Imatges de pÓgina

“ in the place of torment to which I am going. Lord

grant them that time for repentance which I have “ thrown away!" He languished a few days, and died in great misery :-a fresh and sad instance that people who abuse the grace of God and resist his spirit, find it difficult to repent when they will.

Except the minister and Jack Weston, no one came to see poor Giles, besides Tommy Price, who had been so sadly wronged by him. Tom often brought him his own rice-milk or apple-dumpling; and Giles, ignorant and depraved as he was, often cried out, That he thought now there must be some truth in “ religion, since it taught even a boy to deny himself, and to forgive an injury.Mr. Wilson, the next Sunday, made a moving discourse on the danger of what are called petty offences. This, together with the awful death of Giles, produced such an effect, that no poacher has been able to shew his head in that parish ever since.






Tawney Rachel was the wife of poaching Giles. There seemed to be a conspiracy in Giles's whole family to maintain themselves by tricks and pilfering. Regular labour and honest industry did not suit their idle habits. They had a sort of genius at finding out every unlawful means to support a vagabond life.--Rachel travelled the country with a basket on her arm. Sne pretended to get her bread by selling laces, cabbage nets, ballads, and history books, and used to buy old rags and rabbit skins. Many honest people trade in these things, and I am sure I do not mean to say a word against honest people, let them trade in what they will. But Rachel only made this traffic a pretence for getting admittance into farmers' kitchens, in order to tell fortunes.


She was continually practising on the credulity of silly girls ; and took advantage of their ignorance to cheat and deceive them. Many an innocent servant has she caused to be suspected of a robbery, while she herself, perhaps, was in league with the thief, Many a harmless maid has she brought to ruin by first contriving plots and events herself, and then pre- . tending to foretel them. She had not, to be sure, the power of really foretelling things, because she had no power of seeing into futurity: but she had the art sometimes to bring them about according as she had foretold them. So she got that credit for her wisdom which really belonged to her wickedness.

Rachel was also a famous interpreter of dreams, and could distinguish exactly between the fate of any two persons who happened to have a mole on the right or the left cheek. She had a cunning way of getting herself off when any of her prophecies failed, When she explained a dream according to the natural appearance of things, and it did not come to pass ; then she would get out of that scrape by saying, that this sort of dreams went by contraries. Now of two very opposite things the chance always is that one of them may turn out to be true; so in either case she kept up the cheat.

Rachel, in one of her rambles, stopped at the house of Farmer Jenkins, She contrived to call when she knew the master of the house was from home, which indeed was her usual way. She knocked at the door; the maids being in the field hay-making, Mrs. Jenkins went to open it herself. Rachel asked her if she would please to let her light her pipe? This was a common pretence, when she could find no other

way of getting into a house. While she was filling her pipe, she looked at Mrs. Jenkins, and said, she could tell her some good fortune. The farmer's wife, who was a very inoffensive, but a weak and superstitious

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woman, was curious to know what she meant. Rachel then looked about very carefully, and shutting the door with a mysterious air, asked her if she was sure nobody would hear them. This appearance of mystery was at once delightful and terrifying to Mrs, Jenkins, who, with trembling agitation, bid the cunning woman speak out. 1". Then,” said Rachel in a solemn whisper, “ there is to my certain knowledge


hid under one of the stones in your $c cellar.”_". Indeed !” said Mrs. Jenkins, “ it is

impossible, for now I think of it, I dreamt last “ night I was in prison for debt.”—“Did you real“ ly ?” said Rachel; “ that is quite surprising. Did

you dream this before twelve o'clock or after ?? " () it was this morning, just before I awoke.” “ Then I am sure it is true, for morning dreams al

ways go by contraries,” cried Rachel, " Jucky it was you dreamt it so late.”—Mrs. Jenkins could hardly contain her joy, and asked how the money was to be come at.

66 There is but one way," said Rachel; “ I must go into the cellar. I know by

my art innder which stone it lies, but I must not Śc tell.” Then they both went down into the cellar, but Rachel refused to point at the stone unless Mrs. Jenkins would put five pieces of gold into a bason and do as she directed. The simple woman, instead of turning her out of doors for a cheat, did as she was bid. She put the guineas into a bason which she gave into Rachel's hand. Rachel strewed some white powder over the gold, muttered some barbarous words, and pretended to perform the black art. She then told Mrs. Jenkins to put the bason quietly down within the cellar; telling her that if she offered to look into it, or even to speak a word, the charm would be broken. She also directed her to lock the cellar door, and on no pretence to open it in less than forty-eight hours. If,” added she,

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“ low these directions, then, by the power of my

art, you will find the bason conveyed to the very “ stone under which the money lies hid, and a fine

treasure it will be !” Mrs. Jenkins, who firmly believed every word the woman said, did exactly as she was told, and Rachel took her leave with a handsome reward,

When farmer Jenkins came home he desired his wife to draw him a cup of cyder; this she put off doing so long that he began to be displeased. At last she begged he would be so good to drink a little beer instead. He insisted on knowing the reason, and when at last he grew angry, she told him all that had passed; and owned that as the pot of gold happened to be in the cyder cellar, she did not dare open the door, as she was sure it would break the charın. “ And it would be a pity you know," said she, “ to “ lose a good fortune for the sake of a draught of “ cyder.” The farmer, who was not so easily imposed upon, suspected a trick. He demanded the key, and went and opened the cellar door ; there he found the bason, and in it five round pieces of tin covered with powder, Mrs. Jenkins burst out a-crying; but the farmer thought of nothing but of getting a warrant to apprehend the cunning woman. Indeed she well proved her claim to that name, when she insisted that the cellar door might be kept locked till she had time to get out of the reach of all pursuit.

Poor Sally Evans! I am sure she rued the day that ever she listened to a fortune-teller! Sally was as harmless a girl as ever churned a pound of butter; but Sally was credulous, ignorant, and superstitious. She delighted in dream-books, and had consulted al] the cunning women in the country to tell her whether the two moles on her cheek denoted that she was to have two husbands, or only two children. If she picked up an oki horse-shoe going to church, she was


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