Part 6 out of 10
whose hack will probably go out on the following morning under the car,
with the mistress and children. Such a one was Parson Armstrong; and when
Lord Ballindine and most of the others went away after the hounds, he
coolly turned round in a different direction, crept through a broken wall
into a peasant's garden, and over a dunghill, by the cabin door into a
road, and then trotted along as demurely and leisurely as though he were
going to bury an old woman in the next parish.
Frank was, generally speaking, as good-natured a man as is often met, but
even he got excited and irritable when hunting his own pack. All masters of
hounds do. Some one was always too forward, another too near the dogs, a
third interfering with the servants, and a fourth making too much noise.
'Confound it, Peter,' he said, when they had gone over a field or two, and
the dogs missed the scent for a moment, 'I thought at any rate you knew
better than to cross the dogs that way.'
'Who crossed the dogs?' said the other 'what nonsense you're talking: why I
wasn't out of the potato-field till they were nearly all at the next wall.'
'Well, it may be nonsense,' continued Frank; 'but when I see a man riding
right through the hounds, and they hunting, I call that crossing them.'
'Hoicks! Tally' hollowed some one 'there's Graceful has it again well done,
Granger! Faith, Frank, that's a good dog! if he's not first, he's always
'Now, gentlemen, steady, for heaven's sake. Do let the dogs settle to their
work before you're a-top of them. Upon my soul, Nicholas Brown, it's
ridiculous to see you!'
'It'd be a good thing if he were half as much in a hurry to get to heaven,'
said Bingham Blake.
'Thank'ee,' said Nicholas; 'go to heaven yourself. I'm well enough where I
And now they were off again. In the next field the whole pack caught a view
of the fox just as he was stealing out; and after him they went, with their
noses well above the ground, their voices loud and clear, and in one bevy.
Away they went: the game was strong; the scent was good; the ground was
soft, but not too soft; and a magnificent hunt they had; but there were
some misfortunes shortly after getting away. Barry Lynch, wishing, in his
ignorance, to lead and show himself off, and not knowing how scurrying
along among the dogs, and bothered at every leap, had given great offence
to Lord Ballindine. But, not wishing to speak severely to a man whom he
would not under any circumstances address in a friendly way, he talked at
him, and endeavoured to bring him to order by blowing up others in his
hearing. But this was thrown away on Barry, and he continued his career in
a most disgusting manner; scrambling through gaps together with the dogs,
crossing other men without the slightest reserve, annoying every one, and
evidently pluming himself on his performance. Frank's brow was getting
blacker and blacker. Jerry Blake and young Brown were greatly amusing
themselves at the exhibition, and every now and then gave him a word or two
of encouragement, praising his mare, telling how well he got over that last
fence, and bidding him mind and keep well forward. This was all new to
Barry, and he really began to feel himself in his element if it hadn't been
for those abominable walls, he would have enjoyed himself. But this was too
good to last, and before very long he made a faux pas, which brought down
on him in a torrent the bottled-up wrath of the viscount.
They had been galloping across a large, unbroken sheep-walk, which exactly
suited Barry's taste, and he had got well forward towards the hounds. Frank
was behind, expostulating with Jerry Blake and the others for encouraging
him, when the dogs came to a small stone wall about two feet and a half
high. In this there was a broken gap, through which many of them crept.
Barry also saw this happy escape from the grand difficulty of jumping, and,
ignorant that if he rode the gap at all, he should let the hounds go first,
made for it right among them, in spite of Frank's voice, now raised loudly
to caution him. The horse the man rode knew his business better than
himself, and tried to spare the dogs which were under his feet; but, in
getting out, he made a slight spring, and came down on the haunches of a
favourite young hound called 'Goneaway'; he broke the leg close to the
socket, and the poor beast most loudly told his complaint.
This was too much to be borne, and Frank rode up red with passion; and a
lot of others, including the whipper, soon followed.
'He has killed the dog!' said he. 'Did you ever see such a clumsy, ignorant
fool? Mr Lynch, if you'd do me the honour to stay away another day, and
amuse yourself in any other way, I should be much obliged.'
much obliged.' '
'It wasn't my fault then,' said Barry.
'Do you mean to give me the lie, sir?' replied Frank.
'The dog got under the horse's feet. How was I to help it?'
There was a universal titter at this, which made Barry wish himself at home
again, with his brandy-bottle.
'Ah! sir,' said Frank; 'you're as fit to ride a hunt as you are to do
anything else which gentlemen usually do. May I trouble you to make
yourself scarce? Your horse, I see, can't carry you much farther, and if
you'll take my advice, you'll go home, before you're ridden over yourself.
Well, Martin, is the bone broken?'
Martin had got off his horse, and was kneeling down beside the poor hurt
brute. 'Indeed it is, my lord, in two places. You'd better let Tony kill
him; he has an awful sprain in the back, as well; he'll niver put a foot to
the ground again.'
'By heavens, that's too bad! isn't it Bingham? He was, out and out, the
finest puppy we entered last year.'
'What can you expect,' said Bingham, 'when such fellows as that come into a
field? He's as much business here as a cow in a drawing-room.'
'But what can we do? one can't turn him off the land; if he chooses to
come, he must.'
'Why, yes,' said Bingham, 'if he will come he must. But then, if he insists
on doing so, he may be horsewhipped; he may be ridden over; he may be
kicked; and he may be told that he's a low, vulgar, paltry scoundrel; and,
if he repeats his visits, that's the treatment he'll probably receive.'
Barry was close to both the speakers, and of course heard, and was intended
to hear, every word that was said. He contented himself, however, with
muttering certain inaudible defiances, and was seen and heard of no more
The hunt was continued, and the fox was killed; but Frank and those with
him saw but little more of it. However, as soon as directions were given
for the death of poor Goneaway, they went on, and received a very
satisfactory account of the proceedings from those who had seen the finish.
As usual, the Parson was among the number, and he gave them a most detailed
history, not only of the fox's proceedings during the day, but also of all
the reasons which actuated the animal, in every different turn he took.
'I declare, Armstrong,' said Peter Dillon, 'I think you were a fox
yourself, once! Do you remember anything about it?'
'What a run he would give!' said Jerry; 'the best pack that was ever
kennelled wouldn't have a chance with him.'
'Who was that old chap,' said Nicholas Dillon, showing off his classical
learning, 'who said that dead animals always became something else? maybe
it's only in the course of nature for a dead fox to become a live parson.'
'Exactly: you've hit it,' said Armstrong; 'and, in the same way, the moment
the breath is out of a goose it becomes an idle squireen, and, generally
speaking, a younger brother.'
'Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Nick,' said Jerry; 'and take care how
you meddle with the Church again.'
'Who saw anything of Lambert Brown?' said another; 'I left him bogged below
there at Gurtnascreenagh, and all he could do, the old grey horse wouldn't
move a leg to get out for him.'
'Oh, he's there still,' said Nicholas. 'He was trying to follow me, and I
took him there on purpose. It's not deep, and he'll do no hurt: he'll keep
as well there, as anywhere else.'
'Nonsense, Dillon!' said the General 'you'll make his brother really angry,
if you go on that way. If the man's a fool, leave him in his folly, but
don't be playing tricks on him. You'll only get yourself into a quarrel
with the family.'
'And how shall we manage about the money, my lord?' said Martin, as he drew
near the point at which he would separate from the rest, to ride towards
Dunmore. 'I've been thinking about it, and there's no doubt about having it
for you on Friday, av that'll suit.'
'That brother-in-law of yours is a most unmitigated blackguard, isn't he,
Martin?' said Frank, who was thinking more about poor Goneaway than the
'He isn't no brother-in-law of mine yet, and probably niver will be, for
I'm afeard poor Anty'll go. But av he iver is, he'll soon take himself out
of the counthry, and be no more throuble to your lordship or any of us.'
'But to think of his riding right a-top of the poor brute, and then saying
that the dog got under his horse's feet! Why, he's a fool as well as a
knave. Was he ever out before?'
'Well, then, I believe he was, twice this year; though I didn't see him
'Then I hope this'll be the last time: three times is quite enough for such
a fellow as that.'
'I don't think he'll be apt to show again afther what you and Mr Bingham
said to him. Well, shure, Mr Bingham was very hard on him!'
'Serve him right; nothing's too bad for him.'
'Oh, that's thrue for you, my lord: I don't pity him one bit. But about the
money, and this job of my own. Av it wasn't asking too much, it'd be a
great thing av your lordship'd see Daly.'
It was then settled that Lord Ballindine should ride over to Dunmore on the
following Friday, and if circumstances seemed to render it advisable, that
he and Martin should go on together to the attorney at Tuam.
XXIII DOCTOR COLLIGAN
Doctor Colligan, the Galen of Dunmore, though a practitioner of most
unprepossessing appearance and demeanour, was neither ignorant nor
careless. Though for many years he had courted the public in vain, his
neighbours had at last learned to know and appreciate him; and, at the time
of Anty's illness, the inhabitants of three parishes trusted their
corporeal ailments to his care, with comfort to themselves and profit to
him. Nevertheless, there were many things about Doctor Colligan not
calculated to inspire either respect or confidence. He always seemed a
little afraid of his patient, and very much afraid of his patient's
friends: he was always dreading the appearance at Dunmore of one of those
young rivals, who had lately established themselves at Tuam on one side,
and Hollymount on the other; and, to prevent so fatal a circumstance, was
continually trying to be civil and obliging to his customers. He would not
put on a blister, or order a black dose, without consulting with the lady
of the house, and asking permission of the patient, and consequently had
always an air of doubt and indecision. Then, he was excessively dirty in
his person and practice: he carried a considerable territory beneath his
nails; smelt equally strongly of the laboratory and the stable; would wipe
his hands on the patient's sheets, and wherever he went left horrid marks
of his whereabouts: he was very fond of good eating and much drinking, and
would neglect the best customer that ever was sick, when tempted by the
fascination of a game of loo. He was certainly a bad family-man; for though
he worked hard for the support of his wife and children, he was little
among them, paid them no attention, and felt no scruple in assuring Mrs C.
that he had been obliged to remain up all night with that dreadful Mrs
Jones, whose children were always so tedious; or that Mr Blake was so bad
after his accident that he could not leave him for a moment; when, to tell
the truth, the Doctor had passed the night with the cards in his hands, and
a tumbler of punch beside him.
He was a tall, thick-set, heavy man, with short black curly hair; was a
little bald at the top of his head; and looked always as though he had
shaved himself the day before yesterday, and had not washed since. His face
was good-natured, but heavy and unintellectual. He was ignorant of
everything but his profession, and the odds on the card-table or the race-
course. But to give him his due, on these subjects he was not ignorant; and
this was now so generally known that, in dangerous cases, Doctor Colligan
had been sent for, many, many miles.
This was the man who attended poor Anty in her illness, and he did as much
for her as could be done; but it was a bad case, and Doctor Colligan
thought it would be fatal. She had intermittent fever, and was occasionally
delirious; but it was her great debility between the attacks which he
considered so dangerous.
On the morning after the hunt, he told Martin that he greatly feared she
would go off, from exhaustion, in a few days, and that it would be wise to
let Barry know the state in which his sister was. There was a consultation
on the subject between the two and Martin's mother, in which it was agreed
that the Doctor should go up to Dunmore House, and tell Barry exactly the
state of affairs.
