Two days passed, and on the third day two things happened. First, I discovered that I had lost almost all my money through a hole in my pocket. I only had three of my uncle's thirty-eight pounds left. But worse was to come. While I was sitting on a rock, looking out over Iona, I suddenly noticed a small boat moving fast through the water. I jumped to my feet and shouted as loudly as I could. The two men in the boat were near enough to hear. They shouted back in Gaelic, and laughed. But the boat did not turn, and sailed on, right in front of my eyes, to Iona.
I could not understand why they did not come to help me. I continued shouting wildly, although I could no longer see them. And then, I lay down and cried for the second time. This time I wasn't sad, but angry, because I thought that they had left me to die alone in that terrible place.
The next morning, I was surprised to see that the same men were sailing towards Earraid from Iona. At once I ran down to the rocky coast to meet them. The boat came near me, but stayed a few metres away in the water. There was a third man in the boat, who was talking and laughing with the others. Then he stood up and spoke fast to me in Gaelic, which I could not understand. But sometimes he used an English word, and once I heard the word 'tide'. This gave me a flash of hope.
'Do you mean—that when the tide is low...?' I cried, and could not finish. 'Yes, yes,' he called back, 'tide,' and laughed again.
I turned my back on the boat and ran back excitedly to the east of the island, where Earraid was the closest to Mull. And sure enough, there was now only a little water between the is lands. I was able to wade through it easily, and reached Mull with a happy shout. How stupid of me not to realize that it was possible to get to Mull, twice a day, at low tide! Now I felt very grateful to the boatmen for guessing my problem, and coming back to help me.
I walked towards the smoke that I had seen so often from Earraid, and reached a long, low house built of stone. Outside sat an old man, smoking his pipe in the sun. He spoke a little English, and told me that the officers and sailors from the ship had all arrived there safely a few days before.
'Was one of them dressed in fine clothes?' I asked.
'Aye, there was one like that,' he smiled. 'Ye must be the lad with the silver button!'
'Why, yes!' I said, surprised.
'Well then, your friend says that ye must follow him to the house of his clansman, James Stewart, in Appin.'
He and his wife gave me food and drink, and let me sleep that night in their house. In the morning I thanked them for their kindness, and started my journey to Appin.
I walked across Mull to Torosay, where I took a boat across the water to Lochaline. Then I walked to Kingairlock, where I took another boat across Loch Linnhe to Appin. This took six days, and on my way I met and spoke to a number of travellers. I heard all about Alan's clan, the Stewarts, and their enemies, the Campbells. Although they were both High land clans, the Campbells and Stewarts had hated each other for years, and now the Campbells were helping the English army drive many Highlanders out of their homes. Indeed, in a day or two, I heard, red-haired Colin Campbell himself was coming to Appin, with King George's soldiers, to drive the Stew arts out and so destroy his enemies. But I heard also of James Stewart, head of the Stewart clan in Appin, and that he and his clansmen would dearly love to see Colin Campbell dead.