i8o TWO HIGHLAND DOGS
each year, the special significance of part of that song of praise —
0 ye frost and cold — 0 ye ice and snow — O ye nights and days O ye light and darkness, O ye mountains and hills, 0 ye beasts and cattle, 0 ye holy and humble men of heart, Bless ye the Lord, praise Him and magnify Him for ever!
But at last the service was over and the dogs trotted out into tlie hall, and followed mistress and their friend to the front door to see ' what the weather was like.' It was not a specially pleasant morning, but it would do for a walk, and after waiting a few minutes to have some sandwiches cut, the only detention that could be endured with patience, the three set out. After about six miles they were on new ground, but on they went, the lake to the right of the road getting narrower — on past the Dog's Ferry and still on, till the loch had become a river, and could be crossed by a bridge.
Righ and Speireag knew, by a more certain method than looking at clocks, that it was lunch time, half past one at least, and they never thought of doubting that they would cross the bridge and turn homewards along the other side the loch, and so get in about tea-time; or, for their friend was enterprising, by a longer way also on the further side, either of which would involve a delightful long walk, but with just that hint of a homeward turn which, even to dogs, is acceptable when breakfast has become a mere memory.
They accordingly followed the road on to the bridge, but as Father Mackonochie did not overtake them, Righ, ever watchful of his friends, turned to look back and saw him speaking to a girl, after which, to their surprise, he whistled them back, and instead of continuing along the road as it turned off to the right, kept straight on, though there was now only a rough track leading through a gate into the wood beyond.
When they had advanced a few paces into the wood, he