Front Cover
 Half Title
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 Chapter I: Summary of events during...
 Chapter II: Summary of events...
 Chapter III: The master's wanderings;...
 Chapter IV: Persecutions endured...
 Chapter V: Account of all that...
 Chapter VI: Summary of events during...
 Chapter VII: Adventure of Chevalier...
 Chapter VIII: The enemy in the...
 Chapter IX: Mr. Mackellar's journey...
 Chapter X: Passage at New York
 Chapter XI: The journey in the...
 Chapter XII: The journey in the...
 Back Cover

Group Title: Master of Ballantrae : a winter's tale
Title: The Master of Ballantrae
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00065347/00001
 Material Information
Title: The Master of Ballantrae : a winter's tale
Physical Description: xvi, 349, 1 p., 4 leaves of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 22 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Stevenson, Robert Louis, 1850-1894 ( Author, Primary )
Paget, Walter, 1863-1935 ( Illustrator )
Cassell & Company ( Publisher )
Belle Sauvage Works ( Printer )
Publisher: Cassell and Company
Place of Publication: London
New York
Manufacturer: Casselle and Company
La Belle Sauvage
Publication Date: c1889
Subject: Youth -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Absence and presumption of death -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Inheritance and succession -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Brothers -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Revenge -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Hate -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Pirates -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Courtship -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Indians of North America -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
History -- Juvenile fiction -- Scotland -- 18th century   ( lcsh )
Bldn -- 1889
Genre: novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
United States -- New York -- New York
Canada -- Toronto
Australia -- Melbourne
Statement of Responsibility: by Robert Louis Stevenson ; with four illustrations in colour by Wal Paget.
General Note: Date of publication from date on dedication: May 17, 1889.
Funding: Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00065347
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 - 002237844
notis - ALH8337
oclc - 70706904

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Cover 1
        Cover 2
    Half Title
        Page i
        Page ii
    Title Page
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
        Page vi
    Table of Contents
        Page vii
        Page viii
    List of Illustrations
        Page ix
        Page x
        Page xi
        Page xii
        Page xiii
        Page xiv
        Page xv
        Page xvi
    Chapter I: Summary of events during the master's wanderings
        Page 1
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    Chapter II: Summary of events (continued)
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    Chapter III: The master's wanderings; from the memoirs of the Chevalier de Burke
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    Chapter IV: Persecutions endured by Mr. Henry
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    Chapter V: Account of all that passed on the night of February 27th, 1757
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    Chapter VI: Summary of events during the master's second absence
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    Chapter VII: Adventure of Chevalier Burke in India; extracted from his memoirs
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    Chapter VIII: The enemy in the house
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    Chapter IX: Mr. Mackellar's journey with the master
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    Chapter X: Passage at New York
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    Chapter XI: The journey in the wilderness; narrative of the trader, Mountain
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    Chapter XII: The journey in the wilderness (continued)
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    Back Cover
        Cover 1
        Cover 2
Full Text


n er

La. 9 -tv- ;. i .

The Bildwnu Library
Uj n 'B
111 r m


By the Same Author


By R. L. Stevenson
Lloyd Osbourne



''t IL-.

'' It is cut on the inside,' said I" (see page 147).


Master of Ballantrae
A Winter's Tale

Robert Louis Stevenson

With Four Illustrations in Colour by
Wal Paget

With the Author's Original Preface

Cassell and Company, Ltd
London, New York, Toronto and Melbourne




Here is a tale which extends over many years and travels into
many countries. By a peculiar fitness of circumstance the writer
began, continued it, and concluded it among distant and diverse
scenes. Above all, he was much upon the sea. The character
and fortune of the fraternal enemies, the hall and shrubbery of
Durrisdeer, the problem of Mackellar's homespun and how to
shape it for superior flights ; these were his company on deck in
many star-reflecting harbours, ran often in his mind at sea to the
tune of slatting canvas, and were dismissed (something of the
suddenest) on the approach of squalls. It is my hope that these
surroundings of its manufacture may to some degree find favour
for my story with seafarers and sea-lovers like yourselves.
And at least here is a dedication from a great way off: written
by the loud shores of a subtropical island near upon ten thousand
miles from Boscombe Chine and Manor: scenes which rise before
me as I write, along with the faces and voices of my friends.
Well, I am for the sea once more; no doubt Sir Percy also.
Let us make the signal B. R. D. I
R. L. S.

WAIKIKI, May 17, 1889.




2. SUMMARY OF EVENTS (continued) 18

3. THE MASTER'S WANDERINGS; From the Memoirs of
the Chevalier de Burke ....41


FEBRUARY 27TH, 1757 .. 139


Extracted from his Memoirs 200




Narrative of the Trader, Mountain .



"'It is cut on the inside,' said I" Frontispiece
"On that occasion we had two men killed and
several injured" 58

"'Ah! Jacob,' says the Master. 'So here is Esau
back'" 108

"It was the bird of ill omen back again" .206


ALTHOUGH an old, consistent exile, the editor of
the following pages revisits now and again the city
of which he exults to be a native; and there are
few things more strange, more painful, or more
salutary, than such revisitations. Outside, in
foreign spots, he comes by surprise and awakens
more attention than he had expected; in his own
city, the relation is reversed, and he stands amazed
to be so little recollected. Elsewhere he is re-
freshed to see attractive faces, to remark pos-
sible friends; there he scouts the long streets,
with a pang at heart, for the faces and friends
that are no more. Elsewhere he is delighted with
the presence of what is new, there tormented
by the absence of what is old. Elsewhere he is
content to be his present self; there he is smitten
with an equal regret for what he once was and
for what he once hoped to be.
He was feeling all this dimly, as he drove
from the station, on his last visit; he was feeling
it still as he alighted at the door of his friend Mr.
Johnstone Thomson, W.S., with whom he was
to stay. A hearty welcome, a face not altogether


changed, a few words that sounded of old days, a
laugh provoked and shared, a glimpse in passing
of the snowy cloth and bright decanters and the
Piranesis on the dining-room wall, brought him
to his bedroom with a somewhat lightened cheer,
and when he and Mr. Thomson sat down a few
minutes later, cheek by jowl, and pledged the past
in a preliminary bumper, he was already almost
consoled, he had already almost forgiven himself
his two unpardonable errors, that he should ever
have left his native city, or ever returned to it.
"I have something quite in your way," said
Mr. Thomson. "I wished to do honour to your
arrival; because, my dear fellow, it is my own
youth that comes back along with you; in a very
tattered and withered state, to be sure, but-well!
-all that's left of it."
"A great deal better than nothing," said the
editor. But what is this which is quite in my
way? "
"I was coming to that," said Mr. Thomson:
"Fate has put it in my power to honour your
arrival with something really original by way of
dessert. A mystery."
"A mystery?" I repeated.
"Yes," said his friend, "a mystery. It may
prove to be nothing, and it may prove to be a
great deal. But in the meanwhile it is truly mys-
terious, no eye having looked on it for near a
hundred years; it is highly genteel, for it treats

of a titled family; and it ought to be melodramatic,
for (according to the superscription) it is con-
cerned with death."
"I think I rarely heard a more obscure or a
more promising annunciation," the other remarked.
"But what is It?"
You remember my predecessor's, old Peter
M'Brair's business ?"
"I remember him acutely; he could not look
at me without a pang of reprobation, and he could
not feel the pang without betraying it. He was
to me a man of a great historical interest, but the
interest was not returned."
Ah well, we go beyond him," said Mr. Thom-
son. "I daresay old Peter knew as little about
this as I do. You see, I succeeded to a prodigious
accumulation of old law papers and old tin boxes,
some of them of Peter's hoarding, some of his
father's, John, first of the dynasty, a great man
in his day. Among other collections, were all the
papers of the Durrisdeers."
"The Durrisdeers!" cried I. My dear fellow,
these may be of the greatest interest. One of them
was out in the '45; one had some strange passages
with the devil-you will find a note of it in Law's
Memorials, I think; and there was an unexplained
tragedy, I know not what, much later, about a
hundred years ago- "
"More than a hundred years ago," said Mr.
Thomson. "In 1783."

How do you know that ? I mean some death."
"Yes, the lamentable deaths of my Lord Durris-
deer and his brother, the Master of Ballantrae
(attainted in the troubles)," said Mr. Thomson with
something the tone of a man quoting. Is that
"To say truth," said I, "I have only seen some
dim reference to the things in memoirs; and heard
some traditions dimmer still, through my uncle
(whom I think you knew). My uncle lived when
he was a boy in the neighbourhood of St. Bride's;
he has often told me of the avenue closed up
and grown over with grass, the great gates never
opened, the last lord and his old maid sister who
lived in the back parts of the house, a quiet, plain,
poor, hum-drum couple it would seem-but pathetic
too, as the last of that stirring and brave house-
and, to the country folk, faintly terrible from some
deformed traditions."
"Yes," said Mr. Thomson. "Henry Graeme
Durie, the last lord, died in 1820; his sister, the
Honourable Miss Katharine Durie, in '27; so much
I know; and by what I have been going over the
last few days, they were what you say, decent,
quiet people and not rich. To say truth, it was a
letter of my lord's that put me on the search for
the packet we are going to open this evening.
Some papers could not be found; and he wrote to
Jack M'Brair suggesting they might be among those
sealed up by a Mr. Mackellar. M'Brair answered,


that the papers in question were all in Mackellar's
own hand, all (as the writer understood) of a purely
narrative character; and besides, said he, 'I am
bound not to open them before the year 1889.'
You may fancy if these words struck me: I insti-
tuted a hunt through all the M'Brair repositories;
and at last hit upon that packet which (if you have
had enough wine) I propose to show you at once."
In the smoking-room, to which my host now led
me, was a packet fastened with many seals and
enclosed in a single sheet of strong paper thus
endorsed :
Papers relating to the lives and lamentable deaths of
the late Lord Durrisdeer, and his elder brother James,
commonly called Master of Ballantrae, attainted in the
troubles: entrusted into the hands of John M'Brair in
the Lawnmarket of Edinburgh, W.S.; this 20th day of
September Anno Domini 1789; by him to be kept secret
until the revolution of one hundred years complete, or
until the 20th day of September 1889: the same compiled
and written by me, EPHRAIM MACKELLAR,
For near forty years Land Steward on the
estates of his Lordship.

As Mr. Thomson is a married man, I will not
say what hour had struck when we laid down the
last of the following pages; but I will give a few
words of what ensued.
"Here," said Mr. Thomson, "is a novel ready
to your hand: all you have to do is to work up
the scenery, develop the characters, and improve
the style."


"My dear fellow," said I, "they are just the
three things that I would rather die than set my
hand to. It shall be published as it stands."
"But it's so bald," objected Mr. Thomson.
"I believe there is nothing so noble as bald-
ness," replied I, "and I am sure there is nothing
so interesting. I would have all literature bald,
and all authors (if you like) but one."
"Well, well," said Mr. Thomson, "we shall

["Johnstone Thomson, W.S.," is Mr. C. Baxter, W.S.
(afterwards the author's executor), with whom, as
Thomson Johnstone," Stevenson frequently corre-
sponded in the broadest of broad Scots.-The scene
is laid in Mr. Baxter's house, 7, Rothesay Place



THE full truth of this odd matter is what the world
has long been looking for, and public curiosity is
sure to welcome. It so befell that I was intimately
mingled with the last years and history of the house;
and there does not live one man so able as myself to
make these matters plain, or so desirous to narrate
them faithfully. I knew the Master; on many secret
steps of his career I have an authentic memoir in my
hand; I sailed with him on his last voyage almost
alone; I made one upon that winter's journey of
which so many tales have gone abroad; and I was
there at the man's death. As for my late Lord
Durrisdeer, I served him and loved him near twenty
years; and thought more of him the more I knew of
him. Altogether, I think it not fit that so much
evidence should perish; the truth is a debt I owe
my lord's memory; and I think my old years will
flow more smoothly, and my white hair lie quieter
on the pillow, when the debt is paid.
The Duries of Durrisdeer and Ballantrae were

The Master of Ballantrae

a strong family in the south-west from the days
of David First. A rhyme still current in the
Kittle folk are the Durrisdeers,
They ride wi' ower mony spears-
bears the mark of its antiquity: and the name
appears in another, which common report attri-
butes to Thomas of Ercildoune himself-I cannot
say how truly, and which some have applied-I
dare not say with how much justice-to the
events of this narration:
Twa Duries in Durrisdeer,
Ane to tie and ane to ride,
An ill day for the groom
And a waur day for the bride.
Authentic history besides is filled with their exploits
which (to our modern eyes) seem not very com-
mendable; and the family suffered its full share of
those ups and downs to which the great houses of
Scotland have been ever liable. But all these I pass
over, to come to that memorable year 1745, when
the foundations of this tragedy were laid.
At that time there dwelt a family of four persons
in the house of Durrisdeer, near St. Bride's, on the
Solway shore; a chief hold of their race since the
Reformation. My old lord, eighth of the name, was
not old in years, but he suffered prematurely from
the disabilities of age; his place was at the chimney
side; there he sat reading, in a lined gown, with few
words tor any man, and wry words for none: the

