JAMES LOGIE stood at the window of a house in a Dutch town. The
pollarded beech, whose boughs were trimmed in a close screen before
the walls, had shed its golden leaves and the canal waters were grey
under a cloudy sky. The long room was rather dark, and was growing
darker. By the chair that he had left lay a yellow cur.
He had been standing for some minutes reading a letter by the fading
light, and his back was towards the man who had brought it. The latter
stood watching him, stiff and tall, an object of suspicion to the dog.
As he came to the end, the hand that held the paper went down to
James’s side. The silence in the room was unbroken for a space. When
he turned, Callandar saw his powerful shoulders against the dusk and
the jealous shadows of the beech-tree’s mutilated arms.
“I can never thank you enough for bringing me this,” said Logie. “My
debt to you is immeasurable.”
“I did it for him–not for you.”
Callandar spoke coldly, almost with antagonism.
“I can understand that,” said James.
But something in his voice struck the other. Though he had moved as if
to leave him, he stopped, and going over to the window, drew a
playing-card from a pocket in his long coat.
“Look,” he said, holding out the ace scrawled with the picture of the
James took it, and as he looked at it, his crooked lip was set
stiffly, lest it should tremble.
“It was in his tent when I went back there–afterwards,” said
He took the card back, and put it in his pocket.
“Then it was you—-” began James.
“He was my prisoner, sir.”
James walked away again and stood at the window.
Callandar waited, silent.
“I must wish you a good-day, Captain Logie,” he said at last, “I have
to leave Holland to-night.”
James followed him down the staircase, and they parted at the outer
door. Callandar went away along the street, and James came back slowly
up the steep stairs, his hand on the railing of the carved banisters.
He could scarcely see his way.
The yellow dog came to meet him when he entered his room, and as his
master, still holding the letter, carried it again to the light, he
followed. Half-way across the floor he turned to sniff at an old
Kilmarnock bonnet that lay by the wainscot near the corner in which he
He put his nose against it, and then looked at Logie. Trust was in his
eyes and affection; but there was inquiry, too.
THE houses of Brechin climb from the river up the slope, and a little
camp was spread upon the crest of ground above them, looking down over
the uneven pattern of walls, the rising smoke, and the woods that
cradled the Esk. Such of Cumberland’s soldiery as had collected in
Angus was drawn together here, and as the country was settling down,
the camp was increased by detachments of horse and foot that arrived
daily from various directions. The Muir of Pert was bare, left to the
company of the roe-deer and the birds, for James had been traced to
the coast, and the hungry North Sea had swallowed his tracks.
The spot occupied by the tents of Callandar’s troop was in the highest
corner of the camp, the one farthest from the town, and the long
northern light that lingered over the hill enveloped the camp sounds
and sights in a still, greenish clearness. There would be a bare few
hours of darkness.
Callandar was now in command of a small force consisting of a troop of
his own regiment which had lately marched in, and two of his men stood
sentry outside the tent in which Archie Flemington was sitting at an
improvised table writing a letter.
He had been a close prisoner since his arrest on the Muir of Pert, and
during the week that had elapsed, whilst correspondence about him and
orders concerning him had gone to and fro between Brechin and
Edinburgh, he had been exclusively under Callandar’s charge. That
arrangement was the one concession made on his behalf among the many
that had been asked for by his friends. At his own request he was to
remain Callandar’s prisoner till the end, and it was to be Callandar’s
voice that would give the order for his release at sunrise to-morrow,
and Callandar’s troopers whose hands would set him free.
The two men had spent much time together. Though the officer’s
responsibility did not include the necessity of seeing much of his
prisoner, he had chosen to spend nearly all his leisure in Archie’s
tent. They had drawn very near together, this incongruous pair, though
the chasm that lay between their respective temperaments had not been
bridged by words. They had sat together on many evenings, almost in
silence, playing cards until one of them grew drowsy, or some
officious cock crowed on the outskirts of the town. Of the incident
which had brought them into their present relationship, they spoke not
at all; but sometimes Archie had broken out into snatches of talk, and
Callandar had listened, with his grim smile playing about his mouth,
to his descriptions of the men and things amongst which his short life
had thrown him. As he looked across at his companion, who sat, his
eyes sparkling in the light of the lantern, his expression changing
with the shades of humour that ran over his words, like shadows over
growing corn, he would be brought up short against the thought of the
terrible incongruity to come–death. He could not think of Archie and
death. At times he would have given a great deal to pass on his
responsibility to some other man, and to turn his back on the place
that was to witness such a tragedy. In furthering Archie’s wishes by
his own application for custody of him he had given him a great proof
of friendship–how great he was only to learn as the days went by.
Would to God it were over–so he would say to himself each night as he
left the tent. He had thought Archie soft when they parted at the
cross-roads, and he had been sorry. There was no need for sorrow on
that score; never had been. The sorrow to him now was that so gallant,
so brilliant a creature was to be cut off from the life of the world,
to go down into the darkness, leaving so many of its inhabitants
half-hearted, half-spirited, half alive, to crawl on in an existence
which only interested them inasmuch as it supplied their common needs.
His hostility against Logie ran above the level of the just antagonism
that a man feels for his country’s enemy, and he questioned whether
his life were worth the price that Flemington was paying for it. The
hurried words that Archie had spoken about Logie as they left the
hovel together had told him little, and that little seemed to him
inadequate to explain the tremendous consequences that had followed.
What had Logie said or done that had power to turn him out of his way?
A man may meet many admirable characters among his enemies without
having his efforts paralyzed by the encounter. Flemington was not new
to his trade, and had been long enough in the secret service to know
its requirements. A certain unscrupulousness was necessarily among
them, yet why had his gorge only risen against it now? Callandar could
find no signs in him of the overwrought sensibility that seemed to
have prompted his revolt against his task. Logie had placed his safety
in Archie’s hands, and it was in order to end that safety that the
young man had gone out; he had laid the trap and the quarry had fallen
into it. What else had he expected? It was not that Callandar could
not understand the scruple; what he could not understand was why a man
of Archie’s occupation should suddenly be undone by it. Having
accepted his task, his duty had been plain. In theory, a rebel, to
Callandar was a rebel, no more, and Archie, by his deed, had played a
rebel’s part; yet, in spite of that, the duty he must carry out on the
morrow was making his heart sink within him. One thing about Archie
stood out plain–he was not going to shirk his duty to his king and
yet take Government money. Whatsoever his doings, the prisoner who sat
in the tent over yonder would be lying under the earth to-morrow
because he was prepared to pay the last price for his scruple. No, he
was not soft.
