He came in with a great show of civility, but like a man among inferiors; took off his bonnet to Mrs. Maclaren, but clapped it on his head again to speak to Duncan; and leaving thus set himself (as he would have thought) in a proper light, came to my bedside and bowed.
I am given to know, sir, says he, that your name is Balfour.
They call me David Balfour, said I, at your service.
I would give ye my name in return, sir he replied, but its one somewhat blown upon of late days; and itll perhaps suffice if I tell ye that I am own brother to James More Drummond or Macgregor, of whom ye will scarce have failed to hear.
No, sir, said I, a little alarmed; nor yet of your father, Macgregor-Campbell. And I sat up and bowed in bed; for I thought best to compliment him, in case he was proud of having had an outlaw to his father.
He bowed in return. But what I am come to say, sir, he went on, is this. In the year 45, my brother raised a part of the Gregara and marched six companies to strike a stroke for the good side; and the surgeon that marched with our clan and cured my brothers leg when it was broken in the brush at Preston Pans, was a gentleman of the same name precisely as yourself. He was brother to Balfour of Baith; and if you are in any reasonable degree of nearness one of that gentlemans kin, I have come to put myself and my people at your command.
You are to remember that I knew no more of my descent than any cadgers dog; my uncle, to be sure, had prated of some of our high connections, but nothing to the present purpose; and there was nothing left me but that bitter disgrace of owning that I could not tell.
Robin told me shortly he was sorry he had put himself about, turned his back upon me without a sign of salutation, and as he went towards the door, I could hear him telling Duncan that I was only some kinless loon that didnt know his own father. Angry as I was at these words, and ashamed of my own ignorance, I could scarce keep from smiling that a man who was under the lash of the law (and was indeed hanged some three years later) should be so nice as to the descent of his acquaintances.
Just in the door, he met Alan coming in; and the two drew back and looked at each other like strange dogs. They were neither of them big men, but they seemed fairly to swell out with pride. Each wore a sword, and by a movement of his haunch, thrust clear the hilt of it, so that it might be the more readily grasped and the blade drawn.
Mr. Stewart, I am thinking, says Robin.
Troth, Mr. Macgregor, its not a name to be ashamed of, answered Alan.
I did not know ye were in my country, sir, says Robin.
It sticks in my mind that I am in the country of my friends the Maclarens, says Alan.
Thats a kittle point, returned the other. There may be two words to say to that. But I think I will have heard that you are a man of your sword?
Unless ye were born deaf, Mr. Macgregor, ye will have heard a good deal more than that, says Alan. I am not the only man that can draw steel in Appin; and when my kinsman and captain, Ardshiel, had a talk with a gentleman of your name, not so many years back, I could never hear that the Macgregor had the best of it.
Do ye mean my father, sir? says Robin.
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