By ROBERT LEIGHTON
"What a night! What a wild, wild night!"
Old Donald Leslie lifted his grizzled head,
closed his book on his gnarled forefinger, and
listened to the low deep soughing of the wind. As he
spoke, a gust of smoke blew out into the room from the
wide throat of the chimney; the flames of the burning
logs on the open hearth leapt and crackled anew; the
lights of the hanging cruse lamps flickered, and the grimy
arras hangings over the doors and windows swung heavily
to and fro and swelled out like the sails of a ship.
"Ay; it's from the north," muttered Elspeth Macdonald,
as she crossed to one of the deep embayed windows and
drew aside the curtain to peer out into the night. "It
will be bringing snow with it. The clouds were banked
up like great mountains in the north when I looked out
in the forenoon, and the shepherd was telling me that he
saw a white bonnet on Ben Bhuidhe as he came west
over Culloden braes yestreen."
"Listen!" cried young Colin Leslie, releasing the cat
from his knee and rising to his feet. "Did you not hear
"Well did I hear something," returned the old man.
"I've heard it these two hours past. It's the wind howling
in the vent."
"Nay, but it wasna the wind," pursued the boy. "It
"Just hold your tongue, laddie, and let me get reading
my book," interrupted the grandfather petulantly. "You're
aye putting in your word. A body can do no reading
with such chatter for ever dinging in his ears."
"There it is again!" cried Colin, not heeding the old
man's complaint. "It was some one hammering at the
"Hoots, bairn. Who would be out travelling and
knocking at folk's doors on a night like this?"
Colin approached the hearth and leaned his arm against
the cheek of the chimney, staring into the glowing fire.
"It was some one on horseback," said he; "I heard the
horse's hoofs on the stones just before you said 'What a
night it is!'"
Sir Donald Leslie continued reading under the dim
light of the lamp that hung above his head. Presently
Elspeth Macdonald left the room on tiptoe, closing the
door behind her. Colin applied himself to casting a new
log upon the fire. Regardless of his grandfather, he
began to whistle the lightsome air of a certain Jacobite
song. Soon his whistling changed into the song itself
and he chanted, half under his breath, the words—
"Oh, Charlie is my darling,
My darling, my darling,
Charlie is my darling,
The young Chevalier."
Suddenly a fluttering book flew past his curly head.
"How dare you? How dare you sing that accursed
Jacobite song in my hearing?" cried his grandfather, red
with rage. "Have I not told you a hundred times that
I'll have none of your rebel rantings in my house?"
"I meant no harm, grandfather," said Colin, picking
up the book and placing it on the corner of the table near
the old man's elbow, "I was not thinking of the meaning
of the words."
"May-be not, may-be not," returned Sir Donald, as he
idly took up his book. Then, calming himself, he added
more softly, shaking his head the while: "Colin, you are
just the very reflection of my brother Neil. My father
had exactly the same trouble with him in the Forty-Five
that I have with you in these more peaceful days. You
try to persuade me that you have no real sympathy with
the wild adventurer you were now singing about. But
I'll be bound that if there were another rising (which
Heaven forfend!) you'd on with the kilt and be off with
another Stuart, just as Neil Leslie went off with the young
Pretender—luckless loon that he was. But I'll not have
it, look you. I'll have none of your Jacobite thoughts
here; no, not even so much as the whistling of their
Colin raised his eyes and glanced furtively at the old
claymore that was suspended over the door, crossed by a
rusty Lochaber axe. One might have seen by the sudden
gleam in his blue eyes that the lad had some lingering
sympathy with the romantic adventurer of whose lost
cause his grandfather had spoken so contemptuously.
"One rebel in the family has been quite enough, and
more than enough," went on Sir Donald. "But for Neil
Leslie we might now be living in comfort and luxury
instead of in poverty. We now feed upon porridge and
oaten bannocks instead of good wholesome beef and
venison; we drink weak milk instead of wine. Our
dwelling is a poor broken-down ruin instead of, as it once
was, a lordly castle fit for a king. Look at our lands;
they are wide, but they bear no harvest, for we cannot
afford to cultivate them. Our stables are empty; our
flocks have been reduced to a few skinny sheep that find
no food upon the barren ground. Even the grouse and
the plovers have deserted us. And it is all the work of
Neil Leslie. My very blood simmers when I think of
him, the rebel rascal! the scoundrel! the thief!"
"Thief?" echoed Colin quickly. "Thief, grandfather?"
"Ay, thief," growled the old man in an angrier tone.
"He robbed his own father—my father. All the hard-earned
and hard-saved money that my father had put
aside for his descendants—for me as his eldest son, and
for you in your turn, although that was long, long before
you were born—was stolen by Neil Leslie, and by him
appropriated to the accursed cause of the man whom he
called his prince. Prince? A prince of rascals, a prince
of gallows-birds; that is what I call the frog-eating reprobate
that presumed to lay claim to the British throne.
What did he do—this Charles Edward Stuart? He filled
the silly heads of our men and women with his romantic
tomfoolery; he turned all Scotland topsy-turvy and left it
a miserable wreck of its former and better self——Don't
look like that at me, Colin. I'm telling you nothing but
the simple truth. And when you are a little older and
get the hayseed out of your hair, you will know the
wisdom of being loyal to your rightful king. There, I've
lost my place in the book, now. Let me see; what page
was I at?"
The door opened while the old man peevishly turned
over the pages, and Elspeth Macdonald entered. There
was an expression of anxious concern in her wrinkled
face. She approached the master of Castle Leslie and
mysteriously whispered into his ear.
Sir Donald gripped the wooden arm of his high-backed
"Ossington?" he said questioningly, repeating the
name that the housekeeper had announced. "Colonel
Ossington? I know no such name. Who can the man
be, think you, Elspeth?"
Elspeth shook her head.
