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Chapter 3



. . . I left Ruthven (it's hardly necessary to remark) with much
greater satisfaction than I had come to it; but whether I missed my
way in the deserts, or whether my companions failed me, I soon
found myself alone. This was a predicament very disagreeable; for
I never understood this horrid country or savage people, and the
last stroke of the Prince's withdrawal had made us of the Irish
more unpopular than ever. I was reflecting on my poor chances,
when I saw another horseman on the hill, whom I supposed at first
to have been a phantom, the news of his death in the very front at
Culloden being current in the army generally. This was the Master
of Ballantrae, my Lord Durrisdeer's son, a young nobleman of the
rarest gallantry and parts, and equally designed by nature to adorn
a Court and to reap laurels in the field. Our meeting was the more
welcome to both, as he was one of the few Scots who had used the
Irish with consideration, and as he might now be of very high
utility in aiding my escape. Yet what founded our particular
friendship was a circumstance, by itself as romantic as any fable
of King Arthur.

This was on the second day of our flight, after we had slept one
night in the rain upon the inclination of a mountain. There was an
Appin man, Alan Black Stewart (or some such name, (2) but I have
seen him since in France) who chanced to be passing the same way,
and had a jealousy of my companion. Very uncivil expressions were
exchanged; and Stewart calls upon the Master to alight and have it

"Why, Mr. Stewart," says the Master, "I think at the present time I
would prefer to run a race with you." And with the word claps
spurs to his horse.

Stewart ran after us, a childish thing to do, for more than a mile;
and I could not help laughing, as I looked back at last and saw him
on a hill, holding his hand to his side, and nearly burst with

"But, all the same," I could not help saying to my companion, "I
would let no man run after me for any such proper purpose, and not
give him his desire. It was a good jest, but it smells a trifle

He bent his brows at me. "I do pretty well," says he, "when I
saddle myself with the most unpopular man in Scotland, and let that
suffice for courage."

"O, bedad," says I, "I could show you a more unpopular with the
naked eye. And if you like not my company, you can 'saddle'
yourself on some one else."

"Colonel Burke," says he, "do not let us quarrel; and, to that
effect, let me assure you I am the least patient man in the world."

"I am as little patient as yourself," said I. "I care not who
knows that."

"At this rate," says he, reining in, "we shall not go very far.
And I propose we do one of two things upon the instant: either
quarrel and be done; or make a sure bargain to bear everything at
each other's hands."

"Like a pair of brothers?" said I.

"I said no such foolishness," he replied. "I have a brother of my
own, and I think no more of him than of a colewort. But if we are
to have our noses rubbed together in this course of flight, let us
each dare to be ourselves like savages, and each swear that he will
neither resent nor deprecate the other. I am a pretty bad fellow
at bottom, and I find the pretence of virtues very irksome."

"O, I am as bad as yourself," said I. "There is no skim milk in
Francis Burke. But which is it to be? Fight or make friends?"

"Why," says be, "I think it will be the best manner to spin a coin
for it."

This proposition was too highly chivalrous not to take my fancy;
and, strange as it may seem of two well-born gentlemen of to-day,
we span a half-crown (like a pair of ancient paladins) whether we
were to cut each other's throats or be sworn friends. A more
romantic circumstance can rarely have occurred; and it is one of
those points in my memoirs, by which we may see the old tales of
Homer and the poets are equally true to-day - at least, of the
noble and genteel. The coin fell for peace, and we shook hands
upon our bargain. And then it was that my companion explained to
me his thought in running away from Mr. Stewart, which was
certainly worthy of his political intellect. The report of his
death, he said, was a great guard to him; Mr. Stewart having
recognised him, had become a danger; and he had taken the briefest
road to that gentleman's silence. "For," says he, "Alan Black is
too vain a man to narrate any such story of himself."

Towards afternoon we came down to the shores of that loch for which
we were heading; and there was the ship, but newly come to anchor.
She was the SAINTE-MARIE-DES-ANGES, out of the port of Havre-de-
Grace. The Master, after we had signalled for a boat, asked me if
I knew the captain. I told him he was a countryman of mine, of the
most unblemished integrity, but, I was afraid, a rather timorous

"No matter," says he. "For all that, he should certainly hear the

I asked him if he meant about the battle? for if the captain once
knew the standard was down, he would certainly put to sea again at

"And even then!" said he; "the arms are now of no sort of utility."

"My dear man," said I, "who thinks of the arms? But, to be sure,
we must remember our friends. They will be close upon our heels,
perhaps the Prince himself, and if the ship be gone, a great number
of valuable lives may be imperilled."

"The captain and the crew have lives also, if you come to that,"
says Ballantrae.

This I declared was but a quibble, and that I would not hear of the
captain being told; and then it was that Ballantrae made me a witty
answer, for the sake of which (and also because I have been blamed
myself in this business of the SAINTE-MARIE-DES-ANGES) I have
related the whole conversation as it passed.

"Frank," says he, "remember our bargain. I must not object to your
holding your tongue, which I hereby even encourage you to do; but,
by the same terms, you are not to resent my telling."

I could not help laughing at this; though I still forewarned him
what would come of it.

"The devil may come of it for what I care," says the reckless
fellow. "I have always done exactly as I felt inclined."

As is well known, my prediction came true. The captain had no
sooner heard the news than he cut his cable and to sea again; and
before morning broke, we were in the Great Minch.

The ship was very old; and the skipper, although the most honest of
men (and Irish too), was one of the least capable. The wind blew
very boisterous, and the sea raged extremely. All that day we had
little heart whether to eat or drink; went early to rest in some
concern of mind; and (as if to give us a lesson) in the night the
wind chopped suddenly into the north-east, and blew a hurricane.
We were awaked by the dreadful thunder of the tempest and the
stamping of the mariners on deck; so that I supposed our last hour
was certainly come; and the terror of my mind was increased out of
all measure by Ballantrae, who mocked at my devotions. It is in
hours like these that a man of any piety appears in his true light,
and we find (what we are taught as babes) the small trust that can
be set in worldly friends. I would be unworthy of my religion if I
let this pass without particular remark. For three days we lay in
the dark in the cabin, and had but a biscuit to nibble. On the
fourth the wind fell, leaving the ship dismasted and heaving on
vast billows. The captain had not a guess of whither we were
blown; he was stark ignorant of his trade, and could do naught but
bless the Holy Virgin; a very good thing, too, but scarce the whole
of seamanship. It seemed, our one hope was to be picked up by
another vessel; and if that should prove to be an English ship, it
might be no great blessing to the Master and myself.

