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The Romany Rye - A Sequel to 'Lavengro'
by George Borrow
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'Thus perished old Fulcher; he was succeeded in his business by his son, young Fulcher, who, immediately after the death of his father, was called old Fulcher, it being our English custom to call everybody old, as soon as their fathers are buried; young Fulcher—I mean he who had been called young, but was now old Fulcher—wanted me to go out and commit larcenies with him; but I told him that I would have nothing more to do with thieving, having seen the ill effects of it, and that I should leave them in the morning. Old Fulcher begged me to think better of it, and his mother joined with him. They offered, if I would stay, to give me Mary Fulcher as a mort, {264} till she and I were old enough to be regularly married, she being the daughter of the one, and the sister of the other. I liked the girl very well, for she had been always civil to me, and had a fair complexion and nice red hair, both of which I like, being a bit of a black myself; but I refused, being determined to see something more of the world than I could hope to do with the Fulchers, and, moreover, to live honestly, which I could never do along with them. So the next morning I left them: I was, as I said before, quite determined upon an honest livelihood, and I soon found one. He is a great fool who is ever dishonest in England. Any person who has any natural gift, and everybody has some natural gift, is sure of finding encouragement in this noble country of ours, provided he will but exhibit it. I had not walked more than three miles before I came to a wonderfully high church steeple, which stood close by the road; I looked at the steeple, and going to a heap of smooth pebbles which lay by the roadside, I took up some, and then went into the churchyard, and placing myself just below the tower, my right foot resting on a ledge, about two foot from the ground, I, with my left hand—being a left-handed person do you see—flung or chucked up a stone, which lighting on the top of the steeple, which was at least a hundred and fifty feet high, did there remain. After repeating this feat two or three times, I "hulled" up a stone, which went clean over the tower, and then one, my right foot still on the ledge, which rising at least five yards above the steeple, did fall down just at my feet. Without knowing it, I was showing off my gift to others besides myself, doing what, perhaps, not five men in England could do. Two men, who were passing by, stopped and looked at my proceedings, and when I had done flinging came into the churchyard, and, after paying me a compliment on what they had seen me do, proposed that I should join company with them; I asked them who they were, and they told me. The one was Hopping Ned, and the other Biting Giles. Both had their gifts, by which they got their livelihood; Ned could hop a hundred yards with any man in England, and Giles could lift up with his teeth any dresser or kitchen-table in the country, and, standing erect, hold it dangling in his jaws. There's many a big oak table and dresser, in certain districts of England, which bear the marks of Giles's teeth; and I make no doubt that, a hundred or two years hence, there'll be strange stories about those marks, and that people will point them out as a proof that there were giants in bygone time, and that many a dentist will moralize on the decays which human teeth have undergone.

'They wanted me to go about with them, and exhibit my gift occasionally, as they did theirs, promising that the money that was got by the exhibitions should be honestly divided. I consented, and we set off together, and that evening coming to a village, and putting up at the ale-house, all the grand folks of the village being there smoking their pipes, we contrived to introduce the subject of hopping—the upshot being that Ned hopped against the schoolmaster for a pound, and beat him hollow; shortly after, Giles, for a wager, took up the kitchen table in his jaws, though he had to pay a shilling to the landlady for the marks he left, whose grandchildren will perhaps get money by exhibiting them. As for myself, I did nothing that day, but the next, on which my companions did nothing, I showed off at hulling stones against a cripple, the crack man for stone throwing, of a small town, a few miles farther on. Bets were made to the tune of some pounds; I contrived to beat the cripple, and just contrived; for to do him justice I must acknowledge he was a first-rate hand at stones, though he had a game hip, and went sideways; his head, when he walked—if his movements could be called walking—not being above three feet above the ground. So we travelled, I and my companions, showing off our gifts, Giles and I occasionally for a gathering, but Ned never hopping unless against somebody for a wager. We lived honestly and comfortably, making no little money by our natural endowments, and were known over a great part of England as "Hopping Ned," "Biting Giles," and "Hull over the head Jack," which was my name, it being the blackguard fashion of the English, do you see, to—'

Here I interrupted the jockey, 'You may call it a blackguard fashion,' said I, 'and I dare say it is, or it would scarcely be English; but it is an immensely ancient one, and is handed down to us from our northern ancestry, especially the Danes, who were in the habit of giving people surnames, or rather nicknames, from some quality of body or mind, but generally from some disadvantageous peculiarity of feature; for there is no denying that the English, Norse, or whatever we may please to call them, are an envious depreciatory set of people, who not only give their poor comrades contemptuous surnames, but their great people also. They didn't call you the matchless Hurler, because, by doing so, they would have paid you a compliment, but Hull over the head Jack, as much as to say that after all you were a scrub: so, in ancient time, instead of calling Regner the great conqueror, the Nation Tamer, they surnamed him Lodbrog, which signifies Rough or Hairy Breeks—lod or loddin signifying rough or hairy; and instead of complimenting Halgerdr, the wife of Gunnar of Hlitharend, the great champion of Iceland, upon her majestic presence, by calling her Halgerdr, the stately or tall; what must they do but term her Ha-brokr, or High Breeks, it being the fashion in old times for Northern ladies to wear breeks, or breeches, which English ladies of the present day never think of doing; and just, as of old, they called Halgerdr Long-breeks, so this very day a fellow of Horncastle called, in my hearing, our noble-looking Hungarian friend here, Long-stockings. Oh, I could give you a hundred instances, both ancient and modern, of this unseemly propensity of our illustrious race, though I will only trouble you with a few more ancient ones; they not only nicknamed Regner, but his sons also, who were all kings, and distinguished men: one, whose name was Biorn, they nicknamed Ironsides; another Sigurd, Snake in the Eye; another, White Sark, or White Shirt—I wonder they did not call him Dirty Shirt, and Ivarr, another, who was King of Northumberland, they called Beinlausi, or the Legless, because he was spindle-shanked, had no sap in his bones, and consequently no children. He was a great king, it is true, and very wise, nevertheless his blackguard countrymen, always averse, as their descendants are, to give credit to anybody, for any valuable quality or possession, must needs lay hold, do you see—'

But before I could say any more, the jockey, having laid down his pipe, rose, and having taken off his coat, advanced towards me.



CHAPTER XLII

A SHORT-TEMPERED PERSON—GRAVITATION—THE BEST ENDOWMENT—MARY FULCHER—FAIR DEALING—HORSE-WITCHERY—DARIUS AND HIS GROOM—THE JOCKEY'S TRICKS—THE TWO CHARACTERS—THE JOCKEY'S SONG

The jockey, having taken off his coat and advanced towards me, as I have stated in the preceding chapter, exclaimed, in an angry tone, 'This is the third time you have interrupted me in my tale, Mr. Rye; I passed over the two first times with a simple warning, but you will now please to get up and give me the satisfaction of a man.'

'I am really sorry,' said I, 'if I have given you offence, but you were talking of our English habit of bestowing nicknames, and I could not refrain from giving a few examples tending to prove what a very ancient habit it is.'

'But you interrupted me,' said the jockey, 'and put me out of my tale, which you had no right to do; and as for your examples, how do you know that I wasn't going to give some as old or older than yourn. Now stand up, and I'll make an example of you.'

'Well,' said I, 'I confess it was wrong in me to interrupt you, and I ask your pardon.'

'That won't do,' said the jockey, 'asking pardon won't do.'

'Oh,' said I, getting up, 'if asking pardon does not satisfy you, you are a different man from what I considered you.'

But here the Hungarian, also getting up, interposed his tall form and pipe between us, saying in English, scarcely intelligible, 'Let there be no dispute! As for myself, I am very much obliged to the young man of Horncastle for his interruption, though he has told me that one of his dirty townsmen called me "Long-stockings." By Isten! there is more learning in what he has just said, than in all the verdammt English histories of Thor and Tzernebock I ever read.'

'I care nothing for his learning,' said the jockey. 'I consider myself as good a man as he, for all his learning; so stand out of the way, Mr. Sixfoot-eleven, or—'

'I shall do no such thing,' said the Hungarian. 'I wonder you are not ashamed of yourself. You ask young man to drink champagne with you, you make him dronk, he interrupt you with very good sense; he ask your pardon, yet you not—'

'Well,' said the jockey, 'I am satisfied. I am rather a short-tempered person, but I bear no malice. He is, as you say, drinking my wine, and has perhaps taken a drop too much, not being used to such high liquor; but one doesn't like to be put out of one's tale, more especially when one was about to moralize, do you see, oneself, and to show off what little learning one has. However, I bears no malice. Here is a hand to each of you: we'll take another glass each, and think no more about it.'

The jockey having shaken both of our hands, and filled our glasses and his own with what champagne remained in the bottle, put on his coat, sat down, and resumed his pipe and story.

