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The narrator, Charles Darnaway, a recent graduate of Edinburgh University, travels to the remote island of Aros off the north-west coast of Scotland. Aros is the home of his uncle, Gordon Darnaway, a hard-hearted and alcoholic Presbyterian. Charles has come in search of sunken treasure, as he believes a ship of the Spanish Armada sank in the bay under his uncle's home long before. Charles hopes to use the treasure to restore the Darnaways' fortunes and marry Gordon's daughter (and Charles' cousin) Mary Ellen. Charles is rowed out to the promontory by the only other inhabitant, Gordon's servant Rorie. Charles is surprised to find both Rorie and Gordon anxious and full of foreboding, though both furtively evade his questions. He is further surprised to find his uncle's austere home decorate...