“Well,” said Val, going to the window and looking abroad for a minute or two,—“well—so much for Ballymackscud; now for its next neighbor, Ballymackfud.”
“Mr. Hickman again, sir. The divil sweep the same Hickman, any way,” said Darby, in an aside, which he knew the other could easily hear. “Out of the whole townland, sir, all I got was two men for the aveny—a goose from Barney Scadden, and her last ten, along wid half-a-dozen eggs, from that dacent creature, widow M’Murt. Throth four fine little clildre she has, if they had anything on them, or anything to keep body and sowl together.”
“You warned them all, of course?”
“Every sowl in the townland of Ballymackt ’ud; and there’s the upshot. But it’s all Mr. Hickman, sir; for he tould them—’I will have none of this work,’ says he; ’the tenants musn’t be harrished and fleeshed in this manner,’ says he. Yes, your honor, that’s the upshot from Ballymackfud—two day’s work—a sick goose (for I disremembered to mention that Barney said, wid a wink, that she’d require great attintion, as she was in a delicate state of health)—one ould hen, and a half-a-dozen eggs; which wouldn’t be the case, only for Hickman—not but he’s a very respectable gentleman—by all accounts.”
“I told you before, sirra, that I will have nothing offensive to him mentioned in my presence. Give this letter to Mr. M’Slime, and bring me an answer as soon as you can. Will you have a glass of spirits?”
“Would it be intherfairin’ wid my duty, sir?”
“If you think so, don’t take it; you ought to know best.”
“Well, then, for this one time, in regard of a Lhin-roe* or the red wather in my stomach, I’ll try it. I drank bog-bine last night goin’ to bed, but divil a morsel o’ good it did me.”
* Lhin-roe, or red water—the Irish name for heart-burn.
M’Clutchy handed him a full glass, which he held steadily before his eye, till the other put up the decanter.
“Your honor’s health, sir,” said he, “and fireside; and if you war to throw me out o’ fifty windies, I’ll add to that—here’s wishin’ that the divil had his own, and I know where you’d soon be.”
“How, you villainous scoundrel,” said Val, starting with rising wrath, “what do you mean by that?”
Darby made no reply, but hastily tossing off the glass, he seized his hat, bolted outside the door, and putting in his head, said in a kind of loud but confidential whisper—
“IN HICKMAN’S PLACE, your honor!”
CHAPTER III.—Solomon M’Slime, a Religious Attorney
—Solomon M’Slime, a Religious Attorney—His Office—Family Devotions—Substitute for Breakfast—Misprision Blasphemy—Letter on Business.