'Where was I? Oh, roaming about the country with Hopping Ned and Biting Giles. Those were happy days, and a merry and prosperous life we led. However, nothing continues under the sun in the same state in which it begins, and our firm was soon destined to undergo a change. We came to a village where there was a very high church steeple, and in a little time my comrades induced a crowd of people to go and see me display my gift by flinging stones above the heads of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, who stood at the four corners on the top, carved in stone. The parson, seeing the crowd, came waddling out of his rectory to see what was going on. After I had flung up the stones, letting them fall just were I liked—and one, I remember, fell on the head of Mark, where I dare say it remains to the present day—the parson, who was one of the description of people called philosophers, held up his hand, and asked me to let the next stone I flung up fall into it. He wished, do you see, to know with what weight the stone would fall down, and talked something about gravitation—a word which I could never understand to the present day, save that it turned out a grave matter to me. I, like a silly fellow myself, must needs consent, and, flinging the stone up to a vast height, contrived so that it fell into the parson's hand, which it cut dreadfully. The parson flew into a great rage, more particularly as everybody laughed at him, and, being a magistrate, ordered his clerk, who was likewise constable, to conduct me to prison as a rogue and a vagabond, telling my comrades that if they did not take themselves off, he would serve them in the same manner. So Ned hopped off, and Giles ran after him, without making any gathering, and I was led to Bridewell, my mittimus following at the end of a week, the parson's hand not permitting him to write before that time. In the Bridewell I remained a month, when, being dismissed, I went in quest of my companions, whom, after some time, I found up, but they refused to keep my company any longer; telling me that I was a dangerous character, likely to bring them more trouble than profit; they had, moreover, filled up my place. Going into a cottage to ask for a drink of water, they saw a country fellow making faces to amuse his children; the faces were so wonderful that Hopping Ned and Biting Giles at once proposed taking him into partnership, and the man—who was a fellow not very fond of work—after a little entreaty, went away with them. I saw him exhibit his gift, and couldn't blame the others for preferring him to me; he was a proper ugly fellow at all times, but when he made faces his countenance was like nothing human. He was called Ugly Moses. I was so amazed at his faces, that though poor myself I gave him sixpence, which I have never grudged to this day, for I never saw anything like them. The firm throve wonderfully after he had been admitted into it. He died some little time ago, keeper of a public-house, which he had been enabled to take from the profits of his faces. A son of his, one of the children he was making faces to when my comrades entered his door, is at present a barrister, and a very rising one. He has his gift—he has not, it is true, the gift of the gab, but he has something better, he was born with a grin on his face, a quiet grin; he would not have done to grin through a collar like his father, and would never have been taken up by Hopping Ned and Biting Giles, but that grin of his caused him to be noticed by a much greater person than either; an attorney observing it took a liking to the lad, and prophesied that he would some day be heard of in the world; and in order to give him the first lift, took him into his office, at first to light fires and do such kind of work, and after a little time taught him to write, then promoted him to a desk, articled him afterwards, and being unmarried and without children, left him what he had when he died. The young fellow, after practising at the law some time, went to the bar, where, in a few years, helped on by his grin, for he had nothing else to recommend him, he became, as I said before, a rising barrister. He comes our circuit, and I occasionally employ him, when I am obliged to go to law about such a thing as an unsound horse. He generally brings me through—or rather that grin of his does—and yet I don't like the fellow, confound him, but I'm an oddity; no, the one I like, and whom I generally employ, is a fellow quite different, a bluff sturdy dog, with no grin on his face, but with a look which seems to say I am an honest man, and what cares I for anyone. And an honest man he is, and something more. I have known coves with a better gift of the gab, though not many, but he always speaks to the purpose, and understands law thoroughly; and that's not all. When at college, for he has been at college, he carried off everything before him as a Latiner, and was first-rate at a game they called matthew mattocks. I don't know exactly what it is, but I have heard that he who is first-rate at matthew mattocks {271} is thought more of than if he were first-rate Latiner.

'Well, the chap that I'm talking about, not only came out first-rate Latiner, but first-rate at matthew mattocks too; doing, in fact, as I am told by those who knows, for I was never at college myself, what no one had ever done before. Well, he makes his appearance at our circuit, does very well, of course, but he has a somewhat high front, as becomes an honest man, and one who has beat every one at Latin and matthew mattocks; and who can speak first-rate law and sense;—but see now, the cove with the grin, who has like myself never been at college; knows nothing of Latin, or matthew mattocks, and has no particular gift of the gab, has two briefs for his one, and I suppose very properly, for that grin of his curries favour with the juries; and mark me, that grin of his will enable him to beat the other in the long run. We all know what all barrister coves looks forward to—a seat on the hop sack. Well, I'll bet a bull to fivepence, that the grinner gets upon it, and the snarler doesn't; at any rate, that he gets there first. I calls my cove—for he is my cove—a snarler; because your first-rates at matthew mattocks are called snarlers, and for no other reason; for the chap, though with a high front, is a good chap, and once drank a glass of ale with me, after buying an animal out of my stable. I have often thought it a pity that he wasn't born with a grin on his face, like the son of Ugly Moses. It is true he would scarcely then have been an out and outer at Latin and matthew mattocks, but what need of either to a chap born with a grin? Talk of being born with a silver spoon in one's mouth; give me a cove born with a grin on his face—a much better endowment.

'I will now shorten my history as much as I can, for we have talked as much as folks do during a whole night in the Commons' House, though, of course, not with so much learning, or so much to the purpose, because—why? They are in the House of Commons, and we in a public room of an inn at Horncastle. The goodness of the ale do you see, never depending on what it is made of, oh, no! but on the fashion and appearance of the jug in which it is served up. After being turned out of the firm, I got my living in two or three honest ways, which I shall not trouble you with describing. I did not like any of them, however, as they did not exactly suit my humour; at last I found one which did. One Saturday forenoon I chanced to be in the cattle-market of a place about eighty miles from here; there I won the favour of an old gentleman who sold dickeys. He had a very shabby squad of animals, without soul or spirit; nobody would buy them, till I leaped upon their hinder ends, and by merely wriggling in a particular manner, made them caper and bound so to people's liking, that in a few hours every one of them was sold at very sufficient prices. The old gentleman was so pleased with my skill, that he took me home with him, and in a very little time into partnership. It's a good thing to have a gift, but yet better to have two. I might have got a very decent livelihood by throwing stones, but I much question whether I should ever have attained to the position in society which I now occupy, but for my knowledge of animals. I lived very comfortably with the old gentleman till he died, which he did about a fortnight after he had laid his old lady in the ground. Having no children, he left me what should remain after he had been buried decently, and the remainder was six dickeys and thirty shillings in silver. I remained in the dickey trade ten years, during which time I saved a hundred pounds. I then embarked in the horse line. One day, being in the —- market on a Saturday, I saw Mary Fulcher with a halter round her neck, led about by a man, who offered to sell her for eighteenpence. I took out the money forthwith and bought her; the man was her husband, a basket-maker, with whom she had lived several years without having any children; he was a drunken, quarrelsome fellow, and having had a dispute with her the day before, he determined to get rid of her, by putting a halter round her neck, and leading her to the cattle-market, as if she were a mare, which he had, it seems, a right to do; all women being considered mares by old English law, and, indeed, still called mares in certain counties, where genuine old English is still preserved. That same afternoon, the man who had been her husband, having got drunk in a public-house with the money which he had received for her, quarrelled with another man, and receiving a blow under the ear, fell upon the floor, and died of artiflex; and in less than three weeks I was married to Mary Fulcher, by virtue of regular bans. I am told she was legally my property by virtue of my having bought her with a halter round her neck; but, to tell you the truth, I think everybody should live by his trade, and I didn't wish to act shabbily towards our parson, who is a good fellow, and has certainly a right to his fees. A better wife than Mary Fulcher—I mean Mary Dale—no one ever had; she has borne me several children, and has at all times shown a willingness to oblige me, and to be my faithful wife. Amongst other things, I begged her to have done with her family, and I believe she has never spoken to them since.

'I have thriven very well in business, and my name is up as being a person who can be depended on, when folks treats me handsomely. I always makes a point when a gentleman comes to me, and says, "Mr. Dale," or "John"—for I have no objection to be called John by a gentleman—"I wants a good horse, and I am ready to pay a good price"—I always makes a point, I say, to furnish him with an animal worth the money; but when I sees a fellow, whether he calls himself gentleman or not, wishing to circumvent me, what does I do? I doesn't quarrel with him, not I; but, letting him imagine he is taking me in, I contrives to sell him a screw for thirty pounds, not worth forty shillings. All honest respectable people have at present great confidence in me, and frequently commissions me to buy them horses at great fairs like this.

'This short young gentleman was recommended to me by a great landed proprietor, to whom he bore letters of recommendation from some great prince in his own country, who had a long time ago been entertained at the house of the landed proprietor, and the consequence is, that I brings young six foot six to Horncastle, and purchases for him the horse of the Romany Rye. I don't do these kind things for nothing, it is true; that can't be expected; for every one must live by his trade; but, as I said before, when I am treated handsomely, I treat folks so. Honesty, I have discovered, as perhaps some other people have, is by far the best policy; though, as I also said before, when I'm along with thieves, I can beat them at their own game. If I am obliged to do it, I can pass off the veriest screw as a flying drummedary, for even when I was a child I had found out by various means what may be done with animals. I wish now to ask a civil question, Mr. Romany Rye. Certain folks have told me that you are a horse witch, are you one, or are you not?'

'I, like yourself,' said I, 'know, to a certain extent, what may be done with animals.'

'Then how would you, Mr. Romany Rye, pass off the veriest screw in the world for a flying drummedary?'

'By putting a small live eel down his throat; as long as the eel remained in his stomach, the horse would appear brisk and lively in a surprising degree.'

'And how would you contrive to make a regular kicker and biter appear so tame and gentle, that any respectable fat old gentleman of sixty, who wanted an easy goer, would be glad to purchase him for fifty pounds?'

'By pouring down his throat four pints of generous old ale, which would make him so happy and comfortable, that he would not have the heart to kick or bite anybody, for a season at least.'

'And where did you learn all this?' said the jockey.

'I have read about the eel in an old English book, and about the making drunk in a Spanish novel, and, singularly enough, I was told the same things by a wild blacksmith in Ireland. Now tell me, do you bewitch horses in this way?'

'I?' said the jockey; 'mercy upon us! I wouldn't do such things for a hatful of money. No, no, preserve me from live eels and hocussing! And now let me ask you, how you would spirit a horse out of a field?'

'How would I spirit a horse out of a field?'

'Yes! supposing you were down in the world, and had determined on taking up the horse-stealing line of business.'

