Kidnapped eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 239 pages of information about Kidnapped.
that he had given you considerable sums; and that you had started for the continent of Europe, intending to fulfil your education, which was probable and praiseworthy.  Interrogated how you had come to send no word to Mr. Campbell, he deponed that you had expressed a great desire to break with your past life.  Further interrogated where you now were, protested ignorance, but believed you were in Leyden.  That is a close sum of his replies.  I am not exactly sure that any one believed him,” continued Mr. Rankeillor with a smile; “and in particular he so much disrelished me expressions of mine that (in a word) he showed me to the door.  We were then at a full stand; for whatever shrewd suspicions we might entertain, we had no shadow of probation.  In the very article, comes Captain Hoseason with the story of your drowning; whereupon all fell through; with no consequences but concern to Mr. Campbell, injury to my pocket, and another blot upon your uncle’s character, which could very ill afford it.  And now, Mr. Balfour,” said he, “you understand the whole process of these matters, and can judge for yourself to what extent I may be trusted.”

Indeed he was more pedantic than I can represent him, and placed more scraps of Latin in his speech; but it was all uttered with a fine geniality of eye and manner which went far to conquer my distrust.  Moreover, I could see he now treated me as if I was myself beyond a doubt; so that first point of my identity seemed fully granted.

“Sir,” said I, “if I tell you my story, I must commit a friend’s life to your discretion.  Pass me your word it shall be sacred; and for what touches myself, I will ask no better guarantee than just your face.”

He passed me his word very seriously.  “But,” said he, “these are rather alarming prolocutions; and if there are in your story any little jostles to the law, I would beg you to bear in mind that I am a lawyer, and pass lightly.”

Thereupon I told him my story from the first, he listening with his spectacles thrust up and his eyes closed, so that I sometimes feared he was asleep.  But no such matter! he heard every word (as I found afterward) with such quickness of hearing and precision of memory as often surprised me.  Even strange outlandish Gaelic names, heard for that time only, he remembered and would remind me of, years after.  Yet when I called Alan Breck in full, we had an odd scene.  The name of Alan had of course rung through Scotland, with the news of the Appin murder and the offer of the reward; and it had no sooner escaped me than the lawyer moved in his seat and opened his eyes.

“I would name no unnecessary names, Mr. Balfour,” said he; “above all of Highlanders, many of whom are obnoxious to the law.”

“Well, it might have been better not,” said I, “but since I have let it slip, I may as well continue.”

“Not at all,” said Mr. Rankeillor.  “I am somewhat dull of hearing, as you may have remarked; and I am far from sure I caught the name exactly.  We will call your friend, if you please, Mr. Thomson—­that there may be no reflections.  And in future, I would take some such way with any Highlander that you may have to mention—­dead or alive.”

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Kidnapped from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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