been hammering at these for days, and they do you credit - but why? - because you are no blacksmith; no, friend, your shoes may do for this young gentlewoman’s animal, but I shouldn’t like to have my horses shod by you, unless at a great pinch indeed.’

‘Then,’ said I, ‘for what do you take me?’

‘Why, for some runaway young gentleman,’ said the postilion. ‘No offence, I hope?’

‘None at all; no one is offended at being taken or mistaken for a young gentleman, whether runaway or not; but from whence do you suppose I have run away?’

‘Why, from college,’ said the man: ‘no offence?’

‘None whatever; and what induced me to run away from college?’

‘A love affair, I’ll be sworn,’ said the postilion. ‘You had become acquainted with this young gentlewoman, so she and you - ‘

‘Mind how you get on, friend,’ said Belle, in a deep serious tone.

‘Pray proceed,’ said I; ‘I daresay you mean no offence.’

‘None in the world,’ said the postilion; ‘all I was going to say was, that you agreed to run away together, you from college, and she from boarding-school. Well, there’s nothing to be ashamed of in a matter like that, such things are done every day by young folks in high life.’

‘Are you offended?’ said I to Belle.

Belle made no answer; but, placing her elbows on her knees, buried her face in her hands.

‘So we ran away together?’ said I.

‘Ay, ay,’ said the postilion, ‘to Gretna Green, though I can’t say that I drove ye, though I have driven many a pair.’

‘And from Gretna Green we came here?’

‘I’ll be bound you did,’ said the man, ‘till you could arrange matters at home.’

‘And the horse-shoes?’ said I.

‘The donkey-shoes you mean,’ answered the postilion; ‘why, I suppose you persuaded the blacksmith who married you to give you, before you left, a few lessons in his trade.’

‘And we intend to stay here till we have arranged matters at home?’

‘Ay, ay,’ said the postilion, ‘till the old people are pacified, and they send you letters directed to the next post town, to be left till called for, beginning with "Dear children," and enclosing you each a cheque for one hundred pounds, when you will leave this place, and go home in a coach like gentlefolks, to visit your governors; I should like nothing better than to have the driving of you: and then there will be a grand meeting of the two families, and after a few reproaches, the old people will agree to do something handsome for the poor thoughtless things; so you will have a genteel house taken for you, and an annuity allowed you. You won’t get much the first year, five hundred at the most, in order that the old folks may let you feel that they are not altogether satisfied with you, and that you are yet entirely in their power; but the second, if you don’t get a cool thousand, may I catch cold, especially should young madam here present a son and heir for the old people to fondle, destined one day to become sole heir of the two illustrious

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