'And good news it'll be for him,' said Mrs Kelly; 'the best he heard since
the ould man died. Av he had his will of her, she'd niver rise from the bed
where she's stretched. But, glory be to God, there's a providence over all,
and maybe she'll live yet to give him the go-by.'
'How you talk, mother,' said Martin; 'and what's the use? Whatever he
wishes won't harum her; and maybe, now she's dying, his heart'll be
softened to her. Any way, don't let him have to say she died here, without
his hearing a word how bad she was.'
'Maybe he'd be afther saying we murdhered her for her money,' said the
widow, with a shudder.
'He can hardly complain of that, when he'll be getting all the money
himself. But, however, it's much betther, all ways, that Doctor Colligan
should see him.'
'You know, Mrs Kelly,' said the Doctor, 'as a matter of course he'll be
asking to see his sister.'
'You wouldn't have him come in here to her, would you? Faix, Doctor
Colligan, it'll be her death out right at once av he does.'
'It'd not be nathural, to refuse to let him see her,' said the Doctor; 'and
I don't think it would do any harm: but I'll be guided by you, Mrs Kelly,
in what I say to him.'
'Besides,' said Martin, 'I know Anty would wish to see him: he is her
brother; and there's only the two of 'em.'
'Between you be it,' said the widow; 'I tell you I don't like it. You
neither of you know Barry Lynch, as well as I do; he'd smother her av it
come into his head.'
'Ah, mother, nonsense now; hould your tongue; you don't know what you're
'Well; didn't he try to do as bad before?'
'It wouldn't do, I tell you,' continued Martin, 'not to let him see her;
that is, av Anty wishes it.'
It ended in the widow being sent into Anty's room, to ask her whether she
had any message to send to her brother. The poor girl knew how ill she was,
and expected her death; and when the widow told her that Doctor Colligan
was going to call on her brother, she said that she hoped she should see
Barry once more before all was over.
'Mother,' said Martin, as soon as the Doctor's back was turned, 'you'll get
yourself in a scrape av you go on saying such things as that about folk
'Is it about Barry?'
'Yes; about Barry. How do you know Colligan won't be repating all them
things to him?'
'Let him, and wilcome. Shure wouldn't I say as much to Barry Lynch himself?
What do I care for the blagguard? only this, I wish I'd niver heard his
name, or seen his foot over the sill of the door. I'm sorry I iver heard
the name of the Lynches in Dunmore.'
'You're not regretting the throuble Anty is to you, mother?'
'Regretting? I don't know what you mane by regretting. I don't know is it
regretting to be slaving as much and more for her than I would for my own,
and no chance of getting as much as thanks for it.'
'You'll be rewarded hereafther, mother; shure won't it all go for charity?'
'I'm not so shure of that,' said the widow. 'It was your schaming to get
her money brought her here, and, like a poor wake woman, as I was, I fell
into it; and now we've all the throuble and the expinse, and the time lost,
and afther all, Barry'll be getting everything when she's gone. You'll see,
Martin; we'll have the wake, and the funeral, and the docthor and all, on
us mind my words else. Och musha, musha! what'll I do at all? Faix, forty
pounds won't clear what this turn is like to come to; an' all from your
dirthy undherhand schaming ways.'
In truth, the widow was perplexed in her inmost soul about Anty; torn and
tortured by doubts and anxieties. Her real love of Anty and true charity
was in state of battle with her parsimony; and then, avarice was strong
within her; and utter, uncontrolled hatred of Barry still stronger. But,
opposed to these was dread of some unforeseen evil some tremendous law
proceedings: she had a half-formed idea that she was doing what she had no
right to do, and that she might some day be walked off to Galway assizes.
Then again, she had an absurd pride about it, which often made her declare
that she'd never be beat by such a 'scum of the 'arth' as Barry Lynch, and
that she'd fight it out with him if it cost her a hundred pounds; though no
one understood what the battle was which she was to fight.
Just before Anty's illness had become so serious, Daly called, and had
succeeded in reconciling both Martin and the widow to himself; but he had
not quite made them agree to his proposal. The widow, indeed, was much
averse to it. She wouldn't deal with such a Greek as Barry, even in the
acceptance of a boon. When she found him willing to compromise, she became
more than ever averse to any friendly terms; but now the whole ground was
slipping from under her feet. Anty was dying: she would have had her
trouble for nothing; and that hated Barry would gain his point, and the
whole of his sister's property, in triumph.
Twenty times the idea of a will had come into her mind, and how comfortable
it would be if Anty would leave her property, or at any rate a portion of
it, to Martin. But though the thoughts of such a delightful arrangement
kept her in a continual whirlwind of anxiety, she never hinted at the
subject to Anty. As she said to herself, 'a Kelly wouldn't demane herself
to ask a brass penny from a Lynch.' She didn't even speak to her daughters
about it, though the continual twitter she was in made them aware that
there was some unusual burthen on her mind.
It was not only to the Kellys that the idea occurred that Anty in her
illness might make a will. The thoughts of such a catastrophe had robbed
Barry of half the pleasure which the rumours of his sister's dangerous
position had given him. He had not received any direct intimation of Anty's
state, but had heard through the servants that she was ill very
ill dangerously 'not expected,' as the country people call it; and each
fresh rumour gave him new hopes, and new life. He now spurned all idea of
connexion with Martin; he would trample on the Kellys for thinking of such
a thing: he would show Daly, when in the plenitude of his wealth and power,
how he despised the lukewarmness and timidity of his councils. These and
other delightful visions were floating through his imagination; when, all
of a sudden, like a blow, like a thunderbolt, the idea of a will fell as it
were upon him with a ton weight. His heart sunk low within him; he became
white, and his jaw dropped. After all, there were victory and triumph,
plunder and wealth, his wealth, in the very hands of his enemies! Of course
the Kellys would force her to make a will, if she didn't do it of her own
accord; if not, they'd forge one. There was some comfort in that thought:
he could at any rate contest the will, and swear that it was a forgery.
He swallowed a dram, and went off, almost weeping to Daly.
'Oh, Mr Daly, poor Anty's dying: did you hear, Mr Daly she's all but gone?'
Yes; Daly had been sorry to hear that Miss Lynch was very ill. 'What shall
I do,' continued Barry, 'if they say that she's left a will?'
'Go and hear it read. Or, if you don't like to do that yourself, stay away,
and let me hear it.'
'But they'll forge one! They'll make out what they please, and when she's
dying, they'll make her put her name to it; or they'll only just put the
pen in her hand, when she's not knowing what she's doing. They'd do
anything now, Daly, to get the money they've been fighting for so hard.'
'It's my belief,' answered the attorney, 'that the Kellys not only won't do
anything dishonest, but that they won't even take any unfair advantage of
you. But at any rate you can do nothing. You must wait patiently; you, at
any rate, can take no steps till she's dead.'
'But couldn't she make a will in my favour? I know she'd do it if I asked
her if I asked her now now she's going off, you know. I'm sure she'd do it.
Don't you think she would?'
'You're safer, I think, to let it alone,' said Daly, who could hardly
control the ineffable disgust he felt.
'I don't know that,' continued Barry. 'She's weak, and'll do what she's
asked: besides, they'll make her do it. Fancy if, when she's gone, I find I
have to share everything with those people!' And he struck his forehead and
pushed the hair off his perspiring face, as he literally shook with
despair. 'I must see her, Daly. I'm quite sure she'll make a will if I beg
her; they can't hinder me seeing my own, only, dying sister; can they,
Daly? And when I'm once there, I'll sit with her, and watch till it's all
over. I'm sure, now she's ill, I'd do anything for her.'
Daly said nothing, though Barry paused for him to reply. 'Only about the
form,' continued he, 'I wouldn't know what to put. By heavens, Daly! you
must come with me. You can be up at the house, and I can have you down at a
minute's warning.' Daly utterly declined, but Barry continued to press him.
'But you must, Daly; I tell you I know I'm right. I know her so well she'll
do it at once for the sake for the sake of You know she is my own sister,
and all that and she thinks so much of that kind of thing. I'll tell you
what, Daly; upon my honour and soul,' and he repeated the words in a most
solemn tone, 'if you'll draw the will, and she signs it, so that I come in
for the whole thing and I know she will I'll make over fifty ay, seventy
pounds a year for you for ever and ever. I will, as I live.'
The interview ended by the attorney turning Barry Lynch into the street,
and assuring him that if he ever came into his office again, on any
business whatsoever, he would unscrupulously kick him out. So ended, also,
the connexion between the two; for Daly never got a farthing for his
labour. Indeed, after all that had taken place, he thought it as well not
to trouble his çi-devant client with a bill. Barry went home, and of course
When Doctor Colligan called on Lynch, he found that he was not at home. He
was at that very moment at Tuam, with the attorney. The doctor repeated his
visit later in the afternoon, but Barry had still not returned, and he
therefore left word that he would call early after breakfast the following
morning. He did so; and, after waiting half an hour in the dining-room,
Barry, only half awake and half dressed, and still half drunk, came down to
The doctor, with a long face, delivered his message, and explained to him
the state in which his sister was lying; assured him that everything in the
power of medicine had been and should be done; that, nevertheless, he
feared the chance of recovery was remote; and ended by informing him that
Miss Lynch was aware of her danger, and had expressed a wish to see him
before it might be too late. Could he make it convenient to come over just
now in half an hour or say an hour? said the doctor, looking at the red
face and unfinished toilet of the distressed brother.
Barry at first scarcely knew what reply to give. On his return from Tuam,
he had determined that he would at any rate make his way into his sister's
room, and, as he thought to himself, see what would come of it. In his
after-dinner courage he had further determined, that he would treat the
widow and her family with a very high hand, if they dared to make objection
to his seeing his sister; but now, when the friendly overture came from
Anty herself, and was brought by one of the Kelly faction, he felt himself
a little confounded, as though he rather dreaded the interview, and would
wish to put it off for a day or two.
'Oh, yes certainly, Doctor Colligan; to be sure that is tell me, doctor,
is she really so bad?'
'Indeed, Mr Lynch, she is very weak.'
'But, doctor, you don't think there is any chance I mean, there isn't any
danger, is there, that she'd go off at once?'
'Why, no, I don't think there is; indeed, I have no doubt she will hold out
a fortnight yet.'
'Then, perhaps, doctor, I'd better put it off till tomorrow; I'll tell you
why: there's a person I wish '
'Why, Mr Lynch, today would be better. The fever's periodical, you see, and
will be on her again tomorrow '
'I beg your pardon, Doctor Colligan,' said Barry, of a sudden remembering
to be civil, 'but you'll take a glass of wine?'
'Not a drop, thank ye, of anything.'
'Oh, but you will;' and Barry rang the bell and had the wine brought. 'And
you expect she'll have another attack tomorrow?'
'That's a matter of course, Mr Lynch; the fever'll come on her again
tomorrow. Every attack leaves her weaker and weaker, and we fear she'll go
off, before it leaves her altogether.'
'Poor thing!' said Barry, contemplatively.
'We had her head shaved,' said the doctor.
'Did you, indeed!' answered Barry. 'She was my favourite sister, Doctor
Colligan that is, I had no other.'
'I believe not,' said Doctor Colligan, looking sympathetic.
'Take another glass of wine, doctor? now do,' and he poured out another
'Thank'ee, Mr Lynch, thank'ee; not a drop more. And you'll be over in an
hour then? I'd better go and tell her, that she may be prepared, you know,'
and the doctor returned to the sick room of his patient.
