« السابقةمتابعة »
had been another story of pe- looked prosperously for my fishculiar horror, telling of the ing, and I began to forget all death of an old man at some fancies in anticipation of sport. little lonely shieling called Car- Then suddenly in a hollow of rickfey. But at this point I land I came on a ruined cottage. had risen in protest, and made It had been a very small place, to drive the young idiot from but the walls were still halfmy room.
erect, and the little moorland “It was my grandfather who garden was outlined on the turf. collected most of them,” he said. A lonely apple-tree, twisted and “He had theories, but people gnarled with winds, stood in the called him mad, so he was wise midst. enough to hold his tongue. My From higher up on the hill I father declares the whole thing heard a loud roar, and I knew mania ; but I rescued the book, my excellent friend the shepherd had it bound, and added to the of Farawa, who had come thus collection. It is a queer hobby; far to meet me. He greeted me but, as I say, I have theories, with the boisterous embarrass
I and there are more things in ment which was his way of heaven and earth
prefacing hospitality. A grave But'at this he heard a friend's reserved man at other times, on voice in the Quad., and dived such occasions he thought it out, leaving the banal quotation proper to relapse into hilarity. unfinished.
I fell into step with him, and Strange though it may seem, set off for his dwelling, this madness kept coming back But first I had the curiosity to to me as I crossed the last few look back to the tumble-down miles of moor.
I was now on a cottage and ask him its name. rough tableland, the watershed A queer look came into his between two lochs, and beyond eyes. “They ca' the place and above me rose the stony Carrickfey," he said.
“Naebacks of the hills. The burns body has daured to bide there fell down in a chaos of granite this twenty year sin'—but I boulders, and huge slabs of grey see ye ken the story.” And, as stone lay flat and tumbled in if glad to leave the subject, he the heather. The full waters hastened to discourse on fishing.
1 In the light of subsequent events I have jotted down the materials to which I refer. The last authentic record of the Brownie is in the narrative of the shepherd of Clachlands, taken down towards the close of last century by the Reverend Mr Gillespie, minister of Allerkirk, and included by him in his ‘Songs and Legends of Glen Aller.' The authorities on the str ge carrying-away of children are to be found in a series of articles in a local paper, the 'Allerfoot Advertiser,' September and October 1878, and a curious book published anonymously at Edinburgh in 1848, entitled “The Weathergaw.' The records of the unexplained murders in the same neighbourhood are all contained in Mr Fordoun's • Theory of Expert Evidence,' and an attack on the book in the Law Review' for June 1881. The Carrickfey case has a pamphlet to itself—now extremely rare—a copy of which was recently obtained in a bookseller's shop in Dumfries by a well-known antiquary, and presented to the library of the Supreme Court in Edinburgh.
CHAPTER II.-TELLS OF AN EVENING'S TALK.
The shepherd was a master- ment. Below was the wide ful man; tall, save for the stoop kitchen with box-beds, and next which belongs to all moorland to it the inevitable second room, folk, and active as a wild goat. also with its cupboard sleepingHe was not a new importation, places.
The interior was very nor did he belong to the place; clean, and yet I remember to for his people had lived in the have been struck with the faint remote Borders, and he had musty smell which is inseparcome as a boy to this shieling able from moorland dwellings. of Farawa. He was unmarried, The kitchen pleased me best, but an elderly sister lived with for there the great rafters were him and cooked his meals. He black with peat-reek, and the was reputed to be extraordin- uncovered stone floor, on which arily skilful in his trade; I know the fire gleamed dully, gave an for a fact that he was in his air of primeval simplicity. But way a keen sportsman; and his the walls spoiled all, for tawdry few neighbours gave him credit things of to-day had penetrated for a sincere piety. Doubtless even there. Some grocers' althis last report was due in part manacs years old — hung in to his silence, for after his first places of honour, and an extragreeting he was wont to relapse ordinary lithograph of the Royal into a singular taciturnity. As Family in its youth. And this, we strode across the heather he mind you, between crooks and gave me a short outline of his fishing-rods and old guns, and year's lambing “Five pair o' horns of sheep and deer. twins yestreen, twae this morn; The life for the first day or that makes thirty-five yowes two was regular and placid. I that hae lambed since the Sab- was up early, breakfasted on bath. I'll dae weel if God's porridge (a dish which I detest), willin'.” Then, as I looked to- and then off to the lochs and wards the hill-tops whence the streams. At first my sport thin mist of morn was trailing, prospered mightily. With a he followed my gaze.
