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"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

farthing sterling."

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

his notes.

"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

like."

"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.

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Robert Louis Stevenson

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Robert Louis Stevenson
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