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hound would strike his ear. But everything heard from tbat place had a dull tone which grated upon
his would have saddened him, had he not been too busy inventing possible reasons for the delay in bringing him before the court.
Hours passed, and still no one came for him. The buoyancy with which he had encountered the first despondent thoughts of the morning deserted him, and his vagne speculations wrought his mind to a pitch of anxiety that verged on frenzy.
When the daylight had gradually faded from the dungeon, leaving weird shadows on the walls in the short, dull gloaming which linked the intervening moments of light and darkness, he sat down.
He was forced at length to the conviction that for some reason his trial had been postponed.
Gloomy as the conviction was, it relieved him, for it was a satisfactiou to know anything definitely. The perturbation of expectancy is always harder to bear than the knowledge of a disagreeable certainty.
The gloaming faded, and he was left in deep darkness. He was exhausted by the monotonous promenade of his prison, and much more by the mental exercise which he bad been making all day, so that he fell into a species of listless reverie which rendered him for the time insensible to his circumstances.
He was roused by the opening of his door and the rays of a lantern flashing upon his eyes, dazing them for a moment.
It was Captain Murray who entered. His countenance was disturbed and somewhat pale.
“I never saw friend more welcome,” cried Gordon, starting up and recognizing the captain.
The latter bowed in a constrained fashion, and it was evident that he experienced no pleasure in yielding to the prisoner's request to see him.
“You desired to see me,” he said, in an abrupt manner. “We have been in constant waiting upon his Majesty all day, else I would have been here earlier. I am even now under command to be ready at any instant to attend his Grace; therefore you will understand my time is brief."
Lamington regarded him curiously: the whole bearing of the man was so much changed that he was puzzled to account for it.
"I note, sir, that something has occurred to alter your disposition towards me
Nothing can occur to alter my disposition towards you, but I am under commands which render it difficult for me to speak frankly with you. I trust you will not question me further on that score.
Lamington felt a chill of dismay pass over him; but he inclined his head with the courtesy due to the soldier whose heart was clearly so much opposed to the command which his duty compelled him to obey.
“Do not answer me, Captain Murray, if I unwittingly make any inquiry which you should not reply to. My first question is, Has the council met to-day ? ”
“ It has.”
And the result is that Cochrane has been delivered into your hands, a prisoner?”
"The result is,' said the captain, with signs of agitation in his voice, “that Angus, Lord Gray, and a dozen nobles beside, have, with all their followers, withdrawn from the court, and to-morrow attainders will be declared against many of the best gentlemen in Scotland.”
Merciful powers! Then the assassin of Mar still rules the King ? "
" Sir Robert Cochrane has been closeted with his Majesty since the council broke up in haste and anger ; and through him have issued all the commands which we must obey.”
Gordon clasped his hands tightly, and his teeth became clenched in despair.
“That is why I have not been summoned to answer the charges he has to make against me. It
be that I am already condemned, without trial, and without the barest opportunity to defend myself."
“ I cannot answer you.”
Then Gordon, with quivering lips
“And your silence assures me of the truth of my conjecture. But it cannot be. Scotland will not allow this mockery of all law and justice to be done, even when
it passes under the warrant of the King, for he is blinded and deceived. No, by Heaven, this shall not be
“Pardon me, sir. I cannot hear more of this wild outcry.”
With a huge effort Gordon checked the outburst of indignation to which he had been on the point of giving vent. Even at that moment, when he seemed to have been thrown entirely into the hands of his remorseless enemy, he could respect the position of Captain Murray, who, although fully sympathizing with all that he might say, would have accounted himself a traitor if he had listened to it whilst he held the command of the royal guard.
“The words I have spoken," he said, huskily, "are too sadly true to be recalled; but for having uttered them in your presence, sir, I crave your indulgence."
“I have already forgotten."
I am your debtor. But I will not transgress further on your kindness.
I can wait now to meet the worst whenever it may come.”
