“Against the westland clans?” said the Captain. “Umph—that is likely enough; and what rogue’s errand were you despatched upon?”

“Just to see what your honour and ta gentlemen red-coats were doing doun here at ta Clachan.”

“The creature will prove fause-hearted after a’,” said the Bailie, who by this time had planted himself close behind me; “it’s lucky I didna pit mysell to expenses anent him.”

“And now, my friend,” said the Captain, “let us understand each other. You have confessed yourself a spy, and should string up to the next tree—but come, if you will do me one good turn, I will do you another. You, Donald—you shall just in the way of kindness carry me and a small party to the place where you left your master, as I wish to speak a few words with him on serious affairs; and I’ll let you go about your business, and give you five guineas to boot.”

“Oigh! oigh!” exclaimed Dougal, in the extremity of distress and perplexity, “she canna do tat—she canna do tat—she’ll rather be hanged.”

“Hanged, then, you shall be, my friend,” said the officer; “and your blood be upon your own head.—Corporal Cramp, do you play provost-marshal—away with him!”

The corporal had confronted poor Dougal for some time, ostentatiously twisting a piece of cord which he had found in the house into the form of a halter. He now threw it about the culprit’s neck, and, with the assistance of two soldiers, had dragged Dougal as far as the door, when, overcome with the terror of immediate death, he exclaimed, “Shentlemans, stops—stops!—She’ll do his honour’s bidding—stops!”

“Awa wi’ the creature!” said the Bailie, “he deserves hanging mair now than ever—awa wi’ him, corporal—why dinna ye tak him awa?”

“It’s my belief and opinion, honest gentleman,” said the corporal, “that if you were going to be hanged yourself, you would be in no such d—d hurry.”

This by-dialogue prevented my hearing what passed between the prisoner and Captain Thornton, but I heard the former snivel out, in a very subdued tone, “And ye’ll ask her to gang nae farther than just to show ye where the MacGregor is?—Ohon! ohon!”

“Silence your howling, you rascal—No; I give you my word I will ask you to go no farther.—Corporal, make the men fall-in in front of the houses. Get out these gentlemen’s horses; we must carry them with us. I cannot spare any men to guard them here.—Come, my lads, get under arms.”

The soldiers bustled about, and were ready to move. We were led out, along with Dougal, in the capacity of prisoners. As we left the hut, I heard our companion in captivity remind the Captain of “ta foive kuineas.”

“Here they are for you,” said the officer, putting gold into his hand; “but observe, that if you attempt to mislead me, I will blow your brains out with my own hand.”

“The creature,” said the Bailie, “is waur than I judged him—it is a warldly and a perfidious creature—O the filthy lucre of gain that men gies themsells up to! My father the deacon used to say, the penny siller slew mair souls than the naked sword slew bodies.”

The landlady now approached, and demanded payment of her reckoning, including all that had been quaffed by Major Galbraith and his Highland friends. The English officer remonstrated, but Mrs. MacAlpine declared, if she “hadna trusted to his honour’s name being used in their company, she wad never hae drawn them a stoup o’ liquor; for Mr. Galbraith, she might see him again, or she might no, but weel did she wot she had sma’ chance of seeing her siller—and she was a puir widow, had naething but her custom to rely on.”

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