Map of Old Edinburgh


Edinburgh, Scotland 23 October 1833

Isla’s narrative

I am dying; I know it well enough. It does not matter that Dr. Walters comes up from Little France to tell me my heart is beating like a drum, that I will live for another year, mebbe two. Or that Charlotte is full of pretty lies of how well I look, and how much better I seem. I have the inside knowledge; I will go soon. I am ready enough to go, to surrender my soul and be done with all this. Lately I have longed for it. But there is still one thing that I must do before I move on to the dark- ness and the mystery.

Slowly I readjust my blankets. The doctor has just left and now I pray. I am old, very old, so old that I don’t really know how old I am. On that score and what day it is, or where I put my glass down I am very vague. My skin is wrinkled and spotted and my grey hair is streaked with white, although I pretend that it is not. I am quite sick of being abed, but my body is useless. This old body; it can find no way to lie that doesn’t pain me. Now it’s cold, now it’s hot, it can’t keep its food down, it’s always tired. This body used to be my servant but now it is my master. But that is only my body; READ MORE