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Miles Brown
Miles Brown

Snow White And The Huntsman Torrent Pirate

The hills of the Western Highlands were stilltipped with a golden gleam, but the deep and savagehollows of Glen Ora were gloomy and full of darkshadows. Still crowned with the snow of last winter,above it towered Ben Ora, beneath whose mightyscalp the giant peaks of the north and west weredwindled down to little hills; for among thosestupendous mountains the eye becomes so accustomedto their colossal proportions, that all just ideas of sizeand distance are lost. At its base spread one of thosevast tracts of brown or purple heath so common inthe Scottish Highlands, overspread by a wilderness ofstones, and torn by ghastly ravines from which themist of downward torrents rose. The sides of thesewere tufted by those black whin bushes, theintroduction of which tradition ascribes to the huntingStuarts, as a cover for their game.

snow white and the huntsman torrent pirate

Here and there, throughout this desolate tract, onwhich the shadows of night were descending, wereblacker spots, that marked where, in the precedingyear, the houses of nearly fifty crofters had beenlevelled or burned. No tongue was required to tellus the terrible story of legal wrong, and worse thanfeudal tyranny inflicted on the unresisting poor. Theblackened rafters were lying on every hand amongthe long grass, and thrown far asunder; the humblewalls were half levelled and overgrown by weeds,like the hearths around which generations had sat,and told or sung of the past memories of the Gaeland the kindly chiefs of other times, in the longnights of winter, when Ben Ora was mantled bysnow, and the frozen cascade hung over the rocks,white as the beard of Ossian. Here a currant-bush,or there an apple-tree, still marked amid the weedsand heather where the garden of the peasant hadbeen. Elsewhere the glen was yet dotted by littlepatches of corn and potatoes, all growing wild; butwhere were those who had sown and planted them?

The roar of the cataract, formed by the Uisc Dhuforcing its way through a chasm, and rolling over aledge of rocks into Loch Ora, now broke the solemnstillness of the midnight hills. We reached a plateauof rock, which overhung the fall, and we felt ittrembling and vibrating in the concussion of thewaters, which roared and rushed in one broad,ceaseless, and snow-white torrent, into a deep dark poolbelow. Its height was startling; its sides bristledwith ghastly rocks, and these were fringed by tangledmasses of green shrubbery and wild plants.Glittering in the moonlight like dew, or a continualshower of revolving diamonds, the transparent foamarose from the profundity into which the descendingwaters bellowed, and beyond which they swept awayround the mountain in placid silence, forming LochOra, where the black ouzel and the wild swan floatedin the radiance of the summer moon.

A fine-looking old Highlander, upwards of seventyyears of age stepped forward. His tall and erectfigure was clad in coarse blue cloth, and his longlocks, which were white as snow, glittered in thesun, when he politely removed his bonnet beforethe grand vizier of the new proprietor, with theusual greeting, as he knew no language but Gaelic,

The varied tartans and magnificent appointmentsof these holiday Highlanders had a barbaric andpicturesque effect. Their belts and buckles, jewelleddaggers and pistols, snow-white sporrans, tasselledwith silver or gold, their brooches studded by Scottishtopazes and amethysts, and all their paraphernalia ofmountain chivalry, flashed and sparkled in thenoonday sun; while long bright ribbons and littlebanneroles of every colour streamed from the ebonydrones of more than a hundred war-pipes.

With these words we separated, and Callum and Iwere left on the dark hill-side; the last glow ofsunset had faded away, and the mysterious white stagof Loch Ora was lying at our feet dead, motionless,and still as a drift of snow.

I went off in the first boat with Mac Pherson (thecaptain of our Light Company), Jack Belton, CallumDhu, and about thirty privates. We pulled awayclear of the wreck into blue water, and then steeredtowards the shore, where three Turkish officers, onhorseback, were waiting to receive us. After pullingfor more than a mile through a sea which shone likeburnished gold, and the transparent waves of whichenabled us to perceive, at a vast depth below, therank luxuriance of its dark green weeds, spreadingtheir broad and tremulous leaves over a bed of snow-whitesand, we reached the point indicated by CaptainCrank as our landing-place. It was a rough andbarren part of the coast, where the rocks were piledover each other in confusion, with a coarse bulbousplant, like a crocus, which spread its crooked leavesbetween the gaping interstices of the stones. Nobushes or trees were there; but there were vultures,storks, and cranes, that hovered over the ruins of anold Roman wall, and flapped their wings upon theprostrate columns of a Corinthian temple, that layhalf-merged among the waters of the encroachingsea.

On this evening the City of the Silent rang withthe merry voices of a group of Turkish ladies. Cladin bright-coloured dresses, they were sitting oncarpets, among the green resting places, drinking sherbet,eating bon-bons, and smoking pretty little chibouques,while a few slaves and sullen eunuchs hovered nearthem in attendance. As I passed these veiled fairones, I heard a few shrill exclamations of wonder,while their dark rolling eyes seemed to sparkle withpeculiar lustre through the holes in their snow-whiteyashmacks.


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