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´╗┐Title: Lavengro - The Scholar - The Gypsy - The Priest, Vol. 2 (of 2)
Author: Borrow, George Henry, 1803-1881
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Lavengro - The Scholar - The Gypsy - The Priest, Vol. 2 (of 2)" ***

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Transcribed from the 1901 Methuen & Co edition by David Price, email
ccx074@pglaf.org



LAVENGRO
The Scholar--The Gypsy--The Priest


_By_
GEORGE BORROW
_WITH NOTES AND AN INTRODUCTION_
BY F. HINDES GROOME

VOLUME II

_WITH A FRONTISPIECE_

LONDON
METHUEN & CO
36 ESSEX STREET, W.C.
MDCCCCI

{Picture of Norwich Cathedral: p0.jpg}



 CHAPTER XLIX


Singular Personage--A Large Sum--Papa of Rome--We are
Christians--Degenerate Armenians--Roots of Ararat--Regular Features.

The Armenian!  I frequently saw this individual, availing myself of the
permission which he had given me to call upon him.  A truly singular
personage was he, with his love of amassing money, and his nationality so
strong as to be akin to poetry.  Many an Armenian I have subsequently
known fond of money-getting, and not destitute of national spirit; but
never another who, in the midst of his schemes of lucre, was at all times
willing to enter into a conversation on the structure of the Haik
language, or who ever offered me money to render into English the fables
of Z--- in the hope of astonishing the stock-jobbers of the Exchange with
the wisdom of the Haik Esop.

But he was fond of money, very fond.  Within a little time I had won his
confidence to such a degree that he informed me that the grand wish of
his heart was to be possessed of two hundred thousand pounds.

"I think you might satisfy yourself with the half," said I.  "One hundred
thousand pounds is a large sum."

"You are mistaken," said the Armenian, "a hundred thousand pounds is
nothing.  My father left me that or more at his death.  No, I shall never
be satisfied with less than two."

"And what will you do with your riches," said I, "when you have obtained
them?  Will you sit down and muse upon them, or will you deposit them in
a cellar, and go down once a day to stare at them?  I have heard say that
the fulfilment of one's wishes is invariably the precursor of extreme
misery, and forsooth I can scarcely conceive a more horrible state of
existence than to be without a hope or wish."

"It is bad enough, I dare say," said the Armenian; "it will, however, be
time enough to think of disposing of the money when I have procured it.  I
still fall short by a vast sum of the two hundred thousand pounds."

I had occasionally much conversation with him on the state and prospects
of his nation, especially of that part of it which still continued in the
original country of the Haiks--Ararat and its confines, which, it
appeared, he had frequently visited.  He informed me that since the death
of the last Haik monarch, which occurred in the eleventh century, Armenia
had been governed both temporally and spiritually by certain personages
called patriarchs; their temporal authority, however, was much
circumscribed by the Persian and Turk, especially the former, of whom the
Armenian spoke with much hatred, whilst their spiritual authority had at
various times been considerably undermined by the emissaries of the Papa
of Rome, as the Armenian called him.

"The Papa of Rome sent his emissaries at an early period amongst us,"
said the Armenian, "seducing the minds of weak-headed people, persuading
them that the hillocks of Rome are higher than the ridges of Ararat; that
the Roman Papa has more to say in heaven than the Armenian patriarch, and
that puny Latin is a better language than nervous and sonorous Haik."

"They are both dialects," said I, "of the language of Mr. Petulengro, one
of whose race I believe to have been the original founder of Rome; but,
with respect to religion, what are the chief points of your faith? you
are Christians, I believe."

"Yes," said the Armenian, "we are Christians in our way; we believe in
God, the Holy Spirit, and Saviour, though we are not prepared to admit
that the last Personage is not only Himself, but the other two.  We
believe. . . " and then the Armenian told me of several things which the
Haiks believed or disbelieved.  "But what we find most hard of all to
believe," said he, "is that the man of the mole hills is entitled to our
allegiance, he not being a Haik, or understanding the Haik language."

"But, by your own confession," said I, "he has introduced a schism in
your nation, and has amongst you many that believe in him."

"It is true," said the Armenian, "that even on the confines of Ararat
there are a great number who consider that mountain to be lower than the
hillocks of Rome; but the greater number of degenerate Armenians are to
be found amongst those who have wandered to the West; most of the Haik
Churches of the West consider Rome to be higher than Ararat--most of the
Armenians of this place hold that dogma; I, however, have always stood
firm in the contrary opinion."

"Ha! ha!"--here the Armenian laughed in his peculiar manner--"talking of
this matter puts me in mind of an adventure which lately befell me, with
one of the emissaries of the Papa of Rome, for the Papa of Rome has at
present many emissaries in this country, in order to seduce the people
from their own quiet religion to the savage heresy of Rome; this fellow
came to me partly in the hope of converting me, but principally to extort
money for the purpose of furthering the designs of Rome in this country.
I humoured the fellow at first, keeping him in play for nearly a month,
deceiving and laughing at him.  At last he discovered that he could make
nothing of me, and departed with the scowl of Caiaphas, whilst I cried
after him, 'The roots of Ararat are _deeper_ than those of Rome.'"

The Armenian had occasionally reverted to the subject of the translation
of the Haik Esop, which he had still a lurking desire that I should
execute; but I had invariably declined the undertaking, without, however,
stating my reasons.  On one occasion, when we had been conversing on the
subject, the Armenian, who had been observing my countenance for some
time with much attention, remarked, "Perhaps, after all, you are right,
and you might employ your time to better advantage.  Literature is a fine
thing, especially Haik literature, but neither that nor any other would
be likely to serve as a foundation to a man's fortune: and to make a
fortune should be the principal aim of every one's life; therefore listen
to me.  Accept a seat at the desk opposite to my Moldavian clerk, and
receive the rudiments of a merchant's education.  You shall be instructed
in the Armenian way of doing business--I think you would make an
excellent merchant."

"Why do you think so?"

"Because you have something of the Armenian look."

"I understand you," said I; "you mean to say that I squint!"

"Not exactly," said the Armenian, "but there is certainly a kind of
irregularity in your features.  One eye appears to me larger than the
other--never mind, but rather rejoice; in that irregularity consists your
strength.  All people with regular features are fools; it is very hard
for them, you'll say, but there is no help: all we can do, who are not in
such a predicament, is to pity those who are.  Well! will you accept my
offer?  No! you are a singular individual; but I must not forget my own
concerns.  I must now go forth, having an appointment by which I hope to
make money."



CHAPTER L


Wish Fulfilled--Extraordinary Figure--Bueno--Noah--The Two Faces--I Don't
Blame Him--Too Fond of Money--Were I an Armenian.

The fulfilment of the Armenian's grand wish was nearer at hand than
either he or I had anticipated.  Partly owing to the success of a bold
speculation, in which he had some time previously engaged, and partly
owing to the bequest of a large sum of money by one of his nation who
died at this period in Paris, he found himself in the possession of a
fortune somewhat exceeding two hundred thousand pounds; this fact he
communicated to me one evening about an hour after the close of 'Change;
the hour at which I generally called, and at which I mostly found him at
home.

"Well," said I, "and what do you intend to do next?"

"I scarcely know," said the Armenian.  "I was thinking of that when you
came in.  I don't see anything that I can do, save going on in my former
course.  After all, I was perhaps too moderate in making the possession
of two hundred thousand pounds the summit of my ambition; there are many
individuals in this town who possess three times that sum, and are not
yet satisfied.  No, I think I can do no better than pursue the old
career; who knows but I may make the two hundred thousand three or
four?--there is already a surplus, which is an encouragement; however, we
will consider the matter over a goblet of wine; I have observed of late
that you have become partial to my Cyprus."

And it came to pass that, as we were seated over the Cyprus wine, we
heard a knock at the door.  "Adelante!" cried the Armenian; whereupon the
door opened, and in walked a somewhat extraordinary figure--a man in a
long loose tunic of a stuff striped with black and yellow; breeches of
plush velvet, silk stockings, and shoes with silver buckles.  On his head
he wore a high-peaked hat; he was tall, had a hooked nose, and in age was
about fifty.

"Welcome, Rabbi Manasseh," said the Armenian.  "I know your knock--you
are welcome; sit down."

"I am welcome," said Manasseh, sitting down; "he! he! he! you know my
knock--I bring you money--_bueno_!"

There was something very peculiar in the sound of that _bueno_--I never
forgot it.

Thereupon a conversation ensued between Rabbi Manasseh and the Armenian,
in a language which I knew to be Spanish, though a peculiar dialect.  It
related to a mercantile transaction.  The Rabbi sighed heavily as he
delivered to the other a considerable sum of money.

"It is right," said the Armenian, handing a receipt.  "It is right; and I
am quite satisfied."

"You are satisfied--you have taken money.  _Bueno_, I have nothing to say
against your being satisfied."

"Come, Rabbi," said the Armenian, "do not despond; it may be your turn
next to take money; in the meantime, can't you be persuaded to taste my
Cyprus?"

"He! he! he! senor, you know I do not love wine.  I love Noah when he is
himself; but, as Janus, I love him not.  But you are merry; _bueno_, you
have a right to be so."

"Excuse me," said I; "but does Noah ever appear as Janus?"

"He! he! he!" said the Rabbi, "he only appeared as Janus once--una vez
quando estuvo borracho; which means--"

"I understand," said I; "when he was . . . " and I drew the side of my
right hand sharply across my left wrist.

"Are you one of our people?" said the Rabbi.

"No," said I, "I am one of the Goyim; but I am only half enlightened.  Why
should Noah be Janus when he was in that state?"

"He! he! he! you must know that in Lasan akhades wine is janin."

"In Armenian, kini," said I; "in Welsh, gwin; Latin, vinum; but do you
think that Janus and janin are one?"

"Do I think?  Don't the commentators say so?  Does not Master Leo
Abarbenel say so, in his 'Dialogues of Divine Love'?"

"But," said I, "I always thought that Janus was a god of the ancient
Romans, who stood in a temple open in time of war, and shut in time of
peace; he was represented with two faces, which--which--"

"He! he! he!" said the Rabbi, rising from his seat; "he had two faces,
had he?  And what did those two faces typify?  You do not know; no, nor
did the Romans who carved him with two faces know why they did so; for
they were only half enlightened, like you and the rest of the Goyim.  Yet
they were right in carving him with two faces looking from each
other--they were right, though they knew not why; there was a tradition
among them that the Janinoso had two faces, but they knew not that one
was for the world which was gone, and the other for the world before
him--for the drowned world, and for the present, as Master Leo Abarbenel
says in his 'Dialogues of Divine Love.'  He! he! he!" continued the
Rabbi, who had by this time advanced to the door, and, turning round,
waved the two forefingers of his right hand in our faces; "the Goyims and
Epicouraiyim are clever men, they know how to make money better than we
of Israel.  My good friend there is a clever man, I bring him money, he
never brought me any; _bueno_, I do not blame him, he knows much, very
much; but one thing there is my friend does not know, nor any of the
Epicureans, he does not know the sacred thing--he has never received the
gift of interpretation which God alone gives to the seed--he has his
gift, I have mine--he is satisfied, I don't blame him, _bueno_."

And, with this last word in his mouth, he departed.

"Is that man a native of Spain?" I demanded.

"Not a native of Spain," said the Armenian, "though he is one of those
who call themselves Spanish Jews, and who are to be found scattered
throughout Europe, speaking the Spanish language transmitted to them by
their ancestors, who were expelled from Spain in the time of Ferdinand
and Isabella."

"The Jews are a singular people," said I.

"A race of cowards and dastards," said the Armenian, "without a home or
country; servants to servants; persecuted and despised by all."

"And what are the Haiks?" I demanded.

"Very different from the Jews," replied the Armenian; "the Haiks have a
home--a country, and can occasionally use a good sword; though it is true
they are not what they might be."

"Then it is a shame that they do not become so," said I; "but they are
too fond of money.  There is yourself, with two hundred thousand pounds
in your pocket, craving for more, whilst you might be turning your wealth
to the service of your country."

"In what manner?" said the Armenian.

"I have heard you say that the grand oppressor of your country is the
Persian; why not attempt to free your country from his oppression?--you
have two hundred thousand pounds, and money is the sinew of war."

"Would you, then, have me attack the Persian?"

"I scarcely know what to say; fighting is a rough trade, and I am by no
means certain that you are calculated for the scratch.  It is not every
one who has been brought up in the school of Mr. Petulengro and Tawno
Chikno.  All I can say is, that if I were an Armenian, and had two
hundred thousand pounds to back me, I would attack the Persian."

"Hem!" said the Armenian.



CHAPTER LI


The One Half-Crown--Merit in Patience--Cementer of Friendship--Dreadful
Perplexity--The Usual Guttural--Armenian Letters--Much Indebted to
You--Pure Helplessness--Dumb People.

One morning on getting up I discovered that my whole worldly wealth was
reduced to one half-crown--throughout that day I walked about in
considerable distress of mind; it was now requisite that I should come to
a speedy decision with respect to what I was to do; I had not many
alternatives, and, before I had retired to rest on the night of the day
in question, I had determined that I could do no better than accept the
first proposal of the Armenian, and translate under his superintendence
the Haik Esop into English.

I reflected, for I made a virtue of necessity, that, after all, such an
employment would be an honest and honourable one; honest, inasmuch as by
engaging in it I should do harm to nobody; honourable, inasmuch as it was
a literary task, which not every one was capable of executing.  It was
not every one of the booksellers' writers of London who was competent to
translate the Haik Esop.  I determined to accept the offer of the
Armenian.

Once or twice the thought of what I might have to undergo in the
translation from certain peculiarities of the Armenian's temper almost
unsettled me; but a mechanical diving of my hand into my pocket, and the
feeling of the solitary half-crown, confirmed me; after all, this was a
life of trial and tribulation, and I had read somewhere or other that
there was much merit in patience, so I determined to hold fast in my
resolution of accepting the offer of the Armenian.

But all of a sudden I remembered that the Armenian appeared to have
altered his intentions towards me: he appeared no longer desirous that I
should render the Haik Esop into English for the benefit of the stock-
jobbers on Exchange, but rather that I should acquire the rudiments of
doing business in the Armenian fashion, and accumulate a fortune, which
would enable me to make a figure upon 'Change with the best of the stock-
jobbers.  "Well," thought I, withdrawing my hand from my pocket, whither
it had again mechanically dived, "after all, what would the world, what
would this city be, without commerce?  I believe the world, and
particularly this city, would cut a very poor figure without commerce;
and then there is something poetical in the idea of doing business after
the Armenian fashion, dealing with dark-faced Lascars and Rabbins of the
Sephardim.  Yes, should the Armenian insist upon it, I will accept a seat
at the desk, opposite the Moldavian clerk.  I do not like the idea of
cuffs similar to those the Armenian bestowed upon the Moldavian clerk;
whatever merit there may be in patience, I do not think that my
estimation of the merit of patience would be sufficient to induce me to
remain quietly sitting under the infliction of cuffs.  I think I should,
in the event of his cuffing me, knock the Armenian down.  Well, I think I
have heard it said somewhere, that a knock-down blow is a great cementer
of friendship; I think I have heard of two people being better friends
than ever after the one had received from the other a knock-down blow."

That night I dreamed I had acquired a colossal fortune, some four hundred
thousand pounds, by the Armenian way of doing business, but suddenly
awoke in dreadful perplexity as to how I should dispose of it.

About nine o'clock next morning I set off to the house of the Armenian; I
had never called upon him so early before, and certainly never with a
heart beating with so much eagerness; but the situation of my affairs had
become very critical, and I thought that I ought to lose no time in
informing the Armenian that I was at length perfectly willing either to
translate the Haik Esop under his superintendence, or to accept a seat at
the desk opposite to the Moldavian clerk, and acquire the secrets of
Armenian commerce.  With a quick step I entered the counting-room, where,
notwithstanding the earliness of the hour, I found the clerk, busied as
usual at his desk.

He had always appeared to me a singular being, this same Moldavian clerk.
A person of fewer words could scarcely be conceived: provided his master
were at home, he would, on my inquiring, nod his head; and, provided he
were not, he would invariably reply with the monosyllable, no, delivered
in a strange guttural tone.  On the present occasion, being full of
eagerness and impatience, I was about to pass by him to the apartment
above, without my usual inquiry, when he lifted his head from the ledger
in which he was writing, and, laying down his pen, motioned to me with
his forefinger, as if to arrest my progress; whereupon I stopped, and,
with a palpitating heart, demanded whether the master of the house was at
home.  The Moldavian clerk replied with his usual guttural, and, opening
his desk, ensconced his head therein.

"It does not much matter," said I, "I suppose I shall find him at home
after 'Change; it does not much matter, I can return."

I was turning away with the intention of leaving the room; at this
moment, however, the head of the Moldavian clerk became visible, and I
observed a letter in his hand, which he had inserted in the desk at the
same time with his head; this he extended towards me, making at the same
time a side-long motion with his head, as much as to say that it
contained something which interested me.

I took the letter, and the Moldavian clerk forthwith resumed his
occupation.  The back of the letter bore my name, written in Armenian
characters; with a trembling hand I broke the seal, and, unfolding the
letter, I beheld several lines also written in the letters of Mesroub,
the Cadmus of the Armenians.

I stared at the lines, and at first could not make out a syllable of
their meaning; at last, however, by continued staring, I discovered that,
though the letters were Armenian, the words were English; in about ten
minutes I had contrived to decipher the sense of the letter; it ran
somewhat in this style:--

   "MY DEAR FRIEND,--The words which you uttered in our last conversation
   have made a profound impression upon me; I have thought them over day
   and night, and have come to the conclusion that it is my bounden duty
   to attack the Persians.  When these lines are delivered to you, I
   shall be on the route to Ararat.  A mercantile speculation will be to
   the world the ostensible motive of my journey, and it is singular
   enough that one which offers considerable prospect of advantage has
   just presented itself on the confines of Persia.  Think not, however,
   that motives of lucre would have been sufficiently powerful to tempt
   me to the East at the present moment.  I may speculate, it is true,
   but I should scarcely have undertaken the journey but for your pungent
   words inciting me to attack the Persians.  Doubt not that I will
   attack them on the first opportunity.  I thank you heartily for
   putting me in mind of my duty.  I have hitherto, to use your own
   words, been too fond of money-getting, like all my countrymen.  I am
   much indebted to you; farewell! and may every prosperity await you."

For some time after I had deciphered the epistle, I stood as if rooted to
the floor.  I felt stunned--my last hope was gone; presently a feeling
arose in my mind--a feeling of self-reproach.  Whom had I to blame but
myself for the departure of the Armenian?  Would he have ever thought of
attacking the Persians had I not put the idea into his head? he had told
me in his epistle that he was indebted to me for the idea.  But for that,
he might at the present moment have been in London, increasing his
fortune by his usual methods, and I might be commencing under his
auspices the translation of the Haik Esop, with the promise, no doubt, of
a considerable remuneration for my trouble; or I might be taking a seat
opposite the Moldavian clerk, and imbibing the first rudiments of doing
business after the Armenian fashion, with the comfortable hope of
realising, in a short time, a fortune of three or four hundred thousand
pounds; but the Armenian was now gone, and farewell to the fine hopes I
had founded upon him the day before.  What was I to do?  I looked wildly
around, till my eyes rested on the Moldavian clerk, who was writing away
in his ledger with particular vehemence.  Not knowing well what to do or
to say, I thought I might as well ask the Moldavian clerk when the
Armenian had departed, and when he thought that he would return.  It is
true it mattered little to me when he departed, seeing that he was gone,
and it was evident that he would not be back soon; but I knew not what to
do, and in pure helplessness thought I might as well ask; so I went up to
the Moldavian clerk, and asked him when the Armenian had departed, and
whether he had been gone two days or three?  Whereupon the Moldavian
clerk, looking up from his ledger, made certain signs, which I could by
no means understand.  I stood astonished, but, presently recovering
myself, inquired when he considered it probable that the master would
return, and whether he thought it would be two months or--my tongue
faltered--two years; whereupon the Moldavian clerk made more signs than
before, and yet more unintelligible; as I persisted, however, he flung
down his pen, and, putting his thumb into his mouth, moved it rapidly,
causing the nail to sound against the lower jaw; whereupon I saw that he
was dumb, and hurried away, for I had always entertained a horror of dumb
people, having once heard my mother say, when I was a child, that dumb
people were half demoniacs, or little better.



CHAPTER LII


Kind of Stupor--Peace of God--Divine Hand--Farewell, Child--The
Fair--Massive Edifice--Battered Tars--Lost! Lost!--Good Day, Gentlemen.

Leaving the house of the Armenian, I strolled about for some time; almost
mechanically my feet conducted me to London Bridge, to the booth in which
stood the stall of the old apple-woman; the sound of her voice aroused
me, as I sat in a kind of stupor on the stone bench beside her; she was
inquiring what was the matter with me.

At first, I believe, I answered her very incoherently, for I observed
alarm beginning to depict itself upon her countenance.  Rousing myself,
however, I in my turn put a few questions to her upon her present
condition and prospects.  The old woman's countenance cleared up
instantly; she informed me that she had never been more comfortable in
her life; that her trade, her _honest_ trade--laying an emphasis on the
word honest--had increased of late wonderfully; that her health was
better, and, above all, that she felt no fear and horror "here," laying
her hand on her breast.

On my asking her whether she still heard voices in the night, she told me
that she frequently did; but that the present were mild voices, sweet
voices, encouraging voices, very different from the former ones; that a
voice, only the night previous, had cried out about "the peace of God,"
in particularly sweet accents; a sentence which she remembered to have
read in her early youth in the primer, but which she had clean forgotten
till the voice the night before brought it to her recollection.

After a pause, the old woman said to me, "I believe, dear, that it is the
blessed book you brought me which has wrought this goodly change.  How
glad I am now that I can read; but oh what a difference between the book
you brought to me and the one you took away.  I believe the one you
brought is written by the finger of God, and the other by--"

"Don't abuse the book," said I, "it is an excellent book for those who
can understand it; it was not exactly suited to you, and perhaps it had
been better that you had never read it--and yet, who knows?  Peradventure,
if you had not read that book, you would not have been fitted for the
perusal of the one which you say is written by the finger of God;" and,
pressing my hand to my head, I fell into a deep fit of musing.  "What,
after all," thought I, "if there should be more order and system in the
working of the moral world than I have thought?  Does there not seem in
the present instance to be something like the working of a Divine hand?  I
could not conceive why this woman, better educated than her mother,
should have been, as she certainly was, a worse character than her
mother.  Yet perhaps this woman may be better and happier than her mother
ever was; perhaps she is so already--perhaps this world is not a wild,
lying dream, as I have occasionally supposed it to be."

But the thought of my own situation did not permit me to abandon myself
much longer to these musings.  I started up.  "Where are you going,
child?" said the woman, anxiously.  "I scarcely know," said I;
"anywhere."  "Then stay here, child," said she; "I have much to say to
you."  "No," said I, "I shall be better moving about;" and I was moving
away, when it suddenly occurred to me that I might never see this woman
again; and turning round I offered her my hand, and bade her good bye.
"Farewell, child," said the old woman, "and God bless you!"  I then moved
along the bridge until I reached the Southwark side, and, still holding
on my course, my mind again became quickly abstracted from all
surrounding objects.

At length I found myself in a street or road, with terraces on either
side, and seemingly of interminable length, leading, as it would appear,
to the south-east.  I was walking at a great rate--there were likewise a
great number of people, also walking at a great rate; also carts and
carriages driving at a great rate; and all--men, carts, and
carriages--going in the selfsame direction, namely, to the south-east.  I
stopped for a moment and deliberated whether or not I should proceed.
What business had I in that direction?  I could not say that I had any
particular business in that direction, but what could I do were I to turn
back? only walk about well-known streets; and, if I must walk, why not
continue in the direction in which I was to see whither the road and its
terraces led: I was here in a _terra incognita_, and an unknown place had
always some interest for me; moreover, I had a desire to know whither all
this crowd was going, and for what purpose.  I thought they could not be
going far, as crowds seldom go far, especially at such a rate; so I
walked on more lustily than before, passing group after group of the
crowd, and almost vying in speed with some of the carriages, especially
the hackney-coaches; and, by dint of walking at this rate, the terraces
and houses becoming somewhat less frequent as I advanced, I reached in
about three-quarters of an hour a kind of low dingy town, in the
neighbourhood of the river; the streets were swarming with people, and I
concluded, from the number of wild-beast shows, caravans, gingerbread
stalls, and the like, that a fair was being held.  Now, as I had always
been partial to fairs, I felt glad that I had fallen in with the crowd
which had conducted me to the present one, and, casting away as much as I
was able all gloomy thoughts, I did my best to enter into the diversions
of the fair; staring at the wonderful representations of animals on
canvas hung up before the shows of wild beasts, which, by the bye, are
frequently found much more worthy of admiration than the real beasts
themselves; listening to the jokes of the merry-andrews from the
platforms in front of the temporary theatres, or admiring the splendid
tinsel dresses of the performers who thronged the stages in the intervals
of the entertainments; and in this manner, occasionally gazing and
occasionally listening, I passed through the town till I came in front of
a large edifice looking full upon the majestic bosom of the Thames.

It was a massive stone edifice, built in an antique style, and black with
age, with a broad esplanade between it and the river, on which, mixed
with a few people from the fair, I observed moving about a great many
individuals in quaint dresses of blue, with strange three-cornered hats
on their heads; most of them were mutilated; this had a wooden leg--this
wanted an arm; some had but one eye; and as I gazed upon the edifice, and
the singular-looking individuals who moved before it, I guessed where I
was.  "I am at ---," {22} said I; "these individuals are battered tars of
Old England, and this edifice, once the favourite abode of Glorious
Elizabeth, is the refuge which a grateful country has allotted to them.
Here they can rest their weary bodies; at their ease talk over the
actions in which they have been injured; and, with the tear of enthusiasm
flowing from their eyes, boast how they have trod the deck of fame with
Rodney, or Nelson, or others whose names stand emblazoned in the naval
annals of their country."

Turning to the right, I entered a park or wood consisting of enormous
trees, occupying the foot, sides, and top of a hill which rose behind the
town; there were multitudes of people among the trees, diverting
themselves in various ways.  Coming to the top of the hill, I was
presently stopped by a lofty wall, along which I walked, till, coming to
a small gate, I passed through, and found myself on an extensive green
plain, on one side bounded in part by the wall of the park, and on the
others, in the distance, by extensive ranges of houses; to the south-east
was a lofty eminence, partially clothed with wood.  The plain exhibited
an animated scene, a kind of continuation of the fair below; there were
multitudes of people upon it, many tents, and shows; there was also horse-
racing, and much noise and shouting, the sun shining brightly overhead.
After gazing at the horse-racing for a little time, feeling myself
somewhat tired, I went up to one of the tents, and laid myself down on
the grass.  There was much noise in the tent.  "Who will stand me?" said
a voice with a slight tendency to lisp.  "Will you, my lord?"  "Yes,"
said another voice.  Then there was a sound as of a piece of money
banging on a table.  "Lost! lost! lost!" cried several voices; and then
the banging down of the money, and the "Lost! lost! lost!" were
frequently repeated; at last the second voice exclaimed, "I will try no
more; you have cheated me."  "Never cheated any one in my life, my
lord--all fair--all chance.  Them that finds, wins--them that can't
finds, loses.  Any one else try?  Who'll try?  Will you, my lord?" and
then it appeared that some other lord tried, for I heard more money flung
down.  Then again the cry of "Lost! lost!"--then again the sound of
money, and so on.  Once or twice, but not more, I heard "Won! won!" but
the predominant cry was "Lost! lost!"  At last there was a considerable
hubbub, and the words "Cheat!" "Rogue!" and "You filched away the pea!"
were used freely by more voices than one, to which the voice with the
tendency to lisp replied, "Never filched a pea in my life; would scorn
it.  Always glad when folks wins; but, as those here don't appear to be
civil, nor to wish to play any more, I shall take myself off with my
table; so, good day, gentlemen."



CHAPTER LIII


Singular Table--No Money--Out of Employ--My Bonnet--We of the
Thimble--Good Wages--Wisely Resolved--Strangest Way in the World--Fat
Gentleman--Not Such Another--First Edition--Not Very Easy--Won't
Close--Avella Gorgio--Alarmed Look.

Presently a man emerged from the tent, bearing before him a rather
singular table; it appeared to be of white deal, was exceedingly small at
the top, and with very long legs.  At a few yards from the entrance he
paused, and looked round, as if to decide on the direction which he
should take; presently, his eye glancing on me as I lay upon the ground,
he started, and appeared for a moment inclined to make off as quick as
possible, table and all.  In a moment, however, he seemed to recover
assurance, and, coming up to the place where I was, the long legs of the
table projecting before him, he cried, "Glad to see you here, my lord."

"Thank you," said I, "it's a fine day."

"Very fine, my lord; will your lordship play?  Them that finds, wins--them
that don't finds, loses."

"Play at what?" said I.

"Only at the thimble and pea, my lord."

"I never heard of such a game."

"Didn't you?  Well, I'll soon teach you," said he, placing the table
down.  "All you have to do is to put a sovereign down on my table, and to
find the pea, which I put under one of my thimbles.  If you find it,--and
it is easy enough to find it,--I give you a sovereign besides your own:
for them that finds, wins."

"And them that don't finds, loses," said I; "no, I don't wish to play."

"Why not, my lord?"

"Why, in the first place, I have no money."

"Oh, you have no money, that of course alters the case.  If you have no
money, you can't play.  Well, I suppose I must be seeing after my
customers," said he, glancing over the plain.

"Good day," said I.

"Good day," said the man slowly, but without moving, and as if in
reflection.  After a moment or two, looking at me inquiringly, he added,
"Out of employ?"

"Yes," said I, "out of employ."

The man measured me with his eye as I lay on the ground.  At length he
said, "May I speak a word or two to you, my lord?"

"As many as you please," said I.

"Then just come a little out of hearing, a little further on the grass,
if you please, my lord."

"Why do you call me my lord?" said I, as I arose and followed him.

"We of the thimble always calls our customers lords," said the man; "but
I won't call you such a foolish name any more; come along."

The man walked along the plain till he came to the side of a dry pit,
when, looking round to see that no one was nigh, he laid his table on the
grass, and, sitting down with his legs over the side of the pit, he
motioned me to do the same.  "So you are in want of employ," said he,
after I had sat down beside him.

"Yes," said I, "I am very much in want of employ."

"I think I can find you some."

"What kind?" said I.

"Why," said the man, "I think you would do to be my bonnet."

"Bonnet!" said I; "what is that?"

"Don't you know?  However, no wonder, as you had never heard of the
thimble and pea game, but I will tell you.  We of the game are very much
exposed; folks when they have lost their money, as those who play with us
mostly do, sometimes uses rough language, calls us cheats, and sometimes
knocks our hats over our eyes; and what's more, with a kick under our
table, cause the top deals to fly off; this is the third table I have
used this day, the other two being broken by uncivil customers: so we of
the game generally like to have gentlemen go about with us to take our
part, and encourage us, though pretending to know nothing about us; for
example, when the customer says, 'I'm cheated,' the bonnet must say, 'No,
you a'n't, it is all right;' or, when my hat is knocked over my eyes, the
bonnet must square, and say, 'I never saw the man before in all my life,
but I won't see him ill-used;' and so, when they kicks at the table, the
bonnet must say, 'I won't see the table ill-used, such a nice table, too;
besides, I want to play myself;' and then I would say to the bonnet,
'Thank you, my lord, them that finds, wins;' and then the bonnet plays,
and I lets the bonnet win."

"In a word," said I, "the bonnet means the man who covers you, even as
the real bonnet covers the head." {27a}

"Just so," said the man; "I see you are awake, and would soon make a
first-rate bonnet."

"Bonnet," said I, musingly; "bonnet; it is metaphorical."

"Is it?" said the man.

"Yes," said I, "like the cant words--"

"Bonnet is cant," said the man; "we of the thimble, as well as all
clyfakers and the like, understand cant, as, of course, must every
bonnet; so, if you are employed by me, you had better learn it as soon as
you can, that we may discourse together without being understood by every
one.  Besides covering his principal, a bonnet must have his eyes about
him, for the trade of the pea, though a strictly honest one, is not
altogether lawful; so it is the duty of the bonnet, if he sees the
constable coming, to say, 'The Gorgio's welling.'" {27b}

"That is not cant," said I, "that is the language of the Rommany Chals."
{27c}

"Do you know those people?" said the man.

"Perfectly," said I, "and their language too."

"I wish I did," said the man; "I would give ten pounds and more to know
the language of the Rommany Chals.  There's some of it in the language of
the pea and thimble; how it came there I don't know, but so it is.  I
wish I knew it, but it is difficult.  You'll make a capital bonnet; shall
we close?"

"What would the wages be?" I demanded.

"Why, to a first-rate bonnet, as I think you would prove, I could afford
to give from forty to fifty shillings a week."

"Is it possible?" said I.

"Good wages, a'n't they?" said the man.

"First-rate," said I; "bonneting is more profitable than reviewing."

"Anan?" said the man.

"Or translating; I don't think the Armenian would have paid me at that
rate for translating his Esop."

"Who is he?" said the man.

"Esop?"

"No, I know what that is, Esop's cant for a hunchback; but t'other?"

"You should know," said I.

"Never saw the man in all my life."

"Yes, you have," said I, "and felt him too; don't you remember the
individual from whom you took the pocket-book?"

"Oh, that was he?  Well, the less said about that matter the better; I
have left off that trade, and taken to this, which is a much better.
Between ourselves, I am not sorry that I did not carry off that pocket-
book; if I had, it might have encouraged me in the trade, in which, had I
remained, I might have been lagged, sent abroad, as I had been already
imprisoned; so I determined to leave it off at all hazards, though I was
hard up, not having a penny in the world."

"And wisely resolved," said I; "it was a bad and dangerous trade; I
wonder you should ever have embraced it."

"It is all very well talking," said the man, "but there is a reason for
everything; I am the son of a Jewess, by a military officer,"--and then
the man told me his story.  I shall not repeat the man's story, it was a
poor one, a vile one; at last he observed, "So that affair which you know
of determined me to leave the filching trade, and take up with a more
honest and safe one; so at last I thought of the pea and thimble, but I
wanted funds, especially to pay for lessons at the hands of a master, for
I knew little about it."

"Well," said I, "how did you get over that difficulty?"

"Why," said the man, "I thought I should never have got over it.  What
funds could I raise?  I had nothing to sell; the few clothes I had I
wanted, for we of the thimble must always appear decent, or nobody would
come near us.  I was at my wits' end; at last I got over my difficulty in
the strangest way in the world."

"What was that?"

"By an old thing which I had picked up some time before--a book."

"A book?" said I.

"Yes, which I had taken out of your lordship's pocket one day as you were
walking the streets in a great hurry.  I thought it was a pocket-book at
first, full of bank-notes, perhaps," continued he, laughing.  "It was
well for me, however, that it was not, for I should have soon spent the
notes; as it was, I had flung the old thing down with an oath, as soon as
I brought it home.  When I was so hard up, however, after the affair with
that friend of yours, I took it up one day, and thought I might make
something by it to support myself a day with.  Chance or something else
led me into a grand shop; there was a man there who seemed to be the
master, talking to a jolly, portly old gentleman, who seemed to be a
country squire.  Well, I went up to the first, and offered it for sale;
he took the book, opened it at the title-page, and then all of a sudden
his eyes glistened, and he showed it to the fat, jolly gentleman, and his
eyes glistened too, and I heard him say 'How singular!' and then the two
talked together in a speech I didn't understand--I rather thought it was
French, at any rate it wasn't cant; and presently the first asked me what
I would take for the book.  Now I am not altogether a fool, nor am I
blind, and I had narrowly marked all that passed, and it came into my
head that now was the time for making a man of myself, at any rate I
could lose nothing by a little confidence; so I looked the man boldly in
the face, and said, 'I will have five guineas for that book, there a'n't
such another in the whole world.'  'Nonsense,' said the first man, 'there
are plenty of them, there have been nearly fifty editions, to my
knowledge; I will give you five shillings.'  'No,' said I, 'I'll not take
it, for I don't like to be cheated, so give me my book again;' and I
attempted to take it away from the fat gentleman's hand.  'Stop,' said
the younger man, 'are you sure that you won't take less?'  'Not a
farthing,' said I; which was not altogether true, but I said so.  'Well,'
said the fat gentleman, 'I will give you what you ask;' and sure enough
he presently gave me the money; so I made a bow, and was leaving the
shop, when it came into my head that there was something odd in all this,
and, as I had got the money in my pocket, I turned back, and, making
another bow, said, 'May I be so bold as to ask why you gave me all this
money for that 'ere dirty book?  When I came into the shop, I should have
been glad to get a shilling for it; but I saw you wanted it, and asked
five guineas.'  Then they looked at one another, and smiled, and shrugged
up their shoulders.  Then the first man, looking at me, said, 'Friend,
you have been a little too sharp for us; however, we can afford to
forgive you, as my friend here has long been in quest of this particular
book; there are plenty of editions, as I told you, and a common copy is
not worth five shillings; but this is a first edition, and a copy of the
first edition is worth its weight in gold.'"

"So, after all, they outwitted you," I observed.

"Clearly," said the man; "I might have got double the price, had I known
the value; but I don't care, much good may it do them, it has done me
plenty.  By means of it I have got into an honest, respectable trade, in
which there's little danger and plenty of profit, and got out of one
which would have got me lagged, sooner or later."

"But," said I, "you ought to remember that the thing was not yours; you
took it from me, who had been requested by a poor old apple-woman to
exchange it for a Bible."

"Well," said the man, "did she ever get her Bible?"

"Yes," said I, "she got her Bible."

"Then she has no cause to complain; and, as for you, chance or something
else has sent you to me, that I may make you reasonable amends for any
loss you may have had.  Here am I ready to make you my bonnet, with forty
or fifty shillings a week, which you say yourself are capital wages."

"I find no fault with the wages," said I, "but I don't like the employ."

"Not like bonneting," said the man; "ah, I see, you would like to be
principal; well, a time may come--those long white fingers of yours would
just serve for the business."

"Is it a difficult one?" I demanded.

"Why, it is not very easy: two things are needful--natural talent, and
constant practice; but I'll show you a point or two connected with the
game;" and, placing his table between his knees as he sat over the side
of the pit, he produced three thimbles, and a small brown pellet,
something resembling a pea.  He moved the thimbles and pellet about, now
placing it to all appearance under one, and now under another.  "Under
which is it now?" he said at last.  "Under that," said I, pointing to the
lowermost of the thimbles, which, as they stood, formed a kind of
triangle.  "No," said he, "it is not, but lift it up;" and, when I lifted
up the thimble, the pellet, in truth, was not under it.  "It was under
none of them," said he, "it was pressed by my little finger against my
palm;" and then he showed me how he did the trick, and asked me if the
game was not a funny one; and, on my answering in the affirmative, he
said, "I am glad you like it; come along and let us win some money."

Thereupon, getting up, he placed the table before him, and was moving
away; observing, however, that I did not stir, he asked me what I was
staying for.  "Merely for my own pleasure," said I; "I like sitting here
very well."  "Then you won't close?" said the man.  "By no means," I
replied; "your proposal does not suit me."  "You may be principal in
time," said the man.  "That makes no difference," said I; and, sitting
with my legs over the pit, I forthwith began to decline an Armenian noun.
"That a'n't cant," said the man; "no, nor Gypsy, either.  Well, if you
won't close, another will; I can't lose any more time;" and forthwith he
departed.

And after I had declined four Armenian nouns, of different declensions, I
rose from the side of the pit, and wandered about amongst the various
groups of people scattered over the green.  Presently I came to where the
man of the thimbles was standing, with the table before him, and many
people about him.  "Them who finds, wins, and them who can't finds,
loses," he cried.  Various individuals tried to find the pellet, but all
were unsuccessful, till at last considerable dissatisfaction was
expressed, and the terms rogue and cheat were lavished upon him.  "Never
cheated anybody in all my life," he cried; and, observing me at hand,
"didn't I play fair, my lord?" he inquired.  But I made no answer.
Presently some more played, and he permitted one or two to win, and the
eagerness to play with him became greater.  After I had looked on for
some time, I was moving away: just then I perceived a short, thick
personage, with a staff in his hand, advancing in a great hurry;
whereupon, with a sudden impulse, I exclaimed--

   "Shoon thimble-engro;
   Avella Gorgio." {33}

The man, who was in the midst of his pea and thimble process, no sooner
heard the last word of the distich, than he turned an alarmed look in the
direction of where I stood; then, glancing around, and perceiving the
constable, he slipped forthwith his pellet and thimbles into his pocket,
and, lifting up his table, he cried to the people about him, "Make way!"
and with a motion with his head to me, as if to follow him, he darted off
with a swiftness which the short, pursy constable could by no means
rival; and whither he went, or what became of him, I know not, inasmuch
as I turned away in another direction.



CHAPTER LIV


Mr. Petulengro--Rommany Rye--Lil Writers--One's Own Horn--Lawfully earnt
Money--The Wooded Hill--A Great Favourite--The Shop Window--Much Wanted.

And, as I wandered along the green, I drew near to a place where several
men, with a cask beside them, sat carousing in the neighbourhood of a
small tent.  "Here he comes," said one of them, as I advanced, and
standing up he raised his voice and sang:--

   "Here the Gypsy gemman see,
   With his Roman jib and his rome and dree--
   Rome and dree, rum and dry
   Rally round the Rommany Rye." {35a}

It was Mr. Petulengro, who was here diverting himself with several of his
comrades; they all received me with considerable frankness.  "Sit down,
brother," said Mr. Petulengro, "and take a cup of good ale."

I sat down.  "Your health, gentlemen," said I, as I took the cup which
Mr. Petulengro handed to me.

"Aukko tu pios {35b} adrey Rommanis.  Here is your health in Rommany,
brother," said Mr. Petulengro; who, having refilled the cup, now emptied
it at a draught.

"Your health in Rommany, brother," said Tawno Chikno, to whom the cup
came next.

"The Rommany Rye," said a third.

"The Gypsy gentleman," exclaimed a fourth, drinking.

And then they all sang in chorus--

   "Here the Gypsy gemman see,
   With his Roman jib and his rome and dree--
   Rome and dree, rum and dry
   Rally round the Rommany Rye."

"And now, brother," said Mr. Petulengro, "seeing that you have drunk and
been drunken, you will perhaps tell us where you have been, and what
about?"

"I have been in the Big City," said I, "writing lils." {36}

"How much money have you got in your pocket, brother?" said Mr.
Petulengro.

"Eighteenpence," said I; "all I have in the world."

"I have been in the Big City, too," said Mr. Petulengro; "but I have not
written lils--I have fought in the ring--I have fifty pounds in my
pocket--I have much more in the world.  Brother, there is considerable
difference between us."

"I would rather be the lil-writer, after all," said the tall, handsome,
black man; "indeed, I would wish for nothing better."

"Why so?" said Mr. Petulengro.

"Because they have so much to say for themselves," said the black man,
"even when dead and gone.  When they are laid in the churchyard, it is
their own fault if people a'n't talking of them.  Who will know, after I
am dead, or bitchadey pawdel, that I was once the beauty of the world, or
that you Jasper were--"

"The best man in England of my inches.  That's true, Tawno--however,
here's our brother will perhaps let the world know something about us."

"Not he," said the other, with a sigh; "he'll have quite enough to do in
writing his own lils, and telling the world how handsome and clever he
was; and who can blame him?  Not I.  If I could write lils, every word
should be about myself and my own tacho Rommanis {37}--my own lawful
wedded wife, which is the same thing.  I tell you what, brother, I once
heard a wise man say in Brummagem, that 'there is nothing like blowing
one's own horn,' which I conceive to be much the same thing as writing
one's own lil."

After a little more conversation, Mr. Petulengro arose, and motioned me
to follow him.  "Only eighteenpence in the world, brother!" said he, as
we walked together.

"Nothing more, I assure you.  How came you to ask me how much money I
had?"

"Because there was something in your look, brother, something very much
resembling that which a person showeth who does not carry much money in
his pocket.  I was looking at my own face this morning in my wife's
looking-glass--I did not look as you do, brother."

"I believe your sole motive for inquiring," said I, "was to have an
opportunity of venting a foolish boast, and to let me know that you were
in possession of fifty pounds."

"What is the use of having money unless you let people know you have it?"
said Mr. Petulengro.  "It is not every one can read faces, brother; and,
unless you knew I had money, how could you ask me to lend you any?"

"I am not going to ask you to lend me any."

"Then you may have it without asking; as I said before, I have fifty
pounds, all lawfully earnt money, got by fighting in the ring--I will
lend you that, brother."

"You are very kind," said I; "but I will not take it."

"Then the half of it?"

"Nor the half of it; but it is getting towards evening, I must go back to
the Great City."

"And what will you do in the Boro Foros?" {38}

"I know not," said I.

"Earn money?"

"If I can."

"And if you can't?"

"Starve!"

"You look ill, brother," said Mr. Petulengro.

"I do not feel well; the Great City does not agree with me.  Should I be
so fortunate as to earn some money, I would leave the Big City, and take
to the woods and fields."

"You may do that, brother," said Mr. Petulengro, "whether you have money
or not.  Our tents and horses are on the other side of yonder wooded
hill; come and stay with us; we shall all be glad of your company, but
more especially myself and my wife Pakomovna."

"What hill is that?" I demanded.

And then Mr. Petulengro told me the name of the hill.  "We shall stay on
t'other side of the hill a fortnight," he continued; "and, as you are
fond of lil writing, you may employ yourself profitably whilst there.  You
can write the lil of him whose dook {39a} gallops down that hill every
night, even as the living man was wont to do long ago."

"Who was he?" I demanded.

"Jemmy Abershaw," {39b} said Mr. Petulengro; "one of those whom we call
Boro drom engroes, and the Gorgios highwaymen.  I once heard a rye say
that the life of that man would fetch much money; so come to the other
side of the hill, and write the lil in the tent of Jasper and his wife
Pakomovna."

At first I felt inclined to accept the invitation of Mr. Petulengro; a
little consideration, however, determined me to decline it.  I had always
been on excellent terms with Mr. Petulengro, but I reflected that people
might be excellent friends when they met occasionally in the street, or
on the heath, or in the wood; but that these very people when living
together in a house, to say nothing of a tent, might quarrel.  I
reflected, moreover, that Mr. Petulengro had a wife.  I had always, it is
true, been a great favourite with Mrs. Petulengro, who had frequently
been loud in her commendation of the young rye, as she called me, and his
turn of conversation; but this was at a time when I stood in need of
nothing, lived under my parents' roof, and only visited at the tents to
divert and to be diverted.  The times were altered, and I was by no means
certain that Mrs. Petulengro, when she should discover that I was in need
both of shelter and subsistence, might not alter her opinion both with
respect to the individual and what he said--stigmatising my conversation
as saucy discourse, and myself as a scurvy companion; and that she might
bring over her husband to her own way of thinking, provided, indeed, he
should need any conducting.  I therefore, though without declaring my
reasons, declined the offer of Mr. Petulengro, and presently, after
shaking him by the hand, bent again my course towards the Great City.

I crossed the river at a bridge considerably above that hight of London;
for, not being acquainted with the way, I missed the turning which should
have brought me to the latter.  Suddenly I found myself in a street of
which I had some recollection, and mechanically stopped before the window
of a shop at which various publications were exposed; it was that of the
bookseller to whom I had last applied in the hope of selling my ballads
or Ab Gwilym, and who had given me hopes that, in the event of my writing
a decent novel, or a tale, he would prove a purchaser.  As I stood
listlessly looking at the window, and the publications which it
contained, I observed a paper affixed to the glass by wafers with
something written upon it.  I drew yet nearer for the purpose of
inspecting it; the writing was in a fair round hand--"A Novel or Tale is
much wanted," was what was written.



CHAPTER LV


Bread and Water--Fair Play--Fashionable Life--Colonel B-----Joseph
Sell--The Kindly Glow--Easiest Manner Imaginable.

"I must do something," said I, as I sat that night in my lonely
apartment, with some bread and a pitcher of water before me.

Thereupon taking some of the bread, and eating it, I considered what I
was to do.  "I have no idea what I am to do," said I, as I stretched my
hand towards the pitcher, "unless"--and here I took a considerable
draught--"I write a tale or a novel . . . That bookseller," I continued,
speaking to myself, "is certainly much in need of a tale or a novel,
otherwise he would not advertise for one.  Suppose I write one; I appear
to have no other chance of extricating myself from my present
difficulties; surely it was Fate that conducted me to his window."

"I will do it," said I, as I struck my hand against the table; "I will do
it."  Suddenly a heavy cloud of despondency came over me.  Could I do it?
Had I the imagination requisite to write a tale or a novel?  "Yes, yes,"
said I, as I struck my hand again against the table, "I can manage it;
give me fair play, and I can accomplish anything."

But should I have fair play?  I must have something to maintain myself
with whilst I wrote my tale, and I had but eighteenpence in the world.
Would that maintain me whilst I wrote my tale?  Yes, I thought it would,
provided I ate bread, which did not cost much, and drank water, which
cost nothing; it was poor diet, it was true, but better men than myself
had written on bread and water; had not the big man told me so? or
something to that effect, months before?

It was true there was my lodging to pay for; but up to the present time I
owed nothing, and perhaps, by the time that the people of the house asked
me for money, I should have written a tale or a novel, which would bring
me in money; I had paper, pens, and ink, and, let me not forget them, I
had candles in my closet, all paid for, to light me during my night work.
Enough, I would go doggedly to work upon my tale or novel.

But what was the tale or novel to be about?  Was it to be a tale of
fashionable life, about Sir Harry Somebody, and the Countess Something?
But I knew nothing about fashionable people, and cared less; therefore
how should I attempt to describe fashionable life?  What should the tale
consist of?  The life and adventures of some one.  Good--but of whom?  Did
not Mr. Petulengro mention one Jemmy Abershaw?  Yes.  Did he not tell me
that the life and adventures of Jemmy Abershaw would bring in much money
to the writer?  Yes, but I knew nothing of that worthy.  I heard, it is
true, from Mr. Petulengro, that when alive he committed robberies on the
hill on the side of which Mr. Petulengro had pitched his tents, and that
his ghost still haunted the hill at midnight; but those were scant
materials out of which to write the man's life.  It is probable, indeed,
that Mr. Petulengro would be able to supply me with further materials if
I should apply to him, but I was in a hurry, and could not afford the
time which it would be necessary to spend in passing to and from Mr.
Petulengro, and consulting him.  Moreover, my pride revolted at the idea
of being beholden to Mr. Petulengro for the materials of the history.  No,
I would not write the history of Abershaw.  Whose then--Harry Simms?
Alas, the life of Harry Simms had been already much better written by
himself than I could hope to do it; and, after all, Harry Simms, like
Jemmy Abershaw, was merely a robber.  Both, though bold and extraordinary
men, were merely highwaymen.  I questioned whether I could compose a tale
likely to excite any particular interest out of the exploits of a mere
robber.  I want a character for my hero, thought I, something higher than
a mere robber; some one like--like Colonel B---.  By the way, why should
I not write the life and adventures of Colonel B--- of Londonderry, in
Ireland?

A truly singular man was this same Colonel B--- {43a} of Londonderry, in
Ireland; a personage of most strange and incredible feats and daring, who
had been a partisan soldier, a bravo--who, assisted by certain
discontented troopers, nearly succeeded in stealing the crown and regalia
from the Tower of London; who attempted to hang the Duke of Ormond, at
Tyburn; {43b} and whose strange, eventful career did not terminate even
with his life, his dead body, on the circulation of an unfounded report
that he did not come to his death by fair means, having been exhumed by
the mob of his native place, where he had retired to die, and carried in
the coffin through the streets.

Of his life I had inserted an account in the "Newgate Lives and Trials";
it was bare and meagre, and written in the stiff, awkward style of the
seventeenth century; it had, however, strongly captivated my imagination,
and I now thought that out of it something better could be made; that, if
I added to the adventures, and purified the style, I might fashion out of
it a very decent tale or novel.  On a sudden, however, the proverb of
mending old garments with new cloth occurred to me.  "I am afraid," said
I, "any new adventures which I can invent will not fadge well with the
old tale; one will but spoil the other."  I had better have nothing to do
with Colonel B---, thought I, but boldly and independently sit down and
write the "Life of Joseph Sell."

This Joseph Sell, dear reader, was a fictitious personage who had just
come into my head.  I had never even heard of the name, but just at that
moment it happened to come into my head; I would write an entirely
fictitious narrative, called the "Life and Adventures of Joseph Sell, the
Great traveller."

I had better begin at once, thought I; and removing the bread and the
jug, which latter was now empty, I seized pen and paper, and forthwith
essayed to write the "Life of Joseph Sell," but soon discovered that it
is much easier to resolve upon a thing than to achieve it, or even to
commence it; for the life of me I did not know how to begin, and, after
trying in vain to write a line, I thought it would be as well to go to
bed, and defer my projected undertaking till the morrow.

So I went to bed, but not to sleep.  During the greater part of the night
I lay awake, musing upon the work which I had determined to execute.  For
a long time my brain was dry and unproductive; I could form no plan which
appeared feasible.  At length I felt within my brain a kindly glow; it
was the commencement of inspiration; in a few minutes I had formed my
plan; I then began to imagine the scenes and the incidents.  Scenes and
incidents flitted before my mind's eye so plentifully, that I knew not
how to dispose of them; I was in a regular embarrassment.  At length I
got out of the difficulty in the easiest manner imaginable, namely, by
consigning to the depths of oblivion all the feebler and less stimulant
scenes and incidents, and retaining the better and more impressive ones.
Before morning I had sketched the whole work on the tablets of my mind,
and then resigned myself to sleep in the pleasing conviction that the
most difficult part of my undertaking was achieved.



CHAPTER LVI


Considerably Sobered--Power of Writing--The Tempter--Hungry Talent--Work
Concluded.

Rather late in the morning I awoke; for a few minutes I lay still,
perfectly still; my imagination was considerably sobered; the scenes and
situations which had pleased me so much over night appeared to me in a
far less captivating guise that morning.  I felt languid and almost
hopeless--the thought, however, of my situation soon roused me--I must
make an effort to improve the posture of my affairs; there was no time to
be lost; so I sprang out of bed, breakfasted on bread and water, and then
sat down doggedly to write the "Life of Joseph Sell."

It was a great thing to have formed my plan, and to have arranged the
scenes in my head, as I had done on the preceding night.  The chief thing
requisite at present was the mere mechanical act of committing them to
paper.  This I did not find at first so easy as I could wish--I wanted
mechanical skill; but I persevered, and before evening I had written ten
pages.  I partook of some bread and water; and, before I went to bed that
night, I had completed fifteen pages of my "Life of Joseph Sell."

The next day I resumed my task--I found my power of writing considerably
increased; my pen hurried rapidly over the paper--my brain was in a
wonderfully teeming state; many scenes and visions which I had not
thought of before were evolved, and, as fast as evolved, written down;
they seemed to be more pat to my purpose, and more natural to my history,
than many others which I had imagined before, and which I made now give
place to these newer creations: by about midnight I had added thirty
fresh pages to my "Life and Adventures of Joseph Sell."

The third day arose--it was dark and dreary out of doors, and I passed it
drearily enough within; my brain appeared to have lost much of its former
glow, and my pen much of its power; I, however, toiled on, but at
midnight had only added seven pages to my history of Joseph Sell.

On the fourth day the sun shone brightly--I arose, and, having
breakfasted as usual, I fell to work.  My brain was this day wonderfully
prolific, and my pen never before or since glided so rapidly over the
paper; towards night I began to feel strangely about the back part of my
head, and my whole system was extraordinarily affected.  I likewise
occasionally saw double--a tempter now seemed to be at work within me.

"You had better leave off now for a short space," said the tempter, "and
go out and drink a pint of beer; you have still one shilling left--if you
go on at this rate, you will go mad--go out and spend sixpence, you can
afford it, more than half your work is done."  I was about to obey the
suggestion of the tempter, when the idea struck me that, if I did not
complete the work whilst the fit was on me, I should never complete it;
so I held on.  I am almost afraid to state how many pages I wrote that
day of the "Life of Joseph Sell."

From this time I proceeded in a somewhat more leisurely manner; but, as I
drew nearer and nearer to the completion of my task, dreadful fears and
despondencies came over me--It will be too late, thought I; by the time I
have finished the work, the bookseller will have been supplied with a
tale or a novel.  Is it probable that, in a town like this, where talent
is so abundant--hungry talent too, a bookseller can advertise for a tale
or a novel, without being supplied with half a dozen in twenty-four
hours?  I may as well fling down my pen--I am writing to no purpose.  And
these thoughts came over my mind so often, that at last, in utter
despair, I flung down the pen.  Whereupon the tempter within me
said--"And, now you have flung down the pen, you may as well fling
yourself out of the window; what remains for you to do?"  Why to take it
up again, thought I to myself, for I did not like the latter suggestion
at all--and then forthwith I resumed the pen, and wrote with greater
vigour than before, from about six o'clock in the evening until I could
hardly see, when I rested for a while, when the tempter within me again
said, or appeared to say--"All you have been writing is stuff, it will
never do--a drug--a mere drug;" and methought these last words were
uttered in the gruff tones of the big publisher.  "A thing merely to be
sneezed at," a voice like that of Taggart added; and then I seemed to
hear a sternutation,--as I probably did, for, recovering from a kind of
swoon, I found myself shivering with cold.  The next day I brought my
work to a conclusion.

But the task of revision still remained; for an hour or two I shrank from
it, and remained gazing stupidly at the pile of paper which I had written
over.  I was all but exhausted, and I dreaded, on inspecting the sheets,
to find them full of absurdities which I had paid no regard to in the
furor of composition.  But the task, however trying to my nerves, must be
got over; at last, in a kind of desperation, I entered upon it.  It was
far from an easy one; there were, however, fewer errors and absurdities
than I had anticipated.  About twelve o'clock at night I had got over the
task of revision.  "To-morrow, for the bookseller," said I, as my head
sank on the pillow.  "Oh me!"



CHAPTER LVII


Nervous Look--The Bookseller's Wife--The Last Stake--Terms--God
Forbid!--Will You Come to Tea?--A Light Heart.

On arriving at the bookseller's shop, I cast a nervous look at the
window, for the purpose of observing whether the paper had been removed
or not.  To my great delight the paper was in its place; with a beating
heart I entered, there was nobody in the shop; as I stood at the counter,
however, deliberating whether or not I should call out, the door of what
seemed to be a back-parlour opened and out came a well dressed lady-like
female, of about thirty, with a good-looking and intelligent countenance.
"What is your business, young man?" said she to me, after I had made her
a polite bow.  "I wish to speak to the gentleman of the house," said I.
"My husband is not within at present," she replied; "what is your
business?"  "I have merely brought something to show him," said I, "but I
will call again."  "If you are the young gentleman who has been here
before," said the lady, "with poems and ballads, as, indeed, I know you
are," she added, smiling, "for I have seen you through the glass door, I
am afraid it will be useless; that is," she added, with another smile,
"if you bring us nothing else."  "I have not brought you poems and
ballads now," said I, "but something widely different; I saw your
advertisement for a tale or a novel, and have written something which I
think will suit; and here it is," I added, showing the roll of paper
which I held in my hand.  "Well," said the bookseller's wife, "you may
leave it, though I cannot promise you much chance of its being accepted.
My husband has already had several offered to him; however, you may leave
it; give it me.  Are you afraid to entrust it to me?" she demanded
somewhat hastily, observing that I hesitated.  "Excuse me," said I, "but
it is all I have to depend upon in the world; I am chiefly apprehensive
that it will not be read."  "On that point I can reassure you," said the
good lady, smiling, and there was now something sweet in her smile.  "I
give you my word that it shall be read; come again to-morrow morning at
eleven, when, if not approved, it shall be returned to you."

I returned to my lodging, and forthwith betook myself to bed,
notwithstanding the earliness of the hour.  I felt tolerably tranquil; I
had now cast my last stake, and was prepared to abide by the result.
Whatever that result might be, I could have nothing to reproach myself
with; I had strained all the energies which nature had given me in order
to rescue myself from the difficulties which surrounded me.  I presently
sank into a sleep, which endured during the remainder of the day, and the
whole of the succeeding night.  I awoke about nine on the morrow, and
spent my last threepence on a breakfast somewhat more luxurious than the
immediately preceding ones, for one penny of the sum was expended on the
purchase of milk.

At the appointed hour I repaired to the house of the bookseller; the
bookseller was in his shop.  "Ah," said he, as soon as I entered, "I am
glad to see you."  There was an unwonted heartiness in the bookseller's
tones, an unwonted benignity in his face.  "So," said he, after a pause,
"you have taken my advice, written a book of adventure; nothing like
taking the advice, young man, of your superiors in age.  Well, I think
your book will do, and so does my wife, for whose judgment I have a great
regard; as well I may, as she is the daughter of a first-rate novelist,
deceased.  I think I shall venture on sending your book to the press."
"But," said I, "we have not yet agreed upon terms."  "Terms, terms," said
the bookseller; "ahem! well, there is nothing like coming to terms at
once.  I will print the book, and give you half the profit when the
edition is sold."  "That will not do," said I; "I intend shortly to leave
London: I must have something at once."  "Ah, I see," said the
bookseller, "in distress; frequently the case with authors, especially
young ones.  Well, I don't care if I purchase it of you, but you must be
moderate; the public are very fastidious, and the speculation may prove a
losing one after all.  Let me see, will five . . . hem"--he stopped.  I
looked the bookseller in the face; there was something peculiar in it.
Suddenly it appeared to me as if the voice of him of the thimble sounded
in my ear, "Now is your time, ask enough, never such another chance of
establishing yourself; respectable trade, pea and thimble."  "Well," said
I at last, "I have no objection to take the offer which you were about to
make, though I really think five-and-twenty guineas to be scarcely
enough, everything considered."  "Five-and-twenty guineas!" said the
bookseller; "are you--what was I going to say--I never meant to offer
half as much--I mean a quarter; I was going to say five guineas--I mean
pounds; I will, however, make it guineas."  "That will not do," said I;
"but, as I find we shall not deal, return me my manuscript, that I may
carry it to some one else."  The bookseller looked blank.  "Dear me,"
said he, "I should never have supposed that you would have made any
objection to such an offer; I am quite sure that you would have been glad
to take five pounds for either of the two huge manuscripts of songs and
ballads that you brought me on a former occasion."  "Well," said I, "if
you will engage to publish either of those two manuscripts, you shall
have the present one for five pounds."  "God forbid that I should make
any such bargain," said the bookseller; "I would publish neither on any
account; but, with respect to this last book, I have really an
inclination to print it, both for your sake and mine; suppose we say ten
pounds."  "No," said I, "ten pounds will not do; pray restore me my
manuscript."  "Stay," said the bookseller, "my wife is in the next room,
I will go and consult her."  Thereupon he went into his back room, where
I heard him conversing with his wife in a low tone; in about ten minutes
he returned.  "Young gentleman," said he, "perhaps you will take tea with
us this evening, when we will talk further over the matter."

That evening I went and took tea with the bookseller and his wife, both
of whom, particularly the latter, overwhelmed me with civility.  It was
not long before I learned that the work had been already sent to the
press, and was intended to stand at the head of a series of entertaining
narratives, from which my friends promised themselves considerable
profit.  The subject of terms was again brought forward.  I stood firm to
my first demand for a long time; when, however, the bookseller's wife
complimented me on my production in the highest terms, and said that she
discovered therein the germs of genius, which she made no doubt would
some day prove ornamental to my native land, I consented to drop my
demand to twenty pounds, stipulating, however, that I should not be
troubled with the correction of the work.

Before I departed, I received the twenty pounds, and departed with a
light heart to my lodgings.

Reader, amidst the difficulties and dangers of this life, should you ever
be tempted to despair, call to mind these latter chapters of the life of
Lavengro.  There are few positions, however difficult, from which dogged
resolution and perseverance may not liberate you.



CHAPTER LVIII


Indisposition--A Resolution--Poor Equivalents--The Piece of Gold--Flashing
Eyes--How Beautiful!--Bon Jour, Monsieur.

I had long ago determined to leave London as soon as the means should be
in my power, and, now that they were, I determined to leave the Great
City; yet I felt some reluctance to go.  I would fain have pursued the
career of original authorship which had just opened itself to me, and
have written other tales of adventure.  The bookseller had given me
encouragement enough to do so; he had assured me that he should be always
happy to deal with me for an article (that was the word) similar to the
one I had brought him, provided my terms were moderate; and the
bookseller's wife, by her complimentary language, had given me yet more
encouragement.  But for some months past I had been far from well, and my
original indisposition, brought on partly by the peculiar atmosphere of
the Big City, partly by anxiety of mind, had been much increased by the
exertions which I had been compelled to make during the last few days.  I
felt that, were I to remain where I was, I should die, or become a
confirmed valetudinarian.  I would go forth into the country, travelling
on foot, and, by exercise and inhaling pure air, endeavour to recover my
health, leaving my subsequent movements to be determined by Providence.

But whither should I bend my course?  Once or twice I thought of walking
home to the old town, stay some time with my mother and my brother, and
enjoy the pleasant walks in the neighbourhood; but, though I wished very
much to see my mother and my brother, and felt much disposed to enjoy the
said pleasant walks, the old town was not exactly the place to which I
wished to go at this present juncture.  I was afraid that people would
ask, Where are your Northern Ballads?  Where are your alliterative
translations from Ab Gwilym--of which you were always talking, and with
which you promised to astonish the world?  Now, in the event of such
interrogations, what could I answer?  It is true I had compiled Newgate
Lives and Trials, and had written the life of Joseph Sell, but I was
afraid that the people of the old town would scarcely consider these as
equivalents for the Northern Ballads and the songs of Ab Gwilym.  I would
go forth and wander in any direction but that of the old town.

But how one's sensibility on any particular point diminishes with time;
at present I enter the old town perfectly indifferent as to what the
people may be thinking on the subject of the songs and ballads.  With
respect to the people themselves, whether, like my sensibility, their
curiosity has altogether evaporated, or whether, which is at least
equally probable, they never entertained any, one thing is certain, that
never in a single instance have they troubled me with any remarks on the
subject of the songs and ballads.

