페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

band's family, which lasted during several years. Her only consolation was the being left in possession of her child, and the respect and esteem which the tenants evinced for her in proportion as she seemed to be deserted by her nearest connections. She upbraided not, she complained not, but supported her misfortunes with that dignity and fortitude which is inspired by a mens conscia recti, and never suffered the affability of her temper to be soured by them. There could have been very little doubt that the tenants; burthened as they were, would have rather paid the Squire's debts a second time, than have beheld the sacrifice of so lovely a victim; but what would then have become of the Squire's honour? Why, it would have been just where it was then, or, perhaps, not so low.

[ocr errors][merged small]

THE CURTAIN IS DRAWN ASIDE, AND DISCOVERS HOW

THE POLITICAL PUPPET-SHOW-MEN MANAGE THEIR PUPPETS.

During these internal transactions, the events of the war abroad were not very favourable to the Freelanders. Most of their allies had fallen away from them, and they were obliged to find money for the rest. The Bighose, the Eagles, the Graveairs, and many others, had made a peace with the Gulls; among whom now first started up an obscure, unprincipled, ambitious, desperate, and designing adventurer, named the Bantam, who led them on to almost unbounded conquest. The Gormands were hardly pressed, and even the Freelanders had made overtures of peace, which had not been crowned with success. The Gulls eyen threatened to cross the moat and invade the Freelanders on their own territories;

but the latter made every preparation to repel them with disgrace, and in derision of their threats, they erected on the edge of the moat a flag, bearing the following inscription :

“ Gallus quisque suo sterquilinio.”

Every Cock crows upon his own dunghill. But a still stronger cause of alarm broke out in a most dangerous mutiny on board the flotilla, which, however, by the united efforts of conciliation and firmness, forbearance and force, was at length happily quelled.

After several most desperate encounters, the Bantam brought the Gormands to sue for a peace, which he granted them on very hard terms; and he then began to display his unbounded ambition an:l ripacity, by attacking and plundering those defenceless estates wbich had not interfered in the contest, or had withdrawn from it. To increase the perplexity of the Freelanders, the Graveairs had joined their enemies, and sent out a hostile flotilla on the moat; but they were so roughly handled by that of the Freelanders, under the command of one Mr. Vincent, that they were glad, after

losing some of their best boats, to shelter the remainder in their own inlets. The Freeland flotilla, under a Mr. Dunkman, also nearly annihilated that of the Bighose, and, in the moment of victory, made another overture of peace which was not attended with success.

The Gulls, finding that all their efforts to make any impression on the Freelanders in their own territory were likely to redound only to their own disgrace, sent a flotilla and a number of warriors to seize upon a distant neutral part called Gypseyland; on which they intended to fix themselves, and destroy the trade of the Freelanders to still more remote parts. A part of the Freeland flotilla, commanded by a most gallant partisan, named KEELSON, pursued and wholly destroyed them, so that the dominion of the moat seemed the absolute privilege of the Freelanders.

The Gulls, however, had landed their warriors, headed by the Bantam, before Keelson could come up with them, and they endeavoured to make good their footing on terrâ firmâ. They attacked a strong post named the Acre, which was defended by the Gypsies; but another naval commander of the Freelanders, called the Blacksmith, landed some of his troops, joined the Gypsies, and hammered away upon the Gulls with so much force, that, after having brained several of them, those who had any brains left, betook themselves to fight, and were dreadfully harassed by the Gypsies. In this desperate situation, the Bantam meanly forsook them, and skulked back to the manor of the Gulls, where finding maiters in anarchy and confusion, he, by dint of stratagem and force of arms, caused himself to be proclaimed lord of the manor.

During the Bantain's absence, the affairs of the Gulls had taken a very unfavourable turn, and they themselves had been very hardly put to it by their enemies. The lord of the manor of the Bearskins, named Mad PAUL, had joined the confederacy against them; and the Gormands, spirited by this succour, and by another large supply of cash sent to them by the Freelanders, had broken the disgraceful treaty, which necessity only had compelled them to submit to; and resumed their arms. Whilst the Bearskins and the Gormands acted in unison, they were

« 이전계속 »