The Glens of Stone – Episode 24

Robert rubbed his hands.

“So it won’t be too long before we can apprehend these people – plus Porteous and the other fellow, McAllan?”

“If he’s involved,” Sandy cautioned. “He may be an innocent dupe. However, arresting them is not my aim. I want to join the group, not destroy it. That way we might learn much that may be useful to us.”

“Indeed.” General Guest rose from his seat to slap McCrae on the shoulder. “Go ahead. We’ll support you when the time’s right.”

Robert was thoughtful.

“The person I’d really like to catch is the one you mention often in your reports: the mastermind behind the setting up of this network.”

“This man Ogilvie?” the general queried, riffling the pages.

“That’s him. Agent provocateur, master of disguise, skilled swordsman, well-educated.”

Robert turned to Sandy.

“Is he really all of these, Sergeant?”

“Aye. And you can add assassin to the list, sir.” Sandy grimaced. “Leave him well alone, sir. He’s a devil, and much too clever for us.”

“Well, take care, Sergeant,” General Guest counselled, then addressed Robert. “You’ll be safer taking McCrae’s advice than chasing this Ogilvie fellow.”

At the door McCrae paused.

“By the way, gentlemen, Alison Porteous and McAllan’s daughter, Kirsty, will be providing the musical entertainment at the soirée you’re attending this evening.”

“Will they?” Robert mused. “So it might be a worthwhile night, after all.”

*  *  *  *

It was a chance remark, as Thomas McLean breakfasted, that suggested the best means of tracing those whom he sought.

He’d spent a restless night on a hard palliasse which had obviously been a refuge for bedbugs. In foul mood he had stumped downstairs and had snarled at one of the serving girls to bring him ham, bread and ale.

Despite his sour demeanour the girl tried to engage him in conversation.

“You’ll be a stranger here, sir? You’ll find lots to do here in the City. You can eat and drink your fill, play dice and card games, attend a goose race or . . .”

“Girl,” he’d said sharply, “I’m not here for pleasure – I’m on business. There are those I seek, though where they are in this midden God alone knows.”

“A cadie, sir! You need the services o’ a cadie. ’Tis his job to know who bides where in the City. And it happens my brother’s one! I can fetch him, if you wish.”

“Aye, do that.”

Abigail Phillips

Abbie is the newest member of the fiction team at the "Friend." She loves how varied the role is - every day is different and there is always a new story to read. She is keen to work closely with established writers and discover new writers, too.