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"Never fear," exclaimed Harry, slapping him on the back, "you shall have many a bout yet at stand and deliver."
"But," said Charley enquiringly," if we has to stand at the Old Bailey, I should like to know who's to deliver us."
Betty Martin! never fear, man-you may live these three months yet-so cheer up, cheer up, my hearty."
"You're like a sparrow," mutter'd Crape, "you would cry chirrup if a chap was going up the gallows' ladder-Hush! hark! I heard some one snoring."
"Stuff," cried Harry, "you're always thinking of the watchman: we're all snug."-" Zounds!" added Noose, making towards the door, "vot noise is that there?"-Here there was an audible snorting and rustling, as of some one awaking, and Harry suddenly drawing a pistol from his pocket, and seizing the solitary candle by which they had been sitting, rushed to the corner of the dim chamber, where, behind a low screen, he discovered a female figure, stretching and yawning in apparent emergence from a sound sleep.-" Ranting Moll, by Jingo!" he exclaimed," the old drunken fortune-teller of Dog and Bear-yard. What are you after here, you infernal- ? are you lurking for bloodmoney-do you mean to peach-have you heard our palaver?-speak, you crazy old cat, or I'll pop my barker down your muzzle."
The figure whom he thus addressed, while he held his pistol hardly an inch from her mouth, was not calculated to awaken suspicions of any very treacherous intentions, for she bore an expression of mental fatuity, which it would have been difficult to divide between the triple claims of nature, sleep, and intoxication. Her cap was off, her dress disordered, her hair wildly spread over her haggard features, and her eyes, one of which was black from some recent contusion, were fixed upon Harry in a stolid, unmeaning stare. But suddenly her recollection and intellects seemed to flash upon her, her countenance lighted up with a sort of prophetic orgasm, her eyes, particularly the black one, glared with a preternatural lustre, and without offering to move the pistol she cried out in a harsh voice-" Away, away! I have heard nothing of your plots and plans; but he that fears leaves, let him not go into the wood-good swimmers at length are drowned. Thou art young, Harry; but green wood makes a hot fire-thy doom is fixed, spite of these knaves, thy companions. He that lies with the dogs riseth with fleas-not a day passes but thou takest a step up Jack Ketch's ladder: punishment is lame, but it comes. Mark me, boy; I have read what the stars have written in the palm of thy hand-under the sign of the Bear wert thou born, and under that sign shalt thou perish. Stand aside--he who spitteth against heaven, it falls in his face." So saying, she put on her cap, gathered up her garments, and with a wild look of inspiration, as of an ancient Pythoness, stalked out of the room.
"Bravo!" cried Harry, "bravo, ranting Moll!-Egad! it is as good as a tragedy."" Better," said Charley, "for there's nothing to pay--but what did the old witch mean by your perishing at the sign of the Bear? There's the Black Bear in Piccadilly, as well as the White; but you never goes to neither."-"Mean," replied Harry," there's seldom much meaning comes out of the mouth, after fourteen or fifteen tosses of blue ruin have gone into it; and I warrant she hasn't had a drop less." So saying,
they resumed their conversation, and finally arranged the time and method of their attack upon the farmer's house at Finchley Common.
The unconscious object of their deliberation was one of those stout, surly, stubborn yeomen of the old school, who are about as amiable as one of their own bulls in a pound. He quarrelled with his wife if she let him have his own way, stormed outright if she thwarted him, and, though he was notoriously miserable before his marriage, did nothing but extol the happiness of his bachelor days. let his daughter Dolly marry young Fairlop, a neighbouring farmer to He would not whom she was attached, simply because he had not first proposed the connexion himself; and insisted upon her having Mr. Gudgeon, a smart London fishmonger, who drove down to his cottage upon the Common in his own gig, not out of regard to the man, but out of opposition to his daughter. On the very evening of the meeting at the Wig and Water-Spaniel, he came growling home to his house, when the following colloquy ensued between him and his wife.
Thought you were all dead—couldn't you hear me at the garden-
"Gone out, my dear, but he'll be back di
Always sending him out of the way on some fool's errand or other."- "He is gone to the village, to get your favourite dish for
"Get the devil for supper to-night-Shan't eat any you never get one any thing to drink." Yes, my dear, I tapp'd the ale on purpose."
