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Ten yeoman to the portal sped,
And let the drawbridge down.
The clanking court in haste;
The yielding drawbridge past.
Count Harras leads them on;
With silver lustre shone.
Full sixteen hands and more,
The gallant weight he bore.
(To be continued.)
A HUNT FOR A BREAKFAST.
“ Go with me to town in the morning, Dick," said a young man of exterior such as is vulgarly called shabby genteel, and a countenance beaming with assurance and self-complacency, to his friend, a young man somewhat his senior, and of far more sober habiliments.
“Oh yes," responded his companion ; “ I am going down in the morning. What time do you set off? Do you go by the omnibus ?"
“ I hate those filthy omnibuses : besides, I must go before they start~ I am going to breakfast with Mr. Wood. You'll go with me, of course ?"
Why, I'm not at all acquainted with Mr. Wood, and must therefore decline your offer; but I will walk with you to town.”
“Why, you shall go with me, by all means. I'll introduce you to Mr. Wood, he will be very glad to see you,- he hates formality, and is the pleasantest fellow you ever met.”
Notwithstanding these cogent arguments, the young man still evinced a disinclination to avail himself of the offer, till at length, being prevailed upon by reiterated assurances of Mr. Wood's welcome, he gave an unwilling assent. There they parted, and fixed to meet at a place on the way, by seven the next morning.
Punctual to the minute were they both at the place of rendezvous. After exchanging salutations, they set off with all the speed they could command, which for a time prevented all conversation : but soon their pace abating, and thinking silence rather dull, they fell into conversation. The first subject was naturally Mr. Wood, because on him the thoughts of both were bent,--the one in expectation of the good breakfast he should make at his expense, the other from lurking feelings of disinclination to intrude his company where he was entirely a stranger. After some conversation, the elder began to find out that his friend was himself an uninvited guest, at least on the present occasion, but he alleged that some time before he had received a general invitation; but of this the other did not feel quite assured, as he was noted for being one of the best hands in the world at improving a short acquaintance.
As the conversation advanced, his surmises became gradually more confirmed, till at length he succeeded in discovering that he had become acquainted with Mr. Wood in a stage coach, and had since met him once or twice at a coffeehouse; but he still persisted that he had received a general invitation from the gentleman in question.
As they approached nearer their destination, the younger of the two began to evince much uneasiness of mind, and, with that foreboding of ill which takes hold on the mind on the eve of some awful calamity, to conjure up to himself all kinds of most horrid conjectures, -at one time wondering whether Mr. Wood was ever called off to business at an earlier hour than was his wont; at another, fearing lest, as it was Monday morning, he might have gone on Saturday to pay a visit to his uncle, who lived some distance from town, and with whom he had ascertained he was in the habit of spending his Sundays, and had not yet returned. He was just dwelling upon this most dreadful surmise, when they arrived at Mr. Wood's house, and (Oh, joy of joys!) in passing the window, he beheld the table laid out for breakfast, with all its necessary accompaniments, surmounted by a noble ham.
The joy of the younger was now unbounded; he clapped his friend on the shoulder, and exclaimed, “ Well, I was sure Mr. Wood would be at home, he is so very regular in his habits.” He leaped upon the step, and gave the bell an enormous pull; then turning to his friend, to repeat his firm conviction that Mr. Wood would be at home, he forgot that he had pulled it, and gave another such jerk as excited great doubt in the mind of the servant whether some evil dæmon had possessed the bell or the intellects of the agitator.
When the door opened, such was his abstraction, that, raising his hat, and just deeming it necessary to utter the usual inquiry—“ Mr. Wood within ?" he was about stepping into house, had not the servant, who on sight of the gentleman did not find reason to change one of her surmises, held the door in such a position as did not admit of this. But what was his surprise when, in addition to this, she very coolly replied to his question“No, sir, he is just gone out."
“Mr. Wood not in ?” exclaimed he, thinking that one part of his question must have been misunderstood.
“ No, sir,” repeated the servant; “ he went out about a quarter of an hour ago, with two more gentlemen, to a party in the country.”
The feelings of the young man were evidently engaged in a violent conflict, whether he should walk in and make an attack on the relics of breakfast, or yield to his sense of decorum, and retire immediately. He had just determined on the former course, when the servant put it to flight, by inquiring whether it was any thing she could tell him.
Quite overcome by this, he was about to make a precipitate retreat, when he was again arrested by the imperturbable servant, proposing the next official question, “ Who shall I say called, sir ?"
