"If," Yaspard interrupted, "I were fool enough to show my hand in the matter. No, no, Mootie, you don't understand a bit. We shall manage it so cleverly that uncle and Mr. Neeven will take for granted the sealkie escaped of herself. You see, Uncle Brüs makes laws for himself that are not proper, so he can't grumble if they don't work to his satisfaction at all times."
"We didn't mean any harm, sir," he said. "We only came to take Fred Garson's pet sealkie." "Indeed! and where may Fred Garson's pet sealkie be?" "She was in the haunted room goodness knows where she may be by this time," was the very cool answer of Master Tom.
Neeven's study the eyes of that ogre himself watching the boys with grave intentness. But Harry, all unaware of such espionage, came down from the window, and reported Mrs. Sealkie asleep beside her baby in a corner made comfortable with straw and bits of carpet.
How could uncle be so cruel to a poor sealkie, and yet be so kind to me?" Yaspard laughed. "There is a difference between you and Trullya, Mootie! But now comes the nice bit of my story. The seal wasn't killed at all! Fule-Tammy told me all about it. He said it had a young one with it, and they had been spending the night in the skeö.
When the family came home it was looked for everywhere, and Fred promised a large reward to any one who should bring it back; but all in vain. Sometimes fishermen would come and tell how they had seen a sealkie on a skerry that was not a bit frightened when they came near, but dropped into the water when they tried to catch it.
"She answered to the old call Fred used; and besides that, Isabel made a sketch of her. Every mark on her skin is in the picture." "And more," said Tom; "the sealkie was caught on Fred's property, where no person had business to be without his leave." "That, too, is a point open to question. But what I have to do with is this disgraceful burglary.
"Leave this affair to me, auntie," he said; "I'll see that Fred Garson gets the letter, and gets it right properly." Poor Miss Adiesen was too much troubled to notice anything peculiar in Yaspard's words or expression, but Signy did, and as he left the room she followed and asked in a whisper "Is it going to fit into your idea, brodhor?" "Fits like the skin to a sealkie," said he.
The first person to speak was Lowrie, and a certain amount of satisfaction was displayed in his countenance: he rather believed in his own cuteness, and thought he had found the solution of the puzzle. "It was stupid of us," he said, "to forget that Gloy can take the water like a sealkie. He would swim round the rocks till he reached an easy landing-place. There are plenty quite near."
The mother followed, and finding the barriers against which she had daily fretted removed, waddled slowly into the passage, followed by her young one. Harry hastily tumbled the earth and broken bits of wood about the opening, and followed the sealkie into the large room, where he found her looking amazedly at the three boys stationed at spots where they thought she might escape.
You and your boat may find employment in conveying the Laird of Lunda to his own island. I have nothing further to say to you, except to warn you not to make raids upon me again." "Thank you, sir," said the Mitchell brothers; and Tom added, "It is more than good of you to let us off so easy; all the same, I wish we had Fred's sealkie for him. But thank you, Mr.