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only saved his honour's life, but made a good riddance of the biggest villain that ever stepped.”
“ Do you know, then, who he was?” asked Colonel Pennington.
“Yes, I know'd him well enough-a smoothtongued rascal; it was he that they called the Gentle Shepherd, but he was a wolf in sheep's clothing; fearful things has he done with his tiger's smile; but Ben Hardy has done for him; he's off to Davy's Locker, and not till he served his time to that same master neither. I have shot a man afore now in battle, and it has given me a kick in the heart; but I vow I'd ha' taken that fellow's life if he'd had nine on 'em, and never have flinched.”
“But it could not have been those smugglers who were so eager to carry off Lady Emily," observed Colonel Pennington; “ the story does not bear itself out: I don't understand it."
“ If I may be so bold, your honour, as to contradict you—I don't know, that, for they might have thought to have got a great ransom for restoring the young Lady; such things bas been done afore now on these coasts."
“ Dreadful thought !” cried the General . “ how fervent is my gratitude that this misfortune was spared me !"
Humph !" said the Colonel with a groan, “ it might have been an ugly affair enough ; but tell me,” he asked, addressing Lady Emily, “ what business had you to go a star-gazing at the dead of night, young Lady ? those sort of vagaries never end in good. If you had been where you ought, namely, in bed, you would have been free from all danger. I do not approve of any of those romantic walks at undue hours; no good ever came of them, or ever will.”
“ Well, Pennington,' your advice may be right; but it is not well-timed. Do you not see how fatigued and agitated Emily is ? Retire to your chamber, love, and be sure to have me called if your are ill.-Oh! what a mercy that she is safe ! how thankful I am !-Ben Hardy, you may leave us for the present, but the remembrance of your good services will never leave us, as you shall shortly be convinced."
“Yes, yes, General," said Colonel Pennington, you have cause for thankfulness; but
remember to keep a sharp look-out. Those who undertake the charge of women have always more to do than they can well manage."
“I am too happy to be angry with you, my good friend; so good-night, or rather goodmorning, for the bad night has passed away, thanks be to Heaven!”
“ There is a history in all men's lives,
Figuring the nature of the times deceased;
The conjectures and probable reasons assigned for the outrage, formed an ample and interesting topic of discourse the next day, among all the domestics, as well as the masters of the family; bụt no satisfactory conclusion was the result of these their various opinions; and all that could be learned was, that the vessel, which had been hovering about in the Reach for some days, was seen beating out against wind and tide, at early dawn, and as the breeze fresh
ened, and the tide turned, was soon out of sight.
The body of “ The Gentle Shepherd” was of course found where it dropped, and a coroner's inquest called to ascertain the cause of his death. Few persons indeed cared about it, except to rejoice at the event; for he was the terror of all the country people in the neighbourhood, who had looked upon him with superstitious dread.
The General, who had hardly closed an eye all night, was aroused to a fresh sense of anxiety, by finding that the shock Lady Emily had undergone, together with exposure to the night air, had produced considerable fever; and though she endeavoured to make light of her indisposition, to avoid giving him pain, he saw directly through the kindness of the motive, but could not be deceived. He besought her, therefore, not to attempt getting up, and recommended her keeping herself perfectly quiet, comforting her at the same time, by saying—" Lord Mowbray, I am happy to tell you, is going on as well as possible ; and the