"It's quite a stranger you are, these days," said the priest, as soon as they had turned their backs upon the ladies.

"Well; yes. We haven't managed to meet since I came back;--have we?"

"I've been pretty constant at home, too. But you like them cliffs up there, better than the village no doubt."

"Metal more attractive, Father Marty," said Fred laughing;--"not meaning however any slight upon Liscannor or the Cork whisky."

"The Cork whisky is always to the fore, Mr. Neville. And how did you lave matters with your noble uncle?"

Neville at the present moment was anxious rather to speak of Kate's ignoble father than of his own noble uncle. He had declared his intention of making inquiry of Father Marty, and he thought that he should do so with something of a high hand. He still had that scheme in his head, and he might perhaps be better prepared to discuss it with the priest if he could first make this friend of the O'Hara family understand how much he, Neville, was personally injured by this "turning up" of a disreputable father. But, should he allow the priest at once to run away to Scroope and his noble uncle, the result of such conversation would simply be renewed promises on his part in reference to his future conduct to Kate O'Hara.

"Lord Scroope wasn't very well when I left him. By the bye, Father Marty, I've been particularly anxious to see you."

"'Deed thin I was aisy found, Mr. Neville."

"What is this I hear about--Captain O'Hara?"

"What is it that you have heard, Mr. Neville?" Fred looked into the priest's face and found that he, at least, did not blush. It may be that all power of blushing had departed from Father Marty.


"In the first place I hear that there is such a man."

"Ony way there was once."

"You think he's dead then?"

"I don't say that. It's a matter of,--faith, thin, it's a matter of nigh twenty years since I saw the Captain. And when I did see him I didn't like him. I can tell you that, Mr. Neville."

"I suppose not."

"That lass up there was not born when I saw him. He was a handsome man too, and might have been a gentleman av' he would."

"But he wasn't."

"It's a hard thing to say what is a gentleman, Mr. Neville. I don't know a much harder thing. Them folk at Castle Quin, now, wouldn't scruple to say that I'm no gentleman, just because I'm a Popish priest. I say that Captain O'Hara was no gentleman because--he ill-treated a woman." Father Marty as he said this stopped a moment on the road, turning round and looking Neville full in the face. Fred bore the look fairly well. Perhaps at the moment he did not understand its application. It may be that he still had a clear conscience in that matter, and thought that he was resolved to treat Kate O'Hara after a fashion that would in no way detract from his own character as a gentleman. "As it was," continued the priest, "he was a low blag-guard."

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