I asked if he was Mr. Charles Stewart the Writer.
"The same," says he; "and, if the question is equally fair, who may
you be yourself?"
"You never heard tell of my name nor of me either," said I, "but I
bring you a token from a friend that you know well. That you know
well," I repeated, lowering my voice, "but maybe are not just so
keen to hear from at this present being. And the bits of business
that I have to propone to you are rather in the nature of being
confidential. In short, I would like to think we were quite
He rose without more words, casting down his paper like a man ill-
pleased, sent forth his clerk of an errand, and shut to the house-
door behind him.
"Now, sir," said he, returning, "speak out your mind and fear
nothing; though before you begin," he cries out, "I tell you mine
misgives me! I tell you beforehand, ye're either a Stewart or a
Stewart sent ye. A good name it is, and one it would ill-become my
father's son to lightly. But I begin to grue at the sound of it."
"My name is called Balfour," said I, "David Balfour of Shaws. As
for him that sent me, I will let his token speak." And I showed
the silver button.
"Put it in your pocket, sir!" cries he. "Ye need name no names.
The deevil's buckie, I ken the button of him! And de'il hae't!
Where is he now!"
I told him I knew not where Alan was, but he had some sure place
(or thought he had) about the north side, where he was to lie until
a ship was found for him; and how and where he had appointed to be
"It's been always my opinion that I would hang in a tow for this
family of mine," he cried, "and, dod! I believe the day's come
now! Get a ship for him, quot' he! And who's to pay for it? The
"That is my part of the affair, Mr. Stewart," said I. "Here is a
bag of good money, and if more be wanted, more is to be had where
it came from."
"I needn't ask your politics," said he.
"Ye need not," said I, smiling, "for I'm as big a Whig as grows."
"Stop a bit, stop a bit," says Mr. Stewart. "What's all this? A
Whig? Then why are you here with Alan's button? and what kind of a
black-foot traffic is this that I find ye out in, Mr. Whig? Here
is a forfeited rebel and an accused murderer, with two hundred
pounds on his life, and ye ask me to meddle in his business, and
then tell me ye're a Whig! I have no mind of any such Whigs
before, though I've kent plenty of them."
"He's a forfeited rebel, the more's the pity," said I, "for the
man's my friend. I can only wish he had been better guided. And
an accused murderer, that he is too, for his misfortune; but
"I hear you say so," said Stewart.
"More than you are to hear me say so, before long," said I. "Alan
Breck is innocent, and so is James."
"Oh!" says he, "the two cases hang together. If Alan is out, James
can never be in."
Hereupon I told him briefly of my acquaintance with Alan, of the
accident that brought me present at the Appin murder, and the
various passages of our escape among the heather, and my recovery
of my estate. "So, sir, you have now the whole train of these
events," I went on, "and can see for yourself how I come to be so
much mingled up with the affairs of your family and friends, which
(for all of our sakes) I wish had been plainer and less bloody.
You can see for yourself, too, that I have certain pieces of
business depending, which were scarcely fit to lay before a lawyer
chosen at random. No more remains, but to ask if you will
undertake my service?"
"I have no great mind to it; but coming as you do with Alan's
button, the choice is scarcely left me," said he. "What are your
instructions?" he added, and took up his pen.
"The first point is to smuggle Alan forth of this country," said I,
"but I need not be repeating that."
"I am little likely to forget it," said Stewart.