Mr. Rae's first care was to
see Mr. Dunn. This case was getting
rather more trying to Mr. Rae's nerves than he cared to acknowledge.
For a second time he had been humiliated, and humiliation was an
experience to which Mr. Rae was not accustomed. It was in a
distinctly wrathful frame of mind that he called upon Mr. Dunn, and
the first quarter of an hour of his interview he spent in dilating
upon his own folly in having allowed Captain Cameron to accompany
him on his visit to Sir Archibald.
"In forty years I never remember having made such an error, Sir.
This was an occasion for diplomacy. We should have taken time.
should have discovered his weak spots; every man has them. Now it
is too late. The only thing left for us is fight, and the best we
can hope for is a verdict of NOT PROVEN, and that leaves a stigma."
"It is terrible," said Mr. Dunn, "and I believe he is innocent.
Have you thought of Potts, Sir?"
"I have had Potts before me," said Mr. Rae, "and I may safely say
that though he strikes me as being a man of unusual cleverness, we
can do nothing with Mr. Potts. Of course," added Mr. Rae hastily,
"this is not to say we shall not make use of Mr. Potts in the
trial, but Mr. Potts can show from his books debts amounting to
nearly sixty pounds. He frankly acknowledges the pleasantry in
suggesting the raising of the five-pound cheque to fifty pounds,
but of the act itself he professes entire ignorance. I frankly own
to you, Sir," continued Mr. Rae, folding his ear into a horn after
his manner when in perplexity, "that this case puzzles me. I must
not take your time," he said, shaking Mr. Dunn warmly by the hand.
"One thing more I must ask you, however, and that is, keep in touch
with young Cameron. I have pledged my honour to produce him when
wanted. Furthermore, keep him--ah--in good condition; cheer him
up; nerve him up; much depends upon his manner."
Gravely Mr. Dunn accepted the trust, though whether he could fulfil
it he doubted. "Keep him cheerful," said Mr. Dunn to himself, as
the door closed upon Mr. Rae. "Nice easy job, too, under the
circumstances. Let's see, what is there on? By Jove, if I
only bring him!" There flashed into Mr. Dunn's mind the fact that
he was due that evening at a party for students, given by one of
the professors, belated beyond the period proper to such functions by one of those domestic felicities which claim right of way over
all other human events. At this party Cameron was also due. It
was hardly likely, however, that he would attend. But to Dunn's
amazement he found Cameron, with a desperate jollity such as a man
might feel the night before his execution, eager to go.
"I'm going," he cried, in answer to Dunn's somewhat timid
suggestion. "They'll all be there, old man, and I shall make my
exit with much eclat, with pipe and dance and all the rest of it."
"Exit, be blowed!" said Dunn impatiently. "Let's cut all this
nonsense out. We're going into a fight for all there's in us.
should a fellow throw up the sponge after the first round?"
"Fight!" said Cameron gloomily. "Did old Rae say so?"
"And what defence does he suggest?"
"Defence? Innocence, of course."
"Would to God I could back him up!" groaned Cameron.
Dunn gazed at him in dismay. "And can you not? You do not mean
tell me you are guilty?"
"Oh, I wish to heaven I knew!" cried Cameron wildly. "But there,
let it go. Let the lawyers and the judge puzzle it out.
or not guilty?' 'Hanged if I know, my lord. Looks like guilty,
but don't see very well how I can be.' That will bother old Rae
some; it would bother Old Nick himself. 'Did you forge this note?'
'My lord, my present ego recognizes no intent to forge; my alter
ego in vino may have done so. Of that, however, I know nothing; it
lies in that mysterious region of the subconscious.' 'Are you,
then, guilty?' 'Guilt, my lord, lies in intent. Intent is the
soul of crime.' It will be an interesting point for Mr. Rae and
"Look here, old chap," asked Dunn suddenly, "what of Potts in this
"Potts! Oh, hang it, Dunn, I can't drag Potts into this. It
be altogether too low-down to throw suspicion upon a man without
the slightest ground. Potts is not exactly a lofty-souled
creature. In fact, he is pronouncedly a bounder, though I confess
I did borrow money of him; but I'd borrow money of the devil when
I'm in certain moods. A man may be a bounder, however, without
being a criminal. No, I have thought this thing out as far as I
can, and I've made my mind up that I've got to face it myself.
I've been a fool, ah, such a fool!" A shudder shook his frame.
"Oh, Dunn, old man, I don't mind for myself, I can go out easily
enough, but it's my little sister! It will break her heart, and
she has no one else; she will have to bear it all alone."
"What do you mean, Cameron?" asked Dunn sharply.
Cameron sprang to his feet. "Let it go," he cried. "Let it go
to-night, anyway." He seized a decanter which stood all too ready
to his hand, but Dunn interposed.
