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took of both the Highland and Lowland costume, and whose grey coat, and old hat covered with meal dust, and his red ferret eyes, that seemed almost burnt out by his long vigils over the hopper, now satisfied Amherst as to what was his ostensible profession. “ Will ye no gie ower wi’ yere Erse, wi' a devil till ye?”
“ Hoot aye, John Forbes," said a savage-looking fellow, with long tangled red hair, and who had been speaking when he interrupted him ; “hoot aye, man; I was only makin’ an observe till Maister Alexander, that the fellow's horse had served him weel, or he wadna hae won awa? sae easy, sorrow gae
wi' him!” “ Troth, Willy Davison,” replied Forbes, “ye might hae made a better shot. An' mair na that, gin ye haul na stappit in afore me, just as I was gawin to let drive at him, I wad hae turned him heels uppermost aff the beast, afore he wan a hunder yairds. Ye saw hoo I coupit the offisher chield about an hour before. Fient a word he ever spak' mair.”
“ You did that job very neatly, miller,” said Alexander Macgillivray ; “ but since you speak of him, let us examine his waulees, for our watch
called us off so suddenly to this less fortunate adventure, that we had not time to ascertain the profits of the first. Ewan Maclauchan," said he to another
man, o reach over behind that trunk, and pull out the red-coat's saddle-bags. · These *Sidaran Dearag seldom carry much of the king's gold in their bags, however much they may wear on their backs. But should this fellow turn out to be the paymaster man, who came from the south with money for the garrison at Inverness, his luggage may be a prize worth all the trouble we have had to-night.”
A pair of small saddle-bags was now handed into the circle, and Alexander Macgillivray, taking them upon his knee, began to attempt to undo them.
“ There's a padlock there," said the miller, rising from the ground ; “ stay a bitty, till I gang and ripe the chield's pouch, till I see whether I can find ye the key."
Amherst, now anticipating an immediate discovery, prepared to make desperate resistance, and to sell his life as dearly as he could. But he was fortunately relieved for the time, by Macgillivray calling out to the miller, “ No, no, John;
sit down, man—a Highlander laughs at a lock upon leather.” And unsheathing his dirk, he ripped up the valise from end to end.
The contents were now exhibited, and along with two or three shirts, a pair or two of stockings, some handkerchiefs, a soap-box, a pocketglass, combs, razors, blacking-ball and brushes, &c. there was found a chamois leather-bag, containing coins, which Alexander Macgillivray emptied into the lap of his kilt, in such a manner as to enable himself to form a general judgment of the amount, without permitting the others to be equally wise. Amherst, from his position aloft, had an opportunity of observing that there were a number of gold and silver pieces, but he could not possibly guess at the amount, for all the heads in the group were instantly thrust forward to reckon them, and so concealed the heap from his view, without getting any satisfaction themselves, for Alexander Macgillivray still managed very cleverly to veil them.
“ This is not so bad,” said he, “though, after all, it can hardly be the fellow I suspected. Let me see now-there's one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten- !-ten yellow boys !
then as to silver. But hold !" said he, shovelling them again into the bag,—“ We'll count them all over, and share the booty in the morning.-John Forbes, you shall have a double portion, as a reward for your good shot; meanwhile, I'll put them in here," rising and opening a chest on which he had been sitting ; " and now let us have something to eat and drink. Donald Robertson, see what you can get us out of the pantry, man!"
In obedience to his command, one of the gang got up, and, much to Amherst's uneasiness, came towards the end of the hut over which he was lying, and lifted the lid of the large wooden chest, and going and returning once or twice, took from it some cold provisions, some bottles of spirits, and other articles for their meal. As he passed under the spot where the young Englishman was concealed, he observed a pool of blood on the clay floor, which had dropped from the death-wound made by the miller's ball in the breast of the unfortunate officer.
“ Och, hoch ! hoo she bluids !" cried he.
“Never mind that, Duncan !" said the reckless miller, with a hardened laugh, “ it's the
blude o' the bottle, man, that we hae to do wi'ye noo,-sae come awa' wi't !"
The gang now began to eat, and to carouse it heartily, quaffing down large draughts of ardent spirits at intervals. The chief speakers were Alexander Macgillivray and Forbes the miller, who seemed to be a sort of lieutenant amongst them.
“ Weel, after a' noo," said the miller, “ that devil o' a hellicate drover wad hae been worth twa o'this lobster-coated fallow, had we but felled him. I’se warrant his bags were furnished in anither sort o' manner, after a' thae south kintry marcats ?"
" It's a thousand pities we missed him, John," replied Alexander Macgillivray. 66 But what is worst of all, I fear he may tell some tales, that won't be much to the advantage of our trade.”
" Troth we have muckle need to do things cannily,” rejoined the miller," the mair, sin' we see that the Laird is sae resolved to protect that English loon that's staying wi' him the noo, down yonder at the house o' Lochandhu. An I had the sortin o' him,-my faith, I wad whittle his craig for him as soon as gif he ware ane of my ain grice.”