Bob Son of Battle
Part 4 out of 5
He looked up and down the road, darting his fiery glances
everywhere; and his face was whiter than his hair.
Then he turned and hunted madly down the whole length of the
High, nosing like a weasel in every cranny, stabbing at the air as he
went, and screaming, "By--, Kirby, wait till I get ye!"
Chapter XVIII. HOW THE KILLER WAS SINGED
No further harm came of the incident; but it served as a healthy
object-lesson for the Dalesmen.
A coincidence it may have been, but, as a fact, for the fortnight
succeeding Kirby's exploit there was a lull in the crimes. There
followed, as though to make amends, the sevcn days still
remembered in the Daleland as the Bloody Week.
On the Sunday the Squire lost a Cheviot ewe, killed not a hundred
yards from the Manor wall. On the Monday a farm on the Black
Water was marked with the red cross. On Tuesday--a black
night--Tupper at Swinsthwaite came upon the murderer at his
work; he fired into the darkness without effect; and the Killer
escaped with a scaring. On the following night Viscount Birdsaye
lost a shearling ram, for which he was reported to have paid a
fabulous sum. Thursday was the one blank night of the week. On
Friday Tupper was again visited and punished heavily, as though in
revenge for that shot.
On the Saturday afternoon a big meeting was held at the Manor to
discuss measures. The Squire presided; gentlemen and magistrates
were there in numbers, and every farmer in the country-side.
To start the proceedings the Special Commissioner read a futile
letter from the Board of Agriculture. After him Viscount Birdsaye
rose and proposed that a reward more suitable to the seriousness of
the case than the paltry ús of the Police should be offered, and
backed his proposal with a 25 pounds cheque. Several others
spoke, and, last of all, Parson Leggy rose.
He briefly summarized the history of the crimes; reiterated his
belief that a sheep-dog was the criminal; declared that nothing had
occurred to shake his conviction; and concluded by offering a
remedy for their consideration. Simple it was, so he said, to
laughableness; yet, if their surmise was correct, it would serve as
an effectual preventive if not cure, and would at least give them
time to turn round. He paused.
"My suggestion is: That every man-jack of you who owns a
sheep-dog ties him up at night."
The farmers were given half an hour to consider the proposal, and
clustered in knots talking it over. Many an eye was directed on
M'Adam; but that little man appeared all unconscious.
"Weel, Mr. Saunderson," he was saying in, shrill accents, "and
shall ye tie Shep?"
"What d'yo' think?" asked Rob, eying the man at whom the
measure was aimed.
"Why, it's this way, I'm thinkin'," the little man replied. "Gin ye
haud Shep's the guilty one I wad, by all manner o' means--or
shootin'd be ailbins better. If not, why "--he shrugged his shoulders
significantly; and having shown his hand and driven the nail well
home, the little man left the meeting.
James Moore stayed to see the Parson's resolution negatived, by a
large majority, and then he too quitted the hail. He had foreseen
the result, and, previous to the meeting, had warned the Parson
how it would be.
"Tie up!" he cried almost indignantly, as Owd Bob came galloping
up to his whistle; "I think I see myself chainin' yo', owd lad, like
ony murderer. Why, it's yo' has kept the Killer off Kenmuir so far,
At the lodge-gate was M'Adam, for once without his familiar
spirit, playing with the lodge-keeper's child; for the little man
loved all children but his own, and was beloved of them. As the
Master approached he looked up.
"Wed, Moore," he called, "and are you gaein' to tie yer dog?"
"I will if you will yours," the Master answered grimly.
"Na," the little man replied, "it's Wullie as frichts the Killer aff the
Grange. That's why I've left him there noo."
"It's the same wi' me," the Master said. He's not come to Kenmuir
yet, nor he'll not so long as Th' Owd Un's loose, I reck'n."
"Loose or tied, for the matter o' that," the little man rejoined,
"Kenmuir'll escape." He 'made the statement dogmatically,
snapping his lips.
The Master frowned.
"Why that?" he asked.
"Ha' ye no heard what they're sayin'?" the little man inquired with
"Why, that the mere repitation o' th' best sheep-dog in the North'
should keep him aff. An' I guess they're reet," and he laughed
shrilly as he spoke.
The Master passed on, puzzled.
"Which road are ye gaein' hame?" M'Adam called after him.
"Because," with a polite smile, "I'll tak' t'ither."
"I'm off by the Windy Brae," the Master answered, striding on.
"Squire asked me to 'leave a note wi' his shepherd t'other side o' the
Chair." So he headed away to the left, making for home by the
route along the Silver Mere.
ft is a long sweep of almost unbroken moorland, the well-called
Windy Brae; sloping gently down in mile on mile of heather from
the Mere Marches on the top to the fringe of the Silver Mere
below. In all that waste of moor the only break is the
quaint-shaped Giant's Chair, puzzle of geologists, looking as
though plumped down by accident in the heathery wild. The
ground rises suddenly from the uniform grade of the Brae; up it
goes, ever growing steeper, until at length it runs abruptly into a
sheer curtain of rock--the Fall--which rises perpendicular some
forty feet, on the top of which rests that tiny grassy bowl--not
twenty yards across--they call the Scoop.
The Scoop forms the seat of the Chair and reposes on its collar of
rock, cool and green and out of the world, like wine in a metal
cup; in front is the forty-foot Fall; behind, rising sheer again, the
wall of rock which makes the back of the Chair. Inaccessible from
above, the only means of entrance to that little deli are two narrow
sheep-tracks, which crawl dangerously up between the sheer wall
on the one hand and the sheer Fall on the other, entering it at
It stands out clear-cut from the gradual incline, that peculiar
eminence; yet as the Master and Owd Bob debouched on to the
Brae it was already invisible in the darkening night.
Through the heather the two swung, the Master thinking now with
a smile of David and Maggie; wondering what M'Adam had
meant; musing with a frown on the Killer; pondering on his
identity--for he was half of David's opinion as to Red Wull's
innocence; and thanking his stars that so far Kenmuir had escaped,
a piece of luck he attributed entirely to the vigilance of Th' Owd
Un, who, sleeping in the porch, slipped out at all hours and went
his rounds, warding off danger. And at the thought he looked down
for the dark head which should be travelling at his knee; yet
could not see it, so thick hung the pall of night.
So he brushed his way along, and ever the night grew blacker;
until, from the swell of the ground beneath his feet, he knew
himself skirting the Giant's Chair.
Now as he sped along the foot of the rise, of a sudden there burst
on his ear the myriad patter of galloping feet. He turned, and at the
second a swirl of sheep almost bore him down. It was velvet-black,
and they fled furiously by, yet he dimly discovered, driving at their
trails, a vague hound-like form.
"The Killer, by thunder!" he ejaculated, and, startled though he
was, struck down at that last pursuing shape, to miss and almost
"Bob, lad!" he cried, "follow on!" and swung round; but in the
darkness could not see if the gray dog had obeyed.
The chase swept on into the night, and, far above him on the
hill-side, he could now hear the rattle of the flying feet. He started
hotly in pursuit, and then, recognizing the futility of following
where he could not see his hand, desisted. So he stood motionless,
listening and peering into the blackness, hoping Th' Owd Un was
on the villain's heels.
He prayed for the moon; and, as though in answer, the lantern of
the night shone out and lit the dour face of the Chair above him.
He shot a glance at his feet; and thanked heaven on finding the
gray dog was not beside him.
Then he looked up. The sheep had broken, and were scattered over
the steep hill-side, still galloping madly. In the rout one pair of
darting figures caught and held his gaze: the foremost dodging,
twisting, speeding upward, the hinder hard on the leader's heels,
swift, remorseless, never changing. He looked for a third pursuing
form; but none could he discern.
"He mun ha' missed him in the dark," the Master muttered, the
sweat standing on his brow, as he strained his eyes upward.
Higher and higher sped those tWo dark specks, far out-topping the
scattered remnant of the flock. Up and up, until of a sudden the
sheer Fall dropped its relentless barrier in the path of the fugitive.
Away, scudding along the foot of the rock-wall struck the familiar
track leading to the Scoop, and up it, bleating pitifully, nigh spent,
the Killer hard on her now.
"He'll doon her in the Scoop!" cried the Master hoarsely, following
with fascinated eyes. "Owd Un! Owd Un! wheer iver are yo' gotten
to?" he called in agony; but no Owd Un made reply.
As they reached the summit, just as he had prophesied, the two
black dots were one; and down they rolled together into the hollow
of the Scoop, out of the Master's ken. At the same instant the
moon, as though loth to watch the last act of the bloody play,
veiled her face.
It was his chance. "Noo!"--and up the hillside he sped like a young
man, girding his loins for the struggle. The slope grew steep and
steeper; but on and on he held in the darkness, gasping painfully,
yet running still, until the face of the Fall blocked his way too.
There he paused a moment, and whistled a low call. Could he but
dispatch the old dog up the one path to the Scoop, while he took
the other, the murderer's one road to safety would be blocked.
He waited, all expectant; but no cold muzzle was shoved into his
hand. Again he whistled. A pebble from above almost dropped on
him, as if the criminal up there had moved to the brink of the Fall
to listen; and he dared no more.
He waited till all was still again, then crept, cat-like, along the
rock-foot, and hit, at length, the track up which a while before had
fled Killer and victim. Up that ragged way he crawled on hands
and knees. The perspiration rolled off his face; one elbow brushed
the rock perpetually; one hand plunged ever and anon into that
naked emptiness on the other side.
