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song, in the lengthened faces of the greater part of the audience. Jack Palmer, however, laughed loud and long.

“ Bravo, bravo !” cried he, “ that suits my humour exactly. I can't abide the thoughts of a coffin. No deal box for me."

“A gibbet might, perhaps, serve your turn as well,” muttered the sexton ; adding aloud, “I am now entitled to call upon you ; - a song! -a song !”

Ay, a song, Mr. Palmer, a song," reiterated the hinds. “ Yours will the right kind of thing."

“ Say no more," replied Jack, “ I'll give you a chant composed upon Dick Turpin, the highwayman.

It's no great shakes to be sure, but it's the best I have ;” and, with a knowing wink at the sexton, he commenced in the true nasal whine the following strain :



“ Cum esset proposita fuga Turpi(n)s.” - Cicero.

“ One foot in the stirrup, one hand in the rein,'.
And the noose be my portion, or freedom I'll gain!
Oh! give me a seat in my saddle once more,
And these bloodhounds shall find that the chase is not o'er!"
Thus muttered Dick Turpin, who found, while he slept,
That the Philistines old on his slumbers had crept;
Had entrapped him as puss on her form you 'd ensnare,
And that gone were his snappers - and gone was his mare.


How Dick had been captured is readily told,
The pursuit had been hot, though the night had been cold:
So at day-break, exhausted, he sought brief repose
Mid the thick of a corn-field, away from his foes.
But in vain was his caution — in vain did his steed,
Ever watchful and wakeful in moments of need,
With lip and with hoof on her master's cheek press,
He slept on, nor heeded the warning of Bess.


“ Zounds! gem'men!” cried Turpin, “ you've found me at fault,
And the highflying highwayman's come to a halt;
You have turned up a trump (for I weigh well my weight),
And the forty is yours, though the halter's my fate.
Well, come on 't what will, you shall own when all's past,
That Dick Turpin, the Dauntless, was game to the last.
But, before we go further, I'll hold you a bet,
That one foot in my stirrup you wont let me set.

Hilloah !

“ A hundred to one is the odds I will stand,
A hundred to one is the odds you command;
Here's a handful of goldfinches ready to fly!
May I venture a foot in my stirrup to try ?""
As he carelessly spoke, Dick directed a glance
At his courser, and motioned her slily askance:-
You might tell by the singular toss of her head,
And the prick of her ears, that his meaning she read.


With derision at first was Dick's wager received,
And his error at starting as yet unretrieved ;
But when from his pocket the shiners he drew,
And offered to “make up the hundred to two,'

There were havers in plenty, and each whispered each,
The same thing, though varied in figure of speech,
“ Let the fool act his folly - the stirrup of Bess!
He has put his foot in it already we guess!”


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Bess was brought to her master - Dick steadfastly gazed
At the eye of his mare : then his foot quick upraised :
His toe touched the stirrup, his hand grasped the rein -
He was safe on the back of his courser again!
As the clarion, fray-sounding and shrill, was the neigh
Of Black Bess, as she answered his cry“ hark-away?”
“ Beset me, ye bloodhounds! in rear and in van;
My foot 's in the stirrup, and catch me who cană”


There was riding and gibing mid rabble and rout,
And the old woods re-echoed the Philistines' shout!
There was hurling and whirling o'er brake and o'er briar,
But the course of Dick Turpin was swift as heaven's fire.
Whipping, spurring, and straining, would nothing avail,
Dick laughed at their curses, and scoffed at their wail;
“ My foot 's in the stirrup!” - thus rang his last cry,
“ Bess has answered my call; now her mettle we'll try!"

Hilloah ! Uproarious applause followed Jack's song, when the joviality of the mourners was interrupted by a summons to attend in the state room. Silence was at once completely restored ; and, in the best order they could assume, they followed their leader, Peter Bradley. Jack Palmer was amongst the last to

remained a not incurious spectator of a by no means common scene.

Preparations had been made to give due solemnity to the ceremonial. The leaden coffin was fastened down, and inclosed in an outer case of oak, upon the lid of which stood a richly-chased, massive silver flagon, filled with burnt claret, called the grace-cup. All the lights were removed, save two lofty wax flambeaux, which were placed to the back, and threw a lurid glare upon the group immediately about the

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body; consisting of Ranulph Rookwood and some other friends of the deceased. Doctor Small stood in front of the bier ; and, under the directions of Peter Bradley, the tenantry and household were formed into a wide half-moon across the chamber. There was

a hush of expectation, as Doctor Small looked gravely round; and even Jack Palmer, who was as little likely as any man to yield to an impression of the kind, felt himself moved by the scene. The very

orthodox Small, as is well known to our readers, held every thing savouring of the superstitions of the Scarlet Woman in supreme abomination; and, entertaining such opinions, it can scarcely be supposed that a funeral oration would find much favour in his eyes, accompanied, as it was, with the accessories of censer, candle, and cup; all evidently derived from that period when, under the three-crowned pontiff's sway, the shaven priest pronounced his benediction o'er the dead, and released the penitent's soul from purgatorial flames, while he heavily mulcted the price of his redemption from the possessions of his successor. Small resented the idea of treading in such steps, as an insult to himself and his cloth. Was he, the intolerant of papistry, to tolerate this ? Was he, who could not endure the odour of catholicism, to have his nostrils thus polluted— his garments thus defiledby actual contact with it? It was not to be thought of: and he had formally signified his declination to Mr. Coates, when a little conversation with that gentleman, and certain weighty considerations therein held forth (the advowson of the church of Rookwood residing with the family), and represented by him, as well as the placing in juxta-position of penalties to be incurred by refusal, that the scruples of Small gave way; and, with the best grace he could muster, very reluctantly promised compliance.

