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Bonnie Prince Charlie by G. A. Henty

Part 6 out of 6

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we were in a palace."

The saddle was taken off and the horse turned loose to graze. Malcolm
then removed Ronald's coat and shirt, bathed the wound for some time with
water, cut some pieces of wood to act as splints, and tearing some strips
off his sash bound these tightly.

"The ball has regularly smashed the bone, Ronald, and we must be careful
to keep the shoulder in its proper position or you will never look square
again."

"That does not seem very important to me just at present, Malcolm."

"No. Just at present the most important question is that of getting
something to eat. We have had nothing today and not much yesterday, and
now that we are no longer in danger of pursuit one begins to feel one is
hungry. You stay here while I go and forage. There ought to be a village
somewhere among the hills nor far away."

"Do you know the country, Malcolm?"

"I never came by this path, lad; but I have travelled pretty well all
over the Highlands, and, just as you found to be the case in Lancashire,
there are few villages I do not know. I will first pull you a couch of
this dead bracken, and then be off; an hour's sleep will do you almost as
much good as a meal."

Ronald lay down on the soft couch Malcolm prepared for him, and before he
had been alone for a minute he was fast asleep.

The sun was setting when he awoke. Malcolm stood beside him.

"Here is supper, lad. Not a very grand one, but there's enough of it,
which is more than has been the case for some weeks."

So saying he laid down by Ronald's side a large loaf of black bread, a
cheese made of sheep's milk, and a bottle of spirits.

"The village is five miles away, which is farther than I expected.
However, I came back quicker than I went, for I had had a bowl of milk
and as much bread as I could eat. I found the place in a state of wild
excitement, for two or three of the men had just come in from the
battlefield, and brought the news with them. They are all for the Stuarts
there, and you would be well entertained, but there is sure to be a
search high and low, and you would not be safe in any village. However, a
lad has promised to be here in the morning, and he will guide us to a
lonely hut in the heart of the hills, used by the shepherds in summer.
You will be perfectly safe there."

"It is about three miles from the village, he said. So I can go down two
or three times a week and get food, and learn how things are going on.
The Highlanders may rally again and make another fight of it; but I
hardly expect they will. They are not like regular troops, whose home is
naturally with their colours, and who, after the first rout, try to
rejoin their regiments. There is no discipline among these Highlanders.
Each man does as he likes, and their first impulse after a battle is to
make for their homes -- if it is a victory, to carry home their spoil; if
they are defeated, for rest and shelter. At any rate, whether they gather
again or not, you will have to keep perfectly quiet for a time. When your
shoulder is perfectly healed we can act according to circumstances, and
make for the army if there be an army, or for the seacoast if there is
not."

Although he had eaten but a short time before, Malcolm was quite ready
for another meal, and sitting down beside Ronald he joined him in his
assault upon the black bread and cheese. Then he collected some more of
the bracken, mixed himself a strong horn of whiskey and water, and a much
weaker one for Ronald, after which the two lay down and were fast asleep.

They were awake at sunrise, and shortly afterwards the lad whom Malcolm
had engaged to act as guide made his appearance. The horse was saddled,
Ronald mounted, and they started at once for their destination among the
hills. They followed the path which Malcolm had taken the afternoon
before for some three miles, and then struck off to the left. Half an
hour took them out of the forest, and they journeyed for an hour along
the bare hillsides, until, lying in a sheltered hollow, they saw the hut
which was their destination.

"They are not likely to find us here," Malcolm said cheerfully, "even
were they to scour the mountains. They might ride within fifty yards of
this hollow without suspecting its existence. Where are we to get water?"
he asked the lad in Gaelic.

"A quarter of a mile away over that brow is the head of a stream," the
lad replied. "You cannot well miss it."

"That is all right," Malcolm said. "I don't mind carrying up provisions
or a bottle of spirits now and then; but to drag all the water we want
three miles would be serious."

The door of the hut was only fastened by a latch, and they entered
without ceremony. It consisted of but a single room. There were two or
three rough wooden stools, and a heap of bracken in one corner. Nor a
large amount of furniture, but, in the opinion of a Highlander, amply
sufficient.

"We shall do here capitally," Malcolm said. "Now, what do you think about
the horse, Ronald?"

"Of course he might be useful if we were obliged to move suddenly; but we
have no food to give him, and if we let him shift for himself he will
wander about, and might easily be seen by anyone crossing these hills. A
horse is always a prize, and it might bring troops out into our
neighbourhood who would otherwise not have a thought about coming in this
direction."

"I quite agree with you, Ronald. The lad had better take him down to the
village, and give him to the head man there. He can sell him, or keep
him, or get rid of him as he likes. At any rate he will be off our
hands."

CHAPTER XIX: Fugitives.

For three weeks Ronald and Malcolm remained in hiding in the hut among
the hills. Every two or three days Malcolm went down to the village and
brought back food. He learned that the remains of the army at Ruthven had
entirely dispersed, the prince himself seeing the hopelessness of any
longer continuing the struggle. Terrible tales of slaughter and
devastation by Cumberland's troops circulated through the hills. The duke
had fixed his headquarters at Fort Augustus, and thence his troops
ravaged the whole country of the clans lately in insurrection. Villages
were burned, cattle slaughtered, women subjected to the grossest insult
and ill treatment, and often wantonly slain, and the fugitives among the
mountains hunted like wild beasts, and slain as pitilessly whenever
overtaken.

Ronald's arm was healing fast. Youth and a good constitution, and the
care and attention of Malcolm, aided perhaps by the pure mountain air,
did wonders for him. The splints had proved efficacious, and although
they had not yet been taken off, Malcolm was confident that the injury
would be completely repaired. One morning Malcolm had left but half an
hour for the village when he returned.

