn’t bear; it’s well for them that I didn’t take the butt end
of that,” said he, holding up the horse-pistol in his left hand, “but
you’ll find ten for one that would rather have a taste of it than of
this;” shutting his right--which was a perfect sledgehammer, and, when
shut, certainly the more formidable weapon of the two.

The two ruffians had now gathered themselves up, and appeared to be
considerably sobered by Harvey’s arguments. They immediately retired
to a corner of the room, where they stood with a sullen but vindictive
look--cowardly and ferocious, ready to revenge on M’Loughlin’s family
the punishment which they had received, but durst not resent, at the
hands of Harvey--unquestionably one of the most powerful and generous
Orangemen that was ever known in Castle Cumber. Let us not for a moment
be mistaken. The Orangemen of Ireland contained, and still contain among
them, men of great generosity, courage, and humanity. This is undeniable
and unquestionable; but then, it is well known that these men never took
any part in the outrages perpetrated by the lower and grosser grades,
unless to prevent outrage. In nothing, indeed, was the lamentable state
of the Irish Church Establishment more painfully obvious than in the
moral ignorance and brutal bigotry, which want of Christian instruction
and enlightened education had entailed upon men, who otherwise have been
a high-minded, brave, and liberal class, had they not been corrupted by
the example of the very pastors--ungodly, loose, convivial, political,
anything but Christian--from whom they were to expect their examples and
their precepts. But to return. Harman having given a significant glance
to Harvey, left the room, and the latter immediately followed him.

“Harvey,” said he, “I have overheard the whole conversation; give me
your hand, for it is that of an honest man. I thank you, I thank you--do
try and prevent these ruffians from insulting the family.”

“I don’t think the same thing will happen a second time, Mr. Harman,”
 replied the gigantic Orangeman; “but, the truth is, the men are half
drunk, and were made so before they came here.”

“Well, but I thank you, Harvey; deeply and from my soul, I thank you.”

“You needn’t, Mr. Harman; I hate a dirty and ungenerous thing. Phil’s a
brother Orangeman, and my tongue is tied--no doubt I’ll be expelled for
knocking these two scoundrels down, but I don’t care; it was too bad and
too cruel, and, let the upshot be what it may, Gordon Harvey is not the
man to back a scoundrelly act, no matter who does it, or who orders it.”

They shook hands cordially, and we now must leave the family for a time,
to follow the course of other events that bear upon our narrative.



CHAPTER XXVII.--Bob Beatty’s Last Illness

--A Holy Steeple Chase--A Dead Heat--Blood against Varmint--Rival
Claims--A Mutual Disappointment--The Last Plea for Salvation--_Non
Compos Mentis_


Our readers may remember that we have alluded to an Orangeman, named Bob
Beatty, who had become a convert to the Church of Rome. This Beatty, on
the part of the priest, was a very fair set-off against Darby O’Drive,
on the part of Mr. Lucre. As they were now on the eve of the great
discussion, each felt considerable gratification in having his convert
ready to produce at the discussion, as a living proof of his zeal for
religious truth. The principal vexation which the priest had felt,
lay in the almost insuperable difficulty of keeping Bob from liquor,
inasmuch as whenever he happened to take a glass too much, he always
forgot his conversion, and generally drank the Glorious Memory, and all
other charter toasts, from habit. It so happened, however, that a few
days previous to the great Tournay, Bob became so ill in health, that
there was little hope of his surviving any length of time. During this
illness, he had several interviews with. Father Roche, who informed
him of the near approach of death, and prepared him, as well as could
readily be done, to meet it; for truth to tell, he was at all times an
impracticable subject on which to produce religious impressions. Be this
as it may, a day or two previous to the discussion, his wife, feeling
that he was near his dissolution, and determined, if possible, that
he should not die a Roman Catholic, went in hurry for Mr. Clement, who
happened to be in attendance on a funeral and was consequently from
home. In the meantime, his Roman Catholic neighbor, hearing that she
meant to fetch the minister, naturally anxious that the man should not
die a Protestant, lost no time in acquainting Father M’Cabe with his
situation. Mrs. Beatty, however, finding that Mr. Clement was not to be
procured, left her message with his family, and proceeded in all haste
to Mr. Lucre’s in order to secure his attendance.

“My good woman,” said he, “your husband, I trust, is not in such danger.
Mr. Clement cannot certainly be long absent, and he will attend; I am
not quite well, or I should willingly go myself.”

“Very well,” said the woman, “between you, I suppose, you will let the
priest, M’Cabe have him; and then it will be said he died a Papish.”

“What’s that?” inquired Mr. Lucre, with an interest which he could not
conceal; “what has M’Cabe to do with him?”

“Why,”, returned the woman, “he has made him a Papish, but I want him to
die a True Blue, and not shame the family.”

“I shall attend,” said Lucre; “I shall lose no time in attending. What’s
your husband’s name?”

“Bob Beatty, sir.”

“Oh, yes, he is subject to epilepsy.”

“The same, sir.”

