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64   TICONDEROGA

Celtic imagination was about to be fulfilled. No power on earth could shake from his mind the vivid circumstance through which his warning had come. Again the grey stone walls of his ancestral home overlooking fair Loch Awe rose before his eyes, the wide old hall with its trophies of antlered deer and mountain cat, and himself wearily but happily surveying the contents of his shooting bag, result of a long day on the hills. Quietness brooded over the mansion, the servants had retired, when all at once the peremptory summons of the ponderous knocker gave its startling echoes through the house. In surprised haste the laird had opened, to find before him a dishevelled, panting figure, with wild aspect and incoherent tongue demanding sanctuary. A man had been killed, in self-defence, he explained, and already friends of the dead pursued. They were near. He implored shelter and succour! The situation at the time was not unheard of. In the recent patriotic rising the country had been full of just such cases, and scarcely a Highland house but was known to have harboured and aided the despairing victims of circumstance who fled from justice.

"Swear on your dirk that you will not betray me," pleaded the stranger in desperation. To


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