In which Mr Vanslyperken drives a very hard bargain.
We will be just and candid in our opinion relative to the historical facts which we are now narrating. Party spirit, and various other feelings, independent of misrepresentation do, at the time, induce people to form their judgment, to say the best, harshly, and but too often, incorrectly. It is for posterity to calmly weigh the evidence handed down, and to examine into the merits of a case divested of party bias. Actuated by these feelings, we do not hesitate to assert, that, in the point at question, Mr Vanslyperken had great cause for being displeased; and that the conduct of Moggy Salisbury, in cutting off the tail of Snarleyyow was, in our opinion, not justifiable.
There is a respect for property, inculcated and protected by the laws, which should never be departed from; and, whatever may have been the aggressions on the part of Mr Vanslyperken, or of the dog, still a tail is a tail, and whether mangy or not, is bond fide a part of the living body; and this aggression must inevitably come under the head of the cutting and maiming act, which act, however, it must, with the same candour which will ever guide our pen, be acknowledged, was not passed until a much later period than that to the history of which our narrative refers.
Having thus, with all deference, offered our humble opinion, we shall revert to facts. Mr Vanslyperken went on shore, with the dog’s tail in his pocket. He walked with rapid strides towards the half-way houses, in one of which was the room tenanted by his aged mother; for, to whom else could he apply for consolation in this case of severe distress? That it was Moggy Salisbury who gave the cruel blow, was a fact completely substantiated by evidence; but that it was Smallbones who held the dog, and who thereby became an active participator, and therefore equally culpable, was a surmise to which the insinuations of the corporal had given all the authority of direct evidence. And, as Mr Vanslyperken felt that Moggy was not only out of his power, but even if in his power, that he dare not retaliate upon her, for reasons which we have already explained to our readers; it was, therefore, clear to him, that Smallbones was the party upon whom his indignation could be the most safely vented: and, moreover, that in so doing, he was only paying off a long accumulating debt of hatred and ill-will. But, at the same time, Mr Vanslyperken had made up his mind that a lad who could be floated out to the Nab buoy and back again without sinking—who could have a bullet through his head without a mark remaining—and who could swallow a whole twopenny-worth of arsenic without feeling more than a twinge in his stomach, was not so very easy to be made away with. That the corporal’s vision was no fiction, was evident—the lad was not to be hurt by mortal man; but although the widow’s