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less by the side of the hedge. The broad road lay before them, curving out of sight on either side; the ground was hardening under an early tendency to frost, and the clear ring of aproaching hoofs sounded on the ear of the robbers, ominous, haply, of the chinks of "more attractive metal," about, if Hope told no flattering tale, to be their own.
Presently the long-expected vehicle made its appearance at the turn of the road, and it rolled rapid on behind four fleet post-horses.
"You, Ned, with your large steed, stop the horses; you, Augustus, bully the post-boys; leave me to do the rest," said the Captain.
"As agreed," returned Ned, laconically. "Now, look at me!" and the horse of the vain highwayman sprang from its shelter. So instantaneous were the operations of these experienced tacticians, that Lovett's orders were almost executed in a briefer time than it had cost him to give them.
The carriage being stopped and the post-boys white and trembling, with two pistols cocked at their heads, Lovett dismounting, threw open the door of the carriage, and in a very civil tone, and with a very bland address, accosted the inmate. "Do not be alarmed, my lord, you are perfectly safe; we only require your watch and purse."
"Really," answered a voice still softer than that of the robber, while a marked and somewhat French countenance, crowned with a fur cap, peered forth at the arrester,—“really, sir, your request is so modest that I were worse than cruel to refuse you. My purse is not very full, and you may as well have it as one of my rascally duns-but my watch I have a love for-and-"
"I understand you, my lord," interrupted the highwayman. "What do you value your watch at? "Humph-to you it may be worth some twenty guineas." "Allow me to see it!"
"Your curiosity is extremely gratifying," returned the nobleman, as with great reluctance he drew forth a gold repeater, set, as was sometimes the fashion of that day, in precious stones. The highwayman looked slightly at the bauble.
"Your lordship," said he, with great gravity, "was too modest in your calculation-your taste reflects greater credit on you; allow me to assure you, that your watch is worth fifty guineas to us at the least. To show you that I think so most sincerely, I will either keep it, and we will say no more on the
matter; or I will return it to you upon your word of honour, that you will give me a check for fifty guineas payable by your real bankers to 'bearer for self.' Take your choice; it is quite immaterial to me!"
"Upon my honor, sir," said the traveller, with some surprise struggling to his features," your coolness and self-possession are quite admirable. I see you know the world."
"Your lordship flatters me!" returned Lovett, bowing. "How do you decide ?"
"Why, is it possible to write drafts without ink, pen, or paper? ››
Lovett drew back, and while he was searching in his pockets for writing implements, which he always carried about him, the traveller seized the opportunity, and, suddenly snatching a pistol from the pocket of the carriage, levelled it full at the head of the robber. The traveller was an excellent and practised shot-he was almost within arm's length of his intended victim-his pistols were the envy of all his Irish friends. He pulled the trigger-the powder flashed in the pan, and the highwayman, not even changing countenance, drew forth a small ink-bottle, and placing a steel pen in it, handed it to the nobleman, saying with incomparable sang-froid, "Would you like, my lord, to try the other pistol? if so, oblige me by a quick aim, as you must see the necessity of despatch. If not, here is the back of a letter, on which you can write the draft.”
The traveller was not a man apt to become embarrassed in any thing-save his circumstances; but he certainly felt a little discomposed and confused, as he took the paper, and uttering some broken words, wrote the check. The highwayman glanced over it, saw it was writ according to form, and then with a bow of cool respect, returned the watch, and shut the door of the carriage.
Meanwhile the servant had been shivering in front-boxed up in that solitary convenience termed, not euphoniously, a dickey. Him the robber now briefly accosted :
"What have you got about you belonging to your master ?" Only his pills, your honor! which I forgot to put in the—" "Pills!-throw them down to me!" The valet tremblingly extracted from his side pocket a little box, which he threw down, and Lovett caught in his hand.
He opened the box, counted the pills
"One, two,-four,-twelve,-Aha!" he re-opened the carriage door.
"Are these your pills, my lord?"
The wondering peer, who had begun to resettle himself in the corner of his carriage, answered that they were!
My lord, I see you are in a high state of fever; you were a little delirious just now when you snapped a pistol in your friend's face. Permit me to recommend you a prescriptionSwallow off all these pills!"
My God!" cried the traveller, startled into earnestness : what do you mean?-twelve of those pills would kill a man." "Hear him!" cried the robber, appealing to his comrades, who roared with laughter, "What, my lord, would you rebel against your doctor?-Fie, fie! be persuaded."
And with a soothing gesture he stretched the pill box towards the recoiling nose of the traveller. But, though a man who could as well as any one make the best of a bad condition, the traveller was especially careful of his health, and so obstinate was he where that was concerned that he would rather have submitted to the effectual operation of a bullet, than incurred the chance operation of an extra pill. He, therefore, with great indignation, as the box was still extended towards him, snatched it from the hand of the robber, and, flinging it across the road, said, with dignity
"Do your worst, rascals! But, if you leave me alive, you shall repent the outrage you have offered to one of his Majesty's household!" Then, as if becoming sensible of the ridicule of affecting too much in his present situation, he added in an altered tone" And now, for God's sake, shut the door! and if you must kill somebody, there's my servant on the box-he's paid for it."
