Bridle : Onward ran Ben beef and knife in hand with Gideon….

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much for a wife as Ellen Giles.

Farmer Kitchen, and the Host of the Fallow Deer, were also present, and a few others, who had aided in the pursuit of Banes, until, as Ben said, they were “as thick as bees in a hive.” And Ben took out his huge clasp knife to help himself from the large piece of beef the Host had provided against their return, for many more were in the same condition as Ben, and “hungry as wolves.” “You have dropped a piece of paper on the floor, Ben,” said young Manning, stooping to pick it up, while Ben was cutting a slice from the beef above an inch thick.

Having picked it up, he laid it on the table beside Ben. “O, it’s nowt,” said Ben; “I fun (found) it as we were crossing Caistor-wood lane, and thought happen it might be a five-pound note, but its nowt only a bit of a scribble as nobody can read,” and he again threw it on the floor. Once more William Manning picked it up; it might have lain there unnoticed all the night, had he not perceived that Ellen Giles blushed when she saw his glance riveted upon her, so he picked up the paper and looked at it, for he knew not at that moment where to turn his eyes, saving towards the floor.

He looked at it without reading a word; his thoughts were with Ellen Giles; and when he raised his eyes again, her back was towards him.

He was twisting the paper round his fingers, when he chanced to see the word “NORTHCOT” he unfolded it in an instant, and read it through. “Where’s my horse?” exclaimed he, springing up. “Kitchen, leap into your saddle this instant.

This paper was dropped to-night by Walter Northcot; it is scarcely wet, although the dew is falling heavily; it must have been in his hand within these few minutes.

To the rescue! to the rescue! every man of you.

They have carried him off to-night in a boat.

The ship lies below Morton; the distance by land is not half so much as by water.

Some of you hurry down to the point of Lea Marsh, others to Gainsborough Bridge.

Ben, seize the first horse you can lay hold of: d—the saddle! up! quick! We will have Walter, or sink the boat.” Just then Sir Edward Lee came up to the door at full gallop.

The robbers, after having made themselves truly drunk, and thus wasted the whole evening, had confessed where Walter was kept prisoner; but when they went, with the Baronet, to the hall, he was gone.

They, however, arrived in time to seize the gipsy and the servant, who told the whole truth.

The Baronet had ridden at full [351] speed into the village without calling on Justice Bellwood..

That night the old Host forgot his gout. Neck to neck did William Manning and the Baronet ride, for the young man lost not a moment’s time in gaining his saddle; and although his good horse was jaded through the long chase after Banes, still, by the aid of whip and spur, it tore along the heavy sand road at a rapid rate.

It was fortunate that the sailor had told Walter where the brig was anchored, and both Manning and the Baronet decided in an instant, that the best plan would be to reach the vessel, and dodge its course down the river until they could board it, in case it had weighed anchor.

They shot through Knaith, and Lea, without slackening their reins, galloped through the ill-paved and stony streets of Gainsborough, disturbing its drowsy inhabitants, posted through the market-place, past the church, and on by Morton, their horses smoking like furnaces, for theirs was the longest ride.

Where was Ben Brust? bare-headed in the village-street, his clasp-knife in one hand, a huge mountain of bread and beef in the other, running he knew not whither; behind him was Gideon, with a strong walking-stick in his hand; after him came the Host, hobbling in the best manner he could, and shouting “ Fifty guineas to the man who first enters the boat! I’ll pay it as freely as I would a penny.” Onward ran Ben, beef and knife in hand, with Gideon close to his heels, until they came to the front of the Blue Bell, where a drunken farmer, with his horse’s bridle slung over his arm, was knocking to obtain entrance.

Ben threw the beef one road, and the knife another, and swung his heavy carcase into the saddle, just as Gideon came up. “Jump on behind,” shouted Ben, “we may break his back before we’ve done, but here goes!” Ben snatched the stick from Gideon, and although the first blow struck the Roper’s legs, the next caused the horse, which was very strong, to set off at full speed, and farmer Kitchen, though well mounted, had enough to do to keep pace with them.

They were followed by Brown the roper, Cousin ‘William, and half-a-score others; two mounted on cart-horses without either saddle or bridle, and the remainder on foot.

The farmer, who was knocking at the public-house door, scratched his head when he saw his horse vanishing as by magic, and exclaimed, “Well, I’m dommed if that ain’t summut!” That night the villagers thought the very devil had broken loose [352] in Burton Woodhouse; Mrs.