The fifth and sixth days we tossed there helpless. The seventh
some sail was got on her, but she was an unwieldy vessel at the
best, and we made little but leeway. All the time, indeed, we had
been drifting to the south and west, and during the tempest must
have driven in that direction with unheard-of violence. The ninth
dawn was cold and black, with a great sea running, and every mark
of foul weather. In this situation we were overjoyed to sight a
small ship on the horizon, and to perceive her go about and head
for the SAINTE-MARIE. But our gratification did not very long
endure; for when she had laid to and lowered a boat, it was
immediately filled with disorderly fellows, who sang and shouted as
they pulled across to us, and swarmed in on our deck with bare
cutlasses, cursing loudly. Their leader was a horrible villain,
with his face blacked and his whiskers curled in ringlets; Teach,
his name; a most notorious pirate. He stamped about the deck,
raving and crying out that his name was Satan, and his ship was
called Hell. There was something about him like a wicked child or
a half-witted person, that daunted me beyond expression. I
whispered in the ear of Ballantrae that I would not be the last to
volunteer, and only prayed God they might be short of hands; he
approved my purpose with a nod.

"Bedad," said I to Master Teach, "if you are Satan, here is a devil
for ye."

The word pleased him; and (not to dwell upon these shocking
incidents) Ballantrae and I and two others were taken for recruits,
while the skipper and all the rest were cast into the sea by the
method of walking the plank. It was the first time I had seen this
done; my heart died within me at the spectacle; and Master Teach or
one of his acolytes (for my head was too much lost to be precise)
remarked upon my pale face in a very alarming manner. I had the
strength to cut a step or two of a jig, and cry out some ribaldry,
which saved me for that time; but my legs were like water when I
must get down into the skiff among these miscreants; and what with
my horror of my company and fear of the monstrous billows, it was
all I could do to keep an Irish tongue and break a jest or two as
we were pulled aboard. By the blessing of God, there was a fiddle
in the pirate ship, which I had no sooner seen than I fell upon;
and in my quality of crowder I had the heavenly good luck to get
favour in their eyes. CROWDING PAT was the name they dubbed me
with; and it was little I cared for a name so long as my skin was

What kind of a pandemonium that vessel was, I cannot describe, but
she was commanded by a lunatic, and might be called a floating
Bedlam. Drinking, roaring, singing, quarrelling, dancing, they
were never all sober at one time; and there were days together
when, if a squall had supervened, it must have sent us to the
bottom; or if a king's ship had come along, it would have found us
quite helpless for defence. Once or twice we sighted a sail, and,
if we were sober enough, overhauled it, God forgive us! and if we
were all too drunk, she got away, and I would bless the saints
under my breath. Teach ruled, if you can call that rule which
brought no order, by the terror he created; and I observed the man
was very vain of his position. I have known marshals of France -
ay, and even Highland chieftains - that were less openly puffed up;
which throws a singular light on the pursuit of honour and glory.
Indeed, the longer we live, the more we perceive the sagacity of
Aristotle and the other old philosophers; and though I have all my
life been eager for legitimate distinctions, I can lay my hand upon
my heart, at the end of my career, and declare there is not one -
no, nor yet life itself - which is worth acquiring or preserving at
the slightest cost of dignity.

It was long before I got private speech of Ballantrae; but at
length one night we crept out upon the boltsprit, when the rest
were better employed, and commiserated our position.

"None can deliver us but the saints," said I.

"My mind is very different," said Ballantrae; "for I am going to
deliver myself. This Teach is the poorest creature possible; we
make no profit of him, and lie continually open to capture; and,"
says he, "I am not going to be a tarry pirate for nothing, nor yet
to hang in chains if I can help it." And he told me what was in
his mind to better the state of the ship in the way of discipline,
which would give us safety for the present, and a sooner hope of
deliverance when they should have gained enough and should break up
their company.

I confessed to him ingenuously that my nerve was quite shook amid
these horrible surroundings, and I durst scarce tell him to count
upon me.

"I am not very easy frightened," said he, "nor very easy beat."

A few days after, there befell an accident which had nearly hanged
us all; and offers the most extraordinary picture of the folly that
ruled in our concerns. We were all pretty drunk: and some
bedlamite spying a sail, Teach put the ship about in chase without
a glance, and we began to bustle up the arms and boast of the
horrors that should follow. I observed Ballantrae stood quiet in
the bows, looking under the shade of his hand; but for my part,
true to my policy among these savages, I was at work with the
busiest and passing Irish jests for their diversion.

"Run up the colours," cries Teach. "Show the -s the Jolly Roger!"

It was the merest drunken braggadocio at such a stage, and might
have lost us a valuable prize; but I thought it no part of mine to
reason, and I ran up the black flag with my own hand.

Ballantrae steps presently aft with a smile upon his face.

"You may perhaps like to know, you drunken dog," says he, "that you
are chasing a king's ship."

Teach roared him the lie; but he ran at the same time to the
bulwarks, and so did they all. I have never seen so many drunken
men struck suddenly sober. The cruiser had gone about, upon our
impudent display of colours; she was just then filling on the new
tack; her ensign blew out quite plain to see; and even as we
stared, there came a puff of smoke, and then a report, and a shot
plunged in the waves a good way short of us. Some ran to the
ropes, and got the SARAH round with an incredible swiftness. One
fellow fell on the rum barrel, which stood broached upon the deck,
and rolled it promptly overboard. On my part, I made for the Jolly
Roger, struck it, tossed it in the sea; and could have flung myself
after, so vexed was I with our mismanagement. As for Teach, he
grew as pale as death, and incontinently went down to his cabin.
Only twice he came on deck that afternoon; went to the taffrail;
took a long look at the king's ship, which was still on the horizon
heading after us; and then, without speech, back to his cabin. You
may say he deserted us; and if it had not been for one very capable
sailor we had on board, and for the lightness of the airs that blew
all day, we must certainly have gone to the yard-arm.

It is to be supposed Teach was humiliated, and perhaps alarmed for
his position with the crew; and the way in which he set about
regaining what he had lost, was highly characteristic of the man.
Early next day we smelled him burning sulphur in his cabin and
crying out of "Hell, hell!" which was well understood among the
crew, and filled their minds with apprehension. Presently he comes
on deck, a perfect figure of fun, his face blacked, his hair and
whiskers curled, his belt stuck full of pistols; chewing bits of
glass so that the blood ran down his chin, and brandishing a dirk.
I do not know if he had taken these manners from the Indians of
America, where he was a native; but such was his way, and he would
always thus announce that he was wound up to horrid deeds. The
first that came near him was the fellow who had sent the rum
overboard the day before; him he stabbed to the heart, damning him
for a mutineer; and then capered about the body, raving and
swearing and daring us to come on. It was the silliest exhibition;
and yet dangerous too, for the cowardly fellow was plainly working
himself up to another murder.

