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of his deeds, but sought shelter for his unconscious hours in the
spiritual shadow of the chapel, which was in the same wing as his
chamber. His household saw nearly as little of him as his retainers:
when his tread was heard, beating dull on the stone turnpike, or
thundering along the upper corridors in the neighbourhood of his
chamber or of the library - the only other part of the house he
visited, man or maid would dart aside into the next way of escape
- all believing that the nearer he came to finding himself the sole
inhabitant of his house, the better he was pleased. Nor would he
allow man or woman to enter his chamber any more than his laboratory.
When they found sheets or garments outside his door, they removed
them with fear and trembling, and put others in their place.

At length, by means of his enchantments, he discovered that the
man whom he had trusted had been robbing him for many years: all
the time he had been searching for the philosopher's stone, the
gold already his had been tumbling into the bags of his steward.
But what enraged him far more was, that the fellow had constantly
pretended difficulty in providing the means necessary for the
prosecution of his idolized studies: even if the feudal lord could
have accepted the loss and forgiven the crime, here was a mockery
which the man of science could not pardon. He summoned his steward
to his presence, and accused him of his dishonesty. The man denied
it energetically, but a few mysterious waftures of the hand of his
lord, set him trembling, and after a few more, his lips, moving by
a secret compulsion, and finding no power in their owner to check
their utterance, confessed all the truth, whereupon his master
ordered him to go and bring his accounts. He departed all but
bereft of his senses, and staggered home as if in a dream. There he
begged his daughter to go and plead for him with his lord, hoping
she might be able to move him to mercy; for she was a lovely girl,
and supposed by the neighbours, judging from what they considered
her foolhardiness, to have received from him tokens of something
at least less than aversion.

She obeyed, and from that hour disappeared. The people of the house
averred afterwards that the next day, and for days following, they
heard, at intervals, moans and cries from the wizard's chamber, or
some where in its neighbourhood - certainly not from the laboratory;
but as they had seen no one visit their master, they had paid them
little attention, classing them with the other and hellish noises
they were but too much accustomed to hear.

The steward's love for his daughter, though it could not embolden
him to seek her in the tyrant's den, drove him, at length, to
appeal to the justice of his country for what redress might yet
be possible: he sought the court of the great Bruce, and laid his
complaint before him. That righteous monarch immediately despatched
a few of his trustiest men-at-arms, under the protection of a monk
whom he believed a match for any wizard under the sun, to arrest
Lord Gernon and release the girl. When they arrived at Lossie House,
they found it silent as the grave. The domestics had vanished; but
by following the minute directions of the steward, whom no persuasion
could bring to set foot across the threshold, they succeeded in
finding their way to the parts of the house indicated by him. Having
forced the laboratory and found it forsaken, they ascended, in the
gathering dusk of a winter afternoon, to the upper regions of the
house. Before they reached the top of the stair that led to the
wizard's chamber, they began to hear inexplicable sounds, which
grew plainer, though not much louder, as they drew nearer to the
door. They were mostly like the grunting of some small animal of the
hog kind, with an occasional one like the yelling roar of a distant
lion; but with these were now and then mingled cries of suffering,
so fell and strange that their souls recoiled as if they would
break loose from their bodies to get out of hearing of them. The
monk himself started back when first they invaded his ear, and it
was no wonder then that the men-at-arms should hesitate to approach
the room; and as they stood irresolute, they saw a faint light
go flickering across the upper part of the door, which naturally
strengthened their disinclination to go nearer.

"If it weren't for the girl," said one of them in a scared whisper
to his neighbour, "I would leave the wizard to the devil and his

Scarcely had the words left his mouth, when the door opened, and
out came a form - whether phantom or living woman none could tell.
Pale, forlorn, lost, and purposeless, it came straight towards them,
with wide unseeing eyes. They parted in terror from its path. It
went on, looking to neither hand, and sank down the stair. The moment
it was beyond their sight, they came to themselves and rushed after
it; but although they searched the whole house, they could find
no creature in it, except a cat of questionable appearance and
behaviour, which they wisely let alone. Returning, they took up a
position whence they could watch the door of the chamber day and