She then gave him directions to find the house, and left him making very
earnest and rapid preparations to do what he had not done for many a
long year--attend a death-bed; and truly his absence was no loss.

In the meantime, Father M’Cabe having heard an account of Bob’s state,
and that the minister had been sent for, was at once upon the alert, and
lost not a moment in repairing to his house. So very eager, indeed,
were these gentlemen, and so equal their speed, that they met at the
cross-roads, one of which turned to Bob’s house. In the meantime, we
may as well inform our readers here, that Bob himself had, in his wife’s
presence, privately sent for Father Roche.

Each instantly suspected the object of the other, and determined in his
own mind, if possible, to frustrate it.

“So, sir,” said the priest, “you are on your way to Bob Beatty’s, who
is, as you know, one of my flock. But how do you expect to get through
the business, Mr. Lucre, seeing that you are so long out of practice?”

“Bob Beatty was never, properly speaking, one of your flock, Mr. M’Cabe.
I must beg leave to ride forward, sir, and leave you to your Christian
meditations. One interview with you is enough for any man.”

“Faith, but I love you too well to part with you so easily,” said the
priest, spurring on his horse, “cheek by jowl--and a beautiful one you
have--will I ride with you, my worthy epicure; and, what is more, I’ll
anoint Bob Beatty before your eyes.”

“And, perhaps, perform another miracle,” replied Mr. Lucre, bitterly.

“Ay will, if it be necessary,” said the priest; “but I do most solemnly
assure you that by far the most brilliant miracle of modern days is to
find the Rev. Phineas Lucre at a sick-bed. Depend upon it, however, if
Beatty had not turned Catholic, he might die like a dog for the same Mr.
Lucre.”

“I will not abstract the last shilling from his pocket for the unction
of superstition, at all events.”

“Not you, faith; you’ll charge him nothing I grant, and right glad am I
to find that you know the value of your services. You forget, however,
that my flock pay you well for doing this nothing--that is, for
discharging your duty--notwithstanding.”

Both now pushed on at a rapid rate, growling at each other as they went
along. On getting into the fields they increased their speed; and as the
peasantry of both religions were apprised of the circumstances connected
with Bob’s complaint and conversion, each party cheered on their own
champion.

“More power to you Father M’Cabe; give him the Latin and the Bravery!”
 (*Breviary)

“Success, Mr. Lucre! Push on, sir, and don’t let the Popish rebel send
him out of the world with a bandage on his eyes. Lay in the Bible, Mr.
Lucre! Protestant and True Blue forever--hurra!”

“The true Church forever, Father M’Cabe, the jewel that you war! Give
the horse the spurs, avourneen. Sowl, Paddy, but the _bodagh_ parson has
the advantage of him in the _cappul_. Push on, your reverence; you
have the divil and the parson against you, for the one’s drivin’ on the
other.”

“Cross the corner of the Barny Mother’s meadow, Mr. Lucre, and wheel
in at the garden ditch; your horse can do it, although you ride the
heaviest weight. Lay on him, sir, and think of Protestant Ascendancy.
King William against Popery and wooden shoes; hurra!”

“Father, achora, keep your shoulder to the wind, and touch up _Parra
Gastha_ (* Literally, Paddy Speedy) wid the spurs. A groan for the
Protestant parson, father darlin’!”

“Three groans for the Popish Mass Book. Bravo, Mr. Lucre! That ditch was
well cleared!”

“Devil a purtier, father jewel! Parra Gastha’s a darlin’, and brought
you over like a bird--hurra!”

“Have you no whip, Mr. Lucre? Whip and spur, sir, or the Popish garran
will be in before you. By the great Boyne, I’m afraid the charger’s
blown.”

“God enable you, father avilish! Blown! Why what would you expect, an’
it the first visit ever the same horse made to a sick-bed’ in his life;
he now finds it isn’t on the king’s highway he is--and I’ll go bail it’s
himself that’s cursin’ the same duty in his heart. Bravo, Father Pat!
Parra Gastha’s the boy that knows his duty--more power, Parra Gastha!
Divil pursue the hair’s turned on him; but, be me sowl, it wouldn’t
be so, if he led the life the Protestant blood did.--feedin’ high, and
doin’ nothin’.”

“Mr. Lucre, pull out; I see you’re hard up, sir, and so is your charger.
Push him, sir, even if he should drop. Death and Protestantism before
Popery and dishonor! Hurra, well done!”

“Ah, be me sowl, it’s near the last gasp wid him and his masther, and
no wondher; they’re both divilish far out of their element. Faith, if
they had Father M’Cabe and Parra Gastha’s practice, they wouldn’t be the
show they are this minute. Well done both! fresh and fair, snug and dry,
you do it. Hurra!”

When the two worthy gentlemen had reached Bob’s house, they dismounted,
each in a perspiration, and rushed to the bed of the dying man. Mr.
Lucre sat, of course, at one side, and the priest at the other; Mr.
Lucre seized the right hand, and the priest the left: whilst Bob looked
at them both alternately, and gave a cordial squeeze to each.

