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It was with a light heart and term had pulled me down, a a pleasing consciousness of holi- week of modest enjoyment thereday that I set out from the inn after in town had finished the at Allermuir to tramp my fifteen work; and I drank in the sharp miles into the unknown. I moorish air like a thirsty man walked slowly, for I carried my who has been forwandered equipment on my back - my among deserts.
basket, fly-books and rods, my I am a man of varied tastes plaid of Grant tartan (for I and a score of interests. boast myself a distant kinsman undergraduate I had been filled of that house), and my great with the old mania for the comstaff, which had tried ere then plete life. I distinguished mythe front of the steeper Alps. self in the Schools, rowed in my A small valise with books and college eight, and reached the some changes of linen clothing distinction of practising for had been sent on ahead in the three weeks in the Trials. I shepherd's own hands. It was had dabbled in
of yet early April, and before me learned activities, and when lay four weeks of freedom the time came that I won the twenty-eight blessed days in inevitable St Chad's fellowship which to take fish and smoke on my chaotic acquirements, the pipe of idleness. The Lent and I found myself compelled
1 Copyright in the United States of America. VOL. CLXV.NO. DCCCCXCIX.
to select if I would pursue a hill, and over this lay the head scholar's life, I had some toil of another glen, with the same in finding my vocation. In the doleful accompaniment of sunend I resolved that the ancient less lochs, mosses, and a shining life of the North, of the Celts and resolute water. East and and the Northmen and the un- west and north, in every
direcknown Pictish tribes, held for tion save the south, rose walls me the chief fascination. I had of gashed and serrated hills. acquired a smattering of Gaelic, It was a grey day with blinks having been brought up as a of sun, and when a ray chanced boy in Lochaber, and now I set to fall on one of the great dark myself to increase my store of faces, lines of light and colour languages. I mastered Erse sprang into being which told of and Icelandic, and my first mica and granite. I was in book a monograph on the high spirits, as on the eve of probable Celtic elements in holiday; I had breakfasted exthe Eddic songs— brought me cellently on eggs and salmonthe praise of scholars and steaks ; I had no cares to speak the deputy-professor's chair of of, and my prospects were not Northern Antiquities. So much uninviting. But in spite of for Oxford. My vacations had myself the landscape began to
. been spent mainly in the North take me in thrall and crush me. —in Ireland, Scotland, and the The silent vanished peoples of Isles, in Scandinavia and Ice- the hills seemed to be stirring; land, once even in the far limits dark primeval faces seemed to of Finland. I was a keen sports- stare at
from behind man of a sort, an old-experienced boulders and jags of rock. fisher, a fair shot with gun and The place was so still, so free rifle, and in my hillcraft I might from the cheerful clamour of well stand comparison with most nesting birds, that it seemed
April has ever seemed to a temenos sacred to some oldme the finest season of the year world god. At my feet the even in our cold northern alti- lochs lapped ceaselessly; but the tudes, and the memory of many waters were so dark that one bright Aprils had brought me could not see bottom a foot up from the South on the night from the edge. On my right before to Allerfoot, whence a the links of green told of snakedogcart had taken me up Glen like mires waiting to crush the Aller to the inn at Allermuir; unwary wanderer. It seemed and now the same desire had set to me for the moment a land me on the heather with my face of death, where the tongues to th cold brown hills.
