And at the same time, albeit that the date was January 25th 1947, Bernie Cohen and Sadie Glenfinnan sat in The Clansman and compared notes; they had been discreetly observing the movements and habits of Hamish MacDonald (commonly referred to as AKA) and all of his contacts with other people – a growing number, for MacDonald, who seemed to fancy himself as a chanticleer, was parading around Maryhill as if he were Cock o the Walk – and supplemented with the reports from The Watchers, two small boys, Snooker Tam O'Hare and his slightly younger brother Boabie; now, as AKA's wife Jessie – who had been married to the original, the real, Hamish, whose place had mysteriously been taken by AKA at the same time as the original Hamish disappeared – had referred to the boys as 'invisible' and rightly so, for who takes notice of the many urchins who roam the streets of Glasgow? they were particularly well suited for the task of keeping an eye on the roaming of the Ladies' Outfitter. and eyes they kept on him, reporting religiously and in great detail to Sadie and Bernie and one of his encounters was of particular interest because it involved a gathering, right here in The Clansman, of AKA and three others whom they described in extreme detail: a tall. distinguished-looking man with a rather bulky companion, and these two referred to each other as Paladin and Doughty, while the third man, dressed in black and looking every inch a lawyer, they called Martin! and Bernie, putting the three names into his memory banks, recalled the names of Paladin MacFarlane, the younger son of the late Sir Peregrine MacFarlane and his retainer Doughty Doubleday, and knew instantly that the lawyer was Martin Elginbrod, one of the sharpest briefs in Edinburgh, who had amassed a fortune through the acquisition of various copyrights; but why should these three meet in Glasgow and not their native city? that was a curiosity which Bernie could only conjecture at; now, as it happened, he was already acquainted with the younger MacFarlane's elder brother, Sir Pantagruel. who had been a young diplomat in the Foreign Office before the war and had then gone on to become involved in SIS, the Secret Intelligence Service, which he knew from friends who had also been involved tangentially, that MacFarlane was one of the minders of Operation Double Cross, which turned German spies and used them to send a load of rubbish back to their erstwhile controllers in Berlin – none of this was public knowledge, but in the circles Bernie's mother had moved in, during her war work with the International Red Cross, various friends of hers had visited their house and the reminiscences about their – or their friends – wartime exploits came out in dribs and drabs, and Bernie, charming as he was, managed to forthdraw supplementary detail sufficient for him to piece together a fair picture for himself; but enough of that, it was the mysterious Troika that had met with AKA in The Clansman only yesterday that intrigued the young solicitor and he determined to discover the answer; a few words wit Bill Martin, the bartender, filled in some of the gaps: "aye, they wis drinking ower there," said Bill, indicating an apparently discreet table, so placed that a quiet conversation could not be overheard at any of the others, but which, during the war, had been fitted with a secret microphone which led to a recording machine behind the bar and strangely, some of this equipment – which had resulted in the capture and subsequent turning of two German agents, code-named Dum and Dee, who were in the habit of sitting there and discussing their efforts to obtain information from factory workers and servicemen they had encountered – remained, perhaps forgotten or maybe in case it might be useful in future, and though it no longer recorded, the conversation of the three strangers and MacDonald had been heard by Bill – every word; "they mentioned various Embra folk ah'd never heerd o," said Bill, "but then they mentioned Chick Coocaddens," and Bernie looked sharply at him: "isn't he still in Barlinnie?" and Bill nodded, fair getting his dander up over this, "aye, but he's gettin oot this week, the fuckin bastard, fer 'good behaviour', an him wha's never dun a guid deed in his puff!" for it was true that Cowcaddens, a notorious rapist and sodomite, who had preyed on children on the north side of the town, was rotten to the core, "who's his lawyer again?" asked Bernie, for he hadn't followed the case closely as it had been some years earlier, long before he began his own legal studies, "Dan Bambona," spat Bill out, as though the name polluted his mouth, and Bernie gasped: "he's been suspended, though, surely he isn't still practising?" and Bill shook his head, "ah widnae ken boot that, but his dochter's taken oan his bizzness, and she's sposed tae be even durtier than her auld man, is that whit's meant wen fowk talk o a 'Criminal Lawyer'?" and Bernie sat back laughing, and remembering his only encounter with Dolores Bambona, who had been a year above him at University: "Jeez!" was all he could say, but then Bill continued his tale of the meeting of AKA and the three Embra rogues: "well they spoke aboot sum kinda Ring o Gold an hoo they wanted tae expand intae Glesca, seems AKA wis bein admitted, like it wis a kinda club, like the Masons, but wi a dodgy interest in young lads an lassies, jist like Coocaddens, an they wanted him enrolled tae, cos if emdy kens hoo tae entice sich weans it's him," and this gave Bernie much to think about; he had never heard of the Ring of Gold, but knew enough about the underbelly of Scottish society to realise that men of that type often drew together, to share their secrets, their ways and means, and the children they groomed and cultivated; Cowcaddens had never named any others – though the police had their suspicions – remained inexorably shtum and so he had gone down alone, maybe this was his reward, to be drawn into a circle with similarly depraved interests and tastes, and so it seemed was AKA! then Bernie said: "I've got a friend in Edinburgh, he's a brilliant Advocate, Jock Linkumdoddie, recently took silk and he's working mainly as a Crown Prosecutor, but he's also started a group to investigate crimes and criminals who seem able to evade the police and help bring them to what might be called 'Natural Justice', they call themselves The Justice League of Auld Reekie!