“Indeed, Mr Lynch, she is very weak.”
“But, doctor, you don’t think there is any chance—I mean, there isn’t any danger, is there, that she’d go off at once?”
“Why, no, I don’t think there is; indeed, I have no doubt she will hold out a fortnight yet.”
“Then, perhaps, doctor, I’d better put it off till to-morrow; I’ll tell you why: there’s a person I wish—”
“Why, Mr Lynch, to-day would be better. The fever’s periodical, you see, and will be on her again to-morrow—”
“I beg your pardon, Doctor Colligan,” said Barry, of a sudden remembering to be civil,—“but you’ll take a glass of wine?”
“Not a drop, thank ye, of anything.”
“Oh, but you will;” and Barry rang the bell and had the wine brought. “And you expect she’ll have another attack to-morrow?”
“That’s a matter of course, Mr Lynch; the fever’ll come on her again to-morrow. Every attack leaves her weaker and weaker, and we fear she’ll go off, before it leaves her altogether.”
“Poor thing!” said Barry, contemplatively.
“We had her head shaved,” said the doctor.
“Did you, indeed!” answered Barry. “She was my favourite sister, Doctor Colligan—that is, I had no other.”
“I believe not,” said Doctor Colligan, looking sympathetic.
“Take another glass of wine, doctor?—now do,” and he poured out another bumper.
“Thank’ee, Mr Lynch, thank’ee; not a drop more. And you’ll be over in an hour then? I’d better go and tell her, that she may be prepared, you know,” and the doctor returned to the sick room of his patient.
Barry remained standing in the parlour, looking at the glasses and the decanter, as though he were speculating on the manner in which they had been fabricated. “She may recover, after all,” thought he to himself. “She’s as strong as a horse—I know her better than they do. I know she’ll recover, and then what shall I do? Stand to the offer Daly made to Kelly, I suppose!” And then he sat down close to the table, with his elbow on it, and his chin resting on his hand; and there he remained, full of thought. To tell the truth, Barry Lynch had never thought more intensely than he did during those ten minutes. At last he jumped up suddenly, as though surprised at what had been passing within himself; he looked hastily at the door and at the window, as though to see that he had not been watched, and then went upstairs to dress himself, preparatory to his visit to the inn.
Anty had borne her illness with that patience and endurance which were so particularly inherent in her nature. She had never complained; and had received the untiring attentions and care of her two young friends, with a warmth of affection and gratitude which astonished them, accustomed as they had been in every little illness to give and receive that tender care with which sickness is treated in affectionate families. When ill, they felt they had a right to be petulant, and to complain; to exact, and to be attended to: they had been used to it from each other, and thought it an incidental part of the business. But Anty had hitherto had no one to nurse her, and she looked on Meg and Jane as kind ministering angels, emulous as they were to relieve her wants and ease her sufferings.