|Chapter Number||I Continued|
|Chapter Title||THE SIX BOYS OF DARE.|
|Newspaper Title||Burra Record (SA : 1878 - 1954)|
|Trove Title||Macleod of Dare|
Macleod of Dare.
CHAPTER I. Continued. Tiro ktx iinvr* np mur
(From Earner's Maaazint).
He had thrown his plaid around htm, and he was wondering to himself as be descended the steep path to the shore. He could not believe that the two women were reallv sad
dened by his going to the south for a while ; he was rot given to forebodings. And he had nearly reeched the shore, when he was over taken by some ore running with a light step Ik hind him. He turned quickly, and found his cousin before him, a shawl thrown round her bead and shoulders. 'Ob, Keith,' she said in a bright and matter of- fact way way, 'I have a message for you— from myself— and I did not want ?tint to hear, for she h very proud, you know, and I hope yon won't be. You know we are all very poor K«'ith ; and yet you must not want Money in London, if only for the sake of th- family: and you know T have a little, Keith, and I want yon to take it. You won't mind my being frank with you. I have written a letter.' She hfad the envelope in her hand. 'And if I would take money from anyone it would be from yon, cousin Janet ; but I am not so relflsh as that. What, would all the po~r people do if I were to take your money to London and spend it ?' ' I have kept a little,' she said, ' and it is not much that is needed. It is £2.000 I would like you to take from me, Keith. I have written a letter.' 'Why, bles« me, Janet, that is nearly all the money yon've got V* ' I know it.' 'Wfll, I may not be able to earn any money for myself, but at least I would not think of squandering your little fortune. No, nc ; bnt I thank you all the samp, Janet ; and I know that it is with a free heart that you offer it.' ' But this is a favor, Keith,' said the. a I do not ask yon to spend the money. But you night bs in trouble ; and you would be too proud to ask any one — perhaos you would not even ask me ; and here is a letter that you can keep tfll then, and if you should want tbe money, yon can open tbe letter, and it will tel) yon how to get it.' ?? And it ia n poor forecast you are tnsking, Cousin Janet,' said h-\ cheerfully. ' I am to play the prodigM eon, th«-n ! But I will take flip letter. And good-bv again, Janet ; and Ood bless you, for 50U are a kind-hearted Vuirin,' Plie went swiftly up to Cattle Dare again, ?nd he walked on toward the chore. Bvand br he n»sf»ried ? small atone pier that ran out ?monf prntie rocks, and by -h-- vide of it lay a «rrall ratline launrh, with f* ur men in her, ?nd Pnnald the piper boy perched up at the ho*. There wa* ? lamp swinging at her mast, bat »}-? bad no sail up, far there was scarcely suij wind. ' Ts it time (o go out now P' eaid afedrod to HmqW' , who rtdod waiting on the pier having carr'ed down his master's prrtman u*- . ' * *
man added,' It is a dark night* Sir Keith, frr your going away from Castle Dare.' 'And it will be the brighter moraine when I come back,' ansrend the young man for he could not taistake the intention of the words. ' Yes, indeed, Sir Keith ; and now you wfli go into the boat, and you wil' take care of yA'T foottop, for the night is dark, and the rod a they are always slippery whatever.'1 But Keith Macleod's foot was as familiar with the soft sea-weed of the rocks as it was with the hard heather of the billo, and be found no difficulty in getting into the broad beamed boat. The men put rut their oar8 and pusbed her cff. And now, in tbe dark night, the skirl of the pipes arote again ; and itwss no stately and mournful lament that young Donald played up there at the bow as the fcur oars struck, the sea and sent a flash of white fire down into the deep?. 'Donald,' Hamish had said to him on the shore, ' when you are going out to the steamer it is the 'Stvanty-ninth'a Farewell to Chub ralter tbat you will play, and you will play no other thirg than that.' And surely the Seventy-ninth were not sorry to leave tbe Gibral'er when the piper composed for them so glad a farewell. At the high windows of Castle Dare the mother stood, and her niece, and ai they watcVe? the yellow lamp move slowly out from the black shore, they beard this proud and joyous march that Donald was playing to herald the approach of his master. They listened to it as it grew fainter and fainter, and as the small yellow star trembling over the dark waters became more and more remote. And then this other sound — this blowing of a steam-whistle far away in the darkness ?' ' He will be in good time, annt ; she is a long way off yet,' said Janet Macleod. But the mother did not apeak. Out there on the dark and moving waters the great steamer was slowly drawing near the open boat ; and she came up, tbe vast hull of her, seen against the atar-lit sky, seemed a mountain. ' Now, Donald,' Macleod called out, - you will take the dog — here is the string ; and you will see be does not spring into the water.' 