Three days later Scotch earth was again beneath their feet. They marched to Glasgow; they marched to Stirling; they fought the battle of Falkirk and again there was Jacobite victory. And now there was an army of eight thousand.... And then began a time of poor policy, mistaken moves. And in April befell the battle of Culloden and far-resounding ruin.
The green May rolled around and below the Highland shelter where Ian lay, fugitive, like thousands of others, after Culloden. The Prince had stayed to give an order to his broken army. Sauve qui peut! Then he, too, became a fugitive, passing from one fastness to another of these glens and the mountains that overtowered them. The Stewart hope was sunk in the sea of dead hopes. Cumberland, with for the time and place a great force and with an ugly fury, hunted all who had been in arms against King George.
Ian Rullock couched high upon a mountain-side, in a shelter of stone and felled tree built in an angle of crag, screened by a growth of birch and oak, made long ago against emergencies. A path, devious and hidden, connected it first with a hut far below, and then, at several miles’ distance, with the house of a chieftain, now a house of terror, with the chieftain in prison and his sons in hiding, and the women watching with hard-beating hearts. Ian, a kinsman of the house, had been given, faute de mieux, this old, secret hold, far up, where at least he could see danger if it approached. Food had been stored for him here and sheepskins given for bedding. He was so masked by splintered and fallen pieces of rock that he might, with great precautions, kindle a fire. A spring like a fairy cup gave him water. More than one rude comfort had been provided. He had even a book or two, caught up from his kinsman’s small collection. He had been here fourteen days.
At first they were days and nights of vastly needed rest. Bitter had been the fatigue, privation, wandering, immediately after Culloden! Now he was rested.
He was by nature sanguine. When the sun had irretrievably blackened and gone out he might be expected at least to attempt to gather materials and ignite another. He was capable of whistling down the wind those long hopes of fame and fortune that had hung around the Stewart star. And now he was willing to let go the old half-acknowledged boyish romance and sentiment, the glamour of the imagination that had dressed the cause in hues not its own. Two years of actual contact with the present incarnations of that cause had worn the sentiment threadbare.