'Why I should—. But I tell you what, friend, I see you are trying to pump me, and I tell you plainly that I will hear something from you with respect to your art, before I tell you anything more. Now, how would you whisper a horse out of a field, provided you were down in the world, and so forth?'

'Ah, ah, I see you are up to game, Mr. Romany: however, I am a gentleman in mind, if not by birth, and I scorn to do the unhandsome thing to anybody who has dealt fairly towards me. Now, you told me something I didn't know, and I'll tell you something which perhaps you do know. I whispers a horse out of a field in this way: I have a mare in my stable; well, in the early season of the year I goes into my stable—Well, I puts the sponge into a small bottle which I keeps corked. I takes my bottle in my hand, and goes into a field, suppose by night, where there is a very fine stag horse. I manage with great difficulty to get within ten yards of the horse, who stands staring at me just ready to run away. I then uncorks my bottle, presses my fore-finger to the sponge, and holds it out to the horse; the horse gives a sniff, then a start, and comes nearer. I corks up my bottle and puts it into my pocket. My business is done, for the next two hours the horse would follow me anywhere—the difficulty, indeed, would be to get rid of him. Now, is that your way of doing business?'

'My way of doing business? Mercy upon us! I wouldn't steal a horse in that way, or, indeed, in any way, for all the money in the world: however, let me tell you, for your comfort, that a trick somewhat similar is described in the history of Herodotus.'

'In the history of Herod's ass!' said the jockey; 'well, if I did write a book, it should be about something more genteel than a dickey.'

'I did not say Herod's ass!' said I, 'but Herodotus, a very genteel writer, I assure you, who wrote a history about very genteel people, in a language no less genteel than Greek, more than two thousand years ago. There was a dispute as to who should be king amongst certain imperious chieftains. At last they agreed to obey him whose horse should neigh first on a certain day, in front of the royal palace, before the rising of the sun; for you must know that they did not worship the person who made the sun as we do, but the sun itself. So one of these chieftains, talking over the matter to his groom, and saying he wondered who would be king, the fellow said, "Why, you, master, or I don't know much about horses." So the day before the day of trial, what does the groom do but take his master's horse before the palace and introduce him to a mare in the stable, and then lead him forth again. Well, early the next day all the chieftains on their horses appeared in front of the palace before the dawn of day. Not a horse neighed but one, and that was the horse of him who had consulted with his groom, who, thinking of the animal within the stable, gave such a neigh that all the buildings rang. His rider was forthwith elected king, and a brave king he was. So this shows what seemingly wonderful things may be brought about by a little preparation.'

'It doth,' said the jockey; 'what was the chap's name?'

'His name—his name—Darius Hystaspes.'

'And the groom's?'

'I don't know.'

'And he made a good king?'

'First-rate.'

'Only think! well, if he made a good king, what a wonderful king the groom would have made, through whose knowledge of 'orses he was put on the throne. And now another question, Mr. Romany Rye, have you particular words which have power to soothe or aggravate horses?'

'You should ask me,' said I, 'whether I have horses that can be aggravated or soothed by particular words. No words have any particular power over horses or other animals who have never heard them before—how should they? But certain animals connect ideas of misery or enjoyment with particular words which they are acquainted with. I'll give you an example. I knew a cob in Ireland that could be driven to a state of kicking madness by a particular word, used by a particular person, in a particular tone; but that word was connected with a very painful operation which had been performed upon him by that individual, who had frequently employed it at a certain period whilst the animal had been under his treatment. The same cob could be soothed in a moment by another word, used by the same individual in a very different kind of tone—the word was deaghblasda, or sweet tasted. Some time after the operation, whilst the cob was yet under his hands, the fellow—who was what the Irish call a fairy smith—had done all he could to soothe the creature, and had at last succeeded by giving it gingerbread-buttons, of which the cob became passionately fond. Invariably, however, before giving it a button, he said, "Deaghblasda," with which word the cob by degrees associated an idea of unmixed enjoyment: so if he could rouse the cob to madness by the word which recalled the torture to its remembrance, he could as easily soothe it by the other word, which the cob knew would be instantly followed by the button, which the smith never failed to give him after using the word deaghblasda.'

'There is nothing wonderful to be done,' said the jockey, 'without a good deal of preparation, as I know myself. Folks stare and wonder at certain things which they would only laugh at if they knew how they were done; and to prove what I say is true, I will give you one or two examples. Can either of you lend me a handkerchief? That won't do,' said he, as I presented him with a silk one. 'I wish for a delicate white handkerchief. That's just the kind of thing,' said he, as the Hungarian offered him a fine white cambric handkerchief, beautifully worked with gold at the hems; 'now you shall see me set this handkerchief on fire.' 'Don't let him do so by any means,' said the Hungarian, speaking to me in German, 'it is the gift of a lady whom I highly admire, and I would not have it burnt for the world.' 'He has no occasion to be under any apprehension,' said the jockey, after I had interpreted to him what the Hungarian had said, 'I will restore it to him uninjured, or my name is not Jack Dale.' Then sticking the handkerchief carelessly into the left side of his bosom, he took the candle, which by this time had burnt very low, and holding his head back, he applied the flame to the handkerchief, which instantly seemed to catch fire. 'What do you think of that?' said he to the Hungarian. 'Why, that you have ruined me,' said the latter. 'No harm done, I assure you,' said the jockey, who presently, clapping his hand on his bosom, extinguished the fire, and returned the handkerchief to the Hungarian, asking him if it was burnt. 'I see no burn upon it,' said the Hungarian; 'but in the name of Gott how could you set it on fire without burning it?' 'I never set it on fire at all,' said the jockey; 'I set this on fire,' showing us a piece of half-burnt calico. 'I placed this calico above it, and lighted not the handkerchief, but the rag. Now, I will show you something else. I have a magic shilling in my pocket, which I can make run up along my arm. But, first of all, I would gladly know whether either of you can do the like.' Thereupon the Hungarian and myself, putting our hands into our pockets, took out shillings, and endeavoured to make them run up our arms, but utterly failed; both shillings, after we had made two or three attempts, falling to the ground. 'What noncomposses you both are,' said the jockey; and, placing a shilling on the end of the fingers of his right hand, he made strange faces to it, drawing back his head, whereupon the shilling instantly began to run up his arm, occasionally hopping and jumping as if it were bewitched, always endeavouring to make towards the head of the jockey.

'How do I do that?' said he, addressing himself to me. 'I really do not know,' said I, 'unless it is by the motion of your arm.' 'The motion of my nonsense,' said the jockey, and, making a dreadful grimace, the shilling hopped upon his knee, and began to run up his thigh and to climb his breast. 'How is that done?' said he again. 'By witchcraft, I suppose,' said I. 'There you are right,' said the jockey; 'by the withcraft of one of Miss Berners' hairs; the end of one of her long hairs is tied to that shilling by means of a hole in it, and the other end goes round my neck by means of a loop; so that, when I draw back my head, the shilling follows it. I suppose you wish to know how I got the hair,' said he, grinning at me. 'I will tell you. I once, in the course of my ridings, saw Miss Berners beneath a hedge, combing out her long hair, and, being rather a modest kind of person, what must I do but get off my horse, tie him to a gate, go up to her, and endeavour to enter into conversation with her. After giving her the sele of the day, and complimenting her on her hair, I asked her to give me one of the threads; whereupon she gave me such a look, and, calling me fellow, told me to take myself off. "I must have a hair first," said I, making a snatch at one. I believe I hurt her; but, whether I did or not, up she started, and, though her hair was unbound, gave me the only drubbing I ever had in my life. Lor! how, with her right hand, she fibbed me whilst she held me round the neck with her left arm; I was soon glad to beg her pardon on my knees, which she gave me in a moment when she saw me in that condition, being the most placable creature in the world, and not only her pardon, but one of the hairs which I longed for, which I put through a shilling, with which I have on evenings after fairs, like this, frequently worked what seemed to those who looked on downright witchcraft, but which is nothing more than pleasant deception. And now, Mr. Romany Rye, to testify my regard for you, I give you the shilling and the hair. I think you have a kind of respect for Miss Berners; but whether you have or not, keep them as long as you can, and whenever you look at them think of the finest woman in England, and of John Dale, the jockey of Horncastle. I believe I have told you my history,' said he—'no, not quite; there is one circumstance I had passed over. I told you that I have thriven very well in business, and so I have upon the whole: at any rate, I find myself comfortably off now. I have horses, money, and owe nobody a groat; at any rate, nothing but what I could pay to-morrow. Yet I have had my dreary day, ay, after I had obtained what I call a station in the world. All of a sudden, about five years ago, everything seemed to go wrong with me—horses became sick or died, people who owed me money broke or ran away, my house caught fire, in fact, everything went against me; and not from any mismanagement of my own. I looked round for help, but—what do you think?—nobody would help me. Somehow or other it had got abroad that I was in difficulties, and everybody seemed disposed to avoid me, as if I had got the plague. Those who were always offering me help when I wanted none, now, when they thought me in trouble, talked of arresting me. Yes, two particular friends of mine, who had always been offering me their purses when my own was stuffed full, now talked of arresting me, though I only owed the scoundrels a hundred pounds each; and they would have done so, provided I had not paid them what I owed them; and how did I do that? Why, I was able to do it because I found a friend—and who was that friend? Why, a man who has since been hung, of whom everybody has heard, and of whom everybody for the next hundred years will occasionally talk.

