“How confoundedly blind the world is,” thought Bob, “not to see that Popery—” he never called it anything else—“is the true faith! Curse me but Priest M’Cabe is a famous fellow!—Zounds, what an Orangeman he would make!—he’s just the cut for it, an’ it’s a thousand pities he’s not one—but!—what the hell am I sayin?’ They say he’s cross and ill-tempered, but I deny it—isn’t he patient, except when in a passion? and never in a passion unless when provoked; what the d—l more would they have? I know I let fly an oath myself of an odd time (every third word, good reader), but, then, sure the faith is never injured by the vessel that contains it. Begad, but I’m sorry for my father, though, for, as there’s no salvation out o’ Popery, the devil of it is, that he’s lost beyond purchase.”
In such eccentric speculations did Bob amuse himself, until, in consequence of the rapid pace at which he went, he overtook a fellow-traveller, who turned out to be no other than our friend Darby O’Drive. There was, in fact, considering the peculiar character of these two converts, something irresistibly comic in this encounter. Bob knew little or nothing of the Roman Catholic creed; and, as for Darby, we need not say that he was thoroughly ignorant of Protestantism. Yet, nothing could be more certain—if one could judge by the fierce controversial cock of Bob’s hat, and the sneering contemptuous expression of Darby’s face, that a hard battle, touching the safest way of salvation, was about to be fought between them.
Bob, indeed, had of late been anxious to meet Darby, in order, as he said, to make him “show the cloven foot, the rascal;” but Darby’s ire against the priest was now up; and besides, he reflected that a display of some kind would recommend him to the Reformationists, especially, he hoped, to Mr. Lucre, who, he was resolved, should hear it. The two converts looked at each other with no charitable aspect. Darby was about to speak, but Bob, who thought there was not a moment to be lost, gave him a controversial facer before he had time to utter a word:—“How many articles in your church?”
[Illustration: PAGE 233— How many articles in your church?]
“How many articles in my church! There’s one bad one in your church more than ought to be in it, since they got you:—but can you tell me how many sins cry to heaven for vengeance on you, you poor lost hathen?”