“See," drake-wing I killed a salmon he said with uplifted crook- of seventeen pounds, and the see that sicht.
Is that no next day had a fine basket of what is written of in the Bible trout from a hill-burn. Then when it says, “The mountains for no earthly reason the weather do smoke.' And with this changed. A bitter wind came piece of apologetics he finished out of the north-east, bringing his talk, and in a little we were showers of snow and stinging at the cottage.
hail, and lashing the waters It was a small enough dwell- into storm. It was now fareing in truth, and yet large for well to fly-fishing. For a day a moorland house, for it had a or two I tried trolling with the garret below the thatch, which minnow on the lochs, but it was was given up to my sole enjoy-· poor sport, for I had no boat,
and the edges were soft and feet savagely against the doormossy. Then in disgust I gave post.
Then he swore at his up the attempt, went back to dogs, a thing I had never heard the cottage, lit my biggest pipe, him do before. “Hell!” he cried, and sat down with a book to can ye no keep out o'my road, await the turn of the weather. ye britts ?” Then he came sul
The shepherd was out from lenly into the kitchen, thawed morning till night at his work, his numbed hands at the fire, and when he came in at last, and sat down to his meal. dog-tired, his face would be set I made some aimless remark and hard, and his eyes heavy about the weather. with sleep. The strangeness of “Death to man and beast," the man grew upon me.
He he grunted. “I hae got the had a shrewd brain beneath his sheep doun frae the hill, but thatch of hair, for I had tried the lambs will never thole this. him once or twice, and found We maun pray that it will no him abundantly intelligent. He last.” had some smattering of an edu
His sister came in with some cation, like all Scottish peasants, dish. “Margit,” he cried, “three
• and, as I have said, he was lambs away this morning, and deeply religious. I set him three deid wi’ the hole in the down as a fine type of his class, throat.” sober, serious, keenly critical, The woman's face visibly free from the bondage of super- paled. “Guid help us, Adam;
“ stition. But I rarely saw him, that hasna happened this three and our talk was chiefly in year. monosyllables — short interjec- “It has happened noo," he ted accounts of the number of said, surlily. * But, by God! lambs dead or alive on the hill. if it happens again I'll gang Then he would produce a pencil mysel' to the Scarts o' the and notebook, and be immersed Muneraw.” in some calculation; and finally “O Adam !” the woman cried he would be revealed sleeping shrilly, “haud your tongue. Ye heavily in his chair, till his kenna wha hears ye.” And with sister wakened him, and he a frightened glance at me she
, stumbled off to bed.
left the room. So much for the ordinary I asked no questions, but course of life; but one day, waited till the shepherd's anger the second I think of the bad should cool. But the cloud did weather the extraordinary not pass so lightly. When he happened. The storm had had finished his dinner he pulled passed in the afternoon into a his chair to the fire and sat starresolute and blinding sņow, and ing moodily. He made some the shepherd, finding it hope- sort of apology to me for his less on the hill, came home conduct. “I'm sore troubled, about three o'clock. I could sir; but I'm vexed ye should see make out from his
Maybe things entering that he was in a
will be better the morn." And great temper. He kicked his then, lighting his short black
pipe, he resigned himself to his I began to think that the meditations.
man's wits were unhinged, and But he could not keep quiet. the thought did not give me Some nervous unrest seemed to satisfaction. I had no relish have possessed the man. He for the prospect of being left got up with a start and went alone in this moorland dwellto the window, where the snow ing with the cheerful company was drifting unsteadily past. of a maniac. But his next As he stared out into the storm movements reassured me. He I heard him mutter to himself, was clearly only dead - tired, “Three away, God help me, for he fell sound asleep in his and three wi' the hole in the chair, and by the time his sister throat."
brought tea and wakened him, Then he turned round to me he seemed to have got the better abruptly. I was jotting down of his excitement. notes for an article I contem- When the window was shutplated in the 'Revue Celtique,' tered and the lamp lit, I set so my thoughts were far away myself again to the completion from the present. The man re- of
my notes. The shepherd had called me by demanding fiercely, got out his Bible, and was sol“Do ye believe in God ?” emnly reading with one great
I gave him some sort of finger travelling down the lines. answer in the affirmative.