Callandar would have died sooner than let him escape, yet his escape
would have made him glad.
Callandar came across the camp and passed between the two sentries
into Flemington’s tent. The young man looked up from his writing.
“You are busy,” said the officer.
“I have nearly done. There seems so much to do at the last,” he added.
The other sat down on the bed and looked at him, filled with grief.
The lantern stood by Archie’s hand. His head was bent into the circle
of light, and the yellow shine that fell upon it warmed his olive skin
and brought out the brown shades in his brows and hair. The changing
curves of his mouth were firm in the intensity of his occupation. He
had so much expression as a rule that people seldom thought about his
features but Callandar now noticed his long chin and the fine lines of
His pen scratched on for a few minutes; then he laid it down and
“You have done me many kindnesses, Callandar,” said he, “and now I am
going to ask you for another–the greatest of all. It is everything to
me that Captain Logie should get this letter. He is safe, I hope, over
the water, but I do not know where. Will you take charge of it?”
“I will,” said the other–“yes.”
The very name of Logie went against him.
“You will have to keep it some little time, I fear,” continued Archie,
“but when the country has settled down you will be able to reach him
through Lord Balnillo. Promise me that, if you can compass it, he
shall get this.”
“If it is to be done, I will do it.”
“From you, that is enough,” said Flemington, “I shall rest quietly.”
He turned to his writing again.
Callandar sat still, looking round the tent vaguely for something to
distract his heavy thoughts. A card lay on the ground and he picked it
up. It was an ace, and the blank space of white round it was covered
with drawing. His own consideration had procured pens and books–all
that he could find to brighten the passing days for his prisoner. This
was the result of some impulse that had taken Flemington’s artistic
It was a sketch of one of the sentries outside the tent door. The
figure was given in a few lines, dark against the light, and the
outline of the man’s homely features had gained some quality of
suggestiveness and distinction by its passage through Archie’s mind,
and by the way he had placed the head against the clouded atmosphere
made by the smoke rising from the camp. Through it, came a touched-in
vision of the horizon beyond the tents. He looked at it, seeing
something of its cleverness, and tossed it aside.
When Archie had ended his letter, he read it through:
“When this comes to your hands perhaps you will know what has become
of me,” he had written, “and you will understand the truth. I ask you
to believe me, if only because these are the last words I shall ever
write. A man speaks the truth when it is a matter of hours with him.
“You know what brought me to Balnillo, but you do not know what sent
me from it. I went because I had no courage to stay. I was sent to
find out how deep you were concerned in the Stuart cause and to watch
your doings. I followed you that night in the town, and my wrist bears
the mark you set on it still. That morning I despatched my
confirmation of the Government’s suspicions about you. Then I met you
and we sat by the Basin of Montrose. God knows I have never forgotten
the story you told me.
“Logie, I went because I could not strike you again. You had been
struck too hard in the past, and I could not do it. What I told you
about myself was untrue, but you believed it, and would have helped
me. How could I go on?
“Then, as I stood between the devil and the deep sea, my orders took
me to the _Venture_, and we met again on Inchbrayock. I had made sure
you would be on the hill. When I would have escaped from you, you held
me back, and as we struggled you knew me for what I was.
“You know the rest as well as I do, and you know where I was in the
campaign that followed. Last of all I was sent out with those who were
to take you on the Muir of Pert. I had no choice but to go–the choice
came at the cross-roads below Huntly Hill. It was I who sent the
warning to you from the little house on the Muir. You had directed me
there for a different purpose. I sent no name with my message, knowing
that if I did you might suspect me of a trick to entrap you again.
That is all. There remained only the consequences, and I shall be face
to face with them to-morrow.
“There is one thing more to say. Do not let yourself suppose that I am
paying for your life with mine. I might have escaped had I tried to do
so–it was my fault that I did not try. I had had enough of untruth,
and I could no longer take the king’s money; I had served his cause
ill, and I could only pay for it. I have known two true men in my
life–you and the man who has promised that you shall receive this
letter. If you will think of me without bitterness, remember that I
should have been glad.
He folded the paper and rose, holding it out to Callandar.
“I am contented,” said he; “go now, Callandar. You look worn out. I
believe this last night is trying you more than it tries me.”
* * * * *
It was some little time after daybreak that Callandar stood again at
the door of the tent under the kindling skies. Archie was waiting for
him and he came out. The eyes of the sentries never left them as they
went away together, followed by the small armed guard that was at
The two walked a little apart, and when they reached the outskirts of
the camp they came to a field, an insignificant rough enclosure, in
which half a dozen soldiers were gathered, waiting. At the sight of
Callandar the sergeant who was in charge of them began to form them in
a line some paces from the wall.
Callandar and Flemington stopped. The light had grown clear, and the
smoke that was beginning to rise from the town thickened the air over
the roofs that could be seen from where they stood. The daily needs
and the daily avocations were beginning again for those below the
hill, while they were ceasing for ever for him who stood above in the
cool morning. In a few minutes the sun would get up; already there was
a sign of his coming in the eastward sky.
The two men turned to each other; they had nothing more to say. They
had settled every detail of this last act of their short
companionship, so that there should be no hesitation, no mistake,
nothing to be a lengthening of agony for one, nor an evil memory for
Archie held out his hand.
“When I look at you,” he said.
“Yes,” said Callandar.
“There are no words, Callandar. Words are nothing–but the last bit of
my life has been the better for you.”
For once speech came quickly to the soldier.
“The rest of mine will be the better for you,” he answered. “You said
once that you were not a true man. You lied.”
Flemington was giving all to disprove the accusation of untruth, and
it was one of the last things he was to hear.
So, with these rough words–more precious to him than any that could
have been spoken–sounding in his ears, he walked away and stood
before the wall. The men were lined in front of him.
His eyes roved for a moment over the slope of the country, the town
roofs, the camp, then went to the distance. A solitary bird was
crossing the sky, and his look followed it as it had followed the one
he had seen when he made his choice at the foot of Huntly Hill. The
first had flown away, a vanishing speck, towards the shadows gathering
about the hills. This one was going into the sunrise. It was lost in
the light. . . .