Summary of Events
model of an old retired housekeeper; and yet his
mind very well nourished with study, and reputed
in the country to be more cunning than he seemed.
The master of Ballantrae, James in baptism, took
from his father the love of serious reading; some of
his tact perhaps as well, but that which was only
policy in the father became black dissimulation in the
son. The face of his behaviour was merely popular
and wild: he sat late at wine, later at the cards; had
the name in the country of "an unco man for the
lasses"; and was ever in the front of broils. But
for all he was the first to go in, yet it was observed
he was invariably the best to come off; and his
partners in mischief were usually alone to pay the
piper. This luck or dexterity got him several ill-
wishers, but with the rest of the country, enhanced
his reputation; so that great things were looked for
in his future, when he should have gained more
gravity. One very black mark he had to his name;
but the matter was hushed up at the time, and so
defaced by legends before I came into those parts,
that I scruple to set it down. If it was true, it was
a horrid fact in one so young; and if false, it was a
horrid calumny. I think it notable that he had
always vaunted himself quite implacable, and was
taken at his word; so that he had the addition among
his neighbours of "an ill man to cross." Here was
altogether a young nobleman (not yet twenty-four in
the year '45) who had made a figure in the country
beyond his time of life. The less marvel if there

The Master of Ballantrae
were little heard of the second son, Mr. Henry (my
late Lord Durrisdeer), who was neither very bad
nor yet very able, but an honest, solid sort of lad
like many of his neighbours. Little heard, I say;
but indeed it was a case of little spoken. He was
known among the salmon fishers in the firth, for that
was a sport that he assiduously followed; he was an
excellent good horse-doctor besides ; and took a chief
hand, almost from a boy, in the management of the
estates. How hard a part that was, in the situation
of that family, none knows better than myself; nor
yet with how little colour of justice a man may there
acquire the reputation of a tyrant and a miser. The
fourth person in the house was Miss Alison Graeme,
a near kinswoman, an orphan, and the heir to a
considerable fortune which her father had acquired
in trade. This money was loudly called for by my
lord's necessities; indeed the land was deeply mort-
gaged ; and Miss Alison was designed accordingly to
be the Master's wife, gladly enough on her side;.
with how much good-will on his, is another matter,
She was a comely girl, and in those days very spirited
and self-willed; for the old lord having no daughter
of his own, and my lady being long dead, she had
grown up as best she might.
To these four came the news of Prince Charlie's
landing, and set them presently by the ears. My
lord, like the chimney-keeper that he was, was all
for temporising. Miss Alison held the other side,
because it appeared romantical: and the Master

Summary of Events
(though I have heard they did not agree often)
was for this once of her opinion. The adventure
tempted him, as I conceive; he was tempted by
the opportunity to raise the fortunes of the house,
and not less by the hope of paying off his private
liabilities, which were heavy beyond all opinion.
As for Mr. Henry, it appears he said little enough
at first; his part came later on. It took the three
a whole day's disputation, before they agreed to
steer a middle course, one son going forth to strike
a blow for King James, my lord and the other stay-
ing at home to keep in favour with King George.
Doubtless this was my lord's decision; and, as is
well. known, it was the part played by many con-
siderable families. But the one dispute settled, an-
other opened. For my lord, Miss Alison, and Mr.
Henry all held the one view: that it was the cadet's
part to go out; and the Master, what with restless-
ness and vanity, would at no rate consent to stay at
home. My lord pleaded, Miss Alison wept, Mr.
Henry was very plain spoken: all was of no avail.
"It is the direct heir of Durrisdeer that should
ride by his King's bridle," says the Master.
"If we were playing a manly part," says Mr.
Henry, "there might be sense in such talk. But
what are we doing ? Cheating at cards! "
"We are saving the house of Durrisdeer,
Henry," his father said.
"And see, James," said Mr. Henry, "If I go,
and the Prince has the upper hand, it will be easy

The Master of Ballantrae
to make your peace with King James. But if you
go, and the expedition fails, we divide the right and
the title. And what shall I be then ?"
"You will be Lord Durrisdeer," said the
Master. "I put all I have upon the table."
I play at no such game," cries Mr. Henry. "I
shall be left in such a situation as no man of sense
and honour could endure. I shall be neither fish
nor flesh!" he cried. And a little after he had
another expression, plainer perhaps than he in-
tended. "It is your duty to be here with my
father," said he. "You know well enough you
are the favourite."
"Ay?" said the Master. "And there spoke
Envy! Would you trip up my heels-Jacob?"
said he, and dwelled upon the name maliciously.
Mr. Henry went and walked at the low end of
the hall without reply; for he had an excellent gift
of silence. Presently he came back.
"I am the cadet and I should go," said he.
"And my lord here is the master, and he says I
shall go. What say ye to that, my brother ? "
I say this, Harry," returned the Master, that
when very obstinate folk are met, there are only
two ways out: Blows-and I think none of us could
care to go so far; or the arbitrament of chance-
and here is a guinea piece. Will you stand by the
toss of the coin ?"
I will stand and fall by it," said Mr. Henry.
Heads, I go; shield, I stay."

Summary of Events
The coin was spun, and it fell shield. "So
there is a lesson for Jacob," says the Master.
"We shall live to repent of this," says Mr.
Henry, and flung out of the hall.
As for Miss Alison, she caught up that piece of
gold which had just sent her lover to the wars,
and flung it clean through the family shield in the
great painted window.
"If,,you loved me as well as I love you, you
would have stayed," cried she.
'I could not love you, dear, so well loved I
not honour more,'" sang the Master.
Oh she cried, you have no heart-I hope
you may be killed!" and she ran from the room,
and in tears, to her own chamber.
It seems the Master turned to my lord with his
most comical manner, and says he, "This looks
like a devil of a wife."
I think you are a devil of a son to me," cried
his father, "you that have always been the
favourite, to my shame be it spoken. Never a
good hour have I gotten of you, since you were
born; no, never one good hour," and repeated it
again the third time. Whether it was the Master's
levity, or his insubordination, or Mr. Henry's
word about the favourite son, that had so much
disturbed my lord, I do not know; but I incline
to think it was the last, for I have it by all accounts
that Mr. Henry was more made up to from that

The Master of Ballantrae
Altogether it was in pretty ill blood with his
family that the Master rode to the North; which
was the more sorrowful for others to remember
when it seemed too late. By fear and favour he
had scraped together near upon a dozen men,
principally tenants' sons; they were all pretty full
when they set forth, and rode up the hill by the
old abbey, roaring and singing, the white cockade
in every hat. It was a desperate venture for so
small a company to cross the most of Scotland un-
supported; and (what made folk think so the more)
even as that poor dozen was clattering up the hill,
a great ship of the king's navy, that could have
brought them under with a single boat, lay with
her broad ensign streaming in the bay. The next
afternoon, having given the Master a fair start, it
was Mr. Henry's turn; and he rode off, all by
himself, to offer his sword and carry letters from
his father to King George's Government. Miss
Alison was shut in her room, and did little but
weep, till both were gone; only she stitched the
cockade upon the Master's hat, and (as John Paul
told me) it was wetted with tears when he carried
it down to him.
In all that followed, Mr. Henry and my old lord
were true to their bargain. That ever they accom-
plished anything is more than I could learn; and
that they were anyway strong on the King's side,
more than I believe. But they kept the letter of
loyalty, corresponded with my Lord President, sat

Summary of Events
still at home, and had little or no commerce with
the Master while that business lasted. Nor was
he, on his side, more communicative. Miss
Alison, indeed, was always sending him expresses,
but I do not know if she had many answers.
Macconochie rode for her once, and found the
Highlanders before Carlisle, and the Master riding
by the Prince's side in high favour; he took the
letter (so Macconochie tells), opened it, glanced it
through with a mouth like a man whistling, and
stuck it in his belt, whence, on his horse passage-
ing, it fell unregarded to the ground. It was Mac-
conochie who picked it up; and he still kept it,
and indeed I have seen it in his hands. News
came to Durrisdeer of course, by the common
report, as it goes travelling through a country, a
thing always wonderful to me. By that means the
family learned more of the Master's favour with
the Prince, and the ground it was said to stand
on: for by a strange condescension in a man so
proud-only that he was a man still more ambitious
-he was said to have crept into notability by
truckling to the Irish. Sir Thomas Sullivan,
Colonel Burke and the rest, were his daily com-
rades, by which course he withdrew himself from
his own country-folk. All the small intrigues he
had a hand in fomenting; thwarted my Lord
George upon a thousand points; was always for
the advice that seemed palatable to the Prince, no
matter if it was good or bad; and seems upon the

The Master of Ballantrae
whole (like the gambler he was all through life) to
have had less regard to the chances of the campaign
than to the greatness of favour he might aspire to,
if, by any luck, it should succeed. For the rest,
he did very well in the field; no one questioned
that; for he was no coward.
The next was the news of Culloden, which was
brought to Durrisdeer by one of the tenants' sons
-the only survivor, he declared, of all those that
had gone singing up the hill. By an unfortunate
chance John Paul and Macconochie had that very
morning found the guinea piece--which was the
root of all the evil--sticking in a holly-bush; they
had been "up the gait," as the servants say at
Durrisdeer, to the change-house; and if they had
little left of the guinea, they had less of their
wits. What must John Paul do but burst into
the hall where the family sat at dinner, and cry
the news to them that Tam Macmorland was
but new lichtit at the door, and-wirra, wirra---
there were nane to come behind him"?
They took the word in silence like folk con-
demned; only Mr. Henry carrying his palm to
his face, and Miss Alison laying her head outright
upon her hands. As for my lord, he was like
I have still one son," says he. And, Henry,
I will do you this justice-it is the kinder that is
It was a strange thing to say in such a moment;

Summary of Events

but my lord had never forgotten Mr. Henry's
speech, and he had years of injustice on his con-
science. Still it was a strange thing, and more
than Miss Alison could let pass. She broke out
and blamed my lord for his unnatural words, and
Mr. Henry because he was sitting there in safety
when his brother lay dead, and herself because
she had given her sweetheart ill words at his
departure, calling him the flower of the flock,
wringing her hands, protesting her love, and
crying on him by his name-so that the servants
stood astonished.
Mr. Henry got to his feet, and stood holding
his chair. It was he that was like ashes now.
"Oh !" he burst out suddenly, "I know you
loved him."
"The world knows that, glory be to God!"
cries she; and then to Mr. Henry: "There is
none but me to know one thing-that you were a
traitor to him in your heart."
"God knows," groans he, it was lost love on
both sides."
Time went by in the house after that without
much change; only they were now three instead
of four, which was a perpetual reminder of their
loss. Miss Alison's money, you are to bear in
mind, was highly needful for the estates; and the
one brother being dead, my old lord soon set his
heart upon her marrying the other. Day in, day
out, he would work upon her, sitting by the

The Master of Ballantrae
chimney-side with his finger in his Latin book,
and his eyes set upon her face with a kind of
pleasant intentness that became the old gentleman
very well. If she wept, he would condole with her
like an ancient man that has seen worse times
and begins to think lightly even of sorrow; if she
raged, he would fall to reading again in his Latin
book, but always with some civil excuse; if she
offered, as she often did, to let them have her
money in a gift, he would show her how little it
consisted with his honour, and remind her, even
if he should consent, that Mr. Henry would cer-
tainly refuse. Non vi sed scepe cadendo was a
favourite word of his; and no doubt this quiet
persecution wore away much of her resolve; no
doubt, besides, he had a great influence on the
girl, having stood in the place of both her
parents; and, for that matter, she was herself
filled with the spirit of the Duries, and would have
gone a great way for the glory of Durrisdeer; but
not so far, I think, as to marry my poor patron,
had it not been-strangely enough-for the cir-
cumstance of his extreme unpopularity.
This was the work of Tam Macmorland. There
was not much harm in Tam; but he had that
grievous weakness, a long tongue; and as the
only man in that country who had been out-
or, rather, who had come in again-he was sure
of listeners. Those that have the underhand in
any fighting, I have observed, are ever anxious to

Summary of Events
persuade themselves they were betrayed. By
Tam's account of it, the rebels had been betrayed
at every turn and by every officer they had; they
had been betrayed at Derby, and betrayed at
Falkirk; the night march was a step of treachery
of my Lord George's; and Culloden was lost by
the treachery of the Macdonalds. This habit of
imputing treason grew upon the fool, till at last he
must have in Mr. Henry also. Mr. Henry (by
his account) had betrayed the lads of Durrisdeer;
he had promised to follow with more men, and
instead of that he had ridden to King George.
" Ay, and the next day i Tam would cry. "The
puir bonnie Master, and the puir, kind lads that
rade wi' him, were hardly ower the scaur, or he
was aff-the Judis Ay, weel-he has his way
o't: he's to be my lord, nae less, and there's mony
a cold corp amang the Hieland heather And
at this, if Tam had been drinking, he would begin
to weep.
Let anyone speak long enough, he will get
believers. This view of Mr. Henry's behaviour
crept about the country by little and little; it was
talked upon by folk that knew the contrary, but
were short of topics; and it was heard and believed
and given out for gospel by the ignorant and the
ill-willing. Mr. Henry began to be shunned; yet
awhile, and the commons began to murmur as he
went by, and the women (who are always the
most bold because they are the most safe) to cry

