The Merry Men, and Other Tales and Fables

By Robert Louis

Page 0

...Transcribed from the 1904 edition Chatto & Windus edition by David Price,
email ccx074@pglaf.org





THE MERRY MEN
AND
Other...

Page 1

... It brought him in nothing but the means of
life, as I was well aware;...

Page 2

...the hill sides, there were many wet
rocks and watercourses that shone like jewels even as...

Page 3

...good
one for that country, two storeys high. It looked westward over a bay,
with a...

Page 4

...of the Merry Men. I have heard it said that they
run fifty feet high;...

Page 5

...hear
with more credulity. As I was told, in that tempest which scattered the
ships of...

Page 6

...no other
than the small bay of Sandag on my uncle's land; and being a fellow...

Page 7

...of it unknown to me.

'Why, Rorie,' said I, as we began the return voyage, 'this...

Page 8

...with homespun, and
Sunday black, and sea-cloth polished on the bench of rowing. The room,
like...

Page 9

...his button-hole, he seemed, like Rorie, to
have grown older and paler, the lines were deeplier...

Page 10

...on my hearth-
stane.'

I disclaimed a Popish sense for my ejaculation; and he seemed to accept
my...

Page 11

...souls, man, maybe no prepared! The sea--a
muckle yett to hell!'

I observed, as my uncle...

Page 12

...syne, when I was a callant in the south country,
I mind there was an auld,...

Page 13

...to draw, when a'
at ance he gied a skirl. I luffed for my life,...

Page 14

...who had all the while been
covertly gazing on the surface of the little bay, rose...

Page 15

...more paid no attention to my words; only hung
his head and held his peace; and...

Page 16

...somewhere else, secure of
daily bread and comfort; secure, perhaps, of something far beyond that,
which it...

Page 17

...were thus prepared for a Spanish historian, or a man calling himself
such, who had come...

Page 18

...I stood; and, quiet as it was, the Roost itself
appeared to be revolving mischief. ...

Page 19

...smoke of home. I stood awhile uncovered by his side, and I could
have desired...

Page 20

...quest as of
something sacrilegious in its nature. But when I remembered Mary, I took
heart...

Page 21

... This was a large terrace in five fathoms of
water, raised off the surface of...

Page 22

...surface, and
the shores of the bay and the bright water swam before my eyes in...

Page 23

...ambushes;
and when I leaped into the sea the second time it was with a quaking...

Page 24

...upon the sea. A generous prayer is never
presented in vain; the petition may be...

Page 25

...sleeves
rolled up, and one with a boathook, kept her with difficulty to her
moorings for the...

Page 26

...with the rings,
my own fruitless search that very morning in the deep water of Sandag
Bay,...

Page 27

...answer
in this extraordinary fashion: 'Had he a hair kep on?'

I knew as well as if...

Page 28

... 'They cannot mean to beat to sea,' I cried.

'That's what they mean,' said my...

Page 29

...the wave. I tell you,
they had to stand to their tackle: there was no...

Page 30

...know there's wrong in it; what wrong, I
neither know nor want to know. There...

Page 31

...the gable end, in guarded tones and with an air of secrecy
and almost of guilt;...

Page 32

...appeared, had frightened even his
constant comrade; and Rorie, uneasy at his extravagance, prayed me to
come...

Page 33

...that overlooks the Roost. There, it seemed, was my
uncle's favourite observatory. Right in...

Page 34

...cruel and base as I had feared. Yet what a scene
for a carouse, what...

Page 35

...out in the black night before us, and not two hundred yards
away, we heard, at...

Page 36

...throughout, the name--the
_Christ-Anna_--would come and go in his divagations, pronounced with
shuddering awe. The storm...

Page 37

...upon the rocks among the bursting
bubbles; once more his whole heart seemed to be set...

Page 38

...the breakers:--

But yet the Lord that is on high,
...

Page 39

...and dangers of this life. It
is by our evil that God leads us into...

Page 40

...with my head and hand. It was
plain the castaway had heard indifferent accounts of...

Page 41

...tongue of looks and
gestures. Thereupon I signed to him to follow me, which he...

Page 42

...oars with the air of a hurried boatman; but all with the same
solemnity of manner,...

Page 43

...advance, his
insane fears blazed up again, and still in dead silence, but with
incredible speed, he...

Page 44

...my uncle on the hill. We have done the
fair thing; he has been fed...

Page 45

...run, it would not be in the direction of the man whom he supposed
to have...

Page 46

...house; and often as I have run on the rough sides of Aros,
I never ran...

Page 47

...still driven toward the scene of his
crime. Suddenly he began to shriek aloud, so...

