‘Midir is dead,’ MacFirbis said a little later, as the gardener came on the terrace with a slow step. He rose and went to meet him.

‘The dog is dead,’ repeated the Tanist, as the Historian, having spoken to the man, went into the house. He left his chair, and walked up to the gardener, followed by the Professor.

‘I would like to have his body to put under the black rose tree,’ the gardener said. ‘Noble one, will you ask the Historian if I may have the carcase of the dog?’

‘Your utilitarian spirit is to be admired, Attacotti,’ said Schliemann, ‘but the Historian will place a pillar of marble not a rose-tree over Midir. He is dead, then?’

‘The dog is dead, as I thought,’ said the Tanist. ‘Moss must have poisoned him. It is much to be regretted, Sai Schliemann, that you did not warn the Historian.’

‘I reproach myself deeply,’ the Professor answered. ‘But what is this, man?’, he added, as the gardener offered him a letter.

‘I found it pinned to the moss on the broken wall of the castle facing the river, noble one,’ was the reply. ‘And it is your name that is on it.’

Schliemann took the letter, and opened it slowly. ‘Our thanks for ever and a thousand blessings on you,’ he read. ‘O, dear Sai, I have forgotten Orchil. Please bring him to the castle to-morrow and give him to Geoffrey. And please take care of him till then.’ He frowned. ‘So they have gone,’ he thought.

The Tanist lit a cigarette, he did not look at him. With a slightly embarrassed air the Professor refolded the note, and stood still, holding it in his hand. After a few moments, he put it in his pocket. ‘An anonymous communication,’ he remarked aloud.

Maelmuire turned upon him a courteous glance. It said that the Professor’s letters were his own concern, and that he had no wish to pry into his affairs. Then, as if the matter left his mind at once, he pointed to the chairs, and suggested that they should return to them for the present, as the Historian, he was sure, would prefer to be alone for a time. When they were seated, he referred in a courteous and regretful tone to his egregious mistake in suspecting the Professor of dishonest intentions, apologising gracefully, and concluded by saying that the responsibility of guarding the books, and the attempt to steal them in Dungeanain, had, he feared, developed a suspiciousness which he must check as a dangerous quality.

‘I have had a lesson,’ he added, ‘and I can only thank you sincerely for the frank way in which you have pardoned my mistake.’

Night had closed around them, and they sat under a sky ablaze with stars, when hurrying footsteps came on the terrace. As both turned their heads, they saw Cormac.

Oc! Oc! Tanist!’, he cried, running up to them. ‘The Historian! – my master, my king!’

Maelmuire sprang to his feet. ‘What has happened?’, he asked in a sharp, quick tone. ‘Where is he?’

Ochone! in his own library off the first hall. He has had bad news! My grief! such news!’

The Tanist turned on his heel, and strode towards the house. The Professor moved uneasily in his chair. ‘What is this news, Cormac?’, he asked.

‘The leanbh, the child – my young lady – has gone off to marry Geoffrey Keating – my malediction on him. Yet why should I curse him?’, the old man’s tone suddenly changed, ‘since they took the heart from each other.’

Schliemann put down his pipe. ‘This is disturbing news for your master,’ he remarked, ‘and coming just when he has lost his books, and heard of the death of his favourite dog, makes a combination of misfortunes hard for him to bear.’

‘She gave me a letter,’ went on the old man, ‘as she was going out. ‘Give that to my father, to-morrow,’ she said, ‘and tell him I won’t be back to-night. But don’t give him the letter till to-morrow.’ But I gave it to him just now when I saw he was in sorrow over Midir, thinking it would take his thoughts off the dog. And, by St. Jarlath! it has. May I never be better for this!’

The Professor remained on the terrace. Time passed, and he heard a clock strike twelve; then a step drew near, and, looking round, he saw the dignified figure of the Historian. He could see his face in the bright night; it was sad but composed.

‘Forgive me, my friend,’ he said, ‘for having forgotten my guest in the weight of personal calamities. I have been much bowed down. But it may have been I have deserved the loss of my books, my faithful dog, and—’, his voice suddenly shook, ‘my beloved daughter for my sins, and I will make a pilgrimage to Cruach Padraic.’

The Professor nearly groaned aloud; he was conscience-stricken, abased. But for his promise to Geoffrey Keating he would have there and then confessed his share in the elopement. As it was, he remained silent, not attempting to offer any consolation. With a humbled look, he followed the Historian to the house, parting with him in the hall. On the stair he met the Tanist, who apologised for his abrupt departure. ‘But you have heard?’, he added.

