Chapter 35951177

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Chapter NumberVI Continued
Chapter TitleA SUMMER DAY ON THE THAMES.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article35951177
Full Date1879-03-21
Page Number4
Corrections0
Word Count3898
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleBurra Record (SA : 1878 - 1954)
Trove TitleMacleod of Dare
article text

Macleod of Dare.

CHAPTER VI. Continued. K ECM3IEE DAY OX TIIE TUA3IES.

(From Harper* ITcrqaiine).

' P rhans we had better wait for Colonel Hots,' said he ; and there wag a littln pro noun in this eeiiier.ee tint he would like to liBverereatef'. It was a friendlv word. Jf

?-st-bMfhfd » s:-rt of sreret companionship. It 1* t fie (-ioi:d privileae of a iwau lo know ell » hnut laOway tiokets ; but he rather pre ferred this a^oriation uith her helpless i mo'-mce ar.A ienorar.*-?. ' I had 1 o idea you were comins to-'iay. 1 raiher like those surprise parties. Mrs. Koss Ticver tl?ouf''t ol going ? ill last exe nine, she Fays. Oh, by-Uic-'-ay, I saw you in the theatre last, evening.' He sl»o Mxrtffi. Re had quite f.trgr.tten thnt tin* frlf-tioi'st-ssct', c'«18r-fjcd, pile girl ?was the tnidcap coqnttie whoi-e caprees and] f\,'- ) dd aUerneit'h- f-tecinated cud moved j him on ti\e ??r--vi--i:s --rening. ' '?-Jh, inili''i-i!,:* lie stammered. 'It. w-!3 a fl-crt i-l.-rMiri_- to me — and 11 eurptUe. L'en *-«-Bnt -*i'i vie j»l- \f 1 a trick upon me. li» il\f\ uot toll uw 'itlort; we went that — that you \te-e 10 apin-sr' rtl'* lo«'ke-i an i:=p^. ' Y'n» 'lia nM k: o-», tl.ei1, vrheo we me- at Tlfrn. l?o-»t.ts 'Kt 1 was en^»g»d ut the Pie cuililly Theatic ?' ?'Not .in *'-*- lt?aBt,' he said, e*rnpstly, u ;f !i.*- wiched lier f'i^tincilv to unnerttjir.fi t\'»t i.« ^'.-H nut have strssgincd such a triii.g to be possible 1 tr bdru1'! 1'3«p li-t inc scsnl you * b x M r IrhVe simtlitr p'fc-* in lt'iiarsal. Pc:hap* \iin \v 'il con e to s-e tl^Ht ' -'™ if t;vre few ec ntf-i c e, ut'.'rerl by U-cs» t«n loui-.ji 1 eoi^e '- t! e i!.-iiv ri:ilwny ptati--r, l-ftil.ti l»v I -if mulcts sn ?- regiMlefi, t}ify wi|- - 'u* foi.ii't 'o tviis's* of th' liu'f.st fnnmidp 1-lMfi. -'r. two ft'i'i^fr- ili »!1 f!-at Cro^rri rru'.l l»8\e «f'tlr«6oP'' fs'-n orh*'1 in a ti or. in i-ir^r--nl .'ii(-hi'n. But 1 he tr:»j:5 «r-tl;in^i= v 'linli tV-e mcu'li utttrb tray hicnoe Df-*f'««1P'1 »f awful import wh;»n a-s-oinnsniffl by 'he lmiaiinge of t' e c\rf ; n-'i 'He p^or wnm o plaif* senfoiiiis m«v hetakm tiuoiid «rat'-Utt»-i ?otbat they fchall st«nH written ncms* th memory ia li-ttrr* of llns'iij'e biui1ijV-». «? d t^p f.-lnr« of Jmir, ' Ovtjht Kf. to take tictetjs ?** Th*-rp wri!» »-of it uch pierry in the phrn r ; hut Fh-»Hf''-'' hpr eys j'lS* then. And now Cnlone! Rocanii h's «-''fe8'p'18rpd »?« -'ii.-.i,i,-l bv Tt e ??-nlv oTher fri«'iil tt»ey CutilU _el &l null SJUft itJ-iiV IJ j 'i-i Ud)

