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 within.
‘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 it.’
‘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 wake.’
‘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 me.’
‘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 dying.’
‘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 affectionate one.’
‘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, redeemed?’
‘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 yourself.’
‘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.’
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 12:01