"The enemy are in the village," he said. "I can see clouds of smoke
rising in that direction. We had better be off at once. They will be
scouring all the hills here, as they have done elsewhere, and we had
better get out of the neighbourhood."

There was no packing to be done, and taking with them what remained of
the food Malcolm had last brought, they started on their way. They made
first for the spring from which they had drawn their water, and then
followed the little stream on its way down the hill, as it flowed in the
opposite direction to the village. An hour's walking took them into the
forest.

"Before we go further let us have a consultation," Malcolm said. "We are
safe now from pursuit, and had better settle upon what course we intend
to adopt. Shall we make for Glasgow, and lie hid there until things blow
over a little; or make for the isles, and stay there until we get a
chance of being taken off by some French ship? That is what they say the
prince has done; and indeed as there would be no chance of his getting a
ship on the east coast, and all the Lowlands are against them, he is
certain to have made for the isles. The Clanranalds and most of the other
islemen are loyal to him, and would receive and shelter him. Skye is
hostile, but elsewhere he will be safe, and would move from island to
island or get across to the mainland by night if the pursuit became too
hot. What do you say, Ronald?"

"I would not try Glasgow unless as a last resource, Malcolm; you are
known to many there, and as I was there as one of the prince's officers
on two occasions I might easily be recognized. You may be sure that there
is a very strict lookout for fugitives, and every stranger who enters a
town will be closely examined. After some time, when Prince Charles and
the principal chiefs and the leaders will either have escaped across the
water or been hunted down, things will calm down; but at present we must
not try to pass through the Lowlands."

"At any rate we cannot try to do so till your shoulder is completely
healed, and you can use your arm naturally; but I do not think that we
had better try and cross to the isles just at present. If Prince Charles
is there, or is believed by the English to be there, the search will be
so keen that every stranger would be hunted down; and although the
Highlanders might risk imprisonment and death for the prince himself,
they could not be expected to run the same risk for anyone else. If the
prince escapes it will be because the whole population are with him, and
every man, woman, and child is trying to throw the pursuers off the
scent. No, I think we should be safer in Edinburgh itself than in the
isles. We will make a shift to live as we can for a month or so; by that
time I hope you will be able to use one arm as well as the other, and we
will then boldly go down into the Lowlands in our old characters as two
drovers."

"That will be the best plan, no doubt," Ronald agreed; "the difficulty
will be the getting over the next month."

"We shall manage that," Malcolm said; "fortunately you have still got
some money left."

"Yes, I have over fifty pounds; it was lucky I was able to draw it, as we
returned north, from the man I left it with at Carlisle."

"Yes, and you wanted to give it back to the treasury," Malcolm said, "and
would have done it if I had not almost quarrelled with you about it,
saying that it had been given you for a certain purpose, that you had
carried out that purpose, and had, therefore, a right to it, and that you
would be only looked upon as a fool if you offered to pay it back.
However, there it is now, and lucky it is you have got it. However hard
the times, however great the danger, a man will hardly starve in Scotland
with fifty pounds in his pocket; so now we will turn our faces west, and
make for the head of one of the lochs; there are plenty of fish to be had
for catching, and with them and a little oatmeal and a bottle or two of
whiskey we can live like lords."

They walked for some hours, and stopped for the night in the hut of a
shepherd, who received them hospitably, but could give them but little
food, his scanty supplies being almost exhausted, for, as he told them,
"the hills are full of fugitives, and those who come all cry for meal; as
for meat, there is no want of it. Men won't starve as long as there are
sheep and cattle to be had for lifting them, and at present there are
more of these than usual in the hills, for they have all been driven up
from the villages lest they should fall into the hands of the troopers;
but meal is scarce, for men dare not go down to the villages to buy, and
we only get it when the women bring it up as they have a chance."

In the morning the shepherd gave them directions as to the way they
should take, and a few hours later they came down upon the head of one of
the many deep inlets on the western coast. A small fishing boat stood on
the shore, but they dared not descend into this, but made their way to
the point where, as the shepherd had told them, a stream which flowed
from a mountain tarn some miles inland made its way down into the sea.

The banks were thickly wooded for some two miles from its outlet; beyond
that was a moorland covered with heather. They determined to encamp near
the upper edge of the wood, and at once set to with their swords to cut
down branches and construct a hut. This was completed before dusk, and
Malcolm then started for the village on the seashore. Ronald besought him
to be most careful.

"There is likely," he said, "to be a party of soldiers in every village
round the coast, for they will know that all the chiefs and officers
would be making for the sea. The clansmen have only to remain in the
hills until this persecution dies out, and then go quietly home again;
but for the leaders the only hope is escape by sea."

"I will be careful, lad," Malcolm said. "I shall not enter the village,
but will hang about in its outskirts until I come across someone, and
with plenty of money in my pocket it is hard if I cannot manage to get a
bag of meal and a net, even if the place is full of English soldiers."

Three hours later Malcolm returned laden with a sack containing forty
pounds of meal, a jar with two gallons of whiskey, and a net.

"There," he said as he entered; "we can do for a month now, if needs be.
There is a party of militia in the village, and I hear the whole coast is
closely watched, and there are a number of English cruisers among the
islands."

"How did you get the things?"

"I waited till a woman came down with a bundle of faggots, and told her
what I wanted. She said at first it was impossible; but when I said I was
prepared to pay well she altered her tone, and said she would send her
husband out to me. He soon came, and after some bargaining he agreed to
bring me out the things I wanted for three pounds, and here they are. I
see you have got a fire alight, so we will make some cakes at once. I
have brought a griddle and two horns with me."

