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neither horse nor money is honestly come by. If his worship is satisfied, why so, in course, shall we be; but there is highwaymen abroad, look you; and, to our notion, you have very much the cut of one.
Further remonstrances or threats on the part of Mr. Macshane were useless. Although he vowed that he was first-cousin to the Duke of Leinster, an officer in her Majesty's service, and the dearest friend Lord Marlborough had, his impudent captors would not believe a word of his statement (which, further, was garnished with a tremendous number of oaths); and he was, about eight o'clock, carried up to the house of Squire Ballance, the neighbouring justice of the peace.
When the worthy magistrate asked the crime of which the prisoner had been guilty, the captors looked somewhat puzzled for the moment; since, in truth, it could not be shown that the Ensign had committed any crime at all; and if he had confined himself to simple silence, and thrown upon them the onus of proving his misdemeanors, Justice Ballance must have let him loose, and soundly rated his clerk and the landlord for detaining an honest gentleman on so frivolous a charge.
But this caution was not in the Ensign's disposition; and though his accusers produced no satisfactory charge against him, his own words were quite enough to show how suspicious his character was. When asked his name, he gave it in as Captain Geraldine, on his way to Ireland, by Bristol, on a visit to his cousin the Duke of Leinster. He swore solemnly that his friends, the Duke of Marlborough and Lord Peterborough, under both of whom he had served, should hear of the manner in which he had been treated ; and when the justice,-a sly old gentleman, and one that read the Gazettes,
-asked him at what battles he had been present, the gallant Ensign pitched on a couple in Spain and in Flanders, which had been fought within a week of each other, and vowed that he had been desperately wounded at both : so that, at the end of his examination, which had been taken down by the clerk, he had been made to acknowledge as follows :-Captain Geraldine, six feet four inches in height; thin, with a very long red nose, and red hair; gray eyes, and speaks with a strong Irish accent; is the first-cousin of the Duke of Leinster, and in constant communication with him : does not know whether his Grace has any children ; does not know whereabouts he lives in London; cannot say what sort of a looking man his Grace is : is acquainted with the Duke of Marlborough, and served in the dragoons at the battle of Ramillies ; at which time he was with my Lord Peterborough before Barcelona. Borrowed the horse which he rides from a friend in London, three weeks since. Peter Hobbs, ostler, swears that it was in his master's stable four days ago, and is the property of John Hayes, carpenter. Cannot account for the fifteen guineas found on him by the landlord ; says they were twenty ; says he won them at cards, a fortnight since, at Edinburgh; says he is riding about the country for his amusement; afterwards says he is on a matter of life and death, and going to Bristol ; declared last night, in the hearing of several witnesses, that he was going to York; says he is a man of independent property, and has large estates in Ireland, and a hundred thousand pounds in the Bank of England. Has no shirt or stockings, and the coat he wears is marked "S. S.” In his boots is written "Thomas Rodgers,” and in his hat is the name of the "Rev. Doctor Snoffler."
Dr. Snoffler lived at Worcester, and had lately advertised in the Hue and Cry a number of articles taken from his house. Mr. Macshane said, in reply to this, that his hat had been changed at the inn, and he was ready to take his oath that he came thither in a gold-laced one.
But this fact was disproved by the oaths of many persons who had seen him at the inn. And he was about to be imprisoned for the thefts which he had not committed (the fact about the hat being, that he had purchased it from a gentleman at the “Three Rooks” for two pints of beer)—he was about to be remanded, when, behold, Mrs. Hayes the elder made her appearance; and to her it was that the Ensign was indebted for his freedom.
Old Hayes had gone to work before the ostler arrived; but when his wife heard the lad's message, she instantly caused her pillion to be placed behind the saddle, and mounting the gray horse, urged the stable-boy to gallop as hard as ever he could to the justice's house.
She entered panting and alarmed. “Oh, what is your honour going to do to this honest gentleman ? " said she.
“In the name of heaven, let him go! His time is precious— he has important business--business of life and death."
“I tould the jidge so," said the Ensign, “but he refused to take my word —the sacred wurrd of honour of Captain Geraldine."
Macshane was good at a single lie, though easily flustered on an examination; and this was a very creditable stratagem to acquaint Mrs. Hayes with the name that he bore.
“What ! you know Captain Geraldine ? ” said Mr. Ballance, who was perfectly well acquainted with the carpenter's wife.
“ “ In coorse she does. Hasn't she known me these tin years? Are we not related ? Didn't she give me the very horse which I rode, and, to make belave, tould you I'd bought in London?"
“Let her tell her own story. Are you related to Captain Geraldine, Mrs. Hayes?"
· Yes—oh, yes ! ”
“A very elegant connection! And you gave him the horse, did you, of your own free-will ?”
