of War (or The Highlanders in Spain)
Chapter 16 - A Siege
'They must be somewhere
hereabout,' cried Cifuentes, with a horrible oath, speaking at intervals,
while he panted with exhaustion and fatigue. 'But where in the name of
Beelzebub can they have concealed themselves?
'They crossed the stream, I can swear,'
replied one fellow, while he loaded his musket. 'I saw them descend the
bank with my own eyes.'
'You could scarcely see them well with another
man's, Puerco Vadija; but there is no trace of them on the opposite bank.
One of the dogs is missing, too.'
'There it lies, floating among the rocks and
foam yonder,' replied a third ruffian.
'Ay, dead as Judas.'
'DemoniosI How can these cursed fiends have
they appear to be, certainly. They were but three in number, and a hundred
shots have missed them, while they have slain some of our best men.'
'By all the might of hell'. exclaimed Narvaez,
in a voice of bitter rage, 'they shall not escape us, if we once more gain
sight of them. To the gay bravo with the large black feathers I bear a
hatred that every drop of blood in his coward heart only can quench. To
think that they should escape us scatheless, after having slain so many!'
'Poor Julian Diaz!' said Vadija. 'A more jolly
monk was not in Estre-madura, where there are well-nigh six thousand of
the cord and cowl.'
'Dios! it maddens me!'
'And then the brave Lazarillo de Xeres de los
'How, Vadija! what of him?'
'I found him lying dead in the pathway,
stabbed twice in the heart:
'Hombres! Close round me, comrades ; we must
fall on some plan to seek vengeance. It is evident they have not crossed
the stream, we must have seen them had they done so; therefore they must
be close at hand, and------' The rest was lost in the clamour of the
others, who clustered round Cifuentes, each delivering his opinion, and
holding forth obstinately against those of his brother rogues, many more
of whom were coming straggling up from the rear, panting and almost
breathless with exertion. Meanwhile the three fugitives had thrown
themselves, wet as they were, upon the damp floor of the cavern, happy to
find rest and time to breathe with some regularity and composure.
From behind their screen of thick foliage,
Ronald heard all that passed, and watched with increasing interest the
picturesque appearance of the banditti, whom he could plainly discern in
the radiant moonlight, that shed its clear cold lustre through the dark
blue vault, where myriads of stars were twinkling. Meanwhile Iverach, who
had quite recovered from the dismay caused by his recent immersion, was
busily employed drying his wetted musket, and preparing for action by
fixing a new flint and reloading, rejoicing to find that his thick leather
pouch had kept his ball cartridges perfectly dry.
'Thanks to Santa Maria, we are safe, senors,'
said Pedro; 'they can never discover this cavern, which is so admirably
adapted for concealment. It was in ancient days the retreat of a holy
hermit who was drowned one dark night in the river below, but that came
of eating flesh upon a Friday, they say.'
'I wish we had gone to Majorga with your
brother Lazaro; this cursed adventure would then have been avoided. This
hole is very damp, and cold as the grave.'
'But then it is so secure, senor; and we can
defend it to the last, and sell our lives dearly should they attack us.'
Before Ronald could reply, 'Bah ! Lope Ordonez,' cried Narvaez, ' how
should they know of this concealed cavern which you say is up yonder? Are
they not British? and two of them belong to those savages that go with
their limbs bare.' 'The same guide that led them to the ruins of Santa
Lucia, might show them the cavern.'
'Right, Ordonez. I thought not that there was
so much wit in that empty calabash of thine.'
'They have a Spaniard with them,' said he whom
they named Vadija; 'I saw the moon reflected on his steel helmet.'
'A dragoon! Had he a plume of red horse-hair?'
'He had; but I think he has left the half or whole of it among the bushes
in his flight.'
'Caramba! then 'tis either Don Alvaro, or one of his rascally troop! I
shall have revenge for the night they made me spend in the Convento de San
Juan at Merida. We will search this cavern, and take a true Spanish
vengeance on whoever we find there. Look well to your knives and flints,
perceive,' said Ordonez, 'some alteration has taken place among the vines
which conceal the entrance. They are all broken and trodden down: I can
swear they were not so this morning.'
