"The light! the light!" demanded Sir Donald. "Hold it nearer, that I may see."
By the help of the lantern he made his way a few steps farther into the chamber. The yellow rays of light were cast into the low vault. On the floor of hewn rock were many little canvas bags, that were so rotten and mouldy that their sides had fallen away under the pressure of the golden guineas that they had contained. The gold glistened in the lantern light. With greedy outstretched hands, and with eyes staring wide with covetousness, Sir Donald leapt at the treasure. He plunged his fingers into the midst of the coins, lifting his filled hands, and letting the gold fall from them in a jingling shower.
"Wonderful!" he cried. "Ah! now I am rich—rich—rich! " He glanced behind him with shrinking, miserly fear. "It's mine—all mine!" he frenziedly exclaimed, and proceeded eagerly to fill his pockets.
Colonel Ossington lightly touched him on the shoulder.
"Remember, my friend, that the money is Jacobite money," said he. "It was meant for the Pretender, you know."
Sir Donald's coat-pockets were already full to overflowing.
"Meant for the Pretender?" he repeated. "Ah, but look! look!" he added, holding up one of the coins to the light, "every one of them bears the head of the King! No; do not go yet! Let me have the lantern."
"The money will not run away," remarked Colonel Ossington, passing on with the lantern. "You have found it, and may return when you will. And now, since we have solved the material part of the mystery, let us go further that you may understand its more human side."
He led the way, with Colin at his side, and the grandfather was perforce obliged to follow."There is something here that you must see," said the colonel, as, having turned a sharp angle in the passage,