"Oh, yes! of my own will I would give him anything. Do, do, your honour, let him go! His child is dying,” said the old lady, bursting into tears. “ It may be dead before he gets to-before he gets there. Oh, your honour, your honour, pray, pray, don't detain him!”
The justice did not seem to understand this excessive sympathy on the part of Mrs. Hayes ; nor did the father himself appear to be nearly so affected by his child's probable fate as the honest woman who interested herself for him. On the contrary, when she made this passionate speech, Captain Geraldine only grinned and said, “Niver mind, my dear. If his honour will keep an honest gentleman for doing nothing, why let him--the law must settle between us; and as for the child, poor thing, the Lord deliver it !"
At this, Mrs. Hayes fell to entreating more loudly than ever ; and as there was really no charge against him, Mr. Ballance was constrained to let him go.
The landlord and his friends were making off, rather confused, when Ensign Macshane called upon the former in a thundering voice to stop, and refund the five guineas which he had stolen from him. Again the host swore there were
but fifteen in his pocket. But when, on the Bible, the Ensign solemnly vowed that he had twenty, and called upon Mrs. Hayes to say whether yesterday, half-an-hour before he entered the inn, she had not seen him with twenty guineas, and that lady expressed herself ready to swear that she had, Mr. Landlord looked more crestfallen than ever, and said that he had not counted the money when he took it; and though he did in his soul believe that there were only fifteen guineas, rather than be suspected of a shabby action, he would pay the five guineas out of his own pocket : which he did, and with the Ensign's, or rather Mrs. Hayes's own coin.
As soon as they were out of the justice's house, Mr. Macshane, in the fulness of his gratitude, could not help bestowing an embrace upon Mrs. Hayes. And when she implored him to let her ride behind him to her darling son, he yielded with a very good grace, and off the pair set on John Hayes's gray.
“Who has Nosey brought with him now?” said Mr. Sicklop, Brock's one-eyed confederate, who, about three hours after the above adventure, was lolling in the yard of the “Three Rooks.” It was our Ensign, with the mother of his captive. They had not met with any accident in their ride.
“I shall now have the shooprame bliss,” said Mr. Macshane, with much feeling, as he lifted Mrs. Hayes from the saddle
the shooprame bliss of intwining two harrts that are mead for one another. Ours, my dear, is a dismal profession : but ah! don't moments like this make aminds for years of pain ? This way, my dear. Turn to your right, then to your leftmind the stip—and the third door round the corner.”
All these precautions were attended to; and after giving his concerted knock, Mr. Macshane was admitted into an apartment, which he entered holding his gold pieces in the one hand, and a lady by the other.
We shall not describe the meeting which took place between mother and son. The old lady wept copiously; the young man was really glad to see his relative, for he deemed that his troubles were over. Mrs. Cat bit her lips, and stood aside, looking somewhat foolish ; Mr. Brock counted the money; and Mr. Macshane took a large dose of strong waters, as a pleasing solace for his labours, dangers, and fatigue.
When the maternal feelings were somewhat calmed, the old lady had leisure to look about her, and really felt a kind of friendship and goodwill for the company of thieves in which she found herself. It seemed to her that they had conferred an actual favour on her, in robbing her of twenty guineas, threatening her son's life, and finally letting him go.
“Who is that droll old gentleman ?” said she ; and being told that it was Captain Wood, she dropped him a curtsey, and said, with much respect, “Captain, your very humble servant”; which compliment Mr. Brock acknowledged by a gracious smile and bow. "And who is this pretty young lady?" continued Mrs. Hayes.
"Why-hum--oh--mother, you must give her your blessing. She is Mrs. John Hayes." And herewith Mr. Hayes brought forward his interesting lady, to introduce her to his
The news did not at all please the old lady; who received Mrs. Catherine's embrace with a very sour face indeed. However, the mischief was done; and she was too glad to get back her son to be, on such an occasion, very angry with him. So, after a proper rebuke, she told Mrs. John Hayes that though she never approved of her son's attachment, and thought he married below his condition, yet as the evil was done, it was their duty to make the best of it; and she, for her part, would receive her into her house, and make her as comfortable there as she could.
“I wonder whether she has any more money in that house?” whispered Mr. Sicklop to Mr. Redcap; who, with the landlady, had come to the door of the room, and had been amusing themselves by the contemplation of this sentimental
“What a fool that wild Hirishman was not to bleed her for more," said the landlady; "but he's a poor ignorant Papist. I'm sure my man” (this gentleman had been hanged) "wouldn't have come away with such a beggarly sum.
“Suppose we have some more out of 'em ?” said Mr. Redcap. " What prevents us? We have got the old mare and the colt too,-ha! ha! and the pair of 'em ought to be worth at least a hundred to us."
This conversation was carried on sotto voce; and I don't