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the • ample board ;: prepared ~l Jay
foreign cooks, the like of which the High-' landers had never before tasted,' but the trayed no surprise at" the splendid prepa rations which had been made for his re ception. "Many dainties were placed on .. ¦¦ -¦¦-., ¦ ¦ - ¦ the courtiers. The : chief, calling to his piper, commanded him instantly to com pose a pibroch for the King, and that ready musician, . swelling with pride, marched . up and down and round and round the great hall pouring forth a tri umphal quickstep with many wonderful flourishes and variations. Then at a word' from the chief each man placed his flagon on the table, whipped out his sword, swung it overhead, to the amaze ment of the courtiers, for It is not in ac cord with etiquette to show cold steel to the eyes of the King. Down came the blades Instantly and together, each man splitting in two the goblet he had drunk from. . ¦ . . ".You must all come to Loch Tay,". cried the. chief, "and I will show you a ban queting hall In' honor of James V such as - you'have never before seen." .Then to the horror of the courtiers he suddenly smote the King on the back with his open palm and cried, "Jamie, my - lad' - you'll come and visit me at Loch Tay?" The smitten King laughed heartily and ; •;¦ "Yes, Finlay, I will." ; The next day the MacNabs set faces toward the north on their long tramp home. . ; . • "What proud 'deevils' <they are!" said Sir David Lyndsay to the King after the company, had departed. "I have been through the . MacNab country from : one end of it to the other, and there is 'not - a decent hut - on the hillside. let alone '. a castle/ fit, , to -; entertain - a king, yet T the chief glves> an invitation in _the. heat, of wine and", when The. is sobered l he .is too proud to admit that he cannot make good the words he has uttered." On the last night there was a banquet, which was the best that Stirling could be etow, in honor of the Clan MacNab. The great hall was decorated with the colors Cf the clan, and at the further end had been painted the arms of the MacNab. Five pipers of the King's court had learned the "Salute to the Chief.", and now, headed by . MacNab'a own. they paced up and down the. long room, mak ing It ring with their warlike, music. The King and the chieftain came in together, and as the latter 'took, his place at his host's right hand bis impassive face be- The captain of the guard brought the chief his sword and would have presented it to him, but the King himself arose and took the weapon in his own hand, tender ing it to Its owner. The chieftain accepted the sword and rested its point on the floor, then in dignified native courtesy he doffed .his broad, feathered bonnet. "Sire," he said, with slow deliberation, "Scotland has a King that this good blade shall ever be proud to serve." For three days the MacNabs were the guests of the King in his castle, while the legal documents were being prepared. King and chieftain walked the town to gether, and all that Stirling had to show MacNab beheld. In hand, how would you have treated me, Finlay the Fifth?" ••If you had come with only twenty men behind you I should treat you with all the hospitality of Glendochart, which far exceeds that of Stirling." "It ha* all been a mistake." said the King with great cordiality. "The parch ment you seek shall be gi^n to you, and I trust that your generosity, Lord of Glendochart, will allow me to amend your opinion of Stirling hospitality. I shall take it kindly if you will be my guests in the castle. until my officers of law repair the harshness of my ancestor, Robert.", Then, turning to the guard, the King con tinued: "Unbind these gentlemen and return to them their arms." ..' , ¦¦";¦ 5 . '../'.:. : r .v'C. . • . , •* y o. no." salfl th* King decisively. \ C /V I "Bring them in: bring them in; I >J I'll have none east Into prison V \ without at least a hearing.. Have any of your men been killed T' ¦ • "No. your Majesty." replied Blr Donald/. . "tout some of them hav* wounds they will not forget in a hurry; the Highlandmen fought like tiger cats." ¦¦; ¦ ot many are there of them?" asked the King. "Scznethlrg mor* than a score, with a piper, led by a breechless ruffian, al though I must say he knows what to do with a swerd." "All anaed, you say?" » "Every oa* of them but the piper. About half an hour ago they earn* march ing up the main street of Stirling. *ach ¦ ~ r .r. with his sword drawn, and th* pipes skirling death and defiance. ,'Tou disarmed them, of course?" "Certainly, your Majesty." "Verr wall; bring them la. and let us hear what they have to say for them selves." The doors were fiu&g open, a sharp ccmziand was given, and presently there entered th* group cf Highlanders, dis armed and with their elbows tied behind their backs. A. strong guard accompanied ' them on either side. The Highlanders ¦were men of magnificent physique, en hanced by the picturesque costume they were, in spit* of the fact that in some . Instances this costume was In tatters and the wearers cut and bleeding. The King ¦Fazed with undisguised admiration upon t he foremost Highlander, and eaid quietly to the captain of the guard: "Unbind him!" ' On finding his arms released the moun taineer stretched them out twice, then folded them across his breast, making no • : motion, however, to remove his plumed bonnet, although every one else In the . room except himself and his men was uncovered. ••You have come In from the country." . began the King, a suspicion of a smile .bovermg about his lips, "to enjoy the :. metropolitan OeDftLtS of Stirling. How ' are ecu cstfsfiefl with your reception?" The big Highlander made no reply, but Crowned heavily. •These savage*.