“Take care that he shall never be admitted here again,” said his master; “I really am quite disturbed and nervous by his conduct and language, which are perfectly unintelligible. Indeed I am absolutely unwell—the shock was awful, and to occur on such a day, too—I fear my appetite will be very much affected by it—a circumstance which would be distressing beyond belief. Stop—perhaps it is not yet too late—ask Francis is the venison down, and, if not, desire him not to dress it to-day—I am out of appetite, say.”
John went, and in a couple of minutes returned, “Francis says it’s down, sir, for some time,” replied the man, “and that it must be dressed to-day, otherwise it will be spoiled.”
“And this is owing to you, you scoundrel,” said his master in a rage, “owing to your neglect and carlessness—but there is no placing dependence upon one of you. See, you rascal, the position in which I am—here is a delicious haunch of venison for dinner, and now I am so much agitated and out of order that my appetite will be quite gone, and it will be eaten by others before my face, while I cannot touch it. For a very trifle I would this moment discharge you from my service, and without a character too.”
“I am very sorry, sir, but the truth—”
“Begone, you scoundrel, and leave the room, or I shall use the horse-whip to you.”
John disappeared, and this great and zealous prop of Protestantism walked to and fro his study, almost gnashing his teeth from the apprehension of not having an appetite for the haunch of venison.
CHAPTER XIII.—Darby’s Brief Retirement from Public Life.
—A Controversial Discussion, together with the Virtues it Produced
Our readers may recollect that Darby in his pleasant dialogue with Father M’Cabe, alluded to a man named Bob Beatty, as a person afflicted with epilepsy. It was then reported that the priest had miraculously cured him of that complaint; but, whether he had or not, one thing, at least, was certain, that he became a Roman Catholic, and went regularly to mass. He had been, in fact, exceedingly notorious for his violence as an Orangeman, and was what the people then termed a blood-hound, and the son of a man who had earned an unenviable reputation as a Tory hunter; which means a person who devoted the whole energies of his life, and brought all the rancour of a religious hatred to the task of pursuing and capturing such unfortunate Catholics as came within grasp of penal laws. Beatty, like all converts, the moment he embraced the Roman Catholic creed, became a most outrageous opponent to the principles of Protestantism. Every Orangeman and Protestant must be damned, and it stood to reason they should, for didn’t they oppose the Pope? Bob, then, was an especial protege of Father M’Cabe’s, who, on his part, had very little to complain of his convert, unless it might be the difficulty of overcoming a habit of strong