Page 48

...not much frequented, except by people
going in one direction; and of all the carriages that...

Page 49

...to Unterdeck--and is none the wearier
after all. And then it goes out into the...

Page 50

...so thickly that he could not breathe; the scene swam
before his eyes; the sun seemed...

Page 51

...and supported these barbarians on their perilous march. There
is one legend which profoundly represents...

Page 52

...church bells, and see the holiday gardens! 'And O fish!' he
would cry, 'if you...

Page 53

...waited
at the door to carry him down into the plain; night after night; until
the dream,...

Page 54

...the fish hangs in the eddy to
catch his fellows; and the shepherd, who makes so...

Page 55

...hipped or in high spirits, there they are unweariedly shining
overhead. We may stand down...

Page 56

...would be about
thirty; well enough looking, and much better educated than any other girl
in that...

Page 57

...suited her surroundings with the best grace
imaginable; and whatever she said seemed so pat and...

Page 58

...toe, and he kept smiling to himself and the
landscape as he went. The river...

Page 59

...Will.

'The girl must speak,' replied the parson, laying down his pipe. 'Here's
our neighbour who...

Page 60

...much. They are a very small affair, when all
is done. I can fancy...

Page 61

...the position of his
head or the sudden strain of the exertion, he seemed to see...

Page 62

...you will,' he added.

'Do you know that you are insulting me?' she broke out.

'Not I,...

Page 63

...or
distress.

'Father,' she began, 'Mr. Will and I have been talking things over. We
see that...

Page 64

...sad and solitary, to begin
with. All the interest had gone out of his life,...

Page 65

...and gave him her hand without affectation
or delay.

'I have been thinking about this marriage,' he...

Page 66

...in flesh, to the
astonishment of his serving-lads.

It was perhaps a year after this marriage that...

Page 67

...neighbours,
were often enough admired by learned people out of towns and colleges.
Indeed, he had a...

Page 68

...little touch of fever in his
old limbs, Will's mind was besieged by tumultuous and crying...

Page 69

...court,
and crossed his path at every step. For, first, he was suddenly
surprised by an...

Page 70

...in vain to turn the light
into his face; either he handled the lamp clumsily, or...

Page 71

...I shall find myself prepared.'

The stranger emptied his glass and pushed it away from him....

Page 72

...Marjory was taken,' returned Will, 'I declare before God you were
the only friend I had...

Page 73

...and should more likely add to it than otherwise, and my errand
to-day is simplicity itself....

Page 74

...a thought in your mind? Tell
me. It will be better for you if...

Page 75

...through a haggard lift of his
upper lip, his teeth looked out.

'This, perhaps, may suit,' observed...

Page 76

...notes the prelude of a waltz-the
clocks began to strike the hour of three in the...

Page 77

...then, again, with
a swift transition of his terrors, the very silence of the place appeared
a...

Page 78

...his
knocking, and departed.

Here was a broad hint to hurry what remained to be done, to...

Page 79

...of the joints, which he must instantly
resist and conquer.

He judged it more prudent to confront...

Page 80

...was haunted and begirt by
presences. He heard them moving in the upper chambers; from...

Page 81

...at ease; his act was doubtless exceptional, but so were his
excuses, which God knew; it...

Page 82

...A step mounted the stair
slowly and steadily, and presently a hand was laid upon the...

Page 83

... I have lived to belie my nature. All men do; all
men are better...

Page 84

...no objection to a death-bed repentance,' observed the visitant.

'Because you disbelieve their efficacy!' Markheim cried.

'I...

Page 85

...virtues
also; they differ not by the thickness of a nail, they are both scythes
for the...

Page 86

...and though I be fallen to such a crime as
murder, pity is no stranger to...

Page 87

...hymn?'

'It is true,' said Markheim; 'and I see clearly what remains for me by
way of...

Page 88

...the candle still burned by the dead body. It was strangely silent.
Thoughts of the...

Page 89

...the garden, but on a causewayed path, or
passage, giving on the road on the one...

Page 90

...than had ever been
seen before in a' that presbytery; and a sair wark the carrier...

Page 91

...there wasnae an auld story in Ba'weary but
she gart somebody lowp for it that day;...

Page 92

...hangit, and a girn on her face like an unstreakit corp. By
an' by they...

Page 93

...the house.

Abune Hangin' Shaw, in the bield o' the Black Hill, there's a bit
enclosed grund...

Page 94

...a' ower
the gairden, but na, nae black man. At the hinder end, and a...

Page 95

...it was borne
in upon him what folk said, that Janet was deid lang syne, an'...