*! suggested Sir Donald. '. "do not understand anything but the ' f.ur lie. Is it your Majesty'e pleasure that the interpreter be called?" "Yes. bring him in." • The interpreter put the question in <ja> Me. and was answered with gruff brevity by the marauder. The interpreter, bowing low to the King, said smoothly: "Thi* man humbly begs to Inform your - Majesty"— "S)>ea.k truth. MacPherson!" cautioned the King. 'Translate faithfully exactly what he fays. Our friend here, by the " look of him. does not do anything humbly or fawn or beg. Translate accurately. *. What docs he say?" "He Bay*. ycfUr Majesty, he will hold no communication with me, because I am of . an inferior clan, which Is untrue. The MacPherson* were a" civilised clan cen . torftes ajro. which the MacNabe are not. . to this day." T»:e MaeNab's hand darted to his left f- Fide, but finding no eword to his grasp ¦ ;t '.< U. away acsin. ' ¦ "You are a l!ar'." cried the chief in very ' rsfsable Erplrsh. which was rot to be misunderstood. "The MacPhersons are no Han. but an insignificant branch of the • 'hauan. 'Touch not the Cr.t' is your motto, and a pood one. for a MacPherson * ran scratch, but he cannot nandle the broadsword.'* MacPht-rson's hand also sought lnstlnc lively »he hijt of his eword. but the pres rnce In. welch he stood restricted, him. "Ii is quite *afe." he eaid with some • thing like thf spit of a cat. "for a heathen ¦ to insult a Christian in the presence of his King, and the MacNabs Lnve ever fhoun a taste for the cautious cauee." "Tut. tut." cried the King, witU impa "¦ ti^nf-o. "am I to find myself involved in a ¦ Highland feud in my own hall? MacPher- • son. it se*>ms this man does not require - you? interpreting, so. perhaps, it will • further the peace of our realm if -you withdraw quietly." Ma< Phereon. with a low obeisance, did 1 s<>: then to MacNab the Kin* spoke: "S:r. as it appears you are acquainted ¦rltfa our language, why did you not reply to trie question ! put to you?" '"Because I would have you know it ytaM not the proper kind cf question to ask the lik.' of me. I am a descendant of kings.*" "Wei".. 1 am a descendant of kings ray wit thouch sorrv I ehould be to defend . aU their notions." "Your family only began wir.h Robert th*- Brace; mine. was old ere fce came to • th» throne." "That may well be: rtill you must admit that what Robert lacked in ancestry he furnished forth in ability." . "Hut the Clan Mac-Nab defeated him at • iho battle of DH Rhl." .'•True, with some assistance, which you ipricre. from Alexander of Argyll. How • ever, if" this discussion is to become a competition *n history I may be allowed to add that my pood ancestor, Robert, did • • . not forget the actions of the MacNabs at Del Rhl. and later overran their country, • dismantling: their fortresses, leaving the '• c!an in a more fan* 1 end chastened condi tion than that in which he found it. But ¦ • what has ail this to do with your coming ' Finfrhtng Into h. peaceable town like Stlr - lire?" ' • '.' *"I came," raid the chief, "because of the, foray you have mentioned. I came be v' orate Robert the Bruce desolated our counter.* "By • ray pood sword I" cried Jamw. V. 'Freaking er one king to another. your; • •¦.•¦£<•¦ !¦- Fcmewhat belated, a lapse of . two centuries should have outlawed the- O'fit. Did you expect, then, to take Btlr lir.p with twenty men?" ; "I expected King James the Fifth to ""•ify the wrong done by King Robert • v k First." "But I have already disclaimed respon-. biiity for the deeds of ancestors less re . :<>\f than good King Robert." "You have made proclamation In the Highlands that the chieftains must bring • you proof of their right to occupy theii r«r.<j.s." .,." ¦ •*'I have, and some have preferred to me tliclr deeds of tenure, others prepared to . fight: the cases have been settled in both instances. To which of these two classes • do you belong, chief of the Clan Mac • "Nab7" " - ' "To neither. I cannot submit to you our", • "parchments, because Robert, your ances • tor,, destroyed them. I cannot fight the; army of the Lowlands, because my clan is small; therefore I,' Flnlay MacNab, come *_ to you In peace, asking you to repair the wronK.done by ancestor.'*. "Indeed !" cried the King. "If the pres *. cnt advent typifies your idea of a peaceful • visit, then God forfend that I should ever men you in anger." . ¦¦ * ¦ ;'.