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  • 1912
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to the Cowgate ravine on the one hand, and to Princes Street’s parked valley on the other. Mr. Traill turned into the narrow descent of Warriston Close. Little more than a crevice in the precipice of tall, old buildings, on it fronted a business house whose firm name was known wherever the English language was read: “W. and R. Chambers, Publishers.”

From top to bottom the place was gas-lit, even on a sunny spring morning, and it hummed and clattered with printing-presses. No one was in the little anteroom to the editorial offices beside a young clerk, but at sight of a red-headed, freckle-faced Heriot laddie of Bobby’s puppyhood days Mr. Traill’s spirits rose.

“A gude day to you, Sandy McGregor; and whaur’s your auld twin conspirator, Geordie Ross?”

“He’s a student in the Medical College, Mr. Traill. He went by this meenit to the Botanical Garden for herbs my grandmither has aye known without books.” Sandy grinned in appreciation of this foolishness, but he added, with Scotch shrewdness, “It’s gude for the book-prenting beesiness.”

“It is so,” the landlord agreed, heartily. “But you must no’ be forgetting that the Chambers brothers war book readers and sellers before they war publishers. You are weel set up in life, laddie, and Heriot’s has pulled the warst of the burrs from your tongue. I’m wanting to see Glenormiston.”

“Mr. William Chambers is no’ in. Mr. Robert is aye in, but he’s no’ liking to be fashed about sma’ things.”

“I’ll no’ trouble him. It’s the Lord Provost I’m wanting, on ofeecial beesiness.” He requested Sandy to ask Glenormiston, if he came in, to come over to the Burgh court and spier for Mr. Traill.

“It’s no’ his day to sit as magistrate, and he’s no’ like to go unless it’s a fair sairious matter.”

“Ay, it is, laddie. It’s a matter of life and death, I’m thinking!” He smiled grimly, as it entered his head that he might be driven to do violence to that meddling policeman. The yellow gas-light gave his face such a sardonic aspect that Sandy turned pale.

“Wha’s death, man?”

Mr. Traill kept his own counsel, but at the door he turned: “You’ll no’ be remembering the bittie terrier that lived in the kirkyard?”

The light of boyhood days broke in Sandy’s grin. “Ay, I’ll no’ be forgetting the sonsie tyke. He was a deil of a dog to tak’ on a holiday. Is he still faithfu’ to his dead master?”

“He is that; and for his faithfu’ness he’s like to be dead himsel’. The police are takin’ up masterless dogs an’ putting them out o’ the way. I’ll mak’ a gude fight for Bobby in the Burgh court.”

“I’ll fight with you, man.” The spirit of the McGregor clan, though much diluted and subdued by town living, brought Sandy down from a three-legged stool. He called another clerk to take his place, and made off to find the Lord Provost, powerful friend of hameless dogs. Mr. Traill hastened down to the Royal Exchange, below St. Giles and on the northern side of High Street.

Less than a century old, this municipal building was modern among ancient rookeries. To High Street it presented a classic front of four stories, recessed by flanking wings, around three sides of a quadrangular courtyard. Near the entrance there was a row of barber shops and coffee-rooms. Any one having business with the city offices went through a corridor between these places of small trade to the stairway court behind them. On the floor above, one had to inquire of some uniformed attendant in which of the oaken, ante-roomed halls the Burgh court was sitting. And by the time one got there all the pride of civic history of the ancient royal Burgh, as set forth in portrait and statue and a museum of antiquities, was apt to take the lime out of the backbone of a man less courageous than Mr. Traill. What a car of juggernaut to roll over one, small, masterless terrier!

But presently the landlord found himself on his feet, and not so ill at ease. A Scottish court, high or low, civil or criminal, had a flavor all its own. Law points were threshed over with gusto, but counsel, client, and witness gained many a point by ready wit, and there was no lack of dry humor from the bench. About the Burgh court, for all its stately setting, there was little formality. The magistrate of the day sat behind a tall desk, with a clerk of record at his elbow, and the officer gave his testimony briefly: Edinburgh being quite overrun by stray and unlicensed dogs, orders had recently been given the Burgh police to report such animals. In Mr. Traill’s place he had seen a small terrier that appeared to be at home there; and, indeed, on the dog’s going out, Mr. Traill had called a servant lassie to fetch a bone, and to open the door for him. He noticed that the animal wore no collar, and felt it his duty to report the matter.

By the time Mr. Traill was called to answer to the charge a number of curious idlers had gathered on the back benches. He admitted his name and address, but denied that he either owned or was harboring a dog. The magistrate fixed a cold eye upon him, and asked if he meant to contradict the testimony of the officer.

“Nae, your Honor; and he might have seen the same thing ony week-day of the past eight and a half years. But the bit terrier is no’ my ain dog.” Suddenly, the memory of the stormy night, the sick old man and the pathos of his renunciation of the only beating heart in the world that loved him–“Bobby isna ma ain dog!” swept over the remorseful landlord. He was filled with a fierce championship of the wee Highlander, whose loyalty to that dead master had brought him to this strait.

To the magistrate Mr. Traill’s tossed-up head had the effect of defiance, and brought a sharp rebuke. “Don’t split hairs, Mr. Traill. You are wasting the time of the court. You admit feeding the dog. Who is his master and where does he sleep?”

“His master is in his grave in auld Greyfriars kirkyard, and the dog has aye slept there on the mound.”

The magistrate leaned over his desk. “Man, no dog could sleep in the open for one winter in this climate. Are you fond of romancing, Mr. Traill?”

“No’ so overfond, your Honor. The dog is of the subarctic breed of Skye terriers, the kind with a thick under-jacket of fleece, and a weather thatch that turns rain like a crofter’s cottage roof.”

“There should be witnesses to such an extraordinary story. The dog could not have lived in this strictly guarded churchyard without the consent of those in authority.” The magistrate was plainly annoyed and skeptical, and Mr. Traill felt the sting of it.

“Ay, the caretaker has been his gude friend, but Mr. Brown is ill of rheumatism, and can no’ come out. Nae doubt, if necessary, his deposeetion could be tak’n. Permission for the bit dog to live in the kirkyard was given by the meenister of Greyfriars auld kirk, but Doctor Lee is in failing health and has gone to the south of France. The tenement children and the Heriot laddies have aye made a pet of Bobby, but they would no’ be competent witnesses.”

“You should have counsel. There are some legal difficulties here.”

“I’m no’ needing a lawyer. The law in sic a matter can no’ be so complicated, and I have a tongue in my ain head that has aye served me, your Honor.” The magistrate smiled, and the spectators moved to the nearer benches to enjoy this racy man. The room began to fill by that kind of telepathy
that causes crowds to gather around the human drama. One man stood, unnoticed, in the doorway. Mr. Traill went on, quietly: “If the court permits me to do so, I shall be glad to pay for Bobby’s license, but I’m thinking that carries responsibeelity for the bit dog.”

“You are quite right, Mr. Traill. You would have to assume responsibility. Masterless dogs have become a serious nuisance in the city.”

“I could no’ tak’ responsibeelity. The dog is no’ with me more than a couple of hours out of the twenty-four. I understand that most of his time is spent in the kirkyard, in weel-behaving, usefu’ ways, but I could no’ be sure.”

“But why have you fed him for so many years? Was his master a friend?”

“Nae, just a customer, your Honor; a simple auld shepherd who ate his market-day dinner in my place. He aye had the bit dog with him, and I was the last man to see the auld body before he went awa’ to his meeserable death in a Cowgate wynd. Bobby came to me, near starved, to be fed, two days after his master’s burial. I was tak’n by the wee Highlander’s leal spirit.”

And that was all the landlord would say. He had no mind to wear his heart upon his sleeve for this idle crowd to gape at.

After a moment the magistrate spoke warmly: “It appears, then, that the payment of the license could not be accepted from you. Your humanity is commendable, Mr. Traill, but technically you are in fault. The minimum fine should be imposed and remitted.”

At this utterly unlooked-for conclusion Mr. Traill seemed to gather his lean shoulders together for a spring, and his gray eyes narrowed to blades.

“With due respect to your Honor, I must tak’ an appeal against sic a deceesion, to the Lord Provost and a’ the magistrates, and then to the Court of Sessions.”

“You would get scant attention, Mr. Traill. The higher judiciary have more important business than reviewing dog cases. You would be laughed out of court.”

The dry tone stung him to instant retort. “And in gude company I’d be. Fifty years syne Lord Erskine was laughed down in Parliament for proposing to give legal protection to dumb animals. But we’re getting a bit more ceevilized.”

“Tut, tut, Mr. Traill, you are making far too much of a small matter.”

“It’s no’ a sma’ matter to be entered in the records of the Burgh court as a petty law-breaker. And if I continued to feed the dog I would be in contempt of court.”

The magistrate was beginning to feel badgered. “The fine carries the interdiction with it, Mr. Traill, if you are asking for information.”

“It was no’ for information, but just to mak’ plain my ain line of conduct. I’m no’ intending to abandon the dog. I am commended here for my humanity, but the bit dog I must let starve for a technicality.” Instantly, as the magistrate half rose from the bench, the landlord saw that he had gone too far, and put the court on the defensive. In an easy, conversational tone, as if unaware of the point he had scored, he asked if he might address his accuser on a personal matter. “We knew each other weel as laddies. Davie, when you’re in my neeborhood again on a wet day, come in and dry yoursel’ by my fire and tak’ another cup o’ kindness for auld lang syne. You’ll be all the better man for a lesson in morals the bit dog can give you: no’ to bite the hand that feeds you.”

The policeman turned purple. A ripple of merriment ran through the room. The magistrate put his hand up to his mouth, and the clerk began to drop pens. Before silence was restored a messenger laddie ran up with a note for the bench. The magistrate read it with a look of relief, and nodded to the man who had been listening from the doorway, but who disappeared at once.

“The case is ordered continued. The defendant will be given time to secure witnesses, and notified when to appear. The next case is called.”

Somewhat dazed by this sudden turn, and annoyed by the delayed settlement of the affair, Mr. Traill hastened from the court-room. As he gained the street he was overtaken by the messenger with a second note. And there was a still more surprising turn that sent the landlord off up swarming High Street, across the bridge, and on to his snug little place of business, with the face and the heart of a school-boy. When Bobby, draggled by three days of wet weather, came in for his dinner, Mr. Traill scanned him critically and in some perplexity. At the end of the day’s work, as Ailie was dropping her quaint curtsy and giving her adored employer a shy “gude nicht,” he had a sudden thought that made him call her back.

“Did you ever give a bit dog a washing, lassie?”

“Ye mean Bobby, Maister Traill? Nae, I didna.” Her eyes sparkled. “But Tammy’s hauded ‘im for Maister Brown, an’ he says it’s sonsie to gie the bonny wee a washin’.”

“Weel, Mr. Brown is fair ill, and there has been foul weather. Bobby’s getting to look like a poor ‘gaen aboot’ dog. Have him at the kirkyard gate at a quarter to eight o’clock the morn looking like a leddy’s pet and I’ll dance a Highland fling at your wedding.”

“Are ye gangin’ to tak’ Bobby on a picnic, Maister Traill?”

He answered with a mock solemnity and a twinkle in his eyes that mystified the little maid. “Nae, lassie; I’m going to tak’ him to a meeting in a braw kirk.”


When Ailie wanted to get up unusually early in the morning she made use of Tammy for an alarm-clock. A crippled laddie who must “mak’ ‘is leevin’ wi’ ‘is heid” can waste no moment of daylight, and in the ancient buildings around Greyfriars the maximum of daylight was to be had only by those able and willing to climb to the gables. Tammy, having to live on the lowest, darkest floor of all, used the kirkyard for a study, by special indulgence of the caretaker, whenever the weather permitted.

From a window he dropped his books and his crutches over the wall. Then, by clasping his arms around a broken shaft that blocked the casement, he swung himself out, and scrambled down into an enclosed vault yard. There he kept hidden Mistress Jeanie’s milking stool for a seat; and a table-tomb served as well, for the laddie to do his sums upon, as it had for the tearful signing of the Covenant more than two hundred years before. Bobby, as host, greeted Tammy with cordial friskings and waggings, saw him settled to his tasks, and then went briskly about his own interrupted business of searching out marauders. Many a spring dawn the quiet little boy and the swift and silent little dog had the shadowy garden all to themselves, and it was for them the song-thrushes and skylarks gave their choicest concerts.

