This page contains affiliate links. As Amazon Associates we earn from qualifying purchases.
  • 1912
Buy it on Amazon Listen via Audible FREE Audible 30 days

sense of the dramatic matched his daring.

But when the deed was done, and the two stood innocently on the brightly lighted approach to the bridge, Mr. Traill had his misgivings. A well-respected business man and church-member, he felt uneasy to be at the mercy of a laddie who might be boastful.

“Geordie, if you tell onybody about this I’ll have to give you a licking.”

“I wullna tell,” Geordie reassured him. “It’s no’ so respectable, an’ syne ma mither’d gie me anither lickin’, an’ they’d gie me twa more awfu’ aces, an’ black marks for a month, at Heriot’s.”


Word had been left at all the inns and carting offices about both markets for the tenant of Cauldbrae farm to call at Mr. Traill’s place for Bobby. The man appeared Wednesday afternoon, driving a big Clydesdale horse to a stout farm cart. The low-ceiled dining-room suddenly shrank about the big-boned, long legged hill man. The fact embarrassed him, as did also a voice cultivated out of all proportion to town houses, by shouting to dogs and shepherds on windy shoulders of the Pentlands.

“Hae ye got the dog wi’ ye?”

Mr. Train pointed to Bobby, deep in a blissful, after dinner nap under the settle.

The farmer breathed a sigh of relief, sat at a table, and ate a frugal meal of bread and cheese. As roughly dressed as Auld Jock, in a metal-buttoned greatcoat of hodden gray, a woolen bonnet, and the shepherd’s twofold plaid, he was a different species of human being altogether. A long, lean, sinewy man of early middle age, he had a smooth-shaven, bony jaw, far-seeing gray eyes under furzy brows, and a shock of auburn hair. When he spoke, it was to give bits out of his own experience.

“Thae terriers are usefu’ eneugh on an ordinar’ fairm an’ i’ the toon to keep awa’ the vermin, but I wadna gie a twa-penny-bit for ane o’ them on a sheep-fairm. There’s a wee lassie at Cauldbrae wha wants Bobby for a pet. It wasna richt for Auld Jock to win ‘im awa’ frae the bairn.”

Mr. Traill’s hand was lifted in rebuke. “Speak nae ill, man; Auld Jock’s dead.”

The farmer’s ruddy face blanched and he dropped his knife. “He’s no’ buried so sane?”

“Ay, he’s buried four days since in Greyfriars kirkyard, and Bobby has slept every night on the auld man’s grave.”

“I’ll juist tak’ a leuk at the grave, moil, gin ye’ll hae an ee on the dog.”

Mr. Traill cautioned him not to let the caretaker know that Bobby had continued to sleep in the kirkyard, after having been put out twice. The farmer was back in ten minutes, with a canny face that defied reading. He lighted his short Dublin pipe and smoked it out before he spoke again.

“It’s ower grand for a puir auld shepherd body to be buried i’ Greyfriars.”

“No’ so grand as heaven, I’m thinking.” Mr. Traill’s response was dry.

“Ay, an’ we’re a’ coontin’ on gangin’ there; but it’s a prood thing to hae yer banes put awa’ in Greyfriars, ance ye’re through wi’ ’em!”

“Nae doubt the gude auld man would rather be alive on the Pentland braes than dead in Greyfriars.”

“Ay,” the farmer admitted. “He was fair fond o’ the hills, an’ no’ likin’ the toon. An’, moil, he was a wonder wi’ the lambs. He’d gang wi’ a collie ower miles o’ country in roarin’ weather, an’ he’d aye fetch the lost sheep hame. The auld moil was nane so weel furnished i’ the heid, but bairnies and beasts were unco’ fond o’ ‘im. It wasna his fau’t that Bobby was aye at his heels. The lassie wad ‘a’ been after’im, gin ‘er mither had permeeted it.”

Mr. Traill asked him why he had let so valuable a man go, and the farmer replied at once that he was getting old and could no longer do the winter work. To any but a Scotchman brought up near the sheep country this would have sounded hard, but Mr. Traill knew that the farmers on the wild, tipped-up moors were themselves hard pressed to meet rent and taxes. To keep a shepherd incapacitated by age and liable to lose a flock in a snow-storm, was to invite ruin. And presently the man showed, unwittingly, how sweet a kernel the heart may lie under the shell of sordid necessity.

“I didna ken the auld man was fair ill or he micht hae bided at the fairm an’ tak’n ‘is ain time to dee at ‘is ease.”

As Bobby unrolled and stretched to an awakening, the farmer got up, took him unaware and thrust him into a covered basket. He had no intention of letting the little creature give him the slip again. Bobby howled at the indignity, and struggled and tore at the stout wickerwork. It went to Mr. Traill’s heart to hear him, and to see the gallant little dog so defenseless. He talked to him through the latticed cover all the way out to the cart, telling him Auld Jock meant for him to go home. At that beloved name, Bobby dropped to the bottom of the basket and cried in such a heartbroken way that tears stood in the landlord’s eyes, and even the farmer confessed to a sudden “cauld in ‘is heid.”

“I’d gie ‘im to ye, mon, gin it wasna that the bit lassie wad greet her bonny een oot gin I didna fetch ‘im hame. Nae boot the bit tyke wad ‘a’ deed gin ye hadna fed ‘im.”

“Eh, man, he’ll no’ bide with me, or I’d be bargaining for him. And he’ll no’ be permitted to live in the kirkyard. I know naething in this life more
pitiful than a masterless, hameless dog.” And then, to delay the moment of parting with Bobby, who stopped crying and began to lick his hand in frantic appeal through a hole in the basket, Mr. Traill asked how Bobby came by his name.

“It was a leddy o’ the neeborhood o’ Swanston. She cam’ drivin’ by Cauldbrae i’ her bit cart wi’ shaggy Shetlands to it an’ stapped at the dairy for a drink o’ buttermilk frae the kirn. Syne she saw the sonsie puppy loupin’ at Auld Jock’s heels, bonny as a poodle, but mair knowin’. The leddy gied me a poond note for ‘im. I put ‘im up on the seat, an’ she said that noo she had a smart Hieland groom to match ‘er Hieland steeds, an’ she flicked the ponies wi’ ‘er whup. Syne the bit dog was on the airth an’ flyin’ awa’ doon the road like the deil was after ‘im. An’ the leddy lauched an’ lauched, an’ went awa’ wi’oot ‘im. At the fut o’ the brae she was still lauchin’, an’ she ca’ed back: ‘Gie ‘im the name o’ Bobby, gude mon. He’s left the plow-tail an’s aff to Edinburgh to mak’ his fame an’ fortune.’ I didna ken what the leddy meant.”

“Man, she meant he was like Bobby Burns.”

Here was a literary flavor that gave added attraction to a man who sat at the feet of the Scottish muses. The landlord sighed as he went back to the doorway, and he stood there listening to the clatter of the cart and rough-shod horse and to the mournful howling of the little dog, until the sounds died away in Forest Road.

Mr. Traill would have been surprised to know, perhaps, that the confines of the city were scarcely passed before Bobby stopped protesting and grieving and settled down patiently to more profitable work. A human being thus kidnapped and carried away would have been quite helpless. But Bobby fitted his mop of a black muzzle into the largest hole of his wicker prison, and set his useful little nose to gathering news of his whereabouts.

If it should happen to a dog in this day to be taken from Ye Olde Greyfriars Dining-Rooms and carried southward out of Edinburgh there would be two miles or more of city and suburban streets to be traversed before coming to the open country. But a half century or more ago one could stand at the upper gate of Greyfriars kirkyard or Heriot’s Hospital grounds and look down a slope dotted with semi-rustic houses, a village or two and water-mills, and then cultivated farms, all the way to a stone-bridged burn and a toll-bar at the bottom of the valley. This hillside was the ancient Burghmuir where King James of old gathered a great host of Scots to march and fight and perish on Flodden Field.

Bobby had not gone this way homeward before, and was puzzled by the smell of prosperous little shops, and by the park-like odors from college campuses to the east, and from the well-kept residence park of George Square. But when the cart rattled across Lauriston Place he picked up the familiar scents of milk and wool from the cattle and sheep market, and then of cottage dooryards, of turned furrows and of farmsteads.

The earth wears ever a threefold garment of beauty. The human person usually manages to miss nearly everything but the appearance of things. A few of us are so fortunate as to have ears attuned to the harmonies woven on the wind by trees and birds and water; but the tricky weft of odors that lies closest of all, enfolding the very bosom of the earth, escapes us. A little dog, traveling with his nose low, lives in another stratum of the world, and experiences other pleasures than his master. He has excitements that he does his best to share, and that send him flying in pursuit of phantom clues.

From the top of the Burghmuir it was easy going to Bobby. The snow had gone off in a thaw, releasing a multitude of autumnal aromas. There was a smell of birch and beech buds sealed up in gum, of berries clotted on the rowan-trees, and of balsam and spice from plantations of Highland firs and larches. The babbling water of the burn was scented with the dead bracken of glens down which it foamed. Even the leafless hedges had their woody odors, and stone dykes their musty smell of decaying mosses and lichens.

Bobby knew the pause at the toll-bar in the valley, and the mixed odors of many passing horses and men, there. He knew the smells of poultry and cheese at a dairy-farm; of hunting dogs and riding-leathers at a sportsman’s trysting inn, and of grist and polluted water at a mill. And after passing the hilltop toll-bar of Fairmilehead, dipping across a narrow valley and rounding the base of a sentinel peak, many tame odors were left behind. At the buildings of the large, scattered farms there were smells of sheep, and dogs and barn yards. But, for the most part, after the road began to climb over a high shoulder of the range, there was just one wild tang of heather and gorse and fern, tingling with salt air from the German Ocean.

When they reached Cauldbrae farm, high up on the slope, it was entirely dark. Lights in the small, deep-set windows gave the outlines of a low, steep-roofed, stone farm-house. Out of the darkness a little wind blown figure of a lassie fled down the brae to meet the cart, and an eager little voice, as clear as a hill-bird’s piping, cried out:

“Hae ye got ma ain Bobby, faither?”

“Ay, lassie, I fetched ‘im hame,” the farmer roared back, in his big voice.

Then the cart was stopped for the wee maid to scramble up over a wheel, and there were sweet little sounds of kissing and muffled little cuddlings under the warm plaid. When these soft endearments had been attended to there was time for another yearning.

“May I haud wee Bobby, faither?”

“Nae, lassie, a bonny bit bairnie couldna haud ‘im in ‘er sma’ airms. Bobby’s a’ for gangin’ awa’ to leev in a grand kirkyaird wi’ Auld Jock.”

A little gasp, and a wee sob, and an awed question: “Is gude Auld Jock deid, daddy?”

Bobby heard it and answered with a mournful howl. The lassie snuggled closer to the warm, beating heart, hid her eyes in the rough plaid, and cried for Auld Jock and for the grieving little dog.

“Niest to faither an’ mither an’ big brither Wattie I lo’e Auld Jock an’ Bobby.” The bairnie’s voice was smothered in the plaidie. Because it was dark and none were by to see, the reticent Scot could overflow in tender speech. His arm tightened around this one little ewe lamb of the human fold on cold slope farm. He comforted the child by telling her how they would mak’ it up to Bobby, and how very soon a wee dog forgets the keenest sorrow and is happy again.

