forward and placed myself near the entrance of the open space, with my eyes fixed on the path down which my unexpected, and I may say unwelcome, visitors were coming. Presently I heard a stamping or sliding, as if of a horse in some difficulty; then a loud curse, and the next moment appeared a man and a horse and cart; the former holding the head of the horse up to prevent him from falling, of which he was in danger, owing to the precipitous nature of the path. Whilst thus occupied, the head of the man was averted from me. When, however, he had reached the bottom of the descent, he turned his head, and perceiving me, as I stood bareheaded, without either coat or waistcoat, about two yards from him, he gave a sudden start, so violent that the backward motion of his hand had nearly flung the horse upon his haunches.

‘Why don’t you move forward?’ said a voice from behind, apparently that of a female; ‘you are stopping up the way, and we shall be all down upon one another’; and I saw the head of another horse overtopping the back of the cart.

‘Why don’t you move forward, Jack?’ said another voice, also a female, yet higher up the path.

The man stirred not, but remained staring at me in the posture which he had assumed on first perceiving me, his body very much drawn back, his left foot far in advance of his right, and with his right hand still grasping the halter of the horse, which gave way more and more, till it was clean down on its haunches.

‘What’s the matter?’ said the voice which I had last heard.

‘Get back with you, Belle, Moll,’ said the man, still staring at me; ‘here’s something not over canny or comfortable.’

‘What is it?’ said the same voice; ‘let me pass, Moll, and I’ll soon clear the way’; and I heard a kind of rushing down the path.

‘You need not be afraid,’ said I, addressing myself to the man, ‘I mean you no harm; I am a wanderer like yourself - come here to seek for shelter - you need not be afraid; I am a Roman chabo by matriculation - one of the right sort, and no mistake - Good-day to ye, brother; I bid ye welcome.’

The man eyed me suspiciously for a moment - then, turning to his horse with a loud curse, he pulled him up from his haunches, and led him and the cart farther down to one side of the dingle, muttering, as he passed me, ‘Afraid! Hm!’

I do not remember ever to have seen a more ruffianly-looking fellow; he was about six feet high, with an immensely athletic frame; his face was black and bluff, and sported an immense pair of whiskers, but with here and there a gray hair, for his age could not be much under fifty. He wore a faded blue frock-coat, corduroys, and highlows; on his black head was a kind of red nightcap, round his bull neck a Barcelona handkerchief - I did not like the look of the man at all.

‘Afraid!’ growled the fellow, proceeding to unharness his horse; ‘that was the word, I think.’

But other figures were now already upon the scene. Dashing past the other horse and cart, which by this time had reached the bottom of the pass, appeared an exceedingly tall woman, or rather girl, for she could scarcely have been above eighteen; she was dressed in a tight bodice and a blue stuff gown; hat, bonnet, or cap she had none, and her hair, which was flaxen, hung down on her shoulders unconfined; her complexion was fair, and her features handsome, with a determined but open expression - she was followed by another female, about forty, stout and vulgar-looking, at whom I scarcely glanced, my whole attention being absorbed by the tall girl.

‘What’s the matter, Jack?’ said the latter, looking at the man.

‘Only afraid, that’s all,’ said the man, still proceeding with his work.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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