The next morning they set to work to fish. The net was stretched across
the lower end of a pool, and they then stripped and waded in, splashing
and throwing stones as they went. It was just up to their necks in the
deepest parts, shallowing to two feet below. When they reached the net
they found two fine salmon caught there, and carrying these ashore they
split one and placed it above the fire. The net was then removed, and in
half an hour they were sitting down to a breakfast of grilled salmon and
hot oatmeal cakes, which Ronald thought the most delicious repast he had
ever tasted.

For three weeks they remained at this spot. They were not always alone,
being sometimes joined for a day or two by other fugitives, who, like
themselves, were wandering near the sea coast seeking escape. These
seldom stayed long, for it was felt unsafe to keep in parties of more
than two or three at the utmost. Some of the fugitives were in wretched
condition, having been wandering among the moors and forests for weeks,
and as the fishing was very successful, Ronald and Malcolm were able to
give them at parting a good supply of smoked salmon, and a portion of
meal, of which Malcolm from time to time brought a fresh supply up from
the village.

The people there knew little of what was passing in the outer world; but
from the conversation of the soldiers they were sure that Prince Charles
had so far escaped capture, and an opinion began to prevail that he had
succeeded in making his escape by sea, in spite of the vigilance of the
English cruisers.

By the end of the three weeks even Malcolm admitted that Ronald's wound
was completely cured. Two large blue scars showed where the bullet had
passed through, and beneath this could be felt a lump where the broken
bone had knitted together, and this would in time become as strong as the
rest of the shoulder. Malcolm's splints had done their duty, and the eye
could detect no difference between the level or width of the two
shoulders. Ronald could move his arm freely in all directions, and,
except that he could not at present venture to put any strain upon the
arm, he might be considered as perfectly cured. They determined,
therefore, to continue their way. In the first place, however, it was
necessary to procure other clothes, for Ronald was still in uniform, and
although Malcolm's attire was not wholly military, it yet differed
materially from that of a countryman.

"We shall have to get other clothes when we get south," Malcolm said;
"for a Highlander's dress would be looked upon with as much suspicion in
Glasgow as would that uniform of yours. But until we get down to the
Lowlands the native garb will be the best."

Accordingly he paid another visit to the village, and with the utmost
difficulty persuaded the man he had before dealt with to bring him two
suits of clothes, such as were worn by the fishermen there. In these,
although Malcolm's small stock of Gaelic would betray them at once for
other than they seemed to the first clansman who might address them, they
could pass muster with any body of English troops they might meet by the
way.

Before starting they caught and smoked as many salmon as they could
carry, as the fishermen of the coast were in the habit of exchanging fish
for sheep with their inland neighbours. They cut each a short pole, and
slung some fish at each end, and then placing it on their shoulder,
started on their way. They kept along the hillside until they struck the
track -- for it could scarcely be called a road -- leading from the
village into the interior, and then boldly followed this; for the
difficulty of travelling across the hilly and broken country was so great
that they preferred to run the slight extra risk of keeping to the road,
feeling certain that for the first day's march at least their appearance
and the fish they carried would answer for themselves with any body of
troops they might meet.

Of this, however, they did not think there was much chance. The
authorities would have long since learned the futility of hunting the
fugitives among the hills, and would be confining their efforts to the
sea coast. They were now at a considerable distance from the scene of the
bloody persecutions of Cumberland and Hawley, and although in other parts
of Scotland severe measures might be adopted against known adherents of
the Stuarts, it was among the Highland clans only that savage and
wholesale massacres were being carried into effect.

Occasionally in the course of the day's walk they met with clansmen
passing along the road. These generally passed with a brief word of
greeting in Gaelic. One or two who stopped to speak recognized at once by
Malcolm's accent that the wayfarers were not what they pretended to be;
but they asked no questions, and with a significant smile and an
expression of good wishes went on their way.

At the village where they stopped, after a long day's journey, the same
line of conduct was observed towards them. The inhabitants guessed at
once that they were in disguise; but the edicts against those who
assisted fugitive insurgents were so severe that none made any open sign
of their recognition. They paid for their night's lodging and food with a
portion of their fish, which they were indeed glad to get rid of.

The next day they resumed their journey, and towards sunset arrived at a
village where they saw a party of English cavalry, who had apparently but
just arrived. The men were cleaning their horses, and an officer was
sitting on a bench in front of the principal house in the village; for he
had already made a close inspection of every house in the village, and
the angry faces of the women and the sullen looks of a few men there were
about showed how they resented the disturbance of their households.

It was too late to retreat, and Malcolm and Ronald walked boldly to the
public house in the centre of the village. The officer at once rose and
walked across to him.

"Who are you?" he asked; "and where do you come from?"

Malcolm shook his head and said in Gaelic:

"I do not understand English."

"What fools these people are!" the officer exclaimed. "Ho, within there!"

The landlady came to the door.

"Do you speak English?"

"I speak a little," the woman said.

"Just ask these men who they are and where they come from."

The woman asked the question in Gaelic, and Malcolm replied:

"We are, as you see, fishermen, and we come from Huish."

As he spoke there was a slight change in the woman's face; but it passed
away, and she translated Malcolm's answer to the officer.

"But that is forty miles away," the officer said. "What do they do with
their fish at this distance from their home?"

The question being put in Gaelic by the woman, Malcolm replied that owing
to the boats being seized by the soldiers, and trade being at a
standstill, they could no longer make a living at home, and were
therefore on their way to Glasgow to ship as sailors. They were carrying
their fish with them to pay for their food and lodging on the way.

The story was probable enough, and the officer's suspicion was allayed.

"They are fine looking fellows, both of them," he said to himself as he
returned to his bench. "Father and son, I suppose. The young one would
make a strapping soldier. Like enough he was at Culloden. However, thank
goodness, I have no grounds for suspecting or detaining them. I am sick
of this brutal business of fugitive hunting. We are officers and not
butchers, and this slaying of brave men who have met us fairly in battle
is a disgrace to the British name."

