The Kellys and the O'Kellys, by Anthony Trollope

Chapter XXXV

Mr Lynch Bids Farewell to Dunmore

Poor Martin was dreadfully shocked; and not only shocked, but grieved and astonished. He had never thought well of his intended brother-inlaw, but he had not judged him so severely as Mr Armstrong had done. He listened to all Lord Ballindine said to him, and agreed as to the propriety of the measures he proposed. But there was nothing of elation about him at the downfall of the man whom he could not but look on as his enemy: indeed, he was not only subdued and modest in his demeanour, but he appeared so reserved that he could hardly be got to express any interest in the steps which were to be taken respecting the property. It was only when Lord Ballindine pointed out to him that it was his duty to guard Anty’s interests, that he would consent to go to Dunmore House with them, and to state, when called upon to do so, what measures he would wish to have adopted with regard to the property.

‘Suppose he denies himself to us?’ said Frank, as the four walked across the street together, to the great astonishment of the whole population.

‘If he’s in the house, I’ll go bail we won’t go away without seeing him,’ said the parson. ‘Will he be at home, Kelly, do you think?’

‘Indeed he will, Mr Armstrong,’ said Martin; ‘he’ll be in bed and asleep. He’s never out of bed, I believe, much before one or two in the day. It’s a bad life he’s leading since the ould man died.’

‘You may say that,’ said the doctor ‘cursing and drinking; drinking and cursing; nothing else. You’ll find him curse at you dreadful, Mr Armstrong, I’m afraid.’

‘I can bear that, doctor; it’s part of my own trade, you know; but I think we’ll find him quiet enough. I think you’ll find the difficulty is to make him speak at all. You’d better be spokesman, my lord, as you’re a magistrate.’

‘No, Armstrong, I will not. You’re much more able, and more fitting: if it’s necessary for me to act as a magistrate, I’ll do so but at first we’ll leave him to you.’

‘Very well,’ said the parson; ‘and I’ll do my best. But I’ll tell you what I am afraid of: if we find him in bed we must wait for him, and when the servant tells him who we are, and mentions the doctor’s name along with yours, my lord, he’ll guess what we’re come about, and he’ll be out of the window, or into the cellar, and then there’d be no catching him without the police. We must make our way up into his bed-room.’

‘I don’t think we could well do that,’ said the doctor.

‘No, Armstrong,’ said Lord Ballindine. ‘I don’t think we ought to force ourselves upstairs: we might as well tell all the servants what we’d come about.’

‘And so we must,’ said Armstrong, ‘if it’s necessary. The more determined we are in fact, the rougher we are with him, the more likely we are to bring him on his knees. I tell you, you must have no scruples in dealing with such a fellow; but leave him to me;’ and so saying, the parson gave a thundering rap at the hail door, and in about one minute repeated it, which brought Biddy running to the door without shoes or stockings, with her hair streaming behind her head, and, in her hand, the comb with which she had been disentangling it.

‘Is your master at home?’ said Armstrong.

‘Begorra, he is,’ said the girl out of breath. ‘That is, he’s not up yet, nor awake, yer honer,’ and she held the door in her hand, as though this answer was final.

‘But I want to see him on especial and immediate business,’ said the parson, pushing back the door and the girl together, and walking into the hall. ‘I must see him at once. Mr Lynch will excuse me: we’ve known each other a long time.’

‘Begorra, I don’t know,’ said the girl, ‘only he’s in bed and fast. Couldn’t yer honer call agin about four or five o’clock? That’s the time the masther’s most fittest to be talking to the likes of yer honer.’

‘These gentlemen could not wait,’ said the parson.

‘Shure the docther there, and Mr Martin, knows well enough I’m not telling you a bit of a lie, Misther Armstrong,’ said the girl.

‘I know you’re not, my good girl; I know you’re not telling a lie but, nevertheless, I must see Mr Lynch. Just step up and wake him, and tell him I’m waiting to say two words to him.’