THE Duke of Cumberland was at Holyrood House. He had come down from
the North by way of Stirling, and having spent some days in Edinburgh,
he was making his final arrangements to set out for England. He was
returning in the enviable character of conquering hero, and he knew
that a great reception awaited him in London, where every preparation
was being made to do him honour; he was thinking of these things as he
sat in one of the grim rooms of the ancient palace. There was not much
luxury here; and looking across the table at which he sat and out of
the window, he could see the dirty roofs of the Canongate–a very
different prospect from the one that would soon meet his eyes. He was
sick of Scotland.
Papers were littered on the table, and his secretary had just carried
away a bundle with him. He was alone, because he expected a lady to
whom he had promised an audience, but he was not awaiting her with the
feelings that he generally brought to such occasions. Cumberland had
received the visits of many women alone since leaving England, but his
guests were younger than the one whose approach he could now hear in
the anteroom outside. He drew his brows together, for he expected no
profit and some annoyance from the interview.
He rose as she was ushered in and went to the open fireplace, where he
stood awaiting her, drawn up to his full height, which was not great.
The huge iron dogs behind him and the high mantel-piece above his head
dwarfed him with their large lines. He was not an ill-looking young
man, though his hair, pulled back and tied after the fashion of the
day, showed off the receding contours that fell away from his temples,
and made his blue eyes look more prominent than they were.
He moved forward clumsily as Christian curtsied.
“Come in, madam, come in. Be seated. I have a few minutes only to give
you,” he said, pointing to a chair on the farther side of the table.
She sat down opposite to him.
“I had the honour of being presented to your Royal Highness last
year,” she said.
“I remember you well, ma’am,” replied he shortly.
“It is in the hope of being remembered that I have come,” said she.
“It is to ask you, Sir, to remember the services of my house to
“I remember them, ma’am; I forget nothing.”
“I am asking you, in remembering, to forget one thing,” said she. “I
shall not waste your Royal Highness’s time and mine in beating about
bushes. I have travelled here from my home without resting, and it is
not for me to delay now.”
He took up a pen that lay beside him, and put the quill between his
“Your Royal Highness knows why I have come,” continued she, her eyes
falling from his own and fixing themselves on the pen in his mouth. He
removed it with his fat hand, and tossed it aside.
“There is absolute proof against Flemington,” said he. “He accuses
himself. I presume you know that.”
“I do. This man–Captain Logie–has some strange attraction for him
that I cannot understand, and did him some kindness that seems to have
turned his head. His regard for him was a purely personal one. It was
personal friendship that led him to–to the madness he has wrought.
His hands are clean of conspiracy. I have come all this way to assure
your Highness of that.”
“It is possible,” said Cumberland. “The result is the same. We have
lost the man whose existence above ground is a danger to the kingdom.”
“I have come to ask you to take that difference of motive into
consideration,” she went on. “Were the faintest shadow of conspiracy
proved, I should not dare to approach you; my request should not pass
my lips. I have been in correspondence with him during the whole of
the campaign, and I know that he served the king loyally. I beg your
Highness to remember that now. I speak of his motive because I know
“You are fortunate, then,” he interrupted.
“Captain Callandar, to whom he gave himself up, wrote me two letters
at his request, one in which he announced his arrest, and one which I
received as I entered my coach to leave my door. Archie knows what is
before him,” she added; “he has no hope of life and no knowledge of my
action in coming to your Highness. But he wished me to know the
truth–that he had conspired with no one. He is ready to suffer for
what he has done, but he will not have me ashamed of him. Look,
She pushed the letter over to him.
“His motives may go hang, madam,” said Cumberland.
“Your Highness, if you have any regard for us who have served you,
He rose and went back to the fireplace.
“There is no need, madam. I am not interested in the correspondence of
He was becoming impatient; he had spent enough time on this lady. She
was not young enough to give him any desire to detain her. She was an
uncommon-looking woman, certainly, but at her age that fact could
matter to nobody. He wondered, casually, whether the old stories about
her and Charles Edward’s father were true. Women struck him only in
“You will not read this, your Royal Highness?” said Christian, with a
little tremor of voice.
“No, ma’am. I may tell you that my decision has not altered. The case
is not one that admits of any question.”
“Your Highness,” said Christian, rising, “I have never made an abject
appeal to anyone yet, and even now, though I make it to the son of my
king, I can hardly bring myself to utter it. I deplore my–my boy’s
action from the bottom of my soul. I sent him from me–I parted from
him nearly a year ago because of this man Logie.”
He faced round upon her and put his hands behind his back.
“What!” he exclaimed, “you knew of this? You have been keeping this
affair secret between you?”
“He went to Montrose on the track of Logie in November,” said she; “he
was sent there to watch his movements before Prince Charles marched to
England, and he did so well that he contrived to settle himself under
Lord Balnillo’s roof. In three days he returned to me. He had reported
on Logie’s movements–I know that–your Highness’s agents can produce
his report. But he returned to my house to tell me that, for some
fool’s reason, some private question of sentiment, he would follow
Logie no longer. ‘I will not go man-hunting after Logie’–those were
“Madam—-” began Cumberland.
She put out her hand, and her gesture seemed to reverse their
“I told him to go–I told him that I would sooner see him dead than
that he should side with the Stuarts! He answered me that he could
have no part with rebels, and that his act concerned Logie alone. Then
he left me, and on his way to Brechin he received orders to go to the
Government ship in Montrose Harbour. Then the ship was attacked and
“It was Flemington’s friend, Logie, who was at the bottom of that
business,” said Cumberland.
“He met Logie and they fought,” said Madam Flemington. “I know none of
the details, but I know that they fought. Then he went to Edinburgh.”
“It is time that we finished with this!” exclaimed Cumberland. “No
good is served by it.”
“I am near the end, your Highness,” said Christian, and then paused,
unnerved by the too great suggestiveness of her words.
“These things are no concern of mine,” he observed in the pause; “his
movements do not matter. And I may tell you, ma’am, that my leisure is
It was nearing the close of the afternoon, and the sun stood like a
red ball over the mists of the Edinburgh smoke. Cumberland’s business
was over for the day, and he was looking forward to dining that
evening with a carefully chosen handful of friends, male and female.