Barry remained standing in the parlour, looking at the glasses and the
decanter, as though he were speculating on the manner in which they had
been fabricated. 'She may recover, after all,' thought he to himself.
'She's as strong as a horse I know her better than they do. I know she'll
recover, and then what shall I do? Stand to the offer Daly made to Kelly, I
suppose!' And then he sat down close to the table, with his elbow on it,
and his chin resting on his hand; and there he remained, full of thought.
To tell the truth, Barry Lynch had never thought more intensely than he did
during those ten minutes. At last he jumped up suddenly, as though
surprised at what had been passing within himself; he looked hastily at the
door and at the window, as though to see that he had not been watched, and
then went upstairs to dress himself, preparatory to his visit to the inn.
XXIV ANTY LYNCH'S BED-SIDE SCENE THE FIRST
Anty had borne her illness with that patience and endurance which were so
particularly inherent in her nature. She had never complained; and had
received the untiring attentions and care of her two young friends, with a
warmth of affection and gratitude which astonished them, accustomed as they
had been in every little illness to give and receive that tender care with
which sickness is treated in affectionate families. When ill, they felt
they had a right to be petulant, and to complain; to exact, and to he
attended to: they had been used to it from each other, and thought it an
incidental part of the business. But Anty had hitherto had no one to nurse
her, and she looked on Meg and Jane as kind ministering angels, emulous as
they were to relieve her wants and ease her sufferings.
Her thin face had become thinner, and was very pale; her head had been
shaved close, and there was nothing between the broad white border of her
nightcap and her clammy brow and wan cheek. But illness was more becoming
to Anty than health; it gave her a melancholy and beautiful expression of
resignation, which, under ordinary circumstances, was wanting to her
features, though not to her character. Her eyes were brighter than they
usually were, and her complexion was clear, colourless, and transparent. I
do not mean to say that Anty in her illness was beautiful, but she was no
longer plain; and even to the young Kellys, whose feelings and sympathies
cannot be supposed to have been of the highest order, she became an object
of the most intense interest, and the warmest affection.
'Well, doctor,' she said, as Doctor Colligan crept into her room, after the
termination of his embassy to Barry; 'will he come?'
'Oh, of course he will; why wouldn't he, and you wishing it? He'll be here
in an hour, Miss Lynch. He wasn't just ready to come over with me.'
'I'm glad of that,' said Anty, who felt that she had to collect her
thoughts before she saw him; and then, after a moment, she added, 'Can't I
take my medicine now, doctor?'
'Just before he comes you'd better have it, I think. One of the girls will
step up and give it you when he's below. He'll want to speak a word or so
to Mrs Kelly before he comes up.'
'Spake to me, docthor!' said the widow, alarmed. 'What'll he be spaking to
me about? Faix, I had spaking enough with him last time he was here.'
'You'd better just see him, Mrs Kelly,' whispered the, doctor. 'You'll find
him quiet enough, now; just take him fair and asy; keep him downstairs a
moment, while Jane gives her the medicine. She'd better take it just before
he goes to her, and don't let him stay long, whatever you do. I'll be back
before the evening's over; not that I think that she'll want me to see her,
but I'll just drop in.'
'Are you going, doctor?' said Anty, as he stepped up to the bed. He told
her he was. 'You've told Mrs Kelly, haven't you, that I'm to see Barry
'Why, I didn't say so,' said the doctor, looking at the widow; 'but I
suppose there'll be no harm eh, Mrs Kelly?'
'You must let me see him alone, dear Mrs Kelly!'
'If Doctor Colligan thinks you ought, Anty dear, I wouldn't stay in the
room myself for worlds.'
'But you won't keep him here long, Miss Lynch eh? And you won't excite
yourself? indeed, you mustn't. You'll allow them fifteen minutes, Mrs
Kelly, not more, and then you'll come up;' and with these cautions, the
'I wish he was come and gone,' said the widow to her elder daughter. 'Well;
av I'd known all what was to follow, I'd niver have got out of my warm bed
to go and fetch Anty Lynch down here that cowld morning! Well, I'll be wise
another time. Live and lam, they say, and it's thrue, too.'
'But, mother, you ain't wishing poor Anty wasn't here?'
'Indeed, but I do; everything to give and nothin to get that's not the way
I have managed to live. But it's not that altogether, neither. I'm not
begrudging Anty anything for herself; but that I'd be dhriven to let that
blagguard of a brother of hers into the house, and that as a frind like, is
what I didn't think I'd ever have put upon me!'
Barry made his appearance about an hour after the time at which they had
begun to expect him; and as soon as Meg saw him, one of them flew upstairs,
to tell Anty and give her her tonic. Barry had made himself quite a dandy
to do honour to the occasion of paying probably a parting visit to his
sister, whom he had driven out of her own house to die at the inn. He had
on his new blue frock-coat, and a buff waistcoat with gilt buttons, over
which his watch-chain was gracefully arranged. His pantaloons were strapped
clown very tightly over his polished boots; a shining new silk hat was on
one side of his head; and in his hand he was dangling an ebony cane. In
spite, however, of all these gaudy trappings, he could not muster up an
easy air; and, as he knocked, he had that look proverbially attributed to
dogs who are going to be hung.
Sally opened the door for him, and the widow, who had come out from the
shop, made him a low courtesy in the passage.
'Oh ah yes Mrs Kelly, I believe?' said Barry.
'Yes, Mr Lynch, that's my name; glory be to God!'
'My sister, Miss Lynch, is still staying here, I believe?'
'Why, drat it, man; wasn't Dr Colligan with you less than an hour ago,
telling you you must come here, av you wanted to see her?'
'You'll oblige me by sending up the servant to tell Miss Lynch I'm here.'
'Walk up here a minute, and I'll do that errand for you myself. Well,'
continued she, muttering to herself 'for him to ax av she war staying here,
as though he didn't know it! There niver was his ditto for desait, maneness
A minute or two alter the widow had left him, Barry found himself by his
sister's bed-side, but never had he found himself in a position for which
he was less fitted, or which was less easy to him. He assumed, however, a
long and solemn face, and crawling up to the bed-side, told his sister, in
a whining voice, that he was very glad to see her.
'Sit down, Barry, sit down,' said Anty, stretching out her thin pale hand,
and taking hold of her brother's.
Barry did as he was told, and sat down. 'I'm so glad to see you, Barry,'
said she: 'I'm so very glad to see you once more ' and then after a pause,
'and it'll be the last time, Barry, for I'm dying.'
Barry told her he didn't think she was, for he didn't know when he'd seen
her looking better.
'Yes, I am, Barry: Doctor Colligan has said as much; and I should know it
well enough myself, even if he'd never said a word. We're friends now, are
we not? Everything's forgiven and forgotten, isn't it, Barry?'
Anty had still hold of her brother's hand, and seemed desirous to keep it.
He sat on the edge of his chair, with his knees tucked in against the bed,
the very picture of discomfort, both of body and mind.
'Oh, of course it is, Anty,' said he; 'forgive and forget; that was always
my motto. I'm sure I never bore any malice indeed I never was so sorry as
when you went away, and '
'Ah, Barry,' said Anty; 'it was better I went then; maybe it's all better
as it is. When the priest has been with me and given me comfort, I won't
fear to die. But there are other things, Barry, I want to spake to you
'If there's anything I can do, I'm sure I'd do it: if there's anything at
all you wish done. Would you like to come up to the house again?'
'Oh no, Barry, not for worlds.'
'Why, perhaps, just at present, you are too weak to move; only wouldn't it
be more comfortable for you to be in your own house? These people here are
all very well, I dare say, but they must be a great bother to you, eh? so
interested, you know, in everything they do.'
'Ah! Barry, you don't know them.'
Barry remembered that he would be on the wrong tack to abuse the Kellys.
'I'm sure they're very nice people,' said he; 'indeed I always thought so,
and said so but they're not like your own flesh and blood, are they,
Anty? and why shouldn't you come up and be '
'No, Barry,' said she; 'I'll not do that; as they're so very, very kind as
to let me stay here, I'll remain till till God takes me to himself. But
they're not my flesh and blood' and she turned round and looked
affectionately in the face of her brother 'there are only the two of us
left now; and soon, very soon you'll be all alone.' Barry felt very
uncomfortable, and wished the interview was over: he tried to say
something, but failed, and Anty went on 'when that time comes, will you
remember what I say to you now? When you're all alone, Barry; when there's
nothing left to trouble you or put you out will you think then of the last
time you ever saw your sister, and '
'Oh, Anty, sure I'll be seeing you again!'
'No, Barry, never again. This is the last time we shall ever meet, and
think how much we ought to be to each other! We've neither of us father or
mother, husband or wife. When I'm gone you'll be alone: will you think of
me then and will you remember, remember every day what I say to you now?'
'Indeed I will, Anty. I'll do anything, everything you'd have me. Is there
anything you'd wish me to give to any person?'
'Barry,' she continued, 'no good ever came of my father's will.' Barry
almost jumped off his chair as he heard his sister's words, so much did
they startle him; but he said nothing. 'The money has done me no good, but
the loss of it has blackened your heart, and turned your blood to gall
against me. Yes, Barry yes don't speak now, let me go on; the old man
brought you up to look for it, and, alas, he taught you to look for nothing
else; it has not been your fault, and I'm not blaming you I'm not maning to
blame you, my own brother, for you are my own' and she turned round in the
bed and shed tears upon his hand, and kissed it. 'But gold, and land, will
never make you happy, no, not all the gold of England, nor all the land the
old kings ever had could make you happy, av the heart was bad within you.
You'll have it all now, Barry, or mostly all. You'll have what you think
the old man wronged you of; you'll have it with no one to provide for but
yourself, with no one to trouble you, no one to thwart you. But oh, Barry,
av it's in your heart that that can make you happy there's nothing before
you but misery and death and hell.' Barry shook like a child in the
clutches of its master 'Yes, Barry; misery and death, and all the tortures
of the damned. It's to save you from this, my own brother, to try and turn
your heart from that foul love of money, that your sister is now speaking
to you from her grave. Oh, Barry! try and cure it. Learn to give to others,
and you'll enjoy what you have yourself. Learn to love others, and then
you'll know what it is to be loved yourself. Try, try to soften that hard
heart. Marry at once, Barry, at once, before you're older and worse to
cure; and you'll have children, and love them; and when you feel, as feel
you must, that the money is clinging round your soul, fling it from you,
and think of the last words your sister said to you.'
The sweat was now running down the cheeks of the wretched man, for the
mixed rebuke and prayer of his sister had come home to him, and touched
him; but it was neither with pity, with remorse, nor penitence. No; in that
foul heart there was no room, even for remorse; but he trembled with fear
as he listened to her words, and, falling on his knees, swore to her that
he would do just as she would have him.
'If I could but think,' continued she, 'that you would remember what I am
'Oh, I will, Anty: I will indeed, indeed, I will!'
'If I could believe so, Barry I'd die happy and in comfort, for I love you
better than anything on earth;' and again she pressed his hot red hand 'but
oh, brother! I feel for you: you never kneel before the altar of God you've
no priest to move the weight of sin from your soul and how heavy that must
be! Do you remember, Barry; it's but a week or two ago and you threatened
to kill me for the sake of our father's money? you wanted to put me in a
mad-house; you tried to make me mad with fear and cruelty; me, your sister;
and I never harmed or crossed you. God is now doing what you threatened; a
kind, good God is now taking me to himself, and you will get what you so
longed for without more sin on your conscience; but it'll never bless you,
av you've still the same wishes in your heart, the same love of gold the
same hatred of a fellow-creature.'
