"You must not joke with me now. If you knew what it was to have one child and only that you would not joke with me."

"I am quite in earnest. I am not joking."

"And what is to be the end of it?"

"The end of it! How can I say? My uncle is an old man,--very old, very infirm, very good, very prejudiced, and broken-hearted because his own son, who died, married against his will."

"You would not liken my Kate to such as that woman was?"

"Your Kate! She is my Kate as much as yours. Such a thought as that would be an injury to me as deep as to you. You know that to me my Kate, our Kate, is all excellence,--as pure and good as she is bright and beautiful. As God is above us she shall be my wife,--but I cannot take her to Scroope Manor as my wife while my uncle lives."

"Why should any one be ashamed of her at Scroope Manor?"

"Because they are fools. But I cannot cure them of their folly. My uncle thinks that I should marry one of my own class."

"Class;--what class? He is a gentleman, I presume, and she is a lady."

"That is very true;--so true that I myself shall act upon the truth. But I will not make his last years wretched. He is a Protestant, and you are Catholics."


"What is that? Are not ever so many of your lords Catholics? Were they not all Catholics before Protestants were ever thought of?"

"Mrs. O'Hara, I have told you that to me she is as high and good and noble as though she were a Princess. And I have told you that she shall be my wife. If that does not content you, I cannot help it. It contents her. I owe much to her."

"Indeed you do;--everything."

"But I owe much to him also. I do not think that you can gain anything by quarrelling with me."

She paused for a while before she answered him, looking into his face the while with something of the ferocity of a tigress. So intent was her gaze that his eyes quailed beneath it. "By the living God," she said, "if you injure my child I will have the very blood from your heart."

Nevertheless she allowed him to return alone to the house, where she knew that he would find her girl. "Kate," he said, going into the parlour in which she was sitting idle at the window,--"dear Kate."

"Well, sir?"

"I'm off."

"You are always--off, as you call it."

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