He prayed that the moon might keep in but a little longer; that his
feet might be saved from falling, where a slip might well mean
death, certain destruction to any chance of succ~s. He cursed his
luck that Th' Owcl Un had somehow missed him in the dark; for
now he must trust to chance, his own great~ strength, and his good
oak stick. And he a~ climbed, he laid his plan: to rush in on the
Killer as he still gorged and grapple with him. If in the darkness he
missed--and in that narrow arena the contingency was
improbable--the murderer might still, in the panic of the moment,
forget the one path to safety and leap over the Fall to his
At length he reached the summit and paused to draw breath. The
black void before him was the Scoop, and in its bosom--not ten
yards away--must be lying the Killer and the killed.
He crouched against the wet rock-face and listened. In that dark
silence, poised 'twixt heaven and earth, he seemed a million
miles apart from living soul.
No sound, and yet the murderer must be there. Ay, there was the
tinkle of a dislodged stone; and again, the tread of stealthy feet.
The Killer was moving; alarmed; was off.
He rose to his full height; gathered himself, and leapt.
Something collided with him as he sprang; something wrestled
madly with him; something wrenched from beneath him; and in a
clap he heard the thud of a body striking ground far below, and the
slithering and splattering of some creature speeding furiously
down the hill-side and away.
"Who the blazes?" roared he.
"What the devil?" screamed a little voice.
The moon shone out.
And there they were still struggling over the body of a dead sheep.
In a second they had disengaged and rushed to the edge of the Fall.
In the quiet they could still hear the scrambling hurry of the
fugitive far below them. Nothing was to be seen, however, save an
array of startled sheep on the hill-side, mute witnesses of the
The two men turned and eyed each other; the one grim, the other
sardonic: both dishevelled and suspicious.
A pause and, careful scrutiny.
"There's blood on your coat."
"And on yours~"
Together they walked hack into the little moon-lit hollow. There
lay the murdered sheep in a pool of blood. Plain it was to see
whence the marks on their coats came. M'Adam touched the
victim's head with his~ foot. The movement exposed its throat,.
With a shudder he replaced it as it was.
The two men stood back and eyed one another.
"What are yo' doin' here?"
"After the Killer. What are you?"
"After the Killer?"
"Hoo did you come?"
"Up this path," pointing to the one behind him. "Hoo did you?"
Silence; then again:
"I'd ha' had him but for yo'."
"I did have him, but ye tore me aff,"
A pause again.
"Where's yer gray dog?" This time the challenge was unmistakable.
"I sent him after the Killer. Wheer's your Red Wull?"
"At hame, as I tell't ye before."
"Yo' mean yo' left him there?" M'Adams' fingers twitched.
"He's where I left him."
James Moore shrugged his shoulders. And the other began:
"When did yer dog leave ye?"
"When the Killer came past."
"Ye wad say ye missed him then?"
"I say what I mean."
"Ye say he went after the Killer. Noo the Killer was here," pointing
to the dead sheep. "Was your dog here, too?"
"If he had been he'd been here still."
"Onless he went over the Fall!"
"That was the Killer, yo' fule."
"Or your dog."
"There was only one beneath me. I felt him."
"Just so," said M'Adam, and laughed. The other's brow contracted.
"An' that was a big un," he said slowly. The little man stopped his
"There ye lie," he said, smoothly. "He was small."
They looked one another full in the eyes.
"That's a matter of opinion," said the Mas-. ter.
"It's a matter of fact," said the other. The two stared at one another,
silent and stern, each trying to fathom the other's soul; then they
turned again to the brink of the. Fall. Beneath them, plain to see,
was the splash and furrow in the shingle marking the Killer's line
of retreat. They looked at one another again, and then each
departed the way he had come to give his version of the story.
'If Th' Owd Un had kept wi' me, I should Iha' had him."
And-- "I tell ye I did have him, but James Moore :~~ulled me aff.
Strange, too, his dog not bein' --'him!"
Chapter XXII A MAN AND A MAID
IN the village even the Black Killer and the murder on the Screes
were forgotten in this new sensation. The mystery in which the
affair was wrapped, and the ignorance as to all its details, served to
whet the general interest. There had been a fight; M'Adam and the
Terror had been mauled; and David had disappeared--those were
the facts. But what was the origin of the affray no one could say.
One or two of the Dalesmen had, indeed, a shrewd suspicion.
Tupper looked guilty; Jem Burton muttered, "I knoo hoo 'twould
be"; while as for Long Kirby, he vanished entirely, not to reappear
till three months had sped.
Injured as he had been, M'Adam was yet sufficiently recovered to
appear in the Sylvester Arms on the Saturday following the battle.
He entered the tap-room silently with never a word to a soul; one
arm was in a sling and his head bandaged. He eyed every man
present critically; and all, except Tammas, who was brazen, and
Jim Mason, who was innocent, fidgeted beneath the stare. Maybe
it was well for Long Kirby he was not there.
"Onythin' the matter? " asked Jem, at length, rather lamely, in view
of the plain evidences of battle.
"Na, na; naethin' oot o' the ordinar'," the little man replied,
giggling. "Only David set on me, and me sleepin'. And," with a
shrug, "here I am noo." He sat down, wagging his bandaged head
and grinning. "Ye see he's sae playfu', is Davie. He wangs ye o'er
the head wi' a chair, kicks ye in the jaw, stamps on yer wame, and
all as merry as May." And nothing further could they get from him,
except that if David reappeared it was his firm resolve to hand
him over to the police for attempted parricide.
'Brutal assault on an auld man by his son!'
'Twill look well in the Argus; he! he! They couldna let him aff
under two years, I'm thinkin'."
M'Adam's version of the affair was received with quiet incredulity.
The general verdict was that he had brought his punishment
entirely on his own head. Tammas, indeed, who was always rude
when he was not witty, and, in fact, the difference between the two
things is only one of degree, told him straight: "It served yo' well
reet. An' I nob'but wish he'd made an end to yo'."
"He did his best, puir lad," M'Adam reminded him gently.
"We've had enough o' yo'," continued the uncompromising old
man. "I'm fair grieved he didna slice yer throat while he was at it."
At that M'Adam raised his eyebrows, stared, and then broke into a
"That's it, is it?" he muttered, as though a new light was dawning
on him. "Ah, noo I see."
The days passed on. There was still no news of the missing one,
and Maggie's face became pitifully white and haggard.
Of course she did not believe that David had attempted to murder
his father, desperately tried as she knew he had been. Still, it was a
terrible thought to her that he might at any moment be arrested;
and her girlish imagination was perpetually conjuring up horrid
pictures of a trial, conviction, and the things that followed.
Then Sam'l started a wild theory that the little man had murdered
his son, and thrown the mangled body down the dry well at the
Grange. The story was, of course, preposterous, and, coming from
such a source, might well have been discarded with the ridicule it
deserved. Yet it served to set the cap on the girl's fears; and she
resolved, at whatever cost, to visit the Grange, beard M'Adam, and
discover whether he could not or would not allay her gnawing
Her intent she concealed from her father, knowing well that were
she to reveal it to him, he would gently but firmly forbid the
attempt; and on an afternoon some fortnight after David's
disappearance, choosing her opportunity, she picked up a
shawl, threw it over her head, and fled with palpitating heart out of
the farm and down the slope to the Wastrel.
The little plank-bridge rattled as she tripped across it; and she fled
faster lest any one should have heard and come to look. And,
indeed, at the moment it rattled again behind her, and she started
guiltily round. It proved, however, to be only Owd Bob, sweeping
after, and she was glad.
"Comin' wi' me, lad?" she asked as the old dog cantered up,
thankful to have that gray protector with her.
Round Langholm now fled the two conspirators; over the
summer-clad lower slopes of the Pike, until, at length, they
reached the Stony Bottom. Down the bramble-covered bank of the
ravine the girl slid; picked her way from stone to stone across the
streamlet tinkling in that rocky bed; and scrambled up the opposite
At the top she halted and looked back. The smoke from Kenmuir
was winding slowly up against the sky; to her right the low gray
cottages of the village cuddled in the bosom of the Dale; far away
over the Marches towered the gaunt Scaur; before her rolled the
swelling slopes of the Muir Pike; while behind-- she glanced
timidly over her shoulder--was the hill, at the top of which
squatted the Grange, lifeless, cold, scowling.
Her heart failed her. In her whole life she had never spoken to
M'Adam. Yet she knew him well enough from all David's
accounts-- ay, and hated him for David's sake. She hated him and
feared him, too; feared him mortally--this terrible little man. And,
with a shudder, she recalled the dim face at the window, and
thought of his notorious hatred of her father. But even M'Adam
could hardly harm a girl coming, broken-hearted, to seek her lover.
Besides, was not Owd Bob with her?
And, turning, she saw the old dog standing a little way up the hill,
looking back at her as though he wondered why she waited. "Am I
not enough?" the faithful gray eyes seemed to say.
"Lad, I'm fear'd," was her answer to the unspoken question.
Yet that look determined her. She clenched her little teeth, drew
the shawl about her, and set off running up the hill.
Soon the run dwindled to a walk, the walk to a crawl, and the
crawl to a halt. Her breath was coming painfully, and her heart
pattered against her side like the beatings of an imprisoned bird.
Again her gray guardian looked up, encouraging her forward.
"Keep close, lad," she whispered, starting forward afresh. And the
old dog ranged up beside her, shoving into her skirt, as though to
let her feel his presence.
So they reached the top of the hill; and the house stood before
them, grim, unfriendly.
The girl's face was now quite white, yet set; the resemblance to her
father was plain to see. With lips compressed and breath
quick-coming, she crossed the threshold, treading softly as though
in a house of the dead. There she paused and lifted a warning
finger at her companion, bidding him halt without; then she turned
to the door on the left of the entrance and tapped.
