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Stories of the Border Marches   By:

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STORIES OF THE BORDER MARCHES

[Illustration]

BY JOHN LANG AND JEAN LANG

LONDON: T.C. & E.C. JACK LTD. 67 LONG ACRE, W.C., AND EDINBURGH

1916

PREFACE

The quotation that speaks of "Old, unhappy, far off things, and battles long ago," has grown now to be hackneyed. Yet, are not they those "old, unhappy, far off things" that lure us back from a very commonplace and utilitarian present, and cause us to cling to the romance of stories that are well nigh forgotten?

In these days of rushing railway journeys, of motor cars, telegrams, telephones, and aeroplanes, we are apt to lose sight of the tales of more leisurely times, when lumbering stage coaches and relays of willing horses were our only means of transit from one kingdom to the other.

Because the "long ago" means to us so infinitely valuable a possession, we have striven to preserve in print a few of the stories that still remain flotsam and jetsam saved from the cruel rush of an overwhelming tide.

One or two of the tales in this volume are perhaps not quite so familiar as is the average Border story, and some may contain less of violence and of bloodshed than is common. Yet it must be owned that it is no easy task to divorce the Border from its wedded mate, violence.

JOHN LANG. JEAN LANG.

CONTENTS

THE WHITE LADY OF BLENKINSOPP 1

DICKY OF KINGSWOOD 17

STORM AND TEMPEST 28

GRISELL HOME, A SEVENTEENTH CENTURY HEROINE 45

KINMONT WILLIE 66

IN THE DAYS OF THE '15 82

SEWINGSHIELDS CASTLE, AND THE SUNKEN TREASURE OF BROOMLEE LOUGH 108

THE KIDNAPPING OF LORD DURIE 115

THE WRAITH OF PATRICK KERR 132

THE LAIDLEY WORM OF SPINDLESTON HEUGH 136

A BORDERER IN AMERICA 147

BORDER SNOWSTORMS 164

THE MURDER OF COLONEL STEWART OF HARTRIGGE 187

AULD RINGAN OLIVER 195

A LEGEND OF NORHAM 208

THE GHOST OF PERCIVAL REED 223

DANDY JIM THE PACKMAN 231

THE VAMPIRES OF BERWICK AND MELROSE 237

A BORDER MIDDY 244

SHEEP STEALING IN TWEEDDALE 256

A PRIVATE OF THE KING'S OWN SCOTTISH BORDERERS 271

HIGHWAYMEN IN THE BORDER 282

CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE 295

ILLICIT DISTILLING AND SMUGGLING 304

SALMON AND SALMON POACHERS IN THE BORDER 322

THE GHOST THAT DANCED AT JETHART 342

A MAN HUNT IN 1813 346

LADY STAIR'S DAUGHTER 351

STORIES OF THE BORDER MARCHES

THE WHITE LADY OF BLENKINSOPP

Among the old castles and peel towers of the Border, there are few to which some tale or other of the supernatural does not attach itself. It may be a legend of buried treasure, watched over by a weeping figure, that wrings its hands; folk may tell of the apparition of an ancient dame, whose corpse like features yet show traces of passions unspent; of solemn, hooded monk, with face concealed by his cowl, who passes down the castle's winding stair, telling his beads; they whisper, it may be, of a lady in white raiment, whose silken gown rustles as she walks. Or the tale, perhaps, is one of pitiful moans that on the still night air echo through some old building; or of the clank of chains, that comes ringing from the damp and noisome dungeons, causing the flesh of the listener to creep.

They are all to be found, or at least they used all to be found, somewhere or other in the Border, by those who love such legends. And, perhaps, nowhere are they more common than amongst the crumbling, grass grown ruins of Northumberland.

Away, far up the South Tyne, and up its tributary the Tipalt Burn, close to the boundary of Cumberland, there stands all that is left of an ancient castle, centuries ago the home of an old and once powerful family. The building dates probably from early in the fourteenth century. In the year 1339 "Thomas de Blencansopp" received licence to fortify his house on the Scottish Border, and it is supposed that he then built this castle... Continue reading book >>




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