Had Meg seen an ogre, or the enemy of all mankind himself, she could not, at the moment, have been more frightened; and she stood staring at him, as if the sudden loss of the power of motion alone prevented her from running away.
“I want to see Mrs Kelly,” said Barry; “d’ye hear? I want to see your mother; go and tell her.”
But we must go back, and see how Mr Lynch had managed to get up, and pass his morning.
It was noon before Barry first opened his eyes, and discovered the reality of the headache which the night’s miserable and solitary debauch had entailed on him. For, in spite of the oft-repeated assurance that there is not a headache in a hogshead of it, whiskey punch will sicken one, as well as more expensive and more fashionable potent drinks. Barry was very sick when he first awoke; and very miserable, too; for vague recollections of what he had done, and doubtful fears of what he might have done, crowded on him. A drunken man always feels more anxiety about what he has not done in his drunkenness, than about what he has; and so it was with Barry. He remembered having used rough language with his sister, but he could not remember how far he had gone. He remembered striking her, and he knew that the servant had come in; but he could not remember how, or with what he had struck her, or whether he had done so more than once, or whether she had been much hurt. He could not even think whether he had seen her since or not; he remembered being in the garden after she had fallen, and drinking again after that, but nothing further. Surely, he could not have killed her? he could not even have hurt her very much, or he would have heard of it before this. If anything serious had happened, the servants would have taken care that he should have heard enough about it ere now. Then he began to think what o’clock it could be, and that it must be late, for his watch was run down; the general fate of drunkards, who are doomed to utter ignorance of the hour at which they wake to the consciousness of their miserable disgrace. He feared to ring the bell for the servant; he was afraid to ask the particulars of last night’s work; so he turned on his pillow, and tried to sleep again. But in vain. If he closed his eyes, Anty was before them, and he was dreaming, half awake, that he was trying to stifle her, and that she was escaping, to tell all the world of his brutality and cruelty. This happened over and over again; for when he dozed but for a minute, the same thing re-occurred, as vividly as before, and made even his waking consciousness preferable to the visions of his disturbed slumbers. So, at last, he roused himself, and endeavoured to think what he should do.
Whilst he was sitting up in his bed, and reflecting that he must undress himself before he could dress himself—for he had tumbled into bed with most of his clothes on—Terry’s red head appeared at the door, showing an anxiety, on the part of its owner, to see if “the masther” was awake, but to take no step to bring about such a state, if, luckily, he still slept.