"That's mair than I can tell," said she. "He just
asked for the master as he stamped his snowy boots on
the step. Then he took off his cloak and handed it to
Geordie, as bold as you please, and bade me give you his
"Has he left his horse standing there?" questioned
Elspeth crossed her hands in front of her, and holding
up her head in high dignity, answered—"No.
The beast has been taken round to the stables."
"H'm," muttered Sir Donald. "He evidently intends
to stay the night, then. Well, it matters little who he
may be. We couldna send a body away from the very
door on a night of storm like this, even if he were but
a mere gaberlunzie. Let him come ben here. And see
that some supper is sent in. Wait," he added, as Elspeth
was moving away; "see that Andrew gets some food for
the horse. There should be a handful of oats left in the
corners of the bags up in the old loft; and if not, he'll
may-be find some dry hay in the byre."
"Toots!" objected Elspeth, as she swept towards the
door, "there's no need to fash yourself about the horse.
Andrew will see to the beast. Trust him to that."
Young Colin Leslie stood before the fire with his face
fronting to the room. His grandfather's knotted fingers
nervously turned the faded brown leaves of his book,
while the wind groaned in the chimney and the fitful
flames of the fire cast strange moving shadows about the
The man who presently entered crossed the oaken
floor with a somewhat halting gait. His spurs jangled at
each step. His clean-shaven face was thin and pinched,
but ruddy in contrast with his silvery hair. As he
approached into the light of the fire, Colin noticed that
his active grey eyes were conspicuously clear and bright
beneath his furrowed brow. He wore a snuff-coloured
riding-coat, with breeches of the same colour, and long
military boots. A diamond glistened amid the pure whiteness
of his lace-edged cravat.
Sir Donald Leslie rose from his chair and advanced
a step to meet him. The two men bowed to each other
"You are welcome, sir," said Sir Donald, standing
upright with his right hand on the tall back of his chair.
"Pray take this seat near the fire. The night is cold, and
it may be you have travelled far."
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 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
"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
"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
hitherto shown. "I had understood that your brother
Alan was the only member of your family who was not
heart and soul for the Stuarts."
"On the contrary," corrected Sir Donald, "I and my
brother Alan and our father were always staunch for
King George. Ah," he added, seeing the door open,
"here is some supper. I am afraid it will prove a poor
meal; but pray make yourself free with such as there is.
Pardon me if I leave you for a little while. My grandson
Colin, here, will entertain you in the meantime." He
poured a few drops of whisky into a glass, and dealt
similarly but more generously with a glass which he
passed to his guest. "To the King!" he said, moistening
"To the King!" responded Colonel Ossington, bowing
politely to Sir Donald as he left the room.
The supper which had been set before the stranger
was, as his host had expressed it, but a poor meal; but
Colonel Ossington partook of it with as much enjoyment
as if it had been a banquet. Presently Colin
Leslie emerged from his corner by the ingle and slowly
approached the table, standing opposite to the colonel
as he ate. The boy's fingers played idly with the ragged
fringe of the table-cloth; but now and again he stole
a furtive glance at the silver-haired officer at the other
side. Once or twice he attempted to speak, but his shyness
overcame him. It was not often that he encountered
a stranger such as the man before him. At last he
mustered courage enough to say—
"Are you a soldier—a real soldier?"
The colonel smiled at him. "Yes," said he, "I am
a soldier. Is that something strange to you?"
"We don't see many soldiers in these parts," said the
boy. "There are some at Inverness, of course, and at
Fort George, but I've never been to either of those places.
Once when I went to Edinburgh with my father, I saw
some soldiers at the Castle. But I never spoke to one
"Is your father at home—here in Castle Leslie?"
asked Colonel Ossington.
"No," answered Colin; "he's dead. So is my mother.
Grandfather and I are quite alone in the world." He hesitated,
almost ashamed of having said so much. Presently
he looked up once more and added, "Where is your red
coat and your sword? I thought soldiers always wore red
coats and swords."
"Mine are at home in England," explained the soldier.
"I don't wear them now. I have not worn them at all
since I came back from America. I am too old."
Colin reflected for some moments, leaning his elbows
on the table and his chin in his supporting hands.
"Did you ever kill a man?" he asked abruptly.
"Yes; many men. That is what soldiers are meant to
do. But one doesn't like to think of them as men. Somehow
it seems different when one calls them simply the
"Then you've been in a real battle?"
The soldier nodded.
"That must have been very exciting," remarked Colin,
with boyish enthusiasm. "I should like to be in a real
battle—that is, if it were against Frenchmen, or Spaniards,
or blackamoors, or people of that sort. I don't think I'd
like it so much if they were Britons."
"I suppose not," agreed Colonel Ossington, with a
sigh. "Somehow it does seem to make a difference."
"Once," went on Colin, growing more communicative
now that he had discovered a soldier to be very little
different in human nature from any other man—"once,
there was a battle near here—near this castle, I mean—over
on Culloden Moor, where our sheep pastures are.
And last spring, when Peter Reid of the Mains of Kilravock
was ploughing, he turned up a rusty old claymore. He
gave it to me, and I polished it. There it is, hanging up
with that Lochaber axe upon the wall."
Colonel Ossington moved his chair to look round at
the old sword. His glance travelled to other parts of
the dimly lighted room, surveying the few family portraits
in their tarnished frames, the dusty antlered heads of
stags, the old Highland targets, crossbows, and battle-axes
that decorated the dark oak panels of the walls.
"There used to be a rack of muskets in that farther
corner," he remarked. "And where is the portrait of the
beautiful Lady Leslie—Bonnie Belinda, they called her—that
used to hang up there above that carved settle?"
"Oh, that has been put away," explained Colin,
"because—because Lady Belinda was a Jacobite, you
know. But how did you know that the picture and
the guns and things were ever there? You have never
been in this room before, have you?"
The colonel raised his glass to his lips. "Yes," he
"When?" demanded Colin.