With these feelings, it will be readily conceived that the doctor was not in the best possible frame of mind for the delivery of his exhortation. His temper had been ruffled by a variety of petty annoyances, amongst the greatest of which was the condition to which the good cheer had reduced his clerk, Zachariah Trundletext, whose reeling eye, pendulous position, and open_mouth, proclaimed him absolutely incapable of office. Zachariah was, in consequence, dismissed, and Small commenced his discourse unsupported. But as our

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recording it would not probably conduce to the amusement of our readers, whatever it might to their edification, we shall pass it over with very brief mention. Suffice it to say, that the oration was so thickly interstrewn with lengthy quotations from the fathers—Chrysostomus, Hieronimus, Ambrosius, Basilius, Bernardus, and the rest, with whose recondite latinity, notwithstanding the clashing of their opinions with his own, the doctor was intimately acquainted, and which he moreover delighted to quote, that his auditors were absolutely mystified and perplexed, and probably not without design. Countenances of such amazement were turned towards him, that Small, who had a keen sense of the ludicrous, could scarcely forbear smiling as he proceeded ; and if we could suspect so grave a personage of waggery, we should almost think that, by way of retaliation, he had palmed some abstruse monkish epicedium upon his astounded auditors.

The oration concluded, biscuits and confectionary were, according to old observance, handed to such of the tenantry as chose to partake of them. The serving of the grace cup, which ought to have formed part of the duties of Zachariah, had he been capable of office, fell to the share of the sexton. The bowl was kissed, first by Ranulph, with lips that trembled with emotion, and afterwards by his surrounding friends; but no drop was tasted, a circumstance which did not escape Peter's observation. Proceeding to the tenantry, the first in order happened to be farmer Toft. Peter presented the cup, and as Toft was about to drain a deep draught of the wine, Peter whispered in his ear, “ Take my advice, for once, friend Toft, and don't let a bubble of the liquid pass your lips. For every drop of the wine you drain, Sir Piers will have one sin the less, and you a load the heavier on your conscience. Didst never hear of sin-swallowing ? For what else was this custom adopted ? See'st thou not the cup's brim hath not yet been moistened ? Well, as you will — ha, ha !” and the sexton passed onwards.

His work being nearly completed, he looked around for Jack Palmer, whom he had remarked during the oration, but could no where discover him. Peter was about to place the flagon, now almost drained of its contents, upon its former resting place, when Small took it from his hands.

In poculi fundo residuum non relinque, admonisheth


Pythagoras," said he, returning the cup drained of its contents to the sexton.

“ My task here is ended,” muttered Peter, “ but not elsewhere. Foul weather or fine-thunder or rain, I must to the church.” Bequeathing his final instructions to certain of the household, who were to form part of the procession, in case it set out, he opened the hall door, and, the pelting shower dashing heavily in his face, took his way up the avenue, screaming, as he strode along, the following congenial rhymes:

I am the hag who ride by night,
Through the moonless air on a courser white!
Over the dreaming earth I fly,
Here and there- at my fantasy !
My frame is withered, my visage old,
My locks are frore, and my bones ice-cold.
The wolf will howl as I pass his lair,
The ban-dog moan, and the screech-owl stare.
For breath, at my coming, the sleeper strains,
And the freezing current forsakes his veins !
Vainly for pity the wretch may sue-
Merciless Mara no prayers subdue !

To his couch I flit -
On his breast I sit !

Astride! astride! astride!
And one charm alone -
(A hollow stone ! *)

Can scare me from his side!

A thousand antic shapes I take,
The stoutest heart at my touch will quake.
The miser dreams of a bag of gold,
Or a ponderous chest on his bosom roll’d.
The drunkard groans 'neath a cask of wine;
The reveller swelts ’neath a weighty chine.
The recreant turns, by his foes assailed,
To flee! — but his feet to the ground are nailed!
The goatherd dreams of his mountain tops,
And, dizzily reeling, downward drops !
The murderer feels at his throat a knife,
And gasps, as his victim gasp'd, for life!
The thief recoils from the scorching brand,
The mariner drowns — in sight of land !
- Thus sinful man have I power to fray,
Torture and rack - but not to slay!
But ever the couch of purity,
With shuddering glance 1 hurry by!

Then mount! away!
To horse! I say,

To horse! astride! astride!
The fire-drake shoots -
The screech-owl hoots

As through the air I glide! * In reference to this imaginary charm Sir Thomas Browne observes, in his “ Vulgar Errors,”. “ what natural effects can reasonably be expected, when to prevent the Ephialtes, or Night-Mare, we hang a hollow stone in our stables?" Grose also states, “ that a stone with a hole in it hung at the bed's head will prevent the Night-Mare; and is therefore called a hag-stone” The belief in this charm still lingers in some districts, and maintains, like the horse-shoe affixed to the barn door, a feeble stand against the superstition-destroying “march of intellect.”

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