Her thin face had become thinner, and was very pale; her head had been shaved close, and there was nothing between the broad white border of her nightcap and her clammy brow and wan cheek. But illness was more becoming to Anty than health; it gave her a melancholy and beautiful expression of resignation, which, under ordinary circumstances, was wanting to her features, though not to her character. Her eyes were brighter than they usually were, and her complexion was clear, colourless, and transparent. I do not mean to say that Anty in her illness was beautiful, but she was no longer plain; and even to the young Kellys, whose feelings and sympathies cannot be supposed to have been of the highest order, she became an object of the most intense interest, and the warmest affection.
“Well, doctor,” she said, as Doctor Colligan crept into her room, after the termination of his embassy to Barry; “will he come?”
“Oh, of course he will; why wouldn’t he, and you wishing it? He’ll be here in an hour, Miss Lynch. He wasn’t just ready to come over with me.”
“I’m glad of that,” said Anty, who felt that she had to collect her thoughts before she saw him; and then, after a moment, she added, “Can’t I take my medicine now, doctor?”
“Just before he comes you’d better have it, I think. One of the girls will step up and give it you when he’s below. He’ll want to speak a word or so to Mrs Kelly before he comes up.”
“Spake to me, docthor!” said the widow, alarmed. “What’ll he be spaking to me about? Faix, I had spaking enough with him last time he was here.”
“You’d better just see him, Mrs Kelly,” whispered the, doctor. “You’ll find him quiet enough, now; just take him fair and asy; keep him downstairs a moment, while Jane gives her the medicine. She’d better take it just before he goes to her, and don’t let him stay long, whatever you do. I’ll be back before the evening’s over; not that I think that she’ll want me to see her, but I’ll just drop in.”
“Are you going, doctor?” said Anty, as he stepped up to the bed. He told her he was. “You’ve told Mrs Kelly, haven’t you, that I’m to see Barry alone?”
“Why, I didn’t say so,” said the doctor, looking at the widow; “but I suppose there’ll be no harm—eh, Mrs Kelly?”
“You must let me see him alone, dear Mrs Kelly!”
“If Doctor Colligan thinks you ought, Anty dear, I wouldn’t stay in the room myself for worlds.”
“But you won’t keep him here long, Miss Lynch—eh? And you won’t excite yourself?—indeed, you mustn’t. You’ll allow them fifteen minutes, Mrs Kelly, not more, and then you’ll come up;” and with these cautions, the doctor withdrew.
“I wish he was come and gone,” said the widow to her elder daughter. “Well; av I’d known all what was to follow, I’d niver have got out of my warm bed to go and fetch Anty Lynch down here that cowld morning! Well, I’ll be wise another time. Live and larn they say, and it’s thrue, too.”