'Then there it is they are concealed. Tie up
the dogs ! bind them to the trees; cross the stream. Let whoever thirsts
for vengeance, follow me ! let whoever is concealed there tremble, for
their hour is come!' said Narvaez, concluding with one of those frightful
Spanish maledictions with which their conversation was so freely
interspersed. The reader may suppose with what feelings of excitement and
desperation the three weary fugitives beheld their remorseless pursuers
boldly cross the stream to storm their hiding-place. But perhaps Cifuentes
and his followers would have advanced less courageously, had they been
perfectly assured that those of whom they were in search were really so
close at hand.
Heaven, and our own caution, the ammunition is dry,' said Ronald; and the
sixty rounds we have among us will last until to-morrow, if we are sparing
and aim well. Let us fire on them as they cross the stream; 'tis neck or
nothing with us now. See that you make sure of your men. I will aim at
Cifuentes the scoundrel with the long feather and high-crowned hat.'
The three muskets at once flashed from the
dark cavern, the distant recesses of which echoed to the loud report,
while the sudden light filled its windings and craggy nooks, illuminating
them for an instant as a flash of lightning would have done. Three of the
banditti fell splashing in the middle of the stream, which bore them off
from the reach of their comrades, whom this unlooked-for volley had
stricken with dismay. Ronald missed Narvaez, owing to a sudden motion of
the latter; but severely wounded Puerco Vadija, who was behind him. Evan
and Pedro had both killed their men.
The wild shrieks and outcries of the drowning
robber, re-echoing among the windings of the stream, so greatly appalled
and terrified his brother rogues, that, instead of advancing to the
assault, they recrossed the stream, fled up the bank, and ensconced
themselves behind the rocks and trees, seeking shelter from the deadly aim
of their concealed enemies, and abandoning Vadija to his fate; but his
last drowning cry, as it came sweeping towards them on the night-wind,
found an echo in the heart of his slayer. From behind the covers where
they had posted themselves, a sharp fire was maintained on both sides for
some hours, without any damage being done. However, the three soldados had
the best of it in this bush-fighting sort of warfare, as they could aim
steadily at a head, or a leg, or an arm, the moment it appeared in view,
without exposing themselves in the slightest degree; while their opponents
took for their object of attack the large dark cluster of vines which
concealed the cavern's mouth, and leaden bullets innumerable came
whistling through the intertwined foliage, and were flattened against the
rocks, or sunk with a loud bang into the soft green turf near its
entrance. But Ronald and his friends escaped most miraculously, while the
shot hissed often within an inch of their ears, causing a peculiarly
unpleasant and tingling sensation within them, which must be experienced
to be comprehended properly.
'Dios mio, senors; my cartridges are nearly
expended. I have but six left,' cried the dragoon, shaking the little
cartridge-box which hung at his shoulder-belt.
'Heavens! I have fired my last shot,'
exclaimed Stuart, in reply, when, on putting his hand into Lazarillo's
canvas pouch, he found it empty. 'We can never hold out till some relief
comes. Evan, how stands your pouch?'
'Four charges, sir; deil a ane mair. We maun
defend this hole by the cauld airn when a' are gane.'
'Sta cease firing. Reserve the ten rounds,
to be used only in case of some pressing extremity,' said Ronald, first in
English, and then in Spanish.
'Exactly, senor; ten rounds are the lives of
ten men. Should the ladrones advance again, we will not fire until we are
well assured our fire will prove effective.'
'They are more numerous now than before,'
observed the officer, pushing aside the vines to view their foes. 'There
are a dozen more high-crowned sombreros among them; I see them plainly
above the rocks.'
'Santos! Oh, senor, allow
me to fire?' asked Pedro, slapping impatiently the butt of his carbine.
'See yonder fellow behind the chestnut; his whole body is visible. Do
allow me, noble senor? 'tis a fair chance.'
'Hold, my fiery sargento; we must be sparing
of what is left us The devil ! Draw back, man, or you will certainly be
At that moment
six muskets flashed from concealed places, and some of the balls grazed
the cone of Pedro's steel helmet, which the waning light of the moon had
revealed to them.
soon became apparent to the banditti that the ammunition of their
antagonists was expended, and their courage and insolence rose
accordingly. They showed their whole figures at times, and fired with
greater rapidity than before, shouting:
'Mncran los heregos! Muera, borrachos! fierros!
ladrones!' and many a loud and deep carajo, together with innumerable
other Spanish epithets and maledictions.
'Thank Heaven, day begins to break,' observed
Pedro Gomez, as a pale light in the east began to replace that of the
then get rid of these bawling rascals ; they will scarcely dare to besiege
us in open daylight.'
