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Conclusion

No sooner were we safe within the walls of Dunkirk than we held a very
necessary council-of-war on our position. We had taken a daughter from
her father at the sword's point; any judge would give her back to him at
once, and by all likelihood clap me and Alan into jail; and though we
had an argument upon our side in Captain Palisser's letter, neither
Catriona nor I were very keen to be using it in public. Upon all
accounts it seemed the most prudent to carry the girl to Paris to the
hands of her own chieftain, Macgregor of Bohaldie, who would be very
willing to help his kinswoman, on the one hand, and not at all anxious
to dishonour James upon the other.

We made but a slow journey of it up, for Catriona was not so good at the
riding as the running, and had scarce sat in a saddle since the
'Forty-five. But we made it out at last, reached Paris early of a
Sabbath morning, and made all speed, under Alan's guidance, to find
Bohaldie. He was finely lodged, and lived in a good style, having a
pension in the Scots Fund, as well as private means; greeted Catriona
like one of his own house, and seemed altogether very civil and
discreet, but not particularly open. We asked of the news of James More.
"Poor James!" said he, and shook his head and smiled, so that I thought
he knew further than he meant to tell. Then we showed him Palisser's
letter, and he drew a long face at that.

"Poor James!" said he again. "Well, there are worse folk than James
More, too. But this is dreadful bad. Tut, tut, he must have forgot
himself entirely! This is a most undesirable letter. But, for all that,
gentlemen, I cannot see what we would want to make it public for. It's
an ill bird that fouls his own nest, and we are all Scots folk and all
Hieland."

Upon this we were all agreed, save perhaps Alan; and still more upon the
question of our marriage, which Bohaldie took in his own hands, as
though there had been no such person as James More, and gave Catriona
away with very pretty manners and agreeable compliments in French. It
was not till all was over, and our healths drunk, that he told us James
was in that city, whither he had preceded us some days, and where he now
lay sick, and like to die. I thought I saw by my wife's face what way
her inclination pointed.

"And let us go see him, then," said I.

"If it is your pleasure," said Catriona. These were early days.

He was lodged in the same quarter of the city with his chief, in a great
house upon a corner; and we were guided up to the garret where he lay by
the sound of Highland piping. It seemed he had just borrowed a set of
them from Bohaldie to amuse his sickness; though he was no such hand as
was his brother Rob, he made good music of the kind; and it was strange
to observe the French folk crowding on the stairs, and some of them
laughing. He lay propped in a pallet. The first look of him I saw he was
upon his last business; and, doubtless, this was a strange place for him
to die in. But even now I find I can scarce dwell upon his end with
patience. Doubtless, Bohaldie had prepared him; he seemed to know we
were married, complimented us on the event, and gave us a benediction
like a patriarch.

"I have been never understood," said he. "I forgive you both without an
after-thought;" after which he spoke for all the world in his old
manner, was so obliging as to play us a tune or two upon his pipes, and
borrowed a small sum before I left. I could not trace even a hint of
shame in any part of his behaviour; but he was great upon forgiveness;
it seemed always fresh to him. I think he forgave me every time we met;
and when after some four days he passed away in a kind of odour of
affectionate sanctity, I could have torn my hair out for exasperation. I
had him buried; but what to put upon his tomb was quite beyond me, till
at last I considered the date would look best alone.

I thought it wiser to resign all thoughts of Leyden, where we had
appeared once as brother and sister, and it would certainly look strange
to return in a new character. Scotland would be doing for us; and
thither, after I had recovered that which I had left behind, we sailed
in a Low Country ship.

And now, Miss Barbara Balfour (to set the ladies first) and Mr. Alan
Balfour, younger of Shaws, here is the story brought fairly to an end. A
great many of the folk that took a part in it, you will find (if you
think well) that you have seen and spoken with. Alison Hastie in
Limekilns was the lass that rocked your cradle when you were too small
to know of it, and walked abroad with you in the policy when you were
bigger. That very fine great lady that is Miss Barbara's name-mamma is
no other than the same Miss Grant that made so much a fool of David
Balfour in the house of the Lord Advocate. And I wonder whether you
remember a little, lean, lively gentleman in a scratchwig and a
wraprascal, that came to Shaws very late of a dark night, and whom you
were awakened out of your beds and brought down to the dining-hall to be
presented to, by the name of Mr. Jamieson? Or has Alan forgotten what he
did at Mr. Jamieson's request--a most disloyal act--for which, by the
letter of the law, he might be hanged--no less than drinking the king's
health _across the water_? These were strange doings in a good Whig
house! But Mr. Jamieson is a man privileged, and might set fire to my
corn-barn; and the name they know him by now in France is the Chevalier
Stewart.

As for Davie and Catriona, I shall watch you pretty close in the next
days, and see if you are so bold as to be laughing at papa and mamma. It
is true we were not so wise as we might have been, and made a great deal
of sorrow out of nothing; but you will find as you grow up that even the
artful Miss Barbara, and even the valiant Mr. Alan will be not so very
much wiser than their parents. For the life of man upon this world of
ours is a funny business. They talk of the angels weeping; but I think
they must more often be holding their sides, as they look on; and there
was one thing I determined to do when I began this long story, and that
was to tell out everything as it befell.


Footnote 1: Conspicuous.

Footnote 2: Country.

Footnote 3: The Fairies.

Footnote 4: Flatteries.

Footnote 5: Trust to.

Footnote 6: This must have reference to Dr. Cameron on his first
visit.--D.B.

Footnote 7: Sweethearts.

Footnote 8: Child.

Footnote 9: Palm.

Footnote 10: Gallows.

Footnote 11: My Catechism.

Footnote 12: Now Prince's Street.

Footnote 13: A learned folklorist of my acquaintance hereby identifies
Alan's air. It has been printed (it seems) in Campbell's _Tales of the
West Highlands_, Vol. II., p. 91. Upon examination it would really seem
as if Miss Grant's unrhymed doggrel (see chapter V.) would fit with a
little humouring to the notes in question.

Footnote 14: A ball placed upon a little mound for convenience of
striking.

Footnote 15: Patched shoes.

Footnote 16: Shoemaker.

Footnote 17: Tamson's mare, to go afoot.

Footnote 18: Beard.

Footnote 19: Ragged.

Footnote 20: Fine things.

Footnote 21: Catch.

Footnote 22: Victuals.

Footnote 23: Trust.

Footnote 24: Sea fog.

Footnote 25: Bashful.

Footnote 26: Rest.

Robert Louis Stevenson

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