She listened, her head buried in the shawl, close to the wood
panelling. There was no answer; she could only hear the drumming
of her heart.
She knocked again. From within came the scraping of a chair
cautiously shoved back, followed by a deep-mouthed cavernous
Her heart stood still, but she turned the handle and entered, leaving
a crack open behind.
On the far side the room a little man was sitting. His head was
swathed in dirty bandages, and a bottle was on the table beside
him. He was leaning forward; his face was gray, and there was a
stare of naked horror in his eyes. One hand grasped the great dog
who stood at his side, with yellow teeth glinting, and muzzle
hideously wrinkled; with the other he pointed a palsied finger at
"Ma God! wha are ye?" he cried hoarsely.
The girl stood hard against the door, her fingers still on the handle;
trembling like an aspen at the sight of that uncannie pair.
That look in the little man's eyes petrified her: the swollen pupils;
lashless lids, yawning wide; the broken range of teeth in that
gaping mouth, froze her very soul. Rumors of the man's insanity
tided back on her memory.
"I'm--I---" the words came in trembling gasps.
At the first utterance, however, the little man's hand dropped; he
leant back in his chair and gave a soul-bursting sigh of relief.
No woman had crossed that threshold since his wife died; and, for
a moment, when first the girl had entered silent-footed, aroused
from dreaming of the long ago, he had thought this shawl-clad
figure with the pale face and peeping hair no earthly visitor; the
spirit, rather, of one he had loved long since and lost, come to
reproach him with a broken troth.
"Speak up, I canna hear," he said, in tones mild compared with
those last wild words.
"I--I'm Maggie Moore," the girl quavered.
"Moore! Maggie Moore, d'ye say?" he cried, half rising from his
chair, a flush of color sweeping across his face, "the dochter o'
James Moore?" He paused for an answer, glowering at her; and she
shrank, trembling, against the door.
The little man leant back in his chair. Gradually a grim smile crept
across his countenance.
"Weel, Maggie Moore," he said, halfamused, "ony gate ye're a
good plucked tin." And his wizened countenance looked at her
almost kindly from beneath its dirty crown of bandages.
At that the girl's courage returned with a rush. After all this little
man was not so very terrible. Perhaps he would be kind. And in the
relief of the moment, the blood swept back into her face.
There was not to be peace yet, however. The blush was still hot
upon her cheeks, when she caught the patter of soft steps in the
passage without. A dark muzzle flecked with gray pushed in at the
crack of the door; two anxious gray eyes followed.
Before she could wave him back, Red Wull had marked the
intruder. With a roar he tore himself from his master's restraining
hand, and dashed across the room.
"Back, Bob!" screamed Maggie, and the dark head withdrew. The
door slammed with a crash as the great dog flung himself against
it, and Maggie was hurled, breathless and white-faced, into a
M'Adam was on his feet, pointing with a shrivelled finger, his face
"Did you bring him? did you bring that to ma door?"
Maggie huddled in the corner in a palsy of trepidation. Her eyes
gleamed big and black in the white face peering from the shawl.
Red Wull was now beside her snarling horribly. With nose to the
bottom of the door and busy paws he was trying to get out; while,
on the other side, Owd Bob, snuffling also at the crack, scratched
and pleaded to get in. Only two miserable wooden inches
separated the pair.
"I brought him to protect me. I--I was afraid."
M'Adam sat down and laughed abruptly.
"Afraid! I wonder ye were na afraid to bring him here. It's the first
time iver he's set foot on ma land, and 't had best be the last" He
turned to the great dog. "Wullie, Wullie, wad ye?" he called.
"Come here. Lay ye doon--so--under ma chair--good lad. Noo's no
the time to settle wi' him"--nodding toward the door. "We can wait
for that, Wullie; we can wait." Then, turning to Maggie, "Gin ye
want him to mak' a show at the Trials two months hence, he'd best
not come here agin. Gin he does, he'll no leave ma land alive;
Wullie'll see to that. Noo, what is 't ye want o'me?"
The girl in the corner, scared almost out of her senses by this last
occurrence, remained dumb.
M'Adam marked her hesitation, and grinned sardonically.
"I see hoo 'tis," said he; "yer dad's sent ye. Aince before he wanted
somethin' o' me, and did he come to fetch it himself like a man?
Not he. He sent the son to rob the father." Then, leaning forward in
his chair and glaring at the girl, "Ay, and mair than that! The night
the lad set on me he cam' "--with hissing emphasis--" straight from
Kenmuir!" He paused and stared at her intently ,and she was still
dumb before him. "Gin I'd ben killed, Wullie'd ha' bin disqualified
from competin' for the Cup. With Adam M'Adam's Red Wull oot o'
the way--noo d'ye see? Noo d'ye onderstan'?
She did not, and he saw it and was satisfied. What he had been
saying she neither knew nor cared. She only remembered the
object of her mission; she only saw before her the father of the
man she loved; and a wave of emotion surged up in her breast.
She advanced timidly toward him, holding out her hands.
"Eh, Mr. M'Adam," she pleaded, "I come to ask ye after David."
The shawl had slipped from her head, and lay loose upon her
shoulders; and she stood before him with her sad face, her pretty
hair all tossed, and her eyes big with unshed tears--a touching
"Will ye no tell me wheer he is? I'd not ask it, I'd not trouble yo',
but I've bin waitin' a waefu' while, it seems, and I'm wearyin' for
news o' him."
The little man looked at her curiously. "Ah, noo I mind me, "--this
to himself. "You' the lass as is thinkin' o' marryin' him?"
"We're promised," the girl answered simply.
"Weel," the other remarked, "as I said afore, ye're a good plucked
un." Then, in a tone in which, despite the cynicism, a certain
indefinable sadness was blended, "Gin he mak's you as good
husband as he mad' son to me, ye'll ha' made a maist remairkable
match, my dear."
Maggie fired in a moment.
"A good feyther makes a good son," she answered almost pertly;
and then, with infinite tenderness, "and I'm prayin' a good wife'll
make a good husband."
He smiled scoffingly.
"I'm feared that'll no help ye much," he said.
But the girl never heeded this last sneer, so set was she on her
purpose. She had heard of the one tender place in the heart of this
little man with the tired face and mocking tongue, and she
resolved to attain her end by appealing to it.
"Yo' loved a lass yo'sel' aince, Mr. M'Adam," she said. "Hoo would
yo' ha' felt had she gone away and left yo'? Yo'd ha' bin mad; yo'
know yo' would. And, Mr. M'Adam, I love the lad yer wife loved."
She was kneeling at his feet now with both hands on his knees,
looking up at him. Her sad face and quivering lips pleaded for her
more eloquently than any words The little man was visibly
"Ay, ay, lass, that's enough," he said, trying to avoid those big
beseeching eyes which would not be avoided.
"Will ye no tell me?" she pleaded.
"I canna tell ye, lass, for why, I dinna ken," he answered
querulously. In truth, he was moved to the heart by her misery.
The girl's last hopes were dashed. She had played her last card and
failed. She had clung with the fervor of despair to this last
resource, and now it was torn from her. She had hoped, and now
there was no hope. In the anguish of her disappointment she
remembered that this was the man who, by his persistent cruelty,
had driven her love into exile.
She rose to her feet and stood back.
"Nor ken, nor care!" she cried bitterly.
At the words all the softness fled from the little man's face.
"Ye do me a wrang, lass; ye do indeed," he said, looking up at her
with an assumed ingenuousness which, had she known him better,
would have warned her to beware. "Gin I kent where the lad was
I'd be the vairy first to let you, and the p'lice, ken it too; eh, Wullie!
he! he!" He chuckled at his wit and rubbed his knees, regardless of
the contempt blazing in the girl's face.
"I canna tell ye where he is now, but ye'd aiblins care to hear o'
when I saw him last." He turned his chair the better to address her.
"Twas like so: I was sittin' in this vairy chair it was, asleep, when
he crep' up behind an' lep' on ma back. I knew naethin' o't till I
found masel' on the floor an' him kneelin' on me. I saw by the look
on him he was set on finishin' me, so I said--"
The girl waved her hand at him, superbly disdainful.
"Yo' ken yo're lyin', ivery word o't," she cried.
The little man hitched his trousers, crossed his legs, and yawned.
"An honest lee for an honest purpose is a matter ony man may be
proud of, as you'll ken by the time you're my years, ma lass."
The girl slowly crossed the room. At the door she turned.
"Then ye'll no tell me wheer he is?" she asked with a
heart-breaking trill in her voice.
"On ma word, lass, I dinna ken," he cried, half passionately.
"On your word, Mr. M'Adamt" she said with a quiet scorn in her
voice that might have stung Iscariot.
The little man spun round in his chair, an angry red dyeing his
cheeks. In another moment he was suave and smiling again.
"I canna tell ye where he is noo," he said, unctuously; "but aiblins,
I could let ye know where he's gaein' to."
"Can yo'? will yo'?" cried the simple girl all unsuspecting. In a
moment she was across the room and at his knees.
"Closer, and I'll whisper." The little ear, peeping from its nest of
brown, was tremblingly approached to his lips. The little man lent
forward and whispered one short, sharp word, then sat back,
grinning, to watch the effect of his disclosure.
He had his revenge, an unworthy revenge on such a victim. And,
watching the girl's face, the cruel disappointment merging in the
heat of her indignation, he had yet enough nobility to regret his
She sprang from him as though he were unclean.
"An' yo' his father!" she cried, in burning tones.
She crossed the room, and at the door paused. Her face was white
again and she was quite composed.
"If David did strike you, you drove him to it," she said, speaking in
calm, gentle accents. "Yo' know, none so well, whether yo've bin a
good feyther to him, and him no mither, poor laddie! whether yo've
bin to him what she'd ha' had yo' be. Ask yer conscience, Mr.