As it was my intention to travel on foot, with a bundle and a stick, I
despatched my trunk containing some few clothes and books to the old
town.  My preparations were soon made; in about three days I was in
readiness to start.

Before departing, however, I bethought me of my old friend the
apple-woman of London Bridge.  Apprehensive that she might be labouring
under the difficulties of poverty, I sent her a piece of gold by the
hands of a young maiden in the house in which I lived.  The latter
punctually executed her commission, but brought me back the piece of
gold.  The old woman would not take it; she did not want it, she said.
"Tell the poor thin lad," she added, "to keep it for himself, he wants it
more than I."

Rather late one afternoon I departed from my lodging, with my stick in
one hand and a small bundle in the other, shaping my course to the south-
west: when I first arrived, somewhat more than a year before, I had
entered the city by the north-east.  As I was not going home, I
determined to take my departure in the direction the very opposite to
home.

Just as I was about to cross the street called the Haymarket, at the
lower part, a cabriolet, drawn by a magnificent animal, came dashing
along at a furious rate; it stopped close by the curb-stone where I was,
a sudden pull of the reins nearly bringing the spirited animal upon its
haunches.  The Jehu who had accomplished this feat was Francis Ardry.  A
small beautiful female, with flashing eyes, dressed in the extremity of
fashion, sat beside him.

"Holloa, friend," said Francis Ardry, "whither bound?"

"I do not know," said I; "all I can say, is, that I am about to leave
London."

"And the means?" said Francis Ardry.

"I have them," said I, with a cheerful smile.

"_Qui est celui-ci_?" demanded the small female, impatiently.

"_C'est . . . mon ami le plus intime_; so you were about to leave London
without telling me a word," said Francis Ardry, somewhat angrily.

"I intended to have written to you," said I: "what a splendid mare that
is."

"Is she not?" said Francis Ardry, who was holding in the mare with
difficulty; "she cost a hundred guineas."

"_Qu'est-ce qu'il dit_?" demanded his companion.

"_Il dit que le jument est bien beau_."

"_Allons_, _mon ami_, _il est tard_," said the beauty, with a scornful
toss of her head; "_allons_!"

"_Encore un moment_," said Francis Ardry; "and when shall I see you
again?"

"I scarcely know," I replied: "I never saw a more splendid turn-out."

"_Qu'est-ce qu'il dit_?" said the lady again.

"_Il dit que tout l'equipage est en assez bon gout_."

"_Allons_, _c'est un ours_," said the lady; "_le cheval meme en a peur_,"
added she, as the mare reared up on high.

"Can you find nothing else to admire but the mare and the equipage?" said
Francis Ardry, reproachfully, after he had with some difficulty brought
the mare to order.

Lifting my hand, in which I held my stick, I took off my hat.  "How
beautiful!" said I, looking the lady full in the face.

"_Comment_?" said the lady, inquiringly.

"_Il dit que vous etes belle comme un ange_," said Francis Ardry,
emphatically.

"_Mais_, _a la bonne heure! arretez_, _mon ami_," said the lady to
Francis Ardry, who was about to drive off; "_je voudrais bien causer un
moment avec lui_; _arretez_, _il est delicieux_.--_Est-ce bien ainsi que
vous traitez vos amis_?" said she, passionately, as Francis Ardry lifted
up his whip.  "_Bon jour_, _Monsieur_, _bon jour_," said she, thrusting
her head from the side and looking back, as Francis Ardry drove off at
the rate of thirteen miles an hour.



CHAPTER LIX


The Milestone--The Meditation--Want to Get Up?--The Off-hand
Leader--Sixteen Shillings--The Near-hand Wheeler--All Right.

In about two hours I had cleared the Great City, and got beyond the
suburban villages, or rather towns, in the direction in which I was
travelling; I was in a broad and excellent road, leading I knew not
whither.  I now slackened my pace, which had hitherto been great.
Presently, coming to a milestone on which was graven nine miles, I rested
against it, and looking round towards the vast city, which had long
ceased to be visible, I fell into a train of meditation.

I thought of all my ways and doings since the day of my first arrival in
that vast city--I had worked and toiled, and, though I had accomplished
nothing at all commensurate with the hopes which I had entertained
previous to my arrival, I had achieved my own living, preserved my
independence, and become indebted to no one.  I was now quitting it, poor
in purse, it is true, but not wholly empty; rather ailing it may be, but
not broken in health; and, with hope within my bosom, had I not cause
upon the whole to be thankful?  Perhaps there were some who, arriving at
the same time under not more favourable circumstances, had accomplished
much more, and whose future was far more hopeful--Good!  But there might
be others who, in spite of all their efforts, had been either trodden
down in the press, never more to be heard of, or were quitting that
mighty town broken in purse, broken in health, and, oh! with not one dear
hope to cheer them.  Had I not, upon the whole, abundant cause to be
grateful?  Truly, yes!

My meditation over, I left the milestone and proceeded on my way in the
same direction as before until the night began to close in.  I had always
been a good pedestrian; but now, whether owing to indisposition or to not
having for some time past been much in the habit of taking such lengthy
walks, I began to feel not a little weary.  Just as I was thinking of
putting up for the night at the next inn or public-house I should arrive
at, I heard what sounded like a coach coming up rapidly behind me.
Induced, perhaps, by the weariness which I felt, I stopped and looked
wistfully in the direction of the sound; presently up came a coach,
seemingly a mail, drawn by four bounding horses--there was no one upon it
but the coachman and the guard; when nearly parallel with me it stopped.
"Want to get up?" sounded a voice, in the true coachman-like tone--half
querulous, half authoritative.  I hesitated; I was tired, it is true, but
I had left London bound on a pedestrian excursion, and I did not much
like the idea of having recourse to a coach after accomplishing so very
inconsiderable a distance.  "Come, we can't be staying here all night,"
said the voice, more sharply than before.  "I can ride a little way, and
get down whenever I like," thought I; and springing forward I clambered
up the coach, and was going to sit down upon the box, next the coachman.
"No, no," said the coachman, who was a man about thirty, with a hooked
nose and red face, dressed in a fashionably cut great-coat, with a
fashionable black castor on his head.  "No, no, keep behind--the box
a'n't for the like of you," said he, as he drove off; "the box is for
lords, or gentlemen at least."  I made no answer.  "D--- that off-hand
leader," said the coachman, as the right-hand front horse made a
desperate start at something he saw in the road; and, half rising, he
with great dexterity hit with his long whip the off-hand leader a cut on
the off cheek.  "These seem to be fine horses," said I.  The coachman
made no answer.  "Nearly thoroughbred," I continued; the coachman drew
his breath, with a kind of hissing sound, through his teeth.  "Come,
young fellow, none of your chaff.  Don't you think, because you ride on
my mail, I'm going to talk to you about 'orses.  I talk to nobody about
'orses except lords."  "Well," said I, "I have been called a lord in my
time."  "It must have been by a thimble-rigger, then," said the coachman,
bending back, and half turning his face round with a broad leer.  "You
have hit the mark wonderfully," said I.  "You coachmen, whatever else you
may be, are certainly no fools."  "We a'n't, a'n't we?" said the
coachman.  "There you are right; and, to show you that you are, I'll now
trouble you for your fare.  If you have been amongst the thimble-riggers
you must be tolerably well cleared out.  Where are you going?--to ---?  I
think I have seen you there.  The fare is sixteen shillings.  Come, tip
us the blunt; them that has no money can't ride on my mail."

Sixteen shillings was a large sum, and to pay it would make a
considerable inroad on my slender finances; I thought, at first, that I
would say I did not want to go so far; but then the fellow would ask at
once where I wanted to go, and I was ashamed to acknowledge my utter
ignorance of the road.  I determined, therefore, to pay the fare, with a
tacit determination not to mount a coach in future without knowing
whither I was going.  So I paid the man the money, who, turning round,
shouted to the guard--"All right, Jem; got fare to ---;" {63} and
forthwith whipped on his horses, especially the off-hand leader, for whom
he seemed to entertain a particular spite, to greater speed than
before--the horses flew.

A young moon gave a feeble light, partially illuminating a line of road
which, appearing by no means interesting, I the less regretted having
paid my money for the privilege of being hurried along it in the flying
vehicle.  We frequently changed horses; and at last my friend the
coachman was replaced by another, the very image of himself--hawk nose,
red face, with narrow-rimmed hat and fashionable benjamin.  After he had
driven about fifty yards, the new coachman fell to whipping one of the
horses.  "D--- this near-hand wheeler," said he, "the brute has got a
corn."  "Whipping him won't cure him of his corn," said I.  "Who told you
to speak?" said the driver, with an oath; "mind your own business;
'tisn't from the like of you I am to learn to drive 'orses."  Presently I
fell into a broken kind of slumber.  In an hour or two I was aroused by a
rough voice--"Got to ---, young man; get down if you please."  I opened
my eyes--there was a dim and indistinct light, like that which precedes
dawn; the coach was standing still in something like a street; just below
me stood the guard.  "Do you mean to get down," said he, "or will you
keep us here till morning? other fares want to get up."  Scarcely knowing
what I did, I took my bundle and stick and descended, whilst two people
mounted.  "All right, John," said the guard to the coachman, springing up
behind; whereupon off whisked the coach, one or two individuals who were
standing by disappeared, and I was left alone.



CHAPTER LX


The Still Hour--A Thrill--The Wondrous Circle--The Shepherd--Heaps and
Barrows--What do you Mean?--Milk of the Plains--Hengist Spared it--No
Presents.

After standing still a minute or two, considering what I should do, I
moved down what appeared to be the street of a small straggling town;
presently I passed by a church, which rose indistinctly on my right hand;
anon there was the rustling of foliage and the rushing of waters.  I
reached a bridge, beneath which a small stream {65} was running in the
direction of the south.  I stopped and leaned over the parapet, for I
have always loved to look upon streams, especially at the still hours.
"What stream is this, I wonder?" said I, as I looked down from the
parapet into the water, which whirled and gurgled below.

Leaving the bridge, I ascended a gentle acclivity, and presently reached
what appeared to be a tract of moory undulating ground.  It was now
tolerably light, but there was a mist or haze abroad which prevented my
seeing objects with much precision.  I felt chill in the damp air of the
early morn, and walked rapidly forward.  In about half an hour I arrived
where the road divided into two, at an angle or tongue of dark green
sward.  "To the right or the left?" said I, and forthwith took, without
knowing why, the left-hand road, along which I proceeded about a hundred
yards, when, in the midst of the tongue of sward formed by the two roads,
collaterally with myself, I perceived what I at first conceived to be a
small grove of blighted trunks of oaks, barked and grey.  I stood still
for a moment, and then, turning off the road, advanced slowly towards it
over the sward; as I drew nearer, I perceived that the objects which had
attracted my curiosity, and which formed a kind of circle, were not
trees, but immense upright stones.  A thrill pervaded my system; just
before me were two, the mightiest of the whole, tall as the stems of
proud oaks, supporting on their tops a huge transverse stone, and forming
a wonderful doorway.  I knew now where I was, and, laying down my stick
and bundle, and taking off my hat, I advanced slowly, and cast myself--it
was folly, perhaps, but I could not help what I did--cast myself, with my
face on the dewy earth, in the middle of the portal of giants, beneath
the transverse stone.

The spirit of Stonehenge was strong upon me!

And after I had remained with my face on the ground for some time, I
arose, placed my hat on my head, and, taking up my stick and bundle,
wandered round the wondrous circle, examining each individual stone, from
the greatest to the least; and then, entering by the great door, seated
myself upon an immense broad stone, one side of which was supported by
several small ones, and the other slanted upon the earth; and there, in
deep meditation, I sat for an hour or two, till the sun shone in my face
above the tall stones of the eastern side.

And as I still sat there, I heard the noise of bells, and presently a
large number of sheep came browsing past the circle of stones; two or
three entered, and grazed upon what they could find, and soon a man also
entered the circle at the northern side.

"Early here, sir," said the man, who was tall, and dressed in a dark
green slop, and had all the appearance of a shepherd; "a traveller, I
suppose?"

"Yes," said I, "I am a traveller.  Are these sheep yours?"

"They are, sir; that is, they are my master's.  A strange place this,
sir," said he, looking at the stones; "ever here before?"

"Never in body, frequently in mind."

"Heard of the stones, I suppose; no wonder--all the people of the plain
talk of them."

"What do the people of the plain say of them?"

"Why, they say--How did they ever come here?"

"Do they not suppose them to have been brought?"

"Who should have brought them?"

"I have read that they were brought by many thousand men."

"Where from?"

"Ireland."

"How did they bring them?"

"I don't know."

"And what did they bring them for?"

"To form a temple, perhaps."

"What is that?"

"A place to worship God in."

"A strange place to worship God in."

"Why?"

"It has no roof."

"Yes it has."

"Where?" said the man, looking up.

"What do you see above you?"

"The sky."

"Well?"

"Well!"

"Have you anything to say?"

"How did these stones come here?"

"Are there other stones like these on the plains?" said I.

"None; and yet there are plenty of strange things on these downs."

"What are they?"

"Strange heaps, and barrows, and great walls of earth built on the tops
of hills."

"Do the people of the plain wonder how they came there?"

"They do not."

"Why?"

"They were raised by hands."

"And these stones?"

"How did they ever come here?"

"I wonder whether they are here?" said I.

"These stones?"

"Yes."

"So sure as the world," said the man; "and, as the world, they will stand
as long."

"I wonder whether there is a world."

"What do you mean?"

"An earth, and sea, moon and stars, sheep and men."

"Do you doubt it?"

"Sometimes."

"I never heard it doubted before."

"It is impossible there should be a world."

"It a'n't possible there shouldn't be a world."

"Just so."  At this moment a fine ewe, attended by a lamb, rushed into
the circle and fondled the knees of the shepherd.  "I suppose you would
not care to have some milk," said the man.

"Why do you suppose so?"

"Because, so be, there be no sheep, no milk, you know; and what there
ben't is not worth having."

"You could not have argued better," said I; "that is, supposing you have
argued; with respect to the milk you may do as you please."

"Be still, Nanny," said the man; and producing a tin vessel from his
scrip, he milked the ewe into it.  "Here is milk of the plains, master,"
said the man, as he handed the vessel to me.

"Where are those barrows and great walls of earth you were speaking of?"
said I, after I had drank some of the milk; "are there any near where we
are?"

"Not within many miles; the nearest is yonder away," said the shepherd,
pointing to the south-east.  "It's a grand place, that, but not like
this; quite different, and from it you have a sight of the finest spire
in the world."

"I must go to it," said I, and I drank the remainder of the milk;
"yonder, you say."

"Yes, yonder; but you cannot get to it in that direction, the river lies
between."

"What river?"

"The Avon."

"Avon is British," said I.

"Yes," said the man, "we are all British here."

"No, we are not," said I.

"What are we then?"

"English."

"A'n't they one?"

"No."

"Who were the British?"

"The men who are supposed to have worshipped God in this place, and who
raised these stones."

"Where are they now?"

"Our forefathers slaughtered them, spilled their blood all about,
especially in this neighbourhood, destroyed their pleasant places, and
left not, to use their own words, one stone upon another."

"Yes, they did," said the shepherd, looking aloft at the transverse
stone.

"And it is well for them they did; whenever that stone, which English
hands never raised, is by English hands thrown down, woe, woe, woe to the
English race; spare it, English!  Hengist spared it!--Here is sixpence."

"I won't have it," said the man.

"Why not?"

"You talk so prettily about these stones; you seem to know all about
them."

"I never receive presents; with respect to the stones, I say with
yourself, How did they ever come here?"

"How did they ever come here?" said the shepherd.



CHAPTER LXI


The River--Arid Downs--A Prospect.

Leaving the shepherd, I bent my way in the direction pointed out by him
as that in which the most remarkable of the strange remains of which he
had spoken lay.  I proceeded rapidly, making my way over the downs
covered with coarse grass and fern; with respect to the river of which he
had spoken, I reflected that, either by wading or swimming, I could
easily transfer myself and what I bore to the opposite side.  On arriving
at its banks, I found it a beautiful stream, but shallow, with here and
there a deep place, where the water ran dark and still.

Always fond of the pure lymph, I undressed, and plunged into one of these
gulfs, from which I emerged, my whole frame in a glow, and tingling with
delicious sensations.  After conveying my clothes and scanty baggage to
the farther side, I dressed, and then with hurried steps bent my course
in the direction of some lofty ground; I at length found myself on a high
road, leading over wide and arid downs; following the road for some miles
without seeing anything remarkable, I supposed at length that I had taken
the wrong path, and wended on slowly and disconsolately for some time,
till, having nearly surmounted a steep hill, I knew at once, from certain
appearances, that I was near the object of my search.  Turning to the
right near the brow of the hill, I proceeded along a path which brought
me to a causeway leading over a deep ravine, and connecting the hill with
another which had once formed part of it, for the ravine was evidently
the work of art.  I passed over the causeway, and found myself in a kind
of gateway which admitted me into a square space of many acres,
surrounded on all sides by mounds or ramparts of earth. {72a}  Though I
had never been in such a place before, I knew that I stood within the
precincts of what had been a Roman encampment, and one probably of the
largest size, for many thousand warriors might have found room to perform
their evolutions in that space, in which corn was now growing, the green
ears waving in the morning wind.

After I had gazed about the space for a time, standing in the gateway
formed by the mounds, I clambered up the mound to the left hand, and on
the top of that mound I found myself at a great altitude; beneath, at the
distance of a mile, was a fair old city, situated amongst verdant
meadows, watered with streams, and from the heart of that old city, from
amidst mighty trees, I beheld towering to the sky the finest spire in the
world.

And after I had looked from the Roman rampart for a long time, I hurried
away, and, retracing my steps along the causeway, regained the road, and,
passing over the brow of the hill, descended to the city of the spire.
{72b}



CHAPTER LXII


The Hostelry--Life Uncertain--Open Countenance--The Grand Point--Thank
You, Master--A Hard Mother--Poor Dear!--Considerable Odds--The Better
Country--English Fashion--Landlord-looking Person.

And in the old city I remained two days, passing my time as I best
could--inspecting the curiosities of the place, eating and drinking when
I felt so disposed, which I frequently did, the digestive organs having
assumed a tone to which for many months they had been strangers--enjoying
at night balmy sleep in a large bed in a dusky room, at the end of a
corridor, in a certain hostelry in which I had taken up my
quarters--receiving from the people of the hostelry such civility and
condescension as people who travel on foot with bundle and stick, but who
nevertheless are perceived to be not altogether destitute of coin, are in
the habit of receiving.  On the third day, on a fine sunny afternoon, I
departed from the city of the spire.

As I was passing through one of the suburbs, I saw, all on a sudden, a
respectable-looking female fall down in a fit; several persons hastened
to her assistance.  "She is dead," said one.  "No, she is not," said
another.  "I am afraid she is," said a third.  "Life is very uncertain,"
said a fourth.  "It is Mrs. ---," said a fifth; "let us carry her to her
own house."  Not being able to render any assistance, I left the poor
female in the hands of her townsfolk, and proceeded on my way.  I had
chosen a road in the direction of the north-west, it led over downs where
corn was growing, but where neither tree nor hedge was to be seen; two or
three hours' walking brought me to a beautiful valley, abounding with
trees of various kinds, with a delightful village at its farthest
extremity; passing through it I ascended a lofty acclivity, on the top of
which I sat down on a bank, and, taking off my hat, permitted a breeze,
which swept coolly and refreshingly over the downs, to dry my hair,
dripping from the effects of exercise and the heat of the day.

And as I sat there, gazing now at the blue heavens, now at the downs
before me, a man came along the road in the direction in which I had
hitherto been proceeding: just opposite to me he stopped, and, looking at
me, cried--"Am I right for London, master?"

He was dressed like a sailor, and appeared to be between twenty-five and
thirty years of age--he had an open manly countenance, and there was a
bold and fearless expression in his eye.

"Yes," said I, in reply to his question; "this is one of the ways to
London.  Do you come from far?"

"From ---," said the man, naming a well-known seaport.

"Is this the direct road to London from that place?" I demanded.

"No," said the man; "but I had to visit two or three other places on
certain commissions I was entrusted with; amongst others to ---, where I
had to take a small sum of money.  I am rather tired, master; and, if you
please, I will sit down beside you."

"You have as much right to sit down here as I have," said I, "the road is
free for every one; as for sitting down beside me, you have the look of
an honest man, and I have no objection to your company."

"Why, as for being honest, master," said the man, laughing and sitting
down by me, "I haven't much to say--many is the wild thing I have done
when I was younger; however, what is done, is done.  To learn, one must
live, master; and I have lived long enough to learn the grand point of
wisdom."

"What is that?" said I.

"That honesty is the best policy, master."

"You appear to be a sailor," said I, looking at his dress.

"I was not bred a sailor," said the man, "though, when my foot is on the
salt water, I can play the part--and play it well too.  I am now from a
long voyage."

"From America?" said I.

"Farther than that," said the man.

"Have you any objection to tell me?" said I.

"From New South Wales," said the man, looking me full in the face.

"Dear me," said I.

"Why do you say 'Dear me'?" said the man.

"It is a very long way off," said I.

"Was that your reason for saying so?" said the man.

"Not exactly," said I.

"No," said the man, with something of a bitter smile; "it was something
else that made you say so; you were thinking of the convicts."

"Well," said I, "what then?--you are no convict."

"How do you know?"

"You do not look like one."

"Thank you, master," said the man, cheerfully; "and, to a certain extent,
you are right--bygones are bygones--I am no longer what I was, nor ever
will be again; the truth, however, is the truth--a convict I have been--a
convict at Sydney Cove."

"And you have served out the period for which you were sentenced, and are
now returned?"

"As to serving out my sentence," replied the man, "I can't say that I
did; I was sentenced for fourteen years, and I was in Sydney Cove little
more than half that time.  The truth is that I did the Government a
service.  There was a conspiracy amongst some of the convicts to murder
and destroy--I overheard and informed the Government; mind one thing,
however, I was not concerned in it; those who got it up were no comrades
of mine, but a bloody gang of villains.  Well, the Government, in
consideration of the service I had done them, remitted the remainder of
my sentence; and some kind gentlemen interested themselves about me, gave
me good books and good advice, and, being satisfied with my conduct,
procured me employ in an exploring expedition, by which I earned money.
In fact, the being sent to Sydney was the best thing that ever happened
to me in all my life."

"And you have now returned to your native country.  Longing to see home
brought you from New South Wales."

"There you are mistaken," said the man.  "Wish to see England again would
never have brought me so far; for, to tell you the truth, master, England
was a hard mother to me, as she has proved to many.  No, a wish to see
another kind of mother--a poor old woman whose son I am--has brought me
back."

"You have a mother, then?" said I.  "Does she reside in London?"

"She used to live in London," said the man; "but I am afraid she is long
since dead."

"How did she support herself?" said I.

"Support herself! with difficulty enough; she used to keep a small stall
on London Bridge, where she sold fruit; I am afraid she is dead, and that
she died perhaps in misery.  She was a poor sinful creature; but I loved
her, and she loved me.  I came all the way back merely for the chance of
seeing her."

"Did you ever write to her," said I, "or cause others to write to her?"

"I wrote to her myself," said the man, "about two years ago; but I never
received an answer.  I learned to write very tolerably over there, by the
assistance of the good people I spoke of.  As for reading, I could do
that very well before I went--my poor mother taught me to read, out of a
book that she was very fond of; a strange book it was, I remember.  Poor
dear!--what I would give only to know that she is alive."

"Life is very uncertain," said I.

"That is true," said the man, with a sigh.

"We are here one moment, and gone the next," I continued.  "As I passed
through the streets of a neighbouring town, I saw a respectable woman
drop down, and people said she was dead.  Who knows but that she too had
a son coming to see her from a distance, at that very time."

"Who knows, indeed," said the man.  "Ah, I am afraid my mother is dead.
Well, God's will be done."

"However," said I, "I should not wonder at your finding your mother
alive."

"You wouldn't?" said the man, looking at me wistfully.

"I should not wonder at all," said I; "indeed, something within me seems
to tell me you will; I should not much mind betting five shillings to
five pence that you will see your mother within a week.  Now, friend,
five shillings to five pence--"

"Is very considerable odds," said the man, rubbing his hands; "sure you
must have good reason to hope, when you are willing to give such odds."

"After all," said I, "it not unfrequently happens that those who lay the
long odds lose.  Let us hope, however.  What do you mean to do in the
event of finding your mother alive?"

"I scarcely know," said the man; "I have frequently thought that if I
found my mother alive I would attempt to persuade her to accompany me to
the country which I have left--it is a better country for a man--that is
a free man--to live in than this; however, let me first find my mother--if
I could only find my mother--"

"Farewell," said I, rising.  "Go your way, and God go with you--I will go
mine."  "I have but one thing to ask you," said the man.  "What is that?"
I inquired.  "That you would drink with me before we part--you have done
me so much good."  "How should we drink?" said I; "we are on the top of a
hill where there is nothing to drink."  "But there is a village below,"
said the man; "do let us drink before we part."  "I have been through
that village already," said I, "and I do not like turning back."  "Ah,"
said the man, sorrowfully, "you will not drink with me because I told you
I was--"  "You are quite mistaken," said I, "I would as soon drink with a
convict as with a judge.  I am by no means certain that, under the same
circumstances, the judge would be one whit better than the convict.  Come
along!  I will go back to oblige you.  I have an odd sixpence in my
pocket, which I will change, that I may drink with you."  So we went down
the hill together to the village through which I had already passed,
where, finding a public-house, we drank together in true English fashion,
after which we parted, the sailor-looking man going his way and I mine.

After walking about a dozen miles, I came to a town, where I rested for
the night.  The next morning I set out again in the direction of the
north-west.  I continued journeying for four days, my daily journeys
varying from twenty to twenty-five miles.  During this time nothing
occurred to me worthy of any especial notice.  The weather was brilliant,
and I rapidly improved both in strength and spirits.  On the fifth day,
about two o'clock, I arrived at a small town.  Feeling hungry, I entered
a decent-looking inn--within a kind of bar I saw a huge, fat, landlord-
looking person, with a very pretty, smartly-dressed maiden.  Addressing
myself to the fat man, "House!" said I, "House!  Can I have dinner,
House?"



CHAPTER LXIII


Primitive Habits--Rosy-faced Damsel--A Pleasant Moment--Suit of Black--The
Furtive Glance--The Mighty Round--Degenerate Times--The Newspaper--The
Evil Chance--I Congratulate You.

"Young gentleman," said the huge fat landlord, "you are come at the right
time; dinner will be taken up in a few minutes; and such a dinner," he
continued, rubbing his hands, "as you will not see every day in these
times."

"I am hot and dusty," said I, "and should wish to cool my hands and
face."

"Jenny!" said the huge landlord, with the utmost gravity, "show the
gentleman into number seven, that he may wash his hands and face."

"By no means," said I, "I am a person of primitive habits, and there is
nothing like the pump in weather like this."

"Jenny," said the landlord, with the same gravity as before, "go with the
young gentleman to the pump in the back kitchen, and take a clean towel
along with you."

Thereupon the rosy-faced clean-looking damsel went to a drawer, and
producing a large, thick, but snowy white towel, she nodded to me to
follow her; whereupon I followed Jenny through a long passage into the
back kitchen.

And at the end of the back kitchen there stood a pump; and going to it I
placed my hands beneath the spout, and said, "Pump, Jenny;" and Jenny
incontinently, without laying down the towel, pumped with one hand, and I
washed and cooled my heated hands.

And, when my hands were washed and cooled, I took off my neckcloth, and,
unbuttoning my shirt collar, I placed my head beneath the spout of the
pump, and I said unto Jenny, "Now, Jenny, lay down the towel, and pump
for your life."

Thereupon Jenny, placing the towel on a linen-horse, took the handle of
the pump with both hands and pumped over my head as handmaid had never
pumped before; so that the water poured in torrents from my head, my
face, and my hair down upon the brick floor.

And, after the lapse of somewhat more than a minute, I called out with a
half-strangled voice, "Hold, Jenny!" and Jenny desisted.  I stood for a
few moments to recover my breath, then taking the towel which Jenny
proffered, I dried composedly my hands and head, my face and hair; then,
returning the towel to Jenny, I gave a deep sigh and said, "Surely this
is one of the pleasant moments of life."

Then, having set my dress to rights, and combed my hair with a pocket-
comb, I followed Jenny, who conducted me back through the long passage,
and showed me into a neat sanded parlour on the ground floor.

I sat down by a window which looked out upon the dusty street; presently
in came the handmaid, and commenced laying the tablecloth.  "Shall I
spread the table for one, sir," said she, "or do you expect anybody to
dine with you?"

"I can't say that I expect anybody," said I, laughing inwardly to myself;
"however, if you please you can lay for two, so that if any acquaintance
of mine should chance to step in, he may find a knife and fork ready for
him."

So I sat by the window, sometimes looking out upon the dusty street, and
now glancing at certain old-fashioned prints which adorned the wall over
against me.  I fell into a kind of doze, from which I was almost
instantly awakened by the opening of the door.  Dinner, thought I; and I
sat upright in my chair.  No, a man of the middle age, and rather above
the middle height, dressed in a plain suit of black, made his appearance,
and sat down in a chair at some distance from me, but near to the table,
and appeared to be lost in thought.

"The weather is very warm, sir," said I.

"Very," said the stranger, laconically, looking at me for the first time.

"Would you like to see the newspaper?" said I, taking up one which lay
upon the window seat.

"I never read newspapers," said the stranger, "nor, indeed . . . "
Whatever it might be that he had intended to say he left unfinished.
Suddenly he walked to the mantelpiece at the farther end of the room,
before which he placed himself with his back towards me.  There he
remained motionless for some time; at length, raising his hand, he
touched the corner of the mantelpiece with his finger, advanced towards
the chair which he had left, and again seated himself.

"Have you come far?" said he, suddenly looking towards me, and speaking
in a frank and open manner, which denoted a wish to enter into
conversation.  "You do not seem to be of this place."

"I come from some distance," said I; "indeed, I am walking for exercise,
which I find as necessary to the mind as the body.  I believe that by
exercise people would escape much mental misery."

Scarcely had I uttered these words when the stranger laid his hand, with
seeming carelessness, upon the table, near one of the glasses; after a
moment or two he touched the glass with his finger as if inadvertently,
then, glancing furtively at me, he withdrew his hand and looked towards
the window.

"Are you from these parts?" said I at last, with apparent carelessness.

"From this vicinity," replied the stranger.  "You think, then, that it is
as easy to walk off the bad humours of the mind as of the body?"

"I, at least, am walking in that hope," said I.

"I wish you may be successful," said the stranger; and here he touched
one of the forks which lay on the table near him.

Here the door, which was slightly ajar, was suddenly pushed open with
some fracas, and in came the stout landlord, supporting with some
difficulty an immense dish, in which was a mighty round mass of smoking
meat garnished all round with vegetables; so high was the mass that it
probably obstructed his view, for it was not until he had placed it upon
the table that he appeared to observe the stranger; he almost started,
and quite out of breath exclaimed, "God bless me, your honour; is your
honour the acquaintance that the young gentleman was expecting?"

"Is the young gentleman expecting an acquaintance?" said the stranger.

There is nothing like putting a good face upon these matters, thought I
to myself; and, getting up, I bowed to the unknown.  "Sir," said I, "when
I told Jenny that she might lay the tablecloth for two, so that in the
event of any acquaintance dropping in he might find a knife and fork
ready for him, I was merely jocular, being an entire stranger in these
parts, and expecting no one.  Fortune, however, it would seem has been
unexpectedly kind to me; I flatter myself, sir, that since you have been
in this room I have had the honour of making your acquaintance; and in
the strength of that hope I humbly entreat you to honour me with your
company to dinner, provided you have not already dined."

The stranger laughed outright.

"Sir," I continued, "the round of beef is a noble one, and seems
exceedingly well boiled, and the landlord was just right when he said I
should have such a dinner as is not seen every day.  A round of beef, at
any rate such a round of beef as this, is seldom seen smoking upon the
table in these degenerate times.  Allow me, sir," said I, observing that
the stranger was about to speak, "allow me another remark.  I think I saw
you just now touch the fork, I venture to hail it as an omen that you
will presently seize it, and apply it to its proper purpose, and its
companion the knife also."

The stranger changed colour, and gazed upon me in silence.

"Do, sir," here put in the landlord; "do, sir, accept the young
gentleman's invitation.  Your honour has of late been looking poorly, and
the young gentleman is a funny young gentleman, and a clever young
gentleman; and I think it will do your honour good to have a dinner's
chat with the young gentleman."

"It is not my dinner hour," said the stranger; "I dine considerably
later; taking anything now would only discompose me; I shall, however, be
most happy to sit down with the young gentleman; reach me that paper,
and, when the young gentleman has satisfied his appetite, we may perhaps
have a little chat together."

The landlord handed the stranger the newspaper, and, bowing, retired with
his maid Jenny.  I helped myself to a portion of the smoking round, and
commenced eating with no little appetite.  The stranger appeared to be
soon engrossed with the newspaper.  We continued thus a considerable
time--the one reading and the other dining.  Chancing suddenly to cast my
eyes upon the stranger, I saw his brow contract; he gave a slight stamp
with his foot, and flung the newspaper to the ground, then stooping down
he picked it up, first moving his forefinger along the floor, seemingly
slightly scratching it with his nail.

"Do you hope, sir," said I, "by that ceremony with the finger to preserve
yourself from the evil chance?"

The stranger started; then, after looking at me for some time in silence,
he said, "Is it possible that you--?"

"Ay, ay," said I, helping myself to some more of the round, "I have
touched myself in my younger days, both for the evil chance and the good.
Can't say, though, that I ever trusted much in the ceremony." {87}

The stranger made no reply, but appeared to be in deep thought; nothing
farther passed between us until I had concluded the dinner, when I said
to him, "I shall now be most happy, sir, to have the pleasure of your
conversation over a pint of wine."

The stranger rose; "No, my young friend," said he, smiling, "that would
scarce be fair.  It is my turn now--pray do me the favour to go home with
me, and accept what hospitality my poor roof can offer; to tell you the
truth, I wish to have some particular discourse with you which would
hardly be possible in this place.  As for wine, I can give you some much
better than you can get here: the landlord is an excellent fellow, but he
is an innkeeper after all.  I am going out for a moment, and will send
him in, so that you may settle your account; I trust you will not refuse
me, I only live about two miles from here."

I looked in the face of the stranger--it was a fine intelligent face,
with a cast of melancholy in it.  "Sir," said I, "I would go with you
though you lived four miles instead of two."

"Who is that gentleman?" said I to the landlord, after I had settled his
bill; "I am going home with him."

"I wish I were going too," said the fat landlord, laying his hand upon
his stomach.  "Young gentleman, I shall be a loser by his honour's taking
you away; but, after all, the truth is the truth--there are few gentlemen
in these parts like his honour, either for learning or welcoming his
friends.  Young gentleman, I congratulate you." {88}



CHAPTER LXIV


New Acquaintance--Old French Style--The Portrait--Taciturnity--The
Evergreen Tree--The Dark Hour--The Flash--Ancestors--A Fortunate Man--A
Posthumous Child--Antagonist Ideas--The Hawks--Flaws--The
Pony--Irresistible Impulse--Favourable Crisis--The Topmost Branch--Twenty
Feet--Heartily Ashamed.

I found the stranger awaiting me at the door of the inn.  "Like yourself,
I am fond of walking," said he, "and when any little business calls me to
this place I generally come on foot."

We were soon out of the town, and in a very beautiful country.  After
proceeding some distance on the high road, we turned off, and were
presently in one of those mazes of lanes for which England is famous; the
stranger at first seemed inclined to be taciturn; a few observations,
however, which I made appeared to rouse him, and he soon exhibited not
only considerable powers of conversation, but stores of information which
surprised me.  So pleased did I become with my new acquaintance, that I
soon ceased to pay the slightest attention either to place or distance.
At length the stranger was silent, and I perceived that we had arrived at
a handsome iron gate and a lodge; the stranger having rung a bell, the
gate was opened by an old man, and we proceeded along a gravel path,
which in about five minutes brought us to a large brick house, built
something in the old French style, having a spacious lawn before it, and
immediately in front a pond in which were golden fish, and in the middle
a stone swan discharging quantities of water from its bill.  We ascended
a spacious flight of steps to the door, which was at once flung open, and
two servants with powdered hair, and in livery of blue plush, came out
and stood one on either side as we passed the threshold.  We entered a
large hall, and the stranger, taking me by the hand, welcomed me to his
poor home, as he called it, and then gave orders to another servant, but
out of livery, to show me to an apartment, and give me whatever
assistance I might require in my toilet.  Notwithstanding the plea as to
primitive habits which I had lately made to my other host in the town, I
offered no objection to this arrangement, but followed the bowing
domestic to a spacious and airy chamber, where he rendered me all those
little nameless offices which the somewhat neglected state of my dress
required.  When everything had been completed to my perfect satisfaction,
he told me that if I pleased he would conduct me to the library, where
dinner would be speedily served.

In the library I found a table laid for two; my host was not there,
having as I supposed not been quite so speedy with his toilette as his
guest.  Left alone, I looked round the apartment with inquiring eyes; it
was long and tolerably lofty, the walls from the top to the bottom were
lined with cases containing books of all sizes and bindings; there was a
globe or two, a couch, and an easy chair.  Statues and busts there were
none, and only one painting, a portrait, that of my host, but not him of
the mansion.  Over the mantelpiece, the features staringly like, but so
ridiculously exaggerated that they scarcely resembled those of a human
being, daubed evidently by the hand of the commonest sign-artist, hung a
half-length portrait of him of round of beef celebrity--my sturdy host of
the town.

I had been in the library about ten minutes, amusing myself as I best
could, when my friend entered; he seemed to have resumed his
taciturnity--scarce a word escaped his lips till dinner was served, when
he said, smiling, "I suppose it would be merely a compliment to ask you
to partake?"

"I don't know," said I, seating myself; "your first course consists of
troutlets, I am fond of troutlets, and I always like to be
companionable."

The dinner was excellent, though I did but little justice to it from the
circumstance of having already dined; the stranger also, though without
my excuse, partook but slightly of the good cheer; he still continued
taciturn, and appeared lost in thought, and every attempt which I made to
induce him to converse was signally unsuccessful.

And now dinner was removed, and we sat over our wine, and I remember that
the wine was good, and fully justified the encomiums of my host of the
town.  Over the wine I made sure that my entertainer would have loosened
the chain which seemed to tie his tongue--but no!  I endeavoured to tempt
him by various topics, and talked of geometry and the use of the globes,
of the heavenly sphere, and the star Jupiter, which I said I had heard
was a very large star, also of the evergreen tree, which, according to
Olaus, stood of old before the heathen temple of Upsal, and which I
affirmed was a yew--but no, nothing that I said could induce my
entertainer to relax his taciturnity.

It grew dark, and I became uncomfortable; "I must presently be going," I
at last exclaimed.

At these words he gave a sudden start; "Going," said he, "are you not my
guest, and an honoured one?"

"You know best," said I; "but I was apprehensive I was an intruder; to
several of my questions you have returned no answer."

"Ten thousand pardons!" he exclaimed, seizing me by the hand; "but you
cannot go now, I have much to talk to you about--there is one thing in
particular--"

"If it be the evergreen tree at Upsal," said I, interrupting him, "I hold
it to have been a yew--what else?  The evergreens of the south, as the
old bishop observes, will not grow in the north, and a pine was unfitted
for such a locality, being a vulgar tree.  What else could it have been
but the yew--the sacred yew which our ancestors were in the habit of
planting in their churchyards?  Moreover, I affirm it to have been the
yew for the honour of the tree; for I love the yew, and had I home and
land, I would have one growing before my front windows."

"You would do right, the yew is indeed a venerable tree, but it is not
about the yew."

"The star Jupiter, perhaps?"

"Nor the star Jupiter, nor its moons; an observation which escaped you at
the inn has made a considerable impression upon me."

"But I really must take my departure," said I; "the dark hour is at
hand."

And as I uttered these latter words the stranger touched rapidly
something which lay near him--I forget what it was.  It was the first
action of the kind which I had observed on his part since we sat down to
table.

"You allude to the evil chance," said I; "but it is getting both dark and
late."

"I believe we are going to have a storm," said my friend, "but I really
hope that you will give me your company for a day or two; I have, as I
said before, much to talk to you about."

"Well," said I, "I shall be most happy to be your guest for this night; I
am ignorant of the country, and it is not pleasant to travel unknown
paths by night--dear me, what a flash of lightning!"

It had become very dark; suddenly a blaze of sheet lightning illumed the
room.  By the momentary light I distinctly saw my host touch another
object upon the table.

"Will you allow me to ask you a question or two?" said he at last.

"As many as you please," said I; "but shall we not have lights?"

"Not unless you particularly wish it," said my entertainer; "I rather
like the dark, and though a storm is evidently at hand, neither thunder
nor lightning has any terrors for me.  It is other things I quake at--I
should rather say ideas.  Now permit me to ask you . . ."

And then my entertainer asked me various questions, to all of which I
answered unreservedly; he was then silent for some time, at last he
exclaimed, "I should wish to tell you the history of my life--though not
an adventurous one, I think it contains some things which will interest
you."

Without waiting for my reply he began.  Amidst darkness and gloom,
occasionally broken by flashes of lightning, the stranger related to me,
as we sat at table in the library, his truly touching history.

"Before proceeding to relate the events of my life, it will not be amiss
to give you some account of my ancestors.  My great-grandfather on the
male side was a silk mercer, in Cheapside, who, when he died, left his
son, who was his only child, a fortune of one hundred thousand pounds,
and a splendid business; the son, however, had no inclination for trade,
the summit of his ambition was to be a country gentleman, to found a
family, and to pass the remainder of his days in rural ease and dignity,
and all this he managed to accomplish; he disposed of his business,
purchased a beautiful and extensive estate for four score thousand
pounds, built upon it the mansion to which I had the honour of welcoming
you to-day, married the daughter of a neighbouring squire, who brought
him a fortune of five thousand pounds, became a magistrate, and only
wanted a son and heir to make him completely happy; this blessing, it is
true, was for a long time denied him; it came, however, at last, as is
usual, when least expected.  His lady was brought to bed of my father,
and then who so happy a man as my grandsire; he gave away two thousand
pounds in charities, and in the joy of his heart made a speech at the
next quarter sessions; the rest of his life was spent in ease,
tranquillity, and rural dignity; he died of apoplexy on the day that my
father came of age; perhaps it would be difficult to mention a man who in
all respects was so fortunate as my grandfather: his death was sudden it
is true, but I am not one of those who pray to be delivered from a sudden
death.

"I should not call my father a fortunate man; it is true that he had the
advantage of a first-rate education; that he made the grand tour with a
private tutor, as was the fashion at that time; that he came to a
splendid fortune on the very day that he came of age; that for many years
he tasted all the diversions of the capital; that, at last determined to
settle, he married the sister of a baronet, an amiable and accomplished
lady, with a large fortune; that he had the best stud of hunters in the
county, on which, during the season, he followed the fox gallantly; had
he been a fortunate man he would never have cursed his fate, as he was
frequently known to do; ten months after his marriage his horse fell upon
him, and so injured him, that he expired in a few days in great agony.  My
grandfather was, indeed, a fortunate man; when he died he was followed to
the grave by the tears of the poor--my father was not.

"Two remarkable circumstances are connected with my birth--I am a
posthumous child, and came into the world some weeks before the usual
time, the shock which my mother experienced at my father's death having
brought on the pangs of premature labour; both my mother's life and my
own were at first despaired of; we both, however, survived the crisis.  My
mother loved me with the most passionate fondness, and I was brought up
in this house under her own eye--I was never sent to school.

"I have already told you that mine is not a tale of adventure; my life
has not been one of action, but of wild imaginings and strange
sensations; I was born with excessive sensibility, and that has been my
bane.  I have not been a fortunate man.

"No one is fortunate unless he is happy, and it is impossible for a being
constructed like myself to be happy for an hour, or even enjoy peace and
tranquillity; most of our pleasures and pains are the effects of
imagination, and wherever the sensibility is great, the imagination is
great also.  No sooner has my imagination raised up an image of pleasure,
than it is sure to conjure up one of distress and gloom; these two
antagonist ideas instantly commence a struggle in my mind, and the gloomy
one generally, I may say invariably, prevails.  How is it possible that I
should be a happy man?

"It has invariably been so with me from the earliest period that I can
remember; the first playthings that were given me caused me for a few
minutes excessive pleasure: they were pretty and glittering; presently,
however, I became anxious and perplexed, I wished to know their history,
how they were made, and what of--were the materials precious; I was not
satisfied with their outward appearance.  In less than an hour I had
broken the playthings in an attempt to discover what they were made of.

"When I was eight years of age my uncle the baronet, who was also my
godfather, sent me a pair of Norway hawks, with directions for managing
them; he was a great fowler.  Oh, how rejoiced was I with the present
which had been made me, my joy lasted for at least five minutes; I would
let them breed, I would have a house of hawks; yes, that I would--but--and
here came the unpleasant idea--suppose they were to fly away, how very
annoying!  Ah, but, said hope, there's little fear of that; feed them
well and they will never fly away, or if they do they will come back, my
uncle says so; so sunshine triumphed for a little time.  Then the
strangest of all doubts came into my head; I doubted the legality of my
tenure of these hawks; how did I come by them? why, my uncle gave them to
me; but how did they come into his possession? what right had he to them?
after all, they might not be his to give.--I passed a sleepless night.
The next morning I found that the man who brought the hawks had not
departed.  'How came my uncle by these hawks?' I anxiously inquired.
'They were sent to him from Norway, master, with another pair.'  'And who
sent them?'  'That I don't know, master, but I suppose his honour can
tell you.'  I was even thinking of scrawling a letter to my uncle to make
inquiry on this point, but shame restrained me, and I likewise reflected
that it would be impossible for him to give my mind entire satisfaction;
it is true he could tell who sent him the hawks, but how was he to know
how the hawks came into the possession of those who sent them to him, and
by what right they possessed them or the parents of the hawks?  In a
word, I wanted a clear valid title, as lawyers would say, to my hawks,
and I believe no title would have satisfied me that did not extend up to
the time of the first hawk, that is, prior to Adam; and, could I have
obtained such a title, I make no doubt that, young as I was, I should
have suspected that it was full of flaws.

"I was now disgusted with the hawks, and no wonder, seeing all the
disquietude they had caused me; I soon totally neglected the poor birds,
and they would have starved had not some of the servants taken compassion
upon them and fed them.  My uncle, soon hearing of my neglect, was angry,
and took the birds away; he was a very good-natured man, however, and
soon sent me a fine pony; at first I was charmed with the pony; soon,
however, the same kind of thoughts arose which had disgusted me on a
former occasion.  How did my uncle become possessed of the pony?  This
question I asked him the first time I saw him.  Oh, he had bought it of a
Gypsy, that I might learn to ride upon it.  A Gypsy; I had heard that
Gypsies were great thieves, and I instantly began to fear that the Gypsy
had stolen the pony, and it is probable that for this apprehension I had
better grounds than for many others.  I instantly ceased to set any value
upon the pony, but for that reason, perhaps, I turned it to some account;
I mounted it, and rode it about, which I don't think I should have done
had I looked upon it as a secure possession.  Had I looked upon my title
as secure, I should have prized it so much, that I should scarcely have
mounted it for fear of injuring the animal; but now, caring not a straw
for it, I rode it most unmercifully, and soon became a capital rider.
This was very selfish in me, and I tell the fact with shame.  I was
punished, however, as I deserved; the pony had a spirit of its own, and,
moreover, it had belonged to Gypsies; once, as I was riding it furiously
over the lawn, applying both whip and spur, it suddenly lifted up its
heels, and flung me at least five yards over its head.  I received some
desperate contusions, and was taken up for dead; it was many months
before I perfectly recovered.

"But it is time for me to come to the touching part of my story.  There
was one thing that I loved better than the choicest gift which could be
bestowed upon me, better than life itself--my mother;--at length she
became unwell, and the thought that I might possibly lose her now rushed
into my mind for the first time; it was terrible, and caused me
unspeakable misery, I may say horror.  My mother became worse, and I was
not allowed to enter her apartment, lest by my frantic exclamations of
grief I might aggravate her disorder.  I rested neither day nor night,
but roamed about the house like one distracted.  Suddenly I found myself
doing that which even at the time struck me as being highly singular; I
found myself touching particular objects that were near me, and to which
my fingers seemed to be attracted by an irresistible impulse.  It was now
the table or the chair that I was compelled to touch; now the bell-rope;
now the handle of the door; now I would touch the wall, and the next
moment stooping down, I would place the point of my finger upon the
floor: and so I continued to do day after day; frequently I would
struggle to resist the impulse, but invariably in vain.  I have even
rushed away from the object, but I was sure to return, the impulse was
too strong to be resisted: I quickly hurried back, compelled by the
feeling within me to touch the object.  Now I need not tell you that what
impelled me to these actions was the desire to prevent my mother's death;
whenever I touched any particular object, it was with the view of
baffling the evil chance, as you would call it--in this instance my
mother's death.

"A favourable crisis occurred in my mother's complaint, and she
recovered; this crisis took place about six o'clock in the morning;
almost simultaneously with it there happened to myself a rather
remarkable circumstance connected with the nervous feeling which was
rioting in my system.  I was lying in bed in a kind of uneasy doze, the
only kind of rest which my anxiety, on account of my mother, permitted me
at this time to take, when all at once I sprang up as if electrified, the
mysterious impulse was upon me, and it urged me to go without delay, and
climb a stately elm behind the house, and touch the topmost branch;
otherwise--you know the rest--the evil chance would prevail.  Accustomed
for some time as I had been, under this impulse, to perform extravagant
actions, I confess to you that the difficulty and peril of such a feat
startled me; I reasoned against the feeling, and strove more strenuously
than I had ever done before; I even made a solemn vow not to give way to
the temptation, but I believe nothing less than chains, and those strong
ones, could have restrained me.  The demoniac influence, for I can call
it nothing else, at length prevailed; it compelled me to rise, to dress
myself, to descend the stairs, to unbolt the door, and to go forth; it
drove me to the foot of the tree, and it compelled me to climb the trunk;
this was a tremendous task, and I only accomplished it after repeated
falls and trials.  When I had got amongst the branches, I rested for a
time, and then set about accomplishing the remainder of the ascent; this
for some time was not so difficult, for I was now amongst the branches;
as I approached the top, however, the difficulty became greater, and
likewise the danger; but I was a light boy, and almost as nimble as a
squirrel, and, moreover, the nervous feeling was within me, impelling me
upward.  It was only by means of a spring, however, that I was enabled to
touch the top of the tree; I sprang, touched the top of the tree, and
fell a distance of at least twenty feet, amongst the branches; had I
fallen to the bottom I must have been killed, but I fell into the middle
of the tree, and presently found myself astride upon one of the boughs;
scratched and bruised all over, I reached the ground, and regained my
chamber unobserved; I flung myself on my bed quite exhausted; presently
they came to tell me that my mother was better--they found me in the
state which I have described, and in a fever besides.  The favourable
crisis must have occurred just about the time that I performed the magic
touch; it certainly was a curious coincidence, yet I was not weak enough,
even though a child, to suppose that I had baffled the evil chance by my
daring feat.

"Indeed, all the time that I was performing these strange feats, I knew
them to be highly absurd, yet the impulse to perform them was
irresistible--a mysterious dread hanging over me till I had given way to
it; even at that early period I frequently used to reason within myself
as to what could be the cause of my propensity to touch, but of course I
could come to no satisfactory conclusion respecting it; being heartily
ashamed of the practice, I never spoke of it to any one, and was at all
times highly solicitous that no one should observe my weakness."



CHAPTER LXV


Maternal Anxiety--The Baronet--Little Zest--Country Life--Mr.
Speaker!--The Craving--Spirited Address--An Author.

After a short pause my host resumed his narration.  "Though I was never
sent to school, my education was not neglected on that account; I had
tutors in various branches of knowledge, under whom I made a tolerable
progress; by the time I was eighteen I was able to read most of the Greek
and Latin authors with facility; I was likewise, to a certain degree, a
mathematician.  I cannot say that I took much pleasure in my studies; my
chief aim in endeavouring to accomplish my tasks was to give pleasure to
my beloved parent, who watched my progress with anxiety truly maternal.
My life at this period may be summed up in a few words; I pursued my
studies, roamed about the woods, walked the green lanes occasionally,
cast my fly in a trout stream, and sometimes, but not often, rode
a-hunting with my uncle.  A considerable part of my time was devoted to
my mother, conversing with her and reading to her; youthful companions I
had none, and as to my mother, she lived in the greatest retirement,
devoting herself to the superintendence of my education, and the practice
of acts of charity; nothing could be more innocent than this mode of
life, and some people say that in innocence there is happiness, yet I
can't say that I was happy.  A continual dread overshadowed my mind, it
was the dread of my mother's death.  Her constitution had never been
strong, and it had been considerably shaken by her last illness; this I
knew, and this I saw--for the eyes of fear are marvellously keen.  Well,
things went on in this way till I had come of age; my tutors were then
dismissed, and my uncle the baronet took me in hand, telling my mother
that it was high time for him to exert his authority; that I must see
something of the world, for that, if I remained much longer with her, I
should be ruined.  'You must consign him to me,' said he, 'and I will
introduce him to the world.'  My mother sighed and consented; so my uncle
the baronet introduced me to the world, took me to horse-races and to
London, and endeavoured to make a man of me according to his idea of the
term, and in part succeeded.  I became moderately dissipated--I say
moderately, for dissipation had but little zest for me.

"In this manner four years passed over.  It happened that I was in London
in the height of the season with my uncle, at his house; one morning he
summoned me into the parlour, he was standing before the fire, and looked
very serious.  'I have had a letter,' said he; 'your mother is very ill.'
I staggered, and touched the nearest object to me; nothing was said for
two or three minutes, and then my uncle put his lips to my ear and
whispered something.  I fell down senseless.  My mother was . . . I
remember nothing for a long time--for two years I was out of my mind; at
the end of this time I recovered, or partly so.  My uncle the baronet was
very kind to me; he advised me to travel, he offered to go with me.  I
told him he was very kind, but I would rather go by myself.  So I went
abroad, and saw, amongst other things, Rome and the Pyramids.  By
frequent change of scene my mind became not happy, but tolerably
tranquil.  I continued abroad some years, when, becoming tired of
travelling, I came home, found my uncle the baronet alive, hearty, and
unmarried, as he still is.  He received me very kindly, took me to
Newmarket, and said that he hoped by this time I was become quite a man
of the world; by his advice I took a house in town, in which I lived
during the season.  In summer I strolled from one watering-place to
another; and, in order to pass the time, I became very dissipated.

"At last I became as tired of dissipation as I had previously been of
travelling, and I determined to retire to the country, and live on my
paternal estate; this resolution I was not slow in putting into effect; I
sold my house in town, repaired and refurnished my country house, and,
for at least ten years, lived a regular country life; I gave dinner
parties, prosecuted poachers, was charitable to the poor, and now and
then went into my library; during this time I was seldom or never visited
by the magic impulse, the reason being, that there was nothing in the
wide world for which I cared sufficiently to move a finger to preserve
it.  When the ten years, however, were nearly ended, I started out of bed
one morning in a fit of horror, exclaiming, 'Mercy, mercy! what will
become of me?  I am afraid I shall go mad.  I have lived thirty-five
years and upwards without doing anything; shall I pass through life in
this manner?  Horror!'  And then in rapid succession I touched three
different objects.

"I dressed myself and went down, determining to set about something; but
what was I to do?--there was the difficulty.  I ate no breakfast, but
walked about the room in a state of distraction; at last I thought that
the easiest way to do something was to get into Parliament, there would
be no difficulty in that.  I had plenty of money, and could buy a seat;
but what was I to do in Parliament?  Speak, of course--but could I speak?
'I'll try at once,' said I, and forthwith I rushed into the largest
dining-room, and, locking the door, I commenced speaking; 'Mr. Speaker,'
said I, and then I went on speaking for about ten minutes as I best
could, and then I left off, for I was talking nonsense.  No, I was not
formed for Parliament; I could do nothing there.  What--what was I to do?

"Many, many times I thought this question over, but was unable to solve
it; a fear now stole over me that I was unfit for anything in the world,
save the lazy life of vegetation which I had for many years been leading;
yet, if that were the case, thought I, why the craving within me to
distinguish myself?  Surely it does not occur fortuitously, but is
intended to rouse and call into exercise certain latent powers that I
possess? and then with infinite eagerness I set about attempting to
discover these latent powers.  I tried an infinity of pursuits, botany
and geology amongst the rest, but in vain; I was fitted for none of them.
I became very sorrowful and despondent, and at one time I had almost
resolved to plunge again into the whirlpool of dissipation; it was a
dreadful resource, it was true, but what better could I do?

"But I was not doomed to return to the dissipation of the world.  One
morning a young nobleman, who had for some time past showed a wish to
cultivate my acquaintance, came to me in a considerable hurry.  'I am
come to beg an important favour of you,' said he; 'one of the county
memberships is vacant--I intend to become a candidate; what I want
immediately is a spirited address to the electors.  I have been
endeavouring to frame one all the morning, but in vain; I have,
therefore, recourse to you as a person of infinite genius; pray, my dear
friend, concoct me one by the morning.'  'What you require of me,' I
replied, 'is impossible; I have not the gift of words; did I possess it I
would stand for the county myself, but I can't speak.  Only the other day
I attempted to make a speech, but left off suddenly, utterly ashamed,
although I was quite alone, of the nonsense I was uttering.'  'It is not
a speech that I want,' said my friend, 'I can talk for three hours
without hesitating, but I want an address to circulate through the
county, and I find myself utterly incompetent to put one together; do
oblige me by writing one for me, I know you can; and, if at any time you
want a person to speak for you, you may command me not for three but for
six hours.  Good morning; to-morrow I will breakfast with you.'  In the
morning he came again.  'Well,' said he, 'what success?'  'Very poor,'
said I; 'but judge for yourself;' and I put into his hand a manuscript of
several pages.  My friend read it through with considerable attention.  'I
congratulate you,' said he, 'and likewise myself; I was not mistaken in
my opinion of you; the address is too long by at least two-thirds, or I
should rather say, that it is longer by two-thirds than addresses
generally are; but it will do--I will not curtail it of a word.  I shall
win my election.'  And in truth he did win his election; and it was not
only his own but the general opinion that he owed it to the address.

"But, however that might be, I had, by writing the address, at last
discovered what had so long eluded my search--what I was able to do.  I,
who had neither the nerve nor the command of speech necessary to
constitute the orator--who had not the power of patient research required
by those who would investigate the secrets of nature, had, nevertheless,
a ready pen and teeming imagination.  This discovery decided my fate--from
that moment I became an author."



CHAPTER LXVI


Trepidations--Subtle Principle--Perverse Imagination--Are they
Mine?--Another Book--How Hard!--Agricultural Dinner--Incomprehensible
Actions--Inmost Bosom--Give it Up--Chance Resemblance--Rascally
Newspaper.

"An author," said I, addressing my host; "is it possible that I am under
the roof of an author?"

"Yes," said my host, sighing, "my name is so and so, and I am the author
of so and so; it is more than probable that you have heard both of my
name and works.  I will not detain you much longer with my history; the
night is advancing, and the storm appears to be upon the increase.  My
life since the period of my becoming an author may be summed briefly as
an almost uninterrupted series of doubts, anxieties, and trepidations.  I
see clearly that it is not good to love anything immoderately in this
world, but it has been my misfortune to love immoderately everything on
which I have set my heart.  This is not good, I repeat--but where is the
remedy?  The ancients were always in the habit of saying, 'Practise
moderation,' but the ancients appear to have considered only one portion
of the subject.  It is very possible to practise moderation in some
things, in drink and the like--to restrain the appetites--but can a man
restrain the affections of his mind, and tell them, so far you shall go,
and no farther?  Alas, no! for the mind is a subtle principle, and cannot
be confined.  The winds may be imprisoned; Homer says that Odysseus
carried certain winds in his ship, confined in leathern bags, but Homer
never speaks of confining the affections.  It were but right that those
who exhort us against inordinate affections, and setting our hearts too
much upon the world and its vanities, would tell us how to avoid doing
so.

"I need scarcely tell you, that no sooner did I become an author, than I
gave myself up immoderately to my vocation.  It became my idol, and, as a
necessary consequence, it has proved a source of misery and disquietude
to me, instead of pleasure and blessing.  I had trouble enough in writing
my first work, and I was not long in discovering that it was one thing to
write a stirring and spirited address to a set of county electors, and
another widely different to produce a work at all calculated to make an
impression upon the great world.  I felt, however, that I was in my
proper sphere, and by dint of unwearied diligence and exertion I
succeeded in evolving from the depths of my agitated breast a work which,
though it did not exactly please me, I thought would serve to make an
experiment upon the public; so I laid it before the public, and the
reception which it met with was far beyond my wildest expectations.  The
public were delighted with it, but what were my feelings?  Anything,
alas! but those of delight.  No sooner did the public express its
satisfaction at the result of my endeavours, than my perverse imagination
began to conceive a thousand chimerical doubts; forthwith I sat down to
analyse it; and my worst enemy, and all people have their enemies,
especially authors--my worst enemy could not have discovered or sought to
discover a tenth part of the faults which I, the author and creator of
the unfortunate production, found or sought to find in it.  It has been
said that love makes us blind to the faults of the loved object--common
love does, perhaps--the love of a father to his child, or that of a lover
to his mistress, but not the inordinate love of an author to his works,
at least not the love which one like myself bears to his works: to be
brief, I discovered a thousand faults in my work, which neither public
nor critics discovered.  However, I was beginning to get over this
misery, and to forgive my work all its imperfections, when--and I shake
when I mention it--the same kind of idea which perplexed me with regard
to the hawks and the Gypsy pony rushed into my mind, and I forthwith
commenced touching the objects around me, in order to baffle the evil
chance, as you call it; it was neither more nor less than a doubt of the
legality of my claim to the thoughts, expressions, and situations
contained in the book; that is, to all that constituted the book.  How
did I get them?  How did they come into my mind?  Did I invent them?  Did
they originate with myself?  Are they my own, or are they some other
body's?  You see into what difficulty I had got; I won't trouble you by
relating all that I endured at that time, but will merely say that after
eating my own heart, as the Italians say, and touching every object that
came in my way for six months, I at length flung my book, I mean the copy
of it which I possessed, into the fire, and began another.

"But it was all in vain; I laboured at this other, finished it, and gave
it to the world; and no sooner had I done so, than the same thought was
busy in my brain, poisoning all the pleasure which I should otherwise
have derived from my work.  How did I get all the matter which composed
it?  Out of my own mind, unquestionably; but how did it come there--was
it the indigenous growth of the mind?  And then I would sit down and
ponder over the various scenes and adventures in my book, endeavouring to
ascertain how I came originally to devise them, and by dint of reflecting
I remembered that to a single word in conversation, or some simple
accident in a street, or on a road, I was indebted for some of the
happiest portions of my work; they were but tiny seeds, it is true, which
in the soil of my imagination had subsequently become stately trees, but
I reflected that without them no stately trees would have been produced,
and that, consequently, only a part in the merit of these compositions
which charmed the world--for they did charm the world--was due to myself.
Thus, a dead fly was in my phial, poisoning all the pleasure which I
should otherwise have derived from the result of my brain sweat.  'How
hard!' I would exclaim, looking up to the sky, 'how hard!  I am like
Virgil's sheep, bearing fleeces not for themselves.'  But, not to tire
you, it fared with my second work as it did with my first; I flung it
aside, and, in order to forget it, I began a third, on which I am now
occupied; but the difficulty of writing it is immense, my extreme desire
to be original sadly cramping the powers of my mind; my fastidiousness
being so great that I invariably reject whatever ideas I do not think to
be legitimately my own.  But there is one circumstance to which I cannot
help alluding here, as it serves to show what miseries this love of
originality must needs bring upon an author.  I am constantly discovering
that, however original I may wish to be, I am continually producing the
same things which other people say or write.  Whenever, after producing
something which gives me perfect satisfaction, and which has cost me
perhaps days and nights of brooding, I chance to take up a book for the
sake of a little relaxation, a book which I never saw before, I am sure
to find in it something more or less resembling some part of what I have
been just composing.  You will easily conceive the distress which then
comes over me; 'tis then that I am almost tempted to execrate the chance
which, by discovering my latent powers, induced me to adopt a profession
of such anxiety and misery.

"For some time past I have given up reading almost entirely, owing to the
dread which I entertain of lighting upon something similar to what I
myself have written.  I scarcely ever transgress without having almost
instant reason to repent.  To-day, when I took up the newspaper, I saw in
a speech of the Duke of Rhododendron, at an agricultural dinner, the very
same ideas, and almost the same expressions which I had put into the
mouth of an imaginary personage of mine, on a widely different occasion;
you saw how I dashed the newspaper down--you saw how I touched the floor;
the touch was to baffle the evil chance, to prevent the critics detecting
any similarity between the speech of the Duke of Rhododendron at the
agricultural dinner, and the speech of my personage.  My sensibility on
the subject of my writings is so great, that sometimes a chance word is
sufficient to unman me, I apply it to them in a superstitious sense; for
example, when you said some time ago that the dark hour was coming on, I
applied it to my works--it appeared to bode them evil fortune; you saw
how I touched, it was to baffle the evil chance; but I do not confine
myself to touching when the fear of the evil chance is upon me.  To
baffle it I occasionally perform actions which must appear highly
incomprehensible; I have been known, when riding in company with other
people, to leave the direct road, and make a long circuit by a miry lane
to the place to which we were going.  I have also been seen attempting to
ride across a morass, where I had no business whatever, and in which my
horse finally sank up to its saddle-girths, and was only extricated by
the help of a multitude of hands.  I have, of course, frequently been
asked the reason of such conduct, to which I have invariably returned no
answer, for I scorn duplicity; whereupon people have looked mysteriously,
and sometimes put their fingers to their foreheads.  'And yet it can't
be,' I once heard an old gentleman say; 'don't we know what he is capable
of?' and the old man was right; I merely did these things to avoid the
evil chance, impelled by the strange feeling within me; and this evil
chance is invariably connected with my writings, the only things at
present which render life valuable to me.  If I touch various objects,
and ride into miry places, it is to baffle any mischance befalling me as
an author, to prevent my books getting into disrepute; in nine cases out
of ten to prevent any expressions, thoughts, or situations in any work
which I am writing from resembling the thoughts, expressions, and
situations of other authors, for my great wish, as I told you before, is
to be original.

