Weel, at the hinder end, we saw the wee flag yirk up to the mast-held upon the harbour rocks. That was a’ Sandie waited for. He up wi’ the gun, took a deleeberate aim, an’ pu’d the trigger. There cam’ a bang and then ae waefu’ skirl frae the Bass. And there were we rubbin’ our een and lookin’ at ither like daft folk. For wi’ the bang and the skirl the thing had clean disappeared. The sun glintit, the wund blew, and there was the bare yaird whaur the Wonder had been lowping and flinging but ae second syne.
The hale way hame I roared and grat wi’ the terror of that dispensation. The grawn folk were nane sae muckle better; there was little said in Sandie’s boat but just the name of God; and when we won in by the pier, the harbour rocks were fair black wi’ the folk waitin’ us. It seems they had fund Lapraik in ane of his dwams, cawing the shuttle and smiling. Ae lad they sent to hoist the flag, and the rest abode there in the wabster’s house. You may be sure they liked it little; but it was a means of grace to severals that stood there praying in to themsel’s (for nane cared to pray out loud) and looking on thon awesome thing as it cawed the shuttle. Syne, upon a suddenty, and wi’ the ae driedfu’ skelloch, Tod sprang up frae his hinderlands and fell forrit on the wab, a bluidy corp.
When the corp was examined the leid draps hadnae played buff upon the warlock’s body; sorrow a leid drap was to be fund; but there was grandfather’s siller tester in the puddock’s heart of him.
* * * * *
Andie had scarce done when there befell a mighty silly affair that had its consequence. Neil, as I have said, was himself a great narrator. I have heard since that he knew all the stories in the Highlands; and thought much of himself, and was thought much of by others, on the strength of it. Now Andie’s tale reminded him of one he had already heard.
“She would ken that story afore,” he said. “She was the story of Uistean More M’Gillie Phadrig and the Gavar Vore.”
“It is no sic a thing,” cried Andie. “It is the story of my faither (now wi’ God) and Tod Lapraik. And the same in your beard,” says he; “and keep the tongue of ye inside your Hielant chafts!”
In dealing with Highlanders it will be found, and has been shown in history, how well it goes with Lowland gentlefolk; but the thing appears scarce feasible for Lowland commons. I had already remarked that Andie was continually on the point of quarrelling with our three Macgregors, and now, sure enough, it was to come.
“Thir will be no words to use to shentlemans,” says Neil.
“Shentlemans!” cries Andie. “Shentlemans, ye hielant stot! If God would give ye the grace to see yoursel’ the way that ithers see ye, ye would throw your denner up.”
There came some kind of a Gaelic oath from Neil, and the black knife was in his hand that moment.