Page:Yule Logs.djvu/144

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128
THE BADGE OF THE FOURTH FOOT

As they passed by the postern gate, Colin craned round and peered within. Seeing nothing but black darkness, he heaved a deep sigh of relief and walked boldly on, saying nothing until he had closed and barred the door behind him. Then, touching Colonel Ossington's arm, he said calmly—

"Please say nothing to grandfather about Neil's ghost, Colonel Ossington. It would only disturb him."


II


Sir Donald Leslie was engaged in preparing a bowl of hot whisky toddy, when his grandson and his guest rejoined him. He did not observe Colin's blanched face and wild, staring eyes. The boy strode to the fireplace and flung himself into his favourite seat in the corner, staring into the glowing red mass upon the hearth.

When the two men had filled and lighted their pipes, and were comfortably seated before the fire, each with a steaming glass of toddy within reach of him, Colonel Ossington abruptly resumed the conversation at the point where it had been broken off some fifteen minutes earlier.

"My present appearance here," he said, crossing his legs, "is connected with certain mysterious events which occurred at the time of my first visit to Castle Leslie on the fifteenth day of April 1746—that is to say, on the eve of the battle of Culloden." He paused an instant as if to arrange his thoughts. Then, leaning forward and fixing his keen grey eyes upon his host, he said in a tone of sharp inquiry: "Will you tell me what became of your brother, Neil Leslie?"

Sir Donald received the question with a lowering of the brows.

"Ah," said he, as he pressed his finger into the bowl of his tobacco-pipe, "I had guessed that it was of him