Not that she was altogether absent from his thoughts. Sometimes his fancy fled away from the sheet of paper before him, and saw strange things. Was this Fionaghal the Fair Stranger—this maiden who had come over the seas to the dark shores of the isles—this king’s daughter clad in white, with her yellow hair down to her waist and bands of gold on her wrists? And what does she sing to the lashing waves but songs of high courage, and triumph, and welcome to her brave lover coming home with plunder through the battling seas? Her lips are parted with her singing, but her glance is bold and keen: she has the spirit of a king’s daughter, let her come from whence she may.
Or is Fionaghal the Fair Stranger this poorly dressed lass who boils the potatoes over the rude peat fire, and croons her songs of suffering and of the cruel drowning in the seas, so that from hut to hut they carry her songs, and the old wives’ tears start afresh to think of their brave sons lost years and years ago?
Neither Fionaghal is she—this beautiful, pale woman, with her sweet, modern English speech, and her delicate, sensitive ways, and her hand that might be crushed like a rose leaf. There is a shimmer of summer around her; flowers lie in her lap; tender observances encompass and shelter her. Not for her the biting winds of the northern seas; but rather the soft luxurious idleness of placid waters, and blue skies, and shadowy shores ... Rose Leaf! Rose Leaf! what faint wind will carry you away to the south?
THE DUCHESS OF DEVONSHIRE.
Late one night a carefully dressed elderly gentleman applied his latch-key to the door of a house in Bury Street, St. James’s, and was about to enter without any great circumspection, when he was suddenly met by a white phantom, which threw him off his legs, and dashed outward into the street. The language that the elderly gentleman used, as he picked himself up, need not be repeated here. Suffice it to say that the white phantom was the dog Oscar, who had been shut in a minute before by his master, and who now, after one or two preliminary dashes up and down the street, very soon perceived the tall figure of Macleod, and made joyfully after him. But Oscar knew that he had acted wrongly, and was ashamed to show himself; so he quietly slunk along at his master’s heels. The consequence of this was that the few loiterers about beheld the very unusual spectacle of a tall young gentleman walking down Bury Street and into King Street, dressed in full Highland costume, and followed by a white-and-lemon collie. No other person going to the Caledonian fancy-dress ball was so attended.
Macleod made his way through the carriages, crossed the Pavement, and entered the passage. Then he heard some scuffling behind, and he turned.
“Let alone my dog, you fellow!” said he, making a step forward, for the man had got hold of Oscar by the head, and was hauling him out.