Daly let no grass grow under his feet, for early on the following morning he hired a car, and proceeded to Dunmore, with the notices in his pocket. His feelings were not very comfortable on his journey, for he knew that he was going on a bad errand, and he was not naturally either a heartless or an unscrupulous man, considering that he was a provincial attorney; but he was young in business, and poor, and he could not afford to give up a client. He endeavoured to persuade himself that it certainly was a wrong thing for Martin Kelly to marry such a woman as Anty Lynch, and that Barry had some show of justice on his side; but he could not succeed. He knew that Martin was a frank, honourable fellow, and that a marriage with him would be the very thing most likely to make Anty happy; and he was certain, moreover, that, however anxious Martin might naturally be to secure the fortune, he would take no illegal or even unfair steps to do so. He felt that his client was a ruffian of the deepest die: that his sole object was to rob his sister, and that he had no case which it would be possible even to bring before a jury. His intention now was, merely to work upon the timidity and ignorance of Anty and the other females, and to frighten them with a bugbear in the shape of a criminal indictment; and Daly felt that the work he was about was very, very dirty work. Two or three times on the road, he had all but made up his mind to tear the letters he had in his pocket, and to drive at once to Dunmore House, and tell Barry Lynch that he would do nothing further in the case. And he would have done so, had he not reflected that he had gone so far with Moylan, that he could not recede, without leaving it in the old rogue’s power to make the whole matter public.
As he drove down the street of Dunmore, he endeavoured to quiet his conscience, by reflecting that he might still do much to guard Anty from the ill effects of her brother’s rapacity; and that at any rate he would not see her property taken from her, though she might he frightened out of he matrimonial speculation.
He wanted to see the widow, Martin, and Anty, and if possible to see them, at first, separately; and fortune so far favoured him that, as he got off the car, he saw our hero standing at the inn door.
‘Ah! Mr Daly,’ said he, coming up to the car and shaking hands with the attorney, for Daly put out his hand to him ‘how are you again? I suppose you’re going up to the house? They say you’re Barry’s right hand man now. Were you coming into the inn?’
‘Why, I will step in just this minute; but I’ve a word I want to spake to you first.’
‘To me!’ said Martin.
‘Yes, to you, Martin Kelly: isn’t that quare?’ and then he gave directions to the driver to put up the horse, and bring the car round again in an hour’s time. ‘D’ you remember my telling you, the day we came into Dunmore on the car together, that I was going up to the house?’
‘Faith I do, well; it’s not so long since.’
‘And do you mind my telling you, I didn’t know from Adam what it was for, that Barry Lynch was sending for me?’
‘And I remember that, too.’
‘And that I tould you, that when I did know I shouldn’t tell you?’
‘Begad you did, Mr Daly; thim very words.’
‘Why then, Martin, I tould you what wasn’t thrue, for I’m come all the way from Tuam, this minute, to tell you all about it.’
Martin turned very red, for he rightly conceived that when an attorney came all the way from Tuam to talk to him, the tidings were not likely to be agreeable.
‘And is it about Barry Lynch’s business?’
‘Then it’s schames there’s divil a doubt of that.’
‘It is schames, as you say, Martin,’ said Daly, slapping him on the shoulder ‘fine schames no less than a wife with four hundred a-year! Wouldn’t that be a fine schame?’
‘ ‘Deed it would, Mr Daly, av’ the wife and the fortune were honestly come by.’
‘And isn’t it a hundred pities that I must come and upset such a pretty schame as that? But, for all that, it’s thrue. I’m sorry for you, Martin, but you must give up Anty Lynch.’
‘Give her up, is it? Faith I haven’t got her to give up, worse luck.’
‘Nor never will, Martin; and that’s worse luck again.’
‘Well, Mr Daly, av’ that’s all you’ve come to say, you might have saved yourself car-hire. Miss Lynch is nothing to me, mind; how should she be? But av’ she war, neither Barry Lynch who’s as big a rogue as there is from this to hisself and back again nor you, who, I take it, ain’t rogue enough to do Barry’s work, wouldn’t put me off it.’