On that mid-April morning, when the rising sun gilded the Castle turrets and flashed back from the many beautiful windows of Heriot’s Hospital, Tammy bundled his books under the table-tomb of Mistress Jean Grant, went over to the rear of the Guildhall at the top of the Row, and threw a handful of gravel up to Ailie’s window. Because of a grandmither Ailie, too, dwelt on a low level. Her eager little face, lighted by sleep-dazzled blue eyes, popped out with the surprising suddenness of the manikins in a Punch-and-Judy show.

“In juist ane meenit, Tammy,” she whispered, “no’ to wauken the grandmither.” It was in so very short a minute that the lassie climbed out onto the classic pediment of a tomb and dropped into the kirkyard that her toilet was uncompleted. Tammy buttoned her washed-out cotton gown at the back, and she sat on a slab to lace her shoes. If the fun of giving Bobby his bath was to be enjoyed to the full there must be no unnecessary delay. This consideration led Tammy to observe:

“Ye’re no’ needin’ to comb yer hair, Ailie. It leuks bonny eneugh.”

In truth, Ailie was one of those fortunate lassies whose crinkly, gold-brown mop really looked best when in some disorder; and of that advantage the little maid was well aware.

“I ken a’ that, Tammy. I aye gie it a lick or twa wi’ a comb the nicht afore. Ca’ the wee doggie.”

Bobby fully understood that he was wanted for some serious purpose, but it was a fresh morning of dew and he, apparently, was in the highest of spirits. So he gave Ailie a chase over the sparkling grass and under the showery shrubbery. When he dropped at last on Auld Jock’s grave Tammy captured him. The little dog could always be caught there, in a caressable state of exhaustion or meditation, for, sooner or later, he returned to the spot from every bit of work or play. No one would have known it for a place of burial at all. Mr. Brown knew it only by the rose bush at its head and by Bobby’s haunting it, for the mound had sunk to the general level of the terrace on which it lay, and spreading crocuses poked their purple and gold noses through the crisp spring turf. But for the wee, guardian dog the man who lay beneath had long lost what little identity he had ever possessed.

Now, as the three lay there, the lassie as flushed and damp as some water-nymph, Bobby panting and submitting to a petting, Tammy took the little dog’s muzzle between his thin hands, parted the veil, and looked into the soft brown eyes.

“Leak, Ailie, Bobby’s wantin’ somethin’, an’ is juist haudin’ ‘imsel’.”

It was true. For all his gaiety in play and his energy at work Bobby’s eyes had ever a patient, wistful look, not unlike the crippled laddie’s. Ah, who can say that it did not require as much courage and gallant bravado on the part of that small, bereft creature to enable him to live at all, as it did for Tammy to face his handicapped life and “no’ to remember ‘is bad legs”?

In the bath on the rear steps of the lodge Bobby swam and splashed, and scattered foam with his excited tail. He would not stand still to be groomed, but wriggled and twisted and leaped upon the children, putting his shaggy wet paws roguishly in their faces. But he stood there at last, after the jolliest romp, in which the old kirkyard rang with laughter, and oh! so bonny, in his rippling coat of dark silver. No sooner was he released than he dashed around the kirk and back again, bringing his latest bone in his mouth. To his scratching on the stone sill, for he had been taught not to scratch on the panel, the door was opened by snod and smiling Mistress Jeanie, who invited these slum bairns into such a cozy, spotless kitchen as was not possible in the tenements. Mr. Brown sat by the hearth, bundled in blue and white blankets of wonderfully blocked country weaving. Bobby put his fore paws on the caretaker’s chair and laid his precious bone in the man’s lap.

“Eh, ye takin’ bit rascal; loup!” Bobby jumped to the patted knee, turned around and around on the soft bed that invited him, licked the beaming old face to show his sympathy and friendliness, and jumped down again. Mr. Brown sighed because Bobby steadily but amiably refused to be anybody’s lap-dog. The caretaker turned to the admiring children.

“Ilka morn he fetches ‘is bit bane up, thinkin’ it a braw giftie for an ill man. An’ syne he veesits me twa times i’ the day, juist bidin’ a wee on the hearthstane, lollin’ ‘is tongue an’ waggin’ ‘is tail, cheerfu’-like. Bobby has mair gude sense in ‘is heid than mony a man wha comes ben the hoose, wi’ a lang face, to let me ken I’m gangin’ to dee. Gin I keep snug an’ canny it wullna gang to the heart. Jeanie, woman, fetch ma fife, wull ye?”

Then there were strange doings in the kirkyard lodge. James Brown “wasna gangin’ to dee” before his time came, at any rate. In his youth, as under-gardener on a Highland estate, he had learned to play the piccolo flute, and lately he had revived the pastoral art of piping just because it went so well with Bobby’s delighted legs. To the sonsie air of “Bonnie Dundee” Bobby hopped and stepped and louped, and he turned about on his hind feet, his shagged fore paws drooped on his breast as daintily as the hands in the portraits of early Victorian ladies. The fire burned cheerily in the polished grate, and winked on every shining thing in the room; primroses bloomed in the diamond-paned casement; the skylark fluttered up and sang in its cage; the fife whistled as gaily as a blackbird, and the little dog danced with a comic clumsiness that made them all double up with laughter. The place was so full of brightness, and of kind and merry hearts, that there was room for nothing else. Not one of them dreamed that the shadow of the law was even then over this useful and lovable little dog’s head.

A glance at the wag-at-the-wa’ clock reminded Ailie that Mr. Traill might be waiting for Bobby.

Curious about the mystery, the children took the little dog down to the gate, happily. They were sobered, however, when Mr. Traill appeared, looking very grand in his Sabbath clothes. He inspected Bobby all over with anxious scrutiny, and gave each of the bairns a threepenny-bit, but he had no blithe greeting for them. Much preoccupied, he went off at once, with the animated little muff of a dog at his heels. In truth, Mr. Traill was thinking about how he might best plead Bobby’s cause with the Lord Provost. The note that was handed him, on leaving the Burgh court the day before, had read:

“Meet me at the Regent’s Tomb in St. Giles at eight o’clock in the morning, and bring the wee Highlander with you.– Glenormiston.”

On the first reading the landlord’s spirits had risen, out of all proportion to the cause, owing to his previous depression. But, after all, the appointment had no official character, since the Regent’s Tomb in St. Giles had long been a sort of town pump for the retailing of gossip and for the transaction of trifling affairs of all sorts. The fate of this little dog was a small matter, indeed, and so it might be thought fitting, by the powers that be, that it should be decided at the Regent’s Tomb rather than in the Burgh court.

To the children, who watched from the kirkyard gate until Mr. Traill and Bobby were hidden by the buildings on the bridge, it was no’ canny. The busy landlord lived mostly in shirt-sleeves and big white apron, ready to lend a hand in the rush hours, and he never was known to put on his black coat and tall hat on a week-day, except to attend a funeral. However, there was the day’s work to be done. Tammy had a lesson still to get, and returned to the kirkyard, and Ailie ran up to the dining-rooms. On the step she collided with a red headed, freckle-faced young man who asked for Mr. Traill.

“He isna here.” The shy lassie was made almost speechless by recognizing, in this neat, well-spoken clerk, an old Heriot boy, once as poor as herself.

“Do you wark for him, lassie? Weel, do you know how he cam’ out in the Burgh court about the bit dog?”

There was only one “bit dog” in the world to Ailie. Wild eyed with alarm at mention of the Burgh court, in connection with that beloved little pet, she stammered: “It’s–it’s–no’ a coort he gaed to. Maister Traill’s tak’n Bobby awa’ to a braw kirk.”

Sandy nodded his head. “Ay, that would be the police office in St. Giles. Lassie, tell Mr. Traill I sent the Lord Provost, and if he’s needing a witness to ca’ on Sandy McGregor. “

Ailie stared after him with frightened eyes. Into her mind flashed that ominous remark of the policeman two days before: “I didna ken ye had a dog, John?” She overtook Sandy in front of the sheriff’s court on the bridge.

“What–what hae the police to do wi’ bittie dogs?”

“If a dog has nae master to pay for his license the police can tak’ him up and put him out o’ the way.”

“Hoo muckle siller are they wantin’?”

“Seven shullings. Gude day, lassie; I’m fair late.” Sandy was not really alarmed about Bobby since the resourceful Mr. Traill had taken up his cause, and he had no idea of the panic of grief and fright that overwhelmed this forlorn child.

Seven shullings! It was an enormous sum to the tenement bairn, whose half-blind grandmither knitted and knitted in a dimly lighted room, and hoarded halfpennies and farthings to save herself from pauper burial. Seven shullings would pay a month’s rent for any one of the crowded rooms in which a family lived. Ailie herself, an untrained lassie who scarcely knew the use of a toasting-fork, was overpaid by generous Mr. Traill at sixpence a day. Seven shullings to permit one little dog to live! It did not occur to Ailie that this was a sum Mr. Traill could easily pay. No’ onybody at all had seven shullings all at once! But, oh! everybody had pennies and halfpennies and farthings, and she and Tammy together had a sixpence.

Darting back to the gate, to catch the laddie before he could be off to school, she ran straight into the policeman, who stood with his hand on the wicket. He eyed her sharply.

“Eh, lassie, I was gangin’ to spier at the lodge, gin there’s a bit dog leevin’ i’ the kirkyaird.”

“I–I–dinna ken.” Her voice was unmanageable. She had left to her only the tenement-bred instinct of concealment of any and all facts from an officer of the law.

“Ye dinna ken! Maister Traill said i’ the coort a’ the bairns aboot kenned the dog. Was he leein’?”

The question stung her into angry admission. “He wadna be leein’. But–but–the bittie–dog–isna here noo.”

“Syne, whaur is he? Oot wi’ it!”

“I–dinna–ken!” She cowered in abject fear against the wall. She could not know that this officer was suffering a bad attack of shame for his shabby part in the affair. Satisfied that the little dog really did live in the kirkyard, he turned back to the bridge. When Tammy came out presently he found Ailie crumpled up in a limp little heap in the gateway alcove. In a moment the tale of Bobby’s peril was told. The laddie dropped his books and his crutches on the pavement, and his head in his helpless arms, and cried. He had small faith in Ailie’s suddenly conceived plan to collect the seven shullings among the dwellers in the tenements.

“Do ye ken hoo muckle siller seven shullin’s wad be? It’s auchty-fower pennies, a hundred an’ saxty-aucht ha’pennies an’– an’–I canna think hoo mony farthings.”

“I dinna care a bittie bit. There’s mair folk aroond the kirkyaird than there’s farthings i’ twa, three times seven shullin’s. An’ maist ilka body kens Bobby. An’ we hae a saxpence atween us noo.”

“Maister Brown wad gie us anither saxpence gin he had ane,” Tammy suggested, wistfully.

“Nae, he’s fair ill. Gin he doesna keep canny it wull gang to ‘is heart. He’d be aff ‘is heid, aboot Bobby. Oh, Tammy, Maister Traill gaed to gie ‘im up! He was wearin’ a’ ‘is gude claes an’ a lang face, to gang to Bobby’s buryin’.”

This dreadful thought spurred them to instant action. By way of mutual encouragement they went together through the sculptured doorway, that bore the arms of the ancient guild of the candlemakers on the lintel, and into the carting office on the front.

“Do ye ken Greyfriars Bobby?” Tammy asked, timidly, of the man in charge.

He glowered at the laddie and shook his head. “Havers, mannie; there’s no’ onybody named for an auld buryin’ groond.”

