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the winds, she looked down from a height of safety upon the shore
and the retreating figure of Mrs. Catanach. Seating herself by
the pedestal of the trumpet blowing Wind, she assayed her reading
again, but was again startled - this time by a rough salute
from Demon. Presently her father appeared, and Lady Florimel felt
something like a pang of relief at being found there, and not on
the farther side of the dune making it up with Malcolm.


A few days after the events last narrated, a footman in the marquis's
livery entered the Seaton, snuffing with emphasized discomposure the
air of the village, all ignorant of the risk he ran in thus openly
manifesting his feelings; for the women at least were good enough
citizens to resent any indignity offered their town. As vengeance
would have it, Meg Partan was the first of whom, with supercilious
airs and "clippit" tongue, he requested to know where a certain
blind man, who played on an instrument called the bagpipes, lived.

"Spit i' yer loof an' caw (search) for him," she answered - a
reply of which he understood the tone and one disagreeable word.

With reddening cheek he informed her that he came on his lord's

"I dinna doobt it," she retorted; "ye luik siclike as rins ither
fowk's eeran's."

"I should be obliged if you would inform me where the man lives,"
returned the lackey - with polite words in supercilious tones.

"What d' ye want wi' him, honest man?" grimly questioned the
Partaness, the epithet referring to Duncan, and not the questioner.

"That 1 shall have the honour of informing himself," he replied.

"Weel, ye can hae the honour o' informin' yersel' whaur he bides,"
she rejoined, and turned away from her open door.

All were not so rude as she, however, for he found at length a
little girl willing to show him the way.

The style in which his message was delivered was probably modified
by the fact that he found Malcolm seated with his grandfather
at their evening meal of water brose and butter; for he had been
present when Malcolm was brought before the marquis by Bykes, and
had in some measure comprehended the nature of the youth: it was
in politest phrase, and therefore entirely to Duncan's satisfaction
in regard of the manner as well as matter of the message, that he
requested Mr Duncan MacPhail's attendance on the marquis the following
evening at six o'clock, to give his lordship and some distinguished
visitors the pleasure of hearing him play on the bagpipes during
dessert. To this summons the old man returned stately and courteous
reply, couched in the best English he could command; which, although
considerably distorted by Gaelic pronunciation and idioms, was yet
sufficiently intelligible to the messenger, who carried home the
substance for the satisfaction of his master, and what he could of
the form for the amusement of his fellow servants.

Duncan, although he received it with perfect calmness, was yet
overjoyed at the invitation. He had performed once or twice before
the late marquis, and having ever since assumed the style of Piper
to the Marquis of Lossie, now regarded the summons as confirmation
in the office. The moment the sound of the messenger's departing
footsteps died away, he caught up his pipes from the corner, where,
like a pet cat, they lay on a bit of carpet, the only piece in
the cottage, spread for them between his chair and the wall, and,
though cautiously mindful of its age and proved infirmity, filled
the bag full, and burst into such a triumphant onset of battle,
that all the children of the Seaton were in a few minutes crowded
about the door. He had not played above five minutes, however, when
the love of finery natural to the Gael, the Gaul, the Galatian,
triumphed over his love of music, and he stopped with an abrupt
groan of the instrument to request Malcolm to get him new streamers.
Whatever his notions of its nature might be, he could not come of
the Celtic race without having in him somewhere a strong faculty
for colour, and no doubt his fancy regarding it was of something
as glorious as his knowledge of it must have been vague. At all
events he not only knew the names of the colours in ordinary use,
but could describe many of the clan tartans with perfect accuracy;
and he now gave Malcolm complete instructions as to the hues
of the ribbons he was to purchase. As soon as he had started on
the important mission, the old man laid aside his instrument, and
taking his broadsword from the wall, proceeded with the aid of
brick dust and lamp oil, to furbish hilt and blade with the utmost
care, searching out spot after spot of rust, to the smallest, with
the delicate points of his great bony fingers. Satisfied at length
of its brightness, he requested Malcolm, who had returned long
before the operation was over, to bring him the sheath, which, for
fear of its coming to pieces, so old and crumbling was the leather,
he kept laid up in the drawer with his sporran and his Sunday coat.
His next business, for he would not commit it to Malcolm, was to
adorn the pipes with the new streamers. Asking the colour of each,
and going by some principle of arrangement known only to himself
he affixed them, one after the other, as he judged right, shaking
and drawing out each to its full length with as much pride as if
it had been a tone instead of a ribbon. This done, he resumed his
playing, and continued it, notwithstanding the remonstrances of
his grandson, until bedtime.