The Master of Ballantrae
out their reproaches to his face. The Master was
cried up for a saint. It was remembered how he
had never any hand in pressing the tenants; as,
indeed, no more he had, except to spend the
money. He was a little wild perhaps, the folk
said; but how much better was a natural, wild
lad that would soon have settled down, than a
skinflint and a sneckdraw, sitting, with -his nose
in an account book, to persecute poor tenants!
One trollop, who had had a child to the Master,
and by all accounts been very badly used, yet
made herself a kind of champion of his memory.
She flung a stone one day at Mr. Henry.
"Whaur's the bonnie lad that trustit ye ? she
Mr. Henry reined in his horse and looked upon
her, the blood flowing from his lip. Ay, Jess ?"
says he. "You too ? And yet ye should ken
me better." For it was he who had helped her
with money.
The woman had another stone ready, which
she made as if she would cast; and he, to
ward himself, threw up the hand that held his
What, would ye beat a lassie, ye ugly- ?"
cries she, and ran away screaming as though he
had struck her.
Next day word went about the country like
wildfire that Mr. Henry had beaten Jessie Broun
within an inch of her life. I give it as one

Summary of Events
instance of how this snowball grew, and one
calumny brought another; until my poor patron
was so perished in reputation that he began to
keep the house like my lord. All this while, you
may be very sure, he uttered no complaints at
home; the very ground of the scandal was too
sore a matter to be handled; and Mr. Henry was
very proud and strangely obstinate in silence. My
old lord must have heard of it, by John Paul, if
by no one else; and he must at least have remarked
the altered habits of his son. Yet even he, it
is probable, knew not how high the feeling ran;
and as for Miss Alison, she was ever the last
person to hear news, and the least interested
when she heard them.
In the height of the ill-feeling (for it died away
as it came, no man could say why) there was an
election forward in the town of St. Bride's, which
is the next to Durrisdeer, standing on the Water
of Swift; some grievance was fermenting, I forget
what, if ever I heard; and it was currently said
there would be broken heads ere night, and that
the sheriff had sent as far as Dumfries for soldiers.
My lord moved that Mr. Henry should be present,
assuring him it was necessary to appear, for the
credit of the house. "It will soon be reported,"
said he, "that we do not take the lead in our
own country."
"It is a strange lead that I can take," said
Mr. Henry; and when they had pushed him

The Master of Ballantrae
further, "I tell you the plain truth," he said,
"I dare not show my face."
You are the first of the house that ever said
so," cries Miss Alison.
"We will go all three," said my lord; and
sure enough he got into his boots (the first time
in four years-a sore business John Paul had to
get them on), and Miss Alison into her riding-
coat, and all three rode together to St. Bride's.
The streets were full of the riff-raff of all the
country-side, who had no sooner clapped eyes on
Mr. Henry than the hissing began, and the hoot-
ing, and the cries of Judas !" and Where
was the Master ?" and "Where were the poor
lads that rode with him ?" Even a stone was
cast; but the more part cried shame at that, for
my old lord's sake, and Miss Alison's. It took
not ten minutes to persuade my lord that Mr.
Henry had been right He said never a word,
but turned his horse about, and home again, with
his chin upon his bosom. Never a word said
Miss Alison; no doubt she thought the more; no
doubt her pride was stung, for she was a bone-
bred Durie; and no doubt her heart was touched
to see her cousin so unjustly used. That night
she was never in bed; I have often blamed
my lady-when I call to mind that night, I
readily forgive her all; and the first thing in the
morning she came to the old lord in his usual

Summary of Events
"If Henry still wants me," said she, "he
can have me now." To himself she had a different
speech: I bring you no love, Henry; but God
knows, all the pity in the world."
June the 1st, 1748, was the day of their
marriage. It was December of the same year
that first saw me alighting at the doors of the
great house; and from there I take up the history
of events as they befell under my own observa-
tion, like a witness in a court.

o 17

I MADE the last of my journey in the cold end of
December, in a mighty dry day of frost, and who
should be my guide but Patey Macmorland, brother
of Tam! For a tow-headed, bare-legged brat of
ten, he had more ill tales upon his tongue than ever
I heard the match of; having drunken betimes in
his brother's cup. I was still not so old myself;
pride had not yet the upper hand of curiosity; and
indeed it would have taken any man, that cold
morning, to hear all the old clashes of the country,
and be shown all the places by the way where
strange things had fallen out. I had tales of Claver-
house as we came through the bogs, and tales of the
devil as we came over the top of the scaur. As we
came in by the abbey I heard somewhat of the
old monks, and more of the freetraders, who use
its ruins for a magazine, landing for that cause
within a cannon-shot of Durrisdeer; and along all
the road the Duries and poor Mr. Henry were in
the first rank of slander. My mind was thus highly
prejudiced against the family I was about to serve,
so that I was half surprised when I beheld Durris.
deer itself, lying in a pretty, sheltered bay, under

Summary of Events
the Abbey Hill; the house most commodiously built
in the French fashion, or perhaps Italianate, for I
have no skill in these arts; and the place the most
beautified with gardens, lawns, shrubberies, and
trees I had ever seen. The money sunk here un-
productively would have quite restored the family;
but as it was, it cost a revenue to keep it up.
Mr. Henry came himself to the door to welcome
me: a tall dark young gentleman (the Duries are
all black men) of a plain and not cheerful face, very
strong in body, but not so strong in health: taking
me by the hand without any pride, and putting me
at home with plain kind speeches. He led me into
the hall, booted as I was, to present me to my lord.
It was still daylight; and the first thing I observed
was a lozenge of clear glass in the midst of the
shield in the painted window, which I remember
thinking a blemish on a room otherwise so hand-
some, with its family portraits, and the pargeted ceil-
ing with pendants, and the carved chimney, in one
corner of which my old lord sat reading in his Livy.
He was like Mr. Henry, with much the same plain
countenance, only more subtle and pleasant, and his
talk a thousand times more entertaining. He had
many questions to ask me, I remember, of Edin-
burgh College, where I had just received my master-
ship of arts, and of the various professors, with
whom and their proficiency he seemed well ac-
quainted; and thus, talking of things that I knew,
I soon got liberty of speech in my new home.

The Master of Ballantrae
In the midst of this came Mrs. Henry into the
room; she was very far gone, Miss Katharine being
due in about six weeks, which made me think less
of her beauty at the first sight; and she used me
with more of condescension than the rest; so that,
upon all accounts, I kept her in the third place of
my esteem.
It did not take long before all Patey Macmor-
land's tales were blotted out of my belief, and I was
become, what I have ever since remained, a loving
servant of the house of Durrisdeer. Mr. Henry
had the chief part of my affection. It was with
him I worked; and I found him an exacting master,
keeping all his kindness for those hours in which
we were unemployed, and in the steward's'office not
only loading me with work, but viewing me with a
shrewd supervision. At length one day he looked
up from his paper with a kind of timidness, and
says he, "Mr. Mackellar, I think I ought to tell
you that you do very well." That was my first
word of commendation; and from that day his
jealousy of my performance was relaxed; soon it
was "Mr. Mackellar" here, and "Mr. Mackellar"
there, with the whole family; and for much of my
service at Durrisdeer, I have transacted everything
at my own time, and to my own fancy, and never a
farthing challenged. Even while he was driving
me, I had begun to find my heart go out to Mr.
Henry; no doubt, partly in pity, he was a man so
palpably unhappy. He would fall into a deep muse

Summary of Events
over our accounts, staring at the page or out of the
window; and at those times the look of his face,
and the sigh that would break from him, awoke in
me strong feelings of curiosity and commiseration.
One day, I remember, we were late upon some
business in the steward's room. This room is in
the top of the house, and has a view upon the bay,
and over a little wooded cape, on the long sands;
and there, right over against the sun, which was
then dipping, we saw the freetraders, with a great
force of men and horses, scouring on the beach.
Mr. Henry had been staring straight west, so that
I marvelled he was not blinded by the sun; sud-
denly he frowns, rubs his hand upon his brow,
and turns to me with a smile.
"You would not guess what I was thinking,"
says he. "I was thinking I would be a happier
man if I could ride and run the danger of my life,
with these lawless companions."
I told him I had observed he did not enjoy good
spirits; and that it was a common fancy to envy
others and think we should be the better of some
change; quoting Horace to the point, like a young
man fresh from college.
"Why, just so," said he. "And with that we
may get back to our accounts."
It was not long before I began to get wind of the
causes that so much depressed him. Indeed a blind
man must have soon discovered there was a shadow
on that house, the shadow of the Master of Ballan-

The Master of Ballantrae

trae. Dead or alive (and he was then supposed to
be dead) that man was his brother's rival: his rival
abroad, where there was never a good word for
Mr. Henry, and nothing but regret and praise for
the Master; and his rival at home, not only with
his father and his wife, but with the very servants.
They were two old serving-men that were the
leaders. John Paul, a little, bald, solemn, stomach
man, a great professor of piety and (take him for
all in all) a pretty faithful servant, was the chief
of the Master's faction. None durst go so far as
John. He took a pleasure in disregarding Mr.
Henry publicly, often with a slighting comparison.
My lord and Mrs. Henry took him up, to be sure,
but never so resolutely as they should; and he had
only to pull his weeping face and begin his lamen-
tations for the Master-" his laddie," as he called
him-to have the whole condoned. As for Henry,
he let these things pass in silence, sometimes with
a sad and sometimes with a black look. There
was no rivalling the dead, he knew that; and how
to censure an old serving-man for a fault of loyalty,
was more than he could see. His was not the
tongue to do it.
Macconochie was chief upon the other side; an
old, ill-spoken, swearing, ranting, drunken dog;
and I have often thought it an odd circumstance in
human nature that these two serving-men should
each have been the champion of his contrary, and
blackened their own faults and made light of their

Summary of Events
own virtues when they beheld them in a master.
Macconochie had soon smelled out my secret in-
clination, took me much into his confidence, and
would rant against the Master by the hour, so that
even my work suffered. "They're a' daft here,"
he would cry, "and be damned to them! The
Master-the deil's in their thrapples that should
call him sae! it's Mr. Henry should be master
now! They were nane sae fond o' the Master
when they had him, I'll can tell ye that. Sorrow
on his name Never a guid word did I hear on
his lips, nor naebody else, but just fleering and
flying and profane cursing-deil hae him There's
nane kent his wickedness: him a gentleman Did
ever ye hear tell, Mr. Mackellar, o' Wully White
the wabster? No? Aweel, Wully was an unco
praying kind o' man; a dreigh body, nane o' my
kind, I never could abide the sight o' him; ony-
way he was a great hand by his way of it, and he
up and rebukit the Master for some of his on-
goings. It was a grand thing for the Master o'
Ball'ntrae to tak up a feud wi' a' wabster, was-
nae't?" Macconochie would sneer; indeed, he
never took the full name upon his lips but with a
sort of a whine of hatred. But he did! A fine
employ it was: chapping at the man's door, and
crying boo' in his lum, and putting' poother in his
fire, and pee-oys in his Window; till the man
thocht it was auld Hornie was come seeking' him.
A kind of firework made with damp powder.

The Master of Ballantrae
Weel, to mak a lang story short, Wully gaed gyte.
At the hinder end, they couldnae get him frae his
knees, but he just roared and prayed and grat
straucht on, till he got his release. It was fair
murder, a'body said that. Ask John Paul-he was
brawly ashamed o' that game, him that's sic a
Christian man! Grand doin's for the Master o'
Ball'ntrae!" I asked him what the Master had
thought of it himself. How would I ken ? says
he. He never said naething." And on again in
his usual manner of banning and swearing, with
every now and again a "Master of Ballantrae"
sneered through his nose. It was in one of these
confidences that he showed me the Carlisle letter,
the print of the horse-shoe still stamped in the
paper. Indeed, that was our last confidence; for
he then expressed himself so ill-naturedly of Mrs.
Henry that I had to reprimand him sharply, and
must thenceforth hold him at a distance.
My old lord was uniformly kind to Mr. Henry;
he had even pretty ways of gratitude, and would
sometimes clap him on the shoulder and say, as if
to the world at large: This is a very good son to
me." And grateful he was, no doubt, being a man
of sense and justice. But I think that was all, and
I am sure Mr. Henry thought so. The love was
all for the dead son. Not that this was often given
breath to; indeed, with me but onee. My lord
had asked me one day how I got on with Mr.
Henry, and I had told him the truth.

