Imatges de pÓgina


tending the gentlemen's hunters round the country, and what not ; but never suffered any body to mount her without it was himself. He had only to call out Polly, and she would come running up to him directly, and would follow him up and down town, just like a dog, without ever a bridle ; no, nor so much as a halter. Well, master, master breakfasted at home; the first thing in the morning, he used to put some soft gingerbread in his pocket, for his teeth were knocked out at some great battle, and go down to the King's Head, and there, if you passed the bow window, you would be sure to see him in his cocked hat sitting behind a half pint of purl. On the morning I was telling you of”"You have told us of no morning yet,” cried Clinch. “ I mean the morning when I rode through the field in the afternoon--on that morning I took Polly down to the King's Head, according to orders, as master was going over to Romford to look at Squire Preston's hunter that was took ill; but it seems that just as he got to Woodly-end, down came Polly, and a terrible fall by all accounts it was. However, master wasn't much hurt; but we saw something had happened, by his coming home without Polly, though he never said a word, but desired us all, for he kept three men besides me, to leave off work, take spades, and dig a great hole in the yard, while he broke up the ground for us with a pickaxe. To work we went, and in three hours we had made a rare pit, all wondering what it could mean. Adam, said he to me when we had done, go to the paddock at the upper common, where you will find Polly; bring her here, but don't offer to get upon her back, and don't go faster than a walk. So took a halter”-“ Was it leather or rope ?" inquired Clinch. Adam could not tell, so he proceeded. “ When I got to the paddock, there was Polly, sure enough, with her knees all bloody; but as I saw she wasn't lame at all, and seemed'in good spirits, I put the

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halter in her mouth, and going back a little, so as to get a short run, I put my hand upon her shoulder, and jumped upon her back.” “ Jumped upon her back!” echoed Clinch, looking incredulously at the decrepid object before him. “Lord love you!" continued Adam, “I was then as nimble as a squirrel, and as lissome as a withy. So I rode her across this here field, and there wasn't even a stile then, nor any sign of one, and got off when we reached the high road for fear of being seen, and led her into our yard, where master was sitting in his cocked hat, and the men all whispered together up in a corner. As soon as I came in, he called out to our big foreman ; Sam, says he, step up into my room, and bring me down the horse pistols that I took from the French officer at the battle of I forget what place he said, but I know it ended with a quet, or a narde, or some such sound; so I can't be much out. They glittered as he took them out of their cases, for he always cleaned them every Sunday morning; and as I stared first at master as he proceeded to load them, putting two bullets in each then at the great hole in the ground-then at the men all looking solemn-like-and then at poor Polly, gazing in master's face, while her knees and legs were covered with blood—I felt my heart beat, and was all over in a fuster. When he had finished loading the pistols, he went and stood in front of the mare. Polly, said he, I have rode thee these sixteen years over road and river, through town and country, by night and by day, through storm and sunshine, and thou never made a bolt or a boggle with me till now. Thou hast carried me over five thousand dead bodies before breakfast, and twice saved my life : once when the allies left us in the lurch, and we were obliged to scamper for it ; once when our company fell into an ambush, and only thirty men escaped. We must both die soon, and should I go first, which I may quickly do if

you give me such another tumble, it will be a bad day's work for thee. Thou wouldst not wish to be starved, and mauled, and worked to death, and thy carcase given over to the knackers, wouldst thou? Polly put down her head, and rubbed it against him, and while she was doing so, he tied a handkerchief over her

eyes, and kissing her first on one side of the face, and then on the other, he said : Polly, God bless thee! and instantly fired one of his pistols right into her ear. She fell down, gave one kick, and never moved nor moaned afterwards; but I remember the tears gushed out of my eyes just as if a Christian had been shot, and even big Sam looked ready to cry as he stood over her, and said, poor Polly! We buried her in the hole, and master told us we had worked enough for one day, and might spend the afternoon where we liked ; and he was just going to fire his other pistol in the air, when he saw a crow on the top of the weather-cock ; and, sure enough, he brought her down, for he was a rare shot. After all, it was a cruel thing to use a poor dumb beast in that way, only for tumbling with him; and no one could tell why he buried her in the yard, when the Squire's gamekeeper would have given a fair price for the carcase to feed the hounds. But old Harrison was an odd one. Ah! we've got a mort of regular doctors in the parish now, besides the poticary; and I dare say they may do well enough for Christians, and such like, but I reckon there's ne'er a one of 'em could stop the glanders in a horse like master Harrison."

