Weir of Hermiston
|Weir of Hermiston (1896)
|Weir of Hermiston (1896), sometimes considered Stevenson's masterpiece, is an unfinished novel cut short by the author's death from apoplexy. For more information, see Weir of Hermiston.|
To My Wife 
I saw rain falling and the rainbow drawn
On Lammermuir. Hearkening I heard again
In my precipitous city beaten bells
Winnow the keen sea wind. And here afar,
Intent on my own race and place, I wrote.
Take thou the writing: thine it is. For who
Burnished the sword, blew on the drowsy coal,
Held still the target higher, chary of praise
And prodigal of counsel — who but thou?
So now, in the end, if this the least be good,
If any deed be done, if any fire
Burn in the imperfect page, the praise be thine.
In the wild end of a moorland parish, far out of the sight of any house, there stands a cairn among the heather, and a little by east of it, in the going down of the brae-side, a monument with some verses half defaced. It was here that Claverhouse shot with his own hand the Praying Weaver of Balweary, and the chisel of Old Mortality has clinked on that lonely gravestone. Public and domestic history have thus marked with a bloody finger this hollow among the hills; and since the Cameronian gave his life there, two hundred years ago, in a glorious folly, and without comprehension or regret, the silence of the moss has been broken once again by the report of firearms and the cry of the dying.
The Deil's Hags was the old name. But the place is now called Francie's Cairn. For a while it was told that Francie walked. Aggic Hogg met him in the gloaming by the cairnside, and he spoke to her, with chattering teeth, so that his words were lost. He pursued Rob Todd (if any one could have believed Robbie) for the space of half a mile with pitiful entreaties. But the age is one of incredulity; these superstitious decorations speedily fell off; and the facts of the story itself, like the bones of a giant buried there and half dug up, survived, naked and imperfect, in the memory of the scattered neighbours. To this day, of winter nights, when the sleet is on the window and the cattle are quiet in the byre, there will be told again, amid the silence of the young and the additions and corrections of the old, the tale of the Justice-Clerk and of his son, young Hermiston, that vanished from men's knowledge; of the two Kirsties and the Four Black Brothers of the Cauldstaneslap; and of Frank Innes, "the young fool advocate," that came into these moorland parts to find his destiny.
- Chapter 1: Life and Death of Mrs. Weir
- Chapter 2: Father and Son
- Chapter 3: In the Matter of the Hanging of Duncan Jopp
- Chapter 4: Opinions of the Bench
- Chapter 5: Winter on the Moors
- Chapter 6: A Leaf from Christina's Psalm-book
- Chapter 7: Enter Mephistopheles
- Chapter 8: A Nocturnal Visit
- Chapter 9: At the Weaver's Stone
- Rising ground.