BY THE SAME AUTHOR.
EACH COMPLETE IN ONE VOLUME.
THE MARQUIS OF LOSSIE.
WHAT'S MINE'S MINE.
ANNALS OF A QUIET NEIGHBOURHOOD.
THE SEABOARD PARISH: A Sequel to "Annals
of a Quiet Neighbourhood."
WILFRID CUMBERMEDE: An Autobiographical
PAUL FABER, SURGEON.
THOMAS WINGFOLD, CURATE.
ST. GEORGE AND ST. MICHAEL.
THE ELECT LADY.
THERE AND BACK.
THE FLIGHT OF THE SHADOW.
LONDON : KEGAN PAUL, TRENCH, TRUBNER & Co., LrB
A HOMELY ROMANCE
GEORGE MAC DONALD, LL.D.
AUTHOR OF "MALCOLM," "THE MARQUIS OF LOSSIK "
"ST. GEORGE AND ST. MICHAEL," ETC.
KEGAN PAUL, TRENCH, TRUBNER & CO., LT'
DRYDEN HOUSE, GERRARD STREET, W.
(T7u rights of translation and of reproduction are reserved.)
-/ . 5
MRS. RUSSELL GURNEY:
A broken tale of endless things,
Take, lady : thou art not of those
Who in what vale a fountain springs
Would have its journey close.
Countless beginnings, fair first parts,
Leap to the light, and shining flow ;
All broken things, or toys or hearts,
Are mended where they go.
Then down thy stream, with hope-filled sail,
Float faithful, fearless on, loved friend;
'Tis God that has begun the tale,
And does not mean to end.
G. M. D.
ItaXDlGHMA, Marck t i6Sa.