'One day, whilst in trouble, I was visited by a person {279} I had occasionally met at sporting dinners. He came to look after a Suffolk Punch, the best horse, by-the-by, that anybody can purchase to drive, it being the only animal of the horse kind in England that will pull twice at a dead weight. I told him that I had none at that time that I could recommend; in fact, that every horse in my stable was sick. He then invited me to dine with him at an inn close by, and I was glad to go with him, in the hope of getting rid of unpleasant thoughts. After dinner, during which he talked nothing but slang, observing I looked melancholy, he asked me what was the matter with me, and I, my heart being opened by the wine he had made me drink, told him my circumstances without reserve. With an oath or two for not having treated him at first like a friend, he said he would soon set me all right; and pulling out two hundred pounds, told me to pay him when I could. I felt as I never felt before; however, I took his notes, paid my sneaks, and in less than three months was right again, and had returned him his money. On paying it to him, I said that I had now a Punch which would just suit him, saying that I would give it to him—a free gift—for nothing. He swore at me; telling me to keep my Punch, for that he was suited already. I begged him to tell me how I could requite him for his kindness, whereupon, with the most dreadful oath I ever heard, he bade me come and see him hanged when his time was come. I wrung his hand, and told him I would, and I kept my word. The night before the day he was hanged at H—-, {280} I harnessed a Suffolk Punch to my light gig, the same Punch which I had offered to him, which I have ever since kept, and which brought me and this short young man to Horncastle, and in eleven hours I drove that Punch one hundred and ten miles. I arrived at H—- just in the nick of time. There was the ugly jail—the scaffold—and there upon it stood the only friend I ever had in the world. Driving my Punch, which was all in a foam, into the midst of the crowd, which made way for me as if it knew what I came for, I stood up in my gig, took off my hat, and shouted, "God Almighty bless you, Jack!" The dying man turned his pale grim face towards me—for his face was always somewhat grim, do you see—nodded and said, or I thought I heard him say, "All right, old chap." The next moment . . . my eyes water. He had a high heart, got into a scrape whilst in the marines, lost his half-pay, took to the turf, ring, gambling, and at last cut the throat of a villain who had robbed him of nearly all he had. But he had good qualities, and I know for certain that he never did half the bad things laid to his charge; for example, he never bribed Tom Oliver to fight cross, as it was said he did, on the day of the awful thunderstorm. {281a} Ned Flatnose fairly beat Tom Oliver, for though Ned was not what's called a good fighter, he had a particular blow, which if he could put in he was sure to win. His right shoulder, do you see, was two inches farther back than it ought to have been, and consequently his right fist generally fell short; but if he could swing himself round, and put in a blow with that right arm, he could kill or take away the senses of anybody in the world. It was by putting in that blow in his second fight with Spring that he beat noble Tom. Spring beat him like a sack in the first battle, but in the second Ned Painter—for that was his real name—contrived to put in his blow, and took the senses out of Spring; and in like manner he took the senses out of Tom Oliver.

'Well, some are born to be hanged, and some are not; and many of those who are not hanged are much worse than those who are. Jack, with many a good quality, is hanged, whilst that fellow of a lord, who wanted to get the horse from you at about two-thirds of his value, without a single good quality in the world, is not hanged, and probably will remain so. You ask the reason why, perhaps. I'll tell you; the lack of a certain quality called courage, which Jack possessed in abundance, will preserve him; from the love which he bears his own neck he will do nothing which can bring him to the gallows. {281b} In my rough way I'll draw their characters from their childhood, and then ask whether Jack was not the best character of the two. Jack was a rough, audacious boy, fond of fighting, going a birds'-nesting, but I never heard he did anything particularly cruel save once, I believe, tying a canister to a butcher's dog's tail; whilst this fellow of a lord was by nature a savage beast, and when a boy would in winter pluck poor fowls naked, and set them running on the ice and in the snow, and was particularly fond of burning cats alive in the fire. Jack, when a lad, gets a commission on board a ship as an officer of horse marines, and in two or three engagements behaves quite up to the mark—at least of a marine; the marines having no particular character for courage you know—never having run to the guns and fired them like madmen after the blue jackets had had more than enough. Oh, dear me, no! My lord gets into the valorous British army, where cowardice—oh, dear me!—is a thing almost entirely unknown; and being on the field of Waterloo the day before the battle, falls off his horse, and, pretending to be hurt in the back, gets himself put on the sick list—a pretty excuse—hurting his back—for not being present at such a fight. Old Benbow, after part of both his legs had been shot away in a sea-fight, made the carpenter make him a cradle to hold his bloody stumps, and continued on deck cheering his men till he died. Jack returns home, and gets into trouble, and having nothing to subsist by but his wits, gets his living by the ring, and the turf, and gambling, doing many an odd kind of thing, I dare say, but not half those laid to his charge. My lord does much the same without the excuse for doing so which Jack had, for he had plenty of means, is a leg, and a black, only in a more polished way, and with more cunning, and I may say success, having done many a rascally thing never laid to his charge. Jack at last cuts the throat of a villain who had cheated him of all he had in the world, and who, I am told, was in many points the counterpart of this screw and white feather, is taken up, tried, and executed; and certainly taking away a man's life is a dreadful thing; but is there nothing as bad? Whitefeather will cut no person's throat—I will not say who has cheated him, for, being a cheat himself, he will take good care that nobody cheats him, but he'll do something quite as bad; out of envy to a person who never injured him, and whom he hates for being more clever and respected than himself, he will do all he possibly can, by backbiting and every unfair means, to do that person a mortal injury. But Jack is hanged, and my lord is not. Is that right? My wife, Mary Fulcher—I beg her pardon, Mary Dale—who is a Methodist, and has heard the mighty preacher, Peter Williams, says some people are preserved from hanging by the grace of God. With her I differs, and says it is from want of courage. This Whitefeather, with one particle of Jack's courage, and with one tithe of his good qualities, would have been hanged long ago, for he has ten times Jack's malignity. Jack was hanged because, along with his bad qualities, he had courage and generosity; this fellow is not, because with all Jack's bad qualities, and many more, amongst which is cunning, he has neither courage nor generosity. Think of a fellow like that putting down two hundred pounds to relieve a distressed fellow-creature; why he would rob, but for the law and the fear it fills him with, a workhouse child of its breakfast, as the saying is—and has been heard to say that he would not trust his own father for sixpence, and he can't imagine why such a thing as credit should be ever given. I never heard a person give him a good word—stay, stay, yes! I once heard an old parson, to whom I sold a Punch, say that he had the art of receiving company gracefully, and dismissing them without refreshment. I don't wish to be too hard with him, and so let him make the most of that compliment. Well! he manages to get on, whilst Jack is hanged; not quite enviably, however; he has had his rubs, and pretty hard ones—everybody knows he slunk from Waterloo, and occasionally checks him with so doing; whilst he has been rejected by a woman—what a mortification to the low pride of which the scoundrel has plenty! There's a song about both circumstances, which may, perhaps, ring in his ears on a dying bed. It's a funny kind of song, set to the old tune of the Lord-Lieutenant or Deputy, and with it I will conclude my discourse, for I really think it's past one.' The jockey then, with a very tolerable voice, sung the following song:

THE JOCKEY'S SONG.

Now list to a ditty both funny and true!— Merrily moves the dance along— A ditty that tells of a coward and screw, My Lord-Lieutenant so free and young.

Sir Plume, though not liking a bullet at all— Merrily moves the dance along— Had yet resolution to go to a ball, My Lord-Lieutenant so free and young.

'Woulez wous danser, mademoiselle?'— Merrily moves the dance along— Said she, 'Sir, to dance I should like very well,' My Lord-Lieutenant so free and young.

They danc'd to the left, and they danc'd to the right— Merrily moves the dance along— And her troth the fair damsel bestow'd on the knight, My Lord-Lieutenant so free and young.

'Now what shall I fetch you mademoiselle?' Merrily moves the dance along— Said she, 'Sir, an ice I should like very well, My Lord-Lieutenant so free and young.

But the ice, when he'd got it, he instantly ate— Merrily moves the dance along— Although his pool partner was all in a fret, My Lord-Lieutenant so free and young.

He ate up the ice like a prudent young lord— Merrily moves the dance along— For he saw 'twas the very last ice on the board, My Lord-Lieutenant so free and young.

'Now when shall we marry?' the gentleman cried— Merrily moves the dance along— 'Sir, get you to Jordan,' the damsel replied, My Lord-Lieutenant so free and young.

'I never will wed with the pitiful elf'— Merrily moves the dance along— 'Who ate up the ice which I wanted myself,' My Lord-Lieutenant so free and young.

'I'd pardon your backing from red Waterloo,'— Merrily moves the dance along— 'But I never will wed with a coward and screw,' My Lord-Lieutenant so free and young.



