When the widow left the parlour, after having placed her guest in the charge of her daughters, she summoned her son to follow her down stairs, and was very careful not to 1eave behind her the notice which Daly had placed on the table. As soon as she found herself behind the shutter of her little desk, which stood in the shop-window, she commenced very eagerly spelling it over. The purport of the notice was, to inform her that Barry Lynch intended immediately to apply to the magistrates to commit her and her son, for conspiring together to inveigle Anty into a marriage; and that the fact of their having done so would be proved by Mr Moylan, who was prepared to swear that he had been present when the plan had been arranged between them. The reader is aware that whatever show of truth there might be for this accusation, as far as Martin and Moylan himself were concerned, the widow at any rate was innocent; and he can conceive the good lady’s indignation at the idea of her own connection, Moylan, having been seduced over to the enemy. Though she had put on a bold front against Daly, and though she did not quite believe that Barry was in earnest in taking proceedings against her, still her heart failed her as she read the legal technicalities of the papers she held in her hand, and turned to her son for counsel in considerable tribulation.
‘But there must be something in it, I tell you,’ said she. ‘Though Barry Lynch, and that limb o’ the divil, young Daly, ‘d stick at nothin in the way of lies and desait, they’d niver go to say all this about Moylan, unless he’d agree to do their bidding.’
‘That’s like enough, mother: I dare say Moylan has been talked over bought over rather; for he’s not one of them as’d do mischief for nothin.’
‘And does the ould robber mane to say that I . As I live, I niver as much as mentioned Anty’s name to Moylan, except jist about the agency!’
‘I’m shure you didn’t, mother.’
‘And what is it then he has to say agin us?’
‘Jist lies; that’s av’ he were called on to say anything; but he niver will be. This is all one of Barry’s schames to frighten you, and get Anty turned out of the inn.’
‘Thin Master Barry doesn’t know the widdy Kelly, I can tell him that; for when I puts my hand to a thing, I mane to pull through wid it. But tell me all this’ll be costing money, won’t, it? Attorneys don’t bring thim sort of things about for nothing,’ and she gave a most contemptuous twist to the notice.
‘Oh, Barry must pay for that.’
‘I doubt that, Martin: he’s not fond of paying, the mane, dirthy blackguard. I tell you what, you shouldn’t iver have let Daly inside the house: he’ll make us pay for the writing o’ thim as shure as my name’s Mary Kelly: av’ he hadn’t got into the house, he couldn’t’ve done a halfporth.’
‘I tell you, mother, it wouldn’t have done not to let him see Anty. They’d have said we’d got her shut up here, and wouldn’t let any one come nigh her.’
‘Well, Martin, you’ll see we’ll have to pay for it. This comes of meddling with other folks! I wonder how I was iver fool enough to have fitched her down here! Good couldn’t come of daling with such people as Barry Lynch.’
‘But you wouldn’t have left her up there to be murdhered?’
‘She’s nothin’ to me, and I don’t know as she’s iver like to be.’
‘But, tell me, Martin was there anything said between you and Moylan about Anty before she come down here?’
‘How, anything said, mother?’
‘Why, was there any schaming betwixt you?’
‘Schaming? when I want to schame, I’ll not go shares with sich a fellow as Moylan.’
‘Ah, but was there anything passed about Anty and you getting married? Come — now, Martin; I’m in all this throuble along of you, and you shouldn’t lave me in the dark. Was you talking to Moylan about Anty and her fortune?’
‘Why, thin’, I’ll jist tell you the whole thruth, as I tould it all before to Mister Frank that is, Lord Ballindine, up in Dublin; and as I wouldn’t mind telling it this minute to Barry, or Daly, or any one else in the three counties. When Moylan got the agency, he come out to me at Toneroe; and afther talking a bit about Anty and her fortune, he let on bow it would be a bright spec for me to marry her, and I won’t deny that it was he as first put it into my head. Well, thin, he had schames of his own about keeping the agency, and getting a nice thing out of the property himself, for putting Anty in my way; but I tould him downright I didn’t know anything about that; and that ‘av iver I did anything in the matter it would be all fair and above board; and that was all the conspiracy I and Moylan had.’