Summary of Events
"Ay," said he, looking sideways on the burn-
ing fire, "Henry is a good lad, a very good lad,"
said he. "You have heard, Mr. Mackellar, that
I had another son? I am afraid he was not so
virtuous a lad as Mr. Henry; but dear me, he's
dead, Mr. Mackellar and while he lived we were
all very proud of him, all very proud. If he was
not all he should have been in some ways, well,
perhaps we loved him better!" This last he said
looking musingly in the fire; and then to me, with
a great deal of briskness, But I am rejoiced you
do so well with Mr. Henry. You will find him a
good master." And with that he opened his book,
which was the customary signal of dismission.
But it would be little that he read, and less that
he understood; Culloden Field and the Master,
these would be the burthen of his thought; and
the burthen of mine was an unnatural jealousy of
the dead man for Mr. Henry's sake, that had even
then begun to grow on me.
I am keeping Mrs. Henry for the last, so that
this expression of my sentiment may seem un-
warrantably strong: the reader shall judge for him-
self when I have done. But I must first tell of
another matter, which was the means of bringing
me more intimate. I had not yet been six months
at Durrisdeer when it chanced that John Paul fell
sick and must keep his bed; drink was the root
of his malady, in my poor thought; but he was
tended, and indeed carried himself, like an afflicted

The Master of Ballantrae
saint; and the very minister, who came to visit
him, professed himself edified when he went away.
The third morning of his sickness, Mr. Henry
comes to me with something of a hang-dog look.
Mackellar," says he, "I wish I could trouble
you upon a little service. There is a pension we
pay; it is John's part to carry it, and now that he
is sick I know not to whom I should look unless
it was yourself. The matter is very delicate; I
could not carry it with my own hand for a suffi-
cient reason; I dare not send Macconochie, who
is a talker, and I am-I have-I am desirous this
should not come to Mrs. Henry's ears," says he,
and flushed to his neck as he said it.
To say truth, when I found I was to 'carry
money to one Jessie Broun, who was no better
than she should be, I supposed it was some trip
of his own that Mr. Henry was dissembling. I
was the more impressed when the truth came out.
It was up a wynd off a side street in St. Bride's
that Jessie had her lodging. The place was very
ill inhabited, mostly by the freetrading sort. There
was a man with a broken head at the entry;
half-way up, in a tavern, fellows were roaring
and singing, though it was not yet nine in the
day. Altogether, I had never seen a worse neigh-
bourhood, even in the great city of Edinburgh,
and I was in two minds to go back. Jessie's room
was of a piece with her surroundings, and herself
no better. She would not give me the receipt

Summary of Events
(which Mr. Henry had told me to demand, for
he was very methodical) until she had sent out
for spirits, and I had pledged her in a glass; and
all the time she carried on in a light-headed, reck-
less way-now aping the manners of a lady, now
breaking into unseemly mirth, now making coquet-
tish advances that oppressed me to the ground.
Of the money she spoke more tragically.
It's blood money I said she; "I take it
for that: blood money for the betrayed See
what I'm brought down to! Ah, if the bonnie
lad were back again, it would be changed days.
But he's deid-he's lyin' deid amang the Hieland
hills-the bonnie lad, the bonnie lad "
She had a rapt manner of crying on the bonnie
lad, clasping her hands and casting up her eyes,
that I think she must have learned of strolling
players; and I thought her sorrow very much of
an affectation, and that she dwelled upon the
business because her shame was now all she had
to be proud of. I will not say I did not pity her,
but it was a loathing pity at the best; and her
last change of manner wiped it out. This was
when she had had enough of me for an audience,
and had set her name at last to the receipt.
"There!" says she, and taking the most un-
womanly oaths upon her tongue, bade me begone,
and carry it to the Judas who had sent me. It
was the first time I had heard the name applied
to Mr. Henry; I was staggered besides at her

The Master of Ballantrae

sudden vehemence of word and manner, and got
forth from the room, under this shower of curses,
like a beaten dog. But even then I was not quit,
for the vixen threw up her window, and, leaning
forth, continued to revile me as I went up the
wynd; the freetraders, coming to the tavern door,
joined in the mockery, and one had even the in-
humanity to set upon me a very savage small dog,
which bit me in the ankle. This was a strong
lesson, had I required one, to avoid ill company;
and I rode home in much pain from the bite and
considerable indignation of mind.
Mr. Henry was in the steward's room, affect-
ing employment, but I could see he was only
impatient to hear of my errand.
Well ? says he, as soon as I came in; and
when I had told him something of what passed,
and that Jessie seemed an undeserving woman
and far from grateful : She is no friend to me,"
said he; but, indeed, Mackellar, I have few
friends to boast of, and Jessie has some cause to
be unjust. I need not dissemble what all the
country knows; she was not very well used by
one of our family." This was the first time I had
heard him refer to the Master even distantly;
and I think he found his tongue rebellious even
for that much, but presently he resumed-" This
is why I would have nothing said. It would give
pain to Mrs. Henry and to my father,"
he added, with another flush.

Summary of Events

"Mr. Henry," said I, if you will take a
freedom at my hands, I would tell you to let that
woman be. What service is your money to the
like of her ? She has no sobriety and no economy
-as for gratitude, you will as soon get milk from
a whinstone; and if you will pretermit your
bounty, it will make no change at all but just
to save the ankles of your messengers."
Mr. Henry smiled. But I am grieved about
your ankle," said he, the next moment, with a
proper gravity.
And observe," I continued, I give you this
advice upon consideration; and yet my heart was
touched for the woman in the beginning."
Why, there it is, you see said Mr. Henry.
And you are to remember that I knew her once
a very decent lass. Besides which, although I
speak little of my family, I think much of its
And with that he broke up the talk, which was
the first we had together in such confidence. But
the same afternoon I had the proof that his father
was perfectly acquainted with the business, and
that it was only from his wife that Mr. Henry
kept it secret.
"I fear you had a painful errand to-day,"
says my lord to me, for which, as it enters in
no way among your duties, I wish to thank you,
and to remind you at the same time (in case Mr.
Henry should have neglected) how very desirable

The Master of Ballantrae
it is that no word of it should reach my daughter.
Reflections on the dead, Mr. Mackellar, are doubly
Anger glowed in my heart; and I could have
told my lord to his face how little he had to do,
bolstering up the image of the dead in Mrs.
Henry's heart, and how much better he were em-
ployed to shatter that false idol; for by this time
I saw very well how the land lay between my
patron and his wife.
My pen is clear enough to tell a plain tale; but
to render the effect of an infinity of small things,
not one great enough in itself to be narrated; and
to translate the story of looks, and the messages of
voices when they are saying no great matter; and
to put into half a page the essence of near eighteen
months-that is what I despair to accomplish. The
fault, be it very blunt, lay all in Mrs. Henry. She
felt it a merit to have consented to the marriage,
and she took it like a martyrdom; in which my old
lord, whether he knew it or not, fomented her.
She made a merit, besides, of her constancy to the
dead, though its name, to a nicer conscience, should
have seemed rather disloyalty to the living; and
here also my lord gave her his countenance. I sup-
pose he was glad to talk of his loss, and ashamed
to dwell on it with Mr. Henry. Certainly, at least,
he made a little coterie apart in that family of three,
and it was the husband who was shut out. It
seems it was an old custom when the family were

Summary of Events
alone in Durrisdeer, that my lord should take his
wine to the chimney-side, and Miss Alison, instead
of withdrawing, should bring a stool to his knee,
and chatter to him privately; and after she had
become my patron's wife the same manner of doing
was continued. It should have been pleasant to
behold this ancient gentleman so loving with his
daughter, but I was too much a partisan of Mr.
Henry's to be anything but wroth at his exclusion.
Many's the time I have seen him make an obvious
resolve, quit the table, and go and join himself to
his wife and my Lord Durrisdeer; and on their
part, they were never backward to make him wel-
come, turned to him smilingly as to an intruding
child, and took him into their talk with an effort so
ill-concealed that he was soon back again beside me
at the table, whence (so great is the hall at Durris-
deer) we could but hear the murmur of voices at
the chimney. There he would sit and watch, and I
along with him; and sometimes by my lord's head
sorrowfully shaken, or his hand laid on Mrs.
Henry's head, or hers upon his knees as if in con-
solation, or sometimes by an exchange of tearful
looks, we would draw our conclusion that the talk
had gone to the old subject and the shadow of the
dead was in the hall.
I have hours when I blame Mr. Henry for tak-
ing all too patiently; yet we are to remember he
was married in pity, and accepted his wife upon
that term. And, indeed, he had small encourage-

The Master of Ballantrae

ment to make a stand. Once, I remember, he an-
nounced he had found a man to replace the pane
of the stained window, which, as it was he that
managed all the business, was a thing clearly within
his attributions. But to the Master's fancies, that
pane was like a relic; and on the first word of any
change, the blood flew into Mrs. Henry's face.
"I wonder at you! she cried.
"I wonder at myself," says Mr. Henry, with
more bitterness that I had ever heard him to
Thereupon my old lord stepped in with his
smooth talk, so that before the meal was at an end
all seemed forgotten; only that, after dinner, when
the pair had withdrawn as usual to the chimney-
side, we could see her weeping with her head upon
his knee. Mr. Henry kept up the talk with me
upon some topic of the estate-he could speak of
little else but business, and was never the best of
company; but he kept it up that day with more
continuity, his eye straying ever and again to the
chimney, and his voice changing to another key,
but without check of delivery. The pane, how-
ever, was not replaced; and I believe he counted
it a great defeat.
Whether he was stout enough or no, God knows
he was kind enough. Mrs. Henry had a manner of
condescension with him, such as (in a wife) would
have pricked my vanity into an ulcer; he took it
like a favour. She held him at the staff's end;

Summary of Events
forgot and then remembered and unbent to him, as
we do to children; burthened him with cold kind-
ness; reproved him with a change of colour and a
bitten lip, like one shamed by his disgrace; ordered
him with the look of the eye, when she was off her
guard; when she was on the watch, pleaded with
him for the most natural attentions, as though they
were unheard-of favours. And to all this he re-
plied with the most unwearied service; loving, as
folk say, the very ground she trod on, and carry-
ing that love in his eyes as bright as a lamp. When
Miss Katharine was to be born, nothing would serve
but he must stay in the room behind the head of the
bed. There he sat, as white (they tell me) as a
sheet, and the sweat dropping from his brow; and
the handkerchief he had in his hand was crushed
into a little ball no bigger than a musket-bullet.
Nor could he bear the sight of Miss Katharine
for many a day; indeed, I doubt if he was ever
what he should have been to my young lady; for
the which want of natural feeling he was loudly
Such was the state of this family down to the
7th April, 1749, when there befell the first of that
series of events which were to break so many
hearts and lose so many lives.

On that day I was sitting in my room a little
before supper, when John Paul burst open the
door with no civility of knocking, and told me
D 33

The Master of Ballantrae
there was one below that wished to speak with
the steward; sneering at the name of my office.
I asked what manner of man, and what his
name was; and this disclosed the cause of John's
ill-humour ; for it appeared the visitor refused
to name himself except to me, a sore affront to
the major-domo's consequence.
"Well," said I, smiling a little, "I will see
what he wants."
I found in the entrance hall a big man, very
plainly habited, and wrapped in a sea-cloak, like
one new landed, as indeed he was, Not far off
Macconochie was standing, with his tongue out
of his mouth and his hand upon his chin, like a
dull fellow thinking hard; and the stranger, who
had brought his cloak about his face, appeared
uneasy. He had no sooner seen me coming than
he went to meet me with an effusive manner.
My dear man," said he, a thousand apolo-
gies for disturbing you, but I'm in the most awk-
ward position. And there's a son of a ramrod
there that I should know the looks of, and more
betoken I believe that he knows mine. Being in
this family, sir, and in a place of some responsi-
bility (which was the cause I took the liberty to
send for you), you are doubtless of the honest
party ?"
You may be sure at least," says I, that all
of that party are quite safe in Durrisdeer."
My dear man, it is my very thought," says

Summary of Events
he. "You see, I have just been set on shore
here by a very honest man, whose name I cannot
remember, and who is to stand off and on for
me till morning, at some danger to himself; and
to be clear with you, I am a little concerned lest
it should be at some to me. I have saved my
life so often, Mr. -, I forget your name, which
is a very good one-that, faith, I would be very
loath to lose it after all. And the son of a ram-
rod, whom I believe I saw before Carlisle ."
Oh, sir," said I, you can trust Macconochie
until to-morrow."
Well, and it's a delight to hear you say so,"
says the stranger. The truth is that my name
is not a very suitable one in this country of
Scotland. With a gentleman like you, my dear
man, I would have no concealments of course;
and by your leave I'll just breathe it in your ear.
They call me Francis Burke-Colonel Francis
Burke; and I am here, at a most damnable risk
to myself, to see your masters-if you'll excuse
me, my good man, for giving them the name, for
I'm sure it's a circumstance I would never have
guessed from your appearance. And if you would
just be so very obliging as to take my name to
them, you might say that I come bearing letters
which I am sure they will be very rejoiced to
have the reading of."
Colonel Francis Burke was one of the Prince's
Irishmen, that did his cause such an infinity of

The Master of Ballantrae
hurt, and were so much distasted of the Scots
at the time of the rebellion; and it came at once
into my mind, how the Master of Ballantrae had
astonished all men by going with that party. In
the same moment a strong foreboding of the truth
possessed my soul.
If you will step in here," said I, opening a
chamber door, "I will let my lord know."
"And I am sure it's very good of you, Mr.
What-is-your-name," says the Colonel.
Up to the hall I went, slow-footed. There
they were, all three-my old lord in his place,
Mrs. Henry at work by the window, Mr. Henry
(as was much his custom) pacing the low end.
In the midst was the table laid for supper. I
told them briefly what I had to say. My old
lord lay back in his seat. Mrs. Henry sprang
up standing with a mechanical motion, and she
and her husband stared at each other's eyes across
the room; it was the strangest, challenging look
these two exchanged, and as they looked, the
colour faded in their faces. Then Mr. Henry
turned to me; not to speak, only to sign with his
finger; but that was enough, and I went down
again for the Colonel.
When we returned, these three were in much
the same position I had left them in; I believe
no word had passed.
My Lord Durrisdeer, no doubt P" says the
Colonel, bowing, and my lord bowed in answer.