‘Faix, yer honer, he’s very bitther intirely, when he’s waked this early. But in course I’ll be led by yer honers. I’ll say then, that the lord, and Parson Armstrong, and the docther, and Mr Martin, is waiting to spake two words to him. Is that it?’

‘That’ll do as well as anything,’ said Armstrong; and then, when the girl went upstairs, he continued, ‘You see she knew us all, and of course will tell him who we are; but I’ll not let him escape, for I’ll go up with her,’ and, as the girl slowly opened her master’s bedroom door, Mr Armstrong stood close outside it in the passage.

After considerable efforts, Biddy succeeded in awaking her master sufficiently to make him understand that Lord Ballindine, and Doctor Colligan were downstairs, and that Parson Armstrong was just outside the bedroom door. The poor girl tried hard to communicate her tidings in such a whisper as would be inaudible to the parson; but this was impossible, for Barry only swore at her, and asked her ‘what the d she meant by jabbering there in that manner?’ When, however, he did comprehend who his visitors were, and where they were, he gnashed his teeth and clenched his fist at the poor girl, in sign of his anger against her for having admitted so unwelcome a party; but he was too frightened to speak.

Mr Armstrong soon put an end to this dumb show, by walking into the bedroom, when the girl escaped, and he shut the door. Barry sat up in his bed, rubbed his eyes, and stared at him, but he said nothing.

‘Mr Lynch,’ said the parson, ‘I had better at once explain the circumstances which have induced me to make so very strange a visit.’

‘Confounded strange, I must say! to come up to a man’s room in this way, and him in bed!’ ‘Doctor Colligan is downstairs ’

‘D Doctor Colligan! He’s at his lies again, I suppose? Much I care for Doctor Colligan.’

‘Doctor Colligan is downstairs,’ continued Mr Armstrong, ‘and Lord Ballindine, who, you are aware, is a magistrate. They wish to speak to you, Mr Lynch, and that at once.’

‘I suppose they can wait till a man’s dressed?’

‘That depends on how long you’re dressing, Mr Lynch.’

‘Upon my word, this is cool enough, in a man’s own house!’ said Barry. ‘Well, you don’t expect me to get up while you’re there, I suppose?’

‘Indeed I do, Mr Lynch: never mind me; just wash and dress yourself as though I wasn’t here. I’ll wait here till we go down together.’

‘I’m d d if I do,’ said Barry. ‘I’ll not stir while you remain there!’ and he threw himself back in the bed, and wrapped the bedclothes round him.

‘Very well,’ said Mr Armstrong; and then going out on to the landing-place, called out over the banisters ‘Doctor Doctor Colligan! tell his lordship Mr Lynch objects to a private interview: he had better just step down to the Court-house, and issue his warrant. You might as well tell Constable Nelligan to be in the way.’

‘D n!’ exclaimed Barry, sitting bolt upright in his bed. ‘Who says I object to see anybody? Mr Armstrong, what do you go and say that for?’ Mr Armstrong returned into the room. ‘It’s not true. I only want to have my bedroom to myself, while I get up.’

‘For once in the way, Mr Lynch, you must manage to get up although your privacy be intruded on. To tell you the plain truth, I will not leave you till you come downstairs with me, unless it be in the custody of a policeman. If you will quietly dress and come downstairs with me, I trust we may be saved the necessity of troubling the police at all.’ Barry, at last, gave way, and, gradually extricating himself from the bedclothes, put his feet down on the floor, and remained sitting on the side of his bed. He leaned his head down on his hands, and groaned inwardly; for he was very sick, and the fumes of last night’s punch still disturbed his brain. His stockings and drawers were on; for Terry, when he put him to bed, considered it only waste of time to pull them off, for ‘shure wouldn’t they have jist to go on agin the next morning?’

‘Don’t be particular, Mr Lynch: never mind washing or shaving till we’re gone. We won’t keep you long, I hope.’

‘You’re very kind, I must say,’ said Barry. ‘I suppose you won’t object to my having a bottle of soda water?’ and he gave a terrible tug at the bell.

