فصل 09

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کتاب های ساده

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فصل 09

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CHAPTER nine

A Memorable Woman

Early the next morning some soldiers ran into the inn. They were dragging a Highlander triumphantly. I immediately recognized him - it was the prison guardian, Dougal, the very man who had defended Mr Jarvie! The Bailie recognized him too and exclaimed, “Mercy on us! They have taken that poor creature, Dougal! Captain, I will give you money for his liberty!”

The officer, however, paid no attention to the Bailie’s request. Instead he started to question Dougal. He forced the Highlander to admit, with great reluctance and after many contradictions, that he knew Rob Roy MacGregor Campbell and that he had seen him only an hour before.

“And now, my friend,” said the officer, “you will please tell me how many men your master has with him at present.” Dougal looked away and replied slowly that he did not know. “Look at me, you Highland dog!” the officer threatened showing him a rope. “I’ll hang you from the nearest tree if you do not take us to Rob Roy’s hiding place!”

The soldiers got ready to move and we left the inn. I was glad to be outside in the refreshing fragrance of the morning air. I liked the woods around me, the mountain lake in the distance, the romantic solitude of the place where a man alone seemed to be in a state of inferiority. At one point the roadwe were following suddenly emerged from the forest and started to follow the shore of the lake. It gradually became narrow and steep, the ideal place for an ambush.

Suddenly a woman appeared on the summit of a rock above us.

“Stop!” she cried in a commanding tone. “What are you doing in MacGregor’s country?”

She was an imposing woman of about fifty. Her face, once beautiful, was expressive but now full of lines. She wore a plaid wrapped around her body, as Highland soldiers do, and a man’s bonnet with a feather. She was also carrying a sword in her hand, and had a pair of pistols in her belt.

“We are looking for Rob Roy MacGregor Campbell!” replied the officer. “Let us pass! We don’t want to fight against a woman, we offer you civil treatment!”

“Ah!” shouted the woman. “I know your civil treatment! You have left me and mine no house and no bed, no cattle and no clothes! And now you come for our lives!”

“That’s Helen Campbell, Robs wife!” whispered the Bailie to me. Suddenly the officer gave the order for the soldiers to charge. Guns flashed from various parts of the pass and three red-coats were killed. The captain prepared a second attack against the Highlanders, and Dougal, no longer under escort, escaped from his captors and began to ascend the mountainside with incredible agility.

I followed his example while the fire and the grenades exploded and hissed behind me, and I continued climbing until I was out of breath. Then I stopped and looked down. I saw the Bailie hanging in mid-air from the branch of a thorn tree. Andrew was on the top of a rock, exposed to all dangers, and was crying for mercy alternately in Gaelic and English. In spite of the danger the scene was very comical!

After a few minutes the guns stopped. Some of the soldiers were lying lifeless on the ground, the rest were in the hands of the Highlanders. I realized then for sure that Dougal was not a traitor. He had given false information to the officer to guide the soldiers into the ambush because he wanted to protect Mr Campbell, alias Robert MacGregor, alias Rob Roy!

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