For three weeks they watched it, but neither cry nor other sound
reached them. For three weeks more they watched it, and then
an evil odour began to assail them, which grew and grew, until at
length they were satisfied that the wizard was dead. They returned
therefore to the king and made their report, whereupon Lord Gernon
was decreed dead, and his heir was enfeoffed. But for many years
he was said to be still alive; and indeed whether he had ever died
in the ordinary sense of the word, was to old Eppie doubtful; for
at various times there had arisen whispers of peculiar sounds, even
strange cries, having been heard issue from that room - whispers
which had revived in the house in Mrs Courthope's own time. No one
had slept in that part of the roof within the memory of old Eppie:
no one, she believed, had ever slept there since the events of her
tale; certainly no one had in Mrs Courthope's time. It was said
also, that, invariably, sooner or later after such cries were
heard, some evil befell either the Lord of Lossie, or some one of
his family.

"Show me the room, Mrs Courthope," said the marquis, rising, as
soon as she had ended.

The housekeeper looked at him with some dismay.

"What!" said his lordship, "you an Englishwoman and superstitious!"

"I am cautious, my lord, though not a Scotchwoman," returned Mrs
Courthope. "All I would presume to say is - Don't do it without
first taking time to think over it."

"I will not. But I want to know which room it is."

Mrs Courthope led the way, and his lordship followed her to the
very door, as he had expected, with which Malcolm had spied Mrs
Catanach tampering. He examined it well, and on the upper part of
it found what might be the remnants of a sunk inscription, so far
obliterated as to convey no assurance of what it was. He professed
himself satisfied, and they went down the stairs together again.


When the next Saturday came, all the friends of the bride or
bridegroom who had "gotten a call" to the wedding of Annie Mair
and Charley Wilson, assembled respectively at the houses of their
parents. Malcolm had received an invitation from both, and had
accepted that of the bride.

Whisky and oatcake having been handed round, the bride, a short
but comely young woman, set out with her father for the church,
followed by her friends in couples. At the door of the church, which
stood on the highest point in the parish, a centre of assault for
all the winds that blew, they met the bridegroom and his party: the
bride and he entered the church together, and the rest followed.
After a brief and somewhat bare ceremony, they issued - the bride
walking between her brother and the groomsman, each taking an
arm of the bride, and the company following mainly in trios. Thus
arranged they walked eastward along the highroad, to meet the
bride's firstfoot.

They had gone about halfway to Portlossie, when a gentleman
appeared, sauntering carelessly towards them, with a cigar in his
mouth. It was Lord Meikleham. Malcolm was not the only one who knew
him: Lizzy Findlay, only daughter of the Partan, and the prettiest
girl in the company, blushed crimson: she had danced with him
at Lossie House, and he had said things to her, by way of polite
attention, which he would never have said had she been of his own
rank. He would have lounged past, with a careless glance, but the
procession halted by one consent, and the bride, taking a bottle
and glass which her brother carried, proceeded to pour out a bumper
of whisky, while the groomsman addressed Lord Meikleham.

"Ye 're the bride's first fut, sir," he said.

"What do you mean by that?" asked Lord Meikleham.

"Here's the bride, sir: she'll tell ye."

Lord Meikleham lifted his hat.

"Allow me to congratulate you," he said.

"Ye 're my first fut," returned the bride eagerly yet modestly, as
she held out to him the glass of whisky.

"This is to console me for not being in the bridegroom's place,
I presume; but notwithstanding my jealousy, I drink to the health
of both," said the young nobleman, and tossed off the liquor. -
"Would you mind explaining to me what you mean by this ceremony?"
he added, to cover a slight choking caused by the strength of the

"It's for luck, sir," answered Joseph Mair. "A first fut wha wadna
bring ill luck upon a new merried couple, maun aye du as ye hae
dune this meenute - tak a dram frae the bride."

"Is that the sole privilege connected with my good fortune?" said
Lord Meikleham. "If I take the bride's dram, I must join the bride's
regiment - My good fellow," he went on, approaching Malcolm, "you
have more than your share of the best things of this world."

For Malcolm had two partners, and the one on the side next Lord
Meikleham, who, as he spoke, offered her his arm, was Lizzy Findlay.

"No as shares gang, my lord," returned Malcolm, tightening his arm
on Lizzie's hand. "Ye mauna gang wi' ane o' oor customs to gang
agane anither. Fisher fowk 's ready eneuch to pairt wi' their
whusky, but no wi' their lasses! - Na, haith!"