That night he slept but little, and as the day went on grew more and
more excited. Scarcely had he swallowed his twelve o'clock dinner
of sowens and oatcake, when he wanted to go and dress himself for
his approaching visit. Malcolm persuaded him however to lie down
a while and hear him play, and succeeded, strange as it may seem
with such an instrument, in lulling him to sleep. But he had not
slept more than five minutes when he sprung from the bed, wide awake,
crying - "My poy, Malcolm! my son! you haf let her sleep in; and
ta creat peoples will be impatient for her music, and cursing her
in teir hearts!"

Nothing would quiet him but the immediate commencement of the process
of dressing, the result of which was, as I have said, even pathetic,
from its intermixture of shabbiness and finery. The dangling brass
capped tails of his sporran in front, the silver mounted dirk on
one side, with its hilt of black oak carved into an eagle's head,
and the steel basket of his broadsword gleaming at the other; his
great shoulder brooch of rudely chased brass; the pipes with their
withered bag and gaudy streamers; the faded kilt, oiled and soiled;
the stockings darned in twenty places by the hands of the termagant
Meg Partan; the brogues patched and patched until it would have
been hard to tell a spot of the original leather; the round blue
bonnet grown gray with wind and weather: the belts that looked
like old harness ready to yield at a pull; his skene dhu sticking
out grim and black beside a knee like a lean knuckle: - all combined
to form a picture ludicrous to a vulgar nature, but gently pitiful
to the lover of his kind, he looked like a half mouldered warrior,
waked from beneath an ancient cairn, to walk about in a world
other than he took it to be. Malcolm, in his commonplace Sunday
suit, served as a foil to his picturesque grandfather; to whose
oft reiterated desire that he would wear the highland dress, he had
hitherto returned no other answer than a humorous representation
of the different remarks with which the neighbours would encounter
such a solecism.

The whole Seaton turned out to see them start. Men, women, and
children lined the fronts and gables of the houses they must pass
on their way; for everybody knew where they were going, and wished
them good luck. As if he had been a great bard with a henchman of his
own, Duncan strode along in front, and Malcolm followed, carrying
the pipes, and regarding his grandfather with a mingled pride
and compassion lovely to see. But as soon as they were beyond the
village the old man took the young one's arm, not to guide him,
for that was needless, but to stay his steps a little, for when
dressed he would, as I have said, carry no staff; and thus they
entered the nearest gate of the grounds. Bykes saw them and scoffed,
but with discretion, and kept out of their way.

When they reached the house, they were taken to the servants' hall,
where refreshments were offered them. The old man ate sparingly,
saying he wanted all the room for his breath, but swallowed a glass
of whisky with readiness; for, although he never spent a farthing
on it, he had yet a highlander's respect for whisky, and seldom
refused a glass when offered him. On this occasion, besides, anxious
to do himself credit as a piper, he was well pleased to add a little
fuel to the failing fires of old age; and the summons to the dining
room being in his view long delayed, he had, before he left the
hail, taken a second glass.

They were led along endless passages, up a winding stone stair,
across a lobby, and through room after room.

"It will pe some glamour, sure, Malcolm!" said Duncan in a whisper
as they went.

Requested at length to seat themselves in an anteroom, the air of
which was filled with the sounds and odours of the neighbouring
feast, they waited again through what seemed to the impatient Duncan
an hour of slow vacuity; but at last they were conducted into the
dining room. Following their guide, Malcolm led the old man to the
place prepared for him at the upper part of the room, where the
floor was raised a step or two.

Duncan would, I fancy, even unprotected by his blindness, have
strode unabashed into the very halls of heaven. As he entered there
was a hush, for his poverty stricken age and dignity told for one
brief moment: then the buzz and laughter recommenced, an occasional
oath emphasizing itself in the confused noise of the talk, the
gurgle of wine, the ring of glass, and the chink of china.