Ronald and Malcolm followed the woman into the house.

"I am ready to buy some of your fish," she said in a loud tone of voice
in Gaelic, "for there will be many to feed this evening; as my house is
full of soldiers I cannot take you in, but if you like you can sleep in
that shed over there. I can cook one of your fish for you, and let you
have some black bread; but that is all I can do. Now, how much do you
want for the fish?"

Malcolm named a low price, and the woman took three or four of the
largest. For these she offered him the price he had asked. He glanced
round, and seeing that they were not overlooked, he shook his head.

"We don't want money," he said. "We are well provided. Many thanks for
keeping our secret."

The woman nodded, and without another word the two went out and sat down
on a stone bench outside until the landlady brought out a platter with a
fish and some black bread. This they ate where they sat. Malcolm then
went in to get some tobacco, and returned with his pipe alight, and sat
with Ronald watching with apparent interest the operations of the
soldiers until night closed in. Then they retired to the shed the
landlady had pointed out, and found that a large bundle of freshly
gathered rushes had been shaken out to form a bed. Carrying in their
poles with their now diminished load of fish, they closed the door and
threw themselves down upon the rushes.

"That has passed off well," Malcolm said. "Tomorrow we will only go a
mile or so out of the village, and stop in the first wood we come to, and
go on at night. Thirty miles will take us close down to Dumbarton, and
there we must manage to get some fresh clothes."

"We shall be able to leave our poles behind us," Ronald said, "and that
will be a comfort. Although my load of fish was not nearly as heavy as
yours, still carrying it on one shoulder was no joke, and I shall be
heartily glad to get rid of it."

"I shall not be sorry myself," Malcolm said; "but there will be no
occasion to waste the fish. We shall be up and away long before the
soldiers are stirring, and we may as well hand them over as a present to
the landlady."

This was done, and at an early hour in the morning they were upon the
road again. After an hour's walking they stopped in a wood till evening
and then continued on their way until they reached Dumbarton, where they
threw themselves down beside some boats drawn up upon the shore, and
slept till the morning.

They then boldly entered the town, and as their garb was similar to that
of the men who brought down the fish caught at the villages on the coast,
no attention whatever was paid to them. They had no difficulty in
purchasing the clothes they required, and carrying them out of the town
they changed in the first retired spot they reached, and, as two Lowland
drovers, tramped on to Glasgow. With their bonnets pulled well down over
their eyes they entered the town. They had little fear of discovery, for
none would be likely to recognize in Ronald the gaily dressed young
officer of Prince Charles.

As to Malcolm, he felt safe from molestation. He was, of course, known to
many drovers and others, but they would not concern themselves with what
he had been doing since they last saw him, and even had they noticed him
when he was there with Ronald, would not denounce an old comrade. He
went, therefore, boldly to the little inn where he had been in the habit
of staying when in the city.

"Ah, Malcolm, is that you, man?" the landlord said as he entered. "I
didna think o' seeing you again. I thought it likely ye were laying stiff
and stark somewhere out on the muirs. Eh, man, you are a foolish fellow
to be mixing yourself up in the affairs of ithers."

"I have done with it now, Jock, for good and all," Malcolm said, "and am
going back to my old trade again."

"I think you are a fule to come back here so soon. There's mony a one
marked ye as ye rode in behind that young officer of the prince's, and if
they denounce you now they would soon clap you in between four walls."

"Hoots, man!" Malcolm laughed; "who would trouble themselves about a body
like me!"

"There are bleudy doings up i' the Highlands," the landlord said gravely,
"if a' they say is true."

"It is true, Jock, more shame to them; but they wouldn't do in Glasgow
what they are doing there. They are hunting down the clansmen like wild
beasts; but here in the Lowlands they will not trouble themselves to ask
who was for King George and who was against him, except among those who
have got estates they can confiscate."

"May be no," the landlord replied. "Still, Malcolm, if you will take my
advice you won't show yourself much in the streets, nor your friend
either," he added significantly. "You may be safe, but the citizens are
smarting yet over the requisitions that were made upon them, and your
friend had best keep in his room as long as ye stay here."

Malcolm nodded.

"He will be careful, Jock, never fear. We shall be off again as soon as
we get a chance. I will leave him here while I go down the town and find
whether there is a herd starting for England. If there is we will go with
it; if not, I shall try and get a passage by sea."

Malcolm could not hear of any drove of cattle going south. The troubles
had, for the time, entirely put a stop to the trade. After it was dark he
went to Andrew's. His brother's face expressed both pleasure and dismay
at seeing him.

"Right glad I am to see you have got safely through it all, Malcolm, but
you must be mad to show yourself here again at present. But how is the
boy? We have troubled sorely over him. I trust that he too has come
safely through it?"

"Safe and sound, Andrew, save that he had a bullet through his shoulder
at Culloden; but he is tight enough again now."

"And what have you been doing ever since?"

"Curing his shoulder and fishing;" Malcolm briefly related their
adventures since Culloden.

"And is he with you here in Glasgow, Malcolm? Surely you are not mad
enough to bring him here, where he is known to scores of people as one of
the rebel officers!"

"He is here, sure enough," Malcolm said, "and safer than he has been for
some time. It is nearly two months since Culloden, and people are
beginning to think of other things, except in the Highlands, where those
fiends Cumberland and Hawley are burning and slaying. Ronald is dressed
like a drover, and no one is likely to recognize him. However, he will
remain within doors. And now, brother, I want you to take us a passage in
the next vessel sailing for London. If I go to a shipper he may ask
questions, and like enough it may be necessary to get passes signed
before we can go on board."

"Certainly it is," Andrew said. "A strict lookout is kept to prevent the
rebel leaders from escaping, and no captain of a ship is permitted to
take a passenger unless he is provided with a pass, signed by a
magistrate, saying that he is a peaceable and well known person."