"I have now related my history, and have revealed to you the secrets of
my inmost bosom.  I should certainly not have spoken so unreservedly as I
have done, had I not discovered in you a kindred spirit.  I have long
wished for an opportunity of discoursing on the point which forms the
peculiar feature of my history with a being who could understand me; and
truly it was a lucky chance which brought you to these parts; you who
seem to be acquainted with all things strange and singular, and who are
as well acquainted with the subject of the magic touch as with all that
relates to the star Jupiter, or the mysterious tree at Upsal."

Such was the story which my host related to me in the library, amidst the
darkness, occasionally broken by flashes of lightning.  Both of us
remained silent for some time after it was concluded.

"It is a singular story," said I, at last, "though I confess that I was
prepared for some part of it.  Will you permit me to ask you a question?"

"Certainly," said my host.

"Did you never speak in public?" said I.

"Never."

"And when you made this speech of yours in the dining-room, commencing
with Mr. Speaker, no one was present?"

"None in the world, I double-locked the door; {114} what do you mean?"

"An idea came into my head--dear me, how the rain is pouring!--but, with
respect to your present troubles and anxieties, would it not be wise,
seeing that authorship causes you so much trouble and anxiety, to give it
up altogether?"

"Were you an author yourself," replied my host, "you would not talk in
this manner; once an author, ever an author--besides, what could I do?
return to my former state of vegetation? no, much as I endure, I do not
wish that; besides, every now and then my reason tells me that these
troubles and anxieties of mine are utterly without foundation; that
whatever I write is the legitimate growth of my own mind, and that it is
the height of folly to afflict myself at any chance resemblance between
my own thoughts and those of other writers, such resemblance being
inevitable from the fact of our common human origin.  In short--"

"I understand you," said I; "notwithstanding your troubles and anxieties
you find life very tolerable; has your originality ever been called in
question?"

"On the contrary, every one declares that originality constitutes the
most remarkable feature of my writings; the man has some faults, they
say, but want of originality is certainly not one of them.  He is quite
different from others--a certain newspaper, it is true, the ---, I think,
once insinuated that in a certain work of mine I had taken a hint or two
from the writings of a couple of authors which it mentioned; it happened,
however, that I had never even read one syllable of the writings of
either, and of one of them had never even heard the name; so much for the
discrimination of the ---.  By the bye, what a rascally newspaper that
is!"

"A very rascally newspaper," said I.



CHAPTER LXVII


Disturbed Slumbers--The Bed-Post--Two Wizards--What can I Do?--Real
Library--The Rev. Mr. Platitude--Toleration to Dissenters--Paradox--Sword
of St. Peter--Enemy to Humbug--High Principles--False Concord--The
Damsel--What Religion?--Farther Conversation--That would never Do!--May
you Prosper.

During the greater part of that night my slumbers were disturbed by
strange dreams.  Amongst other things, I fancied that I was my host; my
head appeared to be teeming with wild thoughts and imaginations, out of
which I was endeavouring to frame a book.  And now the book was finished
and given to the world, and the world shouted; and all eyes were turned
upon me, and I shrank from the eyes of the world.  And, when I got into
retired places, I touched various objects in order to baffle the evil
chance.  In short, during the whole night, I was acting over the story
which I had heard before I went to bed.

At about eight o'clock I awoke.  The storm had long since passed away,
and the morning was bright and shining; my couch was so soft and
luxurious that I felt loth to quit it, so I lay some time, my eyes
wandering about the magnificent room to which fortune had conducted me in
so singular a manner; at last I heaved a sigh; I was thinking of my own
homeless condition, and imagining where I should find myself on the
following morning.  Unwilling, however, to indulge in melancholy
thoughts, I sprang out of bed and proceeded to dress myself, and, whilst
dressing, I felt an irresistible inclination to touch the bedpost.

I finished dressing and left the room, feeling compelled, however, as I
left it, to touch the lintel of the door.  Is it possible, thought I,
that from what I have lately heard the long-forgotten influence should
have possessed me again? but I will not give way to it; so I hurried
downstairs, resisting as I went a certain inclination which I
occasionally felt to touch the rail of the banister.  I was presently
upon the gravel walk before the house: it was indeed a glorious morning.
I stood for some time observing the golden fish disporting in the waters
of the pond, and then strolled about amongst the noble trees of the park;
the beauty and freshness of the morning--for the air had been
considerably cooled by the late storm--soon enabled me to cast away the
gloomy ideas which had previously taken possession of my mind, and, after
a stroll of about half an hour, I returned towards the house in high
spirits.  It is true that once I felt very much inclined to go and touch
the leaves of a flowery shrub which I saw at some distance, and had even
moved two or three paces towards it; but, bethinking myself, I manfully
resisted the temptation.  "Begone!" I exclaimed, "ye sorceries, in which
I formerly trusted--begone for ever vagaries which I had almost
forgotten; good luck is not to be obtained, or bad averted, by magic
touches; besides, two wizards in one parish would be too much, in all
conscience."

I returned to the house, and entered the library; breakfast was laid on
the table, and my friend was standing before the portrait which I have
already said hung above the mantelpiece; so intently was he occupied in
gazing at it that he did not hear me enter, nor was aware of my presence
till I advanced close to him and spoke, when he turned round and shook me
by the hand.

"What can possibly have induced you to hang up that portrait in your
library? it is a staring likeness, it is true, but it appears to me a
wretched daub."

"Daub as you call it," said my friend, smiling, "I would not part with it
for the best piece of Raphael.  For many a happy thought I am indebted to
that picture--it is my principal source of inspiration; when my
imagination flags, as of course it occasionally does, I stare upon those
features, and forthwith strange ideas of fun and drollery begin to flow
into my mind; these I round, amplify, or combine into goodly creations,
and bring forth as I find an opportunity.  It is true that I am
occasionally tormented by the thought that, by doing this, I am
committing plagiarism; though, in that case, all thoughts must be
plagiarisms, all that we think being the result of what we hear, see, or
feel.  What can I do?  I must derive my thoughts from some source or
other; and, after all, it is better to plagiarise from the features of my
landlord than from the works of Butler and Cervantes.  My works, as you
are aware, are of a serio-comic character.  My neighbours are of opinion
that I am a great reader, and so I am, but only of those features--my
real library is that picture."

"But how did you obtain it?" said I.

"Some years ago a travelling painter came into this neighbourhood, and my
jolly host, at the request of his wife, consented to sit for his
portrait; she highly admired the picture, but she soon died, and then my
fat friend, who is of an affectionate disposition, said he could not bear
the sight of it, as it put him in mind of his poor wife.  I purchased it
of him for five pounds--I would not take five thousand for it; when you
called that picture a daub, you did not see all the poetry of it."

We sat down to breakfast; my entertainer appeared to be in much better
spirits than on the preceding day; I did not observe him touch once; ere
breakfast was over a servant entered--"The Reverend Mr. Platitude, sir,"
said he.

A shade of dissatisfaction came over the countenance of my host.  "What
does the silly pestilent fellow mean by coming here?" said he, half to
himself; "let him come in," said he to the servant.

The servant went out, and in a moment reappeared, introducing the
Reverend Mr. Platitude.  The Reverend Mr. Platitude, having what is
vulgarly called a game leg, came shambling into the room; he was about
thirty years of age, and about five feet three inches high; his face was
of the colour of pepper, and nearly as rugged as a nutmeg grater; his
hair was black; with his eyes he squinted, and grinned with his lips,
which were very much apart, disclosing two very irregular rows of teeth;
he was dressed in the true Levitical fashion, in a suit of spotless
black, and a neckerchief of spotless white.

The Reverend Mr. Platitude advanced winking and grinning to my
entertainer, who received him politely but with evident coldness; nothing
daunted, however, the Reverend Mr. Platitude took a seat by the table,
and, being asked to take a cup of coffee, winked, grinned, and consented.

In company I am occasionally subject to fits of what is generally called
absence; my mind takes flight and returns to former scenes, or presses
forward into the future.  One of these fits of absence came over me at
this time--I looked at the Reverend Mr. Platitude for a moment, heard a
word or two that proceeded from his mouth, and saying to myself, "You are
no man for me," fell into a fit of musing--into the same train of thought
as in the morning, no very pleasant one--I was thinking of the future.

I continued in my reverie for some time, and probably should have
continued longer, had I not been suddenly aroused by the voice of Mr.
Platitude raised to a very high key.  "Yes, my dear sir," said he, "it is
but too true; I have it on good authority--a gone Church--a lost Church--a
ruined Church--a demolished Church is the Church of England.  Toleration
to Dissenters! oh, monstrous!"

"I suppose," said my host, "that the repeal of the Test Acts will be
merely a precursor of the emancipation of the Papists?"

"Of the Catholics," said the Reverend Mr. Platitude.  "Ahem.  There was a
time, as I believe you are aware, my dear sir, when I was as much opposed
to the emancipation of the Catholics as it was possible for any one to
be; but I was prejudiced, my dear sir, labouring under a cloud of most
unfortunate prejudice; but I thank my Maker I am so no longer.  I have
travelled, as you are aware.  It is only by travelling that one can rub
off prejudices; I think you will agree with me there.  I am speaking to a
traveller.  I left behind all my prejudices in Italy.  The Catholics are
at least our fellow-Christians.  I thank Heaven that I am no longer an
enemy to Catholic emancipation."

"And yet you would not tolerate Dissenters?"

"Dissenters, my dear sir; I hope you would not class such a set as the
Dissenters with Catholics?"

"Perhaps it would be unjust," said my host, "though to which of the two
parties is another thing; but permit me to ask you a question: Does it
not smack somewhat of paradox to talk of Catholics, whilst you admit
there are Dissenters?  If there are Dissenters, how should there be
Catholics?"

"It is not my fault that there are Dissenters," said the Reverend Mr.
Platitude; "if I had my will I would neither admit there were any, nor
permit any to be." {121}

"Of course you would admit there were such as long as they existed; but
how would you get rid of them?"

"I would have the Church exert its authority."

"What do you mean by exerting its authority?"

"I would not have the Church bear the sword in vain."

"What, the sword of St. Peter?  You remember what the Founder of the
religion which you profess said about the sword, 'He who striketh with it
. . . '  I think those who have called themselves the Church have had
enough of the sword.  Two can play with the sword, Mr. Platitude.  The
Church of Rome tried the sword with the Lutherans: how did it fare with
the Church of Rome?  The Church of England tried the sword, Mr.
Platitude, with the Puritans: how did it fare with Laud and Charles?"

"Oh, as for the Church of England," said Mr. Platitude, "I have little to
say.  Thank God, I left all my Church of England prejudices in Italy.  Had
the Church of England known its true interests, it would long ago have
sought a reconciliation with its illustrious mother.  If the Church of
England had not been in some degree a schismatic church, it would not
have fared so ill at the time of which you are speaking; the rest of the
Church would have come to its assistance.  The Irish would have helped
it, so would the French, so would the Portuguese.  Disunion has always
been the bane of the Church."

Once more I fell into a reverie.  My mind now reverted to the past;
methought I was in a small comfortable room wainscoted with oak; I was
seated on one side of a fireplace, close by a table on which were wine
and fruit; on the other side of the fire sat a man in a plain suit of
brown, with the hair combed back from his somewhat high forehead; he had
a pipe in his mouth, which for some time he smoked gravely and placidly,
without saying a word; at length, after drawing at the pipe for some time
rather vigorously, he removed it from his mouth, and, emitting an
accumulated cloud of smoke, he exclaimed in a slow and measured tone, "As
I was telling you just now, my good chap, I have always been an enemy to
humbug."

When I awoke from my reverie the Reverend Mr. Platitude was quitting the
apartment.

"Who is that person?" said I to my entertainer, as the door closed behind
him.

"Who is he?" said my host; "why, the Rev. Mr. Platitude."

"Does he reside in this neighbourhood?"

"He holds a living about three miles from here; his history, as far as I
am acquainted with it, is as follows.  His father was a respectable
tanner in the neighbouring town, who, wishing to make his son a
gentleman, sent him to college.  Having never been at college myself, I
cannot say whether he took the wisest course; I believe it is more easy
to unmake than to make a gentleman; I have known many gentlemanly youths
go to college, and return anything but what they went.  Young Mr.
Platitude did not go to college a gentleman, but neither did he return
one; he went to college an ass, and returned a prig; to his original
folly was superadded a vast quantity of conceit.  He told his father that
he had adopted high principles, and was determined to discountenance
everything low and mean; advised him to eschew trade, and to purchase him
a living.  The old man retired from business, purchased his son a living,
and shortly after died, leaving him what remained of his fortune.  The
first thing the Reverend Mr. Platitude did, after his father's decease,
was to send his mother and sister into Wales to live upon a small
annuity, assigning as a reason that he was averse to anything low, and
that they talked ungrammatically.  Wishing to shine in the pulpit, he now
preached high sermons, as he called them, interspersed with scraps of
learning.  His sermons did not, however, procure him much popularity; on
the contrary, his church soon became nearly deserted, the greater part of
his flock going over to certain Dissenting preachers, who had shortly
before made their appearance in the neighbourhood.  Mr. Platitude was
filled with wrath, and abused Dissenters in most unmeasured terms.  Coming
in contact with some of the preachers at a public meeting, he was rash
enough to enter into argument with them.  Poor Platitude! he had better
have been quiet, he appeared like a child, a very infant, in their grasp;
he attempted to take shelter under his college learning, but found, to
his dismay, that his opponents knew more Greek and Latin than himself.
These illiterate boors, as he had supposed them, caught him at once in a
false concord, and Mr. Platitude had to slink home overwhelmed with
shame.  To avenge himself he applied to the ecclesiastical court, but was
told that the Dissenters could not be put down by the present
ecclesiastical law.  He found the Church of England, to use his own
expression, a poor, powerless, restricted Church.  He now thought to
improve his consequence by marriage, and made up to a rich and beautiful
young lady in the neighbourhood; the damsel measured him from head to
foot with a pair of very sharp eyes, dropped a curtsey, and refused him.
Mr. Platitude, finding England a very stupid place, determined to travel;
he went to Italy; how he passed his time there he knows best, to other
people it is a matter of little importance.  At the end of two years he
returned with a real or assumed contempt for everything English, and
especially for the Church to which he belongs, and out of which he is
supported.  He forthwith gave out that he had left behind him all his
Church of England prejudices, and, as a proof thereof, spoke against
sacerdotal wedlock and the toleration of schismatics.  In an evil hour
for myself he was introduced to me by a clergyman of my acquaintance, and
from that time I have been pestered, as I was this morning, at least once
a week.  I seldom enter into any discussion with him, but fix my eyes on
the portrait over the mantelpiece, and endeavour to conjure up some comic
idea or situation, whilst he goes on talking tomfoolery by the hour about
church authority, schismatics, and the unlawfulness of sacerdotal
wedlock; occasionally he brings with him a strange kind of being, whose
acquaintance he says he made in Italy,--I believe he is some sharking
priest who has come over to proselytise and plunder.  This being has some
powers of conversation and some learning, but carries the countenance of
an arch villain; Platitude is evidently his tool."

"Of what religion are you?" said I to my host.

"That of the Vicar of Wakefield--good, quiet, Church of England, which
would live and let live, practises charity, and rails at no one; where
the priest is the husband of one wife, takes care of his family and his
parish--such is the religion for me, though I confess I have hitherto
thought too little of religious matters.  When, however, I have completed
this plaguy work on which I am engaged, I hope to be able to devote more
attention to them."

After some farther conversation, the subjects being, if I remember right,
college education, priggism, church authority, tomfoolery, and the like,
I rose and said to my host, "I must now leave you."

"Whither are you going?"

"I do not know."

"Stay here, then--you shall be welcome as many days, months, and years as
you please to stay."

"Do you think I would hang upon another man?  No, not if he were Emperor
of all the Chinas.  I will now make my preparations, and then bid you
farewell."

I retired to my apartment and collected the handful of things which I
carried with me on my travels.

"I will walk a little way with you," said my friend on my return.

He walked with me to the park gate; neither of us said anything by the
way.  When we had come upon the road, I said, "Farewell now; I will not
permit you to give yourself any farther trouble on my account.  Receive
my best thanks for your kindness; before we part, however, I should wish
to ask you a question.  Do you think you shall ever grow tired of
authorship?"

"I have my fears," said my friend, advancing his hand to one of the iron
bars of the gate.

"Don't touch," said I, "it is a bad habit.  I have but one word to add:
should you ever grow tired of authorship follow your first idea of
getting into Parliament; you have words enough at command; perhaps you
want manner and method; but, in that case, you must apply to a teacher,
you must take lessons of a master of elocution."

"That would never do!" said my host; "I know myself too well to think of
applying for assistance to any one.  Were I to become a parliamentary
orator, I should wish to be an original one, even if not above
mediocrity.  What pleasure should I take in any speech I might make,
however original as to thought, provided the gestures I employed and the
very modulation of my voice were not my own?  Take lessons, indeed! why,
the fellow who taught me, the professor, might be standing in the gallery
whilst I spoke; and, at the best parts of my speech, might say to
himself, 'That gesture is mine--that modulation is mine.'  I could not
bear the thought of such a thing."

"Farewell," said I, "and may you prosper.  I have nothing more to say."

I departed.  At the distance of twenty yards I turned round suddenly; my
friend was just withdrawing his finger from the bar of the gate.

"He has been touching," said I, as I proceeded on my way; "I wonder what
was the evil chance he wished to baffle."



CHAPTER LXVIII


Elastic Step--Disconsolate Party--Not the Season--Mend your Draught--Good
Ale--Crotchet--Hammer and Tongs--Schoolmaster--True Eden Life--Flaming
Tinman--Twice my Size--Hard at Work--My Poor Wife--Grey Moll--A
Bible--Half and Half--What to Do--Half Inclined--In No Time--On One
Condition--Don't Stare--Like the Wind.

After walking some time, I found myself on the great road, at the same
spot where I had turned aside the day before with my new-made
acquaintance, in the direction of his house.  I now continued my journey
as before, towards the north.  The weather, though beautiful, was much
cooler than it had been for some time past; I walked at a great rate,
with a springing and elastic step.  In about two hours I came to where a
kind of cottage stood a little way back from the road, with a huge oak
before it, under the shade of which stood a little pony and a cart, which
seemed to contain various articles.  I was going past--when I saw
scrawled over the door of the cottage, "Good beer sold here;" upon which,
feeling myself all of a sudden very thirsty, I determined to go in and
taste the beverage.

I entered a well-sanded kitchen, and seated myself on a bench, on one
side of a long white table; the other side, which was nearest to the
wall, was occupied by a party, or rather family, consisting of a grimy-
looking man, somewhat under the middle size, dressed in faded velveteens,
and wearing a leather apron--a rather pretty-looking woman, but
sun-burnt, and meanly dressed, and two ragged children, a boy and girl,
about four or five years old.  The man sat with his eyes fixed upon the
table, supporting his chin with both his hands; the woman, who was next
him, sat quite still, save that occasionally she turned a glance upon her
husband with eyes that appeared to have been lately crying.  The children
had none of the vivacity so general at their age.  A more disconsolate
family I had never seen; a mug, which, when filled, might contain half a
pint, stood empty before them; a very disconsolate party indeed.

"House!" said I; "House!" and then as nobody appeared, I cried again as
loud as I could, "House! do you hear me, House!"

"What's your pleasure, young man?" said an elderly woman, who now made
her appearance from a side apartment.

"To taste your ale," said I.

"How much?" said the woman, stretching out her hand towards the empty mug
upon the table.

"The largest measure-full in your house," said I, putting back her hand
gently.  "This is not the season for half-pint mugs."

"As you will, young man," said the landlady; and presently brought in an
earthen pitcher which might contain about three pints, and which foamed
and frothed withal.

"Will this pay for it?" said I, putting down sixpence.

"I have to return you a penny," said the landlady, putting her hand into
her pocket.

"I want no change," said I, flourishing my hand with an air.

"As you please, young gentleman," said the landlady, and then making a
kind of curtsey, she again retired to the side apartment.

"Here is your health, sir," said I to the grimy-looking man, as I raised
the pitcher to my lips.

The tinker, for such I supposed him to be, without altering his posture,
raised his eyes, looked at me for a moment, gave a slight nod, and then
once more fixed his eyes upon the table.  I took a draught of the ale,
which I found excellent.  "Won't you drink?" said I, holding the pitcher
to the tinker.

The man again lifted up his eyes, looked at me, and then at the pitcher,
and then at me again.  I thought at one time that he was about to shake
his head in sign of refusal, but no, he looked once more at the pitcher,
and the temptation was too strong.  Slowly removing his head from his
arms, he took the pitcher, sighed, nodded, and drank a tolerable
quantity, and then set the pitcher down before me upon the table.

"You had better mend your draught," said I to the tinker, "it is a sad
heart that never rejoices."

"That's true," said the tinker, and again raising the pitcher to his
lips, he mended his draught as I had bidden him, drinking a larger
quantity than before.

"Pass it to your wife," said I.

The poor woman took the pitcher from the man's hand; before, however,
raising it to her lips, she looked at the children.  True mother's heart,
thought I to myself, and taking the half-pint mug, I made her fill it,
and then held it to the children, causing each to take a draught.  The
woman wiped her eyes with the corner of her gown, before she raised the
pitcher and drank to my health.

In about five minutes none of the family looked half so disconsolate as
before, and the tinker and I were in deep discourse.

Oh, genial and gladdening is the power of good ale, the true and proper
drink of Englishmen.  He is not deserving of the name of Englishman who
speaketh against ale, that is good ale, like that which has just made
merry the hearts of this poor family; and yet there are beings, calling
themselves Englishmen, who say that it is a sin to drink a cup of ale,
and who on coming to this passage will be tempted to fling down the book
and exclaim, "The man is evidently a bad man, for behold, by his own
confession, he is not only fond of ale himself, but is in the habit of
tempting other people with it."  Alas! alas! what a number of silly
individuals there are in this world; I wonder what they would have had me
do in this instance--given the afflicted family a cup of cold water? go
to!  They could have found water in the road, for there was a pellucid
spring only a few yards distant from the house, as they were well
aware--but they wanted not water.  What should I have given them? meat
and bread? go to!  They were not hungry; there was stifled sobbing in
their bosoms, and the first mouthful of strong meat would have choked
them.  What should I have given them?  Money! what right had I to insult
them by offering them money?  Advice! words, words, words; friends, there
is a time for everything; there is a time for a cup of cold water; there
is a time for strong meat and bread; there is a time for advice, and
there is a time for ale; and I have generally found that the time for
advice is after a cup of ale.  I do not say many cups; the tongue then
speaketh more smoothly, and the ear listeneth more benignantly; but why
do I attempt to reason with you? do I not know you for conceited
creatures, with one idea--and that a foolish one;--a crotchet, for the
sake of which ye would sacrifice anything, religion if required--country?
There, fling down my book, I do not wish ye to walk any farther in my
company, unless you cast your nonsense away, which ye will never do, for
it is the breath of your nostrils; fling down my book, it was not written
to support a crotchet, for know one thing, my good people, I have
invariably been an enemy to humbug.

"Well," said the tinker, after we had discoursed some time, "I little
thought, when I first saw you, that you were of my own trade."

_Myself_.  Nor am I, at least not exactly.  There is not much difference,
'tis true, between a tinker and a smith.

_Tinker_.  You are a whitesmith then?

_Myself_.  Not I, I'd scorn to be anything so mean; no, friend, black's
the colour; I am a brother of the horse-shoe.  Success to the hammer and
tongs.

_Tinker_.  Well, I shouldn't have thought you had been a blacksmith by
your hands.

_Myself_.  I have seen them, however, as black as yours.  The truth is, I
have not worked for many a day.

_Tinker_.  Where did you serve first?

_Myself_.  In Ireland.

_Tinker_.  That's a good way off, isn't it?

_Myself_.  Not very far; over those mountains to the left, and the run of
salt water that lies behind them, there's Ireland.

_Tinker_.  It's a fine thing to be a scholar.

_Myself_.  Not half so fine as to be a tinker.

_Tinker_.  How you talk!

_Myself_.  Nothing but the truth; what can be better than to be one's own
master?  Now a tinker is his own master, a scholar is not.  Let us
suppose the best of scholars, a schoolmaster for example, for I suppose
you will admit that no one can be higher in scholarship than a
schoolmaster; do you call his a pleasant life?  I don't; we should call
him a school-slave, rather than a schoolmaster.  Only conceive him in
blessed weather like this, in his close school, teaching children to
write in copy-books, "Evil communication corrupts good manners," or "You
cannot touch pitch without defilement," or to spell out of Abedariums, or
to read out of Jack Smith, or Sandford and Merton.  Only conceive him, I
say, drudging in such guise from morning till night, without any rational
enjoyment but to beat the children.  Would you compare such a dog's life
as that with your own--the happiest under heaven--true Eden life, as the
Germans would say,--pitching your tent under the pleasant hedge-rows,
listening to the song of the feathered tribes, collecting all the leaky
kettles in the neighbourhood, soldering and joining, earning your honest
bread by the wholesome sweat of your brow--making ten holes--hey, what's
this? what's the man crying for?

Suddenly the tinker had covered his face with his hands, and begun to sob
and moan like a man in the deepest distress; the breast of his wife was
heaved with emotion; even the children were agitated, the youngest began
to roar.

_Myself_.  What's the matter with you; what are you all crying about?

_Tinker_ (uncovering his face).  Lord, why to hear you talk; isn't that
enough to make anybody cry--even the poor babes?  Yes, you said right,
'tis life in the Garden of Eden--the tinker's; I see so now that I'm
about to give it up.

_Myself_.  Give it up! you must not think of such a thing.

_Tinker_.  No, I can't bear to think of it, and yet I must; what's to be
done?  How hard to be frightened to death, to be driven off the roads!

_Myself_.  Who has driven you off the roads?

_Tinker_.  Who! the Flaming Tinman.

_Myself_.  Who is he?

_Tinker_.  The biggest rogue in England, and the cruellest, or he
wouldn't have served me as he has done--I'll tell you all about it.  I
was born upon the roads, and so was my father before me, and my mother
too; and I worked with them as long as they lived, as a dutiful child,
for I have nothing to reproach myself with on their account; and when my
father died I took up the business, and went his beat, and supported my
mother for the little time she lived; and when she died I married this
young woman, who was not born upon the roads, but was a small tradesman's
daughter, at Gloster.  She had a kindness for me, and, notwithstanding
her friends were against the match, she married the poor tinker, and came
to live with him upon the roads.  Well, young man, for six or seven years
I was the happiest fellow breathing, living just the life you described
just now--respected by everybody in this beat; when in an evil hour comes
this Black Jack, this Flaming Tinman, into these parts, driven as they
say out of Yorkshire--for no good you may be sure.  Now there is no beat
will support two tinkers, as you doubtless know; mine was a good one, but
it would not support the flying tinker and myself, though if it would
have supported twenty it would have been all the same to the flying
villain, who'll brook no one but himself; so he presently finds me out,
and offers to fight me for the beat.  Now, being bred upon the roads, I
can fight a little, that is with anything like my match, but I was not
going to fight him, who happens to be twice my size, and so I told him;
whereupon he knocks me down, and would have done me farther mischief had
not some men been nigh and prevented him; so he threatened to cut my
throat, and went his way.  Well, I did not like such usage at all, and
was woundily frightened, and tried to keep as much out of his way as
possible, going anywhere but where I thought I was likely to meet him;
and sure enough for several months I contrived to keep out of his way.  At
last somebody told me that he was gone back to Yorkshire, whereupon I was
glad at heart, and ventured to show myself, going here and there as I did
before.  Well, young man, it was yesterday that I and mine set ourselves
down in a lane, about five miles from here, and lighted our fire, and had
our dinner, and after dinner I sat down to mend three kettles and a
frying pan which the people in the neighbourhood had given me to
mend--for, as I told you before, I have a good connection, owing to my
honesty.  Well, as I sat there hard at work, happy as the day's long, and
thinking of anything but what was to happen, who should come up but this
Black Jack, this king of the tinkers, rattling along in his cart, with
his wife, that they call Grey Moll, by his side--for the villain has got
a wife, and a maid-servant too; the last I never saw, but they that has,
says that she is as big as a house, and young, and well to look at, which
can't be all said of Moll, who, though she's big enough in all
conscience, is neither young nor handsome.  Well, no sooner does he see
me and mine, than, giving the reins to Grey Moll, he springs out of his
cart, and comes straight at me; not a word did he say, but on he comes
straight at me like a wild bull.  I am a quiet man, young fellow, but I
saw now that quietness would be of no use, so I sprang up upon my legs,
and being bred upon the roads, and able to fight a little, I squared as
he came running in upon me, and had a round or two with him.  Lord bless
you, young man, it was like a fly fighting with an elephant--one of those
big beasts the show-folks carry about.  I had not a chance with the
fellow, he knocked me here, he knocked me there, knocked me into the
hedge, and knocked me out again.  I was at my last shifts, and my poor
wife saw it.  Now my poor wife, though she is as gentle as a pigeon, has
yet a spirit of her own, and though she wasn't bred upon the roads, can
scratch a little; so when she saw me at my last shifts, she flew at the
villain--she couldn't bear to see her partner murdered--and scratched the
villain's face.  Lord bless you, young man, she had better have been
quiet: Grey Moll no sooner saw what she was about, than springing out of
the cart, where she had sat all along perfectly quiet, save a little
whooping and screeching to encourage her blade:--Grey Moll, I say (my
flesh creeps when I think of it--for I am a kind husband, and love my
poor wife)--

_Myself_.  Take another draught of the ale; you look frightened, and it
will do you good.  Stout liquor makes stout heart, as the man says in the
play.

_Tinker_.  That's true, young man; here's to you--where was I?  Grey Moll
no sooner saw what my wife was about, than springing out of the cart, she
flew at my poor wife, clawed off her bonnet in a moment, and seized hold
of her hair.  Lord bless you, young man, my poor wife, in the hands of
Grey Moll, was nothing better than a pigeon in the claws of a buzzard
hawk, or I in the hands of the Flaming Tinman, which when I saw, my heart
was fit to burst, and I determined to give up everything--everything to
save my poor wife out of Grey Moll's claws.  "Hold!" I shouted.  "Hold,
both of you--Jack, Moll.  Hold, both of you, for God's sake, and I'll do
what you will: give up trade, and business, connection, bread, and
everything, never more travel the roads, and go down on my knees to you
in the bargain."  Well, this had some effect; Moll let go my wife, and
the Blazing Tinman stopped for a moment; it was only for a moment,
however, that he left off--all of a sudden he hit me a blow which sent me
against a tree; and what did the villain then? why the flying villain
seized me by the throat, and almost throttled me, roaring--what do you
think, young man, that the flaming villain roared out?

_Myself_.  I really don't know--something horrible, I suppose.

_Tinker_.  Horrible, indeed; you may well say horrible, young man;
neither more nor less than the Bible--"A Bible, a Bible!" roared the
Blazing Tinman; and he pressed my throat so hard against the tree that my
senses began to dwaul away--a Bible, a Bible, still ringing in my ears.
Now, young man, my poor wife is a Christian woman, and, though she
travels the roads, carries a Bible with her at the bottom of her sack,
with which sometimes she teaches the children to read--it was the only
thing she brought with her from the place of her kith and kin, save her
own body and the clothes on her back; so my poor wife, half distracted,
runs to her sack, pulls out the Bible, and puts it into the hand of the
Blazing Tinman, who then thrusts the end of it into my mouth with such
fury that it made my lips bleed, and broke short one of my teeth which
happened to be decayed.  "Swear," said he, "swear, you mumping villain,
take your Bible oath that you will quit and give up the beat altogether,
or I'll"--and then the hard hearted villain made me swear by the Bible,
and my own damnation, half-throttled as I was, to--to--I can't go on--

_Myself_.  Take another draught--stout liquor--

_Tinker_.  I can't, young man, my heart's too full, and what's more, the
pitcher is empty.

_Myself_.  And so he swore you, I suppose, on the Bible, to quit the
roads?

_Tinker_.  You are right, he did so, the Gypsy villain.

_Myself_.  Gypsy!  Is he a Gypsy?

_Tinker_.  Not exactly; what they call a half and half.  His father was a
Gypsy, and his mother, like mine, one who walked the roads.

_Myself_.  Is he of the Smiths--the Petulengres?

_Tinker_.  I say, young man, you know a thing or two; one would think, to
hear you talk, you had been bred upon the roads.  I thought none but
those bred upon the roads knew anything of that name--Petulengres!  No,
not he, he fights the Petulengres whenever he meets them; he likes nobody
but himself, and wants to be king of the roads.  I believe he is a Boss,
{139} or a --- at any rate he's a bad one, as I know to my cost.

_Myself_.  And what are you going to do?

_Tinker_.  Do! you may well ask that; I don't know what to do.  My poor
wife and I have been talking of that all the morning, over that half-pint
mug of beer; we can't determine on what's to be done.  All we know is,
that we must quit the roads.  The villain swore that the next time he saw
us on the roads he'd cut all our throats, and seize our horse and bit of
a cart that are now standing out there under the tree.

_Myself_.  And what do you mean to do with your horse and cart?

_Tinker_.  Another question!  What shall we do with our cart and pony?
they are of no use to us now.  Stay on the roads I will not, both for my
oath's sake and my own.  If we had a trifle of money, we were thinking of
going to Bristol, where I might get up a little business, but we have
none; our last three farthings we spent about the mug of beer.

_Myself_.  But why don't you sell your horse and cart?

_Tinker_.  Sell them, and who would buy them, unless some one who wished
to set up in my line; but there's no beat, and what's the use of the
horse and cart and the few tools without the beat?

_Myself_.  I'm half inclined to buy your cart and pony, and your beat
too.

_Tinker_.  You!  How came you to think of such a thing?

_Myself_.  Why, like yourself, I hardly know what to do.  I want a home
and work.  As for a home, I suppose I can contrive to make a home out of
your tent and cart; and as for work, I must learn to be a tinker, it
would not be hard for one of my trade to learn to tinker; what better can
I do?  Would you have me go to Chester and work there now?  I don't like
the thoughts of it.  If I go to Chester and work there, I can't be my own
man; I must work under a master, and perhaps he and I should quarrel, and
when I quarrel I am apt to hit folks, and those that hit folks are
sometimes sent to prison; I don't like the thought either of going to
Chester or to Chester prison.  What do you think I could earn at Chester?

_Tinker_.  A matter of eleven shillings a week, if anybody would employ
you, which I don't think they would with those hands of yours.  But
whether they would or not, if you are of a quarrelsome nature, you must
not go to Chester; you would be in the castle in no time.  I don't know
how to advise you.  As for selling you my stock, I'd see you farther
first, for your own sake.

_Myself_.  Why?

_Tinker_.  Why! you would get your head knocked off.  Suppose you were to
meet him?

_Myself_.  Pooh, don't be afraid on my account; if I were to meet him I
could easily manage him one way or other.  I know all kinds of strange
words and names, and, as I told you before, I sometimes hit people when
they put me out.

Here the tinker's wife, who for some minutes past had been listening
attentively to our discourse, interposed, saying, in a low soft tone: "I
really don't see, John, why you shouldn't sell the young man the things,
seeing that he wishes for them, and is so confident; you have told him
plainly how matters stand, and if anything ill should befall him, people
couldn't lay the blame on you; but I don't think any ill will befall him,
and who knows but God has sent him to our assistance in time of need."

"I'll hear of no such thing," said the tinker; "I have drunk at the young
man's expense, and though he says he's quarrelsome, I would not wish to
sit in pleasanter company.  A pretty fellow I should be, now, if I were
to let him follow his own will.  If he once sets up on my beat, he's a
lost man, his ribs will be stove in, and his head knocked off his
shoulders.  There, you are crying, but you shan't have your will though;
I won't be the young man's destruction . . . If, indeed, I thought he
could manage the tinker--but he never can; he says he can hit, but it's
no use hitting the tinker;--crying still! you are enough to drive one
mad.  I say, young man, I believe you understand a thing or two; just now
you were talking of knowing hard words and names--I don't wish to send
you to your mischief--you say you know hard words and names; let us see.
Only on one condition I'll sell you the pony and things; as for the beat
it's gone, isn't mine--sworn away by my own mouth.  Tell me what's my
name; if you can't, may I--"

_Myself_.  Don't swear, it's a bad habit, neither pleasant nor
profitable.  Your name is Slingsby--Jack Slingsby.  There, don't stare,
there's nothing in my telling you your name: I've been in these parts
before, at least not very far from here.  Ten years ago, when I was
little more than a child, I was about twenty miles from here in a post
chaise, at the door of an inn, {142} and as I looked from the window of
the chaise, I saw you standing by a gutter, with a big tin ladle in your
hand, and somebody called you Jack Slingsby.  I never forget anything I
hear or see; I can't, I wish I could.  So there's nothing strange in my
knowing your name; indeed, there's nothing strange in anything, provided
you examine it to the bottom.  Now what am I to give you for the things?

I paid Slingsby five pounds ten shillings for his stock in trade, cart,
and pony--purchased sundry provisions of the landlady, also a waggoner's
frock, which had belonged to a certain son of hers, deceased, gave my
little animal a feed of corn, and prepared to depart.

"God bless you, young man," said Slingsby, shaking me by the hand, "you
are the best friend I've had for many a day: I have but one thing to tell
you, Don't cross that fellow's path if you can help it; and stay--should
the pony refuse to go, just touch him so, and he'll fly like the wind."



CHAPTER LXIX


Effects of Corn--One Night Longer--The Hoofs--A Stumble--Are You
Hurt?--What a Difference!--Drowsy--Maze of Bushes--Housekeeping--Sticks
and Furze--The Drift-way--Account of Stock--Anvil and Bellows--Twenty
Years.

It was two or three hours past noon when I took my departure from the
place of the last adventure, walking by the side of my little cart; the
pony, invigorated by the corn, to which he was probably not much
accustomed, proceeded right gallantly; so far from having to hasten him
forward by the particular application which the tinker had pointed out to
me, I had rather to repress his eagerness, being, though an excellent
pedestrian, not unfrequently left behind.  The country through which I
passed was beautiful and interesting, but solitary: few habitations
appeared.  As it was quite a matter of indifference to me in what
direction I went, the whole world being before me, I allowed the pony to
decide upon the matter; it was not long before he left the high road,
being probably no friend to public places.  I followed him I knew not
whither, but, from subsequent observation, have reason to suppose that
our course was in a north-west direction.  At length night came upon us,
and a cold wind sprang up, which was succeeded by a drizzling rain.

I had originally intended to pass the night in the cart, or to pitch my
little tent on some convenient spot by the road's side; but, owing to the
alteration in the weather, I thought that it would be advisable to take
up my quarters in any hedge alehouse at which I might arrive.  To tell
the truth, I was not very sorry to have an excuse to pass the night once
more beneath a roof.  I had determined to live quite independent, but I
had never before passed a night by myself abroad, and felt a little
apprehensive at the idea; I hoped, however, on the morrow, to be a little
more prepared for the step, so I determined for one night--only for one
night longer--to sleep like a Christian; but human determinations are not
always put into effect, such a thing as opportunity is frequently
wanting, such was the case here.  I went on for a considerable time, in
expectation of coming to some rustic hostelry, but nothing of the kind
presented itself to my eyes; the country in which I now was seemed almost
uninhabited, not a house of any kind was to be seen--at least I saw
none--though it is true houses might be near without my seeing them,
owing to the darkness of the night, for neither moon nor star was abroad.
I heard, occasionally, the bark of dogs; but the sound appeared to come
from an immense distance.  The rain still fell, and the ground beneath my
feet was wet and miry; in short, it was a night in which even a tramper
by profession would feel more comfortable in being housed than abroad.  I
followed in the rear of the cart, the pony still proceeding at a sturdy
pace, till methought I heard other hoofs than those of my own nag; I
listened for a moment, and distinctly heard the sound of hoofs
approaching at a great rate, and evidently from the quarter towards which
I and my little caravan were moving.  We were in a dark lane--so dark
that it was impossible for me to see my own hand.  Apprehensive that some
accident might occur, I ran forward, and, seizing the pony by the bridle,
drew him as near as I could to the hedge.  On came the hoofs--trot, trot,
trot; and evidently more than those of one horse; their speed as they
advanced appeared to slacken--it was only, however, for a moment.  I
heard a voice cry, "Push on,--this is a desperate robbing place,--never
mind the dark;" and the hoofs came on quicker than before.  "Stop!" said
I, at the top of my voice; "stop! or . . . "  Before I could finish what
I was about to say there was a stumble, a heavy fall, a cry, and a groan,
and putting out my foot I felt what I conjectured to be the head of a
horse stretched upon the road.  "Lord have mercy upon us! what's the
matter?" exclaimed a voice.  "Spare my life," cried another voice,
apparently from the ground; "only spare my life, and take all I have!"
"Where are you, Master Wise?" cried the other voice.  "Help! here, Master
Bat," cried the voice from the ground, "help me up or I shall be
murdered."  "Why, what's the matter?" said Bat.  "Some one has knocked me
down, and is robbing me," said the voice from the ground.  "Help!
murder!" cried Bat; and, regardless of the entreaties of the man on the
ground that he would stay and help him up, he urged his horse forward and
galloped away as fast as he could.  I remained for some time quiet,
listening to various groans and exclamations uttered by the person on the
ground; at length I said, "Holloa! are you hurt?"  "Spare my life, and
take all I have!" said the voice from the ground.  "Have they not done
robbing you yet?" said I; "when they have finished let me know, and I
will come and help you."  "Who is that?" said the voice; "pray come and
help me, and do me no mischief."  "You were saying that some one was
robbing you," said I; "don't think I shall come till he is gone away."
"Then you ben't he?" said the voice.  "Ar'n't you robbed?" said I.  "Can't
say I be," said the voice; "not yet at any rate; but who are you?  I
don't know you."  "A traveller whom you and your partner were going to
run over in this dark lane; you almost frightened me out of my senses."
"Frightened!" said the voice, in a louder tone; "frightened! oh!" and
thereupon I heard somebody getting upon his legs.  This accomplished, the
individual proceeded to attend to his horse, and with a little difficulty
raised him upon his legs also.  "Ar'n't you hurt?" said I.  "Hurt!" said
the voice; "not I; don't think it, whatever the horse may be.  I tell you
what, my fellow, I thought you were a robber; and now I find you are not,
I have a good mind--"  "To do what?"  "To serve you out; ar'n't you
ashamed--?"  "At what?" said I; "not to have robbed you?  Shall I set
about it now?"  "Ha, ha!" said the man, dropping the bullying tone which
he had assumed; "you are joking--robbing! who talks of robbing?  I wonder
how my horse's knees are; not much hurt, I think--only mired."  The man,
whoever he was, then got upon his horse; and, after moving him about a
little, said, "Good night, friend; where are you?"  "Here I am," said I,
"just behind you."  "You are, are you?  Take that."  I know not what he
did, but probably pricking his horse with the spur the animal kicked out
violently; one of his heels struck me on the shoulder, but luckily missed
my face; I fell back with the violence of the blow, whilst the fellow
scampered off at a great rate.  Stopping at some distance, he loaded me
with abuse, and then, continuing his way at a rapid trot, I heard no more
of him.

"What a difference!" said I, getting up; "last night I was feted in the
hall of a rich genius, and to-night I am knocked down and mired in a dark
lane by the heel of Master Wise's horse--I wonder who gave him that name?
And yet he was wise enough to wreak his revenge upon me, and I was not
wise enough to keep out of his way.  Well, I am not much hurt, so it is
of little consequence."

I now bethought me that, as I had a carriage of my own, I might as well
make use of it; I therefore got into the cart, and, taking the reins in
my hand, gave an encouraging cry to the pony, whereupon the sturdy little
animal started again at as brisk a pace as if he had not already come
many a long mile.  I lay half reclining in the cart, holding the reins
lazily, and allowing the animal to go just where he pleased, often
wondering where he would conduct me.  At length I felt drowsy, and my
head sank upon my breast; I soon aroused myself, but it was only to doze
again; this occurred several times.  Opening my eyes after a doze
somewhat longer than the others, I found that the drizzling rain had
ceased, a corner of the moon was apparent in the heavens, casting a faint
light; I looked around for a moment or two, but my eyes and brain were
heavy with slumber, and I could scarcely distinguish where we were.  I
had a kind of dim consciousness that we were traversing an unenclosed
country--perhaps a heath; I thought, however, that I saw certain large
black objects looming in the distance, which I had a confused idea might
be woods or plantations; the pony still moved at his usual pace.  I did
not find the jolting of the cart at all disagreeable, on the contrary, it
had quite a somniferous effect upon me.  Again my eyes closed; I opened
them once more, but with less perception in them than before, looked
forward, and, muttering something about woodlands, I placed myself in an
easier posture than I had hitherto done, and fairly fell asleep.

How long I continued in that state I am unable to say, but I believe for
a considerable time; I was suddenly awakened by the ceasing of the
jolting to which I had become accustomed, and of which I was perfectly
sensible in my sleep.  I started up and looked around me, the moon was
still shining, and the face of the heaven was studded with stars; I found
myself amidst a maze of bushes of various kinds, but principally hazel
and holly, through which was a path or drift-way with grass growing on
either side, upon which the pony was already diligently browsing.  I
conjectured that this place had been one of the haunts of his former
master, and, on dismounting and looking about, was strengthened in that
opinion by finding a spot under an ash tree which, from its burnt and
blackened appearance, seemed to have been frequently used as a fireplace.
I will take up my quarters here, thought I; it is an excellent spot for
me to commence my new profession in; I was quite right to trust myself to
the guidance of the pony.  Unharnessing the animal without delay, I
permitted him to browse at free will on the grass, convinced that he
would not wander far from a place to which he was so much attached; I
then pitched the little tent close beside the ash tree to which I have
alluded, and conveyed two or three articles into it, and instantly felt
that I had commenced housekeeping for the first time in my life.
Housekeeping, however, without a fire is a very sorry affair, something
like the housekeeping of children in their toy houses; of this I was the
more sensible from feeling very cold and shivering, owing to my late
exposure to the rain, and sleeping in the night air.  Collecting,
therefore, all the dry sticks and furze I could find, I placed them upon
the fireplace, adding certain chips and a billet which I found in the
cart, it having apparently been the habit of Slingsby to carry with him a
small store of fuel.  Having then struck a spark in a tinder-box and
lighted a match, I set fire to the combustible heap, and was not slow in
raising a cheerful blaze; I then drew my cart near the fire, and, seating
myself on one of the shafts, hung over the warmth with feelings of
intense pleasure and satisfaction.  Having continued in this posture for
a considerable time, I turned my eyes to the heaven in the direction of a
particular star; I, however, could not find the star, nor indeed many of
the starry train, the greater number having fled, from which
circumstance, and from the appearance of the sky, I concluded that
morning was nigh.  About this time I again began to feel drowsy; I
therefore arose, and having prepared for myself a kind of couch in the
tent, I flung myself upon it and went to sleep.

I will not say that I was awakened in the morning by the carolling of
birds, as I perhaps might if I were writing a novel; I awoke because, to
use vulgar language, I had slept my sleep out, not because the birds were
carolling around me in numbers, as they had probably been for hours
without my hearing them.  I got up and left my tent; the morning was yet
more bright than that of the preceding day.  Impelled by curiosity, I
walked about endeavouring to ascertain to what place chance, or rather
the pony, had brought me; following the drift-way for some time, amidst
bushes and stunted trees, I came to a grove of dark pines, through which
it appeared to lead; I tracked it a few hundred yards, but seeing nothing
but trees, and the way being wet and sloughy, owing to the recent rain, I
returned on my steps, and, pursuing the path in another direction, came
to a sandy road leading over a common, doubtless the one I had traversed
the preceding night.  My curiosity satisfied, I returned to my little
encampment, and on the way beheld a small footpath on the left winding
through the bushes, which had before escaped my observation.  Having
reached my tent and cart, I breakfasted on some of the provisions which I
had procured the day before, and then proceeded to take a regular account
of the stock formerly possessed by Slingsby the tinker, but now become my
own by right of lawful purchase.

Besides the pony, the cart, and the tent, I found I was possessed of a
mattress stuffed with straw on which to lie, and a blanket to cover me,
the last quite clean and nearly new; then there was a frying pan and a
kettle, the first for cooking any food which required cooking, and the
second for heating any water which I might wish to heat.  I likewise
found an earthen teapot and two or three cups; of the first I should
rather say I found the remains, it being broken in three parts, no doubt
since it came into my possession, which would have precluded the
possibility of my asking anybody to tea for the present, should anybody
visit me, even supposing I had tea and sugar, which was not the case.  I
then overhauled what might more strictly be called the stock in trade;
this consisted of various tools, an iron ladle, a chafing pan and small
bellows, sundry pans and kettles, the latter being of tin, with the
exception of one which was of copper, all in a state of considerable
dilapidation--if I may use the term; of these first Slingsby had spoken
in particular, advising me to mend them as soon as possible, and to
endeavour to sell them, in order that I might have the satisfaction of
receiving some return upon the outlay which I had made.  There was
likewise a small quantity of block tin, sheet tin, and solder.  "This
Slingsby," said I, "is certainly a very honest man, he has sold me more
than my money's worth; I believe, however, there is something more in the
cart."  Thereupon I rummaged the farther end of the cart, and, amidst a
quantity of straw, I found a small anvil and bellows of that kind which
are used in forges, and two hammers such as smiths use, one great, and
the other small.

The sight of these last articles caused me no little surprise, as no word
which had escaped from the mouth of Slingsby had given me reason to
suppose that he had ever followed the occupation of a smith; yet, if he
had not, how did he come by them?  I sat down upon the shaft, and
pondered the question deliberately in my mind; at length I concluded that
he had come by them by one of those numerous casualties which occur upon
the roads, of which I, being a young hand upon the roads, must have a
very imperfect conception; honestly, of course--for I scouted the idea
that Slingsby would have stolen this blacksmith's gear--for I had the
highest opinion of his honesty, which opinion I still retain at the
present day, which is upwards of twenty years from the time of which I am
speaking, during the whole of which period I have neither seen the poor
fellow, nor received any intelligence of him.



CHAPTER LXX


New Profession--Beautiful Night--Jupiter--Sharp and Shrill--The Rommany
Chi--All Alone--Three-and-Sixpence--What is Rommany?--Be Civil--Parraco
Tute--Slight Start--She will be Grateful--The Rustling.

I passed the greater part of the day in endeavouring to teach myself the
mysteries of my new profession.  I cannot say that I was very successful,
but the time passed agreeably, and was therefore not ill spent.  Towards
evening I flung my work aside, took some refreshment, and afterwards a
walk.

This time I turned up the small footpath, of which I have already spoken.
It led in a zigzag manner through thickets of hazel, elder, and sweet
briar; after following its windings for somewhat better than a furlong, I
heard a gentle sound of water, and presently came to a small rill, which
ran directly across the path.  I was rejoiced at the sight, for I had
already experienced the want of water, which I yet knew must be nigh at
hand, as I was in a place to all appearance occasionally frequented by
wandering people, who I was aware never take up their quarters in places
where water is difficult to be obtained.  Forthwith I stretched myself on
the ground, and took a long and delicious draught of the crystal stream,
and then, seating myself in a bush, I continued for some time gazing on
the water as it purled tinkling away in its channel through an opening in
the hazels, and should have probably continued much longer had not the
thought that I had left my property unprotected compelled me to rise and
return to my encampment.

Night came on, and a beautiful night it was; up rose the moon, and
innumerable stars decked the firmament of heaven.  I sat on the shaft, my
eyes turned upwards.  I had found it: there it was twinkling millions of
miles above me, mightiest star of the system to which we belong: of all
stars, the one which has most interest for me--the star Jupiter.

Why have I always taken an interest in thee, O Jupiter?  I know nothing
about thee, save what every child knows, that thou art a big star, whose
only light is derived from moons.  And is not that knowledge enough to
make me feel an interest in thee?  Ay, truly, I never look at thee
without wondering what is going on in thee; what is life in Jupiter?  That
there is life in Jupiter who can doubt?  There is life in our own little
star, therefore there must be life in Jupiter, which is not a little
star.  But how different must life be in Jupiter from what it is in our
own little star!  Life here is life beneath the dear sun--life in Jupiter
is life beneath moons--four moons--no single moon is able to illumine
that vast bulk.  All know what life is in our own little star; it is
anything but a routine of happiness here, where the dear sun rises to us
every day: then how sad and moping must life be in mighty Jupiter, on
which no sun ever shines, and which is never lighted save by pale moon-
beams!  The thought that there is more sadness and melancholy in Jupiter
than in this world of ours, where, alas! there is but too much, has
always made me take a melancholy interest in that huge distant star.

Two or three days passed by in much the same manner as the first.  During
the morning I worked upon my kettles, and employed the remaining part of
the day as I best could.  The whole of this time I only saw two
individuals, rustics, who passed by my encampment without vouchsafing me
a glance; they probably considered themselves my superiors, as perhaps
they were.

One very brilliant morning, as I sat at work in very good spirits, for by
this time I had actually mended in a very creditable way, as I imagined,
two kettles and a frying pan, I heard a voice which seemed to proceed
from the path leading to the rivulet; at first it sounded from a
considerable distance, but drew nearer by degrees.  I soon remarked that
the tones were exceedingly sharp and shrill, with yet something of
childhood in them.  Once or twice I distinguished certain words in the
song which the voice was singing; the words were--but no, I thought again
I was probably mistaken--and then the voice ceased for a time; presently
I heard it again, close to the entrance of the footpath; in another
moment I heard it in the lane or glade in which stood my tent, where it
abruptly stopped, but not before I had heard the very words which I at
first thought I had distinguished.

I turned my head; at the entrance of the footpath, which might be about
thirty yards from the place where I was sitting, I perceived the figure
of a young girl; her face was turned towards me, and she appeared to be
scanning me and my encampment; after a little time she looked in the
other direction, only for a moment, however; probably observing nothing
in that quarter, she again looked towards me, and almost immediately
stepped forward; and, as she advanced, sang the song which I had heard in
the wood, the first words of which were those which I have already
alluded to.

   "The Rommany chi
   And the Rommany chal
   Shall jaw tasaulor
   To drab the bawlor
   And dook the gry
   Of the farming rye." {156}

A very pretty song, thought I, falling again hard to work upon my kettle;
a very pretty song, which bodes the farmers much good.  Let them look to
their cattle.

"All alone here, brother?" said a voice close by me, in sharp but not
disagreeable tones.

I made no answer, but continued my work, click, click, with the gravity
which became one of my profession.  I allowed at least half a minute to
elapse before I even lifted up my eyes.

A girl of about thirteen was standing before me; her features were very
pretty, but with a peculiar expression; her complexion was a clear olive,
and her jet black hair hung back upon her shoulders.  She was rather
scantily dressed, and her arms and feet were bare; round her neck,
however, was a handsome string of corals, with ornaments of gold; in her
hand she held a bulrush.

"All alone here, brother?" said the girl, as I looked up; "all alone
here, in the lane; where are your wife and children?"

"Why do you call me brother?" said I; "I am no brother of yours.  Do you
take me for one of your people?  I am no Gypsy; not I, indeed!"

"Don't be afraid, brother, you are no Roman--Roman, indeed! you are not
handsome enough to be a Roman; not black enough, tinker though you be.  If
I called you brother, it was because I didn't know what else to call you.
Marry, come up, brother, I should be sorry to have you for a brother."

"Then you don't like me?"

"Neither like you, nor dislike you, brother; what will you have for that
kekaubi?"

"What's the use of talking to me in that un-Christian way; what do you
mean, young gentlewoman?"

"Lord, brother, what a fool you are! every tinker knows what a kekaubi
is.  I was asking you what you would have for that kettle."

"Three-and-sixpence, young gentlewoman; isn't it well mended?"

"Well mended!  I could have done it better myself; three-and-sixpence!
it's only fit to be played at football with."

"I will take no less for it, young gentlewoman; it has caused me a world
of trouble."

"I never saw a worse mended kettle.  I say, brother, your hair is white."

"'Tis nature; your hair is black; nature, nothing but nature."

"I am young, brother; my hair is black--that's nature: you are young,
brother; your hair is white--that's not nature."

"I can't help it if it be not, but it is nature after all; did you never
see grey hair on the young?"

"Never!  I have heard it is true of a grey lad, and a bad one he was.  Oh,
so bad."

"Sit down on the grass, and tell me all about it, sister; do to oblige
me, pretty sister."

"Hey, brother, you don't speak as you did--you don't speak like a Gorgio,
you speak like one of us, you call me sister."

"As you call me brother; I am not an uncivil person after all, sister."

"I say, brother, tell me one thing, and look me in the face--there--do
you speak Rommany?"

"Rommany!  Rommany! what is Rommany?"

"What is Rommany? our language to be sure; tell me, brother, only one
thing, you don't speak Rommany?"

"You say it."

"I don't say it, I wish to know.  Do you speak Rommany?"

"Do you mean thieves' slang--cant? no, I don't speak cant, I don't like
it, I only know a few words; they call a sixpence a tanner, don't they?"

"I don't know," said the girl, sitting down on the ground, "I was almost
thinking--well, never mind, you don't know Rommany.  I say, brother, I
think I should like to have the kekaubi."

"I thought you said it was badly mended?"

"Yes, yes, brother, but--"

"I thought you said it was only fit to be played at football with?"

"Yes, yes, brother, but--"

"What will you give for it?"

"Brother, I am the poor person's child, I will give you sixpence for the
kekaubi."

"Poor person's child; how came you by that necklace?"

"Be civil, brother; am I to have the kekaubi?"

"Not for sixpence; isn't the kettle nicely mended?"

"I never saw a nicer mended kettle, brother; am I to have the kekaubi,
brother?"

"You like me then?"

"I don't dislike you--I dislike no one; there's only one, and him I don't
dislike, him I hate."

"Who is he?"

"I scarcely know, I never saw him, but 'tis no affair of yours, you don't
speak Rommany; you will let me have the kekaubi, pretty brother?"

"You may have it, but not for sixpence, I'll give it to you."

"Parraco tute, that is, I thank you, brother; the rikkeni [pretty]
kekaubi is now mine.  Oh, rare!  I thank you kindly, brother."

Starting up, she flung the bulrush aside which she had hitherto held in
her hand, and, seizing the kettle, she looked at it for a moment, and
then began a kind of dance, flourishing the kettle over her head the
while, and singing--

   "The Rommany chi
   And the Rommany chal
   Shall jaw tasaulor
   To drab the bawlor
   And dook the gry
   Of the farming rye."

"Good bye, brother, I must be going."

"Good bye, sister; why do you sing that wicked song?"

"Wicked song, hey, brother! you don't understand the song!"

"Ha, ha! Gypsy daughter," said I, starting up and clapping my hands, "I
don't understand Rommany, don't I?  You shall see; here's the answer to
your gillie--

   'The Rommany chi
   And the Rommany chal
   Love luripen
   And dukkeripen,
   And hokkeripen,
   And every pen
   But lachipen
   And tatchipen.'" {160}

The girl, who had given a slight start when I began, remained for some
time after I had concluded the song, standing motionless as a statue,
with the kettle in her hand.  At length she came towards me, and stared
me full in the face.  "Grey, tall, and talks Rommany," said she to
herself.  In her countenance there was an expression which I had not seen
before--an expression which struck me as being composed of fear,
curiosity, and the deepest hate.  It was momentary, however, and was
succeeded by one smiling, frank, and open.  "Ha, ha, brother," said she,
"well, I like you all the better for talking Rommany; it is a sweet
language, isn't it? especially as you sing it.  How did you pick it up?
But you picked it up upon the roads, no doubt?  Ha, it was funny in you
to pretend not to know it, and you so flush with it all the time; it was
not kind in you, however, to frighten the poor person's child so by
screaming out, but it was kind in you to give the rikkeni kekaubi to the
child of the poor person.  She will be grateful to you; she will bring
you her little dog to show you, her pretty juggal; {161} the poor
person's child will come and see you again; you are not going away to-
day, I hope, or to-morrow, pretty brother, grey-haired brother--you are
not going away to-morrow, I hope?"

"Nor the next day," said I, "only to take a stroll to see if I can sell a
kettle; good bye, little sister, Rommany sister, dingy sister."

"Good bye, tall brother," said the girl, as she departed, singing--

   "The Rommany chi," etc.

"There's something about that girl that I don't understand," said I to
myself; "something mysterious.  However, it is nothing to me, she knows
not who I am, and if she did, what then?"

Late that evening as I sat on the shaft of my cart in deep meditation,
with my arms folded, I thought I heard a rustling in the bushes over
against me.  I turned my eyes in that direction, but saw nothing.  "Some
bird," said I; "an owl, perhaps;" and once more I fell into meditation;
my mind wandered from one thing to another--musing now on the structure
of the Roman tongue--now on the rise and fall of the Persian power--and
now on the powers vested in recorders at quarter sessions.  I was
thinking what a fine thing it must be to be a recorder of the peace,
when, lifting up my eyes, I saw right opposite, not a culprit at the bar,
but, staring at me through a gap in the bush, a face wild and strange,
half covered with grey hair; I only saw it a moment, the next it had
disappeared.



CHAPTER LXXI


Friend of Slingsby--All Quiet--Danger--The Two Cakes--Children in the
Wood--Don't be Angry--In Deep Thought--Temples Throbbing--Deadly
Sick--Another Blow--No Answer--How Old are You?--Play and Sacrament--Heavy
Heart--Song of Poison--Drow of Gypsies--The Dog--Ely's Church--Get up,
Bebee--The Vehicle--Can You Speak?--The Oil.

The next day, at an early hour, I harnessed my little pony, and, putting
my things in my cart, I went on my projected stroll.  Crossing the moor,
I arrived in about an hour at a small village, from which, after a short
stay, I proceeded to another, and from thence to a third.  I found that
the name of Slingsby was well known in these parts.

"If you are a friend of Slingsby you must be an honest lad," said an
ancient crone; "you shall never want for work whilst I can give it you.
Here, take my kettle, the bottom came out this morning, and lend me that
of yours till you bring it back.  I'm not afraid to trust you--not I.
Don't hurry yourself, young man; if you don't come back for a fortnight I
shan't have the worse opinion of you."

I returned to my quarters at evening, tired, but rejoiced at heart; I had
work before me for several days, having collected various kekaubies which
required mending, in place of those which I left behind--those which I
had been employed upon during the last few days.  I found all quiet in
the lane or glade, and, unharnessing my little horse, I once more pitched
my tent in the old spot beneath the ash, lighted my fire, ate my frugal
meal, and then, after looking for some time at the heavenly bodies, and
more particularly at the star Jupiter, I entered my tent, lay down upon
my pallet, and went to sleep.

Nothing occurred on the following day which requires any particular
notice, nor indeed on the one succeeding that.  It was about noon on the
third day that I sat beneath the shade of the ash tree; I was not at
work, for the weather was particularly hot, and I felt but little
inclination to make any exertion.  Leaning my back against the tree, I
was not long in falling into a slumber; I particularly remember that
slumber of mine beneath the ash tree, for it was about the sweetest
slumber that I ever enjoyed; how long I continued in it I do not know; I
could almost have wished that it had lasted to the present time.  All of
a sudden it appeared to me that a voice cried in my ear, "Danger! danger!
danger!"  Nothing seemingly could be more distinct than the words which I
heard; then an uneasy sensation came over me, which I strove to get rid
of, and at last succeeded, for I awoke.  The Gypsy girl was standing just
opposite to me, with her eyes fixed upon my countenance; a singular kind
of little dog stood beside her.

"Ha!" said I, "was it you that cried danger?  What danger is there?"

"Danger, brother? there is no danger; what danger should there be?  I
called to my little dog, but that was in the wood; my little dog's name
is not danger, but stranger; what danger should there be, brother?"

"What, indeed, except in sleeping beneath a tree; what is that you have
got in your hand?"

"Something for you," said the girl, sitting down and proceeding to untie
a white napkin; "a pretty manricli, so sweet, so nice; when I went home
to my people I told my grandbebee how kind you had been to the poor
person's child, and when my grandbebee saw the kekaubi, she said, 'Hir mi
devlis, {165a} it won't do for the poor people to be ungrateful; by my
God, I will bake a cake for the young harko mescro.'" {165b}

"But there are two cakes."

"Yes, brother, two cakes, both for you; my grandbebee meant them both for
you--but list, brother, I will have one of them for bringing them.  I
know you will give me one, pretty brother, grey-haired brother--which
shall I have, brother?"

In the napkin were two round cakes, seemingly made of rich and costly
compounds, and precisely similar in form, each weighing about half a
pound.

"Which shall I have, brother?" said the Gypsy girl.

"Whichever you please."

"No, brother, no, the cakes are yours, not mine, it is for you to say."

"Well, then, give me the one nearest you, and take the other."

"Yes, brother, yes," said the girl; and taking the cakes, she flung them
into the air two or three times, catching them as they fell, and singing
the while.  "Pretty brother, grey-haired brother--here, brother," said
she, "here is your cake, this other is mine."

"Are you sure," said I, taking the cake, "that this is the one I chose?"

"Quite sure, brother; but if you like you can have mine; there's no
difference, however--shall I eat?"

"Yes, sister, eat."

"See, brother, I do; now, brother, eat, pretty brother, grey-haired
brother."

"I am not hungry."

"Not hungry! well, what then--what has being hungry to do with the
matter?  It is my grandbebee's cake which was sent because you were kind
to the poor person's child; eat, brother, eat, and we shall be like the
children in the wood that the Gorgios speak of."

"The children in the wood had nothing to eat."

"Yes, they had hips and haws; we have better.  Eat, brother."

"See, sister, I do," and I ate a piece of the cake.

"Well, brother, how do you like it?" said the girl, looking fixedly at
me.

"It is very rich and sweet, and yet there is something strange about it;
I don't think I shall eat any more."

"Fie, brother, fie, to find fault with the poor person's cake; see, I
have nearly eaten mine."

"That's a pretty little dog."

"Is it not, brother? that's my juggal, my little sister, as I call her."

