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2019 101 ve 1910). Bol 100 the thicket,' here less densely set, they found large drove of cattle resting, the ground evērywhere 'exhibiting traces of being much' trodden by their hooves. Here they relinquished their horses to the care of the gilly, and having proceeded some yards farther, not without consider. able risk of tumbling over the 'recumbent oxen, they reached a second barrier of less substantial materials 'than the first, though similarly constructed. Through this they were admitted by a small wicket, opened to them as before by an armed Highlander.
They now breathed a freer air, the brushwood having ceased, and the leafy vault overhead being reared higher, on the tall upright steins of these trees growing near the base of the rock, which stood as close to each other as the ground could bear them, resembling the columns of somé ancient temple.
**Amherst now perceived that they were opposite to the mouth of a cavern or grotto, partly natural, and partly artificial. A projecting ledge of the rock, covering a large area underneath it, had been built up in front, with a thick wall composed of sods and stones, so as to be entirely shut
in, leaving only a low door-way for entrance. А large fire was burning before it, and a number of ròugh terriers, and enormous wire-haired hounds of the Highland breed, starting up from their slumbers around it, began to assail them, but were soon reduced to quietness by the blows and clamorous execrations of five or six Highlanders, who were engaged in supplying the fire with dry fuel, and attending to the unpolished cookery of the fragments of two sheep, which, from the recent skins hanging on the trees, seemed to have been just slaughtered. Part of the Hesh was seething in a large pot, hanging over the fire, from three rugged sticks set on end, whilst
green branches were preparing to broil the remainder on.
The interior of the grotto, to which they now advanced, was lighted up with large torches of bog-fir, yielding a pure and brilliant fame. , At the entrance, they were met by a thin active looking little man, of middle age, in the Highland dress, with sandy hair, and a pale countenance, but with eyes glancing with a peculiar intelligence, curiously blended with an air of sharpness, courage, and cunning, - kits by to bye,,,m
“ Mr Macrory," said Macgillivray, as he stretched out his hand to him, " you see I have kept tryst, and have brought a friend with me also to partake of the good cheer I see you are preparing for us."
“ Lochandhu,” said the other, “ I am glad to see you. I was beginning to think lang for you. -Sir," said he to Amherst, as he proffered him a horny hand he saw it was expected he should accept, “ I am glad to see you. Any friend of Lochandhu's will be heartily welcome to such fare as I can gie. Pray, walk in, gentlemen."
Then calling to some of his people, he desired them in Gaelic to place fresh bundles of ferns for the gentlemen, which they very speedily did, tying them up so firmly, as to convert them into very pleasant seats. This was the first time Amherst had ever heard Mr Macgillivray called by the name of his estate, by which, however, he shall in future be designated, such being the universal Highland practice, where the numbers of a clan render this mode of distinction absolutely necessary.
The floor of the grotto was covered a foot or two deep with fresh gathered ferns, and a number
of small kegs, with two or three awkward looking saddles, were strewed about, whilst five or six long barrelled fowling-pieces, and one or two broad-swords, were resting against the wall. this was all the furniture it contained, Amherst suspected that it was only a temporary place of residence. It was extremely dry and comfortable, however; the heat of the fire without, penetrated into its innermost recesses, whilst the fir-torches, stuck horizontally into the crevices of the rock, made the interior as light as day. Amherst's curiosity was much excited to know what were the habits and profession of their host, but as he saw he could not question Lochandhu, without the risk of giving offence to Macrory, he suppressed his wishes for the
present. They were no sooner seated, than he who did the honours of this strange place, speaking to one of the men in Gaelic, the fellow went to one of the kegs, and drawing a spigot, caught the liquor in a small flat silver cup, having two thin slips attached to the edge to hold it by. It was capable of containing about as much as three ordinary glasses. This he presented full to Macrory, who drank it off to the health of his guests. . It was then again filled and presented to Lochandhu, who emptied it in the same way » When it came to Amherst's turn,dhe dranki itd them, and tasting the liquor, and finding it brandy, che was about to return it to the cup-bearer.so But a significant look from Lochandhu informed him that'etiquette, required he should finish the pledge, and, accordingly, making up his mindito submit to the customs of those with whom he now found himself, he drained it to the bottoms
“And when left ye Sir Alisander's, gentlemen, if I may ask?" said Macrory, after this prelude to conversation had been gone through ;“ I thought ye would ha'e been here lang afore this.", 15:44
Why, truly,” said Lochandhu, “the knight is hospitable, and we got not so early off as I generally travel, nor did we much hurry ourselves by the way. Besides, I thought it was well that you should be fairly lodged before we joined you."
“ It was as well,” replied the other, looking askance at Lochandhu. “The beasts, as you may believe, were made to put down their cloots, and were not very long on the road; but some o'them got awa' frae us as we came down into the glen,