In Malcolm's vision, dazzled and bewildered at first, things soon
began to arrange themselves. The walls of the room receded to their
proper distance, and he saw that they were covered with pictures
of ladies and gentlemen, gorgeously attired; the ceiling rose and
settled into the dim show of a sky, amongst the clouds of which
the shapes of very solid women and children disported themselves;
while about the glittering table, lighted by silver candelabra with
many branches, he distinguished the gaily dressed company, round
which, like huge ill painted butterflies, the liveried footmen
hovered. His eyes soon found the lovely face of Lady Florimel,
but after the first glance he dared hardly look again. Whether its
radiance had any smallest source in the pleasure of appearing like
a goddess in the eyes of her humble servant, I dare not say, but
more lucent she could hardly have appeared had she been the princess
in a fairy tale, about to marry her much thwarted prince. She wore
far too many jewels for one so young, for her father had given her
all that belonged to her mother, as well as some family diamonds,
and her inexperience knew no reason why she should not wear them.
The diamonds flashed and sparkled and glowed on a white rather
than fair neck, which, being very much uncollared dazzled Malcolm
far more than the jewels. Such a form of enhanced loveliness,
reflected for the first time in the pure mirror of a high toned
manhood, may well be to such a youth as that of an angel with whom
he has henceforth to wrestle in deadly agony until the final dawn;
for lofty condition and gorgeous circumstance, while combining to
raise a woman to an ideal height, ill suffice to lift her beyond
love, or shield the lowliest man from the arrows of her radiation;
they leave her human still. She was talking and laughing with a
young man of weak military aspect, whose eyes gazed unshrinking on
her beauty.

The guests were not numerous: a certain bold faced countess, the
fire in whose eyes had begun to tarnish, and the natural lines of
whose figure were vanishing in expansion; the soldier, her nephew,
a waisted elegance; a long, lean man, who dawdled with what he ate,
and drank as if his bones thirsted; an elderly, broad; red faced,
bull necked baron of the Hanoverian type; and two neighbouring
lairds and their wives, ordinary, and well pleased to be at the
marquis's table.

Although the waiting were as many as the waited upon, Malcolm, who
was keen eyed, and had a passion for service - a thing unintelligible
to the common mind, - soon spied an opportunity of making himself
useful. Seeing one of the men, suddenly called away, set down a
dish of fruit just as the countess was expecting it, he jumped up,
almost involuntarily, and handed it to her. Once in the current of
things, Malcolm would not readily make for the shore of inactivity:
he finished the round of the table with the dish, while the men
looked indignant, and the marquis eyed him queerly.

While he was thus engaged, however, Duncan, either that his poor
stock of patience was now utterly exhausted, or that he fancied a
signal given, compressed of a sudden his full blown waiting bag,
and blasted forth such a wild howl of the pibroch, that more than
one of the ladies gave a cry and half started from their chairs. The
marquis burst out laughing, but gave orders to stop him - a thing
not to be effected in a moment, for Duncan was in full tornado, with
the avenues of hearing, both corporeal and mental, blocked by his
own darling utterance. Understanding at length, he ceased with the
air and almost the carriage of a suddenly checked horse, looking
half startled, half angry, his cheeks puffed, his nostrils expanded,
his head thrown back, the port vent still in his mouth, the blown
bag under his arm, and his fingers on the chanter, on the fret to
dash forward again with redoubled energy. But slowly the strained
muscles relaxed, he let the tube fall from his lips, and the bag
descended to his lap.

"A man forbid," he heard the ladies rise and leave the room, and
not until the gentlemen sat down again to their wine, was there
any demand for the exercise of his art.

Now whether what followed had been prearranged, and old Duncan
invited for the express purpose of carrying it out, or whether it
was conceived and executed on the spur of the moment, which seems
less likely, I cannot tell, but the turn things now took would be
hard to believe, were they dated in the present generation. Some
of my elder readers, however, will, from their own knowledge of
similar actions, grant likelihood enough to my record.

While the old man was piping, as bravely as his lingering mortification
would permit, the marquis interrupted his music to make him drink
a large glass of sherry; after which he requested him to play his
loudest, that the gentlemen might hear what his pipes could do. At
the same time he sent Malcolm with a message to the butler about
some particular wine he wanted. Malcolm went more than willingly,
but lost a good deal of time from not knowing his way through the
house. When he returned he found things frightfully changed.

