“Why, I remember it, Phil; but you know, Phil, I’m a patient and a forgiving man notwithstanding; you know that Phil;—ha, ha, ha!”
“That was certainly the worst case came across us yet,” replied the son, “none of the rest ventured to go so far, even when you had less power than you have now.”
“I didn’t tell you all, Phil,” continued the father, following up the same train of thought.
“And why not,” said Phil, “why should you conceal anything from me?”
“Because,” replied the other, “I think you have heard enough for the present.”
The fact was, that M’Clutchy’s consciousness of the truth contained in M’Loughlin’s indignant reproaches, was such as prevented him from repeating them, even to his son, knowing right well that had he done so they could not exactly have looked each other in the face without sensations regarding their own conduct, which neither of them wished to avow. There is a hypocrisy in villainy sometimes so deep that it cannot bear to repeat its own iniquity, even in the presence of those who are aware of it, and in this predicament stood Valentine M’Clutchy.
“Maybe he has relented,” said Phil, “or that he will give me his pretty daughter yet—and you know they have the cash. The linen manufactory of M’Loughlin and Harman is flourishing.”
“No, no, Phil,” replied the father, “you must give her up—that’s past—but no matter, I’ll forgive him.”
Phil looked at him and smiled. “Come, come, father,” said he, “be original—that last is a touch of M’Slime—of honest Solomon. Keep back the forgiveness yet awhile, may be they may come round—begad, and upon my honor and reputation, I shouldn’t wish to lose the girl—no, father, don’t forgive them yet awhile.”
“Phil, we’ll do better for you, boy—don’t be a fool, I say, but have sense—I tell you what, Phil,” continued his father, and his face assumed a ghastly, deadly look, at once dark and pallid, “listen to me;—I’ll forgive him, Phil, until the nettle, the chick-weed, the burdock, the fulsome preshagh, the black fungus, the slimiest weed that grows—aye, till the green mould of ruin itself, grows upon the spot that is now his hearth—till the winter rain beats into, and the whiter wind howls over it.”
“No marriage, then,” said Phil. “No marriage; but what keeps Darby O’Drive? the rascal should have been here before—oh no,” said he, looking at his watch, “he has better than half an hour yet.”
“What steps do you intend to take, father?”
“Phil, when I’m prepared, you shall know them. In the meantime leave me—I must write to M’Slime, or send to him. M’Slime’s useful at a hint or suggestion, but, with all his wiliness and hypocrisy, not capable of carrying a difficult matter successfully out; he overdoes everything by too much caution, and consequently gets himself into ridiculous scrapes, besides I cannot and will not place full confidence in him. He is too oily, and cants too much, to be trusted; I think, still, we may use him and overreach him into the bargain. Are you going into Castle Cumber?”