‘And enough too, Martin,’ said the widow. ‘You’ll find it’s quite enough to get us into throuble. And why wouldn’t you tell me what was going on between you?’
‘There was nothing going on between us.’
‘I say there was; and to go and invaigle me into your schames without knowing a word about it! It was a murdhering shame of you and av’ I do have to pay for it, I’ll never forgive you.’
‘That’s right, mother; quarrel with me about it, do. It was I made you bring Anty down here, wasn’t it? when I was up in Dublin all the time.’
‘But to go and put yourself in the power of sich a fellow as Moylan! I didn’t think you were so soft.’
‘Ah, bother, mother! Who’s put themselves in the power of Moylan?’
‘I’ll moyle him, and spoil him too, the false blackguard, to turn agin the family them as has made him! I wondher what he’s to get for swearing agin us?’ And then, after a pause, she added in a most pathetic voice ‘oh, Martin, to think of being dragged away to Galway, before the whole counthry, to be made a conspirather of! I, that always paid my way, before and behind, though only a poor widdy! Who’s to mind the shop, I wondher? I’m shure Meg’s not able; and there’ll be Mary’ll be jist nigh her time, and won’t be able to come! Martin, you’ve been and ruined me with your plots and your marriages! What did you want with a wife, I wondher, and you so well off! and Mrs Kelly began wiping her eyes, for she was affected to tears at. the prospect of her coming misery.
‘Av’ you take it so to heart, mother, you’d betther give Anty a hint to be out of this. You heard Daly tell her, that was all Barry wanted.’
Martin knew his mother tolerably well, or he would not have made this proposition. He understood what the real extent of her sorrow was, and how much of her lamentation he was to attribute to her laudable wish to appear a martyr to the wishes and pleasures of her children.
‘Turn her out!’ replied she, ‘no, niver; and I didn’t think I’d ‘ve heard you asking me to.’
‘I didn’t ask you, mother, only anything’d be betther than downright ruin.’
‘I wouldn’t demane myself to Barry so much as to wish her out of this now she’s here. But it was along of you she came here, and av’ I’ve to pay for all this lawyer work, you oughtn’t to see me at a loss. I’m shure I don’t know where your sisthers is to look for a pound or two when I’m gone, av’ things goes on this way,’ and again the widow whimpered.
‘Don’t let that throuble you, mother: av’ there’s anything to pay, I won’t let it come upon you, any way. But I tell you there’ll be nothing more about it.’
Mrs Kelly was somewhat quieted by her son’s guarantee, and, muttering that she couldn’t afford to be wasting her mornings in that way, diligently commenced weighing out innumerable three-halfporths of brown sugar, and Martin went about his own business.
Daly left the inn, after his interview with Anty and the Kellys, in anything but a pleasant frame of mind. In the first place, he knew that he had been signally unsuccessful, and that his want of success had been mainly attributable to his having failed to see Anty alone; and, in the next place, he felt more than ever disgusted with his client. He began to reflect, for the first time, that he might, and probably would, irretrievably injure his character by undertaking, as Martin truly called it, such a very low line of business: that, if the matter were persevered in, every one in Connaught would be sure to hear of Anty’s persecution; and that his own name would be so mixed up with Lynch’s in the transaction as to leave him no means of escaping the ignominy which was so justly due to his employer. Beyond these selfish motives of wishing to withdraw from the business, he really pitied Anty, and felt a great repugnance at being the means of adding to her troubles; and he was aware of the scandalous shame of subjecting her again to the ill-treatment of such a wretch as her brother, by threatening proceedings which he knew could never be taken.