“You thought, sir,” said Mr. Lucre to the priest haughtily, “that he
would have died an idolater.”

Bob squeezed Mr. Lucre’s hand again.

“And you thought,” replied Father M’Cabe, “that he would die a
Protestant or a heretic, which is the same thing.”

Bob squeezed Father M’Cabe’s hand once more.

“Gentlemen,” said Bob, “be pleased to sit down--you are both Christian
ministers, I hope.”

“No,” said Father M’Cabe, “there is but one of us a Christian; Mr. Lucre
here is not worthy of the name, Bob.”

Bob squeezed the priest’s hand a third time.

“Beatty,” said Mr. Lucre, “this is a solemn occasion, and I’m bound to
say, that the priest here is merely a representative of Antichrist. This
is not a time to disguise the truth.”

Bob squeezed Mr. Lucre’s hand a third time also.

“Beatty,” continued Mr. Lucre, “if you permit yourself to die a Papist,
you seal your own everlasting punishment.”

“True,” said Bob.

“Bob,” said the priest, “if after the explanations of the true church
which I have given you, you allow yourself to relapse into heresy, you
will suffer for it during all eternity.”

“True,” said Bob.

“There is no hope for those, who, like the Papists and idolators, hew
for themselves vessels that will hold no water,” said Lucre.

[Illustration: PAGE 322-- “Ah, very right,” said Bob.]

“Ah, very right,” said Bob.

“There is but one Faith, one Church, and one Baptism, and that is ours,”
 said the priest.

“Ah, you can do it,” said Bob, with a squeeze.

“Bob,” said the wife, “what do you mean? I don’t understand you--die a
True Blue, and don’t shame your friends.”

“Gentlemen,” said Bob, “I feel disposed to sleep a little. It is likely
that a few minutes’ rest may strengthen my weak body, and clear my mind
for the consolations of religion, which you are both so beautifully
prepared to give me. I feel rather drowsy, so I’ll close my eyes for a
few minutes, and doze a little.”

Bob closed his eyes for about four mortal hours and a half, during
which time our two worthy gentlemen sat at his bed-side with the most
exemplary patience. At length he opened his eyes, and inquired for his
daughter Fanny, who had been sent for Father Roche; to her he whispered
a few words, after which she went out, but almost immediately returned.
He looked at her inquiringly, and she answered:

“Yes, just as I expected--in a few minutes.”

“Gentlemen,” said Bob, “I am much aisier now; but I am at a loss whether
to to prepared for heaven by you, Mr. Lucre, or by Father M’Cabe.”

“Beatty,” said Lucre, “you have have access to the Bible, and
possessing, as you do, and as you must, the Scriptural knowledge, gained
from that sacred book, to die in the church which worships crucifixes
and images would leave you without hope or excuse.”

“Ah!” said Bob, “you are sound in point of doctrine. No man is more
orthodox than you.”

“Bob,” said the priest, “you know what the Council of Trent says:--
‘There is but one Church, one Faith, and one Baptism’--if you die out
of that church, which is ours, woe betide you. No, Bob, there is no hope
for you if you die an apostate, Bob.”

“Ah,” said Bob, “you can send it home, Father M’Cabe.”

“Bob,” said the wife, “die a True Blue, and don’t shame the family.”

“There is but a blue look up for you if you do,” said Father M’Cabe.

“Blue is the emblem of hope, and for that reason the Orange system has
adopted it as illustrative of our faith,” said Mr. Lucre.

He had scarcely uttered the words, when Father Roche entered the sick
apartment. High and haughty was the bow he received from Mr. Lucre;
whilst Father M’Cabe seemed somewhat surprised at the presence of
the reverend gentlemen. The latter looked mildly about him, wiped the
moisture from his pale forehead and said--

“Mrs. Beatty, will you indulge me with a chair? On my return home I lost
not a moment in coming here; but the walk I have had is a pretty long
one, the greater part of it being up-hill.”

“Well,” replied Mrs. Beatty, “I’m not the woman to think one thing and
speak another. To be sure, I’d rather he would die a True Blue than a
Papish; but since he will die one, I’d rather have you at his side than
e’er a priest in the kingdom. If there is a Christian among them, you
are one--you are--so, Bob dear, since you’re bent on it, I won’t disturb
you.”

“Bring your chair near me,” said Bob; “where is your hand, my dear sir?
Give Me your hand.” Poor Bob caught Father Roche’s hand in his, and
pressed it honestly and warmly.

“Bob,” said Mr. Lucre, “I don’t understand this; in what creed are you
disposed to die?”

“You see, sir,” said M’Cabe, “that he _won’t_ die in yours at any rate.”

“You will not die in my creed!” repeated the parson, astonished.

“No,” said Bob; “I will not.”

“You will then die in mine, of course?” said Mr. M’Cabe.

“No,” replied Bob; “I will not.”

“How is that?” said the priest.

“Explain yourself,” said Mr. Lucre.