Her nerve was giving way against the stubborn detachment of the man.
She felt herself helpless, and her force ineffective. Life was
breaking up round her. The last man she had confronted had spurned her
in the end–through a mistake, it was true–but the opportunity had
been given him by her own loss of grip in the bewilderment of a
crisis. This one was spurning her too. But she went on.
“He performed his work faithfully from that day forward, as your Royal
Highness knew when you took him to the North. His services are better
known to you, Sir, than to anyone else. He gave himself up to Captain
Callandar as the last proof that he could take no part with the
rebels. He threw away his life.”
“_That_, at least, is true,” said the Duke, with a sneer. He was
becoming exasperated, and the emphasis which he put on the word ‘that’
brought the slow blood to her face. She looked at him as though she
saw him across some mud-befouled stream. Even now her pride rose above
the despair in her heart. He was not sensitive, but her expression
“I am accustomed to truth,” she replied.
He turned his back. There was a silence.
“I came to ask for Archie’s life,” she said, in a toneless, steady
voice, “but I will go, asking nothing. Your Royal Highness has nothing
to give that he or I would stoop to take at your hands.”
He stood doggedly, without turning, and he did not move until the
sound of her sweeping skirts had died away in the anteroom. Then he
went out, a short, stoutish figure passing along the dusty corridors
of Holyrood, and entered a room from which came the ring of men’s
A party of officers in uniform got up as he came in. Some were playing
cards. He went up to one of the players and took those he held from
between his fingers.
“Give me your hand, Walden,” said he, “and for God’s sake get us a
bottle of wine. Damn me, but I hate old women! They should have their
tongues cut out.”
THE last months had been a time of great anxiety to Lord Balnillo. In
spite of his fine steering, and though he had escaped from
molestation, he was not comfortable as he saw the imprisonments and
confiscations that were going on; and the precariousness of all that
had been secure disturbed him and made him restless. He was unsettled,
too, by his long stay in Edinburgh, and he hankered afresh after the
town life in which he had spent so many of his years. His trees and
parks interested him still, but he looked on them, wondering how long
he would be allowed to keep them. He was lonely, and he missed James,
whom he had not seen since long before Culloden, the star of whose
destiny had led him out again into the world of chance.
He had the most upsetting scheme under consideration that a man of his
age can entertain. At sixty-four it is few people who think seriously
of changing their state, yet this was what David Balnillo had in mind;
for he had found so many good reasons for offering his hand to
Christian Flemington that he had decided at last to take that
portentous step. The greatest of these was the effect that an alliance
with the Whig lady would produce in the quarters from which he feared
trouble. His estate would be pretty safe if Madam Flemington reigned
It was pleasant to picture her magnificent presence at his table; her
company would rid country life of its dulness, and on the visits to
Edinburgh, which he was sure she would wish to make, the new Lady
Balnillo would turn their lodging into a bright spot in society. He
smoothed his silk stockings as he imagined the stir that his belated
romance would make. He would be the hero of it, and its heroine,
besides being a safeguard to his property, would be a credit to
There were some obstacles to his plan, and one of them was Archie; but
he believed that, with a little diplomacy, that particular difficulty
might be overcome. He would attack that side of the business in a very
straightforward manner. He would make Madam Flemington understand that
he was large-minded enough to look upon the episode in which he had
borne the part of victim in a reasonable yet airy spirit. In the game
in which their political differences had brought them face to face the
honours had been with the young man; he would admit that with a smile
and with the respect that one noble enemy accords to another. He would
assure her that bygones should be bygones, and that when he claimed
Archie as his grandson-in-law, he would do so without one grudging
backward glance at the circumstances in which they had first met. His
magnanimity seemed to him an almost touching thing, and he played with
the idea of his own apposite grace when, in some sly but genial
moment, he would suggest that the portrait upstairs should be
What had given the final touch to his determination was a message that
James had contrived to send him, which removed the last scruple from
his heart. His brother’s danger had weighed upon David, and it was not
only its convenience to himself at this juncture which made him
receive it with relief. Logie was leaving the country for Holland, and
the next tidings of him would come from there, should he be lucky
enough to reach its shores alive.
Since the rescue of Gourlay the neighbourhood of the Muir of Pert–the
last of his haunts in which Logie could trust himself–had become
impossible for him, and he was now striving to get to a creek on the
coast below Peterhead. It was some time since a roof had been over
him, and the little cottage from which Flemington had despatched his
urgent warning stood empty. Its inmate had been his unsuspected
connection with the world since his time of wandering had begun; for
though his fatal mistake in discovering this link in his chain of
communication to Flemington had made him abjure its shelter, he had
had no choice for some time between the Muir and any other place.
The western end of the county swarmed with troops. Montrose was
subdued; the passes of the Grampians were watched; there remained only
this barren tract west of the river; and the warning brought to him
from a nameless source had implored him to abandon it before the
soldiery, which his informant assured him was collecting to sweep it
from end to end, should range itself on its borders.
Archie had withheld his name when he sent the dweller in the little
hovel speeding into the night. He was certain that in making it known
to James he would defeat his own ends, for Logie would scarcely be
disposed to trust his good faith, and might well look on the message
as a trick to drive him into some trap waiting for him between the
Muir and the sea.
James did not give his brother any details of his projected flight; he
merely bade him an indefinite good-bye. The game was up–even he was
obliged to admit that–and Ferrier, whose ardent spirit had been one
with his own since the beginning of all things, was already making for
a fishing village, from which he hoped to be smuggled out upon the
high seas. Nothing further could be gained in Angus for the Stuart
cause. The friends had spent themselves since April in their
endeavours to resuscitate the feeling in the country, but there was no
more money to be raised, no more men to be collected. They told
themselves that all they could do now was to wait in the hope of a day
when their services might be needed again. That day would find them
both ready, if they were above ground.
David knew that, had James been in Scotland, he would not have dared
to think of bringing Christian Flemington to Balnillo.
He had a feeling of adventure when he started from his own door for
Ardguys. The slight awe with which Christian still inspired him, even
when she was most gracious, was beginning to foreshadow itself, and he
knew that his bones would be mighty stiff on the morrow; there was no
riding of the circuit now to keep him in practice in the saddle. But
he was not going to give way to silly apprehensions, unsuited to his
age and position; he would give himself every chance in the way of
effect. The servant who rode after him carried a handsome riding-suit
for his master to don at Forfar before making the last stage of his
road. It grieved Balnillo to think how much of the elegance of his
well-turned legs must be unrevealed by his high boots. He was a
personable old gentleman, and his grey cob was worthy of carrying an
eligible wooer. He reached Ardguys, and dismounted under its walls on
the following afternoon.