The sheep-dogs charged the cart with as deafening a clamor of welcome as if a home-coming had never happened before, and raced the horse across the level. The kitchen door flared open, a sudden beacon to shepherds scattered afar on these upland billows of heath. In a moment the basket was in the house, the door snecked, and Bobby released on the hearth.

It was a beautiful, dark old kitchen, with a homely fire of peat that glowed up to smoke-stained rafters. Soon it was full of shepherds, come in to a supper of brose, cheese, milk and bannocks. Sheep-dogs sprawled and dozed on the hearth, so that the gude wife complained of their being underfoot. But she left them undisturbed and stepped over them, for, tired as they were, they would have to go out again to drive the sheep into the fold.

Humiliated by being brought home a prisoner, and grieving for the forsaken grave in Greyfriars, Bobby crept away to a corner bench, on which Auld Jock had always sat in humble self-effacement. He lay down under it, and the little four
year-old lassie sat on the floor close beside him, understanding, and sorry with him. Her rough brother Wattie teased her about wanting her supper there on one plate with Bobby.

“I wadna gang daft aboot a bit dog, Elsie.”

“Leave the bairn by ‘er lane,” commanded the farmer. The mither patted the child’s bright head, and wiped the tears from the bluebell eyes. And there was a little sobbing confidence poured into a sympathetic ear.

Bobby refused to eat at first, but by and by he thought better of it. A little dog that has his life to live and his work to do must have fuel to drive the throbbing engine of his tiny heart. So Bobby very sensibly ate a good supper in the lassie’s company and, grateful for that and for her sympathy, submitted to her shy petting. But after the shepherds and dogs were gone and the farmer had come in again from an overseeing look about the place the little dog got up, trotted to the door, and lay down by it. The lassie followed him. With two small, plump hands she pushed Bobby’s silver veil back, held his muzzle and looked into his sad, brown eyes.

“Oh, mither, mither, Bobby’s greetin’,” she cried.

“Nae, bonny wee, a sma’ dog canna greet.”

“Ay, he’s greetin’ sair!” A sudden, sweet little sound was dropped on Bobby’s head.

“Ye shouldna kiss the bit dog, bairnie. He isna like a human body.”

“Ay, a wee kiss is gude for ‘im. Faither, he greets so I canna thole it.” The child fled to comforting arms in the inglenook and cried herself to sleep. The gude wife knitted, and the gude mon smoked by the pleasant fire. The only sound in the room was the ticking of the wag at the wa’ clock, for burning peat makes no noise at all, only a pungent whiff in the nostrils, the memory of which gives a Scotch laddie abroad a fit of hamesickness. Bobby lay very still and watchful by the door. The farmer served his astonishing news in dramatic bits.

“Auld Jock’s deid.” Bobby stirred at that, and flattened out on the floor.

“Ay, the lassie told that, an’ I wad hae kenned it by the dog. He is greetin’ by the ordinar’.”

“An’ he’s buried i’ the kirkyaird o’ auld Greyfriars.” Ah, that fetched her! The gude wife dropped her knitting and stared at him.

“There’s a gairdener, like at the country-hooses o’ the gentry, leevin’ in a bit lodge by the gate. He has naethin’ to do, ava, but lock the gate at nicht, put the dogs oot, an’ mak’ the posies bloom i’ the simmer. Ay, it’s a bonny place.”

“It’s ower grand for Auld Jock.”

“Ye may weel say that. His bit grave isna so far frae the martyrs’ monument.” When the grandeur of that had sunk in he went on to other incredibilities.

Presently he began to chuckle. “There’s a bit notice on the gate that nae dogs are admittet, but Bobby’s sleepit on Auld Jock’s grave ane–twa–three–fower nichts, an’ the gairdener doesna ken it, ava. He’s a canny beastie.”

“Ay, he is. Folk wull be comin’ frae miles aroond juist to leuk at thesperity bit. Ilka body aboot kens Auld Jock. It’ll be maist michty news to tell at the kirk on the Sabbath, that he’s buried i’ Greyfriars.”

Through all this talk Bobby had lain quietly by the door, in the expectation that it would be unlatched. Impatient of delay, he began to whimper and to scratch on the panel. The lassie opened her blue eyes at that, scrambled down, and ran to him. Instantly Bobby was up, tugging at her short little gown and begging to be let out. When she clasped her chubby arms around his neck and tried to comfort him he struggled free and set up a dreadful howling.

“Hoots, Bobby, stap yer havers!” shouted the farmer.

“Eh, lassie, he’ll deave us a’. We’ll juist hae to put ‘im i’ the byre wi’ the coos for the nicht,” cried the distracted mither.

“I want Bobby i’ the bed wi’ me. I’ll cuddle ‘im an’ lo’e ‘im till he staps greetin’.”

“Nae, bonny wee, he wullna stap.” The farmer picked the child up on one arm, gripped the dog under the other, and the gude wife went before with a lantern, across the dark farmyard to the cow-barn. When the stout door was unlatched there was a smell of warm animals, of milk, and cured hay, and the sound of full, contented breathings that should have brought a sense of companionship to a grieving little creature.

“Bobby wullna be lanely here wi’ the coos, bairnie, an’ i’ the morn ye can tak’ a bit rope an’ haud it in a wee hand so he canna brak awa’, an’ syne, in a day or twa, he’ll be forgettin’ Auld Jock. Ay, ye’ll hae grand times wi’ the sonsie doggie, rinnin’ an’ loupin’ on the braes.”

This argument was so convincing and so attractive that the little maid dried her tears, kissed Bobby on the head again, and made a bed of heather for him in a corner. But as they were leaving the byre fresh doubts assailed her.

“He’ll gang awa’ gin ye dinna tie ‘im snug the nicht, faither.”

“Sic a fulish bairn! Wi’ fower wa’s aroond ‘im, an’ a roof to ‘is heid, an’ a floor to ‘is fut, hoo could a sma’ dog mak’ a way oot?”

It was a foolish notion, bred of fond anxiety, and so, reassured, the child went happily back to the house and to rosy sleep in her little closet bed.

Ah! here was a warm place in a cold world for Bobby. A soft-hearted little mistress and merry playmate was here, generous food, and human society of a kind that was very much to a little farm dog’s liking. Here was freedom–wide moors to delight his scampering legs, adventures with rabbits, foxes, hares and moor-fowl, and great spaces where no one’s ears would be offended by his loudest, longest barking. Besides, Auld Jock had said, with his last breath, “Gang–awa’–hame–laddie!” It is not to be supposed Bobby had forgotten that, since he remembered and obeyed every other order of that beloved voice. But there, self-interest, love of liberty, and the instinct of obedience, even, sank into the abysses of the little creature’s mind. Up to the top rose the overmastering necessity of guarding the bit of sacred earth that covered his master.

The byre was no sooner locked than Bobby began, in the pitch darkness, to explore the walls. The single promise of escape that was offered was an inch-wide crack under the door, where the flooring stopped short and exposed a strip of earth. That would have appalled any but a desperate little dog. The crack was so small as to admit but one paw, at first, and the earth was packed as hard as wood by generations of trampling cattle.

There he began to dig. He came of a breed of dogs used by farmers and hunters to dig small, burrowing animals out of holes, a breed whose courage and persistence know no limit. He dug patiently, steadily, hour after hour, enlarging the hole by inches. Now and then he had to stop to rest. When he was able to use both forepaws he made encouraging progress; but when he had to reach under the door, quite the length of his stretched legs, and drag every bit of earth back into the byre, the task must have been impossible to any little creature not urged by utter misery. But Skye terriers have been known to labor with such fury that they have perished of their own exertions. Bobby’s nose sniffed liberty long before he could squeeze his weasel-like body through the tunnel. His back bruised and strained by the struggle through a hole too small, he stood, trembling with exhaustion, in the windy dawn.

An opening door, a barking sheep-dog, the shuffle of the moving flock, were signs that the farm day was beginning, although all the stars had not faded out of the sky. A little flying shadow, Bobby slipped out of the cow-yard, past the farm-house, and literally tumbled down the brae. From one level to another he dropped, several hundred feet in a very few minutes, and from the clear air of the breezy hilltop to a nether world that was buried fathoms deep in a sea-fog as white as milk.

Hidden in a deep fold of the spreading skirts of the range, and some distance from the road, lay a pool, made by damming a burn, and used, in the shearing season, for washing sheep. Surrounded by brushy woods, and very damp and dark, at other seasons it was deserted. Bobby found this secluded place with his nose, curled up under a hazel thicket and fell sound asleep. And while he slept, a nipping wind from the far, northern Highlands swooped down on the mist and sent it flying out to sea. The Lowlands cleared like magic. From the high point where Bobby lay the road could be seen to fall, by short rises and long descents, all the way to Edinburgh. From its crested ridge and flanking hills the city trailed a dusky banner of smoke out over the fishing fleet in the Firth.

A little dog cannot see such distant views. Bobby could only read and follow the guide-posts of odors along the way. He had begun the ascent to the toll-bar when he heard the clatter of a cart and the pounding of hoofs behind him. He did not wait to learn if this was the Cauldbrae farmer in pursuit. Certain knowledge on that point was only to be gained at his peril. He sprang into the shelter of a stone wall, scrambled over it, worked his way along it a short distance, and disappeared into a brambly path that skirted a burn in a woody dell.

Immediately the little dog was lost in an unexplored country. The narrow glen was musical with springs, and the low growth was undercut with a maze of rabbit runs, very distracting to a dog of a hunting breed. Bobby knew, by much journeying with Auld Jock, that running water is a natural highway. Sheep drift along the lowest level until they find an outlet down some declivity, or up some foaming steep, to new pastures.

But never before had Bobby found, above such a rustic brook, a many chimneyed and gabled house of stone, set in a walled garden and swathed in trees. Today, many would cross wide seas to look upon Swanston cottage, in whose odorous old garden a whey-faced, wistful-eyed laddie dreamed so many brave and laughing dreams. It was only a farm-house then, fallen from a more romantic history, and it had no attraction for Bobby. He merely sniffed at dead vines of clematis, sleeping briar bushes, and very live, bright hedges of holly, rounded a corner of its wall, and ran into a group of lusty children romping on the brae, below the very prettiest, thatch roofed and hill-sheltered hamlet within many a mile of Edinboro’ town. The bairns were lunching from grimy, mittened hands, gypsy fashion, life being far too short and playtime too brief for formal meals. Seeing them eating, Bobby suddenly discovered that he was hungry. He rose before a well-provided laddie and politely begged for a share of his meal.

Such an excited shouting of admiration and calling on mithers to come and see the bonny wee dog was never before heard on Swanston village green. Doors flew open and bareheaded women ran out. Then the babies had to be brought, and the’ old grandfaithers and grandmithers. Everybody oh-ed and ah-ed and clapped hands, and doubled up with laughter, for, a tempting bit held playfully just out of reach, Bobby rose, again and again, jumped for it, and chased a teasing laddie. Then he bethought him to roll over and over, and to go through other winsome little tricks, as Auld Jock had taught him to do, to win the reward. All this had one quite unexpected result. A shrewd-eyed woman pounced upon Bobby and captured him.

