Mrs Lynch had died before the commencement of Sim’s palmy days. They had seen no company in her time,—for they were then only rising people; and, since that, the great friends to whom Sim, in his wealth, had attached himself, and with whom alone he intended that Barry should associate, were all of the masculine gender. He gave bachelor dinner-parties to hard-drinking young men, for whom Anty was well contented to cook; and when they—as they often, from the effect of their potations, were perforce obliged to do—stayed the night at Dunmore House, Anty never showed herself in the breakfast parlour, but boiled the eggs, made the tea, and took her own breakfast in the kitchen.
It was not wonderful, therefore, that no one proposed for Anty; and, though all who knew the Lynches, knew that Sim had a daughter, it was very generally given out that she was not so wise as her neighbours; and the father and brother took no pains to deny the rumour. The inhabitants of the village knew better; the Lynches were very generally disliked, and the shameful way “Miss Anty was trated,” was often discussed in the little shops; and many of the townspeople were ready to aver that, “simple or no, Anty Lynch was the best of the breed, out-and-out.”
Matters stood thus at Dunmore, when the quarrel before alluded to, occurred, and when Sim made his will, dividing his property and died before destroying it, as he doubtless would have done, when his passion was over.
Great was the surprise of every one concerned, and of many who were not at all concerned, when it was ascertained that Anty Lynch was an heiress, and that she was now possessed of four hundred pounds a-year in her own right; but the passion of her brother, it would be impossible to describe. He soon, however, found that it was too literally true, and that no direct means were at hand, by which he could deprive his sister of her patrimony. The lawyer, when he informed Anty of her fortune and present station, made her understand that she had an equal right with her brother in everything in the house; and though, at first, she tacitly acquiesced in his management, she was not at all simple enough to be ignorant of the rights of possession, or weak enough to relinquish them.
Barry soon made up his mind that, as she had and must have the property, all he could now do was to take care that it should revert to him as her heir; and the measure of most importance in effecting this, would be to take care that she did not marry. In his first passion, after his father’s death, he had been rough and cruel to her; but he soon changed his conduct, and endeavoured to flatter her into docility at one moment, and to frighten her into obedience in the next.
He soon received another blow which was also a severe one. Moylan, the old man who proposed the match to Martin, called on him, and showed him that Anty had appointed him her agent, and had executed the necessary legal documents for the purpose. Upon this subject he argued for a long time with his sister,—pointing out to her that the old man would surely rob her—offering to act as her agent himself—recommending others as more honest and fitting—and, lastly, telling her that she was an obstinate fool, who would soon be robbed of every penny she had, and that she would die in a workhouse at last.