The Master of Ballantrae: A Winter's Tale

By Robert Louis

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...Transcribed from the 1914 Cassell and Company edition by David Price,
email ccx074@pglaf.org





...

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...recollected.
Elsewhere he is refreshed to see attractive faces, to remark possible
friends; there he scouts the...

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...without a pang of
reprobation, and he could not feel the pang without betraying it. ...

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...answered, that the papers in question were all in
Mackellar’s own hand, all (as the writer...

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...these matters
plain, or so desirous to narrate them faithfully. I knew the Master; on
many...

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...master of
Ballantrae, James in baptism, took from his father the love of serious
reading; some of...

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...in trade. This money
was loudly called for by my lord’s necessities; indeed the land...

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...will be Lord Durrisdeer,” said the Master. “I put all I have upon
the table.”

“I...

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...repeated it again the third time. Whether it was the Master’s
levity, or his insubordination,...

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...to the ground. It was Macconochie who picked it up; and he
still kept it,...

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...Henry’s speech, and he had years of injustice on his
conscience. Still it was a...

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...had it not been—strangely enough—for the
circumstance of his extreme unpopularity.

This was the work of Tam...

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...to the Master, and by all accounts been very badly used, yet made
herself a kind...

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...you the plain truth,” he said, “I dare not
show my face.”

“You are the first of...

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...would have taken any
man, that cold morning, to hear all the old clashes of the...

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...room; she was very far
gone, Miss Katharine being due in about six weeks, which made...

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...I could ride and run the danger of my life,
with these lawless companions.”

I told him...

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...cry, “and be damned to them!
The Master—the deil’s in their thrapples that should call him...

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...as if to
the world at large: “This is a very good son to me.” ...

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...it, and now that he
is sick I know not to whom I should look unless...

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...out. This was when
she had had enough of me for an audience, and had...

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...gravity.

“And observe,” I continued, “I give you this advice upon consideration;
and yet my heart was...

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...out. It seems it was an old custom when the
family were alone in Durrisdeer,...

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...talk with me
upon some topic of the estates—he could speak of little else but
business, and...

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...wished to speak with the steward; sneering at the name
of my office.

I asked what manner...

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...at
a most damnable risk to myself, to see your masters—if you’ll excuse me,
my good man,...

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...Henry Durie,” said she; “but before my marriage my name was
Alison Graeme.”

Then my lord spoke...

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...at this he was somewhat nonplussed. “To
be sure!” says he; “how very dull of...

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...and I think I shall best answer my own purpose
and fulfil his wishes by printing...

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...calls
upon the Master to alight and have it out.

“Why, Mr. Stewart,” says the Master, “I...

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...pair of ancient paladins) whether we were to cut each
other’s throats or be sworn friends....

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...my telling.”

I could not help laughing at this; though I still forewarned him what
would come...

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...and black, with a
great sea running, and every mark of foul weather. In this...

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...whole.

What kind of a pandemonium that vessel was, I cannot describe, but she
was commanded by...

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...offers the most extraordinary picture of the folly that ruled in
our concerns. We were...

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...for his
position with the crew; and the way in which he set about regaining what
he...

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...And on one
thing my mind is made up: I will not hang if I can...

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...designs, and Ballantrae kept his lead, to my
admiration, from that day forth. I would...

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...buffoonery made upon a very
anxious heart; but preserved on most occasions a great deal of...

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...at
last. Everywhere else the defence (where there was any at all) was what
the worst...

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...a light lifting haze, we passed the head. A little after, the haze
lifted, and...

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...stirred
and threw me off, I could not think he was much in liquor; and yet...

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...to load
for both of us this morning. Secondly, as there is someone else who
knows...

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...most anxious precaution, rowing, as best we could,
upon our hands, and steering at a venture...

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...heat, besides, was stifling, the air
singularly heavy, and the stinging insects abounded in such myriads...

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...“or die and be damned to you!”

“Nay,” says Ballantrae, “I did but jest. I...

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...some dry sands, still warm with the
day’s sun, and close under a wood of pines,...

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...his feet, and now at our disputation, in which we had
gone far enough to have...

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...province of
New York, and now on the way home from the Indies with a cargo;...

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...tremble. The Bermudan seemed a very
safe place to be in, and our bold stroke...

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...fortunate; and it’s one of the remarks that fall
to be made upon our escape, how...

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...highly valued among the different tribes. Indeed, he was a
very gallant, respectable young man;...