“He’s no’ an ordinar’ dog. Some leddy has lost her pet. I’ll juist shut ‘im up, an’ syne she’ll pay a shullin’ or twa to get ‘im again.”

With a twist and a leap Bobby was gone. He scrambled straight up the steep, thorn-clad wall of the glen, where no laddie could follow, and was over the crest. It was a narrow escape, made by terrific effort. His little heart pounding with exhaustion and alarm, he hid under a whin bush to get his breath and strength. The sheltered dell was windless, but here a stiff breeze blew. Suddenly shifting a point, the wind brought to the little dog’s nose a whiff of the acrid coal smoke of Edinburgh three miles away.

Straight as an arrow he ran across country, over roadway and wall, plowed fields and rippling burns. He scrambled under hedges and dashed across farmsteads and cottage gardens. As he neared the city the hour bells aided him, for the Skye terrier is keen of hearing. It was growing dark when he climbed up the last bank and gained Lauriston Place. There he picked up the odors of milk and wool, and the damp smell of the kirkyard.

Now for something comforting to put into his famished little body. A night and a day of exhausting work, of anxiety and grief, had used up the last ounce of fuel. Bobby raced down Forest Road and turned the slight angle into Greyfriars Place. The lamp lighter’s progress toward the bridge was marked by the double row of lamps that bloomed, one after one, on the dusk. The little dog had come to the steps of Mr. Traill’s place, and lifted himself to scratch on the door, when the bugle began to blow. He dropped with the first note and dashed to the kirkyard gate.

None too soon! Mr. Brown was setting the little wicket gate inside, against the wall. In the instant his back was turned, Bobby slipped through. After nightfall, when the caretaker had made his rounds, he came out from under the fallen table-tomb of Mistress Jean Grant.

Lights appeared at the rear windows of the tenements, and families sat at supper. It was snell weather again, the sky dark with threat of snow, and the windows were all closed. But with a sharp bark beneath the lowest of them Bobby could have made his presence and his wants known. He watched the people eating, sitting wistfully about on his haunches here and there, but remaining silent. By and by there were sounds of crying babies, of crockery being washed, and the ringing of church bells far and near. Then the lights were extinguished, and huge bulks of shadow, of tenements and kirk, engulfed the kirkyard.

When Bobby lay down on Auld Jock’s grave, pellets of frozen snow were falling and the air had hardened toward frost.


Sleep alone goes far to revive a little dog, and fasting sharpens the wits. Bobby was so tired that he slept soundly, but so hungry that he woke early, and instantly alert to his situation. It was so very early of a dark winter morning that not even the sparrows were out foraging in the kirkyard for dry seeds. The drum and bugle had not been sounded from the Castle when the milk and dustman’s carts began to clatter over the frozen streets. With the first hint of dawn stout fishwives, who had tramped all the way in from the piers of Newhaven with heavily laden creels on their heads, were lustily crying their “caller herrin’.” Soon fagot men began to call up the courts of tenements, where fuel was bought by the scant bundle: “Are ye cauld?”

Many a human waif in the tall buildings about the lower end of Greyfriars kirkyard was cold, even in bed, but, in his thick underjacket of fleece, Bobby was as warm as a plate of breakfast toast. With a vigorous shaking he broke and scattered the crust of snow that burdened his shaggy thatch. Then he lay down on the grave again, with his nose on his paws. Urgent matters occupied the little dog’s mind. To deal with these affairs he had the long head of the canniest Scot, wide and high between. the ears, and a muzzle as determined as a little steel trap. Small and forlorn as he was, courage, resource and purpose marked him.

As soon as the door of the caretaker’s lodge opened he would have to creep under the fallen slab again. To lie in such a cramped position, hour after hour, day after day, was enough to break the spirit of any warm blooded creature that lives. It was an exquisite form of torture not long to be endured. And to get his single meal a day at Mr. Traill’s place Bobby had to watch for the chance opening of the wicket to slip in and out like a thief. The furtive life is not only perilous, it outrages every feeling of an honest dog. It is hard for him to live at all without the approval and the cordial consent of men. The human order hostile, he quickly loses his self-respect and drops to the pariah class. Already wee Bobby had the look of the neglected. His pretty coat was dirty and unkempt. In his run across country, leaves, twigs and burrs had become entangled in his long hair, and his legs and underparts were caked with mire.

Instinctively any dog struggles to escape the fate of the outcast. By every art he possesses he ingratiates himself with men. One that has his usefulness in the human scheme of things often is able to make his own terms with life, to win the niche of his choice. Bobby’s one talent that was of practical value to society was his hunting instinct for every small animal that burrows and prowls and takes toll of men’s labor. In Greyfriars kirkyard was work to be done that he could do. For quite three centuries rats and mice had multiplied in this old sanctuary garden from which cats were chased and dogs excluded. Every breeze that blew carried challenges to Bobby’s offended nose. Now, in the crisp gray dawn, a big rat came out into the open and darted here and there over the powdering of dry snow that frosted the kirkyard.

A leap, as if released from a spring, and Bobby captured it. A snap of his long muzzle, a jerk of his stoutly set head, and the victim hung limp from his grip. And he followed another deeply seated instinct when he carried the slain to Auld Jock’s grave. Trophies of the chase were always to be laid at the feet of the master.

“Gude dog! eh, but ye’re a bonny wee fechter!” Auld Jock had always said after such an exploit; and Bobby had been petted and praised until he nearly wagged his crested tail off with happiness and pride. Then he had been given some choice tidbit of food as a reward for his prowess. The farmer of Cauldbrae had on such occasions admitted that Bobby might be of use about barn and dairy, and Mr. Traill had commended his capture of prowlers in the dining-room. But Bobby was “ower young” and had not been “put to the vermin” as a definite business in life. He caught a rat, now and then, as he chased rabbits, merely as a diversion. When he had caught this one he lay down again. But after a time he got up deliberately and trotted down to the encircling line of old courtyarded tombs. There were nooks and crannies between and behind these along the wall into which the caretaker could not penetrate with sickle, rake and spade, that formed sheltered runways for rodents.

A long, low, weasel-like dog that could flatten himself on the ground, Bobby squeezed between railings and pedestals, scrambled over fallen fragments of sculptured urns, trumpets, angels’ wings, altars, skull and cross-bones, and Latin inscribed scrolls. He went on his stomach under holly and laurel shrubs, burdocks,thistles, and tangled, dead vines. Here and there he lay in such rubbish as motionless as the effigies careen on marble biers. With the growing light grew the heap of the slain on Auld Jock’s grave.

Having done his best, Bobby lay down again, worse in appearance than before, but with a stouter heart. He did not stir, although the shadows fled, the sepulchers stood up around the field of snow, and slabs and shafts camped in ranks on the slope. Smoke began to curl up from high, clustered chimney-pots; shutters were opened, and scantily clad women had hurried errands on decaying gallery and reeling stairway. Suddenly the Castle turrets were gilded with pale sunshine, and all the little cells in the tall, old houses hummed and buzzed and clacked with life. The University bell called scattered students to morning prayers. Pinched and elfish faces of children appeared at the windows overlooking the kirkyard. The sparrows had instant news of that, and the little winged beggars fluttered up to the lintels of certain deep-set casements, where ill-fed bairns scattered breakfasts of crumbs.

Bobby watched all this without a movement. He shivered when the lodge door was heard to open and shut and heavy footsteps crunched on the gravel and snow around the church. “Juist fair silly” on his quaking legs he stood up, head and tail drooped. But he held his ground bravely, and when the caretaker sighted him he trotted to meet the man, lifted himself on his hind legs, his short, shagged fore paws on his breast, begging attention and indulgence. Then he sprawled across the great boots, asking pardon for the liberty he was taking. At last, all in a flash, he darted back to the grave, sniffed at it, and stood again, head up, plumy tail crested, all excitement, as much as to say:

“Come awa’ ower, man, an’ leuk at the brave sicht.”

If he could have barked, his meaning would have carried more convincingly, but he “hauded ‘is gab” loyally. And, alas, the caretaker was not to be beguiled. Mr. Traill had told him Bobby had been sent back to the hill farm, but here he was, “perseestent” little rascal, and making some sort of bid for the man’s favor. Mr. Brown took his pipe out of his mouth in surprised exasperation, and glowered at the dog.

“Gang awa’ oot wi’ ye!”

But Bobby was back again coaxing undauntedly, abasing himself before the angry man, insisting that he had something of interest to show. The caretaker was literally badgered and cajoled into following him. One glance at the formidable heap of the slain, and Mr. Brown dropped to a seat on the slab.

“Preserve us a’!”

He stared from the little dog to his victims, turned them over with his stout stick and counted them, and stared again. Bobby fixed his pleading eyes on the man and stood at strained attention while fate hung in the balance.

“Guile wark! Guile wark! A braw doggie, an’ an unco’ fechter. Losh! but ye’re a deil o’ a bit dog!”

All this was said in a tone of astonished comment, so non-committal of feeling that Bobby’s tail began to twitch in the stress of his anxiety. When the caretaker spoke again, after a long, puzzled frowning, it was to express a very human bewilderment and irritation.

“Noo, what am I gangin’ to do wi’ ye?”

Ah, that was encouraging! A moment before, he had ordered Bobby out in no uncertain tone. After another moment he referred the question to a higher court.

“Jeanie, woman, come awa’ oot a meenit, wull ye?”

A hasty pattering of carpet-slippered feet on the creaking snow, around the kirk, and there was the neatest little apple-cheeked peasant woman in Scotland, “snod” from her smooth, frosted hair, spotless linen mutch and lawn kerchief, to her white, lamb’s wool stockings.

“Here’s the bit dog I was tellin’ ye aboot; an’ see for yersel’ what he’s done noo.”

“The wee beastie couldna do a’ that! It’s as muckle as his ain wecht in fou’ vermin!” she cried.

“Ay, he did. Thae terriers are sperity, by the ordinar’. Ane o’ them, let into the corn exchange a murky nicht, killed saxty in ten meenits, an’ had to be dragged awa’ by the tail. Noo, what I am gangin’ to do wi’ the takin’ bit I dinna ken.”

It is very certain that simple Mistress Jean Brown had never heard of Mr. Dick’s advice to Miss Betsy Trotwood on the occasion when young David Copperfield presented himself, travel-stained and weary, before his good aunt. But out of her experience of wholesome living she brought forth the same wise opinion.

“I’d gie him a gude washin’ first of a’, Jamie. He leuks like some puir, gaen-aboot dog.” And she drew her short, blue-stuff gown back from Bobby’s grateful attentions.

Mr. Brown slapped his corduroy-breeked knee and nodded his grizzled head. “Richt ye are. It’s maist michty, noo, I wadna think o’ that. When I was leevin’ as an under gairdener wi’ a laird i’ Argyleshire I was aye aboot the kennels wi’ the gillies. That was lang syne. The sma’ terrier dogs were aye washed i’ claes tubs wi’ warm water an’ soap. Come awa’, Bobby.”

