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THE WORKS OF
ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

SWANSTON EDITION

VOLUME X




_Of this SWANSTON EDITION in Twenty-five
Volumes of the Works of ROBERT LOUIS
STEVENSON Two Thousand and Sixty Copies
have been printed, of which only Two Thousand
Copies are for sale._

_This is No._ ...........

[Illustration: SKETCH OF THE CRUISE OF THE BRIG "COVENANT" AND THE
PROBABLE COURSE OF DAVID BALFOUR'S WANDERINGS]


THE WORKS OF
ROBERT LOUIS
STEVENSON

VOLUME TEN




LONDON: PUBLISHED BY CHATTO AND
WINDUS: IN ASSOCIATION WITH CASSELL
AND COMPANY LIMITED: WILLIAM
HEINEMANN: AND LONGMANS GREEN
AND COMPANY MDCCCCXI


ALL RIGHTS RESERVED




CONTENTS

THE MISADVENTURES OF JOHN NICHOLSON

CHAPTER PAGE
I. IN WHICH JOHN SOWS THE WIND 3

II. IN WHICH JOHN REAPS THE WHIRLWIND 9

III. IN WHICH JOHN ENJOYS THE HARVEST HOME 15

IV. THE SECOND SOWING 21

V. THE PRODIGAL'S RETURN 26

VI. THE HOUSE AT MURRAYFIELD 32

VII. A TRAGI-COMEDY IN A CAB 44

VIII. SINGULAR INSTANCE OF THE UTILITY OF PASS-KEYS 54

IX. IN WHICH MR. NICHOLSON CONCEDES THE PRINCIPLE OF AN
ALLOWANCE 65


KIDNAPPED

I. I SET OFF UPON MY JOURNEY TO THE HOUSE OF SHAWS 77

II. I COME TO MY JOURNEY'S END 82

III. I MAKE ACQUAINTANCE OF MY UNCLE 88

IV. I RUN A GREAT DANGER IN THE HOUSE OF SHAWS 96

V. I GO TO THE QUEEN'S FERRY 105

VI. WHAT BEFELL AT THE QUEEN'S FERRY 112

VII. I GO TO SEA IN THE BRIG _COVENANT_ OF DYSART 118

VIII. THE ROUND-HOUSE 126

IX. THE MAN WITH THE BELT OF GOLD 132

X. THE SIEGE OF THE ROUND-HOUSE 142

XI. THE CAPTAIN KNUCKLES UNDER 149

XII. I HEAR OF THE "RED FOX" 154

XIII. THE LOSS OF THE BRIG 163

XIV. THE ISLET 169

XV. THE LAD WITH THE SILVER BUTTON: THROUGH THE ISLE OF
MULL 178

XVI. THE LAD WITH THE SILVER BUTTON: ACROSS MORVEN 187

XVII. THE DEATH OF THE RED FOX 195

XVIII. I TALK WITH ALAN IN THE WOOD OF LETTERMORE 201

XIX. THE HOUSE OF FEAR 210

XX. THE FLIGHT IN THE HEATHER: THE ROCKS 217

XXI. THE FLIGHT IN THE HEATHER: THE HEUGH OF CORRYNAKIEGH 226

XXII. THE FLIGHT IN THE HEATHER: THE MOOR 234

XXIII. CLUNY'S CAGE 242

XXIV. THE FLIGHT IN THE HEATHER: THE QUARREL 251

XXV. IN BALQUHIDDER 262

XXVI. END OF THE FLIGHT: WE PASS THE FORTH 269

XXVII. I come to Mr. Rankeillor 280

XXVIII. I go in Quest of My Inheritance 288

XXIX. I come into my Kingdom 296

XXX. Good-bye 303




THE MISADVENTURES OF JOHN NICHOLSON




THE MISADVENTURES OF JOHN NICHOLSON

CHAPTER I

IN WHICH JOHN SOWS THE WIND


John Varey Nicholson was stupid; yet stupider men than he are now
sprawling in Parliament, and lauding themselves as the authors of their
own distinction. He was of a fat habit, even from boyhood, and inclined
to a cheerful and cursory reading of the face of life; and possibly this
attitude of mind was the original cause of his misfortunes. Beyond this
hint philosophy is silent on his career, and superstition steps in with
the more ready explanation that he was detested of the gods.