He had sent no word in front of him. Christian rose when he was
ushered into her presence, and laid down the book in her hand,
“You are as unexpected as an earthquake,” she exclaimed, as she saw
who was her visitor.
“But not as unwelcome?” said David.
“Far from it. Sit down, my lord. I had begun to forget that
civilization existed, and now I am reminded of it.”
He bowed, delighted.
A few messages and compliments, a letter or two despatched by hand,
had been their only communications since the judge left Edinburgh, and
his spirits rose as he found that she seemed really pleased to see
“And what has brought you?” asked Christian, settling herself with the
luxurious deliberation of a cat into the large chair from which she
had risen. “Something good, certainly.”
“The simple desire to see you, ma’am. Could anything be better?”
It was an excellent opening; but he had never, even in his youth, been
a man who ran full tilt upon anything. He had scarcely ever before
made so direct a speech.
She smiled, amused. There had been plenty of time for thought in her
solitude; but, though she had thought a good deal about him, she had
not a suspicion of his errand. She saw people purely in relation to
the uses she had for them, and, officially, she had pronounced him
harmless to the party in whose interests she had kept him at her side.
The circumstances were not those which further sentiment.
“I have spent this quiet time in remembering your kindnesses to me,”
he began, inspired by her smile.
“You call it a quiet time?” she interrupted. “I had not looked on it
in that way. Quiet for us, perhaps, but not for the country.”
“True, true,” said he, in the far-away tone in which some people seek
to let unprofitable subjects melt.
Now that the active part of the rebellion had become history, she had
no hesitation in speaking out from her solid place on the winning
“This wretched struggle is over, and we may be plain with one another,
Lord Balnillo,” she continued. “You, at least, have had much to alarm
“I have been a peaceful servant of law and order all my life,” said
he, “and as such I have conceived it my place to stand aloof. It has
been my duty to restrain violence of all kinds.”
“But you have not restrained your belongings,” she observed boldly.
He was so much taken aback that he said nothing.
“Well, my lord, it is one of my regrets that I have never seen Captain
Logie. At least you have to be proud of a gallant man,” she went on,
with the same impulse that makes all humanity set a fallen child upon
But Balnillo had a genius for scrambling to his feet.
“My brother has left the country in safety,” he rejoined, with one of
those random flashes of sharpness that had stood him in such good
stead. His cunning was his guardian angel; for he did not know what
she knew–namely, that Archie had left Fort Augustus in pursuit of
“Indeed?” she said, silenced.
She was terribly disappointed, but she hid her feelings in barefaced
The judge drew his chair closer. Here was another opening, and his
very nervousness pushed him towards it.
“Ma’am,” he began, clearing his throat, “I shall not despair of
presenting James to you. When the country is settled–if–in
“I imagine that Captain Logie will hardly trust himself in Scotland
either in my lifetime or in yours. We are old, you and I,” she added,
the bitterness of her disappointment surging through her words.
She watched him to see whether this barbed truth pierced him; it
pierced herself as she hurled it.
“Maybe,” said he; “but age has not kept me from the business I have
come upon. I have come to put a very particular matter before you.”
She was still unsuspicious, but she grew impatient. He had wearied her
often in Edinburgh with tedious histories of himself, and she had
endured them then for reasons of policy; but she felt no need of doing
so here. It was borne in upon her, as it has been borne in upon many
of us, that a person who is acceptable in town may be unendurable in
the country. She had not thought of that as she welcomed him.
“Ma’am,” he went on, intent on nothing but his affair, “I may surprise
you–I trust I shall not offend you. At least you will approve the
feelings of devotion, of respect, of admiration which have brought me
here. I have an ancient name, I have sufficient means–I am not
ill-looking, I believe—-”
“Are you making me a proposal, my lord?”
She spoke with an accent of derision; the sting of it was sharp in her
“There is no place for ridicule, ma’am. I see nothing unsuitable in my
great regard for you.”
He spoke with real dignity.
She had not suspected him of having any, personally, and she had
forgotten that an inherited stock of it was behind him. The rebuke
astonished her so much that she scarcely knew what reply to make.
“As I said, I believe I am not ill-looking,” he repeated, with an air
that lost him his advantage. “I can offer you such a position as you
have a right to expect.”
“You also offer me a brother-in-law whose destination may be the
scaffold,” she said brutally; “do not forget that.”
This was not to be denied, and for a moment he was put out. But it was
on these occasions that he shone.
“Let us dismiss family matters from our minds and think only of
ourselves,” said he; “my brother is an outlaw, and as such is
unacceptable to you, and your grandson has every reason to be ashamed
to meet me. We can set these disadvantages, one against the other, and
agree to ignore them.”
“I am not disposed to ignore Archie,” said she.
“Well, ma’am, neither am I. I hope I am a large-minded man–indeed, no
one can sit on the bench for the time that I have sat on it and not
realize the frailty of all creatures—-”
“My lord—-” began Christian.
But it is something to have learned continuance of speech
professionally, and Balnillo was launched; also his own magnanimous
attitude had taken his fancy.
“I will remember nothing against him,” said he. “I will forget his
treatment of my hospitality, and the discreditable uses to which he
put my roof.”
“Sir!” broke in Christian.
“I will remember that, according to his lights, he was in the exercise
of his duty. Whatsoever may be my opinion of the profession to which
he was compelled, I will thrust it behind me with the things best
“That is enough, Lord Balnillo,” cried Madam Flemington, rising.
“Sit, madam, sit. Do not disturb yourself! Understand me, that I will
allow every leniency. I will make every excuse! I will dwell, not on
the fact that he was a spy, but on his enviable relationship to
She stood in the middle of the room, threatening him with her eyes.
Some people tremble when roused to the pitch of anger that she had
reached; some gesticulate; Christian was still.
He had risen too.
“If you suppose that I could connect myself with a disloyal house you
are much mistaken,” she said, controlling herself with an effort. “I
have no quarrel with your name, Lord Balnillo; it is old enough. My
quarrel is with the treason in which it has been dipped. But I am very
well content with my own. Since I have borne it, I have kept it clean
from any taint of rebellion.”