"Listen to me, old man," he said, in a voice of grave and earnest
sadness, while he pushed Cameron back into a chair. "We have a
desperately hard game before us, you and I,--this is my game, too,--
and we must be fit; so, Cameron, I want your word that you will
play up for all that's in you; that you will cut this thing out,"
pointing to the decanter, "and will keep fit to the last fighting
minute. I am asking you this, Cameron. You owe it to yourself,
you owe it to me, you owe it to your sister."
For some moments Cameron sat gazing straight before him, his face
showing the agony in his soul. "As God's above, I do! I owe it
to you, Dunn, and to her, and to the memory of my--" But his
quivering lips could not utter the word; and there was no need, for
they both knew that his heart was far away in the little mound that
lay in the shadow of the church tower in the Cuagh Oir. The lad
rose to his feet, and stretching out his hand to Dunn cried,
"There's my hand and my honour as a Highlander, and until the last
fighting moment I'll be fit."
At the party that night none was gayer than young Cameron. The shy
reserve that usually marked him was thrust aside. His fine, lithe
figure, set off by his Highland costume, drew all eyes in admiration,
and whether in the proud march of the piper, or in the wild abandon
of the Highland Fling, he seemed to all the very beau ideal of a
gallant Highland gentleman.
Dunn stood in the circle gathered to admire, watching Cameron's
performance of that graceful and intricate Highland dance, all
unconscious of a pair of bright blue eyes fastened on his face that
reflected so manifestly the grief and pain in his heart.
"And wherefore this gloom?" said a gay voice at his side. It was
Miss Bessie Brodie.
Poor Dunn! He was not skilled in the fine art of social deception.
He could only gaze stupidly and with blinking eyes upon his
questioner, devoutly hoping meanwhile that the tears would not
"Splendid Highlander, isn't he?" exclaimed Miss Bessie, hastily
withdrawing her eyes from his face, for she was much too fine a
lady to let him see her surprise.
"What?" exclaimed Dunn. "I don't know. I mean--yes,
confound the thing, it's a beastly shame!"
Thereupon Miss Bessie turned her big blue eyes slowly upon him.
"Meaning what?" she said quietly.
"Oh, I beg pardon. I'm just a fool. Oh, hang it all!"
not recover his composure. He backed out of the circle of admirers
into a darker corner.
"Fool?" said Miss Brodie, stepping back with him. "And why, pray?
Can I know? I suppose it's Cameron again," she continued. "Oh,
know all about you and your mothering of him."
"Mothering!" said Dunn bitterly. "That is just what he needs, by
Jove. His mother has been dead these five years, and that's been
the ruin of him."
The cheers from Cameron's admirers broke in upon Dunn's speech.
"Oh, it's too ghastly," he muttered.
"Is it really so bad? Can't I help?" cried Miss Brodie. "You
I've had some experience with boys."
As Dunn looked into her honest, kindly eyes he hesitated. Should
he tell her? He was in sore need of counsel, and besides he was at
the limit of his self-control. "I say," he said, staring at her,
while his lips quivered, "I'd like awfully to tell you, but I know
if I ever begin I shall just burst into tears before this gaping
"Tears!" exclaimed Miss Bessie. "Not you! And if you did it
wouldn't hurt either them or you. An International captain
possesses this advantage over other mortals: that he may burst into
tears or anything else without losing caste, whereas if I should do
any such thing-- But come, let's get somewhere and talk it over.
Now, then," said Miss Brodie as they found a quiet corner, "first
of all, ought I to know?"
"You'll know, all Edinburgh will know time day after to-morrow,"
"All right, then, it can't do any harm for me to know to-night. It
possibly may do good."
"It will do me good, anyway," said Dunn, "for I have reached my
Then Dunn told her, and while she listened she grew grave and
anxious. "But surely it can be arranged!" she exclaimed, after he
"No, Mr. Rae has tried everything. The Bank is bound to pursue it
to the bitter end. It is apparently a part of its policy."
"The Bank of Scotland."
"Why, that's my uncle's Bank! I mean, he is the Chairman of the
Board of Directors, and the Bank is the apple of his eye; or one of
them, I mean--I'm the other."
"Oh, both, I fancy," said Dunn, rather pleased with his own
"But come, this is serious," said Miss Brodie. "The Bank, you
know, or you don't know, is my uncle's weak spot."
Mr. Rae's words flashed across Dunn's mind: "We ought to have
found his weak spots."
"He says," continued Miss Brodie with a smile--"you know he's an
old dear!--I divide his heart with the Bank, that I have the left
lobe. Isn't that the bigger one? So the Bank and I are his
spots; unless it is his Wiltshires--he is devoted to Wiltshires."
"Pigs. There are times when I feel myself distinctly second to
them. Are you sure my uncle knows all about Cameron?"
"Well, Mr. Rae and Captain Cameron--that's young Cameron's father--
went out to his place--"
"Ah, that was a mistake," said Miss Brodie. "He hates people
following him to the country. Well, what happened?"
"Mr. Rae feels that it was rather a mistake that Captain Cameron
"Why so? He is his father, isn't he?"
