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"There cannot," said the gentleman in black, "be the smallest possible doubt about his having been there; but the question for our mature consideration is, where is he now?"
"I'll bet a pint," said Harry, " you blowed um away." "Blowed um away, you fool!—how could I ha' blowed um away?"
"Why, he was there," said Bob. " and he baint there noo, and he baint here nayther, so you must ha' blowed um out o' th' boot; 'sides, look at the muzzle o' this 'ere blunderbust!"
"Well, of all the rummest goes as ever happened," paid Tooler, thrusting his hands to the very bottom of his pockets, " this ere flogs 'em all into nuftm!"
"It is perfectly astounding! " exclaimed the gentleman in black, looking again into the boot, while the men stood and stared at each other with their mouths as wide open as human mouths could be.
"Well, in wi' 'em again," cried Tooler," in wi' 'em!—Blarm me if this here arn't a queer un to get over."
The luggage was accordingly replaced, and Tooler, on mounting the box, told the men to get a gallon of beer, when the gentleman in black generously gave them half a crown, and the horses started off, leaving Tom with his blunderbuss, Harry, Bill, Sam, and their companions, bewildered with the mystery which the whole day spent in the alehouse by n» means enabled them to solve.
THE WEDDING FEE.—R. M. Strebter.
One morning, fifty years ago,—
When apple trees were white with snow
Of fragrant blossoms, and the air
Was spell-bound with the perfume rare,—
Upon a form horse, large and lean,
And lazy with its double load,
A sun-browned youth and maid were seen
Jogging along the winding road.
Blue were the arches of the skies;
Oh! How she jumped! With one glad bound,
Ah! happy were their songs that day,
When man and wife they rode away.
But happier this chorus still
Which echoed through those woodland scenes:
"God bless the priest of Whitinsville!
God bless the man who took the beans!"
THE BONDAGE OF DRINK.
You think I love it! if this nerveless hand
I'd sweep this hellish traffic from the land,
Yea, now with all my latest dying breath,
I'll curse the thing that drags me down to death!
Love itt I loathe it! Yet I drink, and drink,
And hate myself as through the town I slink.
No pledge! I've tried it twice—a waste of breath I
Too late—there's no release for me but death.
It's bad enough to drink; but not to drink—
Doth such a train of horrors wake
Ah, keep away, ye fiends, for pity's sake!
Love rumt I'd love to hold my head tip high
And look with undimmed eyes on earth and sky,
I'd love to grapple trials as they come,
In manly fashion, brave and strong. Love ruml
If I could go into some land
Where no drink is, God knows how willingly
I'd fight those dreadful torments of the damned
That clutch the soul of him who would be free:
Ah, if I might have known how it would be,
When I tirst drank m youthful revelry,
A mother's hope and joy I was till then;
Now see me trembling—ha! those eyes again.
Back, fiery eyes, to hell, whence ye belong!
I'll drink ye down—what! blood? Drink blood?
Back, get back! They'll toss me in the flood!
THE BLACK HORSE AND HIS RIDER.
It was the 7th of October, 1777. Horatio Gates stood before his tent, gazing steadfastly upon the two armies, now arrayed in order of battle. It was a clear, bracing day, mellow with the richness of Autumn. The sky was cloudless; the foliage of the woods scarce tinged with purple and gold; the buckwheat in yonder fields frostened into snowy ripeness. But the tread of legions shook the ground; from every bush shot the glimmer of the rifle barrel; on every hill-side blazed the sharpened bayonet. Gates was sad and thoughtful, as he watched the evolutions of the two armies. But all at once a smoke arose, a thunder shook the ground, and a chorus of shouts and groans yelled along the darkened air. The play of death had begun. The two flags, this of the stars, that of the red cross, tossed amid the smoke of battle, while the sky was clouded with leaden folds, and the earth throbbed with the pulsations of a mighty heart.
Suddenly, Gates and his officers were startled. Along the height on which they stood, came a rider, upon a black horse, rushing toward the distant battle. There was something in the appearance of this horse and his rider, that struck them with surprise. Look! he draws his sword, the sharp blade quivers through the air—he points to the distant battle, and lo! he is gone; gone through those clouds, while his shout echoes over the plains. Wherever the fight is thickest, there through intervals of cannon smoke, you may see riding madly forward that strange soldier, mounted on his steed black as death. Look at him, as with face red with British blood he waves his sword and shouts to his legions. Now you may see him fighting in that cannon's glare, and the next moment he is away off yonder, leading the forlorn hope up that steep cliff. Is it not a magnificent sight, to see that strange soldier and that noble black horse dashing, like a meteor, down the long columns of battle?
Let us look for a moment into those clouds of battle. Over this thick hedge bursts a band of American militiamen, their rude farmer coats stained with blood, while scattering their arms by the way, they flee before that company of red-coat hirelings, who come rushing forward, their solid front of bayonets gleaming in the battle light. In this moment of their flight, a horse comes crashing over the plains. The unknown rider reins his steed back on his haunches, right in the path of these broad shouldered militia-men. "Now cowards! advance another step and I'll strike you to the heart! " shouts the unknown, extendinga pistol in either hand. "What! are you Americans, men, and fly before British soldiers? Back again, and face them once more or I myself will ride you down." This appeal was not without its effect. Their leader turns, his comrades, as if by one impulse follow his example. In one line, but thirty men in all, they confront thirty sharp bayonets. The British advance. "Now upon the rebels, charge!" shouts the red-coat officer. They spring forward at the same bound. Look! their bayonets almost touch the muzzles of their rifles. At this moment the voice of the unknown rider was heard: "Now let them have it! Fire!" A sound is heard, a smoke is seen, twenty Britons are down, some writhing in death, some crawling along the soil, and some speechless as stone. The remaining ten start back. "Club your rifles and charge? them home! "shouts the unknown. That black horse springs