Catriona

Page 04

You will not have been long

there, and not known some of our friends or family?"

"I lived with a very honest, kind man called Duncan Dhu Maclaren,"

I replied.

"Well, I know Duncan, and you give him the true name!" she said;

"and if he is an honest man, his wife is honest indeed."

"Ay," said I, "they are fine people, and the place is a bonny

place."

"Where in the great world is such another!" she cries; "I am loving

the smell of that place and the roots that grow there."

I was infinitely taken with the spirit of the maid. "I could be

wishing I had brought you a spray of that heather," says I. "And,

though I did ill to speak with you at the first, now it seems we

have common acquaintance, I make it my petition you will not forget

me. David Balfour is the name I am known by. This is my lucky

day, when I have just come into a landed estate, and am not very

long out of a deadly peril. I wish you would keep my name in mind

for the sake of Balwhidder," said I, "and I will yours for the sake

of my lucky day."

"My name is not spoken," she replied, with a great deal of

haughtiness. "More than a hundred years it has not gone upon men's

tongues, save for a blink. I am nameless, like the Folk of Peace.

{3} Catriona Drummond is the one I use."

Now indeed I knew where I was standing. In all broad Scotland

there was but the one name proscribed, and that was the name of the

Macgregors. Yet so far from fleeing this undesirable acquaintancy,

I plunged the deeper in.

"I have been sitting with one who was in the same case with

yourself," said I, "and I think he will be one of your friends.

They called him Robin Oig."

"Did ye so?" cries she. "Ye met Rob?"

"I passed the night with him," said I.

"He is a fowl of the night," said she.

"There was a set of pipes there," I went on, "so you may judge if

the time passed."

"You should be no enemy, at all events," said she. "That was his

brother there a moment since, with the red soldiers round him. It

is him that I call father."

"Is it so?" cried I. "Are you a daughter of James More's?"

"All the daughter that he has," says she: "the daughter of a

prisoner; that I should forget it so, even for one hour, to talk

with strangers!"

Here one of the gillies addressed her in what he had of English, to

know what "she" (meaning by that himself) was to do about "ta

sneeshin." I took some note of him for a short, bandy-legged, red-

haired, big-headed man, that I was to know more of to my cost.

"There can be none the day, Neil," she replied. "How will you get

'sneeshin,' wanting siller! It will teach you another time to be

more careful; and I think James More will not be very well pleased

with Neil of the Tom."

"Miss Drummond," I said, "I told you I was in my lucky day. Here I

am, and a bank-porter at my tail. And remember I have had the

hospitality of your own country of Balwhidder."

"It was not one of my people gave it," said she.

"Ah, well," said I, "but I am owing your uncle at least for some

springs upon the pipes. Besides which, I have offered myself to be

your friend, and you have been so forgetful that you did not refuse

me in the proper time."

"If it had been a great sum, it might have done you honour," said

she; "but I will tell you what this is. James More lies shackled

in prison; but this time past they will be bringing him down here

daily to the Advocate's. . . ."

"The Advocate's!" I cried. "Is that . . . ?"

"It is the house of the Lord Advocate Grant of Prestongrange," said

she. "There they bring my father one time and another, for what

purpose I have no thought in my mind; but it seems there is some

hope dawned for him. All this same time they will not let me be

seeing him, nor yet him write; and we wait upon the King's street

to catch him; and now we give him his snuff as he goes by, and now

something else.

Catriona Page 05

Robert Louis Stevenson

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Robert Louis Stevenson
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