All of a sudden Ballantrae stepped forth. "Have done with this
play-acting," says he. "Do you think to frighten us with making
faces? We saw nothing of you yesterday, when you were wanted; and
we did well without you, let me tell you that."

There was a murmur and a movement in the crew, of pleasure and
alarm, I thought, in nearly equal parts. As for Teach, he gave a
barbarous howl, and swung his dirk to fling it, an art in which
(like many seamen) he was very expert.

"Knock that out of his hand!" says Ballantrae, so sudden and sharp
that my arm obeyed him before my mind had understood.

Teach stood like one stupid, never thinking on his pistols.

"Go down to your cabin," cries Ballantrae, "and come on deck again
when you are sober. Do you think we are going to hang for you, you
black-faced, half-witted, drunken brute and butcher? Go down!"
And he stamped his foot at him with such a sudden smartness that
Teach fairly ran for it to the companion.

"And now, mates," says Ballantrae, "a word with you. I don't know
if you are gentlemen of fortune for the fun of the thing, but I am
not. I want to make money, and get ashore again, and spend it like
a man. And on one thing my mind is made up: I will not hang if I
can help it. Come: give me a hint; I'm only a beginner! Is there
no way to get a little discipline and common sense about this

One of the men spoke up: he said by rights they should have a
quartermaster; and no sooner was the word out of his mouth than
they were all of that opinion. The thing went by acclamation,
Ballantrae was made quartermaster, the rum was put in his charge,
laws were passed in imitation of those of a pirate by the name of
Roberts, and the last proposal was to make an end of Teach. But
Ballantrae was afraid of a more efficient captain, who might be a
counterweight to himself, and he opposed this stoutly. Teach, he
said, was good enough to board ships and frighten fools with his
blacked face and swearing; we could scarce get a better man than
Teach for that; and besides, as the man was now disconsidered and
as good as deposed, we might reduce his proportion of the plunder.
This carried it; Teach's share was cut down to a mere derision,
being actually less than mine; and there remained only two points:
whether he would consent, and who was to announce to him this

"Do not let that stick you," says Ballantrae, "I will do that."

And he stepped to the companion and down alone into the cabin to
face that drunken savage.

"This is the man for us," cries one of the hands. "Three cheers
for the quartermaster!" which were given with a will, my own voice
among the loudest, and I dare say these plaudits had their effect
on Master Teach in the cabin, as we have seen of late days how
shouting in the streets may trouble even the minds of legislators.

What passed precisely was never known, though some of the heads of
it came to the surface later on; and we were all amazed, as well as
gratified, when Ballantrae came on deck with Teach upon his arm,
and announced that all had been consented.

I pass swiftly over those twelve or fifteen months in which we
continued to keep the sea in the North Atlantic, getting our food
and water from the ships we over-hauled, and doing on the whole a
pretty fortunate business. Sure, no one could wish to read
anything so ungenteel as the memoirs of a pirate, even an unwilling
one like me! Things went extremely better with our designs, and
Ballantrae kept his lead, to my admiration, from that day forth. I
would be tempted to suppose that a gentleman must everywhere be
first, even aboard a rover: but my birth is every whit as good as
any Scottish lord's, and I am not ashamed to confess that I stayed
Crowding Pat until the end, and was not much better than the crew's
buffoon. Indeed, it was no scene to bring out my merits. My
health suffered from a variety of reasons; I was more at home to
the last on a horse's back than a ship's deck; and, to be
ingenuous, the fear of the sea was constantly in my mind, battling
with the fear of my companions. I need not cry myself up for
courage; I have done well on many fields under the eyes of famous
generals, and earned my late advancement by an act of the most
distinguished valour before many witnesses. But when we must
proceed on one of our abordages, the heart of Francis Burke was in
his boots; the little eggshell skiff in which we must set forth,
the horrible heaving of the vast billows, the height of the ship
that we must scale, the thought of how many might be there in
garrison upon their legitimate defence, the scowling heavens which
(in that climate) so often looked darkly down upon our exploits,
and the mere crying of the wind in my ears, were all considerations
most unpalatable to my valour. Besides which, as I was always a
creature of the nicest sensibility, the scenes that must follow on
our success tempted me as little as the chances of defeat. Twice
we found women on board; and though I have seen towns sacked, and
of late days in France some very horrid public tumults, there was
something in the smallness of the numbers engaged, and the bleak
dangerous sea-surroundings, that made these acts of piracy far the
most revolting. I confess ingenuously I could never proceed unless
I was three parts drunk; it was the same even with the crew; Teach
himself was fit for no enterprise till he was full of rum; and it
was one of the most difficult parts of Ballantrae's performance, to
serve us with liquor in the proper quantities. Even this he did to
admiration; being upon the whole the most capable man I ever met
with, and the one of the most natural genius. He did not even
scrape favour with the crew, as I did, by continual buffoonery made
upon a very anxious heart; but preserved on most occasions a great
deal of gravity and distance; so that he was like a parent among a
family of young children, or a schoolmaster with his boys. What
made his part the harder to perform, the men were most inveterate
grumblers; Ballantrae's discipline, little as it was, was yet
irksome to their love of licence; and what was worse, being kept
sober they had time to think. Some of them accordingly would fall
to repenting their abominable crimes; one in particular, who was a
good Catholic, and with whom I would sometimes steal apart for
prayer; above all in bad weather, fogs, lashing rain and the like,
when we would be the less observed; and I am sure no two criminals
in the cart have ever performed their devotions with more anxious
sincerity. But the rest, having no such grounds of hope, fell to
another pastime, that of computation. All day long they would he
telling up their shares or grooming over the result. I have said
we were pretty fortunate. But an observation fails to be made:
that in this world, in no business that I have tried, do the
profits rise to a man's expectations. We found many ships and took
many; yet few of them contained much money, their goods were
usually nothing to our purpose - what did we want with a cargo of
ploughs, or even of tobacco? - and it is quite a painful reflection
how many whole crews we have made to walk the plank for no more
than a stock of biscuit or an anker or two of spirit.