'I have my doubts as to what course they may
senor, in the present disorganized state of the country, our Spanish
robbers are bold enough to do anything. Throughout the whole land they are
numerous as the leaves of the forest, and keep up lines of regular
communication between one place and another. We may thank the French
invasion for such a state of things.'
'Why are such bands permitted to exist?.
'Exist, senor! Can shaven monks or lazy
alcaldes subdue them?'
'No; but armed soldiers may.'
'Lord Wellington does not meddle with them, as
they never assault his troops; and old Murillo's soldiers have always work
enough on hand without making war on the banditti.'
'But how do these fellows come to be so
numerous? Ah, curse that ball! a narrow escape.'
'Senor, war compels our peasantry to become
fierce and roving guerillas: from the guerilla to the bandit is an easy
rejoice that at home, in my own country, we have nothing of that kind to
experience. 'Tis perfect daylight now: the thieves are still on the watch.
I would they had retired, as I feel very much exhausted by fatigue and
want of sleep.'
two soldiers felt in the same predicament, and the reader may imagine the
comfort of being drenched by fording the deep stream, and then being
obliged to pass the night in a damp cavern without sleep or rest, after
the stirring events, exhaustion, and fatigue of the day, and the exposure
to the bullets of some twenty desperadoes for an entire night. Evan was
seized with a cold shivering, like a fit of the ague, and began to drop
asleep in spite of his strenuous efforts to keep himself awake.
Pedro produced his crucifix, and began to
mutter his morning orisons, mingling with them sundry invectives against
ladrones, and wishes for a cup of aguardiente to stimulate him to fresh
exertion. The fire of the besiegers had now ceased, and they contented
themselves with watching the spot as they sat among the rocks smoking
paper cigars, and fixing new flints to their pieces ; while coarse jokes
were mingled with the growls and curses of three or four that lay bleeding
under the shelter of a large block of granite rock, but untended and
uncared for by their comrades.
'The sun has risen,' said Ronald, as its
bright beams darted through openings in the vines. 'I will reconnoitre
round about, and perhaps I may discover some signs of our troops, if I can
see the road which leads to Merida.' He received no answer. The
mumble-jumble of Pedro's paternoster, and a prolonged snore from Iverach,
informed him that his companions in peril were not inclined for
conversation. Laying aside his bonnet, he crept close to the mouth of the
cave, and putting back the foliage softly, cast a careful and keen glance
around him. Their besiegers on the opposite bank of the stream were still
stationed as I have described them, and appeared evidently determined to
revenge the fall of their comrades by starving their slayers into a
capitulation. Behind them, and to the right rose the umbrageous foliage of
the cork-wood, intermingled with lofty chestnuts, stretching away in long
vistas until lost in gloom and obscurity. On the left the trees were more
scattered, and between the trunks he beheld the wide plain extending away
in the direction of Merida, its broad and level extent bounded by a blue
undulating ridge of far-off mountains, the line of which lay low down in
the distance, and formed the boundary of the horizon. The warm lustre of
the morning sun was shed joyously on the wide expanse, calling into life a
thousand birds and insects, and causing the wild flowers to raise their
dewy heads, and shake the moisture from their opening petals.
But throughout all the wide prospect which the
lofty situation of their retreat enabled him to command, not one human
being appeared no succour was in sight. Oh, how he longed to behold the
glitter of arms, the flash of burnished steel, through the dusty cloud
which announces afar off the march of armed men! And his heart beat with
redoubled velocity while he gazed upon the band of contemptible yet
dreaded ruffians, whom they had kept at bay the livelong night.
The report of a musket, the whiz and crack of
a ball, as it was flattened against the hard granite walls of the cavern,
made him suddenly withdraw his head ; and the loud shout of savage
derision and laughter which arose from those below caused his blood to
boil tumultuously, and his heart to swell with anger and impatience. He
soon found himself becoming a prey to weariness and exhaustion, owing to
the fatigue, excitement, and want of sleep which he had endured during the
last twenty-four hours, and it was with the utmost difficulty he refrained
from following Evan's example, and falling asleep. Often did Pedro Gomez
recommend him earnestly to do so, reminding him how much might yet have to
be endured, and promising to keep faithful watch and ward ; but Ronald
dared not trust him, fearing that he too might be overcome with
drowsiness, and leave them at the mercy of the banditti. Towards noon, to
their inexpressible satisfaction, the besiegers began to draw off by
degrees, as if wearied of the affair, and retired into the wood, leaving
the ford of the river free.
