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Lovers are the worst chronometers in the world, When they meet, Cupid seems to lend Time his wings; and the old gentleman, upon the occasion we are recording, plied his double pinions with such velocity, that Fairlop, startled by the sound of the midnight clock, was just pronouncing a hasty adieu when he heard the gruff voice of Bruin growling at the foot of the stairs for a candle. Escape was impossible--Dolly, frightened out of her wits, had none left to employ when they were most wanted ; and Fairlop, who knew that her father, always violent, generally returned from his club with a pistol in his hand and liquor in his head, was really terrified for the personal safety of his mistress. The only place of concealment that offered itself was the chimney, up which he hastily climbed, begging Dolly, when the coast was clear, to return and apprise him by the signal of a sneeze.
“ Where's your mother ?" growled Bruin as he entered the room. Dolly informed him that she had retired to bed some hours before. - Then I'll sit up,” was the reply ; “but the night's raw, so light a fire here, and I'll smoke a pipe.”—“Had I not better light it in the bed-room ?” said the trembling girl.“ You had better do as you ’re bid," he answered. “ What are you gaping and shivering at? Here, give me the candle, I'll light it myself.”—Dolly, knowing his spirit of contradiction, had presence of mind enough to exclaim—“On reflection, I think it would be better to light it here, and I'm glad my opinion agrees with yours.”_“You think, Miss saucebox! what do you know of the matter? I say it shall be
lighted in the bed-room; so away with you, and don't be half an hour about it."
Harry Halter, in the mean while, with his two companions, having broken into another part of the house without discovery, entered the parlour shortly after on tiptoe, Crape carrying a dark lantern, and all armed with pistols. Hist! Hist!” said Harry; “they're not all a-bed yet ;-I heard a door open and shut. However, I've got the shiners safe in this here canvass bag.”—“ And here's the gold snuff-box,” said Noose—“ and the silver tankard is in my pocket,” whispered Charley.-—“ Vell then," added Harry,
suppose we all keeps vot we've got--I ought to have the largest share for finding out the job.”“Gammon !" said Noose, “ I'll have my fair share, or may this pinch of snuff be my last !” So saying, he applied some to his nose, which, not being used to so much gentility, resented the application by a loud sneeze; and Fairlop, thinking he heard Dolly's signal, began to detach himself softly from the chimney.
- “ Come, come," added Charley,“ ve're not to be queered :-I'll have my rights; if I don't, may the devil come for me this very instant ?”
At this juncture, Fairlop, all blackened with soot, and thinking he was approaching Dolly, placed himself exactly opposite the dark lantern, exclaiming, “ Here I am, are you ready?"--and Charley, letting fall his booty, and bawling out—“O Lord, the devil ! the devil !" scampered out of the room, followed by Noose. Harry fired his pistol, but, finding he had
missed his aim, thought it prudent to decamp as well as the others.
Possessing abundance of personal courage, and having a sort of natural antipathy to thieves, weazels, and rats, the young farmer commenced instant pursuit, calling lustily for assistance, and pressing hard upon Harry, who, in attempting to cut across the garden, tumbled over a gooseberry bush, and after a desperate resistance against both Fairlop and Bruin, who speedily joined in the chase, was at last secured and handcuffed. Noose was discovered in the cowhouse, and similarly manacled; and though Charley, who had entered the premises with a provident eye to retreat, succeeded in gaining the Common, he surrendered next day, when he learnt the fate of his companions, on condition of being received as king's evidence.
Arrangements were now made for marching the prisoners to the cage at Finchley, the rustic servant heading the detachment with a pitchfork and lantern, the housebreakers coming next securely tied together, Bruin following with a blunderbuss, while Fairlop with a brace of pistols brought up the rear, receiving the assurance of Bruin, as they walked along, that on account of his courage, a quality of which he was a huge admirer, he should have the hand of Dolly, with the bag of guineas for her portion. The night was stormy. Immense masses of black clouds, driven rapidly athwart the sky, enveloped the earth in darkness, or, if the moonlight struggled through them for a moment, her beams served but to disclose the
dreary and desolate features of the Common over which they were passing. Harry was endeavouring to fortify himself with a desperate resolution, when suddenly the loud and wailful howl of a dog met his ear; at the same time he heard a harsh creaking, and looking up he beheld close to him a gibbet, with the remains of a highwayman who had been hung in chains swinging and rattling in the blast. His heart sunk within him; but erecting his head, and clenching his teeth with a look of defiance, he was passing on with a firm tread, when his attention was arrested by two shining objects at the foot of the gibbet, which he conjectured to be either glowworms, or the eyes of some animal. Presently they raised themselves from the ground, and at that moment a ray of light fell upon the wild and haggard features of Ranting Moll, who, stretching out her long bony arm to the moon, exclaimed in a sepulchral voice-“Look at it, boy; look at yonder moon--it is the last thou shalt see,
for ere her face is again full, thine shall be dust, and thy body shall be like the jingling bones of this murderer, that dance in the night-wind to the music of their own irons. Said I not right? He who is an ass, and takes himself to be a stag, finds his mistake when he comes to leap the ditch. Thou wouldst not heed me when I said an idle man is the devil's bolster, and another man's bread costs more than our own. But we may save a man from others whom we cannot save from himself; when the pear is ripe, it must needs fall to the ground. I told thee, Harry, thou shouldst flourish under the sign of the Bear; and who
is he that marches behind thee with thy life in his hand, that it may be laid down at the judge's bar ? Is it not Bruin ? What ! cannot I read a palm ? yet thou wouldst neither heed me when I bade thee fear the Bear, nor believe me when I said-he who would be rich in a year, gets hanged at six months' end. Away! Away
South Down Mutton.
If men, when in a rage, porrected
Before a glass their angry features,
At sight of such distorted creatures ;
Before these myrmidons of passion,
By gravely mimicking its fashion.
Deem'd a warm man on 'Change, was what
In temper might be reckon'd hot,
Is no unprecedented state
For man and wife, when tête-à-tête