It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a Loyalist in possession of a good weapon must be in want of a Catholic to murder.
However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is feared as the rightful killer of some one or other of their menfolk.
“My dear Mr. O’Prey,” said his lady to him one day, “have you heard that the Park is a Loyalist area at last?”
Mr. O’Prey made no answer.
“Do not you want to know why they have taken it over?” cried his wife impatiently.
“You want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it.”
This was invitation enough.
“Why, my dear, you must know, Mrs Longuar says that the Park is taken by a young man of large fortune from the East of Belfast; that he came down on Monday in to see the place, and was so much delighted with it that he agreed with the agent immediately; that he is to take possession before Michaelmas, and some of his paramilitaries are to be in here by the end of next week.”
“What is his name?”
“Is he married or single?”
“Oh! single, my dear, to be sure! A single man of large fortune; four or five thousand a day from drugs. What a terrible thing for our boys!”
“How so? how can it affect them?”
“My dear Mr. O’Prey,” replied his wife, “how can you be so tiresome! You must know that I am thinking of his killing one of them.”
“Is that his design in settling here?”
“Design! nonsense, how can you talk so! But it is very likely that he may kill one of them”