Imágenes de páginas

manners, and he talked little bits of French, and he had French gloves for presents, and had ear-rings in his ears, and lots of rings on his fingers. So I took my seat at the wooden benches near the fire, just as sulky as a bear with a sore head, watching their maneuvres: at last he walked out, kissing his hand as she smiled. As the coast was clear, I went up to the bar.

“Well,' says I, Peggy, so the wind's shifted, is it?'

«• What do you mean?' says she. “I suppose I may be civil to another person as well as to you.'

“Yes, I see no objection,' says I; 'but why was he to be inside the bar, and I put out ?'

“Oh,' replied she, "one at a time, you know, Mr. Philip. I haven't made any promises to you that I know of.'

“That's very true,' replied I, but —

“Oh, you musn't fret here,' interrupted she: I'm my own mistress, I suppose. However, I'll tell you this much, that I don't care a bit about him, and that's the truth of it-but I did not like your coming inside the bar so quietly, as if you had a right there-for I don't want people to make remarks.'

“Well, the end of it was, that she pacified me, and wo were as great friends almost as ever: I say almost, for I had my eyes upon her and that chap, and did not much like it. A week after my arrival, there was to be a fair over at Ryde, in the Isle of Wight, and I asked Peggy whether she would go with me; but she refused, saying that she was obliged to go to her aunt's out at Limberhouk, who was very old, and had sent for her, su

thought nothing more about the matter. Well, tho

[ocr errors]

day before the fair, as we were busy in the forenoon getting the timber out of the vessel, one of my shipmates, who went to the same house, says to


say, Hom, when I was at the Chequers last night, I overheard Peggy promise to go to the Ryde Fair with that frenchified smuggling chap.

“ • Did you ?' said I.

“Yes,' replied he, and they agreed to start at twelve o'clock, just after the Dockyard Bell rang: I thought at the time it was just to give you the slip before you left the ship, and that she is turning you over.'

· Well, when I heard this, did not my blood boil ? for the hussy had told me a lie, in saying that she was going to her aunt's; and it was evident that she had done so that she might go with this other fellow to the fair. I thought the matter over and over again, for, to

the truth, all I wanted then was revenge. I felt nothing but scorn for a woman who could act in so base a manner; at the same time I wished to punish both her and him by spoiling their day's sport; so at last I determined that I would start right away for the fair myself, and not only put her to shame, but give her fancy man a good drubbing, which I was well able to do. So I walks down to Point, and gets into a wherry, keeping a sharp look-out for their coming down from the Hard. At last I spied them, and then I made the waterman pull away, so as to keep about three cables' length ahead of them, and thus I continued watching their billing and cooing, and grinding my teeth with rage, until we had come over to the other side. Now you see, Tom, at that time there was no wooden pier at Ryde as there is now, and when the tide was out, there was such a long flat of mud that there was no landing; so the way it was managed was, the wherries came in as far as they could, and were met by a horse and cart, wbich took out the passengers, and carried them through the mud and water to the hard ground. Well, when I pulled in, the man was there with his horse and cart, and I paid my fare, and stepped out of the wherry, expecting the man to drive off, and put me on shore ; but he seeing that there was another wherry close at hand, says he must wait for her passengers, and make one trip of it. I did not care how soon we met, and waited very patiently until they pulled up to us. They were not a little surprised to see me, and not a little annoyed either. As for Peggy she coloured to her elbows, and then tried to put up an impudent face on the matter. He looked both foolish and angry. They were both very smart. She had on a white gown with a yellow handkerchief on her shoulders, a green silk bonnet, and blue feathers, and he was figged out as fine as fivepence, with white jean trousers, and rings and chains, and Lord knows what.

tell you

"Well,' says Peggy, as bold as brass, 'who'd have thought to have seen you here?

“ I did not say that I was going to see my aunt,' replied I; “but as you did, who would have expected t»

here?' “Don't talk to me, young man,' said she, as red as fire, and turning away to her beau.

"Just as she said this, the cart drove off, the horse floundering through the mud, which was about three feet deep, with a matter of six inches of water above it.

see you

As she turned away aft, I turned forward, thinking what I should do next, and then I cast my eyes down, and observed that it was a tilting cart as they use for carrying out manure, and that if I took the two pegs out it would fall right back. I thought this a capital trick. The carman was sitting on his horse, and it couldn't matter to him, so I stepped out on the front of the cart, and standing on the shafts, I first pulled out one peg and then another, while they were busy talking to each other, with their heads so close that his face was under her bonnet. As soon as the second peg was out, I helped up the front of the cart a little, and back it went, shooting them out right head foremost in the mud. You never saw such a scramble, for they had caught hold of each other in their fright, and they rolled and floundered, and were half smothered before they could recover their feet; and then a pretty pickle they were in, wet to the skin, and covered with mud from one end to the other; they could not see out of their eyes. Peggy did nothing but scream and flounder -she was frightened out of her wits—while the carman and I laughed ready to split. I gave him half a crown to drive on shore without them, which he did, and we left them to make their way out how they could ; and a pretty pickle they did come out at last. their day's pleasure as well as their clothes all spoilt; and instead of dancing at the fair, and seeing all the sights, they were shivering in their wet clothes, and the langhing-stocks to all that saw them.

“ Depend upon it, I did not leave them after they had crawled out to the beach. The fellow was, as you may suppose, as savage as a bull, and very saucy, so I took

Thus was

off my jacket that I might not dirty myself, and gave him a couple of black eyes and a bloody nose for his trouble; and as for Peggy, I pretended to be so sorry for her, and condoled her so much, that at last she flew at me like a tigress; and as I knew that there was no honour, and plenty of mud, to be gained by the conflict, I took to my heels and ran off to the fair, where I met some of my friends and told them what had happened, and then we had a very merry day of it, and I felt quite cured of my love ; for, you see, Peggy looked so ugly and miserable when she was in the state I left her, that I had only to think of her as when I last saw her, and all my love was gone."

“Did you ever meet her again ?"

“I met her that very night; for, you see, she had gone to a cottage and taken off her clothes, having insisted upon her fancy man going back to Portsmouth to fetch her others to go home in. Ile dared not refuse, so off he went in the pickle that he was; but he didn't come back again, for, you see, there was a warrant out against him for an affray at Bear Haven, iu which a king's officer was killed ; and after he had changed his own clothes, and was proceeding to get some for her from the Chequers, he was met by the constable who had the warrant, and carried off handcuffed to gaol, and afterwards he was transported; su she never saw him again. Well, Peggy, poor creature, had been waiting for him for hours, expecting his return; and it was past ten o'clock when I was coming down with some others, and saw her at the door of the cottage weeping.–Good night, Peggy, says I.'

0, Philip, do be kind, do come to me; I'm

« AnteriorContinuar »