In the meanwhile our ship was growing very foul, and it was high
time we should make for our PORT DE CARRENAGE, which was in the
estuary of a river among swamps. It was openly understood that we
should then break up and go and squander our proportions of the
spoil; and this made every man greedy of a little more, so that our
decision was delayed from day to day. What finally decided
matters, was a trifling accident, such as an ignorant person might
suppose incidental to our way of life. But here I must explain:
on only one of all the ships we boarded, the first on which we
found women, did we meet with any genuine resistance. On that
occasion we had two men killed and several injured, and if it had
not been for the gallantry of Ballantrae we had surely been beat
back at last. Everywhere else the defence (where there was any at
all) was what the worst troops in Europe would have laughed at; so
that the most dangerous part of our employment was to clamber up
the side of the ship; and I have even known the poor souls on board
to cast us a line, so eager were they to volunteer instead of
walking the plank. This constant immunity had made our fellows
very soft, so that I understood how Teach had made so deep a mark
upon their minds; for indeed the company of that lunatic was the
chief danger in our way of life. The accident to which I have
referred was this:- We had sighted a little full-rigged ship very
close under our board in a haze; she sailed near as well as we did
- I should be nearer truth if I said, near as ill; and we cleared
the bow-chaser to see if we could bring a spar or two about their
ears. The swell was exceeding great; the motion of the ship beyond
description; it was little wonder if our gunners should fire thrice
and be still quite broad of what they aimed at. But in the
meanwhile the chase had cleared a stern gun, the thickness of the
air concealing them; and being better marksmen, their first shot
struck us in the bows, knocked our two gunners into mince-meat, so
that we were all sprinkled with the blood, and plunged through the
deck into the forecastle, where we slept. Ballantrae would have
held on; indeed, there was nothing in this CONTRETEMPS to affect
the mind of any soldier; but he had a quick perception of the men's
wishes, and it was plain this lucky shot had given them a sickener
of their trade. In a moment they were all of one mind: the chase
was drawing away from us, it was needless to hold on, the SARAH was
too foul to overhaul a bottle, it was mere foolery to keep the sea
with her; and on these pretended grounds her head was incontinently
put about and the course laid for the river. It was strange to see
what merriment fell on that ship's company, and how they stamped
about the deck jesting, and each computing what increase had come
to his share by the death of the two gunners.

We were nine days making our port, so light were the airs we had to
sail on, so foul the ship's bottom; but early on the tenth, before
dawn, and in a light lifting haze, we passed the head. A little
after, the haze lifted, and fell again, showing us a cruiser very
close. This was a sore blow, happening so near our refuge. There
was a great debate of whether she had seen us, and if so whether it
was likely they had recognised the SARAH. We were very careful, by
destroying every member of those crews we overhauled, to leave no
evidence as to our own persons; but the appearance of the SARAH
herself we could not keep so private; and above all of late, since
she had been foul, and we had pursued many ships without success,
it was plain that her description had been often published. I
supposed this alert would have made us separate upon the instant.
But here again that original genius of Ballantrae's had a surprise
in store for me. He and Teach (and it was the most remarkable step
of his success) had gone hand in hand since the first day of his
appointment. I often questioned him upon the fact, and never got
an answer but once, when he told me he and Teach had an
understanding "which would very much surprise the crew if they
should hear of it, and would surprise himself a good deal if it was
carried out." Well, here again he and Teach were of a mind; and by
their joint procurement the anchor was no sooner down than the
whole crew went off upon a scene of drunkenness indescribable. By
afternoon we were a mere shipful of lunatical persons, throwing of
things overboard, howling of different songs at the same time,
quarrelling and falling together, and then forgetting our quarrels
to embrace. Ballantrae had bidden me drink nothing, and feign
drunkenness, as I valued my life; and I have never passed a day so
wearisomely, lying the best part of the time upon the forecastle
and watching the swamps and thickets by which our little basin was
entirely surrounded for the eye. A little after dusk Ballantrae
stumbled up to my side, feigned to fall, with a drunken laugh, and
before he got his feet again, whispered me to "reel down into the
cabin and seem to fall asleep upon a locker, for there would be
need of me soon." I did as I was told, and coming into the cabin,
where it was quite dark, let myself fall on the first locker.
There was a man there already; by the way he stirred and threw me
off, I could not think he was much in liquor; and yet when I had
found another place, he seemed to continue to sleep on. My heart
now beat very hard, for I saw some desperate matter was in act.
Presently down came Ballantrae, lit the lamp, looked about the
cabin, nodded as if pleased, and on deck again without a word. I
peered out from between my fingers, and saw there were three of us
slumbering, or feigning to slumber, on the lockers: myself, one
Dutton and one Grady, both resolute men. On deck the rest were got
to a pitch of revelry quite beyond the bounds of what is human; so
that no reasonable name can describe the sounds they were now
making. I have heard many a drunken bout in my time, many on board
that very SARAH, but never anything the least like this, which made
me early suppose the liquor had been tampered with. It was a long
while before these yells and howls died out into a sort of
miserable moaning, and then to silence; and it seemed a long while
after that before Ballantrae came down again, this time with Teach
upon his heels. The latter cursed at the sight of us three upon
the lockers.

"Tut," says Ballantrae, "you might fire a pistol at their ears.
You know what stuff they have been swallowing."

There was a hatch in the cabin floor, and under that the richest
part of the booty was stored against the day of division. It
fastened with a ring and three padlocks, the keys (for greater
security) being divided; one to Teach, one to Ballantrae, and one
to the mate, a man called Hammond. Yet I was amazed to see they
were now all in the one hand; and yet more amazed (still looking
through my fingers) to observe Ballantrae and Teach bring up
several packets, four of them in all, very carefully made up and
with a loop for carriage.

"And now," says Teach, "let us be going."

"One word," says Ballantrae. "I have discovered there is another
man besides yourself who knows a private path across the swamp; and
it seems it is shorter than yours."

Teach cried out, in that case, they were undone.

"I do not know for that," says Ballantrae. "For there are several
other circumstances with which I must acquaint you. First of all,
there is no bullet in your pistols, which (if you remember) I was
kind enough to load for both of us this morning. Secondly, as
there is someone else who knows a passage, you must think it highly
improbable I should saddle myself with a lunatic like you.
Thirdly, these gentlemen (who need no longer pretend to be asleep)
are those of my party, and will now proceed to gag and bind you to
the mast; and when your men awaken (if they ever do awake after the
drugs we have mingled in their liquor), I am sure they will be so
obliging as to deliver you, and you will have no difficulty, I
daresay, to explain the business of the keys."