‘Not at all nor a glass of brandy in it, if you like it. Indeed, Mr Lynch, I think that, just at present, it will be the better thing for you.’

Barry got his bottle of soda water, and swallowed about two glasses of whiskey in it, for brandy was beginning to be scarce with him; and then commenced his toilet. He took Parson Armstrong’s hint, and wasn’t very particular about it. He huddled on his clothes, smoothed his hair with his brush, and muttering something about it’s being their own fault, descended into the parlour, followed by Mr Armstrong. He made a kind of bow to Lord Ballindine; took no notice of Martin, but, turning round sharp on the doctor, said:

‘Of all the false ruffians, I ever met, Colligan by heavens, you’re the worst! There’s one comfort, no man in Dunmore will believe a word you say.’ He then threw himself back into the easy chair, and said, ‘Well, gentlemen well, my lord here I am. You can’t say I’m ashamed to show my face, though I must say your visit is not made in the genteelest manner.’

‘Mr Lynch,’ said the parson, ‘do you remember the night Doctor Colligan knocked, you down in this room? In this room, wasn’t it, doctor?’

‘Yes; in this room,’ said the doctor, rather sotto voce.

‘Do you remember the circumstance, Mr Lynch?’ ‘It’s a lie!’ said Barry.

‘No it’s not,’ said the parson. ‘If you forget it, I can call in the servant to remember so much as that for me; but you’ll find it better, Mr Lynch, to let us finish this business among ourselves. Come, think about it. I’m sure you remember being knocked down by the doctor.’

‘I remember a scrimmage there was between us. I don’t care what the girl says, she didn’t see it. Colligan, I suppose, has given her half-a-crown, and she’d swear anything for that.’

‘Well, you remember the night of the scrimmage?’

‘I do: Colligan got drunk here one night. He wanted me to give him a farm, and said cursed queer things about my sister. I hardly know what he said; but I know I had to turn him out of the house, and there was a scrimmage between us.’

‘I see you’re so far prepared, Mr Lynch: now, I’ll tell you my version of the story. Martin Kelly, just see that the door is shut. You endeavoured to bribe Doctor Colligan to murder your own sister.’

‘It’s a most infernal lie!’ said Barry. ‘Where’s your evidence? where’s your evidence? What’s the good of your all coming here with such a story as that? Where’s your evidence?’

‘You’d better be quiet, Mr Lynch, or we’ll adjourn at once from here to the open Court-house.’

‘Adjourn when you like; it’s all one to me. Who’ll believe such a drunken ruffian as that Colligan, I’d like to know? Such a story as that!’

‘My lord,’ said Armstrong, ‘I’m afraid we must go on with this business at the Court-house. Martin, I believe I must trouble you to go down to the police barrack.’ And the whole party, except Barry, rose from their seats.

‘What the devil are you going to drag me down to the Court-house for, gentlemen?’ said he. ‘I’ll give you any satisfaction, but you can’t expect I’ll own to such a lie as this about my sister. I suppose my word’s as good as Colligan’s, gentlemen? I suppose my character as a Protestant gentleman stands higher than his a dirty Papist apothecary. He tells one story; I tell another; only he’s got the first word of me, that’s all. I suppose, gentlemen, I’m not to be condemned on the word of such a man as that?’

‘I think, Mr Lynch,’ said Armstrong, ‘if you’ll listen to me, you’ll save yourself and us a great deal of trouble. You asked me who my witness was: my witness is in this house. I would not charge you with so horrid, so damnable a crime, had I not thoroughly convinced myself you were guilty now, do hold your tongue, Mr Lynch, or I will have you down to the Court-house. We all know you are guilty, you know it yourself ’

‘I’m —’ began Barry.

‘Stop, Mr Lynch; not one word till I’ve done; or what I have to say, shall be said in public. We all know you are guilty, but we probably mayn’t be able to prove it ’

‘No, I should think not!’ shouted Barry.

