Chapter 7


After all, it must be acknowledged that although there are cases of distress in which a well may become a place of refuge, a well is not at all calculated for a prolonged residence—so thought Jack. After he had been there some fifteen minutes, his teeth chattered, and his limbs trembled ; he felt a numbness all over, and he thought it high time to call for assistance, which at first he would not, as he was afraid he should be pulled up to encounter the indignation of the farmer and his family. Jack was arranging his jaws for a halloo, when he felt the chain pulled up, and he slowly emerged from the water. At first he heard complaints of the weight of the bucket, at which Jack was not surprised, then he heard a tittering and laughing between two parties, and soon afterwards he mounted up gaily. At last his head appeared above the low wall, and he was about to extend his arms so as to secure a position on it, when those who were working at the windlass beheld him. It was a heavy farming man and a maid servant.

‘Thank you,” said Jack.

One never should be too quick in returning thanks ; the girl screamed and let go the winch, the man, frightened, did not hold it fast ; it slipped from his grasp, whirled round, struck him under the chin and threw him over it headlong, and before the “Thank you” was fairly out of Jack’s lips, down he went again like lightning to the bottom. Fortunately for Jack, he had not yet let go the chain, or he might have struck the sides and have been killed ; as it was, he was merely soused a second time, and in a minute or two regained his former position.

“ This is mighty pleasant,” thought Jack, as he clapped his wet hat once more on his head : “ at all events, they can’t now plead ignorance, they must know that I’m here.”

In the meantime the girl ran into the kitchen, threw herself down on a stool, from which she reeled off in a fit upon sundry heaps of dough waiting to be baked in the oven, which were laid to rise on the floor before the fire.

“ Mercy on me, what is the matter with Susan? ” exclaimed the farmer’s wife. “ Here—where’s Mary— where’s John ?—Deary me, if the bread won’t all be turned to pancakes.”

John soon followed, holding his under—jaw in his hand, looking very dismal and very frightened, for two reasons ; one, because he thought that his jaw was broken, and the other, because he thought that he had seen the devil.

“ Mercy on us, what is the matter? ” exclaimed the farmer’s wife again. “ Mary, Mary, Mary ! ” screamed she, beginning to be frightened herself, for with all her efforts she could not remove Susan from the bed of dough, where she lay senseless and heavy as lead. Mary answered to her mistress’s loud appeal, and with her assistance they raised up Susan ; but as for the bread, there was no hopes of it ever rising again. “ Why don’t you come here and help Susan, John ? ” cried Mary.

“ Aw—yaw—aw ! ” was all the reply of John, who had had enough quite of helping Susan, and who continued to hold his head, as it were, in his hand.

“ What’s the matter here, missus ? ” exclaimed the farmer, coming in. “ Highty—tighty, what ails Susan, and what ails you ? ” continued the farmer, turning to John. “ Dang it, but everything seems to go wrong this blessed day. First there be all the apples stolen— then there be all the hives turned topsy—turvy in the garden—then there be Cæsar with his flank opened by the bull—then there be the bull broken through the hedge and tumbled into the saw—pit—and now I come to get more help to drag him out, I find one woman dead like, and John looks as if he had seen the devil.”

“ Aw—yaw—aw ! ” replied John, nodding his head very significantly.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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