'Oh, Anty!' sobbed out Barry, who was now absolutely in tears, 'I was drunk
that night; I was indeed, or I'd never have said or done what I did.'
'And how often are you so, Barry? isn't it so with you every night? That's
another thing; for my sake, for your own sake for God's sake, give up the
dhrink. It's killing you from day to day, and hour to hour. I see it in
your eyes, and smell it in your breath, and hear it in your voice; it's
that that makes your heart so black it's that that gives you over, body and
soul, to the devil. I would not have said a word about that night to hurt
you now; and, dear Barry, I wouldn't have said such words as these to you
at all, but that I shall never speak to you again. And oh! I pray that
you'll remember them. You're idle now, always don't continue so; earn your
money, and it will be a blessing to you and to others. But in idleness, and
drunkenness, and wickedness, it will only lead you quicker to the devil.'
Barry reiterated his promises; he would take the pledge; he would work at
the farm; he would marry and have a family; he would not care the least for
money; he would pay his debts; he would go to church, or chapel, if Anty
liked it better; at any rate, he'd say his prayers; he would remember every
word she had said to the last day of his life; he promised everything or
anything, as though his future existence depended on his appeasing his
dying sister. But during the whole time, his chief wish, his longing
desire, was to finish the interview, and get out of that horrid room. He
felt that he was mastered and cowed by the creature whom he had so
despised, and he could not account for the feeling. Why did he not dare to
answer her? She had told him he would have her money: she had said it would
come to him as a matter of course; and it was not the dread of losing that
which prevented his saying a word in his own defence. No; she had really
frightened him: she had made him really feel that he was a low, wretched,
wicked creature, and he longed to escape from her, that he might recover
'I have but little more to say to you, Barry,' she continued, 'and that
little is about the property. You will have it all, but a small sum of
Here Anty was interrupted by a knock at the door, and the entrance of the
widow. She came to say that the quarter of an hour allowed by the doctor
had been long exceeded, and that really Mr Barry ought to take his leave,
as so much talking would be bad for Anty.
This was quite a god-send for Barry, who was only anxious to be off; but
Anty begged for a respite.
'One five minutes longer, dear Mrs Kelly,' said she, 'and I shall have
done; only five minutes I'm much stronger now, and really it won't hurt
'Well, then mind, only five minutes,' said the widow, and again left them
'You don't know, Barry you can never know how good that woman has been to
me; indeed all of them and all for nothing. They've asked nothing of me,
and now that they know I'm dying, I'm sure they expect nothing from me. She
has enough; but I wish to leave something to Martin, and the girls;' and a
slight pale blush covered her wan cheeks and forehead as she mentioned
Martin's name. 'I will leave him five hundred pounds, and them the same
between them. It will be nothing to you, Barry, out of the whole; but see
and pay it at once, will you?' and she looked kindly into his face.
He promised vehemently that he would, and told her not to bother herself
about a will: they should have the money as certainly as if twenty wills
were made. To give Barry his due, at that moment, he meant to be as good as
his word. Anty, however, told him that she would make a will; that she
would send for a lawyer, and have the matter properly settled.
'And now,' she said, 'dear Barry, may God Almighty bless you may He guide
you and preserve you; and may He, above all, take from you that horrid love
of the world's gold and wealth. Good bye,' and she raised herself up in her
bed good bye, for the last time, my own dear brother; and try to remember
what I've said to you this day. Kiss me before you go, Barry.'
Barry leaned over the bed, and kissed her, and then crept out of the room,
and down the stairs, with the tears streaming down his red cheeks; and
skulked across the street to his own house, with his hat slouched over his
face, and his handkerchief held across his mouth.
XXV ANTY LYNCH'S BED-SIDE SCENE THE SECOND
Anty was a good deal exhausted by her interview with her brother, but
towards evening she rallied a little, and told Jane, who was sitting with
her, that she wanted to say one word in private, to Martin.
Jane was rather surprised, for though Martin was in the habit of going into
the room every morning to see the invalid, Anty had never before asked for
him. However, she went for Martin, and found him.
'Martin,' said she; 'Anty wants to see you alone, in private.'
'Me?' said Martin, turning a little red. 'Do you know what it's about?'
'She didn't say a word, only she wanted to see you alone; but I'm thinking
it's something about her brother; he was with her a long long time this
morning, and went away more like a dead man than a live one. But come,
don't keep her waiting; and, whatever you do, don't stay long; every word
she spakes is killing her.'
Martin followed his sister into the sick-room, and, gently taking Anty's
offered hand, asked her in a whisper, what he could do for her. Jane went
out; and, to do her justice sat herself down at a distance from the door,
though she was in a painful state of curiosity as to what was being said
'You're all too good to me, Martin,' said Anty; 'you'll spoil me, between
you, minding every word I say so quick.'
Martin assured her again, in a whisper, that anything and everything they
could do for her was only a pleasure.
'Don't mind whispering,' said Anty; 'spake out; your voice won't hurt me. I
love to hear your voices, they're all so kind and good. But Martin, I've
business you must do for me, and that at once, for I feel within me that
I'll soon he gone from this.'
'We hope not, Anty; but it's all with God now isn't it? No one knows that
betther than yourself.'
'Oh yes, I do know that; and I feel it is His pleasure that it should be
so, and I don't fear to die. A few weeks back the thoughts of death, when
they came upon me, nearly killed me; but that feeling's all gone now.'
Martin did not know what answer to make; he again told her he hoped she
would soon get better. It is a difficult task to talk properly to a dying
person about death, and Martin felt that he was quite incompetent to do so.
'But,' she continued, after a little, 'there 's still much that I want to
do that I ought to do. In the first place, I must make my will.'
Martin was again puzzled. This was another subject on which he felt himself
equally unwilling to speak; he could not advise her not to make one; and he
certainly would not advise her to do so.
'Your will, Anty? there's time enough for that; you'll be sthronger you
know, in a day or two. Doctor Colligan says so and then we'll talk about
'I hope there is time enough, Martin; but there isn't more than enough;
it's not much that I'll have to say '
'Were you spaking to Barry about it this morning?'
'Oh, I was. I told him what I'd do: he'll have the property now, mostly all
as one as av the ould man had left it to him. It would have been betther
so, eh Martin?' Anty never doubted her lover's disinterestedness; at this
moment she suspected him of no dirty longing alter her money, and she did
him only justice. When he came into her room he had no thoughts of
inheriting anything from her. Had he been sure that by asking he could have
induced her to make a will in his favour, he would not have done so. But
still his heart sunk a little within him when he heard her declare that she
was going to leave everything back to her brother. It was, however, only
for a moment; he remembered his honest determination firmly and resolutely
to protect their joint property against any of her brother's attempts,
should he ever marry her; but in no degree to strive or even hanker after
it, unless it became his own in a fair, straightforward manner.
'Well, Anty; I think you're right,' said he. 'But wouldn't it all go to
Barry, nathurally, without your bothering yourself about a will, and you so
'In course it would, at laist I suppose so; but Martin,' and she smiled
faintly as she looked up into his face, 'I want the two dear, dear girls,
and I want yourself to have some little thing to remember me by; and your
dear kind mother she doesn't want money, but if I ask her to take a few of
the silver things in the house, I'm sure she'll keep them for my sake. Oh,
Martin! I do love you all so very so very much!' and the warm tears
streamed down her cheeks.
Martin's eyes were affected, too: he made a desperate struggle to repress
the weakness, but he could not succeed, and was obliged to own it by
rubbing his eyes with the sleeve of his coat. 'And I'm shure, Anty,' said
he, 'we all love you; any one must love you who knew you.' And then he
paused: he was trying to say something of his own true personal regard for
her, but he hardly knew how to express it. 'We all love you as though you
were one of ourselves and so you are it's all the same at any rate it is to
'And I would have been one of you, had I lived. I can talk to you more
about it now, Martin, than I ever could before, because I know I feel I am
'But you mustn't talk, Anty; it wakens you, and you've had too much talking
already this day.'
'It does me good, Martin, and I must say what I have to say to you. I
mayn't be able again. Had it plazed God I should have lived, I would have
prayed for nothing higher or betther than to be one of such a family as
yourselves. Had I been had I been' and now Anty blushed again, and she also
found a difficulty in expressing herself; but she soon got over it, and
continued, 'had I been permitted to marry you, Martin, I think I would have
been a good wife to you. I am very, very sure I would have been an
'I'm shure you would I'm shure you would, Anty. God send you may still: av
you war only once well again there's nothing now to hindher us.'
'You forget Barry,' Anty said, with a shudder. 'But it doesn't matther
talking of that now' Martin was on the point of telling her that Barry had
agreed, under certain conditions, to their marriage: but, on second
thoughts, he felt it would be useless to do so; and Anty continued,
'I would have done all I could, Martin. I would have loved you fondly and
truly. I would have liked what you liked, and, av I could, I would've made
your home quiet and happy. Your mother should have been my mother, and your
sisthers my sisthers.'
'So they are now, Anty so they are now, my own, own Anty they love you as
much as though they were.'
'God Almighty bless them for their goodness, and you too, Martin. I cannot
tell you, I niver could tell you, how I've valued your honest thrue love,
for I know you have loved me honestly and thruly; but I've always been
afraid to spake to you. I've sometimes thought you must despise me, I've
been so wake and cowardly.'
'Despise you, Anty? how could I despise you, when I've always loved you?'
'But now, Martin, about poor Barry for he is poor. I've sometimes thought,
as I've been lying here the long long hours awake, that, feeling to you as
I do, l ought to be laving you what the ould man left to me.'
'I'd be sorry you did, Anty. I'll not be saying but what I thought of that
when I first looked for you, but it was never to take it from you, but to
share it with you, and make you happy with it.'
'I know it, Martin: I always knew it and felt it.'
'And now, av it's God's will that you should go from us, I'd rather Barry
had the money than us. We've enough, the Lord be praised; and I wouldn't
for worlds it should be said that it war for that we brought you among us;
nor for all County Galway would I lave it to Barry to say, that when you
were here, sick, and wake, and dying, we put a pen into your hand to make
you sign a will to rob him of what should by rights be his.'
'That's it, dear Martin; it wouldn't bless you if you had it; it can bless
no one who looks to it alone for a blessing. It wouldn't make you happy it
would make you miserable, av people said you had that which you ought not
to have. Besides, I love my poor brother; he is my brother, my only real
relation; we've lived all our lives together; and though he isn't what he
should be, the fault is not all his own, I should not sleep in my grave, av
I died with his curse upon me; as I should, av he found, when I am gone,
that I'd willed the property all away. I've told him he'd have it
all nearly all; and I've begged him, prayed to him, from. my dying bed, to
mend his ways; to try and be something betther in the world than what I
fear he 's like to be. I think he minded what I said when he was here, for
death-bed words have a solemn sound to the most worldly; but when I'm gone
he'll be all alone, there'll be no one to look afther him. Nobody loves
him no one even likes him; no one will live with him but those who mane to
rob him; and he will be robbed, and plundered, and desaved, when he thinks
he's robbing and desaving others.' Anty paused, more for breath than for a
reply, but Martin felt that he must say something.