‘Well, Martin; thank ‘ee for the compliment. But now, you know what I’ve come about, and there’s no joke in it. Of course I don’t want you to tell me anything of your plans; but, as Mr Lynch’s lawyer, I must tell you so much as this of his: that, if his sister doesn’t lave the inn, and honestly assure him that she’ll give up her intention of marrying you, he’s determined to take proceedings.’ He then fumbled in his pocket, and, bringing out the two notices, handed to Martin the one addressed to him. ‘Read that, and it’ll give you an idea what we’re afther. And when I tell you that Moylan owns, and will swear to it too, that he was present when all the plans were made, you’ll see that we’re not going to sea without wind in our sails.’
‘Well I’m shot av’ I know the laist in the world what all this is about!’ said Martin, as he stood in the street, reading over the legally-worded letter ‘“conspiracy!” well that’ll do, Mr Daly; go on “enticing away from her home! “ that’s good, when the blackguard nearly knocked the life out of her, and mother brought her down here, from downright charity, and to prevent murdher “wake intellects!” well, Mr Daly, I didn’t expect this kind of thing from you: begorra, I thought you were above this! wake intellects! faith, they’re a dale too sthrong, and too good and too wide awake too, for Barry to get the betther of her that way. Not that I’m in the laist in life surprised at anything he’d do; but I thought that you, Mr Daly, wouldn’t put your hands to such work as that.’
Daly felt the rebuke, and felt it strongly, too; but now that he was embarked in the business, he must put the best face he could upon it. Still it was a moment or two before he could answer the young farmer.
‘Why,’ he said ‘why did you put your hands to such a dirty job as this, Martin? you were doing well, and not in want and how could you let anyone persuade you to go and sell yourself to, an ugly ould maid, for a few hundred pounds? Don’t you know, that if you were married to her this minute, you’d have a lawsuit that’d go near to ruin you before you could get possession of the property?’
‘Av’ I’m in want of legal advice, Mr Daly, which thank God, I’m not, nor likely to be but av’ I war, it’s not from Barry Lynch’s attorney I’d be looking for it.’
‘I’d be sorry to see you in want of it, Martin; but if you mane to keep, out of the worst kind of law, you’d better have done with Anty Lynch. I’d a dale sooner be drawing up a marriage settlement between you and some pretty girl with five or six hundred pound fortune, than I’d be exposing to the counthry such a mane trick as this you’re now afther, of seducing a poor half-witted ould maid, like Anty Lynch, into a disgraceful marriage.’
‘Look here, Mr Daly,’ said the other; ‘you’ve hired yourself out to Barry Lynch,, and you must do his work, I suppose, whether it’s dirthy or clane; and you know yourself, as well as I can tell you, which it’s likely to be ’
‘That’s my concern; lave that to me; you’ve quite enough to do to mind yourself.’
‘But av’ he’s nothing betther for you to do, than to send you here bally-ragging and calling folks out of their name, he must have a sight more money to spare than I give him credit for; and you must be a dale worse off than your neighbours thought you, to do it for him.’
‘That’ll do,’ said Mr Daly, knocking at the door of the inn; ‘only, remember, Mr Kelly, you’ve now received notice of the steps which my client feels himself called upon to take.’
Martin turned to go away, but then, reflecting that it would be as well not to leave the women by themselves in the power of the enemy, he also waited at the door till it was opened by Katty.
‘Is Miss Lynch within?’ asked Daly.
‘Go round to the shop, Katty,’ said Martin, ‘and tell mother to come to the door. There’s a gentleman wanting her.’
‘It was Miss Lynch I asked for,’ said Daly, still looking to the girl for an answer.
‘Do as I bid you, you born idiot, and don’t stand gaping there,’ shouted Martin to the girl, who immediately ran off towards the shop.
