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.
XX. VERY LIBERAL
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 leave 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.