What signal did Alan use to call the clan together?
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As a signal to his family, Alan constructed a cross that he strategically placed outside of Maccol's window. The cross was made of wood and adorned with a silver buttons, as well as fir and birch branches. In combination, the cross, button, and branches all told a story that would enable him to contact James.
Thereupon he fell in a muse, looking in the embers of the fire; and presently, getting a piece of wood, he fashioned it in a cross, the four ends of which he blackened on the coals. Then he looked at me a little shyly “Could ye lend me my button?” says he. “It seems a strange thing to ask a gift again, but I own I am laith to cut another.”
I gave him the button; whereupon he strung it on a strip of his great-coat which he had used to bind the cross; and tying in a little sprig of birch and another of fir, he looked upon his work with satisfaction.
“And that is a very true word,” says Alan. “But then John Breck will see the sprig of birch and the sprig of pine; and he will say to himsel’ (if he is a man of any penetration at all, which I misdoubt), ALAN WILL BE LYING IN A WOOD WHICH IS BOTH OF PINES AND BIRCHES. Then he will think to himsel’, THAT IS NOT SO VERY RIFE HEREABOUT; and then he will come and give us a look up in Corrynakiegh. And if he does not, David, the devil may fly away with him, for what I care; for he will no be worth the salt to his porridge.”