“Very well, you know my mind—so take the consequences, that’s all.”
“Here goes then,” said the ruffian, speaking in a deliberately loud voice, “it’s well known that Miss M’Loughlin is Misther Phil’s——”
A heavy blow, followed by a crash on the floor—a brief conflict as if with another person, another blow, and another crash followed. Harman, in a state of feeling which our readers may imagine, but which we cannot describe, pushed in the door, which, in fact, was partially open.
“What, what is this?” he asked, pretending ignorance, “is it fighting among yourselves you are? Fie, fie! Gordon Harvey, what is the matter?”
“Only a little quarrel of our own, Mr. Harman,” replied the excellent fellow. “The truth is, sir, that these men—ay, gather yourselves up, do; you ought to have known Gordon Harvey’s blow, for you have often enough heard of it before now; there is no great mistake about that, you scoundrels—the truth is, Mr. Harman, that these fellows were primed with whiskey at M’Clutchy’s and they gave me provoking language that I couldn’t bear; it’s well for them that I didn’t take the butt end of that,” said he, holding up the horse-pistol in his left hand, “but you’ll find ten for one that would rather have a taste of it than of this;” shutting his right—which was a perfect sledgehammer, and, when shut, certainly the more formidable weapon of the two.
The two ruffians had now gathered themselves up, and appeared to be considerably sobered by Harvey’s arguments. They immediately retired to a corner of the room, where they stood with a sullen but vindictive look—cowardly and ferocious, ready to revenge on M’Loughlin’s family the punishment which they had received, but durst not resent, at the hands of Harvey—unquestionably one of the most powerful and generous Orangemen that was ever known in Castle Cumber. Let us not for a moment be mistaken. The Orangemen of Ireland contained, and still contain among them, men of great generosity, courage, and humanity. This is undeniable and unquestionable; but then, it is well known that these men never took any part in the outrages perpetrated by the lower and grosser grades, unless to prevent outrage. In nothing, indeed, was the lamentable state of the Irish Church Establishment more painfully obvious than in the moral ignorance and brutal bigotry, which want of Christian instruction and enlightened education had entailed upon men, who otherwise have been a high-minded, brave, and liberal class, had they not been corrupted by the example of the very pastors—ungodly, loose, convivial, political, anything but Christian—from whom they were to expect their examples and their precepts. But to return. Harman having given a significant glance to Harvey, left the room, and the latter immediately followed him.
“Harvey,” said he, “I have overheard the whole conversation; give me your hand, for it is that of an honest man. I thank you, I thank you—do try and prevent these ruffians from insulting the family.”