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By Robert Louis Stevenson

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There is a regular ferry from Torosay to Kinlochaline on the
mainland. Both shores of the Sound are in the country of the
strong clan of the Macleans, and the people that passed the ferry
with me were almost all of that clan. The skipper of the boat,
on the other hand, was called Neil Roy Macrob; and since Macrob
was one of the names of Alan's clansmen, and Alan himself had
sent me to that ferry, I was eager to come to private speech of
Neil Roy.

In the crowded boat this was of course impossible, and the
passage was a very slow affair. There was no wind, and as the
boat was wretchedly equipped, we could pull but two oars on one
side, and one on the other. The men gave way, however, with a
good will, the passengers taking spells to help them, and the
whole company giving the time in Gaelic boat-songs. And what
with the songs, and the sea-air, and the good-nature and spirit
of all concerned, and the bright weather, the passage was a
pretty thing to have seen.

But there was one melancholy part. In the mouth of Loch Aline we
found a great sea-going ship at anchor; and this I supposed at
first to be one of the King's cruisers which were kept along that
coast, both summer and winter, to prevent communication with the
French. As we got a little nearer, it became plain she was a
ship of merchandise; and what still more puzzled me, not only her
decks, but the sea-beach also, were quite black with people, and
skiffs were continually plying to and fro between them. Yet
nearer, and there began to come to our ears a great sound of
mourning, the people on board and those on the shore crying and
lamenting one to another so as to pierce the heart.

Then I understood this was an emigrant ship bound for the
American colonies.

We put the ferry-boat alongside, and the exiles leaned over the
bulwarks, weeping and reaching out their hands to my
fellow-passengers, among whom they counted some near friends.
How long this might have gone on I do not know, for they seemed
to have no sense of time: but at last the captain of the ship,
who seemed near beside himself (and no great wonder) in the midst
of this crying and confusion, came to the side and begged us to

Thereupon Neil sheered off; and the chief singer in our boat
struck into a melancholy air, which was presently taken up both
by the emigrants and their friends upon the beach, so that it
sounded from all sides like a lament for the dying. I saw the
tears run down the cheeks of the men and women in the boat, even
as they bent at the oars; and the circumstances and the music of
the song (which is one called "Lochaber no more") were highly
affecting even to myself.

At Kinlochaline I got Neil Roy upon one side on the beach, and
said I made sure he was one of Appin's men.

"And what for no?" said he.

"I am seeking somebody," said I; "and it comes in my mind that
you will have news of him. Alan Breck Stewart is his name." And
very foolishly, instead of showing him the button, I sought to
pass a shilling in his hand.

At this he drew back. "I am very much affronted," he said; "and
this is not the way that one shentleman should behave to another
at all. The man you ask for is in France; but if he was in my
sporran," says he, "and your belly full of shillings, I would not
hurt a hair upon his body."

I saw I had gone the wrong way to work, and without wasting time
upon apologies, showed him the button lying in the hollow of my

"Aweel, aweel," said Neil; "and I think ye might have begun with
that end of the stick, whatever! But if ye are the lad with the
silver button, all is well, and I have the word to see that ye
come safe. But if ye will pardon me to speak plainly," says he,
"there is a name that you should never take into your mouth, and
that is the name of Alan Breck; and there is a thing that ye
would never do, and that is to offer your dirty money to a
Hieland shentleman."

It was not very easy to apologise; for I could scarce tell him
(what was the truth) that I had never dreamed he would set up to
be a gentleman until he told me so. Neil on his part had no wish
to prolong his dealings with me, only to fulfil his orders and be
done with it; and he made haste to give me my route. This was to
lie the night in Kinlochaline in the public inn; to cross Morven
the next day to Ardgour, and lie the night in the house of one
John of the Claymore, who was warned that I might come; the third
day, to be set across one loch at Corran and another at
Balachulish, and then ask my way to the house of James of the
Glens, at Aucharn in Duror of Appin. There was a good deal of
ferrying, as you hear; the sea in all this part running deep into
the mountains and winding about their roots. It makes the
country strong to hold and difficult to travel, but full of
prodigious wild and dreadful prospects.