The children fled. There was no use at all in wasting time on folk who did not know Bobby, for it would take too long to explain him. But, alas, they soon discovered that “maist ilka body” did not know the little dog, as they had so confidently supposed. He was sure to be known only in the rooms at the rear that overlooked the kirkyard, and, as one went upward, his identity became less and less distinct. He was such a wee, wee, canny terrier, and so many of the windows had their views constantly shut out by washings. Around the inner courts, where unkempt women brought every sort of work out to the light on the galleries and mended worthless rags, gossiped, and nursed their babies on the stairs, Bobby had sometimes been heard of, but almost never seen. Children often knew him where their elders did not. By the time Ailie and Tammy had worked swiftly down. to the bottom of the Row other children began to follow them, moved by the peril of the little dog to sympathy and eager sacrifice.

“Bide a wee, Ailie!” cried one, running to overtake the lassie. “Here’s a penny. I was gangin’ for milk for the porridge. We can do wi’oot the day.”

And there was the money for the broth bone, and the farthing that would have filled the gude-man’s evening pipe, and the ha’penny for the grandmither’s tea. It was the world-over story of the poor helping the poor. The progress of Ailie and Tammy through the tenements was like that of the piper through Hamelin. The children gathered and gathered, and followed at their heels, until a curiously quiet mob of threescore or more crouched in the court of the old hall of the Knights of St. John, in the Grassmarket, to count the many copper coins in Tammy’s woolen bonnet.

“Five shullin’s, ninepence, an’ a ha’penny,” Tammy announced. And then, after calculation on his fingers, “It’ll tak’ a shullin’ an’ twapenny ha’penny mair.”

There was a gasping breath of bitter disappointment, and one wee laddie wailed for lost Bobby. At that Ailie dashed the tears from her own eyes and sprang up, spurred to desperate effort. She would storm the all but hopeless attic chambers. Up the twisting turnpike stairs on the outer wall she ran, to where the swallows wheeled about the cornices, and she could hear the iron cross of the Knights Templars creak above the gable. Then, all the way along a dark passage, at one door after another, she knocked, and cried,

“Do ye ken Greyfriars Bobby?”

At some of the doors there was no answer. At others students stared out at the bairn, not in the least comprehending this wild crying. Tears of anger and despair flooded the little maid’s blue eyes when she beat on the last door of the row with her doubled fist.

“Do ye ken Greyfriars Bobby? The police are gangin’ to mak’ ‘im be deid–” As the door was flung open she broke into stormy weeping.

“Hey, lassie. I know the dog. What fashes you?”

There stood a tall student, a wet towel about his head, and, behind him, the rafters of the dormer-lighted closet were as thickly hung with bunches of dried herbs from the Botanical Garden as any auld witch wife’s kitchen.

“Oh, are ye kennin’ ‘im? Isna he bonny an’ sonsie? Gie me the shullin’ an’ twapenny ha’ penny we’re needin’, so the police wullna put ‘im awa’.”

“Losh! It’s a license you’re wanting? I wish I had as many shullings as I’ve had gude times with Bobby, and naething to pay for his braw company.”

For this was Geordie Ross, going through the Medical College with the help of Heriot’s fund that, large as it was, was never quite enough for all the poor and ambitious youths of Edinburgh. And so, although provided for in all necessary ways, his pockets were nearly as empty as of old. He could spare a sixpence if he made his dinner on a potato and a smoked herring. That he was very willing to do, once he had heard the tale, and he went with Ailie to the lodgings of other students, and demanded their siller with no explanation at all.

“Give the lassie what you can spare, man, or I’ll have to give you a licking,” was his gay and convincing argument, from door to door, until the needed amount was made up. Ailie fled recklessly down the stairs, and cried triumphantly to the upward-looking, silent crowd that had grown and grown around Tammy, like some host of children crusaders.

While Ailie and Tammy were collecting the price of his ransom Bobby was exploring the intricately cut-up interior of old St. Giles, sniffing at the rifts in flimsily plastered partitions that the Lord Provost pointed out to Mr. Traill. Rats were in those crumbling walls. If there had been a hole big enough to admit him, the plucky little dog would have gone in after them. Forbidden to enlarge one, Bobby could only poke his indignant muzzle into apertures, and brace himself as for a fray. And, at the very smell of him, there were such squeakings and scamperings in hidden runways as to be almost beyond a terrier’s endurance. The Lord Provost watched him with an approving eye.

“When these partitions are tak’n down Bobby would be vera useful in ridding our noble old cathedral of vermin. But that will not be in this wee Highlander’s day nor, I fear, in mine.” About the speech of this Peebles man, who had risen from poverty to distinction, learning, wealth, and many varieties of usefulness, there was still an engaging burr. And his manner was so simple that he put the humblest at his ease.

There had been no formality about the meeting at all. Glenormiston was standing in a rear doorway of the cathedral near the Regent’s Tomb, looking out into the sunny square of Parliament Close, when Mr. Traill and Bobby appeared. Near seventy, at that time, a backward sweep of white hair and a downward flow of square-cut, white beard framed a boldly featured face and left a generous mouth uncovered.

“Gude morning, Mr. Traill. So that is the famous dog that has stood sentinel for more than eight years. He should be tak’n up to the Castle and shown to young soldiers who grumble at twenty-four hours’ guard duty. How do you do, sir!” The great man, whom the Queen knighted later, and whom the University he was too poor to attend as a lad honored with a degree, stooped from the Regent’s Tomb and shook Bobby’s lifted paw with grave courtesy. Then, leaving the little dog to entertain himself, he turned easily to his own most absorbing interest of the moment.

“Do you happen to care for Edinburgh antiquities, Mr. Traill? Reformation piety made sad havoc of art everywhere. Man, come here!”

Down into the lime dust the Lord Provost and the landlord went, in their good black clothes, for a glimpse of a bit of sculpturing on a tomb that had been walled in to make a passage. A loose brick removed, behind and above it, the sun flashed through fragments of emerald and ruby glass of a saint’s robe, in a bricked up window. Such buried and forgotten treasure, Glenormiston explained, filled the entire south transept. In the High Kirk, that then filled the eastern end of the cathedral, they went up a cheap wooden stairway, to the pew-filled gallery that was built into the old choir, and sat down. Mr. Traill’s eyes sparkled. Glenormiston was a man after his own heart, and they were getting along famously; but, oh! it began to seem more and more unlikely that a Lord Provost, who was concerned about such braw things as the restoration of the old cathedral and letting the sun into the ancient tenements, should be much interested in a small, masterless dog.

“Man, auld John Knox will turn over in his bit grave in Parliament Close if you put a ‘kist o’ whustles’ in St. Giles.” Mr. Traill laughed.

“I admit I might have stopped short of the organ but for the courageous example of Doctor Lee in Greyfriars. It was from him that I had a quite extravagant account of this wee, leal Highlander a few years ago. I have aye meant to go to see him; but I’m a busy man and the matter passed out of mind. Mr. Traill, I’m your sadly needed witness: I heard you from the doorway of the court-room, and I sent up a note confirming your story and asking, as a courtesy, that the case be turned over to me for some exceptional disposal. Would you mind telling another man the tale that so moved Doctor Lee? I’ve aye had a fondness for the human document.”

So there, above the pulpit of the High Kirk of St. Giles, the tale was told again, so strangely did this little dog’s life come to be linked with the highest and lowest, the proudest and humblest in the Scottish capital. Now, at mention of Auld Jock, Bobby put his shagged paws up inquiringly on the edge of the pew, so that Mr. Traill lifted him. He lay down flat between the two men, with his nose on his paws, and his little tousled head under the Lord Provost’s hand.

Auld Jock lived again in that recital. Glenormiston, coming from the country of the Ettrick shepherd, knew such lonely figures, and the pathos of old age and waning powers that drove them in to the poor quarters of towns. There was pictured the stormy night and the simple old man who sought food and shelter, with the devoted little dog that “wasna ‘is ain.” Sick unto death he was, and full of ignorant prejudices and fears that needed wise handling. And there was the well-meaning landlord’s blunder, humbly confessed, and the obscure and tragic result of it, in a foul and swarming rookery “juist aff the Coogate.”

“Man, it was Bobby that told me of his master’s condition. He begged me to help Auld Jock, and what did I do but let my fule tongue wag about doctors. I nae more than turned my back than the auld body was awa’ to his meeserable death. It has aye eased my conscience a bit to feed the dog.”

“That’s not the only reason why you have fed him.” There was a twinkle in the Lord Provost’s eye, and Mr. Traill blushed.

“Weel, I’ll admit to you that I’m fair fulish about Bobby. Man, I’ve courted that sma’ terrier for eight and a half years. He’s as polite and friendly as the deil, but he’ll have naething to do with me or with onybody. I wonder the intelligent bit doesn’t bite me for the ill turn I did his master.”

Then there was the story of Bobby’s devotion to Auld Jock’s memory to be told–the days when he faced starvation rather than desert that grave, the days when he lay cramped under the fallen table-tomb, and his repeated, dramatic escapes from the Pentland farm. His never broken silence in the kirkyard was only to be explained by the unforgotten orders of his dead master. His intelligent effort to make himself useful to the caretaker had won indulgence. His ready obedience, good temper, high spirits and friendliness had made him the special pet of the tenement children and the Heriot laddies. At the very last Mr. Traill repeated the talk he had had with the non-commissioned officer from the Castle, and confessed his own fear of some forlorn end for Bobby. It was true he was nobody’s dog; and he was fascinated by soldiers and military music, and so, perhaps–

“I’ll no’ be reconciled to parting–Eh, man, that’s what Auld Jock himsel’ said when he was telling me that the bit dog must be returned to the sheep-farm: ‘It wull be sair partin’.'” Tears stood in the unashamed landlord’s eyes.

Glenormiston was pulling Bobby’s silkily fringed ears thoughtfully. Through all this talk about his dead master the little dog had not stirred. For the second time that day Bobby’s veil was pushed back, first by the most unfortunate laddie in the decaying tenements about Greyfriars, and now by the Lord Provost of the ancient royal burgh and capital of Scotland. And both made the same discovery. Deep-brown pools of love, young Bobby’s eyes had dwelt upon Auld Jock. Pools of sad memories they were now, looking out wistfully and patiently upon a masterless world.

“Are you thinking he would be reconciled to be anywhere away from that grave? Look, man!”

“Lord forgive me! I aye thought the wee doggie happy enough.”

After a moment the two men went down the gallery stairs in silence. Bobby dropped from the bench and fell into a subdued trot at their heels. As they left the cathedral by the door that led into High Street Glenormiston remarked, with a mysterious smile:

“I’m thinking Edinburgh can do better by wee Bobby than to banish him to the Castle. But wait a bit, man. A kirk is not the place for settling a small dog’s affairs.”

The Lord Provost led the way westward along the cathedral’s front. On High Street, St. Giles had three doorways. The middle door then gave admittance to the police office; the western opened into the Little Kirk, popularly known as Haddo’s Hole. It was into this bare, whitewashed chapel that Glenormiston turned to get some restoration drawings he had left on the pulpit. He was explaining them to Mr. Traill when he was interrupted by a murmur and a shuffle, as of many voices and feet, and an odd tap-tap-tapping in the vestibule.

Of all the doorways on the north and south fronts of St. Giles the one to the Little Kirk was nearest the end of George IV Bridge. Confused by the vast size and imposing architecture of the old cathedral, these slum children, in search of the police office, went no farther, but ventured timidly into the open vestibule of Haddo’s Hole. Any doubts they might have had about this being the right place were soon dispelled. Bobby heard them and darted out to investigate. And suddenly they were all inside, overwrought Ailie on the floor, clasping the little dog and crying hysterically.

“Bobby’s no’ deid! Bobby’s no’ deid! Oh, Maister Traill, ye wullna hae to gie ‘im up to the police! Tammy’s got the seven shullin’s in ‘is bonnet!”

And there was small Tammy, crutches dropped and pouring that offering of love and mercy out at the foot of an altar in old St. Giles. Such an astonishing pile of copper coins it was, that it looked to the landlord like the loot of some shopkeeper’s change drawer.

“Eh, puir laddie, whaur did ye get it a’ noo?” he asked, gravely.

Tammy was very self-possessed and proud. “The bairnies aroond the kirkyaird gie’d it to pay the police no’ to mak’ Bobby be deid.”