M'Adam. An' if he was a wee aggravatin' at times, had he no
reason? He'd a heavy cross to bear, had David, and yo' know best if
yo' helped to ease it for him."
The little man pointed to the door; but the girl paid no heed.
"D'yo' think when yo' were cruel to him, jeerin' and fleerin', he
never felt it, because he was too proud to show ye? He'd a big saft
heart, had David, beneath the varnish. Mony's the time when
mither was alive, I've seen him throw himsel' into her arms,
sobbin', and cry, 'Eh, if I had but mither! 'Twas different when
mither was alive; he was kinder to me then. An' noo I've no one;
I'm alone.' An' he'd sob and sob in mither's arms, and she, weepin'
hersel', would comfort him, while he, wee laddie, would no be
comforted, cryin' broken-like, 'There's none to care for me noo; I'm
alone. Mither's left me and eh! I'm prayin' to be wi' her!'
The clear, girlish voice shook. M'Adam, sitting with face averted,
waved to her, mutely ordering her to be gone. But she held on,
gentle, sorrowful, relentless.
"An' what'll yo' say to his mither when yo meet her, as yo' must
soon noo, and she asks yo', 'An what o' David? What o' th' lad I left
wi' yo', Adam, to guard and keep for me, faithful and true, till this
Day?' And then yo'll ha' to speak the truth, God's truth; and yo'll ha'
to answer, 'Sin' the day yo' left me I niver said a kind word to the
lad. I niver bore wi' him, and niver tried to. And in the end I drove
him by persecution to try and murder me.' Then maybe she'll look
at yo'--yo' best ken hoo--and she'll say, 'Adam, Adam! is this what I
deserved fra yo'?'
The gentle, implacable voice ceased. The girl turned and slipped
softly out of the room; and M'Adam was left alone to his thoughts
and his dead wife's memory.
"Mither and father, baith! Mither and father, baith!" rang
remorselessly in his ears.
Chapter XXIII TH' OWD UN
THE Black Killer still cursed the land. Sometimes there would be
a cessation in the crimes; then a shepherd, going his rounds, would
notice his sheep herding together, packing in unaccustomed
squares; a raven, gorged to the crop, would rise before him and
flap wearily away, and he would come upon the murderer's latest
The Dalesmen were in despair, so utterly futile had their efforts
been. There was no proof; no hope, no apparent probability that
the end was near. As for the Tailless Tyke, the only piece of
evidence against him had flown with David, who, as it chanced,
had divulged what he had seen to no man.
The 100 pound reward offered had brought no issue. The police
had done nothing. The Special Commissioner had been equally
successful. After the affair in the Scoop the Killer never ran a risk,
yet never missed a chance.
Then, as a last resource, Jim Mason made his attempt. He took a
holiday from his duties and disappeared into the wilderness. Three
days and three nights no man saw him.
On the morning of the fourth he reappeared, haggard, unkempt, a
furtive look haunting his eyes, sullen for once, irritable, who had
never been irritable before--to confess his failure. Cross-examined
further, he answered with unaccustomed fierceness: "I seed nowt, I
tell ye. Who's the liar as said I did?"
But that night his missus heard him in his sleep conning over
something to himself in slow, fearful whisper, "Two on 'em; one
ahint t'other. The first big--bull-like; t'ither--" At which point Mrs.
Mason smote him a smashing blow in the ribs, and he woke in a
sweat, crying terribly, "Who said I seed--"
The days were slipping away; the summer was hot upon the land,
and with it the Black Killer was forgotten; David was forgotten;
everything sank into oblivion before the all-absorbing interest of
the coming Dale trials.
The long-anticipated battle for the Shepherds' Trophy was looming
close; soon everything that hung upon the issue of that struggle
would be decided finally. For ever the jus-. tice of Th' Owd Un'
claim to his proud title would be settled. If he won, he won
outright ~--a thing unprecedented in the annals of the Cup; if he
won, the place of Owd Bob o' Kenmuir as first in his profession
was assured for all time. Above all, it was the last event in the six
years' struggle 'twixt Red and Gray It wa~ the last time those two
great rivals would meet in battle. The supremacy of one would be
decided once and for all. For win or lose, it was the last public
appearance of the Gray Dog of Kenmuir.
And as every hour brought the great day nearer, nothing else was
talked of in the country-side. The heat of the Dalesmen's
enthusiasm was only intensified by the fever of their apprehension.
Many a man would lose more than he cared to contemplate were
'Th' Owd Un beat. But he'd not be! Nay; owd, indeed, he was--two
years older than his great rival; there were a hundred risks, a
hundred chances; still: "What's the odds agin Owd Bob o'
Kenmuir? I'm takin' 'em. Who'll lay agin Th' Owd Un?"
And with the air saturated with this perpetual talk of the old dog,
these everlasting references to his certain victory; his ears
drumming with the often boast that the gray dog was the best in
the North, M'Adam became the silent, ill-designing man of six
months since--morose, brooding, suspicious, muttering of
conspiracy, plotting revenge.
The scenes at the Sylvester Arms were replicas of those of
previous years. Usually the little man sat isolated in a far corner,
silent and glowering, with Red Wull at his feet. Now and then he
burst into a paroxysm of insane giggling, slapping his thigh, and
muttering, "Ay, it's likely they'll beat us, Wuflie. Yet aiblins there's
a wee somethin'--a some- thin' we ken and they dinna, Wullie,--eh!
Wullie, he! he!" And sometimes he would leap to his feet and
address his pot-house audience, appealing to them passionately,
satirically, tearfully, as the mood might be on him; and his theme
was always the same: James Moore, Owd Bob, the Cup, and the
plots agin him and his Wullie; and always he concluded with that
hint of the surprise to come.
Meantime, there was no news of David; he had gone as utterly as a
ship foundered in mid-Atlantic. Some said he'd 'listed; some, that
he'd gone to sea. And "So he 'as," corroborated Sam'l, "floatin',
With no gleam of consolation, Maggie's misery was such as to
rouse compassion in all hearts. She went no longer blithely singing
about her work; and all the springiness had fled from her gait. The
people of Kenmuir vied with one another in their attempts to
console their young mistress.
Maggie was not the only one in whose life David's absence had
created a void. Last as he would have been to own it, M' Adam felt
acutely the boy's loss. It may have been he missed the ever-present
butt; it may have been a nobler feeling. Alone with Red Wull, too
late he felt his loneliness. Sometimes, sitting in the kitchen by
himself, thinking of the past, he experienced sharp pangs of
remorse; and this was all the more the case after Maggie's visit.
Subsequent to that day the little man, to do him justice, was never
known to hint by word or look an ill thing of his enemy's daughter.
Once, indeed, when Melia Ross was drawing on a dirty
imagination with Maggie for subject, M'Adam shut her up
"Ye're a maist amazin' big liar, Melia Ross." Yet, though for the
daughter he had now no evil thought, his hatred for the father had
never been so uncompromising.
He grew reckless in his assertions. His life was one long threat
against James Moore's. Now he openly stated his conviction that,
on the evenful night of the fight, James Moore, with object easily
discernible, had egged David on to murder him.
"Then why don't yo' go and tell him so, yo' muckle liar?" roared
Tammas at last, enraged to madness.
"I will!" said M'Adam. And he did.
It was on the day preceding the great summer sheep fair at
Grammoch-town that he ful-. filled his vow.
That is always a big field-day at Kenmuir; and on this occasion
James Moore and Owd Bob had been up and working on the Pike
from the rising of the sun. Throughout the straggling lands of
Kenmuir the Master went with his untiring adjutant, rounding up,
cutting out, drafting. It was already noon when the flock started
from the yard.
On the gate by the stile, as the party came up, sat M'Adam.
"I've a word to say to you, James Moore," he announced, as the
"Say it then, and quick. I've no time to stand gossipin' here, if yo'
have," said the Master.
M'Adam strained forward till he nearly toppled off the gate.
Queer thing, James Moore, you should be the only one to escape
"Yo' forget yoursel', M'Adam."
"Ay, there's me," acquiesced the little man. "But you--hoo d'yo'
'count for your luck?"
James Moore swung round and pointed proudly at the gray dog,
now patrolling round the flock.
"There's my luck!" he said.
M'Adam laughed unpleasantly.
"So I thought," he said, "so I thought! And I s'pose ye're thinkin'
that yer luck," nodding at the gray dog, "will win you the Cup for
certain a month hence,"
"I hope so!" said the Master.
"Strange if he should not after all," mused the little man.
James Moore eyed him suspiciously. "What d'yo' mean?" he asked
sternly. M'Adam shrugged his shoulders. "There's mony a slip
'twixt Cup and lip, that's a'. I was thinkin' some mischance might
come to him."
The Master's eyes flashed dangerously. He recalled the many
rumors he had heard, and the attempt on the old dog early in the
"I canna think ony one would be coward enough to murder him,"
he said, drawing himself up.
M'Adam lent forward. There was a nasty glitter in his eye, and his
face was all a-tremble.
"Ye'd no think ony one 'd be cooard enough to set the son to
murder the father. Yet some one did,--set the lad on to 'sassinate
me. He failed at me, and next, I suppose, he'll try at Wullie!" There
was a flush on the sallow face, and a vindictive ring in the thin
voice. "One way or t'ither, fair or foul, Wullie or me, am or baith,
has got to go afore Cup Day, eh, James Moore! eh?"
The Master put his hand on the latch of the gate, "That'll do,
M'Adam," he said. "I'll stop to hear no more, else I might get angry
we' yo'. Noo git off this gate, yo're trespassin' as 'tis.
