82 THE SCARLET SASH

Lavery, the last dance was called. It found the fiddler recklessly uncertain of his time. Alan McAlan, unable to endure the dis- cords, turned t0 him curtly. Haud your hand, mon,” he ordered. Dinna abuse the fiddle,” and alone he played the remainder of the air.

When most of the guests had departed, McAlan put on his tam, took up his cane and, followed by the blinking violinist, said good- night.

Thank you, sir,” said Catherine warmly, as he passed. You know the road well, of course?

Weel, I’m no sae sure as a body should be, who’d gang hame the shortest way.”

Oh, well, Mr. Lavery here will make a good companion.” She turned to the fiddler : Won’t you, sir?

Ay, a gude companion, it may be,” replied McAlan, ironically, before Lavery could collect his wits, “but a vera poor lantern, Miss, a vera poor thing of a lantern.” He straightened his figure and adjusted his plaid. Come, Patrick,” he said, we’ll saunter on, but if we meet the deil

We’ll tell hish imminence we’ve been at the bedside (hiccup) of a sick friend.”

Dinna do it, Lavery,” declared McAlan, sternly. Dinna be sae frank, mon. The deil will no think the better o’ ye for it.”

Catherine struggled to suppress her laughter till after they had passed out into the night.