'Yes, I fill take the dog,' muttered the boy, half to himself. ' Oh yes, I will take the dog ; but it was better if I was going with you, Sir Keith, than any dog.' A rope was thrown out, the boat dragged up to the side of tbe steamer, the small gangway let down, end presently Macleod was on tbe deck of the large vessel. Then Oscar was hauled up too, and the rope flung loose, and the boat drifted away inte the darkness. But the last good-by had not been said, fo r over the black waters came the sound of the pipp* once more, the melanoholy wail of ' Mackin tosh's Lament.' 'Confound that obstinate brat !' Macleod said to himself. ' Now he will go back to Castle Dare and make the wo-nen miserable.'' 'The Captain is below at bis supper, Sir Keith,' said the mate. ' Will you go down to him ?' ' Yes, I will go down to him,' said be ; and be made bis way along the deck of tbe steamer. He wai arrested by the sound of some one crying, and he looked down, and found a woman crouched under the bulwarks, with two small children asleep on her knee. ' My good woman, what is the matter with you ?' said he. ' Tbe night is cold,' 'she said, in the G-ielic ' and my children are cold ; and it is a long way we are going.' He answered her in her own tongu». ' Yon will be warmer if you go below ; bnt here is a plaid for you, anyway;' and with that he took the nlaid from ronnd his
shoulders and flung it across the children, and passed op. That was the way of the Madeods of Dare. They had a royal manne- with I hem. FerhspB that was the reason that their revenues were now far from royaL And meanwhile the red-light still burned in the high- windows of Castle Dare, and two women were there looking out on the pale stars and the dark sea beneath. They waited until they heard the plashing of oars in the email bay below, and 1 he message was brought them that Sir Keith had got safely on board the great steamer. Then they turned away from the silent and empty night, and one of them was weeping bitterly. 'It is the last of my six sons that has gone from me,' she raid, coming back to tbe old refrain, and refusing to be comforted. ' And I have lost my brother,' said Janet MacTeod, in her simple way. ' But be will come back to us, auntie ; and then we ehaJj have great doings at Castle Dare.' CHAPTER IL MENTOR, It was with a wholly indescribable surprise and delight that Macleod came upon the life and stir and gayety of London in tre sw.^et June time, when the parks and gardens and squares would of themselves bare been s suffi cient wonder to him. The change from the sombre shores of lochs Na Keil and Iua and Scridian to this world of sun-lit foliage — tbe crolden yel'ow of the laburnum, the cream, white of the chestnut, tbe rorepink of tbe red hawthorn, and every where the keen translucent green of the young lime-trees — was enough to fill the heart with joy and gladness, though he had been no diligent student of landscape and color. The few days he bad to spend by himself— while getting properly dressed. to satisfy the demands of his friend — passed quickly enough. He was not at all ashamed of his country-made clothes as he watched tbe whirl of carriges in Piccadilly, or lounged under the elms of Hyde Park, with his beauti ful silvcr-wuite and lemon-colored collie attracting tbe admiration of every passer-by. Nor had he waited for the permission of. Lieu tenant Ogilivie to make hi* entrance into at leasts one little corner of society. He was r«goniz*d in St. James Street one morning by a noble lady whom be had met one* or twice at Inverness ; and she, having '-stopped her carriage, was pleased to ask him to lunch with herself and her husband next day. To the ereat grief of Ow-ar, who had to be shnt up by hiorwlf, Macleod went up next day to Brook-street, »»d ^there met several people whose names he knew as representatives of old Highland fcmiiim, but who were very English, as it seemed to him, ia their (perch and way*. '**. — - : ?- ?«»n-«1. f.-r '.« was a handsome' — * » r-oad mir.
