The White People
by Burnett

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"The stars come nightly to the sky;
The tidal wave unto the sea;
Nor time, nor space, nor deep, nor high
Can keep my own away from me."



Perhaps the things which happened could
only have happened to me. I do not
know. I never heard of things like them
happening to any one else. But I am not sorry
they did happen. I am in secret deeply and
strangely glad. I have heard other people say
things--and they were not always sad people,
either--which made me feel that if they knew
what I know it would seem to them as though
some awesome, heavy load they had always
dragged about with them had fallen from their
shoulders. To most people everything is so
uncertain that if they could only see or hear and
know something clear they would drop upon
their knees and give thanks. That was what I
felt myself before I found out so strangely, and
I was only a girl. That is why I intend to
write this down as well as I can. It will not be
very well done, because I never was clever at all,
and always found it difficult to talk.

I say that perhaps these things could only
have happened to me, because, as I look back
over my life, I realize that it has always been a
rather curious one. Even when those who took
care of me did not know I was thinking at all, I
had begun to wonder if I were not different from
other children. That was, of course, largely
because Muircarrie Castle was in such a wild
and remote part of Scotland that when my few
relations felt they must pay me a visit as a
mere matter of duty, their journey from London,
or their pleasant places in the south of
England, seemed to them like a pilgrimage to a
sort of savage land; and when a conscientious
one brought a child to play with me, the little
civilized creature was as frightened of me as I
was of it. My shyness and fear of its strangeness
made us both dumb. No doubt I seemed
like a new breed of inoffensive little barbarian,
knowing no tongue but its own.

A certain clannish etiquette made it seem
necessary that a relation should pay me a visit
sometimes, because I was in a way important.
The huge, frowning feudal castle standing upon
its battlemented rock was mine; I was a great
heiress, and I was, so to speak, the chieftainess
of the clan. But I was a plain, undersized little
child, and had no attraction for any one but
Jean Braidfute, a distant cousin, who took care
of me, and Angus Macayre, who took care of
the library, and who was a distant relative
also. They were both like me in the fact that
they were not given to speech; but sometimes
we talked to one another, and I knew they were
fond of me, as I was fond of them. They were
really all I had.