Not a word said Teach, but looked at us like a frightened baby as
we gagged and bound him.

"Now you see, you moon-calf," says Ballantrae, "why we made four
packets. Heretofore you have been called Captain Teach, but I
think you are now rather Captain Learn."

That was our last word on board the SARAH. We four, with our four
packets, lowered ourselves softly into a skiff, and left that ship
behind us as silent as the grave, only for the moaning of some of
the drunkards. There was a fog about breast-high on the waters; so
that Dutton, who knew the passage, must stand on his feet to direct
our rowing; and this, as it forced us to row gently, was the means
of our deliverance. We were yet but a little way from the ship,
when it began to come grey, and the birds to fly abroad upon the
water. All of a sudden Dutton clapped down upon his hams, and
whispered us to be silent for our lives, and hearken. Sure enough,
we heard a little faint creak of oars upon one hand, and then
again, and further off, a creak of oars upon the other. It was
clear we had been sighted yesterday in the morning; here were the
cruiser's boats to cut us out; here were we defenceless in their
very midst. Sure, never were poor souls more perilously placed;
and as we lay there on our oars, praying God the mist might hold,
the sweat poured from my brow. Presently we heard one of the boats
where we might have thrown a biscuit in her. "Softly, men," we
heard an officer whisper; and I marvelled they could not hear the
drumming of my heart.

"Never mind the path," says Ballantrae; "we must get shelter
anyhow; let us pull straight ahead for the sides of the basin."

This we did with the most anxious precaution, rowing, as best we
could, upon our hands, and steering at a venture in the fog, which
was (for all that) our only safety. But Heaven guided us; we
touched ground at a thicket; scrambled ashore with our treasure;
and having no other way of concealment, and the mist beginning
already to lighten, hove down the skiff and let her sink. We were
still but new under cover when the sun rose; and at the same time,
from the midst of the basin, a great shouting of seamen sprang up,
and we knew the SARAH was being boarded. I heard afterwards the
officer that took her got great honour; and it's true the approach
was creditably managed, but I think he had an easy capture when he
came to board. (3)

I was still blessing the saints for my escape, when I became aware
we were in trouble of another kind. We were here landed at random
in a vast and dangerous swamp; and how to come at the path was a
concern of doubt, fatigue, and peril. Dutton, indeed, was of
opinion we should wait until the ship was gone, and fish up the
skiff; for any delay would be more wise than to go blindly ahead in
that morass. One went back accordingly to the basin-side and
(peering through the thicket) saw the fog already quite drunk up,
and English colours flying on the SARAH, but no movement made to
get her under way. Our situation was now very doubtful. The swamp
was an unhealthful place to linger in; we had been so greedy to
bring treasures that we had brought but little food; it was highly
desirable, besides, that we should get clear of the neighbourhood
and into the settlements before the news of the capture went
abroad; and against all these considerations, there was only the
peril of the passage on the other side. I think it not wonderful
we decided on the active part.

It was already blistering hot when we set forth to pass the marsh,
or rather to strike the path, by compass. Dutton took the compass,
and one or other of us three carried his proportion of the
treasure. I promise you he kept a sharp eye to his rear, for it
was like the man's soul that he must trust us with. The thicket
was as close as a bush; the ground very treacherous, so that we
often sank in the most terrifying manner, and must go round about;
the heat, besides, was stifling, the air singularly heavy, and the
stinging insects abounded in such myriads that each of us walked
under his own cloud. It has often been commented on, how much
better gentlemen of birth endure fatigue than persons of the
rabble; so that walking officers who must tramp in the dirt beside
their men, shame them by their constancy. This was well to be
observed in the present instance; for here were Ballantrae and I,
two gentlemen of the highest breeding, on the one hand; and on the
other, Grady, a common mariner, and a man nearly a giant in
physical strength. The case of Dutton is not in point, for I
confess he did as well as any of us. (4) But as for Grady, he
began early to lament his case, tailed in the rear, refused to
carry Dutton's packet when it came his turn, clamoured continually
for rum (of which we had too little), and at last even threatened
us from behind with a cooked pistol, unless we should allow him
rest. Ballantrae would have fought it out, I believe; but I
prevailed with him the other way; and we made a stop and ate a
meal. It seemed to benefit Grady little; he was in the rear again
at once, growling and bemoaning his lot; and at last, by some
carelessness, not having followed properly in our tracks, stumbled
into a deep part of the slough where it was mostly water, gave some
very dreadful screams, and before we could come to his aid had sunk
along with his booty. His fate, and above all these screams of
his, appalled us to the soul; yet it was on the whole a fortunate
circumstance and the means of our deliverance, for it moved Dutton
to mount into a tree, whence he was able to perceive and to show
me, who had climbed after him, a high piece of the wood, which was
a landmark for the path. He went forward the more carelessly, I
must suppose; for presently we saw him sink a little down, draw up
his feet and sink again, and so twice. Then he turned his face to
us, pretty white.

"Lend a hand," said he, "I am in a bad place."

"I don't know about that," says Ballantrae, standing still.

Dutton broke out into the most violent oaths, sinking a little
lower as he did, so that the mud was nearly to his waist, and
plucking a pistol from his belt, "Help me," he cries, "or die and
be damned to you!"

"Nay," says Ballantrae, "I did but jest. I am coming." And he set
down his own packet and Dutton's, which he was then carrying. "Do
not venture near till we see if you are needed," said he to me, and
went forward alone to where the man was bogged. He was quiet now,
though he still held the pistol; and the marks of terror in his
countenance were very moving to behold.

"For the Lord's sake," says he, "look sharp."

Ballantrae was now got close up. "Keep still," says he, and seemed
to consider; and then, "Reach out both your hands!"

Dutton laid down his pistol, and so watery was the top surface that
it went clear out of sight; with an oath he stooped to snatch it;
and as he did so, Ballantrae leaned forth and stabbed him between
the shoulders. Up went his hands over his head - I know not
whether with the pain or to ward himself; and the next moment he
doubled forward in the mud.

Ballantrae was already over the ankles; but he plucked himself out,
and came back to me, where I stood with my knees smiting one
another. "The devil take you, Francis!" says he. "I believe you
are a half-hearted fellow, after all. I have only done justice on
a pirate. And here we are quite clear of the SARAH! Who shall now
say that we have dipped our hands in any irregularities?"

