Imatges de pÓgina
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the beaten road. The intollerable suspense occasioned by this idea had arisen to a most painful height, when in an unlucky moment, my poor brute fell and rolled over me.

In this disagreeable and awkward dilemma, I found it necessary to sum up all my resolution, for in my endeavours to extricate myself, I was not a little dismayed by finding my right leg and thigh considerably bruised by the weight of the animal as she laid upon me. Many very painful minutes were elapsed before I was able to move from this dis. agreable situation, and I was no sooner freed, than I began to grope all around, in order to be certain whether I was really on the beaten road or not, and too soon I had the mortification, to' find myself amongst loose fragments of rock, stones, and heath, while no cheering object met my grasp. I was now fully convinced that I trod no regular road, and consequently my spirits received a considerable degree of depression.

The growing violence of the wind that howled amongst the troubled heath, sometimes in deepened murmurs like the distant roaring of a tempestuous ocean, and at others in wild

whistling, like " a thousand ghosts shrieking at once on the hollow blast,” indicated the rising storm. Heavy drops of rain fell rapidly, and soon wetted me to the skin; while the hoarse rumbling of remote thunder shook along the earth, and portended. dreadful meaning, and the black horizon seemed illumined at uncertain intervals by the pale flashes of distant lightning, which, darting its sudden blaze across the darkened face of heaven, seemed to encrease the thick gloom of the surrounding space, that possessed terrors to I had never before experienced.

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“ Nothing but lamentable sounds were heard,
“ Nor aught was seen but ghastly views of death."

The thunder now came rolling on the blast, shaking the very ground upon which I stood, and the vivid lightning flashed in forked and sulphureous blaze across the heathy waste, making night more hideous. All the elements seemed as if mingled in furious combat, and contending for victory; whilst the darkness, mixed with fire and thunder, appeared about to consume me, and annihilate all Nature. For a while I stood appalled, and confessed the awe that humbled me into nought; but at length, actuated by a sudden fit of despair, I stuck spurs into my equally terrified companion, who darted with amazing rapidity across the dessolated wilderness, and was continuing at full speed, when our career received a shock at once sudden and unexpected. In an instant I was precipitated, with my mare, down an abrupt precipice, and plunged into some water, which very luckily was not deep, and my beast regained her footing; yet the violence of the shock, and the danger of her situation, having rendered her for a while motionless, I had an opportunity of remounting.

At this critical juncture a rent appeared in the agitated heavens, immediately over my head, and a broad flame of sulphureous fire wheeled its pale course over the reflecting surface of a troubled lake, whose murmuring waters now surrounded me, and which the vivid blaze had enabled me to distinguish.

The only mode I could adopt in order to extricate myself from so unpleasant a situation, was in giving the reins to my mare, whose instinct, in this case, was of more beneficial

consequence to me, than any effort of my own reason, and I soon found by the splashing of the water that she had gained a shallow part of the water, and in a short time I was again placed on dry ground.

I now wandered about without the least pros. pect of relief, and unknowing what direction to take, whilst the furious tempest having lessened its virulence, was borne by the howl. ing blast to some more distant region.

A dead impenetrable gloom succeeded, and I was involved in total darkness. Despairing of any kindly roof to shelter my fatigued body from the chilling damps of night, I cast myself upon the ground in the hope that I should find in repose some balm for my agitated feelings; but no soft slumbers visited my way.worn frame, and I vainly courted the balmy influence of sleep.

Lying upon the ground, with my aching head rested upon my hand, and engaged in melancholy reflections, I suddenly heard the loud barking of a dog, not afar off, and I then, for the first time, perceived that my mare had broken from me. This circumstance induced me to believe that she had discovered some human habitation, and had disturbed the cur, whose shrill voice I had heard. I im. mediately started up, and beheld at a considerable distance, a dim twinkling light, which at intervals disappeared. Being under some apprehensions that this appearance should prove no other than an ignis fatuus, exhaled from some lonely quagmire, I pursued it with the utmost caution; but when I drew nearer it appeared more steady, and I soon had the satisfaction to find that it glimmered through the crevices of a small hut, by which I found my mare.

The dog, which had led me to this happy discovery, now barked with loud defiance, and seemed determined to deter my entrance; however, this did not prevent my search for the door, and upon opening it such columns of thick smoke issued from it that I was obliged to stand for a few minutes on the outside, until a sufficient portion of fresh air was admitted into the wretched cabin.

When I had gained an entrance I found it proceeded from the remains of a peat-fire, upon the ground, whose dying embers were

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