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...down in despair for half an hour at a time without one word; and
the appearance...

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...of the country, and were perpetually justled from our
path by obstacles, it was impossible even...

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...he was now in sight of his own property, for
Miss Graeme enjoyed a large estate...

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...wrinkled up and his teeth showing
in his mouth, like what I have read of people...

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...the pirate ship was very
gently touched upon. Nor did I hear the Colonel to...

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...prove substantial enough before a court,” said I.

He looked at me with a burning eye,...

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...up in packets for the greater
ease of Colonel Burke, who was to be the bearer....

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...again, words and all, as you
shall learn, but I remember how that little stave of...

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...too, while he was injuring himself by this defect of
temper, he was hurting his position...

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...visit was first broached at table, and
it chanced that Mrs. Henry was that day ailing...

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...pounds!” she repeated. “It in impossible; the estate is
not sufficient.”

“God knows how we have...

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...scarce be pretended
they went well. There was now at least no misconception; there was
kindness...

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... _Letter from Colonel_ BURKE (_afterwards Chevalier_) _to_ MR.
...

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...you of what’s new.

The Master of B. (when we had last...

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...readily at his command. You may
have heard a military proverb:...

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... * * * * *

From the coming of the Colonel’s letter, I had...

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...a dozen
portmanteaus, great and small. But the business of landing was briskly
carried through; and...

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...as you are fit to bear, and the rest can very well wait.
Come, lose no...

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...for a step or two, and (I suppose) desisted. One
thing at least is sure,...

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...will you be so good as send one of the
servants?”—with an accent on the word.

If...

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...that set a value on affectionate
words; and though his manners had a graceful elegance mighty...

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...downcast
because your brother has come home. All’s yours, that’s sure enough, and
little I grudge...

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...but memorandum of it here; and chiefly for this
reason, that it had one good result,...

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...I say—you will soon
hear why) made it seem the more ungenerous to criticise; and, keeping
them...

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...laid hands on Mr. Henry.

But though he had his peril always on his lips in...

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...that he made a
motion to Captain Crail to have the woman trepanned, and that the...

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...Mackellar is a gentleman I value; and you must contrive, so
long as you are under...

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...parallel was opened
(as was made to appear) by accident. The talk fell, as it...

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...an end, we all sat silent for a time; he had chosen the dusk
of the...

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...* * * * *

The purport of the Master’s stay was no more noble (gild...

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...it were
hard if I must keep him one to a thing so rare as my...

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...Henry. “Let me think of this.” And as he thought,
there came that grim...

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...his face.

“My dear father,” says the Master, already much recovered. “I am
overjoyed that this...

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...“I think we
need dispute no more. We are all rejoiced at last to find...

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...could never venture to
address him; yet it is to be thought he found some comfort...

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...He got
to his feet, and trod down the fire. “But some method must be...

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...was off without a word to seek the warmth of bed. The
three thus left...

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...dear fellow here, who seems to have gone to sleep
upon his cards. Do you...

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...before him on the floor.
“No, no,” I cried, like a baby.

“We shall have no more...

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...If I fall, where are you? My father, your wife—who is in
love with me,...

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...sakes, be more
courageous!” said I. “What must we do?”

He showed me his face with...

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...nor did she keep me waiting. Ere I
had time to prepare a word of...

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...she cried, with a gesture of wringing her hands, “this man will
drive me mad! ...

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...for that word!” I said. “Go to him now, where he sits in
the hall;...

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... You know with what
generosity, he has always met your other—met your wishes,” I corrected
myself,...

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...his misfortunes; and we can only remember how great
and how unmerited these were. And...

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...have left; think of this poor sinner whom you begot,
whom your wife bore to you,...

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...as
I stood there staring—so strange was the sight, so dire the fears it
wakened. I...

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...not so hard as I appear; on this
dreadful night who can veneer his words? ...

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...on his
father’s neck, crying and weeping, the most pitiful sight that ever a man
witnessed. ...

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...were
usually beached, another stain of blood marked where the body must have
been infallibly set down...

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... Nay, and there was more behind.
This pre-arranged departure shed some light upon his inconceivable...

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...diligence, except in so far as
I went to the window—looked out for a moment, to...

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...the last unmingled trouble that befell my master; and
even that was perhaps a mercy in...

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...lower every day. I was the one person on the surface
of the globe that...

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... “Durrisdeer.
...

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... “Schedule of Papers.

“A. Scroll of ten letters...

