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The Gorbals Die-Hards Go Into Action
We left Mr. McCunn, full of aches but desperately resolute in spirit, hobbling by the
Auchenlochan road into the village of Dalquharter. His goal was Mrs. Morran's hen-
house, which was Thomas Yownie's POSTE DE COMMANDEMENT. The rain had
come on again, and, though in other weather there would have been a slow twilight,
already the shadow of night had the world in its grip. The sea even from the high ground
was invisible, and all to westward and windward was a ragged screen of dark cloud. It
was foul weather for foul deeds. Thomas Yownie was not in the hen-house, but in Mrs.
Morran's kitchen, and with him were the pug-faced boy know as Old Bill, and the sturdy
figure of Peter Paterson. But the floor was held by the hostess. She still wore her big
boots, her petticoats were still kilted, and round her venerable head in lieu of a bonnet
was drawn a tartan shawl.
"Eh, Dickson, but I'm blithe to see ye. And puir man, ye've been sair mishandled. This is
the awfu'est Sabbath day that ever you and me pit in. I hope it'll be forgiven us....Whaur's
the young leddy?"
"Dougal was saying she was in the House with Sir Archibald and the men from the
"Wae's me!" Mrs. Morran keened. "And what kind o' place is yon for her? Thae laddies
tell me there's boatfu's o' scoondrels landit at the Garplefit. They'll try the auld Tower, but
they'll no' wait there when they find it toom, and they'll be inside the Hoose in a jiffy and
awa' wi' the puir lassie. Sirs, it maunna be. Ye're lippenin' to the polis, but in a' my days I
never kenned the polis in time. We maun be up and daein' oorsels. Oh, if I could get a
haud o' that red-heided Dougal..."
As she spoke there came on the wind the dull reverberation of an explosion.
"Keep us, what's that?" she cried.
"It's dinnymite," said Peter Paterson.
"That's the end o' the auld Tower," observed Thomas Yownie in his quiet, even voice.
"And it's likely the end o' the man Heritage."
"Lord peety us!" the old woman wailed. "And us standin' here like stookies and no' liftin'
a hand. Awa' wi ye, laddies, and dae something. Awa' you too, Dickson, or I'll tak' the
road mysel'."
"I've got orders," said the Chief of Staff, "no' to move till the sityation's clear. Napoleon's
up at the Tower and Jaikie's in the policies. I maun wait on their reports."
For a moment Mrs. Morran's attention was distracted by Dickson, who suddenly felt very
faint and sat down heavily on a kitchen chair. "Man, ye're as white as a dish-clout," she
exclaimed with compunction. "Ye're fair wore out, and ye'll have had nae meat sin' your
breakfast. See, and I'll get ye a cup o' tea."