The hours passed; and sometimes he fell into a troubled sleep as he sat with his head bent on his hands; but then it was only to see those beautiful pictures of her, that made his heart ache all the more. And sometimes he saw her all in sailor-like white and blue, as she was stepping down from the steamer; and sometimes he saw the merry Duchess coming forward through the ball-room, with her saucy eyes and her laughing and parted lips; and sometimes he saw her before a mirror; and again she smiled—but his heart would fain have cried aloud in its anguish. Then again he would start up, and look at the window. Was he impatient for the day?
The lamp still burned in the hushed chamber. With trembling fingers he took out the letter Ogilvie had written to him, and held the slip of printed paper before his bewildered gaze. “The young and gifted actress.” She is “shortly to be married.” And the new piece that all the world will come to see, as soon as she is returned from her wedding tour, is “of a tragic nature.”
* * * * *
Hamish! Hamish! do you hear these things? Do you know what they mean? Oh, we will have to look sharp if we are to be there in time. Come along, you brave lads! it is not the first time that a Macleod has carried off a bride. And will she cry, do you think—for we have no pipes to drown her screams? Ah, but we will manage it another way than that, Hamish! You have no cunning, you old man! There will be no scream when the white adder is seized and caged.
* * * * *
But surely no white adder? Oh, sweetheart, you gave me a red rose! And do you remember the night in the garden, with the moonlight around us, and the favor you wore next your heart was the badge of the Macleods? You were not afraid of the Macleods then; you had no fear of the rude Northern people; you said they would not crush a pale Rose-leaf. And now—now—see! I have rescued you; and those people will persuade you no longer: I have taken you away—you are free! And will you come up on deck now, and look around on the summer sea? And shall we put in to some port, and telegraph that the runaway bride is happy enough, and that they will hear of her next from Castle Dare? Look around, sweetheart: surely you know the old boat. And here is Christina to wait on you; and Hamish—Hamish will curse you no more—he will be your friend now. Oh, you will make the mother’s heart glad at last! she has not smiled for many a day.
* * * * *
Or is it the proud madam that is below, Hamish; and she will not speak; and she sits alone in all her finery? And what are we to do with her now, then, to break her will? Do you think she will speak when she is in the midst of the silence of the Northern seas? Or will they be after us, Hamish? Oh, that would be a fine chase, indeed! and we would lead them a fine dance through the Western Isles;