"Yes, he is, though I'm bound to say he's rather queer for a
father." Whereupon Dunn gave her an account of his interview in
Mr. Rae's office.
Miss Brodie was indignant. "What a shame! And what a fool!
he is ten times more fool than his son; for mark you, his son is
undoubtedly a fool, and a selfish fool at that. I can't bear a
young fool who sacrifices not simply his own life, but the
interests of all who care for him, for some little pet selfishness
of his own. But this father of his seems to be even worse than the
son. Family name indeed! And I venture to say he expatiated
the glory of his family name to my uncle. If there's one thing
that my uncle goes quite mad about it is this affectation of
superiority on the ground of the colour of a man's blood! No
wonder he refused to withdraw the prosecution! What could Mr. Rae
have been thinking about? What fools men are!"
"Quite true," murmured Mr. Dunn.
"Some men, I mean," cried Miss Brodie hastily. "I wish to heaven I
had seen my uncle first!"
"I suppose it's too late now," said Dunn, with a kind of gloomy
"Yes, I fear so," said Miss Brodie. "You see when my uncle makes
up his mind he appears to have some religious scruples against
"It was a ghastly mistake," said Dunn bitterly.
"Look here, Mr. Dunn," said Miss Brodie, turning upon him suddenly,
"I want your straight opinion. Do you think this young man
They were both looking at Cameron, at that moment the centre of a
group of open admirers, his boyish face all aglow with animation.
For the time being it seemed as if he had forgotten the terrible
catastrophe overhanging him.
"If I hadn't known Cameron for three years," replied Dunn slowly,
"I would say offhand that this thing would be impossible to him;
but you see you never know what a man in drink will do. Cameron
can carry a bottle of Scotch without a stagger, but of course it
knocks his head all to pieces. I mean, he is quite incapable of
anything like clear thought."
"It is truly terrible," said Miss Brodie. "I wish I had known
yesterday, but those men have spoilt it all. But here's 'Lily'
Laughton," she continued hurriedly, "coming for his dance." As she
spoke a youth of willowy figure, languishing dark eyes and ladylike
manner drew near.
"Well, here you are at last! What a hunt I have had! I am
exhausted, I assure you," cried the youth, fanning himself with his
handkerchief. "And though you have quite forgotten it, this is our
dance. What can you two have been talking about? But why ask?
There is only one theme upon which you could become so terrifically
"And what is that, pray? Browning?" inquired Miss Brodie sweetly.
"Dear Miss Brodie, if you only would, but--ugh!--" here "Lily"
shuddered, "I can in fancy picture the gory scene in which you have
been revelling for the last hour!" And "Lily's" handsome face and
languid, liquid eyes indicated his horror. It was "Lily's"
constant declaration that he "positively loathed" football,
although his persistent attendance at all the great matches rather
belied this declaration. "It is the one thing in you, Miss Bessie,
that I deplore, 'the fly in the pot--' no, 'the flaw--' ah, that's
better--'the flaw in the matchless pearl.'"
"How sweet of you," murmured Miss Brodie.
"Yes, indeed," continued "Lily," wreathing his tapering fingers,
"it is your devotion to those so-called athletic games,--games! ye
gods!--the chief qualifications for excellence in which appear to
be brute strength and a blood-thirsty disposition; as witness Dunn
there. I was positively horrified last International. There he
was, our own quiet, domestic, gentle Dunn, raging through that
howling mob of savages like a bloody Bengal tiger.--Rather apt,
that!--A truly awful and degrading exhibition!"
"Ah, perfectly lovely!" murmured Miss Brodie ecstatically. "I can
see him yet."
"Miss Brodie, how can you!" exclaimed "Lily," casting up his eyes
in horror towards heaven. "But it was ever thus! In ancient
upon the bloody sands of the arena, fair ladies were wont to gaze
with unrelenting eyes and thumbs turned down--or up, was it--?"
"Excellent! But how clever of them to gaze with their thumbs in
"Please don't interrupt," said "Lily" severely; "I have just
'struck my gait,' as that barbaric young Colonial, Martin, another
of your bloody, brawny band, would say. And here you sit,
unblushing, glorying in their disgusting deeds and making love open
and unabashed to their captain!"
"Go away, 'Lily' or I'll hurt you," cried Dunn, his face a
brilliant crimson. "Come, get out!"
"But don't be uplifted," continued "Lily," ignoring him, "you are
not the first. By no means! It is always the last
captain, and has been to my certain knowledge for the last ten
"Ten years!" exclaimed Miss Brodie in horrified accents. "You
monster! If you have no regard for my character you might at least
respect my age."
"Age! Dear Miss Brodie," ejaculated "Lily," "who could ever
associate age with your perennial youth?"
"Perennial! Wretch! If there is anything I am sensitive about,
really sensitive about, it is my age! Mr. Dunn, I beseech you,
save me from further insult! Dear 'Lily,' run away now. You
much too tired to dance, and besides there is Mrs. Craig-Urquhart
waiting to talk your beloved Wagner-Tennyson theory; or what is the
exact combination? Mendelssohn-Browning, is it?"