'Hio! our Lady del Pilar!'
cried Pedro exultingly. Viva/ senor; they have abandoned their post.
Should we get off scatheless, I vow most solemnly to visit the shrine of
our Lady of Majorga, and present her with three days' pay, and a new hat
of the best kind that Badajoz or Zafra can produce.'
'And should we not get off scatheless, Pedro?
said Ronald merrily, as he rose from the ground and stretched his limbs.
'Then not a maravedi shall she get from
Sargento Gomez, no, diavolo!'
Ronald laughed aloud at the Spaniard's ideas
of religious gratitude, and aroused his servant, who started up with
agility, grasping his musket, all alive in an instant to the recollection
of their situation.
'Gracious me, sir! I daur say I have slept. On sic an occasion as this to
tempt Providence wi'------'
'Never mind, Evan, my honest man ; all is
'Have abandoned their post and fled. We have nothing to do now but to
march off, and make the best of our way to some safe place. Had we
accepted the offer of the honest muleteer, we should have escaped a most
disagreeable night; but as the play says, "All is well that ends well.'"
'But dinna be ower rash, sir,' said Evan
cautiously, as he looked through the screen of vines, and surveyed the
ground with a sharp glance. 'Be weel assured that the caterans are gane
for guide and a',' he added, grasping his master's belt as he was about to
tell you they are so undoubtedly,' replied Ronald testily. 'You see there
is no trace of them now, and we had better depart from our uncomfortable
billet without further delay.'
'I beg your pardon, sir; but just bide a wee
bide a wee. What ca' ye that?'
While he spoke, the head of a man rose slowly
above one of the masses of granite overhanging the forest river, evidently
watching their place of concealment. The instant it appeared, Evan
levelled and fired his musket, and the black scowling visage of Narvaez
Cifuentes withdrew immediately.
'The scoundrels are only in ambush,' said
Ronald, in a fierce tone of disappointment. 'They are watching us still!'
'I do not believe, senor,' replied Pedro,
'that they would dare to hem us in thus, if the French were not in Merida.
The corregidor and alguazils of the city would have been upon them long
ere this time.'
not think so. Few pass this deserted place; and unless some of our troops,
when crossing the plain, are attracted towards us by the sound of our
arms, we have no other chance of friendly succour.'
'And if not, senor?'
'Then nothing is left us but to make one bold
dash for our liberty, or sell our lives as dearly as possible. Their
design is evidently to starve us out, the revengeful dogs!'
'The whole band are rising from their cover.
Santos ! had we left this cavern, what a fate would have been ours!
Cuidado, senor! Carajo! keep back.'
Scarcely had Pedro spoken, when the report of
twenty muskets awoke the echoes of the place, and enveloped the bank, the
stream, and the wood, in white volumes of curling smoke; and many of the
shots whistled into the cave, but luckily fell on the rocks, against which
they were flattened as broad as crown-pieces, leaving, wherever they
struck, a white round star marked upon the stone. Shot after shot was
fired at the place, but without better success. A sort of natural
breast-work of turf, running across the mouth of the den, completely
shielded the three fugitives from the dangerous and well-directed fire of
the outlaws, who continued this system of distant warfare for several
hours, until towards evening they again ceased entirely, but continued to
watch, although they did not dare to come to closer combat with their
opponents, the deadly accuracy of whose aim was a sufficient cause to
deter them from attempting to carry the cavern by storm.
'The rogues are indeed very determined,
senor,' said Pedro. 'I hope we shall not have to spend another night in
this dismal place, cowering and shivering like rats concealed in a drain.'
'I trust not; but when it grows darker, we
must make one desperate attempt to cut a way through them, or perish. I
trust to a running fight for setting us free of them.'
'Our Lady of Succour! would that the hour was
come! The holy father that dwelt here must have liked a damp couch better
than I do, demonio!'
'Doubtless he cheered himself with many a long horn of aguardiente, if
they had it in those days.'
'Ay, senor, and the place was often enlivened
by the presence of the peasant-girls of La Nava, who came hither for
confession. They are droll dogs, these solitary monks. Many a strange
story is current of the white-bearded Padre of San Bartolomi.'
'What, he who shows the sulphurous spring of
'Ay; he is
as arrant a knave as we have on this side the pass of Roncesvalles. But
the sun is setting now, senor caballero: I see the trees are casting long
shadows across the plain towards the eastward.'
