From the town of Nolan, eight miles away, came a story which put a quite different light on the matter.
As soon as it became known in the neighborhood of the missing man's dwelling that he had been seen in Nolan there was a marked alteration in public sentiment and feeling.
He had spoken a few sentences to his companion, Nolan, a tall, dark man with a cadaverous equine Irish face, when he seemed to remember something and touched a bell which rang in another room.
"Well, let's hope they'll be some sort of use," remarked Nolan, in a somewhat hopeless manner, gazing out into the darkness.
The silence that followed it seemed more startling than the shriek itself, and it lasted until Nolan said, heavily:
Nolan, however, seemed still moody and unlike himself.
The pale face of the red-haired man seemed a shade paler, but he was silent and composed, and Sir Walter went up to Nolan with marked courtesy, saying, "Shall we go outside now, and get this business done?"
"It's only a sort of loft, reached by a ladder, said Nolan. "I've played in the place when I was a child.
Morton moved toward the window immediately in front of them, where the hidden outlaw had just snuffed the candle; Nolan, a little farther westward to the next window; while Wilson, followed by Macbride with the ladder, went round to the two windows at the back.
Nolan, the Irish policeman, had also fallen, sprawling all his great length in the grass, and it was red with his blood.
I suppose poor Nolan would have brought in his banshee and said it was supernaturally possible.
He thought I had been kind to him, and said to a fellow-student of mine, 'Tell the Doctor I lave him me bones, for I've nothing else in the wide world, and I'll nos be wanting 'em at all, at all, when the great pain hat kilt me entirely.' So that is how they came to be mine, and why I've kept them carefully, for, though only a poor, ignorant fellow, Mike Nolan
did what he could to help others, and prove his gratitude to those who tried to help him."