The caretaker got up stiffly, for such snell weather was apt to give him twinges in his joints. In him a youthful enthusiasm for dogs had suddenly revived. Besides, although he would have denied it, he was relieved at having the main issue, as to what was to be done with this four-footed trespasser, side-tracked for a time. Bobby followed him to the lodge at an eager trot, and he dutifully hopped into the bath that was set on the rear doorstep. Mr. Brown scrubbed him vigorously, and Bobby splashed and swam and churned the soapy water to foam. He scrambled out at once, when told to do so, and submitted to being dried with a big, tow-linen towel. This was all a delightful novelty to Bobby. Heretofore he had gone into any convenient tam or burn to swim, and then dried himself by rolling on the heather and running before the wind. Now he was bundled up ignominiously in an old flannel petticoat, carried across a sanded kitchen floor and laid on a warm hearth.

“Doon wi’ ye!” was the gruff order. Bobby turned around and around on the hearth, like some little wild dog making a bed in the jungle, before he obeyed. He kept very still during the reading of a chapter and the singing of a Psalm, as he had been taught to do at the farm by many a reminder from Auld Jock’s boot. And he kept away from the breakfast-table, although the walls of his stomach were collapsed as flat as the sides of an empty pocket.

It was such a clean, shining little kitchen, with the scoured deal table, chairs and cupboard, and the firelight from the grate winked so on pewter mugs, copper kettle, willow-patterned plates and diamond panes, that Bobby blinked too. Flowers bloomed in pots on the casement sills, and a little brown skylark sang, fluttering as if it would soar, in a gilded cage. After the morning meal Mr. Brown lighted his pipe and put on his bonnet to go out again, when he bethought him that Bobby might be needing something to eat.

“What’ll ye gie ‘im, Jeanie? At the laird’s, noo, the terriers were aye fed wi’ bits o’ livers an’ cheese an’ moor fowls’ eggs, an’ sic-like, fried.”

“Havers, Jamie, it’s no’ releegious to feed a dog better than puir bairns. He’ll do fair weel wi’ table-scraps.”

She set down a plate with a spoonful of porridge on it, a cold potato, some bread crusts, and the leavings of a broiled caller herrin’. It was a generous breakfast for so small a dog, but Bobby had been without food for quite forty hours, and had done an amazing amount of work in the meantime. When he had eaten all of it, he was still hungry. As a polite hint, he polished the empty plate with his pink tongue and looked up expectantly; but the best-intentioned people, if they have had little to do with dogs, cannot read such signs.

“Ye needna lick the posies aff,” the wifie said, good humoredly, as she picked the plate up to wash it. She thought to put down a tin basin of water. Bobby lapped a’ it so eagerly, yet so daintily, that she added: “He’s a weel-broucht-up tyke, Jamie.”

“He is so. Noo, we’ll see hoo weel he can leuk.” In a shamefaced way he fetched from a tool-box a long-forgotten, strong little currycomb, such as is used on shaggy Shetland ponies. With that he proceeded to give Bobby such a grooming as he had never had before. It was a painful operation, for his thatch was a stubborn mat of crisp waves and knotty tangles to his plumy tail and down to his feathered toes. He braced himself and took the punishment without a whimper, and when it was done he stood cascaded with dark-silver ripples nearly to the floor.

“The bonny wee!” cried Mistress Jeanie. “I canna tak’ ma twa een aff o’ ‘im.”

“Ay, he’s bonny by the ordinar’. It wad be grand, noo, gin the meenister’d fancy ‘im an’ tak’ ‘im into the manse.”

The wifie considered this ruefully. “Jamie, I was wishin’ ye didna hae to–“

But what she wished he did not have to do, Mr. Brown did not stop to hear. He suddenly clapped his bonnet on his head and went out. He had an urgent errand on High Street, to buy grass and flower seeds and tools that would certainly be needed in April. It took him an hour or more of shrewd looking about for the best bargains, in a swarm of little barnacle and cellar shops, to spend a few of the kirk’s shillings. When he found himself, to his disgust, looking at a nail studded collar for a little dog he called himself a “doited auld fule,” and tramped back across the bridge.

At the kirkyard gate he stopped and read the notice through twice: “No dogs permitted.” That was as plain as “Thou shalt not.” To the pious caretaker and trained servant it was the eleventh commandment. He shook his head, sighed, and went in to dinner. Bobby was not in the house, and the master of it avoided inquiring for him. He also avoided the wifie’s wistful eye, and he busied himself inside the two kirks all the afternoon.

Because he was in the kirks, and the beautiful memorial windows of stained glass were not for the purpose of looking out, he did not see a dramatic incident that occurred in the kirkyard after three o’clock in the afternoon. The prelude to it really began with the report of the timegun at one. Bobby had insisted upon being let out of the lodge kitchen, and had spent the morning near Auld Jock’s grave and in nosing about neighboring slabs and thorn bushes. When the time-gun boomed he trotted to the gate quite openly and waited there inside the wicket.

In such nipping weather there were no visitors to the kirkyard and the gate was not opened. The music bells ran the gamut of old Scotch airs and ceased, while he sat there and waited patiently. Once a man stopped to look at the little dog, and Bobby promptly jumped on the wicket, plainly begging to have it unlatched. But the passer-by decided that some lady had left her pet behind, and would return for him. So he patted the attractive little Highlander on the head and went on about his business.

Discouraged by the unpromising outlook for dinner that day, Bobby went slowly back to the grave. Twice afterward he made hopeful pilgrimages to the gate. For diversion he fell noiselessly upon a prowling cat and chased it out of the kirkyard. At last he sat upon the table-tomb. He had escaped notice from the tenements all the morning because the view from most of the windows was blocked by washings, hung out and dripping, then freezing and clapping against the old tombs. It was half-past three o’clock when a tiny, wizened face popped out of one of the rude little windows in the decayed Cunzie Neuk at the bottom of Candlemakers Row. Crippled Tammy Barr called out in shrill excitement

“Ailie! O-o-oh, Ailie Lindsey, there’s the wee doggie!”

“Whaur?” The lassie’s elfin face looked out from a low, rear window of the Candlemakers’ Guildhall at the top of the Row.

“On the stane by the kirk wa’.”

“I see ‘im noo. Isna he bonny? I wish Bobby could bide i’ the kirkyaird, but they wadna let ‘im. Tammy, gin ye tak’ ‘im up to Maister Traill, he’ll gie ye the shullin’!”

“I couldna tak’ ‘im by ma lane,” was the pathetic confession. “Wad ye gang wi’ me, Ailie? Ye could drap ower an’ catch ‘im, an’ I could come by the gate. Faither made me some grand crutches frae an’ auld chair back.”

Tears suddenly drowned the lassie’s blue eyes and ran down her pinched little cheeks. “Nae, I couldna gang. I haena ony shoon to ma feet.”

“It’s no’ so cauld. Gin I had twa guile feet I could gang the bit way wi’oot shoon.”

“I ken it isna so cauld,” Ailie admitted, “but for a lassie it’s no’ respectable to gang to a grand place barefeeted.”

That was undeniable, and the eager children fell silent and tearful. But oh, necessity is the mother of makeshifts among the poor! Suddenly Ailie cried: “Bide a meenit, Tammy,” and vanished. Presently she was back, with the difficulty overcome. “Grannie says I can wear her shoon. She doesna wear ’em i’ the hoose, ava.”

“I’ll gie ye a saxpence, Ailie,” offered Tammy.

The sordid bargain shocked no feeling of these tenement bairns nor marred their pleasure in the adventure. Presently there was a tap-tap-tapping of crutches on the heavy gallery that fronted the Cunzie Neuk, and on the stairs that descended from it to the steep and curving row. The lassie draped a fragment of an old plaid deftly over her thinly clad shoulders, climbed through the window, to the pediment of the classic tomb that blocked it, and dropped into the kirkyard. To her surprise Bobby was there at her feet, frantically wagging his tail, and he raced her to the gate. She caught him on the steps of the dining room, and held his wriggling little body fast until Tammy came up.

It was a tumultuous little group that burst in upon the astonished landlord: barking fluff of an excited dog, flying lassie in clattering big shoes, and wee, tapping Tammy. They literally fell upon him when he was engaged in counting out his money.

“Whaur did you find him?” asked Mr Traill in bewilderment.

Six-year-old Ailie slipped a shy finger into her mouth, and looked to the very much more mature five-year old crippled laddie to answer

“He was i’ the kirkyaird.”

“Sittin’ upon a stane by ‘is ainsel’,” added Ailie.

“An’ no’ hidin’, ava. It was juist like he was leevin’ there.”

“An’ syne, when I drapped oot o’ the window he louped at me so bonny, an’ I couldna keep up wi’ ‘im to the gate.”

Wonder of wonders! It was plain that Bobby had made his way back from the hill farm and, from his appearance and manner, as well as from this account, it was equally clear that some happy change in his fortunes had taken place. He sat up on his haunches listening with interest and lolling his tongue! And that was a thing the bereft little dog had not done since his master died. In the first pause in the talk he rose and begged for his dinner.

“Noo, what am I to pay? It took ane, twa, three o’ ye to fetch ane sma’ dog. A saxpence for the laddie, a saxpence for the lassie, an’ a bit meal for Bobby.”

While he was putting the plate down under the settle Mr. Traill heard an amazed whisper “He’s gien the doggie a chuckie bane.” The landlord switched the plate from under Bobby’s protesting little muzzle and turned to catch the hungry look on the faces of the children. Chicken, indeed, for a little dog, before these ill-fed bairns! Mr. Traill had a brilliant thought.

“Preserve me! I didna think to eat ma ain dinner. I hae so muckle to eat I canna eat it by ma lane.”

The idea of having too much to eat was so preposterously funny that Tammy doubled up with laughter and nearly tumbled over his crutches. Mr. Traill set him upright again.

“Did ye ever gang on a picnic, bairnies?” And what was a picnic? Tammy ventured the opinion that it might be some kind of a cart for lame laddies to ride in.

“A picnic is when ye gang gypsying in the summer,” Mr. Traill explained. “Ye walk to a bonny green brae, an’ sit doon under a hawthorntree a’ covered wi’ posies, by a babblin’ burn, an’ ye eat oot o’ yer ain hands. An’ syne ye hear a throstle or a redbreast sing an’ a saucy blackbird whustle.”

“Could ye tak’ a dog?” asked Tammy.

“Ye could that, mannie. It’s no’ a picnic wi’oot a sonsie doggie to rin on the brae wi’ ye.”

“Oh!” Ailie’s blue eyes slowly widened in her pallid little face. “But ye couldna hae a picnic i’ the snawy weather.”

“Ay, ye could. It’s the bonniest of a’ when ye’re no’ expectin’ it. I aye keep a picnic hidden i’ the ingleneuk aboon.” He suddenly swung Tammy up on his shoulder, and calling, gaily, “Come awa’,” went out the door, through another beside it, and up a flight of stairs to the dining-room above. A fire burned there in the grate, the tables were covered with linen, and there were blooming flowers in pots in the front windows. Patrons from the University, and the well-to-do streets and squares to the south and east, made of this upper room a sort of club in the evenings. At four o’clock in the afternoon there were no guests.

