"The next thing is the bit money I am owing to Cluny," I went on.
"It would be ill for me to find a conveyance, but that should be no
stick to you. It was two pounds five shillings and three-halfpence
He noted it.
"Then," said I, "there's a Mr. Henderland, a licensed preacher and
missionary in Ardgour, that I would like well to get some snuff
into the hands of; and, as I daresay you keep touch with your
friends in Appin (so near by), it's a job you could doubtless
overtake with the other."
"How much snuff are we to say?" he asked.
"I was thinking of two pounds," said I.
"Two," said he.
"Then there's the lass Alison Hastie, in Lime Kilns," said I. "Her
that helped Alan and me across the Forth. I was thinking if I
could get her a good Sunday gown, such as she could wear with
decency in her degree, it would be an ease to my conscience; for
the mere truth is, we owe her our two lives."
"I am glad so see you are thrifty, Mr. Balfour," says he, making
"I would think shame to be otherwise the first day of my fortune,"
said I. "And now, if you will compute the outlay and your own
proper charges, I would be glad to know if I could get some
spending-money back. It's not that I grudge the whole of it to get
Alan safe; it's not that I lack more; but having drawn so much the
one day, I think it would have a very ill appearance if I was back
again seeking, the next. Only be sure you have enough," I added,
"for I am very undesirous to meet with you again."
"Well, and I'm pleased to see you're cautious, too," said the
Writer. "But I think ye take a risk to lay so considerable a sum
at my discretion."
He said this with a plain sneer.
"I'll have to run the hazard," I replied. "O, and there's another
service I would ask, and that's to direct me to a lodging, for I
have no roof to my head. But it must be a lodging I may seem to
have hit upon by accident, for it would never do if the Lord
Advocate were to get any jealousy of our acquaintance."
"Ye may set your weary spirit at rest," said he. "I will never
name your name, sir; and it's my belief the Advocate is still so
much to be sympathised with that he doesnae ken of your existence."
I saw I had got to the wrong side of the man.
"There's a braw day coming for him, then," said I, "for he'll have
to learn of it on the deaf side of his head no later than to-
morrow, when I call on him."
"When ye CALL on him!" repeated Mr. Stewart. "Am I daft, or are
you! What takes ye near the Advocate!"
"O, just to give myself up," said I.
"Mr. Balfour," he cried, "are ye making a mock of me?"
"No, sir," said I, "though I think you have allowed yourself some
such freedom with myself. But I give you to understand once and
for all that I am in no jesting spirit."
"Nor yet me," says Stewart. "And I give yon to understand (if
that's to be the word) that I like the looks of your behaviour less
and less. You come here to me with all sorts of propositions,
which will put me in a train of very doubtful acts and bring me
among very undesirable persons this many a day to come. And then
you tell me you're going straight out of my office to make your
peace with the Advocate! Alan's button here or Alan's button
there, the four quarters of Alan wouldnae bribe me further in."
"I would take it with a little more temper," said I, "and perhaps
we can avoid what you object to. I can see no way for it but to
give myself up, but perhaps you can see another; and if you could,
I could never deny but what I would be rather relieved. For I
think my traffic with his lordship is little likely to agree with
my health. There's just the one thing clear, that I have to give
my evidence; for I hope it'll save Alan's character (what's left of
it), and James's neck, which is the more immediate."
He was silent for a breathing-space, and then, "My man," said he,
"you'll never be allowed to give such evidence."
"We'll have to see about that," said I; "I'm stiff-necked when I
"Ye muckle ass!" cried Stewart, "it's James they want; James has
got to hang--Alan, too, if they could catch him--but James
whatever! Go near the Advocate with any such business, and you'll
see! he'll find a way to muzzle, ye."
"I think better of the Advocate than that," said I.