“Oh, Anty!” sobbed out Barry, who was now absolutely in tears, “I was drunk that night; I was indeed, or I’d never have said or done what I did.”
“And how often are you so, Barry?—isn’t it so with you every night? That’s another thing; for my sake, for your own sake—for God’s sake, give up the dhrink. It’s killing you from day to day, and hour to hour. I see it in your eyes, and smell it in your breath, and hear it in your voice; it’s that that makes your heart so black:—it’s that that gives you over, body and soul, to the devil. I would not have said a word about that night to hurt you now; and, dear Barry, I wouldn’t have said such words as these to you at all, but that I shall never speak to you again. And oh! I pray that you’ll remember them. You’re idle now, always:—don’t continue so; earn your money, and it will be a blessing to you and to others. But in idleness, and drunkenness, and wickedness, it will only lead you quicker to the devil.”
Barry reiterated his promises; he would take the pledge; he would work at the farm; he would marry and have a family; he would not care the least for money; he would pay his debts; he would go to church, or chapel, if Anty liked it better; at any rate, he’d say his prayers; he would remember every word she had said to the last day of his life; he promised everything or anything, as though his future existence depended on his appeasing his dying sister. But during the whole time, his chief wish, his longing desire, was to finish the interview, and get out of that horrid room. He felt that he was mastered and cowed by the creature whom he had so despised, and he could not account for the feeling. Why did he not dare to answer her? She had told him he would have her money: she had said it would come to him as a matter of course; and it was not the dread of losing that which prevented his saying a word in his own defence. No; she had really frightened him: she had made him really feel that he was a low, wretched, wicked creature, and he longed to escape from her, that he might recover his composure.
“I have but little more to say to you, Barry,” she continued, “and that little is about the property. You will have it all, but a small sum of money—”
Here Anty was interrupted by a knock at the door, and the entrance of the widow. She came to say that the quarter of an hour allowed by the doctor had been long exceeded, and that really Mr Barry ought to take his leave, as so much talking would be bad for Anty.
This was quite a god-send for Barry, who was only anxious to be off; but Anty begged for a respite.
“One five minutes longer, dear Mrs Kelly,” said she, “and I shall have done; only five minutes—I’m much stronger now, and really it won’t hurt me.”
“Well, then—mind, only five minutes,” said the widow, and again left them alone.