"Is't true what they're sayin' that Maggie Moore's nae better than she should be?" the little man asked one evening with anxious interest.
"They're not sayin' so, and if they were 'twad be a lie," the boy answered angrily.
M'Adam leant back in his chair and nodded his head.
"Ay, they tell't me that gin ony man knew 'twad be David M'Adam."
"No, no main o' that," he shouted. "Y'ought to be 'shamed, an owd mon like you, to speak so o' a lass." The little man edged close up to his son, and looked up into the fair flushed face towering above him.
"David," he said in smooth soft tones, "I'm 'stonished ye dinna strike yen auld dad." He stood with his hands clasped behind his back as if daring the young giant to raise a finger against him. "Ye maist might noo," he continued suavely. "Ye maun be sax inches taller, and a good four stane heavier. Hooiver, aiblins ye're wise to wait. Anither year twa I'll be an auld man, as ye say, and feebler, and Wullie here'll be gettin' on, while you'll be in the prime o' yer strength. Then I think ye might hit me wi' safety to your person, and honor to yourself."
"Feyther," said David, huskily, "one day yo'll drive me too far."
Chapter XX. THE SNAPPING OF THE STRING