scratch party — a demure little old lady who hari a veiy large house on Campden Hill which tverj body cov. ted. They were just ia titae to eet comfortably seated in the spacious saloon carriage that had besn reserved for them. The train slonly glided out of the station, and then began to rattie away lrom the mist of London. Gliuapees of a keener blue began to appear. The gardens were green with the foliage of tha early summer : martins swept across the etill pools, a spot of white when they got into the shadow. Aud Miss White would have as many windows open as possible, so that the sweet June air swept right through the long curraige. And was s^e not a very child ia Ler enjoy ment of this sudden escape into the country ? The rapid motion, the a 1 very light, the sweet air, the glimpses of orchards and farm-houses ani mill-streams — all were a deliglit to her : and although she talked in a delicate, halfre served, shy way with that low voice of Lew, still there was plenty of vivacity and gladness ia Ler ryes. They drove from Gravs^nd station to the riverside. They passed through the crowd waiting to ece the yachts start. They got on board the steamer; and at the very instant that Macleod stepped from the gangway on to the deck, the military band on board, by some strange coincidence, struck up 'A Highland lad my lore waa born.' Mrs. Boss laughed and wondered whether the baud-master had recognized her husband. And now they turned to the river; and tb^re were the narrow aud shapely cutters, with their tail spars, and their pennons fl lt terirg in the sunlight. They lay in two tiers across the river, four in eaoh tier, the first row consisting of email forty-tonaers, the more Etstely craft behind. A briak north-easterly wind was blowing, causing the bosom of the river to flish in ripples of light. Boats of tve-y siz* and shape moved up and down end across the stream. The sudden firing ot a gun caused some movement among the rtd cappad mani.ers of the Tour yachts in front. ' They arc standing by the main halyard*,' said Colonel Ross to his women-fjlk. ' £iow watch for the next signal.' Another gun was fired ; and all of a sudden there was a rattling of blocks and chain*, and the four mainsails slowly rose, and (lie flapping jibs were run out. Tne bows drifted round : which would get way on her Crdt ? Bat new there was a wild uproar of voice?. 1'ue boom end of one of the yachts had caught one of the stars of her companion, and both were bronsht

up head to wind. (Jutter So. 3 took advantage of the mishap to sail through the lee of both her enemies, and got dear away, with the sun light stiining full on her bellying canvas. But there was no time to wa'ch the further adven tures of tke forty-tonnere.' Here and closer at hand were the larger craft, and high up in the ringing were the mites of men, re.idy to drjp into the air, clinging on to the halyards. The gun is fired. Down they cotr.e, swinging in the air; and the moment they have reached the deck they are off and up the ratlines a^ain, again to drop into the air until the gaff is high hoUted, the peak swinging this way and that and the gray folds of the ccaiusail laz'ly fluop ing in the wind. The tteamer^Jjepins to roar. The yachrs fall away fro n tLeia m orings, and one by one the sails fill out to tlie-fresh breizi. And note all is :-ilei;ee and an ea-£ gliding moaon, for eight competitors have all started away, and the 6leumsr is etcojtbly following them. '; How beautiful they are ! —like Bp'endid swans,' Miss White mid ; she hsd a glass in her h«nri, but did not use it, for as yet the stately fl-et was near enough. ' A ewen has a body,' eaid Macleod. 'These things seem to tne to be all wings. It is sll canvas, and no hull.' And indefd, when the large top-taih and bis y.bi came to be eat, it certainly appeared as if there was nothing below to steady this vass txTeut of canvas. Mecltod was astonished, lie could not believe that people were so reckless as to go out in boa's like that. ' If they were up in our part ofthewoTM,' said he, ' a puff of wind from the Gribun Cliffs wouid send the whole fleet to the bottom.' ** T sey know b ?tter than to try,' Colonel Ross said. 'Thote yachts are admirably suited for the Thames ; and Thames yachting i-- a very nice thing. It is very clo?eto London. You can take s days frtsh air when you like, without going all the way to Cowes. You can get back to town in time to dine.' 'I hope so,' said Miss Whitejph em phaBis. ^^' ' Oh, you need not be afraid, ^per host sa:d laughing. 'They owly eo rojCd the Kore; and with this steady breizi thfyought to ha b-ck early in ihe afternoon. My dear Miss White, we sha'n't allow you to disappoint tke Uriti^h public.' 'So I may abandon myself to complete idleness without concern ?' ' Mott certainly .' And it was an enjoyable (tort of idleness. The river was full of life a'.d animation as they elided along ; fi ful shadows and bursts of tunshir-a crossed the foliage at.d pasture lands of I he flit sliorcs ; the yellow surface of the stream wes broken with gleams of silver ; and always, when this somewhat tamo and peace ful and pie-)y landscape tended to become monotonous, they had on this side or that, the ?peetse'.e 'of one of those tall and beautiful yachts rounding on a new tack or creeping *t«»d:iy up on ore of her opponents. They had a fwrepstaVej, of course, and 31 -cltod drew th? fxvorifp. But then he proceeded to explain to Mies White fiat tke hanriicancine by

