“It’s rather hard on me, too, Mr. Balfour,” said Cluny, “and ye give me very much the look of a man that has entrapped poor people to their hurt. I wouldnae have my friends come to any house of mine to accept affronts; no,” he cried, with a sudden heat of anger, “nor yet to give them!”
“And so you see, sir,” said I, “there is something to be said upon my side; and this gambling is a very poor employ for gentlefolks. But I am still waiting your opinion.”
I am sure if ever Cluny hated any man it was David Balfour. He looked me all over with a warlike eye, and I saw the challenge at his lips. But either my youth disarmed him, or perhaps his own sense of justice. Certainly it was a mortifying matter for all concerned, and not least Cluny; the more credit that he took it as he did.
“Mr. Balfour,” said he, “I think you are too nice and covenanting, but for all that you have the spirit of a very pretty gentleman. Upon my honest word, ye may take this money—it’s what I would tell my son—and here’s my hand along with it!”
THE FLIGHT IN THE HEATHER: THE QUARREL
Alan and I were put across Loch Errocht under cloud of night, and went down its eastern shore to another hiding-place near the head of Loch Rannoch, whither we were led by one of the gillies from the Cage. This fellow carried all our luggage and Alan’s great-coat in the bargain, trotting along under the burthen, far less than the half of which used to weigh me to the ground, like a stout hill pony with a feather; yet he was a man that, in plain contest, I could have broken on my knee.
Doubtless it was a great relief to walk disencumbered; and perhaps without that relief, and the consequent sense of liberty and lightness, I could not have walked at all. I was but new risen from a bed of sickness; and there was nothing in the state of our affairs to hearten me for much exertion; travelling, as we did, over the most dismal deserts in Scotland, under a cloudy heaven, and with divided hearts among the travellers.
For long, we said nothing; marching alongside or one behind the other, each with a set countenance: I, angry and proud, and drawing what strength I had from these two violent and sinful feelings; Alan angry and ashamed, ashamed that he had lost my money, angry that I should take it so ill.
The thought of a separation ran always the stronger in my mind; and the more I approved of it, the more ashamed I grew of my approval. It would be a fine, handsome, generous thing, indeed, for Alan to turn round and say to me: “Go, I am in the most danger, and my company only increases yours.” But for me to turn to the friend who certainly loved me, and say to him: “You are in great danger, I am in but little; your friendship is a burden; go, take your risks and bear your hardships alone——” no, that was impossible; and even to think of it privily to myself, made my cheeks to burn.