“Is it your dog, sir?” said he.
Oscar himself answered by wrestling himself free and taking refuge by his master’s legs, though he still looked guilty.
“Yes, he is my dog; and a nice fix he has got me into,” said Macleod, standing aside to let the Empress Maria Theresa pass by in her resplendent costume. “I suppose I must walk home with him again. Oscar, Oscar, how dare you?”
“If you please, sir,” said a juvenile voice behind him, “if Mr. —— will let me, I will take the dog. I know where to tie him up.”
“Co an so?” said he, looking down at the chubby-faced boy in the kilts, who had his pipes under his arm. “Don’t you know the Gaelic?”
“I am only learning,” said the young musician. “Will I take the dog, sir?”
“March along, then, Phiobaire bhig!” Macleod said. “He will follow me, if he will not follow you.”
Little Piper turned aside into a large hall which had been transformed into a sort of waiting-room; and here Macleod found himself in the presence of a considerable number of children, half of them girls, half of them boys, all dressed in tartan, and seated on the forms along the walls. The children, who were half asleep at this time of the night, woke up with sudden interest at sight of the beautiful collie; and at the same moment Little Piper explained to the gentleman who was in charge of these young ones that the dog had to be tied up somewhere, and that a small adjoining room would answer that purpose. The proposal was most courteously entertained. Macleod, Mr. ——, and Little Piper walked along to this side room, and there Oscar was properly secured.
“And I will get him some water, sir, if he wants it,” said the boy in the kilts.
“Very well,” Macleod said. “And I will give you my thanks for it; for that is all that a Highlander, and especially a piper, expects for a kindness. And I hope you will learn the Gaelic soon, my boy. And do you know ‘Cumhadh na Cloinne?’ No, it is too difficult for you; but I think if I had the chanter between my fingers myself, I could let you hear ‘Cumhadh na Cloinne.’”
“I am sure John Maclean can play it,” said the small piper.
“Who is he?”
The gentleman in charge of the youngsters explained that John Maclean was the eldest of the juvenile pipers, five others of whom were in attendance.
“I think,” said Macleod, “that I am coming down in a little time to make the acquaintance of your young pipers, if you will let me.”
He passed up the broad staircase and into the empty supper-room, from which a number of entrances showed him the strange scene being enacted in the larger hall. Who were these people who were moving to the sound of rapid music? A clown in a silken dress of many colors, with bells to his cap and wrists, stood at one of the doors. Macleod became his fellow-spectator of what was going forward. A