BLTC Press Titles


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The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

A. Conan Doyle


Novalis Including Hymns to the Night

Novalis, George MacDonald, Thomas Carlyle


Some Experiences of an Irish R. M.

Edith Somerville and Martin Ross


The Story of Doctor Dolittle

Hugh Lofting


Old Sir Douglas

by Caroline Sheridan Norton

Excerpt:

It cannot be. As well ask for the harebells that waved in the mountain breeze in those long-forgotten springs; the fox-glove that grew by the woodland bower, and smiled down on the autumn fern, in that sweet and lonesome spot where now, perhaps, stands some busy wayside inn; thronged and crowded!

But this one bower — of the thousands that lie scattered about, sadder than tombs, among the playplaces of forgotten generations — had been carefully tended through all days of external change. Kenneth of Torrieburn had first repaired it, and made a fishing

lodge of it, — for love of absent Douglas, his Eton brother, his soldier brother, his brother far away! Sir Douglas had had it afterwards sacredly kept, for sake of the dead brother he had loved so well. Little Kenneth, the orphan, had been taken to it as to a haunt of memory and love; and there often had Sir Douglas told, how the father he could not remember had helped to build it. And in these latter times Gertrude saw to the re-thatching with heather in bloom, and fresh firsupports, of that simple edifice; sacred to the past, when “Old Sir Douglas” was a blooming boy!

It was still, what it was then, — a favourite haunt of the dwellers in Glenrossie; and many a day the silence of the sweet rocky shore was broken by voices —— there, and “in the broomy knowe under the birken trees,” where poor Maggie Heaton, in the days of her girlish beauty, listened to Kenneth’s father— and fell.

A merry day now they had on that placid shore; and it was on their landing that the beautiful Spaniard gave utterance to the speech which so surprised Gertrude, as containing a gayer allusion than she would have thought possible to Kenneth’s unhappy vice of drunkenness.

Of the three boats containing the party, Kenueth’s touched the shore first, steered by the Neapolitan Giuseppe, who had become a sort of necessity of life to that spoilt child of fortune.

He handed out his bride; who, touching lightly with her thinly-shod little foot on the landing-board, looked up at the rustic fagade where her own name and the word “Bienvenida!” had been woven in rich colours, with dahlias and hollyhocks intermingled with flowering myrtle.

“Ah!” she said, “that is my own little house, my ‘descansadéro,"' a palomdr for Kennet and me. Now, walk into my ‘habitacion’ straight, very straight, moch straighter than you could have walk last night, or I will make a very angry ‘ama di casa.’ And drink no drink but the lake water, and that only ‘with your eyes,’ like the pretty song of your English poet. For into my ‘palomar’ shall come only loving birds; no ‘solteron,’ no stupid old bachelor, nor tipsy man; in this sunshine shall not even the ‘sombrage’ of such a one be allowed — only the young, the gay, the handsome. And Sir Douglas!"

The coquettish flash of the large dark eyes at young Craigievar during the first words of the concluding phrase, was lost in the merry laugh of all, at the pause which preceded Sir Douglas’s name. He smiled.

“You cannot, at least, make me an exception as an old bachelor,” said he, gaily; “so let all the boat’s crew land, and sit outside Dofia Eusebia’s ‘descansadéro,’ for I am sure inside there will only be room for the ladies.”

The day was beautiful; the tempers of all as cloudless as the sky; and the little exaggerated order to drink “only water,” very slightly infringed upon by the general company; while the poet’s line,

“Drink to me only with thine eyes,“

was certainly very strictly obeyed by young Monzies, if by no one else.

But, though Eusebia was coquettish as ever (for, indeed, it was not in her nature to be otherwise), her coquetries were reserved for Kenneth, with very iso


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