It would serve her right, the arrant flirt! But here he was interrupted by the entrance of a tall housemaid with his hot water. "I am afraid I've dispossessed Mr. Mr. Kilcraithie rather prematurely," said the consul lightly. To his infinite surprise the girl answered with grim decision, "Nane too soon." The consul stared.
"Ay," said the girl, but with no great confidence in her voice as she grimly quitted the room. "When our foot's upon our native heath, whether our name's Macgregor or Kilcraithie, it would seem that we must tread warily," mused the consul as he began to dress. "But I'm glad she didn't see that rose, or MY reputation would have been ruined." Here another knock at the door arrested him.
The party looked up quickly. Their faces were still flushed and agitated, but a new restraint seemed to come upon them on seeing him. "I thought I heard a row outside," said the consul explanatorily. They each looked at their host without speaking. "Oh, ay," said Macquoich, with simulated heartiness, "a bit fuss between the Kilcraithie and yon Frenchman; but they're baith goin' in the mornin'."
"No." "Perhaps you are more agreeably employed?" "At this exact moment, certainly." She cast a disdainful glance at him, crossed the hall, and followed Kilcraithie. "Hang me, if I understand it all!" mused the consul, by no means good-humoredly. "Does she think I have been spying upon her and her noble chieftain? But it's just as well that I didn't tell her anything." He turned to follow them.
'Twas all Kilcraithie could do to keep her from proposin' your health with Hieland honors, and offerin' to lead off with her ain foot on the table! Ay, and she'd ha' done it. And that's a braw rose she's been givin' ye and ye got out of it claverly wi' Lady Deeside."
He wondered if the gillie had been really looking for anything his master had left he had certainly TAKEN nothing. He opened one or two of the drawers, and found only a woman's tortoiseshell hairpin overlooked by the footman when he had emptied them for the consul's clothes. It had been probably forgotten by some fair and previous tenant to Kilcraithie.
At dinner she was too far removed for any conversation with him, although from his seat by his hostess he could plainly see her saucy profile midway up the table. But, to his surprise, her companion, Kilcraithie, did not seem to be responding to her gayety. By turns abstracted and feverish, his glances occasionally wandered towards the end of the table where the consul was sitting.
From his hostess, who had offered him a seat beside her, he gathered that M. Delfosse and Kilcraithie had each temporarily occupied his room, but that they had been transferred to the other wing, apart from the married couples and young ladies, because when they came upstairs from the billiard and card room late, they sometimes disturbed the fair occupants. No! there were no ghosts at Glenbogie.
This room, old man, was used as a sort of rendezvous, having two outlets, don't you see, when they couldn't get at the summer-house below. By Jove! they both had it in turns Kilcraithie and the Frenchman until Lady Macquoich got wind of something, swept them out, and put YOU in it." The consul rose and approached his friend with a grave face.
But the guests were already pairing off in dinner couples, and as they passed out of the room, he saw that she was on the arm of Kilcraithie. Yet, as she passed him, she audaciously turned her head, and in a mischievous affectation of jealous reproach, murmured: "So soon!"