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terms of my own offer just now, and thy pitiful carcase to boot, I'll e’en grant thee another wish, that thou mayest be satisfied thou art past all hope of redemption. Said I not, that if I could not fulfil any wish of thine, even to the compass of all possible things, and the riches of this great globe itself, I would release thee from this bond?”
" " Yea,” said Michael with an eager assent." • “ Then wish once more; and mind that it be no beggarly desire. Wish to the very summit of wealth, or the topmost pinnacle of thy ambition, for it shall be given to thee.”
«« Then,” said the tailor hastily, as though fearful the words would not come forth quick enough from his lips, “I wish thou wert riding back again to thy quarters, on yonder dun horse, and never be able to plague me again, or any poor wretch whom thou hast gotten into thy clutches !"
• The demon gave a roar loud enough to be heard to the very antipodes, and away went he, rivetted to the back of this very dun horse, which Michael had seen through the window, grazing quietly in the lane, little suspecting the sort of jockey that was destined to bestride him. The tailor ran to the door to watch his departure, almost beside hiniself for joy at this happy riddance. Dancing and capering into the kitchen, where his wife was almost dying through terror, he related, as soon as he was able, the marvellous story of his deliverance.'-vol. i. pp. 265–267.
The third class of Traditions in this series which remains to be noticed, comprehends a very inferior portion indeed, as contrasted with the other legends, of those qualities which are calculated for the amusement of the general reader. They are founded principally on that most extravagant credulity, which once existed in this country, in the existence of goblins, or spiritual messengers of good or evil to human beings. Scenes where such agents are the chief actors, can scarcely afford the means of rational recreation, in an age which has survived too long the explosion of such superstitions. We should, however, in justice, except from the effect of the above remarks, a legend called the · Demon of the Well,' which, though admitting into the system of its machinery the influence of the spirits of the air, may still deserve to be considered on the whole as affording a strong discouragement to a hasty reliance on ghost stories. It presents, up to a certain stage of the narrative, a series of incidents so truly marvellous, that leave us no alternative but to admit that they were the result of preternatural interference; yet the secret springs of all these wonders are afterwards shown to have been brought about by the most simple and ordinary causes; and no one, we should think, could rise from the perusal of the entire legend, without having his mind more accessible than ever to suspicion, when cases of spiritual visitations are offered for his belief.
Much greater imperfections than any to which we have recently alluded, would be amply compensated for, were they to be so fortunate as to be placed within the same cover as the beautiful and impressive story of George Fox,' to which, as the flower of the whole collection, we beg to invite the attention of the reader.
The ground-work of the legend, we may observe, has been employed to embellish many a catalogue of moving adventures, and disastrous chances, before ; and, if we mistake not, the illustrious founder of the Quakers himself, whose name has been just stated, figured as the hero of the piece. Mr. Roby, indeed, alludes to these circumstances, which, so far from casting a damp on the expectations of the reader, ought rather to stimulate his curiosity towards a narrative, whose claims to popularity have been thus st unequivocally attested. The personage whose name is adopted as the title of this story, once occupied the mansion called Swartmooi Hall; and as, by his many virtues, he had endeared himself to his neighbours, and as amongst the descendants of those neighbours, the tradition which we are about to detail, has been cherished from time immemorial, it is only reasonable to conclude, that the identity of the real hero is now unerringly established. Another consideration which gives confirmation to this view is, that George Fox devoted a great portion of his time to solitary excursions, having no immediate destination appointed, but trusting, as he always declared he did, to the guidance of his God. The legend is ushered in by Mr. Roby with a few remarks on the wisdom of believing in the current doctrine of the supremacy of a special providence. In descanting on this topic, Mr. Roby is, indeed, betrayed from his accustomed propriety of style ; but his hallucinations are of such rare occurrence, that it would be a pity to visit them with any degree of severity. We shall therefore proceed to the scene of wild and perilous loneliness, where, by the favour of our author, we are first introduced to the principal actors in this strange drama.
One chill and misty evening, in the year 1652, being the early part of a wet, and, as it proved, a tardy spring, two strangers were benighted in attempting to cross the wild mountain ridge, called Cartmel Fell. They had purposed taking the most direct route from Kendal to Cartmel; having however missed the few points which indicated their track, they had for several hours been beating about in the expectation of finding some clue to extricate themselves, but every attempt seemed only to fix them more inextricably in a state of doubt and bewilderment. A dense fog had been rapidly accumulating, and they began to feel something startled with a vague apprehension of a night-watch amongst the hills, unprovided as they were with the requisite essentials for either food or lodging.