Mr. Traill flashed a glance at Glenormiston. It was a look at once of triumph and of humility over the Herculean deed of these disinherited children. But the Lord Provost was gazing at that crowd of pale bairns, products of the Old Town’s ancient slums, and feeling, in his own person, the civic shame of it. And he was thinking, thinking, that he must hasten that other project nearest his heart, of knocking holes in solid rows of foul cliffs, in the Cowgate, on High Street, and around Greyfriars. It was an incredible thing that such a flower of affection should have bloomed so sweetly in such sunless cells. And it was a new gospel, at that time, that a dog or a horse or a bird might have its mission in this world of making people kinder and happier.

They were all down on the floor, in the space before the altar, unwashed, uncombed, unconscious of the dirty rags that scarce covered them; quite happy and self-forgetful in the charming friskings and friendly lollings of the well-fed, carefully groomed, beautiful little dog. Ailie, still so excited that she forgot to be shy, put Bobby through his pretty tricks. He rolled over and over, he jumped, he danced to Tammy’s whistling of “Bonnie Dundee,” he walked on his hind legs and louped at a bonnet, he begged, he lifted his short shagged paw and shook hands. Then he sniffed at the heap of coins, looked up inquiringly at Mr. Traill, and, concluding that here was some property to be guarded, stood by the “siller” as stanchly as a soldier. It was just pure pleasure to watch him.

Very suddenly the Lord Provost changed his mind. A sacred kirk was the very best place of all to settle this little dog’s affairs. The offering of these children could not be refused. It should lie there, below the altar, and be consecrated to some other blessed work; and he would do now and here what he had meant to do elsewhere and in a quite different way. He lifted Bobby to the pulpit so that all might see him, and he spoke so that all might understand.

“Are ye kennin’ what it is to gie the freedom o’ the toon to grand folk?”

“It’s–it’s when the bonny Queen comes an’ ye gie her the keys to the burgh gates that are no’ here ony mair.” Tammy, being in Heriot’s, was a laddie of learning.

“Weel done, laddie. Lang syne there was a wa’ aroond Edinburgh wi’ gates in it.” Oh yes, all these bairnies knew that, and the fragment of it that was still to be seen outside and above the Grassmarket, with its sentry tower by the old west port. “Gin a fey king or ither grand veesitor cam’, the Laird Provost an’ the maigestrates gied ‘im the keys so he could gang in an’ oot at ‘is pleesure. The wa’s are a’ doon noo, an’ the gates no’ here ony mair, but we hae the keys, an’ we mak’ a show o’ gien’ ’em to veesitors wha are vera grand or wise or gude, or juist usefu’ by the ordinar’.”

“Maister Gladstane,” said Tammy.

“Ay, we honor the Queen’s meenisters; an’ Miss Nightingale, wha nursed the soldiers i’ the war; an’ Leddy Burdett-Coutts, wha gies a’ her siller an’ a’ her heart to puir folk an’ is aye kind to horses and dogs an’ singin’ birdies; an’ we gie the keys to heroes o’ the war wha are brave an’ faithfu’. An’ noo, there’s a wee bit beastie. He’s weel-behavin’, an’ isna makin’ a blatterin’ i’ an auld kirkyaird. He aye minds what he’s bidden to do. He’s cheerfu’ an’ busy, keepin’ the proolin’ pussies an’ vermin frae the sma’ birdies i’ the nests. He mak’s friends o’ ilka body, an’ he’s faithfu’. For a deid man he lo’ed he’s gaun hungry; an’ he hasna forgotten ‘im or left ‘im by ‘is lane at nicht for mair years than some o’ ye are auld. An’ gin ye find ‘im lyin’ canny, an’ ye tak’ a keek into ‘is bonny brown een, ye can see he’s aye greetin’. An’ so, ye didna ken why, but ye a’ lo’ed the lanely wee–“

“Bobby!” It was an excited breath of a word from the wide-eyed bairns.

“Bobby! Havers! A bittie dog wadna ken what to do wi’ keys.”

But Glenormiston was smiling, and these sharp witted slum bairns exchanged knowing glances. “Whaur’s that sma’–?” He dived into this pocket and that, making a great pretense of searching, until he found a narrow band of new leather, with holes in one end and a stout buckle on the other, and riveted fast in the middle of it was a shining brass plate. Tammy read the inscription aloud:



1867 Licensed

The wonderful collar was passed from hand to hand in awed silence. The children stared and stared at this white-haired and bearded man, who “wasna grand ava,” but who talked to them as simply and kindly as a grandfaither. He went right on talking to them in his homely way to put them at their ease, telling them that nobody at all, not even the bonny Queen, could be more than kind and well-behaving and faithful to duty. Wee Bobby was all that, and so “Gin dizzens an’ dizzens o’ bairns war kennin’ ‘im, an’ wad fetch seven shullin’s i’ their ha’pennies to a kirk, they could buy the richt for the braw doggie to be leevin’, the care o’ them a’, i’ the auld kirkyaird o’ Greyfriars. An’ he maun hae the collar so the police wull ken ‘im an’ no’ ever tak’ ‘im up for a puir, gaen-aboot dog.”

The children quite understood the responsibility they assumed, and their eyes shone with pride at the feeling that, if more fortunate friends failed, this little creature must never be allowed to go hungry. And when he came to die–oh, in a very, very few years, for they must remember that “a doggie isna as lang-leevin’ as folk”–they must not forget that Bobby would not be permitted to be buried in the kirkyard.

“We’ll gie ‘im a grand buryin’,” said Tammy. “We’ll find a green brae by a babblin’ burn aneath a snawy hawthorn, whaur the throstle sings an’ the blackbird whustles.” For the crippled laddie had never forgotten Mr. Traill’s description of a proper picnic, and that must, indeed, be a wee dog’s heaven.

“Ay, that wull do fair weel.” The collar had come back to him by this time, and the Lord Provost buckled it securely about Bobby’s neck.


The music of bagpipe, fife and drum brought them all out of Haddo’s Hole into High Street. It was the hour of the morning drill, and the soldiers were marching out of the Castle. From the front of St. Giles, that jutted into the steep thoroughfare, they could look up to where the street widened to the esplanade on Castle Hill. Rank after rank of scarlet coats, swinging kilts and sporrans, and plumed bonnets appeared. The sun flashed back from rifle barrels and bayonets and from countless bright buttons.

A number of the older laddies ran up the climbing street. Mr. Traill called Bobby back and, with a last grip of Glenormiston’s hand, set off across the bridge. To the landlord the world seemed a brave place to be living in, the fabric of earth and sky and human society to be woven of kindness. Having urgent business of buying supplies in the markets at Broughton and Lauriston, Mr. Traill put Bobby inside the kirkyard gate and hurried away to get into his everyday clothing. After dinner, or tea, he promised himself the pleasure of an hour at the lodge, to tell Mr. Brown the wonderful news, and to show him Bobby’s braw collar.

When, finally, he was left alone, Bobby trotted around the kirk, to assure himself that Auld Jock’s grave was unmolested. There he turned on his back, squirmed and rocked on the crocuses, and tugged at the unaccustomed collar. His inverted struggles, low growlings and furry contortions set the wrens to scolding and the redbreasts to making nervous inquiries. Much nestbuilding, tuneful courtship, and masculine blustering was going on, and there was little police duty for Bobby. After a time he sat up on the table-tomb, pensively. With Mr. Brown confined, to the lodge, and Mistress Jeanie in close attendance upon him there, the kirkyard was a lonely place for a sociable little dog; and a soft, spring day given over to brooding beside a beloved grave, was quite too heart-breaking a thing to contemplate. Just for cheerful occupation Bobby had another tussle with the collar. He pulled it so far under his thatch that no one could have guessed that he had a collar on at all, when he suddenly righted himself and scampered away to the gate.

The music grew louder and came nearer. The first of the route-marching that the Castle garrison practiced on occasional, bright spring mornings was always a delightful surprise to the small boys and dogs of Edinburgh. Usually the soldiers went down High Street and out to Portobello on the sea. But a regiment of tough and wiry Highlanders often took, by preference, the mounting road to the Pentlands to get a whiff of heather in their nostrils.

On they came, band playing, colors flying, feet moving in unison with a march, across the viaduct bridge into Greyfriars Place. Bobby was up on the wicket, his small, energetic body quivering with excitement from his muzzle to his tail. If Mr. Traill had been there he would surely have caught the infection, thrown care to this sweet April breeze for once, and taken the wee terrier for a run on the Pentland braes. The temptation was going by when a preoccupied lady, with a sheaf of Easter lilies on her sable arm, opened the wicket. Her ample Victorian skirts swept right over the little dog, and when he emerged there was the gate slightly ajar. Widening the aperture with nose and paws, Bobby was off, skirmishing at large on the rear and flanks of the troops, down the Burghmuir.

It may never have happened, in the years since Auld Jock died and the farmer of Cauldbrae gave up trying to keep him on the hills, that Bobby, had gone so far back on this once familiar road; and he may not have recognized it at first, for the highways around Edinburgh were everywhere much alike. This one alone began to climb again. Up, up it toiled, for two weary miles, to the hilltop toll-bar of Fairmilehead, and there the sounds and smells that made it different from other roads began.

Five miles out of the city the halt was called, and the soldiers flung themselves on the slope. Many experiences of route-marching had taught Bobby that there was an interval of rest before the return, so, with his nose to the ground, he started up the brae on a pilgrimage to old shrines. just as in his puppyhood days, at Auld Jock’s heels, there was much shouting of men, barking of collies, and bleating of sheep all the way up. Once he had to leave the road until a driven flock had passed. Behind the sheep walked an old laborer in hodden-gray, woolen bonnet, and shepherd’s two-fold plaid, with a lamb in the pouch of it. Bobby trembled at the apparition, sniffed at the hob-nailed boots, and then, with drooped head and tail, trotted on up the slope.

Men and dogs were all out on the billowy pastures, and the farm-house of Cauldbrae lay on the level terrace, seemingly deserted and steeped in memories. A few moments before, a tall lassie had come out to listen to the military music. A couple of hundred feet below, the coats of the soldiers looked to her like poppies scattered on the heather. At the top of the brae the wind was blowing a cold gale, so the maidie went up again, and around to a bit of tangled garden on the sheltered side of the house. The “wee lassie Elsie” was still a bairn in short skirts and braids, who lavished her soft heart, as yet, on briar bushes and daisies.

Bobby made a tour of the sheepfold, the cowyard and byre, and he lingered behind the byre, where Auld Jock had played with him on Sabbath afternoons. He inspected the dairy, and the poultry-house where hens were sitting on their nests. By and by he trotted around the house and came upon the lassie, busily clearing winter rubbish from her posie bed. A dog changes very little in appearance, but in eight and a half years a child grows into a different person altogether. Bobby barked politely to let this strange lassie know that he was there. In the next instant he knew her, for she whirled about and, in a kind of glad wonder, cried out:

“Oh, Bobby! hae ye come hame? Mither, here’s ma ain wee Bobby!” For she had never given up the hope that this adored little pet would some day return to her.

“Havers, lassie, ye’re aye seein’ Bobby i’ ilka Hielan’ terrier, an’ there’s mony o’ them aboot.”

The gude-wife looked from an attic window in the steep gable, and then hurried down. “Weel, noo, ye’re richt, Elsie. He wad be comin’ wi’ the regiment frae the Castle. Bittie doggies an’ laddies are fair daft aboot the soldiers. Ay, he’s bonny, an’ weel cared for, by the ordinar’. I wonder gin he’s still leevin’ i’ the grand auld kirkyaird.”

Wary of her remembered endearments, Bobby kept a safe distance from the maidie, but he sat up and lolled his tongue, quite willing to pay her a friendly visit. From that she came to a wrong conclusion: “Sin’ he cam’ o’ his ain accord he’s like to bide.” Her eyes were blue stars.

“I wadna be coontin’ on that, lassie. An’ I wadna speck a door on ‘im anither time. Grin he wanted to get oot he’d dig aneath a floor o’ stane. Leuk at that, noo! The bonny wee is greetin’ for Auld Jock.”