"But just at present we are both peaceable persons, Andrew, and we can
certainly claim to be well known citizens."

"It is no joking matter, Malcolm, I can tell you," Andrew said irritably;
"but of course I will see what I can do. And now I will put on my bonnet
and come with you and have a chat with Ronald. It will not do to bring
him here tonight, but we must arrange for him to come and see Janet
before he sails. I shall not tell her anything about it till he is ready
to start, for you know she is very particular, and I am afraid I shall
have to say what is not quite true to get the order. I can sign it
myself, but it must have the signature of the provost too."

So saying he took his cap and accompanied Malcolm to the lodging.

"Stay here a moment, Andrew," Malcolm said when he arrived within a few
yards of the little inn. "I will see that there is no one drinking
within. It wouldna look well to see a decent bailie of the city going
into a liquor shop after dark. It will be best for me to fetch him out
here, for I doubt there's any room where you could talk without fear of
being overheard."

Ronald, who was sitting with his cap pulled down over his eyes as if
asleep, in a corner of the room, where three or four drovers were smoking
and talking, was called out by Malcolm.

"I am right glad to see you again," Andrew Anderson said heartily. "Janet
and I have passed an ill time since the battle was fought. Elspeth has
kept up our hopes all along. She said she was sure that you were alive,
quite downright sure; and though neither Janet nor I have much faith in
superstitions, the old woman's assertions that she should assuredly know
it if you were dead did somehow keep up our spirits. Besides, I had faith
in Malcolm's knowledge of the country, and knew you were both famous for
getting into scrapes and out of them, so I thought that if neither bullet
nor sabre had stretched you on the moor of Culloden you would manage to
win your way out of the trouble somehow. However, I think you are pretty
safe here. The bloody doings of Cumberland have shocked every Scotchman,
and even those who were strongest against the Stuarts now cry shame, and
so strong is the feeling that were the prince to appear now with a
handful of followers I believe the whole country would rise in his
favour. So deep is the wrath and grief at the red slaughter among the
Highlands there would not be many Scotchmen found who would betray a
fellow Scot into the hands of these butchers. I will make inquiry
tomorrow as to what ships are sailing, and will get you a passage in the
first. There may be some difficulty about the permit; but if I can't get
over it we must smuggle you on board as sailors. However, I don't think
the provost will ask me any questions when I lay the permit before him
for his signature. He is heart and soul for the king, but, like us all,
he is sick at heart at the news from the North, and would, I think, shut
an eye if he saw a Jacobite making his escape. And now, lad, I must be
going back, for the hour is getting late and Janet does not know why I am
away. Come to us tomorrow evening as soon as the shop closes. Janet and
Elspeth will be delighted to see you, and we will have a long talk over
all that you have gone through."

On the following evening Ronald and Malcolm presented themselves at
Andrew's and were received with delight by Elspeth and Mrs. Anderson. The
latter had, while the rebellion appeared to have a chance of success,
been its bitter opponent, and had spoken often and wrathfully against her
husband's brother and Ronald embarking in such an enterprise; but with
its overthrow all her enmity had expired, and she would have been ready
to give assistance not only to them, but to any other fugitive trying to
escape.

"I have good news for you," Andrew said, when the first greetings were
over. "A vessel sails in the morning, and I have taken passages for you
in it; and what is more, have brought your permits. I went to the provost
and said to him, 'Provost, I want you to sign these permits for two
friends of mine who are wanting to go up to London.'

"'Who are they?' said he.

"'They are just two drover bodies,' I said. He looked at me hard.

"'One question, Andrew. I know how you feel just at present. You are a
loyal man like myself, but we all feel the same. I will sign your permit
for any save one. Give me your word that neither of these men is Charles
Stuart. I care not who they may be beside, but as a loyal subject of King
George I cannot aid his arch enemy to escape.'

"'I give you my word, provost,' I said. 'One is --'

"'I don't want to know who they are,' he interrupted. 'I had rather not
know. It is enough for me that you give me your word that neither of them
is Charles Stuart,' and he took the pen and signed the permit. 'Between
ourselves,' he went on, 'I shall be glad to hear that the misguided young
man is safe across the water, but as Provost of Glasgow I could lend him
no help to go.'

"'They say he has got safe away already,' I said.

"'I think not, Andrew; the coast has been too closely watched for that.
The young man is hiding somewhere among the isles, among the Clanranalds
or Macdonalds. I fear they will have him yet. I dread every day to get
the news; but I hope beyond all things, that if they do lay hands on him
it will be through the treachery of no Scot.'

"'I hope not, provost,' I said. 'They haven't got over throwing it in our
teeth that we sold King Charles to Cromwell.' So we just shook hands and
said goodbye, and here is the permit."

They spent a long evening talking over the past.

"I wonder if I shall ever see you again, Ronald!" Mrs. Anderson said,
with tears in her eyes, as they rose to say goodbye.

"You need nor fear about that, Janet, woman," her husband said. "Ronald
and Malcolm aye fall on their legs, and we shall see them back again like
two bad pennies. Besides," he went on more seriously, "there will be an
end of these savage doings in the north before long. Loyal men in
Scotland are crying out everywhere against them, and the feeling in
England will be just as strong when the truth is known there, and you
will see that before long there will be a general pardon granted to all
except the leaders. Fortunately Ronald and Malcolm are not likely to be
in the list of exceptions, and before a year is up they will be able to
come back if they will without fear of being tapped on the shoulder by a
king's officer."

"I shall come back again if I can, you may be sure," Ronald said. "Of
course I do not know yet what my father and mother's plans may be; but
for myself I shall always look upon Scotland as my home, and come back to
it as soon as I have an opportunity."

