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existence; for he always thought it necessary to put on a very incredulous air with regard to the subject. He said he was returning home, one partially moonlight night, when to his horror, he saw at a short distance, standing direct in his path, a tall shadowy figure, which seemed to how to him majestically. He paused, trembled, and looked again; again it bowed lower than before. He was almost petrified with terror, or in his own expression—“welly deead wi' fear,” and did not, we may be sure, favour this polite being with a third look, but retreated as fast as his trembling knees would permit. The next morning, however, his valour returning with the daylight, be ventured to go back and see if he could find any trace of the object of his terror, so awfully courteous, and the result of his investigation was the discovery of a tall plant, called by the country people a “philmert,” which had most innocently bowed its head as the wind passed over it. “ So yo seen it's varra sartain as there's nae sich things as gheaists,” said John, with one of his most profound looks, as he shook the ashes out of his pipe; but his reasoning was evidently as inconclusive to his own mind as to those of his audience.
Sometimes singing was substituted for story telling ; but this was rare, the art of poetry being at a very low ebb amongst them. I do, indeed, remember one or two attempts of native genius in the shape of ballads, but if I may pass a judgment from my very imperfect recollection, I should say they were at best but suited to the circle for which they were intended, and did not manifest any traces of a latent Burns or Bloomfield. News they had actually none, and of politics they were perfectly guiltless; knowing and troubling themselves just as much about Whigs and Tories as about the Guelphs and Ghibelines.
About nine o'clock the sitting was generally broken up, and the warm hearth resigned to the chirping crickets; and first
“The mistress sees that lazy Kate
And join the general troop of sleep." And thus the time passed on. There was a simplicity in my new mode of life which perfectly captivated me, and I had no lack of amusements, such as hunting rabbits (I do not mean catching them) with the old dog, and snaring birds, at which I became very expert. In the hay-time, if not useful, I was busy ; and in the harvest, could at least ride at the top of the loaded carts. This was by far the most joyous time of the year, and the harvest home was celebrated in a style of festivity approaching to the universal joy of the occasion. The frail hinges of the table fairly threatened to break off their alliance with the
wall, under the weight of the substantial provisions they bore. This was the only time that I ever saw an attempt at the noble art of dancing, and certainly, Milton's definition of “ tripping it on the light fantastic toe" would have been most inapplicable to their performance ; however, if there was not grace, there was energy, which answered the purpose equally as well; and happily the barn floor was solid earth, and not fragile boards.
That most peculiarly ingenious mode of forming patronymics which is in use in many parts of Lancashire, was here adopted from necessity, for there were not above three or four variations of surnames in the whole neighbour
I mean the method of tacking together the abbreviated christian names of a whole line of ancestors, and adding at the end that of the person to be designated. Such titles as “ Dicky's Bill's Will's John,” and “ Tommy's Jem's Jem," are stil familiar in my memory; and so entirely did these cognomens supersede the lawful appellation, that I have heard a pretty acrimonious dispute between a mother and daughter as to the surname of neighbour who lived within a quarter of a mile of them. Thus a man had not only the character of his own name to support, but that of his whole pedigree, and he received honour or disgrace from the good or ill fame of his ancestors. I am inclined to think that if this mode was generally adopted, there would be a few who would not be sorry slily to drop a link here and there. The language of my new friends was at first a perfect enigma to me, but I soon began to understand and impercep. tibly adopt their terms into my vocabulary, until my tongue and accent became pretty nearly assimilated.*
At last my friends began to get rather alarmed, and to think it was going too far; and as the purpose of my coming had been fully answered, I was persuaded reluctantly to return home, and in a short time becoming accustomed to the tastes of civilized society, I should have been very unwilling to go back to the simple but rude manners of the clay-built farm house.
* I only remember one instance of the manner in which my own expression was exchanged for theirs. I was talking of birds, when a little boy standing by turned to an old man and said-“Why don he ca' 'em birds ?" “Cos the quality ca's 'em so," answered he gravely, as if he did not approve of it. I stood corrected; that was the last time the
zed word passed my lips, and I forthwith adopted the improved version of “brids."
NOTICES TO CORRESPONDENTS.
The Answer to the Enigma has been omitted for want of room.
It shall appear in our next. In consequence of the vacation, the next No. of the New Microcosm will not
appear till the 10th of February.
Manchester : Printed by CAVE and SEVER, Pool Fold. Sold by C. AMBERY,
91, Market Street; and other Booksellers.
thrown across the river, which had during the Civil War replaced the stone one which had been originally erected. At the back a strongly fortified wall stretched, following the line of the building, to the points where the river began to diverge from the castle. To carry it along the side was thought unnecessary, on account of the rapidity of the stream and the steepness of its banks.