I. CASTLE WARLOCK ...
II. THE KITCHEN ...
III. THE DRAWING-ROOM
IV. AN AFTERNOON SLEEP .
V. THE SCHOOL
VI. GRANNIE'S COTTAGE
VIII. HOME ,
IX. THE FELLOW-STUDENTS
X. A MORNING
XI. PETER SIMON
XII. THE NEW SCHOOLING ..
XIII. GRANNIE'S GHOST STORY
XIV. THE STORM GUEST
XV. THE CASTLE INN
XVI. THAT NIGHT
XVII. IN THE MORNING ...
XVIII. BEFORE DINNER
XIX. THE AFTERNOON
XX. THE EVENING ...
XXI. THAT SAME NIGHT ...
XXII. A WINTER IDYLL
XXIII. AN INTERLUNAR CAVE
XXIV. THE WATCHMAKER
XXV. THE LUMINOUS NIGHT
XXVI. AT COLLEGE
XXVII. A TUTORSHIP
XXVIII. ON THE TRAMP
XXIX. THE GARDENER
XXX. LOST AND FOUND
XXXI. A TRANSFORMATION
I 5 8
XXXIII. THE STORY OF THE KNIGHT WHO SPOKE THE TRUTH 200
XXXIV. NEW EXPERIENCE ... ... ... ... 204
XXXV. CHARLES JERMYN ... ... ... , M ... 206
XXXVI. COSMO AND THE DOCTOR ... ... ... 211
XXXVII. THE NAIAD ... ... 214
XXXVIII. THE GARDEN-HOUSE ... ... ... ... 219
XXXIX. CATCH YOUR HORSE ... ... ... ... 224
XL. PULL HIS TAIL ... ... ... ... 226
XLI. THE THICK DARKNESS ... ... ... ... 232
XLII. THE DAWN ... ... ... ... ... 236
XLIII. HOME AGAIN ... ... ... ... ... 240
XLIV. THE SHADOW OF DEATH ... ... ... 244
XLV. THE LABOURER ... . ... ... ... 249
XLVI. THE SCHOOLMASTER ... ... ... ... 260
XLVII. GRANNIE AND THE STICK ... ... ... ... 264
XLVIII. OBSTRUCTION ... ... ... ... ... 267
XLIX. GRIZZIE'S RIGHTS ... ... ... ... ... 270
L. ANOTHER HARVEST ... ... ... ... 278
LI. THE FINAL CONFLICT ... ... ... ... 287
LII. A REST ... ... ... ... ... 293
LIII. HELP ... ... ... ... ... ... 303
LIV. A COMMON MIRACLE ... ... ... ... 310
LV. DEFIANCE ... ... ... ... ... 313
LVI. DISCOVERY AND CONFESSION ...
LVII. IT is NAUGHT, SAITH THE BUYER ...
LVIII. AN OLD STORY
LIX. A SMALL DISCOVERY
LX. A GREATER DISCOVERY
LXI. A GREAT DISCOVERY
LXII. MR. BURNS ...
LXIII. Too SURE, Too LATE
LXIV. A LIFE WELL ROUNDED
LXV. A BREAKING UP ...
LXVII. THE THIRD HARVEST
LXVIII. A DUET, TRIO, AND QUARTET ...
LXIX. ANOTHER DUET .. ... ... ...
A. ROUGH, wild glen it was, to which, far back in times unknown
to its annals, the family of Warlock had given its name, sharing in
return no small portion of its history, and a good deal of the
character of its inhabitants. Glenwarlock lay in debatable land
between Highlands and Lowlands ; most of its people spoke both
Scotch and Gaelic, and there was in them a notable mingling of
the chief characteristics of the widely differing Celt and Goth.
The country produced more barley than wheat, more oats than
barley, more heather than oats, more boulders than trees, and
more snow than anything. It was a thinly peopled region, con-
sisting mostly of bare hills and partially cultivated glens, each glen
with its small stream, on the banks of which grew here and there
a silver birch, a mountain ash, or an alder tree ; but the trees were
small, and there was nothing capable of giving much shade or
shelter, except cliffy banks and big stones. From many a spot
you might look in all directions without seeing a sign of human or
other habitation. Even then, however, you might, to be sure,
most likely smell the perfume to some nostrils it is nothing less
than perfume of a peat fire, although you might be long in
finding out whence it came ; for the houses, if indeed the dwell-
ings could be called houses, were often so difficult to distinguish
from the ground on which they were built, that except the smoke
of fresh peats were coming pretty freely from the wide-mouthed
chimney, it required an experienced eye to discover the human
nest. The valleys that opened northward produced little ; there
in some years the snow might be seen lying on patches of oats yet
a CASTLE WARLOCK.
green, destined now only for fodder ; but where the valley ran
east and west, and any tolerable ground looked to the south,
things put on a different aspect. There the graceful oats and the
long-bearded barley would wave and rustle in the ripening wind ;
in the small gardens would be found potatoes and peas in their
season; and there also would lurk for weeks a few cherished
Upon a natural terrace of such a slope to the south stood
Castle Warlock. But it turned no smiling face to the region
whence came the warmth and the growth. A more grim, repellent,
unlovely building would be hard to find; and yet, from its
extreme simplicity, its utter indifference to its own looks, its
repose, its weight, and its gray historical consciousness, no one
who loved houses would have thought of calling it ugly. It was
like the hard-featured face of a Scotch matron, with no end of
story, of life, of character, holding a defensive if not defiant front
to the world, but within warm, and tending carefully the fires of
life. Summer and winter, from the chimneys of that desolate-
looking house issued smoke ; for though the country was inclement,
and the people that lived in it were poor, the great, sullen, almost
unhappy-looking hills held clasped to their bare cold bosoms
exposed to the bitterness of freezing winds and summer hail, the
warmth of household centuries : their peat-bogs were the store-
closets and wine-cellars of the sun, for the hoarded elixir of
The House of Glenwarlock, as it was also sometimes called,
consisted of three massive, narrow, tall blocks of building, which
showed little connection with each other beyond juxtaposition,
two of them standing end to end, with but a few feet of space
between, and the third at right angles to the two. In the two
which stood end to end, hardly a window was to be seen on the
side towards the valley ; while in the third, which, looking much of
the same period, had all its upper part of later origin, were more
windows, though none in the ground story. Narrow as were these
buildings, and four stories high, they had a solid, ponderous look,
suggesting a thickness of the walls such as to leave little of a
hollow within for the occupiers; they were like the huge shell
built for itself by a small mollusk. On the other side of them was
a kind of court, completed by the stables and cow-houses, and
towards this court were most of the windows, some of them small
enough for a cottage. The court was now little better than a
In the block that stood angle-wise to the other two was the
kitchen, the door of which opened immediately on the court ; and
CASTLE WARLOCK. 3
behind the kitchen was the milk-cellar, as they called the dairy,
and places for household storage. A rough causeway ran along
the foot of the walls, connecting the doors in the different blocks.
Of these the kitchen-door for the most part stood open. Some-
times the snow would be coming fast down the wide chimney,
with little soft hisses in the fire, and the business of the house
going on without a thought of closing it, even when you could not
have seen from it across the yard for the falling flakes.
