About a week later, we were sailing round the rocky coast of northern Scotland in very bad weather. It was difficult to see anything because of the thick fog. One evening there was a great crash, and the officers ran out to see what had happened. I thought we had hit a rock, but in fact it was a small boat. As we watched, the boat broke in two, and went to the bottom with all its men, except the one passenger. At the moment of the crash, this man managed to jump up and catch the side of the ship and pull himself up.
The captain brought him into the round-house. He was smallish but well-built, with an open, sunburnt face, and bright, amused eyes. When he took off his long coat, I could see that he had a pair of pistols and was wearing a sword at his side. Although his life had clearly been in great danger, he seemed very calm, and spoke politely to the captain. Hoseason was looking with interest at the man's clothes. He was wearing a hat with feathers, a blue coat with silver buttons, and expensive-looking lace round his neck.
'I'm sorry about the boat, sir,' said the captain.
'I've lost some grand friends today,' replied the stranger, 'and that's worse than losing ten boats.'
'Well, sir, there are more men in the world than boats,' replied the captain, still watching him closely. 'I know, be cause I've been in France, like you.'
He said these last words clearly and carefully. They seemed to have a special meaning. The stranger put his hand quickly on his pistol.
'Don't worry,' said Hoseason. 'Ye've a French soldier's coat on your back and a Scottish tongue in your head, that's true, but so has many an honest man these days.'
'Well, sir,' replied the stranger, 'I must tell you that I'm one of those honest Highlanders who were proud to fight for their homes, their clan and their country in 1745, against the English King. And I must tell you another thing. If King George's soldiers find me, I'll be in trouble. I was on my way to France, where some of my clansmen live now. But in the fog my boat missed the French ship that was meeting me. So if you can take me to France, I'll pay you well.'
He opened his purse and showed that it was full of gold coins. The captain seemed excited as he looked at the money, and then at the man's face.
'To France?' he replied. 'No, I can't do that. But to the Highlands, aye, we can discuss that.' They sat down together, and in the end agreed that the captain would take the stranger to Loch Linnhe, on the northwest coast of Scotland, for sixty pounds. There the Highlander would be among friends, and safe from the English army. He and Hoseason shook hands, and the captain left me alone with the stranger.
He had told the captain that the gold was not his own. Some of the Highlanders had escaped to France after the Forty-Five, but their friends and clansmen in Scotland sometimes managed to find a little money to send them. It was this man's job to take the money across to France, and he did this by travelling secretly to Scotland as often as possible. I thought he was very brave. 'If he's caught by the English army, they'll kill him!' I told myself. I liked the way he seemed to enjoy living dangerously.
When he asked me for whisky, I had to go to ask the captain for the key to the cupboard. I found Hoseason and his officers talking quietly in a corner, and heard them planning to kill the stranger and steal his money. They seemed to think that I would help them, and asked me to bring them secretly some guns from the round-house. I went slowly back to the stranger, not sure what I should do. But when I entered the round-house, and saw him eating his supper, I decided at once.