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Unformatted text preview: nd much I wished that Mr. Louis Stevenson could have heard it. The blending of the far East with the Highlands reminds one of his "Master of Ballantrae," and what might he not make of that fairy red deer! My boatman, too, told me what Mr. Stevenson says the Highlanders will not tell--the name of the man who committed the murder of which Alan Breck was accused. But this secret I do not intend to divulge. The story of the Black Officer then seemed absolutely unpublished. But when Sir Walter Scott's diary was given to the world in October, 1890, it turned out that he was not wholly ignorant of the legend. In 1828 he complains that he has been annoyed by a lady, because he had printed "in the 'Review'" a rawhead and bloody-bones story of her father, Major Macpherson, who was lost in a snowstorm. This Major Macpherson was
25 ANGLING SKETCHES clearly the Black Officer. Mr. Douglas, the publisher of Scott's diary, discovered that the "Review" mentioned vaguely by Scott was the "Foreign Quarterly," No. I, July, 1827. In an essay on Hoffmann's novels, Sir Walter introduced the tale as told to him in a letter from a nobleman some time deceased, not more distinguished for his love of science than his attachment to literature in all its branches. The tale is too long to be given completely. Briefly, a Captain M., on St. Valentine's day, 1799, had been deer-shooting (at an odd time of the year) in the hills west of D-. He did not return, a terrible snowstorm set in, and finally he and his friends were found dead in a bothy, which the tempest had literally destroyed. Large stones from the walls were found lying at distances of a hundred yards; the wooden uprights were twisted like broken sticks. The Captain was lying dead, without his clothes, on the bed; one man was discovered at a distance, another near the Captain. Then it was remembered that, at the same bothy a month before, a shepherd lad had inquired for the Captain, had walked with him for some time, and that, on the officer's return...
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