>." -¦ • ."I cane In peace and have been shame-. -' fully u.st-d." ¦^gjp . -., ¦'"'¦; "You must not hold that' against us," gald James /'Look you. .now. If I had i ome etorming at your castle door, aword* mountaineers at* stolidly whatever wai set in front of them, and If unusual fla vors saluted their palates the strangers made no sign of approval or the reverse. The red wine of Burgundy, grown old in the King's cellars, they drank like water, emptying their tankards as fast as the at tendant could refill them. Soon the ruddy fluid, whose- potency had been underesti mated, began to have its effect, and the dinner table became noisy as "the meal progressed, songs bursting forth now and then, with strange shouts and cries more familiar to the hills of Loch Tay than to the rafters of Stirling. The chief him self lost the solemn dignity which had at first characterized him, and as he emptied flagon after flagon, he boasted loudly of the prowess of his dan; foretold what he would do in future, fields now that he was allied with the King of Scotland. At last MacNab sprang to his feet, hold ing aloft bis brimming flagon, and called for cheers for the King of Scotland, a worthy prince who knew well how to en tertain a brother prince. Repeating this in . Gaelic his men. who had also risen with their chief, now sprang . upon the benches, where, standing unsteadily, they raised a series of yells so wild that a shudder of fear passed through many of •That rery thing is troubling me." re plied the King, "but it's a long time till July, and between now and then we will make him some excuse for not returning his visit, and thus avoid putting the old man to shame." "But that, too, will offend him beyond repair," objected the poet. "Well, we must lay our heads together, Davle," answered the- King, "and think of some way that will neither be an insult nor a humiliation." • .' •.:!' Affairs of state gave James the valid excuse he required and so he sent a com mission to the chief of the MacXabs. "His Majesty," said the head commission er,- "Is entertaining the Embassadors from Spain and from France, and likewise a legate from the Pope. If he came north he must at least bring with him these great noblemen with their retinues, and while he would hav* been glad to visit you with soma of his own men he could' not Impose upon your hospitality by bringing also a large number of strangers and foreigners." "Tell his Majesty," replied MacNab with dignity, "that whether he bring with him the King of Spain, th* Emperor of Franc* or even the Pope himself, none of these princes Is. in the estimation of Mao- Nab, superior to James the Fifth of Scot land. Th* entertainment, therefore, which the King graciously condescends to ac cept, is certainly good enough for any foreigners that may accompany him, be their nobility ever so high." When this reply was reported to th* King h* first smiled and then sighed. "I can do nothing further," he said. "Return to MacNab and tell him that the Pope's legate desires to visit the Priory on Loch Tay. Tell the chief that we' will take the boat along the lake on the day arranged. Say that the foreigners are anxious to taste th* venison of the hills, and that nothing could bo better than to give us a dinner under the trees. Tell him that he need not be at any trouble to pro vide us lodging, for we shall return to the island Priory and there sleep." In the early morning the King and his followers, the Embassadors and their trains embarked and sailed from the island Priory the length of the beautiful lake; the numerous craft being driven through the water by strong northern oarsmen, their wild chanting choruses echoing back from the mountains. The evening before horses for the party had been led through forests, over the hills and along the strand to the meeting place at the other end of the lake. A summer has* hung in the valley, and when the King came In sight of the stronghold of th* MacNabs he rubbed his eyes in wonder, thinking the misty uncer tainty of the atmosphere was playing tricks with his vision. There, before them, stood the most bulky edifice, the most extraordinary pile h* had ever be held. At one end a great square keep iarose, its amazing height looming gigan tically in the gauze-like magic of the mist. A high wall, machicolated at the top, connected this keep with a small oc tagonal tower, whose twin was placed some distance to the left, leaving an opening between for a wide entrance. The two octagonal towers formed a sort of fram* for a roaring waterfall in the back ground. From the second octagonal tow er another extended lofty wall connected it with a round peel as high as the keep. This castle, of a size so enormous that it made all others its beholders had ever seen shrink Into comparative insignifi cance, was surrounded by a bailey wall; outside of that was. a moat which proved to be a foaming river fed by the volume of water which came down the precipice behind th*- castle. "We have a great many strongholds in Italy," said the Pope's legate, "but never have- I seen anything to compare with this." "Oh." said MacNab. slightingly, "we are but a small clan; you should see the High land castle* farther north; they are of stone; Indeed, our own fortresses, which are further inland, are also of stone. This is merely our pleasure house, built of pine trees." "A