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Chapter 9 The Shiny Button




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I was tired, wet, weak and cold, so I found a place between two rocks. I think I slept. The sun woke me, and I found a very small river. I drank, and then I went to sleep again in the sun, next to the river. It was afternoon when I climbed a hill. I looked at the country from the top.

There was smoke to the north-east — smoke from a house. I was very tired, but I started walking to it.

I arrived at the house at about six o'clock in the evening. It was long and low. An old man sat outside in the evening sun. He didn't speak English well. But I understood a little. The men from the ship were on the island.

' Was there one man in expensive clothes ?' I asked.

' Yes,' he said.' Oh! You're the boy with the shiny button!'

'Yes,' I said.And I showed him the button.

' He will meet you in his country,' said the man.' He told me that. Go through Torosay.' And he took me into his little house.

His wife could speak no English. She smiled and put their best food in front of me. The old man made a wonderful drink. After that, I slept well. It was nearly twelve o'clock when I woke up next day. Then the old woman made me breakfast.

I tried to pay them, but they didn't want any money.

The old man came to the door with me.

' That's the way to Torosay,' he said.' There are no roads. You'll have to ask.'

I did ask. There were many people at work on the hills, and with their animals. Their clothes were strange. They could not wear their Highland clothes. Highland clothes showed a man's clan, and the English king wanted to end the clans.

Not many people could speak English. I said, 'Torosay?', but they did not show me the way. They spoke words, but I could not understand the language. So my journey was slow and long.

There is a boat every day from Torosay to Kinlochaline. Torosay and Kinlochaline are in the country of the Maclean clan. But Neil Roy Macrob took me on the boat. Macrob was one of the names of Alan's clansmen, so I wanted to talk to Neil Roy. But I couldn't do it with other people in the boat.

At Kinlochaline, I talked to him. ' You're one of the Appin men?' I said.

' Yes,' he answered.' Why ?'

I said, 'I'm looking for somebody. His name is Alan Breck Stewart.'

He was suddenly not very friendly. 'He's in France,' he said.

I showed him the button.

'Why didn't you show me that first?' he said.'You're the boy with the button. I have to help you on your way. Stay in Kinlochaline tonight. Then tomorrow you can go across Morven to Corran on the Linnhe Loch. You'll find my brother Alec there, and he'll take you to another place in his boat.'

I said,' Thank you.'

' Listen to me,' he said.' Never say the name of Alan Breck. And don't speak to anybody on the way. Stay away from Campbells and the red soldiers. When you see soldiers, leave the road. Go behind a tree.'

 







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