‘I might as well warn you, Mr Kelly, that, if Miss Lynch is denied to me, the fact of her being so denied will be a very sthrong proof against you and your family. In fact, it amounts to an illegal detention of her person, in the eye of the law.’ Daly said this in a very low voice, almost a whisper.
‘Faith, the law must have quare eyes, av’ it makes anything wrong with a young lady being asked the question whether or no she wishes to see an attorney, at eleven in the morning.’
‘An attorney!’ whispered Meg to Jane and Anty at the top of the stairs.
‘Heaven and ‘arth,’ said poor Anty, shaking and shivering ‘what’s going to be the matter now?’
‘It’s young Daly,’ said Jane, stretching forward and peeping clown the stairs: ‘I can see the curl of his whiskers.’
By this time the news had reached Mrs Kelly, in the shop, ‘that a sthrange gentleman war axing for Miss Anty, but that she warn’t to be shown to him on no account;’ so the widow dropped her tobacco knife, flung off her dirty apron, and, having summoned Jane and Meg to attend to the mercantile affairs of the establishment turned into the inn, and met Mr Daly and her son still standing at the bottom of the stairs
The widow curtsied ceremoniously, and wished Mr. Daly good morning, and he was equally civil in his salutation.
‘Mr Daly’s going to have us all before the assizes, mother. We’ll never get off without the treadmill, any way: it’s well av’ the whole kit of us don’t have to go over the wather at the queen’s expense.’
‘The Lord be good to us;’ said the widow, crossing herself. What’s the matter, Mr Daly?’
‘Your son’s joking, ma’am. I was only asking to see Miss Lynch, on business.’
‘Step upstairs, mother, into the big parlour, and don’t let’s be standing talking here where all the world can hear us.’
‘And wilcome, for me, I’m shure’ said the widow, stroking down the front of her dress with the palms of her hands, as she walked upstairs ‘and wilcome too for me I’m very shure. I’ve said or done nothing as I wish to consail, Mr Daly. Will you be plazed to take a chair?’ and the widow sat down herself on a chair in the middle of the room, with her hands folded over each other in her lap, as if she was preparing to answer questions from that time to a very late hour in the evening.
‘And now, Mr Daly av’ you’ve anything to say to a poor widdy like me, I’m ready.’
‘My chief object in calling, Mrs Kelly, was to see Miss Lynch. Would you oblige me by letting Miss Lynch know that I’m waiting to see her on business.’
‘Maybe it’s a message from her brother, Mr Daly?’ said Mrs Kelly.
‘You had better go in to Miss Lynch, mother,’ said Martin, ‘and ask her av’ it’s pleasing to her to see Mr Daly. She can see him, in course, av’ she likes.’
‘I don’t see what good’ll come of her seeing him,’ rejoined the widow. ‘With great respect to you, Mr Daly, and not maning to say a word agin you, I don’t see how Anty Lynch’ll be the betther for seeing ere an attorney in the counthry.’
‘I don’t want to frighten you, ma’am,’ said Daly; ‘but I can assure you, you will put yourself in a very awkward position if you refuse to allow me to see Miss Lynch.’
‘Ah, mother!’ said Martin, ‘don’t have a word to say in the matther at all, one way or the other. Just tell Anty Mr Daly wishes to see her let her come or not, just as she chooses. What’s she afeard of, that she shouldn’t hear what anyone has to say to her?’
The widow seemed to be in great doubt and perplexity, and continued whispering with Martin for some time, during which Daly remained standing with his back to the fire. At length Martin said, ‘Av’ you’ve got another of them notices to give my mother, Mr Daly, why don’t you do it?’
‘Why, to tell you the thruth,’ answered the attorney, ‘I don’t want to throuble your mother unless it’s absolutely necessary; and although I have the notice ready in my pocket, if I could see Miss Lynch, I might be spared the disagreeable job of serving it on her.’
‘The Holy Virgin save us!’ said the widow; ‘an’ what notice is it at all; you’re going to serve on a poor lone woman like me?’
