But with all this eagerness and haste, he kept whispering to himself counsels of caution and prudence. He dared not awaken her suspicion by professing too much forgiveness or friendliness. He wrote to her—with what a trembling hand he put down those words, Dear Gertrude, on paper, and how wistfully he regarded them!—but the letter was a proud and cold letter. He said that he had been informed she was about to be married; he wished to ascertain from herself whether that was true. He would not reproach her, either with treachery or deceit; if this was true, passionate words would not be of much avail. But he would prefer to be assured, one way or another, by her own hand. That was the substance of the letter.
And then, the answer! He almost feared she would not write. But when Hamish himself brought that pink envelope to him, how his heart beat! And the old man stood there in silence, and with gloom on his face; was there to be, after all, no act of vengeance on her who had betrayed Macleod of Dare?
These few words seemed to have been written with unsteady fingers. He read them again and again. Surely there was no dark mystery within them.
cannot bear to write to you. I do not know how
has all happened. Forgive me, if you can and forget me. G.”
“Oh, Hamish,” said he, with a strange laugh, “it is an easy thing to forget that you have been alive? That would be an easy thing, if one were to ask you? But is not Colin Laing coming here to-day?”
“Oh yes, Sir Keith,” Hamish said, with his eyes lighting up eagerly; “he will be here with the Pioneer, and I will send the boat out for him. Oh yes, and you are wanting to see him, Sir Keith?”
“Why, of course!” Macleod said. “If we are going away on a long voyage, do we not want a good pilot?”
“And we are going, Sir Keith?” the old man said; and there was a look of proud triumph in the keen face.
“Oh, I do not know yet,” Macleod said, impatiently. “But you will tell Christina that, if we are going away to the South, we may have lady-visitors come on board, some day or another; and she would be better than a young lass to look after them, and make them comfortable on board. And if there is any clothes or ribbons she may want from Salen, Donald can go over with the pony; and you will not spare any money, Hamish, for I will give you the money.”