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Duben 2017

The night had drawn down into a cool

10. dubna 2017 v 4:21
Though little better than bairns Mary Gordon and I cowered with the instinctive craft born of years of persecution and concealment. Again the man cried, "Show yourselves there, or I fire!"

But as we lay still as death behind the tree he did not think it necessary to enter the wood-where, indeed, for all he knew a score of armed and desperate Whigs might have been in hiding.

Then we could hear his neighbours hail him from the next post and ask what the matter was.

"I heard a noise in the wood," he returned, gruffly enough.

"A wandering pig or a goat from the hill!" cried his comrade higher up, cheerily. "There are many of them about." But the man in front of us was sullen and did not reply.

"Sulky dog!" cried the man who had spoken-as it were, in order to close the conversation pleasantly.{45}

The sound of his voice caused me to stop and reflect.

The hail of the second soldier had come distinctly from the rocks of the Bennan, therefore their commander had established a cordon of sentries in order to prevent the escape of some noted fugitive. What chance was there for a couple of children to pass the guarded line? By myself I might, indeed, have managed. I could well enough have rushed across the line when the sentry was at the extreme point of his beat, and risked a bullet as I plunged into the next belt of woodland; but, cumbered with the care of a maiden of tender years, this was impossible.

The night had drawn down into a cool, pleasant darkness. Softly Mary Gordon and I withdrew, taking care that no more rotten sticks should snap beneath our feet. For I knew that in the present state of the sentry's temper we would certainly not escape so easily.

Presently, at the southern verge of the straggling copse of hazel, and therefore close to the edge of the lake, we came upon a couple of sheepfolds. One of these belonged to our own farm of Ardarroch, and the other to our kindly neighbour, John Fullerton of the Bennan.{46}

"I am tired-take me home. You promised to take me home!"

The little maid's voice was full of pitifulness and tears as she found herself going further and further from the house of Earlstoun.

"We cannot pass that way-the soldier men would shoot us," I answered her with truth.

"Then take me to my Auntie Jean," she persisted, catching at my hand pettishly, and then throwing it from her, "and my mother will come for me in the morning."