He was smoking, and whenever “Then do ye believe in the some text came home to him Devil ?” he asked.
with power he would make The reply must have been pretence to underline it with less satisfactory, for he came the end of the stem. Soon I forward and flung himself vio- had finished the work I desired, lently into the chair before me. and, my mind being full of my
“What do ye ken about it?" pet hobby, I fell into an inquisihe cried. “ You that bides in a tive frame of mind, and began southern toun, what can ye ken to question the solemn man o the God that works in thae opposite on the antiquities of hills and the Devil — ay, the the place. manifold devils—that He suffers He stared stupidly at me to bide here? I tell ye, man, when I asked him concerning that if
had seen what I have monuments or ancient weapons. seen ye wad be on your knees “I kenna,” said he. “There's at this moment praying to God a heap o' queer things in the to pardon your unbelief. There hills. are devils at the back o' every “This place should be stane and hidin' in every cleuch, centre for such relics. You and it's by the grace o' God know that the name of the alone that a man is alive upon hill behind the house, as far the earth.” His voice had risen as I can make it out, means high and shrill, and then sud- the ‘Place of the Little Men.' denly he cast a frightened It is a good Gaelic word, glance towards the window though there is some doubt and was silent.
about its exact interpretation.
But clearly the Gaelic peoples o’death on a man he aye speaks did not speak of themselves well of it.” when they gave
name; It was true—the Eumenides they must have referred to and the Good Folk over again ; some older and stranger popu- and I awoke with interest to lation."
the fact that the conversation The shepherd looked at me was getting into strange chandully, as not understanding. nels.
“It is partly this fact-be- The shepherd moved uneasily sides the fishing, of course
in his chair. “I am a man that which interests in this fears God, and has nae time countryside,” said I, gaily. for daft stories; but I havena
Again he cast the same queer traivelled the hills for twenty frightened glance towards the years wi' my een shut. If I window. “If ye'll tak the say that I could tell ye stories advice of an aulder man,” he o' faces seen in the mist, and said, slowly, “ye'll let well queer things that have knocked alane and no meddle wi’un- against me in the snaw, wad canny things.”
ye believe me?
I wager ye I laughed pleasantly, for at wadna. Ye wad say I had last I had found out my hard- been drunk, and yet I am a headed host in a piece of child- God-fearing temperate man.” ishness. “Why, I thought that He rose and went to a cupyou of all men would be free board, unlocked it, and brought from superstition.”
out something in his hand, which What do ye call superstee- he held out to me. I took it tion?” he asked.
with some curiosity, and found “A belief in old wives' tales," that it was a flint arrow-head. said I, “a trust in the crude Clearly a flint arrow-head, supernatural and the patently and yet like none that I had impossible.”
ever seen in
any collection. For He looked at me beneath his one thing it was larger, and the shaggy brows. “How do ye barb less clumsily thick. More, ken what is impossible? Mind the chipping was new, or comye, sir, ye're no in the toun just paratively so; this thing had now, but in the thick of the wild not stood the wear of fifteen hills.'
hundred years among the stones “But, hang it all, man," I of the hillside. Now there are, cried, "you don't mean to say I regret to say, institutions that you believe in that sort which manufacture primitive of thing? I am prepared for relics; but it is not hard for a many things up here, but not practised eye to see the differfor the Brownie, - though, to ence. The chipping has either be sure, if one could meet him a regularity and a balance which in the flesh, it would be rather is unknown in the real thing, pleasant than otherwise, for he or the rudeness has been overwas a companionable sort of done, and the result is an imfellow.”
plement incapable of harming “When a thing pits the fear a mortal creature. But this