"Oh, Miss Bessie!" cried "Lily" in a shocked voice. "how can you?
Mendelssohn-Browning! How awful! Do have some regard for the
"Mr. Dunn, I implore you, save me! I can bear no more. There!
merciful providence has accomplished my deliverance. They are
going. Good-night, 'Lily.' Run away now. I want a word
"Oh, heartless cruelty!" exclaimed "Lily," in an agonised voice.
"But what can you expect from such associations?" And he hastened
away to have a last word with Mrs. Craig-Urquhart, who was swimming
Miss Brodie turned eagerly to Dunn. "I'd like to help you
awfully," she said; "indeed I must try. I have very little hope.
My uncle is so strong when he is once set, and he is so funny about
that Bank. But a boy is worth more than a Bank, if he IS a fool;
besides, there is his sister. Good-night. Thanks for letting
help. I have little hope, but to-morrow I shall see Sir Archibald,
and--and his pigs."
It was still in the early forenoon of the following day when Miss
Brodie greeted her uncle as he was about to start upon his round of
the pastures and pens where the Wiltshires of various ages and
sizes and sexes were kept. With the utmost enthusiasm Miss Brodie
entered into his admiration of them all, from the lordly prize
tusker to the great mother lying broadside on in grunting and
supreme content, every grunt eloquent of happiness and maternal
love and pride, to allow her week-old brood to prod and punch her
luxuriant dugs for their breakfast.
By the time they had made their rounds Sir Archibald had arrived at
his most comfortable and complacent mood. He loved his niece.
loved her for the sake of his dead brother, and as she grew in
years, he came to love her for herself. Her sturdy independent
fearlessness, her sound sense, her honest heart, and chiefly, if it
must be told, her whole-souled devotion to himself, made for her a
great space in his heart. And besides all this, they were both
interested to the point of devotion in pigs. As he watched his
niece handling the little sucklings with tender care, and listened
to her appraising their varying merits with a discriminating
judgment, his heart filled up with pride in her many accomplishments
"Isn't she happy, Uncle?" she exclaimed, lifting her brown, sunny
face to him.
"Ay, lassie," replied Sir Archibald, lapsing into the kindly "braid
Scots," "I ken fine how she feels."
"She's just perfectly happy," said his niece, "and awfully useful
and good. She is just like you, Uncle."
"What? Oh, thank you, I'm extremely flattered, I assure you."
"Uncle, you know what I mean! Useful and good. Here you are in
this lovely home--how lovely it is on a warm, shiny day like this!--
safe from cares and worries, where people can't get at you, and
"Ah, I don't know about that," replied her uncle, shaking his head
with a frown. "Some people have neither sense nor manners.
yesterday I was pestered by a fellow who annoyed me, seriously
annoyed me, interfering in affairs which he knew nothing of,--
actually the affairs of the Bank!--prating about his family name,
and all the rest of it. Family name!" Here, it must be
Sir Archibald distinctly snorted, quite in a manner calculated to
excite the envy of any of his Wiltshires.
"I know, Uncle. He is a fool, a conceited fool, and a selfish
"You know him?" inquired her uncle in a tone of surprise.
"No, I have no personal acquaintance with him, I'm glad to say, but
I know about him, and I know that he came with Mr. Rae, the
"Ah, yes! Thoroughly respectable man, Mr. Rae."
"Yes, Mr. Rae is all right; but Captain Cameron--oh, I can't bear
him! He came to talk to you about his son, and I venture to say he
took most of the time in talking about himself."
"Exactly so! But how--?"
"And, Uncle, I want to talk to you about that matter, about young
Cameron." For just a moment Miss Brodie's courage faltered as she
observed her uncle's figure stiffen. "I want you to know the
rights of the case."
"Now, now, my dear, don't you go--ah--"
"I know, Uncle, you were going to say 'interfering,' only you
remember in time that your niece never interferes. Isn't that
"Yes, yes! I suppose so; that is, certainly."
"Now I am interested in this young Cameron, and I want you to get
the right view of his case, which neither your lawyer nor your
manager nor that fool father of his can give you. I know that if
you see this case as I see it you will do--ah--exactly what is
right; you always do."
Miss Brodie's voice had assumed its most reasonable and business-
like tone. Sir Archibald was impressed, and annoyed because he was
"Look here, Bessie," he said, in as impatient a tone as he ever
adopted with his niece, "you know how I hate being pestered with
business affairs out here."
"I know quite well, Uncle, and I regret it awfully, but I know,
too, that you are a man of honour, and that you stand for fair
play. But that young man is to be arrested to-day, and you know
what that will mean for a young fellow with his way to make."
Her appeal was not without its effect. Sir Archibald set himself
to give her serious attention. "Let us have it, then," he said.
briefly. "What do you know of the young man?"
"This first of all: that he has a selfish, conceited prig for a
With which beginning Sir Archibald most heartily agreed. "But how
do you know?"
