"It came oot last night wi' the poulticin'," the Master answered, returning the other's gaze, calm and steady.
"I'm glad o' that," said the little man, still staring. But his yellow, grinning face said as plain words, "Wha1~ a liar ye are, James Moore."
The days passed on. His father's taunts and gibes, always becoming more bitter, drove David almost to distraction.
He longed to make it up with Maggie; he longed for that tender sympathy which the girl had always extended to him when his troubles with his father were heavy on him. The quarrel had lasted for months now, and. he was well weary of it, and utterly ashamed. For, at least, he had the good grace to acknowledge that no one was to blame but himself; and that it had been fostered solely by his ugly pride.
At length he could endure it no longer, and determined to go to the girl and ask forgiveness. It would be a bitter ordeal to him; always unwilling to acknowledge a fault, even to himself, how much harder would it be to confess it to this strip of a girl. For a time he thought it was almost more than he could do. Yet, like his father, once set upon a course, nothing could divert him. So, after a week of doubts and determinations, of cowardice and courage, he pulled himself together and off he set.
An hour it took him from the Grange to the bridge over the Wastrel--an hour which had wont to be a quarter. Now, as he walked on up the slope from the stream, very slowly, heartening himself for his penance, he was aware of a strange disturbance in the yard above him: the noisy cackling of hens, the snorting of pigs disturbed, and above the rest the cry of a little child ringing out in shrill distress.
He set to running, and sped up the slope as fast as his long legs would carry him. As he took the gate in his stride, he saw the white-clad figure of Wee Anne fleeing with unsteady, toddling steps, her fair hair streaming out behind, and one bare arm striking wildly back at a great pursuing sow.
David shouted as he cleared the gate, but the brute paid no heed, and was almost touching the fugitive when Owd Bob came galloping round the corner, and in a second had flashed between pursuer and pursued. So close were the two that as he swung round on the startled sow, his tail brushed the baby to the ground;. and there she lay kicking fat legs to heaven and calling on all her gods.