"Oh, when I was a youth, a little older than you are
now. It must be fifty years ago."
At this moment Sir Donald Leslie re-entered the
"Grandfather!" cried Colin, "Colonel Ossington has
been here before! He was here fifty years ago."
Sir Donald turned sharply to his guest.
"Is this true?" he asked.
"Quite true," responded the old campaigner. "I was
here in the year 1746. You, I think, were at that time
"Yes," acquiesced Sir Donald. "I was in Leyden.
I am sorry you did not inform me at once that this was
not your first visit. I should have given you a warmer
welcome if I had known. As it is, I have treated you as
a stranger, and have not even offered you my hand."
"It is hardly too late to repair the omission," said
Colonel Ossington, and he thrust forth his hand, which
his host grasped.
"Ossington?" muttered Sir Donald, trying to recall
the name. "Ossington? Dear me, I'm afraid I must
seem very stupid. But for the life of me I cannot remember
to have heard of you. If I may be so inquisitive,
what was the occasion of your former visit, colonel?"
"I will tell you," returned the soldier frankly. "Indeed,
my present appearance here is wholly on account
of what occurred at that long distant time." He put
his hand to his breast pocket. "May I smoke?" he
"Certainly," said Sir Donald. "I am afraid, however,
that I cannot offer you any tobacco. We can ill
afford such a luxury in these hard times."
"Thank you. I have some very fine American tobacco
with me," rejoined the colonel. "Ah, I forgot," he added.
"I find I have left it in my saddle-bag."
"Colin will fetch it," urged Sir Donald, anticipating
the promised pleasure of renewing a habit which economy
alone had compelled him to abandon.
"Oh, don't trouble," said his guest, "I will go myself.
I think I remember where the stable is situated. Although
perhaps the lad might, after all, accompany me."
Colin was already at the door, prepared for the guest.
He conducted the colonel out into the hall, where they
got their hats and a lantern, and then through the house
and out by one of the back doors, and into the spacious,
wind-swept garden, along by a high blank wall and across
to the stable. By the aid of Colin's lamp, the colonel
soon found his tobacco and, giving a caressing pat to
his horse's flanks, he followed the boy back into the
A wild gust of wind met them as they came out from
the stable door, extinguishing their light. The snow had
ceased to fall, and the sky was clear, saving only for a
few fleecy white clouds that drifted southward across
the moon. The ruined and ivy-covered walls of the
older parts of the castle stood out black against the
steel-blue brightness of the sky. An owl flew with silent
wings from out the ruins and disappeared among the tall
bare trees that creaked and groaned in the wind at the
rear of the keep.
Colin walked in advance over the crisp white snow.
Suddenly he drew back with a half-smothered cry, gripped
his companion's arm, and pointed with agitated finger
into the dark shadows of the ruined walls.
"Look!" he ejaculated, trembling in every limb.
"Do you see it? Do you see it? See! there it goes—there,
in at the old postern gate! Come! come quickly
back to the house. I'm afraid!"
Colonel Ossington held the lad's arm, supporting him.
"Afraid of what, boy?" he demanded. "There is
"Did you not see it?" gasped Colin, in a mysterious,
scarcely audible whisper. "It went in at the postern,
"I saw nothing to alarm you to this degree, my boy,"
returned the soldier. "What was it? Tell me what it was!"
Colin's fingers crept down the colonel's right arm
until they grasped his hand. The lad had implored
his companion to return with him to the house, but
he himself now stood still as if rooted to the spot.
"What was it?" repeated Colonel Ossington.
Colin answered in the same low, mysterious whisper.
"It was the ghost—the ghost of Neil Leslie. It is often
seen here. Elspeth has seen it. So has grandfather.
I have seen it before, too; but never so plainly as now.
It glided along there by the wall, with its plaid wrapped
round it. I saw the yellow stone glistening in the hilt
of its dirk. Its sword flashed in the moonlight. When
it got to the gate it stopped a moment and put out its
hand, holding something—something that looked like a
little bag. It turned its face this way and then disappeared."
"Come," said the colonel, putting his arm about the
lad and drawing him onward towards the house. "Your
imagination has been playing you some trick. It was
the moonlight and the moving bushes, perhaps. You
will forget all about it when we get indoors."
As they passed by the postern gate, Colin craned
round and peered within. Seeing nothing but black
darkness, he heaved a deep sigh of relief and walked
boldly on, saying nothing until he had closed and barred
the door behind him. Then, touching Colonel Ossington's
arm, he said calmly—
"Please say nothing to grandfather about Neil's ghost,
Colonel Ossington. It would only disturb him."
Sir Donald Leslie was engaged in preparing a bowl
of hot whisky toddy, when his grandson and his guest
rejoined him. He did not observe Colin's blanched face
and wild, staring eyes. The boy strode to the fireplace
and flung himself into his favourite seat in the corner,
staring into the glowing red mass upon the hearth.
When the two men had filled and lighted their pipes,
and were comfortably seated before the fire, each with
a steaming glass of toddy within reach of him, Colonel
Ossington abruptly resumed the conversation at the point
where it had been broken off some fifteen minutes earlier.
"My present appearance here," he said, crossing his
legs, "is connected with certain mysterious events which
occurred at the time of my first visit to Castle Leslie on
the fifteenth day of April 1746—that is to say, on the
eve of the battle of Culloden." He paused an instant
as if to arrange his thoughts. Then, leaning forward and
fixing his keen grey eyes upon his host, he said in a
tone of sharp inquiry: "Will you tell me what became
of your brother, Neil Leslie?"
Sir Donald received the question with a lowering of
"Ah," said he, as he pressed his finger into the bowl
of his tobacco-pipe, "I had guessed that it was of him
you came to speak. I had even gone so far as to expect
that you were about to pester me by telling me you had
met him out there in America. I don't want to know
anything concerning him, Colonel Ossington. He disgraced
and ruined his family, and whether he be dead,
as I hope, or alive, as I sometimes fear, he is no more to
me than the most utter stranger."
