He had left the park before he realised that he had not seen the library of Tara. It was too late to return, for the sun was setting, and the Five Gates would soon be closed.

‘What an opportunity I have lost!’, he said, aloud, and asked the chauffeur if he knew in what quarter of the palace it stood. The man told him that it stood in the wing called Duna-na-nGiall, or the Mound of the Hostages, built on the site of the rath of that name where formerly the hostages of the Ard-Righ had been kept; but the hostages were now the printed thoughts of the great minds of the world.

As they drew near Tlachtga a man passed on a bicycle. Twilight had fallen, but the Professor thought it was Mac Suibne. He looked back, but the figure had disappeared round a corner.

The following day the Professor drove with the Princess and a party of her guests to Clonard. They were received by the dignitaries of the University, who conducted them through the twelve Colleges, which were named after the twelve Apostles of Erin. To a Drumcli and Fer-leginn of his College, a broad-faced portly gentleman, the Professor attached himself, and learnt the course followed in the University and the number of the schools. A student’s course was generally six years, when he took out his degree as Cli.

‘We have a tradition,’ remarked the Fer-leginn, ‘that the University was strongest in ancient times on its classical side, which, as science was then crude, was to its credit. But since the rebuilding of Clonard three hundred years ago, we have had such names on the roll of our colleges as Ua Cathain, Mac Donnchadha, Ua Ceallaigh, Ua Caoimh, Ua Suilleabhain, Ua Murchadha, Mac—’

‘And these,’ interrupted the Professor, ‘in what branch did they excel?’

The Fer-Leginn threw a glance of astonishment. ‘Surely Germany -which, I think, you said was your country – benefits by their discoveries. Their names are known to the scientific world.’

‘No doubt, no doubt,’ said the Professor quickly. ‘I questioned idly. Now, Ua Caoimh – to take one name?’

‘Yes, Ua Caoimh, to take one name. The domain of knowledge was widened not alone by his discoveries in astronomy but by his discovery of the White Ray, which has even greater and more extraordinary properties than Radium, as you are aware of.’

‘And the world owes much to Mac Donn—’

‘To Mac Donnchadha, yes. His discoveries in the eighteenth century in electro-magnetism opened the way for men like Ampere, Faraday, and Arago.’

‘And your library? You must have valuable works,’ said the Professor.

‘We have, and the most noted are in Saint Brendan’s Gallery. It contains many rare manuscripts, and a metal-work book shrine made by Saint Foirtchern, grandson of King Leagaire, before whom Saint Patrick preached. I led a most intelligent visitor through this library yesterday, a gentleman of the name of Mac Mossa. He lingered long before the shrine.’

The Professor stopped suddenly. ‘Mac Mossa,’ he said; ‘was he a tall thin man in a fawn-coloured overcoat, who spoke Irish with a foreign accent?’

‘His appearance and accent agree with your description,’ replied the Fer-leginn. ‘But he wore our native dress, kilt and brat.’

‘Do you know where he went?’

‘He told me he was going to England.’

‘The post office, where is the post office?’, said the Professor abruptly. ‘Where I can send a telegram?’

‘The University post office is in the quadrangle we are about to cross,’ the Fer-leginn answered, and led him to the building.

With a rapid hand the Professor wrote— ‘Moss visited the University of Clonard yesterday. Is wearing a dark blue kilt and brat.—Schliemann. To Mac Suibne, Detective, Baile-Átha-Cliath.

From the post office he went to the library, from which an hour later he was torn away by the Princess, who had accepted an invitation to take tea in the Ard-Fer-leginn’s house. There his thoughts were entirely diverted from Moss as he conversed with two of the Professors, the Drumcli of Old Irish and the Drumcli of Gothic and other early Teutonic languages.

On his return to Tlachtga he found a note in his room from Sorcha. She was most unhappy, she wrote, at having disobeyed her father, and was also miserable lest Moss should hurt Geoffrey. Would the Sai ask her father to forgive her, and tell him how dearly she loved him? And would he ask him, too, to forgive Geoffrey? The next day, when he was leaving, the Princess gave him a letter for the Historian, and expressed a hope that all might end well for the lovers.

‘Interested as I am,’ she said, ‘in their happiness, I am still more interested in reconciling the families. When the books are recovered, as I have confidence they will be, I shall ask that they be placed in my library at Tlachtga where the Historian and the Ollamh shall each have access to them, and thus the dispute will end.’

‘Before then,’ thought the Professor, ‘I must take them to Berlin.’ But he said aloud it would be a worthy deed to reconcile two such excellent men.

A swift run west that day brought him by noon to within sight of the Shannon. As the car crossed the Bridge of the Bulls the chauffeur suddenly stopped at a sign from a policeman, who advanced and spoke to him. When the Professor asked what he had said, the chauffeur answered that the man had given him the ticket issued at the bridge, and the Professor accepted the statement.

On arriving at Tir-da-Glas, he found the Historian pacing the terrace in company with the priest. He greeted Schliemann warmly, expressing his pleasure at his return. Having read the Princess’s letter, he gave it to Father Fitzgerald, and, sitting down, remained silent for some time.

‘You have seen my child?’, he said at last.

‘I have,’ said the Professor, and gave him Sorcha’s message.

‘She is forgiven,’ replied the Historian. ‘Who am I to fight against the will of God? For, as I knelt at the summit of the sacred mountain, I saw that He would heal the feud between two ancient houses, and had brought the hearts of the children together.’

