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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 530 pages of information about The Kellys and the O'Kellys.

“We’ll not quarrel about that, you may be sure, Colligan,” continued Barry; “and as I said fifty acres at first—­it was fifty acres I think you were saying you wished for—­I’ll not baulk you, and go back from my own word.”

“What you have yourself, round the house, ’ll be enough; only I’m thinking the rent ’ll be too high.”

“It shall not; it shall be low enough; and, as I was saying, you shall have the remainder, at the same price, immediately after Michaelmas, as soon as ever those devils are ejected.”

“Well;” said Colligan, who was now really interested, “what’s the figure?”

Barry had been looking steadfastly at the fire during the whole conversation, up to this:  playing with the poker, and knocking the coals about.  He was longing to look into the other’s face, but he did not dare.  Now, however, was his time; it was now or never:  he took one furtive glance at the doctor, and saw that he was really anxious on the subject—­that his attention was fixed.

“The figure,” said he; “the figure should not trouble you if you had no one but me to deal, with.  But there’ll be Anty, confound her, putting her fist into this and every other plan of mine!”

“I’d better deal with the agent, I’m thinking,” said Colligan; “so, good night.”

“You’ll find you’d a deal better be dealing with me:  you’ll never find an easier fellow to deal with, or one who’ll put a better thing in your way.”

Colligan again sat down.  He couldn’t quite make Barry out:  he suspected he was planning some iniquity, but he couldn’t tell what; and he remained silent, looking full into the other’s face till he should go on.  Barry winced under the look, and hesitated; but at last he screwed himself up to the point, and said,

“One word, between two friends, is as good as a thousand.  If Anty dies of this bout, you shall have the fifty acres, with a lease for perpetuity, at sixpence an acre.  Come, that’s not a high figure, I think.”

“What?” said Colligan, apparently not understanding him, “a lease for perpetuity at how much an acre?”

“Sixpence—­a penny—­a pepper-corn—­just anything you please.  But it’s all on Anty’s dying.  While she’s alive I can do nothing for the best friend I have.”

“By the Almighty above us,” said the doctor, almost in a whisper, “I believe the wretched man means me to murder her—­his own sister!”

“Murder?—­Who talked or said a word of murder?” said Barry, with a hoarse and croaking voice—­“isn’t she dying as she is?—­and isn’t she better dead than alive?  It’s only just not taking so much trouble to keep the life in her; you’re so exceeding clever you know!”—­and he made a ghastly attempt at smiling.  “With any other doctor she’d have been dead long since:  leave her to herself a little, and the farm’s your own; and I’m sure there’ll ’ve been nothing at all like murder between us.”

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