We must now see how things went on in the enemy’s camp.
The attorney drove up to the door of Dunmore House on his car, and was shown into the drawing-room, where he met Barry Lynch. The two young men were acquainted, though not intimate with each other, and they bowed, and then shook hands; and Barry told the attorney that he was welcome to Dunmore House, and the attorney made another bow, rubbed his hands before the fire and said it was a very cold evening; and Barry said it was ’nation cold for that time of the year; which, considering that they were now in the middle of February, showed that Barry was rather abroad, and didn’t exactly know what to say. He remained for about a minute, silent before the fire, and then asked Daly if he’d like to see his room; and, the attorney acquiescing, he led him up to it, and left him there.
The truth was, that, as the time of the man’s visit had drawn nearer, Barry had become more and more embarrassed; and now that the attorney had absolutely come, his employer felt himself unable to explain the business before dinner. “These fellows are so confoundedly sharp—I shall never be up to him till I get a tumbler of punch on board,” said he to himself, comforting himself with the reflection; “besides, I’m never well able for anything till I get a little warmed. We’ll get along like a house on fire when we’ve got the hot water between us.” The true meaning of all which was, that he hadn’t the courage to make known his villanous schemes respecting his sister till he was half drunk; and, in order the earlier to bring about this necessary and now daily consummation, he sneaked downstairs and took a solitary glass of brandy to fortify himself for entertaining the attorney.
The dinner was dull enough; for, of course, as long as the man was in the room there was no talking on business, and, in his present frame of mind Barry was not likely to be an agreeable companion. The attorney ate his dinner as if it was a part of the fee, received in payment of the work he was to do, and with a determination to make the most of it.
At last, the dishes disappeared, and with them Terry Rooney; who, however, like a faithful servant, felt too strong an interest in his master’s affairs to be very far absent when matters of importance were likely to be discussed.
“And now, Mr Daly,” said Lynch, “we can be snug here, without interruption, for an hour or two. You’ll find that whiskey old and good, I think; but, if you prefer wine, that port on the table came from Barton’s, in Sackville Street.”
“Thank ye; if I take anything, it’ll be a glass of punch. But as we’ve business to talk of, may-be I’d better keep my head clear.”
“My head’s never so clear then, as when I’ve done my second tumbler. I’m never so sure of what I’m about as when I’m a little warmed; ‘but,’ says you, ’because my head’s strong, it’s no reason another’s shouldn’t be weak:’ but do as you like; liberty hall here now, Mr Daly; that is, as far as I’m concerned. You knew my father, I believe, Mr Daly?”