“Noo,” said Mr. Traill, when his overcome little guests were seated at a table in the inglenook. “A picnic is whaur ye hae onything ye fancy to eat; gude things ye wullna be haein’ ilka day, ye mind.” He rang a call-bell, and a grinning waiter laddie popped up so quickly the lassie caught her breath.

“Eneugh broo for aince,” said Tammy.

“Porridge that isna burned,” suggested Ailie. Such pitiful poverty of the imagination!

“Nae, it’s bread, an’ butter, an’ strawberry jam, an’ tea wi’ cream an’ sugar, an’ cauld chuckie at a snawy picnic,” announced Mr. Traill. And there it was, served very quickly and silently, after some manner of magic. Bobby had to stand on the fourth chair to eat his dinner, and when he had despatched it he sat up and viewed the little party with the liveliest interest and happiness.

“Tammy,” Ailie said, when her shyness had worn off, “it’s like the grand tales ye mak’ up i’ yer heid.”

“Preserve me! Does the wee mannie mak’ up stories?”

“It’s juist fulish things, aboot haein’ mair to eat, an’ a sonsie doggie to play wi’, an’ twa gude legs to tak’ me aboot. I think ’em oot at nicht when I canna sleep.”

“Eh, laddie, do ye noo?” Mr. Traill suddenly had a terrible “cauld in ‘is heid,” that made his eyes water. “Hoo auld are ye?”

“Five, gangin’ on sax.”

“Losh! I thoucht ye war fifty, gangin’ on saxty.” Laughter saved the day from overmoist emotions. And presently Mr. Traill was able to say in a business-like tone:

“We’ll hae to tak’ ye to the infirmary. An’ if they canna mak’ yer legs ower ye’ll get a pair o’ braw crutches that are the niest thing to gude legs. An’ syne we’ll see if there’s no’ a place in Heriot’s for a sma’ laddie that mak’s up bonny tales o’ his ain in the murky auld Cunzie Neuk.”

Now the gay little feast was eaten, and early dark was coming on. If Mr. Traill had entertained the hope that Bobby had recovered from his grief and might remain with him, he was disappointed. The little dog began to be restless. He ran to the door and back; he begged, and he scratched on the panel. And then he yelped! As soon as the door was opened he shot out of it, tumbled down the stairway and waited at the foot impatiently for the lower door to be unlatched. Ailie’s thin, swift legs were left behind when Bobby dashed to the kirkyard.

Tammy followed at a surprising pace on his rude crutches, and Mr. Traill brought up the rear. If the children could not smuggle the frantic little dog inside, the landlord meant to put him over the wicket and, if necessary, to have it out with the caretaker, and then to go before the kirk minister and officers with his plea. He was still concealed by the buildings, from the alcoved gate, when he heard Mr. Brown’s gruff voice taking the frightened bairns to task.

“Gie me the dog; an’ dinna ye tak’ him oot ony mair wi’oot spierin’ me.”

The children fled. Peeping around the angle of the Book Hunter’s Stall, Mr. Traill saw the caretaker lift Bobby over the wicket to his arms, and start with him toward the lodge. He was perishing with curiosity about this astonishing change of front on the part of Mr. Brown, but it was a delicate situation in which it seemed best not to meddle. He went slowly back to the restaurant, begrudging Bobby to the luckier caretaker.

His envy was premature. Mr. Brown set Bobby inside the lodge kitchen and announced briefly to his wife: “The bit dog wull sleep i’ the hoose the nicht.” And he went about some business at the upper end of the kirkyard. When he came in an hour later Bobby was gone.

“I couldna keep ‘im in, Jamie. He didna blatter, but he greeted so sair to be let oot, an syne he scratched a’ the paint aff the door.”

Mr. Brown glowered at her in exasperation. “Woman, they’ll hae me up afore kirk sessions for brakin’ the rules, an’ syne they’ll turn us a’ oot i’ the cauld warld togither.”

He slammed the door and stormed angrily around the kirk. It was still light enough to see the little creature on the snowy mound and, indeed, Bobby got up and wagged his tail in friendly greeting. At that all the bluster went out of the man, and he began to argue the matter with the dog.

“Come awa’, Bobby. Ye canna be leevin’ i’ the kirkyaird.”

Bobby was of a different opinion. He turned around and around, thoughtfully, several times, then sat up on the grave. Entirely willing to spend a social hour with his new friend, he fixed his eyes hospitably upon him. Mr. Brown dropped to the slab, lighted his pipe, and smoked for a time, to compose his agitated mind. By and by he got up briskly and stooped to lift the little dog. At that Bobby dug his claws in the clods and resisted with all his muscular body and determined mind. He clung to the grave so desperately, and looked up so piteously, that the caretaker surrendered. And there was snod Mistress Jeanie, forgetting her spotless gown and kneeling in the snow.

“Puir Bobby, puir wee Bobby!” she cried, and her tears fell on the little tousled head. The caretaker strode abruptly away and waited for the wifie in the shadow of the auld kirk. Bobby lifted his muzzle and licked the caressing hand. Then he curled himself up comfortably on the mound and went to sleep.


In no part of Edinburgh did summer come up earlier, or with more lavish bloom, than in old Greyfriars kirkyard. Sheltered on the north and east, it was open to the moist breezes of the southwest, and during all the lengthening afternoons the sun lay down its slope and warmed the rear windows of the overlooking tenements. Before the end of May the caretaker had much ado to keep the growth in order. Vines threatened to engulf the circling street of sepulchers in greenery and bloom, and grass to encroach on the flower plots.

A half century ago there were no rotary lawnmowers to cut off clover heads; and, if there had been, one could not have been used on these dropping terraces, so populous with slabs and so closely set with turfed mounds and oblongs of early flowering annuals and bedding plants. Mr. Brown had to get down on his hands and knees, with gardener’s shears, to clip the turfed borders and banks, and take a sickle to the hummocks. Thus he could dig out a root of dandelion with the trowel kept ever in his belt, consider the spreading crocuses and valley lilies, whether to spare them, give a country violet its blossoming time, and leave a screening burdock undisturbed until fledglings were out of their nests in the shrubbery.

Mistress Jeanie often brought out a little old milking stool on balmy mornings, and sat with knitting or mending in one of the narrow aisles, to advise her gude-mon in small matters. Bobby trotted quietly about, sniffing at everything with the liveliest interest, head on this side or that, alertly. His business, learned in his first summer in Greyfriars, was to guard the nests of foolish skylarks, song-thrushes, redbreasts and wrens, that built low in lilac, laburnum, and flowering currant bushes, in crannies of wall and vault, and on the ground. It cannot but be a pleasant thing to be a wee young dog, full of life and good intentions, and to play one’s dramatic part in making an old garden of souls tuneful with bird song. A cry of alarm from parent or nestling was answered instantly by the tiny, tousled policeman, and there was a prowler the less, or a skulking cat was sent flying over tomb and wall.

His duty done, without noise or waste of energy, Bobby returned to lie in the sun on Auld Jock’s grave. Over this beloved mound a coverlet of rustic turf had been spread as soon as the frost was out of the ground, and a bonny briar bush planted at the head. Then it bore nature’s own tribute of flowers, for violets, buttercups, daisies and clover blossoms opened there and, later, a spike or so of wild foxglove and a knot of heather. Robin redbreasts and wrens foraged around Bobby, unafraid; swallows swooped down from their mud villages, under the dizzy dormers and gables, to flush the flies on his muzzle, and whole flocks of little blue titmice fluttered just overhead, in their rovings from holly and laurel to newly tasseled firs and yew trees.

The click of the wicket gate was another sort of alarm altogether. At that the little dog slipped under the fallen table-tomb and lay hidden there until any strange visitor had taken himself away. Except for two more forced returns and ingenious escapes from the sheepfarm on the Pentlands, Bobby had lived in the kirkyard undisturbed for six months. The caretaker had neither the heart to put him out nor the courage to face the minister and the kirk officers with a plea for him to remain. The little dog’s presence there was known, apparently, only to Mr. Traill, to a few of the tenement dwellers, and to the Heriot boys. If his life was clandestine in a way, it was as regular of hour and duty and as well ordered as that of the garrison in the Castle.

When the time-gun boomed, Bobby was let out for his midday meal at Mr. Traill’s and for a noisy run about the neighborhood to exercise his lungs and legs. On Wednesdays he haunted the Grassmarket, sniffing at horses, carts and mired boots. Edinburgh had so many shaggy little Skye and Scotch terriers that one more could go about unremarked. Bobby returned to the kirkyard at his own good pleasure. In the evening he was given a supper of porridge and broo, or milk, at the kitchen door of the lodge, and the nights he spent on Auld Jock’s grave. The morning drum and bugle woke him to the chase, and all his other hours were spent in close attendance on the labors of the caretaker. The click of the wicket gate was the signal for instant disappearance.

A scramble up the wall from Heriot’s Hospital grounds, or the patter of bare feet on the gravel, however, was notice to come out and greet a friend. Bobby was host to the disinherited children of the tenements. Now, at the tap-tap-tapping of Tammy Barr’s crutches, he scampered up the slope, and he suited his pace to the crippled boy’s in coming down again. Tammy chose a heap of cut grass on which to sit enthroned and play king, a grand new crutch for a scepter, and Bobby for a courtier. At command, the little dog rolled over and over, begged, and walked on his hind legs. He even permitted a pair of thin little arms to come near strangling him, in an excess of affection. Then he wagged his tail and lolled his tongue to show that he was friendly, and trotted away about his business. Tammy took an oat-cake from his pocket to nibble, and began a conversation with Mistress Jeanie.

“I broucht a picnic wi’ me.”

“Did ye, noo? An’ hoo did ye ken aboot picnics, laddie?”

“Maister Traill was tellin’ Ailie an’ me. There’s ilka thing to mak’ a picnic i’ the kirkyaird. They couldna mak’ my legs gude i’ the infairmary, but I’m gangin’ to Heriot’s. I’ll juist hae to airn ma leevin’ wi’ ma heid, an’ no’ remember aboot ma legs, ava. Is he no’ a bonny doggie?”

“Ay, he’s bonny. An’ ye’re a braw laddie no’ to fash yersel’ aboot what canna be helped.”

The wifie took his ragged jacket and mended it, dropped a tear in an impossible hole, and a ha’penny in the one good pocket. And by and by the pale laddie slept there among the bright graves, in the sun. After another false alarm from the gate she asked her gude-mon, as she had asked many times before:

“What’ll ye do, Jamie, when the meenister kens aboot Bobby, an’ ca’s ye up afore kirk sessions for brakin’ the rule?”

“We wullna cross the brig till we come to the burn, woman,” he invariably answered, with assumed unconcern. Well he knew that the bridge might be down and the stream in flood when he came to it. But Mr. Traill was a member of Greyfriars auld kirk, too, and a companion in guilt, and Mr. Brown relied not a little on the landlord’s fertile mind and daring tongue. And he relied on useful, well-behaving Bobby to plead his own cause.

“There’s nae denyin’ the doggie is takin’ in ‘is ways. He’s had twa gude hames fair thrown at ‘is heid, but the sperity bit keeps to ‘is ain mind. An’ syne he’s usefu’, an’ hauds ‘is gab by the ordinar’.” He often reinforced his inclination with some such argument.