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...their bulk appeared to have diminished.
Once I ran them through, and twice; but the correspondence...

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...a little desperately, and then with more quiet:
“No, Mr. Mackellar; I have thought upon this...

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...a worse fear
succeeded. Every day we drew consciously nearer to a day of reckoning;
and...

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...into money relations, where it is certainly out of place, a
facility that bordered upon slackness....

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...I should
be left alone with him upon the terrace. He turned to me with...

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...saved myself the trouble; she had divined it for herself, and
found the sentiment quite natural....

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...it might almost be said we had already
suffered. To the end, the power of...

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...his accession to the
title; the which he was punctilious in exacting.

...

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...was driven, although much
against my will, to take my use of it perhaps once in...

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...the walls
of Durrisdeer! And, oh! Mr. Alexander, if ever you come by this spot,
though...

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...the man
yourself?”

“Well—no!” said I. “God forgive me, I do not.”

“Shake hands upon that!” cries...

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...constancy and kindness she displayed. Perhaps her sentiment
to my lord, as it had been...

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...to sleep, he was dreaming a dream, and any
rough wakening must infallibly prove mortal. ...

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...a brutal kind of courage, the most brutal indeed of
all; and I burnt my ships...

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...said my lady; “but when it came to the point, I have to suppose
your courage...

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...narrated already a surprising instance
of generosity of mind—when he found Mr. de Fessac and myself...

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...sure, I had no sooner recognised him, and found myself
in the arms of so old...

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...better go away,” says the Hindu.

Well, to be plain, it was what I was thinking...

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...a man near desperate. It was late in March at
least, or early in April,...

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...said I, “is this you?”—and I was pleased with the unconcern of my
own voice.

“It is...

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...and manner. “I am as hungry as a hawk,” says
he. “Let it be...

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...no preparatory cruelty disclosed my
news.

“My mind was long ago made up,” said she. “We...

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...can afford to waste my breath.” I pointed to a
chair, and he sat down...

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...of each of us, and laid them both upon his bosom.
“I have had two friends...

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...times a smile very
singularly mingled, and which (in my eyes) appeared both bitter and
pathetic. ...

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...pleasure in your company.”

He broke out in a burst of laughter, which I clearly saw...

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...see,” said the lawyer. “By the way, has Mr. Bally means?”

“I understand him to...

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...have not been altogether surprised with your
lordship’s dispositions in the case of Mr. Bally. ...

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...here would be
Mr. Alexander in the part of Dido, with a curiosity inflamed to hear;...

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...his Indian; now in the garret,
buckling a valise; now sending forth Macconochie by the side...

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...A little beyond the abbey the path debauched on the main road
and some quarter of...

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...* * * *

At the customary hour I had the Master called, and awaited his...

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...take it on yourself?” He
drew himself up, and looked about the hall at the...

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...by my poor wisdom,” he answered with a
smile that seemed almost foolish in its vanity.

“And...

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...approach me
then after the manner of a schoolboy, and I would carry it on by...

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...Master, “but we should do better to be
buckling our valise.”

“Why so?” I cried. “Are...

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...is an object to me; and you could always get the first to
Glascow with saddle-horses.”

“Well,”...

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... One verse began—

Home was home then, my dear, full of...

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...raised, and
turned upon me a countenance from which hope had fled. I saw it...

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...Clyde, and for near upon a
week we enjoyed bright weather and a sense of progress....

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...grossness which I knew to underlie the
veneer of his fine manners; and sometimes my gorge...

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...the cabin from noon of one
day till sundown of the next; the Master was somewhere...

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...I
rose and struck this creature down; but Thou madest me a coward from my
mother’s womb....

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...prayer continued to sound in my ears: with
what shameful consequences, it is fitting I should...

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...more strong than he was able to
resist. He must tell me a tale, and...

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...stone, and then vacancy. All his curiosity was
now awakened, and, getting some rotten sticks...

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...with seeming reluctance, to be overborne. ‘I warn
you,’ says he, ‘evil will come of...

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...am
sensible of some reluctancy. Let us rather forget it.’—‘By all means,’
says the baron. ...

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...graceful posture, even with no one
to behold him but myself, and all the more if...

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...the old perilous attitude.

“Hold on!” cried I, covering my eyes. “I cannot bear to...

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...remainder of the passage. No doubt in
the past he had taken pleasure to paint...

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...or is not,” I replied. “But you weary me
with claiming my respect. Your...