‘We mayn’t be able to prove it in such a way as to enable a jury to hang you, or, upon my word, I wouldn’t interfere to prevent it: the law should have its course. I’d hang you with as little respite as I would a dog.’

Barry grinned horribly at this suggestion, but said nothing, and the parson continued:

‘It is not the want of evidence that stands in the way of so desirable a proceeding, but that Doctor Colligan, thoroughly disgusted and shocked at the iniquity of your proposal ’

‘Oh, go on, Mr Armstrong! go on; I see you are determined to have it all your own way, but my turn’ll come soon.’

‘I say that Doctor Colligan interrupted you before you fully committed yourself.’

‘Fully committed myself, indeed! Why, Colligan knows well enough, that when he got up in such a fluster, there’d not been a word at all said about Anty.’

‘Hadn’t there, Mr Lynch? just now you said you turned the doctor out of your house for speaking about your sister. You’re only committing yourself. I say, therefore, the evidence, though quite strong enough to put you into the dock as a murderer in intention, might not be sufficient to induce a jury to find you guilty. But guilty you would be esteemed in. the mind of every man, woman, and child in this county: guilty of the wilful, deliberate murder of your own sister.’

‘By heavens I’ll not stand this!’ exclaimed Barry. ‘I’ll not stand this! I didn’t do it, Mr Armstrong. I didn’t do it. He’s a liar, Lord Ballindine: upon my sacred word and honour as a gentleman, he’s a liar. Why do you believe him, when you won’t believe me? Ain’t I a Protestant, Mr Armstrong, and ain’t you a Protestant clergyman? Don’t you know that such men as he will tell any lie; will do any dirty job? On my sacred word of honour as a gentleman, Lord Ballindine, he offered to poison Anty, on condition he got the farm round the house for nothing! He knows it’s true, and why should you believe him sooner than me, Mr Armstrong?’

Barry had got up from his seat, and was walking up and down the room, now standing opposite Lord Ballindine, and appealing to him, and then doing the same thing to Mr Armstrong. He was a horrid figure: he had no collar round his neck, and his handkerchief was put on in such a way as to look like a hangman’s knot: his face was blotched, and red, and greasy, for he had neither shaved nor washed himself since his last night’s debauch; he had neither waistcoat nor braces on, and his trousers fell on his hips; his long hair hung over his eyes, which were bleared and bloodshot; he was suffering dreadfully from terror, and an intense anxiety to shift the guilt from himself to Doctor Colligan. He was a most pitiable object so wretched, so unmanned, so low in the scale of creation. Lord Ballindine did pity his misery, and suggested to Mr Armstrong whether by any possibility there could be any mistake in the matter whether it was possible Doctor Colligan could have mistaken Lynch’s object? The poor wretch jumped at this loop-hole, and doubly condemned himself by doing so.

‘He did, then,’ said Barry; ‘he must have done so. As I hope for heaven, Lord Ballindine, I never had the idea of getting him to to do anything to Anty. I wouldn’t have done it for worlds indeed I wouldn’t. There must be some mistake, indeed there must. He’d been drinking, Mr Armstrong drinking a good deal that night isn’t that true, Doctor Colligan? Come, man, speak the truth don’t go and try and hang a fellow out of mistake! His lordship sees it’s all a mistake, and of course he’s the best able to judge of the lot here; a magistrate, and a nobleman and all. I know you won’t see me wronged, Lord Ballindine, I know you won’t. I give you my sacred word of honour as a gentleman, it all came from mistake when we were both drunk, or nearly drunk. Come, Doctor Colligan, speak man isn’t that the truth? I tell you, Mr Armstrong, Lord Ballindine’s in the right of it. There is some mistake in all this.’

‘As sure as the Lord’s in heaven,’ said the doctor, now becoming a little uneasy at the idea that Lord Ballindine should think he had told so strange a story without proper foundation ‘as sure as the Lord’s in heaven, he offered me the farm for a reward, should I manage to prevent his sister’s recovery.’

‘What do you think, Mr Armstrong?’ said Lord Ballindine.

