Front Cover
 Half Title
 Sketch of the cruise of the brig...
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Chapter I: I set off upon my journey...
 Chapter II: I come to my journey's...
 Chapter III: I make acquaintance...
 Chapter IV: I run a great danger...
 Chapter V: I go to the Queen's...
 Chapter VI: What befell at the...
 Chapter VII: I go to sea in the...
 Chapter VIII: The round-house
 Chapter IX: The man with the belt...
 Chapter X: The siege of the...
 Chapter XI: The captain knuckles...
 Chapter XII: I hear of the "red...
 Chapter XIII: The loss of...
 Chapter XIV: The islet
 Chapter XV: The lad with the silver...
 Chapter XVI: The lad with the silver...
 Chapter XVII: The death of the...
 Chapter XVIII: I talk with Alan...
 Chapter XIX: The house of fear
 Chapter XX: The flight in the Heather:...
 Chapter XXI: The flight in the...
 Chapter XXII: The flight in the...
 Chapter XXIII: Cluny's cage
 Chapter XXIV: The flight in the...
 Chapter XXV: In Balquidder
 Chapter XXVI: End of the flight:...
 Chapter XXVII: I come to Mr....
 Chapter XXVIII: I go in quest of...
 Chapter XXIX: I come into...
 Chapter XXX: Good-bye
 Back Cover

Group Title: Kidnapped : being memoirs of the adventures of David Balfour in the year 1751: how he was kidnapped and cast away; his sufferings in a desert isle; his journey in the Wild Highlands; his acquaintance with Alan Breck Stewart and other notorious Highland Jacobites; with all that he suffered at the hands of his uncle, Ebenezer Balfour of Shaws, falsely so-called : written by himself
Title: Kidnapped
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00054542/00001
 Material Information
Title: Kidnapped : being memoirs of the adventures of David Balfour in the year 1751: how he was kidnapped and cast away; his sufferings in a desert isle; his journey in the Wild Highlands; his acquaintance with Alan Breck Stewart and other notorious Highland Jacobites; with all that he suffered at the hands of his uncle, Ebenezer Balfour of Shaws, falsely so-called : written by himself
Physical Description: viii, 311, 17 p., 1 folded leaf : col. map ; 20 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Stevenson, Robert Louis, 1850-1894 ( Author, Primary )
Cassell & Company ( Publisher )
Belle Sauvage Works ( Printer )
Publisher: Cassell & Company
Place of Publication: London
Manufacturer: La Belle Sauvage
Publication Date: 1886
Subject: Kidnapping -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Uncles -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Castaways -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Inheritance and succession -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Jacobites -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Friendship -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Adventure and adventurers -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Voyages and travels -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
History -- Juvenile fiction -- Scotland -- 18th century   ( lcsh )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1886   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1886
Genre: Publishers' catalogues   ( rbgenr )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
Summary: After being kidnapped by his villainous uncle, sixteen-year-old David Balfour escapes and becomes involved in the struggle of the Scottish highlanders against English rule.
Statement of Responsibility: and now set forth by Robert Louis Stevenson.
General Note: First edition.
General Note: Publisher's catalogue precedes and follows text.
Funding: Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00054542
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002237843
notis - ALH8336
oclc - 02518679
lccn - 50041968

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Cover 1
        Cover 2
    Half Title
        Page i
    Sketch of the cruise of the brig covenant and the probable course of David Balfour's wanderings
        Page ii
    Title Page
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
        Page vi
    Table of Contents
        Page vii
        Page viii
    Chapter I: I set off upon my journey to the house of Shaws
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
    Chapter II: I come to my journey's end
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
    Chapter III: I make acquaintance with my uncle
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
    Chapter IV: I run a great danger in the house of Shaws
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
    Chapter V: I go to the Queen's ferry
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
    Chapter VI: What befell at the Queen's ferry
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
    Chapter VII: I go to sea in the brig Covenant of Dysart
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
    Chapter VIII: The round-house
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
    Chapter IX: The man with the belt of gold
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
    Chapter X: The siege of the round-house
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
    Chapter XI: The captain knuckles under
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
    Chapter XII: I hear of the "red fox"
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
    Chapter XIII: The loss of the brig
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
    Chapter XIV: The islet
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
    Chapter XV: The lad with the silver button: through the Isle of Mull
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
    Chapter XVI: The lad with the silver button: across Morven
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
    Chapter XVII: The death of the red fox
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
    Chapter XVIII: I talk with Alan in the wood of Lettermore
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
    Chapter XIX: The house of fear
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
    Chapter XX: The flight in the Heather: the rocks
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
    Chapter XXI: The flight in the Heather: the Heugh of Corrynakiegh
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
        Page 208
        Page 209
        Page 210
        Page 211
    Chapter XXII: The flight in the Heather: the moor
        Page 212
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
        Page 218
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
        Page 222
    Chapter XXIII: Cluny's cage
        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 225
        Page 226
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
        Page 231
        Page 232
        Page 233
        Page 234
    Chapter XXIV: The flight in the Heather: the quarrel
        Page 235
        Page 236
        Page 237
        Page 238
        Page 239
        Page 240
        Page 241
        Page 242
        Page 243
        Page 244
        Page 245
        Page 246
        Page 247
        Page 248
        Page 249
    Chapter XXV: In Balquidder
        Page 250
        Page 251
        Page 252
        Page 253
        Page 254
        Page 255
        Page 256
        Page 257
        Page 258
        Page 259
    Chapter XXVI: End of the flight: we pass the forth
        Page 260
        Page 261
        Page 262
        Page 263
        Page 264
        Page 265
        Page 266
        Page 267
        Page 268
        Page 269
        Page 270
        Page 271
        Page 272
        Page 273
        Page 274
    Chapter XXVII: I come to Mr. Rankeillor
        Page 275
        Page 276
        Page 277
        Page 278
        Page 279
        Page 280
        Page 281
        Page 282
        Page 283
        Page 284
        Page 285
    Chapter XXVIII: I go in quest of my inheritance
        Page 286
        Page 287
        Page 288
        Page 289
        Page 290
        Page 291
        Page 292
        Page 293
        Page 294
        Page 295
    Chapter XXIX: I come into my kingdom
        Page 296
        Page 297
        Page 298
        Page 299
        Page 300
        Page 301
        Page 302
        Page 303
        Page 304
        Page 305
    Chapter XXX: Good-bye
        Page 306
        Page 307
        Page 308
        Page 309
        Page 310
        Page 311
        Page 312
        Page 313
        Page 314
        Page 315
        Page 316
        Page 317
        Page 318
        Page 319
        Page 320
        Page 321
        Page 322
        Page 323
        Page 324
        Page 325
        Page 326
        Page 327
        Page 328
    Back Cover
        Cover 1
        Cover 2
Full Text

The Baldwin Library
Rm Florida





"o-And the probable course of DAVID BALFOUR'S WANDEIINGS.- I:
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__ __ .: . .,- P Q ue -' lel


(With Mrs. Stevenson).

__ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ _-_ _ _ _ _ _ _



$t~moirs of t1 Abilrntures of Babinb alfaur


How he was Kidnapped and Cast away; his Suferings in a Desert Isle;
his Journey in the Wild Highlands; his Acquaintance with ALAN BRECK
STEWART and other notorious Highland Jacobites; with all that he
Suffered at the hands of his Uncle, EBENEZER BALFOUR OF SHAWS,
falsely so-called : Written by Himself, and now set forth




[All Rights Reserved.J


If you ever read this tale, you will likely ask
yourself more questions than I should care to answer:
as for instance how the Appin murder has come to fall
in the year 1751, how the Torran rocks have crept so
near to Earraid, or why the printed trial is silent as to
all that touches David Balfour. These are nuts beyond
my ability to crack. But if you tried me on the point
of Alan's guilt or innocence, I think I could defend the
reading of the text. To this day you will find the tra-
dition of Appin clear in Alan's favour. If you inquire,
you may even hear that the descendants of the other
man who fired the shot are in the country to this day.
But that other man's name, inquire as you please, you
shall not hear; for the Highlander values a secret
for itself and for the congenial exercise of keeping it.
I might go on for long to justify one point and own
another indefensible; it is more honest to confess at once
how little I am touched by the desire of accuracy. This
is no furniture for the scholar's library, but a book for
the winter evening school-room when the tasks are over
and the hour for bed draws near; and honest Alan, who


was a grim old fire-eater in his day, has in this new
avatar no more desperate purpose than to steal some
young gentleman's attention from his Ovid, carry him
awhile into the Highlands and the last century, and pack
him to bed with some engaging images to mingle with
his dreams.
As for you, my dear Charles, I do not even ask you
to like the tale. But perhaps when he is older, your son
will; he may then be pleased to find his father's name on
the fly-leaf ; and in the meanwhile it pleases me to set
it there, in memory of many days that were happy and
some (now perhaps as pleasant to remember) that were
sad. If it is strange for me to look back from a distance
both in time and space on these bygone adventures of
our youth, it must be stranger for you who tread the
same streets-who may to-morrow open the door of
the old Speculative, where we begin to rank with Scott
and Robert Emmet and the beloved and inglorious
Macbean-or may pass the corner of the close where that
great society, the L. J. R., held its meetings and drank
its beer, sitting in the seats of Burns and his compan-
ions. I think I see you, moving there by plain daylight,
beholding with your natural eyes those places that have
now become for your companion a part of the scenery of
dreams. How, in the intervals of present business, the
past must echo in your memory i Let it not echo often
without some kind thoughts of your friend.
It. L. S.



































XXX.-GOOD-BYE! .. 306



I WILL begin the story of my adventures with a certain
morning early in the month of June, the year of grace
1751, when I took the key for the last time out of the
door of my father's house. The sun began to shine
upon the summit of the hills as I went down the road;
and by the time I had come as far as the manse, the
blackbirds were whistling in the garden lilacs, and the
mist that hung around the valley in the time of the
dawn was beginning to arise and die away.
Mr. Campbell, the minister of Essendean, was wait-
ing for me by the garden gate, good man! He asked
me if I had breakfasted; and hearing that I lacked for
nothing, he took my hand in both of his and clapped it
kindly under his arm.
"Well, Davie, lad," said he, I will go with you as
far as the ford, to set you on the way."


And we began to walk forward in silence.
Are ye sorry to leave Essendean ? said he, after
a while.
"Why, sir," said I, "if I knew where I was going,
or what was likely to become of me, I would tell you
candidly. Essendean is a good place indeed, and I have
been very happy there; but then I have never been any-
where else. My father and. mother, since they are both
dead, I shall be no nearer to in Essendean than in the
Kingdom of Hungary; and to speak truth, if I thought
I had a chance to better myself where I was going, I
would go with a good will."
"Ay ? said Mr. Campbell. "Very well, Davie.
Then it behoves me to tell your fortune; or so far as I
may. When your mother was gone, and your father
(the worthy, Christian man) began to sicken for his end,
he gave me in charge'a certain letter, which he said was
your inheritance. So soon,' says he, 'as I am gone,
and the house is redd up and the gear disposed of (all
which, Davie, hath been done) 'give my boy this
letter into his hand, and start him off to the house of
Shaws, not far from Cramond. That is the place I came
from,' he said, 'and it's where it befits that my boy
should return. He is a steady lad,' your father said,
' and a canny goer; and I doubt not he will come safe,
and be well liked where he goes.'"
The house of Shaws !" I cried. "What had my
poor father to do with the house of Shaws ? "
"Nay," said Mr. Campbell, who can tell that for


a surety ? But the name of that family, Davie boy, is
the name you bear-Balfours of Shaws: an ancient,
honest, reputable house, peradventure in these latter
days decayed. Your father, too, was a man of learning
as befitted his position; no man more plausibly con-
ducted school; nor had he the manner or the speech of
a common dominie; but (as ye will yourself remember)
I took aye a pleasure to have him to the manse to meet
the gentry; and those of my own house, Campbell of
Kilrennet, Campbell of Dunswire, Campbell of Minch,
and others, all well-kenned gentlemen, had pleasure in
his society. Lastly, to put all the elements of this
affair before you, here is the testamentary letter itself,
superscrived by the own hand of our departed brother."
He gave me the letter, which was addressed in these
words.: "To the hands of Ebenezer Balfour, Esquire, of
Shaws, in his house of Shaws, these will be delivered
by my son, David Balfour." My heart was beating
hard at this great prospect now suddenly opening before
a lad of sixteen years of age, the son of a poor country
dominie in the Forest of Ettrick.
Mr. Campbell," I stammered, "and if you were
in my shoes, would you go ? "
"Of a surety," said the minister, "that would I,
and without pause. A pretty lad like you should get to
Cramond (which is near in by Edinburgh) in two days
of walk. If the worst came to the worst, and your
high relations (as I cannot but suppose them to be some-
what of your blood) should put you to the door, ye can
B 2


but walk the two days back again and risp at the manse
door. But I would rather hope that ye shall be well
received, as your poor father forecast for you, and for
anything that I ken, come to be a great man in time.
And here, Davie, laddie," he resumed, it lies near upon
my conscience to improve this parting, and set you on
the right guard against the dangers of the world."
Here he cast about for a comfortable seat, lighted
on a big boulder under a birch by the trackside, sate
down upon it with a very long, serious upper lip, and
the sun now shining in upon us between two peaks, put
his pocket-handkerchief over his cocked hat to shelter
him. There, then, with uplifted forefinger, he first put
me on my guard against a considerable number of
heresies, to which I had no temptation, and urged upon
me to be instant in my prayers and reading of the
Bible. That done, he drew a picture of the great house
that I was bound to, and how I should conduct myself
with its inhabitants.
Be soople, Davie, in things immaterial," said he.
"Bear ye this in mind, that, though gentle born, ye
have had a country rearing. Dinnae shame us, Davie,
dinnae shame us! In yon great, muckle house, with
all these domestics, upper and under, show yourself as
nice, as circumspect, as quick at the conception, and as
slow of speech as any. As for the laird-remember he's
the laird; I say no more: honour to whom honour.
It's a pleasure to obey a laird; or should be, to the



