although in that case one would have thought that the action

rain and cloudthanks2023-12-07 10:27:12 4518 5647

'Your face is bleeding, Davie. Did he get near enough to hit you?' Archie asked.

although in that case one would have thought that the action

'He hit me with a stone. But I gave him better. He's got a bleeding nose to remember this night by.'

although in that case one would have thought that the action

We did not dare take the road by the links, but made for the nearest human habitation. This was a farm about half a mile inland, and when we reached it we lay down by the stack- yard gate and panted.

although in that case one would have thought that the action

'I've lost my lantern,' said Tam. 'The big black brute! See if I don't tell my father.'

'Ye'll do nothing of the kind,' said Archie fiercely. 'He knows nothing about us and can't do us any harm. But if the story got out and he found out who we were, he'd murder the lot of US.'

He made us swear secrecy, which we were willing enough to do, seeing very clearly the sense in his argument. Then we struck the highroad and trotted back at our best pace to Kirkcaple, fear of our families gradually ousting fear of pursuit. In our excitement Archie and I forgot about our Sabbath hats, reposing quietly below a whin bush on the links.

We were not destined to escape without detection. As ill luck would have it, Mr Murdoch had been taken ill with the stomach-ache after the second psalm, and the congregation had been abruptly dispersed. My mother had waited for me at the church door, and, seeing no signs of her son, had searched the gallery. Then the truth came out, and, had I been only for a mild walk on the links, retribution would have overtaken my truantry. But to add to this I arrived home with a scratched face, no hat, and several rents in my best trousers. I was well cuffed and sent to bed, with the promise of full-dress chastisement when my father should come home in the morning.

My father arrived before breakfast next day, and I was duly and soundly whipped. I set out for school with aching bones to add to the usual depression of Monday morning. At the corner of the Nethergate I fell in with Archie, who was staring at a trap carrying two men which was coming down the street. It was the Free Church minister - he had married a rich wife and kept a horse - driving the preacher of yesterday to the railway station. Archie and I were in behind a doorpost in a twinkling, so that we could see in safety the last of our enemy. He was dressed in minister's clothes, with a heavy fur-coat and a brand new yellow-leather Gladstone bag. He was talking loudly as he passed, and the Free Church minister seemed to be listening attentively. I heard his deep voice saying something about the 'work of God in this place.' But what I noticed specially - and the sight made me forget my aching hinder parts - was that he had a swollen eye, and two strips of sticking-plaster on his cheek.



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