"Shan't drink any. What are you staring at?-why don't you help me off with my coat?"- -And then having eaten and drunk most copiously of the food which he had just said he would not touch, he drew his easy chair to the fire, stretched his legs, and to the old tune of the Hunting of the Hare roared out his favourite song, of
Funny and free are a Bachelor's reveries,
Nothing knows he of connubial devilries,
A wife, like a canister, chattering, clattering,
Hurries and worries him till he is dead;
Through such folly days once sweet holidays
Children are riotous, maid-scrvants fly at us,
While Dad is recalling his Bachelor's Fare.
When they are older grown, then they are bolder grown,
All that your busy pate hoarded with care;
The following Wednesday, which was the night fixed on for the robbery, happened to be the monthly meeting of Bruin's club, whence he seldom returned till a late hour, on which account it had been selected by Dolly's lover Fairlop as a favourable opportunity for paying his mistress a visit to concert measures for procuring her father's consent to their marriage. No sooner had he seen the farmer stumping out of the garden-gate with his dog Growler by his side, a lantern in one hand and a pistol in the other, his usual accompaniments when he had occasion to go to Finchley by night, than he tapped at the window, was ushered into the parlour up-stairs, received the renewal of Dolly's assurances that she never would marry Mr. Gudgeon, and devised plans for their support, if, as he implored, she consented to wed him without her father's approbation: all which she participated with so much satisfaction, that in the unconscious happiness of the moment they both began singing, and their thoughts involuntarily arranged themselves into the following duet:
Dolly.-I care not a fig for all their clacket,
I never will marry the London fop.
Over the Common I'll make him hop.
Quarrel with him than part with you.
Fairlop.-1 care not a straw for all your money,
And leave the old wasp to sting himself.
Both.-Love shall afford us wealth and pleasure,
While the great folks who roll in treasure,
Lovers are the worst chronometers in the world. When they meet, Cupid seems to lend Time his wings; and the old gentleman, upon the occasion we are recording, plied his double pinions with such velocity, that Fairlop, startled by the sound of the midnight clock, was just pronouncing a hasty adieu when he heard the gruff voice of Bruin growling at the foot of the stairs for a candle. Escape was impossibleDolly, frightened out of her wits, had none left to employ when they were most wanted; and Fairlop, who knew that her father, always violent, generally returned from his club with a pistol in his hand and liquor in his head, was really terrified for the personal safety of his
mistress. The only place of concealment that offered itself, was the himney, up which he hastily climbed, begging Dolly, when the coast cwas clear, to return and apprise him by the signal of a sneeze.
"Where's your mother?" growled Bruin as he entered the room. Dolly informed him, that she had retired to bed some hours before. "Then I'll sit up," was the reply; "but the night's raw, so light a fire here, and I'll smoke a pipe."—" Had I not better light it in the bedroom?" said the trembling girl. "You had better do as you're bid," he answered. "What are you gaping and shivering at? Here, give me the candle, I'll light it myself."-Dolly, knowing his spirit of contradiction, had presence of mind enough to exclaim-" On reflection, I think it would be better to light it here, and I'm glad my opinion agrees with yours."-"You think, Miss saucebox! what do you know of the matter? say it shall be lighted in the bed-room; so away with you, and don't be half an hour about it."
Harry Halter in the mean while, with his two companions, having broken into another part of the house without discovery, entered the parlour shortly after on tiptoe, Crape carrying a dark lantern, and all armed with pistols. "Hist! Hist!" said Harry; they're not all abed yet;- I heard a door open and shut. However, I've got the shiners safe in this here canvass bag."-"And here's the gold snuffbox," said Noose-" and the silver tankard is in my pocket," whispered Charley--" Vell then," added Harry," suppose we all keeps vot we 've got-I ought to have the largest share for finding out the job." -"Gammon!" said Noose, "I'll have my fair share, or may this pinch of snuff be my last!" So saying, he applied some to his nose, which, not being used to so much gentility, resented the application by a loud sneeze; and Fairlop, thinking he heard Dolly's signal, began to detach himself softly from the chimney." Come, come," added Charley, "ve're not to be queered :-I'll have my rights; if I don't, may the devil come for me this very instant !"