As he got on the car to return to Tuam, he determined that whatever plan he might settle on adopting, ‘he would have nothing further to do with prosecuting or persecuting either Anty or the Kellys. ‘I’ll give him the best advice I can about it,’ said Daly to himself; ‘and if he don’t like it he may do the other thing. I wouldn’t carry on with this game for all he’s worth, and that I believe is not much.’ He had intended to go direct to Dunmore House from the Kellys, and to have seen Barry, but he would have had to stop for dinner if he had done so; and though, generally speaking, not very squeamish in his society, he did not wish to enjoy another after-dinner tˆte-…-tˆte with him ‘It’s better to get him over to Tuam,’ thought he, ‘and try and make him see rason when he’s sober: nothing’s too hot or too bad for him, when he’s mad dhrunk afther dinner.’
Accordingly, Lynch was again summoned to Tuam, and held a second council in the attorney’s little parlour. Daly commenced by telling him that his sister had seen him, and had positively refused to leave the inn, and that the widow and her son had both listened to the threats of a prosecution unmoved and undismayed. Barry indulged in his usual volubility of expletives; expressed his fixed intention of exterminating the Kellys; declared, with many asseverations, his conviction that his sister was a lunatic; swore, by everything under, in, and above the earth, that he would have her shut up in the Lunatic Asylum in Ballinasloe, in the teeth of the Lord Chancellor and all the other lawyers in Ireland; cursed the shades of his father, deeply and copiously; assured Daly that he was only prevented from recovering his own property by the weakness and ignorance of his legal advisers, and ended by asking the attorney’s advice as to his future conduct.
‘What the d l, then, am I to do with the confounded ideot?’ said he.
‘If you’ll take my advice, you’ll do nothing.’
‘What, and let her marry and have that young blackguard brought up to Dunmore under my very nose?’
‘I’m very much afraid, Mr Lynch, if you wish to be quit of Martin Kelly, it is you must lave Dunmore. You may be shure he won’t.’
‘Oh, as for that, I’ve nothing to tie me to Dunmore. I hate the place; I never meant to live there. If I only saw my sister properly taken care of, and that it was put out of her power to throw herself away, I should leave it at once.’
‘Between you and me, Mr Lynch, she will be taken care of; and as for throwing herself away, she must judge of that herself. Take my word for it, the best thing for you to do is to come to terms with Martin Kelly, and to sell out your property in Dun-more. You’ll make much better terms before marriage than you would afther, it stands to rason.’
Barry was half standing, and half sitting on the small parlour table, and there he remained for a few minutes, meditating on Daly’s most unpleasant proposal. It was a hard pill for him to swallow, and he couldn’t get it down without some convulsive grimaces. He bit his under lip, till the blood came through it, and at last said,
‘Why, you’ve taken this thing up, Daly, as if you were to be paid by the Kellys instead of by me! I can’t understand it, confound me if I can!’
Daly turned very red at the insinuation. He was within an ace of seizing Lynch by. the collar, and expelling him in a summary way from his premises, a feat which he was able to perform; and willing also, for he was sick of his client; but he thought of it a second time, and restrained himself.
‘Mr Lynch,’ he said, after a moment or two, ‘that’s the second time you’ve made an observation of that kind to me; and I’ll tell you what; if your business was the best in the county, instead of being as bad a case as was ever put into a lawyer’s hands, I wouldn’t stand it from you. If you think you can let out your passion against me, as you do against your own people, you’ll find your mistake out very soon; so you’d betther mind what you’re saying.’
‘Why, what the devil did I say?’ said Lynch, half abashed.
‘I’ll not repeat it and you hadn’t betther, either. And now, do you choose to hear my professional advice, and behave to me as you ought and shall do? or will you go out of this and look out for another attorney? To tell you the truth, I’d jist as lieve you’d take your business to some one else.’
Barry’s brow grew very black, and he looked at Daly as though he would much like to insult him again if he dared. But he did not dare. He had no one else to look to for advice or support; he had utterly estranged from him his father’s lawyer; and though he suspected that Daly was not true to him, he felt that he could not break with him. He was obliged, therefore, to swallow his wrath, though it choked him, and to mutter something in the shape of an apology.
