The Watcher by the Threshold

The Watcher by the Threshold


(3 Reviews)
The Watcher by the Threshold by John Buchan







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The Watcher by the Threshold


(3 Reviews)
No-Man's LandThe Far IslandsThe Watcher by the ThresholdThe Outgoing of the TideThe Rime of True ThomasBasilissaDivus JohnstonThe King of Ypres

Book Excerpt

down as a fine type of his class, sober, serious, keenly critical, free from the bondage of superstition. But I rarely saw him, and our talk was chiefly in monosyllables--short interjected accounts of the number of lambs dead or alive on the hill. Then he would produce a pencil and note-book, and be immersed in some calculation; and finally he would be revealed sleeping heavily in his chair, till his sister wakened him, and he stumbled off to bed.

So much for the ordinary course of life; but one day--the second I think of the bad weather--the extraordinary happened: The storm had passed in the afternoon into a resolute and blinding snow, and the shepherd, finding it hopeless on the hill, came home about three o'clock. I could make out from his way of entering that he was in a great temper. He kicked his feet savagely against the door-post. Then he swore at his dogs, a thing I had never heard him do before. "Hell!" he cried, "can ye no keep out o' my road, ye britts?" Then he came sullenly into the kitc

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To me the title story was a failure, and I believed the reviewers (Lisa Carr & GeraniumCat) before me considering it one of the best in the bundle. The old grammar is not to my liking, and I had my overdose of old moors aka swamps, and such. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle indulge some of it, when he wrote the Hound of the Baskervilles.

The protagonist clearly feels entitled and predestined, but makes a number of mistakes, which no local, no ranger, and no wild-walker would consider harmless. The next is the lack of science, when swamp-gas and pranks by criminals are among the truth of supposed supernatural phenomena.

Sorry, the Old Manaan or Old Manaw, to me, is merely another stupor like the Blair Witch had been.
There is some very good writing in these stories, quite descriptive, though the Scottish words may baffle a few people. The stories No-Man's Land, The Watcher by the Threshold, The Outgoing of the Tide, The Far Islands, and Basilissa are horror or ghost stories. The others are simply adventure stories, with The King of Ypres the best of those.

Buchan is best known for the thriller The 39 Steps, which Hitchcock made into a movie. These are worth reading.
Profile picture for user roger wetzel
There are some nice, atmospheric tales in this collections, reflecting Buchan's interest in the supernatural. The title story is particularly good.
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