‘Be said by me, mother, and fetch Anty in here. Mr Daly won’t expect, I suppose, but what you, should stay and hear what it is he has to say?’
‘Both you and your mother are welcome to hear all that I have to say to the lady,’ said Daly; for he felt that it would be impossible for him to see Anty alone.
The widow unwillingly got up to fetch her guest. When she got to the door, she turned round, and said, ‘And is there a notice, as you calls it, to be sarved on Miss Lynch?’
‘Not a line, Mrs Kelly; not a line, on my honour. I only want her to hear a few words that I’m commissioned by her brother to say to her.’
‘And you’re not going to give her any paper nor nothing of that sort at all?’
‘Not a word, Mrs Kelly.’
‘Ah, mother,’ said Martin, ‘Mr Daly couldn’t hurt her, av’ he war wishing, and he’s not. Go and bring her in.’
The widow went out, and in a few minutes returned, bringing Anty with her, trembling from head to foot. The poor young woman had not exactly heard what had passed between the attorney and the mother and her son, but she knew very well that his visit had reference to her, and that it was in some way connected with her brother. She had, therefore, been in a great state of alarm since Meg and Jane had left her alone. When Mrs Kelly came into the little room where she was sitting, and told her that Mr Daly had come to Dunmore on purpose to see her, her first impulse was to declare that she wouldn’t go to him; and had she done so, the widow would not have pressed her. But she hesitated, for she didn’t like to refuse to do anything which her friend asked her; and when Mrs Kelly said, ‘Martin says as how the man can’t hurt you, Anty, so you’d betther jist hear what it is he has to say,’ she felt that she had no loophole of escape, and got up to comply.
‘But mind, Anty,’ whispered the cautious widow, as her hand was on the parlour door, ‘becase this Daly is wanting to speak to you, that’s no rason you should be wanting to spake to him; so, if you’ll be said by me, you’ll jist hould your tongue, and let him say on.’
Fully determined to comply with this prudent advice, Anty followed the old woman, and, curtseying at Daly without looking at him, sat herself down in the middle of the old sofa, with her hands crossed before her.
‘Anty,’ said Martin, making great haste to speak, before Daly could commence, and then checking himself as he remembered that he shouldn’t have ventured on the familiarity of calling her by her Christian name in Daly’s presence ‘Miss Lynch, I mane as Mr Daly here has come all the way from Tuam on purpose to spake to you, it wouldn’t perhaps be manners in you to let him go back without hearing him. But remember, whatever your brother says, or whatever Mr Daly says for him and it’s all one you’re still your own mistress, free to act and to spake, to come and to go; and that neither the one nor the other can hurt you, or mother, or me, nor anybody belonging to us.’
‘God knows,’ said Daly, ‘I want to have no hand in hurting any of you; but, to tell the truth, Martin, it would be well for Miss Lynch to have a better adviser than you or she may get herself, and, what she’ll think more of, she’ll get her friends maning you, Mrs Kelly, and your family into a heap of throubles.’
‘Oh, God forbid, thin!’ exclaimed Anty.
‘Niver mind us, Mr Daly,’ said the widow. ‘The Kellys was always able to hould their own; thanks be to glory.’
‘Well, I’ve said my say, Mr Daly,’ said Martin, ‘and now do you say your’n: as for throubles, we’ve all enough of thim; but your own must have been bad, when you undhertook this sort of job for Barry Lynch.’
‘Mind yourself, Martin, as I told you before, and you’ll about have enough to do. Miss Lynch, I’ve been instructed by your brother to draw up an indictment against Mrs Kelly and Mr Kelly, charging them with conspiracy to get possession of your fortune.’
‘A what!’ shouted the widow, jumping up from her chair ‘to rob Anty Lynch of her fortune! I’d have you to know, Mr Daly, I wouldn’t demane myself to rob the best gentleman in Connaught, let alone a poor unprotected young woman, whom I’ve ’
‘Whist, mother go asy,’ said Martin. ‘I tould you that that was what war in the paper he gave me; he’ll give you another, telling you all about it just this minute.’