“But I have been a peaceful man,” he protested. “As I told you, the
law has been my profession. I have raised a hand against no one.”
“Do you think I do not know you?” exclaimed she. “Do you suppose that
my ears were shut in the winter, and that I heard nothing in all the
months I spent in Edinburgh? What of that, Lord Balnillo?”
“You made no objection to me then, ma’am. I was made happy by being of
service to you.”
She laughed scornfully.
“Let us be done with this,” she said. “You have offered yourself to me
and I refuse the offer. I will add my thanks.”
The last words were a masterpiece of insolent civility.
A gilt-framed glass hung on the wall, one of the possessions that she
had brought with her from France. David suddenly caught sight of his
own head reflected in it above the lace cravat for which he had paid
so much; the spectacle gathered up his recollections and his present
mortification, and fused them into one stab of hurt vanity.
“I see that you can make no further use of me,” he said.
He walked out of the room. At the door he turned and bowed.
“If you will allow me, I will call for my horse myself,” said he.
He went out of the house and she stood where she was, thinking of what
he had told her about his brother; she had set her heart upon Archie’s
success in taking Logie, and now the man had left the country and his
chance was gone. The proposal to which she had just listened did not
matter to her one way or the other, though he had offended her by the
attitude he took up when making it. He was unimportant. It was of
Archie that she thought as she watched the judge and his servant ride
away between the ash-trees. They were crossing the Kilpie burn when
her maid came in, bringing a letter. The writing on it was strange to
“Who has brought this?” she asked as she opened it.
“Just a callant,” replied the girl.
She read the letter, which was short. It was signed ‘R. Callandar,
Captain,’ and was written at Archie Flemington’s request to tell her
that he was under arrest at Brechin on a charge of conspiring with the
The writer added a sentence, unknown, as he explained, to Flemington.
“The matter is serious,” he wrote, “the Duke of Cumberland is still in
Edinburgh. It might be well if you could see him. Make no delay, as we
await his orders.”
She stood, turning cold, her eyes fixed on the maid.
“Eh–losh, mem!” whimpered Mysie, approaching her with her hands
Madam Flemington felt as though her brain refused to work. There
seemed to be nothing to drive it forward. The world stood still. The
walls, an imprisoning horror, shut her in from all movement, all
action, when action was needed. She had never felt Ardguys to be so
desperately far from the reach of humanity, herself so much cut off
from it, as now. And yet she must act. Her nearest channel of
communication was the judge, riding away.
“Fool!” she cried, seizing Mysie, “run–run! Send the boy after Lord
Balnillo. Tell him to run!”
The maid hesitated, staring at the pallor of her mistress’s face.
“Eh, but, mem–sit you down!” she wailed.
Christian thrust her from her path as though she had been a piece of
furniture, and swept into the hall. A barefooted youth was outside by
the door. He stared at her, as Mysie had done. She took him by the
“Run! Go instantly after those horses! That is Lord Balnillo!” she
cried, pointing to the riders, who were mounting the rise beyond the
burn. “Tell him to return at once. Tell him he must come back!”
He shook off her grip and ran. He was a corner-boy from Brechin and he
had a taste for sensation.
Madam Flemington went back into her room. Mysie followed her,
whimpering still, and she pushed her outside and sank down in her
large chair. She could not watch the window, for fear of going mad.
She sat still and steady until she heard the thud of bare feet on the
stone steps, and then she hurried out.
“He tell’t me he wadna bide,” said the corner-boy breathlessly. “He
was vera well obliged to ye, he bad’ me say, but he wadna bide.”
Christian left him and shut herself into the room, alone. Callandar’s
bald lines had overpowered her completely, leaving no place in her
brain for anything else. But now she saw her message from Lord
Balnillo’s point of view, and anger and contempt flamed up again, even
in the midst of her trouble.
“The vanity of men! Ah, God, the vanity of men!” she cried, throwing
out her hands, as though to put the whole race of them from her.
CALLANDAR watched his corporal riding away from the confines of the
wood. His eyes followed the horse as it disappeared into hollows and
threaded its way among lumps of rock. He stood for some time looking
out over the landscape, now growing cold with the loss of the sun, his
mind full of Flemington. Then he turned back with a sigh to retrace
his way. His original intention in bringing Wattie up the hill came
back to him, and he remembered that he had yet to discover whether he
could identify the red-bearded man. It was at this moment that the
fusillade from his halting-place burst upon him. He stopped,
listening, then ran forward into the wood, the map from which he had
been directing the corporal clutched in his hand.
He had gone some distance with the soldier, so he only reached the
place when the quick disaster was over to hear the hoof-beats of the
escaping horses dying out as they galloped down Huntly Hill. The smoke
of the firearms hung below the branches like a grey canopy, giving the
unreality of a vision to the spectacle before him. He could not see
the beggar’s body, but the overturned cart was in full view, a
ridiculous object, with its wooden wheels raised, as though in
protest, to the sky. He looked in vain for a sign of his third man,
and at the sight of the uniform upon the two dead figures lying on the
ground he understood that he was alone. Of the three private soldiers
who had followed him down Glen Esk there was not one left with him.
Archie, the traitor, was gone, and only the red-bearded man remained.
He could see him in the group that was watching James Logie as he
captured the struggling dog.
Callandar ground his teeth; then he dropped on one knee and
contemplated the sight from behind the great circle of roots and earth
that a fallen tree had torn from the sod. Of all men living he was one
of the last who might be called a coward, but neither was he one of
those hot-heads who will plunge, to their own undoing and to that of
other people, into needless disaster. He would have gone grimly into
the hornet’s nest before him, pistol in hand, leaving heaven to take
care of the result, had the smallest advantage to his king and country
been attainable thereby. His own death or capture would do no more
than prevent him from carrying news of what had happened to
headquarters, and he decided, with the promptness hidden behind his
taciturn demeanour, that his nearest duty was to identify James Logie,
if he were present. Callandar’s duty was the only thing that he always
From his shelter he marked the two Jacobite officers, and, as he knew
Ferrier very well from description, he soon made out the man he
wanted. James was changed since the time when he had first come across
Archie’s path. His clothes were worn and stained, and the life of
wandering and concealment that he had led since he parted from the
Prince had set its mark on him. He had slept in as many strange places
of late as had the dead beggar at his feet; anxious watching and lack
of food and rest were levelling the outward man to something more
primitive and haggard than the gallant-looking gentleman of the days
before Culloden, yet there remained to him the atmosphere that could
never be obliterated, the personality that he could never lose until
the earth should lie on him. He was no better clothed than those who
surrounded him, but his pre-eminence was plain. The watcher devoured
him with his eyes as he turned from his comrades, carrying the dog.
