The Glens of Stone – Episode 42

Watching Ellie’s banter with the Redcoat captain had amused Ewan Ogilvie, although the girl’s easy affinity with the man brought little stabs of unease.

When Ellie left the soldiers to their soup he turned his thoughts back to more important matters.

John Porteous had been instrumental in recruiting over 50 wealthy Jacobite supporters, many of whom regularly attended this Mission House to discuss how they might transfer the funds they’d collected to some central location.

Exactly where had not been decided, although Ewan would doubtless come up with a suggestion.

However, as Miss McLaurin had warned Porteous of the proposed raid by the Redcoats, nothing could now be achieved this evening.

Ewan was aware that the soldiers also sought him in his role as Jacobite agent, but although they cast occasional glances in his direction he knew they had no idea the man they wanted was actually sitting a mere eight feet away.

Ewan was, however, afraid for Porteous, the spy group’s leader. He knew he had aroused Robert Marshall’s suspicion.

At that moment John Porteous entered, a bible clasped in his hand.

“A lovely service!” he cried to no-one in particular. “Pastor McAllan is surely God’s gift to us all.”

“Hallelujah to that, brother!” Ewan cried, jumping to his feet.

Taken aback, the older man recoiled slightly as Ewan hugged him close. He was about to protest when he heard the low whisper in his ear.

“Get out, as quickly as you can!”

Across the room, Robert nudged Sandy.

“See that man, Sergeant? The one crying out about God’s blessing?”

Sandy nodded.

“That’s Alison’s father, John Porteous, one of the ringleaders. And that other one, the brawny-looking fellow, whispered something. A warning, no doubt. You think he could be the man Ogilvie?”

“Perhaps. Nab them both and we could learn a lot.”

Sandy studied the man in question.

“He doesn’t look the sort who’ll tell us what we want to know, sir. He looks a tough one.”

“Perhaps, but the rack and thumbscrews can loosen many a tongue.” Excitedly Robert pointed. “See that? Porteous is preparing to leave. He’s been warned off!”

Robert was in a quandary. He’d had no intention of apprehending any of the alleged spies tonight, despite General Guest’s orders.

He’d come simply to observe matters for himself, and only if he saw anything suspicious would he organise a full raid.

But now things were different. Porteous and the man Robert now believed could be the Jacobite agent Ogilvie were obviously worth arresting.

Quickly he made the decision.

“We’ll go for Porteous and the other. Two big fish caught in the net! We can return another night for more – perhaps other members of the Porteous family,” he added thoughtfully.

“Forgive me, sir, but our presence here will be relayed throughout the city within hours. If we do nothing, we’ll have another chance later. The spies will soon return if they believe our suspicions weren’t aroused. If we only take two prisoners tonight, all the birds will flee.”

Robert was not convinced.

“No. Best to get the key men. Without leaders the rest will be lost, though taking Alison’s father into custody is hardly likely to endear you to her.”

“I’m not Alison’s favourite person as it is.”

Mention of her reinforced Sandy’s intention of finding out how the girl was faring. He watched Ellie and Kirsty as they attended to the tables, hoping to catch their attention.

Robert was impatient to carry out his decision.

“Is the front door the only way in? No rear exits?”

Sandy shook his head.

“Right, how much help do you need to take the younger man, Ogilvie?”

“None, sir.” Sandy sneered. “I can handle him. Besides, that fellow might not be him.”

Robert addressed the other soldiers.

“Station yourselves at the entrance and make sure those two men don’t escape.” He pointed at Porteous and his companion ,who were sidling to the door. “Sergeant McCrae will escort them from the premises. We don’t want trouble,” he cautioned. “Let’s get this done with the minimum of fuss. I’ll join you outside when the job’s done.”

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.