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all events, I shall send a messenger to you in a day or two, to learn how you get on.-But I advise you to take some provisions with you, just to set up your larder with at first, as I would by no means recommend that you should entirely trust to the execution of your gun ;-though, by the bye, you will find enough of the lesser kinds of game, to ensure such a marksman as you are against starvation.”
After this conversation, Amherst retired to rest; and notwithstanding the harassing events to which he had been that night exposed, the fatigued state of both his body and mind was too great to permit him long to ruminate upon them ; and he slept very soundly till morning, when he arose well refreshed, and ready to undergo new adventures.
When O'Gollochar came to him, he gathered from him some interesting particulars. Having gone, as usual, at an early hour to the stable, he had had a visit from Forbes the miller. This cunning villain appeared to have assailed the Irishman with questions so round-about, yet apparently so simple and natural in themselves, that Amherst had good reason, secretly to congratulate himself, on the precautions he had taken, in veiling his real intentions even from his servant, by giving him the same story, both as to his last night's adventures, and the proposed expedition he was about to undertake, that he had told Lochandhu ; for he plainly saw, that if he had acted differently, not all the slender stock of art poor Cornelius was master of, would have been sufficient to throw dust in the eyes of this sly and subtile scout. As it was, every thing fell with perfect nature from the mouth of the unsuspecting Irishman; and Amherst was convinced that the villains would become the dupes of his manæuvre.
While 'mid the pines that clothe yon rugged steep,
Where browze secure the stag and timorous roe,
And tint with darkest green the lake below,
Where droop their branches on thy crystal clear.
Yon island castle, that in ruin hoar
Frowns on the forest, thro' whose ruined glade
Marauding clans with frequent booty made ;
Bard of Braeriach.
And untaught Indian, on the stream did glide,
WHEN the hour fixed for his departure arrived, Amherst privately examined both his own and his servant's arms, and saw that his pistols were in proper order, and double charged. A small basket of provisions was made up for him by Mrs Macgillivray; and the horses being brought to the door, he bid his host and hostess a farewell suitable to such an absence as they anticipated. Criminal as he believed, nay, knew Lochandhu to be, he could not help feeling a certain degree of kindness towards him, since the Highland laird's conduct in regard to him, had been uniformly that of a warm-hearted and hospitable gentleman. That Lochandhu should have retained so strong a recollection of the obligation he owed his father, the Admiral, was at least a proof that there were some fine threads in his strangely-woven and desperate character. Above all, his steady and uniform resistance of the attempts of his natural brother against him, excited certain warm sensations he could not subdue; and as he parted from him, he pressed his hand with a cordiality for which he afterwards almost blamed himself.
He rode off; and having soon forded the river, he travelled leisurely along its southern banks, by a route now well enough known to him. He then entered among the vast pine-forests, through a wild pass running between one of those beautiful green-topped isolated hills we formerly noticed,
and the lower elevations of the great mountain group.
Every step he advanced developed scenes such as Salvator might have copied, and which would have bid defiance to his wildest fit of imagination to have improved. Rocks reared themselves up amidst the gloomy features of the fir-forest, in every possible form savage nature could present. Nor were the softer beauties wanting; for the oak, and the birch, and the luxuriant underwood of gigantic juniper, and the large detached fragments of moss-covered stones lying scattered about, and the profusion of wild plants gracefully disposed around them, and the lovely knolls under which the track wound, imparted a thousand indescribable charms, to that which might have perhaps been of too sombre a character without them.
Immediately beyond the pass, the sun glittered on the surface of Loch an Eilan, seen through the huge upright stems of the fir trees, rising with a branchless bulk of timber, that might liave supplied many a goodly mast and yard, and supporting the lofty, dense, and deep green canopy overhead. To the right of this lay a lonely lake, of about a mile and a half in circumference, every