“But,” said Mr. Clement, “you unfortunate woman, let me ask, why you suffered Mr. Harman to live under a conviction of Miss M’Loughlin’s guilt?”
“I tould you I had sworn to be revenged on either him, M’Loughlin, or his; and so I was—may God forgive me!—but one day that my poor foolish son undertook to convey Hugh Roe O’Regan’s wife across the ford of Drum Dhu river while in a flood, he lost his footing, and never would breathe the breath of life again, only that God sent John M’Loughlin to the spot, and at the risk of his own life, he saved poor Raymond’s. From that day out my heart changed. If one son was sent from me in life, the other was saved from death; and I swore to tell you the truth. But that’s not the only injury I have done you. They put me up, and so did Solomon M’Slime, to drop hints wherever I went, that you and Mr. M’Loughlin were on the point of failin’; and, I believe, from some words I heard Phil say to Solomon one morning, that they put something into the paper that injured you.”
“What was it you heard?” said Hickman.
“Phil said—’all right, Solomon, it’s in—and—d—n my honor and reputation, but it will set a screw loose in the same firm;’ he was reading the paper as he spoke.”
“All this is of great value,” said Easel, “and must be made use of.”
“As for me,” said Harman in an impassioned voice, “I care not a jot for our bankruptcy; the great and oppressive evil of my heart is removed; I ought, I admit, to have known that admirable girl better than to suffer any suspicion of; her to have-entered into my heart; but, then, I must have discredited my own eyes—and so I ought. God bless you, Poll! I forgive you all that you and those malignant villains have made me suffer, in consequence of what you have just now disclosed to us.”
“I could not have believed this,” observed Easel; “I scarcely thought that such profound infamy was in human nature. Good God—and these two men hold the important offices of Head and Under Agent on the Castle Cumber estate!”
“Have you nothing particular, Poll, about that pious little man, M’Slime?” asked Hickman. Poll, however, who in no instance was ever known to abuse professional confidence, shook her head in the negative.
“No;” said she, “I know nothing that I can tell about him; honor bright’s my motive—no—no. However, thank God, I’ve aised my mind by tellin’ the truth, and when you see Mr. M’Loughlin, Mr. Harman, I’ll thank you to let him know that I have done his daughter justice, and that from the minute his son saved mine, I had no ill-will to him or his family.” She then departed.
CHAPTER XXV.—Val and his Son brought to Trial
A Ribbon Lodge—Their Crimes against the People,—Their Doom and Sentence—A Rebel Priest Preaching Treason—A Respite.