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revelations he had indirectly promised to make, and which he was now about to give.

Evidently he had failed to bring his courage "to the sticking place ;” and so, after desperately snuffing the only candle on the table, and taking off another glass of punch, he fixed his eyes for a few moments on the smoke-begrimed wooden rafters above, as if invoking the aid of his good angel to come to the rescue.

Then, as if nothing unusual had occurred, he filled himself another glass from the punch-bowl, politely handing one, at the same time, to the wondering dominie, and thus began the long-expected narration :

“Aifter finishin' a' my business i' the market, Benshie, and Glassell, and Redford, and Dragonha', and mysel adjourned to the inn aff the cross to get a snack and some refreshment afore takin' the road hame. Aifter we had had our dinner, we had a glass or twa to keep oot the cauld—there micht hae been ane, maybee twa mair, but that's neither here nor there, for Benshie and Glassell had selt a' their knout, an', bein' michty big ower their pouchfu's o'siller, they were uncommon leeberal wi' their drink, payin' a' the lawin' atween their twa selves. By this time is was gettin' gey dark, and—no onywise oot o' fear, ye ken—I began to think o' the lang road I had to gae hame, an' o' the dangerous spunkies and waterkelpies that micht beset my path fan threadin' my way through the peat mosses and swampy marshes that lay atween me an' Faffarty. Whether my freends read my thochts or no, I couldna be quite certain ; but, at a' events, they a' wi' ane accord, began to ragg and banter me aboot the spunkies i' the moss, and insinuated, rather undeservedly, as I thocht, that I was nae match for thae warlocks, bein' somewhat deficient in the bravery necessar' for a successfu' encounter wi' them. So, by way o' keepin' up my coorage, as far as that was possible, I ordered in some mair Glenlivet, to drink 'Deuchan doris' afore we took our several

hame. This bein' dune, we each rose, as sober an' weel-conduckit as ony o' his Majesty's judges o' the land.


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“Havin' parted wi' Glassell on the High Street, as his road hame lay to the eastert, I and my three other freends proceeded steadily doon the Farfar Road. It was pitch dark; but, comin' oot a' of a sudden frae the inn wi’ its blazin' lichts, it wasna muckle winder although we staichered sometimes frae side to side, and didna just keep the proper equil-equil -ye ken weel eneuch what I mean, Maister Daniel

“Equilibrium," solemnly rejoined the Dominie.

“That's it,” continued mine host. “ We're never at a loss for a lang-nebbit wird when you're beside us, Maister Robertson. Weel, as I was sayin', we trudged alang the road as weel as could reasonably be expeckit, and that's just as near the real truth as, 'tween oorsel's, I could venture to gae. Benshie now bade us gude-nicht, an' as he did so, he wickedly cried owre his shouther—“Tak care, Faffarty; mind the warlocks and the spunkies. If ye shou'd fraegather wi' them, and get the warst o’t, ye'll gie us a' the particulars when we neist meet again at Kirry. Ha! ha!' And then, as if his conscience had suddenly smitten him, he exclaimed in a few minutes afterwards—'I wish ye safe hame for a' that, Faffarty,' and disappeared behind the fir plantin' to the east.

“We had now reached the junction of the roads," continued the farmer, “and after shakin' hands, and biddin' each other gude-nicht, Redford took his way up to his farmtoun, which stands, as you ken, only a hundred yards to the north; and Dragonha', keepin' on the Farfar road, would be in his hoose also in a few minutes afterwards.

“My road hame struck aff to the south, immediately opposite Redford, and a rough, lanely, uncannie road it is, as I found to my cost. Havin' naebody beside me noo to speak to and converse wi', I for the first time that nicht began tae feel a wee queerish—a little eerie-ways—and my speerits fell sae low, and my heart beat sae quickly, that I felt somewhat like Tom o' Shanter in similar circumstances :

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Whiles glow'ring round wi' prudent cares,
Lest bogles catch him unawares.

“Distressed beyond measure, I lookit for relief tae the cairnie aboon me; an' O, how beautifu' the sicht! Thae useless creatures they ca' poets say the bonnie mornin' glisterin' dew is composed o' angels' tears; but as I gazed an' gazed on

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“ The spangled firmament on high,

With all the blue ethereal sky, the thocht cam' unbidden into my reelin' head~"What if a’ thae stars were angels' een lookin' doon upon me in my loneliness an' kindly biddin' me ‘God speed' on my weary

Wisna that a gran' thocht to come into my head, Maister Robertson-wisna it no?"

“A grand thought indeed,” impatiently observed the Dominie, in reply; “ but you are long in coming to the point. We are not in the mood at the present moment either to enter into dry metaphysical disquisitions, or to listen to poetic raptures or fanciful comparisons on Nature's phenomena, but to hear your plain, unvarnished narrative of what befell you this night on your way from market.”

