“Take pity on their condition, O Lord, and in thine own good time, if it be thy will, let their unhappy lot in this life be improved! But, above, all things, soften their hearts, inspire them with good and pious purposes, and guard them from the temptations of revenge! They are my flock—they are my children—and, as such, thou knowest how I lave and feel for them!”
They were more deeply moved, more clearly awakened, and more penetratingly touched. Several sobs were heard towards the close of his prayer, and a new spirit was diffused among them.
“Now, my children,” said he, “will you obey the old man that loves you?”
“We will,” was the universal response, “we will obey you.”
“Then,” said he, “you promise in the presence of God, that you will not injure Valentine M’Clutchy and his son?”
“In the presence of God we promise,” was the unanimous reply.
“Then, my children, may the blessing of Almighty God be with you, and guard and protect you wherever you go. And now proceed home, and sleep with consciences unburthened by guilt.”
And thus were Valentine M’Clutchy and his son saved, on this occasion, by the very man whom they termed “a rebellious Popish priest.”
It was observed, however, by most of those present that Owen O’Regan availed himself of the good priest’s remonstrance to disappear from the meeting—thus evading the solemn obligation to refrain from crime, into which all the rest entered.
CHAPTER XXVI.—Harman’s Interview with Mary M’Loughlin
—An Execution for Rent Forty Years ago—Gordon Harvey’s Friendly Remonstrance with his Brother Orangemen.
The development, by Poll Doolin, of the diabolical plot against Mary M’Loughlin’s character, so successfully carried into effect by Phil and Poll herself, took a deadly weight off Harman’s heart. Mary, the following morning, little aware that full justice had been rendered her, was sitting in the parlor with her mother, who had been complaining for a day or two of indisposition, and would have admitted more fully the alarming’ symptoms she felt, were it not for the declining health of her daughter. If there be one misery in life more calculated than another to wither and consume the heart, to make society odious, man to look like a blot in the creation, and the very providence of God doubtful, it is to feel one’s character publicly slandered and misrepresented by the cowardly and malignant, by the skulking scoundrel and the moral assassin—to feel yourself loaded with imputations that are false, calumnious, and cruel. Mary M’Loughlin felt all this bitterly.