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The Cursed Patois From "Mackinac And Lake Stories", 1899   By: (1847-1902)

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In Mary Hartwell Catherwood's "Mackinac And Lake Stories", readers are transported to the enchanting world of the Great Lakes, where supernatural occurrences exist side by side with the beauty of nature. Among the collection of vividly depicted tales lies one particularly gripping story called "The Cursed Patois."

From the very beginning, Catherwood expertly sets the eerie tone of the narrative. The story takes place in a quaint village, steeped in folklore and superstition, where the arrival of a mysterious traveler sparks curiosity among the local inhabitants. With her evocative descriptions, the author manages to paint a vivid picture of the village, making it come alive in the reader's mind.

What truly captivates in this tale is Catherwood's ability to intertwine the supernatural with the mundane. She seamlessly weaves together elements of mysticism and everyday life, creating a sense of foreboding that lingers throughout the story. The central motif of the cursed patois, a forbidden language that carries a dark secret, adds a layer of intrigue that keeps readers on the edge of their seats.

The characters, though limited in number, are well-developed and each plays a crucial role in the narrative. Especially memorable is the enigmatic traveler, whose presence is shrouded in mystery and whose true intentions remain uncertain until the climax. The protagonist, a young villager caught in the web of the curse, elicits empathy from readers as they navigate the treacherous path between love and damnation.

Catherwood's prose is rich in descriptive detail, painting scenes that engross the reader and transport them to this world of ancient curses and superstitions. Her use of language is immaculate, striking a delicate balance between eloquence and simplicity, which effectively enhances both the otherworldly and the quotidian aspects of the story.

As the plot unravels, readers find themselves swept up in a journey marked by suspense and a constant sense of impending doom. The pacing is tantalizingly slow, meandering along, just like the river that brings so many secrets to light. Catherwood masterfully builds tension, leading to an intense and satisfying resolution that leaves readers breathless.

"The Cursed Patois" is a gem among the tales presented in "Mackinac And Lake Stories." With its blend of folklore, supernatural elements, and compelling storytelling, Mary Hartwell Catherwood showcases her talent as a captivating writer. Whether you are a fan of strange occurrences or simply appreciate a well-crafted story, this tale is sure to be a riveting read.

First Page:


From "Mackinac And Lake Stories", 1899

By Mary Hartwell Catherwood

As his boat shot to the camp dock of beach stones, the camper thought he heard a child's voice behind the screen of brush. He leaped out and drew the boat to its landing upon a cross piece held by two uprights in the water, and ascended the steep path worn in leaf mould.

There was not only a child, there was a woman also in the camp. And Frank Puttany, his German feet planted outward in a line, his smiling dark face unctuous with hospitality towards creatures whom he had evidently introduced, in foolish helplessness gave his partner the usual greeting:

"Veil, Prowny."

"Hello, Puttany. Visitors?"

Brown pulled off his cap to the woman. She was pretty, with eyes like a deer's, with white teeth showing between her parted scarlet lips, and much curling hair pinned up and blowing over her ears. She had the rich tint of a quarter breed, lightened in her case by a constant suffusion which gave her steady color. She was dressed in a mixture of patches, but all were fitted to her perfect shape with a Parisian elegance sensed even by backwoodsmen. Pressed against her knee stood the dirtiest and chubbiest four year old child on the borders of Brevoort Lake perhaps the dirtiest on the north shore of Michigan... Continue reading book >>

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