Maggie was not the only one in whose life David's absence had created a void. Last as he would have been to own it, M' Adam felt acutely the boy's loss. It may have been he missed the ever-present butt; it may have been a nobler feeling. Alone with Red Wull, too late he felt his loneliness. Sometimes, sitting in the kitchen by himself, thinking of the past, he experienced sharp pangs of remorse; and this was all the more the case after Maggie's visit. Subsequent to that day the little man, to do him justice, was never known to hint by word or look an ill thing of his enemy's daughter. Once, indeed, when Melia Ross was drawing on a dirty imagination with Maggie for subject, M'Adam shut her up with:
"Ye're a maist amazin' big liar, Melia Ross." Yet, though for the daughter he had now no evil thought, his hatred for the father had never been so uncompromising.
He grew reckless in his assertions. His life was one long threat against James Moore's. Now he openly stated his conviction that, on the evenful night of the fight, James Moore, with object easily discernible, had egged David on to murder him.
"Then why don't yo' go and tell him so, yo' muckle liar?" roared Tammas at last, enraged to madness.
"I will!" said M'Adam. And he did.
It was on the day preceding the great summer sheep fair at Grammoch-town that he ful-. filled his vow.
That is always a big field-day at Kenmuir; and on this occasion James Moore and Owd Bob had been up and working on the Pike from the rising of the sun. Throughout the straggling lands of Kenmuir the Master went with his untiring adjutant, rounding up, cutting out, drafting. It was already noon when the flock started from the yard.
On the gate by the stile, as the party came up, sat M'Adam.