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Unformatted text preview: s and brawling brooks of the Border or of the Highlands. As the lanes flow, however, from far- away lochs, it happens that large trout make their way into them-- trout which, if hooked, offer a gallant resistance before they can be hauled over the weeds that usually line the watercourses. Partly for the sake of trying this kind of angling, partly from a temporary distaste for the presence of men and women, partly for the purpose of finishing a work styled "A History of the Unexplained," I once spent a month in the solitudes of Glen Aline. I stayed at the house of a shepherd who, though not an unintelligent man was by no means possessed of the modern spirit. He and his brother swains had sturdily and successfully resisted an attempt made by the school-master at a village some seven miles off to get a postal service in the glen more frequently than once a week. A post once a week was often enough for lucky people who did not get letters twice a year. It was not my shepherd, but another, who once came with his wife to the village, after a twelve miles' walk across the hills, to ask "what the day of the week was?" They had lost count, and the man had attended to his work on a day which the dame averred to be the Sabbath. He denied that it WAS the Sabbath, and I believe that it turned out to be a Tuesday. This little incident gives some
67 ANGLING SKETCHES idea of the delightful absence of population in Glen Aline. But no words can paint the utter loneliness, which could actually be felt--the empty moors, the empty sky. The heaps of stones by a burnside, here and there, showed that a cottage had once existed where now was no habitation. One such spot was rather to be shunned by the superstitious, for here, about 1698, a cottar family had been evicted by endless unaccountable disturbances in the house. Stones were thrown by invisible hands-though occasionally, by the way, a white hand, with no apparent body attached to it, WAS viewed by the curious who came to the spot. Heavy objects of all sorts floated in the air; rappings and voices were heard; the end wa...
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