CHAPTER XLIII

THE CHURCH

The next morning I began to think of departing: I had sewed up the money which I had received for the horse in a portion of my clothing, where I entertained no fears for its safety, with the exception of a small sum in notes, gold, and silver, which I carried in my pocket. Ere departing, however, I determined to stroll about and examine the town, and observe more particularly the humours of the fair than I had hitherto an opportunity of doing. The town, when I examined it, offered no object worthy of attention but its church—an edifice of some antiquity; under the guidance of an old man, who officiated as sexton, I inspected its interior attentively, occasionally conversing with my guide, who, however, seemed much more disposed to talk about horses than the church. 'No good horses in the fair this time, measter,' said he; 'none but one brought hither by a chap whom nobody knows, and bought by a foreigneering man, who came here with Jack Dale. The horse fetched a good swinging price, which is said, however, to be much less than its worth; for the horse is a regular clipper; not such a one, 'tis said, has been seen in the fair for several summers. Lord Whitefeather says that he believes the fellow who brought him to be a highwayman, and talks of having him taken up, but Lord Whitefeather is only in a rage because he could not get him for himself. The chap would not sell it to un; Lord Screw wanted to beat him down, and the chap took huff, said he wouldn't sell it to him at no price, and accepted the offer of the foreigneering man, or of Jack, who was his 'terpreter, and who scorned to higgle about such an hanimal, because Jack is a gentleman, though bred a dickey-boy, whilst 'tother, though bred a lord, is a screw, and a whitefeather. Every one says the cove was right, and I says so too; I likes spirit, and if the cove were here, and in your place, measter, I would invite him to drink a pint of beer. Good horses are scarce now, measter, ay, and so are good men, quite a different set from what there were when I was young; that was the time for men and horses. Lord bless you, I know all the breeders about here; they are not a bad set, and they breed a very fairish set of horses, but they are not like what their fathers were, nor are their horses like their fathers' horses. Now, there is Mr. —-, the great breeder, a very fairish man, with very fairish horses; but, Lord bless you, he's nothing to what his father was, nor his steeds to his father's; I ought to know, for I was at the school here with his father, and afterwards for many a year helped him to get up his horses; that was when I was young, measter—those were the days. You look at that monument, measter,' said he, as I stopped and looked attentively at a monument on the southern side of the church near the altar; 'that was put up for a rector of this church, who lived a long time ago, in Oliver's time, and was ill-treated and imprisoned by Oliver and his men; you will see all about it on the monument. There was a grand battle fought nigh this place, between Oliver's men and the Royal party, and the Royal party had the worst of it, as I'm told they generally had; and Oliver's men came into the town and did a great deal of damage, and ill-treated people. I can't remember anything about the matter myself, for it happened just one hundred years before I was born, but my father was acquainted with an old countryman, who lived not many miles from here, who said he remembered perfectly well the day of the battle; that he was a boy at the time, and was working in a field near the place where the battle was fought; and he heard shouting, and noise of firearms, and also the sound of several balls, which fell in the field near him. Come this way, measter, and I will show you some remains of that day's field.' Leaving the monument, on which was inscribed an account of the life and sufferings of the Royalist Rector of Horncastle, I followed the sexton to the western end of the church, where, hanging against the wall, were a number of scythes stuck in the ends of poles. 'Those are the weapons, measter,' said the sexton, 'which the great people put into the hands of a number of the country folks, in order that they might use them against Oliver's men; ugly weapons enough: however, Oliver's men won, and Sir Jacob Ashley and his party were beat. And a rare time Oliver and his men had of it, till Oliver died, when the other party got the better, not by fighting, 'tis said, but through a General Monk, who turned sides. Ah, the old fellow that my father knew, said he well remembered the time when General Monk went over and proclaimed Charles the Second. Bonfires were lighted everywhere, oxen roasted, and beer drunk by pailfuls; the country folks were drunk with joy, and something else; sung scurvy songs about Oliver to the tune of Barney Banks, and pelted his men, wherever they found them, with stones and dirt.' 'The more ungrateful scoundrels they,' said I. 'Oliver and his men fought the battle of English independence against a wretched king and corrupt lords. Had I been living at the time, I should have been proud to be a trooper of Oliver.' 'You would, measter, would you? Well, I never quarrels with the opinions of people who come to look at the church, and certainly independence is a fine thing. I like to see a chap of an independent spirit, and if I were now to see the cove who refused to sell his horse to my Lord Screw and Whitefeather, and let Jack Dale have him, I would offer to treat him to a pint of beer—e'es I would, verily. Well, measter, you have now seen the church, and all there's in it worth seeing—so I'll just lock up, and go and finish digging the grave I was about when you came, after which I must go into the fair to see how matters are going on. Thank ye, measter,' said he, as I put something into his hand; 'thank ye kindly; 'tis not every one gives me a shilling nowadays who comes to see the church, but times are very different from what they were when I was young; I was not sexton then, but something better; helped Mr. —- with his horses, and got many a broad crown. Those were the days, measter, both for men and horses—and I say, measter, if men and horses were so much better when I was young than they are now, what, I wonder, must they have been in the time of Oliver and his men?'



CHAPTER XLIV

AN OLD ACQUAINTANCE

Leaving the church, I strolled through the fair, looking at the horses, listening to the chaffering of the buyers and sellers, and occasionally putting in a word of my own, which was not always received with much deference; suddenly, however, on a whisper arising that I was the young cove who had brought the wonderful horse to the fair which Jack Dale had bought for the foreigneering man, I found myself an object of the greatest attention; those who had before replied with stuff! and nonsense! to what I said, now listened with the greatest eagerness to any nonsense which I chose to utter, and I did not fail to utter a great deal; presently, however, becoming disgusted with the beings about me, I forced my way, not very civilly, through my crowd of admirers; and passing through an alley and a back street, at last reached an outskirt of the fair where no person appeared to know me. Here I stood, looking vacantly on what was going on, musing on the strange infatuation of my species, who judge of a person's words, not from their intrinsic merit, but from the opinion—generally an erroneous one—which they have formed of the person. From this reverie I was roused by certain words which sounded near me, uttered in a strange tone, and in a strange cadence—the words were, 'them that finds, wins; and them that can't finds, loses.' Turning my eyes in the direction from which the words proceeded, I saw six or seven people, apparently all countrymen, gathered round a person standing behind a tall white table of very small compass. 'What,' said I, 'the thimble-engro of —- Fair here at Horncastle.' Advancing nearer, however, I perceived that though the present person was a thimble-engro, {288a} he was a very different one from my old acquaintance of —- Fair. {288b} The present one was a fellow about half-a-foot taller than the other. He had a long, haggard, wild face, and was dressed in a kind of jacket, something like that of a soldier, with dirty hempen trousers, and with a foreign-looking peaked hat on his head. He spoke with an accent evidently Irish, and occasionally changed the usual thimble formula into 'them that finds wins, and them that can't—och sure!—they loses;' saying also frequently 'your honour' instead of 'my lord.' I observed, on drawing nearer, that he handled the pea and thimble with some awkwardness, like that which might be expected from a novice in the trade. He contrived, however, to win several shillings, for he did not seem to play for gold, from 'their honours.' Awkward as he was, he evidently did his best, and never flung a chance away by permitting anyone to win. He had just won three shillings from a farmer, who, incensed at his loss, was calling him a confounded cheat, and saying that he would play no more, when up came my friend of the preceding day, Jack the jockey. This worthy, after looking at the thimble man a moment or two, with a peculiarly crafty glance, cried out, as he clapped down a shilling on the table, 'I will stand you, old fellow!' 'Them that finds wins; and them that can't—och, sure!—they loses,' said the thimble man. The game commenced, and Jack took up the thimble without finding the pea; another shilling was produced, and lost in the same manner. 'This is slow work,' said Jack, banging down a guinea on the table: 'can you cover that, old fellow?' The man of the thimble looked at the gold, and then at him who produced it, and scratched his head. 'Come, cover that, or I shall be off,' said the jockey. 'Och, sure, my lord!—no, I mean your honour—no, shure, your lordship,' said the other, 'if I covers it at all, it must be with silver, for divil a bit of gold have I by me.' 'Well, then, produce the value in silver,' said the jockey, 'and do it quickly, for I can't be staying here all day.' The thimble man hesitated, looked at Jack with a dubious look, then at the gold, and then scratched his head. There was now a laugh amongst the surrounders, which evidently nettled the fellow, who forthwith thrust his hand into his pocket, and pulling out all his silver treasure, just contrived to place the value of the guinea on the table. 'Them that finds wins, and them that can't finds—loses,' interrupted Jack, lifting up a thimble, out of which rolled a pea. 'There, Paddy, what do you think of that?' said he, seizing the heap of silver with one hand, whilst he pocketed the guinea with the other. The thimble-engro stood for some time like one transfixed, his eyes glaring wildly, now at the table, and now at his successful customer; at last he said, 'Arrah, sure, master!—no, I manes my lord—you are not going to ruin a poor boy!' 'Ruin you!' said the other, 'what! by winning a guinea's change! a pretty small dodger you—if you have not sufficient capital, why do you engage in so deep a trade as thimbling? come, will you stand another game?' 'Och, sure, master, no! the twenty shillings and one which you have cheated me of were all I had in the world.' 'Cheated you,' said Jack, 'say that again and I will knock you down.' 'Arrah! sure master, you knows that the pea under the thimble was not mine; here is mine, master; now give me back my money!' 'A likely thing, said Jack; 'no, no, I know a trick worth two or three of that; whether the pea was yours or mine, you will never have your twenty shillings and one again; and if I have ruined you, all the better; I'd gladly ruin all such villains as you, who ruin poor men with your dirty tricks, whom you would knock down and rob on the road if you had but courage: not that I mean to keep your shillings, with the exception of the two you cheated from me, which I'll keep. A scramble, boys! a scramble!' said he, flinging up all the silver into the air, with the exception of the two shillings; and a scramble there instantly was, between the rustics who had lost their money and the urchins who came running up; the poor thimble-engro tried likewise to have his share; but though he flung himself down, in order to join more effectually in the scramble, he was unable to obtain a single sixpence; and having in his rage given some of his fellow scramblers a cuff or two, he was set upon by the boys and country fellows, and compelled to make an inglorious retreat with his table, which had been flung down in the scuffle, and had one of its legs broken. As he retired, the rabble hooted, and Jack, holding up in derision the pea with which he had out-manoeuvred him, exclaimed, 'I always carry this in my pocket in order to be a match for vagabonds like you.'