Schliemann bent his head; then, looking up, met, in the light cast from an electrolier, the young man’s pale blue eyes. ‘He has the cat’s eyes,’ he thought; his contrition lessened.

The next morning he found the parish priest had come to breakfast. He was a son of the Earl of Desmond, and had been with the Historian from an early hour. He had a thin, aristocratic face, and a manner so gentle as to give him an air of humility. His smile showed, however, a keen sense of humour, and there was something magnetic in his glance. It was evident that his presence helped to console MacFirbis. Surprised at learning his birth, the Professor commented upon it with his usual directness of speech.

‘I did not know that the Irish aristocracy entered the Roman Catholic Church,’ he remarked. ‘I had heard that all your priests were the sons of farmers or shopkeepers.’

‘You have been misinformed,’ the priest replied. ‘The Catholic Church is indeed wide and all embracing, and, as among the Italian clergy, men of every rank in life can be found in our priesthood, and it has been so since the coming of our Apostle, St. Patrick. And we have not only had the sons of our nobles, both Gaelic and Norman, in the Order, but princes of the Royal Hy Niall, and of the Houses of the Five, as well as the sons of farmers.’

The later, the priest and MacFirbis left the table together; the Professor, seeing the Tanist engaged in reading his letter, rose and went on the terrace. He found a telegraph boy waiting there, and saw a second messenger cycling up to the house. Turning into the yew-walk he met the gardener.

‘Well, have you got Midir?’, he asked, as the man greeted him.

‘My grief! no,’ was the reply. ‘He would have been good under the black rose tree. It takes blood to nourish that rose. Are you going to the old castle, noble one?’

‘Yes, but not yet to labour there.’ An ironical smile crossed Schliemann’s lips. ‘I go there to reflect upon my great work. I can even spare a moment now to see your black rose tree.’

The man suddenly assumed a surly air; with a curt salute, he passed on as if he had not heard the remark. ‘The Attacotti blood is strong in that fellow,’ thought Schliemann, and made his way leisurely to the ruin, led thither by a fear that Sorcha had left another note.

A search along the fallen wall, however, showed him this was not the case. He crossed to the keep, and as he gazed upward at its grey and broken front and winding stair, he heard the Tanist’s voice. Taking a step to the right, he saw him coming from the yew-walk accompanied by a tall gentlemanly-looking young man.

‘MacBuan told me you were here, Sai Schliemann,’ he said, as he climbed the mound. ‘This is the detective, MacSuibne, and he wishes to have a personal description of Moss.’

The Professor straightened himself, pressed his heels into the ground, and fixed his combative eyes upon the pleasant, refined face that looked up at him from the foot of the mound. Then he threw a glance of ironic humour at the Tanist.

‘Are you sure that this drawing room young man is the detective?’, he asked.

Maelmuire laughed. ‘Yes. There is no mistake this time. It is MacSuibne, the most famous detective in the force.’

‘I am MacSuibne, Sai Schliemann,’ the young man said. ‘And the Tanist has told me of his mistake. Kindly give me a description of Moss.’

‘That you may compare it with that given by the Tanist, and see where I trip. Well, that’s part of your work.’ The Professor folded his arms, and tersely described the American’s appearance.

‘It is the man who deceived me,’ said Maelmuire.

‘And Sai Schliemann’s description agrees also with that of the billionaire that I received this morning,’ the detective remarked. ‘It was necessary, Sai Schliemann,’ he added, ‘to be very sure of the man. For Amos Moss has not only more millions than any other man in the United States, but he controls several Trusts, has acquired great political power, and will try to be made President at the next election. You met him for the first time, I suppose, in this ruin the day before the theft.’

‘Not at all,’ replied the Professor. ‘I first met him in the Cathedral in Dungeanain;’ and he went on to relate that part of his conversation with Moss that had reference to the books.

‘All this is interesting,’ said the detective in his gentle voice. ‘And quite true. He has this palace with the nation-galleries, and has given enormous sums for his treasures. He employs agents all over the world.’

‘The strange fact is that he was in none of the vessels that left for the American ports yesterday,’ observed the Tanist. ‘Nor was he to be found at any of the hotels he was known to have stayed in, either in this kingdom or in the kingdom of England and Scotland.’

‘Can you tell me, Sai Schliemann, what became of the two modern manuscripts that the Tanist tells me he left in your room with the object of deceiving you?’, the detective asked after a brief pause.