It was a mutter: Daly heard something about its being only a joke, and not expecting to be taken up so d —— sharp; and, accepting these sounds as an amende honorable, again renewed his functions as attorney.
‘Will you authorise me to see Martin Kelly, and to treat with him? You’ll find it the cheapest thing you can do; and, more than that, it’ll be what nobody can blame you for.’
‘How treat with him? I owe him nothing I don’t see what I’ve got to treat with him about. Am I to offer him half the property on condition he’ll consent to marry my sister? Is that what you mean?’
‘No: that’s not what I mean; but it’ll come to much the same thing in the end. In the first place, you must withdraw all opposition to Miss Lynch’s marriage; indeed, you must give it your direct sanction; and, in the next place, you must make an amicable arrangement with Martin about the division of the property.’
‘What coolly give him all he has the impudence to ask? throw up the game altogether, and pitch the whole stakes into his lap? Why, Daly, you ’
‘Well, Mr Lynch, finish your speech,’ said Daly, looking him full in the face.
Barry had been on the point of again accusing the attorney of playing false to him, but he paused in time; he caught Daly’s eye, and did not dare to finish the sentence which he had begun.
‘I can’t understand you, I mean,’ said he; ‘I can’t understand what you’re after: but go on; maybe you’re right, but I can’t see, for the life of me. What am I to get by such a plan as that?’
Barry was now cowed and frightened; he had no dram-bottle by him to reassure him, and he became, comparatively speaking, calm and subdued. Indeed, before the interview was over he fell into a pitiably lachrymose tone, and claimed sympathy for the many hardships he had to undergo through the ill-treatment of his family.
‘I’ll try and explain to you, Mr Lynch, what you’ll get by it. As far as I can understand, your father left about eight hundred a-year between the two that’s you and your sisther; and then there’s the house and furniture. Nothing on earth can keep her out of her property, or prevent her from marrying whom she plases. Martin Kelly, who is an honest fellow, though sharp enough, has set his eye on her, and before many weeks you’ll find he’ll make her his wife. Undher these circumstances, wouldn’t he be the best tenant you could find for Dunmore? You’re not fond of the place, and will be still less so when he’s your brother-inlaw. Lave it altogether, Mr Lynch; give him a laise of the whole concern, and if you’ll do that now at once, take my word for it you’ll get more out of Dunmore than iver you will by staying here, and fighting the matther out.’
‘But about the debts, Daly?’
‘Why, I suppose the fact is, the debts are all your own, eh?’
‘Well suppose they are?’
‘Exactly so: personal debts of your own. Why, when you’ve made some final arrangement about the property, you must make some other arrangement with your creditors. But that’s quite a separate affair; you don’t expect Martin Kelly to pay your debts, I suppose?’
‘But I might get a sum of money for the good-will, mightn’t 1?’
‘I don’t think Martin’s able to put a large sum down. I’ll tell you what I think you might ask; and what I think he would give, to get your good-will and consent to the match, and to prevent any further difficulty. I think he’d become your tenant, for the whole of your share, at a rent of five-hundred a year; and maybe he’d give you three hundred pounds for the furniture and stock, and things about the place. If so, you should give him a laise of three lives.’
There was a good deal in this proposition that was pleasing to Barry’s mind: five hundred a-year without any trouble in collecting it; the power of living abroad in the unrestrained indulgence of hotels and billiard rooms; the probable chance of being able to retain his income and bilk his creditors; the prospect of shaking off from himself the consequences of a connection with the Kellys, and being for ever rid of Dunmore encumbrances. These things all opened before his eyes a vista of future, idle, uncontrolled enjoyment, just suited to his taste, and strongly tempted him at once to close with Daly’s offer. But still, he could hardly bring himself to consent to be vanquished by his own sister; it was wormwood to him to think that after all she should be left to. the undisturbed enjoyment of her father’s legacy. He had been brow-beaten by the widow, insulted by young Kelly, cowed and silenced by the attorney whom he had intended to patronise and convert into a creature of his own: he could however have borne and put up with all this, if he could only have got his will of his sister; but to give up to her, who had been his slave all his life to own, at last, that he had no power over her, whom he had always looked upon as so abject, so mean a thing; to give in, of his own accord, to the robbery which had been committed on him by his own father; and to do this, while he felt convinced as he still did, that a sufficiently unscrupulous attorney could save him from such cruel disgrace and loss, was a trial to which he could hardly bring himself to submit, crushed and tamed as he was.
