THE BADGE OF THE FOURTH FOOT
appropriated to the accursed cause of the man whom he called his prince. Prince? A prince of rascals, a prince of gallows-birds; that is what I call the frog-eating reprobate that presumed to lay claim to the British throne. What did he do—this Charles Edward Stuart? He filled the silly heads of our men and women with his romantic tomfoolery; he turned all Scotland topsy-turvy and left it a miserable wreck of its former and better self——Don't look like that at me, Colin. I'm telling you nothing but the simple truth. And when you are a little older and get the hayseed out of your hair, you will know the wisdom of being loyal to your rightful king. There, I've lost my place in the book, now. Let me see; what page was I at?"
The door opened while the old man peevishly turned over the pages, and Elspeth Macdonald entered. There was an expression of anxious concern in her wrinkled face. She approached the master of Castle Leslie and mysteriously whispered into his ear.
Sir Donald gripped the wooden arm of his highbacked chair.
"Ossington?" he said questioningly, repeating the name that the housekeeper had announced. "Colonel Ossington? I know no such name. Who can the man be, think you, Elspeth?"
Elspeth shook her head.
"That's mair than I can tell," said she. "He just asked for the master as he stamped his snowy boots on the step. Then he took off his cloak and handed it to Geordie, as bold as you please, and bade me give you his name Colonel Ossington."
"Has he left his horse standing there?" questioned Sir Donald.
Elspeth crossed her hands in front of her, and holding up her head in high dignity, answered—
"No. The beast has been taken round to the stables."