Cornhill Magazine,  1 (1860), 617–30.

The Portent Ch. 1  [1/3]

[George Macdonald]


Novel, Serial


Supernaturalism, Superstition, Rationalism, Mathematics, Universities

    In a narrative written at 'the request of Dr. —' in order to help 'account for some of the anomalies which he confesses have perplexed him in the treatment' of the patient's case (617), the narrator tells of 'the prophetic power manifest in the gift of second sight' which belonged to several of his ancestors as well as to his elderly nurse maid. He, however, has 'completed the usual curriculum' of 'mathematics and physics' at 'one of the Scottish universities' (621), and this 'book-learning' at first makes him sceptical of 'the fancies of a foolish old woman' (628). His initially rational view concurs with 'the assertion that we see around us only what is within us: marvellous things enough will show themselves to the marvellous mood' (625). Nevertheless, the chapter closes with an assurance that 'Before many years had elapsed, my foster-mother's prevision [...] was fulfilled' (630).


Macdonald 1864

© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020

Printed from Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical: An Electronic Index, v. 4.0, The Digital Humanities Institute <> [accessed ]