"If I had met him in America," observed Colonel
Ossington, "I should have no need to ask you what
had become of him. I know nothing of him—nothing
of what happened to him subsequent to the evening
before Culloden fight."
"I assume that you were yourself in that fight," remarked
"Yes," returned the colonel, "I was then a young
ensign. I served under Major James Wolfe in repelling
the first attack of the Highlanders."
"Ah," mused Sir Donald; "then you would not come
into conflict with Neil Leslie. He, I believe, remained
studiously in the rear."
"Pardon me," corrected the colonel, "he was not
on the field."
A blank yet somewhat haughty stare was the response
to this unexpected contradiction. Sir Donald
was evidently perplexed.
"I do not go so far as to declare that he was actually
in the fight," said he. "But that he was somewhere on
the fringe of the battle I am well assured. After the
fight he fled with the defeated Highlanders, first to the
Western Islands, and afterwards to France. Such at
least is what my father believed concerning him—not
that he went out of his way to make inquiries. You
may be sure that he was in nowise anxious for the
graceless scoundrel's safety. Indeed, if the truth must
needs be told, Sir John was rejoiced to be rid of Neil
at any cost."
"Rejoiced to be rid of him?" echoed the colonel, in
surprise. "I do not understand. Neil Leslie was his
father's especial favourite. And very naturally so, as it
seems to me, since they both were Jacobites."
Sir Donald laid his pipe upon the table.
"Jacobites?" he repeated, in a tone half of surprise
and half of disbelief. "Who were Jacobites?"
"Why, Sir John Leslie and his son Neil."
"No, no," returned Sir Donald emphatically. "You
mistake the facts, colonel; you are dreaming. My brother
Neil was a Jacobite, curse him. But my father, I thank
Heaven, was as firmly for the House of Hanover as you
"If either of us is dreaming," declared the soldier, "I
am afraid it is yourself, Sir Donald. Surely you do not
pretend that you never knew your father to be a bitter
enemy of King George! Surely you, his own son, cannot
be ignorant of the fact that for months—ay, for years—before
Culloden, Sir John Leslie was secretly one of the
most active friends and personal supporters of the young
Sir Donald had risen to his feet, and now he strode
thoughtfully to the end of the room and back.
"If you are speaking the truth, I have been ignorant
indeed," he said, with a frown. He turned and continued
moodily to pace the room. To and fro he strode with
his twitching hands linked together behind his back.
Colonel Ossington quietly puffed at his pipe, while young
Colin Leslie, in his seat at the ingle, leaned forward staring
at the two men in fixed attention. No word was spoken
for many minutes, and all was silent saving only for the
wild, boisterous rumbling of the wind in the chimney, and
the regular shuffling tramp of Sir Donald Leslie's slippered
feet upon the bare oak floor. Presently this latter sound
ceased, and Sir Donald stood still, ruminating.
"I cannot believe it," he said at length, confronting
Colonel Ossington. "On what grounds do you base
"On the surest of all grounds," returned the soldier,
"his own admission, and also my certain knowledge that
when Charles Edward Stuart and his army of Highlanders
were encamped on the moor near here, Sir John Leslie
supplied them not only with the food which they so
sorely needed, but also with money, with arms, and with
A fierce light leapt into the old man's eyes.
"It is false!" he cried, in a quivering voice; "it is
false!" He stamped his foot. "I do not doubt that you
yourself believe what you are saying. Some knave or
liar must have deceived you. But, all the same, it is not
true. My father was as fervent a Hanoverian as I was
and still am. It was Neil alone who was the skulking
Jacobite. Ay, and to him I owe it that I am now so
poor that I cannot even offer a chance visitor the hospitality
that is his due. Had my father been in sound health
at the time of the Rebellion, he would have joined the
King's troops and fought as boldly as did my dear brother
Alan, who fell fighting bravely and loyally for King George
on Culloden Moor."
"In that last particular you are again strangely in
error," interrupted Colonel Ossington. "Alan Leslie took
no part whatsoever in the battle of Culloden. I, who was
his comrade and friend, can testify also that he did not
die a soldier's death—at least not upon the field."
"What!" cried the astonished Sir Donald. "Are you
certain of this?"
"I am," reiterated the colonel, "absolutely certain."
"Then where in Heaven's name was he?"
"Here—in this house," returned Ossington, knocking
the ash out of his pipe and slowly reopening his tobacco-bag.
"It was of him more particularly that I came here
to speak with you. I wanted to learn something of his
fate, whatever it may have been. But it seems you know
as little of it as I do myself. We were companions in
arms, he and I. It was while I was stationed in Edinburgh
that he joined Major James Wolfe's battalion of
the Fourth Foot. I was then a young ensign. Alan
and I were quartered together, and we soon became fast
friends. We sat at the same mess-table, we shared the
same bottle of wine, we smoked the same pipe. When it
was a question of fighting, as at Prestonpans, we fought
side by side."
Sir Donald filled his guest's glass anew. Colin Leslie
continued silently to listen, believing that the old soldier
was now coming to something more definite.
"In the spring of '46, you remember," went on the
colonel, "the Duke of Cumberland's forces marched
northward to Aberdeen, in search of the rebels. From
Aberdeen we advanced to the town of Nairn, and while
there we heard that the Pretender was concentrating his
army of Highlanders at a spot not many miles away from
our encampment. Alan Leslie and I were sent out to
reconnoitre. We made our way westward and discovered
the enemy on Culloden Moor. Believing that we might
learn something further as to their intentions, Alan induced
me to accompany him to Castle Leslie, in the hope
of hearing news from the lad's father, who was supposed,
although erroneously, to be friendly to the King. We
arrived here at dusk and were admitted into this same
The colonel's eyes wandered about the apartment as
if in the endeavour to picture it as it had been at that
"For some two hours," he continued, "we were left
here alone. During that interval of waiting, Alan told
me the romantic story of Bonnie Belinda, the story being
suggested by her portrait, which hung over yonder above
Sir Donald nodded and glanced across at the vacant
place on the panelled wall.
