This certainly looked very suspicious, and we need scarcely say that a cessation of all visits, intimacy, and correspondence, immediately took place, on the part of female friends and acquaintances. In fact the innocent victim of this dastardly plot was completely deserted, and the little party of her friends was by no means a match for the large and godly hosts who charitably combined to establish her guilt. Her father, with all his manliness of character, and sterling integrity, was not distressed on his daughter’s account only. There was another cause of anxiety to him equally deep—we mean the mysterious change that had come over his sons, in consequence of this blasting calamity. He saw clearly that they had come to the dark and stern determination of avenging their sister’s disgrace upon its author, and that at whatever risk. This in truth to him was the greater affliction of the two, and he accordingly addressed himself with all his authority and influence over them, to the difficult task of plucking this frightful resolution out of their hearts. In his attempt to execute this task, he found himself baffled and obstructed by other circumstances of a very distracting nature. First, there were the rascally paragraphs alluding to his embarrassments on the one hand, and those which, while pretending to vindicate him and his partner from any risk of bankruptcy, levelled the assassin’s blow at the reputation of his poor daughter, on the other. Both told; but the first with an effect which no mere moral courage or consciousness of integrity, however high, could enable him to meet. Creditors came in, alarmed very naturally at the reports against his solvency, and demanded settlement of their accounts from the firm. These, in the first instances, were immediately made out and paid; but this would not do—other claimants came, equally pressing—one after another—and each so anxious in the early panic to secure himself, that ere long the instability which, in the beginning, had no existence, was gradually felt, and the firm of Harman and M’Loughlin felt themselves on the eve of actual bankruptcy.
These matters all pressed heavily and bitterly on both father and sons. But we have yet omitted to mention that which, amidst all the lights in which the daughter contemplated the ruin of her fair fame, fell with most desolating consequences upon her heart—we mean her rejection by Harman, and the deliberate expression of his belief in her guilt. And, indeed, when our readers remember how artfully the web of iniquity was drawn around her, and the circumstances of mystery in which Harman himself had witnessed her connection with Poll Doolin, whose character for conducting intrigues he knew too well, they need not be surprised that he threw her off as a deceitful and treacherous wanton, in whom no man of a generous and honorable nature could or ought to place confidence, and who was unworthy even of an explanation. Mary M’Loughlin