As soon as he was out of the room, and while the poor old man was
blowing his hardest, in the fancy of rejoicing his hearers with
the glorious music of the highland hills, one of the company - it
was never known which, for each merrily accused the other - took
a penknife, and going softly behind him, ran the sharp blade into
the bag, and made a great slit, so that the wind at once rushed
out, and the tune ceased without sob or wail. Not a laugh betrayed
the cause of the catastrophe: in silent enjoyment the conspirators
sat watching his movements. For one moment Duncan was so astounded
that he could not think; the next he laid the instrument across
his knees, and began feeling for the cause of the sudden collapse.
Tears had gathered in the eyes that were of no use but to weep
withal, and were slowly dropping.

"She wass afrait, my lort and chentlemans," he said, with a quavering
voice, "tat her pag will pe near her latter end; put she pelieved
she would pe living peyond her nainsel, my chentlemans."

He ceased abruptly, for his fingers had found the wound, and were
prosecuting an inquiry: they ran along the smooth edges of the
cut, and detected treachery. He gave a cry like that of a wounded
animal, flung his pipes from him, and sprang to his feet, but
forgetting a step below him, staggered forward a few paces and
fell heavily. That instant Malcolm entered the room. He hurried
in consternation to his assistance. When he had helped him up and
seated him again on the steps, the old man laid his head on his
boy's bosom, threw his arms around his neck, and wept aloud.

"Malcolm, my son," he sobbed, "Tuncan is wronged in ta halls of
ta strancher; tey 'll haf stapped his pest friend to ta heart, and
och hone! och hone! she'll pe aall too plint to take fencheance.
Malcolm, son of heroes, traw ta claymore of ta pard, and fall upon
ta traitors. She'll pe singing you ta onset, for ta pibroch is no

His quavering voice rose that instant in a fierce though feeble
chant, and his hand flew to the hilt of his weapon.

Malcolm, perceiving from the looks of the men that things were as
his grandfather had divined, spoke indignantly:

"Ye oucht to tak shame to ca' yersel's gentlefowk, an' play a puir
blin' man, wha was doin' his best to please ye, sic an ill faured

As he spoke they made various signs to him not to interfere, but
Malcolm paid them no heed, and turned to his grandfather, eager to
persuade him to go home. They had no intention of letting him off
yet, however. Acquainted - probably through his gamekeeper, who
laid himself out to amuse his master - with the piper's peculiar
antipathies, Lord Lossie now took up the game.

"It was too bad of you, Campbell," he said, "to play the good old
man such a dog's trick."

At the word Campbell the piper shook off his grandson, and sprang
once more to his feet, his head thrown back, and every inch of his
body trembling with rage.

"She might haf known," he screamed, half choking, "that a cursed
tog of a Cawmill was in it!"

He stood for a moment, swaying in every direction, as if the spirit
within him doubted whether to cast his old body on the earth in
contempt of its helplessness, or to fling it headlong on his foes.
For that one moment silence filled the room.

"You needn't attempt to deny it; it really was too bad of you,
Glenlyon," said the marquis.

A howl of fury burst from Duncan's labouring bosom. His broadsword
flashed from its sheath, and brokenly panting out the words:
"Clenlyon! Ta creat dufil! Haf I peen trinking with ta hellhount,
Clenlyon?" - he would have run a Malay muck through the room with
his huge weapon. But he was already struggling in the arms of his
grandson, who succeeded at length in forcing from his bony grasp the
hilt of the terrible claymore. But as Duncan yielded his weapon,
Malcolm lost his hold on him. He darted away, caught his dirk
- a blade of unusual length - from its sheath, and shot in the
direction of the last word he had heard. Malcolm dropped the sword
and sprung after him.

"Gif her ta fillain by ta troat," screamed the old man. "She 'll
stap his pag! She'll cut his chanter in two! She'll pe toing it!
Who put ta creat cranson of Inverriggen should pe cutting ta troat
of ta tog Clenlyon!"

As he spoke, he was running wildly about the room, brandishing his
weapon, knocking over chairs, and sweeping bottles and dishes from
the table. The clatter was tremendous: and the smile had faded from
the faces of the men who had provoked the disturbance. The military
youth looked scared: the Hanoverian pig cheeks were the colour of
lead; the long lean man was laughing like a skeleton: one of the
lairds had got on the sideboard, and the other was making for the
door with the bell rope in his hand; the marquis, though he retained
his coolness, was yet looking a little anxious; the butler was
peeping in at the door, with red nose and pale cheekbones, the
handle in his hand, in instant readiness to pop out again; while
Malcolm was after his grandfather, intent upon closing with him.
The old man had just made a desperate stab at nothing half across
the table, and was about to repeat it, when, spying danger to a
fine dish, Malcolm reached forward to save it. But the dish flew
in splinters, and the dirk passing through the thick of Malcolm's
hand, pinned it to the table, where Duncan, fancying he had at
length stabbed Glenlyon, left it quivering.

