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

“I should mention, before proceeding further, that Mr. Valentine M’Clutchy, being master of the Lodge in question, was the individual from whom I had received permission to be present under the circumstances already specified.  The ceremony of making a member is involved in that ridiculous mystery which is calculated to meet the vulgar prejudices of low and ignorant men.  Sometimes they are made one by one, and occasionally, or, I believe, more frequently in batches of three or more, in order to save time and heighten the effect.  The novice, then, before entering the Lodge, is taken into another room, where he is blindfolded, and desired to denude himself of his shoes and stockings, his right arm is then taken out of his coat and shirt sleeves, in order to leave his right shoulder bare.  He then enters the Lodge, where he is received in silence with the exception of the master, who puts certain queries to him, which must be appropriately answered.  After this he receives on the naked shoulder three smart slaps of the open hand, as a proof of his willingness to bear every kind of persecution for the sake of truth—­of his steadfastness to the principles of Orangeism, and of his actual determination to bear violence, and, if necessary, death itself, rather than abandon it or betray his brethren.

“About nine o’clock the business of the Lodge had been despatched, and in a few minutes I received an intimation to enter from the Deputy Master, who was no other than the redoubtable and heroic Phil himself; the father having been prevented from coming, it appeared, by sudden indisposition.  As I entered, they were all seated, to the number of thirty-five or forty, about a long table, from which rose, reeking and warm, the powerful exhalations of strong punch.  On paying my respects, I was received and presented to them by Phil, who on this occasion, was in great feather, being rigged out in all the paraphernalia of Deputy Master.  The rest, also, were dressed in their orange robes, which certainly gave them a good deal of imposing effect.

“‘Gentlemen,’ said Phil,—­’Bob Sparrow, I’ll trouble you to touch the bell, and be d—­d to you—­gentlemen, this is a particular friend of mine and my father’s—­that is, we intend to make a good deal of interest in him, if it’s not his own fault, and to push him on in a way that may serve him—­but, then, he’s in the dark yet; however, I hope he won’t be long so.  This, gentlemen, is Mr. Weasel from England, who has come over to see the country.’

“‘Your health, Mr. Weasel,’ resounded from all sides, ’you’re welcome among us, and so is every friend of brother Captain Phil’s.’

“‘Gentlemen,’ said I,’ I feel much obliged for the cordiality of your reception—­but, allow me to say, that Mr. M’Clutchy has made a slight mistake in my name, which is Easel, not Weasel.’

“‘Never mind, sir,’ they replied, among a jingle of glasses, which almost prevented me from being heard, ’never mind, Mr. Evil, we don’t care a curse what your name is, provided you’re a good Protestant.  Your name may be Belzebub, instead of Evil, or Devil, for that matter—­all we want to know is, whether you’re staunch and of the right metal.’

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