Lord Meikleham's face flushed, and Lizzy looked down, very evidently
disappointed; but the bride's father, a wrinkled and brown little
man, with a more gentle bearing than most of them, interfered.

"Ye see, my lord - gien it be sae I maun ca' ye, an' Ma'colm seems
to ken - we're like by oorsel's for the present, an' we're but a
rouch set o' fowk for such like 's yer lordship to haud word o' mou'
wi'; but gien it wad please ye to come ower the gait ony time i'
the evenin', an' tak yer share o' what's gauin', ye sud be walcome,
an' we wad coont it a great honour frae sic 's yer lordship."

"I shall be most happy," answered Lord Meikleham; and taking off
his hat he went his way.

The party returned to the home of the bride's parents. Her mother
stood at the door with a white handkerchief in one hand, and a quarter
of oatcake in the other. When the bride reached the threshold she
stood, and her mother, first laying the handkerchief on her head,
broke the oatcake into pieces upon it. These were distributed among
the company, to be carried home and laid under their pillows.

The bridegroom's party betook themselves to his father's house,
where, as well as at old Mair's, a substantial meal of tea, bread
and butter, cake, and cheese, was provided. Then followed another
walk, to allow of both houses being made tidy for the evening's

About seven, Lord Meikleham made his appearance, and had a hearty
welcome. He had bought a showy brooch for the bride, which she
accepted with the pleasure of a child. In their games, which had
already commenced, he joined heartily, gaining high favour with
both men and women. When the great clothesbasket full of sweeties,
the result of a subscription among the young men, was carried round
by two of them, he helped himself liberally with the rest; and at
the inevitable game of forfeits met his awards with unflinching
obedience; contriving ever through it all that Lizzy Findlay should
feel herself his favourite. In the general hilarity, neither the
heightened colour of her cheek, nor the vivid sparkle in her eyes
attracted notice. Doubtless some of the girls observed the frequency
of his attentions, but it woke nothing in their minds beyond a
little envy of her passing good fortune.

Meikleham was handsome and a lord; Lizzy was pretty though a
fisherman's daughter: a sort of Darwinian selection had apparently
found place between them; but as the same entertainment was going
on in two houses at once, and there was naturally a good deal of
passing and repassing between them, no one took the least notice
of several short absences from the company on the part of the pair.

Supper followed, at which his lordship sat next to Lizzy, and partook
of dried skate and mustard, bread and cheese, and beer. Every man
helped himself. Lord Meikleham and a few others were accommodated
with knives and forks, but the most were independent of such
artificial aids. Whisky came next, and Lord Meikleham being already,
like many of the young men of his time, somewhat fond of strong
drink, was not content with such sipping as Lizzy honoured his
glass withal.

At length it was time, according to age long custom, to undress the
bride and bridegroom and put them to bed - the bride's stocking,
last ceremony of all, being thrown amongst the company, as by its
first contact prophetic of the person to be next married. Neither
Lizzy nor Lord Meikleham, however, had any chance of being thus
distinguished, for they were absent and unmissed.

As soon as all was over, Malcolm set out to return home. As he
passed Joseph Mair's cottage, he found Phemy waiting for him at
the door, still in the mild splendour of her pearl-like necklace.

"I tellt the laird what ye tellt me to tell him, Malcolm," she

"An' what did he say, Phemy?" asked Malcolm.

"He said he kent ye was a freen'."

"Was that a'?"

"Ay; that was a'."

"Weel, ye're a guid lassie."

"Ow! middlin'," answered the little maiden.

Malcolm took his way along the top of the cliffs, pausing now and
then to look around him. The crescent moon had gone down, leaving
a starlit night, in which the sea lay softly moaning at the foot of
the broken crags. The sense of infinitude which comes to the soul
when it is in harmony with the peace of nature, arose and spread
itself abroad in Malcolm's being, and he felt with the Galilaeans
of old, when they forsook their nets and followed him who called
them, that catching fish was not the end of his being, although it
was the work his hands had found to do. The stillness was all the
sweeter for its contrast with the merriment he had left behind
him, and a single breath of wind, like the waft from a passing
wind, kissed his forehead tenderly, as if to seal the truth of his


