After rattling through Liverpool, Lord Minto's coach pulled up outside a warehouse facing the bustling docks and the three passengers dismounted – Wee Jeemy lifted down by Darcus – and led by Sir Principle they entered the doorway beneath a sign: Wheelwright & Jamieson – Shipping Agents; and, after climbing a flight of stairs, entered what had obviously been the main office – there were signs of a hasty departure and a young man sitting by the window, rose and apologised for the mess: "please forgive the state of the office, my name is Richard Swiveller, I am Chief Clerk, well, I'm the only clerk, but I have just arrived back from our plantations in Jamaica and it seems that we have been burgled!" he pointed to large, heavy, iron safe, the door of which hung open and the inside appeared to have been ransacked; Sir Parlane introduced the three of them as representatives of Lord Minto, and asked: "had the safe been blown open, or forced in any way?" and the young man shook his head: "whoever did this must have found out the combination, for the safe itself is undamaged, but only Mr Wheelwright, Mr Jamieson and myself know it, and I am sure neither of my employers would have divulged it, unless under extreme torture!" while this exchange was taking place, Jeemy was rifling through papers on the desks and floor: "whaur div yer bosses bide?" he asked, in his usual broad Hawick accent, and Sir Parlane translated for the confused young man: "please give me the addresses of your Masters, Mister Swiveller, we must visit them and perhaps save them if they are in the hands of a murderous band of burglars!" which moved the Clerk into action; he quickly wrote down both of the addresses and offered to accompany the visitors – he was familiar with Lord Minto's business here and could perhaps explain it's current position while directing the coach to, first, Mr Wheelwright's, which was nearest, and if necessary, to Mr Jamieson's, which he assured them was quite close to his Partner; and that is how, shortly afterwards, the Scottish Agents soon found themselves sitting in an impressive mansion, with a tearful Mrs Wheelwright;
Jeemy sat to one side of her, carefully writing the definition of lovecraftian into his notebook and thinking how apposite it was to the confused state of affairs into which they had stumbled; Mr Swiveller sat on ther other side, handing Mrs Wheelwright a succession of kerchiefs as she sobbed and tried to tell her visitors about the sudden, frantic appearance of her husband just a couple of hours previously; it seemed to be utterly no-meaning – he had rushed in, dishevelled, distraught, told her he was leaving for the Americas, immediately, perhaps for a month, perhaps for ever! he stuffed a few clothes into a bag, along with a box of her most valuable jewellery, shouting that it was "that bastard Jamieson's fault," the game was up, he was finished, a dead man, bankrupt, the victim of the most heinous fraud, he begged her forgiveness, her pardon, then ripped a pearl necklace from around her neck, put it in his greatcoat pocket, along with a pike-head or bill-hook from his desk drawer, put a pistol in another pocket and rushed out in as much haste as he had entered; no, she had no idea where he might have gone, but Mrs Jamieson might know, and so, accompanied be her, they all crammed into the coach for the short journey to Jamieson's equally grand establishment where they encountered a similar scene: another distraught and weeping wife, also abandoned by her desperate husband, and the same tale of haste and the same belief that he too had been bilked, in this case by "that bastard Wheelwright!" which caused even more distress to Mrs Wheelwright: "my Magnus is no thief!" was her riposte, and then she put her hand to her throat where she was reminded that her pearls were gone and she required the production of more kerchiefs from the capacious pockets of the young Clerk; "Swiveller," said Sir Principle, "do you know of any vessels bound today for the West?" and the clerk nodded: "one The Adventurer, belonging to Fraser & Fraser was due to sail just an hour ago, on the morning tide and a clipper, The Cutty Sark, belonging to The Duke of Albany, on the afternoon tide;" and Sir Principle made a quick decision: "if we leave now, can we be passengers on the clipper before she departs?" and Swiveller confirmed that; "right," snapped MacFarlane, "you ladies please make haste – we all have a ship to catch!"