'Indeed, Anty, I fear he'll hardly come to good. He dhrinks too much, by
all accounts; besides, he's idle, and the honest feeling isn't in him.'
'It's thrue, dear Martin; it's too thrue. Will you do me a great great
favour, Martin' and she rose up a little and turned her moist clear eye
full upon him 'will you show your thrue love to your poor Anty, by a rale
lasting kindness, but one that'll be giving you much much throuble and
pain? Afther I'm dead and gone long long after I'm in my cold grave, will
you do that for me, Martin?'.
'Indeed I will, Anty,' said Martin, rather astonished, but with a look of
solemn assurance; 'anything that I can do, I will: you needn't dread my not
remembering, but I fear it isn't much that I can do for you.'
'Will you always think and spake of Barry will you always act to him and by
him, and for him, not as a man whom you know and dislike, but as my
brother your own Anty's only brother? Whatever he does, will you thry to
make him do betther? Whatever troubles he's in, will you lend him your
hand? Come what come may to him, will you be his frind? He has no frind
now. When I'm gone, will you be a frind to him?'
Martin was much confounded. 'He won't let me be his frind,' he said; 'he
looks down on us and despises us; he thinks himself too high to be
befrinded by us. Besides, of all Dunmore he hates us most.'
'He won't when he finds you haven't got the property from him: but
frindship doesn't depend on letting rale frindship doesn't. I don't want
you to be dhrinking, and ating, and going about with him. God
forbid! you're too good for that. But when you find he wants a frind, come
forward, and thry and make him do something for himself. You can't but come
together; you'll be the executhor in the will; won't you, Martin? and then
he'll meet you about the property; he can't help it, and you must meet then
as frinds. And keep that up. If he insults you, forgive it or my sake; if
he's fractious and annoying, put up with it for my sake; for my sake thry
to make him like you, and thry to make others like him.' Martin felt that
this would be impossible, but he didn't say so 'No one respects him now,
but all respect you. I see it in people's eyes and manners, without hearing
what they say. Av you spake well of him at any rate kindly of him, people
won't turn themselves so against him. Will you do all this, for my sake?'
Martin solemnly promised that, as far as he could, he would do so; that, at
any rate as far as himself was concerned, he would never quarrel with him.
'You'll have very, very much to forgive,' continued Anty; 'but then it's so
sweet to forgive; and he's had no fond mother like you; he has not been
taught any duties, any virtues, as you have. He has only been taught that
money is the thing to love, and that he should worship nothing but that.
Martin, for my sake, will you look on him as a brother? a wicked, bad,
castaway brother; but still as a brother, to be forgiven, and, if possible,
'As I hope for glory in Heaven, I will,' said Martin; 'but I think he'll go
far from this; I think he'll quit Dunmore.'
'Maybe he will; perhaps it's betther he should; but he'll lave his name
behind him. Don't be too hard on that, and don't let others; and even av he
does go, it'll not be long before he'll want a frind, and I don't know
anywhere he can go that he's likely to find one. Wherever he may go, or
whatever he may do, you won't forget he was my brother; will you, Martin?
You won't forget he was your own Anty's only brother.'
Martin again gave her his solemn word that he would, to the best of his
ability, act as a friend and brother to Barry.
'And now about the will.' Martin again endeavoured to dissuade her from
thinking about a will just at present.
'Ah! but my heart's set upon it,' she said; ' I shouldn't be happy unless I
did it, and I'm sure you don't want to make me unhappy, now. You must get
me some lawyer here, Martin; I'm afraid you're not lawyer enough for that
'Indeed I'm not, Anty; it's a trade I know little about.'
'Well; you must get me a lawyer; not tomorrow, for I know I shan't be well
enough; but I hope I shall next day, and you may tell him just what to put
in it. I've no secrets from you.' And she told him exactly what she had
before told her brother. 'That'll not hurt him,' she continued; 'and I'd
like to think you and the dear girls should accept something from me.'
Martin then agreed to go to Daly. He was on good terms with them all now,
since making the last offer to them respecting the property; besides, as
Martin said, 'he knew no other lawyer, and, as the will was so decidedly in
Barry's favour, who was so proper to make it as Barry's own lawyer?'
'Good-bye now, Martin,' said Anty; 'we shall be desperately scolded for
talking so long; but it was on my mind to say it all, and I'm betther now
it's all over.'
'Good night, dear Anty,' said Martin, 'I'll be seeing you tomorrow.'
'Every day, I hope, Martin, till it's all over. God bless you, God bless
you all and you above all. You don't know, Martin at laist you didn't know
all along, how well, how thruly I've loved you. Good night,' and Martin
left the room, as Barry had done, in tears. But he had no feeling within
him of which he had cause to be ashamed. He was ashamed, and tried to hide
his face, for he was not accustomed to be seen with the tears running down
his cheeks; but still he had within him a strong sensation of gratified
pride, as he reflected that he was the object of the warmest affection to
so sweet a creature as Anty Lynch.
'Well, Martin what was it she wanted?' said his mother, as she met him at
the bottom of the stairs.
'I couldn't tell you now, mother,' said he; 'but av there was iver an angel
on 'arth, it's Anty Lynch.' And saying so, he pushed open the door and
escaped into the street.
'I wondher what she's been about now?' said the widow, speculating to
herself ' well, av she does lave it away from Barry, who can say but what
she has a right to do as she likes with her own? and who's done the most
for her, I'd like to know?' and pleasant prospects of her son's enjoying an
independence flitted before her mind's eye. 'But thin,' she continued,
talking to herself, 'I wouldn't have it said in Dunmore that a Kelly
demaned hisself to rob a Lynch, not for twice all Sim Lynch ever had.
Well we'll see; but no good'll ever come of meddling with them people.
Jane, Jane,' she called out, at the top of her voice, 'are you niver coming
down, and letting me out of this? bad manners to you.'
Jane answered, in the same voice, from the parlour upstairs, 'Shure,
mother, ain't I getting Anty her tay?
'Drat Anty and her tay! Well, shure, I'm railly bothered now wid them
Lynches! Well, glory be to God, there's an end to everything not that I'm
wishing her anywhere but where she is; she's welcome, for Mary Kelly.'
XXVI LOVE'S AMBASSADOR
Two days after the hunt in which poor Goneaway was killed by Barry's horse,
Ballindine received the following letter from his friend Dot Blake.
Limmer's Hotel, 27th March, 1844.
I and Brien, and Bottom, crossed over last Friday night, and, thanks to the
God of storms, were allowed to get quietly through it. The young chieftain
didn't like being boxed on the quay a bit too well; the rattling of the
chains upset him, and the fellows there are so infernally noisy and
awkward, that I wonder he was ever got on board. It's difficult to make an
Irishman handy, but it 's the very devil to make him quiet. There were four
at his head, and three at his tail, two at the wheel, turning, and one up
aloft, hallooing like a demon in the air; and when Master Brien showed a
little aversion to this comic performance, they were going to drag him into
the box bon gré, mal gré, till Bottom interposed and saved the men and the
horse from destroying each other.
We got safe to Middleham on Saturday night, the greatest part of the way by
rail. Scott has a splendid string of horses. These English fellows do their
work in tiptop style, only they think more of spending money than they do
of making it. I waited to see him out on Monday, when he'd got a trot, and
he was as bright as though he'd never left the Curragh. Scott says he's a
little too fine; but you know of course he must find some fault. To give
Igoe his due, he could not be in better condition, and Scott was obliged to
own that, considering where he came from, he was very well. I came on here
on Tuesday, and have taken thirteen wherever I could get it, and thought
the money safe. I have got a good deal on, and won't budge till I do it at
six to one; and I'm sure I'll bring him to that. I think he'll rise
quickly, as he wants so little training, and as his qualities must be at
once known now he's in Scott's stables; so if you mean to put any more on
you had better do it at once.
So much for the stables. I left the other two at home, but have one of my
own string here, as maybe I'll pick up a match: and now I wish to let you
know a report that I heard this morning at least a secret, which bids fair
to become a report. It is said that Kilcullen is to marry F W , and that
he has already paid Heaven only knows how many thousand pounds of debt with
her money; that the old earl has arranged it all, and that the beautiful
heiress has reluctantly agreed to be made a viscountess. I'm very far from
saying that I believe this; but it may suit you to know that I heard the
arrangement mentioned before two other persons, one of whom was
Morris strange enough this, as he was one of the set at Handicap Lodge when
you told them that the match with yourself was still on. I have no doubt
the plan would suit father and son; you best know how far the lady may have
been likely to accede. At any rate, my dear Frank, if you'll take my
advice, you'll not sit quiet till she does marry some one. You can't expect
she'll wear the willow for you very long, if you do nothing yourself. Write
to her by post, and write to the earl by the same post, saying you have
done so. Tell her in the sweetest way you can, that you cannot live without
seeing her, and getting your congé, if congé it is to be, from her own dear
lips; and tell him, in as few words, as you please, that you mean to do
yourself the honour of knocking at his door on such and such a day and do
By the bye, Kilcullen certainly returns to Ireland immediately. There's
been the devil's own smash among him and the Jews. He has certainly been
dividing money among them; but not near enough, by all accounts, to satisfy
the half of them. For the sake of your reputation, if not of your pocket,
don't let him walk off with the hundred and thirty thousand pounds. They
say it's not a penny less.
Very faithfully yours,
Shall I do anything for you here about Brien? I think I might still get you
eleven to one, but let me hear at once.
As Frank read the first portion of this epistle, his affection for his poor
dear favourite nag returned in full force, and he felt all the pangs of
remorse for having parted with him; but when he came to the latter part, to
Lord Kilcullen's name, and the initials by which his own Fanny was
designated, he forgot all about horse and owner; became totally regardless
of thirteen, eleven, and six to one, and read on hastily to the end; read
it all again then closed the letter, and put it in his pocket, and remained
for a considerable time in silent contemplation, trying to make up his mind
what he would do.
Nobody was with him as he opened his post-bag, which he took from the
messenger as the boy was coming up to the house; he therefore read his
letter alone, on the lawn, and he continued pacing up and down before the
house with a most perturbed air, for half an hour.
Kilcullen going to marry Fanny Wyndham! So, that was the cause of Lord
Cashel's singular behaviour his incivility, and refusal to allow Frank to
see his ward. 'What! to have arranged it all in twenty-four hours,' thought
Frank to himself; 'to have made over his ward's money to his son, before
her brother, from whom she inherited it, was in his grave: to determine at
once to reject an accepted suitor for the sake of closing on the poor
girl's money and without the slightest regard for her happiness, without a
thought for her welfare! And then, such lies,' said the viscount, aloud,
striking his heel into the grass in his angry impetuosity; 'such base,
cruel lies! to say that she had authorised him, when he couldn't have dared
to make such a proposal to her, and her brother but two days dead. Well; I
took him for a stiff-necked pompous fool, but I never thought him such an
avaricious knave.' And Fanny, too could Fanny have agreed, so soon, to give
her hand to another? She could not have transferred her heart. His own
dear, fond Fanny! A short time ago they had been all in all to each other;
and now so completely estranged as they were! However, Dot was right; up to
this time Fanny might be quite true to him; indeed, there was not ground
even for doubting her, for it was evident that no reliance was to be placed
in Lord Cashel's asseverations. But still he could not expect that she
should continue to consider herself engaged, if she remained totally
neglected by her lover. He must do something, and that at once; but there
was very great difficulty in deciding what that something was to be. It was
easy enough for Dot to say, first write, and then go. If he were to write,
what security was there that his letter would be allowed to reach Fanny?
and, if he went, how much less chance was there that he would be allowed to
see her. And then, again to be turned out of the house! again informed, by
that pompous scheming earl, that his visits there were not desired. Or,
worse still, not to be admitted; to be driven from the door by a footman
who would well know for what he came! No; come what come might, he would
never again go to Grey Abbey; at least not unless he was specially and
courteously invited thither by the owner; and then it should only be to
marry his ward, and take her from the odious place, never to return again.
