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.