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spectre ships-bounded, leaving a track of fire be puts rowan-tree above the door-lead when she
hind them on the billows which was long unextin- sees old Mary coming; I know the good wife of
guished. Now wa-wae that a bonnie and a fearful Kittlenaket wears rowan-berry leaves in the head
sight to see beneath the light of the Hallowmass band of her blue kirtle, and all for the sake of
moon? But the tale is far frae finished; for mari- averting the unsonsie glance of Mary's right ee;
ners say that once a year, on a certain night, if ye and I know that the auld laird of Burntroutwater
stand on the Borranpoint, ye will see the infernal drives his seven cows to their pasture with a wand
shallops coming snoring through the Solway; ye of witch-tree, to keep Mary from milking them.
will hear the same laugh, and song, and mirth, and But what has all that to do with haunted shallops,
minstrelsy, which our ancestors heard; see them visionary mariners, and bottomless boats? I have
bound over the sandbanks and sunken rocks like heard myself as pleasant a tale about the Haunted
sea-gulls, cast their anchor in Blawhooly Bay, Ships and their unworldly crew, as any one would
while the shadowy figure lowers down the boat, wish to hear in a winter evening. It was told me
and augments their numbers with the four un- by young Benjie Macharg, one summer night, sit-
happy rrortals, to whose memory a stone stands ting on Arbiglandbank; the lad intended a sort of
in the kirkyard, with a sinking ship and a shore- love meeting; but all that he could talk of was
less sea cut upon it. Then the spectre ships van- about smearing sheep and shearing sheep, and of
ish, and the drowning shriek of mortals and the the wife which the Norway elves of the Haunted
rejoicing laugh of fiends are heard, and the old Ships made for his uncle Sandie Macharg. And
hulls are left as a memorial that the old spiritual I shall tell ye the tale as the honest lad told it to
kingdom has not departed from the earth. But I
maun away, and trim my little cottage fire, and O“Alexander Macharg, besides being the laird of
make it burn and blaze up bonnie, to warm the three acres of peatmoss, two kale gardens, and the
crickets, and my cold and crazy bones, that maun owner of seven good milch cows, a pair of horses,
soon be laid aneath the green sod in the eerie and six pet sheep, was the husband of one of the
kirkyard.” And away the old dame tottered to her handsomest women in seven parishes. Many a
cottage, secured the door on the inside, and soon lad sighed the day he was brided; and a Nithsdale
the hearth-flame was seen to glimmer and gleam laird and two Annandale moorland farmers drank
through the key-hole and window.

themselves to their last linen, as well as their last “I'll tell ye what," said the old mariner, in a sub- shilling, through sorrow for her loss. But married dued tone, and with a shrewd and suspicious was the dame; and home she was carried, to bear glance of his eye after the old sibyl, "it's a word rule ever her home and her husband, as an honest that may not very well be. uttered, but there are woman should. Now ye maun ken that though many mistakes made in evening stories if old Moll the flesh and blood lovers of Alexander's bonnie Moray there, where she lives, knows not muckle wife all ceased to love and to sue her after she bethan she is willing to tell 'of the Haunted Ships came another's, there were certain admirers who and their unhallowed mariners. She lives can- did not consider their claim at all abated, or their nilie and quietly; no one knows how she is fed or hopes lessened, by the kirk's famous obstacle of supported; but her dress is aye whole, her cottage matrimony. Ye have heard how the devout minisever smokeş, and her table lacks neither of wine, ter of Tilwald had a fair son carried away, and white and red, nor of fowl and fish, and white bedded against his liking to an unchristened bread and brown. It was a dear scoff to Jack bride, whom the elves and the fairies provided; Matheson, when he called old Moll the uncannie ye have heard how the bonnie bride of the drunken carline of Blawhooly; his boat ran round and round laird of Soutikup was stolen by the fairies out at in the centre of the Solway--everybody said it was the back-window of the bridal chamber the time enchanted-and down it went head foremost; and the bridegroom was groping his way to the chamhad nae Jack been a swimmer equal to a sheldrake, ber-door; and ye have heard—But why need I he would have fed the fish; but I'll warrant it multiply cases? such things in the ancient days sobered the lad's speech; and he never reckoned were as common as candle-light. So ye'll no hinhimself safe till he made auld Moll the present of der certain water-elves and sea-fairies. who somea new kirtle and a stone of cheese."

