Macleod of Dare eBook

William Black
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 492 pages of information about Macleod of Dare.

“I wish you to go below, Hamish.”

And now this sound that is ringing in his ears is no longer of the brass-band that he had heard in the theatre.  It is quite different.  It has all the ghastly mirth of that song that Norman Ogilvie used to sing in the old, half-forgotten days.  What is it that he hears?

    “King Death was a rare old fellow,
       He sat where no sun could shine;
     And he lifted his hand so yellow,
       And poured out his coal-black wine! 
    Hurrah! hurrah! hurrah! for the coal-black wine!”

It is a strange mirth.  It might almost make a man laugh.  For do we not laugh gently when we bury a young child, and put the flowers over it, and know that it is at peace?  The child has no more pain at the heart.  Oh, Norman Ogilvie, are you still singing the wild song? and are you laughing now?—­or is it the old man Hamish that is crying in the dark?

* * * * *

    “There came to him many a maiden,
       Whose eyes had forgot to shine;
     And widows with grief o’erladen,
       For a draught of his sleepy wine. 
    Hurrah! hurrah! hurrah! for the coal-black wine!”

It is such a fine thing to sleep—­when one has been fretting all the night, and spasms of fire go through the brain!  Ogilvie, Ogilvie, do you remember the laughing Duchess? do you think she would laugh over one’s grave; or put her foot on it, and stand relentless, with anger in her eyes?  That is a sad thing; but after it is over there is sleep.

* * * * *

    “All came to the rare old fellow,
       Who laughed till his eyes dropped brine,
     As he gave them his hand so yellow,
       And pledged them, in Death’s black wine! 
    Hurrah! hurrah! hurrah! for the coal-black wine!”

Hamish!—­Hamish!—­will you not keep her away from me!  I have told Donald what pibroch he will play; I want to be at peace now.  But the brass-band—­the brass-band—­I can hear the blare of the trumpets; Ulva will know that we are here, and the Gometra men, and the sea-birds too, that I used to love.  But she has killed all that now, and she stands on my grave.  She will laugh, for she was light-hearted, like a young child.  But you, Hamish, you will find the quiet grave for me; and Donald will play the pibroch for me that I told him of; and you will say no word to her of all that is over and gone.

* * * * *

See—­he sleeps.  This haggard-faced man is stretched on the deck; and the pale dawn, arising in the east, looks at him; and does not revive him, but makes him whiter still.  You might almost think he was dead.  But Hamish knows better than that; for the old man comes stealthily forward; and he has a great tartan plaid in his hand’s; and very gently indeed he puts it over his young master.  And there are tears running down Hamish’s face; and he says “The brave lad! the brave lad!”

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Project Gutenberg
Macleod of Dare from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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