And his hostee was bo kind as to mention that tbe Caledonian Ball wsb coming off on the 25 tb, and of cour*e be must come, in the Highland costume ; and as she was one of tbe patronesses, should she give him a vo cher^? Msclrod answered, laughingly, that he would be glad to hare it, though he did not know what it waej « hereupon she was pleased to say that no wonder be laughed at the notion cf a voucher being wanted for any Macleod of Dare. One morning a good-looking and slim young man knocked at tbe door of a small boose in fiury-street, St. James's, and asked if;Sir Keith Macleod was at home. The ican said he was, and the jouag gentleman entered. He was a most correctly dresFed person. His hat snd gloves and cane and long*tailed frock-coat were all beautiful} but it was perhaps the tightness of bis nether garments, or perhaps the tightness of his brilliantly polished boots (which were partially covered by white gaiters)/ that mads him go up the narrow little etairs ' with some precision of caution. The door was opened and he was announced. 'My dear old bey,' said he 'how do you do P' and Macleod gave him a grip of the band tbat nearly bnrst oae of his gloves. But at this moment an awful accident oc curred. From btthind the dcor of the adjacent bedroom, Oscar, the coolie, sprang forward with an angry growl ; then tie seemed to re cogn'ze tbe situation of sflair*, when be saw his master holding the stranger's hand ; then he began to wag his tail ; then he jumped op with his forepaws to give a kindly welcome. ?'Hang it all, Macleod!' young Ogflvie cried, with all the starch gone out of bis manner ; your dog'e all wet ! What's the use keeping a brute like tbat about the place f' Alas I the beautiful, brilliant boots were all besmeared, and the white gaiters too, and the horsey-looking nether garment*. Moreover, the Highland savage, eo far from betraying compunction, burst into a roar of laughter. ' My dear fellow,' he cried ' 1 put him in oiy bedroom to dry. I couldn't do more, could I P He has just been in the Serpen tine.' 'I wish he was then now, with a stone and a string round his neck,' observed Lieu tenant Ogilvie, looking at his boots : but he repented him in this rash Baying, for within a week be had offered Macleod £20 for tbe dog. He might have offered him twenty dozen £20 and thrown his polished boots and his gaiters too into the bargain, and he would have had tbe same answer. Oscar was once more banished into the bed' room ; and Mr. Ogilvie eat down, pretending to take no more notice of bu boots. Macleod put some sherry on the table, and a handful of cigars; his friend asked whether he could not have a glass of seltzer- water and a cigarette. ' And bow do you like the rooms I got for you ?' ' There is not much fresh air about them, nor in this narrow street,' Macleod * said, frankly ; ' bnt thst is no matter, for I have been out all day — all over London.' 'I thought the price was as high as you would cars to go,' Ogilvie said ; ' but I forgo* you had came fresh up, with your pockets full of money. If you would like something s trifle more princely, I'll put yon up to it.' ' And where have I got the mpney ? There are n£ gold mines in the west of Mull. It u you wbo are Fortunatns,' ' By Jove, if yon. knew bow bard a fellow is run at Alderehot,' Mr. Oglivie remBrkek, con fldentially, 'you would scarcely believe it. Every new batch of fellows who come in bave to be dined all round ; and the mees bills are simply awful. It's getting worse and worse ; akd then these big driuks put off one's work so.' ' You are studying bard, [ suppose,' Mac leod said, quite gravely. 'Pretty well,' said be, stretching out his legs, and petting bis prefty mustache with his beautiful white band. Then he added, end* denly, surveying the brown-faced and stalwar^ young fellow before him, ' By Jove, Macleod, I'm glad to sea you in London. It's like a breath of mountain air. Don't I remember the awful mornings we've had together— the rain and the mist and the creeping through the bogs ? I believe you did your best to kill me. If I hadn't had the constitution of a horse, I should have been killed.' ' I should say your big drinks at Aldesho^ were more likely to kill you than goiug after the deer,' eaid Macleod. ' And will you com up with me this autumn, Oglivie ? The mother will be glad to see you, and Janet too ; tboogh we haven't got any flie young laides for you to make love to unless you go up to Fort William, or Fort vf forge, or Inverness. And I was all orer tbe moors before I came away ; aid if there is any thing like good weather, we shall have plenty of birds this year, for I never saw before such a big average of eggs in the nests.