I assured him he did me injustice; but my sense of humanity was so
much affected by the horridness of the fact that I could scarce
find breath to answer with.

"Come," said he, "you must be more resolved. The need for this
fellow ceased when he had shown you where the path ran; and you
cannot deny I would have been daft to let slip so fair an

I could not deny but he was right in principle; nor yet could I
refrain from shedding tears, of which I think no man of valour need
have been ashamed; and it was not until I had a share of the rum
that I was able to proceed. I repeat, I am far from ashamed of my
generous emotion; mercy is honourable in the warrior; and yet I
cannot altogether censure Ballantrae, whose step was really
fortunate, as we struck the path without further misadventure, and
the same night, about sundown, came to the edge of the morass.

We were too weary to seek far; on some dry sands, still warm with
the day's sun, and close under a wood of pines, we lay down and
were instantly plunged in sleep.

We awaked the next morning very early, and began with a sullen
spirit a conversation that came near to end in blows. We were now
cast on shore in the southern provinces, thousands of miles from
any French settlement; a dreadful journey and a thousand perils lay
in front of us; and sure, if there was ever need for amity, it was
in such an hour. I must suppose that Ballantrae had suffered in
his sense of what is truly polite; indeed, and there is nothing
strange in the idea, after the sea-wolves we had consorted with so
long; and as for myself, he fubbed me off unhandsomely, and any
gentleman would have resented his behaviour.

I told him in what light I saw his conduct; he walked a little off,
I following to upbraid him; and at last he stopped me with his

"Frank," says he, "you know what we swore; and yet there is no oath
invented would induce me to swallow such expressions, if I did not
regard you with sincere affection. It is impossible you should
doubt me there: I have given proofs. Dutton I had to take,
because he knew the pass, and Grady because Dutton would not move
without him; but what call was there to carry you along? You are a
perpetual danger to me with your cursed Irish tongue. By rights
you should now be in irons in the cruiser. And you quarrel with me
like a baby for some trinkets!"

I considered this one of the most unhandsome speeches ever made;
and indeed to this day I can scarce reconcile it to my notion of a
gentleman that was my friend. I retorted upon him with his Scotch
accent, of which he had not so much as some, but enough to be very
barbarous and disgusting, as I told him plainly; and the affair
would have gone to a great length, but for an alarming

We had got some way off upon the sand. The place where we had
slept, with the packets lying undone and the money scattered
openly, was now between us and the pines; and it was out of these
the stranger must have come. There he was at least, a great
hulking fellow of the country, with a broad axe on his shoulder,
looking open-mouthed, now at the treasure, which was just at his
feet, and now at our disputation, in which we had gone far enough
to have weapons in our hands. We had no sooner observed him than
he found his legs and made off again among the pines.

This was no scene to put our minds at rest: a couple of armed men
in sea-clothes found quarrelling over a treasure, not many miles
from where a pirate had been captured - here was enough to bring
the whole country about our ears. The quarrel was not even made
up; it was blotted from our minds; and we got our packets together
in the twinkling of an eye, and made off, running with the best
will in the world. But the trouble was, we did not know in what
direction, and must continually return upon our steps. Ballantrae
had indeed collected what he could from Dutton; but it's hard to
travel upon hearsay; and the estuary, which spreads into a vast
irregular harbour, turned us off upon every side with a new stretch
of water.

We were near beside ourselves, and already quite spent with
running, when, coming to the top of a dune, we saw we were again
cut off by another ramification of the bay. This was a creek,
however, very different from those that had arrested us before;
being set in rocks, and so precipitously deep that a small vessel
was able to lie alongside, made fast with a hawser; and her crew
had laid a plank to the shore. Here they had lighted a fire, and
were sitting at their meal. As for the vessel herself, she was one
of those they build in the Bermudas.

The love of gold and the great hatred that everybody has to pirates
were motives of the most influential, and would certainly raise the
country in our pursuit. Besides, it was now plain we were on some
sort of straggling peninsula, like the fingers of a hand; and the
wrist, or passage to the mainland, which we should have taken at
the first, was by this time not improbably secured. These
considerations put us on a bolder counsel. For as long as we
dared, looking every moment to hear sounds of the chase, we lay
among some bushes on the top of the dune; and having by this means
secured a little breath and recomposed our appearance, we strolled
down at last, with a great affectation of carelessness, to the
party by the fire.

It was a trader and his negroes, belonging to Albany, in the
province of New York, and now on the way home from the Indies with
a cargo; his name I cannot recall. We were amazed to learn he had
put in here from terror of the SARAH; for we had no thought our
exploits had been so notorious. As soon as the Albanian heard she
had been taken the day before, he jumped to his feet, gave us a cup
of spirits for our good news, and sent big negroes to get sail on
the Bermudan. On our side, we profited by the dram to become more
confidential, and at last offered ourselves as passengers. He
looked askance at our tarry clothes and pistols, and replied
civilly enough that he had scarce accommodation for himself; nor
could either our prayers or our offers of money, in which we
advanced pretty far, avail to shake him.

"I see, you think ill of us," says Ballantrae, "but I will show you
how well we think of you by telling you the truth. We are Jacobite
fugitives, and there is a price upon our heads."

At this, the Albanian was plainly moved a little. He asked us many
questions as to the Scotch war, which Ballantrae very patiently
answered. And then, with a wink, in a vulgar manner, "I guess you
and your Prince Charlie got more than you cared about," said he.

"Bedad, and that we did," said I. "And, my dear man, I wish you
would set a new example and give us just that much."

This I said in the Irish way, about which there is allowed to be
something very engaging. It's a remarkable thing, and a testimony
to the love with which our nation is regarded, that this address
scarce ever fails in a handsome fellow. I cannot tell how often I
have seen a private soldier escape the horse, or a beggar wheedle
out a good alms by a touch of the brogue. And, indeed, as soon as
the Albanian had laughed at me I was pretty much at rest. Even
then, however, he made many conditions, and - for one thing - took
away our arms, before he suffered us aboard; which was the signal
to cast off; so that in a moment after, we were gliding down the
bay with a good breeze, and blessing the name of God for our
deliverance. Almost in the mouth of the estuary, we passed the
cruiser, and a little after the poor SARAH with her prize crew; and
these were both sights to make us tremble. The Bermudan seemed a
very safe place to be in, and our bold stroke to have been
fortunately played, when we were thus reminded of the case of our
companions. For all that, we had only exchanged traps, jumped out
of the frying-pan into the fire, ran from the yard-arm to the
block, and escaped the open hostility of the man-of-war to lie at
the mercy of the doubtful faith of our Albanian merchant.