Summary of Events
"And this," continues the Colonel, should be
the Master of Ballantrae ? "
"I have never taken that name," said Mr.
Henry; but I am Henry Durie, at your ser-
Then the Colonel turns to Mrs. Henry, bowing
with his hat upon his heart and the most killing
airs of gallantry. "There can be no mistake
about so fine a figure of a lady," says he. "I
address the seductive Miss Alison, of whom
I have so often heard ? "
Once more husband and wife exchanged a look.
"I am Mrs. Henry Durie," said she; "but
before my marriage my name was Alison Graeme."
Then my lord spoke up. I am an old man,
Colonel Burke," said he, and a frail one. It
will be mercy on your part to be expeditious.
Do you bring me news of-" he hesitated, and
then the words broke from him with a singular
change of voice-" my son ? "
My dear lord, I will be round with you
like a soldier," said the Colonel. "I do."
My lord held out a wavering hand; he seemed
to wave a signal, but whether it was to give him
time or to speak on, was more than we could
guess. At length he got out the one word
"Good ?"
Why, the very best in the creation !" cries
the Colonel. For my good friend and admired
comrade is at this hour in the fine city of Paris,

The Master of Ballantrae
and as like as not, if I know anything of his
habits, he will be drawing in his chair to a piece
of dinner.-Bedad, I believe the lady's fainting."
Mrs. Henry was indeed the colour of death,
and drooped against the window-frame. But
when Mr. Henry made a movement as if to run
to her, she straightened with a sort of shiver. I
am well," she said, with her white lips.
Mr. Henry stopped, and his face had a strong
twitch of anger. The next moment he had turned
to the Colonel. You must not blame yourself,"
says he, for this effect on Mrs. Durie. It is
only natural; we were all brought up like brother
and sister."
Mrs. Henry looked at her husband with some-
thing like relief or even gratitude. In my way of
thinking, that speech was the first step he made
in her good graces.
"You must try to forgive me, Mrs. Durie, for
indeed and I am just an Irish savage," said the
Colonel; "and I deserve to be shot for not break-
ing the matter more artistically to a lady. But
here are the Master's own letters; one for each
of the three of you; and to be sure (if I know
anything of my friend's genius) he will tell his
own story with better grace."
He brought the three letters forth as he spoke,
arranged them by their superscriptions, presented
the first to my lord, who took it greedily, and ad-
vanced towards Mrs. Henry holding out the second.

Summary of Events
But the lady waved it back. "To my hus-
band," says she, with a choked voice.
The Colonel was a quick man, but at this he
was somewhat nonplussed. "To be sure! says
he; "how very dull of me To be sure! But
he still held the letter.
At last Mr. Henry reached forth his hand, and
there was nothing to be done but give it up. Mr.
Henry took the letters (both hers and his own),
and looked upon their outside, with his brows knit
hard, as if he were thinking. He had surprised
me all through by his excellent behaviour; but he
was to excel himself now.
"Let me give you a hand to your room," said
he to his wife. "This has come something of
the suddenest; and, at any rate, you will wish to
read your letter by yourself."
Again she looked upon him with the same thought
of wonder; but he gave her no time, coming straight
to where she stood. "It will be better so, believe
me," said he; and Colonel Burke is too considerate
not to excuse you." And with that he took her
hand by the fingers, and led her from the hall.
Mrs. Henry returned no more that night; and
when Mr. Henry went to visit her next morning,
as I heard long afterwards, she gave him the letter
again, still unopened.
"Oh, read it and be done he had cried.
Spare me that," said she.
And by these two speeches, to my way of think-

The Master of Ballantrae
ing, each undid a great part of what they had previ-
ously done well. But the letter, sure enough, came
into my hands, and by me was burned, unopened.

To be very exact as to the adventures of the
Master after Culloden, I wrote not long ago to
Colonel Burke, now a Chevalier of the Order of St.
Louis, begging him for some notes in writing, since
I could scarce depend upon my memory at so great
an interval. To confess the truth, I have been some-
what embarrassed by his response; for he sent me
the complete memoirs of his life, touching only in
places on the Master; running to a much greater
length than my whole story, and not everywhere (as
it seems to me) designed for edification. He begged
in his letter, dated from Ettenheim, that I would
find a publisher for the whole, after I had made
what use of it I required; and I think I shall best
answer my own purpose and fulfil his wishes by
printing certain parts of it in full. In this way my
readers will have a detailed, and, I believe, a very
genuine account of some essential matters; and if
any publisher should take a fancy to the Chevalier's
manner of narration, he knows where to apply for
the rest, of which there is plenty at his service. I
put in my first extract here, so that it may stand in
the place of what the Chevalier told us over our
wine in the hall of Durrisdeer; but you are to sup-
pose it was not the brutal fact, but a very varnished
version that he offered to my lord.

From the Memoirs of the Chevalier de Burke
I LEFT Ruthven (it's hardly necessary
to remark) with much greater satisfaction than I had
come to it; but whether I missed my way in the
deserts, or whether my companions failed me, I soon
found myself alone. This was a predicament very
disagreeable; for I never understood this horrid
country or savage people, and the last stroke of the
Prince's withdrawal had made us of the Irish more
unpopular than ever. I was reflecting on my poor
chances, when I saw another horseman on the hill,
whom I supposed at first to have been a phantom,
the news of his death in the very front at Culloden
being current in the army generally. This was the
Master of Ballantrae, my Lord Durrisdeer's son, a
young nobleman of the rarest gallantry and parts,
and equally designed by nature to adorn a Court
and to reap laurels in the field. Our meeting was
the more welcome to both, as he was one of the
few Scots who had used the Irish with considera-
tion, and as he might now be of very high utility in
aiding my escape. Yet what founded our particular

The Master of Ballantrae
friendship was a circumstance, by itself as romantic
as any fable of King Arthur.
This was on the second day of our flight, after
we had slept one night in the rain upon the in-
clination of a mountain. There was an Appin
man, Alan Black Stewart (or some such name,*
but I have seen him since in France), who chanced
to be passing the same way, and had a jealousy of
my companion. Very uncivil expressions were
exchanged; and Stewart calls upon the Master to
alight and have it out.
"Why, Mr. Stewart," says the Master, "I
think at the present time I would prefer to run
a race with you." And with the word claps spurs
to his horse.
Stewart ran after us, a childish thing to do, for
more than a mile; and I could not help laughing,
as I looked back at last and saw him on a hill,
holding his hand to his side, and nearly burst with
"But, all the same," I could not help saying
to my companion, "I would let no man run after
me for any such proper purpose, and not give
him his desire. It was a good jest, but it smells
a trifle cowardly."
He bent his brows at me. "I do pretty well,
says he, "when I saddle myself with the most
*Note by Mr. Mackellar. Should not this be Alan Breck
Stewart, afterwards notorious as the Appin murderer ?
The Chevalier is sometimes very weak on names.

The Master's Wanderings
unpopular man in Scotland, and let that suffice
for courage."
"0, bedad," says I, "I could show you a
more unpopular with the naked eye. And if you
like not my company, you can 'saddle' yourself
on some one else."
"Colonel Burke," says he, "do not let us
quarrel; and, to that effect, let me assure you I
am the least patient man in the world."
"I am as little patient as yourself," said I. "I
care not who knows that."
"At this rate," says he, reining in, "we shall
not go very far. And I propose we do one of
two things upon the instant: either quarrel and
be done; or make a sure bargain to bear every-
thing at each other's hands."
Like a pair of brothers ?" said I.
"I said no such foolishness," he replied. "I
have a brother of my own, and I think no more
of him than of a colewort. But if we are to have
our noses rubbed together in this course of flight,
let us each dare to be ourselves like savages, and
each swear that he will neither resent nor deprecate
the other. I am a pretty bad fellow at bottom, and
I find the pretence of virtues very irksome."
O, I am as bad as yourself," said I. "There
is no skim milk in Francis Burke. But which is it
to be? Fight or make friends ?"
"Why," says he, "I think it will be the best
manner to spin a coin for it."

The Master of Ballantrae
This proposition was too highly chivalrous not
to take my fancy; and, strange as it may seem of
two well-born gentlemen of to-day, we span a
half-crown (like a pair of ancient paladins) whether
we were to cut each other's throats or be sworn
friends. A more romantic circumstance can hardly
have occurred; and it is one of those points in
my memoirs, by which we may see the old tales
of Homer and the poets are equally true to-day-
at least of the noble and genteel. The coin fell
for peace, and we shook hands upon our bargain.
And then it was that my companion explained
to me his thought in running away from Mr.
Stewart, which was certainly worthy of his
political intellect. The report of his death, he
said, was a great guard to him; Mr. Stewart
having recognized him, had become a danger;
and he had taken the briefest road to that gentle-
man's silence. "For," says he, "Alan Black is
too vain a man to narrate any such story of him-
Towards afternoon we came down to the shores
of that loch for which we were heading; and
there was the ship, but newly come to anchor.
She was the Sainte-Marie-des-Anges, out of the port
of Havre-de-Grace. The Master, after we had
signalled for a boat, asked me if I knew the captain.
I told him he was a countryman of mine, of the
most unblemished integrity, but, I was afraid, a
rather timorous man.

The Master's Wanderings
"No matter," says he. "For all that he should
certainly hear the truth."
I asked him if he meant about the battle?
for if the captain once knew the standard was
down, he would certainly put to sea again at
"And even then!" said he; "the arms are
now of no sort of utility."
"My dear man," said I, "who thinks of the
arms? But, to be sure, we must remember our
friends. They will be close upon our heels,
perhaps the Prince himself, and if the ship be
gone, a great number of valuable lives may be
"The captain and the crew have lives also,
if you come to that," says Ballantrae.
This I declared was but a quibble, and that
I would not hear of the captain being told; and
then it was that Ballantrae made me a witty answer,
for the sake of which (and also because I have
been blamed myself in this business of the Sainte-
Marie-des-Anges) I have related the whole conver-
sation as it passed.
"Frank," says he, "remember our bargain.
I must not object to your holding your tongue,
which I hereby even encourage you to do; but,
by the same terms, you are not to resent my
I could not help laughing at this; though I
still forewarned him what would come of it.

The Master of Ballantrae
"The devil may come of it for what I care,"
says the reckless fellow. "I have always done
exactly as I felt inclined."
As is well known, my prediction came true.
The captain had no sooner heard the news than
he cut his cable and to sea again; and before
morning broke, we were in the Great Minch.
The ship was very old; and the skipper,
although the most honest of men (and Irish too),
was one of the least capable. The wind blew
very boisterous, and the sea raged extremely. All
that day we had little heart whether to eat or
drink; went early to rest in some concern of
mind; and (as if to give us a lesson) in the night
the wind chopped suddenly into north-east, and
blew a hurricane. We were awaked by the dread-
ful thunder of the tempest and the stamping of the
mariners on deck; so that I supposed our last hour
was certainly come; and the terror of my mind
was increased out of all measure by Ballantrae,
who mocked at my devotions. It is in hours
like these that a man of any piety appears in his
true light, and we find (what we are taught as
babes) the small trust that can be set in worldly
friends: I would be unworthy of my religion if
I let this pass without particular remark. For
three days we lay in the dark in the cabin, and
had but a biscuit to nibble. On the fourth the
wind fell, leaving the ship dismasted and heaving
on vast billows. The captain had not a guess

The Master's Wanderings
of whither we were blown; he was stark ignorant
of his trade, and could do naught but bless the
Holy Virgin; a very good thing, too, but scarce
the whole of seamanship. It seemed, our one
hope was to be picked up by another vessel;
and if that should prove to be an English ship,
it might be no great blessing to the Master and
The fifth and sixth days we tossed there help-
less. The seventh some sail was got on her, but
she was an unwieldy vessel at the best, and we
made little but leeway. All the time, indeed, we
had been drifting to the south and west, and
during the tempest must have driven in that
direction with unheard-of violence. The ninth
dawn was cold and black, with a great sea running,
and every mark of foul weather. In this situation
we were overjoyed to sight a small ship on the
horizon, and to perceive her go about and head
for the Sainte-Marie. But our gratification did not
very long endure; for when she had laid to and
lowered a boat, it was immediately filled with
disorderly fellows, who sang and shouted as they
pulled across to us, and swarmed in on our
deck with bare cutlasses, cursing loudly. Their
leader was a horrible villain, with his face blacked
and his whiskers curled in ringlets; Teach, his
name; a most notorious pirate. He stamped about
the deck, raving and crying out that his name
was Satan, and his ship was called Hell. There