"Well, sir," said I, it may be; and I'll promise
you I'll try to make it so."
"'Why, very well said," replied Mr. Campbell,
heartily. "And now to come to the material, or (to
make a quibble) to the immaterial. I have here a little
packet which contains four things." He tugged it, as he
spoke, and with some difficulty, from the skirt pocket of
his coat. Of these four things, the first is your legal
due: the little pickle money for your father's books and
plenishing, which I have bought (as I have explained from
the first) in the design of re-selling at a profit to the in-
coming dominie. The other three are gifties that Mrs.
Campbell and myself would be blithe of your accept-
ance. The first, which is round, will likely please ye
best at the first off-go; but, O Davie, laddie, it's but a
drop of water in the sea; it'1 help you but a step, and
vanish like the morning. The second, which is flat and
square and written upon, will stand by you through
life, like a good staff for the road, and a good pillow to
your head in sickness. And as for the last, which is
cubical, that'll see you, it's my prayerful wish, into a
better land."
With that he got upon his feet, took off his hat, and
prayed a little while aloud, and in affecting terms, for a
young man setting out into the world; then suddenly
took me in his arms and embraced me very hard; then
held me at arm's length, looking at me with his face all
working with sorrow; and then whipped about, and
crying good-bye to me, set off backward by the way


that we had come at a sort of jogging run. It might
have been laughable to another; but I was in no mind
to laugh. I watched him as long as he was in sight;
and he never stopped hurrying, nor once looked back.
Then it came in upon my mind that this was all his
sorrow at my departure; and my conscience smote me
hard and fast, because I, for my part, was overjoyed to
get away out of that quiet country-side, and go to a great,
busy house, among rich and respected gentlefolk of my
own name and blood.
"Davie, Davie," I thought, "was ever seen such
black ingratitude ? Can you forget old favours and old
friends at the mere whistle of a name ? Fie, fie; think
shame !"
And I sat down on the boulder the good man had
just left, and opened the parcel to see the nature of my
gifts. That which he had called cubical, I had never had
much doubt of; sure enough it was a little Bible, to
carry in a plaid-neuk. That which he had called round, I
found to be a shilling piece; and the third, which was
to help me so wonderfully both in health and sickness
all the days of my life, was a little piece of coarse
yellow paper, written upon thus in red ink:

flowers of lilly of the valley and distil them in sack, and drink a
spooneful or two as there is occasion. It restores speech to those
that have the dumb palsey. It is good against the Gout; it
comforts the heart and strengthens the memory; and the flowers,
put into a Glasse, close stopt, and set into ane hill of ants for a
month, then .taeo it out, and you will find a liquor which comes


from the flowers, which keep in a vial; it is good, ill or well, and
whether man or woman."

And then, in the minister's own hand, was added:
Likewise for sprains, rub it in; and for the cholic, a great
spooneful in the hour."
To be sure, I laughed over this; but it was rather
tremulous laughter; and I was glad to get my bundle on
my staff's end and set out over the ford and up the hill
upon the farther side; till, just as I came on the green
drove-road running wide through the heather, I took
my last look of Kirk Essendean, the trees about the
manse, and the big rowans in the kirkyard where my
father and my mother lay.



ON the forenoon of the second day, coming to the top of
a hill, I saw all the country fall away before me down
to the sea; and in the midst of this descent, on a long
ridge, the city of Edinburgh smoking like a kiln. There
was a flag upon the castle, and ships moving or lying
anchored in the firth; both of which, for as far away as
they were, I could distinguish clearly; and both brought
my country heart into my mouth.
Presently after, I came by a house where a shepherd
lived, and got a rough direction for the neighbourhood
of Cramond; and so, from one to another, worked my
way to the westward of the capital by Colinton, till I
came out upon the Glasgow road. And there, to my
great pleasure and wonder, I beheld a regiment march-
ing to the fifes, every foot in time; an old red-faced
general on a grey horse at the one end, and at the other
the company of Grenadiers, with their Pope's-hats. The
pride of life seemed to mount into my brain at the sight
of the redcoats and the hearing of that merry music.
A little farther on, and I was told I was in Cramond
parish, and began to substitute in my inquiries the name
of the house of Shaws. It was a word that seemed to


surprise those of whom I sought my way. At first I
thought the plainness of my appearance, in my country
habit, and that all dusty from the road, consorted ill
with the greatness of the place to which I was bound.
But after two, or maybe three, had given me the same
look and the same answer, I began to take it in my head
there was something strange about the Shaws itself.
The better to set this fear at rest, I changed the form
of my inquiries; and spying an honest fellow coming
along a lane on the shaft of his cart, I asked him if he
had ever heard tell of a house they called the house of
He stopped his cart and looked at me, like the
Ay," said he. "c What for ?"
It's a great house ?" I asked.
Doubtless," says he. The house is a big, muckle
Ay," said I, but the folk that are in it ?"
"Folk ?" cried he. Are ye daft ? There's nae
folk there-to call folk."
What ? says I; not Mr. Ebenezer? "
Oh, ay," says the man, "there's the laird, to be
sure, if it's him you're wanting. What'll like be your
business, mannie ? "
I was led to think that I would get a situation," I
said, looking as modest as I could.
What ? cries the carter, in so sharp a note that
his very horse started; and then, "Well, mannie," he


added, it's nane of my affairs; but ye seem a decent-
spoken lad; and if ye'll take a word from me, ye'll keep
clear of the Shaws."
The next person I came across was a dapper little
man in a beautiful white wig, whom I saw to be a
barber on his rounds; and knowing well that barbers
were great gossips, I asked him plainly what sort of a
man was Mr. Balfour of the Shaws.
Hoot, hoot, hoot," said the barber, "nae kind of a
man, nae kind of a man at all; and began to ask me
very shrewdly what my business was; but I was more
than a match for him at that, and he went on to his
next customer no wiser than he came.
I cannot well describe the blow this dealt to my
illusions. The more indistinct the accusations were, the
less I liked them, for they left the wider field to fancy.
What kind of a great house was this, that all the parish
should start and stare to be asked the way to it ? or
what sort of a gentleman, that his ill-fame should be
thus current on the wayside? If an hour's walking
would have brought me back to Essendean, I had left
my adventure then and there, and returned to Mr.
Campbell's. But when I had come so far a way already,
mere shame would not suffer me to desist till I had put
the matter to the touch of proof; I was bound, out of
mere self-respect, to carry it through; and little as I
liked the sound of what I heard, and slow as I began
to travel, I still kept asking my way and still kept


It was drawing on to sundown when I met a stout,
dark, sour-looking woman coming trudging down a
hill; and she, when I had put my usual question,
turned sharp about, accompanied me back to the sum-
mit she had just left, and pointed to a great bulk of
building standing very bare upon a green in the bottom
of the next valley. The country was pleasant round
about, running in low hills, pleasantly watered and
wooded, and the crops, to my eyes, wonderfully good;
but the house itself appeared to be a kind of ruin; no
road led up to it; no smoke arose from any of the
chimneys; nor was there any semblance of a garden.
My heart sank. "That!" I cried.
The woman's face lit up with a malignant anger.
"That is the house of ShawsI" she cried. "Blood
built it; blood stopped the building of it; blood shall
bring it down. See here!" she cried again-" I spit
upon the ground, and crack my thumb at it! Black be
its fall! If ye see the laird, tell him what ye hear;
tell him this makes the twelve hunner and nineteen
time that Jennet Clouston has called down the curse on
him and his house, byre and stable, man, guest, and
master, wife, miss, or bairn-black, black be their
fall !"
And the woman, whose voice had risen to a kind of
eldritch sing-song, turned with a skip, and was gone.
I stood where she left me, with my hair on end. In
these days folk still believed in witches and trembled at
a curse; and this one, falling so pat, like a wayside


omen, to arrest me ere I carried out my purpose, took
the pith out of my legs.
I sat me down and stared at the house of Shaws.
The more I looked, the pleasanter that country-side
appeared; being all set with hawthorn bushes full of
flowers; the fields dotted with sheep; a fine flight of
rooks in the sky; and every sign of a kind soil and
climate; and yet the barrack in the midst of it went
sore against my fancy.
Country folk went by from the fields as I sat there
on the side of the ditch, but I lacked the spirit to give
them a good-e'en. At last the sun went down, and
then, right up against the yellow sky, I saw a scroll of
smoke go mounting, not much thicker, as it seemed to
me, than the smoke of a candle; but still there it was,
and meant a fire, and warmth, and cookery, and some
living inhabitant that must have lit it; and this com-
forted my heart wonderfully-more, I feel sure, than a
whole flask of the lily of the valley water that Mrs.
Campbell set so great a store by.
So I set forward by a little faint track in the grass
that led in my direction. It was very faint indeed to
be the only way to a place of habitation; yet I saw no
other. Presently it brought me to stone uprights, with
an unroofed lodge beside them, and coats of arms upon
the top. A main entrance, it was plainly meant to be,
but never finished; instead of gates of wrought iron, a
pair of hurdles were tied across with a straw rope; and
as there were no park walls, nor any sign of avenue, the


track that I was following passed on the right hand of
the pillars, and went wandering on toward the house.
The nearer I got to that, the drearier it appeared.
It seemed like the one wing of a house that had never
been finished. What should have been the inner end
stood open on the upper floors, and showed against the
sky with steps and stairs of uncompleted masonry.
Many of the windows were unglazed, and bats flew in
and out like doves out of a dove-cote.
The night had begun to fall as I got close; and in
three of the lower windows, which were very high up,
and narrow, and well barred, the changing light of a
little fire began to glimmer.
Was this the palace I had been coming to ? Was it
within these walls that I was to seek new friends and
begin great fortunes? Why, in my father's house on
Essen-Waterside, the fire and the bright lights would
show a mile away, and the door open to a beggar's
I came forward cautiously, and giving ear as I came,
heard some one rattling with dishes, and a little dry,
eager cough that came in fits; but there was no sound
of speech, and not a dog barked.
The door, as well as I could see it in the dim light,
was a great piece of wood all studded with nails; and I
lifted my hand with a faint heart under my jacket, and
knocked once. Then I stood and waited. The house
had fallen into a dead silence; a whole minute passed
away, and nothing stirred but the bats overhead. I


knocked again, and hearkened again. By this time my
ears had grown so accustomed to the quiet, that I could
hear the ticking of the clock inside as it slowly counted
out the seconds; but whoever was in that house kept
deadly still, and must have held his breath.
I was in two minds whether to run away; but anger
got the upper hand, and I began instead to rain kicks
and buffets on the door, and to shout out aloud for Mr.
Balfour. I was in full career, when I heard the cough
right overhead, and jumping back and looking up,
beheld a man's head in a tall nightcap, and the bell
mouth of a blunderbuss, at one of the first storey
"It's loaded," said a voice.
I have come here with a letter," I said, "to Mr.
Ebenezer Balfour of Shaws. Is he here ? "
"From whom is it?" asked the man with the
"That is neither here nor there," said I, for I was
growing very wroth.
Well," was the reply, ye can put it down upon
the doorstep, and be off with ye."
"I will do no such thing," I cried. "I will deliver
it into Mr. Balfour's hands, as it was meant I should. It
is a letter of introduction."
"A what ?" cried the voice, sharply.
I repeated what I had said.
"Who are ye, yourself?" was the next question,
after a considerable pause.


I am not ashamed of my name," said I. They
call me David Balfour."
At that, I made sure the man started, for I heard the
blunderbuss rattle on the window-sill3 and it was after
quite a long pause, and with a curious change of voice,
that the next question followed:
Is your father dead ? "
I was so much surprised at this, that I could find no
voice to answer, but stood staring.
Ay," the man resumed, "he'll be dead, no doubt;
and that'll be what brings ye chapping to my door."
Another pause, and then, defiantly, Well, man," he
said, "I'll let ye in;" and he disappeared from the



PRESENTLY there came a great rattling of chains and
bolts, and the door was cautiously opened, and shut to
again behind me as soon as I had passed.
Go into the kitchen and touch naething," said the
voice; and while the person of the house set himself to
replacing the defences of the door, I groped my way
forward and entered the kitchen.
The fire had burned up fairly bright, and showed me
the barest room I think I ever put my eyes on. Half-a-
dozen dishes stood upon the shelves; the table was laid
for supper with a bowl of porridge, a horn spoon, and a
cup of small beer. Besides what I have named, there
was not another thing in that great, stone- vaulted,
empty chamber, but lockfast chests arranged along the
wall and a corner cupboard with a padlock.
As soon as the last chain was up, the man rejoined
me. He was a mean, stooping, narrow-shouldered, clay-
faced creature; and his age might have been anything
between fifty and seventy. His nightcap was of flannel,
and so was the nightgown that he wore, instead of coat
and waistcoat, over his ragged shirt. He was long un-
shaved; but what most distressed and even daunted me,


he would neither take his eyes away from me nor look
me fairly in the face. What he was, whether by trade
or birth, was more than I could fathom; but he seemed
most like an old, unprofitable serving-man, who should
have been left in charge of that big house upon board
"Are ye sharp-set ?" he asked, glancing at about
the level of my knee. Ye can eat that drop parritch."
I said I feared it was his own supper.
Oh," said he, "I can do fine wanting it. I'll take
the ale, though, for it slockens* my cough." He drank
the cup about half out, still keeping an eye upon me as
he drank; and then suddenly held out his hand. "Let's
see the letter," said he.
I told him the letter was for Mr. Balfour; not for
And who do ye think I am ?" says he. "Give
me Alexander's letter !"
You know my father's name ? "
It would be strange if I didnae," he returned, "for
he was my born brother; and little as ye seem to like
either me or my house, or my good parritch, I'm your
born uncle, Davie, my man, and you my born nephew.
So give us the letter, and sit down and fill your kyte."
If I had been some years younger, what with shame,
weariness, and disappointment, I believe I had burst
into tears. As it was, I could find no words, neither
black nor white, but handed him the letter, and sat down