From many circumstances, it chanced we were safer than we could
have dared to hope. The town of Albany was at that time much
concerned in contraband trade across the desert with the Indians
and the French. This, as it was highly illegal, relaxed their
loyalty, and as it brought them in relation with the politest
people on the earth, divided even their sympathies. In short, they
were like all the smugglers in the world, spies and agents ready-
made for either party. Our Albanian, besides, was a very honest
man indeed, and very greedy; and, to crown our luck, he conceived a
great delight in our society. Before we had reached the town of
New York we had come to a full agreement, that he should carry us
as far as Albany upon his ship, and thence put us on a way to pass
the boundaries and join the French. For all this we were to pay at
a high rate; but beggars cannot be choosers, nor outlaws

We sailed, then, up the Hudson River, which, I protest, is a very
fine stream, and put up at the "King's Arms" in Albany. The town
was full of the militia of the province, breathing slaughter
against the French. Governor Clinton was there himself, a very
busy man, and, by what I could learn, very near distracted by the
factiousness of his Assembly. The Indians on both sides were on
the war-path; we saw parties of them bringing in prisoners and
(what was much worse) scalps, both male and female, for which they
were paid at a fixed rate; and I assure you the sight was not
encouraging. Altogether, we could scarce have come at a period
more unsuitable for our designs; our position in the chief inn was
dreadfully conspicuous; our Albanian fubbed us off with a thousand
delays, and seemed upon the point of a retreat from his
engagements; nothing but peril appeared to environ the poor
fugitives, and for some time we drowned our concern in a very
irregular course of living.

This, too, proved to be fortunate; and it's one of the remarks that
fall to be made upon our escape, how providentially our steps were
conducted to the very end. What a humiliation to the dignity of
man! My philosophy, the extraordinary genius of Ballantrae, our
valour, in which I grant that we were equal - all these might have
proved insufficient without the Divine blessing on our efforts.
And how true it is, as the Church tells us, that the Truths of
Religion are, after all, quite applicable even to daily affairs!
At least, it was in the course of our revelry that we made the
acquaintance of a spirited youth by the name of Chew. He was one
of the most daring of the Indian traders, very well acquainted with
the secret paths of the wilderness, needy, dissolute, and, by a
last good fortune, in some disgrace with his family. Him we
persuaded to come to our relief; he privately provided what was
needful for our flight, and one day we slipped out of Albany,
without a word to our former friend, and embarked, a little above,
in a canoe.

To the toils and perils of this journey, it would require a pen
more elegant than mine to do full justice. The reader must
conceive for himself the dreadful wilderness which we had now to
thread; its thickets, swamps, precipitous rocks, impetuous rivers,
and amazing waterfalls. Among these barbarous scenes we must toil
all day, now paddling, now carrying our canoe upon our shoulders;
and at night we slept about a fire, surrounded by the howling of
wolves and other savage animals. It was our design to mount the
headwaters of the Hudson, to the neighbourhood of Crown Point,
where the French had a strong place in the woods, upon Lake
Champlain. But to have done this directly were too perilous; and
it was accordingly gone upon by such a labyrinth of rivers, lakes,
and portages as makes my head giddy to remember. These paths were
in ordinary times entirely desert; but the country was now up, the
tribes on the war-path, the woods full of Indian scouts. Again and
again we came upon these parties when we least expected, them; and
one day, in particular, I shall never forget, how, as dawn was
coming in, we were suddenly surrounded by five or six of these
painted devils, uttering a very dreary sort of cry, and brandishing
their hatchets. It passed off harmlessly, indeed, as did the rest
of our encounters; for Chew was well known and highly valued among
the different tribes. Indeed, he was a very gallant, respectable
young man; but even with the advantage of his companionship, you
must not think these meetings were without sensible peril. To
prove friendship on our part, it was needful to draw upon our stock
of rum - indeed, under whatever disguise, that is the true business
of the Indian trader, to keep a travelling public-house in the
forest; and when once the braves had got their bottle of SCAURA (as
they call this beastly liquor), it behoved us to set forth and
paddle for our scalps. Once they were a little drunk, goodbye to
any sense or decency; they had but the one thought, to get more
SCAURA. They might easily take it in their heads to give us chase,
and had we been overtaken, I had never written these memoirs.

We were come to the most critical portion of our course, where we
might equally expect to fall into the hands of French or English,
when a terrible calamity befell us. Chew was taken suddenly sick
with symptoms like those of poison, and in the course of a few
hours expired in the bottom of the canoe. We thus lost at once our
guide, our interpreter, our boatman, and our passport, for he was
all these in one; and found ourselves reduced, at a blow, to the
most desperate and irremediable distress. Chew, who took a great
pride in his knowledge, had indeed often lectured us on the
geography; and Ballantrae, I believe, would listen. But for my
part I have always found such information highly tedious; and
beyond the fact that we were now in the country of the Adirondack
Indians, and not so distant from our destination, could we but have
found the way, I was entirely ignorant. The wisdom of my course
was soon the more apparent; for with all his pains, Ballantrae was
no further advanced than myself. He knew we must continue to go up
one stream; then, by way of a portage, down another; and then up a
third. But you are to consider, in a mountain country, how many
streams come rolling in from every hand. And how is a gentleman,
who is a perfect stranger in that part of the world, to tell any
one of them from any other? Nor was this our only trouble. We
were great novices, besides, in handling a canoe; the portages were
almost beyond our strength, so that I have seen us sit down in
despair for half an hour at a time without one word; and the
appearance of a single Indian, since we had now no means of
speaking to them, would have been in all probability the means of
our destruction. There is altogether some excuse if Ballantrae
showed something of a grooming disposition; his habit of imputing
blame to others, quite as capable as himself, was less tolerable,
and his language it was not always easy to accept. Indeed, he had
contracted on board the pirate ship a manner of address which was
in a high degree unusual between gentlemen; and now, when you might
say he was in a fever, it increased upon him hugely.

