Page:Yule Logs.djvu/169

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153
THE BADGE OF THE FOURTH FOOT

its gleam fell upon the jewelled hilt of a Highland dirk. "You should recognise the weapon—as I do. It used to hang under the painted portrait of the Lady Belinda. It is the same weapon that Alan Leslie carried away with him on the eve of Culloden fight."

"I do not believe it!" cried Sir Donald excitedly. "My brother Alan never was down here. He did not know of the existence of such a place, any more than I did until this hour. For all that you say I do not believe but that my brother Alan died like a brave man on Culloden Moor, fighting, I thank God, for the King!"

Colonel Ossington silently shook his head and turned away, carrying the lantern with him to the foot of the stairs by which the three had entered the dungeon. Here he stood, holding the lantern so that its light shone only directly in front of him. He confronted Sir Donald and Colin, the while he put his hand into his breast pocket, and drew something forth which he held out for the old man's inspection.

"I found this on one of the upper stairs when I first entered," he said, holding the thing under the light. "It came off a soldier's regimental cap. It is the badge of the Fourth Foot. The man who wore it and who left it lying up there was a man whom I once called my friend; but whom I now know to have been a dishonourable spy, an unscrupulous traitor, an assassin and a fratricide. When Neil Leslie came down here faithfully to fulfil his father's instructions, he was dogged and followed by his brother. It was Alan Leslie who murdered him."

"Then where is Alan now?" interrupted Sir Donald. "Why did he never come home?"

"Because," answered the colonel, "when he came down here to kill his brother, he made the mistake of closing the trap-door behind him. He could not open it, he could not escape. He was imprisoned here with