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glad because they be quiet, so He bringeth them
unto their destined haven. O that men would
praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his
wonderful works to the children of men!"

It was now so dark that we could see nothing
on any side of us, save the glitter of the crests
of the waves playing close to us, and the
phosphorescent glimmer of the beaten water behind
tin rudder. The wind was pretty steady, and the
squalls were not too frequent. We were running
through the darkness at considerable speed,
burying our bowsprit in every wave, and washing
our decks as clean as salt water could make
them. So low was the Tern's rail, and so close
to the sea, even on the weather side, that it
was like being draped through the water
bodily, with the chilly waves lapping round the

Suddenly, out of the darkness ahead, shot a
sharp glimmer of light; then, there was a loud
sound like the creaking of cordage and noise of
sails; and then, before we could utter a cry, a
large brig dashed across our bows, running
with a free sheet before the wind. Ghostly
and strange she looked, in the mist, driving at
tremendous speed, and churning the sea to
sparkling foam. With a loud oath, Hamish
shoved the helm hard a-port, and brought the
head of the Tern up to the wind, so that we
almost brushed the strange vessel's quarter.
We had narrowly escaped death. With fascinated
eyes we watched the brig dash on, until
she was swallowed up in the darkness. When
she was quite gone, we drew a heavy breath of

"Lord, that was a close shave for life!"
muttered Shaw, drawing his cuff across his
mouth: his manner when agitated. "Wha
would hae thought o' meeting strange craft
hereabouts? We'd maybe better rig out the
mast-head lantern, in case o' mair accidents."

This was soon done, and although the lantern
burnt blue and dim, we felt more secure. After
so narrow an escape, what reasonable creature
could have refused to drink his own health in
the water of life? The grog bottle was passed
round, and never was a "nip of the screech"
received with more affectionate unction.

It was weary work, that waiting on in the
darkness. The wind sang, the water sobbed,
the sail moaned, until the Wanderer began to
get sleepier and sleepier. At last, wet as he
was, he sank off into a doze, wherein he was
half conscious of the boat's motion through the
water, and half dreaming of things far away.
Suddenly, he was startled by a roar in his ear,
and rubbing his eyes wildly, listened. It was
only Hamish Shaw, saying quietly:

"It's beginning to get licht. I see the loom
o' the land."

Shivering like a half-drowned rat in the cold
damp air of the dawn, and dashing the wet hair
out of his weary eyes, the Wanderer stared all
round him, and saw (when his obfuscated wits
were able to concentrate themselves) that it
was nearly daybreak, though all was dark
above. A dim. silvern, misty glimmer was on
the sea, and about two miles to the westward
the land lay black in a dark mist like the smoke
nearest the funnel of a newly-coaled steamer.
The Viking was poking his head through the
cabin hatch and gazing shoreward.

"Can ye mak' out the shape o' these hills?"
he asked of the pilot. "Loch Boisdale should
be hereabouts."

Hamish shook his head.

"We maun creep in closer to mak' certain,"
he replied. "It's o'er dark yet. Yon bit place
yonder, where ye see a shimmer like the gleam
o' herring-scales, looks like the mouth o' the
loch, but we maun creep in canny and get mair

Although Shaw had been herring-fishing on
the coast for so many years, he was not as
familiar with it as might have been expected.
He knew its general outline, but had
not made close observation of details. With
the indifference peculiar to the fishers, he had
generally trusted to Providence and his own
sagacity, without making any mental note of
his experiences. So it was not until we had
twice or thrice referred to the chart, that he
remembered that just south of Boisdale, about
half a mile from shore, there was a dangerous
reef called Mackenzie Rock, and that on this
rock there was a red buoy, which, if descried
in the dim light, would be a certain index to
the whereabout of the mouth of the loch.

"Tam Saunders put the Wild Duck on that
rock when I was up here in the Gannet," said
Hamish; "but she was as strong as iron,
different frae this wee bit shell o' a thing, and
they keepit her fixit there till the flood, and
then floated her off wi' scarce a scratch. We'll
just put her about, and creep in shore on the
other tack."

Though the day was slowly breaking, it was
still very misty, and a thin cold "smurr" was
beginning to creep down on the sea. The wind
was still sharp and strong, the sea was high,
and the squalls were dangerous; but we knew
now that the worst of our perils must be over.
As we approached closer to the shore, we noticed
one dark bluff, or headland, from which the
land receded on either side, leaving it darkly
prominent; a reference to the chart soon
convinced us that this headland was no other
than the Ru Hordag, which lies a few miles to
the south of Boisdale. So we put about again,
and slipped up along the land, lying very close
to the wind. It was soon clear that the dawn,
though it had fully broken, was not going to
favour us with a brilliant exhibition, nor to
dispel the dangerous vapours in which the land
was shrouded. The whole shape of the land
was distorted. One could merely conjecture
where land ended, and mist began; all was
confusion. No sun came outonly the dull
glimmer through the miserable ''smurr"
betokened that it was day.

Suddenly, with a shriek of joy, the Viking
discovered the buoy, and pointed it out through
the rain. Yes, there it was, a red spot in a
circle of white foam, about a quarter of a mile
on the weather quarter. With this assistance,
it was decided that the spot which Shaw had