He shook the gate. M'Adam tumbled off, and went sprawling into
the sheep clustered below. Picking himself up, he dashed on
through the flock, waving his arms, kicking fantastically, and
scattering confusion everywhere.
"Just wait till I'm thro' wi' 'em, will yo'?" shouted the Master,
seeing the danger.
It was a request which, according to the etiquette of shepherding,
one man was bound to grant another. But M'Adam rushed on
regardless, dancing and gesticulating. Save for the lightning
vigilance of Owd Bob, the flock must have broken.
"I think yo' might ha' waited!" remonstrated the Master, as the little
man burst his way through.
"Noo, I've forgot somethin'!" the other cried, and back he started as
he had gone.
It was more than human nature could tolerate.
"Bob, keep him off!"
A flash of teeth; a blaze of gray eyes; and~ the old dog had leapt
forward to oppose the little man's advance.
"Shift oot o' ma light!" cried he, striving to dash past.
"Hold him, lad!"
And hold him the old dog did, while his master opened the gate
and put the flock through, the opponents dodging in front of one
another like opposing three-quarter-backs at the Rugby game.
"Oot o' ma path, or I'll strike!" shouted the little man in a fury, as
the last sheep passed through the gate.
"I'd not," warned the Master.
"But I will!" yelled M'Adam; and, darting forward as the gate
swung to, struck furiously at his opponent.
He missed, and the gray dog charged at him like a mail-train.
"Hi! James Moore--" but over he went like a toppled wheelbarrow,
while the old dog turned again, raced at the gate, took it
magnificently in his stride, and galloped up the lane after his
At M'Adam's yell, James Moore had turned.
"Served yo' properly!" he called back. "He'll lam ye yet it's not wise
to tamper wi' a gray dog or his sheep. Not the first time he's
downed ye, I'm thinkin'!"
The little man raised himself painfully to his elbow and crawled
toward the gate. The Master, up the lane, could hear him cursing
as he dragged himself. Another moment, and a head was poked
through the bars of the gate, and a devilish little face looked after
"Downed me, by--, he did!" the little man cried passionately. "I
owed ye baith somethin' before this, and noo, by--, I owe ye
somethin' more. An' mind ye, Adam M'Adam pays his debts!"
"I've heard the contrary," the Master replied drily, and turned away
up the lane toward the Marches.
Chapter XXIV A SHOT IN THE NIGHT
IT was only three short weeks before Cup Day that one afternoon
Jim Mason brought a letter to Kenmuir. James Moore opened it as
the postman still stood in the door.
It was from Long Kirby--still in retirement--begging him for
mercy's sake to keep Owd Bob safe within doors at nights; at all
events till after the great event was over. For Kirby knew, as did
every Dalesman, that the old dog slept in the porch, between the
two doors of the house, of which the outer was only loosely closed
by a chain, so that the ever-watchful guardian might slip in and out
and go his rounds at any moment of the night.
This was how the smith concluded his ill-spelt note: "Look out for
M'Adam i tell you i know hel tn at thowd un afore cup day--f aiim
im you. if the ole dog's bete i'm a ruined man i say so for the luv o
God keep yer eyes wide."
The Master read the letter, and handed it to the postman, who
perused it carefully.
"I tell yo' what," said Jim at length, speaking with an earnestness
that made the other stare, "I wish yo'd do what he asks yo': keep
Th' Owd Un in o' nights, I mean, just for the. present.
The Master shook his head and laughed, tearing the letter to
"Nay," said he; "M'Adam or no M'Adam,, Cup or no Cup, Th' Owd
Un has the run o' ma land same as he's had since a puppy. Why,
Jim, the first night I shut him up that. night the Killer comes, I'll
The postman turned wearily away, and the Master stood looking
after him, wondering what had come of late to his former cheery
Those two were not the only warnings James Moore received.
During the weeks immediately preceding the Trials, the danger
signal was. perpetually flaunted beneath his nose.
Twice did Watch, the black cross-bred chained in the straw-yard,
hurl a brazen challenge on the night air. Twice did the Master,~
with lantern, Sam'! and Owd Bob, sally forth and search every hole
and corner on the premises--to find nothing. One of the
dairy-maids~ gave notice, avowing that the farm was haunted; that,
on several occasions in the early morning, she had seen a bogie
flitting down the slope to the Wastrel--a sure portent, Sam'l
declared, of an approaching death in the house. While once a
shearer, coming up from the village, reported having seen, in the
twilight of dawn, a little ghostly figure, haggard and startled,
stealing silently from tree to tree in the larch-copse by the lane.
The Master, however, irritated by these constant alarms, dismissed
the story summarily.
One thing I'm sartino'," said he. "There's not a critter moves on
Kenmuir at nights but Th' Owd Un knows it."
Yet, even as he said it, a little man, draggled, weary-eyed, smeared
with dew and dust, was limping in at the door of a house barely a
-mile away. "Nae luck, Wullie, curse it!" he-cried, throwing
himself into a chair, and addressing some one who was not
there--"nae luck. An' yet I'm sure o't as I am that there's .a God in
M'Adam had become an old man of late. But little more than fifty,
yet he looked to have reached man's allotted years. His sparse hair
was quite white; his body shrunk and bowed; and his thin hand
shook like an aspen as it groped to the familiar bottle.
In another matter, too, he was altogether changed. Formerly,
whatever his faults, there had been no harder-working man in the
country-side. At all hours, in all weathers, you might have seen
him with his gigantic attendant going his rounds. Now all that was
different: he never put his hand to the plough, and with none to
help him the land was left wholly untended; so that men said that,
of a surety, there would be a farm to let on the March Mere
Estate come Michaelmas.
Instead of working, the little man sat all day in the kitchen at
home, brooding over his wrongs, and brewing vengeance. Even the
Sylvester Arms knew him no more; for he stayed where he was
with his dog and his. bottle. Only, when the shroud of night had
come down to cover him, he slipped out and away on some errand
on which not even Red. Wull accompanied him.
So the time glided on, till the Sunday before the Trials came
All that day M'Adam sat in his kitchen, drinking, muttering,
"Curse it, Wullie! curse it! The time's slippin'--slippin'--slippin'!
Thursday next-- but three days mair! and I haena the proof --I
haena the proof! "--and he rocked to and fro, biting his nails in
the agony of his impotence.
All day long he never moved. Long after sunset he sat on; long
after dark had eliminated the features of the room.
"They're all agin us, Wuflie. It's you and I alane, lad. M'Adam's to
be beat somehow, onyhow; and Moore's to win. So they've settled
it, and so 'twill be--onless, Wullie, onless--but curse it! I've no the
proof! "--and he hammered the table before him and stamped on
At midnight he arose, a mad, desperate plan. looming through his
"I swore I'd pay him, Wullie, and I will. If I hang for it I'll be even
wi' him. I haena the proof, but I know--I know!" He groped his way
to the mantel piece wth blind eyes and swirling brain. Reaching up
with fumbling hands, he took down the old blunderbuss from
above the fireplace.
"Wullie," he whispered, chuckling hideously, "Wullie, come on!
You and I--he! he!" But the Tailless Tyke was not there. At
nightfall he had slouched silently out of the house on business he
best wot of. So his master crept out of the room alone--on tiptoe,
The cool night air refreshed him, and he stepped stealthily along,
his quaint weapon over his shoulder: down the hill; across the
Bottom; skirting the Pike; till he reached the plank-bridge over the
He crossed it safely, that Providence whose care is drunkards
placing his footsteps. Then he stole up the slope like a hunter
stalking his prey.
Arrived at the gate, he raised himself cautiously, and peered over
into the moonlit yard. There was no sign or sound of living
creature. The little gray house slept peacefully in the shadow of the
Pike, all unaware of the man with murder in his heart laboriously
climbing the yard-gate.
The door of the porch was wide, the chain hanging limply down,
unused; and the little man could see within, the moon shining on
the iron studs of the inner door, and the blanket of him who should
have slept there, and did not.
"He's no there, Wullie! He's no there!" He jumped down from the
gate. Throwing all caution to the winds, he reeled recklessly across
the yard. The drunken delirium of battle was on him. The fever of
anticipated. victory flushed his veins. At length he would. take toll
for the injuries of years.
Another moment, and he was in front of the good oak door,
battering at it madly with clubbed weapon, yelling, dancing,
"Where is he? What's he at? Come and tell me that, James Moore!
Come doon, I say, ye coward! Come and meet me like a. man!"
'Scots wha hae wi' Wallace bled,
Scots wham Bruce has aften led--
Welcome to your gory bed
Or to victorie!'
The soft moonlight streamed down on the white-haired madman
thundering at the door, screaming his war-song.
The quiet farmyard, startled from its sleep, awoke in an uproar.
Cattle shifted in their stalls; horses whinnied; fowls chattered,
aroused by the din and dull thudding of the blows:. and above the
rest, loud and piercing, the. shrill cry of a terrified child.
Maggie, wakened from a vivid dream of David chasing the police,
hurried a shawl around her, and in a minute had the baby in her
arms and was comforting her--vaguely fearing the while that the
police were after David.
James Moore flung open a window, and, leaning out, looked down
on the dishevelled figure below him.
M'Adam heard the noise, glanced up, and saw his enemy.
Straightway he ceased his attack on the door, and, running beneath
the window, shook his weapon up at his foe.
"There ye are, are ye? Curse ye for a
-coward! .'urse ye for a liar! Come doon, I say, James Moore!
come doon--I daur ye to it! Aince and for a' let's settle oor
The Master, looking down from above, thought that at length the
little man's brain had gone.