But at the time when my story opens, the summer held the old
house and the older hills in its wide embrace. The sun was
pouring torrents of light and heat into the valley, and the slopes
of it were covered with green. The bees were about, contenting
themselves with flowers while the heather was getting ready its
bloom for them. And a boy of fourteen was sitting in the little
garden that lay like a dropped girdle about the feet of the grim
old walls, parting the house from the slope where the corn stood
now with the half-formed ear. He sat on a big stone, which once
must have had some part in the house or its defences, but which
he had never known except as a seat. His back leaned against
the hoary wall, and he was in truth meditating, although he did
not look as if he were.
He was already more than an incipient philosopher, though he
could not yet ^ have put into recognizable shape the things that
were now passing through his mind. He thought how glad the
bees would be when their crop of heather was ripe; then he
thought how they preferred the heather to the flowers ; then, that
the one must taste nicer to them than the other ; and next awoke
the question whether their taste of sweet was the same as his own.
" For," thought he, " if their honey is sweet to them with the same
sweetness with which it is sweet to me, then there is something in
the make of the bee that's the same with the make of me ; and
perhaps a man might some day, if he wanted, try the taste of being
a bee all out" But to see him, nobody would have thought he
was doing anything but basking in the sun. The scents of the
flowers about his feet came borne on the eddies of the air, and
paid my lord many a visit in the ante-chamber, his brain; the
windy noises of the insects, the watery noises of the pigeons, the
family noises from the poultry-yard, the rushing song of the moun-
tain river, all visited him through the portals of his ears ; but at
the moment the boy seemed lost, not in thought as was the fact,
but in the fundamental enjoyment of mere existence.
Neither, although broad summer was on the earth, and all the
hill-tops and as much of the valleys as their shadows did not hide
were bathed in sunlight, although the country was his native land,
4 CASTLE WARLOCK.
and he loved it with the love of his country's poets, was the con-
sciousness of the boy free from a certain trouble connected with,
if not immediately arising from the landscape before him. A Celt
through many of his ancesters, and his mother in particular, his
soul, full of undefined emotion, was aware of an ever-recurring
impulse to song ever as it came, checked and broken, and
thrown back upon itself. There were a few books in the house,
amongst them certain volumes of verse a copy of Cowley, whose
notable invocation of Light he had instinctively blundered upon,
Milton's poems, the translated Ossian, Thomson's Seasons, with a
few more ; and from the reading of these, among other results was
this that, in the midst of his enjoyment of the world around him,
he sighed after a lovelier nature than he beheld. Then there were
in the house one or two old engravings of forest, mountain, and
ocean scenery, on which he looked with a strange, inexplicable
reverence ; and sometimes he would wake weeping from a dream
of such or yet grander mountains, such trees, or such endless wilds
of water. Once with his waking eyes he saw a mist, afar between
the hills that ramparted the horizon, grow rosy in the upshot rays
of the sunken sun, and his heart filled with the joy of a discovered
loveliness. Around him, it was true, the waters rushed well from
their hills, but their banks had little beauty. Not merely did
their lack of trees distress him, but the nature of their channels :
most of them, instead of rushing through rocks, as he would have
had them, cut their way only through beds of rough gravel, and
their bare surroundings were desolate without grandeur almost
mean to eyes that were not yet able to see the soul of them ; nor
had he yet learned to admire the lucent brown of the bog-waters.
There seemed to be in the boy a strain of some race nursed in a
richer home, while yet all the time the frozen regions drew his
fancy more than the azure glories of the south.
His name was Cosmo, a name brought from Italy by one of
the line who had lent for hire his arm and sword and fought for
strangers. Not a few from the younger branches of the family
had followed the same evil profession and taken foreign pay
chiefly from poverty and prejudice combined, but not a little in
more than one case from the inborn love of fighting that seems
to characterize the Celt. The last soldier of them had served the
East India Company both by sea and land. Tradition plainly
delivered that he had yet more served himself. For several
generations the heads of the house had been the chief cultivators
of their own property, drawing from it what to many farmers
nowadays would seem but a scanty return. The estate had
dwindled to the twentieth part of what it had been a few centuries
CASTLE WARLOCK. 5
before, chough even then it could never have made its proprietor
rich in anything but the devotion of his retainers.
