themselves republicans should have sunk again to the grade of mere slaves. I despise France! If England had gone as far on the march of civilization as France did, she would hardly have retreated so shamelessly.’

‘You don’t mean to say that besotted imperial France is any worse than bloody republican France?’ demanded Helstone fiercely.

‘I mean to say nothing: but I can think what I please, you know, Mr. Helstone, both about France and England; and about revolutions, and regicides, and restorations in general; and about the divine right of kings, which you often stickle for in your sermons, and the duty of non-resistance, and the sanity of war, and—’

Mr. Moore’s sentence was here cut short by the rapid rolling up of a gig, and its sudden stoppage in the middle of the road. Both he and the Rector had been too much occupied with their discourse to notice its approach till it was close upon them.

‘Nah, maister, did th’ waggons hit home?’ demanded a voice from the vehicle.

‘Can that be Joe Scott?’

‘Ay, ay!’ returned another voice; for the gig contained two persons, as was seen by the glimmer of its lamp. The men with the lanterns had now fallen into the rear, or, rather, the equestrians of the rescue- party had outridden the pedestrians. ‘Ay, Mr. Moore, it’s Joe Scott. I’m bringing him back to you in a bonny pickle. I fand him on the top of the moor yonder— him and three others. What will you give me for restoring him to you?’

‘Why, my thanks, I believe: for I could better have afforded to lose a better man. That is you, I suppose, Mr. Yorke, by your voice?’

‘Ay, lad, it’s me. I was coming home from Stilbro’ market, and just as I got to the middle of the moor, and was whipping on as swift as the wind (for these, they say, are not safe times, thanks to a bad Government!), I heard a groan. I pulled up—some would have whipped on faster, but I’ve naught to fear, that I know of. I don’t believe there’s a lad in these parts would harm me—at least, I’d give them as good as I got if they offered to do it. I said, “Is there aught wrong anywhere?” “Deed is there,” somebody says, speaking out of the ground, like. “What’s to do? Be sharp, and tell me!” I ordered. “Nobbut four on us ligging in a ditch,” says Joe, as quiet as could be. I tell’d ’em “More shame to ’em,” and bid them get up and move on, or I’d lend them a lick of the gig-whip; for my notion was they were all fresh. “We’d ha done that an hour sin’, but we’re teed wi’ a bit o’ band,” says Joe. So in a while I got down and loosed ’em wi’ my penknife, and Scott would ride wi’ me to tell me all how it happened, and t’others are coming on as fast as their feet will bring them.’

‘Well, I am greatly obliged to you, Mr. Yorke.’

‘Are you, my lad? You know you’re not. However, here are the rest approaching. And here, by the Lord! is another set with lights in their pitchers, like the army of Gideon, and as we’ve th’ parson wi’ us—good evening, Mr. Helstone—we’se do.’

Mr. Helstone returned the salutation of the individual in the gig very stiffly indeed. That individual proceeded:

‘We’re eleven strong men, and there’s both horses and chariots amang us. If we could only fall in wi’ some of these starved ragamuffins of frame-breakers, we could win a grand victory; we could iv’ry one be a Wellington—that would please ye, Mr. Helstone! And sich paragraphs as we could contrive for t’ papers! Briarfield suld be famous. But we’se hev a column and a half i’ th’ Stilbro’ Courier ower this job as it is, I dare say—I’se expect no less.’

‘And I’ll promise you no less, Mr. Yorke, for I’ll write the article myself,’ returned the Rector.

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