Page 96

...was neist to his, there cam' a stramp o' feet as
if men were wars'lin', an'...

Page 97

...dunt-dunt-duntin' o'
his ain heart. He micht maybe have stood there an hour, or maybe...

Page 98

...skrieghed like folk; an' Mr. Soulis kenned that, live
or die, this was the end o't.

'Witch,...

Page 99

...remembered you. I told him I had a
wounded officer, wounded in the good cause,...

Page 100

... But since you take the thing so well, it matters not. To
me, indeed,...

Page 101

...a prisoner, since I
was left behind for dying after the loss of the convoy, that...

Page 102

...though, perhaps, not very expressive; take him altogether, he was
a pleasant-looking lad, and I had...

Page 103

...and he began to sing aloud in a falsetto
voice, and with a singular bluntness of...

Page 104

...said; 'a very fine room.
And fire, too; fire is good; it melts out the pleasure...

Page 105

...which was perfectly shaped, was yet
marred by a cruel, sullen, and sensual expression. Something...

Page 106

...with an
affectionate manner of caressing that never failed to cause in me an
embarrassment of which...

Page 107

...come and
go after an interval of close upon an hour, from a knoll where I...

Page 108

...begging me in mercy to forgive
him, to forget what he had done, to look to...

Page 109

...with
pomegranate trees. From this a broad flight of marble stairs ascended to
an open gallery,...

Page 110

...walk a
trifle daunted, her idol-like impassivity haunting me; and when I
returned, although she was still...

Page 111

...two chief pleasures, beyond that of mere quiescence.
She seemed always proud of her remarks, as...

Page 112

...already taken of the son. The family blood had
been impoverished, perhaps by long inbreeding,...

Page 113

...far-off
wailing, infinitely grievous to hear; and at times, on one of the high
shelves or terraces,...

Page 114

...had the lad been such as I was used to seeing him, I should
have kept...

Page 115

...Now they would dwindle
down into a moaning that seemed to be articulate, and at these...

Page 116

...garden, I returned at once to the
residencia to put my design in practice. The...

Page 117

...an ancient mirror falling opportunely in my way, I stood and
read my own features a...

Page 118

...she might somehow come to hear of it, oppressed me like
guilt. I blamed myself...

Page 119

...done two things: he had set my conscience at rest, and
he had awakened my delicacy....

Page 120

...tossed ringing on the floor.

A day or two after I came in from a walk...

Page 121

... I could not doubt but that I loved her at
first sight, and already with...

Page 122

...and I could only bow and pass
by; and she, leaving my salutation unanswered, only followed...

Page 123

...I marked
her make infinitesimal changes in her posture, savouring and lingering on
the bodily pleasure of...

Page 124

...a
childish habit; and I but drew near to her as the giddy man draws near...

Page 125

...day it was glorious weather; depth upon depth of blue
over-canopied the mountains; the sun shone...

Page 126

...standing before her on the cliffs, I poured out the whole
ardour of my love, telling...

Page 127

...that vigorous insulation, yielded up heady scents; the woods
smouldered in the blaze. I felt...

Page 128

...opened in my life
unmanned me like a physical void. It was not my heart,...

Page 129

...us, and Felipe, following at a bound, pinned down
his mother on the floor.

A trance-like weakness...

Page 130

...I drank in her beauty, and silently perused the
story in her face. I saw...

Page 131

...life as much
my own, as that which I lead in this body.'

'I love you,' I...

Page 132

...I can frame, not a tone of my voice, not any look from my eyes,...

Page 133

...and
senseless like the wind in the gutters of the mountains; beauty was still
handed down, but...

Page 134

...were of cardboard; on the glimmering surface of the
plateau, and from among the low trees...

Page 135

...priest.

'I think, sir, we beat about the bush,' said I. 'You must know more...

Page 136

...upon a point so highly unusual,
even the church can scarce be said to have decided....

Page 137

...in a mantle. He was a stranger, and plainly did
not know me even by...

Page 138

...began.

But he interrupted me with a savage outburst. 'The people?' he cried.
'What people? ...

Page 139

...'I am ready to go this day, this very hour, but not
alone.'

She stepped aside and...

Page 140

...I. BY THE DYING MOUNTEBANK.


They had sent for the doctor from Bourron before six....

Page 141

...the
candle the light struck upwards and produced deformed foreshortenings.
The mountebank's profile was enlarged upon the...

Page 142

...a little round and looked the
boy over at his leisure. The boy was not...

Page 143

...rally, do
not hesitate to knock me up. I am a doctor no longer, I...

Page 144

...the true goddess Hygieia. Ah, believe me, it is
she who has the cestus! ...