‘Well, the born ruffian! Does he dare to accuse me of wishing to rob his sister! Now, Mr Daly, av’ the blessed thruth is in you this minute, don’t your own heart know who it is, is most likely to rob Anty Lynch? Isn’t it Barry Lynch himself is thrying to rob his own sisther this minute? ay, and he’d murdher her too, only the heart within him isn’t sthrong enough.’
‘Ah, mother! don’t be saying such things,’ said Martin; ‘what business is that of our’n? Let Barry send what messages he plazes; I tell you it’s all moonshine; he can’t hurt the hair of your head, nor Anty’s neither. Go asy, and let Mr Daly say what he has to say, and have done with it.’
‘It’s asy to say “go asy” but who’s to sit still and be tould sich things as that? Rob Anty Lynch indeed!’
‘If you’ll let me finish what I have to say, Mrs Kelly, I think you’ll find it betther for the whole of us,’ said Daly.
‘Go on thin, and be quick with it; but don’t talk to dacent people about robbers any more. Robbers indeed! they’re not far to fitch; and black robbers too, glory be to God.’
‘Your brother, Miss Lynch, is determined to bring this matter before a jury at the assizes, for the sake of protecting you and your property.’
‘Protecthing Anty Lynch! is it Barry? The Holy Virgin defind her from sich prothection! a broken head the first moment the dhrink makes his heart sthrong enough to sthrike her!’
‘Ah, mother! you’re a fool,’ exclaimed Martin: ‘why can’t you let the man go on? ain’t he paid for saying it? Well, Mr Daly, begorra I pity you, to have such things on your tongue; but go on, go on, and finish it.’
‘Your brother conceives this to be his duty,’ continued Daly, rather bothered by the manner in which he had to make his communication, ‘and it is a duty which he is determined to go through with.’
‘Duty!’ said the widow, with a twist of her nose, and giving almost a whistle through her lips, in a manner which very plainly declared the contempt she felt for Barry’s ideas of duty.
‘With this object,’ continued Daly, ‘I have already handed to Martin Kelly a notice of what your brother means to do; and I have another notice prepared in my pocket for his mother. The next step will be to swear the informations before a magistrate, and get the committals made out; Mrs Kelly and her son will then have to give bail for their appearance at the assizes.’
‘And so we can,’ said the widow; ‘betther bail than e’er a Lynch or Daly not but what the Dalys is respictable betther bail, any way, than e’er a Lynch in Galway could show, either for sessions or ‘sizes, by night or by day, winter or summer.’
‘Ah, mother! you don’t understhand: he’s maning that we’re to be tried in the dock, for staling Anty’s money.’
‘Faix, but that’d be a good joke! Isn’t Anty to the fore herself to say who’s robbed her? Take an ould woman’s advice, Mr Daly, and go back to Tuam: it ain’t so asy to put salt on the tail of a Dunmore bird.’
‘And so I will, Mrs Kelly,’ said Daly; ‘but you must let me finish what I have to tell Miss Lynch. This will be a proceeding most disagreeable to your brother’s feelings.’
‘Failings, indeed!’ muttered the widow; ‘faix, I b’lieve his chief failing at present’s for sthrong dhrink!’
‘ But he must go on with it, unless you at once lave the inn, return to your own home, and give him pour promise that you will never marry Martin Kelly.’
Anty blushed deep crimson over her whole face at the mention of her contemplated marriage; and, to tell the truth, so did Martin.
‘Here is the notice,’ said Daly, taking the paper out of his pocket; ‘and the matter now rests with yourself. If you’ll only tell me that you’ll be guided by your brother on this subject, I’ll burn the notice at once; and I’ll undertake to say that, as far as your property is concerned, your brother will not in the least interfere with you in the management of it.’
‘And good rason why, Mr Daly,’ said the widow ‘jist becase he can’t.’