Finding it too hot between sun and wall, Cosmo rose, left the
garden, and crossing a certain heave of grass, came upon one of
the hitherto unfailing delights in his lot a preacher whose voice,
inarticulate it is true, had, ever since he was born, been at most
times louder in his ear than any other. It was a mountain stream,
which, unlike most of the rest, ran through a channel of rock, and
went roaring, rushing, sometimes thundering, with an arrow-like,
foamy swiftness, down to the river in the glen below. The rocks
were dark, and the foam shone brilliant against them. From the
hill-top came the stream, sloping steep from far. When you looked
up, it seemed to come flowing from the horizon itself, and when
you looked down, it seemed suddenly to find it could no more
return to the regions it had left, and shoot headlong in dismay to
the abyss. There was not much water in it now, though plenty
to make a joyous white rush through the deep-worn brown of the
rock, but in the autumn and spring it came down gloriously, dark
and fierce, as if it sought the very centre, wild with greed after an
The boy stood and gazed, as was his custom. Always when
he grew weary, or when the things about him put on a too ordinary
look, he would seek this endless water. Let the aspect of this
be what it might, it seemed still inspired and sent forth by some
essential mystery, some endless possibility.
There was in him an unusual combination of the power to
read the hieroglyphic aspect of things, and the scientific nature
that bows before fact. He knew that the stream was neither in
its first nor its second stage when it rose from the earth to rush to
the river, that it was pumped from the great ocean up to the
reservoirs of the sky, and thence descended in snows and rains
to wander down and up through the veins of the earth ; but until
now his growing knowledge had never assailed his feeling of its
mystery. The poetic nature was not merely predominant in him,
but dominant, sending itself a pervading spirit through the science
that else would have stifled him. For there is nothing in the
outer fact by which man can live, any more than by bread; it
needs the poetic eye, illuminating with polarized ray as it pierces,
to reveal in the heart of fact its life, that is, its eternal relations.
But now he stood gazing in a mood different from any that
had come to him before, for he had discovered something very
sad about the stream. He had long vaguely known that what
in the stream, from earliest childhood, drew him with an unfail-
ing power, was the sense, for a long time an ever-growing one
6 CASTLE WARLOCK.
of its mystery the form the infinite first takes to the simplest
and liveliest hearts. He loved it because it was always flowing,
because it could not stop : whence it came was unknown to him,
and he did not care to know. When he learned that it issued
from the dark hard earth, the mystery had only grown. He
imagined a wondrous cavity below, in black rock, where the water
gathered and gathered, nobody could think how not coming
from anywhere else, but beginning just there. When, later on,
he had to shift his idea of its source, and think of it as in the
great sky, the marvel was no less marvellous, and more lovely;
it bound closer the gentle earth and the awful withdrawing
heavens. The sky was a region of endless hopes and ever re-
current despairs ; that the beloved earthly thing should rise there,
gave him one homely fact concerning the unknown and appalling.
But from the sky he was sent back to the earth in yet farther
pursuit ; for whence came the rain, as his books told him, but
from the sea ? The sea he had read of, though never yet beheld,
and he knew it magnificent ; gladly, as he thought with himself
under the wall, would he have hailed it an intermediate betwixt
the sky and the earth, with the sky coming first, but, alas, the sea
was before the sky in the order of the stream's genesis ! And
then, worse and worse ! how was the ocean fed but from the
torrent ? How was the sky fed but from the ocean ? How was
the dark fountain fed but from the sky ? How was the torrent
fed but from the fountain ? As he sat in the hot garden, leaning
against the old gray castle, the nest of his family for countless
generations, with the scent of the flowers in his nostrils, and the
sound of the bees in his ears, he became aware that he had lost
the stream of his childhood the mysterious, infinite idea of
endless, inexplicable, original birth, of outflowing because of es-
sential existence within. There was no production any more,
nothing but the merest rushing around, like the ring-sea of Saturn,
in a never ending circle of formal change 1 Like a great dish,
the mighty ocean was skimmed in particles invisible ; these were
gathered aloft into sponges all water and no sponge ; and thence
through many an airy, many an earthly channel, deflowered of its
mystery, his ancient, self-producing fountain to a holy, merry river,
was fed only fed I It was but a cistern after all ! He grew very
sad, and well he might. Moved by the spring eternal in himself,
whereof the love in his heart was a river-shape, he turned away
from the deathened stream, and without knowing why, sought the
humanity in the castle.
( 7 )
HE entered the wide kitchen, paved with large slabs of slate.