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...call it virtue, call it greatness of soul—what signifies
the expression? But recognise in each...

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...when I wanted; even you, my good
friend—to call you so for once—even you have now...

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...suffered to address my
children, nor even to salute my wife: as for myself, I make...

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...it as a thief, a perjurer,
and a disloyal brother!”

“General Clinton,” I cried, “do not listen...

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...me your
pittance; I take it without shame, for it is mine already—like the shirt
upon your...

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...spectacle in the hopes
that some of the disgrace might spatter on my lord.

He chose, in...

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...to
gain even butter to his bread by such a means of livelihood: enough for
him that...

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...master’s footsteps.

Every morning, fair or foul, he took his gold-headed cane, set his hat on
the...

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...words, which were
strange enough, but the whole character of his expression, shocked me.

“I warn you,...

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...lord; it was just as though the Master had not
broken silence.

“Come,” resumed the Master, “do...

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...cried. “I wish him anywhere and
anyhow but as he is.”

“I have said my say,”...

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...went straight to my room, wrote a letter, ran
with it to the harbour, for I...

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...to the wrong hand, and I was bare again. A
third time, I found my...

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...pamphlets.
When I returned, his head had fallen upon the table, his arms lying
abroad amongst the...

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...here was my lord in a room, with his head upon the table, and when
he...

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...the man was
recently escaped. Altogether I went upon the errand with reluctance, and
from the...

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...was that I found it at last, after he was
dead, in the midst of the...

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...what earthly purpose?”

“Change of scene,” said he.

And my lady, who appeared to have been weeping,...

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...of that inclement
province: the retrospect is different; and I wonder at times if some of
the...

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...My lord had carried with him several introductions to chief
people of the town and neighbourhood;...

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...lord. “I get
overtaken, Mackellar. But I will be more upon my guard.”

“That is...

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...affected me almost with horror.

I was in bed, lying there awake, when I heard him...

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...bed to interfere, now reading myself
lessons of indifference and courting slumber, until, upon a sudden,...

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...very penitently, got to bed and was soon
fast asleep; and the first thing he did...

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...sat in the boat with blue fingers,
and at night, as we scorched our faces at...

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...of my affairs. But if I
had understood, you would never have been here.”

Our advance...

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...as an
accomplice.



NARRATIVE OF THE TRADER, MOUNTAIN.


The crew that went up the river under the joint...

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...his close neighbourhood, moving with precaution but
without art among the leaves and branches; and coming...

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...rest were the dregs of
colonial rascality. The conclusion they reached, at least, was more...

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...Captain’s story, and supposed their designated victim
still quite innocent of their designs; but for the...

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...in. It was Mountain’s boast that few men could have followed that
trail, and still...

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...“the goose
with the golden eggs.”

The charm of his superiority once more triumphed; and the party,...

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...he, “then
are all my suspicions verified, and I did rightly to come back. Now,
men,...

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...unconcerned in the result. And here, I daresay, his
bravado carried him too far and...

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...didn’t ask you to call me anything,” returned Hastie; “which is it to
be?”

“That’s an idle...

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...something of humane concern, so easily does even the pretence of
doctoring awaken sympathy. The...

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...no sentinel, but lay altogether about the fire, in the customary
woodman fashion, the heads outward,...

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...hours of darkness.
But the limit of man’s endurance is soon reached; when they rested at
last...

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...my Lord Durrisdeer, but materially affected the designs of
Sir William Johnson.

These I find I must...

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...the face, lean, and
dark, and aged, the mouth painful, the teeth disclosed in a perpetual
rictus;...

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... “He looked white. Why, what would he
be at? I tell you, I...

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...I. “The man is mad. I think that manifest.”

“Shall I seize and bind...

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...upon his master’s grave, his life, at least, is in
great danger, and I propose, if...

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...over more than sixty. Our boats we left under a guard upon the
river; it...

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...illusion of the sense, when earth, air, and
water were strained to bursting with the extremity...

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...there
was a whiteness, other than moonlight, on their cheeks; and the rays of
the moon reflected...

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...were sprinkled here and
there upon the ground in meaningless disarray. About the midst, a...

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...none here to do you harm, if
you be innocent; and if you be guilty, your...

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...and nostrils plugged, the cheeks fallen, the nose sharp as if in
death; but for all...

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... * * * * *

Day came, and still Secundra could not be...

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...IN WAR AND PEACE,

...

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...* * * * *

...