“But this is a favor, Keith,” said she. “I do not ask you, to spend the money. But you might be in trouble; and you would be too proud to ask any one—perhaps you would not even ask me; and here is a letter that you can keep till then, and if you should want the money, you can open the letter, and it will tell you how to get it.”
“And it is a poor forecast you are making, Cousin Janet,” said he, cheerfully. “I am to play the prodigal son, then. But I will take the letter. And good-bye again, Janet; and God bless you, for you are a kind-hearted woman.”
She went swiftly up to Castle Dare again, and he walked on toward the shore. By-and-by he reached a small stone pier that ran out among some rocks, and by the side of it lay a small sailing launch, with four men in her, and Donald the piper boy perched up at the bow. There was a lamp swinging at her mast, but she had no sail up, for there was scarcely any wind.
“Is it time to go out now?” said Macleod to Hamish who stood waiting on the pier, having carried down his master’s portmanteau.
“Ay, it will be time now, even if you will wait a little,” said Hamish. And then the old man added, “It is a dark night, Sir Keith, for your going away from Castle Dare.”
“And it will be the brighter morning when I come back,” answered the young man, for he could not mistake the intention of the words.
“Yes, indeed, Sir Keith; and now you will go into the boat, and you will take care of your footing, for the night is dark, and the rocks they are always slippery whatever.”
But Keith Macleod’s foot was as familiar with the soft sea-weed of the rocks as it was with the hard heather of the hills, and he found no difficulty in getting into the broad-beamed boat. The men put out their oars and pushed her off. And now, in the dark night, the skill of the pipes rose again; and it was no stately and mournful lament that young Donald played up there at the bow as the four oars struck the sea and sent a flash of white fire down into the deeps.
“Donald,” Hamish had said to him on the shore, “when you are going out to the steamer, it is the ‘Seventy-ninth’s Farewell to Chubraltar’ that you will play, and you will play no other thing than that.”
And surely the Seventy-ninth were not sorry to leave Gibraltar when their piper composed for them so glad a farewell.
At the high windows of Castle Dare the mother stood, and her niece, and as they watched the yellow lamp move slowly out from the black shore, they heard this proud and joyous march that Donald was playing to herald the approach of his master. They listened to it as it grew fainter and fainter, and as the small yellow star trembling over the dark waters, became more and more remote. And then this other sound—this blowing of a steam whistle far away in the darkness?
“He will be in good time, aunt; she is a long way off yet,” said Janet Macleod. But the mother did not speak.