The Master of Ballantrae
was something about him like a wicked child or
a half-witted person, that daunted me beyond ex-
pression. I whispered in the ear of Ballantrae
that I would not be the last to volunteer, and
only prayed God they might be short of hands;
he approved my purpose with a nod.
Bedad," said I to Master Teach, if you are
Satan, here is a devil for ye."
The word pleased him; and (not to dwell
upon these shocking incidents) Ballantrae and I
and two others were taken for recruits, while
the skipper and all the rest were cast into the sea
by the method of walking the plank. It was the
first time I had seen this done; my heart died
within me at the spectacle; and Master Teach
or one of his acolytes (for my head was too much
lost to be precise) remarked upon my pale face
in a very alarming manner. I had the strength
to cut a step or two of a jig, and cry out some
ribaldry, which saved me for that time; but my
legs were like water when I must get down into
the skiff among these miscreants; and what with
my horror of my company and fear of the mon-
strous billows, it was all I could do to keep an
Irish tongue and break a jest or two as we were
pulled aboard. By the blessing of God, there was
a fiddle in the pirate ship, which I had no sooner
seen than I fell upon; and in my quality of crowder
I had the heavenly good luck to get favour in
their eyes. Crowding Pat was the name they

The Master's Wanderings
dubbed me with; and it was little I cared for a
name so long as my skin was whole.
What kind of a pandemonium that vessel was,
I cannot describe, but she was commanded by a
lunatic, and might be called a floating Bedlam.
Drinking, roaring, singing, quarrelling, dancing,
they were never all sober at one time; and there
were days together when if a squall had super-
vened, it must have sent us to the bottom; or if
a king's ship had come along, it would have found
us quite helpless for defence. Once or twice we
sighted a sail, and, if we were sober enough,
overhauled it, God forgive us and if we were
all too drunk, she got away, and I would bless
the saints under my breath. Teach ruled, if you
can call that rule which brought no order, by the
terror he created; and I observed the man was
very vain of his position. I have known marshals
of France-ay, and even Highland chieftains-
that were less openly puffed up; which throws
a singular light Ion the pursuit of honour and
glory. Indeed, the longer we live, the more we
perceive the sagacity of Aristotle and the other
old philosophers; and though I have all my life
been eager for legitimate distinctions, I can lay
my hand upon my heart, at the end of my career,
and declare there is not one-no, nor yet life
itself-which is worth acquiring or preserving at
the slightest cost of dignity.
It was long before I got private speech of
I 49

The Master of Ballantrae
Ballantrae; but at length one night we crept out
upon the boltsprit, when the rest were better
employed, and commiserated our position.
None can deliver us but the saints," said I.
My mind is very different," said Ballantrae;
" for I am going to deliver myself. This Teach
is the poorest creature possible; we make no
profit of him, and lie continually open to capture;
and," says he, I am not going to be a tarry
pirate for nothing, nor yet to hang in chains if I
can help it." And he told me what was in his
mind to better the state of the ship in the way of
discipline, which would give us safety for the
present, and a sooner hope of deliverance when
they should have gained enough and should break
up their company.
I confessed to him ingenuously that my nerve
was quite shook amid these horrible surroundings,
and I durst scarce tell him to count upon me.
"I am not very easy frightened," said he,
nor very easy beat."
A few days after, there befell an accident
which had nearly hanged us all; and offers the
most extraordinary picture of the folly that ruled
in our concerns. We were all pretty drunk;
and some bedlamite spying a sail, Teach put the
ship about in chase without a glance, and we
began to bustle up the arms and boast of the
horrors that should follow. I observed Ballantrae
stood quiet in the bows, looking under the shade

The Master's Wanderings
of his hand; but for my part, true to my policy
among these savages, I was at work with the
busiest and passing Irish jests for their diversion.
Run up the colours," cries Teach. Show
the s the Jolly Roger !"
It was the merest drunken braggadocio at such
a stage, and might have lost us a valuable prize;
but I thought it no part of mine to reason, and I
ran up the black flag with my own hand.
Ballantrae steps presently aft with a smile upon
his face.
You may perhaps like to know, you drunken
dog," says he, "that you are chasing a king's
Teach roared him the lie; but he ran at the
same time to the bulwarks, and so did they all.
I have never seen so many drunken men struck
suddenly sober. The cruiser had gone about,
upon our impudent display of colours; she was
just then filling on the new tack; her ensign blew
out quite plain to see; and even as we stared,
there came a puff of smoke, and then a report,
and a shot plunged in the waves a good way
short of us. Some ran to the ropes, and got the
Sarah round with an incredible swiftness. One
fellow fell on the rum barrel, which stood broached
upon the deck, and rolled it promptly overboard.
On my part, I made for the Jolly Roger, struck
it, tossed it in the sea; and could have flung
myself after, so vexed was I with our mismanage-

The Master of Ballantrae
ment. As for Teach, he grew as pale as death,
and incontinently went down to his cabin. Only
twice he came on deck that afternoon; went to
the taffrail; took a long look at the king's ship,
which was still on the horizon heading after us;
and then, without speech, back to his cabin. You
may say he deserted us; and if it had not been
for one very capable sailor we had on board,
and for the lightness of the airs that blew all day,
we must certainly have gone to the yard-arm.
It is to be supposed Teach was humiliated, and
perhaps alarmed for his position with the crew;
and the way in which he set about regaining what
he had lost, was highly characteristic of the man.
Early next day we smelled him burning sulphur in
his cabin and crying out of "Hell, hell!" which
was well understood among the crew, and filled
their minds with apprehension. Presently he
comes on deck, a perfect figure of fun, his face
blacked, his hair and whiskers curled, his belt
stuck full of pistols; chewing bits of glass so that
the blood ran down his chin, and brandishing a
dirk. I do not know if he had taken these manners
from the Indians of America, where he was a
native; but such was his way, and he would
always thus announce that he was wound up to
horrid deeds. The first that came near him was
the fellow who had sent the rum overboard the
day before; him he stabbed to the heart, damning
him for a mutineer; and then capered about the

The Master's Wanderings

body, raving and swearing and daring us to come
on. It was the silliest exhibition; and yet dan-
gerous too, for the cowardly fellow was plainly
working himself up to another murder.
All of a sudden Ballantrae stepped forth.
" Have done with this play-acting," says he.
" Do you think to [frighten us with making faces ?
We saw nothing of you yesterday, when you were
wanted; and we did well without you, let me
tell you that."
There was a murmur and a movement in the
crew, of pleasure and alarm, I thought, in nearly
equal parts. As for Teach, he gave a barbarous
howl, and swung his dirk to fling it, an art in
which (like many seamen) he was very expert.
Knock that out of his hand says Ballan-
trae, so sudden and sharp that my arm obeyed
him before my mind had understood.
Teach stood like one stupid, never thinking
on his pistols.
Go down to your cabin," cries Ballantrae,
and come on deck again when you are sober.
Do you think we are going to hang for you,
you black-faced, half-witted, drunken brute and
butcher? Go down!" And he stamped his
foot at him with such a sudden smartness that
Teach fairly ran for it to the companion.
And now, mates," says Ballantrae, "a word
with you. I don't know if you are gentlemen of
fortune for the fun of the thing, but I am not.

The Master of Ballantrae
I want to make money, and get ashore again,
and spend it like a man. And on one thing my
mind is made up: I will not hang if I can help
it. Come: give me a hint; I'm only a beginner !
Is there no way to get a little discipline and
common sense about this business ? "
One of the men spoke up: he said by rights
they should have a quartermaster; and no sooner
was the word out of his mouth than they were
all of that opinion. The thing went by accla-
mation, Ballantrae was made quartermaster, the
rum was put in his charge, laws were passed in
imitation of those of a pirate by the name of
Roberts, and the last proposal was to make an
end of Teach. But Ballantrae was afraid of a
more efficient captain, who might be a counter-
weight to himself, and he opposed this stoutly.
Teach, he said, was good enough to board ships
and frighten fools with his blacked face and
swearing; we could scarce get a better man than
Teach for that; and besides, as the man was now
disconsidered and as good as deposed, we might
reduce his proportion of the plunder. This
carried it; Teach's share was cut down to a mere
derision, being actually less than mine; and there
remained only two points: whether he would
consent, and who was to announce to him this
Do not let that stick you," says Ballantrae,
"I will do that."

The Master's Wanderings
And he stepped to the companion and down
alone into the cabin to face that drunken savage.
"This is the man for us," cried one of the
hands. "Three cheers for the quartermaster!"
which were given with a will, my own voice among
the loudest, and I dare say these plaudits had their
effect on Master Teach in the cabin, as we have
seen of late days how shouting in the streets may
trouble even the minds of legislators,
What passed precisely was never known, though
some of the heads of it came to the surface later on;
and we were all amazed, as well as gratified, when
Ballantrae came on deck with Teach upon his arm,
and announced that all had been consented.
I pass swiftly over those twelve or fifteen
months in which we continued to keep the sea in
the North Atlantic, getting our food and water
from the ships we overhauled, and doing on the
whole a pretty fortunate business. Sure, no one
could wish to read anything so ungenteel as the
memoirs of a pirate, even an unwilling one like
me! Things went extremely better with our
designs, and Ballantrae kept his lead, to my admira-
tion, from that day forth. I would be tempted to
suppose that a gentleman must everywhere be first,
even aboard a rover : but my birth is every whit as
good as any Scottish lord's, and I am not ashamed
to confess that I stayed Crowding Pat until the
end, and was not much better than the crew's
buffoon. Indeed, it was no scene to bring out

The Master of Ballantrae

my merits. My health suffered from a variety
of reasons; I was more at home to the last on a
horse's back than a ship's deck; and, to be ingen-
uous, the fear of the sea was constantly in my mind,
battling with the fear of my companions. I need
not cry myself up for courage; I have done well on
many fields under the eyes of famous generals, and
earned my late advancement by an act of the most
distinguished valour before many witnesses. But
when we must proceed on one of our abordages,
the heart of Francis Burke was in his boots;
the little egg-shell skiff in which we must set
forth, the horrible heaving of the vast billows,
the height of the ship that we must scale, the
thought of how many might be there in garrison
upon their legitimate defence, the scowling heavens
which (in that climate) so often looked darkly
down upon our exploits, and the mere crying
of the wind in my ears, were all considerations
most unpalatable to my valour. Besides which,
as I was always a creature of the nicest sensibility,
the scenes that must follow on our success tempted
me as little as the chances of defeat. Twice we
found women on board; and though I have seen
towns sacked, and of late days in France some very
horrid public tumults, there was something in the
smallness of the numbers engaged, and the bleak
dangerous sea-surroundings, that made these acts
of piracy far the most revolting. I confess in-
genuously I could never proceed unless I was

The Master's Wanderings
three parts drunk; it was the same even with the
crew; Teach himself was fit for no enterprise till
he was full of rum; and it was one of the most diffi-
cult parts of Ballantrae's performance, to serve us
with liquor in the proper quantities. Even this
he did to admiration; being upon the whole the
most capable man I ever met with, and the one
of the most natural genius. He did not even
scrape favour with the crew, as I did, by con-
tinual buffoonery made upon a very anxious
heart; but preserved on most occasions a great
deal of gravity and distance; so that he was like
a parent among a family of young children, or a
schoolmaster with his boys. What made his part
the harder to perform, the men were most in-
veterate grumblers; Ballantrae's discipline, little as
it was, was yet irksome to their love of licence;
and what was worse, being kept sober they had
time to think. Some of them accordingly would
fall to repenting their abominable crimes; one in
particular, who was a good Catholic, and with
whom I would sometimes steal apart for prayer;
above all in bad weather, fogs, lashing rain and
the like, when we would be the less observed;
and I am sure no two criminals in the cart have
ever performed their devotions with more anxious
sincerity. But the rest, having no such grounds
of hope, fell to another pastime, that of computa-
tion. All day long they would be telling up their
shares or glooming over the result. I have said

The Master of Ballantrae
we were pretty fortunate. But an observation
fails to be made: that in this world, in no
business that I have tried, do the profits rise to a
man's expectations. We found many ships and
took many; yet few of them contained much
money, their goods were usually nothing to our
purpose-what did we want with a cargo of
ploughs, or even of tobacco ?-and it is quite
a painful reflection how many whole crews we
have made to walk the plank for no more than a
stock of biscuits or an anker or two of spirit.
In the meanwhile our ship was growing very
foul, and it was high time we should make for
our forte de carnage, which was in the estuary of
a river among swamps. It was openly understood
that we should then break up and go and
squander our proportions of the spoil; and this
made every man greedy of a little more, so that
our decision was delayed from day to day. What
finally decided matters, was a trifling accident, such
as an ignorant person might suppose incidental to
our way of life. But here I must explain: on only
one of all the ships we boarded, the first on which
we found women, did we meet with any genuine
resistance. On that occasion we had two men
killed and several injured, and if it had not been
for the gallantry of Ballantrae we had surely been
beaten back at last. Everywhere else the defence
(where there was any at all) was what the worst
troops in Europe would have laughed at; so





On that occasion we had two men killed and several injured "
(see page 58).

