Page:Yule Logs.djvu/155

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139
THE BADGE OF THE FOURTH FOOT

treated, vanquished, and the Duke of Cumberland was pursuing his too terrible vengeance upon the innocent and the guilty alike, I searched among the wounded and the dead for my missing comrade, but nowhere could I find him. Afterwards, I came here. Your castle had been attacked and partly demolished by Hawley's dragoons. Sir John Leslie, I heard, had gone the night before with Charles Stuart to the house of Lord Lovat, to be present at a council of war. He afterwards escaped with the fugitives probably in company with his son Neil.

"Ay!" added Sir Donald; "and Neil, I'll be bound, did not neglect to carry off the gold with him, and use it for his own selfish purposes; for the Pretender never got the money. I'm thankful for that at least. That he should have it were worse even than that Neil should squander it." The old man began again to stride to and fro across the floor. "Neil was a villain!" he cried; "an ingrain villain and scoundrel. He ought to have been hanged with the rest of them! I could almost be content at the loss of the family fortunes if I might only know that the rascal had died an outlaw's death on the gallows. It was doubtless he who prevented Alan from getting back to his regiment that night."

Colonel Ossington meditated a few moments in silence.

"Yes," he said at length, "no doubt you are right. But in what way did he prevent him, Sir Donald? That is what I want most particularly to know."

"To my mind there is but one answer to that question," returned Sir Donald decisively. "My brother Alan was not in the battle, you say. If he had been alive I am certain he would not have shirked his duty. But I believe he was not alive, colonel; I believe that he was murdered, and murdered by his own brother, Neil Leslie. That also would tally with the fact that since that fatal night, Neil has never dared to show himself at his home."