"Come here, juggal," said I to the animal.

"What do you want with my juggal?" said the girl.

"Only to give her a piece of cake," said I, offering the dog a piece
which I had just broken off.

"What do you mean?" said the girl, snatching the dog away; "my
grandbebee's cake is not for dogs."

"Why, I just now saw you give the animal a piece of yours."

"You lie, brother, you saw no such thing; but I see how it is, you wish
to affront the poor person's child.  I shall go to my house."

"Keep still, and don't be angry; see, I have eaten the piece which I
offered the dog.  I meant no offence.  It is a sweet cake after all."

"Isn't it, brother?  I am glad you like it.  Offence! brother, no offence
at all!  I am so glad you like my grandbebee's cake, but she will be
wanting me at home.  Eat one piece more of grandbebee's {167} cake and I
will go."

"I am not hungry, I will put the rest by."

"One piece more before I go, handsome brother, grey-haired brother."

"I will not eat any more, I have already eaten more than I wished to
oblige you; if you must go, good day to you."

The girl rose upon her feet, looked hard at me, then at the remainder of
the cake which I held in my hand, and then at me again, and then stood
for a moment or two, as if in deep thought; presently an air of
satisfaction came over her countenance, she smiled and said, "Well,
brother, well, do as you please, I merely wished you to eat because you
have been so kind to the poor person's child.  She loves you so, that she
could have wished to have seen you eat it all; good bye, brother, I dare
say when I am gone you will eat some more of it, and if you don't, I dare
say you have eaten enough to--to--show your love for us.  After all, it
was a poor person's cake, a Rommany manricli, {168} and all you Gorgios
are somewhat gorgious.  Farewell, brother, pretty brother, grey-haired
brother.  Come, juggal."

I remained under the ash tree seated on the grass for a minute or two,
and endeavoured to resume the occupation in which I had been engaged
before I fell asleep, but I felt no inclination for labour.  I then
thought I would sleep again, and once more reclined against the tree, and
slumbered for some little time, but my sleep was more agitated than
before.  Something appeared to bear heavy on my breast, I struggled in my
sleep, fell on the grass, and awoke; my temples were throbbing, there was
a burning in my eyes, and my mouth felt parched; the oppression about the
chest which I had felt in my sleep still continued.  "I must shake off
these feelings," said I, "and get upon my legs."  I walked rapidly up and
down upon the green sward; at length, feeling my thirst increase, I
directed my steps down the narrow path to the spring which ran amidst the
bushes; arriving there, I knelt down and drank of the water, but on
lifting up my head I felt thirstier than before; again I drank, but with
the like result; I was about to drink for the third time, when I felt a
dreadful qualm which instantly robbed me of nearly all my strength.  What
can be the matter with me, thought I; but I suppose I have made myself
ill by drinking cold water.  I got up and made the best of my way back to
my tent; before I reached it the qualm had seized me again, and I was
deadly sick.  I flung myself on my pallet, qualm succeeded qualm, but in
the intervals my mouth was dry and burning, and I felt a frantic desire
to drink, but no water was at hand, and to reach the spring once more was
impossible; the qualms continued, deadly pains shot through my whole
frame; I could bear my agonies no longer, and I fell into a trance or
swoon.  How long I continued therein I know not; on recovering, however,
I felt somewhat better, and attempted to lift my head off my couch; the
next moment, however, the qualms and pains returned, if possible, with
greater violence than before.  I am dying, thought I, like a dog, without
any help; and then methought I heard a sound at a distance like people
singing, and then once more I relapsed into my swoon.

I revived just as a heavy blow sounded upon the canvas of the tent.  I
started, but my condition did not permit me to rise; again the same kind
of blow sounded upon the canvas; I thought for a moment of crying out and
requesting assistance, but an inexplicable something chained my tongue,
and now I heard a whisper on the outside of the tent.  "He does not move,
bebee," said a voice which I knew.  "I should not wonder if it has done
for him already; however, strike again with your ran;" {169} and then
there was another blow, after which another voice cried aloud in a
strange tone, "Is the gentleman of the house asleep, or is he taking his
dinner?"  I remained quite silent and motionless, and in another moment
the voice continued, "What, no answer? what can the gentleman of the
house be about that he makes no answer? perhaps the gentleman of the
house may be darning his stockings?"  Thereupon a face peered into the
door of the tent, at the farther extremity of which I was stretched.  It
was that of a woman, but owing to the posture in which she stood, with
her back to the light, and partly owing to a large straw bonnet, I could
distinguish but very little of the features of her countenance.  I had,
however, recognised her voice; it was that of my old acquaintance, Mrs.
Herne.  "Ho, ho, sir!" said she, "here you are.  Come here, Leonora,"
said she to the Gypsy girl, who pressed in at the other side of the door;
"here is the gentleman, not asleep, but only stretched out after dinner.
Sit down on your ham, child, at the door, I shall do the same.  There--you
have seen me before, sir, have you not?"

"The gentleman makes no answer, bebee; perhaps he does not know you."

"I have known him of old, Leonora," said Mrs. Herne; "and, to tell you
the truth, though I spoke to him just now, I expected no answer."

"It's a way he has, bebee, {170} I suppose?"

"Yes, child, it's a way he has."

"Take off your bonnet, bebee, perhaps he cannot see your face."

"I do not think that will be of much use, child; however, I will take off
my bonnet--there--and shake out my hair--there--you have seen this hair
before, sir, and this face--"

"No answer, bebee."

"Though the one was not quite so grey, nor the other so wrinkled."

"How came they so, bebee?"

"All along of this Gorgio, child."

"The gentleman in the house you mean, bebee."

"Yes, child, the gentleman in the house.  God grant that I may preserve
my temper.  Do you know, sir, my name?  My name is Herne, which signifies
a hairy individual, though neither grey-haired nor wrinkled.  It is not
the nature of the Hernes to be grey or wrinkled, even when they are old,
and I am not old."

"How old are you, bebee?"

"Sixty-five years, child--an inconsiderable number.  My mother was a
hundred and one--a considerable age--when she died, yet she had not one
grey hair, and not more than six wrinkles--an inconsiderable number."

"She had no griefs, bebee?"

"Plenty, child, but not like mine."

"Not quite so hard to bear, bebee?"

"No, child, my head wanders when I think of them.  After the death of my
husband, who came to his end untimeously, I went to live with a daughter
of mine, married out among certain Romans who walk about the eastern
counties, and with whom for some time I found a home and pleasant
society, for they lived right Romanly, which gave my heart considerable
satisfaction, who am a Roman born, and hope to die so.  When I say right
Romanly, I mean that they kept to themselves, and were not much given to
blabbing about their private matters in promiscuous company.  Well,
things went on in this way for some time, when one day my son-in-law
brings home a young Gorgio of singular and outrageous ugliness, and,
without much preamble, says to me and mine, 'This is my pal, a'n't he a
beauty? fall down and worship him.'  'Hold,' said I, 'I for one will
never consent to such foolishness.'"

"That was right, bebee, I think I should have done the same."

"I think you would, child; but what was the profit of it?  The whole
party makes an almighty of this Gorgio, lets him into their ways, says
prayers of his making, till things come to such a pass that my own
daughter says to me, 'I shall buy myself a veil and fan, and treat myself
to a play and sacrament.'  'Don't,' says I; says she, 'I should like for
once in my life to be courtesied to as a Christian gentlewoman.'"

"Very foolish of her, bebee."

"Wasn't it, child?  Where was I?  At the fan and sacrament; with a heavy
heart I put seven score miles between us, came back to the hairy ones,
and found them over-given to gorgious companions; said I, 'Foolish
manners is catching; all this comes of that there Gorgio.'  Answers the
child Leonora, 'Take comfort, bebee, I hate the Gorgios as much as you
do.'"

"And I say so again, bebee, as much or more."

"Time flows on, I engage in many matters, in most miscarry.  Am sent to
prison; says I to myself, I am become foolish.  Am turned out of prison,
and go back to the hairy ones, who receive me not over courteously; says
I, for their unkindness, and my own foolishness, all the thanks to that
Gorgio.  Answers to me the child, 'I wish I could set eyes upon him,
bebee.'"

"I did so, bebee; go on."

"'How shall I know him, bebee?' says the child.  'Young and grey, tall,
and speaks Romanly.'  Runs to me the child, and says, 'I've found him,
bebee.'  'Where, child?' says I.  'Come with me, bebee,' says the child.
'That's he,' says I, as I looked at my gentleman through the hedge."

"Ha, ha! bebee, and here he lies, poisoned like a hog."

"You have taken drows, sir," said Mrs. Herne; "do you hear, sir? drows;
tip him a stave, child, of the song of poison."

And thereupon the girl clapped her hands, and sang--

   "The Rommany churl
   And the Rommany girl
   To-morrow shall hie
   To poison the sty
   And bewitch on the mead
   The farmer's steed."

"Do you hear that, sir?" said Mrs. Herne; "the child has tipped you a
stave of the song of poison: that is, she has sung it Christianly, though
perhaps you would like to hear it Romanly; you were always fond of what
was Roman.  Tip it him Romanly, child."

"He has heard it Romanly already, bebee; 'twas by that I found him out,
as I told you."

"Halloo, sir, are you sleeping? you have taken drows; the gentleman makes
no answer.  God give me patience!"

"And what if he doesn't, bebee; isn't he poisoned like a hog?  Gentleman,
indeed! why call him gentleman? if he ever was one he's broke, and is now
a tinker, a worker of blue metal."

"That's his way, child,--to-day a tinker, to-morrow something else; and
as for being drabbed, {174a} I don't know what to say about it."

"Not drabbed! what do you mean, bebee? but look there, bebee; ha, ha!
look at the gentleman's motions."

"He is sick, child, sure enough.  Ho, ho! sir, you have taken drows;
what, another throe! writhe, sir, writhe, the hog died by the drow of
Gypsies; I saw him stretched at evening.  That's yourself, sir.  There is
no hope, sir, no help, you have taken drow; shall I tell you your
fortune, sir, your dukkerin?  God bless you, pretty gentleman, much
trouble will you have to suffer, and much water to cross; but never mind,
pretty gentleman, you shall be fortunate at the end, and those who hate
shall take off their hats to you."

"Hey, bebee!" cried the girl; "what is this? what do you mean? you have
blessed the Gorgio!"

"Blessed him! no, sure; what did I say?  Oh, I remember, I'm mad; well, I
can't help it, I said what the dukkerin dook {174b} told me; woe's me,
he'll get up yet."

"Nonsense, bebee!  Look at his motions, he's drabbed, spite of dukkerin."

"Don't say so, child; he's sick, 'tis true, but don't laugh at dukkerin,
only folks do that that know no better.  I, for one, will never laugh at
the dukkerin dook.  Sick again; I wish he was gone."

"He'll soon be gone, bebee; let's leave him.  He's as good as gone; look
there, he's dead."

"No, he's not, he'll get up--I feel it; can't we hasten him?"

"Hasten him! yes, to be sure; set the dog upon him.  Here, juggal, look
in there, my dog."

The dog made its appearance at the door of the tent, and began to bark
and tear up the ground.

"At him, juggal, at him; he wished to poison, to drab you.  Halloo!"

The dog barked violently, and seemed about to spring at my face, but
retreated.

"The dog won't fly at him, child; he flashed at the dog with his eye, and
scared him.  He'll get up."

"Nonsense, bebee! you make me angry; how should he get up?"

"The dook tells me so, and, what's more, I had a dream.  I thought I was
at York, standing amidst a crowd to see a man hung, and the crowd shouted
'There he comes!' and I looked, and, lo! it was the tinker; before I
could cry with joy I was whisked away, and I found myself in Ely's big
church, which was chock full of people to hear the dean preach, and all
eyes were turned to the big pulpit; and presently I heard them say,
'There he mounts!' and I looked up to the big pulpit, and, lo! the tinker
was in the pulpit, and he raised his arm and began to preach.  Anon, I
found myself at York again, just as the drop fell, and I looked up, and I
saw not the tinker, but my own self hanging in the air."

"You are going mad, bebee; if you want to hasten him, take your stick and
poke him in the eye."

"That will be of no use, child, the dukkerin tells me so; but I will try
what I can do.  Halloo, tinker! you must introduce yourself into a quiet
family, and raise confusion--must you?  You must steal its language, and,
what was never done before, write it down Christianly--must you?  Take
that--and that;" and she stabbed violently with her stick towards the end
of the tent.

"That's right, bebee, you struck his face; now once more, and let it be
in the eye.  Stay, what's that? get up, bebee."

"What's the matter, child?"

"Some one is coming; come away."

"Let me make sure of him, child; he'll be up yet."  And thereupon Mrs.
Herne, rising, leaned forward into the tent, and, supporting herself
against the pole, took aim in the direction of the farther end.  "I will
thrust out his eye," said she; and, lunging with her stick, she would
probably have accomplished her purpose had not at that moment the pole of
the tent given way, whereupon she fell to the ground, the canvas falling
upon her and her intended victim.

"Here's a pretty affair, bebee," screamed the girl.

"He'll get up yet," said Mrs. Herne, from beneath the canvas.

"Get up!--get up yourself; where are you? where is your . . .  Here,
there, bebee, here's the door; there, make haste; they are coming."

"He'll get up yet," said Mrs. Herne, recovering her breath, "the dook
tells me so."

"Never mind him or the dook; he is drabbed; come away, or we shall be
grabbed--both of us."

"One more blow, I know where his head lies."

"You are mad, bebee; leave the fellow--Gorgio avella." {177}

And thereupon the females hurried away.

A vehicle of some kind was evidently drawing nigh; in a little time it
came alongside of the place where lay the fallen tent, and stopped
suddenly.  There was a silence for a moment, and then a parley ensued
between two voices, one of which was that of a woman.  It was not in
English, but in a deep guttural tongue.

"Peth yw hono sydd yn gorwedd yna ar y ddaear?" said a masculine voice.

"Yn wirionedd--I do not know what it can be," said the female voice, in
the same tongue.

"Here is a cart, and there are tools; but what is that on the ground?"

"Something moves beneath it; and what was that--a groan?"

"Shall I get down?"

"Of course, Peter, some one may want your help."

"Then I will get down, though I do not like this place, it is frequented
by Egyptians, and I do not like their yellow faces, nor their clibberty
clabber, as Master Ellis Wyn says.  Now I am down.  It is a tent,
Winifred, and see, here is a boy beneath it.  Merciful father! what a
face!"

A middle-aged man, with a strongly marked and serious countenance,
dressed in sober-coloured habiliments, had lifted up the stifling folds
of the tent, and was bending over me.  "Can you speak, my lad?" said he
in English; "what is the matter with you? if you could but tell me, I
could perhaps help you . . . "  "What is that you say?  I can't hear you.
I will kneel down;" and he flung himself on the ground, and placed his
ear close to my mouth.  "Now speak if you can.  Hey! what! no, sure, God
forbid!" then starting up, he cried to a female who sat in the cart,
anxiously looking on--"Gwenwyn! gwenwyn! yw y gwas wedi ei gwenwynaw.  The
oil!  Winifred, the oil!"



CHAPTER LXXII


Desired Effect--The Three Oaks--Winifred--Things of Time--With God's
Will--The Preacher--Creature Comforts--Croesaw--Welsh and English--Mayor
of Chester.

The oil, which the strangers compelled me to take, produced the desired
effect, though, during at least two hours, it was very doubtful whether
or not my life would be saved.  At the end of that period the man said,
that with the blessing of God, he would answer for my life.  He then
demanded whether I thought I could bear to be removed from the place in
which we were, "for I like it not," he continued, "as something within me
tells me that it is not good for any of us to be here."  I told him, as
well as I was able, that I, too, should be glad to leave the place;
whereupon, after collecting my things, he harnessed my pony, and, with
the assistance of the woman, he contrived to place me in the cart; he
then gave me a draught out of a small phial, and we set forward at a slow
pace, the man walking by the side of the cart in which I lay.  It is
probable that the draught consisted of a strong opiate, for after
swallowing it I fell into a deep slumber; on my awaking, I found that the
shadows of night had enveloped the earth--we were still moving on.
Shortly, however, after descending a declivity, we turned into a lane, at
the entrance of which was a gate.  This lane conducted to a meadow,
through the middle of which ran a small brook; it stood between two
rising grounds; that on the left, which was on the farther side of the
water, was covered with wood, whilst the one on the right, which was not
so high, was crowned with the white walls of what appeared to be a
farmhouse.

Advancing along the meadow, we presently came to a place where grew three
immense oaks, almost on the side of the brook, over which they flung
their arms, so as to shade it as with a canopy; the ground beneath was
bare of grass, and nearly as hard and smooth as the floor of a barn.
Having led his own cart on one side of the midmost tree, and my own on
the other, the stranger said to me, "This is the spot where my wife and
myself generally tarry in the summer season, when we come into these
parts.  We are about to pass the night here.  I suppose you will have no
objection to do the same?  Indeed, I do not see what else you could do
under present circumstances."  After receiving my answer, in which I, of
course, expressed my readiness to assent to his proposal, he proceeded to
unharness his horse, and, feeling myself much better, I got down, and
began to make the necessary preparations for passing the night beneath
the oak.

Whilst thus engaged, I felt myself touched on the shoulder, and, looking
round, perceived the woman, whom the stranger called Winifred, standing
close to me.  The moon was shining brightly upon her, and I observed that
she was very good looking, with a composed, yet cheerful expression of
countenance; her dress was plain and primitive, very much resembling that
of a Quaker.  She held a straw bonnet in her hand.  "I am glad to see
thee moving about, young man," said she, in a soft, placid tone; "I could
scarcely have expected it.  Thou must be wondrous strong; many, after
what thou hast suffered, would not have stood on their feet for weeks and
months.  What do I say?--Peter, my husband, who is skilled in medicine,
just now told me that not one in five hundred would have survived what
thou hast this day undergone; but allow me to ask thee one thing, Hast
thou returned thanks to God for thy deliverance?"  I made no answer, and
the woman, after a pause, said, "Excuse me, young man, but do you know
anything of God?"  "Very little," I replied, "but I should say He must be
a wondrous strong Person, if He made all those big bright things up above
there, to say nothing of the ground on which we stand, which bears beings
like these oaks, each of which is fifty times as strong as myself, and
will live twenty times as long."  The woman was silent for some moments,
and then said, "I scarcely know in what spirit thy words are uttered.  If
thou art serious, however, I would caution thee against supposing that
the power of God is more manifested in these trees, or even in those
bright stars above us, than in thyself--they are things of time, but thou
art a being destined to an eternity; it depends upon thyself whether thy
eternity shall be one of joy or sorrow."

Here she was interrupted by the man, who exclaimed from the other side of
the tree, "Winifred, it is getting late, you had better go up to the
house on the hill to inform our friends of our arrival, or they will have
retired for the night."  "True," said Winifred, and forthwith wended her
way to the house in question, returning shortly with another woman, whom
the man, speaking in the same language which I had heard him first use,
greeted by the name of Mary; the woman replied in the same tongue, but
almost immediately said, in English, "We hoped to have heard you speak to-
night, Peter, but we cannot expect that now, seeing that it is so late,
owing to your having been detained by the way, as Winifred tells me;
nothing remains for you to do now but to sup--to-morrow, with God's will,
we shall hear you."  "And to-night, also, with God's will, provided you
be so disposed.  Let those of your family come hither."  "They will be
hither presently," said Mary, "for knowing that thou art arrived, they
will, of course, come and bid thee welcome."  And scarcely had she spoke,
when I beheld a party of people descending the moonlit side of the hill.
They soon arrived at the place where we were; they might amount in all to
twelve individuals.  The principal person was a tall, athletic man, of
about forty, dressed like a plain country farmer; this was, I soon found,
the husband of Mary; the rest of the group consisted of the children of
these two, and their domestic servants.  One after another they all shook
Peter by the hand, men and women, boys and girls, and expressed their joy
at seeing him.  After which, he said, "Now, friends, if you please, I
will speak a few words to you."  A stool was then brought him from the
cart, which he stepped on, and the people arranging themselves round him,
some standing, some seated on the ground, he forthwith began to address
them in a clear, distinct voice; and the subject of his discourse was the
necessity, in all human beings, of a change of heart.

The preacher was better than his promise, for, instead of speaking a few
words, he preached for at least three-quarters of an hour; none of the
audience, however, showed the slightest symptom of weariness; on the
contrary, the hope of each individual appeared to hang upon the words
which proceeded from his mouth.  At the conclusion of the sermon or
discourse, the whole assembly again shook Peter by the hand, and returned
to their house, the mistress of the family saying, as she departed, "I
shall soon be back, Peter, I go but to make arrangements for the supper
of thyself and company;" and, in effect, she presently returned, attended
by a young woman, who bore a tray in her hands.  "Set it down, Jessy,"
said the mistress to the girl, "and then betake thyself to thy rest; I
shall remain here for a little time to talk with my friends."  The girl
departed, and the preacher and the two females placed themselves on the
ground about the tray.  The man gave thanks, and himself and his wife
appeared to be about to eat, when the latter suddenly placed her hand
upon his arm, and said something to him in a low voice, whereupon he
exclaimed, "Ay, truly, we were both forgetful;" and then getting up, he
came towards me, who stood a little way off, leaning against the wheel of
my cart; and, taking me by the hand, he said, "Pardon us, young man, we
were both so engaged in our own creature-comforts, that we forgot thee,
but it is not too late to repair our fault; wilt thou not join us, and
taste our bread and milk?"  "I cannot eat," I replied, "but I think I
could drink a little milk;" whereupon he led me to the rest, and seating
me by his side, he poured some milk into a horn cup, saying, "'Croesaw.'
That," added he, with a smile, "is Welsh for welcome."

The fare upon the tray was of the simplest description, consisting of
bread, cheese, milk, and curds.  My two friends partook with a good
appetite.  "Mary," said the preacher, addressing himself to the woman of
the house, "every time I come to visit thee, I find thee less inclined to
speak Welsh.  I suppose, in a little time, thou wilt entirely have
forgotten it; hast thou taught it to any of thy children?"  "The two
eldest understand a few words," said the woman, "but my husband does not
wish them to learn it; he says sometimes, jocularly, that though it
pleased him to marry a Welsh wife, it does not please him to have Welsh
children.  Who, I have heard him say, would be a Welshman, if he could be
an Englishman?"  "I for one," said the preacher, somewhat hastily; "not
to be king of all England would I give up my birthright as a Welshman.
Your husband is an excellent person, Mary, but I am afraid he is somewhat
prejudiced."  "You do him justice, Peter, in saying that he is an
excellent person," said the woman; "as to being prejudiced, I scarcely
know what to say, but he thinks that two languages in the same kingdom
are almost as bad as two kings."  "That's no bad observation," said the
preacher, "and it is generally the case; yet, thank God, the Welsh and
English go on very well, side by side, and I hope will do so till the
Almighty calls all men to their long account."  "They jog on very well
now," said the woman; "but I have heard my husband say that it was not
always so, and that the Welsh, in old times, were a violent and ferocious
people, for that once they hanged the mayor of Chester."  "Ha, ha!" said
the preacher, and his eyes flashed in the moonlight; "he told you that,
did he?"  "Yes," said Mary; "once, when the mayor of Chester, with some
of his people, was present at one of the fairs over the border, a quarrel
arose between the Welsh and the English, and the Welsh beat the English,
and hanged the mayor."  "Your husband is a clever man," said Peter, "and
knows a great deal; did he tell you the name of the leader of the Welsh?
No! then I will: the leader of the Welsh on that occasion was ---.  He
was a powerful chieftain, and there was an old feud between him and the
men of Chester.  Afterwards, when two hundred of the men of Chester
invaded his country to take revenge for their mayor, he enticed them into
a tower, set fire to it, and burnt them all.  That --- was a very fine,
noble--God forgive me, what was I about to say!--a very bad, violent man;
but, Mary, this is very carnal and unprofitable conversation, and in
holding it we set a very bad example to the young man here--let us change
the subject."

They then began to talk on religious matters.  At length Mary departed to
her abode, and the preacher and his wife retired to their tilted cart.

"Poor fellow, he seems to be almost brutally ignorant," said Peter,
addressing his wife in their native language, after they had bidden me
farewell for the night.

"I am afraid he is," said Winifred, "yet my heart warms to the poor lad,
he seems so forlorn."



CHAPTER LXXIII


Morning Hymn--Much Alone--John Bunyan--Beholden to
Nobody--Sixty-five--Sober Greeting--Early Sabbaths--Finny Brood--The
Porch--No Fortune-telling--The Master's Niece--Doing Good--Two or Three
Things--Groans and Voices--Pechod Ysprydd Glan.

I slept soundly during that night, partly owing to the influence of the
opiate.  Early in the morning I was awakened by the voices of Peter and
his wife, who were singing a morning hymn in their own language.  Both
subsequently prayed long and fervently.  I lay still till their devotions
were completed, and then left my tent.  "Good morning," said Peter, "how
dost thou feel?"  "Much better," said I, "than I could have expected."  "I
am glad of it," said Peter.  "Art thou hungry? yonder comes our
breakfast," pointing to the same young woman I had seen the preceding
night, who was again descending the hill bearing the tray upon her head.

"What dost thou intend to do, young man, this day?" said Peter, when we
had about half finished breakfast.  "Do," said I; "as I do other days,
what I can."  "And dost thou pass this day as thou dost other days?" said
Peter.  "Why not?" said I; "what is there in this day different from the
rest? it seems to be of the same colour as yesterday."  "Art thou aware,"
said the wife, interposing, "what day it is? that it is Sabbath? that it
is Sunday?"  "No," said I, "I did not know that it was Sunday."  "And how
did that happen?" said Winifred, with a sigh.  "To tell you the truth,"
said I, "I live very much alone, and pay very little heed to the passing
of time."  "And yet of what infinite importance is time," said Winifred.
"Art thou not aware that every year brings thee nearer to thy end?"  "I
do not think," said I, "that I am so near my end as I was yesterday."
"Yes, thou art," said the woman; "thou wast not doomed to die yesterday;
an invisible hand was watching over thee yesterday; but thy day will
come, therefore improve the time; be grateful that thou wast saved
yesterday; and, oh! reflect on one thing; if thou hadst died yesterday,
where wouldst thou have been now?"  "Cast into the earth, perhaps," said
I.  "I have heard Mr. Petulengro say that to be cast into the earth is
the natural end of man."  "Who is Mr. Petulengro?" said Peter,
interrupting his wife, as she was about to speak.  "Master of the horse-
shoe," said I; "and, according to his own account, king of Egypt."  "I
understand," said Peter, "head of some family of wandering Egyptians--they
are a race utterly godless.  Art thou of them?--but no, thou art not,
thou hast not their yellow blood.  I suppose thou belongest to the family
of wandering artisans called ---.  I do not like you the worse for
belonging to them.  A mighty speaker of old sprang up from amidst that
family."  "Who was he?" said I.  "John Bunyan," {188} replied Peter,
reverently, "and the mention of his name reminds me that I have to preach
this day; wilt thou go and hear? the distance is not great, only half a
mile."  "No," said I, "I will not go and hear."  "Wherefore?" said Peter.
"I belong to the Church," said I, "and not to the congregations."  "Oh!
the pride of that Church," said Peter, addressing his wife in their own
tongue, "exemplified even in the lowest and most ignorant of its
members."  "Then thou, doubtless, meanest to go to church," said Peter,
again addressing me; "there is a church on the other side of that wooded
hill."  "No," said I, "I do not mean to go to church."  "May I ask thee
wherefore?" said Peter.  "Because," said I, "I prefer remaining beneath
the shade of these trees, listening to the sound of the leaves, and the
tinkling of the waters."

"Then thou intendest to remain here?" said Peter, looking fixedly at me.
"If I do not intrude," said I; "but if I do, I will wander away; I wish
to be beholden to nobody--perhaps you wish me to go?"  "On the contrary,"
said Peter, "I wish you to stay.  I begin to see something in thee which
has much interest for me; but we must now bid thee farewell for the rest
of the day, the time is drawing nigh for us to repair to the place of
preaching; before we leave thee alone, however, I should wish to ask thee
a question--Didst thou seek thy own destruction yesterday, and didst thou
wilfully take that poison?"  "No," said I; "had I known there had been
poison in the cake I certainly should not have taken it."  "And who gave
it thee?" said Peter.  "An enemy of mine," I replied.  "Who is thy
enemy?"  "An Egyptian sorceress and poison-monger."  "Thy enemy is a
female.  I fear thou hadst given her cause to hate thee--of what did she
complain?"  "That I had stolen the tongue out of her head."  "I do not
understand thee--is she young?"  "About sixty-five."

Here Winifred interposed.  "Thou didst call her just now by hard names,
young man," said she; "I trust thou dost bear no malice against her?"
"No," said I, "I bear no malice against her."  "Thou art not wishing to
deliver her into the hand of what is called justice?"  "By no means,"
said I; "I have lived long enough upon the roads not to cry out for the
constable when my finger is broken.  I consider this poisoning as an
accident of the roads; one of those to which those who travel are
occasionally subject."  "In short, thou forgivest thine adversary?"  "Both
now and for ever," said I.  "Truly," said Winifred, "the spirit which the
young man displayeth pleases me much; I should be loth that he left us
yet.  I have no doubt that, with the blessing of God, and a little of thy
exhortation, he will turn out a true Christian before he leaveth us."  "My
exhortation!" said Peter, and a dark shade passed over his countenance;
"thou forgettest what I am--I--I--but I am forgetting myself; the Lord's
will be done; and now put away the things, for I perceive that our
friends are coming to attend us to the place of meeting."

Again the family which I had seen the night before descended the hill
from their abode.  They were now dressed in their Sunday's best.  The
master of the house led the way.  They presently joined us, when a quiet
sober greeting ensued on each side.  After a little time Peter shook me
by the hand and bade me farewell till the evening; Winifred did the same,
adding, that she hoped I should be visited by sweet and holy thoughts.
The whole party then moved off in the direction by which we had come the
preceding night, Peter and the master leading the way, followed by
Winifred and the mistress of the family.  As I gazed on their departing
forms, I felt almost inclined to follow them to their place of worship.  I
did not stir, however, but remained leaning against my oak with my hands
behind me.

And after a time I sat me down at the foot of the oak with my face turned
towards the water, and, folding my hands, I fell into deep meditation.  I
thought on the early Sabbaths of my life, and the manner in which I was
wont to pass them.  How carefully I said my prayers when I got up on the
Sabbath morn, and how carefully I combed my hair and brushed my clothes
in order that I might do credit to the Sabbath day.  I thought of the old
church at pretty D---, the dignified rector, and yet more dignified
clerk.  I thought of England's grand Liturgy, and Tate and Brady's
sonorous minstrelsy.  I thought of the Holy Book, portions of which I was
in the habit of reading between service.  I thought, too, of the evening
walk which I sometimes took in fine weather like the present, with my
mother and brother--a quiet sober walk, during which I would not break
into a run, even to chase a butterfly, or yet more a honey-bee, being
fully convinced of the dread importance of the day which God had
hallowed.  And how glad I was when I had got over the Sabbath day without
having done anything to profane it.  And how soundly I slept on the
Sabbath night after the toil of being very good throughout the day.

And when I had mused on those times a long while, I sighed and said to
myself, I am much altered since then; am I altered for the better?  And
then I looked at my hands and my apparel, and sighed again.  I was not
wont of yore to appear thus on the Sabbath day.

For a long time I continued in a state of deep meditation, till at last I
lifted up my eyes to the sun, which, as usual during that glorious
summer, was shining in unclouded majesty; and then I lowered them to the
sparkling water, in which hundreds of the finny brood were disporting
themselves, and then I thought what a fine thing it was to be a fish on
such a fine summer day, and I wished myself a fish, or at least amongst
the fishes; and then I looked at my hands again, and then, bending over
the water, I looked at my face in the crystal mirror, and started when I
saw it, for it looked squalid and miserable.

Forthwith I started up, and said to myself, I should like to bathe and
cleanse myself from the squalor produced by my late hard life and by Mrs.
Herne's drow.  I wonder if there is any harm in bathing on the Sabbath
day.  I will ask Winifred when she comes home; in the meantime I will
bathe, provided I can find a fitting place.

But the brook, though a very delightful place for fish to disport in, was
shallow, and by no means adapted for the recreation of so large a being
as myself; it was, moreover, exposed, though I saw nobody at hand, nor
heard a single human voice or sound.  Following the winding of the brook
I left the meadow, and, passing through two or three thickets, came to a
place where between lofty banks the water ran deep and dark, and there I
bathed, imbibing new tone and vigour into my languid and exhausted frame.

Having put on my clothes, I returned by the way I had come to my vehicle
beneath the oak tree.  From thence, for want of something better to do, I
strolled up the hill, on the top of which stood the farmhouse; it was a
large and commodious building built principally of stone, and seeming of
some antiquity, with a porch, on either side of which was an oaken bench.
On the right was seated a young woman with a book in her hand, the same
who had brought the tray to my friends and myself.

"Good day," said I, "pretty damsel, sitting in the farm porch."

"Good day," said the girl, looking at me for a moment, and then fixing
her eyes on her book.

"That's a nice book you are reading," said I.

The girl looked at me with surprise.  "How do you know what book it is?"
said she.

"How do I know--never mind; but a nice book it is--no love, no fortune-
telling in it."

The girl looked at me half offended.  "Fortune-telling!" said she, "I
should think not.  But you know nothing about it;" and she bent her head
once more over the book.

"I tell you what, young person," said I, "I know all about that book;
what will you wager that I do not?"

"I never wager," said the girl.

"Shall I tell you the name of it," said I, "O daughter of the dairy?"

The girl half started.  "I should never have thought," said she, half
timidly, "that you could have guessed it."

"I did not guess it," said I, "I knew it; and meet and proper it is that
you should read it."

"Why so?" said the girl.

"Can the daughter of the dairy read a more fitting book than the
'Dairyman's Daughter'?"

"Where do you come from?" said the girl.

"Out of the water," said I.  "Don't start, I have been bathing; are you
fond of the water?"

"No," said the girl, heaving a sigh; "I am not fond of the water, that
is, of the sea;" and here she sighed again.

"The sea is a wide gulf," said I, "and frequently separates hearts."

The girl sobbed.

"Why are you alone here?" said I.

"I take my turn with the rest," said the girl, "to keep at home on
Sunday."

"And you are--" said I.

"The master's niece!" said the girl.  "How came you to know it?  But why
did you not go with the rest and with your friends?"

"Who are those you call my friends?" said I.

"Peter and his wife."

"And who are they?" said I.

"Do you not know?" said the girl; "you came with them."

"They found me ill by the way," said I; "and they relieved me: I know
nothing about them."

"I thought you knew everything," said the girl.

"There are two or three things which I do not know, and this is one of
them.  Who are they?"

"Did you never hear of the great Welsh preacher, Peter Williams?"

"Never," said I.

"Well," said the girl, "this is he, and Winifred is his wife, and a nice
person she is.  Some people say, indeed, that she is as good a preacher
as her husband, though of that matter I can say nothing, having never
heard her preach.  So these two wander over all Wales and the greater
part of England, comforting the hearts of the people with their doctrine,
and doing all the good they can.  They frequently come here, for the
mistress is a Welsh woman, and an old friend of both, and then they take
up their abode in the cart beneath the old oaks down there by the
stream."

"And what is their reason for doing so?" said I; "would it not be more
comfortable to sleep beneath a roof?"

"I know not their reasons," said the girl, "but so it is; they never
sleep beneath a roof unless the weather is very severe.  I once heard the
mistress say that Peter had something heavy upon his mind; perhaps that
is the cause.  If he is unhappy, all I can say is, that I wish him
otherwise, for he is a good man and a kind--"

"Thank you," said I, "I will now depart."

"Hem!" said the girl, "I was wishing--"

"What? to ask me a question?"

"Not exactly; but you seem to know everything; you mentioned, I think,
fortune-telling."

"Do you wish me to tell your fortune?"

"By no means; but I have a friend at a distance at sea, and I should wish
to know--"

"When he will come back?  I have told you already there are two or three
things which I do not know--this is another of them.  However, I should
not be surprised if he were to come back some of these days; I would if I
were in his place.  In the meantime be patient, attend to the dairy, and
read the 'Dairyman's Daughter' when you have nothing better to do."

It was late in the evening when the party of the morning returned.  The
farmer and his family repaired at once to their abode, and my two friends
joined me beneath the tree.  Peter sat down at the foot of the oak, and
said nothing.  Supper was brought by a servant, not the damsel of the
porch.  We sat round the tray, Peter said grace, but scarcely anything
else; he appeared sad and dejected, his wife looked anxiously upon him.  I
was as silent as my friends; after a little time we retired to our
separate places of rest.

About midnight I was awakened by a noise; I started up and listened; it
appeared to me that I heard voices and groans.  In a moment I had issued
from my tent--all was silent--but the next moment I again heard groans
and voices; they proceeded from the tilted cart where Peter and his wife
lay; I drew near, again there was a pause, and then I heard the voice of
Peter, in an accent of extreme anguish, exclaim, "Pechod Ysprydd Glan--O
pechod Ysprydd Glan!" and then he uttered a deep groan.  Anon, I heard
the voice of Winifred, and never shall I forget the sweetness and
gentleness of the tones of her voice in the stillness of that night.  I
did not understand all she said--she spoke in her native language, and I
was some way apart; she appeared to endeavour to console her husband, but
he seemed to refuse all comfort, and, with many groans, repeated--"Pechod
Ysprydd Glan--O pechod Ysprydd Glan!"  I felt I had no right to pry into
their afflictions, and retired.

Now "pechod Ysprydd Glan," interpreted, is the sin against the Holy
Ghost.



CHAPTER LXXIV


The Following Day--Pride--Thriving Trade--Tylwyth Teg--Ellis Wyn--Sleeping
Bard--Incalculable Good--Fearful Agony--The Tale.

Peter and his wife did not proceed on any expedition during the following
day.  The former strolled gloomily about the fields, and the latter
passed many hours in the farmhouse.  Towards evening, without saying a
word to either, I departed with my vehicle, and finding my way to a small
town at some distance, I laid in a store of various articles, with which
I returned.  It was night, and my two friends were seated beneath the
oak; they had just completed their frugal supper.  "We waited for thee
some time," said Winifred, "but, finding that thou didst not come, we
began without thee; but sit down, I pray thee, there is still enough for
thee."  "I will sit down," said I, "but I require no supper, for I have
eaten where I have been:" nothing more particular occurred at the time.
Next morning the kind pair invited me to share their breakfast.  "I will
not share your breakfast," said I.  "Wherefore not?" said Winifred,
anxiously.  "Because," said I, "it is not proper that I be beholden to
you for meat and drink."  "But we are beholden to other people," said
Winifred.  "Yes," said I, "but you preach to them, and give them ghostly
advice, which considerably alters the matter; not that I would receive
anything from them, if I preached to them six times a day."  "Thou art
not fond of receiving favours, then, young man?" said Winifred.  "I am
not," said I.  "And of conferring favours?"  "Nothing affords me greater
pleasure," said I, "than to confer favours."  "What a disposition!" said
Winifred, holding up her hands; "and this is pride, genuine pride--that
feeling which the world agrees to call so noble.  Oh, how mean a thing is
pride! never before did I see all the meanness of what is called pride!"

"But how wilt thou live, friend?" said Peter; "dost thou not intend to
eat?"  "When I went out last night," said I, "I laid in a provision."
"Thou hast laid in a provision!" said Peter; "pray let us see it.  Really,
friend," said he, after I had produced it, "thou must drive a thriving
trade; here are provisions enough to last three people for several days.
Here are butter and eggs, here is tea, here is sugar, and there is a
flitch.  I hope thou wilt let us partake of some of thy fare."  "I should
be very happy if you would," said I.  "Doubt not but we shall," said
Peter; "Winifred shall have some of thy flitch cooked for dinner.  In the
meantime, sit down, young man, and breakfast at our expense--we will dine
at thine."

On the evening of that day, Peter and myself sat alone beneath the oak.
We fell into conversation; Peter was at first melancholy, but he soon
became more cheerful, fluent, and entertaining.  I spoke but little; but
I observed that sometimes what I said surprised the good Methodist.  We
had been silent some time.  At length, lifting up my eyes to the broad
and leafy canopy of the trees, I said, having nothing better to remark,
"What a noble tree!  I wonder if the fairies ever dance beneath it?"

"Fairies!" said Peter, "fairies! how came you, young man, to know
anything about the fair family?"

"I am an Englishman," said I, "and of course know something about
fairies; England was once a famous place for them."

"Was once, I grant you," said Peter, "but is so no longer.  I have
travelled for years about England, and never heard them mentioned before;
the belief in them has died away, and even their name seems to be
forgotten.  If you had said you were a Welshman, I should not have been
surprised.  The Welsh have much to say of the Tylwyth Teg, or fair
family, and many believe in them."

"And do you believe in them?" said I.

"I scarcely know what to say.  Wise and good men have been of opinion
that they are nothing but devils, who, under the form of pretty and
amiable spirits, would fain allure poor human beings; I see nothing
irrational in the supposition."

"Do you believe in devils then?"

"Do I believe in devils, young man!" said Peter, and his frame was shaken
as if by convulsions.  "If I do not believe in devils, why am I here at
the present moment?"

"You know best," said I; "but I don't believe that fairies are devils,
and I don't wish to hear them insulted.  What learned men have said they
are devils?"

"Many have said it, young man, and, amongst others, Master Ellis Wyn, in
that wonderful book of his, the 'Bardd Cwsg.'"

"The 'Bardd Cwsg,'" said I; "what kind of book is that?  I have never
heard of that book before."

"Heard of it before!  I suppose not; how should you have heard of it
before!  By the bye, can you read?"

"Very tolerably," said I; "so there are fairies in this book.  What do
you call it--the 'Bardd Cwsg'?"

"Yes, the 'Bardd Cwsg.'  You pronounce Welsh very fairly; have you ever
been in Wales?"

"Never," said I.

"Not been in Wales; then, of course, you don't understand Welsh; but we
were talking of the 'Bardd Cwsg,'--yes, there are fairies in the 'Bardd
Cwsg,'--the author of it, Master Ellis Wyn, {201} was carried away in his
sleep by them over mountains and valleys, rivers and great waters,
incurring mighty perils at their hands, till he was rescued from them by
an angel of the Most High, who subsequently showed him many wonderful
things."

"I beg your pardon," said I, "but what were those wonderful things?"

"I see, young man," said Peter, smiling, "that you are not without
curiosity; but I can easily pardon any one for being curious about the
wonders contained in the book of Master Ellis Wyn.  The angel showed him
the course of this world, its pomps and vanities, its cruelty and its
pride, its crimes and deceits.  On another occasion, the angel showed him
Death in his nether palace, surrounded by his grisly ministers, and by
those who are continually falling victims to his power.  And, on a third
occasion, the state of the condemned in their place of everlasting
torment."

"But this was all in his sleep," said I, "was it not?"

"Yes," said Peter, "in his sleep; and on that account the book is called
'Gweledigaethau y Bardd Cwsg,' or, Visions of the Sleeping Bard."

"I do not care for wonders which occur in sleep," said I.  "I prefer real
ones; and perhaps, notwithstanding what he says, the man had no visions
at all--they are probably of his own invention."

"They are substantially true, young man," said Peter; "like the dreams of
Bunyan, they are founded on three tremendous facts, Sin, Death, and Hell;
and like his they have done incalculable good, at least in my own
country, in the language of which they are written.  Many a guilty
conscience has the 'Bardd Cwsg' aroused with its dreadful sights, its
strong sighs, its puffs of smoke from the pit, and its showers of sparks
from the mouth of the yet lower gulf of--Unknown--were it not for the
'Bardd Cwsg' perhaps I might not be here."

"I would sooner hear your own tale," said I, "than all the visions of the
'Bardd Cwsg.'"

Peter shook, bent his form nearly double, and covered his face with his
hands.  I sat still and motionless, with my eyes fixed upon him.
Presently Winifred descended the hill, and joined us.  "What is the
matter?" said she, looking at her husband, who still remained in the
posture I have described.  He made no answer; whereupon, laying her hand
gently on his shoulder, she said, in the peculiar soft and tender tone
which I had heard her use on a former occasion, "Take comfort, Peter;
what has happened now to afflict thee?"  Peter removed his hands from his
face.  "The old pain, the old pain," said he; "I was talking with this
young man, and he would fain know what brought me here, he would fain
hear my tale, Winifred--my sin: O pechod Ysprydd Glan!  O pechod Ysprydd
Glan!" and the poor man fell into a more fearful agony than before.  Tears
trickled down Winifred's face, I saw them trickling by the moonlight, as
she gazed upon the writhing form of her afflicted husband.  I arose from
my seat; "I am the cause of all this," said I, "by my folly and
imprudence, and it is thus I have returned your kindness and hospitality;
I will depart from you and wander my way."  I was retiring, but Peter
sprang up and detained me.  "Go not," said he, "you were not in fault; if
there be any fault in the case it was mine; if I suffer, I am but paying
the penalty of my own iniquity;" he then paused, and appeared to be
considering: at length he said, "Many things which thou hast seen and
heard connected with me require explanation; thou wishest to know my
tale, I will tell it thee, but not now, not to-night; I am too much
shaken."

Two evenings later, when we were again seated beneath the oak, Peter took
the hand of his wife in his own, and then, in tones broken and almost
inarticulate, commenced telling me his tale--the tale of the Pechod
Ysprydd Glan.



CHAPTER LXXV


Taking a Cup--Getting to Heaven--After Breakfast--Wooden
Gallery--Mechanical Habit--Reserved and Gloomy--Last Words--A Long
Time--From the Clouds--Ray of Hope--Momentary Chill--Pleasing
Anticipation.

"I was born in the heart of North Wales, the son of a respectable farmer,
and am the youngest of seven brothers.

"My father was a member of the Church of England, and was what is
generally called a serious man.  He went to church regularly, and read
the Bible every Sunday evening; in his moments of leisure he was fond of
holding religious discourse both with his family and his neighbours.

"One autumn afternoon, on a week day, my father sat with one of his
neighbours taking a cup of ale by the oak table in our stone kitchen.  I
sat near them, and listened to their discourse.  I was at that time seven
years of age.  They were talking of religious matters.  'It is a hard
matter to get to heaven,' said my father.  'Exceedingly so,' said the
other.  'However, I don't despond, none need despair of getting to
heaven, save those who have committed the sin against the Holy Ghost.'

"'Ah!' said my father, 'thank God I never committed that--how awful must
be the state of a person who has committed the sin against the Holy
Ghost.  I can scarcely think of it without my hair standing on end;' and
then my father and his friend began talking of the nature of the sin
against the Holy Ghost, and I heard them say what it was, as I sat with
greedy ears listening to their discourse.

"I lay awake the greater part of the night musing upon what I had heard.
I kept wondering to myself what must be the state of a person who had
committed the sin against the Holy Ghost, and how he must feel.  Once or
twice I felt a strong inclination to commit it, a strange kind of fear,
however, prevented me; at last I determined not to commit it, and, having
said my prayers, I fell asleep.

"When I awoke in the morning the first thing I thought of was the
mysterious sin, and a voice within me seemed to say, 'Commit it'; and I
felt a strong temptation to do so, even stronger than in the night.  I
was just about to yield, when the same dread, of which I have already
spoken, came over me, and, springing out of bed, I went down on my knees.
I slept in a small room alone, to which I ascended by a wooden stair,
open to the sky.  I have often thought since that it is not a good thing
for children to sleep alone.

"After breakfast I went to school, and endeavoured to employ myself upon
my tasks, but all in vain; I could think of nothing but the sin against
the Holy Ghost; my eyes, instead of being fixed upon my book, wandered in
vacancy.  My master observed my inattention, and chid me.  The time came
for saying my task, and I had not acquired it.  My master reproached me,
and, yet more, he beat me; I felt shame and anger, and I went home with a
full determination to commit the sin against the Holy Ghost.

"But when I got home my father ordered me to do something connected with
the farm, so that I was compelled to exert myself; I was occupied till
night, and was so busy that I almost forgot the sin and my late
resolution.  My work completed, I took my supper, and went to my room; I
began my prayers, and, when they were ended, I thought of the sin, but
the temptation was slight, I felt very tired, and was presently asleep.

"Thus, you see, I had plenty of time allotted me by a gracious and kind
God to reflect on what I was about to do.  He did not permit the enemy of
souls to take me by surprise, and to hurry me at once into the commission
of that which was to be my ruin here and hereafter.  Whatever I did was
of my own free will, after I had had time to reflect.  Thus God is
justified; He had no hand in my destruction, but, on the contrary, He did
all that was compatible with justice to prevent it.  I hasten to the
fatal moment.  Awaking in the night, I determined that nothing should
prevent my committing the sin.  Arising from my bed, I went out upon the
wooden gallery; and having stood for a few moments looking at the stars,
with which the heavens were thickly strewn, I laid myself down, and
supporting my face with my hand, I murmured out words of horror, words
not to be repeated, and in this manner I committed the sin against the
Holy Ghost.

"When the words were uttered I sat up upon the topmost step of the
gallery; for some time I felt stunned in somewhat the same manner as I
once subsequently felt after being stung by an adder.  I soon arose,
however, and retired to my bed, where, notwithstanding what I had done, I
was not slow in falling asleep.

"I awoke several times during the night, each time with the dim idea that
something strange and monstrous had occurred, but I presently fell asleep
again; in the morning I awoke with the same vague feeling, but presently
recollection returned, and I remembered that I had committed the sin
against the Holy Ghost.  I lay musing for some time on what I had done,
and I felt rather stunned, as before; at last I arose and got out of bed,
dressed myself, and then went down on my knees, and was about to pray
from the force of mechanical habit; before I said a word, however, I
recollected myself, and got up again.  What was the use of praying? I
thought; I had committed the sin against the Holy Ghost.

"I went to school, but sat stupefied.  I was again chidden, again beaten
by my master.  I felt no anger this time, and scarcely heeded the
strokes.  I looked, however, at my master's face, and thought to myself,
You are beating me for being idle, as you suppose; poor man, what would
you do if you knew I had committed the sin against the Holy Ghost?

"Days and weeks passed by.  I had once been cheerful, and fond of the
society of children of my own age; but I was now reserved and gloomy.  It
seemed to me that a gulf separated me from all my fellow-creatures.  I
used to look at my brothers and schoolfellows, and think how different I
was from them; they had not done what I had.  I seemed, in my own eyes, a
lone monstrous being, and yet, strange to say, I felt a kind of pride in
being so.  I was unhappy, but I frequently thought to myself, I have done
what no one else would dare to do; there was something grand in the idea;
I had yet to learn the horror of my condition.

"Time passed on, and I began to think less of what I had done; I began
once more to take pleasure in my childish sports; I was active, and
excelled at football and the like all the lads of my age.  I likewise
began, what I had never done before, to take pleasure in the exercises of
the school.  I made great progress in Welsh and English grammar, and
learnt to construe Latin.  My master no longer chid or beat me, but one
day told my father that he had no doubt that one day I should be an
honour to Wales.

"Shortly after this my father fell sick; the progress of the disorder was
rapid; feeling his end approaching, he called his children before him.
After tenderly embracing us, he said, 'God bless you, my children; I am
going from you, but take comfort, I trust that we shall all meet again in
heaven.'

"As he uttered these last words, horror took entire possession of me.
Meet my father in heaven,--how could I ever hope to meet him there?  I
looked wildly at my brethren and at my mother; they were all bathed in
tears, but how I envied them.  They might hope to meet my father in
heaven, but how different were they from me, they had never committed the
unpardonable sin.

"In a few days my father died; he left his family in comfortable
circumstances, at least such as would be considered so in Wales, where
the wants of the people are few.  My elder brother carried on the farm
for the benefit of my mother and us all.  In course of time my brothers
were put out to various trades.  I still remained at school, but without
being a source of expense to my relations, as I was by this time able to
assist my master in the business of the school.

"I was diligent both in self-improvement and in the instruction of
others; nevertheless, a horrible weight pressed upon my breast; I knew I
was a lost being; that for me there was no hope; that, though all others
might be saved, I must of necessity be lost: I had committed the
unpardonable sin, for which I was doomed to eternal punishment, in the
flaming gulf, as soon as life was over!--and how long could I hope to
live? perhaps fifty years; at the end of which I must go to my place; and
then I would count the months and the days, nay, even the hours which yet
intervened between me and my doom.  Sometimes I would comfort myself with
the idea that a long time would elapse before my time would be out; but
then again I thought that, however long the term might be, it must be out
at last; and then I would fall into an agony, during which I would almost
wish that the term were out, and that I were in my place; the horrors of
which I thought could scarcely be worse than what I then endured.

"There was one thought about this time which caused me unutterable grief
and shame, perhaps more shame than grief.  It was that my father, who was
gone to heaven, and was there daily holding communion with his God, was
by this time aware of my crime.  I imagined him looking down from the
clouds upon his wretched son, with a countenance of inexpressible horror.
When this idea was upon me, I would often rush to some secret place to
hide myself; to some thicket, where I would cast myself on the ground,
and thrust my head into a thick bush, in order to escape from the horror-
struck glance of my father above in the clouds; and there I would
continue groaning till the agony had, in some degree, passed away.

"The wretchedness of my state increasing daily, it at last became
apparent to the master of the school, who questioned me earnestly and
affectionately.  I, however, gave him no satisfactory answer, being
apprehensive that, if I unbosomed myself, I should become as much an
object of horror to him as I had long been to myself.  At length he
suspected that I was unsettled in my intellects; and, fearing probably
the ill effect of my presence upon his scholars, he advised me to go
home; which I was glad to do, as I felt myself every day becoming less
qualified for the duties of the office which I had undertaken.

"So I returned home to my mother and my brother, who received me with the
greatest kindness and affection.  I now determined to devote myself to
husbandry, and assist my brother in the business of the farm.  I was
still, however, very much distressed.  One fine morning, however, as I
was at work in the field, and the birds were carolling around me, a ray
of hope began to break upon my poor dark soul.  I looked at the earth and
looked at the sky, and felt as I had not done for many a year; presently
a delicious feeling stole over me.  I was beginning to enjoy existence.  I
shall never forget that hour.  I flung myself on the soil, and kissed it;
then, springing up with a sudden impulse, I rushed into the depths of a
neighbouring wood, and, falling upon my knees, did what I had not done
for a long, long time--prayed to God.

"A change, an entire change, seemed to have come over me.  I was no
longer gloomy and despairing, but gay and happy.  My slumbers were light
and easy; not disturbed, as before, by frightful dreams.  I arose with
the lark, and like him uttered a cheerful song of praise to God,
frequently and earnestly, and was particularly cautious not to do
anything which I considered might cause His displeasure.

"At church I was constant, and when there listened with deepest attention
to every word which proceeded from the mouth of the minister.  In a
little time it appeared to me that I had become a good, very good young
man.  At times the recollection of the sin would return, and I would feel
a momentary chill; but the thought quickly vanished, and I again felt
happy and secure.

"One Sunday morning, after I had said my prayers, I felt particularly
joyous.  I thought of the innocent and virtuous life I was leading; and
when the recollection of the sin intruded for a moment, I said, 'I am
sure God will never utterly cast away so good a creature as myself.'  I
went to church, and was as usual attentive.  The subject of the sermon
was on the duty of searching the Scriptures: all I knew of them was from
the Liturgy.  I now, however, determined to read them, and perfect the
good work which I had begun.  My father's Bible was upon the shelf, and
on that evening I took it with me to my chamber.  I placed it on the
table, and sat down.  My heart was filled with pleasing anticipation.  I
opened the book at random, and began to read; the first passage on which
my eyes lighted was the following:--

"'He who committeth the sin against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven,
either in this world or the next.'"

Here Peter was seized with convulsive tremors.  Winifred sobbed
violently.  I got up, and went away.  Returning in about a quarter of an
hour, I found him more calm; he motioned me to sit down; and, after a
short pause, continued his narration.



CHAPTER LXXVI


Hasty Farewell--Lofty Rock--Wrestlings of Jacob--No Rest--Ways of
Providence--Two Females--Foot of the Cross--Enemy of
Souls--Perplexed--Lucky Hour--Valetudinarian--Methodists--Fervent in
Prayer--You Saxons--Weak Creatures--Very Agreeable--Almost Happy--Kindness
and Solicitude.

"Where was I, young man?  Oh, I remember, at the fatal passage which
removed all hope.  I will not dwell on what I felt.  I closed my eyes,
and wished that I might be dreaming; but it was no dream, but a terrific
reality: I will not dwell on that period, I should only shock you.  I
could not bear my feelings; so, bidding my friends a hasty farewell, I
abandoned myself to horror and despair, and ran wild through Wales,
climbing mountains and wading streams.

"Climbing mountains and wading streams, I ran wild about, I was burnt by
the sun, drenched by the rain, and had frequently at night no other
covering than the sky, or the humid roof of some cave; but nothing seemed
to affect my constitution; probably the fire which burned within me
counteracted what I suffered from without.  During the space of three
years I scarcely knew what befell me; my life was a dream--a wild,
horrible dream; more than once I believe I was in the hands of robbers,
and once in the hands of Gypsies.  I liked the last description of people
least of all; I could not abide their yellow faces, or their ceaseless
clabber.  Escaping from these beings, whose countenances and godless
discourse brought to my mind the demons of the deep Unknown, I still ran
wild through Wales, I know not how long.  On one occasion, coming in some
degree to my recollection, I felt myself quite unable to bear the horrors
of my situation; looking round, I found myself near the sea; instantly
the idea came into my head that I would cast myself into it, and thus
anticipate my final doom.  I hesitated a moment, but a voice within me
seemed to tell me that I could do no better; the sea was near, and I
could not swim, so I determined to fling myself into the sea.  As I was
running along at great speed, in the direction of a lofty rock, which
beetled over the waters, I suddenly felt myself seized by the coat.  I
strove to tear myself away, but in vain; looking round, I perceived a
venerable hale old man, who had hold of me.  'Let me go!' said I,
fiercely.  'I will not let thee go,' said the old man, and now instead of
with one, he grappled me with both hands.  'In whose name dost thou
detain me?' said I, scarcely knowing what I said.  'In the name of my
Master, who made thee and yonder sea; and has said to the sea, so far
shalt thou come, and no farther, and to thee, thou shalt do no murder.'
'Has not a man a right to do what he pleases with his own?' said I.  'He
has,' said the old man, 'but thy life is not thy own; thou art
accountable for it to thy God.  Nay, I will not let thee go,' he
continued, as I again struggled; 'if thou struggle with me the whole day
I will not let thee go, as Charles Wesley says, in his "Wrestlings of
Jacob"; and see, it is of no use struggling, for I am, in the strength of
my Master, stronger than thou;' and, indeed, all of a sudden I had become
very weak and exhausted; whereupon the old man, beholding my situation,
took me by the arm and led me gently to a neighbouring town, which stood
behind a hill, and which I had not before observed; presently he opened
the door of a respectable-looking house, which stood beside a large
building having the appearance of a chapel, and conducted me into a small
room, with a great many books in it.  Having caused me to sit down, he
stood looking at me for some time, occasionally heaving a sigh.  I was,
indeed, haggard and forlorn.  'Who art thou?' he said at last.  'A
miserable man,' I replied.  'What makes thee miserable?' said the old
man.  'A hideous crime,' I replied.  'I can find no rest; like Cain I
wander here and there.'  The old man turned pale.  'Hast thou taken
another's life?' said he; 'if so, I advise thee to surrender thyself to
the magistrate; thou canst do no better; thy doing so will be the best
proof of thy repentance; and though there be no hope for thee in this
world there may be much in the next.'  'No,' said I, 'I have never taken
another's life.'  'What then, another's goods?  If so, restore them seven-
fold, if possible: or, if it be not in thy power, and thy conscience
accuse thee, surrender thyself to the magistrate, and make the only
satisfaction thou art able.'  'I have taken no one's goods,' said I.  'Of
what art thou guilty, then?' said he.  'Art thou a drunkard? a
profligate?'  'Alas, no,' said I; 'I am neither of these; would that I
were no worse.'

"Thereupon the old man looked steadfastly at me for some time; then,
after appearing to reflect, he said, 'Young man, I have a great desire to
know your name.'  'What matters it to you what is my name?' said I; 'you
know nothing of me.'  'Perhaps you are mistaken,' said the old man,
looking kindly at me; 'but at all events tell me your name.'  I hesitated
a moment, and then told him who I was, whereupon he exclaimed with much
emotion, 'I thought so; how wonderful are the ways of Providence.  I have
heard of thee, young man, and know thy mother well.  Only a month ago,
when upon a journey, I experienced much kindness from her.  She was
speaking to me of her lost child, with tears; she told me that you were
one of the best of sons, but that some strange idea appeared to have
occupied your mind.  Despair not, my son.  If thou hast been afflicted, I
doubt not but that thy affliction will eventually turn out to thy
benefit; I doubt not but that thou wilt be preserved, as an example of
the great mercy of God.  I will now kneel down and pray for thee, my
son.'

"He knelt down, and prayed long and fervently.  I remained standing for
some time; at length I knelt down likewise.  I scarcely knew what he was
saying, but when he concluded I said 'Amen.'

"And when we had risen from our knees, the old man left me for a short
time, and on his return led me into another room, where were two females;
one was an elderly person, the wife of the old man,--the other was a
young woman of very prepossessing appearance (hang not down thy head,
Winifred), who I soon found was a distant relation of the old man,--both
received me with great kindness, the old man having doubtless previously
told them who I was.

"I staid several days in the good man's house.  I had still the greater
portion of a small sum which I happened to have about me when I departed
on my dolorous wandering, and with this I purchased clothes, and altered
my appearance considerably.  On the evening of the second day, my friend
said, 'I am going to preach, perhaps you will come and hear me.'  I
consented, and we all went, not to a church, but to the large building
next the house,--for the old man, though a clergyman, was not of the
established persuasion,--and there the old man mounted a pulpit, and
began to preach.  'Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden,'
etc. etc., was his text.  His sermon was long, but I still bear the
greater portion of it in my mind.

"The substance of it was that Jesus was at all times ready to take upon
Himself the burden of our sins, provided we came to Him with a humble and
contrite spirit, and begged His help.  This doctrine was new to me; I had
often been at church, but had never heard it preached before, at least so
distinctly.  When he said that all men might be saved, I shook, for I
expected he would add, all except those who had committed the mysterious
sin; but no, all men were to be saved who with a humble and contrite
spirit would come to Jesus, cast themselves at the foot of His cross, and
accept pardon through the merits of His blood-shedding alone.  'Therefore,
my friends,' said he, in conclusion, 'despair not--however guilty you may
be, despair not--however desperate your condition may seem,' said he,
fixing his eyes upon me, 'despair not.  There is nothing more foolish and
more wicked than despair; overweening confidence is not more foolish than
despair; both are the favourite weapons of the enemy of souls.'

"This discourse gave rise in my mind to no slight perplexity.  I had read
in the Scriptures that he who committeth a certain sin shall never be
forgiven, and that there is no hope for him either in this world or the
next.  And here was a man, a good man certainly, and one who, of
necessity, was thoroughly acquainted with the Scriptures, who told me
that any one might be forgiven, however wicked, who would only trust in
Christ and in the merits of His blood-shedding.  Did I believe in Christ?
Ay, truly.  Was I willing to be saved by Christ?  Ay, truly.  Did I trust
in Christ?  I trusted that Christ would save every one but myself.  And
why not myself? simply because the Scriptures had told me that he who has
committed the sin against the Holy Ghost can never be saved, and I had
committed the sin against the Holy Ghost,--perhaps the only one who ever
had committed it.  How could I hope?  The Scriptures could not lie, and
yet here was this good old man, profoundly versed in the Scriptures, who
bade me hope; would he lie?  No.  But did the old man know my case?  Ah,
no, he did not know my case! but yet he had bid me hope, whatever I had
done, provided I would go to Jesus.  But how could I think of going to
Jesus, when the Scriptures told me plainly that all would be useless?  I
was perplexed, and yet a ray of hope began to dawn in my soul.  I thought
of consulting the good man, but I was afraid he would drive away the
small glimmer.  I was afraid he would say, 'Oh yes, every one is to be
saved, except a wretch like you; I was not aware before that there was
anything so horrible,--begone!'  Once or twice the old man questioned me
on the subject of my misery, but I evaded him; once, indeed, when he
looked particularly benevolent, I think I should have unbosomed myself to
him, but we were interrupted.  He never pressed me much; perhaps he was
delicate in probing my mind, as we were then of different persuasions.
Hence he advised me to seek the advice of some powerful minister in my
own Church; there were many such in it, he said.

"I staid several days in the family, during which time I more than once
heard my venerable friend preach; each time he preached, he exhorted his
hearers not to despair.  The whole family were kind to me; his wife
frequently discoursed with me, and also the young person to whom I have
already alluded.  It appeared to me that the latter took a peculiar
interest in my fate.

"At last my friend said to me, 'It is now time thou shouldest return to
thy mother and thy brother.'  So I arose, and departed to my mother and
my brother; and at my departure my old friend gave me his blessing, and
his wife and the young person shed tears, the last especially.  And when
my mother saw me, she shed tears, and fell on my neck and kissed me, and
my brother took me by the hand and bade me welcome; and when our first
emotions were subsided, my mother said, 'I trust thou art come in a lucky
hour.  A few weeks ago my cousin (whose favourite thou always wast) died
and left thee his heir--left thee the goodly farm in which he lived.  I
trust, my son, that thou wilt now settle, and be a comfort to me in my
old days.'  And I answered, 'I will, if so please the Lord;' and I said
to myself, 'God grant that this bequest be a token of the Lord's favour.'

"And in a few days I departed to take possession of my farm; it was about
twenty miles from my mother's house, in a beautiful but rather wild
district; I arrived at the fall of the leaf.  All day long I busied
myself with my farm, and thus kept my mind employed.  At night, however,
I felt rather solitary, and I frequently wished for a companion.  Each
night and morning I prayed fervently unto the Lord; for His hand had been
very heavy upon me, and I feared Him.