to the porridge with as little appetite for meat as ever a
young man had.
Meanwhile, my uncle, stooping over the fire, turned
the letter over and over in his hands.
"Do ye ken what's in it?" he asked, suddenly.
You see for yourself, sir," said I, that the seal
has not been broken."
"Ay," said he, "but what brought you here ?"
"To give the letter," said I.
"No," says he, cunningly, "but ye'll have had
some hopes, nae doubt ?"
I confess, sir," said I, "when I was told that I
had kinsfolk well-to-do, I did indeed indulge the hope
that they might help me in my life. But I am no
beggar; I look for no favours at your hands, and I
want none that are not freely given. For as poor as I
appear, I have friends of my own that will be blithe to
help me."
"Hoot-toot !" said Uncle Ebenezer, "dinnae fly up
in the snuff at me. We'll agree fine yet. And, Davie,
my man, if you're done with that bit parritch, I could
just take a sup of it myself. Ay," he continued, as
soon as he had ousted me from the stool and spoon,
"they're fine, halesome food-they're grand food, par-
ritch." He murmured a little grace to himself and
fell to. "Your father was very fond of his meat, I
mind; he was a hearty, if not a great eater; but as for
me, I could never do mair than pyke at food." He took
a pull at the small beer, which probably reminded him


of hospitable duties; for his next speech ran thus : If
ye're dry, ye'll find water behind the door."
To this I returned no answer, standing stiffly on my
two feet, and looking down upon my uncle with a
mighty angry heart. He, on his part, continued to eat
like a man under some pressure of time, and to throw
out little darting glances now at my shoes and now at
my home-spun stockings. Once only, when he had
ventured to look a little higher, our eyes met; and no
thief taken with a hand in a man's pocket could have
shown more lively signals of distress. This set me in a
muse, whether his timidity arose from too long a disuse
of any human company; and whether perhaps, upon a
little trial, it might pass off, and my uncle change into
an altogether different man. From this I was awakened
by his sharp voice.
Your father's been long dead? he asked.
Three weeks, sir," said I.
He was a secret man, Alexander-a secret, silent
man," he continued. He never said muckle when
he was young. He'll never have spoken muckle of
me? "
I never knew, sir, till you told it me yourself, that
he had any brother."
"Dear me, dear me I said Ebenezer. "Nor yet of
Shaws, I daresay? "
SNot so much as the name, sir," said I.
"To think o' that!" said he. A strange nature
of a man!" For all that, he seemed singularly


satisfied, but whether with himself, or me, or with this
conduct of my father's, was more than I could read.
Certainly, however, he seemed to be outgrowing that
distaste, or ill-will, that he had conceived at first against
my person; for presently he jumped up, came across
the room behind me, and hit me a smack upon the
shoulder. We'll agree fine yet! he cried. I'm
just as glad I let you in. And now come awa' to your
To my surprise, he lit no lamp or candle, but set
forth into the dark passage, groped his way, breathing
deeply, up a flight of steps, and paused before a door,
which he unlocked. I was close upon his heels, having
stumbled after him as best I might; and he bade me
go in, for that was my chamber. I did as he bid, but
paused after a few steps, and begged a light to go to
bed with.
Hoot-toot! said Uncle Ebenezer, there's a fine
'" Neither moon nor star, sir, and pit-mirk,"* said I.
"I cainae see the bed."
Hoot-toot, hoot-toot!" said he. "Lights in a
house is a thing I dinnae agree with. I'm unco feared
of fires. Good night to ye, Davie, my man," And
before I had time to add a further protest, he pulled
the door to, and I heard him lock me in from the
I did not know whether to laugh or cry. The room
)Dark as thu pit.


was as cold as a well, and the bed, when I had found
my way to it, as damp as a peat-hag; but by good for-
tune I had caught up my bundle and my plaid, and
rolling myself in the latter, I lay down upon the
floor under lee of the big bedstead, and fell speedily
With the first peep of day I opened my eyes, to find
myself in a great chamber, hung with stamped leather,
furnished with fine embroidered furniture, and lit by
three fair windows. Ten years ago, or perhaps twenty,
it must have been as pleasant a room to lie down or to
awake in, as a man could wish; but damp, dirt, disuse,
and the mice and spiders had done their worst since
then. Many of the window-panes, besides, were broken;
and indeed this was so common a feature in that house,
that I believe my uncle must at some time have stood
a siege from his indignant neighbours-perhaps with
Jennet Clouston at their head.
Meanwhile the sun was shining outside; and being
very cold in that miserable room, I knocked and shouted
till my gaoler came and let me out. He carried me to
the back of the house, where was a draw-well, and told
me to wash my face there, if I wanted;" and when
that was done, I made the best of my own way back to
the kitchen, where he had lit the fire and was making
the porridge. The table was laid with two bowls
and two horn spoons, but the same single measure
of small beer. Perhaps my eye rested on this par-
ticular with some surprise, and perhaps my uncle


observed it: for he spoke up as if in answer to my
thought, asking me if I would like to drink ale-for
so he called it.
I told him such was my habit, but not to put himself
"Na, na," said he; "I'll deny you nothing in
He fetched another cup from the shelf; and then, to
my great surprise, instead of drawing more beer, he
poured an accurate half from one cup to the other.
There was a kind of nobleness in this that took my
breath away; if my uncle was certainly a miser, he was
one of that thorough breed that goes near to make the
vice respectable.
When we had made an end of our meal, my uncle
Ebenezer unlocked a drawer, and drew out of it a clay
pipe and a lump of tobacco, from which he cut one fill
before he locked it up again. Then he sat down in the
sun at one of the windows and silently smoked. From
time to time his eyes came coasting round to me, and
he shot out one of his questions. Once it was, And
your mother?" and when I had told him that she,
too, was dead, Ay, she was a bonnie lassie !" Then,
after another long pause, Whae were these friends o'
yours ?"
I told him they were different gentlemen of the
name of Campbell; though, indeed, there was only one,
and that the minister, that had ever taken the least
note of me; but I began to think my uncle made too


light of my position, and finding myself all alone with
him, I did not wish him to suppose me helpless.
He seemed to turn this over in his mind; and
then, Davie, my man," said he, "ye've come to the
right bit when ye came to your Uncle Ebenezer. I've
a great notion of the family, and I mean to do the
right by you; but while I'm taking a bit think to my-
sel' of what's the best thing to put you to-whether the
law, or the meenistry, or maybe the army, whilk is what
boys are fondest of-I wouldnae like the Balfours to be
humbled before a when Hieland Campbells, and I'll
ask you to keep your tongue within your teeth. Nae
letters; nae messages; no kind of word to onybody; or
else-there's my door."
"Uncle Ebenezer," said I, "I've no manner of
reason to suppose you mean anything but well by me.
For all that, I would have you to know that I have a
pride of my own. It was by no will of mine that I
came seeking you; and if you show me your door again,
I'll take you at the word."
He seemed grievously put out. "Hoots-toots," said
he, "ca' cannie, man-ca' cannie Bide a day or two.
I'm nae warlock, to find a fortune for you in the bottom
of a parritch bowl; but just you give me a day or two,
and say naething to naebody, and as sure as sure, I'll do
the right by you."
"Very well," said I, "enough said. If you want to
help me, there's no doubt but I'll be glad of it, and
none but I'll be grateful."


It seemed to me (too soon, I daresay) that I was
getting the upper hand of my uncle ; and I began next
to say that I must have the bed and bedclothes aired
and put to sun-dry; for nothing would make me sleep
in such a pickle.
Is this my house or yours ? said he, in his keen
voice, and then all of a sudden broke off. Na, na,"
said he, I didnae mean that. What's mine is yours,
Davie, my man, and what's yours is mine. Blood's
thicker than water; and there's naebody but you and
me that ought the name." And then on he rambled
about the family, and its ancient greatness, and his
father that began to enlarge the house, and himself that
stopped the building as a sinful waste; and this put it
in my head to give him Jennet Clouston's message.
The limmer!" he cried. Twelve hunner and
fifteen-that's every day since I had the limmer row-
pit !* Dod, David, I'll have her roasted on red peats
before I'm by with it! A witch-a proclaimed witch
I'll aff and see the session clerk."
And with that he opened a chest, and got out a very
old and well-preserved blue coat and waistcoat, and a
good enough beaver hat, both without lace. These he
threw on anyway, and taking a staff from the cupboard,
locked all up again, and was for setting out, when a
thought arrested him.
I cannae leave you by yourself' in the house," said
he. I'll have to lock you out."
Sold up.


The blood came into my face. If you lock me out,"
I said, it'll be the last you see of me in friendship."
He turned very pale, and sucked his mouth in. This
is no the way," he said, looking wickedly at a corner of
the floor-" this is no the way to win my favour,
Sir," says I, "with a proper reverence for your age
and our common blood, I do not value your favour at a
boddle's purchase. I was brought up to have a good
conceit of myself ; and if you were all the uncle, and all
the family, I had in the world ten times over, I wouldn't
buy your liking at such prices."
Uncle Ebenezer went and looked out of the window
for a while. I could see him all trembling and twitch-
ing, like a man with palsy. But when he turned round,
he had a smile upon his face.
Well, well," said he, we must bear and forbear.
I'll no go; that's all that's to be said of it."
Uncle Ebenezer," I said, I can make nothing out
of this. You use me like a thief; you hate to have me
in this house; you let me see it, every word and every
minute; it's not possible that you can like me; and as
for me, I've spoken to you as I never thought to speak
to any man. Why do you seek to keep me, then? Let
me gang back-let me gang back to the friends I have,
and that like me "
"Na, na; na, na," he said, very earnestly. "I like
you fine; we'll agree fine yet; and for the honour of the
house I couldnae let you leave the way ye came. Bide


here quiet, there's a good lad; just you bide here quiet
a bittie, and ye'll find that we agree."
Well, sir," said I, after I had thought the matter
out in silence, "I'll stay a while. It's more just I
should be helped by my own blood than strangers; and
if we don't agree, I'll do my best it shall be through no
fault of mine."



FOR a day that was begun so ill, the day passed fairly
well. We had the porridge cold again at noon, and hot
porridge at night: porridge and small beer was my
uncle's diet. He spoke but little, and that in the same
way as before, shooting a question at me after a long
silence; and when I sought to lead him in talk about
my future, slipped out of it again. In a room next door
to the kitchen, where he suffered me to go, I found a
great number of books, both Latin and English, in
which I took great pleasure all the afternoon. Indeed
the time passed so lightly in this good company, that I
began to be almost reconciled to my residence at Shaws;
and nothing but the sight of my uncle, and his eyes
playing hide and seek with mine, revived the force of
my distrust.
One thing I discovered, which put me in some doubt.
This was an entry on the fly-leaf of a chapbook (one of
Patrick Walker's) plainly written by my father's hand
and thus conceived: To my brother Ebenezer on his
fifth birthday." Now, what puzzled me was this:
That as my father was of course the younger brother,
he must either have made some strange error, or he must


have written, before he was yet five, an excellent, clear,
manly hand of writing.
I tried to get this out of my head; but though I
took down many interesting authors, old and new,
history, poetry, and story-book, this notion of my father's
hand of writing stuck to me; and when at length I
went back into the kitchen, and sat down once more to
porridge and small beer, the first thing I said to Uncle
Ebenezer was to ask him if my father had not been very
quick at his book.
Alexander ? No him !" was the reply. I was
far quicker myself ; I was a clever chappie when I was
young. Why, I could read as soon as he could."
This puzzled me yet more; and a thought coming
into my head, I asked if he and my father had been
He jumped upon his stool, and the horn spoon fell out
of his hand upon the floor. What gars ye ask that ? "
he said, and caught me by the breast of the jacket, and
looked this time straight into my eyes: his own, which
were little and light, and bright like a bird's, blinking
and winking strangely.
"What do you mean ?" I asked, very calmly, for I
was far stronger than he, and not easily frightened.
" Take your hand from my jacket. This is no way to
My uncle seemed to make a great effort upon him-
self. "Dod, man David," he said, "ye shouldnae
speak to me about your father. That's where the


mistake is." He sat a while and shook, blinking in his
plate: He was all the brother that ever I had," he
added, but with no heart in his voice; and then he
caught up his spoon and fell to supper.again, but still
Now this last passage, this laying of hands upon my
person and sudden profession of love for my dead father,
went so clean beyond my comprehension that it put me
into both fear and hope. On the one hand, I began to
think my uncle was perhaps insane and might be dan-
gerous; on the other, there came up into my mind
(quite unbidden by me and even discouraged) a story
like some ballad I had heard folk singing, of a poor lad
that was a rightful heir and a wicked kinsman that tried
to keep him from his own. For why should my uncle
play a part with a relative that came, almost a beggar,
to his door, unless in his heart he had some cause to fear
With this notion, all unacknowledged, but neverthe-
less getting firmly settled in my head, I now began to
imitate his covert looks; so that we sat at table like a
cat and a mouse, each stealthily observing the other.
Not another word had he to say to me, black or white,
but was busy turning something secretly over in his
mind; and the longer we sat and the more I looked at
him, the more certain I became that the something was
unfriendly to myself.
When he had cleared the platter, he got out a single
pipeful of tobacco, just as in the morning, turned round


a stool into the chimney corner, and sat a while smoking,
with his back to me.
Davie," he said, at length, I've been thinking;"
then he paused, and said it again. "There's a wee bit
siller that I half promised ye before ye were born," he
continued; promised it to your father. Oh, naething
legal, ye understand; just gentlemen daffing at their
wine. Well, I keepit that bit money separate-it was
a great expense, but a promise is a promise-and it has
grown by now to be a matter of just precisely-just
exactly "-and here he paused and stumbled-" of just
exactly forty pounds! This last he rapped out with a
sidelong glance over his shoulder; and the next moment
added, almost with a scream, Scots I "
The pound Scots being the same thing as an English
shilling, the difference made by this second thought was
considerable; I could see, besides, that the whole story
was a lie, invented with some end which it puzzled me to
guess; and I made no attempt to conceal the tone of
raillery in which I answered-
SOh, think again, sir! Pounds sterling, I believe!"
That's what I said," returned my uncle: pounds
sterling And if you'll step out-by to the door a
minute, just to see what kind of a night it is, I'll get it
out to ye and call ye in again."
I did his will, smiling to myself in my contempt that
he should think I was so easily to be deceived. It was
a dark night, with a few stars low down; and as I stood
just outside the door, I heard a hollow moaning of wind


