The soldier bent his head courteously.
"Not farther than Inverness," was his response. He spoke in a distinctly English tone of voice, which Sir Donald at once detected.
"You are from the South?" he questioned. And then, before before the stranger had time to answer, he added, "Colonel Ottington, I think my housekeeper told me, is your name?"
"Ossington," corrected the stranger, seating himself and holding his long, delicate hands in front of the fire. "Colonel Ossington, late of the King's 17th Light Dragoons. I am newly returned from Canada." He glanced at his host as he spoke, and after a slight pause continued, wrinkling his face into a half smile, "You do not appear to know me, sir? Am I not addressing Mr. Alan Leslie—Alan Leslie, once of the 20th Foot?"
There was a moment or two of silence, broken only by the deep-throated growling of the wind in the chimney-vent. Colin Leslie, who had retired to a shadowed corner of the ingle-nook, looked at his grandfather, wondering at his hesitation.
"My name is Donald Leslie," came at last the gloomy reply. "I am a brother of Alan Leslie, and the eldest son of Sir John Leslie, who died fifty years ago—fifty years almost to the very day."
Colonel Ossington meditatively nodded his head. "That would be in the year of Culloden, I think," said he. "He was for the young——" He checked himself.
"No," broke in Sir Donald vehemently. "He was certainly not for the young Pretender."
The colonel raised his eyebrows in apparent surprise, dropped his open hands upon his knees, and slowly rose to his feet.
"I had almost expected to hear you say the young Chevalier," he said, with a fuller frankness than he had