The village of Warholme was situated at the distance of about half a mile from the castle, and communicated with it by a road lying the whole way through thc thick forest which lay at the back.
Up this road, at the time our story commences, two horsemen were riding in the direction of the castle. They had reined in their steeds, and were walking them quietly up. They were engaged in close and familiar conversation, though to judge from their appearance, both in countenance and dress, their characters and situations were very different.' The one was a tall man, of about fifty years of age, but his hair, which hung down in long and graceful curls over his shoulders, was free from any admixture of grey, and was parted over a brow so frank and open, that, independently of the rest of his features, which were equally engaging, it could not but have prepossessed the most fastidious in his favour. He wore over his shoulders an ample cloak, which, as the evening advanced, he had drawn closer round him. His long boots were graced with gilded spurs, the emblems of knighthood. These he had seldom occasion to use, for his mettled steed shewed by every possible means his unqualified dislike of the restraint in which he was held by his master.
The other trooper was apparently the reverse of the one we have just described.
He was sqare-built and hard-featured, which were in no way redeemed by a very sinister cast in one of his eyes.
His dress, favoured by the night, appeared, except the spurs, very
similar to that of his companion. His horse was as raw-boned and squarelimbed as his master, and far from making objections to the change of pace, shewed very frequent indications of stopping altogether.
“What is the meaning of this ?” cried the taller of the two, who had ridden a little forward to a curve in the walk, from whence he had a view of the whole length of it. "I do not understand it at all; we surely cannot have overstepped our time. What think you, Bowden?”
“ I know not îndeed, sir knight, replied the other;" but I should think that hardly possible; it cannot be half an hour's ride from the town, and we left it at half-past seven.'
“ Then we need not fear,” said the first speaker, " for Sir Phillip is not a man, either to forget or neglect an appointment."
Hark, is that not our time ?" said Bowden, as the peal of the castle bell met his ear; " that must be eight o'clock.”
" It is, sure enough; and, true to his appointment, here is Sir Philip,” said the knight, riding forward as he spoke towards a dark figure which had just emerged from the trees. “Well, my old fellow, punctual as ever, I see. I was just telling Bowden of your merits. By the by, this, Sir Philip, is the man of whom I wrote ; I assure
you, he is a very useful fellow; and sees no more than he ought to see,” added he, in a low tone, for Bowden had by this time ridden up."
“ You must not judge by appearances, my dear fellow; you look at him like an officer trying to recognise a thief. Cheer up, my man; there's nothing to be afraid of,” continued he, as his attendant cowered under the searching eye of Sir Philip. Why dost thou not doff thy cap with all the deference due to so puissant a knight ?"
Bowden complied with the suggestion, but with evident reluctance, and Sir Philip, turning away, said, smiling, to his friend, “You must think it strange conduct in me, De Vere, to scrutinize your companion so closely, but it is my way. I can always judge best of a person's character at first sight."
"I hope your scrutiny is favourable to him,” said De Vere; “but now let me hear how you and your guests agree.”
Why, as to that, I see very little of them-less than ever these last few days. They get their ineals at a table by themselves in the hall, and trouble us very little. Farren, their captain, evidently expected to be invited to my table; but I can assure you that he was wonderfully mistaken in his idea that I should sit down with a cursed roundhead, whatever his rank. Why, the lowest of my tenantry refuse to speak to them, and the very dogs as they pass turn up their noses at them. I dare say they'll make no objections to quitting ; very likely they'll give up without resistance. But come, there is no use standing out here in the cold ; let us go into the castle.”
“But how can we pass the sentinel ; shall we not be challenged ?"
“Oh, never fear him; I sent two of my servants to him into the buttery, where he will be safely lodged for several hours to come. They talk a great deal about their temperance, these roundheads; but they'll do any thing for a glass of true Staffordshire. Will you follow us, master Bowden ?”
Thus saying, he led the way to the gates, closely followed by the two horsemen. The knight then gave a low whistle, upon which they were thrown open by a retainer of De Warholme, and De Vere and Bowden assisted to dismount. The groom could not help observing the meagre and jaded appearance of the steed of the latter, before he led it to the stable.
“ These seem to have been hard times for your beast, master; pray how long is it since a mouthful of oats has come near his manger
?" Possibly a month," answered Bowden, with unmoved composure, and followed the two knights into the castle.
They entered a small portal, and Sir Philip, after giving over Bowden to the charge of his domestics in the servants' hall, conducted his friend to his own private apartment. This was situated at the top of one of the turrets, which overlooked the whole of the side of the Warholme estate. The interior of the chamber was in a state of the utmost disorder, but displaying in its furniture and adornments all the signs of being occupied by a sportsman. On the table, amidst charts