With all their caution, discovery was always imminent. The kirkyard was long and narrow and on rising levels, and it was cut almost across by the low mass of the two kirks, so that many things might be going on at one end that could not be seen from the other. On this Saturday noon, when the Heriot boys were let out for the half-holiday, Mr. Brown kept an eye on them until those who lived outside had dispersed. When Mistress Jeanie tucked her knitting-needles in her belt, and went up to the lodge to put the dinner over the fire, the caretaker went down toward Candlemakers Row to trim the grass about the martyrs’ monument. Bobby dutifully trotted at his heels. Almost immediately a half-dozen laddies, led by Geordie Ross and Sandy McGregor, scaled the wall from Heriot’s grounds and stepped down into the kirkyard, that lay piled within nearly to the top. They had a perfectly legitimate errand there, but no mission is to be approached directly by romantic boyhood.

“Hist!” was the warning, and the innocent invaders, feeling delightfully lawless, stole over and stormed the marble castle, where “Bluidy” McKenzie slept uneasily against judgment day. Light-hearted lads can do daring deeds on a sunny day that would freeze their blood on a dark and stormy night. So now Geordie climbed nonchalantly to a seat over the old persecutor, crossed his stout, bare legs, filled an imaginary pipe, and rattled the three farthings in his pocket.

“I’m ‘Jinglin’ Geordie’ Heriot,” he announced.

“I’ll show ye hoo a prood goldsmith ance smoked wi’ a’.” Then, jauntily: “Sandy, gie a crack to ‘Bluidy’ McKenzie’s door an’ daur the auld hornie to come oot.

The deed was done amid breathless apprehensions, but nothing disturbed the silence of the May noon except the lark that sprang at their feet and soared singing into the blue. It was Sandy who presently whistled like a blackbird to attract the attention of Bobby.

There were no blackbirds in the kirkyard, and Bobby understood the signal. He scampered up at once and dashed around the kirk, all excitement, for he had had many adventures with the Heriot boys at skating and hockey on Duddingston Lock in the winter, and tramps over the country and out to Leith harbor in the spring. The laddies prowled along the upper wall of the kirks, opened and shut the wicket, to give the caretaker the idea that they had come in decorously by the gate, and went down to ask him, with due respect and humility, if they could take Bobby out for the afternoon. They were going to mark the places where wild flowers might be had, to decorate “Jinglin’ Geordie’s” portrait, statue and tomb at the school on Founder’s Day. Mr. Brown considered them with a glower that made the boys nudge each other knowingly. “Saturday isna the day for ‘im to be gaen aboot. He aye has a washin’ an’ a groomin’ to mak’ ‘im fit for the Sabbath. An’, by the leuk o’ ye, ye’d be nane the waur for soap an’ water yer ainsel’s.”

“We’ll gie ‘ im ‘is washin’ an’ combin’ the nicht,” they volunteered, eagerly.

“Weel, noo, he wullna hae ‘is dinner till the time-gun.”

Neither would they. At that, annoyed by their persistence, Mr. Brown denied authority.

“Ye ken weel he isna ma dog. Ye’ll hae to gang up an’ spier Maister Traill. He’s fair daft aboot the gude-for-naethin’ tyke.”

This was understood as permission. As the boys ran up to the gate, with Bobby at their heels, Mr. Brown called after them: “Ye fetch ‘im hame wi’ the sunset bugle, an’ gin ye teach ‘im ony o’ yer unmannerly ways I’ll tak’ a stick to yer breeks.”

When they returned to Mr. Traill’s place at two o’clock the landlord stood in shirt-sleeves and apron in the open doorway with Bobby, the little dog gripping a mutton shank in his mouth.

“Bobby must tak’ his bone down first and hide it awa’. The Sabbath in a kirkyard is a dull day for a wee dog, so he aye gets a catechism of a bone to mumble over.”

‘The landlord sighed in open envy when the laddies and the little dog tumbled down the Row to the Grassmarket on their gypsying. His eyes sought out the glimpse of green country on the dome of Arthur’s Seat, that loomed beyond the University towers to the east. There are times when the heart of a boy goes ill with the sordid duties of the man.

Straight down the length of the empty market the laddies ran, through the crooked, fascinating haunt of horses and jockeys in the street of King’s Stables, then northward along the fronts of quaint little handicrafts shops that skirted Castle Crag. By turning westward into Queensferry Street a very few minutes would have brought them to a bit of buried country. But every expedition of Edinburgh lads of spirit of that day was properly begun with challenges to scale Castle Rock from the valley park of Princes Street Gardens on the north.

“I daur ye to gang up!” was all that was necessary to set any group of youngsters to scaling the precipice. By every tree and ledge, by every cranny and point of rock, stoutly rooted hazel and thorn bush and clump of gorse, they climbed. These laddies went up a quarter or a third of the way to the grim ramparts and came cautiously down again. Bobby scrambled higher, tumbled back more recklessly and fell, head over heels and upside down, on the daisied turf. He righted himself at once, and yelped in sharp protest. Then he sniffed and busied himself with pretenses, in the elaborate unconcern with which a little dog denies anything discreditable. There were legends of daring youth having climbed this war-like cliff and laying hands on the fortress wall, but Geordie expressed a popular feeling in declaring these tales “a’ lees.”

“No’ ony laddie could gang a’ the way up an’ come doon wi’ ‘is heid no’ broken. Bobby couldna do it, an’ he’s mair like a wild fox than an ordinar’ dog. Noo, we’re the Light Brigade at Balaklava. Chairge!”

The Crimean War was then a recent event. Heroes of Sebastopol answered the summons of drum and bugle in the Castle and fired the hearts of Edinburgh youth. Cannon all around them, and “theirs not to reason why,” this little band stormed out Queensferry Street and went down, hand under hand, into the fairy underworld of Leith Water.

All its short way down from the Pentlands to the sea, the Water of Leith was then a foaming little river of mills, twisting at the bottom of a gorge. One cliff-like wall or the other lay to the sun all day, so that the way was lined with a profusion of every wild thing that turns green and blooms in the Lowlands of Scotland. And it was filled to the brim with bird song and water babble.

A crowd of laddies had only to go inland up this gorge to find wild and tame bloom enough to bury “Jinglin’ Geordie” all over again every year. But adventure was to be had in greater variety by dropping seaward with the bickering brown water. These waded along the shallow margin, walked on shelving sands of gold, and, where the channel was filled, they clung to the rocks and picked their way along dripping ledges. Bobby missed no chance to swim. If he could scramble over rough ground like a squirrel or a fox, he could swim like an otter. Swept over the low dam at Dean village, where a cup-like valley was formed, he tumbled over and over in the spray and was all but drowned. As soon as he got his breath and his bearings he struck out frantically for the bank, shook the foam from his eyes and ears, and barked indignantly at the saucy fall. The white miller in the doorway of the gray-stone, red-roofed mill laughed, and anxious children ran down from a knot of storybook cottages and gay dooryards. “I’ll gie ye ten shullin’s for the sperity bit dog,” the miller shouted, above the clatter of the’ wheel and the swish of the dam.

“He isna oor ain dog,” Geordie called back. “But he wullna droon. He’s got a gude heid to ‘im, an’ wullna be sic a bittie fule anither time.”

Indeed he had a good head on him! Bobby never needed a second lesson. At Silver Mills and Canon Mills he came out and trotted warily around the dam. Where the gorge widened to a valley toward the sea they all climbed up to Leith Walk, that ran to the harbor, and came out to a wonder-world of water-craft anchored in the Firth. Each boy picked out his ship to go adventuring.

“I’m gangin’ to Norway!”

Geordie was scornful. “Hoots, ye tame pussies. Ye’re fleid o’ gettin’ yer feet wat. I’ll be rinnin’ aff to be a pirate. Come awa’ doon.”

They followed. the leader along shore and boarded an abandoned and evil-smelling fishingboat. There they ran up a ragged jacket for a black flag. But sailing a stranded craft palled presently.

“Nae, I’m gangin’ to be a Crusoe. Preserve me! If there’s no’ a futprint i’ the sand Bobby’s ma sma’ man Friday.”

Away they ran southward to find a castaway’s shelter in a hollow on the golf links. Soon this was transformed into a wrecker’s den, and then into the hiding-place of a harried Covenanter fleeing religious persecution. Daring things to do swarmed in upon their minds, for Edinburgh laddies live in a city of romantic history, of soldiers, of near-by mountains, and of sea rovings. No adventure served them five minutes, and Bobby was in every one. Ah, lucky Bobby, to have such gay playfellows on a sunny afternoon and under foot the open country!

And fortunate laddies to have such a merry rascal of a wee dog with them! To the mile they ran, Bobby went five, scampering in wide circles and barking and louping at butterflies and whaups. He made a detour to the right to yelp saucily at the red-coated sentry who paced before the Gothic gateway to the deserted Palace of Holyrood, and as far to the left to harry the hoofs of a regiment of cavalry drilling before the barracks at Piershill. He raced on ahead and swam out to scatter the fleet of swan sailing or the blue mirror of Duddingston Loch.

The tired boys lay blissfully up the sunny side of Arthur’s Seat in a thicket of hazel while Geordie carried out a daring plan for which privacy was needed. Bobby was solemnly arraigned before a court on the charge of being a seditious Covenanting meenister, and was required to take the oath of loyalty to English King and Church on pain of being hanged in the Grassmarket. The oath had been duly written out on paper and greased with mutton tallow to make it more palatable. Bobby licked the fat off with relish. Then he took the paper between his sharp little teeth and merrily tore it to shreds. And, having finished it, he barked cheerful defiance at the court. The lads came near rolling down the slope with laughter, and they gave three cheers for the little hero. Sandy remarked, “Ye wadna think, noo, sic a sonsie doggie wad be leevin’ i’ the murky auld kirkyaird.”

Bobby had learned the lay of the tipped-up and scooped-out and jumbled auld toon, and he led the way homeward along the southern outskirts of the city. He turned up Nicolson Street, that ran northward, past the University and the old infirmary. To get into Greyfriars Place from the east at that time one had to descend to the Cowgate and climb out again. Bobby darted down the first of the narrow wynds.

Suddenly he turned ’round and ’round in bewilderment, then shot through a sculptured door way, into a well-like court, and up a flight of stone stairs. The slamming of a shutter overhead shocked him to a standstill on the landing and sent him dropping slowly down again. What memories surged back to his little brain, what grief gripped his heart, as he stood trembling on a certain spot in the pavement where once a long deal box had rested!

“What ails the bittie dog?” There was something here that sobered the thoughtless boys. “Come awa’, Bobby!”

At that he came obediently enough. But he trotted down the very middle of the wynd, head and tail low, and turned unheeding into the Saturday-evening roar of the Cowgate. He refused to follow them up the rise between St. Magdalen’s Chapel and the eastern parapet of the bridge, but kept to his way under the middle arch into the Grassmarket. By way of Candlemakers Row he gained the kirkyard gate, and when the wicket was opened he disappeared around the church. When Bobby failed to answer calls, Mr. Brown grumbled, but went after him. The little dog submitted to his vigorous scrubbing and grooming, but he refused his supper. Without a look or a wag of the tail he was gone again.

