He left his gig and servant at Ennistimon and proceeded as he had intended along the road to Liscannor on an outside car. In the mid-distance about two miles out of the town he met Father Marty riding on the road. He had almost hoped,--nay, he had hoped,--that the priest might not be at home. But here was the lion in his path. "Ah, my Lord," said the priest in his sweetest tone of good humour,--and his tones when he was so disposed were very sweet,--"Ah, my Lord, this is a sight good for sore eyes. They tould me you were to be here to-day or to-morrow, and I took it for granted therefore it 'd be the day afther. But you're as good as the best of your word." The Earl of Scroope got off the car, and holding the priest's hand, answered the kindly salutation. But he did so with a constrained air and with a solemnity which the priest also attributed to his newly-begotten rank. Fred Neville,--as he had been a week or two since,--was almost grovelling in the dust before the priest's eyes; but the priest for the moment thought that he was wrapping himself up in the sables and ermine of his nobility. However, he had come back,--which was more perhaps than Father Marty had expected,--and the best must be made of him with reference to poor Kate's future happiness. "You're going on to Ardkill, I suppose, my Lord," he said.

"Yes;--certainly; but I intended to take the Liscannor road on purpose to see you. I shall leave the car at Liscannor and walk up. You could not return, I suppose?"

"Well,--yes,--I might."

"If you could, Father Marty--"

"Oh, certainly." The priest now saw that there was something more in the man's manner than lordly pride. As the Earl got again up on his car, the priest turned his horse, and the two travelled back through the village without further conversation. The priest's horse was given up to the boy in the yard, and he then led the way into the house. "We are not much altered in our ways, are we, my Lord?" he said as he moved a bottle of whiskey that stood on the sideboard. "Shall I offer you lunch?"

"No, thank you, Father Marty;--nothing, thank you." Then he made a gasp and began. The bad hour had arrived, and it must be endured. "I have come back, as you see, Father Marty. That was a matter of course."

"Well, yes, my Lord. As things have gone it was a matter of course."

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