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The Master of Stair (Classic Reprint)

The Master of Stair (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from The Master of Stair

Some fifty men were making slow progress through the pass of Glenorchy, which lies in the heart of Invernesshire and so in the very depths of the wild Highlands. A thick white mist hung over the landscape; it was the end of October and a raw and chilly day; the dull purple heather, disclosed now and then by the lifting vapor, the gaunt firs and faded bracken that grew along the pass, were shivering under the weight of dripping moisture.

The men strained their eyes to pierce the drifting mist, and drew closer the damp tartans that showed they were of the Clan of Macdonald; they were all on foot: some led shaggy ponies on whose rough backs were strapped packages and what appeared to be the plunder of some great house, for the objects included silver and gilt cups and goblets tied together by the handles; and, slung across the saddle, handsome garments such as the Saxons wore, and guns of a make not often seen in a Highlander's hands.

A drove of fine cattle were driven in the rear of the Macdonalds, and a man who was obviously the leader walked a few paces ahead of the others. He was distinguished from his followers by the faded laced cloth coat under his plaid, the pistols in his belt, and his high cowskin boots, the others being barefoot and wearing nothing but their tartans and rude garments of untanned leather.

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