The elder of the two, though not more than mid-way between thirty and forty years old, was clad in a strange uncouth garb, of the coarsest materials, and his lank long hair hung matted and uncombed upon his shoulders, from a “briin" of extravagant dimensions. This style of dress was not then recognized as the distinctive badge of a religious sect, as it is now of the people called “ Quakers," or, as they are more favourably designated “ Friends." The person of whom we speak was the founder of this society, George Fox; who, only about five years previous to the date of our story, after much contemplation on religious subjects, took upon himself the public ministry. In the year 1650, he was imprisoned at Derby, for speaking publicly in the church after Divine service: on being
brought before a magistrate, he bade the company “ tremble at the word of the Lord;" the expression was turned into ridicule, and he and bis friends received the appellation of “Quakers."
• His appearance was stout and muscular : and his general demeanour of that still, undisturbed aspect which, if not one of the essentials of his own religion, is, at least, looked upon as its greatest ornament, betokening the inward grace of a meek and quiet spirit.' - vol. ii. pp. 90, 91.
Ralph Seaton, the companion of Fox, is described as presenting in his general costume, but particularly as to a brief brimmed hat which he wore, a ludicrous imitation of the appearance of the celebrated knight of the rueful countenance. Being of a more worldly disposition than his Apostolic fellow traveller, Seaton exhibited a very justifiable impatience at remaining all night exposed to the inclemency of the weather. After speculating for some minutes on the course which it was most proper to adopt, the elder of the party at last declared that he had perceived a light in a certain direction, and that he was determined to follow it. This resolution he communicated to Seaton, whom he requested to follow him closely, adding, however, an invitation, which must be allowed to be of a very doubtful nature indeed ; " It is the inward light,” exclaimed Fox, "of which I have spoken to thee before: a token of no ordiDary import. To-night, or I am deceived, we are called on to pass through no common allotment of toil and tribulation. Oft bath this light been outwardly manifest, and as often has it been the precursor of some sharp and fiery trial! Again! But thou seest it not. Yet mayst thou follow in my steps. Take heed thou turn not either to the right hand or to the left. But,” the speaker's voice here grew fearfully ominous and emphatic, "hast thou courage to do as I shall bid thee? I must obey the will of the spirit; but unless thou hast faith to follow the light that is within me, rather pass the night on that cold unsheltered rock, than draw back from his witness. Remember, it is no slight peril that awaits us. Seaton having promised implicit obedience, the party proceeded in the quarter where the light first appeared, and, after a tedious journey, arrived at the door of an humble hut, which was dignified by the name of a public-house. The inhabitants of this homely residence presented in their appearance and manner, very little that was calculated to inspire confidence in the strangers. They were particularly struck with the figure of a man who sat by the chimney, and in whom they thought that they observed all the characters of mental derangement. The eye of the creature 'rested for a moment, with a vacant and undefined stare, upon the strangers; then, with a loud shrill laugh, which made the listeners shudder, he again bent his head, basking moodily before the blaze.'. The party at length sat down to supper on a 'flesh pie,' as the hostess called it; but as they were about to eat, a signal from the idiot, which could not be misunderstood, induced them to abstain. Drink was then profferred, but apparently consenting to take it, they were careful not
to allow a drop of it to enter their lips. The conduct of the people of the house was altogether of a nature, to leave no doubt that they intended to make these guests their victims; and it was under the firm conviction that an attempt would be made upon their lives that night, that Fox and his companion retired to the detached apartment which was prepared for their reception. When they were left alone, Fox groaned heavily, and confessed to his partner in misfortune his belief that the night would not pass “ere faith had its test.” “I have had,” he added, “a sore struggle. Our safety will be granted; but through inward guidance, rather than from our own endeavours: yet must we use the means. And with this he enjoined silence on Seaton. The latter, notwithstanding the force of his apprehensions, soon fell into a profound reverie; a troubled sleep succeeded, during which visions of the most terrific kind visited his imagination. His slumbers were at last terminated by a vehement effort which he made to avoid a deadly blow, which some fancied figure was about to inflict upon