"There was one thing connected with my new abode, which gave me
considerable uneasiness--the want of spiritual instruction.  There was a
church, indeed, close at hand, in which service was occasionally
performed, but in so hurried and heartless a manner that I derived little
benefit from it.  The clergyman to whom the benefice belonged was a
valetudinarian, who passed his time in London, or at some watering-place,
entrusting the care of his flock to the curate of a distant parish, who
gave himself very little trouble about the matter.  Now I wanted every
Sunday to hear from the pulpit words of consolation and encouragement,
similar to those which I had heard uttered from the pulpit by my good and
venerable friend, but I was debarred from this privilege.  At length, one
day being in conversation with one of my labourers, a staid and serious
man, I spoke to him of the matter which lay heavy upon my mind;
whereupon, looking me wistfully in the face, he said, 'Master, the want
of religious instruction in my church was what drove me to the
Methodists.'  'The Methodists,' said I; 'are there any in these parts?'
'There is a chapel,' said he, 'only half a mile distant, at which there
are two services every Sunday, and other two during the week.'  Now it
happened that my venerable friend was of the Methodist persuasion, and
when I heard the poor man talk in this manner, I said to him, 'May I go
with you next Sunday?'  'Why not?' said he; so I went with the labourer
on the ensuing Sabbath to the meeting of the Methodists.

"I liked the preaching which I heard at the chapel very well, though it
was not quite so comfortable as that of my old friend, the preacher being
in some respects a different kind of man.  It, however, did me good, and
I went again, and continued to do so, though I did not become a regular
member of the body at that time.

"I had now the benefit of religious instruction, and also to a certain
extent of religious fellowship, for the preacher and various members of
his flock frequently came to see me.  They were honest plain men, not
exactly of the description which I wished for, but still good sort of
people, and I was glad to see them.  Once on a time, when some of them
were with me, one of them inquired whether I was fervent in prayer.  'Very
fervent,' said I.  'And do you read the Scriptures often?' said he.  'No,'
said I.  'Why not?' said he.  'Because I am afraid to see there my own
condemnation.'  They looked at each other, and said nothing at the time.
On leaving me, however, they all advised me to read the Scriptures with
fervency and prayer.

"As I had told these honest people, I shrank from searching the
Scriptures; the remembrance of the fatal passage was still too vivid in
my mind to permit me.  I did not wish to see my condemnation repeated,
but I was very fervent in prayer, and almost hoped that God would yet
forgive me by virtue of the blood-shedding of the Lamb.  Time passed on,
my affairs prospered, and I enjoyed a certain portion of tranquillity.
Occasionally, when I had nothing else to do, I renewed my studies.  Many
is the book I read, especially in my native language, for I was always
fond of my native language, and proud of being a Welshman.  Amongst the
books I read were the odes of the great Ab Gwilym, whom thou, friend,
hast never heard of; no, nor any of thy countrymen, for you are an
ignorant race, you Saxons, at least with respect to all that relates to
Wales and Welshmen.  I likewise read the book of Master Ellis Wyn.  The
latter work possessed a singular fascination for me, on account of its
wonderful delineations of the torments of the nether world.

"But man does not love to be alone; indeed, the Scripture says that it is
not good for man to be alone.  I occupied my body with the pursuits of
husbandry, and I improved my mind with the perusal of good and wise
books; but, as I have already said, I frequently sighed for a companion
with whom I could exchange ideas, and who could take an interest in my
pursuits; the want of such a one I more particularly felt in the long
winter evenings.  It was then that the image of the young person whom I
had seen in the house of the preacher frequently rose up distinctly
before my mind's eye, decked with quiet graces--hang not down your head,
Winifred--and I thought that of all the women in the world I should wish
her to be my partner, and then I considered whether it would be possible
to obtain her.  I am ready to acknowledge, friend, that it was both
selfish and wicked in me to wish to fetter any human being to a lost
creature like myself, conscious of having committed a crime for which the
Scriptures told me there is no pardon.  I had, indeed, a long struggle as
to whether I should make the attempt or not--selfishness, however,
prevailed.  I will not detain your attention with relating all that
occurred at this period--suffice it to say that I made my suit and was
successful; it is true that the old man, who was her guardian, hesitated,
and asked several questions respecting my state of mind.  I am afraid
that I partly deceived him, perhaps he partly deceived himself; he was
pleased that I had adopted his profession--we are all weak creatures.
With respect to the young person, she did not ask many questions; and I
soon found that I had won her heart.  To be brief, I married her; and
here she is, the truest wife that ever man had, and the kindest.  Kind I
may well call her, seeing that she shrinks not from me, who so cruelly
deceived her, in not telling her at first what I was.  I married her,
friend; and brought her home to my little possession, where we passed our
time very agreeably.  Our affairs prospered, our garners were full, and
there was coin in our purse.  I worked in the field; Winifred busied
herself with the dairy.  At night I frequently read books to her, books
of my own country, friend; I likewise read to her songs of my own, holy
songs and carols which she admired, and which yourself would perhaps
admire, could you understand them; but I repeat, you Saxons are an
ignorant people with respect to us, and a perverse, inasmuch as you
despise Welsh without understanding it.  Every night I prayed fervently,
and my wife admired my gift of prayer.

"One night, after I had been reading to my wife a portion of Ellis Wyn,
my wife said, 'This is a wonderful book, and containing much true and
pleasant doctrine; but how is it that you, who are so fond of good books,
and good things in general, never read the Bible?  You read me the book
of Master Ellis Wyn, you read me sweet songs of your own composition, you
edify me with your gift of prayer, but yet you never read the Bible.'  And
when I heard her mention the Bible I shook, for I thought of my own
condemnation.  However, I dearly loved my wife, and as she pressed me, I
commenced on that very night reading the Bible.  All went on smoothly for
a long time; for months and months I did not find the fatal passage, so
that I almost thought that I had imagined it.  My affairs prospered much
the while, so that I was almost happy,--taking pleasure in everything
around me,--in my wife, in my farm, my books and compositions, and the
Welsh language; till one night, as I was reading the Bible, feeling
particularly comfortable, a thought having just come into my head that I
would print some of my compositions, and purchase a particular field of a
neighbour--O God--God!  I came to the fatal passage.

"Friend, friend, what shall I say?  I rushed out.  My wife followed me,
asking me what was the matter.  I could only answer with groans--for
three days and three nights I did little else than groan.  Oh, the
kindness and solicitude of my wife!  'What is the matter, husband, dear
husband?' she was continually saying.  I became at last more calm.  My
wife still persisted in asking me the cause of my late paroxysm.  It is
hard to keep a secret from a wife, especially such a wife as mine, so I
told my wife the tale, as we sat one night--it was a mid-winter
night--over the dying brands of our hearth, after the family had retired
to rest, her hand locked in mine, even as it is now.

"I thought she would have shrunk from me with horror; but she did not;
her hand, it is true, trembled once or twice; but that was all.  At last
she gave mine a gentle pressure; and, looking up in my face, she
said--what do you think my wife said, young man?"

"It is impossible for me to guess," said I.

"'Let us go to rest, my love; your fears are all groundless.'"



CHAPTER LXXVII


Getting Late--Seven Years Old--Chastening--Go Forth--London Bridge--Same
Eyes--Common Occurrence--Very Sleepy.

"And so I still say," said Winifred, sobbing.  "Let us retire to rest,
dear husband; your fears are groundless.  I had hoped long since that
your affliction would have passed away, and I still hope that it
eventually will; so take heart, Peter, and let us retire to rest, for it
is getting late."

"Rest!" said Peter; "there is no rest for the wicked!"

"We are all wicked," said Winifred; "but you are afraid of a shadow.  How
often have I told you that the sin of your heart is not the sin against
the Holy Ghost: the sin of your heart is its natural pride, of which you
are scarcely aware, to keep down which God in His mercy permitted you to
be terrified with the idea of having committed a sin which you never
committed."

"Then you will still maintain," said Peter, "that I never committed the
sin against the Holy Spirit?"

"I will," said Winifred; "you never committed it.  How should a child
seven years old commit a sin like that?"

"Have I not read my own condemnation?" said Peter.  "Did not the first
words which I read in the Holy Scripture condemn me?  'He who committeth
the sin against the Holy Ghost shall never enter into the kingdom of
God.'"

"You never committed it," said Winifred.

"But the words! the words! the words!" said Peter.

"The words are true words," said Winifred, sobbing; "but they were not
meant for you, but for those who have broken their profession, who,
having embraced the cross, have receded from their Master."

"And what sayst thou to the effect which the words produced upon me?"
said Peter.  "Did they not cause me to run wild through Wales for years,
like Merddin Wyllt of yore; thinkest thou that I opened the book at that
particular passage by chance?"

"No," said Winifred, "not by chance; it was the hand of God directed you,
doubtless for some wise purpose.  You had become satisfied with yourself.
The Lord wished to rouse thee from thy state of carnal security, and
therefore directed your eyes to that fearful passage."

"Does the Lord then carry out His designs by means of guile?" said Peter,
with a groan.  "Is not the Lord true?  Would the Lord impress upon me
that I had committed a sin of which I am guiltless?  Hush, Winifred!
hush! thou knowest that I have committed the sin."

"Thou hast not committed it," said Winifred, sobbing yet more violently.
"Were they my last words, I would persist that thou hast not committed
it, though, perhaps, thou wouldst, but for this chastening; it was not to
convince thee that thou hast committed the sin, but rather to prevent
thee from committing it, that the Lord brought that passage before thy
eyes.  He is not to blame, if thou art wilfully blind to the truth and
wisdom of His ways."

"I see thou wouldst comfort me," said Peter, "as thou hast often before
attempted to do.  I would fain ask the young man his opinion."

"I have not yet heard the whole of your history," said I.

"My story is nearly told," said Peter; "a few words will complete it.  My
wife endeavoured to console and reassure me, using the arguments which
you have just heard her use, and many others, but in vain.  Peace nor
comfort came to my breast.  I was rapidly falling into the depths of
despair; when one day Winifred said to me, 'I see thou wilt be lost, if
we remain here.  One resource only remains.  Thou must go forth, my
husband, into the wide world, and to comfort thee I will go with thee.'
'And what can I do in the wide world?' said I, despondingly.  'Much,'
replied Winifred, 'if you will but exert yourself; much good canst thou
do with the blessing of God.'  Many things of the same kind she said to
me; and at last I arose from the earth to which God had smitten me, and
disposed of my property in the best way I could, and went into the world.
We did all the good we were able, visiting the sick, ministering to the
sick, and praying with the sick.  At last I became celebrated as the
possessor of a great gift of prayer.  And people urged me to preach, and
Winifred urged me too, and at last I consented, and I preached.
I--I--outcast Peter, became the preacher Peter Williams.  I, the lost
one, attempted to show others the right road.  And in this way I have
gone on for thirteen years, preaching and teaching, visiting the sick,
and ministering to them, with Winifred by my side heartening me on.
Occasionally I am visited with fits of indescribable agony, generally on
the night before the Sabbath; for I then ask myself, how dare I, the
outcast, attempt to preach the word of God?  Young man, my tale is told;
you seem in thought!"

"I am thinking of London Bridge," said I.

"Of London Bridge!" said Peter and his wife.

"Yes," said I, "of London Bridge.  I am indebted for much wisdom to
London Bridge; it was there that I completed my studies.  But to the
point.  I was once reading on London Bridge a book which an ancient
gentlewoman, who kept the bridge, was in the habit of lending me; and
there I found written, 'Each one carries in his breast the recollection
of some sin which presses heavy upon him.  O! if men could but look into
each other's hearts, what blackness would they find there!'"

"That's true," said Peter.  "What is the name of the book?"

"'The Life of Blessed Mary Flanders.'"

"Some popish saint, I suppose," said Peter.

"As much of a saint, I dare say," said I, "as most popish ones; but you
interrupted me.  One part of your narrative brought the passage which I
have quoted into my mind.  You said that after you had committed this
same sin of yours you were in the habit, at school, of looking upon your
schoolfellows with a kind of gloomy superiority, considering yourself a
lone monstrous being who had committed a sin far above the daring of any
of them.  Are you sure that many others of your schoolfellows were not
looking upon you and the others with much the same eyes with which you
were looking upon them?"

"How!" said Peter, "dost thou think that they had divined my secret?"

"Not they," said I; "they were, I dare say, thinking too much of
themselves and of their own concerns to have divined any secrets of
yours.  All I mean to say is, they had probably secrets of their own, and
who knows that the secret sin of more than one of them was not the very
sin which caused you so much misery?"

"Dost thou then imagine," said Peter, "the sin against the Holy Ghost to
be so common an occurrence?"

"As you have described it," said I, "of very common occurrence,
especially amongst children, who are, indeed, the only beings likely to
commit it."

"Truly," said Winifred, "the young man talks wisely."

Peter was silent for some moments, and appeared to be reflecting; at
last, suddenly raising his head, he looked me full in the face, and,
grasping my hand with vehemence, he said, "Tell me, young man, only one
thing, hast thou, too, committed the sin against the Holy Ghost?"

"I am neither Papist, nor Methodist," said I, "but of the Church, and,
being so, confess myself to no one, but keep my own counsel; I will tell
thee, however, had I committed, at the same age, twenty such sins as that
which you committed, I should feel no uneasiness at these years--but I am
sleepy, and must go to rest."

"God bless thee, young man," said Winifred.



CHAPTER LXXVIII


Low and Calm--Much Better--Blessed Effect--No Answer--Such a Sermon.

Before I sank to rest I heard Winifred and her husband conversing in the
place where I had left them; both their voices were low and calm.  I soon
fell asleep, and slumbered for some time.  On my awakening I again heard
them conversing, but they were now in their cart; still the voices of
both were calm.  I heard no passionate bursts of wild despair on the part
of the man.  Methought I occasionally heard the word Pechod proceeding
from the lips of each, but with no particular emphasis.  I supposed they
were talking of the innate sin of both their hearts.

"I wish that man were happy," said I to myself, "were it only for his
wife's sake, and yet he deserves to be happy for his own."

The next day Peter was very cheerful, more cheerful than I had ever seen
him.  At breakfast his conversation was animated, and he smiled
repeatedly.  I looked at him with the greatest interest, and the eyes of
his wife were almost constantly fixed upon him.  A shade of gloom would
occasionally come over his countenance, but it almost instantly
disappeared; perhaps it proceeded more from habit than anything else.
After breakfast he took his Welsh Bible and sat down beneath a tree.  His
eyes were soon fixed intently on the volume; now and then he would call
his wife, show her some passage, and appeared to consult with her.  The
day passed quickly and comfortably.

"Your husband seems much better," said I, at evening-fall, to Winifred,
as we chanced to be alone.

"He does," said Winifred; "and that on the day of the week when he was
wont to appear most melancholy, for to-morrow is the Sabbath.  He now no
longer looks forward to the Sabbath with dread, but appears to reckon on
it.  What a happy change! and to think that this change should have been
produced by a few words, seemingly careless ones, proceeding from the
mouth of one who is almost a stranger to him.  Truly, it is wonderful."

"To whom do you allude," said I, "and to what words?"

"To yourself, and to the words which came from your lips last night,
after you had heard my poor husband's history.  Those strange words,
drawn out with so much seeming indifference, have produced in my husband
the blessed effect which you have observed.  They have altered the
current of his ideas.  He no longer thinks himself the only being in the
world doomed to destruction,--the only being capable of committing the
never-to-be-forgiven sin.  Your supposition that that which harrowed his
soul is of frequent occurrence amongst children, has tranquillised him;
the mist which hung over his mind has cleared away, and he begins to see
the groundlessness of his apprehensions.  The Lord has permitted him to
be chastened for a season, but his lamp will only burn the brighter for
what he has undergone."

Sunday came, fine and glorious as the last.  Again my friends and myself
breakfasted together--again the good family of the house on the hill
above, headed by the respectable master, descended to the meadow.  Peter
and his wife were ready to receive them.  Again Peter placed himself at
the side of the honest farmer, and Winifred by the side of her friend.
"Wilt thou not come?" said Peter, looking towards me with a face in which
there was much emotion.  "Wilt thou not come?" said Winifred, with a face
beaming with kindness.  But I made no answer, and presently the party
moved away, in the same manner in which it had moved on the preceding
Sabbath, and I was again left alone.

The hours of the Sabbath passed slowly away.  I sat gazing at the sky,
the trees, and the water.  At last I strolled up to the house and sat
down in the porch.  It was empty; there was no modest maiden there, as on
the preceding Sabbath.  The damsel of the book had accompanied the rest.
I had seen her in the procession, and the house appeared quite deserted.
The owners had probably left it to my custody, so I sat down in the
porch, quite alone.  The hours of the Sabbath passed heavily away.

At last evening came, and with it the party of the morning.  I was now at
my place beneath the oak.  I went forward to meet them.  Peter and his
wife received me with a calm and quiet greeting, and passed forward.  The
rest of the party had broke into groups.  There was a kind of excitement
amongst them, and much eager whispering.  I went to one of the groups;
the young girl of whom I have spoken more than once, was speaking: "Such
a sermon," said she, "it has never been our lot to hear; Peter never
before spoke as he has done this day--he was always a powerful preacher,
but oh, the unction of the discourse of this morning, and yet more of
that of the afternoon, which was the continuation of it!"  "What was the
subject?" said I, interrupting her.  "Ah! you should have been there,
young man, to have heard it; it would have made a lasting impression upon
you.  I was bathed in tears all the time; those who heard it will never
forget the preaching of the good Peter Williams on the Power, Providence,
and Goodness of God."



CHAPTER LXXIX


Deep Interest--Goodly Country--Two Mansions--Welshman's Candle--Beautiful
Universe--Godly Discourse--Fine Church--Points of Doctrine--Strange
Adventures--Paltry Cause--Roman Pontiff--Evil Spirit.

On the morrow I said to my friends, "I am about to depart; farewell!"
"Depart!" said Peter and his wife, simultaneously; "whither wouldst thou
go?"  "I can't stay here all my days," I replied.  "Of course not," said
Peter; "but we had no idea of losing thee so soon: we had almost hoped
that thou wouldst join us, become one of us.  We are under infinite
obligations to thee."  "You mean I am under infinite obligations to you,"
said I.  "Did you not save my life?"  "Perhaps so, under God," said
Peter; "and what hast thou not done for me?  Art thou aware that, under
God, thou hast preserved my soul from despair?  But, independent of that,
we like thy company, and feel a deep interest in thee, and would fain
teach thee the way that is right.  Hearken, to-morrow we go into Wales;
go with us."  "I have no wish to go into Wales," said I.  "Why not?" said
Peter, with animation.  "Wales is a goodly country; as the Scripture
says--a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths, that spring out
of valleys and hills, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose
hills thou mayest dig _lead_."

"I dare say it is a very fine country," said I, "but I have no wish to go
there just now; my destiny seems to point in another direction, to say
nothing of my trade."  "Thou dost right to say nothing of thy trade,"
said Peter, smiling, "for thou seemest to care nothing about it; which
has led Winifred and myself to suspect that thou art not altogether what
thou seemest; but, setting that aside, we should be most happy if thou
wouldst go with us into Wales."  "I cannot promise to go with you into
Wales," said I; "but, as you depart to-morrow, I will stay with you
through the day, and on the morrow accompany you part of the way."  "Do,"
said Peter: "I have many people to see to-day, and so has Winifred; but
we will both endeavour to have some serious discourse with thee, which,
perhaps, will turn to thy profit in the end."

In the course of the day the good Peter came to me, as I was seated
beneath the oak, and, placing himself by me, commenced addressing me in
the following manner:--

"I have no doubt, my young friend, that you are willing to admit, that
the most important thing which a human being possesses is his soul; it is
of infinitely more importance than the body, which is a frail substance,
and cannot last for many years; but not so the soul, which, by its
nature, is imperishable.  To one of two mansions the soul is destined to
depart, after its separation from the body, to heaven or hell; to the
halls of eternal bliss, where God and His holy angels dwell, or to the
place of endless misery, inhabited by Satan and his grisly companions.  My
friend, if the joys of heaven are great, unutterably great, so are the
torments of hell unutterably so.  I wish not to speak of them, I wish not
to terrify your imagination with the torments of hell: indeed, I like not
to think of them; but it is necessary to speak of them sometimes, and to
think of them sometimes, lest you should sink into a state of carnal
security.  Authors, friend, and learned men, are not altogether agreed as
to the particulars of hell.  They all agree, however, in considering it a
place of exceeding horror.  Master Ellis Wyn, who by the bye was a
churchman, calls it, amongst other things, a place of strong sighs, and
of flaming sparks.  Master Rees Pritchard, {238} who was not only a
churchman, but Vicar of Llandovery, and flourished about two hundred
years ago--I wish many like him flourished now--speaking of hell, in his
collection of sweet hymns, called the 'Welshman's Candle,' observes,

"'The pool is continually blazing; it is very deep, without any known
bottom, and the walls are so high, that there is neither hope nor
possibility of escaping over them.'

"But, as I told you just now, I have no great pleasure in talking of
hell.  No, friend, no; I would sooner talk of the other place, and of the
goodness and hospitality of God amongst His saints above."

And then the excellent man began to dilate upon the joys of heaven, and
the goodness and hospitality of God in the mansions above; explaining to
me, in the clearest way, how I might get there.

And when he had finished what he had to say, he left me, whereupon
Winifred drew nigh, and sitting down by me, began to address me.  "I do
not think," said she, "from what I have observed of thee, that thou
wouldst wish to be ungrateful, and yet, is not thy whole life a series of
ingratitude, and to whom?--to thy Maker.  Has He not endowed thee with a
goodly and healthy form; and senses which enable thee to enjoy the
delights of His beautiful universe--the work of His hands?  Canst thou
not enjoy, even to rapture, the brightness of the sun, the perfume of the
meads, and the song of the dear birds, which inhabit among the trees?
Yes, thou canst; for I have seen thee, and observed thee doing so.  Yet,
during the whole time that I have known thee, I have not heard proceed
from thy lips one single word of praise or thanksgiving to . . ."

And in this manner the admirable woman proceeded for a considerable time,
and to all her discourse I listened with attention; and when she had
concluded, I took her hand and said, "I thank you," and that was all.

On the next day everything was ready for our departure.  The good family
of the house came to bid us farewell.  There were shaking of hands, and
kisses, as on the night of our arrival.

And as I stood somewhat apart, the young girl of whom I have spoken so
often, came up to me, and holding out her hand, said, "Farewell, young
man, wherever thou goest."  Then, after looking around her, she said, "It
was all true you told me.  Yesterday I received a letter from him thou
wottest of, he is coming soon.  God bless you, young man; who would have
thought thou knewest so much!"

So, after we had taken our farewell of the good family, we departed,
proceeding in the direction of Wales.  Peter was very cheerful, and
enlivened the way with godly discourse and spiritual hymns, some of which
were in the Welsh language.  At length I said, "It is a pity that you did
not continue in the Church; you have a turn for psalmody, and I have
heard of a man becoming a bishop by means of a less qualification."

"Very probably," said Peter; "more the pity.  But I have told you the
reason of my forsaking it.  Frequently, when I went to the church door, I
found it barred, and the priest absent; what was I to do?  My heart was
bursting for want of some religious help and comfort; what could I do? as
good Master Rees Pritchard observes in his 'Candle for Welshmen.'

"'It is a doleful thing to see little children burning on the hot coals
for want of help; but yet more doleful to see a flock of souls falling
into the burning lake for want of a priest.'"

"The Church of England is a fine church," said I; "I would not advise any
one to speak ill of the Church of England before me."

"I have nothing to say against the Church," said Peter; "all I wish is
that it would fling itself a little more open, and that its priests would
a little more bestir themselves; in a word, that it would shoulder the
cross and become a missionary church."

"It is too proud for that," said Winifred.

"You are much more of a Methodist," said I, "than your husband.  But tell
me," said I, addressing myself to Peter, "do you not differ from the
Church in some points of doctrine?  I, of course, as a true member of the
Church, am quite ignorant of the peculiar opinions of wandering
sectaries."

"Oh, the pride of that Church!" said Winifred, half to herself;
"wandering sectaries!"

"We differ in no points of doctrine," said Peter; "we believe all the
Church believes, though we are not so fond of vain and superfluous
ceremonies, snow-white neckcloths and surplices, as the Church is.  We
likewise think that there is no harm in a sermon by the road-side, or in
holding free discourse with a beggar beneath a hedge, or a tinker," he
added, smiling; "it was those superfluous ceremonies, those surplices and
white neckcloths, and, above all, the necessity of strictly regulating
his words and conversation, which drove John Wesley out of the Church,
and sent him wandering up and down as you see me, poor Welsh Peter, do."

Nothing farther passed for some time; we were now drawing near the hills:
at last I said, "You must have met with a great many strange adventures
since you took up this course of life?"

"Many," said Peter, "it has been my lot to meet with; but none more
strange than one which occurred to me only a few weeks ago.  You were
asking me, not long since, whether I believed in devils?  Ay, truly,
young man; and I believe that the abyss and the yet deeper Unknown do not
contain them all; some walk about upon the green earth.  So it happened,
some weeks ago, that I was exercising my ministry about forty miles from
here.  I was alone, Winifred being slightly indisposed, staying for a few
days at the house of an acquaintance; I had finished afternoon's
worship--the people had dispersed, and I was sitting solitary by my cart
under some green trees in a quiet retired place; suddenly a voice said to
me, 'Good evening, Pastor'; I looked up, and before me stood a man, at
least the appearance of a man, dressed in a black suit of rather a
singular fashion.  He was about my own age, or somewhat older.  As I
looked upon him, it appeared to me that I had seen him twice before
whilst preaching.  I replied to his salutation, and perceiving that he
looked somewhat fatigued, I took out a stool from the cart, and asked him
to sit down.  We began to discourse; I at first supposed that he might be
one of ourselves, some wandering minister; but I was soon undeceived.
Neither his language nor his ideas were those of any one of our body.  He
spoke on all kinds of matters with much fluency; till at last he
mentioned my preaching, complimenting me on my powers.  I replied, as
well I might, that I could claim no merit of my own, and that if I spoke
with any effect, it was only by the grace of God.  As I uttered these
last words, a horrible kind of sneer came over his countenance, which
made me shudder, for there was something diabolical in it.  I said little
more, but listened attentively to his discourse.  At last he said that I
was engaged in a paltry cause, quite unworthy of one of my powers.  'How
can that be,' said I, 'even if I possessed all the powers in the world,
seeing that I am engaged in the cause of our Lord Jesus?'

"The same kind of sneer again came on his countenance, but he almost
instantly observed, that if I chose to forsake this same miserable cause,
from which nothing but contempt and privation were to be expected, he
would enlist me into another, from which I might expect both profit and
renown.  An idea now came into my head, and I told him firmly, that if he
wished me to forsake my present profession and become a member of the
Church of England, I must absolutely decline; that I had no ill-will
against that Church, but I thought I could do most good in my present
position, which I would not forsake to be Archbishop of Canterbury.
Thereupon he burst into a strange laughter, and went away, repeating to
himself, 'Church of England!  Archbishop of Canterbury!'  A few days
after, when I was once more in a solitary place, he again appeared before
me, and asked me whether I had thought over his words, and whether I was
willing to enlist under the banners of his master, adding, that he was
eager to secure me, as he conceived that I might be highly useful to the
cause.  I then asked him who his master was; he hesitated for a moment,
and then answered, 'The Roman Pontiff.'  'If it be he,' said I, 'I can
have nothing to do with him, I will serve no one who is an enemy of
Christ.'  Thereupon he drew near to me, and told me not to talk so much
like a simpleton; that as for Christ, it was probable that no such person
ever existed, but that if he ever did, he was the greatest impostor the
world ever saw.  How long he continued in this way I know not, for I now
considered that an evil spirit was before me, and shrank within myself,
shivering in every limb; when I recovered myself and looked about me, he
was gone.  Two days after, he again stood before me, in the same place,
and about the same hour, renewing his propositions, and speaking more
horribly than before.  I made him no answer; whereupon he continued; but
suddenly hearing a noise behind him, he looked round and beheld Winifred,
who had returned to me on the morning of that day.  'Who are you?' said
he, fiercely.  'This man's wife,' said she, calmly fixing her eyes upon
him.  'Begone from him, unhappy one, thou temptest him in vain.'  He made
no answer, but stood as if transfixed: at length recovering himself, he
departed, muttering 'Wife! wife!  If the fool has a wife, he will never
do for us.'"



CHAPTER LXXX


The Border--Thank You Both--Pipe and Fiddle--Taliesin.

We were now drawing very near the hills, and Peter said, "If you are to
go into Wales, you must presently decide, for we are close upon the
border."

"Which is the border?" said I.

"Yon small brook," said Peter, "into which the man on horseback who is
coming towards us is now entering."

"I see it," said I, "and the man; he stops in the middle of it, as if to
water his steed."

We proceeded till we had nearly reached the brook.  "Well," said Peter,
"will you go into Wales?"

"What should I do in Wales?" I demanded.

"Do!" said Peter, smiling; "learn Welsh."

I stopped my little pony.  "Then I need not go into Wales; I already know
Welsh."

"Know Welsh!" said Peter, staring at me.

"Know Welsh!" said Winifred, stopping her cart.

"How and when did you learn it?" said Peter.

"From books, in my boyhood."

"Read Welsh!" said Peter; "is it possible?"

"Read Welsh!" said Winifred; "is it possible?"

"Well, I hope you will come with us," said Peter.

"Come with us, young man," said Winifred; "let me, on the other side of
the brook, welcome you into Wales."

"Thank you both," said I, "but I will not come."

"Wherefore?" exclaimed both, simultaneously.

"Because it is neither fit nor proper that I cross into Wales at this
time, and in this manner.  When I go into Wales, I should wish to go in a
new suit of superfine black, with hat and beaver, {246} mounted on a
powerful steed, black and glossy, like that which bore Greduv to the
fight of Catraeth.  I should wish, moreover, to see the Welshmen
assembled on the border ready to welcome me with pipe and fiddle, and
much whooping and shouting, and to attend me to Wrexham, or even as far
as Machynllaith, where I should wish to be invited to a dinner at which
all the bards should be present, and to be seated at the right hand of
the president, who, when the cloth was removed, should arise, and, amidst
cries of silence, exclaim--'Brethren and Welshmen, allow me to propose
the health of my most respectable friend the translator of the odes of
the great Ab Gwilym, the pride and glory of Wales.'"

"How!" said Peter, "hast thou translated the works of the mighty Dafydd?"

"With notes critical, historical, and explanatory."

"Come with us, friend," said Peter.  "I cannot promise such a dinner as
thou wishest, but neither pipe nor fiddle shall be wanting."

"Come with us, young man," said Winifred, "even as thou art, and the
daughters of Wales shall bid thee welcome."

"I will not go with you," said I.  "Dost thou see that man in the ford?"

"Who is staring at us so, and whose horse has not yet done drinking?  Of
course I see him."

"I shall turn back with him.  God bless you."

"Go back with him not," said Peter; "he is one of those whom I like not,
one of the clibberty clabber, as Master Ellis Wyn observes--turn not with
that man."

"Go not back with him," said Winifred.  "If thou goest with that man,
thou wilt soon forget all our profitable counsels; come with us."

"I cannot; I have much to say to him.  Kosko Divvus, Mr. Petulengro."

"Kosko Divvus, Pal," {247} said Mr. Petulengro, riding through the water;
"are you turning back?"

I turned back with Mr. Petulengro.  Peter came running after me: "One
moment, young man,--who and what are you?"

"I must answer in the words of Taliesin," said I; "none can say with
positiveness whether I be fish or flesh, least of all myself.  God bless
you both!"

"Take this," said Peter, and he thrust his Welsh Bible into my hand.



CHAPTER LXXXI


At a Funeral--Two Days Ago--Very Coolly--Roman Woman--Well and
Hearty--Somewhat Dreary--Plum Pudding--Roman Fashion--Quite Different--The
Dark Lane--Beyond the Time--Fine Fellow--Such a Struggle--Like a Wild
Cat--Fair Play--Pleasant Enough Spot--No Gloves.

So I turned back with Mr. Petulengro.  We travelled for some time in
silence; at last we fell into discourse.  "You have been in Wales, Mr.
Petulengro?"

"Ay, truly, brother."

"What have you been doing there?"

"Assisting at a funeral."

"At whose funeral?"

"Mrs. Herne's, brother."

"Is she dead, then?"

"As a nail, brother."

"How did she die?"

"By hanging, brother."

"I am lost in astonishment," said I; whereupon Mr. Petulengro, lifting
his sinister leg over the neck of his steed, and adjusting himself
sideways in the saddle, replied, with great deliberation, "Two days ago,
I happened to be at a fair not very far from here; I was all alone by
myself, for our party were upwards of forty miles off, when who should
come up but a chap that I knew, a relation, or rather, a connection of
mine--one of those Hernes.  'Ar'n't you going to the funeral?' said he;
and then, brother, there passed between him and me, in the way of
questioning and answering, much the same as has just now passed between I
and you; but when he mentioned hanging, I thought I could do no less than
ask who hanged her, which you forgot to do.  'Who hanged her?' said I;
and then the man told me that she had done it herself,--been her own
hinjiri; {249a} and then I thought to myself what a sin and shame it
would be if I did not go to the funeral, seeing that she was my own
mother-in-law.  I would have brought my wife, and, indeed, the whole of
our party, but there was no time for that; they were too far off, and the
dead was to be buried early the next morning; so I went with the man, and
he led me into Wales, where his party had lately retired, and when there,
through many wild and desolate places to their encampment, and there I
found the Hernes, and the dead body--the last laid out on a mattress, in
a tent, dressed Romaneskoenaes {249b} in a red cloak, and big bonnet of
black beaver.  I must say for the Hernes that they took the matter very
coolly; some were eating, others drinking, and some were talking about
their small affairs; there was one, however, who did not take the matter
so coolly, but took on enough for the whole family, sitting beside the
dead woman, tearing her hair, and refusing to take either meat or drink;
it was the child Leonora.  I arrived at night-fall, and the burying was
not to take place till the morning, which I was rather sorry for, as I am
not very fond of them Hernes, who are not very fond of anybody.  They
never asked me to eat or drink, notwithstanding I had married into the
family; one of them, however, came up and offered to fight me for five
shillings; had it not been for them I should have come back as empty as I
went--he didn't stand up five minutes.  Brother, I passed the night as
well as I could, beneath a tree, for the tents were full, and not over
clean; I slept little, and had my eyes about me, for I knew the kind of
people I was among.

"Early in the morning the funeral took place.  The body was placed not in
a coffin but on a bier, and carried not to a churchyard but to a deep
dell close by; and there it was buried beneath a rock, dressed just as I
have told you; and this was done by the bidding of Leonora, who had heard
her bebee say that she wished to be buried, not in gorgious fashion, but
like a Roman woman of the old blood, the kosko puro rati, {250a} brother.
When it was over, and we had got back to the encampment, I prepared to be
going.  Before mounting my gry, {250b} however, I bethought me to ask
what could have induced the dead woman to make away with herself--a thing
so uncommon amongst Rommanies; whereupon one squinted with his eyes, a
second spirted saliver into the air, and a third said that he neither
knew nor cared; she was a good riddance, having more than once been
nearly the ruin of them all, from the quantity of brimstone she carried
about her.  One, however, I suppose rather ashamed of the way in which
they had treated me, said at last, that if I wanted to know all about the
matter, none could tell me better than the child, who was in all her
secrets, and was not a little like her; so I looked about for the child,
but could find her nowhere.  At last the same man told me that he
shouldn't wonder if I found her at the grave; so I went back to the
grave, and sure enough there I found the child Leonora, seated on the
ground above the body, crying and taking on; so I spoke kindly to her,
and said, 'How came all this, Leonora? tell me all about it.'  It was a
long time before I could get any answer; at last she opened her mouth and
spoke, and these were the words she said, 'It was all along of your Pal;'
{251} and then she told me all about the matter--how Mrs. Herne could not
abide you, which I knew before; and that she had sworn your destruction,
which I did not know before.  And then she told me how she found you
living in the wood by yourself, and how you were enticed to eat a
poisoned cake; and she told me many other things that you wot of, and she
told me what perhaps you don't wot, namely, that finding you had been
removed, she, the child, had tracked you a long way, and found you at
last well and hearty, and no ways affected by the poison, and heard you,
as she stood concealed, disputing about religion with a Welsh Methody.
Well, brother, she told me all this; and, moreover, that when Mrs. Herne
heard of it, she said that a dream of hers had come to pass.  I don't
know what it was, but something about herself, a tinker, and a dean; and
then she added, that it was all up with her, and that she must take a
long journey.  Well, brother, that same night Leonora, waking from her
sleep in the tent where Mrs. Herne and she were wont to sleep, missed her
bebee, {252a} and, becoming alarmed, went in search of her, and at last
found her hanging from a branch; and when the child had got so far, she
took on violently, and I could not get another word from her; so I left
her, and here I am."

"And I am glad to see you, Mr. Petulengro; but this is sad news which you
tell me about Mrs. Herne."

"Somewhat dreary, brother; yet, perhaps, after all, it is a good thing
that she is removed; she carried so much Devil's tinder about with her,
as the man said."

"I am sorry for her," said I; "more especially as I am the cause of her
death--though the innocent one."

"She could not bide you, brother, that's certain; but that is no
reason"--said Mr. Petulengro, balancing himself upon the saddle--"that is
no reason why she should prepare drow to take away your essence of life;
and, when disappointed, to hang herself upon a tree: if she was
dissatisfied with you, she might have flown at you, and scratched your
face; or, if she did not judge herself your match, she might have put
down five shillings for a turn up between you and some one she thought
could beat you--myself, for example, and so the matter might have ended
comfortably; but she was always too fond of covert ways, drows, and
brimstones.  This is not the first poisoning affair she has been engaged
in."

"You allude to drabbing bawlor." {252b}

"Bah!" said Mr. Petulengro; "there's no harm in that.  No, no! she has
cast drows {253a} in her time for other guess things than bawlor; both
Gorgios and Romans have tasted of them, and died.  Did you never hear of
the poisoned plum pudding?"

"Never."

"Then I will tell you about it.  It happened about six years ago, a few
months after she had quitted us--she had gone first amongst her own
people, as she called them; but there was another small party of Romans,
with whom she soon became very intimate.  It so happened that this small
party got into trouble; whether it was about a horse or an ass, or
passing bad money, no matter to you and me, who had no hand in the
business; three or four of them were taken and lodged in --- Castle, and
amongst them was a woman; but the sherengro, or principal man of the
party, and who it seems had most hand in the affair, was still at large.
All of a sudden a rumour was spread abroad that the woman was about to
play false, and to 'peach the rest.  Said the principal man, when he
heard it, 'If she does, I am nashkado.' {253b}  Mrs. Herne was then on a
visit to the party, and when she heard the principal man take on so, she
said, 'But I suppose you know what to do?'  'I do not,' said he.  'Then
hir mi devlis,' said she, 'you are a fool.  But leave the matter to me, I
know how to dispose of her in Roman fashion.'  Why she wanted to
interfere in the matter, brother, I don't know, unless it was from pure
brimstoneness of disposition--she had no hand in the matter which had
brought the party into trouble--she was only on a visit, and it had
happened before she came; but she was always ready to give dangerous
advice.  Well, brother, the principal man listened to what she had to
say, and let her do what she would; and she made a pudding, a very nice
one, no doubt--for, besides plums, she put in drows and all the Roman
condiments that she knew of; and she gave it to the principal man, and
the principal man put it into a basket and directed it to the woman in ---
Castle, and the woman in the castle took it and--"

"Ate of it," said I; "just like my case!"

"Quite different, brother; she took it, it is true, but instead of giving
way to her appetite, as you might have done, she put it before the rest
whom she was going to impeach; perhaps she wished to see how they liked
it before she tasted it herself; and all the rest were poisoned, and one
died, and there was a precious outcry, and the woman cried loudest of
all; and she said, 'It was my death was sought for; I know the man, and
I'll be revenged.'  And then the Poknees {254a} spoke to her and said,
'Where can we find him?' and she said, 'I am awake to his motions; three
weeks from hence, the night before the full moon, at such and such an
hour, he will pass down such a lane with such a man.'"

"Well," said I, "and what did the Poknees do?"

"Do, brother! sent for a plastramengro {254b} from Bow Street, quite
secretly, and told him what the woman had said; and the night before the
full moon, the plastramengro went to the place which the juwa {255a}had
pointed out, all alone, brother; and in order that he might not be too
late, he went two hours before his time.  I know the place well, brother,
where the plastramengro placed himself behind a thick holly tree, at the
end of a lane, where a gate leads into various fields, through which
there is a path for carts and horses.  The lane is called the dark lane
by the Gorgios, being much shaded by trees.  So the plastramengro placed
himself in the dark lane behind the holly tree; it was a cold February
night, dreary though; the wind blew in gusts, and the moon had not yet
risen, and the plastramengro waited behind the tree till he was tired,
and thought he might as well sit down; so he sat down, and was not long
in falling to sleep, and there he slept for some hours; and when he awoke
the moon had risen, and was shining bright, so that there was a kind of
moonlight even in the dark lane; and the plastramengro pulled out his
watch, and contrived to make out that it was just two hours beyond the
time when the men should have passed by.  Brother, I do not know what the
plastramengro thought of himself, but I know, brother, what I should have
thought of myself in his situation.  I should have thought, brother, that
I was a drowsy scoppelo, {255b} and that I had let the fellow pass by
whilst I was sleeping behind a bush.  As it turned out, however, his
going to sleep did no harm, but quite the contrary: just as he was going
away, he heard a gate slam in the direction of the fields, and then he
heard the low stumping of horses, as if on soft ground, for the path in
those fields is generally soft, and at that time it had been lately
ploughed up.  Well, brother, presently he saw two men on horseback coming
towards the lane through the field behind the gate; the man who rode
foremost was a tall big fellow, the very man he was in quest of; the
other was a smaller chap, not so small either, but a light, wiry fellow,
and a proper master of his hands when he sees occasion for using them.
Well, brother, the foremost man came to the gate, reached at the hank,
undid it, and rode through, holding it open for the other.  Before,
however, the other could follow into the lane, out bolted the
plastramengro from behind the tree, kicked the gate to with his foot,
and, seizing the big man on horseback, 'You are my prisoner,' said he.  I
am of opinion, brother, that the plastramengro, notwithstanding he went
to sleep, must have been a regular fine fellow."

"I am entirely of your opinion," said I, "but what happened then?"

"Why, brother, the Rommany chal, after he had somewhat recovered from his
surprise, for it is rather uncomfortable to be laid hold of at
night-time, and told you are a prisoner; more especially when you happen
to have two or three things on your mind which, if proved against you,
would carry you to the nashky. {256}  The Rommany chal, I say, clubbed
his whip, and aimed a blow at the plastramengro, which, if it had hit him
on the skull, as was intended, would very likely have cracked it.  The
plastramengro, however, received it partly on his staff, so that it did
him no particular damage.  Whereupon, seeing what kind of customer he had
to deal with, he dropped his staff and seized the chal with both his
hands, who forthwith spurred his horse, hoping, by doing so, either to
break away from him, or fling him down; but it would not do--the
plastramengro held on like a bulldog, so that the Rommany chal, {257a} to
escape being hauled to the ground, suddenly flung himself off the saddle,
and then happened in that lane, close by the gate, such a struggle
between those two--the chal and the runner--as I suppose will never
happen again.  But you must have heard of it; every one has heard of it;
every one has heard of the fight between the Bow Street engro {257b} and
the Rommany chal."

"I never heard of it till now."

"All England rung of it, brother.  There never was a better match than
between those two.  The runner was somewhat the stronger of the two--all
these engroes are strong fellows--and a great deal cooler, for all of
that sort are wondrous cool people--he had, however, to do with one who
knew full well how to take his own part.  The chal fought the engro,
brother, in the old Roman fashion.  He bit, he kicked, and screamed like
a wild cat of Benygant; casting foam from his mouth, and fire from his
eyes.  Sometimes he was beneath the engro's legs, and sometimes he was
upon his shoulders.  What the engro found the most difficult, was to get
a firm hold of the chal, for no sooner did he seize the chal by any part
of his wearing apparel, than the chal either tore himself away, or
contrived to slip out of it; so that in a little time the chal was three
parts naked; and as for holding him by the body, it was out of the
question, for he was as slippery as an eel.  At last the engro seized the
chal by the Belcher's handkerchief, which he wore in a knot round his
neck, and do whatever the chal could, he could not free himself; and when
the engro saw that, it gave him fresh heart, no doubt: 'It's of no use,'
said he; 'you had better give in; hold out your hands for the darbies, or
I will throttle you.'"

"And what did the other fellow do, who came with the chal?" said I.

"I sat still on my horse, brother."

"You!" said I.  "Were you the man?"

"I was he, brother."

"And why did you not help your comrade?"

"I have fought in the ring, brother."

"And what had fighting in the ring to do with fighting in the lane?"

"You mean not fighting.  A great deal, brother; it taught me to prize
fair play.  When I fought Staffordshire Dick, t'other side of London, I
was alone, brother.  Not a Rommany chal to back me, and he had all his
brother pals about him; but they gave me fair play, brother; and I beat
Staffordshire Dick, which I couldn't have done had they put one finger on
his side the scale; for he was as good a man as myself, or nearly so.
Now, brother, had I but bent a finger in favour of the Rommany chal, the
plastramengro would never have come alive out of the lane; but I did not,
for I thought to myself fair play is a precious stone; so you see,
brother--"

"That you are quite right, Mr. Petulengro, I see that clearly; and now,
pray proceed with your narration; it is both moral and entertaining."

But Mr. Petulengro did not proceed with his narration, neither did he
proceed upon his way; he had stopped his horse, and his eyes were
intently fixed on a broad strip of grass beneath some lofty trees, on the
left side of the road.  It was a pleasant enough spot, and seemed to
invite wayfaring people, such as we were, to rest from the fatigues of
the road, and the heat and vehemence of the sun.  After examining it for
a considerable time, Mr. Petulengro said, "I say, brother, that would be
a nice place for a tussle!"

"I dare say it would," said I, "if two people were inclined to fight."

"The ground is smooth," said Mr. Petulengro; "without holes or ruts, and
the trees cast much shade.  I don't think, brother, that we could find a
better place," said Mr. Petulengro, springing from his horse.

"But you and I don't want to fight!"

"Speak for yourself, brother," said Mr. Petulengro.  "However, I will
tell you how the matter stands.  There is a point at present between us.
There can be no doubt that you are the cause of Mrs. Herne's death,
innocently, you will say, but still the cause.  Now, I shouldn't like it
to be known that I went up and down the country with a pal who was the
cause of my mother-in-law's death, that's to say, unless he gave me
satisfaction.  Now, if I and my pal have a tussle, he gives me
satisfaction; and, if he knocks my eyes out, which I know you can't do,
it makes no difference at all, he gives me satisfaction; and he who says
to the contrary, knows nothing of Gypsy law, and is a dinelo {259} into
the bargain."

"But we have no gloves!"

"Gloves!" said Mr. Petulengro, contemptuously, "gloves!  I tell you what,
brother, I always thought you were a better hand at the gloves than the
naked fist; and, to tell you the truth, besides taking satisfaction for
Mrs. Herne's death, I wish to see what you can do with your mawleys;
{260} so now is your time, brother, and this is your place, grass and
shade, no ruts or holes; come on, brother, or I shall think you what I
should not like to call you."



CHAPTER LXXXII


Offence and Defence--I'm Satisfied--Fond of Solitude--Possession of
Property--Chal Devlehi--Winding Path.

And when I heard Mr. Petulengro talk in this manner, which I had never
heard him do before, and which I can only account for by his being
fasting and ill-tempered, I had of course no other alternative than to
accept his challenge; so I put myself into a posture which I deemed the
best both for offence and defence, and the tussle commenced; and when it
had endured for about half an hour, Mr. Petulengro said, "Brother, there
is much blood on your face; you had better wipe it off;" and when I had
wiped it off, and again resumed my former attitude, Mr. Petulengro said,
"I think enough has been done, brother, in the affair of the old woman; I
have, moreover, tried what you are able to do, and find you, as I
thought, less apt with the naked mawleys than the stuffed gloves; nay,
brother, put your hands down, I'm satisfied; blood has been shed, which
is all that can be reasonably expected for an old woman who carried so
much brimstone about her as Mrs. Herne."

So the struggle ended, and we resumed our route, Mr. Petulengro sitting
sideways upon his horse as before, and I driving my little pony-cart, and
when we had proceeded about three miles, we came to a small public-house,
which bore the sign of the "Silent Woman," where we stopped to refresh
our cattle and ourselves; and as we sat over our bread and ale, it came
to pass that Mr. Petulengro asked me various questions, and amongst
others, how I intended to dispose of myself; I told him that I did not
know; whereupon, with considerable frankness, he invited me to his camp,
and told me that if I chose to settle down amongst them, and become a
Rommany chal, I should have his wife's sister Ursula, who was still
unmarried, and occasionally talked of me.

I declined his offer, assigning as a reason the recent death of Mrs.
Herne, of which I was the cause, although innocent.  "A pretty life I
should lead with those two," said I, "when they came to know it."  "Pooh,"
said Mr. Petulengro, "they will never know it.  I shan't blab, and as for
Leonora, that girl has a head on her shoulders."  "Unlike the woman in
the sign," said I, "whose head is cut off.  You speak nonsense, Mr.
Petulengro; as long as a woman has a head on her shoulders she'll
talk,--but, leaving women out of the case, it is impossible to keep
anything a secret; an old master of mine told me so long ago.  I have
moreover another reason for declining your offer.  I am at present not
disposed for society.  I am become fond of solitude.  I wish I could find
some quiet place to which I could retire to hold communion with my own
thoughts, and practise, if I thought fit, either of my trades."  "What
trades?" said Mr. Petulengro.  "Why, the one which I have lately been
engaged in, or my original one, which I confess I should like better,
that of a kaulomescro." {263}  "Ah, I have frequently heard you talk of
making horse-shoes," said Mr. Petulengro; "I, however, never saw you make
one, and no one else that I am aware; I don't believe--come, brother,
don't be angry, it's quite possible that you may have done things which
neither I nor any one else has seen you do, and that such things may some
day or other come to light, as you say nothing can be kept secret.  Be
that, however, as it may, pay the reckoning and let us be going; I think
I can advise you to just such a kind of place as you seem to want."

"And how do you know that I have got wherewithal to pay the reckoning?" I
demanded.  "Brother," said Mr. Petulengro, "I was just now looking in
your face, which exhibited the very look of a person conscious of the
possession of property; there was nothing hungry or sneaking in it.  Pay
the reckoning, brother."

And when we were once more upon the road, Mr. Petulengro began to talk of
the place which he conceived would serve me as a retreat under present
circumstances.  "I tell you frankly, brother, that it is a queer kind of
place, and I am not very fond of pitching my tent in it, it is so
surprisingly dreary.  It is a deep dingle in the midst of a large field,
on an estate about which there has been a lawsuit for some years past.  I
dare say you will be quiet enough, for the nearest town is five miles
distant, and there are only a few huts and hedge public-houses in the
neighbourhood.  Brother, I am fond of solitude myself, but not that kind
of solitude; I like a quiet heath, where I can pitch my house, but I
always like to have a gay stirring place not far off, where the women can
pen dukkerin, {264a} and I myself can sell or buy a horse, if
needful--such a place as the Chong Gav. {264b}  I never feel so merry as
when there, brother, or on the heath above it, where I taught you
Rommany."

Shortly after this discourse we reached a milestone, and a few yards from
the milestone, on the left hand, was a cross road.  Thereupon Mr.
Petulengro said, "Brother, my path lies to the left; if you choose to go
with me to my camp, good; if not, Chal Devlehi." {264c}  But I again
refused Mr. Petulengro's invitation, and, shaking him by the hand,
proceeded forward alone; and about ten miles farther on I reached the
town of which he had spoken, and, following certain directions which he
had given, discovered, though not without some difficulty, the dingle
which he had mentioned.  It was a deep hollow in the midst of a wide
field; the shelving sides were overgrown with trees and bushes, a belt of
sallows surrounded it on the top, a steep winding path led down into the
depths, practicable, however, for a light cart, like mine; at the bottom
was an open space, and there I pitched my tent, and there I contrived to
put up my forge.  "I will here ply the trade of kaulomescro," said I.



CHAPTER LXXXIII


Highly Poetical--Volundr--Grecian Mythology--Making a Petul--Tongues of
Flame--Hammering--Spite of Dukkerin--Heaviness.

It has always struck me that there is something highly poetical about a
forge.  I am not singular in this opinion: various individuals have
assured me that they can never pass by one, even in the midst of a
crowded town, without experiencing sensations which they can scarcely
define, but which are highly pleasurable.  I have a decided penchant for
forges, especially rural ones, placed in some quaint quiet spot--a
dingle, for example, which is a poetical place, or at a meeting of four
roads, which is still more so; for how many a superstition--and
superstition is the soul of poetry--is connected with these cross roads!
I love to light upon such a one, especially after night-fall, as
everything about a forge tells to most advantage at night; the hammer
sounds more solemnly in the stillness; the glowing particles scattered by
the strokes sparkle with more effect in the darkness, whilst the sooty
visage of the sastramescro, half in shadow, and half illumed by the red
and partial blaze of the forge, looks more mysterious and strange.  On
such occasions I draw in my horse's rein, and, seated in the saddle,
endeavour to associate with the picture before me--in itself a picture of
romance--whatever of the wild and wonderful I have read of in books, or
have seen with my own eyes in connection with forges.

I believe the life of any blacksmith, especially a rural one, would
afford materials for a highly poetical history.  I do not speak
unadvisedly, having the honour to be free of the forge, and therefore
fully competent to give an opinion as to what might be made out of the
forge by some dexterous hand.  Certainly, the strangest and most
entertaining life ever written is that of a blacksmith of the olden
north, a certain Volundr, or Velint, who lived in woods and thickets,
made keen swords--so keen, indeed, that if placed in a running stream,
they would fairly divide an object, however slight, which was borne
against them by the water, and who eventually married a king's daughter,
by whom he had a son, who was as bold a knight as his father was a
cunning blacksmith.  I never see a forge at night, when seated on the
back of my horse, at the bottom of a dark lane, but I somehow or other
associate it with the exploits of this extraordinary fellow, with many
other extraordinary things, amongst which, as I have hinted before, are
particular passages of my own life, one or two of which I shall perhaps
relate to the reader.

I never associate Vulcan and his Cyclops with the idea of a forge.  These
gentry would be the very last people in the world to flit across my mind
whilst gazing at the forge from the bottom of the dark lane.  The truth
is, they are highly unpoetical fellows, as well they may be, connected as
they are with the Grecian mythology.  At the very mention of their names
the forge burns dull and dim, as if snowballs had been suddenly flung
into it; the only remedy is to ply the bellows, an operation which I now
hasten to perform.

I am in the dingle making a horse-shoe.  Having no other horses on whose
hoofs I could exercise my art, I made my first essay on those of my own
horse, if that could be called horse which horse was none, being only a
pony.  Perhaps, if I had sought all England, I should scarcely have found
an animal more in need of the kind offices of the smith.  On three of his
feet there were no shoes at all, and on the fourth only a remnant of one,
on which account his hoofs were sadly broken and lacerated by his late
journeys over the hard and flinty roads.  "You belonged to a tinker
before," said I, addressing the animal, "but now you belong to a smith.
It is said that the household of the shoemaker invariably go worse shod
than that of any other craft.  That may be the case of those who make
shoes of leather, but it shan't be said of the household of him who makes
shoes of iron; at any rate it shan't be said of mine.  I tell you what,
my gry, whilst you continue with me, you shall both be better shod, and
better fed, than you were with your last master."

I am in the dingle making a petul; {267} and I must here observe, that
whilst I am making a horse-shoe, the reader need not be surprised if I
speak occasionally in the language of the lord of the horse-shoe--Mr.
Petulengro.  I have for some time past been plying the peshota, or
bellows, endeavouring to raise up the yag, or fire, in my primitive
forge.  The angar, or coals, are now burning fiercely, casting forth
sparks and long vagescoe chipes, {268a} or tongues of flame; a small bar
of sastra, or iron, is lying in the fire, to the length of ten or twelve
inches, and so far it is hot, very hot, exceeding hot, brother.  And now
you see me, prala, {268b} snatch the bar of iron, and place the heated
end of it upon the covantza, {268c} or anvil, and forthwith I commence
cooring {268d} the sastra as hard as if I had been just engaged by a
master at the rate of dui caulor, or two shillings, a day, brother; and
when I have beaten the iron till it is nearly cool, and my arm tired, I
place it again in the angar, and begin again to rouse the fire with the
pudamengro, which signifies the blowing thing, and is another and more
common word for bellows; and whilst thus employed I sing a Gypsy song,
the sound of which is wonderfully in unison with the hoarse moaning of
the pudamengro, and ere the song is finished, the iron is again hot and
malleable.  Behold, I place it once more on the covantza, and recommence
hammering; and now I am somewhat at fault; I am in want of assistance; I
want you, brother, or some one else, to take the bar out of my hand and
support it upon the covantza, whilst I, applying a chinomescro, or kind
of chisel, to the heated iron, cut off with a lusty stroke or two of the
shukaro {268e} baro, or big hammer, as much as is required for the petul.
But having no one to help me, I go on hammering till I have fairly
knocked off as much as I want, and then I place the piece in the fire,
and again apply the bellows, and take up the song where I left it off;
and when I have finished the song, I take out the iron, but this time
with my plaistra, or pincers, and then I recommence hammering, turning
the iron round and round with my pincers: and now I bend the iron, and,
lo and behold! it has assumed something of the outline of a petul.

I am not going to enter into farther details with respect to the
process--it was rather a wearisome one.  I had to contend with various
disadvantages; my forge was a rude one, my tools might have been better;
I was in want of one or two highly necessary implements, but, above all,
manual dexterity.  Though free of the forge, I had not practised the
albeytarian art for very many years, never since--but stay, it is not my
intention to tell the reader, at least in this place, how and when I
became a blacksmith.  There was one thing, however, which stood me in
good stead in my labour, the same thing which through life has ever been
of incalculable utility to me, and has not unfrequently supplied the
place of friends, money, and many other things of almost equal
importance--iron perseverance, without which all the advantages of time
and circumstance are of very little avail in any undertaking.  I was
determined to make a horse-shoe, and a good one, in spite of every
obstacle--ay, in spite of dukkerin. {269}  At the end of four days,
during which I had fashioned and refashioned the thing at least fifty
times, I had made a petul such as no master of the craft need have been
ashamed of; with the second shoe I had less difficulty, and, by the time
I had made the fourth, I would have scorned to take off my hat to the
best smith in Cheshire.

But I had not yet shod my little gry: this I proceeded now to do.  After
having first well pared the hoofs with my churi, {270a} I applied each
petul hot, glowing hot, to the pindro. {270b}  Oh, how the hoofs hissed!
and, oh, the pleasant pungent odour which diffused itself through the
dingle!--an odour good for an ailing spirit.

I shod the little horse bravely--merely pricked him once, slightly, with
a cafi, {270c} for doing which, I remember, he kicked me down; I was not
disconcerted, however, but, getting up, promised to be more cautious in
future; and having finished the operation, I filed the hoof well with the
rin baro, then dismissed him to graze amongst the trees, and, putting my
smaller tools into the muchtar, I sat down on my stone, and, supporting
my arm upon my knee, leaned my head upon my hand.  Heaviness had come
over me.



CHAPTER LXXXIV


Several Causes--Frogs and Efts--Gloom and Twilight--What should I
Do?--"Our Father"--Fellow-men--What a Mercy!--Almost Calm--Fresh
Store--History of Saul--Pitch Dark.

Heaviness had suddenly come over me, heaviness of heart, and of body
also.  I had accomplished the task which I had imposed upon myself, and
now that nothing more remained to do, my energies suddenly deserted me,
and I felt without strength, and without hope.  Several causes, perhaps,
co-operated to bring about the state in which I then felt myself.  It is
not improbable that my energies had been overstrained during the work the
progress of which I have attempted to describe; and every one is aware
that the results of overstrained energies are feebleness and
lassitude--want of nourishment might likewise have something to do with
it.  During my sojourn in the dingle, my food had been of the simplest
and most unsatisfying description, by no means calculated to support the
exertion which the labour I had been engaged upon required; it had
consisted of coarse oaten cakes and hard cheese, and for beverage I had
been indebted to a neighbouring pit, in which, in the heat of the day, I
frequently saw, not golden or silver fish, but frogs and efts swimming
about.  I am, however, inclined to believe that Mrs. Herne's cake had
quite as much to do with the matter as insufficient nourishment.  I had
never entirely recovered from the effects of its poison, but had
occasionally, especially at night, been visited by a grinding pain in the
stomach, and my whole body had been suffused with cold sweat; and indeed
these memorials of the drow have never entirely disappeared--even at the
present time they display themselves in my system, especially after much
fatigue of body and excitement of mind.  So there I sat in the dingle
upon my stone, nerveless and hopeless, by whatever cause or causes that
state had been produced--there I sat with my head leaning upon my hand,
and so I continued a long, long time.  At last I lifted my head from my
hand, and began to cast anxious, unquiet looks about the dingle--the
entire hollow was now enveloped in deep shade--I cast my eyes up; there
was a golden gleam on the tops of the trees which grew towards the upper
parts of the dingle; but lower down, all was gloom and twilight--yet,
when I first sat down on my stone, the sun was right above the dingle,
illuminating all its depths by the rays which it cast perpendicularly
down--so I must have sat a long, long time upon my stone.  And now, once
more, I rested my head upon my hand, but almost instantly lifted it again
in a kind of fear, and began looking at the objects before me--the forge,
the tools, the branches of the trees, endeavouring to follow their rows,
till they were lost in the darkness of the dingle; and now I found my
right hand grasping convulsively the three fore fingers of the left,
first collectively, and then successively, wringing them till the joints
cracked; then I became quiet, but not for long.

Suddenly I started up, and could scarcely repress the shriek which was
rising to my lips.  Was it possible?  Yes, all too certain; the evil one
was upon me; the inscrutable horror which I had felt in my boyhood had
once more taken possession of me.  I had thought that it had forsaken
me--that it would never visit me again; that I had outgrown it; that I
might almost bid defiance to it; and I had even begun to think of it
without horror, as we are in the habit of doing of horrors of which we
conceive we run no danger; and lo! when least thought of, it had seized
me again.  Every moment I felt it gathering force, and making me more
wholly its own.  What should I do?--resist, of course; and I did resist.
I grasped, I tore, and strove to fling it from me; but of what avail were
my efforts?  I could only have got rid of it by getting rid of myself: it
was a part of myself, or rather it was all myself.  I rushed amongst the
trees, and struck at them with my bare fists, and dashed my head against
them, but I felt no pain.  How could I feel pain with that horror upon
me!  And then I flung myself on the ground, gnawed the earth, and
swallowed it; and then I looked round; it was almost total darkness in
the dingle, and the darkness added to my horror.  I could no longer stay
there; up I rose from the ground, and attempted to escape.  At the bottom
of the winding path which led up the acclivity I fell over something
which was lying on the ground; the something moved, and gave a kind of
whine.  It was my little horse, which had made that place its lair; my
little horse; my only companion and friend in that now awful solitude.  I
reached the mouth of the dingle; the sun was just sinking in the far west
behind me, the fields were flooded with his last gleams.  How beautiful
everything looked in the last gleams of the sun!  I felt relieved for a
moment; I was no longer in the horrid dingle.  In another minute the sun
was gone, and a big cloud occupied the place where he had been: in a
little time it was almost as dark as it had previously been in the open
part of the dingle.  My horror increased; what was I to do?--it was of no
use fighting against the horror--that I saw; the more I fought against
it, the stronger it became.  What should I do: say my prayers?  Ah! why
not?  So I knelt down under the hedge, and said, "Our Father"; but that
was of no use; and now I could no longer repress cries--the horror was
too great to be borne.  What should I do? run to the nearest town or
village, and request the assistance of my fellow-men?  No! that I was
ashamed to do; notwithstanding the horror was upon me, I was ashamed to
do that.  I knew they would consider me a maniac, if I went screaming
amongst them; and I did not wish to be considered a maniac.  Moreover, I
knew that I was not a maniac, for I possessed all my reasoning powers,
only the horror was upon me--the screaming horror!  But how were
indifferent people to distinguish between madness and the screaming
horror?  So I thought and reasoned; and at last I determined not to go
amongst my fellow-men, whatever the result might be.  I went to the mouth
of the dingle, and there, placing myself on my knees, I again said the
Lord's Prayer; but it was of no use--praying seemed to have no effect
over the horror; the unutterable fear appeared rather to increase than
diminish, and I again uttered wild cries, so loud that I was apprehensive
they would be heard by some chance passenger on the neighbouring road; I
therefore went deeper into the dingle.  I sat down with my back against a
thorn bush; the thorns entered my flesh, and when I felt them, I pressed
harder against the bush; I thought the pain of the flesh might in some
degree counteract the mental agony; presently I felt them no longer--the
power of the mental horror was so great that it was impossible, with that
upon me, to feel any pain from the thorns.  I continued in this posture a
long time, undergoing what I cannot describe, and would not attempt if I
were able.  Several times I was on the point of starting up and rushing
anywhere; but I restrained myself, for I knew I could not escape from
myself, so why should I not remain in the dingle?  So I thought and said
to myself, for my reasoning powers were still uninjured.  At last it
appeared to me that the horror was not so strong, not quite so strong
upon me.  Was it possible that it was relaxing its grasp, releasing its
prey?  Oh what a mercy! but it could not be; and yet--I looked up to
heaven, and clasped my hands, and said, "Our Father."  I said no more--I
was too agitated; and now I was almost sure that the horror had done its
worst.

After a little time I arose, and staggered down yet farther into the
dingle.  I again found my little horse on the same spot as before.  I put
my hand to his mouth--he licked my hand.  I flung myself down by him, and
put my arms round his neck; the creature whinnied, and appeared to
sympathise with me.  What a comfort to have any one, even a dumb brute,
to sympathise with me at such a moment!  I clung to my little horse, as
if for safety and protection.  I laid my head on his neck, and felt
almost calm.  Presently the fear returned, but not so wild as before; it
subsided, came again, again subsided; then drowsiness came over me, and
at last I fell asleep, my head supported on the neck of the little horse.
I awoke; it was dark, dark night--not a star was to be seen--but I felt
no fear, the horror had left me.  I arose from the side of the little
horse, and went into my tent, lay down, and again went to sleep.

