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Chapter One


Charles! I say, Charles!”

Major Charles Tyrone, up to his waist in the ice cold rush of a Highland stream, failed to hear his assistant’s shout. A veteran of the Peninsular campaign, he had thought seven years of war enough to make him indifferent to every discomfort. But with his bare feet precariously balanced on an uneven bed of granite and water of glacial temperatures threatening his most private parts in spite of his stout woolen trousers, visions of a hot Spanish plain in high summer were the only thing keeping him warm. Devil take all Scots, particularly those who wanted a bridge where nature never intended a bridge to go. And, more particularly, mad English engineers who thought they could build one anyway. And, most particularly, Devil take his personal decision as owner of the Tyrone Company of Engineers to build the blasted thing in the springtime when the water cascading down from the cloud-capped mountains above had been snow only a day or two before.

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