“Married to a nigger!” exclaimed McCloskey—“it’s a quare taste the animal has—but you’re not afther killing him for that; there’s something more behind: it’s not for having a black wife instead of a white one you’d be afther murthering him—ye’ll get no stuff like that down me.”
“No, it is not for that alone, I acknowledge,” rejoined Mr. Stevens, with considerable embarrassment. “He insulted me some time ago, and I want to be revenged upon him.”
“It’s a dear job to insult you, at that rate, squire; but where does he live?”
“In my neighbourhood—in fact, next door to me,” replied Mr. Stevens, with an averted face.
“Howly Mother! not away up there—sure it’s crazy ye are. What, away up there in the city limits!—why, they would have the police and the sogers at our heels in less than no time. Sure, you’re out o’ your sinses, to have me go up there with a mob. No, no—there’s too much risk—I can’t try that.”
“I tell you there shall be no risk,” impatiently replied Mr. Stevens. “It’s not to be done to-night, nor to-morrow night; and, when I say do it, you shall do it, and as safely there as anywhere. Only come to the conclusion that a thing must be done, and it is half finished already. You have only to make up your mind that you will accomplish a design in spite of obstacles, and what you once thought to be insurmountable difficulties will prove mere straws in your path. But we are wasting time; I’ve determined you shall do it, and I hope you now know me well enough to be convinced that it is your best policy to be as obliging as possible. You had better go now, and be prepared to meet me to-night at Whitticar’s.”
After the door closed upon the retreating form of McCloskey, the careless expression that Mr. Stevens’s countenance had worn during the conversation, gave place to one full of anxiety and apprehension, and he shuddered as he contemplated the fearful length to which he was proceeding.
“If I fail,” said he—“pshaw! I’ll not fail—I must not fail—for failure is worse than ruin; but cool—cool,” he continued, sitting down to his desk—“those who work nervously do nothing right.” He sat writing uninterruptedly until quite late in the afternoon, when the fading sunlight compelled him to relinquish his pen, and prepare for home.
Thrusting the papers into his pocket, he hurried toward the newspaper office from which were to emanate, as editorials, the carefully concocted appeals to the passions of the rabble which he had been all the afternoon so busily engaged in preparing.
Mr. Stevens falls into Bad Hands.
The amiable partner of Mr. Stevens sat in high dudgeon, at being so long restrained from her favourite beverage by the unusually deferred absence of her husband. At length she was rejoiced by hearing his well-known step as he came through the garden, and the rattle of his latch-key as he opened the door was quite musical in her ears.