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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 594 pages of information about Valentine M'Clutchy, The Irish Agent.

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

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