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We had travelled in this manner for twenty minutes or half an hour, when the horse gradually slackened his pace, and as I did not offer any remarks, the prudent Jehu amused himself with whistling a jig, or now and then bursting out into odd snatches of old and humorous songs, without endeavouring to urge the horse beyond the dog-trot pace into which he had now fallen, and which seemed most habitual to him.
In the course of another hour, the cold light of the wintry morning broke feebly through the murky clouds, which always obscured the sky whenever I happened to be in that part of the world, and I was able, in some measure, to reconnoitre, not only the poor beast which drew me along the road, but the lively and light-hearted animal who sat beside
He was a middle-sized, middle-aged man, with a shock head of hair, that was, probably, quite innocent of either comb or brush-and indeed, nothing less than a curricomb could have made the least impression; a round, good-humoured face; mouth rather wide, and a pair of beautiful black eyes, that would have set off the finest Italian face. His hat was minus a considerable portion of the brim, and the crown seemed designed to act as a ventilator to his head, as it kept flapping up and down with the motion of the car, and was held on one side only, after the fashion of a hinge. His coat, waistcoat, and breeches were made of something resembling cloth, but of what the originals were composed, it would puzzle a wise man to guess, since Joseph's coat of many
colours was not fit to be named in the same page with the habiliments that hung about the person of Pat. His ancles and half way up his legs were cased with hay-bands, ingeniously serving the place of boots, while his feet were protected with shoes that certainly were not made for one individual, and most likely were not both formed in the same century.
As the daylight grew stronger, I was able to make other observations, one of which, at first sight, looked rather alarming. Beneath the feet of the driver were five or six good stout shilelaghs, each of them capable of doing very pretty service at a wake or fair. As the country we were passing was extremely rugged, and for miles destitute of human habitations, and having considerable property with me, the thought was not very un. natural, that mischief might be intended in some lonely spot, where cries for help could only be answered by the wild echoes of the rock, or the still wilder screams of the eagle. There was a degree of surprise, mingled, perhaps, with a trifle of fear, in the exclamation
"What, in the name of patience, are you going to do with those formidable sticks ?”
“Sticks!" exclaimed Paddy, with great surprise, following the direction of my finger, “is it the bits of switches you mane ? Oh! by dad, your
honour, and I'll tell you. You see, your honour, it was late last night when I resaved your honour's commands, and the childer, Heaven bless 'em, were all asleep, and one of them, your honour, had lost the whip, and herself wouldn't let the cratur be waked, and so I jist brought the thriile of swishes, in case your honour should be in a hurry."
“And do you mean to beat the horse,” I asked, “ with such cudgels as those ?”
“ Och! divil a bit," answered Paddy, “I ounly jist acquaint him that they are here to the fore, and when he knows how convaynient I have 'em, faith, he'll travel like a bird, without minding the hills at all."
Not more than half satisfied with this explanation, which, if at all true, showed a superabundant precaution, I sat still beside the merry Irishman, contenting myself with watching to see whether the horse or myself was to have a more intimate acquaintance with the rib-crackers below. We had now gone seven or eight miles, and the road was passing between two large lakes, on a narrow ledge of rock which divided them, and presently aftewards widened, and stretched up loftily in huge beetling cliffs, where the eagle sat watching for his prey. As the road began somewhat to ascend, the horse slackened his pace; and I was not sorry he did, as it gave me a better opportunity of observing the wild and desolate scenery around. From the midst of my contemplations on the grand displays of savage rock and inaccessible cliffs, I was suddenly startled by the sound of a shrill whistle, and looking in the direction from whence it proceeded, I saw several men armed with guns, descending a rugged path that overhung the lake. One was marching in front, and two behind, and having in the centre two others who were half supporting, half dragging, a young female, elegantly dressed. Her face appeared very pale, and her eyes wild; but from the momentary view I had, it was not possible to draw just conclusions as to what emotions caused these appearances. I had barely time to notice these few particulars, when the party rounded the side of a precipice, and were lost to my view. What the whistle had sounded for was soon explained, as I saw two other parties making their way down the rocks from different points, in the same direction, and, as I conjectured, all bearing to one place of rendezvous.
“ Who are those people?" I asked, turning to the driver, and looking inquiringly in his face.
“People, your honour ?" said he, with the greatest simplicity, “sure there are no people at all hereabouts.”
“The men and the woman," I replied, “ who have just passed down
“By dad," said the fellow, looking very roguish, and laughing, "your honour is dhraming this morning! Talk of people passing down yon rocks! None but the divil could pass there, nor himself neither, widout using his wings and his claws.”
