“Stop! Stop!” he cried in an angry voice. “That’s the man I was bringing here! He’s not fit to be left alone. I tell you he’s the daft man! I’m only a friend!”
“Quite so, sir,” said the servant quietly. “It will be all right if you will step in for a few minutes. We can easily explain to the Governor.”
Two other attendants had appeared on the scene by this time, and the gentle pressure of the servant’s hand on his arm induced the hapless Farquharson to ascend the steps once more and enter the hall.
He repeated his explanation to the other men, who treated it in the same quiet way as the first had done. Then it began to dawn upon him that they really took him for the madman and McConnachie for his sane companion.
It was a natural mistake as far as they were concerned; for it was quite a common thing for patients to suppose every one else to be mentally afflicted except themselves. Moreover, McConnachie had a more cultured manner than Farquharson at any time, and when the latter showed so much excitement on account of the trick which had been played upon him, he did not appear to advantage. He was so intensely angry and so apprehensive of the consequences of the disaster that he was scarcely coherent, and this justified the attendants in their view of the situation.
The Governor had already been prejudiced against him, when Farquharson at last obtained an interview with him, and took the same view as the others. The fact of his having given the return ticket to McConnachie made it difficult to explain that the other had no right to it; the faint glimmer of a smile on the face of the attendant while he was attempting to clear up that point filled poor Farquharson with dismay and rendered him still more nervous and excited.
So the poor schoolmaster was detained in the Asylum and old McConnachie returned home in state. All was put right in a day or two, for the Inspector was informed of the turn affairs had taken, and lost no time in releasing Farquharson. The unfortunate man did not dare to return to the district for some time. When he at last ventured to appear, McConnachie had long left the place and was dead and almost forgotten, and neighbors were too glad to welcome Farquharson back among them to remind him of his humiliation.
“Things is gey different now, sir,” was Willy’s summing-up on the subject of education. “The bairns get mair teechin’ noo, and less o’ the beltin’, an’ I’m no sure but they learn a’ the better for it!”
“’Tis not the whole of life
Nor all of death to die.”
(Montgomery—“Issues of Life and Death")