Page:Yule Logs.djvu/131

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THE BADGE OF THE FOURTH FOOT


By ROBERT LEIGHTON


I


What a night! What a wild, wild night!"

Old Donald Leslie lifted his grizzled head, closed his book on his gnarled forefinger, and listened to the low deep soughing of the wind. As he spoke, a gust of smoke blew out into the room from the wide throat of the chimney; the flames of the burning logs on the open hearth leapt and crackled anew; the lights of the hanging cruse lamps flickered, and the grimy arras hangings over the doors and windows swung heavily to and fro and swelled out like the sails of a ship.

"Ay; it's from the north," muttered Elspeth Macdonald, as she crossed to one of the deep embayed windows and drew aside the curtain to peer out into the night. "It will be bringing snow with it. The clouds were banked up like great mountains in the north when I looked out in the forenoon, and the shepherd was telling me that he saw a white bonnet on Ben Bhuidhe as he came west over Culloden braes yestreen."

"Listen!" cried young Colin Leslie, releasing the cat from his knee and rising to his feet. "Did you not hear something, grandfather?"

"Well did I hear something," returned the old man. "I've heard it these two hours past. It's the wind howling in the vent."

"Nay, but it wasna the wind," pursued the boy. "It was——"