And that was when, hundreds of years away, just there, over Blind Harry's shoulder, a bump in the dark and Connor O'Hare landed on top of Alec Curle, then onto the grass and both stared up at the black sky, and the Plough; with a grunt, Alec scrambled to his feet and looked around, and it was only the moonlight that enabled him to see the drystone wall, the rough and stony roadway, and his companion for the last few seconds since they had crouched in that small chamber inside the Middle Eildon; he recalled something he had glimpsed in his mind, said: "it's not much like Hollywood," and was surprised to smell pipe-smoke and hear a voice, not Connor's, that said: "most definately not, sir, Holywood's in County Down, ye've missed yer destination by about 60 miles, have they not, Paddy?" and another voice, "yes," they both had Irish accents, said: "just so, Danny boy, it's a clear case of disturbance of the mind, if ye don't mind me sayin so, but look ye, sir, ye'r friend seems to have twisted his ankle, can we help ye to raise him up, see here, there's a big flat-topped rock he can sit on, while he adjusts himself and gives that ankle a rest," and so Connor was helped off the ground and soon seated on the rock at the roadside: "so where are we?" asked Alec, and the two strangers, dressed in rather old-fashioned, distinctly rural clothes, regarded him with that amused tolerance adults often reserve for children; the first, the one addressed as Danny, said: "well, we're just outside Mullingar, in the County Tyrone, so you're rather wide of your mark, where have you come from? you must have taken a wrong turn somewhere and missed the milestones, isn't that so, Paddy?" and Connor, realising for the first time that they were back in his own country, said quickly: "well, we spent last night in Newry, but we didn't get good directions after that and then a couple of nights ago we were held up and our transport was stolen! all our kit, caboodle and moiney, too" and Paddy grunted: "was that yer horses only, or the whole rig?" and without a beat, Connor said: "it was only an ass and cart, but they took all our money too!" and Danny whistled: "aye, the highwaymen around here are gettin bolder and ye're lucky they left ye with yer clothes, and yer lives! some have cudgels erose with the number of heads they've cracked, not what you want to meet on a dark night, but so, come along with us, my pretty crusoes, we'll take ye into town and see if we can't find some digs for yese, oh, Danny Doubleday at yer service, and the quiet fellah's Paddy MacFarlane – he's the Papist, I'm the Scotch Prod, well my ancestors were, by the way; and yerselves, so?" so Connor introduced himself, with no need to say that he was a Catholic, with his name, and Alec did likewise, adding: "Church of Scotland, although I haven't seen inside one for about twenty years," and Paddy asked if they were merchants of some kind, "for an ass and cart's the kind of a rig dealers use hereabouts," and Alec explained that he was an antiquarian, a historian, and Danny laughed: "we've got plenty antiques around here, most of them drink in Delaney's on Sunday nights, although this Sunday being Easter Day, they might be forced to submit to church attendance for the sake of etiquette!" and Alec asked, seemingly disingenuous: "my Almanac was stolen too, what day and date is this?" and Paddy laughed now: "sure it's Thursday the 28th of March, in the Year of Our Lord Seventeen hundred and Ninetythree, at least that's what it is here, but what it is in Scotland is quite beyond my understanding!" and this time it was Alec who laughed, while with a feeling of verklempt his mind raced to try to recall anything about the period, which was far too recent for him to have any detailed knowledge of it, beyond the fact that it must be soon that some of the biggest wars of independence would begin to be waged and he recalled that the United Irishmen's Rising was in 1798, a union of the Protestant intelligentsia and repressed Catholics, but had much happened here, in Dungannon? "and by the way – I'm not going to hoodwink ye, ye might wll be friends and travelling companions, but in Dungannon, travelling Protestants lodge with Mrs Washington, and Catholics with Bridie Gallagher, that's just the way of it," said Danny, "and don't be worryin about the cost, they don't charge eleventy hereabouts, it's not Belfast or Dublin, it's a country town, where folk work for a living, and both the boarding houses are as couth as any you'll find in Londonderry, and Bridie's is particularly mignardise, Connor, ye'll like her so long as you don't fart, belch or pick yer nose; we'll settle that up, and if you want to thank us, there are a couple of things you could do for us, but we'll talk about that tomorrow; so Connor, that is the way to Bridie's, you go with Paddy and Alec, you come along with me, to Mrs Washington – she claims to be a relation, by marriage, of the American Hero, but I have my doubts, we'll all meet up in the morning, g'night, bhoys, sleep well," and the two pairs walking in opposite directions were soon swallowed up in the dark of a cloudy mass that obscured the moon.