'Haud ye awee, Pedro. As sure as I live, I
hear I hear the skirlin o' a bagpipe.'
'A pipe, Evan?' exclaimed Stuart, 'a pipe? I
trust it is not imagination! By all that's sacred I hear it too,' he
added, stooping his ear anxiously to listen. ''Tis playing what is the
of Cromdale."Oh, sir, I ken it weel,' replied the Highlander in a thick
voice, while his eyes began to glisten.
'Senor officiate,' said Pedro, who had been
reconnoitring through the vine-bushes, 'there are British troops moving on
the plain red uniforms at least'
'Highlanders! Highlanders!' replied Ronald,
exultingly, as he beheld a long way off a party of kilted soldiers
marching across the dusty plain. The setting sun was shining on the
polished barrels of their sloped arms, which flashed and gleamed between
the trunks of the trees at every step; even the ribands fluttering from
the drones on the piper's shoulder could be discerned, and the
heart-stirring strain he was blowing came floating towards them on the
troops are these? and where can they have come from? They march towards
Merida, and the French are there.'
'What regiment they belang to, sir, I dinna
care; let that flea stick to the wa'. But they are some o' oor ain folk,
that's certain. I see the braw feathered bonnet, the filledh-beg, and the
gartered hose. Oh, Maister Stuart! can we no fa' on some plan to win their
attention? They are fast leaving us behind; and it's an awfu' thocht to be
here. hunted in a hole like a yirded tod lowrie, and yet to see the tartan
in the sun, and hear the wild skirl of the piob mhor. O'd, sir! my birse
is getting up; I feel myself turning wild.'
'Stay, Evan. Unless you want a bullet to make
a button-hole in your skin, keep back! A man on horseback has met them:
they have halted.'
''Tis a pity the knaves cannot see them, senor. By the elevation of this
place, we command a farther view than the post which these rascals occupy
by the river-side.'
'They must have heard the sound of the pipe to which they marched.' 'I do
not think so; they would have fled had they heard it. Sound is said to
sir,' interrupted Evan, who continued to look through the vines, in spite
of one or two shots which were fired at him, 'I would fain ken if thae
chields are Gordon Highlanders or no. I think they belang to the old
forty-twa: they have some red feathers in their bonnets.'
'Red feathers? Not one; they are all black and
white: I see them distinctly; but whether they are the Ross-shire Buffs or
any of ours, I know not. They are certainly not 42nd men; their long
feathers are all white.'
'The gloaming's sae mirk and sae far advanced,
that I canna see very weel; and my een are sair wi' being in the gloom o'
this dismal den sae lang.'
'They are British troops; to what corps they
belong we need not care, as all are friends alike. They have piled their
arms. Surely they mean to bivouac there for the night. I pray to Heaven
let us do something to let them ken o' their friends that are here in
tribulation and jeopardy. Fire twa or three shots, just to draw them
one. We have but nine rounds left three each; and as our lives depend
upon them, they must be reserved for a grand attempt as soon as it is
dark. Besides, from the way the wind blows, they would never hear the
reports at such a distance. The clouds are fast gathering, and I see with
pleasure we shall have a very black night. We shall certainly escape them,
if we are courageous and discreet. What think you, Pedro Gomez?' he asked
course, senor caballero. And as you will scarcely know the way after it is
dark, if I have the honour to be again your guide, I will get you off
securely. Should I be shot a fate which our Lady of Succour avert! you
will find an easy ford some hundred yards down the stream. You may cross
it fearlessly, and gain safely the place where our friends are bivouacked
so quietly on the plain.'
'We shall scarcely find the spot in the dark,
even with your aid, Pedro. What marks the ford?'
'A stone cross, erected by the monks of San
Juan to guide travellers. During a storm, one of the brotherhood perished
when crossing the stream just below us here, and they marked the shallow
part by a stone, to avoid such accidents in future.'
'But think o' the sleuth-hounds, Maister
Ronald,' said Evan, who had been listening attentively to Pedro, and
endeavouring to comprehend his Spanish. 'I scunner at the very thocht of
them, after the douking that ane gied me in the burn below.'
'We must take our chance of these infernals.