‘Well, Miss Lynch, am I to tell your brother that you are willing to oblige him in this matter?’
Whatever effect Daly’s threats may have had on the widow and her son, they told strongly upon Anty; for she sat now the picture of misery and indecision. At last she said: ‘Oh, Lord defend me! what am I to do, Mrs Kelly?’
‘Do?’ said Martin; ‘why, what should you do but just wish Mr Daly good morning, and stay where you are, snug and comfortable?’
‘Av’ you war to lave this, Anty, and go up to Dunmore House afther all that’s been said and done, I’d say Barry was right, and that Ballinasloe Asylum was the fitting place for you,’ said the widow.
‘The blessed virgin guide and prothect me,’ said Anty, ‘for I want her guidance this minute. Oh, that the walls of a convent was round me this minute I wouldn’t know what throuble was!’
‘And you needn’t know anything about throuble,’ said Martin, who didn’t quite like his mistress’s allusion to a convent. ‘You don’t suppose there’s a word of thruth in all this long story of Mr Daly’s? He knows and I’ll say it out to his face he knows Barry don’t dare carry on with sich a schame. He knows he’s only come here to frighten, you out of this, that Barry may have his will on you again.’
‘And God forgive him his errand here this day,’ said the widow, ‘for it was a very bad one.’
‘If you will allow me to offer you my advice, Miss Lynch,’ said Daly, ‘you will put yourself, at any rate for a time; under your brother’s protection.’
‘She won’t do no sich thing,’ said the widow. ‘What! to be locked into the parlour agin and be nigh murdhered? holy father!’
‘Oh, no,’ said Anty, at last, shuddering in horror at the remembrance of the last night she passed in Dunmore House, ‘I cannot go back to live with him, but I’ll do anything else, av’ he’ll only lave me, and my kind, kind friends, in pace and quiet.’
‘Indeed, and you won’t, Anty,’ said the widow; ‘you’ll do nothing for him. Your frinds that’s av’ you mane the Kellys is very able to take care of themselves.’
‘If your brother, Miss Lynch, will lave Dunmore House altogether, and let you have it to yourself, will you go and live there, and give him the promise not to marry Martin Kelly?’
‘Indeed an’ she won’t,’ said the widow. ‘She’ll give no promise of the kind. Promise, indeed! what for should she promise Barry Lynch whom she will marry, or whom she won’t?’
‘Raily, Mrs Kelly, I think you might let Miss Lynch answer for herself.’
‘I wouldn’t, for all the world thin, go to live at Dunmore House,’ said Anty.
‘And you are determined to stay in this inn here?’
‘In course she is that’s till she’s a snug house of her own,’ said the widow.
‘Ah, mother!’ said Martin, ‘what for will you be talking?’
‘And you’re determined,’ repeated Daly, ‘to stay here?’
‘I am,’ faltered Anty.
‘Then I have nothing further to do than to hand you this, Mrs Kelly’ and he offered the notice to the widow, but she refused to touch it, and he consequently put it down on the table. ‘But it is my duty to tell you, Miss Lynch, that the gentry of this counthry, before whom you will have to appear, will express very great indignation at your conduct in persevering in placing poor people like the Kellys in so dreadful a predicament, by your wilful and disgraceful obstinacy.’
Poor Anty burst into tears. She had been for some time past trying to restrain herself, but Daly’s last speech, and the horrible idea of the gentry of the country browbeating and frowning at her, completely upset her, and she hid her face on the arm of the sofa, and sobbed aloud.
‘Poor people like the Kellys!’ shouted the widow, now for the first time really angry with Daly ‘not so poor, Mr Daly, as to do dirthy work for anyone. I wish I could say as much this day for your mother’s son! Poor people, indeed! I suppose, now, you wouldn’t call Barry Lynch one of your poor people; but in my mind he’s the poorest crature living this day in county Galway. Av’ you’ve done now, Mr Daly, you’ve my lave to be walking; and the less you let the poor Kellys see of you, from this time out, the betther.’