‘Think!’ said the parson ‘There’s no possibility of thinking at all. The truth becomes clearer every moment. Why, you wretched creature, it’s not ten minutes since you yourself accused Doctor Colligan of offering to murder your sister! According to your own showing, therefore, there was a deliberate conversation between you; and your own evasion now would prove which of you were the murderer, were any additional proof wanted. But it is not. Barry Lynch, as sure as you now stand in the presence of your Creator, whose name you so constantly blaspheme, you endeavoured to instigate that man to murder your own sister.’

‘Oh, Lord Ballindine! oh, Lord Ballindine!’ shrieked Barry, in his agony, ‘don’t desert me! pray, pray don’t desert me! I didn’t do it I never thought of doing it. We were at school together, weren’t we? And you won’t see me put upon this way. You mayn’t think much of me in other things, but you won’t believe that a school-fellow of your own ever — ever — ever —’ Barry couldn’t bring himself to use the words with which his sentence should be finished, and so he flung himself back into his armchair and burst into tears.

‘You appeal to me, Mr Lynch,’ said Lord Ballindine, ‘and I must say I most firmly believe you to be guilty. My only doubt is whether you should not at once be committed for trial at the next assizes.’

‘Oh, my G!’ exclaimed Barry, and for some time he continued blaspheming most horribly swearing that there was a conspiracy against him accusing Mr Armstrong, in the most bitter terms, of joining with Doctor Colligan and Martin Kelly to rob and murder him.

‘Now, Mr Lynch,’ continued the parson, as soon as the unfortunate man would listen to him, ‘as I before told you, I am in doubt we are all in doubt whether or not a jury would hang you; and we think that we shall do more good to the community by getting you out of the way, than by letting you loose again after a trial which will only serve to let everyone know how great a wretch there is in the county. We will, therefore, give you your option either to stand your trial, or to leave the country at once and for ever.’

‘And my property? what’s to become of my property’?’ said Barry.

‘Your property’s safe, Mr Lynch; we can’t touch that. We’re not prescribing any punishment to you. We fear, indeed we know, you’re beyond the reach of the law, or we shouldn’t make the proposal.’ Barry breathed freely again as he heard this avowal. ‘But you’re not beyond the reach of public opinion of public execration of general hatred, and of a general curse. For your sister’s sake for the sake of Martin Kelly, who is going to marry the sister whom you wished to murder, and not for your own sake, you shall be allowed to leave the country without this public brand being put upon your name. If you remain, no one shall speak to you but as to a man who would have murdered his sister: murder shall be everlastingly muttered in your ears; nor will your going then avail you, for your character shall go with you, and the very blackguards with whom you delight to assort, shall avoid you as being too bad even for their society. Go now, Mr Lynch go at once; leave your sister to happiness which you cannot prevent; and she at least shall know nothing of your iniquity, and you shall enjoy the proceeds of your property anywhere you will anywhere, that is, but in Ireland. Do you agree to this?’

‘I’m an innocent man, Mr Armstrong. I am indeed.’

‘Very well,’ said the parson, ‘then we may as well go away, and leave you to your fate. Come, Lord Ballindine, we can have nothing further to say,’ and they again all rose from their seats.

‘Stop, Mr Armstrong; stop,’ said Barry.

‘Well,’ said the parson; for Barry repressed the words which were in his mouth, when he found that his visitors did stop as he desired them.

‘Well, Mr Lynch, what have you further to say.’

‘Indeed I am not guilty.’ Mr Armstrong put on his hat and rushed to the door ‘but —’ continued Barry.

‘I will have no “buts,” Mr Lynch; will you at once and unconditionally agree to the terms I have proposed?’

‘I don’t want to live in the country,’ said Barry; ‘the country’s nothing to me.’

‘You will go then, immediately?’ said the parson. ‘As soon as I have arranged about the property, I will,’ said Barry.

‘That won’t do,’ said the parson. ‘You must go at once, and leave your property to the care of others. You must leave Dunmore today, for ever.’

‘To-day!’ shouted Barry.

