He spoke these words m tears and deep sobs after which he composed himself, so that he might appear in his usual mood, that of simple grief, on rejoining his companions.
The morning of the following day, the town, and neighborhood of Castle Cumber were in a state of extraordinary excitement and tumult.
“Valentine M’Clutchy, Esq.,” said the True Blue, “the excellent and humane Agent of the Castle Cumber property, was most barbarously shot dead in his parlor, about ten o’clock on the previous night. By this diabolical act, the poor of that admirably managed property,” continued his brother Orangeman, “have lost, &c, &c.”
But it is really sickening to read these unprincipled vindications of the scoundrels who drive the people into crime and bloodshed by their rack-renting and oppression. It is time that honest men should speak out, and fasten upon these scourges of their country, their proper appellative. To this murder, as to others of a similar character, there never was any clew found; notwithstanding the large rewards that were subscribed by the gentry of the county and by government. Phil was too drunk the evening before to remember anything distinctly. His pistols were never found, nor was any other discovery made which could fasten even suspicion on any particular individual.
If Phil, however, were drunk the night before his father’s death, he was sober enough the night after it. On that night there was not a hill head on all the Castle Cumber estate which had not its bonfire and its rejoicing—for the re-appointment of Mr. Hickman to the agency. It might, however, be observed in-general—and it is frightful to be forced to record such a surfeit of things—that the tenantry, one and all appeared to feel a singular complacency of temper on the occasion—a strong sense as it were, of great relief—a revival of good spirits—a cherishing of rational hope—associated with dreams of domestic comfort, reasonable indulgence, sympathy, and common justice.
[Illustration: PAGE 355— Such was the end of Valentine M’Clutchy]
Such was the end of Valentine M’Clutchy—and as we have only one other fact in connection with him to record, we may as well record it here. On the morning after his death, his mother, Kate Clank, was found dead on the steps of Castle Cumber gaol, whither, it would seem, she had come, as if from a principle of early recollection, to the spot where she had first drawn her breath in innocence; and who can tell, or will any one dare to say, that she died in guilt, or unforgiven? That is only known to God, by whom she was to be judged.
CHAPTER XXXI.—Richard Topertoe and his Brother
—Lord Cumber’s Duel—Shot by Hartley—Dies in the Vindication of a tyrannical Principle—Marriage of Harman and Mary O’Loughlin—Solomon struck off the roll—Handsome Compliment to the Judge—Solomon’s Death—Dances the Swaggering Jig—Lucre’s Virtues and Christian Death.