فصل 08

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فصل 08

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CHAPTER Eight

In the Highlands

At last we arrived at the inn at Aberfoil. There was a willow-branch across the half-opened door, blocking our entrance. Mr Jarvie told me that this meant there were some Highland chiefs inside who did not want to be disturbed. After some discussion with the landlady we were allowed to enter.

Inside the inn was a large, bare room full of smoke, with a big fire blazing merrily in the centre. Three men were sitting at an old, scratched oak table near the fire. Two looked like Highlanders, judging by their clothes. The third was in the Lowlands dress and looked like a soldier. Another Highlander, all covered up by a plaid, was sleeping on the floor. It seemed that they did not pay any attention to us but when I ordered some food, one of them said to me in very good English, “You think you are at home here, I see!”

His tone was offensive and a dispute started. In a few moments we were fighting - three against three I thought, but then I noticed that Andrew had vanished. The Bailie started well but he was corpulent and soon exhausted his energy. He was almost at die mercy of his antagonist, when suddenly the sleeping Highlander jumped up from his place on the floor and, placing himself between the two men, exclaimed, “This is Bailie Jarvie! I will defend him!”

At these words, with the cry “Hold your hands, hold your hands!”, the fight stopped and we all sat down together and drank in friendship.

Supper was nearly ready so I went to look for Andrew. The landlady offered to guide me to the stable with a light and, when we were outside, she gave me a piece of paper. It was a message from Robin Campbell. He said that he could not come to the meeting, and advised me not to mix with the people at the inn because they were dangerous.

After looking for him everywhere finally discovered Andrew in the stable, hiding in a corner.

He was frightened and continued repeating: “I am an honest lad, sir! I am! I am!”

I requested an explanation and eventually he told me that he thought I was putting myself in extreme danger. “Take care of yourself, sir! Don’t go near Rob Roy!” he said with sincere alarm.

We went back into the inn and found that Bailie Jarvie was now quarrelling with the tall Highlander. Then we heard the measured steps of soldiers, some orders were shouted outside, and an officer wearing a red coat came into the room. He looked severe. He addressed the three men. “I am Captain Thornton. You are, I suppose, the Major and the Highland gentlemen I had to meet in this place?” They nodded in agreement. Then, pointing to us, he continued, “Are these gentlemen with your group? I have orders to arrest an old person and a young one - as traitors!”

He looked hard at Mr Jarvie and me. “You two! What are your names?”

Mr Jarvie told him and when the officer heard the name Osbaldistone he ordered his soldiers to disarm and search me. They found the note from Mr Campbell, and decided that we had to be Rob Roy’s spies. The officer decided to send us to the garrison with an escort.

We spent the rest of the night at the inn. I did not sleep well. I heard the soldiers going out many times on patrol, but apparently they did not find out the information the English officer wanted because he became more nervous each time they returned!

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