“Noo, what hae ye done to’im? He’s no’ like ‘is ainsel’ ava.”

They had done nothing, indeed. They could only relate Bobby’s strange behavior in College Wynd and the rest of the way home. Mistress Jeanie nodded her head, with the wisdom of women that is of the heart.

“Eh, Jamie, that wad be whaur ‘is maister deed sax months syne.” And having said it she slipped down the slope with her knitting and sat on the mound beside the mourning little dog.

When the awe-struck lads asked for the story Mr. Brown shook his head. “Ye spier Maister Traill. He kens a’ aboot it; an’ syne he can talk like a beuk.”

Before they left the kirkyard the laddies walked down to Auld Jock’s grave and patted Bobby on the head, and they went away thoughtfully to their scattered homes.

As on that first morning when his grief was new, Bobby woke to a Calvinistic Sabbath. There were no rattling carts or hawkers crying their wares. Steeped in sunshine, the Castle loomed golden into the blue. Tenement dwellers slept late, and then moved about quietly. Children with unwontedly clean faces came out to galleries and stairs to study their catechisms. Only the birds were unaware of the seventh day, and went about their melodious business; and flower buds opened to the sun.

In mid-morning there suddenly broke on the sweet stillness that clamor of discordant bells that made the wayfarer in Edinburgh stop his ears. All the way from Leith Harbor to the Burghmuir eight score of warring bells contended to be heard. Greyfriars alone was silent in that babblement, for it had lost tower and bell in an explosion of gunpowder. And when the din ceased at last there was a sound of military music. The Castle gates swung wide, and a kilted regiment marched down High Street playing “God Save the Queen.” When Bobby was in good spirits the marching music got into his legs and set him to dancing scandalously. The caretaker and his wifie always came around the kirk on pleasant mornings to see the bonny sight of the gay soldiers going to church.

To wee Bobby these good, comfortable, everyday friends of his must have seemed strange in their black garments and their serious Sunday faces. And, ah! the Sabbath must, indeed, have been a dull day to the little dog. He had learned that when the earliest comer clicked the wicket he must go under the table-tomb and console himself with the extra bone that Mr. Traill never failed to remember. With an hour’s respite for dinner at the lodge, between the morning and afternoon services, he lay there all day. The restaurant was closed, and there was no running about for good dogs. In the early dark of winter he could come out and trot quietly about the silent, deserted place.

As soon as the crocuses pushed their green noses through the earth in the spring the congregation began to linger among the graves, for to see an old burying ground renew its life is a peculiar promise of the resurrection. By midsummer visitors were coming from afar, some even from over-sea, to read the quaint inscriptions on the old tombs, or to lay tributes of flowers on the graves of poets and religious heroes. It was not until the late end of such a day that Bobby could come out of hiding to stretch his cramped legs. Then it was that tenement children dropped from low windows, over the tombs, and ate their suppers of oat cake there in the fading light.

When Mr. Traill left the kirkyard in the bright evening of the last Sunday in May he stopped without to wait for Dr. Lee, the minister of Greyfriars auld kirk, who had been behind him to the gate. Now he was nowhere to be seen. With Bobby ever in the background of his mind, at such times of possible discovery, Mr. Traill reentered the kirkyard. The minister was sitting on the fallen slab, tall silk hat off, with Mr. Brown standing beside him, uncovered and miserable of aspect, and Bobby looking up anxiously at this new element in his fate.

“Do you think it seemly for a dog to be living in the churchyard, Mr. Brown?” The minister’s voice was merely kind and inquiring, but the caretaker was in fault, and this good English was disconcerting. However, his conscience acquitted him of moral wrong, and his sturdy Scotch independence came to the rescue.

“Gin a bit dog, wha hands ‘is gab, isna seemly, thae pussies are the deil’s ain bairns.”

The minister lifted his hand in rebuke. “Remember the Sabbath Day. And I see no cats, Mr. Brown.”

“Ye wullna see ony as lang as the wee doggie is leevin’ i’ the kirkyaird. An’ the vermin hae sneekit awa’ the first time sin’ Queen Mary’s day. An’ syne there’s mair singin’ birdies than for mony a year.”

Mr. Traill had listened, unseen. Now he came forward with a gay challenge in broad Scotch to put the all but routed caretaker at his ease.

“Doctor, I hae a queistion to spier ye. Which is mair unseemly: a weel-behavin’ bittie tyke i’ the kirkyaird or a scandalous organ i’ the kirk?”

“Ah, Mr. Traill, I’m afraid you’re a sad, irreverent young dog yourself, sir.” The minister broke into a genial laugh. “Man, you’ve spoiled a bit of fun I was having with Mr. Brown, who takes his duties ‘sairiously.”‘ He sat looking down at the little dog until Bobby came up to him and stood confidingly under his caressing hand. Then he added: “I have suspected for some months that he was living in the churchyard. It is truly remarkable that an active, noisy little Skye could keep so still about it.”

At that Mr. Brown retreated to the martyrs’ monument to meditate on the unministerial behavior of this minister and professor of Biblical criticism in the University. Mr. Traill, however, sat himself down on the slab for a pleasant probing into the soul of this courageous dominie, who had long been under fire for his innovations in the kirk services.

“I heard of Bobby first early in the winter, from a Bible-reader at the Medical Mission in the Cowgate, who saw the little dog’s master buried. He sees many strange, sad things in his work, but nothing ever shocked him so as the lonely death of that pious old shepherd in such a picturesque den of vice and misery.”

“Ay, he went from my place, fair ill, into the storm. I never knew whaur the auld man died.”

The minister looked at Mr. Traill, struck by the note of remorse in his tone.

“The missionary returned to the churchyard to look for the dog that had refused to leave the grave. He concluded that Bobby had gone away to a new home and master, as most dogs do go sooner or later. Some weeks afterward the minister of a small church in the hills inquired for him and insisted that he was still here. This last week, at the General Assembly, I heard of the wee Highlander from several sources. The tales of his escapes from the sheep-farm have grown into a sort of Odyssey of the Pentlands. I think, perhaps, if you had not continued to feed him, Mr. Traill, he might have remained at his old home.”

“Nae, I’m no’ thinking so, and I was no’ willing to risk the starvation of the bonny, leal Highlander.”

Until the stars came out Mr. Traill sat there telling the story. At mention of his master’s name Bobby returned to the mound and stretched himself across it. “I will go before the kirk officers, Doctor Lee, and tak’ full responseebility. Mr. Brown is no’ to blame. It would have tak’n a man with a heart of trap-rock to have turned the woeful bit dog out.”

“He is well cared for and is of a hardy breed, so he is not likely to suffer; but a dog, no more than a man, cannot live on bread alone. His heart hungers for love.”

“Losh!” cried Mr. Brown. “Are ye thinkin’ he isna gettin’ it? Oor bairns are a’ oot o’ the hame nest, an’ ma woman, Jeanie, is fair daft aboot Bobby, aye thinkin’ he’ll tak’ the measles. An’ syne, there’s a’ the tenement bairns cryin’ oot on ‘im ilka meenit, an’ ane crippled laddie he een lets fondle ‘im.”

“Still, it would be better if he belonged to some one master. Everybody’s dog is nobody’s dog,” the minister insisted. “I wish you could attach him to you, Mr. Traill.”

“Ay, it’s a disappointment to me that he’ll no’ bide with me. Perhaps, in time–“

“It’s nae use, ava,” Mr. Brown interrupted, and he related the incident of the evening before. “He’s cheerfu’ eneugh maist o’ the time, an’ likes to be wi’ the laddies as weel as ony dog, but he isna forgettin’ Auld Jock. The wee doggie cam’ again to ‘is maister’s buryin’. Man, ye ne’er saw the like o’ it. The wifie found ‘im flattened oot to a furry door-mat, an’ greetin’ to brak ‘is heart.”

“It’s a remarkable story; and he’s a beautiful little dog, and a leal one.” The minister stooped and patted Bobby, and he was thoughtful all the way to the gate.

“The matter need not be brought up in any formal way. I will speak to the elders and deacons about it privately, and refer those wanting details to you, Mr. Traill. Mr. Brown,” he called to the caretaker who stood in the lodge door, “it cannot be pleasing to God to see the little creature restrained. Give Bobby his liberty on the Sabbath.”


It was more than eight years after Auld Jock fled from the threat of a doctor that Mr. Traill’s prediction, that his tongue would get him into trouble with the magistrates, was fulfilled; and then it was because of the least-considered slip in speaking to a boyhood friend who happened to be a Burgh policeman.

Many things had tried the landlord of Ye Olde Greyfriars Dining-Rooms. After a series of soft April days, in which lilacs budded and birds sang in the kirkyard, squalls of wind and rain came up out of the sea-roaring east. The smoky old town of Edinburgh was so shaken and beaten upon and icily drenched that rattling finials and tiles were torn from ancient gables and whirled abroad. Rheumatic pains were driven into the joints of the elderly. Mr. Brown took to his bed in the lodge, and Mr. Traill was touchy in his temper.

A sensitive little dog learns to read the human barometer with a degree of accuracy rarely attained by fellowmen and, in times of low pressure, wisely effaces himself. His rough thatch streaming, Bobby trotted in blithely for his dinner, ate it under the settle, shook himself dry, and dozed half the afternoon.

To the casual observer the wee terrier was no older than when his master died. As swift of foot and as sound of wind as he had ever been, he could tear across country at the heels of a new generation of Heriot laddies and be as fresh as a daisy at nightfall. Silvery gray all over, the whitening hairs on his face and tufted feet were not visible. His hazel-brown eyes were still as bright and soft and deep as the sunniest pools of Leith Water. It was only when he opened his mouth for a tiny, pink cavern of a yawn that the points of his teeth could be seen to be wearing down; and his after-dinner nap was more prolonged than of old. At such times Mr. Traill recalled that the longest life of a dog is no more than a fifth of the length of days allotted to man.

On that snarling April day, when only himself and the flossy ball of sleeping Skye were in the place, this thought added to Mr. Traill’s discontent. There had been few guests. Those who had come in, soaked and surly, ate their dinner in silence and discomfort and took themselves away, leaving the freshly scrubbed floor as mucky as a moss-hag on the moor. Late in the afternoon a sergeant, risen from the ranks and cocky about it, came in and turned himself out of a dripping greatcoat, dapper and dry in his red tunic, pipe-clayed belt, and winking buttons. He ordered tea and toast and Dundee marmalade with an air of gay well-being that was no less than a personal affront to a man in Mr. Traill’s frame of mind. Trouble brewed with the tea that Ailie Lindsey, a tall lassie of fifteen, but shy and elfish as of old, brought in on a tray from the scullery.

When this spick-and-span non-commissioned officer demanded Mr. Traill’s price for the little dog that took his eye, the landlord replied curtly that Bobby was not for sale. The soldier was insolently amused.

“That’s vera surprisin’. I aye thoucht an Edinburgh shopkeeper wad sell ilka thing he had, an’ tak’ the siller to bed wi’ ‘im to keep ‘im snug the nicht.”

Mr. Traill returned, with brief sarcasm, that “his lairdship” had been misinformed.

“Why wull ye no’ sell the bit dog?” the man insisted.

