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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 me—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 nerves. 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
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
CHAPTER II. –TELLS OF AN EVENING'S TALK.
The shepherd was a master- ment.
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.
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 way of
me like this.
Maybe things entering that he was in a will be better the morn." And great temper. He kicked his then, lighting his short black