I had some other advice from Neil: to speak with no one by the
way, to avoid Whigs, Campbells, and the "red-soldiers;" to leave
the road and lie in a bush if I saw any of the latter coming,
"for it was never chancy to meet in with them;" and in brief, to
conduct myself like a robber or a Jacobite agent, as perhaps Neil
thought me.

The inn at Kinlochaline was the most beggarly vile place that
ever pigs were styed in, full of smoke, vermin, and silent
Highlanders. I was not only discontented with my lodging, but
with myself for my mismanagement of Neil, and thought I could
hardly be worse off. But very wrongly, as I was soon to see; for
I had not been half an hour at the inn (standing in the door most
of the time, to ease my eyes from the peat smoke) when a
thunderstorm came close by, the springs broke in a little hill on
which the inn stood, and one end of the house became a running
water. Places of public entertainment were bad enough all over
Scotland in those days; yet it was a wonder to myself, when I had
to go from the fireside to the bed in which I slept, wading over
the shoes.

Early in my next day's journey I overtook a little, stout, solemn
man, walking very slowly with his toes turned out, sometimes
reading in a book and sometimes marking the place with his
finger, and dressed decently and plainly in something of a
clerical style.

This I found to be another catechist, but of a different order
from the blind man of Mull: being indeed one of those sent out by
the Edinburgh Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge, to
evangelise the more savage places of the Highlands. His name was
Henderland; he spoke with the broad south-country tongue, which I
was beginning to weary for the sound of; and besides common
countryship, we soon found we had a more particular bond of
interest. For my good friend, the minister of Essendean, had
translated into the Gaelic in his by-time a number of hymns and
pious books which Henderland used in his work, and held in great
esteem. Indeed, it was one of these he was carrying and reading
when we met.

We fell in company at once, our ways lying together as far as to
Kingairloch. As we went, he stopped and spoke with all the
wayfarers and workers that we met or passed; and though of course
I could not tell what they discoursed about, yet I judged Mr.
Henderland must be well liked in the countryside, for I observed
many of them to bring out their mulls and share a pinch of snuff
with him.

I told him as far in my affairs as I judged wise; as far, that
is, as they were none of Alan's; and gave Balachulish as the
place I was travelling to, to meet a friend; for I thought
Aucharn, or even Duror, would be too particular, and might put
him on the scent.

On his part, he told me much of his work and the people he worked
among, the hiding priests and Jacobites, the Disarming Act, the
dress, and many other curiosities of the time and place. He
seemed moderate; blaming Parliament in several points, and
especially because they had framed the Act more severely against
those who wore the dress than against those who carried weapons.

This moderation put it in my mind to question him of the Red Fox
and the Appin tenants; questions which, I thought, would seem
natural enough in the mouth of one travelling to that country.

He said it was a bad business. "It's wonderful," said he, "where
the tenants find the money, for their life is mere starvation.
(Ye don't carry such a thing as snuff, do ye, Mr. Balfour? No.
Well, I'm better wanting it.) But these tenants (as I was
saying) are doubtless partly driven to it. James Stewart in
Duror (that's him they call James of the Glens) is half-brother
to Ardshiel, the captain of the clan; and he is a man much looked
up to, and drives very hard. And then there's one they call Alan

"Ah!" I cried, "what of him?"

"What of the wind that bloweth where it listeth?" said
Henderland. "He's here and awa; here to-day and gone to-morrow:
a fair heather-cat. He might be glowering at the two of us out
of yon whin-bush, and I wouldnae wonder! Ye'll no carry such a
thing as snuff, will ye?"

I told him no, and that he had asked the same thing more than once.

"It's highly possible," said he, sighing. "But it seems strange
ye shouldnae carry it. However, as I was saying, this Alan Breck
is a bold, desperate customer, and well kent to be James's right
hand. His life is forfeit already; he would boggle at naething;
and maybe, if a tenant-body was to hang back he would get a dirk
in his wame."

"You make a poor story of it all, Mr. Henderland," said I. "If
it is all fear upon both sides, I care to hear no more of it."