Adam having finished his narrative, Clinch proceeded to question him upon the more recent occurrences of his life, and finding his recollection much impaired upon these points, he very unceremoniously gave him his dismissal, but not before Chilvers had slipped sumcthing into his hand.

• Here's a pretty rascal!" said the man of law;" he has heard that we wanted evidence, and has trumped up this

circumstantial tale in the hope of a reward ; but did you observe how neatly I detected the old rogue when I began to cross question him? Will any one believe that he could so minutely detail an occurrence of sixty or seventy years ago, in which, by his own account, he was no way interested, when he cannot recollect much more recent and important particulars of his own life?” “ The importance of these matters,” said Chilvers, “is not to be considered abstractedly, but relatively : at the time of poor Polly's death, Adam had never witnessed any exhibition more solemn and affecting; probably had never been present at the death of a large animal. You seem to forget that the tablet of the memory, like certain stones, though sufficiently soft at first to receive deep and distinct impressions, hardens with age ! and that this very induration fixes and indelibly preserves the characters first engraved, while it prevents any future incisions, unless of a . very superficial and evanescent nature. scratch or write upon it, and this answers the temporary wants of age, but you can no longer chisel or stamp any durable impress upon its stubborn substance. This seeming inconsistency is, in my opinion, a forcible confirmation of old Adam's veracity.' "A jury won't think so," retorted Clinch, “and that's the only thing to look to.”

I have given this dialogue and old Adam Wright's examination circumstantially, because every particular is deeply fixed in my own recollection, by the fatal results of which the affair was speedily productive. Chilvers, as I have mentioned, had been ill when he sallied forth to read the placard announce ing the shutting up of the footpath. Upon that occasion, he got wet, he sat some time at Mr. Clinch's: his complaint, which was the gout, was driven into his stomach, and in spite of immodiate medical advice, and the unremitted self devotion of his wife, who never quitted his side, he expired in ten days.

You may

Death-bed descriptions are productive of no good to counteract their painful details : they prove nothing; for whatever may be gained in the sincerity of the dying person, is balanced by the diseased state which the mind generally participates with the body. A man's opinions are worth nothing unless they emanate from a vigorous intellect and sound frame, uninfluenced by immediate hopes or fears.. Suffice it to say, that Chilvers died as he had lived a philanthropist, and a philosopher.

After the melancholy ceremonies of the funeral, which I took upon myself to direct, I accompanied my wife to the cottage, where we meant to reside for some little time, to offer our consolations to his relict, now a second time a widow. I have never been more forcibly impressed with the vanity of human learning, and the vain glory of philosophy, than in the instance of this uneducated female, who, from an innate principle or instinct of religion, although utterly ignorant of all theological points, possessed a mastery over her mind, and a consolation under afflictions, which the most profound adept in the schools of worldly wisdom would in vain attempt to rival. Conscious that the death of her husband was a dispensation of Providence, under which it was perhaps guilty to repine, she set resolutely about the suppression of her grief, beginning by carefully locking up and concealing all those articles of his dress and daily use which, by recalling him suddenly and forcibly to her recollection, might upset her pious resolutions ; so that, upon our arrival, we found her in a frame of mind much more calm and resigned than we had anticipated. Though Chilvers never killed a bird or caught a fish in his life, he had a favourite spaniel, called Juno, almost as inseparable a companion as his old white hat; the partaker of his morning rambles, and the invariable residuary of his crusts at tea time. This faithful animal his widow could not resolve to dismiss; but,

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