'The impudent impostor!' continued Frank to himself; 'to pretend to suspect
me, when he was himself hatching his dirty, mercenary, heartless schemes!'
But still the same question recurred what was to be done? Venting his wrath
on Lord Cashel would not get him out of the difficulty: going was out of
the question; writing was of little use. Could he not send somebody else?
Some one who could not be refused admittance to Fanny, and who might at any
rate learn what her wishes and feelings were? He did not like making love
by deputy; but still, in his present dilemma, he could think of nothing
better. But whom was he to send? Bingham Blake was a man of character, and
would not make a fool of himself; but he was too young; he would not be
able to make his way to Fanny. No a young unmarried man would not do. Mat
Tierney? he was afraid of no one, and always cool and collected; but then,
Mat was in London; besides, he was a sort of friend of Kilcullen's. General
Bourke? No one could refuse an entrée to his venerable grey hairs, and
polished manner; besides, his standing in the world was so good, so
unexceptionable; but then the chances were he would not go on such an
errand; he was too old to be asked to take such a troublesome service; and
besides, if asked, it was very probable he would say that he considered
Lord Cashel entitled to his ward's obedience. The rector the Rev. Joseph
Armstrong? He must be the man: there was, at any rate, respectability in
his profession; and he had sufficient worldly tact not easily to be thrust
aside from his object: the difficulty would be, whether he had a coat
sufficiently decent to appear in at Grey Abbey.
After mature consideration he made up his mind that the parson should be
his ambassador. He would sooner have confided in Bingham Blake, but an
unmarried man would not do. No; the parson must be the man. Frank was,
unfortunately, but little disposed to act in any case without advice, and
in his anxiety to consult some one as to consulting the parson, returned
into the house, to make a clear breast of it to his mother. He found her in
the breakfast-room with the two girls, and the three were holding council
'Oh, here's Frank,' said Sophy; 'we'd better tell him all about it at
once and he'll tell us which she'd like best.'
'We didn't mean to tell you,' said Guss; 'but I and Sophy are going to work
two sofas for the drawing-room in Berlin wool, you know: they'll be very
handsome everybody has them now, you know; they have a splendid pair at
Ballyhaunis which Nora and her cousin worked.'
'But we want to know what pattern would suit Fanny's taste,' said Sophy.
'Well; you can't know that,' said Frank rather pettishly, 'so you'd better
'Oh, but you must know what she likes,' continued Guss; 'I'm for this,' and
she, displayed a pattern showing forth two gorgeous macaws each with
plumage of the brightest colours. 'The colours are so bright, and the
feathers will work in so well.'
'I don't like anything in worsted-work but flowers,' said Sophy; 'Nora
Dillon says she saw two most beautiful wreaths at that shop in Grafton
Street, both hanging from bars, you know; and that would be so much
prettier. I'm sure Fanny would like flowers best; wouldn't she now,
Frank? Mamma thinks the common cross-bar patterns are nicer for furniture.'
'Indeed I do, my dear,' said Mrs O'Kelly; 'and you see them much more
common now in well-furnished drawing-rooms. But still I'd much sooner have
them just what Fanny would like best. Surely, Frank, you must have heard
her speak about worsted-work?'
All this completely disconcerted Frank, and made him very much out of love
with his own plan of consulting his mother. He gave the trio some not very
encouraging answer as to their good-natured intentions towards his drawing-
room, and again left them alone. 'Well; there's nothing for it but to send
the parson; I don't think he'll make a fool of himself, but then I know
he'll look so shabby. However, here goes,' and he mounted his nag, and rode
off to Ballindine glebe.
The glebe-house was about a couple of miles from Kelly's Court, and it was
about half-past four when Lord Ballindine got there. He knocked at the
door, which was wide open, though it was yet only the last day of March,
and was told by a remarkably slatternly maid-servant, that her master was
'jist afther dinner; that he was stepped out,' but was about the place, and
could be 'fetched in at oncet'; and would his honour walk in? And so Lord
Ballindine was shown into the rectory drawing-room on one side of the
passage (alias hall), while the attendant of all work went to announce his
arrival in the rectory dining-room on the other side. Here Mrs Armstrong
was sitting among her numerous progeny, securing the débris of the dinner
from their rapacious paws, and endeavouring to make two very unruly boys
consume the portions of fat which had been supplied to them with, as they
loudly declared, an unfairly insufficient quantum of lean. As the girl was
good-natured enough to leave both doors wide open, Frank had the full
advantage of the conversation.
'Now, Greg,' said the mother, 'if you leave your meat that way I'll have it
put by for you, and you shall have nothing but potatoes till it's ate.'
'Why, mother, it's nothing but tallow; look here; you gave me all the
'I'll tell your dada, and see what he'll say, if you call the meat tallow;
and you're just as bad, Joe; worse if anything gracious me, here's waste!
well, I'll lock it up for you, and you shall both of you eat it to-morrow,
before you have a bit of anything else.'
Then followed a desperate fit of coughing.
'My poor Minny!' said the mother, 'you're just as bad as ever. Why would
you go out on the wet grass? Is there none of the black currant jam left?'
'No, mother,' coughed Minny, 'not a bit.'
'Greg ate it all,' peached Sarah, an elder sister; 'I told him not, but he
'Greg, I'll have you flogged, and you never shall come from school again.
What's that you're saying, Mary?'
'There's a jintleman in the drawing-room as is axing afther masther.'
'Gentleman what gentleman?' asked the lady.
'Sorrow a know I know, ma'am!' said Mary, who was a new importation 'only,
he's a dark, sightly jintleman, as come on a horse.'
'And did you send for the master?'
'I did, ma'am; I was out in the yard, and bad Patsy go look for him.'
'It's Nicholas Dillon, I'll bet twopence,' said Greg, jumping up to rush
into the other room: 'he's come about the black colt, I know.'
'Stay where you are, Greg; and don't go in there with your dirty face and
fingers; and, after speculating a little longer, the lady went into the
drawing-room herself; though, to tell the truth, her own face and fingers
were hardly in a state suitable for receiving company.
Mrs Armstrong marched into the drawing-room with something of a stately
air, to meet the strange gentleman, and there she found her old friend Lord
Ballindine. Whoever called at the rectory, and at whatever hour the visit
might be made, poor Mrs Armstrong was sure to apologise for the confusion
in which she was found. She had always just got rid of a servant, and could
not get another that suited her; or there was some other commonplace reason
for her being discovered en déshabille. However, she managed to talk to
Frank for a minute or two with tolerable volubility, till her eyes
happening to dwell on her own hands, which were certainly not as white as a
lady's should be, she became a little uncomfortable and embarrassed tried
to hide them in her drapery then remembered that she had on her morning
slippers, which were rather the worse for wear; and, feeling too much
ashamed of her tout ensemble to remain, hurried out of the room, saying
that she would go and see where Armstrong could possibly have got himself
to. She did not appear again to Lord Ballindine.
Poor Mrs Armstrong! though she looked so little like one, she had been
brought up as a lady, carefully and delicately; and her lot was the more
miserable, for she knew how lamentable were her present deficiencies. When
she married a poor curate, having, herself, only a few hundred pounds'
fortune, she had made up her mind to a life of comparative poverty; but she
had meant even in her poverty to be decent, respectable, and lady-like.
Weak health, nine children, an improvident husband, and an income so
lamentably ill-suited to her wants, had however been too much for her, and
she had degenerated into a slatternly, idle scold.
In a short time the parson came in from his farm, rusty and muddy rusty,
from his clerical dress; muddy from his farming occupations; and Lord
Ballindine went into the business of his embassy. He remembered, however,
how plainly he had heard the threats about the uneaten fat, and not wishing
the household to hear all he had to say respecting Fanny Wyndham, he took
the parson out into the road before the house, and, walking up and down,
unfolded his proposal.
Mr Armstrong expressed extreme surprise at the nature of the mission on
which he was to be sent; secondly at the necessity of such a mission at
all; and thirdly, lastly, and chiefly, at the enormous amount of the
heiress's fortune, to lose which he declared would be an unpardonable sin
on Lord Ballindine's part. He seemed to be not at all surprised that Lord
Cashel should wish to secure so much money in his own family; nor did he at
all participate in the unmeasured reprobation with which Frank loaded the
worthy earl's name. One hundred and thirty thousand pounds would justify
anything, and he thought of his nine poor children, his poor wife, his poor
home, his poor two hundred a-year, and his poor self. He calculated that so
very rich a lady would most probably have some interest in the Church,
which she could not but exercise in his favour, if he were instrumental in
getting her married; and he determined to go. Then the, difficult question
as to the wardrobe occurred to him. Besides, he had no money for the road.
Those, however, were minor evils to be got over, and he expressed himself
willing to undertake the embassy.
'But, my dear Ballindine; what is it I'm to do?' said he. 'Of course you
know, I'd do anything for you, as of course I ought anything that ought to
be done; but what is it exactly you wish me to say?'
'You see, Armstrong, that pettifogging schemer told me he didn't wish me to
come to his house again, and I wouldn't, even for Fanny Wyndham, force
myself into any man's house. He would not let me see her when I was there,
and I could not press it, because her brother was only just dead; so I'm
obliged to take her refusal second hand. Now I don't believe she ever sent
the message he gave me. I think he has made her believe that I'm deserting
and ill-treating her; and in this way she may be piqued and tormented into
'I see it now: upon my word then Lord Cashel knows how to play his cards!
But if I go to Grey Abbey I can't see her without seeing him.'
'Of course not but I'm coming to that. You see, I have no reason to doubt
Fanny's love; she has assured me of it a thousand times. I wouldn't say so
to you even, as it looks like boasting, only it's so necessary you should
know how the land lies; besides, everybody knew it; all the world knew we
'Oh, boasting it's no boasting at all: it would be very little good my
going to Grey Abbey, if she had not told you so.'
'Well, I think that if you were to see Lord Cashel and tell him, in your
own quiet way, who you are; that you are rector of Ballindine, and my
especial friend; and that you had come all the way from County Mayo
especially to see Miss Wyndham, that you might hear from herself whatever
message she had to send to me if you were to do this, I don't think he
would dare to prevent you from seeing her.'
'If he did, of course I would put it to him that you, who were so long
received as Miss Wyndham's accepted swain, were at least entitled to so
much consideration at her hands; and that I must demand so much on your
behalf, wouldn't that be it, eh?'
'Exactly. I see you understand it, as if you'd been at it all your life;
only don't call me her swain.'
'Well, I'll think of another word her beau.'
'For Heaven's sake, no! that's ten times worse.'
'Well, her lover?'
'That's at any rate English: but say, her accepted husband that'll be true
and plain: if you do that I think you will manage to see her, and then '
'Well, then for that'll be the difficult part.'
