There were sundry matters connected with the subject, which were rather difficult of arrangement. In the, first place, Frank was obliged, very unwillingly, to consent that Mr Armstrong should remain, at any rate one day longer, in the country. It was, however, at last settled that he should return that night and sleep at Kelly’s Court. Then Lord Ballindine insisted that they should tell young Kelly what they were about, before they went to Barry’s house, as it would be necessary to consult him as to the disposition he would wish to have made of the property. Armstrong was strongly against this measure,—but it was, at last, decided on; and then they had to induce Colligan to go with them. He much wished them to manage the business without him. He had had quite enough of Dunmore House; and, in spite of the valiant manner in which he had knocked its owner down the last time he was there, seemed now quite afraid to face him. But Mr Armstrong informed him that he must go on now, as he had said so much, and at last frightened him into an unwilling compliance.
The three of them went up into the little parlour of the inn, and summoned Martin to the conference, and various were the conjectures made by the family as to the nature of the business which brought three such persons to the inn together. But the widow settled them all by asserting that “a Kelly needn’t be afeared, thank God, to see his own landlord in his own house, nor though he brought an attorney wid him as well as a parson and a docther.” And so, Martin was sent for, and soon heard the horrid story. Not long after he had joined them, the four sallied out together, and Meg remarked that something very bad was going to happen, for the lord never passed her before without a kind word or a nod; and now he took no more notice of her than if it had been only Sally herself that met him on the stairs.
Poor Martin was dreadfully shocked; and not only shocked, but grieved and astonished. He had never thought well of his intended brother-in-law, but he had not judged him so severely as Mr Armstrong had done. He listened to all Lord Ballindine said to him, and agreed as to the propriety of the measures he proposed. But there was nothing of elation about him at the downfall of the man whom he could not but look on as his enemy: indeed, he was not only subdued and modest in his demeanour, but he appeared so reserved that he could hardly be got to express any interest in the steps which were to be taken respecting the property. It was only when Lord Ballindine pointed out to him that it was his duty to guard Anty’s interests, that he would consent to go to Dunmore House with them, and to state, when called upon to do so, what measures he would wish to have adopted with regard to the property.
“Suppose he denies himself to us?” said Frank, as the four walked across the street together, to the great astonishment of the whole population.