And just then (like an answer) a gentleman brushed against me going by, gave me a meaning look, and turned into a close. I knew him with the tail of my eye—it was Stewart the Writer; and, blessing my good fortune, turned in to follow him. As soon as I had entered the close I saw him standing in the mouth of a stair, where he made me a signal and immediately vanished. Seven storeys up, there he was again in a house door, the which he locked behind us after we had entered. The house was quite dismantled, with not a stick of furniture; indeed, it was one of which Stewart had the letting in his hands.
“We’ll have to sit upon the floor,” said he; “but we’re safe here for the time being, and I’ve been wearying to see ye, Mr. Balfour.”
“How’s it with Alan?’” I asked.
“Brawly,” said he. “Andie picks him up at Gillane Sands to-morrow, Wednesday. He was keen to say good-by to ye, but the way that things were going, I was feared the pair of ye was maybe best apart. And that brings me to the essential: how does your business speed?”
“Why,” said I, “I was told only this morning that my testimony was accepted, and I was to travel to Inverary with the Advocate, no less.”
“Hout awa!” cried Stewart. “I’ll never believe that.”
“I have maybe a suspicion of my own,” says I, “but I would like fine to hear your reasons.”
“Well, I tell ye fairly, I’m horn-mad,” cries Stewart. “If my one hand could pull their Government down I would pluck it like a rotten apple. I’m doer for Appin and for James of the Glens; and, of course, it’s my duty to defend my kinsman for his life. Hear how it goes with me, and I’ll leave the judgment of it to yourself. The first thing they have to do is to get rid of Alan. They cannae bring in James as art and part until they’ve brought in Alan first as principal; that’s sound law: they could never put the cart before the horse.”
“And how are they to bring in Alan till they can catch him?” says I.
“Ah, but there is a way to evite that arrestment,” said he. “Sound law, too. It would be a bonny thing if, by the escape of one ill-doer another was to go scatheless, and the remeid is to summon the principal and put him to outlawry for the non-compearance. Now there’s four places where a person can be summoned: at his dwelling-house; at a place where he has resided forty days; at the head burgh of the shire where he ordinarily resorts; or lastly (if there be ground to think him forth of