"What is't yo' want?" he asked, as calmly as he could, hoping to
"What is't I want?" screamed the madman. "Hark to him! He
crosses mi in ilka thing; he plot-s agin me; lie robs me o' ma Cup;
he sets ma son agin me and pits him on to murder me! And in the
"Coom, then, coom! I'll--~---"
"Gie me back the Cup ye stole, James Moore! Gie me back ma son
ye've took from rue! And there's anither thing. What's yer gray dog
doin'? Where's yer--"
The Master interposed again:
"I'll coom doon and talk things over wi' yo'." he said soothingly.
But before he could withdraw, M'Adam had jerked his weapon to
his shoulder and aimed it full at his enemy's head.
The threatened man looked down the gun's great quivering mouth,
"Yo' mon hold it steadier, little mon, if yo'd hit!" he said grimly.
"There, I'll cooni help yo'!" He withdrew slowly; and all the-time
was wondering where the gray dog was.
In another moment he was downstairs, un--doing the bolts and bars
of the door. On the other side stood M'Adam, his blunderbuss at
his shoulder, his finger trembling on the trigger, waiting.
"Hi, Master! Stop, or yo're dead!" roared a voice from the loft on
the other side the yard.
"Feyther! feyther! git yo' back!" screamed Maggie, who saw it all
from the window above-the door.
Their cries were too late! The blunderbuss. went off with a roar,
belching out a storm of sparks and smoke. The shot peppered the
door like hail, and the whole yard seemed for a moment wrapped
"Aw! oh! ma gummy! A'm waounded~ A'm a goner! A'm shot!
'Elp! Murder! Eh! Oh!" bellowed a lusty voice--and it was. not
The little man, the cause of the uproar, lay-quite still upon the
ground, with another figure standing over him. As he had stood,
finger on trigger, waiting for that last bolt to be drawn, a gray
form, shooting whence no one knew, had suddenly and silently
attacked him from behind, and jerked him backward to the ground.
With the shock of the fall the blunderbuss had gone off.
The last bolt was thrown back with a clatter, and the Master
emerged. In a glance he took in the whole scene: the fallen man;
the gray dog; the still-smoking weapon.
"Yo', was't Bob lad?" he said. "I was wonderin' wheer yo' were. Yo'
came just at the reet moment, as yo' aye do!" Then, in a loud voice,
addressing the darkness: "Yo're-not hurt, Sam'! Todd--I can tell
that by yer-noise; it was nob'but the shot off the door warmed yo'.
Coom away doon and gie me a hand."
He walked up to M'Adam, who still lay-gasping on the ground.
The shock of the fall and recoil of the weapon had knocked the
breath out of the little man's body; beyond that he was barely hurt.
The Master stood over his fallen enemy and looked sternly down
"I've put up wi' more from you, M'Adam, than I would from ony
other man, " he said. "But this is too much--comin' here at night
-wi' loaded arms, scarin' the wimmen and childer oot o' their
lives, and I can but think meanin' worse. If yo' were half a man I'd
gie yo' the finest thrashin' iver yo' had in yer life. But, as yo' know
well, I could no more hit yo' than I could a woman. Why yo've got
this down on me yo' ken best. I niver did yo' or ony ither mon a
harm. As to the Cup, I've got it and I'm goin' to do ma best to keep
it--it's for yo' to win it from me if yo' can o' Thursday. As for what
yo' say o' David, yo' know it's a lie. And as for what yo're drivin' at
wi' yer hints and mysteries, I've no more idee than a babe unborn.
Noo I'm goin' to lock yo' up, yo're not safe abroad. I'm thinkin' I'll
ha' to hand ye o'er to the p'lice."
With the help of Sam'l he half dragged, half supported the stunned
little man across the yard; and shoved him into a tiny
semisubterraneous room, used for the storage of coal, at the end of
"Yo' think it over that side, ma lad," called the Master grimly, as
he turned the key, "and I will this." And with that he retired to bed.
Early in the morning he went to release his prisoner. But he was a
minute too late. For scuttling down the slope and away was a little
black-begrimed, tottering figure with white hair blowing in the
wind. The little man had broken away a wooden hatchment which
covered a manhole in the wall of his prison-house, squeezed his
small body through, and so escaped.
"Happen it's as well," thought the Master, watching the flying
figure. Then, "Hi, Bob, lad!" he called; for the gray dog, ears back,
tail streaming, was hurling down the slope after the fugitive.
On the bridge M'Adam turned, and, seeing his pursuer hot upon
him, screamed, missed his footing, and fell with a loud splash into
the stream--almost in that identical spot into which, years before,
he had plunged voluntarily to save Red Wull.
On the bridge Owd Bob halted and looked down at the man
struggling in the water below. He made a half move as though to
leap in to the rescue of his enemy; then, seeing it was unnecessary,
turned and trotted back to his master.
"Yo' nob'but served him right, I'm think-in'," said the Master. "Like
as not he came here wi' the intent to mak' an end to yo.' Well, after
Thursday, I pray God we'll ha' peace. It's gettin' above a joke." The
two turned back into the yard.
But down below them, along the edge of the stream, for the second
time in this story, a little dripping figure was tottering homeward.
The little man was crying--the hot tears mmgling on his cheeks
with the undried waters of the Wastrel--crying with rage,
Chapter XXV THE SHEPHERDS' TROPHY
It broke calm and beautiful, no cloud on the horizon, no threat of
storm in the air; a fitting day on which the Shepherds' Trophy must
be won outright.
And well it was so. For never since the founding of the Dale Trials
had such a concourse been gathered together on the North bank of
the Silver Lea. From the Highlands they came; from the far
Campbell country; from the Peak; from the county of many acres;
from all along the silver fringes of the Soiway; assembling in that
quiet corner of the earth to see the famous Gray Dog of Ken-muir
fight his last great battle for the Shepherds' Trophy.
By noon the gaunt Scaur looked down on such a gathering as it had
never seen. The paddock at the back of the Dalesman's Daughter
was packed with a clammering, chattering multitude: animated
groups of farmers; bevies of solid rustics; sharp-faced townsmen;
loud-voiced bookmakers; giggling girls; amorous boys,--thrown
together like toys in a sawdust bath; whilst here and there, on the
outskirts of the crowd, a lonely man and wise-faced dog, come
from afar to wrest his proud title from the best sheep-dog in the
At the back of the enclosure was drawn up a formidale array of
carts and carriages, varying as much in quality and character as did
their owners. There was the squire's landau rubbing axle-boxes
with Jem Burton's modest moke-cart; and there Viscount
Birdsaye's flaring barouche side by side with the red-wheeled
wagon of Kenmuir.
In the latter, Maggie, sad and sweet in her simple summer garb,
leant over to talk to Lady Eleanour; while golden-haired wee
Anne, delighted with the surging crowd around, trotted about the
wagon, waving to her friends, and shouting from very joyousness.
Thick as flies clustered that motley assembly on the north bank of
the Silver Lea. While on the other side the stream was a little
group of judges, inspecting the course.
The line laid out ran thus: the sheep must first be found in the big
enclosure to the right of the starting flag; then up the slope and
away from the spectators; around a flag and obliquely down the
hill again; through a gap in the wall; along the hillside, parrallel to
the Silver Lea; abruptly to the left through a pair of flags--the
trickiest turn of them all; then down the slope to the pen, which
was set up close to the bridge over the stream.
The proceedings began with the Local Stakes, won by Rob
Saunderson's veteran, Shep. There followed the Open Juveniles,
carried off by Ned Hoppin's young dog. It was late in the afternoon
when, at length, the great event of the meeting was reached.
In the enclosure behind the Dalesman's Daughter the clamor of the
crowd increased tenfold, and the yells of the bookmakers were
"Walk up, gen'lemen, walk up! the ole firm! Rasper? Yessir--
twenty to one bar two! Twenty to one bar two! Bob? What
price Bob? Even money, sir--no, not a penny longer, couldn't do it!
Red Wull? 'oo says Red Wull?"
On the far side the stream is clustered about the starting flag the
finest array of sheep-dogs ever seen together.
"I've never seen such a field, and I've seen fifty," is Parson Leggy's
There, beside the tall form of his master, stands Owd Bob o'
Kenmuir, the observed of all. His silvery brush fans the air, and he
holds his dark head high as he scans his challengers, proudly
conscious that to-day will make or mar his fame. Below him, the
meanlooking, smooth-coated black dog is the tinbeaten Pip,
winner of the renowned Cambrian Stakes at Liangollen--as many
think the best of all the good dogs that have come from
sheep-dotted Wales. Beside him that handsome sable collie, with
the tremendous coat. and slash of white on throat and face, is the
famous MacCallum More, fresh from his victory at the Highland
meeting. The cobby, brown dog, seeming of many breeds, is from
the land o' the Tykes--Merry, on whom the Yorkshiremen are
laying as though they loved him. And Jess, the wiry black-and-tan,
is the favorite of the men of of the Derwent and Dove. Tupper's big
blue Rasper is there; Londes-~ ley's Lassie; and many more--too
many t& mention: big and small, grand and mean, smooth and
rough--and not a bad dog there.
And alone, his back to the others, stands a little bowed,
conspicuous figure--Adam M'Adam; while the great dog beside
him, a hideous incarnation of scowling defiance, is. Red Wull, the
Terror o' the Border.
The Tailless Tyke had already run up his. fighting colors. For
MacCallum More, going up to examine this forlorn great
adversary, had conceived for him a violent antip-. athy, and,
straightway, had spun at him with all the fury of the Highland
cateran, who at-~ tacks first and explains afterward. Red Wull,
forthwith, had turned on him with savage, silent gluttony;
bob-tailed Rasper was racing up to join in the attack; and in
another second the three would have been locked inseparably--but
just in time M'Adam intervened. One of the judges came hurrying
"Mr. M'Adam," he cried angrily. "if that brute of yours gets
fighting again, hang me if I don't disqualify him! Only last year at
the Trials he killed the young Cossack dog."