It was true, for, on entering the kitchen, Bobby went straight to the bench in the corner and lay down flat under it. Elsie sat beside him, just as she had done of old. Her eyes overflowed so in sympathy that the mother was quite distracted. This would not do at all.

“Lassie, are ye no’ rememberin’ Bobby was fair fond o’ moor-hens’ eggs fried wi’ bits o’ cheese? He wullna be gettin’ thae things; an’ it wad be maist michty, noo, gin ye couldna win the bittie dog awa’ frae the reekie auld toon. Gang oot wi’ ‘im an’ rin on the brae an’ bid ‘im find the nests aneath the whins.”

In a moment they were out on the heather, and it seemed, indeed, as if Bobby might be won. He frisked and barked at Elsie’s heels, chased rabbits and flushed the grouse; and when he ran into a peat-darkened tarp, rimmed with moss, he had such a cold and splashy swim as quite to give a little dog a distaste for warm, soapy water in a claes tub. He shook and ran himself dry, and he raced the laughing child until they both dropped panting on the wind-rippled heath. Then he hunted on the ground under the gorse for those nests that had a dozen or more eggs in them. He took just one from each in his mouth, as Auld Jock had taught him to do. On the kitchen hearth he ate the savory meal with much satisfaction and polite waggings. But when the bugle sounded from below to form ranks, he pricked his drop ears and started for the door.

Before he knew what had happened he was inside the poultry-house. In another instant he was digging frantically in the soft earth under the door. When the lassie lay down across the crack he stopped digging, in consternation. His sense of smell told him what it was that shut out the strip of light; and a bairn’s soft body is not a proper object of attack for a little dog, no matter how desperate the emergency. There was no time to be lost, for the drums began to beat the march. Having to get out very quickly, Bobby did a forbidden thing: swiftly and noisily he dashed around the dark place, and there arose such wild squawkings and rushings of wings as to bring the gude-wife out of the house in alarm.

“Lassie, I canna hae the bittie dog in wi the broodin’ chuckies!”

She flung the door wide. Bobby shot through, and into Elsie’s outstretched arms. She held to him desperately, while he twisted and struggled and strained away; and presently something shining worked into view, through the disordered thatch about his neck. The mother had come to the help of the child, and it was she who read the inscription on the brazen plate aloud.

“Preserve us a’! Lassie, he’s been tak’n by the Laird Provost an’ gien the name o’ the auld kirkyaird. He’s an ower grand doggie. Ma puir bairnie, dinna greet so sair!” For the little girl suddenly released the wee Highlander and sobbed on her mother’s shoulder.

“He isna ma ain Bobby ony mair!” She “couldna thole” to watch him as he tumbled down the brae.

On the outward march, among the many dogs and laddies that had followed the soldiers, Bobby escaped notice. But most of these had gone adventuring in Swanston Dell, to return to the city by the gorge of Leith Water. Now, traveling three miles to the soldiers’ one, scampering in wide circles over the fields, swimming burns, scrambling under hedges, chasing whaups into piping cries, barking and louping in pure exuberance of spirits, many eyes looked upon him admiringly, and discontented mouths turned upward at the corners. It is not the least of a little dog’s missions in life to communicate his own irresponsible gaiety to men.

If the return had been over George IV Bridge Bobby would, no doubt, have dropped behind at Mr. Traill’s or at the kirkyard. But on the Burghmuir the troops swung eastward until they rounded Arthur’s Seat and met the cavalry drilling before the barracks at Piershill. Such pretty maneuvering of horse and foot took place below Holyrood Palace as quite to enrapture a terrier. When the infantry marched up the Canongate and High Street, the mounted men following and the bands playing at full blast, the ancient thoroughfare was quickly lined with cheering crowds, and faces looked down from ten tiers of windows on a beautiful spectacle. Bobby did not know when the bridge-approach was passed; and then, on Castle Hill, he was in an unknown region. There the street widened to the great square of the esplanade. The cavalry wheeled and dashed down High Street, but the infantry marched on and up, over the sounding drawbridge that spanned a dry moat of the Middle Ages, and through a deep-arched gateway of masonry.

The outer gate to the Castle was wider than the opening into many an Edinburgh wynd; but Bobby stopped, uncertain as to where this narrow roadway, that curved upward to the right, might lead. It was not a dark fissure in a cliff of houses, but was bounded on the outer side by a loopholed wall, and on the inner by a rocky ledge of ascending levels. Wherever the shelf was of sufficient breadth a battery of cannon was mounted, and such a flood of light fell from above and flashed on polished steel and brass as to make the little dog blink in bewilderment. And he whirled like a rotary sweeper in the dusty road and yelped when the time-gun, in the half-moon battery at the left of the gate and behind him, crashed and shook the massive rock.

He barked and barked, and dashed toward the insulting clamor. The dauntless little dog and his spirited protest were so out of proportion to the huge offense that the guard laughed, and other soldiers ran out of the guard houses that flanked the gate. They would have put the noisy terrier out at once, but Bobby was off, up the curving roadway into the Castle. The music had ceased, and the soldiers had disappeared over the rise. Through other dark arches of masonry he ran. On the crest were two ways to choose–the roadway on around and past the barracks, and a flight of steps cut steeply in the living rock of the ledge, and leading up to the King’s Bastion. Bobby took the stairs at a few bounds.

On the summit there was nothing at all beside a tiny, ancient stone chapel with a Norman arched and sculptured doorway, and guarding it an enormous burst cannon. But these ruins were the crown jewels of the fortifications–their origins lost in legends–and so they were cared for with peculiar reverence. Sergeant Scott of the Royal Engineers himself, in fatigue-dress, was down on his knees before St. Margaret’s oratory, pulling from a crevice in the foundations a knot of grass that was at its insidious work of time and change. As Bobby dashed up to the citadel, still barking, the man jumped to his feet. Then he slapped his thigh and laughed. Catching the animated little bundle of protest the sergeant set him up for inspection on the shattered breeching of Mons Meg.

“Losh! The sma’ dog cam’ by ‘is ainsel’! He could no’ resist the braw soldier laddies. ‘He’s a dog o’ discreemination,’ eh? Gin he bides a wee, noo, it wull tak’ the conceit oot o’ the innkeeper.” He turned to gather up his tools, for the first dinner bugle was blowing. Bobby knew by the gun that it was the dinner-hour, but he had been fed at the farm and was not hungry. He might as well see a bit more of life. He sat upon the cannon, not in the least impressed by the honor, and lolled his tongue.

In Edinburgh Castle there was nothing to alarm a little dog. A dozen or more large buildings, in three or four groups, and representing many periods of architecture, lay to the south and west on the lowest terraces, and about them were generous parked spaces. Into the largest of the buildings, a long, four-storied barracks, the soldiers had vanished. And now, at the blowing of a second bugle, half a hundred orderlies hurried down from a modern cook-house, near the summit, with cans of soup and meat and potatoes. The sergeant followed one of these into a room on the front of the barracks. In their serge fatigue-tunics the sixteen men about the long table looked as different from the gay soldiers of the march as though so many scarlet and gold and bonneted butterflies had turned back into sad-colored grubs.

“Private McLean,” he called to his batman who, for one-and-six a week, cared for his belongings, “tak’ chairge o’ the dog, wull ye, an’ fetch ‘im to the non-com mess when ye come to put ma kit i’ gude order.”

Before he could answer the bombardment of questions about Bobby the door was opened again. The men dropped their knives and forks and stood at attention. The officer of the day was making the rounds of the forty or fifty such rooms in the barracks to inquire of the soldiers if their dinner was satisfactory. He recognized at once the attractive little Skye that had taken the eyes of the men on the march, and asked about him. Sergeant Scott explained that Bobby had no owner. He was living, by permission, in Greyfriars kirkyard, guarding the grave of a long-dead, humble master, and was fed by the landlord of the dining-rooms near the gate. If the little dog took a fancy to garrison life, and the regiment to him, he thought Mr. Traill, who had the best claim upon him, might consent to his transfer to the Castle. After orders, at sunset, he would take Bobby down to the restaurant himself.

“I wish you good luck, Sergeant.” The officer whistled, and Bobby leaped upon him and off again, and indulged in many inconsequent friskings. “Before you take him home fetch him over to the officers’ mess at dinner. It is guest night, and he is sure to interest the gentlemen. A loyal little creature who has guarded his dead master’s grave for more than eight years deserves to have a toast drunk to him by the officers of the Queen. But it’s an extraordinary story, and it doesn’t sound altogether probable. Jolly little beggar!” He patted Bobby cordially on the side, and went out.

The news of his advent and fragments of his story spread so quickly through the barracks that mess after mess swarmed down from the upper moors and out into the roadway to see Bobby. Private McLean stood in the door, smoking a cutty pipe, and grinning with pride in the merry little ruffian of a terrier, who met the friendly advances of the soldiers more than half-way. Bobby’s guardian would have liked very well to have sat before the canteen in the sun and gossiped about his small charge. However, in the sergeant’s sleeping-quarters above the mess-room, he had the little dog all to himself, and Bobby had the liveliest interest in the boxes and pots, brushes and sponges, and in the processes of polishing, burnishing, and pipe-claying a soldier’s boots and buttons and belts. As he worked at his valeting, the man kept time with his foot to rude ballads that he sang in such a hissing Celtic that Bobby barked, scandalized by a dialect that had been music in the ears of his ancestors. At that Private McLean danced a Highland fling for him, and wee Bobby came near bursting with excitement. When the sergeant came up to make a magnificent toilet for tea and for the evening in town, the soldier expressed himself with enthusiasm.

“He iss a deffle of a dog, sir!”

He was thought to be a “deffle of a dog” in the mess, where the non-com officers had tea at small writing and card tables. They talked and laughed very fast and loud, tried Bobby out on all the pretty tricks he knew, and taught him to speak and to jump for a lump of sugar balanced on his nose. They did not fondle him, and this rough, masculine style of pampering and petting was very much to his liking. It was a proud thing, too, for a little dog, to walk out with the sergeant’s shining boots and twirled walkingstick, and be introduced into one strange place after another all around the Castle.

From tea to tattoo was playtime for the garrison. Many smartly dressed soldiers, with passes earned by good behavior, went out to find amusement in the city. Visitors, some of them tourists from America, made the rounds under the guidance of old soldiers. The sergeant followed such a group of sight-seers through a postern behind the armory and out onto the cliff. There he lounged under a fir-tree above St. Margaret’s Well and smoked a dandified cigar, while Bobby explored the promenade and scraped acquaintance with the strangers.

On the northern and southern sides the Castle wall rose from the very edge of sheer precipices. Except for loopholes there were no openings. But on the west there was a grassy terrace without the wall, and below that the cliff fell away a little less steeply. The declivity was clothed sparsely with hazel shrubs, thorns, whins and thistles; and now and then a stunted fir or rowan tree or a group of white-stemmed birks was stoutly rooted on a shelving ledge. Had any one, the visitors asked, ever escaped down this wild crag?

Yes, Queen Margaret’s children, the guide answered. Their father dead, in battle, their saintly mother dead in the sanctuary of her tiny chapel, the enemy battering at the gate, soldiers had lowered the royal lady’s body in a basket, and got the orphaned children down, in safety and away, in a fog, over Queen’s Ferry to Dunfirmline in the Kingdom of Fife. It was true that a false step or a slip of the foot would have dashed them to pieces on the rocks below. A gentleman of the party scouted the legend. Only a fox or an Alpine chamois could make that perilous descent.

With his head cocked alertly, Bobby had stood listening. Hearing this vague talk of going down, he may have thought these people meant to go, for he quietly dropped over the edge and went, head over heels, ten feet down, and landed in a clump of hazel. A lady screamed. Bobby righted himself and barked cheerful reassurance. The sergeant sprang to his feet and ordered him to come back.

Now, the sergeant was pleasant company, to be sure; but he was not a person who had to be obeyed, so Bobby barked again, wagged his crested tail, and dropped lower. The people who shuddered on the brink could see that the little dog was going cautiously enough; and presently he looked doubtfully over a sheer fall of twenty feet, turned and scrambled back to the promenade. He was cried and exclaimed over by the hysterical ladies, and scolded for a bittie fule by the sergeant. To this Bobby returned ostentatious yawns of boredom and nonchalant lollings, for it seemed a small matter to be so fashed about. At that a gentleman remarked, testily, to hide his own agitation, that dogs really had very little sense. The sergeant ordered Bobby to precede him through the postern, and the little dog complied amiably.