"Now, let me tell you about him." And Miss Brodie proceeded to
describe the scene between father and son in Mr. Rae's office, with
vigorous and illuminating comments. "And just think, the man in
the company who was first to condemn the young chap was his own
father. Would you do that? You'd stand for him against the
world, even if he were wrong."
"Steady, steady, lass!"
"You would," repeated Miss Bessie, with indignant emphasis. "Would
you chuck me over if I were disgraced and all the world hounding
me? Would you?"
"No, by God!" said Sir Archibald in a sudden tempest of emotion,
and Miss Bessie smiled lovingly upon him.
"Well, that's the kind of a father he has. Now about the young
fellow himself: He's just a first-class fool, like most young
fellows. You know how they are, Uncle."
Sir Archibald held up his hand. "Don't make any such assumptions."
"Oh, I know you, and when you were a boy you were just as gay and
foolish as the rest of them."
Her arch, accusing smile suddenly cast a rich glow of warm colour
over the long, grey road of Sir Archibald's youth of self-denial and struggle. The mild indulgences of his early years, under the
transforming influence of that same arch and accusing smile, took on for Sir Archibald such an aspect of wild and hilarious gaiety as
to impart a tone of hesitation to his voice while he deprecated his
"What, I? Nonsense! What do you know about it? Well,
have all had our day, I suppose!"
"Aha! I know you, and I should love to have known you when you were
young Cameron's age. Though I'm quite sure you were never such a
fool as he. You always knew how to take care of yourself."
Her uncle shook his head as if to indicate that the less said about
those gay young days the better.
"Now what do you think this young fool does? Gets drinking, and
gets so muddled up in all his money matters--he's a Highlander, you
know, and Dunn, Mr. Dunn says--"
"Yes, Mr. Dunn, the great International captain, you know! Mr.
Dunn says he can take a whole bottle of Scotch--"
"No, no; you know perfectly well, Uncle! This young Cameron can
take a whole bottle of Scotch and walk a crack, but his head gets
"Shouldn't be surprised!"
"And Mr. Dunn had a terrible time keeping him fit for the
International. You know he was Dunn's half-back. Yes," cried
niece with enthusiasm, suddenly remembering a tradition that in his
youth Sir Archibald had been a famous quarter, his one indulgence,
"a glorious half-back, too! You must remember in the match with
England last fall the brilliant work of the half-back. Everybody
went mad about him. That was young Cameron!"
"You don't tell me! The left-half in the English International
"Yes, indeed! Oh, he's wonderful! But he has to be watched,
know, and the young fool lost us the last--" Miss Bessie abruptly
checked herself. "But never mind! Well, after the season, you
know, he got going loose, and this is the result. Owed money
everywhere, and with the true Highland incapacity for business, and
the true Highland capacity for trusting people--"
"Huh!" grunted Sir Archibald in disapproval.
"--When his head is in a muddled condition he does something or
other to a cheque--or doesn't do it, nobody knows--and there he is
in this awful fix. Personally, I don't believe he is guilty of the
"And why, pray?"
"Why? Well, Mr. Dunn, his captain, who has known him for years,
says it is quite impossible; and then the young man himself doesn't
"What? Does NOT deny it?"
"Exactly! Like a perfectly straightforward gentleman,--and I think
it's awfully fine of him,--though he has a perfectly good chance to
put the thing on a--a fellow Potts, quite a doubtful character, he
simply says, 'I know nothing about it. That looks like my
signature. I can't remember doing this, don't know how I could
have, but don't know a thing about it.' There you are, Uncle!
Mr. Dunn says he is quite incapable of it."
"Mr. Dunn, eh? It seems you build somewhat broadly upon Mr. Dunn."
The brown on Miss Bessie's check deepened slightly. "Well, Mr.
Dunn is a splendid judge of men."
"Ah; and of young ladies, also, I imagine," said Sir Archibald,
pinching her cheek.
It may have been the pinch, but the flush on her cheek grew
distinctly brighter. "Don't be ridiculous, Uncle! He's just a
boy, a perfectly splendid boy, and glorious in his game, but a mere
boy, and--well, you know, I've arrived at the age of discretion."
"Quite true!" mused her uncle. "Thirty last birthday, was it?
"Oh, you perfectly horrid uncle! Thirty indeed! Are you not
ashamed to add to the already intolerable burden of my years?
Thirty! No, Sir, not by five good years at least! There now,
you've made me tell my age! You ought to blush for shame."
Her uncle patted her firm, round cheek. "Never a blush, my dear!
You bear even your advanced age with quite sufficient ease and
grace. But now about this young Cameron," he continued, assuming a
sternly judicial tone.
"All I ask for him is a chance," said his niece earnestly.
"A chance? Why he will get every chance the law allows to clear
"There you are!" exclaimed Miss Bessie, in a despairing tone.
