We travelled by night, through endless rain and strong winds, and slept in the wet heather by day. I was feeling more and more miserable. My illness had returned, and I was beginning to think that this terrible journey would only end in my death. 'Alan will be sorry when I die!' I thought. How childish I was!
Alan continued to laugh at me and call me names, and by the sixth night I had had enough. I stopped and spoke angrily to him . 'Mr Stewart,' I said, 'why do you laugh at me? I should laugh at you! You may have a king's name, but you're a loser! You spend your life running away! You're not brave enough to fight the Campbells and the English, and win!'
Alan looked sharply at me. 'David!' he said. 'There are things that ye should never say—things that can never be for gotten!'
'If you don't like what I say, I'm ready to fight,' I answered stupidly. I knew that I was not strong enough to hold a sword.
'David!' he cried. 'Are ye crazy? I cannot fight ye! It would be murder!' He pulled out his sword, and looked at me. 'No, I can't, I can't,' he said. And he dropped his sword on the ground.
When I saw how much he loved me, I was no longer angry, only sick, and sorry. I remembered all his kindness to me, and how he had always helped me through difficult times. Now I had lost that friend for ever! My illness seemed to get worse and worse, and I could only just stand. I wanted to say that I was sorry, but I knew it was too late for that. Suddenly I realized that a cry for help was the only way of bringing Alan back to me.
'Alan!' I said, my voice shaking. 'If you cannot help me, I must just die here!' I did not need to pretend.
He looked up quickly, surprised. 'Can ye walk?'
'Not without help. Alan, if I die, will you forget what I said? In my heart, I've always been your friend, you know that.'
'Quiet!' cried Alan. 'Don't talk of dying! David, man, ye know...' He could not go on, but put his arm around me. 'Davie, I'm a bad friend to ye.
I didn't remember that ye're just a bairn, I couldn't see that ye were dying on your feet...' He was almost crying. 'Hold on to me, Davie, and ye'll be grand.'
He helped me down into the valley to the nearest house, which luckily belonged to a clan who were friendly to the Stewarts. There I lay for several days, unable to move. Alan refused to leave me, and took the greatest care of me. Little by little I got better, with his help, and before a month had passed, we went on our way again.
This time we did not argue. We did not see any more soldiers, and our journey was easier now. We walked through the warm summer nights, ate our porridge, drank our whisky, and slept in the dry heather in the daytime. Now that we were in the Lowlands, we were almost safe, and we both felt happy and hopeful. When we crossed the Forth River by boat from Limekilns, we were only five kilometres from Queensferry, where Mr Rankeillor lived.