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Kenneth McAlpine by Gordon Stables

Produced by Nick Hodson of London, England

Kenneth McAlpine A Tale of Mountain, Moorland and Sea By Gordon Stables Published by S.W. Partridge & Co;. This edition dated 1885.

Kenneth McAlpine, by Gordon Stables.

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________ KENNETH MCALPINE, BY GORDON STABLES.

CHAPTER ONE.

EARLY DAYS.

"Away, ye gay landscapes, ye garden of roses, And bring me the land where the dewdrop reposes."

Byron.

"Poor woolly mother, be at peace! Whither thou goest I will bear thy care."

M. Arnold.

Scene: A Highland mountain, clad almost to the summit in purple heather. On the right a ravine, half hidden by drooping birch trees. On the left a pine forest. Sheep grazing in the foreground. Smoke upcurling from a humble cottage in the distance. A shepherd-boy talking to his dog; between them a lamb is lying on the ground.

"It is dead, Kooran, dead, dead, dead. It is as dead as ever a lamb was, Kooran. Ay, my doggie, I ken you're sorrowful and anxious, but you may stand there and lick its little face and legs, till this time the morn, Kooran, but you can never bring back life to it again.

"What do you say, Kooran? Its eyes are still bright and shinin' and life-like? True; but wait a wee, Kooran. Yes, wait a wee, dear frien'. In less than an hour, Kooran, its poor eyes will be glassy enough, and its bits o' legs as cold and stiff as the crook I'm holding in my hand.

"Let us hide it awa' in under this bush o' whins,--out o' sight of the poor woeful mother of it. I canna bear to bury it just yet, while the heart is still warm, but by-and-bye, Kooran; by-and-bye, doggie.

"Yonder comes the mother, Kooran. She has left the flock again."

The sheep bleats.

"Listen, Kooran, listen. What a mournfu' bleat! It makes my blood creep. And look at her eyes, Kooran. They seem starting out o' the sockets wi' excitement. Drive her back, Kooran, but _walk_, doggie; dinna run. Drive her ever so gently. She'll never have her lammie to trot at her heels again. Gently, Kooran, gently.

"And now, Kooran, off you trot home for the barley scones and the flagon o' milk. I'll have the lammie buried before you come back, so the sight of that will trouble you no more. Then we'll have dinner, doggie, and it is time, too. Look at the sun where it is, right over the highest peak of Ben Varra. Off you trot, Kooran, and dinna let the grass grow under your feet till you're back again.

"Heigho! another lammie dead!" The boy was alone now; the faithful dog had departed at once on his mission. In a bee-line down the mountain's side went he, feathering along through the grass and the patches of blooming heather, jumping over boulders, and springing down from rocky ledges with a daring that would assuredly have proved fatal to any other kind of dog, save a Highland collie or a Scottish deerhound. Finally he went splashing through a broad though shallow river, and immediately after disappeared in a clump of those sweet-scented birch trees that grow so plentifully in "the land of the mountain and flood."

"Heigho! another lammie dead!"

The boy had gone farther up the hill, and as he spoke he threw himself down on top of a couch made of heather, dislodging as he did so several mossy bees that had come to suck the honey from the little purple bells.


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