"You do not intend to stay in the French army?"

"Certainly not. After the treatment my father has received I have no
inclination to serve France. The chief reason why Scotchmen have entered
her service has been that they were driven from home, and that they
looked to France for aid to place the Stuarts on the throne again. Now
that the time has come, France has done nothing to aid, and has seen the
Stuart cause go down without striking a blow to assist it. I consider
that cause is lost for ever, and shall never again draw my sword against
the House of Hanover. Nor have I had any reason for loving France. After
living in a free country like Scotland, who could wish to live in a
country where one man's will is all powerful -- where the people are
still no better than serfs -- where the nobles treat the law as made only
for them -- where, as in my father's case, a man may not even marry
according to his own will without incurring the risk of a life's
imprisonment? No, I have had enough of France; and if ever I get the
opportunity I shall return to Scotland to live."

The next morning early Ronald and Malcolm embarked on board a ship. Their
permits were closely scrutinized before the vessel started, and a
thorough search was made before she was allowed to sail. When the
officers were satisfied that no fugitives were concealed on board they
returned to shore, and the vessel started on her voyage for London.

CHAPTER XX: Happy Days.

On arriving in London, after ten days' voyage, Ronald and Malcolm
obtained garments of the ordinary cut. The one attired himself as an
English gentleman, the other in a garb suitable to a confidential
attendant or steward, and after a stay of two or three days they made
their way by coach down to Southampton.

Here they remained for a week, and then effected a bargain with the
captain of a fishing lugger to set them on shore in France. As the two
countries were at war this could only be done by landing them at night at
some quiet spot on the French coast. The lugger cruised about a couple of
days, and then, choosing a quiet night when there was a mist on the
water, she ran in as closely as she dared, then the boat was lowered, and
Malcolm and Ronald were rowed to shore and landed a few miles south of
Boulogne.

When it was light they made their way to a village; here but few
questions were asked them, for many refugees from Scotland and England
were crossing to France. As they had been well provided with funds by
Andrew they posted to Paris, and on arriving there put up at the inn
where they had stopped on the occasion of their first visit.

"We must be careful," Malcolm said, "how we stir out until we know how
things stand. The first thing to do is to find out whether the regiment
is still in Paris."

This they were not long in doing, as their host was able to inform them
at once that it had left the capital several months before, and on
comparing dates they found that its departure had followed within a day
or two that of their own flight from Paris.

"It was no doubt meant as a punishment," Ronald said, "on Colonel Hume
for acting as my second in that affair with the duke. I hope that no
further ill befell him."

His mind was set easy on this score by the news that Colonel Hume had
accompanied his regiment. On asking after Marshal Saxe they learned that
he was away on the frontier, where he had been carrying on the war with
great success, Antwerp, Mons, Namur, and Charleroi all having been
captured.

The king was in person with the army. This being the case Ronald saw that
it was of no use remaining in Paris, as he was without friend or
protector there, and he dared not rejoin his regiment until he learned
whether the king's anger was as hot as ever. He therefore started at once
with Malcolm and travelled down to La Grenouille.

It was a joyful meeting between him and his parents, who were in the
greatest anxiety respecting him, for although he had written several
times, communication was uncertain owing to the war, the only chance of
sending letters being by such French vessels as arrived at Scottish ports
after running the gauntlet with English cruisers. Some of these had been
captured on the way back, and only two of Ronald's letters had arrived
safely. The last of these had been written a few days after the battle of
Falkirk, and Ronald had then stated that he no longer had any hope of the
final success of the expedition. They had received the news of the defeat
at Culloden, and had since passed nearly three months of painful
suspense, relieved only by the arrival of Ronald himself. He found his
mother looking well and happy; his father had somewhat recovered from his
rheumatism, and looked a younger man by some years than when he saw him
last.

"He will recover fast now," the countess said; "but he has worried about
you night and day, Ronald. I hope that you will stay with us for a time.
We have seen so little of you yet."

Ronald learned that a few days after his flight an officer had appeared
at the chateau with the royal order for his arrest, and it was from him
that his parents had first learned the news of his duel with the Duke of
Chateaurouge and its result.

"I could hardly believe my ears, Ronald," his father said; "to think that
my son, scarce a man yet, should have killed in fair fight one of the
first duellists in France. It seemed almost incredible. Malcolm told me
that you were a first rate swordsman, but this seemed extraordinary
indeed. The officer remained here for three days, and then, convinced
that you had not made in this direction, left us. A day or two afterwards
we received the letter you wrote us from Nantes, saying that you were
starting for Scotland with the prince. I grumbled sorely over my
rheumatism, I can tell you, which prevented my drawing my sword once more
for the Stuarts; but it was no use my thinking of it."

"No, indeed," the countess said; "and I can tell you, Ronald, that had he
been ever so well I should not have let him go. After being separated
from one's husband for sixteen years one is not going to let him run off
to figure as a knight errant at his pleasure."

"Your friend Colonel Hume wrote to us," the colonel said with a smile at
his wife's word, "giving us details of the duel, and speaking of your
conduct in the highest terms. He said that at present the king was
furious; but that he hoped in time he would get over it. Colonel Hume had
seen Marshal Saxe, who had promised on the first opportunity to speak to
the king, and to open his eyes to the character of his late favourite,
and to tell him of the attempts which the duke had made to prevent the
royal orders for our release being carried out, and to remove you by
assassination. Two months ago he wrote again to us from Antwerp, which
had just fallen, saying that Marshal Saxe had bid him tell us that the
king was in a much more favourable disposition, and that he had taken the
opportunity when his majesty was in a good humour to tell him the whole
circumstances of your journey with the orders for our release, and that
in consequence the king had made other inquiries respecting the late
duke, and had acknowledged that he had been greatly deceived as to his
character. At the same time, as your name had been by the king's order
removed from the list of officers of the Scottish Dragoons immediately
after the duel, he recommended that should you return to France you
should not put yourself in the king's way or appear at all in public for
the present.

