Page 49

Balfour," says he, "that now we have

dogs at our tail. They're on the scent; they're in full cry,

David. It's a bad business and be damned to it." And he sat

thinking hard with a look of his that I knew well.

"I'm saying, Luckie," says he, when the goodwife returned, "have ye

a back road out of this change house?"

She told him there was and where it led to.

"Then, sir," says he to me, "I think that will be the shortest road

for us. And here's good-bye to ye, my braw woman; and I'll no

forget thon of the cinnamon water."

We went out by way of the woman's kale yard, and up a lane among

fields. Alan looked sharply to all sides, and seeing we were in a

little hollow place of the country, out of view of men, sat down.

"Now for a council of war, Davie," said he. "But first of all, a

bit lesson to ye. Suppose that I had been like you, what would yon

old wife have minded of the pair of us! Just that we had gone out

by the back gate. And what does she mind now? A fine, canty,

friendly, cracky man, that suffered with the stomach, poor body!

and was real ta'en up about the goodbrother. O man, David, try and

learn to have some kind of intelligence!"

"I'll try, Alan," said I.

"And now for him of the red head," says he; "was he gaun fast or


"Betwixt and between," said I.

"No kind of a hurry about the man?" he asked.

"Never a sign of it," said I.

"Nhm!" said Alan, "it looks queer. We saw nothing of them this

morning on the Whins; he's passed us by, he doesnae seem to be

looking, and yet here he is on our road! Dod, Davie, I begin to

take a notion. I think it's no you they're seeking, I think it's

me; and I think they ken fine where they're gaun."

"They ken?" I asked.

"I think Andie Scougal's sold me--him or his mate wha kent some

part of the affair--or else Charlie's clerk callant, which would be

a pity too," says Alan; "and if you askit me for just my inward

private conviction, I think there'll be heads cracked on Gillane


"Alan," I cried, "if you're at all right there'll be folk there and

to spare. It'll be small service to crack heads."

"It would aye be a satisfaction though," says Alan. But bide a

bit; bide a bit; I'm thinking--and thanks to this bonny westland

wind, I believe I've still a chance of it. It's this way, Davie.

I'm no trysted with this man Scougal till the gloaming comes.



OF FIDRA. Now if your gentry kens the place, they ken the time

forbye. Do ye see me coming, Davie? Thanks to Johnnie Cope and

other red-coat gomerals, I should ken this country like the back of

my hand; and if ye're ready for another bit run with Alan Breck,

we'll can cast back inshore, and come to the seaside again by

Dirleton. If the ship's there, we'll try and get on board of her.

If she's no there, I'll just have to get back to my weary haystack.

But either way of it, I think we will leave your gentry whistling

on their thumbs."

"I believe there's some chance in it," said I. "Have on with ye,



I did not profit by Alan's pilotage as he had done by his marchings

under General Cope; for I can scarce tell what way we went. It is

my excuse that we travelled exceeding fast. Some part we ran, some

trotted, and the rest walked at a vengeance of a pace. Twice,

while we were at top speed, we ran against country-folk; but though

we plumped into the first from round a corner, Alan was as ready as

a loaded musket.

"Has ye seen my horse?" he gasped.

"Na, man, I haenae seen nae horse the day," replied the countryman.

And Alan spared the time to explain to him that we were travelling

"ride and tie"; that our charger had escaped, and it was feared he

had gone home to Linton.

Robert Louis Stevenson
Classic Literature Library

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