The epic ‘Sixteen Drifty Days’ in The Raiders takes four chapters in the telling,
beginning at Chapter 44:
THE SIXTEEN DRIFTY DAYS
Without, the hurricane drove ever from the south. It was the first of the famous Sixteen Drifty Days which are yet remembered over all the face of the hill country, when of sheep and cattle the dead far outnumbered the living. The snow drove hissing round the corner of the Aughty and faced against the entrance in a forty foot wreath. Looking down in the breaks of the storm we could see only the wild whirl of drifting whiteness in the gulf of the Dungeon of Buchan.
But it was warm and pleasant within. The fire drew peacefully with a gentle draught up the side of the rock, and the heather couches on the floor were dry and pleasant. Even the House of Rathan had hardly been more homelike than the cave called the Aughty, on the eastern face of the precipice of the Star which overlooks the Dungeon.
It was here that Silver Sand, that was John Faa, belted Earl and Gypsy, told his story.
And after a digression for 'the story' of some three chapters…
THE LAST OF THE OUTLAWS
On the morning of the seventeenth day, when we were becoming anxious for those whose anxiety for us we dared not think upon, we looked out, and lo! the great blast—the greatest of a century—had blown itself out. We gazed abroad on the face of the world, and the sight made us both fear and quake, and that exceedingly.
It was a clear, bright morning when we put aside the mat and looked out. The brightness was like the kingdom of heaven. There was a chill thin air blowing, and the snow was already hard bound with frost. We looked down into the Dungeon of Buchan. Its mighty cauldron that had the three lochs at the bottom, was nearly full of snow. The lochs were not. The Wolfs Slock was not. The night before we had only seen a whirling chaos of hurrying flakes of infinite deepness. The morning showed us the great valley almost levelled up with snow, from Breesha and the Snibe to the Range of Kells.
We stepped from the door upon the first wreath. It rose in a grand sweep which curved round the angle of the hill. We set foot on it, and it was strong enough to bear us. So closely had the particles been driven by the force of the wind, that as soon as the pressure was taken off, the frost bound the whole mass together firm as ice and smooth as ivory.
Then as we stood on the top there was a wonderful sight to be seen. A wide world of wreathed snow.
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