At this juncture, Fairlop, all blackened with soot, and thinking he was approaching Dolly, placed himself exactly opposite the dark lantern, exclaiming "Here I am, are you ready?"-and Charley, letting fall his booty, and bawling out-“O Lord, the devil! the devil!" scampered out of the room, followed by Noose. Harry fired his pistol, but, finding he had missed his aim, thought it prudent to decamp as well as the others.
Possessing abundance of personal courage, and having a sort of natural antipathy to thieves, weazels and rats, the young farmer commenced instant pursuit, calling lustily for assistance, and pressing hard upon Harry, who in attempting to cut across the garden, tumbled over a gooseberry bush, and after a desperate resistance against both Fairlop and Bruin, who speedily joined in the chase, was at last secured and handcuffed. Noose was discovered in the cowhouse, and similarly manacled, and though Charley, who had entered the premises with a provident eye to retreat, succeeded in gaining the Common, he surrendered next day when he learnt the fate of his companions, on condition of being received as king's evidence.
Arrangements were now made for marching the prisoners to the cage at Finchley, the rustic servant heading the detachment with a pitchfork and lantern, the housebreakers coming next securely tied
together, Bruin following with a blunderbuss, while Fairlop with a brace of pistols brought up the rear, receiving the assurance of Bruin, as they walked along, that on account of his courage, a quality of which he was a huge admirer, he should have the hand of Dolly, with the bag of guineas for her portion.-The night was stormy. Immense masses of black clouds, driven rapidly athwart the sky, enveloped the earth in darkness, or, if the moonlight struggled through them for a moment, her beams served but to disclose the dreary and desolate features of the Common over which they were passing. Harry was endeavouring to fortify himself with a desperate resolution, when suddenly the loud and wailful howl of a dog met his ear, at the same time he heard a harsh creaking, and looking up he beheld close to him a gibbet, with the remains of a highwayman who had been hung in chains, swinging and rattling in the blast. His heart sunk within him, but erecting his head, and clenching his teeth with a look of defiance, he was passing on with a firm tread, when his attention was arrested by two shining objects at the foot of the gibbet, which he conjectured to be either glowworms, or the eyes of some animal. Presently they raised themselves from the ground, and at that moment a ray of light fell upon the wild and haggard features of Ranting Moll, who, stretching out her long bony arm to the moon, exclaimed in a sepulchral voice" Look at it, boy, look at yonder moon--it is the last thou shalt see, for ere her face is again full, thine shall be dust, and thy body shall be like the jingling bones of this murderer, that dance in the night-wind to the music of their own irons. Said I not right? He who is an ass, and takes himself to be a stag, finds his mistake when he comes to leap the ditch. Thou wouldst not heed me when I said an idle man is the devil's bolster, and another man's bread costs more than our own. But we may save a man from others whom we cannot save from himself; when the pear is ripe, it must needs fall to the ground. I told thee, Harry, thou shouldst flourish under the sign of the Bear, and who is he that marches behind thee with thy life in his hand, that it may be laid down at the judge's bar? Is it not Bruin? What! Cannot I read a palm? yet thou wouldst neither heed me when I bade thee fear the Bear, nor believe me when I saidhe who would be rich in a year, gets hanged at six months' end.— Away! Away!"
LETTERS ON A TOUR IN SWITZERLAND.
"Ev'n here, where Alpine solitudes extend,
I sit me down a pensive hour to spend."
FROM Berne to Thun (six leagues) is one of the loveliest drives in Switzerland. A green, rich pasture country, wooded slopes, avenues of loaded fruit-trees, scattered châteaux and granges (one of the prettiest of which belongs to the Grand Duchess Constantine of Russia), busy peasants at work in their picturesque costume, and villages remarkable for their union of picturesque beauty with affluent neatness and comfort, make the whole road a succession of agreeable and pastoral scenes. The imagination, too, is strongly excited by the aspect of the stupendous pinnacles and piles of mountain glittering in snowy