* ' I wonder you don't let part of that shoct ing,' said young Ogilvie, who knew well of tbe straitened circumstances of the Macleode of Dare. ' The mother won't have it done,' said Mac leod, quite simply, ' for ahe thinks it keeps me at borne. But a young man can not always stay at home. It is very good for you, Ogilvie, that you have brothers.' ' Yes if I had been the eldest of them,' said Mr. Ogilvie. 'It is a capital thing to have younger brothers ; it isn't half eo pleasant when you are die younger brother.' ' And will you come up, then, and bury yourself alive at Dare ?' 'It is awfully good of you to a»k me, Mac leod ; and if I can manage it, I will ; bnt I am a'raid there isn't much chance this year. In the mean time, let me give you a bint. In London we talk of going down to the High lands.' ' Oh, do you P I did not think: yen were so stupid,' Macleod remarked. ** Wh v, of course we do. You speak of going up to the capital of a country, and of going down to the provinces.' u Perhaps you are right— no doubt you are right ; bat it sounds stupid,' the unconvinced Highlander observed again. 'It sounds stupid to say going up to the south, and going down to the north. And how can you go down to the Highlands ? you might eo down to the Lowlands. But no doubt you are right ; and I will be moie particular. And will you have another cigan tte ? and then we will go out for a walk, and Oscar will get drier ia the street than in-doora.*' ~' Don't imagine I am going out to have that 'log plunging ebout among my feet,' ?
Ogilvie. 'But I have something else for yru to do. You know Oolonel Eoss of Duntorme.' * I have heard of hit*.*' ; « His wife is an awfully nira woman, and would like to meet you. I fancy they think of buying some property — I am not sure it isn't an island— in your part of the country ; and she has never been to the Highlands at all. I was to take you down with me to lunch with her at two, if you care to go. There is her card. Macleod looked at the card. ' How fer is Prince's Gate from here ?' bo asked. ' A mile and a half, I should say.' ' And it ia now twenty minutes to two,' said he, rising* It will be a nice smart walk.' 'Thank you,' said Mr. Ogilvie: 'if it is all tbe a»me to you, we will perform the journey in a hansom. I am not in training just at present for your tramps to Ben -an- Sloich.' '?Ah! your boots are rather tight,' said Macleod, with grave sympathy. They got into a hansom, and went spinning along through the crowd of carriages on this brilliant morning. The busy streets, the handsome women, the fine building*, tbe bright and beautiful foliage of the parks — all these were a perpetual wonder and delight to tbe new-comer, who was as eager in the enjoy ment of this gay world of pleasnre and activity asany girl come up for her first season. Perhaps this notion occurred to the astute and experi enced Lieutenant Ogilvie, who considered it his duty to warn his youthful and ingenuous friend. ' Mrs. Boss is a very handsome woman.' he remarked. 'Indeed.' 'And uncom'Ponly fascisating too, when she likee.' u Really.' ' Ton had better look out if she tries to fascinate you.' ?* Sbe is a married woman,' eaid Macleod. 'They are always the worst,' said the wise person; 'for they are jealous of the younger women.' 'Oh, that is all non«enee,'-Bid Macleod, bluntly. ' I am not such a greenhorn. I have lead all that kind of talk in books and maga zines : it is ridiculous. Do you think: I will believe that married women have so little self respect sb to make themselves the laughing stock of men P' 'My dear fellow, they have cart-loads of self- ref pec t. What I m*sn is that Mrs. Boss is a bit of a lion-hunter, and she may lake 8 fancy to make a lion of yon — ' 'Th«t is better than to make an aeB of o e, as you suggested.' (To ie continued.)