far off among the hills. I said to myself there was
something thundery and changeful in the weather, and
little knew of what a vast importance that should prove
to me before the evening passed.
When I was called in again, my uncle counted out
into my hand seven and thirty golden guinea pieces;
the rest was in his hand, in small gold and silver; but
his heart failed him there, and he crammed the change
into his pocket.
"There," said he, "that'll show you I I'm a queer
man, and strange wi' strangers; but my word is my
bond, and there's the proof of it."
Now, my uncle seemed so miserly that I was struck
dumb by this sudden generosity, and could find no words
in which to thank him.
No a word !" said he. "Nae thanks; I want nae
thanks. I do my duty; I'm no saying that everybody
would have done it; but for my part (though I'm a care-
ful body, too) it's a pleasure to me to do the right by my
brother's son; and it's a pleasure to me to think that
now we'll agree as such near friends should."
I spoke him in return as handsomely as I was able;
but all the while I was wondering what would come
next, and why he had parted with his precious guineas;
for as to the reason he had given, a baby would have
refused it.
Presently, he looked towards me sideways.
," And see here," says he, tit for tat."
I told him I was ready to prove my gratitude in any


reasonable degree, and then waited, looking for some
monstrous demand. And yet, when at last he plucked
up courage to speak, it was only to tell me (very
properly, as I thought) that he was growing old and a
little broken, and that he would expect me to help him
with the house and the bit garden.
I answered, and expressed my readiness to serve.
Well," he said, let's begin." He pulled out of
his pocket a rusty key. There," says he, "there's the
key of the stair-tower at the far end of the house. Ye
can only win into it from the outside, for that part of
the house is no finished. Gang ye in there, and up the
stairs, and bring me down the chest that's at the top.
There's papers in't," he added.
"Can I have a light, sir ? said I.
Na," said he, very cunningly. "Nae lights in my
"Very well, sir," said I. "Are the stairs good ?"
They're grand," said he; and then as I was going,
"Keep to the wall," he added; there's nae ban-
nisters. But the stairs are grand under foot."
Out I went into the night. The wind was still
moaning in the distance, though never a breath of it
came near the house of Shaws. It had fallen blacker
than ever; and I was glad to feel along the wall, till I
came the length of the stair-tower door at the far end
of the unfinished wing. I had got the key into the
keyhole and had just turned it, when all upon a sudden,
without sound of wind or thunder, the whole sky


lighted up with wild fire and went black again. I had
to put my hand over my eyes to get back to the colour
of the darkness; and indeed I was already half blinded
when I stepped into the tower.
It was so dark inside, it seemed a body could scarce
breathe; but I pushed out with foot and hand, and
presently struck the wall with the one, and the lower-
most round of the stair with the other. The wall, by
the touch, was of fine hewn stone; the steps too, though
somewhat steep and narrow, were of polished mason-
work, and regular and solid under foot. Minding my
uncle's word about the bannisters, I kept close to the
tower side, and felt my way in the pitch darkness with
a beating heart.
The house of Shaws stood some five full storeys
high, not counting lofts. Well, as I advanced, it
seemed to me the stair grew airier and a thought more
lightsome; and I was wondering what might be the
cause of this change, when a second blink of the sum-
mer lightning came and went. If I did not cry out, it
was because fear had me by the throat; and if I did
not fall, it was more by Heaven's mercy than my own
strength. It was not only that the flash shone in
on every side through breaches in the wall, so that I
seemed to be clambering aloft upon an open scaffold,
but the same passing brightness showed me the steps
were of unequal length, and that one of my feet rested
that moment within two inches of the well.
This was the grand stair! I thought; and with the


thought, a gust of a kind of angry courage came into
my heart. My uncle had sent me here, certainly to run
great risks, perhaps to die. I swore I would settle that
"perhaps," if I should break my neck for it; got me
down upon my hands and knees; and as slowly as a
snail, feeling before me every inch, and testing the
solidity of every stone, I continued to ascend the stair.
The darkness, by contrast with the flash, appeared to
have redoubled; nor was that all, for my ears were now
troubled and my mind confounded by a great stir of
bats in the top part of the tower, and the foul beasts,
flying downwards, sometimes beat about my face and
The tower, I should have said, was square; and in
every corner the step was made of a great stone of a
different shape, to join the flights. Well, I had come
close to one of these turns, when, feeling forward as usual,
my hand slipped upon an edge and found nothing but
emptiness beyond it. The stair had been carried no
higher: to set a stranger mounting it in the darkness
was to send him straight to his death; and (although,
thanks to the lightning and my own precautions, I was
safe enough) the mere thought of the peril in which I
might have stood, and the dreadful height I might have
fallen from, brought out the sweat upon my body and
relaxed my joints.
But I knew what I wanted now, and turned and
groped my way down again, with a wonderful anger in
my heart. About half-way down, the wind sprang up


in a clap and shook the tower, and died again; the rain
followed; and before I had reached the ground level it
fell in buckets. I put out my head into the storm, and
looked along towards the kitchen. The door, which I
had shut behind me when I left, now stood open, and
shed a little glimmer of light; and I thought I could
see a figure standing in the rain, quite still, like a man
hearkening. And then there came a blinding flash,
which showed me my uncle plainly, just where I had
fancied him to stand; and hard upon the heels of it, a
great tow-row of thunder.
Now, whether my uncle thought the crash to be the
sound of my fall, or whether he heard in it God's voice
denouncing murder, I will leave you to guess. Certain
it is, at least, that he was seized on by a kind of panic
fear, and that he ran into the house and left the door
open behind him. I followed as softly as I could, and,
coming unheard into the kitchen, stood and watched
He had found time to open the corner cupboard and
bring out a great case bottle of aqua vitae, and now sat
with his back towards me at the table. Ever and again
he would be seized with a fit of deadly shuddering and
groan aloud, and carrying the bottle to his lips, drink
down the raw spirits by the mouthful.
I stepped forward, came close behind him where he
sat, and suddenly clapping my two hands down upon
his shoulders-" Ah cried I.
My uncle gave a kind of broken cry like a sheep's
D 2


bleat, flung up his arms, and tumbled to the floor like a
dead man. I was somewhat shocked at this; but I had
myself to look to first of all, and did not hesitate to let
him lie as he had fallen. The keys were hanging in the
cupboard; and it was my design to furnish myself with
arms before my uncle should come again to his senses and
the power of devising evil. In the cupboard were a few
bottles, some apparently of medicine; a great many bills
and other papers, which I should willingly enough have
rummaged, had I had the time; and a few necessaries,
that were nothing to my purpose. Thence I turned to
the chests. The first was full of meal; the second of
money-bags and papers tied into sheaves; in the third,
with many other things (and these for the most part
clothes) I found a rusty, ugly-looking Highland dirk
without the scabbard. This, then, I concealed inside my
waistcoat, and turned to my uncle.
He lay as he had fallen, all huddled, with one knee
up and one arm sprawling abroad; his face had a strange
colour of blue, and he seemed to have ceased breathing.
Fear came on me that he was dead; then I got water
and dashed it in his face; and with that he seemed to
come a little to himself, working his mouth and flutter-
ing his eyelids. At last he looked up and saw me, and
there came into his eyes a terror that was not of this
Come, come," said I, sit up."
"Are ye alive?" he sobbed. 0 man, are ye alive ? "
"That am I," said I. "Small thanks to you! "


He had begun to seek for his breath with deep sighs.
"The blue phial," said he--"in the aumry-the blue
phial." His breath came slower still.
I ran to the cupboard, and, sure enough, found there
a blue phial of medicine, with the dose written on it on
a paper, and this I administered to him with what speed
I might.
"It's the trouble," said he, reviving a little; "I
have a trouble, Davie. It's the heart."
I set him on a chair and looked at him. It is true I
felt some pity for a man that looked so sick, but I was
full besides of righteous anger; and I numbered over
before him the points on which I wanted explanation:
why he lied to me at every word; why he feared that I
should leave him; why he disliked it to be hinted that
he and my father were twins-" Is that because it is
true ?" I asked; why he had given me money to which
I was convinced I had no claim; and, last of all, why he
had tried to kill me. He heard me all through in
silence; and then, in a broken voice, begged me to let
him go to bed.
I'll tell ye the morn," he said; "as sure as death
I will."
And so weak was he that I could do nothing but con-
sent. I locked him into his room, however, and pocketed
the key; and then returning to the kitchen, made up
such a blaze as had not shone there for many a long
year, and wrapping myself in my plaid, lay down upon
the chests and fell asleep.



Muco rain fell in the night; and the next morning
there blew a bitter wintry wind out of the north-west,
driving scattered clouds. For all that, and before the
sun began to peep or the last of the stars had vanished,
I made my way to the side of the burn, and had a plunge
in a deep whirling pool. All aglow from my bath, I
sat down once more beside the fire, which I replenished,
and began gravely to consider my position.
There was now no doubt about my uncle's enmity;
there was no doubt I carried my life in my hand, and
he would leave no stone unturned that he might com-
pass my destruction. But I was young and spirited,
and like most lads that have been country-bred, I had a
great opinion of my shrewdness. I had come to his
door no better than a beggar and little more than a
child; he had met me with treachery and violence; it
would be a fine consummation to take the upper hand,
and drive him like a herd of sheep.
I sat there nursing my knee and smiling at the fire;
and I saw myself in fancy smell out his secrets one
after another, and grow to be that man's king and ruler.
The warlock of Essendean, they say, had made a mirror


in which men could read the future; it must have
been of other stuff than burning coal; for in all the
shapes and pictures that I sat and gazed at, there was
never a ship, never a seaman with a hairy cap, never a
big bludgeon for my silly head, or the least sign of all
those tribulations that were ripe to fall on me.
Presently, all swollen with conceit, I went up stairs
and gave my prisoner his liberty. He gave me good
morning civilly; and I gave the same to him, smiling
down upon him from the heights of my sufficiency.
Soon we were set to breakfast, as it might have been
the day before.
Well, sir," said I, with a jeering tone, "have you
nothing more to say to me ?" And then, as he made
no articulate reply, It will be time, I think, to under-
stand each other," I continued. You took me for a
country Johnnie Raw, with no more mother-wit or
courage than a porridge-stick. I took you for a good
man, or no worse than others at the least. It seems
we were both wrong. What cause you have to fear me,
to cheat me, and to attempt my life-- "
He murmured something about a jest, and that he
liked a bit of fun; and then, seeing me smile, changed
I his tone, and assured me he would make all clear as soon
as we had breakfasted. I saw by his face that he had
no lie ready for me, though he was hard at work pre-
paring one; and I think I was about to tell him so,
when we were interrupted by a knocking at the door.
Bidding my uncle sit where he was, I went to open


it, and found on the doorstep a half-grown boy in sea-
clothes. He had no sooner seen me than he began to
dance some steps of the sea-hornpipe (which I had never
before heard of, far less seen) snapping his fingers in
the air and footing it right cleverly. For all that, he
was blue with the cold; and there was something in his
face, a look between tears and laughter, that was highly
pathetic and consisted ill with this gaiety of manner.
What cheer, mate?" says he, with a cracked
I asked him soberly to name his pleasure
"Oh, pleasure says he; and then began to sing:

"For it's my delight, of a shiny night,
In the season of the year."

S"Well," said I, if you have no business at all, I
will even be so unmannerly as to shut you out."
Stay, brother! he cried. Have you no fun
about you ? or do you want to get me thrashed ? I've
brought a letter from old Heasy-oasy to Mr. Belflower."
He showed me a letter as he spoke. "And I say,
mate," he added, I'm mortal hungry."
Well," said I, "come into the house, and you
shall have a bite if I go empty for it."
With that I brought him in and set him down to
my own place, where he fell-to greedily on the remains
of breakfast, winking to me between whiles, and making
many faces, which I think the poor soul considered
manly. Meanwhile, my uncle had read the letter and


sat thinking; then, suddenly, he got to his feet with a
great air of liveliness, and pulled me apart into the
farthest corner of the room.
Read that," said he, and put the letter in my
Here it is, lying before me as I write:
"The Hawes Inn, at the Queen's Ferry.
Sir,-I lie here with my hawser up and down, and send my
cabin-boy to informed. If you have any further commands for
over-seas, to-day will be the last occasion, as the wind will serve
us well out of the firth. I will not seek to deny that I have had
crosses with your doer,* Mr. Rankeillor; of which, if not speedily
redd up, you may look to see some losses follow. I have drawn
a bill upon you, as per margin, and am, sir, your most obedt.,
humble servant,

"You see, Davie," resumed my uncle, as soon as he
saw that I had done, I have a venture with this man
Hoseason, the captain of a trading brig, the Covenant,
of Dysart. Now, if you and me was to walk over with
yon lad, I could see the captain at the Hawes, or maybe
on board the Covenant, if there was papers to be signed;
and so far from a loss of time, we can jog on to the
lawyer, Mr. Rankeillor's. After a' that's come and
gone, ye would be swier t to believe me upon my naked
word; but ye'll believe Rankeillor. He's factor to
half the gentry in these parts; an auld man, forby:
highly respeckit; and he kenned your father."
I stood awhile and thought. I was going to some
Agent. T Unwilling.