castle of logs!" exclaimed the Pope's legate. "I never before heard of such a thing." #> They crossed the bridge, passed between the two octagonal towers and entered the extensive courtyard, • surrounded by th* castle Itself; a courtyard broad enough to afford maneuvering ground for an army. The interior walls were as attractive as the outside was grim and forbidding. Bal conies, ran around three sides of the in closure, tall, thin, straight pine poles, ris ing three stories high, supporting them, each pole fluttering a flag at th* top. Tha balconies were all festooned with branches of living green. Inside, the King .and his men found "Chieftain," said the legat* In an awad whisper, "is this conflagration aocldeot or design?" '- :¦ "It is' our custom." replied MaoNab. "A monarch's pathway must be . lighted, and it is not fitting that a residence once honored by our King should sver again be occupied by any one leas noble. The pine tree is the badge of my clan. At my behest the pine tree sheltered th* Kins;. and now, at the blast of my bugle, it sends forth to the glen Its farewell of flame." ' At the next blast thosa on the bailey wall thrust their torches, still burning, among th» chinks of the log* and swarmed to the ground as speedily and as safely as those on the main building. Now the lighted torches that had been thrown on the roof of the castle, disap pearing a moment from sight, gar* evi dence of their existence. Her*' and there a long tongue of flams sprang up and died down again. "Can nothing be done to sav* the pal ace?" shouted the excitable Frenchman. "The waterfall! the waterfall! Let us go back or the castle will be destroyed." "Stand where you are," said the chief, "and you will see a sight worth coming north for." Now, almost with' the suddenness of an explosion, great sheets of flam* ros*. tow ering into a mountain of fir*. Tb« logs themselves seemed to redden m the; light glowed through every crevice between them. The bastions, the bailey- walls, were great wheels of flame, encircling a palace that had all the vivid radiance of molten gold. The valley for miles up and down was lighter than the sun ever made it. : •' And with that, bowing to the Kinf as if to ask permission, he raised his bug!* to his lips and blew a blast. Instantly frora the corner of the farthest bastion a torch flamed forth, and that torch lighted tha one next* to it. and this Us neighbor, so that speedily a rim of flre ran along the outlines of the castle, marking out the square towers and the round, lining th« curtain, the smaller towers, turrets and parapets. Then at the top of the bailey wall a circle of Highlanders lit torch after torch, and thus was the whola castle il lumined by a circle of flre. The huge edi fice was etched In flame against the som ber background of the high mountain. "Confess, legate." cried the King, "that you never saw anythnlg more beautiful, even in fair Italy." "I am willing to admit aa much." re plied the Roman. Another blast from the bugle and all the torches on the castle itself disap peared, though the flre on the ballsy wall remained intact. From . machloolated tower, keep, peel and curtain, tha nimble Highlanders, terchless. scrambled down, cheering as they came. : For a moment the castle wall* were alive with fluttering tartans, strongly Il luminated by the torches from the outer bailey. Each man held +£s breath while this perilous acrobatic performance was being accomplished, and silence reigned over the royal party until suddenly broken by tha Italian. "Highlander." he cried, "your castle I* on flre." "Ay," said the Highlander calmly, raising his bugle again to his lips. "A bulwark of bones U better than a castle of stones," «aid Sir Flnlay. "That Is an old Highland saying with us, which means that a brave following 1* the best ward. I will show you my bulwark of bones." Bo they all- stayed progress! •»* turned their eyes toward the wooden palace they had left. ¦ A . "If It were built of stone," said the> Pope's legate, "it would b« the strongest house in the world a* It is th» largest." It was evening of the third day when the cavalcade set out araln for the priory. ¦The chief. Flnlay MacNab. accompanied his guests down the- valley, and when some distance from the castle, of logs James smote him. on the shoulder, copy ing thus his own astonishing: action. "Sir Flnlay." he cried, "a King's hand should be no less potent than a King's sword, and thus I. create thee a knight of my realm, for never before has monarch been so royally entertained." and now I pause here to look once more on your cas tle of pine." emp:« accommodations: their room* wwi carpeted with moss and with flowai, forming a variety of color and yielding * softness to the foot. which the- artificial piles of Eastern looms would have at tempted to rival In vain~ Her© for three days the royal party was entertained. Hunting in the forest rave them prodig ious appetites, and there was no criticism of the cooking. The supply of food and drink was lavish in the extreme; fish from the river and locn, game from the moors and venison from the hills. 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