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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 594 pages of information about Valentine M'Clutchy, The Irish Agent.
him.  Hickman’s not the thing, in any sense.  He can’t manage the people, and they impose upon him—­then you suffer, of course.  Bedsides, he’s an anti-ascendancy man, of late, and will go against you at the forthcoming Election.  The fellow pretends to have a conscience, and be cursed to him—­prates about the Union—­preaches against corruption—­and talks about the people, as if they were fit to be anything else than what they are.  This is a pretty fellow for you to have as an agent to your property.  Now, I’ll tell you what, my Lord—­you know old Deaker well.  His motto is—­’Let us eat, drink, and be merry, for to-morrow we die—­’ I’ll tell you what, I say; I have a mortgage on your property for fourteen thousand pounds.  Now, put in Val or I’ll be speaking to my lawyer about it.  Put in Val, or you will never warm your posteriors in a seat for this county, so long as I carry the key of it.  In doing so, make no wry faces about it—­you will only serve yourself and your property, and serve Val into the bargain.  Val, to be sure, is as confounded a scoundrel as any of us, but then he is a staunch Protestant; and you ought not to be told at this time of day, that the greater the scoundrel the better the agent.  Would you have a fellow, for instance, whose conscience, indeed, must stand between you and your interest?  Would you have some honest blockhead, who, when you are to be served by a piece of friendly rascality, will plead scruples.  If so, you are a greater fool than I ever took you to be.  Make Val your agent, and it is not you that will suffer by him, but the people—­whom, of course, no one cares a curse about.  I ought to have some claim on you, I think.  Many a lift I have given your precious old father, Tom Topertoe, when I did not think of pleading scruples.  To tell you the truth, many a dirty trick I played for him, and never brought my conscience to account for it.  Make the most of this rascally world, and of the rascals that are in it, for we are all alike in the grave.  Put in Val, then, and don’t made an enemy of

“Your old friend,

“Randal Deaker.

“P.S.—­As to Val, he knows nothing of this transaction—­I told him I would say so, and I keep my word.  I forgot to say that if you write this beggarly devil, Hickman, a sharp letter for money, he may probably save you the trouble of turning him out.  I know him well—­he is a thin skinned fool, and will be apt to bolt, if you follow my advice.

“Yours as you deserve it,

“R D.”

Now, it is necessary to say here, that amidst all this pretence of open villainy, there ran an undercurrent of cunning that might escape the observation of most men.  In truth, old Deaker was not only a knave, but a most unscrupulous oppressor at heart, especially when he happened to get a man in his power from whom he wished to extort a favor, or on whom he wished to inflict an injury.  In the present instance he felt perfectly conscious of his power over the heartless profligate, to whom he wrote such a characteristic letter, and the result shows that he neither miscalculated the feeble principles of his correspondent, nor the consequences of his own influence over him.  By due return of post he received a reply, of which the following is a copy:—­

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