Dunmore Inn. February, 1844.
I (am very sorry I) can’t come back to the house, at any rate just at present. I am not very sthrong in health, and there are kind female friends about me here, which you know there couldn’t be up at the house.
Anty herself, in the original draft inserted “ladies,” but the widow’s good sense repudiated the term, and insisted on the word “females”: Jane suggested that “females” did not sound quite respectful alone, and Martin thought that Anty might call them “female friends,” which was consequently done.
—Besides, there are reasons
why I’m quieter here, till things are a
little more settled. I will forgive (and forget) all that happened
up at the house between us—
“Why, you can’t forget it,” said Meg. “Oh, I could, av’ he was kind to me. I’d forget it all in a week av’ he was kind to me,” answered Anty—
(and I will do nothing particular without first letting you know).
They were all loud against this paragraph, but they could not carry their point.
I must tell you, dear Barry, that you are very much mistaken about the people of this house: they are dear, kind friends to me, and, wherever I am, I must love them to the last day of my life—but indeed I am, and hope you believe so,
Your affectionate sister,
When the last paragraph was read over Anty’s shoulder, Meg declared she was a dear, dear creature: Jane gave her a big kiss, and began crying; even the widow put the corner of her apron to her eye, and Martin, trying to look manly and unconcerned, declared that he was “quite shure they all loved her, and they’d be brutes and bastes av’ they didn’t!”
The letter, as given above, was finally decided on; written, sealed, and despatched by Jack, who was desired to be very particular to deliver it at the front door, with Miss Lynch’s love, which was accordingly done. All the care, however, which had been bestowed on it did not make it palatable to Barry, who was alone when he received it, and merely muttered, as he read it, “Confound her, low-minded slut! friends, indeed! what business has she with friends, except such as I please?—if I’d the choosing of her friends, they’d be a strait waistcoat, and the madhouse doctor. Good Heaven! that half my property—no, but two-thirds of it,—should belong to her!—the stupid, stiff-necked robber!”
These last pleasant epithets had reference to his respected progenitor.
On the same evening, after tea, Martin endeavoured to make a little further advance with Anty, for he felt that he had been interrupted just as she was coming round; but her nerves were again disordered, and he soon found that if he pressed her now, he should only get a decided negative, which he might find it very difficult to induce her to revoke.