But be cool and firm; the time is coming when we must have all our wits
conversation had often been interrupted by a stray bullet from the
besiegers, who lounged lazily on the opposite bank, smoking then-cigars,
tearing hard American bacallao with their teeth, and sucking the purple
wine from a huge pig-skin, which they had pierced in several places with
their knives, allowing it to stream on the greensward with a heedless
prodigality which showed how easily it had been come by. This employment
they varied by venting curses at each other, and at their obstinate
opponents, at whom they now and then sent a random shot : and on one
occasion a complete volley at Evan's bonnet, which, by way of bravado, he
had elevated to their view on the point of his bayonet. A storm of balls
whistled about it, and the young Gael laughed heartily at the joke.
'Your bonnet is riddled,' said Ronald, on
seeing the feathers nearly all shot away.
'Deil may care, sir! the king has mair bonnets
than this ane; and there's plenty ostrich feathers whar thae cam frae,'
replied he, hoisting it again through the vines; but the Spaniards did not
waste their ammunition upon it a second time.
The bivouac of their comrades, which they
watched with untiring eyes, and other distant objects, faded gradually
from their view as the increasing darkness of night deepened around them.
The sky grew black, as masses of dense and heavy clouds drifted slowly
across it; and the cold Spanish dews began to descend noiselessly on the
leaves, which, as the wind died away, hung motionless and still; and, save
the muttering voices of the outlaws, not a sound broke the stillness of
the lonely place but the hoarse brawl of the mountain torrent as it rushed
over its stony bed, from which the white foam glimmered through the
whispered Pedro, 'the night is perfectly dark just such as one would
wish for on such an occasion.'
'Then now is our time to sally,' was Ronald's
reply, as he grasped his musket, and slung his claymore on the brass hook
of his shoulder-belt, that it might not impede him. 'Now or never; follow
He pushed softly
aside the foliage, and issued from the cavern. They were enabled to see
objects with greater distinctness, owing to the pitchy darkness they had
endured in their retreat, where it was so dense that one could not discern
the face of the other. Enabled thus to see his way with greater accuracy,
Ronald descended the bank of the river in the direction of the stone
cross. The others followed with hasty and stealthy footsteps, and in a few
minutes they gained the rude column which marked the ford.
'We are safe, senor caballero!' exclaimed
Pedro, when they stood on the opposite side. 'Our Lady of Majorga shall
get the three days' pay, a hat of the best Zafra felt, and a pound of wax
candles to boot.'
'You are liberal to her ladyship. When are your presents to be given?
'The first time I pass her shrine,' laughed
the other, 'which may not be during he term of my natural life.'
'Yonder is the bivouac,' said Ronald, as they
scrambled hurriedly up the embankment; 'they have lit a fire. How very
close upon us it appears!'
'The plain is so level, that distance
deceives; but they are fully a quarter of a mile from us yet.'
'Hurrah!' cried Evan, overjoyed to find
himself safe. 'Tak' that, ye ill-faured loons! firing his musket in the
direction of their foes.
'Fool!' exclaimed Ronald angrily; 'how have
you dared to fire without my desiring you?
Evan's deprecating reply was cut short by a
shout from their baffled enemies, who, firing their pieces at random,
rushed hurriedly towards the ford, mingling their outcries with the yells
of their dogs. But the unexpected appearance of the large watch-fire
blazing on the plain, and the dusky forms of the soldiery crowding around
it, served completely to check their pursuit; and with many a hoarse
malediction and threat, after firing a volley in the direction where they
supposed the fugitives to be, they retired with precipitation into the
fastnesses of the cork-wood.
'What a cursed adventure we have had!'
exclaimed the officer, throwing away the pouch and musket of Lazarillo de
Zeres de los Cavalleros, when they halted to draw breath for a few
seconds. 'Evan Iverach, you are a rash fellow; by firing that useless
shot, we might all have lost our lives. It may also have alarmed the
troops yonder, and caused them to get under arms.'
'O'd sir, never mind; there's nae folk like
our ain folk,' replied his follower, capering gaily when the figures of
their countrymen, clad in the martial Scottish garb, became more distinct.
'Oh, how my heart loups at sicht o' the belted plaid, the braw filledh-beg,
and the bare legs o' our ain douce chields.'
'Wha gangs there?' shouted, close by, the
voice of an advanced sentry, the black outline of whose bonnet and gray
great-coat they saw looming through the gloom. 'Wha gangs there?'
'Friend,' replied Ronald.
'Friends, friends, hurrah!' cried his
follower, rushing upon the astonished sentry, and grasping him by the
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