time keep festival and summer mirth in these old "O father,” said his grand-daughter, Barbara haunted hulks, from falling in love with the weel"ye surely wrong poor old Mary Moray; what use faured wife of Laird Macharg; and to their ots could it be to an old woman like her, who has no and contrivances they went how they might acwrongs to redress, no malice to work out against complish to sunder man and wife; and sundering mankind, and nothing to seek of enjoyment save such a man and such a wife was like sundering a cannie hour and a quiet grave-what use could the green leaf from the summer, or the fragrance the fellowship of fiends, and the communion of from the flower. evil spirits, be to her? I know Jenny Primrose "So it fell on a time that Laird Macharg took


his halve-net on his back, and his steel spear

in this door threshold shall you not stir to-night; his hand, and down to Blawhooly Bay gaed he, and I have said, and I have sworn it; seek not to and into the water he went right between the two know why or wherefore; but, Lord, send us thy haunted hulks, and placing his net awaited the blessed mornlight." The wife looked for a mocoming of the tide. The night, ye maun ken, was ment in her husband's eyes, and desisted from mirk, and the wind lowne, and the singing of the further entreaty. increasing waters among the shells and the peb- “'But let us send a civil message to the gossips, bles was heard for sundry miles. All at once Sandie; and hadnae ye better say, I am sair laid lights began to glance and twinkle on board the with a sudden sickness? though it's sinful-like to two Haunted Ships from every hole and seam, send the poor messenger a mile agate with a lie in and presently the sound as of a hatchet employed his mouth without a glass of brandy.” in squaring timber echoed far and wide. But if “To such a messenger, and to those who sent the toil of these unearthly workmen amazed the him, no apology is needed,' said the austere Laird, Laird, how much more was his amazement in- 'so let him depart." And the clatter of a horse's creased when a sharp shrill voice cried out, 'Ho! hoofs were heard, and the muttered imprecations brother, what are you doing now?' A voice still of its rider on the churlish treatment he had exshriller responded from the other haunted ship,perienced. “I'm making a wife to Sandie Macharg!' and a “Now, Sandie, my lad,' said his wife, laying an loud quavering laugh running from ship to ship, arm particularly white and round about his neck and from bank to bank, told the joy they expected as she spoke, ‘are you not a queer man and a from their labor.

stern? I have been your wedded wife now these “Now, the Laird, besides being a devout and a three years; and, beside my dower, have brought God-fearing man, was shrewd and bold; and in you three as bonnie bairns as ever smiled aneath plot and contrivance, and skill in conducting his a summer's sun. O man, you a douce man, and designs, was fairly an overmatch for any dozen fitter to be an elder than even Willie Greer land-elves; but the water-elves are far more sub- himself, I have the minister's ain word for't, to tle; besides, their haunts and their dwellings being put on these hard-hearted looks, and gang wav in the great deep, pursuit and detection is hope- / ing your arms that way, as if ye said, “I winna less if they succeed in carrying their prey to the take the counsel of sic a hempie as you." I'm waves. But ye shall hear. Home flew the Laird, your ain leal wife, and will and maun have an collected his family around the hearth, spoke of explanation.' the signs and the sins of the times, and talked of "To all this Sandie Macharg replied, 'It is writmortification and prayer for averting calamity; ten, “Wives, obey your husbands;" but we have and finally, taking his father's Bible, brass clasps, been stayed in our devotion, so let us pray." And black print, and covered with calf-skin, from the down he knelt; his wife knelt also, for she was as shelf, he proceeded without let cr stint to perform devout as bonnie; and beside them knelt their domestic worship. I should have told ye that he household, and all lights were extinguished. locked and bolted the door, shut up all inlet to the • Now this beats a',' muttered his wife to her. house, threw salt into the fire, and proceeded in self; 'however, I shall be obedient for a time; but every way like a man skilful in guarding against if I dinna ken what all this is for before the morn the plots of fairies and fiends. His wife looked on by sunket-time, my tongue is no langer a tongue, all this with wonder; but she saw something in her nor my hands worth wearing. husband's looks that hindered her from intruding “The voice of her husband in prayer interrupted either questions or advice, and a wise woman was this mental soliloquy; and ardently did he beseech she.