One brilliant gray-blue spot of sunlight lay on the floor. It came
through a small window to the east, and made the peat-fire glow
red in contrast. Over the fire, from a great chain, hung a three-
legged pot, in which something was slowly cooking. Between the
fire and the sun-spot lay a cat, content with fate and the world.
At the corner of the fire sat an old lady, in a chair high-backed,
thick-padded, covered with striped stuff. She had her face to
the window that looked into the court, and was knitting without
regarding her needles. This was Cosmo's grandmother. The
daughter of a small laird in the next parish, she had started in
life with an overweening sense of her own importance through
that of her family, nor, old as she was, had she lived long enough
to get rid of it I fancy she clung to it the more that from the
time of her marriage nothing seemed to go well with the family
into which she had married. She and her husband had struggled
and striven, but to no seeming purpose ; poverty had drawn its
meshes closer and closer around them. They had but one son,
the present laird, and when he succeeded, the estate was yet
smaller and more heavily encumbered than before. In all likeli-
hood he must leave it to Cosmo, if indeed he left it, in no better
condition. Partly from the growing fear of its final loss, he loved
the place more than any of his ancestors had loved it, and his
attachment to it had come out yet stronger in his son.
But although Cosmo the elder fought and wrestled with en-
croaching poverty, gaining no real advantage, he never forgot
small rights in anxiety to be rid of large claims. What man could,
he did to keep his poverty from bearing hard on his dependents,
and never master or landlord was more beloved.
Such being his character and the condition of his affairs, it is
not surprising he should have reached middle age before think-
ing seriously of marriage. Nor did he then fall in love, in the
ordinary sense of the phrase j he reflected with himself that it
would be cowardice to yield so far to poverty as to run the boat
of the Warlocks aground. He would not wilfully leave the scrag-
ends of a property and a history without a man to take them up,
and possibly bear them on to redemption ; who could tell what
life might be in the stock yet ? Better leave an heir to take the
8 CASTLE WARLOCK.
remnant in charge, and carry the name a generation farther, even
should it be into yet deeper poverty. A Warlock could face his
fate ! Thereupon, with a sense of the fitness of things not always
manifested on such an occasion, he paid his addresses to a woman
of five and thirty, the only daughter of the minister of the parish,
and was by her accepted with little hesitation. She was a capable
and thoroughly brave woman, and, fully informed of the state of
his affairs, married him partly in the hope of doing something to
help him in his difficulties. A few pounds which she had saved
up, and a trifle that her mother had left her, she placed un-
reservedly at his disposal, and he, in his abounding honesty, spent
the money on his creditors. This bettered things for a time, and,
which was of much more consequence, greatly relieved his mind,
and gave the life in him a fresh start. Nor was this by any means
the only or most operative mode in which the marriage aided his
growth, and thus was of infinitely more salvation to the laird than
if it had set him free from all his worldly embarrassments, for
growth is the only final path out of oppression.
Whatever were the feelings with which the laird took his wife
home, they were at least those of a gentleman ; and it were a
good thing indeed if, at the end of five years, the love of most
pairs who marry'for love were equal to that of Cosmo Warlock
and his middle-aged wife. Now that she was gone, his reverence
and love for her were surpassing. From the day almost of his
marriage the miseries of life had lost half their bitterness, noi iid
that half return at her death. He had long instinctively known'
that outsiders, those even who respected him as an honest man,
believed that, somehow or other, they could only conjecture how,
he must be to blame for the circumstances he was in. That he
was to blame, or that Providence did not take care of the just
man, was indeed virtually the unuttered alternative conclusion of
many who nevertheless accepted the Bible, the Book of Job in-
cluded, and would have counted Glenwarlock's rare honesty, had
they known it in its fulness, pride or fastidiousness or unjustifiable
free-handedness. Whether to blame or only God-forsaken, they
thought and spoke of him as a poor creature ; and the man, from
the keen sensitiveness of his nature, had become aware of the
fact But to the wound caused by the misprision of neighbours
and friends came the faith and indignant confidence of his wife,
closing and binding up and mollifying. The man was of a far
finer nature than any of those who judged him, though some of
them doubtless would have got rid of their difficulties sooner than
he, for he was more honourable in debt than they were out of it :
his wife, a woman of strong sense, with an undeveloped stratum
THE KITCHEN. 9
of poetry in the heart of it, was able to appreciate his moral
delicacy, and she let him know it. This was strength and a lift-