The tumult over, Jack gone, and the rabble dispersed, I followed the discomfited adventurer at a distance, who, leaving the town, went slowly on, carrying his dilapidated piece of furniture, till coming to an old wall by the roadside, he placed it on the ground, and sat down, seemingly in deep despondency, holding his thumb to his mouth. Going nearly up to him, I stood still, whereupon he looked up, and perceiving I was looking steadfastly at him, he said, in an angry tone, 'Arrah! what for are you staring at me so? By my shoul, I think you are one of the thaives who are after robbing me. I think I saw you among them, and if I were only sure of it, I would take the liberty of trying to give you a big bating.' 'You have had enough of trying to give people a beating,' said I; 'you had better be taking your table to some skilful carpenter to get it repaired. He will do it for sixpence.' 'Divil a sixpence did you and your thaives leave me,' said he; 'and if you do not take yourself off, joy, I will be breaking your ugly head with the foot of it.' 'Arrah, Murtagh!' said I, 'would ye be breaking the head of your old friend and scholar, to whom you taught the blessed tongue of Oilien nan Naomha, in exchange for a pack of cards?' Murtagh, for he it was, gazed at me for a moment with a bewildered look; then, with a gleam of intelligence in his eye, he said, 'Shorsha! no, it can't be—yes, by my faith it is!' Then, springing up, and seizing me by the hand, he said, 'Yes, by the powers, sure enough it is Shorsha agra! Arrah, Shorsha! where have you been this many a day? Sure, you are not one of the spalpeens who are after robbing me?' 'Not I,' I replied, 'but I saw all that happened. Come, you must not take matters so to heart; cheer up; such things will happen in connection with the trade you have taken up.' 'Sorrow befall the trade, and the thief who taught it me,' said Murtagh; 'and yet the trade is not a bad one, if I only knew more of it, and had some one to help and back me. Och! the idea of being cheated and bamboozled by that one-eyed thief in the horseman's dress.' 'Let bygones be bygones, Murtagh,' said I; 'it is no use grieving for the past; sit down, and let us have a little pleasant gossip. Arrah, Murtagh! when I saw you sitting under the wall, with your thumb to your mouth, it brought to my mind tales which you used to tell me all about Finn-ma-Coul. You have not forgotten Finn-ma-Coul, Murtagh, and how he sucked wisdom out of his thumb.' 'Sorrow a bit have I forgot about him, Shorsha,' said Murtagh, as we sat down together, 'nor what you yourself told me about the snake. Arrah, Shorsha! what ye told me about the snake, bates anything I ever told you about Finn. Ochone, Shorsha! perhaps you will be telling me about the snake once more? I think the tale would do me good, and I have need of comfort, God knows, Ochone!' Seeing Murtagh in such a distressed plight, I forthwith told him over again the tale of the snake, in precisely the same words as I have related it in the first part of this history. After which, I said, 'Now, Murtagh, tit for tat; ye will be telling me one of the old stories of Finn-ma-Coul.' 'Och, Shorsha! I haven't heart enough,' said Murtagh. 'Thank you for your tale, but it makes me weep; it brings to my mind Dungarvon times of old—I mean the times we were at school together.' 'Cheer up, man,' said I, 'and let's have the story, and let it be about Ma-Coul and the salmon, and his thumb.' {291} 'Arrah, Shorsha! I can't. Well, to oblige you, I'll give it you. Well you know Ma-Coul was an exposed child, and came floating over the salt sea in a chest which was cast ashore at Veintry Bay. In the corner of that bay was a castle, where dwelt a giant and his wife, very respectable and decent people, and this giant, taking his morning walk along the bay, came to the place where the child had been cast ashore in his box. Well, the giant looked at the child, and being filled with compassion for his exposed state, took the child up in his box, and carried him home to his castle, where he and his wife, being dacent respectable people, as I telled ye before, fostered the child and took care of him, till he became old enough to go out to service and gain his livelihood, when they bound him out apprentice to another giant, who lived in a castle up the country, at some distance from the bay.

'This giant, whose name was Darmod David Odeen, was not a respectable person at all, but a big old vagabond. He was twice the size of the other giant, who, though bigger than any man, was not a big giant; for, as there are great and small men, so there are great and small giants—I mean some are small when compared with the others. Well, Finn served this giant a considerable time, doing all kinds of hard and unreasonable service for him, and receiving all kinds of hard words, and many a hard knock and kick to boot—sorrow befall the ould vagabond who could thus ill-treat a helpless foundling. It chanced that one day the giant caught a salmon, near a salmon-leap upon his estate—for, though a big ould blackguard, he was a person of considerable landed property, and high sheriff for the county Cork. Well, the giant brings home the salmon by the gills, and delivers it to Finn, telling him to roast it for the giant's dinner; "but take care, ye young blackguard," he added, "that in roasting it—and I expect ye to roast it well—you do not let a blister come upon its nice satin skin, for if ye do, I will cut the head off your shoulders." "Well," thinks Finn, "this is a hard task; however, as I have done many hard tasks for him, I will try and do this too, though I was never set to do anything yet half so difficult." So he prepared his fire, and put his gridiron upon it, and lays the salmon fairly and softly upon the gridiron, and then he roasts it, turning it from one side to the other just in the nick of time, before the soft satin skin could be blistered. However, on turning it over the eleventh time—and twelve would have settled the business—he found he had delayed a little bit of time too long in turning it over, and that there was a small, tiny blister on the soft outer skin. Well, Finn was in a mighty panic, remembering the threats of the ould giant; however, he did not lose heart, but clapped his thumb upon the blister in order to smooth it down. Now the salmon, Shorsha, was nearly done, and the flesh thoroughly hot, so Finn's thumb was scalt, and he, clapping it to his mouth, sucked it, in order to draw out the pain, and in a moment—hubbuboo!—became imbued with all the wisdom of the world.'

Myself. Stop, Murtagh! stop!

Murtagh. All the witchcraft, Shorsha.

Myself. How wonderful!

Murtagh. Was it not, Shorsha? The salmon, do you see, was a fairy salmon.

Myself. What a strange coincidence.

Murtagh. A what, Shorsha!

Myself. Why that the very same tale should be told of Finn-ma-Coul, which is related of Sigurd Fafnisbane.

'What thief was that, Shorsha?'

'Thief! 'Tis true, he took the treasure of Fafnir. Sigurd was the hero of the North, Murtagh, even as Finn is the great Hero of Ireland. He, too, according to one account, was an exposed child, and came floating in a casket to a wild shore, where he was suckled by a hind, and afterwards found and fostered by Mimir, a fairy blacksmith; he, too, sucked wisdom from a burn. According to the Edda, he burnt his finger whilst feeling of the heart of Fafnir, which he was roasting, and putting it into his mouth in order to suck out the pain, became imbued with all the wisdom of the world, the knowledge of the language of birds, and what not. I have heard you tell the tale of Finn a dozen times in the blessed days of old, but its identity with the tale of Sigurd never occurred to me till now. It is true, when I knew you of old, I had never read the tale of Sigurd, and have since almost dismissed matters of Ireland from my mind; but as soon as you told me again about Finn's burning his finger, the coincidence struck me. I say, Murtagh, the Irish owe much to the Danes—.'

'Devil a bit, Shorsha, do they owe to the thaives, except many a bloody bating and plundering, which they never paid them back. Och, Shorsha! you, edicated in ould Ireland, to say that the Irish owes anything good to the plundering villains—the Siol Loughlin.'

'They owe them half their traditions, Murtagh, and amongst others Finn-ma-Coul and the burnt finger; and if ever I publish the Loughlin songs, I'll tell the world so.'

'But, Shorsha, the world will never believe ye—to say nothing of the Irish part of it.'

'Then the world, Murtagh—to say nothing of the Irish part of it—will be a fool, even as I have often thought it; the grand thing, Murtagh, is to be able to believe one's self, and respect one's self. How few whom the world believes believe and respect themselves.'

'Och, Shorsha! shall I go on with the tale of Finn?'

'I'd rather you should not, Murtagh; I know about it already.'

'Then why did you bother me to tell it at first, Shorsha? Och, it was doing my ownself good, and making me forget my own sorrowful state, when ye interrupted me with your thaives of Danes! Och, Shorsha! let me tell you how Finn, by means of sucking his thumb, and the witchcraft he imbibed from it, contrived to pull off the arm of the ould wagabone, Darmod David Odeen, whilst shaking hands with him—for Finn could do no feat of strength without sucking his thumb, Shorsha, as Conan the Bald told the son of Oisin in the song which I used to sing ye in the Dungarvon times of old;' and here Murtagh repeated certain Irish words to the following effect:

'"O little the foolish words I heed, O Oisin's son, from thy lips which come; No strength were in Finn for valorous deed, Unless to the gristle he sucked his thumb."'

'Enough is as good as a feast, Murtagh; I am no longer in the cue for Finn. I would rather hear your own history. Now, tell us, man, all that has happened to ye since Dungarvon times of old?'

'Och, Shorsha, it would be merely bringing all my sorrows back upon me!'

'Well, if I know all your sorrows, perhaps I shall be able to find a help for them. I owe you much, Murtagh; you taught me Irish, and I will do all I can to help you.'

'Why, then, Shorsha, I'll tell ye my history. Here goes!'



CHAPTER XLV

MURTAGH'S TALE

'Well, Shorsha, about a year and a half after you left us—and a sorrowful hour for us it was when ye left us, losing, as we did, your funny stories of your snake—and the battles of your military—they sent me to Paris and Salamanca, in order to make a saggart of me.'

'Pray excuse me,' said I, 'for interrupting you, but what kind of place is Salamanca?'

'Divil a bit did I ever see of it, Shorsha!'

'Then why did you say ye were sent there? Well, what kind of place is Paris. Not that I care much about Paris.'

'Sorrow a bit did I ever see of either of them, Shorsha, for no one sent me to either. When we says at home a person is going to Paris and Salamanca, it manes that he is going abroad to study to be a saggart, whether he goes to them places or not. No, I never saw either—bad luck to them—I was shipped away from Cork up the straits to a place called Leghorn, from which I was sent to —- to a religious house, where I was to be instructed in saggarting till they had made me fit to cut a decent figure in Ireland. We had a long and tedious voyage, Shorsha; not so tedious, however, as it would have been had I been fool enough to lave your pack of cards behind me, as the thaif, my brother Dennis, wanted to persuade me to do, in older that he might play with them himself. With the cards I managed to have many a nice game with the sailors, winning from them ha'pennies and sixpences until the captain said that I was ruining his men, and keeping them from their duty; and, being a heretic and a Dutchman, swore that unless I gave over he would tie me up to the mast and give me a round dozen. This threat obliged me to be more on my guard, though I occasionally contrived to get a game at night, and to win sixpences and ha'pennies.

