Edward Kane, Advocate in A Promise is a Promise: Chapter 4
“A wee drop of milk, Mr Kane?”Kane smiled and nodded: “If that’s no trouble.”
The elderly Mrs McAllister poured the milk from the jug, put the jug down, then lifted up a plate adorned with small biscuits: “And a wee biscuit, Mr Kane. I cannae drink tea myself, unless I have a wee biscuit with it, sir.”
Kane took a biscuit, and a small bite: “These have a very pleasing flavour, Mrs McAdam. Lavender isn’t it?”
Mrs McAdam nodded: “They were made by Wee Rosie in the cash room there. She made them, but it’s my recipe, sir.”
“Then, they are a tribute to the art of collaboration, madam.”
The lady smiled: “And we gave her the lavender an’ all, Mr Kane. We like to look after our people, sir. It’s only Christian charity. And, as the Proverbs say, ‘Charity begins at home’...”
Kane smiled and nodded. The old lady’s reference was wrong. Not from Proverbs. Kane’s late father had been a Minister of the Church of Scotland, so the young Advocate knew his Bible. One of the Paul’s letters to Timothy, I think…
“...and she’s nice lassie, Wee Rose. We like to treat her as family. It’s just a husband she needs, sir, but, of course...well...”. Mrs McAdam shook her head. The old lady’s pensiveness was broken by the door of the room being swung open and the appearance of a very small barking dog.
Mrs McAdam laughed: “You are not a lover of dogs, Mr Kane?”
Kane relaxed: “I apologise, madam. I was startled for a moment. In fact, I love all animals.”
The animal sat down before Kane and cocked its head to one side. Kane noted that it was a mongrel. Brown and white. Sharp, pointy ears, and a very winning disposition. It looked up at Kane as if to say: Am I not a cheeky wee midden?
The old lady scooped up the animal and began to ruffle its neck with her fingers. Her lips made an “oooh” shape as she cooed over the pup: “Oooh, Dash - good boy - mummy’s little darling...”
Dash? And then the door opened wide and there stood Murray McAdam. He saw his mother fussing over the dog, looked over at Kane and rolled his eyes: “Mr Kane - I see that you have met my mother’s favourite son.” He turned to the old lady: “Mother, mother - we have company...”
The old mother, immune to rebuke, was holding the animal face-to-face now. She gazed into its eyes. She puckered her lips and spoke: “I know - but he is SO beautiful...”
McAdam shook his head: “Mother - give that infernal creature to Rose and bring more tea to my room.”. He beckoned the young Advocate: “Kane, follow me, if you please.”
Kane made a small bow and left the old lady - who, by this point was encouraging the animal to lick her face.
In McAdam’s office. Piles of paper everywhere. Everywhere.
The solicitor looked across the desk at Kane: “As you’ll see, Mr Kane, we do not lack for instructions in this firm. If all goes well with this case, then you can perhaps help us with a great number of others...”
What was it that Horse had predicted yesterday? “...some great big, juicy dripping roast of a case...”
McAdam continued: “Now, I trust that you can keep a secret?”
McAdam sat back in his chair: “The matter at hand is...how may I describe it...a delicate one...and very near to the reputation of this office.”
Kane smiled and said nothing, waiting for the explanation to unravel at its own pace. McAdam rose from his chair and went to the window. He began searching through the piles of papers on the floor. “I had a fair copy made of her statement. It’s here somewhere...”
The solicitor produced a bundle of papers from the pile and looked up at Kane: “The case, perhaps unusually, involves both affairs of the heart and contractual matters. Are you confident of your abilities in these fields?
Kane smiled: “‘Contractual matters’, of course. However, regarding ‘affairs of the heart’, I fear I am likely to be as foolish as any other man.”
McAdam stared at Kane for a moment. Unsmiling. Then: “Ah, I see. A humorous response. Well, I do not consider this to be a matter of levity, Mr Kane. Here....” and he handed Kane the papers.
Kane nodded, somewhat chastened, and took the papers. He attempted to diffuse the now tense atmosphere in the room. “And will the client be joining us today, Mr McAdam?”
McAdam walked round and sat at his desk: “She is already here, sir. Read the papers, Mr Kane. Let me have your view.” McAdam pointed to a small bureau at the window. “You may use the smaller desk.” He began to study a set of papers on his own desk. “In the meantime, sir, there is much work to be done. I really must employ a clerk. Let me know when you have completed your perusal of the papers and we will discuss further at that point” And then McAdam seemed to vanish into the paperwork before him.
Kane sat down at the small desk. He took the sheaf of papers that McAdam had given him and began to read:
“My name is Rosemary Daisy Thomas. I am known as ‘Rose” or “Rosie”. I am 26 years of age. I am employed by Messrs McAllister and McAdam, Solicitors and Notaries, Edinburgh and I work in the Cash Room....”
Kane looked up from the papers. Of course, this is the pretty girl in the cash room. Lovely sister of the errant Master Timmy...
“I am an orphan. My mother, Violet Thomas, died in childbirth having my wee brother, Timothy. Timmy is now aged eleven. I have been asked to talk about my dealings with one Thomas Tack, Esquire. I am very embarrassed by the whole matter. I did not know that anyone could be so heartless…”