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

“Mr. Raiment—­very interesting, indeed. (Good God! am I to run the risk of being-strangled in my own house by a madman!) Oh—­here, Alick; bring up some cold meat and a bottle of porter.  Anything to make you comfortable, my good sir.”

“I only want to see if all’s right, sir,” said Raymond, “and I’ll tell you by and by.”  This was followed by a look of most pitiable distress from Lucre to his servant, John.

Raymond no sooner saw the cold beef and bread laid down, together with a bottle of porter, than he commenced an exhibition, which first, awoke Mr. Lucre’s astonishment, next his admiration, and lastly his envy.  Raymond’s performance, however, was of that rare description which loses by too frequent practice, and is only seen to advantage when the opportunities for exhibition are few.  Three mortal pounds having at length disappeared, together with the greater part of a quartern loaf, and two bottles of porter, for Raymond had made bold to call for a second, he now wiped his mouth with the cuff of his coat first, and afterwards, by way of a more delicate touch, with the gathered palm of his hand; then, looking at Mr. Lucre, who sat perspiring with terror in his gorgeous easy chair, our readers may judge of the ease it just then communicated to that reverend gentleman, when he said, “It’s all right enough, sir.”

“I’m delighted to hear it,” replied Mr. Lucre, applying the sudariolum once more with a very nervous and quivering hand to his forehead: 

“Is there anything else in which I can serve you, my good sir?”

[Illustration:  PAGE 231—­ Borrow the loan of your religion]

“Yes, there is—­all’s right, I’ve now made the thrial, and it will do—­I want to borrow the loan of your religion till the new praties comes in.”

“You shall have it, my worthy sir—­you shall have it, with very great pleasure.”

“The raison why I came to you for it,” said Raymond, who, evidently in this joke, had been put up by some one, “was bekaise I was tould that it’s as good as new with you—­’seldom used lasts long,’ you know—­but, such as it is, I’ll borry it for—­ah, there now, that’s one; all right, all right,” pointing to the fragments of the meat and bread—­“I wouldn’t ax betther; so, till the praties comes in, mind I’ll take care of it; and, if I don’t bring it back safe, I’ll bring you a betther one in it’s place.”  He then nodded familiarly to Mr. Lucre, and left the house.  The latter felt as if he breathed new life once more, but he could not so readily pardon the man for admitting him.

“What is the reason, sir,” he asked, his face reddening, “that you suffered that formidable madman to get into the house?”

“Why, sir,” replied the porter, “when I opened the door, he shot in like a bolt; and, as for preventing him after that, if I had attempted it, he’d have had me in fragments long ago.  When he’s not opposed, sir, or crossed, he’s quiet as a lamb, and wouldn’t hurt a child; but, if he’s vexed, and won’t get his own way, why ten men wouldn’t stand him.”

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