42 kibNAPPED.

place of shipping, which was doubtless populous, and
where my uncle durst attempt no violence, and, indeed,
even the society of the cabin-boy so far protected me.
Once there, I believed I could force on the visit to the
lawyer, even if my uncle were now insincere in propos-
ing it; and perhaps, in the bottom of my heart, I
wished a nearer view of the sea and ships. You are to
remember I had lived all my life in the inland hills, and
just two days before had my first sight of the firth
lying like a blue floor, and the sailed ships moving on
the face of it, no bigger than toys. One thing with
another, I made up my mind.
Very well," says I, let us go to the Ferry."
My uncle got into his hat and coat, and buckled an
old rusty cutlass on; and then we trod the fire out,
locked the door, and set forth upon our walk.
The wind, being in that cold quarter, the north-west,
blew nearly in our faces as we went. It was the month
of June; the grass was all white with daisies and the
trees with blossom; but, to judge by our blue nails and
aching wrists, the time might have been winter and
the whiteness a December frost.
Uncle Ebenezer trudged in the ditch, jogging from
side to side like an old ploughman coming home from
work. He never said a word the whole way; and I
was thrown for talk on the cabin-boy. He told me
his name was Ransome, and that he had followed
the sea since he was nine, but could not say how old he
was, as he had lost his reckoning. He showed me tattoo


marks, baring his breast in the teeth of the wind and
in spite of my remonstrances, for I thought it was
enough to kill him; he swore horribly whenever he
remembered, but more like a silly schoolboy than a
man; and boasted of many wild and bad things that he
had done: stealthy thefts, false accusations, ay, and even
murder; but all with such a dearth of likelihood in the
details, and such a weak and crazy swagger in the de-
livery, as disposed me rather to pity than to believe him.
I asked him of the brig (which he declared was the
finest ship that sailed) and of Captain Hoseason, in
whose praise he was equally loud. Heasy-oasy (for so
he still named the skipper) was a man, by his account,
that minded for nothing either in heaven or earth; one
that, as people said, would crack on all sail into the
day of judgment;" rough, fierce, unscrupulous, and
brutal; and all this my poor cabin-boy had taught him-
self to admire as something seamanlike and manly. He
would only admit one flaw in his idol. He ain't no
seaman," he admitted. That's Mr. Shuan that navi-
gates the brig; he's the finest seaman in the trade, only
for drink; and I tell you I believe it Why, look
'ere;" and turning down his stocking, he showed me a
great, raw, red wound that made my blood run cold.
" HIe done that-Mr. Shuan done it," he said, with an
air of pride.
What I" I cried, do you take such savage usage
at his hands? Why, you are no slave, to be so
handled "


"No," said the poor moon-calf, changing his tune
at once, and so he'll find See 'ere; and he showed
me a great case-knife, which he told me was stolen.
" Oh," says he, let me see him try; I dare him to;
I'll do for him! Oh, he ain't the first 1" And he
confirmed it with a poor, silly, ugly oath.
I have never felt such pity for any one in this wide
world as I felt for that half-witted creature; and it
began to come over me that the brig Covenant (for all
her pious name) was little better than a hell upon the
Have you no friends ? said I.
He said he had a father in some English seaport, I
forget which. "He was a fine man, too," he said;
" but he's dead."
"In Heaven's name," cried I, "can you find no
reputable life on shore ? "
Oh, no I" says he, winking and looking very sly;
They would put me to a trade. I know a trick worth
two of that, I do I "
I asked him what trade could be so dreadful as the
one he followed, where he ran the continual peril of his
life, not alone from wind. and sea, but by the horrid
cruelty of those who were his masters. He said it was
very true; and then began to praise the life, and tell
what a pleasure it was to get on shore with money in
his pocket, and spend it like a man, and buy apples, and
swagger, and surprise what he called stick-in-the-mud
boys. And then it's not all as bad as that," says he;


There's worse off than me : there's the twenty-pounders.
Oh, laws I you should see them taking on. Why, I've
seen a man as old as you, I dessay "-(to him I seemed
old)--" ah, and he had a beard, too-well, and as soon
as we cleared out of the river, and he had the drug out
of his head-my I how he cried and carried on I I made
a fine fool of him, I tell you! And then there's little
uns, too: oh, little by me I I tell you, I keep them in
order. When we carry little uns, I have a rope's end of
my own to wollop 'em." And so he ran on, until it
came in on me that what lie meant by twenty-pounders
were those unhappy criminals who were sent over-seas
to slavery in North America, or the still more unhappy
innocents who were kidnapped or trepanned (as the
word went) for private interest or vengeance.
Just then we came to the top of the hill, and looked
down on the Ferry and the Hope. The Firth of Forth
(as is very well known) narrows at this point to the
width of a good-sized river, which makes a convenient
ferry going north, and turns the upper reach into a
land-locked haven for all manner of ships. Right in
the midst of the narrows lies an islet with some ruins;
on the south shore they have built a pier for the service
of the Ferry; and at the end of the pier, on the other
side of the road, and backed against a pretty garden of
holly-trees and hawthorns, I could see the building
which they call the Hawes Inn.
The town of Queensferry lies farther west, and the
neighbourhood of the inn looked pretty lonely at that


time of day, for the boat had just gone north with pas-
sengers. A skiff, however, lay beside the pier, with
some seamen sleeping on the thwarts; this, as Ransome
told me, was the brig's boat waiting for the captain;
and about half a mile off, and all alone in the anchorage,
he showed me the Covenant herself. There was a sea-
going bustle on board; yards were swinging into place;
and as the wind blew from that quarter, I could hear
the song of the sailors as they pulled upon the ropes.
After all I had listened to upon the way, I looked at that
ship with an extreme abhorrence; and from the bottom
of my heart I pitied all poor souls that were condemned
to sail in her.
We had all three pulled up on the brow of the hill;
and now I marched across the road and addressed my
uncle. I think it right to tell you, sir," says I,
"there's nothing that will bring me on board that
He seemed to waken from a dream. Eh ? he
said. "What's that ?"
I told him over again.
c Well, well," he said, we'll have to please ye, I
suppose. But what are we standing here for? It's
perishing cold; and if I'm no mistaken, they're busking
the Covenant for sea."




As soon as we came to the inn, Ransome led us up the
stair to a small room, with a bed in it, and heated like an
oven by a great fire of coal. At a table hard by the
chimney, a tall, dark, sober-looking man sat writing. In
spite of the heat of the room, he wore a thick sea-jacket,
buttoned to the neck, and a tall hairy cap drawn down
over his ears; yet I never saw any man, not even a
judge upon the bench, look cooler, or more studious and
self-possessed, than this ship-captain.
He got to his feet at once, and coming forward,
offered his large hand to Ebenezer. "I am proud to see
you, Mr. Balfour," said he, in a fine deep voice, and
glad that ye are here in time. The wind's fair, and the
tide upon the turn: we'll see the old coal-bucket burn-
ing on the Isle of May before to-night."
"Captain Hoseason," returned my uncle, you keep
your room unco hot."
SIt's a habit I have, Mr. Balfour," said the skipper.
"I'm a cold-rife man by my nature; I have a cold
blood, sir. There's neither fur, nor flannel-no, sir, nor
hot rum, will warm up what they call the temperature.


Sir, it's the same with most men that have been car-
bonadoed, as they call it, in the tropic seas."
"Well, well, captain," replied my uncle, we must
all be the way we're made."
But it chanced that this fancy of the captain's had a
great share in my misfortunes. For though I had
promised myself not to let my kinsman out of sight, I
was both so impatient for a nearer look of the sea, and
so sickened by the closeness of the room, that when he
told me to run down-stairs and play myself awhile," I
was fool enough to take him at his word.
Away I went, therefore, leaving the two men sitting
down to a bottle and a great mass of papers; and cross-
ing the road in front of the inn, walked down upon the
beach. With the wind in that quarter, only little
wavelets, not much bigger than I had seen upon a lake,
beat upon the shore. But the weeds were new to me-
some green, some brown and long, and some with little
bladders that crackled between my fingers. Even so far
up the firth, the smell of the sea water was exceedingly
salt and stirring; the Covenant, besides, was beginning
to shake out her sails, which hung upon the yards in
clusters; and the spirit of all that I beheld put me in
thoughts of far voyages and foreign places.
I looked, too, at the seamen with the skiff-big
brown fellows, some in shirts, some with jackets, some
with coloured handkerchiefs about their throats, one
with a brace of pistols stuck into his pockets, two or
three with knotty bludgeons, and all with their case-


knives. I passed the time of day with one that looked
less desperate than his fellows, and asked him of the sail-
ing of the brig. He said they would get under way as
soon as the ebb set, a.d expressed his gladness to be out
of a port where there were no taverns and fiddlers; but
all with such horrifying oaths, that I made haste to get
away from him.
This throw me back on Ransome, who seemed the
least wicked of that gang, and who soon came out of the
inn and ran to me, crying for a bowl of punch. I told
him I would give him no such thing, for neither he nor
I was of an age for such indulgences. "But a glass of
ale you may have, and welcome," said I. He mopped
and mowed at me, and called me names; but he was
glad to get the ale, for all that; and presently we were
set down at a table in the front room of the inn, and
both eating and drinking with a good appetite.
Here it occurred to me that, as the landlord was a
man of that county, I might do well to make a friend
of him. I offered him a share, as was much the custom
in these days; but he was far too great a man to sit with
such poor customers as Ransome and myself, and he was
leaving the room, when I called him back to ask if he
knew Mr. Rankeillor.
Hoot, ay," says he, and a very honest man. And,
oh, by-the-bye," says he, "was it you that came in with
Eben zer ?" And when I had told him yes, "Ye'll be
no friend of his ?" he asked, meaning, in the Scottish
way, that I would be no relative.


I told him no, none.
I thought not," said he; "and yet ye have a kind
of gliff of Mr. Alexander."
I said it seemed that Ebenezer was ill-seen in the
Nae doubt," said the landlord. "He's a wicked
auld man, and there's many would like to see him girn-
ning in a tow :t Jennet Clouston and money mair that
he has harried out of house and hame. And yet he was
ance a fine young fellow, too. But that was before the
sough h gaed abroad about Mr. Alexander; that was
like the death of him."
And what was it ? I asked.
Ou, just that he had killed him," said the land-
lord. Did ye never hear that ? "
And what would he kill him for ? said I.
"And what for, but just to get the place," said he.
The place ? said I. The Shaws ? "
"Nae other place that I ken," said he.
"Ay, man ?" said I. Is that so ? Was my-was
Alexander the eldest son ?"
"'Deed was he," said the landlord. "What else
would he have killed him for ?"
And with that he went away, as he had been im-
patient to do from the beginning.
Of course, I had guessed it a long while ago; but
it is one thing to guess, another to know; and I sat
stunned with my good fortune, and could scarce grow
to believe that the same poor lad who had trudged in
Look t hope. IRport.


the dust from Ettrick Forest not two days ago, was now
one of the rich of the earth, and had a house and broad
lands, and if he but knew how to ride, might mount his
horse to-morrow. All these pleasant things, and a
thousand others, crowded into my mind, as I sat staring
before me out of the inn window, and paying no heed
to what I saw; only I remember that my eye lighted
on Captain Hoseason down on the pier among his seamen,
and speaking with some authority. And presently he
came marching back towards the house, with no mark
of a sailor's clumsiness, but carrying his fine, tall figure
with a manly bearing, and still with the same sober,
grave expression on his face. I wondered if it was
possible that Ransome's stories could be true, and half
disbelieved them; they fitted so ill with the man's
looks. But indeed, he was neither so good as I sup-
posed him, nor quite so bad as Ransome did; for, in
fact, he was two men, and left the better one behind as
soon as he set foot on board his vessel.
The next thing, I heard my uncle calling me, and
found the pair in the road together. It was the captain
who addressed me, and that with an air (very flattering
to a young lad) of grave equality.
Sir," said he, "Mr. Balfour tells me great things
of you; and for my own part, I like your looks. I
wish I was for longer here, that we might make the
better friends; but we'll make the most of what we
have. Ye shall come on board my brig for half-an-hours
till the ebb sets, and drink a bowl with me."


Now, I longed to see the inside of a ship more than
words can tell; but I was not going to put myself in
jeopardy, and I told him my uncle and I had an appoint-
ment with a lawyer.
"Ay, ay," said he, "he passed me word of that.
But, ye see, the boat'll set ye ashore at the town pier, and
that's but a penny stonecast from Rankeillor's house."
And here he suddenly leaned down and whispered in my
ear: "Take care of the old tod; he means mischief.
Come aboard till I can get a word with ye." And then,
passing his arm through mine, he continued aloud, as he
set off towards his boat: But come, what can I bring
ye from the Carolinas ? Any friend of Mr. Balfour's can
command. A roll of tobacco? Indian featherwork? A skin
of a wild beast? a stone pipe? the mocking-bird that mews
for all the world like a cat ? the cardinal bird that is as
red as blood ?-take your pick and say your pleasure."
By this time we were at the boat-side, and he was
handing me in. I did not dream of hanging back; I
thought (the poor fool!) that I had found a good friend
and helper, and I was rejoiced to see the ship. As soon
as we were all set in our places, the boat was thrust off
from the pier and began to move over the waters; and
what with my pleasure in this new movement and my
surprise at our low position, and the appearance of the
shores, and the growing bigness of the brig as we drew
near to it, I could hardly understand what the captain
said, and must have answered him at random.


As soon as we were alongside (where I sat fairly
gaping at the ship's height, the strong humming of the
tide against its sides, and the pleasant cries of the sea-
men at their work)- Hoseason, declaring that he and I
must be the first aboard, ordered a tackle to be sent
down from the main-yard. In this I was whipped into
the air and set down again on the deck, where the
captain stood ready waiting for me, and instantly slipped
back his arm under mine. There I stood some while, a
little dizzy with the unsteadiness of all around me,
perhaps a little afraid, and yet vastly pleased with these
strange sights; the captain meanwhile pointing out the
strangest, and telling me their names and uses.
But where is my uncle ? said I, suddenly.
"Ay," said Hoseason, with a sudden grimness,
that's the point."
I felt I was lost. With all my strength, I plucked
myself clear of him and ran to the bulwarks. Sure
enough, there was the boat pulling for the town, with
my uncle sitting in the stern. I gave a piercing cry-
"Help, help! Murder I "-so that both sides of the
anchorage rang with it, and my uncle turned round
where he was sitting, and showed me a face full of
cruelty and terror.
It was the last I saw. Already strong hands had
been plucking me back from the ship's side; and now a
thunderbolt seemed to strike me; I saw a great flash of
fire, and fell senseless.




