to the chaise and the postilion. In a minute or two Belle arrived with two poles which, it seems, had long been lying, overgrown with brushwood, in a ditch or hollow behind the plantation. With these both she and I set to work in endeavouring to raise the fallen chaise from the ground.

We experienced considerable difficulty in this undertaking; at length, with the assistance of the postilion, we saw our efforts crowned with success - the chaise was lifted up, and stood upright on three wheels.

‘We may leave it here in safety,’ said I, ‘for it will hardly move away on three wheels, even supposing it could run by itself; I am afraid there is work here for a wheelwright, in which case I cannot assist you; if you were in need of a blacksmith it would be otherwise.’ ‘I don’t think either the wheel or the axle is hurt,’ said the postilion, who had been handling both; ‘it is only the linch-pin having dropped out that caused the wheel to fly off; if I could but find the linch-pin! - though, perhaps, it fell out a mile away.’ ‘Very likely,’ said I; ‘but never mind the linch-pin, I can make you one, or something that will serve: but I can’t stay here any longer, I am going to my place below with this young gentlewoman, and you had better follow us.’ ‘I am ready,’ said the man; and after lifting up the wheel and propping it against the chaise, he went with us, slightly limping, and with his hand pressed to his thigh.

As we were descending the narrow path, Belle leading the way, and myself the last of the party, the postilion suddenly stopped short, and looked about him. ‘Why do you stop?’ said I. ‘I don’t wish to offend you,’ said the man, ‘but this seems to be a strange place you are leading me into; I hope you and the young gentlewoman, as you call her, don’t mean me any harm - you seemed in a great hurry to bring me here.’ ‘We wished to get you out of the rain,’ said I, ‘and ourselves too; that is, if we can, which I rather doubt, for the canvas of a tent is slight shelter in such a rain; but what harm should we wish to do you?’ ‘You may think I have money,’ said the man, ‘and I have some, but only thirty shillings, and for a sum like that it would be hardly worth while to - ‘ ‘Would it not?’ said I; ‘thirty shillings, after all, are thirty shillings, and for what I know, half a dozen throats may have been cut in this place for that sum at the rate of five shillings each; moreover, there are the horses, which would serve to establish this young gentlewoman and myself in housekeeping, provided we were thinking of such a thing.’ ‘Then I suppose I have fallen into pretty hands,’ said the man, putting himself in a posture of defence; ‘but I’ll show no craven heart; and if you attempt to lay hands on me, I’ll try to pay you in your own coin. I’m rather lamed in the leg, but I can still use my fists; so come on, both of you, man and woman, if woman this be, though she looks more like a grenadier.’

‘Let me hear no more of this nonsense,’ said Belle; ‘if you are afraid, you can go back to your chaise - we only seek to do you a kindness.’

‘Why, he was just now talking of cutting throats,’ said the man. ‘You brought it on yourself,’ said Belle; ‘you suspected us, and he wished to pass a joke upon you; he would not hurt a hair of your head, were your coach laden with gold, nor would I.’ ‘Well,’ said the man, ‘I was wrong - here’s my hand to both of you,’ shaking us by the hands; ‘I’ll go with you where you please, but I thought this a strange lonesome place, though I ought not much to mind strange lonesome places, having been in plenty of such when I was a servant in Italy, without coming to any harm - come, let us move on, for ‘tis a shame to keep you two in the rain.’

So we descended the path which led into the depths of the dingle; at the bottom I conducted the postilion to my tent, which, though the rain dripped and trickled through it, afforded some shelter; there I bade him sit down on the log of wood, whilst I placed myself as usual on my stone. Belle in the meantime had repaired to her own place of abode. After a little time, I produced a bottle of the cordial of which I have previously had occasion to speak, and made my guest take a considerable draught. I then offered him some, bread and cheese, which he accepted with thanks. In about an hour the rain had much abated: ‘What do you now propose to do?’ said I. ‘I scarcely know,’ said the man; ‘I suppose I must endeavour to put on the wheel with your help.’ ‘How far are you from your home?’ I demanded. ‘Upwards of thirty miles,’ said the man; ‘my master keeps an inn on the great north road, and from thence I started early this morning with a family, which I conveyed across the country to a hall at some distance from here. On my return I

  By PanEris using Melati.

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