No sooner, then, had he come forth than half his men were round him shouting that here was Ringan of the Raefoot, that the Master had been foully betrayed, and that he was lying sair wounded at a Priory not far off.
Ochilow! Cot save King Tchames!" A few paces behind this tattered herald strutted the champion, Rory Dhu Mhor, swinging his kilt, and like the wild stag of his native mountains, haughtily sniffing the breeze. At this sight, all the fierce old Border blood began to surge through Ringan Oliver's veins.
He that had lived so long a life in the pure fresh air of the Border, who had loved more to hear the lark sing than the mouse cheep, now languished in a foul, insanitary prison, and it was but the ghost of his former self that at the end of his long confinement crept away to pass the brief remainder of his days in a house in the Crosscauseway, Edinburgh. Auld Ringan Oliver died in 1736.
I'll watch for a while, and see that naebody meddles wi' the grave it's only saying the laird's forbade it then get my bit supper frae Ringan the poinder up by, and leave to sleep in his barn; and I'll slip out at night, and neer be mist." "Do so, mine goot Maister Edie, and I will meet you here on this very place, though all de spirits should moan and sneeze deir very brains out."
With her Grey was the courtly cavalier, ready with a neat phrase and a line from the poets. Donaldson and Shalah were unmoved; no woman could make any difference to their wilderness silence. The Frenchman Bertrand grew almost gay. She spoke to him in his own tongue, and he told her all about the little family he had left and his days in far-away France. But in Ringan was the oddest change.
"I dinna ken him, sir," said Scrape, "but have heard it said that the strange mysterious person that attended you, him that the maist part of folks countit uncanny, had gane awa wi' a Mr. Ringan o' Glasko last year, and had never returned."
On our first visit to Ringan at the land-locked Carolina harbour I had thought Shalah's pace killing, but that was but a saunter to what he now showed me. We seemed to be moving at right angles to the Indian march. Once out of the woods of the ridge, we crossed the meadows, mostly on our bellies, taking advantage of every howe and crinkle. I followed him as obediently as a child.
My spirits sank as I reflected that now we were cut off from the Tidewater. When the last man had gone we crawled back to the clump, now gloomy with the dusk of evening. I saw that Ringan was very weary, but Shalah, after stretching his long limbs, seemed fresh as ever. "Will you come with me, brother?" he said. "We must warn the Rappahannock." "Who are they?" I asked. "Cherokees.
"We hae many friens," said he, "in Edinburgh, and I am entrusted to warn them to the meeting, which is the end of my coming to the town; and maybe, Ringan Gilhaize, ye'll no objek yoursel to be there?" "I will be there, Quintin Fullarton," said I; "and in the strength of the Lord I will come armed, with a weapon of more might than the sword and more terrible than the ball that flieth unseen."
At the mouth of the ravine lay three dead Indians. The last of the six must have fled. Ringan had sheathed his blade, and was looking at me with a queer smile on his face. "Yon was a merry bout, Andrew," he said, and his voice sounded very far away. Then he swayed into my arms, and I saw that his vest was dark with blood. "What is it?" I cried in wild fear. "Are you hurt, Ringan?"
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