فصل 07

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فصل 07

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CHAPTER seven

The Journey Begins

We ended the meal with some brandy-punch.

“The limes,” Mr Jarvie assured us proudly, “come from my little farm overseas. I made the liquor myself!” This led to a conversation between Mr Owen and our host about the possibility, which the government had recently given to Scottish towns, to trade with the British colonies in America and the West Indies. I was silent and, when the Bailie questioned me, I related the events of the morning and anxiously asked him, “What should I do to help my father and satisfy my own honour?”

“I think that Robin will help you, if he can. He is a good-hearted man,” replied the Bailie.

“Can I consider Mr Campbell an honest man?” I continued. “Can I go to the appointment in the glens safely, and believe in a man who fears justice?”

Mr Jarvie explained that in the Highlands there was no law and no magistrates. The country was savage and poor, and people often became bandits. Robin Campbell, once an honest and active man of noble lineage, became an outlaw, known as Rob Roy, when his creditors took everything he had. Here Mr Jarvie’s face became very sad.

“Rob was away on business,” he said, “and when he came home, he found desolation where he had left plenty; he looked east, west, south, north and he saw no hope, no shelter!”

The Bailies voice showed his affection and sympathy for Campbell’s misfortunes.

“Robin put on his bonnet, took his big sword and collected a band of blue bonnets. He and his men started to protect the lands and cattle of the southern farmers from robbers, in exchange for money.”

“Oh, a very singular contract of insurance! The robbers who threaten the southern farmers are those same Highlanders!” exclaimed Owen at this point.

This form of blackmail was against the law, and Rob risked capture and death if he was found in Glasgow.

“He is a sort of Robin Hood!” concluded the Bailie. “I am convinced that he robbed Morris with the help of Rashleigh to accelerate the Jacobite rebellion against King George. He was certainly an agent between our Highland, chiefs and the gentlemen in the north of England.”

The conversation went on, and gradually we came to the opinion that I should leave at once for the glens and meet Rob Roy there.

The next morning at five o’clock we started our journey. Mr Owen remained in Glasgow and Andrew came with us. We travelled all day, going north-east from Glasgow - first across a marshy barren land, then through a wild and desolate area with dark blue mountains visible in the distance. I began to appreciate Mr Jarvie. He had an observant mind and he knew the ancient history of the area. He was a good Scotsman that loved the traditions of his land, but he also understood the importance of the union with England for the future prosperity of his town and country.

We had lunch at noon at a most miserable alehouse, and then continued our journey quickly because we wanted to reach the clachan of Aberfoil before night fell. During the last three miles Mr Jarvie began to give Andrew his instructions. “Keep your tongue in your mouth, and don’t say a word, good or bad, to anyone in the clacham!” he told him sharply. “And… remember, no blasting about your master’s name - or mine!”

“I have many things of more importance to speak about!” was Andrew’s indignant reply.

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