‘Yes, today. You can easily get as far as Roscommon. You have your own horse and car. And, what is more, before you go, you must write to your sister, telling her that you have made up your mind to leave the country, and expressing your consent to her marrying whom she pleases.’

‘I can’t go today,’ said Barry, sulkily. ‘Who’s to receive my rents? who’ll send me my money? besides besides. Oh, come that’s nonsense. I ain’t going to be turned out in that style.’

‘You ain’t in earnest, are you, about his going today?’ whispered Frank to the parson.

‘I am, and you’ll find he’ll go, too,’ said Armstrong. ‘It must be today this very day, Mr Lynch. Martin Kelly will manage for you about the property.’

‘Or you can send for Mr Daly, to meet you at Roscommon,’ suggested Martin.

‘Thank you for nothing,’ said Barry; ‘you’d better wait till you’re spoken to. I don’t know what business you have here at all.’

‘The business that all honest men have to look after all rogues,’ said Mr Armstrong. ‘Come, Mr Lynch, you’d better make up your mind to prepare for your journey.’

‘Well, I won’t and there’s an end of it,’ said Barry. ‘It’s all nonsense. You can’t do anything to me: you said so yourself. I’m not going to be made a fool of that way I’m not going to give up my property and everything.’

‘Don’t you know, Mr Lynch,’ said the parson, ‘that if you are kept in jail till April next, as will be your fate if you persist. in staying at Dunmore tonight, your creditors will do much more damage to your property, than your own immediate absence will do? If Mr Daly is your lawyer, send for him, as Martin Kelly suggests. I’m not afraid that he will recommend you. to remain in the country, even should you dare to tell him of the horrid accusation which is brought against you. But at any rate make up your mind, for if you do stay in Dunmore tonight it shall be in the Bridewell, and your next move shall be to Galway.’

Barry sat silent for a while, trying to think. The parson was like an incubus upon him, which he was totally unable to shake off. He knew neither how to resist nor how to give way. Misty ideas got into his head of escaping to his bed-room and blowing his own brains out. Different schemes of retaliation and revenge flitted before him, but he could decide on nothing. There he sat, silent, stupidly gazing at nothing, while Lord Ballindine and Mr Armstrong stood whispering over the fire.

‘I’m afraid we’re in the wrong: I really think we are,’ said Frank.

‘We must go through with it now, any way,’ said the parson. ‘Come, Mr Lynch, I will give you five minutes more, and then I go;’ and he pulled out his watch, and stood with his back to the fire, looking at it. Lord Ballindine walked to the window, and Martin Kelly and Doctor Colligan sat in distant parts of the room, with long faces, silent and solemn, breathing heavily. How long those five minutes appeared to them, and how short to Barry! The time was not long enough to enable him to come to any decision: at the end of the five minutes he was still gazing vacantly before him: he was still turning over in his brain, one after another, the same crowd of undigested schemes.

‘The time is out, Mr Lynch: will you go?’ said the parson.

‘I’ve no money,’ hoarsely croaked Barry.

‘If that’s the only difficulty, we’ll raise money for him,’ said Frank.

‘I’ll advance him money,’ said Martin.

‘Do you mean you’ve no money at all?’ said the parson.

‘Don’t you hear me say so?’ said Barry.

‘And you’ll go if you get money say ten pounds?’ said the parson.

‘Ten pounds! I can go nowhere with ten pounds. You know that well enough.’

‘I’ll give him twenty-five,’ said Martin. ‘I’m sure his sister’ll do that for him.’ ‘Say fifty,’ said Barry, ‘and I’m off at once.’ ‘I haven’t got it,’ said Martin. ‘No,’ said the parson; ‘I’ll not see you bribed to go: take the twenty-five that will last you till you make arrangements about your property. We are not going to pay you for going, Mr Lynch.’

‘You seem very anxious about it, any way.’

‘I am anxious about it,’ rejoined the parson. ‘I am anxious to save your sister from knowing what it was that her brother wished to accomplish.’

