Monday, July 25, 2011

Chapter 18

     The next morning was the hunt. Angus and Duncan took the lead.  Angus did not have his heart in it.  He was aware that Catherine was riding the rear struggling once again to catch up to John Beavers, A futile competition because her equestrian skills were lacking. Missing from the party were the scandalized Jordan family.  Angus pushed deeper into the wood, cutting the whip deep into the neck of his mare to charge into a full gallop, a difficult feat in so thick a wood.  After awhile he realized that he was lost from the group and brought her to a halt. Her neck and body were covered in a white foaming lather and her stained teeth dripped with it. He did not bother to tie the exhausted animal, instead dropped the reins loosely to the ground.  Then he staggered to a tree and flopped under it, straddling his legs and pressing his face between them.  "Oh, Catherine," he whispered, "ye own my heart."  His eyes turned beet red and tears streamed down his cheeks. "Oh God, please help me," he cried. For a long while Angus belabored his situation. His loneliness was compounded by depression. No doubt of it.
     When he finally picked himself up off of the ground, he was conditioned to the prospect of a scandal surrounding his courtship and rejection of Mary Jordan.  He brushed off his clothes and mounted his horse.  Somewhere in the distance he heard the hollowed sound of a horn blowing. He steered his horse towards it.  When he caught up to the hunt, he was in the last party of stragglers returning to the manor.   He glanced about the group to see if there were any change in their attitude towards him, but all seemed normal. Then he drew a deep rattling breath and walked alone towards the house where he retired to his room, leaving the task of saying the farewells to the guests to his father. 
     And this is where the vulnerable Angus McDonald remained until the next evening, trying to get control of himself.
     It was a long hainting night beleagured with nightmares, all of which featured daunting scenarios of his being rejected by women.  The primary player of course was Catherine. It seemed like that one moment in when their eyes met was a dream which lasted for hours on end.

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