I awoke in the morning weak and sore, and shuddering at the remembrance
of what I had gone through on the preceding day; the sun was shining
brightly, but it had not yet risen high enough to show its head above the
trees which fenced the eastern side of the dingle, on which account the
dingle was wet and dank, from the dews of the night.  I kindled my fire,
and, after sitting by it for some time to warm my frame, I took some of
the coarse food which I have already mentioned; notwithstanding my late
struggle, and the coarseness of the fare, I ate with appetite.  My
provisions had by this time been very much diminished, and I saw that it
would be speedily necessary, in the event of my continuing to reside in
the dingle, to lay in a fresh store.  After my meal, I went to the pit
and filled a can with water, which I brought to the dingle, and then
again sat down on my stone.  I considered what I should next do: it was
necessary to do something, or my life in this solitude would be
insupportable.  What should I do? rouse up my forge and fashion a horse-
shoe?  But I wanted nerve and heart for such an employment; moreover, I
had no motive for fatiguing myself in this manner; my own horse was shod,
no other was at hand, and it is hard to work for the sake of working.
What should I do? read?  Yes, but I had no other book than the Bible
which the Welsh Methodist had given me.  Well, why not read the Bible?  I
was once fond of reading the Bible; ay, but those days were long gone by.
However, I did not see what else I could well do on the present
occasion--so I determined to read the Bible--it was in Welsh; at any rate
it might amuse me.  So I took the Bible out of the sack, in which it was
lying in the cart, and began to read at the place where I chanced to open
it.  I opened it at that part where the history of Saul commences.  At
first I read with indifference, but after some time my attention was
riveted, and no wonder, I had come to the visitations of Saul--those dark
moments of his, when he did and said such unaccountable things; it almost
appeared to me that I was reading of myself; I, too, had my visitations,
dark as ever his were.  Oh, how I sympathised with Saul, the tall dark
man!  I had read his life before, but it had made no impression on me; it
had never occurred to me that I was like him; but I now sympathised with
Saul, for my own dark hour was but recently passed, and, perhaps, would
soon return again; the dark hour came frequently on Saul.

Time wore away; I finished the book of Saul, and, closing the volume,
returned it to its place.  I then returned to my seat on the stone, and
thought of what I had read, and what I had lately undergone.  All at once
I thought I felt well-known sensations, a cramping of the breast, and a
tingling of the soles of the feet; they were what I had felt on the
preceding day--they were the forerunners of the fear.  I sat motionless
on my stone, the sensations passed away, and the fear came not.  Darkness
was now coming again over the earth; the dingle was again in deep shade;
I roused the fire with the breath of the bellows, and sat looking at the
cheerful glow; it was cheering and comforting.  My little horse came now
and lay down on the ground beside the forge; I was not quite deserted.  I
again ate some of the coarse food, and drank plentifully of the water
which I had fetched in the morning.  I then put fresh fuel on the fire,
and sat for a long time looking on the blaze; I then went into my tent.

I awoke, on my own calculation, about midnight--it was pitch dark, and
there was much fear upon me.



CHAPTER LXXXV


Free and Independent--I Don't See Why--Oats--A Noise--Unwelcome
Visitors--What's the Matter?--Good Day to Ye--The Tall
Girl--Dovrefeld--Blow on the Face--Civil Enough--What's This?--Vulgar
Woman--Hands off--Gasping for Breath--Long Melford--A Pretty Manoeuvre--A
Long Draught--Signs of Animation--It Won't Do--No Malice--Bad People.

Two mornings after the period to which I have brought the reader in the
preceding chapter, I sat by my fire at the bottom of the dingle; I had
just breakfasted, and had finished the last morsel of food which I had
brought with me to that solitude.

"What shall I now do?" said I to myself; "shall I continue here, or
decamp?--this is a sad lonely spot--perhaps I had better quit it; but
whither shall I go? the wide world is before me, but what can I do
therein?  I have been in the world already without much success.  No, I
had better remain here; the place is lonely, it is true, but here I am
free and independent, and can do what I please; but I can't remain here
without food.  Well, I will find my way to the nearest town, lay in a
fresh supply of provision, and come back, turning my back upon the world,
which has turned its back upon me.  I don't see why I should not write a
little sometimes; I have pens and an ink-horn, and for a writing-desk I
can place the Bible on my knee.  I shouldn't wonder if I could write a
capital satire on the world on the back of that Bible; but, first of all,
I must think of supplying myself with food."

I rose up from the stone on which I was seated, determining to go to the
nearest town, with my little horse and cart, and procure what I wanted.
The nearest town, according to my best calculation, lay about five miles
distant; I had no doubt, however, that, by using ordinary diligence, I
should be back before evening.  In order to go lighter, I determined to
leave my tent standing as it was, and all the things which I had
purchased of the tinker, just as they were.  "I need not be apprehensive
on their account," said I to myself; "nobody will come here to meddle
with them--the great recommendation of this place is its perfect
solitude--I dare say that I could live here six months without seeing a
single human visage.  I will now harness my little gry and be off to the
town."

At a whistle which I gave, the little gry, {280} which was feeding on the
bank near the uppermost part of the dingle, came running to me, for by
this time he had become so accustomed to me, that he would obey my call,
for all the world as if he had been one of the canine species.  "Now,"
said I to him, "we are going to the town to buy bread for myself, and
oats for you--I am in a hurry to be back; therefore, I pray you to do
your best, and to draw me and the cart to the town with all possible
speed, and to bring us back; if you do your best, I promise you oats on
your return.  You know the meaning of oats, Ambrol?"

Ambrol whinnied as if to let me know that he understood me perfectly
well, as indeed he well might, as I had never once fed him during the
time that he had been in my possession without saying the word in
question to him.  Now, Ambrol, in the Gypsy tongue, signifieth a pear.

So I caparisoned Ambrol, and then, going to the cart, I removed two or
three things from it into the tent; I then lifted up the shafts, and was
just going to call to the pony to come and be fastened to them, when I
thought I heard a noise.

I stood stock still, supporting the shaft of the little cart in my hand,
and bending the right side of my face slightly towards the ground, but I
could hear nothing; the noise which I thought I had heard was not one of
those sounds which I was accustomed to hear in that solitude--the note of
a bird, or the rustling of a bough; it was--there I heard it again, a
sound very much resembling the grating of a wheel amongst gravel.  Could
it proceed from the road?  Oh no, the road was too far distant for me to
hear the noise of anything moving along it.  Again I listened, and now I
distinctly heard the sound of wheels, which seemed to be approaching the
dingle; nearer and nearer they drew, and presently the sound of wheels
was blended with the murmur of voices.  Anon I heard a boisterous shout,
which seemed to proceed from the entrance of the dingle.  "Here are folks
at hand," said I, letting the shaft of the cart fall to the ground, "is
it possible that they can be coming here?"

My doubts on that point, if I entertained any, were soon dispelled; the
wheels, which had ceased moving for a moment or two, were once again in
motion, and were now evidently moving down the winding path which led to
my retreat.  Leaving my cart, I came forward and placed myself near the
entrance of the open space, with my eyes fixed on the path down which my
unexpected, and I may say unwelcome, visitors were coming.  Presently I
heard a stamping or sliding, as if of a horse in some difficulty; then a
loud curse, and the next moment appeared a man and a horse and cart; the
former holding the head of the horse up to prevent him from falling, of
which he was in danger, owing to the precipitous nature of the path.
Whilst thus occupied, the head of the man was averted from me.  When,
however, he had reached the bottom of the descent, he turned his head,
and perceiving me, as I stood bareheaded, without either coat or
waistcoat, about two yards from him, he gave a sudden start, so violent,
that the backward motion of his hand had nearly flung the horse upon his
haunches.

"Why don't you move forward?" said a voice from behind, apparently that
of a female; "you are stopping up the way, and we shall be all down upon
one another;" and I saw the head of another horse overtopping the back of
the cart.

"Why don't you move forward, Jack?" said another voice, also of a female,
yet higher up the path.

The man stirred not, but remained staring at me in the posture which he
had assumed on first perceiving me, his body very much drawn back, his
left foot far in advance of his right, and with his right hand still
grasping the halter of the horse, which gave way more and more, till it
was clean down on its haunches.

"What's the matter?" said the voice which I had last heard.

"Get back with you, Belle, Moll," said the man, still staring at me,
"here's something not over canny or comfortable."

"What is it?" said the same voice; "let me pass, Moll, and I'll soon
clear the way;" and I heard a kind of rushing down the path.

"You need not be afraid," said I, addressing myself to the man.  "I mean
you no harm; I am a wanderer like yourself--come here to seek for
shelter--you need not be afraid; I am a Roman chabo {283} by
matriculation--one of the right sort, and no mistake--Good day to ye,
brother; I bid ye welcome."

The man eyed me suspiciously for a moment--then, turning to his horse
with a loud curse, he pulled him up from his haunches, and led him and
the cart farther down to one side of the dingle, muttering, as he passed
me, "Afraid!  Hm!"

I do not remember ever to have seen a more ruffianly looking fellow; he
was about six feet high, with an immensely athletic frame; his face was
black and bluff, and sported an immense pair of whiskers, but with here
and there a grey hair, for his age could not be much under fifty.  He
wore a faded blue frock-coat, corduroys, and highlows; on his black head
was a kind of red nightcap, round his bull neck a Barcelona
handkerchief--I did not like the look of the man at all.

"Afraid!" growled the fellow, proceeding to unharness his horse; "that
was the word, I think."

But other figures were now already upon the scene.  Dashing past the
other horse and cart, which by this time had reached the bottom of the
pass, appeared an exceedingly tall woman, or rather girl, for she could
scarcely have been above eighteen; she was dressed in a tight bodice and
a blue stuff gown; hat, bonnet, or cap she had none, and her hair, which
was flaxen, hung down on her shoulders unconfined; her complexion was
fair, and her features handsome, with a determined but open
expression--she was followed by another female, about forty, stout and
vulgar looking, at whom I scarcely glanced, my whole attention being
absorbed by the tall girl.

"What's the matter, Jack?" said the latter, looking at the man.

"Only afraid, that's all," said the man, still proceeding with his work.

"Afraid at what--at that lad? why, he looks like a ghost--I would engage
to thrash him with one hand."

"You might beat me with no hands at all," said I, "fair damsel, only by
looking at me--I never saw such a face and figure, both regal--why, you
look like Ingeborg, Queen of Norway; she had twelve brothers, you know,
and could lick them all, though they were heroes:--

   'On Dovrefeld in Norway,
   Were once together seen,
   The twelve heroic brothers
   Of Ingeborg the queen.'"

"None of your chaffing, young fellow," said the tall girl, "or I will
give you what shall make you wipe your face; be civil, or you will rue
it."

"Well, perhaps I was a peg too high," said I; "I ask your pardon--here's
something a bit lower:--

   'As I was jawing to the gav yeck divvus
   I met on the drom miro Rommany chi--'" {285}

"None of your Rommany chies, young fellow," said the tall girl, looking
more menacingly than before, and clenching her fist; "you had better be
civil, I am none of your chies; and though I keep company with Gypsies,
or, to speak more proper, half-and-halfs, I would have you to know that I
come of Christian blood and parents, and was born in the great house of
Long Melford."

"I have no doubt," said I, "that it was a great house; judging from your
size I shouldn't wonder if you were born in a church."

"Stay, Belle," said the man, putting himself before the young virago, who
was about to rush upon me, "my turn is first"--then, advancing to me in a
menacing attitude, he said, with a look of deep malignity, "'Afraid' was
the word, wasn't it?"

"It was," said I, "but I think I wronged you; I should have said, aghast,
you exhibited every symptom of one labouring under uncontrollable fear."

The fellow stared at me with a look of stupid ferocity, and appeared to
be hesitating whether to strike or not: ere he could make up his mind,
the tall girl started forward, crying, "He's chaffing; let me at him;"
and before I could put myself on my guard, she struck me a blow on the
face which had nearly brought me to the ground.

"Enough," said I, putting my hand to my cheek; "you have now performed
your promise, and made me wipe my face: now be pacified, and tell me
fairly the grounds of this quarrel."

"Grounds!" said the fellow; "didn't you say I was afraid; and if you
hadn't, who gave you leave to camp on my ground?"

"Is it your ground?" said I.

"A pretty question," said the fellow; "as if all the world didn't know
that.  Do you know who I am?"

"I guess I do," said I; "unless I am much mistaken, you are he whom folks
call the 'Flaming Tinman.'  To tell you the truth, I'm glad we have met,
for I wished to see you.  These are your two wives, I suppose; I greet
them.  There's no harm done--there's room enough here for all of us--we
shall soon be good friends, I dare say; and when we are a little better
acquainted, I'll tell you my history."

"Well, if that doesn't beat all!" said the fellow.

"I don't think he's chaffing now," said the girl, whose anger seemed to
have subsided on a sudden; "the young man speaks civil enough."

"Civil!" said the fellow, with an oath; "but that's just like you; with
you it is a blow, and all over.  Civil!  I suppose you would have him
stay here, and get into all my secrets, and hear all I may have to say to
my two morts."

"Two morts!" said the girl, kindling up, "where are they?  Speak for one,
and no more.  I am no mort of yours, whatever some one else may be.  I
tell you one thing, Black John, or Anselo,--for t'other a'n't your
name,--the same thing I told the young man here, be civil, or you will
rue it."

The fellow looked at the girl furiously, but his glance soon quailed
before hers; he withdrew his eyes, and cast them on my little horse,
which was feeding amongst the trees.  "What's this?" said he, rushing
forward and seizing the animal.  "Why, as I am alive, this is the horse
of that mumping villain Slingsby."

"It's his no longer; I bought it and paid for it."

"It's mine now," said the fellow; "I swore I would seize it the next time
I found it on my beat; ay, and beat the master too."

"I am not Slingsby."

"All's one for that."

"You don't say you will beat me?"

"Afraid was the word."

"I'm sick and feeble."

"Hold up your fists."

"Won't the horse satisfy you?"

"Horse nor bellows either."

"No mercy, then?"

"Here's at you."

"Mind your eyes, Jack.  There, you've got it.  I thought so," shouted the
girl, as the fellow staggered back from a sharp blow in the eye; "I
thought he was chaffing at you all along."

"Never mind, Anselo.  You know what to do--go in," said the vulgar woman,
who had hitherto not spoken a word, but who now came forward with all the
look of a fury; "go inapopli; {287} you'll smash ten like he."

The Flaming Tinman took her advice, and came in bent on smashing, but
stopped short on receiving a left-handed blow on the nose.

"You'll never beat the Flaming Tinman in that way," said the girl,
looking at me doubtfully.

And so I began to think myself, when, in the twinkling of an eye, the
Flaming Tinman, disengaging himself of his frock-coat, and dashing off
his red nightcap, came rushing in more desperately than ever.  To a flush
hit which he received in the mouth he paid as little attention as a wild
bull would have done; in a moment his arms were around me, and in another
he had hurled me down, falling heavily upon me.  The fellow's strength
appeared to be tremendous.

"Pay him off now," said the vulgar woman.  The Flaming Tinman made no
reply, but, planting his knee on my breast, seized my throat with two
huge horny hands.  I gave myself up for dead, and probably should have
been so in another minute but for the tall girl, who caught hold of the
handkerchief which the fellow wore round his neck, with a grasp nearly as
powerful as that with which he pressed my throat.

"Do you call that fair play?" said she.

"Hands off, Belle," said the other woman; "do you call it fair play to
interfere? hands off, or I'll be down upon you myself."

But Belle paid no heed to the injunction, and tugged so hard at the
handkerchief, that the Flaming Tinman was nearly throttled; suddenly
relinquishing his hold of me, he started on his feet, and aimed a blow at
my fair preserver, who avoided it, but said coolly--

"Finish t'other business first, and then I'm your woman whenever you
like; but finish it fairly--no foul play when I'm by--I'll be the boy's
second, and Moll can pick up you when he happens to knock you down."

The battle during the next ten minutes raged with considerable fury, but
it so happened that during this time I was never able to knock the
Flaming Tinman down, but on the contrary received six knock-down blows
myself.  "I can never stand this," said I, as I sat on the knee of Belle,
"I am afraid I must give in; the Flaming Tinman hits very hard," and I
spat out a mouthful of blood.

"Sure enough you'll never beat the Flaming Tinman in the way you
fight--it's of no use flipping at the Flaming Tinman with your left hand;
why don't you use your right?"

"Because I'm not handy with it," said I; and then getting up, I once more
confronted the Flaming Tinman, and struck him six blows for his one, but
they were all left-handed blows, and the blow which the Flaming Tinman
gave me knocked me off my legs.

"Now, will you use Long Melford?" said Belle, picking me up.

"I don't know what you mean by Long Melford," said I, gasping for breath.

"Why, this long right of yours," said Belle, feeling my right arm; "if
you do, I shouldn't wonder if you yet stand a chance."

And now the Flaming Tinman was once more ready, much more ready than
myself.  I, however, rose from my second's knee as well as my weakness
would permit me.  On he came, striking left and right, appearing almost
as fresh as to wind and spirit as when he first commenced the combat,
though his eyes were considerably swelled, and his nether lip was cut in
two; on he came, striking left and right, and I did not like his blows at
all, or even the wind of them, which was anything but agreeable, and I
gave way before him.  At last he aimed a blow which, had it taken full
effect, would doubtless have ended the battle, but owing to his slipping,
the fist only grazed my left shoulder, and came with terrific force
against a tree, close to which I had been driven; before the Tinman could
recover himself, I collected all my strength, and struck him beneath the
ear, and then fell to the ground completely exhausted; and it so happened
that the blow which I struck the tinker beneath the ear was a
right-handed blow.

"Hurrah for Long Melford!" I heard Belle exclaim; "there is nothing like
Long Melford for shortness, all the world over."

At these words I turned round my head as I lay, and perceived the Flaming
Tinman stretched upon the ground apparently senseless.  "He is dead,"
said the vulgar woman, as she vainly endeavoured to raise him up; "he is
dead; the best man in all the north country, killed in this fashion, by a
boy!"  Alarmed at these words, I made shift to get on my feet; and, with
the assistance of the woman, placed my fallen adversary in a sitting
posture.  I put my hand to his heart, and felt a slight pulsation--"He's
not dead," said I, "only stunned; if he were let blood, he would recover
presently."  I produced a penknife which I had in my pocket, and, baring
the arm of the Tinman, was about to make the necessary incision, when the
woman gave me a violent blow, and, pushing me aside, exclaimed, "I'll
tear the eyes out of your head, if you offer to touch him.  Do you want
to complete your work, and murder him outright, now he's asleep? you have
had enough of his blood already."  "You are mad," said I; "I only seek to
do him service.  Well, if you won't let him be blooded, fetch some water
and fling it in his face; you know where the pit is."

"A pretty manoeuvre!" said the woman; "leave my husband in the hands of
you and that limmer, who has never been true to us--I should find him
strangled or his throat cut when I came back."  "Do you go," said I to
the tall girl; "take the can and fetch some water from the pit."  "You
had better go yourself," said the girl, wiping a tear as she looked on
the yet senseless form of the tinker; "you had better go yourself, if you
think water will do him good."  I had by this time somewhat recovered my
exhausted powers, and, taking the can, I bent my steps as fast as I could
to the pit; arriving there, I lay down on the brink, took a long draught,
and then plunged my head into the water; after which I filled the can,
and bent my way back to the dingle.  Before I could reach the path which
led down into its depths, I had to pass some way along its side; I had
arrived at a part immediately over the scene of the last encounter, where
the bank, overgrown with trees, sloped precipitously down.  Here I heard
a loud sound of voices in the dingle; I stopped, and laying hold of a
tree, leaned over the bank and listened.  The two women appeared to be in
hot dispute in the dingle.  "It was all owing to you, you limmer," said
the vulgar woman to the other; "had you not interfered, the old man would
soon have settled the boy."

"I'm for fair play and Long Melford," said the other.  "If your old man,
as you call him, could have settled the boy fairly, he might for all I
should have cared, but no foul work for me; and as for sticking the boy
with our gulleys when he comes back, as you proposed, I am not so fond of
your old man or you that I should oblige you in it, to my soul's
destruction."  "Hold your tongue, or I'll . . . "  I listened no farther,
but hastened as fast as I could to the dingle.  My adversary had just
begun to show signs of animation; the vulgar woman was still supporting
him, and occasionally cast glances of anger at the tall girl, who was
walking slowly up and down.  I lost no time in dashing the greater part
of the water into the Tinman's face, whereupon he sneezed, moved his
hands, and presently looked round him.  At first his looks were dull and
heavy, and without any intelligence at all; he soon, however, began to
recollect himself, and to be conscious of his situation; he cast a
scowling glance at me, then one of the deepest malignity at the tall
girl, who was still walking about without taking much notice of what was
going forward.  At last he looked at his right hand, which had evidently
suffered from the blow against the tree, and a half-stifled curse escaped
his lips.  The vulgar woman now said something to him in a low tone,
whereupon he looked at her for a moment, and then got upon his legs.
Again the vulgar woman said something to him; her looks were furious, and
she appeared to be urging him on to attempt something.  I observed that
she had a clasped knife in her hand.  The fellow remained standing for
some time as if hesitating what to do; at last he looked at his hand,
and, shaking his head, said something to the woman which I did not
understand.  The tall girl, however, appeared to overhear him, and,
probably repeating his words, said, "No, it won't do; you are right
there; and now hear what I have to say,--let bygones be bygones, and let
us all shake hands, and camp here, as the young man was saying just now."
The man looked at her, and then, without any reply, went to his horse,
which was lying down among the trees, and kicking it up, led it to the
cart, to which he forthwith began to harness it.  The other cart and
horse had remained standing motionless during the whole affair which I
have been recounting, at the bottom of the pass.  The woman now took the
horse by the head, and leading it with the cart into the open part of the
dingle, turned both round, and then led them back, till the horse and
cart had mounted a little way up the ascent; she then stood still and
appeared to be expecting the man.  During this proceeding Belle had stood
looking on without saying anything; at last, perceiving that the man had
harnessed his horse to the other cart, and that both he and the woman
were about to take their departure, she said, "You are not going, are
you?"  Receiving no answer, she continued: "I tell you what, both of you,
Black John, and you Moll, his mort, {293} this is not treating me over
civilly,--however, I am ready to put up with it, and to go with you if
you like, for I bear no malice.  I'm sorry for what has happened, but you
have only yourselves to thank for it.  Now, shall I go with you, only
tell me?"  The man made no manner of reply, but flogged his horse.  The
woman, however, whose passions were probably under less control, replied,
with a screeching tone, "Stay where you are, you jade, and may the curse
of Judas cling to you,--stay with the bit of a mullo {294a} whom you
helped, and my only hope is that he may gulley {294b} you before he comes
to be . . . Have you with us, indeed! after what's past! no, nor nothing
belonging to you.  Fetch down your mailla {294c} go-cart and live here
with your chabo."  She then whipped on the horse, and ascended the pass,
followed by the man.  The carts were light, and they were not long in
ascending the winding path.  I followed to see that they took their
departure.  Arriving at the top, I found near the entrance a small donkey-
cart, which I concluded belonged to the girl.  The tinker and his mort
were already at some distance; I stood looking after them for a little
time, then taking the donkey by the reins I led it with the cart to the
bottom of the dingle.  Arrived there, I found Belle seated on the stone
by the fireplace.  Her hair was all dishevelled, and she was in tears.

"They were bad people," said she, "and I did not like them, but they were
my only acquaintance in the wide world."



CHAPTER LXXXVI


At Tea--Vapours--Isopel Berners--Softly and Kindly--Sweet Pretty
Creature--Bread and Water--Two Sailors--Truth and Constancy--Very
Strangely.

In the evening of that same day the tall girl and I sat at tea by the
fire, at the bottom of the dingle; the girl on a small stool, and myself,
as usual, upon my stone.

The water which served for the tea had been taken from a spring of
pellucid water in the neighbourhood, which I had not had the good fortune
to discover, though it was well known to my companion, and to the
wandering people who frequented the dingle.

"This tea is very good," said I, "but I cannot enjoy it as much as if I
were well: I feel very sadly."

"How else should you feel," said the girl, "after fighting with the
Flaming Tinman?  All I wonder at is that you can feel at all!  As for the
tea, it ought to be good, seeing that it cost me ten shillings a pound."

"That's a great deal for a person in your station to pay."

"In my station!  I'd have you to know, young man--however, I haven't the
heart to quarrel with you, you look so ill; and after all, it is a good
sum for one to pay who travels the roads; but if I must have tea, I like
to have the best; and tea I must have, for I am used to it, though I
can't help thinking that it sometimes fills my head with strange
fancies--what some folks call vapours, making me weep and cry."

"Dear me," said I, "I should never have thought that one of your size and
fierceness would weep and cry!"

"My size and fierceness!  I tell you what, young man, you are not over
civil this evening; but you are ill, as I said before, and I shan't take
much notice of your language, at least for the present; as for my size, I
am not so much bigger than yourself; and as for being fierce, you should
be the last one to fling that at me.  It is well for you that I can be
fierce sometimes.  If I hadn't taken your part against Blazing Bosville,
you wouldn't be now taking tea with me."

"It is true that you struck me in the face first; but we'll let that
pass.  So that man's name is Bosville; what's your own?"

"Isopel Berners."

"How did you get that name?"

"I say, young man, you seem fond of asking questions: will you have
another cup of tea?"

"I was just going to ask for another."

"Well, then, here it is, and much good may it do you; as for my name, I
got it from my mother."

"Your mother's name, then, was Isopel?"

"Isopel Berners."

"But had you never a father?"

"Yes, I had a father," said the girl, sighing, "but I don't bear his
name."

"Is it the fashion, then, in your country for children to bear their
mother's name?"

"If you ask such questions, young man, I shall be angry with you.  I have
told you my name, and, whether my father's or mother's, I am not ashamed
of it."

"It is a noble name."

"There you are right, young man.  The chaplain in the great house, where
I was born, told me it was a noble name; it was odd enough, he said, that
the only three noble names in the county were to be found in the great
house; mine was one; the other two were Devereux and Bohun."

"What do you mean by the great house?"

"The workhouse."

"Is it possible that you were born there?"

"Yes, young man; and as you now speak softly and kindly, I will tell you
my whole tale.  My father was an officer of the sea, and was killed at
sea as he was coming home to marry my mother, Isopel Berners.  He had
been acquainted with her, and had left her; but after a few months he
wrote her a letter, to say that he had no rest, and that he repented, and
that as soon as his ship came to port he would do her all the reparation
in his power.  Well, young man, the very day before they reached port
they met the enemy, and there was a fight, and my father was killed,
after he had struck down six of the enemy's crew on their own deck; for
my father was a big man, as I have heard, and knew tolerably well how to
use his hands.  And when my mother heard the news, she became half
distracted, and ran away into the fields and forests, totally neglecting
her business, for she was a small milliner; and so she ran demented about
the meads and forests for a long time, now sitting under a tree, and now
by the side of a river--at last she flung herself into some water, and
would have been drowned, had not some one been at hand and rescued her,
whereupon she was conveyed to the great house, lest she should attempt to
do herself farther mischief, for she had neither friends nor parents--and
there she died three months after, having first brought me into the
world.  She was a sweet pretty creature, I'm told, but hardly fit for
this world, being neither large, nor fierce, nor able to take her own
part.  So I was born and bred in the great house, where I learnt to read
and sew, to fear God, and to take my own part.  When I was fourteen I was
put out to service to a small farmer and his wife, with whom, however, I
did not stay long, for I was half starved, and otherwise ill-treated,
especially by my mistress, who one day attempting to knock me down with a
besom, I knocked her down with my fist, and went back to the great
house."

"And how did they receive you in the great house?"

"Not very kindly, young man--on the contrary, I was put into a dark room,
where I was kept a fortnight on bread and water; I did not much care,
however, being glad to have got back to the great house at any rate--the
place where I was born, and where my poor mother died; and in the great
house I continued two years longer, reading and sewing, fearing God, and
taking my own part when necessary.  At the end of the two years I was
again put out to service, but this time to a rich farmer and his wife,
with whom, however, I did not live long, less time, I believe, than with
the poor ones, being obliged to leave for--"

"Knocking your mistress down?"

"No, young man, knocking my master down, who conducted himself improperly
towards me.  This time I did not go back to the great house, having a
misgiving that they would not receive me; so I turned my back to the
great house where I was born, and where my poor mother died, and wandered
for several days I know not whither, supporting myself on a few halfpence
which I chanced to have in my pocket.  It happened one day, as I sat
under a hedge crying, having spent my last farthing, that a comfortable-
looking elderly woman came up in a cart, and seeing the state in which I
was, she stopped and asked what was the matter with me; I told her some
part of my story, whereupon she said, 'Cheer up, my dear; if you like,
you shall go with me, and wait upon me.'  Of course I wanted little
persuasion, so I got into the cart and went with her.  She took me to
London and various other places, and I soon found that she was a
travelling woman, who went about the country with silks and linen.  I was
of great use to her, more especially in those places where we met evil
company.  Once, as we were coming from Dover, we were met by two sailors,
who stopped our cart, and would have robbed and stripped us.  'Let me get
down,' said I; so I got down, and fought with them both, till they turned
round and ran away.  Two years I lived with the old gentlewoman, who was
very kind to me, almost as kind as a mother; at last she fell sick at a
place in Lincolnshire, and after a few days died, leaving me her cart and
stock in trade, praying me only to see her decently buried--which I did,
giving her a funeral fit for a gentlewoman.  After which I travelled the
country--melancholy enough for want of company, but so far fortunate,
that I could take my own part when anybody was uncivil to me.  At last,
passing through the valley of Todmorden, I formed the acquaintance of
Blazing Bosville and his wife, with whom I occasionally took journeys for
company's sake, for it is melancholy to travel about alone, even when one
can take one's own part.  I soon found they were evil people; but, upon
the whole, they treated me civilly, and I sometimes lent them a little
money, so that we got on tolerably well together.  He and I, it is true,
had once a dispute, and nearly came to blows; for once, when we were
alone, he wanted me to marry him, promising, if I would, to turn off Grey
Moll, or, if I liked it better, to make her wait upon me as a
maid-servant; I never liked him much, but from that hour less than ever.
Of the two, I believe Grey Moll to be the best, for she is at any rate
true and faithful to him, and I like truth and constancy--don't you,
young man?"

"Yes," said I, "they are very nice things.  I feel very strangely."

"How do you feel, young man?"

"Very much afraid."

"Afraid, at what?  At the Flaming Tinman?  Don't be afraid of him.  He
won't come back, and if he did, he shouldn't touch you in this state; I'd
fight him for you; but he won't come back, so you needn't be afraid of
him."

"I'm not afraid of the Flaming Tinman."

"What, then, are you afraid of?"

"The evil one."

"The evil one!" said the girl; "where is he?"

"Coming upon me."

"Never heed," said the girl, "I'll stand by you."



CHAPTER LXXXVII


Hubbub of Voices--No Offence--Nodding--The Guests.

The kitchen of the public-house was a large one, and many people were
drinking in it; there was a confused hubbub of voices.

I sat down on a bench behind a deal table, of which there were three or
four in the kitchen; presently a bulky man, in a green coat of the
Newmarket cut, and without a hat, entered, and observing me, came up, and
in rather a gruff tone cried, "Want anything, young fellow?"

"Bring me a jug of ale," said I, "if you are the master, as I suppose you
are, by that same coat of yours, and your having no hat on your head."

"Don't be saucy, young fellow," said the landlord, for such he was;
"don't be saucy, or . . . "  Whatever he intended to say he left unsaid,
for fixing his eyes upon one of my hands, which I had placed by chance
upon the table, he became suddenly still.

This was my left hand, which was raw and swollen, from the blows dealt on
a certain hard skull in a recent combat.  "What do you mean by staring at
my hand so?" said I, withdrawing it from the table.

"No offence, young man, no offence," said the landlord, in a quite
altered tone; "but the sight of your hand . . . " then observing that our
conversation began to attract the notice of the guests in the kitchen, he
interrupted himself, saying in an undertone, "But mum's the word for the
present, I will go and fetch the ale."

In about a minute he returned, with a jug of ale foaming high.  "Here's
your health," said he, blowing off the foam, and drinking; but perceiving
that I looked rather dissatisfied, he murmured, "All's right, I glory in
you; but mum's the word."  Then placing the jug on the table, he gave me
a confidential nod, and swaggered out of the room.

What can the silly impertinent fellow mean, thought I; but the ale was
now before me, and I hastened to drink, for my weakness was great, and my
mind was full of dark thoughts, the remains of the indescribable horror
of the preceding night.  It may kill me, thought I, as I drank deep--but
who cares? anything is better than what I have suffered.  I drank deep,
and then leaned back against the wall: it appeared as if a vapour was
stealing up into my brain, gentle and benign, soothing and stilling the
horror and the fear; higher and higher it mounted, and I felt nearly
overcome; but the sensation was delicious, compared with that I had
lately experienced, and now I felt myself nodding; and, bending down, I
laid my head on the table on my folded hands.

And in that attitude I remained some time, perfectly unconscious.  At
length, by degrees, perception returned, and I lifted up my head.  I felt
somewhat dizzy and bewildered, but the dark shadow had withdrawn itself
from me.  And now once more I drank of the jug; this second draught did
not produce an overpowering effect upon me--it revived and strengthened
me--I felt a new man.

I looked around me; the kitchen had been deserted by the greater part of
the guests; besides myself, only four remained; these were seated at the
farther end.  One was haranguing fiercely and eagerly; he was abusing
England, and praising America.  At last he exclaimed, "So when I gets to
New York, I will toss up my hat, and damn the King."

That man must be a Radical, thought I.



CHAPTER LXXXVIII


A Radical--Simple-looking Man--Church of England--The
President--Aristocracy--Gin and Water--Mending the Roads--Persecuting
Church--Simon de Montfort--Broken Bells--Get Up--Not for the Pope--Quay
of New York--Mumpers' Dingle--No Wish to Fight--First Draught--A Poor
Pipe--Half-a-crown Broke.

The individual whom I supposed to be a Radical, after a short pause,
again uplifted his voice; he was rather a strong-built fellow of about
thirty, with an ill-favoured countenance, a white hat on his head, a
snuff-coloured coat on his back, and, when he was not speaking, a pipe in
his mouth.  "Who would live in such a country as England?" he shouted.

"There is no country like America," said his nearest neighbour, a man
also in a white hat, and of a very ill-favoured countenance--"there is no
country like America," said he, withdrawing a pipe from his mouth; "I
think I shall"--and here he took a draught from a jug, the contents of
which he appeared to have in common with the other--"go to America one of
these days myself."

"Poor old England is not such a bad country, after all," said a third, a
simple-looking man in a labouring dress, who sat smoking a pipe without
anything before him.  "If there was but a little more work to be got, I
should have nothing to say against her; I hope, however--"

"You hope! who cares what you hope?" interrupted the first, in a savage
tone; "you are one of those sneaking hounds who are satisfied with dogs'
wages--a bit of bread and a kick.  Work, indeed! who, with the spirit of
a man, would work for a country where there is neither liberty of speech,
nor of action? a land full of beggarly aristocracy, hungry
borough-mongers, insolent parsons, and 'their . . . wives and daughters,'
as William Cobbett says, in his 'Register.'"

"Ah, the Church of England has been a source of incalculable mischief to
these realms," said another.

The person who uttered these words sat rather aloof from the rest; he was
dressed in a long black surtout.  I could not see much of his face,
partly owing to his keeping it very much directed to the ground, and
partly owing to a large slouched hat which he wore; I observed, however,
that his hair was of a reddish tinge.  On the table near him was a glass
and spoon.

"You are quite right," said the first, alluding to what this last had
said, "the Church of England has done incalculable mischief here.  I
value no religion three halfpence, for I believe in none; but the one
that I hate most is the Church of England; so when I get to New York,
after I have shown the fine fellows on the quay a spice of me, by --- the
King, I'll toss up my hat again, and --- the Church of England too."

"And suppose the people of New York should clap you in the stocks?" said
I.

These words drew upon me the attention of the whole four.  The Radical
and his companion stared at me ferociously; the man in black gave me a
peculiar glance from under his slouched hat; the simple-looking man in
the labouring dress laughed.

"What are you laughing at, you fool?" said the Radical, turning and
looking at the other, who appeared to be afraid of him; "hold your noise;
and a pretty fellow, you," said he, looking at me, "to come here, and
speak against the great American nation."

"I speak against the great American nation!" said I; "I rather paid them
a compliment."

"By supposing they would put me in the stocks!  Well, I call it abusing
them, to suppose they would do any such thing--stocks, indeed!--there are
no stocks in all the land.  Put me in the stocks! why, the President will
come down to the quay, and ask me to dinner, as soon as he hears what I
have said about the King and Church."

"I shouldn't wonder," said I, "if you go to America you will say of the
President and country, what now you say of the King and Church, and cry
out for somebody to send you back to England."

The Radical dashed his pipe to pieces against the table.  "I tell you
what, young fellow, you are a spy of the aristocracy, sent here to kick
up a disturbance."

"Kicking up a disturbance," said I, "is rather inconsistent with the
office of spy.  If I were a spy, I should hold my head down, and say
nothing."

The man in black partially raised his head, and gave me another peculiar
glance.

"Well, if you ar'n't sent to spy, you are sent to bully, to prevent
people speaking, and to run down the great American nation; but you
shan't bully me.  I say, down with the aristocracy, the beggarly British
aristocracy.  Come, what have you to say to that?"

"Nothing," said I.

"Nothing!" repeated the Radical.

"No," said I; "down with them as soon as you can."

"As soon as I can!  I wish I could.  But I can down with a bully of
theirs.  Come, will you fight for them?"

"No," said I.

"You won't?"

"No," said I; "though, from what I have seen of them, I should say they
are tolerably able to fight for themselves."

"You won't fight for them," said the Radical, triumphantly; "I thought
so; all bullies, especially those of the aristocracy, are cowards.  Here,
landlord," said he, raising his voice, and striking against the table
with the jug, "some more ale--he won't fight for his friends."

"A white feather," said his companion.

"He! he!" tittered the man in black.

"Landlord, landlord!" shouted the Radical, striking the table with the
jug louder than before.  "Who called?" said the landlord, coming in at
last.  "Fill this jug again," said the other, "and be quick about it."
"Does any one else want anything?" said the landlord.  "Yes," said the
man in black; "you may bring me another glass of gin and water."  "Cold?"
said the landlord.  "Yes," said the man in black, "with a lump of sugar
in it."

"Gin and water cold, with a lump of sugar in it," said I, and struck the
table with my fist.

"Take some?" said the landlord, inquiringly.

"No," said I, "only something came into my head."

"He's mad," said the man in black.

"Not he," said the Radical.  "He's only shamming; he knows his master is
here, and therefore has recourse to these manoeuvres, but it won't do.
Come, landlord, what are you staring at?  Why don't you obey your orders?
Keeping your customers waiting in this manner is not the way to increase
your business."

The landlord looked at the Radical, and then at me.  At last, taking the
jug and glass he left the apartment, and presently returned with each
filled with its respective liquor.  He placed the jug with beer before
the Radical, and the glass with gin and water before the man in black,
and then, with a wink to me, he sauntered out.

"Here is your health, sir," said the man of the snuff-coloured coat,
addressing himself to the one in black; "I honour you for what you said
about the Church of England.  Every one who speaks against the Church of
England has my warm heart.  Down with it, I say, and may the stones of it
be used for mending the roads, as my friend William says in his
'Register.'"

The man in black, with a courteous nod of his head, drank to the man in
the snuff-coloured coat.  "With respect to the steeples," said he, "I am
not altogether of your opinion; they might be turned to better account
than to serve to mend the roads; they might still be used as places of
worship, but not for the worship of the Church of England.  I have no
fault to find with the steeples, it is the Church itself which I am
compelled to arraign; but it will not stand long, the respectable part of
its ministers are already leaving it.  It is a bad Church, a persecuting
Church."

"Whom does it persecute?" said I.

The man in black glanced at me slightly, and then replied slowly, "The
Catholics."

"And do those whom you call Catholics never persecute?" said I.

"Never," said the man in black.

"Did you ever read 'Fox's Book of Martyrs'?" said I.

"He! he!" tittered the man in black, "there is not a word of truth in
'Fox's Book of Martyrs.'"

"Ten times more than in the 'Flos Sanctorum,'" said I.

The man in black looked at me, but made no answer.

"And what say you to the Massacre of the Albigenses and the Vaudois,
'whose bones lie scattered on the cold Alp,' or the Revocation of the
Edict of Nantes?"

The man in black made no answer.

"Go to," said I, "it is because the Church of England is not a
persecuting Church, that those whom you call the respectable part are
leaving her; it is because they can't do with the poor Dissenters what
Simon de Montfort did with the Albigenses, and the cruel Piedmontese with
the Vaudois, that they turn to bloody Rome; the Pope will no doubt
welcome them, for the Pope, do you see, being very much in want, will
welcome--"

"Hallo!" said the Radical, interfering, "what are you saying about the
Pope?  I say, Hurrah for the Pope; I value no religion three halfpence,
as I said before, but if I were to adopt any, it should be the popish as
it's called, because I conceives the popish to be the grand enemy of the
Church of England, of the beggarly aristocracy, and the borough-monger
system, so I won't hear the Pope abused while I am by.  Come, don't look
fierce.  You won't fight, you know, I have proved it; but I will give you
another chance--I will fight for the Pope, will you fight against him?"

"Oh dear me, yes," said I, getting up and stepping forward.  "I am a
quiet peaceable young man, and, being so, am always ready to fight
against the Pope--the enemy of all peace and quiet; to refuse fighting
for the aristocracy is a widely different thing from refusing to fight
against the Pope; so come on, if you are disposed to fight for him.  To
the Pope broken bells, to Saint James broken shells.  No popish vile
oppression, but the Protestant succession.  Confusion to the Groyne,
hurrah for the Boyne, for the army at Clonmel, and the Protestant young
gentlemen who live there as well."

"An Orangeman," said the man in black.

"Not a Platitude," said I.

The man in black gave a slight start.

"Amongst that family," said I, "no doubt, something may be done, but
amongst the Methodist preachers I should conceive that the success would
not be great."

The man in black sat quite still.

"Especially amongst those who have wives," I added.

The man in black stretched his hand towards his gin and water.

"However," said I, "we shall see what the grand movement will bring
about, and the results of the lessons in elocution."

The man in black lifted the glass up to his mouth, and, in doing so, let
the spoon fall.

"But what has this to do with the main question?" said I; "I am waiting
here to fight against the Pope."

"Come, Hunter," said the companion of the man in the snuff-coloured coat,
"get up, and fight for the Pope."

"I don't care for the young fellow," said the man in the snuff-coloured
coat.

"I know you don't," said the other, "so get up, and serve him out."

"I could serve out three like him," said the man in the snuff-coloured
coat.

"So much the better for you," said the other, "the present work will be
all the easier for you; get up, and serve him out at once."

The man in the snuff-coloured coat did not stir.

"Who shows the white feather now?" said the simple-looking man.

"He! he! he!" tittered the man in black.

"Who told you to interfere?" said the Radical, turning ferociously
towards the simple-looking man; "say another word, and I'll . . . "  "And
you!" said he, addressing himself to the man in black, "a pretty fellow
you to turn against me, after I had taken your part!  I tell you what,
you may fight for yourself.  I'll see you and your Pope in the pit of
Eldon, before I fight for either of you, so make the most of it."

"Then you won't fight?" said I.

"Not for the Pope," said the Radical; "I'll see the Pope--"

"Dear me!" said I, "not fight for the Pope, whose religion you would turn
to, if you were inclined for any!  I see how it is, you are not fond of
fighting; but I'll give you another chance--you were abusing the Church
of England just now: I'll fight for it--will you fight against it?"

"Come, Hunter," said the other, "get up, and fight against the Church of
England."

"I have no particular quarrel against the Church of England," said the
man in the snuff-coloured coat, "my quarrel is with the aristocracy.  If
I said anything against the Church, it was merely for a bit of corollary,
as Master William Cobbett would say; the quarrel with the Church belongs
to this fellow in black; so let him carry it on.  However," he continued
suddenly, "I won't slink from the matter either; it shall never be said
by the fine fellows on the quay of New York, that I wouldn't fight
against the Church of England.  So down with the beggarly aristocracy,
the Church, and the Pope, to the bottom of the pit of Eldon, and may the
Pope fall first, and the others upon him."

Thereupon, dashing his hat on the table, he placed himself in an attitude
of offence, and rushed forward.  He was, as I have said before, a
powerful fellow, and might have proved a dangerous antagonist, more
especially to myself, who, after my recent encounter with the Flaming
Tinman, and my wrestlings with the evil one, was in anything but fighting
order.  Any collision, however, was prevented by the landlord, who,
suddenly appearing, thrust himself between us.  "There shall be no
fighting here," said he; "no one shall fight in this house, except it be
with myself; so if you two have anything to say to each other, you had
better go into the field behind the house.  But, you fool," said he,
pushing Hunter violently on the breast, "do you know whom you are going
to tackle with?--this is the young chap that beat Blazing Bosville, only
as late as yesterday, in Mumpers' Dingle.  Grey Moll told me all about it
last night, when she came for some brandy for her husband, who, she said,
had been half killed; and she described the young man to me so closely,
that I knew him at once, that is, as soon as I saw how his left hand was
bruised, for she told me he was a left-hand hitter.  Ar'n't it all true,
young man?  Ar'n't you he that beat Flaming Bosville in Mumpers' Dingle?"
"I never beat Flaming Bosville," said I, "he beat himself.  Had he not
struck his hand against a tree, I shouldn't be here at the present
moment."  "Hear! hear!" said the landlord; "now that's just as it should
be; I like a modest man, for, as the parson says, nothing sits better
upon a young man than modesty.  I remember, when I was young, fighting
with Tom of Hopton, the best man that ever pulled off coat in England.  I
remember, too, that I won the battle; for I happened to hit Tom of Hopton
in the mark, as he was coming in, so that he lost his wind, and falling
squelch on the ground, do ye see, he lost the battle, though I am free to
confess that he was a better man than myself; indeed, the best man that
ever fought in England; yet still I won the battle, as every customer of
mine, and everybody within twelve miles round, has heard over and over
again.  Now, Mr. Hunter, I have one thing to say, if you choose to go
into the field behind the house, and fight the young man, you can.  I'll
back him for ten pounds; but no fighting in my kitchen--because why?  I
keeps a decent kind of an establishment."

"I have no wish to fight the young man," said Hunter; "more especially as
he has nothing to say for the aristocracy.  If he chose to fight for
them, indeed--but he won't, I know: for I see he's a decent, respectable
young man; and, after all, fighting is a blackguard way of settling a
dispute; so I have no wish to fight; however, there is one thing I'll
do," said he, uplifting his fist, "I'll fight this fellow in black here
for half-a-crown, or for nothing, if he pleases; it was he that got up
the last dispute between me and the young man, with his Pope and his
nonsense; so I will fight him for anything he pleases, and perhaps the
young man will be my second; whilst you--"

"Come, Doctor," said the landlord, "or whatsoever you be, will you go
into the field with Hunter?  I'll second you, only you must back
yourself.  I'll lay five pounds on Hunter, if you are inclined to back
yourself; and will help you to win it as far, do you see, as a second
can; because why?  I always likes to do the fair thing."

"Oh! I have no wish to fight," said the man in black, hastily; "fighting
is not my trade.  If I have given any offence, I beg anybody's pardon."

"Landlord," said I, "what have I to pay?"

"Nothing at all," said the landlord; "glad to see you.  This is the first
time that you have been at my house, and I never charge new customers, at
least customers such as you, anything for the first draught.  You'll come
again, I dare say; shall always be glad to see you.  I won't take it,"
said he, as I put sixpence on the table; "I won't take it."

"Yes, you shall," said I; "but not in payment for anything I have had
myself: it shall serve to pay for a jug of ale for that gentleman," said
I, pointing to the simple-looking individual; "he is smoking a poor pipe.
I do not mean to say that a pipe is a bad thing; but a pipe without ale,
do you see--"

"Bravo!" said the landlord, "that's just the conduct I like."

"Bravo!" said Hunter.  "I shall be happy to drink with the young man
whenever I meet him at New York, where, do you see, things are better
managed than here."

"If I have given offence to anybody," said the man in black, "I repeat
that I ask pardon,--more especially to the young gentleman, who was
perfectly right to stand up for his religion, just as I--not that I am of
any particular religion, no more than this honest gentleman here," bowing
to Hunter; "but I happen to know something of the Catholics--several
excellent friends of mine are Catholics--and of a surety the Catholic
religion is an ancient religion, and a widely-extended religion, though
it certainly is not a universal religion, but it has of late made
considerable progress, even amongst those nations who have been
particularly opposed to it--amongst the Prussians and the Dutch, for
example, to say nothing of the English; and then, in the East, amongst
the Persians, amongst the Armenians."

"The Armenians," said I; "Oh dear me, the Armenians--"

"Have you anything to say about these people, sir?" said the man in
black, lifting up his glass to his mouth.

"I have nothing farther to say," said I, "than that the roots of Ararat
are occasionally found to be deeper than those of Rome."

"There's half-a-crown broke," said the landlord, as the man in black let
fall the glass, which was broken to pieces on the floor.  "You will pay
me the damage, friend, before you leave this kitchen.  I like to see
people drink freely in my kitchen, but not too freely, and I hate
breakages; because why?  I keeps a decent kind of an establishment."



CHAPTER LXXXIX


The Dingle--Give them Ale--Not over Complimentary--America--Many
People--Washington--Promiscuous Company--Language of the Roads--The Old
Women--Numerals--The Man in Black.

The public-house where the scenes which I have attempted to describe in
the preceding chapters took place, was at the distance of about two miles
from the dingle.  The sun was sinking in the west by the time I returned
to the latter spot.  I found Belle seated by a fire, over which her
kettle was suspended.  During my absence she had prepared herself a kind
of tent, consisting of large hoops covered over with tarpaulin, quite
impenetrable to rain, however violent.  "I am glad you are returned,"
said she, as soon as she perceived me; "I began to be anxious about you.
Did you take my advice?"

"Yes," said I; "I went to the public-house and drank ale, as you advised
me; it cheered, strengthened, and drove away the horror from my mind--I
am much beholden to you."

"I knew it would do you good," said Belle, "I remembered that when the
poor women in the great house were afflicted with hysterics, and fearful
imaginings, the surgeon, who was a good, kind man, used to say, 'Ale,
give them ale, and let it be strong.'"

"He was no advocate for tea, then?" said I.

"He had no objection to tea; but he used to say, 'Everything in its
season.'  Shall we take ours now?--I have waited for you."

"I have no objection," said I; "I feel rather heated, and at present
should prefer tea to ale--'Everything in its season,' as the surgeon
said."

Thereupon Belle prepared tea, and, as we were taking it, she said, "What
did you see and hear at the public-house?"

"Really," said I, "you appear to have your full portion of curiosity;
what matters it to you what I saw and heard at the public-house?"

"It matters very little to me," said Belle; "I merely inquired of you,
for the sake of a little conversation--you were silent, and it is
uncomfortable for two people to sit together without opening their
lips--at least I think so."

"One only feels uncomfortable," said I, "in being silent, when one
happens to be thinking of the individual with whom one is in company.  To
tell you the truth, I was not thinking of my companion, but of certain
company with whom I had been at the public-house."

"Really, young man," said Belle, "you are not over complimentary; but who
may this wonderful company have been--some young . . .?" and here Belle
stopped.

"No," said I, "there was no young person--if person you were going to
say.  There was a big portly landlord, whom I dare say you have seen; a
noisy savage Radical, who wanted at first to fasten upon me a quarrel
about America, but who subsequently drew in his horns; then there was a
strange fellow, a prowling priest, I believe, whom I have frequently
heard of, who at first seemed disposed to side with the Radical against
me, and afterwards with me against the Radical.  There, you know my
company, and what took place."

"Was there no one else?" said Belle.

"You are mighty curious," said I.  "No, none else, except a poor simple
mechanic, and some common company, who soon went away."

Belle looked at me for a moment, and then appeared to be lost in
thought--"America!" said she, musingly--"America!"

"What of America?" said I.

"I have heard that it is a mighty country."

"I dare say it is," said I; "I have heard my father say that the
Americans are first-rate marksmen."

"I heard nothing about that," said Belle; "what I heard was, that it is a
great and goodly land, where people can walk about without jostling, and
where the industrious can always find bread; I have frequently thought of
going thither."

"Well," said I, "the Radical in the public-house will perhaps be glad of
your company thither; he is as great an admirer of America as yourself,
though I believe on different grounds."

"I shall go by myself," said Belle, "unless--unless that should happen
which is not likely--I am not fond of Radicals no more than I am of
scoffers and mockers."

"Do you mean to say that I am a scoffer and mocker?"

"I don't wish to say you are," said Belle; "but some of your words sound
strangely like scoffing and mocking.  I have now one thing to beg, which
is, that if you have anything to say against America, you would speak it
out boldly."

"What should I have to say against America?  I never was there."

"Many people speak against America who never were there."

"Many people speak in praise of America who never were there; but with
respect to myself, I have not spoken for or against America."

"If you liked America you would speak in its praise."

"By the same rule, if I disliked America I should speak against it."

"I can't speak with you," said Belle; "but I see you dislike the
country."

"The country!"

"Well, the people--don't you?"

"I do."

"Why do you dislike them?"

"Why I have heard my father say that the American marksmen, led on by a
chap of the name of Washington, sent the English to the right-about in
double-quick time."

"And that is your reason for disliking the Americans?"

"Yes," said I, "that is my reason for disliking them."

"Will you take another cup of tea?" said Belle.

I took another cup; we were again silent.  "It is rather uncomfortable,"
said I, at last, "for people to sit together without having anything to
say."

"Were you thinking of your company?" said Belle.

"What company?" said I.

"The present company."

"The present company! oh, ah--I remember that I said one only feels
uncomfortable in being silent with a companion, when one happens to be
thinking of the companion.  Well, I had been thinking of you the last two
or three minutes, and had just come to the conclusion, that to prevent us
both feeling occasionally uncomfortably towards each other, having
nothing to say, it would be as well to have a standing subject, on which
to employ our tongues.  Belle, I have determined to give you lessons in
Armenian."

"What is Armenian?"

"Did you ever hear of Ararat?"

"Yes, that was the place where the ark rested; I have heard the chaplain
in the great house talk of it; besides, I have read of it in the Bible."

"Well, Armenian is the speech of people of that place, and I should like
to teach it you."

"To prevent--"

"Ay, ay, to prevent our occasionally feeling uncomfortable together.  Your
acquiring it besides might prove of ulterior advantage to us both; for
example, suppose you and I were in promiscuous company,--at Court, for
example,--and you had something to communicate to me which you did not
wish any one else to be acquainted with, how safely you might communicate
it to me in Armenian."

"Would not the language of the roads do as well?" said Belle.

"In some places it would," said I, "but not at Court, owing to its
resemblance to thieves' slang.  There is Hebrew, again, which I was
thinking of teaching you, till the idea of being presented at Court made
me abandon it, from the probability of our being understood, in the event
of our speaking it, by at least half a dozen people in our vicinity.
There is Latin, it is true, or Greek, which we might speak aloud at Court
with perfect confidence of safety, but upon the whole I should prefer
teaching you Armenian, not because it would be a safer language to hold
communication with at Court, but because, not being very well grounded in
it myself, I am apprehensive that its words and forms may escape from my
recollection, unless I have sometimes occasion to call them forth."

"I am afraid we shall have to part company before I have learnt it," said
Belle; "in the meantime, if I wish to say anything to you in private,
somebody being by, shall I speak in the language of the roads?"

"If no roadster is nigh you may," said I, "and I will do my best to
understand you.  Belle, I will now give you a lesson in Armenian."

"I suppose you mean no harm," said Belle.

"Not in the least; I merely propose the thing to prevent our occasionally
feeling uncomfortable together.  Let us begin."

"Stop till I have removed the tea-things," said Belle; and, getting up,
she removed them to her own encampment.

"I am ready," said Belle, returning, and taking her former seat, "to join
with you in anything which will serve to pass away the time agreeably,
provided there is no harm in it."

"Belle," said I, "I have determined to commence the course of Armenian
lessons by teaching you the numerals; but, before I do that, it will be
as well to tell you that the Armenian language is called Haik."

"I am sure that word will hang upon my memory," said Belle.

"Why hang upon it?" said I.

"Because the old women in the great house used to call so the chimney-
hook, on which they hung the kettle; in like manner, on the hake of my
memory I will hang your hake."

"Good!" said I, "you will make an apt scholar; but mind that I did not
say hake, but haik; the words are, however, very much alike; and, as you
observe, upon your hake you may hang my haik.  We will now proceed to the
numerals."

"What are numerals?" said Belle.

"Numbers.  I will say the Haikan numbers up to ten.  There--have you
heard them?"

"Yes."

"Well, try and repeat them."

"I only remember number one," said Belle, "and that because it is me."

"I will repeat them again," said I, "and pay greater attention.  Now, try
again."

"Me, jergo, earache."

"I neither said jergo, nor earache.  I said yergou and yerek.  Belle, I
am afraid I shall have some difficulty with you as a scholar."

Belle made no answer.  Her eyes were turned in the direction of the
winding path which led from the bottom of the hollow, where we were
seated, to the plain above.  "Gorgio shunella," {324a} she said, at
length, in a low voice.

"Pure Rommany," said I; "where?" I added, in a whisper.

"Dovey odoi," {324b} said Belle, nodding with her head towards the path.

"I will soon see who it is," said I; and starting up, I rushed towards
the pathway, intending to lay violent hands on any one I might find
lurking in its windings.  Before, however, I had reached its
commencement, a man, somewhat above the middle height, advanced from it
into the dingle, in whom I recognised the man in black whom I had seen in
the public-house.



CHAPTER XC


Buona Sera--Rather Apprehensive--The Steep Bank--Lovely
Virgin--Hospitality--Tory Minister--Custom of the Country--Sneering
Smile--Wandering Zigan--Gypsies' Cloaks--Certain Faculty--Acute
Answer--Various Ways--Addio--Best Hollands.

The man in black and myself stood opposite to each other for a minute or
two in silence; I will not say that we confronted each other that time,
for the man in black, after a furtive glance, did not look me in the
face, but kept his eyes fixed, apparently on the leaves of a bunch of
ground nuts which were growing at my feet.  At length, looking around the
dingle, he exclaimed, "Buona sera, I hope I don't intrude."

"You have as much right here," said I, "as I or my companion; but you had
no right to stand listening to our conversation."

"I was not listening," said the man; "I was hesitating whether to advance
or retire; and if I heard some of your conversation, the fault was not
mine."

"I do not see why you should have hesitated if your intentions were
good," said I.

"I think the kind of place in which I found myself might excuse some
hesitation," said the man in black, looking around; "moreover, from what
I had seen of your demeanour at the public-house, I was rather
apprehensive that the reception I might experience at your hands might be
more rough than agreeable."

"And what may have been your motive for coming to this place?" said I.

"Per far visita a sua signoria, ecco il motivo."

"Why do you speak to me in that gibberish?" said I; "do you think I
understand it?"

"It is not Armenian," said the man in black; "but it might serve, in a
place like this, for the breathing of a little secret communication, were
any common roadster near at hand.  It would not do at Court, it is true,
being the language of singing women, and the like; but we are not at
Court--when we are, I can perhaps summon up a little indifferent Latin,
if I have anything private to communicate to the learned Professor."

And at the conclusion of this speech the man in black lifted up his head,
and, for some moments, looked me in the face.  The muscles of his own
seemed to be slightly convulsed, and his mouth opened in a singular
manner.

"I see," said I, "that for some time you were standing near me and my
companion, in the mean act of listening."

"Not at all," said the man in black; "I heard from the steep bank above,
that to which I have now alluded, whilst I was puzzling myself to find
the path which leads to your retreat.  I made, indeed, nearly the compass
of the whole thicket before I found it."

"And how did you know that I was here?" I demanded.

"The landlord of the public-house, with whom I had some conversation
concerning you, informed me that he had no doubt I should find you in
this place, to which he gave me instructions not very clear.  But, now I
am here, I crave permission to remain a little time, in order that I may
hold some communion with you."

"Well," said I, "since you are come, you are welcome; please to step this
way."

Thereupon I conducted the man in black to the fireplace, where Belle was
standing, who had risen from her stool on my springing up to go in quest
of the stranger.  The man in black looked at her with evident curiosity,
then making her rather a graceful bow, "Lovely virgin," said he,
stretching out his hand, "allow me to salute your fingers."

"I am not in the habit of shaking hands with strangers," said Belle.

"I did not presume to request to shake hands with you," said the man in
black, "I merely wished to be permitted to salute with my lips the
extremity of your two forefingers."

"I never permit anything of the kind," said Belle; "I do not approve of
such unmanly ways, they are only befitting those who lurk in corners or
behind trees, listening to the conversation of people who would fain be
private."

"Do you take me for a listener then?" said the man in black.

"Ay, indeed I do," said Belle; "the young man may receive your excuses,
and put confidence in them if he please, but for my part I neither admit
them, nor believe them;" and thereupon flinging her long hair back, which
was hanging over her cheeks, she seated herself on her stool.

"Come, Belle," said I, "I have bidden the gentleman welcome; I beseech
you, therefore, to make him welcome; he is a stranger, where we are at
home, therefore, even did we wish him away, we are bound to treat him
kindly."

"That's not English doctrine," said the man in black.

"I thought the English prided themselves on their hospitality," said I.

"They do so," said the man in black; "they are proud of showing
hospitality to people above them, that is, to those who do not want it,
but of the hospitality which you were now describing, and which is
Arabian, they know nothing.  No Englishman will tolerate another in his
house, from whom he does not expect advantage of some kind, and to those
from whom he does, he can be civil enough.  An Englishman thinks that,
because he is in his own house, he has a right to be boorish and brutal
to any one who is disagreeable to him, as all those are who are really in
want of assistance.  Should a hunted fugitive rush into an Englishman's
house, beseeching protection, and appealing to the master's feelings of
hospitality, the Englishman would knock him down in the passage."

"You are too general," said I, "in your strictures.  Lord ---, the
unpopular Tory minister, was once chased through the streets of London by
a mob, and, being in danger of his life, took shelter in the shop of a
Whig linendraper, declaring his own unpopular name, and appealing to the
linendraper's feelings of hospitality; whereupon the linendraper, utterly
forgetful of all party rancour, nobly responded to the appeal, and
telling his wife to conduct his lordship upstairs, jumped over the
counter, with his ell in his hand, and placing himself with half a dozen
of his assistants at the door of his boutique, manfully confronted the
mob, telling them that he would allow himself to be torn to a thousand
pieces, ere he would permit them to injure a hair of his lordship's head:
what do you think of that?"

"He! he! he!" tittered the man in black.

"Well," said I, "I am afraid your own practice is not very different from
that which you have been just now describing; you sided with the Radical
in the public-house against me as long as you thought him the most
powerful, and then turned against him when you saw he was cowed.  What
have you to say to that?"

"Oh! when one is in Rome, I mean England, one must do as they do in
England; I was merely conforming to the custom of the country, he! he!
but I beg your pardon here, as I did in the public-house.  I made a
mistake."

"Well," said I, "we will drop the matter, but pray seat yourself on that
stone, and I will sit down on the grass near you."

The man in black, after proffering two or three excuses for occupying
what he supposed to be my seat, sat down upon the stone, and I squatted
down, Gypsy fashion, just opposite to him, Belle sitting on her stool at
a slight distance on my right.  After a time I addressed him thus: "Am I
to reckon this a mere visit of ceremony? should it prove so, it will be,
I believe, the first visit of the kind ever paid me."

"Will you permit me to ask," said the man in black . . . "the weather is
very warm," said he, interrupting himself, and taking off his hat.

I now observed that he was partly bald, his red hair having died away
from the fore part of his crown--his forehead was high, his eyebrows
scanty, his eyes grey and sly, with a downward tendency, his nose was
slightly aquiline, his mouth rather large--a kind of sneering smile
played continually on his lips, his complexion was somewhat rubicund.

"A bad countenance," said Belle, in the language of the roads, observing
that my eyes were fixed on his face.

"Does not my countenance please you, fair damsel?" said the man in black,
resuming his hat, and speaking in a peculiarly gentle voice.

"How," said I, "do you understand the language of the roads?"

"As little as I do Armenian," said the man in black; "but I understand
look and tone."

"So do I, perhaps," retorted Belle; "and, to tell you the truth, I like
your tone as little as your face."

"For shame," said I; "have you forgot what I was saying just now about
the duties of hospitality?  You have not yet answered my question," said
I, addressing myself to the man, "with respect to your visit."

"Will you permit me to ask who you are?"

"Do you see the place where I live?" said I.

"I do," said the man in black, looking around.

"Do you know the name of this place?"

"I was told it was Mumpers' {330} or Gypsies' Dingle," said the man in
black.

"Good," said I; "and this forge and tent, what do they look like?"

"Like the forge and tent of a wandering Zigan; I have seen the like in
Italy."

"Good," said I; "they belong to me."

"Are you, then, a Gypsy?" said the man in black.

"What else should I be?"

"But you seem to have been acquainted with various individuals with whom
I have likewise had acquaintance; and you have even alluded to matters,
and even words, which have passed between me and them."

"Do you know how Gypsies live?" said I.

"By hammering old iron, I believe, and telling fortunes."

"Well," said I, "there's my forge, and yonder is some iron, though not
old, and by your own confession I am a soothsayer."

"But how did you come by your knowledge?"

"Oh," said I, "if you want me to reveal the secrets of my trade, I have,
of course, nothing farther to say.  Go to the scarlet dyer, and ask him
how he dyes cloth."

"Why scarlet?" said the man in black.  "Is it because Gypsies blush like
scarlet?"

"Gypsies never blush," said I; "but Gypsies' cloaks are scarlet."

"I should almost take you for a Gypsy," said the man in black, "but for--"

"For what?" said I.

"But for that same lesson in Armenian, and your general knowledge of
languages; as for your manners and appearance I will say nothing," said
the man in black, with a titter.

"And why should not a Gypsy possess a knowledge of languages?" said I.