"But at last," went on the speaker, "Sir John Leslie
entered, with his plaid about his shoulders, as if he had
newly returned from a journey. He regarded his soldier
son with stony indifference."
"'Well?' he demanded; 'what do you want here?'
"'I have come, sir,' stammered Alan, surprised at this
cold welcome. 'I have come——'
"His father bent forward with his hand resting on the
table at his side, and almost touching Alan's regimental
cap with its bright brass badge.
"'You have come as a spy!' he cried bitterly, following
up the accusation with a volley of virulent taunts.
'You ingrate!' he cried; 'you weak-kneed renegade!
Where is your patriotism? How dare you come here,
wearing the uniform of the hateful foreign usurper whom
"He said that?" questioned Sir Donald agitatedly.
"He—my father—said that?"
Colonel Ossington took up the fire-tongs and caught
at a fragment of burning wood with which to light his
"Those were his own words," said he; "and they
were not less surprising to me than they were to Alan
Leslie. I do not exactly remember what Alan said in
retaliation, but he taunted his father with being a Jacobite,
and, as he said, 'the follower of an upstart Pretender';
and at these words Sir John drew himself proudly together
and stood at his full height, which I am sure must
have been a good six feet. 'I will not have His Royal
Highness so named in my presence,' he declared with a
frown, and pointing to the door in all the dignity of his
old age, he added: 'You are no son of mine, and I do
not wish ever to see you again.'
"But even as he spoke, the door was opened from
without, and a tall, singularly noble-looking young man
entered with the majestic stride of a monarch. He was
followed by a yet younger man. At sight of our red
coats both new-comers started back in amazement. Before
either could speak, however, Sir John had hurried the
elder of them out of the room. The younger man, whom
I rightly guessed to be Neil Leslie, stepped back and,
looking into Alan's face, smiled in recognition, and held
out his hand. Alan refused to accept this offer of friendship."
"Ay, and quite right," interposed Sir Donald.
Colonel Ossington did not heed the interruption, but
proceeded with his narrative.
"As the two brothers stood there, facing each other,"
he said, "I thought them the two handsomest youths I
had ever beheld. Alan, with his smart military bearing,
his finely featured face and his glistening dark eyes; Neil,
somewhat taller, although younger, with fairer hair and
more lithe figure, dressed in the picturesque Highland
costume, with his dark tartan kilt and his long flowing
plaid, that was caught at the shoulder by a large silver
brooch, set with a sparkling yellow stone."
On hearing this description of his great-uncle, young
Colin Leslie moved from his seat at the fire to a vacant
chair opposite to Colonel Ossington. It was evident that
Neil was in his eyes a hero.
"Alan, I say, refused to accept his brother's proffered
friendship. 'Who was the young man that came to the
door with you just now?' he demanded. And Neil
answered proudly, as he turned to leave the room: 'It
was the prince whom I have the honour to serve—Prince
Charles Edward Stuart.'"
"And he was once here—here in this very room?"
murmured Colin, with reverent enthusiasm. In his boyish
imagination the room had been sanctified by the presence
of the romantic adventurer.
"Continue," urged Sir Donald, with a black cloud in
his face. "What happened next?"
"When Neil had gone out of the room," said the old
campaigner, "Alan gave a mocking laugh. 'What do you
think of them, Jack?' said he. 'It seems to me we've
dropped into a hornet's nest. It will be war to the knife
with my father and me after this. Which reminds me,'
he added, crossing the room to the wall opposite the
window there, 'this pretty dirk is mine. I may as well
take possession of it.' And he took down a long-bladed,
jewel-hafted dagger that was hung there under the picture
of Bonnie Belinda. 'Wait outside for me, Jack,' said he;
'wait at the stable door. There's something else I want
to do before we go back to Nairn.' So I went out and
waited at the stable. I waited for fully an hour. When
Alan joined me at last, he was a different man. He was
strangely agitated—almost mad with passion and fierce
vindictive rage against his father.
"'Look here, Jack,' said he, 'you'd better ride back
to Nairn at once—without me. I shall come on later—perhaps
not until to-morrow morning. Ride back as
quickly as you can, and see the Duke of Cumberland. If
you can't see him, go to Major Wolfe. Tell him—tell
either of them—that the rebel army is only some four
thousand strong, but that the Pretender has determined to
attack the King's troops to-morrow. I have just heard
this by accident. The three of them—Charles Stuart, my
father, and that young scamp Neil—have been closeted
together. But I overheard them talking and unfolding
their plans. There was only a thin curtain between us,
and I heard every word. I heard my father saying that
he had a store of arms and ammunition here in the castle
for the use of the Highlanders. Two hundred muskets
and as many swords, as well as ten thousand pounds in
gold. These he offered to Stuart, bidding him send for
them at eleven o'clock to-night. The arms and the money
are to be delivered to the messengers by my brother Neil
at the postern gate in the castle garden. They will be
delivered, Jack, if—if I don't prevent it, as I mean to do.'"
Colonel Ossington paused in his narrative. His gaze
was fixed upon the earnestly attentive eyes and the white
face of Colin Leslie. The boy seemed mentally to be
associating this fact of the delivery of arms at the postern
gate with the recently seen apparition of Neil Leslie. As
for Sir Donald, he had now ceased to doubt Colonel
Ossington's affirmations, and was as deeply interested in
the narrative as was his grandson, although the sympathies
of the two were directly at variance.