As he appeared quite serious in what he said, I was fain to let it pass, although the suspicion came very strongly across my mind, more than once, that he had seen them as well as myself, but did not choose to acknowledge it. I cast my eye down again to the cudgels which lay innocently enough beneath our feet, and at first thought of securing one, in case of an attack; but, recollecting how useless such things would be against the fire-arms carried by strangers, I abandoned my intention, thinking it wiser not to provoke violence by this impotent preparation for desence.
As I came to this conclusion, the road wound sharply round a projecting rock, and we found ourselves in the midst of an arıned party of nine men, surrounding a young female, who laid fainting on the ground.
(To be continued.)
THERE is a ferry in England, on one side of which stands a perpendicular cliff that gives back a remarkably clear echo. Beneath the cliff is the cottage of the ferryman, and it happened one evening, after dark, that a nobleman's post boy, rather tipsy, and a stranger in those parts, arrived on the opposite bank with a pair of horses, and finding no conveyance across, loudly hailed, when the following conversation ensued.
Boatman, ahoy! It is unpleasant-very-
By George ! just let me lay this claw of mine
Echo-How's your mother?
Well, never mind, old lazy crusty cove;
ECHO-She knows you're out.
Yes, yes, of that, old Charon, I'm aware ;
Echo-Sold her mangle!
Why do you mock me thus ? I cannot float
The horses, too, are warm, and will be cooling
CALLING THE WATCH.
A NAUTICAL REMINISCENCE.
(With an Illustration.) In the autumn of 180—, a long run of easterly winds kept the homeward-bound convoys several weeks slapping about the chops of the Channel, and some of the East Indiamen were so much straitened by the want of water and provisions, that when a favourable breeze did come, they were compelled to put into Plymouth for a supply. A great number of the passengers, heartily tired of the long voyage, took the opportunity of quitting the ships, and posting it to their several places of destination without delay. Amongst others who landed, was an officer of the army, with his wife and two children and their attendants, who put up at one of the principal hotels, to wait for a communication which was to direct him to what part of the country he was to proceed. His baggage was received at the hotel, a suite of rooms was fixed upon, but the proprietor would not allow them to be occupied unless the officer would take them for a month, at the small charge of ten guineas per week. In vain the officer remonstrated against this imposition-in vain he declared that his stay would only be for a few days, at the mostmine host was inexorable; and as the baggage was already in the house, together with other circumstances, the officer was forced to comply. On the second day, the expected letters arrived, and called for an immediate removal to London ; chaises were promptly ordered, the bill brought in, and forty guineas charged for the use of the rooms. Indignant at the exorbitant demand, the officer endeavoured to bring the landlord to reason-he offered him ten guineas, though he had been there only two days; but this was rejected, the landlord determined to make him adhere to his agreement, and insisted upon the whole sum, till warm words ensued, and the noise caused by altercation, made several inmates of the hotel acquainted with the occurrence.
Captain — who commanded a frigate then fitting out in Hamoaze, happened to have a large party dining with him at the hotel on that day, and being informed of the nature of the contention (which had somewhat disturbed them), he took an opportunity of quitting the room, and, waiting upon the officer, ascertained the whole fact of the case. They then went to the proprietor, and Captain Sasserting that he expected a visit from some of his friends, a transfer of the apartments was made to the gallant sailor, who undertook to pay the whole of the rent. This was not exactly what the avaricious landlord wanted, for he hoped to sack the forty guineas, and still be enabled to derive emolument from others. However, in this instance he could not well refuse to sanction the exchange of tenants, and therefore he graciously acceded; the army officer expressed his sincere acknowledgments to Captain S-, and they parted, mutually pleased with each other.
After Captain Sreturned to his party, they appeared to be more than usually cheerful—the wine circulated freely—the laugh and the joke abounded, but there was much of the conversation in an under tone, and during the evening several jolly-looking tars were introduced, who after a stiff glass of grog each, received some orders from the Captain and retired.
About eleven o'clock the party broke up, and as most of them had secured beds at the hotel, they at once went to their several apartments, mine host and his fat spouse, his sons and his daughters, his manservants and his maid-servants, and the strangers that were within his gates, were all snugly tucked-in, in their dormitories, and the utmost silence prevailed throughout the establishment_broken only by the deep bass of many a nasal organ, the whole seeming to rival one another in profundity.
Midnight came—the witching hour of midnight, when ghosts are said to shake off their wooden surtouts, and revisit mortals beneath the glimpses of the moon. The great clock in the hall, as if alarmed at being alone, began to strike, and as the sonorous echoes reverberated through the long vaulted passages, those who were not yet sleeping, or were awoke by its spirit-stirring sounds, shook beneath the influences of the hour, and drew the bed-clothes tightly over their heads, as they counted every fall of the hammer. The last stroke was still swelling on the earsilence had not resumed its 'perfect sway—when suddenly there arose within the building the most piercing notes-it was like the burst of a