‘And this proposal of the Princess about the books?’, said the priest looking up.

A light flashed into the Historian’s eyes. ‘They have been a thousand years in the possession of my house, and in my house they must remain.’

The Professor presently asked if the Tanist was at Tir-da-Glas; and learnt that he was away. He then told that Moss had been seen at Clonard, news which cheered MacFirbis, who thanked him gratefully for communicating with MacSuibne. After some further conversation the three men separated, the priest leaving for his own home, and the others returning to the house to meet again later at dinner.

At the table the Professor spoke of his visits at Tlachtga and Tara, and praised the intelligence of the chauffeur. ‘A clever, well-read young man,’ he remarked, ‘he proved a most agreeable companion.’

‘This is a new character for Seaghan Dubh, as we call him,’ replied the Historian. ‘Hitherto he has been noted for his taciturn tongue and ignorance on all subjects except machinery.’

Cormac, who had just filled his master’s glass, bent over his ear. ‘With your leave, Historian, and your pardon for the freedom of my tongue,’ he said, ‘it was not Seaghan Dubh, but a young man from Baile-Átha-Cliath, whom the Tanist knew, who drove the Sai.’

‘See that he is well entertained, Cormac.’

‘I have opened a bottle of the ’89 vintage for him, and have invited him to my own room, Historian.’

Early the next morning the Professor visited the ruin. He found MacBuan standing near the keep with a spade in his hand. The man touched his cap, and remarked that there was about to be a change in the weather.

‘I am making a flower-bed here, noble one,’ he added, ‘if it is not in the way of your excavations.’

The Professor’s eyes followed the direction of the man’s finger. The ground had been cleared of some of the stones on the right side of the keep, and fresh loam spread over the place.

‘I was about to dig there, Attacotti,’ he said. The gardener appeared put out. ‘Ah, noble one!’, he exclaimed, ‘you know how I wanted Midir’s body for my black rose. It was no good to ask the Historian. So—’


‘So—well, noble one, I stole it. And I have buried him by the keep, and here is my black rose.’ The man bent, and drew a rose tree from a casing of straw.

‘It seems to me,’ said the Professor, after a pause, ‘that everyone is bent upon deceiving your master, a most kindly, honourable gentleman. You have taken the dog from its grave?’

The gardener nodded. ‘It is true, noble one. But when the Historian sees the black rose blossom, the wonder of the world – black, with a crimson heart, many petaled, great sized, with the perfume of all the roses of the East, he will be well pleased. And the fame of my rose will run through Europe and the world.’

‘Your border is where I meant to dig, and must dig,’ said the Professor. ‘Why did you not put the dog in one of the gardens?’

‘Because it could not stay there. Those that work under me would have found it, and told the Historian.’

‘Why did you choose this spot?’

The man looked at his flower-bed. ‘For three reasons, noble one. First, the travelling sun strikes the wall as it goes west, and flings great warmth on the place. Second, the Historian does not come here often. Third, this is the ground where the blood of many men has been shed, and blood poured out when men are angry has virtues in it that the plants and trees and flowers gather up. It enriches the earth more than the blood of those who die in their beds.’

‘There are clouds in the west,’ said the Professor, looking skyward, ‘and rain is coming. Now, listening to me, Attacotti; I must dig where your bed is, for there is a dungeon beneath it, into which a valuable possession of mine fell the other day.

‘You would not wait till the spring, noble one?’

‘Certainly not, man. I hope to be in my own country long before then.’

‘Well, there is another way to get into the dungeon, which runs under the mound. It is longer, but an open way once you clear the masonry and earth. I will show you where the door lies.’

They left the keep, and crossing the interior of the castle, want out through the archway. The gardener paused before a block of masonry and stones.

‘It is here,’ he said. ‘This wall fell down eighty years ago. Duwardach Ua Beirne, a man of ninety, told me that his grandfather when a boy got into the dungeon by this entrance. But it was closed before the wall came on it. There are steps leading down.’

The Professor regarded the steps for some moments. ‘If I dig here I shall not bring down the keep,’ he thought. Presently he said aloud that he would commence to clear way the obstruction to the entrance on the morrow.

‘May your life be long!’, the gardener replied, and went back to his rose tree.

Just before lunch the Professor received a telegram. He opened it with the interest with which he now looked at his letters, always in the hope that one amongst them might be from his sister or de Narbonne.

But a glance told him that the telegram was form neither.

‘Can you meet me at Ua Maille’s Bruighean in Caislean-an-Barraig,’ he read, ‘at four this afternoon? Important. – V.A.’

MacSuibne had telegraphed, and had used other initials than his own as a precaution, the Professor concluded, after a brief reflection. Seeing Cormac near, he asked him where Caislean-an-Barraig lay, and its distance from Tir-da-glas. Cormac told him the town was fourteen miles to the south-west. At lunch he mentioned that he had got a telegram from MacSuibne, who wished to meet him that afternoon. MacFirbis at once ordered that a motor-car should be ready for his journey; and he and the Professor, when alone, discussed the meaning of the summons.

Schliemann was pleased to find that the young chauffeur from Baile-Átha-Cliath was his driver as he stepped into the car. As they drove along, the man told him that he should soon have to return to the city, as the Historian’s head chauffeur had a violent temper, and it was impossible to get on with him. He had driven the Tanist for a year, and for that reason had come to Tir-da-glas. But he would have to go; it was impossible to stay.’