me-tns of time allowances made the choice ot a favorite a tner« matter of jrucss-work ; tfcat the fouling at the start was of but little moment ; and that on the whole she ought to exchange yachts with him. ' But if the chances are all equal, why should your vaelit be better than mine ?' eaid «he. The arcument wag unetifwerablp; but the took thr favorite for all that, hrraiiee tie wished her to do so ; snrl xlie, tendorfd him in return the bit of folded paper with the name of a riral yacht on it. It had b.'en in h-r purse for a mintite or « wo. It was «?eu!ed uheu *};e hen^pd it to liim. 'I should like to eo to the Mediterranean in orie of those beautiful yachts,'' she siiM, I-okii g away pcroes tV troubled wstere ; ' end lie and rtr^atn unrif r the blue sk'ec I siiould want no otl-er occupation ths?i that ; that would be reul idl.r.es*. With o breath of wind j now bud then 10 K-.Tipcr (lit Iiesst ; and an ! nwnine over the Heck ; and a lot it bocks. JAfe would po by like a dream.' Her eyea were distant and jx'nJ'v', To fold the biU of paper, she had takr 11 1 W her clove;1 : li* r^»»r(3e«J the gma'l whi'e hand*', with the b'ue reins end tV* pink almonfl-fhipid nai's She »a« riglit. That was the proper sort of txieter.w fWono 8' finesnd P'l'*, »r-H perfect even to the flnger-tipp. Ko^e I^'af — Ro'O Loaf ? wiift feint wind will carry you awey to the south ? At ?l''« mnmm' *he band struck up a lively air. Wimt w»« it? 'O t'lisis nn- my ain lissif, F^ir tljoujli tbj li-wie be' ' Y--'i »'? in cr**'' f'vor to-day, TT'^g'',' Mr?-. Ito^^ curl tn her ii»-banrJ. 'You will iia^rt to sak the bunr.-mattcr to lur;eh wild i £)?.' But iH- shx'O »V«-rativp of a well-known air l*sd s-'nt &[«cv.-if'i ilmn^lils flting away ^orthwurrl, to seeiie* far diflVre-t. Irom these (l*t shores, and to h ^rt of bw^i^it very H:flVrrnt from »liis sii:nmsr s.i i'ir. J-tnct to^ : w at v-- slipHiiplit.g-of— 'ar ttwny in Ca tie Hare? Of »he wild morning on w'»:tr'i fhe insist«-H on cro«sine to one of the FrftMinist ipianrip, bicAu#p of the sick chi:d of a s1 ep'irr.l there ; an-l of !??«? open Uerring sn-n^k, «r-l *Jie sit^itiff on the b»H««t. i»tone« ; «nd of the fierce n*!sof«iii] 9-tH ran that hid iiie, island from the'-- -i^lit : and of her landing, dmicbd to ' llit sVi , aud wi.h the salt-water tunning from

