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Unto The Hills
Letter to Jeannie


It is Spring again and I am going away. I think you must have realized, of late, that I am leaving you. You have been so pensive, so altogether unlike your usual, carefree self. Your eyes have followed me about with a sort of dumb reproach, and all my efforts to amuse you have failed so miserably that I have ceased to try. So now we just avoid each other, fortifying ourselves against the inevitable hour of farewell. If you could only understand why I am going -- but how should you, when I hardly understand it myself. You, who ask nothing more of life than a warm bed, food, security and my companionship -- how should you know of the magic that leaps in my blood at the turn of the year, calling me away to the blue hills and the heather?

Even now, you are telling yourself that I shall not really go. At the last minute, you think, my resolve will fail me. When I have packed my rucksack and tied on my heavy boots, I shall suddenly see you standing there, with all your soul in your eyes, and my hard heart
will melt. . . .

If it would, little friend, I might be the more worthy of the great love you bear me. But it will not. The mountains have put a spell on me, and they are stronger than the two of us. Reproach me with ingratitude if you will. Adjudge me faithless, irresponsible, even anti-social -- I have no reply. The green hands of Spring are beckoning, and I will break faith -- and hearts, if I must -- to answer the call.

So, because of all this, I will say goodbye quite cheerfully, and forget you, until the madness has worked out of my soul. Even if I wished, it, could not be otherwise. And there, is no explanation, unless it be that before I was born the Hill-People marked me for their own. . . .

Or perhaps I am just selfish. Though this, I know, you will not believe.

But all who know us both, Jeannie, will believe this:

That I, being "only human," will one day grow weary of adventuring, and return to pick up the threads of our life where we left off.

That you, being "only a dog," will be still waiting.

Rain clouds over Loch Leven and Beinn a Bheither, Ballachulish district

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