“_I’ll die a Christian_,” replied Bob. “You’re both anything but what
you ought to be; and if I wasn’t on my death-bed you’d hear more of it.
Here is a Christian clergyman, and under his ministry I will die.”

“Ah,” said Mr. Lucre, “I perceive, Mrs. Beatty, that the poor man’s
intellect is gone; whilst his reason was sound he remained a staunch
Protestant, and as such, we shall claim him. He must be interred
according to the rights of our church, for he dies clearly _non compos
mentis_.”

Father Roche now addressed himself to Beatty, and prepared him for his
great change, as became a pious and faithful minister of the gospel.
Beatty, however, was never capable of serious impressions. Still, his
feelings were as solemn as could be expected, from a man whose natural
temperament had always inclined him to facetiousness and humor. He died
the next day, after a severe fit, from which he recovered only to linger
about half an hour in a state of stupor and insensibility.

This conflict between the priest and the parson was a kind of prelude in
its way, to the great Palaver, or discussion, which was immediately to
take place between the redoubtable champions of the rival churches.



CHAPTER XXVIII.--Darby is a Spiritual Ganymede

--Preparations for the Great Discussion, which we do not
give--Extraordinary Hope of a Modern Miracle--Solomon like an Angel
looking into the Gospel.


On the morning of the appointed day, the walls of Castle Cumber were
duly covered with placards containing the points to be discussed, and
the names of the speakers on both sides of the question. The roads
leading to the scene of controversy were thronged with people of
all classes. Private jaunting cars, gigs, and carriages of every
description, rolled rapidly along. Clergymen of every creed, various as
they are, moved through the streets with eager and hurried pace, each
reverend countenance marked by an anxious expression arising from the
interest its possessor felt in the result of the controversy. People, in
fact, of all ranks and religions, were assembled to hear the leading men
on each side defend their own creeds, and assail those of their enemies.
The professional men relinquished, for the day, their other engagements
and avocations, in order to be present; and invalids, who had not been
long out of their sick rooms, tottered down, wrapped in cloaks, to hear
this great display of learning and eloquence. Early on the preceding
morning, the Catholic Clergy, though without the sanction of their
Bishops, formally signified to the committee of the society, their
intention of meeting them man to man on the platform. Before the door
was open to the crowd at large, the opposing clergymen and the more
select friends on both sides were admitted by a private entrance.
The gallery was set aside for ladies, who, in Ireland, and we believe
everywhere else, form an immense majority at religious meetings.

When the house was thronged to suffocation, none but a man intimately
acquainted with the two-fold character of the audience, could observe
much more within it, than the sea of heads with which it was studded.
The Protestant party looked on with a less devoted, but freer aspect;
not, however, without an evident feeling and pride in the number and
character of their champions. A strong dash of enthusiasm might be seen
in many fair eyes among the females, who whispered to each other an
occasional observation concerning their respective favorites; and
then turned upon the divine champions, smiles that seemed to have been
kindled by the sweet influences of love and piety. Among the Roman
Catholic party there was an expression of wonder created by the novelty
of the scene; of keen observation, evinced by the incessant rolling
of their clear Milesian eyes from one party to another, together with
something like pity and contempt for the infatuated Biblemen, as they
called them, who could so madly rush upon the sharp theological spears
of their own beloved clergymen. Dismay, or doubt, or apprehension of any
kind, were altogether out of the question, as was evident from the proud
look, the elated eye, and the confident demeanor by which each of them
might be distinguished. Here and there, you might notice an able-bodied,
coarse-faced Methodist Preacher, with lips like sausages, sombre visage,
closely cropped hair, trimmed across his face, sighing from time to
time, and, with eyes half closed, offering up a silent prayer for
victory over the Scarlet Lady; or, perhaps, thinking of the fat ham
and chicken, that were to constitute that day’s dinner, as was not
improbable, if the natural meaning were to be attached to the savory
spirit with which, from time to time, he licked, or rather sucked at,
his own lips. He and his class, many of whom, however, are excellent
men, sat at a distance from the platform, not presuming to mingle with
persons who consider them as having no title to the clerical character,
except such as they conveniently bestow on each other. Not so the
Presbyterian Clergymen who were present. They mingled with their
brethren of the Establishment, from whom they differed only in a less
easy and gentlemanly deportment, but yielded to them neither in kindness
of intellect, firmness, nor the cool adroitness of men well read,
and quite as well experienced in public speaking. At the skirt of
the platform sat the unassuming Mr. Clement, a calm spectator of the
proceedings; and in the capacity of messenger appeared. Darby O’Drive,
dressed in black--he had not yet entered upon the duties of his new
office--busily engaged in bringing in, and distributing oranges and
other cooling fruit, to those of the Protestant party who were to
address the meeting. High aloft, in the most conspicuous situation
on the platform, sat Solomon M’Slime, breathing of piety, purity, and
humility. He held a gilt Bible in his hands, in order to follow the
parties in their scriptural quotations, and to satisfy himself of their
accuracy, as well as that he might fall upon some blessed text, capable
of enlarging his privileges. There was in his countenance a serene
happiness, a sweet benignity, a radiance of divine triumph, partly
arising from the consciousness of his own inward state, and partly
from the glorious development of scriptural truth which would soon be
witnessed, to the utter discomfiture of Popery and the Man of Sin.
For some time before the business of the day commenced, each party
was busily engaged in private conferences; in marking passages for
reference, arranging notes, and fixing piles of books in the most
convenient position. Mr. Lucre was in full pomp, exceedingly busy,
directing, assisting, and tending their wants, with a proud courtesy,
and a suavity of manner, which no man could better assume. The
deportment and manners of the Roman Catholic clergy were strongly
marked, and exceedingly well defined; especially in determination of
character and vigor of expression. In a word, they were firm, resolute,
and energetic. Among the latter, the busiest by far, and the most
zealous was Father M’Cabe, who assumed among his own party much the same
position that Mr. Lucre did among his. He was, no doubt of it, in great
glee, and searched out for Mr. Lucre’s eye, in order to have a friendly
glance with him, before the play commenced. Lucre perceived this, and
avoided him as much as he could; but, in fact, the thing was impossible.
At length he caught the haughty parson’s eye, and exclaimed with a
comical grin, which was irresistible--