I CAME to myself in darkness, in great pain, bound hand
and foot, and deafened by many unfamiliar noises.
There sounded in my ears a roaring of water as of a
huge mill-dam; the thrashing of heavy sprays, the
thundering of the sails, and the shrill cries of seamen.
The whole world now heaved giddily up, and now rushed
giddily downward; and so sick and hurt was I in body,
and my mind so much confounded, that it took me a
long while, chasing my thoughts up and down, and ever
stunned again by a fresh stab of pain, to realise that I
must be lying somewhere bound in the belly of that
unlucky ship, and that the wind must have strengthened
to a gale. With the clear perception of my plight,
there fell upon me a blackness of despair, a horror of
remorse at my own folly, and a passion of anger at my
uncle, tlat once more bereft me of my senses.
When I returned again to life, the same uproar,
the same confused and violent movements, shook and
deafened me; and presently, to my other pains and dis-
tresses, there was added the sickness of an unused lands-
man on the sea. In that time of my adventurous youth,
I suffered many hardships; but none that was so crush-


ing to my mind and body, or lit by so few hopes, as these
first hours on board the brig.
I heard a gun fire, and supposed the storm had
proved too strong for us, and we were firing signals of
distress. The thought of deliverance, even by death in
the deep sea, was welcome to me. Yet it was no such
matter; but (as I was afterwards told) a common habit
of the captain's, which I here set down to show that
even the worst man may have his kindlier sides. We
were then passing, it appeared, within some miles of
Dysart, where the brig was built, and where old Mrs.
Ioseason, the captain's mother, had come some years
before to live; and whether outward or inward bound,
the Covenant was never suffered to go by that place by
day, without a gun fired and colours shown.
I had no measure of time day and night were alike
in that ill-smelling cavern of the ship's bowels where I
lay; and the misery of my situation drew out the hours
to double. How long, therefore, I lay waiting to hear
the ship split upon some rock, or to feel her reel head
foremost into the depths of the sea, I have not the
means of computation. But sleep at length stole from
me the consciousness of sorrow.
I was wakened by the light of a hand-lantern shining
in my face. A small man of about thirty, with green
eyes and a tangle of fair hair, stood looking down
at me.
Well," said he, how goes it ?"
I answered by a sob and my visitor then felt my


pulse and temples, and set himself to wash and dress
the wound upon my scalp.
"Ay," said he, "a sore dunt.* What, man? Cheer
up! The world's no done; you've made a bad start of
it, but you'll make a better. Have you had any meat ? "
I said I could not look at it; and thereupon he gave
me some brandy and water in a tin pannikin, and left
me once more to myself.
The next time he came to see me, I was lying be-
twixt sleep and waking, my eyes wide open in the
darkness, the sickness quite departed, but succeeded by
a horrid giddiness and swimming that was almost worse
to bear. I ached, besides, in every limb, and the cords
that bound me seemed to be of fire. The smell of the
hole in which I lay seemed to have become a part of
me; and during the long interval since his last visit I
had suffered tortures of fear, now from the scurrying of
the ship's rats, that sometimes pattered on my very face,
and now from the dismal imaginings that haunt the
bed of fever.
The glimmer of the lantern, as a trap opened, shone
in like the heaven's sunlight; and though it only
showed me the strong, dark beams of the ship that was
my prison, I could have cried aloud for gladness. The
man with the green eyes was the first to descend the
ladder, and I noticed that he came somewhat unsteadily.
He was followed by the captain. Neither said a word;
but the first set to and examined me, and dressed my


wound as before, while Hoseason looked me in my face
with an odd, black look.
Now, sir, you see for yourself," said the first: "a
high fever, no appetite, no light, no meat: you see for
yourself what that means."
"I am no conjurer, Mr. Riach," said the captain.
"Give me leave, sir," said Riach; you've a good
head upon your shoulders, and a good Scotch tongue to
ask with; but I will leave you no manner of excuse:
I want that boy taken out of this hole and put in the
S"What ye may want, sir, is a matter of concern to
nobody but yourself, returned the captain; but I can
tell ye that which is to be. Here he is; here he shall
"Admitting that you have been paid in a propor-
tion," said the other, I will crave leave humbly to
say that I have not. Paid I am, and none too much,
to be the second officer of this old tub; and you ken
very well if I do my best to earn it. But I was paid
for nothing more."
If ye could hold back your hand from the tin-pan,
Mr. Riach, I would have no complaint to make of ye,"
returned the skipper; "and instead of asking riddles, I
make bold to say that ye would keep your breath to
cool your porridge. We'll be required on deck," 1o
added, in a sharper note, and set one foot upon the
But Mr. Riach caught him by the sleeve.


"Admitting that you have been paid to do a
murder- he began.
Hoseason turned upon him with a flash.
What's that ?" he cried. What kind of talk is
that ?"
I It seems it is the talk that you can understand,"
said Mr. Riach, looking him steadily in the face.
Mr. Riach, I have sailed with ye three cruises,"
replied the captain. "In all that time, sir, ye should
have learned to know me: I'm a stiff man, and a dour
man; but for what ye say the now-fie, fie !-it comes
from a bad heart and a black conscience. If ye say the
lad will die "
Ay, will he !" said Mr. Riach.
"Well, sir, is not that enough?" said Hoseason.
"Flit him where ye please !"
Thereupon the captain ascended the ladder; and I,
who had lain silent throughout this strange conversa-
tion, beheld Mr. Riach turn after him and bow as low
as to his knees in what was plainly a spirit of derision.
Even in my then state of sickness, I perceived two
things: that the mate was touched with liquor, as the
captain hinted, and that (drunk or sober) he was like to
prove a valuable friend.
Five minutes afterwards my bonds were cut, I was
hoisted on a man's back, carried up to the forecastle,
and laid in a bunk on some sea-blankets; where the first
thing that I did was to lose my senses.
It was a blessed thing indeed to open my eyes again


upon the daylight, and to find myself in the society of
men. The forecastle was a roomy place enough, set all
about with berths, in which the men of the watch below
were seated smoking, or lying clown asleep. The day
being calm and the wind fair, the scuttle was open, and
not only the good daylight, but from time to time (as
the ship rolled) a dusty beam of sunlight shone in, and
dazzled and delighted me. I had no sooner moved,
moreover, than one of the men brought me a drink of
something healing which Mr. Riach had prepared, and
bade me lie still and I should soon be well again.
There were no bones broken, he explained: A clour*
on the head was naething. Man," said he, it was me
that gave it ye "
Here I lay for the space of many days a close
prisoner, and not only got my health again, but came to
know my companions. They were a rough lot indeed,
as sailors mostly are; being men rooted out of all the
kindly parts of life, and condemned to toss together on
the rough seas, with masters no less cruel. There were
some among them that had sailed with the pirates and
seen things it would be a shame even to speak of; some
were men that had run from the king's ships, and went
with a halter round their necks, of which they made no
secret; and all, as the saying goes, were "at a word and
a blow" with their best friends. Yet I had not been
many days shut up with them before I began to be
ashamed of my first judgment, when I had drawn away


from them at the Ferry pier, as though they had been
unclean beasts. No class of man is altogether bad; but
each has its own faults and virtues; and these shipmates
of mine were no exception to the rule. Rough they
were, sure enough; and bad, I suppose; but they had
many virtues. They were kind when it occurred to
them, simple even beyond the simplicity of a country
lad like me, and had some glimmerings of honesty.
There was one man of maybe forty, that would sit on
my berthside for hours, and tell me of his wife and
child. He was a fisher that had lost his boat, and thus
been driven to the deep-sea voyaging. Well, it is years
ago now; but I have never forgotten him. His wife
(who was young by him," as he often told me) waited
in vain to see her man return; he would never again
make the fire for her in the morning, nor yet keep the
bairn when she was sick.. Indeed, many of these poor
fellows (as the event proved) were upon their last cruise ;
the deep seas and cannibal fish received them; and it is
a thankless business to speak ill of the dead.
Among other good deeds that they did, they returned
my money, which had been shared among them; and
though it was about a third short, I was very glad to
get it, and hoped great good from it in the land I was
going to. The ship was bound for the Carolinas; and
you must not suppose that I was going to that place
merely as an exile. The trade was even then much de-
pressed; since that, and with the rebellion of the colonies
and the formation of the United States, it has, of course,


come to an end; but in these days of my youth, white
men were still sold into slavery on the plantations, and
that was the destiny to which my wicked uncle had con-
demned me.
The cabin-boy Ransome (from whom I had first
heard of these atrocities) came in at times from the
round-house, where he berthed and served, now nursing
a bruised limb in silent agony, now raving against the
cruelty of Mr. Shuan. It made my heart bleed; but
the men had a great respect for the chief mate, who was,
as they said, the only seaman of the whole jing-bang,
and none such a bad man when he was sober." Indeed,
I found there was a strange peculiarity about our two
mates : that Mr. Riach was sullen, unkind, and harsh
when he was sober, and Mr. Shuan would not hurt a fly
except when he was drinking. I asked about the
captain; but I was told drink made no difference upon
that man of iron.
I did my best in the small time allowed me to make
something like a man, or rather I should say something
like a boy, of the poor creature, Ransome. But his mind
was scarce truly human. He could remember nothing
of the time before he came to sea; only that his father
had made clocks, and had a starling in the parlour, which
could whistle The North Countrie; all else had been
blotted out in these years of hardship and cruelties. He
had a strange notion of the dry land, picked up from
sailors' stories: that it was a place where lads were put
to some kind of slavery called a trade, and where appren-


tices were continually lashed and clapped into foul
prisons. In a town, he thought every second person a
decoy, and every third house a place in which seamen
would be drugged and murdered. To be sure, I could
tell him how kindly I had myself been used upon that
dry land he was so much afraid of, and how well fed and
carefully taught both by my friends and my parents : and
if he had been recently hurt, he would weep bitterly and
swear to run away; but if he was in his usual crackbrain
humour or (still more) if he had had a glass of spirits in
the round-house, he would deride the notion.
It was Mr. Riach (Heaven forgive him 1) who gave
the boy drink; and it was, doubtless, kindly meant; but
besides that it was ruin to his health, it was the
pitifullest thing in life to see this unhappy, unfriended
creature staggering, and dancing, and talking he knew
not what. Some of the men laughed, but not all; others
would grow as black as thunder (thinking, perhaps, of
their own childhood or their own children) and bid him
stop that nonsense, and think what he was doing. As
for me, I felt ashamed to look at him, and the poor chlid
still comes about me in my dreams.
All this time, you should know, the Covenant was
meeting continual head- winds and tumbling up and
down against head-seas, so that the scuttle was almost
constantly shut, and the forecastle lighted only by a
swinging lantern on a beam. There was constant labour
for all hands; the sails had to be made and shortened
every hour; the strain told on the men's temper; there



was a growl of quarrelling all day long from berth to
berth; and as I was never allowed to set my foot on
deck, you can picture to yourselves how weary of my
life I grew to be, and how impatient for a change.
And a change I was to get, as you shall hear; but
I must first tell of a conversation I had with Mr. Riach,
which put a little heart in me to bear my troubles.
Getting him in a favourable stage of drink (for indeed
he never looked near me when he was sober) I pledged
him to secrecy, and told him my whole story.
He declared it was like a ballad; that he would do
his best to help me; that I should have paper, pen, and
ink, and write one line to Mr. Campbell and another to
Mr. Rankeillor; and that if I had told the truth, ten
to one he would be able (with their help) to pull me
through and set me in my rights.
And in the meantime," says he, "keep your heart
up. You're not the only one, I'll tell you that. There's
many a man hoeing tobacco over-seas that should be
mounting his horse at his own door at home; many and
many I And life is all a variorum, at the best. Look
at me: I'm a laird's son and more than half a doctor,
and here I am, man-Jack to Hoseason! "
I thought it would be civil to ask him for his story.
He whistled loud.
"Never had one," said he. "I liked fun, that's all."
And he skipped out of the forecastle.



ONE night, abo,:t twelve o'clock, a man of Mr. Riach's
watch (which was on deck) came down for his jacket;
and instantly there began to go a whisper about the
forecastle that Shuan had done for him at last." There
was no need of a name; we all knew who was meant;
but we had scarce time to get the idea rightly in our
heads, far less to speak of it, when the scuttle was
again flung open, and Captain Hoseason came down the
ladder. He looked sharply round the bunks in the toss-
ing light of the lantern; and then, walking straight up
to me, he addressed me, to my surprise, in tones of
My man," said he, we want ye to serve in the
round-house. You and Ransome are to change berths.
Run away aft with ye."
Even as he spoke, two seamen appeared in the
scuttle, carrying Ransome in their arms; and the ship
at that moment giving a great sheer into the sea, and
the lantern swinging, the light fell direct on the boy's
face. It was as white as wax, and had a look upon it
like a dreadful smile. The blood in me ran cold, and I
drew in my breath as if I had been struck.