"Ten thousand pounds in gold!" ejaculated Sir
Donald in astonishment. "Where on earth did it all
"I do not know," returned Ossington. "Probably it
represented the contributions of the wealthy Jacobites of
the immediate neighbourhood."
"And did the Highlanders get those guns and things
in time to use them in the next day's battle?" Colin ventured
to ask. He breathed a sigh of disappointment when
Colonel Ossington answered, with more conviction than
the mere words implied—
"I believe not. Alan Leslie remained behind with
the purpose of frustrating their delivery."
"Ay, and did frustrate it, I'll be bound," interposed the
grandfather. "Alan was brave, he was strong and determined.
He would stick at nothing! When did you next
see him, colonel?"
"I never saw him again," replied Ossington. "Since
that night when I left him his fate has been to me a complete
mystery. On the next day, at Nairn, when the
muster-roll was called, he was absent. We advanced to
Culloden, and the battle was fought—if battle it may be
called which was a mere rout. But Alan Leslie was
nowhere on the field. When the Highlanders had retreated,
vanquished, and the Duke of Cumberland was
pursuing his too terrible vengeance upon the innocent
and the guilty alike, I searched among the wounded and
the dead for my missing comrade, but nowhere could I
find him. Afterwards, I came here. Your castle had
been attacked and partly demolished by Hawley's dragoons.
Sir John Leslie, I heard, had gone the night
before with Charles Stuart to the house of Lord Lovat,
to be present at a council of war. He afterwards escaped
with the fugitives—probably in company with his son
"Ay!" added Sir Donald; "and Neil, I'll be bound,
did not neglect to carry off the gold with him, and use it
for his own selfish purposes; for the Pretender never got
the money. I'm thankful for that at least. That he should
have it were worse even than that Neil should squander
it." The old man began again to stride to and fro across
the floor. "Neil was a villain!" he cried; "an ingrain
villain and scoundrel. He ought to have been hanged
with the rest of them! I could almost be content at the
loss of the family fortunes if I might only know that the
rascal had died an outlaw's death on the gallows. It
was doubtless he who prevented Alan from getting back
to his regiment that night."
Colonel Ossington meditated a few moments in silence.
"Yes," he said at length, "no doubt you are right.
But in what way did he prevent him, Sir Donald? That
is what I want most particularly to know."
"To my mind there is but one answer to that
question," returned Sir Donald decisively. "My brother
Alan was not in the battle, you say. If he had been alive
I am certain he would not have shirked his duty. But I
believe he was not alive, colonel; I believe that he was
murdered, and murdered by his own brother, Neil Leslie.
That also would tally with the fact that since that fatal
night, Neil has never dared to show himself at his home."
Colin Leslie here ventured to break in with a remark.
"You have no right to say such a thing, grandfather,"
he said emphatically. "Why should Neil ever think of
murdering Alan? He had nothing to fear from him."
"You know nothing about the matter, boy," growled
Sir Donald. "It is no business of an ignorant lad to
discuss such a thing as this with his elders."
But Colonel Ossington did not so despise the boy's
"By the way, Master Colin," said he, "your ghost of
this evening should have some bearing on this mystery.
Did you not say that the apparition was dressed in the
"Ghost!" echoed Sir Donald in astonishment. "What
ghost? What apparition?"
"The ghost that I saw to-night when I went out with
Colonel Ossington to the stables," returned Colin; "the
ghost of Neil Leslie. It went in at the postern gate; the
gate where the arms and the money were to have been
"Ah!" the old man drew his breath in sharply, "I
have heard of that ghost before. Old Elspeth has seen it.
Once, also," he hesitated, listening to the angry blast of
the wind; "once, also, on a wild, blustering night just
such as this, I saw it myself. That was many years ago;
but, I remember, it was at that same place—near the
postern gate. Probably the rascal's guilty conscience
troubles him, even in his grave—if, indeed, he be in his
There was a long pause, during which the wind
howled even more piteously than before. Colonel Ossington
emptied his glass and set it down with deliberate
slowness upon the table at his elbow.
"I am persuaded that there was some foul play on
that night," said he, in a low, clear voice. "But of course
there can now be no proof. How could there be, after
all these years?" He leaned forward with his open hands
clasping his knees, and with his eyes fixed upon the fire.
Then he went on, as if speaking to himself: "Some years
ago, just after the taking of Quebec, I chanced to make
the acquaintance of an aged Highlander, who had a bullet
in his chest and was dying in the hospital. I learned that
the man's name was David Duncan. We got talking of
the Jacobite rebellion, and I discovered that he had been
present at Culloden. Further conversation elicited the
information that this same old Highlander had been one
of the Pretender's messengers sent to Castle Leslie to
convey the arms and money to the rebel encampment.
Duncan and his companions waited that night near the
postern gate. They were at their post at eleven. They
waited until three o'clock. But no one ever came to
them and the arms were never delivered. While they
waited, Duncan heard a strange, weird cry, like a cry for
help. Whence it came he could not tell; neither did he
know whether it was the cry of a man or of a woman.
Human it certainly was. It seemed, he said, to come
out of the ground at his feet. It was then midnight."
The old clock in the outer hall struck eleven. Sir
Donald Leslie signed to Colin, indicating that it was high
time the boy was in bed. Colin bade the two men good-night,
but still lingered in the room for a few moments,
hoping to hear more of this family mystery.
"I infer from what you have said," remarked Colonel
Ossington, addressing his host, "that you have no knowledge
of the secret place in which the military stores and
the gold of which we have been speaking were hidden?"
"There is no such secret place in all the castle,"
returned Sir Donald. "Of that I am quite certain.
Whether the rebels received the stores or not, the things
were assuredly removed long before I returned to Scotland."
These were the last arguments that Colin Leslie heard
before he retired to bed. As he lay wakeful on his pillow,
he reflected upon the story that had been revealed to him.
