We have already said, that neither M’Clutchy nor M’Slime was at all a favorite with Darby. Darby was naturally as avaricious, and griping, and oppressive as either of them; and as he was the principal instrument of their rapacity and extortion, he deemed it but fair and just that they should leave him at least a reasonable share of their iniquitous gains. They were not, however, the gentlemen to leave much behind them, and the upshot was, that Darby became not only highly dissatisfied at their conduct towards him, but jealous and vigilant of all their movements, and determined to watch an opportunity of getting them both into his power. M’Slime’s trick about M’Clutchy’s letter first awoke his suspicions, and the reader is already acquainted with the dexterous piece of piety by which he secured it. Both letters now were in his possession, or at least in a safe place; but as he had not yet read them, he did not exactly know what line of conduct or deportment to assume. Then, how face M’Clutchy without M’Slime’s answer? Darby, however, was fertile, and precisely the kind of man who could, as they sav, kill two birds with one stone. He had it;—. just the very thing that would serve every purpose. Accordingly, instead of going to M’Clutchy’s at all, he turned his steps to his own house; tied an old stocking around his head, got his face bandaged, and deliberately took to his bed in a very severe state of illness. And, indeed, to tell the truth, a day or two in bed was not calculated to do him the least harm, but a great deal of good; for what, between the united contributions of Father M’Cabe and Bob Beatty, he was by no means an unfit subject for the enjoyment of a few days’ retirement from public life.
CHAPTER XIV.—Poll Doolin’s Honesty, and Phil’s Gallantry
—A Beautiful but Cowardly Method of Destroying Female Reputation.—A Domiciliary Visit from the Blood-hounds—Irresponsible Power
At length the hour of Mary M’Loughlin’s appointment with Phil arrived, and the poor girl found herself so completely divided between the contending principles of love for Harman and aversion towards Phil, that she scarcely knew the purport of her thoughts or actions. Harman’s safety, however, was the predominant idea in her soul, and in order to effect that, or at least to leave nothing undone to effect it, she resolved, as pure and disinterested attachment always will do—to sacrifice her detestation for young M’Clutchy, so far as to give him an opportunity of satisfying her that he was sincere in wishing to save her lover. This setting aside her invincible and instinctive hatred of that worthy gentleman, was, she thought, not at least unreasonable, and with her mind thus regulated she accordingly awaited the appointed time. On reaching the back of her father’s garden she found that Phil had not arrived, but somewhat to her relief she was accosted by Poll Doolin, who approached from a clump of trees that stood in deep and impenetrable shadow, whilst she and Poll were easily visible under the dim light of what is called a watery and cloudy moon.