‘And the question,’ put in the Tanist, looking at Schliemann, ‘covers me with confusion as it recalls my idiotic mistake.’

‘No, detective, I cannot. I never saw them. I was locked up in the library. But I can explain how my magnifying glass came under the window, to set all your suspicions at rest. I must have dropped it there when looking at a rose tree. And the footprint that the Tanist measured was, no doubt, that of Moss, who later poisoned the dog, having nearly killed him that night.’

‘I had come to that conclusion myself,’ the detective replied, and turned to the Tanist. ‘I think Moss has not left Ireland and is in Baile-Átha-Cliath,’ he remarked. ‘I shall return by the next train.’

‘There won’t be one for nearly an hour,’ said the Tanist. ‘And I must leave you now, MacSuibne, as I have an engagement. Sai Schliemann, perhaps, will be kind enough to show you these ruins while you wait. MacSuibne is an interesting man to talk to, Sai.’

‘No doubt,’ said the Professor, and closed his lips firmly.

‘I am not an archaeologist,’ said the young man, smiling. ‘But I cannot,’ he added gravely, ‘but regard it as a high honour if the famous Sai Schliemann should rebuild this ancient castle again for me by his words.’

‘Nonsense! young man. I am no orator, though a writer and scholar. My castle would never rise above its foundations. We will smoke a pipe here in the sunshine, and I shall be interested in hearing of your police methods. The country police are, I understand, a military force, armed like soldiers, many thousands strong, and attend the evictions—’, the Professor paused, ‘or have you evictions?’

He sat down as he spoke on a piece of fallen masonry, and the detective flung himself on the grass. The Tanist’s figure could be seen retreating towards the yew-walk.

‘The business of the police,’ said the detective in his boy-like voice, ‘is to see that the laws are obeyed and to prevent crime. The Irish country police are six thousand men, and the police of the cities twelve thousand.’

‘Are murders prevalent, and is insanity on the increase?’ The Professor took out his notebook.

The young man’s eyes wandered to it as he gently replied: ‘We have less homicidal cases than any other country in Europe, and far less than our neighbour, England, in spite of our large population. As to insanity, the health of the nation is so guarded that, though not high, it is each year on the decrease.’

‘And what is your most prevalent or national crime?’ The Professor’s pencil was poised for a moment.

‘A tendency to factions, promoted by the national temperament. It is restrained by a strong executive force, but it is nevertheless productive of crime.’ The young man rose suddenly to his feet. ‘Sai Schliemann, I see a stair. I am going up it. The view must be splendid from that broken window.’

He glanced upward as he spoke; then leaping over some stones and rubble, put his foot on the weather-and-time-worn stair, and quickly disappeared. In a short time he re-appeared at the window. ‘There is a magnificent view,’ he exclaimed.

‘I will look at the stair,’ thought the Professor. ‘If the steps are still able to bear the weight of a man, they shall be my excuse, with this view, of my not bringing pickaxe and spade near the keep. Herr Je! I hate to be a fool!’

Carefully crossing the rubble and stones, he entered the keep, and bending, peered up the winding stair. All was gloom. At the same moment he heard MacSuibne’s descending steps, and drawing back went into the sunlight. The young man stood by his side.

‘Were you coming up?’, he said in his gentle voice. ‘It is not a difficult climb. The steps are good, but by the window there is a gap of six feet from one step to the next.’ He glanced at his watch. ‘I am afraid I must be off if I am to catch the Baile-Átha-Cliath express. I think we shall find Moss, Sai Schliemann; and I know you will give us any help in your power.’

‘You may be certain of that,’ said the Professor. ‘I am as anxious as the Historian, or the Tanist, that those invaluable vellums should be found.’

‘A thousand thanks. Health be with you, and a blessing,’ the young man replied. He raised his hat, smiled pleasantly, and ran down the slope. When, a little later, he reached the balustraded semi-circle on the river bank, he paused a minute to watch Cahil MacBuan, who was sweeping the marble floor, then entering the yew walk, he disappeared from the Professor’s view.

‘A German detective would laugh at that boy,’ thought Schliemann, and went back to the stair to examine a fern growing in the wall that had caught his eye. Taking out his pocketknife to remove it, the knife slipped from his hand and disappeared through a crevice in the mound by the stair. The Professor bent and put his hand into it. Then he drew himself up. ‘The dungeon,’ he muttered. ‘If I am questioned again about my excavations, I can show them my discovery.’ He gave a grim smile.