“I am glad to see you here, Mr. Lucre; who knows, but we may make a
Christian of you yet. You know that we, as Catholics, maintain that the
power of working miracles is in the Church still; and that, certainly,
would prove it.”

Mr. Lucre bowed, and smiled contemptuously, but made no reply.

When the chairman was appointed, and the regulations by which the
meeting was to be guided, read and assented to by both parties, the
melee commenced; and, indeed, we are bound to say, that a melancholy
comment upon Christian charity it was. It is not our intention to give
anything like a report of this celebrated discussion, inasmuch, as two
reports, each the genuine and authentic one, and each most egregiously
contradictory of the other, have been for several years before the
public, who, consequently, have a far better right to understand the
business than we do, who are at this distant date merely the remote
historian.

We may be permitted to say, however, that the consequences of this great
discussion were such as are necessarily produced by every exhibition of
the kind. For a considerable time afterwards nothing was heard between
Catholic and Protestant but fierce polemics, and all the trite and wordy
arguments that are to be found in the mouths of ignorant and prejudiced
men on both sides. The social harmony of the district was disturbed, and
that friendly intercourse which should subsist between neighbors, was
either suspended or destroyed. A fierce spirit of exacerbation and
jealousy was created, and men looked Upon each other with bitterness and
resentment; whilst to complete the absurdity, neither party could
boast of a single convert to attest the glory of the triumph which each
claimed.

At this period, the character of the Castle Cumber yeomanry corps, or as
they were called, M’Clutchy’s Blood-hounds, was unquestionably in such
infamous odor with all but bigots, in consequence of their violence
when upon duty, that a few of the more mild and benevolent gentry of the
neighborhood, came to the determination of forming a corps composed of
men not remarkable for the extraordinary and exclusive loyalty which put
itself forth in so many offensive and oppressive forms. Deaker’s Dashers
were by no means of such rancid bigotry as M’Clutchy’s men, although
they were, heaven knows, much worse than they ought to have been.

Their most unjustifiable excesses, however, Were committed in his
absence, and without his orders; for it is due to Deaker himself to
say, that, although a staunch political Protestant and infidel, he never
countenanced violence against those who differed from him in creed.
Deaker’s creed was a very peculiar one, and partook of the comic
profligacy which marked his whole life. He believed, for instance,
that Protestantism was necessary, but could not for the life of him
understand the nature or tendency of religion. As he himself said, the
three great Protestant principles and objects of his life were--to drink
the “Glorious Memory “--“To hell with the Pope”--merely because he was
not a Protestant--and to “die whistling the Boyne Water.” If he could
accomplish these successfully, he thought he had discharged his duty to
his king and country, and done all that could be fairly expected from an
honest and loyal Protestant. And, indeed, little, if anything else, in
a religious way, was expected from him, or from any other person, at the
period of which we write.

Be this, however, as it may, the formation of a new corps of cavalry was
determined on, and by unanimous consent, the conduct of the matter in
all its departments was entrusted to Mr. Hartley, the gentleman already
mentioned, as selected to contest the county against Lord Cumber or his
brother, for it had not yet been decided on between them, as to which of
them should stand. Lord Cumber expected an Earldom for his virtues, with
a seat in the house of Lords, and should these honors reach him in
time, then his brother, the Hon. Richard Topertoe, should be put in
nomination. In point of fact, matters between the two parties were fast
drawing to a crisis, and it was also in some degree to balance interests
with Lord Cumber, and neutralize the influence of the Irish government,
that Hartley and his friends deemed it advisible to have a cavalry corps
at their disposal. The day of the dissolution of parliament was now
known, and it naturally became necessary that each candidate should be
found at his post.