"Because the Gypsy race is perfectly illiterate," said the man in black;
"they are possessed, it is true, of a knavish acuteness, and are
particularly noted for giving subtle and evasive answers--and in your
answers, I confess, you remind me of them; but that one of the race
should acquire a learned language like the Armenian, and have a general
knowledge of literature, is a thing _che io non credo afatto_."

"What do you take me for?" said I.

"Why," said the man in black, "I should consider you to be a philologist,
who, for some purpose, has taken up a Gypsy life; but I confess to you
that your way of answering questions is far too acute for a philologist."

"And why should not a philologist be able to answer questions acutely?"
said I.

"Because the philological race is the most stupid under heaven," said the
man in black; "they are possessed, it is true, of a certain faculty for
picking up words, and a memory for retaining them; but that any one of
the sect should be able to give a rational answer, to say nothing of an
acute one, on any subject--even though the subject were philology--is a
thing of which I have no idea."

"But you found me giving a lesson in Armenian to this handmaid?"

"I believe I did," said the man in black.

"And you heard me give what you are disposed to call acute answers to the
questions you asked me?"

"I believe I did," said the man in black.

"And would any one but a philologist think of giving a lesson in Armenian
to a handmaid in a dingle?"

"I should think not," said the man in black.

"Well, then, don't you see that it is possible for a philologist to give
not only a rational, but an acute answer?"

"I really don't know," said the man in black.

"What's the matter with you?" said I.

"Merely puzzled," said the man in black.

"Puzzled?"

"Yes."

"Really puzzled?"

"Yes."

"Remain so."

"Well," said the man in black, rising, "puzzled or not, I will no longer
trespass upon your and this young lady's retirement; only allow me,
before I go, to apologise for my intrusion."

"No apology is necessary," said I; "will you please to take anything
before you go?  I think this young lady, at my request, would contrive to
make you a cup of tea."

"Tea!" said the man in black; "he! he!  I don't drink tea; I don't like
it--if, indeed, you had . . . " and here he stopped.

"There's nothing like gin and water, is there?" said I, "but I am sorry
to say I have none."

"Gin and water," said the man in black; "how do you know that I am fond
of gin and water?"

"Did I not see you drinking some at the public-house?"

"You did," said the man in black, "and I remember that, when I called for
some, you repeated my words.  Permit me to ask, is gin and water an
unusual drink in England?"

"It is not usually drunk cold, and with a lump of sugar," said I.

"And did you know who I was by my calling for it so?"

"Gypsies have various ways of obtaining information," said I.

"With all your knowledge," said the man in black, "you do not appear to
have known that I was coming to visit you?"

"Gypsies do not pretend to know anything which relates to themselves,"
said I; "but I advise you, if you ever come again, to come openly."

"Have I your permission to come again?" said the man in black.

"Come when you please; this dingle is as free for you as me."

"I will visit you again," said the man in black--"till then, addio."

"Belle," said I, after the man in black had departed, "we did not treat
that man very hospitably; he left us without having eaten or drunk at our
expense."

"You offered him some tea," said Belle, "which, as it is mine, I should
have grudged him, for I like him not."

"Our liking or disliking him had nothing to do with the matter; he was
our visitor and ought not to have been permitted to depart dry; living as
we do in this desert, we ought always to be prepared to administer to the
wants of our visitors.  Belle, do you know where to procure any good
Hollands?"

"I think I do," said Belle, "but--"

"I will have no buts.  Belle, I expect that with as little delay as
possible you procure, at my expense, the best Hollands you can find."



CHAPTER XCI


Excursions--Adventurous English--Opaque Forests--The Greatest Patience.

Time passed on, and Belle and I lived in the dingle; when I say lived,
the reader must not imagine that we were always there.  She went out upon
her pursuits, and I went out where inclination led me; but my excursions
were very short ones, and hers occasionally occupied whole days and
nights.  If I am asked how we passed the time when we were together in
the dingle, I would answer that we passed the time very tolerably, all
things considered; we conversed together, and when tired of conversing I
would sometimes give Belle a lesson in Armenian; her progress was not
particularly brilliant, but upon the whole satisfactory; in about a
fortnight she had hung up one hundred Haikan numerals upon the hake of
her memory.  I found her conversation highly entertaining; she had seen
much of England and Wales, and had been acquainted with some of the most
remarkable characters who travelled the roads at that period; and let me
be permitted to say that many remarkable characters have travelled the
roads of England, of whom fame has never said a word.  I loved to hear
her anecdotes of these people; some of whom I found had occasionally
attempted to lay violent hands either upon her person or effects, and had
invariably been humbled by her without the assistance of either justice
or constable.  I could clearly see, however, that she was rather tired of
England, and wished for a change of scene; she was particularly fond of
talking of America, to which country her aspirations chiefly tended.  She
had heard much of America, which had excited her imagination; for at that
time America was much talked of, on roads and in homesteads--at least, so
said Belle, who had good opportunities of knowing--and most people
allowed that it was a good country for adventurous English.  The people
who chiefly spoke against it, as she informed me, were soldiers disbanded
upon pensions, the sextons of village churches, and excisemen.  Belle had
a craving desire to visit that country, and to wander with cart and
little animal amongst its forests: when I would occasionally object, that
she would be exposed to danger from strange and perverse customers, she
said that she had not wandered the roads of England so long and alone, to
be afraid of anything which might befall in America; and that she hoped,
with God's favour, to be able to take her own part, and to give to
perverse customers as good as they might bring.  She had a dauntless
heart, that same Belle.  Such was the staple of Belle's conversation.  As
for mine, I would endeavour to entertain her with strange dreams of
adventure, in which I figured in opaque forests, strangling wild beasts,
or discovering and plundering the hordes of dragons; and sometimes I
would narrate to her other things far more genuine--how I had tamed
savage mares, wrestled with Satan, and had dealings with ferocious
publishers.  Belle had a kind heart, and would weep at the accounts I
gave her of my early wrestlings with the dark Monarch.  She would sigh,
too, as I recounted the many slights and degradations I had received at
the hands of ferocious publishers; but she had the curiosity of a woman;
and once, when I talked to her of the triumphs which I had achieved over
unbroken mares, she lifted up her head and questioned me as to the secret
of the virtue which I possessed over the aforesaid animals; whereupon I
sternly reprimanded, and forthwith commanded her to repeat the Armenian
numerals; and, on her demurring, I made use of words, to escape which she
was glad to comply, saying the Armenian numerals from one to a hundred,
which numerals, as a punishment for her curiosity, I made her repeat
three times, loading her with the bitterest reproaches whenever she
committed the slightest error, either in accent or pronunciation, which
reproaches she appeared to bear with the greatest patience.  And now I
have given a very fair account of the manner in which Isopel Berners and
myself passed our time in the dingle.



CHAPTER XCII


The Landlord--Rather Too Old--Without a Shilling--Reputation--A Fortnight
Ago--Liquids--The Main Chance--Respectability--Irrational
Beings--Parliament Cove--My Brewer.

Amongst other excursions, I went several times to the public-house to
which I introduced the reader in a former chapter.  I had experienced
such beneficial effects from the ale I had drunk on that occasion, that I
wished to put its virtue to a frequent test; nor did the ale on
subsequent trials belie the good opinion which I had at first formed of
it.  After each visit which I made to the public-house, I found my frame
stronger and my mind more cheerful than they had previously been.  The
landlord appeared at all times glad to see me, and insisted that I should
sit within the bar, where, leaving his other guests to be attended to by
a niece of his, who officiated as his housekeeper, he would sit beside me
and talk of matters concerning "the ring," indulging himself with a cigar
and a glass of sherry, which he told me was his favourite wine, whilst I
drank my ale.  "I loves the conversation of all you coves of the ring,"
said he once, "which is natural, seeing as how I have fought in a ring
myself.  Ah, there is nothing like the ring; I wish I was not rather too
old to go again into it.  I often think I should like to have another
rally--one more rally, and then--but there's a time for all things--youth
will be served, every dog has his day, and mine has been a fine one--let
me be content.  After beating Tom of Hopton, there was not much more to
be done in the way of reputation; I have long sat in my bar the wonder
and glory of this here neighbourhood.  I'm content, as far as reputation
goes; I only wish money would come in a little faster; however, the next
main of cocks will bring me in something handsome--comes off next
Wednesday, at ---, have ventured ten five-pound notes--shouldn't say
ventured either--run no risk at all, because why?  I knows my birds."
About ten days after this harangue I called again, at about three o'clock
one afternoon.  The landlord was seated on a bench by a table in the
common room, which was entirely empty; he was neither smoking nor
drinking, but sat with his arms folded, and his head hanging down over
his breast.  At the sound of my step he looked up.  "Ah," said he, "I am
glad you are come, I was just thinking about you."  "Thank you," said I;
"it was very kind of you, especially at a time like this, when your mind
must be full of your good fortune.  Allow me to congratulate you on the
sums of money you won by the main of cocks at ---.  I hope you brought it
all safe home."  "Safe home!" said the landlord; "I brought myself safe
home, and that was all; came home without a shilling, regularly done,
cleaned out."  "I am sorry for that," said I; "but after you had won the
money, you ought to have been satisfied, and not risked it again--how did
you lose it?  I hope not by the pea and thimble."  "Pea and thimble,"
said the landlord--"not I; those confounded cocks left me nothing to lose
by the pea and thimble."  "Dear me," said I; "I thought that you knew
your birds."  "Well, so I did," said the landlord; "I knew the birds to
be good birds, and so they proved, and would have won if better birds had
not been brought against them, of which I knew nothing; and so, do you
see, I am done, regularly done."  "Well," said I, "don't be cast down;
there is one thing of which the cocks by their misfortune cannot deprive
you--your reputation; make the most of that, give up cock-fighting, and
be content with the custom of your house, of which you will always have
plenty, as long as you are the wonder and glory of the neighbourhood."

The landlord struck the table before him violently with his fist.
"Confound my reputation!" said he.  "No reputation that I have will be
satisfaction to my brewer for the seventy pounds I owe him.  Reputation
won't pass for the current coin of this here realm; and let me tell you,
that if it a'n't backed by some of it, it a'n't a bit better than rotten
cabbage, as I have found.  Only three weeks since I was, as I told you,
the wonder and glory of the neighbourhood; and people used to come to
look at me, and worship me; but as soon as it began to be whispered about
that I owed money to the brewer, they presently left off all that kind of
thing; and now, during the last three days, since the tale of my
misfortune with the cocks has got wind, almost everybody has left off
coming to the house, and the few who does, merely comes to insult and
flout me.  It was only last night that fellow, Hunter, called me an old
fool in my own kitchen here.  He wouldn't have called me a fool a
fortnight ago; 'twas I called him fool then, and last night he called me
old fool; what do you think of that?--the man that beat Tom of Hopton, to
be called, not only a fool, but an old fool; and I hadn't heart, with one
blow of this here fist into his face, to send his head ringing against
the wall; for when a man's pocket is low, do you see, his heart a'n't
much higher; but it is of no use talking, something must be done.  I was
thinking of you just as you came in, for you are just the person that can
help me."

"If you mean," said I, "to ask me to lend you the money which you want,
it will be to no purpose, as I have very little of my own, just enough
for my own occasions; it is true, if you desired it, I would be your
intercessor with the person to whom you owe the money, though I should
hardly imagine that anything I could say--"  "You are right there," said
the landlord; "much the brewer would care for anything you could say on
my behalf--your going would be the very way to do me up entirely.  A
pretty opinion he would have of the state of my affairs if I were to send
him such a 'cessor as you; and as for your lending me money, don't think
I was ever fool enough to suppose either that you had any, or if you had
that you would be fool enough to lend me any.  No, no, the coves of the
ring knows better; I have been in the ring myself, and knows what a
fighting cove is, and though I was fool enough to back those birds, I was
never quite fool enough to lend anybody money.  What I am about to
propose is something very different from going to my landlord, or lending
any capital; something which, though it will put money into my pocket,
will likewise put something handsome into your own.  I want to get up a
fight in this here neighbourhood, which would be sure to bring plenty of
people to my house, for a week before and after it takes place; and as
people can't come without drinking, I think I could, during one
fortnight, get off for the brewer all the sour and unsaleable liquids he
now has, which people wouldn't drink at any other time, and by that
means, do you see, liquidate my debt; then, by means of betting, making
first all right, do you see, I have no doubt that I could put something
handsome into my pocket and yours, for I should wish you to be the
fighting man, as I think I can depend upon you."  "You really must excuse
me," said I; "I have no wish to figure as a pugilist; besides, there is
such a difference in our ages; you may be the stronger man of the two,
and perhaps the hardest hitter, but I am in much better condition, am
more active on my legs, so that I am almost sure I should have the
advantage, for, as you very properly observed, 'Youth will be served.'"
"Oh, I didn't mean to fight," said the landlord; "I think I could beat
you if I were to train a little; but in the fight I propose I looks more
to the main chance than anything else.  I question whether half so many
people could be brought together if you were to fight with me as the
person I have in view, or whether there would be half such opportunities
for betting, for I am a man, do you see; the person I wants you to fight
with is not a man, but the young woman you keeps company with."

"The young woman I keep company with," said I, "pray what do you mean?"

"We will go into the bar, and have something," said the landlord, getting
up.  "My niece is out, and there is no one in the house, so we can talk
the . matter over quietly."  Thereupon I followed him into the bar,
where, having drawn me a jug of ale, helped himself as usual to a glass
of sherry, and lighted a cigar, he proceeded to explain himself farther.
"What I wants, is to get up a fight between a man and a woman; there
never has yet been such a thing in the ring, and the mere noise of the
matter would bring thousands of people together, quite enough to drink
out--for the thing should be close to my house--all the brewer's stock of
liquids, both good and bad."  "But," said I, "you were the other day
boasting of the respectability of your house; do you think that a fight
between a man and a woman close to your establishment would add to its
respectability?"  "Confound the respectability of my house!" said the
landlord; "will the respectability of my house pay the brewer, or keep
the roof over my head?  No, no! when respectability won't keep a man, do
you see, the best thing is to let it go and wander.  Only let me have my
own way, and both the brewer, myself, and every one of us, will be
satisfied.  And then the betting--what a deal we may make by the
betting!--and that we shall have all to ourselves, you, I, and the young
woman; the brewer will have no hand in that.  I can manage to raise ten
pounds, and if by flashing that about I don't manage to make a hundred,
call me horse."  "But, suppose," said I, "the party should lose, on whom
you sport your money, even as the birds did?"  "We must first make all
right," said the landlord, "as I told you before; the birds were
irrational beings, and therefore couldn't come to an understanding with
the others, as you and the young woman can.  The birds fought fair; but I
intend that you and the young woman should fight cross."  "What do you
mean by cross?" said I.  "Come, come," said the landlord, "don't attempt
to gammon me; you in the ring, and pretend not to know what fighting
cross is!  That won't do, my fine fellow; but as no one is near us, I
will speak out.  I intend that you and the young woman should understand
one another, and agree beforehand which should be beat; and if you take
my advice, you will determine between you that the young woman shall be
beat, as I am sure that the odds will run high upon her, her character as
a fist-woman being spread far and wide, so that all the flats who think
it will be all right will back her, as I myself would, if I thought it
would be a fair thing."  "Then," said I, "you would not have us fight
fair?"  "By no means," said the landlord, "because why?--I conceives that
a cross is a certainty to those who are in it, whereas by the fair thing
one may lose all he has."  "But," said I, "you said the other day, that
you liked the fair thing."  "That was by way of gammon," said the
landlord; "just, do you see, as a Parliament cove might say, speechifying
from a barrel to a set of flats, whom he means to sell.  Come, what do
you think of the plan?"

"It is a very ingenious one," said I.

"A'n't it?" said the landlord.  "The folks in this neighbourhood are
beginning to call me old fool; but if they don't call me something else,
when they sees me friends with the brewer, and money in my pocket, my
name is not Catchpole.  Come, drink your ale, and go home to the young
gentlewoman."

"I am going," said I, rising from my seat, after finishing the remainder
of the ale.

"Do you think she'll have any objection?" said the landlord.

"To do what?" said I.

"Why, to fight cross."

"Yes, I do," said I.

"But you will do your best to persuade her?"

"No, I will not," said I.

"Are you fool enough to wish to fight fair?"

"No," said I, "I am wise enough to wish not to fight at all."

"And how's my brewer to be paid?" said the landlord.

"I really don't know," said I.

"I'll change my religion," said the landlord.



CHAPTER XCIII


Another Visit--_A la Margutte_--Clever Man--Napoleon's Estimate--Another
Statue.

One evening Belle and myself received another visit from the man in
black.  After a little conversation of not much importance, I asked him
whether he would not take some refreshment, assuring him that I was now
in possession of some very excellent Hollands, which, with a glass, a jug
of water, and a lump of sugar, were heartily at his service; he accepted
my offer, and Belle going with a jug to the spring, from which she was in
the habit of procuring water for tea, speedily returned with it full of
the clear, delicious water of which I have already spoken.  Having placed
the jug by the side of the man in black, she brought him a glass and
spoon, and a tea-cup, the latter containing various lumps of snowy-white
sugar: in the meantime I had produced a bottle of the stronger liquid.
The man in black helped himself to some water, and likewise to some
Hollands, the proportion of water being about two-thirds; then adding a
lump of sugar, he stirred the whole up, tasted it, and said that it was
good.

"This is one of the good things of life," he added, after a short pause.

"What are the others?" I demanded.

"There is Malvoisia sack," said the man in black, "and partridge, and
beccafico."

"And what do you say to high mass?" said I.

"High mass!" said the man in black; "however," he continued, after a
pause, "I will be frank with you; I came to be so; I may have heard high
mass on a time, and said it too; but as for any predilection for it, I
assure you I have no more than for a long High Church sermon."

"You speak _a la Margutte_," said I.

"Margutte!" said the man in black, musingly, "Margutte!"

"You have read Pulci, I suppose?" said I.

"Yes, yes," said the man in black, laughing; "I remember."

"He might be rendered into English," said I, "something in this style:--

   'To which Margutte answered with a sneer,
   I like the blue no better than the black,
   My faith consists alone in savoury cheer,
   In roasted capons, and in potent sack;
   But above all, in famous gin and clear,
   Which often lays the Briton on his back,
   With lump of sugar, and with lymph from well,
   I drink it, and defy the fiends of hell.'"

"He! he! he!" said the man in black; "that is more than Mezzofante {347}
could have done for a stanza of Byron."

"A clever man," said I.

"Who?" said the man in black.

"Mezzofante di Bologna."

"He! he! he!" said the man in black; "now I know that you are not a
Gypsy, at least a soothsayer; no soothsayer would have said that--"

"Why," said I, "does he not understand five-and-twenty tongues?"

"Oh yes," said the man in black; "and five-and-twenty added to them; but,
he! he! he! it was principally from him, who is certainly the greatest of
Philologists, that I formed my opinion of the sect."

"You ought to speak of him with more respect," said I; "I have heard say
that he has done good service to your See."

"Oh yes," said the man in black; "he has done good service to our See,
that is, in his way; when the neophytes of the propaganda are to be
examined in the several tongues in which they are destined to preach, he
is appointed to question them, the questions being first written down for
him, or else, he! he! he!--Of course you know Napoleon's estimate of
Mezzofante; he sent for the linguist from motives of curiosity, and after
some discourse with him, told him that he might depart; then turning to
some of his generals, he observed, '_Nous avons eu ici un exemple qu'un
homme peut avoir beaucoup de paroles avec bien peu d'esprit_.'"

"You are ungrateful to him," said I; "well, perhaps, when he is dead and
gone you will do him justice."

"True," said the man in black; "when he is dead and gone, we intend to
erect him a statue of wood, on the left-hand side of the door of the
Vatican library."

"Of wood?" said I.

"He was the son of a carpenter, you know," said the man in black; "the
figure will be of wood, for no other reason, I assure you; he! he!"

"You should place another statue on the right."

"Perhaps we shall," said the man in black; "but we know of no one amongst
the philologists of Italy, nor, indeed, of the other countries inhabited
by the faithful, worthy to sit parallel in effigy with our illustrissimo;
when, indeed, we have conquered these regions of the perfidious by
bringing the inhabitants thereof to the true faith, I have no doubt that
we shall be able to select one worthy to bear him company--one whose
statue shall be placed on the right hand of the library, in testimony of
our joy at his conversion; for, as you know, 'There is more joy,' etc."

"Wood?" said I.

"I hope not," said the man in black; "no, if I be consulted as to the
material for the statue, I should strongly recommend bronze."

And when the man in black had said this, he emptied his second tumbler of
its contents, and prepared himself another.



CHAPTER XCIV


Prerogative--Feeling of Gratitude--A Long History--Alliterative
Style--Advantageous Specimen--Jesuit Benefice--Not Sufficient--Queen
Stork's Tragedy--Good Sense--Grandeur and Gentility--Ironmonger's
Daughter--Clan Mac-Sycophant--Lick-Spittles--A Curiosity--Newspaper
Editors--Charles the Simple--High-flying Ditty--Dissenters--Lower
Classes--Priestley's House--Saxon Ancestors--Austin--Renovating
Glass--Money--Quite Original.

"So you hope to bring these regions again beneath the banner of the Roman
See?" said I; after the man in black had prepared the beverage, and
tasted it.

"Hope!" said the man in black; "how can we fail?  Is not the Church of
these regions going to lose its prerogative?"

"Its prerogative?"

"Yes; those who should be the guardians of the religion of England are
about to grant Papists emancipation, and to remove the disabilities from
Dissenters, which will allow the Holy Father to play his own game in
England."

On my inquiring how the Holy Father intended to play his game, the man in
black gave me to understand that he intended for the present to cover the
land with temples, in which the religion of Protestants would be
continually scoffed at and reviled.

On my observing that such behaviour would savour strongly of ingratitude,
the man in black gave me to understand that if I entertained the idea
that the See of Rome was ever influenced in its actions by any feeling of
gratitude I was much mistaken, assuring me that if the See of Rome in any
encounter should chance to be disarmed and its adversary, from a feeling
of magnanimity, should restore the sword which had been knocked out of
its hand, the See of Rome always endeavoured on the first opportunity to
plunge the said sword into its adversary's bosom; conduct which the man
in black seemed to think was very wise, and which he assured me had
already enabled it to get rid of a great many troublesome adversaries,
and would, he had no doubt, enable it to get rid of a great many more.

On my attempting to argue against the propriety of such behaviour, the
man in black cut the matter short, by saying, that if one party was a
fool he saw no reason why the other should imitate it in its folly.

After musing a little while, I told him that emancipation had not yet
passed through the legislature, and that perhaps it never would;
reminding him that there was often many a slip between the cup and the
lip; to which observation the man in black agreed, assuring me, however,
that there was no doubt that emancipation would be carried, inasmuch as
there was a very loud cry at present in the land--a cry of "tolerance,"
which had almost frightened the Government out of its wits; who, to get
rid of the cry, was going to grant all that was asked in the way of
toleration, instead of telling the people to "Hold their nonsense," and
cutting them down, provided they continued bawling longer.

I questioned the man in black with respect to the origin of this cry; but
he said, to trace it to its origin would require a long history; that, at
any rate, such a cry was in existence, the chief raisers of it being
certain of the nobility, called Whigs, who hoped by means of it to get
into power, and to turn out certain ancient adversaries of theirs called
Tories, who were for letting things remain _in statu quo_; that these
Whigs were backed by a party amongst the people called Radicals, a
specimen of whom I had seen in the public-house; a set of fellows who
were always in the habit of bawling against those in place; "and so," he
added, "by means of these parties, and the hubbub which the Papists and
other smaller sects are making, a general emancipation will be carried,
and the Church of England humbled, which is the principal thing which the
See of Rome cares for."

On my telling the man in black that I believed that, even among the high
dignitaries of the English Church, there were many who wished to grant
perfect freedom to religions of all descriptions, he said he was aware
that such was the fact, and that such a wish was anything but wise,
inasmuch as, if they had any regard for the religion they professed, they
ought to stand by it through thick and thin, proclaiming it to be the
only true one, and denouncing all others, in an alliterative style, as
dangerous and damnable; whereas, by their present conduct, they were
bringing their religion into contempt with the people at large, who would
never continue long attached to a Church the ministers of which did not
stand up for it, and likewise cause their own brethren, who had a clearer
notion of things, to be ashamed of belonging to it.  "I speak advisedly,"
said he, in continuation, "there is one Platitude."

"And I hope there is only one," said I; "you surely would not adduce the
likes and dislikes of that poor silly fellow as the criterions of the
opinions of any party?"

"You know him," said the man in black, "nay, I heard you mention him in
the public-house; the fellow is not very wise, I admit, but he has sense
enough to know, that unless a Church can make people hold their tongues
when it thinks fit, it is scarcely deserving the name of a Church; no, I
think that the fellow is not such a very bad stick, and that upon the
whole he is, or rather was, an advantageous specimen of the High Church
English clergy, who, for the most part, so far from troubling their heads
about persecuting people, only think of securing their tithes, eating
their heavy dinners, puffing out their cheeks with importance on country
justice benches, and occasionally exhibiting their conceited wives,
hoyden daughters, and gawky sons at country balls, whereas Platitude--"

"Stop," said I; "you said in the public-house that the Church of England
was a persecuting Church, and here in the dingle you have confessed that
one section of it is willing to grant perfect freedom to the exercise of
all religions, and the other only thinks of leading an easy life."

"Saying a thing in the public-house is a widely different thing from
saying it in the dingle," said the man in black; "had the Church of
England been a persecuting Church, it would not stand in the position in
which it stands at present; it might, with its opportunities, have spread
itself over the greater part of the world.  I was about to observe that,
instead of practising the indolent habits of his High Church brethren,
Platitude would be working for his money, preaching the proper use of
fire and fagot, or rather of the halter and the whipping-post,
encouraging mobs to attack the houses of Dissenters, employing spies to
collect the scandal of neighbourhoods, in order that he might use it for
sacerdotal purposes, and, in fact, endeavouring to turn an English parish
into something like a Jesuit benefice in the south of France."

"He tried that game," said I, "and the parish said 'Pooh, pooh,' and, for
the most part, went over to the Dissenters."

"Very true," said the man in black, taking a sip at his glass, "but why
were the Dissenters allowed to preach? why were they not beaten on the
lips till they spat out blood, with a dislodged tooth or two?  Why, but
because the authority of the Church of England has, by its own fault,
become so circumscribed, that Mr. Platitude was not able to send a host
of beadles and sbirri to their chapel to bring them to reason, on which
account Mr. Platitude is very properly ashamed of his Church, and is
thinking of uniting himself with one which possesses more vigour and
authority."

"It may have vigour and authority," said I, "in foreign lands, but in
these kingdoms the day for practising its atrocities is gone by.  It is
at present almost below contempt, and is obliged to sue for grace _in
forma paureris_."

"Very true," said the man in black; "but let it once obtain emancipation,
and it will cast its slough, put on its fine clothes, and make converts
by thousands.  'What a fine Church!' they'll say; 'with what authority it
speaks! no doubts, no hesitation, no sticking at trifles.  What a
contrast to the sleepy English Church!'  They'll go over to it by
millions, till it preponderates here over every other, when it will of
course be voted the dominant one; and then--and then . . . " and here the
man in black drank a considerable quantity of gin and water.

"What then?" said I.

"What then?" said the man in black; "why, she will be true to herself.
Let Dissenters, whether they be Church of England, as perhaps they may
still call themselves, Methodist, or Presbyterian, presume to grumble,
and there shall be bruising of lips in pulpits, tying up to
whipping-posts, cutting off ears and noses--he! he! the farce of King Log
has been acted long enough; the time for Queen Stork's tragedy is drawing
nigh;" and the man in black sipped his gin and water in a very exulting
manner.

"And this is the Church which, according to your assertion in the public-
house, never persecutes?"

"I have already given you an answer," said the man in black.  "With
respect to the matter of the public-house, it is one of the happy
privileges of those who belong to my Church to deny in the public-house
what they admit in the dingle; we have high warranty for such double
speaking.  Did not the foundation-stone of our Church, Saint Peter, deny
in the public-house what he had previously professed in the valley?"

"And do you think," said I, "that the people of England, who have shown
aversion to anything in the shape of intolerance, will permit such
barbarities as you have described?"

"Let them become Papists," said the man in black; "only let the majority
become Papists, and you will see."

"They will never become so," said I; "the good sense of the people of
England will never permit them to commit such an absurdity."

"The good sense of the people of England!" said the man in black, filling
himself another glass.

"Yes," said I, "the good sense of not only the upper, but the middle and
lower classes."

"And of what description of people are the upper class?" said the man in
black, putting a lump of sugar into his gin and water.

"Very fine people," said I, "monstrously fine people; so, at least, they
are generally believed to be."

"He! he!" said the man in black; "only those think them so who don't know
them.  The male part of the upper class are in youth a set of heartless
profligates; in old age, a parcel of poor, shaking, nervous paillards.
The female part, worthy to be the sisters and wives of such
wretches--unmarried, full of cold vice, kept under by vanity and
ambition, but which, after marriage, they seek not to restrain; in old
age, abandoned to vapours and horrors; do you think that such beings will
afford any obstacle to the progress of the Church in these regions, as
soon as her movements are unfettered?"

"I cannot give an opinion; I know nothing of them, except from a
distance.  But what think you of the middle classes?"

"Their chief characteristic," said the man in black, "is a rage for
grandeur and gentility; and that same rage makes us quite sure of them in
the long-run.  Everything that's lofty meets their unqualified
approbation; whilst everything humble, or, as they call it, 'low,' is
scouted by them.  They begin to have a vague idea that the religion which
they have hitherto professed is low; at any rate, that it is not the
religion of the mighty ones of the earth, of the great kings and emperors
whose shoes they have a vast inclination to kiss, nor was used by the
grand personages of whom they have read in their novels and romances,
their Ivanhoes, their Marmions, and their Ladies of the Lake."

"Do you think that the writings of Scott have had any influence in
modifying their religious opinions?"

"Most certainly I do," said the man in black.  "The writings of that man
have made them greater fools than they were before.  All their
conversation now is about gallant knights, princesses, and cavaliers,
with which his pages are stuffed--all of whom were Papists, or very High
Church, which is nearly the same thing; and they are beginning to think
that the religion of such nice sweet-scented gentry must be something
very superfine.  Why, I know at Birmingham the daughter of an ironmonger,
who screeches to the piano the Lady of the Lake's hymn to the Virgin
Mary, always weeps when Mary Queen of Scots is mentioned, and fasts on
the anniversary of the death of that very wise martyr, Charles the First.
Why, I would engage to convert such an idiot to popery in a week, were it
worth my trouble.  _O Cavaliere Gualtiero avete fatto molto in favore
della Santa Sede_!"

"If he has," said I, "he has done it unwittingly; I never heard before
that he was a favourer of the popish delusion."

"Only in theory," said the man in black.  "Trust any of the clan
Mac-Sycophant for interfering openly and boldly in favour of any cause on
which the sun does not shine benignantly.  Popery is at present, as you
say, suing for grace in these regions _in forma pauperis_; but let
royalty once take it up, let old gouty George once patronise it, and I
would consent to drink puddle-water if, the very next time the canny Scot
was admitted to the royal symposium, he did not say, 'By my faith, yere
Majesty, I have always thought, at the bottom of my heart, that popery,
as ill-scrapit tongues ca' it, was a very grand religion; I shall be
proud to follow your Majesty's example in adopting it.'"

"I doubt not," said I, "that both gouty George and his devoted servant
will be mouldering in their tombs long before royalty in England thinks
about adopting popery."

"We can wait," said the man in black; "in these days of rampant
gentility, there will be no want of kings nor of Scots about them."

"But not Walters," said I.

"Our work has been already tolerably well done by one," said the man in
black; "but if we wanted literature, we should never lack in these
regions hosts of literary men of some kind or other to eulogise us,
provided our religion were in the fashion, and our popish nobles
chose--and they always do our bidding--to admit the canaille to their
tables--their kitchen tables.  As for literature in general," said he,
"the Santa Sede is not particularly partial to it, it may be employed
both ways.  In Italy, in particular, it has discovered that literary men
are not always disposed to be lick-spittles."

"For example, Dante," said I.

"Yes," said the man in black, "a dangerous personage; that poem of his
cuts both ways; and then there was Pulci, that Morgante of his cuts both
ways, or rather one way, and that sheer against us; and then there was
Aretino, who dealt so hard with the poveri frati; all writers, at least
Italian ones, are not lick-spittles.  And then in Spain,--'tis true, Lope
de Vega and Calderon were most inordinate lick-spittles; the Principe
Constante of the last is a curiosity in its way; and then the Mary Stuart
of Lope; I think I shall recommend the perusal of that work to the
Birmingham ironmonger's daughter--she has been lately thinking of adding
'a slight knowledge of the magneeficent language of the Peninsula' to the
rest of her accomplishments, he! he! he!  But then there was Cervantes,
starving, but straight; he deals us some hard knocks in that second part
of his Quixote.  Then there were some of the writers of the picaresque
novels.  No, all literary men are not lick-spittles, whether in Italy or
Spain, or, indeed, upon the Continent; it is only in England that all--"

"Come," said I, "mind what you are about to say of English literary men."

"Why should I mind?" said the man in black, "there are no literary men
here.  I have heard of literary men living in garrets, but not in
dingles, whatever philologists may do; I may, therefore, speak out
freely.  It is only in England that literary men are invariably
lick-spittles; on which account, perhaps, they are so despised, even by
those who benefit by their dirty services.  Look at your fashionable
novel writers, he! he!--and, above all, at your newspaper editors, ho!
ho!"

"You will, of course, except the editors of the --- from your censure of
the last class?" said I.

"Them!" said the man in black; "why, they might serve as models in the
dirty trade to all the rest who practise it.  See how they bepraise their
patrons, the grand Whig nobility, who hope, by raising the cry of
liberalism, and by putting themselves at the head of the populace, to
come into power shortly.  I don't wish to be hard, at present, upon those
Whigs," he continued, "for they are playing our game; but a time will
come when, not wanting them, we will kick them to a considerable
distance: and then, when toleration is no longer the cry, and the Whigs
are no longer backed by the populace, see whether the editors of the ---
will stand by them; they will prove themselves as expert lick-spittles of
despotism as of liberalism.  Don't think they will always bespatter the
Tories and Austria."

"Well," said I, "I am sorry to find that you entertain so low an opinion
of the spirit of English literary men; we will now return, if you please,
to the subject of the middle classes; I think your strictures upon them
in general are rather too sweeping--they are not altogether the foolish
people which you have described.  Look, for example, at that very
powerful and numerous body the Dissenters, the descendants of those
sturdy Patriots who hurled Charles the Simple from his throne."

"There are some sturdy fellows amongst them, I do not deny," said the man
in black, "especially amongst the preachers, clever withal--two or three
of that class nearly drove Mr. Platitude mad, as perhaps you are aware,
but they are not very numerous; and the old sturdy sort of preachers are
fast dropping off, and, as we observe with pleasure, are generally
succeeded by frothy coxcombs, whom it would not be very difficult to gain
over.  But what we most rely upon as an instrument to bring the
Dissenters over to us is the mania for gentility, which amongst them has
of late become as great, and more ridiculous than amongst the middle
classes belonging to the Church of England.  All the plain and simple
fashions of their forefathers they are either about to abandon, or have
already done so.  Look at the most part of their chapels--no longer
modest brick edifices, situated in quiet and retired streets, but lunatic-
looking erections, in what the simpletons call the modern Gothic taste,
of Portland stone, with a cross upon the top, and the site generally the
most conspicuous that can be found.  And look at the manner in which they
educate their children--I mean those that are wealthy.  They do not even
wish them to be Dissenters--'the sweet dears shall enjoy the advantages
of good society, of which their parents were debarred.'  So the girls are
sent to tip-top boarding-schools, where amongst other trash they read
'Rokeby,' and are taught to sing snatches from that high-flying ditty,
the 'Cavalier'--

   'Would you match the base Skippon, and Massey, and Brown,
   With the barons of England, who fight for the crown?'--

he! he! their own names.  Whilst the lads are sent to those hot-beds of
pride and folly--colleges, whence they return with a greater contempt for
everything 'low,' and especially for their own pedigree, than they went
with.  I tell you, friend, the children of Dissenters, if not their
parents, are going over to the Church, as you call it, and the Church is
going over to Rome."

"I do not see the justice of that latter assertion at all," said I; "some
of the Dissenters' children may be coming over to the Church of England,
and yet the Church of England be very far from going over to Rome."

"In the high road for it, I assure you," said the man in black; "part of
it is going to abandon, the rest to lose their prerogative, and when a
Church no longer retains its prerogative, it speedily loses its own
respect, and that of others."

"Well," said I, "if the higher classes have all the vices and follies
which you represent, on which point I can say nothing, as I have never
mixed with them; and even supposing the middle classes are the foolish
beings you would fain make them, and which I do not believe them as a
body to be, you would still find some resistance amongst the lower
classes: I have a considerable respect for their good sense and
independence of character; but pray let me hear your opinion of them."

"As for the lower classes," said the man in black, "I believe them to be
the most brutal wretches in the world, the most addicted to foul feeding,
foul language, and foul vices of every kind; wretches who have neither
love for country, religion, nor anything save their own vile selves.  You
surely do not think that they would oppose a change of religion! why,
there is not one of them but would hurrah for the Pope, or Mahomet, for
the sake of a hearty gorge and a drunken bout, like those which they are
treated with at election contests."

"Has your Church any followers amongst them?" said I.

"Wherever there happens to be a Romish family of considerable
possessions," said the man in black, "our Church is sure to have
followers of the lower class, who have come over in the hope of getting
something in the shape of dole or donation.  As, however, the Romish is
not yet the dominant religion, and the clergy of the English
establishment have some patronage to bestow, the churches are not quite
deserted by the lower classes; yet, were the Romish to become the
established religion, they would, to a certainty, all go over to it; you
can scarcely imagine what a self-interested set they are--for example,
the landlord of that public-house in which I first met you, having lost a
sum of money upon a cockfight, and his affairs in consequence being in a
bad condition, is on the eve of coming over to us, in the hope that two
old popish females of property, whom I confess, will advance a sum of
money to set him up again in the world."

"And what could have put such an idea into the poor fellow's head?" said
I.

"Oh! he and I have had some conversation upon the state of his affairs,"
said the man in black; "I think he might make a rather useful convert in
these parts, provided things take a certain turn, as they doubtless will.
It is no bad thing to have a fighting fellow, who keeps a public-house,
belonging to one's religion.  He has been occasionally employed as a
bully at elections by the Tory party, and he may serve us in the same
capacity.  The fellow comes of a good stock; I heard him say that his
father headed the High Church mob who sacked and burnt Priestley's house
at Birmingham, towards the end of the last century."

"A disgraceful affair," said I.

"What do you mean by a disgraceful affair?" said the man in black.  "I
assure you that nothing has occurred for the last fifty years which has
given the High Church party so much credit in the eyes of Rome as
that,--we did not imagine that the fellows had so much energy.  Had they
followed up that affair by twenty others of a similar kind, they would by
this time have had everything in their own power; but they did not, and,
as a necessary consequence, they are reduced to almost nothing."

"I suppose," said I, "that your Church would have acted very differently
in its place."

"It has always done so," said the man in black, coolly sipping.  "Our
Church has always armed the brute population against the genius and
intellect of a country, provided that same intellect and genius were not
willing to become its instruments and eulogists; and provided we once
obtain a firm hold here again, we would not fail to do so.  We would
occasionally stuff the beastly rabble with horseflesh and bitter ale, and
then halloo them on against all those who were obnoxious to us."

"Horseflesh and bitter ale!" I replied.

"Yes," said the man in black; "horseflesh and bitter ale--the favourite
delicacies of their Saxon ancestors, who were always ready to do our
bidding after a liberal allowance of such cheer.  There is a tradition in
our Church, that before the Northumbrian rabble, at the instigation of
Austin, attacked and massacred the Presbyterian monks of Bangor, they had
been allowed a good gorge of horseflesh and bitter ale.  He! he! he!"
continued the man in black, "what a fine spectacle to see such a mob,
headed by a fellow like our friend the landlord, sack the house of
another Priestley!"

"Then you don't deny that we have had a Priestley," said I, "and admit
the possibility of our having another?  You were lately observing that
all English literary men were sycophants?"

"Lick-spittles," said the man in black; "yes, I admit that you have had a
Priestley, but he was a Dissenter of the old class; you have had him, and
perhaps may have another."

"Perhaps we may," said I.  "But with respect to the lower classes, have
you mixed much with them?"

"I have mixed with all classes," said the man in black, "and with the
lower not less than the upper and middle; they are much as I have
described them; and of the three, the lower are the worst.  I never knew
one of them that possessed the slightest principle, no, not . . . It is
true, there was one fellow whom I once met, who . . . but it is a long
story, and the affair happened abroad."

"I ought to know something of the English people," he continued, after a
moment's pause; "I have been many years amongst them, labouring in the
cause of the Church."

"Your See must have had great confidence in your powers, when it selected
you to labour for it in these parts," said I.

"They chose me," said the man in black, "principally because, being of
British extraction and education, I could speak the English language and
bear a glass of something strong.  It is the opinion of my See, that it
would hardly do to send a missionary into a country like this who is not
well versed in English--a country where, they think, so far from
understanding any language besides his own, scarcely one individual in
ten speaks his own intelligibly; or an ascetic person where, as they say,
high and low, male and female, are, at some period of their lives, fond
of a renovating glass, as it is styled--in other words, of tippling."

"Your See appears to entertain a very strange opinion of the English,"
said I.

"Not altogether an unjust one," said the man in black, lifting the glass
to his mouth.

"Well," said I, "it is certainly very kind on its part to wish to bring
back such a set of beings beneath its wing."

"Why, as to the kindness of my See," said the man in black, "I have not
much to say; my See has generally in what it does a tolerably good
motive; these heretics possess in plenty what my See has a great
hankering for, and can turn to a good account--money!"

"The Founder of the Christian religion cared nothing for money," said I.

"What have we to do with what the Founder of the Christian religion cared
for?" said the man in black.  "How could our temples be built, and our
priests supported without money?  But you are unwise to reproach us with
a desire of obtaining money; you forget that your own Church, if the
Church of England be your own Church, as I suppose it is, from the
willingness which you displayed in the public-house to fight for it, is
equally avaricious; look at your greedy bishops, and your corpulent
rectors--do they imitate Christ in His disregard for money?  You might as
well tell me that they imitate Christ in His meekness and humility."

"Well," said I, "whatever their faults may be, you can't say that they go
to Rome for money."

The man in black made no direct answer, but appeared by the motion of his
lips to be repeating something to himself.

"I see your glass is again empty," said I; "perhaps you will replenish
it?"

The man in black arose from his seat, adjusted his habiliments, which
were rather in disorder, and placed upon his head his hat, which he had
laid aside; then, looking at me, who was still lying on the ground, he
said--"I might, perhaps, take another glass, though I believe I have had
quite as much as I can well bear; but I do not wish to hear you utter
anything more this evening, after that last observation of yours--it is
quite original; I will meditate upon it on my pillow this night, after
having said an ave and a pater--go to Rome for money!"  He then made
Belle a low bow, slightly motioned to me with his hand as if bidding
farewell, and then left the dingle with rather uneven steps.

"Go to Rome for money," I heard him say as he ascended the winding path,
"he! he! he!  Go to Rome for money, ho! ho! ho!"



CHAPTER XCV


Wooded Retreat--Fresh Shoes--Wood Fire--Ash, when Green--Queen of
China--Cleverest People--Declensions--Armenian--Thunder--Deep Olive--What
Do You Mean?--Koul Adonai--The Thick Bushes--Wood Pigeon--Old Goethe.

Nearly three days elapsed without anything of particular moment
occurring.  Belle drove the little cart containing her merchandise about
the neighbourhood, returning to the dingle towards the evening.  As for
myself, I kept within my wooded retreat, working during the periods of
her absence leisurely at my forge.  Having observed that the quadruped
which my companion drove was as much in need of shoes as my own had been
some time previously, I had determined to provide it with a set, and
during the aforesaid periods occupied myself in preparing them.  As I was
employed three mornings and afternoons about them, I am sure that the
reader will agree that I worked leisurely, or rather, lazily.  On the
third day Belle arrived somewhat later than usual; I was lying on my back
at the bottom of the dingle, employed in tossing up the shoes which I had
produced, and catching them as they fell--some being always in the air
mounting or descending, somewhat after the fashion of the waters of a
fountain.

"Why have you been absent so long?" said I to Belle; "it must be long
past four by the day."

"I have been almost killed by the heat," said Belle; "I was never out in
a more sultry day--the poor donkey, too, could scarcely move along."

"He shall have fresh shoes," said I, continuing my exercise; "here they
are quite ready; to-morrow I will tack them on."

"And why are you playing with them in that manner?" said Belle.

"Partly in triumph at having made them, and partly to show that I can do
something besides making them; it is not every one who, after having made
a set of horse-shoes, can keep them going up and down in the air, without
letting one fall."

"One has now fallen on your chin," said Belle.

"And another on my cheek," said I, getting up; "it is time to discontinue
the game, for the last shoe drew blood."

Belle went to her own little encampment; and as for myself, after having
flung the donkey's shoes into my tent, I put some fresh wood on the fire,
which was nearly out, and hung the kettle over it.  I then issued forth
from the dingle, and strolled round the wood that surrounded it; for a
long time I was busied in meditation, looking at the ground, striking
with my foot, half unconsciously, the tufts of grass and thistles that I
met in my way.  After some time, I lifted up my eyes to the sky, at first
vacantly, and then with more attention, turning my head in all directions
for a minute or two; after which I returned to the dingle.  Isopel was
seated near the fire, over which the kettle was now hung; she had changed
her dress--no signs of the dust and fatigue of her late excursion
remained; she had just added to the fire a small billet of wood, two or
three of which I had left beside it; the fire cracked, and a sweet odour
filled the dingle.

"I am fond of sitting by a wood fire," said Belle, "when abroad, whether
it be hot or cold; I love to see the flames dart out of the wood; but
what kind is this, and where did you get it?"

"It is ash," said I, "green ash.  Somewhat less than a week ago, whilst I
was wandering along the road by the side of a wood, I came to a place
where some peasants were engaged in cutting up and clearing away a
confused mass of fallen timber: a mighty aged oak had given way the night
before, and in its fall had shivered some smaller trees; the upper part
of the oak, and the fragments of the rest, lay across the road.  I
purchased, for a trifle, a bundle or two, and the wood on the fire is
part of it--ash, green ash."

"That makes good the old rhyme," said Belle, "which I have heard sung by
the old women in the great house:--

   'Ash, when green,
   Is fire for a queen.'"

"And on fairer form of queen, ash fire never shone," said I, "than on
thine, O beauteous queen of the dingle."

"I am half disposed to be angry with you, young man," said Belle.

"And why not entirely?" said I.

Belle made no reply.

"Shall I tell you?" I demanded.  "You had no objection to the first part
of the speech, but you did not like being called queen of the dingle.
Well, if I had the power, I would make you queen of something better than
the dingle--Queen of China.  Come, let us have tea."

"Something less would content me," said Belle, sighing, as she rose to
prepare our evening meal.

So we took tea together, Belle and I.  "How delicious tea is after a hot
summer's day, and a long walk," said she.

"I dare say it is most refreshing then," said I; "but I have heard people
say that they most enjoy it on a cold winter's night, when the kettle is
hissing on the fire, and their children playing on the hearth."

Belle sighed.  "Where does tea come from?" she presently demanded.

"From China," said I; "I just now mentioned it, and the mention of it put
me in mind of tea."

"What kind of country is China?"

"I know very little about it; all I know is, that it is a very large
country far to the East, but scarcely large enough to contain its
inhabitants, who are so numerous, that though China does not cover one-
ninth part of the world, its inhabitants amount to one-third of the
population of the world."

"And do they talk as we do?"

"Oh no!  I know nothing of their language; but I have heard that it is
quite different from all others, and so difficult that none but the
cleverest people amongst foreigners can master it, on which account,
perhaps, only the French pretend to know anything about it."

"Are the French so very clever, then?" said Belle.

"They say there are no people like them, at least in Europe.  But talking
of Chinese reminds me that I have not for some time past given you a
lesson in Armenian.  The word for tea in Armenian is--by the bye, what is
the Armenian word for tea?"

"That's your affair, not mine," said Belle; "it seems hard that the
master should ask the scholar."

"Well," said I, "whatever the word may be in Armenian, it is a noun; and
as we have never yet declined an Armenian noun together, we may as well
take this opportunity of declining one.  Belle, there are ten declensions
in Armenian!"

"What's a declension?"

"The way of declining a noun."

"Then, in the civilest way imaginable, I decline the noun.  Is that a
declension?"

"You should never play on words; to do so is low, vulgar, smelling of the
pothouse, the workhouse.  Belle, I insist on your declining an Armenian
noun."

"I have done so already," said Belle.

"If you go on in this way," said I, "I shall decline taking any more tea
with you.  Will you decline an Armenian noun?"

"I don't like the language," said Belle.  "If you must teach me
languages, why not teach me French or Chinese?"

"I know nothing of Chinese; and as for French, none but a Frenchman is
clever enough to speak it--to say nothing of teaching; no, we will stick
to Armenian, unless, indeed, you would prefer Welsh!"

"Welsh, I have heard, is vulgar," said Belle; "so, if I must learn one of
the two, I will prefer Armenian, which I never heard of till you
mentioned it to me; though, of the two, I really think Welsh sounds
best."

"The Armenian noun," said I, "which I propose for your declension this
night, is ---, which signifieth Master."

"I neither like the word nor the sound," said Belle.

"I can't help that," said I; "it is the word I choose: Master, with all
its variations, being the first noun the sound of which I would have you
learn from my lips.  Come, let us begin--

"A master.  Of a master, etc.  Repeat--"

"I am not much used to say the word," said Belle, "but to oblige you I
will decline it as you wish;" and thereupon Belle declined Master in
Armenian.

"You have declined the noun very well," said I; "that is, in the singular
number; we will now go to the plural."

"What is the plural?" said Belle.

"That which implies more than one, for example, Masters; you shall now go
through Masters in Armenian."

"Never," said Belle, "never; it is bad to have one master, but more I
would never bear, whether in Armenian or English."

"You do not understand," said I; "I merely want you to decline Masters in
Armenian."

"I do decline them; I will have nothing to do with them, nor with Master
either; I was wrong to . . . What sound is that?"

"I did not hear it, but I dare say it is thunder; in Armenian--"

"Never mind what it is in Armenian; but why do you think it is thunder?"

"Ere I returned from my stroll, I looked up into the heavens, and by
their appearance I judged that a storm was nigh at hand."

"And why did you not tell me so?"

"You never asked me about the state of the atmosphere, and I am not in
the habit of giving my opinion to people on any subject, unless
questioned.  But, setting that aside, can you blame me for not troubling
you with forebodings about storm and tempest, which might have prevented
the pleasure you promised yourself in drinking tea, or perhaps a lesson
in Armenian, though you pretend to dislike the latter?"

"My dislike is not pretended," said Belle; "I hate the sound of it, but I
love my tea, and it was kind of you not to wish to cast a cloud over my
little pleasures; the thunder came quite time enough to interrupt it
without being anticipated--there is another peal--I will clear away, and
see that my tent is in a condition to resist the storm; and I think you
had better bestir yourself."

Isopel departed, and I remained seated on my stone, as nothing belonging
to myself required any particular attention; in about a quarter of an
hour she returned, and seated herself upon her stool.

"How dark the place is become since I left you," said she; "just as if
night were just at hand."

"Look up at the sky," said I; "and you will not wonder; it is all of a
deep olive.  The wind is beginning to rise; hark how it moans among the
branches, and see how their tops are bending; it brings dust on its
wings--I felt some fall on my face; and what is this, a drop of rain?"

"We shall have plenty anon," said Belle; "do you hear? it already begins
to hiss upon the embers; that fire of ours will soon be extinguished."

"It is not probable that we shall want it," said I, "but we had better
seek shelter: let us go into my tent."

"Go in," said Belle, "but you go in alone; as for me, I will seek my
own."

"You are right," said I, "to be afraid of me; I have taught you to
decline Master in Armenian."

"You almost tempt me," said Belle, "to make you decline mistress in
English."

"To make matters short," said I, "I decline a mistress."

"What do you mean?" said Belle, angrily.

"I have merely done what you wished me," said I, "and in your own style;
there is no other way of declining anything in English, for in English
there are no declensions."

"The rain is increasing," said Belle.

"It is so," said I; "I shall go to my tent; you may come if you please; I
do assure you I am not afraid of you."

"Nor I of you," said Belle; "so I will come.  Why should I be afraid?  I
can take my own part; that is . . . "

We went into the tent and sat down, and now the rain began to pour with
vehemence.  "I hope we shall not be flooded in this hollow," said I to
Belle.  "There is no fear of that," said Belle; "the wandering people,
amongst other names, call it the dry hollow.  I believe there is a
passage somewhere or other by which the wet is carried off.  There must
be a cloud right above us, it is so dark.  Oh! what a flash!"

"And what a peal!" said I; "that is what the Hebrews call Koul Adonai--the
voice of the Lord.  Are you afraid?"

"No," said Belle, "I rather like to hear it."

"You are right," said I; "I am fond of the sound of thunder myself.  There
is nothing like it; Koul Adonai behadar: the voice of the Lord is a
glorious voice, as the Prayer-Book version hath it."

"There is something awful in it," said Belle; "and then the lightning--the
whole dingle is now in a blaze."

"'The voice of the Lord maketh the hinds to calve, and discovereth the
thick bushes.'  As you say, there is something awful in thunder."

"There are all kinds of noises above us," said Belle; "surely I heard the
crashing of a tree?"

"'The voice of the Lord breaketh the cedar trees,'" said I, "but what you
hear is caused by a convulsion of the air; during a thunderstorm there
are occasionally all kinds of aerial noises.  Ab Gwilym, who, next to
King David, has best described a thunderstorm, speaks of these aerial
noises in the following manner:--

   'Astonied now I stand at strains,
   As of ten thousand clanking chains;
   And once, methought, that overthrown,
   The welkin's oaks came whelming down;
   Upon my head up starts my hair:
   Why hunt abroad the hounds of air?
   What cursed hag is screeching high,
   Whilst crash goes all her crockery?'

You would hardly believe, Belle, that though I offered at least ten
thousand lines nearly as good as those to the booksellers in London, the
simpletons were so blind to their interest as to refuse purchasing them!"

"I don't wonder at it," said Belle, "especially if such dreadful
expressions frequently occur as that towards the end;--surely that was
the crash of a tree?"

"Ah!" said I, "there falls the cedar tree--I mean the sallow; one of the
tall trees on the outside of the dingle has been snapped short."

"What a pity," said Belle, "that the fine old oak, which you saw the
peasants cutting up, gave way the other night, when scarcely a breath of
air was stirring; how much better to have fallen in a storm like this,
the fiercest I remember."

"I don't think so," said I; "after braving a thousand tempests, it was
meeter for it to fall of itself than to be vanquished at last.  But to
return to Ab Gwilym's poetry: he was above culling dainty words, and
spoke boldly his mind on all subjects.  Enraged with the thunder for
parting him and Morfydd, he says, at the conclusion of his ode,

   'My curse, O Thunder, cling to thee,
   For parting my dear pearl and me!'"

"You and I shall part, that is, I shall go to my tent, if you persist in
repeating from him.  The man must have been a savage.  A poor wood-pigeon
has fallen dead."

"Yes," said I, "there he lies, just outside the tent; often have I
listened to his note when alone in this wilderness.  So you do not like
Ab Gwilym; what say you to old Goethe:--

   'Mist shrouds the night, and rack;
   Hear, in the woods, what an awful crack!
   Wildly the owls are flitting,
   Hark to the pillars splitting
   Of palaces verdant ever,
   The branches quiver and sever,
   The mighty stems are creaking,
   The poor roots breaking and shrieking,
   In wild mixt ruin down dashing,
   O'er one another they're crashing;
   Whilst 'midst the rocks so hoary,
   Whirlwinds hurry and worry.
   Hear'st not, sister--'"

"Hark!" said Belle, "hark!"

   "'Hear'st not, sister, a chorus
   Of voices--?'"

"No," said Belle, "but I hear a voice."



CHAPTER XCVI


A shout--A Fire-Ball--See to the Horses--Passing Away--Gap in the
Hedge--On Three Wheels--Why Do You Stop?--No Craven Heart--The
Cordial--Across the Country--Small Bags.

I listened attentively, but I could hear nothing but the loud clashing of
branches, the pattering of rain, and the muttered growl of thunder.  I
was about to tell Belle that she must have been mistaken, when I heard a
shout--indistinct, it is true, owing to the noises aforesaid--from some
part of the field above the dingle.  "I will soon see what's the matter,"
said I to Belle, starting up.  "I will go too," said the girl.  "Stay
where you are," said I; "if I need you, I will call;" and, without
waiting for any answer, I hurried to the mouth of the dingle.  I was
about a few yards only from the top of the ascent, when I beheld a blaze
of light, from whence I knew not; the next moment there was a loud crash,
and I appeared involved in a cloud of sulphurous smoke.  "Lord have mercy
upon us!" I heard a voice say, and methought I heard the plunging and
struggling of horses.  I had stopped short on hearing the crash, for I
was half stunned; but I now hurried forward, and in a moment stood upon
the plain.  Here I was instantly aware of the cause of the crash and the
smoke.  One of those balls, generally called fire-balls, had fallen from
the clouds, and was burning on the plain at a short distance; and the
voice which I had heard, and the plunging, were as easily accounted for.
Near the left-hand corner of the grove which surrounded the dingle, and
about ten yards from the fire-ball, I perceived a chaise, with a
postillion on the box, who was making efforts, apparently useless, to
control his horses, which were kicking and plunging in the highest degree
of excitement.  I instantly ran towards the chaise, in order to offer
what help was in my power.  "Help me," said the poor fellow, as I drew
nigh; but before I could reach the horses, they had turned rapidly round,
one of the fore-wheels flew from its axle-tree, the chaise was overset,
and the postillion flung violently from his seat upon the field.  The
horses now became more furious than before, kicking desperately, and
endeavouring to disengage themselves from the fallen chaise.  As I was
hesitating whether to run to the assistance of the postillion or
endeavour to disengage the animals, I heard the voice of Belle
exclaiming, "See to the horses; I will look after the man."  She had, it
seems, been alarmed by the crash which accompanied the fire-bolt, and had
hurried up to learn the cause.  I forthwith seized the horses by the
heads, and used all the means I possessed to soothe and pacify them,
employing every gentle modulation of which my voice was capable.  Belle,
in the meantime, had raised up the man, who was much stunned by his fall;
but, presently recovering his recollection to a certain degree, he came
limping to me, holding his hand to his right thigh.  "The first thing
that must now be done," said I, "is to free these horses from the traces;
can you undertake to do so?"  "I think I can," said the man, looking at
me somewhat stupidly.  "I will help," said Belle, and without loss of
time laid hold of one of the traces.  The man, after a short pause, also
set to work, and in a few minutes the horses were extricated.  "Now,"
said I to the man, "what is next to be done?"  "I don't know," said he;
"indeed, I scarcely know anything; I have been so frightened by this
horrible storm, and so shaken by my fall."  "I think," said I, "that the
storm is passing away, so cast your fears away too; and as for your fall,
you must bear it as lightly as you can.  I will tie the horses amongst
those trees, and then we will all betake us to the hollow below."  "And
what's to become of my chaise?" said the postillion, looking ruefully on
the fallen vehicle.  "Let us leave the chaise for the present," said I;
"we can be of no use to it."  "I don't like to leave my chaise lying on
the ground in this weather," said the man; "I love my chaise, and him
whom it belongs to."  "You are quite right to be fond of yourself," said
I, "on which account I advise you to seek shelter from the rain as soon
as possible."  "I was not talking of myself," said the man, "but my
master, to whom the chaise belongs."  "I thought you called the chaise
yours," said I.  "That's my way of speaking," said the man; "but the
chaise is my master's, and a better master does not live.  Don't you
think we could manage to raise up the chaise?"  "And what is to become of
the horses?" said I.  "I love my horses well enough," said the man; "but
they will take less harm than the chaise.  We two can never lift up that
chaise."  "But we three can," said Belle; "at least, I think so; and I
know where to find two poles which will assist us."  "You had better go
to the tent," said I, "you will be wet through."  "I care not for a
little wetting," said Belle; "moreover, I have more gowns than one--see
you after the horses."  Thereupon, I led the horses past the mouth of the
dingle, to a place where a gap in the hedge afforded admission to the
copse or plantation on the southern side.  Forcing them through the gap,
I led them to a spot amidst the trees, which I deemed would afford them
the most convenient place for standing; then, darting down into the
dingle, I brought up a rope, and also the halter of my own nag, and with
these fastened them each to a separate tree in the best manner I could.
This done, I returned to the chaise and the postillion.  In a minute or
two Belle arrived with two poles, which, it seems, had long been lying,
overgrown with brushwood, in a ditch or hollow behind the plantation.
With these both she and I set to work in endeavouring to raise the fallen
chaise from the ground.

We experienced considerable difficulty in this undertaking; at length,
with the assistance of the postillion, we saw our efforts crowned with
success--the chaise was lifted up, and stood upright on three wheels.

"We may leave it here in safety," said I, "for it will hardly move away
on three wheels, even supposing it could run by itself; I am afraid there
is work here for a wheelwright, in which case I cannot assist you; if you
were in need of a blacksmith it would be otherwise."  "I don't think
either the wheel or the axle is hurt," said the postillion, who had been
handling both; "it is only the linch-pin having dropped out that caused
the wheel to fly off; if I could but find the linch-pin!--though,
perhaps, it fell out a mile away."  "Very likely," said I; "but never
mind the linch-pin, I can make you one, or something that will serve: but
I can't stay here any longer; I am going to my place below with this
young gentlewoman, and you had better follow us."  "I am ready," said the
man; and after lifting up the wheel and propping it against the chaise,
he went with us, slightly limping, and with his hand pressed to his
thigh.

As we were descending the narrow path, Belle leading the way, and myself
the last of the party, the postillion suddenly stopped short, and looked
about him.  "Why do you stop?" said I.  "I don't wish to offend you,"
said the man, "but this seems to be a strange place you are leading me
into; I hope you and the young gentlewoman, as you call her, don't mean
me any harm--you seemed in a great hurry to bring me here."  "We wished
to get you out of the rain," said I, "and ourselves too; that is, if we
can, which I rather doubt, for the canvas of a tent is slight shelter in
such a rain; but what harm should we wish to do you?"  "You may think I
have money," said the man, "and I have some, but only thirty shillings,
and for a sum like that it would be hardly worth while to--"

"Would it not?" said I; "thirty shillings, after all, are thirty
shillings, and for what I know, half a dozen throats may have been cut in
this place for that sum at the rate of five shillings each; moreover,
there are the horses, which would serve to establish this young
gentlewoman and myself in housekeeping, provided we were thinking of such
a thing."  "Then I suppose I have fallen into pretty hands," said the
man, putting himself in a posture of defence; "but I'll show no craven
heart; and if you attempt to lay hands on me, I'll try to pay you in your
own coin.  I'm rather lamed in the leg, but I can still use my fists; so
come on both of you, man and woman, if woman this be, though she looks
more like a grenadier."

"Let me hear no more of this nonsense," said Belle; "if you are afraid,
you can go back to your chaise--we only seek to do you a kindness."

"Why, he was just now talking of cutting throats," said the man.  "You
brought it on yourself," said Belle; "you suspected us, and he wished to
pass a joke upon you; he would not hurt a hair of your head, were your
coach laden with gold, nor would I."  "Well," said the man, "I was
wrong--here's my hand to both of you," shaking us by the hands.  "I'll go
with you where you please, but I thought this a strange lonesome place,
though I ought not much to mind strange lonesome places, having been in
plenty of such when I was a servant in Italy, without coming to any
harm--come, let us move on, for 'tis a shame to keep you two in the
rain."

So we descended the path which led into the depths of the dingle; at the
bottom I conducted the postillion to my tent, which, though the rain
dripped and trickled through it, afforded some shelter; there I bade him
sit down on the log of wood, whilst I placed myself as usual on my stone.
Belle in the meantime had repaired to her own place of abode.  After a
little time, I produced a bottle of the cordial of which I have
previously had occasion to speak, and made my guest take a considerable
draught.  I then offered him some bread and cheese, which he accepted
with thanks.  In about an hour the rain had much abated.  "What do you
now propose to do?" said I.  "I scarcely know," said the man; "I suppose
I must endeavour to put on the wheel with your help."  "How far are you
from your home?" I demanded.  "Upwards of thirty miles," said the man;
"my master keeps an inn on the Great North Road, and from thence I
started early this morning with a family, which I conveyed across the
country to a hall at some distance from here.  On my return I was beset
by the thunderstorm, which frightened the horses, who dragged the chaise
off the road to the field above, and overset it as you saw.  I had
proposed to pass the night at an inn about twelve miles from here on my
way back, though how I am to get there to-night I scarcely know, even if
we can put on the wheel, for, to tell you the truth, I am shaken by my
fall, and the smoulder and smoke of that fire-ball have rather bewildered
my head; I am, moreover, not much acquainted with the way."

"The best thing you can do," said I, "is to pass the night here; I will
presently light a fire, and endeavour to make you comfortable--in the
morning we will see to your wheel."  "Well," said the man, "I shall be
glad to pass the night here, provided I do not intrude, but I must see to
the horses."  Thereupon I conducted the man to the place where the horses
were tied.  "The trees drip very much upon them," said the man, "and it
will not do for them to remain here all night; they will be better out on
the field picking the grass; but first of all they must have a good feed
of corn."  Thereupon he went to his chaise, from which he presently
brought two small bags, partly filled with corn--into them he inserted
the mouths of the horses, tying them over their heads.  "Here we will
leave them for a time," said the man; "when I think they have had enough,
I will come back, tie their fore-legs, and let them pick about."



CHAPTER XCVII


Fire of Charcoal--The New Comer--No Wonder!--Not a Blacksmith--A Love
Affair--Gretna Green--A Cool Thousand--Family Estates--Borough
Interest--Grand Education--Let us Hear--Already Quarrelling--Honourable
Parents--Most Heroically--Not Common People--Fresh Charcoal.