His father--that iron gentleman--had long ago enthroned himself on the
heights of the Disruption Principles. What these are (and in spite of
their grim name they are quite innocent) no array of terms would render
thinkable to the merely English intelligence; but to the Scot they often
prove unctuously nourishing, and Mr. Nicholson found in them the milk of
lions. About the period when the churches convene at Edinburgh in their
annual assemblies, he was to be seen descending the Mound in the company
of divers red-headed clergymen: these voluble, he only contributing
oracular nods, brief negatives, and the austere spectacle of his
stretched upper lip. The names of Candlish and Begg were frequent in
these interviews, and occasionally the talk ran on the Residuary
Establishment and the doings of one Lee. A stranger to the tight little
theological kingdom of Scotland might have listened and gathered
literally nothing. And Mr. Nicholson (who was not a dull man) knew this,
and raged at it. He knew there was a vast world outside to whom
Disruption Principles were as the chatter of tree-top apes; the paper
brought him chill whiffs from it; he had met Englishmen who had asked
lightly if he did not belong to the Church of Scotland, and then had
failed to be much interested by his elucidation of that nice point; it
was an evil, wild, rebellious world, lying sunk in _dozenedness_, for
nothing short of a Scots word will paint this Scotsman's feelings. And
when he entered his own house in Randolph Crescent (south side), and
shut the door behind him, his heart swelled with security. Here, at
least, was a citadel unassailable by right-hand defections or left-hand
extremes. Here was a family where prayers came at the same hour, where
the Sabbath literature was unimpeachably selected, where the guest who
should have leaned to any false opinion was instantly set down, and over
which there reigned all the week, and grew denser on Sundays, a silence
that was agreeable to his ear, and a gloom that he found comfortable.

Mrs. Nicholson had died about thirty, and left him with three children:
a daughter two years and a son about eight years younger than John; and
John himself, the unfortunate protagonist of the present history. The
daughter, Maria, was a good girl--dutiful, pious, dull, but so easily
startled that to speak to her was quite a perilous enterprise. "I don't
think I care to talk about that, if you please," she would say, and
strike the boldest speechless by her unmistakable pain; this upon all
topics--dress, pleasure, morality, politics, in which the formula was
changed to "my papa thinks otherwise," and even religion, unless it was
approached with a particular whining tone of voice. Alexander, the
younger brother, was sickly, clever, fond of books and drawing, and full
of satirical remarks. In the midst of these, imagine that natural,
clumsy, unintelligent and mirthful animal, John; mighty well-behaved in
comparison with many lads, although not up to the standard of the house
in Randolph Crescent; full of a sort of blundering affection, full of
caresses which were never very warmly received; full of sudden and loud
laughter which rang out in that still house like curses. Mr. Nicholson
himself had a great fund of humour, of the Scots order--intellectual,
turning on the observation of men; his own character, for instance--if
he could have seen it in another--would have been a rare feast to him;
but his son's empty guffaws over a broken plate, and empty, almost
light-headed remarks, struck him with pain as the indices of a weak
mind.

Outside the family John had early attached himself (much as a dog may
follow a marquess) to the steps of Alan Houston, a lad about a year
older than himself, idle, a trifle wild, the heir to a good estate which
was still in the hands of a rigorous trustee, and so royally content
with himself that he took John's devotion as a thing of course. The
intimacy was gall to Mr. Nicholson; it took his son from the house, and
he was a jealous parent; it kept him from the office, and he was a
martinet; lastly, Mr. Nicholson was ambitious for his family (in which,
and in the Disruption Principles, he entirely lived), and hated to see a
son of his play second fiddle to an idler. After some hesitation, he
ordered that the friendship should cease--an unfair command, though
seemingly inspired by the spirit of prophecy; and John, saying nothing,
continued to disobey the order under the rose.

John was nearly nineteen when he was one day dismissed rather earlier
than usual from his father's office, where he was studying the practice
of the law. It was Saturday; and except that he had a matter of four
hundred pounds in his pocket, which it was his duty to hand over to the
British Linen Company's Bank, he had the whole afternoon at his
disposal. He went by Princes Street enjoying the mild sunshine, and the
little thrill of easterly wind that tossed the flags along that terrace
of palaces, and tumbled the green trees in the garden. The band was
playing down in the valley under the Castle; and when it came to the
turn of the pipers, he heard their wild sounds with a stirring of the
blood. Something distantly martial woke in him; and he thought of Miss
Mackenzie, the daughter of a retired captain of Highlanders, whom he was
to meet that day at dinner in his father's house.

Now, it is undeniable that he should have gone directly to the bank; but
right in the way stood the billiard-room of the hotel where Alan was
almost certain to be found; and the temptation proved too strong. He
entered the billiard-room, and was instantly greeted by his friend, cue
in hand.

"Nicholson," said he, "I want you to lend me a pound or two till
Monday."

"You've come to the right shop, haven't you?" returned John.



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