was my first sight of my friend since we were parted, and I looked
upon him with enjoyment. He had still the same big great-coat on
his back; but (what was new) he had now a pair of knitted boot-hose
drawn above the knee. Doubtless these were intended for disguise;
but, as the day promised to be warm, he made a most unseasonable
"Well, Davie," said he, "is this no a bonny morning? Here is a day
that looks the way that a day ought to. This is a great change of
it from the belly of my haystack; and while you were there
sottering and sleeping I have done a thing that maybe I do very
"And what was that?" said I.
"O, just said my prayers," said he.
"And where are my gentry, as ye call them?" I asked.
"Gude kens," says he; "and the short and the long of it is that we
must take our chance of them. Up with your foot-soles, Davie!
Forth, Fortune, once again of it! And a bonny walk we are like to
So we went east by the beach of the sea, towards where the salt-
pans were smoking in by the Esk mouth. No doubt there was a by-
ordinary bonny blink of morning sun on Arthur's Seat and the green
Pentlands; and the pleasantness of the day appeared to set Alan
"I feel like a gomeral," says he, "to be leaving Scotland on a day
like this. It sticks in my head; I would maybe like it better to
stay here and hing."
"Ay, but ye wouldnae, Alan," said I.
"No, but what France is a good place too," he explained; "but it's
some way no the same. It's brawer I believe, but it's no Scotland.
I like it fine when I'm there, man; yet I kind of weary for Scots
divots and the Scots peat-reek."
"If that's all you have to complain of, Alan, it's no such great
affair," said I.
"And it sets me ill to be complaining, whatever," said he, "and me
but new out of yon deil's haystack."
"And so you were unco weary of your haystack?" I asked.
"Weary's nae word for it," said he. "I'm not just precisely a man
that's easily cast down; but I do better with caller air and the
lift above my head. I'm like the auld Black Douglas (wasnae't?)
that likit better to hear the laverock sing than the mouse cheep.
And yon place, ye see, Davie--whilk was a very suitable place to
hide in, as I'm free to own--was pit mirk from dawn to gloaming.
There were days (or nights, for how would I tell one from other?)
that seemed to me as long as a long winter."
"How did you know the hour to bide your tryst?" I asked.
"The goodman brought me my meat and a drop brandy, and a candle-
dowp to eat it by, about eleeven," said he. "So, when I had
swallowed a bit, it would he time to be getting to the wood. There
I lay and wearied for ye sore, Davie," says he, laying his hand on
my shoulder "and guessed when the two hours would be about by--
unless Charlie Stewart would come and tell me on his watch--and
then back to the dooms haystack. Na, it was a driech employ, and
praise the Lord that I have warstled through with it!"
"What did you do with yourself?" I asked.
"Faith," said he, "the best I could! Whiles I played at the
knucklebones. I'm an extraordinar good hand at the knucklebones,
but it's a poor piece of business playing with naebody to admire
ye. And whiles I would make songs."
"What were they about?" says I.
"O, about the deer and the heather," says he, "and about the
ancient old chiefs that are all by with it lang syne, and just
about what songs are about in general. And then whiles I would
make believe I had a set of pipes and I was playing. I played some
grand springs, and I thought I played them awful bonny; I vow
whiles that I could hear the squeal of them! But the great affair
is that it's done with."
With that he carried me again to my adventures, which he heard all
over again with more particularity, and extraordinary approval,
swearing at intervals that I was "a queer character of a callant."
"So ye were frich'ened of Sim Fraser?" he asked once.