A dull flash of passion swept across M'Adam's face. "Come here,
Wullic!" he called. "Gin yon Hielant tyke attacks ye agin, ye're to
He was unheeded. The battle for the Cup had begun--little Pip
leading the dance.
On the opposite slope the babel had subsided now. Hucksters left
their wares, and bookmakers their stools, to watch the struggle.
Every eye was intent on the moving figures of man and dog and
three sheep over the stream.
One after one the competitors ran their course and penned their
sheep--there was no single failure. And all received their just meed
of applause, save only Adam M'Adam's Red Wull.
Last of all, when Owd Bob trotted out to uphold his title, there
went up such a shout as made Maggie's wan cheeks to blush with
pleasure, and wee Anne to scream right lustily.
His was an incomparable exhibition. Sheep should be humored
rather than hurried; coaxed, rather than coerced. And that
sheepdog has attained the summit of his art who subdues his own
personality and leads his sheep in pretending to be led. Well might
the bosoms of the Dalesmen swell with pride as they watched their
favorite at his work; well might Tammas pull out that hackneyed
phrase, "The brains of a mon and the way of a woman"; well might
the crowd bawl their enthusiasm, and Long Kirby puff his cheeks
and rattle the money in his trouser pockets.
But of this part it is enough to say that Pip, Owd Bob, and Red
Wull were selected to fight out the struggle afresh.
The course was altered and stiffened. On the far side the stream it
remained as before; up the slope; round a flag; down the hill again;
through the gap in the wall; along the hillside; down through the
two flags; turn; and to the stream again. But the pen was removed
from its former position, carried over the bridge, up the near slope,
and the hurdles put together at the very foot of the spectators.
The sheep had to be driven over the plank bridge, and the penning
done beneath the very nose of the crowd. A stiff course, if ever
there was one; and the time allowed, ten short minutes.
The spectators hustled and elbowed in their endeavors to obtain a
good position. And well they might; for about to begin was the
finest exhibition of sheep-handling any man there was ever to
Those two, who had won on many a hard-fought field, worked
together as they had never worked before. Smooth and swift, like a
yacht in Southampton Water; round the flag, through the gap, they
brought their sheep. Down between the two flags--accomplishing
right well that awkward turn; and back to the bridge.
There they stopped: the sheep would not face that narrow way.
Once, twice, and again, they broke; and each time the gallant little
Pip, his tongue out and tail quivering, brought them back to the
At length one faced it; then another, and--it was too late. Time
was up. The judges signalled; and the Welshman called off his dog
Out of sight of mortal eye, in a dip of the ground, Evan Jones sat
down and took the small dark head between his knees--and you
may be sure the dog's heart was heavy as the man's. "We did our
pest, Pip," he cried brokenly, "but we're peat--the first time ever
No time to daily.
James Moore and Owd Bob were off on their last run.
No applause this time; not a voice was raised; anxious faces;
twitching fingers; the whole crowd tense as a stretched wire. A
false turn, a wilful sheep, a cantankerous judge, and the gray dog
would, he beat. And not a man there but knew it.
Yet over the stream master and dog went about their business
never so quiet, never so collected; for all the world as though they
were rounding up a flock on the Muir Pike.
The old dog found his sheep in a twinkling and a wild, scared trio
they proved. Rounding the first flag, one bright-eyed wether made
a dash for the open. He was quick; but the gray dog was quicker: a
splendid recover, and a sound like a sob from the watchers on the
Down the slope they came for the gap in the wall. A little below
the opening, James Moore took his stand to stop and turn them;
while a distance behind his sheep loitered Owd Bob, seeming to
follow rather than drive, yet watchful of every movement and
anticipating it. On he came, one eye on his master, the other on his
sheep; never hurrying them, never flurrying them, yet bringing
them rapidly along.
No word was spoken; barely a gesture made; yet they worked,
master and dog, like one divided.
Through the gap, along the hill parallel to the spectators, playing
into one another's hands like men at polo.
A wide sweep for the turn at the flags, and the sheep wheeled as
though at the word of command, dropped through them, and
trayelled rapidly for the bridge.
"Steady!" whispered the crowd.
"Steady, man!" muttered Parson Leggy.
"Hold 'em, for God's sake!" croaked Kirby huskily. "D--n! I knew
it! I saw it coming!"
The pace down the hill had grown quicker--too quick. Close on the
bridge the three sheep made an effort to break. A dash--and two
were checked; but the third went away like the wind, and after him
Owd Bob, a gray streak against the green.
Tammas was cursing silently; Kirby was. white to the lips; and in
the stillness you could plainly hear the Dalesmen's sobbing breath,
as it fluttered in their throats.
"Gallop! they say he's old and slow!" muttered the Parson. "Dash!
Look at that!" For the gray dog, racing like the Nor'eastcr over the
sea, had already retrieved the fugitive.
Man and dog were coaxing the three a step. at a time toward the
One ventured--the others followed.
In the middle the leader stopped and tried to turn--and time was
flying, flying, and the penning alone must take minutes. Many a
man's hand was at hig watch, but no one could take his eyes off the
group below him to~ look.
"We're beat! I've won bet, Tammas! groaned Sam'l. (The two had a
long-standing wager on the matter.) "I allus knoo hoo 'twould be. I
allus told yo' th' owd tyke
Then breaking into a bellow, his honest face crimson with
enthusiasm: "Coom on, Master! Good for yo', Owd Un! Yon's the
For the gray dog had leapt on the back of the hindmost sheep; it
had surged forward against the next, and they were over, and
making up the slope amidst a thunder of applause.
At the pen it was a sight to see shepherd and dog working together.
The Master, his face stern and a little whiter than its wont, casting
forward with both hands, herding the sheep in; the gray dog, his
eyes big and bright, dropping to hand; crawling and creeping,
closer and closer.
"They're in!--Nay--Ay--dang me! Stop 'er! Good, Owd Un! Ah-h-h,
they're in!" And the last sheep reluctantly passed through
--on the stroke of time.
A roar went up from the crowd; Maggie's white face turned pink;
and the Dalesmen mopped their wet brows. The mob surged
forward, but the stewards held them back.
"Back, please! Don't encroach! M'Adam'3 to come!"
From the far bank the little man watched the scene. His coat and
cap were off, and his hair gleamed white in the sun; his sleeves
were rolled up; and his face was twitching but set as he
The hubbub over the stream at length subsided. One of the judges
nodded to him.
"Noo, Wullie--noo or niver!--'Scots wha hae'! "--and they were
"Back, gentlemen! back! He's off--he's coming! M'Adam's
They might well shout and push; for the great dog was on to his
sheep before they knew it; and they went away with a rush, with
him right on their backs. Up the slope they swept and round the
first flag, already galloping. Down the hill for the gap, and
M'Adam was flying ahead to turn them. But they passed him like a
hurricane, and Red Wull was in front with a rush and turned them
"M'Adam wins! Five to four M'Adam! I lay agin Owd Bob!" rang
out a clear voice in the silence.
Through the gap they rattled, ears. back, feet twinkling like the
wings of driven grouse.
"He's lost 'em! They'll break! They're away!" was the cry.
Sam'l was half up the wheel of the Kenmuir wagon; every man
was on his toes; ladies were standing in their carriages; even Jim
Mason's face flushed with momentary excitement.
The sheep were tearing along the hillside, all together, like a white
scud. After them,, galloping like a Waterloo winner, raced Red
Wull. And last of all, leaping over the ground like a demoniac,
making not for the two flags, but the plank-bridge, the
white-haired figure of M'Adam.
"He's beat! The Killer's beat!" roared a strident voice.
"M'Adam wins! Five to four M'Adam! I lay agin Owd Bob!" rang
out the clear reply.
Red Wull was now racing parallel to the fugitives and above them.
All four were travelling at a terrific rate; while the two flags were
barely twenty yards in front, below the line of flight and almost
parallel to it. To effect the turn a change of direction must be
macic almost through a right angle,
"He's beat! he's beat! M'Adam's beat! Can't make it nohow!" was
From over the stream a yell-- "Turn 'em, Wullie!"
At the word the great dog swerved down on the flying three. They
turned, still at the gallop, like a troop of cavalry, and dropped,
clean and neat, between the flags; and down to the stream they
rattled, passing M'Adam on the way as though he was standing.
"Weel done, Wullie!" came the scream from the far bank; and
from the crowd went up an involuntary burst of applause.
"Did yo' see that?"
It was a turn, indeed, of which the smartest team in the galloping
horse-gunners might well have been proud. A shade later, and they
must have overshot the mark; a shade sooner, and a miss.
"He's not been two minutes so far. We're beaten--don't you think
so, Uncle Leggy?" asked Muriel Sylvester, looking up piteously
into the parson's face.
"It's not what I think, my dear; it's what the judges think," the
parson replied; and what he thought their verdict would be was
plainly writ on his face for all to read.
Right on to the centre of the bridge the leading sheep galloped
Up above in the crowd there was utter silence; staring eyes; rigid
fingers. The sweat was dripping off Long Kirby's face; and, at the
back, a green-coated bookmaker slipped his note-book in his
pocket, and glanced behind him. James Moore, standing in front of
them all, was the calmest there.
Red Wull was not to be denied. Like his forerunner he leapt on the
back of the hind-. most sheep. But the red dog was heavy where
the gray was light. The sheep staggered, slipped, and fell.
