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The Treasure of the Isle of Mist   By: (1869-1957)

The Treasure of the Isle of Mist by W. W. (William Woodthorpe) Tarn

First Page:

THE TREASURE OF THE ISLE OF MIST

BY W. W. TARN

[Illustration]

G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS NEW YORK AND LONDON The Knickerbocker Press 1920

COPYRIGHT, 1920, BY W. W. TARN

[Illustration]

A FAIRY TALE FOR MY DAUGHTER

CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE I. THE GIFT OF THE SEARCH 1 II. THE BEGINNING OF TROUBLE 14 III. THE HAUNTED CAVE 31 IV. THE URCHIN VANISHES 47 V. THE OREAD 88 VI. THE KING OF THE WOODCOCK 111 VII. FIONA IN THE FAIRY WORLD 131 VIII. FIONA FINDS HER TREASURE 181

The Treasure of the Isle of Mist

CHAPTER I

THE GIFT OF THE SEARCH

The Student and Fiona lived in a little gray house on the shores of a gray sea loch in the Isle of Mist. The Student was a thin man with a stoop to his shoulders, which old Anne MacDermott said came of reading books; but really it was because he had been educated at a place where this is expected of you. Fiona, when she was doing nothing else, used to help Anne to keep house, rather jerkily, in the way a learned man may be supposed to like. She was a long legged creature of fifteen, who laughed when her father threatened her with school on the mainland, and she had a warm heart and a largish size in shoes. Sometimes they had dinner; sometimes nobody remembered in time, and they had sunset and salt herrings, with a bowl of glorious yellow corn daisies to catch the sunset.

It was Anne who saw the old hawker crossing the field behind the house, and burst in on the bookroom to inform the Student that he wanted buttons. She was met by a patient remonstrance on her ambiguous use of language:

"For," said the Student, "if you mean that buttons are lacking to me, there may be something to be said for you; but if you mean that I desire buttons, then indeed I do not desire buttons; I desire . . ."

Whereon Anne fled, and went out to meet the hawker. The frail old man, bending under his pack, was crossing the meadow behind the house, brushing his way through the September clover. His white hair was uncovered save for the huge umbrella which he carried alike in sun and rain; but youth still lingered in his eyes, which were bright as the dawn and deep as the sea caves. Behind him followed a little rough haired terrier, black as jet, his inseparable companion. At the door he unslung his pack, and, leaving Anne to select her buttons, passed straight through, knocked at the bookroom door, and went in.

The Student wheeled round in his chair and began to grope about.

"Have you seen my spectacles?" he said. "I can't see who you are till I put them on, and I can't put them on till you find them for me, for I can't see to find them myself unless I have them on. Pardon this involved sentence."

The old hawker picked up the missing spectacles and handed them over.

"You wouldn't remember me, in any case," he said. "I last saw you twenty five years ago, when you were trying to dig at Verria. There was an old man there, do you remember, being beaten by armed Bashi Bazouks, and you held them up with an empty revolver, and took the old man to your camp and nursed him, and you said things to the Turkish Governor, and . . ."

"My excavations came to an untimely end," said the Student. "I always owed that old man a grudge for being beaten before my tent. Why couldn't he have been beaten somewhere else? I should like to meet him again and tell him precisely what I thought of his conduct."

"You have done both now," said the hawker. "And it is his turn."

"Impossible," said the Student. "He was as old twenty five years ago as you are now."

"At my age," said the old man, "one grows no older. No one who walks the world as I do need ever grow any older. You can walk thirty miles on Monday when you are twenty years old; good. If you can do it on Monday you can do it on Tuesday; and if on Tuesday, then on Wednesday; therefore, by an easy reckoning, you can do it as well at eighty years old as at twenty... Continue reading book >>




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