to be preserved from the wiles of the fiends, and "Near the mid-hour of the night the rush of a the snares of Satan; 'from witches, ghosts, gobhorse's feet was heard, and the sound of a rider lins, elves, fairies, spunkies, and water-kelpies; leaping from its back, and a heavy knock came to from the spectre shallop of Solway; from spirits the door, accompanied by a voice saying, “The visible and invisible; from the Haunted Ships and cummer drink's hot, and the knave bairn is ex- their unearthly tenants; from maritime spirits pected at Laird Laurie's to-night; sae mount, that plotted against godly men, and fell in love goodwife, and come.'

with their wives-' ""Preserve me!' said the wife of Sandie Ma- "Nay, but His presence be near us!' said his charg; "that's news indeed! who could have wife in a low tone of dismay. "God guide my thought it? the Laird has been heirless for seven- gudeman's wits: I never heard such a prayer from teen years! Now, Sandie, my man, fetch me my human lips before. But, Sandie, my man, Lord's skirt and hood.'

sake, rise; what fearful light is this?-barn and “But he laid his arm round his wife's neck, and byre and stable maun be in a blaze; and Hawkie said, 'If all the lairds in Galloway go heirless, over and Hurley-Doddie, and Cherrie, and Damson

The cowslip spring in the marshes,

The roses bloom on the hill, And beside the brook in the pasture

The herds go feeding at will.

Within in the wide old kitchen,

The old folk sit in the sun, That creeps through the sheltering woodbine,

Till the day is almost done.

Their children have gone and left them;

They sit in the sun alone!
And the old wife's ears are failing

As she harks to the well-known tone,

That won her heart in her girlhood,

That has soothed her in nany a care, And praises her now for the brightness

Her old face used o wear.

plum, will be smoored with reck and scorched with flame.'

"And a flood of light, but not so gross as a common fire, which ascended to heaven and filled all the court before the house, amply justified the good wife's suspicions. But to the terrors of fire, Sandie was as immovable as he was to the imaginary groans of the barren wife of Laird Laurie; and he held his wife, and threatened the weight of his right hand-and it was a heavy one-to all who ventured abroad, or even unbolted the door. The neighing and prancing of horses, and the bellowing of cows, augmented the horrors of the night, and to any one who only heard the din, it seemed that the whole onstead was in a blaze, and horses and cattle perishing in the flame. All wiles, common or extraordinary, were put in practice to entice or force the honest farmer and his wife to open the door; and when the like success attended every new stratagem, silence for a little while ensued, and a long, loud, and shrilling laugh wound up the dramatic efforts of the night. In the morning, when Laid Macharg went to the door, he found standing against one of the pilasters a piece of black ship oak, rudely fashioned into something like human form, and which skilful people declared would have been clothed with seeming flesh and blood, and palmed upon him by elfin adroitness for his wife, had he admitted his visitants. A synod of wise men and women sat upon the woman of timber, and she was finally ordered to be devoured by fire, and that in the open air. A fire was soon made, and into it the elfin sculpture was tossed from the prongs of two pairs of pitchforks. The blaze that arose was awful to behold; and hissings, and burstings, and loud cracklings, and strange noises, were heard in the midst of the flame; and when the whole sunk into ashes, a drinking cup of some precious metal was found; and this cup, fashioned no doubt by elfin skill, but rendered harmless by the purification with fire, the sons and daughters of Sandie Macharg and his wife drink out of to this very day. Bless all bold men, say I, and obedient wives!"

She thinks again of her bridal

How, dressed in her robe of white, She stood by her gay young lover

In the morning's rosy light.

O, the morning is rosy as ever,

But the rose from her cheek is fled; And the sunshine still is golden,

But it falls on a silvered head.

And the girlhood's dreams, once vanished,

Come back in her winter time, Till her feeble pulses tremble

With the thrill of spring-time's prime.

And looking forth from the window,

She thinks how the trees have grown Since, clad in her bridal whiteness,

She crossed the old door-stone.

Though dimmed her eyes' bright azure,

And dimmed her hair's young gold, The love in her girlhood plighted

Has never grown dim or old.

They sat in peace in the sunshine

Till the day was almost done, And then, at its close, an angel

Stole over the threshold stone.



It stands in a sunny meadow,

The house so mossy and brown, With its cumbrous old stone chimneys,

And the gray roof sloping down.

He folded their hands together

He touched their eyelids with balm, And their last breath floated outward,

Like the close of a solemn psalm!

The trees fold their green arms round it

The trees a century old; And the winds go chanting through them,

And the sunbeams drop their gold.

Like a bridal pair they traversed

The unseen, mystical road That leads to the Beautiful City,

Whose "builder and maker is God."

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