All the afternoon bugles had been blowing. For each signal there was a different note, and at each uniformed men appeared and hurried to new points. Now, near sunset, there was the fanfare for officers’ orders for the next day. The sergeant put Bobby into Queen Margaret’s Chapel, bade him remain there, and went down to the Palace Yard. The chapel on the summit was a convenient place for picking the little dog up on his way to the officers’ mess. Then he meant to have his own supper cozily at Mr. Traill’s and to negotiate for Bobby.

A dozen people would have crowded this ancient oratory, but, small as it was, it was fitted with a chancel rail and a font for baptizing the babies born in the Castle. Through the window above the altar, where the sainted Queen was pictured in stained glass, the sunlight streamed and laid another jeweled image on the stone floor. Then the colors faded, until the holy place became an austere cell. The sun had dropped behind the western Highlands.

Bobby thought it quite time to go home. By day he often went far afield, seeking distraction, but at sunset he yearned for the grave in Greyfriars. The steps up which he had come lay in plain view from the doorway of the chapel. Bobby dropped down the stairs, and turned into the main roadway of the Castle. At the first arch that spanned it a red-coated guard paced on the other side of a closed gate. It would not be locked until tattoo, at nine thirty, but, without a pass, no one could go in or out. Bobby sprang on the bars and barked, as much as to say: “Come awa’, man, I hae to get oot.”

The guard stopped, presented arms to this small, peremptory terrier, and inquired facetiously if he had a pass. Bobby bristled and yelped indignantly. The soldier grinned with amusement. Sentinel duty was lonesome business, and any diversion a relief. In a guardhouse asleep when Bobby came into the Castle, he had not seen the little dog before and knew nothing about him. He might be the property of one of the regiment ladies. Without orders he dared not let Bobby out. A furious and futile onslaught on the gate he met with a jocose feint of his bayonet. Tiring of the play, presently, the soldier turned his back and paced to the end of his beat.

Bobby stopped barking in sheer astonishment. He gazed after the stiff, retreating back, in frightened disbelief that he was not to be let out. He attacked the stone under the barrier, but quickly discovered its unyielding nature. Then he howled until the sentinel came back, but when the man went by without looking at him he uttered a whimpering cry and fled upward. The roadway was dark and the dusk was gathering on the citadel when Bobby dashed across the summit and down into the brightly lighted square of the Palace Yard.

The gas-lamps were being lighted on the bridge, and Mr. Traill was getting into his streetcoat for his call on Mr. Brown when Tammy put his head in at the door of the restaurant. The crippled laddie had a warm, uplifted look, for Love had touched the sordid things of life, and a miracle had bloomed for the tenement dwellers around Greyfriars.

“Maister Traill, Mrs. Brown says wull ye please send Bobby hame. Her gude-mon’s frettin’ for ‘im; an’ syne, a’ the folk aroond the kirkyaird hae come to the gate to see the bittie dog’s braw collar. They wullna believe the Laird Provost gied it to ‘im for a chairm gin they dinna see it wi’ their gin een.”

“Why, mannie, Bobby’s no’ here. He must be in the kirkyard.”

“Nae, he isna. I ca’ed, an’ Ailie keeked in ilka place amang the stanes.”

They stared at each other, the landlord serious, the laddie’s lip trembling. Mr. Traill had not returned from his numerous errands about the city until the middle of the afternoon. He thought, of course, that Bobby had been in for his dinner, as usual, and had returned to the kirkyard. It appeared, now, that no one about the diningrooms had seen the little dog. Everybody had thought that Mr. Traill had taken Bobby with him. He hurried down to the gate to find Mistress Jeanie at the wicket, and a crowd of tenement women and children in the alcove and massed down Candlemakers Row. Alarm spread like a contagion. In eight years and more Bobby had not been outside the kirkyard gate after the sunset bugle. Mrs. Brown turned pale.

“Dinna say the bittie dog’s lost, Maister Traill. It wad gang to the heart o’ ma gudemon.”

“Havers, woman, he’s no’ lost.” Mr. Traill spoke stoutly enough. “Just go up to the lodge and tell Mr. Brown I’m–weel, I’ll just attend to that sma’ matter my ainsel’.” With that he took a gay face and a set-up air into the lodge to meet Mr. Brown’s glowering eye.

“Whaur’s the dog, man? I’ve been deaved aboot ‘im a’ the day, but I haena seen the sonsie rascal nor the braw collar the Laird Provost gied ‘im. An’ syne, wi’ the folk comin’ to spier for ‘im an’ swarmin’ ower the kirkyaird, ye’d think a warlock was aboot. Bobby isna your dog–“

“Haud yoursel’, man. Bobby’s a famous dog, with the freedom of Edinburgh given to him, and naething will do but Glenormiston must show him to a company o’ grand folk at his bit country place. He’s sending in a cart by a groom, and I’m to tak’ Bobby out and fetch him hame after a braw dinner on gowd plate. The bairns meant weel, but they could no’ give Bobby a washing fit for a veesit with the nobeelity. I had to tak’ him to a barber for a shampoo.”

Mr. Brown roared with laughter. “Man, ye hae mair fule notions i’ yer heid. Ye’ll hae to pay a shullin’ or twa to a barber, an’ Bobby’ll be sae set up there’ll be nae leevin’ wi’ ‘im. Sit ye doon an’ tell me aboot the collar, man.”

“I can no’ stop now to wag my tongue. Here’s the gude-wife. I’ll just help her get you awa’ to your bed.”

It was dark when he returned to the gate, and the Castle wore its luminous crown. The lights from the street lamps flickered on the up-turned, anxious faces. Some of the children had begun to weep. Women offered loud suggestions. There were surmises that Bobby had been run over by a cart in the street, and angry conjectures that he had been stolen. Then Ailie wailed:

“Oh, Maister Traill, the bittie dog’s deid!”

“Havers, lassie! I’m ashamed o’ ye for a fulish bairn. Bobby’s no’ deid. Nae doot he’s amang the stanes i’ the kirkyaird. He’s aye scramblin’ aboot for vermin an’ pussies, an’ may hae hurt himsel’, an’ ye a’ ken the bonny wee wadna cry oot i’ the kirkyaird. Noo, get to wark, an’ dinna stand there greetin’ an’ waggin’ yer tongues. The mithers an’ bairns maun juist gang hame an’ stap their havers, an’ licht a’ the candles an’ cruisey lamps i’ their hames, an’ set them i’ the windows aboon the kirkyaird. Greyfriars is murky by the ordinar’, an’ ye couldna find a coo there wi’oot the lichts.”

The crowd suddenly melted away, so eager were they all to have a hand in helping to find the community pet. Then Mr. Traill turned to the boys.

“Hoo mony o’ ye laddies hae the bull’s-eye lanterns?”

Ah! not many in the old buildings around the kirkyard. These japanned tin aids to dark adventures on the golf links on autumn nights cost a sixpence and consumed candles. Geordie Ross and Sandy McGregor, coming up arm in arm, knew of other students and clerks who still had these cherished toys of boyhood. With these heroes in the lead a score or more of laddies swarmed into the kirkyard.

The tenements were lighted up as they had not been since nobles held routs and balls there. Enough candles and oil were going up in smoke to pay for wee Bobby’s license all over again, and enough love shone in pallid little faces that peered into the dusk to light the darkest corner in the heart of the world. Rays from the bull’s-eyes were thrown into every nook and cranny. Very small laddies insinuated themselves into the narrowest places. They climbed upon high vaults and let themselves down in last year’s burdocks and tangled vines. It was all done in silence, only Mr. Traill speaking at all. He went everywhere with the searchers, and called:

“Whaur are ye, Bobby? Come awa’ oot, laddie!”

But no gleaming ghost of a tousled dog was conjured by the voice of affection. The tiniest scratching or lowest moaning could have been heard, for the warm spring evening was very still, and there were, as yet, few leaves to rustle. Sleepy birds complained at being disturbed on their perches, and rodents could be heard scampering along their runways. The entire kirkyard was explored, then the interior of the two kirks. Mr. Traill went up to the lodge for the keys, saying, optimistically, that a sexton might unwittingly have locked Bobby in. Young men with lanterns went through the courts of the tenements, around the Grassmarket, and under the arches of the bridge. Laddies dropped from the wall and hunted over Heriot’s Hospital grounds to Lauriston market. Tammy, poignantly conscious of being of no practical use, sat on Auld Jock’s grave, firm in the conviction that Bobby would return to that spot his ainsel’ And Ailie, being only a maid, whose portion it was to wait and weep, lay across the window-sill, on the pediment of the tomb, a limp little figure of woe.

Mr. Traill’s heart was full of misgiving. Nothing but death or stone walls could keep that little creature from this beloved grave. But, in thinking of stone walls, he never once thought of the Castle. Away over to the east, in Broughton market, when the garrison marched away and at Lauriston when they returned, Mr. Traill did not know that the soldiers had been out of the city. Busy in the lodge Mistress Jeanie had not seen them go by the kirkyard, and no one else, except Mr. Brown, knew the fascination that military uniforms, marching and music had for wee Bobby. A fog began to drift in from the sea. Suddenly the grass was sheeted and the tombs blurred. A curtain of gauze seemed to be hung before the lighted tenements. The Castle head vanished, and the sounds of the drum and bugle of the tattoo came down muffled, as if through layers of wool. The lights of the bull’s-eyes were ruddy discs that cast no rays. Then these were smeared out to phosphorescent glows, like the “spunkies” that everybody in Scotland knew came out to dance in old kirkyards.

It was no’ canny. In the smother of the fog some of the little boys were lost, and cried out. Mr. Traill got them up to the gate and sent them home in bands, under the escort of the students. Mistress Jeanie was out by the wicket. Mr. Brown was asleep, and she “couldna thole it to sit there snug.” When a fog-horn moaned from the Firth she broke into sobbing. Mr. Traill comforted her as best he could by telling her a dozen plans for the morning. By feeling along the wall he got her to the lodge, and himself up to his cozy dining-rooms.

For the first time since Queen Mary the gate of the historic garden of the Greyfriars was left on the latch. And it was so that a little dog, coming home in the night might not be shut out.


It was more than two hours after he left Bobby in Queen Margaret’s Chapel that the sergeant turned into the officers’ mess-room and tried to get an orderly to take a message to the captain who had noticed the little dog in the barracks. He wished to report that Bobby could not be found, and to be excused to continue the search.

He had to wait by the door while the toast to her Majesty was proposed and the band in the screened gallery broke into “God Save the Queen”; and when the music stopped the bandmaster came in for the usual compliments.

The evening was so warm and still, although it was only mid-April, that a glass-paneled door, opening on the terrace, was set ajar for air. In the confusion of movement and talk no one noticed a little black mop of a muzzle that was poked through the aperture. From the outer darkness Bobby looked in on the score or more of men doubtfully, ready for instant disappearance on the slightest alarm. Desperate was the emergency, forlorn the hope that had brought him there. At every turn his efforts to escape from the Castle had been baffled. He had been imprisoned by drummer boys and young recruits in the gymnasium, detained in the hospital, captured in the canteen.

Bobby went through all his pretty tricks for the lads, and then begged to be let go. Laughed at, romped with, dragged back, thrown into the swimming-pool, expected to play and perform for them, he rebelled at last. He scarred the door with his claws, and he howled so dismally that, hearing an orderly corporal coming, they turned him out in a rough haste that terrified him. In the old Banqueting Hall on the Palace Yard, that was used as a hospital and dispensary, he went through that travesty of joy again, in hope of the reward.

Sharply rebuked and put out of the hospital, at last, because of his destructive clawing and mournful howling, Bobby dashed across the Palace Yard and into a crowd of good-humored soldiers who lounged in the canteen. Rising on his hind legs to beg for attention and indulgence, he was taken unaware from behind by an admiring soldier who wanted to romp with him. Quite desperate by that time, he snapped at the hand of his captor and sprang away into the first dark opening. Frightened by the man’s cry of pain, and by the calls and scuffling search for him without, he slunk to the farthest corner of a dungeon of the Middle Ages, under the Royal Lodging.