"That's the way the lawyers and your manager talk. They coolly and
without a qualm get him arrested, this young boy who has never in
all his life shown any sign of criminal tendency. These horrid
lawyers display their dreadful astuteness and ability in catching a
lad who never tries to run away, and your manager pleads the rules
of the Bank. The rules! Fancy rules against a young boy's
Her uncle rather winced at this.
"And like a lot of sheep they follow each other in a circle; there
is absolutely no independence, no initiative. Why, they even went
so far as to suggest that you could do nothing, that you were bound
by rules and must follow like the rest of them; but I told them I
"Ah!" said Sir Archibald in his most dignified manner. "I trust I
have a mind of my own, but--"
"Exactly! So I said to Mr. Dunn. 'Rules or no rules,' I said,
uncle will do the fair thing.' And I know you will," cried Miss
Brodie triumphantly. "And if you look at it, there's a very big
chance that the boy never did the thing, and certainly if he did it
at all it was when he was quite incapable. Oh, I know quite well
what the lawyers say. They go by the law,--they've got to,--but
you--and--and--I go by the--the real facts of the case." Sir
Archibald coughed gently. "I mean to say--well you know, Uncle,
quite well, you can tell what a man is by--well, by his game."
"And by his eye."
"His eye! And his eye is--?"
"Now, Uncle, be sensible! I mean to say, if you could only see
him. Oh, I shall bring him to see you!" she cried, with a sudden
Sir Archibald held up a deprecating hand. "Do not, I beg."
"Well, Uncle, you can trust my judgment, you know you can. You
would trust me in--in--" For a moment Miss Brodie was at a loss;
then her eyes fell upon the grunting, comfortable old mother pig
with her industrious litter. "Well, don't I know good Wiltshires
when I see them?"
"Quite true," replied her uncle solemnly; "and therefore, men."
"Uncle, you're very nearly rude."
"I apologise," replied her uncle hastily. "But now, Bessie, my
dear girl, seriously, as to this case, you must understand that I
cannot interfere. The Bank--hem--the Bank is a great National--"
Miss Bessie saw that the Guards were being called upon. She
hastened to bring up her reserves. "I know, Uncle, I know! I
wouldn't for the world say a word against the Bank, but you see the
case against the lad is at least doubtful."
"I was going on to observe," resumed her uncle, judicially, "that
"Don't misunderstand me, Uncle," cried his niece, realising that
she had reached a moment of crisis. "You know I would not for a
moment presume to interfere with the Bank, but"--here she deployed
her whole force,--"the lad's youth and folly; his previous good
character, guaranteed by Dunn, who knows men; his glorious game--no
man who wasn't straight could play such a game!--the large chance
of his innocence, the small chance of his guilt; the hide-bound
rigidity of lawyers and bank managers, dominated by mere rules and
routine, in contrast with the open-minded independence of her
uncle; the boy's utter helplessness; his own father having been
ready to believe the worst,--just think of it, Uncle, his own
father thinking of himself and of his family name--much he has ever
done for his family name!--and not of his own boy, and"--here Miss
Brodie's voice took a lower key--"and his mother died some five or
six years ago, when he was thirteen or fourteen, and I know, you
know, that is hard on a boy." In spite of herself, and to her
disgust, a tremor came into her voice and a rush of tears to her
Her uncle was smitten with dismay. Only on one terrible occasion
since she had emerged from her teens had he seen his niece in
tears. The memory of that terrible day swept over his soul.
Something desperate was doing. Hard as the little man was to the
world against which he had fought his way to his present position
of distinction, to his niece he was soft-hearted as a mother.
"There, there!" he exclaimed hastily. "We'll give the boy a
chance. No mother, eh? And a confounded prig for a father!
wonder the boy goes all wrong!" Then with a sudden vehemence he
cried, striking one hand into the other, "No, by--! that is, we
will certainly give the lad the benefit of the doubt. Cheer up,
lassie! You've no need to look ashamed," for his niece was wiping
her eyes in manifest disgust; "indeed," he said, with a heavy
attempt at playfulness, "you are a most excellent diplomat."
"Diplomat, Uncle!" cried the girl, vehement indignation in her
voice and face. "Diplomat!" she cried again. "You don't mean
I've not been quite sincere?"
"No, no, no; not in the least, my dear! But that you have put your
case with admirable force."
"Oh," said the girl with a breath of relief, "I just put it as I
feel it. And it is not a bit my putting it, Uncle, but it is just
that you are a dear and--well, a real sport; you love fair play."
The girl suddenly threw her strong, young arms about her uncle's
neck, drew him close to her, and kissed him almost as if she had
been his mother.
The little man was deeply touched, but with true Scotch horror of a
demonstration he cried, "Tut, tut, lassie, ye're makin' an auld
fule o' your uncle. Come now, be sensible!"
"Sensible!" echoed his niece, kissing him again. "That's my living
description among all my acquaintance. It is their gentle way of
reminding me that the ordinary feminine graces of sweetness and
general loveliness are denied me."
"And more fools they!" grunted her uncle. "You're worth the hale
caboodle o' them."