The captain, with an awkward salute, drew back toward the door, then balted, and spoke with an uneasiness which he endeavoured to conceal by an assumption of gruffness.
“There is one waiting without who bears the King's signet, and who may be able to give you the satisfaction I dare not--and, in sooth, care not to give.”
Not waiting for any reply he withdrew, leaving the light he had brought for the convenience of the prisoner.
Lamington was satisfied by what little the captain bad said, and by his manner, that Cochrane had again succeeded in exercising his baleful influence over the King to the serious peril of his governmeut. If Angus and the others had quitted the court in anger and contempt, then rebellion would be the probable consequences as soon as the forces of the barons could be collected; and in the mean while Cochrane's will would be the only law observed.
The prisoner saw his own fate—a secret and ignominious death, without even the poorest chance of unmasking the knave whose mysterious power over the monarch was being exercised to the distraction of the kingdom.
He clasped his hands upon his head, and threw himself on the couch, utterly hopeless and helpless now. The prospect which rendered his imprisonment endurable had been suddenly swept away from him; and there was nothing left to do but to prepare to meet, with the calmness which became a man of honour, the
vengeance which Cochrane would speedily take.
The voice was sad and sweet. It roused him like the spell of an enchanter, and, turning, he saw Katherine, dressed from head to foot in black.
A FATAL LOVE.
« A boon, a boon, my noble liege,
A boon I beg o' thee!
Is to grant me the life of young Logie.'
Forsooth, and so it manna be,
The Laird of Logie. Her appearance at that moment of despair was like a glare of sunlight to one who has been long immured in darkness. He sprang toward her with a glad cry of welcome, and folded her in his arms.
His delight was too great to permit him to observe immediately the ashen hue of her features, and the strange coldness with which she submitted to his caress without acknowledging it by any word or movement. Some cruel sorrow had left its imprint on her face and dimmed the brightness of her eyes. She stared over his shoulder as if she were gazing at some sad spectacle afar off that stunned her senses to all that was transpiring near her.
" Heaven is merciful,” he said, huskily,“ in giving me the joy of holding you once again in my arms before death parts us.”
She shuddered, and bowed her head.
Look up, Kate, look up; for if there be no hope for me you will live to see the villain whose treachery has doomed us to this misery pay the penalty of his crimes.
IN LOVE AND WAR.
His hour will come, and trust me, darling, it will come speedily, or I read the signs of his fate badly.”
“That will not save you,” she said, in a low, tremulous voice.
“No; but we will have at least this satisfaction of knowing that
fall will hasten his overthrow." "You have heard, then, what has happened to-day?"
She spoke in an abstracted tone, and as if there were something preying on her mind, the nature of which she desired to conceal.
“I have heard enough to know that I am in Cochrane's power, and that means death to me--separation from you for ever in this world.”
She raised her head, and gazed in his face with a curious yearning expression, as if she were seeking there the confirmation of some unhappy suspicion.
Separation there must be, Bertrand,” she said, sadly, “but not by death, I hope.”
How ? What chance is there that Cochrane will permit me to
“And has he not regained the King's favour, in spite of Mar's death under his hand ?"
“He has regained it all, by what trickery I cannot tell. But he is more powerful than ever; and in requital of the foul slanders which you and others have uttered against him, his Majesty has agreed to give him the title of his dead brother and to create him Earl of Mar."
Gordon was astounded by this new proof of the deluded King's weakness,
"It is an act of madness that will cost him his throne," he exclaimed. “But you cannot be rightly informed; such monstrous contempt of nobles and people alike would be opposed by Cochrane himself as too perilous even for his ambition to profit by.”
“His ambition knows no fear. His Grace's own lips gave me the intelligence of the new honour he had conferred on his favourite.
“ The King told you! Wherefore should he tell you ? "
Katherine quietly released herself from his arms, and proceeded to answer him in a cold, steady voice.
"Listen, Bertrand, and you shall learn in what danger