When the hunt for him ceased, Bobby slipped out of hiding and made his way around the sickle-shaped ledge of rock, and under the guns of the half-moon battery, to the outer gate. Only a cat, a fox, or a low, weasel-like dog could have done it. There were many details that would have enabled the observant little creature to recognize this barrier as the place where he had come in. Certainly he attacked it with fury, and on the guards he lavished every art of appeal that he possessed. But there he was bantered, and a feint was made of shutting him up in the guard-house as a disorderly person. With a heart-broken cry he escaped his tormentors, and made his way back, under the guns, to the citadel.

His confidence in the good intentions of men shaken, Bobby took to furtive ways. Avoiding lighted buildings and voices, he sped from shadow to shadow and explored the walls of solid masonry. Again and again he returned to the postern behind the armory, but the small back gate that gave to the cliff was not opened. Once he scrambled up to a loophole in the fortifications and looked abroad at the scattered lights of the city set in the void of night. But there, indeed, his stout heart failed him.

It was not long before Bobby discovered that he was being pursued. A number of soldiers and drummer boys were out hunting for him, contritely enough, when the situation was explained by the angry sergeant. Wherever he went voices and footsteps followed. Had the sergeant gone alone and called in familiar speech, “Come awa’ oot, Bobby!” he would probably have run to the man. But there were so many calls–in English, in Celtic, and in various dialects of the Lowlands–that the little dog dared not trust them. From place to place he was driven by fear, and when the calling stopped and the footsteps no longer followed, he lay for a time where he could watch the postern. A moment after he gave up the vigil there the little back gate was opened.

Desperation led him to take another chance with men. Slipping into the shadow of the old Governor’s House, the headquarters of commissioned officers, on the terrace above the barracks, he lay near the open door to the mess-room, listening and watching.

The pretty ceremony of toasting the bandmaster brought all the company about the table again, and the polite pause in the conversation, on his exit, gave an opportunity for the captain to speak of Bobby before the sergeant could get his message delivered.

“Gentlemen, your indulgence for a moment, to drink another toast to a little dog that is said to have slept on his master’s grave in Greyfriars churchyard for more than eight years. Sergeant Scott, of the Royal Engineers, vouches for the story and will present the hero.”

The sergeant came forward then with the word that Bobby could not be found. He was somewhere in the Castle, and had made persistent and frantic efforts to get out. Prevented at every turn, and forcibly held in various places by well-meaning but blundering soldiers, he had been frightened into hiding.

Bobby heard every word, and he must have understood that he himself was under discussion. Alternately hopeful and apprehensive, he scanned each face in the room that came within range of his vision, until one arrested and drew him. Such faces, full of understanding, love and compassion for dumb animals, are to be found among men, women and children, in any company and in every corner of the world. Now, with the dog’s instinct for the dog-lover, Bobby made his way about the room unnoticed, and set his short, shagged paws up on this man’s knee.

“Bless my soul, gentlemen, here’s the little dog now, and a beautiful specimen of the drop-eared Skye he is. Why didn’t you say that the ‘ bittie’ dog was of the Highland breed, Sergeant? You may well believe any extravagant tale you may hear of the fidelity and affection of the Skye terrier.”

And with that wee Bobby was set upon the polished table, his own silver image glimmering among the reflections of candles and old plate. He kept close under the hand of his protector, but waiting for the moment favorable to his appeal. The company crowded around with eager interest, while the man of expert knowledge and love of dogs talked about Bobby.

“You see he’s a well-knit little rascal, long and low, hardy and strong. His ancestors were bred for bolting foxes and wildcats among the rocky headlands of the subarctic islands. The intelligence, courage and devotion of dogs of this breed can scarcely be overstated. There is some far away crossing here that gives this one a greater beauty and grace and more engaging manners, making him a ‘sport’ among rough farm dogs–but look at the length and strength of the muzzle. He’s as determined as the deil. You would have to break his neck before you could break his purpose. For love of his master he would starve, or he would leap to his death without an instant’s hesitation.”

All this time the man had been stroking Bobby’s head and neck. Now, feeling the collar under the thatch, he slipped it out and brought the brass plate up to the light.

“Propose your toast to Greyfriars Bobby, Captain. His story is vouched for by no less a person than the Lord Provost. The ‘bittie’ dog seems to have won a sort of canine Victoria Cross.”

The toast was drunk standing, and, a cheer given. The company pressed close to examine the collar and to shake Bobby’s lifted paw. Then, thinking the moment had come, Bobby rose in the begging attitude, prostrated himself before them, and uttered a pleading cry. His new friend assured him that he would be taken home.

“Bide a wee, Bobby. Before he goes I want you all to see his beautiful eyes. In most breeds of dogs with the veil you will find the hairs of the face discolored by tears, but the Skye terrier’s are not, and his eyes are living jewels, as sunny a brown as cairngorms in pebble brooches, but soft and deep and with an almost human intelligence.”

For the third time that day Bobby’s veil was pushed back. One shocked look by this lover of dogs, and it was dropped. “Get him back to that grave, man, or he’s like to die. His eyes are just two cairngorms of grief.”

In the hush that fell upon the company the senior officer spoke sharply: “Take him down at once, Sergeant. The whole affair is most unfortunate, and you will please tender my apologies at the churchyard and the restaurant, as well as your own, and I will see the Lord Provost.”

The military salute was given to Bobby when he leaped from the table at the sergeant’s call: “Come awa’, Bobby. I’ll tak’ ye to Auld Jock i’ the kirkyaird noo.”

He stepped out onto the lawn to wait for his pass. Bobby stood at his feet, quivering with impatience to be off, but trusting in the man’s given word. The upper air was clear, and the sky studded with stars. Twenty minutes before the May Light, that guided the ships into the Firth, could be seen far out on the edge of the ocean, and in every direction the lamps of the city seemed to fall away in a shower of sparks, as from a burst meteor. But now, while the stars above were as numerous and as brilliant as before, the lights below had vanished. As the sergeant looked, the highest ones expired in the rising fog. The Island Rock appeared to be sinking in a waveless sea of milk.

A startled exclamation from the sergeant brought other men out on the terrace to see it. The senior officer withheld the pass in his hand, and scouted the idea of the sergeant’s going down into the city. As the drum began to beat the tattoo and the bugle to rise on a crescendo of lovely notes, soldiers swarmed toward the barracks. Those who had been out in the town came running up the roadway into the Castle, talking loudly of adventures they had had in the fog. The sergeant looked down at anxious Bobby, who stood agitated and straining as at a leash, and said that he preferred to go.

“Impossible! A foolish risk, Sergeant, that I am unwilling you should take. Edinburgh is too full of pitfalls for a man to be going about on such a night. Our guests will sleep in the Castle, and it will be safer for the little dog to remain until morning.”

Bobby did not quite understand this good English, but the excited talk and the delay made him uneasy. He whimpered piteously. He lay across the sergeant’s feet, and through his boots the man could feel the little creature’s heart beat. Then he rose and uttered his pleading cry. The sergeant stooped and patted the shaggy head consolingly, and tried to explain matters.

“Be a gude doggie noo. Dinna fash yersel’ aboot what canna be helped. I canna tak’ ye to the kirkyaird the nicht.”

“I’ll take charge of Bobby, Sergeant.” The dog-loving guest ran out hastily, but, with a wild cry of reproach and despair, Bobby was gone.

The group of soldiers who had been out on the cliff were standing in the postern a moment to look down at the opaque flood that was rising around the rock. They felt some flying thing sweep over their feet and caught a silvery flash of it across the promenade. The sergeant cried to them to stop the dog, and he and the guest were out in time to see Bobby go over the precipice.

For a time the little dog lay in a clump of hazel above the fog, between two terrors. He could see the men and the lights moving along the top of the cliff, and he could hear the calls. Some one caught a glimpse of him, and the sergeant lay down on the edge of the precipice and talked to him, saying every kind and foolish thing he could think of to persuade Bobby to come back. Then a drummer boy was tied to a rope and let down to the ledge to fetch him up. But at that, without any sound at all, Bobby dropped out of sight.

Through the smother came the loud moaning of fog-horns in the Firth. Although nothing could be seen, and sounds were muffled as if the ears of the world were stuffed with wool, odors were held captive and mingled in confusion. There was nothing to guide a little dog’s nose, everything to make him distrust his most reliable sense. The smell of every plant on the crag was there; the odors of leather, of paint, of wood, of iron, from the crafts shops at the base. Smoke from chimneys in the valley was mixed with the strong scent of horses, hay and grain from the street of King’s Stables. There was the smell of furry rodents, of nesting birds, of gushing springs, of the earth itself, and something more ancient still, as of burned-out fires in the Huge mass of trap-rock.

Everything warned Bobby to lie still in safety until morning and the world was restored to its normal aspects. But ah! in the highest type of man and dog, self-sacrifice, and not self-preservation, is the first law. A deserted grave cried to him across the void, the anguish of protecting love urged him on to take perilous chances. Falling upon a narrow shelf of rock, he had bounded off and into a thicket of thorns. Bruised and shaken and bewildered, he lay there for a time and tried to get his bearings.

Bobby knew only that the way was downward. He put out a paw and felt for the edge of the shelf. A thorn bush rooted below tickled his nose. He dropped into that and scrambled out again. Loose earth broke under his struggles and carried him swiftly down to a new level. He slipped in the wet moss of a spring before he heard the tinkle of the water, lost his foothold, and fell against a sharp point of rock. The shadowy spire of a fir-tree looming in a parting of the vapor for an instant, Bobby leaped to the ledge upon which it was rooted.

Foot by foot he went down, with no guidance at all. It is the nature of such long, low, earth dogs to go by leaps and bounds like foxes, calculating distances nicely when they can see, and tearing across the roughest country with the speed of the wild animals they hunt. And where the way is very steep they can scramble up or down any declivity that is at a lesser angle than the perpendicular. Head first they go downward, setting the fore paws forward, the claws clutching around projections and in fissures, the weight hung from the stout hindquarters, the body flattened on the earth.

Thus Bobby crept down steep descents in safety, but his claws were broken in crevices and his feet were torn and pierced by splinters of rock and thorns. Once he went some distance into a cave and had to back up and out again. And then a promising slope shelving under suddenly, where he could not retreat, he leaped, turned over and over in the air, and fell stunned. His heart filled with fear of the unseen before him, the little dog lay for a long time in a clump of whins. He may even have dozed and dreamed, to be awakened with starts by his misery of longing, and once by the far-away barking of a dog. It came up deadened, as if from fathoms below. He stood up and listened, but the sound was not repeated. His lacerated feet burned and throbbed; his bruised muscles had begun to stiffen, so that every movement was a pain.

In these lower levels there was more smoke, that smeared out and thickened the mist. Suddenly a breath of air parted the fog as if it were a torn curtain. Like a shot Bobby went down the crag, leaping from rock to rock, scrambling under thorns and hazel shrubs, dropping over precipitous ledges, until he looked down a sheer fall on which not even a knot of grass could find a foothold. He took the leap instantly, and his thick fleece saved him from broken bones; but when he tried to get up again his body was racked with pain and his hind legs refused to serve him.

Turning swiftly, he snarled and bit, at them in angry disbelief that his good little legs should play false with his stout heart. Then he quite forgot his pain, for there was the sharp ring of iron on an anvil and the dull glow of a forge fire, where a smith was toiling in the early hours of the morning. A clever and resourceful little dog, Bobby made shift to do without legs. Turning on his side, he rolled down the last slope of Castle Rock. Crawling between two buildings and dropping from the terrace on which they stood, he fell into a little street at the west end and above the Grassmarket.