"Run away aft; run away aft with ye!" cried
And at that I brushed by the sailors and the boy
(who neither spoke nor moved), and ran up the ladder on
The brig was sheering swiftly and giddily through a
long, cresting swell. She was on the starboard tack,
and on the left hand, under the arched foot of the fore-
sail, I could see the sunset still quite bright. This, at
such an hour of the night, surprised me greatly; but I
was too ignorant to draw the true conclusion-that we
were going north-about round Scotland, and were now
on the high sea between the Orkney and the Shetland
Islands, having avoided the dangerous currents of the
Pentland Firth. For my part, who had been so long
shut in the dark and knew nothing of head-winds, I
thought we might be half-way or more across the
Atlantic. And indeed (beyond that I wondered a little
at the lateness of the sunset light) I gave no heed to it,
and pushed on across the decks, running between tho
seas, catching at ropes, and only saved from going over-
board by one of the hands on deck, who had been always
kind to me.
The round-house, for which I was bound, and where
I was now to sleep and serve, stood some six feet above
the decks, and considering the size of the brig, was of
good dimensions. Inside were a fixed table and bench,
and two berths, one for the captain and the other for the
two mates, turn and turn about. It was all fitted with


lockers from top to bottom, so as to stow away the
officers' belongings and a part of the ship's stores;
there was a second store-room underneath, which you
entered by a hatchway in the middle of the deck; indeed,
all the best of the meat and drink and the whole of the
powder were collected in this place; and all the firearms,
except the two pieces of brass ordnance, were set in a
rack in the aftermost wall of the round-house. The most
of the cutlasses were in another place.
A small window with a shutter on each side, and a
skylight in the roof, gave it light by day; and after
dark, there was a lamp always burning. It was burn-
ing when I entered, not brightly, but enough to show
Mr. Shuan sitting at the table, with the brandy bottle
and a tin pannikin in front of him. He was a tall man,
strongly made and very black; and he stared before him
on the table like one stupid.
He took no notice of my coming in; nor did he
move when the captain followed and leant on the berth
beside me, looking darkly at the mate. I stood in great
fear of Hoseason, and had my reasons for it; but some-
thing told me I need not be afraid of him just then;
and I whispered in his car, How is he ?" He shook
his head like one that does not know and does not wish
to think, and his face was very stern.
Presently Mr. Riach came in. He gave the captain
a glance that meant the boy was dead as plain as speak-
ing, and took his place like the rest of us; so that we
all three stood without a word, staring down at Mr.


Shuan, and Mr. Shuan (on his side) sat without a word,
looking hard upon the table.
All of a sudden he put out his hand to take the
bottle; and at that Mr. Riach started forward and
caught it away from him, rather by surprise than vio-
lence, crying out, with an oath, that there had been too
much of this work altogether, and that a judgment would
fall upon the ship. And as he spoke (the weather sliding-
doors standing open) he tossed the bottle into the sea.
Mr. Shuan was on his feet in a trice; he still looked
dazed, but he meant murder, ay, and would have done
it, for the second time that night, had not the captain
stepped in between him and his victim.
"Sit down!" roars the captain. Ye sot and swine,
do ye know what ye've done ? Ye've murdered the boy "
Mr. Shuan seemed to understand; for he sat down
again and put up his hand to his brow.
"Well," he said, '" he brought me a dirty pannikin !
At that word, the captain and I and Mr. Riach all
looked at each other for a second with a kind of frightened
look; and then Hoseason walked up to his chief officer,
took him by the shoulder, led him across to his bunk, and
bade him lie down and go to sleep, as you might speak
to a bad child. The murderer cried a little, but he took
off his sea-boots and obeyed.
"Ah !" cried Mr. Riach, with a dreadful voice, "ye.
should have interfered long syne. It's too late now."
"Mr. Riach," said the captain, "this night's work
must never be kennt in Dysart. The boy went over.
F 2


board, sir; that's what the story is; and I would give
five pounds out of my pocket it was true He turned
to the table. What made ye throw the good bottle
away ? he added. There was nae sense in that, sir.
Here, David, draw me another. They're in the bottom
locker; and he tossed me a key. "Ye'll need a glass
yourself, sir," he added, to Riach. "Yon was an ugly
thing to see."
So the pair sat down and hob-a-nobbed; and while
they did so, the murderer, who had been lying and
whimpering in his berth, raised himself upon his elbow
and looked at them and at me.
That was the first night of my new duties;, and in
the course of the next day I had got well into the run
of them. I had to serve at the meals, which the captain
took at regular hours, sitting down with the officer who
was off duty; all the day through I would be running
with a dram to one or other of my three masters; and
at night I slept on a blanket thrown on the deck boards
at the aftermost end of the round-house, and right in
the draught of the two doors. It was a hard and a cold
bed; nor was I suffered to sleep without interruption;
for some one would be always coming in from deck to
get a dram, and when a fresh watch was to be set, two
and sometimes all three would sit down and brew a
bowl together. How they kept their health, I know
not, any more than how I kept my own.
And yet in other ways it was an easy service. There
was no cloth to lay; the meals were either of oatmeal


porridge or salt junk, except twice a week, when there
was duff: and though I was clumsy enough and (not
being firm on my sea-legs) sometimes fell with what I
was bringing them, both Mr. Riach and the captain
were singularly patient. I could not but fancy they
were making up lee-way with their consciences, and
that they would scarce have been so good with me if
they had not been worse with Ransome.
As for Mr. Shuan, the drink, or his crime, or the
two together, had certainly troubled his mind. I cannot
say I ever saw him in his proper wits. He never grew
used to my being there, stared at me continually (some-
times, I could have thought, with terror) and more
than once drew back from my hand when I was serving
him. I was pretty sure from the first that he had no
clear mind of what he had done, and on my second day
in the round-house I had the proof of it. We were
alone, and he had been staring at me a long time, when,
all at once, up he got, as pale as death, and came close
up to me, to my great terror. But I had no cause to be
afraid of him.
You were not here before ?" he asked.
No, sir," said I.
There was another boy?" he asked again; and
when I had answered him, Ah says he, I thought
that," and went and sat down, without another word,
except to call for brandy.
You may think it strange, but for all the horror I
had, I was still sorry for him. He was a married man,


with a wife in Leith; but whether or no he had a
family, I have now forgotten; I hope not.
Altogether it was no very hard life for the time it
lasted, which (as you are to hear) was not long. I was
as well fed as the best of them; even their pickles,
which were the great dainty, I was allowed my share
of; and had I liked, I might have been drunk from
morning to night, like Mr. Shuan. I had company,
too, and good company of its sort. Mr. Riach, who
had been to the college, spoke to me like a friend when
he was not sulking, and told me many curious things,
and some that were informing; and even the captain,
though he kept me at the stick's end the most part of
the time, would sometimes unbuckle a bit, and tell me
of the fine countries he had visited.
The shadow of poor Ransome, to be sure, lay on all
four of us, and on me and Mr. Shuan, in particular,
most heavily. And then I had another trouble of my
own. Here I was, doing dirty work for three men that
I looked down upon, and one of whom, at least, should
have hung upon a gallows; that was for the present;
and as for the future, I could only see myself slaving
alongside of negroes in the tobacco fields. Mr. Riach,
perhaps from caution, would never suffer me to say
another word about my story; the captain, whom I
tried to approach, rebuffed me like a dog and would not
hear a word; and as the days came and went, my heart
sank lower and lower, till I was even glad of the work
which kept me from thinking.




MORE than a week went by, in which the ill-luck that
had hitherto pursued the Covenant upon this voyage
grew yet more strongly marked. Some days she made
a little way; others, she was driven actually back. At
last we were beaten so far to the south that we tossed
and tacked to and fro the whole of the ninth day, within
sight of Cape Wrath and the wild, rocky coast on
either hand of it. There followed on that a council of
the officers, and some decision which I did not rightly
understand, seeing only the result: that we had made a
fair wind of a foul one and were running south.
The tenth afternoon, there was a falling swell and a
thick, wet, white fog that hid one end of the brig from
the other. All afternoon, when I went on deck, I saw
men and officers listening hard over the bulwarks--" for
breakers," they said; and though I did not so much as
understand the word, I felt danger in the air, and was
May-be about ten at night, I was serving Mr. Riach
and the captain at their supper, when the ship struck
something with a great sound, and we heard voices
singing out. My two masters leaped to their feet.


She's struck," said Mr. Riach.
"No, sir," said the captain. We've only run a
boat down."
And they hurried out.
The captain was in the right of it. We had run
down a boat in the fog, and she had parted in the midst
and gone to the bottom with all her crew, but one.
This man (as I heard afterwards) had been sitting in
the stern as a passenger, while the rest were on the
benches rowing. At the moment of the blow, the stern
had been thrown into the air, and the man (having his
hands free, and for all he was encumbered with a frieze
overcoat that came below his knees) had leaped up and
caught hold of the brig's bowsprit. It showed he had
luck and much agility and unusual strength, that he
should have thus saved himself from such a pass. And
yet, when the captain brought him into the round-
house, and I set eyes on him for the first time, he
looked as cool as I did.
He was smallish in stature, but well set and as
nimble as a goat; his face was of a good open expres-
sion, but sunburnt very dark, and heavily freckled and
pitted with the small-pox; his eyes were unusually
light and had a kind of dancing madness in them, that
was both engaging and alarming; and when he took off
his great-coat, he laid a pair of fine, silver-mounted
pistols on the table, and I saw that he was belted with
a great sword. His manners, besides, were elegant, and
he pledged the captain handsomely. Altogether I


thought of him, at the first sight, that here was a man
I would rather call my friend than my enemy.
The captain, too, was taking his observations, but
rather of the man's clothes than his person. And to be
sure, as soon as he had taken off the great-coat, he
showed forth mighty fine for the round-house of a
merchant brig: having a hat with feathers, a red waist-
coat, breeches of black plush, and a blue coat with silver
buttons and handsome silver lace: costly clothes,
though somewhat spoiled with the fog and being slept
"I'm vexed, sir, about the boat," says the captain.
There are some pretty men gone to the bottom,"
said the stranger, "that I would rather see on the dry
land again than half a score of boats."
"Friends of yours ? said Hoseason.
"You have none such friends in your country,"
was the reply. "They would have died for me like
"Well, sir," said the captain, still watching him,
"there are more men in the world than boats to put
them in."
"And that's true too," cried the other, "and ye
seem to be a gentleman of great penetration."
"I have been in France, sir," says the captain, so
that it was plain he meant more by the words than
showed upon the face of them.
"Well, sir," says the other, "and so has many a
pretty man, for the matter of that."


"No doubt, sir," says the captain; "and fine
Oho I" says the stranger, is that how the wind
sets ?" And he laid his hand quickly on his pistols.
Don't be hasty," said the captain. Don't do a
mischief, before ye see the need for it. Ye've a French
soldier's coat upon your back and a Scotch tongue in
your head, to be sure; but so has many an honest
fellow in these days, and I dare say none the worse
of it."
So ?" said the gentleman in the fine coat: are
ye of the honest party ?" (meaning, Was he a Jacobite?
for each side, in these sort of civil broils, takes the
name of honesty for its own).
Why, sir," replied the captain, I am a true-blue
Protestant, and I thank God for it." (It was the first
word of any religion I had ever heard from him, but I
learnt afterwards he was a great church-goer while on
shore.) "But, for all that," says he, "I can be
sorry to see another man with his back to the wall."
"Can ye so, indeed ?" asks the Jacobite. Well,
sir, to be quite plain with ye, I am one of those honest
gentlemen that were in trouble about the years forty-
five and six; and (to be still quite plain with ye) if I
got into the hands of any of the red-coated gentry, it's
like it would go hard with me. Now, sir, I was for
France; and there was a French ship cruising here to
pick me up; but she gave us the go-by in the fog-as I
wish from the heart that ye had done yourself' And


the best that I can say is this: If ye can set me ashore
where I was going, I have that upon me will reward
you highly for your trouble."
In France ? says the captain. "No, sir; that I
cannot do. But where ye come from-we might talk
of that."
And then, unhappily, he observed me standing in
my corner, and packed me off to the galley to get
supper for the gentleman. I lost no time, I promise
you; and when I came back into the round-house, I
found the gentleman had taken a money-belt from about
his waist, and poured out a guinea or two upon the
table. The captain was looking at the guineas, and
then at the belt, and then at the gentleman's face; and
I thought he seemed excited.
Half of it," he cried, "and I'm your man !"
The other swept back the guineas into the belt, and
put it on again under his waistcoat. "I have told ye,
sir," said he, that not one doit of it belongs to me.
It belongs to my chieftain "-and here he touched his
hat--"and while I would be but a silly messenger to
grudge some of it that the rest might come safe, I
should show myself a hound indeed if I bought my
own carcase any too dear. Thirty guineas on the sea-
side, or sixty if ye set me on the Linnhe loch. Take it,
if ye will; if not, ye can do your worst."
Ay," said Hoseason. And if I give ye over to
the soldiers ?"
Ye would make a fool's bargain," said the other.