In the course of a fortnight, Lord Meikleham and his aunt, the bold
faced countess, had gone, and the marquis, probably finding it a
little duller in consequence, began to pay visits in the neighbourhood.
Now and then he would be absent for a week or two - at Bog o'
Gight, or Huntly Lodge, or Frendraught, or Balvenie, and although
Lady Florimel had not much of his society, she missed him at meals,
and felt the place grown dreary from his being nowhere within its

On his return from one of his longer absences, he began to talk to
her about a governess; but, though in a playful way, she rebelled
utterly at the first mention of such an incubus. She had plenty of
material for study, she said, in the library, and plenty of amusement
in wandering about with the sullen Demon, who was her constant
companion during his absences; and if he did force a governess upon
her, she would certainly murder the woman, if only for the sake of
bringing him into trouble. Her easygoing father was amused, laughed,
and said nothing more on the subject at the time.

Lady Florimel did not confess that she had begun to feel her life
monotonous, or mention that she had for some time been cultivating
the acquaintance of a few of her poor neighbours, and finding
their odd ways of life and thought and speech interesting. She had
especially taken a liking to Duncan MacPhail, in which, strange to
say, Demon, who had hitherto absolutely detested the appearance of
any one not attired as a lady or gentleman, heartily shared. She
found the old man so unlike anything she had ever heard or read
of - so full of grand notions in such contrast with his poor
conditions; so proud yet so overflowing with service - dusting
a chair for her with his bonnet, yet drawing himself up like an
offended hidalgo if she declined to sit in it - more than content
to play the pipes while others dined, yet requiring a personal
apology from the marquis himself for a practical joke! so full
of kindness and yet of revenges - lamenting over Demon when he
hurt his foot, yet cursing, as she overheard him once, in fancied
solitude, with an absolute fervour of imprecation, a continuous
blast of poetic hate which made her shiver; and the next moment
sighing out a most wailful coronach on his old pipes. It was all
so odd, so funny, so interesting! It nearly made her aware of human
nature as an object of study. But lady Florimel had never studied
anything yet, had never even perceived that anything wanted studying,
that is, demanded to be understood. What appeared to her most odd,
most inconsistent, and was indeed of all his peculiarities alone
distasteful to her, was his delight in what she regarded only as
the menial and dirty occupation of cleaning lamps and candlesticks;
the poetic side of it, rendered tenfold poetic by his blindness,
she never saw.

Then he had such tales to tell her - of mountain, stream, and
lake; of love and revenge; of beings less and more than natural
- brownie and Boneless, kelpie and fairy; such wild legends also,
haunting the dim emergent peaks of mist swathed Celtic history; such
songs - come down, he said, from Ossian himself - that sometimes
she would sit and listen to him for hours together.

It was no wonder then that she should win the heart of the simple
old man speedily and utterly; for what can bard desire beyond a
true listener - a mind into which his own may, in verse or tale or
rhapsody, in pibroch or coronach, overflow? But when, one evening,
in girlish merriment, she took up his pipes, blew the bag full,
and began to let a highland air burst fitfully from the chanter,
the jubilation of the old man broke all the bounds of reason. He
jumped from his seat and capered about the room, calling her all
the tenderest and most poetic names his English vocabulary would
afford him; then abandoning the speech of the Sassenach, as if
in despair of ever uttering himself through its narrow and rugged
channels, overwhelmed her with a cataract of soft flowing Gaelic,
returning to English only as his excitement passed over into
exhaustion - but in neither case aware of the transition.

Her visits were the greater comfort to Duncan, that Malcolm was now
absent almost every night, and most days a good many hours asleep;
had it been otherwise, Florimel, invisible for very width as was
the gulf between them, could hardly have made them so frequent.
Before the fishing season was over, the piper had been twenty times
on the verge of disclosing every secret in his life to the high
born maiden.

"It's a pity you haven't a wife to take care of you, Mr MacPhail,"
she said one evening. "You must be so lonely without a woman to
look after you!"

A dark cloud came over Duncan's face, out of which his sightless
eyes gleamed.

"She'll haf her poy, and she'll pe wanting no wife," he said
sullenly. "Wifes is paad."

"Ah!" said Florimel, the teasing spirit of her father uppermost
for the moment, "that accounts for your swearing so shockingly the
other day?"