The third day of these wanderings, as we were carrying the canoe
upon a rocky portage, she fell, and was entirely bilged. The
portage was between two lakes, both pretty extensive; the track,
such as it was, opened at both ends upon the water, and on both
hands was enclosed by the unbroken woods; and the sides of the
lakes were quite impassable with bog: so that we beheld ourselves
not only condemned to go without our boat and the greater part of
our provisions, but to plunge at once into impenetrable thickets
and to desert what little guidance we still had - the course of the
river. Each stuck his pistols in his belt, shouldered an axe, made
a pack of his treasure and as much food as he could stagger under;
and deserting the rest of our possessions, even to our swords,
which would have much embarrassed us among the woods, we set forth
on this deplorable adventure. The labours of Hercules, so finely
described by Homer, were a trifle to what we now underwent. Some
parts of the forest were perfectly dense down to the ground, so
that we must cut our way like mites in a cheese. In some the
bottom was full of deep swamp, and the whole wood entirely rotten.
I have leaped on a great fallen log and sunk to the knees in
touchwood; I have sought to stay myself, in falling, against what
looked to be a solid trunk, and the whole thing has whiffed away at
my touch like a sheet of paper. Stumbling, falling, bogging to the
knees, hewing our way, our eyes almost put out with twigs and
branches, our clothes plucked from our bodies, we laboured all day,
and it is doubtful if we made two miles. What was worse, as we
could rarely get a view of the country, and were perpetually
justled from our path by obstacles, it was impossible even to have
a guess in what direction we were moving.

A little before sundown, in an open place with a stream, and set
about with barbarous mountains, Ballantrae threw down his pack. "I
will go no further," said he, and bade me light the fire, damning
my blood in terms not proper for a chairman.

I told him to try to forget he had ever been a pirate, and to
remember he had been a gentleman.

"Are you mad?" he cried. "Don't cross me here! And then, shaking
his fist at the hills, "To think," cries he, "that I must leave my
bones in this miserable wilderness! Would God I had died upon the
scaffold like a gentleman!" This he said ranting like an actor;
and then sat biting his fingers and staring on the ground, a most
unchristian object.

I took a certain horror of the man, for I thought a soldier and a
gentleman should confront his end with more philosophy. I made him
no reply, therefore, in words; and presently the evening fell so
chill that I was glad, for my own sake, to kindle a fire. And yet
God knows, in such an open spot, and the country alive with
savages, the act was little short of lunacy. Ballantrae seemed
never to observe me; but at last, as I was about parching a little
corn, he looked up.

"Have you ever a brother?" said be.

"By the blessing of Heaven," said I, "not less than five."

"I have the one," said he, with a strange voice; and then
presently, "He shall pay me for all this," he added. And when I
asked him what was his brother's part in our distress, "What!" he
cried, "he sits in my place, he bears my name, he courts my wife;
and I am here alone with a damned Irishman in this tooth-chattering
desert! Oh, I have been a common gull!" he cried.

The explosion was in all ways so foreign to my friend's nature that
I was daunted out of all my just susceptibility. Sure, an
offensive expression, however vivacious, appears a wonderfully
small affair in circumstances so extreme! But here there is a
strange thing to be noted. He had only once before referred to the
lady with whom he was contracted. That was when we came in view of
the town of New York, when he had told me, if all had their rights,
he was now in sight of his own property, for Miss Graeme enjoyed a
large estate in the province. And this was certainly a natural
occasion; but now here she was named a second time; and what is
surely fit to be observed, in this very month, which was November,
BARBAROUS MOUNTAINS, his brother and Miss Graeme were married. I
am the least superstitious of men; but the hand of Providence is
here displayed too openly not to be remarked. (5)

The next day, and the next, were passed in similar labours;
Ballantrae often deciding on our course by the spinning of a coin;
and once, when I expostulated on this childishness, he had an odd
remark that I have never forgotten. "I know no better way," said
he, "to express my scorn of human reason." I think it was the
third day that we found the body of a Christian, scalped and most
abominably mangled, and lying in a pudder of his blood; the birds
of the desert screaming over him, as thick as flies. I cannot
describe how dreadfully this sight affected us; but it robbed me of
all strength and all hope for this world. The same day, and only a
little after, we were scrambling over a part of the forest that had
been burned, when Ballantrae, who was a little ahead, ducked
suddenly behind a fallen trunk. I joined him in this shelter,
whence we could look abroad without being seen ourselves; and in
the bottom of the next vale, beheld a large war party of the
savages going by across our line. There might be the value of a
weak battalion present; all naked to the waist, blacked with grease
and soot, and painted with white lead and vermilion, according to
their beastly habits. They went one behind another like a string
of geese, and at a quickish trot; so that they took but a little
while to rattle by, and disappear again among the woods. Yet I
suppose we endured a greater agony of hesitation and suspense in
these few minutes than goes usually to a man's whole life. Whether
they were French or English Indians, whether they desired scalps or
prisoners, whether we should declare ourselves upon the chance, or
lie quiet and continue the heart-breaking business of our journey:
sure, I think these were questions to have puzzled the brains of
Aristotle himself. Ballantrae turned to me with a face all
wrinkled up and his teeth showing in his mouth, like what I have
read of people starving; he said no word, but his whole appearance
was a kind of dreadful question.

"They may be of the English side," I whispered; "and think! the
best we could then hope, is to begin this over again."

"I know - I know," he said. "Yet it must come to a plunge at
last." And he suddenly plucked out his coin, shook it in his
closed hands, looked at it, and then lay down with his face in the

ADDITION BY MR. MACKELLAR. - I drop the Chevalier's narration at
this point because the couple quarrelled and separated the same
day; and the Chevalier's account of the quarrel seems to me (I must
confess) quite incompatible with the nature of either of the men.
Henceforth they wandered alone, undergoing extraordinary
sufferings; until first one and then the other was picked up by a
party from Fort St. Frederick. Only two things are to be noted.
And first (as most important for my purpose) that the Master, in
the course of his miseries buried his treasure, at a point never
since discovered, but of which he took a drawing in his own blood
on the lining of his hat. And second, that on his coming thus
penniless to the Fort, he was welcomed like a brother by the
Chevalier, who thence paid his way to France. The simplicity of
Mr. Burke's character leads him at this point to praise the Master
exceedingly; to an eye more worldly wise, it would seem it was the
Chevalier alone that was to be commended. I have the more pleasure
in pointing to this really very noble trait of my esteemed
correspondent, as I fear I may have wounded him immediately before.
I have refrained from comments on any of his extraordinary and (in
my eyes) immoral opinions, for I know him to be jealous of respect.
But his version of the quarrel is really more than I can reproduce;
for I knew the Master myself, and a man more insusceptible of fear
is not conceivable. I regret this oversight of the Chevalier's,
and all the more because the tenor of his narrative (set aside a
few flourishes) strikes me as highly ingenuous.

Robert Louis Stevenson

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