The Cross and the Shamrock eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 233 pages of information about The Cross and the Shamrock.



After a year or two in office, our friend Van Stingey found Fortune rather adverse to him, a thing not unusual with the worshippers of that fickle goddess; for not only was he put out of office by the influence of the “furren” vote thrown against him, but his farther promotion even in the church became almost problematical.  His was now a rather unpleasant situation.  He was not only defeated at the ballot box by the “Irish element,” according as Mrs. Doherty foretold, but he was in disgrace with many of his regular church-going brethren.  This latter trial was caused by the well-known fact that a negro girl, who was put under this religious man’s care by the abolitionists, and who was now two years in his family, had just given birth to a young mulatto child in his house.  Yes, and worse; the miserable yellow thing not only was born, and in health, under the roof of this religious teacher, but he was mortified to find that it had his very nose on its face, and could not by any possibility be fathered on any body else.  Thus were the prospects of this pious gentleman blasted in one day.  He got religion, but now it failed him.  He was of the true nativist stamp in politics; but here again his defeat was signal and complete, and all through the suffrages of foreigners.

What was he to do for a living?  He must give up religion and politics, and take to some other pursuit.  Loafing or living on his neighbors was now impossible, as he was in disgrace with many; and besides, he had a wife and family to support.  Peddling was so common, that nothing could now be made in that line; and besides, it took some capital to start with—­a thing that was out of the question in our ex-official’s case.

The only chance now open for him was the railroad, and to the railroads he said he would betake himself as soon as he could.  On the railroad he saw men of little talent, of less honesty, and of no capital, amass not only a competency, but wealth, in a few years; and our official was very anxious to try his luck in that line of business.  Accordingly, when the Northern Railroad was about to be let, Van Stingey, in company with four others, put in their estimate, which was the very lowest, and they thus succeeded in getting ten miles of the road.  The partners of Van Stingey were one Purse, one Mr. Kitchins, one Timens, generally called Blind Bill, one Whinny, together with Mr. Lofin, an Irishman.  They had the job now, but had neither horses, carts, shovels, nor any of the various implements necessary to carry on the work.  A council was held among these five worthies to see what was to be done.  They had neither money, nor means, nor credit to begin with, and how were they to fulfil their contract?  Most of them were novices in this sort of business; but there was Mr. P. Lofin, whose experience was something, and who suggested a plan which could not but succeed, if his advice was followed.  The plan was, that they should advertise for three thousand men and several hundred horses, and on the strength of their advertisements, and their certificate of having obtained such a respectable contract, try to borrow some provisions on three months’ credit.

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The Cross and the Shamrock from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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