The men had come to the conclusion that Neil Leslie, the
Jacobite, had murdered his own brother. "Could this
really be so?" thought Colin. The boy wondered where
and in what exact circumstances the tragedy had taken
place. He wondered in which room the guns and swords
and all those thousands of golden guineas had been
hidden. Colonel Ossington had suggested a secret chamber
as the probable receptacle; but Colin knew every nook
and cranny about the building, and he was forced to
acknowledge to himself that his grandfather's words were
true when he said, "There is no such secret place in all
But on the following morning, when Colin accompanied
Colonel Ossington in a walk round the garden, a new
light seemed to come to him.
They were passing the little postern of which so much
had been said—the postern through which, as the boy
declared, he had himself seen the apparition of Neil Leslie
disappear on the previous night. Here Colin now stood.
He stamped his feet upon the ground.
"Listen!" he said. "Do you hear anything?" He
stamped once again. "I've often thought, as I have passed
this spot, that the ground seems to give back a hollow
"And if it does, what of it?" asked Colonel Ossington.
"Well," said Colin, with a curious lift of his eyebrows,
"I was thinking that it is just possible there may be some
cave, or passage, or cellar under here; and that perhaps
it was down there that the guns and things you were
telling us of last night were stored."
"You may be right," smiled the colonel, "but I
don't see that it matters very much now. It's so long
ago, you know."
"Yes," went on Colin, "but I should like to find out,
all the same. I have often thought of it before—of the
underground passage, I mean. Most castles in Scotland
have underground passages somewhere, and Castle Leslie
can scarcely be an exception. At one time I thought I
had found a way into this one." He pointed up to the
top of the ivy-covered wall. "You see the place where
that buttress ends?" he asked. The colonel nodded.
"Well, last spring a jenny wren built her nest up there.
I wanted to get it. I climbed up from the inside of the
ruin, and crept along the top of the wall. I had got as
far as where the nest was when, leaning over to reach it,
I felt one of the big stones give way beneath me. I held
on by the ivy; but the loosened stone fell with a crash
to the ground. I didn't look where it fell. I was only
thinking of how I should get down with the nest. But a
day or two afterwards I was coming through the place
that used to be the guard-room in the old days, before
Hawley's dragoons burnt this part of the castle down, and
I saw the stone lying there. It wasn't smashed; but it
had smashed the flagstone that it had fallen upon. Some
parts of the flagstone had dropped through, right down
into a sort of black well. I did not try to open the well;
although I should have done if any other boys had been
here to help me. But this morning I thought of it again
in connection with your story—"
"I understand," interrupted the colonel. "You think
it may have been down there that old Sir John Leslie hid
the arms for the rebels, eh? Well, let me see this fancied
entrance to the subterranean passage. Where is it?"
"It's through here," said Colin. And he led his companion
through the postern gate into a large roofless room.
In one of the corners there was a heap of garden
refuse, covered by a thin layer of melting snow. Colin
took an old spade and industriously cleared the rubbish
away. Presently he revealed a large cracked flagstone.
He went down on his knees and busily endeavoured to
dislodge one of the broken fragments. He scraped and
tore and pulled at it to no purpose. Then he stood up
and stamped upon it. The rattling of loose earth underneath
encouraged him to continue.
"Can you find such a thing as a pickaxe?" questioned
Colin shook his head, but ran, nevertheless, in search
of some such instrument, returning some minutes afterwards
with a heavy sledge-hammer. With this he opened
an assault upon the flagstone, and soon succeeded in
loosening one small fragment. A small brown rat darted
out from the excavation and scampered across the uneven
"Wait!" cried the colonel; "lend me the hammer.
Let us try first to remove this smaller stone, then we can
better get at the larger one."
He took the sledge-hammer, raised it over his shoulder,
and brought it down with a well-directed blow upon the
smaller stone, splitting it. A second blow broke it into
splinters. These he removed. Beneath them he discovered
the end of a rusty bar of iron that was shot like
a bolt through an iron ring. The bar seemed to extend
under the larger flagstone, supporting it through its centre
of gravity. For many minutes he hammered at the rusty
iron, and with each blow the flagstone trembled on its
axle and a shower of loosened stones and gravel fell into
the depths below. With each development the old
soldier's energy increased, while Colin looked on absorbed
in boyish expectation.
At last the corroded bar broke. The flagstone collapsed
and slipped a few inches into the void, where it was arrested
by some obstacle. Its removal revealed an irregular opening,
some two feet in diameter.
"You were right, boy," remarked the colonel; "there
is indeed a secret chamber here, and this is, or once was,
its entrance. See! the flagstone has formed a sort of trap-door.
It may have been opened by a spring set under
the smaller stone at the side. Look down there; you can
see the edge of one of the stone stairs."
"Can we get down?" asked Colin.
"It is possible, I think," returned the old soldier.
"But we should require a lighted lantern. Could you
Colin ran off. He was absent some ten minutes.
During that interval Colonel Ossington contrived so to
force back the broken flagstone that it left an opening
sufficiently wide to admit his body. He went upon his
knees and thrust his feet into the cavity, descending step
by step until his eyes were on a level with the paved floor.
There he waited, resting with his hands on the second
step. The fingers of his right hand touched something
that was softer than the cold stone. He gripped it and
drew it forth into the fuller light. It was a fragment of
mouldy cloth or felt. Attached to it was a disc of tarnished
metal upon which the figure "4" was embossed.
"God!" he exclaimed, "it's the badge of the Fourth
He tore off the badge and thrust it into his pocket.
At this moment Colin Leslie appeared with the lighted
lantern, and accompanied by his grandfather.
"I am glad you have come too, Sir Donald," said the
colonel somewhat absently.
"What boy's adventure are you contriving now,
colonel?" demanded Sir Donald. "One would think
that you had gone back to your childhood."