her hair and down her face ? ' Kow for lunch,' toid Colonel eaid ; and tnty went below. The bright little saloon wae decorated with flawers ; Uie colored glass on the table looked pretty enough ; here was a pleaaaut break in the monotony of the day. It was an occasion too, for assiduous helpfulness, and gentle inquiries, and patient attention. They forgot about the various -cuauces of the yachts. They could not at once have remembered the name of the favorite. And there was a good deal of laughter and pleasant chbt:ing, while the baud overhead — heard through the opeu eky- light — still played, ' Othis is no my ain lassie, Kind though the lassie be.' And behold ? when they went up on deck again they had got ahead of all the yachts, and were past the forts at the mouth of the Medwey and were out on an open space of yellowish green water that showed where the tide of the sea met the current of the liver. And awaf down there in the south a long spur of land ran out at the horizon, and the sea immediately under was still and glassy ee that the neck of hind seemed projected into the eky — a sort of gigantic razor-fish suspended in the silvery clouds. Then, to give the yachts time to over take them, they steamed over to a mighty iron clau that lay at at anchor there ; aud as they came near her vast black bulk they lowered their flag, and the band played 'Jiule, Bri tanuia.' Tae salute was returned, the officer on the high quarter-deck raised his cap ; they steamed on. In due course of time they reached the Nore light-ship, and there they lay and drifted about until the yachts should came up. Lang dis tances now separated that summer fljet ; but as they come along, lying well over before the brisk breeze, it waa obvious that the spaces of time between the cambBtrats would sot be great. And is not this Miss White's vessel, the favourite in the betting, that comes sheer iog through the water, with wbjre loam at Ler bows? Surely she is more than her time allowance ahead ? And on this tack will she get clear round the ruddy little hght-ship, or is there rot a danger of her currying off a bowspit? With what an case and majesty she comes along, 'carcely dipping to the slight summer waves, while they on board notice tout ehe has put out her long spinnaker boom, ready to hoist a grett balloouer as soon as she ii round the li^ht-ship sud rucniug home before »k. mtmrl' TIlO fitlPPfl mI*. Urtllfh «lin tf^llta tlli-

water ii now visiole enoug'i as she obscures for a second or so the hull of the li^ht-ship. In another second she has sl.eered round ; and then the great spinnaker bulges out with the breeze, and away she goes up the river again. Chronometers are in request. It is only a matter cf fifty seconds that btr nearest rival, now com ing sweeping along, as to make up. But what i? this that happens jus!: es the eaemy has got round tho Nore ? Tnere is a cry of ' Mau over-board !' The spinnaker boom has caught the careless skipper and pitched him clean into the plashing caters, where he floats about, not as yet certain, probably, what course his vessel will take. She at once brings her heed up to wind and puts about; but mean while a small boat from the light-ship has picked up the unhappy skipper, and is now pulling hard to strike the course of the yacht on her new tack. In another minute or two he is ou board again and away she goes fcr homo. 'I think you bare won Ihe sweepstakes, Mies White,' Mac^eoa said. 'Your enemy has lost eight minute*.' Siie was not thiuki ig of sweepstakes. She seemed to have been greatly frightened by the accident. ' It would have bejen 80 dreadful to see a man drowned before your eyes — ia the midst of a mere holiday excursion.' 'Drowned?' he cried. 'There? If a sailor Jets himself got drowned iu this water, ni'b f 1; these boats about, he deserves it.' 'But there are many sailers who cai net swim at al!.' ' More shame for them,' said he.' ' Why, Sir Keith,' said Mrs. Boss, laugh ing, ' do you think that all people hare been brought up to an ainphibious,lifa like yourself ? I euppese in your country, what willi the rain and the mist, ycu tu-ldom know w hether you are on sea or shore ?'* 'That is quite tree,' said he gravely. 'And the children are all born with fi-ts. Aud we can hear the mermaids singing all day long.. And when we want to go any where we get on the back of a dophin.' But he looked tt Gertrude White. What would el-e say about that far land that she had shown such a deep interest in ? There was no raillery at all in her low voice as she spoke. 'I can very well uuderstaniJ,' she s*id, ' how the people there fancied they heard the mermaids singing — amidst so much mystery, and 'vtklt the awfulness of the sea sxuund tbem.' 'But we have had living Binaerp,' said Maclcod, 'and that among the Macleod', too. The most famous of all the song-writters of the Western Highlands was Mary Macleod, thnt was born in Harris — Mairi Kigliean Ala*dsir rcaidli, they called her, Mary the daughter ol red .A 'lister, Hsc'eod of Dusvegan, lie wished her not to make any more songs ; but she could not cesse the making of songs. A.nd there was another Mscleod — Fic&agtial, thev called her, tVat is, the Fair Stranger. I rforofc know why they called her the Fair Stranger — perhaps the came to the Highlands from some distant place. And I think if you wera eoine amonc the people t!i»re at this

