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How Mr. Mccunn Departed With Relief And Returned
With Resolution
At seven o'clock on the following morning the post-cart, summoned by an early message
from Mrs. Morran, appeared outside the cottage. In it sat the ancient postman, whose real
home was Auchenlochan, but who slept alternate nights in Dalquharter, and beside him
Dobson the innkeeper. Dickson and his hostess stood at the garden-gate, the former with
his pack on his back, and at his feet a small stout wooden box, of the kind in which
cheeses are transported, garnished with an immense padlock. Heritage for obvious
reasons did not appear; at the moment he was crouched on the floor of the loft watching
the departure through a gap in the dimity curtains.
The traveller, after making sure that Dobson was looking, furtively slipped the key of the
trunk into his knapsack.
"Well, good-bye, Auntie Phemie," he said. "I'm sure you've been awful kind to me, and I
don't know how to thank you for all you're sending."
"Tuts, Dickson, my man, they're hungry folk about Glesca that'll be glad o' my scones
and jeelie. Tell Mirren I'm rale pleased wi' her man, and haste ye back soon."
The trunk was deposited on the floor of the cart, and Dickson clambered into the back
seat. He was thankful that he had not to sit next to Dobson, for he had tell-tale stuff on his
person. The morning was wet, so he wore his waterproof, which concealed his odd
tendency to stoutness about the middle.
Mrs. Morran played her part well, with all the becoming gravity of an affectionate aunt,
but as soon as the post-cart turned the bend of the road her demeanour changed. She was
torn with convulsions of silent laughter. She retreated to the kitchen, sank into a chair,
wrapped her face in her apron and rocked. Heritage, descending, found her struggling to
regain composure. "D'ye ken his wife's name?" she gasped. "I ca'ed her Mirren! And
maybe the body's no' mairried! Hech sirs! Hech sirs!"
Meanwhile Dickson was bumping along the moor-road on the back of the post-cart. He
had worked out a plan, just as he had been used aforetime to devise a deal in foodstuffs.
He had expected one of the watchers to turn up, and was rather relieved that it should be
Dobson, whom he regarded as "the most natural beast" of the three. Somehow he did not
think that he would be molested before he reached the station, since his enemies would
still be undecided in their minds. Probably they only wanted to make sure that he had
really departed to forget all about him. But if not, he had his plan ready.
"Are you travelling to-day?" he asked the innkeeper.
"Just as far as the station to see about some oil-cake I'm expectin'. What's in your wee
kist? Ye came here wi' nothing but the bag on your back."
"Ay, the kist is no' mine. It's my auntie's. She's a kind body, and nothing would serve but
she must pack a box for me to take back. Let me see. There's a baking of scones; three