This speech made the robbers laugh more than ever; and Lovett, who liked a joke even better than a purse, immediately closed the carriage-door, saying,
"Adieu ! my lord; and let me give you a piece of advice: whenever you get out at a country inn, and stay half an hour while your horses are changing, take your pistols with you, or you may chance to have the charge drawn."
With this admonition the robber withdrew; and seeing that the valet held out to him a long green purse, he said, gently shaking his head,
Rogues should not prey on each other, my good fellow You rob your master -so do we-let each keep what he has
Long Ned and Tomlinson then backing their horses, the car
riage was freed; and away started the post-boys at a pace which seemed to show less regard for life than the robbers themselves had evinced.
Meanwhile the captain remounted his steed, and the three confederates, bounding in gallant style over the hedge through which they had previously gained the road, galloped off in the same direction they had come, the moon, ever and anon, bringing into light their flying figures, and the sound of many a joyous peal of laughter, ringing through the distance along the frosty air. BULWER
LXXXIX. THE ADVENTURES OF TIMOTHY, IN HIS SEARCH AFTER JAPHET.
I USED to lie in bed, Japhet, continued Timothy, and think upon the best method of proceeding. At last, I agreed to myself, that to look for you, as you looked after your father, would be a wild-goose chase, and that my money would soon be gone; so I reflected whether I might not take up some roving trade which would support me, and, at the same time, enable me to proceed from place to place. What do you think was my first speculation? Why I saw a man with a dog harnessed in a little cart, crying dog's meat and cat's meat, and I said to myself, "Now there's the very thing-there's a professionI can travel and earn my livelihood." I entered into conversation with him, as he stopped at a low public-house, treating him to a pot of beer; and having gained all I wanted as to the mysteries of the profession, I called for another pot, and proposed that I should purchase his whole concern, down to his knife and apron. The fellow agreed, and, after a good deal of bargaining, I paid him three guineas for the set up.He asked me whether I meant to hawk in London or not, and I told him no, that I should travel the country. He advised the western road, as there were more populous towns in it. Well, we had another pot to clench the bargain, and I paid down the money and took possession, quite delighted with my new occupation. Away I went to Brentford, selling a bit here and there by the way, and at last arrived at the very bench where we had sat down together and eaten our meal.
I had taken up my quarters at that inn, and for three days had done very well in Brentford. On the third evening I had just come back, it was nearly dusk, and I took my seat on the bench, thinking of you. My dog, rather tired, was lying down
before the cart, when all of a sudden I heard a sharp whistle. The dog sprang on his legs immediately, and ran off several yards before I could prevent him. The whistle was repeated, and away went the dog and cart like lightning, I ran as fast as I could, but could not overtake him; and I perceived that his old master was running ahead of the dog as hard as he could, and this was the reason why the dog was off. Still I should, I think, have overtaken him, but an old woman coming out of a door with a saucepan to pour the hot water into the gutter, I knocked her down, and tumbled right over her into a cellar without steps. There I was, and before I could climb out again, man, dog, cart, cat's meat and dog's meat had all vanished, and I have never seen them since. The rascal got clear off, and I was a bankrupt. . So much for my first set up in business.
However, after receiving a very fair share of abuse from the old woman, and a plaster of hot greens in my face-for she went supperless to bed, rather than not have her revenge— I walked back to the inn, and sat down in the tap. The two men next me were hawkers; one of them carried a large pack of dimities and calicoes, and the other a box full of combs, needles, tapes, scissors, knives, and mock-gold trinkets. I entered into conversation with them, and, as I again stood treat, I soon was very intimate. They told me what their profits were, and how they contrived to get on, and I thought, for a rambling life, it was by no means an unpleasant one; so, having obtained all the information I required, I went back to town, took out a hawker's license, for which I paid two guineas, and purchasing at a shop, to which they gave me a direction, a pretty fair quantity of articles in the tape and scissors line, off I set once more on my travels. I took the north road this time, and picked up a very comfortable subsistence, selling my goods for a few halfpence here, and a few halfpence there, at the cottages as I passed by; but I soon found out, that without a newspaper, I was not a confirmed hawker. A newspaper will pay half the expenses of a hawker, if he can read. At every house, particularly every small hedge ale-house, he is received, and placed in the best corner of the chimney, and has his board and lodging, with the exception of what he drinks, gratis, if he will pull out the newspaper and read it to those around him who cannot read, particularly if he can explain what is unintelligible. Now I became a great politician. I lived well, slept well, and sold my wares very fast. I did not