"Swearing was she? Tat will pe wrong. And who was she'll pe swearing

"That's what I want you to tell me, Mr MacPhail."

"Tid you'll hear me, my laty?" he asked in a tone of reflection,
as if trying to recall the circumstance.

"Indeed I did. You frightened me so that I didn't dare come in."

"Ten she'll pe punished enough. Put it wass no harm to curse ta
wicket Cawmill."

"It was not Glenlyon - it wasn't a man at all; it was a woman you
were in such a rage with."

"Was it ta rascal's wife, ten, my laty?" he asked, as if he were
willing to be guided to the truth that he might satisfy her, but
so much in the habit of swearing, that he could not well recollect
the particular object at a given time.

"Is his wife as bad as himself then?"

"Wifes is aalways worser."

"But what is it makes you hate him so dreadfully? Is he a bad man?"

"A fery pad man, my tear laty! He is tead more than a hundert

"Then why do you hate him so?"

"Och hone! Ton't you'll never hear why?"

"He can't have done you any harm."

"Not done old Tuncan any harm! Tidn't you'll know what ta tog would pe
toing to her aancestors of Glenco? Och hone! Och hone! Gif her ta
tog's heart of him in her teeth, and she'll pe tearing it - tearing
it - tearing it!" cried the piper in a growl of hate, and with
the look of a maddened tiger, the skin of his face drawn so tight
over the bones that they seemed to show their whiteness through

"You quite terrify me," said Florimel, really shocked. "If you
talk like that, I must go away. Such words are not fit for a lady
to hear."

The old man heard her rise: he fell on his knees, and held out his
arms in entreaty.

"She's pegging your pardons, my laty. Sit town once more, anchel
from hefen, and she'll not say it no more. Put she'll pe telling
you ta story, and then you'll pe knowing tat what 'll not pe fit
for laties to hear, as coot laties had to pear!"

He caught up the Lossie pipes, threw them down again, searched in
a frenzy till he found his own, blew up the bag with short thick
pants, forced from them a low wail, which ended in a scream - then
broke into a kind of chant, the words of which were something like
what follows: he had sense enough to remember that for his listener
they must be English. Doubtless he was translating as he went on.
His chanter all the time kept up a low pitiful accompaniment, his
voice only giving expression to the hate and execration of the

Black rise the hills round the vale of Glenco;
Hard rise its rocks up the sides of the sky;
Cold fall the streams from the snow on their summits;
Bitter are the winds that search for the wanderer;
False are the vapours that trail o'er the correi
Blacker than caverns that hollow the mountain,
Harder than crystals in the rock's bosom
Colder than ice borne down in the torrents,
More bitter than hail windswept o'er the correi,
Falser than vapours that hide the dark precipice,
Is the heart of the Campbell, the hell hound Glenlyon.

Is it blood that is streaming down into the valley?
Ha! 'tis the red coated blood hounds of Orange.

To hunt the red deer, is this a fit season?
Glenlyon, said Ian, the son of the chieftain:
What seek ye with guns and with gillies so many?

Friends, a warm fire, good cheer, and a drink,
Said the liar of hell, with the death in his heart.

Come home to my house - it is poor, but your own.

Cheese of the goat, and flesh of black cattle,
And dew of the mountain to make their hearts joyful,
They gave them in plenty, they gave them with welcome;
And they slept on the heather, and skins of the red deer.

Och hone for the chief! God's curse on the traitors!
Och hone for the chief - the father of his people!
He is struck through the brain, and not in the battle!

Och hone for his lady! the teeth of the badgers
Have torn the bright rings from her slender fingers!
They have stripped her and shamed her in sight of her clansmen!
They have sent out her ghost to cry after her husband.

Nine men did Glenlyon slay, nine of the true hearts!
His own host he slew, the laird of Inverriggen.

Fifty they slew - the rest fled to the mountains.
In the deep snow the women and children
Fell down and slept, nor awoke in the morning.

The bard of the glen, alone among strangers,
Allister, bard of the glen and the mountain,
Sings peace to the ghost of his father's father,
Slain by the curse of Glenco, Glenlyon.

Curse on Glenlyon! His wife's fair bosom
Dry up with weeping the fates of her children!
Curse on Glenlyon! Each drop of his heart's blood

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