The Master's Wanderings
that the most dangerous part of our employment
was to clamber up the side of the ship; and
I have even known the poor souls on board to
cast us a line, so eager were they to volunteer
instead of walking the plank. This constant
immunity had made our fellows very soft, so
that I understood how Teach had made so deep
a mark upon their minds; for indeed the com-
pany of that lunatic was the chief danger in
our way of life. The accident to which I have
referred was this :-We had sighted a little full-
rigged ship very close under our board in a
haze; she sailed near as well as we did-I
should be nearer truth if I said, near as ill; and
we cleared the bow-chaser to see if we could
bring a spar or two about their ears. The swell
was exceeding great; the motion of the ship
beyond description; it was little wonder if our
gunners should fire thrice and be still quite broad
of what they aimed at. But in the meanwhile
the chase had cleared a stern gun, the thickness
of the air concealing them; and being better
marksmen, their first shot struck us in the bows,
knocked our two gunners into mince-meat, so
that we were all sprinkled with the blood, and
plunged through the deck into the forecastle,
where we slept. Ballantrae would have held on;
indeed, there was nothing in this contretemps to
affect the mind of any soldier; but he had a quick
perception of the men's wishes, and it was plain

The Master of Ballantrae

this lucky shot had given them a sickener of
their trade. In a moment they were all of one
mind: the chase was drawing away from us, it
was needless to hold on, the Sarah was too foul
to overhaul a bottle, it was mere foolery to keep
the sea with her; and on these pretended grounds
her head was incontinently put about and the
course laid for the river. It was strange to see
what merriment fell on that ship's company, and
how they stamped about the deck jesting, and
each computing what increase had come to his
share by the death of the two gunners.
We were nine days making our port, so light
were the airs we had to sail on, so foul the ship's
bottom; but early on the tenth, before dawn,
and in a light lifting haze, we passed the head.
A little after, the haze lifted, and fell again,
showing us a cruiser very close. This was a sore
blow, happening so near our refuge. There was
a great debate of whether she had seen us, and
if so whether it was likely they recognized the
Sarah. We were very careful, by destroying every
member of those crews we overhauled, to leave
no evidence as to our own persons; but the ap-
pearance of the Sarah herself we could not keep so
private; and above all of late, since she had been
foul, and we had pursued many ships without
success, it was plain that her description had been
often published. I supposed this alert would have
made us separate upon the instant. But here again

The Master's Wanderings
that original genius of Ballantrae's had a surprise
in store for me. He and Teach (and it was the
most remarkable step of his success) had gone hand
in hand since the first day of his appointment.
I often questioned him upon the fact, and never
got an answer but once, when he told me that he
and Teach had an understanding which would
very much surprise the crew if they should hear
of it, and would surprise himself a good deal if
it was carried out." Well, here again he and
Teach were of a mind; and by their joint pro-
curement the anchor was no sooner down than
the whole crew went off upon a scene of drunken-
ness indescribable. By afternoon we were a mere
shipful of lunatical persons, throwing of things
overboard, howling of different songs at the same
time, quarrelling and falling together, and then for-
getting our quarrels to embrace. Ballantrae had
bidden me drink nothing, and feign drunle-ness,
as I valued my life; and I have never passed a
day so wearisomely, lying the best part of the
time upon the forecastle and watching the swamps
and thickets by which our little basin was entirely
surrounded for the eye. A little after dusk Ballan-
trae stumbled up to my side, feigned to fall, with
a drunken laugh, and before he got his feet again,
whispered me to "reel down into the cabin and
seem to fall asleep upon a locker, for there would
be need of me soon." I did as I was told, and
coming into the cabin, where it was quite dark,

The Master of Ballantrae
let myself fall on the first locker. There was a
man there already; by the way he stirred and
threw me off, I could not think he was much in
liquor; and yet when I had found another place,
he seemed to continue to sleep on. My heart now
beat very hard, for I saw some desperate matter
was in act. Presently down came Ballantrae, lit
the lamp, looked about the cabin, nodded as if
pleased, and on deck again without a word. I
peered out from between my fingers, and saw
there were three of us slumbering, or feigning
to slumber, on the lockers: myself, one Dutton
and one Grady, both resolute men. On deck
the rest were got to a pitch of revelry quite
beyond the bounds of what is human; so that
no reasonable name can describe the sounds they
were now making. I have heard many a drunken
bout in my time, many on board that very Sarah,
but never anything the least like this, which
made me early suppose the liquor had been tam-
pered with. It was a long while before these
yells and howls died out into a sort of miserable
moaning, and then to silence; and it seemed a
long while after that before Ballantrae came down
again, this time with Teach upon his heels. The
latter cursed at the sight of us three upon the
"Tut," says Ballantrae, "you might fire a
pistol at their ears. You know what stuff they
have been swallowing."

The Master's Wanderings
There was a hatch in the cabin floor, and
under that the richest part of the booty was stored
against the day of division. It fastened with a
ring and three padlocks, the keys (for greater
security) being divided; one to Teach, one to
Ballantrae, and one to the mate, a man called
Hammond. Yet I was amazed to see they were
now all in the one hand; and yet more amazed
(still looking through my fingers) to observe
Ballantrae and Teach bring up several packets,
four of them in all, very carefully made up and
with a loop for carriage.
And now," says Teach, let us be going."
One word," says Ballantrae. I have dis-
covered there is another man besides yourself
who knows a private path across the swamp;
and it seems it is shorter than yours."
Teach cried out, in that case, they were un-
"I do not know for that," says Ballantrae.
" For there are several other circumstances with
which I must acquaint you. First of all, there
is no bullet in your pistols, which (if you re-
member) I was kind enough to load for both of
us this morning. Secondly, as there is someone
else who knows a passage, you must think it
highly improbable I should saddle myself with a
lunatic like you. Thirdly, these gentlemen (who
need no longer pretend to be asleep) are those
of my party, and will now proceed to gag and

The Master of Ballantrae
bind you to the mast; and when your men awaken
(if they ever do awake after the drugs we have
mingled in their liquor), I am sure they will be
so obliging as to deliver you, and you will have
no difficulty, I daresay, to explain the business of
the keys."
Not a word said Teach, but looked at us like
a frightened baby as we gagged and bound him.
Now you see, you moon-calf," says Ballantrae,
"why we made four packets. Heretofore you
have been called Captain Teach, but I think you
are now rather Captain Learn."
That was our last word on board the Sarah.
We four, with our four packets, lowered our-
selves softly into a skiff, and left that ship behind
us as silent as the grave, only for the moaning of
some of the drunkards. There was a fog about
breast-high on the waters; so that Dutton, who
knew the passage, must stand on his feet to direct
our rowing; and this, as it forced us to row
gently, was the means of our deliverance. We
were yet but a little way from the ship, when it
began to come grey, and the birds to fly abroad
upon the water. All of a sudden Dutton clapped
down upon his hams, and whispered us to be
silent for our lives, and hearken. Sure enough,
we heard a little faint creak of oars upon one
hand, and then again, and further off, a creak
of oars upon the other. It was clear we had
been sighted yesterday in the morning; here were

The Master's Wanderings
the cruiser's boats to cut us out; here were we
defenceless in their very midst. Sure, never
were poor souls more perilously placed; and as
we lay there on our oars, praying God the mist
might hold, the sweat poured from my brow.
Presently we heard one of the boats where we
might have thrown a biscuit in her. Softly,
men," we heard an officer whisper; and I marvelled
they could not hear the drumming of my heart.
"Never mind the path," says Ballantrae;
" we must get shelter anyhow; let us pull straight
ahead for the sides of the basin."
This we did with the most anxious precaution,
rowing, as best we could, upon our hands, and
steering at a venture in the fog, which was (for
all that) our only safety. But Heaven guided us;
we touched ground at a thicket; scrambled ashore
with our treasure; and having no other way of
concealment, and the mist beginning already to
lighten, hove down the skiff and let her sink.
We were still but new under cover when the sun
rose; and at the same time, from the midst of
the basin, a great shouting of seamen sprang up,
and we knew the Sarah was being boarded. I
heard afterwards the officer that took her got
great honour; and it's true the approach was
creditably managed, but I think he had an easy
capture when he came to board.*
Note by Mr. Mackellar. This Teach of the Sarah
must not be confused with the celebrated Blackbeard.
F 65 -

The 1-L. ? ter of Ballantrae

I was still blessing the saints for my escape,
when I became aware we were in trouble of
another kind. We were here landed at random
in a vast and dangerous swamp; and how to
come at the path was a concern of doubt, fatigue,
and peril. Dutton, indeed, was of opinion we
should wait until the ship was gone, and fish up
the skiff; for any delay would be more wise than
to go blindly ahead in that morass. One went
back accordingly to the basin-side and (peering
through the thicket) saw the fog already quite
drunk up, and English colours flying on the
Sarah, but no movement made to get her under
way. Our situation was now very doubtful.
The swamp was an unhealthful place to linger
in; we had been so greedy to bring treasures
that we had brought but little food; it was highly
desirable, besides, that we should get clear of the
neighbourhood and into the settlements before
the news of the capture went abroad ; and
against all these considerations, there was only
the peril of the passage on the other side. I
think it not wonderful we decided on the active
It was already blistering hot when we set forth

The dates and facts by no means tally. It is possible the
second Teach may have at once borrowed the name and
imitated the more excessive part of his manners from
the first. Even the Master of Ballantrae could make

The Master's Wanderings

to pass the marsh, or rather to strike the path, by
compass. Dutton took the compass, and one or
other of us three carried his proportion of the
treasure. I promise you he kept a sharp eye to
his rear, for it was like the man's soul that he
must trust us with. The thicket was as close as a
bush; the ground was very treacherous, so that
we often sank in the most terrifying manner,
and must go round about; the heat, besides, was
stifling, the air singularly heavy, and the stinging
insects abounded in such myriads that each of us
walked under his own cloud. It has otten been
commented on, how much better gentlemen of
birth endure fatigue than persons of the rabble;
so that walking officers who must tramp in the dirt
beside their men, shame them by their constancy.
This was well to be observed in the present in-
stance; for here were Ballantrae and I, two gentle-
men of the highest breeding, on the one hand;
and on the other, Grady, a common mariner, an
a man nearly a giant in physical strength. The
case of Dutton is not in point, for I cc-::css he
did as well as any of us." But as for Grady, he
began early to lament his case, tailed in the rear,
refused to carry Dutton's packet when it came his
turn, clamoured continually for rum (of which we
had too little), and at last even threatened us from
Note by iMr. Mackellar. And is not this the whole
explanation? since this Dutton, exactly like the officers,
enjoyed the stimulus of some responsibility.

The Master of Ballantrae
behind with a cocked pistol, unless we should
allow him rest. Ballantrae would have fought it
out, I believe; but I prevailed with him the other
way; and we made a stop and ate a meal. It
seemed to benefit Grady little; he was in the rear
again at once, growling and bemoaning his lot;
and at last, by some carelessness, not having fol-
lowed properly in our tracks, stumbled into a deep
part of the slough where it was mostly water,
gave some very dreadful screams, and before we
could come to his aid had sunk along with his
booty. His fate, and above all these screams of
his, appalled us to the soul; yet it was on the
whole a fortunate circumstance and the means of
our deliverance, for it moved Dutton to mofint
into a tree, whence he was able to perceive and to
show me, who had climbed after him, a high piece
of the wood, which was a landmark for the path.
He went forward the more carelessly, I must
suppose; for presently we saw him sink a little
down, draw up his feet and sink again, and so
twice. Then he turned his face to us, pretty
"Lend a hand," said he, "I am in a bad
"I don't know about that," says Ballantrae,
standing still.
Dutton broke out into the most violent oaths,
sinking a little lower as he did, so that the mud
was nearly to his waist, and plucking a pistol

The Master's Wanderings
from his belt, "Help me," he cries, "or die and
be damned to you."
"Nay," says Ballantrae, "I did but jest. I
am coming." And he set down his own packet
and Dutton's, which he was then carrying. Do
not venture near till we see if you are needed,"
said he to me, and went forward alone to where
the man was bogged. He was quiet now, though
he still held the pistol ; and the marks of
terror in his countenance were very moving to
"For the Lord's sake," says he, "look sharp."
Ballantrae was now got close up. Keep
still," says he, and seemed to consider; and then,
"Reach out both your hands!"
Dutton laid down his pistol, and so watery
was the top surface that it went clear out of
sight; with an oath he stooped to snatch it;
and as he did so, Ballantrae leaned forth and
stabbed him between his shoulders. Up went
his hands over his head-I know not whether
with the pain or to ward himself; and the next
moment he doubled forward in the mud.
Ballantrae was already over the ankles; but
he plucked himself out, and came back to me,
where I stood with my knees smiting one another.
" The devil take you, Francis says he. "I
believe you are a half-hearted fellow, after all.
I have only done justice on a pirate. And here
we are quite clear of the Sarah I Who shall now