He still sat on the edge of the parlour table, and there he remained mute, balancing the pros and cons of Daly’s plan. Daly waited a minute or two for his answer, and, finding that he said nothing, left him alone for a time, to make up his mind, telling him that he would return in about a quarter of an hour. Barry never moved from his position; it was an important question he had to settle, and so he felt it, for he gave up to the subject his undivided attention. Since his boyhood he had looked forward to a life of ease, pleasure, and licence, and had longed for his father’s death that he might enjoy it. It seemed now within his reach; for his means, though reduced, would still be sufficient for sensual gratification. But, idle, unprincipled, brutal, castaway wretch as Barry was, he still felt the degradation of inaction, when he had such stimulating motives to energy as unsatisfied rapacity and hatred for his sister: ignorant as he was of the meaning of the word right, he tried to persuade himself that it would be wrong in him to yield.
Could he only pluck up sufficient courage to speak his mind to Daly, and frighten him into compliance with. his wishes, he still felt that he might be successful that he might, by some legal tactics, at any rate obtain for himself the management of his sister’s property. But this he could not do: he felt that Daly was his master; and though he still thought that he might have triumphed had he come sufficiently prepared, that is, with a considerable quantum of spirits inside him, he knew himself well enough to be aware that he could do nothing without this assistance; and, alas, he could not obtain it there. He had great reliance in the efficacy of whiskey; he would trust much to a large dose of port wine; but with brandy he considered himself invincible.
He sat biting his lip, trying to think, trying to make up his mind, trying to gain sufficient self-composure to finish his interview with Daly with some appearance of resolution and self-confidence, but it was in vain; when the attorney returned, his face still plainly showed that he was utterly unresolved, utterly unable to resolve on anything.
‘Well, Mr Lynch,’ said Daly, ‘will you let me spake to Kelly about this, or would you rather sleep on the matther?’
Barry gave a long sigh ‘Wouldn’t he give six hundred, Daly? he’d still have two hundred clear, and think what that’d be for a fellow like him!’
‘You must ask him for it yourself then; I’ll not propose to him any such thing. Upon my soul, he’ll be a great fool to give the five hundred, because he’s no occasion to meddle with you in the matther at all, at all. But still I think he may give it; but as for asking for more at any rate I won’t do it; you can do what you like, yourself.’
‘And am I to sell the furniture, and everything horses, cattle, and everything about the place for three hundred pounds?’
‘Not unless you like it, you ain’t, Mr Lynch; but I’ll tell you this if you can do so, and do do so, it’ll be the best bargain you ever made mind, one-half of it all belongs to your sisther.’
Barry muttered an oath through his ground teeth; he would have liked to scratch the ashes of his father from their resting-place, and wreak his vengeance on them, whenever this degrading fact was named to him.
‘But I want the money, Daly,’ said he: ‘I couldn’t get afloat unless I had more than that: I couldn’t pay your bill, you know, unless I got a higher figure down than that. Come, Daly, you must do something for me; you must do something, you know, to earn the fees,’ and he tried to look facetious, by giving a wretched ghastly grin.
‘My bill won’t be a long one, Mr Lynch, and you may be shure I’m trying to make it as short as I can. And as for earning it, whatever you may think, I can assure you I shall never have got money harder. I’ve now given you my best advice; if your mind’s not yet made up, perhaps you’ll have the goodness to let me hear from you when it is?’ and Daly walked from the fire towards the door, and placed his hand upon the handle of it.
