As Daly watched his comrade’s reddening face, and saw the malicious gleam of his eyes as he declared how easily he’d manage the affair, if poor Anty was once more in the house, his heart misgave him, even though he was a sharp attorney, at the idea of assisting such a cruel brute in his cruelty; and, for a moment, he had determined to throw up the matter. Barry was so unprincipled, and so wickedly malicious in his want of principle, that he disgusted even Daly. But, on second thoughts, the lawyer remembered that if he didn’t do the job, another would; and, quieting his not very violent qualms of conscience with the idea that, though employed by the brother, he might also, to a certain extent, protect the sister, he proceeded to give his advice as to the course which would be most likely to keep the property out of the hands of the Kellys.
He explained to Barry that, as Anty had left her own home in company with Martin’s mother, and as she now was a guest at the widow’s, it was unlikely that any immediate clandestine marriage should be resorted to; that their most likely course would be to brazen the matter out, and have the wedding solemnised without any secrecy, and without any especial notice to him, Barry. That, on the next morning, a legal notice should be prepared in Tuam, and served on the widow, informing her that it was his intention to indict her for conspiracy, in enticing away from her own home his sister Anty, for the purpose of obtaining possession of her property, she being of weak mind, and not able properly to manage her own affairs; that a copy of this notice should also be sent to Martin, warning him that he would be included in the indictment if he took any proceedings with regard to Miss Lynch; and that a further copy should, if possible, be put into the hands of Miss Lynch herself.
“You may be sure that’ll frighten them,” continued Daly; “and then, you know, when we see what sort of fight they make, we’ll be able to judge whether we ought to go on and prosecute or not. I think the widow’ll be very shy of meddling, when she finds you’re in earnest. And you see, Mr Lynch,” he went on, dropping his voice, “if you do go into court, as I don’t think you will, you’ll go with clean hands, as you ought to do. Nobody can say anything against you for trying to prevent your sister from marrying a man so much younger than herself, and so much inferior in station and fortune; you won’t seem to gain anything by it, and that’s everything with a jury; and then, you know, if it comes out that Miss Lynch’s mind is rather touched, it’s an additional reason why you should protect her from intriguing and interested schemers. Don’t you see?”
Barry did see, or fancied he saw, that he had now got the Kellys in a dead fix, and Anty back into his own hands again; and his self-confidence having been fully roused by his potations, he was tolerably happy, and talked very loudly of the manner in which he would punish those low-bred huxters, who had presumed to interfere with him in the management of his family.