Brown’s adventure at the well was, as Mrs.

Lawson afterwards said, “a flea-bite to it.” Oram and Lawson ran nine ways at once, and then they stopped to tell the crowd what they would do when Walter was rescued.

Walter was a great favourite in Burton Woodhouse; his gentlemanly and generous habits had endeared him to every one.

There was scarcely a soul in the whole village that did not wish to see him united to Amy Lee.

And many that night prophesied that if such a marriage did take place, “the Giles’s would be somebody yet.” And this opinion strengthened when at midnight a carriage drove up to the Roper’s cottage, and Amy Lee, “pale and wan, fond lover,” together with her mother and sister, alighted at the door.

Hope had that night made Amy strong, she could not rest after she heard the tidings brought by the robbers.

She sat by the fire, and was so very kind as to insist that the honest Host of the Fallow Deer would not lay aside his pipe on her account, for she had no objection to the smell of tobacco.

The truth was, Walter Northcot sometimes indulged in a cigar, and kept a meerchaum and a case of Kanaster.

Lady Lee was too full of hope to mind the smell, and Lavinia handed the honest landlord a light when his pipe went out, and laughed and said a hundred “pretty things.” Mrs.

Giles was full of apologies “hoped her ladyship would excuse this, that, and the other-and if she had but known that her ladyship intended her such an honour, why her ladyship would have found her in a different “pickle,” for her ladyship, she was convinced, was her ladyship, and nothing hut her ladyship. “The old Host spit in the fire, and made a regular hiss on the bars, as he said to Ellen, 6]6] Nelly, my love, bring me a little more cold water; this brandy’s too strong, and this conversation makes my head ache.

Lady Lee’s a good sort of a body, I dare say, and knows that poor folks can’t always be in apple-pie order.” Lavinia laughed outright, Amy smiled, and Lady Lee said something in a very low tone of voice, while Ellen Giles whispered to Amy and said, “You know my mother-she has strange ways!” Mrs.

Giles went into the kitchen to put on a clean cap and apron, and the Host drank to the safe return of Master Walter, saying, as he had beforetime done, “I love the lad, somehow, as dearly as if he was my own son!” and he made Amy wet her beautiful lips to the pledge; while Lavinia drank as much as a bird would from a brook, and Lady Lee declined with a sweet smile, for she felt a [353] liking towards the honest old Host, in spite of his pipe.

Ellen Giles sat beside Amy, and they had a long conversation; as for poor Mary Sanderson she had gone to bed-to her alone all the promised happiness brought no hope. Now change we to another scene sorrow, repentance, and remorse; for the curtain must soon fall, and our tale have an ending. CHAPTER XLIII. A most melancholy chapter, intended as a rind of funeral sermon to make the reader very dull, and bring him still nearer to the close of this “eventful history.” We left the Gamekeeper in the wood, prostrate beside the dead body he had stumbled over; one hand resting on a riding-whip, the other, nerveless and chilly, had fallen on the boot-top of the dead man-he knew it was the corpse of Squire Bellwood.

With trembling limbs, quivering lip, and haggard countenance, he hurried on to where the firelight streamed between the trees, and reached the gipsy encampment.

There he beheld Jael kneeling and weeping over the dead body of her father.

A wound in the gipsy’s breast was all that told of the struggle-the pistol was not found until many weeks after; when a.

Peasant picked it up in the underwood, the lock and barrel covered with rust.

It bore the initials of Squire Bellwood. By the aid of a labourer or two, assisted by the gipsies, the dead body of the Squire was removed to the gipsy camp.

The features were almost black, and, by the strong reflection of the firelight, almost too horrible to look upon.

Ishmael the gipsy told all “there was to tell;” for, as our readers are aware, Jael fainted.

Before she reached the scene of the struggle. “I had much ado,” said Ishmael, “to get Boswell’s finger from the Squire’s throat; for his knuckles were fastened like a vice within Bellwood’s neckerchief, and he retained his hold after death.

The old man bled a good deal from the pistol-wound in his breast, and I should think the Squire fired at him while they struggled together.

I looked round, but could not find the pistol.

The gorse and fern were beaten down and broken in every direction.

It must have been a savage tussle.

Bellwood was quite key-cold when I came up-the old man was still warm, but I think it was only his fever, for he neither moved hand nor foot; and when I held a

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