“Well, relapse, av’ you will, Father Pat—relapse or reclaps, it’s pretty much the same I’m thinking; for she’d niver get through another bout. God send we may be well out of the hobble this day twelvemonth. Martin’s my own son, and ain’t above industhrying, as his father and mother did afore him, and I won’t say a word agin him; but he’s brought more throuble on me with them Lynches than iver I knew before. What has a lone woman like me, Father Pat, to do wid sthrangers like them? jist to turn their backs on me when I ain’t no furder use, and to be gitting the hights of insolence and abuse, as I did from that blagguard Barry. He’d betther keep his toe in his pump and go asy, or he’ll wake to a sore morning yet, some day.”
Doctor Colligan, also, was in trouble from his connection with the Lynches: not that he had any dissatisfaction at the recovery of his patient, for he rejoiced at it, both on her account and his own. He had strongly that feeling of self-applause, which must always be enjoyed by a doctor who brings a patient safely through a dangerous illness. But Barry’s iniquitous proposal to him weighed heavy on his conscience. It was now a week since it had been made, and he had spoken of it to no one. He had thought much and frequently of what he ought to do; whether he should publicly charge Lynch with the fact; whether he should tell it confidentially to some friend whom he could trust; or whether—by far the easiest alternative, he should keep it in his own bosom, and avoid the man in future as he would an incarnation of the devil. It preyed much upon his spirits, for he lived in fear of Barry Lynch—in fear lest he should determine to have the first word, and, in his own defence, accuse him (Colligan) of the very iniquity which he had himself committed. Nothing, the doctor felt, would be too bad or too false for Barry Lynch; nothing could be more damnable than the proposal he had made; and yet it would be impossible to convict him, impossible to punish him. He would, of course, deny the truth of the accusation, and probably return the charge on his accuser. And yet Colligan felt that he would be compromising the matter, if he did not mention it to some one; and that he would outrage his own feelings if he did not express his horror at the murder which he had been asked to commit.
For one week these feelings quite destroyed poor Colligan’s peace of mind; during the second, he determined to make a clean breast of it; and, on the first day of the third week, after turning in his mind twenty different people—Martin Kelly—young Daly—the widow—the parish priest—the parish parson—the nearest stipendiary magistrate—and a brother doctor in Tuam, he at last determined on going to Lord Ballindine, as being both a magistrate and a friend of the Kellys. Doctor Colligan himself was not at all acquainted with Lord Ballindine: he attended none of the family, who extensively patronised his rival, and he had never been inside Kelly’s Court house. He felt, therefore, considerable embarrassment at his mission; but he made up his mind to go, and, manfully setting himself in his antique rickety gig, started early enough, to catch Lord Ballindine, as he thought, before he left the house after breakfast.