lively conversation, and open gallantry, suit my plan of life, as well as his athletic form, handsome features, and high spirit, would accord with a character of chivalry. So as we cannot change altogether out and out, I think we must e'en abide as we are."
I renounce your defiance; if you parley so roughly I'll barricado my gates against you.--Do you see yon bay window? Storm,--I care not, serving the good Duke of Norfolk. Merry Devil of Edmonton.
JULIA MANNERING TO MATILDA MARCHMC)NT.
"I rise from a sick-bed, my dearest Matlida, to communicate the strange and frightful scenes which have just passed. Alas! how little we ought to jest with futurity! I closed my letter to you in high spirits, with some flippant remarks on your taste for the romantic and extraordinary in fictitious narrative. How little I expected to have had such events to record in the course of a few days! and to witness scenes of terror, or to contemplate them in description, is as different, my dearest Matilda, as to bend over the brink, of a precipice holding by the frail tenure of a half-rotted shrub, or to admire the same precipice as represented in the landscape of Salvator. But I will not anticipate my narrative.
"The first part of my story is frightful enough, though it had nothing to interest my feelings. You must know that this country is particularly favourable to the commerce of a set of desperate men from the Isle of Man, which is nearly opposite. These smugglers are numerous, resolute, and formidable, and have at different times become the dread of the neighbourhood when any one has interfered with their contraband trade. The local magistrates, from timidity or worse motives, have become shy of acting against them, and impunity has rendered them equally daring and desperate. With all this, my father, a stranger in the land, and invested with no official authority, had, one would think, nothing to do. But it must be owned, that, as he himself expresses it, he was born when Mars was lord of his ascendant, and that strife and bloodshed find him out in circumstances and situations the most retired and pacific.
"About eleven o'clock on last Tuesday morning, while Hazlewood and my father were proposing to walk to a little lake about three miles' distance, for the purpose of shooting wild ducks, and while Lucy and I were busied with arranging our plan of work and study for the day, we were alarmed by the sound of horses' feet, advancing very fast up the avenue. The ground was hardened by a severe frost, which made the clatter of the hoofs sound yet louder and sharper. In a moment, two or three men, armed, mounted, and each leading a spare horse loaded with packages, appeared on the lawn, and, without keeping upon the road, which makes a small sweep, pushed right across for the door of the house. Their appearance was in the utmost degree hurried and disordered, and they frequently looked back like men who apprehended a close and deadly pursuit. My father and Hazlewood hurried to the front door to demand who they were, and what was their business. They were revenue officers, they stated, who had seized these horses, loaded with contraband articles, at a place about three miles off. But the smugglers had been reinforced, and were now pursuing them with the avowed purpose of recovering the goods, and putting to death the officers who had presumed to do their duty. The men said that their horses being loaded, and the pursuers gaining ground upon them, they had fled to Woodboume, conceiving, that as my father had served the king, he would not refuse to protect the servants of government, when threatened to be murdered in the discharge of their duty.
"My father, to whom, in his enthusiastic feelings of military loyalty, even a dog would be of importance if he came in the king's name, gave prompt orders for securing the goods in the hall, arming the servants, and defending the house in case it should be necessary. Hazlewood seconded him with great spirit, and even the strange animal they call Sampson stalked out of his den, and seized upon a fowling-piece, which my father had laid aside, to take what they call a rifle-gun, with which they shoot tigers, etc., in the east. The piece went off in the awkward hands of the poor parson, and very nearly shot one' of the excisemen. At this unexpected and involuntary explosion of his weapon, the Dominie (such is his nickname) exclaimed, 'Prodigious!' which is his usual ejaculation when astonished. But no power could force the man to part with his discharged piece, so they were content to let him retain it, with the precaution of trusting him with no ammunition. This (excepting the alarm occasioned by the report) escaped my notice at the time, you may easily believe; but in talking over the scene afterwards, Hazlewood made us very merry with the Dominie's ignorant but zealous valour.
"When my father had got everything into proper order for defence, and his people stationed at the windows with their firearms, he wanted to order us out of danger--into the cellar, I believe--but we could not be prevailed upon to stir. Though terrified to death, I have so much of his own spirit that I would look upon the peril which. threatens us rather than hear it rage around me without knowing its nature or its progress. Lucy, looking as pale as a marble statue, and keeping her eyes fixed on Hazlewood, seemed not even to hear the prayers with which he conjured her to leave the front of the house. But, in truth, unless the hall-door should be forced, we were in little danger; the windows being almost blocked up with cushion's and pillows, and, what the Dominie most lamented, with folio volumes. , brought hastily from the library, leaving only spaces through which the defenders might fire upon the assailants.