TWO HIGHLAND BOGS 185
What could have happened? Even if accident had occurred, either or both of the dogs would surely have returned, and how could even a Highland dog, hungry and shelterless, live through such a night as this?
Morning came again, and returning to the point, near the bridge at which the carriage had been left, two of the parties met, and drove home for food and dry clothing, and to learn what others might have to tell.
There was no news, and again the same earnest friends, with many more kind helpers, set out on their almost hopeless journey. The trackless wilds of the deer-forest seemed the most likely field for search, and all now, in various groups, set off in this direction.
Hour after hour passed without any gleam of hope, and even the Bishop began to feel that everything possible had been done, and was turning sadly homewards. A second party, a few hundreds yards behind, had almost come to the same resolve, many of the men had been without rest since Thursday, and even the dog, who with one of the keepers of the deer-forest had joined the party, was limping wearily and was exhausted by the cold and the rough walking.
Suddenly he stopped, and, with ears pricked and head erect, listened. No one knows better than a Highlander the worth of a collie's opinion, and more than one stopped to listen too. Not far away, and yet faint, came the bark of a dog! Among the men was Sandy, one of the Bishop's stablemen, who knew and loved Righ and Speireag, and his heart leapt up as he recognised the deerhound's bay!
Away, to their left, the mountains were cleft by a narrow glen, the sound came from the bank on the hither side. The Bishop and his party had climbed to the further side, but a shout reached them, alert and watchful as they were.
They turned back wondering, scarcely daring to hope.