As soon as he was out of sight, the rebels scattered quietly, and
Callandar crouched lower, praying fortune to prevent anyone from
passing his retreat. None approached him, and he was left with the
three dead men in possession of the wood.
He rose and looked at his silent comrades. It would be useless to
follow Logie, because, with so many of his companions dispersing at
this moment about the fringes of the Muir of Pert, he could hardly
hope to do so unobserved. There would be no chance of getting to close
quarters with him, which was Callandar’s chief desire, for the mere
suspicion of a hostile presence would only make James shift his
hiding-place before the gathering troops could draw their cordon round
him. He abandoned the idea with regret, telling himself that he must
make a great effort to get to Brechin and to return with a mounted
force in time to take action in the morning. The success of his ambush
and his ignorance that he had been watched would keep Logie quiet for
He decided to take the only road that he knew, the one by which
Flemington had left him. The upper one entangled itself in the Muir,
and might lead him into some conclave of the enemy. He began to
descend in the shadows of the coming darkness that was drawing itself
like an insidious net over the spacious land. He had almost reached
the road, when a moving object not far from him made him stop. A man
was hurrying up the hill some little way to his right, treading
swiftly along, and, though his head was turned from Callandar, and he
was not near enough for him to distinguish his features, the sling
across his shoulder told him that it was Flemington.
Callandar stood still, staring after him. Archie’s boldness took away
his breath. Here he was, returning on his tracks, and if he kept his
direction, he would have to pass within a few hundred yards of the
spot on which he knew that the companions he had left would be halted;
Callandar had pointed out the place to him as they approached the hill
Archie took a wider sweep as he neared the wood, and the soldier,
standing in the shadow of a rowan-tree, whose berries were already
beginning to colour for autumn, saw that he was making for the Muir,
and knew that the beggar was justified. One thing only could be
bringing him back. He had come, as Wattie had predicted, to warn
He had spoken wisdom, that dead vagabond, lying silent for ever among
the trees; he had assured him that Flemington would not suffer him to
take Logie. He knew him, and he had laughed at the idea of his wounded
arm turning him out of his road. “It’s no the like o’ that that gars
the like o’ him greet,” he had said; and he was right. Callandar,
watching the definite course of the figure through the dusk, was sure
that he was taking the simplest line to a retreat whose exact position
he knew. He turned and followed, running from cover to cover, his
former errand abandoned. It was strange that, in spite of all, a vague
gladness was in his heart, as he thought that Archie was not the soft
creature that he had pretended to be. There were generous things in
Callandar. Then his generous impulse turned back on him in bitterness,
for it occurred to him that Archie had been aware of what lay waiting
for them, and had saved himself from possible accident in time.
They went on till they reached the border of the Muir, Flemington
going as unconcernedly as if he were walking in the streets of
Brechin, though he kept wide of the spot on which he believed the
riders to have disposed themselves for the night. There was no one who
knew him in that part of the country, and he wore no uniform to make
him conspicuous in the eyes of any chance passer in this lonely
neighbourhood. As Callandar emerged from the straggling growth at the
Muir’s edge, he saw him still in front going through the deep
thickness of the heather.
Callandar wished that he knew how far the Muir extended, and exactly
what lay on its farther side. His map was thrust into his coat, but it
was now far too dark for him to make use of it; the tall figure was
only just visible, and he redoubled his pace, gaining a little on it.
A small stationary light shone ahead, evidently the window of some
muirland hovel. There is nothing so difficult to decide as the
distance of a light at night, but he guessed that it was the goal
towards which Archie was leading. He went forward, till the young
man’s voice hailing someone and the sound of knocking made him stop
and throw himself down in the heather. He thought he heard a door
shut. When all had been quiet for a minute he rose up, and,
approaching the house, took up his stand not a dozen yards from the
Perplexity came on him. He had been surprisingly successful in
pursuing Flemington unnoticed as far as this hovel, but he had yet to
find out who was inside it. Perhaps the person he had heard speaking
was Logie, but equally perhaps not. There was no sound of voices
within, though he heard movements; he dared not approach the
uncurtained window to look in, for the person whose step he heard was
evidently standing close to it. He would wait, listening for that
person to move away, and then would try his luck. He had spent perhaps
ten minutes thus occupied when, without a warning sound, the door
opened and Archie stood on the threshold, as still as though he were
made of marble. It was too dark for either man to see more than the
other’s blurred outline.
Flemington looked out into the night.
“Come in, Callandar!” he called. “You are the very man I want!”
The soldier’s astonishment was such that his feet seemed frozen to the
ground. He did not stir.
“Come!” cried Archie. “You have followed me so far that you surely
will not turn back at the last step. I need you urgently, man. Come
He held the door open.
Callandar entered, pushing past him, and found himself in a low, small
room, wretchedly furnished, with another at the back opening out of
it. Both were empty, and the light he had seen was standing on the
“There is no one here!” he exclaimed.
“No,” said Flemington.
“Where is the man you were speaking to?”
“He is gone. The ill-mannered rogue would not wait to receive you.”
“It was that rebel! It was Captain Logie!” cried Callandar.
“It was not Logie; you may take my word for that,” replied Archie. He
sat down on the edge of the table and crossed his legs. “Try again,
Callandar,” he said lightly.
Callandar’s lips were drawn into an even line, but they were shaking.
The mortification of finding that Archie had been aware of his
presence, had pursued his way unconcerned, knowing that he followed,
had called him in as a man calls the serving-man he has left outside,
was hot in him. No wonder his own concealment had seemed so easy.
“You have sent him to warn Logie–that is what you have done!” he
cried. “You are a scoundrel–I know that!”
He stepped up to him, and would have laid hold of his collar, but the
sling stopped him.
“I have. Callandar, you are a genius.”
As the other stood before him, speechless, Flemington rose up.
