“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.’