Valentine M'Clutchy, The Irish Agent eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 786 pages of information about Valentine M'Clutchy, The Irish Agent.
expensive appendage the affectionate jade is—­perhaps you might feel a little more Christian sympathy for me than you do.  If you had the expense of my yacht—­my large stud at Melton Mowbry and Doncaster, and the yearly deficits in my betting book, besides the never ending train of jockies, grooms, feeders, trainers, et hoc genus omne—­to meet, it is probable, old boy, you would not feel so boundless an interest, as you say you do, in the peace and welfare of another man’s tenantry, and all this at that other man’s expense.  You’re confoundedly unreasonable, Hickman.  Why feel, or pretend to feel, more for these fellows, their barelegged wives, and ragged brats, than you do for a nobleman of rank, to whom you are deeply indebted.  I mean you no offence, Hickman; you are in other respects an honest fellow enough, and if possessed of only a little less heart, as the times go, and more skill in raising money from these people, you would be invaluable to such a distressed devil as I am.  As it is, I regret to say, that you are more a friend to my tenantry than to myself, which is a poor qualification for an agent.  In fact, we, the Irish aristocracy living here, or absentees as you call us, instead of being assailed by abuse, want of patriotism, neglect of duties, and all that kind of stuff, have an especial claim upon the compassion of their countrymen.  If you knew what we, with limited means and encumbered properties, must suffer in attempting to compete with the aristocracy of this country, who are enormously rich, you would say that we deserve immortal credit for holding out and keeping up appearances as we do—­not that I think we always come off scott-free from their ridicule, especially when they see the shifts to which we are put, in order to stretch onward at their own pace.  However, we must drink when we are thirsty, as well as they, and if the water happen to be low in the cistern, which, indeed, is mostly the case with us, we must, as the rook in the fable did with the pebbles, throw in rack-renting, drivings, executions, mortgages, loans, &c, in order to bring it within our reach—­for there is ingenuity in everything, as the proverb says, except in roasting of eggs.

“Come, then, Hickman, set to work at once.  My yacht has been damaged by a foolish wager I made to run her through a creek of reefs at low water, so that the mere repairs will cost me a cool two hundred at least.  Besides this, I have pledged myself to buy my charming little Signora a pair of Blenheim spaniels that she has fallen in love with, for which I shall have to fork out a hundred and fifty down.  I say, then, again, my dear Hickman, money, money; money by any means, but by all means money; rem, sed quocunque modo rem.

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Valentine M'Clutchy, The Irish Agent from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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