This was a hint which Barry couldn’t misunderstand. ‘Well, I’ll write to you,’ he said, and passed through the door. He felt, however, that it was useless to attempt to trust himself to his own judgment, and he turned back, as Daly passed into his office ‘Daly,’ he said, ‘step out one minute: I won’t keep you a second.’ The attorney unwillingly lifted up the counter, and came out to him. ‘Manage it your own way,’ said he; ‘do whatever you think best; but you must see that I’ve been badly used infernally cruelly treated, and you ought to do the best you can for me. Here am I, giving away, as I may say, my own property to a young shopkeeper, and upon my soul you ought to make him pay something for it; upon my soul you ought, for it’s only fair!’
‘I’ve tould you, Mr Lynch, what I’ll propose to Martin Kelly; if you don’t think the terms fair, you can propose any others yourself; or you’re at liberty to employ any other agent you please.’
Barry sighed again, but he yielded. He felt broken-hearted, and unhappy, and he longed to quit a country so distasteful to him, and relatives and neighbours so ungrateful; he longed in his heart for the sweet, easy haunts of Boulogne, which he had never known, but of which he had heard many a glowing description from congenial spirits whom he knew. He had heard enough of the ways and means of many a leading star in that Elysium, to be aware that, with five hundred a-year, unembarrassed and punctually paid, he might shine as a prince indeed. He would go at once to that happy foreign shore, where the memory of no father would follow him, where the presence of no sister would degrade and irritate him, where billiard-tables were rife, and brandy cheap; where virtue was easy, and restraint unnecessary; where no duties would harass him, no tenants upbraid him, no duns persecute him. There, carefully guarding himself against the schemes of those less fortunate followers of pleasure among whom he would be thrown in his social hours, he would convert every shilling of his income to some purpose of self-enjoyment, and live a life of luxurious abandonment. And he need not be altogether idle, he reflected within himself afterwards, as he was riding home: he felt that he was possessed of sufficient energy and talent to make himself perfectly master of a pack of cards, to be a proficient over a billiard-table, and even to get the upper hand of a box of dice. With such. pursuits left to him, he might yet live to be talked of, feared, and wealthy; and Barry’s utmost ambition would have carried him no further.
As I said before, he yielded to the attorney, and commissioned him fully to treat with Martin Kelly in the manner proposed by himself. Martin was to give him five hundred a-year for his share of the property, and three hundred pounds for the furniture, &c.; and Barry was to give his sister his written and unconditional assent to her marriage; was to sign any document which might be necessary as to her settlement, and was then to leave Dunmore for ever. Daly made him write an authority for making such a proposal, by which he bound himself to the terms, should they be acceded to by the other party.
‘But you must bear in mind,’ added Daly, as his client for the second time turned from the door, ‘that I don’t guarantee that Martin Kelly will accept these terms: it’s very likely he may be sharp enough to know that he can manage as well without you as he can with you. You’ll remember that, Mr Lynch.’
‘I will I will, Daly; but look here if he bites freely and I think he will, and if you find you could get as much as a thousand out of him, or even eight hundred, you shall have one hundred clear for yourself.’
This was Barry’s last piece of diplomacy for that day. Daly vouchsafed him no answer, but returned into his office, and Barry mounted his horse, and returned home not altogether ill-pleased with his prospects, but still regretting that he should have gone about so serious a piece of business, so utterly unprepared.
These regrets rose stronger, when his after-dinner courage returned to him as he sate solitary over his fire. ‘I should have had him here,’ said he to himself, ‘and not gone to that confounded cold hole of his. After all, there’s no place for a cock to fight on like his own dunghill; and there’s nothing able to carry a fellow well through a tough bit of jobation with a lawyer like a stiff tumbler of brandy punch. It’d have been worth a couple of hundred to me, to have had him out here impertinent puppy! Well, devil a halfpenny I’ll pay him!’ This thought was consolatory, and he began again to think of Boulogne.
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 12:01