"And now good-bye. One kiss, darling."
"Not a kiss when I am going?"
"I don't want you to go. Oh, Fred! Well;--there. Good-bye, my own, own, own beloved one. You'll be here on Monday?"
"And be in the boat four hours, and here four minutes. Don't I know you?" But he went without answering this last accusation.
"What shall we do, Kate, if he deceives us?" said the mother that evening.
"Die. But I am sure he will not deceive us."
Neville, as he made his way down to Liscannor, where his gig was waiting for him, did ask himself some serious questions about his adventure. What must be the end of it? And had he not been imprudent? It may be declared on his behalf that no idea of treachery to the girl ever crossed his mind. He loved her too thoroughly for that. He did love her--not perhaps as she loved him. He had many things in the world to occupy his mind, and she had but one. He was almost a god to her. She to him was simply the sweetest girl that he had ever as yet seen, and one who had that peculiar merit that she was all his own. No other man had ever pressed her hand, or drank her sweet breath. Was not such a love a thousand times sweeter than that of some girl who had been hurried from drawing-room to drawing-room, and perhaps from one vow of constancy to another for half-a-dozen years? The adventure was very sweet. But how was it to end? His uncle might live these ten years, and he had not the heart,--nor yet the courage,--to present her to his uncle as his bride.
When he reached Ennis that evening there was a despatch marked "Immediate," from his aunt Lady Scroope. "Your uncle is very ill;--dangerously ill, we fear. His great desire is to see you once again. Pray come without losing an hour."
Early on the following morning he started for Dublin, but before he went to bed that night he not only wrote to Kate O'Hara, but enclosed the note from his aunt. He could understand that though the tidings of his uncle's danger was a shock to him there would be something in the tidings which would cause joy to the two inmates of Ardkill Cottage. When he sent that letter with his own, he was of course determined that he would marry Kate O'Hara as soon as he was a free man.