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ing his slippery steps with a broken bough he accidentally picked up.
Having advanced so far as to think himself beyond hearing of the banditti, he moved with more freedom, and, consequently, with greater expedition, until at length, much to his satisfaction, the shade became less profound, and he discovered that he was emerging upon the great road by which he had approached the house of Lochandhu, the night of his arrival there.
He sat down, for a little time, on a large stone by the side of the way, to recover his breath, and to offer up ejaculations for his almost miraculous deliverance from certain murder. What was now to be done, or how was he to proceed ? Must he return to the house, after having such dreadful proofs that Lochandhu was the protector, if not the head, of a gang of robbers and murderers ? Yet how was he to procure the means of immediate flight, without giving alarm to the wavering mind of Lochandhu? He could not leave his house that night so secretly that his departure would not be discovered by the gang, who, by short cuts known only to themselves, could easily intercept, waylay, and murder him.
Trusting, therefore, to that protection, which the conversation of the villains had led him to believe Lochandhu still felt disposed to afford him, he resolved to continue his guest for this night at least.
But after having thus determined on his more immediate line of conduct, he began to consider what his after plaris should be. He remembered the keen desire expressed both by Alexander Macgillivray and the blood-thirsty miller, that they might prevail on Lochandhu to permit them to make away with him ; and notwithstanding that he considered himself tolerably assured of present safety under the roof of his host, he felt convinced, that the atrocious villain Alexander, would continue to use every means that fraud or deceit might enable him to wield, to work upon their leader, to persuade him to abandon hinı; and he could hardly doubt, that they would eventually succeed, and that, perhaps, very soon. It therefore became prudent to terminate his visit at Lochandhu as speedily, and in as natural a manner as possible; but he could not very well decide how to do this without awakening suspicion.
Rising from the stone on which he had sat for some time, he was walking leisurely up the ascent, when something started suddenly forth from beneath the shadow of the underwood, on the dark side of the road, a few paces before him. He involuntarily cocked and presented his gun. The figure threw its arms abroad, and he instantly took down the piece from his shoulder, and uncocked it, for he beheld the Dwarfie Carline standing in the middle of the path.
She advanced to him with a quick step, and taking him by the arm, “ Amherst Oakenwold !" said she, in a more subdued tone of voice than she had ever before used, “ I have waited long for you here, but 'tis well I have met you."
“ Waited for me !" said he, with surprise, “ how could you have looked for meeting me here?"
“ Hush !” said she, motioning with her hand, “ ask no questions—time presses, and I have much to say. The hour at last approaches when you must leave these mountains. But first you have a great work to perform ; and here, you must solemnly promise to meet me two hours before to-morrow's midnight, by the Fairies' Oak
the spot bir
on the north side of Loch an Eilan. (You know
:)] It wat online “ I do," said Amherst, with a feeling of hesitation, which, though bút faintly expressed, was quickly caught at by this mysterious being : 3-5 9786. You cannot fear me !" said she, with much emphasis, at the same time expanding her arms, and throwing back her head with an air of dignified surprise
“ I do not fear you,” said Amherst,“ but yet I may be excused for wishing to have some res son assigned for so extraordinary a demand, from one of whom I know so little
• What !" said she, “ do you doubt me, after having within this very hour saved your life! after having saved you from cruel and remorseless murder?"
" It was you then," eagerly inquired Amherst, it
then who 11 « Hush !" said the Carline interrupting him,
lombo and lifting her hand up in the attitude of silence “ I tell you we have no time to speak of such things now.
Once for all, will you meet me at Loch an Eilan tó-morrow night'at the appointed trysting tree ? ---two hours before midnight pii
talk not of your life—what would your life be to me?---the fate of Eliza Malcolm hangs upon your promise," sinuni
1 kinanto Eliza, Malcolm !” exclaimed Amherst with astonishment. “ Good Heavens ! how can her fate be connected with any spot within the circle of these mountains ?":21,411,
179 ** Hush! speak, not so loud,” said the Carline. But, answer me - Will you come ?” She wait
ed for his reply. !!
- Amherst was moved by the powerful talisman of the name; and he thought the signal deliverance this friendly being had so lately effected for him, in a manner so miraculous in itself, a sufficient guarantee that at least she could intend him no treachery.
“I will come,” said he. 12.", Then, listen to me,” said the Carline. " Come with your attendant, armed, and with your horses prepared for fight. Let not your real intentions be known at Lochandhu, but make some rational pretence for leaving it. Think of what you overheard pass to-night between those murderous villains in the hut. Nay, start not with Furprise. Think you that I too heard them not?