It was at this very period that a circumstance occurred, which, although
of apparently small importance, was nevertheless productive of an
incident that will form the catastrophe of our chronicles. Our readers
cannot forget the warm language which passed between the man Sharpe and
our exquisite friend, Philip M’Clutchy, on their way from Deaker’s. Now,
it is due to this man to say, that, on looking back at the outrage
which occurred in O’Regan’s cottage, and reflecting upon the melancholy
consequences it produced--not forgetting the heart-rending insanity of
O’Regan’s wife--he felt deep regret, amounting almost to remorse,
for the part which he bore in it. Independently of this, however, the
conduct of Phil and his father, in their military capacity over the
corps, was made up of such tyrranical insolence at one time, and of such
contemptible meanness at another, that the men began to feel disgusted
with such sickening alternations of swaggering authority, and base,
calculating policy. Many of them, consequently, were heartily tired of
their officers, and had already begun to think of withdrawing altogether
from the corps, unless there were some change for the better made in
it. Now, at this precise state of feeling, with regard to both
circumstances, had Sharpe arrived, when he met his lieutenant on the
day when that gallant gentleman signalized himself by horsewhipping his
grandmother. Phil’s threat had determined him to return to the Dashers,
but, on hearing a day or two afterwards, that Hartley was about to raise
a new corps, composed of well-conducted and orderly men, he resolved
not only to offer himself to that gentleman, but to induce all who
were moderate among the “hounds,” and, indeed, they were not many,
to accompany him. This alarmed M’Clutchy very much, because on Lord
Cumber’s arrival to canvass the county, it would look as if his
Lordship’s interests had been neglected; and he feared, too, that the
withdrawing of the men from his corps might lead to investigations
which were strongly to be deprecated. After a day or two’s inquiries,
therefore, and finding that from eighteen to twenty of his youngest
and most respectable yeomanry had not only returned him their arms and
appointments, but actually held themselves ready to be enrolled in the
Annagh Corps--for so Hartley’s was termed--he sat down and wrote the
following letter to Lord Cumber:--

“Constitution Cottage, June--

“My Lord:

“Circumstances affecting your Lordship’s personal and political
interests have recently occurred here, and are even now occurring, which
render it my painful duty to communicate with you on the subject without
loss of time. I am sorry to say that the conduct of Mr. Hartley,
your well known opponent for the county, is not that which becomes a
high-minded man. The Cavalry Corps of which your Lordship is Colonel,
and which, by the way, has rendered good service in the firm discharge
of their duty, has been very much damaged by the extraordinary conduct
which that gentleman is pursuing. The fact is, that he has taken it
into his head, aided and assisted of course by his friends and political
supporters, to raise a corps of Yeomanry Cavalry as it were, in
opposition to ours; and this, no doubt, he has a right to do; although
I am quite certain, at the same time, that it is done with a view to
secure either the support, or at least the neutrality of government;
which neutrality would, as your Lordship knows, be a heavy blow to
us. However, as I said, he has as good a right as we have to raise his
corps; but I do not think he is justified in writing private circulars,
or in tampering with the men of our corps, many of whom he has already
seduced from their duty, and lured over with honeyed words and large
promises to the body he is raising. The fact is, my Lord, if our
men were not so devotedly attached to my son and myself as they are,
Hartley’s unjustifiable interference would leave the corps a mere
skeleton. As it is, he has taken eighteen of our very best men from us;
by best, I allude only to youth and physical energy, for I need scarcely
say, that all the staunch and loyal fellows remain with us. I am
sorry to add that Mr. Hickman, as I predicted he would, is vigorously
supporting your opponent; and there is a scoundrel here who is often
closeted with him--a rascally painter named Easel, _quem ego_--you see
I have a little of my Latin still, my Lord. The fellow--this wild goose,
Easel, I mean--says he has come to the neighborhood to take sketches;
but if I don’t mistake much I shall ere long put him in a condition to
sketch the Bay of Sidney. I have already reported him to government,
and, indeed, I have every reason to suppose he is a Popish Agent, sent
here to sow the seeds of treason and disaffection among the people.
Nothing else can account for the dreadful progress which Whiteboyism has
made upon your Lordship’s property, where it is much more outrageous and
turbulent than in any other district that I am acquainted with. I have
also to acquaint you, my Lord, that even if I were disposed to keep
M’Loughlin and Harman on the property--that is, granting that I were
sufficiently treacherous to your interest to do so, it is now out of my
power. Their own dishonesty has at length fallen upon their heads. They
are bankrupts, and not now in a condition to pay a renewal fine for
their leases; but I am happy to inform your Lordship, that my son
Phil, and Mr. M’Slime, have each offered five hundred pounds for their
respective holdings--a tender which I might in vain expect from any
other quarter and which I cannot conscientiously refuse.