'We reached Leghorn at last, and glad I was to leave the ship and the master, who gave me a kick as I was getting over the side, bad luck to the dirty heretic for kicking a son of the church, for I have always been a true son of the church, Shorsha, and never quarrelled with it unless it interfered with me in my playing at cards. I left Leghorn with certain muleteers, with whom I played at cards at the baiting houses, and who speedily won from me all the ha'pennies and sixpences I had won from the sailors. I got my money's worth, however, for I learnt from the muleteers all kind of quaint tricks upon the cards, which I knew nothing of before; so I did not grudge them what they chated me of, and when we parted we did so in kindness on both sides. On getting to —- I was received into the religious house for Irishes. It was the Irish house, Shorsha, into which I was taken, for I do not wish ye to suppose that I was in the English religious house which there is in that city, in which a purty set are educated, and in which purty doings are going on if all tales be true.

'In this Irish house I commenced my studies, learning to sing and to read the Latin prayers of the church. 'Faith, Shorsha, many's the sorrowful day I passed in that house learning the prayers and litanies, being half-starved, with no earthly diversion at all, at all; until I took the cards out of my chest and began instructing in card-playing the chum which I had with me in the cell; then I had plenty of diversion along with him during the times when I was not engaged in singing, and chanting, and saying the prayers of the church; there was, however, some drawback in playing with my chum, for though he was very clever in learning, divil a sixpence had he to play with, in which respect he was like myself, the master who taught him, who had lost all my money to the muleteers who taught me the tricks upon the cards; by degrees, however, it began to be noised about the religious house that Murtagh, from Hibrodary, {296} had a pack of cards with which he played with his chum in the cell; whereupon other scholars of the religious house came to me, some to be taught and others to play, so with some I played, and others I taught, but neither to those who could play, or to those who could not, did I teach the elegant tricks which I learnt from the muleteers. Well, the scholars came to me for the sake of the cards, and the porter and the cook of the religious house, who could both play very well, came also; at last I became tired of playing for nothing, so I borrowed a few bits of silver from the cook, and played against the porter, and by means of my tricks I won money from the porter, and then I paid the cook the bits of silver which I had borrowed of him; and played with him, and won a little of his money, which I let him win back again, as I had lived long enough in a religious house to know that it is dangerous to take money from the cook. In a little time, Shorsha, there was scarcely anything going on in the house but card-playing; the almoner played with me, and so did the sub-rector, and I won money from both; not too much, however, lest they should tell the rector, who had the character of a very austere man, and of being a bit of a saint; however, the thief of a porter, whose money I had won, informed the rector of what was going on, and one day the rector sent for me into his private apartment, and gave me so long and pious a lecture upon the heinous sin of card-playing, that I thought I should sink into the ground; after about half an hour's inveighing against card-playing, he began to soften his tone, and with a long sigh told me that at one time of his life he had been a young man himself, and had occasionally used the cards; he then began to ask me some questions about card-playing, which questions I afterwards found were to pump from me what I knew about the science. After a time he asked me whether I had got my cards with me, and on my telling him I had, he expressed a wish to see them, whereupon I took the pack out of my pocket, and showed it to him; he looked at it very attentively, and at last, giving another deep sigh, he said, that though he was nearly weaned from the vanities of the world, he had still an inclination to see whether he had entirely lost the little skill which at one time he possessed. When I heard him speak in this manner, I told him that if his reverence was inclined for a game of cards, I should be very happy to play one with him; scarcely had I uttered these words than he gave a third sigh, and looked so very much like a saint that I was afraid he was going to excommunicate me. Nothing of the kind, however, for presently he gets up and locks the door, then sitting down at the table, he motioned me to do the same, which I did, and in five minutes there we were playing at cards, his reverence and myself.

'I soon found that his reverence knew quite as much about card-playing as I did. Divil a trick was there connected with cards that his reverence did not seem awake to. As, however, we were not playing for money, this circumstance did not give me much uneasiness; so we played game after game for two hours, when his reverence, having business, told me I might go, so I took up my cards, made my obedience, and left him. The next day I had other games with him, and so on for a very long time, still playing for nothing. At last his reverence grew tired of playing for nothing, and proposed that we should play for money. Now I had no desire to play with his reverence for money, as I knew that doing so would bring on a quarrel. As long as we were playing for nothing, I could afford to let his reverence use what tricks he pleased; but if we played for money, I couldn't do so. If he played his tricks, I must play mine, and use every advantage to save my money; and there was one I possessed which his reverence did not. The cards being my own, I had put some delicate little marks on the trump cards, just at the edges, so that when I dealt, by means of a little sleight of hand, I could deal myself any trump card I pleased. But I wished, as I said before, to have no dealings for money with his reverence, knowing that he was master in the house, and that he could lead me a dog of a life if I offended him, either by winning his money, or not letting him win mine. So I told him I had no money to play with, but the ould thief knew better; he knew that I was every day winning money from the scholars, and the sub-rector, and the other people of the house, and the ould thief had determined to let me go on in that way winning money, and then by means of his tricks, which he thought I dare not resent, to win from me all my earnings,—in a word, Shorsha, to let me fill myself like a sponge, and then squeeze me for his own advantage. So he made me play with him, and in less than three days came on the quarrel; his reverence chated me, and I chated his reverence; the ould thaif knew every trick that I knew, and one or two more; but in daling out the cards I nicked his reverence; scarcely a trump did I ever give him, Shorsha, and won his money purty freely. Och, it was a purty quarrel! All the delicate names in the "Newgate Calendar," if ye ever heard of such a book; all the hang-dog names in the Newgate histories, and the lives of Irish rogues, did we call each other—his reverence and I! Suddenly, however, putting out his hand, he seized the cards, saying, "I will examine these cards, ye cheating scoundrel! for I believe there are dirty marks on them, which ye have made in order to know the winning cards." "Give me back my pack," said I, "or m'anam on Dioul if I be not the death of ye!" His reverence, however, clapped the cards into his pocket, and made the best of his way to the door, I hanging upon him. He was a gross fat man, but, like most fat men, deadly strong, so he forced his way to the door, and opening it, flung himself out, with me still holding on him like a terrier dog on a big fat pig; then he shouts for help, and in a little time I was secured and thrust into a lock-up room, where I was left to myself. Here was a purty alteration. Yesterday I was the idol of the religious house, thought more on than his reverence, every one paying me court and wurtship, and wanting to play cards with me, and to learn my tricks, and fed, moreover, on the tidbits of the table; and to-day I was in a cell, nobody coming to look at me but the blackguard porter who had charge of me, my cards taken from me, and with nothing but bread and water to live upon. Time passed dreary enough for a month, at the end of which time his reverence came to me, leaving the porter just outside the door in older to come to his help should I be violent, and then he read me a very purty lecture on my conduct, saying I had turned the religious house topsy-turvy, and corrupted the scholars, and that I was the cheat of the world, for that on inspecting the pack he had discovered the dirty marks which I had made upon the trump cards for to know them by. He said a great deal more to me, which is not worth relating, and ended by telling me that he intended to let me out of confinement next day, but that if ever I misconducted myself any more, he would clap me in again for the rest of my life. I had a good mind to call him an ould thaif, but the hope of getting out made me hold my tongue, and the next day I was let out; and need enough I had to be let out, for what with being alone, and living on the bread and water, I was becoming frighted, or, as the doctors call it, narvous. But when I was out—oh, what a change I found in the religious house! no card-playing, for it had been forbidden to the scholars, and there was now nothing going on but reading and singing, divil a merry visage to be seen, but plenty of prim airs and graces; but the case of the scholars, though bad enough, was not half so bad as mine, for they could spake to each other, whereas I could not have a word of conversation, for the ould thaif of a rector had ordered them to send me to "Coventry," telling them that I was a gambling cheat, with morals bad enough to corrupt a horse regiment; and whereas they were allowed to divert themselves with going out, I was kept reading and singing from morn till night. The only soul who was willing to exchange a word with me was the cook, and sometimes he and I had a little bit of discourse in a corner, and we condoled with each other, for he liked the change in the religious house almost as little as myself; but he told me that, for all the change below stairs, there was still card playing going on above, for that the ould thaif of a rector, and the sub rector, and the almoner played at cards together, and that the rector won money from the others—the almoner had told him so—and, moreover, that the rector was the thaif of the world, and had been a gambler in his youth, and had once been kicked out of a club house at Dublin for cheating at cards, and after that circumstance had apparently reformed and lived decently till the time when I came to the religious house with my pack, but that the sight of that had brought him back to his ould gambling. He told the cook, moreover, that the rector frequently went out at night to the houses of the great clergy and cheated at cards.

'In this melancholy state, with respect to myself, things continued a long time, when suddenly there was a report that his Holiness the Pope intended to pay a visit to the religious house in order to examine into its state of discipline. When I heard this I was glad, for I determined, after the Pope had done what he had come to do, to fall upon my knees before him, and make a regular complaint of the treatment I had received, to tell him of the cheatings at cards of the rector, and to beg him to make the ould thaif give me back my pack again. So the day of the visit came, and his Holiness made his appearance with his attendants, and, having looked over the religious house, he went into the rector's room with the rector, the sub-rector, and the almoner. I intended to have waited until his Holiness came out, but finding he stayed a long time, I thought I would e'en go in to him, so I went up to the door without anybody observing me—his attendants being walking about the corridor—and opening it I slipped in, and there what do you think I saw? Why, his Holiness the Pope, and his reverence the rector, and the sub-rector, and the almoner seated at cards; and the ould thaif of a rector was dealing out the cards which ye had given me, Shorsha, to his Holiness the Pope, the sub-rector, the almoner, and himself.'

