Chapter 12


They now discovered a light at some distance, to the great pleasure of Jones, and to the no small terror of Partridge, who firmly believed himself to be bewitched, and that this light was a Jack-with-a-lantern, or somewhat more mischievous.

But how were these fears increased, when, as they approached nearer to this light (or lights as they now appeared), they heard a confused sound of human voices; of singing, laughing, and hallowing, together with a strange noise that seemed to proceed from some instruments; but could hardly be allowed the name of music! indeed, to favour a little the opinion of Partridge, it might very well be called music bewitched.

It is impossible to conceive a much greater degree of horror than what now seized on Partridge; the contagion of which had reached the post-boy, who had been very attentive to many things that the other had uttered. He now, therefore, joined in petitioning Jones to return; saying he firmly believed what Partridge had just before said, that though the horses seemed to go on, they had not moved a step forwards during at least the last half-hour.

Jones could not help smiling in the midst of his vexation, at the fears of these poor fellows. “Either we advance,” says he, “towards the lights, or the lights have advanced towards us; for we are now at a very little distance from them; but how can either of you be afraid of a set of people who appear only to be merry-making?”

“Merry-making, sir!” cries Partridge; “who could be merry-making at this time of night, and in such a place, and such weather? They can be nothing but ghosts or witches, or some evil spirits or other, that’s certain.”

“Let them be what they will,” cries Jones, “I am resolved to go up to them, and enquire the way to Coventry. All witches, Partridge, are not such ill-natured hags as that we had the misfortune to meet with last.”

“O Lord, sir,” cries Partridge, “there is no knowing what humour they will be in; to be sure it is always best to be civil to them; but what if we should meet with something worse than witches, with evil spirits themselves?—Pray, sir, be advised; pray, sir, do. If you had read so many terrible accounts as I have of these matters, you would not be so fool-hardy.—The Lord knows whither we have got already, or whither we are going; for sure such darkness was never seen upon earth, and I question whether it can be darker in the other world.”

Jones put forwards as fast as he could, notwithstanding all these hints and cautions, and poor Partridge was obliged to follow; for though he hardly dared to advance, he dared still less to stay behind by himself.

At length they arrived at the place whence the lights and different noises had issued. This Jones perceived to be no other than a barn, where a great number of men and women were assembled, and diverting themselves with much apparent jollity.

Jones no sooner appeared before the great doors of the barn, which were open, than a masculine and very rough voice from within demanded, who was there?—To which Jones gently answered, a friend; and immediately asked the road to Coventry.

“If you are a friend,” cries another of the men in the barn, “you had better alight till the storm is over” (for indeed it was now more violent than ever); “you are very welcome to put up your horse; for there is sufficient room for him at the end of the barn.”

“You are very obliging,” returned Jones; “and I will accept your offer for a few minutes, whilst the rain continues; and here are two more who will be glad of the same favour.” This was accorded with more good-will than it was accepted: for Partridge would rather have submitted to the utmost inclemency of the

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.