Almost before it had touched the water, M'Adam, his face afire
and eyes flaming, was. in the stream. In a second he had hold of
the struggling creature, and, with an almost superhuman effort, had
half thrown, half shoved it on to the bank.
Again a tribute of admiration, led by James Moore.
The little man scrambled, panting, on to the bank and raced after
sheep and dog. His face was white beneath the perspiration; his
breath came in quavering gasps; his trousers were wet and clinging
to his legs; he was trembling in every limb, and yet indomitable.
They were up to the pen, and the last wrestle began. The crowd,
silent and motionless, craned forward to watch the uncanny,
white-haired little man and the huge dog, working so close below
them. M'Adam's face was white; his eyes staring, unnaturally
bright; his bent body projected forward; and he tapped with his
stick on the ground like a blind man, coaxing the sheep in. And the
Tailless Tyke, his tongue out and flanks heaving, crept and
crawled and worked up to the opening, patient as he had never
They were in at last.
There was a lukewarm, half-hearted cheer; then silence.
Exhausted and trembling, the little man leant against the pen, one
hand on it; while Red Wull, his flanks still heaving, gently licked
the other. Quite close stood James Moore and the gray dog; above
was the black wall of people, utterly still; below, the judges
comparing notes. In the silence you could almost hear the panting
of the crowd.
Then one of the judges went up to James Moore and shook him by
The gray dog had won. Owd Bob o' Ken-muir had won the
Shepherds' Trophy outright.
A second's palpitating silence; a woman's hysterical laugh,--and a
deep-mouthed bellow rent the expectant air: shouts, screams,
hattossings, back-clappings blending in a din that made the
many-winding waters of the Silver Lea quiver and quiver again.
Owd Bob o' Kenmuir had won the Shepherds' Trophy outright.
Maggie's face flushed a scarlet hue. Wee Anne flung fat arms
toward her triumphant Bob, and screamed with the best. Squire
and parson, each red-cheeked, were boisterously shaking hands.
Long Kirby, who had not prayed for thirty years, ejaculated with
heartfelt earnestness, "Thank God!" Sam'l Todd bellowed in
Tammas's ear, and almost slew him with his mighty buffets.
Among the Dalesmen some laughed like drunken men; some cried
like children; all joined in that roaring song of victory.
To little M 'Adam, standing with his back to the crowd, that storm
of cheering came as the first announcement of defeat.
A wintry smile, like the sun over a March sea, crept across his
"We might a kent it, Wullie," he muttered, soft and low. The
tension loosed, the battle lost, the little man almost broke down.
There were red dabs of color in his face; his eyes were big; his lips
pitifully quivering; he was near to sobbing.
An old man utterly alone he had staked his all on a throw and lost.
Lady Eleanour marked the forlorn little figure, standing solitary on
the fringe of the uproarious mob. She noticed the expression on his
face; and her tender heart went out to the lone man in his defeat.
She went up to him and laid a hand upon his arm.
"Mr. M'Adam," she said timidly, "won't you come and sit down in
the tent? You look so tired! I can find you a corner where no one
shall disturb you."
The little man wrenched roughly away. The unexpected kindness,
coming at that moment, was almost too much for him. A few paces
off he turned again.
"It's reel kind o' yer ladyship," he said huskily; and tottered away to
be alone with Red Wull.
Meanwhile the victors stood like rocks in the tideway. About them
surged a continually changing throng, shaking the man's hand,
patting the dog.
Maggie had carried wee Anne to tender her congratulations; Long
Kirby had come; Tammas, Saunderson, Hoppin, Tupper,
Londesley all but Jim Mason; and now, elbowing through the
press, came squire and parson.
"Well done, James! well done, indeed! Knew you'd win! told you
so eh, eh!" Then facetiously to Owd Bob: "Knew you would,
Robert, old man! Ought to Robert the Dev musn't be a naughty boy
"The first time ever the Dale Cup's been won outright!" said the
Parson, "and I dare-say it never will again. And I think Ken-muir's
the very fittest place for its final home, and a Gray Dog of
Kenmuir for its winner."
"Oh, by the by!" burst in the squire. "I've fixed the Manor dinner
for to-day fortnight, James. Tell Saunderson and Tupper, will you?
Want all the tenants there." He disappeared into the crowd, but in a
minute had fought his way back. "I'd forgotten something!" he
shouted. "Tell your Maggie perhaps you'll have news for her after
it eh! eh! " and he was gone again.
Last of all, James Moore was aware of a white, blotchy, grinning
face at his elbow.
"I maun congratulate ye, Mr. Moore. Ye've beat us you and the
"'Twas a close thing, M'Adam," the other answered. "An' yo' made
a gran' fight. In ma life I niver saw a finer turn than yours by the
two flags yonder. I hope yo' bear no malice."
"Malice! Me? Is it likely? Na, na. 'Do onto ivery man as he does
onto you and somethin' over,' that's my motter. I owe ye mony a
good turn, which I'll pay ye yet. Na, na; there's nae good fechtin'
again fate and the judges. Weel, I wush you well o' yer victory.
Aiblins' twill be oor turn next."
Then a rush, headed by Sam'l, roughly hustled the one away and
bore the other off on its shoulders in boisterous triumph.
In giving the Cup away, Lady Eleanour made a prettier speech than
ever. Yet all the while she was haunted by a white, miserable face;
and all the while she was conscious of two black moving dots in
the Murk Muir Pass opposite her solitary, desolate, a contrast to
the huzzaing crowd around.
That is how the champion challenge Dale Cup, the world-known
Shepherds' Trophy, came to wander no more; won outright by the
last of the Gray Dogs of Kenmuir Owd Bob.
Why he was the last of the Gray Dogs is now to be told.
PART VI THE BLACK KILLER
Chapter XXVI RED-HANDED
THE SUN was hiding behind the Pike. Over the lowlands the
feathery breath of night hovered still. And the hillside was
shivering in the chillness of dawn.
Down on the silvery sward beside the Stony Bottom there lay the
ruffled body of a dead sheep. All about the victim the dewy ground
was dark and patchy like dishevelled velvet; bracken trampled
down; stones displaced as though by striving feet; and the whole
spotted with the all-pervading red.
A score yards up the hill, in a writhing confusion of red and gray,
two dogs at death-grips. While yet higher, a pack of wild-eyed
hill-sheep watched, fascinated, the bloody drama.
The fight raged. Red and gray, blood-spattered, murderous-eyed;
the crimson froth dripping from their jaws; now rearing high with
arching crests and wrestling paws; now rolling over in tumbling,
tossing, worrying disorder-- the two fought out their blood-feud.
Above, the close-packed flock huddled and stamped, ever edging
nearer to watch the issue. Just so must the women of Rome have
craned round the arenas to see two men striving in death-struggle.
The first cold flicker of dawn stole across the green. The red eye of
the morning peered aghast over the shoulder of the Pike. And from
the sleeping dale there arose the yodling of a man driving his cattle
Day was upon them.
James Moore wa~s waked by a little whimpering cry beneath his
window. He leapt out of bed and rushed to look; for well he knew
'twas not for nothing that the old dog was calling.
"Lord o' mercy! whativer's come to yo', Owd Un?" he cried in
anguish. And, indeed, his favorite, war-daubed almost past
recognition, presented a pitiful spectacle.
In a moment the Master was downstairs and out, examining him.
"Poor old lad, yo' have caught it this time!" he cried. There was a
ragged tear on the dog's cheek; a deep gash in his throat from
which the blood still welled, staining the white escutcheon on his
chest; while head and neck were clotted with the red.
Hastily the Master summoned Maggie. After her, Andrew came
hurrying down. And a little later a tiny, night-clad, naked-footed
figure appeared in the door, wide-eyed, and then fled, screaming.
in the kitchen. Maggie tenderly washed his wounds, and dressed
them with gentle, pitying fingers; and he stood all the while
grateful yet fidgeting, looking up into his master's face as if
imploring to be gone.
"He mun a had a rare tussle wi' some one-- eh, dad?" said the girl,
as she worked.
"Ay; and wi' whom? 'Twasn't for nowt he got fightin', I war'nt. Nay;
he's a tale to tell, has The Owd Un, and--A h-h-h! I thowt as much.
Look 'ee!" For bathing the bloody jaws, he had come upon a cluster
of tawny red hair, hiding in the corners of the lips.
The secret was out. Those few hairs told their own accusing tale.
To but one creature in the Daleland could they belong--" Th'
"He mun a bin trespassin'!" cried Andrew.
"Ay, and up to some o' his bloody work, I'll lay my life," the
Master answered. "But Th' Owd Un shall show us."
The old dog's hurts proved less severe than had at first seemed
possible. His good gray coat, forest-thick about his throat, had
never served him in such good stead. And at length, the wounds
washed and sewn up, he jumped down all in a hurry from the table
and made for the door.
"Noo, owd lad, yo' may show us," said the Master, and, with
Andrew, hurried after him down the hill, along the stream, and
over Langholm How. And as they neared the Stony Bottom, the
sheep, herding in groups, raised frightened heads to stare.
Of a sudden a cloud of poisonous flies rose, buzzing, up before
them; and there in a dimple of the ground lay a murdered sheep.
Deserted by its comrades, the glazed eyes staring helplessly
upward, the throat horribly worried, it slept its last sleep.
The matter was plain to see. At last the Black Killer had visited
"I guessed as much," said the Master, standing over the mangled
body. "Well, it's the worst night's work ever the Killer done. I
reck'n Th' Owd Un come on him while he was at it; and then they
fought. And, ma word! ii munn ha' bin a fight too." For all around
were traces of that terrible struggle:
the earth torn up and tossed, bracken up-Tooted, and throughout
little dabs of wool and tufts of tawny hair, mingling with
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