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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. I


114 [Bmdie?r Close. from, and tried it on the lock by way of experiment, but went no further then. On the 5th of March, Brodie, Smith, Ainslie, and Brown, met in the evening about eight to make the grand attempt. The Deacon was attired in black, with a brace of pistols ; he had with him several keys and a double picklock. He seemed themselves in danger when they heard Mr. Bonar coming down-stairs, they cocked their pistols, determined not to be taken.? Eventually they got clear off with their booty, which proved to be only sixteen pounds odd, when they had expected thousands ! They all separated I -Brown and Ainslie betook themselves to the New in the wildest spirits, and as they set forth he sang the well-known ditty from the ? Beggar?s Opera?- ? Let us take the road, Hark ! I hear the sound of coaches! The hour of attack approaches ; To your arms brave boys. and load. ?See the ball I hold ; Let chemists toil like asses- Our fire their fire surpasses, And turns our lead to gold !? The office was shut at night, but nowatchmancame till ten. Ainslie kept watch in Chessel?s Court, Brodic inside the outer door, when he opened it, while Smith and Brown entered the cashier?sroom. All save the first carwhistle by which he was to sound an alarm if necessary. In forcing the second or inner door, Brown and Smith had to use a crowbar, and the coulter of a plough which they had previously stolen for the purpose. Their faces were craped; they had with them a dark lantern, and they burst open every desk and press in the room. While thus engaged, Mr. James Bonar, the deputy-solicitor, returned unexpectedly to the office at half-past eight, and detection seemed imminent indeed ! ?The outer door he found shut, and on opening it a inan in black (Brodie) hurriedly passed him, a circumstance to which, not having the slightest suspicion, he paid no attention. He went to his room up-stairs, where he remained bnly a few minutes, and then returned, shutting the outer door behind him. Perceiving this, Ainslie became Town, Brodie hurried home to the Lawnmarket, changed his dress, and proceeded to the house of his mistress, Jean Watt, in Liberton?s Wynd, and on an evening soon after the miserable spoil was divided in equal proportions. By this time the town was alarmed, and the police on the alert. Brown (alias Humphry Moore), who proved the greatest villain of the whole, was at that time under sentence of transportation for some crime committed in his native country, England, and having seen an advertisement offering reward and pardon to any person who should discover a recent Homer, one of the many transactions in which Brodie had been engaged of late with Smith and others, he resolved to turn king?s evidence, and on the very evening he had secured his share of the late transaction he went to the Procurator Fiscal, and gave information, but omitted to mention the name of Brodie, from whom he expected to procure money for secrecy. He conducted the police to the base of the Craigs, where they found concealed under a large stone a great number of keys intended for future operations in all directions. In consequence of this, Ainslie, Smith and his wife and servant, were all arrested. Then Brodie fled, and Brown revealed the whole affair. Mr. Williamson, king?s messenger for Scotland, traced the Deacon from point to point till he reached Dover, where after an eighteen days? pursuit he
Volume 1 Page 114
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