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of beasts, the Lochboisdale clan could claim. Some of the

Dunvegan family put more store on title than on stock. Two

ladies of the castle, maidservants to the daughter promised

to Alasdair, were known to have argued against the match.

But the Uist family had arrived and the ceremony was to be

done. The Lochboisdale people were introduced to the

Macleods of Dunvegan, as soon as they had taken some rest

and washed the salt from their faces.

The two maidservants of the highest rank were indeed

present at the gathering. But one of them had just suffered

an accident. Her right arm was bandaged up in a sling.

Alasdair knew then that they had done their worst to

prevent the match. After the business of the day was done,

drams were taken and goodwill prevailed. He took the

opportunity to speak to the two maidservants, calling them

aside from the gathering which was now growing very

lively. The pipers were having their time.

Now don

t be

afraid of me,

he said.

I bear you no grudge as long as you

now accept what

s been decided here.

He called for his gun and again told them, neither of them

had anything to fear.

There have been too many from Skye

and from the Uists, lost in feuding and disputes,

he said.

He put the tip of his gun to the wound which he knew to be

in that woman

s injured shoulder. He turned it three times