“My dear friend—I felt as deep an interest in the purport of your note as you yourself possibly could. The parties alluded to I appreciate precisely as you do—M’Loughlin has in the most unchristian manner assailed my character as well as yours. So has his partner in the concern—I mean Harman. But then, my friend, are we not Christians, and shall we not return good for evil? Shall we not forgive them? Some whispers, hints, very gentle and delicate have reached my ears, which I do not wish to commit to paper;—but this I may say, until I see you to-morrow, that I think your intentions with respect to M’Loughlin and Harman are premature. There is a screw loose somewhere, so to speak, that is all—but I believe, I can say, that if your father, Deaker, will act to our purposes, all will be as we could wish. This is a delicate subject, my dear friend, but still I am of opinion that if you could, by any practicable means; soften the unfortunate female who possesses such an ascendancy over him, all will be right. I would, myself, undertake the perilous task for your sake—and perilous to ordinary men I admit it would be, for she is beyond question exceedingly comely. In me this would appear disinterested, whilst in you, suspicion would become strong. Cash is wanted in the quarter you know, and cash has been refused in another quarter, and when we meet I shall tell you more about this matter. In the mean time it is well that there is no legitimate issue—but should he will his property to this Delilah, or could she be removed?—I mean to a local distance. But I shall see you to-morrow (D.V.), when we can have freer conversation upon what may be done. With humble but sincere prayers for your best wishes and welfare, I am, my dear friend,
“Thine in the bonds of Christian love,
“P. S.—As it is a principle of mine to neglect no just opportunity of improving my deceitful heart, I bought from a travelling pedlar this morning, a book with the remarkable title of ’The Spiritual Attorney, or A Sure Guide to the Other World.’ I have not yet had time to look at anything but the title page, and consequently am not able to inform you which of the worlds he alludes to, ha, ha! You see, my friend, I do not think there is evil in a joke that is harmless, or has a moral end in view, as every joke ought to have.
“Thine as before,
CHAPTER IV.—Poll Doolin, the Child Cadger
—Raymond, her Son—Short Dialogue on the Times—Polls Opinion on the Causes of Immorality—Solomon is Generous—A Squire of the Old School—And a Moral Dialogue.