That same evening there were others who shared this opinion, and
none more enthusiastically than did Mr. Dunn, whom Miss Brodie
chanced to meet just as she turned out of the Waverly Station.
"Oh, Mr. Dunn," she cried, "how very fortunate!" Her face glowed
"For me; yes, indeed!" said Mr. Dunn, warmly greeting her.
"For me, for young Cameron, for us all," said Miss Brodie. "Oh,
Rob, is that you?" she continued, as her eye fell upon the
youngster standing with cap off waiting her recognition. "Look at
this!" she flashed a letter before Dunn's face. "What do you think
Dunn took the letter. "It's to Sheratt," he said, with a puzzled
"Yes," cried Miss Brodie, mimicking his tone, "it's to Sheratt,
from Sir Archibald, and it means that Cameron is safe. The police
"The police," cried Dunn, hastily, getting between young Rob and
her and glancing at his brother, who stood looking from one to the
other with a startled face.
"How stupid! The police are a truly wonderful body of men," she
went on with enthusiasm. "They look so splendid. I saw some of
them as I came along. But never mind them now. About this
What's to do?"
Dunn glanced at his watch. "We need every minute." He stood a
moment or two thinking deeply while Miss Brodie chatted eagerly
with Rob, whose face retained its startled and anxious look.
"First to Mr. Rae's office. Come!" cried Mr. Dunn.
"But this letter ought to go."
"Yes, but first Mr. Rae's office." Mr. Dunn had assumed command.
His words shot out like bullets.
Miss Brodie glanced at him with a new admiration in her face. As a
rule she objected to being ordered about, but somehow it seemed
good to accept commands from this young man, whose usually genial
face was now set in such resolute lines.
"Here, Rob, you cut home and tell them not to wait dinner for me."
"All right, Jack!" But instead of tearing off as was his wont
whenever his brother gave command, Rob lingered. "Can't I wait a
bit, Jack, to see--to see if anything--?" Rob was striving hard to
keep his voice in command and his face steady. "It's Cameron,
Jack. I know!" He turned his back on Miss Brodie, unwilling
she should see his lips quiver.
"What are you talking about?" said his brother sharply.
"Oh, it is all my stupid fault, Mr. Dunn," said Miss Brodie. "Let
him come along a bit with us. I say, youngster, you are much too
acute," she continued, as they went striding along together toward
Mr. Rae's office. "But will you believe me if I tell you something?
Will you? Straight now?"
The boy glanced up into her honest blue eyes, and nodded his head.
"Your friend Cameron is quite all right. He was in some
difficulty, but now he's quite all right. Do you believe me?"
The boy looked again steadily into her eyes. The anxious fear
passed out of his face, and once more he nodded; he knew he could
not keep his voice quite steady. But after a few paces he said to
his brother, "I think I'll go now, Jack." His mind was at rest;
his idol was safe.
"Oh, come along and protect me," cried Miss Brodie. "These lawyer
people terrify me."
The boy smiled a happy smile. "I'll go," he said resolutely.
"Thanks, awfully," said Miss Brodie. "I shall feel so much safer
with you in the waiting room."
It was a difficult matter to surprise Mr. Rae, and even more
difficult to extract from him any sign of surprise, but when Dunn,
leaving Miss Brodie and his brother in the anteroom, entered Mr.
Rae's private office and laid the letter for Mr. Sheratt before
him, remarking, "This letter is from Sir Archibald, and withdraws
the prosecution," Mr. Rae stood speechless, gazing now at the
letter in his hand, and now at Mr. Dunn's face.
"God bless my soul! This is unheard of. How came you by this,
"Miss Brodie--" began Dunn.
"She is in the waiting room, Sir."
"Then, for heaven's sake, bring her in! Davie, Davie! Where is
that man now? Here, Davie, a message to Mr. Thomlinson."
Davie entered with deliberate composure.
"My compliments to Mr. Thomlinson, and ask if he would step over at
once. It is a matter of extreme urgency. Be quick!"
But Davie had his own mind as to the fitness of things. "Wad a
note no' be better, Sir? Wull not--?"
"Go, will you!" almost shouted Mr. Rae.
Davie was so startled at Mr. Rae's unusual vehemence that he seized
his cap and made for the door. "He'll no' come for the like o'
me," he said, pausing with the door-knob in his hand. "It's no'
respectable like tae--"
"Man, will ye no' be gone?" cried Mr. Rae, rising from his chair.
"I will that!" exclaimed Davie, banging the door after him. "But,"
he cried furiously, thrusting his head once more into the room, "if
he'll no' come it's no' faut o' mine." His voice rose higher and
higher, and ended in a wrathful scream as Mr. Rae, driven to
desperation, hurled a law book of some weight at his vanishing
"The de'il take ye! Ye'll be my deith yet."
The book went crashing against the door-frame just as Miss Brodie
was about to enter. "I say," she cried, darting back. "Heaven
protect me! Rob, save me!"