'Oh, when you see her, one simple word will do: Fanny Wyndham loves plain
dealing. Merely tell her that Lord Ballindine has not changed his mind; and
that he wishes to know from herself, by the mouth of a friend whom he can
trust, whether she has changed hers. If she tells you that she has, I would
not follow her farther though she were twice as rich as Croesus. I'm not
hunting her for her money; but I am determined that Lord Cashel shall not
make us both miserable by forcing her into a marriage with his roué of a
'Well, Ballindine, I'll go; but mind, you must not blame me if I fail. I'll
do the best I can for you.'
'Of course I won't. When will you be able to start?'
'Why, I suppose there's no immediate hurry? said the parson, remembering
that the new suit of clothes must be procured.
'Oh, but there is. Kilcullen will be there at once; and considering how
long it is since I saw Fanny three months, I believe no time should be
'How long is her brother dead?'
'Oh, a month or very near it.'
'Well, I'll go Monday fortnight; that'll do, won't it?'
It was at last agreed that the parson was to start for Grey Abbey on the
Monday week following; that he was to mention to no one where he was going;
that he was to tell his wife that he was going on business he was not
allowed to talk about she would be a very meek woman if she rested
satisfied with that! and that he was to present himself at Grey Abbey on
the following Wednesday.
'And now,' said the parson, with some little hesitation, 'my difficulty
commences. We country rectors are never rich; but when we've nine children,
Ballindine, it's rare to find us with money in our pockets. You must
advance me a little cash for the emergencies of the road.'
'My dear fellow! Of course the expense must be my own. I'll send you down a
note between this and then; I haven't enough about me now. Or, stay I'll
give you a cheque,' and he turned into the house, and wrote him a cheque
for twenty pounds.
That'll get the coat into the bargain, thought the rector, as he rather
uncomfortably shuffled the bit of paper into his pocket. He had still a
gentleman's dislike to be paid for his services. But then, Necessity how
stern she is! He literally could not have gone without it.
XXVII MR LYNCH'S LAST RESOURCE
On the following morning Lord Ballindine as he had appointed to do, drove
over to Dunmore, to settle with Martin about the money, and, if necessary,
to go with him to the attorney's office in Tuam. Martin had as yet given
Daly no answer respecting Barry Lynch's last proposal; and though poor
Anty's health made it hardly necessary that any answer should be given,
still Lord Ballindine had promised to see the attorney, if Martin thought
it necessary. The family were all in great confusion that morning, for Anty
was very bad worse than she had ever been. She was in a paroxysm of fever,
was raving in delirium, and in such a state that Martin and his sister were
occasionally obliged to hold her in bed.
Sally, the old servant, had been in the room for a considerable time during
the morning, standing at the foot of the bed with a big tea-pot in her
hand, and begging in a whining voice, from time to time, that 'Miss Anty,
God bless her, might get a dhrink of tay!' But, as she had been of no other
service, and as the widow thought it as well that she should not, hear what
Anty said in her raving, she had been desired to go down-stairs, and was
sitting over the fire. She had fixed the big tea-pot among the embers, and
held a slop-bowl of tea in her lap, discoursing to Nelly, who with her hair
somewhat more than ordinarily dishevelled, in token of grief for Anty's
illness, was seated on a low stool, nursing a candle-stick.
'Well, Nelly,' said the prophetic Sally, boding evil in her anger for,
considering how long she had been in the family, she had thought herself
entitled to hear Anty's ravings; 'mind, I tell you, good won't come of
this. The Virgin prothect us from all harum! it niver war lucky to have
sthrangers dying in the house.'
'But shure Miss Anty 's no stranger.'
'Faix thin, her words must be sthrange enough when the likes o' me wouldn't
be let hear 'em. Not but what I did hear, as how could I help it? There'll
be no good come of it. Who's to be axed to the wake, I'd like to know.'
'Axed to the wake, is it? Why, shure, won't there be rashions of ating and
lashings of dhrinking? The misthress isn't the woman to spare, and sich a
frind as Miss Anty dead in the house. Let 'em ax whom they like.'
'You're a fool, Nelly Ax whom they like! that's asy said. Is they to ax
Barry Lynch, or is they to let it alone, and put the sisther into the sod
without a word said to him about it? God be betwixt us and all evil' and
she took a long pull at the slop-bowl; and, as the liquid flowed down her
throat, she gradually threw back her head till the top of her mop cap was
flattened against the side of the wide fire-place, and the bowl was turned
bottom upwards, so that the half-melted brown sugar might trickle into her
mouth. She then gave a long sigh, and repeated that difficult question 'Who
is they to ax to the wake?'
It was too much for Nelly to answer: she reechoed the sigh, and more
closely embraced the candlestick.
'Besides, Nelly, who'll have the money when she's gone? and she's nigh that
already, the Blessed Virgin guide and prothect her. Who'll get all her
'Why; won't Mr Martin? Sure, an't they as good as man and wife all as one?'
'That 's it; they'll be fighting and tearing, and tatthering about that
money, the two young men will, you'll see. There'll be lawyering, an'
magisthrate's work an' factions an' fighthins at fairs; an' thin, as in
course the Lynches can't hould their own agin the Kellys, there'll be
undherhand blows, an' blood, an' murdher! you'll see else.'
'Glory be to God,' involuntarily prayed Nelly, at the thoughts suggested by
Sally's powerful eloquence.
'There will, I tell ye,' continued Sally, again draining the tea-pot into
the bowl. 'Sorrow a lie I'm telling you;' and then, in a low whisper across
the fire, 'didn't I see jist now Miss Anty ketch a hould of Misther Martin,
as though she'd niver let him go agin, and bid him for dear mercy's sake
have a care of Barry Lynch? Shure I knowed what that meant. And thin,
didn't he thry and do for herself with his own hands? Didn't Biddy say
she'd swear she heard him say he'd do it? and av he wouldn't boggle about
his own sisther, it's little he'd mind what he'd do to an out an out inemy
like Misther Martin.'
'Warn't that a knock at the hall-door, Sally?'
'Run and see, girl; maybe it's the docthor back again; only mostly he don't
mind knocking much.'
Nelly went to the door, and opened it to Lord Ballindine, who had left his
gig in charge of his servant. He asked for Martin, who in a short time,
joined him in the parlour.
'This is a dangerous place for your lordship, now,' said he: 'the fever is
so bad in the house. Thank God, nobody seems to have taken it yet, but
there's no knowing.'
'Is she still so bad, Martin?'
'Worse than iver, a dale worse; I don't think It'll last long, now: another
bout such as this last'll about finish it. But I won't keep your lordship.
I've managed about the money;' and the necessary writing was gone through,
and the cash was handed to Lord Ballindine.
'You've given over all thoughts then, about Lynch's offer eh, Martin? I
suppose you've done with all that, now?'
'Quite done with it, my lord; and done with fortune-hunting too. I've seen
enough this last time back to cure me altogether at laist, I hope so.'
'She doesn't mean to make any will, then?'
'Why, she wishes to make one, but I doubt whether she'll ever be able;' and
then Martin gave his landlord an account of all that Anty had said about
her will, her wishes as to the property, her desire to leave something to
him (Martin) and his sisters: and last he repeated the strong injunctions
which Anty had given him respecting her poor brother, and her assurance, so
full of affection, that had she lived she would have done her best to make
him happy as her husband.
Lord Ballindine was greatly affected; he warmly shook hands with Martin,
told him how highly he thought of his conduct, and begged him to take care
that Anty had the gratification of making her will as she had desired to
do. 'The fact,' Lord Ballindine said, 'of your being named in the will as
her executor will give you more. control over Barry than anything else
could do.' He then proposed at once to go, himself, to Tuam, and explain to
Daly what it was Miss Lynch wished him to do. This Lord Ballindine did, and
the next day the will was completed.
For a week or ten days Anty remained in much the same condition. After each
attack of fever it was expected that she would perish from weakness and
exhaustion; but she still held on, and then the fever abated, and Doctor
Colligan thought that it was possible she might recover: she was, however,
so dreadfully emaciated and worn out, there was so little vitality left in
her, that he would not encourage more than the faintest hope. Anty herself
was too weak either to hope or fear and the women of the family, who from
continual attendance knew how very near to death she was, would hardly
allow themselves to think that she could recover.
There were two persons, however, who from the moment of her amendment felt
an inward sure conviction of her convalescence. They were Martin and Barry.
To the former this feeling was o course one of unalloyed delight. He went
over to Kelly's Court, and spoke there of his betrothed as though she were
already sitting up and eating mutton chops; was congratulated by the young
ladies on his approaching nuptials, and sauntered round the Kelly's Court
shrubberies with Frank, talking over his future prospects; asking advice
about this and that, and propounding the pros and cons on that difficult
question, whether he would live at Dunmore, or build a house at Toneroe for
himself and Anty. With Barry, however, the feeling was very different: he
was again going to have his property wrenched from him; he was again to
suffer the pangs he had endured, when first he learned the purport of his
father's will; after clutching the fruit for which he had striven, as even
he himself felt, so basely, it was again to be torn from him so cruelly.
He had been horribly anxious for a termination to Anty's sufferings;
horribly impatient to feel himself possessor of the whole. From day to day,
and sometimes two or three times a day, he had seen Dr Colligan, and
inquired how things were going on: he had especially enjoined that worthy
man to come up after his morning call at the inn, and get a glass of sherry
at Dunmore House; and the doctor had very generally done so. For some time
Barry endeavoured to throw the veil of brotherly regard over the true
source of his anxiety; but the veil was much too thin to hide what it
hardly covered, and Barry, as he got intimate with the doctor, all but
withdrew it altogether. When Barry would say, 'Well, doctor, how is she to-
day?' and then remark, in answer to the doctor's statement that she was
very bad 'Well, I suppose it can't last much longer; but it's very tedious,
isn't it, poor thing?' it was plain enough that the brother was not longing
for the sister's recovery. And then he would go a little further, and
remark that 'if the poor thing was to go, it would be better for all she
went at once,' and expressed an opinion that he was rather ill-treated by
being kept so very long in suspense.
Doctor Colligan ought to have been shocked at this; and so he was,, at
first, to a certain extent, but he was not a man of a very high tone of
feeling. He had so often heard of heirs to estates longing for the death of
the proprietors of them; he had so often seen relatives callous and
indifferent at the loss of those who ought to have been dear to them; it
seemed so natural to him that Barry should want the estate, that he
gradually got accustomed to his impatient inquiries, and listened to, and
answered them, without disgust. He fell too into a kind of intimacy with
Barry; he liked his daily glass, or three or four glasses, of sherry; and
besides, it was a good thing for him to stand well in a professional point
of view with a man who had the best house in the village, and who would
soon have eight hundred a-year.
If Barry showed his impatience and discontent as long as the daily
bulletins told him that Anty was still alive, though dying, it may easily
be imagined that he did not hide his displeasure when he first heard that
she was alive and better. His brow grew very black, his cheeks flushed, the
drops of sweat stood on his forehead, and he said, speaking through his
closed teeth, 'D it, doctor, you don't mean to tell me she's recovering
'I don't say, Mr Lynch, whether she is or no; but it's certain the fever
has left her. She's very weak, very weak indeed; I never knew a person to
be alive and have less life in 'em; but the fever has left her and there
certainly is hope.'
'Hope!' said Barry 'why, you told me she couldn't live!'
