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Huntingtower

Dougal
"You'll do nothing of the kind," said Dickson. "You're coming home to your supper. It
was to be on the chap of nine."
"I'm going back to that place."
The man was clearly demented and must be humoured. "Well, you must wait till the
morn's morning. It's very near dark now, and those are two ugly customers wandering
about yonder. You'd better sleep the night on it."
Mr. Heritage seemed to be persuaded. He suffered himself to be led up the now dusky
slopes to the gate where the road from the village ended. He walked listlessly like a man
engaged in painful reflection. Once only he broke the silence.
"You heard the singing?" he asked.
Dickson was a very poor hand at a lie. "I heard something," he admitted.
"You heard a girl's voice singing?"
"It sounded like that," was the admission. "But I'm thinking it might have been a seagull."
"You're a fool," said the Poet rudely.
The return was a melancholy business, compared to the bright speed of the outward
journey. Dickson's mind was a chaos of feelings, all of them unpleasant. He had run up
against something which he violently, blindly detested, and the trouble was that he could
not tell why. It was all perfectly absurd, for why on earth should an ugly house, some
overgrown trees, and a couple of ill-favoured servants so malignly affect him? Yet this
was the fact; he had strayed out of Arcady into a sphere that filled him with revolt and a
nameless fear. Never in his experience had he felt like this, this foolish childish panic
which took all the colour and zest out of life. He tried to laugh at himself but failed.
Heritage, stumbling along by his side, effectually crushed his effort to discover humour
in the situation. Some exhalation from that infernal place had driven the Poet mad. And
then that voice singing! A seagull, he had said. More like a nightingale, he reflected--a
bird which in the flesh he had never met.
Mrs. Morran had the lamp lit and a fire burning in her cheerful kitchen. The sight of it
somewhat restored Dickson's equanimity, and to his surprise he found that he had an
appetite for supper. There was new milk, thick with cream, and most of the dainties
which had appeared at tea, supplemented by a noble dish of shimmering "potted-head."
The hostess did not share their meal, being engaged in some duties in the little cubby-
hole known as the back kitchen.
Heritage drank a glass of milk but would not touch food.
 
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