him. For awhile he was unable to recollect, precisely, the nature of his situation. The apartment was quite dark. He groped confusedly about him, but to no purpose. At that instant a ray seemed to glide from the casement. It was a moon beam, struggling through that almost impervious inlet. By this light he beheld a tigure, intently gazing towards the window. At the first glance he did not recognise his companion ; but, as he started from the couch, the former approached him, and laying one hand on his shoulder, whispered that he should be still. He obeyed; and remained motionless. The reason for this admonition was soon apparent. He heard a slight pattering, at intervals, on the few brittle fragments which the window yet retained. Seaton at first thought it might be the rain, especially as the wind had considerably abated; but he soon found there must be some other cause, from the rattling of sand, and other coarser materials, upon the floor and bed. He crept close to the window, looking out below, but was unable to find out the reason of this disturbance. Suddenly a rolley of pebbles bounded past his face, and the moon shining forth at the same instant, a figure was distinguished anxiously attempting to aronse and excite their attention. To his great astonishment, he recognised the wayward being whose glance had startled him so disagreeably a few hours before. He recollected the idiot's former signal, and felt convinced that this was a more direct and friendly interference. Seaton carefully pulled away a portion of the stuffing, and was thus enabled to bring his head closer to the bars. This movement was observed ; and, with an admonition to silence, the strange creature pointed to the ground, at the same time he appeared as if urging them to escape. Seaton comprehended his meaning; but the iron fastenings were an apparently insurmountable impediment. He laid hold of one of the bars with considerable force; and, to his great joy, it yielded to the pressure. Apparently there was no other individual beneath, or this friendly warning would not have been given. It seemed as if the tenants of the hovel were too secure of their prey to set a watch. He descended cautiously' to his companion. A few whispers were sufficient to convey the intelligence. Again he mounted to the window ; and, on looking down, found that their providential monitor had disap
peared. There was no time to be lost. Seaton again tried the bar, and succeeded in removing it. Another was soon wrenched from its hold, and a few minutes more saw him safely through the aperture, from which he let himself down, with little difficnlty, to the ground. His companion immediately followed; and once more outside their lodging, a new difficulty presented itself. Seaton knew of no other path than the one by which they had previously gained the cottage; and this would, in all probability, afford a leading track to their pursuers, who might be expected shortly to be aware of their escape. But he was relieved from this dilemma by his companion making a signal that he should follow. “ Remember thy promise,” said he. Seaton was prepared to obey, feeling a renewed confidence in the discretion of his guide. Turning into a pathway near the place where they had alighted, their course was towards a river, which they beheld at no great distance twinkling brightly in the moonbeams. They cautiously yet rapidly proceeded down a narrow descent, fear hastening their flight, for they expected every moment to hear the footsteps of their pursuers. In a little while they turned out of the road, and, by a circuitous path, which the guide seemed to tread with unhesitating confidence, they came to the river's brink. By the brawling of its current, and the appearance it presented, the water was evidently shallow, and might be crossed without much difficulty. Seaton was preparing to make the attempt, but was prevented by his comrade.
• " I have some inward impression that we may not cross here. We shall be pursued ; and our adversaries will imagine that we have passed over what is doubtless the ford of this Jordan. I know not why, but we must follow its banks, and for some distance, ere we pass.”
• Seaton urged the danger and folly of this proceeding, and proposed crossing immediately, but met with a decided and unflinching refusal from his companion. They now kept along the river's brink, but with much difficulty. The rain having swollen the waters ; they were often forced to wade up to the knees, through the little creeks and rivulets that intersected their path. They journeyed on for a considerable time in silence, when the elder traveller made a sudden pause.
•“ It is here,” said he. Seaton looked on the river; but the broad and deep wave rolled past with frightful impetuosity. The moonbeams glittered on a wide and rapid food, whose depths were unknown, but to which, nevertheless, it seemed that they were on the point of committing themselves.
• “ The river is both wide and deep !" said the youth. • “ Nevertheless, we must cross," replied his more taciturn companion. Without further parley, the latter plunged boldly into the stream. Urged on by his fears, and preferring death in any shape to the fate that was pursuing them, Seaton followed his example. For some time they struggled hard with the full sweep of the current; and it seemed little short of a miracle when they arrived, almost breathless and exhausted, on the opposite side.
• “ Praised be His name who hath given strength! Though deep waters have encompassed us, yet His arm is our deliverance." - vol. ii. pp. 102-105.
Scarcely had they gained the opposite bank, when the noise of the trampling of horses, the voices of men, and the baying of a