"Na," said Mr. Henderland, "but there's love too, and self-denial
that should put the like of you and me to shame. There's
something fine about it; no perhaps Christian, but humanly fine.
Even Alan Breck, by all that I hear, is a chield to be respected.
There's many a lying sneck-draw sits close in kirk in our own
part of the country, and stands well in the world's eye, and
maybe is a far worse man, Mr. Balfour, than yon misguided shedder
of man's blood. Ay, ay, we might take a lesson by them. -- Ye'll
perhaps think I've been too long in the Hielands?" he added,
smiling to me.

I told him not at all; that I had seen much to admire among the
Highlanders; and if he came to that, Mr. Campbell himself was a

"Ay," said he, "that's true. It's a fine blood."

"And what is the King's agent about?" I asked.

"Colin Campbell?" says Henderland. "Putting his head in a bees'

"He is to turn the tenants out by force, I hear?" said I.

"Yes," says he, "but the business has gone back and forth, as
folk say. First, James of the Glens rode to Edinburgh, and got
some lawyer (a Stewart, nae doubt -- they all hing together like
bats in a steeple) and had the proceedings stayed. And then
Colin Campbell cam' in again, and had the upper-hand before the
Barons of Exchequer. And now they tell me the first of the
tenants are to flit to-morrow. It's to begin at Duror under
James's very windows, which doesnae seem wise by my humble way of

"Do you think they'll fight?" I asked.

"Well," says Henderland, "they're disarmed -- or supposed to be
-- for there's still a good deal of cold iron lying by in quiet
places. And then Colin Campbell has the sogers coming. But for
all that, if I was his lady wife, I wouldnae be well pleased till
I got him home again. They're queer customers, the Appin Stewarts."

I asked if they were worse than their neighbours.

"No they," said he. "And that's the worst part of it. For if
Colin Roy can get his business done in Appin, he has it all to
begin again in the next country, which they call Mamore, and
which is one of the countries of the Camerons. He's King's
Factor upon both, and from both he has to drive out the tenants;
and indeed, Mr. Balfour (to be open with ye), it's my belief that
if he escapes the one lot, he'll get his death by the other."

So we continued talking and walking the great part of the, day;
until at last, Mr. Henderland after expressing his delight in my
company, and satisfaction at meeting with a friend of Mr.
Campbell's ("whom," says he, "I will make bold to call that sweet
singer of our covenanted Zion"), proposed that I should make a
short stage, and lie the night in his house a little beyond
Kingairloch. To say truth, I was overjoyed; for I had no great
desire for John of the Claymore, and since my double
misadventure, first with the guide and next with the gentleman
skipper, I stood in some fear of any Highland stranger.
Accordingly we shook hands upon the bargain, and came in the
afternoon to a small house, standing alone by the shore of the
Linnhe Loch. The sun was already gone from the desert mountains
of Ardgour upon the hither side, but shone on those of Appin on
the farther; the loch lay as still as a lake, only the gulls were
crying round the sides of it; and the whole place seemed solemn
and uncouth.

We had no sooner come to the door of Mr. Henderland's dwelling,
than to my great surprise (for I was now used to the politeness
of Highlanders) he burst rudely past me, dashed into the room,
caught up a jar and a small horn-spoon, and began ladling snuff
into his nose in most excessive quantities. Then he had a hearty
fit of sneezing, and looked round upon me with a rather silly smile.

"It's a vow I took," says he. "I took a vow upon me that I
wouldnae carry it. Doubtless it's a great privation; but when I
think upon the martyrs, not only to the Scottish Covenant but to
other points of Christianity, I think shame to mind it."

As soon as we had eaten (and porridge and whey was the best of
the good man's diet) he took a grave face and said he had a duty
to perform by Mr. Campbell, and that was to inquire into my state
of mind towards God. I was inclined to smile at him since the
business of the snuff; but he had not spoken long before he
brought the tears into my eyes. There are two things that men
should never weary of, goodness and humility; we get none too
much of them in this rough world among cold, proud people; but
Mr. Henderland had their very speech upon his tongue. And though
I was a good deal puffed up with my adventures and with having
come off, as the saying is, with flying colours; yet he soon had
me on my knees beside a simple, poor old man, and both proud and
glad to be there.

Before we went to bed he offered me sixpence to help me on my
way, out of a scanty store he kept in the turf wall of his house;
at which excess of goodness I knew not what to do. But at last
he was so earnest with me that I thought it the more mannerly
part to let him have his way, and so left him poorer than myself.



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