“Is she alive, then?” replied Kathleen, looking up to me with wonder.
“Yes; and I will not tell Sir Henry where she is, and that is the reason of their enmity.”
“But I saw her body,” replied the girl in a low voice, standing up, and coming close to me.
“It was not hers, depend upon it,” replied I, hardly knowing what to answer to this assertion.
“At all events, it was dressed in her clothes; but it was so long before it was discovered, that we could make nothing of the features. Well, I knew the poor little thing, for my mother nursed her. I was myself brought up at the castle, and lived there till after Sir William was killed; then we were all sent away.”
“Kathleen! Kathleen!” cried the landlady.
“Call for everything you can think of one after another,” whispered Kathleen, leaving the room.
“I cannot make the peat burn,” said she to the landlady, after she had quitted the little room; “and the gentleman wants some whisky.”
“Go out then, and get some from the middle of the stack, Kathleen, and be quick; we have others to attend besides the tithe proctor. There’s the O’Tooles all come in, and your own Corny is with them.”
“My Corny, indeed!” replied Kathleen; “he’s not quite so sure of that.”
In a short time Kathleen returned, and brought some dry peat and a measure of whisky. “If what you say is true,” said Kathleen, “and sure enough you’re no Irish, and very young for a tithe proctor, who must grow old before he can be such a villain, you are in no very pleasant way. The O’Tooles are here, and I’ve an idea they mean no good; for they sit with all their heads together, whispering to each other, and all their shillelaghs by their sides.”
“Tell me, Kathleen, was the daughter of Sir William a fair-haired, blue-eyed girl?”
“To be sure she was,” replied Kathleen, “and like a little mountain fairy.”
“Now, Kathleen, tell me if you recollect if the little girl or her mother ever wore a necklace of red beads mixed with gold.”
“Yes, that my lady did; and it was on the child’s neck when it was lost, and when the body was found, it was not with it. Well I recollect that, for my mother said the child must have been drowned or murdered for the sake of the gold beads.”
“Then you have proved all I wished, Kathleen; and now I tell you that this little girl is alive, and that I can produce the necklace which was lost with her; and more, that she was taken away by Sir Henry himself.”
“Merciful Jesus!” replied Kathleen; “the dear little child that we cried over so much.”
“But now, Kathleen, I have told you this, to prove to you that I am not what M’Dermott has asserted, no doubt, with the intention that my brains shall be knocked out this night.”
“And so they will, sure enough,” replied Kathleen, “if you do not escape.”
“But how am I to escape? and will you assist me?” And I laid down on the table ten guineas from my purse, “Take that, Kathleen, and it will help you and Corny. Now will you assist me?”