The Master of Ballantrae
say that we have dipped our hands in any irreg-
ularities ? "
I assured him he did me injustice; but my
sense of humanity was so much affected by the
horridness of the fact that I could scarce find
breath to answer with.
Come," said he, "you must be more resolved.
The need for this fellow ceased when he had
shown you where the path ran; and you cannot
deny I would have been daft to let slip so fair
an opportunity."
I could not deny but he was right in principle;
nor yet could I refrain from shedding tears, of
which I think no man of valour need have been
ashamed; and it was not until I had a share of
the rum that I was able to proceed. I repeat, I
am far from ashamed of my generous emotion;
mercy is honourable in the warrior ; and yet I
cannot altogether censure Ballantrae, whose step
was really fortunate, as we struck the path with-
out further misadventure, and the same night,
about sundown, came to the edge of the morass.
We were too weary to seek far ; on some dry
sands, still warm with the day's sun, and close
under a wood of pines, we lay down and were
instantly plunged in sleep.
We awaked the next morning very early, and
began with a sullen spirit a conversation that
came near to end in blows. We were now cast
on shore in the southern provinces, thousands

The Master's Wanderings
of miles from any French settlement; a dread-
ful journey and a thousand perils lay in front of
us; and sure, if there was ever need for amity,
it was in such an hour. I must suppose that
Ballantrae had suffered in his sense of what is
truly polite; indeed, and there is nothing strange
in the idea, after the sea-wolves we had consorted
with so long; and as for myself, he fubbed me
off unhandsomely, and any gentleman would have
resented his behaviour.
I told him in what light I saw his conduct;
he walked a little off, I following to upbraid
him ; and at last he stopped me with his hand.
"Frank," says he, you know what we swore;
and yet there is no oath invented would induce
me to swallow such expressions, if I did not re-
gard you with sincere affection. It is impossible
you should doubt me there: I have given proofs.
Dutton I had to take, because he knew the pass,
and Grady because Dutton would not move with-
out him; but what call was there to carry you
along? You are a perpetual danger to me with
your cursed Irish tongue. By rights you should
now be in irons in the cruiser. And you quarrel
with me like a baby for some trinkets "
I considered this one of the most unhandsome
speeches ever made; and indeed to this day I can
scarce reconcile it to my notion of a gentleman
that was my friend. I retorted upon him with his
Scotch accent, of which he had not so much as

The Master of Ballantrae
some, but enough to be very barbarous and dis-
gusting, as I told him plainly; and the affair would
have gone to a great length, but for an alarming
We had got some way off upon the sand. The
place where we had slept, with the packets lying
undone and the money scattered openly, was now
between us and the pines; and it was out of these
the stranger must have come. There he was at
least, a great hulking fellow of the country, with a
broad axe on his shoulder, looking open-mouthed,
now at the treasure, which was just at his feet,
and now at our disputation, in which we had gone
far enough to have weapons in our hands. We
had no sooner observed him than he found his
legs and made off again among the pines.
This was no scene to put our minds at rest: a
couple of armed men in sea-clothes found quarrel-
ling over a treasure, not many miles from where
a pirate had been captured-here was enough to
bring the whole country about our ears. The
quarrel was not even made up; it was blotted
from our minds; and we got our packets together
in the twinkling of an eye, and made oft, running
with the best will in the world. But the trouble
was, we did not know in what direction, and must
continually return upon our steps. Ballantrae had
indeed collected what he could from Dutton; but
it's hard to travel upon hearsay; and the estu-
ary, which spreads into a vast irregular harbour,

The Master's Wanderings
turned us off upon every side with a new stretch
of water.
We were near beside ourselves, and already
quite spent with running, when, coming to the
top of a dune, we saw we were again cut off by
another ramification of the bay. This was a
creek, however, very different from those that had
arrested us before; being set in rocks, and so pre
cipitously deep that a small vessel was able to lie
alongside, made fast with a hawser; and her crew
had laid a plank to the shore. Here they had
lighted a fire, and were sitting at their meal. As
f;or the vessel herself, she was one of those they
build in the Bermudas.
The love of gold and the great hatred that
everybody has to pirates were motives of the most
influential, and would certainly raise the country
in our pursuit. Besides, it was now plain we were
on some sort of straggling peninsula, like the
fingers of a hand; and the wrist, or passage to the
mainland, which we should have taken at the first,
was by this time not improbably secured. These
considerations put us on a bolder counsel. For as
long as we dared, looking every moment to hear
sounds of the chase, we lay among some bushes
on the top of the dune; and having by this means
secured a little breath and recomposed our appear-
ance, we strolled down at last, with a great affec-
tation of carelessness, to the party by the fire.
It was a trader and his negroes, belonging t,

The Master of Ballantrae
Albany, in the province of New York, and now
on the way home from the Indies with a cargo;
his name I cannot recall. We were amazed to
learn he had put in here from terror of the Sarah;
for we had no thought our exploits had been so
notorious. As soon as the Albanian heard she
had been taken the day before, he jumped to his
feet, gave us a cup of spirits for our good news,
and sent his negroes to get sail on the Bermudan.
On our side, we profited by the dram to become
more confidential, and at last offered ourselves as
passengers. He looked askance at our tarry
clothes and pistols, and replied civilly enough that
he had scarce accommodation for himself; nor
could either our prayers or our offers of money, in
which we advanced pretty far, avail to shake him.
"I see, you think ill of us," says Ballantrae,
" but I will show you how well we think of you
by telling you the truth. We are Jacobite fugi-
tives, and there is a price upon our heads."
At this, the Albanian was plainly moved a
little. He asked us many questions as to the
Scotch war, which Ballantrae very patiently
answered. And then, with a wink, in a vulgar
manner, "I guess you and your Prince Charlie
got more than you cared about," said he.
Bedad, and that we did," said I. And, my
dear man, I wish you would set a new example
and give us just that much."
This I said in the Irish way, about which there

The Master's Wanderings
is allowed to be something very engaging. It's a
remarkable thing, and a testimony to the love with
which our nation is regarded, that this address
scarce ever fails in a handsome fellow. I cannot
tell how often I have seen a private soldier escape
the horse, or a beggar wheedle out a good alms by
a touch of the brogue. And, indeed, as soon as
the Albanian had laughed at me I was pretty much
at rest. Even then, however, he made many con-
ditions, and-for one thing-took away our arms,
before he suffered us aboard; which was the signal
to cast off; so that in a moment after, we were
gliding down the bay with a good breeze, and
blessing the name of God for our deliverance.
Almost in the mouth of the estuary, we passed
the cruiser, and a little after the poor Sarah with
her prize crew; and these were both sights to
make us tremble. The Bermudan seemed a very
safe place to be in, and our bold stroke to have
been fortunately played, when we were thus re-
minded of the case of our companions. For all
that, we had only exchanged traps, jumped out of
the frying-pan into the fire, run from the yard-
arm to the block, and escaped the open hostility
of the man-of-war to lie at the mercy of the
doubtful faith of our Albanian merchant.
From many circumstances, it chanced we were
safer than we could have dared to hope. The
town of Albany was at that time much concerned
in contraband trade across the desert with the

The Master of Ballantrae
Indians. and the French. This, as it was highly
illegal, relaxed their loyalty, and as it brought
them in relation with the politest people on the
earth, divided even their sympathies. In short,
they were like all the smugglers in the world,
spies and agents ready-made for either party.
Our Albanian, besides, was a very honest man
indeed, and very greedy; and, to crown our luck,
he conceived a great delight in our society.
Before we had reached the town of New York
we had come to a full agreement, that he should
carry us as far as Albany upon his ship, and
thence put us on a way to pass the boundaries
and join the French. For all this we were to
pay at a high rate; but beggars cannot be choosers,
nor outlaws bargainers.
We sailed, then, up the Hudson River, which,
I protest, is a very fine stream, and put up at
the "King's Arms" in Albany. The town was
full of the militia of the province, breathing
slaughter against the French. Governor Clinton
was there himself, a very busy man, and, by
what I could learn, very near distracted by the
factiousness of his Assembly. The Indians on
both sides were on the war-path; we saw parties
of them bringing in prisoners and (what was
much worse) scalps, both male and female, for
which they were paid at a fixed rate; and I
assure you the sight was not encouraging. Alto-
gether, we could scarce have come at a period

The Master's Wanderings
more unsuitable for our designs; our position in
the chief inn was dreadfully conspicuous; our
Albanian dubbed us off with a thousand delays,
and seemed upon the point of a retreat from his
engagements; nothing but peril appeared to en-
viron the poor fugitives, and for some time we
drowned our concern in a very irregular course
of living.
This, too, proved to be fortunate; and it's
one of the remarks that fall to be made upon our
escape, how providentially our steps were con-
ducted to the very end. What a humiliation to
the dignity of man My philosophy, the extra-
ordinary genius of Ballantrae, our valour, in
which I grant that we were equal-all these might
have proved insufficient without the Divine blessing
on our efforts. And how true it is, as the Church
tells us, that the Truths of Religion are, after all,
quite applicable even to daily affairs At least,
it was in the course of our revelry that we made
the acquaintance of a spirited youth by the name
of Chew. He was one of the most daring of the
Indian traders, very well acquainted with*'the
secret paths of the wilderness, needy, dissolute,
and, by a last good fortune, in some disgrace with
his family. Him we persuaded to come to our
relief; he privately provided what was needful
for our flight, and one day we slipped out of
Albany, without a word to our former friend,
and embarked, a little above, in a canoe.

The Master of Ballantrae

To the toils and perils of this journey, it would
require a pen more elegant than mine to do full
justice. The reader must conceive for himself
the dreadful wilderness which we had now to
thread; its thickets, swamps, precipitous rocks,
impetuous rivers, and amazing waterfalls. Among
these barbarous scenes we must toil all day, now
paddling, now carrying our canoe upon our
shoulders; and at night we slept about a fire,
surrounded by the howling of wolves and other
savage animals. It was our design to mount the
headwaters of the Hudson, to the neighbourhood
of Crown Point, where the French had a strong
place in the woods, upon Lake Champlain. But
to have done this directly were too perilous; and
it was accordingly gone upon by such a labyrinth
of rivers, lakes, and portages as makes my head
giddy to remember. These paths were in ordinary
times entirely desert; but the country was now
up, the tribes on the war-path, the woods full of
Indian scouts. Again and again we came upon
these parties when we least expected them; and
one day, in particular, I shall never forget, how,
as dawn was coming in, we were suddenly sur-
rounded by five or six of these painted devils,
uttering a very dreary sort of cry, and brandishing
their hatchets. It passed off harmlessly, indeed,
as did the rest of our encounters; for Chew was
well known and highly valued among the different
tribes. Indeed, he was a very gallant, respectable

The Master's Wanderings
young man; but even with the advantage of his
companionship, you must not think these meetings
were without sensible peril. To prove friendship
on our part, it was needful to draw upon our
stock of rum-indeed, under whatever disguise,
that is the true business of the Indian trader, to
keep a travelling public-house in the forest; and
when once the braves had got their bottle of
scaura (as they call this beastly liquor), it behoved
us to set forth and paddle for our scalps. Once
they were a little drunk, good-bye to any sense
or decency ; they had but the one thought,
to get more scaura. They might easily take
it in their heads to give us chase, and had
we been overtaken, I had never written these
We were come to the most critical portion of
our course, where we might equally expect to fall
into the hands of French or English, when a
terrible calamity befell us. Chew was taken
suddenly sick with symptoms like those of poison,
and in the course of a few hours expired in the
bottom of the canoe. We thus lost at once our
guide, our interpreter, our boatman, and our pass-
port, for he was all these in one; and found
ourselves reduced, at a blow, to the most desperate
and irremediable distress. Chew, who took a
great pride in his knowledge, had indeed often
lectured us on the geography; and Ballantrae,
I believe, would listen. But for my part I have

The Master of Ballantrae
always found such information highly tedious;
and beyond the fact that we were now in the
country of the Adirondack Indians, and not so
distant from our destination, could we but have
found the way, I was entirely ignorant. The
wisdom of my course was soon the more apparent;
for with all his pains, Ballantrae was no further
advanced than myself. He knew we must con-
tinue to go up one stream; then, by way of a
portage, down another; and then up a third.
But you are to consider, in a mountain country,
how many streams come rolling in from every
hand. And how is a gentleman, who is a perfect
stranger in that part of the world, to tell any
one of them from any other ? Nor was this our
only trouble. We were great novices, besides,
in handling a canoe; the portages were almost
beyond our strength, so that I have seen us sit
down in despair for half an hour at a time without
one word; and the appearance of a single Indian,
since we had now no means of speaking to them,
would have been in all probability the means of
our destruction. There is altogether some excuse
if Ballantrae showed something of a glooming
disposition; his habit of imputing blame to others,
quite as capable as himself, was less tolerable,
and his language it was not always easy to accept.
Indeed, he had contracted on board the pirate
ship a manner of address which was in a high
degree unusual between gentlemen; and now,

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