Here the odors were all of the stables. He knew the way, and that it was still downward. The distance he had to go was a matter of a quarter of a mile, or less, and the greater part of it was on the level, through the sunken valley of the Grassmarket. But Bobby had literally to drag himself now; and he had still to pull him self up by his fore paws over the wet and greasy cobblestones of Candlemakers Row. Had not the great leaves of the gate to the kirkyard been left on the latch, he would have had to lie there in the alcove, with his nose under the bars, until morning. But the gate gave way to his push, and so, he dragged himself through it and around the kirk, and stretched himself on Auld Jock’s grave.

It was the birds that found him there in the misty dawn. They were used to seeing Bobby scampering about, for the little watchman was awake and busy as early as the feathered dwellers in the kirkyard. But, in what looked to be a wet and furry door-mat left out overnight on the grass, they did not know him at all. The throstles and skylarks were shy of it, thinking it might be alive. The wrens fluffed themselves, scolded it, and told it to get up. The blue titmice flew over it in a flock again and again, with much sweet gossiping, but they did not venture nearer. A redbreast lighted on the rose bush that marked Auld Jock’s grave, cocked its head knowingly, and warbled a little song, as much as to say: “If it’s alive that will wake it up.”

As Bobby did not stir, the robin fluttered down, studied him from all sides, made polite inquiries that were not answered, and concluded that it would be quite safe to take a silver hair for nest lining. Then, startled by the animal warmth or by a faint, breathing movement, it dropped the shining trophy and flew away in a shrill panic. At that, all the birds set up such an excited crying that they waked Tammy.

From the rude loophole of a window that projected from the old Cunzie Neuk, the crippled laddie could see only the shadowy tombs and the long gray wall of the two kirks, through the sunny haze. But he dropped his crutches over, and climbed out onto the vault. Never before had Bobby failed to hear that well-known tap-tap-tapping on the graveled path, nor failed to trot down to meet it with friskings of welcome. But now he lay very still, even when a pair of frail arms tried to lift his dead weight to a heaving breast, and Tammy’s cry of woe rang through the kirkyard. In a moment Ailie and Mistress Jeanie were in the wet grass beside them, half a hundred casements flew open, and the piping voices of tenement bairns cried-down:

“Did the bittie doggie come hame?”

Oh yes, the bittie doggie had come hame, indeed, but down such perilous heights as none of them dreamed; and now in what a woeful plight!

Some murmur of the excitement reached an open dormer of the Temple tenements, where Geordie Ross had slept with one ear of the born doctor open. Snatching up a case of first aids to the injured, he ran down the twisting stairs to the Grassmarket, up to the gate, and around the kirk, to find a huddled group of women and children weeping over a limp little bundle of a senseless dog. He thrust a bottle of hartshorn under the black muzzle, and with a start and a moan Bobby came back to consciousness.

“Lay him down flat and stop your havers,” ordered the business-like, embryo medicine man. “Bobby’s no’ dead. Laddie, you’re a braw soldier for holding your ain feelings, so just hold the wee dog’s head.” Then, in the reassuring dialect: “Hoots, Bobby, open the bit mou’ noo, an’ tak’ the medicine like a mannie!” Down the tiny red cavern of a throat Geordie poured a dose that galvanized the small creature into life.

“Noo, then, loup, ye bonny rascal!”

Bobby did his best to jump at Geordie’s bidding. He was so glad to be at home and to see all these familiar faces of love that he lifted himself on his fore paws, and his happy heart almost put the power to loup into his hind legs. But when he tried to stand up he cried out with the pains and sank down again, with an apologetic and shamefaced look that was worthy of Auld Jock himself. Geordie sobered on the instant.

“Weel, now, he’s been hurt. We’ll just have to see what ails the sonsie doggie.” He ran his hand down the parting in the thatch to discover if the spine had been injured. When he suddenly pinched the ball of a hind toe Bobby promptly resented it by jerking his head around and looking at him reproachfully. The bairns were indignant, too, but Geordie grinned cheerfully and said: “He’s no’ paralyzed, at ony rate.” He turned as footsteps were heard coming hastily around the kirk.

“A gude morning to you, Mr. Traill. Bobby may have been run over by a cart and got internal injuries, but I’m thinking it’s just sprains and bruises from a bad fall. He was in a state of collapse, and his claws are as broken and his toes as torn as if he had come down Castle Rock.”

This was such an extravagant surmise that even the anxious landlord smiled. Then he said, drily:

“You’re a braw laddie, Geordie, and gudehearted, but you’re no’ a doctor yet, and, with your leave, I’ll have my ain medical man tak’ a look at Bobby.”

“Ay, I would,” Geordie agreed, cordially. “It’s worth four shullings to have your mind at ease, man. I’ll just go up to the lodge and get a warm bath ready, to tak’ the stiffness out of his muscles, and brew a tea from an herb that wee wild creatures know all about and aye hunt for when they’re ailing.”

Geordie went away gaily, to take disorder and evil smells into Mistress Jeanie’s shining kitchen.

No sooner had the medical student gone up to the lodge, and the children had been persuaded to go home to watch the proceedings anxiously from the amphitheater of the tenement windows, than the kirkyard gate was slammed back noisily by a man in a hurry. It was the sergeant who, in the splendor of full uniform, dropped in the wet grass beside Bobby.

“Lush! The sma’ dog got hame, an’ is still leevin’. Noo, God forgie me–“

“Eh, man, what had you to do with Bobby’s misadventure?”

Mr. Traill fixed an accusing eye on the soldier, remembering suddenly his laughing threat to kidnap Bobby. The story came out in a flood of remorseful words, from Bobby’s following of the troops so gaily into the Castle to his desperate escape over the precipice.

“Noo,” he said, humbly, “gin it wad be ony satisfaction to ye, I’ll gang up to the Castle an’ put on fatigue dress, no’ to disgrace the unifarm o’ her Maijesty, an’ let ye tak’ me oot on the Burghmuir an’ gie me a gude lickin’.”

Mr. Traill shrugged his shoulders. “Naething would satisfy me, man, but to get behind you and kick you over the Firth into the Kingdom of Fife.”

He turned an angry back on the sergeant and helped Geordie lift Bobby onto Mrs. Brown’s braided hearth-rug and carry the improvised litter up to the lodge. In the kitchen the little dog was lowered into a hot bath, dried, and rubbed with liniments under his fleece. After his lacerated feet had been cleaned and dressed with healing ointments and tied up, Bobby was wrapped in Mistress Jeanie’s best flannel petticoat and laid on the hearth-rug, a very comfortable wee dog, who enjoyed his breakfast of broth and porridge.

Mr. Brown, hearing the commotion and perishing of curiosity, demanded. that some one should come and help him out of bed. As no attention was paid to him he managed to get up himself and to hobble out to the kitchen just as Mr. Traill’s ain medical man came in. Bobby’s spine was examined again, the tail and toes nipped, the heart tested, and all the soft parts of his body pressed and punched, in spite of the little dog’s vigorous objections to these indignities.

“Except for sprains and bruises the wee dog is all right. Came down Castle Crag in the fog, did he? He’s a clever and plucky little chap, indeed, and deserving of a hero medal to hang on the Lord Provost’s collar. You’ve done very well, Mr. Ross. Just take as good care of him for a week or so and he could do the gallant deed again.”

Mr. Brown listened to the story of Bobby’s adventures with a mingled look of disgust at the foolishness of men, pride in Bobby’s prowess, and resentment at having been left out of the drama of the night before. “It’s maist michty, noo, Maister Traill, that ye wad tak’ the leeberty o’ leein’ to me,” he complained.

“It was a gude lee or a bad nicht for an ill man. Geordie will tell you that a mind at ease is worth four shullings, and I’m charging you naething. Eh, man, you’re deeficult to please.” As he went out into the kirkyard Mr. Traill stopped to reflect on a strange thing: ” ‘You’ve done very well, Mr. Ross.’ Weel, weel, how the laddies do grow up! But I’m no’ going to admit it to Geordie.”

Another thought, over which he chuckled, sent him off to find the sergeant. The soldier was tramping gloomily about in the wet, to the demoralization of his beautiful boots.

“Man, since a stormy nicht eight years ago last November I’ve aye been looking for a bigger weel meaning fule than my ain sel’. You’re the man, so if you’ll just shak’ hands we’ll say nae more about it.”

He did not explain this cryptic remark, but he went on to assure the sorry soldier that Bobby had got no serious hurt and would soon be as well as ever. They had turned toward the gate when a stranger with a newspaper in his hand peered mildly around the kirk and inquired “Do ye ken whaur’s the sma’ dog, man?” As Mr. Traill continued to stare at him he explained, patiently: “It’s Greyfriars Bobby, the bittie terrier the Laird Provost gied the collar to. Hae ye no’ seen ‘The Scotsman’ the day?”

The landlord had not. And there was the story, Bobby’s, name heading quite a quarter of a broad column of fine print, and beginning with: “A very singular and interesting occurrence was brought to light in the Burgh court by the hearing of a summons in regard to a dog tax.” Bobby was a famous dog, and Mr. Traill came in for a goodly portion of reflected glory. He threw up his hands in dismay.

“It’s all over the toon, Sergeant.” Turning to the stranger, he assured him that Bobby was not to be seen. “He hurt himsel’ coming down Castle Rock in the nicht, and is in the lodge with the caretaker, wha’s fair ill. Hoo do I ken?” testily. “Weel, man, I’m Mr. Traill.”

He saw at once how unwise was that admission, for he had to shake hands with the cordial stranger. And after dismissing him there was another at the gate who insisted upon going up to the lodge to see the little hero. Here was a state of things, indeed, that called upon all the powers of the resourceful landlord.

“All the folk in Edinburgh will be coming, and the poor woman be deaved with their spiering.” And then he began to laugh. “Did you ever hear o’ sic a thing as poetic justice, Sergeant? Nae, it’s no’ the kind you’ll get in the courts of law. Weel, it’s poetic justice for a birkie soldier, wha claims the airth and the fullness thereof, to have to tak’ his orders from a sma’ shopkeeper. Go up to the police office in St. Gila now and ask for an officer to stand at the gate here to answer questions, and to keep the folk awa’ from the lodge.”

He stood guard himself, and satisfied a score of visitors before the sergeant came back, and there was another instance of poetic justice, in the crestfallen Burgh policeman who had been sent with instructions to take his orders from the delighted landlord.

“Eh, Davie, it’s a lang lane that has nae turning. Ye’re juist to stand here a’ the day an’ say to ilka body wha spiers for the dog: ‘Ay, sir, Greyfriars Bobby’s been leevin’ i’ the kirkyaird aucht years an’ mair, an’ Maister Traill’s aye fed ‘im i’ the dining-rooms. Ay, the case was dismissed i’ the Burgh coort. The Laird Provost gied a collar to the bit Skye because there’s a meddlin’ fule or twa amang the Burgh police wha’d be takin’ ‘im up. The doggie’s i’ the lodge wi’ the caretaker, wha’s fair ill, an’ he canna be seen the day. But gang aroond the kirk an’ ye can see Auld Jock’s grave that he’s aye guarded. There’s nae stave to it, but it’s neist to the fa’en table-tomb o’ Mistress Jean Grant. A gude day to ye.’ Hae ye got a’ that, man? Weel, cheer up. Yell hae to say it nae mair than a thousand times or twa, atween noo an’ nichtfa’.”

He went away laughing at the penance that was laid upon his foe. The landlord felt so well satisfied with the world that he took another jaunty crack at the sergeant: “By richts, man, you ought to go to gaol, but I’ll just fine you a shulling a month for Bobby’s natural lifetime, to give the wee soldier a treat of a steak or a chop once a week.”

Hands were struck heartily on the bargain, and the two men parted good friends. Now, finding Ailie dropping tears in the dish-water, Mr. Traill sent her flying down to the lodge with instructions to make herself useful to Mrs. Brown. Then he was himself besieged in his place of business by folk of high and low degree who were disappointed by their failure to see Bobby in the kirkyard. Greyfriars Dining-Rooms had more distinguished visitors in a day than they had had in all the years since Auld Jock died and a little dog fell there at the landlord’s feet “a’ but deid wi’ hunger.”

Not one of all the grand folk who, inquired for Bobby at the kirkyard or at the restaurant got a glimpse of him that day. But after they were gone the tenement dwellers came up to the gate again, as they had gathered the evening