"My chief, let me tell you, sir, is forfeited, like every
honest man in Scotland. His estate is in the hands of
the man they call King George; and it is his officers
that collect the rents, or try to collect them. But for
the honour of Scotland, the poor tenant bodies take a
thought upon their chief lying in exile; and this
money is a part of that very rent for which King George
is looking. Now, sir, ye seem to me to be a man that
understands things: bring this money within the reach
of Government, and how much of it '11 come to you ?"
"Little enough, to be sure," said Hoseason; and
then, If they knew," he added, dryly. But I think,
if I was to try, that I could hold my tongue about it."
Ah, but I'll begowk* ye there 1 cried the gentle-
man. Play me false, and I'll play you cunning. If
a hand's laid upon me, they shall ken what money it
Well," returned the captain, what must be must.
Sixty guineas, and done. Here's my hand upon it."
And here's mine," said the other.
And thereupon the captain went out (rather
hurriedly, I thought), and left me alone in the round-
house with the stranger.
At that period (so soon after the forty-five) there
were many exiled gentlemen coming back at the peril of
their lives, either to see their friends or to collect a little
money; and as for the Highland chiefs that had been
forfeited, it was a common matter of talk how their


tenants would stint themselves to send them money, and
their clansmen outface the soldiery to get it in, and run
the gauntlet of our great navy to carry it across. All
this I had, of course, heard tell of; and now I had a
man under my eyes whose life was forfeit on all these
counts and upon one more; for he was not only a rebel
and a smuggler of rents, but had taken service with
King Louis of France. And as if all this were not
enough, he had a belt full of golden guineas round his
loins. Whatever my opinions, I could not look on such
a man without a lively interest.
And so you're a Jacobite ? said I, as I set meat
before him.
'" Ay," said he, beginning to eat. And you, by
your long face, should be a Whig ? "
"Betwixt and between," said I, not to annoy him;
for indeed I was as good a Whig as Mr. Campbell could
make me.
"And that's naething," said he. "But I'm saying,
Mr. Betwixt-and-Between," he added, "this bottle of
yours is dry; and it's hard if I'm to pay sixty guineas
and be grudged a dram upon the back of it."
"I'll go and ask for the key," said I, and stepped on
The fog was as close as ever, but the swell almost
down. They had laid the brig to, not knowing precisely
where they were, and the wind (what little there was of
Whig or Whigamore was the cant name for those who were loyal
to King George.


it) not serving well for their true course. Some of the
hands were still hearkening for breakers; but the captain
and the two officers were in the waist with their heads
together. It struck me, I don't know why, that they
were after no good; and the first word I heard, as I
drew softly near, more than confirmed me.
It was Mr. Riach, crying out as if upon a sudden
SCouldn't we wile him out of the round-house ?"
He's better where he is," returned Hoseason; "he
hasn't room to use his sword."
"Well, that's true," said Riach; but he's hard to
come at."
Hut !" said Hoseason. "We can get the man in
talk, one upon each side, and pin him by the two arms;
or if that'll not hold, sir, we can make a run by both
the doors and get him under hand before he has the
time to draw."
At this hearing, I was seized with both fear and
anger at these treacherous, greedy, bloody men that I
sailed with. My first mind was to run away; my second
was bolder.
"Captain," said I, "the gentleman is seeking a
dram,- and the bottle's out. Will you give me the
key ? "
They all started and turned about.
Why, here's our chance to get the firearms Riach
cried; and then to me: IIark ye, David," he said,
" do ye ken where the pistols arc ? "


"c Ay, ay," put in Hoseason. David kens; David's
A good lad. Ye see, David my man, yon wild Hieland-
man is a danger to the ship, besides being a rank foe to
King George, God bless him! "
I had never been so be-Davided since I came on
board; but I said yes, as if all I heard were quite
"The trouble is," resumed the captain, that all our
firelocks, great and little, are in the round-house under
this man's nose; likewise the powder. Now, if I, or one
of the officers, was to go in and take them, he would fall
to thinking. But a lad like you, David, might snap up
a horn and a pistol or two without remark. And if ye
can do it cleverly, I'll bear it in mind when it'll be good
for you to have friends; and that's when we come to
Here Mr. Riach whispered him a little.
"Very right, sir," said the captain; and then to
myself : And see here, David, yon man has a beltful
of gold, and I give you my word that you shall have
your fingers in it."
I told him I would do as he wished, though indeed
I had scarce breath to speak with; and upon that he
gave me the key of the spirit locker, and I began to go
slowly back to the round-house. What was I to do?
They were dogs and thieves; they had stolen me from
my own country; they had killed poor Ransome; and
was I to hold the candle to another murder ? But then,
upon the other hand, there was the fear of death very


plain before me; for what could a boy and a man, if
they were as brave as lions, against a whole ship's com-
I was still arguing it back and forth, and getting no
great clearness, when I came into the round-house and
saw the Jacobite eating his supper under the lamp; and
at that my mind was made up all in a moment. I have
no credit by it; it was by no choice of mine, but as if
by compulsion, that I walked right up to the table and
put my hand on his shoulder.
Do ye want to be killed ? said I.
He sprang to his feet, and looked a question at me
as clear as if he had spoken.
"Oh!" cried I, they're all murderers here; it's a
ship full of them I They've murdered a boy already.
Now it's you."
Ay, ay," said he; "but they haven't got me yet."
And then looking at me curiously, "Will ye stand with
me ?"
"That will I said I. "I am no thief, nor yet
murdered. I'll stand by you."
Why, then," said he, what's your name ?"
David Balfour," said I; and then thinking that a
man with so fine a coat must like fine people, I added
for the first time of Shaws."
It never occurred to him to doubt me, for a High-
lander is used to see great gentlefolk in great poverty;
but as he had no estate of his own, my words nettled
a very childish vanity he had.


"My name is Stewart," he said, drawing himself
up. Alan Breck, they call me. A king's name is
good enough for me, though I bear it plain and have
the name of no farmn-midden to clap to the hind-end
of it."
And having administered this rebuke, as though it
were something of a chief importance, he turned to
examine our defences.
The round-house was built very strong, to support
the breaching of the seas. Of its five apertures, only
the skylight and the two doors were large enough for
the passage of a man. The doors, besides, could be
drawn close : they were of stout oak, and ran in grooves,
and were fitted with hooks to keep them either shut or
open, as the need arose. The one that was already shut,
I secured in this fashion; but when I was proceeding to
slide to the other, Alan stopped me.
"David," said he-" for I cannae bring to mind the
name of your landed estate, and so will make so bold as
call you David-that door, being open, is the best part
of my defences."
"It would be yet better shut," says I.
"Not so, David," says he. "Ye see, I have but one
face; but so long as that door is open and my face to it,
the best part of my enemies will be in front of me,
where I would aye wish to find them."
Then he gave me from the rack a cutlass (of which
there were a few besides the firearms), choosing it with
g(.nt enre, shnl-:inc. his hlead and saving he had never in


all his life seen poorer weapons; and next he set me
down to the table with a powder-horn, a bag of bullets,
and all the pistols, which he bade me charge.
"And that will be better work, let me tell you," said
he, "for a gentleman of decent birth, than scraping
plates and racing* drams to a when tarry sailors."
Thereupon he stood up in the midst with his face to
the door, and drawing his great sword, made trial of the
room he had to wield it in.
I must stick to the point," he said, shaking his
head; and that's a pity, too. It doesn't set my genius,
which is all for the upper guard. And now," said he,
"do you keep on charging the pistols, and give heed
to me."
I told him I would listen closely. My chest was
tight, my mouth dry, the light dark to my eyes; the
thought of the numbers that were soon to leap in upon
us kept my heart in a flutter; and the sea, which I
heard washing round the brig, and where I thought my
dead body would be cast ere morning, ran in my mind
First of all," said he, how many are against us ?"
I reckoned them up; and such was the hurry of my
mind, I had to cast the numbers twice. "Fifteen,"
said I.
Alan whistled. "Well," said he, "that can't be
cured. And now follow me. It is my part to keep
this door, where I look for the main battle. In that,


ye have no hand. And mind and dinnae fire to this
side unless they get me down; for I would rather have
ten foes in front of me than one friend like you cracking
pistols at my back."
I told him, indeed I waz no great shot.
And that's very bravely said," he cried, in a great
admiration of my candour. "There's many a pretty
gentleman that wouldnae dare to say it."
But then, sir," said I, there is the door behind
you, which they may perhaps break in."
Ayv said he, and that is a part of your work.
No sooner the pistols charged, than ye must climb up
into von bed where ye're handy at the window; and if
they lift hand against the door, ye're to shoot. But
that's not all. Let's make a bit of a soldier of ye,
David. What else have ye to guard ? "
There's the skylight," said I. "But indeed, Mr.
Stewart, I would need to have eyes upon both sides to
keep the two cf them; for when my face is at the one,
my back is to the other."
"And that's very true," said Alan. "But have ye
no ears to your head ?"
"To be sure cried I. I must hear the bursting
of the glass !"
Ye have some rudiments of sense," said Alan,
0T 11 *~



BUT now our time of truce was come to an end. Those
on deck had waited for my coming till they grew
impatient; and scarce had Alan spoken, when the
captain showed face in the open door.
Stand !" cried Alan, and pointed his sword at him.
The captain stood, indeed; but he neither winced
nor drew back a foot.
"A naked sword?" says he. "This is a strange
return for hospitality."
"Do ye see me?" said Alan. "I am come of
kings; I bear a king's name. My badge is the oak.
Do ye see my sword ? It has slashed the heads off mair
Whigamores than you have toes upon your feet. Call
up your vermin to your back, sir, and fall on! The
sooner the clash begins, the sooner ye'll taste this steel
throughout your vitals."
The captain said nothing to Alan, but he looked
over at me with an ugly look. David," said he, I'll
mind this;" and the sound of his voice went through
me with a jar.
Next moment he was gone.
"And now," said Alan, "let your hand keep your
head, for the grip is coming."


Alan drew a dirk, which he held in his left hand in
case they should run in under his sword. I, on my
part, clambered up into the berth with an armful of
pistols and something of a heavy heart, and set open
the window where I was to watch. It was a small part
of the deck that I could overlook, but enough for our
purpose. The sea had gone down, and the wind was
steady and kept the sails quiet; so that there was a
great stillness in the ship, in which I made sure I heard
the sound of muttering voices. A little after, and there
came a clash of steel upon the deck, by which I knew
they were dealing out the cutlasses and one had been let
fall; and after that, silence again.
I do not know if I was what you call afraid; but
my heart beat like a bird's, both quick and little; and
there was a dimness came before my eyes which I con-
tinually rubbed away, and which continually returned.
As for hope, I had none; but only a darkness of despair
and a sort of anger against all the world that made me
long to sell my life as dear as I was able. I tried to
pray, I remember, but that same hurry of my mind,
like a man running, would not suffer me to think upon
the words; and my chief wish was to have the thing
begin and be done with it.
It came all of a sudden when it did, with a rush of
feet and a roar, and then a shout from Alan, and a
sound of blows and some one crying out as if hurt. I
looked back over my shoulder, and saw M.r. Shuan in
the doorway, crossing blades with Alan.


"That's him that killed the boy I cried.
Look to your window!" said Alan; and as I
turned back to my place, I saw him pass his sword
through the mate's body.
It was none too soon for me to look to my own part;
for my head was scarce back at the window, before five
men carrying a spare yard for a battering-ram, ran past
me and took post to drive the door in. I had never
fired with a pistol in my life, and not often with a gun;
far less against a fellow-creature. But it was now or
never; and just as they swang the yard, I cried out,
"Take that I" and shot into their midst.
I must have hit one of them, for he sang out and
gave back a step, and the rest stopped as if a little dis-
concerted. Before they had time to recover, I sent
another ball over their heads; and at my third shot
(which went as wide as the second) the whole party
threw down the yard and ran for it.
Then I looked round again into the deck-house. The
whole place was full of the smoke of my own firing, just
as my ears seemed to be burst with the noise of the
shots. But there was Alan, standing as before; only
now his sword was running blood to the hilt, and him-
self so swelled with triumph and fallen into so fine an
attitude, that he looked to be invincible. Right before
him on the floor was Mr. Shuan, on his hands and
knees; the blood was pouring from his mouth, and he
was sinking slowly lower, with a terrible, white face;
and just as I looked, some of those from behind caught


hold of him by the heels and dragged him bodily out
of the round-house. I believe he died as they were
doing it.
"There's one of your Whigs for ye!" cried Alan;
and then turning to me, he asked if I had done much
I told him I had winged one, and thought it was
the captain.
And I've settled two," says he. "No, there's not
enough blood let; they'll be back again. To your
watch, David. This was but a dram before meat."
I settled back to my place, re-charging the three
pistols I had fired, and keeping watch with both eye
and ear.
Our enemies were disputing not far off upon the
deck, and that so loudly that I could hear a word or
two above the washing of the seas.
"It was Shuan bauchled it," I heard one say.
And another answered him with a "Wheesht, man
He's paid the piper."
After that the voices fell again into the same mut-
tering as before. Only now, one person spoke most of
the time, as though laying down a plan, and first one
and then another answered him briefly, like men taking
orders. By this, I made sure they were coming on
again, and told Alan.
"It's what we have to pray for," said he. "Unless
we can give them a good distaste of us, and done with


it, there'll be nae sleep for either you or me. But this
time, mind, they'll be in earnest."
By this, my pistols were ready, and there was
nothing to do but listen and wait. While the brush
lasted, I had not the time to think if I was frighted;
but now, when all was still again, my mind ran upon
nothing else. The thought of the sharp swords and the
cold steel was strong in me; and presently, when I
began to hear stealthy steps and a brushing of men's
clothes against the round-house wall, and knew they
were taking their places in the dark, I could have found
it in my mind to cry out aloud.
All this was upon Alan's side; and I had begun to
think my share of the fight was at an end, when I heard
some one drop softly on the roof above me.
Then there came a single call on the sea-pipe, and
that was the signal. A knot of them made one rush of
it, cutlass in hand, against the door; and at the same
moment, the glass of the skylight was dashed in a
thousand pieces, and a man leaped through and landed
on the floor. Before he got his feet, I had clapped a
pistol to his back, and might have shot him, too; only
at the touch of him (and him alive) my whole flesh
misgave me, and I could no more pull the trigger than
I could have flown.
He had dropped his cutlass as he jumped, and when
he felt the pistol, whipped straight round and laid hold
of me, roaring out an oath; and at that either my
courage came again, or I grew so much afraid as came to


the same thing; for I gave a shriek and shot him in the
midst of the body. He gave the most horrible, ugly
groan and fell to the floor. The foot of a second fellow,
whose legs were dangling through the skylight, struck
me at the same time upon the head; and at that I
snatched another pistol and shot this one through the
thigh, so that he slipped through and tumbled in a
lump on his companion's body. There was no talk of
missing, any more than there was time to aim; I
clapped the muzzle to the very place and fired.
I might have stood and stared at them for long, but
I heard Alan shout as if for help, and that brought me
to my senses.
He had kept the door so long; but one of the
seamen, while he was engaged with others, had run in
under his guard and caught him about the body. Alan
was dirking him with his left hand, but the fellow clung
like a leech. Another had broken in and had his cutlass
raised. The door was thronged with their faces. I
thought we were lost, and catching up my cutlass, fell
on them in flank.
But I had not time to be of help. The wrestler
dropped at last; and Alan, leaping back to get his dis-
tance, ran upon the others like a bull, roaring as he
went. They broke before him like water, turning, and
running, and falling one against another in their haste.
The sword in his hands flashed like quicksilver into the
huddle of our fleeing enemies; and at every flash there
came the scream of a man hurt. I was still thinking we

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