"Not quite so far back as that," returned the old soldier
grimly, "but my mind has indeed gone back to my young
manhood. Give me the light, Colin," he added, turning
to the lad. "I had better, perhaps, go down in advance."
Colin handed him the lantern and stood at the top of
the steps watching him slowly and cautiously descend.
The light flickered upon the damp moss-grown stones of
the walls that formed the sides of the narrow stairway.
It went down and down, growing gradually dimmer and
dimmer, until at last it died away. The old grandfather
and Colin waited, listening. They faintly heard the tread
of the colonel's spurred boots echoing hollowly in the
darkness. Once they heard him cough, and then all was
silent. The minutes slowly passed. Sir Donald grew a
trifle nervous, his nervousness being indicated by the impatient
tapping of his foot.
"Listen!" cried Colin. "I heard something fall—something
that rattled." He knelt down and peered into
the opening. "I hear him walking," he whispered. "He's
coming nearer now. Now he has stopped. Now he is
coming on again. He's on the stairs. He's carrying
something that knocks against each step. I can see the
reflection of the light now. And now here's the lantern."
The boy drew back. "Mind your head, colonel, or you'll
knock it," he cried.
Colonel Ossington did not require the caution. Bending
his head, he crept upward, holding the lantern in
his extended hand. Presently his face appeared in the
aperture. It was ghastly white, and his eyes stared
wildly. He drew a deep breath of the fresher air.
"You had better come down," he said, glancing up at
Sir Donald Leslie; and drawing his left hand upward, he
cast an old and rusty broadsword at the old man's feet.
Sir Donald glanced at the weapon and kicked it aside.
"Come!" reiterated the colonel in a voice of authority,
and the grandfather slowly obeyed. Colin followed him
down the steps, although he was aware that he had not
been included in the command. Perhaps he would have
been wiser to remain where he was, but his boyish curiosity
and love of adventure overcame his caution. Step by step
they descended into the gloom. The air about them was
damp and cold and stifling. The walls dripped with
moisture. The stone stairs were slimy. Darkness hemmed
them in, saving only for a fitful glimmer of the lantern
light that was below them.
"Three steps more, Sir Donald," said the colonel,
standing aside on the firm floor of what appeared to be
an arched vault. He held the light aloft. "Now, follow
me closely," he added; "the passage turns sharply to the
left. Be careful of the corner. I knocked my elbow
against it just now. Is that the boy behind you?"
"He ought not to have come. Never mind now; let
him follow close at your heels. Now halt and look down
upon the floor while I hold the light."
The colonel held out his free hand and gripped the
older man's arm, directing his gaze into a narrow
"Those are the muskets," he said. "There are two
hundred there. I have counted them."
Colin crept up to his grandfather's side, holding him
by the skirts of his coat. Looking into the archway he
saw the neatly stacked-up guns, with their rusty barrels
and locks and rotting stocks.
The colonel drew his companions onward some three
or four steps.
"And here are the claymores," said he. "You see
the rebels did not get them, after all."
"No, Alan was true," murmured Sir Donald. "I felt
sure he would frustrate their delivery. But—" He
gripped the soldier's arm and asked in a suppressed but
eagerly acquisitive tone: "But where was the gold,
colonel? Did Neil take it all—every guinea of it?"
The colonel held his lantern full in front of Sir Donald's
face, which he regarded with an expression of undisguised
"The gold," he answered, "was stored in the next
vault. And," he added loftily, as he signed to Sir Donald
to go past him, "I think you will find it all there still."
"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
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,
he stood still, with his hat under his arm and holding the
light in front of him so that its rays shot along the slimy
floor. Wondering, Sir Donald and his grandson bent
forward, searching into the gloom. Colin drew back
as his eyes rested for a moment on something white.
But he advanced again and timidly looked once more.
His trembling finger pointed down upon the floor at
the gaunt, fleshless face and the tall form of a man that
was partly hidden under mouldy folds of a Highland plaid
and kilt. At the left shoulder there was a tarnished silver
brooch, set in the centre with a dim yellow stone. The
man lay flat on his back. His sword was in its scabbard
at his side; the blanched bones of his right hand still held
the remains of one of the canvas money-bags. The gold
guineas lay in a little pile beneath the long fingers.
"He was carrying that bag of gold to give to the
Prince's messenger," cried the boy Colin, aghast. "It is
"Yes," nodded Colonel Ossington. "And he must
have been met just here by his murderer."
"Neil?" echoed Sir Donald, reeling back; "my
brother Neil? Then he did not escape to France?
And he has been dead all this time!" The old man
shuddered. "Murdered, did you say? But who could
have murdered him down here? Perhaps he died naturally.
Perhaps he could not find his way out up those
stairs and through the stone trap-door!"
"The trap-door could certainly be opened only from
the outside," remarked the colonel. "This place was
evidently built as a dungeon—a prison from which it was
not meant that any one should escape. But," he added
solemnly, "Neil Leslie was not a prisoner. He probably
left the door open, not expecting to be interrupted by the
villain who drove that dagger into his honest heart. Do
you see the dagger, Donald Leslie?" He pointed to the
dead man's breast, and brought the lantern nearer until
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
"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
his dead victim. He may have starved; he may have
been suffocated by the smoke from the burning building
above him that night when Hawley's dragoons set fire
to the castle. However it was, he never left this place."
The colonel moved aside, allowing the light to shine
upon the dull red, mildewed cloth of a soldier's coat that
covered the crouching figure of a man long dead. "That
is what remains of Alan Leslie," he added grimly. He
handed the lantern to Colin, bidding the lad hold it aloft.
He knelt down. "When a soldier disgraces his regiment,"
he continued, "we usually remove the facings from his
uniform. This man was not worthy to wear the uniform
of so honoured a regiment as the Fourth Foot."
"I think," remarked Colin, "that, rebel though he
was, Neil Leslie was by far the better man."
"I am sure of it, my boy," returned Colonel Ossington.