“ To state it shorter,” said his equally impatient wife, taking hold of his arm at the same time; "we're a' wearyin' to hear the partic'lars o' the awfu' fecht ye said ye had wi' the Spunkie i' the moss."

“ You're just as bad's the Dominie, gudewife," testily rejoined mine host, thrusting away her hand, and replenishing his glass from the now nearly emptied punch-bowl; “how, in the nature o' things, can I tell you aboot the fecht i' the moss, fin I hav'na got that length yet? I'm no oot o' the road withe leafless trees an' the dark hedges; an’ was just takin' a glint o' the cairnie to while awa' the lonesomeness of the journey afore I cam' to the peat moss whaur the protracted yet bluidless engagement, alas ! took place. But I'm comin' on tae it noo,” taking off his glass, and turning up his little finger in a scornful, triumphant manner, “an' will bravely

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green deevils

fecht 'my battles ower again,' in defiance o' a' your priggish taunts and silly interruptions."

“I got tae the end o' that lang, dreary road at last," resumed mine host, “an' havin' passed Lochty, at the foot o' the brae, I at once entered on the marshy moss. hundred yards had I gane when I was surrounded by a countless troop o' haggard demons, dancin' an' grinnin' awa, wi' the maist hellish-lookin' grimaces an' threatenin' gestures I had

When I moved, they followed me; but observin' they leapt aside as I approached, I held on my way until I reached a grass-covered mound aboot the middle o' the moss.

“Frae this spot I took a survey o' the strange scene afore an' around me. Near at hand, an' as far as my een could reach, the hale moss was thickly covered ower wi' warlocks an' hobgoblins, grinnin', caperin', an'makin' the awfulest antics that ever was seen by mortal man. There were blue deevils an' red deevils an' white deevils an'

S; some wi' lang shanks and some wi' short shanks; some wi' straicht an' lythsome bodies, an' some wi' shapeless, distorted bodies ; mony wi' countenances lang and lantern-like, een like furnaces, and noses as sharp as scythes new frae the grindstane ; and mair wi' faces without flesh, een as hollow as a scoupit neep, and noses as big an' crookit as a Heeland ram's horns when three years auld; while the feck o' them were just a mere rackle o' banes, which shook an' rattled i the winter wind like as mony craw-mills aifter the fair. Faith, sirs, it was an awfu' sicht! An' when they ogled an' skippit an' cleekit like sae mony thoosand evil speerits lat loose frae the brimstone regions o' the bottomless pit, what could I think but that the Prince o' Darkness had in reality surrounded me wi' a' his legions o deevils, wi’ the underhand intention of sweepin' me aff wi' the beesom o' destruction to the abodes o' the damned, whaur naething is for ever heard but weepin' and wailin' an' gnashin' o'teeth.' But, becomin' bolder as my trials increased, an' recollectin' for a moment that other passage o' Scripture which says, that in that awfu’


place the worm dieth not, an' the fire is not quenched,' I resolved that I would endeavour to checkmate auld Cloutie' if I could, or perish in the attempt. So, takin' firm hold o’ my gude, sturdy ash stick, an' flourishin' it high in the air to show them. I was not to be tampered with, I strode courageously doon the hillock, charging as I went in grand style, but yearnin' to get a hit at what appeared to be the leader o’ the band, I struck out wi' a' my micht, and was in the very act o annihilating him, when, as bad luck would have it, my foot struck against some peats, and whack doon I tumbled into a mossy hole, wi' a' the deevils an' their leader on my back.

Fa’s that lauchin' there ?” thundered mine host, while looking savagely round to the farther corner of the kitchen, where the lads and lasses had snugly ensconsed themselves to hear the awful news.

“We wisna misdootin' your word, maister," at last replied one of the group, “we were only wonderin' fat the weight o’ the deevils had been that you were able to bear them a' on

your back.”

The lasses tittered, the Dominie grinned, the gudewife laughed, and the forgiving host, after several ineffectual attempts, to keep his gravity, at last joined in the general laughter himself, to the no small amusement of his wondering household.

“Go on with your narrative," said the Dominie, when the laughter had somewhat subsided ; "you must surely be near the grand finale now."

“Finale, or no finale," continued mine host, "I only wish I were safely through the bog, that I micht hae time, to mak' up anither bowl o'punch, for fechtin' wi' the spunkies is gey dry wark. Weel, notwithstanding a' their efforts to keep me doon, I got the better at last o' the mischievous imps, and, managin' to get out o' the miry puddle into which I had fallen, I warstled through the hale pack o' them, brandishin' my heavy stick i' their faces; and whether they were feart

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