In this part of his history I interrupted Murtagh, saying that I was afraid he was telling untruths, and that it was highly improbable that the Pope would leave the Vatican to play cards with Irish at their religious house, and that I was sure if on his, Murtagh's authority, I were to tell the world so, the world would never believe it.

'Then the world, Shorsha, would be a fool, even as you were just now saying you had frequently believed it to be; the grand thing, Shorsha, is to be able to believe one's self; if ye can do that, it matters very little whether the world believes ye or no. But a purty thing for you and the world to stickle at the Pope's playing at cards at a religious house of Irish; och! if I were to tell you and the world what the Pope has been sometimes at at the religious house of English thaives, I would excuse you and the world for turning up your eyes. However, I wish to say nothing against the Pope. I am a son of the Church, and if the Pope don't interfere with my cards, divil a bit will I have to say against him; but I saw the Pope playing, or about to play, with the pack which had been taken from me, and when I told the Pope, the Pope did not—. Ye had better let me go on with my history, Shorsha; whither you or the world believe it or not, I am sure it is quite as true as your tale of the snake, or saying that Finn got his burnt finger from the thaives of Loughlin; and whatever you may say, I am sure the world will think so too.'

I apologized to Murtagh for interrupting him, and telling him that his history, whether true or not, was infinitely diverting, begged him to continue it.



CHAPTER XLVI

MURTAGH'S STORY CONTINUED—THE PRIEST, EXORCIST, AND THIMBLE-ENGRO—HOW TO CHECK A REBELLION

'I was telling ye, Shorsha, when ye interrupted me, that I found the Pope, the rector, the sub-rector and the almoner seated at the table, the rector with my pack of cards in his hand, about to deal out to the Pope and the rest, not forgetting himself, for whom he intended all the trump-cards, no doubt. No sooner did they perceive me than they seemed taken all aback; but the rector, suddenly starting up with the cards in his hand, asked me what I did there, threatening to have me well disciplined if I did not go about my business. "I am come for my pack," said I, "ye ould thaif, and to tell his Holiness how I have been treated by ye." Then, going down on my knees before his Holiness, I said, "Arrah, now, your Holiness! will ye not see justice done to a poor boy who has been sadly misused? The pack of cards which that old ruffian has in his hand are my cards, which he has taken from me in order to chate with. Arrah! don't play with him, your Holiness, for he'll only chate ye—there are dirty marks upon the cards which bear the trumps, put there in order to know them by; and the ould thaif in daling out will give himself all the good cards, and chate ye of the last farthing in your pocket; so let them be taken from him, your Holiness, and given back to me; and order him to lave the room, and then if your Holiness be for an honest game, don't think I'm the boy to baulk ye. I'll take the ould ruffian's place, and play with ye till evening, and all night besides, and divil an advantage will I take of the dirty marks, though I know them all, having placed them on the cards myself." I was going on in this way when the ould thaif of a rector, flinging down the cards, made at me as if to kick me out of the room, whereupon I started up and said, "If ye are for kicking, sure two can play at that," and then I kicked at his reverence, and his reverence at me, and there was a regular scrimmage between us, which frightened the Pope, who, getting up, said some words which I did not understand, but which the cook afterwards told me were, "English extravagance, and this is the second edition"; for it seems that a little time before his Holiness had been frightened in St. Peter's Church by the servant of an English family, which those thaives of the English religious house had been endeavouring to bring over to the Catholic faith, and who didn't approve of their being converted. Och! his Holiness did us all sore injustice to call us English, and to confound our house with the other; for however dirty our house might be, our house was a clane house compared with the English house, and we honest people compared with those English thaives. Well, his Holiness was frighted, and the almoner ran out, and brought in his Holiness's attendants, and they laid hold of me, but I struggled hard, and said, "I will not go without my pack; arrah, your Holiness! make them give me back my pack, which Shorsha gave me in Dungarvon times of old," but my struggles were of no use. I was pulled away and put in the ould dungeon, and his Holiness went away sore frighted, crossing himself much, and never returned again.

'In the old dungeon I was fastened to the wall by a chain, and there I was disciplined once every other day for the first three weeks, and then I was left to myself, and my chain, and hunger; and there I sat in the dungeon, sometimes screeching, sometimes holloing, for I soon became frighted, having nothing in the cell to divert me. At last the cook found his way to me by stealth, and comforted me a little, bringing me tidbits out of the kitchen; and he visited me again and again—not often, however, for he dare only come when he could steal away the key from the custody of the thief of a porter. I was three years in the dungeon, and should have gone mad but for the cook, and his words of comfort, and his tidbits, and nice books which he brought me out of the library, which were the "Calendars of Newgate," and the "Lives of Irish Rogues and Raparees," the only English Books in the library. However, at the end of three years, the ould thaif of a rector, wishing to look at them books, missed them from the library, and made a perquisition about them, and the thaif of a porter said that he shouldn't wonder if I had them, saying that he had once seen me reading; and then the rector came with others to my cell, and took my books from me, from under my straw, and asked me how I came by them; and on my refusal to tell, they disciplined me again till the blood ran down my back; and making some perquisition, they at last accused the cook of having carried the books to me, and the cook not denying, he was given warning to leave next day, but he left that night, and took me away with him; for he stole the key, and came to me and cut my chain through, and then he and I escaped from the religious house through a window—the cook with a bundle, containing what things he had. No sooner had we got out than the honest cook gave me a little bit of money and a loaf, and told me to follow a way which he pointed out, which he said would lead to the sea; and then, having embraced me after the Italian way, he left me, and I never saw him again. So I followed the way which the cook pointed out, and in two days reached a seaport called Chiviter Vik, {303a} terribly foot-foundered, and there I met a sailor who spoke Irish, and who belonged to a vessel just ready to sail for France; and the sailor took me on board his vessel, and said I was his brother, and the captain gave me a passage to a place in France called Marseilles; and when I got there, the captain and sailor got a little money for me and a passport, and I travelled across the country towards a place they directed me to called Bayonne, from which, they said I might, perhaps, get to Ireland. Coming, however, to a place called Pau, all my money being gone, I enlisted into a regiment called the Army of the Faith, which was going into Spain, for the King of Spain had been dethroned and imprisoned by his own subjects, as perhaps you may have heard; and the King of France, who was his cousin, was sending an army to help him, under the command of his own son, whom the English called Prince Hilt, {303b} because when he was told that he was appointed to the command, he clapped his hand on the hilt of his sword. So I enlisted into the regiment of the Faith, which was made up of Spaniards, many of them priests who had run out of Spain, and broken Germans, and foot-foundered Irish, like myself. It was said to be a blackguard regiment, that same regiment of the Faith; but, 'faith, I saw nothing blackguardly going on in it, for ye would hardly reckon card-playing and dominoes, and pitch and toss blackguardly, and I saw nothing else going on in it. There was one thing in it which I disliked—the priests drawing their Spanish knives occasionally, when they lost their money. After we had been some time at Pau, the Army of the Faith was sent across the mountains into Spain, as the vanguard of the French; and no sooner did the Spaniards see the Faith than they made a dash at it, and the Faith ran away, myself along with it, and got behind the French army, which told it to keep there, and the Faith did so, and followed the French army, which soon scattered the Spaniards, and in the end placed the king on his throne again. When the war was over the Faith was disbanded; some of the foreigners, however, amongst whom I was one, were put into a Guard regiment, and there I continued for more than a year.

'One day, being at a place called the Escurial, I took stock, as the tradesmen say, and found I possessed the sum of eighty dollars won by playing at cards; for though I could not play so well with the foreign cards as with the pack ye gave me, Shorsha, I had yet contrived to win money from the priests and soldiers of the Faith. Finding myself possessed of such a capital, I determined to leave the service and to make the best of my way to Ireland; so I deserted, but coming in an evil hour to a place they calls Torre Lodones, I found the priest playing at cards with his parishioners. The sight of the cards made me stop, and then, fool like, notwithstanding the treasure I had about me, I must wish to play, so not being able to speak their language I made signs to them to let me play, and the priest and his thaives consented willingly; so I sat down to cards with the priest and two of his parishioners, and in a little time had won plenty of their money, but I had better never have done any such a thing, for suddenly the priest and all his parishioners set upon me and bate me, and took from me all I had, and cast me out of the village more dead than alive. Och! it's a bad village that, and if I had known what it was I would have avoided it, or run straight through it, though I saw all the card-playing in the world going on in it. There is a proverb about it, as I was afterwards told, old as the time of the Moors, which holds good to the present day—it is, that in Torre Lodones there are twenty-four housekeepers, and twenty-five thieves, maning that all the people are thaives, and the clergyman to boot, who is not reckoned a housekeeper; and troth I found the clergyman the greatest thaif of the lot. After being cast out of that village I travelled for nearly a month, subsisting by begging tolerably well, for though most of the Spaniards are thaives, they are rather charitable; but though charitable thaives they do not like their own being taken from them without leave being asked, as I found to my cost; for on my entering a garden near Seville, without leave, to take an orange, the labourer came running up and struck me to the ground with a hatchet, giving me a big wound in the arm. I fainted with loss of blood, and on my reviving I found myself in a hospital at Seville, to which the labourer and the people of the village had taken me. I should have died of starvation in that hospital had not some English people heard of me and come to see me; they tended me with food till I was cured, and then paid my passage on board a ship to London, to which place the ship carried me.

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