“Wh-y,” said he, in a melancholy tone, you may say Mr. Timothy Gilson did himself the pleasure of calling on him.”
After this repulse, the two friends were so entirely absorbed, each in his own thoughts, that they walked for some distance (luckily the same way) without exchanging a word; when Mr. Richard broke silence, by proposing that they should get a breakfast at some neighbouring coffee-room. This course Mr. Timothy energetically declaimed, against, asserting that “there was no need of it-not the least; that he would take him to breakfast with Mr. Harker, with whom he was very intimate ; that he would have gone there first, but Mr. Wood had so often asked him to breakfast with him the first time he came to town."
This was' again strenously opposed by his friend, who appeared this time quite determined; but by much persuasion, and some delay, he was at length brought over.
Having arrived at Mr. Harker's with all possible speed, (for it was now getting late for breakfast, and Mr. Harker, being employed in a warehouse, was always very punctual,) they beheld through the window, not as before, the equipments of the breakfast table, but Mr. Harker himself in the act of pulling on his boots. This case, therefore, admitted of no fear of disappointment, as they had caught the principal himself. Mr. Tim knocked at the door (Mr. Harker being in lodgings, did not display a bell-pull). After a short delay, the door was opened, and, they were met, to their no small surprise, by Mr. Harker himself, with hat on head and glove in hand !
“ Good morning, Tim,” said he, shaking that gentleman's hand with one of his own, and closing the door behind him with the other; “ I'm just going down to the warehouse ; will you walk with me?"
“ Yes, with pleasure,” replied he, endeavouring, with a very bad grace, to stifle his chagrin; “ I wish to have a bit of chat with you."
After Mr. Tim had introduced his friend to Mr. Harker, they all set off in the direction of the warehouse, and during their walk were engaged in a conversation which was very unequally and abstractedly supported by the two strangers. When they had arrived at the warehouse door, they bid Mr. Harker adieu, whom, by way of apology for the loss of a breakfast, Mr. Tim honoured with sundry imprecations, and various pretty epithets, such as niggardly skin-flint,” “ unmannerly brute,” and whatever else first suggested itself to his excited brain.
They now set about finding breakfast in real earnest, and after having traversed some half dozen coffee rooms and refectories, at all of which breakfast had been removed, and would of course be more expensive if re-placed, they at length gave up the attempt, and ordered one to be brought as soon as possible; and after having disposed of as much of the viands of the table as they intended to have done at Mr. Wood's and Mr. Harker's respectively, as well as a small portion for the coffee-house, Mr. Richard was showing symptoms of extracting something from his pocket, to evince his intention of bearing some part in the money matters, when Mr. Tim forbad him to proceed any further, saying, that he would liquidate the whole sum ; but after rummaging some time, and examining each pocket three times over, he found that he had either left or lost his purse, and would thank Mr. Richard to accommodate him with half-a-sovereign, as it would be easier reckoning. This done, they each set off about their own affairs.-Of course Mr. Richard got paid !
Oh, fair in the spring are the primroses pale,
tinted gems, to enamel the green?
Though boreas sweep boisterous and hoarse o'er the ground,
(Continued from No. 5.)
As is generally the case among people in a rude state of society, hospitality was a virtue in high esteem among them. Visiting one another's houses was very fashionable; and far from being unceremonious, as we generally suppose the poor to be, the least uncourteousness, even to an uninvited visitor, would be esteemed a most unpardonable offence. Towards evening, there were generally as many guests as the chairs would accommodate, and sometimes a few more. I wish I could give my readers some idea of one of these parties around the blazing peat fire, on a winter's evening; the loud laugh, the merry joke, and the rude and satiric wit; or on the other hand, the intense interest with which the silent audience listened to the stories of lamentable shipwrecks (the village was on the sea-coast); or the still more thrilling narratives of ghosts ("awsome things to think on," as they were accustomed to say), with which the elder part of the company, who had a good stock of such lore, were generally called upon to while away the time. One old man in particular was noted for his abilities in this line, and was well versed in all the wild stories and traditions which had been current for the last half century; and often did the deep silence which ensued on his concluding his simple tale, testify the power he had over his auditory. Of course he was looked up to with great reverence as a sort of oracle ;
and still the wonder grew, “ That one small head could carry all he knew." I wish I could remember some of these characteristic narratives, but I am sorry to say they have all faded from my memory, except one which was related by John, in order to prove that these mysterious beings had no real