Youth's Magazine,  3rd ser. 10 (1837), 2–7.

The Young Pedlar of Corrivoulin  [1/2]



Serial, Short Fiction


Superstition, Supernaturalism, Physics, Sound, Fear, Christianity, Piety, Theology of Nature, Miracle

    The narrator visits the ruined castle of Dunstaffnage near Oban, and the ruined chapel adjacent. As night starts to fall he turns to leave, but hears singing and prayers issuing from the chapel, though it is deserted. 'Has some disembodied spirit returned to the scene of its former devotions, to renew the orisons of departed years,' he wonders, 'or may this strange phenomenon be traced to natural causes?' (3–4). He discovers that the sound was coming from a youth who had been praying and singing behind a rock. He explains the 'philosophy of sound, and the nature of an echo' to the youth, and demonstrates the phenomenon to him (5). He muses on the 'influence which such a phenomenon might have had on superstitious minds, and the uses to which it might have been put in the days of Popish delusion' (6). The youth observes that, not long before, he would have responded with superstitious terror to the phenomenon, but that now he knew something of the grace of God 'as manifested in Christ Jesus; something of his Holy Word, and watchful care over his people, and [he] could not believe that he would allow the course of nature to be inverted, for the poor object of frightening a travelling merchant out of his wits' (7).

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