Rob sprang to her side. She stood for a moment gazing aghast at
Mr. Dunn, who gazed back at her in equal surprise. "Is this his
'usual'?" she inquired.
At that the door opened. "Ah, Mr. Dunn, this is Miss Brodie, I
suppose. Come in, come in!" Mr. Rae's manner was most bland.
Miss Brodie gave him her hand with some hesitation. "I'm very glad
to meet you, Mr. Rae, but is this quite the usual method? I mean
to say, I've heard of having advice hurled at one's head, but I
can't say that I ever was present at a demonstration of the
"Oh," said Mr. Rae, with bland and gallant courtesy, "the method,
my dear young lady, varies with the subject in hand."
"Ah, the subject!"
"And with the object in view."
"Oh, I see."
"But pray be seated. And now explain this most wonderful
phenomenon." He tapped the letter.
"Oh, that is quite simple," said Miss Brodie. "I set the case of
young Mr. Cameron before my uncle, and of course he at once saw
that the only thing to do was withdraw the prosecution."
Mr. Rae stood gazing steadily at her as if striving to take in the
meaning of her words, the while screwing up his ear most violently
till it stuck out like a horn upon the side of his shiny, bald
head. "Permit me to say, Miss Brodie," he said, with a deliberate
and measured emphasis, "that you must be a most extraordinary young
lady." At this point Mr. Rae's smile broke forth in all its glory.
"Oh, thank you, Mr. Rae," replied Miss Brodie, smiling responsively
at him. "You are most--" But Mr. Rae's smile had vanished.
"What! I beg your pardon!" Miss Brodie's smiling response was
abruptly arrested by finding herself gazing at a face whose grave
solemnity rebuked her smile as unwarranted levity.
"Not at all, not at all!" said Mr. Rae. "But now, there are
matters demanding immediate action. First, Mr. Sheratt must
receive and act upon this letter without delay." As he spoke he
was scribbling hastily a note. "Mr. Dunn, my young men have gone
for the day. Might I trouble you?"
"Most certainly," cried Mr. Dunn. "Is an answer wanted?"
"Bring him with you, if possible; indeed, bring him whether it is
possible or not. But wait, it is past the hour appointed.
the officer has gone for young Cameron. We must save him the
humiliation of arrest."
"Oh, could I not warn him?" cried Miss Brodie eagerly. "No," she
added, "Rob will go. He is in the waiting room now, poor little
chap. It will be a joy to him."
"It is just as well Rob should know nothing. He is awfully fond of
Cameron. It would break his heart," said Mr. Dunn.
"Oh, of course! Quite unnecessary that he should know anything.
We simply wish Cameron here at the earliest possible moment."
Dunn went with his young brother down the stairs and out to the
street. "Now, Rob, you are to go to Cameron's lodgings and tell
him that Mr. Rae wants him, and that I want him. Hold on,
youngster!" he cried, grabbing Rob by the collar, "do you
understand? It is very important that Cameron should get here as
quick as he possibly can, and--I say, Rob," the big brother's eyes
traveled over the darkening streets that led up into the old town,
"you're not afraid?"
"A wee bit," said Rob, tugging at the grasp on his collar; "but I
don't care if I am."
"Good boy!" cried his brother. "Good little brick! I wouldn't
you go, but it's simply got to be done, old chap. Now fly!" He
held him just a moment longer to slap him on the back, then
released his hold. Dunn stood watching the little figure tearing
up the North Bridge. "Great little soul!" he muttered. "Now
He put his head down and began to bore through the crowd toward Mr.
Sheratt's house. When he had gone but a little distance he was
brought up short by a bang full in the stomach. "Why, what the
"Dod gast ye! Whaur are ye're een?" It was Davie, breathless
furious from the impact. "Wad ye walk ower me, dang ye?" cried the
little man again. Davie was Free Kirk, and therefore limited in
the range of his vocabulary.
"Oh! That you, Davie? I'm sorry I didn't see you."
"A'm no' as big as a hoose, but a'm veesible." And Davie walked
wrathfully about his business.
"Oh, quite," acknowledged Dunn cheerfully, hurrying on; "and
tangible, as well."
"He's comin'," cried Davie over his shoulder; "but gar it had been
masel'," he added grudgingly, "catch me!"
But Dunn was too far on his way to make reply. Already his mind
was on the meeting of the lawyers in Mr. Rae's office, and
wondering what would come of it. On this subject he meditated
until he reached Mr. Sheratt's home. Twice he rang the bell, still
"By Jove, she is stunning! She's a wonder!" he exclaimed to
himself as he stood in Mr. Sheratt's drawing-room. "She's got 'em
all skinned a mile, as Martin would say." It is safe to affirm
that Mr. Dunn was not referring to the middle-aged and highly
respectable maid who had opened the door to him. It is equally
safe to affirm that this was the unanimous verdict of the three
men who, half an hour later, brought their deliberations to a
conclusion, frankly acknowledging to each other that what they had
one and all failed to achieve, the lady had accomplished.