“Harman was acquitted for the murder of Harpur--in consequence, it is
thought, of a treacherous scoundrel, named Sharpe, who was once one of
our corps, having taken a bribe to give evidence in his favor. This same
Sharpe is to be a sergeant in Hartley’s corps; and, when I say that,
Hartley and Harman are and have been on very intimate terms, I think
it shows how the wind blows between them, at all events. I have been
receiving rent yesterday and to-day, and cannot but regret the desperate
state to which things have been brought. There is no gettin’ in
money, and the only consolation I feel is, that I have honestly and
conscientiously discharged my duty. I have cleared a great number of
our enemies from the property, but, unfortunately, such is the state
of things here, that there is the greater number of the holdings still
unoccupied, other tenants that we could depend on being afraid to enter
upon them, in consequence of the spirit of intimidation that is abroad.
This M’Loughlin is certainly a most consummate swindler: he was unable
to pay his rent, and I sent in an execution yesterday; but, as every one
knows, fourteen days must elapse before the public auction of property
takes place. Judge of my surprise then, when, short as was the time, an
affidavit has been made before me, that he and his family have come to
the determination of emigrating to America, and, I suppose, by the aid
of a midnight mob to take away all that is valuable of their property
by force. I consequently must remove it at once, as the law, under such
circumstances, empowers me to do--for I cannot sit by and suffer your
lordship’ to be robbed, in addition to being both misrepresented and
maligned by these men and their families. Granting the full force,
however, of this unpleasant intelligence, still I do not think it
necessary that you should at present leave the circles of polished and
fashionable life in which you move, to bury yourself here among a set
of malignant barbarians, who would scruple very little to slit your
lordship’s weasand, or to shoot you from behind a hedge.

“I am in correspondence with Counsellor Browbeater, at the Castle, who,
in addition to the glorious privilege of being, as he deserves to be,
free of the Back Trot there, is besides a creature after my own heart.
We are both engaged in attempting to bring the Spy System to that state
of perfection which we trust may place it on a level with that fine old
institution, so unjustly abused, called the Inquisition. Browbeater is,
indeed, an exceedingly useful man to the present government, and does
all that in him lies, I mean out of his own beat, to prevent them from
running into financial extravagance. For instance, it was only the other
day that he prevented a literary man with a large family from getting a
pension from the Premier, who, between you and me, my lord, is no great
shake; and this was done in a manner that entitles him to a very
lasting remembrance indeed. The principle upon which he executed this
interesting and beautiful piece of treachery--for treachery of this
kind, my lord, is in the catalogue of public virtues--was well worthy of
imitation by every man emulous of office; it was that of professing
to be a friend to the literary man, whilst he acted the spy upon his
private life, and misrepresented him to the Minister. Oh, you do not
know, my lord, how the heart of such a man as I am, warms to the author
of this manly act of private treachery and public virtue, and I cannot
help agreeing with my friend M’Slime, who, when he heard it, exclaimed
with tears of admiration in his eyes, ‘it is beautiful--verily the
virtuous iniquity of it refreshes me! May that mild, meek, and most
gentlemanly Christian, Mr. Browbeater, be rewarded for it! And may the
day never come when he shall require to tread in the footsteps of the
devil!’ Indeed, my lord, I cannot help crying amen to this, and adding,
that the remembrance of his virtues may descend and reflect honor on
his posterity, as, I have no doubt, they will do. How few like him could
transfuse the spirit of the Tipperary assassin into the moral principles
of the Castle, for useful purpose? I beg to inclose, your lordship, Mr.
Hartley’s circular, which, I think, contains an indirect reflection on
certain existing bodies of a similar nature, and is therefore, in my
opinion, very offensive to us; I also enclose you others which he has
written to several of your tenants, who are already members of your own
corps,

“I have the honor to be, &c, &c,
“Val M’Clutchy.”


The following is the circular alluded to above--

“Sir: As a proposal to raise an additional yeomanry corps of
_respectable_ cavalry in Castle Cumber and its vicinity is about to be
submitted to the Lord Lieutenant, in order to receive his approbation,
your presence is requested at Sam Company’s Castle Cumber Arms, at
twelve o’clock on Friday next, when it is proposed to name officers,
and adopt such further measures as may appear most conducive to the
embodiment of the corps with expedition and effect.

“I am, sir,
“Your humble servant,
“Henry Hartley.”


To his letter Val received the following reply--

“Belgrave Square.

“Dear Sir: I received your letter, and perfectly agree with you as to
the offensive nature of Mr. Hartley’s circular, many of which I have had
in my possession for some time past. With respect to him, I have only
to say, that he and I have agreed to arrange that matter between us, as
soon as I reach Castle Cumber. I am sorry that any of my tenants should
deserve the character which M’Loughlin and his partner have received
at your hand; I dare say, however, that if they did not deserve it they
would not get it. The arrangements for their removal, of course I leave
as I hitherto have left everything within the sphere of your duty, to
your own sense of honesty and justice. _Do not, however, take harsh
or sudden steps_. In the meantime lose not a moment in remitting the
needful.

“Yours, &c,
“Cumber.”