The badgered landlord turned upon him and answered at length, after the elaborate manner of a minister who lays his sermon off in sections

“First: he’s no’ my dog to sell. Second: he’s a dog of rare discreemination, and is no’ like to tak’ you for a master. Third: you soldiers aye have with you a special brand of shulling-a-day impudence. And, fourth and last, my brither: I’m no’ needing your siller, and I can manage to do fair weel without your conversation.”

As this bombardment proceeded, the sergeant’s jaw dropped. When it was finished he laughed heartily and slapped his knee. “Man, come an’ brak bread wi’ me or I’ll hae to brak yer stiff neck.”

A truce was declared over a cozy pot of tea, and the two became at least temporary friends. It was such a day that the landlord would have gossiped with a gaol bird; and when a soldier who has seen years of service, much of it in strange lands, once admits a shopkeeper to equality, he can be affable and entertaining “by the ordinar’.” Mr. Traill sketched Bobby’s story broadly, and to a sympathetic listener; and the soldier told the landlord of the animals that had lived and died in the Castle.

Parrots and monkeys and strange dogs and cats had been brought there by regiments returning from foreign countries and colonies. But most of the pets had been native dogs-collies, spaniels and terriers, and animals of mixed breeds and of no breed at all, but just good dogs. No one knew when the custom began, but there was an old and well-filled cemetery for the Castle pets. When a dog died a little stone was set up, with the name of the animal and the regiment to which it had belonged on it. Soldiers often went there among the tiny mounds and told stories of the virtues and taking ways of old favorites. And visitors read the names of Flora and Guy and Dandie, of Prince Charlie and Rob Roy, of Jeanie and Bruce and Wattie. It was a merry life for a dog in the Castle. He was petted and spoiled by homesick men, and when he died there were a thousand mourners at his funeral.

“Put it to the bit Skye noo. If he tak’s the Queen’s shullin’ he belongs to the army.” The sergeant flipped a coin before Bobby, who was wagging his tail and sniffing at the military boots with his ever lively interest in soldiers.

He looked up at the tossed coin indifferently, and when it fell to the floor he let it lie. “Siller ” has no meaning to a dog. His love can be purchased with nothing less than his chosen master’s heart. The soldier sighed at Bobby’s indifference. He introduced himself as Sergeant Scott, of the Royal Engineers, detailed from headquarters to direct the work in the Castle crafts shops. Engineers rank high in pay and in consideration, and it was no ordinary Jack of all trades who had expert knowledge of so many skilled handicrafts. Mr. Traill’s respect and liking for the man increased with the passing moments.

As the sergeant departed he warned Mr. Traill, laughingly, that he meant to kidnap Bobby the very first chance he got. The Castle pet had died, and Bobby was altogether too good a dog to be wasted on a moldy auld kirkyard and thrown on a dust-cart when he came to die.

Mr. Traill resented the imputation. “He’ll no’ be thrown on a dust-cart!”

The door was shut on the mocking retort “Hoo do ye ken he wullna?”

And there was food for gloomy reflection. The landlord could not know, in truth, what Bobby’s ultimate fate might be. But little over nine years of age, he should live only five or six years longer at most. Of his friends, Mr. Brown was ill and aging, and might have to give place to a younger man. He himself was in his prime, but he could not be certain of living longer than this hardy little dog. For the first time he realized the truth of Dr. Lee’s saying that everybody’s dog was nobody’s dog. The tenement children held Bobby in a sort of community affection. He was the special pet of the Heriot laddies, but a class was sent into the world every year and was scattered far. Not one of all the hundreds of bairns who had known and loved this little dog could give him any real care or protection.

For the rest, Bobby had remained almost unknown. Many of the congregations of old and new Greyfriars had never seen or heard of him. When strangers were about he seemed to prefer lying in his retreat under the fallen tomb. His Sunday-afternoon naps he usually took in the lodge kitchen. And so, it might very well happen that his old age would be friendless, that he would come to some forlorn end, and be carried away on the dustman’s cart. It might, indeed, be better for him to end his days in love and honor in the Castle. But to this solution of the problem Mr. Traill himself was not reconciled.

Sensing some shifting of the winds in the man’s soul, Bobby trotted over to lick his hand. Then he sat up on the hearth and lolled his tongue, reminding the good landlord that he had one cheerful friend to bear him company on the blaw-weary day. It was thus they sat, companionably, when a Burgh policeman who was well known to Mr. Traill came in to dry himself by the fire. Gloomy thoughts were dispelled at once by the instinct of hospitality.

“You’re fair wet, man. Pull a chair to the hearth. And you have a bit smut on your nose, Davie.”

“It’s frae the railway engine. Edinburgh was a reekie toon eneugh afore the engines cam’ in an’ belched smuts in ilka body’s faces.” The policeman was disgusted and discouraged by three days of wet clothing, and he would have to go out into the rain again before he got dry. Nothing occurred to him to talk about but grievances.

“Did ye ken the Laird Provost, Maister Chambers, is intendin’ to knock a lang hole aboon the tap o’ the Coogate wynds? It wull mak’ a braid street ye can leuk doon frae yer doorway here. The gude auld days gangin’ doon in a muckle dust!”

“Ay, the sun will peep into foul places it hasn’t seen sin’ Queen Mary’s day. And, Davie, it would be more according to the gude auld customs you’re so fond of to call Mr. William Chambers ‘Glenormiston’ for his bit country place.”

“He’s no’ a laird.”

“Nae; but he’ll be a laird the next time the Queen shows her bonny face north o’ the Tweed. Tak’ ‘a cup o’ kindness’ with me, man. Hot tay will tak’ the cauld out of vour disposeetion.” Mr. Traill pulled a bell-cord and Ailie, unused as yet to bells, put her startled little face in at the door to the scullery. At sight of the policeman she looked more than ever like a scared rabbit, and her hands shook when she set the tray down before him. A tenement child grew up in an atmosphere of hostility to uniformed authority, which seldom appeared except to interfere with what were considered personal affairs.

The tea mollified the dour man, but there was one more rumbling. “I’m no’ denyin’ the Provost’s gude-hearted. Ance he got up a hame for gaen-aboot dogs, an’ he had naethin’ to mak’ by that. But he canna keep ‘is spoon oot o’ ilka body’s porridge. He’s fair daft to tear doon the wa’s that cut St. Giles up into fower, snod, white kirks, an’ mak’ it the ane muckle kirk it was in auld Papist days. There are folk that say, gin he doesna leuk oot, anither kale wifie wull be throwin’ a bit stool at ‘is meddlin’ heid.”

“Eh, nae doubt. There’s aye a plentifu’ supply o’ fules in the warld.”

Seeing his good friend so well entertained, and needing his society no longer, Bobby got up, wagged his tail in farewell, and started toward the door. Mr. Traill summoned the little maid and spoke to her kindly: “Give Bobby a bone, lassie, and then open the door for him.”

In carrying out these instructions Ailie gave the policeman as wide leeway as possible and kept a wary eye upon him. The officer’s duties were chiefly up on High Street. He seldom crossed the bridge, and it happened that he had never seen Bobby before. Just by way of making conversation he remarked, “I didna ken ye had a dog, John.”

Ailie stopped stock still, the cups on the tray she was taking out tinkling from her agitation. It was thus policemen spoke at private doors in the dark tenements: “I didna ken ye had the smallpox.” But Mr. Traill seemed in no way alarmed. He answered with easy indulgence “That’s no’ surprising. There’s mony a thing you dinna ken, Davie.”

The landlord forgot the matter at once, but Ailie did not, for she saw the officer flush darkly and, having no answer ready, go out in silence. In truth, the good-humored sarcasm rankled in the policeman’s breast. An hour later he suddenly came to a standstill below the clock tower of the Tron kirk on High Street, and he chuckled.

“Eh, John Traill. Ye’re unco’ weel furnished i’ the heid, but there’s ane or twa things ye dinna ken yer ainsel’.”

Entirely taken up with his brilliant idea, he lost no time in putting it to work. He dodged among the standing cabs and around the buttresses of St. Giles that projected into the thoroughfare. In the mid-century there was a police office in the middle of the front of the historic old cathedral that had then fallen to its lowest ebb of fortune. There the officer reported a matter that was strictly within the line of his duty.

Very early the next morning he was standing before the door of Mr. Traill’s place, in the fitful sunshine of clearing skies, when the landlord appeared to begin the business of the day.

“Are ye Maister John Traill?”

“Havers, Davie! What ails you, man? You know my name as weel as you know your ain.”

“It’s juist a formality o’ the law to mak’ ye admit yer identity. Here’s a bit paper for ye.” He thrust an official-looking document into Mr. Traill’s hand and took himself away across the bridge, fair satisfied with his conduct of an affair of subtlety.

It required five minutes for Mr. Traill to take in the import of the legal form. Then a wrathful explosion vented itself on the unruly key that persisted in dodging the keyhole. But once within he read the paper again, put it away thoughtfully in an inner pocket, and outwardly subsided to his ordinary aspect. He despatched the business of the day with unusual attention to details and courtesy to guests, and when, in mid afternoon, the place was empty, he followed Bobby to the kirkyard and inquired at the lodge if he could see Mr. Brown.

“He isna so ill, noo, Maister Traill, but I wadna advise ye to hae muckle to say to ‘im.” Mistress Jeanie wore the arch look of the wifie who is somewhat amused by a convalescent husband’s ill humors. “The pains grupped ‘im sair, an’ noo that he’s easier he’d see us a’ hanged wi’ pleesure. Is it onything by the ordinar’?”

“Nae. It’s just a sma’ matter I can attend to my ainsel’. Do you think he could be out the morn?”

“No’ afore a week or twa, an’ syne, gin the bonny sun comes oot to bide a wee.”

Mr. Traill left the kirkyard and went out to George Square to call upon the minister of Greyfriars auld kirk. The errand was unfruitful, and he was back in ten minutes, to spend the evening alone, without even the consolation of Bobby’s company, for the little dog was unhappy outside the kirkyard after sunset. And he took an unsettling thought to bed with him.

Here was a pretty kettle of fish, indeed, for a respected member of a kirk and middle-aged business man to fry in. Through the legal verbiage Mr. Traill made out that he was summoned to appear before whatever magistrate happened to be sitting on the morrow in the Burgh court, to answer to the charge of owning, or harboring, one dog, upon which he had not paid the license tax of seven shillings.

For all its absurdity it was no laughing matter. The municipal court of Edinburgh was of far greater dignity than the ordinary justice court of the United Kingdom and of America. The civic bench was occupied, in turn, by no less a personage than the Lord Provost as chief, and by five other magistrates elected by the Burgh council from among its own membership. Men of standing in business, legal and University circles, considered it an honor and a duty to bring their knowledge and responsibility to bear on the pettiest police cases.

It was morning before Mr. Traill had the glimmer of an idea to take with him on this unlucky business. An hour before the opening of court he crossed the bridge into High Street, which was then as picturesquely Gothic and decaying and overpopulated as the Cowgate, but high-set, wind-swept and sun-searched, all the way up the sloping mile from Holyrood Palace to the Castle. The ridge fell away steeply, through rifts of wynds and closes,