The sword of Ian beat down his antagonist’s guard, leaped, and gave a deep wound. Alexander’s sword fell from his hand. He staggered and vision darkened. He came to his knees, then sank upon the ground. Ian bent over him. He felt his anger ebb. A kind of compunction seized him. He thought, “Are you so badly hurt, Old Steadfast?”
Alexander looked at him. His lips moved. “Lo, how the wicked prosper! But do you think that Justice will have it so?” The blood gushed; he sank back in a swoon.
On this mountain-side, some distance below the fastness, a stone, displaced by a human foot, rolled down the slope with a clattering sound. The fugitive above heard it, thought, too, that he caught other sounds. He crossed to the nook whence he had view of the way of approach. Far down he saw the redcoats, and then, much nearer, coming out from dwarf woods, still King George’s men.
Ian caught up his belt and pistols. He sheathed his sword. “They’ll find you and save you, Glenfernie! I do not think that you will die!” Above him sprang the height of crag, seemingly unscalable. But he had been shown the secret, just possible stair. He mounted it. Masked by bushes, it swung around an abutment and rose by ledge and natural tunnel, perilous and dizzy, but the one way out to safety. At last, a hundred feet above the old shelter, he dipped over the crag head to a saucer-like depression walled from all redcoat view by the surmounted rock. With a feeling of triumph he plunged through small firs and heather, and, passing the mountain brow, took the way that should lead him to the next glen.
The laird of Glenfernie, rising from the great chair by the table, moved to the window of the room that had been his father’s and mother’s, the room where both had died. He remembered the wild night of snow and wind in which his father had left the body. Now it was August, and the light golden upon the grass and the pilgrim cedar. Alexander walked slowly, with a great stick under his hand. Old Bran was dead, but a young Bran stretched himself, wagged his tail, and looked beseechingly at the master.
“I’ll let you out,” said the latter, “but I am a prisoner; I cannot let myself out!”
He moved haltingly to the door, opened it, and the dog ran forth. Glenfernie returned to the window. “Prisoner.” The word brought to his strongly visualizing mind prisoners and prisons through all Britain this summer—shackled prisoners, dark prisons, scaffolds.... He leaned his head against the window-frame.
“O God that my father and my grandfather served—God of old times—of Israel in Egypt! I think that I would release them all if I could—all but one! Not him!” He looked at the cedar. “Who was he, in truth, who planted that, perhaps for a remembrance? And he, and all men, had and have some one deep wrong that shall not be brooked!”