« НазадПродовжити »
When they reached this point, Donald, who had made Miss Saint Osyth understand his object, retreated behind the tall yew hedge of the rectory lawn, while Louisa and her attendant entered.
On the lawn were the Rector and Walter Nugent trying to console the Rector. Their backs were toward the wicket gate. Louisa tripped softly over the turf, and when within a yard exclaimed,
“Uncle, I am quite safe.”
The Rector, not a strong man, was quite overcome by delight and surprise.
“Where have you been, my dearest Louisa ?” he cried.
“The story is long, and rather amusing," she said. “I will tell it presently, my dear uncle.”
Then, turning to Nugent, as if she had not before noticed his presence, she made him a coquettish curtsey, and said,
“Good morning, Mr. Nugent. This young
person has been in your service, I believe, and thinks of entering mine. Can you give her a character?”
Nugent, white to the lips with anger and amazement, spoke not. The puzzled Rector said,
“Mr. Nugent has been so very kind, Louisa.”
“I don't doubt it, uncle,” she said. “Your panther, Mr. Nugent, will be a splendid specimen when stuffed. Good morning.”
She took the Rector's arm, and they went in together.
ISLAND AND VILLAGE.
“When truth from falsehood carefully we winnow,
There is no difficulty in averring-
Around an island there's a pond of herring :
AWAY to his island fled Walter Nugent, 11 by the shortest and most furtive tracks reaching the place where his yacht was moored. Yet went he not unperceived. The Highlander, Donald, had kept quiet behind the yew hedge for reasons of his own. He was resolved not to let this man, whom he had always believed a rascal, go unpunished. It was contrary to his Highland notions of honour
to betray the worst of criminals to the police. He was rather a believer in
“The good old rule, the simple plan, That they should take who have the power,
And they should keep who can.”
Nugent's wild habits had made him swift of movement and cunning to escape; but Donald was fleet as a roebuck, and had the keen eye of the Scottish moors. Knowing the point where the marauder's boat would be moored, from long nocturnal practice with the bagpipes on the beach of Mount St. Nicholas, he took another line of country from the fugitive, keeping him in sight at short intervals. He could easily leap a five-barred gate or a quickset hedge, and so reached the shore, without turning a hair, a minute or two before Nugent, who was not at all pleased to see him there, though he knew nothing as yet of his connection with Louisa's escape.
The tiny yacht was at its wonted place. Nugent was in a hurry, and wanted no words with Donald, whom he thought a fool. It is usual for knaves to think men fools because they are not knaves.
“Where are you going, Master Walter ?” said Donald. “Maybe you'd take me for a sail.”
“I'm in a hurry just now,” said Nugent, disguising his ire.
“Scoundrels always are in a hurry," quoth Donald, taking him by the collar with irresistible grasp.
Walter Nugent had a pistol out in a moment, but was not quick enough for the Highlander, who struck his arm up so sharply that the pistol went yards into the sea. Then, holding Nugent in his giant grip, he searched his pockets for other arms, and threw far into the water everything he found on his person. Lastly, taking him by the neck and waistband, he hurled Nugent himself with a mighty swing far into the tide, exclaiming,