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

“Solomon here approached him, and grasping his hand, exclaimed—­

“’Thank you, my dear brother Cantwell—­thank you a hundred times; yours is the part of a true Christian; so go on, I entreat you—­here is nothing to be ashamed of—­I know it is good to be tried.’

“’Now it was really the charity contained in the article from the True Blue that struck me so forcibly—­for it not only breathed the scandal so gently, as that it would scarcely stain a mirror—­and it did not stain the mirror against which the report was directed—­but it placed it as it were, before his eyes, that he might not be maligned without his knowledge, on taking steps to triumph over it, which our friend did—­and great was his triumph and meekly was it borne on the occasion.  With respect to my political creed, gentlemen, you all know it is my boast that I belong to no party.  I advocate broad and general principles; and the more comprehensive they are, so does my love of kind take a wider range.  I am a patriot, that is my boast—­a moderate man—­an educated man; I am, at least, a competent master of the English language, which I trust I can write and speak like a gentleman.  I am not given to low and gross habits of life; I am never found in a state of beastly intoxication late at night, or early in the day; nor do I suffer my paper to become the vehicle of gratifying that private slander or personal resentment which I am not capable of writing myself, and have not the courage to acknowledge as a man.  I am not a poor, kicked, horse-whipped, and degraded scoundrel, whose malignity is only surpassed by my cowardice—­whose principal delight is to stab in the dark—­a lurking assassin, but not an open murderer—­a sneaking, skulking thief, without the manliness of the highwayman—­a pitiful, servile—­but, I believe, I have said enough.  Well, gentlemen, I trust I am none of these; nor am I saying who is.  Perhaps it would be impossible to find them all centred in the same man; but if it were, it would certainly be quite as extraordinary to find that man seated at an Orange Lodge.  Brother Yellowboy, I have the pleasure of drinking your health.’

“Brother Yellowboy felt that he was no match at all for Cantwell; so in order to escape the further venom of his tongue, he drank his in return, and joined in the cheers with which his speech was received; for by this time the audience cared not a fig what was said by either party.”

CHAPTER XX.—­Sobriety and Loyalty

—­A Checkered Dialogue—­The Beauty and Necessity of Human Frailty —­A Burning and Shining Light Going Home in the Dark—­The Value of a Lanthorn.

“The character or forms of decency which had hitherto prevailed, now began to disappear.  M’Clutchy’s blood-hounds, or wreckers—­for they were indiscriminately termed both—­having drank a great deal of liquor, became quite violent, and nothing now was heard but party songs, loud talk, and offensive toasts, mingled with a good deal of personal abuse, and private jealousies of each other’s influence with M’Clutchy.

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