Barry had just succeeded in raising his sister to the sofa as he heard the knock.
“Who’s that?” he called out loudly; “what do you want?”
“Plaze yer honer, Miss Anty’s wanting in the kitchen.”
“She’s busy, and can’t come at present; she’ll be there directly.”
“Is she ill at all, Mr. Barry? God bless you, spake, Miss Anty; in God’s name, spake thin. Ah! Mr. Barry, thin, shure she’d spake av’ she were able.”
“Go away, you fool! Your mistress’ll be out in a minute.” Then, after a moment’s consideration, he went and unlocked the door, “or—go in, and see what she wants. She’s fainted, I think.”
Barry Lynch walked out of the room, and into the garden before the house, to think over what he had done, and what he’d better do for the future, leaving Anty to the care of the frightened woman.
She soon came to herself, and, excepting that her head was bruised in the fall, was not much hurt. The blow, falling on her hands, had neither cut nor marked her; but she was for a long time so flurried that she did not know where she was, and, in answer to all Biddy’s tender inquiries as to the cause of her fall, and anathemas as to the master’s bad temper, merely said that “she’d get to bed, for her head ached so, she didn’t know where she was.”
To bed accordingly she went; and glad she was to have escaped alive from that drunken face, which had glared on her for the last half hour.
After wandering about round the house and through the grounds, for above an hour, Barry returned, half sobered, to the room; but, in his present state of mind, he could not go to bed sober. He ordered more hot water, and again sat down alone to drink, and drown the remorse he was beginning to feel for what he had done—or rather, not remorse, but the feeling of fear that every one would know how he had treated Anty, and that they would side with her against him. Whichever way he looked, all was misery and disappointment to him, and his only hope, for the present, was in drink. There he sat, for a long time, with his eyes fixed on the turf, till it was all burnt out, trying to get fresh courage from the spirits he swallowed, and swearing to himself that he would not be beat by a woman.
About one o’clock he seized one of the candles, and staggered up to bed. As he passed his sister’s door, he opened it and went in. She was fast asleep; her shoes were off, and the bed-clothes were thrown over her, but she was not undressed. He slowly shut the door, and stood, for some moments, looking at her; then, walking to the bed, he took her shoulder, and shook it as gently as his drunkenness would let him. This did not wake her, so he put the candle down on the table, close beside the bed, and, steadying himself against the bedstead, he shook her again and again. “Anty”, he whispered, “Anty”; and, at last, she opened her eyes. Directly she saw his face, she closed them again, and buried her own in the clothes; however, he saw that she was awake, and, bending his head, he muttered, loud enough for her to hear, but in a thick, harsh, hurried, drunken voice, “Anty—d’ye hear? If you marry that man, I’ll have your life!” and then, leaving the candle behind him, he staggered off into his own room in the dark.