I had no means of guessing at what hour I was wakened, only the moon was down and the fire low. My feet were now loosed, and I was carried through the ruins and down the cliff-side by a precipitous path to where I found a fisher’s boat in a haven of the rocks. This I was had on board of, and we began to put forth from the shore in a fine starlight.
* * * * *
I had no thought where they were taking me; only looked here and there for the appearance of a ship; and there ran the while in my head a word of Ransome’s—the twenty-pounders. If I were to be exposed a second time to that same former danger of the plantations, I judged it must turn ill with me; there was no second Alan, and no second shipwreck and spare yard to be expected now; and I saw myself hoe tobacco under the whip’s lash. The thought chilled me; the air was sharp upon the water, the stretchers of the boat drenched with a cold dew; and I shivered in my place beside the steersman. This was the dark man whom I have called hitherto the Lowlander; his name was Dale, ordinarily called Black Andie. Feeling the thrill of my shiver, he very kindly handed me a rough jacket full of fish-scales, with which I was glad to cover myself.
“I thank you for this kindness,” said I, “and will make so free as to repay it with a warning. You take a high responsibility in this affair. You are not like these ignorant, barbarous Highlanders, but know what the law is and the risks of those that break it.”
“I am no just exactly what ye would ca’ an extremist for the law,” says he, “at the best of times; but in this business I act with a good warranty.”
“What are you going to do with me?” I asked.
“Nae harm,” said he, “nae harm ava’. Ye’ll hae strong freens, I’m thinking. Ye’ll be richt eneuch yet.”