Excellent Chances to Pay Off Old Scores

Feuds spread not only through clan fealty but also because they offer excellent chances to pay off old scores. The mountaineer has a long memory. The average highlander is fiery and combative by nature, but at the same time cunning and vindictive. If publicly insulted he will strike at once, but if he feels wronged by some act that does not demand instant retaliation he will brood over it and plot patiently to get his enemy at a disadvantage. Some mountaineers always fight fair; but many of them prefer to wait and watch quietly until the foe gets drunk and unwary, or until he is engaged in some illegal or scandalous act, or until he is known to be carrying a concealed weapon, whereupon he can be shot down unexpectedly and his assailant can “prove” by friendly witnesses that he acted in self-defense. So, if a man be involved in feud, he may be assassinated from ambush by someone who is not concerned in the clan trouble, but who has hated him for years on another account, and who knows that his death now will be charged up to the opposing faction.