It might be about ten o'clock at night.  Belle, the postillion, and
myself sat just within the tent, by a fire of charcoal which I had
kindled in the chafing-pan.  The man had removed the harness from his
horses, and, after tethering their legs, had left them for the night in
the field above to regale themselves on what grass they could find.  The
rain had long since entirely ceased, and the moon and stars shone bright
in the firmament, up to which, putting aside the canvas, I occasionally
looked from the depths of the dingle.  Large drops of water, however,
falling now and then upon the tent from the neighbouring trees, would
have served, could we have forgotten it, to remind us of the recent
storm, and also a certain chilliness in the atmosphere, unusual to the
season, proceeding from the moisture with which the ground was saturated;
yet these circumstances only served to make our party enjoy the charcoal
fire the more.  There we sat bending over it: Belle, with her long
beautiful hair streaming over her magnificent shoulders; the postillion
smoking his pipe, in his shirt-sleeves and waistcoat, having flung aside
his great-coat, which had sustained a thorough wetting; and I without my
waggoner's slop, of which, it being in the same plight, I had also
divested myself.

The new comer was a well-made fellow of about thirty, with an open and
agreeable countenance.  I found him very well informed for a man in his
station, and with some pretensions to humour.  After we had discoursed
for some time on indifferent subjects, the postillion, who had exhausted
his pipe, took it from his mouth, and, knocking out the ashes upon the
ground, exclaimed, "I little thought, when I got up in the morning, that
I should spend the night in such agreeable company, and after such a
fright."

"Well," said I, "I am glad that your opinion of us has improved; it is
not long since you seemed to hold us in rather a suspicious light."

"And no wonder," said the man, "seeing the place you were taking me to!  I
was not a little, but very much afraid of ye both; and so I continued for
some time, though, not to show a craven heart, I pretended to be quite
satisfied; but I see I was altogether mistaken about ye.  I thought you
vagrant Gypsy folks and trampers; but now--"

"Vagrant Gypsy folks and trampers," said I; "and what are we but people
of that stamp?"

"Oh," said the postillion, "if you wish to be thought such, I am far too
civil a person to contradict you, especially after your kindness to me,
but--"

"But!" said I; "what do you mean by but?  I would have you to know that I
am proud of being a travelling blacksmith; look at these donkey-shoes; I
finished them this day."

The postillion took the shoes and examined them.  "So you made these
shoes?" he cried at last.

"To be sure I did; do you doubt it?"

"Not in the least," said the man.

"Ah! ah!" said I, "I thought I should bring you back to your original
opinion.  I am, then, a vagrant Gypsy body, a tramper, a wandering
blacksmith."

"Not a blacksmith, whatever else you may be," said the postillion,
laughing.

"Then how do you account for my making those shoes?"

"By your not being a blacksmith," said the postillion; "no blacksmith
would have made shoes in that manner.  Besides, what did you mean just
now by saying you had finished these shoes to-day?  A real blacksmith
would have flung off three or four sets of donkey-shoes in one morning,
but you, I will be sworn, have been hammering at these for days, and they
do you credit--but why?--because you are no blacksmith; no, friend, your
shoes may do for this young gentlewoman's animal, but I shouldn't like to
have my horses shod by you, unless at a great pinch indeed."

"Then," said I, "for what do you take me?"

"Why, for some runaway young gentleman," said the postillion.  "No
offence, I hope?"

"None at all; no one is offended at being taken or mistaken for a young
gentleman, whether runaway or not; but from whence do you suppose I have
run away?"

"Why, from college," said the man: "no offence?"

"None whatever; and what induced me to run away from college?"

"A love affair, I'll be sworn," said the postillion.  "You had become
acquainted with this young gentlewoman, so she and you--"

"Mind how you get on, friend," said Belle, in a deep serious tone.

"Pray proceed," said I; "I dare say you mean no offence."

"None in the world," said the postillion; "all I was going to say was,
that you agreed to run away together, you from college, and she from
boarding-school.  Well, there's nothing to be ashamed of in a matter like
that, such things are done every day by young folks in high life."

"Are you offended?" said I to Belle.

Belle made no answer; but, placing her elbows on her knees, buried her
face in her hands.

"So we ran away together?" said I.

"Ay, ay," said the postillion, "to Gretna Green, though I can't say that
I drove ye, though I have driven many a pair."

"And from Gretna Green we came here?"

"I'll be bound you did," said the man, "till you could arrange matters at
home."

"And the horse-shoes?" said I.

"The donkey-shoes you mean," answered the postillion; "why, I suppose you
persuaded the blacksmith who married you to give you, before you left, a
few lessons in his trade."

"And we intend to stay here till we have arranged matters at home?"

"Ay, ay," said the postillion, "till the old people are pacified, and
they send you letters directed to the next post town, to be left till
called for, beginning with 'Dear children,' and enclosing you each a
cheque for one hundred pounds, when you will leave this place, and go
home in a coach like gentlefolks, to visit your governors; I should like
nothing better than to have the driving of you: and then there will be a
grand meeting of the two families, and after a few reproaches, the old
people will agree to do something handsome for the poor thoughtless
things; so you will have a genteel house taken for you, and an annuity
allowed you.  You won't get much the first year, five hundred at the
most, in order that the old folks may let you feel that they are not
altogether satisfied with you, and that you are yet entirely in their
power; but the second, if you don't get a cool thousand, may I catch
cold, especially should young madam here present a son and heir for the
old people to fondle, destined one day to become sole heir of the two
illustrious houses; and then all the grand folks in the neighbourhood,
who have--bless their prudent hearts!--kept rather aloof from you till
then, for fear you should want anything from them--I say all the carriage
people in the neighbourhood, when they see how swimmingly matters are
going on, will come in shoals to visit you."

"Really," said I, "you are getting on swimmingly."

"Oh," said the postillion, "I was not a gentleman's servant nine years
without learning the ways of gentry, and being able to know gentry when I
see them."

"And what do you say to all this?" I demanded of Belle.

"Stop a moment," interposed the postillion, "I have one more word to
say:--and when you are surrounded by your comforts, keeping your nice
little barouche and pair, your coachman and livery servant, and visited
by all the carriage people in the neighbourhood--to say nothing of the
time when you come to the family estates on the death of the old people--I
shouldn't wonder if now and then you look back with longing and regret to
the days when you lived in the damp dripping dingle, had no better
equipage than a pony or donkey cart, and saw no better company than a
tramper or Gypsy, except once, when a poor postillion was glad to seat
himself at your charcoal fire."

"Pray," said I, "did you ever take lessons in elocution?"

"Not directly," said the postillion; "but my old master, who was in
Parliament, did, and so did his son, who was intended to be an orator.  A
great professor used to come and give them lessons, and I used to stand
and listen, by which means I picked up a considerable quantity of what is
called rhetoric.  In what I last said, I was aiming at what I have heard
him frequently endeavouring to teach my governors as a thing
indispensably necessary in all oratory, a graceful
pere--pere--peregrination."

"Peroration, perhaps?"

"Just so," said the postillion; "and now I'm sure I am not mistaken about
you; you have taken lessons yourself, at first hand, in the college
vacations, and a promising pupil you were, I make no doubt.  Well, your
friends will be all the happier to get you back.  Has your governor much
borough interest?"

"I ask you once more," said I, addressing myself to Belle, "what you
think of the history which this good man has made for us?"

"What should I think of it," said Belle, still keeping her face buried in
her hands, "but that it is mere nonsense?"

"Nonsense!" said the postillion.

"Yes," said the girl, "and you know it."

"May my leg always ache, if I do," said the postillion, patting his leg
with his hand; "will you persuade me that this young man has never been
at college?"

"I have never been at college, but--"

"Ay, ay," said the postillion, "but--"

"I have been to the best schools in Britain, to say nothing of a
celebrated one in Ireland."

"Well, then, it comes to the same thing," said the postillion, "or
perhaps you know more than if you had been at college--and your
governor--"

"My governor, as you call him," said I, "is dead."

"And his borough interest?"

"My father had no borough interest," said I; "had he possessed any, he
would perhaps not have died, as he did, honourably poor."

"No, no," said the postillion, "if he had had borough interest, he
wouldn't have been poor, nor honourable, though perhaps a right
honourable.  However, with your grand education and genteel manners, you
made all right at last by persuading this noble young gentlewoman to run
away from boarding-school with you."

"I was never at boarding-school," said Belle, "unless you call--"

"Ay, ay," said the postillion, "boarding-school is vulgar, I know: I beg
your pardon, I ought to have called it academy, or by some other much
finer name--you were in something much greater than a boarding-school."

"There you are right," said Belle, lifting up her head and looking the
postillion full in the face by the light of the charcoal fire, "for I was
bred in the workhouse."

"Wooh!" said the postillion.

"It is true that I am of good--"

"Ay, ay," said the postillion, "let us hear--"

"Of good blood," continued Belle; "my name is Berners, Isopel Berners,
though my parents were unfortunate.  Indeed, with respect to blood, I
believe I am of better blood than the young man."

"There you are mistaken," said I; "by my father's side I am of Cornish
blood, and by my mother's of brave French Protestant extraction.  Now,
with respect to the blood of my father--and to be descended well on the
father's side is the principal thing--it is the best blood in the world,
for the Cornish blood, as the proverb says--"

"I don't care what the proverb says," said Belle; "I say my blood is the
best--my name is Berners, Isopel Berners--it was my mother's name, and is
better, I am sure, than any you bear, what ever that may be; and though
you say that the descent on the father's side is the principal thing--and
I know why you say so," she added with some excitement--"I say that
descent on the mother's side is of most account, because the mother--"

"Just come from Gretna Green, and already quarrelling!" said the
postillion.

"We do not come from Gretna Green," said Belle.

"Ah, I had forgot," said the postillion, "none but great people go to
Gretna Green.  Well, then, from church, and already quarrelling about
family, just like two great people."

"We have never been to church," said Belle, "and to prevent any more
guessing on your part, it will be as well for me to tell you, friend,
that I am nothing to the young man, and he, of course, nothing to me.  I
am a poor travelling girl, born in a workhouse: journeying on my
occasions with certain companions, I came to this hollow, where my
company quarrelled with the young man, who had settled down here, as he
had a right to do if he pleased; and not being able to drive him out,
they went away after quarrelling with me too, for not choosing to side
with them; so I stayed here along with the young man, there being room
for us both, and the place being as free to me as to him."

"And in order that you may be no longer puzzled with respect to myself,"
said I, "I will give you a brief outline of my history.  I am the son of
honourable parents, who gave me a first-rate education, as far as
literature and languages went, with which education I endeavoured, on the
death of my father, to advance myself to wealth and reputation in the Big
City; but failing in the attempt, I conceived a disgust for the busy
world, and determined to retire from it.  After wandering about for some
time, and meeting with various adventures, in one of which I contrived to
obtain a pony, cart, and certain tools, used by smiths and tinkers, I
came to this place, where I amused myself with making horse-shoes, or
rather pony-shoes, having acquired the art of wielding the hammer and
tongs from a strange kind of smith--not him of Gretna Green--whom I knew
in my childhood.  And here I lived, doing harm to no one, quite lonely
and solitary, till one fine morning the premises were visited by this
young gentlewoman and her companions.  She did herself anything but
justice when she said that her companions quarrelled with her because she
would not side with them against me; they quarrelled with her because she
came most heroically to my assistance as I was on the point of being
murdered; and she forgot to tell you that, after they had abandoned her,
she stood by me in the dark hour, comforting and cheering me, when
unspeakable dread, to which I am occasionally subject, took possession of
my mind.  She says she is nothing to me, even as I am nothing to her.  I
am of course nothing to her, but she is mistaken in thinking she is
nothing to me.  I entertain the highest regard and admiration for her,
being convinced that I might search the whole world in vain for a nature
more heroic and devoted."

"And for my part," said Belle, with a sob, "a more quiet agreeable
partner in a place like this I would not wish to have; it is true he has
strange ways and frequently puts words into my mouth very difficult to
utter, but--but . . . " and here she buried her face once more in her
hands.

"Well," said the postillion, "I have been mistaken about you; that is,
not altogether, but in part.  You are not rich folks, it seems, but you
are not common people, and that I could have sworn.  What I call a shame
is, that some people I have known are not in your place and you in
theirs, you with their estates and borough interest, they in this dingle
with these carts and animals; but there is no help for these things.  Were
I the great Mumbo Jumbo above, I would endeavour to manage matters
better; but being a simple postillion, glad to earn three shillings a
day, I can't be expected to do much."

"Who is Mumbo Jumbo?" said I.

"Ah!" said the postillion, "I see there may be a thing or two I know
better than yourself.  Mumbo Jumbo is a god of the black coast, to which
people go for ivory and gold."

"Were you ever there?" I demanded.

"No," said the postillion, "but I heard plenty of Mumbo Jumbo when I was
a boy."

"I wish you would tell us something about yourself.  I believe that your
own real history would prove quite as entertaining, if not more, than
that which you imagined about us."

"I am rather tired," said the postillion, "and my leg is rather
troublesome.  I should be glad to try to sleep upon one of your blankets.
However, as you wish to hear something about me, I shall be happy to
oblige you; but your fire is rather low, and this place is chilly."

Thereupon I arose, and put fresh charcoal on the pan; then taking it
outside the tent, with a kind of fan which I had fashioned, I fanned the
coals into a red glow, and continued doing so until the greater part of
the noxious gas, which the coals are in the habit of exhaling, was
exhausted.  I then brought it into the tent and reseated myself,
scattering over the coals a small portion of sugar.  "No bad smell," said
the postillion; "but upon the whole I think I like the smell of tobacco
better; and with your permission I will once more light my pipe."

Thereupon he relighted his pipe; and, after taking two or three whiffs,
began in the following manner.



CHAPTER XCVIII


An Exordium--Fine Ships--High Barbary Captains--Free-born
Englishmen--Monstrous Figure--Swashbuckler--The Grand Coaches--The
Footmen--A Travelling Expedition--Black Jack--Nelson's Cannon--Pharaoh's
Butler--A Diligence--Two Passengers--Sharking Priest--Virgilio--Lessons
in Italian--Two Opinions--Holy Mary--Priestly Confederates--Methodist
Chapel--Veturini--Some of Our Party--Like a Sepulchre--All for
Themselves.

"I am a poor postillion, as you see; yet, as I have seen a thing or two,
and heard a thing or two of what is going on in the world, perhaps what I
have to tell you connected with myself may not prove altogether
uninteresting.  Now, my friends, this manner of opening a story is what
the man who taught rhetoric would call a hex--hex--"

"Exordium," said I.

"Just so," said the postillion; "I treated you to a per--per--peroration
some time ago, so that I have contrived to put the cart before the horse,
as the Irish orators frequently do in the honourable House, in whose
speeches, especially those who have taken lessons in rhetoric, the
per--per--what's the word?--frequently goes before the exordium.

"I was born in the neighbouring county; my father was land-steward to a
squire of about a thousand a year.  My father had two sons, of whom I am
the youngest by some years.  My elder brother was of a spirited, roving
disposition, and for fear that he should turn out what is generally
termed ungain, my father determined to send him to sea: so once upon a
time, when my brother was about fifteen, he took him to the great sea-
port of the county, where he apprenticed him to a captain of one of the
ships which trade to the high Barbary coast.  Fine ships they were, I
have heard say, more than thirty in number, and all belonging to a
wonderful great gentleman, who had once been a parish boy, but had
contrived to make an immense fortune by trading to that coast for gold-
dust, ivory, and other strange articles; and for doing so, I mean for
making a fortune, had been made a knight baronet.  So my brother went to
the high Barbary shore, on board the fine vessel, and in about a year
returned and came to visit us; he repeated the voyage several times,
always coming to see his parents on his return.  Strange stories he used
to tell us of what he had been witness to on the high Barbary coast, both
off shore and on.  He said that the fine vessel in which he sailed was
nothing better than a painted hell; that the captain was a veritable
fiend, whose grand delight was in tormenting his men, especially when
they were sick, as they frequently were, there being always fever on the
high Barbary coast; and that though the captain was occasionally sick
himself, his being so made no difference, or rather it did make a
difference, though for the worse, he being when sick always more
inveterate and malignant than at other times.  He said that once, when he
himself was sick, his captain had pitched his face all over, which
exploit was much applauded by the other high Barbary captains--all of
whom, from what my brother said, appeared to be of much the same
disposition as my brother's captain, taking wonderful delight in
tormenting the crews, and doing all manner of terrible things.  My
brother frequently said that nothing whatever prevented him from running
away from his ship, and never returning, but the hope he entertained of
one day being captain himself, and able to torment people in his turn,
which he solemnly vowed he would do, as a kind of compensation for what
he himself had undergone.  And if things were going on in a strange way
off the high Barbary shore amongst those who came there to trade, they
were going on in a way yet stranger with the people who lived upon it.

"Oh, the strange ways of the black men who lived on that shore, of which
my brother used to tell us at home!--selling their sons, daughters, and
servants for slaves, and the prisoners taken in battle, to the Spanish
captains, to be carried to Havannah, and when there, sold at a profit,
the idea of which, my brother said, went to the hearts of our own
captains, who used to say what a hard thing it was that free-born
Englishmen could not have a hand in the traffic, seeing that it was
forbidden by the laws of their country; talking fondly of the good old
times when their forefathers used to carry slaves to Jamaica and
Barbadoes, realising immense profit, besides the pleasure of hearing
their shrieks on the voyage; and then the superstitions of the blacks,
which my brother used to talk of; their sharks' teeth, their wisps of
fowls' feathers, their half-baked pots full of burnt bones, of which they
used to make what they called fetish, and bow down to, and ask favours
of, and then, perhaps, abuse and strike, provided the senseless rubbish
did not give them what they asked for; and then, above all, Mumbo Jumbo,
the grand fetish master, who lived somewhere in the woods, and who used
to come out every now and then with his fetish companions; a monstrous
figure, all wound round with leaves and branches, so as to be quite
indistinguishable, and, seating himself on the high seat in the villages,
receive homage from the people, and also gifts and offerings, the most
valuable of which were pretty damsels, and then betake himself back
again, with his followers, into the woods.  Oh, the tales that my brother
used to tell us of the high Barbary shore!  Poor fellow! what became of
him I can't say; the last time he came back from a voyage, he told us
that his captain, as soon as he had brought his vessel to port and
settled with his owner, drowned himself off the quay, in a fit of the
horrors, which it seems high Barbary captains, after a certain number of
years, are much subject to.  After staying about a month with us, he went
to sea again, with another captain; and, bad as the old one had been, it
appears the new one was worse, for, unable to bear his treatment, my
brother left his ship off the high Barbary shore, and ran away up the
country.  Some of his comrades, whom we afterwards saw, said that there
were various reports about him on the shore; one that he had taken on
with Mumbo Jumbo, and was serving him in his house in the woods, in the
capacity of swashbuckler, or life-guardsman; another, that he was gone in
quest of a mighty city in the heart of the negro country; another, that
in swimming a stream he had been devoured by an alligator.  Now, these
two last reports were bad enough; the idea of their flesh and blood being
bit asunder by a ravenous fish, was sad enough to my poor parents; and
not very comfortable was the thought of his sweltering over the hot sands
in quest of the negro city; but the idea of their son, their eldest
child, serving Mumbo Jumbo as swashbuckler, was worst of all, and caused
my poor parents to shed many a scalding tear.

"I stayed at home with my parents until I was about eighteen, assisting
my father in various ways.  I then went to live at the squire's, partly
as groom, partly as footman.  After living in the country some time, I
attended the family in a trip of six weeks, which they made to London.
Whilst there, happening to have some words with an old ill-tempered
coachman, who had been for a great many years in the family, my master
advised me to leave, offering to recommend me to a family of his
acquaintance who were in need of a footman.  I was glad to accept his
offer, and in a few days went to my new place.  My new master was one of
the great gentry, a baronet in Parliament, and possessed of an estate of
about twenty thousand a year; his family consisted of his lady, a son, a
fine young man, just coming of age, and two very sweet amiable daughters.
I liked this place much better than my first, there was so much more
pleasant noise and bustle--so much more grand company, and so many more
opportunities of improving myself.  Oh, how I liked to see the grand
coaches drive up to the door, with the grand company! and though, amidst
that company, there were some who did not look very grand, there were
others, and not a few, who did.  Some of the ladies quite captivated me;
there was the Marchioness of in particular.  This young lady puts me much
in mind of her; it is true, the Marchioness, as I saw her then, was about
fifteen years older than this young gentlewoman is now, and not so tall
by some inches, but she had the very same hair, and much the same neck
and shoulders--no offence, I hope?  And then some of the young gentlemen,
with their cool, haughty, care-for-nothing looks, struck me as being very
fine fellows.  There was one in particular, whom I frequently used to
stare at, not altogether unlike some one I have seen hereabouts--he had a
slight cast in his eye, and . . . but I won't enter into every
particular.  And then the footmen!  Oh, how those footmen helped to
improve me with their conversation!  Many of them could converse much
more glibly than their masters, and appeared to have much better taste.
At any rate, they seldom approved of what their masters did.  I remember
being once with one in the gallery of the play-house, when something of
Shakespeare's was being performed: some one in the first tier of boxes
was applauding very loudly.  'That's my fool of a governor,' said he; 'he
is weak enough to like Shakespeare--I don't;--he's so confoundedly low,
but he won't last long--going down.  Shakespeare culminated--I think that
was the word--culminated some time ago.'

"And then the professor of elocution, of whom my governors used to take
lessons, and of which lessons I had my share, by listening behind the
door; but for that professor of elocution I should not be able to round
my periods--an expression of his--in the manner I do.

"After I had been three years at this place, my mistress died.  Her
death, however, made no great alteration in my way of living, the family
spending their winters in London, and their summers at their old seat in
S--- as before.  At last, the young ladies, who had not yet got husbands,
which was strange enough, seeing, as I told you before, they were very
amiable, proposed to our governor a travelling expedition abroad.  The
old baronet consented, though young master was much against it, saying
they would all be much better at home.  As the girls persisted, however,
he at last withdrew his opposition, and even promised to follow them as
soon as his parliamentary duties would permit; for he was just got into
Parliament, and, like most other young members, thought that nothing
could be done in the House without him.  So the old gentleman and the two
young ladies set off, taking me with them, and a couple of ladies' maids
to wait upon them.  First of all, we went to Paris, where we continued
three months, the old baronet and the ladies going to see the various
sights of the city and the neighbourhood, and I attending them.  They
soon got tired of sightseeing, and of Paris too; and so did I.  However,
they still continued there, in order, I believe, that the young ladies
might lay in a store of French finery.  I should have passed my idle time
at Paris, of which I had plenty after the sight-seeing was over, very
unpleasantly, but for Black Jack.  Eh! did you never hear of Black Jack?
Ah! if you had ever been an English servant in Paris, you would have
known Black Jack; not an English gentleman's servant who has been at
Paris for this last ten years but knows Black Jack and his ordinary.  A
strange fellow he was--of what country no one could exactly say--for as
for judging from speech, that was impossible, Jack speaking all languages
equally ill.  Some said he came direct from Satan's kitchen, and that
when he gives up keeping ordinary, he will return there again, though the
generally-received opinion at Paris was, that he was at one time butler
to King Pharaoh; and that, after lying asleep for four thousand years in
a place called the Kattycombs, he was awaked by the sound of Nelson's
cannon at the battle of the Nile, and going to the shore, took on with
the admiral, and became, in course of time, ship steward; and that after
Nelson's death he was captured by the French, on board one of whose
vessels he served in a somewhat similar capacity till the peace, when he
came to Paris, and set up an ordinary for servants, sticking the name of
Katcomb over the door, in allusion to the place where he had his long
sleep.  But, whatever his origin was, Jack kept his own counsel, and
appeared to care nothing for what people said about him, or called him.
Yes, I forgot, there was one name he would not be called, and that was
'Portuguese.'  I once saw Black Jack knock down a coachman, six foot
high, who called him black-faced Portuguese.  'Any name but dat, you
shab,' said Black Jack, who was a little round fellow, of about five feet
two; 'I would not stand to be called Portuguese by Nelson himself.'  Jack
was rather fond of talking about Nelson, and hearing people talk about
him, so that it is not improbable that he may have sailed with him; and
with respect to his having been King Pharaoh's butler, all I have to say
is, I am not disposed to give the downright lie to the report.  Jack was
always ready to do a kind turn to a poor servant out of place, and has
often been known to assist such as were in prison, which charitable
disposition he perhaps acquired from having lost a good place himself,
having seen the inside of a prison, and known the want of a meal's
victuals, all which trials King Pharaoh's butler underwent, so he may
have been that butler; at any rate, I have known positive conclusions
come to on no better premises, if indeed as good.  As for the story of
his coming direct from Satan's kitchen, I place no confidence in it at
all, as Black Jack had nothing of Satan about him but blackness, on which
account he was called Black Jack.  Nor am I disposed to give credit to a
report that his hatred of the Portuguese arose from some ill treatment
which he had once experienced when on shore, at Lisbon, from certain
gentlewomen of the place, but rather conclude that it arose from an
opinion he entertained that the Portuguese never paid their debts, one of
the ambassadors of that nation, whose house he had served, having left
Paris several thousand francs in his debt.  This is all that I have to
say about Black Jack, without whose funny jokes, and good ordinary, I
should have passed my time in Paris in a very disconsolate manner.

"After we had been at Paris between two and three months, we left it in
the direction of Italy, which country the family had a great desire to
see.  After travelling a great many days in a thing which, though called
a diligence, did not exhibit much diligence, we came to a great big town,
seated around a nasty salt-water bason, connected by a narrow passage
with the sea.  Here we were to embark; and so we did as soon as possible,
glad enough to get away--at least I was, and so I make no doubt were the
rest, for such a place for bad smells I never was in.  It seems all the
drains and sewers of the place run into that same salt bason, voiding
into it all their impurities, which, not being able to escape into the
sea in any considerable quantity, owing to the narrowness of the
entrance, there accumulate, filling the whole atmosphere with these same
outrageous scents, on which account the town is a famous lodging-house of
the plague.  The ship in which we embarked was bound for a place in Italy
called Naples, where we were to stay some time.  The voyage was rather a
lazy one, the ship not being moved by steam; for at the time of which I
am speaking, some five years ago, steam-ships were not so plentiful as
now.  There were only two passengers in the grand cabin, where my
governor and his daughters were, an Italian lady and a priest.  Of the
lady I have not much to say; she appeared to be a quiet, respectable
person enough, and after our arrival at Naples I neither saw nor heard
anything more of her; but of the priest I shall have a good deal to say
in the sequel (that, by the bye, is a word I learnt from the professor of
rhetoric), and it would have been well for our family had they never met
him.

"On the third day of the voyage the priest came to me, who was rather
unwell with seasickness, which he, of course, felt nothing of--that kind
of people being never affected like others.  He was a finish-looking man
of about forty-five, but had something strange in his eyes, which I have
since thought denoted that all was not right in a certain place called
the heart.  After a few words of condolence, in a broken kind of English,
he asked me various questions about our family; and I, won by his seeming
kindness, told him all I knew about them--of which communicativeness I
afterwards very much repented.  As soon as he had got out of me all he
desired, he left me; and I observed that during the rest of the voyage he
was wonderfully attentive to our governor, and yet more to the young
ladies.  Both, however, kept him rather at a distance; the young ladies
were reserved, and once or twice I heard our governor cursing him between
his teeth for a sharking priest.  The priest, however, was not
disconcerted, and continued his attentions, which in a little time
produced an effect, so that, by the time we landed at Naples, our great
folks had conceived a kind of liking for the man, and when they took
their leave invited him to visit them, which he promised to do.  We hired
a grand house or palace at Naples; it belonged to a poor kind of prince,
who was glad enough to let it to our governor, and also his servants and
carriages; and glad enough were the poor servants, for they got from us
what they never got from the prince--plenty of meat and money; and glad
enough, I make no doubt, were the horses for the provender we gave them;
and I dare say the coaches were not sorry to be cleaned and furbished up.
Well, we went out and came in; going to see the sights, and returning.
Amongst other things we saw was the burning mountain, and the tomb of a
certain sorcerer called Virgilio, who made witch rhymes, by which he
could raise the dead.  Plenty of people came to see us, both English and
Italians, and amongst the rest the priest.  He did not come amongst the
first, but allowed us to settle and become a little quiet before he
showed himself; and after a day or two he paid us another visit, then
another, till at last his visits were daily.

"I did not like that Jack Priest; so I kept my eye upon all his motions.
Lord! how that Jack Priest did curry favour with our governor and the two
young ladies; and he curried, and curried, till he had got himself into
favour with the governor, and more especially with the two young ladies,
of whom their father was doatingly fond.  At last the ladies took lessons
in Italian of the priest, a language in which he was said to be a grand
proficient, and of which they had hitherto known but very little; and
from that time his influence over them, and consequently over the old
governor, increased, till the tables were turned, and he no longer
curried favour with them, but they with him--yes, as true as my leg
aches, the young ladies curried, and the old governor curried favour with
that same priest; when he was with them, they seemed almost to hang on
his lips, that is, the young ladies; and as for the old governor, he
never contradicted him, and when the fellow was absent, which, by the
bye, was not often, it was, 'Father so-and-so said this, and Father so-
and-so said that; Father so-and-so thinks we should do so-and-so, or that
we should not do so-and-so.'  I at first thought that he must have given
them something, some philtre or the like; but one of the English maid-
servants, who had a kind of respect for me, and who saw much more behind
the scenes than I did, informed me that he was continually instilling
strange notions into their heads, striving, by every possible method, to
make them despise the religion of their own land, and take up that of the
foreign country in which they were.  And sure enough, in a little time,
the girls had altogether left off going to an English chapel, and were
continually visiting places of Italian worship.  The old governor, it is
true, still went to his church, but he appeared to be hesitating between
two opinions; and once, when he was at dinner, he said to two or three
English friends, that since he had become better acquainted with it, he
had conceived a much more favourable opinion of the Catholic religion
than he had previously entertained.  In a word, the priest ruled the
house, and everything was done according to his will and pleasure; by
degrees he persuaded the young ladies to drop their English
acquaintances, whose place he supplied with Italians, chiefly females.  My
poor old governor would not have had a person to speak to--for he never
could learn the language--but for two or three Englishmen who used to
come occasionally and take a bottle with him in a summer-house, whose
company he could not be persuaded to resign, notwithstanding the
entreaties of his daughters, instigated by the priest, whose grand
endeavour seemed to be to render the minds of all three foolish, for his
own ends.  And if he was busy above stairs with the governor, there was
another busy below with us poor English servants, a kind of subordinate
priest, a low Italian; as he could speak no language but his own, he was
continually jabbering to us in that, and by hearing him the maids and
myself contrived to pick up a good deal of the language, so that we
understood most that was said, and could speak it very fairly; and the
themes of his jabber were the beauty and virtues of one whom he called
Holy Mary, and the power and grandeur of one whom he called the Holy
Father; and he told us that we should shortly have an opportunity of
seeing the Holy Father, who could do anything he liked with Holy Mary: in
the meantime we had plenty of opportunities of seeing Holy Mary, for in
every church, chapel, and convent to which we were taken, there was an
image of Holy Mary, who, if the images were dressed at all in her
fashion, must have been very fond of short petticoats and tinsel, and
who, if those said figures at all resembled her in face, could scarcely
have been half as handsome as either of my two fellow-servants, not to
speak of the young ladies.

"Now it happened that one of the female servants was much taken with what
she saw and heard, and gave herself up entirely to the will of the
subordinate, who had quite as much dominion over her as his superior had
over the ladies; the other maid, however, the one who had a kind of
respect for me, was not so easily besotted; she used to laugh at what she
saw, and at what the fellow told her, and from her I learnt that amongst
other things intended by these priestly confederates was robbery; she
said that the poor old governor had already been persuaded by his
daughters to put more than a thousand pounds into the superior priest's
hands for purposes of charity and religion, as was said, and that the
subordinate one had already inveigled her fellow-servant out of every
penny which she had saved from her wages, and had endeavoured likewise to
obtain what money she herself had, but in vain.  With respect to myself,
the fellow shortly after made an attempt towards obtaining a hundred
crowns, of which, by some means, he knew me to be in possession, telling
me what a meritorious thing it was to give one's superfluities for the
purposes of religion.  'That is true,' said I, 'and if, after my return
to my native country, I find I have anything which I don't want myself, I
will employ it in helping to build a Methodist chapel.'

"By the time that the three months were expired for which we had hired
the palace of the needy Prince, the old governor began to talk of
returning to England, at least of leaving Italy.  I believe he had become
frightened at the calls which were continually being made upon him for
money; for after all, you know, if there is a sensitive part of a man's
wearing apparel, it is his breeches pocket; but the young ladies could
not think of leaving dear Italy and the dear priest; and then they had
seen nothing of the country, they had only seen Naples; before leaving
dear Italia they must see more of the country and the cities; above all,
they must see a place which they called the Eternal City, or some similar
nonsensical name; and they persisted so that the poor governor permitted
them, as usual, to have their way; and it was decided what route they
should take--that is, the priest was kind enough to decide for them, and
was also kind enough to promise to go with them part of the route, as far
as a place where there was a wonderful figure of Holy Mary, which the
priest said it was highly necessary for them to see before visiting the
Eternal City: so we left Naples in hired carriages, driven by fellows
they call veturini, cheating drunken dogs I remember they were.  Besides
our own family there was the priest and his subordinate, and a couple of
hired lackeys.  We were several days upon the journey, travelling through
a very wild country, which the ladies pretended to be delighted with, and
which the governor cursed on account of the badness of the roads; and
when we came to any particularly wild spot we used to stop, in order to
enjoy the scenery, as the ladies said; and then we would spread a horse-
cloth on the ground, and eat bread and cheese, and drink wine of the
country.  And some of the holes and corners in which we bivouacked, as
the ladies called it, were something like this place where we are now, so
that when I came down here it put me in mind of them.  At last we arrived
at the place where was the holy image.

"We went to the house or chapel in which the holy image was kept--a
frightful ugly black figure of Holy Mary, dressed in her usual way; and
after we had stared at the figure, and some of our party had bowed down
to it, we were shown a great many things which were called holy relics,
which consisted of thumb-nails, and fore-nails, and toe-nails, and hair
and teeth, and a feather or two, and a mighty thigh-bone, but whether of
a man or a camel, I can't say; all of which things, I was told, if
properly touched and handled, had mighty power to cure all kinds of
disorders.  And as we went from the holy house, we saw a man in a state
of great excitement: he was foaming at the mouth, and cursing the holy
image and all its household, because, after he had worshipped it and made
offerings to it, and besought it to assist him in a game of chance which
he was about to play, it had left him in the lurch, allowing him to lose
all his money.  And when I thought of all the rubbish I had seen, and the
purposes which it was applied to, in conjunction with the rage of the
losing gamester at the deaf and dumb image, I could not help comparing
the whole with what my poor brother used to tell me of the superstitious
practices of the blacks on the high Barbary shore, and their occasional
rage and fury at the things they worshipped; and I said to myself, if all
this here doesn't smell of fetish may I smell fetid.

"At this place the priest left us, returning to Naples with his
subordinate, on some particular business I suppose.  It was, however,
agreed that he should visit us at the Holy City.  We did not go direct to
the Holy City, but bent our course to two or three other cities which the
family were desirous of seeing; but as nothing occurred to us in these
places of any particular interest, I shall take the liberty of passing
them by in silence.  At length we arrived at the Eternal City: an immense
city it was, looking as if it had stood for a long time, and would stand
for a long time still; compared with it, London would look like a mere
assemblage of bee-skeps; however, give me the bee-skeps with their merry
hum and bustle, and life and honey, rather than that huge town, which
looked like a sepulchre, where there was no life, no busy hum, no bees,
but a scanty sallow population, intermixed with black priests, white
priests, grey priests; and though I don't say there was no honey in the
place, for I believe there was, I am ready to take my Bible oath that it
was not made there, and that the priests kept it all for themselves."



CHAPTER XCIX


A Cloister--Half English--New Acquaintance--Mixed Liquors--Turning
Papist--Purposes of Charity--Foreign Religion--Melancholy--Elbowing and
Pushing--Outlandish Sight--The Figure--I Don't Care for You--Merry
Andrews--One Good--Religion of My Country--Fellow of Spirit--A
Dispute--The Next Morning--Female Doll--Proper Dignity--Fetish Country.

"The day after our arrival," continued the postillion, "I was sent, under
the guidance of a lackey of the place, with a letter, which the priest,
when he left, had given us for a friend of his in the Eternal City.  We
went to a large house, and on ringing were admitted by a porter into a
cloister, where I saw some ill-looking, shabby young fellows walking
about, who spoke English to one another.  To one of these the porter
delivered the letter, and the young fellow going away, presently returned
and told me to follow him; he led me into a large room, where, behind a
table, on which were various papers, and a thing which they call, in that
country, a crucifix, sat a man in a kind of priestly dress.  The lad
having opened the door for me, shut it behind me, and went away.  The man
behind the table was so engaged in reading the letter which I had
brought, that at first he took no notice of me; he had red hair, a kind
of half-English countenance, and was seemingly about five-and-thirty.
After a little time he laid the letter down, appeared to consider a
moment, and then opened his mouth with a strange laugh, not a loud laugh,
for I heard nothing but a kind of hissing deep down the throat; all of a
sudden, however, perceiving me, he gave a slight start, but instantly
recovering himself, he inquired in English concerning the health of the
family, and where we lived: on my delivering him a card, he bade me
inform my master and the ladies that in the course of the day he would do
himself the honour of waiting upon them.  He then arose and opened the
door for me to depart."  The man was perfectly civil and courteous, but I
did not like that strange laugh of his, after having read the letter.  He
was as good as his word, and that same day paid us a visit.  It was now
arranged that we should pass the winter in Rome--to my great annoyance,
for I wished to return to my native land, being heartily tired of
everything connected with Italy.  I was not, however, without hope that
our young master would shortly arrive, when I trusted that matters, as
far as the family were concerned, would be put on a better footing.  In a
few days our new acquaintance, who, it seems, was a mongrel Englishman,
had procured a house for our accommodation; it was large enough, but not
near so pleasant as that we had at Naples, which was light and airy, with
a large garden.  This was a dark, gloomy structure in a narrow street,
with a frowning church beside it; it was not far from the place where our
new friend lived, and its being so was probably the reason why he
selected it.  It was furnished partly with articles which we bought, and
partly with those which we hired.  We lived something in the same way as
at Naples; but though I did not much like Naples, I yet liked it better
than this place, which was so gloomy.  Our new acquaintance made himself
as agreeable as he could, conducting the ladies to churches and convents,
and frequently passing the afternoon drinking with the governor, who was
fond of a glass of brandy and water and a cigar, as the new acquaintance
also was--no, I remember, he was fond of gin and water, and did not
smoke.  I don't think he had so much influence over the young ladies as
the other priest, which was, perhaps, owing to his not being so
good-looking; but I am sure he had more influence with the governor,
owing, doubtless, to his bearing him company in drinking mixed liquors,
which the other priest did not do.

"He was a strange fellow, that same new acquaintance of ours, and unlike
all the priests I saw in that country, and I saw plenty of various
nations:--they were always upon their guard, and had their features and
voice modulated; but this man was subject to fits of absence, during
which he would frequently mutter to himself; then, though he was
perfectly civil to everybody, as far as words went, I observed that he
entertained a thorough contempt for most people, especially for those
whom he was making dupes.  I have observed him whilst drinking with our
governor, when the old man's head was turned, look at him with an air
which seemed to say, 'What a thundering old fool you are!' and at our
young ladies, when their backs were turned, with a glance which said
distinctly enough, 'You precious pair of ninny-hammers!' and then his
laugh--he had two kinds of laughs--one which you could hear, and another
which you could only see.  I have seen him laugh at our governor and the
young ladies, when their heads were turned away, but I heard no sound.  My
mother had a sandy cat, which sometimes used to open its mouth wide with
a mew which nobody could hear, and the silent laugh of that red-haired
priest used to put me wonderfully in mind of the silent mew of my
mother's sandy-red cat.  And then the other laugh, which you could hear;
what a strange laugh that was, never loud, yes, I have heard it tolerably
loud.  He once passed near me, after having taken leave of a silly
English fellow--a limping parson of the name of Platitude, who, they
said, was thinking of turning Papist, and was much in his company; I was
standing behind the pillar of a piazza, and as he passed he was laughing
heartily.  Oh, he was a strange fellow, that same red-haired acquaintance
of ours!

"After we had been at Rome about six weeks, our old friend the priest of
Naples arrived, but without his subordinate, for whose services he now
perhaps thought that he had no occasion.  I believe he found matters in
our family wearing almost as favourable an aspect as he could desire:
with what he had previously taught them and shown them at Naples and
elsewhere, and with what the red-haired confederate had taught them and
shown them at Rome, the poor young ladies had become quite hand-maids of
superstition, so that they, especially the youngest, were prepared to bow
down to anything, and kiss anything, however vile and ugly, provided a
priest commanded them; and as for the old governor, what with the
influence which his daughters exerted, and what with the ascendency which
the red-haired man had obtained over him, he dared not say his purse, far
less his soul, was his own.  Only think of an Englishman not being master
of his own purse!  My acquaintance, the lady's maid, assured me that, to
her certain knowledge, he had disbursed to the red-haired man, for
purposes of charity, as it was said, at least one thousand pounds during
the five weeks we had been at Rome.  She also told me that things would
shortly be brought to a conclusion--and so indeed they were, though in a
different manner from what she and I and some other people imagined; that
there was to be a grand festival, and a mass, at which we were to be
present, after which the family were to be presented to the Holy Father,
for so those two priestly sharks had managed it; and then . . . she said
she was certain that the two ladies, and perhaps the old governor, would
forsake the religion of their native land, taking up with that of these
foreign regions, for so my fellow-servant expressed it, and that perhaps
attempts might be made to induce us poor English servants to take up with
the foreign religion, that is herself and me, for as for our
fellow-servant, the other maid, she wanted no inducing, being disposed
body and soul to go over to it.  Whereupon, I swore with an oath that
nothing should induce me to take up with the foreign religion; and the
poor maid, my fellow-servant, bursting into tears, said that for her part
she would sooner die than have anything to do with it; thereupon we shook
hands and agreed to stand by and countenance one another: and moreover,
provided our governors were fools enough to go over to the religion of
these here foreigners, we would not wait to be asked to do the like, but
leave them at once, and make the best of our way home, even if we were
forced to beg on the road.

"At last the day of the grand festival came, and we were all to go to the
big church to hear the mass.  Now it happened that for some time past I
had been much afflicted with melancholy, especially when I got up of a
morning, produced by the strange manner in which I saw things going on in
our family; and to dispel it in some degree, I had been in the habit of
taking a dram before breakfast.  On the morning in question, feeling
particularly low-spirited when I thought of the foolish step our governor
would probably take before evening, I took two drams before breakfast;
and after breakfast, feeling my melancholy still continuing, I took
another, which produced a slight effect upon my head, though I am
convinced nobody observed it.

"Away we drove to the big church; it was a dark, misty day, I remember,
and very cold, so that if anybody had noticed my being slightly in
liquor, I could have excused myself by saying that I had merely taken a
glass to fortify my constitution against the weather; and of one thing I
am certain, which is, that such an excuse would have stood me in stead
with our governor, who looked, I thought, as if he had taken one too; but
I may be mistaken, and why should I notice him, seeing that he took no
notice of me: so away we drove to the big church, to which all the
population of the place appeared to be moving.

"On arriving there we dismounted, and the two priests, who were with us,
led the family in, whilst I followed at a little distance, but quickly
lost them amidst the throng of people.  I made my way, however, though in
what direction I knew not, except it was one in which everybody seemed
striving, and by dint of elbowing and pushing I at last got to a place
which looked like the aisle of a cathedral, where the people stood in two
rows, a space between being kept open by certain strangely-dressed men
who moved up and down with rods in their hands; all were looking to the
upper end of this place or aisle; and at the upper end, separated from
the people by palings like those of an altar, sat in magnificent-looking
stalls, on the right and the left, various wonderful-looking individuals
in scarlet dresses.  At the farther end was what appeared to be an altar,
on the left hand was a pulpit, and on the right a stall higher than any
of the rest, where was a figure whom I could scarcely see.

"I can't pretend to describe what I saw exactly, for my head, which was
at first rather flurried, had become more so from the efforts which I had
made to get through the crowd; also from certain singing, which proceeded
from I know not where; and, above all, from the bursts of an organ, which
were occasionally so loud that I thought the roof, which was painted with
wondrous colours, would come toppling down on those below.  So there
stood I--a poor English servant--in that outlandish place, in the midst
of that foreign crowd, looking at that outlandish sight, hearing those
outlandish sounds, and occasionally glancing at our party, which, by this
time, I distinguished at the opposite side to where I stood, but much
nearer the place where the red figures sat.  Yes, there stood our poor
governor, and the sweet young ladies, and I thought they never looked so
handsome before; and close by them were the sharking priests, and not far
from them was that idiotical parson Platitude, winking and grinning, and
occasionally lifting up his hands as if in ecstasy at what he saw and
heard, so that he drew upon himself the notice of the congregation.

"And now an individual mounted the pulpit, and began to preach in a
language which I did not understand, but which I believe to be Latin,
addressing himself seemingly to the figure in the stall; and when he had
ceased, there was more singing, more organ-playing, and then two men in
robes brought forth two things which they held up; and then the people
bowed their heads, and our poor governor bowed his head, and the sweet
young ladies bowed their heads, and the sharking priests, whilst the
idiotical parson Platitude tried to fling himself down; and then there
were various evolutions withinside the pale, and the scarlet figures got
up and sat down; and this kind of thing continued for some time.  At
length the figure which I had seen in the principal stall came forth and
advanced towards the people; an awful figure he was, a huge old man with
a sugar-loaf hat, with a sulphur-coloured dress, and holding a crook in
his hand like that of a shepherd; and as he advanced the people fell on
their knees, our poor old governor amongst them; the sweet young ladies,
the sharking priests, the idiotical parson Platitude, all fell on their
knees, and somebody or other tried to pull me on my knees; but by this
time I had become outrageous; all that my poor brother used to tell me of
the superstitions of the high Barbary shore rushed into my mind, and I
thought they were acting them over here; above all, the idea that the
sweet young ladies, to say nothing of my poor old governor, were, after
the conclusion of all this mummery, going to deliver themselves up body
and soul into the power of that horrid-looking old man, maddened me, and,
rushing forward into the open space, I confronted the horrible-looking
old figure with the sugar-loaf hat, the sulphur-coloured garments, and
shepherd's crook, and shaking my fist at his nose, I bellowed out in
English--

"'I don't care for you, old Mumbo Jumbo, though you have fetish!'

"I can scarcely tell you what occurred for some time.  I have a dim
recollection that hands were laid upon me, and that I struck out
violently left and right.  On coming to myself, I was seated on a stone
bench in a large room, something like a guard-room, in the custody of
certain fellows dressed like Merry Andrews; they were bluff,
good-looking, wholesome fellows, very different from the sallow Italians;
they were looking at me attentively, and occasionally talking to each
other in a language which sounded very like the cracking of walnuts in
the mouth, very different from cooing Italian.  At last one of them asked
me in Italian what had ailed me, to which I replied, in an incoherent
manner, something about Mumbo Jumbo; whereupon the fellow, one of the
bluffest of the lot, a jovial, rosy-faced rascal, lifted up his right
hand, placing it in such a manner that the lips were between the
forefinger and thumb, then lifting up his right foot and drawing back his
head, he sucked in his breath with a hissing sound, as if to imitate one
drinking a hearty draught, and then slapped me on the shoulder, saying
something which sounded like goot wine, goot companion, whereupon they
all laughed, exclaiming, ya, ya, goot companion.  And now hurried into
the room our poor old governor, with the red-haired priest.  The first
asked what could have induced me to behave in such a manner in such a
place, to which I replied that I was not going to bow down to Mumbo
Jumbo, whatever other people might do.  Whereupon my master said he
believed I was mad, and the priest said he believed I was drunk; to which
I answered that I was neither so mad nor drunk but I could distinguish
how the wind lay.  Whereupon they left me, and in a little time I was
told by the bluff-looking Merry Andrews I was at liberty to depart.  I
believe the priest, in order to please my governor, interceded for me in
high quarters.

"But one good resulted from this affair; there was no presentation of our
family to the Holy Father, for old Mumbo was so frightened by my
outrageous looks that he was laid up for a week, as I was afterwards
informed.

"I went home, and had scarcely been there half an hour when I was sent
for by the governor, who again referred to the scene in church, said that
he could not tolerate such scandalous behaviour, and that unless I
promised to be more circumspect in future he should be compelled to
discharge me.  I said that if he was scandalised at my behaviour in the
church, I was more scandalised at all I saw going on in the family, which
was governed by two rascally priests, who, not content with plundering
him, appeared bent on hurrying the souls of us all to destruction; and
that with respect to discharging me, he could do so that moment, as I
wished to go.  I believe his own reason told him that I was right, for he
made no direct answer, but, after looking on the ground for some time, he
told me to leave him.  As he did not tell me to leave the house, I went
to my room, intending to lie down for an hour or two; but scarcely was I
there when the door opened, and in came the red-haired priest.  He showed
himself, as he always did, perfectly civil, asked me how I was, took a
chair and sat down.  After a hem or two he entered into a long
conversation on the excellence of what he called the Catholic religion;
told me that he hoped I would not set myself against the light, and
likewise against my interest; for that the family were about to embrace
the Catholic religion, and would make it worth my while to follow their
example.  I told him that the family might do what they pleased, but that
I would never forsake the religion of my country for any consideration
whatever; that I was nothing but a poor servant, but I was not to be
bought by base gold.  'I admire your honourable feelings,' said he; 'you
shall have no gold; and as I see you are a fellow of spirit, and do not
like being a servant, for which I commend you, I can promise you
something better.  I have a good deal of influence in this place, and if
you will not set your face against the light, but embrace the Catholic
religion, I will undertake to make your fortune.  You remember those fine
fellows to-day who took you into custody? they are the guards of his
Holiness.  I have no doubt that I have interest enough to procure your
enrolment amongst them.'  'What,' said I, 'become swash-buckler to Mumbo
Jumbo up here!  May I--'--and here I swore--'if I do.  The mere
possibility of one of their children being swash-buckler to Mumbo Jumbo
on the high Barbary shore has always been a source of heart-breaking to
my poor parents.  What, then, would they not undergo, if they knew for
certain that their other child was swash-buckler to Mumbo Jumbo up here?'
Thereupon he asked me, even as you did some time ago, what I meant by
Mumbo Jumbo?  And I told him all I had heard about the Mumbo Jumbo of the
high Barbary shore; telling him that I had no doubt that the old fellow
up here was his brother, or nearly related to him.  The man with the red
hair listened with the greatest attention to all I said, and when I had
concluded, he got up, nodded to me, and moved to the door; ere he reached
the door I saw his shoulders shaking, and as he closed it behind him I
heard him distinctly laughing, to the tune of--he! he! he!

"But now matters began to mend.  That same evening my young master
unexpectedly arrived.  I believe he soon perceived that something
extraordinary had been going on in the family.  He was for some time
closeted with the governor, with whom, I believe, he had a dispute; for
my fellow-servant, the lady's maid, informed me that she heard high
words.

"Rather late at night the young gentleman sent for me into his room, and
asked me various questions with respect to what had been going on, and my
behaviour in the church, of which he had heard something.  I told him all
I knew with respect to the intrigues of the two priests in the family,
and gave him a circumstantial account of all that had occurred in the
church; adding that, under similar circumstances, I was ready to play the
same part over again.  Instead of blaming me, he commended my behaviour,
told me I was a fine fellow, and said he hoped that, if he wanted my
assistance, I would stand by him: this I promised to do.  Before I left
him, he entreated me to inform him the very next time I saw the priests
entering the house.

"The next morning, as I was in the court-yard, where I had placed myself
to watch, I saw the two enter and make their way up a private stair to
the young ladies' apartment; they were attended by a man dressed
something like a priest, who bore a large box; I instantly ran to relate
what I had seen to my young master.  I found him shaving.  'I will just
finish what I am about,' said he, 'and then wait upon these gentlemen.'
He finished what he was about with great deliberation; then taking a
horsewhip, and bidding me follow him, he proceeded at once to the door of
his sisters' apartment: finding it fastened, he burst it open at once
with his foot and entered, followed by myself.  There we beheld the two
unfortunate young ladies down on their knees before a large female doll,
dressed up, as usual, in rags and tinsel; the two priests were standing
near, one on either side, with their hands uplifted, whilst the fellow
who brought the trumpery stood a little way down the private stair, the
door of which stood open; without a moment's hesitation, my young master
rushed forward, gave the image a cut or two with his horsewhip--then
flying at the priests, he gave them a sound flogging, kicked them down
the private stair, and spurned the man, box and image after them--then
locking the door, he gave his sisters a fine sermon, in which he
represented to them their folly in worshipping a silly wooden graven
image, which, though it had eyes, could see not; though it had ears,
could hear not; though it had hands, could not help itself; and though it
had feet, could not move about unless it were carried.  Oh, it was a fine
sermon that my young master preached, and sorry I am that the Father of
the fetish, old Mumbo, did not hear it.  The elder sister looked ashamed,
but the youngest, who was very weak, did nothing but wring her hands,
weep and bewail the injury which had been done to the dear image.  The
young man, however, without paying much regard to either of them, went to
his father, with whom he had a long conversation, which terminated in the
old governor giving orders for preparations to be made for the family's
leaving Rome and returning to England.  I believe that the old governor
was glad of his son's arrival, and rejoiced at the idea of getting away
from Italy, where he had been so plundered and imposed upon.  The
priests, however, made another attempt upon the poor young ladies.  By
the connivance of the female servant who was in their interest they found
their way once more into their apartment, bringing with them the fetish
image, whose body they partly stripped, exhibiting upon it certain
sanguine marks which they had daubed upon it with red paint, but which
they said were the result of the lashes which it had received from the
horsewhip.  The youngest girl believed all they said, and kissed and
embraced the dear image; but the eldest, whose eyes had been opened by
her brother, to whom she was much attached, behaved with proper dignity;
for, going to the door, she called the female servant who had a respect
for me, and in her presence reproached the two deceivers for their
various impudent cheats, and especially for this their last attempt at
imposition; adding, that if they did not forthwith withdraw and rid her
sister and herself of their presence, she would send word by her maid to
her brother, who would presently take effectual means to expel them.  They
took the hint and departed, and we saw no more of them.

"At the end of three days we departed from Rome, but the maid whom the
priests had cajoled remained behind, and it is probable that the youngest
of our ladies would have done the same thing if she could have had her
own will, for she was continually raving about her image, and saying she
should wish to live with it in a convent; but we watched the poor thing,
and got her on board ship.  Oh, glad was I to leave that fetish country
and old Mumbo behind me!"



CHAPTER C


Nothing but Gloom--Sporting Character--Gouty Tory--Servants'
Club--Politics--Reformado Footman--Peroration--Good Night.

"We arrived in England, and went to our country seat, but the peace and
tranquillity of the family had been marred, and I no longer found my
place the pleasant one which it had formerly been; there was nothing but
gloom in the house, for the youngest daughter exhibited signs of lunacy,
and was obliged to be kept under confinement.  The next season I attended
my master, his son, and eldest daughter to London, as I had previously
done.  There I left them, for hearing that a young baronet, an
acquaintance of the family, wanted a servant, I applied for the place,
with the consent of my masters, both of whom gave me a strong
recommendation; and, being approved of, I went to live with him.

"My new master was what is called a sporting character, very fond of the
turf, upon which he was not very fortunate.  He was frequently very much
in want of money, and my wages were anything but regularly paid;
nevertheless, I liked him very much, for he treated me more like a friend
than a domestic, continually consulting me as to his affairs.  At length
he was brought nearly to his last shifts, by backing the favourite at the
Derby, which favourite turned out a regular brute, being found nowhere at
the rush.  Whereupon, he and I had a solemn consultation over fourteen
glasses of brandy and water, and as many cigars--I mean, between us--as
to what was to be done.  He wished to start a coach, in which event he
was to be driver, and I guard.  He was quite competent to drive a coach,
being a first-rate whip, and I dare say I should have made a first-rate
guard; but, to start a coach requires money, and we neither of us
believed that anybody would trust us with vehicles and horses, so that
idea was laid aside.  We then debated as to whether or not he should go
into the Church; but to go into the Church--at any rate to become a dean
or bishop, which would have been our aim--it is necessary for a man to
possess some education; and my master, although he had been at the best
school in England, that is, the most expensive, and also at College, was
almost totally illiterate, so we let the Church scheme follow that of the
coach.  At last, bethinking me that he was tolerably glib at the tongue,
as most people are who are addicted to the turf, also a great master of
slang; remembering also that he had a crabbed old uncle who had some
borough interest, I proposed that he should get into the House, promising
in one fortnight to qualify him to make a figure in it, by certain
lessons which I would give him.  He consented; and during the next
fortnight I did little else than give him lessons in elocution, following
to a tittle the method of the great professor, which I had picked up,
listening behind the door.  At the end of that period, we paid a visit to
his relation, an old gouty Tory, who, at first, received us very coolly.
My master, however, by flattering a predilection of his for Billy Pitt,
soon won his affections so much, that he promised to bring him into
Parliament; and in less than a month was as good as his word.  My master,
partly by his own qualifications, and partly by the assistance which he
had derived, and still occasionally derived from me, cut a wonderful
figure in the House, and was speedily considered one of the most
promising speakers; he was always a good hand at promising--he is at
present, I believe, a Cabinet Minister.

"But as he got up in the world he began to look down on me.  I believe he
was ashamed of the obligation under which he lay to me; and at last,
requiring no farther hints as to oratory from a poor servant like me, he
took an opportunity of quarrelling with me and discharging me.  However,
as he had still some grace, he recommended me to a gentleman with whom,
since he had attached himself to politics, he had formed an acquaintance,
the editor of a grand Tory Review.  I lost caste terribly amongst the
servants for entering the service of a person connected with a profession
so mean as literature; and it was proposed at the Servants' Club, in Park
Lane, to eject me from that society.  The proposition, however, was not
carried into effect, and I was permitted to show myself among them,
though few condescended to take much notice of me.  My master was one of
the best men in the world, but also one of the most sensitive.  On his
veracity being impugned by the editor of a newspaper, he called him out,
and shot him through the arm.  Though servants are seldom admirers of
their masters, I was a great admirer of mine, and eager to follow his
example.  The day after the encounter, on my veracity being impugned by
the servant of Lord C--- in something I said in praise of my master, I
determined to call him out; so I went into another room and wrote a
challenge.  But whom should I send it by?  Several servants to whom I
applied refused to be the bearers of it; they said I had lost caste, and
they could not think of going out with me.  At length the servant of the
Duke of B--- consented to take it; but he made me to understand that,
though he went out with me, he did so merely because he despised the
Whiggish principles of Lord C---'s servant, and that if I thought he
intended to associate with me I should be mistaken.  Politics, I must
tell you, at that time ran as high amongst the servants as the gentlemen,
the servants, however, being almost invariably opposed to the politics of
their respective masters, though both parties agreed in one point, the
scouting of everything low and literary, though I think, of the two, the
liberal or reform party were the most inveterate.  So he took my
challenge, which was accepted; we went out, Lord C---'s servant being
seconded by a reformado footman from the palace.  We fired three times
without effect; but this affair lost me my place; my master on hearing it
forthwith discharged me; he was, as I have said before, very sensitive,
and he said this duel of mine was a parody of his own.  Being, however,
one of the best men in the world, on his discharging me he made me a
donation of twenty pounds.

"And it was well that he made me this present, for without it I should
have been penniless, having contracted rather expensive habits during the
time that I lived with the young baronet.  I now determined to visit my
parents, whom I had not seen for years.  I found them in good health,
and, after staying with them for two months, I returned again in the
direction of town, walking, in order to see the country.  On the second
day of my journey, not being used to such fatigue, I fell ill at an inn
on the Great North Road, and there I continued for some weeks till I
recovered, but by that time my money was entirely spent.  By living at
the inn I had contracted an acquaintance with the master and the people,
and become accustomed to inn life.  As I thought that I might find some
difficulty in procuring any desirable situation in London, owing to my
late connection with literature, I determined to remain where I was,
provided my services would be accepted.  I offered them to the master,
who, finding I knew something of horses, engaged me as a postillion.  I
have remained there since.  You have now heard my story.

"Stay, you shan't say that I told my tale without a per--peroration.  What
shall it be?  Oh, I remember something which will serve for one!  As I
was driving my chaise some weeks ago; I saw standing at the gate of an
avenue, which led up to an old mansion, a figure which I thought I
recognised.  I looked at it attentively, and the figure, as I passed,
looked at me; whether it remembered me I do not know, but I recognised
the face it showed me full well.

"If it was not the identical face of the red-haired priest whom I had
seen at Rome, may I catch cold!

"Young gentleman, I will now take a spell on your blanket--young lady,
good night."

THE END. {437}



Footnotes:


{22}  Greenwich.

{27a}  Cf. French _chaperon_.

{27b}  The Gentile's coming.

{27c}  Gypsy fellows.

{33}  Hearken, thimbla,
Comes a Gentile.

{35a}  A meaningless verse.

{35b}  Rather, _Okki tiro piomus_.

{36}  Books.

{37}  _Tatchi romadi_.

{38}  Great City.

{39a}  Meant for "ghost," but not real Anglo-Romany.

{39b}  _Jerry_ Abershaw (_c._ 1773-95), a highwayman who haunted
Wimbledon Common, and was hanged on Kennington Common for shooting a
constable.

{43a}  Thomas Blood (_c._ 1618-80).  See T. Seccombe's _Lives of Twelve
Bad Men_ (1894).

{43b}  In December 1670.

{63}  ?Amesbury.

{65}  The Avon.

{72a}  The so-called (by Stukeley) "Vespasian's Ramparts."

{72b}  Salisbury.

{87}  This practice is not so uncommon.  Dr. Johnson had a very similar
habit in his "sort of magical movement" (Life by Boswell, end of year
1764); and a member of my own college at Oxford, nearly thirty years ago,
touched just like the man in _Lavengro_.  Once in the Schools he
remembered he had passed by a pebble which he had noticed in the High
Street: he tore up his papers, and went and picked up the pebble.

{88}  Mr. William Bodham Donne, the examiner of plays 1857-74, was told
by Borrow himself that this "Man who Touched" was drawn from the author
of _Vathek_, William Beckford (1760-1844).  There are difficulties in the
way of accepting this statement, among them that Beckford had quitted
Fonthill for Bath in 1822, three years before Borrow went a-gypsying.
Still, I believe there is something in it.

{114}  A thing done oftener in books than in reality.

{121}  Richard Hurrell Froude in a letter of 1831 brands Dissenters as
"the promoters of damnable heresy."

{139}  A branch of the great Gypsy family of Boswell have contracted the
surname to Boss.

{142}  At Tamworth in May 1812 (Knapp, i. 105).

{156}  The Gypsy lass
And the Gypsy lad
Shall go to-morrow
To poison the pig
And bewitch the horse
Of the farmer gentleman.

{160}  The Gypsy lass
And the Gypsy lad
Love stealing
And fortune-telling,
And lying,
And every _-pen_
But goodness
And truth.

{161}  Dog.  Better, _jukel_.

{165a}  By my God; not Anglo-Romany.

{165b}  Coppersmith.

{167}  Grand-aunt's.

{168}  Cake.

{169}  Rod.

{170}  Aunt.

{174a}  Poisoned.

{174b}  Fortune-telling spirit.  I never met the English Gypsy that used
_dook_.

{177}  Gentile's coming.

{188}  In my _Gypsy Folk-Tales_ (1899, pp. 293-95) I have discussed with
some fulness Bunyan's possible Gypsy ancestry.  The most interesting
point is that in 1586 at Launceston a child was baptized "Nicholas, sonne
of James Bownian, an Egiptian rogue."

{201}  Ellis Wynn (_c._ 1671-1741).  Borrow himself at last printed his
translation of _The Sleeping Bard_ at Yarmouth in 1860, and himself next
year reviewed it in the _Quarterly_.

{238}  Rhys Prichard (1579-1644).

{246}  Hat of beaver.

{247}  Good day, brother.

{249a}  Seems meant for "hang-woman," but there is no such word.

{249b}  Gipsy-wise--an odd form.

{250a}  Good old blood.  Should be _rat_, not _rati_.

{250b}  Horse.

{251}  Brother, comrade.

{252a}  Aunt.

{252b}  Poisoning pigs.

{253a}  Poisons; not Anglo-Romany.

{253b}  Better, _nashado_, hanged.

{254a}  Magistrate.

{254b}  Runner, detective.

{255a}  Woman.  Rightly _juvel_.

{255b}  No such word.

{256}  Seemingly "gallows," but no such word.

{257a}  Gypsy chap.

{257b}  _Engro_ is a mere termination, like _-er_ in _runner_.

{259}  Fool.

{260}  Fists.  Prizefighters' slang.

{263}  Blacksmith.

{264a}  Tell fortunes.

{264b}  Hill Town, Norwich, but better, _Chumba Gav_.

{264c}  "Go with God."  Not English Romany.

{267}  Horse-shoe.

{268a}  Better, _yogesko chivs_.

{268b}  Probably "brother," but not English Romany.

{268c}  Unknown to English Gypsies.

{268d}  Beating.

{268e}  Questionable.

{269}  Destiny.

{270a}  Knife.

{270b}  Foot.  Not English Romany.

{270c}  Nail, questionable.

{280}  Horse.

{283}  Son; better, _chavo_.

{285}  As I was going to the town one day
I met on the road my Gypsy lass.

{287}  In again.

{293}  Woman, thieves' cant.

{294a}  Ghost.

{294b}  Knive, thieves' cant.

{294c}  _Moila_, donkey.

{324a}  Gentile listening.

{324b}  Yonder there.

{330}  _Mumper_, sling for "vagabond."

{347}  Cardinal Giuseppe Mezzofanti (1774-1849), who could speak fifty-
eight languages.

{437}  Did ever any other book break off like this one?  And _The Romany
Rye_ opens calmly with: "I awoke at the first break of day, and, leaving
the postillion fast asleep, stepped out of the tent."





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