verr d»y, they would call you the *air fctrau- : ger.' nespok' quite n»tur*'!y and thoug!al s*:v ; his eyes met hers only for a se^-md ; '???? diO not Notice the enft touch o' iiink that suffund the fMicatrly tinted che- k. 'What did you sav was the rxme of ?' !;st ; mysterious 8tranr-ei ?' askrd Mr-. RorS — ' ihat noetesp fr«m unknown lauds ?' ' Fionaghsl,' he answered. She tuiT«i to lie-- husband. ?' IIujjli,' s1'e$ai-i,''let me introduce you to our mysterious gue»t. This w Fionaebal ? — this is the F:ii- Sv-nger fom the i«hmds — ; tv.is is the poe^fss whose melodies the mer maids have picked up. If ehe only had a harp, now — with sea-weed hanging from it — and sn j ov«l mirror — ' j The booraina of a qnn told tbem that the !«rt yacht had rounded the Sight-ship. The band struck up a lively air. and presently the s'-a-ner was steaming cfl' fn the wake of the nrocession of jack's. There was now no more far that Miss White should be bite. The hrerze bad keut up well, and bad now shifted n point to the east, so that the yachts, with th.ir threat baliooners, were running- pretty well before the wind. The Iszv abandonment of the day became more complete than ever. Careless talk and liughtf ; an eesy cttriosity about the fur' ur.es of the race; tea in the stloon, with the making' up of two bouquet? of white roses, sweet peas, fuchsias, and ferns — the daj passed lightly a- d swift v eaongh. In was a summer day, full ot pictty trifle*, llatleod, surrendering to 'he fsFcinatiop, brg^n to wonder what Ii*e wou'd be il it were ell a sti3w of June colors and a sound of rfresmy music ; for one thing, be cruld not imagine tlits «*nsi»-r'-, bvauti'ul, pslf, finff creature O'her«rt!-e llian ?« mirroundefl byanat'iioapbe'e of delicate ittent'ons and pretty speeches, and »w-*t, low laughter. They got into their ?p»ritl train aeain at OraTes'nd, and w-ra whirled up to London. At. Charinsr Cros« he bide efK-d-bye to Miss i White, who wa« driven off *y Mr. and M-». Robs alons with their otter guest. In the light of the clear June evening he ws kel ratlier afesently up to his room?. There wa* a letter lying on the table. He seized it and opened it with gladnefs. It was from his cn-tin Janet, and the mere sight of ?- teemed to revive him likeacust of kfen wind from, the sea. What had ehe to esy ? Ab juc

the ;rrumbling3 of Donald, who eeemed to have no more pride in bis pipes now the muter was gone ? About the auxiely of his mother over the reports of the keepers ? About the upsett ing of a dog-cart on the road to Lochbuy ? He had half resolved to go to the theatre again that evening — getting, if possible, into some corner where he might pursue his profound psychological investigations unseen — but now tie thought he would not go. lie would spend the evening in writing a long letter to his cousin, telling her and the mother about all I he beautiful, fine, gay, summer life he bad seta ^ London — so different from any thing they could have seen in Fart William, or Inverness, or ^ven in Edinburgh. After he sat down to this agreeable task. What had he to write about except brilliant rooms, and beautiful flowers, and costumes such as would have made Janet's eyes wide — of all the delicate luxuries of life, and bappy idleness, and the careless enjoyment of people whose only thought was about a new pleasure P He gave a minute description of all the places he bad been to see —except the theatre. He mentioned the names of the people who had been iind to him ; but he said notbiBg about Gertrude White. Hot that 6he was altogether absent from his thought3. Sometimes his fancy fled away from th* sheet of paper before him, aud eaw strange things. Was this F.onaghal the Fair Stranger —this maiden who had come over tue eeas lo the dark shores of the isles— this king's daughter clad in white, with her yellow hair down to her waiet, and bands of fold *cn her wrists? And what does she sing of high courage, and triumph, and welcome to ber brave lover coming borne with plunder through Ihe battling seas? Her lips are parted with her singing, but her glance is bold and keen: sbe.has the spirit of a king's daughter, let her come from whence she may. Or iB Fionaghal the Fair Stranger this poorlv dreeeed loss who boils the potatoes over the rude peat fire, and croons her songs of suffering and of the cruel drowning in theeese, so that from hut to hut they carry her songs, and the old wives* tears start afresh to think of their brave sons lost years and years ago ? Neither Fionaghal is she— this beautiful, pale woman, with her sweet, modern English speech, and I e * delicate, sensitive ways, and her band that might be crushed like a roBe leaf. There is a ehirnmer of summer around her ; flowers lie in her hip ; tender observances encompass and shelter her. Not for ber the

biting windB ol the northern Eeas, but rather the sift luxurious idleness of placid waters, end blue skies, and shadowy shores .... Rose JLeaf—Sose Leaf- — whatfaiat wind will c^rrij you away to tite south ? {To be continued J