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

“If Father M’Cabe was wise he’d send you to the heretics again.”

“If the Protestants regarded their own character, and the decency of their religion, they’d send you back to your cursed Popery again.”

“It’s no beef atin’ creed, anyway,” said Darby, who had, without knowing it, become once more a staunch Papist, “ours isn’t.”

“It’s one of knavery and roguery,” replied Bob, “sure devil a thing one of you knows only to believe in your Pope.”

“You had betther not abuse the Pope,” said Darby, “for fraid I’d give you a touch o’ your ould complaint, the fallin’ sickness, you know, wid my fist.”

“Two could play at that game, Darby, and I say, to hell with him—­and the priests are all knaves and rogues, every one of them.”

“Are they, faith,” said Darby, “here’s an answer for that, anyhow.”

“Text for text, you Popish rascal.”

A fierce battle took place on the open highway, which was fought with intense’ bitterness on both sides.  The contest, which was pretty equal, might, however, have been terminated by the defeat of one of them, had they been permitted to fight without support on either side; this, however, was not to be.  A tolerably large crowd, composed of an equal number of Catholics and Protestants, collected from the adjoining fields, where they had been at labor, immediately joined them.  Their appearance, unhappily, had only the effect of renewing the battle.  The Catholics, ignorant of the turn which the controversy had taken, supported Bob and Protestantism; whilst the Protestants, owing to a similar mistake, fought like devils for Darby and the Pope.  A pretty smart skirmish, in fact, which lasted more than twenty minutes, took place between the parties, and were it not that their wives, sisters, daughters, and mothers, assisted by many who were more peaceably disposed, threw themselves between them, it might have been much more serious than it was.  If the weapons of warfare ceased, however, so did not their tongues; there was abundance of rustic controversy exchanged between them, that is to say, polemical scurrility much of the same enlightened character as that in the preceding dialogue.  The fact of the two parties, too, that came to their assistance, having mistaken the proper grounds of the quarrel, reduced Darby and Bob to the necessity of retracing their steps, and hoisting once more their new colors, otherwise their respective friends, had they discovered the blunder they had committed, would, unquestionably, have fought the battle a second time on its proper merits.  Bob, escorted by his Catholic friends, who shouted and huzza’d as they went along, proceeded to Father M’Cabe’s; whilst Darby and his adherents, following their example, went towards M’Clutchy’s, and having left him within sight of Constitution Cottage, they returned to their labor.

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