"Tere, Clenlyon," he said, and stood trembling in the ebb of passion,
and murmuring to himself something in Gaelic.

Meantime Malcolm had drawn the dirk from the table, and released
his hand. The blood was streaming from it, and the marquis took
his own handkerchief to bind it up; but the lad indignantly refused
the attention, and kept holding the wound tight with his left hand.
The butler, seeing Duncan stand quite still, ventured, with scared
countenance, to approach the scene of destruction.

"Dinna gang near him," cried Malcolm. "He has his skene dhu yet,
an' in grips that's warst ava."

Scarcely were the words out of his mouth when the black knife was
out of Duncan's stocking, and brandished aloft in his shaking fist.

"Daddy!" cried Malcolm, "ye wadna kill twa Glenlyons in ae day -
wad ye?"

"She would, my son Malcolm! - fifty of ta poars in one preath!
Tey are ta children of wrath, and tey haf to pe testructiont."

"For an auld man ye hae killed enew for ae nicht," said Malcolm,
and gently took the knife from his trembling hand. "Ye maun come
hame the noo."

"Is ta tog tead then?" asked Duncan eagerly.

"Ow, na; he's breathin' yet," answered Malcolm.

"She'll not can co till ta tog will pe tead. Ta tog may want more

"What a horrible savage!" said one of the lairds, a justice of the
peace. "He ought to be shut up in a madhouse."

"Gien ye set aboot shuttin' up, sir, or my lord - I kenna whilk
- ye'll hae to begin nearer hame," said Malcolm, as he stooped
to pick up the broadsword, and so complete his possession of the
weapons. "An' ye'll please to haud in min', that nane here is an
injured man but my gran'father himsel'."

"Hey!" said the marquis; "what do you make of all my dishes?"

"'Deed, my lord, ye may comfort yersel' that they warna dishes
wi barns (brains) i' them; for sic 's some scarce i' the Hoose o'

"You're a long tongued rascal," said the marquis.

"A lang tongue may whiles be as canny as a lang spune, my lord;
an' ye ken what that's for?"

The marquis burst into laughter.

"What do you make then of that horrible cut in your own hand?"
asked the magistrate.

"I mak my ain business o' 't," answered Malcolm.

While this colloquy passed, Duncan had been feeling about for his
pipes: having found them he clasped them to his bosom like a hurt

"Come home, come home," he said; "your own pard has refenched you."

Malcolm took him by the arm and led him away. He went without a
word, still clasping his wounded bagpipes to his bosom.

"You'll hear from me in the morning, my lad," said the marquis in
a kindly tone, as they were leaving the room.

"I hae no wuss to hear onything mair o' yer lordship. Ye hae done
eneuch this nicht, my lord, to mak ye ashamed o' yersel' till yer
dyin' day - gien ye hed ony pooer o' shame left in ye."

The military youth muttered something about insolence, and made
a step towards him. Malcolm quitted his grandfather, and stepped
again into his room.

"Come on," he said.

"No, no," interposed the marquis. "Don't you see the lad is hurt?"

"Lat him come on," said Malcolm; "I hae ae soon' han'. Here, my
lord, tak the wapons, or the auld man 'll get a grip o' them again."

"I tell you no," shouted Lord Lossie. "Fred, get out - will you!"

The young gentleman turned on his heel, and Malcolm led his grandfather
from the house without further molestation. It was all he could
do, however, to get him home. The old man's strength was utterly
gone. His knees bent trembling under him, and the arm which rested
on his grandson's shook as with an ague fit. Malcolm was glad indeed
when at length he had him safe in bed, by which time his hand had
swollen to a great size, and the suffering grown severe.

Thoroughly exhausted by his late fierce emotions, Duncan soon fell
into a troubled sleep, whereupon Malcolm went to Meg Partan, and
begged her to watch beside him until he should return, informing
her of the way his grandfather had been treated, and adding that
he had gone into such a rage, that he feared he would be ill in

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