"'The marshal,' Colonel Hume wrote, 'has made your affair a personal
matter, and he, as is his habit in war, will persevere until he succeeds.
His reputation and influence are higher than ever, and are daily rising;
be assured that when the campaign is over, and he reaps all the honours
to which he is entitled, he will push your claim as before.'"

In the first week in October the suspense from which they had suffered as
to the fate of Prince Charles was relieved by the news that on the 29th
of September he had safely landed at the little port of Roscoff near
Morlaix. He made his way to Paris, and Ronald, accompanied by Malcolm,
took horse at once and rode there to pay his respects to the prince, and
congratulate him on his escape. The prince received him with great warmth
and cordiality, and from his own lips Ronald learned the story of his
adventures.

He had, eight days after Culloden, embarked for the cluster of islets to
which the common name of Long Island is applied. After wandering from
place to place and suffering greatly from hunger, he gained South Uist,
where his wants were relieved by Clanranald. The English, suspecting or
learning that he was there, landed two thousand men on the island, and
commenced an active search for him. He must have been detected had not
Flora Macdonald -- stepdaughter of a captain in a militia regiment which
formed part of the troops who had landed -- upon being appealed to by
Lady Clanranald, nobly undertaken to save him.

She obtained from her stepfather a passport to proceed to Skye with a
manservant and a maid. Charles was dressed in female clothes, and passed
as Betty Bourk, while a faithful Highlander, Neil M'Eachan, acted as her
servant. They started at night in an open boat, and disembarked in Skye.
Skye was ever a hostile country, as its chief, Sir Alexander Macdonald,
who had at first wavered, was now a warm supporter of the Hanoverians,
and was with the Duke of Cumberland. Nevertheless Flora appealed to his
wife, Lady Margaret, a daughter of the Earl of Eglinton, and informed her
that her attendant was Prince Charles in disguise. Lady Margaret nobly
responded to her appeal. Her own house was full of militia officers, and
she intrusted Charles to the charge of Macdonald of Kingsburgh, her
husband's kinsman and factor, who took the party to his house.

The next day Charles took leave of Flora Macdonald with warm expressions
of gratitude, and passed over to the Isle of Rasay, in the disguise of a
male servant. Thence he made his way to the mainland, where on landing he
was compelled to lie in concealment for two days cooped up within a line
of sentries. After many dangers he took refuge in a mountain cave
inhabited by seven robbers, who treated him with the greatest kindness,
and supplied his wants for the three weeks he remained with them. After
many other adventures he joined his faithful adherents Cluny and Locheil,
who were in hiding in a retreat on the side of Mount Benalder, and here
he lived in comparative comfort until he heard that two French vessels
under the direction of Colonel Warren of Dillon's regiment had anchored
in Lochnanuagh.

Travelling by night he made his way to that place, and embarked on the
20th of September, attended by Locheil, Colonel Roy Stuart, and about a
hundred other fugitives who had learned of the arrival of the French
vessels. It was almost precisely the spot at which he had disembarked
fourteen months before. A fog concealed the vessel as she passed through
the British fleet lying to intercept her, and they reached Roscoff after
a nine days' voyage.

Such was the tale which Prince Charles told to Ronald. He had after
Culloden entirely recovered his high spirits, and had borne all his
fatigues and hardships with the greatest cheerfulness and good humour,
making light of hunger, fatigue, and danger. Ronald only remained two
days in Paris, and then returned home.

In October the campaign of Flanders ended with the complete defeat of
Prince Charles of Lorraine at Rancaux, and Marshal Saxe returned to
Paris, where he was received with enthusiasm by the population. The royal
residence of Chambord was granted him for life, and he was proclaimed
marshal general of the king's armies. A fortnight later Colonel Leslie
received a letter from him, saying that he had received his majesty's
command that he with the countess and his son should present themselves
in Paris, and that he was happy to say that the king's disposition was
most favourable. They set off at once. On their arrival there they called
upon Marshal Saxe, who greeted the colonel as an old friend, and refused
to listen to the warm expression of gratitude of Leslie and the countess.

"Say nothing about it, madam," he exclaimed. "Your son won my heart, and
I was only too glad to be of service to him and my old comrade here. What
is the use of a man winning victories if he cannot lend a helping hand to
his friends!"

The next day they went down to Versailles, where Marshal Saxe presented
them to the king in a private audience. Louis received them graciously.

"I fear, countess, that you and your husband have been treated with some
harshness; but our royal ear was deceived by one in whom we had
confidence. Your husband and yourself were wrong in marrying without the
consent and against the will of your father, and such marriages cannot be
permitted; but at the request of Marshal Saxe, who has done so much for
France that I cannot refuse anything he asks, I have now consented to
pardon and overlook the past, and have ordered my chancellor to prepare
an order reinstating you in all the possessions and estates of the
countess, your mother. I hope that I shall often see you together with
your husband and son, both of whom have done good service as soldiers of
France, at my court; and now that I see you," he said with a gracious
smile, "I cannot but feel how great a loss our court has suffered by your
long absence from it."

Upon leaving the king's private chamber and entering the great audience
hall Colonel Hume came up and grasped the hand of his old friend, and was
introduced by him to his wife; while many of the courtiers, who were
either connections or friends of the family of the countess, also
gathered round them, for the news that she was restored to royal favour
had spread quickly. The countess knew how small was the real value of
such advances, but she felt that it was best for her husband and son's
sake to receive them amicably. For a few weeks they remained in Paris,
taking part in the brilliant fetes which celebrated the success of the
French arms, and they then retired to the handsome chateau which was now
the property of the countess.

