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butchers', and fruiterers', shops were thronged with customers. The housewives were stirring briskly about, putting their dwellings in order; and the glossy branches of holly with their bright red berries, began to appear at the windows.
I was roused from this fit of luxurious meditation by a shout from my little travelling companions. They had been looking out of the coach windows for the last few miles, recognizing every tree and cottage as they approached home; and now there was a general burst of joy—“ There's John, and there's old Carlo; and there's Bantam!” cried the happy little rogues, clapping their hands.
At the end of a lane there was an old sober-looking servant in livery waiting for them : he was accompanied by a superannuated pointer, and by the redoubtable Bantam, a little old rat of a pony, with a shaggy mane and long rusty tail, dozing quietly by the roadside, little dreaming of the bustling times that awaited him. · I was pleased to see the fondness with which the little fellows leaped about the steady old footman, and hugged the pointer, that wriggled his whole body for joy. But Bantam was the great object of interest ; all wanted to mount at once; and it was with some difficulty that John arranged that they should ride by turns, and the eldest should ride first.
Off they set at last; one on the pony, with the dog bounding and barking before him, and the others holding John's hands; both talking at once, and overpowering him with questions about home, and with school anecdotes. I looked after them with a feeling in which I do not know whether pleasure or melancholy
predominated : for I was reminded of those days, when, like them, I had neither known care nor sorrow, and a holyday was the summit of earthly felicity. We stopped a few moments afterwards, to water the horses, and on resuming our route, a turn of the road brought us in sight of a neat country-seat. I could just distinguish the forms of a lady and two young girls in the portico, and I saw my little comrades, with Bantam, Carlo, and old John, trooping along the car• riage-road. I leaned out of the window, in hopes of witnessing the happy meeting, but a grove of trees shut it from my sight.
Escape of Harvey Birch and Captain Wharton.
The road which it was necessary for the pedler and the English captain to travel, in order to reach the shelter of the hills, lay, for half a mile, in full view from the door of the building, that had so recently been the prison of the latter; running the whole distance over the rich plain, that spreads to the very foot of the mountains, which here rise in nearly a perpendicular ascent from their bases; it then turned short to the right, and was obliged to follow the windings of nature, as it won its way into the bosom of the Highlands.
To preserve the supposed difference in their stations, Harvey rode a short distance ahead of his companion, and maintained the sober, dignified pace, that was suited to his assumed character. On their right, the regiment of foot, that we have already mentioned, lay in tents; and the sentinels, who guarded their encampment, were to be seen moving, with measured tread, under the skirts of the hills themselves. The first impulse of Henry was, certainly to urge the beast he rode to his greatest speed at once, and by a coup-demain, not only to accomplish his escape, but relieve himself from the torturing suspense of his situation. But the forward movement that the youth made for this purpose was instantly checked by the pedler.
“ Hold up!" he cried, dexterously reining his own horse across the path of the other ; “ would you ruin us both? Fall into the place of a black following his master. Did you not see their blooded chargers, all saddled and bridled, standing in the sun before the house? How long do you think that miserable Dutch horse you are on would hold his speed, if pursued by the Virginians ? Every foot that we can gain without giving the alarm, counts us a day in our lives. Ride steadily after me, and on no account look back. They are subtle as foxes, ay, and as ravenous for blood as wolves."
Henry reluctantly restrained his impatience, and followed the direction of the pedler. His imagination, however, continually alarmed him with the fancied sounds of pursuit, though Birch, who occasionally looked back, under the pretence of addressing his companion, assured him that all continued quiet and peaceful.
“ But,” said Henry, “it will not be possible for Cæsar to remain long undiscovered ; had we not better put our horses to the gallop ? and by the time they can reflect on the cause of our flight, we can reach the corner of the woods."
" Ah! you little know them, Captain Wharton,” returned the pedler ; . there is a sergeant at this moment looking after us, as if he thought all was not right; the keen-eyed fellow watches me like a tiger lying in wait for his leap; when I stood on the horse block, he halt suspected something was wrong; nay, check your beast; we must let the animals walk a little, for he is laying his hand on the pommel of his saddle; if he mounts now, we are gone. The foot soldiers could reach us with their muskets.”
“What does he do ?" asked Henry, reining his horse to a walk, but at the same time pressing his heels into the animal's sides, to be in readiness for a spring.
“He turns from his charger, and looks the other way. Now troton gently; not so fast, not so fast; observe the sentinel in the field a little ahead of us: he eyes us keenly."
“Never mind the footman,” said Henry, impatiently; “ he can do nothing but shoot us; whereas these dragoons may make me a captive again. Surely, Harvey, there are horsemen moving down the road behind us. Do you see nothing particular ?"
“ Humph !” ejaculated the pedler; “ there is something particular, indeed, to be seen behind the thicket on your left; turn your head a little, and you may see and profit by it too."
Henry eagerly seized his permission to look aside, and his blood curdled to the heart as he observed they were passing a gallows, that had unquestionably been
erected for his own execution. He turned his face from the sight in undisguised horror.
“ There is a warning to be prudent in that bit of wood," said the pedler, in that sententious manner that he often adopted.
“ It is a terrific sight, indeed !" cried Henry, for a moment veiling his face with his hand, as if to drive a vision from before him.
The pedler moved his body partly around, and spoke with energetic but gloomy bitterness—“And yet, Captain Wharton, you see it when the setting sun shines full upon you: the air you breathe is clear, and fresh from the hills before you. Every step that you take leaves that hated gallows behind; and every dark hollow, and every shapeless rock in the mountains, offers you a hiding-place from the vengeance of your enemies. But I have seen the gibbet raised, when no place of refuge offered. Twice have I been buried in dungeons, where, fettered and in chains, I have passed nights in torture, looking forward to the morning's dawn that was to light me to a death of infamy. The sweat has started from limbs that seemed already drained of their moisture, and if I ventured to the hole, that admitted air through grates of iron, to look out upon the smiles of nature, which God has bestowed for the meanest of his creatures, the gibbet has glared before my eyes, like an evil conscience, harrowing the soul of a dying man. Four times have I been in their power, besides this last; but-twicetwice did I think that my hour had come. It is hard to die, at the best, Captain Wharton; but to spend your last moments alone and unpitied; to know that none near you so much as think of the fate that is to