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Chapter 13 The Lawyer



 

We saw other soldiers after that, but they were not dangerously near us. Then we arrived at the River Forth in Stirling. There were a lot of soldiers there, and we couldn't use the bridge over the river.

'We'll have to get a boat,' said Alan.

We walked through a village, and Alan said,' Did you see the pretty girl in the bread shop ?'

' Yes,' I said.' A very pretty girl.'

'Right,' he said. 'She'll look at you and think, "He's tired and ill." Now, listen

And he told me his plan.

We went into the little shop. Alan nearly carried me. He put me in a chair and gave me some bread and water.

' He's very ill,' he told the girl.' I have to take him across the river to the doctor.'

She took us across the river in her father's boat, but she did not tell her father.

 

I was in the street early. I wanted to find Mr Rankeillor, the lawyer.' Will he look at my dirty clothes and send me away ?' I thought.' What can I do ?'

I stood outside a fine house and made a plan. Alan was in the trees outside the town.

A man came out of the house. He looked at me.

' What are you doing ?' he asked.

' I'm looking for Mr Rankeillor,' I said.

' I am Mr Rankeillor,' he said.' But I don't know your name, or your face.'

' My name is David Balfour,' I said.

His eyes opened wide. 'Where did you come from, Mr Balfour ?' he said.

' From many strange places, sir,' I said.' Can I tell you about it in the house ?'

' Yes,' he said.' Come in.'

We went into the house, and into a room with many books and papers. Mr Rankeillor asked me a lot of questions.

' Where were you born ... ? Who was your father ... ? Who was your mother ... ? Do you have any uncles ... ?'

After a time, he took a small book out of a cupboard and looked at it.'Did you know a man with the name of Hoseason?' he asked.

' He kidnapped me,' I said. And I told him about it. He listened carefully.' The ship went on the rocks.'

' Where ?' he asked.

'South of the island of Mull,' I said.

' Yes,' Mr Rankeillor said.' But the ship went down ... ' (he looked at his notebook)'... on 27th June. We are now in August. Your friends are not very happy. What can you tell me about those two months ?'

' I can tell you everything,' I said. 'But am I talking to a friend?'

He smiled. 'You are thinking, "This man was my uncle's lawyer." But "was" is the right word. Your friend Mr Campbell was here, and I learned many things about Mr Ebenezer Balfour. I do not work for him now.'

' Sir,' I said,' I will put a friend's life into your hands when I tell you my story'



' It will be all right,' he said.' But we will call your friend " Mr Thomson", please. I can't remember Highland names.'

I told him my story.

At the end of it, he said,' Your friend Mr Thomson is a very interesting man. But perhaps a difficult man. Our lives will be easier when he leaves us. For Holland, perhaps. Now I have to think. You can wash, and then I'll find some of my son's clothes for you.'

He gave me a wonderful lunch. It was my first good food for many weeks. And he told me the story of my father and my uncle.

'Ebenezer was the younger brother,' he said. 'He was a beautiful boy. His mother and father gave him everything and did everything for him. Your father helped him too. When the two boys fell in love with the same girl, Ebenezer thought, " She'll want to marry me."

' But your mother, David, did not want Ebenezer. He was very angry. He did and said bad things. Your grandmother and grandfather were very sad, and later ill. Then they died. Your father was a kind man, but he was weak. In the end, he and the girl went away. They left the house of Shaws to the bad younger brother.'

 





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