Page:Yule Logs.djvu/145

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
129
THE BADGE OF THE FOURTH FOOT

you came to speak. I had even gone so far as to expect that you were about to pester me by telling me you had met him out there in America. I don't want to know anything concerning him, Colonel Ossington. He disgraced and ruined his family, and whether he be dead, as I hope, or alive, as I sometimes fear, he is no more to me than the most utter stranger."

"If I had met him in America," observed Colonel Ossington, "I should have no need to ask you what had become of him. I know nothing of him—nothing of what happened to him subsequent to the evening before Culloden fight."

"I assume that you were yourself in that fight," remarked Sir Donald.

"Yes," returned the colonel," I was then a young ensign. I served under Major James Wolfe in repelling the first attack of the Highlanders."

"Ah," mused Sir Donald; "then you would not come into conflict with Neil Leslie. He, I believe, remained studiously in the rear."

"Pardon me," corrected the colonel, "he was not on the field."

A blank yet somewhat haughty stare was the response to this unexpected contradiction. Sir Donald was evidently perplexed.

"I do not go so far as to declare that he was actually in the fight," said he. "But that he was somewhere on the fringe of the battle I am well assured. After the fight he fled with the defeated Highlanders, first to the Western Islands, and afterwards to France. Such at least is what my father believed concerning him—not that he went out of his way to make inquiries. You may be sure that he was in nowise anxious for the graceless scoundrel's safety. Indeed, if the truth must needs be told, Sir John was rejoiced to be rid of Neil at any cost."