Page 145

...either
knee. 'So we rise early in the morning, do we? It appears to...

Page 146

...should have thought God would have understood me,' replied the other.
'You do not, I see;...

Page 147

...replied Jean-Marie, seriously; 'only I do not understand.'

'You must excuse me, sir,' returned the Doctor,...

Page 148

...you have blood in your veins, perhaps celestial
ichor, or perhaps you circulate nothing more gross...

Page 149

...had no other business in the world but to scour and
burnish. So Doctor Desprez...

Page 150

...faint premonition of danger.

'Because I have found the right person,' said the Doctor firmly, 'and
shall...

Page 151

...aware of defeat; she struck her colours instantly. 'You
will break my heart,' she sighed.

'Not...

Page 152

...he said very gravely, 'this world is exceedingly vast; and
even France, which is only a...

Page 153

...God you have imagination!' cried the Doctor, embracing the boy
with his usual effusive warmth, though...

Page 154

...last
breath of air before retiring for the night, she came over to the boy's
side and...

Page 155

...was exceedingly copious and
entertaining, written with quaintness and colour, exact, erudite, a
literary article; but it...

Page 156

...of his gesticulations. But she adhered silently to her
opinion; and when Jean-Marie was sitting,...

Page 157

...imitates at a great distance her
provisions; and we must strive to supplement the efforts of...

Page 158

...sound of innumerable
thousands of tree-tops and innumerable millions on millions of green
leaves was abroad in...

Page 159

...I love my little
hamlet as I do, is that we have a similar history, she...

Page 160

...retort.

'And now,' he concluded, 'do you begin to understand? My only friends
were those who...

Page 161

...possibly too much, of the reality and gravity of these
temptations.

One day a great light shone...

Page 162

...were almost vegetable. He would slip into the
woods towards Acheres, and sit in the...

Page 163

...goddess Hygieia.

'Have you been to Franchard, Jean-Marie?' inquired the Doctor. 'I fancy
not.'

'Never,' replied the...

Page 164

...They tore it open like famished
beasts. Alas! it was not the treasure; only some...

Page 165

...and brief; it fell dead, and
silence returned as though it had never been interrupted. ...

Page 166

...his lip worked and trembled; a sort of bestial
greed possessed him.

'This is childish,' he said....

Page 167

...a nectar for the gods. The habit, indeed, is debasing; wine, the
juice of the...

Page 168

...the spring unbroken. Fresh opulence and a new
sphere of duties find me unabated in...

Page 169

...of
the town, where the air had been baked all day between white walls, it
came in...

Page 170

...seemed to smell the treasure in the
noddy. But there was no one in the...

Page 171

...on the sideboard, still crusted with
historic earth. He was in and out of the...

Page 172

...the
turmoil of a city life, sink more and more from the child into the
servant. ...

Page 173

...him a less amount,' observed the Doctor, 'his youth
protecting him against emotion. And now...

Page 174

...'If
any of my steps are unsound, correct me. You are silent? Then do...

Page 175

...some smattering of
education. Lastly, because they are painters, they are probably immoral.
And this I...

Page 176

... 'If you had gone to Paris, you would have played dick-
duck-drake with the whole...

Page 177

...passing onward to the society and
friendship of philosophers, he may be said to have skimmed...

Page 178

...you say "Find me this thief!" Well, I find
him; I say "There he is!"...

Page 179

...of to _ergotise_, implying,
as it were--the poor, dear fellow!--a vein of sophistry. As for...

Page 180

...was radiant. He thus sang the
requiem of the treasure:--

'This has been, on the whole,...

Page 181

...or idle management it would soon have hurried into the
blackguard stages of decay. As...

Page 182

...village, and were followed by intervals of
darkness and white, flying rain. At times the...

Page 183

...Anastasie clutched her nightdress desperately about
her and burst loudly into tears. The Doctor flew...

Page 184

...lantern were introduced into the
world of windy darkness, where Anastasie concealed her woes. The...

Page 185

...will have been writ in water. And yet you find me
calm--I would say cheerful....

Page 186

...dresses? What are they in comparison to
the "Pharmacopoeia"--the labour of years lying buried below...

Page 187

...Anastasie and
Jean-Marie were left face to face with the wet trousers. Desprez had
gone to...

Page 188

...see. Took the hint at once.'

'I do not, I confess,' said Desprez, 'I do...

Page 189

...and began dragging his offensive brother-in-law
towards Tentaillon's. In the house there would be fewer...

Page 190

...forrit--to offer oneself as a communicant.

{144} It was a common belief in Scotland that...