Here they lived quietly for two years, making occasional visits to Paris.
At the end of that time Ronald received a letter from Andrew Anderson, to
whom he had written several times since his return to France. He told him
that he had just heard that Glenlyon and the rest of the property which
had been confiscated after the rising of 1715 was for sale. It had been
bestowed upon a neighbouring chief, who had been active in the Hanoverian
cause. He was now dead without leaving issue, and his wife, an English
lady, was anxious to dispose of the property and return to England.

"I do not know whether your father is disposed to buy back his estates,"
Andrew wrote, "but I hear that a general amnesty will very shortly be
issued to all who took part in the insurrection, saving only certain
notorious persons. The public are sick of bloodshed. There have been
upwards of eighty trials and executions, besides the hundreds who were
slaughtered in the Highlands. Besides this, thousands have been
transported. But public opinion is now so strong, and persons of all
shades of politics are so disgusted with the brutal ferocity which has
been shown, that it is certain government will ere long be compelled to
pass an act of amnesty. In the meantime, if it should be your father's
wish to purchase the property, I can buy it in my name. The priced asked
is very low. The income arising from it is stated to be about four
hundred a year, and four thousand pounds will be accepted for it. I
understand that as the late owner took no part in the insurrection, and
joined the Duke of Cumberland when he came north, the property is in good
condition and the clansmen have escaped the harrying which befell all
those who sided with Charles Stuart."

Ronald at once laid the letter before his father, who, after reading it
through, passed it, without a word, to the countess.

"You would like to return to Scotland?" she asked quietly, when she read
it. "Do not hesitate to tell me, dear, if you would. It is no matter to
me whether we live there or here, so long as I have you and Ronald with
me."

Colonel Leslie was silent.

"For Ronald's sake," she went on, "perhaps it would be better so. You are
both of opinion that the cause of the Stuarts is lost for ever, and he is
determined that he will never again take part in any rising. He does not
care again to enter the French army, nor, indeed, is there any reason why
Scotchmen should do so, now that they no longer look for the aid of the
King of France to set the Stuarts on the English throne. I myself have no
ties here. My fifteen years of seclusion have separated me altogether
from my family, and although they are willing enough to be civil now, I
cannot forget that all those years they did nothing towards procuring our
liberty. The king has so far given way that he has restored me my
mother's estates, but it was only because he could not refuse Marshal
Saxe, and he does not like French lands to be held by strangers;
therefore I feel sure, that were I to ask his permission to sell my
estates and to retire with you to Scotland he would at once grant my
request."

"No, Amelie, it would not be fair to accept your generous offer."

"But it would be no sacrifice," she urged. "I have little reason to love
France, and I can assure you I should be just as happy in your country as
in my own."

"But it would be exile," the colonel said.

"No more exile than you and Ronald are suffering here. Besides, I suppose
we should get as many comforts in Scotland as here in France. Of course
our estates here will fetch a sum many times larger than that which would
purchase Glenlyon, and we need not live all our time among the mountains
you tell me of, but can go sometimes to Edinburgh or even to London. Even
if you did not wish it, I should say it would be far better to do so for
Ronald's sake. You have lived so long in France that you may have become
a Frenchman; but it is not so with Ronald."

It was not until two or three days later that the discussion came to an
end and the countess had her way. Colonel Leslie had resisted stoutly,
but his heart beat at the thought of returning to the home of his youth
and ending his days among the clansmen who had followed him and his
fathers before him. Ronald had taken no part whatever in the debate, but
his mother read in his eyes the delight which the thought of returning to
Scotland occasioned him. As soon as this was settled they went to Paris,
and as the countess had foreseen, the king was pleased at once to give
his consent to her disposing of her lands on his approval of the
purchaser.

No difficulty was experienced on this score, as a noble whose lands
adjoined her own offered at once to purchase them. As soon as this was
arranged instructions were sent to Andrew to purchase not only the
Glenlyon property, but the other estates of its late owner.

In due time a letter was received from Andrew saying that he had arranged
for the purchase of the whole for the sum of thirteen thousand pounds,
and the money was at once sent over through a Dutch banking house. Very
shortly afterwards, at the end of 1747, the act of general amnesty was
passed, and as Ronald's name was not among those excluded from its
benefits they at once prepared to return to Scotland. The journey was
facilitated by the fact that shortly after the passing of the act, peace
was concluded between England and France.

Accompanied by Malcolm, Colonel Leslie, the countess, and Ronald sailed
for Scotland. The colonel and his wife remained in Edinburgh while Ronald
and Malcolm went to Glasgow, where Andrew had in readiness all the papers
transferring the estates purchased in his name to Colonel Leslie, who
shortly afterwards journeyed north with his wife and son and took
possession of his ancestral home amid the enthusiastic delight of the
clansmen, who had never ceased to regret the absence of him whom they
considered as their rightful chief.

There is little more to tell. Colonel Leslie lived but a few years after
returning home, and Ronald then succeeded him as Leslie of Glenlyon. He
had before this married the daughter of a neighbouring gentleman, and
passed his time between Glenlyon and Edinburgh, varied by an occasional
visit to London.

The countess never regretted her native land, but, happy in the affection
of her son and daughter in law and their children, lived happily with
them until nearly the end of the century. Malcolm remained the faithful
and trusty friend of the family; and his brother and his wife were
occasionally persuaded to pay a visit to Glenlyon, where their kindness
to Ronald as a child was never forgotten. Happily the rising of '45 was
the last effort on behalf of the Stuarts. Scotland accepted the decision
as final, and the union between the two countries became close and
complete. Henceforth Scotchmen went no longer to fight in the armies of
France, but took service in that of their own country, and more than one
of Ronald's grandsons fought stoutly in Spain under Wellington.

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