of the dead cried aloud You are to picture a sort recognition. of plateau, benty and rock- My whole morning's walk strewn, running ridge - wise was full of such fancies. I lit above a chain of little peaty a pipe to cheer me, but the lochs and a vast tract of in- things would not be got rid of. exorable bog In a mile the I thought of the Gaels who had ridge ceased in a shoulder of held those fastnesses; I thought
of the Britons before them, who me,” he would say, when I had yielded to their advent. They mixed him toddy and given him were all strong peoples in their one of my cigars; “I believe day, and now they had gone there are traces—ay, and more the way of the earth. They than traces--of an old culture had left their mark on
the lurking in those hills and waitlevels of the glens and on the ing to be discovered. We never more habitable uplands, both in hear of the Picts being driven names and in actual forts, and from the hills. The Britons graves where men might still drove them from the lowlands, dig curios. But the hills—that the Gaels from Ireland did the black stony amphitheatre before same for the Britons; but the
-it seemed strange that the hills were left unmolested. We hills bore no traces of them. hear of no one going near them And then with some uneasiness except outlaws and tinklers. I reflected on that older and And in that very place you stranger race who were said to have the strangest mythology. have held the hill-tops. The Take the story of the Brownie. Picts, the Picti— what in the What is that but the story of name of goodness were they? a little swart man of uncomThey had troubled me in all my mon strength and cleverness, studies, a sort of blank wall to who does good and ill indisput an end to speculation. We criminately, and then disapknew nothing of them save pears. There are many scholars, certain strange names which as you yourself confess, who men called Pictish, the names think that the origin of the of those hills in front of me- Brownie was in some mad bethe Muneraw, the Yirnie, the lief in the old race of the Picts, Calmarton. They were the which still survived somewhere corpus vile for learned experi- in the hills. And do we not ment; but Heaven alone knew hear of the Brownie in authenwhat dark abyss of savagery tic records right down to the once yawned in the midst of year 1756 ? After that, when the desert.
people grew more incredulous, And then I remembered the it is natural that the belief crazy theories of a pupil of should have begun to die out; mine at St Chad's, the son of but I do not see why stray a small landowner on the Aller, traces should not have survived a young gentleman who had till late." spent his substance too freely “Do you not see what that at Oxford, and was now dree- means?” I had said in mock ing his weird in the Backwoods. gravity. “ Those same hills He had been no scholar; but a are, if anything, less known certain imagination marked all now than they were a hundred his doings, and of a Sunday years ago. Why should not night he would come and talk your Picts or Brownies be livto me of the North. The Picts ing to this day?" were his special subject, and his “Why not, indeed ?" he had ideas were mad. “ Listen to rejoined, in all seriousness.
I laughed, and he went to his had rushed to the door they rooms and returned with a large could hear nothing but the leather - bound book, It was night wind. The instances
of lettered, in the rococo style of such disappearances were not a young man's taste, 'Glimpses very common-perhaps once in of the Unknown,' and some of twenty years — but they were the said glimpses he proceeded confined to this one tract of to impart to me. It was not country, and came in a sort of pleasant reading; indeed, I fixed progression from the midhad rarely heard anything so dle of last century, when the well fitted to shatter sensitive record began. But this was
The early part con- only one side of the history. sisted of folk - tales and folk- The latter part was all devoted sayings, some of them wholly to a chronicle of crimes which obscure, some of them with a had gone unpunished, seeing glint of meaning, but all of that no hand had ever been them with
hint of a traced. The list was fuller in mystery in the hills. I heard last century; in the earlier the Brownie story in countless years of the present it had versions. Now the thing was dwindled; then came a revival a friendly little man, who wore about the 'fifties; and grey breeches and lived on again in our own time it had brose; now he was a twisted sunk low. At the little cottage being, the sight of which made of Auchterbrean, on the roadthe ewes miscarry in the lamb- side in Glen Aller, a labourer's ing-time. But the second part wife had been found pierced to was the stranger, for it was the heart. It was thought to made up of actual tales, most be a case of a woman's jealousy, of them with date and place and her neighbour was accused, appended. It was a most Bed- convicted, and hanged. The lamite catalogue of horrors, woman, to be sure, denied the which, if true, made the whole- charge with her last breath; but
1 some moors a place instinct circumstantial evidence seemed with tragedy. Some told of sufficiently strong against her. children carried away from vil. Yet some people in the glen lages, even from towns, on the believed her guiltless. In parverge of the uplands. In al- ticular, the carrier who had
. most every case they were girls, found the dead woman declared and the strange fact was their that the way in which her utter disappearance. Two little neighbour received the news girls would be coming home was a sufficient proof of innofrom school, would be seen last cence; and the doctor who was by a neighbour just where first summoned professed himthe road crossed a patch of self unable to tell with what heath or entered a wood, and instrument the wound had been then—no human eye ever saw given. But this was all before them again. Children's cries the days of expert evidence, so had startled outlying shepherds the woman had been hanged in the night, and when they without scruple. Then there