When Anty’s sobs commenced, Martin had gone over to her to comfort her, ‘Ah, Anty, dear,’ he whispered to her, ‘shure you’d not be minding what such a fellow as he’d be saying to you? shure he’s jist paid for all this he’s only sent here by Barry to thry and frighten you,’ but it was of no avail: Daly had succeeded at any rate in making her miserable, and it was past the power of Martin’s eloquence to undo what the attorney had done.
‘Well, Mr Daly,’ he said, turning round sharply, ‘I suppose you have done here now, and the sooner you turn your back on this place the betther An’ you may take this along with you. Av’ you think you’ve frightened my mother or me, you’re very much mistaken.’
‘Yes,’ said Daly, ‘I have done now, and I am sorry my business has been so unpleasant. Your mother, Martin, had betther not disregard that notice. Good morning, Miss Lynch: good morning, Mrs Kelly; good morning, Martin;’ and Daly took up his hat, and left the room.
‘Good morning to you, Mr Daly,’ said Martin: ‘as I’ve said before, I’m sorry to see you’ve taken to this line of business.’
As soon as the attorney was gone, both Martin and his mother attempted to console and re-assure poor Anty, but they did not find the task an easy one. ‘Oh, Mrs Kelly,’ she said, as soon as she was able to say anything, ‘I’m sorry I iver come here, I am: I’m sorry I iver set my foot in the house!’
‘Don’t say so, Anty, dear,’ said the widow. ‘What’d you be sorry for an’t it the best place for you?’
‘Oh! but to think that I’d bring all these throubles on you! Betther be up there, and bear it all, than bring you and yours into law, and sorrow, and expense. Only I couldn’t find the words in my throat to say it, I’d ‘ve tould the man that I’d ‘ve gone back at once. I wish I had indeed, Mrs Kelly, I wish I had.’
‘Why, Anty,’ said Martin, ‘you an’t fool enough to believe what Daly’s been saying? Shure all he’s afther is to frighthen you, out of this. Never fear: Barry can’t hurt us a halfporth, though no doubt he’s willing enough, av’ he had the way.’
‘I wish I was in a convent, this moment,’ said Anty. ‘Oh! I wish I’d done as father asked me long since. Av’ the walls of a convent was around me, I’d niver know what throubles was.’
‘No more you shan’t now,’ said Martin: ‘Who’s to hurt you? Come, Anty, look up; there’s nothing in all this to vex you.’
But neither son nor mother were able to soothe the poor young woman. The very presence of an attorney was awful to her; and all the jargon which Daly had used, of juries, judges, trials, and notices, had sounded terribly in her ears. The very names of such things were to her terrible realities, and she couldn’t bring herself to believe that her brother would threaten to make use of such horrible engines of persecution, without having the power to bring them into action. Then, visions of the lunatic asylum, into which he had declared that he would throw her, flitted across her, and made her whole body shiver and shake; and again she remembered the horrid glare of his eye, the hot breath, and the frightful form of his visage, on the night when he almost told her that he would murder her.
Poor Anty had at no time high or enduring spirits, but such as she had were now completely quelled. A dreadful feeling of coming evil a foreboding of misery, such as will sometimes overwhelm stronger minds than Anty’s, seemed to stifle her; and she continued sobbing till she fell into hysterics, when Meg and Jane were summoned to her assistance. They sat with her for above an hour, doing all that kindness and affection could suggest; but after a time Anty told them that she had a cold, sick feeling within herself, that she felt weak and ill, and that she’d sooner go to bed. To bed they accordingly took her; and Sally brought her tea, and Katty lighted a fire in her room, and Jane read to her an edifying article from the lives of the Saints, and Meg argued with her as to the folly of being frightened. But it was all of no avail; before night, Anty was really ill.
The next morning, the widow was obliged to own to herself that such was the case. In the afternoon, Doctor Colligan was called in; and it was many, many weeks before Anty recovered from the effects of the attorney’s visit.
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 12:01