Barry scowled at him as though he would like, if possible, to try his hand at murdering him; but he did not answer him again. Arrangements were at last made for Barry’s departure, and off he went, that very day not to Roscommon, but to Tuam; and there, at the instigation of Martin, Daly the attorney took upon himself the division and temporary management of the property. From thence, with Martin’s, or rather with his sister’s twenty-five pounds in his pocket, he started to that Elysium for which he had for some time so ardently longed, and soon landed at Boulogne, regardless alike of his sister, his future brother, Lord Ballindine, or Mr Armstrong. The parson had found it quite impossible to carry out one point on which he had insisted. He could not induce Barry Lynch to write to his sister: no, not a line; not a word. Had it been to save him from hanging he could hardly have induced himself to write those common words, ‘dear sister’.

‘Oh! you can tell her what you like,’ said he. ‘It’s you’re making me go away at once in this manner. Tell her whatever confounded lies you like; tell her I’m gone because I didn’t choose to stay and see her make a fool of herself and that’s the truth, too. If it wasn’t for that I wouldn’t move a step for any of you.’

He went, however, as I have before said, and troubled the people of Dunmore no longer, nor shall he again trouble us.

‘Oh! but Martin, what nonsense!’ said the widow, coaxingly to her son, that night before she went to bed. ‘The lord wouldn’t be going up there just to wish him good bye and Parson Armstrong too. What the dickens could they he at there so long? Come, Martin you’re safe with me, you know; tell us something about it now.’

‘Nonsense, mother; I’ve nothing to tell: Barry Lynch has left the place for good and all, that’s all about it.’

‘God bless the back of him, thin; he’d my lave for going long since. But you might be telling us what made him be starting this way all of a heap.’

‘Don’t you know, mother, he was head and ears in debt?’

‘Don’t tell me,’ said the widow. ‘Parson Armstrong’s not a sheriff’s officer, that he should be looking after folks in debt.’

‘No, mother, he’s not, that I know of; but he don’t like, for all that, to see his tithes walking out of the country.’

‘Don’t be coming over me that way, Martin. Barry Lynch, nor his father before him, never held any land in Ballindine parish.’

‘Didn’t they well thin, you know more than I, mother, so it’s no use my telling you,’ and Martin walked of! to bed.

‘I’ll even you, yet, my lad,’ said she, ‘close as you are; you see else. Wait awhile, till the money’s wanting, and then let’s see who’ll know all about it!’ And the widow slapped herself powerfully on that part where her pocket depended, in sign of the great confidence she had in the strength of her purse.

‘Did I manage that well?’ said the parson, as Lord Ballindine drove him home to Kelly’s Court, as soon as the long interview was over. ‘If I can do as well at Grey Abbey, you’ll employ me again, I think!’

‘Upon my word, then, Armstrong,’ said Frank, ‘I never was in such hot water as I have been all this day: and, now it’s over, to tell you the truth, I’m sorry we interfered. We did what we had no possible right to do.’

‘Nonsense, man. You don’t suppose I’d have dreamed of letting him off, if the law could have touched him? But it couldn’t. No magistrates in the county could have committed him; for he had done, and, as far as I can judge, had said, literally nothing. It’s true we know what he intended; but a score of magistrates could have done nothing with him: as it is, we’ve got him out of the country: he’ll never come back again.’

‘What I mean is, we had no business to drive him out of the country with threats.’

‘Oh, Ballindine, that’s nonsense. One can keep no common terms with such a blackguard as that. However, it’s done now; and I must say I think it was well done.’

‘There’s no doubt of your talent in the matter, Armstrong: upon my soul I never saw anything so cool. What a wretch what an absolute fiend the fellow is!’

‘Bad enough,’ said the parson. ‘I’ve seen bad men before, but I think he’s the worst I ever saw. What’ll Mrs O’Kelly say of my coming in this way, without notice?’

The parson enjoyed his claret at Kelly’s Court that evening, after his hard day’s work, and the next morning he started for Grey Abbey.

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Last updated Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 18:43