“My dear Sir,—Your esteemed favour came to hand duly, and I have to acknowledge the inclosure according to agreement. It shall be all faithfully expended on my daughter, who is well, and desires to be remembered to her dear friend. I find her in rather a melancholy disposition, but trusts in the mercy of Grod to see her re-established. Our manner of life is very much alone, but we solace ourselves with the melancholy tunes of our native mountains, and by walking upon the margin of the sea that lies next to Scotland. It was better days with me when I lay with five wounds upon my body on the field of Gladsmuir. I have found employment here in the haras of a French nobleman, where my experience is valued. But, my dear Sir, the wages are so exceedingly unsuitable that I would be ashamed to mention them, which makes your remittances the more necessary to my daughter’s comfort, though I daresay the sight of old friends would be still better.
“My dear Sir, “Your affectionate obedient servant,
“JAMES MACGREGOR DRUMMOND.”
Below it began again in the hand of Catriona:—
“Do not be believing
him, it is all lies together.
Not only did she add this postcript, but I think she must have come near suppressing the letter; for it came long after date, and was closely followed by the third. In the time betwixt them, Alan had arrived, and made another life to me with his merry conversation; I had been presented to his cousin of the Scots-Dutch, a man that drank more than I could have thought possible and was not otherwise of interest; I had been entertained to many jovial dinners and given some myself, all with no great change upon my sorrow; and we two (by which I mean Alan and myself, and not at all the cousin) had discussed a good deal the nature of my relations with James More and his daughter. I was naturally diffident to give particulars; and this disposition was not anyway lessened by the nature of Alan’s commentary upon those I gave.
“I cannae make head nor tail of it,” he would say, “but it sticks in my mind ye’ve made a gowk of yourself. There’s few people that has had more experience than Alan Breck; and I can never call to mind to have heard tell of a lassie like this one of yours. The way that you tell it, the thing’s fair impossible. Ye must have made a terrible hash of the business, David.”
“There are whiles that I am of the same mind,” said I.
“The strange thing is that ye seem to have a kind of a fancy for her too!” said Alan.
“The biggest kind, Alan,” said I, “and I think I’ll take it to my grave with me.”
“Well, ye beat me, whatever!” he would conclude.
I showed him the letter with Catriona’s postcript. “And here again!” he cried. “Impossible to deny a kind of decency to this Catriona, and sense forby! As for James More, the man’s as boss as a drum; he’s just a wame and a wheen words; though I’ll can never deny that he fought reasonably well at Gladsmuir, and it’s true what he says here about the five wounds. But the loss of him is that the man’s boss.”