'I don't say she will, Mr Lynch, but I say she may. Of course we must do
what we can for her,' and the doctor took his sherry and went his way.
How horrible then was the state of Barry's mind! For a time he was
absolutely stupified with despair; he stood fixed on the spot where the
doctor had left him, realising, bringing home to himself, the tidings which
he had heard. His sister to rise again, as though it were from the dead, to
push him off his stool! Was he to fall again into that horrid low abyss in
which even the Tuam attorney had scorned him; in which he had even invited
that odious huxter's son to marry his sister and live in his house? What!
was he again to be reduced to poverty, to want, to despair, by her whom he
so hated? Could nothing be done? Something must be done she should not be,
could not be allowed to leave that bed of sickness alive. 'There must be an
end of her,' he muttered through his teeth, 'or she'll drive me mad!' And
then he thought how easily he might have smothered her, as she lay there
clasping his hand, with no one but themselves in the room; and as the
thought crossed his brain his eyes nearly started from his head, the sweat
ran down his face, he clutched the money in his trousers' pocket till the
coin left an impression on his flesh, and he gnashed his teeth till his
jaws ached with his own violence. But then, in that sick-room, he had been
afraid of her; he could not have touched her then for the wealth of the
Bank of England! but now!
The devil sat within him, and revelled with full dominion over his soul:
there was then no feeling left akin to humanity to give him one chance of
escape; there was no glimmer of pity, no shadow of remorse, no sparkle of
love, even though of a degraded kind; no hesitation in the will for crime,
which might yet, by God's grace, lead to its eschewal: all there was black,
foul, and deadly, ready for the devil's deadliest work. Murder crouched
there, ready to spring, yet afraid cowardly, but too thirsty alter blood to
heed its own fears. Theft low, pilfering, pettifogging, theft; avarice,
lust, and impotent, scalding hatred. Controlled by these the black blood
rushed quick to and from his heart, filling him with sensual desires below
the passions of a brute, but denying him one feeling or one appetite for
aught that was good or even human.
Again the next morning the doctor was questioned with intense anxiety; 'Was
she going? was she drooping? had yesterday's horrid doubts raised only a
false alarm?' It was utterly beyond Barry's power to make any attempt at
concealment, even of the most shallow kind. 'Well, doctor, is she dying
yet?' was the brutal question he put.
'She is, if anything, rather stronger;' answered the doctor, shuddering
involuntarily at the open expression of Barry's atrocious wish, and yet
taking his glass of wine.
'The devil she is!' muttered Barry, throwing himself into an arm-chair. He
sat there some little time, and the doctor also sat down, said nothing, but
continued sipping his wine.
'In the name of mercy, what must I do?' said Barry, speaking more to
himself than to the other.
'Why, you've enough, Mr Lynch, without hers; you can do well enough without
'Enough! Would you think you had enough if you were robbed of more than
half of all you have. Half, indeed,' he shouted 'I may say all, at once. I
don't believe there's a man in Ireland would bear it. Nor will I.'
Again there was a silence; but still, somehow, Colligan seemed to stay
longer than usual. Every now and then Barry would for a moment look full in
his face, and almost instantly drop his eyes again. He was trying to mature
future plans; bringing into shape thoughts which had occurred to him, in a
wild way at different times; proposing to himself schemes, with which his
brain had been long loaded, but which he had never resolved on which he had
never made palpable and definite. One thing he found sure and certain; on
one point he was able to become determined: he could not do it alone; he
must have an assistant; he must buy some one's aid; and again he looked at
Colligan, and again his eyes fell. There was no encouragement there, but
there was no discouragement. Why did he stay there so long? Why did he so
slowly sip that third glass of wine? Was he waiting to be asked? was he
ready, willing, to be bought? There must be something in his thoughts he
must have some reason for sitting there so long, and so silent, without
speaking a word, or taking his eyes off the fire.
Barry had all but made up his mind to ask the aid he wanted; but he felt
that he was not prepared to do so that he should soon quiver and shake,
that he could not then carry it through. He felt that he wanted spirit to
undertake his own part in the business, much less to inspire another with
the will to assist him in it. At last he rose abruptly from his chair, and
'Will you dine with me to-day, Colligan? I'm so down in the mouth, so
deucedly hipped, it will be a charity.'
'Well,' said Colligan, 'I don't care if I do. I must go down to your sister
in the evening, and I shall be near her here.'
'Yes, of course; you'll be near her here, as you say: come at six, then. By
the bye, couldn't you go to Anty first, so that we won't be disturbed over
'I must see her the last thing, about nine, but I can look up again
afterwards, for a minute or so. I don't stay long with her now: it's better
'Well, then, you'll be here at six?'
'Yes, six sharp;' and at last the doctor got up and went away.
It was odd that Doctor Colligan should have sat thus long; it showed a
great want of character and of good feeling in him. He should never have
become intimate, or even have put up with a man expressing such wishes as
those which so often fell from Barry's lips. But he was entirely innocent
of the thoughts which Barry attributed to him. It had never even occurred
to him that Barry, bad as he was, would wish to murder his sister. No; bad,
heedless, sensual as Doctor Colligan might be, Barry was a thousand fathoms
deeper in iniquity than he.
As soon as he had left the room the other uttered a long, deep sigh. It was
a great relief to him to be alone: he could now collect his thoughts,
mature his plans, and finally determine. He took his usual remedy in his
difficulties, a glass of brandy; and, going out into the garden, walked up
and down the gravel walk almost unconsciously, for above an hour.
Yes: he would do it. He would not be a coward. The thing had been clone a
thousand times before. Hadn't he heard of it over and over again? Besides,
Colligan's manner was an assurance to him that he would not boggle at such
a job. But then, of course, he must be paid and Barry began to calculate
how much he must offer for the service; and, when the service should be
performed, how he might avoid the fulfilment of his portion of the bargain.
He went in and ordered the dinner; filled the spirit decanters, opened a
couple of bottles of wine, and then walked out again. In giving his orders,
and doing the various little things with which he had to keep himself
employed, everybody, and everything seemed strange to him. He hardly knew
what he was about, and felt almost as though he were in a dream. He had
quite made up his mind as to what he would do; his resolution was fixed to
carry it through but: still there was the but, how was he to open it to
Doctor Colligan? He walked up and down the gravel path for a long time,
thinking of this; or rather trying to think of it, for his thoughts would
fly away to all manner of other subjects, and he continually found himself
harping upon some trifle, connected with Anty, but wholly irrespective of
her death; some little thing that she had done for him, or ought to have
done; something she had said a long time ago, and which he had never
thought of till now; something she had worn, and which at the time he did
not even know that he had observed; and as often as he found his mind thus
wandering, he would start off at a quicker pace, and again endeavour to lay
out a line of conduct for the evening.
At last, however, he came to the conclusion that it would he better to
trust to the chapter of chances: there was one thing, or rather two things,
he could certainly do: he could make the doctor half drunk before he opened
on the subject, and he would take care to be in the same state himself. So
he walked in and sat still before the fire, for the two long remaining
hours, which intervened before the clock struck six.
It was about noon when the doctor left him, and during those six long
solitary hours no one feeling of remorse had entered his breast. He had
often doubted, hesitated as to the practicability of his present plan, but
not once had he made the faintest effort to overcome the wish to have the
deed done. There was not one moment in which lie would not most willingly
have had his sister's blood upon his hands, upon his brain, upon his soul;
could he have willed and accomplished her death, without making himself
liable to the penalties of the law.
At length Doctor Colligan came, and Barry made a great effort to appear
unconcerned and in good humour.
'And how is she now, doctor?' he said, as they sat down to table.
'Is it Anty? why, you know I didn't mean to see her since I was here this
morning, till nine o'clock.'
'Oh, true; so you were saying. I forgot. Well, will you take a glass of
wine?' and Barry filled his own glass quite full.
He drank his wine at dinner like a glutton, who had only a short time
allowed him, and wished during that time to swallow as much as possible;
and he tried to hurry his companion in the same manner. But the doctor
didn't choose to have wine forced down his throat; he wished to enjoy
himself, and remonstrated against Barry's violent hospitality.
At last, dinner was over; the things were taken away, they both drew their
chairs over the fire, and began the business of the evening the making and
consumption of punch. Barry had determined to begin upon the subject which
lay so near his heart, at eight o'clock. He had thought it better to fix an
exact hour, and had calculated that the whole matter might be completed
before Colligan went over to the inn. He kept continually looking at his
watch, and gulping down his drink, and thinking over and over again how he
would begin the conversation.
'You're very comfortable here, Lynch,' said the doctor, stretching his long
legs before the fire, and putting his dirty boots upon the fender.
'Yes, indeed,' said Barry, not knowing what the other was saying.
'All you want's a wife, and you'd have as warm a house as there is in
Galway. You'll be marrying soon, I suppose?'
'Well, I wouldn't wonder if I did. You don't take your punch; there's
brandy there, if you like it better than whiskey.'
'This is very good, thank you couldn't be better. You haven't much land in
your own hands, have you?'
'Why, no I don't think I have. What's that you're saying? land? No, not
much: if there's a thing I hate, it's farming.'
'Well, upon my word you're wrong. I don't see what else a gentleman has to
do in the country. I wish to goodness I could give up the gallipots and
farm a few acres of my own land. There's nothing I wish so much as to get a
bit of land: indeed, I've been looking out for it, but it's so difficult to
Up to this, Barry had hardly listened to what the doctor had been saying;
but now he was all attention. 'So that is to be his price,' thought he to
himself, 'he'll cost me dear, but I suppose he must have it.'
Barry looked at his watch: it was near eight o'clock, but he seemed to feel
that all he had drank had had no effect on him: it had not given him the
usual pluck; it had not given him the feeling of reckless assurance, which
he mistook for courage and capacity.
'If you've a mind to be a tenant of mine, Colligan, I'll keep a look out
for you. The land's crowded now, but there's a lot of them cottier devils I
mean to send to the right about. They do the estate no good, and I hate the
sight of them. But you know how the property's placed, and while Anty's in
this wretched state, of course I can do nothing.'
'Will you bear it in mind though, Lynch? When a bit of land does fall into
your hands, I should be glad to be your tenant. I'm quite in earnest, and
should take it as a great favour.'
'I'll not forget it;' and then he remained silent for a minute. What an
opportunity this was for him to lose! Colligan so evidently wished to be
bribed so clearly showed what the price was which was to purchase him. But
still he could not ask the fatal question.
Again he sat silent for a while, till he looked at his watch, and found it
was a quarter past eight.
'Never fear,' he said, referring to the farm; 'you shall have it, and it
shall not be the worst land on the estate that I'll give you, you may be
sure; for, upon my soul, I have a great regard for you; I have indeed.'
The doctor thanked him for his good opinion.
'Oh! I'm not blarneying you; upon my soul I'm not; that 's not the way with
me at all; and when you know me better you'll say so and you may be sure
you shall have the farm by Michaelmas.' And then, in a voice which he tried
to make as unconcerned as possible, he continued: 'By the bye, Colligan,
when do you think this affair of Anty's will be over? It's the devil and
all for a man not to know when he'll be his own master.'
'Oh, you mustn't calculate on your sister's property at all now,' said the
other, in an altered voice. 'I tell you it's very probable she may
This again silenced Barry, and he let the time go by, till the doctor took
up his hat, to go down to his patient.