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The Goat

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A gentleman who had taken an active share in the rebellion of 1715, after
the battle of Preston escaped into the West Highlands, where a lady, a
near relative, afforded him an asylum. A faithful servant conducted him to
the mouth of a cave, and furnished him with an abundant store of
provisions. The fugitive crept in at a low aperture, dragging his stores
along. When he reached a wider and loftier expanse he found some obstacle
before him. He drew his dirk, but unwilling to strike, lest he might take
the life of a companion in seclusion, he stooped down, and discovered a
goat with her kid stretched on the ground. He soon perceived that the
animal was in great pain, and feeling her body and limbs, ascertained that
her leg was fractured. He bound it up with his garter, and offered her a
share of the bread beside him; but she stretched out her tongue, as if to
apprise him that her mouth was parched with thirst. He gave her water,
which she took readily, and then ate some bread. After midnight he
ventured out of the cave: all was still. He plucked an armful of grass and
cut tender twigs, which the goat accepted with manifestations of joy and
thankfulness. The prisoner derived much comfort in having a living
creature in this dungeon, and he caressed and fed her tenderly. The man
who was entrusted to bring him supplies fell sick; and when another
attempted to penetrate into the cavern the goat furiously opposed him,
presenting her horns in all directions, till the fugitive, hearing a
disturbance, came forward. This new attendant giving the watchword removed
every doubt of his good intentions, and the amazon of the recess obeyed
her benefactor in permitting him to advance. The gentleman was convinced
that had a band of military attacked the cavern, his grateful patient
would have died in his defence.





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