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- What's Mine's Mine V2 - 30/30 -


"It's a sorrow you are carrying home with you, chief!" she said in Gaelic. "As well have saved a drowning man!"

She did not rise or move, but spoke like one talking by the fireside.

"The drowning man has to be saved, mother!" answered the chief, also in Gaelic; "and the sorrow in your way has to be taken with you. It won't let you pass!"

"True, my son!" said the woman; "but it makes the heart sore that sees it!"

-"Thank you for the warning then, but welcome the sorrow!" he returned. "Good night."

"Good night, chiefs sons both!" she replied. "You're your father's anyway! Did he not one night bring home a frozen fox in his arms, to warm him by his fire! But when he had warmed him-lie turned him out!"

It was quite clear when last they looked at the sky, but the moment they left her, it began to rain heavily.

So fast did it rain, that the men, fearing for Mercy, turned off the road, and went down a steep descent, to make straight across their own fields for the cottage; and just as they reached the bottom of the descent, although they had come all the rough way hitherto without slipping or stumbling--once, the chief fell. He rose in consternation; but finding that Mercy, upheld by Ian, had simply dropped on her feet, and taken no hurt, relieved himself by un- sparing abuse of his clumsiness. Mercy laughed merrily, resumed her place in the plaid, and closed her eyes. She never saw where they were going, for she opened them again only when they stopped a little as they turned into the fir-clump before the door.

"Where are we?" she asked; but for answer they carried her straight into the house.

"We have brought you to our mother instead of yours," said Alister. "To get wet would have been the last straw on the back of such a day. We will let them know at once that you are safe."

Lady Macruadh, as the highlanders generally called her, made haste to receive the poor girl with that sympathetic pity which, of all good plants, flourishes most in the Celtic heart. Mercy's mother had come to her in consternation at her absence, and the only comfort she could give her was the suggestion that she had fallen in with her sons. She gave her a warm bath,-put her to bed, and then made her eat, so preparing her for a healthful sleep. And she did sleep, but dreamed of darkness and snow and leopards.

As men were out searching in all directions, Alister, while Ian went to the New House, lighted a beacon on the top of the old castle to bring them back. By the time Ian had persuaded Mrs. Palmer to leave Mercy in his mother's care for the night, it was blazing beautifully.

In the morning it was found that Mercy had a bad cold, and could not be moved. But the cottage, small as it was, had more than one guest-chamber, and Mrs. Macruadh was delighted to have her to nurse.

END OF VOL. II.


What's Mine's Mine V2 - 30/30

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