BLTC Press Titles

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The Pictorial Key to the Tarot

Arthur Edward Waite

The Souls of Black Folk

W. E. B. DuBois

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

A. Conan Doyle

Paradoxes of the Highest Science

Eliphas Levi


by George MacDonald


"I wish you would tell us another story, Malcolm," said Lady Florimel.

Vol. IIL c

"Do," said the marquis: "the place is not consecrated yet."

"Did ye ever hear the tale o' the auld warlock, my lady?" asked Malcolm. "—Only my lord kens 't!" he added.

"/ don't," said Lady Florimel.

"It's great nonsense," said the marquis.

"Do let us have it, papa."

"Very well. I don't mind hearing it again."

He wanted to see how Malcolm would embellish it.

"It seems to me," said Malcolm, "that this ane aboot Lossie Hoose, an' yon ane aboot Colonsay Castel, are verra likly but twa stalks frae the same rute. Ony gait, this ane aboot the warlock maun be the auldest o' the twa. Ye s' hae 't sic 's I hae 't mysel'. Mistress Coorthoup taul' 't to me."

It was after his own more picturesque fashion, however, that he recounted the tale of Lord Gernon.

As the last words left his lips, Lady Florimel gave a startled cry, seized him by the arm, and crept close to him. The marquis jumped to his feet, knocked his head against the rock, uttered an oath, and sat down again.

'"What ails ye, my leddy?" said Malcolm. "There's naething here to hurt ye."

"I saw a face," she said, "— a white face!"


"Beyond you a little way—near the ground," she answered, in a tremulous whisper.

"It's as dark's pick !" said Malcolm, as if thinking it to himself.—He knew well enough that it must be the laird or Phemy, but he was anxious the marquis should not learn the secret of the laird's refuge.

"I saw a face anyhow," said Florimel. "It gleamed white for one moment, and then vanished."

"I wonner ye didna cry oot waur, my leddy," said Malcolm, peering into the darkness.

"I was too frightened. It looked so ghastly !— not more than a foot from the ground."

"Cud it hae been a flash, like, frae yer ain een?"

"No; I am sure it was a face."

"How much is there of this cursed hole ?" asked the marquis, rubbing the top of his head.

"A heap," answered Malcolm. "The grun' gangs doon like a brae ahin' 's, intill a"

"You don't mean right behind us?" cried the marquis.

"Nae jist closs, my lord. We're sittin' i' the mou' o' 't, like, wi' the thrapple (throat) o' 't ahin' 's, an' a muckle stamach avont that."

"I hope there's no danger," said the marquis.

"Nane'at I ken o'."

"No water at the bottom?"

"Nane, my lord—that is, naething but a bonny spring i' the rock-side."

"Come away, papa!" cried Florimel. "I don't like it. I've had enough of this kind of thing."

"Nonsense!" said the marquis, still rubbing his head.

"Ye wad spile a', my leddy! It's ower late, forbye," said Malcolm; "I hear a fut."

He rose and peeped out, but drew back instantly, saying in a whisper:

"It's Mistress Catanach wi' a lantren! Haud yer tongue, my bonny leddy; ye ken weel she's no mowse. Dinna try to leuk, my lord; she micht get a glimp o' ye—she's terrible gleg. I hae been hearin' mair yet aboot her. Yer lordship 's ill to convence, but depen' upo' 't, whaurever that wuman is, there there's mischeef! Whaur she taks a scunner at a body, she hates like the verra deevil. She winna aye lat them ken 't, but taks time to du her ill turns. An' it's no that only, but gien she gets a haud o' onything agane onybody, she 'll save 't up upo' the chance o' their giein' her some offence afore they dee. She never lowses haud o' the tail o' a thing, an' at her ain proaper time, she 's in her natur' bun' to mak the warst use o' 't."

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