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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. I


by a man named Clark, in the Fleshmarket Close. He had the tact and art to keep his secret profligacy unknown, and was so successful in blinding his fellow-citizens that he continued a highly reputable member of the Town Council until within a short period of the crime for which he was executed, and, according to ?Kay?s Portraits,? it is a siiigular fact, that little more than a month previously he there were committed a series ot startling robberies, and no clue could be had to the perpetrators. Houses and shops were entered, and articles of value vanished as if by magic. In one instance a lady was unable to go to church from indisposition, and was at home alone, when a man entered with crape over his face, and taking her keys, opened her bureau and took away her money, while she re- BAILIE MACMOBRAN?S HOUSE. sat as a juryman in a criminal case in that very court where he himself soon after received sentence of death. For years he had been secretly licentious and dissipated, but it was not until 1786 that he began an actual career of infamous crime, with his fellow-culprit, George Smith, a native of Berkshire, and two others, named Brown and Ainslie. He was in easy circumstances, with a flourishing business, and his conduct in becoming a leader of miscreants seems unaccountable, yet so it was. In and around the city during the winter of 1787 15 mained panic-stricken; but as he retired she thought, ?surely that was Deacon Brodie !? But the idea seemed so utterly inconceivable, that she preserved silence on the subject till subsequent events transpired. As these mysterious outrages continued, all Edinburgh became at last alarmed, and in all of them Brodie was either actively or passively concerned, till he conceived the-to him-fatal idea of robbing the Excise office in Chessel?s CQUI~, an undertaking wholly planned by himself. He visited the office openly with a friend, studied the details of the cashier?s room, and observing the key of the
Volume 1 Page 113
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