It is not at all likely that Lord Cumber would ever have noticed
Hartley’s circular, or troubled himself about the formation of the
new corps in the slightest degree were it not for the malignity of
M’Clutchy, who not only hated the whole family of the Hartleys from the
same principle on which a knave hates an honest man, but in remembrance
of that gentleman’s cousin having, in his office, and in his own
presence, kicked his son Phil and pulled his nose. When enclosing
the circular, therefore, to his lordship, he underlined the word
“respectable,” by which it was made to appear deliberately offensive.
Whether it was used with the design of reflecting upon the licentious
violence of the blood-hounds, we pretend not to say, but we can safely
affirm that the word in the original document was never underlined
by Hartley. Lord Cumber, like his old father, was no coward, and
the consequence was, that having once conceived the belief that the
offensive term in the circular was levelled at his own corps--although
he had never even seen it--he, on the receipt of M’Clutchy’s letter,
came to the determination of writing to Hartley upon the subject.


Lord Cumber to Henry Hartley, Esq.:--

“Sir: I have just perused a circular written by you, calling a meeting
at the Castle Cumber Arms, with the object of forming what you are
pleased to term, a yeomanry corps of _respectable_ cavalry. Now you are
perfectly at liberty to bestow whatever epithets you wish upon your new
corps, provided these epithets contain no unfair insinuation against
existing corps. I think, therefore, that whilst others have been for
some time already formed in the neighborhood, your use of the term
respectable was, to say the least of it, unhandsome. I also perceive
that you have written to some of my tenants, who are already enrolled
in the Castle Cumber corps, and am informed that several of my men have
already given up their arms and clothing, on account of an application
from you to join your corps. I presume, sir, you did not know that these
persons belonged to the Castle Cumber troops, for, however anxious
in the cause you may be, I need not point out to you a very obvious
fact--to wit--that weakening a corps already embodied only tends to
defeat the purpose for which it was designed. I take it, therefore, for
granted, that no gentleman, however great his influence, would ask any
soldier to desert his colors, and I am sure you will tell those men that
they ought to remain in the body in which they were enrolled, and in
which enrollment their names have been returned to the war office. In
conclusion, I think that the tenant who does not reserve to himself the
power of serving the landlord under whom he derives the whole of his
property, is, in my opinion, both ungrateful and unprincipled: and
he who solicits him to resign that essential reservation is, I think,
extremely indelicate.

“I am, &c, Cumber.”


To this Mr. Hartley sent the following:--

“My Lord: I cannot at all recognize the tyrannical principle you lay
down in your definition of the relations between landlord and tenant. I
deny that a tenant necessarily owes any such slavish and serf-like duty
to his landlord as you advocate; and I am of opinion, that the landlord
who enforces, or attempts to enforce such a duty, is stretching his
privileges beyond their proper limits. I do not understand that any of
your lordship’s tenantry have been solicited to join our new corps. I
have signed circular letters for my own tenantry, and if any of them
have reached yours, it has been without either my consent or knowledge.

“I have the honor to be,
“My lord, &c,
“Henry Hartley.”


Lord Cumber to Henry Hartley, Esq.:--

“Sir: I beg to inquire whether you apply the word tyrannical to me?

“I have the honor, &c,
“Cumber.”


Henry Hartley, Esq., to the Eight Hon. Lord Cumber:--

“My Lord: I think if you had read my last communication with due
attention, you might have perceived that I applied the term which seems
to offend you, to your principles, rather than to yourself. So long as
your lordship continues, however, to advocate such a principle, so long
shall I associate it with the epithet in question.

“I have the honor, &c,
“Henry Hartley.”


Lord Cumber to Henry Hartley, Esq.:--

“Sir: Your letter merely contains a distinction without a difference.
So long as I identify my principles with myself, or myself with my
principles, so long shall I look upon any offence offered to the one as
offered to the other. The principle, therefore, which you brand with the
insulting epithet tyrannical, is one which I hold, and ever shall
hold; because I believe it to be just and not tyrannical. I await your
explanation, and trust it may be satisfactory.

“I have the honor to be, &c,
“Cumber.”


Henry Hartley, Esq., to the Eight Hon. Lord Cumber:--

“My Lord: I am not anxious to have a quarrel with you, and I believe you
will admit that the courage neither of myself nor any one of my
family was never called in question. I really regret that any serious
misunderstanding should arise between us, from this mere play upon
words. I trust, therefore, to your Lordship’s good sense, and good
feeling, not to press me on this occasion.

“I have the honor, &c,
“Henry Hartley.”


Lord Cumber to Henry Hartley, Esq.:--

“Sir: I never doubted your courage until now. I have only to say, that I
beg an answer to my last letter.

“I have the honor, &c,
“Cumber.”


Henry Hartley, Esq., to Lord Cumber:--

“My Lord: Your Lordship will find it in my last but one.

“I have the honor, &c, &c,
“Henry Hartley.”


Lord Cumber to Henry Hartley, Esq.:--

“Sir: I beg to say that I shall be in Castle Cumber within a fortnight
from this date, and that you shall have early and instant notice of my
arrival.

“I remain, &c,
“Cumber.”


Henry Hartley, Esq., to Lord Cumber:--

“And I, my Lord, shall be ready to meet you either there or anywhere
else,

“And have th