"David!" he cried. "Are ye daft? I cannae draw upon ye, David. It's fair murder."
"That was your look-out when you insulted me," said I.
"It's the truth!" cried Alan, and he stood for a moment, wringing his mouth in his hand like a man in sore perplexity. "It's the bare truth," he said, and drew his sword. But before I could touch his blade with mine, he had thrown it from him and fallen to the ground. "Na, na," he kept saying, "na, na — I cannae, I cannae."
At this the last of my anger oozed all out of me; and I found myself only sick, and sorry, and blank, and wondering at myself. I would have given the world to take back what I had said; but a word once spoken, who can recapture it? I minded me of all Alan's kindness and courage in the past, how he had helped and cheered and borne with me in our evil days; and then recalled my own insults, and saw that I had lost for ever that doughty friend. At the same time, the sickness that hung upon me seemed to redouble, and the pang in my side was like a sword for sharpness. I thought I must have swooned where I stood.

This scene, from Chapter 24, is the climax of the book. The main action of the book involves Alan and David's flight through the wilderness and focuses on their developing friendship, which is often stalled by their differences in religion, ethics, and politics. In this chapter, this conflict comes to a head, and erupts in an argument between Alan and David in which David says terrible things to his friend. Until this point, David and Alan were often at odds. Now, David finally recognizes how good a friend Alan has been, and how important he has become to David. David exaggerates his fainting fit so as to bring Alan to him, and wash away their differences through Alan's concern for his life. David has come to truly respect his friendship with Alan, the wild Highlander, and by fainting his insures that their friendship remains solid.