“You have got to arrest me,” he said; “that is why I called you in. I
might have run out by the back of the house, like the man who is gone,
who went with my message almost before the door was shut. Look! I have
only one serviceable arm and no sword. I left it where I left my
horse. And here is my pistol; I will lay it on the table, so you will
have no trouble in taking me prisoner. You have not had your stalking
for nothing, after all, you mighty hunter before the Lord!”
“You mean to give yourself up–you, who have taken so much care to
“I have meant to ever since I saw you under the rowan-tree watching
me, flattened against the trunk like a squirrel. I would as soon be
your prisoner as anyone else’s–sooner, I think.”
“I cannot understand you!” exclaimed Callandar, taking possession of
the weapon Archie had laid down.
“It is hard enough to understand oneself, but I do at last,” said the
other. “Once I thought life easy, but mine has been mighty difficult
lately. From here on it will be quite simple. And there will not be
much more of it, I fancy.”
“You are right there,” said Callandar grimly.
“I can see straight before me now. I tell you life has grown simple.”
“You lied at the cross roads.”
“I did. How you looked after me as I went! Well, I have done what I
suppose no one has ever done before: I have threatened to report you
for neglecting your duty.” He threw back his head and laughed. “And I
am obliged to tell you to arrest me now. O Callandar, who will correct
your backslidings when there is an end of me?”
The other did not smile as he looked at Flemington’s laughing eyes,
soft and sparkling under the downward curve of his brows. Through his
anger, the pity of it all was smiting him, though he was so little
given to sentiment. Perhaps Archie’s charm had told on him all the
time they had been together, though he had never decided whether he
liked him or not. And he looked so young when he laughed.
“What have you done?” he cried, pacing suddenly up and down the little
room. “You have run on destruction, Flemington; you have thrown your
life away. Why have you done this–you?”
“If a thing is worthless, there is nothing to do but throw it away.”
Callandar watched him with pain in his eyes.
“What made you suspect me?” asked Archie. “You can tell me anything
now. There is only one end to this business. It will be the making of
“Pshaw!” exclaimed the other, turning away.
“Why did you follow me?” continued Archie.
Callandar was silent.
“Tell me this,” he said at last: “What makes you give yourself up now,
without a struggle or a protest, when little more than two hours ago
you ran from what you knew was to come, there, at the foot of the
hill? Surely your friends would have spared _you!_”
“Now it is I who do not understand you,” said Archie.
His companion stood in front of him, searching his face.
“Flemington, are you lying? On your soul, are you lying?”
“Of what use are lies to me now?” exclaimed Archie impatiently. “Truth
is a great luxury; believe me, I enjoy it.”
“You knew nothing of what was waiting for us at the top of Huntly
“Nothing, as I live,” said Archie.
“The beggar betrayed you,” said Callandar. “When you were gone he told
me that you were in Logie’s pay–that you would warn him. He was
“I am not in Logie’s pay–I never was,” broke in Archie.
“I did not know what to think,” the soldier went on; “but I took him
up Huntly Hill with me, and when we had unsaddled, and the men were
lying under the trees, I sent the corporal to Brechin with the
information. I went with him to the edge of the wood, and when I came
back there was not a man left alive. Logie and Ferrier were there with
a horde of their rebels. They had come to rescue the prisoner, and he
“Then he _was_ Ferrier’s cousin!” exclaimed Flemington. “We were
“One of my men escaped,” continued Callandar, “or I suppose so, for he
was gone. The beggar and the other two were killed, and the horses had
“So Wattie is dead,” mused Flemington. “Gad, what a voice has gone
“They did not see me, but I watched them; I saw him–Logie–he went
off quickly, and he took one of the beggar’s dogs with him, snarling
and struggling, with his head smothered in his coat. Then I went down
the hill, meaning to make for Brechin, and I saw you coming back. I
knew what you were about, thanks to that beggar.”
Neither spoke for a minute. Archie was still sitting on the table. He
had been looking on the ground, and he raised his eyes to his
Something stirred in him, perhaps at the thought of how he stood with
fate. He was not given to thinking about himself, but he might well do
“Callandar,” he said, “I dare say you don’t like me—-” Then he broke
off, laughing. “How absurd!” he exclaimed. “Of course you hate me; it
is only right you should. But perhaps you will understand–I think you
will, if you will listen. I was thrown against Logie–no matter
how–but, unknowing what he did, he put his safety in my hands. He did
more. I had played upon his sympathy, and in the generosity of his
heart he came to my help as one true man might do to another. I was
not a true man, but he did not know that; he knew nothing of me but
that I stood in need, and he believed I was as honest as himself. He
thought I was with his own cause. That was what I wished him to
believe–had almost told him.”
Callandar listened, the lines of his long face set.
“I had watched him and hunted him,” continued Archie, “and my
information against him was already in the beggar’s hands, on its way
to its mark. I could not bring myself to do more against him then.
What I did afterwards was done without mention of his name. You see,
Callandar, I have been true to nobody.”
He paused, waiting for comment, but the other made none.
“After that I went to Edinburgh,” he continued, “and he joined the
Prince. Then I went north with Cumberland. I was freed from my
difficulty until they sent me here to take him. The Duke gave me my
orders himself, and I had to go. That ride with you was hell,
Callandar, and when we met the beggar to-day I had to make my choice.
That was the turning-point for me. I could not go on.”
“He said it was not your wound that turned you aside.”
“He was a shrewd rascal,” said Flemington. “I wish I could tell how he
knew so much about me.”
“It was your own tongue: once you spent the night in a barn together
when you were light-headed from a blow, and you spoke all night of
Logie. You said enough to put him on your track. That is what he told
me as we went up Huntly Hill.”
Archie shrugged his shoulders and rose up.
“Now, what are you going to do?” he said.
“I am going to take you to Brechin.”
“Come, then,” said Archie, “we shall finish our journey together after
all. It has been a hard day. I am glad it is over.”
They went out together. As Callandar drew the door to behind them
Archie stood still.
“If I have dealt double with Logie, I will not do so with the king,”
said he. “This is the way out of my difficulty. Do you understand me,
The darkness hid the soldier’s face.
Perhaps of all the people who had played their part in the tangle of
destiny, character, circumstance, or whatsoever influences had brought
Flemington to the point at which he stood, he was the one who
understood him best.